Winter Issue 2021

From The Publisher –

Farm to Table Inc.

Farming in the desert is nothing new. It dates back thousands of years. Farming here has always depended on human ingenuity to sustain itself, and in the Tucson region, that ingenuity has evolved into culinary creativity leading to Tucson being named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S. five years ago. There’s never been a more important time to preserve this key economic sector and support our local farmers, produce operations and the amazing chefs and restaurants that provide us with culinary creations.

In Arizona, it’s a business with a $23 billion impact, said George Frisvold, professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of Arizona. Additionally, read about StartUp Tucson which recently received a USDA grant to support local food entrepreneurs. Freelance journalist June Hussey provides us with a deep dive into this industry.

As we enter 2021, it is imperative to recognize that Tucson continues to experience life-altering effects of the economic downturn. Years of economic development momentum and collaboration in the Tucson region are paying off in ways no one could have predicted in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 has crippled economies for nearly a year creating uncertainty for families, businesses and our future. Yet, Tucson finds itself in a better position than most for a post-COVID recovery that could set a path for a robust and resilient economic future.

The economic development team at Sun Corridor Inc. is laser-focused on our region’s economic recovery. Sun Corridor Inc. has assembled a blue-ribbon committee of the region’s most prominent business leaders to create a recovery and resiliency plan called “The Pivot Playbook.” This is the centerpiece of a 60-page special report in this edition.

Freelance journalist Jay Gonzales provides us with an in-depth report on the post-COVID recovery. The Sun Corridor Inc. team has identified five focus areas: company recruitment, workforce development/training, shovel-ready real estate and infrastructure, talent recruitment and tourism recovery.

Our next special report is focused on one of our city’s great success stories. Holualoa Companies is a commercial real estate development and investment firm managing more than $3 billion in assets in the U.S. and Europe that has achieved a significant milestone, surpassing 35 years in business. Holualoa oversees a diversified international portfolio of office, retail, industrial, apartment and hotel properties. 

Holualoa’s Founder and Chairman I. Michael Kasser is the ultimate renaissance man: scholar, real estate mogul, avid athlete and philanthropist, who was born during World War II in Hungary. By the time the war ended, the family had nothing. “We lost everything in the war,” said Kasser. As a youth, Kasser exhibited genius – skipping three grades and entering Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 15. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1960, he earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1961 and a doctorate in engineering at the University of Grenoble (France) in 1964. Kasser speaks six languages fluently – Hungarian, Spanish, English, French, German and Italian. 

Kasser’s parents played an integral role in a WWII humanitarian effort and are credited with saving more than 100,000 Jewish lives who were destined for shipment to Auschwitz or other Nazi death camps.  The profile on Mike Kasser and his family is one of the most inspirational stories ever to appear in this magazine. Freelance journalist David Pittman files this in-depth report. There’s also a wonderful story about Kasser’s tremendous philanthropic impact on our community by Rodney Campbell.

As always, we are grateful for our loyal readers, our advertisers and our committed editorial team.

Steven E. Rosenberg

Publisher & Owner

BizTucson

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