Metro Candidates for 2024-2025 Board of Directors

Mar 27, 2024 | Uncategorized

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.


Heath Anderson, M.Ed, AZED Pro
Outreach & Workforce Development Specialist
Western Electrical Contractors Association

Heath Anderson joined the Wester Electrical Contractors Association to take on their Outreach and Workforce Development for their Arizona expansion. There he works with contractors, education institutions, and community partners to develop talent pipelines and career opportunities in the Arizona construction Industry. Prior to WECA, he worked for more than ten years for Maricopa County Workforce Development. There he connected employers and job seekers in every occupation and industry serving Arizona. In that time, it was the skilled trades such as construction and manufacturing that became his focus due to their long-term reliability and transferability for workers which led him to his work today. In the years leading up to this he had two decades in business development representing clients such as Master foods and Merc Pharmaceuticals in large format retail such as Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and Albertsons. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources and a master’s degree in education design along with several post master’s certificates such as AAED’s AZED Pro. Arizona is his home of 42 years and continues to look for ways to support our community.

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

Over the last ten years I have involved myself in a range of ways with AAED. I have always contributed as my duties have allowed me to do so. I have found this to be an amazing organization. I have participated on several committees, including workforce development, professional development, and a variety of special event planning committees. The special event committees I served on included several marketing and workforce programs. The workforce development committee has always been the most important to me. I’m the current Chairperson and its Vice-Chair before that. In supporting special event committees, I have helped develop programs, obtained speakers, presented as a speaker, and facilitated panel discussions. I secured Heart for the City as our charity recipient during one annual December Charity luncheon. We helped them support a great many children’s access to education with those proceeds. 2016 I was awarded the EDDE for Workforce Practitioner of the Year. In 2017, I completed my AZED Pro Certification to increase my capabilities to help our community in my work. I have attended as many conferences and events to maintain that certification as best possible. Most recently, I was very proud to nominate another colleague for the 2024 EDDE Workforce Practitioner of the Year. I did so to recognize another’s great efforts and give back. It is through the amazing works of those around me that I have learned and grown.

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

I see the AAED Board as a natural progression in my involvement in our association. I believe this is a wonderful way to contribute on a higher level and make a greater difference. I have been fortunate to know and learn from many talented professionals in every sector surrounding our association. I consider it a gift and a responsibility to take what I have learned and pass it on to others. Workforce Development has increasingly taken center stage in economic development. I have been encouraged by many that more workforce development presence in AAED leadership would be an asset. Over a thirty-year period, I have worked in both the public and private sector developing both people in the workforce and the tools to help them in that effort. It is my hope to blend that experience with the contributions of so many other stakeholders to help launch AAED into its next fifty years.


Kirsten Hall, CEcD, AZED Pro
Business Attraction Project Manager
City of Surprise 

Kirsten Hall is the Business Attraction Project Manager for the City of Surprise Economic Development Dept. She’s been with the city of Surprise for three months and has been in the economic development field for over 20 years. Her role at the city of Surprise is to create and support development industry engagement opportunities and to target and meet with prospects in the targeted employment industry sectors. She’s worked at Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management, Estrella Mountain Community College, Arizona Commerce Authority, and the City of Peoria. She is currently an adjunct faculty at Grand Canyon University teaching marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Phoenix, an MBA from Grand Canyon University and is a west valley graduate of Alhambra High School and Barcelona Elementary School. Kirsten has two children and five grandchildren. 

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

I have been a committee member for the EDDE Awards for 6+ years, the committee’s board liaison for two years, and an AAED member for 14 years. With few exceptions, I have attended just about every Spring and Fall conference since 2010. 

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

In the coming two years, I am excited by the new executive leadership of AAED coupled with Katie Hurst’s continued leadership as Executive Director. I have found a place for myself as a new committee member for the Fall Forum and will possibly be the board liaison for that committee with Kristen Stephenson’s move to Vice Chair and then Chair of AAED. AAED has a very bright future ahead with this new panel of leadership and I’m excited to continue my board involvement and will double down on the ways I am engaged. 


