Three Pinal County economic developers and organizations were recently named winners of an Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) Award.
The awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of the organization and also to economic growth within Arizona. Recipients are selected from a pool of nominations made by members of AAED.
Richard Wilkie, CEcD, AZED Pro, economic development director for the city of Casa Grande, was recognized as “Economic Developer of the Year, Medium Community.”
Joel Millman, program manager for Pinal County, was honored as “Workforce Practitioner of the Year.”
Pinal County was named “Medium Organization of the Year.”
Wilkie and his team have been responsible for a number of significant accomplishments in Casa Grande, including the attraction of:
Lucid Motors Project – a $1 billion, 2,200-employee project encompassing 1.8 million square-feet of office space on 500 acres.
Dreamport Villages Project – a $4.4 billion, 6,000-employee project encompassing 5 million square-feet of buildings on 1,600 acres.
Tractor Supply DC – a $450 million, 675,000 square-foot facility on 60 acres.
LKQ Project – a $175 million, 200,000 square-foot facility on 70 acres.
Attesa Motorsports Project – $1.4 billion, 10,000-employee project sprawling across 3,000 acres.
Millman was honored for his efforts in leading the transformation of Pinal County’s new local workforce development efforts. Previously the county was part of a consortium with Gila County for program delivery. He has been responsible for assisting the new local workforce director in identifying and building a new workforce development board, as well as implementing an improved service delivery system.
Pinal County was cited for its broad support of AAED’s education, advocacy and collaboration efforts. Those include the participation, hosting and sponsorship of workshops, meetings and presentations through the Pinal Partnership, Pinal Alliance, Pinal County and the AAED Workforce Development Symposium and Committee.
The county also takes an active role in promoting and publicly supporting many local and statewide economic development initiatives and policies.
The three awards for Pinal County and its leadership were among 10 awards presented during an evening awards dinner at the AAED Spring Conference in Oro Valley.
“The winners of the EDDE Awards truly represent the best and brightest economic development practitioners and organizations in Arizona,” said Joyce Grossman, AZED Pro, AAED’s executive director. “Their contributions throughout the state demonstrate not only a commitment to the communities they serve, but to the economic vitality across Arizona.”