About Us: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The ACA Board of Directors unites some of the state’s most powerful, proactive state officials with its globally recognized leaders of business – creating partnerships that both attract and cultivate commerce throughout the state. Led by Chairman Governor Doug Ducey, the Board of Directors consists of some of the most successful minds in both the public and private sectors, including the state’s Senate President, Speaker of the House and three public university presidents. The ACA leverages this incredible collection of subject matter expertise with business and policy experience to facilitate every facet of corporate expansion, strengthening the state’s overall economy.  The ACA Board consists of voting members and ex-officio members.

ACA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Governor Doug Ducey

Governor Doug Ducey

Chairman

Governor Doug Ducey was elected on November 4, 2014 and was sworn into office on January 5, 2015, becoming Arizona’s 23rd Governor.

As governor, Ducey’s priorities are growing the economy, creating jobs, improving outcomes in K-12 education and balancing the budget. A champion of limited government, economic development and Arizona businesses and families, Governor Ducey has pledged to work every day to ensure “Opportunity for All.”

Prior to taking his oath as governor, Ducey served as Arizona’s 32nd state treasurer, a position he held since his oath of office in January 2011. As Arizona’s chief banker and investment officer, Ducey managed more than $13 billion in state assets and served as an investment manager for local governments. He also served as chairman of Arizona’s State Board of Investment and State Loan Commission, as Arizona’s Surveyor General and was a member of the State Land Selection Board.

As state treasurer, Ducey notably led the opposition of Proposition 204, a tax increase that would have cost Arizona taxpayers $1 billion per year. With Ducey’s leadership, the proposition was soundly defeated by a nearly two-to-one margin. During his tenure, Ducey also oversaw the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Under his watch, the trust fund surpassed $5 billion for the first time, with 90 percent of the earnings allocated toward K-12 education.

Before being elected state treasurer, Ducey was chief executive officer of Cold Stone Creamery. An Arizona-born concept, Cold Stone expanded from a handful of locations to more than 1,400 worldwide under Ducey’s management.

Governor Ducey was born in Toledo, Ohio. He moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University’s business school, where he earned his bachelor of science in finance in 1986. Governor Ducey and his wife, Angela, live in Phoenix with their three sons, Jack, Joe and Sam.

Brian Mueller

Brian Mueller

Co-Chairman / President and CEO, Grand Canyon University

President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Mueller, joined Grand Canyon University in July 2008 to usher in a new era for the institution – from an entrepreneurial venture to a market-supported public company. Taking the successes he experienced at Apollo Group (the parent company of the University of Phoenix), Mueller guided Grand Canyon University to the first IPO on Wall Street after a nearly four-month drought when it went public in November 2008.

With his rich background in higher education, Mr. Mueller brings to GCU the professional perspective of leading a highly profitable, customer-centric higher education company with his experience as a university professor and basketball coach.

Immediately prior to joining Grand Canyon University, Mr. Mueller was president and a director of Apollo Group. He also served in a variety of positions with the University of Phoenix Online including CEO, chief operating officer and senior vice president. Under his leadership online enrollment grew from 3,500 to 340,000.

Mr. Mueller began his higher education career as a professor at Concordia University. Mr. Mueller earned his Master of Arts in Education degree and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Concordia University.

Gary Abrams

Gary Abrams

CEO and President, Abrams Airborne Manufacturing

Gary L. Abrams began his career as a second generation leader of Abrams Airborne Manufacturing, Inc., a precision sheetmetal manufacturing company that was founded by his father in 1965. Mr. Abrams currently serves as the President of Abrams Airborne. He is also the President of Vltor Weapons Systems, a weapons manufacturing company that supplies weapon accessories to the US Military and many law enforcement agencies. He is an owner and the President of Milkor USA, Inc., a manufacturer of the M32A1 multi-shot grenade launcher.

As a lifelong pilot, Mr. Abrams’ passion of flying and his drive for business enabled him to establish two companies in the field of aviation. He is the President of Pima Aviation, which acts as the long-term lease holder of the Marana Regional Airport, as well as the President of a FBO at Marana Regional Airport, titled Tucson Aeroservice Center. Mr. Abrams has been an active member of the Pima Air and Space Museum for many years serving as a past President, and currently serving as the Trustee on the Board of Supervisors.

