Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Our team of experts is dedicated to helping your business succeed. Contact any of us to start your project with Avondale.

Ken Chapa

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Ken Chapa is an Economic Development professional who has led successful programs in multiple communities throughout the country. Highly regarded for his strategic planning and business development skills, Chapa has worked alongside many well-known brands including: General Motors, Bridgestone North America, Haas Automation, Las Vegas Raiders, Amazon, Kroger, Barclaycard, Levi’s, and Google to assist in their relocation and/or expansion needs.

Cheryl Covert

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Cheryl Covert is a seasoned Economic Development professional with over 15 years of municipal development experience. Cheryl’s primary focus as Assistant Director is to work closely with the Economic Development Director to develop and implement the department’s strategic plans, policies, and procedures and to also work closely with the Business Development Management Team to implement these plans and attraction efforts. Cheryl conceptualized and implemented Avondale’s Health-Tech Corridor in 2016 which has generated hundreds of high-wage jobs and also actively recruits projects in the office, retail, and hospitality sectors.

Cheryl is dedicated to her community by serving on several nonprofit boards, including, Co-Chair for WESTMARC’s Healthcare Committee and Treasurer of the Leadership West Executive Board. She was the recipient of the 2018 WESTMARC President’s Choice Award and the 2017 Economic Development Chairman’s Recognition Award.

Aaron White

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Aaron White has worked in the City of Avondale Economic Development department since June, 2018. In his current capacity, Aaron leads the business attraction efforts for the advanced manufacturing and advanced business services sectors, as well as leading the Business Retention & Expansion program and the development initiatives for Historic Avondale. Prior to working in Avondale, he worked for the Town of Wickenburg, the City of Nogales, the Utah Governor’s Office for Economic Development, and the Washington State Senate. Throughout Aaron’s career, he has supported development of over 3 million square feet of industrial space and 40,000 square feet of retail space resulting in scores of new jobs for the community.

Aaron holds a BA in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from Brigham Young University. He is originally from southern Indiana where he earned his Eagle Scout award. He is a graduate of Leadership West Class 25 and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also serves on the First Things First Southwest Maricopa Regional Council in an at-large position since July 2019.

Wendy Bridges

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

With over 20 years of experience in government, Wendy leads the retail and entertainment business attraction efforts and values increasing the quality of life for Avondale residents. Wendy has held positions with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, City of Tempe, Yavapai County and City of Prescott. She was  named 2018 Economic Developer of the Year by Arizona Association for Economic Development, and has earned Golden Prospector awards for Marketing, Website and Deal of the Year.

Active in key industry associations, Wendy is also Vice-President for AAED, and serves on the Finance and Governmental Affairs committees. Past leadership roles included serving on the Economic Development Council for NACOG, Yavapai County Workforce Development Board, two terms as chair of AAED Northern Committee, chair of the AAED Finance Committee, chair of the NACOG Tourism Committee, Prescott Area Leadership Board of Directors, and founding Board member for Prescott Area Young Professionals.

She holds a degree in Management from Yavapai College, has completed the Economic Development program at University of Arizona, and has a B.A. in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University.

Nikki Taylor

DESTINATION SALES MANAGER

Nikki brings a wealth of experience to her new role as Destination Sales Manager for the City of Avondale. The Discover  Avondale Destination Marketing Organization will promote the economic development and marketing of tourism, room nights and convention sales.  With a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Restaurant & Tourism Management from New Mexico State University and eighteen years in the hospitality field, Nikki found her niche in the tourism industry. Nikki comes to Avondale from Visit Mesa where she successfully developed and implemented the Convention Welcome Program and played a vital role in securing the city’s largest diversity convention. She’s excited for the opportunity to build and create Avondale’s Destination Marketing Organization and tell the Avondale story to locals and visitors.

Lisa Lantz

MARKETING ANALYST

Lisa spearheads the marketing and social media efforts for the Office of Economic Development and works closely with new businesses to celebrate their new location with groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Lisa has held a variety of positions throughout the last decade in the West Valley, including leading spring training and minor league operations for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds and working for six years as a market development manager for Cancer Treatment Centers of America across its 13 state footprint.

Lisa holds a BSBA in Marketing from The Ohio State University and earned her MBA from John Carroll University. She is a graduate of Leadership West Class 17 and has previously held board positions for key West Valley organizations.