TEP’s collaboration with a regional economic development organization is helping to stimulate job growth and expand business in the Southern Arizona region.
For 17 years, TEP has maintained membership in Sun Corridor, an alliance that drives business investments. Sun Corridor has helped nearly 200 companies locate or expand here since its inception in 2005, resulting in an economic impact of $32 billion and nearly 55,000 jobs.
Laura Shaw, Senior Vice President of Sun Corridor, said TEP is a critical partner in this growth.
“In order to attract and help local companies expand, there has to be infrastructure in place to support their needs,” Shaw said. “Power supplied by TEP and other utilities and their business support are central to the region’s economic development success.”
Susan Gray, TEP President and Chief Executive Officer, sits on Sun Corridor’s Chairman’s Circle. Dave Hutchens, former TEP CEO and current CEO of Fortis Inc., TEP’s parent company, is the immediate past chair.
Susan Dumon, Sun Corridor’s Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness, said TEP is often the first call when certain businesses are considering local locations.
“More than 75 percent of the qualified projects we have worked to recruit to Southern Arizona in the last couple of years are manufacturing projects across a variety of industries,” Dumon said. “One of the key components that determines the viability of a manufacturing project at a particular location is the company’s ability to access a large amount of highly reliable and redundant power.”
TEP works with Sun Corridor to find sites that are best suited to meet the power needs of a prospective employer. Currently, Sun Corridor and TEP are actively pursuing projects in the areas of automotive/electric vehicle supply chain manufacturing, electric vehicle battery manufacturing, and the semiconductor supply chain.
Camila Martins-Bekat, TEP’s Senior Market Development Representative, regularly participates in site visits and meetings with Sun Corridor to convince businesses to grow in Southern Arizona. In addition to providing information about electricity, TEP also shares our positive experience as a large employer in the community.
“I think it helps paint the overarching picture and the essence of what it means to do business in Tucson,” Martins-Bekat said. “Having us collaborate with the regional economic development entity ensures we are in those conversations early on so a company makes a site selection decision with a full understanding of what it will take to do business in our service territory.
Sun Corridor informs prospective employers about TEP’s strong reliability and commitment to a clean energy future during pitches. Since 2018, TEP has invested nearly $1.8 billion to upgrade our energy systems to reliably serve our growing community’s expanding energy needs. Our investments include renewable energy projects as well as grid, transmission and resource upgrades. Learn more about TEP’s investments.
“Not only do our clients need to know what the immediate power situation is, we need to know what the future holds,” Shaw said.
TEP’s leadership in developing long-term strategies and investments for our community are important selling points to companies considering moving here.
“Infrastructure is our business, so we never take it for granted,” Gray said. “Our projects have long lead times, particularly for new customers with significant electrical needs. That’s why our engagement at the front end of Sun Corridor’s project inquiries is so critical. It’s also why we are focused so intently on resource planning to ensure the availability of safe, reliable and increasingly sustainable energy for our community’s future.”