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TREO, Phoenix hire Montreal firm to woo California tech firms to ‘Sun Corridor’



Tucson and Phoenix have jointly hired a matchmaker to find California high-tech companies that may want to expand to the so-called Arizona Sun Corridor.

Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council each put up $25,000 to have Research on Investment, a Montreal market research firm, generate face-to-face meetings for both agencies with California companies.

TREO and GPEC leaders announced the “Arizona Sun Corridor: Open for Business” partnership Thursday in a video conference from University of Arizona Medical Center conference rooms in both cities.

TREO Chief Executive Joe Snell said the partnership, launched in January, has already produced two leads that TREO is pursuing. He would not identify the companies.

“We can’t just wait for the phone to ring,” Snell said. “We have to go out and knock on doors.”

TREO used Research on Investment in the past year and a half to recruit solar firms Schletter Inc. and Solon Corp. from Germany and 3S Industries from Switzerland.

All three opened facilities in 2008.

The six-month pilot campaign for California will have the Montreal firm find companies in the bioscience, aerospace, solar, health care and information technology industries.

President Michael Bidwill of pro football’s Arizona Cardinals, who chairs the GPEC board, Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and Phoenix City Councilwoman Maria Baier took part in the partnership announcement.

“Now is the time we need to be investing in the future,” Walkup said.

Walkup said he and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon “have talked about getting together for years. Why don’t we come together now and make an attractive package to go to California?”

The Montreal recruiter will present leads to both cities, who can then determine how to go after them.

Snell said this partnership should prevent Tucson and Phoenix economic development teams from showing up at the same company on successive weeks.

Leaders in both cities downplayed any rivalry between the cities and insisted that Phoenix and Tucson complement each other: the two regions typically attract different types of companies.

“This partnership will be a jumping off point for Arizona to reach its potential,” GPEC Chief Executive Barry Broome said.

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