Tag Archives: GPEC

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona trade mission builds confidence with Mexico

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris Camacho, joined Governor Doug Ducey in Mexico City for an important trade mission last week, with more than 40 business, university and government leaders – including GPEC board members Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, David Rousseau of SRP and University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.

At $15.8 billion, bilateral trade (imports into Arizona and exports to Mexico) between Arizona and Mexico is larger than the state’s next six largest trading partners combined. And according to an April 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, growth for total exports and manufacturing exports to Mexico is up 22.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.  

“Arizona and Mexico share more than an important border for global commerce, but are also connected by the rich historical, social and cultural ties,” said Camacho. “Governor Ducey’s leadership, and the work of David Farca, president of the Arizona Mexico Commission, has set a new tone and reinvigorated dialogue with Mexico City.”

The impact of Gov. Ducey’s trade mission, and the recent opening of the Trade & Investment Office in Mexico City, sends a strong message that Greater Phoenix and the state of Arizona is open for business with our neighbor to the south. With more than 370 miles of shared border, there is an unparalleled opportunity for both Arizona and Mexico to continue to increase trade.

Camacho also added, “The meetings this past week with government and business leaders will further enhance the economic prosperity for both sides of the border, and I am eager to continue the work being done to foster this growth.”

For an international guide to doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.  

IO President Anthony Wanger.

Tech-friendly scene makes Arizona a data center hot spot

Phoenix has its head in the clouds.

Digital information—everything from financial and medical accounts to media entertainment and social networks—is now being stored in about 60 high-tech data centers throughout the Phoenix metro area, adding to the state’s growing reputation in the technology industry.

Renewable energy, geo-stability and tech-friendly legislation are a few of the reasons why Arizona has one of the highest concentrations of data centers in the United States, second only to Virginia.

Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, says one of the reasons Phoenix has seen a significant level of data center activity is power availability and competitive pricing.   

“We have very affordable power costs,” Camacho says. “Our utilities have been very flexible in supporting this industry to ensure we have dual feeds from the electrical standpoint. Having affordable power rates has been critical. The other attributes that are important to this industry as to why we have been successful are the level of infrastructure, that’s generally fiber infrastructure, and latency. We’re very favorable to the West Coast in that regard.  So our communities, as well as Cox, Century Link and others, have done a great job extending infrastructure to support this industry.”

Demand for renewable energy

As data centers continue to propagate, the demand for power increases.

A recent survey by Mortenson Construction, one of the leading data center contractors in the U.S., reported 84 percent of responding data center executives, developers and operators believe there is a need to consider renewable energy. Energy efficiency is a top concern and nearly half the survey participants believe improved technology can increase energy efficiency.

“Technology companies like Apple, eBay, Amazon and Google, all of the organizations that store massive amounts of information, tend to have leaders who are highly environmentally conscious,” explains Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council,  “They would much prefer to use renewable energy to power these data centers rather than power coming from a coal-burning plant. It’s less about the economics and more about doing the right thing.”

IO president Anthony Wanger agrees. IO, one of the largest colocation data centers in North America, has created and patented energy efficient data storage modules and operating software. In 2013, APS evaluated IO’s Power Usage Effectiveness ratings and determined the modules were more efficient than the traditional raised-floor data center environment.

In February, IO announced an agreement the company made with APS to be able to offer renewable energy to its customers.   

“We had a break through,” Wanger said. “We were able to negotiate a rate with APS that allows us to buy renewable energy. We were able to get a rate that reflects the scale of our use, and the option for our customers to simply choose to go green. For about a cent and a half more per kilowatt hour they can buy energy that is 100 percent renewable. It’s solar and wind. We have had terrific customer feedback about it.

“It’s important for us,” Wanger continues. “We want to be leaders in dematerialization and we want to be leaders in giving our customers the tools and the choices they need to manage their energy needs. Our very largest customer, Goldman Sachs, is committed to zero carbon.

“We have taken great strides in moving our energy over to renewables. I’m not going to tell 1,000 customers what they have to do,” he explains, adding that if he puts it on the menu and incentivizes it, he believes they will choose it. “We are committed to renewables, we are leaders in energy efficiency, by putting it out there, it’s going to be a needle mover.”

Making it happen

IO began with three businessmen and a foldup table from Costco, Wanger said. The table, signed by the co-founders Wanger, George Slessman and William Slessman, is somewhere in the Phoenix facility as a reminder of how they began.

“I always liked to build things. I have always been fascinated by buildings and real estate and systems and machines,” says Wanger, who comes from several generations of entrepreneurs. “I was brought up in the ‘you make your job, you don’t get a job’ mentality. Sit down. Figure it out. Make it happen. That’s the only thing that works for me.

“We’ve been really fortunate we have a really solid business with terrific institutional backers and terrific institutional customers. We’ve been able to attract some terrific talent. The way we got here is people. When I say make it happen, it isn’t just the three of us, it’s the entire team.

“Make it happen. That really is the moral of our whole story here. These data centers didn’t build themselves. These folks didn’t employ themselves. The capital didn’t raise itself. The customers didn’t identify and sign themselves. This is hard work.

He suggests that in order for Arizona to continue growing its reputation in the technology arena, it, too, will take hard work.

“If Arizona wants to continue its fantastic growth it’s going to be because it chooses to, not because it happens automatically. I feel very positive about Phoenix and Arizona’s prospects, but I think we have to be careful not to take things for granted,” Wanger says. “It’s a very competitive economy. I think we would be well advised to be purposeful in our recruiting and the way in which we create a climate where risk takers can take risks.”

Trending

Wanger and his partners at IO, which now has six locations around the globe, were among some of the early risk takers in the data center industry.

“We grew up with the GoDaddy guys. If you go back 10 or 15 years ago, they were in data centers. We were in data centers. There was another guy in data centers and that’s about it,” Wanger says.

According to a market overview analysis by CBRE, today there are about 60 data centers in the Phoenix metro area, including colocation operations and those used by individual companies. An additional 21 greenfield sites have been identified mostly in the East Valley for build-to-suit data centers.

Even with the explosion of data centers in Phoenix, Wanger says he is seeing a trend toward consolidation.

“We are moving away from square footage to more power in less space with shared highly utilized banks of computers,” he says. “I think that the Internet went from 400 markets globally to 200 to 50 markets. I think it’s on its way to being in 12 markets globally. That’s mega consolidation. We are doing everything we can do in our power to make sure Phoenix is on the winner side of that equation.”

Tech magnet

Energy affordability, access and renewable options are sited as reasons for locating power-intensive data centers in Phoenix, but there are more.

Geo-stability is an important factor when deciding a data center’s location. Arizona is free of natural disasters, making it an appealing locale.

“We don’t have hurricanes, or earthquakes or tornadoes or floods or any of those things that jeopardize a data center. We are a very sound place from that standpoint,” Zylstra says.

Moderately priced real estate with relatively low property taxes and legislative incentives sweeten the pot.

“A lot of economic policies in the legislature have supported both enterprise use and colocation centers,” Camacho says. “More recently there was legislation in the last few years that provided a sales tax exemption on server and IT equipment. That was one of the last pieces of the puzzle of being a great market in terms of allowing this market to grow and making it competitive against California and these other states.”

