Arizona Association for Economic Development Presents 2024 EDDE Awards

Apr 29, 2024 | Media Release

Arizona Association for Economic Development Presents 2024 EDDE Awards

Christine Mackay from the City of Phoenix and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Receive Top Honors


PHOENIX, ARIZ. (April 30, 2024) — The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) presented its annual Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) Awards during its Spring Conference in Lake Havasu City last week.

The EDDE Awards honor the best economic development practices for individuals, organizations, and companies that have significantly contributed to the advancement of economic growth in the state. Recipients are selected from a pool of nominations made by members of AAED.

Christine Mackay, Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Phoenix received the prestigious William Lampkin Award for Long-Term Excellence in Economic Development for her more than 25 years of service to Arizona communities. This award recognizes outstanding achievements by an individual who has made significant contributions to economic development efforts in Arizona and demonstrated a sustained commitment to AAED. Nominations are evaluated based on the overall economic impact of the individual’s efforts to Arizona, the nominee’s contributions to AAED, the development of strong relationships and community support, and contributions to the economic development profession.

Since joining the City of Phoenix in 2014, Mackay has transformed the city’s economic development landscape. Under her leadership, businesses have invested over $54 billion in projects, adding 50+ million square feet and raising the average annual salary from $39,000 to $71,000 over ten years. She was also instrumental in attracting the largest FDI project in the country to Phoenix, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) building two semiconductor facilities, a $40 billion investment that continues to grow. In 2016, the Arizona Association for Economic Development named Mackay the Economic Developer of the Year.

As for the Best of Arizona Award, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport took home the coveted honor, which is presented to individuals or organizations whose dedication to economic development is unequal and significantly impacts Arizona’s economy. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is an internationally recognized economic powerhouse attracting leading global companies and contributing $1.8 billion annually. The airport’s long-standing success results from a shared vision and collaboration between multiple communities, including the City of Mesa, the City of Phoenix, the Town of Gilbert, the Town of Queen Creek, the City of Apache Junction, and the Gila River Indian Community.

2024 was also the year of Prescott Valley, as their economic development team took home three awards: Economic Developer of the Year (Small Community), New Member of the Year, and Small Organization of the Year. Both Economic Development Administrator Cutter Chamberlain and Economic Development Specialist Diana Soto are heavily involved with AAED. Chamberlain sits on the Board of Directors, serves as the Northern Affinity Group committee chair, and participates in several other committees. Additionally, Prescott Valley collaborates with numerous municipalities and non-profit organizations, such as the Yavapai County Economic Resource Alliance and NACOG, to encourage economic development efforts.

Marc Valenzuela, chair of the Awards Committee, said the EDDE awards recognize best-in-class individuals and organizations who attract business to Arizona, create quality jobs, and define our communities.

“Often, economic developers’ work goes unnoticed because so much of it is done behind the scenes and is truly a labor of love over many years,” Valenzuela said. “That is why the EDDE Awards are critical to recognizing the tremendous achievements of the economic development community. They celebrate these individuals for their tireless efforts to move Arizona forward.”

Overall, 12 EDDE awards were presented to:

Best of Arizona Award
Winner: Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Economic Developer of the Year, Large Community
Winner: Heath Vescovi-Chiordi, AZED Pro, Director of Economic Development, Pima County

Vescovi-Chiordi spearheaded the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) and secured a $500,000 grant under the EDA Distressed Areas Recompete Pilot Program, positioning Pima County for further grants. He also initiated programs targeting business retention, workforce development, and down payment assistance for aspiring homeowners through the Pima-Tucson Lighthouse Fund. Additionally, he played a crucial role in attracting the American Battery Factory project to Arizona, projected to bring significant investment and job creation to Pima County.

Economic Developer of the Year, Medium Community
Winner: Doreen Cott, Economic Development Director, Town of Queen Creek

Cott was pivotal in securing a historic $5.5 billion investment from LG Energy Solution for a battery manufacturing facility, the largest in North America, positioning Queen Creek prominently in the economic landscape. Under her leadership, Queen Creek established its first hotel and Costco, implemented a Small Business Grant program, and developed the acclaimed Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre. Cott was also instrumental in the Town of Queen Creek’s Economic Development Department achieving accreditation as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) in 2018.

