With all eyes on Arizona just days ahead of Super Bowl XLIX this past winter, Gov. Doug Ducey and a coterie of state officials managed to convince Apple Inc. to give the state another chance and locate its iCloud command center in its former sapphire manufacturing plant.
That's the story Ducy's chief of staff, Kirk Adams, shared with me yesterday. This is one deal Arizona stole out from under another city. Nondisclosure agreements prohibit dealmakers from identifying that market.
On the Thursday before the big game, Adams said, Apple wanted a crash meeting with Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona officials. Apple executives were coming in person to say they planned to punt on reusing the 1.5 million-square-foot Mesa manufacturing facility. As far as company executives were concerned, the former plant it owned was going to sit vacant.
“We were expecting to see one or two executives when we walked into the conference room,” said Adams. “Instead we found a dozen Apple representatives waiting for us.”
When Apple shared its plans, Adams said the governor asked for another chance to make an offer.
“Our team gathered and we worked late in the night on Thursday, all day and late on Friday,” said Adams. “On the Saturday morning before the Super Bowl, we presented our offer, and Apple accepted.”
Arizona officials waited until after the big game to announce the big news.
“If it hadn’t been for the Super Bowl, we would have announced the deal on Saturday,” said Adams. Gov. Ducey made the announcement in a Monday morning news conference after the New England Patriots' win in Glendale.
“This is something you need to say about the deal,” said Adams. “After we reached agreement, Apple said, ‘We’ve never seen a state government act at the speed of business.’”
The Ducey administration uses “speed of business” as a catch phrase for its plans to invigorate Arizona’s government.
While Apple initially will start with around 150 positions in Mesa, the tech giant is already planning to contract for another 300 to 500 workers, according to Mesa Mayor John Giles in an interview this past May.
But if it weren't for that last-minute meeting in late January, the mayor wouldn’t have even made that statement.