Richard Adkerson

Richard Adkerson

President and CEO, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

Richard C. Adkerson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. FCX, with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, is the world’s largest publicly owned copper producer and the principal supplier of copper to the United States. FCX operates the Grasberg mining complex in Papua, Indonesia, the world’s largest copper and gold mine in terms of reserves, and conducts significant mining operations in North and South America and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is also Co-Chairman of McMoRan Exploration Co., a New York Stock Exchange company engaged in oil and gas exploration and production offshore and onshore in the Gulf of Mexico region of the United States. McMoRan is an industry leader in drilling deep natural gas wells in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr. Adkerson graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors and an MBA degree. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Mississippi State. He also completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School in 1988. Prior to joining Freeport-McMoRan in 1989, he was Partner and Managing Director in Arthur Andersen & Co., where he headed the Firm’s Worldwide Oil and Gas Industry Practice. From 1976 to 1978, he was a Professional Accounting Fellow with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Adkerson currently serves as Chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals and on the Executive Board of the International Copper Association. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Business Council and the Business Roundtable. He serves on the Host Committee for the 2011 APEC CEO Summit, on the Advisory Council of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Dean’s Council of 100 for the Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business. He is Vice-Chairman of the National WWII Museum, serves on the Board of Visitors of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and is Campaign Chair of the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, “Cancer Has Met Its Match” campaign in Phoenix. He served as President of the Mississippi State University Foundation Board of Directors, chaired its “State of the Future” capital campaign, and serves on the University’s Advisory Board for the College of Business. He was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame in 2010, named National Alumnus of the Year of Mississippi State University in 2011, received The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Charles F. Rand Memorial Award in 2011 and named Executive of the Year by the W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council at Arizona State University in 2011. In each of the past four years, Mr. Adkerson was named The Best CEO in Metals and Mining by Institutional Investor magazine and was named The Copper Man of the Year 2009 by The Copper Club.

Sandra Watson

Sandra Watson

President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

Sandra Watson brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona more than 750 companies that have committed to invest nearly $10 billion in capital and create more than 125,000 jobs.

During her tenure with the Arizona Department of Commerce, and now the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Ms. Watson served in multiple positions with increasing responsibilities and results. She has the led Business Attraction, Business Development, Innovation & Technology, Workforce and Marketing divisions. She served as the Executive Director on the Governor’s Council of Innovation & Technology in advancing the state’s Innovation and Technology roadmap.

Ms. Watson began her career in Canada and brings not only a wealth of knowledge on the regional, state and national levels but can execute effectively on an international scale.

Ms. Watson is a collaborative leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. She worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the Arizona Commerce Authority, providing invaluable leadership and stability during its transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s first public-private partnerships focused on economic development. She was instrumental in guiding the implementation of the ACA’s aggressive five-year business plan promoting the state’s pro-business, competitive value proposition. Under her leadership, the ACA has transformed into Arizona’s leading economic development organization, and advances its three-pronged approach to strengthen the overall economy: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries.

She earned an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree from Laurentian University, and has completed the Global Leadership Certification program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition to serving on numerous regional and statewide Boards of Directors, Ms. Watson serves on the Board of Trustees for the State Science and Technology Institute, a national organization focused on promoting technology-based economic development, and is a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona.

In 2014, the Phoenix Business Journal recognized Ms. Watson as one of the 25 "Most Admired Leaders in Business" and Az Business selected her for its 2014-15 Az Business Leaders publication spotlighting Arizona’s most respected and influential business leaders. In 2013, Az Business also recognized Ms. Watson as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business.” The Phoenix Business Journal in 2012, recognized Ms. Watson among the "Top 25 Women in Business,” one of the 2008 “Power Players in the Phoenix Metro Area,” and in 2004, recognized her as an up-and-coming Arizona leader, with its “Forty Under 40” designation. Ms. Watson is also a two-time recipient of the Arizona Technology Council’s Chairman’s Award (2003 and 2010).

Michael Bidwill

Michael Bidwill

President, Arizona Cardinals

After practicing law for six years as a federal prosecutor, Michael Bidwill joined the Cardinals organization in 1996 as Vice President/General Counsel and today serves as team President. In that time, his influence over the club and his role in shaping its success has been undeniable.

In addition to his prominent role in guiding the Cardinals, Mr. Bidwill has established himself as an influential leader in the greater Phoenix business community where he has been a strong advocate for economic growth and development.

Within the NFL, Mr. Bidwill chairs the League’s Security and Fan Conduct Committee, a group of eight club executives that oversees and develops best security practices for NFL facilities. He also serves on the board of the National Football League Foundation, which in 2013 will award more than $23 million in grants to support youth and high school football programs, health and safety efforts, as well as community health initiatives, including NFL PLAY 60. Mr. Bidwill has also been a member of the league’s Business Ventures Committee since 2007 when Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed him to it.

Mr. Bidwill additionally serves on Arizona’s Super Bowl Host Committee. That group not only oversaw the successful staging of Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008 but attracted the 2015 game (Super Bowl XLIX) and its half billion dollar economic impact to the state.

From 2008-10, Mr. Bidwill served back-to-back terms as Chairman of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He is also a board member of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), an organization composed of the region’s top business and civic leaders. In July of 2011, Mr. Bidwill and 16 business leaders in the state were appointed to the Arizona Commerce Authority Board of Directors. He is also a member of the board for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which carries on the legacy of the former Cardinals safety killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

Andy Biggs

Andy Biggs

President, Arizona State Senate

Senator Andy Biggs is an Arizona native and has lived in Gilbert with his family since 1986. He is married to Cindy and they have six children.

Andy is a retired attorney. He is licensed to practice in Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico. The Senator has a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from BYU and a J.D. degree from the University of Arizona. He earned a M.A. in Political Science from ASU and has done additional graduate work there. 

