2024 ACMA Winter Conference

Click here for a labeled property map


Wednesday, January 24

Pre-Conference Hike
8:30 a.m. | Lobby

Back by popular demand, we have scheduled the eighth annual ACMA hiking adventure!
This year’s hike will be on the “Baldwin Trail”. This awesome loop trail is near the Village of Oak Creek. It is about 3.5 miles long and boasts beautiful views of Cathedral Rock. We plan on hiking this one counterclockwise and will end up at Red Rock Crossing so that dogs can swim! It is super beautiful out on this trail with excellent views. It should take approximately an hour and a half to complete. This is a level 2.5 out of 5 on the hiking difficulty scale. Everyone should meet at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24 in the lobby of the Hilton, and we will be shuttled to the trailhead – a new feature courtesy of the City of Sedona! Please dress appropriately and remember to bring water and sunscreen. No fee, but registration and a waiver form was required.

Registration Opens
9 a.m. | Canyon Pre-function

Lunch on Your Own
11:30 a.m.

Building Your Organization’s Awareness: Autism Certification
1 – 2:15 p.m. | Canyon Ballroom

As community leaders, it is imperative for us to understand the unique challenges faced by individuals with autism and their families, and to work toward creating an inclusive environment that supports their needs. Join a panel of experts as they delve into their experiences utilizing the certification in autism and sensory needs to address these growing needs. Gain insights into success stories, lessons learned, and future aspirations for extending the certification’s influence across the state. With 1 in 6 people having a sensory need and 1 in 44 children diagnosed with autism, this is an opportunity to discover expert strategies to create a significant positive influence within your community.

Mary Goodman
, Assistant Town Manager, Gilbert

Lane Gram, Recreation Manager, Gilbert Parks & Recreation Department
Mark Justus, Fire Battalion Chief, Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department
Meredith Tekin, President, International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES);
Lt. Christopher Timmins, Employee Services Lieutenant, Gilbert Police Department
Samantha Mason, Sr., Recreation Coordinator, City of Tempe Parks & Recreation Department
Oscar Venegas, Recreation Supervisor, Mesa Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities Department

Building Your Organization’s Awareness Presentation

Sponsor Networking Break
2:15 – 3 p.m. | Canyon Pre-function

Create Inspiration and Engagement with Charisma: Communication Tactics All City Managers Should Master
3 – 4:30 p.m. | Canyon Ballroom

Discover the 12 charismatic communication tactics you can use to communicate a clear, visionary, and inspirational message that captivates and engages any audience. During the session, you’ll learn to identify the tactics, understand why they are so effective, and get a chance to start practicing them.

Robert Aldous,
Management Analyst, Casa Grande

Ulrich Jensen,
Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University

Create Inspiration and Engagement with Charisma Presentation

Harvard Reception
4:45 – 5:45 p.m. | Sycamore Room

Click here for the information flier.

ASU, NAU, U of A Faculty and Student Reception
4:45 – 5:45 p.m. | Juniper Room

Welcome Reception
5:45 – 7 p.m. | Oak Creek Canyon

Thursday, January 25

Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. | Canyon Pre-function

Corner Discussions
8:15 – 9:30 a.m.

Associate Member Corner
8:15 – 9:30 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

Allows all associate members – from those serving in leadership roles as directors to those starting out in city,
town and county management – to discuss issues related to their careers in public service or their position in an informal setting.

Mike Letcher, ACMA Senior Advisor

Assistant/Deputy Managers Corner
8:15 – 9:30 a.m. | Dry Creek Canyon

Allows city, town and county assistant and deputy managers to discuss issues related to their position in an informal setting.

Susan Thorpe, ACMA Senior Advisor

Managers Corner
8:15 – 9:30 a.m. | Oak Creek Canyon

Allows city, and county managers to discuss issues related to their position in an informal setting.

Ian McGaughey, County Administrator, Yuma County

Corners Updates
9:30 – 9:50 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

Workforce Planning: Building a Leadership Pipeline
10 – 10:50 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

The results are in on the first-of-its-kind national research study that explored the unique leadership pipeline needs of local governments over the next few years — and the true challenges leaders are up against. Hear what your colleagues across the county have to say about ready-now leaders. As a leader in local government, you know first-hand the critical importance of having effective, diverse, ready-now leaders today — as well as securing the necessary funding to develop leaders for tomorrow. This study provides the first-of-its-kind groundbreaking data necessary to help local government leaders benchmark against the market as a whole, as well as formulate the business case for where best to invest your limited time and resources to achieve the greatest tangible results for your people, your organization, and your community. This session is ideal for senior local government leaders who value both actionable data as well as actionable strategies to help move the needle on leadership development and culture transformation in their organizations.

Ginger Spencer
, Deputy City Manager, Phoenix

Dr. Maria Church
, CEO, Government Leadership Solutions

2023 State of Local Government Leadership Pipeline

Moving into an Acting or First Time City/Town/County Manager Position: Things to Think About
11 a.m. – Noon | Canyon Ballroom

More retirements at the city/town/county manager level provide opportunities for others to move into them. Some of those are in acting city manager or county manager positions, and some are directly into the permanent ones. An acting position can be attractive, but there are questions to consider — moving into it should be done with eyes wide open. Preparing for the top job also takes thought and preparation — like any job. In this session, we will explore some key questions to consider when thinking about serving as an acting city or county manager and lessons learned from seasoned local government professionals as they became city/town/county managers. You will hear some tips for approaching the role, and you’ll learn some ways to enhance your success and minimize your risk in your new role.

