Tag Archives: Salt River Project

An Awe-Inspiring Journey

Baird_Lindsey Headshot 2By Lindsey Baird
Brown & Brown Insurance

Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

It is an odd feeling to be at a loss for words, especially for someone as outgoing and verbose as myself. Yet, that is the sensation I experienced for the majority of the hour and a half we were in the air. The only word that continually came to mind was “wow”. I found myself extremely overwhelmed at the serene beauty of the desert landscape that I have lived in and known my whole life. Seeing it from the bird’s eye perspective was a completely different experience, not to mention we had the fortune to fly a few hundred yards away from a bald eagle for a brief moment of our journey.  The helicopter traveled across Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, onto the reservation and caught up with the Verde River which wound us northeast through the Sonoran Desert. We took in the sights of the mountains, hills and cactus and then all of a sudden this gorgeous blue body of water came into view. IMG_2136Below the deep blue water stood the silhouette of the first dam on our tour, Bartlett Dam. Our SRP pilot, John, did a fantastic job of maneuvering the helicopter so that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. We took our fill of photos with “ooh’s” and “ah’s” as the dam made its way into each passengers view before gliding up and over the sparkling surface of Bartlett Lake. The fisherman below stopped to wave as we made our way up the lake and back into the Verde River, en route to Horseshoe Dam.

Evidence of the increased rainfall Arizona has experienced this year cluttered the landscape. The green in the brush and trees that surrounded the shallow water of Horseshoe Lake served to enhance the picturesque views stretched in front of us. It was almost as if you could feel the energy of the thriving wildlife just below our hovering craft. As we departed the Verde River and made our way northeast once again, the mountains grew taller and the saguaro cactus faded into miles of mature trees. I really cannot say enough about our wonderful pilot, John, who took the time to track down the trail of a waterfall as we trekked on towards Roosevelt Lake. A waterfall in the desert is certainly a rarity, this particular set of falls did not disappoint. Shortly after we departed the mystery falls, we found the10434312_10153011141176772_6454440225180548074_n mighty Salt River and followed it south until it reached the north end of Roosevelt Lake. To my recollection I had never seen Roosevelt Lake prior to this point, I was impressed. I recall thinking “that nice woman with the power point slides did tell us this thing holds about 1.6 million acre-feet, I guess this is what 1.6 million acre-feet looks like!” Overwhelmed. Again. Even more so after crossing the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, taking our photos and dropping down into the river and following the Apache Trail the short distance into Apache Lake. “There was ALL that water 3 minutes ago, and here we are again at ANOTHER lake?!” Impressive. At the southwest end of Apache Lake, near the damn, John trained our eyes to find a set of cliff dwellings about halfway up the canyon wall that held Native American ruins. It must have been quite some time before us that this group visited because there was simply no way to reach the mouths of the caves at present. After crossing over the top of Horse Mesa Dam and marveling at yet another feat of hydro-electric power, John spun us around to get a 360 degree view of a bald eagle’s nest tucked up in the cliffs alongside the river.

At this point in the tour the distances between dams became much shorter and we reached the Mormon Flat Dam after flying over Canyon Lake for just a few minutes. The progression of the river and dam system flowing down from lake to lake reminded me of a complex system of steps, descending from largest to smallest. The beauty of Mormon Flat Dam and subsequently Stewart Mountain Dam, enclosing Saguaro Lake, were framed by the terrain that surrounds them. The distinct vision when I looked out on the horizon from these beautiful lakes was of Four Peaks and how prominent the mountain stood just in the distance. Before I knew it the deep blue water had dissolved beneath us into a narrow river and became the Salt River once more. As always with anticipated journeys, the ride home was much quicker than the ride to our first destination. The return trip provided extensive views of the Tempe and Phoenix area as we approached our destination at the SRP facility. A landing as smooth as sitting down on the living room couch provided the perfect conclusion to an awe-inspiring journey.

