Congratulations to the 2020 Leaders of the Year!

Each year, the Arizona Capitol Times recognizes men, women and organizations that have contributed greatly to the growth of our state. These groups, companies and individuals hunker down each day to find ways to improve the quality of life of Arizonans.

Ronnie Lopez
Ronnie Lopez

This year’s awardees tirelessly work to advance their companies, communities and cities. Collectively, their contributions have allowed Arizona to flourish.

The Arizona Capitol Times also honors the late Ronnie Lopez with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

A towering figure in Democratic politics, Lopez died this month at the age of 73.

Lopez worked as a field representative for the Arizona Civil Rights Commission. Later, he led Chicanos Por La Causa as President and Chief Executive Officer. He presided as Justice of the Peace in Maricopa County. He also served as Chief of Staff & Executive Assistant to Gov. Bruce Babbitt.

U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton said Lopez is “the best of AZ,” a man accomplished in both politics and business.

“His greatest success was love for family, loyalty to friends, and standing up for his values and the ‘little guy,’” Stanton wrote on Twitter.

The awardees will be recognized in a virtual awards night in September. They will also be profiled in a special edition of the Arizona Capitol Times.

Below is the full list of the 2020 Leaders of the Year.

Arts and Culture

Joseph Benesh, Executive Director, Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Elizabeth Toledo, Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center

Leslie Thompson, President, Irish Cultural Center


Kim Sabow, President & CEO, Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association

Debra Margraf, Executive Director, National Electrical Contractors Association, Arizona Chapter

Joan Serviss, Executive Director, Arizona Housing Coalition

COVID-19 Response and Management

Will Humble, Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association

Carla Vargas Jasa, President & CEO, Valley of the Sun United Way

Dana Kennedy, State Director, AARP Arizona


Jim Rounds, President, Rounds Consulting Group, Inc.

Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

Paul Hickman, President & CEO, Arizona Bankers Association


Mark Joraanstad, Executive Director, Arizona School Administrators

Steven Gonzales, Interim Chancellor, Maricopa County Community Colleges

Len Munsil, President, Arizona Christian University


Water for Arizona (Environmental Defense Fund, Western Resource Advocates, Audubon, Business for Water Stewardship, American Rivers)

Sarah Porter, Director, ASU Kyl Center for Water Policy, Morrison Institute

Lori Singleton, President & CEO, Arizona Forward


Jonathan Nez, President, Navajo Nation

John Giles, Mayor, City of Mesa

Jenn Daniels, Former Mayor, City of Gilbert


Jennifer Carusetta, Executive Director, Health System Alliance of Arizona

Karen Garcia, Registered Nurse, Valleywise Health

Lee Pioske, Executive Director, Crossroads Inc.


Janet Jackim, Partner, Zuber Lawler & Del Duca LLP

Danny Seiden, Director, Arizona Government Affairs, Intel

David Bodney, Senior Counsel, Ballard Spahr

Manufacturing and Industry

Steve Sanghi, President & CEO, Microchip Technology, Inc.

Danny Giovale, Founder, Kahtoola, Inc.

Steve Trussell, Executive Director, Arizona Rock Products Association and Arizona Mining Association

Public Safety

Debora Black, Police Chief, City of Prescott

Alberto Gutier, Director, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety

Bryan Jeffries, President, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona

Social Services

Steve Zabilski, Executive Director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Deborah Arteaga, Executive Director, Tempe Community Action Agency

Myriah Mhoon, CEO, New Life Center


Sondra Radcliffe, General Manager, Oxygen & PSUs, Collins Aerospace

Girish Rishi, CEO, Blue Yonder

David Dexter, President & CEO, Sonora Quest Laboratories


Arizona Rural Transportation Advocacy Council

John Halikowski, Director, Arizona Department of Transportation

Connect 202 Partners (Fluor Enterprises Inc., Granite Construction Co., Ames Construction Inc., Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.) 

Lifetime Achievement

Ronnie Lopez, former President and CEO, Chicanos Por La Causa

P.S. The Arizona Capitol Times newsroom played no role in selecting the honorees.