Salt River Project

2 N Central Ave #2500
Phoenix,  AZ  85004

United States
  • Booth: 767

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), named the top economic development organization (EDO) globally in 2021 by the International Economic Development Council, works to attract and grow quality businesses and advocate for the competitiveness of Greater Phoenix. A data-driven regional EDO, GPEC works with 22 member communities, Maricopa County and more than 200 private investors to accomplish its mission and serve as a strategic partner to companies across the world as they expand or relocate to Greater Phoenix. Services include operating cost comparisons, connectivity to key resources, data and analysis, site selection assistance and public relation connections. Contact Senior Vice President of Business Development Thomas Maynard and for more information.

 Press Releases

  • As advanced sectors are ushered into a new era accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19, Greater Phoenix is at the forefront of building robust industry ecosystems as the region evolves into a more modern economy.

    The region has grown from a contact-center-focused hub in the late-20th Century to one on the frontline of nerve centers, semiconductors, biosciences, software and IT development, and more.

    The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)’s mission is to help the region continue to progress into the future by growing and attracting quality businesses and advocating for Greater Phoenix’s competitiveness.

    “Our next chapter of GPEC will focus on additional transformative ideas as it relates to how we address the environment, load growth of the future and reskilling needs post-COVID with this new digital revolution that’s before us,” said GPEC President & CEO Chris Camacho.

    “I don’t think I’ve seen, in my 20 years doing economic development, the change that’s before us. It’s incumbent upon all of us as leaders and citizens of this community to work together to build an inclusive economic growth strategy.”

    This advancement will come from attracting businesses that will spur growth in industries that the region is primed to lead in and complement companies that already operate in Greater Phoenix.

    To provide insight on how GPEC successfully markets the region and attracts businesses, members of the leadership team presented GPEC 101 during an Ambassador Event open to the public. The speakers were:

    • Chris Camacho, President and CEO
    • Thomas Maynard, Senior Vice President of Business Development
    • Colleen Schwab, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications
    • Kristen Stephenson, Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics

    Marketing Greater Phoenix

    Promoting Greater Phoenix takes intentionality, a well-developed strategy and a focus on facts. As a data-driven organization, quantitative data is instrumental to every piece of the operation. The data is critical in lead generation, in which GPEC works to put the region on the radar of businesses considering a geographic expansion or relocation.

    “We’re not trying to get somebody to purchase a widget,” Schwab said. “We are trying to get people to consider moving their operation, their critical business unit, their people, to Greater Phoenix. These decisions take time. They take nurturing and cultivating.”

    It’s a process that has evolved over the years. Now, instead of cold calls, non-automated emails, or attending trade shows without a strategic objective or methodology for cultivating leads, GPEC’s marketing has advanced to omnichannel campaigns that build its digital presence over the years.

    With SEO targeting and catchy campaigns such as #CAStruggles and #AZFreetoBe, Google’s search engine has placed GPEC as a leading resource when key phrases such as “best city for software companies,” “manufacturing in Phoenix” and “fastest-growing tech cities” are searched.

    “We know from our research that a lot of businesses turn to Google as a first step,” Schwab said. “We want GPEC to show up as a source of truth for information about the region and business expansion as a whole.”

    Direct outreach targets a broader range of companies through automation. GPEC’s advanced data science modeling helps identify not just thousands of random companies but those with intent to make a move based on key signals tracked and acted upon through AI. This was the case with GPEC’s most recent campaign, #AZFreeToBe, that with the help of data science and AI, the team was able to target select Southern and Northern California companies and business leaders with email outreach, advertisements and messages via social media content aligning with insights gleaned through the modeling.  To date, the campaign has resulted in 26 prospects, 37 meetings and 306 leads.

    Meeting with prospects

    After companies have either reached out to GPEC or been contacted by the organization with the help of outside site selectors or brokers, they will begin discussions with the business development team to discuss company needs for an expansion or relocation.

    Project requirements range from workforce conditions to real estate and infrastructure. When Greater Phoenix is suitable for the project stipulations, the region becomes part of the company’s in-depth analysis of markets.

    There are a wide range of differentiators and no single playbook to follow. Different industries have different needs, and individual companies and employers inside the same sector also have alternate preferences.

    “Some of that is very quantitative – data reports that we pull together on labor, real estate costs and incentives availability,” Maynard said. “Others are more qualitative – what companies here are growing, what are they doing well, labor market dynamics, talent competition, recruitment and pipeline building. Really from start to finish, anything that we can do to help answer these clients’ questions.”

    This part of the process is where the majority of GPEC projects are situated.

