The ACA Board of Directors unites some of the state’s most powerful, proactive state officials with its globally recognized leaders of business – creating partnerships that both attract and cultivate commerce throughout the state. Led by Chairman Governor Doug Ducey, the Board of Directors consists of some of the most successful minds in both the public and private sectors, including the state’s Senate President, Speaker of the House and three public university presidents. The ACA leverages this incredible collection of subject matter expertise with business and policy experience to facilitate every facet of corporate expansion, strengthening the state’s overall economy. The ACA Board consists of voting members and ex-officio members.
Governor Doug Ducey
Governor Doug Ducey was elected on November 4, 2014 and was sworn into office on January 5, 2015, becoming Arizona’s 23rd Governor.
As governor, Ducey’s priorities are growing the economy, creating jobs, improving outcomes in K-12 education and balancing the budget. A champion of limited government, economic development and Arizona businesses and families, Governor Ducey has pledged to work every day to ensure “Opportunity for All.”
Prior to taking his oath as governor, Ducey served as Arizona’s 32nd state treasurer, a position he held since his oath of office in January 2011. As Arizona’s chief banker and investment officer, Ducey managed more than $13 billion in state assets and served as an investment manager for local governments. He also served as chairman of Arizona’s State Board of Investment and State Loan Commission, as Arizona’s Surveyor General and was a member of the State Land Selection Board.
As state treasurer, Ducey notably led the opposition of Proposition 204, a tax increase that would have cost Arizona taxpayers $1 billion per year. With Ducey’s leadership, the proposition was soundly defeated by a nearly two-to-one margin. During his tenure, Ducey also oversaw the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Under his watch, the trust fund surpassed $5 billion for the first time, with 90 percent of the earnings allocated toward K-12 education.
Before being elected state treasurer, Ducey was chief executive officer of Cold Stone Creamery. An Arizona-born concept, Cold Stone expanded from a handful of locations to more than 1,400 worldwide under Ducey’s management.
Governor Ducey was born in Toledo, Ohio. He moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University’s business school, where he earned his bachelor of science in finance in 1986. Governor Ducey and his wife, Angela, live in Phoenix with their three sons, Jack, Joe and Sam.
President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority
Sandra Watson brings more than 28 years of economic development leadership experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona more than 1,000 companies that have committed to invest nearly $45 billion in capital and create more than 160,000 jobs.
During her tenure with the Arizona Department of Commerce, and now the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Ms. Watson served in multiple positions with increasing responsibilities and results. She has the led Business Attraction, Business Development, Innovation & Technology, Workforce and Marketing divisions. She served as the Executive Director on the Governor’s Council of Innovation & Technology in advancing the state’s Innovation and Technology roadmap.
Ms. Watson began her career in Canada and brings not only a wealth of knowledge on the regional, state and national levels but can execute effectively on an international scale.
Ms. Watson is a collaborative leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. She worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the Arizona Commerce Authority, providing invaluable leadership and stability during its transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s first public-private partnerships focused on economic development. She was instrumental in guiding the implementation of the ACA’s aggressive five-year business plan promoting the state’s pro-business, competitive value proposition. Under her leadership, the ACA has transformed into Arizona’s leading economic development organization, and advances its three-pronged approach to strengthen the overall economy: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries.
She earned an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree from Laurentian University, and has completed the Global Leadership Certification program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition to serving on numerous regional and statewide Boards of Directors, Ms. Watson serves on the Board of Trustees for the State Science and Technology Institute, a national organization focused on promoting technology-based economic development, and is a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona.
In 2014, the Phoenix Business Journal recognized Ms. Watson as one of the 25 "Most Admired Leaders in Business" and Az Business selected her for its 2014-15 Az Business Leaders publication spotlighting Arizona’s most respected and influential business leaders. In 2013, Az Business also recognized Ms. Watson as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business.” The Phoenix Business Journal in 2012, recognized Ms. Watson among the "Top 25 Women in Business,” one of the 2008 “Power Players in the Phoenix Metro Area,” and in 2004, recognized her as an up-and-coming Arizona leader, with its “Forty Under 40” designation. Ms. Watson is also a two-time recipient of the Arizona Technology Council’s Chairman’s Award (2003 and 2010).
CEO and President, Abrams Airborne Manufacturing
Gary L. Abrams began his career as a second generation leader of Abrams Airborne Manufacturing, Inc., a precision sheetmetal manufacturing company that was founded by his father in 1965. Mr. Abrams currently serves as the President of Abrams Airborne. He is also the President of Vltor Weapons Systems, a weapons manufacturing company that supplies weapon accessories to the US Military and many law enforcement agencies. He is an owner and the President of Milkor USA, Inc., a manufacturer of the M32A1 multi-shot grenade launcher.
