The Great 48 2021

Editorial StaffJuly 7, 2021
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Left to right: T.J. Newman, Lazer Crawford, Dianah Wynter, Scott Conant, Kirby Kim
Left to right: T.J. Newman, Lazer Crawford, Dianah Wynter, Scott Conant, Kirby Kim

From politicians and philanthropists to dog rescuers and developers, these superlative Phoenicians are raising the bar – even during our plague year.

By Tiffany Acosta, Jason Keil, Leah LeMoine, Jenna Sauter & Dylan Chryst Watkiss
Photography by Camerawerks & Mirelle Inglefield

Introducing the Great 48 class of 2021.

We think you’ll agree: They’re a dynamic group of Phoenicians.

Our Process
In Spring 2021, we began soliciting our subscribers and social media followers to nominate Valley residents who are “moving the chains, making a difference or otherwise crushing it” in the realms of business, sports, the arts, media, philanthropy, politics, et al.

Criteria:
1. Candidates must live at least part of the year in Maricopa County.

2. Candidates must demonstrate “brilliance or exceptional accomplishment in their field.”

3. Candidates must avail themselves to a brief interview/questionnaire.

* PHOENIX editors culled their favorites and added their own nominees, ranking their favorites in several broad fields (e.g. law/politics, the arts, etc.). A final list of Great 48 inductees was drawn up (actually slightly more than 48, since we grouped some colleagues into collective “spots”). Enjoy getting to know them. We did.

Great 48 Data
Over the course of interviewing our inductees, we collected basic, standardized information about their origins, education and backgrounds. Before we meet them, let’s crunch the data.

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Arts, Culture & Literature

T.J. Newman, 37
T.J. Newman, 37
T.J. Newman

The saying goes, “Write what you know.” And T.J. Newman, a former flight attendant and Changing Hands employee, understands both writing and planes. Her debut thriller Falling, about the kidnapping of a pilot’s family, earned her a seven-figure publishing deal. The movie rights also went for a jaw-dropping amount. “I’ve dreamed of being a published author, but it was my time at Changing Hands that changed that into a concrete goal,” she says.

Name: T.J. Newman
Profession: Writer
Age: 37
Born in: Mesa, Arizona
How many children do you have? None
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of fine arts in musical theater
Last book readThe Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan
First music concert attended: Dave Matthews Band
Languages spoken besides English: Spanish. (But not yet fluently. I’m working on it.)
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos, but plenty of scars.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Actor or writer

Kirby Kim

If you think big literary moves only happen in New York City, think again. Kirby Kim is a Scottsdale-based literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit who serves on the board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and works to advance AAPI authors in the greater literary landscape. His diverse portfolio includes local author Matt Bell, rapper Common and speculative fiction star Ted Chiang.

Name: Kirby Kim
Profession: Literary agent
Age: 44
Born in: Atlanta, Georgia
How many children do you have? Two
Highest level of schooling attained: Juris doctor
Last book read: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
First music concert attended: Steel Wheels tour (Living Colour, Guns N’ Roses, Rolling Stones)
Languages spoken besides English: Korean
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be Gary Vitti, the trainer for the Lakers.

Kirby Kim, 44
Kirby Kim, 44
Danielle Hacche

Originally from the U.K., artist Danielle Hacche joined the first all-women artists’ grant cohort through Phoenix Art Museum’s Artists’ Grant in 2019. Her work is on display through September 5 at PAM, or head over to The McKinley Club to see how she beautified her sister Celine Rille’s co-working space.

Profession: Artist
Age: 42
Born in: Poole, Dorset, U.K.
How many children do you have? None
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor’s of fine art
Last book read: Josef Albers in Mexico
First music concert attended: First concert I remember was Nirvana at the Arizona State Fair in 1993.
Languages spoken besides English: Little bit of French.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? One small one.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Artist!

Camille Sledge

She may hail from disco/funk/R&B royalty – her mother is Debbie Sledge, of Sister Sledge and “We Are Family” fame – but Camille Sledge has blazed her path. The singer, songwriter, MC, and model front Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and recently released her debut solo album, Street Lights & Lullabies.

Age: Hmm… I am *cough* years old. Older than the average bear. My grandma would say never tell.
How many children do you have? I have three children, ages 8 and under.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I have no tattoos. I have so many favorite foods, songs, colors – creatives are like that… I just released my solo project called Street Lights & Lullabies. And PAO will be releasing a new project soon as well (being mixed now). These last bits of info are more vital to mention than my tattoo count if it is possible. On fire this year!!!
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I have always wanted to be a singer ever since I was a kid and saw my mom and aunts get the party started.

Stephen “Psyko” Steve Chilton

As a sixth-generation Arizonan, Stephen Chilton is deeply invested in the Valley’s music community. The concert promoter, owner of The Rebel Lounge and the Vice President of the National Independent Venues Association has poured himself into keeping local music alive during the pandemic and through advocacy, creative merchandise and The Rebel Lounge’s Reap & Sow coffee shop.

Profession: Concert promoter
Age: 38
Born in: Mesa, Arizona
How many children do you have? None
Highest level of schooling attained: BA in philosophy from ASU
Last book read: The Godfather by Mario Puzo
First music concert attended: The Offspring with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? None, someday I will figure it out.

Amber McCrary

Diné writer Amber McCrary founded Abalone Mountain Press as “a place for indigenous writers to dismantle the canon.” McCrary is amplifying these voices through poetry, fiction, non-fiction and hybrid works by Native people for Native people, published from her Roosevelt Row headquarters. New in 2021: a monthly podcast with writing prompts.

Profession: Creator of Abalone Mountain Press and poet
Age: 33
Born in: Tuba City, Arizona
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry
Last book readLegacy by Waubgeshig Rice
First music concert attended: Rob Zombie
Languages are spoken besides English: A little bit of French.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? One small tattoo from the
album artwork of Radiohead’s Kid A.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be either an astronaut or an astronomer.

