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ASU-hosted talks to focus on transborder economic development

The North America Economic Connectivity Conference will bring together government and private-industry leaders from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. to discuss regional economic-development strategies.
Photo by: ASU Office of Initiatives with Mexico

September 28, 2015

The growth of cross-border consumer markets and supply chains in North America leading to new economic development opportunities will be the focus of an Arizona State University-hosted conference Sep. 30 at the Phoenix Airport Marriott.

With an introduction by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the North America Economic Connectivity Conference will be a high-level gathering of business and government executives from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.  They will lead panels intended to initiate new regional strategies for closer cross-border ties and bi-national economic development.

“This event will bring together economic-development institutions from both sides of the borders,” said Dr. Rafael Rangel-Sostmann, presidential professor of practice for education innovation and special adviser to the ASU president.  “After the conference we’ll have a set of recommendations and conclusions that will lead to the development of an agenda to continue the bilateral relationships.”

Jerry Moyes, founder and CEO of Swift Transportation, a Phoenix-based company that is one of the largest U.S. trucking firms, will be one of several high-level executives sharing business insight, such as supply-chain access. 

Federal officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, including Tom Guevara from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, will bring their expertise to discuss economic connectivity in North America.

Representing Mexico will be Ana Luisa Fajer-Flores, director general for North America in the Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fajer-Flores has been in Mexico’s foreign service since 1994 and has taught international affairs at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, Universidad Iberoamericana, the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey and the University of California in Santa Cruz.

Glenn Williamson, honorary consul of Canada for Arizona, will represent America’s northern neighbor. He is founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, a private-sector group focused on increasing bilateral trade and foreign direct investment between Canada and Arizona. Williamson is also a founding board member of ASU’s North American Center for Transborder Studies and a regular speaker at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Expert panels will delve into relevant business topics during the daylong event, such as industry-clusters mapping along border regions and increasing cross-border collaboration to identify economic opportunities. Networking time for attendees has also been built into the agenda.

“We are very excited to be hosting such an important event that has the potential to make positive economic inroads and regional impact, in particular along the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Paola Garcia,  director of Mexico and Latin American Initiatives at ASU. “As a socially embedded institution, ASU is postured to contribute toward this effort through research, expertise and other resources.”

The conference has been made possible by the work of ASU’s Office of Initiatives with Mexico, in collaboration with the Morrison Institute of Public Policy. For more information or to be added to the wait list, go to