Arizona Business Resilience Initiative (ABRI)



Launched at the University of Arizona in 2015, the Arizona Business Resilience Initiative (ABRI) aims to develop a methodology to collaborate with business entities to learn from and contribute to ongoing efforts targeted at assessing opportunities and managing risks to their operations, especially those associated with climate change and variability. ABRI applies university expertise to develop a replicable framework and robust process. It aims to enhance businesses’ ability to react and adapt to specific climate risks and also improve the private sector’s resilience to anticipated environmental and social changes more generally. 

Early efforts

Researchers at the University of Arizona worked in collaboration with partners at Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Tucson’s local electrical utility, between 2015 and 2017, to develop and pilot an innovative qualitative risk assessment process. Throughout the course of the initiative, more than a dozen researchers at the UA worked to gather, interpret, and synthesize information regarding the current state of the climate in relation to TEP decision-making, and to develop and inform plausible future scenarios for TEP’s planning purposes, especially their Integrated Resources Plan process. 

Project Lead, Andrea K. Gerlak

University of Arizona researchers included:

Avelino Arellano, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences


Ardeth Barnhart, Renewable Energy Network

Michael A. Crimmins, Department of Soil Water and Environmental Science

Cori Dolan, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Kerrie Geil, Climate Assessment for the Southwest

Katharine L. Jacobs, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

Ben McMahan, Climate Assessment for the Southwest

Kit O’Connor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment 

Armin Sorooshian, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Jaron Weston, School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Eller School of Management



University of Arizona researchers follow a collaborative process that begins by identifying the partner’s key concerns and interests. Through an iterative process characterized by a series of exchanges of knowledge and information regarding risk areas, scope of data, gaps, and needs, a collaborative process of co-discovery is ignited by an exploration of existing scientific knowledge and partner experience. 

University of Arizona research teams identify key concern along with data and information that would further aid in decision making and planning, and recommendations for future actions that will help our partner plan for present and future climate and environmental risks. Beyond individual risks, a network of interrelated effects is crafted to understand the widest range of possible connections and outcomes that overlap within this system, and have the potential to amplify the cluster specific impacts, especially given current climatic trends. This process of synthesizing risks that span the topical clusters helped identify possible trade-offs between managing and adapting to the distinct risks, and can be used to plan, understand past events, and anticipate future events. 

Final report

Climate Risks and Impacts for the Regional Utility Sector: Results of a Collaborative Research Process with Tucson Electric Power. (2017). By Andrea K. Gerlak, and Ben McMahon, with assistance from: Avelino Arellano, Ardeth Barnhart, Katharine L. Jacobs, Rachel Murray, Christopher O’Connor, Armin Sorooshian, and Jaron Weston. Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona.

In the news

UA Collaboration With TEP Creates Framework for Future Industry Partnerships
By Kristina MakansiOffice of Research, Discovery and Innovation. April 27, 2018


For additional information, contact Andrea K. Gerlak at