More than 300 city, county and state lawmakers; business owners, and chamber of commerce executives statewide came to Oro Valley last week for the annual Governor’s Statewide Development Conference.
Now in its 37th year, the conference is held in partnership with the Arizona Association for Economic Development and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
This year’s theme was “A statewide approach – Let’s do this together.”
Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath took part in the three-day conference. He not only benefited from the information, but he also was happy that the town reaped the economic benefits from the event being held locally.
“It’s a big boon for us financially,” he said. “This many people will patronize our hotels, our restaurants and our businesses.”
Marana Mayor Ed Honea said by neighboring Oro Valley, Marana also benefited economically.
“Not only does it bring prestige to Oro Valley, but it also brings groups who will stay at our hotels, and eat at our restaurants,” he said. “They also expand into Tucson, which helps our region.”
This is the third time Oro Valley has been selected to host the conference.
Chris Camacho, president of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED), said Oro Valley is a good central point with great views, and the topic this year really focuses on bringing everyone together.
When it comes to a theme of working together, Hiremath said everyone has to help work on the state’s economic issues.
“We all have to realize we can’t go in alone to fix these tough economic issues we are facing,” he said. “You can’t do it alone, and given all of our resources, there is no reason we should be. I feel like this conference is the turning point for the State of Arizona to fix the state’s economic plight.”
Honea said Marana and Oro Valley are ahead of the game because they have taken an approach to work as partners instead of competitors for a long time.
“We have similar ideas, so it’s easy to work together,” he said. “Working regionally to save money is essential, I definitely support that.”
After three days of economic conferences and workshops, attendees were treated to the governor’s award luncheon on Friday.
While Gov. Jan Brewer did not attend. In her place were Camacho, and Donald Cardon, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), who both spoke during the conference finale.
Camacho stressed the importance of building relationships, and “coming together as friends and as colleagues.”
Cardon said one of the biggest challenges is how “we all work together.”
He stressed the competition for business is increasing worldwide, and the state has to work together to start getting some of those businesses to move here.
Gov. Brewer created the ACA last year. Its mission is to improve business prospects for the state, and create quality jobs by advancing groups.
The AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development.
The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991.