With less than four weeks, Arizona Commerce, GPEC and Chandler pulled all hands on deck and this is the story of winning the Rogers Corporation headquarters relocation … and more.
Call it scaling up on steroids.
Rogers Corp. (NYSE:ROG), founded in 1832 — before Arizona became a territory — is leaving its namesake town and relocating its corporate headquarters to Chandler, Arizona.
The company has a campus of proximate buildings in the area of Dobson Road and West Chandler Boulevard, and the relocated operations will move to those facilities.
“This was a strategic move for our business as it puts us in closer proximity to the technology markets on the West Coast, where our markets are shifting,” said Jay Knoll, vice president and general counsel, and a member of the relocation committee.
Knoll said the company already had about one-third of its headquarters operation in Chandler, and will now move the other positions to the market.
“This was a heated competition with two other markets,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “We had less than a month to build a business case positioning Chandler for the company.”
Arizona didn’t take for granted that the company had a half-century history in Chandler — Rogers Advanced Connectivity Systems division, Chandler’s first technology company, is based in there with 400 employees — and the state made a serious run to lock in the headquarters.
Knoll did not want to identify the cities against which Chandler competed.
“We have over 50 years of on-the-ground experience in Chandler,” he said. “That was a factor in our decision.”
While Gov. Doug Ducey did not directly meet with company officials for this siting effort, Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority said he was in near-daily contact during the process.
“Rogers Corp.’s decision to relocate its global headquarters to Arizona, plus grow its existing Chandler operations, is the latest evidence that our state’s aggressive pro-business policies, affordability and location give us an edge over the competition,” said Ducey.
Watson said the state is making a full-court press on the opportunities, but Rogers was a triple-whammy demonstrating what Arizona is able to accomplish quickly.
“This is an attraction, a retention and a manufacturing expansion,” she said. “It hits all three aspects of what ACA does for businesses.”
Rogers’ headquarters relocation is the attraction. Arizona had to compete against two other strong markets.
“We had to really put an effort into building a custom business case for Rogers,” said Camacho. “And we had to line up our case against those of the other cities.”
Building that case came under a tight timeline for both ACA and GPEC. At the same time, Micah Miranda, Chandler economic development director, and James Smith, the economic development manager, were working with the local division on a business expansion effort with a team from the city.
“We appreciate the relationship we’ve built with Arizona and especially Chandler for the relationship they’ve built with us over the years,” said Knoll.
The push was on from all angles. Miranda, Smith and Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny were opening the door to an expansion of both manufacturing facilities and research and development at Rogers Chandler facility. A commitment to expand would also retain the existing headquarters staff in Chandler.
Camacho and Watson, with the governor, were building the case to move the headquarters to Chandler.
It all came together last week.
Watson said the company qualifies for several incentives, including quality jobs, qualified facilities and the manufacturing investment. Even with all those incentives on the table, other markets were offering more to close the deal.
Arizona invested $900,000 from the Arizona Competes Fund to essentially take cost differential off the table. To make this deal, Arizona taxpayers will see $2 in state revenue returned for each $1 in investment made by the state. Usually, it’s clocked over a five year period.
“This isn’t the last one we’re going to see,” said Watson. “The attraction and expansion pipeline is very robust right now, and we’re competing from a very strong position.”