15 December 2016

Activities of the MAG Economic Development Committee, December 6, 2016 Meeting

December 6, 2016 Meeting Summary

Message From the Chair
Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane

When it comes to growing the economy, workforce development is at the forefront of many discussions.
  • At the December 2016 Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting, we discussed the importance of developing a skilled and educated workforce to build a more globally competitive labor market.
There are many efforts taking place in our communities around the region. The City of Phoenix, for example, is actively building a skilled workforce through its program, Arizona@Work, which is a great asset for the entire region. This program can assist new and existing companies with obtaining a highly trained workforce that will make the company more competitive. One unique facet of this effort is that the workforce development funds are within the Economic Development Department as opposed to Human Services.
  • We also discussed the importance of data to economic development.
Jim Rounds from Rounds Consulting Group, Inc. discussed what we should consider when working with economic data.  He mentioned the need for gathering business analytics at a detailed level when developing strategies for attracting and keeping companies in the Valley.  If we want to develop a better understanding of a city or region, we need to take a deeper look into the data. Following this presentation, we heard from the City of Buckeye on how being nimble and able to move quickly facilitated the decision by Cardinal Glass company to locate in Buckeye.  The City of Mesa also provided information on the investment it made in a portion of their community, the Fiesta District - A Redevelopment Renaissance, which had $493 million in capital investment and created 1,500 new jobs in the last year.
  • Finally, we heard an interesting presentation about some of the major advancements being made in aerial photography.  Aerial Sphere discussed how aerial imagery can be used to market the region. One of the aspects of this new technology, which was developed locally, makes it easy to import various data elements into this platform to highlight economic development projects within the MAG region.  It is good to be informed that major investments are being made to advance the region and state through innovative technology.

EDC Meeting Summary

Strengthening Arizona’s Economy Through a Workforce Development Network

In the present global economy, developing a skilled workforce has become a major task for communities to stay competitive.
The City of Phoenix is addressing this challenge through the initiative Arizona@Work City of Phoenix. City of Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Supervisor Rob Stenson provided an overview on this program.
This initiative is the statewide workforce development network that helps employers of all sizes and industries recruit, develop and retain the best employees. Arizona@Work City of Phoenix serves as a public and private partnership with the primary mission of proving innovative workforce solutions to employers and job seekers. The main services provided through this program are:
  • Talent acquisition, which includes free job posting on azjobconnection.gov.
  • Training and development for new and existing employees.
  • Access to resources.
  • Access to meeting and training rooms.
Through this program, the City of Phoenix assists the business community by decreasing turnover, increasing productivity and increasing engagement.

High-Level Metrics on the Regional Economy and Unique Regional Economic Drivers

Jim Rounds from Rounds Consulting provided a brief overview on how economic analysis can be used to assess the competitiveness of a region by looking into data in more detail.

When comparing a region’s economy, it is important to look at metro areas and those areas that are comparable. Taking a deeper look at the data allows a better understanding of what is happening with the economy and can tell the story of a region more accurately. This practice also helps with policy formation and planning at all governmental levels.
Two representatives from the City of Buckeye and the City of Mesa shared their success stories and unique economic drivers in their cities.
1 City of Buckeye Economic Development Director Len Becker presented on how the City of Buckeye successfully worked with Cardinal Glass Company to bring them to Buckeye. This required hard work from the city’s economic development team in order to meet all the operating requirements that the company needed. The direct economic benefit of this project to the city in the next 20 years is approximately $5.7 million.
2 City of Mesa Assistant Economic Development Director Jaye O’Donnell presented information on how the City of Mesa has focused greatly on data to better understand what the community needs.
Some outstanding projects in Mesa are the Fiesta District, a redevelopment project to attract businesses, the creation of the new Mesa Redevelopment Area, and the expansion of the Central Business District.

Showcasing Regional Assets through Aerial Photography

A Phoenix-based company, Aerial Sphere, offers an innovative aerial imagery service, which communities can use as an economic development and marketing tool to promote their communities and the region.
Aerial Sphere Co-Founder and President D.J. Vegh and Todd Photographic Services President Jim Todd provided an overview of the company. Aerial Sphere creates aerial and ground imagery for civic, development and real estate communities across the country. Aerial Sphere is a new way to visualize geospatial information. It involves the use of a proprietary camera system that photographs 360° spheres based on latitude and longitude. MAG can provide additional data that member agencies can use if they are working with Aerial Sphere on imagery for their community.

Update from the Arizona Commerce Authority

Arizona Commerce Authority staff noted that
ADP is bringing 1,500 new professional services jobs to Tempe,
Raytheon in Tucson is expanding its operations facility creating 2,000 new jobs, and
Lucid Motors will be locating its electrical vehicle manufacturing plant in Casa Grande creating 2,000 jobs by 2022.
On December 1-2, 2016, the annual meeting of Comisión Sonora-Arizona and Arizona-Mexico Commission’s, titled “Megaregion, A Partnership that Generates Results,” took place in Hermosillo, Sonora.

Update from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that GPEC has had a remarkable year.
Thirty nine new companies relocated to the region and 7,799 new jobs were created.
GPEC has a new website, which is more interactive and user friendly. The new website went live last month.   

Comments from the Committee

U.S. Commercial Service staff commented on the upcoming U.S. Commercial Service event, Discover Global Markets Advanced Manufacturing. The event will take place in Scottsdale on February 16-17. Attendees include global industry leaders, oversees commercial specialists and various industry experts.

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