Education

Dianah Wynter

After Arizona State University renamed its film school for Sidney Poitier, it was a natural choice bringing director and Yale graduate Dianah Winter onboard to lead it. Her experience in film, theater and television furthers the school’s mission of embracing inclusivity and innovation. “I encourage students to pursue the business side of things,” she says. “Those are the learning experiences that make people into decision-makers that will bring the diversity and equity everyone wants.”

Profession: Director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, professor, TV and theater director
Age: Postmodern
Born in: Brooklyn, New York
How many children do you have? 1,765. Soon to be 700 (phew).
Highest level of schooling attained: Master of fine arts degree in film directing, American Film Institute; MFA in stage directing, Yale University
Last book readThe Fifth Wave: The Evolution of American Higher Education by Michael M. Crow
First music concert attended: Mrs. Koch’s annual piano recital. I think I played “Lightly Row.”
Languages spoken besides English: French, Hebrew kitsat
Do you have any tattoos? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Theater director

Dianah Wynter, Age N/A
Dianah Wynter, Age N/A
Chris Birgen

During his decade at Islands Elementary and now at Carol Rae Elementary School in Gilbert, Chris Birgen has continually shown that the school principal is not someone to fear. Having revamped the campus with community garden projects and a “buddy bench” dedicated to his late father, Birgen spends his days playing ball with kids at recess and having lunch with students.

Profession: Principal of Carol Rae Elementary
Age: N/A
Born in: Canton, South Dakota
How many children do you have? One daughter
Highest level of schooling attained [specify degree and subject]: Master Degree in Educational Leadership
Last book readDisruptive Thining
First music concert attended: N/A
Languages spoken besides English?: N/A
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one?:   N/A
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Wanted to be a professional football player.

Carrie Bloomston

Creativity is the driving force behind Carrie Bloomston’s life. By day, she’s an art teacher at Phoenix Country Day School. By night (and summers), she’s a painter and textile designer who authored The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. The Rhode Island School of Design alum even majored in glassblowing for a time.

Profession: Artist, middle school art teacher at Phoenix Country Day School, textile designer for Windham Fabrics in New Jersey, author of The Little Spark.
Age: 48
Born in: Birmingham, Alabama
How many children do you have? Two
Highest level of schooling attained: Rhode Island School of Design, bachelor of fine arts, painting, 1994 (I also majored in glassblowing for a short while).
Last book read: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (on my lap about to start it)
First music concert attended: The Pointer Sisters opening for Lionel Ritchie in Alabama! I was probably 11 or 12. I was so excited, but it was so loud and there were so many people that I started crying.
Languages are spoken besides English: French, Spanish, Italian
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Yes, a tiny star on my knuckle that I did myself with a sewing needle and ink in art school.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? At first, I wanted to be a fashion designer because my dad manufactured and designed clothing, and then I wanted to be an artist. Actually, an artist living in NYC. But when I finally lived there full time in my late twenties, I realized that I had outgrown my dream. The desert lured me in.

Mia DeLaRosa

Mia DeLaRosa is never afraid to push the boundaries for her students and their success. She even channeled Parks & Recreation’s Leslie Knope to help her students at Sevilla Elementary School’s west campus to virtually work with architects to redesign nearby Little Canyon Park during the pandemic, as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning program. She has worked tirelessly to seek out community partners to help her advocate for the Valley’s underrepresented youth.

Profession: STEM educator
Age: 44
Born in: Raised in Chicago, Illinois (I was technically delivered in Aurora, Colorado)
How many children do you have? Two of my own
Highest level of schooling attained: I finished two semesters of my doctorate (Ed.D. in leadership and innovation, doctoral student, Arizona State University) and received my Master of Arts in education (Northern Arizona University, educational leadership, K-12 emphasis, principal certificate).
Last book read: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
First music concert attended: MC Hammer’s Too Legit World Tour with Boyz II Men, Jodeci, and Oaktown’s 357
Languages spoken besides English: Spanish (Spanglish, really)
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No, but I have several sketches that I’d like to get inked one day.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to become an architect.

Media

Tony Felice

As the owner of marketing and PR firm The Felice Agency, Tony Felice logs a lot of hours for clients. But he’s dedicated just as much time to causes he cares about, from past stints on the board of Local First Arizona and the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to the Phoenix Art Museum and Focus on Lyme. The latter is especially dear to Felice, who lives – and thrives – with Lyme disease and multiple sclerosis.

Profession: Chief thinker and doodler, The Felice Agency
Age: 56
Born in: Washington, D.C.
How many children do you have? No children. Just one dog, Beemer, a chiweenie who basically runs the household.
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of integrated studies in operations management, communications and math, summa cum laude, ASU Ira Fulton College of Engineering. Some graduate classes at ASU and coursework at Harvard University.
Last book read: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
First music concert attended: Genesis with Phil Collins 1982. I got my first taste of tequila, and I don’t remember much after.
Languages spoken besides English: Gibberish. Every Italian bad word and phrase.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? One. A Japanese snarling wolf. It reminds me to only feed the good wolf and not the bad one. The good one has got me further in life than the bad one ever would.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be a firefighter and an artist. Ultimately, I was an art school dropout who graduated from the college of engineering and now I make art for a living. Go figure. As T.S. Eliot wrote: “And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” That is very true.

Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

There are fun and vital stories behind what’s on your plate, from your neighborhood dim sum joint to national chains. And The Arizona Republic’s food and dining reporter Priscilla Totiyapungprasert serves up stories about how cuisine brings people together.