According to CBRE, “The financial impact of this law to a 1 MW tenant’s bottom line could be as much as $6 million to $7 million in tax credit savings over a 10-year period.”

Camacho continues, “There are tax credits available for companies of a certain investment scale, so, in a certain investment threshold, when they meet that level of capital investment, they are eligible, assuming they are going to use significant renewable energy resources, to obtain a corporate income tax credit.”

(subhead)The future

Locating data centers here is often an introductory step for some of the larger companies to test the business waters and learn about the Phoenix area.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working to support colocation operations in the market that are already here,” Camacho says. “And we are working as diligently as we can as we travel outside this market and showcase Arizona marketplace to prospective users. We’ll showcase IO data centers and Digital Realty Trust and others that are in this region with the goal of inducing these tenants to come and utilize colocation space and drive new investment and job creation at the same time.

Proximity to California has made it convenient for companies with corporate headquarters on the West Coast to locate their data centers here. “It encourages them to visit and to learn more about the operating environment. Then our goal is to talk further with them about future operational expansion. It could be back office, IT, or technology centers. Data centers and data storage are generally their first foray into evaluating this market on the office side.

“Once you become a nerve center where companies store data, then you start seeing a lot of these colocation tenants that are in these major facilities evaluating opportunities for back office expansion which generally comes with more job creation,” Camacho says.

CBRE reports a high quality of life and low cost of living have encouraged back shop operations for companies such as Wells Fargo, American Express, PayPal, Yelp and others to locate here.

“Companies tend to aggregate around each other,” Zylstra says. “At some point you get to a critical mass that people recognize and they want to be affiliated with it, connected to it.

“The recent Apple announcement is a watershed moment for us,” Zylstra says, referring to Apple’s plans to locate a data center in Mesa. “Apple is the most innovative company on Earth today. It’s the most successful company on Earth. When that kind of company makes a commitment here in Arizona it suggests that we have come into our own. I believe it is an important milestone in becoming known for technology.”

As the technology sector continues to grow, it is important to attract quality talent, he says.“ The greater the reputation the easier it is to attract and retain talent and that’s your competitive asset in a digital economy,” he says.

Drawing in talent is important, Camacho agrees, but he also says it is important to provide a continuing pipeline of trained talent in IT and technical services through our local educational system.

“That’s what is going to make this industry successful,” Camacho says. “We can see that pipeline coming through our Maricopa Community Colleges and the four-year systems that can meet the demand.

“Even though they are not large employers, there’s a very significant level of indirect technology job creation associated with these data centers. On average, you can provide anywhere from two to four indirect jobs for each of the jobs created within the companies themselves.”

technology

Booker expands tech operations to Scottsdale

Booker, the leading platform for service commerce, announces plans to expand their operations to Scottsdale. With headquarters in New York City, and offices in Orange County, Calif. and Singapore, Booker’s decision to grow into Scottsdale at SkySong is a great addition to the companies who have already selected SkySong to grow.

Booker’s platform allows services businesses of all sizes to provide accurate, up to date information with their clients to connect them with various services. With Booker, businesses are able to engage with clients and expand their reach to a larger customer base. 

“We are excited to become a part of the unique ecosystem in Scottsdale’s SkySong ASU Innovation Center” said Josh McCarter, Booker CEO. “Scottsdale’s talent pool, world-class technology presence, and university partnerships make it an ideal place to expand our business and continue our mission of helping small and medium service businesses grow intelligently while serving their customers better.”

“Scottsdale continues to attract growing technology companies like Booker to Arizona,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “We believe that Scottsdale is cultivating a culture of innovation and leadership that fosters a spirit of collaboration amongst creative technology companies that wish to live and work in a community that emulates their lifestyle and beliefs.”

“Building upon the growing critical mass of technology companies in metro Phoenix, Booker joins the ranks of major tech companies such as Weebly and Zenefits, who have chosen to grow their operations in the region,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “This emergence of tech companies into the market is indicative of the robust talent pool that exists, and the great livability our communities offer these workers.”

“We are pleased to welcome Booker Software in joining more than 70 companies affiliated with SkySong,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship, learning from Booker’s tremendous success and offering a collaborative innovation environment as well as connections with ASU’s student talent.”

To learn more about Booker, and their current openings in the new Scottsdale location, visit http://www.booker.com/careers.

REI Goodyear Distribution Center

REI to open 400KSF distribution center on Loop 303

Seattle-based REI, a leading outdoor retailer, has announced it will open a 400,000-square-foot distribution center creating more than 100 new jobs in the West Valley – becoming the third tenant along the newly-opened Loop 303 in Goodyear.

REI offers its members and customers outdoor gear and apparel for activities such as for hiking, biking and camping. The company is expected to break ground on the facility covering 34 acres near Loop 303 and Camelback Road in May and open in early 2016. REI has been one of a few select companies recognized on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” since the recognition began in 1998.

“This is exciting news,” said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord. “Not only does REI’s announcement mean more jobs in the city, it signals businesses continuing to open along Loop 303 – a major corridor of land available for development. We’re glad REI selected Goodyear to set up shop, and we look forward to having them here.”

Through the new distribution center, REI and REI.com customers will benefit from shorter cycle times required to replenish product, ensuring for more options on store shelves and shorter deliveries. Once the Goodyear facility is up and running, the company will reach 20 percent more customers with two-day ground service.

“We are privileged to join the community of Goodyear as we expand our distribution capacity and services to the southwest market,” said Rick Bingle, REI’s vice president of Supply Chain. “The Goodyear distribution center will enable us to continue to focus on the needs of customers by moving our gear and apparel more quickly and efficiently, now and into the future.”

REI has partnered with Sunbelt Holdings/Merit Partners     as developers for the project.

“We are very excited that REI has selected PV303 for their new distribution and fulfillment center,” said Kevin Czerwinski, President of Merit Partners. “REI joins other corporate household names currently located at PV303, all benefiting from the availability of quality labor, fantastic logistics, freeway identity, and foreign trade zone.”

The addition of REI to Goodyear continues to solidify not only Goodyear’s, but the West Valley’s presence as a major player in online fulfillment centers that provide high-quality goods to consumers and retailers throughout the western United States.

Sandra Watson, president of CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said Arizona is a prime location for companies such as REI.

“Arizona’s world-class infrastructure system and strategic Southwest location are key advantages supporting the distribution channel and supply chain management needs of growing national and international companies, Watson said. “We welcome REI to our business community and thank them for investing in Goodyear for their corporate expansion.”

The sentiments of Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, echoed Watson’s.

“There has been significant investment in infrastructure in the West Valley, and the recently completed PV303 business park is another example of how our region is growing businesses,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

“The decision by REI to locate their newest facility to the city of Goodyear at the PV303 is emblematic of this commitment, and Mayor Georgia Lord and her team have contributed greatly to this effort. Together, we look forward to welcoming REI to the region,” Camacho added.

technology

Boomtown! is latest tech firm to expand to Scottsdale

San Francisco-based Boomtown! is the latest tech company out of California to announce their plans to expand their operations to Scottsdale. Founded in February 2014, the company has continued to grow, and has selected the Greater Phoenix region for its first expansion.

