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2015 Leaders of the Year

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Congratulations to our 2015 ‘Leaders of the Year’

The Arizona Capitol Times has spent nearly a decade recognizing the state’s best people, organizations and businesses and highlighting how they positively influence public policy for the betterment of all Arizonans.

As we celebrate Leaders of the Year in Public Policy — now in its ninth year — this year’s group of honorees reminds us of just how many hard-working people and organizations are out there, making a difference in their industries and sectors.

Individuals and organizations were recognized in 18 categories this year for advancing public policy that positively impacts the state and the lives of Arizonans without regard to political affiliation or partisanship.

Winners were selected by a panel of their peers for their accomplishments, contributions and leadership during the 2015 legislative session. The categories include arts and humanities, business, economic development, education, environment, government, health care, legislative, public safety, social services, technology, transportation, volunteerism, lifetime achievement, unsung hero, and up-and-comer. New categories this year are association and nonprofit.

This year’s Unsung Hero winner is the late lobbyist Sam Polito, who was a longtime education advocate, dedicated family man and spirited chef. Polito was famous for his large dinners where he invited people from all across the political spectrum to sit, eat, and enjoy the company, while leaving politics outside.

“He would always say, ‘We’re not talking politics tonight. We’re being friends,’” said Chuck Essigs, the longtime lobbyist for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials who attended several of Polito’s dinners.

Polito was also selected by the other Leaders winners as this year’s Overall Leader of the Year.

Polito, a Tucson native, passed away July 3 at the age of 80.

We salute the 2015 Leaders of the Year, who all strive to make Arizona a great place to conduct business, take a vacation, raise a family and retire.

– By Josh Coddington, Special Sections Editor

– Profiles written and edited by Josh Coddington

Created with flickr slideshow.

2015 Overall Leader of the Year – Sam Polito – Unsung Hero

politosThis year’s overall Leader of the Year is the late lobbyist Sam Polito. Sam’s love of his family, advocacy for education, honest bipartisan lobbying efforts at the Capitol and, the gourmet chef’s large, all-inclusive dinners, certainly left an impression on his fellow leaders of the year honorees, who are the only ones allowed to cast votes for the overall leader honor.

“I think Sam’s family and friends will be touched by the gesture. Sam worked tirelessly and always was first one to pass the recognition to others,” said Adam Hawkins, Sam’s son-in-law. “For a guy that never sought praise for himself, it would be a long overdue honor.”

Congrats to Sam Polito, this year’s Unsung Hero honoree and the 2015 Overall Leader of the Year. A special thanks to the Polito family and Sam’s friends for sharing their memories of him.

Responses compiled and provided by Sam’s family and closest friends.

What was Sam’s most notable accomplishment in public policy?

As the son of two immigrants whose opportunities for education had been very limited, Sam understood the transformational power of education, and that the public schools, which provide a quality education to all children regardless of their background, are an essential part of what makes our country strong.

Sam was a very poor student in his early years, but the public schools never turned him away or gave up on him. Ten years after graduating from Tucson High, Sam was a professor at the University of Arizona and the lead adviser to the superintendent of Tucson Unified School District.

Over his career of more than 55 years in public education in Arizona, Sam was at the center of Arizona education policy. From school finance, to helping with Proposition 301(school funding), to working to establish and support the Joint Technical Education Districts (known as JTEDs), Sam’s passion was always to improve and protect Arizona’s public schools.

Sam worked on many issues but he always reminded legislators of the difference that educa- tion made in his life and how important it was to make sure that education programs are available for all students.

What was the most important quality he possessed that made him a successful leader?

Sam treated everyone with respect and whether he was working with the speaker of the House or the president of the Senate, a Republican or Democrat, a freshman or senior legislator, or a staff member, he always expressed how important they were to him and always made himself available to help and support them. To Sam, everyone was family.

What does the Capitol community miss most about him?

Sam’s smile, his jokes, his friendship and positive outlook even during the most difficult times.

Sam made you laugh when you were sad and made you see the light when things seemed darkest. Many legislators will remember Sam for the dinners he would host. Sam was a total gourmet and made sure no one left hungry. The dinners were bipartisan and forged lasting friendships among state leaders.

About which issues was he most passionate?

Sam’s professional passion was education, but Sam’s greatest passion was his family and friends. Every day, Sam would pray to be the best husband, father, friend and person that he could be. And he was. If you were a friend, he was your brother. For family members, he was your biggest cheerleader. The many lives that he warmed (and there are so many) are thankful for the time they shared with him.

Sam ran his firm with his wife Linda and daughter Abby. Are they carrying on the work that he started?

The Politos are a family of lobbyists and advocates. It’s in their blood. We used to laugh about how we must look walking around the Capitol together. Over the last 10 years, people at the Capitol, especially those who work in education policy, have come to know and love Linda’s smile and tenacity for solving complex problems. In Sam’s final years, she became the lead practitioner for Polito Associates’ clients. Anyone who has worked with her knows her passion and commitment to making Arizona a better place for everyone.

Last year, Sam and Linda were thrilled to add Adam Hawkins (of Veridus) to the Polito family. Abby and Adam, both fifth generation Arizona natives, married in December. Folks at the Capitol know Abby as one of the state government relations team at Arizona State University. Abby started at the Capitol with Sam and Linda, later working for Barry Aarons before going to work for ASU.

Over the past few years, being proud of Linda, Abby and Adam was one of his favorite things to talk about with people when he visited the Capitol.

There is no question that Sam’s legacy lives on at the Capitol complex.

What do you think Sam would say about receiving this award?

Sam would be thrilled. He never wanted to be the guy in charge and preferred to promote and support those who were. That’s why in so many ways he is indeed an unsung hero.

Sam would be honored to have a place at the table with previous recipients Arizona House Speaker Jake Flake and Senator Chester Crandell, two guys Sam truly admired. In his signature irreverent fashion, Sam would have joked about having to pass away to get this award.

Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share which would help our readers understand Sam’s approach to life?

Those who knew Sam will remember him as a big guy — both figuratively and literally. Sam cooked big meals, had a big family, lots of friends, loved the folks around him in the biggest way and worked on big issues.

The boundless love for his wife, children, family, and friends could only be matched by his encouragement and pride in all their accomplishments. Sam poured his heart into his professional career as well; a career that spanned more than half a century. The work he accomplished in that time transformed education in Arizona and the country. It was his passion and true calling. Through it he changed countless lives. And if you met Sam, there was a good chance you’d become family for life. He was especially proud of the accomplishments of those he mentored, paying it forward. Sam wasn’t just a good man, he was the best.

Sam would ask us all to carry on his legacy by treating everyone with dignity and respect, and a smile.

To Sam, from your friends and family at the Capitol, throughout the education community, and all those lives you touched, we thank you.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is to live forever.” — Carl Sagan.

Arts & Humanities – Sen. Bob and Christi Worsley

worsleysSenator Bob Worsley and his wife Christi experienced personal tragedy in their family in 2011 when their daughter Chelsee lost her baby boy Peter, who was stillborn at 31 weeks. Through her intense grief, Chelsee found solace in music.

Chelsee joined the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, which teaches and encourages excellence in quality sacred and classical music and “fulfills the need for more refined music education in our communities.” Christi, through her own love for music and seeing its healing power for her daughter, was inspired to create a comprehensive campus for music, arts and education in Mesa called Consolari.

In the words of the person who nominated the couple for this award, Bob took up the mission of restoring funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, proving a key player in securing $1 million in commission funding from the state in fiscal year 2014 and 2015, restoring about half of the Commission’s pre-recession grant-making capacity. “He remains the most active legislator in seeking creative ways to fund the arts, and one of the most vocal in negotiations with his colleagues,” the nominator said.

