What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?
I am compelled by working with my community to find resolutions. I enjoy convening people to better understand issues and working together to solve problems. Inviting different perspectives from the community to accomplish big goals is rewarding, and it’s one of the things I enjoy most about the role of Mayor. I do not take for granted the impact we can have through working together for the best interest of our community.
My deep roots in Mesa have always been the driving force for leadership — I‘ve always felt compelled and honored to serve in my hometown. I hope I can inspire or encourage people of all ages to find opportunities to get involved in their community. I’m inspired by the Mayor’s Youth Committee, an aspirational group of high school juniors and seniors from schools throughout Mesa. It’s enlightening to see through the eyes of these future leaders who have an opportunity to learn about local government and to participate in service projects for a school year. I always ask them to return to Mesa when they are ready to step into the workforce. We’re going to need them!
What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?
The pandemic taught us unforgettable lessons, many of which have transformed the ways we work and live. As mayor of a large city, the experience of navigating food insecurity, housing issues, social isolation, the digital divide, access to education and challenges faced by our small businesses provided clarity on the needs in our community and informed future programs.
I’m proud of the way the City of Mesa responded, and how we’re growing to better serve our residents. We’ve always said small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the support programs that grew out of our COVID-19 response will continue through the Mesa Business Builder, providing a wide range of technical assistance to our businesses.
Homelessness was a crisis before the pandemic, but COVID-19 intensified the crisis and showed us the urgency of addressing the issue. As chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, I’m working closely with leaders throughout our region to coordinate a regional plan to address homelessness.
While no one could have predicted or wanted the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be stronger as leaders for having gone through this alongside our community organizations, faith groups and volunteers that support our residents every day. Our partnerships are stronger, our connection to residents is deeper and we’re moving ahead with an eye toward a bright future.
What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?
We’ve seen remarkable economic growth in Mesa, despite the challenges of the pandemic. It’s because we have all the right ingredients, and we’ve always been strategic about infrastructure investments. Mesa is home to Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Boeing, Dexcom and Google. This year, we’ve announced the addition of Facebook, ElectraMeccanica and Gulfstream, among others, adding to the long list of dynamic businesses that choose to locate in Mesa.
CEOs have shared that they are attracted to Mesa and the region because of our engaged workforce, access to their target market, great community partners, existing infrastructure coupled with future investments and the fact that the City of Mesa is business friendly, working together with businesses to overcome obstacles.
We’ve also seen success in in building strategic partnerships between the private sector, local government and our educational institutions, providing solutions for workforce needs and strengthening job opportunities for residents. Continuing to work this way can set us up for continued success.
What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?
In Mesa, we continue to see notable groundbreakings, openings and expansions. This growth is the direct result of Mesa’s strategic investment in infrastructure, preservation of what makes our city unique and intentional support of small businesses.
In FY21, more than 2,600 jobs were created or announced by 46 different companies, including Amazon, Comarch, ElectraMeccanica, Auer Precision, CMC Steel and Dexcom. Growth and expansion projects resulted in the creation and absorption of more than 3.7 million square feet of space and capital investment that exceeded $1.2 billion.
Mesa College Promise, a program supported by the business community that fills the financial gap for qualified high school seniors to attend Mesa Community College, welcomed its first class this year. We announced our Climate Action Plan with aspirational goals to be carbon neutral by 2050. ASU @ Mesa City Center is in a later stage of construction and downtown Mesa is taking shape as the innovation district we envisioned. Gateway Airport continues to see record travel, and the new control tower, terminal improvements and apron expansions will accommodate the fast-growing needs of our city and the region.
Name of Leader: John Giles
Position of Leader: Mayor
City Name: City of Mesa
No. of Years as Mayor: 8
Main Local Office Address: 20 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85201
Phone: (480) 644-2388
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 1
Founded in: 1878
City Nationally Headquartered: Mesa, AZ
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