1978617_10153011141416772_4353725743622727630_nOn behalf of the whole group, I would like to thank SRP as well as our pilot, Mr. John Knotts for the exceptional experience that was truly a once in a lifetime gift. Thank you!



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Should the State Support the Arts?

SRP Arizona LeadershipJason Gunawardena, Class 27
Sr. Electrical Engineer, Salt River Project

Art day has to have been the most memorable day so far in the Scottsdale Leadership Program. We learned about programs at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, saw many of Scottsdale’s Public Art pieces and toured an Artist School. This is an exploration of a segment of our Arts Day where representatives from the Arizona Commission of the Arts and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts were appealing for further state support for the arts.

The arts enlarge, elevate, and harmonize the soul of Scottsdale.  It may be asked what would become of arts in Scottsdale without her Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.  It might even be asked whether, without centralization and consequently the support of fine arts, that exquisite taste would be developed which is the fruit of the city’s labor, and which introduces its productions to the world.

Does the right of the Arizona legislator extend to cutting the wages of the people, to supply the profits of the artist?  It was said, “Without public funding, the arts will not survive.”  It might be answered, if you desire to support everything which is good and useful, where will you stop?  Will you not be led to form a civil list for agriculture, industry, commerce, benevolence, education?  Then does government aid favor the progress of art?

Galleries that prosper are those that depend on their own resources.  We observe that wants and desires arise, and are born and refined in proportion as the public wealth allows these to be fulfilled.  Government should not take part in the arts, because it could not by taxation stimulate the arts of necessity, while restricting those of luxury, thus creating a natural disruption.

Choosing and spending should come from the people and not from government and the opposite will lead to the destruction of liberty and human dignity.  But why is it that when we disapprove of government support, we are philistines and are supposed to disapprove of the thing whose support is discussed only because we desire to see those activities seek reward in themselves.  Can the state exist to protect the free development of all these kinds of activities without pillaging from others?  The development is natural under the influence of liberty instead of being shaped by the powers that legislature dictates.    When asked “what is art?” and one of my classmates said “humanity.”  If art is humanity then this is not art.

The constitutionality of the establishment came into question.   The response received was the pursuit of happiness is in the constitution and art provides happiness.  Then give freedom to pursue happiness without government providing it for us as the founders designed it.

They stated that in regards to financing, that at the end of the day the federal government is a leader to its constituents and even if it gives a rounding error of 200 million it is conveying the message that art is a central part of our lives.  So the government should be dictating to its people what should be the central part of our lives similar to North Korean society?  It is clear that the taxpayer, will no longer have this “rounding error” at his own disposal and that the workman who would have received it from him, will be deprived of a benefit to that amount.  The vote of the 200 million will not add anything to the well being of the country, and to the national labor.

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Welcome to Class 26

Jenifer Dymek
Sr. Advertising Strategist, Salt River Project

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

The first day of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26 was like the first day of school. Maybe it was the excitement of being on a school campus (our first class was held at Scottsdale Community College), or maybe just the chance to meet other people ready to embark on an adventure. A new place where we’ll all be pushed to be better, and stretch a little higher. The hum of the room and the excitement touched everyone, from members of the class to the alumni and staff.

So what makes up this class of leaders? In the amazing 90-second commercials, we found out that we have poets and football fanatics. A crockpot chef and a police chief named Jeff. An amazing baker, a nail polish fanatic, a ringside announcer and animal lover. Still remember what makes Nick tick? Lawyers and CPA’s and realtors, oh my! A marathon runner and rock and roll singer, this class is loaded with leadership ringers!

There are so many to name, and so many new faces to get to know. This class is filled with amazing and interesting people and we’ve only seen the very tip of the iceberg.

But what is a leader? Former Scottsdale city manager Dick Bowers shared his experience and inspirational thoughts:

  • There is nobility in public service
  • You can make change happen despite your surrounding situation
  • Discuss the un-discussables
  • Create tension
  • Controversy is a seed to grow
  • The relationship with the person directly below you is less important than the one with the person several layers below you
  • Keep your vision within people’s grasp

In the words of our Scottsdale Leadership president Brian Bednar, it’s our time to be present and take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Good luck to all!