Responses provided by Sen. Bob Worsley

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Several come to mind. It’s difficult to choose just one, so I’ll give you a couple I believe were impactful. Real ID passed and was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey. The federal government has given us an extension so folks can get their ID anytime starting in April 2016 and can still use their existing licenses through 2020.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

 My goal is to not repeat SB1062 and cause the state to be the center of attention for the wrong reason again this year — we should be thoughtful, fair and balanced with LGBT community. I also would like to see progress on education and arts funding.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Don’t let it bother you who gets credit for things you work on and celebrate accomplishing good things.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

To develop a vision for the state between the governor and the Legislature and then sit down before the session starts and talk about bills that need to pass to move in that direction. There seems to be no order to how we run the state. Each new administration jerks different directions and it is a challenge to hit a target when it moves and changes frequently.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

My business and religious life experiences which are very rich, energizing and deeply stabilizing to my service in state government.

Responses provided by Christi Worsley

The inspiration for your East Valley “Consolari” music hall was based in grief. Can you tell our readers a bit more about that?

It was in July of 2011 we lost our grandson Peter. He was still born at 31 weeks. This was a time of real heartbreak for us, but particularly for our daughter Chelsee and her husband Ben. Shortly after we buried Peter, Chelsee joined the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras. She was a grieving mother attending practices every week and no one knew it. Though the sorrow from the loss of a child seems to be a constant companion, our daughter found a place of solace through music. This reality has changed the course of my life forever.

How does music influence people’s lives?

Now this will age me, but one of my favorite songs to dance to in high school was “Color My World” by Chicago. I really never paid much attention to the lyrics but playing the first few chords always evokes fond memories. “God Bless the USA” or “Amazing Grace” elevate my thoughts. Long after I am gone, these songs will evoke a tender place in my family’s memories and hearts. These types of songs are how we navigate through life. We all have them. Through thick and thin, through sunshine and rain…music is what holds us together.

When is Consolari expected to open and what should people expect from the facility, which you bill as a Carnegie Hall for the Southwest?

We have gone from a Carnegie Hall model to a Lincoln Center model. A comprehensive campus for music, arts and education. When will Consolari open is the most frequently asked question. We know that it will take two years to design and around two years to build. The leg work is mostly done. Our efforts now are finding philanthropic and community partners who feel a shared sense of passion for the mission and vision of Consolari. I can assure you that patience has become our dear companion!

Association – Arizona Craft Brewers Guild/Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona

beerGov. Doug Ducey’s signing of the Arizona beer bill (SB1030) in March of this year at the original Four Peaks Brewery location was the result of the hard work of several organizations, including the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and the Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona.

The compromise measure allows companies like Four Peaks and San Tan Brewing Company to keep their micro-brewery licenses until they produce 6.2 million gallons of beer a year, six times the amount formerly allowed. It also allows them to have up to seven bar or restaurant locations.

The successful law followed a deal struck by the Guild and the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association, breweries and distributors that for months had been at odds as they debated how to allow craft breweries like Four Peaks to grow their business without triggering punitive measures currently in state law.

Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, characterized the measure as not just a win for those that enjoy the state’s unique brews, but as a win for the economy too. “Anytime you can put a business between two breweries, you’ll see a much more foot traffic in that area, and you’ll see a real benefit to your employees,” said Fullmer — not to mention “the lunches and happy hours.”

ACBG responses provided by Rob Fullmer, executive director, Arizona Craft Brewers Guild

BWDA responses provided by Steve Barclay, executive director, Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

ACBG: SB1030, which removed artificial economic barriers from small businesses and did so in a way that a compromise was reached. Longer term, we educated our fans and customers on the legislative process and demonstrated that things can be accomplished. We hope that this will inspire Arizonans to become more involved in shaping the future of Arizona

BWDA: For us, it definitely was the enactment of the Arizona Beer Bill, SB1030, signed by Governor Doug Ducey on March 31 at Four Peaks Brewery

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

ACBG: We’ll be getting back to the business of educating people about Arizona breweries. Really the messages will be the same. We’re well under way in reaching out to our former opponents on strengthening the industry as a whole.

BWDA: Our top goal is to continue protecting our highly effective 3-tier system and the orderly alcohol marketplace it creates, allowing adult consumers to enjoy the finest array of beer, wine and spirits available.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

ACBG: You have be persistent and true to your mission. When it looks hopeless, you’ll be able to execute when the solution presents itself.

BWDA: Persistence

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

ACBG: Shrewdly, a floor vote on our bills! (We believe in the process. We’ll prevail when our ideas are good for Arizona.)

BWDA: No beer taxes!

Who or what has had the biggest impact on the organizations’ development as leaders in craft brewer advocacy in Arizona?

ACBG: The overwhelming support of the people of Arizona. Not only did they provide support and delivered every time that we asked, they thanked us for fighting for them. They made our fight, their fight. To see people come out in droves for the beer community was an amazing experience.

BWDA: While advocacy isn’t limited to craft beer alone (see our goal), it would have to be the impact of our 11 members — all long-standing family-owned companies with very deep roots in local communities across Arizona.

If you could install a tap in the Arizona Legislature, what type of beer would you serve to lawmakers to help them make the best policies? Why?

ACBG: It would be an IPA (India Pale Ale) because it is the hottest craft style right now. If legislators gained an appreciation for that style, they would understand so much about the new beer movement in the US. It’s the embodiment of America taking an English style and making it our own.

BWDA: We love all of our brewer partners, so please don’t make us pick just one! We’d lobby for multiple tap handles to give a great variety of local, national and international favorites (just like Arizona citizens have available).

Can you describe how you would craft an Arizona-specific beer? What type of beer would it be and what ingredients would you include?

ACBG: It would be nice to do something that addresses a need in Arizona.

Two years ago, the Arizona brewing community came together and created a beer to honor the fallen heroes in the Yarnell fire. Proceeds from “Heroes 19” benefitted the families of the fallen and incorporated 19 different hops. Arizona brewers from all over the state came together and donated all the ingredients, they donated their time to brew the beer at Prescott Brewing Company and one of our distributors donated their services to distribute that beer across the state. Breweries and craft beer bars clambered to be able to sell the special brew and patrons drank it up quickly.

If we could brew another beer, I would like to replicate that. I would like a beer that included a variety of hops and each brewer in our state was able to add something. That is what our industry is all about, community. We want to support the community and be there when people are in need. We hope that we never have to brew a beer for fallen heroes again but I do hope we can brew a beer that benefits important charities/needs in Arizona.

BWDA: We’re the beer distributors, not the beer brewers, so we will defer to the experts in the Guild on this one!

Business – Apple

In February, Apple announced a $2 billion plan to bring a global command center to Mesa in 2016. The move will create 150 jobs and will create up to 500 construction jobs. It represented one of the largest investments in Apple’s history.

What is the company’s most notable accomplishment in Arizona this year?

When we said we wanted to be in Arizona, we meant it. We’ve put in an incredible amount of effort and investment to get up and running here. And while we’ve faced some uncertainty along the way and were prevented from moving ahead with our initial manufacturing plans, we were able to regroup and together with many of our stakeholders keep our commitment. We’re incredibly excited about the 100% renewably-powered data operations center we’re building and the positive impact this will have on Mesa and Maricopa County.

What is Apple’s top goal regarding the Mesa facility for the next 12 months?

Along with our other data centers, the Mesa global operations center will play an important role in managing the data that drives services such as Siri, the App Store, Maps and iTunes. Using energy entirely provided by nature, this center will help support the tens of billions of messages, more than a billion photos, and tens of millions of FaceTime video calls that we process on any given day.

After the agreement between Apple and GT Advanced Technologies didn’t work out, Apple said it is dedicated to repurposing the Mesa plant and keeping its employees there working. How is that process going and why is Apple so dedicated to job-creation in Arizona?

Mesa is our biggest data center effort yet and we’ve continued to invest in this multi-billion dollar project. In addition, we’ve done everything we could to work with the city and county in supporting those GT Advanced employees impacted by the company’s bankruptcy, including helping the majority of them find new jobs. At our global data command center, we will add over 600 jobs by the time it’s completed between the engineering, operations and construction of the facility. We want to be in Mesa for many, many years to come and historically we’ve tended to expand wherever we have a significant presence.

