Arizona Manufacturers Council leads elected officials and business leaders on Made in Arizona Tour

The Arizona Manufacturers Council wrapped up Manufacturing Month with its annual Made in Arizona Tour, with guests getting a behind-the-scenes look at five manufacturing companies that are investing in Arizona’s growing economy.

“Ten years ago, manufacturing was still a comparatively small sector in Arizona,” Arizona Manufacturers Council Executive Director Grace Appelbe said. “Today, advanced manufacturing is quickly emerging as one of our state’s primary economic drivers.” 

Appelbe said that business leaders and elected officials who attended the tour were excited to see how the state’s manufacturers were innovating and expanding their footprint in the state. 

As the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Arizona Manufacturers Council seeks to “promote and enhance a positive business climate for manufacturing and related industries that operate within Arizona.” The Made in Arizona Tour gives legislators and business leaders the opportunity to see the end product of policies that promote innovation and investment at work. 

The first manufacturer visited was Honeywell in Phoenix. The plant primarily builds and tests engines for commercial planes used by millions everyday to travel for work and leisure. Tour guests saw first hand the technology and skills needed to build the engines. Honeywell recently expanded its operations in Arizona, augmenting warehouse space and upgrading its distribution infrastructure.

Next, tour guests visited Nikola, an electric and alternative fuel vehicle company on the forefront of developing semi-trucks in Coolidge, Arizona. They saw how batteries are assembled on the production line and had the opportunity to take demo rides in Nikola’s electric trucks. Like Honeywell, Nikola is in the process of expanding its facilities to further increase its manufacturing capacity. 

At the end of day 1, tour guests visited Pima Community College in Tucson. The community college is focused on expanding its centers of excellence — hubs for equipping next-generation manufacturing workers — along with the school’s partnerships with the business community. 

Tour guests saw the new Advanced Manufacturing Center that is set to open in 2023. Attendees also viewed the $21 million expansion to the school’s aviation center that opened just two weeks ago.

To open day 2, tour guests visited the Caterpillar facility in Tucson. Caterpillar uses the site mostly for research and development, giving tour guests the chance to see some of the company’s newest products and technologies.

The tour concluded with a visit to the University of Arizona in Tucson to witness the partnership between the university and Raytheon Technologies in action. 

This partnership is conducting cutting-edge hypersonics research that was showcased for tour guests. Three wind tunnels were toured, with the newest one being tested just last week. Additional private partners will be coming soon to further assist the project.

Nick Guptil

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