Tag Archives: Don Kile


GPEC announces Board of Directors for FY 2014

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) today announced the appointment of its Board of Directors for the 2014 fiscal year, as approved by the Executive Committee.

Alliance Bank of Arizona CEO James Lundy will continue to lead the Board of Directors as chairman.

“As the economy continues to improve, GPEC’s team of results-driven board directors will work to ensure the region not only maintains its trajectory but also pushes toward a more diversified and sustainable economy that is less dependent on growth industries like real estate and construction,” Lundy said. “I’m honored to work with this talented group of professionals and look forward to a productive year.”

Rounding out the Board’s leadership is SCF Arizona President and CEO Don Smith and Empire Southwest Executive Vice President Chris Zaharis as vice chairs, APS Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Tammy McLeod as secretary and Bryan Cave, LLP Partner R. Neil Irwin as treasurer.

New Board Directors include: Steve Banta, CEO of Valley Metro; the Honorable Denny Barney, District 1 Supervisor for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors; Scott Bradley, Area Vice President for Waste Management; Mark Clatt, Area President for Republic Services; the Honorable Vincent Francia, Mayor of the Town of Cave Creek; Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, President of the University of Arizona; Bill Jabjiniak, Economic Development Director for the City of Mesa; the Honorable Michael LeVault, Mayor of the Town of Youngtown; Rich Marchant, Executive Vice President, Global Operations for Crescent Crown Distributing; Ryan Nouis, Co-Founder and President of Job Brokers; and Eric Orsborn, Councilmember for the Town of Buckeye.

“GPEC’s success is largely driven by its strong Board of Directors, all of whom reflect the region and state’s most accomplished professionals,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “Every single one of them truly cares about our market’s success and serves as a community thought leader when it comes to competitiveness.”

Mayors from GPEC’s member communities and the organization’s Nominating Committee are responsible for nominating and appointing Board Directors. The one-year terms are approved during GPEC’s Annual Board meeting.

GPEC FY 2014 Board of Directors:

James Lundy – Chairman
Alliance Bank of Arizona

Don Smith – Vice Chair
President and CEO
SCF Arizona

Chris Zaharis – Vice Chair
Executive Vice President
Empire Southwest

Tammy McLeod – Secretary
Vice President and Chief Customer Officer
Arizona Public Service Company

R. Neil Irwin – Treasurer
Bryan Cave, LLP

William Pepicello, Ph.D. – Immediate Past Chair
University of Phoenix

Barry Broome
President and CEO
Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Richard C. Adkerson
President and CEO
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

Jason Bagley
Government Affairs Manager

Ron Butler
Managing Partner
Ernst & Young LLP

Brian Campbell
Campbell & Mahoney, Chartered

Michael Crow, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Midwestern University

Derrick Hall
President and CEO
Arizona Diamondbacks

Sharon Harper
President and CEO
The Plaza Companies

Ann Weaver Hart, Ph.D.
University of Arizona

Don Kile
President, Master Planned Communities
The Ellman Companies

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation

Rich Marchant
Executive Vice President, Global Operations
Crescent Crown Distributing

David Rousseau
Salt River Project

Joseph Stewart
Chairman and CEO
JPMorgan Chase Arizona

Hyman Sukiennik
Vice President
Cox Business

Karrin Kunasek Taylor
Executive Vice President and
Chief Entitlements Officer
DMB Associates, Inc.

Gerrit van Huisstede
Regional President Desert Mountain Region
Wells Fargo

Andy Warren
Maracay Homes

Richard B. West, III
Carefree Partners

John Zidich
Publisher & President
The Arizona Republic

Chuck Allen
Managing Director, Gov’t & Community Relations
US Airways

Steve Banta
Valley Metro

Denny Barney
County Supervisor-District 1
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Jason Barney
Principal and Partner
Landmark Investments

The Honorable Robert Barrett
City of Peoria

Timothy Bidwill
Vice President
Vermilion IDG

Scott Bradley
Area Vice President, Four Corners Area
Waste Management

Norman Butler
Market Executive
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mark Clatt
Area President
Republic Services

