Blog Posts Tagged ‘gilbert’

Gilbert’s New Deputy Town Manager Leads Innovation Initiative

From smart intersections to fail-proof infrastructure, Gilbert is preparing for the technology of the future and new deputy town manager, Laurie Buzcek, is leading the way. Laurie joined the Town of Gilbert as the new Deputy Town Manager over innovation in early January 2018. She is providing leadership to the Innovation Hub which comprises of the Office of Digital Government, Information Technology, Human Resources and the Office of Management and Budget.

Prior to coming to Gilbert, Laurie spent 17 years at Intel where she was most recently the Global Director of Customer Experience, focusing on delivering a differentiated experience for Intel’s customers and partners.

“We are a forward-thinking community,” said Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels. “We are intent on making sure that Gilbert is ready for the future and just like years ago people prepared for streets and sidewalks and streetlights, we now have to prepare for the technology innovations that are coming forward. And we need an expert in the field to guide us.”

Four months into the job, Laurie is already looking at ways to enhance innovation within the organization and community.

“For us, innovation is talking about how we continue to deliver the best life possible for our citizens, and thinking about things in new ways, new processes, new methods, new services and new technologies in order to be able to do that,” said Buzcek.

Gilbert’s open data portal launched in December 2017 and is a project that will continue to develop in the innovation hub. The open data portal and its avatar, Alex, is the first step in making the Town’s data more accessible. Town data is being added on a monthly basis allowing for staff, businesses and the community to collaborate and innovate to find ways to improve citizens’ lives.

Buzcek is currently developing an Innovation Roadmap.

To learn more about Gilbert’s Open Data Portal, visit

Arizona Cities and Towns Week

It’s Arizona Cities and Towns Week! Help us celebrate!

Arizona Cities and Towns Week is set aside each year to recognize the services cities and towns provide, as well as honor those elected officials, staff and volunteers who serve in municipal government. This is the 16th Annual Arizona Cities and Towns Week.

We are excited to have so many of our Arizona cities and towns participating this year, including: Chino Valley, Florence, Gilbert, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Sierra Vista, Surprise, Tempe and many others!

Find out how your city or town is celebrating and participate in Arizona Cities & Towns Week by using the hashtag #AZCityWeek on social media.

Town of Gilbert Named Most Prosperous City in the Country

Gilbert, Arizona is the most prosperous city in the country according to the Economic Innovation Group (EIG). Gilbert is touted as being a “young up-and-comer” with 99.9% of the population living in prosperous zip codes.

“It’s an exciting time in Gilbert as our community is transitioning from a small town to a strong and booming community,” said Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels. “The work of generations of community leaders and our smart financial planning has set Gilbert on a path of success and we are proud to be recognized as the most prosperous city in the country.”

The top 100 largest cities were ranked on seven criteria: housing vacancy rate, adults not working, the poverty rate, median income ration, change in employment, and change in business establishments. Learn more about this report here.

Gilbert “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

Town of Gilbert residents and businesses accepted Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” dance challenge. Gilbert has released a parody video showcasing community members, from less than one to 92, dancing along to the hit song. Local businesses, including TopGolf, Liberty Market, Funktional Fitness, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, Joe’s Real BBQ and others, also got in the spirit.

“The song is all about dancing through your city, your home,” said Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “We saw this as an opportunity to bring the community together and, boy, did they exceed all expectations.”

The video was filmed by Gilbert’s in-house Digital Communications Department over a 24-hour period.

Nicole Laurin-Walker

Town of Gilbert

Copyright - Arizona Republic, 2012. Michael Chow, photographer. Used with permission. Permission does not imply endorsement.

Copyright – Arizona Republic, 2012. Michael Chow, photographer. Used with permission. Permission does not imply endorsement.

Gilbert Judge Nicole Laurin-Walker is a legal rock star.

Growing up just outside of Chicago, Nicole Laurin-Walker was a serious student of classical piano and competed regionally. Her studious manner led her to attend the University of Michigan where she received a degree in psychology and later the University of Arizona College of Law where she received her law degree. It was there in Tucson that she received her first taste of courtroom experience as an oral argument contest winner at the law school. She also spent time working as a Haitian asylum petition writer during a summer in Miami, a legal intern for Motorola in Phoenix, and an intern at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. After law school, she worked as a bailiff at the Maricopa County Superior Court while she studied for the bar exam.

Her extreme focus led Laurin-Walker to become the Town of Gilbert’s first assistant town prosecutor in 1994. Back then there was only one prosecutor in the office, and she appeared before one judge. Her hiring at the time doubled the size of the prosecutor’s office!

As a prosecutor, she was in the Gilbert Municipal Court every day, appearing before Gilbert’s sole judge, David Phares, handling everything from probation violations to jury trials. After a bit, she moved over the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and prosecuted felonies before returning to Gilbert to write appeals for the Prosecutor’s Office. After her return, Judge Phares decided it was time to add a second judge to the court and Laurin-Walker applied, despite being only 27 at the time. She was offered the job and has held the position ever since.

