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MEDA

James B. Smith (submitted photo)
After a nationwide search, the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) announced the hiring of James B. Smith, Ph.D., as vice president of business development.
Smith will be responsible for developing and executing business recruitment initiatives for MEDA on behalf of the City of Maricopa. He has 25 years of progressively successful leadership, and economic and community development experience, with non-profit organizations and private-public partnerships.
“We are delighted to have recruited someone of James’ caliber to help propel MEDA in its newly expanded role,” said John Schurz, MEDA chairman and CEO. “His track record in building organizations, communities and economies will greatly advance MEDA’s ability to fulfill and exceed its mandate as Maricopa’s official outwardly facing economic development organization.”
Smith was the first vice president of corporate relations for the Economic Development Alliance of Baltimore, a private-public partnership representing Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. In that capacity, he developed and executed first-ever business attraction initiatives that supported the recruitment of 10 firms, combining for $5.6 billion in private capital investment and creating more than 5,000 new direct jobs.
From there, Smith was appointed as the senior administrator at the Baltimore Community Foundation to bridge the gap between community and economic development for the Greater Baltimore region. In that position, he devised and monitored a regional civic agenda to position Greater Baltimore as a place where civic and community development initiatives aligned with the region’s economic development agenda to ensure that opportunities were created for all residents of the region.
Most recently, Smith served as the president and CEO of Healthy Teen Network, a national enterprise that focuses on addressing the sexual health education needs of teens and adolescents who are parenting and/or pregnant, currently who are in systems of care, and those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
“James brings a unique combination of economic and community development skills to MEDA and Maricopa,” said Rick Horst, Maricopa city manager, on Smith’s appointment. “We are excited about this next step in building and executing stronger and more consistent engagement with external markets and market actors.”
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in public policy and administration. Passionate about issues facing America’s communities, Smith serves or has served on several boards of directors of community organizations. He also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the nation’s oldest collegiate fraternity of African American males.

Eric Wilkey, Andy Kroese and William Stacy

 

The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance appointed Eric Wilkey and Andy Kroese to its Board of Directors. Returning from a year’s retirement is Bill Stacy of Electrical District No. 3.

Wilkey is president of Arizona Grain Inc., based in Casa Grande. He joined Arizona Grain in 1991, directing the merchandising and logistic activities for the company. Kroese is vice president and chief financial officer for Arizona Grain Inc. He joined the company in 2013 and is responsible for the company’s accounting and finance functions along with information technology and human resources. He will serve as an advisory director to the MEDA Board.

“Agriculture and agribusiness still play an out-sized role in our local and regional economy,” Mayor Christian Price said. “Having top executives from one of the most steadfast firms in this sector will help Maricopa capitalize on these critically important resources.”

Stacy previously served as MEDA’s chairman and CEO for eight years. In January, he assumed the position of interim general manager at ED3 while the firm searches for a new leader. He has been with the utility since 2008.

“My ties with Electrical District No. 3, the City of Maricopa and MEDA are deeply entrenched,” Stacy said. “It is a bona fide pleasure and honor to be this engaged in the community, and I am very proud to see the progress that has been made on the economic development front in Maricopa.”

Mike Adams, Great Western Bank

Mike Adams, group president of Great Western Bank, has joined the board of directors of Maricopa Economic Development Alliance.

Adams is a 38-year banking professional managing offices in Maricopa, Casa Grande, Tucson, Eloy, Coolidge and Globe. He manages commercial bankers focusing on commercial, industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, real estate construction (owner-occupied, investment and subdivision) lending and deposit activities throughout the state.

MEDA is the City of Maricopa’s private-public partnership for economic development. As a 501(c)3 corporation, the organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in Maricopa by bringing together the business, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.

A Tucson resident, Adams is a native of California and a graduate of University of Oregon.

Great Western Bank has been in Pinal County since 1999 when the bank’s predecessor, Casa Grande Valley, opened the first bank in Maricopa. The bank has operated under the Great Western name since 2007.

“Our business philosophy has always been to support the communities where we do business,” Adams said. “Our local bankers are committed to the City of Maricopa and the ongoing successes of its businesses and residents. I’m happy to join other business leaders on the MEDA board as we continue to advance the City’s economic development initiatives.”

