Blog

  • 19 Feb 2016 by Doug Bruhnke

    Wow! That was global!

    Globies 1 through 4 (Mesa Mayor John Giles, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton) wowed a full house at DIRTT with an inspiring 2016 International State of the Metro. We got it all... reality, progress, inspiration... and a sense that we're moving forward fast, together.

    It takes a village, and a village of villages... and the collaboration between businesses and regional governments, and between cities and towns and Phoenix, is moving the needle on the international stage. As we learned, the bios for these Mayors may not include very much international content today, but their work and weekly activities is more and more filled with global business, including accomplishments already registered. Phoenix metro has come a long way in the 9 years of this event.

    Thank you Hank Marshall for both his work over the years to get us to this point, and for this specific event. Hank is globie #5, and #1 in our hearts!

    Thank you DIRTT for hosting this amazing event. You're amazing!

    Thanks too to all our members... you're all globies! Not yet a member of Global Chamber? Join HERE and be a globie, too!

    Read more from the event from attendee Eric Toll of the Business Journal... "Why some East Valley companies make more profit". Hint: they're global.

    Below are some pictures from the event, and you can see more on the Global Chamber Phoenix Facebook page.

    Our next event is March 23rd with speakers including Kyle Walker (Green Card Fund) on Increasing Foreign Direct Investment. Register HERE.

    Thank you! Contact me, Doug Bruhnke.

    Hank Marshall, Mayor Wolcott, and our full house at DIRTT...

    The All-Star Mayors from Phoenix, Gilbert, Surprise and Mesa... moving forward globally and regionally...

    Mayor Stanton, and Global Chamber Hermosillo Executive Director Luis Nunez (right)...

    Cross-border collaboration - Global Chamber Hermosillo (Luis), City of Phoenix (Hank) and Global Chamber...

     

  • 16 Feb 2016 by Global Chamber

    By Julio Espinoza, Luis Nunez and Doug Bruhnke

    During the past year the trend for a new Arizona-Sonora Partnership has been set in motion by many players on both sides of the border including state and local governments, the private sector, academics, interests groups and advocates. The days when Phoenix and Hermosillo were not collaborating are gone, and we see both Arizonans and Sonorans engaging actively in trade, investment, cooperation and political dialog. There is a new understanding on both sides of the border, but why is it so important to keep this momentum going? How can we foster the current mutual understanding and progress?

    After Governor Ducey (January 2015) and Governor Pavlovich (September 2015) took office, they made clear that the Arizona-Sonora relationship was a priority for their administrations, and over the last year there have been very symbolic moments of trust at the capitol level and at the city hall level as well. An example of the stepping stones was an event in March 2015 with Carlos Slim in Phoenix, create by a just a handful of people led by Mike Patterson of Polsinelli with City of Phoenix, Phoenix Business Journal and Global Chamber®.

    While the press has extensively covered the state level dialog and initiatives, this article will stress on the city/county level cooperation that is also flourishing thanks to the mayors’ leadership. The reason for this new chapter is that stability on the border can only be achieved by economic growth that translates into economic development. Helping the economy growing and redistributing the revenue can be achieved at a regional level only if we are able to enable and encourage decision makers (executive and legislative branches) and business leaders to meet, trust each other and work together for a new Arizona-Sonora (Economic) Partnership.

    Last October (2015), Phoenix Mayor Stanton led a trade mission that included a bipartisan group of five Arizona Mayors to Mexico City to expand economic opportunities and exchange best business practices between Small Medium Businesses. Mayor Mancera of Mexico City and Mayor Stanton signed a memorandum of understanding creating a Global Cities Economic Partnership between both cities.

    That same month in the City of Tucson, both Mayor Rothschild of Tucson and Ernesto Munro of Rocky Point, led a group of mayors from Sonora and Arizona for meeting each other after the new Sonoran Mayors took office in September, having for witnesses of honor the regional consuls of Mexico and the U.S. This meeting provided a continuation of efforts already in place to strengthen the channels of communication at the local level, such as the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Ari-Son Mega region project that was introduced in 2014 along with the BIEN (Building and International Economic Network) free business online database, for furthering the city level dialog and the business to business connections.

