Valley Partnership announced today that Cheryl Lombard, the organization’s president and CEO since 2015, will be leaving her position next month. Lombard, one of Arizona’s most recognized public policy leaders and the state’s strongest advocate for real estate development, has accepted a new role with ClearPath to oversee the group’s regulatory reform work to reduce and remove global energy emissions.

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During her tenure at Valley Partnership, Lombard received numerous appointments to represent the real estate development industry, including most recently on Governor Hobbs’ Water Policy Council. That appointment was in addition to her service to the Arizona Colorado River Reconsultation Committee, the Arizona Drought Contingency Steering Committee, Governor Ducey’s Augmentation & Innovation Council, as co-chair of the Post-2025 Active Management Area Committee, and Maricopa Association of Governments Transportation Policy Committee.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time leading Valley Partnership and am so appreciative of the tremendous opportunity to represent one of Arizona’s most dynamic industries,” Lombard said. “I am looking forward to my new position, but I am going to miss the daily interactions with the individuals who make Arizona’s development community the envy of the nation. Real estate development in Arizona is well positioned for success in the years ahead.”

Before joining Valley Partnership, Lombard was the government relations director for The Nature Conservancy. She served as the co-chair of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Transition Committee on State Lands and was a member of Governor Jan Brewer’s Transition Team. She also received the 2022 Arizona Capitol Times Leaders of the Year Award for Leading Trade Association and the 2010 Arizona Capitol Times Leaders of the Year in Public Policy Award for the Environment along with many other awards and honors.

“Cheryl has been an exceptional leader for Valley Partnership, and we are grateful for her years of service,” said Laura Ortiz, managing principal of Evergreen Development Company and chairperson of Valley Partnership’s Board of Directors. “She leaves big shoes to fill. Few understand the myriad issues affecting the Valley’s development community the way Cheryl does. We wish her only the best in her new venture.”

Thanks to her outstanding leadership, Lombard’s tenure coincided with a period of incredible growth in the Greater Phoenix region, with Maricopa County leading the nation in population growth and landing several high-profile and sought-after investments.

“Cheryl has been a great partner to me and to the city of Phoenix, especially as we navigate a historic drought, exponential growth, and increased economic development,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “I’ve relied on Cheryl’s counsel and insight on some of the most critical issues facing the city, and I will miss her voice in those conversations moving forward. I congratulate her on her tenure at Valley Partnership and wish her nothing but the best in her new position.”

Lombard also emerged as one of the state’s foremost experts on water policy, playing a crucial role in the negotiation of the Drought Contingency Plan and serving as an adviser to elected officials in crafting wise public policy around water stewardship.

“I want to congratulate Cheryl Lombard on a fantastic run at the helm of Valley Partnership,” said former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “Cheryl was a tremendous help to me and my administration, starting with our transition. Together, we worked to strengthen the state’s water security. The crafting of lasting, consequential water policy takes the work and input of many stakeholders. Arizona owes Cheryl a debt of gratitude.”

Valley Partnership has launched a search for a new CEO, and a committee has been formed to oversee the selection process.

“We’re sad to see Cheryl go, but we are excited to embark on a new chapter for Valley Partnership and look forward to finding a leader who can build on Cheryl’s success and take our organization to new heights,” Ortiz said.