As a lifelong pilot, Mr. Abrams’ passion of flying and his drive for business enabled him to establish two companies in the field of aviation. He is the President of Pima Aviation, which acts as the long-term lease holder of the Marana Regional Airport, as well as the President of a FBO at Marana Regional Airport, titled Tucson Aeroservice Center. Mr. Abrams has been an active member of the Pima Air and Space Museum for many years serving as a past President, and currently serving as the Trustee on the Board of Supervisors.
Owner and President, Arizona Cardinals
After practicing law for six years as a federal prosecutor, Michael Bidwill joined the Cardinals organization in 1996 as Vice President/General Counsel and today serves as team Owner and President. In that time, his influence over the club and his role in shaping its success has been undeniable.
In addition to his prominent role in guiding the Cardinals, Mr. Bidwill has established himself as an influential leader in the greater Phoenix business community where he has been a strong advocate for economic growth and development.
Within the NFL, Mr. Bidwill chairs the League’s Security and Fan Conduct Committee, a group of eight club executives that oversees and develops best security practices for NFL facilities. He also serves on the board of the National Football League Foundation, which in 2013 will award more than $23 million in grants to support youth and high school football programs, health and safety efforts, as well as community health initiatives, including NFL PLAY 60. Mr. Bidwill has also been a member of the league’s Business Ventures Committee since 2007 when Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed him to it.
Mr. Bidwill additionally serves on Arizona’s Super Bowl Host Committee. That group not only oversaw the successful staging of Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008 but attracted the 2015 game (Super Bowl XLIX) and its half billion dollar economic impact to the state.
From 2008-10, Mr. Bidwill served back-to-back terms as Chairman of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He is also a board member of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), an organization composed of the region’s top business and civic leaders. In July of 2011, Mr. Bidwill and 16 business leaders in the state were appointed to the Arizona Commerce Authority Board of Directors. He is also a member of the board for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which carries on the legacy of the former Cardinals safety killed in Afghanistan in 2004.
Executive Director, Arizona Board of Regents
The Arizona Board of Regents named John Arnold its executive director in July of 2018. In this role, he is responsible for guiding the board's strategic plan with ambitious 2025 goals to increase educational attainment and advance the public higher education enterprise to serve students and impact Arizona's economy.
Arnold had served as interim managing director of the board beginning in May of 2018 to lead the board office during the search for a new leader. He joined the board office in March of 2015 as vice president of business management and financial affairs, developing financial policies and procedures for the university enterprise, addressing capital development and state budget requests, and coordinating system wide analysis of complex financial issues
With more than 20 years serving the state of Arizona, Arnold brings significant public service experience and a deep commitment to higher education to the position. He has an exceptional background in financial affairs and a proven track record of leadership, serving as Gov. Jan Brewer's state budget director where he was instrumental in providing fiscal direction and solutions for the state during the Great Recession as well as implementing the budget and advising the governor on all related matters.
Throughout his career, he has worked with leaders in education from K-12 to college. As director of the Arizona School Facilities Board,he managed programs for new school construction, building renewal and energy savings.
Arnold is married with five children. He received his bachelor's degree in accounting and his master's degrees in accounting and public administration from Brigham Young University.
Honorable Speaker Russell Bowers
Speaker, Arizona House of Representatives
Russell “Rusty” Bowers is the State Representative from Legislative District 25 (Mesa), representing the district since January 5, 2015. Bowers began serving as state House speaker in 2019.
Rusty was a member of the Arizona Senate from 1997-2001 and before that, the Arizona House of Representatives from 1993-1997. He has had an active career in construction, education, the legislature and as a professional artist who is well-known for his outstanding talents, skills and diverse artistic ability. Bowers is a classically trained artist, emphasizing in watercolor, oil painting, and sculpting.
Rusty served with honor and distinction for several years in the Arizona legislature before engaging in several community and career endeavors. Recent events and the continued erosion of the core principles that made this the greatest nation on earth have caused Rusty to reflect and realize that he still has a lot to offer to the individuals, families and businesses in this area and the state. His unique conservative outlook will help restore our communities and state to a principles-based society that develops strong individuals working in a strong economy with good jobs. Rusty Bowers is committed to serving the people of this district in a fair and honest manner and will always have an open door policy. The people he represents can feel confident that he will work on the issues that are important to them, and that he will find real solutions that will set our state up for permanent success.