    Research & analytics

    Work from the research and analytics team is essential to help a selected city in Greater Phoenix become a finalist and ultimately chosen as the site for a new project.

    A key focus from research is industry use cases, illustrating which industries are flourishing in Greater Phoenix and what allows them to thrive. These reports, which feature online overviews alongside a 20- to 30-page in-depth downloadable sheet, provide clients with essential information for specific industries.

    “Each one covers the local labor force and different occupations, and how we compare to our competitors. We know that workforce is one of the main drivers with companies these days,” Stephenson said.

    “We also illustrate how we look from an operating cost comparison. How much does it cost for real estate or utilities or taxes, things of that nature, both in Greater Phoenix and our competitor markets? Each one is tailored to the specific assets that matter to that industry.”

    If Greater Phoenix meets the company’s demands, it becomes shortlisted, and the specific city enters the negotiation period alongside GPEC and other partners, depending on the project's scope. This deal period can delve into incentives at the state of municipal level, training subsidies, utility rebates and more.

    The site development team, essential for manufacturing and industrial projects that require newly constructed facilities, is ready to provide valuable insight about optimizing operations in the market. Many companies have never relocated or expanded. GPEC provides connections to community and business leaders who are best suited to get the operation up and running as fast as possible.

    Following site selection, the company will prepare its groundbreaking and future ribbon-cutting in Greater Phoenix, typically with public relations assistance from GPEC’s communications team.

    Looking toward the future

    The job of an economic development organization is never done. GPEC can attract companies to Greater Phoenix, but equally as important is facilitating the development of industries that will allow the region to advance and become an innovation-centric economy rivaled around the world.

    Relationships are what fuel GPEC’s mission. During the #AZFreeToBe, GPEC conducted outreach to thousands of companies, and it’s important to continue engaging those business leaders and sharing information about Greater Phoenix.

    “The plan is to drip information to all of those individuals so that we keep GPEC and the Greater Phoenix region top-of-mind to continue to cultivate those relationships,” Schwab said.

    GPEC’s regional impact data focuses on emerging trends to keep the organization on the cutting-edge of industry development.

    “We want to focus on understanding what makes our region click,” Stephenson said. “Every month, we track various indicators to understand where our region is growing and see if there are industries still struggling.”

    This, in turn, helps the organization target new companies and bolster existing ones in the region.

    Monthly economic impact analyses help depict how a company impacts the region.

    “We can help our communities here. Suppose they’ve got a project that’s considering the region. In that case, we will work with them to understand the direct and indirect tax revenue they’ll collect, the consumer spending generated, and the secondary and tertiary jobs created. Looking at how capital investment, jobs, payroll all factor in,” Stephenson said.

    Mapping projects from GPEC show data points geographically and allow leaders to visualize where companies, industries and residents are centering in the region.

    “As a resilient community, it’s really about not only how we predict what’s going to happen but how we respond to diversity,” Camacho said.

    “The depth of information is becoming increasingly more sophisticated. We need to ensure that our data science team is not only ahead of the trends, but also ahead of how we prepare, source and site information that companies will evaluate during their due diligence process.” 

    Read more regional news at

  • Greater Phoenix becoming global semiconductor industry hub

    Major investment to the Greater Phoenix economy from domestic and international semiconductor companies has presented the region with an opportunity to become a world leader in the industry.

    In 1990, almost 40% of the global semiconductor chain was produced in the U.S., but production capacity is now around 14% and is concentrated in just five states. Arizona has emerged as a leader in the nation.

    TSMC’s $12 billion plant under construction in Phoenix will be the company’s largest footprint in the United States. Intel is investing $20 billion into building two new fabs in Chandler. When complete, the company will have over 15,000 jobs in Arizona and exceed $8.6 billion in annual economic impact. EMD Electronics, a leading material supplier to electronics and semiconductor industries globally, operates a Tempe location. It has filed more than 15,000 patents and patent applications and expects its semiconductor business sector to triple in size from 2014 to 2028.

    There are 40 semiconductor manufacturers and supplier network businesses in the Greater Phoenix Economic Council pipeline that represent 10,000 jobs and $45 billion of new capital investment.

    Leaders from TSMC, Intel and EMD Electronics joined our latest regional report to discuss our report on Greater Phoenix’s position in the semiconductor industry. The panel included:

    • Edward Shober, Executive Advisor to CEO & EVP, Head of Strategy & Business Transformation, EMD Electronics
    • Angela Creedon, Arizona Public Affairs Manager, Intel
    • Peter Cleveland, Vice President, Legal Department, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company
    • Chris Camacho, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council
    • Moderator: Eric Sperling, Managing Director, Social Television Network

    “It’s a tremendous industry. Behind crude oil, processed oil and cars, semiconductors is No. 4 in the world today,” Shober said. “All the future elements of our lives, including healthcare, is tied to semiconductors.”

