Tag Archives: luke air force base

Kirk McClure being named an honorary member of the Luke Air Force Base commander program with Lt. Col Matt Warner, Commander of the 310th Fighter Squadron.

Kirk McClure named to Luke AFB Honorary Commander program

Kirk McClure, Director of Business Development for McCarthy Building Companies, was recently named to the Luke Air Force Base Honorary Commander program.

The Honorary Commander program at Luke Air Force Base allows members of the community to understand the importance of Luke, the Air Force and Department of Defense military mission. It represents a two-year commitment. Additionally, as an active Honorary Commander, McClure becomes a member Luke’s only community support organization, Fighter Country Partnership.

“As a son of a Vietnam vet and growing up the grandson of World War II and Korean War pilot who flew both the B-25 and B-17s, this is a huge honor for me,” McClure said. “My ambition to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps in the U.S. Air Force was cut short by my lack of 20/20 vision, but I still have a love affair with aviation and a deep respect for our military.  I am humbly honored to now be a part of the Luke family being selected for this coveted position.  I am not only representing McCarthy but also my community, and I’m proud to share our support of the Luke mission for not only training the best fighter pilots in the Air Force, but also for serving as a key economic driver for the State of Arizona.”

In addition to being a part of the Luke Air Force Base Honorary Commander program, McClure also serves on the board of directors for the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation and the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED). He is also a member of National Association ofIndustrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).  He is also the founder and organizer of the monthly A/E/C Golf Invitational at Grayhawk Golf Club, which includes a league of professionals that work and support the development industry.

He earned his MBA from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) and also holds abachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Design, also from ASU.

Brigadier General Scott L. Pleus, Commander, 56th Fighter Wing Air Education and Training Command at Luke Air Force Base was keynote speaker at the graduation for the inaugural class of Scottsdale Healthcare’s U.S. Air Force Critical Care and Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship.

Air Force nurses complete inaugural trauma fellowship

Three Air Force nurses became the first graduating class of the Scottsdale Healthcare-U.S. Air Force Critical Care & Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center on Aug. 7.

The 12-month program includes five weeks of in-depth classroom education followed by hands-on learning with preceptors in the specialty care units and Level I Trauma Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center. Air Force nursing fellows also complete rotations for experience in areas such as burn ICU, pediatric ICU and prehospital care at affiliated sites.

The inaugural Fellowship class graduates were Capt. Patrick Nugent of Sparta, Wis., Capt. Weston Winn of Knoxville, Tenn. and 1st Lt. Katrina Chu of New York, New York. Major Susie Everly, whose experience ranges from multiple deployments as an aeromedical evacuation nurse to serving as the Senior White House Nurse, is director of the Fellowship.

Based in the Military Training Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, the Fellowship is the only one of its kind in a civilian hospital, and one of only two Air Force Nursing Fellowship programs in the U.S.

Brigadier General Scott L. Pleus Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona Unit was keynote speaker. He commended the graduates and the program for providing needed skills to care for injured military personnel in the field worldwide.

“By the end of the fellowship, these nurses emerge as experienced critical care and emergency trauma nurses with the education, clinical skills and confidence to care for the highest acuity patients,” said Jerry Zabokrtsky, director of Corporate & Community Preparedness for Scottsdale Healthcare.

Contributing more than $1 million annually to the Scottsdale economy, the Scottsdale Healthcare Military Partnership provides military medical personnel with training, education and the clinical experience needed to perform successfully in combat and humanitarian missions while building relationships that can be used in potential disaster response situations. To date, more than 2,100 service members have been trained.

Scottsdale Healthcare is an affiliate of Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network, and includes Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital and Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Primary Care centers, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and other services. For more information, visit www.shc.org.

Solar Power

Luke AFB Leases Land to APS for Solar Plant

Luke Air Force Base and the state’s largest electric utility provider, Arizona Public Service, have partnered on a new solar power plant to be built on 100 acres of land located on the Base. Construction of the 10-megawatt facility – part of the APS AZ Sun Program – is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

APS is leasing the land from Luke AFB as part of an energy Enhanced Use Lease. Energy EULs are a partnership between the Air Force and public entities to encourage the development of renewable energy – helping the Air Force to save money while meeting congressionally established Air Force goals. APS will lease the land for 30 years from Luke AFB for $6 million.

Through the APS AZ Sun Program, the utility is investing in photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. The project at Luke AFB will join eight other AZ Sun projects that are already online or in some stage of development, totaling 170 MW of solar energy for Arizona – enough to power more than 42,000 APS customers.

“Our partnership with Luke Air Force Base for this project is great for Arizona,” said Tammy McLeod, APS Vice President of Resource Management. “The solar plant will be highly visible and will set a great example of Arizona’s solar leadership for people from all over the world who live, work and train on Base. Plus, APS is proud to support the Air Force and bring more solar energy to our customers.”

The solar plant will generate enough energy to power 2,500 Arizona homes, and will prevent the emission of 12,000-15,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to Robert Worley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron installation management flight chief.

“It continues a great partnership that we have with APS,” Worley said.

More than 200 local jobs will be created during the construction of the plant, which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The facility will be operational, serving APS customers by summer 2015.

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Meet the leaders in Valley Partnership

Much of the Valley’s growth would not be possible without the partnerships and advocacy supported by nonprofit Valley Partnership.

Chris-AnaradianChris Anaradian
Development Services Director, Town of Queen Creek
It’s Queen Creek’s time in the sun, boasts the town’s Development Services Director Chris Anaradian. Permit activity is “out of sight” and he cites his Valley Partnership involvement as a key ingredient while the town grows into its own.

“The situational awareness that Queen Creek gains from Valley Partnership is essential,” says Anaradian, who sits on Valley Partnership’s Board of Directors. “Knowing the current areas of focus and growth that our private partners are focused on helps us plan and build a better government and community for all. Having a voice when new legislation and alliances are being formed helps us better prepare to fund and administer the services our customers have come to expect and deserve.”

Anaradian is the former community development director and development services manager for the City of Tempe. He managed the 220-acre Tempe Town Lake and 500-acre Rio Salado Project during their initial five years. He also helped modernize multiple permitting and regulatory agencies and advocated for many developer-friendly shifts within the city, including those that precluded the Tempe light rail. Anaradian now has watched Queen Creek come through the economic recovery.

“It is now Queen Creek’s time in the sun, and so many opportunities lie ahead,” says Anaradian. “Our wash and trail system is poised to unite huge swaths of our community and become a defining geographic feature of life in Queen Creek. Large tracts of undeveloped hillside residential property are into entitlement, some of the last and most majestic in the Southeast Valley.”

Tim-BrislinTim Brislin
Vice President, Harvard Investments
Tim Brislin, an on-and-off member of Valley Partnership since 2004 who currently sits on the Board of Directors, has used organization’s networking opportunities to broaden Harvard Investment’s exposure and partnership options.

Harvard Investments is a land investment and masterplanned community development firm.
“Harvard is laser focused on executing its vision and plans for its masterplanned communities in Mesa, Queen Creek/San Tan Valley, the West Valley and in Prescott,” Brislin says. “Our Mesa project, Cadence at Gateway, is very exciting and we are making great progress on our first residential phase, as well as getting traction on our retail and high density residential components much earlier than anticipated.”

In 2007, Brislin welcomed his first son and ended his “five-year job interview” with Harvard Investments.

“In both cases I was at the starting line staring at a wide open track. Today, in addition to my wonderful wife and two boys, and thanks to Harvard’s long standing market reputation, the faith of our partners and hard work, we built a high quality portfolio of assets that we will harvest for years to come.”

What many don’t know about Harvard is that its Canadian parent company, The Hill Companies, is a major commercial developer of office and retail, Brislin says. The company has expansion plans to include industrial, office and multi-family assets.

“Our current planning efforts are highly focused on demographic trends locally and nationally and how we plan our communities for the long-term based on who are buyers are, what products they want and what type of community they will embrace,” Brislin says. “There are shifts going on that affect all aspects of the real estate development business.”

Kristina-LockeKristina Locke
Marketing/Business Development Manager, Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc.
Looking for the latest news on the golf tournament? Kristina Locke sits on the committee for two-year member Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc. Locke comes to Valley Partnership with more than a decade of marketing, advertising and business development achievements for Hoskin Ryan and its clients.

Hoskin Ryan finished off 2013 with four new clients. Locke is confident being a member of Valley Partnership will lead to meeting more potential clients.

“It does take a little while for people to get to know you and trust your firm,” she says. “We have formed great relationships and were educated on many different industry trends.”

One particular trend is healthcare. In 2013, Valley Partnership held a healthcare Friday Morning Breakfast attended by 250 members with speakers from Banner Health, Dignity and smaller medical office building develpers.

Jenifer-Davis-LuntJenifer Davis Lunt
Partner, Davis Enterprises
Davis Enterprises joined Valley Partnership last January — a big step for the closely held family business. Though Davis is one of the smaller development companies in the Valley and has a long history in the Valley, it has been a two-year sponsor of the organization. Davis Enterprises is actively involved in the identification, acquisition, development and management of real estate properties in Arizona.

Jenifer Davis Lunt became managing partner following an award-addled tenure at CBRE, where she became the first female at the Phoenix office named “Rookie of the Year,” for selling more than 100 properties totally more than $675M in value and 2.5MSF. In 2005, Davis Lunt was named CBRE’s No. 1 Investment Broker. The following year, her father retired from Davis Enterprises and named her partner and principal of a business her grandfather started.

