Our Man of the Year

Last week, Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR’s founder, Mike Hammond, with 29 years at the helm, was honored by Greater Tucson Leadership as Tucson’s Man of the Year.

In addition to Mike’s honor, Keri Silvyn of Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs was recognized as Tucson’s Woman of the Year, and Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney, received Greater Tucson Leadership’s Founder’s Award honors.

Here is Mike’s interview played at the event, hosted by Greater Tucson Leadership:

We share with you excerpts from Mike Hammond’s acceptance speech, presented at the gala event.

I appreciate all of you spending your Friday evening with the three of us……I know how important weekends are to me, and I am truly grateful for the large turn-out.

I do have some thank yous before I make a few comments. First, I’d like to thank Greater Tucson Leadership for this unexpected honor. I say “unexpected” in the context that there are many deserving individuals in this community that give a lot of time and financial resources to make it better. To be considered a peer of those who have come before and those who currently give back so much to the community, many who are in this room tonight, is humbling, to say the least.

Most importantly, I need to thank my dedicated co-workers at Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR – many of whom are here this evening – for the success that our company has enjoyed throughout its 29th years in business, certainly some more difficult than others.  

Sometimes we forget that behind every private-sector donation that supports many of the not-for-profit organizations that do so much here and elsewhere, there is a successful, for-profit company that sells a product or service – a company that provides jobs for the community (44 in the case of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR); a company that supports other companies by buying their products and services; and at the end of the day pays its taxes and earns a profit and then – and only then – finds the wherewithal to give back with precious time and financial resources.

I’ve been involved with many organizations over the years – all wonderful organizations. But if you follow me closely, my passion is economic development and job creation….starting with “Development Authority for Tucson’s Economy (DATE) in the 70’s…how many of you remember that organization? TREO is today’s version, which C&W | PICOR supports at a very high level.

However, I am most proud of organizations like Business Development Finance Corporation (BDFC) and its affiliate corporation, Community Finance Corporation (CFC). My good friend, Gary Molenda (who is here tonight), has been leading and growing both organizations for 25 plus years. I mention BDFC specifically because most of you have probably never heard of it but it provides low cost financing to help small business grow and create jobs. 

I mention CFC because, with the revenues from its tax-free bonding capability, it supports organizations like Science Foundation Arizona, Tucson Values Teachers, and The Arizona Assurance Scholars Program at the U of A which offers financial aid to low-income students in the state of Arizona…..just to name three.

Most recently, CFC established the Joel Valdez Scholarship Endowment Fund within the Arizona Assurance Scholars Program to fund full scholarships to deserving Hispanics who demonstrate not only good grades but also community involvement.  Why Joel Valdez?  It was under Joel Valdez’s leadership who, as City Manager, empowered BDFC and CFC to do these bonding projects which resulted in expertise allowing the generation of bottom-line revenues, the CFC Board has chosen to give back to the community.

Why do I take the time to mention all this? The economic development issue of the day is not just finding companies to open their businesses in Tucson….an important mission of TREO and others.  It’s educating our workforce for today’s jobs and tomorrow jobs, from PK thru 20….so we can keep our kids here….all our kids, not just the children of us in this room.

It’s also about making the tough decisions to accept or reject the opportunities that come along the way – while we pursue the vision we all share for the future to become a relevant player in the Creative Economy.

I am not sure we’ve balanced well the opportunities and jobs that come to us while we pursue our vision of the future.….I think specifically of the forty-year history of missed opportunities….starting with rejecting Motorola in the 70’s, rejecting General Instruments in the 80’s, not placing the stadium downtown in the 90’s, poor use of Rio Nuevo funds in the first decade of this century. 

We have major issues before us right now that will provide good jobs but are controversial….the noise of a jet fighter & the location of a very rich copper deposit….just to name just two. 

How do these decisions today affect the future of our Air Force or the future of the mining industry in a Copper State? How will we look back on what happens now – 10-15-20 years into the future? Can we balance natural resource jobs with our environment and still be open for business in a natural resource-rich state? What would this community be like without Davis Monthan?  Whose children need these jobs? How do these decisions we make now affect the future of my company’s profitability and its ability to give back?

I don’t pretend to have the answers…but I tell my children life is a series of choices and only in reflection do you know if they were good ones. And even then it’s rarely crystal-clear.

Thank you very much.  This is a very special evening for me.

Photo credit: Chris Mooney and Greater Tucson Leadership

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