Rusty Bowers has lived in Arizona and the East Valley for a very long time. Rusty’s great-grandparents settled in the White Mountains, and he is a fourth generation Arizonan. He spent his formative years in Prescott where his father was a teacher and coach at Prescott High School. His family then moved to Mesa and Rusty attended Mesa High School where he graduated with honors. A strong believer in a well-rounded education, Rusty attended Mesa Community College, Arizona State University, and Brigham Young University. In 1992 he returned to do post-graduate work at Arizona State University. His education has spanned many years, interrupted by a two year mission in Mexico, marriage to best friend Donetta Russell of Mesa, and the birth of their seven children.
Honorable Cathy Carlat
President, League of Arizona Cities and Towns
Cathy Carlat took office as Peoria’s first female Mayor in January 2015, and was reelected in 2018 to serve a second four-year term. She has served on Peoria City Council since 2005, where she was elected three times to represent Peoria’s largest and fastest-growing district.
Mayor Carlat is an avid proponent of fiscal responsibility and government accountability. On Council, her steadfast commitment brought recycling services to Peoria, shielded communities from development pressures, and successfully led key services to underserved areas.
Carlat is committed to cutting-edge public safety, attracting quality employment that embraces the workforce of tomorrow, and leadership to strategically plan for a lasting economy. These factors contribute greatly to Peoria’s exceptional quality of life, to which she remains dedicated as Peoria evolves into a thriving modern city.
Under Mayor Carlat’s leadership, Council has streamlined the budgeting process and passed balanced budgets in record time, used expiring fees to protect a treasured iconic mountain peak, improved the city’s fire and medical service, and established citizen-led committees to modernize the City Charter and plan for Peoria’s future. She is also a strong promoter of the protection of future generations by advocating for long-range, sustainable actions that will allow Peoria to meet the needs of tomorrow.
Utilizing her experience as a business leader, community leader, and city leader, Carlat proudly represents Peoria on many statewide and regional executive boards and committees. She is deeply involved with the Maricopa Association of Governments, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Mayor Carlat serves as President of the League of Arizona Cities and Town’s Executive Committee, and is the former President of the Arizona Municipal Water User’s Association Board of Directors.
Mayor Carlat was named one of the 2018 Most Influential Women in Arizona for her professional leadership, innovation, and community impact by AZ Big Media.
Having held positions as a District Manager for a Fortune 500 Company and Vice President of a commercial real estate firm, Carlat retired after thirteen years at Central Arizona Project to concentrate full-time on leading Peoria to its fullest potential. She and her husband Dennis have three children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Rita Hartung Cheng
President, Northern Arizona University
Rita Hartung Cheng is the 16th president of Northern Arizona University. A first-generation and non-traditional college graduate, Dr. Cheng has been committed to making higher education accessible and affordable to all students.
Under her leadership, NAU has pursued an aggressive agenda to thrive in a fast-changing environment of higher education. She has amplified the university’s strengths and set forth a vision of excellence in education through student-centered teaching, a robust research environment, an extensive global engagement program, and inclusive support services focused on success and measured through improved retention and graduation rates, and closing the achievement gaps for historically underserved students. She has focused on enhancing diverse, market-driven programs, and has prioritized the institution’s financial sustainability.
Since 2015, NAU’s research rankings rose from No. 86 to No. 70 in the country among public universities without a medical school. NAU also ranks No. 7 nationally for its long-term study abroad programs, up from No. 17 in 2015.
Prior to NAU, Dr. Cheng served as chancellor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she held positions on the faculty and various administrative roles including provost and vice chancellor.
Dr. Cheng earned a Ph.D. in management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, where she was recognized as one of 100 notable alumni in the school’s 100-year history. She also holds an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s in business administration with honors from Bishop’s University in Quebec. Committed to service, Dr. Cheng also serves on a variety of local and national boards, including the NCAA Board of Governors, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees, and the Big Sky Presidents’ Council.
Dr. Michael Crow
President, Arizona State University
Michael M. Crow is an academic leader and educator, designer of knowledge enterprises, and science and technology policy scholar. He has been the sixteenth president of Arizona State University since July 2002. He is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution combining academic excellence, inclusiveness, and societal impact—a model he terms the “New American University.” During his tenure ASU has developed a new era academic design built around innovation, established more than 15 transdisciplinary schools and research initiatives and witnessed an unprecedented academic and learning technology infrastructure expansion, quadrupling of research expenditures, and attainment of record levels of diversity. He was previously executive vice provost and professor of science and technology policy at Columbia University.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Public Administration, he is the author of books, articles and designs for new knowledge enterprises, new science and technology policies, new highly adaptive higher education institutions and new transdisciplinary concepts for enhanced human welfare.