Profession: Food and dining reporter at The Arizona Republic
Age: 31
Born in: Near Fort Worth, Texas
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin
Last book read: I’m reading right now A Good True Thai by Sunisa Manning. It’s fiction that takes place during the 1970s student uprising in Thailand.
First music concert attended: My Chemical Romance. My friend and I made our own iron-on T-shirts, which we designed in Microsoft Paint, and her dad chaperoned.
Languages spoken besides English: Spanish and German, Lao and Thai to a lesser extent.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Three. On my left arm I have a ratchaphruek, a flower that grows in southeast Asia.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be a paleontologist. Like a lot of kids, I was into dinosaurs, playing in the dirt and finding cool rocks and seashells.

George Davilas

As news director of 12 News for the past five years, George Davilas oversees every single broadcast every week. In 2020, Davilas and his team won 10 Rocky Mountain Emmys, including News Excellence, Best Evening Newscast and Overall Station Excellence. 12 News also won a 2021 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award and a 2021 Walter Cronkite Award for excellence in television political journalism.

Title: 12 News – News Director
Profession: News director
Age: 48
Born in: Brockton, Massachusetts
How many children do you have? One – a son, Max.
Highest level of schooling attained: B.A., English – College of the Holy Cross; M.S., broadcast journalism – S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University; J.D. – Syracuse University College of Law
Last book read: Sooley by John Grisham
First music concert attended: Huey Lewis and the News
Languages spoken besides English: Greek
Do you have any tattoos? No
As I child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? TV news

Jody Jackson

After growing up a sports fan in Hollywood, Florida, Jody Jackson made her childhood dreams come true by becoming a sports host and reporter, covering everything from the World Series to the Stanley Cup tournament. She’s lent her talents to Bally Sports Arizona (formerly Fox Sports Arizona) since 2000 and now serves as adjunct faculty at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Profession: Sports host and reporter
Age: 47
Born in: Hollywood, Florida
How many children do you have? Two: Connor, 15, and Caitlyn, 13. And a 5-year-old Whoodle (Wheaton terrier and poodle) named Chase.
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of science in broadcast journalism and political science and a minor in exercise and sports sciences
Last book read: The Quarterback Whisperer by Bruce Arians and Lars Anderson
First music concert attended: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (Six Flags Atlantis in Ft. Lauderdale)
Languages spoken besides English: none
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to cover sports! I grew up watching a lot of football and baseball in the Miami area.  I also wanted to host The Today Show!

Business & Finance

Levi Conlow and Robby Deziel

These friends from Minnesota wanted to find their parents an affordable electric two-wheeler. But when the co-founders of Tempe’s direct-to-consumer Lectric eBikes couldn’t find one, they built one, crafting not just a dedicated community but a reliable bike with a million dollars in preorders in their initial run. “Robby and I were working the phones for the first year,” Conlow says. “We were directly engaging with customers, which enabled us to design [bikes] for them.”

Name: Robert Christian Deziel
Profession: Chief innovation officer and co-founder, Lectric eBikes
Age: 25
Born in: Lakeville, Minnesota
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering
Last book read: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
First music concert attended: Mannheim Steamroller
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Astronaut

Name: Levi Conlow
Profession: Electric bike industry leader – CEO, Lectric eBikes
Age: 25
Born in: Lakeville, Minnesota
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: Master’s of science in leadership
Last book read: Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia
First music concert attended: Earth, Wind & Fire
Languages spoken besides English: N/A
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? N/A
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Wanted to be a business owner and work with my friends.

Levi Conlow & Robby Deziel, 25 & 25
Levi Conlow & Robby Deziel, 25 & 25
Edward “Trey” Basha

The Basha legacy looms large in the Valley, but Trey Basha is up to the challenge. The third-generation leader of his family’s homegrown grocery chain continues his forebears’ mission to create better communities by giving generously to Phoenix Children’s Foundation, the East Valley Child Crisis Center, Children’s Cancer Center, and more. Bashas’ was also the first local grocer to implement senior shopping hours during the pandemic.

Profession: Grocer
Age: 57
Born in: Phoenix, AZ
How many children do you have? Five
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor’s in history and political science and an MBA from ASU
Last book read:  I read Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss to one of my grandsons that just graduated from kindergarten
First music concert attended: Fleetwood Mac
Languages are spoken besides English: Some Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. I was brainwashed by great aunts into going into the family business.

Paul Zapata

Paul Zapata uses the experience he gained as a digital graphic design engineer and specialist in corporate image in Mexico to empower Latinx mom-and-pop shops in Arizona. Originally from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Zapata is now the local small business development coordinator for Fuerza Local, the Hispanic-owned expression of Local First Arizona.

Title: Fuerza Local small business development coordinator
Profession: Graphic designer
Age: 33
Born in: Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: Graduated as engineer in digital graphic design in México.
Last book readEl Vencedor No Está Solo by Paulo Coelho
First music concert attended: Banda El Recodo in Mazatlán, México, in 2005.
Languages spoken besides English: I only speak Spanish, but I am in the process of learning English.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I don’t have tattoos, but maybe one day I will get one related to legacy.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Since I was a child, I always dreamed of being a lawyer to help people. Today, through my knowledge, I fulfill a part of that dream – supporting Hispanic entrepreneurs of Arizona through my work in Fuerza Local.

Heather Locke

Community and customer service are the foundation of Heather Locke’s web development company, Hammersmith Support. Locke has championed women in technology for more than a decade and, provided pro bono aid to nonprofits and businesses affected by COVID-19. The woman she most wants to inspire? Her 9-year-old daughter, London.

Profession: Owner of Hammersmith Support, a certified woman-owned web development and maintenance agency
Age: 45
Born in: Knoxville, Tennessee
How many children do you have? I have one daughter, London.  She is 9 years old. She loves to sing, and she makes me feel like I live inside a musical.
Highest level of schooling attained: I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee. I was in the college scholars program, which allowed me to design my major. My major was interactive media.
Last book read: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It’s the story of building a company through grit and determination by the founder of Nike. An excellent read.
First music concert attended: My parents were really into Neil Diamond. I saw him many times.
Languages spoken besides English: I don’t speak any other languages.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be an actress.  My friend and I loved to act out scenes from Disney movies.

