For years considered a tag-along to the Phoenix- area business scene, the West Valley is emerging as a leader. Huge projects and high-profile companies underscore rapid growth from Goodyear, Avondale and Buckeye to Glendale and even Peoria.
In its 27 years, WESTMARC—the Western Maricopa Coalition—helped promote this growth.
“The West Valley is coming into its own,” said Sintra Hoffman, president and CEO of WESTMARC.
She said Glendale, home of the Arizona Cardinals and Coyotes, helped make “the West Valley the sports mecca of Arizona.”
It is making the westside a destination with a furious growth pace.
“Over the past two decades, this region has grown to 1.6 million educated, skilled and connected residents. Over the next 25 years, 49.5% of the growth in Maricopa County will occur in the West Valley,” said Hoffman.
“While many previously felt the West Valley was not the ‘favored child in the family,’ today residents, stakeholders and leaders understand we are the emerging community and have the advantage of learning lessons from other regions in the state.”
WESTMARC is a public-private partnership of the 15 residential and business communities, as well as the educational sector in the West Valley. The organization, according to its mission statement, “is committed to our members’ success and to our mission of enhancing economic development and promoting quality of life in the West Valley,” Hoffman added.
Additionally Hoffman mentioned, “We are working with developers, investors and communities to highlight our professional workforce and encourage investment in Class A office space.”
This time of year, WESTMARC celebrates top West Valley achievements with a dinner and awards show.
WESTMARC is hosting the 27th-annual Best of the West Awards dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at State Farm Stadium.
“The Best of the West Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economy in the West Valley,” Hoffman explained. “WESTMARC is proud to honor these outstanding individuals and organizations making a great impact in the West Valley.” Adding:
“For the last four years, the Arizona Cardinals have been the presenting sponsor - and they really know how to put on a show.”
The organization announced finalists in four categories.
Finalists in the economic engine category are Glendale’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino, which is expanding and hiring more than 1,000, and Avondale’s Coldwater Depot Logistics Center.
In the excellence in innovation category, the finalists include the city of Peoria’s Business Concierge and Arizona State University’s Cybersecurity Education Consortium (CEC).
The Peoria program was created “to strengthen the city’s business partnership, build rapport, connect businesses with services and community support programs, navigate planning, zoning, signage, code enforcement and other areas within the city.”
ASU’s CEC “is actively working to empower students at any age to be the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and leaders.”
There are two quality of life enhancement in community finalists: West Valley Arts Council, located in Surprise and features members from around the West Valley, and Maryvale Revitalization Corporation’s HERO U Program, which aims to promote positive thinking for students in eighth and ninth grade.
Surprsingly there are no teachers in the quality of life enhancement in education category. Finalist include Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life, an annual conference helping to “dispel the stigma of being a ‘snitch’ or a ‘tattletale’ by informing students that reporting warning signs can often prevent school tragedies,” and Waddell’s Canyon View High School, which recently won the prestigious James MacConnell Award “for curiosity, creativity and imagination in education.”
In addition to the four annual awards, the WESTMARC board of directors will also present the inspiration in leadership award to Littleton School District Superintendent Roger Freeman and the regional advancement award to Mike and Cindy Watts, of the ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
This year’s President’s Choice Award winner is Julie Rees of the lobbying and advocacy firm Triadvocates.
Best of the West costs: Member table, $2,000; non-member table, $2,500; member individual seat, $275; non-member individual seat, $325.
For reservations and more information, visit westmarc.org/bow19.
The awards dinner is a chance for the West Valley to remember how far it has come, Hoffman said, with destinations like Skyline Regional Park, the Cardinals, Coyotes and ISM Raceway.
“West Valley residents are proud of the high quality of life and strong community networks we enjoy. Many young families who moved here during the economic boom, are still here but with young adult children,” said the Westmarc CEO.
“We truly choose to live here today, and the ‘little sibling complex’ is an outdated feeling.”