Boomtown! fixes everyday merchant technology problems in real time, providing on-demand installation and support of in-store technology, resulting in reduced business costs, increased revenue and the prevention of lost sales.

“Being a Chicago transplant I’ve had the privilege of watching the evolution of the Phoenix/Scottsdale Start-Up scene over the past four years, all while building a company that was headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s been exciting to see the likes of Weebly, Zenefits and Apple as they set up shop here and also watch locally grown successes like WebPT, GoDaddy, and Infusionsoft, said Paul Wyer, Boomtown! Head of Operations and co-founder.

“I’ve met some really talented people in the valley that wish they had similar “bay start-up opportunities” and they felt like they had to move to California to get access to those kinds of jobs. I want to keep Arizona talent in Arizona, so we decided to build-out our Boomtown Operations Team here,” Wyer continued. “It’s a ripe location for start-up growth and we get access to eager and technically talented candidates from Valley-based universities and companies.”

Using new age technology, Boomtown! provides merchants with immediate support, remotely though the app. This saves businesses time and money. With more than 350 technicians across the country, Boomtown! is also able to dispatch local technicians to businesses when needed.

“I’m glad to learn that Boomtown has chosen to expand its operations to Scottsdale. We believe our community is a natural fit for vibrant companies who value quality of life as much as the bottom-line,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane.

“Greater Phoenix has a larger base of qualified software workers than any other market in the mountain region, and is poised to grow by 14 percent over the next five years,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The availability of talent coupled with a competitive operating environment, continues to draw companies like Boomtown! to the region. We look forward to seeing their growth in Scottsdale.”

To learn more about Boomtown!, visit www.goboomtown.com

Northern Trust at Discovery Business Campus, rendering credit to DAVIS

Northern Trust to expand at Discovery Business Campus

Seeking to meet long-term global growth needs and expected demand for services, Northern Trust announced plans to expand in Arizona by opening a new operating center in Tempe.

The center – expected to open in mid-2015 and grow to 1,000 full-time employees over the next three years – will provide multiple financial business and banking services, with staff performing a wide variety of roles across Northern Trust business units and functions. Positions will range from entry level to highly specialized leadership roles.

“Arizona offers an exciting opportunity to address the increasing needs of our clients as our business continues to grow,” Northern Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederick H. Waddell said. “This step will provide us with access to significant talent pools and a strategic location that will help us efficiently serve our clients.”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said, “Northern Trust’s decision to expand in Tempe is fantastic news, and further validation of the robust pro-business environment Arizona offers. This move will bring 1,000 quality jobs, reinforcing our reputation as one of the most competitive and attractive places to do business. While Northern Trust has been in Arizona since 1974, we are thrilled to see Northern Trust’s substantial new investment in our state.”

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said the city is thrilled to welcome Northern Trust to a community of businesses that make the city great. “Northern Trust is a prestigious, global, philanthropic banking leader – we are eager to see them fully operational here, providing new, high-wage jobs, and becoming fully integrated in our community,” Mitchell said. “Their desire to be in Tempe showcases why we are a destination for businesses that want excellent quality of life, a comprehensive transportation network, great schools and a vibrant environment.”

Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority, said, “Northern Trust is truly an exceptional company with a distinguished 125-year history as a leading global financial institution, and its selection of Arizona for expansion speaks volumes about our state’s dynamic, pro-business environment. Our connectivity to world markets and robust talent pool continue to make Arizona a preferred state for businesses to scale their operations for global growth. We welcome Northern Trust and look forward to supporting its continued success.”

Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said, “Investment in the region from companies such as Northern Trust further solidifies Greater Phoenix’s position in leading the nation in growth in the financial services industry. Northern Trust is one of the most recognizable institutions, with a long-standing tradition of giving back to its communities. We look forward to welcoming them to Tempe and the Greater Phoenix region.”

The decision, made after several months of exploring a variety of competitive expansion opportunities, reflects several business and operational factors, including Northern Trust’s:
 Projected growth in demand for services, even in light of expanding operations in Limerick, Ireland, and the opening of a new facility in Manila, Philippines.
 Need to widen its client-support coverage to allow for time zone differences, and to supplement work of existing U.S. resources to deliver quicker response times to clients.
 Opportunity to widen talent pools and achieve greater geographic diversity.

The new office will be located in the Discovery Business Campus in Tempe. Northern Trust will occupy temporary space on the site while a new building is constructed. The permanent space is expected to be ready by the end of 2015. Pamela Higdon will serve as Director of the Arizona Operational Center. She previously held a variety of leadership roles, including Head of Planning and Development for Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services.

“The Discovery Business Campus is a strategic business destination for many national companies. We’re thrilled that Northern Trust is joining our thriving campus,” said Jim Wentworth, principal of the Wentworth Property Company, the developer of the Discovery Business Campus in Tempe. “At completion, the Discovery Business Campus will be a 136-acre master-planned Class A office, retail, flex office, and hospitality mixed-use business park, conveniently accessing Loop 101.”

Arizona has been a home for Northern Trust since 1974. Its network of three offices and more than 150 partners provide a full range of trust, private banking and investment services and employs the fourth largest number of Northern Trust staff in the U.S. At the end of 2014, Northern Trust had $6.2 billion in assets under management in Arizona.

Chris_Camacho-biopic

GPEC names Chris Camacho new CEO

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) Board of Directors unanimously selected Chris Camacho as the organization’s fourth president and CEO during a special meeting today.

Camacho has served as executive vice president of GPEC since joining the organization in 2008. He oversaw the organization’s top line performance measures, including domestic and international business development and market strategies. Camacho has also served as a primary conduit to Maricopa County and cities in the region.

“Chris is one of the leading economic development professionals in the country and unquestionably the best candidate for the position,” said Don Smith, GPEC board chairman and CopperPoint Mutual president. “His proven leadership acumen and depth of experience will enhance the momentum of the organization and propel our work forward. Following an extensive evaluation, the Board was confident in the strength of our leadership succession plan. Chris has the full support of our communities and stakeholders.”

Over the course of his career, Camacho has earned regional and national recognition. This month, he was recognized by Consultant Connect as a Top 50 Economic Developer in North America. He has served as president of the Arizona Association for Economic Development, and was named Economic Developer of the Year by the organization in 2011. Both the Phoenix Business Journal in 2012 and Development Counsellors International in 2013 recognized him as one of the 40 under 40.

“I am fully invested in seeing the future sustainability of our region supported by significant business growth and collaborative economic development initiatives,” said Camacho. “I am humbled by the board’s decision and the outpouring of support I have received from the community. Greater Phoenix has become home to me and my family.”

During Camacho’s tenure, GPEC has led the attraction of 174 companies, creating 26,688 jobs and $2.2 billion in capital investment. Notable projects include Silicon Valley Bank, Zenefits, GoDaddy, Yelp, Amazon, Garmin and General Motors, among many others.

Previous GPEC CEOs include Ioanna Morfessis, Rick Weddle and the most recent president and CEO, Barry Broome.

technology

Growing tech firms reflect emerging Arizona business sector

Don Hawley is the quintessential product of Silicon Valley. He went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, became a serial entrepreneur and founded and developed many successful technology companies in the San Francisco Bay area.

So why is he doing business in Arizona?

