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Phil Boas Editor, The Arizona Republic

Phil Boas is editor of the editorial pages of The Arizona Republic. As director of the newspaper’s Community Leadership department, he oversees the editorial board and manages the institutional voice of the newspaper. Before that, he was editor of The Republic’s Sunday Viewpoints section and editor of its Community editorial pages. Earlier in his career he was metro editor at The East Valley Tribune and a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is married with four children. He and his family live in Gilbert, Arizona.

Jeff Carter Executive Director, Mayor of Mobile Innovation Team

Jeff Carter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team, is a lifelong resident of Mobile and proud alumni of The University of South Alabama. Mobile’s Innovation team focuses on helping City government look at old problems in new ways. The I-team works by conducting deep qualitative and quantitative research to understand root causes of local challenges, design and implement responsive solutions, and relentlessly measure progress against clear goals to improve citizens live.

Prior to joining the i-team, Jeff has uniquely focused his career on data driven policies and procedures that successfully increased efficiency, flexibility and financial stability in his professional and volunteer organizations.  Jeff is a founding member and serves on the board of Fuse Project, a nonprofit dedicated to provide the spark for innovation, funding and implementation of projects benefiting children along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Additionally, he serves on the Mobile United steering committee as well as the University of South Alabama Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation advisory board.

Lee Fisher CEOs for Cities

Lee Fisher is the Senior Advisor to CEOs for Cities. Lee is also Interim Dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He will return as President + CEO of CEOs for Cities at the end of his term as interim Dean. Lee is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs and an Urban Scholar with the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lee has served as Ohio Lt. Governor ; Director, Ohio Department of Development; Chair, Ohio Third Frontier Commission; Chair, Ohio Economic Growth Council; Member, Ohio Venture Capital Authority; Chair, Clean Ohio Council; Ohio Attorney General; State Senator ; State Representative; President/ CEO, Center for Families and Children; and Partner, law firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks.

During the time Lee led Ohio’s economic development efforts as Lt. Governor, Site Selection magazine awarded its highest economic development award, the Governor’s Cup, to Ohio three consecutive years and with the Competitiveness Award, recognizing the Ohio Department of Development, under Lee’s leadership, as the most effective economic development agency in the country. Lee also led the development of Ohio’s first strategic plan for economic development

Richard Florida Author, The New Urban Crisis; University Professor & Director of Cities, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto

Author, thought-leader and researcher 

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists.

He is a researcher and professor, serving as University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and a Visiting Fellow at Florida International University.

He is a writer and journalist, having penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis published in April 2017. He serves as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab.

He is an entrepreneur, as founder of the Creative Class Group which works closely with companies and governments worldwide.

A 2013 MIT study named him the world’s most influential thought leader. And TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world.

He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State University, and George Mason University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Christopher Gergen Founding Partner, Forward Cities

Christopher Gergen is a founding partner of HQ Community, the largest entrepreneurial co-working community in North Carolina including HQ Raleigh, HQ Greensboro, HQ Charlotte, Think House and Duke TeachHouse.  Christopher is also the founder of Forward Communities, a non-profit that has launched community-based efforts to develop and scale high-impact social entrepreneurs including Bull City Forward in Durham, NC, Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC, and Moore Forward in Moore County, NC.  Additionally, Christopher co-founded Forward Cities – a national learning collaborative between cities focused on building more inclusive innovation economies and helped launch InnovateNC – a similar multi-city learning collaborative in North Carolina. Christopher is a fellow and faculty member with Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiative, co-author of the nationally acclaimed book Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives, an alum of Leadership North Carolina (class 24) and a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.   He lives with his wife and two children in Durham, NC.

Paul Luna President + CEO, Helios Education Foundation

Paul is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Helios Education Foundation, cultivating strong community relationships and initiating strategic partnerships in Arizona and Florida. He brings more than 25 years of public and private professional experience to his leadership role with the Foundation. Prior to his role at Helios, Paul served as President of Valley of the Sun United Way, where he led a community-wide fundraising effort approaching $50 million.

A native of Miami, Arizona, Paul graduated from Miami High School and as a first-generation college student, attended Stanford University, where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering. In addition to his role at Helios, Paul currently serves as a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, The Aspen Institute’s Youth and Engagement Advisory Circle, the National College Access Network Board of Directors, the America’s Promise Alliance Board of Directors, the Florida College Access Network Steering Committee, the Center for the Future of Arizona Board of Directors, and the Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors, and he was Founding Chair of the Expect More Arizona Board of Directors

Bob Milbourne Chair, CEOs for Cities Board

Milbourne heads RHM Advisors, a business consulting firm, specializing in business strategy, financing, and corporate development for public and private companies. He is also a consultant to business for government affairs, governance and project development.

