Pinal County Economic Development Manager Recognized by Peers

by Joe Pyritz, Public Information Officer

In a year that saw Pinal County jump to the forefront of economic development opportunity in Arizona, a statewide group has recognized one of the architects of the county’s success.

Economic Development Manager Tim Kanavel, became the first-ever two-time recipient of the Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence Award for Economic Developer of the Year, Small Community.

Kanavel first won the award in 2004.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been 13 years,” Kanavel said. “I am honored beyond belief at being recognized by the Arizona Association for Economic Development, but this is truly an award for the entire 1,800 employees for Pinal County. Our success is a direct result of everyone’s hard work to help land these projects for the county.”

In the Small Community Category, Kanavel was in competition for the award with 13 other counties and any city that has a population of 50,000 or less.

“I could say I am surprised that he won the award, but I am really not,” stated Chairman Steve Miller. “Just look at the accomplishments. Tim and his team have been involved in bringing over 15 projects to the county totaling over $2.5 billion in economic investment. They are working with our communities to help bring them on board with what we are doing. I mean, he is in the true sense a leader of this effort.”

Kanavel is a familiar face with many of the Chambers of Commerce throughout Pinal County. It’s not unusual to see him tout Pinal County before groups of mayors, city council people, town managers and anyone who will listen to why they need to invest in Pinal County.

Kanavel does this while waiting for kidney transplant.

“I had a double transplant in 2009 of the kidney and pancreas,” Kanavel said. “The transplanted kidney has failed and I am on the list awaiting a new one.”

Kanavel can be found at dialysis three days a week and still manages to get a full-day in when he can. He is looking forward to the day when he gets a call from the Mayo Clinic saying a kidney has become available.

“Once I get that call, I will have to drop everything I am doing and head up to Phoenix,” Kanavel said. “I’m not really worried that our work will drop off when it comes to economic development. We have a good team in place and they will be able to pick up where I left off.”

When asked how he does everything while going though dialysis and waiting for a kidney, his answer is simple. It’s a matter of a positive mindset.

“The only person who can hold you down is you,” Kanavel replied.