On the move at ATC, Valley Partnership, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

Newsmakers | 18 Dec, 2019 |

Changes at the top of Arizona Theatre Company

After coming to Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) during a tumultuous financial time and growing the organization to the solid footing it is on today, Managing Director Billy Russo announced he will not renew his contract at the end of the fiscal year.

Geri Wright has been named ATC’s new Managing Director Designee starting January 6. She will transition to Managing Director on July 1. Previously she had been Senior Director of Development for ATC before joining ACT One Arizona in 2015 as Executive Director and then President and CEO. 

“As Arizona Theatre Company moves to the next stage of our growth and reach, Geri brings tremendous leadership and business experience,” said Susan Segal, chair of the ATC Board of Trustees. “Billy Russo has been instrumental in preparing ATC to move to the next phase both foundationally and financially.  His significant experience and leadership in the industry was critical in guiding us through a very difficult time and has been a great benefit to the now-stabilized organization during the last four years. We are grateful and wish him continued success.”

Wright’s experience also includes serving as Chief Development Officer for the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter and Director of Development at the Heard Museum.

“When you’re on the inside, it’s incredible to see what Billy has done, from a time when we’re in every paper for nearly closing to now when we are on the verge of being a national leader,” said Artistic Director Sean Daniels. “That, and Billy led two Artistic Director searches and transitions in three years, which is unheard of. Also, with a six-month overlap between Billy and Geri, this will be one of the healthiest and smoothest transitions that any regional theatre has seen.”

“I’m honored to be a part of Arizona Theatre Company at such a monumental time,” Wright said. “The continued growth of our state theatre is so important artistically and economically to a vibrant Arizona.”

Valley Partnership elects new board members

On December 6, 2019, the Valley Partnership Board of Directors unanimously approved its Board Officers for 2020 and its Board of Director Nominees for their terms as voting and ex-officio members. 

Board Officers for 2020:

Tim Brislin, Harvard Investments – Chair
Jim Kenny, El Dorado Holdings, Inc. – Vice Chair
Brandon Dillingham, Hines – Treasurer
Laura Ortiz, Evergreen DevCo– Secretary

First 3-year term beginning January 2020:

Ben Butler – Fidelity National Title Agency
Chuck Carefoot – Ryan Companies
Nic Fischer – Merit Partners
Doug Klocke – Lincoln Property Company
Carl Perrone – Brookfield Residential Properties
Chuck Podolak – Salt River Project/SRP

Second 3-year term beginning January 2020

Rob Bassett – Pederson Group
Brandon Dillingham – Hines
Garrett Newland – Macerich
Michele Pino – Land Advisors

1-year Ex-Officio term beginning January 2020

Chris Anaradian – City of Glendale
Lisa Atkins – Arizona State Land Department
John Creer – Arizona State University/ASU
Mari Flynn – Ashton Woods
Ron Hilgart – HILGARTWILSON
Jay Kramer – Fennemore Craig
Rusty Mitchell – Luke Air Force Base
Carolyn Oberholtzer – Bergin, Frakes, Smalley & Oberholtzer
Jim Rounds – Rounds Consulting
Alan Stephenson – City of Phoenix
Cathy Teeter – CBRE
Bradley Wright – Squire Patton Boggs

Front row, from left: Priscilla Mariano, Maricopa; Irene Martinez, Phoenix; Joan McQueen, Maricopa; Jessica Mavis, Maricopa; Salina Litton, Maricopa.
Second row: Jennetta (Kay) Walker, Maricopa; Eulia Polingyumptewa, Phoenix; Karen Scofield, Maricopa. Third Row: Isaac Montiel, Maricopa; Susan Critzer, Phoenix; Marv Critzer, Phoenix; Barbara Achten, Casa Grande. Back row: Leta Yarberry, Maricopa; Jane Stimmel, Maricopa; Keith McGlaughlin, Maricopa; Mario Cardenas, Chandler. Not pictured: Imelda Ocano.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino employees recognized for 25 years of service

As Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino completes its year-long 25th anniversary celebration, it is recognizing the 17 employees that have been with the organization from the very beginning.

Harrah’s has been a large employer in the Maricopa community since it broke ground on the casino in May 1994.  As the property has grown and expanded  it includes not only the casino but 529 luxurious resort and tower guestrooms, spa and fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool with swim-up bar as well as a variety of dining options, including the Copper Cactus Grill, Chop, Block & Brew, Oak & Fork, Agave’s Restaurant, The Buffet and Dunkin’ Donuts®. 

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, part of Caesars Entertainment is the state’s only tribal casino to have an international management partner. Currently, there are 1,000 employees. 

“Harrah’s has been proud of its long-standing relationship with the Ak-Chin Indian Community to provide management services for the hotel and casino.  Our employees are an integral part of that success and we are so pleased to recognize those that have been with us since the beginning,” said Robert Livingston, regional president and general manager. 

The employees will be recognized at a special program to be held on December 20.

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