Jack Miller earns Drinkwater Spirit of Community Award

Jack Miller, regional vice president and general manager of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, has been honored by Scottsdale Leadership with the Drinkwater Spirit of Community Award. The award, named for former Scottsdale mayor Herb Drinkwater, is given annually to a member of the community who exemplifies leadership and community engagement.

Miller, longtime general manager of Arizona’s largest and longest running AAA Five Diamond Hotel, has been a pillar of the Scottsdale community since coming to town in 2009. In 2010, Miller started Christmas at the Princess, which has become the largest Christmas celebration in Arizona.

During his tenure as general manager of the Princess, the property has risen to be the most profitable hotel in Accor’s portfolio, encompassing more than 5,000 hotels worldwide.

“Community was why we started Christmas at the Princess,” says Miller. “I wanted the Princess to be Scottsdale’s town square; a place where the community could gather and make memories with their loved ones.”

“Christmas at the Princess completely changed the landscape of Scottsdale as a place to visit during the holidays,” says Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale.

During the pandemic, Miller guided the Princess through the most difficult time the tourism industry had faced in his career. Navigating state and county law, CDC requirements and keeping colleague and guest safety the top priority, Miller never closed the Princess, and he worked with his team to develop safe events like Pumpkin Nights that followed all guidelines to keep his team employed. With support from the community, the Princess was able to feed its furloughed staff and their families 35,000 meals during the shutdown, giving employees one less thing to worry about during an unprecedented time. The Princess quickly recovered from the pandemic and now has roughly 1,500 colleagues.

Stevens-Leinweber adds director of field operations

Responding to a growing pipeline of construction work, Phoenix-based Stevens-Leinweber Construction (SLC) has created a new position, Director of Field Operations, and hired 25-year industry expert Mike Willingham to fill the role.

In his position, Willingham will provide organizational support to all SLC field construction teams for the planning and execution of projects. As part of the senior leadership team, Willingham will also collaborate with ownership to ensure goals are aligned and the proper resources are allocated to create positive team dynamics, superior customer service and outstanding project execution

“This is a brand new position for SLC that will play a vital role in our future,” said Stevens-Leinweber Construction President and CEO Jamie Godwin. “In support of our continued growth, we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Mike to the team. He embodies the integrity, knowledge and commitment that we espouse in all of our employees, and we’re confident he will help us to continue to deliver best-in-class results to our clients.”

Ballet Arizona welcomes new dancers and staff

The Valley’s only professional ballet company, Ballet Arizona, is thrilled to announce the growth of its Company and Studio Company dancers. The School of Ballet Arizona (SBAZ) is also excited to welcome Alecia Good-Boresow as the first studio company manager and upper division coordinator.

For its 2022-2023 season, five new and incredibly talented dancers have joined Ballet Arizona’s Company, Luis Olivera, Cheyenne You, Erin Meranos, Trey Puckett and Leticia Endler. SBAZ has also added two up and coming dancers to its Studio Company- Georgia Stig and Gustavo Ventali.

Luis Olivera is originally from a small town in Montevideo, Uruguay. He started studying ballet at the National School of Dance (Sodre) in Montevideo at the age of 15. During his time there, he participated in Coppelia, Don Quixote, and The Nutcracker with Ballet Nacional Sodre. After winning a full scholarship for the summer intensive at Miami City Ballet School, Olivera trained there for four and a half years. He joined Ballet Arizona’s Studio Company in 2021 where he performed in George Balanchine’s Slaughter in Tenth Avene, Serenade, Bourree Fantasque, Ib Andersen’s Round: Reimagined For A New Stage and The Sleeping Beauty.

Cheyenne You has grown up dancing with The School of Ballet Arizona. She started at the age of five and has received feature roles in SBAZ and Company productions, such as Clara in The Nutcracker and Tall Swan in Swan Lake. After 11 years of training with The School, she joined the Studio Company for its 2021-2022 season. She has performed in several of the Company’s productions including Sir Fredrick Ashton’s Les Patinuers, Romeo & Juliet and Juan Gabriel. She also starred in principal roles in SBAZ’s production of The Sleeping Beauty as the Lilac Fairy and Carabosse.

Erin Meranos began her dance training at the age of five near her hometown in Eagle, Michigan. She accepted a full scholarship as a trainee with the Orlando Ballet School and later joined the Orlando Ballet Second Company in 2016. During her time, she performed in many of the company’s productions, such as Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Michael Pink’s Dracula. In 2018, she joined San Diego Ballet as a company member, where she performed many lead roles and pas de deux’s in Javier Velasco’s choreographies.

Trey Puckett started dancing at the age of 10 in Spokane, Washington and trained at several small hometown studios before moving to the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet at 17. After graduation, they went to the Miami City Ballet to train in the Balanchine technique, where they performed Firebird, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and George Balanchine’s Who Cares. Puckett came to Ballet Arizona in the summer of 2021 and joined as a Studio Company dancer for the 2021-2022 season. They performed in George Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Slaughter on 10th Avenue and Serenade with the Company, as well as The Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda with SBAZ.

Leticia Endler is originally from Anápolis, Goiás, Brazil. She studied at Ballet Zulma Emrich and joined the Cia Paulista de Dança after graduation. She joined Ballet Arizona’s Studio Company for its 2021-2022 season, where she performed in Les Patineurs, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Juan Gabriel and Round: Reimagined For A New Stage. She also performed in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Bourree Fantasque, as well as in excerpts of Raymonda and The Sleeping Beauty.

Georgia Stig is from Sydney, Australia and began her training studying full time classical ballet under Lucina Dunn at the Tanya Pearson Academy in North Sydney. She then moved to Chicago and trained at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in their conservatory, trainee and second year trainee program. She has always been interested in joining Ballet Arizona’s Company and is excited to be a part of the Studio Company this season.

Gustavo Ventali is from Brazil where he danced with the Petite Danse School of Dance in Rio de Janeiro. He traveled throughout Brazil representing the school in various competitions. Before he wanted to become a dancer, Ventali’s big dream was to be a gymnast, but once he took his first class, he fell in love with the art form. He is now a member of Ballet Arizona’s Studio Company for its 2022-2023 season.

Alecia Good-Boresow is SBAZ’s first studio company manager and also the upper division coordinator. She began her ballet training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet at the age of five. From there, she went on to study at the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. Good-Boresow danced professionally with the Kansas City Ballet while also serving as a rehearsal assistant. After retiring from the professional stage, she founded and directed the Kansas City Youth Ballet, formerly known as the MidWest Youth Ballet in 1997. Good-Boresow has taught ballet for over 35 years and is honored to be at Ballet Arizona to help shape students into the future generation of dancers.

For more information on Ballet Arizona and its upcoming production featuring its new Company and Studio Company dancers,  visit www.balletaz.org.


AZ Big Spotlight is sponsored by PNC Bank. Do you have an item about an Arizona business or business leader you’d like to see featured? Email it to michael.gossie@azbigmedia.com for consideration.