BUT, all is not lost. Many companies are beginning to realize the true cost of having all their office space eggs in one location basket — namely, Silicon Valley. It’s not a smart strategy. The rents are astronomical, their people can’t buy a house within 50 miles, the traffic is a mess and California taxes are some of the highest in the country.Arizona on the other hand has:
–Reasonable rental rates
–Space available now
–Ample people to hire at reasonable salaries. (And if we don’t have enough, don’t worry, more will move here. We are a destination where millennials want to live and raise a family.)
–Normal housing prices
–You can get around the city
–Pro-business governmentBelow are a series of articles discussing the rapid migration to Phoenix. To read all the articles in their entirety, click here to go to our website.
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Goodbye New York, Hello Arizona
By Natalie Sherman
October 13, 2017
The subway stops near Wall Street are still crammed in the mornings yet financial firms in New York – once the centre of the money universe – aren’t expanding the way they used to.
Companies in far-flung states such as Arizona and Texas are seeing the rise in financial jobs instead.
The shift in part reflects population trends in the US, where states in the south and west – often dubbed Sun Belt states – are growing faster than their counterparts in the north.
It’s also driven by growth in insurance, investment advice and consumer lending jobs, over the trading and securities roles historically based in New York.
Just as important, companies say, is that new technology and the rise of online banking means they can look more broadly when making location decisions.
“You don’t need to go into a bank anymore. You don’t need a brick-and-mortar building. You can do it from anywhere,” says Gay Meyer, assistant vice president for regional human resources at the banking and insurance company USAA.
“That allows us as a company to think outside of, ‘We have to be in New York or have to be in Chicago’.”
‘Influx of people’
As the economic recovery takes hold and low interest rates persist, demand for home loans, credit cards and other products has picked up.
That’s translated into jobs. The number of finance and insurance jobs in the US expanded by 1.8% over the 12 months that ended in March, finally rebounding to pre-financial crisis levels.
New York remains home to about 8% of those positions. But at the end of 2014, Texas overtook it as the state with the highest number of jobs in the sector.
Meyer is based in Arizona, a desert state on the border with Mexico that is better known for the Grand Canyon than banking. But over the 12 months to March, hiring for finance and insurance jobs grew faster than any other state in the country.
Its rise as a regional financial hub is fuelled by expansions from companies such as USAA, State Farm and Charles Schwab, which have been drawn to the area by affordability, booming population and a large pool of university graduates and potential recruits.
USAA, an insurance and banking firm that serves military and veteran families all over the world, hired nearly 600 people in Arizona last year, as demand for credit cards and mortgages boomed, Meyer said.
Forty minutes south, insurance giant State Farm hired about 2,000 people in 2016 and expects to bring on a similar number this year, in roles such as customer service, sales and IT, said Naomi Johnson, a State Farm public affairs specialist. She transferred to the Phoenix-area campus last June after working for the company for 16 years in her home state of New York.
Johnson, 39, said she’s seen the way the job growth is boosting the local economy, spurring new food and shopping spots to open.
She regularly gets calls from builders, checking on hiring – the campus now holds about 6,600 and the firm is aiming for 10,000 – as they start new housing projects.
“I’m constantly sharing that information because they’re preparing for this influx of people,” she says.
New York leaders are aware their lead is slipping.
In 2015, the business association Partnership for New York City published a report titled At Risk: New York’s Future as the World Financial Capital.
It called for “public actions”, such as tax breaks and investment in transport and housing, to keep New York competitive with international rivals and the smaller US cities nipping at its heels.
Now banks are cheering signs of looser regulation under US President Donald Trump.
The tumult caused by the UK vote to leave the European Union last summer has also fuelled hopes that London’s loss could be the Big Apple’s gain.
“There are a lot of discussions with people saying Prague, Amsterdam may be the next financial centre in Europe, but meanwhile the US may get its own share as well,” says Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the research institute at payrolls processor, ADP.
“Brexit may actually make New York more of a centre.”
But the momentum outside of New York is unlikely to stop. ADP announced its own expansion in Arizona last year with plans for 1,500 jobs.
‘Not in New York’
Ascensus, a financial company headquartered in Pennsylvania that handles back-office operations for financial advisors, plans to open an office in Arizona this year with about 170 people and room for more.
