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TREO Presents New ‘Blueprint’

Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc.,  released its’ updated ‘Blueprint’ for economic development in Southern Arizona on April 30th.

The Tucson area’s main economic-development agency has adopted a new strategic “blueprint” with a goal of creating nearly 40,000 new jobs in the next five years.

To achieve that lofty goal, the plan adopted by Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. calls for a focus providing a better-qualified workforce and increasing the number of high-wage and high-skill “export-based” jobs — those like manufacturing that bring money to the Tucson region from elsewhere.

The plan also focuses on four expected growth sectors — aerospace and defense; bioscience and health care; alternative energy and natural resources; and transportation and logistics.

Key strategies of the new plan, which was unveiled by TREO Wednesday evening, include developing talent, infrastructure and the business environment — and a new emphasis on boosting Tucson’s status as a healthy community as well as ensuring access to top-notch care.

The industry sectors are largely similar to the industry cluster groups identified in the original 2007 blueprint, but a new approach is necessary, TREO President and CEO Joe Snell said.

“It’s a little thing called the Great Recession that hit us, that changed the landscape — the way we were doing business prior to 2007 was not valid anymore,” said Snell, who was hired to head TREO after its formation in 2005.

From 1954 to 2007, Arizona ranked at or near the top of the states for growth in population, in-migration and jobs growth, but after 2007 the state plummeted to near the bottom in those categories, Snell said.

Progress was made on some goals of the original blueprint, Snell said. An emphasis on foreign direct investment helped along major expansions at places like Ventana Medical Systems, owned by Swiss drug giant Roche AG, and the French drug company Sanofi in Oro Valley. And downtown redevelopment took off on with a major private-sector push, fulfilling a TREO goal of an “urban renaissance,” he said.

The new blueprint is largely about refocusing TREO’s efforts, Snell said.

“What we really did was focus on a limited number of areas that we thought needed some special attention, that if shored up could produce results for us,” he said.

Continue reading the Arizona Daily Star article by David Wichner


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