TEP helping bring in businesses and create jobs in Tucson area

Recently it was reported that Tucson’s economy has not only recovered fully from the Great Recession that rocked the region about 10 years ago but is thriving beyond expectations. In fact, the region is showing solid growth in everything from population to income to jobs, the latter being the most indicative of a robust economy.

All that growth is expected to continue through this year. The metro area saw a 1.5 percent increase in jobs in 2017 and is on pace to post the fastest job growth this year since 2006. This can be attributed, in part, to the efforts of Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a pumping vein of economic growth in the region.

Latest statistics out of TEP show that the company contributed to the addition of thousands of new jobs in 2018. Through its own job openings in the company and in collaboration with multiple corporations both local and national, TEP created up nearly 5,000 new jobs either through expansions or by moving new offices to the area. Over the last five years, in fact, TEP has supported businesses that created 16,000 new jobs.

TEP is, obviously, known as an electric services company but it has worked with companies in the region and those in other parts of the country looking to set up shop in Tucson to take care of their energy needs. From looking at available land or scouting vacant buildings with the right electric facilities, TEP acts as a liaison of sorts.

For companies from other states or parts of Arizona looking to move or expand operations, heading to Tucson offers plenty of resources. Mild climate, a robust workforce including a direct pipeline to the University of Arizona, and generally favorable operating rates, not to mention a healthy rate for large businesses that relocate and meet certain requirements, seeing savings of up to 30 percent each month.

“It was a great year for business growth in the Tucson area,” Camila Martins-Bekat, TEP’s External Affairs Representative in Economic Development, said. “We are proud to work with our regional partners to attract new businesses and stimulate growth.”

One of those large businesses that TEP worked with was Amazon. The global tech giant, which already has a presence in other parts of Arizona, is planning to open a fulfillment center in 2019, bringing with it around 1,500 full-time positions for local talent. TEP is working hand-in-hand with Amazon by developing electric infrastructure for the 855,000-square-foot center which will be set up on the southeast side of town.

TEP has also worked with GEICO, the insurance behemoth, which plans on adding around 700 jobs in the region over time.

“The area is growing in population and income. We see it as an opportunity for not only residential customers, but also new businesses moving into the area because of our existing efforts,” Martins-Bekat said. “We do the analysis on our end on and ask ‘how do we serve this project and what are the tools and resources we can leverage?’”

Other ventures in the area that TEP has worked with to create new jobs include Imperfect Produce, a San Francisco-based produce delivery company, Mister Car Wash, which has its headquarters in Tucson, and TuSimple, an autonomous commercial truck tech company.

TuSimple, which touts about 500 jobs, has garnered plenty of interest in recent months with its advancement of self-driving technology. For the last two years TuSimple has been developing its technology while running test drives through Arizona.

Nick Esquer

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