    GPEC Semiconductor Report Highlights

    • Global supply chains are becoming more diverse as firms seek to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities and mitigate rising geopolitical tensions
    • Semiconductor manufacturers struggle to meet the need for STEM workers
    • Key technologies such as 5G, advanced telecommunications, autonomous and electric vehicles, and materials science have major influence on industry evolution
    • Greater Phoenix has solidified its position as a major U.S. semiconductor manufacturing hub
    • Greater Phoenix will emerge as a global semiconductor hub through investment in basic and applied R&D, skilled workforce development and supply chain reinforcement

    Three major recommendations came from the report:

    • Leverage ongoing STEM investments
    • Advocate for new federally funded R&D programs in Greater Phoenix
    • Support regional business attraction of downstream microelectronics manufacturers

    “We’re unapologetic in our approach of positioning Greater Phoenix to become the top global hub for semiconductors. That’s really a moonshot expectation, but it’s attainable and achievable,” Camacho said. “It takes a community coming together to collaborate, but we have to be very intentional going forward with our partners.”

    Read our semiconductor industry report

    Greater Phoenix’s Operating Advantages

    Since Intel started a legacy of semiconductor operations in Greater Phoenix in the 1980s, the industrial footprint has grown in the region for many reasons. Cleveland said the migration pattern and growth of Greater Phoenix, talent pipeline, land availability and regulatory structure were distinguishing factors during the company’s evaluation phase.

    “Putting 15, 20 billion transistors on a piece of silicon the size of your fingernails is a hard thing to do,” Cleveland said. “What Phoenix has done is created the circumstances and an environment that is very, very welcoming.”

    The education system is a major benefit to the companies as well.

    Intel works with the Maricopa County Community College District on two programs, including the first AI associates degree program in the country. Arizona State University has the largest engineering school in the U.S., which serves as a pipeline to manufacturing businesses throughout the industry.

    “It's a great time to be in Arizona,” Creedon said. “We have a strong talent pipeline, and we have been able to take on things in Arizona that we wouldn't be able to take on in other states.” 

    “We want to embrace ‘glocalization,’ which is be a global company, but be a local company at the same time,” Shober said. “Tremendous opportunity and runway in front of us … I haven't seen this in my 35-year career in this business, so I think it's opportunity rich, but we need to act with urgency and aggressively.”

    Arizona’s Water Position

    Arizona’s water position is far different than other dry western regions. Due to increased conservation and a decrease in agriculture, Arizona is below 1957 water usage levels despite massive population growth. The state has five times more water stored than it uses, and the Colorado River shortage declaration will not impact municipal or residential uses.

    The 1980 Groundwater Management Act provided Arizona with the legal and physical infrastructure to maintain a 100-year assured water supply.

    Even while the state stands above its western peers in terms of water management, semiconductor companies work to conserve and recycle water. 

    TSMC recycles up to 90% of its water. Intel restores and returns 95% of the freshwater it uses, and its goal to have net positive water use by 2030 will be aided by the 12-acre on-site water treatment recycling facility at one of its new fabs.

    “We're in a position to continue to grow high wage jobs but anchoring ourselves with these kind of companies that are continuing to grow and expand here,” Camacho said.

    Fast Facts: Arizona’s Water Position

    Read more regional news at

  • Foreign direct investment is key for Greater Phoenix’s economic future

    Greater Phoenix’s growth within advanced industries has created a greater need for international partnerships. Foreign direct investment (FDI) helps attract jobs, build strong industry clusters, enhance innovation and contribute to economic stability.

    In 2017, Greater Phoenix became the center of a 10-year regional plan of strategies and tactics to secure FDI and ensure agility and adaptability as the market grows.

    Community leaders joined a Greater Phoenix Economic Council ambassador event to discuss the importance of FDI and how the local economy is projected to grow as international investment increases.

    Panelists included:

    • Lexie Pierce, Air Service Development Manager, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
    • Ruth Soberanes, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service
    • Mary Teagarden, Deputy Dean, Thunderbird School of Global Management
    • Moderator: Bethany Bennick, Senior Manager of Domestic and International Engagement, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

    GPEC’s international business attraction efforts will be aided through a newly established partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

    “We will partner together with their centers of excellence all over the world and our various target markets,” said Bennick. “We're going to launch four pilots, alongside each country's manager to develop workshops, digital trade missions and connection opportunities to meet with companies looking to expand in the U.S.”