Politics & Law

 Rana Lashgari, 39
Rana Lashgari, 39
Rana Lashgari

Most people view lobbyists with skepticism, if not disdain. Iran native Rana Lashgari sees her vocation as a way to bridge the gap between government and constituents – to advocate for clients who aren’t corporations. As president of Arizona Municipal Strategies, she specializes in sports lobbying and serves in the Arizona Sustainability Alliance, the Persian New Year Foundation and Fulfillment in Training, a youth sports nonprofit.

Profession: Lobbyist
Age: 39
Born in: Tehran, Iran
How many children do you have? One
Highest level of schooling attained: Law school, juris doctor
Last book read: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
First music concert attended: Googoosh
Languages spoken besides English: Farsi
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Toll booth operator

Corey Woods

Corey Woods grew up dreaming of a life in public service. Now, as the chief of staff at ASU Preparatory Academy and Tempe’s first black mayor, Woods is living his dream every day. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Woods got his master of arts in educational policy from ASU.

Profession: Government and K-12 education
Age: 42
Born in: Atlanta, Georgia
How many children do you have? 0
Highest level of schooling attained: Master of arts in educational policy from Arizona State University
Last book readA Promised Land by Barack Obama
First music concert attended: The Fugees and A Tribe Called Quest
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I have nine tattoos. My favorite one is a ribbon with the words, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” which was a hit record by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. I got it when my mom passed, because it was her favorite song.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I always wanted to be in public service, even during my youth. I’m truly living my dream every single day.

Corey Woods, 42
Corey Woods, 42
Stephen Richer

When unfounded allegations about deleted voter files and shredded ballots impugned his department, Republican Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer went against his party and disputed the 2020 election audit, putting himself in a trench war over democracy’s future.

Profession: Two of the least liked professions: politician (Maricopa County recorder) and attorney. But also, a businessperson.
Age: 35
Born in: Salt Lake City, Utah
How many children do you have? 0
Highest level of schooling attained: M.A. and J.D. from The University of Chicago
Last book read: Persuasion by Jane Austen
First music concert attended: Juvenile (the rapper from the early 2000s)
Languages spoken besides English: Less and less Spanish every day. Sad.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None. But I often wish I had a big fantasy-book-style dragon on my back.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Maricopa County recorder… Hah. No. NBA player or professional Starcraft gamer.

Brad Vynalek

Attorney Brad Vynalek is so accomplished his résumé reads like a parody of a high-performing person: Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy scholar, Valley Leadership alum, Harvard Law School Lawyer Leader Program, personal staff of the late Senator John McCain, national president of Quarles & Brady LLP. Not bad for a guy who grew up broke and dreamed of better.

Profession: President and partner (lawyer)
Age: 48
Born in: Chicago, IL
How many children do you have? Three
Highest level of schooling attained: Law school, University of Arizona
Last book read: Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall
First music concert attended: Dino (no laughing)
Languages are spoken besides English: Spanish (real rusty)
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos yet!
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be a lawyer and make the world a better place!

Sports

Monty Williams

The Phoenix Suns burned up the court this season, a fire lit by head coach Monty Williams. The former Notre Dame basketball star and NBA veteran was the 2021 recipient of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA (National Basketball Coaches Association) Coach of the Year award. He’s just as proud of his home team: his six children.

Profession: Phoenix Suns head coach
Age: 49
Born in: Fredericksburg, Virginia
How many children do you have? Six
Highest level of schooling attained: Degree from University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, majoring in communications and theatre
Last book read: Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
First music concert attended: Sting and Annie Lennox
Languages spoken besides English: Still working on English.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Landscaper

Cohlton Schultz

Arizona State University all-star wrestler Cohlton Schultz may soon join our cadre of local Olympians. Rated ninth in the state, his 25-3 record and 89 percent winning rate will put him one step closer to the U.S. Olympic team. In the meantime, he’s studying biology.

Profession: Student athlete wrestler
Age: 20
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: Currently studying biology at Arizona State University
Last book read: This is the Day by Tim Tebow
First music concert attended: Scorpions
Languages are spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? One tattoo, on my left bicep. It is a yellow heart and my little sister’s heartbeat from the hospital before she passed last summer.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? My dream job growing up was to be a firefighter by day and a ninja by night.

Serena Turner & Summer McCann

This dynamic duo hit the sand hard this year for Xavier College Preparatory girls sand volleyball. Summer McCann, a rising junior, and Serena Turner, a recent graduate, claimed the Arizona D1 beach volleyball pair championship despite this being their first year playing together. It was the third year the Xavier Gators had competed in beach pairs, but the first title for the school and head coach Tim McHale.

Name: Summer McCann
Profession: High school student; beach volleyball player
Age: 15
Born in: Scottsdale, Arizona
Highest level of schooling attained: Currently attending Xavier College Preparatory. I will hopefully be committing to a college for beach volleyball in the next few months!
Last book readWhen the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
First music concert attended: The Taylor Swift 1989 concert.
Languages spoken besides English: I have been studying Latin for the past five years!
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I do not have any tattoos.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian for a living.

