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How Team Arizona Clinched a 1,000-Job Deal

After all the data is collected and all the pitches made, closing a site selection deal comes down to understanding the client’s needs, solving its problems and overcoming objections. And In Arizona, it's a team effort. That effort paid off recently with metro Phoenix gaining $8.2 million in annual payroll and 1,000 jobs.

Article by Eric Jay Toll, Reporter Phoenix Business Journal

And in Arizona, it's a team effort. That effort paid off recently with metro Phoenix gaining $8.2 million in annual payroll and 1,000 jobs.

“Under Gov. (Doug) Ducey, it’s a team effort,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of Arizona Commerce Authority. “We bring together state, regional and local groups to pull in the leaders and find solutions.”

The Team Arizona process works whether or not ACA is involved. The state agency is focused on high value, targeted industries. Greater Phoenix Economic Council, which is the regional economic development agency, works with virtually all businesses looking to relocate into the Valley.

Another player in Arizona's efforts is Maricopa Corporate College.

“Ten to 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be involved in a relocation," said Gene Giovannini, president of Maricopa Corporate College. "Today, MCC is at the table on almost every one.”

MCOR, as it’s called around the school, is custom-tailored education for businesses in the Valley. The community college, which draws faculty and resources from its own pool and the other MCC campuses, works with companies to develop the workforce pipeline.

Team Arizona, as Watson calls it, is drawn from a pool of nearly 100 organizations and business leaders, depending on the candidate company’s sector.

“When there is technology involved, the Arizona Technology Council is talking with talent acquisition,” said Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the council. “We’re asked to meet with individuals or groups to talk about three aspects of being in the state.”

Zylstra explains the role of the Arizona Technology Council itself, and how the company can find a voice within that group. He’ll connect them to council membership to talk about talent recruitment, retention and opportunities. The third point he makes is to connect the company into the existing technology ecosystem.

“This is an opportunity to show engagement,” Zylstra said. “And it’s answers questions in a unique way.”

The Technology Council had a role with both Zenefits and the 1,000-employee firm looking at the Valley.

“We were aware of Weebly and Yelp already in the market and knew that they really liked Scottsdale,” said Parker Conrad, founder and CEO of Zenefits. “We didn’t realize the depth of the ecosystem until we started talking to people in the market.”

Conrad wasn’t the only one impressed with what the non-economic development team had to say.

“It wasn’t a rah-rah sales pitch from the business people we talked with,” said an executive with the 1000-job company, speaking on background due to non-disclosure agreements. “We got straight answers from others in our field. We also found extreme flexibility and responsiveness from Arizona State University, the community college and private colleges. It made a difference.”

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