“We are most proud of contributions Davis has made to the revitalization of Central Phoenix including the SWC of 7th Ave & McDowell, 4700 N. Central and Melrose Marketplace,” Davis Lunt says. The company is looking forward to the redevelopment of 21st Avenue and Deer Valley Road and 1015 S. Rural Rd., near ASU’s main campus.

Along those lines, Davis Lunt says a trend or issue she would like to see addressed by Valley Partnership is how the City of Phoenix can become more pedestrian, rail and bike dependent to allow for more retail and housing development in the urban core.

Rusty-MitchellRetired Lt. Col. Rusty Mitchell
Director of Luke Air Force Base Community Initiatives Team
Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke Air Force Base Community Initiatives Team, has been an ex-officio board member at Valley Partnership since 2005 and is the primary liason between the Air Force base, nine municipalities, Maricpa County and state officials.

“(Valley Partnership) has enabled me to network with major developers and discuss development issues in areas that we conduct flight operations,” he says. “This communication enables developers and landowners to be better informed of state statutes for compatible land use before they obligate time and money to a particular project.”

The partnership has been mutually beneficial. Before retiring, Mitchell served 22 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. It is through his community involvement and history with the Air Force that Mitchell has managed to bring enduring economic development to the base and Arizona.
“The over-whelming community support of the mission of Luke AFB has been recognized by the senior leadership of the Air Force and was a significant contributing factor in its selection as the largest F-35 training base and the recipient of an eventual 144 F-35’s,” he says.

The selection of Luke to be the primary pilot training center for the nation’s most advanced fighter will ensure the existence of Luke AFB for many decades to come, Mitchell says.
“Not only is Luke critical in the nation’s defense, producing the world’s greatest fighter pilots, but the fact that it contributes approximately $2B to the state’s economy every year will continue to infuse the state with much needed economic power.”

loan programs - chateau on central 2

Goodyear Mayor co-chairs Luke AFB West Valley Council

The city of Goodyear remains front and center when it comes to being poised and prepared for the arrival of the F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet pilot training program at Luke Air Force Base in early 2014.

But right now, members of the Luke West Valley Council – the regional group promoting the success of Luke and the economic vitality the F-35s are projected to bring to the region, are moving forward with Goodyear helping to steer more success for the future.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord was nominated and elected to be the incoming Co-Chair of the Luke West Valley Council during its quarterly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19. Mayor Lord was thrilled to be elected to co-chair the group, along with Luke Air Force Base Brigadier General Michael Rothstein.

Mayor Lord succeeds El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook as co-chair to the council, which has more than 20 members.

“It’s an honor to be nominated and elected by my peers to serve on the group that represents our region,” Mayor Lord said. “Not only is the future of Luke Air Force Base vital to our city, but it is important to the region and state of Arizona and our country. Many people serving in the military or military-related jobs call Goodyear their home, and we’re proud that we were part of the partnership that was able to help secure the F-35 Fighter Jet program at Luke through strong community support.”

In her role as co-chair, Mayor Lord will lead the meetings and discussions in how to further the success of the base as it moves forward with expansion and other programs. Luke expects to see $260 million of construction over the next decade and other support businesses are expected to open with the arrival of the F-35A fighter pilot training program next year.

Luke West Valley formed in the 1980s to garner regional and community support for the importance of Luke’s success in the region. The group is comprised of Luke AFB officials, elected officials from 12 West Valley cities and Maricopa County as well as representatives from the governing bodies of Sun City and Sun City West. The meetings are also often attended by West Valley legislators and outside organizations that support and partner with Luke Air Force Base.

The Air Force has credited the strong community support as a factor that led to Luke Air Force Base being awarded the F-35 Mission by the Department of Defense.

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Military RN program dedicated at Scottsdale Healthcare

The U.S. Air Force Critical Care & Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship at Scottsdale Healthcare was dedicated Oct. 31 during a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Maj. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, Assistant Air Force Surgeon General for Medical Force Development and Chief of the USAF Nurse Corps.

Based in the Military Training Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, the Fellowship is the only one of its kind in a civilian hospital, and one of only two in the United States. A similar program is offered at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas.

“The need to prepare nurses who are ready for all contingencies never ends. As a matter of fact, it becomes more critical as well as more challenging. Programs like these here at Scottsdale Healthcare help us maintain clinical proficiencies not available within our own military treatment facilities,” said Maj. Gen. Hogg.

The 12-month-long U.S. Air Force Critical Care & Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship at Scottsdale Healthcare includes five weeks of in-depth classroom education followed by hands-on learning with preceptors in the specialty care units and Level I Trauma Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

The Fellowship is designed for five to seven participants, rotating in winter, spring and summer each year. Air Force Nursing Fellows also complete rotations to gain experience in areas such as burn ICU, pediatric ICU and prehospital care at affiliated sites.

Lt. Col. (select) Susie Everly of Luke Air Force Base, whose experience ranges from multiple deployments as an aeromedical evacuation nurse to serving as the Senior White House Nurse, is director of the new Fellowship.

The initial Fellowship class consists of three Air Force Nurses, Capt. Patrick Nugent of Sparta, Wis.,
Capt. Weston Winn of Knoxville, Tenn. and 1st Lt. Katrina Chu of New York, New York. The next Fellowship class is expected to begin in approximately three months.

“By the end of the fellowship, these nurses will emerge as experienced critical care and emergency trauma nurses with the education, clinical skills and confidence to care for the highest acuity patients,” said Jerry Zabokrtsky, director of Corporate & Community Preparedness for Scottsdale Healthcare.

The program also included special recognition for Arizona Rep. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) for her support of the Scottsdale Healthcare Military Partnership and sponsorship of HB 2064 facilitating training in Arizona for military medical professionals. Gov. Jan. Brewer signed HB 2064 in law in April, allowing military medical professionals to cut through licensing red tape to get needed real world training at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Also attending the dedication were Luke AFB Brigadier General Michael Rothstein, Commander, 56th Fighter Wing and Col. Yolanda Bledsoe, Commander, 56th Medical Group.

Scottsdale Healthcare’s Military Partnership provides military medical personnel with training, education and the clinical experience needed to perform successfully in combat and humanitarian missions while building relationships that can be used in potential disaster response situations. More than 1,900 service members have been trained.

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First F-35 Bound for Luke in Final Phase of Production

The 100th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the first aircraft destined for Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, has entered the last stage of final assembly. This conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft, known as AF-41, is scheduled to arrive at the base next year. During final assembly, the aircraft structure is completed, and electrical and hydraulic systems are added. Additionally, these systems are tested in preparation for fuel systems checks and engine runs. The final steps prior to acceptance by the Air Force include a series of checkout flights leading to the aircraft entering the service’s F-35 fleet. AF-41 is one of 126 F-35s in various stages of production worldwide.

In June, the Air Force announced its decision to increase the number of squadrons at Luke AFB to six with 144 aircraft, which will make it the largest F-35 base worldwide.  In addition to training U.S. pilots, Luke will also serve as an F-35A International Training site. Currently, Luke’s economic impact on the state of Arizona is $2.17 Billion. With 14 F-35 suppliers in the state of Arizona, the program has an additional economic impact of $98Million.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

F-35-Wallpapers-by-cool-wallpapers-2

Goodyear backs additional F-35 squadron at Luke

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord was among a number of state-wide officials during the Department of Defense’s announcement of three additional squadrons to the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II fighter jet program at Luke Air Force Base.

Since the DOD’s initial announcement that Luke AFB will be the training center for the F-35s, cities and community groups throughout the West Valley have voiced their support for the military community and Luke’s mission of remaining the premier base for fighter pilot training.

“We are very pleased that Luke Air Force Base will now be home to three additional squadrons of F-35 Fighter Jets.” Goodyear Mayor Lord said. “The support of Goodyear and the surrounding West Valley communities played a huge role in this decision and we will continue to advocate on behalf of Luke and our military families.”

“Not only is this decision good for the security of our nation, but it will also have a huge economic impact on Goodyear, the West Valley and the State of Arizona.” Mayor Lord added.

The first three F-35A squadrons are scheduled to begin arriving at Luke AFB next year. Over the next several years, Luke will operate 170 aircraft; 144 will be the F-35A while 26 F-16s will remain for foreign military training.

Goodyear is among 13 Valley and West Valley municipalities partnering in the Luke Forward campaign that generated awareness of the positive impacts the Air Force’s next generation strike fighter will bring to the state. Through that community support involving tens of thousands of citizens participating in public hearings, the DOD recognized the importance of keeping Luke as the hub for fighter pilot training.

Two brand new training facilities are currently being constructed at Luke in preparation of receiving the F-35A fighter jets. An operations building will open later this year, while the 145,000 square-foot academic center is planned to open in mid to late 2014.

“This is great news for the region,” Goodyear City Manager Brian Dalke said of the DOD’s announcement on Thursday. “We value Luke Air Force Base as a neighbor as well as the economic support the military community currently provides to our city. We welcome the expansion of F-35 program with open arms. Not only will the program be beneficial for the local economy, it will strengthen national security.”

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GPEC analyzes impact of potential defense cuts

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council today released findings and recommendations from its Aerospace and Defense Market Intelligence Program, a two-phase initiative that took an in-depth look at the region’s aerospace and defense companies to determine their strengths, weaknesses and readiness for the sequestration, federally-mandated automatic spending cuts scheduled to take place on March 1 unless Congress intervenes.

