Some years back, our founders moved from California to Phoenix Arizona, and several people have asked "Why Phoenix." Well the answer is complex, but below are some interesting developments that may explain our thinking.
In February 2018, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that "3D printing will soon create greater demand for industrial production/creation space providing on demand service throughout the region." The magazine also cited the backed up ports in Los Angeles, and suggested that new self-driving trucks are the solution, "which will compress the drayage (shipping) cost between the L.A. ports and Phoenix making our region effectively closer to everything." Basically, Phoenix is already akin in the Southwest to what Atlanta is in the Southeast. Miami is the biggest port in the Southeast, but Atlanta is where the warehousing and distribution centers are. The problem with Atlanta is that it doesn't have space to grow like Phoenix, and the freeways there are jammed.
In fact, my inspiration for writing this blog entry is a traffic jam I encountered this morning, a very rare thing in Phoenix. Turns out it was they were connecting the new 202 loop freeway to the 10 freeway, which is the primary freeway corridor that connects Los Angeles to Florida. There are three loops in Phoenix, the 101 inner verticle loop, 202 horizontal loop, and the 303 outer loop, which allows trucks to bypass phoenix on the way to Texas or California, but it also allows the large distribution centers access to everywhere in the south. About half of these newer outer loops drive through desert which is available for new industrial space, probably 3d printing space, and automated warehouses (the most advanced robotic Amazon.com warehouse is already in Phoenix near the airport).
Importantly, due to a very open regulatory climate and a pro-business economic climate, Phoenix has also served as the first testground for self-driving cars and delivery drones. Uber put there first 1000 self-driving cars in Phoenix. Waymo created their beta program here, offering free rides for more than a year. Walmart first tested home grocery delivery in Phoenix, and Amazon and others tested their delivery drones here. The state of Arizona created rules stopping municipalities from creating their own drone rules. With so much available desert land, the opportunities for development and new ideas are huge. For more info, check out the articles below:
- NY Times - https://goo.gl/HJuRDn
- Desert Skunkworks - https://goo.gl/mu1Dm7
- Waymo - https://goo.gl/qH3i2K
- Facebook - https://goo.gl/qH3i2K
- Drone Parks - https://goo.gl/HJuRDn
- AZ State Override - https://goo.gl/XMGiLF
- Walmart-Uber Test - https://goo.gl/QiA5FS
In dentistry, Arizona is one of only three states in the US that allows out-of-state dentists to practice (under supervision of a local dentist). This makes Phoenix the defacto hub for dental training in the US. If a dentist wants to learn to place implants or do bone grafts, Phoenix has a half-dozen facilities that will train them and let them practice on local patients. This is the reason that Spears is located here, and why CerecDoctors.com is here (the best chairside training facilities in the US). It is also why the billion-dollar dental companies have invested or donated millions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art equipment in our two large dental schools and other training facilities. In Phoenix, because dentists need patients to practice on, our homeless population has access to the best dental facilities and procedures anywhere in the world, with all work supervised by the best training physicians.
Each year, for instance, the Micron leadership team donates two days of our time to an event out the Phoenix fairgrounds where we provide thousands of patients with free dental work. Micron also supports the Brighter Way Foundation which provides dental services to veterans and the homeless -- Brighter Way is in the process of building out 12 new operatories plus a 500 seat dental training theater.
Oh, and one last thing. An investigative reporter, a few months, connected the dots on some real estate transactions and discovered that Bill Gates secretly purchased $80 million dollars worth of Phoenix desert, 50 miles out of town toward Los Angeles, where he is planning on building a new smart city that he is calling Bellmont. Other "smart city" initiatives abound by other billionaires, most of them very public, but this one has been hush-hush, because Bill Gates believes that sprawling Phoenix desert land is the new gold rush.