Donald E. Cardon
Donald E. Cardon, director of Commerce for the state of Arizona, was the guest of honor during the monthly Marana Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held at the Omni Tucson National. Cardon talked about the need to help Arizona grow, and the commerce being privatized with the approval of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Thelma Grimes/The Explorer

Less than a year after Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order to create the Arizona Commerce Authority, its president and CEO, Donald Cardon, spoke in Marana about the ACA’s progress and challenges to date.

Cardon was the guest speaker during the Marana Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held April 21.

The mission of the ACA is to improve business prospects for the state, and create quality jobs by advancing growth.

Cardon applauded Brewer, who is the ACA board chair, for her decision to separate the Department of Commerce from the public side of government operations, creating a private-sector leadership board.

“The answer for creating business should come from business leaders,” Cardon said. “And, to start, you have to be able to stand up and say really hard things. The biggest thing we need in our state is humility.”

Over the last year, Cardon said ACA has taken all the department of commerce programs, assessed what is needed and what isn’t, and worked to create a productive agency.

After cleaning house internally, Cardon said ACA started looking outside the agency, noting that Arizona is not connected well in the market.

Increasing from a $4 million budget to a $35 million budget this year, Cardon said they are looking in Europe, Canada and Mexico to market the state, and hopefully at some point bring in more big businesses, such as Raytheon.

“My focus is on the economy, and I am going for it,” he said.

Looking at businesses already operating in the state, Cardon said they hope to communicate with more chamber of commerce boards to improve standards.

Being a former business owner, Cardon said he recognizes the struggles small businesses are having to meet payroll, pay taxes and stay open.

To find out more about the ACA, log on the website at http://www.azcommerce.com/Home

Reporter Thelma Grimes can be reached at 797-4384 or by email at tgrimes@explorernews.com.

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