Honeywell Aerospace, Sharon Harper, Daphne’s Headcovers and Carol Colombo are the Phoenix export champions of the year. These companies and business leaders were recognized by Mayor Kate Gallego for efforts promoting global trade for the Phoenix economy. Phoenix Sister Cities Commissioner Sonya Pastor LaSota presented this year’s sixth annual awards on April 15 at the virtual Mayor’s Export Awards Luncheon. The awards recognize contributions made in advancing the Phoenix export economy and draw attention to those who have demonstrated export excellence.
Phoenix is resilient. COVID-19 impacted us all differently last year, but businesses and community leaders around the Valley continued to contribute to the Phoenix export economy. From further building Phoenix’s relationship with Taiwan, to maintaining its competitiveness through global trade, Phoenix continues to be one of the five fastest-growing economies in the United States .
“Exports are critical to economic growth in Phoenix,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “We encourage companies to enter the export market and to increase exports in order to create better jobs in Phoenix. We can grow together by working closely with our sister cities Hermosillo, Mexico; Calgary, Canada; and others.”
The Export Champion of the Year is Sharon Harper with Plaza Companies. Chairman, CEO and co-founder, Harper has been intimately involved in the shaping of international economic development for decades. As one of the original founding board members of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in 1989, Harper served as the Chairwoman of the board in 2003 and co-chaired GPEC’s International Council since it commenced in 2007. As a member of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Harper works to advance security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity in the United States and around the World.
Harper’s efforts to move the National Defense Authorization Act forward has propelled Arizona to be an international competitor on the manufacturing front, most notably on semiconductor manufacturing. Most recently,Harper has been intimately involved with the City of Phoenix in bringing global companies to this market, facilitating the supply chain that will join semiconductor giant, TSMC, here in Phoenix. Her tireless efforts to ensure Phoenix is a globally recognized competitor are apparent each day in her work to support local businesses on the international stage.
The Exporter of the Year is Jane Spicer, CEO of Daphne’s Headcovers. Daphne’s Headcovers was founded by Spicer when she was 16 years old. Four decades later, the company is still providing jobs in Phoenix. Named for Spicer’s mother and mentor, the company established the novelty headcover niche with local roots in the Arizona Biltmore golf shop. Daphne’s Headcovers’ strong culture and core values have allowed it grow in good times and bad. It is now the oldest privately-held golf accessory company in the United States. Daphne’s Headcovers are carried by more than 200 professional golfers, including Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko, Greg Norman and many more. Now a multi-million-dollar company that exports to more than 75 countries, Daphne’s Headcovers core value is: “We must do good while we are doing well.” Spicer puts her money where her mouth is, supporting Golf Fore Africa, The First Tee, Veterans Golf Association, Gabriel’s Angels, and Girls Golf of Phoenix.
The Export Service Provider of the Year is Honeywell Aerospace. Headquartered in Phoenix, Honeywell Aerospace is a manufacturer of aircraft engines, avionics, and many other aviation products and services found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft in the world. In 2020, the company opened a new division in Phoenix dedicated to urban air mobility and unmanned aerial systems, with potential applications in all-electric urban air taxi vehicles, hybrid-electric unmanned cargo drones, optionally piloted airplanes, delivery drones and everything in between. Honeywell Aerospace is helping to keep Phoenix on the leading edge of technology.
The Trilateral Trade Champion is Carol Colombo, CEO of AlertGPS, a workforce safety solutions company. Since 1994, Colombo has been the State of Arizona’s liaison to the United States Trade Representative’s Office. She has advised many past administrations in Arizona regarding international trade and economic development. Colombo has lobbied and helped obtain state and federal funding for trade, transportation and economic development initiatives that have been implemented throughout North America. She is a past-president of the Arizona Mexico Commission and past Co-Chair of the Governor’s CANAMEX Task Force. As a member of the Trade and Transportation Corridor Alliance, she developed Arizona’s statewide foreign direct investment framework. Colombo has passionately and effectively advocated for the ratification of the USMCA. Her advice, guidance, and involvement ensured that Arizona’s USMCA voice was not just heard, but significantly amplified.