Executive vice president and director of finance and administration, National Bank of Arizona
With a 17-year career in land development prior to joining National Bank of Arizona seven years ago, Craig Robb was a natural to become an active member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Robb, executive vice president and director of finance and administration for the bank, is in his first year on the GPEC board of directors. He also serves on the GPEC Next Committee, which reviews possible projects and initiatives before forwarding them to the board.
But it was his two-plus years on GPEC’s Community Development Committee that enabled him to draw extensively from his combined experience in real estate and banking. Comprised primarily of real estate brokers and developers, with some bankers, the panel focused on shovel-ready projects as the construction industry’s fortunes plunged.
One of the areas his committee worked on involves sustainability and LEED certification.
“GPEC maintains a strong effort to identify programs and buildings that are more attractive to potential companies coming into the Phoenix area,” Robb says. “It’s an effort to match companies to a building that is LEED certified and sustainable, whether it’s office or industrial. That’s very attractive to a company that might be interested in relocating here.”
The bank’s relationship with GPEC is a two-way street.
“We are glad to be a contributor to GPEC, which is absolutely the right organization for promoting Greater Phoenix,” Robb says, “especially how difficult it is now, with the competition we face in a national and global economy. On a reciprocal basis, we have benefited. GPEC has given us a greater interest in sustainability.”
The bank, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009, decided to upgrade some of its nearly 80 branches that were facing energy challenges.
“We started our own effort to see what we could do to create a more sustainable platform for our own buildings,” Robb says.
About the same time in late 2008, Robb, through a GPEC event, met the CEO of Solar City.
“That blossomed forward, and we ended up with a $1.5 million installation at our Biltmore location, improving our energy efficiency,” he says. “In addition, the bank has committed $25 million to provide a lease program that allows individuals to lease solar equipment for their homes.
“We made our contribution to GPEC, and as a result here is a relationship that has blossomed into well over a $50 million investment related to solar.”