The Board Members and Staff at GPREP
We greatly value our board members, staff, and affiliates who work hard to bring opportunities and business development to the Greater Prescott Region. Continue reading to learn more about these remarkable individuals.
Executive Committee of the Board
President: Julie Pettit
President & CEO, Arizona FTZ Services, Inc
Julie Pettit started Arizona FTZ Services (AFS) in 2015. She is a licensed Customs Broker (1994) and an accomplished international supply-chain management professional with a distinguished record of achievement that spans nearly 30 years. She applies her expertise in trade programs such as Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) and regulatory compliance on behalf of her clients engaged in international commerce. Julie’s core competencies include but not limited to: FTZ operational management and oversight; Customs valuation, drawback, binding ruling and prior disclosure processing; compliance auditing and risk assessments; project management; contract negotiation and life-cycle management; and procurement and materials management. Her experience comes from service providers as well as both distribution and manufacturing organizations.
Julie began her career in Port of Norfolk, Virginia as an import data clerk and quickly rose through the ranks into management. In 1997, she took a break from Customs brokerage and began global procurement and materials management rising to a Director of Sourcing and Supply at Ericsson, Inc. During her tenure at Ericsson, she was the lead negotiator and alliance manager for a strategic alliance between Ericsson and Sony Electronics in Japan. That agreement became the boilerplate of what would become the Sony-Ericsson organization. Returning to Customs brokerage in 2005, Julie began to familiarize herself with special Customs programs such as FTZ, duty drawback and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. Her unique array of experience allows Julie to discuss nearly every facet of a client’s operations throughout their organization which is what drove her to establish AFS in the Port of Phoenix which the Greater Prescott Regional Area is a part of.
Julie has resided in Chino Valley since moving from Virginia in early 2010. She and her husband, an Arizona native, retired naval officer and a fixed-wing commercial pilot enjoy the solitude of their 12 acres along with horses, cats, and chickens. She has volunteered in numerous community and non-profit events here in Arizona. Julie is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). With a heart for the kids in state custody, she is helping Another Journey, Inc. with their mission of establishing housing for girls who age out of foster care. Julie currently serves as an elected official on the Chino Valley Fire District Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Board. Julie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Management from Grand Canyon University and is pursuing a Project Manager certification specializing in risk management.
Vice President: Kelly Patton
Director Economic Development, Arizona Public Service
Kelly Patton currently holds the title of Senior Economic Development Consultant, Statewide Programs at Arizona Public Service (APS). She is primarily responsible for working with the community, regional and statewide partners in the attraction and expansion of business and industry within APS service territory. She also provides information on electrical infrastructure and system capabilities for commercial real estate sites, as well as supports both the metropolitan and rural communities in economic development initiatives and planning.
Before joining APS, Kelly spent eight years in the Gilbert, Arizona Office of Economic Development and five years with the Regional Economic Development Organization in Kansas City Area Development Council. She also sits on several state-wide and regional economic development boards and committees including the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), Greater Prescott Regional Economic Development Partnership (GPREP) in Northern Arizona.
Treasurer: Adam Rutherford
Adam Rutherford, CPA
Schutte and Hilgendorf, PLLC
Adam was born and raised in the Prescott area. After graduating from NAU, Adam moved back to live and work in Prescott where he has been working in public accounting for 13 years. Currently Adam is the tax director for Schutte and Hilgendorf, CPAs and has been with the firm since 2008. Adam and his wife have two children, a 3 year old and a 7 month old.
Secretary: Danny Sullivan
Vice President, Yavapai Title
Danny Sullivan has spent 34 years in the Escrow and Title Insurance industry. Beginning his career in Sales and Marketing, the past 24 years Danny has held management positions including, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Expansion, recruiting, building and training have been his focus.
Danny joined Yavapai Title Agency in Prescott in November of 2014 as Vice President, moving from Phoenix to Prescott to focus on growing this already very successful company. Currently an active member of the Land Title Association of Arizona, Danny served as their President 2005-2006.
