John Lewis, president/CEO of the East Valley Partnership, has announced that he will step down in his current role as he has been called to serve as a mission president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lewis will serve a three-year assignment in Cambodia beginning July 1, alongside his wife, LaCinda Lewis.
“My role as president and CEO of the East Valley Partnership has been a leadership opportunity of a lifetime,” Lewis said. “It has been a distinct honor to work with leaders in the thriving Phoenix East Valley who are focused on doing all they can to prepare our region for the future.”
Lewis served as a volunteer with the Partnership for six years before being named the organization’s president in 2015. He was selected from a field of 50 candidates nationwide to succeed Roc Arnett, the previous president of the Partnership who served the organization for 13 years.
“John has been a strong force in renewing the organization’s commitment to the East Valley and retaining a strong and diverse membership base,” said Rhonda Curtis, chair of the Partnership.
The Partnership was formed 35 years ago as a cooperative effort among the East Valley’s six communities – Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Tempe. Since then, the region has experienced exponential population growth and added thousands of new jobs. Today, the six communities boast a combined population of 1.3 million. Because of its talented and highly educated workforce and favorable quality of life, the area also continues to be a magnet for new businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in industries such as aerospace and aviation, technology, financial services and healthcare industries.
During his tenure, Lewis played an integral role in these efforts by launching a mentoring forum for PHX East Valley business owners and entrepreneurs and forming a healthcare leadership council. He also worked with regional officials and Arizona Tech Investors to start the PHX East Valley Angel Investor Initiative, designed to catalyze economic growth by raising awareness of the importance of angel investing and enhancing access to early-stage funding for East Valley tech startup companies.
Previously, Lewis, 60, served as mayor of Gilbert for seven years, where he was active in numerous town, region and statewide initiatives.
The Partnership’s 75-member board of directors will begin discussing plans for recruiting a replacement for Lewis in early January.
“Through the next six months, it will be business as usual, as John continues his work in moving our region forward in a productive and positive way,” Curtis said.