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Business adding over 600 new jobs with help from Biden’s investments

AZ Capitol Times | May 30, 2023

(Photo Credit: Pexels Courtesy of AZ Capital Times)

People don’t always expect to hear that the son of first-generation Mexican immigrants is now the CEO of a business that employs over 250 people. But that’s my story. I grew up in a household of migrant farm workers and spent a large portion of my childhood out in the scorching hot fields of the American Southwest, picking lettuce, cantaloupes, onions – whatever was in season. Every member of my family pitched in to make ends meet, especially after my father passed away when I was a teenager.

Seeing how poorly my father and the other workers were treated by their supervisors, I resolved from a young age to become a business owner myself. I wanted to not only treat my employees with dignity and respect, but to invest in them as people. Through hard work, I became the first in my family to go to college and soon rose through the ranks of the corporate world. Today, I’m the President and CEO of Verde Clean, a facilities services company that employs over 250 people. I have achieved that American Dream that my parents came here to seek.

Now, thanks to President Biden’s investments in American semiconductor manufacturing, we anticipate that we’ll be able to create up to 800 new jobs in our community over the next decade. Through this growth, Verde will provide career foundations for people pursuing their own American Dream, some of whom will become the entrepreneurs of the future, fueling further economic growth in Arizona and beyond.

I founded Verde in 2020 alongside my childhood friend, Steve Vizerra. In starting this venture, we wanted to create a company that would be environmentally conscious and sustainable – a business that would make a positive contribution to the Phoenix area and to the world. We called our new company Verde Clean, adopting the Spanish word for “green” as a tribute to our sustainable approach.

Since 2020, we’ve grown rapidly and have expanded our operations into nine states. But our biggest opportunity came last year, after President Biden signed legislation investing nearly $53 billion into America’s semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workforce development.

These funds made it possible for the semiconductor manufacturer TSMC to open a second manufacturing plant in Arizona, boosting the company’s private investment in the Grand Canyon State to $40 billion. Following an extensive interview and proposal process, TSMC chose Verde to handle cleaning and other vital services in its facilities, expressing appreciation for our environmentally sustainable approach.

TSMC’s semiconductors will be crucial for America’s supply of smartphones, vehicles, defense technologies and other technologies we rely on every day. As President Biden said when he came to visit the new plant, these manufacturing investments are bringing a critical supply chain back to America – strengthening local economies here in the U.S., rather than in countries like China. In the process, they’re supporting small businesses like mine and creating thousands of new jobs in industries such as construction, manufacturing, shipping, and cleaning.

Our partnership with TSMC is already having a tremendous economic impact on the Phoenix community. To meet the demand in TSMC’s project, we expect to hire between 100 and 150 new employees in the next year alone – and up to 800 over the next decade. That’s in addition to the over 20,000 jobs TSMC will create here over the next few years. Together, we are opening up new pathways to the middle class for thousands of Arizonans.

These are big numbers, and they alone cannot convey the tremendous impact these investments are having in people’s lives. But I’m seeing the human impact firsthand. Many of the workers in this area are first and second-generation Hispanic immigrants who came to this country seeking a better life for their loved ones, as my family did. Every day, I see the pride that Verde’s employees take in our work – and I’m thrilled that we will soon be able to expand our opportunities, providing more jobs that can bring members of our community pride in our shared work.

I consider myself lucky to have achieved my American Dream. Now, I want all the young Hispanic boys and girls growing up today to know that the American Dream is achievable for folks who look and sound like us. Success is possible through hard work.

Economic growth is built from the bottom up and the middle out. By investing in critical domestic industries such as America’s semiconductor manufacturing, the Biden administration is ultimately investing in America’s people – supporting small businesses such as mine and helping us to create good jobs for the people in our communities. For decades, our country has been losing jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure. By turning that tide and investing in America’s capacity to build again, our leaders are creating economic hope for communities all across the U.S.

Paul Sarzoza is the President and CEO of Verde Clean. He lives in Phoenix with his wife. Sarzoza was a guest of the White House at this year’s State of the Union address.

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