Sen. Biggs served the old Legislative District 22 in the State House of Representatives for eight years before being elected to the State Senate in November of 2010. As a freshman in the Senate, he chaired the Appropriations committee and was the Vice-Chairman of the Government reform and Judiciary Committees. Andy also served on the Rules Committee. Later in his freshman term, Sen. Biggs was chosen by the Republican Caucus to be the Senate Majority Leader. In 2012, Sen. Biggs was re-elected to the Senate to represent Legislative District 12 and was chosen by his caucus to be the Senate President. In addition to his role as Senate President, Sen. Biggs chairs the Rules Committee. 

Andy has earned the designation “Champion of the Taxpayer” from Americans for Prosperity for his cumulative service in the state legislature, has been honored numerous times by the Goldwater Institute as a “Friend of Liberty,” and has received the Guardian of Small Business Award from NFIB for his career-long championing of small business interests.

Richard L. Boals

Richard L. Boals

President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

As president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), Richard L. Boals provides his strategic vision and expertise to the state’s leading health insurer.

Mr. Boals joined BCBSAZ in 1971 and has served in a variety of capacities, seeing the company through numerous years of stability and success. Prior to his appointment to chief executive officer in April 2003, Boals served as president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Boals is a member of the board of directors for BCBSAZ, as well as for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  He is chairman of the board of directors for TriWest Healthcare Alliance. In addition, Boals serves as president and board member of CSA General Insurance Agency Inc., a BCBSAZ subsidiary.

His commitments don’t end there: Mr. Boals is also active in the community, and has been involved with countless professional and local organizations. He chooses to be aligned with Arizona organizations that focus on youth and education, health, wellness and human services, economic and civic development, and arts and culture.

Mr. Boals is on the board of directors for Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business Center for Services Leadership, Arizona State University President’s Club, Arizona State University Dean’s Council of 100, and the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. He is a member of the Translational Genomics Research Institute’s board of governors, Arizona Educational Foundation’s advisory board, and the Phoenix Police Reserve Foundation board of directors.  He is chairman of the board of directors for O’Connor House.

Awards recognizing Mr. Boals’ role as a community and business leader include the ASU Alumni Leadership Award, the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation’s Heroes of Education Award, the Victoria Foundation’s Advocates for Education Award, the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations and Centennial Leadership Awards, the Anti-Defamation League’s Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award, the Greater Phoenix Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award, and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Globe and Anchor Award. He has also received recognition for his contributions to the Kidney Foundation and Arizona’s Children Association. The Business Journal Phoenix added Mr. Boals to its Silver Anniversary Honor Roll, which recognizes leaders whose work in the Valley over the past 25 years has left a lasting impact and value for all.

Mr. Boals received his associate’s degree from Phoenix College and bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University. He has completed executive development courses at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Haas School of Business at the University of California, Harvard University and University o fMichigan. Mr. Boals served four years in the United States Air Force before beginning his career at BCBSAZ.

Mark Bonsall

Mark Bonsall

CEO, Salt River Project

Mark B. Bonsall was named SRP’s CEO and General Manager in April 2011.  Based in Tempe, Arizona, SRP is one of the nation's largest publicly owned electric and water utilities.    Since joining SRP in 1977, Bonsall has served in a variety of positions including Treasurer, and Chief Financial Executive. 

Bonsall is a former member of the Phoenix Metro YMCA Board of Directors, where he served as Chairman.  He is a past board member of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. He is past chair of the Board of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and is past chair of the Board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.  He is currently a member and past chair of the Board of Trustees for the Heard Museum, and a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Board of Directors. 

Bonsall is an industry leader, having served as a member of the Task Force on Electric System Reliability, by invitation of the Secretary of Energy.  Bonsall is a former board member and Chairman of the Western Systems Coordinating Council, and former member of the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Council.  He also serves on the Board of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and currently Chairs the Board of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC).  Bonsall also served on the Issuer Advisory Board of the Municipal Securities Rules Making Board.

Bonsall earned his baccalaureate degree in engineering from Arizona State University.  He earned a Master's of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Born in Phoenix in 1952, Bonsall and his wife Mary have three children: Benjamin, Jonathan, and Molly.

Rita Cheng

Rita Cheng

President, Northern Arizona University

Rita Hartung Cheng is the 16th president of Northern Arizona University. As a first-generation and non-traditional college graduate, Dr. Cheng firmly believes in making higher education accessible and affordable for all students. She has set forth a vision of excellence in education through student-centered teaching, a robust research environment and inclusive support services focused on success measured through retention and graduation rates.

Before joining NAU in 2014, Dr. Cheng was chancellor of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for four years and spent 22 years in teaching and administrative roles at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

She earned her Ph.D. in management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, an MBA degree from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor of business administration degree with honors from Bishop‘s University in Quebec.

A certified public accountant and certified government financial manager, Dr. Cheng is internationally recognized for her research in government and nonprofit accounting.

