People to Know: John Lewis, East Valley Partnership
The Town of Gilbert’s former mayor never seriously considered running for political office until two economic developers told him Gilbert wasn’t even on the radar for businesses looking to relocate.
“That was the motivator for me to take a stronger look at running for mayor, thinking from an economic development standpoint maybe I could help,” says John Lewis who was Gilbert’s mayor from 2009 until he took the helm at East Valley Partnership in 2016.
Lewis was raised in Utah by a family that valued education, as his father worked at Brigham Young University for many years.
Thanks to being the founder of the Sen. Jake Garn fan club at his high school, coupled with other life experiences, Lewis worked at the office of Sen. Garn (who was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee) before diving into the world of banking.
Lewis has been guided by the spirit of service, navigating him through the corporate and public world, eventually leading him to become the president and CEO of East Valley Partnership.
With his young family in tow, Lewis first moved to Gilbert in 1985 working for what is now Ernst & Young. He would eventually work at the Apollo Group when the education company started to grow before becoming mayor.
It has been fun for Lewis to watch the Gilbert and East Valley areas flourish with more economic development over the years. Lewis shares the credit with the myriads of people who worked together to create the area’s success.
As mayor, Lewis made a point to work and visit with economic development directors and site selectors from businesses, which is why his transition to his post at East Valley Partnership was so easy.
Leading East Valley Partnership is meeting and attending a lot of the same type of meetings Lewis attended as mayor. He works with many local leaders, prioritizing what they believe to be the best thing for the region.
“The (East Valley) Partnership consists of 110 organizations, 60 board members, and what we do, we do together. And that’s where when something needs to be done, you do it together,” Lewis says.