Lori Singleton is used be being an impact player.
As one of Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women of 2013, Singleton was responsible for developing and implementing SRP’s solar and sustainability programs. Under her direction, SRP provided incentives to thousands of customers who installed solar energy systems on their homes and businesses.
Now, Singleton is making an impact on a statewide stage as the president and CEO of Arizona Forward, the nearly 50-year-old organization that has left a profound mark on the state’s natural and built environment, with plans to make an even bigger impact in the coming years.
“As a board member for Valley Forward and then Arizona Forward, it gave me the opportunity to really become part of the organization for a long time.,” says Singleton, who took over as Arizona Forward’s leader in March after a stellar 40-year career at SRP. “When the opportunity at Arizona Forward arose with the retirement of the former executive, it felt like I could make a bigger impact by joining Arizona Forward at this point in my career.”
For Arizona Forward’s board of directors, the choice was easy.
“After an extensive search and interviewing many qualified candidates, Lori stood apart as a leader with the extraordinary ability to connect vision, people and ideas, which is critical to drive the strategy and execution of our mission,” says David Skinner of HDR, who recently began his first term as board chair for Arizona Forward. “Lori has the industry knowledge, statewide connections and organizational history that makes her ideal to lead our effort to reset, refocus and re-energize as an environmental advocacy leader.”
As the new leader of Arizona Forward, Singleton’s focus is to significantly increase statewide advocacy efforts. She and the board of directors are setting a new course to make tangible progress on issues that are in line with the organization’s mission and vision. The priorities include:
• Advocating for improved use of waterways, including late Sen. John McCain’s vision of “Rio Salado 2.0” and the Santa Cruz River in Tucson.
• Promoting policies and convening state-wide dialogue to make Arizona a leader in autonomous and connected vehicle adoption.
• Advancing Canalscape, the canal redevelopment that will promote connectivity and economic development.
• Collaborating with others to solve Arizona’s forest health issues.
“My position at Arizona Forward allows me to take my skills and experience and lend them to this organization and bring it to a new starting place and a refocus for the future,” Singleton says. “With my extensive background in energy, water and forest and the great work SRP has been able to do on the canals, there is a great synergy that will help bring some of Arizona Forward’s projects to fruition — improved forest health, Canalscape and Rio Reimagined.”
During her time at SRP, Singleton’s work often connected her with Arizona Forward’s focus on key sustainability issues for the state.
“Many of our members are involved with water issues and know that water is an important topic now and will be in the future for Arizona,” Singleton says. “The beauty of Arizona Forward is its ability to bring parties together to convene a dialogue that leads to progress. We don’t have a stake in the game like other organizations might. Our only interest is the future of Arizona and making it vibrant, continuing economic growth and helping the state flourish.”
Arizona Forward has the unique distinction of having influenced quality of life decisions in the state since 1969 by mobilizing business leaders and policymakers. The organization’s goal is to leverage its collective power to influence how Arizona can best grow its communities, stimulate the state’s economy and enhance the environment.
“Coming from SRP, I have a strong background in setting goals, defining strategies and moving forward,” Singleton says. “I want to apply those skills and use those strategies to move this organization forward. My long-term goal is to position us to do a great job looking ahead, studying priorities and accomplish those priorities. With the board we have now and with our statewide focus, I’m confident we will be able to do a lot more than what we have been able to do in the past.”