As a result of the sequestration, the Department of Defense (DoD) must cut $1 trillion from its budget. Arizona has the sixth largest share of DoD contracts, and stands to lose as much as $2.3 billion in annual revenue on account of sequestration-based cuts.  Until it happens, however, the size or effects of the cuts in Arizona remain ambiguous.

In anticipation of these massive cuts, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) – along with its Economic Development Directors Team and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce – last year undertook a major market intelligence initiative to determine the existing strengths and weaknesses of Arizona’s aerospace and defense companies. Based on this data snapshot, the analysis also sought to understand the potential impact of sequestration on our local companies, communities, workforce and innovation base.

“As part of GPEC’s program, I personally sat down with several aerospace and defense companies located in Phoenix. The message I heard from them was resoundingly clear – the uncertainty over the timing and severity of these cuts has many of them paralyzed, and they want guidance,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “With 49,000 Arizona aerospace and defense jobs at stake, it’s critical that our federal leaders work together to avert this crisis or at least provide a strategic direction for where we go on March 2 and beyond.”

“Sequestration is a bad way to budget. Local companies and individuals get caught up in a political game that does little to solve our nation’s long-term financial challenges,” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said. “Washington should follow the example of cities and make smart cuts to fix the budget rather than making arbitrary cuts that do more harm than good.”

The program consisted of two main components. The first developed an in-depth profile and analysis of 114 local companies identified by GPEC using data from the Office of Management and Budget. The second was an extensive door-to-door outreach effort to these companies, conducted by mayors, local chambers of commerce, GPEC Ambassadors (volunteers from GEC’s member companies) and municipal economic development directors and their teams.

“As a top-ranked defense state, Arizona has much to lose with the budget cuts associated with the 2011 Budget Control Act. The West Valley, proud home to Luke Air Force Base, has worked tirelessly to protect the mission of the base and to secure the F-35 aircraft,” Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers said. “Sequestration and the drastic budget cuts to defense and aerospace will undermine the efforts of the communities in the West Valley and negatively impact our local economy, which is tied closely to Luke Air Force Base and the defense-related industry.”

It’s also important to note that nearly 75 percent of the state’s research and development expenditures are housed within Arizona’s corporate infrastructure – companies like Intel, Boeing, Raytheon and Honeywell. As such, drastic reductions in their DoD contracts could result in losses in some of the state’s most significant research programs, which affect Arizona’s science position, its universities, and opportunities for increased investments and exports.

“These looming cuts represent a crossroads for our region,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “The region’s corporate, science, civic and government partners must convene to not only mitigate job loss but also to support and protect the region’s physical assets, workforce talent and innovation from being moved out of the market.”

The findings represent a snapshot of the Greater Phoenix region’s aerospace and defense industry for a specific period of time, from May through December 2012 when the data was collected. During this time period, sequestration was considered more of a threat and less of a reality.

Top-line analysis revealed that 76 percent of the companies reported to be either stable (52 percent) or expanding (24 percent). Twenty-six percent reported that their businesses were contracting – primarily companies and operations where DoD contracts represent the largest share of their revenue base. Those that were expanding focused on diversification, including commercial and international markets, or DoD growth areas like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber technology, space technology and counterterrorism.

Because 2,000 companies throughout Arizona were awarded $13 billion in defense contacts in 2012 – and the industry represents 43,000 direct jobs – even a 25 percent contraction could be detrimental to one of the state’s major employment bases. For larger, Tier 1 companies, the short-term outlook is more stable as many have expanded products and services in anticipation of the cuts. However, Tier 2 companies that generally represent the industry’s supply chain are less likely to withstand the cuts due to their reliance on Tier 1 companies for contracts and subcontracts. Some of these companies have neither the access to capital or the working capital to wait it out – meaning they could be forced to lay off workers or cease operations.

Based on the program’s findings, GPEC’s five recommendations include:

1. A federal-level strategy from Arizona’s congressional leadership to either fully reverse sequestration or provide a “go forward” strategy to ensure Arizona’s aerospace and defense assets – including R&D and skilled workforce – are retained and redeployed.
2. Public and bilateral support for Governor Brewer and the Arizona Commerce Authority in their efforts to secure an FAA-designated test site.
3. A major commitment to science and technology to ensure the aerospace and defense industry’s existing knowledge and technology assets are leveraged to generate new and higher-value economic growth opportunities for our existing workforce talent while also attracting new, skill ed workers to Greater Phoenix.
4. Increased support for regional export opportunities from state and regional leaders.
5. An ongoing commitment to business retention and expansion, particularly with regards to sequestration.

To view the Aerospace and Defense Market Intelligence Report in its entirety, as well as all five recommendations, please visit http://www.gpec.org/aerospace.

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WESTMARC presenting special award to Luke Forward group

While WESTMARC is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the annual Best of the West Awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel, a special honor will also be a part of the festivities – recognizing the region’s successful efforts to land the new F-35 training center at Luke Air Force Base, the region’s most significant economic contributor.

At the anniversary event, WESTMARC will announce three West Valley award winners: Economic Engine Award, Quality of Life Enhancement Award and the Excellence in Innovation Award. The John F. Long Lifetime Achievement and WESTMARC Leadership awards will also be presented at the ceremony.

However, an important part of the evening will be dedicated to presenting a special 20th anniversary award honoring the Luke Forward community engagement campaign that worked diligently for more than three years to build regional and statewide community support and was pivotal in the recent efforts to secure the new F-35 training center at Luke Air Force Base.

A special honor will be given to the group, featuring Luke Forward Co-Chairs Elaine Scruggs and Charley Freericks, to show WESTMARC’s appreciation for the efforts to significantly enhance the image, lifestyle and economic development throughout the region.

“The Luke Forward award was designed as a distinct honor for Luke Forward’s successful efforts to make the F-35 mission at Luke Air Force base a reality,” said Michelle Rider, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “The Best of the West event is a perfect fit to honor this group that has made such a significant impact in the West Valley.”

The Best of the West reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and awards at 7 p.m. Cost to attend for WESTMARC members is $250 per person, $2,000 for a table of 10. For non-members, $275 per person, $2,250 for a table of 10.

The Economic Engine Award will recognize individuals and organizations which have created a significant economic impact in the region. Honorees for the Quality of Life Enhancement Award will recognize educational, community, arts and recreational programs, facilities or leaders enhancing the quality of life in the West Valley. The Excellence in Innovation Award will recognize individuals and organizations demonstrating an innovative concept or fulfilling a need that preserves the region’s assets and resources and create an economic benefit for West Valley residents.

Presenting Sponsor of Best of the West is Cox Communications. Other sponsors include Republic Media, Banner Health, DMB, APS, SCF Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, City of Peoria, City of Phoenix, SRP, Sun  Health, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo Bank Arizona and Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium.

2012 Valley Partnership Roundtable

2012 Valley Partnership Roundtable

The 2012 Valley Partnership Roundtable discusses the need to engage and monitor federal issues impacting the development community, which is greater than ever. 

Every real estate development company actively manages issues such as water quality, dust control and industry taxation/regulation at the city and state level. However, we must be more vigilant in watching the impact of federal regulation on the real estate industry. Decisions made by the federal agencies and our Congressional delegation have a  long-term impact on our businesses.

As a sector, we have a responsibility to advocate for fair and pragmatic regulation that allows the industry to be nimble and grow responsibly. Federal regulation and oversight have expanded over the past few years and some of these expansions in oversight could negatively impact Arizona businesses. Arizona’s climate, employment bases and natural resources pose unique challenges on the federal level, and we must ensure that our delegation is prepared to fight for our state’s future.

As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Valley Partnership, in conjunction with AZRE magazine, convened a virtual roundtable discussion on the need to engage and monitor federal and state issues that impact the development community. They include:

  • Expansion of the Clean Water Act;
  • Business taxes/workforce training credits/research and development tax credits
  • Military installations, including Luke Air Force Base;
  • Solar incentives;
  • Aerospace/defense industry, research.

Participants are members of Valley Partnership’s federal and legislative committees, including: Rob Anderson (RA), Fennemore Craig; Paul Hickman (PH), Arizona Bankers Association; Charley Freericks (CF), DMB Associates, Inc.; Rusty Mitchell (RM), Luke AFB; Mary Peters (MP), consultant, former secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation; Grady Gammage JR. (GG), Gammage & Burnham; and Michelle de Blasi (MD), Quarles & Brady.

– Karrin Taylor, DMB Associates Inc.

Q: The federal government’s growing regulation of water, environment issues and endangered species has an immediate effect on private property owners and at the state and local levels. In the Western U.S., there can be tremendous unintended consequences to these one-size-fits-all regulations promulgated in Washington. What are the risks and/or potential impacts for the development community?

GG: There are huge risks for Arizona development in ignoring federal issues. We tend to either rail at the Feds, or just hope they’ll go away. The truth is, neither attitude is useful. We need our federal representatives to vigorously engage in explaining things that seem obvious to us: like dry desert washes not being navigable, or the fact that Arizona tends to be dusty. But we need to recognize that there is an appropriate federal role in environmental regulation, rather than behave as though the EPA will go away.