Dr. Cheng currently serves on a variety of local and national boards including:

Professional

  • Higher Learning Commission, Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • NCAA, Board of Governors (2012-present)
  • AASCU, Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • APLU, Committee on Use of Data for Decision Making (2014-present)
  • Big Sky President’s Council (2014-present)
  • Future University of Egypt, Board of Advisors (2011-present)
  • APLU Audit Committee, Vice Chair (2013-present)
  • Arizona State Board of Education (2016-present)
  • Arizona Women in Higher Education, Presidential Advisor (2015-present)

Community

  • Arizona Commerce Authority, Board Member (2014-present)
  • Phoenix Leadership Council (2014-present)
  • Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, Board Member (2014-present)
  • Southern Arizona Leadership Council (2015-present)
  • Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (2014-present)
  • Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce (2014-present)
Michael Crow

Michael Crow

President, Arizona State University

Michael M. Crow is an academic leader and educator, designer of knowledge enterprises, and science and technology policy scholar.  He has been the sixteenth president of Arizona State University since July 2002.  He is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution combining academic excellence, inclusiveness, and societal impact—a model he terms the “New American University.”  During his tenure ASU has developed a new era academic design built around innovation, established more than 15 transdisciplinary schools and research initiatives and witnessed an unprecedented academic and learning technology infrastructure expansion, quadrupling of research expenditures, and attainment of record levels of diversity.  He was previously executive vice provost and professor of science and technology policy at Columbia University. 

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Public Administration, he is the author of books, articles and designs for new knowledge enterprises, new science and technology policies, new highly adaptive higher education institutions and new transdisciplinary concepts for enhanced human welfare.

Wyatt Decker

Wyatt Decker

CEO, Mayo Clinic in Arizona

Wyatt W. Decker, M.D., is Mayo Clinic Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Dr. Decker is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He served as the inaugural Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in Minnesota, and Chair of Emergency Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida.  Dr. Decker has held numerous leadership positions at Mayo Clinic in Rochester which has included the oversight of hospital operations; public affairs; and the recruitment, retention and leadership development of staff physicians.

As an Emergency Physician, Dr. Decker chaired the Clinical Policy Committee of American College of Emergency Physicians, and served as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Emergency Medicine. He has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles and lectures internationally on topics including syncope and atrial fibrillation, hospital management, team building, change management and leadership. He has received leadership and team-building awards from Mayo Clinic and the prestigious Heroes of Emergency Medicine award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Prior to his medical career, Dr. Decker worked as a mountaineering guide in the western United States for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Dr. Decker holds an M.D. from Mayo Medical School, an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and a BS from the University of California-Santa Cruz. He completed internal medicine residency training at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine and Emergency Medicine training at Denver Health and Hospitals.

David Goldstein

David Goldstein

President, Diamond Ventures, Inc.

David Goldstein is President of Diamond Ventures, Inc. and has held this position since the company's inception in 1988. Diamond Ventures, headquartered in Tucson, is a privately held company specializing in real estate and private equity investments in Arizona and the southwest. Mr. Goldstein is responsible for setting the company's overall strategic vision and priorities.

Immediately prior to joining Diamond Ventures, Mr. Goldstein served as Vice President of Acquisitions and Sales for the Venture West Group, Inc., a Tucson based real estate development company which owns and develops office and retail projects in the southwest.

Mr. Goldstein began his business career as a Certified Public Accountant in Arizona and practice with both Ernst & Whinney and Coopers & Lybrand. His emphasis was in the areas of real estate, corporate and partnership taxation.

Mr. Goldstein earned his Bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and his Masters of Business Administration degrees from The University of Arizona in 1979.

Mr. Goldstein is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Tucson Airport Authority where he serves as Vice-Chair. His community involvement on boards and committees have included: Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Greater Tucson Economic Council, Business Leaders Alliance at the Eller College of Management, Desert Angels, United Way's Alexis de Tocqueville Society, AIPAC, and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

David Gowan

David Gowan

Speaker of the House

David Gowan was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2009. He resides in Sierra Vista in Legislative District 14, which encompasses all of Cochise County, all of Greenlee County, most of Graham County, and the Eastside of Pima County.

David was honored to be elected by the Republican Caucus in December to serve as Speaker of the House. Before that, he served as the House Majority Leader for 2 years and Chairman of the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee.  

Since first being elected, David has been involved in turning a $3 Billion deficit into a surplus, passing the Arizona Jobs Bill to attract new employers/jobs, and refilling the Rainy Day Fund that Governor Napolitano drained.  His priorities always focus on limiting government and promoting individual responsibility.

Speaker Gowan is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona, holding a B.A. in Secondary Education/Social Studies. Growing up, David learned his core values from his father, Jim, who is a military Veteran. He has been married to his wife Jessica for over 20 years, and they have two sons. Originally hailing from Northern California, they have lived in Southeastern Arizona since 1993.

Ann Weaver Hart

Ann Weaver Hart

President, University of Arizona

Ann Weaver Hart is the 21st President of the University of Arizona, a role she assumed in July 2012.

Since coming to the UA, President Hart has successfully led a process to create and implement an integrated strategic academic and business plan that will guide the UA’s future. With the new plan, Never Settle, the UA proclaims its intention to be a super land-grant university that advances the local and global impacts of knowledge creation through partner relationships with communities and industry and via innovative programs. In pursuit of these strategic goals, Dr. Hart recently led the University to a historic agreement with Banner Health that will support the UA’s biosciences research initiatives while creating a foundation for statewide excellence in clinical healthcare. With this model of partnership, the University will enhance the quality of life for the people of Arizona and the world by addressing real-world problems and opportunities as they arise in real time while dramatically affecting the success of American academic medicine.

