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Consultant – Pinal County is Superior When it comes to Economic Development
Date: 7/13/2016
FLORENCE – The Pinal County Board of Supervisors was pleased to learn that a well-respected Economic Development Consultant has nothing but praise for its efforts at bringing good paying jobs to the area.

Jim Rounds, President of the Rounds Consulting Group, Inc. told the Supervisors that “Pinal County is superior when it comes to economic development.”

Rounds did caution that the momentum of bringing jobs into Pinal County must keep going if it is to be one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.

“You can’t let this stall,” Rounds said. “You need to continue this effort because it is very hard to get started again.”

Rounds pointed out that Pinal was the first county in the state to fully recover the jobs it lost during the latest recession. He congratulated the Supervisors focus on diversifying the county’s economy.

“At one time, the county was focused solely on home building,” stated Rounds. “But the focus is now on jobs. The Pinal County economic development wins are a great deal for everyone.”

Pinal County Economic Development Director Tim Kanavel stressed that while many of these economic development projects are locating on the western side of the county, everyone benefits.

“The reason why we have seen so many distribution and manufacturing jobs go to areas like Maricopa and Casa Grande is simple – there is an ease of access to transportation like Union Pacific Railroad and Interstates 8 and 10,” Kanavel said. “But don’t think the economic benefits are only limited to that part of the county. What we are seeing is that a ‘win’ for western Pinal County is a win for all of Pinal County. We are beginning to recognize increased revenues from business taxes and that will work to take the burden off all the taxpayers in Pinal County. It is my job to make sure that if one part of the county doesn’t fit a company’s need, we can direct them to another part of the county that can.”

In the past year, Pinal County has seen growth come in the opening of the Tractor Supply Company Distribution Center on the south side of Casa Grande along with Applegate Insulation and Case New Holland’s Tech Center. In late May, Danrick Builders announced that a 2,360 acre development with two 2.8-mile road courses, a karting track, a driver experience center and a multi-surface racing and event area will be built south of Interstate 8.

“These are large-scale projects,” Supervisor Steve Miller said. “Looking at the number of jobs that are coming into the county, I have to agree with Mr. Rounds, we cannot let the momentum slide. We are on the precipice of something extraordinary for this county.”

Another area where the consultant thought Pinal County was doing well in is tourism. He pointed to several opportunities for outdoor activities that would bring people to the area and along with their dollars.

“When Tim (Kanavel, Pinal County Economic Development Director) told me about these tourism sites, I was skeptical,” Rounds said. “But he drove me around the entire county and the tour opened my eyes to the tremendous amount of things to do here. I can see this being a serious component of economic development. The Arizona Zipline Tour is unbelievable.”

Vice Chairman of the Board Anthony Smith said that the Pinal County Open Space and Trails has been busy with identifying potential areas for regional parks that everyone can enjoy.

“We do have a lot of outdoor opportunities,” the Vice Chairman said. “Our residents want these opportunities to get out and enjoy what Pinal County has to offer. Proposed regional parks will be able to offer them the opportunity to do anything from camping to horseback riding. I think we are right now doing a good job of integrating our tourism opportunities with our economic development. But we can do a better job of bringing those two efforts together.”

The consultant said that there are two things that are key in bringing business to Pinal County: infrastructure and an educated workforce.

“Pinal County can recruit a good workforce from the entire area,” Rounds said. “But you would like to get it from within the county.”

Rounds pointed out that while these successes in the economic development arena have been spectacular, there needs to be a more concerted effort to make it known across the state and the nation.

“You want people to read about all there is to do in Pinal County and all the good things that are going on here,” Rounds said. “You need to talk to them day-to-day and week-to-week to let them know what Pinal County is all about. I would suggest using every media at your disposal to get the word out.”

Chairman Todd House wholeheartedly agreed.

“We do need to keep on getting the word out,” the Chairman said. “We do it with the fire district I serve on and it has paid off very well with people knowing what we are doing.”

At the end of his presentation Rounds left the Supervisors with these words.

“The county can expand upon its successes. You can go from good to great.”

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