Today, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) was named the top economic development organization globally (population 500k+) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). GPEC President & CEO, Chris Camacho, and SVP of Marketing & Communications, Colleen Schwab, accepted the ‘Gold Rank’ EDO of the Year award during Tuesday’s Keynote Luncheon at IEDC’s 2021 Annual Conference in Nashville. This year’s global distinction follows GPEC being named the top EDO in the U.S. in 2020.
“We are humbled and honored to be recognized alongside our peers as the top economic development organization globally. This distinction is a testament to our incredible team who remain steadfast in our mission each day, 22 member communities, Maricopa County and more than 200 private investors,” said Chris Camacho, president & CEO of GPEC. “This achievement embodies the undeniable spirit of Greater Phoenix – one rooted in strength, collaboration and resilience. We want to thank U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimando, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Senator Mark Kelly, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the Arizona State Legislature, local officials across the region, the Arizona Commerce Authority and SelectUSA for their partnership in advancing economic development and together building a more modern and inclusive economy.”
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. The ‘Gold Rank’ for 2021 EDO of the Year is given to the leading economic development organization demonstrating goals and objectives, program innovation and continuity, leadership quality and consistency, performance benchmarks and measured metrics, and community interaction and impact.
“GPEC represents the very best in economic development,” said IEDC President and CEO, Jeff Finkle. “The organization exemplifies the innovation and impact our profession strives for every day and is an example of the exponential economic power unleashed when businesses and communities work hand-in-hand to advance equitable opportunity and prosperity for all.”
In collaboration with local community partners, GPEC met each of its respective goals resulting in a record-breaking year for jobs and high-wage jobs. Most recently, GPEC closed fiscal year 2021 with 45 companies selecting Greater Phoenix for expansion or relocation, the creation of 9,928 new jobs, 5,470 of those being high-wage jobs with an average salary of $77,256 and generating $13 billion in capital investment.
In one of the nation’s largest deals, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) selected Greater Phoenix for its new U.S. advanced semiconductor fabrication plant. Totals include:
• 1,900 high-tech jobs
• $12 billion in capital expenditures representing the largest capital investment in GPEC history
• $6.1 billion in direct economic output to Arizona in the first 10 years
• 11,515 one-time construction jobs
Other notable locates include Align Technology, Amazon, APEL Extrusions, ElectraMeccanica, HelloFresh, LiveRamp, PennyMac Financial Services and The RealReal.
Greater Phoenix is the fastest growing U.S. market (ACS 2019 1-year), ranks No. 1 in job growth (U.S. News & World Report) and the region has recovered 93% of non-farm payroll jobs lost between February and April 2020 because of the pandemic – the third best recovery nationally.
“What the GPEC team and its public and private partners have accomplished from a branding, business attraction and jobs creation standpoint is truly astounding,” said Jeff Guldner, CEO of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and GPEC Board of Directors chair. “GPEC is one of the region’s strongest assets and we congratulate the organization on this historic achievement.”
Other impactful projects and achievements include:
• Launch of #AZFreeToBe omni-channel marketing campaign targeting California manufacturing and tech companies, and knowledge workers with increased professional mobility because of the pandemic. At its core, the campaign encapsulates the region’s advantageous business climate and the quality-of-life attributes that make Greater Phoenix, and state, the best place to live, work and explore.
• Several community organizations, including GPEC, teamed up with The State of Black Arizona to launch the inaugural State of Black Business Report. For the first time, key data points related to Black income, Black buying power, Black entrepreneurship, and Black businesses were assembled in a concise snapshot of Arizona’s African American population’s contributions to the local economy. Analysis of these data points brings to light the challenges to overcome and the opportunities to expand the presence of Black businesses within the state.
• GPEC coordinated and hosted six Virtual Familiarity Tours in FY21 with 24 community partners at each event and 48 total site selection consultant participants.
• A first for GPEC, the organization launched two virtual art exhibits: Greater Phoenix, Greater Together and Greater Phoenix Revival. The galleries featured nearly 130 local artists and more than 200 works of art with 100% of sale proceeds going back to the artists.
• Integration of data science to advance economic development and business development outcomes.