Desert Diamond Casinos

Inside Tucson Business and Tucson Local Media celebrate the best of the best in the biz community on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment

It is with great honor and pleasure that alongside our sponsors and event partners, Tucson Local Media/Inside Tucson Business is able to once again honor those individuals who have exemplified excellence in their leadership within the Tucson community.

The nominees for these prestigious awards will be honored on Nov. 14 at the sixth annual Executive Excellence Awards Banquet at Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment. 

All of us at Tucson local Media want to thank our sponsors: Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment, Pinpointe Accounting Services, Intermountain Centers, UA Tech Park, Jadestar Acupuncture, KE & G Construction, Casago Property Management and Short-Term Rentals, Listerpros and Konica Minolta. 

Tucson Local Media would also like to thank the Tucson Community for submitting more than 110 nominations across 10 categories. These nominations came from colleagues, business associates, and acquaintances that felt their nominee has demonstrated outstanding leadership, knowledge, and a level of accomplishment, placing them at the top of their fields.

I would also like to thank the staff of Tucson Local Media for their hard work and dedication in helping make these awards special for the Tucson community.

- Jason Joseph President/Publisher 


About Keynote Speaker Bruce Wright

Bruce Wright has more than 30 years of experience in the field of economic development through regional economic development, international trade and business development, and technology development and commercialization. Bruce has been instrumental in building University, industry and community partnerships and contributed significantly to building Tucson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Bruce brought a vision to the University and community that provided an economic development tool to build a technology-based economy in the region. Since the inception of the UA Tech Park in 1994, Bruce has been resourceful in directing the University’s Research Parks. Under Bruce’s leadership, the UA Tech Park developed into an economic powerhouse—growing technology companies and providing high-quality jobs for the region. 

Bruce, who recently retired, was responsible for the UA Tech Park at Rita Road and the UA Tech Park at the Bridges. Bruce is also founder and president of the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI), a technology business incubator and innovation center. 

Bruce served in several different capacities during his thirty years at the University of Arizona, including Director of the Office of Community and Public Service, Assistant to the President, Senior Officer for Community Affairs and Economic Development, and Associate Vice President for Economic Development.

Prior to joining the University, he served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Morris K. Udall and staff consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Previously, he was a management analyst with the City of Tucson and Deputy Director of the Commission on Improved Governmental Management.

Bruce is a graduate of Willamette University where he earned his B.A. with distinction in political science. He attended graduate school at the University of Arizona. He also participated in the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Bruce has a long history of being active in a variety of community organizations. He serves on the Arizona-Mexico Board of Directors, Citizens Advisory Committee for the Regional Transportation Authority, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and DM Tucson Valley Council (DMTVC). He is a past chair of the Southern Arizona Chapter (Tucson) of the American Red Cross. He also served on the Wells Fargo Bank Community Advisory Board, Arizona Association for Economic Development, and the Governor’s Arizona Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA). He served on the Association of University Research Park (AURP) Board including a term as the Association President and the DM 50 and is an alumni honorary commander of the 355th Operation Support Squadron (OSS). 

Bruce has received several recognitions throughout his years of leadership. Most notable awards include 2018 Man of the Year, Greater Tucson Leadership; 2018 Paul Fannin Award from the Arizona-Mexico Commission; 2017 Executive Leadership Award for a Non-Profit, Tucson Local Media and Inside Tucson Business; 2017 Best of Arizona Award, Arizona Association for Economic Development’s (AAED), Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE), 2008 Economic Development Leadership Award CORE Net Global; and 2007 Career Achievement Award, Association of University Research Parks.

About the emcee Amber Smith, Tucson Metro Chamber

Amber Smith is the president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber. In her role, she leads the Tucson Metro Chamber in implementing the goals and visions of the Chamber’s Board of Directors to champion an environment where business thrives and the Tucson community prospers. Focusing on growing business through workforce development, talent attraction, and public policy, the Tucson Metro Chamber is a strong community partner focused on making Tucson the ideal destination for business success. Amber’s goal is to lower the amount of poverty in Tucson by growing businesses.

A government relations professional by trade, Amber’s strength is building relationships between the public and private sector, while identifying ways to collaborate and partner to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Amber began her career working for Sen. John McCain, where she became adept at retaining professionalism and decorum while navigating difficult and controversial policy matters.

Amber represented the real estate and land use industry on policy matters first as a lobbyist for homebuilders and developers and then for Metropolitan Pima Alliance (MPA). MPA’s foundation is creating balanced land use policies that stimulate economic development and reasonably preserves our natural environment. Amber has continued that philosophy of finding common ground through her work at the Tucson Metro Chamber.

A Texas native, Amber moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona and graduated with a degree in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration from Eller College. Married to a second-generation Tucsonan, Amber’s husband Robert is a Tucson Fire Department Captain, who also owns a small business. Amber and Robert have three young sons, 11 goats, four dogs, three donkeys and some chickens and they enjoy the quiet life on their small ranch.

Find tickets and finalists here.