Chief executive Bob Guillocheau said the industry is in a good position, as the country ages and relies more on private accounts to pay for retirement, college and health care.
For his firm, which provides record keeping and administrative services for the accounts, the opportunities to grow are “sort of limitless”.
But it won’t be happening in New York, he says.
“I grew up in New York. I know that New York has a tremendous amount to offer, but given the nature of our business… it’s not that we need to be in New York City to do that.”
- The number of tech companies in Phoenix has grown by over 350% since 2012.
- 5,000 new “tech jobs” have been created in Arizona since the tech boom started.
- Renaissance Square is improving some of their office space to appeal to tech companies.
What’s driving a downtown Phoenix tech boom?
By Brenna Goth
October 12, 2017
A San Francisco tech company that announced an expansion from Silicon Valley to downtown Phoenix last week cited a lively business climate and a light-rail stop as primary factors in choosing the city.
Representatives of a semiconductor packaging company moving its corporate headquarters in May from California to south of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said the city is cost-effective and has the workforce they need.
These recent examples are part of what Phoenix leaders say is a flood of tech industry leaders and startups looking to open in the city. Mayor Greg Stanton highlighted the growth in his State of the City speech on April 25.
Stanton said the number of tech companies downtown has nearly quadrupled in the past five years. He credited adaptive reuse projects in the Warehouse District and new tech hubs as a source of the success.
The numbers Stanton used include more than the central core, according to the Community and Economic Development Department. The increase encompasses the area from Buckeye Road to Indianola Avenue between Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue.
But Phoenix economic development leaders agree the most notable noticeable uptick is in the city center.
“Throughout the city, we see how innovation breeds innovation,” Stanton said in his speech.
Phoenix offers ‘sense of community’
Keith Evans of Wespac Construction walks through the lobby area of Renaissance Square on April 27, 2017, in Phoenix. Renaissance Square is undergoing rennovations to attract a younger, tech-oriented, workforce to its building. Phoenix has seen an increase in tech companies in recent years.
Since 2012, the number of tech companies in the roughly 4-mile stretch grew from 67 to about 260, said Joseph MacEwan, research assistant for the Community and Economic Development Department.
The department used a combination of data from the Maricopa Association of Governments, which tracks companies with five or more employees, and the city to calculate the increase. The department filtered data for tech companies, MacEwan said.
Over the same time period, technology jobs in that area increased from about 1,800 to more than 7,000, according to the Community and Economic Development Department. Technology jobs, however, are tracked more closely now by the city than in 2012, a spokesman said.
The city’s definition of tech jobs isn’t represented directly in federal numbers, but U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show employment in industries like manufacturing, trade and financial activities has increased in the past year in the greater Phoenix area.
Most cities market themselves as walkable, connected and a good place to live, said Christine Mackay, Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director. But she said Phoenix highlights that every company has room to grow here.
“What people are really grabbing onto is a sense of community.”
Christine Mackay, Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director
“What people are really grabbing onto is a sense of community,” Mackay said.
Upgrade, Inc., the San Francisco credit platform company moving downtown, plans to hire about 300 people in the next two years, according to a press release. The company will take two floors of the Renaissance Square building, which is undergoing a $50 million renovation on Central Avenue.
The energy of downtown compared to other parts of the city is one factor tech executives cite in choosing the location, Mackay said.
“That’s more of the vibrancy they’re looking for,” she said.
But big moves go beyond Phoenix’s center. Last week, the city announced the new corporate headquarters of RJR Technologies, Inc., the semiconductor packaging company based in California.
The move will add about 100 jobs south of the airport, according to a press release.
The company cited “financial advantages” over California and a “cost-effective and stable business environment,” the press release said. RJR Technologies already had a small office here.
Building makeovers aim to draw tech
Mark Majerus, security supervisor at Renaissance Square, walks the 15th floor on April 27, 2017. The building to undergoing extensive renovations to help attract tech companies that could relocate to Phoenix. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
Some downtown developers are building new office space to attract tech companies. Others are renovating existing spaces to make them more appealing to that workforce.