Honorable President Karen Fann
President, Arizona Senate
Senator Karen Fann was elected in November of 2016 to represent Legislative District 1, which covers 8,000 square miles throughout Yavapai County and portions of Maricopa County. She previously served this district from 2011 to 2016 as a State Representative. Karen moved to Prescott at the age of four and has been a life-long Republican. She continues to represent her community by serving as a precinct committeeman and is a member of the Rotary International and Elks. Senator Fann currently serves as the Vice-Chair of both the Finance Committee and the Transportation and Technology Committee and as a member of the Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee.
Senator Fann’s previous experience includes: 2011-2016 Arizona House of Representatives; Chairman, Transportation Committee; Chairman, Insurance Committee; Member, Agriculture, Water and Lands; Member, County and Municipal Affairs; 2002-2009 Town of Chino Valley Mayor and Councilman; 2007-2009 BQAZ Statewide Transportation Board; 2005-2009 Chairman and Board, Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO); 2006-2009 Chairman and Board, Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition; 2005-2008 Governors Rural Water Legislative Study Committee; 2002-2007 and 1992-1994 Northern Council of Governments (NACOG); 1992-1995 Prescott City Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman; 1993-2002 President and Board, Prescott/Tri City Town Hall; 1994-1996 Chairman, Governors’ Commission on Non-Traditional Employment for Women.
Karen is the owner and CEO of a highway construction company specializing in the installation of guardrail and signs throughout the State of Arizona, which recently celebrated its 33rd business anniversary. Her business was started in 1984 with $500 and has grown steadily to become Arizona’s largest guardrail company, with 40 employees. Karen is a licensed contractor with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, past president of Yavapai County Contractors Association and past president of Prescott Chapter National Association of Women in Construction. Her previous work includes four years of legal experience, 10 years of airport/airline experience and as a licensed Arizona realtor.
In addition to the guardrail company, Karen and her husband Jim owned and operated the equine facility FANN-M Ranch for nine years. The FANN-M Ranch provided services to boarded horses, produced equine competitions and worked with local 4-H clubs and other nonprofit organizations for community fundraisers.
President, County Supervisors Association
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. As a fourth generation Arizonan, Steve has spent all of his life in the West Valley, a graduate of Trevor Browne High School. Gallardo has devoted his adult life to public service at the local, county and state level. In 2002, Supervisor Gallardo was elected to the State House of Representative in a new legislative district covering the Southwest Valley. Steve spent 10 years at the Arizona State Legislature both in the House and the Senate. During his term as State Representative, Senator Gallardo served as the House Minority Whip and in 2013 was selected to be Senate Democratic Whip.
Gallardo also has served on both the Cartwright Elementary Governing Board and is a current member of the Phoenix Union High School Board.
The Supervisor has spent his life working to make government work for the people. He spent 14 years working as a campaign finance administrator in Maricopa County Elections Department. He developed candidate training programs, spearheaded voter registration drives and organized “Get out the Vote” campaigns.
Gallardo’s priorities as a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors: Affordable Housing, with emphasis on the Homeless Population, Youth Leadership Development and Economic Development in the Western portion of the County.
He has been involved in numerous boards and commissions, including the Arizona Civil Right Advisory Board and Maryvale Village Planning Committee. Steve is very involved with the local and national Hispanic community and served as a member of such organization as NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials), LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement) and an MALDEF alumnus (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund).
Steve currently sits on the Ryan White Planning Council and is the Secretary for the Maricopa County Stadium District.
CORPORATE COUNSEL, KARSTEN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION
Dawn Grove is Corporate Counsel for Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, the parent company of PING and related subsidiaries, and has served on the board of directors of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation continuously since 1995. KMC’s main subsidiary, PING, is one of the top golf equipment brands in the U.S. and exports about half of its products outside the U.S. Ms. Grove chairs the Arizona Manufacturers Council and serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.
In 2015, she was appointed to former President Obama’s U.S. Manufacturing Council, which advised the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on issues related to strengthening U.S. manufacturers and achieving policy solutions that allow them to remain globally competitive. In 2016, Governor Ducey appointed her to chair the Workforce Arizona Council, the state’s workforce development board pursuant to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. In 2017, she began serving on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs. In 2019, she became chair-elect of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Prior to going in-house with Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, Ms. Grove practiced law in California and Arizona, primarily representing manufacturers. She received her doctor of Jurisprudence from Pepperdine University School of Law.