MEDA’s board is comprised of the leading executives of Maricopa’s major business sectors, representing expertise and experience in utilities, finance, development, health care and infrastructure development. Equally important are the elected officials and public sector executives who bring the essential representation of the City of Maricopa’s City Council, City Management and Economic Development functions.

“Great Western Bank was the first commercial bank to open a branch in Maricopa and has a long and distinguished history in our city,” Mayor Christian Price said. “Mike and his team have been an active part of Maricopa’s growth, and we’re glad to have his expertise on the board of directors.”

The Maricopa-MEDA partnership is an important component of the city’s economic vitality and sustainability. Through the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance, the City of Maricopa and business and education leaders join forces to identify and support promising economic development opportunities for the City of Maricopa.

“The private sector plays an important role in fulfilling MEDA’s mission to seek out opportunities that benefit our community,” said John Schurz, MEDA’s board chair. “As a banker who is committed to helping businesses grow and prosper, Mike brings vitally important commercial finance prowess to the MEDA board and we are delighted he is joining us.”

 

 

Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel

 

Robert Miguel, chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, has joined the board of directors of Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA).

MEDA is the City of Maricopa’s private-public partnership for economic development.

Miguel was the first elected chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community under its new constitution which allowed tribal members to officially vote for their chairman.

“I was born and raised on Ak-Chin and have watched the City of Maricopa, our neighbor, grow into a vibrant and dynamic city,” Miguel said. “There is much synergy between what the elected leaders in Maricopa want for their community and what our tribal council wants for our community. Being a part of MEDA and the discussions regarding economic growth and development will be a benefit to all of us.”

MEDA’s board is comprised of the leading executives of Maricopa’s major business sectors, representing expertise and experience in utilities, finance, development, health care and infrastructure development.

“We are thrilled that Chairman Miguel is a part of our board of directors, bringing not only his knowledge and expertise on tribal affairs, but the Community’s perspective on strategic growth,” said John Schurz, MEDA’s chairman. “That knowledge will be an integral part of our collective success.”


This item appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart shows MEDA and the city council plans to develop Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

Millions of dollars are about to be invested into the Copper Sky Commercial District.

Wednesday, Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, announced plans for an 18-acre development around Copper Sky that will include La Quinta Hotel, 620 units of multifamily housing, a 172-unit Morning Star Assisted Living Center and 53,000 square feet of new retail space.

Airheart unveiled the $146-million plan at Wednesday’s special meeting between the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) and Maricopa City Council.

“The southern parcel will include a hotel with about 85 rooms,” Airheart said. “That is going to be the very first project on this site. Phase one will continue to include about 320 units of multifamily housing and then retail with about 16,000 square feet.”

She said the northeastern corner of the development will also include assisted living housing.

“This is a segment of our population that we are not able to cater to today,” Airheart said. “The developer that we are working with is interested in being in and out with construction within three years. The developer is investing money and he also has to work to attract investment dollars to this project. We hope this will go on to expand the critical relationships that we are working on.”

Airheart said La Quinta Hotel is a $10 million private investment and will be four stories tall with 89 rooms. It will have a $1 million annual operating budget and create 20 jobs according to Airheart.

She said it will provide an annual payroll of $390,000 to the local economy, as well as property, bed and sales taxes.

Hopes are the hotel will be operational by the end of 2020.

Those attending the MEDA meeting were extremely excited by Airheart’s release about the development.

“Ummm, so this is confirmed?” one man asked.

Photo by Jim Headley

Airheart replied it was about to become reality and the developer is ready to start on the project soon. Businesses going into the open retail spaces at the new development will be “market-driven.”

City Manager Rick Horst told the crowd the developer of the hotel is Shea Connelly Development, a national developer with a long and prestigious track record.

The hotel is separate from the multifamily housing and retail complex going into the Copper Sky development. Airheart said the same developer has built a similar project in Fountain Hills.

The Copper Sky Commercial District will include a $100 million private investment into a complex with 53,000 square feet of retail space and provide about 150 new jobs.

The Copper Sky development is almost twice the size of the Fountain Hills development.

The proposed Morning Star assisted living facility is a $30 to $35 million private investment providing 172 units with 82 as independent care, 56 as assisted living and 34 dedicated for memory care. Morning Star is expected to provide 225 jobs to the Maricopa community, according to Airheart.

