Saturday, March 20, 2010

AZIGG April 5th Sponsored by ServerLIFT and SRP Telecom

In addition to our annual Chairman and CEO sponsors, two important companies based in Arizona serving the data center industry are sponsoring our April 5th event. Welcome to ServerLIFT Corporation and SRP Telecom!

"The World's Data Is Coming to Phoenix: Data Centers in AZ"
A Discussion with Arizona IT Business Leaders
Monday, April 5th, 7:30am - 9:00am

Rick Crutchley - VP and GM of CoreLink DataCenters
Brad Smidt - VP of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)
Greg Davit - Channel Business Development Officer of i/o Data Centers
Also Featuring Dave Rice - CEO of TrueCloud
and Joe Ingram - Partner at Tenzing Corporation

Sponsored by ServerLIFT Corporation
and SRP Telecom

With Arizona Technology Council Critical Facilities Group and SIM Arizona
On April 5th at ASU-SkySong in Scottsdale we'll discuss the data center industry in Arizona from the perspective of GPEC and leading data center and technology executives in the Valley. The event is sponsored by Tempe-based SRP Telecom and Phoenix-based ServerLIFT Corporation. ServerLIFT supplies data center server lifting devices for Google, Cisco, IBM, Wells Fargo, Scotland Yard and many other corporations, government organizations and institutions worldwide.
Thanks also to AZIGG Chairman sponsors including Snell & Wilmer LLP

Date: April 5th
Time: 7:30 - 9:00am (networking starts at 7am)
Location: ASU Skysong in Scottsdale, 1st Floor Conference Area
Investment $15 includes coffee and pastries

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Defense and Aerospace Jobs in Arizona Are Worth Fighting For

Defense and Aerospace Jobs Are Ones Worth Fighting For, by Glenn Hamer *

With two wars being waged and with an economy struggling to gain strength, perhaps no other industry finds itself in a position of importance like the defense and aerospace industry does right now.

In Arizona, companies like Honeywell, Boeing, General Dynamics and Raytheon are playing a critical role in equipping our nation's men and women who are serving in harm's way. They are also responsible for employing tens of thousands of Arizonans and making significant contributions to the state's economy.

A new policy brief by the Arizona Chamber Foundation looks closely at the importance of defense and aerospace to Arizona and shows why our state's leaders should unite to protect and promote the industry's growth in the state.

According to the analysis, defense and aerospace is responsible for over 35,000 jobs in the state and represents 21% of total manufacturing jobs in Arizona. And defense and aerospace jobs are desirable ones too, paying an average annual salary of $85,000, which is more than double the average Arizona salary across all industries.

But we shouldn't be satisfied with these encouraging statistics. If anything, they should spur us to act to ensure that defense and aerospace companies continue to grow in the state. If we take these jobs for granted, we stand to see them slip away as other states present a united front of a Congressional delegation, governor, legislature and business community committed to attracting these highly sought employers to their state.

Arizona's legislative leaders recognize the challenge ahead of us. Speaker of the House Kirk Adams has made a bold play by introducing a sweeping job-creation bill, HB 2250, which seeks to attract and retain companies like those in the defense and aerospace sector. The bill, which has already passed the House, may be the boldest and most aggressive set of tax reform and economic development tools ever proposed to attract and retain base industries.

The effect defense and aerospace companies can have across numerous industrial sectors cannot be overstated. When a large prime contractor wins a major federal contract, it doesn't only mean increased hiring and growth for the winning company. The prime contractor then connects with a supplier for parts and labor, creating jobs downstream. That supplier then creates demand from yet another supplier for parts and labor, and the process continues.

But the positive economic effect isn't just felt in the defense and aerospace sector. As companies connected to the prime contractor grow, so do other businesses in the community - from homebuilders to drycleaners - to meet the consumption demand of the prime contractor and their suppliers' employees. For example, consumer spending initiated by Boeing employees and the subsequent multiplier effect supported an additional 4,100 jobs and generated $15 million in state and local tax revenue.