Ms. Grove is married to Rawleigh Grove and they have three children. She serves in non-profit organizations that provide community service and global relief efforts, has a black belt in Taekwon-do, and mentors young adults.
CEO and Director, WEBPT
Nancy Ham joined WebPT as CEO and a board member in 2016, bringing with her a wealth of experience in successfully establishing, developing, growing, and operating private and public healthcare information technology companies. As CEO, she focuses on developing innovative strategies to help guide the company through its next phase of growth.
Prior to joining WebPT, Nancy served as CEO of Healthagen Population Health Solutions, an Aetna company. There, she oversaw several tech businesses, including Medicity, the market leader in clinical data exchange and interoperability. Before that, Nancy was president, CEO, and a director of MedVentive (later acquired by McKesson), a provider of performance analytics that enabled ACOs and payers to manage cost, efficiency, and quality. Her experience also includes executive roles at Sentillion, ProxyMed, Healtheon/WebMD, and ActaMed Corporation. She also spent five years in leveraged finance at GE Capital.
Named by Health Data Management as one of Health IT’s 25 Most Powerful Women Thought Leaders in 2016, Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University and a master’s in International Business Studies (MIBS) from the University of South Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, mountain biking, and being outdoors – no matter the season.
Duff C. Hearon
Owner, Ashland Group, LLC
Duff C. Hearon is the owner of the Ashland Group, LLC, a diversified investment company in commercial real estate, startup companies and securities. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Law, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in both Finance and Accounting from the University of Arizona. In 1972, Hearon was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army and completed his reserve duty in 1980 as a Captain.
Hearon began his career as a CPA in the Chicago office of Arthur Andersen & Company in 1972. Later, after graduating from law school with the highest distinction, he practiced real estate, and commercial law and tax law with southern Arizona’s premiere law firm of Molloy, Jones & Donahue, P.C. As an attorney, he is recognized as an “A” and “V” (highest rating for ethics) rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, the National Lawyers Directory. In 1985, Mr. Hearon founded Ashland Group and in 1997 became its sole owner.
Hearon is an active community leader and has held or holds board positions and memberships with many governmental and professional associations including: the Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development – GSPED; Board of Directors, Pima County Real Estate Research Council (past Chairman) ; Board member, Greater Tucson Economic Council – “GTEC”, (past Chairman); the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (Board Member, and member of its Executive Committee); Tucson Airport Authority, and University of Arizona President’s Club. Hearon is a member of the Tucson Conquistadores, a philanthropic group that raises millions of dollars for Tucson’s youth sports. He has served as a Board member and Chairman of the United Way Campaign of Greater Tucson’s Fundraising Campaign. He is a current member of the Board of the University of Arizona Campus Research Corporation.
Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence is currently an independent investor focusing on venture funding of biotech startups in the areas of immuno-oncology and novel vaccines. Lawrence is a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology and is a member of the Caltech Space Innovation Council. He is a former member of the Defense Science Board and vice chairman emeritus of the Air Force Studies Board of the National Academies. He is a fellow and lifetime member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and serves on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Zanjeros.
Lawrence retired from Raytheon Company in 2019 after spending 35 years in the aerospace, defense, and national security industries. His tenure included 11 years as President of the largest missile manufacturer in the world, Raytheon Missile Systems, with annual sales of $9B in 2019. Prior to Raytheon, Lawrence was sector vice president and general manager of the C4ISR and Space Sensors division for Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Prior to Northrop Grumman, Lawrence spent time working for the US Government. His assignments included staff director for the Select Committee on Intelligence for the United States Senate, deputy director of the Information Systems Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and director of technology for the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office in the Pentagon. Lawrence earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Caltech in 1986 and holds a master's degree and doctorate in applied physics from Stanford University. In 1996, Lawrence was honored with the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. In 2013, he received the Medal for the Advancement of Research from ASM International.
Lee D. Lambert
Chancellor, Pima Community College
Lee D. Lambert has been Chancellor of Pima Community College since July 2013.
Throughout his community college career, he has been an innovator in connecting industry and community colleges to further economic development and educational opportunity in an age marked by rapid technological and demographic change.
Chancellor Lambert has long held that community colleges such as Pima are institutions of social justice and are uniquely positioned to address systemic educational and economic inequity.
Chancellor Lambert received a Juris Doctor degree from Seattle University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
A U.S. Army veteran, Chancellor Lambert was born in Seoul, South Korea, grew up on three continents, and graduated from high school in the Olympia, Wash. area.