Companies today are looking for a type of office that’s different than what was built in previous decades, Mackay said. They are asking for big, open spaces and natural light as well as common areas that promote collaboration, like “high-top tables where you can charge your phone,” Mackay said.
Renaissance Square just started construction on upgrades to its lobbies, elevators, conference room and office suites. A second phase will improve the connection between the two towers and repurpose 3rd-floor tennis courts into outdoor space, said Mark Wayne, principal of Cypress Office Properties, LLC., that owns the building in a joint venture with Oaktree Capital Management, LP.
The improvements will make the building, constructed in the 1980s, more attractive to both Millennial workers and employers that want to attract and retain top talent, Wayne said. Outdated and dark lobbies will transform into places where people can connect and get out of their individual offices, he said.
The movement of tech companies to downtown Phoenix is clear, Wayne said. They are transforming a business area that used to be dominated by law firms and government offices, he said.
“Our strategy is to meet that demand,” he said.
- Boeing moved to Falcon Field Airpark in Mesa from Seattle, Washington.
- The division of Boeing plans to be fully moved in to Arizona by 2020.
- Other divisions are moving from Seattle due to costs of working there.
- Mesa employees will be paid less than Seattle employees.
Boeing plans to shift hundreds of jobs to Arizona
By Dominic Gates
October 13, 2017
Boeing plans to transfer a substantial piece of the work of its Shared Services Group out of the Puget Sound region. Potentially hundreds of jobs will move to Mesa, Ariz. The company hopes to avoid layoffs and to shed many of the jobs here through attrition.
Boeing plans to transfer yet another substantial work group out of the Puget Sound region, the company confirmed Wednesday. The work shifting to Mesa, Arizona, will involve hundreds of jobs.
The changes are coming at Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG), which employs about 3,000 people in the Puget Sound region and provides a wide range of support services to Boeing’s corporate and production units.
The unit’s leadership has initiated a sweeping review and has begun to inform specific groups that their work is pegged for moving.
It’s part of Boeing’s intense corporate drive to cut costs, which is largely responsible for the loss of more than 18,300 Boeing jobs in the state since the most recent employment peak in fall 2012.
Boeing aims to complete the SSG reorganization by 2020, but SSG president Beverly Wyse will move from Renton to Mesa sooner.
Wyse, a longtime Boeing exec who previously ran Boeing’s South Carolina complex and headed the Renton 737 assembly plant, said the reorganization will also take out some layers of management and is aimed at making SSG more efficient and productive.
Wyse said managers have begun meeting with employees and working out details. At this point, she said, it’s too early to tell how many jobs will be moved.
“In the next six to eight weeks, we’ll understand everyone’s preferences and develop a transition plan for each employee,” Wyse said.
In one affected group, a person with knowledge of the plan said Boeing will offer relocation packages to just 5 to 10 percent of the current employees who are considered critical to the work.
To stay at SSG, the person said, others will have to reapply for their jobs and accept a lower salary offered in Mesa.
Wyse said the terms of the work transfer will differ from one work group to another.
“We are working through service by service what proportion of each team has critical skills that we have to transfer,” she said.
Job cuts by attrition
SSG, which at the end of May employed almost 5,900 people companywide, provides more than 100 services across Boeing.
Some are specific to each work site, such as security and fire protection, building and equipment maintenance, and real-estate management.
Other SSG groups are responsible for broader services across the entire Boeing enterprise, including human-resources functions such as pay and benefits; back-office functions such as management of company vehicles, travel expenses and accounts payable; business planning; purchasing non-production equipment and office supplies; and managing the logistics of delivering aerospace parts to Boeing plants across the country.
The groups providing services all across Boeing are the ones tapped for moving to Mesa, Wyse said.
About half of the total SSG employees are now based in the Puget Sound region, she said.
And because many of their jobs relate to the specific production sites here, “the Puget Sound is our largest footprint and it’ll continue to be our largest footprint” even after the work transfer, she said.
In addition to transferring work to Mesa, the reorganization will reduce jobs through attrition.
With the Puget Sound business economy booming, driven by tech companies like Amazon, attrition in some of her business-services groups is as high as 8 to 12 percent per year, she said.