We've all seen the push in policymaking and economic development circles to promote the growth of export-based industries in our state. Perhaps no industry fits that bill better than defense and aerospace, which is responsible for attracting millions of dollars from outside the state. Boeing's out-of-state operations alone spent $643 million on products from Arizona suppliers.

All of this affects real companies and real people.

Pivot Manufacturing is a Phoenix-based company with 18 employees headed by Steve Macias, a third-generation Arizonan. Steve's company's annual revenues average over $2.5 million and it counts as its customers respected companies like General Dynamics, Raytheon and BAE Systems.

The fight to keep and attract defense and aerospace companies, ranging from Fortune 500 prime contractors to companies like Pivot, is intense. And it's one that's being waged across the country as states are employing every economic development strategy at their disposal to grow their way out of this Great Recession.

It's a battle that calls for a K-12 system that turns out the best and brightest and a university system that provides a steady flow of qualified workers. These sensitive Defense Department programs can't simply outsource their work overseas or import workers into the U.S. A commitment from state and local government leaders is essential to foster an environment that ensures our state remains a desirable place to set up shop.

If we don't use every tool in our toolbox, from tax reform, to increased education standards, to regulatory reform, we stand to lose companies with a long history of contributing to our economy and our communities. And even worse, we'll fail to create an environment for the next entrepreneur to build a company here in Arizona.

* Glenn Hamer is President and CEO of the The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an organization based in Phoenix that is committed to advancing Arizona's competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans

Join the Arizona Chamber and subscribe to the Bottom Line:

For more information on Defense and Aerospace in Arizona, read the article: "Industry accounts for over 35,000 jobs, 21% of total manufacturing jobs in state"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All About Data Centers in Arizona April 5th

"The World's Data Is Coming to Phoenix: Data Centers in Arizona"
A Panel Discussion with Arizona IT Business Leaders
Monday, April 5th, 7:30am - 9:00am

Rick Crutchley - VP and GM of CoreLink DataCenters
Brad Smidt - Vice President of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)
Greg Davit - Channel Business Development Officer of i/o Data Centers

Sponsored by Phoenix-based ServerLIFT Corporation
Also Featuring Dave Rice - CEO of TrueCloud
and Joe Ingram - Partner at Tenzing Corporation

With Arizona Technology Council Critical Facilities Group and SIM Arizona
Networking starts at 7:00am in the first floor conference room.
ASU SkySong, Room 150, Scottsdale (SE Corner Scottsdale/McDowell Roads)

On April 5th at ASU-SkySong in Scottsdale we'll discuss the data center industry in Phoenix and Arizona from the perspective of GPEC and leading data center and technology executives in the Valley. The event is sponsored by Phoenix based ServerLIFT Corporation, which supplies data center lifting devices for Scotland Yard, the Royal Mounted Police and public and private firms like Citibank, IBM, Google, Cisco and many others worldwide. Not to be missed if you're a business in IT.

Investment $15 includes coffee and pastries
RSVP here:
All the best, Doug Bruhnke

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank you Phoenix Business Journal

Thank you to Mike Sunnucks, Patrick O'Grady and Ilana Lowery of the Phoenix Business Journal for editing my quotation referenced in the previous blog posting. It's an online story and they immediately responded to my concerns. That goes to the total professionalism of the Journal - thank you for all you do for our business community.

The Journal didn't change the 'Creep In' comment, but I figure that's editorial license. I think it's the wrong connotation, but I'm glad they're covering international business in Arizona!

All the best, Doug

ps update 3/13/10...The story in the print version deleted the 'Creep In' comment. The title became "Most Chinese solar investments in US fly under the radar".

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anti-Foreigner Sentiment Has No Place in the Business Press

Make no mistake: we love the Phoenix Business Journal. Don Henninger, Patrick O'Grady and Ilana Lowery are heroes for Arizona and Arizona business. They are strong supporters of growth in the Valley of the Sun and beyond.