    “The region is growing in the absolute right direction for the future,” Teagarden said. “I think we will end up being one of the world’s cosmopolitan showcase cities for how to get global right.”

    International trade through Greater Phoenix

    In 2020, $19.7 billion of goods were exported from the state and exports from Arizona companies supported more than 95,000 jobs, Soberanes said.

    More than 122,000 jobs were supported by majority foreign-owned affiliates, and 22% of all exports were from small- to mid-sized companies.

    Top investors in the state come from Canada, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the U.K., and leading sectors include software, IT and business services.

    With the expansion of TSMC into Phoenix, an increase of business interest out of Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries has emerged. Forty-five semiconductor companies, a majority of which are TSMC suppliers, are actively evaluating Greater Phoenix for investment. These projects represent more than 12,000 potential phase-1 jobs and $65.6 billion in capital investment. Coupled with Intel’s $20 billion investment to build two new fabs in Chandler, Ariz., Greater Phoenix is poised to become the leading hub for U.S. chip production.

    “It's not just the investment of that one business itself,” Soberanes said. “It's the opportunity of additional companies that are there to support TSMC but also want to capitalize on their investment here and do business with them.”

    Global Mindset Inventory

    Teagarden, who has studied FDI for more than 30 years and works with companies considering international expansion primarily from Latin America and Southeast Asia, found an important piece of the successful international expansion puzzle when working with a leader of a manufacturing plant in Mexico.

    The business leader was highly successful in Hermosillo, prompting the company to charge him with leading its Chinese expansion. It failed and he was replaced.

    “We sat down and looked at what made him successful in one place versus the other,” Teagarden said. “What emerged (was) cultural literacy. Your ability to understand the subtle, nuanced differences in cultures.”

    In Mexico, it was easier to connect with employees, understand the intricacies of social tact and know the appropriate cultural behaviors. In a vastly different environment, those efforts were unsuccessful.

    Thunderbird developed the Global Mindset Inventory, an approach based on three key areas:

    • Intellectual know-how: knowledge of the business and industry
    • Social know-how: cultural literacy
    • Psychological capital: confidence one has as a leader in a new setting

    “The soft stuff is the hard stuff. Being able to do cross-cultural communication. Being cross-culturally literate is one of the keys to success in foreign direct investment,” Teagarden said. “When you’re thinking about your deals, make sure you have somebody on your team who has cross-cultural insights or develop those insights yourself to really enhance the likelihood that you will be successful.”

    Routing Phoenix on the map

    As domestic and international travel has picked up, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has been a trend-setter. Ten airlines have added 48 markets during the pandemic, and the airport is up to 502 average daily departures to 119 destinations, including daily, direct flights to London, Pierce said.

    The market leads the country in passenger recovery coming out of the pandemic.

    Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, of which Sky Harbor is a part-owner, also added routes during the pandemic and progressed on SkyBridge Arizona, the country’s only joint U.S.-Mexican customs facility.

    These key facets, along with cost-effective operations for carriers operating in the market, have played a role in putting Phoenix on the map. The region has also benefited from the shift in aircraft supply.

    Prior to COVID-19, there was a scarcity of aircraft. Now, there may be an opportunity due to airlines not returning immediately to prior frequencies.

    Pierce said the airport is gathering data to provide a strong rationale for additional international routes to be opened through Greater Phoenix.

    Sky Harbor must show that there is enough demand for more airlines to serve direct international flights. 

    “The fact that we are seeing international companies, foreign direct investment, all of that coming to Phoenix … it’s numbers that will produce traveling executives who will fly all around the world,” Pierce said.

    Read more regional news at


  • Operating Cost Comparison
    Compare major markets across the United States....

  • GPEC's data allows companies to:

    • Perform annual operating cost comparisons across major markets
    • Analyze real estate, labor, utilities, taxes and incentives.
  • Regional Labor Market Data
    Receive labor force analysis...

  • GPEC and companies use these regional labor market data studies to:

    • Provide current wage rates, labor force and skill levels based on occupation and industry
    • Analyze labor force availability data and create custom drive time analysis
    • Connect with local employers for HR insight
  • Site Selection Assistance
    When planning a relocation, GPEC has the tools to help....

  • Site selection assiance tools from GPEC:

    • Aggregate a comprehensive listing of value-based assets, unique buildings and shovel-ready sites
    • Provide easy property search by seize, location, price, zoning and more.

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