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SUN CORRIDOR INC.

INNOVATION DESTINATION: Sun Link, also known as the Tucson Streetcar, is a single-line streetcar system that connects riders to five of Tucson’s most unique districts. (Provided photo)

MOMENTUM BUILDS Tucson currently exemplifies Newton’s First Law: bodies in motion, stay in motion. “We are a region in motion,” says Sun Corridor Inc. President and CEO Joe Snell. “We’ve had a dramatic two-year turnaround that has involved a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work. The best times are ahead of us.” Snell’s assertion is an understatement. Economic development for Tucson has become the proverbial snowball that has amassed into a monolith for the entire Southern Arizona region. Since 2015, 55 companies have announced relocations or expansions in the region. Those moves represent 13,770 direct jobs, more than $1.5 billion in capital investment and $19.2 billion in economic impact over the next five years. What catalyst kicked Newton’s First Law into motion for Tucson? “Tucson has historically been filled with a lot of missed opportunity when it comes to the economy,” Snell says. “The main reason being, that we weren’t working collaboratively in years past. The turnaround for us was the great recession. When the recession hit, everything just stopped.” Not only stopped, according to Snell but devastated Tucson, driving unemployment to 11 percent, in addition to creating unprecedented commercial vacancies. 110

AB | May - June 2019

“We had to look at things through a new lens,” Snell says. Under the leadership of Snell, the Sun Corridor Inc. Chairman’s Circle and board of directors established a three-pillar economic development strategy that focused on fostering relationships with education, government, and business leaders. “Education is critical to the development of talent,” Snell says. “A large majority of our board is comprised of leadership from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Pima Community College.” Government relationships have dramatically improved, according to Sun Corridor Inc. Chair David Hutchens, president and CEO of UNS Energy Corp, Tucson Electric Power & UniSource Energy Services. UNITY PAYS OFF “I’ve been involved with Sun Corridor Inc. for over 10 years and have witnessed the transformation of Tucson’s government and municipalities,” Hutchens says. “It used to be that there was an ‘us versus them’ mentality. Now, everyone is collectively setting common economic development goals and pulling in the same direction.” The result of collaboration has been Southern Arizona’s mass attraction of new business builds and relocations.

Profile for AZ Big Media

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...