Caterpillar Relocates SM&T Headquarters to Tucson, Arizona

Caterpillar Inc. has announced the relocation and consolidation of its Surface Mining and Technology Division to a new $50 million headquarters in downtown Tucson, AZ.


Caterpillar (photo – uploader/wikimedia)

Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement that this Tucson economic development project is a huge win for the entire region. The Tucson facility will create up to 650 projected new Arizona jobs over five years, adding to the 350 existing Caterpillar jobs in the region.

The new jobs the company is bringing to Tucson are quality jobs that pay an average annual wage of $90,000. The state has estimated the economic impact of Caterpillar’s consolidation in Southern Arizona at $600 million.

“In addition to bringing jobs and capital investment to Southern Arizona, a project of this level will have a ripple effect throughout the community and state,” said Gov. Ducey. “This is an excellent example of Arizona’s attractiveness to businesses as well as our strength in collaborative economic development.”

With revenues of over $47 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

As part of a reorganization and streamlining effort, the company began looking for a site for relocating and consolidating its SM&T division. The comprehensive site selection process included various locations including Tucson and Denver.

Tom Bluth, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for Surface Mining and Technology, noted that “This decision positions us to build on the tremendous capabilities present at our Tucson Proving Grounds and Tinaja Demonstration Center and deliver the next generation of mining technology and leadership.”

Not to mention a generous package of state and local economic development incentives put together by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Sun Corridor Inc., Pima County, Rio Nuevo District and the City of Tucson in order to secure this project.

Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority, said in the release that “Thanks to Governor Ducey’s leadership and the collaborative efforts with our partners in southern Arizona, we were able to bring this project to Tucson.”

The company is getting a state grant under the Arizona Competes Fund, in addition to an upfront payment of $2 million from the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District to help defray Caterpillar’s moving costs.

The Board of Directors of the Rio Nuevo District is furthermore holding a special meeting later today to approve a proposal to acquire the approximately five-acre site in question from the City of Tucson, and then build the new Caterpillar headquarters building on the site and lease it to the company. The proposed budget for the design and construction of the headquarters is estimated to be just under $50 million.

In the short term, Caterpillar will lease approximately 40,000 square feet at the County-owned 97 East Congress building while planning for the new and larger facility in the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District

Gilbert, Arizona Focus on STEM Jobs Secures Orbital ATK Expansion

Aerospace and defense technologies company Orbital ATK has announced an expansion of its satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert, AZ.

Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft

Orbital ATK Cygnus Spacecraft (photo –

Supported by the Arizona Commerce Authority and the City of Gilbert, the company will add 60,000 square feet to the site that already houses one of the largest and most advanced spacecraft assembly and test facilities in the United States.

The company expects the project to create an estimated 155 full-time, high-wage jobs over the next five years, adding to the 261 employees already working at the existing site.

Factoring in additional facilities in Chandler and Mesa, AZ, Orbital has a total of over 1,750 high-tech and high-paying aerospace and defense jobs in the state. That makes the company a significant employer in Arizona’s robust aerospace and defense sector that contributes $38 billion annually to the Arizona economy and employs more than 52,000 workers.

Dulles, VA-based Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), which designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, was created last year as a result of the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation with the defense and aerospace divisions of Alliant Techsystems. The new merged entity now employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations.

Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement that “I am thrilled that one of the largest aerospace and defense companies in the world once again has selected Arizona for its expansion plans, and to support its critical operations.”

Orbital ATK’s Gilbert Site Director Rick Kettner added that Orbital ATK has been developing satellites in the Gilbert area for more than 25 years through our heritage business. “This cooperative agreement with the state of Arizona and Gilbert helps ensure we will continue to do so for years to come,” added Kettner.

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the state’s leading economic development organization, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), noted that Orbital ATK’s expansion in Arizona is further evidence that Arizona has a leadership position in the aerospace and defense industry. “Our state’s highly skilled workforce, pro-business climate, strategic location, and excellent quality of life combined with a rich aviation history provide the ideal location for aerospace and defense companies to grow their businesses,” said Watson.

Mayor John Lewis likewise highlighted their focus on growing STEM jobs and the resultant Gilbert economic development benefits. “A company like Orbital ATK could have expanded its operations elsewhere in the country,” said Mayor Lewis. “The fact that they plan to continue to invest in our great community is a testament to our mutually beneficial relationship and Gilbert’s focus on growing STEM occupations in aerospace and manufacturing sectors.”

