Gov. Jan Brewer has appointed a new council focused on spurring economic development and growth in Arizona. The Governor’s Commerce Advisory Council, comprised of business leaders across the state including former Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamonbacks owner Jerry Colangelo and Pinnacle West/APS CEO Don Brandt, is scheduled to present its findings and proposed plan during the first quarter of 2010.
In a press release on Jan. 4, the Governor’s Office stated her impetus for forming the group was a combination of beginning the year with a serious revenue gap, sustained job loss and high unemployment. The aim of the council is “to identify an economic development model responsive to private sector interests,” that is “attractive to industry clusters and focused on job generation.”
“I’ve tasked this council to outline priorities and recommend actionable next steps for raising the bar and creating a leading statewide economic development model that will advance our economy and create jobs for Arizonans,” said Brewer. “Like all other states, Arizona is in a competition for the improvement of our economy…”
The council, led by Arizona Department of Commerce Director Donald E. Cardon, will also examine the role of the Department of Commerce in private sector job creation, including its current mandates and funding sources. Cardon, whose department is responsible for more than 50 business, workforce assistance and other programs, says his chief goal is to maintain his agency’s mission.
“To say it is difficult to represent the entire state’s competitive position in the global marketplace on such limited resources would be an understatement,” said Cardon. “Frankly, our aim is not to preserve the Department of Commerce, but rather preserve its mission and purpose at a time when the needs of our state and its citizens have never been so financially challenged.”
The seven-member council includes:
Jerry Colangelo, principal, JDMD
Paul Bonavia, CEO, Tucson Electric Power
Don Brandt, CEO, Pinnacle West/APS
Bob Campbell, president, WL Gore
Brad Casper, CEO, Dial Corporation/Henkel
Linda Hunt, president, Catholic Healthcare West Arizona
Roy Vallee, CEO and chairman, Avnet, Inc.
Colangelo said he and the other council members are ready for the challenge.
“We simply must find ways to lead out of these economic challenges as opposed to react to them,” he said. “The members of this Advisory Council are committed to do so and this is not an exercise for us.”