Dr. Hart came to Tucson from Temple University, where she served as president from July 2006 to July 2012. Previously, she served as president of the University of New Hampshire and provost and vice president for academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. At the University of Utah, she served as professor of educational leadership, dean of the Graduate School and special assistant to the president.

In addition to her role at the UA, President Hart is a member of the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Board of Advisors, and she is an advisor for the Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Hart also serves with a number of organizations in and around Arizona, including the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Executive Committee, and Greater Phoenix Leadership. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Sun Corridor Chairman’s Circle, the Arizona State Board of Education, the Udall Foundation, and the Board of the Tucson Festival of Books.

Dr. Hart has received various professional and community service awards for her work, including the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities; the Girl Scouts of the USA Take the Lead Award; the Jack Culbertson Award in Educational Administration from the University Council for Educational Administration; and the PoWer Award from the Professional Women’s Roundtable. She was named one of Arizona’s fifty most influential women by Arizona Business Magazine in 2013, continuing a record of community recognition that includes being named one of the “Ten to Watch in 2010” as the “Transformer” and as one of the “People to Watch 2007” by the Philadelphia Business Journal, one of the “50 most powerful people in Philadelphia” in 2009 by the Philadelphia Magazine, and one of the ten most powerful people in New Hampshire by Business New Hampshire Magazine.

President Hart received three degrees from the University of Utah: a bachelor of science and master of arts in history, and a doctorate in educational administration. In addition to serving as the president of the University of Arizona, Dr. Hart holds an appointment as professor of educational policy studies & practice in the College of Education.

Mignonne Hollis

Mignonne Hollis

CEO & President, Business & Tax Analyst, LLC

Currently the CEO of Business and Tax Analyst, LLC and executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, Mignonne has over 30 years of hands-on business and economic development experience. From business and personal tax advice and preparation to promoting and supporting industries such as aerospace and defense, small business, health care, Arizona/Mexico commerce, and transportation, which have provided thousands of new jobs throughout the state.

Mignonne brings bring both small-business executive experience and hands-on experience successfully implementing economic development programs to the State. Although her focus is on rural Arizona, Mignonne is dedicated to making an economic impact throughout the entire state. She sits on the board of the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), where she serves on the government relations committee and the rural committee as past chairman. Mignonne was appointed by the Governor to the Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA) and the Aerospace and Defense Commission.

Among her efforts to support economic development in Arizona, Mignonne operates an entrepreneurial co-working facility and co-writes a weekly newspaper advice column for business owners. She is also the CEO of two businesses. Mignonne is an active member of the International Economic Development council where she serves on the public policy committee and she recently accepted a position on the Arizona Advisory Committee of the US Global Leadership Coalition. Through her foundation she has taken the lead in Arizona’s unmanned aerial systems industry. After partnering with the Arizona Commerce Authority on an FAA Test Site proposal, her foundation created a commercial test site in Southern Arizona. She is well known for working with industry as well as academia to ensure success and create a large economic impact to the region and ultimately the state. Mignonne received the 2013 Governor’s Excellence in Economic Development award and is a Flinn-Brown Fellow. She also serves on the board of trustees of the Canyon Vista Medical Center.

Mignonne graduated from Tombstone Union High School, received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and went on to earn her MBA from the University of Phoenix. In her spare time, she enjoys nothing more than long horseback rides through the trails of Cochise County. Mignonne has a daughter who attends Baylor University.

John Kaites

John Kaites

Owner, Public Policy Partners, LLC

Mr. Kaites is the owner of numerous companies from Global Security to Public Affairs. He currently owns the government relations firms of Public Policy Partners, LLC as well as the branding and advertising firm of World Class Service and the marketing and advertising firm of Avant Strategies, LLC. He is a founding partner in Global Security Intelligence Strategies and owns parts of businesses ranging from Real Estate, Construction and Water. He is a partner in the Law Firm of Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis in Phoenix, Arizona. He has been a leader in the High Technology Sector; Energy & Biotech Sectors and he helped in the formation of the Arizona Commerce Authority and has been a member of many efforts to recruit businesses to Arizona and has participated in the International Trade Delegations in support of the Arizona Commerce Authority. He is a leader in Business and Policy in Arizona.

Mr. Kaites also has extensive experience with professional sports franchises and leagues. Over the course of his career, he has represented fourteen Major League Baseball Clubs, two NBA Basketball Teams, the National Hockey League, an Arena Football Franchise and a Minor League Baseball Team.

Mr. Kaites is a graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were he was a member of The Order of Barristers.  He began his legal career in 1989 as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Division.  Mr. Kaites later served three terms in the Arizona Legislature.  During his tenure in the Arizona Legislature, he was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.  Mr. Kaites authored the Securities Litigation Reform Act, the Interstate Banking & Branching Act, and The Privilege of Self-Critical Analysis for Products Liability Act.  He also sponsored the final draft to the Arizona Criminal Code and the Arizona Juvenile Justice Code.  In 1998, Mr. Kaites was recognized nationally by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 3,000 legislative members and received The National Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award.

