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sharon.harper

Harper wins national economic development award

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council today announced that Plaza Companies President and CEO Sharon Harper has won a citizen leadership award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The Citizen Leadership Award, part of the IEDC’s annual award series, is presented to a community or business leader who has been involved in economic development for at least 10 years.

Harper has been a board director at GPEC since it was founded in 1989. She was chairwoman of the board in FY2003 and has co-chaired GPEC’s International Council since it commenced in 2007. To date, one of her biggest accomplishments was her partnership with Arizona State University to open SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. Since its 2007 inception, SkySong has generated an economic impact of more than $460 million for the region.

“Sharon was selected for this award because she is a stellar business and community leader,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “I’m honored to have her longstanding leadership on GPEC’s Board of Directors and applaud her multifaceted efforts to improve the Greater Phoenix region.”

“The Greater Phoenix Economic Council has been front and center, leading job creation and business growth in the state of Arizona, and our communities and our residents benefit dramatically,” Harper said. “It has been such an honor to be a part of the economic engine that has supported the lifestyle, the educational opportunities and the job growth opportunities for today and for the future.”

Plaza Companies is a nationally-recognized real estate development, investment and management firm. Harper is active throughout the Greater Phoenix community, also serving on the board of directors for Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Banner Health Foundation and Arizona Community Foundation, among others. She has been on GPEC’s board of directors for nearly 25 years and is the only founding board director to still serve.

GPEC also received a 2013 IEDC award for its monthly eNewsletter, GPEC Connection, which received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development award.

“The Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the Greater Phoenix Economic Council as being one of the leading organizations in the industry for innovation, creativity and successful strategies,” IEDC Chairman Paul Krutko said. “These awards are meant to honor the organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making a positive change in their communities.  The award represents an acknowledgment and appreciation for GPEC’s dedication to continuous growth within itself, as well as improving the industry overall.”

GPEC Connection is sent to more than1,600 individuals and stakeholders. The eNewsletter keeps readers informed about recent news relating to GPEC, lists upcoming GPEC events and includes articles highlighting regional advancement and spotlighting a regional municipality.  It also meets contractual obligations with GPEC’s member communities to report the previous month’s prospect and locate activity.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.