It’s no secret that Tucson is where tech companies are seeking operational opportunities. Over the past five years, the Southern Arizona city has witnessed 90% growth in tech jobs, accompanied by a 29% growth in tech wages.
The Arizona Technology Council held a virtual speaker series event with featured guest Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. Romero shared insight into the city’s economy, Tucson’s rapid tech growth, how this Southern Arizona city is rapidly becoming a hotbed for innovation in Arizona, and the collaboration with the University of Arizona, Tech Parks Arizona, Startup Tucson and Pima Community College.
Romero also discussed Tucson’s plans to support sustainability and for implementing renewable energy technologies to become more of a smart-city destination.
“We need to create the city of the future if we want to continue to attract world-class technology companies,” said Romero. “We have to look at Tucson with a technology lens and evaluate how can we incorporate smart-city strategies, renewable energy and technology partnerships to leverage transportation and mobility agencies to move towards creating the tech-driven city of the future.”
And Tucson’s Smart City Team is wasting no time to make sure that happens. Approximately $3 million has already been appropriated and invested in technology for smart-city initiatives and cybersecurity. Tucson Electric Power is working to provide additional infrastructure and we’ll be expanding our electric bus fleet.
This funding does not just go towards businesses…citizens and visitors will also benefit.
“We’re also moving immediately on investing technology to move traffic more effectively and make safer crosswalks and intersections for pedestrians, tourists and bicycles,” Romero added.
Romero also shared what Tucson is doing to help start-up companies continue to grow.
“For the longest time, Tucson didn’t have an economic development director,” Romero said. “With economic development leadership, Tucson now has dedicated, small-business navigators to connect with startups, to help them navigate and connect to resources, and to launch and grow their business.”
Tucson is also partnering with local universities, researchers and utilities to develop a climate action plan.
“We’re currently reaching out to the University of Arizona and Arizona State University to create a climate-change advisory,” said Romero. “We’re in a good position to bridge the research from these outstanding universities into policy creation. It’s still in its infancy, but we’re working with community representatives at this time to formulate a plan.”
Moderated by Arizona Technology Council CEO Steve Zylstra, it was a fantastic discussion and well worth a listen.
About Tucson Mayor Regina Romero:
Raised by immigrant farmworkers in Somerton, Ariz., Regina is the youngest of six children and began breaking barriers early on as the first member of her family to vote and the first to graduate from college. She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona and holds a post-graduate certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In 2007, Regina became the first woman to represent Tucson’s Ward 1 on the Tucson City Council. While on the Council, Regina helped lift Tucson out of the Great Recession to its most prosperous decade in recent history, helping spur the creation of thousands of high-wage, long-term jobs. She has proven herself to be a champion for issues such as acting boldly on climate change, affordable housing, infrastructure investment, immigrant and workers rights’, and access to a high-quality education.
In November 2019 Regina was elected Tucson Mayor, becoming the first woman and first Latina mayor of Tucson, as well as the only Latina mayor in the 50 largest U.S. cities. Regina is the proud mother of two bi-lingual, bi-cultural and bi-adorable children, Emiliano and Luciana, and has been married to Ruben Reyes for 15 years.
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