In May of 2012 Mr. Kaites graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Certificate of Christian Studies.

Mr. Kaites is married with two (2) children.

 

 

 

James P. Keeley

James P. Keeley

Founding Partner, Colliers International Scottsdale Office

James Keeley is the Scottsdale Partner in Colliers International and leads the office in production.  He is considered to be one of the leading commercial real estate experts in regards to the Loop 101 Employment Base (Scottsdale Airpark, Desert Ridge and Deer Valley).

Since 1981, Mr. Keeley has specialized in the site selection, development process and sale of office, flex, industrial buildings, land and aviation.  He has more than 30 years of industry experience as a sales leader, developer and consultant.

Mr. Keeley is a graduate of The University of Arizona with a Bachelors Degree in Business.  He is currently serving on several local Boards including the First Fidelity Bank.  He has previously served as a Board Member on Moss Adams: CPA Firm, the Phoenix FBI Citizens Academy, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission, the Scottsdale Airpark P.O.A. and is a Lifetime Member of the Scottsdale Charros.

Mr. Keeley has published and/or been quoted in more than 230 magazine and newspaper articles and has produced the Annual Greater Scottsdale Airpark 2010 Report and nowGreater Scottsdale Airpark 2030 Report since 1989.

An Arizona native from Tucson, Jim and his wife Theresa reside in Scottsdale and have 2 daughters, Karly and Roxanne and 2 sons Tommy and Kyle.

Eileen Klein

Eileen Klein

President, Arizona Board of Regents

With more than 20 years of strategic fiscal and executive management experience in the public and private sector, including leading reform efforts on pivotal statewide issues such as education and health care, Eileen Klein is uniquely positioned in her role as president of the Arizona Board of Regents to help Arizona’s public universities achieve critical goals to transform Arizona’s economy.

Ms. Klein oversees the $4 billion Arizona public university enterprise – Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona – as well as guides and advises the regents to help inform effective governance.

She provides leadership to the Board administration and manages the Enterprise Executive Committee (EEC), comprised of the university presidents.  The EEC is responsible for achieving the ambitious 2020 goals outlined in the Board’s aggressive strategic plan which calls for significant gains in degree production and research activity, and major reforms in both the instructional delivery model and financing of the university system to support and stimulate Arizona’s economy.

Previous to joining the Board, Ms. Klein served as chief of staff for Gov. Brewer. Taking the helm in the midst of a severe financial crisis and economic downturn, Klein was instrumental in charting Arizona’s path to recovery.  Klein refocused the state’s efforts on economic competitiveness by creating the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state’s leading public-private economic development organization; and ushering in Arizona’s Competitiveness Package which included a mix of business incentives and tax reforms making Arizona one of the most desirable places to do business. Additionally, in a matter of just two years, Klein led the state out of a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall through budget and personnel reforms resulting in a positive cash balance.

During her tenure as chief of staff, Klein helped launch Arizona Ready, an education reform plan to align statewide education goals across the P-20 spectrum.  The initiative raises standards for teachers and students, improves transparency for parents, and establishes ambitious goals in areas from third grade literacy to high school and college graduation rates. Klein also played a critical role in spearheading Gov. Brewer’s transformational health care reform plan, which enabled the state to modernize Medicaid and behavioral health programs while reducing costs, improving care and preserving the safety net for Arizonans in need.

Prior to joining the governor’s office, Klein was chief operating officer for Arizona Physicians IPA by UnitedHealthcare, a $1 billion corporation with 250 personnel dedicated to serving Arizonans with special health care needs enrolled in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Department of Development Disabilities and Arizona Department of Health Services Programs.  Ms. Klein also served for three years as vice president of state affairs, representing all UnitedHealthcare lines of business in government relations and public policy in Arizona, Utah and Idaho.

Taylor Lawrence

Taylor Lawrence

President, Raytheon Missile Systems

Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence is a Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) vice president and president of its Missile Systems business, a position he assumed in July 2008. Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.

Headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., Missile Systems also has locations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, New Mexico and Texas, as well as oversight of the operations of Raytheon UK. Its broad portfolio of weapon systems supports every mission area of its customers, including air-to-air, land combat, naval weapons, strike weapons, missile defense, guided projectiles, directed energy systems, and combat and sensing systems. The business continually develops and invests in new, innovative technologies to provide rapid, high-quality, affordable mission capability to its customers. Raytheon Missile Systems is the world’s leading producer of weapon systems for the United States military and the allied forces of more than 50 countries. Missile Systems had 2014 sales of $6.3 billion and employs more than 13,500 people.

Prior to leading Raytheon Missile Systems, Dr. Lawrence served as Raytheon’s vice president of Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance. In that role, he guided the company’s vision and provided corporate leadership in the strategic areas of technology and research, engineering, operations, performance excellence, Raytheon Six Sigma™ and Mission Assurance.

Prior to Raytheon, Dr. Lawrence was sector vice president and general manager of the C4ISR and Space Sensors division for Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. He joined Northrop Grumman in March 1999 as vice president of Products and Technology for the company’s Systems Development and Technology division. He was promoted to sector vice president and general manager of that division in August 2001.