Name: Serena Turner
Age: 18
Born in: Phoenix, Arizona
Highest level of schooling attained: Xavier College Preparatory [high school]; [headed to] Stanford University, computer science major with emphasis on environmental sustainability
Last book read: Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
First music concert attended: The Wiggles
Languages spoken besides English: Latin
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Small cross on ankle to represent recent commitment to Catholic faith
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Lawyer

Serena Turner & Summer McCann, 18 & 15
Serena Turner & Summer McCann, 18 & 15

Land

Kevin Danzeisen

Dairyman Kevin Danzeisen looked back on his family’s farming legacy to pave the way forward for his Danzeisen Dairy. From opening the first creamery in Arizona to bottle milk in reusable glass bottles in 2014 to bringing back a milkman delivery service during the pandemic, he’s proved that what’s old is new again. Except partnerships with Arizona sports teams and rock icon Alice Cooper – no dairies were doing that in the good ol’ days.

Profession: Dairyman, founder and president of Danzeisen Dairy Creamery
Age: 43
Born in: Valparaiso, Indiana
How many children do you have? Three
Highest level of schooling attained: College – agricultural business
Last book read: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
First music concert attended: Chicago
Languages spoken besides English: Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Always wanted to be a dairyman.

Melissa McCann

Living in a desert demands innovative water usage – the Valley wouldn’t exist without it, from the Hohokam’s canals to the Central Arizona Project. Urban designer, landscape architect and ASU’s University City Exchange director Melissa McCann is taking up the mantle for the next generation with The Rio Reimagined, an urban water program that will restore 58 miles of the Salt River from Granite Reef Diversion Dam to Gillespie Bridge and Dam.

Profession: Urban designer/landscape architect
Highest level of schooling attained: Master’s degree – real estate development
Last book readThe Spoils of Dust: Reinventing the Lake that Made Los Angeles by Alexander Robinson
First music concert attended: Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia
Languages are spoken besides English: Italian
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Landscape architect

Howard & Pat Fleischmann

After three decades running Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair, Howard and Pat Fleischmann have amassed gobs of accolades from the Greater Phoenix Chamber, Better Business Bureau, ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business and even Phoenix Pride, for their championing of the LQBTQ+ community. But it’s their investment in people that sets the couple apart. Last year, Howard was instrumental in donating cars to single mothers in need. And Pat started the Community Tire Garden, repurposing old tires as planters for fruits and vegetables. At press time, they’ve grown and donated approximately 10,000 pounds of produce to folks living in food deserts.

Name: Howard Fleischmann
Profession: CEO, entrepreneur of tire sales/auto repairs, recognized National Top Shop of the Year by Tire Industry
Age: 70
Born in: Melrose Park, Illinois
How many children do you have? Four
Highest level of schooling attained: High school diploma at the age of 65. This was the first time in 20 years they presented a diploma [to someone later in life], after reviewing my lifetime successes and businesses. [Back in high school] I asked to graduate two weeks before graduation as I had an offer to run an automotive center in Phoenix. The principal denied me and said I must walk or wouldn’t graduate. My wife, for my 65th birthday, took on the task and petitioned the superintendent of the Tucson school board to extend and honor my diploma as it was the one thing I regretted not achieving. My life choices brought me to a lifetime of being recognized as top of the automotive industry. They were happy to right a wrong and presented the diploma in person.
Last book read: Heroes in Our Midst by Ltc. (Ret.) John R. Angolia
First music concert attended: Beach Boys in Los Angeles
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Entrepreneur of a business

Name: Pat Fleischmann
Profession: Director of first impressions, Howard’s wife
Age: 64
Born in: Bowling Green, Ohio
How many children do you have? Two boys
Highest level of schooling attained: High school
Last book read: N/A
First music concert attended: Three Dog Night
Languages spoken besides English: Spanglish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? One. Manta ray on back, with grandchildren/family in it.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Court reporter at the Capitol

Jonathon Vento

It takes a special eye to see promise in dirt lots and dilapidated old buildings. True North Studio managing partner Jonathon Vento is the visionary developer behind such projects as the buzzy new Pemberton PHX, Cambria Hotel and the “Ten-O-One” building at 1001 N. Central Ave., breathing new life and energy into parts of town that needed a boost – especially after the economic devastation of the last year.

Profession: Developer
Age: 57
Born in: Muskegon, Michigan
How many children do you have? One beautiful daughter
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of business administration in real estate
Last book read: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
First music concert attended: The Police
Languages spoken besides English: Broken German, fragmented Japanese, vacation Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I’m doing it! And I’m still a child.

Medicine & Healthcare

Walter Murillo

Indigenous communities were among the hardest hit by COVID-19. As CEO of Native Health, Walter Murillo has advocated for better health care for the Phoenix Native American community by addressing access issues and expanding services that address social determinants of health. He’s making national waves: Last year, Families USA recognized Murillo with the Health Equity Health Advocate of the Year award in Washington, D.C.

Profession: CEO at Native Health
Age: 51
Born in: Alaska
How many children do you have? Married with two sons
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of science in engineering
Languages spoken besides English: Choctaw (Tribe of Oklahoma)

Sarah Hope

“Onboarding” new employees is as cumbersome for businesses as it sounds. New Jersey native Sarah Hope streamlined the process with one-stop-shop 911OccMed, which provides background and drug testing, immunizations and fingerprinting, and, in the COVID era, rapid testing and free inoculations. This year, Hope added a mobile clinic to reach underserved communities.

Profession: Entrepreneur, owner of 911OccMed clinics
Age: 48
Born in: Weehawken, New Jersey
How many children do you have? One biological, one adopted, three step kids
Highest level of schooling attained: High school
Last book readE Myth Mastery by Michael Gerber
First music concert attended: Stevie B in the 1980’s
Languages are spoken besides English: Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I have two tattoos, both chosen by my husband, Jason. My favorite is a beautiful, classy flower that he picked out. The other is our anniversary wedding date. He’s my best friend, my life partner and my biggest fan. I couldn’t do what I do without his support.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Clinical psychologist

Eivan Shahara

In the eyes of The Mint Dispensary CEO Eivan Shahara, innovation and community outreach are key components for the future of the Valley’s Medical Marijuana success. Originally from Athens, Greece, Shahara donated more than $1 million to families in need amidst the pandemic and continues to advocate for immunocompromised patients to obtain their MMJ card.

