Phoenix lands California tech company HQ

City of PhoenixAround 100 semiconductor workers and key office personnel will be hired by a California company moving its headquarters to Phoenix and opening May 1. They are starting to hire now.

RJR Technologies, Inc., is bringing its corporate headquarters and coming to the Valley from Oakland. It will invest around $2 million in opening an advanced manufacturing facility at 3602 E. LaSalle St., near Southern Avenue.

The company exports a portion of the products it makes for use in wireless telecommunications base stations, making it a major contributor to the Arizona export economy. These precision parts, called “packages,” encapsulate silicon chips used in electronics.

“Word is getting out that Phoenix is a rising hot spot for tech and entrepreneurship,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “That’s why RJR – an exporter and leader in the semiconductor industry – pulled up stakes from the Bay Area and relocated their headquarters here, and why other Silicon Valley companies are choosing Phoenix as a perfect place to expand.”

“There are financial advantages to having the headquarters located in Phoenix over staying in California,” said Karen Lynch, director of sales and marketing and part of the site selection team for RJR. “Phoenix and Arizona have a more cost-effective and stable business environment.”

This is the fourth headquarters relocation into the Valley in the past 14 months. Two advanced manufacturers—both in the automotive supply chain sector—Carlisle Group and Rogers Corporation, and one cybersecurity technology group, Kudelski, all planted flags in the Valley during 2016. Rogers is the first for 2017.

“We are witnessing a movement of business activity into the Greater Phoenix region, that is adding to the density of advanced industries companies supporting the economic base,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The decision of RJR Technologies to move their headquarters to Phoenix proves this region has the talent, business climate and community attributes attractive to advanced technology companies.”

“RJR Technologies is a major addition to the Phoenix advanced manufacturing sector,” said City Councilwoman Kate Gallego. “The company is in the high technology semiconductor sector with jobs that pay higher than average wages and generate a higher-than-average economic impact for the Valley.”

Lynch said the company took two years to finalize the move to Phoenix. The fact that it had a small office in Phoenix gave the firm familiarity with the area. The company did not disclose whether it considered other markets.

RJR Technologies manufactures the part, called a “package” that encapsulates silicon chips and then these packages are mounted onto printed circuit boards with other components to be used in telecommunication base stations around the world. The company was originally founded making specialized epoxies sealing these packages, which is still a large portion of the company’s revenues.

Landing the headquarters was a combined effort of Phoenix, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority from its California offices.

Talent quality was another factor in the RJR selection. Lynch said that Phoenix has an experienced semiconductor workforce. The company mostly plans to staff up with local hires.

“RJR needed a second factory to give our customers security of supply confidence, ,” said Lynch. “The Phoenix area was attractive due to its lower cost of living, and the depth of the Phoenix workforce.”

Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay said that adding RJR to the growing roster of technology companies in the Valley is important to growing the sector and its job cluster even more.

“We bring in a company like RJR Technologies, and it brings another avenue for innovation to Phoenix,” she said. “This adds more thought leaders into the Valley, and that results in increasing the opportunities for our startup ecosystem.”

“RJR Technologies’ selection of Arizona for its corporate headquarters relocation demonstrates that Arizona’s talent, affordability, lean regulatory environment, and location provide the perfect platform for businesses to compete in the global economy,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority president and CEO. “RJR Technologies will create new high-wage Arizona jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry, which is a key part of Arizona’s thriving economy.”

Lee & Associates handled the transaction for both parties.

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