Before joining Northrop Grumman, Dr. Lawrence served as the staff director for the Select Committee on Intelligence for the U.S. Senate and, previously, as deputy director of the Information Systems Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He also held a variety of scientific and research leadership positions, including deputy program leader of the Advanced Imaging, Imaging & Detection Program of the Lasers Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; senior staff scientist of the Research and Development division of Trex Enterprises; and research assistant and undergraduate research fellow in the physics department at the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Lawrence holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in applied physics from Stanford University. He earned his doctorate in applied physics from Stanford in 1992.

Dr. Lawrence is a member of the Caltech Space Innovation Council. He is a former member of the Defense Science Board and vice chairman emeritus of the Air Force Studies Board of the National Academies. He is a fellow and lifetime member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and serves on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Zanjeros. In 1996, Dr. Lawrence was honored with the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. In 2013, he received the Medal for the Advancement of Research from ASM International.

Steve Macias

Steve Macias

President and CEO, Pivot Manufacturing

Steve Macias is a co-owner of Pivot Manufacturing and has been the President and CEO since the company’s inception in 2000. Pivot has grown from a small job shop to a company that does machining, assembly and contract management for a variety of industries including aerospace and defense, semiconductor and oil and gas.

In addition to sales and financial duties at Pivot, Mr. Macias is also involved in promoting the small business community and the manufacturing industry in Arizona. He currently serves as Chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council and sits on the Executive Board of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry as well as the main Chamber Board. Mr. Macias also serves on the Governor’s Council on Small Business and is on the board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Macias works with variety of elected officials on both the state and federal levels, specifically bringing a focus to the Defense and Aerospace industries and the importance they play in the economy by helping expand and develop additional manufacturing opportunities as well as creating and providing high-wage jobs.

Mr. Macias earned both his Bachelor of Science degree and his MBA from Arizona State University.

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Mayor, Tempe Arizona

Mark Mitchell is a third-generation Arizonan with deep roots in the Tempe community. Before being elected Mayor in May, 2012, Mitchell was elected to the City Council in March of 2000 and served three four-year terms.

Mayor Mitchell is a native of Tempe, attending elementary and middle school in the community before graduating from McClintock High School. He also earned a Political Science degree from Arizona State University and has spent a number of years dedicated to a small business here in Tempe. Mitchell is currently the Vice President of this local business, Arizona Flooring and Interiors.

During his time as Mayor, Mitchell has focused on strengthening Tempe’s local economy and the economic recovery by working to attract new businesses and retain current business partners. Since his election in May, 2012, the City of Tempe has added thousands of jobs, and with the addition of such companies like State Farm, Silicon Bank and Union Bank, Tempe is looking forward to welcoming tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade. Mayor Mitchell is also committed to maintaining and improving Tempe’s world-class assets like the Tempe Center for the Arts and Tempe Town Lake, working with law enforcement to ensure that Tempe is made up of safe neighborhoods, and to providing a transparent city government.

As a community member, Mayor Mitchell has served on numerous boards and charitable organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, Tempe Diablos, Tempe Leadership Class XV, Tempe Sister Cities, Tempe Impact Education Foundation, Rio Salado Foundation, Tempe YMCA and the MAG Regional Council Executive Committee. Mitchell is on the Board of Directors of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and serves as the City of Tempe’s representative on the Maricopa Association of Government’s Regional Council, Regional Council Executive Committee, Transportation Policy and Economic Development Committees. Mayor Mitchell also currently serves as the President of the Executive Committee for the League of Cities and Towns and is involved with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Mayor Mitchell is continuing his family’s legacy in Arizona politics. His father, Harry Mitchell, was Mayor of Tempe from 1978 to 1994 and served on the City Council for more than 24 years. Harry Mitchell also elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served Congressional District 5 including the City of Tempe from 2007 to 2011. Mayor Mitchell’s great-grandfather, W.W. Mitchell, moved to Tempe in 1945 and served as an Arizona State legislator in the 1940s.
He has two daughters that he is raising in his hometown.

William Pilcher

William Pilcher

CEO, USI Insurance Services LLC

William "Wick" Pilcher joined USI in 2013 and currently serves as Chief Executive Office Wick Pilcher Insurance, a Division of USI in Phoenix, Arizona. In this role Wick is responsible for driving volume, engaging the sales force, managing sales and production, new business and renewal processes, coordinating with claims, loss control, and actuarial services. Along with other team members, Wick has responsibility for ensuring that USI delivers on the growth goals as well as ensuring the agency’s excellent client service commitments.

Prior to joining USI, Wick served as President/CEO for Wick Pilcher Insurance, Inc.

Wick has been in the insurance industry over thirty years. He began his career as a broker at C.E. Heath with Lloyd's of London. He joined Olliver/Pilcher Insurance in 1978 as an Account Executive, soon became a Branch Manager, and in 1983 was appointed President & Chief Operating Officer. In 1986, Olliver/Pilcher merged with Corroon & Black and Wick was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona office.

