Our work with communities and associations in the economic development realm expose us to a lot of information related to why businesses want to relocate to Arizona.
The corporate site selectors typically have standard criteria that a community must meet in order to be considered. There is the climate, education system, transportation and infrastructure, tax issues, local economic conditions, housing, arts and culture and the list goes on.
Having an educated and available workforce is typically at or near the top.
Here in Arizona, many of those educated and available workers are coming from one of four places:
William A. Franke is the managing partner of Indigo Partners and Newbridge Latin America, private equity funds focused on worldwide investments in air transportation and Latin America, respectively. A longtime resident of Arizona, he has offices in Phoenix, Singapore and Buenos Aires. He is the former CEO of America West Airlines (now American Airlines) and other Arizona-based companies. During Franke’s business career, he was also the chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 forest products company, Southwest Forest Industries, Inc. (now Smurfit-Stone Container); chairman of the executive committee of a large regional bank, Valley National Bank (now Chase Bank); and chairman of the Circle K Corp., a large U.S. convenience store company, which he restructured through bankruptcy. Franke made a $25 million commitment to NAU's College of Business and his name was put in lights.
William Polk Carey was a visionary real estate investor who founded W. P. Carey Inc., a real estate investment trust. The company was innovative in the use of leaseback transactions to acquire properties. At the beginning of the year, the company owned 887 properties in 17 countries leased to 210 tenants. Approximately 68 percent of the company's revenue is derived in North America. The naming rights came by way of a $50 million pledge from the W. P. Carey Foundation. At the time, the donation was the second-largest gift ever to a U.S. business school.
Karl Eller was the founder of Eller Outdoor Advertising, Combined Communications Corporation, and Eller Media Company. At its height, Combined Communications owned 7 major metropolitan television stations, 14 major metropolitan radio stations, 12 American and 2 Canadian outdoor advertising companies and two metropolitan daily newspapers. Eller would later go on to become the head of Columbia Pictures, during which he helped with that studio's 1983 merger with The Coca-Cola Company. He later became CEO of the convenience store chain Circle K, which was based in Phoenix. He built Circle K into the second largest convenience store operation and the largest publicly owned convenience store chain in the U.S. which now boasts 4,641 stores in 32 states and an additional 1,386 licensed or joint venture stores in 13 foreign countries. In 2004, he was the first Arizonan to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Eller pledged more than $23 million to the University of Arizona.
Colangelo is one of the most influential sports entrepreneurs in American history. He is credited with delivering top athletic teams to Arizona, with more than 50 years of experience in sports business management and franchise ownership, as well as dozens of other business organizations. Among his many accomplishments, Colangelo has owned the NBA Phoenix Suns, built two state-of-the-art sports facilities, won an MLB World Series title with the Arizona Diamondbacks and led USA Basketball to four consecutive gold medals in international competition.
So, “Go Jacks,” Fork ‘Em,” “Bear Down” or “Find Your Purpose” as you consider whether or not to bring a business to the Grand Canyon State!