Fry’s Food Stores $260M Investment to Create Over 2000 Jobs in Arizona

Fry’s Food Stores is expanding again in Arizona, and has now announced plans for adding six new Fry’s Marketplace Stores in Maricopa County this year, along with one new Fry’s Food Store in Tucson.

Fry's Food building in Phoenix, AZ

Fry’s Food building in Phoenix, AZ (photo – Frys104/wikimedia)

The company plans to make a capital investment of $260 million in Arizona to build the store in Tucson and the six new Fry’s Marketplace Stores in Mesa, Phoenix, Litchfield Park, Chandler, and Peoria. This funding will also be used for building more fuel centers and complete certain expansion projects and remodels.

With 119 food stores and 82 fuel centers, the Tolleson, AZ-based Fry’s Food Stores already has a considerable impact on Arizona economic development, providing service to more than three million customers each week.

The company employs more than 18,000 Arizona residents, is currently looking to hire another 900 employees, and expects to create more than 2,000 full- and part-time career opportunities as a result of this latest growth initiative.

Steve McKinney, president of Fry’s Food Stores, said in a release that “Fry’s is a company that is focused on smart, strategic growth and providing a highly-satisfied customer shopping experience.”

Another key feature that will be a part of two of the new Fry’s Food Stores is the Power Parasol – patented solar energy and shade technology. The Power Parasol provides solar shaded parking, better lighted nighttime parking and clean renewable energy for the stores.

Dennis Barr, Manager of Real Estate, Fry’s Food Store, says in a statement on the Power Parasol site that “The customers love it, I mean the availability of shade – that’s something that they can experience right away.”

Fry’s first tested the Power Parasol as a pilot project at its Marketplace Store in Phoenix. The project was a hit with customers and the store quickly realized a 20 percent savings on its electric bill.

McKinney noted that they strive to make all of their stores as energy efficient as possible, and have now found a way to provide a better experience outside their stores. “Plus it increases our ‘green efforts,’ which help to make our community a better place to live now and in the future,” added McKinney.

Fry’s was founded in Contra Costa County, CA in 1954 by Donald Fry. Donald and his brother Charles expanded the chain to Arizona in 1960, and the company was acquired by Dillons in 1972. Dillons in turn merged with Kroger in 1983, and Kroger’s merger with Fred Meyer created The Kroger Company in 1999. So Fry’s is now a division of The Kroger Company.

Phoenix, Arizona Economic Development Groups Secure Carlisle Companies Corporate Headquarters Relocation

Carlisle Companies Incorporated (NYSE:CSL) has announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to the Kierland area in North Phoenix, AZ later this year.

Carlisle Companies headquarters relocation to Phoenix, AZ

Photo –

The Fortune 1000 company, a $3.5 billion global diversified manufacturer, was founded in 1917 in Carlisle, PA, and is currently headquartered in Charlotte, NC.

“Our footprint has changed, and as a result, we have made the decision to relocate our Corporate Headquarters to Phoenix,” said Carlisle’s president and CEO, Chris Koch, in a statement explaining the rationale behind their relocation. “Phoenix will position us closer to many of our major customers, our employees on the West Coast and in Mexico, and provide us better access to our Asia Pacific markets.”

Governor Doug Ducey said in the release that “Carlisle’s decision to relocate their Corporate Headquarters to Arizona not only speaks volumes about our state’s pro-business environment, skilled workforce and quality of life, it is a clear signal of Arizona’s competitive edge.”

The Carlisle headquarters relocation project was secured for Phoenix by a partnership of state, local and regional organizations including the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), City of Phoenix Economic Development Department, and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

The Arizona Commerce Authority is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. ACA President and CEO Sandra Watson noted that “Carlisle’s selection of Arizona for their Corporate Headquarters demonstrates that our state is the ideal location for doing business.”

Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Chris Camacho added that their team worked closely with the company during the due diligence period to ensure Carlisle experienced a smooth entrance into the market.

GPEC is the regional economic development organization for Greater Phoenix, serving 23 member communities, Maricopa County and more than 170 private investors.

“Carlisle’s selection of Greater Phoenix illustrates the world class market we have become; and having a company such as Carlisle set up their headquarters in Phoenix metro further reinforces the existence of a strong business economy and talented workforce,” added Camacho.

The new Carlisle Companies headquarters will be located at Kierland One, a Hines building in North Phoenix. District 2 Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring pointed out that Phoenix’s Kierland area is a prime location for Carlisle to relocate its corporate headquarters. “The area offers a well-educated workforce, quality housing and numerous amenities on all scales, which are attractive to major employers and their employees,” said Councilman Waring.

