The Tucson area is poised to make a strong business comeback after the pandemic-related downturn – and Tucson Electric Power is helping to make that happen.

Our team joined with Tucson-area economic development partners to explore ways of attracting new businesses and jobs after the pandemic halted the usual in-person practices.

While the number of new jobs and businesses was lower in 2020 than in previous years, the Tucson region is seeing an increase in interest in early 2021, especially in the aerospace, defense and bioscience industries.

In addition, TEP last year facilitated growth in new electric connections for business and residential developments.

“We’re working hard to be ready for the rebound and we’re seeing signs that businesses are ready to come here,” said Camila Martins-Bekat, TEP’s Senior Market Development Representative.

Martins-Bekat serves on a regional team that includes city, county and business representatives and is designed to promote the Tucson region’s offerings. She and other TEP colleagues help potential new and expanding businesses identify their electricity needs and ways to accommodate their growth.

Instead of attending conferences, visiting business representatives or hosting them on trips to see our region, the local team instead held virtual site visits, sometimes accompanied with a basket of local items sent ahead of time. That format made it easy to view pictures and drone footage of potential sites. The team also holds speed dating-type meetings with site selectors online more regularly, Martins-Bekat said.

Business representatives from Sandvik Materials Technology were so impressed with our virtual pitch that they decided to expand their Swedish medical business to Tucson without stepping foot here. That experience and decision was highlighted in a December 2020 article in Fast Company.

“The industry has adapted to this new way of doing business and we’re seeing some successes,” Martins-Bekat said.

As businesses are starting to steer away from bigger, denser and more expensive cities, Tucson is among the midsize cities that are getting attention:

  • Forbes included Tucson in its list of 10 U.S. cities best positioned to recover from the coronavirus business downturn in a May 2020 article.
  • The Site Selectors Guild listed Tucson as one of 11 markets expected to be strong candidates after the COVID-19 downturn. The findings were based on a survey of site selection consultants who search for locations for new and expanding businesses.

Tucson was ranked as a top city for Google home searches in May 2020, according to a BizTucson article. Last year was the best housing market for Tucson in 13 years, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

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