Arizona Commerce Authority Announces Recipients of its 2012 Excellence in Economic Development Awards

Awards honor leadership development, economic development and innovation advancement


PHOENIX, AZ (September  13,  2012)  The Arizona Commerce Authority is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2012 Excellence in Economic Development Awards. These awards honor partnerships, organizations, associations and companies that have successfully created and implemented exceptional economic development strategies for their respective communities, whether metro, rural or tribal.


“Tonight’s Award recipients are being recognized for the outstanding innovations and achievements that have helped place Arizona at the forefront of economic development,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “I am thrilled to help celebrate the remarkable perseverance and success of these communities in the midst of challenging economic times. Their efforts truly represent the great Arizona Comeback.”


Governor Brewer announced this year’s award recipients at the Governor’s Economic Development Conference (GEDC) Gala Dinner on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Categories include Innovative Economic    Development, Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Projects, and Future Leaders. Honorees include:

  • Lake Havasu City: Establishment of ASU Colleges Lake Havasu City, a four-year, fully staffed university which opened its doors to students in August;
  • The City of Cottonwood: Five-year economic development strategy with an emphasis on the wine industry doubled employment in Old Town with a projected economic impact of $10 million by 2013;
  • Project Ignite (Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), Flagstaff and Coconino County): Expands the reach of NACET (small business incubator in Northern Arizona) by capturing additional resources, partners and connections. Results include more than 200 high-wage jobs projected, with client companies reporting revenues of $6 million;
  • The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center’s Lunar Greenhouse and Teaching Module: Reaches K-12 STEM students across Arizona, students at the University of Arizona and graduate students, with support from NASA, demonstrating that vegetables can be grown in space and can be incorporated into the diet of astronauts working on long-term missions.

“These awards recognize incredible collaborative efforts taking place in communities across the state of Arizona, efforts that are driving innovation, expanding opportunity and improving our economy,” said Sandra Watson, Interim President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “The impact of these regional economic development initiatives and  pioneering  projects  is  seen  across  the  state,  and  we’re  thrilled  to  honor such incredible success.”


The  GEDC is the Arizona  Commerce Authority ’s annual statewide event bringing together Arizona ’s public and private-sector leadership to discuss economic development strategies and partnerships that will strengthen Arizona’s overall economy. This year’s conference theme was the Great Arizona Rebound.


Media Contact

Nicole McTheny, Arizona Commerce Authority, (602) 845-1231, [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.