CHAIRMAN, Pima Medical Institute
Mr. Luebke is a high-integrity senior private education executive, builder of Pima Medical Institute (PMI) into an 18 campus organization serving communities in 8 Western states including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Texas. Since 1983 he has provided leadership in the development of occupational curriculum and programmatic accreditation resulting in 24 new vocational disciplines.
Focused on delivering quality education that leads to employment the institute has graduated over 120,000 students (circa December 2018).
His unique view of employee engagement led to the creation of an employee ownership plan in 2002 that allows each staff and faculty to be an owner in the institute. Through this empowering approach the college has achieved continuous growth
(10% CAGR) and profitability.
Mr. Luebke currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Pima Medical Institute and also serves on local and national boards in a variety of social ventures.
Mr. Luebke has served the education community through his leadership on the board of the Arizona Private School Association, the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and the national Career Education Colleges and Universities.
His civic involvement includes service with Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts of America, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Cystic Fibrosis, American Lung Association, Luis Palau Association, Hands Offering Hope, Sold No More (an agency dedicated to fighting sex trafficking) and Agape Hospice.
Before joining Pima Medical Institute in 1983 he served as Finance Director for the Los Angeles Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Luebke earned his B.S. in Secondary Education from Idaho State University.
CEO and Co-Founder, Keap
Clate has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for over a decade, and is recognized by the small business community as a visionary leader. His passion for small business success stems from his personal experience taking Infusionsoft from a struggling startup to an eight-time Inc. 500/5000 winner. As CEO, Clate is leading Infusionsoft on its mission to simplify growth for millions of small businesses worldwide.
Under Clate’s leadership, Keap (formerly known as Infusionsoft) has landed four rounds of venture capital including a $55 million Series D led by Bain Capital Ventures with contributions from prior investors, Signal Peak Ventures and Goldman Sachs. He was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a Top 100 Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends, one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013 by Goldman Sachs, and Business Leader of the Year by the Arizona Technology Council.
Clate is a national speaker on entrepreneurship and small business success, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy. Clate has a BA in Economics from Arizona State University, as well as an MBA and a JD from Brigham Young University.
Founder and CEO, Virtua Partners
Quinn Palomino is the founder and CEO of Virtua Partners, an international private equity company headquartered in Scottsdale, with offices in Hong Kong, Edmonton, Newport Beach, and Atlanta. Virtua Partners invests in commercial real estate and operations and management companies in thirty one states and four Canadian provinces. Virtua relocated its headquarters from Southern California to Arizona in 2017, and employs 3,000 associates through its operating subsidiaries.
Quinn was born in Saigon and left Vietnam on the last day of the Vietnam War. Originally housed at the Fort Chafee refugee camp in Arkansas, her family settled in Mission Viejo, California, where she attended elementary, high school, and college at the University of California Irvine. Quinn resides with her family in Scottsdale and enjoys hiking and spending time with her four children.
CEO, USI Insurance Services LLC
William "Wick" Pilcher joined USI in 2013 and currently serves as Chief Executive Office Wick Pilcher Insurance, a Division of USI in Phoenix, Arizona. In this role Wick is responsible for driving volume, engaging the sales force, managing sales and production, new business and renewal processes, coordinating with claims, loss control, and actuarial services. Along with other team members, Wick has responsibility for ensuring that USI delivers on the growth goals as well as ensuring the agency’s excellent client service commitments.
Prior to joining USI, Wick served as President/CEO for Wick Pilcher Insurance, Inc.
Wick has been in the insurance industry over thirty years. He began his career as a broker at C.E. Heath with Lloyd's of London. He joined Olliver/Pilcher Insurance in 1978 as an Account Executive, soon became a Branch Manager, and in 1983 was appointed President & Chief Operating Officer. In 1986, Olliver/Pilcher merged with Corroon & Black and Wick was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona office.
In June 1992 Wick resigned his position as Chairman and CEO of the Arizona operation to open his own independent agency, Wick Pilcher Insurance, Inc. A long-standing tradition links the Pilcher name with insurance for the past half century. The company provided full service in three areas: Commercial Insurance, Personal Insurance, and Employee Benefits.
Wick earned his BA degree from Arizona State University.
Mr. Pilcher has been active in the Phoenix community and on many Boards such as Paradise Valley Country Club, Barrow Neurological Foundation, Compass Bank, Brophy College Preparatory, Young Presidents' Organization, Phoenix Symphony, Men’s Anti-Violence Network, St. Joseph’s Hospital and The Heard Museum . He is a member of Wine and Food Society of Phoenix and the Commanderie De Bordeaux.
