President & CEO, Chicanos Por La Causa

What are some of the ways you have seen collaboration between the various economic development partners improve over the last several years?

Beyond Zoom calls and baking sourdough bread, we’ve all learned many important lessons from the pandemic, and one of the big lessons has been that we are all in this together and must rely on each other. I think we previously understood that from a macro, 30,000-feet-above-the-ground level, but it really hit home on the micro level when all businesses, nonprofits, communities, government, education groups and individuals better understood the dynamics in relation to how everything – absolutely everything – is connected in one way or another, or more accurately in several different ways, big and small.

Which economic development “victories” over the years have had the most impact on your business and why? 

There have been so many, including helping improve the housing crisis through various ways. In fact, I am pleased to accept the Housing Visionary Award awarded to CPLC at the National Housing Conference in Washington, D.C., for our work in this area. Understanding the positive or negative social determinants concerning housing as a community and family investment, we will continue to address the mounting challenge of affordable housing in the coming years, as will other organizations and entities, by building and overseeing the development of more affordable homes.

What are some issues that you think need more or better collaboration and how wouldyou begin to address those? 

We still need to continue to amplify and spread the word about Sun Corridor Inc. – about what that means in terms of economic development not just for Southern Arizona and the state, but for the region and the United States. Sun Corridor is a work in progress working for progress. It’s about connecting not only locations but commerce, health, education and culture. It’s both pragmatic and aspirational, as it should be. The pandemic put us a little behind in terms of time and delayed opportunities. But I believe as we have more examples of collaboration, as we recover and can chronicle and showcase such collaborations, we can quickly regain lost ground and, in fact, find fresh common ground toward achieving our goals, with Sun Corridor becoming a highly recognized and highly respected brand and living blueprint for success.

If you were involved in the recruitment of a company to the region, what are the top selling points of the region that you would want to communicate to a prospective employer? 

We’ve got space! This has been of particular interest during the pandemic, to promote the safety of more elbow room, and encourage new building. But we also have space for innovation and collaborative creation, for social impact as well as business growth, and for hosting extended assignments and visiting work teams and research teams, and the community developers and industry growth experts to liaison and assist with the business as well as the quality-of-life aspects of thriving in Southern Arizona. That’s a big plus.

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