Profession: CEO of The Mint Dispensary
Age: 38
Born in: Athens, Greece
How many children do you have: Zero
Last book read: The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
First music concert attended: Eminem
Languages spoken besides English: Arabic, Aramaic (Chaldean), Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Be a race car driver.

Dr. Wassim Ballan

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came knocking during the pandemic, PHOENIX magazine Top Doctor Wassim Ballan, M.D., answered the call. The pediatric infectious disease specialist at Phoenix Children’s is participating in a new study on multi-inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but mysterious health condition that can appear in children weeks after they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

Profession: Pediatric infectious disease specialist at Phoenix Children’s
Age: 46
Born in: Beirut, Lebanon
How many children do you have? No children
Highest level of schooling attained: Medical doctor
Last book readSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
First music concert attended: I don’t remember who I saw at my first music concert, but I attended music festivals growing up. However, the best three concerts I’ve ever attended are, in order: the Lebanese singer Fairouz, Madonna and Lady Gaga.
Languages spoken besides English: Arabic, French and Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos at this point, but I still have some time to decide on one.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid. Before medical school, I flirted with the idea of becoming an ecologist. Who knows, maybe I’ll do that someday.

Food & Drink

Lori & Scott Harlig

Normally, Lori and Scott Harlig cater events and craft services for film productions. When COVID-19 hit, the Amici Catering owners shifted their focus to help feed thousands of healthcare workers. Whether it be the community or their own employees, the couple is always willing to step in and help those in need.

Profession: Caterers and event producers
Born in: Lori – Whittier, California; Scott – Los Angeles, California
How many children do you have? We have two amazing children, Christopher and Mikey.
Highest level of schooling attained: We both graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s of science degree in hotel restaurant administration.
Last book read: [We] read to each other (but sometimes Scott falls asleep). Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping and Risking it All with the Greatest Chef in the World by Jeff Gordinier
First music concert attended: Lori – Supertramp; Scott – Chicago
Languages spoken besides English: Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Do oven burns count?
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? We are both third-generation restaurateurs. My [Lori’s] grandparents owned the Del Mar Hotel in California, and Scott’s family owned the Sportsman Lodge in Studio City, California. Growing up, it seemed like the hospitality industry was the most glamorous job anyone could ask for.

Julia Peixoto Peters

Coffee isn’t merely a morning stimulant for Julia Peixoto Peters – it’s her family’s legacy. Inspired by her third-generation coffee farmer father in Brazil, Peixoto Peters opened Peixoto Coffee shop in Chandler and is changing the face of coffee sourcing to shift the equity of the supply chain to the farmer. A hotly anticipated second location of Peixoto Coffee is set to open in the first quarter of 2022 in Gilbert’s Epicenter at Agritopia.

Profession: Founder of Peixoto Coffee, co-owner, chief “envisioner” officer
Age: 42
Born in: Batatais, São Paulo, Brazil
How many children do you have? Two: Lia (11) and Benjamin (9)
Highest level of schooling attained: LL.M. master’s in international trade law at the University of Arizona
Last book read: I am always reading two to three books at a time. Currently reading The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek on leadership and just finished The Choice by Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor who talks about the mental imprisonments we live with. The latter is a book that has changed my life forever!
First music concert attended: Gipsy Kings in Brazil, just six guys with guitars nothing else.
Languages spoken besides English: Portuguese (my native tongue), Spanish and I get by with conversational French when in France.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Just one, on my back! I got my first tattoo when I turned 40. It is a commemorative piece filled with symbolism that I had drawn for me, with coffee tree branches (my origin) holding the earth with a map of South America, where I come from, the map of North America, where I live, the crop and the cup, my two children as marks on the map, the moon guiding my path.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I talked about being an actress at first (I excelled in theater in school), then I talked about studying agronomy to help my family with coffee farming, but in Brazil those jobs did not guarantee financial stability so, ultimately, I decided to become a lawyer as there were more options for that career path in Brazil. Little did I know that law would bring me that defining moment which would propel me in a complete different direction – to the U.S. and coffee later in life, back to my origin!

Marshall Norris

Having built a following as head brewer at Borderlands Brewing Co. in Tucson, Marshall Norris had a built-in fanbase when him and co-worker Matt Wright opened Simple Machine Brewing Co. in North Phoenix in 2019. True to form for a guy who says he grew up wanting to be Santa Claus, he hasn’t let the masses down. His innovative lagers, spot-on IPAs and mastery of sour beer styles has made Simple Machine stand out in the competitive craft beer market.

Profession: Brewer, small business owner
Age: 34
Born in: Tempe, Arizona
How many children do you have? No children, and no plans to have any.
Highest level of schooling attained: My highest education certification is my high school diploma, graduated 2005 from Millennium High School. A few years of college in the field of architecture and environmental engineering, but no degrees.
Last book read: Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion is the last book I finished. I have been listening to them for a long time, so naturally I had to buy an autographed copy.
First music concert attended: I have been to more shows than I’ll ever recount, but I believe my first was Weird Al at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the mid-late ’90s.
Languages spoken besides English: Some German, not fluent, but enough to get through the country and order the best food and beer!
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I have several tattoos.  During the shutdowns last year, I finally had my right arm sleeve finished, and just started a half-sleeve coverup on my left arm where the piece being covered was done in my living room by one of the guys I played in bands with. My favorite is a copy of the barn swallow my grandfather had on his arm that he got during his time in the Navy in the early ’50s.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? When I was very young, I wanted to grow up to be Santa. However, once I realized that was impossible, for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a musician.