In June 2018, Danny was appointed Secretary of the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership. Supporting the mission to attract new, quality industry to the quad cities region. Danny had been on the Executive Board of Director’s for GPREP since 2015.
Danny with his wife Jean and their two dogs love living in Prescott Danny believes that we are made stronger by the difficulties we encounter and we can find great opportunities in what challenges us.
Government Representative: Rowle Simmons
Yavapai County Supervisor-District 1
Rowle has spent the bulk of his 37-year career in the electronic communications field in Prescott, Arizona. As the owner of the Communications Center and the Alarm Connection, he has spent more than 30 years providing our local communities wireless communications and security solutions for both homes and businesses.
Rowle feels honored to have served as mayor of Prescott for three consecutive terms. His commitment to serving the public includes a long history of community service. He was a founding board member of the Silent Witness Program here and has remained on that board for over 20 years. He’s a past member of the hospital district board for Yavapai Regional Medical Center and has served on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Rowle has been a member of the Prescott Rotary Club for more than 30 years and is also a member of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, the local YMCA, and the Smoki.
Immediate Past President: Dane Beck
Dane Beck holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Arizona in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During the past ten years he has focused his efforts on real estate development as a principle with The Beck Legacy Group. This group develops, owns and operates commercial properties in Arizona, including The Hampton Inn and Suites Prescott Valley, The Days Inn and Suites and Lake Powell Convenience Center in Page, Arizona.
Dane’s community involvement with business action groups includes being the past President of Central Arizona Partnership (CAP). It is here where he focused his talents on launching The Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership in 2013. Mr. Beck was elected the President of the GPREP Board of Directors in July 2015.
Private Sector Board Members
Director, Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center
Richard has over 37 years of business and management experience as well as being a prior small business owner. He started his corporate career at the Fortune 500 Global Logistics and Transportation Company, United Parcel Service. Richard worked at the Division/VP level for UPS. Richard has over 25 years’ experience in Operations, Engineering, Marketing, Communication, and Public Affairs. He has held positions leading large and small teams to measurable goals. Richard has also served in a variety of operational roles as well as brokerage and import/export manager on both coasts.
Richard has taught LEAN operational principles as well as international business acumen at a corporate level.
He has held positions in Public Affairs as a lobbyist representing UPS’s Great Basin District (4 States) both at the local level and in Washington DC. He has worked directly with Utah Senator Bob Bennett’s office, as well as Congressman Jim Matheson’s office. He has also represented UPS’s positions to countless city and county officials.
In his Senior Level role at UPS, Richard has many years of experience developing and implementing Budgets, Financial, and Operational Plans.
He has held assignments in inner cities, small country towns, and outside the United States. As such, he has worked with and has led teams from, a culturally diverse environment.
Richard has worked directly, as a “Loaned Executive” to the United Way Foundation, on campaigns and fund-raising activities to meet established and challenging goals.
Richard is a recipient of Liberty Mutual’s “Life Savers Award for outstanding courage and humanity”.
Richard has degrees in both Business and Engineering. He is also a certified Crestron Automation system designer and programmer.
Richard is a local Prescott, AZ resident. He is married with three children. He is a licensed airplane and sailplane pilot. He is a certified rescue SCUBA diver and enjoys the outdoors, mountain biking, fly-fishing, and woodworking.
Regional Human Resource Manager/Safety Manager, MI Windows and Doors
Allison Mendibles currently holds the position of Regional Human Resource Manager/Safety Manager for MI Windows and Doors in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Allison’s background includes over 28 years in the Human Resources field, eighteen of those at MI Windows and Doors. She is primarily responsible for developing organization strategies, managing human resources operations, training and development, compensation and benefits administration, and overseeing the safety team.
Prior to joining MI, Allison spent five years for Manpower Temporary Services in Prescott. Her responsibilities were to recruit and hire for local companies, such as, BetterBilt, Ruger, and Ace Distribution Center. Before moving to Arizona, she lived in Louisiana, where she spent five years working for Snelling Personnel and earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
Allison is a member of PAHRA (Prescott Area Human Resource Association) and the Society of Human Resource Management. She also spent over eight years coaching softball at Prescott High School, four of those years as the head coach. In addition, she coached a local travel fast pitch team.
Public Sector Board Members
City Manager City of Prescott
Michael Lamar is the Prescott City Manager, a post he has held since October, 2016. Mr. Lamar has more than 17 years of professional government executive experience. He served as County Manager in Morgan County, Georgia, for 11 years, preceded by six years as the City Manager of Trenton, Florida. Mr. Lamar is credentialed by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). He holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Florida.
Town Manager, Town of Chino Valley
Cecilia Grittman serves as the Town Manager of the Town of Chino Valley, and has worked for the Town since 2001. Cecilia received her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska, and her Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis. Cecilia has also been an active Rotarian for 10 years and is a past-president of the Chino Valley Rotary Club.
Prior to joining the Town of Chino Valley Cecilia worked for TD AmeriTrade in Omaha, Nebraska, in the Human Resources Department as well as Creighton University, School of Medicine, Dean’s Office as a Finance Administrator. She has had the privilege of working at two different organizations that have gone public, offering opportunities and experiences not normally experienced by most people in their entire career. Both her daughters have graduated from Chino Valley schools and continue to reside in the area.
Mayor: Harvey C. Skoog
Town of Prescott Valley
Harvey Skoog has served previously as Prescott Valley Mayor from 1993 to 1998. Harvey won the mayoral seat again in November 2004. He was re-elected in March 2005, March 2009, and again in March 2013. His current term expires in December 2018.
On July 30th, 2010, Harvey was appointed by Governor, Jan Brewer to the Homeland Security Senior Advisory Committee for the State of Arizona. He also was honored to serve on the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Executive Board and as the Chairman of the Greater Arizona Mayor's Association.
Harvey grew up in Minnesota and began his education in a 1-room schoolhouse. He completed a series of business courses from the University of Minnesota, and Minnesota School of Business. He then worked in traffic and retail management, customer services as a field representative of a hardware wholesale company, and assistant to the controller of a wholesale grocery company in Arizona. In 1977, Harvey entered the world of self-employment as a tax accountant and business consultant. During the years since, he started, developed, and sold 3 accounting practices.
Harvey has served in many professional, service, and leadership capacities in such organizations as: Arizona Society of Practicing Accountants; Arizona Association of Enrolled Agents; Good Samaritan Nursing Home; Chamber of Commerce; League of Cities and Towns; Northern Arizona Council of Governments; Central Arizona Senior Association; Prescott Valley Councilmember, and Prescott Valley Vice-mayor.
Harvey loves being a part of the dynamic future of Prescott Valley and expects an even brighter future ahead for the Town.
Town Manager Town of Prescott Valley
Mr. Larry Tarkowski is the Town Manager for the Town of Prescott Valley and has held that position for the past 13 years, the longest tenure of any of Prescott Valley’s Town Managers. Prior to his current role, Mr. Tarkowski served as the Town’s Public Works Director for 15 years where, under his leadership, the department grew from just a handful of maintenance personnel to a full service public works department. Before moving to Prescott Valley, Mr. Tarkowski lived in Flagstaff where he worked for 15 years in contracting.
Mr. Tarkowski is a member of the American Public Works Association, serving as a past President of the Northern Arizona chapter. He is also a member of the American Water Works Association and the International City Manager’s Association. He has served as a member of the Governor’s Water Management Commission, as the Chairman of the Northern Arizona Council of Government’s Transportation Sub-Committee, as the Chairman of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Commission, as a founding member of the Northern Arizona Water Users Association and was appointed by three different Governors to serve on the Prescott Area Groundwater User Advisory Council.
Raised in Northern Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Tarkowski has called Northern Arizona home since 1976. Larry has two adult sons that were born and raised in Prescott Valley. In his free time, Mr. Tarkowski enjoys refereeing soccer games, hiking and spending time with his grandchildren.
