NARC honors Valley innovator Dennis Smith with highest award for 40-year contributions

From left, NARC President Bob Dallari, President’s Award recipient Dennis Smith, incoming NARC President Geof Benson. (Submitted photo)

Dennis Smith — responsible for instituting the region’s 9-1-1 service and developing the regional freeway — is bestowed with highest honor.

A recipient of the National Association of Regional Councils’ President’s Award, Mr. Smith will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Desert Peaks Awards ceremony, 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, 2026 W. Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix.

According to a press release, the former Maricopa Association of Governments executive director served the Valley for more than 40 years until he retired in April.

Mr. Smith developed major transportation efforts including Proposition 300 that funded the regional freeway system and Proposition 400 that funds street, transit and freeway projects throughout the years.

Other initiatives he spearheaded were forming the MAG Economic Development Committee to make the MAG region and the Sun Corridor globally competitive; working on more political alignment for the Intermountain West; and forming a “megaregion” with Arizona and Mexico, known as Ari-Son, the release added.

“His leadership and work has consistently cultivated cooperative relationships, leveraged innovation, and contributed to regionalism,” the release stated about Mr. Smith’s career that began as a criminal justice planner.

In addition to serving in many capacities at MAG, Mr. Smith is a past member of the National Association of Regional Councils Executive Directors Council; a member of the Arizona Council of Governments Directors Association where he served as chair twice; and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Montana State University-Billings and his master’s degree from Arizona State University, the release noted.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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