DAVID G. HUTCHENS
President & CEO, Fortis Inc.
Immediate Past Chair – Sun Corridor Inc.
To what do you attribute some of the improvements in collaboration between the various entities involved in the region’s economic development? In other words, why has the environment improved over the years?
The most important element has been trust. Years ago, many of the companies, governments and other groups that cared about economic development were focused on executing our own plans to promote it, partly because we didn’t know what other stakeholders were doing and whether they were as invested as we were.
But Sun Corridor Inc. has given each of us a way to prove our commitment to our region’s economic success. And now that we’re all working together, we can see how much everyone is bringing to the table and share in the development of strategies that make sense for everyone. That, in turn, lets each of us focus on what we do best, avoiding overlapping efforts and contributing to greater success.
Two of the top focus areas in the Pivot Playbook recovery plan are infrastructure and talent acquisition. Within those two focus areas, what are the most pressing issues for your organization and what can your organization do to address those?
TEP’s plan to transition to cleaner, less carbon-intensive resources will require significant investments in new infrastructure, including wind and solar generation, energy storage systems, upgraded transmission lines, and other necessary facilities. Its most pressing challenge is to develop that infrastructure at a pace that maintains both reliability and affordability while achieving its resource planning objectives.
When it comes to talent, we’re focused right now on talent retention – fending off the impacts of the pandemic and other forces that have contributed to what some are calling the “great resignation.” We’re focused on promoting engagement among our employees, making sure they have everything they need to succeed and feel welcome and included in everything we do.
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?
Wearing my Sun Corridor hat, I’d highlight our strategic location, world-class integration between the research, education and business communities and the resilience of our local supply chain. But because personal factors also play into these decisions, I’d also point out that, to me, Tucson has always seemed to be a perfectly sized city, large enough to provide world-class amenities and opportunities, but small enough to support an ideal quality of life.
In what ways can you, as a member of the Sun Corridor Inc. Chairman’s Circle, contribute to continuing the momentum that has been generated in the region in recent years?
As a longtime Tucsonan serving as CEO of a Canadian company, I’m in a unique position to promote our community internationally. We already have a surprising amount of collaboration despite the physical distance that separates Arizona from Canada, with 500 Canadian-owned companies employing more than 146,000 Arizona residents.