World Comes Calling

Delegations show personal interest in Council, Arizona’s tech ecosystem

by Don Rodriguez

There was a time that practically the only way the world discovered Arizona even had a technology community was if its representatives packed their bags, grabbed their passports and headed to the airport.

Now, those meetings are happening here as companies and delegations are making the trip to see for themselves what the state’s tech ecosystem has to offer.

At least, that is what Karla Morales, vice president of the Council’s Southern Arizona Regional Office, is seeing. She has been involved in meetings that most recently have occurred with representatives from Colombia, Israel, Sweden, Montenegro and even Ukraine.

Her involvement is an example of the Council’s outreach to share the Arizona success story with others. Another example is AZTechCast, the podcast dedicated to covering technological innovations in Arizona and beyond.

As the world comes to Arizona, Morales recognizes that taking the time to speak with the visitors — whether in Tucson or making the drive up Interstate to Phoenix in her Tesla — has the potential to pay dividends for years to come. “We can increase those business relationships, and that business growth and international business,” she says. “The 100% focus is on technology.”

Morales’ role in the discussions is to talk about the Council and how it supports the technology sector, as well as the opportunities that exist here.

In the meetings, she often is part of a group that includes representatives from the Arizona Commerce Authority, The University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona and Sun Corridor Inc., the economic development organization with a focus on Southern Arizona. “The fact that we have a community that really does create a supportive, cohesive environment of collaboration where the business is going to thrive” is appreciated by the visitors, Morales says.

“Every single one of them is so incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to come and work with us and learn from us,” she says, noting much of this recent interest stems from Arizona becoming “the semiconductor capital of the nation” as the state’s manufacturing capacity is growing.

A meeting that especially stood out to Morales was with the group from Ukraine, a country turned upside down by its conflict with Russia. “Their companies went from being very successful to now having no supply chain to having no network, no system in place,” she says. “So, they’re really wanting to regain themselves and figure out, ‘How do we move from here and how we connect? How do we create a support system?’”

For the Colombia delegation, many of the questions focused on what makes the Council effective. “They don’t have anything that relates to a cluster that helps them create, that network to help growth,” Morales says. “So, they’re really interested to see how we can help them begin something like that.”

Even beyond Colombia, the visitors wanted to know about “the educational opportunities that the Council provides, the intentional connectivity that we provide for our members and the public policy support that we provide for them,” she says. They wanted to know, “How do we recreate this in our countries, how do we make this happen?’ Because this is so crucial for the success of the tech companies and the tech ecosystem.” 

Another way to learn about the success story of Arizona and the Council without having to go through customs is the podcast AZTechCast. The monthly broadcast features technology leaders having real conversations about what’s happening across the state.

Co-hosted by Karen Nowicki, Phoenix Business RadioX president and owner, and Steven G. Zylstra, the Council’s president and CEO, AZTechCast’s guests share their thoughts about trending technology sectors, the region’s leading companies and emerging technologies that are propelling the state’s growing technology ecosystem. 

In the first half of the year, the podcast has hosted a wide range of guests from companies that include Accenture, Axon, Carvana and Emerge Technologies. In addition, representatives from Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona and the Black Chamber of Arizona have given their views. Recent topics have covered “How to Hire Technology Talent More Inclusively,” “Using E-Commerce to Expand Your Online Presence” and “Using Public Safety Technology to Improve Community Relations.” The full list of recent episodes is at https://businessradiox.com/series/az-techcast/.

TechCast episodes also will now livestream at https://businessradiox.com/series/az-techcast/ and Phoenix Business RadioX’s LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube pages. Viewers also can subscribe on all major streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart, Google Play, Spreaker, Deezer and Podcast Addict. Those links are available at https://www.aztechcouncil.org/techcast/.

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