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November 2021 TechCast | How Arizona Became the U.S.’s New ‘Semiconductor Central’

Semiconductors are the nation’s fifth-largest export, accounting for $49 billion in 2020. As the U.S. looks to increase chip production and fulfill its semiconductor needs on its own, Arizona is quickly emerging as a base for the industry’s growth and success. In fact, Arizona has skyrocketed to No. 3 in the nation with 107 semiconductor establishments operating here including Intel, TSMC, Microchip, onsemi, NXP and many others.

In the Arizona Technology Council’s November 2021 episode of AZTechCast, Phoenix Business RadioX owner and president Karen Nowicki was joined by Angela Creedon, Arizona Public Affairs Manager for City, County and Higher Education at Intel; Alex Iuorio, Senior Vice President of Supplier Development at Avnet; and Bianca Buliga, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Arizona Technology Council to discuss Arizona’s transformation into a leader for new semiconductor investments.

Throughout this hour-long episode, this panel of experts painted the picture of just how prevalent semiconductors are in our day-to-day lives, including the cars we drive, the computers we work on and even the rice cookers we prepare dinner with. As Alex said it best, the increased “electronification” of society is leading to a surge in demand in semiconductor manufacturing and usage that isn’t going away anytime soon.

But how did Arizona suddenly become the country’s new ‘Semiconductor Central’? Between the state’s highly skilled workforce, dynamic technology ecosystem and premier investment environmental, the ‘Silicon Desert’ has a long history of becoming a national leader in semiconductor manufacturing. Some may remember Motorola testing the earliest transistors available on the market back in the 1950s, or Intel opening its first Arizona-based fab in 1980.

Exacerbated by the increased demand for technology goods during COVID-19 and the subsequent supply chain constraints, the United States was pushed to “on-shore” and find domestic solutions for the cost-efficient manufacturing historically provided by China and other Asian countries. Surrounded by world-class educational institutions, Arizona is in the unique position to roll out the degree programs needed to ensure the robust talent pipeline required to meet this rising demand.

In fact, Angela shared that Arizona State University is adding a School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks and a Certificate in Semiconductor Processing to prepare the next generation of innovators. Since semiconductors are Arizona’s No. 2 export with a value of $3.5 billion and semiconductor manufacturing employs over 22,000 people in Arizona alone, she says that Intel is laser focused on partnering with statewide universities to expose students to this industry and boost domestic semiconductor production.

For Alex, the key to reaping the long-term economic benefits of deepening investments in semiconductor manufacturing and distribution is making Arizona as conducive to business growth as possible. After 40 years of working at Avnet (and Avnet recently celebrating its 100th anniversary and establishing November 17 as ‘Avnet Day’), Alex has been blown away by Arizona’s extraordinary evolution and re-branding as a nationwide epicenter for technology transformation. He claims that the future is bright, and that the decades to come can only bring more innovation and re-engineering of technology production and distribution.

Senior Vice President of Supplier Development at Avnet

Arizona Public Affairs Manager for City, County and Higher Education at Intel



About AZTechCast
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.

About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.


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