    While Phoenix concentrates the most advanced industrial clusters in the region, it is also clear that Tucson, besides being the natural logistical hub into Mexico for its geostrategic location and cultural closeness, is switching into the higher value industries. On January 22nd 2016, Mayor Rothschild of Tucson, for the second year in a row, hosted the Borderlands Trade Conference for discussing how to make the most of the industrial clusters created by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). The City of Tucson, with the support of many mayors of Arizona, Sonora and Sinaloa, showed political leadership and positioned itself as the gateway of Arizona into Mexico leaving the door open for further economic interdependence.

    On Wednesday February 10th the City of Phoenix hosted high level conversations at law firm Polsinelli with the Secretary of Economy of Sonora and his assistant secretary and directors for foreign trade. We discussed the current state and future of the Arizona-Sonora economic relationship from the traditional sectors (food and tourism industries) to the modern sectors (high tech). We agreed on the fact that we have two complementary economies that need to move forward into more advanced industries at the small medium business level to the transnational corporation level.

    NAFTA’s assumption is that three economies of different sizes and with different capacities can supplement each other to be a competitive region in the global economy. This same premise applies to Arizona and Sonora and we can foster the bilateral interdependence in the best interest of both states. If we manage to develop clusters and supply chains, utilizing the competitive advantages of both parties, to truly create a vibrant region. By attracting foreign and national investment to Arizona, hosting the headquarters and logistical operations in Arizona, while making the most of Mexico’s business friendly environment (low operation costs and intellectual property enforcement), the American Southwest can truly become the 5th largest economic engine in the world with a population of about 60 million consumers and a GDP of USD 3 trillion.

    For becoming a true haven of innovation in the desert, we all must continue nurturing the new Arizona-Sonora (Economic) Partnership. That is why on Wednesday February 17th the Global Chamber is hosting the Phoenix International State of the Metro, an event that will shed light on the extraordinary progress and remaining challenges for the Phoenix Metro area in positioning itself as an oasis of HEAATT in the desert: Health, Education, Aerospace/Aerial, Technology and Tourism. Mayor Greg Stanton will be accompanied in this high level dialog with regional business leaders by Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Mayor John Lewis of Gilbert and Mayor Sharon Wolcott of Surprise.

    Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix and Surprise are leaders in attracting foreign and national direct investment to create high wage jobs that make the Phoenix Metro a global city in which we all can live, study, work, prosper and retire. If Arizona is open to business, we need to make sure the handshaking diplomacy translates into jobs that boost the state and city economies and strengthen the Arizonan middle class while progressively graduating our most vulnerable minorities out of generational poverty. On Wednesday, we must certainly agree that the Phoenix International State of the Metro is not only competitive and diverse but beneficial to every one of our constituencies, because if Phoenix is successful, the whole state will make progress. We must remain steadfast in viewing progress in open, honest and transparent ways so that businesses in the metros of Arizona and Sonora continue their interaction and growth.

    Many challenges remain, and those will be discussed on Wednesday as well. But now because of regional metro government leaders along with business leaders are engaging in cross-border trade, supported by leaders at the state and federal levels, progress is accelerating.

    Authors: Doug BRUHNKE is the CEO of Global Chamber®. Julio ESPINOZA is a U.S.-Mexico relationship expert and advocate. Luis NUNEZ is Executive Director of Global Chamber® Hermosillo.

  • 14 Feb 2016 by Global Chamber

      

    By John Sachen

    Spring is in the air and the mercury is not the only thing rising here in the Valley of the Sun. The Greater Phoenix area is well known for it’s 300 days of sunshine and broad range of outdoor activities the locals and seasonal visitors enjoy. Many of us are aware one of the main attractions during the month of March each year is the gathering of 15 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams who come together for their Spring Training where exhibition games are played daily at 10 stadiums. The economic impact baseball brings to Greater Phoenix is huge. In recent years the word has gotten out globally and more professional baseball teams have been migrating to Arizona, but this time from across the Pacific ocean.  As global competition increases and the world becomes smaller, more and more Asian star ball players are being recognized for their talents. As a result relationships and deals are being struck behind closed doors between MLB clubs and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) ball clubs.
     