Jan Perkins
, ASU School of Public Affairs 2024 HarrellHutchinson Visiting Urban Professional

Jeff Barton, City Manager, Phoenix
Susan Guthrie, Town Manager, Clarkdale
Leo Lew, County Manager, Pinal County

Lunch & Annual Business Meeting
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. | Tequa Ballroom

Arizona State University Presentation
University of Arizona Presentation

From Curiosity to Action: How to Implement Generative AI in Your Organization
1:30 – 3 p.m. | Canyon Ballroom

ChatGPT was not used to write this conference session description, but maybe it should have been. By now, we’re all aware of generative AI and our curiosity is piqued by its potential to be a force multiplier, creating efficiencies that we may not have prior realized. We’ve discussed some of the risks and ethical considerations at the summer conference. Now, what do we do? Join us for a session with municipal leaders versed in the space and creating the pathway for their own local governments. Plan on an interactive session and an opportunity to learn how these tools may be best deployed in your organization.

Dr. Annette Padilla
, Teacher, Mesa Public Schools and Consultant, Interim Public Management

Micah Gaudet
, Deputy City Manager and Chief Public Safety Officer, Maricopa
Eugene Mejia, Chief AI Strategy and Transformation Officer, Gilbert

From Curiosity to Action Presentation

Senior Advisor Meetings
1:45 – 4:30 p.m. | Sycamore Room

Sponsor Networking Break
3 – 3:30 p.m. | Canyon Pre-function

Asking the Necessary Questions: How to Navigate Bond and Ballot Initiatives
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Canyon Ballroom

One of the most important considerations for local government leaders is not only how to maintain infrastructure and existing assets, but how to build the ecosystem your community depends upon. A necessary part of this equation is funding. At the intersection of market pressures, cost escalation and ever-increasing needs lie the decision many local governments are confronting: what to ask for and when. Join this panel of municipal and industry leaders as they unpack questions and strategies to explore. Whether you are currently considering a bond initiative, or are preparing to respond to a citizen-led initiative, this session will cover questions we all must contemplate as we work with our communities to shape the future.

Mary Goodman
, Assistant Town Manager, Gilbert

Joanne Keene
, Deputy City Manager, Flagstaff
Andrew McGuire, Attorney, Gust Rosenfeld
Vicki Rios, Assistant City Manager, Glendale
Ryan Smith, Director of Communications and Government Relations, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority

Joanne Keene Presentation
Andrew McGuire Presentation
Vicki Rios Presentation

ACMA Board Meeting
4:45 – 5:45 p.m. | Juniper Room

6 p.m. | Canyon Pre-function and Patio

Dinner & Awards Ceremony
7 p.m. | Canyon Ballroom

Friday, January 26

Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. | Canyon Pre-function

Operating in This Economic Environment
8 – 9:15 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

This session will explore innovative approaches to operating in an unpredictable economy, including use of technology, personnel investment, grants, revenue generation, and expenditure optimization.

Ed Zuercher
, Executive Director, Maricopa Association of Governments

Adele Cook
, Chief Learning Officer, Arizona Department of Economic Security
Chris Cornelison, Deputy Town Manager, Oro Valley
Jenna Rowell, Director of Rural Development, Local First Arizona
Dan Wilkins, Chief Information Security Officer, Arizona Department of Economic Security

Economic Update & Outlook
9:20 – 10:20 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

This presentation will provide an overview of the status of the U.S. and Arizona economies as they currently stand with a look towards near term trends and what we can expect in 2024.

Daniel Coxworth,
Director, Development Services, Cochise County

Luis Cordova, Senior VP & COO, Rounds Consulting Group, Inc.

Economic Update Presentation

Legislative Update
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Canyon Ballroom

This session will provide an update for members on a variety of timely legislative issues. Representatives from the League of Arizona Cities & Towns as well as the County Supervisors Association will provide an overview of the 2023 legislative session and explain the challenges and opportunities currently facing Arizona cities, towns and counties going forward.

René Guillen
, Deputy Director, League of Arizona Cities and Towns
Craig Sullivan, Executive Director, County Supervisors Association of Arizona

Legislative Update Presentation

Conference Concludes
11:45 a.m.




The special room rate block at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is currently sold out.

If you would like to be added to the waitlist for the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, please email info@azmanagement.org to let us know which nights and we will add your name and let you know if rooms open up.

Please see below for a list of alternative hotels nearby:

Desert Quail Inn
(928) 284-1433 – (.2 miles)

Muyawki Inn
(928) 284-1100 – (.5 miles)

Bell Rock Inn
(928) 282-4161 – (.5 miles)

Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort
(928) 284-1200 – (.5 miles – Time share)

Holiday Inn Express
(928) 284- 0711 – (.5 miles)

Poco Diablo
(928) 282-7333 – (3 miles)

Las Posadas of Sedona B&B
(928) 284-5288 or (888) 284-5288 – (right across from the hotel)

Element Sedona by Marriott
( 928) 862-3000 – (.4 miles)

See: www.sedonachamber.com for all properties around Sedona



Member- $400

Non-member Government Employee – $470

Retired Member– $295

Student – $115

Child Evening – $55

Child Full – $100

Spouse/Guest Evening Only – $90

Spouse/Guest Full– $195

Sponsor – $470


Registration Deadlines

Conference registration is closed, if you would like to register please contact info@azmanagement.org.

Cancellations must be received in writing prior to January 12, 2024, to receive a partial refund.

No refunds will be provided after this date.


Conference Cancellation:

Advance registrants unable to attend the Conference are eligible to receive a partial refund of your registration fee by sending a written request January 12, 2024. If a written cancellation request is received on or before January 12, 2024, a $30 processing fee will be charged regardless of the reason for cancellation (including medical emergencies).

Registrants who are unable to attend the conference may appoint a substitute. There will be no refunds for any cancellation after January 12, 2024. Cancellations must be emailed to info@azmanagement.org. Cancellations will not be accepted by telephone.



Special Thanks to our Sponsors!

ACMA Corporate Partners