When a person is accused of committing a misdemeanor in the Town of Gilbert, Judge Laurin-Walker begins her duties. When the individual first appears in court, her job is to make sure they understand the charges they face and the rights they have, appoint them an attorney if they are eligible, listen to the victim’s concerns, and then set some release conditions to make sure the accused person will appear at future court dates. If a person pleads not guilty, she will set the case for trial, making decisions before the trial about what evidence should be allowed and what should be kept out. During an actual trial, she questions jurors to make sure they are fair and impartial, decide which rules of law the jurors will be required to follow, and make sure proper procedures are followed by the parties so that the process is fair to both sides. If there is no jury, Judge Laurin-Walker has the authority to decide if the accused is guilty or not guilty and also give a sentencing, should the case require it.

Laurin-Walker likes to hear people’s stories and try to figure out what drives them and what might change their behaviors. Nothing makes her happier than watching a defendant work his way through jail and counseling probations and see him go to college or get a real job at the end of it all.

Gilbert Judge Nicole Laurin-Walker is also a real rock star.

True to her musical roots as a classically-trained pianist, Laurin-Walker continued to be a musician alongside all her schoolwork and lawyering. She now sings and plays keyboards in a rock band called The Love Me Nots. The band tours worldwide and has put out six albums. Laurin-Walker says she has gotten a taste of real rockstar success, despite the restrictions she had due to her work with the town. Her colleagues all support her musical endeavors and strive to maintain their own hidden talents outside of work.

“I love working in a place where everyone seems to be doing something fascinating outside of work hours,” said Laurin-Walker. “It gives us a better perspective overall.”

Arizona’s Playful City USA Communities

11406721_10152890631191016_1366047240839771119_oKaBOOM! recently announced its Playful City USA honorees: communities that are leaders in “playability,” the commitment to providing balanced and active play to children.

The KaBOOM! Playful City USA program honors cities, towns and communities across America that are taking bold steps to ensure that all children, especially the 16 million American kids living in poverty, have easy access to balanced and active play in their communities. 241 cities nationwide have been recognized this year, 14 of which are in Arizona.

Playful City USA honorees include major cities such as Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago. In Arizona, these honorees include cities and towns across the state. They range from nine-time honorees like Chandler, Gilbert, and Tucson, to first-time recipients like Avondale, Florence, and Queen Creek.

Tempe is once again recognized by KaBOOM! as a Playful City USA for its commitment to keeping kids active through accessible playspaces and youth sports programs.

Tempe is once again recognized by KaBOOM! as a Playful City USA for its commitment to keeping kids active through accessible playspaces and youth sports programs.

These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to transform their communities to become more playable by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. Listed below are the Arizona cities that were given the “playful” title and the number of years they have won:

Avondale: 1

Buckeye: 4

Casa Grande: 7

Chandler: 9

Coolidge: 8

Florence: 1

Fountain Hills: 5

Gilbert: 9

Mesa: 7

Oro Valley: 5

Prescott Valley: 2

Queen Creek: 1

Tempe: 7

Tucson: 9

Playful City USA Honorees in Arizona: 

To see the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or for more information on the Playful City USA program, visit

AZ Cities @ Work Spotlight: Jack Young, Gilbert’s Longest-Standing Employee

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Arizona’s cities and towns are successful because of the wonderful people who work  to make them so great. The Town of Gilbert is no exception.

Jack Young is the longest-standing employee in the history of the Town of Gilbert. He recently retired after serving the community for more than 39 years. In his time with the town, he served as a police officer, code compliance inspector, building inspector and the wastewater quality inspector.

Jack started with the Gilbert Police Department in 1976 as an officer, which he says to this day was his favorite assignment. He worked his way up the ranks and eventually became a commander in 1998. Jack was even named as the Acting Police Chief for six months in-between a retiring and new police chief.


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After 25 years with the Gilbert Police Department, Jack retired and quickly transitioned into his new role as Gilbert’s Code Compliance Inspector; a position he held for three years. He later transitioned to work as a Building Inspector and after four years ventured on to Gilbert’s Public Works Department as the Wastewater Quality Inspector.

Jack is a prime example of Gilbert’s Vision to provide “Best in Class” service. He has won several awards during his time at the town including Police Officer of the Year (1977), Town Employee of the Year (1998), and the Town’s Pioneer Award for his work on Gilbert’s first Continuous Quality Improvements (CQI) Steering Committee.

Jack is one of many individuals who help Arizona cities & towns work each and every day. Congratulations, Jack!


Valley Cities Celebrate Earth Day

April is Earth Month!

Many of Arizona’s cities and towns are participating to promote the Earth this month. Check out a few of the fun events below for some Earth Day inspiration:
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Tempe’s Earth Day Expo  – Wednesday, April 22 

Earth Day is a time to celebrate the successes and ongoing commitments of community members, municipalities and businesses to protect the environment and promote a more sustainable future. Valley residents are invited to attend Tempe’s Earth Day Expo, where city departments and local businesses will showcase their innovative environmental programs. Attendees will experience hands-on exhibits while enjoying free lunch, courtesy of Gordon Biersch.

