Behind The Scenes

2015 has brought both our coalition and foundation amazing growth, awards and milestones. The Local First Arizona team recognizes that none of this work is possible without the incredible and continued support from our diverse volunteers, statewide personnel and experienced board members.

Awards & Milestones

Local First Arizona is incredibly appreciative for the recognition we received in 2015. These awards not only serve as acknowledgement for our work advocating on behalf of local businesses, but are a testament to the important role our work plays in the overall success of Arizona’s local economy. We share these awards with everyone who has joined us over the last year and beyond to create a strong and vibrant future for Arizona. 

  • LFA Foundation was recognized a Local Hero by Edible Phoenix 
  • Devoured Culinary Classic was a named finalist for Best Culinary Festival by the Foodist Awards 
  • LFA Foundation named 1 of 116 organizations to watch by Food Tank: The Food Think Tank 
  • Society of Chairs Award (Economic Development) awarded to Kimber Lanning by National Bank of Arizona 
  • Kimber Lanning named one of 50 Legendary Leaders in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal 

2015 Milestones

  • LFA surpassed 20 employees statewide
  • LFA Foundation relaunches Good Food Finder AZ
  • LFA Foundation won a record number of grants in 2015: $300,000 in total from: Freeport McMoRan Foundation, Yelp Foundation, Steele Foundation, Phoenix Community Development Investment Corporation, City of Phoenix, Marley Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ambassadors Of Local First Arizona | ALFAs

Local First Arizona's volunteers mobilize local communities across the state on behalf of LFA's mission to spread the Buy Local message to as wide an audience as possible. Our volunteers, known as Ambassadors of Local First Arizona (or “ALFAs”), contributed hundreds of hours in 2015 to support LFA events, assist with office tasks, write guest blog posts, and much more. This support has greatly allowed LFA to further expand many programs and initiatives over the past year, thus allowing us to better serve Arizona's independent businesses and communities across the state.

This Year’s ALFA Stats: 405 ALFAs Served 1834 Hours Valued At $41,166 

2015 Milestones

  • The ALFA volunteer program reaches the 2-year mark
  • Launched an official ALFA volunteer program for Northern Arizona 
  • ALFAs volunteered at Local First Arizona and Local First Arizona Foundation events like the the Devoured Culinary Classic, the Rural Policy Forum, Farmer + Chef Connection, the Certified Local Fall Festival and the National BALLE Conference
We love all the events that Local First Arizona hosts and love helping make them a success. Not to mention that volunteering with LFA builds overall community between volunteers, businesses and the community.
— ALFA Testimonial: Andrew Vogeney, ALFA


In 2015 we continued to expand our internship program to all of our statewide offices. Interns were placed in a variety of departments and positions focusing on expanding LFA’s capacity in those areas, including communications, healthy local foods initiatives, sustainability, volunteer and events management, Fuerza Local, and general office tasks. In total, LFA interns contributed 2,175 hours of work in 2015. Interns came from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, and Pima Community College. 

Thanks to all of our 2015 interns: Celeste Allen, Jose Urteaga, Kayla Bellman, Julie Carmody, Lore Contreras, Lisa Denny, Jessica Estrada, Colin Favre, Kendra Grahmlich, Gabe Hamilton, Cole Lanning, Cassie Lubenow, Love Mariposa, Natalie Olson, Alexandra Pohl, Sarah Schenck, Loran Shamis, Alexis Sherman, Alexa Salas and Jake Swanson.

2175 Intern Hours for a total value of: $48,829 

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with and learn from such an inspiring group of passionate individuals! I feel empowered and purposeful as a Localist, and am proud of the work I can contribute to this movement.
— Intern Testimonial: Colin Favre, Intern

LFA Staff 

In 2015, the Local First Arizona team grew tremendously by adding 5 part time and 4 full time staff positions for a total of 16 full time and 6 part time staff. 

The Local First Arizona Foundation welcomed Rebecca Pringle as its Development Director, and Rachel Morningstar came on full time as the Local Foods Development Coordinator. The Tucson office grew this year by bringing on CJ Agbannawag as the Tucson Membership Coordinator, and Connor Descheemaker joined the Phoenix office as the Outreach Coordinator. With the success of Fuerza Local, the team has expanded to 3 with Tim Castro as the Fuerza Local Liaison, Edgar Olivio as the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program Director, and Elaman Rodriguez as the Fuerza Local Events Coordinator. Local FIrst Arizona also brought on Celeste Allen and Jose Urteaga as part time support staff for the Phoenix office. Additionally, LFA welcomed new staff to fill three open positions, including Cara Corbin as the Northern Arizona Director, Natalie Morris as the Food Systems Community Liaison, and Marianne Belardi as the Devour Phoenix Liaison. 

