The Arizona Finance Authority is governed by a five-member board appointed by the Governor. The Board’s business-focused approach gets borrowers to deal-closing and ground-breaking more quickly.
Board of Directors
Chief Operating Officer / Chief Financial Officer, Arizona Commerce Authority
Ken Burns serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), where he oversees teams responsible for financial incentive program administration, accounting, information technology, human resources and overall operations.
Prior to ACA, Mr. Burns served in a similar capacity for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council for more than seven years, where he was active on Finance, Audit, Resource Development and other strategic planning committees.
In addition to his economic development experience, Mr. Burns has served as an independent management consultant and with a regional CPA firm. His executive experience includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for two mid-sized law firms. He also served on the firm’s executive management committees.
In his earlier years, Mr. Burns held leadership positions in diverse industries, including manufacturing, telecommunications and the construction trades.
He serves on the Clearinghouse CDFI Arizona Board of Advisors and volunteers on the Finance Committee for Florence Crittenton.
Mr. Burns earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration, Mathematics and Computer Science from Wayne State College in Nebraska and an MBA from Arizona State University. Mr. Burns has also completed the University of Arizona’s Basic Economic Development Course and is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Arizona.
Paulina Vazquez Morris
Paulina Vazquez Morris has a distinguished career in public service and private industry. Ms. Morris has extensive experience in the healthcare and legal industry, working for Banner Health, Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation and the law firm of Kutak Rock. She has served three Governors, as General Counsel to the Arizona Board of Regents (the governing body for Arizona’s University system), and General Counsel to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and served as Deputy Director and General Counsel for the Arizona Department of Administration.
In the political realm, Paulina served as an elected board member of the Maricopa County Special Health District. In 2004, she received over 60,000 votes to represent District 3 and was twice elected by the board as its chairman.
In 2010, she sought election to the United States Congress in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. Ms. Morris’ public service career began as a legislative and legal intern in the United States House of Representatives and the Arizona State Senate. She also served as a legal extern to the Federal District Court of Arizona.
Ms. Morris earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Arizona. She continued her education with distinction garnering dual Masters's Degrees in Business and Health Administration from Arizona State University.
Ms. Morris is a lifelong servant leader and served on countless community and civic boards. She currently serves on the AT Still University Board of Trustees, the Brophy College Preparatory Board of Regents, the Arizona Finance Authority Board of Directors and the City of Phoenix Health Care Benefits Trust Board. Her favorite, and most important position to date, is being the proud mother of two sons – Diego and Mateo.
As a Senior Vice President of MidFirst Bank’s Corporate Banking team, Gary is responsible for delivering financial solutions to existing and new relationships within the commercial, middle, or corporate banking markets. While a generalist, Gary has sector domain knowledge with specific transactional experience in aerospace, defense, manufacturing, semiconductor, technology, professional service, education, non-profit, transportation, franchise finance, and family entertainment. Leadership experience during Gary’s career journey includes governance and advisory board member, leadership team member, business development, strategy formation and execution with a strong focus on business development, certainty of execution and customer experience while building a performance culture benefiting all constituents. He is known for building strong company cultures and developing high-performance individuals.
Gary Naquin is a values-based leader focused on building agile, results-based business teams focused on growth and execution. As a servant leader, he has a demonstrated track record of leveraging the best from his team and himself.
His commitment to team and community is demonstrated through modeling behavior, leading by example building both professional and community relationships. Gary’s diverse experiences enable him to navigate the boardroom as a corporate finance professional, advise privately owned family business principals, and volunteer philanthropically by serving on numerous non-profit boards in governance and advisory capacities.
Before joining MidFirst, Gary held leadership and business development positions with the National Bank of Arizona, GE Capital Franchise Finance, and Franchise Finance Corporation of America. Gary and his family relocated to Arizona in 1995.
Gary is a native of Louisiana and an avid fan of collegiate sports, especially involving the SEC.
Gary resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife. Their two adult children are active members of the U.S. DOD in different capacities. Gary is a self-proclaimed chef, hiker, photographer, and golfer.
Community Involvement (past & present)
Fiesta Bowl – Active Yellow Jacket member, GPEC Board of Directors, Arizona Business Leadership, Financial Executives International, Catholic Community Foundation Board, YCP Founding Board member, NDP Advisory Board - Finance Committee & Strategic Advisor, ASU Presidents Club, Arizona Country Club Finance Committee, Scottsdale Charros Life Member – Foundation Advisory Board & Past Baseball Chairman
Lea Márquez Peterson
Lea Márquez Peterson serves on the Arizona Corporation Commission and is the President of the Márquez Peterson Group, a community affairs firm in Southern Arizona.
Lea has been an entrepreneur in Arizona for many years and formerly owned a chain of gasoline stations/convenience stores and a business brokerage firm in Southern Arizona. She served as the President/ CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber from 2009 until 2018. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber serves the business community in the bilingual, bi-cultural region of the Arizona-Sonora border and was recognized as the Hispanic Chamber of the Year in 2013 by the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Lea was a Congressional candidate for Arizona district two in 2018.
Lea received her Bachelors degree from the University of Arizona majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing. She received her Masters in business administration from Pepperdine university. She is also a graduate of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship program.
She was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to the Arizona Corporation Commission in the Spring of 2019. She formerly co-chaired the Arizona Zanjeros, a business leadership group formed to ensure the state continues to flourish economically by driving business growth and promoting Arizona’s extraordinary assets. In addition, she co-chaired Governor Doug Ducey’s Transition Team subcommittee on Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade in 2014. She serves on the Boards of the University of Arizona Foundation, the Pima County Workforce Investment Board, and serves as the Chairwoman of the Board for the Carondelet St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Tucson. Lea is also the President of the Greater Tucson chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She resides in Tucson with her husband and two children.
Partner, Quarles & Brady, LLP
Additional information is coming soon.