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Virgil Renzulli VP, Public Affairs Arizona State University




Walter Richter Administrator, Corporate Public Affairs, Southern Arizona Division Southwest Gas

Jonathan Rothschild Mayor City of Tucson

Keri Silvyn Partner Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs Vision for Economic Development

TREO’s Talent Committee, on which Renzulli serves, plays an integral part in Arizona’s economic growth, he said, because the need for highly trained and skilled workers will increase at a time when employers are experiencing a labor shortage. He said the committee can help identify what the business community needs from post-secondary education and vice versa so that goals are met for both.

Vision for Economic Development

Vision for Economic Development

2014 Industry Outlook

Now recognized as the bridge to our renewable energy future, clean-burning natural gas is consistently cited as a key reason for the recent drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Richter is noticing a rising number of fleet vehicles using natural gas and expects that to continue in 2014 and beyond.

Rothschild said improving transportation infrastructure – which includes addressing bottlenecks at the border and Interstate 19, freight and passenger rail, transit, bikeways and walkways – is important because it helps people get to work, adds to our quality of life and is a factor in economic development. Rothschild, who serves on the Regional Economic Development and Infrastructure committees, also sees growing technologies and startups as priorities for our region.

Serving on TREO’s Business Environment Committee allows Silvyn to take an active role in the region’s economic development, which includes portraying a business-friendly perception to the rest of the world. As a longtime proponent of Tucson, she’s able to learn from the past successes while continuing to see future opportunities. She said the backbone of success is a strong, vibrant and diverse business community that welcomes all types of jobs, from entrepreneurs to large corporations.

2014 Industry Outlook

2014 Industry Outlook

The outlook for Tucson is better than it’s been for some time, Rothschild said. Downtown is thriving again, there’s renewed energy and hope and the city is coming together more as a community around common goals. He reports that Tucson’s business incentives are having the intended results and sparking downtown development.

As a land-use specialist, Silvyn sees a positive outlook for the next two years due to the improving national economy and projected growth in Arizona. She predicted an increasing demand for expertise in this area and an ability to bring projects to successful completion.

Vision for Economic Development

The forecast for the state’s university system is good, according to Renzulli. Enrollments are increasing, student quality is improving and the research enterprise ranks among the best in the country. The two problems that continue to present a challenge are scarce resources and the need to strengthen the PreK-12 pipeline.

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Improving our region’s competitiveness is a goal for Southwest Gas and Richter, who contributes his time to TREO’s Business Environment Committee. Creating a business-friendly atmosphere in Southern Arizona is essential, Richter said, for existing businesses to thrive and expand while new companies are attracted to the area. 2014 Industry Outlook

Winter 2014

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The Tucson Region's Business Magazine


The Tucson Region's Business Magazine

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