Scott Conant

James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network star Scott Conant (Chopped) cherishes the slower lifestyle he’s adopted since moving to Scottsdale from New York City five years ago. “It’s really like I’m coming home to a resort… that’s the way it feels.” While he still operates restaurants around the country and travels to shoot TV shows, he’s settled nicely into the Valley dining scene with Mora Italian and The Americano. Being homebound during the pandemic allowed him to finish his latest cookbook, Peace, Love and Pasta, which is designed for home cooks and comes out in September. “It’s just food that I cook for my family,” Conant says. “I tested every single recipe at home myself during quarantine. It was a great time to write a book.”

Profession: Chef
Age: 50
Born in: Waterbury, Connecticut
How many children do you have? Two
Highest level of schooling attained: Associate’s degree in occupational studies
Last book read: I recently re-read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
First music concert attended: Beastie Boys and Madonna
Languages spoken besides English: A little Italian, German and Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? None
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Shortstop for the New York Yankees

Scott Conant, 50
Scott Conant, 50
Libby Lingua

After creating some of the best cocktail menus in town at bars like UnderTow, mixologist Libby Lingua opened Downtown Phoenix’s speakeasy Highball Cocktail Bar, located in the former Sidebar, with colorful drinks that deserve a spot on your Insta feed.

Profession: “Hospitalian,” beverage consultant, professional bartender
Age: 31
Born in: Reading, Pennsylvania
How many children do you have? No children
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of science in fashion merchandising and marketing
Last book read: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
First music concert attended: Alicia Keys
Languages spoken besides English: N/A
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Yes, five total. My favorite is a quote on my back written by my great uncle, James Rieser, who was a chemist and filmmaker. “How can we fear the darkness, when we have loved the moon so much.”
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I wanted to be a fashion designer.

Libby Lingua, 31
Libby Lingua, 31

Philanthropy

Jessie Bustamante
36
Jessie Bustamante is such a do-gooder that they named an award after her – literally. In 2002, the University of Arizona’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership created an award in her honor. These days, Bustamante is the chief development officer at ACCEL, a nonprofit organization that provides educational, behavioral, therapeutic, and vocational services to people with special needs.

Name: Jessie Bustamante
Profession: Chief advancement officer
Age: 36
Born in: Park Ridge, Illinois
How many children do you have? Zero
Highest level of schooling attained: MBA
Last book read: The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
First music concert attended: Beyonce
Languages are spoken besides English: Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Be the first female astronaut!

Jeff Adam
40
As a former refugee from Iraq, Jeff Adam has made it his mission to give back to his community through his work as an ESL instructor at Friendly House, a Phoenix organization that offers social and legal services to immigrants. Adam is a committee member for World Refugee Day and a board member of Arizona Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Name: Jeff Adam
Profession: ESL instructor
Age: 40
Born in: Baghdad, Iraq
How many children do you have? One daughter.
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of fine arts
Last book read: The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
First music concert attended: Beethoven – “Für Elise”
Languages spoken besides English: Arabic
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Musician

Ruthie Jesus
35
While most people avoid hazardous situations, Ruthie Jesus rushes into them to help. As an emergency animal technician and field operations supervisor at the Arizona Humane Society, Jesus rescues furry friends from dangerous and disease-plagued situations in a full hazmat suit. She’s also an animal cruelty investigator who has testified in abuse cases and saved hundreds of pets’ lives.

Name: Ruthie Jesus
Profession: Field operations supervisor/EAMT/animal cruelty investigator
Age: 35
Born in: Tamuning, Guam
How many children do you have? None – but five fur babies: three dogs and two cats
Highest level of schooling attained: Culinary arts degree from Arizona Culinary Institute
Last book read: The Witcher book series
First music concert attended: Santana
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I have lived with pets and loved animals my whole life.

Travis Nass
41
With his singular personal style and inimitable cocktail know-how, Travis Nass has long been an icon in Valley mixology. Now he’s cementing his legacy by giving back to the industry that raised him. Another Round Another Rally is a nonprofit he founded to provide financial resources and education for those in the hospitality field.

Name: Travis Nass (he/him)
Profession: Co-founder and chief operating officer at Another Round Another Rally
Age: 41
Born in: Denver, CO
How many children do you have? We have two basset hounds. Watson is the older, smarter one that we love more. Clarence is the younger, much less smart one, but at least he is cute.
Highest level of schooling attained: Studied sociology and creative arts at Whittier College without finishing my degree. As a never-ending student, I also have several bar program certifications including USBG Advanced Bartender and BarSmarts Advanced. Currently studying for my CSS certification test later this year.
Last book read: I always have a copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible on the side table, I am always referencing that. I read Tartine’s Bread book during quarantine while everyone was figuring out sourdough. But the last thing I read was Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (an old 1900s collection of essays by a Russian anarchist). Now that I am in the nonprofit world, I am really interested in how we take a charitable model and build in some learnings from Mutual Aid models to make our projects more equitable and inclusive as well as making sure that our giving is compounded with other education and advocacy work to address some of the root causes that necessitated the charity in the first place.
First music concert attended: The first concert I remember going to was Rancid, The Offspring and Iggy Pop. I wish I could remember the name of the other band that played. They all wore John Lennon masks and plastic wrap and played noise more than music. TBH I would probably be more into them now than the other bands.
Languages spoken besides English: I speak some fairly mediocre kitchen Spanish, but I am trying to get better.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Yes, I have 5 or so. My favorite is probably my Gentleman Platypus tattoo on my arm. I really want argyle sock tattoos on my ankles, but my wife isn’t into that idea.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a Benihana chef. After four to five years of applying several times a year, I was hired and ended up working for the company for about five years learning almost every job in the restaurant. I was trained as a teppan chef by one of the original Benihana chefs and the chef who developed their chef training program.

