Vicki E. Panhuise, Ph.D., Arizona Aerospace & Defense Commission

from Vicki E. Panhuise, Ph.D.

Over the years, Arizona has built its economy on products and industries such as cotton, copper, tourism and real estate. We have quickly become one of the fastest-growing states in America, but our industry focus has shifted. Arizona’s economy is more diverse and more advanced, with emphasis on sectors that will position our state as a major player in the global marketplace, ensuring a more stable economic outlook, but we cannot forget those pioneering industries that have shaped Arizona for decades. This issue of In Business Magazine not only highlights Arizona’s future, it takes a close look at its past.

The cover story, “Industries Leading Our Way,” by In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh, is an in-depth look at the top industries that government and business organizations are encouraging, believing they are key to attracting and retaining great talent, economic prosperity and opportunities that will sustain our growth. Supporting the primary focus areas of technology, aerospace, renewable energy and entrepreneurship, among these sustainable industries are the telecom industry — robustly represented by Cox and Verizon as well as companies such as Mitel and Microsoft that create products and programs — and the renewable energy sector whose growth continues to populate the headlines.

Arizona’s aerospace and defense (A&D) industry has grown significantly due to competitive advantages — our desert climate, terrain and open spaces — and commercial aviation, defense, space exploration and other A&D-related industry have found a home in Arizona. The cover story also explores the ongoing importance of this industry, which contributes $8.8 billion in gross state product to our economy and represents 93,800 jobs. Arizona has many large A&D companies, including Boeing, Raytheon Missile Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and General Dynamics C-4 Systems, as well as seventeen military installations. The Arizona Aerospace and Defense Commission continues to collaborate with industry, academia and government to align our business environment, research competitiveness, small business pipeline and workforce capabilities to sustain and grow this significant industry within our state.

Brett Maxwell takes a look back, reminding us of our economic legacy with his article on the “five C’s”: cattle, copper, citrus, cotton and climate; how each remains profitable for the state; and how each still impacts Arizona’s overall economy. Of course, attracting and retaining employees is critical to growing and sustaining any successful business, and Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell writes of the importance of employee benefits when it comes to hiring and engaging staff. Alison Stanton explores the health of the local retail industry in our Sector feature, talking with merchants in a variety of retail environments as well as large retail development and management companies. And in this month’s Trickle Up column, Sue Kern-Fleischer profiles John Cosgrove and Rick Johnson, who, as principals of Executive Forums, have earned a solid reputation for helping C-level executives advance to where they want to be, both in business and in their personal life, by leveraging best practices and other tools to ensure success.

We are in a time when doing things better and smarter matters. This issue of In Business Magazine is a hands-on resource for knowledge to help direct us toward that end. I hope you enjoy this January 2012 issue.


Vicki E. Panhuise, Ph.D.
Chairman, Arizona Aerospace & Defense Commission
President and Owner, VePoint Consulting Group, LLC 

Vicki E. Panhuise, Ph.D., retired from Honeywell Aerospace in January 2011 after 30 years in multiple roles in engineering, program management, operations and business leadership. A member of the American Society of Nondestructive Testing, she served as a national officer from 1990-1995, holding the title of president and chairman of the board. Active with economic development in Arizona, Panhuise serves on the Arizona Commerce Authority Board of Directors in addition to her Commission role.

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