Plaza Companies President and CEO Sharon Harper will receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), which recognizes significant individual contributions to economic development efforts in Arizona.
Harper will be honored alongside Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the recipient of the organization’s Outstanding Regional Contribution Award, and Dibble Engineering’s Rebecca Timmer, who will be named Ambassador of the Year at GPEC’s Annual Dinner Thursday, Oct. 9 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
This year’s Annual Dinner promises to be one for the record books, when more than 700 guests gather to honor award recipients and commemorate GPEC’s 25th anniversary as one of the country’s most effective economic development engines.
Harper has long played a key role as an economic leader across the Valley and beyond, and proved instrumental in catapulting Phoenix-based Plaza Companies to the forefront of the national healthcare, biotechnology and bioscience and senior housing sectors. Harper was also heavily influential in the widespread success of SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, which is considered among the premier economic engines in the Southwest and is credited in attracting numerous cutting-edge technology and innovation companies to the area, as well as more than 1,500 jobs.
“It’s an immense honor to be among the honorees at GPEC’s upcoming dinner, and I am grateful to be able to contribute to the efforts of the organization as far as encouraging economic growth and sustainability across Arizona,” Harper said.
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is one of the region’s premier economic development groups. GPEC has been working on behalf of businesses looking to relocate and expand –– for 25 years. It is a public-private partnership representing Maricopa County, 23 communities throughout the region and more than 160 private investors.
“Sharon Harper has been an invaluable asset to us over the years as we’ve worked to improve Arizona’s economy,” said Barry Broome, CEO of GPEC. “We are pleased to be able to honor her achievements and recognize the positive impact she has had on economic development in the Valley.”
Harper served as the Chairman of GPEC several years ago, and has been instrumental in GPEC’s international agenda and serves as Co-Chairman of the International Leadership Council. As a result of ILC’s efforts, 20% of new companies entering the market in the last fiscal year have been international, compared to just over 1 percent five years ago.
“I’ve long been proud to be a part of the work of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, proud to represent the City of Peoria on the Board, and am eager to watch another successful 25 years unfold from such a groundbreaking organization,” Harper said. “I look forward to continuing to work in conjunction with GPEC to further establish Arizona as the epicenter of economic success in the Southwest.”