Arizona Biosciences News

New statewide organization seeks coordinated economic development

Compiled from media reports

Summary:

Gov. Janet Napolitano has announced the formation of a new economic-development nonprofit, the Arizona Economic Resources Organization (AERO), which will work to strengthen the state's economy via better-coordinated marketing and pursuit of new businesses.

Full Story:

Gov. Janet Napolitano has announced the formation of a new economic-development nonprofit, the Arizona Economic Resources Organization (AERO), which will work to strengthen the state's economy via better-coordinated marketing and pursuit of new businesses.

Under board leadership from the private sector, state agencies, and the three state universities, AERO will aim to unify the existing economic-development efforts of Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), the Commerce and Economic Development Commission (CEDC), the Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA), the Department of Commerce, and the Arizona Global Network (AGN).

AERO's incorporating board of directors will be Jose Cardenas, a partner with Lewis and Roca Lawyers; Jan Lesher, director of the state Department of Commerce; and Ed Zito, executive vice president of Alliance Bank of Arizona. Napolitano will chair the group.

Other directors include Jean Richmond Bowman, executive vice president of the Northern Arizona Building Association; Barry Broome, president/CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Michael Crow, Arizona State University president; Michael Fong, CEO of Calence Inc.; John Haeger, Northern Arizona University president; attorney William Hardin of Osborn Maledon; William Harris, president/CEO of Science Foundation Arizona; attorney Larry Hecker of Hecker and Muehlebach; Daisy Jenkins, a vice president at Raytheon Missile Systems; Anne Mariucci, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents; and Robert Shelton, University of Arizona president.

The establishment of AERO follows a year-long study of best practices in economic development undertaken by business and community leaders at Napolitano's direction. Its responsibilities will include determining statewide economic development strategies, providing policy recommendations and guidance to state agencies and elected officials, coordinating the state's business-attraction efforts, and leading a branding effort that will boost Arizona's national and global visibility.

"We've taken what heretofore has been a disparate, disorganized economic development strategy for the state ... into one strategy that's going to drive all of our marketing efforts," Napolitano said in the East Valley Tribune. "We've never before done that."

To provide AERO with additional muscle, the governor said that AGN will be expanded and formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization charged with marketing the state internationally. AGN's expansion will also provide a new means for regional economic-development groups to interface with leaders at the state level. In the past, no state-level organization has existed to guide broad marketing efforts.

AGN's incorporating directors will be Broome; Joe Snell of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities; Katie Pushor of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; and James Horton of Yavapai Community College.

In her announcement, Napolitano said that the new organization would help the state overcome the limited array of financial incentives it has to offer firms interested in setting up shop in Arizona. With fewer tax breaks to offer than some other states, she said, Arizona leaders must collaboratively develop other kinds of enticements for new businesses, and must avoid intra-state competition for those businesses.

Additionally, AERO will focus on attracting investments in key target areas that will make the state's economy more diverse and resilient. At present, she said, Arizona overall economic health is too closely linked the fortunes of the housing and construction industries.

"We have to be much more strategic and targeted in terms of who we're growing here and who we're trying to attract here," Napolitano said in the Tribune.


For more information:

"Governor names Directors of new economic panel," The Arizona Republic, 10/28/2007

"Napolitano shakes up state's 'disorganized' economic efforts," The Arizona Republic, 10/04/2007

"Governor creates new economic organization," The East Valley Tribune, 10/04/2007