Former PHX East Valley Partnership President and CEO John Lewis will resume his role leading the dynamic economic development organization effective Jan. 1.

November 9, 2021

AZ Business Magazine

John Lewis returns as PHX East Valley Partnership CEO

Former PHX East Valley Partnership President and CEO John Lewis will resume his role leading the dynamic economic development organization effective Jan. 1.  Lewis will take the reins from Denny Barney, who will return full-time to his business ventures.

“Denny has done a phenomenal job and we are sorry to see him step down,” said Adam Deguire, interim vice president in Arizona State University’s Office of Government & Community Engagement and the Partnership’s chairman. “The good news is that talent in our region runs deep.”

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A business executive and former mayor of Gilbert, Lewis was named to the Partnership’s top post in 2015 but stepped down three years later to serve as mission president of the LDS Church.

“I’m thrilled to be back and look forward to working with a progressive group of leaders to continue to move our region forward,” he said.

During his tenure, Lewis played an integral role in making the region a mecca for business, establishing a mentoring program for small business owners and creating a fertile environment for entrepreneurs. He also worked with regional officials and Arizona Tech Investors to catalyze economic growth by raising awareness of angel investing and enhancing access to early-stage funding for East Valley tech startup companies.

Barney served on the Partnership’s board of directors and as a Maricopa County Supervisor before being named the organization’s president and CEO during what he says has been “one of the most significant and productive times in the region’s history.”

The PHX East Valley has grown exponentially and now boasts a population of 1.6 million and a labor force of more than 717,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Because of its talented and highly educated workforce and favorable quality of life, the area also continues to be a magnet for new businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in the aerospace and aviation, manufacturing, technology, financial services and health care industries.

The PHX East Valley Partnership, founded 39 years ago as a cooperative effort among the East Valley’s seven communities – Apache Junction, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Tempe – along with Maricopa and Pinal counties and Gila and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian communities, has grown in size and stature, too.

Under Barney’s leadership, the Partnership shined an even brighter light on PHX East Valley, advocated for transportation, education and other critical issues, and engaged more municipal, business, education and community leaders in the organization.

“As a sixth-generation PHX East Valley resident and a longtime business owner, I have had a front-row seat watching the region grow and mature,” Barney said. “It has been the honor of my life to give back to the organization and the community I love.”

Barney balanced his duties at the Partnership with his role as principal of Arcus Private Capital Solutions, a specialized realty investment and finance company. He will continue to participate on Partnership as a board member.