Few have their fingers on the pulse of the Oro Valley business community like Dave Perry, Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. His job is to make things happen for the town, helping recruit business and acting as a conduit between executives and the government.
We spoke with Perry about trends he sees developing in Oro Valley this year, what he’d like to see happen, as well as what he needs from politicians to make his job easier.
Q: What do you see on the horizon for the town this year?
A: We’re going to see more development in the Oracle Road corridor. You already see two big apartment complexes going up, and a year from now they’ll be full of people. There’s a third project that should be coming in as well. There are going to be more people doing business and living in Oro Valley, and there’s accompanying retail to a number of those projects. It’s great. It generates more volume for everybody, but it also includes more traffic, and that has me concerned.
Q: Could the traffic stifle growth?
A: Stifle? No. Aggravate? Possibly. I think we’ve got to be cognizant that traffic can affect things. We’re building a new Magee (Road), and we need to do Tangerine Road right, once we finally get to it.
Q: Are you frustrated that Tangerine Road has not been upgraded?
A: I’m not frustrated. I just want people to be thinking that it’s an extremely important project for Oro Valley’s future.
Q: How would you like 2014 to turn out for the town?
A: I hope that we are able to attract more biosciences to the Innovation Park area. That would be really critical for our community. We’ve got to do it one at a time.
Q: What does the town need to do to keep pace with its growth?
A: We’re running out of developable space, and at some point you’ve got to annex to the north — Arroyo Grande. I’d love to see progress made on that project.
Q: What can you and the chamber do to help business grow?
A: Our organization is gathering strength, and we need to continue doing that and become more relevant as an organization. Anything we can do to help the community grow smart is what we want to do and what we want to accomplish. We have sold over $50,000 in Oro Valley Dollars in the last two months. It promotes shopping local, keeps money in the community and helps businesses create jobs. We want to see Oro Valley Dollars grow, and we want to see more awareness about the benefits of local shopping — not just from the tax perspective — but the jobs and economic activity perspective.
Q: What do you need from the government to do your job more effectively?
A: In Oro Valley, specifically, we have to continue to invest in infrastructure that helps business. We also have to maintain a pro-business attitude.
Q: Is there already a pro-business attitude in the Oro Valley government?
A: I think it’s there. And yet you can’t ever do enough. I’m not talking about giving away the farm. I’m talking about dealing with people in a way that makes them want to do business here and makes them feel good from the first interaction.
Q: What do you need from the county government?
A: I think we’re all interdependent. The county has got to keep working to help and grow Raytheon. That’s important. And Rosemont Copper. Those are things that grow the pie, and we all need a bigger pie.