Arizona Forward is hosting its 39th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards & 50th Anniversary Gala presented by SRP on September 21, 2019, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort at 5:30 pm. Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward and its statewide expansion in 2013, Arizona Forward has mobilized the state’s business leaders and policymakers to leverage their collective power to influence how Arizona best grow its communities, stimulates the economy and enhances the environment. Arizona Forward’s annual awards program has recognized individuals and organizations that have implemented major sustainability initiatives and projects for the state of Arizona for nearly four decades. This year, the organization will also celebrate its 50th anniversary at the event with more than 600 elected officials, business leaders and their guests.

“In honor of our 50th anniversary, we are recognizing individuals and organizations that prioritize sustainability for Arizona,” said Lori Singleton, president and CEO at Arizona Forward. “It takes a village to create change. We are so pleased to showcase the projects and people who are making a difference for our state. For the past 50 years, Arizona Forward’s partners in the community have completed projects that achieve a balance between the built and natural environment – impacting the state’s physical, technical, social and aesthetic development. In addition to the celebration of all projects submitted this year, awards will be given to projects that are outstanding demonstrations of environmental excellence.”

Known as the Academy Awards of the sustainability community, the award’s program is Arizona’s most prominent recognition of sustainability contributions. Nearly a hundred projects were submitted this year in nine categories: The Governor’s Award for Arizona’s future, buildings and structures, art in public places, site development and landscape, environmental education and communication, healthy communities, sustainability champion and waste reduction. A special 50th anniversary award will also be presented at the gala that will symbolize a commitment to sustainability in the past, but also recognizes its significant impact in the future.

A total of 10 judges were selected for their expertise in the various categories. The lead judge was Grady Gammage, Jr., one of the founders of Gammage & Burnham.

“Arizona has always been a place where some combination of clear skies, dry air, sunshine and nearly limitless land has brewed up an environment that challenges builders, dreamers and visionaries,” said Grady Gammage, Jr. “From the Anasazi and the Hohokam to today, the complexity of living in a hot, dry place has given rise to creative solutions to sustainability. It was evident from the project entries this year that we are still at it – and still up to the challenges.”

Other judges include: Hunter Moore, Policy Advisor with the Office of the Governor with the State of Arizona; Mark Stapp, Executive Director, Masters of Real Estate Development, Arizona State University; Krista Shepherd, Principal and Board Member, Gould Evans; Lauri Johnson, Professor and Director, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Arizona; Jay Hicks, Principal Partner, Dig Studio, Inc.; Nicole Snyder, president of the Arizona Association of Economic Development; Larry Lazarus, Partner, Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs, P.C.; Elizabeth Fretheim, Head of Business Development, Nikola Motor Company; Kimber Lanning, Founder, Local First Arizona; Liz Shipley, Public Affairs Director, Intel Corporation; and Tammy McCleod, president and CEO, Flinn Foundation.

The evening event will feature live music, a cocktail hour, a gourmet dinner, a multi-media presentation showcasing submitted projects from the Arizona community, remarks from Grady Gammage, Jr., and a special 50th anniversary tribute. Corey McCloskey from Channel 10 News will be the Masters of Ceremony.

Arizona Forward is encouraging the public to attend and join in this celebration of environmental excellence and quality of life in Arizona. More information about gala reservations can be accessed at

Arizona Forward’s visionary members are SRP, City of Phoenix, Wells Fargo, Intel Corporation, APS, Honeywell and Freeport-McMoran. These members are generous supporters of Arizona Forward’s year-round activities.

Arizona Forward’s special Gold Anniversary Sponsors specifically supporting this year’s gala are Vitalyst, Nikola Motor Company, Northern Arizona University, HDR, Arizona State University’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, the City of Mesa, and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department.