RA: The risks for the development community are three-fold: Increased compliance costs; increased uncertainties associated with securing federal approval (Well will I get my permit? What will my project look like when I do?); and the possibility that the federal requirements will actually block you from developing at all. The first two risks are fairly pervasive in the development world already. The third risk is relatively rare but increasing, particularly in the area of endangered species where there is tremendous pressure to list more species and protect more habitats. We also may see more of this as the first two risks grow and become unmanageable. For example, if I do not know when I can get my permit, and do not know what my project will look like at the end of the permitting process, how can I get financing or raise capital to do the project at all?

Q: What can we (leaders in real estate) do to influence federal regulation and legislation?

MD: Consistency and certainty in policy is crucial to develop and sustain any industry. It is difficult to have certainty without having an energy policy in place. Some immediate initiatives that could provide certainty in the energy industry are: Build out/improve access to transmission; remove redundancy/inefficiencies in permitting; expand production-based incentives; and provide better/quicker access to federal land for project development.

GG: The real estate industry needs to come together with workable solutions on things like dust control of construction, and standards for developing in the desert that recognize circumstances where washes should be preserved or mass grading minimized. Constructive engagement means offering sensible alternatives for some federal involvement, that is climate and geography appropriate for the arid West. There’s a lot of of serious expertise in Arizona in dealing with these issues. The development industry will find that Arizona’s cities are valuable allies in understanding the nature of development here, and why it is different from many other parts of the country.

RA: Follow regulatory developments through agencies of concern (EPA, the Corps of Engineers) and follow legislation through Congress. Do not hesitate to contact your congressman or congresswoman on issues of concern. Be active in trade associations that lobby in Washington D.C.

CF: Real estate industry leaders and everyone in the community have many options for supporting Luke and the effort to secure the F-35 mission. First, participate in the Luke Forward campaign by registering your support (lukeforward.com), submit a letter from your company or community support organization, and spread the word by sending the link for Luke Forward to your colleagues and friends Second, participate in the upcoming public hearings for the F-35 mission Environmental Impact Study (EIS) process. Dates, times and locations will be posted on the website to visibly show your support to the community and government representatives. Finally, write or email your local, state and federal elected officials and state your support for the F-35 mission.

PH: Stay engaged. Coordinate multiple visit to members of Congress and agency officials. Be active on responding to requests for comments on proposed regultions. Create “echo chambers” on issues of vital importance to our state.

Our western state is rich in space, most of which is managed by some form of government (Fed/state/military/tribal). This requires our real estate development industry to engage in public/private partnerships. Our only alternative is not to grow our economy.

Q: There has been significant scrutiny on federal and state incentives of certain industries recently. How do you think those incentives have impacted the Arizona job and real estate markets? Are the incentives needed to jump-start an industry and spur growth? Are they worth the risks?

MP: I am generally opposed to public-funded incentives that tend to distort the market. If a determination is made that public interest is best served by advancing an issue, the better way to proceed is to focus on the desired outcome rather than a specific technology. In terms of developing alternative fuels for vehicles, for example, the outcome might be to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Current policy provides public subsidies as an incentive to produce ethanol, and the subsidies are provided largely to mid-west, corn producing states. The process used by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that encourages competition toward an outcome-based goal is far better than offering specific incentives. Arizona businesses and entrepreneurs could be very competitive in a DARPA-like competition resulting in more Arizona jobs and real estate development.

MD: Incentives are necessary to help spur growth and develop infrastructure that benefits society as a whole, but should be implemented in such a way that they reward success. The incentive provides the carrot, but should not provide the fuel as was the case with Solyndra. Incentives provide the necessary framework to foster economic development — job creation. Just as Arizona was feeling the effects of a downturn in the real estate market, the incentives available to the renewable energy industry helped spur the grow of a burgeoning industry for Arizona. As more projects have come to fruition, the economy has felt the impacts through the transitioning of jobs and the influx of investment in renewable generation and manufacturing. However, as an industry and state, one needs to be careful not to incentivize an industry that will not survive into the future without incentives.

Q: The debate around “earmarks” and “pork” projects continues at the federal level. Some of Arizona’s federal delegation have earned national reputations for their stand against earmarks. What are the benefits or the losses to Arizona on this issue? Should Arizona’s federal delegation work to bring federal dollars back to our community? What kinds of projects does Arizona need?

MP: When members of Congress designate special projects as part of authorizing or appropriation bills powerful committee chairs are able to direct disproportionate amounts of funding to their district or state regardless of the merits of the project. The so-called “Bride to Nowhere” in the 2005 Highway Bill is a prime example. I think, on the whole, Arizona and other states lose in this process, and our delegation is right to take a stand against earmarks. A better way is for Congress to give the states their proportionate share of funding, and let state and local officials working with our Congressional Delegation decide how and where the funds should be spent. Arizona could then use those funds to build transportation in infrastructure to support high-growth areas, such as the north-sout corridor in Pinal County.

GG: We couldn’t live in Central Arizona without federal projects. Both SRP and CAP are examples of using the Treasury of the Unites States to make it possible to live in the arid West. Sky Harbor Airport and the interstate highway system are other examples. We should not oppose the use of federal dollars for these kinds of purposes. The evil of “earmarks” is when ad hoc projects (I think “Bride to Nowhere”) are slipped into unrelated bills without any debate or being part of a comprehensive program. Our senators and congressmen shouldn’t oppose the use of federal funds for worthy projects in Arizona. They should oppose a process that disguises federal spending, that doesn’t invite public scrutiny, or that trades frivolous projects in one district for similar boondoggles elsewhere.

PH: We expect our members of Congress to fight for parochial projects that make sense. What some members of our congressional delegation object to — properly in my view — is skirting the competitive process to do that. The losses incurred by the practice of earmarking redound to us as federal taxpayers, not necessarily Arizonans. When we engage in it we may win projects for our state, but as federal taxpayers we probably paid too much inferior projects or products.

We should be working with out congressional delegation as well as the applicable federal agencies to get out projects included into the agency budgets, authorized by the congressional authorization committees and approved by the members of the appropriations committees. We also need to partner with the global growth sectors of our economy: healthcare, energy, aerospace, and high-tech manufacturing. If this crash of 2008 has taught us anything it is that the residential housing industry can’t drive an economy by itself. It has to have other sectors to support or it collapses.

Q: The Arizona Commerce Authority and local economic development groups such as GPEC have prioritized a number of industries for expansion and growth. Aerospace/defense, technology and the solar industry seem to be major opportunities for Arizona’s future. What role should leaders of the real estate development industry play at the federal level in working to support these business expansion efforts?

MP: The ACA has defined aerospace/defense, solar/renewable energy, science and technology, and Arizona innovation-small businesses and entrepreneurs as our four focus areas. The areas provide the biggest opportunity to attract and retain high paying jobs and sustainable economic development for our state. The real estate development community can help support these focus areas by working together with organizations like ACA and GPEC to let out congressional delegation know when we are competing for federal funds and programs. An example is the funding now available under the Defense Appropriations Act in which the FAA will select sites for testing UAVs. The real estate development community can also assist in redeveloping areas such as the Williams Gateway and in ensuring that growth complements, but does not encroach on, our current military installations such as Luke AFB.

MD: The message has to be clear and provide certainty for foster meaningful industry growth. For the energy sector, the growth plan needs to be inclusive of a portfolio of energy resources. The support for renewable energy at the federal level needs to be based on a broad array of goals: jobs, diversity of energy sources, national security and economic development. The industry leaders should be advocating for production-based or back-end incentives where there are metrics requiring a certain level of project development to better ensure the long-term success of the industry.

Q: Arizona has long enjoyed the benefits of having major military installations, such as Luke Air Force Base, as part of our economic base. These installations create and sustain thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impact. What are the potential risks and rewards with selection of Arizona for the F-35 mission?

CF: The rewards are numerous — thousands of highly trained, educated and well-paid employees continue to thrive in the West Valley; billions of dollars in annual economic impact continue to flow into Arizona’s economy; and the community around Luke is bolstered by the consumption of goods and services from this amazing economic engine and the positive community contributions from the people of Luke. The mission for this advanced aircraft will sustain Luke for decades to come.

The risks as minimal, but important to keep in context. The military is subject to the ebbs and flows of federal military investment and resting after securing the F-35 mission would be a critical error. The state, especially those communities closest to Luke, have grown accustomed to, even dependent on, having Luke as a major employer and economic driver. As the West Valley continues to grow and evolve, it is critical to keep the economic development focus on highly-educated, high-income employment and to continue diversifying the number and types of industries represented. The risk of reductions in Luke’s mission are always a factor to be considered; and, the best solution will be a strong and diverse regional economy.

RM: If Luke AFB is selected as the second PTC, it is conceivable that it would remain a valuable national asset and an incomparable economic engine for decades to come.

The most recent study (commissioned by the state of Arizona) of Luke’s economic impact was approximately $2.17B. However,  beyond the pure dollars involved, the men and women of Luke AFB are significant contributors to the surrounding community as school and church leaders, business participants as well as stable homeowners for the community. These men and women should be viewed not only as part of the economic engine, but equally as important, quality community participants and leaders.

For more information on Valley Partnership visit, valleypartnership.org

AZRE Magazine March/April 2012

Arizona Military: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ Business Magazine November-December 2011

Centennial Series: Arizona Military Milestones

Centennial Series: Arizona Military Milestones

The military has played an enormous role in shaping the first 100 years of Arizona’s history.

