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Opinion: Economic Development for Prescott
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05 September 2017   Mayor Harry Oberg

"Our city has tremendous assets to attract high-tech satellite business, and we believe that by bringing these decision-makers to Prescott, we can make that vision a reality."

Prescott is entering exciting new times in economic development, particularly in the area of high technology jobs for our young people. The City has retained James Robb as a consultant for technology economic development. Jim is an experienced senior executive and business development professional who has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for various organizations over a 30-year career. His connections to senior executives across private equity, venture capital, and over a dozen industries is a significant asset for Prescott.

In his role with Prescott, Jim’s primary focus is to develop a regional cyber-security program/industry. His initial plans include scheduling two cyber-security conferences and working with investors to bring talent and resources to our area in conjunction with our colleges and universities, namely, ERAU, Prescott College, Yavapai College, and NAU.

Through Jim’s efforts Prescott secured the AZ Tech Council CEO conference which took place August 14-16, 2017. This event brought over 100 key technology industry decision-makers to our city for three days to experience all Prescott has to offer in terms of higher education, lifestyle, and workforce. A second Cyber Security CEO conference is scheduled for September with ultimate plans to host these type events four times per year. Aside from the immediate economic impact of hosting these conferences, the long term goal is to entice these technology companies to open satellite operations in Prescott. Our city has tremendous assets to attract high-tech satellite business, and we believe that by bringing these decision-makers to Prescott, we can make that vision a reality.

Jim is currently working with key regional stakeholders to develop a technology business incubator near the downtown. Business incubators are often sponsored by municipal entities and public institution such as colleges and universities. The goal of an incubator is to help create and grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial and technical services. All four of our locally based institutions of higher learning have expressed interest in assisting with this project, as has APS and other businesses. We all agree it is imperative to provide opportunities like this for our students and start-up entrepreneurs.

In addition, the City continues to work with a variety of business that intend to move to Prescott or expand their presence here. Our manufacturing facilities such as our two newest, TACAero and Vinyl Visions, create sustainable jobs for our citizens. Retail and food service remain as important elements of Prescott’s economic health. In August, Wildflower Bread Company broke ground on a brand new flagship store on Highway 69 near the mall entrance, with a grand opening expected in January 2018. In late 2016 the City Council employed Buxton Company to provide consumer research data to help us attract businesses and inform our existing businesses on where and by whom money is being spent in Prescott. This information can help us target specific businesses and customers that are a good fit with Prescott.

It’s clear our city is on the move in high technology and business development. This is indeed an exciting time for Prescott.

Mayor Harry Oberg