"Look at our proximity to Mexico," Watson reasons. "It's a key advantage. Ford has a facility just across the border in Sonora. As we worked closely to help Lucid with its supply base, we not only had suppliers here in Arizona, but also [we were] able to tap into the supply base all across Mexico. And in Southern California as well."
Arizona's pitch is that the Midwestern U.S. is fine. But there are other regions of the auto industry, too.
"We have infrastructure that links us with the West Coast, and to the ports that serve the global supply chain," she said. "And we've built a significant supply base that serves other advanced industries here, including aerospace and defense, electronics and semiconductor, and they are now easily able to become automotive suppliers."
Just before the pandemic struck, Watson and her recruitment team journeyed to Taiwan, where they called on a company that was scarcely a household name in the auto industry at the time: TSMC, or the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The trip paid off.
This year, as the auto industry had its legs cut out from under it by a global chip shortage, TSMC announced it would build its first U.S. plant in the Phoenix area, a move to create more capacity for North American customers.