January 9, 2018
As the Mayor of Buckeye, I am well aware of what it means to live in a community that is experiencing rapid growth. Our population is estimated to grow from 69,947 to 89,200 people by 2025. Such rapid growth brings about a number of changes. I am reminded daily that we need to embrace change. This month's Economic Development Committee was especially enlightening in that regard. Fountain Hills Councilmember Nick DePorter, who also works for LinkedIn, spoke about the skills we have within our region and how we need to address the future. Dominic Papa of the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (AZIDP) reminded the committee that, as elected officials, we must remain nimble and creative to build smart cities.
Nick DePorter, U.S. Public Policy and Government Affairs representative for LinkedIn, introduced the Economic Graph. The Economic Graph is a data analytics resource that provides statistics on LinkedIn members, companies, jobs, daily posts, number of schools, and standardized skills readily available within a certain area. All of this information is brought together through economic research from which LinkedIn is able to generate monthly workforce reports. With all of this information, cities such as Los Angeles are leveraging LinkedIn to attract young talent. We are fortunate to have Nick DePorter also serve on the Fountain Hills Town Council and on the MAG Regional Council.
We also heard from Dominic Papa, Executive Director of Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (AZIDP), about the smart and connected cities project. Mr. Papa spoke about cities such as San Diego and Kansas City becoming transformed into Smart Cities with the help of major corporations. Due to our unique cluster of diverse large cities, AZIDP engineered the Smart Connected Council (SCC), an unprecedented collaboration among public and private organizations. Our region is now part of the Smart Cities movement. In the short time this Council has existed, it has demonstrated initiative by helping organizations win national grants. Recently, for example, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) received a $6 million Advanced Transportation Congestion Management grant.
We were reminded of the leadership role of MAG in cross-border initiatives. We heard from Jose Vega on the upcoming Binational Business Seminar. He emphasized that we must help both sides of the border in order to fortify the Ari-Son Megaregion. Vice Mayor Luna echoed the sentiment as he encouraged other EDC members to invite elected officials from across the Megaregion to one of the most popular events in our region–Spring Training. Committee members noted that such events serve to continue building the relationship we have with our Mexico counterparts. We are fortunate to live in the fastest growing county in the nation. I am proud of the effort of the EDC in being part of this growth.
LinkedIn launched an innovative project called the Economic Graph Research (EGR), the world's first economic graph. The purpose of this project is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through data. As noted above, Fountain Hills Councilmember Nick DePorter, provided a report on the research. EGR projects include economic research, data analytics, and civic engagement. Through these projects, LinkedIn uses its data to produce a monthly workforce report, which highlights employment trends in the U.S. workforce such as hiring rates, skills gaps and migration trends. This report is produced for 20 of the largest U.S. metro areas, including Phoenix. Through the civic engagement project, LinkedIn is creating pilot programs to test new strategies to support workers. This includes vocational training programs and partnerships with companies to host events and assess how LinkedIn can best help workers. By sharing data with elected officials and community stakeholders, LinkedIn intends to provide a key resource to be better prepared for the needs of the future economy.
Cities throughout the United States are exploring the Smart Cities movement and how it can transform the way a city manages its resources through technology. More than 6.3 billion people, 60 percent of the population, will be living in cities by 2050. As the world continues to urbanize, global competition between cities will continue to grow, with economic, environmental and social implications. Arizona Institute for Digital Progress Executive Director Dominic Papa provided a report on Smart Cities.
A smart city is based on the use and modernization of new information and communication technologies to provide more efficient management of the city's services and resources. This region has large populated cities that are in close proximity to each other. Due to this fact, a smart and connected council was created for the region. The council is a consortium built around private industry, the academic sector and the public sector. The goal is to break down silos, build partnerships, and align resources to compete for grants.
The Arizona Institute for Digital Progress is working on the AZ Urban iLabs project. These iLabs would provide a connected network of Sandbox Districts throughout the region to design cities of the future and accelerate the development of next generation technology products, processes, and services. A Sandbox District is an area where a city has agreed to loosen regulations to allow for innovative demonstrations of technology. This “sandbox” will become the city's living laboratory. Arizona Institute for Digital Progress is working with a Dubai-based company to test a system that uses artificial intelligence software that sits on top of traffic lights and can predict and prevent nine out of ten car accidents in an intersection.
Ambos Nogales will be hosting the 2018 Binational Business Seminar on January 23, 2018, at the Crescent Crown Distributing Center in Mesa, Arizona. Nogales Economic Council Director José Arturo Vega Moreno provided an overview on this initiative. Ambos (translates to “together”) Nogales is a joint effort between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. The Ambos Nogales name was created after many years of working on joint efforts ranging from community support to economic development. The seminar will highlight the importance of cross-border collaboration and economic growth in both Sonora and Arizona. The purpose of this seminar is to help stimulate the growth of businesses on both sides of the border.
At the Arizona Mexico Commission Summit in Puerto Peñasco last month, local elected officials from Sonora expressed an interest in participating in attending a Spring Training game as part of a relationship-building opportunity for the Ari-Son Megaregion. Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna commented on this opportunity. The City of Mesa plans to host Spring Training games in March of 2018 for Sonora's local elected officials, and encouraged other MAG member agencies to consider a similar event. This would provide a great opportunity to advance the Ari-Son Megaregion economic development efforts.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that on December 5, 2017, GPEC hosted the Metropolitan Phoenix Export Alliance (MPEXA) Export Challenge Pitch Competition. There were three prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Scottsdale-based MistAmerica Corporation, Phoenix based Wamore Inc., and Mesa-based EyeTech Digital Systems were winners of the competition. GPEC will participate in the Las Vegas Consumer and Electronic show to promote the Connected Place brand. GPEC is also preparing for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which is a great economic development opportunity for the region.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.
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