Here are some of the Arizona military personalities, places and things that have left their mark on the state’s history:

Lori Piestewa (1979-2003)Arizona Military: Lori Piestewa, AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Piestewa was the first Native American woman to die in combat for the United States military and the first woman in the U.S. armed forces killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She was a member of the 507th Maintenance Company whose unit was ambushed. Piestewa was awarded the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal. The army posthumously promoted her from Private First Class to Specialist. Arizona’s state government renamed Squaw Peak in as Piestewa Peak in her honor.

Pat Tillman (1976-2004)Arizona Military: Pat Tillman, AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

The former Arizona Cardinals football player died while serving in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in his honor to support veterans and their families by providing resources and scholarships. Before joining the Cardinals, Tillman was an ASU graduate and star player for the Sun Devils.

Ira Hayes (1923-1955)

Pima Indian Ira Hayes of Sacaton was a World War II soldier in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is one of the six flag raisers depicted in the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington D.C. The Ira Hayes Memorial Park in Sacaton was established in his honor.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)

During WWII, Goldwater joined the U.S. Air Force as a pilot assigned to the Ferry Command, a unit that flew aircraft and supplies globally. He flew overseas between the U.S. and India, later contributing to the development of the United States Air Force Academy. He remained in the reserves after the war and retired as a command pilot with the rank of Major General. The Barry M. Goldwater Range in Yuma was named in his honor.

John McCain

The U.S. Senator served 22 years in the military after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. He became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973, and was beaten and denied adequate medical treatment. McCain retired from the Navy in 1981, and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.

USS Arizona (BB-39)

Arizona Military: USS Arizona, AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011Launched June 19, 1915, the USS Arizona was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of “super-dreadnought” battleships. Arizona served stateside during World War I. The ship is mostly remembered because of its sinking, with the loss of 1,177 lives, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the event that provoked the United States into entering World War II. A memorial was dedicated May 30, 1962 as part of the Pacific National Monument.

Navajo Code Talkers

They participated in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942-1945. Navajo code talkers served in all six Marine divisions, transmitting messages in a code that the Japanese were unable to break. The complexity of the Navajo language made for an ideal and indecipherable code.

Bushmasters

The “Bushmasters” of the South Pacific was the Arizona National Guard unit that gained fame in WWII. It battled Apache Indians, Spaniards, Germans and Japanese over a 102-year period. The group was originally formed from a collection of five companies that defended Arizona territory from Apache Indians.

Military technology

Arizona Military: Apache Longbow Helicopter - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011Arizona has made a name for itself when it comes to innovation in military technology. The Apache Longbow, produced by Boeing in Mesa, is the world’s most advanced combat helicopter. Lockheed Martin in Goodyear is a global company that provides aerospace technology worldwide. The manufacturing and integration of spacecraft hardware, software and ground-support equipment is provided by Spectrum Astro, located in Gilbert. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson is awarded military contracts worth millions of dollars annually. General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale routinely earns military communications contracts, also in the millions of dollars.

Military bases

Air Force

Luke Air Force Base Arizona Military: F16 Fighting Falcon, AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Located in Maricopa County, Luke employs more than 8,000 personnel and covers 4,200 acres. It is home to the largest fighter wing in the world, the 56th Fighter Wing. It is also the largest and only active-duty F-16 Fighting Falcon training base in the world.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

Located in Tucson, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is home to the A-10 Thunderbolt II, more commonly known as the “Warthog.” The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 military vehicles, and 1,200 artillery pieces.

Williams Air Force Base

This former base in Mesa allowed more than 26,500 men and women to earn their wings. It broke ground for its Advanced Flying School on July 16, 1941. Williams Air Force Base closed in 1993, resulting in the loss of $300 million in annual economic activity. It reopened in 1984 as a regional, commercial airport known as Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Army

Fort Huachuca

Home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command in Sierra Vista, Fort Huachuca was declared a national landmark in 1976. It is the headquarters of the Army Military Affiliate Radio System, Joint Interoperability Test Command and Electronic Proving Ground.

Marines

Yuma Marine Corps Air Station

This air station specializes in air-to-ground aviation training for U.S. and NATO forces. In 1990, almost every Marine that participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm trained at Yuma. The Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System was added to provide realistic combat training electronically.

 

Arizona Business Magazine November-December 2011

 

CEO Lecture Series, AZ Business Magazine, GCU

CEO Lecture Series: Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.

Arizona Business Magazine in conjunction with Grand Canyon University would like to invite you to the CEO Lecture Series featuring some of the Valley’s most successful CEOs. Learn more about their leadership techniques and the best practices that took them to the top of their industry!


Presented By:
Arizona Business Magazine LogoGrand Canyon University Logo

Our next installment of the CEO Lecture Series will feature:
Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.
Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base

Thursday, October 6, 2011
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Lecture: 9-10 a.m.

Ethington Theatre
Grand Canyon University
3300 W. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85017
CEO Lecture Series: Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.

About Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr. :


Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr. is the Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The 56th Fighter Wing’s mission is to train F-16 pilots and maintainers while deploying mission-ready warfighters. As part of Air Education and Training Command, and home to more than 135 F-16 aircraft and 24 squadrons, the 56th is the largest fighter wing in the U.S. Air Force and graduates more than 400 F-16 pilots and 470 crew chiefs annually. The wing oversees the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field and is steward of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a military training range spanning more than 1.7 million acres of Sonoran desert.The general has commanded at squadron, group and wing levels. Prior to his current assignment, he was Assistant Director of Operations, Plans, Requirements and Programs, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

The CEO Lecture Series is a free event, but register soon because space is limited.

For questions, contact Stephen Smith at Stephen.Smith@gcu.edu or 602-639-6601

 

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr., Commander, 56th Fighter Wing of Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr., Luke Air Force Base

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr. discusses how his position is equivalent to that of a CEO, the importance of Luke Air Force Base, the importance of servant leadership, and more.

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr.

Title: Commander, 56TH Fighter Wing
Company: Luke Air Force Base


Why is your position equivalent to that of a CEO?

I look at our stakeholders as being the American public and certainly our senators and our governor, our government, and the political leadership that we have. Our customers are the combat forces, because here at Luke we train F-16 pilots and F-16 crew chiefs and we deploy combat ready airmen; so it’s those warriors and the commander on the other end that use them in combat that are customers we try and service.

How important is Luke Air Force Base to the economic success of the West Valley?

It’s a growing and vibrant economy here. Luke’s impact is about $2 billion a year. I heard a lot of great stories about how the 2008 Super Bowl contributed $500 million to the West Valley. Luke does that four times a year, every year, so that’s a big part of it.

What will the economic impact be if Luke Air Force Base is selected as the F-35 training site?

Based on the mission that’s going on with 138 airplanes that are currently on the ramp, with the F-35 arriving here we won’t see a whole bunch of long-term impact. We expect the F-35, if selected here, is going to bring in some immediate upfront building, some new construction – which will help with the local labor – and some of the things that are going on buying material and such.

In your brief tenure at the base, what type of feedback have you received from the West Valley communities?

It’s been phenomenal support. I have been probably at 15 or 16 different bases and some of those consider themselves to be the best support. Yet right here in Arizona — which is my home, too, by the way — I truly see that we’ve never had better support. All government from the county and the state are very positive with what we do. They’re looking to have, as they would say in their words, managed growth around Luke, yet compatible with Luke and that works out very well. I see a long-term relationship still going.

You’ve been quoted as saying you’re a believer in servant leadership. Why do you believe it’s the right thing to do?

When we show an organizational chart, we always show the CEO or the commander right at the top. That’s the way it makes sense because everybody sees how it branches out and goes to the different divisions or squadrons or groups in the organization. The way I’ve employed that here is while that is the way we show our organizational chart, I explain it to everybody that my job is to keep the next level of commanders trained, motivated, and certainly have the supplies they need in people, equipment and money to get what they need done.

Vital Stats: General Harris

    • Graduated from Washington State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering
    • Command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in F-16, T-37, T-38, Mig-29 and Mig-21 aircraft
    • Served as Chief of Strategy for 16th Air Force Commander and COMAIRSOUTH’s Crisis Action Group in Naples, Italy
    • Served as the Combined Air and Space Operations Center Battle Director for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom
    • Decorations include: Legion of Merit (2); Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service (3); and Air Medal (4)
    • Assistant Director of Operations, Plans, Requirements and Programs, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
    • Promoted to Brigadier General on Nov. 3, 2010

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2011

 

100 Years of Notable Arizonans, Arizona Centennial Series

Centennial Series: 100 Years of Notable Arizonans

Arizonans who made a notable impact to Arizona & American history:

100 Years of Notable Arizonans - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

 

100 Years of Notable Arizonans:

 

Dr. Richard Carmona

Served as the 17th U.S. Surgeon General during the Bush Administration

Raul H. Castro

First Hispanic governor of Arizona; U.S. ambassador to Argentina

Cesar Chavez

(1927–1993)

Labor rights activist; union organizerNotable Arizonans, Arizona Centennial

Barry Goldwater

(1909–1998)

U.S. Senator; 1968 Republican presidential nominee

Carl Hayden

(1877–1972)

U.S. Senator; still holds the record for the longest service in Congress

Percival Lowell

(1855–1916)

Astronomer; founder of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff

Frank Luke

(1897–1918)