Arizona to Establish Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office as Analytical Hub

Governor Doug Ducey announced that new legislation has been introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives to boost economic development by creating a new analytical hub under the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA).


AZ GEOO (photo –

The new legislation, sponsored by Representative Karen Fann, will establish a one-stop economic development shop called the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office (GEOO).

The creation of GEOO will cut down on government overlap and create a more unified and effective approach to job attraction and Arizona economic development by consolidating several state government offices.

GEOO will serve as an analytics and strategy team under the Arizona Commerce Authority that will continually analyze how Arizona stacks up against other states. The organization will focus on identifying ways to drive down regulatory and tax burdens, and provide real-time data so policy makers and government can move at the speed of business to bring new business to Arizona.

Establishing GEOO as the analytical hub for Arizona’s economic development strategy will enable the ACA to focus exclusively on business attraction and growth.

Specifically, GEOO’s work will cover three main drivers of economic development. One is an evaluation of the effectiveness of Arizona’s tax incentives, and generation of economic impact evaluations of proposed regulation reforms.

The second focus area will be workforce, which includes a consolidation of existing staff focused on workforce analytics and strategy at ACA, ADOA and DES. GEOO will also develop a statewide workforce plan that aligns with Arizona economic development priorities.

The third focus area is finance, including the creation of GEOO to absorb many of Arizona’s tax-exempt finance authorities (WIFA,GADA, AzHFA, AHFA and AIDA) under one board, providing relocating and expanding businesses a one-stop financing shop at the state level. The legislation also requires the establishment of a statewide Industrial Development Authority (IDA) that facilitates businesses’ access to tax-exempt financing in an effort to attract relocating and expanding businesses to Arizona.

Gov. Ducey said in a release that “This new approach is focused on growing our economy by attracting new business to Arizona and ensuring job creators who are already here, stay and thrive. I thank Rep. Fann for her leadership in these crucial efforts.”

Rep. Karen Fann likewise noted that “GEOO will give us the analytics that we’re currently missing, while enhancing our success on the marketing side. I’m proud of this legislation and I thank Gov. Ducey for his commitment to economic competitiveness.”

Phoenix Secures Farmers Insurance Expansion With 1000 New Jobs

Farmers Insurance has made official its plans for a nearly $24 million expansion of its Phoenix operations, including a ramp up of its employee base in Arizona from 500 full-time employees to more than 1,500 employees.

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance (photo – Parker Knight/flickr)

Supported by $500,000 in Phoenix economic development incentives for workforce training, the company will construct a new building in north Phoenix and triple the number of Farmers positions in the Phoenix area in phases by 2019.

The new employees will be providing operational support for Farmers customers and agents, and members of the Farmers Claims team will also be located in the new facility.

David Travers, chief operations officer for Farmers Insurance, said in a release that “We are thrilled to announce the selection of Phoenix as the location to expand our operational footprint, which will bring hundreds of new jobs to the region and add to the economic vitality of the greater Phoenix community.”

Governor Doug Ducey said in the release that “We thank Farmers Insurance for their commitment to Arizona and look forward to helping them thrive even more in our state.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton added that “Farmers decision to build a new office in north Phoenix — adding more than 1,000 quality professional jobs — is a huge win for our economy and a strong testament to our skilled workforce and collaborative efforts to make our region a perfect choice for expansion or relocation.”

Farmers chose the north Phoenix site for this expansion after a multi-state site selection process. Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson noted that “Several other states competed aggressively to win this business, but Arizona’s skilled and abundant workforce, low cost environment and unmatched quality of life for employees could not be beat.”

In order to secure the project, Farmers has been offered up to $500,000 in Phoenix economic development incentives in the form of training funding of up to $1,000 per eligible job created. The first payment begins only after 200 jobs are created.

Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), said in the release that “We are excited that Farmers Insurance has chosen to expand their presence in the region, with the announcement of their new operations center in Phoenix.”

Los Angeles, CA-based Farmers Insurance Group serves more than 10 million households with over 19 million individual policies, across all 50 states. The company’s workforce is comprised of approximately 21,000 employees, and its network includes more than 48,000 exclusive and independent agents.

Tucson, Pima County, Arizona Proposals Secure World View Space Exploration Project

At its next meeting, the Board of Supervisors of Pima County, AZ will consider authorizing the approval of a lease-purchase agreement that will secure the world corporate headquarters of space exploration company World View Enterprises, Inc.