Ann Low
59
After surviving stage 3 breast cancer, former surgical technician Ann Low got to work. She authored Holy Crap I Have Cancer! Now What? Her “what”: co-founding CANCER FUND, a venture capital firm that connects investors with innovative solutions to the quagmire of cancer. She screens all potential investors herself and maintains a cheeky yet uplifting online community and newsletter called The Lowdown on Cancer.

Name: Ann Low
Profession: Commercial general contracting, author, CANCER FUND co-founder
Age: 59
Born in: Newcastle, Wyoming. We lived so far out you had to come in to go hunting.
How many children do you have? Two, but they are for sale. CHEAP!
Highest level of schooling attained: Some college; certified ophthalmic assistant
Last book read: Anticancer Living by Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jeffries, while simultaneously rereading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series
First music concert attended: ZZ Top
Languages spoken besides English: None, unless you count cursing.
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Three. My daughter and I have matching hearts on our right wrists to remind us to lead with the heart when we meet new people.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? A psychiatrist or a trauma plastic surgeon. Cancer survivor wasn’t on the list.

Every Generation

Left to right: Lazer Crawford, 15; Miles Willis McDermott, 27; Jay Kilroy, 92
Left to right: Lazer Crawford, 15; Miles Willis McDermott, 27; Jay Kilroy, 92
Gen Z
Lazer Crawford

Lazer Crawford was born into skateboarding. His father rode a deck, and the 15-year-old has been at it for a decade with an enthusiastic YouTube following. The prodigy’s skill, love, and dedication have led to national sponsorships and winning amateur competitions. You might even see him compete in Paris in 2024. “Hopefully, I’ll be pro and have skated in the Olympics [in five years],” he says. “[College] has never really been a thought.”

Profession: Amateur skateboarder
Age: 15
Born in: Glendale, Arizona
How many children do you have? None
Highest level of schooling attained: I am doing home school.
Last book read: The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer with Gina Detwiler
First music concert attended: Wu-Tang Clan
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? I wish. I can’t wait to get some.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Professional skateboarder! And be the best skateboarder in the world.

Millennial
Miles Willis McDermott

Arizona native Miles Willis McDermott is a renaissance man of aesthetics. The national ADDY award-winning creative director makes art, furniture, clothing and music, in addition to overseeing advertising and branding for clients. You may see him driving his vintage, polka-dotted cars imported from Japan to and from interior design clients around the Valley.

Profession: Creative Director
Age: 27
Born in: Mesa, Arizona
How many children do you have? None
Highest level of schooling attained: BA in design
Last book read: I can’t remember the last time I read a book… Does Playboy count?
First music concert attended: When I was 17, I lied about my age to get into a $10 show to see TOKiMONSTA, Shlohmo and Daedalus live.
Languages spoken besides English: None
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Four. I can’t say I’m particularly in love with any of them.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? I really wanted to be a marine biologist because shrimp are freakin’ cool.

Gen X
Deb Levine

Deb Levine is a reluctant medium. Though she’d felt this spiritual calling since childhood, she stifled it to pursue a career in radio advertising sales and raise her children. She couldn’t resist any longer, though, and four years ago she allowed her intuitive abilities to blossom. Levine now helps clients access the great beyond on their journeys of healing and empowerment through her Soul Wisdom services.

Profession: Medium
Age: 47
Born in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
How many children do you have? Two
Highest level of schooling attained: Bachelor of arts in advertising from Penn State University, followed by a 10-month stint at the Art Institute of Phoenix, where I received a diploma in
baking and pastry arts (I have such an odd background?!). I went on to sell my cakes and desserts as a little side business after finishing.
Last book read: The Universe Always Has a Plan: The 10 Golden Rules of Letting Go by Matt Kahn
First music concert attended: Donny & Marie Osmond. Will anyone reading this even know who they are? LOL.
Languages spoken besides English: Well, I can read/speak Hebrew, but I don’t actually know what I’m saying, so not sure that counts?
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? Nope – not yet!
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? A lawyer, as I was told I always had to have the last word!

Baby Boomer
Tim Sprague

Growing up, Tim Sprague had a dream of being a rock star. While he moonlights in a rock ’n’ roll band called Crisis, Sprague has made a career in real estate development over the last 30 years. His company, Habitat Metro, is the force behind FOUND:RE Phoenix hotel, Portland on the Park, Portland Place and the forthcoming ECO PHX, which aims to be the most sustainable community in the state.

Profession: Real estate developer for Habitat Metro
Age: 69
Born in: Lawton, Oklahoma
How many children do you have? Four children, six grandchildren
Highest level of schooling attained: N/A
First music concert attended: Jefferson Airplane
Languages spoken besides English: Some Spanish
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos.
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Rock star

Silent Generation
Jay Kilroy

Jay Kilroy has been a volunteer most of his life, whether it’s building schools in the Philippines as a former Franciscan priest or serving with his wife of 46 years at St. Vincent de Paul. And the 92-year-old retired (as of 2019) college professor from Mesa isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. “God has given me good health,” he says. “I’m here for a reason, and I’m trying to be of service to people.”

Profession: Retired college professor
Age: 92
Born in: Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Phoenix at age 15.
How many children do you have? Two. A boy, Lt. Col. in the United States Air Force in South Korea with his wife and three young daughters. A daughter, living in Helsinki, Finland, with her husband and three children.
Highest level of schooling attained: Master’s degree in education from Portland University
Last book readFour Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett
First Music Concert attended: [When I was] about 8 years old, my father took my two older sisters and me to Grant Park in Chicago. A nice trip downtown, but I recall nothing about the concert.
Languages spoken besides English: I speak Spanish and Cebuano (Filipino dialect).
Do you have any tattoos? How many, if so? Favorite one? No tattoos
As a child, what did you want to do for a living when you grew up? Early on, I thought about being a Catholic priest.

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