“Arizona is infinitely more business friendly,” said the founder, chairman and CEO of Scottsdale-based Innovative Green Technologies, which creates environmentally friendly products that reduce emissions and save users money. “Favorable tax rates make it less costly to do business in Arizona compared with California, which is attractive to newer companies that have to watch their pennies. Arizona is also blessed with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, which supply a constant stream of high-quality young talent, which is a great resource.”

Hawley isn’t alone. The recently expansions of Zenefits and Weebly into the Valley and the emergence of Valley-based WebPT and Infusionsoft as technology powerhouses reflect an exploding techn industry in Phoenix that is transforming the state’s economy.

“The technology ecosystem in Arizona has never been more robust and these recent business attractions are going to become more commonplace,” says Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “One of the vital attractions for startups in the Silicon Desert as compared with Silicon Valley is the drastically lower cost of living, especially in the area of housing. The word is getting out about Arizona.”

Valley economic developers are doing more than using lower tax rates and promises of sunshine to convince tech companies to relocate here, the state is building its home-grown success stories. A great example is WebPT, which launched its cloud-based physical therapy software in 2008 and has evolved from startup into one the fastest-growing software company in Arizona, creating more than 200 jobs in Phoenix.

“There are great incentive programs available to businesses looking to grow,” says Brad Jannenga, co-founder, chairman, president and chief technology officer at WebPT. “The Angel Tax Credit program offered by the state is a great opportunity for investors to have peace of mind when backing startups and knowing they can take a tax break when doing so. This was a major win for us when we went out for our Series A round back in 2010. Investors were lining up around the block partly because of the early stage success we had, but also largely because of the Angel Tax Credit.”

It’s the success of emerging companies like WebPT that are driving the robust growth of Arizona’s technology sector, says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

“What we’ve done on the policy side was working with the legislature and governor so they understand that even though the headlines belong to Apple and Intel and companies like that, it’s the hundreds if not thousands of small and medium technologically based enterprises that have the chance to be the next GoDaddy,” Broome says. “Maybe you get lucky and you get a Google or a Microsoft or maybe an Infusionsoft becomes a Microsoft. Having the ability to get those small companies to go to scale and having the economic development programs and policies in place to help them are where we’ve been most helpful.”

Jannenga credits organizations like GPEC for helping the technology sector grow by tirelessly looking at new ways to diversify the economy and working closely with Arizona’s universities to produce the next wave of talent needed to feed the workforce demands of the technology industry.

But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton put it simply: “WebPT is a game-changer, not only in terms of showing the growth in the tech sector in Phoenix, but growth in the warehouse district in downtown Phoenix.”

Experts say Arizona has actually done a number of things well to build a business environment that fosters innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“The state has emphasized economic development through support of key economic development groups like the Arizona Commerce Authority and GPEC,” says Jacque Westling, partner at Quarles & Brady in Phoenix. “(Arizona) has created and maintained some key tax incentives, such as the Refundable Research and Development Credit and the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program, promoted tech transfer from the universities and supported emerging areas of strength such as biotechnology, data centers, energy and other areas.”

Zylstra says having facilities with ready-to-go infrastructure in desirable hot spots such as downtown Phoenix and downtown Scottsdale has been a major part in attracting technology companies to the Valley.
“Knowledge workers like the type of amenities available in these locations,” he says. “When you add Arizona’s ample workforce, low taxes and low cost of doing business, the foundation is very strong.”

Jannenga says the state’s deep awareness of the emerging technology sector and what it means to our state’s economic future has been helpful to WebPT and other early stage companies.

“I think when people began to recognize that we couldn’t rely on the traditional engines that had previously fueled our growth — tourism and migration from colder climates chief among them — to provide the type of jobs we need, it caused a basic shift in how progressive leaders thought about the future,” says Don Pierson, CEO of SpotlightSales, which has developed a sales performance optimization tool.

With the foundation for building a successful technology sector in place, Pierson says he has seen tremendous growth in the software industry and expects that growth to continue.

“I think biofuels are really interesting,” he says, “and I’m always amazed by what comes out of the biotech area.”

Greg Head, chief marketing officer at Infusionsoft, agrees with Pierson that Arizona quickly becoming a center for software businesses.

“Right now, there are thousands of entrepreneurs incubating new innovations, hundreds of software business growing and employing more people and several bigger software companies like GoDaddy, LifeLock, Infusionsoft and WebPT that are growing fast,” Head says. “The Arizona software community is growing up quickly.”

Experts agree that diversifying Arizona’s tech sectors will continue to power its growth. Zylstra expects aerospace and defense and semiconductor and electronics to continue to be strong, “but IT, especially software and data centers, healthcare, bioscience and alternative energy will help lead us into the future,” he says.

“We need to have all tech industries thriving in Arizona,” says Mike Auger, CEO and founder of PikFly, a technology-driven same day delivery network for local businesses. “A focus in one area puts us into a corner. Semiconductors have been great for our state, but that is really what we are known for — we need to be known for all types of tech.”

While Arizona’s growth in the technology arena is impressive, the state must tackle one major issue to maintain that positive trajectory.

“I spend more of my time as mayor in economic development recruiting and retention than I do anything else,” Stanton says. “The reality is this: the companies are concerned about workforce development. Do we have the pipeline of employees that they are going to need as their companies grow?”

Jannenga agrees that Arizona needs to invest heavily into all levels of our education system and diversify our skilled workforce.

“The places where we’re falling short is we’re not delivering the engineering talent necessary for the tech sector to really take off,” Broome says. “We need to make a big move on the production of engineers and make a big move on the production of information communication technology people.”
Broome says that big move can come from anywhere from community colleges to higher education to unique specialty certification programs that are putting students through six-month boot camps and producing a qualified workforce. He cites the Maricopa Corporate College as a unique training program that is developing and delivering customized workforces.

“You’re going to see continued movement in creating new educational options and a huge infusion of these intermediate training strategies to build the technology sector,” Broome says.

Creating a viable workforce to feed the needs is of the technology industry is a must to maintain the state’s robust growth and quality of life, experts say.

“We either grow the tech sector of the economy or we will fail,” Broome says. “That’s how important it is. It’s where the wages are. It’s where the high-end people are. It’s the part of the economy that is most sustainable. If you’re not building a tech sector, you’re relying on your current industries to remain relevant and we know from history that just doesn’t happen.”

Broome says the Valley has learned from companies like Motorola and General Motors than mature companies in mature industries contract and fade away, so it forces the business community to continually recycle its economic strategy around new industries.

“From my perspective, you’re looking at a make-it-or-break-it situation,” Broome says. “The reason the economy is so sluggish is because it’s waiting for consumption. It’s waiting for government spending and it’s waiting for retail spending and it’s waiting for construction and home buying. When your economy can only recover on that basis, you’re going to continue to have ebbs and flows and dips and falls. Even a place like San Francisco, which has a very difficult business climate because it’s expensive to the point of being unimaginable, its net year-to-year economic growth is much more robust than Phoenix and the rest of the country because its economy is built around talent, innovation and the high-tech sector. If we do a good job and build that out better, there’s no reason why Phoenix can’t be the most exciting community in the United States.”

rsz_tractorsupply_representativephoto

Tractor Supply Company plans Arizona distribution center

Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States, announced Monday plans to build a new distribution center in Casa Grande, Ariz.