    For the same reasons U.S. baseball teams depart from harsh winter weather conditions and gather in Arizona or Florida for their pre-season training, pro ball clubs from Japan and Korea have been heading south to Okinawa and Guam. Over the years Asian teams have had training camps in Australia and even in Yuma, Arizona but those were not well thought out and short lived stints. In more recent years, some of the Asian teams are taking risks and leaving their traditional training camps and coming to Arizona to take advantage of the ideal weather and excellent training facilities. Besides the logistics and economic impact of taking an organization of well over 100 players, managers, coaches and support staff to an overseas destination in the middle of the desert, there are countless other factors which challenge these teams. As with any business, there is a risk/reward factor being considered and so far the Korean teams have taken a big leap and have been sending pro teams to the U.S. for the past few years and this year six teams have trained in Arizona using the facilities of various MLB clubs. 
     
    This year marks the first time in 30 years a Japanese team has decided to hold their Spring Camp in the U.S. and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters from the northern city of Sapporo have come to Arizona. The Japanese ball club has formed a special relationship with the San Diego Padres and have leased their training facilities at the Peoria Sports Complex located just west of Phoenix.  Having had the chance to meet with Toshimasa Shimada the Executive Managing Director of the organization, we were told the club choose Arizona based on a number of factors, where predictable weather and excellent facilities being the deal clinchers. There are trade-offs with such decisions and the biggest being the radical change of environment (16 hour time zone difference, weather, language and local support) and not having practice games against other Japan pro league teams. Those trade-offs seem pretty minor given the weather is great compared to unpredictable wet and sometimes chilly weather in Okinawa, and having access to several formidable Korean pro teams to have friendly practice games that can only help with enhancing one’s global competitiveness.
     
    In fact several friendly games were organized between the Nippon-Ham Fighters and a couple Korean Teams, the Lotte Giants and NC Dinos. Note that in the Asian sporting world, teams are traditionally named after large corporations rather than cities or States. The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters are not a Nippon team fighting hams in Hokkaido, but named after a large meat company called Nippon-Ham.  The teams practices, inter-squad games and friendly games between the Japanese and Korean teams are open to the public and free of charge.  Having attended a couple of the games, it was a pleasant surprise to have the announcers call the game in both English and Japanese, and see a whole host of fan club members who travelled from Japan as well as some local fans who came from across the U.S. to show their support and take in the unique gathering of Asian teams playing in the U.S.  Most notable of all the players was Shoehei Otani, the star Japanese player who was drafted out of high school and one of the most sought out players by major league baseball teams. There were over 50 scouts at the game on Wednesday to watch Otani pitch, and that is only half of his story. The 6’ 4” 202 lb 21 year old is not only one of the most talented pitchers in the world with fast balls recorded at 101 mph, he is a two-way player and has tremendous power with his batting skills producing 18 homers last season. Being a big star back in his home country there was no shortage of media outlets who followed the team to Peoria to cover their training. The team arranged for a charter flight on ANA and flew from Narita in Tokyo directly to Phoenix reaching the destination in 9 hours. Shimada san of the Fighters commented that having a direct flight into Sky Harbor International and not having to deal with customs and passport control on the West Coast was a tremendous blessing for the team and the media who accompanied them on the flight.
     
    The Japanese and Korean clubs will soon be departing for their home ball parks back across the Pacific and in Japan at least there will be much discussion among the Nippon Professional Baseball clubs regarding their experience in Arizona. I was told that representatives from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (Softbank is the parent company of Sprint) were in Phoenix checking out facilities at other ball parks. With that there is momentum gaining in the baseball world as more ball teams from across the Pacific consider the advantages of holding their Spring Camps in the U.S., the Mecca of baseball.  For those of us in Arizona including all of our seasonal visitors, we may just have another early Spring attraction to look forward to each year that precedes the MLB Cactus League games in March, which I propose we call the Yak-Gyu League taken from the word for baseball in Japanese (Yakyu) and Korean (Yagu).
     
    Author John Sachen has 25+ years working in Japan and across Asia-Pacific in the field of high technology, namely selling enterprise software solutions to Global Fortune 500 companies across Electronics Manufacturing, Semiconductor, Finance, Telecommunications and Systems Integration markets. Now, back in the US he would like to leverage his successes, expertise and know-how in Japan/APAC markets working in a global organization. He can be contacted directly at john.sachen@gmail.com