Michael Jansen, CEcD, AZED Pro
Manager, Economic Development & Strategic Accounts
Trico Electric Cooperative 

Michael Jansen has been an Economic Developer for the past seven years, during which time he has been an active AAED member. He worked as an Economic Development Specialist/Program Manager for the Town of Sahuarita for almost six years and has since worked for Trico Electric Cooperative, handling their Economic Development and Strategic Accounts programs. During these years, he actively served on the Southern AZ and Government Affairs (GAC) Committees. He also served as GAC Chair for three years and has been a member of the AAED Board of Directors since 2022 serving as the Board Liaison for the Southern Committee. Some of his accomplishments in AAED include refining and reenergizing AAED’s pillar of Advocacy (through the GAC committee), planning three legislative lunches on the lawns (near the capitol), and planning numerous luncheons, charity events, and mixers for the Southern Committee. AAED is an important voice for communities and businesses throughout the state, and it would be an honor to continue serving on the Board of Directors. 

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

I have been extensively involved in both the Southern Committee and the Government Affairs Committee since joining AAED in 2016. I served as Vice Chair and then Chair in the Government Affairs committee from 2019-2022. During this, I helped organize and plan our Policy Impact Celebrations/Lunch on the (Capitol) Lawn events, and I also worked with both the committee and board leadership to help refine and refresh AAED’s pillar of advocacy. The GAC committee submitted a number of policy positions and support or opposition letters during this time and worked closely with our lobbying firm Dorn Policy Group to keep the committee and membership informed of pressing state and federal policy issues pertaining to economic development (occasionally local issues as well). During these years, I also served on the Southern committee, and after joining the Board in 2022, I served as the Board Liaison for this committee for the last two years. I helped organize numerous lunch events, asset tours, holiday charity celebrations, and, most recently, the Southern Summit held in Tucson. Additionally, I have attended a number of board/leadership retreats since 2019, and I have attended most every AAED Spring and Fall conference since 2017. In 2017, I attended the IEDC Basic Economic Development course hosted by AAED, and then in 2018/2019 I earned my AZED Pro designation through taking the necessary AAED coursework. 

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

AAED is the voice for economic development in the state of Arizona. What we do in education, advocacy, and collaboration is essential to the growth and vitality of all communities and regions throughout Arizona. I have greatly benefited professionally and personally from my service as a board member over the past two years, and I wish to continue this service and provide a voice for Southern Arizona and the utility/cooperative industry at AAED. Many things are changing in the electric utility industry that will impact Economic Development in Arizona, and I want to contribute these perspectives to the board that will greatly affect both metro and rural areas. I believe in AAED’s mission, and I hope to continue learning from a diverse blend of colleagues on the board, while also sharing my experiences to the betterment of the state that we all love. It is an honor, privilege, and great responsibility to serve on the board, and I believe my knowledge and experiences will help guide AAED through times of economic and organizational transitions. 


Melissa Johnson, AZED Pro
Director, Business Development & Marketing
Danson Construction 

Melissa Johnson is the Director of Business Development & Marketing for Danson Construction, a full-service commercial general contractor. She began her career at a land use law firm in 2008 and has stayed within the development industry in different capacities. She has a passion for regional and rural work while also bringing together statewide efforts. Melissa is an Advisory Board Member for AAED and a Board Member for Superstition Area Land Trust. She is an active member of ULI and SMPS, serving on various committees. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Arizona – where she was born and raised. 

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

I am an active and engaged member of AAED having served on the Fall Forum Committee since joining as a member and currently serving as Chair of the Committee. I am also an active member of the Membership Engagement Committee since its inception. For three years in a row, I led the Marketing & Business Development Summit planning efforts. I am currently serving as an AAED Advisory Board Member as well as on the Bylaws Review Subcommittee. I have attended 100% of the Board Meetings under Skip Becker’s Presidency. I attend most of the events AAED puts on and help actively market and share on social media and with my contacts. My company has also served as an event sponsor for the Fall Forum and golf tournament, and I have moderated a panel discussion at a lunch event. I intend to remain engaged and an advocate for AAED well into the future! 

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

I want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors because I believe in the work we are doing. I have been an active and engaged member of the organization and understand what we are working towards. I have a passion for bringing people and ideas together and helping advocate for responsible economic development. As an Advisory Board Member, I have gained a deeper understanding of how AAED operates and how I can be more impactful as a voting member of the Board. Serving on the Bylaws Review Subcommittee has also allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the guiding principles and rules that drive the organization forward and this is a critical time to become a voting member as my experience and involvement will be helpful moving forward. 