With exponential growth year after year, Local First Arizona has been able to expand its programming and better serve Arizona communities across the state. We look forward to continued growth and success in the coming years. 

Local First Arizona Board Members 

Business Coalition Board Of Directors

Samuel Richard, Board Chair
Executive Director
Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition 

Tony Motola, Board Vice Chair
Stakeholder Affairs Manager
Valley Metro 

Mario Aniles, Board Treasurer
Finance Director
Housing Authority of Maricopa County 

Tony Felice, Board Secretary
Tony Felice PR and Marketing 

Lauren Bailey
Founding Partner
Upward Projects 

James Christensen
Gateway Bank 

Marion Donaldson
Development Director
Arizona School for the Arts 

Bobbie Fox
Associate General Counsel & Assistant VP
Copperpoint Mutual Insurance Company 

Jim Mapstead
Accurate Signs 

Rick McCartney

Albert Santana
Public Transit Light Rail Project Manager
City of Phoenix 

Catherine Scrivano
Financial Planner & Registered Principal
Casco Financial 

Jen Yee
Assistant Executive Director
Arizona State Fair

Foundation Board Of Directors  

Angie Harmon, Board Chair
ocial Investment Manager
Freeport-McMoRan Foundation 

Dr. Jonathan Koppell, Board Vice-chair
Dean, College of Public Service & Community Solutions, ASU 

Tammy McLeod, Board Treasurer
Vice President, Energy Resource Office
Arizona Public Service (APS) 

Jeffrey Brodin, Board Secretary
Brodin HR Law 

Manny Cairo
Law Offices of Snell & Wilmer 

Levi Esquerra
Director, Rural Policy Institute Program Director, Center for American Indian Economic Development 

Elizabeth Gerlach
Brand Manager
Quench Fine Wines
A Division of Hensley Beverage 

Isabelle Jazo
Vice President of Brand Strategy
Lane Terralever 

Gary Kellogg
Partnership for Economic Development, Lake Havasu City 

Will Mandeville
Director of Development
The Nature Conservancy, AZ Chapter 

Deanna Salazar
Senior Vice President and General Council
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona 

Margaret Smeck
Marketing & Communications Consultant 

Keisha Tatem
State Conservationist
USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Arizona 

Want to become part of the local movement? 

Take action with these 10 ways to help build a state we are proud to call home: 

Become a Local First Business Member. Join the largest local business coalition in North America! Connect with thousands of business owners who have taken the pledge to build a better Arizona. 

Become an Individual Localist Member. Declare yourself a Localist & join the growing group of individuals who want to support local businesses and have fun along the way. As a Localist, you’ll gain access to exclusively curated events, specials & opportunities in AZ. 

Buy Local! One of the simplest things you can do to support LFA is use our online business directory to shop with local businesses & to tell them you're there because they're local. Keep your money where your home is & think “Local First!” 

Contribute to the Local First Arizona Foundation. Every dollar you contribute to the Local First Arizona Foundation will support vital programs that are working to create prosperity for all of Arizona. Make your gift at 

Sign up to volunteer. Become an Ambassador of Local First Arizona (ALFA) & help further our mission. You’ll support our events & initiatives, as well as help spread the word about the importance of supporting local businesses. Customize a schedule for you! 

Follow Local First Arizona on social media. Get information on local events, important calls to action, fun information, photos, videos & much more. Follow us @LocalFirstAZ on Twitter and Instagram and Local First Arizona on Facebook. 

Sign up for e-newsletter updates. Choose from 13 different newsletters to fit your interests ranging from local foods and dining to business resources and/or fun local events in your area. Sign up at 

Tell Your Friends. Talk to your friends and family about Local First Arizona & let them know how they can help support our mission. Make sure they understand that they vote every day with their dollars for the kind of community they want to live in. 

Gift like a Localist. If you need a gift for a birthday, holiday, or special occasion - consider a gift from Local First Arizona! A Devour Phoenix Gift Card, a Downtown Tucson Gift Card, a Localist membership or our Localist t-shirts & swag are great gift ideas for any Arizonan. 

Be a Proud Arizonan. Take ownership of your home and declare your local pride for being an Arizonan. Tag us on social media when you Buy Local, be engaged in your community, or tell your friends about why you’re proud to be an Arizonan.