Since Wyse took over as head of SSG in June last year, total employment in the group already has dropped by just over 1,400 people.
Boeing has transferred work out of Washington state steadily since 2013.
That year, it announced the move of 1,500 IT jobs to St. Louis, Missouri, and North Charleston, South Carolina; nearly 700 commercial airplane engineering support jobs to southern California; and 1,000 research engineering jobs to Huntsville, Alabama; St. Louis and North Charleston.
In 2014, it announced the transfer of 1,000 more commercial airplane engineering- support jobs to southern California and then 2,000 defense-side jobs to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and St. Louis.
Most of the employees affected by those earlier work transfers were members of the white-collar Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) union.
In contrast, most SSG employees are nonunion. About 140 SPEEA members work in facilities for SSG and will not be affected by the work transfer, Boeing said.
Wyse said she’s striving to make the process of moving work to Mesa a humane and deliberate one that gives “the people who have gotten us to where we are today the opportunity … to make a respectful transition.”
She said she is hoping for “minimal, if any, involuntary layoffs” as some employees leave for other companies and others find positions in Boeing’s other operations here.
She said SSG employees working in finance, planning or supplier management can look for jobs within the Commercial Airplanes unit that demand similar skills.
“We’ll give this a long tail,” Wyse said. “People deserve the opportunity to find a good transition.”
However, employees are understandably rattled.
One young SSG analyst said an all-hands meeting last week raised fears of job losses without providing any reassurance about the chances of still having a future at Boeing.
“We didn’t get good answers,” the analyst said.
He said he understands that Boeing needs to be more competitive and cut costs. He said SSG has many inefficiencies, such as multiple databases that don’t interact so that it’s difficult to track total spending.
Still, he said, the company needs to be less “heartless” in making decisions that profoundly affect employees and their families.
He’s now actively looking for another job.
“Boeing will do what it needs to do to survive,” the analyst said. “So will I.”
- Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the nation
- Phoenix rated one of the best cities for young professionals
- AZ quality of life is high while the costs of living are low
Why Businesses Are Moving to This Valley Instead (Hint: It’s Not Silicon)
The Mayor of Phoenix and two local companies talk about why the Valley of the Sun is great for business.
By John Boitnott
October 12, 2017
Silicon Valley has long been considered the tech hub of the U.S., with many of the top companies in the world keeping their headquarters there. However, as housing prices and the overall cost of living have increased in the San Francisco Bay Area, many startups are jumping ship and choosing alternatives, bringing jobs and economic growth to other cities and states.
I’ve done stories on the scenes in Vegas, Portland, New York City and Austin over the years. People write all the time about Seattle, Denver, Houston, Chicago and more. But one that never crossed my mind was Phoenix, Arizona. Turns out the country’s sixth largest city (who knew?) is one of the top metro areas experiencing an injection of innovative companies.
Yelp, Uber, and Shutterfly have all recently opened offices in Phoenix, drawn by lower housing costs and hot weather. City officials hope this draws more new tech businesses to the area. The city has also recently been called one of the best cities for young professionals in the U.S.
“No city in the country has gone through a greater transformation,” says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Especially in the downtown area where you see this unbelievable building boom, particularly residential. People are moving to the heart of the city in a magnitude that has never happened before.”
I spoke to Mayor Stanton about the city’s transformation in recent years, as well as two executives who have been part of that change, and have found great success with their Phoenix-based companies.
A diversifying economy
If you haven’t been to Phoenix lately, you’d be excused for thinking the city’s economy was still reliant on “real estate on the desert’s edge,” as Stanton puts it. The bustling desert metropolis is seeing transplants arrive at a fast pace from all over the country now, and the economy has diversified along with that. Stanton points to the opening of a new bio-science campus in the heart of downtown, along with the influx of tech companies from Silicon Valley.
“The quality of life (is so high) and the cost of living here is so much less,” says Stanton. “So many companies are discovering Phoenix, either moving their entire operations or at least major operations, growing here in Phoenix because they know that they can get a sophisticated workforce at a significantly lower cost than Silicon Valley…That combined with ‘hashtag-yes Phoenix,’ which is sort of our name for our converging startup and entrepreneurial community. You get those cross-pollinating, our existing startup community combined with all these people moving in from Silicon Valley, we got something special going on here.”
