Before an audience of hundreds of Flagstaff-area business people, Governor Doug Ducey announced that he is doubling his funding ask to the state legislature, requesting $2 million for vegetation removal efforts as Arizona approaches a “potentially intense fire season, so we can protect the people, property and pets.”
At the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Athena Awards luncheon Feb. 9, the governor said, “We will hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
He also announced an executive order that establishes the Grand Canyon Protection Plan that would prevent the National Park from being closed during federal government shutdowns when Congress fails to pass a spending bill. He is calling on Arizona State Parks and Trails to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to create the plan.
“We will not let Washington’s lack of action prevent us from welcoming visitors to the Grand Canyon,” Ducey said. “The Department of Interior, the National Park Service and local communities have been excellent partners with the State of Arizona in keeping the Grand Canyon open in the face of chaos in Congress. We look forward to continuing that partnership, and this plan will ensure predictability.”
The governor also announced the appointment of Chamber President and CEO Julie Pastrick to the Arizona-Mexico Commission, which was created in 1959 to maintain positive governmental relationships, stating that Mexico is Arizona’s largest customer.
Theresa Bierer is Recognized with Athena Award
Theresa Bierer, entrepreneur, business coach, Northern Arizona University business communications instructor, journalist, broadcaster and mentor to women, received the Athena Award during the Chamber’s annual meeting.
“It was other people, including my mother, who showed me how the gift of generosity can change lives,” Bierer said. “By just being a friend and listening when someone needs support, we change the world in important ways. Often, it is human nature to move a conversation along by jumping in with a comment; I’ve discovered that striving to understand someone’s meaning or intention is more important than weighing in with an opinion.”
Upon receiving the award, Bierer thanked her husband, Jeff, daughters Brynn and Morgan, friends and community for support. “When my husband, Jeff, was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, the people of Flagstaff showed support in numerous ways, from painting our house, keeping our driveway clear of snow, dropping off meals and sending cards. The stress of uncertainty was exhausting, but we knew we were not alone.”
Mitch Strohman, NAU assistant director in the Office of Communication and Media Relations calls Bierer an inspiration. “I have been dazzled by how Theresa mentors young women. She helps young women not just realize their potential, but to also understand that they have potential to begin with. There are countless women out in the world, breaking glass ceilings, who were pushed to succeed by Theresa.”
Bierer, the past editor of Flagstaff Business News, said receiving the award was one of the best moments of her life.
Sarah Benatar Receives Young Professional Award
Coconino County Treasurer Sarah Benatar was honored with the Young Professional Award. “My vision is to work to inspire other young professionals to make a difference in our community. We should all do what we can to help women, children and families rise out of poverty, demand equality and pursue happiness,” she said. “I am humbled by the achievements of all those who were nominated with me and all the women who sacrifice every day to contribute to every aspect of our world. We are all in this together, and I look forward to the work to come.”
At the age of 27, Benatar was appointed by the Coconino County Board of Supervisors to finish off a term of office, becoming the youngest county treasurer not only in Coconino County, but also in the state of Arizona. In 2016, she was re-elected by the citizens of Coconino County.
She was raised by a single mother, who came to this country from Guatemala with a dream for a better life. Benatar says she knows what it takes to create a better life, so she goes the extra mile to help other women achieve their dreams. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN