Downtown Phoenix at sunset.

February 16, 2021

AZ Business Magazine

3 AAED members named Top 50 economic developers in U.S.

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) has announced three of its members have been named to the 2021 North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect, a service for educational and networking events for economic developers and site selectors.


Chris Camacho

Chris Camacho, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC); Karla Moran, senior project manager for economic development at Salt River Project (SRP) and Christine Mackay, director of Phoenix community and economic development with the City of Phoenix were selected through peer nominations.

Combined, the trio has more than 55 years of experience in economic development.

Karla Moran

“AAED encourages its members to not only network with colleagues in the state, but to also collaborate with industry professionals across the country to share best practices,” said Carrie Kelly, executive director of AAED. “Consultant Connect allows for this collaboration by hosting leadership summits and we’re thrilled that our members are being recognized for their efforts.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized alongside some of Greater Phoenix’s talented and impactful economic development leaders,” says Camacho. “Collaboration is at the core of everything we do at GPEC. This distinction is a reflection of the partnership and work of organizations like AAED and our region’s 22 cities and towns, Maricopa County and the more than 170 investors that every day put forth the effort that allows us to carry out our mission and collectively advance our economy.”

Christine Mackay

Moran credits her success to the continued education and professional development offered to members of AAED and Consultant Connect.

“What a privilege and honor it is to be recognized alongside such talented leaders by our partners in the site selection community,” says Moran. “A huge benefit of engaging with Consultant Connect has been the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices on successful projects in other regions or with other utilities. Through my involvement with AAED, I am able to bring back this knowledge to share with my peers and enhance the competitiveness of Arizona.”

With a strong foundation in commercial real estate, Mackay has seen both sides of site selection and economic development.

“It is such an honor that my peers have recognized me alongside my amazing colleagues from our AAED family,” says Mackay. “As economic developers, we have the privilege of working every day to build cities that will stand the test of time, adding high-value jobs, community development and a thriving economy for our residents. So much of what we have accomplished over the years is due to the collaboration with economic developers in other cities.”

About the Arizona Association for Economic Development

AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice for responsible economic development through professional education, public policy, and collaboration. For more information on AAED, visit or call (602) 240-2233.