Councilman: Rick Anderson
Town of Prescott Valley
Content coming soon.
Councilman: John Hughes
Town of Dewey-Humboldt
Content coming soon.
Past President, Rutherford Investments
Steve is president of Rutherford Investments, Inc. As a resident of Prescott, he has served the community on several Boards and Committees, most recently the Central AZ Partnership and Prescott Valley Focused Future II. Steve has also served as member, president, secretary, treasurer, and director of the Prescott Valley Early Bird Lions Club. He is a Founding Member and served as the First President of the Badger Football Boosters. Currently Steve serves as the Chairman of Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP), is a member of the Economic Development Council (EDC, a four county regional entity), is the Yavapai County representative to the Governor’s Rural Business Development Advisory Council.
Steve Rutherford has been supporting economic development work in the State of Arizona and Yavapai County for over 20 years. Prior to helping form GPREP, Steve served 17 years on the Board of Directors of Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation. Mr. Rutherford was a founding member of GPREP and served as GPREP's initial President of the Board of Directors until July 2015.
Senior VP Rural Development, Arizona Commerce Authority
Keith Watkins serves as the Senior Vice President for Economic and Rural Development for the Arizona Commerce Authority. In this capacity, Keith plays a vital role in advising the ACA and Governor’s office on rural economic development issues and opportunities. As the state of Arizona’s leading economic development agency, the ACA drives the state’s job growth efforts which have resulted in 18,000 new announced jobs that represent over $1.5B in capital investment to Arizona.
Mr. Watkins also serves as Vice Chairman of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA), a public bonding authority that works with Arizona communities and publicly regulated water and wastewater companies to develop, acquire and enhance water related projects. With a bond portfolio of over $1 billion, WIFA serves as a vital financing arm for these core infrastructure needs.
Prior to his work at the Arizona Commerce Authority, Mr. Watkins was Vice President of JF Companies, a privately-held diversified real estate development and water resources firm with holdings in the Western United States. Mr. Watkins managed a real estate holdings portfolio worth nearly $100 million and was responsible for negotiations for property acquisitions, entitlements, public affairs, marketing and dispositions.
Mr. Watkins spent nine successful years at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), where he led the organization’s business recruitment efforts, helping to land such companies as Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Midwestern University, and playing a direct role in the retention and recruitment of more than 200 firms that generated over 165,000 new private sector direct jobs and invested more than $2 billion in private capital investment. He also served as a founder of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, where he was recruited to startup this new private public partnership that serves the City of Baltimore and five adjacent counties.
Executive Director: Ginger Johnson
Executive Director of the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP)
Ginger Johnson is a third generation Arizonan and resident of Yavapai County for the past 30 years. Currently working as the Executive Director of the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP). Ginger is bringing her vast experience with workforce and economic development together to attract quality businesses, capital investment, and quality jobs to the quad cities area.
Appointed by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors to the Workforce Development Board of Directors, Ginger has a leadership role in decisions involving the local area workforce and training programs. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Stepping Stones Agencies, dedicated to ending intimate violence in all forms and promoting individual self-sufficiency, personal growth, self-worth and resiliency in the women and children of our communities.
While she was President and CEO of Custom Training Solutions AZ, Ginger coordinated and built training programs for local and national businesses. For the past 15 years she led a team of professional instructors for topics ranging from Attitude Adjustment to Six Sigma. Her comprehensive Essential Workplace Skills Program, has been applauded for its ability to enhance the effectiveness of individuals, teams and organizations.
An active community member, Ginger has been nationally recognized for her efforts in helping women break welfare cycles through education and employment.
Having completed three years of study from the International Economic Development Council, Ginger is currently preparing for the prestigious CEcD exam. The Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) program is the leading industry designation.
She has studies completed in the Masters of Education, Human Relations from Northern Arizona University and has been granted a BS in Industrial Relations from California Polytechinic State University.