Girish Rishi was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Blue Yonder in January 2017. During Girish’s leadership tenure Blue Yonder has launched a portfolio on the cloud that utilizes machine learning and insights from the intelligent edge. This portfolio of software and services enables companies to forecast demand and supply, fulfill in to omni-channels and effectively plan their workforce. In recent years, Blue Yonder has vastly expanded its ecosystem of partners and its geographical coverage to spur growth. The company rebranded from JDA Software to Blue Yonder in early 2020.
A purpose and values-driven culture and striving for a representative and inclusive associate base is at the center of Girish’s management system. He is passionate about delivering customer value, creating a learning environment and driving candor and collaboration.
A self-described recovering product manager, Girish leverages the experience he gained in product development and go-to-market while leading Motorola’s Enterprise division, Symbol Technologies’ EMEA operations and Tyco International’s retail solutions business and North America services business. Girish spent the first 15 years of his career in early to mid-stage entrepreneurial companies learning the value of co-innovating with customers and delivering differentiated solutions.
He is a voracious reader and travels around the globe meeting with Blue Yonder customers, partners and associates as part of his relentless pursuit of learning. If not leading a culture-driven company committed to learning, innovation and teamwork, he would be an author. In his downtime, Girish can often be found with his wife and two boys, either cooking or on the soccer field.
Dr. Robert Robbins, MD
PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
Dr. Robert C. Robbins assumed his position as the 22nd president of the University of Arizona on June 1, 2017. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston from 2012 to 2017. In this role, he significantly enhanced TMC’s commitment to collaboration, introducing five cross-institutional research initiatives centered on innovation, genomics, regenerative medicine, health policy and clinical research.
Prior to his time in Houston, Dr. Robbins served as professor and chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, founding director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, president of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, president of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association, president of the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate, president of the Bay Area Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and chair of the American Heart Association Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia Council, among other roles. In 2016 he served as president of the American Heart Association Southwest Affiliate.
An internationally recognized cardiac surgeon, Robbins has focused his clinical efforts on acquired cardiac diseases with a special expertise in the surgical treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiothoracic transplantation. His research work includes the investigation of stem cells for cardiac regeneration, cardiac transplant allograft vasculopathy, bioengineered blood vessels, and automated vascular anastomotic devices. Robbins is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and a former guest editor of the Circulation Surgical Supplement.
While at TMC, Robbins also served on the Houston branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve board, the board of directors of the Welch Foundation, and the American Heart Association Southwest Affiliate in 2016. He served on an independent blue ribbon committee to evaluate the Veterans Affairs health system, and the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston honored him as the 2016 International Citizen of the Year.
His educational background includes a B.S. in chemistry from Millsaps College, medical degree from the University of Mississippi, general surgical training at the University of Mississippi, cardiothoracic training at Stanford University, postdoctoral research at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health, and congenital heart surgical fellowships at Emory University and Royal Children’s Hospital.
John R. Selby
Managing Director, Thiel Capital LLC
John R. Selby (Jack) is a technology, finance and independent film entrepreneur. His current primary role is as Managing Director at Peter Thiel’s family office, Thiel Capital, in Los Angeles.
As a “PayPal Mafia” member, Jack co-founded, along with Peter, Clarium Capital Management, a macro hedge fund after selling PayPal to EBay in October 2002. At PayPal, Jack joined as an original employee and later served as a Corporate Officer/Senior Vice President, overseeing the company’s international and corporate oper¬ations. As an active technology investor and advisor, Jack is involved with companies such as SpaceX, Bird, Affirm, Blend, FreedomPay, Q Bio, POPSUGAR and many others.
As an independent producer, Jack’s film credits include Silk Road, Freeheld, Bernie, Act of Valor as well documentaries Fastball, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope and many others.
Jack received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hamilton College and currently serves on its Board of Trustees and as a member of the Investment Committee for the college’s endowment. Jack’s other philanthropic activities include the Navy SEALs Foundation, co-founder and member of the Board of Directors for the Wyoming Global Technology Partnership, cohost/founder of the Arizona Technology Innovation Summit with Governor Doug Ducey and founder/chairman of invisionAZ, a non-profit dedicated to advancing the local Arizona technology ecosystem. Jack is a resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona.
President and CEO, Republic Services, Inc.
