GPEC President: The next era of economic development is upon us

photo 2By Philip Haldiman, Editor-in-Chief | Dealmaker

The next era of economic development is upon us and the president of Greater Phoenix Economic Council says it’s a move from consumption to innovation.

Related: Developers, cities unite at Summit; reveal home run in Avondale, three big tenants coming to Phoenix

Chris Camacho says the Valley better jump on that bandwagon or it will be left in the dust by more competitive states attracting all the businesses.

He was the keynote speaker at Arizona Builder’s Exchange’s inaugural Phoenix Metro Development Summit, where a dozen municipalities pitched their most desirable parcels to prospective developers.

Camacho said there are many more options across regions than there were decades ago. One of Arizona’s biggest competitors is the well-branded Lone-Star State, he said.

“There are too many companies choosing Texas over us, and we didn’t even have a shot at it,” Camacho said. “Too many times this has happened.”

Prospective businesses, he said, want to see solid research and are enticed by established brands.

As much as $10 million is spent annually on branding Austin, compared with around $2 million on Arizona, he said.

“The challenge is that either we don’t have a brand or it’s tourism … Enhancing our brand delivery system can change this. So will doing embedded research and facilitating collaboration to build a stronger economy using analytics,” Camacho said.

Today people are choosing value over cost, he said.

“It’s different than it was 20 years ago. As a market, Arizona competes on cost. We create a low-cost burden for companies and residents and we’ve done a good job at state competitive environments for residents and businesses,” Camacho said.

“But the linchpin of our future success will be value. Value is a skilled, well-educated workforce, and applied research at universities. That is the new economy. Cost is only one simple factor. Value is the preeminent thing.”


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