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Scottsdale Leadership announces 2011-12 Board of Directors

Contact: Rachel Brockway, Marketing and Resource Development Manager
(480) 627-6710  rbrockway@scottsdaleleadership.org

Board President Brian Bednar

Scottsdale Leadership, a nonprofit community leadership development program has elected its 2011-12 board of directors.

Scottsdale Leadership’s mission is to inform, inspire and empower leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

The 2011-12 board members include the following Scottsdale Leadership alumni:

• President, Brian Bednar, Salt River Project
• Past-President, Doreen Reinke, Scottsdale Insurance Company
• President-Elect, Patti Counce, Chicago Title Insurance Co.
• Treasurer, Carol Damaso, Scottsdale Public Library
• Secretary, Suzanne Walden-Wells, DC Ranch Community Council

Board of Directors:
• Zack Barna, boompromo
• Jane Blacker, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty
• Marc Blonstein, Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein
• Kimberly Crowther Miller, DC Ranch Community Council
• Patti Goodrich, Choice Hotels International
• Karolyn Kiburz, Meetings & Concierges Source
• Stefanie Lerner, Encore Creative Décor and Entertainment
• Mike Merucci, Foundation for Burns & Trauma
• David Nelson, Scottsdale Insurance Company
• Suzanne Paetzer, TriAra Consulting
• Scott Palmer, Salt River Materials Group
• Kevin Patrick, Charles Schwab
• Jennifer Rueb, Hotel Valley Ho
• Mike Seiden, retired president Western International University
• Jami Thompson, Shine Factory
• Susie Timm, SCM Timm Enterprises
• Cynthia Wenstrom, Realty Executives

Board president Brian Bednar is Senior Account Manager for SRP and a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership Class 20.  Bednar has developed leadership roles by participating in and promoting active volunteerism with the Fiesta Bowl committee for over 15 years. He has been supporting the communities’ youth through the Big Brothers/Sisters program for the past 25 years. Bednar is also an active member of the alumni team for his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, at ASU, that helps mentor and teach 60+ young men at the chapter about leadership.  His most recent awards include the SRP President’s Volunteer Spirit Award for Community Service and the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award. Bednar shares Scottsdale Leadership’s core values and is looking forward to a dynamic year, positively impacting the civic, philanthropic, business and cultural climate of our community.

For more information about Scottsdale Leadership, call (480) 627-6710 or visit www.scottsdaleleadership.org.

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Leadership Spotlight – Jolynn Clarke, Class X

Jolynn Clarke, SRPThis blog is first in a series from alumni about their experience in Scottsdale Leadership. Jolynn Clarke is a graduate of Class X and the Staffing Manager at Salt River Project. Scottsdale Leadership is currently recruiting participants for Class 26. Visit scottsdaleleadership.org for details.

Name and Class:  Jolynn Clarke, Class X
Current place of employment, title:  Salt River Project, Staffing Manager

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how did you learn it? One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve learned is that the skills used when working with volunteers – empathy, appealing to a common goal, using humor, finding someone’s passion are just as applicable when working from a management position.  In addition, I was introduced to and embraced the ideals of servant leadership during my Scottsdale Leadership class and the staff I currently work with appreciates me using these ideals in our work together.

If you could solve any community issue or need, what would it be? If I could solve any community issue right now it would be to bring more jobs to our community especially in south Scottsdale.  Undoubtedly the economy we are struggling with now will have long-lasting effects.  More jobs in our area strengthens our economy and our overall community.

What was your most memorable Scottsdale Leadership Class day and why? The most memorable Leadership day for me was the one dedicated to education.  I have been, and continue to be, an advocate of public schools.  However, I learned through the presenters that day that there are many merits to and needs for charter schools and home schooling.  It opened my eyes and my mind.  It’s been 15 years and I still tell people about the information shared and the impact it had on me.  It was awesome.

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