COVID-19 Provided a Blank Page for Businesses to Engage Opportunity

by Marco López Jr.

“With the new USMCA agreement passed by Congress, Arizona and Mexico are primed to capture the returning tech, auto, financial and renewable industries.”

International business expansion and development slowed down in the early months of COVID19, but activity has recently picked up. At Mesa, Skybridge, for example, we are moving forward with the first two developments, including manufacturing space and state-of-the-art hangar. In mid-November, we are breaking ground on the first hotel and conference center within walking distance to the airport terminal on the SkyBridge Arizona footprint. Creative development and employment opportunities continue to grow as we fulfill our commitments to the Mesa and surrounding communities.

Being creative to find new opportunities has been rewarding but challenging. For example, manufacturing and industrial development, similar to what we are executing at Skybridge Arizona, has seen new interest as more companies are looking to bring their abroad activities back to the United States. Due to Intermestic Partners’ global relationship network, we have been able to showcase Mesa and Arizona as an opportunity for their return to U.S. soil while taking advantage of our proximity to Mexico and the exclusive Customs clearance processing at Mesa Gateway airport. This is important because, with the new USMCA agreement passed by Congress, Arizona and Mexico are primed to capture the returning tech, auto, financial and renewable industries. Other border states have been exploiting this relationship for years, and now Arizona is becoming a player in this turf. This pivot would have developed slower were it not for the effects of COVID on business.

2021 will be an intense year of re-building and re-engaging with customers, clients, employees and associates. For businesses to get up and running fully, COVID-19 has to be managed and contained to a satisfactory degree that gives businesses confidence to invest, grow and expand. I think this will occur close to the beginning of Q4 2021. Until then, businesses will have to be creative in how they operate. For Intermestic, our 2021 plan is to focus on long-term developments and initiatives in the areas of logistics, cross-border commerce, manufacturing and U.S. investment management. 

I believe that the U.S. confidence in new leadership will increase after President-elect Biden and his team take office next month. The U.S. will again become a more attractive, stable place to invest in as the world begins to recover from the effects of the pandemic. This new stability will help business growth and job creation in the U.S. Arizona and other states will have to ramp up quickly to be positioned to capture the new investment interest by being creative and offering solutions that are out of the box and unique from other states. Each business has a blank page to define how they want to engage this new challenge and opportunity. 

Marco A. López Jr. serves as the president and CEO of Intermestic Partners, an international business and investment advisory group based in Phoenix that invests in, develops and manages a wide portfolio of companies to maximize impact across borders. López also serves as a founding partner in Skybridge Arizona, the country’s first air cargo hub housing a joint United States-Mexico customs. López is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is senior adviser to the chairman of Grupo Carso, a Mexican Global Conglomerate with a market cap of more than $12 billion, and The Carlos Slim Foundation ($5.5 billion endowment). 

López is a former chief of staff at the United States Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection, and prior to that had served as director of the Arizona Department of Commerce and in numerous other capacities with the state government.  

Read the other “13 Top Valley Leaders on 2021” responses. »

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