In June 1992 Wick resigned his position as Chairman and CEO of the Arizona operation to open his own independent agency, Wick Pilcher Insurance, Inc. A long-standing tradition links the Pilcher name with insurance for the past half century. The company provided full service in three areas: Commercial Insurance, Personal Insurance, and Employee Benefits.

Wick earned his BA degree from Arizona State University.

Mr. Pilcher has been active in the Phoenix community and on many Boards such as Paradise Valley Country Club, Barrow Neurological Foundation, Compass Bank, Brophy College Preparatory, Young Presidents' Organization, Phoenix Symphony, Men’s Anti-Violence Network, St. Joseph’s Hospital and The Heard Museum . He is a member of Wine and Food Society of Phoenix and the Commanderie De Bordeaux.

Kim Smith

Kim Smith

Vice President, Attack Helicopter Programs

Kim Smith is vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and senior site executive for The Boeing Company in Mesa, Ariz.

Named to this position in April 2014, Smith leads the nearly 4,000 Boeing employees who design, produce and support AH-64 Apache and AH-6i Light Attack/Reconnaissance helicopters for the U.S. Army and defense forces around the globe. Boeing’s Mesa operations are part of the Vertical Lift organization within the Boeing Military Aircraft business.

Prior to her current role, Smith served as Boeing vice president of Environment, Health and Safety starting in late 2011. Under her leadership, Boeing significantly reduced emissions, energy use and water consumption while increasing deliveries of commercial and military aircraft by more than 50 percent. She also led companywide efforts resulting in a 25 percent improvement in Boeing’s workplace safety performance.

Between 2009 and 2011, Smith was a director in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Supplier Management organization, responsible for contracting, performance and strategy development involving Spirit Aerosystems, a major supplier that produces all Boeing 737 fuselages and structural components for 747, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes.

Smith originally joined Boeing in 1997 as a production engineer, and held a number of key positions including:

  • Leading Auburn Machining and Emergent Operations and Advanced Metal Structures business units at Boeing Commercial Airplanes,
  • Quality Assurance with both the 737 program and the Commercial Airplanes Fabrication Division, and
  • Manufacturing Research and Development for the 737 and 757 programs.

Between 1999 and 2002, Smith held positions at GKN Sinter Metals, which uses advanced techniques to produce complex, powdered-metal parts for automotive and other industries. As plant manager, she had profit and loss responsibility for the business, and was accountable for manufacturing, quality, engineering, supply chain, facilities and finance.

Smith earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University and an Executive MBA and Leadership Certificate from Seattle University. She serves on Michigan State University’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board and on the Arizona Science Center Board, and is a member of the American Helicopter Society, the Association of the United States Army and Army Aviation Association of America.

Victor Smith

Victor Smith

President and Owner, JV Farms

Victor Smith is CEO and owner of JV Farms (Yuma, AZ), Agricola El Toro (Baja, MX) and Skyview Cooling Co. (Yuma, AZ & Center, CO). He is second generation in the fresh vegetable industry with Skyview Cooling started by his father, John B. Smith after a successful law career in Colorado. The Smith family has other agri-business entities in Colorado including Skyline Potato Co., Southern Colorado Farms and Skyline Land Co.

JV Farms and Agricola El Toro specialize in winter leafy green vegetables working with the major shipper/handlers in California including Dole, Fresh Express, Taylor Farms and Earthbound Farm. Their combined program covers more than 12,000 acres which includes 4,500 acres of certified organic vegetables.

Mr. Smith has been in the industry for more than 30 years, starting in the cooling and distribution sector in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. He started the production farming in 1991 with JV Farms and then in 1992 with Agricola El Toro.

Mr. Smith grew up in southern Colorado and attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying economics and business law.

Judith Wood

Judith Wood

CEO, Contact One Call Center

Judy Wood is the CEO of Contact One Call Center Inc., a company she purchased in 1981.
Contact One is a family owned and operated company specializing in providing customer
service and communications support to small and large businesses nationwide. As a business
leader in the communications industry for over 30 years, Contact One is recognized as one of
the industry’s top companies, receiving the International trade association Award of Excellence
for 13 consecutive years. Judy maintains a daily presence at Contact One and leads a
management team which includes her son Jeff and daughter Jennifer both of whom are actively
involved in the day to day operation and management of the business.


Judy’s commitment to the community is exemplified by her ongoing participation in various
community organizations. Her present involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors of
the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, being an active member of the Southern
Arizona Leadership Council, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Beacon Group. She
has also served on the Board of Directors and as President of Women at the Top, Tucson’s
premier women’s organization comprised of 100 of the top women in their respective fields.

Judy has also been actively involved in trade associations in the communications industry. She
has served as both Board Member and President for the Association of Teleservices
International (ATSI) , and the Western States and Arizona trade associations. In addition she
served as the appointed Chair on the Governor’s Council on Small Business under both
Governor Napolitano and Governor Brewer.


Past community affiliations include; Residential Chair of United Way, Boys and Girls Club,
March of Dimes Celebrity Golf Tournament, and Professional Alliance of Tucson.


Judy attended ASU and NAU where she studied Psychology. She is married to Cliff Wood and
enjoys hiking, horseback riding and spending time with her four grandsons.