Economic Developer of the Year, Small Community
Winner: Cutter Chamberlain, AZED Pro, Economic Development Administrator, Town of Prescott Valley

Economic Developer of the Year, Emerging
Winner: Casey Gilchrist, Senior Director for International Business Development, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

During her tenure at GPEC, Gilchrist has played a crucial role in the region’s international business attraction strategy, securing five global business locations and earning recognition as a Top 50 Economic Developer in North America. Since joining the organization, GPEC has seen a notable increase in international prospects, with her involvement extending to leading initiatives such as the International Leadership Council and organizing delegation visits to Greater Phoenix, including the largest foreign delegation hosted to date.

Large Organization of the Year
Winner: City of Peoria

With nearly 200,000 residents, the City of Peoria is driving economic growth to unprecedented levels. Peoria’s dedication to advancing public policy aligns with its belief in community engagement, exemplified by its Economic Development Advisory Board, which advises the City Council on economic matters and collaborates with stakeholders and regional organizations. Recently, the city council approved a development agreement with Amkor Technology, signaling a significant investment of $2 billion and the creation of over 2,000 new jobs, further bolstering Peoria’s economic landscape.

Medium Organization of the Year
Winner: City of Goodyear

Throughout the past year, the city of Goodyear has actively engaged with AAED through various avenues, including sending employees to training courses, serving on multiple committees, and attending key events such as the 2023 Fall Conference and Spring Conference. Their dedication is evident in their support for staff development, with several employees pursuing AZED Pro certification, and their generous sponsorships of AAED events. The city’s embodiment of AAED’s pillars is exemplified by their InnovationHub, which has provided vital resources to over 6,000 local entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Small Organization of the Year
Winner: Town of Prescott Valley

New AAED Member of the Year
Winner: Diana Soto, Economic Development Specialist, Town of Prescott Valley

New AAED Member of the Year
Winner: MaKenzie Wilson, AZED Pro, Economic Development Project Manager, Town of Gilbert

Wilson has dedicated her time and skills to various AAED committees and events, including the Fall Forum, Cornhole Tournament, Luncheons, Summits, Basic Economic Development Course, and the Spring Conference in 2023, while also pursuing her AZED Pro certification. Notably, she contributed significantly to the Events and Emerging Leaders Committees, volunteering in diverse capacities and taking on planning the successful “Controlling the Narrative” Summit in February.

Workforce Practitioner of the Year
Winner: Kevin Dumcum, AZED Pro, Director of Regional Workforce Development, WESTMARC

Dumcum helped establish the West Valley Pipeline, one of Arizona’s earliest regional workforce development strategies, in 2017. His leadership at WESTMARC has been transformative for the West Valley, notably spearheading the creation of West Valley Pipeline 2.0 in 2023 and securing a 30-month Economic Recovery Corps fellowship to leverage AI and emerging technologies for workforce development. His visionary approach has positioned WESTMARC as a lead convener for initiatives like implementing the Academies Model in the Agua Fria School District, contributing significantly to growth and workforce development momentum in the Greater Phoenix West Valley region.

Provider of the Year
Winner: Resolution Copper

In 2023, this dynamic organization promoted sustainability and diversification in Superior, Arizona’s local and regional economy, aiming to mitigate the historical impacts of the mining cycle. The Resolution Copper Regional and Economic Development Strategy focused on vital aspects like local business development, workforce training, economic diversification, and community resilience. Under Bryan Seppala’s leadership, the organization achieved significant milestones, maintaining over 85% local employment and investing millions in salaries, local partnerships, and community initiatives, including a substantial ‘Social Investment Portfolio.’ Collaborating with numerous external partners and fostering internal collaborations, Resolution Copper played a pivotal role in supporting economic development in Superior and empowering Seppala’s professional growth, exemplified by his AZED Pro certification and active involvement in statewide organizations.

About the Arizona Association for Economic Development

AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice for responsible economic development through professional education, public policy, and collaboration. For more information on AAED, visit or call (602) 240-2233.