Economic Development – Arizona Small Business Association’s Crowdfunding Legislation

asbaArizona’s equity crowdfunding legislation, signed into law this year by Gov. Doug Ducey, enables Arizona businesses to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period from Arizona residents, with investments of up to $10,000 per person. Companies that provide audited financial statements can raise up to $2.5 million.

State Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, said the bill is a bipartisan measure which fits in with the concept of growing jobs and reforming regulations, which has been a focus for Ducey. He said the bill allows more people to access capital and help startups succeed in the state.

“This really is a bipartisan bill. I mean you want the protections in there, but this crosses all different demographics, all party lines, I mean everything,” Weninger said.

“Only time will tell what impact this will have, but the more tools we give small businesses to succeed will have a positive impact on job creation and economic development,” Arizona Small Business Association CEO Rick Murray said in a statement at the time of the signing.

Responses provided by Rick Murray, CEO, Arizona Small Business Association

What is the organization’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

The equity crowdfunding legislation — HB2591 sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

To create an Arizona Stock Exchange that will make it easier for investors participating in Arizona crowdfunding opportunities to sell their interest.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

The ability to be nimble when making decisions. Sometimes the decision-making process can be fluid and being able to adapt to changing conditions is vitally important.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

To be able to walk the halls of the legislative offices and drop in whenever I want.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

Dr. Peter Horoschak, former superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools. He’s a West Point graduate and he taught me the value of leading with passion.

Why is equity crowdfunding so important, specifically to small Arizona businesses?

It is truly a game changer for businesses looking to raise capital. They will have people investing who believe in their business. It will also help create economy and jobs for the citizens of Arizona.

What is the biggest challenge to success as a small business?

Not having access to a coach or mentor. Many small business owners have created a job for themselves by starting their own business, but they haven’t created an asset. We all need someone to help us get out of our comfort zone and push us to dream bigger.

What is another business organization that you admire?

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arizona Technology Council.

Education – American Federation for Children

federationforchildrenThe Arizona Federation for Children worked with Sen. Carlyle Begay this session on a measure that expand- ed the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program to offer increased educational options to students living on tribal lands.

The bill was sponsored by Begay, of Ganado, who is concerned about the educational opportunities of the children on the state’s 22 Indian reservations.

“We are very proud of Sen. Begay for fighting on behalf of Arizona’s Native American children living in the tribal areas of the state, where there are far too many failing schools and almost no other educational options,” said Kim Martinez, communications associate for the American Federation for Children. “This legislation has the potential to spark real change because Native American parents will become empowered to choose their child’s best education.”

The law adds a new eligibility qualifier to the ESA program that includes any child living on tribal lands. ESAs take 90 percent of the qualifying child’s public school allocation and places the funds into a debit card account for parents to use on the education curriculum they choose.

Essentially, ESAs help low-income parents pay for the best education options for their child, Martinez said.

Responses provided by Sydney Hay, government affairs representative, American Federation for Children

What is the organization’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Increasing high-quality educational options for disadvantaged children is our mission. This year, with bipartisan legislative support, we worked with Sen. Carlyle Begay and many others to bring new opportunity to children living on tribal lands through Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.

Within a tiny window of time post-session, we were able to publicize the program to tribal families and help over 200 to apply. One school alone, St. Michael in Window Rock, has 100 new students today largely because of these efforts.

These are children whose families could not afford the tuition, who now have brighter futures ahead of them. They are attending a school that has a 99 percent high school graduation rate and nearly every graduate goes on to college. New seats will open up in the future in more quality schools. The sky is truly the limit.

What is its top goal for the next 12 months?

Every child deserves the chance to go to a great school. As Governor Ducey, the Legislature and education leaders tackle how to increase educational funding, whatever the per child dollar figure ends up being, every child should be able to take that funding with them to the educational setting that meets their needs, whether public, charter, private, online or some combination of these. That is our goal.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Never, never, never, never give up.

If the Legislature could grant the organization one request, what would it be?

My one request would be for greater understanding and cooperation across party lines. For various reasons, the history of school choice in Arizona has been largely partisan. This is not the case in many other states. It shouldn’t be the case here. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work in most areas of life and it certainly doesn’t work when it comes to education. School choice should be viewed in this light.

Pro-school choice does not equal anti-public schools. Most parents will always choose the local public school. We want every child to have the chance to attend a GREAT school. That includes great public schools.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

We have had the privilege of working with great legislative champions whose vision and indefatigable spirit has prevailed often despite long odds. In addition, we have strong allied organizations that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us on behalf of children. Great legislators. Strong allies. They all share in this recognition.

Other than school choice, what else can be done to help Arizona’s school children?

To fully answer this question would take volumes. Thankfully, the spotlight is currently on education reform with dedicated leaders focused on it. High standards, greater accountability, increased innovation, funding excellence, rewarding great teachers…The task is great. It is worth it.

How does Arizona compare with other states on school choice?

From the very beginning, by passing open enrollment, blazing the trail of charter schools, advancing the first scholarship tax credit and, most-recently, devising the next-generation of school choice through Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), Arizona has been a national leader. We are proud of that history. Now that Nevada has passed the first-ever universal ESA law, we have a little catching up to do!

Is access to a good education the best tool to give the children of low-income families?

There is no question. Our organization reaches out to low-income families by phone and mail, through fun community events and even going door-to-door. We distribute thousands of quality backpacks full of school supplies to needy children every year. Our canvassers who walk low-income neighborhoods to inform parents of the opportunities of ESA or STO scholarships tell heart-warming stories of tears of joy when parents find out what is available. It is in the heart of every parent to see their child’s dreams come true. We are devoted to making that happen.

Environment – Henry Darwin

darwinBefore his recent ascent to the Ninth Floor as Gov. Doug Ducey’s chief of operations, Henry Darwin served for four years as director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. In fact, he had worked for the previous 15 years at the agency, and by the time he left, he had the unique distinction of being the only director in the agency’s 27-year history to have served in all three of the agency’s environmental program divisions — air, water and waste.

His foremost governing philosophy in running the agency is simple — do a “very good job” at listening to your customers, followed closely by rapidly adapting processes to fulfil those customers’ expectations.

“ADEQ’s customers…value things like speed, clarity and consistency. Our investors (taxpayers) value clean air, water, and land,” Darwin said. “Our goal became balancing what our customers valued with what our investors expect.”

He is looking to apply this same approach in his work at the Governor’s Office. His goal is to “…create a results-oriented culture in state government by establishing goals with numeric outcome measures that represent both customer service and taxpayer return on investment.”

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

In June of 2014, the EPA proposed a rule that would have reduced carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in Arizona by 52 percent. Arizona’s goal represented the second most restrictive proposal in the country. Over the next year, I worked with stakeholders and ADEQ staff to explain to EPA how the technical assumptions behind EPA’s proposal were not based in reality, and how the rule would jeopardize Arizona utilities’ ability to provide reliable power to the citizens of Arizona.

In the end, EPA reduced Arizona’s goal under the clean power plan from 52 percent to 34 per- cent. Arizona may still choose to challenge EPA’s legal authority to impose the rule, but if the rule does become effective, it will be better aligned with Arizona’s unique environment and be far less burdensome.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

My goal over the next year as the governor’s chief of operations is to create a results-oriented culture in state government by establishing goals with numeric outcome measures that represent both customer service and taxpayer return on investment. These aggressive outcome measures will serve to drive performance and innovation throughout all of Arizona’s agencies.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

It’s important to understand that no single person has all the answers, or even the best ones. I think to be successful, leaders must surround themselves with quality advisers — and listen to them.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

Although trite, my parents have made the biggest impact on my development as a leader. From them I learned the power of setting high expectations. I firmly believe the best way to honor a person is to expect more from them than they expect of themselves.

Conversely, the way to dishonor someone is to have low expectations of them. To be a good leader, I believe it is imperative to have high expectations of the people and the organizations you are leading.

