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Bill Stacy

After more than a decade running Maricopa’s only utility company, Electrical District No. 3 CEO and General Manager Bill Stacy will soon retire.

“The Lord has blessed me to bring me out here into the desert, and it’s been a great place to live,” Stacy said.

The native Southerner worked in the utility industry for 38 years and came to Maricopa from North Carolina when ED3 hired him.

He’ll work through January while preparing to teach the ropes to his replacement. Applicants have until Aug. 15 to submit resumes and ED3 hopes to hire the right candidate by November.

A committee will choose a number of candidates for interviews after the submission deadline. ED3 is slated to welcome its new GM by November. Once hired, the position will report to the company’s Board of Directors.

Stacy will spend retirement living at his home in North Carolina, he said, enjoying its four seasons, green landscapes and outdoor recreation.

“All of our family is back on the East Coast, so I’ll spend time with my wife and family and do a little boating,” Stacy said.

As he nears the end of his career, Stacy said he’s most proud of renegotiating old contracts with APS and helping ED3 become a part of the Southwest Public Power Agency, a group he chairs.

Under Stacy, ED3 lowered rates 7 percent (5 percent in 2015 and 2 percent in 2017), and he said customers have not been subject to a rate increase in eight years.

Stacy’s replacement will face running a company that, on its own, serves a community projected for rapid growth.

Already averaging around 100 new meters a month, ED3 will likely expand to accommodate incoming commercial and residential services. The company also serves agriculture and irrigation customers.

“I always say that if the growth comes too fast it could be harder on the company, but we’ve got a lot of capacity,” Stacy said.

ED3’s new substation and system maintenance are two factors Stacy attributes to the company’s preparedness to handle a possible population boom.

Stacy said the new leader of ED3 may face broader challenges like future power costs and renewable energy.

“We’ve been here since 1926 and we plan to be a part of the community for a long time,” Stacy added.

Construction has been a growing major sector in Arizona's employment. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Arizona lost 7,200 nonfarm jobs from April to May, but the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years.” — Adam Turk

The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity released the jobs report Thursday.

Compared to May 2017, the state added 70,700 total jobs. Economist Adam Turk said manufacturing, education and construction were drivers in job creation in May.

“Building construction recorded its largest over-the-year gain in nearly 12 years,” Turk said.

There were 5,100 jobs added in the subsector of building construction, a 17.8 percent increase.

In particular, the construction subsector of specialty trades saw job growth up 9.1 percent compared to last May. In the United States, that number is 4.2 percent, reflecting the increased construction activity in Arizona.

Manufacturing has seen a recent upsurge in hiring. Overall, the sector grew 5.5 percent since last year and 1.3 percent since April. That is an increase of 8,900 jobs, the largest gain in 20 years.

Turk said manufacturing of computer and electric parts – “a sector where we, for the past several years, have seen job losses month over month” – has turned around since the final quarter of 2017 to post job growth. Its year-over-year increase was 9.7 percent.

The education and health services sector grew by 14,100 jobs over the year, the biggest increase in the state. Turk said that was primarily driven by additional education hires, possibly due to the state’s new education budget.

In Pinal County, the biggest employers were in the service industries, though that showed a month-to-month loss of 50 jobs. A number of sectors were down slightly in May compared to April, including manufacturing, business and professional services, hospitality trades and trade, transportation and utilities.

Construction jobs increased in Pinal County, as did government jobs and education.

Overall, the county’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent in April to 4.1 percent in May.

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The Maricopa Job Fair drew 350 job-seekers to MUSD Wednesday. Photo by Michelle Chance

Approximately 350 job-seekers and 45 employers attended the Maricopa Job Fair Wednesday, according to the workforce agency Arizona@Work Pinal County.

This is the third year the job fair has been held in Maricopa, but the first time the Maricopa Unified School District Administrative Building has hosted it.

“Because [Harrah’s Ak-Chin] is doing renovations, MUSD was nice enough to let us do it here,” said Jason Robert with Arizona@Work Pinal County.

Robert estimated that about 90 percent of employers were local to Pinal County. According to the most recent statistics, the unemployment rate in Pinal County was 5.2 percent in May – a half of a percent increase from April.

Arizona@Work is a joint effort between various governmental agencies and private entities, Robert said.

“We offer job seekers free hiring event workshops and free services for employers to match them with job seekers,” Robert said.

Their county office is located at 318 N. Florence St. in Casa Grande and can be reached by phone at (520) 866-3600.

With its expansion under way, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino will have a job fair of its own on Aug. 10 at Central Arizona College’s Maricopa Campus and another later in the year.

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The building isn’t even up yet, but a Culver’s restaurant is gearing up to start the hiring process in Maricopa. Area Supervisor Joseph Wood  talks about the pending opening.

As reported last year, the fast-casual diner is slated to go up at the southwest corner of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road. The company had expected to have a July groundbreaking and November opening, but plans are still in development.

“The earliest we would be open would be January 2017,” Wood said. “I would expect no later than March.”

Wood can be reached at 480-734-8956 or joe@greatcustard.com. Learn more at http://www.inmaricopa.com/business/jobs/