Eight Community Leaders Elected to Join Tucson Airport Authority

Eight new active members were elected to join the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) at its annual meeting Monday, January 24, 2022.

A unique, independent authority created by state charter, the TAA is responsible for operating Tucson’s airport system consisting of Tucson International Airport (TUS), the region’s major commercial airport, and Ryan Airfield, a general aviation reliever airport.

“We are thrilled to welcome eight local community leaders to the Tucson Airport Authority membership,” TAA President and CEO Danette Bewley said. “There was a conscious effort to diversify our membership while also bringing in leaders that can help advocate for the Tucson Airport Authority, Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield. We look forward to working with each of them in the coming years.”

The eight new TAA active members are:

Cristina Baena, Partner of Crest Insurance Group and President of Employee Benefits. Baena joined the company eight years ago. Previously she was a touring golf professional for four years after graduating from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management and later worked with the Tucson Conquistadores on marketing and funding for their annual professional golf tournament. Baena is also active community groups including the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Special Olympics, Easter Seals Blake Foundation and San Miguel High School.

Isaac Figueroa, Director of Leasing and Sales for Larsen Baker commercial real estate. A native Tucsonan, Figueroa holds CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) and was previously chief commercial officer and managing director for developers BFL Ventures and was a commercial broker and residential Realtor. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Figueroa also earned a certificate in Commercial Real Estate and Development from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business. He is a member of Emerging Leaders Council and has been involved with Greater Tucson Leadership, Imago Dei Middle School, Children’s Museum Tucson, Downtown Tucson Partnership and Tucson Young Professionals.

Angela Gee, Architect, Principal and founder of Dean Alan Architects. Growing up in Tucson, Gee began her undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona and then moved to the Pacific Northwest where she earned a master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Washington and began her career in Seattle.  In 2012 she founded Dean Alan Architects, which she named to honor her father and his optimistic spirit and sense of community service. The firm is still headquartered in Seattle but Gee relocated back to Tucson and in 2019 expanded the firm’s presence with an office here. She continues to be a champion and advocate for Tucson and is involved with Commercial Real Estate Women, or CREW Tucson, Urban Land Institute, Arizona Association for Economic Development, FC Tucson and Junior Achievement.

Trindy LeForge, Associate Director of Strategy and Development for Raytheon Missiles and Defense. LeForge has worked for Raytheon for the past 23 years with numerous responsibilities including international program management, production, development, licensing and export control, strategy and goal development, measurement and analysis, quality and software development, integration, and testing. Her career has also included working as quality manager for data firms including Lumisys and Health Data Sciences and computer security for General Dynamics. LeForge has also been active in community organizations, including serving on the board and as chair of the Amphi Foundation and founder of both Shoes to Smiles and Life Beyond the Books for Amphitheater Public Schools.

Timothy Medcoff, Attorney and Co-Managing Partner in the Farhang & Medcoff law firm. After earning his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Medcoff began his legal career as an associate with Streich Lang. In 2000, after the firm merged with Quarles & Brady, he became a partner. Medcoff is immediate past president of the Tucson Metro Chamber Board of Directors, is Board President of the Ronald McDonald House and serves as his firm’s representative on area chambers of commerce. He is also a former board member of Parent Aid Child Abuse Prevention Center and Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT).

John C. Parker, Founding Partner of 718 Partners (a small investment firm made up of partners from diverse backgrounds and experience focused on funding startup and non-public businesses that benefit from being mentored by one or more of the partners). The firm was founded in 2019 when Parker moved to Tucson, after more than 20 years in the financial industry, including 18 years with Wells Fargo, retiring as President of the Business Services Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, in St. Louis, MO. He started his career in the airline industry working in airport operations for Delta Air Lines and became increasingly involved in the use of technology, including the introduction of self-service boarding passes and an innovative aircraft and passenger traffic management system. After 18 years he moved to Northwest Airlines where he was Chief Information Officer for two years before moving into the financial industry.

Rhonda Piña, Program Manager, Business Services with Pima County Workforce & Development (former Oro Valley Town Councilmember). Pina had worked in the banking industry before retiring in 2016 from Wells Fargo after 18 years, the last 11 of which she was Senior Business Relationship Manager. A native Tucsonan, Pina remains in local organizations, including serving on the boards of Amphi Foundation for Amphitheater Public Schools and Commerce Bank of Arizona. She is also a member of the Oro Valley Optimist Club and serves on the Pima County Merit Commission Law Enforcement Council.

Program Manager, Business Services, with Pima County Workforce & Development.

Carol Stewart, Associate Vice President of the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona, a role in which she is also President of the UA’s Center for Innovation, a business incubator network with multiple locations across Southern Arizona offering expertise to leaders of science and technology startups. Previously, Stewart was Chief Executive Officer of the Association of University Research Parks, which is headquartered in Tucson though she worked from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where she had been CEO of the Canadian Association of University Research Parks from 2007-2017 and the managing director of the research park at the University of Waterloo from 2004-2017. Since coming to Tucson, Stewart has quickly integrated into the business community and serves on the boards of organizations including the Arizona Technology Council, Tucson Metro Chamber, Desert Angels, Sun Corridor, Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona (BIOSA) and the steering committee for the Flinn Foundation.

An effort was made to increase diversity within the membership to better reflect demographics of the region and to and further advance the mission and vision of the TAA. With these additions, active membership is now at a total of 57.

Founded in 1948 by local business leaders, the TAA continues to operate the airports through long-term leases with the City of Tucson. The TAA has no taxing authority and receives no local tax dollars.

Operation of the airports are funded through revenues from users of airport parking, space rentals, land leases, airline landing fees and food and retail concessions. Capital improvements such as runway and terminal construction are also funded using passenger fees and state and federal grants.