“The addition of a new distribution center in the Southwest is key to our western expansion strategy,” said Greg Sandfort, president and CEO. “Arizona’s proximity to our Western stores provides an ideal location for our new facility which will allow us to achieve lower transportation costs and faster delivery to our stores. Casa Grande has an excellent workforce, and we appreciate the hard work of the local and state officials who assisted us through the process.  We look forward to a very long and productive partnership with the Casa Grande community.”

The Phoenix office of JLL completed the 100-acre land sale that will bring a new Tractor Supply Company distribution center to the rail-served, 416-acre Central Arizona Commerce Park in Casa Grande.

“It is exciting to welcome Tractor Supply and to continue to bring manufacturing and distribution-focused companies together in Casa Grande,” said JLL Managing Director Bill Honsaker. “Central Arizona Commerce Park is about making connections – connections that link West Coast ports inland and that deliver the benefits of this very strategically located, cost effective and business-forward environment.”
Honsaker, along with JLL Managing Directors Anthony Lydon and Marc Hertzberg, are the exclusive brokers for Central Arizona Commerce Park.

“Tractor Supply Company will be a great addition to the community and will be joining many other agricultural, industrial, and commercial businesses in Casa Grande that have quick access to several transportation routes,” said Bob Jackson, Casa Grande Mayor. “We’ve worked diligently over the years to have the proper infrastructure in place for current and future growth, and have improved the efficiency of the permitting process to create a friendly business environment. We welcome Tractor Supply Company to the community and thank them for choosing Casa Grande as the site for their first western distribution center.”

Tractor Supply executives and local government officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking event today, November 17, at the Casa Grande distribution center site located in the Central Arizona Commerce Park. The facility is expected to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2015 and will be approximately 650,000 square-feet in size, with the potential to create more than 250 local jobs.

“The new Tractor Supply investment will bring needed jobs to the Casa Grande community,” said Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “This further bolsters the city’s position in building out a future industrial employment corridor, and we are excited to have them in the region.”

Tractor Supply Company’s new distribution center will have the potential to service approximately 250 stores in the Southwest region. Currently, the company operates more than 1,360 stores in 49 states across the country.

“We are thrilled that Tractor Supply Company selected Casa Grande for expansion and thank them for investing in Arizona,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “Our state’s strategic Southwest location and world-class infrastructure system provide companies a platform to access key regional and global growth markets, which help to advance their businesses and long-term corporate success.”

Central Arizona Commerce Park provides a premier distribution facility for the Southwest and is situated near the confluence of the I-10 and I-8 offering access to other regional infrastructure assets supporting businesses operating in Casa Grande and the broader region.

insight enterprises - cloud messaging solutions

Zenefits will create 1,300 Jobs at new Scottsdale office

Today the Greater Phoenix Economic Council was joined by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Maricopa County and the City of Scottsdale in welcoming Zenefits to the Greater Phoenix region.

Zenefits, the free, cloud-based human resources technology company that automates and eliminates time-consuming paperwork for small and medium-sized businesses, announced today plans to create over 1,300 new full-time jobs over the next three years, and the launch of a new, nearly 100,000-square-foot office in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We’re thrilled to open our new office in Scottsdale, which will allow Zenefits to meet the growing demand from thousands of small businesses who want to focus on their people instead of paperwork,” said Parker Conrad, CEO and co-founder of Zenefits. “The greater Phoenix area has a talented workforce and an expanding tech community, and Zenefits is excited to grow our team both here and in San Francisco.”

Zenefits is widely considered to be one of the fastest-growing tech companies in recent history. Its user base is on track to grow 1,600 percent in 2014, and in a little over one year in business, the company has signed up more than 2,000 businesses serving over 50,000 employees across 47 states.

This is the largest expansion from a California-based tech company into the Greater Phoenix region since PayPal in 2010. Zenefits has already hired 60 new local employees, and plans to expand to more than 1,300 full-time employees within the next three years. The company’s new office will occupy 94,000 square feet of office space in the Scottsdale Galleria Corporate Center.

“We want to welcome Zenefits to Scottsdale, where it joins a growing field of exciting and innovative tech companies who are drawn here by all the elements that ensure a motivated, skilled workforce, an outstanding quality of life and a positive business environment,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “We are delighted to welcome Zenefits to Scottsdale – they will be an incredible addition to our business community and our City’s economy.”

The expansion into Scottsdale will enable the company to meet the needs of its rapidly increasing customer base. Zenefits is now in the process of hiring a range of new employees for the Scottsdale office, including HR specialists, sales representatives, account managers and executives, and client support staff. Zenefits currently employs more than 390 workers in its San Francisco headquarters, up from just 15 at the beginning of the year.

“Zenefits is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in America, and we are tremendously excited that its leadership selected Arizona for a major expansion that will advance its corporate growth goals,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “Our state’s surging technology ecosystem and highly-educated workforce continue to attract innovative companies seeking to develop operational hubs to help drive business growth and enhance their competitiveness across the country.”

Zenefits automates a wide range of time-consuming, administrative HR tasks that companies otherwise have to handle manually, including: benefits and payroll, hiring, taxes and compliance, employee life events, health insurance and more. Zenefits’ cloud-based HR platform connects seamlessly to a company’s existing third-party benefits systems, so that businesses and employees can manage these systems from a single, beautifully designed dashboard.

“We are thrilled that Zenefits chose the Greater Phoenix region for its first big expansion,” said Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Zenefits will provide a substantive impact to the innovation ecosystem, creating 1,300 new jobs in the ICT sector over the next three years, spurring growth and contributing to our broader economy.”

The core Zenefits service is 100 percent free to customers because it is able to collect fees from all kinds of benefit providers. This unique business model is one of the reasons Zenefits has been able to attract so many users so quickly. As of June, the company has raised $84 million from prominent investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and Academy Award-winning actor and investor Jared Leto.

David Funkhouser

Funkhouser Appointed to GPEC Ambassador Committee

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that David E. Funkhouser III, a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office, has been appointed to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) Ambassador Steering Committee, which is focused on ensuring GPEC’s Ambassador Program aligns with the organization’s key objectives and mission.  Members of the Steering Committee advise on the strategic direction of GPEC’s Ambassador Program, serve as a sounding board for emerging initiatives and support implementation of programs, and design activities relevant to and in support of GPEC’s mission.

Funkhouser handles complex commercial litigation matters. His litigation practice has an emphasis in real property disputes, trust, estate and probate litigation, and other commercial torts. Funkhouser also routinely represents financial institutions in all aspects of litigation.

He is also heavily involved in the local community, just recently completing his term as president of the Maricopa County Bar Association. Also in 2014, Funkhouser was named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, selected for inclusion in the 2014 Southwest Super Lawyers magazine and named to both the Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and  Richman Media’s “Leaders under 40” lists, respectively. He is a member of the Leadership Council for the Special Olympics Advocacy Resource program, a founding member of Suns 88 Charities and a certified ambassador for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He also served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2008–2009. Funkhouser earned both his law degree and undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa.

mayor

GPEC honors Stanton’s development efforts

Mayor Greg Stanton was honored by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) with its Outstanding Regional Contribution award for his continuing efforts to promote regional economic development a priority.

