Oro Valley’s plan to bolster its tech industry got off to a fast start when it convinced Securaplane Technologies to expand to a new facility in the town’s Innovation Park.
Now that the aerospace tech firm is firmly established in its new digs, the town awaits other tech and bioscience firms .
The area, near Oracle and Tangerine roads, is home to Oro Valley Hospital and bioscience industry giants Sanofi and Ventana Medical Systems Inc. Securaplane is a supplier of avionics products, including ship batteries and chargers, security and wireless control systems, and inverters.
Securaplane expanded to a 55,000-square-foot facility at 12350 N. Vistoso Park Road in December. The move came just nine months after the company broke ground on the facility in March 2013.
The company’s grand opening is tonight in a private party attended by the likes of Sen. Jeff Flake and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
Securaplane took advantage of the town’s streamlined Economic Expansion Zone review process, which the Oro Valley Town Council implemented in 2012. Town administrators review and approve site plans, cutting down on redundant procedures that had been known to slow business expansion in Innovation Park.
Securaplane President Shubhayu Chakraborty praised town government for helping make the expansion fast and easy.
“In the process of doing it, we looked at other areas: Marana, Tucson,” Chakraborty said. “We started getting details and talking to different towns and we saw that Oro Valley was much more professional in the way that it showed us how it could do fast permitting and expedite the whole process. We felt comforted in that respect.”
Dave Perry, Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said there are rumblings about other tech bigshots considering moving into the area.
“When Securaplane had Airbus in here, that was such a great moment for Oro Valley — to show an enormous aircraft manufacturer what we have to offer,” Perry said, referring to a Feb. 11 event in which Securaplane hosted Airbus Americas representatives and dignitaries to celebrate the companies’ 10 years working together.
“Is that gonna pay dividends for us down the road? I think it will,” Perry said. “I think they were genuinely impressed and that they love Securaplane and appreciate Securaplane’s products and on-time delivery. And that they saw a government and business united and appreciative, and that they saw raw ground, vistas and a great place. The chatter is out there.”
Businesses that take a close look at what Oro Valley has to offer will find much to love, Perry said.
“It’s a combination of things,” he said. “Schools are one of them. The proximity to other bioscience and technology companies is extremely important. People want to be around them. Ventana Medical Systems has said it would like to see a number of companies at Innovation Park. That kind of relationship helps everybody.”
Securaplane’s quickness in taking advantage of the Economic Expansion Zone is a signal to other companies to follow suit, Perry said.
“That’s the message you can give to other companies,” he said. “That if you come here, you have this process set up to move the project quickly. I think that overture is extremely important.”
Chakraborty said Securaplane is happy in its new home.
“It’s like any time you have a new car or new house,” he said. “The workforce is very excited. It shows to our customers we’re not only growing, but we have confidence in future growth. We are projecting double-digit growth over the next 10 years.”
The company has 182 employees. Chakraborty said he thinks the company will increase its workforce by another 25 or 35 percent and that he hopes other tech companies will become new neighbors.
“I think it absolutely helps to have other companies around,” he said. “Sure, other companies compete for the same talent in general, but if you have an agglomeration of high-tech aerospace companies you have a much higher ability to attract talent. You actually end up winning overall.”