Photo by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media

December 30, 2014

Amanda Ventura

Joyce Grossman on the power of attraction

 

Joyce Grossman became executive director of AAED in 2011. She has a B.A. from the University of California- Davis and a M.P.A. from California State University-Sacramento. Prior to joining AAED, Grossman was a deputy director with the City of Phoenix and helped attract the International Genomics Consortium/Translational Genomics Research Institute.

WHAT ARE ECONOMIC DEVELOPERS SAYING ABOUT ARIZONA’S ECONOMY?

Our growth is uneven, reflecting different economic drivers. As the geography of Arizona is varied, so is the economic climate of the state. While economic forecasters have noted a “softening” in our recovery this past spring, economic developers are reporting they are busy fielding calls and following up on leads. The Phoenix metro area is leading the state’s recovery. Last year, Forbes magazine ranked the metro area No. 1 for financial services employment. Other areas of the state with a greater dependence on federal funding are recovering more slowly. There are pockets of rural Arizona being proactive by finding ways to use their natural assets to create economic opportunities while others are finding an economic return from the revitalizing of their main streets.

ARIZONA HAS A HANDFUL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUPS. HOW IS AAED UNIQUE?

AAED is the only association in Arizona that provides professional economic development training for practitioners and service providers. We do this through our Economic Development Academy of Arizona, Arizona Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), and the sponsored International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) courses brought to Arizona. Our academy provides courses on key issues related to the profession in Arizona. Participants who complete eight courses in required modules will receive an Arizona Economic Development Professionals (AZED Pro) designation. AAED also hosts a fourand- a-half-day Arizona Basic Economic Development Course that is accredited by the IEDC. It is a required course for those seeking a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). This class, held in January, is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the profession. Finally, AAED partners with the IEDC and the CDFA to bring their advance trainings to Arizona.

WHAT ARE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESSES AAED HAS ATTRACTED TO THE STATE?

When AAED started in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID), there were only two committees (Spring/Fall Conferences and Business Prospecting). Today, there are 12. AAID, made up of private-public partners, promoted the state of Arizona on prospecting trips. In digging through AAID archives, the association was credited with helping companies locate or expand in Arizona, most notably Motorola, Intel and Honeywell. As economic development departments/ agencies came into being, the AAED prospecting missions were replaced by professional education and more stepped up advocacy for economic development tools at the Arizona State Capitol.

AAED’S LUNCHES ARE POPULAR PROGRAMS AND OFTEN SOLD OUT. WHAT IS CONTRIBUTING TO AN INCREASED INTEREST IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

Timely topics and an invigorating slate of speakers are the reasons! We seek value in the luncheons, with such popular topics as high quality economic/real estate forecasts, future of water, sports, town and gown discussions, workforce development and retail trends. We have sponsors from all aspects of the economic spectrum—private, public, utilities— because we provide a buffet of knowledge and some pretty good meals, too. You never know who will be at your table, possibly a collaborator for a future project.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT DIALOGUE YOU WANT TO SEE HAPPENING GOING INTO 2015?

Three areas we have focused on in the past and will continue the dialogue into 2015 include business property tax reduction, infrastructure development/improvement programs and access to capital.