Jeff Crockett
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Wyatt Decker, M.D.
Mayo Clinic Arizona

George Forristall
Director of Project Development
Mortenson Construction

The Honorable Vincent Francia
Town of Cave Creek

Rufus Glasper, Ph.D.
Maricopa Community Colleges

Barry Halpern
Snell and Wilmer

G. Todd Hardy
Vice President of Assets
ASU Foundation

Lynne Herndon
Phoenix City President
BBVA Compass

Linda Hunt
Senior VP of Operations and President/CEO
Dignity Health Arizona

William Jabiiniak
Economic Development Director
City of Mesa

The Honorable Robert Jackson
City of Casa Grande

The Honorable Linda Kavanagh
Town of Fountain Hills

The Honorable Andy Kunasek
County Supervisor, District 3
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

The Honorable Michael LeVault
Town of Youngtown

The Honorable John Lewis
Town of Gilbert

The Honorable Marie Lopez Rogers
City of Avondale

The Honorable Georgia Lord
City of Goodyear

Jeff Lowe
MidFirst Bank

Paul Magallanez
Economic Development Director
City of Tolleson

Kate Maracas
Vice President

The Honorable Mark Mitchell
City of Tempe

Ryan Nouis
Co-Founder & President
Job Brokers

Ed Novak
Managing Partner
Polsinelli Shughart

Eric Osborn
Town of Buckeye

Rui Pereira
General Manager
Rancho de Los Caballeros

The Honorable Christian Price
City of Maricopa

Craig Robb
Managing Director
Zions Energy Link

The Honorable Jeff Serdy
City of Apache Junction

Steven M. Shope, Ph.D.
Sandia Research Corporation

James T. Swanson
President and CEO
Kitchell Corporation

Richard J. Thompson
President and CEO

Jay Tibshraeny
City of Chandler

John Welch
Managing Partner
Squire Sanders

Dan Withers
D.L. Withers Construction

The Honorable Sharon Wolcott
City of Surprise

Bryant Barber
Attorney at Law
Lewis and Roca

triathlon store

Small sports mean big business in Arizona

This month, Arizona’s Swimming Showcase is anticipated to draw 300 elite high school athletes — along with thousands of family members and fans — from more than a dozen different states to Mesa. The projected economic impact is more than $600,000 in direct visitor spending over the course of the two-day event.  And that’s just the first year and just one event.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission (PRSC) has successfully bid for or created 66 events (involving 278 event days) since its restructuring in 2009.  That’s 66 times in which thousands of visitors stay in area hotels, eat local food and shop at local stores. Just since 2009, the overall impact on the Arizona economy totals more than $133 million dollars in direct visitor spending, which translates to almost $13 million in sales tax revenue.

“We’re building a grassroots sports tourism infrastructure in an area where there otherwise wasn’t one. And that’s big business,” said Don Kile, former PRSC chairman and current board member.

That sporting infrastructure is built upon often overlooked, usually under-served, high school, amateur and youth sporting events. They are events that draw from all corners of the country, events that bring big tourism dollars into the local economy, and events that have largely proven recession proof.

“In this recession, we’ve tracked business travel, international travel, and leisure travel.  In all categories, travel is down,” said Don Schumacher, National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) executive director.  “The one area where we’ve seen consistent growth is in sports travel/tourism, and the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is capitalizing.”

According to the NASC, in the last 10 years nationwide, the sports travel industry has grown from an estimated $5 billion to $8 billion.  That’s a conservative estimate of just direct visitor spending, not projected economic impact.  And that’s in a challenging economy.

“In tight economic times, families may choose to forego their annual vacation to the beach or cut their snow skiing vacation short.  But, they are not going to forego their commitment to their child’s championship tournament,” added Kile.  “They travel for a purpose.  We have studied this and know this to be true.  So we want to build this tourism niche to exploit this phenomenon and continue to encourage that family travel into our market.  Our economy, hotels, and local businesses benefit financially, and those dollars spent in our local economy support multiple levels of local employment.”