“Mayor Stanton has been a tremendous advocate for the greater Phoenix region, and an active voice at the economic development table,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “He understands the importance of transitioning our region to the next economy and has been a pivotal player in that discussion.”

Stanton said that in today’s innovation-based global economy, where regions – not cities – are the measurable economic unit, communities must work together to succeed.

“Taking a regional view and working together on key issues – trade, education, water – is an absolute must for our city and state to grow even more competitive in today’s global economy,” Stanton said.

Among Stanton’s key regional efforts:

·        A new trade office in Mexico. Two days ago, the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office opened in Mexico City. The effort to kick start Arizona’s relationship with Mexico began when Stanton and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild decided to work together to determine how to improve the economies of their respective cities. Both had traveled to Mexico together on city business, but realized a permanent presence was needed in the country. They also figured that it would be much more successful if state and regional leaders had a stake in it, too.

·        The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable. Stanton helped create this group, which brings together mayors, school district superintendents and staff to focus on common issues related to education. The mission is to ensure that all Arizona students are ready for college and careers.

·        Phoenix-Tucson Water Agreements. Last week, the cities of Phoenix and Tucson and the Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District in Tucson agreed to a plan that will protect both cities against future drought on the Colorado River. The unprecedented accords will increase the reliability of Phoenix’s Colorado River water supplies over the long term and provide near-team benefits to aquifers in Pima County by increasing their groundwater levels. Making sure Phoenix has a dependable long-term water supply is one of Stanton’s highest priorities.

Stanton’s award is one of three that GPEC will bestow tonight on community leaders who have championed regional economic development. The Distinguished Service Award will go to founding GPEC board director Sharon Harper, who is president and CEO of the Plaza Companies. Rebecca Timmer of Dibble Engineering will receive the first-ever Ambassador of the Year award.

The honors were given at GPEC’s annual dinner at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Avnet - Fortune Global 500

Phoenix MBDA Hosts Global Business Conference

The Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, is hosting Phoenix MBDA’s 2nd Annual Global Business Conference and the concurrent Global Business to Business Trade Expo on Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The expo will focus on topical business opportunities and will provide information on how to conduct business with local, domestic, and international companies.

The two-day event is expected to bring in 150 local, national, and international attendees, including foreign consulates, Arizona Mayors, businesses looking to expand their services and product offerings in international markets, and interested individuals who are looking to start and/or grow a business to support global initiatives.

In support of the conference, Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce said, “We know that when U.S. firms sell their goods overseas, the U.S. economy stands to benefit. U.S. exports reached a record $2.3 trillion in 2013, and exports now support 11.3 million jobs, up 1.6 million since 2009.”

Alika Kumar, Executive Director of Phoenix MBDA also emphasized the importance of the conference and said, “Understanding the simplified processes of how to do business in international markets is vital to all U.S. based businesses and all individuals looking to do business abroad. This conference will lay the framework and foundation for those looking to succeed abroad.” Panelists include Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, as well as Barry Broome representing the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). They will provide information about opportunities, including how to network, connect, do business, and succeed in international markets.

For information about registering or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kaaren-Lyn Morton at (602) 248-0007 or e-mail kaaren@phoenixmbdacenter.com.

sharon.harper

Harper Getting Distinguished Service Award from GPEC

 

Sharon Harper, Photo by Shavon Thompson

Sharon Harper, Photo by Shavon Thompson

Plaza Companies President and CEO Sharon Harper will receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), which recognizes significant individual contributions to economic development efforts in Arizona.  
 
Harper will be honored alongside Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the recipient of the organization’s Outstanding Regional Contribution Award, and Dibble Engineering’s Rebecca Timmer, who will be named Ambassador of the Year at GPEC’s Annual Dinner Thursday, Oct. 9 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
 
This year’s Annual Dinner promises to be one for the record books, when more than 700 guests gather to honor award recipients and commemorate GPEC’s 25th anniversary as one of the country’s most effective economic development engines.
 
Harper has long played a key role as an economic leader across the Valley and beyond, and proved instrumental in catapulting Phoenix-based Plaza Companies to the forefront of the national healthcare, biotechnology and bioscience and senior housing sectors. Harper was also heavily influential in the widespread success of SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, which is considered among the premier economic engines in the Southwest and is credited in attracting numerous cutting-edge technology and innovation companies to the area, as well as more than 1,500 jobs.
 
“It’s an immense honor to be among the honorees at GPEC’s upcoming dinner, and I am grateful to be able to contribute to the efforts of the organization as far as encouraging economic growth and sustainability across Arizona,” Harper said. 
 
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is one of the region’s premier economic development groups. GPEC has been working on behalf of businesses looking to relocate and expand –– for 25 years. It is a public-private partnership representing Maricopa County, 23 communities throughout the region and more than 160 private investors. 
 
“Sharon Harper has been an invaluable asset to us over the years as we’ve worked to improve Arizona’s economy,” said Barry Broome, CEO of GPEC. “We are pleased to be able to honor her achievements and recognize the positive impact she has had on economic development in the Valley.”
 
Harper served as the Chairman of GPEC several years ago, and has been instrumental in GPEC’s international agenda and serves as Co-Chairman of the International Leadership Council. As a result of ILC’s efforts, 20% of new companies entering the market in the last fiscal year have been international, compared to just over 1 percent five years ago.
 
“I’ve long been proud to be a part of the work of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, proud to represent the City of Peoria on the Board, and am eager to watch another successful 25 years unfold from such a groundbreaking organization,” Harper said. “I look forward to continuing to work in conjunction with GPEC to further establish Arizona as the epicenter of economic success in the Southwest.”

Healthcare Trust of America hires three employees

Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. (NYSE:HTA), has hired Jaime Northam as Senior Vice President, Leasing, Sabrina Nayer as Director of Operations, Midwest Region and Rachael Kimsey as Senior Leasing Associate.

Northam will oversee third-party leasing across HTA’s portfolio, while creating new market strategies and identifying new investment and development opportunities.  Northam brings significant experience in commercial real estate development, leasing and economic development from various nationally recognized firms, including Grubb & Ellis and The Alter Group. Previously, Northam held a position with HTA as Regional Asset Manager and managed leasing, operations and overall performance for HTA’s Midwest portfolio. Prior to coming back to HTA, Northam was the Vice President, Business Development at Greater Phoenix Economic Council where she focused on national business attraction and ensuring the economic growth of the Greater Phoenix Area. Northam also sits on various local and national boards, including NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s National Board of Directors.

Sabrina Nayer, HTA

Sabrina Nayer, HTA

Nayer will oversee property management and operations activities of HTA’s Midwest Region, which is comprised of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio markets totaling over 2.9 million square feet. This region constitutes over 20 percent of HTA’s total portfolio of 14.6 million square feet, and includes one of HTA’s key markets, Indianapolis, IN. Prior to joining HTA, Nayer was a Senior Property Manager with Transwestern Commercial Services where she oversaw property management and reporting of a 4.5 million square foot portfolio.