What is the biggest environmental challenge Arizona faces?

The biggest environmental challenge facing Arizona and the country is finding the appropriate balance between environmental regulation and economic development. When this country was experiencing rivers on fire and air you could barely breathe in certain areas, robust environmental laws were appropriate. With 40 years of environmental regulation behind us, we are now entering a period of diminishing returns. As a result, we should be asking ourselves whether the money spent on developing, implementing, and complying with more environmental regulation would be better spent elsewhere.

I am a true believer that the best indication of a healthy environment is a strong economy. As a country and as a state we should be addressing the challenge of deciding whether dollars that would be spent on further environmental regulation would actually create more environmental benefit if invested in growing the economy.

You were known for your abilities at streamlining the operations of ADEQ. Why is efficiency a top priority for you?

Just like in the private sector, state agencies have customers and investors. ADEQ’s transformation began with listening to our customers about what they value and to our investors about what they expect as a return on their investment.

ADEQ’s customers (those who use the agency’s various products and services like permits and inspections) value things like speed, clarity and consistency. Our investors (those who pay taxes) value clean air, water, and land. Our goal became balancing what our customers valued with what our investors expect. Fortunately, the private sector long ago figured out how to do this very well, most notably through the implementation of lean (increasing value by reducing waste), which ADEQ deployed throughout its operations.

What do you most look forward to in your new role with Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration?

I look forward to the opportunity to achieve the governor’s inspirational goals for the state by fundamentally transforming the way state government works and benefits its taxpayers. The governor’s goal is for Arizona to be the #1 state to live, work, play, recreate, retire, visit, build a business and get an education. My job will be to work with all state agencies to make that happen for the citizens of Arizona who deserve nothing but the best.

Government – Wendy Baldo, Senate Chief of Staff

By her own count, Arizona Senate Chief of Staff Wendy Baldo has served the chamber in one capacity or another for nine different Senate presidents. Starting with John Greene in the mid-1990s and all the way through current President Andy Biggs, Baldo has been a fixture while many others have come and gone.

Part of what has made her so long-lasting at the Capitol is her dedication to helping the lawmakers in her chamber accomplish their goals. To her leadership involves knowing “when to speak and when to listen.”

wendybaldoAlthough she wouldn’t reveal who her favorite Senate president was or is, she did say she learns new things every day from all of the people with whom she works.

“Each leadership team that I have served has given me a unique perspective and appreciation for their leadership and who they represent,” she said.

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

I am really proud of the collective efforts of the Legislature to conclude its business, which includes getting the budget out on the projected timeline and taking on a wide range of issues, some of which were controversial. That may seem like a simple task, but it takes a lot of persistence and perseverance. That’s what is personally satisfying to me.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

It would be nice for history to repeat itself. I am hoping we can mirror the success and collaboration of the recent session. I can’t predict what issues will be in the forefront, but the goal would be to take them on with the same approach.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Knowing when to speak and when to listen. It’s so important to take the concerns and issues of our members to heart so that we can fully understand their key goals in order to execute a legislative plan.

What would Arizona miss most if you moved to another state?

I’m quite sure that Arizona will press on in my absence. I like to think that you contribute what you can for the greater good, and others who are doing the same will carry on.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

Move the Capitol to cooler climates in the summer time. In all seriousness, I wish I could have had more time with Jake Flake and Chester Crandell.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

Every member of the Senate and leadership has been instrumental. I can honestly say that I learn something every day from all of the people I work with. Each leadership team that I have served has given me a unique perspective and appreciation for their leadership and who they represent.

I look at their commitment and respect for the democratic process and try my best to uphold those principles in my duties at the Senate. Over the years I have had the honor to work with so many great people that are the foundation of Arizona’s history and future.

How many Senate presidents have you worked for? Which one is your favorite?

I first served under President (John) Greene, so that would be a total of nine presidents (John) Greene, (Brenda) Burns, (Randall) Gnant, (Ken) Bennett, (Tim) Bee, (Bob) Burns, (Russell) Pearce, (Steve) Pierce, (Andy) Biggs), I have worked with four as chief of staff. I will not identify which one is my favorite, but they know who they are.

What is your favorite aspect of your job as Senate chief of staff?

Again, I love that I learn something each day, and get to work with talented and committed people. We all respect the institution and I think that is the driving force in our legislative efforts.

What is your favorite thing about Arizona?

Aside from the diverse climate and natural beauty, I have now lived in Arizona more than half of my life. I have raised my children and created many cherished memories here.

Health Care – Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation

The Banner’s Alzheimer’s Foundation works tirelessly to help the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute achieve its goals of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing a generation, establishing a new national standard of dementia care for patients and family caregivers, and forging a model of collaboration in Alzheimer’s prevention research.

In addition to the organization’s efforts in increasing visibility and support for Alzheimer’s research here and around the world, BAF is looking down the road to launch the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s next international prevention trial; set the stage to establish a new standard of dementia care for patients and family caregivers; and to dramatically increase the number of leading Alzheimer’s researchers in Arizona.

The end goal, of course, is to rid the world of Alzheimer’s. And the organization’s goal is to achieve that in a decade.

Responses provided by Dr. Eric Reiman, CEO of Banner Research and Andy Kramer Petersen, president and CEO of Banner Health Foundation.

bannerWhat is the organization’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

We and our colleagues in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium have helped to increase visibility and support for the fight against Alzheimer’s inside Arizona and around the world. We have introduced new ways for public and private stakeholders to work together, and have helped set the stage to find effective Alzheimer’s prevention therapies as quickly as possible.

What is the organization’s top goal for the next 12 months?

Actually, we have three: 1) To launch the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s next international prevention trial; 2) set the stage to establish a new standard of dementia care for patients and family caregivers; and 3) to dramatically increase the number of leading Alzheimer’s researchers in Arizona.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Again, allow us to suggest three: An ambitious vision, a compelling strategic plan, and the collaborative spirit needed to do things together that none of us could do on our own. If the Legislature could grant Banner Foundation for Alzheimer Research one request, what would it be?

To play a leadership role in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease; to continue to support the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium and help us find effective prevention therapies by 2025.

How well is Alzheimer’s disease understood by the public?

There is a growing awareness of the toll that Alzheimer’s disease takes on afflicted patients.

There needs to be a greater awareness of the toll that it takes on the entire family, the overwhelming financial toll it is projected to take on Arizona and the rest of the world due to the growing number of people living to older ages, and the importance of doing everything we can to address and, indeed, prevent Alzheimer’s — starting now.

What is the foundation’s chief mission?

Our mission is help the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) achieve its three goals: 1) To help end Alzheimer’s without losing a generation, 2) to establish a new national standard of dementia care for patients and family caregivers, and 3) to forge a model of collaboration in Alzheimer’s prevention research.

How does the organization quantify success?

We are proud of the fact that Arizona has become the nation’s leading model of statewide collaboration in Alzheimer’s research, a leader in the fight against AD, and an attractor for some of the best and brightest people in the field. We are excited about the leadership roles that BAI is playing in this endeavor.

But what if we could establish a new national standard of dementia care within five years and find effective prevention therapies within 10? There is no guarantee that we will meet those timelines, but we are excited about the chance we have been given to do so right here in Arizona, and that is how we will ultimately measure our success.

Legislative – Sen. Steve Yarbrough

yarbroughRepublican Sen. Steve Yarbrough serves as majority leader in the Arizona Senate, where his chief jobs are to craft a state budget and help the members of his party get their priority bills across the finish line.

He counts many victories in those areas from this past session, including the relatively quick fashion in which the state budget was crafted, approved and signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey. In addition to that, he also helped members write and pass several high-profile bills such as the beer bill, ridesharing legislation, school choice expansion and more.

He looks forward to doing more of the same in the upcoming 2016 session, including passing a state budget that includes increased education funding and getting a consensus for public employee pension reform.

He also takes issue with members of the public viewing lawmakers as incompetent.

