Companies choose Greater Phoenix to relocate and expand
Prenexus Health, Optima Tax Relief, Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, and Nikola Motor Company share their Greater Phoenix relocation stories
One of Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s (GPEC) main objectives is to increase the number of jobs in Greater Phoenix and help the economy thrive by bringing major businesses to Arizona. Coincidentally on Arizona’s 107th birthday, GPEC celebrated with almost 100 attendees at an Ambassador event panel where business leaders discussed the process and outcome of moving their operation to Greater Phoenix.
Thomas Maynard, vice president of business development at GPEC, moderated the locate panel which included Tim Brummels, CEO, president and co-founder of Prenexus Health, Inc.; Ben Simpson, vice president of Optima Tax Relief‘s Phoenix Operations; Tom Wilverding, president of Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, Inc.; and Britton Worthen, Chief Legal Officer of Nikola Motor Company.
Our panelists discussed the journey their businesses took to reach Greater Phoenix and what they hope to achieve here in the future.
Describe your company’s site selection process and why you ultimately chose Greater Phoenix?
Each panelist had a similar story about what brought their businesses to Greater Phoenix, including the low maintenance weather and their attraction to the region’s talented, educated workforce – from Arizona universities to the Maricopa County Community Colleges. After comparing Arizona to other potential locations such as Nevada, South Carolina and Texas, these locates realized that not only does Greater Phoenix currently have plenty to offer, but what the region currently offers is improving at an exponential rate.
In July 2017, Simpson led Optima’s site selection process for an office in Chandler, Ariz., their first office outside of California. Now, Simpson oversees 54 employees with plans to grow to 100 by the end of 2019. Before selecting Arizona, Simpson said Optima considered Florida, Utah and Nevada.
“Once we dug more into the Greater Phoenix area and talked with people at GPEC and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), it became apparent that Phoenix is a very business-friendly state, specifically wanted our business, and had a good blend of family values and talent.”
Prenexus Health selected Gilbert, Ariz. as their prebiotic ingredient manufacturing and corporate headquarters with time, talent and treasure in mind, Brummels said. He also mentioned that they are currently working with Buckeye and Casa Grande to get their crops closer to their headquarters to eliminate time and costs.
Before Nikola Motor Company opened a location in Greater Phoenix, they had about nine different states in mind including Arizona, said Worthen.
“By the time we finished our prototype, we knew we needed to find a place where we could manufacture this truck that had the right supportive environment for an educated workforce, regulation, and an embracement of autonomous vehicles,” said Worthen.
Based on your personal experience, what were your first impressions of Arizona?
Many of the panelists chimed in about their personal experiences of moving to Greater Phoenix with their families and colleagues. Those who did move to Greater Phoenix expressed how simple it was and their realization of who else was moving to the region.
“I love the fact that you have so many different people from all over the country that land in Phoenix, find out they love it, and stay here,” Britton said. “It creates a unique environment.
By comparing Arizona to other states in the east, Britton mentioned how Arizona has become a melting pot of people over the past few years and that in this region “you are looked at and valued on what you can bring to the table, not what your family name is or how long you have been here.”
After opening Optima’s office in Chandler, Simpson said he noticed that it can be challenging to find native Arizonans, noting the melting pot effect.
“When we are trying to get vendors and network, it was important that we have someone who knows the area well,” Simpson said, also mentioning their current Arizona resident employee base of 30 percent.
What are your plans of operation to continue growth in the area?
The panelists agreed that they would like to hire more local residents to their Greater Phoenix operations instead of outsourcing talent and increase their overall number of employees.
Wilverding, the president of Central Admixture Pharmacy Services, Inc., the nation’s largest network of outsourcing admixture pharmacies, mentioned that their Greater Phoenix locate currently has 40 employees. They have been hiring a broad range of talents from PhD, chemists, to warehousing.
Wilverding said they plan to have 400 employees in the next three years and hope that about 80 percent of those employees will be Arizona residents.
After moving to Greater Phoenix last summer with 40 employees, Nikola has now reached 90, and expects to double their number of employees by the end of 2019. In just a few years, they hope to reach 3,000 new hires. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Worthen recounted that “at the end of the day, Phoenix won our hearts.”
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