Data-Driven Economic Development

A new tool to help drive economic development and community decisions for Tucson and Southern Arizona launched at the beginning of 2015, with Tucson Electric Power as one of the primary sponsors.

The Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona Dashboard Project, or MAP Dashboard, contains an array of economic and quality-of-life data, and analyses of those figures.

“This is a concerted effort to provide data that individuals and organizations can use to make practical, intelligent decisions about strategies and tactics to move our community forward,” said Art McDonald, TEP’s Director of Economic Development.

TEP strongly supports local economic development, in particular job creation, higher wages and capital investment in the community.

TEP works with a variety of entities, such as TREO (Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities), Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Visit Tucson, the University of Arizona and the towns of Oro Valley, Marana and Sahuarita, to attract new businesses, retain existing businesses, and help both new and long-standing businesses expand and prosper.

“We’re interested in doing whatever we can to help improve the quality of life for everyone in the community,” McDonald said. “We want the Tucson metropolitan area and Southern Arizona in general to have a robust economy. From a business standpoint, the MAP Dashboard’s relevant data can be helpful when making decisions.”

The MAP Dashboard is a joint effort of the University of Arizona, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Researchers at the UA Eller College of Management’s Economic and Business Research Center maintain, update and administer the MAP Dashboard website.

“With the MAP Dashboard, we can compare our progress with a variety of competitive markets. We get a sense of where we’re at and, as we move forward, how we’re doing,” McDonald said.

David G. Hutchens, President and Chief Executive Officer of TEP and its parent company, UNS Energy Corporation, was one of the early advocates for the MAP Dashboard and better data-driven decisions for Tucson and its surrounding communities.

“Having data that we trust, from a reliable source like the University of Arizona’s Eller College, is critical,” Hutchens said. “It gets us all on the same page, using the same information to make decisions that affect our community.”

The MAP Dashboard, McDonald said, speaks directly to the old adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

“In business strategic planning, we want as much relevant information as we can get our hands on,” he said. “We’re a key participant in helping to assure the MAP Dashboard remains a robust and relevant tool for us and for others to use.”

Visit the MAP Dashboard at

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