World View HQ in Pima County, AZ

World View HQ in Pima County, AZ (rendering –

World View has accepted economic development proposals from the City of Tucson, Pima County and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The company’s decision ensures the retention of their existing operations in Pima County, and secures expansion projects that include the establishment of a new headquarters facility, launch pad and the creation of over 400 jobs on a 28-acre site in the County’s planned Aerospace, Defense and Technology Business and Research Park near Tucson International Airport.

World View is a Tucson-based company that is pioneering suborbital space flight utilizing high-altitude balloon technology that ensures launch and recovery from the same geographic area. This makes research, scientific and tourism space flights affordable and minimizes risk. World View has successfully negotiated contracts with NASA and Northrop Grumman, and expects significant growth in space tourism too.

The company expects to grow from 25 to 400 employees over the next five years. These will be jobs that will pay on average $55,000 annually, which is 150 percent of the prevailing annual wage in Pima County. Also, these are export-based jobs that are a priority for job growth as designated in the Pima County Economic Development plan.

As per an economic impact analysis requested by Pima County, World View’s operations will generate approximately $3.5 billion over the next 20 years. The company’s expansion will support the creation of over 400 more indirect jobs, in addition to over 100 construction jobs.

Pima County and regional economic development organization Sun Corridor Inc. (formerly TREO) have been working for over six months to secure this site selection project, known until now only as “Project Curvature.” The company accepted Pima County’s proposal over competing proposals from Florida’s Space Coast and New Mexico’s Space Port America.

Both competing locations had existing space ports and infrastructure, but World View could avoid relocation costs by staying put and growing in southern Arizona. However, there was still a $15-20 million gap that had to be filled in order to retain the company in Pima County.

Pima County and Sun Corridor Inc. worked with the City of Tucson and the Arizona Commerce Authority in order to come up with a package that would fill this gap. The County is providing $15 million in financing to construct an administrative and manufacturing building on the site that will be taken up by World View through a lease-purchase agreement.

The facility will have 135,000 square feet of leasable space, parking and storage, and a 700-foot diameter launch pad. City of Tucson economic development support for the project includes working with Pima County and private contractors to provide the required water infrastructure development for the project.

The Arizona Commerce Authority’s proposal includes state incentives under the Arizona Competes Fund and funding for the construction of the launch pad, that will be available for general use by other aerospace and defense companies, and will serve as a business attraction tool for southern Arizona.

Uber and University of Arizona Economic Development Partnership on Mapping Test Vehicles

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey joined Uber executives and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart at the College of Optical Sciences to announce an economic development partnership between Uber and UA.

Video – UA

As part of the partnership, which focuses on research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety, Tucson and UA will be the next home of the Uber mapping test vehicles project. Uber mapping test vehicles are already on the streets in Pittsburgh, PA in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.

Uber is also investing in Arizona’s technology ecosystem with a $25,000 donation to the College of Optical Sciences to support the next generation of optical scientists and engineers continue to explore and develop new and innovative technologies.

Announcing the Uber-University of Arizona economic development partnership, Gov. Ducey said in a release that this is a great day for Uber, for the UA and for the future of innovation in Arizona.

“All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies – especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state,” added Gov. Ducey.

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart said in the release that UA’s achievements in advanced optics and imaging technologies in particular will help Uber on the ground in Arizona, and added that UA’s global research leadership allows them to join in a collaborative effort that will have great benefit for the state.

Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies for Uber, said in the release that “It’s clear that Arizona welcomes innovation, and we applaud Governor Ducey and the University of Arizona for their eagerness to embrace new technology.”

In conjunction with the Uber-UA announcement, Gov. Ducey also signed an Executive Order supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles in Arizona.

These announcements follow other Uber and tech-friendly policy decisions made by Arizona that have also led to Uber favoring the state for economic development projects. For instance, the passage of ridesharing regulations by Arizona overturned the ban on the company’s operations in the state, and this was quickly followed by the opening of the Uber Center of Excellence in Phoenix with nearly 300 new jobs.

In a blog post announcing the economic development partnership with UA, the company said that Arizona has been a great home for Uber. They add that it’s clear that Arizona is pro-technology and welcomes innovation, and that’s why they are proud to announce that they are investing further in the technology ecosystem in Arizona.

Uber Opens Center of Excellence in Phoenix With Hundreds of Jobs

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey joined Uber executives for the official opening of the company’s new Center of Excellence in Phoenix.


