• 08:10 – 08:30

Greater Phoenix: A Global Destination for Industrial Innovation

Greater Phoenix is home to an ever-expanding ecosystem of semiconductor manufacturing and its supply chain. Long-term strategic planning of resources at the state and regional level have supported this growth, ensuring that adequate water and nation-leading grid reliability meet the needs of industry. Paired with a robust workforce and an educational system anchored by Arizona State University and the Maricopa County Community College District, the region has the requisite labor force to meet the needs of key industry sectors. Greater Phoenix is a top global destination for businesses and uniquely positioned to seize the momentum of technological innovation and advanced industry to support future development.

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Chris Camacho

President & CEO

Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)

Chris Camacho serves as president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), one of the longest-standing public-private partnerships for economic development across the country. As chief executive, Chris leads the development and execution of the region’s strategic economic strategy, oversees domestic and international business development, and ensures the market position remains competitive through coordination with partner organizations, private sector leaders, and municipal and state leadership. GPEC has attracted more than 540 companies during his tenure, creating more than 100,000 jobs and $56.8 billion in capital investment. Some notable projects include TSMC, Apple, LG Energy Solutions, Microsoft, GoDaddy, Amazon, Garmin, General Motors, HelloFresh, KORE Power, Williams-Sonoma and headquarters including Benchmark Electronics, Carlisle Companies, Rogers Corporation and EMD Electronics. In October 2021, Chris led GPEC to being recognized as the top economicdevelopment organization globally by the International Economic Development Council a year after being named the top EDO in the U.S. in 2020.

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Established in 1989, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) actively works to attract and grow quality businesses and advocate for the competitiveness of Greater Phoenix. As the regional economic development organization, GPEC works with 22 member communities, Maricopa County and almost 200 private investors to accomplish its mission, and serve as a strategic partner to companies across the world as they expand or relocate. Consistently ranked as a top national economic development organization, GPEC’s approach to connectivity extends beyond the fabric of the community. Known as The Connected Place, Greater Phoenix is in a relentless pursuit of innovative and entrepreneurial technology-focused companies that are committed to changing the game. As a result, over the past 32 years GPEC has fueled the regional economy by helping more than 895 companies, creating more than 163,000 jobs and $33.4 billion in capital investment.

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Zachary Holman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship

Arizona State University

Zachary Holman is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, as well as the Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship within the Fulton Schools of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota for his work on plasma-synthesized silicon and germanium nanocrystals, after which he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher developing high-efficiency silicon solar cells at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. His research group at ASU focuses on new materials, processes, and device designs for high-efficiency silicon solar cells and silicon-based tandem solar cells. He has been named a Moore Inventor Fellow, Trustees of ASU Professor, Fulton Entrepreneurial Professor, and Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar. He is the co-founder of two solar start-up companies (Sunflex Solar and Beyond Silicon) and an advanced materials start-up company (Swift Coat).

Education
  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota 2010
  • B.A. Physics, Reed College 2005
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With 110,000+ undergraduate students, 30,000+ graduate and professional students, and 5,000+ faculty, Arizona State University (ASU) exemplifies a new prototype for the American public research university. At ASU, our culture of innovation and inclusion draws pioneering researchers to our faculty and attracts highly qualified students from all 50 states and more than 130 nations. ASU is expanding academic and entrepreneurial opportunities for every type of learner at all stages of life. Creating a resilient microelectronics innovation ecosystem is critical to America’s security and economic competitiveness. Arizona State University is responding to this need by working with industry and government partners to reestablish America’s capacity for domestic microelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing and innovation. ASU offers traditional degree programs and rapid, low-cost options for upskilling and re-skilling of the existing semiconductor workforce, as well as workers from outside the industry.

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Darcy Renfro

VP External Relations, Community, Government & Economic Development

Maricopa County Community College District

Darcy Renfro is Vice Chancellor of Community, Government Relations, & Economic Development for the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). She oversees workforce and economic development strategies for MCCCD and advises the Chancellor on government and community affairs. MCCCD is one of the largest community college systems in the nation serving approximately 200,000 students and nearly 10,000 faculty and staff members across 10 colleges in the metropolitan Phoenix area. As part of the Chancellor’s executive team, Ms. Renfro is helping to lead the Maricopa Transformation to fundamentally transform the student experience to meet the education and employment needs of the community.

Prior to her current role, Ms. Renfro served as the policy advisor to Governor Janet Napolitano for workforce, economic development, and higher education, and was founding Director of The Arizona We Want Institute at the Center for the Future of Arizona where she was responsible for strategic direction and development of a series of “Progress Meters” to establish clear metrics for Arizona in achieving its citizens’ goals. She previously worked as the founding Director of the Arizona STEM Education Network at Science Foundation Arizona.

Ms. Renfro is a licensed attorney in Arizona and has practiced at the Phoenix offices of Fennemore Craig, P.C. Prior to law school, she worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senators Dennis DeConcini (AZ) and Howard Metzenbaum (OH).

Ms. Renfro is a native of Tucson and received both her undergraduate and Juris Doctor Degrees from the University of Arizona.

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