World War I ace fighter pilot; Luke Air Force Base is named in his honorFrank Luke, 100 Years Notable Arizonans, Centennial

Rose Mofford

First woman governor of Arizona

John McCain

U.S. Senator; 2008 Republican presidential nominee; Vietnam War POW

Evan Mecham

(1924-2008)

First Arizona governor to be impeached
Sandra Day O’Connor

First woman on the U.S. Supreme Court; ASU Law School named after her

Sandra Day O'Connor, 100 Years Notable Arizonans, Centennial

Lori Piestewa

(1979–2003)

First Native American woman killed in combat while serving in the U.S. military

Pat Tillman

(1976–2004)

Arizona Cardinals player; U.S. Army Ranger killed by friendly fire in AfghanistanPat Tillman, 100 Years Notable Arizonans, Centennial

Morris “Mo” Udall

(1922–1998)

U.S. Representative; pro basketball player; presidential candidateMorris "Mo" Udall, 100 Years Notable Arizonans, Centennial

Frank Lloyd Wright

(1867–1959)

Renowned and highly influential architect

Frank Lloyd Wright, 100 Years Notable Arizonans, Centennial

[stextbox id=”grey”]Photos: Cesar Chavez/Jon Lewis; Pat Tillman/Gene Lower (Slingshot); Morris Udall/University of Arizona Library; Frank Luke/U.S. Air Force; Sandra Day O’Connor/Arizona Board of Regents; Frank Lloyd Wright/Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation[/stextbox]

new WESTMARC CEO

Despite WESTMARC CEO Change, WESTMARC Keeps Its Focus

WESTMARC CEO Change – When WESTMARC entered its 21st year this past January, an announcement was made that few members expected. Jack Lunsford, WESTMARC CEO for the past seven years, announced he would be stepping down for health reasons.

In addition to leading WESTMARC in its goals for 2011, the incoming chair, Candace Wiest, suddenly had a daunting task ahead of her — finding Lunsford’s replacement.

“Losing someone like Jack is always very difficult,” Wiest says. “He’s been a known commodity for a number of years and has accomplished a lot in the West Valley, and so you kind of look around and go, ‘Wow, what are we going to do now, especially when it’s so unexpected like this.’ ”

Wiest and her team didn’t have to look far for an interim CEO. John Bradley, who had served on WESTMARC’s board for a number of years, stepped up to the plate and has helped guide the organization as it continues its efforts in advocacy and public policy for the West Valley, all the while searching a permanent leader. Wiest says they have narrowed that list down to six candidates and hope to make an announcement soon.

“As you can imagine, people get very nervous in a dues-paying organization when you lose your CEO,” Wiest says. “John stepped into that role literally the day Jack left and he has helped grow membership and really stabilized the organization. He’s just done a great job.”

WESTMARC is committed to several key issues that impact the 15 communities it represents, including education, economic development, transportation, tourism, health care, Luke Air Force Base, and quality of life.

One aspect of WESTMARC that makes it unique, Wiest adds, is its 250 employer members that represent 70,000 jobs. This cross spectrum of industries involved in WESTMARC makes the group qualified, she says, to understand and respond appropriately to economic development in the West Valley.

“Every single focus is on economic development and a responsible method of public policy,” Wiest says. She explains that the organization will be identifying and focusing its efforts on four projects each year that affect economic development in the West Valley. One such project it will work on this year is the recent impact fees legislation. The law will cause Arizona cities to give up some of their powers in assessing fees on new developments.

“The fact of the matter is that cities that are built out, like Tempe and Scottsdale, will not be as impacted as West Valley cities that haven’t yet matured,” she says. “It’s going to really change the way we can be developed and our desirability, so (the West Valley) is going to be the most impacted.”

One of the challenges Wiest says the organization has encountered in recent years, especially in the down economy, is retaining its membership numbers. She says WESTMARC not only has met that challenge, but has surpassed it with a growth in membership this year. The key to overcoming this challenge, she says, is ensuring the membership is reaping rewarding benefits.

She points to a health care forum held in May as one of the most recent benefits for members.

Christine Clouse and Sharon Grambow, co-chairs of the health care committee for WESTMARC, recommended holding the forum. Health care’s status as one of the leading economic drivers in the state also was a key factor in planning the event. The forum benefited not only health care industry members, Wiest says, but also other industry members who may have been overwhelmed by recent legislation.

Wiest says the health care forum most likely will be among this year’s greatest achievements for the organization, as will be the continued success of the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone, which she explains will be a great economic development tool for the region for many years to come.

WESTMARC also was among the first organizations to issue a statement in support of keeping the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes hockey team in Glendale, which Wiest explains was a valuable move for its membership. She adds that the possibility of the team leaving the state would have had a negative impact on regional economic development.

“I think what we do is very unique,” Wiest says. “Our mission is really driven by the needs of our members.”

 

Hoover Dam Construction, 1933-1936 - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Building Achievements Turned Arizona From Frontier Outpost To Thriving Haven

In 1912, when it became the nation’s 48th state, Arizona was a challenging place to live. It was sparsely populated with small communities scattered hither and yon. Travel between towns was grueling. The lower desert was unbearably hot in the summer, and water was scarce and unreliable.

Arizona would have had a dim future if it hadn’t engineered a reliable water supply, says Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian. In 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, Phoenix was an agricultural community that suffered through wild swings between drought and a flooding Salt River, Trimble says. Farmers and ranchers banded together as the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association to lobby for federal funding for the legislation’s first water reclamation project — construction of Roosevelt Dam northeast of Phoenix to tame the Salt and store water in Roosevelt Lake for future use.

This was the beginning of what would become Salt River Project (SRP), one of Arizona’s major utilities, and Trimble pegs the dedication of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 as the first step toward a modern Arizona. Today, SRP operates seven dams on the Salt and Verde rivers and delivers more than 1 million acre feet of water annually to Central Arizona.

But as Phoenix became increasingly urbanized, SRP’s 13,000-square-mile watershed couldn’t keep up with demand, and Arizona’s most populated areas were drawing more water out of the ground than was being replenished. As early as 1946, Arizonans began to hear about the need for delivery of Colorado River water to the Phoenix and Tucson population centers via a 336-mile canal called the Central Arizona Project. Construction of the CAP began in 1973 at Lake Havasu, and 20 years and $4 billion later, it was completed south of Tucson. The CAP delivers an average 1.5 million acre-feet of water annually to municipal, agricultural and Native American users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, where 80 percent of Arizonans live today.

“Without the CAP, we wouldn’t have the population we have today,” says Pam Pickard, president of the CAP board of directors. “We wouldn’t have our economic base. We wouldn’t have the industry we have.”

But the CAP wouldn’t have been possible without another milestone that occurred nearly 60 years earlier — Hoover Dam and its reservoir, Lake Mead, 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam, constructed between 1933 and 1936, tamed the Colorado, which Trimble says was even more erratic than the Salt. The dam created reliable water supplies for Arizona’s Colorado River Valley and, eventually, Central and Southern Arizona via the CAP.

Electricity

Electrical power generation in Arizona significantly preceded statehood and provided the “juice” for future development. Another major utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), traces its roots to 1886 in Phoenix. Electricity also came to Tucson in the 1880s, but the forerunner of today’s Tucson Electric Power (TEP) didn’t come about until 1892. SRP began delivering power to an expanding customer base in the 1920s, and created the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District in 1937 to operate the utility’s power generation and distribution system.

Statistics from these utilities bear witness to Arizona’s escalating hunger for electricity. TEP had 300 customers in 1903. That grew to 16,000 in 1932; 112,600 in 1970; and more than 400,000 today. TEP generating capacity jumped from 648,000 kilowatts in 1970 to 2,229 megawatts today.

Mergers led to the creation of APS in 1952. At that time, APS served 114,000 power customers with a 324-megawatt capacity. Today, APS serves 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties with a 6,293-megawatt capability. APS also helped bring nuclear power generation to Arizona. APS operates and owns 29.1 percent of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station located about 50 miles west of Phoenix. The largest nuclear power plant in the U.S., Palo Verde’s three units are capable of producing nearly 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

SRP’s electricity customer base grew to 7,684 in 1940; 169,773 in 1970; and 942,024 by the end of 2010. Another measuring rod — peak power demand — reached an all-time high at SRP in 2006 at 6,590 megawatts.

War, Manufacturing and Refrigeration

According to Trimble, the real turning point for Arizona industry came about in less than a decade during the mid-20th century. After America’s entry into World War II in December 1941, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and Williams Air Force Base in Mesa became major training facilities for war pilots. Manufacturing for the war also contributed to Arizona’s economy, which continued to grow, Trimble says.

Then two critical milestones occurred closely together, say Trimble and another close observer of Arizona’s history, Grady Gammage Jr.

“There was a lot of home construction in Arizona after the war,” Trimble says. “GIs were moving here to start a new life. Many of them had trained in Arizona and liked the weather.”

Except perhaps for those summer temperatures, and they became less of a problem when affordable air conditioning became available in 1950, Trimble says.

Trimble points to 1950 as the year Arizona moved from a pioneer outpost to a modern state, thanks to refrigeration and a growing population that embraced it. Gammage, who is author of “Phoenix in Perspective: Reflections On Developing the Desert,” says window refrigeration units first appeared in Arizona in 1948. Two years later, Arizona led the nation in the number of window air conditioning units sold. By 1960, there was more central air conditioning in Arizona homes than window units, Gammage says.

