November 7, 2017
The November Economic Development Committee featured many talented individuals from the State of Arizona, regional agencies, the private sector, and the nonprofit community who are dedicated to improving Arizona's economy. It demonstrated the teamwork needed for Arizona to compete in the global economy.
One of these individuals was Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). She explained the executive structure and strategic goals the ACA is using to provide opportunities for all citizens of Arizona. Recently, Ms. Watson traveled to London with Governor Doug Ducey and Debbie Johnson, Executive Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, to promote our state. Ms. Johnson detailed how the state generates $21.2 billion in direct visitor spending. She emphasized how more tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lowers the annual tax burden for the Arizona household.
Our third presenter was Ed Zito, President of Alliance Bank of Arizona. In addition to his duties as President, he chairs the Economic Development Committee for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. A key point by Mr. Zito was the importance of not only buying local, but banking local, because it contributes to our growth.
A separate presentation by Gonzalo de la Melena, President & CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, provided information from the DATOS report showing the entrepreneurial spirit of Hispanic workers and their growing importance to the future of Arizona.
The state's strong economic growth was emphasized further when Steven Betts, Board Member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), mentioned the expansion of many businesses within our region. He discussed GPEC's new The Connected Place website and campaign that focuses on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and other industries important to our region. Additionally, Dave Garafino, from the ACA, described Rev AZ as a program that helps Arizona manufacturing companies be successful. With strong economic development organizations and business expansions, the region is looking far beyond today to make strides for tomorrow's future.
The teamwork displayed by the presenters at the EDC was evident and showed solid results in how this region and state are meeting the challenge of the global economy.
Arizona's success in the global economy depends on the coordination and collaboration of key state agencies.
Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson provided an overview of Arizona's economy and Governor Ducey's new strategy to enhance state agencies' competitiveness and leverage each other's assets. The Governor created an Office of Economic Opportunity that serves to better coordinate the efforts of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), and the Arizona Mexico Commission. This Office of Economic Opportunity also focuses on ensuring that the state has a friendly business environment. In the last five years, 87,132 jobs were created with an average wage of $52,577 dollars. In 2016, Arizona exported more than $22 billion dollars in goods and services to more than 200 countries. Arizona Commerce Authority target industries include aerospace and defense, bioscience and healthcare, business and financial services, film and digital media, manufacturing, and technology and innovation.
Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) Executive Director Debbie Johnson provided an overview of the AOT. The AOT grows the state's economy and enhances the quality of life for all Arizonans through the promotion of tourism. Arizona receives about 43 million domestic and international visitors per year, who spend approximately $21.2 billion dollars. There are 184,000 industry-related jobs directly generated by travel spending. In the last year, AOT domestic marketing efforts focused on Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco. In 2016, international visits accounted for almost 6 million visitors, with the majority of them from Mexico and Canada. The fastest growing group of international visitors has been from China. In addition to the role of tourism in the economy, Alliance Bank President Ed Zito highlighted the key role of the financial services industry in the economy. Alliance Bank is the largest locally headquartered bank in Arizona. The banking community is very supportive in growing the economy and works closely with the tourism and business community. According to the CNBC survey, Arizona ranks 14th nationally in business friendliness. The state universities have done a tremendous job of promoting and developing the great talent in the state.
On September 22, 2017, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted DATOS: The State of Arizona's Hispanic Market breakfast, which marked the release of the single most comprehensive report on the economic impact of Arizona's 2.1 million Hispanics. Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gonzalo de la Melena provided an overview on this report. Nearly 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. contribute to the economy and there are close to 2 million Hispanics living in Arizona. In Arizona, female Hispanic businesses are growing at a rate of 116 percent, higher than the rate for all businesses. Latinas own more than one third of all businesses owned by minority women. In 2016, two thirds of tourism to Arizona came from Mexico and 40 percent of international trade came from Mexico. Arizona's success in the global economy will depend on the state's ability to build a marketplace and a strategy that includes diversity and inclusion to unlock Arizona's full potential and make the state more competitive.
Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) staff reported that October was manufacturing month and an event took place at the Biltmore to celebrate companies working in the space. The event included a manufacturing summit that featured panels in cybersecurity, ExporTech, research and development tax credit, and manufacturing. The event also had congressional representation. During manufacturing month, the ACA hosted approximately 20 workshops focused on manufacturing.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that the pipeline of new projects is the strongest it has ever been. In the first five months of the fiscal year, fifteen companies have relocated to this region. GPEC worked with Select U.S.A. in a sales mission to London, where they held workshops with 62 companies. GPEC also held its annual event with Governor Ducey as the keynote speaker. The event highlighted The Connected Place campaign. On December 6, 2017, GPEC will host its annual holiday event at its new offices.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.
The EDC E-Update is a monthly electronic newsletter providing information about the activities of the MAG Economic Development Committee. For questions regarding this e-mail, or to be removed from the distribution list, contact Denise McClafferty or Natalia Cuneo at (602) 254-6300.
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