Donald W. “Don” Slager is President and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Services, Inc., an industry leader in the recycling and waste services business. The Company generates over $9 billion of annual revenue, has a market cap exceeding $17 billion and operates the 8th largest vocational fleet in the nation. Don has more than 35 years of experience in the industry, starting his career as a teenager and subsequently working at all levels within the organization. He has served Republic for over 30 years.
As CEO, Don has built a leadership team that has taken a holding company of hundreds of subsidiaries and shaped it into a unified American brand that stands for customer-focused simple solutions, reliability and environmental responsibility under its We’ll handle it from here.™ brand promise. Republic’s industry-leading safety program reflects his commitment to ensuring safety for 33,000 employees and 14 million customers, a successful model that has raised the bar across the industry.
Don and the Republic Services leadership team, alongside Republic’s dedicated employees, are passionate about achieving the goal of becoming America’s preferred recycling and waste services partner. He has overseen the strategy, growth and strong performance of the Company and delivered outstanding shareholder value with a relentless focus on safety, customer experience, sound environmental practices and good neighbor principles.
In his career, he has served in a wide variety of leadership positions, including as President and Chief Operating Officer of Republic, prior to becoming CEO in 2011. Don also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Allied Waste Industries from 2003 until Republic’s acquisition of Allied Waste in December 2008. Previously, he held various management roles of increasing responsibility at Allied (and formerly National Waste Services) from 1985 through 2008, including Senior Vice President, Operations, Region President, Area President and General Manager.
In addition to serving on Republic’s Board of Directors since June 2010, Don currently serves on the Board of Martin Marietta, a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials. He is a member of the Finance Committee and the Ethics, Environment, Safety & Health Committee. He is also a governing board member of Together for Safer Roads, an innovative coalition that brings together global private sector companies, across industries, to collaborate on improving road safety. From September 2009 until March 2016, Don served on the Board of UTi Worldwide as Chairman of its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and member of its Compensation Committee.
Don earned a certificate from the Stanford University Board Consortium Development Program and completed the Northwestern University Kellogg School Advanced Executive Program.
Chief Executive Officer, Magellan Health
Barry Smith is chief executive officer of Magellan Health, a leader in managing the fastest growing, most complex areas of health, including special populations, complete pharmacy benefits and other specialty areas of healthcare. Smith served on Magellan’s Board of Directors from 2004-2008, and was again nominated for election as a director in 2011. Smith joined the company as CEO on January 1, 2013, with responsibility for Magellan’s strategic direction and overall growth, as well as the development and operational execution of the company’s business strategy. He has profit and loss responsibility for all of Magellan’s business units.
Smith founded and served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of VistaCare, Inc., a national provider of hospice services, from 1996 to 2002, and served as chairman of VistaCare in 2003. From 1990 through 1995, Smith served as chairman and chief executive officer of Value Rx, Inc., then one of the country’s largest pharmacy benefit management companies; and, prior to that, he served as vice president of operations for PCS Health Systems, also a pharmacy benefit management firm. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Ensign Group, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed diversified provider of healthcare services.
With a deep interest in civic, community and church affairs, Smith has been active in providing enhanced educational and health resources for residents of Haiti, through Healing Hands for Haiti. He has also been involved with micro-credit initiatives focused on alleviating poverty in third-world countries. From 2008 - 2011, he served as the mission president for the LDS Church in northeast Texas.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah. He is a member of the President’s Club, the Marriott School of Business’ National Leadership Council and the Founders Organization at the Rollins Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology, all at Brigham Young University.
Senior Vice President and Southwest Region Manager, Cox Communications
John Wolfe is Senior Vice President and Southwest Region Manager of Cox Communications, responsible for the company’s overall operations in Arizona and Nevada. A 28-year Cox veteran, John joined the company’s Southwest Region in Phoenix in September 2014 after two years as Cox’s senior vice president and general manager of the Northeast Region. Before moving into operations, John was Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Cox’s Northeast region, responsible for the development of government, public affairs and communications strategies for the company.
Prior to joining Cox, John was New England Director of Public Affairs for Times Mirror Cable Television. John joined Times Mirror in 1991 from the National Cable Television Association where he was Director of Public Information and served as the Association’s press spokesperson on public policy issues. Prior to joining NCTA, he was Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief for CableVision Magazine and Managing Editor for Arlen Communications, a Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications publishing and consulting company.
John serves on the boards of Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. He is the current President of the Southwest Cable Communications Association board of directors, and is a 2018 inductee into that organization’s Pioneer Hall of Fame. In 2015, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointed John to the Arizona Zanjeros, a statewide business advocacy group.
John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and English from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife, Kristen, live in the Cave Creek area.