Kimsey will assist in marketing and leasing HTA’s portfolio in Arizona. She will be responsible for the management of prospecting, researching market trends, organizing market research and assisting in leasing efforts directly related to HTA’s portfolio of medical office buildings.  Prior to joining HTA, Kimsey was a Brokerage Associate with Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona where she acted as a secondary contact for owner/broker/tenant inquires, created marketing pieces and coordinated marketing events. Kimsey holds a Bachelors of Social Science from Biola University in La Miranda, CA.

“HTA prides itself not only on our high-quality portfolio of on-campus medical office buildings, but also on our first-class team of in-house management and leasing professionals. These three individuals share HTA’s commitment to deliver superior service at competitive rates through a relationship-based management approach. We are excited to welcome Jaime, Sabrina and Rachael to the HTA family as we continue to expand the company in key markets,” said Amanda Houghton, Executive Vice President of Asset Management for HTA.

GPEC position aligned with WTO ruling on tariffs

A ruling by the World Trade Organization earlier last week affirmed the position the Greater Phoenix Economic Council held in 2012, opposing the countervailing duties placed on Chinese-manufactured solar panels.

The ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) counters the position taken by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2012, which imposed tariffs on Chinese-manufactured photovoltaic cells and modules. In a formal letter to the US Department of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) strongly opposed the tariffs on the grounds the duties would have a detrimental effect on the existing solar and renewable energy industry in the Greater Phoenix region.

“We are encouraged by the decision of the WTO, and are optimistic the US will move quickly to reverse its course on these tariffs,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Our state leaders have enacted sound pro-business policies, including renewable energy tax credits, which have resulted in significant investment to the region. The 2012 decision by the ITC was completely antithetical to those efforts.”

The ITC is currently considering additional rounds of countervailing duties on solar goods from China; however the recent announcement from the WTO suggests bringing the US measures in line with the ruling offered by the WTO.

For additional information on GPEC’s previous statements regarding this issue, please visit www.gpec.org/tariff.

Galleria Corporate Center 1, WEB

Weebly expands to Arizona, signs 25KSF Scottsdale lease

Weebly, a website creation service based in San Francisco, has signed a 25,000-square-foot office lease at the Galleria Corporate Centre, 4301 N. Scottsdale Rd. The office space will serve as the company’s North American customer operations headquarters to support its growing customer base.

Weebly’s expansion to Scottsdale will have a significant impact on the city’s economy. T The total economic impact over the course of the five-year lease term is estimated to be $256 million, according to an economic impact analysis provided by the City of Scottsdale. The company plans to bring more than 250 new positions to the city over the next three years, and will support more than two million customers from its Scottsdale office location.

“We’re extremely excited to open our new customer operations headquarters in Scottsdale. There is an amazing pool of quality talent in the area,” said David Rusenko, co-founder of Weebly. “With support from the city and the Arizona Commerce Authority, we’re looking forward to building a world-class team to support the success of our customers globally.”

The location, in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, will allow Weebly to hire local talent to lead customer sales and support operations. Roles will include: customer sales and support specialists, team leaders, trainers, quality assurance and additional roles to be added in the future. Each new employee will become part of the company’s larger mission to help anyone start their something and easily build a business, website, blog or online store.

“The expansion of Weebly to Scottsdale was a collective effort by the city and our regional economic development partners to continue building Scottsdale’s software and technology sector,” said Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. “I am very pleased to welcome Weebly to Arizona and to Scottsdale.”

“It’s very fulfilling watching innovative clients like Weebly expand beyond their headquarters to new locations throughout the country,” said Cushman & Wakefield Senior Director Jon Dishotsky of San Francisco, who leads Weebly’s brokerage team along with Ryan Bartos and Matt Coxhead of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc.
“After scouting several markets, including Denver and Austin, we were thrilled to partner with our Arizona colleagues to secure a great expansion location at Galleria Corporate Centre. The space is not only centrally located in Scottsdale, but also part of a bustling 24-7 lifestyle center, a feature important to Weebly’s unique culture,” Dishotsky said.

“This is a huge win for Scottsdale,” Bartos said. “It is exciting to see a company like Weebly expand into the Arizona market and bring some vibrancy to an already strong and growing technology tenant base. We believe this trend will continue and we look forward to witnessing their future success.”

Weebly was represented by Dishotsky and Cutter MacLeod of Cushman & Wakefield’s San Francisco office and Bartos and Coxhead of the Phoenix office. The landlord, Stockdale Capital Partners, was represented by Bryan Taute of CBRE.
“Weebly was also fortunate to have the support and guidance of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and Scottsdale Economic Development Department to assist in this expansion,” Dishotsky said.

Each month, 175 million people visit more than 20 million Weebly sites worldwide. In the U.S., 33 percent of the total Internet population visits a Weebly site each month, up from 25 percent in 2013. As more people embrace the concept of the personal economy and starting a business of their own, Weebly is seeing tremendous demand for its technology which enables anyone to easily and affordably create a high-quality website, blog or online store to bring their unique idea to the world.

“Globally-focused companies continue to choose Arizona to achieve their goals for growth, and our highly skilled and available workforce is among our key advantages attracting corporate investment and expansions to the state,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “We thank Weebly for selecting Scottsdale to expand its operations, and are excited to see the company help more businesses across the U.S. connect with their customers and grow through Weebly’s innovative web and e-commerce platform.”

Broome

Broome taking part in Global Cities Initiative

As part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome, will join various business and elected leaders for a discussion on the development of a metropolitan export strategy.

“The mayors and business leaders from the region have led in the transformation of our economy” said Broome. “Developing a metropolitan export strategy through the Global Cities Initiative is a critical step toward ensuring our economic future.”

The forum, Going Global: Boosting Greater Phoenix’s Economic Future, taking place today at ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will feature many speakers, including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daly, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program co-directors Bruce Katz and Amy Liu, and Chase market manager for Arizona and Nevada Curtis Reed, Jr.

The half-day event will center on preliminary market assessment findings on how the Greater Phoenix region can better position its global competitiveness. The city of Phoenix is part of a network of regions across the nation participating in the Global Cities Initiative’s Exchange to help develop global engagement strategies

Closing out the forum, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will join the program via satellite to make an announcement regarding the National Export Initiative.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 12:15 p.m.

phoenix

GPEC Earns Economic Development honor

Cited as one of the Best to Invest Top U.S. Groups of 2013, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has once again made Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking for top U.S. Economic Development Groups.

“This recognition is a reflection of our elected and business leaders working together to promote Greater Phoenix and Arizona as business friendly,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The Arizona Competitiveness Package of 2011 and subsequent economic development policies have dramatically shifted our market’s competitive position towards advanced manufacturing and other high-tech industries.”

The ranking took into account four objective categories: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. “This year’s Best to Invest Top Groups in the U.S. all demonstrated an ability to reach new markets while reaping significant reinvestments from their existing industries,” said Ron Starner, general manager and executive vice president of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine.

The magazine also features a ranking for top North American deals of 2013, highlighting the Apple, Inc. locate to Mesa, Ariz. The collaboration included a partnership between GPEC, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the city of Mesa, DMB Associates, Maricopa County, and Salt River Project.

