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TREO CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

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Q: Paul Bonavia

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Chairman & CEO UNS Energy, Tucson Electric Power & UniSource Energy Services

What is your perspective on the importance of talent and workforce development as a key economic driver?

To attract employers that offer quality, high-wage jobs, our community needs a highly skilled workforce that can fill those positions. We already have diverse educational resources with The University of Arizona, Pima Community College and other institutions. Our economy is changing, and opportunities emerge and develop over time. Our workforce needs to remain flexible to remain competitive. Why do UNS Energy, Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services invest in and support economic development initiatives?

As a public utility company, we rise and fall with the communities that we serve. We provide service here in the Tucson metropolitan area, our employees live here and our customers live here. Not only is this company’s livelihood tied to the community, so is the quality of life for our employees and their families. We are part of this community and we want it to succeed. Regarding the TREO Blueprint Update, why is the committee you serve on in this strategic planning initiative important to you?

Building a regional economic plan – or updating one, as we’re preparing to do – is an inclusive process that requires discussion among many participants with many different perspectives. It should spark discussion and collaboration between businesses, government entities, nonprofit organizations and residents of the community. That’s important because it gives members of the community an opportunity to identify their needs and how they can contribute to improving our economy. The original blueprint gave us a foundation and an action plan to follow. This update is important because we’ve seen many changes in the global marketplace and emerging opportunities for our region in international commerce. Aspects of our economy are showing signs of improvement and projections suggest that Arizona’s economic growth will outpace the national average in the coming years. The Blueprint Update will help our community to pursue these developing opportunities. What is the outlook for your industry and business in 2014?

New environmental regulations and developing technologies will continue to affect our industry and how TEP delivers the most cost-effective, reliable service to our customers. We’re making significant progress toward diversifying our generating fuel mix. Although we anticipate generally flat retail sales next year, we continue to focus on working efficiently, keeping our operating expenses down and investing in our electrical system to ensure we continue to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations.

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Winter 2014

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Photos: BalfourWalker.com

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