Milbourne was the founding president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a civic organization of top business, education and community leaders formed in 2002 to improve the region’s economic future. He came to Columbus after serving as CEO of a similar group in Milwaukee for 17 years.

Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Milbourne enjoyed a career in government and business. He worked in Wisconsin state government under Democratic and Republican governors. He served as State Budget Director and was honored as the “Outstanding State Official” in Wisconsin in 1979.

Milbourne left government to become Vice President and Economist for the Kohler Company, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of plumbing products, engines and generators.

Workshop Opening

Tom Murphy Senior Fellow, ULI, former Mayor of Pittsburgh

Tom Murphy, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, has been a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute since 2006.

A former mayor of Pittsburgh, his extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—has been a key addition to the senior resident fellows’ areas of expertise. Murphy also serves on the Advisory Board of ULI’s Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use.

In 2011 he wrote Building on Innovation, a ULI report discussing the economic impact universities and hospitals have on local economies and providing detailed strategies to shape a successful 21st-century city based on a private/public/university partnership.

Since joining ULI, Murphy has served on many Advisory Services panels, including panels in Moscow and Hong Kong, as well as Baltimore, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. Additionally, Murphy served as ULI’s Gulf Coast liaison, helping coordinate with the leadership of New Orleans and the public the rebuilding recommendations made by a ULI Advisory Services panel held shortly after Hurricane Katrina. He also worked on rebuilding strategies with leaders in the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama in the wake of Katrina.

Murphy has represented ULI in a number of cities, from Baton Rouge to Baltimore, helping them shape a revitalization strategy. He is a frequent speaker at ULI gatherings and other events.

Before joining ULI, Murphy served three terms as mayor of Pittsburgh, from January 1994 through December 2005. During that time, he initiated a public/private partnership strategy that leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development in the city. Murphy led efforts to secure and oversee $1 billion in funding for the development of two professional sports facilities, and a new convention center that is the largest certified green building in the United States. He developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail, and public uses, and he oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and parks.

From 1979 through 1993, Murphy served eight terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He focused his legislative activities on changing western Pennsylvania’s economy from industrial to entrepreneurial, and wrote legislation requiring state pension funds to invest in venture capital firms. In addition, he wrote legislation to create the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, now over 25 years old, which is dedicated to advancing Pennsylvania’s focus on early-stage startup businesses and the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies.

Murphy served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 1970 to 1972. He is a 1993 graduate of the New Mayors Program offered by Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He holds a Master of Science degree in urban studies from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from John Carroll University.

He is an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects; a board member of Harmony Development Inc. of New Orleans; president of the board of the Wild Waterways Conservancy of Pennsylvania; and a board member of Mountain Lake Inc. of Virginia.

Brian Payne President, The Central Indiana Community Foundation + Indianapolis Foundation

For the past ten years, Brian Payne has been the President of The Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. During his tenure, he has redefined the business model and put a new emphasis on the Foundation’s ability to transform the City of Indianapolis through three specific community leadership initiatives: Family Success, College Readiness, and Inspiring Places. All three focus on positioning Indianapolis as a top ten city in developing, attracting and retaining human capital. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick is the largest and most visible project of the Inspiring Places Initiative. In February 2010, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a one of a kind eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian trail, was one of 51 grant recipients from a pool of 1,400 proposals to receive a merit based TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2007, Brian was awarded the Michael A. Carroll Civic Leaders Award, Indianapolis’ most prestigious leadership honor for his efforts as founder and producer of the Cultural Trail. Prior to joining the Foundation, Brian ran professional theatre companies.

Steven Pedigo NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab

Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic development, marketing and place-branding. He has advised cities, universities, real estate developers, nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies and major media outlets across the globe. His urban development clients represent communities of all sizes: New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Austin, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Sao Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico City and many others. His corporate clients include: BMW, Converse, Starwood, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, EDENS, Kraft and others.

Presently, he is the director of the Urban Lab at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate and a clinical professor of economic development at the NYU School of Professional Studies. He is also the director of the research for the Creative Class Group and serves as an advisor for Resonance Consultancy (Vancouver/ New York) and Leland Consulting (Portland).