Sometimes there are missteps, however, and Saturday's online article entitled "China's influence creeps into Arizona's solar" is one of them. No one is 'creeping in' to Arizona except criminals under the radar of the law. China is not a criminal, and neither are the companies like Suntech that are locating here - at least not any more or less than American companies. The Chinese like Americans are people - for better and for worse. Broad brushing a country or set of companies as 'creeping in' to our state is just creepy, and wrong.

We need investment by foreign companies in our state. You can find out more why it's so important at GPEC like others in economic development for Arizona are heroes for our future. And they're certainly not allowing anyone to creep in. All companies and countries are welcomed with open arms.

You can read more about the positive impact that GPEC and others are having attracting companies to Arizona from around the US and the world on their website. And you can read Saturday's article in the Phoenix Business Journal and more commentary here:

More good news: the anti-foreigner sentiment that I'm sure was unintentional in the Phoenix Business Journal article is fading away year-by-year in Arizona and the US. We're focused on long-term sustainable growth and increasing jobs with a broad industrial base that includes foreign direct investment (FDI).

All the best, Doug Bruhnke

Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Canadians at AZIGG Discuss Arizona-Canada Trade

We enjoyed the presentations and discussion with Rick Stephenson, Chantal Ramsay and Glenn Williamson at the Arizona International Growth Group on Monday.

Rick Stephenson (Consul and Senior Trade Commisioner of Consulate of Canada) kicked things off and discussed progress and opportunities with trade, investment, R&D partnerships and foreign direct investment (FDI). He mentioned that there are approximately 126 Canadian companies in Arizona that employ over 16,000 Arizonans. The largest is Circle K, headquartered in Montreal, but also includes Stantech Engineering and Bombardier Aerospace.

Rick pointed out that the these 'foreign' companies end up employing mostly local people and pull in other investment dollars from around the US. For instance the rail system being built at the airport is being managed by a Canadian company but the rail cars are being designed and built in Pennsylvania.

Chantal Ramsay (Consul at the Ontario International Marketing Centre in the Canadian Consulate General - Los Angeles) talked primarily about the leading edge clean energy initiatives going on in Ontario. They are phasing out coal energy in 2014, and Ontario is taking 4 coal plants off line in 2010, earlier than anticipated. Ontario's energy mix includes nuclear and hydroelectric power and it is growing the renewable energy portfolio, including wind and solar in order to make up for the loss of coal. Ontario has the most aggressive feed-in tariff in North America, and so companies that are green are very welcome. Also Ontrario encourages and attracts conservation and energy efficiency companies.

Glenn Williamson (CEO of Nest Ventures and Founder/CEO of The Canada Arizona Business Council) wrapped things up with an excellent summary of successes and opportunities. The number one need: international lift in Phoenix. We need more direct international flights, and Glenn pointed out that the City - including Mike Shelton who was present - are working hard with the airlines to get this done. Phoenix is the #5 city in the US and does not have a direct flight to Montreal the #1 city in Canada. And so much work needs to be done to increase from the current 80 direct flights between Canada and Arizona today.

Glenn also pointed out that Canada is over-capitalized and Arizona is under-capitalized, and that disparity drives a lot of the success between the two regions. The Toronto Stock Exchange is active in Arizona through a relationship with ACG.

Thank you to Rick, Chantal and Glenn. Canada is so much more than curling and hockey! The trade success between Canada and Arizona is a tremendous model for other regions to study and learn from. And we can make so much more progress, too - let's keep it going.

Our next AZIGG event is April 5th: "The World's Data Is Coming to Phoenix". We'll be talking about how Phoenix continues to successfully attract companies and data centers into the region and what the future holds. Panelists and participants will include Rick Crutchley, COO of CoreLink Data Centers, Brad Smidt, VP of GPEC and Ray Zuckerman CEO of ServerLIFT. We are also finalizing who from i/o datacenters will attend. Our April 5th event is put on in cooperation with the Arizona Technology Council and SIM - the Society of Information Management.

All the best, Doug Bruhnke