Voices of the Community

Meet our contributors!  

They say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And the same holds true for a community magazine. It takes a village to engage, entertain and, we hope, inspire the community we serve. That’s our mission, and we could not do it without the help of our valued contributors. They do so much more than just write about our community; they live, work and play in our community. They represent the very best of Casa Grande’s public and private sectors. And, every other month, they bring us the stories and reports that matter. On behalf of our team, our readers and our advertisers, we thank you!


Angela Askey

Angela Askey

Executive Director, Public Relations and Marketing, Central Arizona College

Angela is the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Central Arizona College. Prior to her arrival at CAC, Angela served as the Media Relations Coordinator at Mesa Community College and the Community Relations Coordinator at Idaho State University College of Technology.


Joel Belloc

Joel Belloc

Mayor, City of Eloy

Mayor Belloc was reelected for his second term as Mayor of the City of Eloy in November 2016. He has also served as a member of the Eloy City Council from 2002 – 2012 and as Vice Mayor from 2012- 2014. Prior to this, he served 12 years on the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Governing Board. He graduated from Central Arizona College with an AAS degree in drafting/design, attended Pima College and the University of Arizona, where he enrolled in landscape architecture. He currently manages his family’s farming business, “Belloc Inc.” Mayor Belloc is a longtime resident of Eloy, and has been married to his wife Cecilia for over 40 years. Together they have three children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.


Mila Besich

Mila Besich

Mayor, Town of Superior

Mila Besich, a fourth-generation resident of Superior, was elected as the Town’s Mayor in 2016. She wears many hats in her community and region, serving as Executive Director of the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition and Advertising Director for Copper Area News Publishers.


Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie

Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie CPT

Certified Physical Trainer, CPT, WickedFiTT

Tiffanie is the owner of WickedFiTT, in Casa Grande, AZ. She is a well-known personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and all around fitness junkie. Tiffanie specializes in weight loss, strength and conditioning, and general fitness.


Tim Kanavel

Tim Kanavel

Economic Development Program Manager, Pinal County

Tim graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in regional development. His career in Arizona has taken him from the former Greater Tucson Economic Council to the Arizona Department of Commerce, to private enterprise at the Tucson Airport, to president/CEO of the Wickenburg Regional Economic Development Partnership, and to his present position as the economic development program manager for Pinal County.


Renée Louzon-Benn

Renée Louzon-Benn

President, Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce

Renée became President of the Chamber in May, 2019. She has had 22 years of involvement with the local business community and the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce. Renée and her husband enjoy “living local,” dining at local eateries, walking the downtown area and hiking Casa Grande Mountain.


Donna McBride

Donna McBride

Councilwoman, City of Casa Grande

Donna McBride is the Program Administrator/Public Information Officer and Supervisor for the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Unit for Pinal County Juvenile Court . McBride is actively involved as a Board Member for Casa Grande Alliance, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, BlackBox Foundation, Mayor’s Reading Program, Pinal County Town Hall Vice-Chair, Parks and Block Watch Captain for the Casa Grande Police Department. A freelance writer and photographer, Donna and husband Mike enjoy white water rafting, kayaking and spending time with their 2 sons and 3 grandchildren who live in the valley.

Craig McFarland

Craig McFarland

Mayor, City of Casa Grande

Born and raised in California, Mayor McFarland has lived in Casa Grande since 2005. He is a graduate of California State University of Fresno, and retired from Golden Eagle Distributors in January 2015 as VP of Sales after a ten year run with the company, and 36 total years in beverage business sales management, marketing, and operations. McFarland began his first term as Mayor in December 2016.


Gigi McWhirter

Gigi McWhirter

Conceived in a plane behind the Airport Tavern and living proof that it takes a village to raise a kid proper. Married to the best man and we live in what I call the “Best Dog House in Casa Grande” shared with a bunch of dogs, two parakeets and a finch called “Rusty”. Lived in Alaska, drove on the Arctic Ocean, Walked on the Great Wall of China and drank Guinness in Ireland. But none of this compares to my profound love of animals and Flying Leap wines!


Christian Price

Christian Price

Mayor, City of Maricopa

Mayor Price is serving in his third term as Mayor. Mayor Price is an entrepreneur and small business owner and is a partner of the Sierra West Group, a financial advisory firm. Raised in Tucson and a graduate of Northern Arizona University, he participates in numerous regional and national coalitions including serving as the Treasurer on the Executive Committee of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.


Rina Rien

Rina Rien

Director, Casa Grande Main Street

As Executive Director of Casa Grande Main Street since 2012, Rina fosters a collaborative approach toward building a vibrant downtown community. Rina enjoys partnering with highly creative people who share a passion for promoting Historic Downtown and preserving its rich history.


Bob Shogren

Bob Shogren

Director, Casa Grande Alliance

Bob is a longtime resident of Pinal County. He has been an educator, school district administrator, community organizer and nonprofit board member. He also served for many years at the state and national level, working with AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs.


Jon Thompson

Mayor, City of Coolidge

Mayor Thompson graduated from NAU in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He was first elected to the Coolidge City Council in 2002 and served as Vice Mayor from 2006 to 2010. He gave up his council seat to run for Mayor and since being elected, has retired as Division Director for the Pinal County Adult Probation Department after 30 years.


Tori Ward

Tori Ward

Cruise and Resort Specialist, ROX Travel

Victoria “Tori” is a cruise and resort specialist with a master’s degree in political science. She has completed more than 30 certification courses with the cruise and tour industry including the most advanced certification, Commodore, from Princess Cruise Lines. Tori is a member of the Cruise Lines International Association.