Michael Crow

Arizona State University

If you were to be asked by a site selector, what is the best part of doing business in Tucson, what are the areas you would highlight?

Tucson and Southern Arizona have a great deal to offer to both new and established industries. In addition to its outstanding residents, stunning natural beauty and engaged community, the best part of doing business in this region is its prime location. The area is conveniently located between prolific centers of trade and manufacturing. It boasts access to a diverse pipeline of regional talent, sits in close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, and has the capacity to expand and innovate around established industries, such as defense, aerospace, renewable energy, optics and natural resources. 

Add to that, Tucson sits at one end of Arizona’s “Sun Corridor,” one of America’s top 20 fast-growing “megapolitan” areas that is anticipated to create new and significant opportunities for Southern Arizona’s long-term economic health.

What are some of the emerging trends in your industry that could have an impact locally on site selectors looking at the Tucson region?

Arizona State University is charged with meeting the ever-growing demand for higher education, which is why we are focused on advancing new programs, pathways and technologies that allow us to meet learners where they are. With more people of all ages looking to augment their knowledge, ASU’s Learning Enterprise is dedicated to providing learners with access to all ASU has to offer, regardless of age, geographic location or discipline, and we are excited to provide leading-edge education and reskilling opportunities to all who want them.

Through these efforts and others, ASU is advancing its impact by growing the Arizona workforce and research leadership in critical regional industries. In addition to expanding our offerings to meet the needs of 21st-century learners, we are perpetually re-evaluating social needs at every level to be of greater service. At present, we are focusing significant efforts to align with strategic federal, state and industry interests related to microelectronics, advanced manufacturing, health and biomedical innovation, sustainability and space exploration. 

Aside from the areas you would highlight to a site selector, what are you most optimistic about for the future economic development in the region?

I am most optimistic about Arizona’s enduring pioneering spirit, which is what drew me here more than 20 years ago and which has enabled our comprehensive redesign of ASU as a National Service University prototype. Not every region embraces new ideas, creative opportunities and unique partnerships the way Arizona does. I am encouraged by the heightened level of collaboration in Southern Arizona and across the state between an increasingly large pool of public, private and inter-governmental entities who are interested in driving forward bolder and broader visions of success. This open-minded approach to innovation has helped us to position ASU as a problem-solving, higher-education leader, and it has the tremendous potential to do the same for the health and prosperity of our region. 


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