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A Driving Force Behind the Greater Phoenix Business Boom

May 14, 2020
By Robert Yehling

Greater Together. These two words standing alone might not seem like much, but to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), they fuel transformation.

GPEC was founded 30 years ago on the foundation of regionalism, collaboration, connectedness, and innovation. Through collaboration of the region’s 22 cities and towns, Maricopa County and countless community partners, Greater Phoenix has become a force to be reckoned with.

During Chris Camacho’s tenure as President and CEO of GPEC, he has seen the evolution of the region firsthand. Since 2010, Greater Phoenix has emerged as a model location for emerging technologies, including cybersecurity, blockchain, wearables, and autonomous vehicles. The region has also become increasingly attractive as a location for financial services, healthcare, and healthcare tourism.

“Tech companies are evaluating locations where they can cost-optimize, access labor pools, and scale,” says Camacho. “Today, business expansion is about more than cost optimization, it’s about community building and quality of life. The companies we work with come to the table with broad sweeping questions about the market. They’re asking about our regional ethos and how they can partner with initiatives that matter to residents.”

While business attraction is a cornerstone of GPEC’s operation, they are also committed to enhancing the competitiveness of the region. But they’re not doing it alone.

“Representing 22 cities and Maricopa County, GPEC is a one-stop model for companies looking to relocate or do business in Greater Phoenix,” Camacho said. “When someone contacts our team about an expansion or relocation, we’ll provide a project scope to the cities, and interested communities will respond when they have the infrastructure and real estate available. We then coordinate a regional response and work with the state for additional resources. We’re continuously evaluating and strengthening the drivers of a competitive global region,” he added.

A three-time recipient of the Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development by Site Selection magazine, GPEC serves as point of contact for businesses from around the world seeking to relocate to Greater Phoenix. When your economic development group has drawn more than
800 companies, nearly 150,000 jobs and $16.1 billion in capital investment in its 30-year history, companies tend to listen… and relocate.

With the business attraction efforts setting records for the organization, it’s no surprise that the Phoenix-metro area is touted as one of the hottest job growth markets in the country, continually adding 50,000 to 100,000 jobs annually.

“We are a trusted advisor for this region. Not only do we intimately know our market, we’re also coming to the table with thorough data put together by our research and analytics team,” said Camacho. “With our vast experience working with targeted markets such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, New York, and Chicago, we understand the complexity of needing to reduce burn rates, increase top line revenue, and address risk. We’re here to be a confidential and reliable partner when businesses start considering scalability options.”

Behind all of this work is an economic development organization that runs like a startup. According to Camacho, every day is filled with accomplishments from a purposeful staff that stops at nothing to fulfill GPEC’s mission. “We are fearless, tenacious, and expect a lot from the staff,” Camacho said. “Our staff is motivated by the impact each job has on the employee, their family, and the regional partners that make up Greater Phoenix. This region truly is greater together and we invite everyone to come see for themselves.”

Author Bio: Robert Yehling is the Editorial Director of Sustainability Today, and STEM Today. He is the author, co-author and ghostwriter of 18 books, including the acclaimed "Just Add Water" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the biography of autistic surfing great Clay Marzo, a finalist for the 2015 Dotty Gray Literature Award for outstanding writing on autism; and “Writes of Life: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life” (Open Books Press), called by the Midwest Book Review “the most comprehensive, diverse, and enjoyable writing exercise book on the market.” Yehling has edited and shepherded more than 130 books in all genres, including New York Times bestselling memoirist Lynne Martin ("Home Sweet Anywhere"), and 2015 International Book Award and IPPY Gold Medal winner for Visionary Fiction Lynnda Pollio ("Trusting the Currents"). His engaging, informative presentations have inspired writers for 15 years, and take him to conferences and classrooms throughout the country.

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