As Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, several Arizona mayors and state business leaders returned from a trip earlier this month nurturing the state’s growing business relationship with Mexico, our No. 1 trading partner, I am reminded that the business climate in Arizona is our brand to protect and promote.
The group, which included two dozen business leaders such as CEO Russ Yelton of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies and Margie Emmermann of consulting firm Molera Alvarez, was there as part of Stanton’s 13th trip to the region since 2012. The mayor of the nation’s sixth largest city wants our southern neighbors to know that Arizona is open for business.
“I believe this is a page-turning moment for Arizona in our relationship with Mexico, and it’s to the benefit of both our respective economies. We are going to show Mexico City the real Arizona,” Stanton said.
And how do we successfully sell the idea that Arizona is an ideal business partner? Naturally, we point to the bright spots.
The overall economic impact in the region of February’s Super Bowl XLIX, the Pro Bowl and related events was $719.4 million according to a report by the Seidman Research Institute and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. That not only is the largest economic impact of any special event ever in the state, but also the highest impact for any Super Bowl in which data is available.
The City of Phoenix moved at the speed of business earlier this year to launch its “Phoenix is Hot” campaign, selling not only the enviable weather, but the growing economic sectors including high tech, manufacturing, bioscience research and advanced business services.
It’s great to see so many entities striving to drive our local economy. The city’s campaign dovetails well with the Chamber-led strategic economic development initiative, Phoenix Forward. Phoenix Forward brings together the Chamber, the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County and the Arizona Commerce Authority to foster a pro-business environment through focusing on four key sectors: bioscience, health care, advanced business and financial services, and transportation and logistics.
In June, Gov. Doug Ducey led a delegation of Arizona business and political leaders to Mexico City to further strengthen our cross-border ties. Rolling out the welcome mat to a country that is on track to be the fifth largest economy in the world by 2050 is a smart decision.
Just a few weeks ago, ProMexico, the agency responsible for promoting Mexico’s participation in the global economy, including bilateral trade and investment, announced it will open a Phoenix office. The opening will come after Arizona opened a trade office in Mexico City last year.
Earlier this month, the American Planning Association named Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row one of its 2015 Great Neighborhoods, a designation shared by only three other places in the country.
The organization recognized the unique southwestern architecture of the area’s historic single- and multi-family homes, transit-oriented infill development and vibrant arts scene, which make Roosevelt Row a “highly desirable place to live, work and visit.”
In just a couple days, the Chamber will recognize our 2015 ATHENA award finalists during an event on Oct. 29 at the Arizona Biltmore. These outstanding Valley businesswomen make a difference in our community through excellence in business and leadership, exemplary community service and mentorship of other women.
ATHENAs represent just a small fraction of the public and private business leaders who are pushing our state toward success now and in the future.
So yes, as the city says, Phoenix – and Arizona – are definitely hot.
“As a top market for skilled and available workforce, companies are growing in Phoenix because it’s not only a thriving business environment, but a great place to live,” the city says. And that’s the message that we, as caretakers of the Arizona brand and as promoters of the state’s businesses, should make sure shines the brightest.