“I realize it is arguably self-serving, but my 13 years at the Capitol have taught me that legislators, regardless of party, are an amazing group of gifted, well-educated, hard-working people,” he said.

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Implementing with some success I believe my goal of being a servant/leader by helping promptly deliver an honest budget right for the state’s circumstances and helping other members design and get enacted important legislation such as the “beer” bill, rideshare legislation, school choice expansion legislation, pro-life legislation and much more.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

Generally more of the same. Help the Legislature produce a new budget in the taxpayer’s best interest including added resources for public education, hopefully see a consensus for public employee pension reform enacted, continue to expand school choice with its positive impact on student academic achievement, and address as may be necessary the horrific potential that may exist for harvesting and selling baby parts which is such a sad commentary on the priorities of our society.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Whether getting the credit or getting quality public policy is the goal.

What would Arizona miss most if you moved to another state?

Although we have numerous champions now, I like to think the school choice movement would miss me just a little bit for a moment or two.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

That the importance of the first freedom in the First Amendment — the free exercise of religion — would be fully grasped and as honored in its implementation as are the other vital freedoms found in the First Amendment.

What is a typical day like for you?

When we are in session I usually go to work early for a couple of hours at my regular job (executive director and general counsel for a large 501(c)(3) organization), then spend most of the day at the Capitol, and then back to work in Chandler for the rest of the day and often some evenings.

When not in session, I’m at my regular job except for a few hours for a day or two per week at the Capitol plus many communications every day with my terrific long-serving executive assistant at the Senate.

What is the biggest misconception the public has about the Legislature?

Accepting the inappropriate and false narrative that the mainline media often perpetrates that casts legislators as a bunch of incompetent fools. I realize it is arguably self-serving, but my 13 years at the Capitol have taught me that legislators, regardless of party, are an amazing group of gifted, well-educated, hard-working people.

Because legislators may disagree with our politics does not make them fools or people of ill-will. This mean-spirited labeling is counter-productive to the implementation of the quality public policy that we should faithfully pursue on behalf of the people of Arizona.

Non-profit – Project CENTRL

In collaboration with the University of Arizona, the Casa Grande-based Center for Rural Leadership (Project CENTRL) cultivates leaders to advocate for and serve rural communities in Arizona.

projectcentrlSelected individuals participate in an intensive, one-year educational program to equip and empower them to meet the needs of rural Arizona. A quick count reveals 20 Project CENTRL alumni serving in either the state Legislature, county boards of supervisors, as mayors and/or their own city councils. Countless more serve on school or organizational boards and advisory committees.

When asked why there is a need for a program to specifically train leaders for rural areas, Project CENTRL Director Monica Kilcullen Pastor said it is because rural areas are vital, yet different than urban areas.

“Rural communities do not experience the same economic stability and growth as urban areas, nor do they have the same political influence,” she said. “More than ever, it is apparent that rural and agricultural leaders must be better trained and more knowledgeable to meet the growing demands and challenges facing Arizona.”

Responses provided by Monica Kilcullen Pastor, director, Project CENTRL

What is the organization’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

More than 600 individuals proudly proclaim their status as alumni of Project CENTRL. Many of these alumni have gone on to serve in leadership positions in their community. A recent survey shows that four alumni are serving in our state Legislature. Six alumni serve as county supervisors, six serve as city or town mayors and four serve on their city/town councils. Other alumni serve on school boards, advisory committees, organization boards and committees as well as in other community leadership areas.

What is the organization’s top goal for the next 12 months?

To continue providing a quality leadership experience for our current Class XXIV participants. Also to provide educational opportunities for our alumni through our CENTRL Regional Connections and our Leadership Luncheon.

What would Arizona miss most if Project CENTRL moved to another state?

Programs similar to Project CENTRL can be found in other states. Universities, legislatures and private foundations have supported the common goal of educating future leaders in rural areas of their state.

The International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership is a consortium of agricultural and rural leadership development programs in almost 40 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, including Arizona’s Project CENTRL, and several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

If the Legislature could grant Project CENTRL one request, what would it be?

To continue investing in the program through the funding provided to the University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Cooperative Extension.

Who has had the biggest impact on the organization’s development as a leader?

The biggest impact for the organization has been the very dedicated board members. The founding board members created a vision and brought it to fruition and each board member since 1978 has continued to enhance all aspects of the organization and secured funding so that future leaders have been able to benefit from a quality program.

In 1978, individuals working with rural residents realized there were community members who felt they lacked the necessary skills but wanted to become effective leaders in their community. These individuals partnered with the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension. This partnership resulted in the formation of Project CENTRL, a 501(C)3 organization, and the successful award of a $200,000 seed grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Arizona’s premier leadership program, Center for Rural Leadership (CENTRL), accepted its first class of 28 participants in 1983.

Project CENTRL seeks to develop leaders for rural Arizona. How does the organization accomplish this goal?

Project CENTRL cultivates passionate, educated leaders who provide a voice for and serve rural communities in Arizona. Project CENTRL is an intensive one-year educational program that gives selected individuals an exceptional personal and professional leadership development experience. The mission of CENTRL is to equip and empower leaders to meet the needs of rural Arizona.

Why is there a need for an organization like Project CENTRL?

Our nation depends upon rural areas for a host of needs including food and fiber production, natural resources like minerals and forestry, water, recreation, and tourism. Modern economic transformation and global competition mean that many of Arizona’s rural communities also compete either directly or indirectly on a much broader stage.

What happens in Arizona’s rural communities matters to all Arizonans, yet our rural communities are faced with geographic isolation, fewer economic opportunities, limited education resources, and lack of access to health care. Rural communities do not experience the same economic stability and growth as urban areas, nor do they have the same political influence.

Project CENTRL develops participants’ capabilities to deal with challenging problems, fills the leadership vacuum, increases the public performance of leaders and organizations and motivates public servants with leadership potential to prepare themselves for leadership positions.

What is unique about serving as a leader in a rural area?

Leaders of rural communities continue to seek solutions to complex problems such as rural/ urban interface, the management and use of natural resources, economic development, regional planning, and communicating information on key public policy issues. More than ever, it is apparent that rural and agricultural leaders must be better trained and more knowledgeable to meet the growing demands and challenges facing Arizona.

Lifetime Achievement – J. Elliott Hibbs

hibbsElliott Hibbs has served in top-level Arizona government positions many times during his nearly four decades of public service, including serving two Democratic and two Republican Arizona governors. However, one thing he apparently isn’t great at is retiring.

Hibbs retired from the Arizona Department of Revenue in April 2005 and probably didn’t get too many rounds of golf in before being asked by Gov. Janet Napolitano to serve as interim Arizona state treasurer in December 2006. After helping a new executive officer get settled into office he was recruited in March 2007 to serve as interim executive director of the then-newly created Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, now known as First Things First. He was eventually chosen to serve as permanent executive director in August 2007 and did so through March 2010, when he opted to try retirement once again.

This attempt at retirement lasted a mere nine months before then-newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal asked Hibbs to serve under him, first as chief of operations and then as deputy director.

Throughout his public sector career, he has implemented innovative and effective improvements to state government services, helping agencies achieve exceptional results.

It is believed that Hibbs is actually retired now, or until at least the state that he has dutifully served for so many years comes calling once again.

— Some information excerpted from a profile on

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Leaving the Department of Education with a better reputation for how it supports schools, teachers, students, parents and communities, though this accomplishment is totally shared with (former) Superintendent (John) Huppenthal and staff at ADE.

Satisfaction levels of service recipients increased in virtually all programs, and overall agency satisfaction went from negative numbers when Supt. Huppenthal took office in 2011 to a positive 24 percent at the end of 2014. This was due to a greater customer focus by ADE staff, plus major technology and process improvements throughout the agency’s programs.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

Having retired for the third time, my top goal is spending more time with my children, grandchildren and siblings, with an occasional round of golf with dear friends and continuing to serve on a couple of boards.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

There is no one quality that by itself guarantees success as a leader. You can’t run government like a business, but you can use business principles to run government. My focus was always on our greatly improving constituent/customer satisfaction, recognizing that my customers were both internal (staff) and external.

