Member Highlight: MaKenzie Wilson

May 6, 2024 | Uncategorized

April 2024 Member Highlight

MaKenzie Wilson, AZED Pro
Economic Development Project Manager, Town of Gilbert
AAED New Member of the Year 2024 (along with Diana Soto)

What do you enjoy most about being an AAED member?
I really enjoy the community and relationships that are built through the association. It has helped me
grow so much in my role, and I have learned so many new things in a lot of different industries through the members that are involved in the association. I also love being a part of the Events, Sun’s Workforce, and Emerging Leaders committees because we are all coming together for a greater cause and continue
to help in the growth of economic development in Arizona, and that is what keeps me interested in being an engaged member.

What most excites you about living and working in Arizona?
Besides having the best weather here, seeing the growth Arizona is experiencing excites me. There is so much opportunity for people here when you look at the private and public investment across Greater Phoenix; the communities are creating incredible live/work/play environments.

How did you come to work in the economic development profession?
Out of college, I was in the construction industry, and while in that role, the development piece always interested me the most. I loved seeing how these projects were coming to life, and knew I wanted to be a part of it. I was a resident of Gilbert at the time, and when I was looking to take the next steps in my career, Gilbert had an opening for an Economic Development Project Manager. After learning more about the profession and position, I was instantly hooked. I was inspired by the fact that I could do what I valued in public service while supporting the growth of Gilbert-based businesses and managing a pipeline of economic development projects.

What brought you or Arizona?
I moved out to Arizona from Colorado in 2018 to attend Grand Canyon University. I was a cheerleader there and graduated with my degree in Business Management in 2021. I met my now husband in my junior year while he was going to school for his MBA, and we got married about a month after I graduated. He is from California, and after graduation, we both decided that we wanted to call Arizona home forever!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, you can catch me playing pickleball, hiking, or hanging out on a patio with my husband and dog.

What’s your favorite Arizona location for a weekend trip?
When I get the chance, I love to go up to Sedona and enjoy all of the great restaurants and opportunities to be outdoors in such a stunning environment.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas is my favorite holiday. Growing up in Colorado, having a white Christmas was always my favorite memory (even though I did not like the snow any other time of the year). My grandparents’ house was always the one that had all the crazy cool lights, and it made the holiday that much more fun. I try to keep those traditions going here even though it is a bit different with no snow.