Message from the Chair
Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane
Cyber security and advanced computer technologies have been recognized by state and local governments as an industrial cornerstone for the Arizona economy. I was pleased that the EDC had the opportunity to welcome and listen to Mark Beariault with the Kudelski Group at our February meeting. In today’s global economy, companies like Kudelski are playing a crucial role when it comes to addressing complex security issues and identifying solutions for business and government. As we continue to locate these firms−especially on the global scale−our region is positioning itself to be on the map in the cyber security sector. As we listened to an enlightening presentation regarding Kudelski’s decision to locate its North American headquarters to Phoenix, it was affirming to hear how Kudelski valued our region for housing prices, education and being family friendly.
As an indication, Mr. Beariault noted how many of his company’s employees were inquiring about transferring from their Bay Area office to their Phoenix location because of young families’ desire to find better housing value and access to great education. MAG’s data analytics confirms through the MapLit viewer that we do have many areas with excellent education throughout the region and state. Together with our excellent vocational, community college and higher education programs, global and domestic firms are recognizing the importance of quality of life factors for their workforce. As our communities and region look to market ourselves for business attraction, we should continue to keep in mind these factors, which positively differentiate us from our peer markets, to close the deal.
I also was impressed listening to how cities have reengineered their processes to streamline communication and project management. The City of Surprise provided great insight into how embedding a communication process among finance, economic development and community development has enabled better cross-department partnerships and successful projects throughout their city. These types of best practices are examples of how cities in our region are working to be more proactive and operate more efficiently as public organizations. Kudelski and others in the past year, are affirmation that our economic development partners are advancing a business friendly and business minded environment, I have no doubt that our region is poised for tremendous near- and long-term economic success.
EDC Meeting Summary
Economic Growth Through Cybersecurity International Headquarters
The Kudelski Group is a Swiss company focused on digital media, cyber security and public access that recently established its North American headquarters facility in Phoenix. Mark Beariault, General Counsel and Head of Legal Affairs for the Kudelski Group, provided an update on why Phoenix made the best business case. The company decided to establish a second headquarters to increase its proximity to the U.S. market and be closer to customers, partners, and U.S. technology clusters. It would also reduce sensitivity of the currencies’ exchange rate, improve cost structure and tap into a large, attractive, talented workforce. The Kudelski Group chose Phoenix for several reasons. The main reason was the business friendly environment, including fast accessibility to state and local officials, who provided an excellent welcome to the company. Other reasons included quality of life, cost considerations, availability to a high quality talent pool, proximity to customers, and the quality of infrastructure.
Report on the City of Surprise Communication Among Departments
Enhancing communication among various departments within a city makes operations more proactive and efficient, and can help prepare for anticipated growth. The City of Surprise has developed a process that enables the City to enhance communication between departments. City of Surprise Economic Development Manager Mike Hoover provided an overview on their efforts. The City of Surprise focused on improving the communication among the Chief Financial Officer, city planners and the Economic Development Department. The process included sharing each department’s goals and identifying shared values and goals. Employees concentrated on better understanding different personalities and perspectives, and worked hard on cultivating relationships. An effective and continuous internal communication makes a great difference in the advancement of economic development projects.
Sun Corridor Exporting Initiatives
Exports play a crucial role in growing the economy and leading the region to be more prosperous and resilient. An export recognition program is being planned as part of the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC), with a focus on the Sun Corridor. MAG staff provided an overview on this initiative. Through this initiative, JPAC will partner with economic development leaders to host the Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program this spring. This program will invite businesses to be recognized for their exporting successes at an event being marketed as the Sun Corridor EDGE (Economic Development for the Global Economy). In addition to recognizing successful exporters, EDGE will feature speakers renowned for their expertise in international trade.
Update on Outreach for Regulation A+
At the January 2017 Economic Development Committee meeting, Chris Loeffler, CEO and co-founder of Caliber - The Wealth Development Company, presented on the benefits of Regulation A+ (Reg A+). Reg A+ is a new federal legislation tool that levels the playing field for small businesses that want to grow and access capital from individual investors. Reg A+ allows private companies to raise up to $50 million from the public. At the request of the EDC, MAG staff is working on how to get this information out to the community to enable more businesses to utilize this tool. MAG staff will be moving forward with the suggested opportunities that include working with the Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program, the Arizona Business Incubation Association, and the Arizona Technology Council to inform the business community on the Reg A+ tool.
Update from the Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) staff noted that the first series of the CEO Forums recently concluded. This forum was held during the Phoenix Open, which provided a great opportunity to showcase the region. ACA also reported that CEO Sandra Watson and Governor Doug Ducey attended the Phoenix Suns game in Mexico City and had the opportunity to meet the new Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico. ACA’s five-year anniversary is coming up, and a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is being developed, which will be utilized to establish the next five-year plan.
Update from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that a market intelligence report on the aerospace and defense industry was presented on January 30, 2017. On February 15, GPEC is presenting the Foreign Direct Investment plan at SkySong.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.
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