To achieve greater success, we would work with staff, and from knowledge gained from customers, to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that helped drive daily work improvements; always stretching result expectations in all areas and shooting for the moon in areas where customer satisfaction was particularly low. Then we would measure results daily, weekly, monthly-whatever was possible, to continually evaluate progress. When progress was found to be insufficient, we would own the outcomes with staff and help them identify how to deliver services that would better satisfy their customers.

It was imperative to create an internal culture that rewarded taking measured risks to be more effective and efficient while sharing responsibility when risks fail. Most of the time external customer dissatisfaction was not due to staff, but to inefficient processes; and in those situations we would use process improvement/lean thinking strategies to help improve outcomes.

Then it was important to celebrate successes by staff. All of these elements and probably some I am leaving out were what led to better quality and more effective, efficient government where I served. Doing one without understanding the interrelationship to all other elements cannot achieve as positive results.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

My biggest concern is continued tax cuts that result in added reductions to critical program funding. While I support keeping a tight rein on government spending, decades of tax and spending cuts leave our infrastructure at risk. Education needs to be adequately funded and so do other critical programs that comprise core government services.

A second change that goes along with the first is to recognize the value of our public employees. If we want good quality government, we need to pay salaries that retain and reward state employees much better than we are. Starving the beast, as some put it, is not a good way to run government and provide citizens with timely, accurate, responsive services they require.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

There have been far too many people I have worked with at all levels of state government and from the private sector to name just one.

I learned from and was inspired by clerks in a mailroom as much as from those holding high public offices. If I had to name one, it would be Gov. (Evan) Mecham. He fired me from the Department of Revenue and forced me out of my comfort zone. Because of him I got other opportunities and learned the skills I had used in Revenue could be applied in other government positions, even where I had little or no technical knowledge. I wasn’t particularly grateful at the time, but in hindsight it may have been the best thing to have happened to me.

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

Nothing. I greatly enjoyed the journey and learning and developing my knowledge and skills from the array of experiences I was blessed to have during my career. Looking back, I certainly could have done some things better, but the trip would not have been as much fun.

Who is the most interesting person you met during your career? Why?

Again, far too many fascinating people to select just one. Each governor was unique and made life interesting. But there were others from the Legislature, colleagues from other agencies, coworkers, lobbyists, business leaders and friends that came into and out of my life over the years that enthralled me.

I am deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to meet and interact with so many exceptional people. To not name each and every one seems unfair. Since I was asked for one, however, I select Gov. Rose Mofford.

I didn’t work directly for her, but she was one of the people who took me under her wing when I first came to Arizona and made me feel welcomed and supported. What I admired most about her was that she would help anyone that asked for it, regardless of party affiliation or position in life. Throw that in with a one-of-a-kind hairdo and her great sense of humor and you get one very fascinating woman.

You served under four Arizona governors — two Republicans and two Democrats. How do you effectively serve elected officials with differing ideologies?

My role consisted of two parts, advocating public policy and running an efficient, effective public agency that delivered high quality services to taxpayers. Advocating for what my staff and I felt was the best public policy on issues was where I most interacted with governors and other elected officials. When they made a decision, even if I personally disagreed, our job was to make that policy work as best as we could. Understanding that role of the administrator and being honest and straight-forward with my boss undoubtedly was helpful in having a long career.

Another aspect was communicating with governors about actions and internal policies that would affect the public so governors were never surprised and understood why we were taking the actions before it became a newsworthy issue. Demonstrating honesty and integrity in dealings with others was also undoubtedly important.

Lastly, having the agency in which I was working doing a great job performing its duties and responsibilities so that constituents had few or no legitimate complaints probably helped get appointments in new administrations.

Open Government – Rep. Kate Brophy McGee

brophymcgeeLongtime child welfare advocate Rep. Kate Brophy McGee introduced HB2166 during the 2015 session, which the Phoenix Republican said does a dual task of providing increased, contextual public information on cases of child fatalities or near fatalities handled by the Arizona Department of Child Safety while also providing increased protection to victims.

Efforts to keep this type of sensitive information confidential are rooted in protecting abuse victims, but can also hamper efforts in prosecutions of crimes.

Brophy McGee said that other than instances where state statutes require confidentiality, government should “always err on the side of full disclosure.”

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

The successful passage of transparency legislation for child fatalities/near fatalities (HB2166) which has already resulted in greater disclosure to the public and policymakers, and at the same time provides increased protection to victims of neglect and abuse. What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

Resolution of the K-12 education lawsuit on inflation funding and heading off the looming K-12 facilities funding lawsuit.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

The willingness to do what is right, no matter the consequences.

What would Arizona miss most if you moved to another state?

I don’t know. My family has lived here since the 1870s, I’ve lived here all my life, and I don’t contemplate moving.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

A more transparent, deliberative budget process, that allows for input from the public and voting members of the Legislature prior to adoption.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

I’ve had many role models over the past 16 years. Most recently, I’ve come to know and admire Gov. Jan Brewer. Whether you agreed with her or not, doing what was right for Arizona was how she defined her actions.

Are there any records created/collected/ maintained by government agencies to which the public shouldn’t have a right?

Statute outlines clear instances where records may be kept confidential. Government should always err on the side of full disclosure.

Public Safety – Joe Hart, Arizona Mine Inspector for ‘Stay Out Stay Alive’ Campaign

mineinspectorArizona Mine Inspector Joe Hart first took office in 2007 and shortly thereafter, unveiled his “Stay Out Stay Alive” mine safety campaign, during which he and members of his staff have visited schools and held events to educate the community and especially children about the dangers of abandoned mines and mining sites.

During his decade in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1990-2000 Hart championed Abandoned Mine Safety Fund legislation to protect the public and supported legislation to require mining sites to be reclaimed for post-mining uses.

Hart is a fourth generation Arizonan, a lifetime resident of Kingman and has been married to his wife Rhonda for more than four decades. The couple has four daughters and 10 grandchildren.

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Being able to inventory, evaluate and secure abandoned mines on a minimal budget.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

Be in the best 10 states for mine accident incident rates, with an excellent reputation for aggressively closing abandoned mines posing a public threat, and for properly restoring mine lands for public use.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Mutual respect, a leader who leads based on strengths and not titles.

What would Arizona miss most if you moved to another state?

A dedicated civil servant to Arizona.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

An increase in our budget; more funding.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

My father, he instilled good work ethics in me as a young man, and a gentleman by the name of Kim Kelly taught me how to think ahead of situations in order to move forward.

How many open mines does Arizona have and why are they so dangerous?

Abandoned mines can pose a serious, even fatal, hazard to curiosity seekers or amateur prospectors. Potential dangers include cave-ins from loose rock and rotten timber, deep water, poisonous gases, and discarded, but active, explosives.

With hazard and liability abatement in mind, the Arizona State Mine Inspector’s Office continues diligently to secure abandoned mines on state land, and any other lands thereafter, properties so as to protect the public and wildlife. The Arizona state mine inspector has developed an inventory that contains information on over 10,000 abandoned mines and has evaluated 7,139 in problem areas.

The “Stay Out, Stay Alive” campaign has been running since 2009. Do you reach out to kids in schools? 

ASMI created the Abandoned Mines Educational Program. The objective of the program is to introduce students to the topic of mine safety; teaching of what accidents can happen to people who try to explore, enter a mine or trespass on mining property.

The focus of this program is to make the students aware of possible dangers that lurk out in the desert or open fields, and to have them notify a parent or adult if a dangerous mine site is found! Each student will be provided with an abandoned mine safety coloring book at the end of each presentation. Our goal is to have all students aware of the potential hazards and to be SAFE!

