Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

In Arizona, we are fortunate that innovation and technology companies from across the globe are increasingly choosing our state as the place to expand their operations.

They are doing so because they’ve discovered an economy that embraces new business models – and a culture that pushes back on roadblocks to success.

Governor Ducey is driving these real-world initiatives in collaboration with other elected leaders and the business community.

In a word: It’s about innovation. And few, if any, are doing innovation better than Arizona right now. Whether it’s self-driving vehicles, the sharing economy or semiconductors – we are welcoming it to the Grand Canyon State.

Who could forget the images of Uber’s self-driving vehicle fleet crossing into Arizona in search of a regulatory environment that welcomes new innovations? Or Intel’s announcement that it plans to build the most advanced semiconductor facility in the world?

It has been a thrill to watch companies like these – and many others – not only expand their core business operations but also to test new technologies – and a new way of thinking – about how to be successful in this competitive, ever-changing global economy.

It can be easy to lose track of how states stack up against each other in the myriad economic-development rankings. But one of the consistent trend lines has been our growing tech and innovation position.

The Phoenix metropolitan area boasts one of the fastest-growing tech markets in the country. In fact, the Valley of the Sun ranks as the No. 2 large market in tech job growth – behind only San Francisco! This significant ranking by CBRE, the international real estate firm, is something we should all be shouting from the rooftops.

The report not only looked back at the growth that has taken place, but also projected a strong outlook: “The Valley has firmly established itself as a growth market for tech firms; and, as our local business, education and economic development communities continue to work together to create opportunities, these firms will keep coming.”

This statement summed up what I have long said about Arizona: There is a deeply ingrained culture here, where local, regional and state entities partner with the business community to build economic prosperity.

Great companies are coming to Arizona for our unmatched quality of life, our talented workforce and pro-business environment. These have been tried and true ingredients in Arizona’s recipe for success.

Add to that our relentless embrace of new business models. Governor Ducey was interviewed recently in a Forbes Magazine piece in which he discussed why these expansions are happening: In Arizona, he said, we “aren’t trying to regulate the 21st-century economy with a 20th century government.”

That new way of thinking is certainly paying off.

– Sandra Watson is President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

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