Staying close to home
The Valley of the Sun isn’t just a place where people bring their companies for a better shot at success. It’s someplace where companies get their start and grow. Marketing-software company Infusionsoft is an example of that and is a tech darling of sorts in the area at this point. It started in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler in 2001, with no goal to grow into a large corporation, according to CEO Clate Mask.
They operated in survival mode as they developed customized software for a small list of clients. Mask and his team worked long hours for years before developing the software package that was the predecessor to Infusionsoft. It eventually grew from being a small family business to a thriving startup, to a popular solution now used by companies all over the world.
“I wish I could say we had this grand vision of what we were going to do, but we were just building the business in our backyard because we were already in Phoenix, and that was home to us,” Mask says. “So that’s why we built it there.”
Growing in place
Even as one of the fastest-growing private companies in Arizona, Infusionsoft has no plans to move. The company has about 600 employees and more than 140,000 users. Not only is Phoenix home for Mask and his employees, but he has hired top executives who don’t even live in Phoenix. They fly in from Silicon Valley and other locations around the country each week, often doing a four-day work schedule in Pheonix, and a 3-day break back at home.
“It’s all about the culture,” Mask says. “If you’ve got great culture fit and people who are totally passionate about helping small businesses succeed. Then, if they’ve got the right skills, then we want to bring them into the Infusionsoft culture. And they’ll travel for that. They’ll come be a part of that because they see what we’re up to and they have a passion to help small businesses succeed in sales and marketing automation.”
Why one company moved to Phoenix from the Bay Area
Popular mattress seller Tuft & Needle is an example of a company founded in Silicon Valley that needed a change of scene. J.T. Marino and his co-founder didn’t want to build the typical Valley startup. They realized that they could achieve that more easily in Phoenix.
“We saw it as one of those fundamental problems in the mattress industry that being on the open market really drives towards higher prices, higher margins, lower costs, and sales tactics which has really what got this industry in this conundrum in the first place,” Marino recalls. “This is why we set out to solve these issues. So we saw this (moving to Phoenix) as important to essentially, kind of stay pure, stay employee owned.”
Like Infusionsoft, Tuft & Needle has seen big growth during its time in Phoenix. Founded in 2012, the company has 150 employees and an annual revenue of more than $100 million. By locating there, the company was able to avoid the high San Francisco Bay-area rents, and they wisely chose to put some of that savings toward purchasing their own building. They’ve accomplished all of that without taking funding, which is something they likely wouldn’t have been able to do if they’d chosen to stay in Silicon Valley.
“I can pay myself and our team members better proportionally here than there,” Marino says. “So we have a better lifestyle. It’s not like a premium, high sought-after place. There’s a lot of weird economic influences that are happening in cities like New York, and San Francisco and L.A. I view it like it’s a weight that is holding you down.”
A different kind of job applicant
Marino says company turnover is close to zero and during the interview process, candidates are more interested in the type of work they’ll be doing and the future they’ll have with the company. In Silicon Valley, interviewees are more likely to ask about exit strategies and being vested.
“They’re not viewing it like a gamble, like to cash out or something like that versus when I interview people from some other places, the conversation goes very differently so people here are thinking more long term,” Marino says. “They’re not thinking, ‘I’m going to vest, and then I’m going to leave and go join another start-up.’ They’re thinking, ‘Why would I work here? How am I going to grow?’”
Little things like that are a big reason why companies are setting up shop in Phoenix and then attracting knowledge workers. Another reason, according to Mayor Stanton, is that the city doesn’t have a lot of “old boy networks.”
“Those companies that grow to be Fortune 500 companies in other cities, in older cities, haven’t had that chance yet here in Phoenix,” Stanton says. “We don’t have a lot of old boy networks which means if you come to Phoenix, the only thing holding you back from just killing it in this town is your own work ethic and willingness to build your career. And that’s why we keep consistently popping up as one of ‘the best of’ for starting up a business, ‘the best of’ for young professionals. The future of the U.S. and the future of Phoenix are one in the same. We have a wonderfully diverse population, soon to be a majority Latino population, so we’re diversifying ahead of America and how well we do here is gonna be a real indicator of how well America does. That’s another reason of why Phoenix is so important.”