Our agency’s partnerships with the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish, Arizona State Land Department and other private organizations to inventory, evaluate and mitigate thousands of hazardous abandoned mine features. Without these partnerships, our agency would not have the funding to accomplish our objectives in the abandoned mines program.

Technology – TechShop

Arizona State University launched TechShop, a members-only do-it-yourself workshop, in its Chandler Innovation Center in January 2014.

TechShop’s fabrication studio is part of ASU’s ever-expanding presence in the Valley. The Chandler location was just the latest for TechShop, which has other sites in San Francisco, Austin and Detroit, among others.

Tech Shop provides ASU students and Chandler area makers, entrepreneurs and innovators access to a wide range of machinery, tools, software. The Innovation Center is an engineering and technology-based education and research hub in downtown Chandler’s former public works yard at 249 E. Chicago Street.

General Manager Mitchell Eikren provided the answers.

What is TechShop’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

In my view, one notable accomplishment is not any particular single event, rather it is single focus.  One of our primary directives is to democratize the use of high-end machining and fabrication equipment to individuals who under other circumstances may never have access. In so doing we broaden the spectrum of innovative solutions from all corners of our community. In an egalitarian-like setting of students, STE(A)M members, corporations and individuals, to name a few, we hope to be one of the many pillars in our community that supports our collective successes.

What is its top goal for the next 12 months?

Our top goal for the next 12 months is much the same as it has been for the last 12 months. That is to say, though we are a place with high-end tools and equipment, which are now more accessible than ever for individuals, we want to continue our trajectory toward skill building. The first step in being a member at TechShop is to be trained regarding safety and function. Beyond that, we have created a variety of skill building workshops that hone craftsmanship and tool knowledge. Over time, the diversity of these programs will grow.

If the Legislature could grant the organization one request, what would it be?

I would use it to get funding to any and all persons who are within circumstances that keep them from the opportunities found within TechShop. Though we work to serve those sectors in our community, it is not enough.

What does TechShop do and how is its approach unique?

TechShop operates its business much like a health club, except there is no complex contractual commitment and it is a place where you are actually excited to go. This business model works well as it spreads the cost of equipment such that it is affordable to many folks. However, beyond that, we provide instruction and skill building in a variety of interesting ways. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we are a naturally collaborative environment. Regardless of one’s profession or life experience, we all share and help one another. TechShop is unique by design, but it is also unique in its own organic and dynamic way.

What are a few of the most exciting projects going on at TechShop in Chandler?

There are many exciting projects going on at TechShop – too many to mention. Out of courtesy to our members I would need to get permission to mention some of them; however, I can mention one project where a member has constructed a nearly full size trebuchet (an ancient medieval siege warfare machine) that will launch pumpkins at a “Pumpkin Chunk’n” event.  He has crafted a fine looking machine and of the beta tests I have seen so far, he could be a winner.

Transportation – ADOT and Bill Mackey of Granite Construction

transpoOn July 19, the eastbound I-10 bridge washed out near Desert Center, Calif., approximately 50 miles west of the Arizona state line. Out of concerns about the condition of the westbound bridge, Caltrans and California Highway Patrol closed the highway in both directions.

Granite Construction, which is pre-approved to perform emergency work for Caltrans, reached out to the agency immediately to begin coordinating repair work on the vital transportation corridor. Granite completed initial emergency repairs in fewer than four days following notification to begin work.

ADOT staff in Yuma and Phoenix worked closely with Caltrans to establish detour routes, provide information about

the closure and notify drivers about alternative routes. ADOT used message signs, as well as traditional and social media channels, to advise the public and media outlets about the situation. The ADOT constituent services team fielded hundreds of inquiries from the public and provided updates about traveling along that section of I-10.

Fortunately, Caltrans was able to reopen the westbound bridge in less than a week. That effort was extremely important given I-10’s role as one of Arizona’s Key Commerce Corridors.

Responses provided by John Halikowski, director, Arizona Department of Transportation

What is ADOT’s most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

We have made significant strides in developing our Key Commerce Corridors program as part of an overall effort to make sure Arizonans, local communities and businesses become more aware of the importance of the state’s transportation network in supporting Arizona’s connections to the global economy.

Arizona has the geographic advantage of being situ- ated between two $1 trillion markets (Southern California and central Texas) and the emerging markets in Mexico. Ensuring Arizona has a reliable, efficient transportation system connecting to these markets is integral to the state’s continued economic growth and development.

What is the agency’s top goal for the next 12 months?

Governor Ducey has made it clear that state agencies need to adapt to work at the speed of business. I’m asking our agency’s work force to take the governor’s process improvements initiative to heart. ADOT will focus on innovation and internal efficiencies for improved responsiveness across all the services ADOT offers to its customers.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure?

It’s not just about embracing change. It’s about leading change. Today’s transportation system will be so very different in the coming decades. Transportation is personal, and ADOT’s staff takes its work personally.

Responses provided by Bill Mackey, Regional Materials Manager, Arizona Region, Granite Construction

What is the company’s top goal for the next 12 months?

One of our top goals in the next year is to continue to grow and advance our business through innovative solutions to funding constraints. We are in a unique position to be both deeply rooted in our local communities, but connected to our national network of offices, where we can leverage ideas and provide alternate solutions to our owners from state to state. Another goal is to continue to grow and diversify our portfolio of work.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves and to work collaboratively to achieve the goals of the company. In an industry such as ours, great things are rarely built alone. Granite has been recognized as one of the world’s “most ethical companies” several times.

Why is that such a high priority for Granite?

As the only U.S. construction company to be named to this list, we are extremely proud to be acknowledged among top global businesses with advanced ethical business practices and transparency.

What led Granite to respond so quickly to this emergency?

As soon as Granite personnel learned of the collapse, Brian Caris made the initial outreach to Caltrans personnel. Granite has a long history of working closely with Caltrans and other public owners. Granite has been pre-approved to perform emergency work for Caltrans largely because of our ability to mobilize quickly, reallocate regional resources effectively and expertise in heavy civil construction.

Why was it so important to get traffic flowing again on I-10 as fast as possible?

The eastbound I-10 is the main link from California to Arizona and is a critical corridor for travelers and commerce. Approximately 8,000 trucks per day were impacted. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the I-10 Tex Wash bridge closure added an additional cost of $2.5 million per day to the goods moved by the trucking industry. If this segment remained closed for a month, the cost would total an additional $75 million to those trucks delivering freight in that area.

All initial emergency repairs were completed in less than four days of notification to begin work. The new eastbound structure was also fast-tracked to be designed and constructed by the end of September. Through extensive teamwork between Caltrans, Granite and all our subcontractors and suppliers, we were able to complete this portion of emergency work six days ahead of schedule.

Volunteerism – Gabriel’s Angels

gabrielsangelsCEO Pam Gaber founded her innovative pet therapy organization on the idea that pets can offer the abused, neglected and at-risk children that Gabriel’s Angels’ serves an uncritical, accepting audience that invites disclosure.

The organization accomplishes its goals through nearly 175 registered volunteer therapy teams delivering pet therapy to more than 100 agencies. The organization accepts all breeds as therapy dogs, and Gaber reveals she has a special affinity for rescued dogs as therapy animals.

“These dogs represent hope for children because as a ‘throw-away dog,’ they found love and acceptance at their forever home. This could happen for a child too,” she said.

Sadly, in May of 2010, founding dog Gabriel, a Weimaraner, passed away. However, during his 10 years as a therapy dog he reached more than 10,000 children and left an inspirational legacy of unconditional love.

Responses provided by Pam Gaber, CEO and Founder, Gabriel’s Angels

What is Gabriel’s Angels’ most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

With the help of our past board member Ginger Lamb we formed our first Public Policy Committee.

This committee has always been on my to-do list and with Ginger’s expertise along with our lobbyists on our Board of Young Professionals we felt confident about embarking on this new territory. As a child welfare organization, children’s issues are of paramount importance to us.