“Refrigeration did a couple of things,” Gammage notes. “First, it was one of the critical building blocks that allowed people to move here. Second, it transformed Arizonans’ lifestyles.”

Master-Planned Communities

Arizona is home to countless master-planned residential communities, but the first one — Maryvale — opened in 1955 in West Phoenix as the post-war years exerted their influence. Its developer, John F. Long, wanted to plan and build a community where young people could buy an affordable home, raise a family and work, all in the same area. He named the development after his wife, Mary, and its influence is felt to this day.

Maryvale Billboard, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: John F. Long Properties

“Because Maryvale was a master-planned community and because John did affordable housing, the master plan included a lot of parks, school sites and shopping areas,” says Jim Miller, director of real estate for John F. Long Properties. “It really was where people could live and work. If you lived in Maryvale, you weren’t more than three-quarters of a mile from a park or school. That forced a lot of other builders to adopt the same type of philosophy.”

The first homes sold for as little as $7,400, with a $52-a-month mortgage. The first week the models went on the market, 24,000 people stopped by to take a look. Long built 24,000 homes in Maryvale and by the mid-1990s, he and other developers had mostly finished the community.

Retirement Communities

A year before Maryvale opened, Ben Schleifer introduced a different lifestyle to an older demographic. In 1954, Schleifer opened Youngtown in West Phoenix, the first age-restricted retirement community in the nation, according to research by Melanie Sturgeon, director of the state’s History and Archives Division. No one younger than 50 could live there. By 1963, Youngtown had 1,700 residents and Arizona was on its way to becoming a retirement mecca.

But it was builder Del E. Webb and his construction companies that firmly established the concept of active, age-restricted adult retirement in Arizona with the opening of Sun City on Jan. 1, 1960, next to Youngtown and along Grand Avenue. According to Sturgeon’s research and a magazine observing Sun City’s 50th anniversary, about 100,000 people showed up the first three days to see the golf course, recreation center, swimming pool, shopping center and five model homes. Traffic was backed up for miles. The first homes sold for between $8,500 and $11,750. Sun City had 7,500 residents by 1964 and 42,000 by 1977, the same year Webb decided the community was big enough and he began construction on Sun City West.
Today, Arizona boasts many retirement communities.

Transportation

Two milestones that occurred decades apart cemented Phoenix’s future as Arizona’s population and economic hub.
In 1935, the city bought Sky Harbor International Airport for $100,000. Today, that investment is responsible for a $90 million daily economic impact. Sky Harbor also helped Central Arizona thrive.

Construction Interstate 17, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: Arizona Department of Transportation

“As much as anywhere in the U.S., Phoenix is a creature of good air connections,” Gammage says. “There is no good rail service (in Arizona). There are no real transportation corridors. Sky Harbor has had a huge impact.”

The other milestone occurred 50 years later when the Maricopa Association of Governments approved a $6.5 billion regional freeway plan for Phoenix and voters approved a 20-year, one-half cent sales tax to fund it. By 2008, the Arizona Department of Transportation had completed the construction and Phoenix boasted 137 miles of loop freeways that linked the metro area.
The loop freeways have had a significant impact on shaping Phoenix and, ultimately, Arizona, says Dennis Smith, MAG executive director.

“The loop freeways resulted in a distribution of job centers around the Valley,” Smith says. “That allows every part of the Valley to achieve its dream and have employment closer to where the homes are. That distributes the wealth throughout the Valley.”

Smith says the freeways also extended the Valley’s reach to Yavapai, Pinal and Pima counties, creating a megapolitan area known as the Sun Corridor.

 

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Valley Partnership Advocates and Allies, AZRE May/June 2011

Valley Partnership: Advocates And Allies

As Arizona emerges from a grueling global recession, business and civic leaders are focusing on creating jobs and jump-starting our economy. Valley Partnership, as the state’s only grass-roots organization devoted to promoting responsible development, is poised to play an important role in that process.

“Our goal is to help stimulate the local economy by our actions,” says this year’s board chair Mindy Korth, an executive vice president and capital markets broker at CB Richard Ellis.

With its extensive ties throughout the development community, as well as into municipal and state offices, Korth says Valley Partnership is in a unique position to help get the economy moving again.

To say the past two years have been challenging for the commercial real estate industry would be an understatement.

Speculative construction in the office, industrial and retail sectors just about ground to a halt, with most construction occurring on build-to-suit projects or others already in the pipeline.

And as the Valley begins to see an uptick in business activity and employment, it is more crucial than ever that the principles of responsible development and job creation come to the forefront — something Valley Partnership has been promoting for 24 years.

As in the past, the linchpin of Valley Partnership’s efforts will be its advocacy, Korth says. Historically, the organization has been remarkably successful in rallying its partners — either against measures that would impose onerous restrictions on development, or on behalf of measures that would promote good growth.

“That’s an ongoing effort,” says Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “We’ve always advocated against over-burdensome regulations at the local and state level.”

This year, Hubbard says Valley Partnership also will emphasize partner-to-partner relationships, as well as those between private and public entities.

Standing Apart

Valley Partnership’s more than 500 partners include representatives from all tiers of commercial real estate — from developers to attorneys to general contractors and engineers. Two important characteristics set it apart from other organizations: its relationships with public sector and government representatives and its emphasis on local stakeholders advocating on behalf of local issues.

“We are specific to the Valley,” says Rick Hearn, director of leasing for Vestar, one of Valley Partnership’s original corporate partners. Hearn has served on the board of directors for six years, and in that time has witnessed the organization’s partners tackle thorny local issues.

“We advocate on behalf of this industry better than anyone else,” he says, adding, “Not one of the national organizations comes close to touching the value proposition of what we do. We work at so many levels and have so many relationships.”

Not only does Valley Partnership share information and expertise with municipal and state leaders, it also has ties to federal officials and even someone at Luke Air Force Base.

City, state and federal partners can dip into Valley Partnership’s brain trust and glean important information on many pressing issues, Korth says.

For example, a municipality that is re-examining its city plan can garner feedback from Valley Partnership. The organization’s task forces dig deeper into issues, then forwards recommendations to a committee before the organization arrives at a public stance.

Some of the measures its committees are examining include:

  • The Maricopa Association of Government’s efforts to design a dark-sky ordinance to reduce excessive light, while also addressing safety issues for tenants and customers.
  • Maricopa County drainage permits and other building permit issues.
  • Incorporating Green Building Codes within Valley cities’ building codes.
  • Proposed city general plans.

Valley Partnership Value Proposition

Another important initiative this year is to make partners more aware of the value that Valley Partnership adds to their efforts. Korth says the communications committee is working hard to articulate back to all partners on what is being accomplished.

“We need to let them know that there is no one else like us here and if we did go away there’d be a gaping hole,” she says.

While membership did drop some during the recession, it is starting to tick back up, Hubbard says. As it does, Valley Partnership also is setting goals for its other key functions: education, networking and public service.

Hubbard said the organization surveyed its members to see what issues they would like to see addressed at educational events and Friday breakfast meetings, a staple for many partners.

Respondents said they would like to hear from industry leaders in the community and those involved in important development issues.

Signs are evident, Hubbard says, that their message is resonating with people in the commercial real estate community. More than 50 people attended the first January meeting of the committee that oversees city and county issues, a big jump from the usual six to eight attendees.

Partners recognize that advocacy on behalf of responsible development reaps dividends for everyone. Korth says: “If you go alone, you may go faster, but if you go together, you go farther.”

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011

Solar Installations

New Solar Installations At The University Of Arizona And Luke Air Force Base, Strange Global Weather Patterns And More

There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down the news to share. This week we’ve gathered stories about new solar installations at the University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base, weird global weather patterns bringing to mind global warming, falling worldwide carbon dioxide levels and others.

Arizona Gets Two New Solar Installations
The University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base will be home to two new solar panel power plants within the next year.  UA will host a 1.6 mega-watt plant while Luke upstages the university with a 15 mega-watt plant.

San Diego Schools will be Home to Solar Roofs
Schools in the San Diego Unified School District will lend their roofs to Amsolar.  In turn the schools can buy power at a significantly discounted rate.

Harvard Offers Online Sustainability Course
Executives and employees have even less time than before, so this online class offered by The Harvard University Extension School gives people a chance to learn at their own time.  The adjunct professor teaching the class expects as many as 130 people from 20 countries to enroll.

“Global Weirding”
With a cornucopia of strange weather events – everything from floods to fires to huge chunks of glaciers breaking off – trouncing the Earth this summer, can we deny global warming?  Or should we just call it global weirding?

There’s Some Good News, and Some Bad News
Global carbon dioxide levels fell 1.3 percent in 2009.  In a world that seems to be falling apart (see article above), it’s good to know that going green does have an effect.  Although the decrease could have been greater, Asian and Middle Eastern countries increased their output while Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States decreased their outputs.

Luke’s Future In The West Valley Is Assured - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Ready For Take Off: Luke’s Future In The West Valley Is Assured

Luke Air Force Base has landed the coveted mission of training pilots for the next generation F-35 fighter jets.

Luke was on the Defense Department’s short list, competing with Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, for the F-35. Actually, Luke was shooting for becoming a secondary site for the F-35s that exceed the number of jets already allotted to Eglin.

Luke, which annually pumps $2.17 billion into the Arizona economy, is considered recession-proof and a lifeline for the West Valley. It has been training U.S. fighter pilots since March 1941.

