Economic development initiative continues to score for Chandler
Chandler’s recent success in attracting more employers to their commercial and business sector continues at an impressive pace and is largely orchestrated by the staff in the city’s Economic Development Department.
Christine Mackay, as the department director, leads the team effort to increase the number of jobs and investment in the southeast valley.
She spoke of their accomplishments during a presentation on June 26, at the annual Economic Update, hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve added nearly 4,800 jobs to Chandler this fiscal year, which is a high number for us,” said Mackay.
In addition, she referenced other new business transactions that occurred in Chandler during the last few months:
• Garmin, the world leader in Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) devices will expand its operations with a new 60,000 square-foot building in the Chandler Corporate Center where it has leased space for the last five years.
• Nationstar opened a new call and loan processing center, and expects to hire for 1,200 new positions located in the Continuum Science & Technology Park in Chandler’s Price Corridor. The company is one of the nation’s leading mortgage servicers and lenders.
• GM selected Chandler as the site of its fourth Information Technology Innovation Center and
expects to invest $21 million in the new Chandler facility and hire 1,000 high-wage employees over the next five years.
• A new executive business park broke ground along the new Ryan-Chandler Freeway, off the 202 and 56th Street.
The upward direction of growth in Chandler is the result, says MacKay, of a creating a solid long-term plan, developing the needed infrastructure and transportation corridor, and educating and importing a well-qualified workforce.
“In my experience, one of the key factors a company uses to determine its location is to move near a high-quality workforce,” said MacKay.
“Business executives want to move to where prospective employees are well-educated and to a place where their children also will receive a good education.”
The need to maintain a steady supply of employees is such a concern that MacKay says she regularly includes staff from nearby school districts, particularly Kyrene, to be present during pitches to prospective business leaders.
Mackay has worked on deals that resulted in bringing more than 150 companies to Chandler along with an estimated 20,000 high-wage jobs, in her 15 years with the city. She says that Chandler withstood the economic downturn in the Valley because it never wavered from its plan.
“I tell people that if a city has a good plan, it will weather the inevitable cycles in the economy,” said MacKay.
All this business expansion is an example of Chandler’s strength in vying for technology companies. In fact, Dr. Michael Crow, the president of ASU, recently was quoted as saying, “Chandler is the high-tech corridor of the Southwest.”
Despite their current success in attracting new business to Chandler, the Economic Development staff is not sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring.
“We have a robust strategy to market the city and that includes being an active participant in the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; working with our neighboring cities of Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe on projects; and attending trade shoes to attract out-of-state businesses,” said MacKay.
More information on Chandler’s Economic Development efforts is on their website at: www.chandleraz.gov .