Our board members and therapy teams were at the Capitol the day the child welfare bill was signed by Gov. Brewer. We attended a “Day at the Capitol” in conjunction with the Cable Association. On both of these days we were introduced at the House of Representatives and Senate sessions.

What is the organization’s top goal for the next 12 months?

Our top goal is to continue to increase the capacity of our organization so that we can reach the additional children who need our pet therapy service. Due to funding issues we are only able to reach 70 percent of the children who can benefit from our service.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

When a leader lacks emotional intelligence they are on the road to failure. Emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. It’s about self-awareness, self-management and relationship management. A high IQ does not correlate to being a successful leader.

If the Legislature could grant the organization one request, what would it be?

The Legislature must increase funding for the Department of Child Safety. It must be staffed by competent people who are staunch advocates for children.

Who is the organization named after?

Our organization is named after our Founding Dog, Gabriel, who was a gentle gray Weimaraner I had the privilege of sharing my life with for 12 years.

Why do children respond so well to therapy involving pets?

It has been documented that therapy animals make children less afraid, less lonely and less anxious. This is particularly helpful for the abused, neglected and at-risk children Gabriel’s Angels’ serves. In a therapy setting pets become the uncritical, accepting audience that invites disclosure. In addition, they are a refuge from the strains of human society. And finally, unlike blankies and stuffed animals, pets never need to be outgrown in the name of “maturity.”

What breed makes for the best therapy dogs?

Gabriel’s Angels accepts all breeds and mixed breeds after they are registered and evaluated by our staff. I have to say that in my 15 years of experience that rescued dogs make outstanding therapy dogs. These dogs represent hope for children because as a “throw-away dog,” they found love and acceptance at their forever home. This could happen for a child too.

Social Services – Charles Shipman, State Refugee Coordinator

refugeesCharles Shipman has served as state refugee coordinator since 2002. He assists the approximately 4,000 refugees from 42 countries that resettle in Arizona annually with many things they need to begin to make Arizona their new home, including connecting them with services and providing interpreters.

During this past year, Shipman has focused on bringing local officials and community members together to discuss and make plans to address several refugee resettlement needs and issues.

Shipman identifies empathy as a top quality possessed by an effective leader. “An empathetic leader recognizes and honors the need for others, guides through challenges, and is on the lookout for solutions to foster long-term success with a focus on moving forward,” he said.

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Probably the most notable accomplishment in public policy this year concerns policy for public consultations in refugee resettlement. Public consultations provide opportunities for refugee service providers to meet with local officials and community members to plan and dialogue on a number of refugee resettlement needs and issues.

I have worked to advance comprehensive and coordinated community consultation processes and opportunities, particularly with the advent of new federal requirements. This was a particular focus of my presentation earlier in the year as a speaker at the Ensuring Sustainable Integration International Conference in Seoul, South Korea, because they heard that efforts to communicate amongst stakeholders are quite strong in our state. I presented on efforts to sustain resettlement and integration in the United States, as these are topics with which our nation has wrestled with much longer than South Korea.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

To more strategically excite and engage local communities — including communities of faith, volunteer groups and local officials — in refugee protection and resettlement efforts. Particularly, to continue to build a robust and well-coordinated Arizona network that is willing and able to help refugees make the difficult transition to life in America and reach their fullest potential as new Americans. It’s my interest that this be strongly reflected in the programs and services we administer and increasingly in the mainstream.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader? 

Empathy — an empathetic leader recognizes and honors the need for others, guides through challenges, and is on the lookout for solutions to foster long-term success with a focus on moving forward.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

To have help with increasing awareness about refugees and the causes of their forced migration, the millions who have been persecuted and displaced without safety and protection, and the need for a response. And to highlight the incredible achievements of those refugees who have become our neighbors, friends, colleagues and countrymen.

How many refugees does Arizona take in each year? From how many countries?

3,500-4,000 refugees resettle in Arizona annually. This year refugees resettled in Arizona from 42 countries of origin.

What is something most people don’t know about what you do?

A lot of people might not know that a great inspiration for my passion in this important work is a personal one — my wife, who is a refugee.

She and her family fled the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide in 1979. Her family was among the first wave of Cambodian refugees to flee to the camps on the Cambodia-Thailand border. In fact, they were among the 45,000 Cambodian refugees who, after fleeing the Khmer Rouge, were rounded up by the Thai Army, transported by buses and returned at gunpoint down the steep mountain at Preah Vihear. Those who hesitated were killed on the spot, and those who were forced had to walk through unmarked landmines and endure sickness and starvation at the base of the mountain. Thousands of those refugees died. My wife and her family were among the survivors, and they made a treacherous, but successful, second escape that ultimately brought them to safety and freedom in America.

This event was a major impetus for the United States passing its Refugee Act.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical work day would likely be characterized by me trying to stay abreast of current events — including those relating to humanitarian crises and refugee protection; working with national and international colleagues about emerging issues; working on operational issues for refugee resettlement — planning and coordination, program and service development and implementation, fiscal and procurement matters; and participating in community and refugee-specific events.

Up & Comer – Sen. Carlyle Begay

begayDemocratic Sen. Carlyle Begay of Ganado took a fair amount of heat this year for providing the crucial 16th vote on five of the 13 budget bills, giving Senate President Andy Biggs the support he needed for the $9.1 billion spending plan.

Although Begay’s fellow Democrats blasted him for betraying the party line, his answers below shed more light on his motivation. He represents his district first.

“Rather than relegate our district’s interests to partisan politics, I have tried to seek opportunities to participate in the legislative process and finally bring much needed investments to these communities,” he said.

In exchange for his vote, Begay secured a $1.2 million line item in the budget for transportation infrastructure, a roads project on the Navajo Nation. Begay’s bill expanding the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) to all children living on Native American reservations was also passed and signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey this year.

What is your most notable accomplishment in public policy this year?

Upon my appointment and re-election to the Senate last year, I set out to establish priorities for rural and tribal communities across the state, pledging to be a voice for those that have gone without for far too long.

Rather than relegate our district’s interests to partisan politics, I have tried to seek opportunities to participate in the legislative process and finally bring much needed investments to these communities. This included $1.2 million in transportation funding that will maintain over 1,600 miles of unpaved school bus routes across northern Arizona the first year, establishment of the tribal college dual enrollment program fund directing funding from unclaimed state Lottery prize money, and transaction privilege tax (TPT) funds to tribal communities colleges.

Lastly, making Empowerment Scholarship Accounts universally accessible now to all kids living on tribal lands. That kind of opportunity doesn’t come along often for these families in reservation communities. My goal is to create new options and opportunities in education for these Native American children who are so clearly at-risk.

What is your top goal for the next 12 months?

Continue to build the relationship between rural and tribal communities in Arizona and the state Legislature. Our futures as governmental bodies, whether we realize it or not, are most assuredly intertwined. There are many good reasons to strive for cooperation, as any two or more neighboring governmental bodies, share aspects of economic and social systems that are connected through political and legal relationships.

What one quality can be the difference between success and failure as a leader?

Leaders must understand that their role is to serve others and make a difference, and not vice versa.

What would Arizona miss most if you moved to another state?

Judging by the 2015 “Best of the Capitol” nominations, it would be fashion sense.

If the Legislature could grant you one request, what would it be?

A helicopter or airplane to get rural legislators back and forth from their districts. I often say Legislative District 7 is a blessing and curse. Because of its sheer size, it includes seven counties and eight tribal communities. It is fairly common that I have to get an oil change once a month as I usually average over 3,000 miles a month.

Who has had the biggest impact on your development as a leader?

My wife and family.

What is a typical day like for you?

No two days are alike; I am usually doing something different every day including traveling back and forth across my district and the state. I try to make it a point to be involved throughout our legislative district, to see, touch and feel the needs and priorities that exist across the state.

What would you most like to accomplish as an Arizona lawmaker?

For too long, rural and tribal communities in Arizona have been afterthoughts. My primary focus is to move their concerns to the forefront. I know if rural and tribal areas flourish, we all benefit as a state.

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