She provided images of the company’s development at Fountain Hills showing a large and luxurious 91-unit care center that is nearly half the size of what will be built in Maricopa. Fountain Hills was a $21 million investment.

Horst said, in all, the new development could house up to 3,000 more people and will leverage larger events to come to Maricopa, increasing tourism and jobs.

City Manager Rick Horst talks to the joint session. Photo by Jim Headley

John Schurz

John Schurz, president and general manager of Orbitel Communications and Western Broadband, Schurz Communications Inc.’s Arizona cable properties, has been elected chairman of Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA).

MEDA is the City of Maricopa’s private-public partnership for economic development.  As a 501(c)3 corporation, the organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in Maricopa by bringing together the business, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.

Schurz is a fifth-generation executive of Schurz Communications, a 146-year-old privately held family owned and operated business. He began his career with the firm in 1988 and has worked in cable, radio, newspaper and television at eight of the company’s facilities. Currently, he serves on the Schurz Communications Board of Directors and Finance and Audit, Governance and Acquisition Committees. He is also a Past President of the Southwest Cable Communications Association and serves on its board.

“I am honored to lead this organization that works so diligently to grow and advance the City of Maricopa,” said Schurz, who has served most recently as the organization’s treasurer.  “I joined the board in 2013 and working with Mayor Christian Price, the City Council, the City’s economic development staff and my fellow board members, I look forward to the year ahead.”

MEDA’s board is comprised of the leading executives of Maricopa’s major business sectors, representing expertise and experience in utilities, finance, development, health care and infrastructure development.  Equally important are the elected officials and public sector executives who bring the essential representation of the City of Maricopa’s City Council, City Management and Economic Development functions.

“MEDA works in close partnership with Maricopa’s Economic Development Department on several strategic projects and programs,” said Mayor Price. “All our initiatives are geared toward creating a stronger and more competitive community and economic base for our city.  John’s business knowledge coupled with his commitment to Maricopa will serve MEDA well.”

Other officers elected include Brett Benedict of Maricopa’s Electrical District 3 as treasurer and Jim Kenny of El Dorado Holdings, Inc. as secretary.

The Maricopa-MEDA partnership is an important component of the city’s economic vitality and sustainability. Through the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance, the City of Maricopa and business and education leaders join forces to identify and support promising economic development opportunities for the City of Maricopa.

An economic development mechanism received an updated agreement with the city Tuesday.

During a regular meeting, City Council voted to approve the new $125,000 agreement with the non-profit Maricopa Economic Development Alliance for fiscal year 2017-18.

The agreement is contingent upon several metrics that include MEDA having to maintain its private funding to the tune of $83,000. They also must increase media value by 10 percent and increase online exposure throughout the region.

According to MEDA, the organization will also continue to use online television spots to promote the city and help bolster a positive image and ultimately growth for the city.

Per their mission statement, “The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in the city of Maricopa by bringing together the businesses, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance forward-looking policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.”

Other goals stated in the agreement include tackling flood plain issues, championing public education, helping prepare “shovel-ready” commercial and industrial property and improving the overall business climate.

MEDA claims to do this in a number of ways, the largest being support for the City of Maricopa’s efforts to bring businesses to the city through “deal-generating.”

MEDA Board Officers:
Chairman – William H. Stacy –– Electric District 3 – general manager
Treasurer – John D. Schurz – Orbitel – president and general manager
Secretary – James F. Kenny – El Dorado Holdings – president

Board Members:
Denyse Airheart – City of Maricopa Economic Development – director
Christian Price – City of Maricopa – mayor
Marvin L. Brown – City of Maricopa – vice mayor
Gregory Rose – City of Maricopa – city manager
Steve Chestnut – Maricopa Unified School District – superintendent
Jennifer Alai – Great Western Bank – Southern Arizona president
Brian C. Bernardo – Banner Health – senior director
Ron Fleming – Global Water – president
Bryan M. Hartman – Santa Cruz Ranch – president
Adam Saks – Ak-Chin Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center – general manager and COO
Bud Walters – Southwest Gas – Supervisor

Advisory Board Member
Lyle Frederickson – Great Western Bank – vice president