From The Publisher –

Champions of Transformation

This issue of BizTucson highlights how some of Tucson’s truly transformative leaders are impacting our region and, in some cases, our world.

Take Ventana Medical Systems, the focus of our 60-page special section. Celebrating its first 25 years of innovation, Ventana – inspired by founder Dr. Thomas Grogan – changed how cancer is diagnosed and ultimately treated. Ventana is providing hope and a pathway to the most effective treatment possible for people with cancer throughout the world. The potential for growth seems limitless. As Dr. Ray Woosley, president emeritus at Critical Path Institute, sees it, Ventana could be the next Raytheon.

Speaking of Raytheon, there’s a new annual award inspired by last year’s 60th anniversary salute to Tucson’s largest global powerhouse. The Raytheon Spirit of Education Award, presented at a benefit for Tucson Values Teachers, will salute Jim Click as its first-ever individual honoree.

His visionary leadership and philanthropic support of institutions, including San Miguel High School, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Linkages, Reid Park Zoo, Tucson Values Teachers and the University of Arizona, helped transform our community.

Legendary community icon Roy Drachman once called Jim Click “the most valuable individual addition to Tucson in 75 years.” The business community will honor Click, our generation’s community icon, on Dec. 12 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Shaping a community takes vision and lots of hard work, and for the past 30 years, Angel Charity for Children has helped transform the lives of children through both. Angel Charity was founded in memory of 9-year-old Michael Thomas. After Michael’s tragic death from cancer, his mother, Louise Thomas, invited Jane Loew Sharples to help her form the organization with the goal of aiding children in Pima County.

Drive along any major thoroughfare and you’ll see bricks-and-mortar evidence of Angel Charity’s impact. From the Ronald McDonald House in 1983 to numerous child-based organizations since then, these angels on earth are responsible for funding capital campaigns and major gifts that support children.

And then there’s El Tour de Tucson, the cycling event that put Tucson on the global map 30 years ago. Richard DeBernardis had a vision of roadways around the 108-mile perimeter of our valley filled with cyclists from all over the world. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The race has been a major catalyst for tourism and funded local nonprofits to the tune of $26 million. Thanks to DeBernardis, Pima County, Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau and corporate sponsors – including University of Arizona Medical Center and Casino del Sol – El Tour is thriving.

We also report on the impact of two motivated leaders relatively new to Tucson. Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way, reenergized that organization over the past two years, engaging the business community and increasing donations. And Tucson Metro Chamber President & CEO Mike Varney, who arrived a year ago, is spearheading exciting new pro-business initiatives. Outgoing chair Wendell Long has provided exceptional leadership, along with a “dream team” board of business leaders. New chairman Bruce Dusenberry has hit the ground running.

On the economic development front, Accelr8, with roots in bioscience and diagnostics, will move its medical technology firm to Tucson. Kudos to Joe Snell and the team at Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, plus Pima County for its commitment to build out the wet labs needed. Welcome Accelr8.

Finally, our community lost a pillar of the community in Bill Valenzuela. A true inspiration, this quiet and humble servant, great family man and successful self-made business leader will be sorely missed.

Steven E. Rosenberg
Publisher & Owner,

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