Chad Schleicher
Director of Business Development
Adolfson & Peterson 

Chad Schleicher is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in the AEC industry. Hailing from Kansas City, he honed his skills at the University of Kansas, where he earned a degree in Finance. Chad’s career trajectory has been marked by a series of impactful roles, showcasing his expertise and versatility. Beginning as a Financial Analyst and Accountant in Real Estate Investment Trusts, Chad transitioned into Business Development, where he excelled for 8 years at prestigious firms like SmithGroup, Weitz, and Adolfson & Peterson. His experience also includes a stint in Economic Development for the City of Tempe, demonstrating his commitment to community growth and prosperity. 

Recently, Chad furthered his education by completing a Masters in Real Estate Development from the University of Arizona, enhancing his knowledge and skills in the field. His dedication and achievements have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his recognition in ENR’s top 40 under 40 list and receiving the Emerging Leader award from AAED. 

With a proven track record of success and a passion for driving innovation in the AEC sector, Chad Schleicher continues to make significant contributions to the industry while inspiring others with his leadership and vision. 

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

My involvement has been full speed since I joined in 2016. After only three days of working for SmithGroup and my first event ever in the industry, I was at the Spring Conference. I soon sat on the Events committee and quickly became the Vice-Chair, which within six months led to the Chair, and I held that position for three to four years. Since I joined, I try to make every Phoenix metro event, have attended nearly all Spring and Fall Conferences since I started and have remained active in committee engagement having recently taken over the Membership Committee. I have been very fortunate to have been an Advisory Board member for the last 3 years, even through a number of job changes. While at each of those jobs I have made sure that we became a sponsor and was responsible for Tempe’s Platinum level sponsorship. Plus, I am just a nice guy! haha. 

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

For an association I truly enjoy being a member of, I would like to use my energy, experience, and insights to help shape the association moving forward and continue to improve on what is currently in place. I would love to see the association grow from 550-800 and for events to become sought after events for our community at large. I would also like to see growth in areas like Philanthropy and improved member engagement. Being on the board allows me a voice and vote to achieve such goals.


Cameron Robb
Senior Economic Development Consultant

Cameron has been in workforce and economic development for the past decade and currently serves as the Senior Economic Development Consultant at Arizona Public Service (APS). She works closely with state, county, regional and municipal economic development organizations to attract and stimulate business investment that creates jobs and supports a healthy economy in Arizona. In addition to job creation, she helps to drive megawatt generation, entrepreneurship, and rural community support. She was formerly the VP of Business Development at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, responsible for supporting new company relocation and expansion to the region across all industry sectors.  

She is a 2009 graduate of the M.A. Education in Instructional Leadership from Argosy University and a 2008 graduate of the B.A. English in Secondary Education from Ottawa University. Cameron initially entered a career in Higher Ed, which developed over 17 years. She also lived and worked in New York City to pursue an acting career. She was born a native to Phoenix, Arizona and has also lived in Los Angeles, California. Cameron is an active member of AAED, IEDC, NAIOP, UEDA, and ULI NEXT, as well as an active board member serving the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization and the Millionaire Mastermind Academy. She recently accepted the Co-Chair position for the Economic Development Committee with WESTMARC. Additionally, Cameron is a passionate advocate for inclusivity and empowerment in business, dedicated to supporting women and minoritized groups in the community. 

Please describe your involvement in AAED.

I have been an active member of AAED since 2019, when I was on the business development team at GPEC, and have continued my participation since moving into my current role with APS. I have attended every fall and spring conference, dozens of local networking and educational events (off-the-clock conversations, roundtables, info sessions, summit events, cornhole, golf, etc.), and regularly attended the monthly rural committee meetings for over two years. I have also taken academy courses and am almost complete with the program. I have enjoyed being a member of AAED for the fellowship, education, and best practice sharing over the years. 

Why do you want to serve as a member of the AAED Board of Directors?

As a statewide utility provider, I have worked with several partners across AZ who are also part of the AAED membership. This opportunity would allow me to deepen my relationships with stakeholders across the state and provide further support to both metro and rural partners. I look forward to learning more about the organization from behind the scenes and being a part of a creative and solutions-focused board of directors who are committed to the success of our state. Thank you for your consideration.