Yet, Luke’s unparalleled record of success — in preserving the nation’s security and enhancing Arizona’s economy — has faced challenges. Most recently, it weathered an encroachment issue that threatened its viability and its very existence.

Luke’s 8,000 active-duty personnel and their 6,700 family members are an important part of the West Valley, plus some 120,000 military retirees in the area who rely on various services provided at Luke. Their value to the area is not lost on Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs.

“We know many of them as residents, neighbors, volunteers and active members in our community, schools and churches,” she says. “Luke personnel and their families buy homes, cars and other big-tickets items, as well as shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants.”

F-35 JetIn stressing Luke’s importance to the West Valley, Scruggs adds, “The new F-35 mission will bring with it decades of sustainable economic benefits and an immediate infusion of $150 million in construction-related projects. In addition, the F-35 will generate additional employment, wages, consumer spending and investments that our region and state desperately need.”

Likewise, Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett recognizes the importance of Luke to the West Valley and the importance of the F-35 to Luke. Barrett and Scruggs were among several local elected officials who made trips to Washington, D.C. to plead Luke’s case with military officials.

Before the announcement that the F-35 training center had been awarded to Luke, Barrett was blunt about the base’s future without it.

“The Air Force doesn’t like me saying this,” Barrett says, “but I believe if we don’t acquire the F-35 for Luke Air Force Base, I believe they will close Luke. In five to eight years, the F-16 is gone. So, if we don’t have the F-35, Luke will follow. There is no reason to keep a base as large as Luke and maintain it if it doesn’t continue to be the world’s largest fighter training base — not just in the U.S., the world’s largest.”

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, says his organization strongly supports Luke and for several years has worked to preserve its mission. Lunsford sees Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, as a key advocate for Luke and other military bases throughout the state.

On the issue of residential encroachment, Lunsford says, “We’ve been an advocate of protecting the base from encroachment for many years.”

James “Rusty” Mitchell, director of the Luke Community Initiatives Team, shies away from the term “encroachment.” Mitchell, who retired from the Air Force in 1998 as a lieutenant colonel, prefers “managed growth.” A representative of the Community Initiatives Team attends various city council meetings seeking win-win solutions.

“It’s more a process of managing development in the area so we can continue our flying mission and the cities can continue to be economically viable,” Mitchell says.

Under the terms of a 2004 Arizona law, and accepted earlier this year by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, local governmental entities are required to ensure adequate buffer zones around the state’s military bases.

Steve Yamamori, executive director/CEO of Fighter Country Partnership, a support group for programs and services at Luke, says the F-35 means “sustainability for Luke Air Force Base for the next 50 years — and that’s worth trillions of dollars.”

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Photography by Cassandra Tomei

Cover Story – Into the Blue

Into the Blue

Decades later Luke Air Force Base continues its mission

 

Most would agree they get a thrill watching jets take off and perform maneuvers with Kenny Loggins’ vocals in the background, right out of a movie like Top Gun. Arizonans can experience that thrill first-hand just by driving to the West Valley.

Into the BlueMore than 60 years ago, the city of Phoenix leased 1,440 acres to the federal government for the establishment of an Army Air Corps training field, known today as Luke Air Force Base. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles of desert, the base enjoyed years of solitude as it trained fighter pilots. However, Phoenix and surrounding communities grew at an astonishing rate, and the base found its once quiet location surrounded by a bustling metropolis. In an effort to stem the tide of urban encroachment, the base established the Community Initiatives Team (CIT) in June 2003, led by Director Rusty Mitchell in conjunction with the base’s commander, Brig. Gen. Noel T. Jones.

While Jones just joined Luke AFB in June 2006, he is no stranger to the Air Force and its goals. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1980, Jones has served on Air Force bases across the country and around the world, including California, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina, Spain and South Korea. He also commanded the 332nd Expeditionary Wing in southwest Asia during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In regard to urban encroachment, Jones says Luke AFB sets a standard for other military bases to follow. “I would propose that Luke AFB is the model for how to deal with encroachment concerns,” he says. “Over the last several years, Luke AFB has proactively provided the surrounding cities, county and state staffs with the information they need to zone for compatible land uses around the base. As you know, Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, and as such, it is in Luke’s best interest to provide the information they need to ensure our capability to perform the mission is preserved.”

Mitchell, who has led CIT since its inception, agrees that the program is one of a kind. “The Air Force has identified us as a ‘best practice’ for the Air Force—something that works, something that’s good and for other bases to emulate. My staff and myself travel to other bases at their request to assist them in addressing encroachment issues and in some cases, setting up an office similar to ours.”

The wing commander at that time, Brig. Gen. Phil Breedlove, recognized the increasing pressure from developers in the West Valley and wanted to set up a full-time office that could provide a faster response to those needs.

“One of the common complaints of the cities was they wanted to help, but they just didn’t know what our requirements were,” Mitchell explains. Mitchell and his staff meet with state representatives on a regular basis to review past legislation and discuss the possibility of future protections for the base. They also monitor city council agendas and attend city council meetings when land, close to the base’s border, or noise lines is called into question. He stresses that CIT has no zoning or veto authority on any development. All his staff can do is share with the public and government authorities the bases’ compatibility issues and hope everyone’s best interests can be met.

Luke AFB hasn’t always had problems with development though. In fact, Mitchell can remember when the location was thought of as the most remote in the area.

“I went to flight school at Williams Air Force Base in the ‘70s and nobody wanted to be assigned to Luke AFB because it was so far away from anything,” he says. “It’s just incredible—30 years ago, Luke wasn’t just on the outskirts, it was out of town.”

But now, the base is surrounded by cities like El Mirage, Glendale and Litchfield Park. Mitchell and his staff have established solid relationships with the surrounding communities’ leaders and he feels they have encroachment issues under control.

“Whenever there’s development, there are issues, but we feel confident that we have stabilized incompatible growth in the West Valley as far as our mission is concerned,” he says. “The danger is there, but it’s certainly not getting worse. It’s refreshing and heartwarming, really, to see the support of all the cities.”

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs gives the base her full support and says the personnel are like family. “Luke personnel are really members of our community,” she says. “They are involved in every aspect of our community—they are boy scout and girl scout leaders in schools, [they] volunteer hours to nonprofits. Too many times the personnel are thought of as being remote when in fact they are our neighbors…and they contribute a tremendous amount to make [the community] stronger and better.”

El Mirage Mayor Fred Waterman also supports Luke’s mission but admits his city struggles to find appropriate space for development, especially for schools. “One-third of our city is under their noise zone, so we’ve had to change the zoning immensely,” he says. “We can’t build certain things in different areas because of the potential impact on Luke.”

Mitchell says he’s aware of this dilemma and is working with the school board in El Mirage to find an appropriate location. “The attorney general has historically ruled that no school can be built inside our 65 decibel noise line, and that’s the problem El Mirage has,” he explains. “As you get closer to the runway, it becomes a safety issue and the state has determined that the risk is too high to allow schools inside that area.”

Financially, Luke AFB is a huge asset to Arizona. In fact, the base contributes in excess of $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy.

“It’s like its own city,” Scruggs says. “They contract for a large amount of services and goods and those contracts are through cities throughout the state. Also, the personnel spend money here and many people come to visit, so it contributes to tourism dollars. Their impact is within all reaches of the state, but first and foremost, they are a key part of our nation’s security system.”

“We don’t focus on that as our main purpose of being here,” Mitchell says in regard to their financial impact. “We are the only active duty F-16 training base in the world, which is critical to our nation’s defense.”

In fact, pilots trained at Luke will often times be in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan within 30 days of his or her completed training. The base also trains F-16 maintenance personnel, whose expertise is crucial to pilots’ success.

“A big change at Luke over the last 10 years has been our requirement to deploy mission-ready war fighters into the war. We probably average close to 1,000 personnel a year deploying over to the war and we don’t get backfill for those. We’re a 10-man football team—everybody steps up and does the job.”

With the ongoing war, Luke is unlikely to be closed any time soon. Mitchell explains the base was only closed once, temporarily, in the late 1940s due to inactivity. After a recent reevaluation, Luke’s grades on military value and other issues are high enough to ensure it will not be closed. But, Mitchell and his team must continue to keep a close eye on development to ensure encroachment does not jeopardize the base’s mission, Jones says.

“I don’t like to deal in hypotheticals,” Jones explains when asked if development would cause a base closure. “I will say that based on the great support we receive from the surrounding communities, county and state, I do not foresee encroachment growing to the point where we would be unable to conduct our training mission. It does require constant vigilance and monitoring, and that’s why we have committed a full-time staff to ensure the community has the information required to make sure the developments surrounding the base are compatible.”

Mitchell agrees with Jones’ assessment and says it takes a group effort between CIT and the surrounding communities.

AZ Business Magazine February March 2007“As long as the state of Arizona and surrounding communities continue to do the outstanding job they’re doing now, recognizing the mission requirements of Luke, there’s no reason at all that Luke cannot exist,” Mitchell says. “If it wasn’t for the support of Gen. Breedlove and the subsequent wing commanders (Gen. Rand and Gen. Jones), we would meld away into the wing and I think the base would be in danger. [CIT] has been accepted throughout the Air Force as, really, the way it needs to go in the future.”

www.luke.af.mil

 

AZ Business Magazine Feb Mar ’07 |   Next: Trojan Horse