Michael Lopez

The nonprofit Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona has hired Michael P. Lopez as a new food service director and executive chef. With more than 30 years of culinary experience, Lopez has worked as a director of culinary experience, food and beverage director, and executive chef. 

“I am looking forward to this next chapter in my culinary journey,” Lopez said. “I am very pleased that my knowledge and skills will be put to use in such an essential endeavor and I am most enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet the volunteers who make the meal deliveries possible.”

Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona home-delivers meals five days week, 52 weeks a year to those homebound, disabled, or unable to care for themselves so they can continue living in their home, and remain independent.

Lopez holds a culinary arts degree from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and previously held a 15-year position as part of the opening and design team for the University of Arizona Marriott. In addition to his education and experience, Michael has received multiple awards such as the Scottsdale Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu Student Leadership Award, Marriott Rising Chef Award and the Aramark Culinary Excellence Award.

Potoff Private Philanthropy commits millions to support career and technical education

In 2019, the Tucson foundation Potoff Private Philanthropy contributed $1 million to Pima Joint Technical Education District to support their skills-based training model. This week, the foundation announced a pledge to contribute millions more over the next five years to additional programs and organizations to advance the purpose and potential of career and technical education.

The foundation suggests that career fields such as welding, the culinary arts, automotive, aviation technology, carpentry, construction and more all have the potential to generate important resources that give the skills-based student an advantage in the pursuit of ongoing educational opportunities coupled with real-world experience and the maturity it provides.

“We can do a better job explaining to our kids the financial realities of paying for a college education can mean a lifetime of debt that can interfere with other life goals like owning a home and having a family," said Bill Westcott, executive director of Potoff Private Philanthropy. "Obtaining a skills certificate in high school can be a way for the student to gain maturity and earn income to reduce the overall debt burden and time commitment of acquiring a postsecondary education.”

Casey Carrillo

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation has promoted Casey Carrillo to assistant director. Carrillo manages UACI's "Sponsored Launch" program, where local businesses and town finance community startups. 

“I am thrilled to work alongside passionate entrepreneurs, assisting their startup for success. There is such a growing momentum here at UACI with new regional and international collaboration opportunities in addition to a growing pipeline of startups to support,” Carrillo said. “I am committed to working with the startups in our program, contributing knowledge and driving growth in Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Carrillo graduated from the UA with a bachelor’s in communications and a master’s in higher education.

Erna Dubravic

BeachFleischman has promoted Erna Dubravic to Accounting & Assurance Senior Manager. In this position, Dubravic plans and conducts audits, reviews, and compilations for a variety of privately owned companies and nonprofit organizations. She also provides value-added assurance services and is a member of the firm's Nonprofit and Healthcare segment teams. 

Dubravic earned a bachelor’s in business administration: accounting, and a master’s in accounting from the University of Arizona. She is a member of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Ernesto Portillo

The City of Tucson's Department of Housing and Community Development has hired former Arizona Daily Star journalist Ernesto Portillo as the department's new public information officer. Ernesto brings nearly 40 years of journalism experience to the new position. He previously served as an aide to Ward 3 City Council Members Paul Durham and Karin Uhlich.

"I'm excited that in my new role I will remain connected to Tucson's residents and neighborhoods,”  Portillo said. “My goal is to provide the public with correct information about HCD's growing list of programs and initiatives to support individuals, families, and our neighborhoods.”

Courtney Henson

Courtney Henson has been elected as a new partner at Snell & Wilmer law firm. Henson’s practice is concentrated in complex commercial litigation, class actions and business disputes. In addition to class action lawsuits, her diverse practice includes business separation disputes, contract disputes, pre-litigation business dispute resolution and whistleblower investigations, among many others. She has previously offered pro bono work and advocacy on autism issues. Henson is a 2013 graduate of University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.