Wednesday, April 22
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tempe City Hall (west side of pyramid building)
31 East Fifth Street, Tempe, AZ 85281

For more information visit

Glendale 19th Annual Arbor Day Tree Planting – Wednesday, April 22

Arbor Day marks the nineteenth year that the City of Glendale has planted trees in celebration of the globally-observed holiday and been awarded the Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This year, 12 new trees will be planted at Dos Lagos Park, 63rd Avenue and Utopia Road, as part of the Glendale Arbor Day Celebration on Wednesday, April 22.

Glendale Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services will be joined at the Glendale Arbor Day Celebration by fourth grade students of neighboring Highland Lakes Elementary School.  The students will celebrate the theme “Grow the Future” with posters and poems that will be presented during the ceremony, followed by the tree planting.

Gilbert Earth Day Event – Wednesday, April 22  

Spring is in the air so it’s the perfect time to celebrate Earth Month in Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Gilbert’s Environmental Services Division, will be hosting an Earth Day event at McQueen Park Activity Center (510 N. Horne Street) on Wednesday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This free event is a great way for kids to celebrate Earth Day through arts and crafts, games, and face painting.

Gilbert’s Environmental Services Division is also hosting an art calendar contest for 4th grade Gilbert Public Schools and Higley Unified School District students until April 22nd.  Thirteen winning students will be featured in Gilbert’s 2016 Environmental Services calendar. Visit to find out more information about this contest and to print an entry form.


Tempe’s 6th Annual Arbor Day 5K  – Friday, April 24  

Break out the running shoes and get ready for the 6th Annual Arbor Day 5K on Friday, April 24. With 125 acres of trees, activity areas and an urban fishing lake, Kiwanis Park is the perfect setting for this community fun/run walk that benefits the Trees for Tempe program.

Arbor Day 5K activities start at 4:30 p.m. with on-site registration and an event expo, followed at 6 p.m. by the 1-Mile Kid’s Dash, and 6:15 p.m. with the Arbor Day 5K Run/Walk.

Friday, April 24
4 p.m.
Kiwanis Park – 5500 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, AZ 85283

For more information, visit

EVENT-Phoenix Earth Day 2015


6th Annual Earth Day Phoenix – Saturday, April 25 

Come celebrate Earth Day at this family friendly festival in Downtown Phoenix! Free Admission!

Keep Phoenix Beautiful will host the 6th annual Earth Day Festival, presented by Republic Services, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25th, located at PHX Renew, the north east corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Road.

PHX Renews will be filled with local exhibitors that include nonprofits, businesses, and city, state and county departments providing information and relevant giveaways with a core message of sustainability. From solar energy, recycling, to gardening our exhibitors are on site to provide resources and information on how you can live sustainably!

New Year’s Resolution – Take Pride in Your Community

Have you resolved to take pride in your community this year?

Arizona’s cities and towns work 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide services to their citizens. Take pride in all your city does – from maintaining parks, to delivering opportunities at your local library and keeping the streets clean and safe.

A couple of Arizona’s towns are starting off the New Year with celebrations to help enhance your sense of municipal pride!

BLOG_ Queen Creek Capsule

The Town of Queen Creek has been celebrating their 25th Anniversary all year and will culminate the year-long festivities with a time capsule burying early in 2015.

The 25th anniversary capsule will be buried at Queen Creek’s Founders’ Park at 9 a.m. on Jan. 6. The time capsule contains items that symbolize life in Queen Creek in 2014, including letters and mementos showing what makes Queen Creek special. It is scheduled to be opened by the residents of Queen Creek in 2064, during the Town’s 75th year of incorporation.


The Town of Gilbert started their #GrowingUpGilbert campaign in 2014. This campaign features individuals who were born and raised in the town of Gilbert and grew up to give back to their community. Check out some of the Gilbertonians who have been featured thus far.

If you grew up in Gilbert, AZ and have a story of your own, share it! You can e-mail your story to or share it on social media using #GrowingUpGilbert.

How will you resolve to take pride in your community in 2015? Let us know what your resolutions are and how you plan to achieve them this year!


Are you someone who spent their childhood #GrowingUpGilbert?

The Town of Gilbert, AZ recently released a campaign  highlighting the great things that those who grew up or are growing up in Gilbert are doing for the community.

The campaign explores the unique stories of residents who were born and raised here, and grew up to give back to their community.Check out those Gilbertonians who have been featured thus far: 

David Tirado


Dana Berchman


Emery Miller


Councilmember Ben Cooper

Share your “Growing Up Gilbert” story by using #GrowingUpGilbert on social media or by emailing

“Growing Up Gilbert” is a sneak peek into the theme of the 2015 Digital State of the Town, which will preimiere in February.

Follow @GilbertYourTown on Twitter or Gilbert Town Hall on Facebook as new “Growing up Gilbert” stories are released!