Uber (photo – illustir/flickr)

Uber has already started creating new jobs at the COE, and plans to increase the number of employees at this new global command center to around 300.

The company’s selection of Phoenix as the site for the Center of Excellence followed the signing of House Bill 2135 by Gov. Ducey in April. This bill legalized ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft in Arizona.

Gov. Ducey said in a release after attending Uber’s COE opening that “My administration is a 21st-century administration, and we’re going to embrace 21st century ingenuity.” The Governor added that they’re going to do everything they can to make sure that Arizona’s business environment is keeping up with the times.

David Plouffe, Chief Advisor, Uber Technologies, Inc., said in a release that Uber is proud to expand its operations in the Valley, bringing hundreds of new jobs and helping developing the next generation of leaders in Phoenix.

The company’s release also explained why they chose Phoenix for the COE, explaining that the availability of a strong workforce, the desirability of the location for employees, and a strong business climate will ensure its success for years to come.

The COE will be a key component in Uber’s plans to provide rapid and efficient support services to riders and partners, and the facility will be involved in building and developing support services for new Uber products. In addition to customer support positions, the new jobs being created in Phoenix include management and supervisory positions, and jobs for data analysts and process improvement specialists.

Uber is not seeking any Arizona economic development incentives for this project and the associated job creation. In any case, it’s not just about the COE and the hundreds of new jobs the company plans to add to the facility over the next five years.

Uber’s rideshare operations in Arizona now allow nearly 10,000 full-time and part-time drivers in the state to earn a flexible income on their own terms, while at the same time making more transportation options available to residents and visitors in Arizona cities including Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson and the latest addition of Yuma.

Gov. Ducey said in the release that “this is a company that not only creates jobs and grows our economy – it’s figuratively changed the way we live and get around.” The Governor added that this kind of commitment to innovation and improvement is something that should be rewarded, and not stifled.

Mesa, Arizona Economic Development Groups Welcome Mt. Baker Vapor Relocation

E-liquid and vaping equipment manufacturer Mt. Baker Vapor is relocating its operations to Mesa, AZ.

Mt. Baker Vapor

Mt. Baker Vapor (photo –

Supported by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the City of Mesa Office of Economic Development, Mt. Baker Vapor LLC will bring 100 new jobs to the region.

Founded in 2011 in Bellingham, WA, the company is now one of the world’s largest online e-liquid producers and retailers, processing more than 2,000 orders daily for a customer base numbering over 300,000.

The relocation came about as a result of the company’s stance against a proposed tax hike in Washington State against the vaping industry. The Washington Legislature is considering two bills (HB 2211 and 1645) that seek to impose a 60 percent tax on the sale of vaping equipment and a ban on online sales.

Since the company’s core business model is dependent on online retail sales of vaping equipment, the law would cripple their operations in Washington State and likely force them to close down if they didn’t relocate.

The company said in a release announcing their relocation that “While we love Washington and are thankful for the opportunity it has afforded us to grow this wonderful business, legislative pressure from Washington State has made it clear that they no longer offer a suitable environment for a growing business in the vaping industry.”

Washington’s loss is Mesa and Arizona’s gain, and state, local and regional economic development officials welcomed Mt. Baker Vapor and touted the relocation as a sign of the business-friendly climate in the state.

Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson said in a release that Mt. Baker Vapor’s desire to locate in Arizona reinforces the state’s reputation as the best place in the country to do business. Watson added that they are pleased to welcome Mt. Baker Vapor and look forward to supporting their continued success.

City of Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak likewise said they are excited to welcome Mount Baker Vapor to the Falcon Field area and the city of Mesa.

Greater Phoenix regional economic development organization GPEC’s President and CEO Chris Camacho added that the decision from Mt. Baker Vapor to relocate to the city of Mesa speaks to Arizona’s favorable regulatory environment. Camacho added that they have worked hard as a state to make it easier for companies to do business in Arizona and to not get in the way of companies as they grow.

Mt. Baker Vapor Co-owners James Thompson and Jesse Webb have explained that in addition to Arizona’s commitment to not raise taxes, they chose the City of Mesa as their new home because of the outstanding infrastructure for a large business like theirs due to Mesa’s proximity to Phoenix, and the city’s diverse employment pool.

Webb added that Mesa offers them the ability to expand their manufacturing facilities, tap new markets, and diversify their business ventures. Mt. Baker Vapor’s relocation from Washington to Arizona is scheduled to be completed by October.

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