The USA Field Hockey Festival hosted by PRSC in November 2010 and 2011 is the largest Field Hockey event in the world.  It’s played during Thanksgiving weekend and involves more than 6,600 visitors for an average stay of five days each, with an annual direct visitor spending impact of more than $4.7 million.

Another example … the Arizona Soccer Showcase the PRSC created in 2011 to take place during the December holidays.  The inaugural event drew more than 40 elite teams, 20 of them from outside Arizona, with an economic impact of more than $2 million in direct visitor spending.  A significant sports tourism boost over a traditionally slow holiday weekend, in just its first year.

“When we can create and grow our own events, the ability to attract and retain tourism dollars is enormous,” said Rob Yowell, Interim PRSC Executive Director.  “Bidding and landing events is one critical piece of the puzzle, but those events come and go and often change host locations from year-to-year.  Creating and owning events insulates us from the risk of an event relocating to a competing city.  It is a more sustainable and predictable financial investment.  In the example of the Arizona Soccer Showcase, we’re pumping roughly $2 million in direct visitor spending into our economy every year.  Guaranteed.”

In all, the PRSC calculates the return on its investment as $103 dollars for every dollar spent.  That’s a staggering 10,300 percent.  And it’s just getting started.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission, one of the oldest in the country, was created in 1988 as the Maricopa County Sports Authority.  Its early stages as a government organization hindered its ability to assert itself as a true representative of the over-arching sports community and therefore it couldn’t compete nationally.

“We just needed to retool and prepare ourselves to compete on a national basis,” said Yowell.

In 2008, the PRSC requested the legislation be dissolved, and the Sports Commission was restructured as a more nimble community-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  This seismic shift in structure and attitude has resulted in formidable forward progress.  Since then, the NIRSA Soccer and US Lacrosse Championships were both secured for multiple years, and an agreement with the Senior Softball World Championships was extended for four additional years.  The PRSC has re-launched the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, which has become the organization’s primary annual fundraising event.  The restructured PRSC created the Youth Sports Summit, which continues, and it finalized agreements with USA Field Hockey and the Women’s Half Marathon.  The number of members on the Sports Commission Board of Directors has increased and includes prominent community leaders, and the Arizona Showcase series (soccer and track) has established itself as one of the most competitive and prestigious series of high school championships in the country – with the Swimming Showcase to launch in 2013 in Mesa.

“In Mesa, one of our strongest market segments is youth and amateur sports,” said Marc Garcia, president and CEO of the Mesa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  “Teams travel and they bring their families who spend money.  The opportunity to partner with the Sports Commission to attract more of these types of events adds tremendous value to our city and ranks very highly on our priority list.”

Garcia points to Mesa’s strong sports facilities as one key economic driver.  With a national reputation for some of the best event swimming pools in the country, his city is perfectly poised to host the PRSC’s Arizona Swimming Showcase.  Mesa’s reputation will draw competitors from the far reaches of the country, and the community will benefit in a big way.

“The potential impact of the Arizona Swimming Showcase is enormous, even in this upcoming inaugural year,” added Garcia.  “We see tremendous possibilities in hosting championship events in swimming as well as other sports, and we look forward to a continued strong partnership with the Sports Commission.”

Valley wide, the PRSC has a full inventory of superior products (fields, pools, tracks, courts) capable of hosting the highest quality of events.  While one amateur sporting event may provide only a small stimulus, stacking signature events one after the other produces a significant impact worthy of attention.
With forward momentum, the PRSC plans to add two additional high school championships to the calendar each year.  Strategically, it will continue to target holiday weekends and slower tourism seasons to boost times in which hospitality industry partners and host communities can use the help.
And that’s merely the financial footprint.

“While the boost in tourism and dollars being spent are much needed, especially in a continued challenging economy, let’s not forget the healthy impact on our families and our youth,” said Don Kile.  “We’re attracting and creating sporting events that enable our local youth to compete with the best of the best.  We’re raising the stakes.  We’re developing more competitive athletes, leaders, and more well rounded individuals.  The impact in that regard is priceless.”