- State legislation passed in 2015 made for a more friendly business environment in Arizona.
- AZ is rated one of the top 10 states to do business, according to Chief Executive.
Businesses On The Move To Arizona
By The Governor’s Office
October 12, 2017
Arizona has always served as a trailblazing model for the nation to follow. Now, as other states move backward, businesses and the jobs they bring are turning to our state to grow and thrive.
BBC News recently published an article about how financial firms—looking for a place to thrive—are saying, “Goodbye New York, Hello Arizona.” The story notes that, over the 12 months leading to March 2017, hiring for finance and insurance jobs in Arizona grew faster than any other state in the country:
“The subway stops near Wall Street are still crammed in the mornings yet financial firms in New York—once the centre of the money universe—aren’t expanding the way they used to.
“Companies in far-flung states such as Arizona and Texas are seeing the rise in financial jobs instead. . . .
“. . . Meyer is based in Arizona, a desert state on the border with Mexico that is better known for the Grand Canyon than banking. But over the 12 months to March, hiring for finance and insurance jobs grew faster than any other state in the country.”
We’re leading the nation when it comes to embracing the 21st century for financial services and many other sectors of the economy.
We passed legislation in April 2015 making it easier for entrepreneurs to get the financing they need to open and expand. Since then, we’ve made a number of policy improvements to build upon that success and ensure that businesses can continue to flourish in our state.
That’s why Chief Executive ranked Arizona as one of the Top 10 states in the U.S. in which to do business when the magazine released its annual rankings last week.
It’s the same reason Kiplinger wrote this month that Arizona is “poised to do well as more tech firms relocate from Calif. and elsewhere to the Grand Canyon State, where the operating costs are lower and the regulatory climate is friendlier.”
Arizona is the place to be.
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of the eponymous Forbes magazine, highlighted our state’s economic success in his newest column:
“While all eyes on are on Washington these days to see how well the bold Trump agenda advances, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is quietly creating a case-study in how to achieve economic growth and create the jobs of the future. He is luring high-tech innovators, attracting scores of start-ups, and incentivizing corporate expansion. . . .
“. . . Governor Ducey should be a role model for conservative chief executives, legislators, and city leaders throughout the nation. What he accomplished in Arizona can be duplicated by any other state that is willing to work with tech companies and other businesses to help them succeed.”
There’s certainly still work to do, but—with the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, higher credit ratings and consumer confidence, and a real-estate market on the rise—let’s keep up the momentum and continue being a state where workers, businesses, and entrepreneurs feel welcome.
- Rogers Corp. has a 180-year history in Connecticut
- Rogers Corporation, Carlisle Group, and Kudelski Group are all moving to Arizona.
BREAKING: New global corporate headquarters headed to Phoenix area
By Eric Jay Toll
October 12, 2017
Arizona just landed its third corporate headquarters relocation this year.
Rogers Corp. (NYSE:ROG), an engineered materials solution firm, is moving its global headquarters from namesake Rogers, Connecticut, to Chandler.
The company already has a major business and manufacturing process in the city.
Bruce D. Hoechner, president and CEO of Rogers, said the decision supports the company’s long-term strategy and is an integral part of its plans for growth and expansion.
“Relocating our corporate headquarters to Arizona improves our access to the growing business and technology centers on the West Coast,” Hoechner said.
Rogers Advanced Connectivity Solutions division is headquarters in Chandler, and has been in the area for 50 years. The company has 400 Arizona employees. Another 70 corporate employees will make the move to the Southeast Valley as part of the headquarters relocation.
Carlisle Group from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kudelski Group, from Switzerland, both announced corporate relocations into the Valley this year. Cardinal IG is building a regional headquarters in Buckeye, and Farmers Insurance also announced a major regional headquarters in Phoenix this year.
Rogers Corp. has a history going back more than 180 years, founded in Connecticut in 1832. It is retaining a manufacturing, research and development center in Connecticut. All the corporate functions — human resources, information technology, finance and technology — are relocating to Chandler.
The company operates facilities in the U.S., China, three in the European Union and South Korea. All global functions will be administered from Arizona.