Speaker: Keith Watkins, Senior Vice-President, Economic/Rural Development
Business Connections Luncheon:
Friday, March 23rd, 2018
Don't miss this informative and interesting meeting! We're honored to have Keith Watkins from the Arizona Commerce Authority and David Blanchette VP of NAI Horizon as this quarter's speakers. Keith will discuss his expertise and knowledge of the growing communities in and around Tucson and Southern Arizona. David and his team panel will update us on Southern Arizona's Commercial Real Estate Market and Developments.
NAI Horizon has set up an All-Star panel of Commercial Real Estate experts to be there with opportunity
for Q & A!
Ben Craney, Managing Director, Retail
Mike Chapman, Senior VP, Investments and Multi-family
Scot Soelter, Managing Director, Retail Development
Andrew Sternberg, VP, Office
David Blanchette, CCIM, VP, Industrial
March Event Features:
Keith Watkins serves as the Senior Vice President for Economic and Rural Development for the Arizona Commerce Authority. In this capacity, Keith plays a vital role in advising the ACA and Governor’s office on rural economic development issues and opportunities. Under his leadership, the ACA has played a direct role in creating and executing more than $6 million in new rural investment grant programs, assisting more than 60 businesses expand or locate in Arizona’s rural communities, creating more than 6,000 jobs, and generating $542M in private capital investment.
Mr. Watkins also serves as Vice Chairman of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA), a public bonding authority that works with Arizona communities and publicly regulated water and wastewater companies to develop, acquire and expand water related projects. With a bond portfolio of over $1 billion, WIFA serves as a vital financing arm for these core infrastructure needs.
Prior to his work at the Arizona Commerce Authority, Mr. Watkins was Vice President of JF Companies, a privately-held diversified real estate development and water resources firm with holdings in the Western United States. Mr. Watkins managed a real estate holdings portfolio worth nearly $100 million and was responsible for negotiations for property acquisitions, entitlements, public affairs, marketing, and dispositions.
A third generation Arizona native and University of Arizona graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Regional Development, Mr. Watkins has earned a national reputation for his work in economic development. He has extensive public and private-public economic development experience, having served in executive positions in many organizations.
Mr. Watkins spent nine successful years at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), where he led the organization’s high performing business recruitment efforts, helping to land companies such as Vanguard, Charles Schwab, and Midwestern University. Playing a direct role in the retention and recruitment of more than 200 firms, Mr. Watkins leadership helped generate over 165,000 new private sector direct jobs and more than $2 billion in private capital investment. He also served as a founder of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, where he was recruited to startup this new private-public partnership that serves the City of Baltimore and five adjacent counties. While there, Mr. Watkins developed and executed the first region-wide business retention and attraction enterprise, helping to recruit more than 24 new employers during his tenure and helping to retain an existing General Motors plant. He also served as Economic Development Director for the Town of Buckeye where he initiated the airport master plan and aggressively marketed the Town.
Mr. Watkins also serves on many boards and commissions, representing the Arizona Commerce Authority and State of Arizona, including:
· Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA), Vice Chairman
Mr. Watkins and his wife, Lisa, reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Speaker: David Blanchette, CCIM Vice President of NAI Horizon
Scope of Service Experience
· Maricopa County Economic Development Council, Member – this group advises the Maricopa County Government on economic development issues and opportunities
· Rural Business Development Advisory Council, Board Member – this group advises the Arizona Commerce Authority on rural policy and issues
· Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), Board Member
· Commission of Indian Affairs, ex-officio Board Member
· Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership, ex-officio Board Member
David Blanchette, CCIM, joined NAI Horizon in Tucson in March 2017, and specializes in the disposition, acquisition, and leasing of industrial and office properties in Southern Arizona. David is also involved in the development of land, assemblage of developed land, build to suits, and assemblage of properties.
Background & Experience
David has completed deals totaling more than $26 million over the course of his career in commercial real estate. Prior to joining NAI, David worked for CBRE of Tucson from 2010 to 2017 and at Bourn Partners from 2005 to 2010. In one of his most significant transactions, David took a property from greenfield to investment sale. He was the site selector, worked with the general contractor, and took the property, the ReCommunity Recycling Center in Tucson, to the investment market. The building was acquired for $7 million.
David earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Arizona State University. He has been a licensed Real Estate sales agent in Arizona since 1986.
Professional Associations & Designations
David earned his CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation in 2009. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Southern Arizona CCIM Chapter since 2005, including Chapter President in 2013. David is a volunteer with the Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expansion and Retention program.