Licking County officials impressed with Intel's efforts in Arizona – The Newark Advocate
NEWARK — A visit last week to the Intel Corporation facility in Chandler, Arizona, convinced local officials the computer chip manufacturer will be a responsible partner when it builds a $20 billion facility in western Licking County.
Twenty representatives of local, regional and state governments, the Licking County Chamber of Commerce and area public-private partnerships visited the Arizona city 30 minutes southeast of Phoenix, where Intel began production in 1980 and operates two large campuses.
The Chandler campus represents the breadth of Intel’s business activities worldwide, while its Ocotillo campus, also in Chandler, focuses primarily on high-volume microprocessor manufacturing at state-of-the-art facilities. Intel broke ground last fall on two new leading-edge chip factories at the Ocotillo campus, connecting to its four existing factories.
Intel announced on Jan. 21, it would locate in Jersey Township on land just south of Johnstown to be annexed into New Albany. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with production scheduled to begin in 2025.
The company expects to hire 3,000 employees, and the project is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs. It is possible this stage is just the first part of a $100 billion investment by the company.
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Johnstown Mayor Chip Dutcher said the visit didn’t alleviate all of his concerns about the impact of the massive development, but he came away convinced the company will make every effort to work with the local community.
“I still have concerns,” Dutcher said. “The more we learn, the more facts that are shared, the anxiety level will go down because we’ll see the reality. I felt good about having been out there and seeing with my own eyes and experience the reaction of the officials in Chandler and how they lived through the growth.”
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The local representatives said Intel strives to work with its neighbors, including a retirement community and an Indian reservation.
“The residences butt right up against the Intel facility and (Intel) has staff, and their role is to respond to any questions or concerns from residents that border the facility, including the homeowners association, even down to getting leaves out of the pool.
“They planted some trees 30 years ago some are too large and they’re going to replace all those. It sort of shows the minutia of things Intel thinks about in trying to be a good neighbor. And, I appreciate that, and we’ll get to see it first-hand.”
Dutcher said Intel gave residents a little refrigerator magnet with a staff member’s name and cell phone number, so if they have an issue, they can call the employee whose job it is to solve the problem.
Heath Mayor Mark Johns said he was amazed how the company, its various neighbors and the city have all made the relationship work, despite the various land uses.
“On the west side, there’s a Native American tribe reservation,” Johns said. “A sovereign nation on the other side of this two-lane road from Intel’s operation and they’re growing alfalfa and cotton. The city of Chandler, years ago, partnered with this tribe, so that non-potable water from Intel is actually being pumped over the tribe’s farmland for use on their crops because water is a pretty important resource in Arizona.”
Licking County Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer McDonald said Chandler had a plan to bring specific types of manufactures into a certain area, which is similar to the philosophy of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority.
“They had a land use plan,” McDonald said. “If there was somebody coming in and they didn’t have an adequate wage of a certain amount, they found another area in Arizona they could recommend. Obviously, they had restaurants and they had retail, they had some that probably didn’t fall into that average wage, but they were very specific about the type of industry they wanted to locate there.”
John Fisher, director of the Licking County Department of Job and Family Services, said he had a positive view of Intel before the trip, and returned with an improved picture of the company.
“Chandler officials talked about the great deal of cooperation and communication between the city and Intel and showed Intel as a positive community partner,” Fisher said. “Intel came into a community and grew with that community.
“It was convincing to me Intel will be a welcome community partner and employer in Licking County. Certainly, there will be bumps along the way, but the benefits and opportunities far outweigh some of the issues.”
There are obvious differences between Chandler, Arizona, and Licking County, Ohio. Intel came to Chandler 42 years ago, when there was plenty of open land. And, Arizona has been attracting not only businesses, but retirees, for decades to come enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.
Licking County Commissioner Rick Black, who did not go on the trip, said he would like to visit Intel’s Portland, Oregon site, an area already built up when Intel arrived.
The Arizona city and company have grown together. Chandler was a town of 30,000 in 1980 and had 282,452 residents as of May 1. The company now has about 12,000 employees on two campuses, with an $8.6 billion annual economic impact.
“As they grew, over the decades, the infrastructure they put in was purposefully oversized to their thinking at that time,” Johns said. “As it turns out now, it’s sized appropriately.
“Chandler can handle the growth Intel has seen over the decades that they’ve been there, as well as continue to attract other types of business and diversify their job base.”
Following are some of Intel’s amenities for employees working in Chandler, Arizona, according to the Intel Corporation web site.
State-of-the-art fitness centers, including personal trainer sessions.
Sports courts, fields — basketball, putting green, horseshoes, soccer, softball, volleyball, walking/jogging trail.
Recreation — billiards, gaming consoles, ping pong, rec room, table football/foosball, TVs.
Pampering amenities — day spa, hair salon
Cafes with free fruit, coffee, and soda
Conveniences — grocery delivery, dry cleaning, bank/notary, ATMs
Health for Life Centers — onsite health care for employees, eye and dental clinic, Weight Watchers* sessions, blood pressure machines.
Nursing mother rooms and bonding leave for new parents
Family Fun Night events, employee discount programs
Networking platforms where employees can connect with each other