OUR REGION: GENUINE PEOPLE, UNDISCOVERED OPPORTUNITY
When Brad Vynalek, one of GPEC’s board members and partner at Quarles & Brady, is able to get away from his office for a few hours, you’re likely to find him partaking in Greater Phoenix’s world-class restaurant scene; enjoying a slice of Neapolitan-style pizza at Cibo, or the famous green chile potato from Richardsons. People don’t always think of fine dining when they think of Greater Phoenix, but that’s just one of the many things he says people might not realize about the region.
From abundant outdoor activities—including hiking, skiing, water sports and rock climbing—to the vibrant downtown core—accented by art galleries, coffee shops, craft breweries and major sporting events—Greater Phoenix has a lot to offer those willing to take a look.
The accessibility of these and other opportunities drew Vynalek to plant roots in Greater Phoenix more than 17 years ago. After attending law school at the University of Arizona in Tucson, he was faced with a decision about where to begin his career. He was struck by the prospects he saw in Phoenix. “The city was a blank canvass, in a sense. I could create my career however I wanted. There was opportunity here, and I could be in charge of that opportunity.”
But the opportunity Vynalek found in Greater Phoenix wasn’t limited to his career—he also saw possibilities for his family. Through his children’s school, St. Francis Xavier, the family has found a supportive community and myriad of activities for the children to participate in, including soccer and baseball.
This feeling of possibility is echoed by many who call Greater Phoenix home. There is a real sense that this is a place where traditional constraints and limitations don’t exist. The Greater Phoenix Economic Council is helping companies recognize the value of doing business in this type of progressive business environment. Greater Phoenix is a young region where someone with a good idea can find the tools, resources and support needed to see it through. “The people here are friendly and there is a genuine openness in the community,” said Vynalek. “I think people are surprised by the energy and the vibe.”
Greater Phoenix’s entrepreneurial culture is being fueled by an influx of technology companies migrating from California, infusing fresh ideas, talent and unprecedented investment into the region. Businesses are recognizing not only the high quality of life afforded to those who live in Greater Phoenix, but also the bottom line benefits of doing business here: low operational costs, access to a large, talented workforce, an efficient transportation system, proximity to major markets and a supportive business climate.
Leading the effort to attract quality jobs and employers to the region is the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, who, according the Vynalek, has been integral to his professional success. “GPEC introduced me to the right people and helps our firm make the right connections. GPEC’s relentless efforts to realize Greater Phoenix’s potential, from an economic standpoint, benefits us all.”
This commitment to shaping Greater Phoenix’s future is heralded not just by GPEC, but in government offices and boardrooms across the region. Beyond the posh eateries, historic neighborhoods and abundant sunshine, Greater Phoenix is a place where business, government and nonprofit work collaboratively to create a thriving metropolitan region where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential. In this “moderately undiscovered” region where the traditional hierarchies and rules of business don’t apply, “the ability to make an impact is deep,” said Vynalek.
As Greater Phoenix continues to scale, increased investment from national and international tech companies and entrepreneurs will play a role in shaping the region’s identity. “There is a cool, urban core in central Phoenix that is playing out,” said Vynalek. “And it’s only getting better.”
Photo credit: Stefanie Carson