Tempe Leadership – 25th Anniversary – Part 2

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Tempe Leadership – 25th Anniversary – Part 2

Originally published April 9, 2010 – Tonight history meets the present and looks to the future when Tempe Leadership celebrates its 25th Anniversary at a gala celebration in the Tempe Center for the Arts.

For those that may not know “Tempe Leadership is a program that brings Tempe’s leaders and potential leaders into contact with the issues confronting Tempe, and with those critically involved in shaping these issues. Tempe Leadership realizes that leaders are not created by leadership programs. Our purpose is to provide a program which develops…individuals and encourages cooperation among Tempe’s leaders.”

That statement by then-Tempe Chamber of Commerce president Bill Alexander and first Tempe Leadership president Ivan Johnson was made in May 1985. 25 years later it still forms the foundation of the program.

Over the past quarter-century nearly 500 have graduated from the nine-month curriculum. From that roster has emerged a Who’s Who of Tempe leaders that have made significant contributions to the community. It represents the powerful legacy of a remarkable program.

Nine have been elected to the city Council. One became mayor.

Three have served in the state legislature.

Over a dozen city employees have been enriched by the program. Three have led the Tempe Fire Department ─ as Fire Chief, interim-Chief and Assistant Chief.

Another graduate became Chief of Police. Others are now department heads.

Bill Post, a 1986 Class I graduate, started as a draftsman at Arizona Public Service in 1971. By 1997 he was president and CEO of APS and president of Pinnacle West. And ultimately chairman of both companies in 2001.

Graduates of the last 25 classes became a newspaper editor, school board members, business owners and CEO’s, social service leaders, community activists and so much more.

25 years allows sufficient distance to observe the evolution of careers.

For example one candidate for Class I wrote in his application: “I would like to serve on some Boards or Committees and use the knowledge gained in the decision making processes that take place. “

He went on to make some predictions: “The situations faced by a city that is land-locked and will be fully developed in 10-15 years pose several problems: as growth continues the city will face the decision of curtailing services or raising taxes.

“Regional shopping malls and car dealerships are not the entire long range solution. Tempe needs to prepare to be the “west-side” of an east valley metropolis with 34% of the valley’s estimated 3.8 million by 2000. While these may seem like future problems the city will face, I would contend they are problems now that if not attended to will be beyond the opportunity for significantly dealing with them in 10-15 years.”

That how Neil Giuliano saw the future nearly a decade before he became Tempe’s mayor in 1994.

To all who have made a difference because of their participation in Tempe Leadership we say thank-you for your contributions to making Tempe a truly outstanding city.

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