As I think about the 22 cities and the millions of people and families in this region, here is the Greater Phoenix I want to see in 2040.

Our region’s leaders are creating the Greater Phoenix of tomorrow. Here’s what it will look like.

Published: 10/30/2019
Updated: 12/23/2019

By Chris Camacho, GPEC president and CEO

Since 1989, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has helped create one of the strongest regional brands in the country. For the last decade, I have had the privilege of working with our region’s civic and business leaders to position Greater Phoenix as the location of choice for innovative companies and entrepreneurs.

We are proud of what we’ve accomplished.

But the best is yet to come.

Our future is brighter than it has ever been. Because of the work this region’s visionaries started 30 years ago when they came together to form GPEC, Greater Phoenix is poised to cement its status as an important driver of future technology. This region is becoming a hub of multiple technologies slated to change the global economy and advance the way we live.

Technology and innovation will define Greater Phoenix, and that evolution is already happening.

As I think about the 22 cities and the millions of people and families in this region, here is the Greater Phoenix I want to see in 2040:

I want to see a region that fully embraces its potential as a multi-cultural hub of the world’s best talent.

We hear every day from CEOs and HR directors from across the country. Recruiting qualified, capable, highly-skilled talent is the single greatest challenge facing most companies today. Establishing a talent pipeline is also the number one challenge facing most communities.

Greater Phoenix has always been a region that attracts dynamic people of all types and from all places who are ready to write their next chapter. On average, 200 new residents arrive in Greater Phoenix every day. Those new arrivals bring experience, talent and a desire to build a better life.

Year after year, thousands of skilled, talented people choose Greater Phoenix as their new home.

People have always been this region’s greatest strength.

In the next 20 years, I hope we continue to recognize that.

We will continue to lessen our dependence on any one single industry.

The Greater Phoenix of 2019 is not the Greater Phoenix of 2005.

Yes, construction and growth will always be one of our biggest economic drivers. From July 2017 to July 2018, Greater Phoenix welcomed 62,000 new residents, the most of any city in America during those 12 months—but we are so much more than great weather and the strong real estate market it helps create. We are becoming a destination for emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, medical technology, blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables.

Greater Phoenix is truly becoming the connected place—but our potential is even greater than “just” emerging technologies. Our world-class healthcare providers will continue to drive a constantly growing health-tourism industry. Our physical infrastructure and proximity to California, Mexico, and even Central and South America make this region a great location for supply chain-focused companies.

Spend one winter in the Midwest, and you’ll understand why construction is always a big part of our economy—and that’s great—but by 2040, our growth will be driven to an even greater degree by our people, our culture, and the communities we’ve built.

By 2040, we will have long ago adopted the idea that we are greater together.

By 2040, I want to see the idea that we are greater together expand beyond the 22 cities that make up our metropolitan area. By 2040, I want Greater Phoenix to achieve its true potential.

I want this community to be the driving force of a mega-region that stretches from our partners across the border in Mexico, north to Nevada, east to the Texas border, west to California and compete globally with our collective assets.

Before that can happen, though, we need to stay laser-focused on making sure Greater Phoenix remains committed to becoming greater together. If we do that, the business and civic leaders of our community can build a future brighter than even the sunniest Arizona afternoon.

There is a lot of work to do over the next 20 years.

Thirty years ago, Barron’s ran a legendary article titled “Phoenix Descending: Is Boomtown U.S.A. going bust?” We responded by rising from that criticism and embracing regionalism, cooperation, innovation, and a willingness to take risks.

We are standing at the edge of incredible opportunity.

Now, let’s go make that opportunity a reality, and let’s do it together.