Phil Regier University Dean, Educational Initiatives; CEO, EdPlus, ASU

Phil Regier, PhD, is university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University. Regier is responsible for expanding the university’s digital immersion programs and extending online learning and teaching globally. Under his direction, ASU Online has grown from 400 to nearly 22,000 students and from six to more than 100 degree programs. Dean Regier previously served as executive dean at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. He is also an accounting faculty member and has published research on postretirement benefits, corporate restructuring and market-based accounting. Dean Regier earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and mathematics from St. John’s College and his PhD in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, FAIA Senior Advisor to the President, Arizona State University; Executive Director, ASU’s University City Exchange

Reiter has played numerous roles: community leader, academic administrator, faculty member, architect, urban designer, and public artist. He has established a track record of highly effective partnerships with public office holders, the business community, non-profit groups, professional organizations, developers, and universities.  Central to his work has been the construction of mutually-beneficial relationships between the institutions he has led and the cities in which they are located. Reiter is particularly interested in the economics, culture, and sustainability elements of metro areas and the engagement of top tier colleges and universities embedded within them.

Reiter was a key player in the creation of the award-winning ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus. He is the past President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the former Dean of the College of Design at ASU, and a long-time faculty member at MIT.  He is the recipient of the Arizona Architect’s medal and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  He is presently a national Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and chair of ULI’s University Development and Innovation Council.

Beatriz Elisabeth Rendón VP of Educational Outreach, ASU; Chief Executive Officer, ASU Prep

Beatriz Rendón is Vice President of Educational Outreach at Arizona State University (ASU) and Chief Executive Officer of ASU Preparatory Academy charter schools (ASU Prep)., where she is responsible for building and diversifying the pipeline of college going students into ASU. ASU Prep is ASU’s innovative, PreK-12 public charter school, currently serving over 2300 students across a diverse socioeconomic spectrum.  ASU Prep aims to integrate elementary, secondary and university courses to provide personalized instruction that advances students as they are ready and accelerates time to degree.

ASU Prep has schools in urban, suburban and rural communities and provides teaching and learning in three modalities: in person, blended (face-to-face using digital content) and full digital.  The in-person modalities are present in urban Phoenix and suburban Mesa, Arizona.  ASU Prep Phoenix has a non-white majority student population of which 70% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. It was a “turnaround” school when it was inherited as a failing school in 2009 but is currently a high performing school.  ASU Prep STEM PreK-12 Academies are physically located on ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Arizona.  ASU Prep’s mission and achievements to date illustrate that students from all socio-economic backgrounds can achieve a four-year university degree, compete globally and contribute to their communities. Most recently, ASU Prep realized a 100% high school graduation rate and 100% post-secondary attainment rate across its network.  The blended learning instruction is currently deployed in Tempe, rural Casa Grande and rural Miami, Arizona.  This fall ASU Prep is launching its digital modality with ASU Prep Digital HS which is serving students statewide, nationally and internationally.  Beatriz is currently leading expansion plans to significantly increase ASU Prep’s footprint to scale and impact the college going pipeline through innovative programming and partnerships within and outside of ASU Prep charter schools.

As the former Executive Director of Strategic Alliances for the Critical Path Institute, Beatriz provided leadership and philanthropic development support to scientific researchers working on pre-competitive biomarkers for important diseases. Beatriz also served as the Chief Business Officer for the Tucson Unified School District, the second largest district in Arizona, where she managed an operating budget of $360 million and helped resolve multi-million dollar deficits. From 1995-2007 Beatriz worked in several executive capacities at the Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the country, including leading “Renaissance 2010,” an initiative that launched in 2005 with the goal of opening 100 new, independently operated schools by 2010. By 2007, prior to moving back to the southwest, 83 schools had been opened under Renaissance 2010.

Beatriz is a Commissioner for the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and is also a Fall 2015 Fellow of the Pahara Aspen Education Fellowship program. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Beatriz is a first-generation college student, second-generation Mexican American.  She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona in Political Science, a Masters of Public Policy from the University Of Chicago Harris School Of Public Policy, and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Beatriz is fluent in Spanish, and is also an accomplished saxophonist. She and her husband are parents of five children ages 10 to 18.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson City of Mobile

Sandy’s mission is for Mobile to become the safest, most business and family friendly City in America by 2020. His visionary goal to unite the City, known as One Mobile, has empowered every Mobilian to have a voice. He was first elected in 2013. During his first term, he worked hard to address issues of public safety, fiscal responsibility, downtown revitalization, and blight eradication. He was reelected by a landslide in 2017.

Sandy’s mark on Mobile is most evident in his passionate dedication to improving education and equipping children with the life skills they need to succeed. He has been chairman and a long-serving board member of both UMS-Wright Preparatory School and Prichard Preparatory School. He is a member of the University of Alabama’s President’s Cabinet.

Sandy’s civic and business endeavors are numerous and varied. He has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, where he served as chair in 2009, and the Business Council of Alabama, where he served as chair in 2010.

Sandy graduated from the University of Alabama in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He spent nearly forty years in the lumber manufacturing business. Sandy and his wife Jean have been married since 1975 and have four grown, married children and twelve grandchildren. They are longtime, active members of Ashland Place United Methodist Church.