Several factors contributed to determining the Top Deals of 2013, including: level of capital investment, degree of high-wage jobs, creativity in negotiations and incentives, regional economic impact, competition for the project and speed to market. “Trends among this elite group of projects include a penchant for free trade zones and an awareness that sometimes facility reuse is as good as brand new,” said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection.

Broome credits the successful consummation of the project to “years of work on infrastructure, permitting, and crafting performance-based incentives.” He also cited the ability to offer a “turnkey real estate option” as a key factor in sealing the deal.

Fresh Water is Becoming Scarcer with the Planet's Changing Climate

CAP has $1 Trillion Impact on Arizona Economy

Key players in Arizona’s water supply gathered today at the GPEC Ambassador Event to discuss the future of water in greater Phoenix at Renaissance Square in Downtown Phoenix.

The event featured a panel consisted of David Modeer, general manager at Central Arizona Project, Grady Gammage Jr., an Attorney at Gammage & Burnham, Dave Roberts, the Senior Diretor of Water Resources at Salt River Project, and Michael Lacey, the director at Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The panel attempted to address various concerns facing Arizona’s water supply that have come to fruition as a result of what has been a 14-year drought extending from Texas to California.

“The efforts that the people on this panel and others have been making over the last 5-10 years in response to the drought, and going forward, are without question one of the most important efforts made to sustain the economy and quality of life of this state,” Modeer said.

The importance of the efforts to sustain Arizona’s water supply was highlighted in a study by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

According to the study, “Central Arizona Project’s delivery of Colorado River water from 1986 through 2010 has generated in excess of $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product.”

Between 2005 and 2010 alone, it is pointed out in the study, CAP’s contribution to gross state product increased 27.7 percent to 49.5 percent.

“The significance of what’s at stake for Arizona is unparalleled,” Modeer said. “Without water, we don’t have a viable state of Arizona.”

While plans for the future and actions that have already been taken were discussed with optimism, Lacey acknowledged that there are no definitive answers.

“I have people come up to me all the time and say, ‘so do we have enough water?’” he said. “And, that is exactly like if I come up to one of you and say, ‘do you have enough money?’”

The answer to both of those questions, he said, is: “it depends.”

“The real questions are ‘what do we do with the water we have and what are our chances of getting more?” he said.

In addressing these questions, Lacey said that the public needs to overcome several misconceptions.
One of these misconceptions, he said, stems from the fact that Arizona is the junior right holder on the Colorado River.

“Unfortunately, I think the public’s perception is, if there’s a declaration of shortage on the river, then Phoenix is dry,” he said. “That’s not true. While we are the junior right holder, it is highly unlikely that there will be nothing in the canal.”

Also, he said, even if there is a shortage, it will be mostly agriculture that is affected, not municipal use.

“A declaration of water is not going to mean there isn’t water coming out of your tap,” he said.
While it was acknowledged that there is no sure answer in addressing the issues, the discussion served as an opportunity to find consensual agreements between important Arizona figures.

“The issue that we in the system are dealing with is ‘how do you get an agreement among a really diverse group of states and water rights holders within those states to do something now?’” Modeer said.

Kristen Stephenson headshot.jpg

Glendale adds economic development talent

The City of Glendale Office of Economic Development has a new talented team member to tout: Kristen Stephenson has joined the city as an Economic Development Specialist. Stephenson spent 12 years with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), where she provided crucial economic and competitive analyses, including tax policy, incentive analysis and economic impact modeling and was most recently GPEC’s leading Economic Analyst.

“Economic development is an engine for the city of Glendale and we are fortunate to have someone of Kristen’s intellectual acumen on our team who understands the Valley and state and the value of progress through business,” said Brian Friedman, Executive Director of Community and Economic Development. “Accurate, well-positioned market and economic information is critical to everything Glendale does to communicate our proposition, from engaging clients to reaching out to brokers and developers and Kristen’s expertise will help us continue to grow.”

While at GPEC she also oversaw and managed the daily activities of the organization’s research internship program and was responsible for tracking GPEC’s progress toward its goals. Stephenson has played an instrumental role in the development of the new Greater Phoenix Rising website in which she researched, organized and compiled vast amounts of data to fill the site and provided feedback on its creative direction. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Arizona State University and has actively participated in the Arizona Economic Roundtable, an association for business economists, for the past five years. Stephenson grew up in Glendale and currently resides in Glendale with her husband and two sons.

For more information about the Glendale Office of Economic Development, visit www.glendaleaz.com.

lesbians

GPEC Board Chair Calls for Veto of Senate Bill 1062

Under the direction of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, James H. Lundy, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) will be sending a letter to Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer urging the veto of Senate Bill 1062.

As a premier regional economic development organization, GPEC works hand in hand with the Arizona Commerce Authority to build the case for businesses to locate or expand in Arizona. The business community has collectively worked at building a pro-business environment in Arizona – it is GPEC’s opinion that the passage of Senate Bill 1062 will create a hurdle to overcome in drawing business expansion to our great state.

“I am extremely disappointed in this legislature,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “We have worked with the legislature over the last five years to help recover Arizona. The legislature’s management of the budget issues the last several years has been instrumental in changing the business platform, and attracting and landing exciting companies.”

From the letter:

“Under your leadership as Governor, and work done on behalf of the Arizona Commerce Authority in partnership with GPEC, Arizona has been witnessing a comeback. In order to maintain the great momentum, we need to prevent any setbacks which further the agenda to tarnish the business-friendly reputation we have all worked so tirelessly to build.”

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://www.gpec.org/sites/default/files/SB1062%20Veto%20Letter%202.21.14.pdf

Panel will discuss Cybersecurity at GPEC

Members of Arizona’s business community are invited to the February meeting of the Arizona Aerospace & Defense Forum for a discussion centered on cyber-security including risks, trends and what businesses need to keep their businesses safe and secure online.

This event will be hosted at the offices of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) located at 2 N. Central Ave Suite 2500 Phoenix, Arizona 85004. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb.11 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There will be networking from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The forum will be led by panelists Bill Ross, vice president of information security solutions at General Dynamics C4 Systems; Ty Lindteigen, chief technology officer at SAIFE; Raz Yalov, chief technology officer of 41Parameters and Nadya Bliss, director of strategic project development at Arizona State University.

Greenberg Traurig, along with law firm Snell & Wilmer, were instrumental in the formation of the Arizona Chapter of the Aerospace and Defense Forum. Each month, the A&D Forum alternates from meetings in Phoenix and Tucson.

Registration required by going here.

Ivan Rosenberg, president and CEO of Frontier Associates is the executive director and co-founder of A&D Forum. Stephane Frijia, director, research and strategy at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council serves as Chapter Chair of the Arizona A&D Forum.

Currently, there are more than 700 international leaders involved in the A&D Forum. Other A&D Chapters are located in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, Calif. In Arizona, there are more than 2,000 companies in the aerospace and defense industry providing more than 43,000 jobs and significant positive economic impact.

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National Site Selectors Visit Greater Phoenix Region

Site selection consultants from across the country will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). The panel members participating have extensive backgrounds in corporate site selection, with expertise ranging from domestic and international site selection to location analysis and target industry analysis. Companies often hire site selectors to help choose the best market for their expansions or relocations. This elite group is visiting in conjunction with the Waste Management Phoenix Open as part of GPEC’s ongoing ExecuTour series.