Skip to main content

Center for the Future of Arizona Names 2019 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award Recipients

Posted on July 18, 2019 • Category: News Release

The Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA), today announced four outstanding recipients of its 2019 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award. Non-elected public servants honored this year are: Deputy County Attorney and Northwest Bureau Chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Gina Godbehere Esq., City of Phoenix Director of Aviation James (Jim) Bennett, A.A.E., Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center Director Tim Hardy, and City of Tempe Sustainability Director Dr. Braden Kay.

On January 8, 2011, Gabe Zimmerman – Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ community outreach director – gave his life while serving the citizens of Arizona. In honor of his memory, CFA presents special awards each year to non-elected public servants to recognize their contributions to Arizona communities.

“Public servants work for the common good and demonstrate a true spirit of service to fellow Arizonans,” said Sybil Francis, President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona. “We celebrate the achievements of this year’s recipients who carry on the legacy of Gabe Zimmerman through their outstanding leadership and commitment to improving civic health in communities throughout our state.”

About the 2019 Award Categories:

The 2019 honors were presented Thursday, July 18 at the Arizona City/County Management Association Summer Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Civic Leader Award: Recognizes long-standing public servants who have spent much of their careers supporting Arizona communities. These leaders have demonstrated knowledge, skills and commitment for addressing Arizona’s long-term issues and the personal leadership capacity to make Arizona a better place for future generations. The 2019 award recipient is:

  • Gina Godbehere Esq., Deputy County Attorney and Northwest Bureau Chief, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office

Community Builder Award (2 recipients): Recognizes public servants in cities and towns who advance community pride and connectedness. These leaders have been instrumental in transforming their communities through a variety of efforts including job creation and training, advancing healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteerism and philanthropy, and educational advancement. The 2019 award recipients are:

  • James (Jim) Bennett, A.A.E., Director of Aviation, City of Phoenix
  • Tim Hardy, Director, Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center

Emerging Leader Award: Recognizes early-stage public servants committed to improving civic health and community connections for their constituents. These leaders bring innovation, energy and compassion to their organizations while serving as role models for others seeking to build their careers in Arizona. The 2019 award recipient is:

  • Dr. Braden Kay, Director, Office of Sustainability, City of Tempe

All award nominees are judged on their qualities and achievements—how they have changed the way government works to serve the public interest; ability to take risks and inspire others; impact of connecting Arizonans to civic life; improving the health of their community; new ideas to reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance delivery of public services; and legacy contributions of lasting significance.

An independent volunteer selection committee of Arizona leaders chose this year’s honorees. Committee members included: the Honorable Amanda Aguirre (Co-Chair), Evelyn Casuga (Co-Chair), Rachel Aja, Lisa Atkins, Deborah Embry, Jimmy Jayne, Jacob Moore, Steve Peru, Marilyn Rodriguez, Paul Senseman, and Rosemary Ybarra-Hernandez.

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are presented by CFA with support from the Zimmerman family, and made possible by sponsors at the Arizona City/County Management Association, League of Arizona Cities and Towns, and Cox Communications.


About the 2019 Award Recipients:

Civic Leader Award:

Gina Godbehere Esq., Deputy County Attorney and Northwest Bureau Chief, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office

Gina Godbehere is an Arizona native, an attorney, and a Bureau Chief in the Community Based Prosecution Division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO). Gina received a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies and a Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State College of Law. She has over two decades of experience as a trial attorney and supervisor. Gina has served in a wide variety of bureaus, including Pretrial, Juvenile, Gang, and the Repeat Offender Unit, during which she has tried every type of felony case.

Throughout her 20 years of service with MCAO, Gina has played an integral role in developing the first Juvenile Drug Court, in implementing the Juvenile Transfer Offender Program, and is the co-author and creator of the Ultimate Trial Research Notebook used by prosecution agencies throughout Arizona. Gina is Maricopa County’s designated Bias Crimes Prosecutor, and she actively trains prosecutors and law enforcement officers throughout the state.

Gina is the co-founder of the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life Movement that is working to prevent bullying and youth suicides throughout Arizona and the nation. Gina is a graduate of Leadership West Class XXII, is active civically in her community, and has received numerous accolades for her work and community service including, the Leadership West Alumnus of the Year Award and the National Association of Counties (NACo) Award, as well as the Trial Division and Juvenile Victim’s Rights Attorney of the Year Award.


Community Builder Award:

James (Jim) Bennett, A.A.E., Director of Aviation, City of Phoenix

James Bennett was named Director of Aviation Services for the City of Phoenix in August 2015. In a career spanning more than 35 years, James previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, operating Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International Airports, as well as working in private industry as CEO for the Abu Dhabi Airports Company overseeing five airports within in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and president of his own consulting firm providing consultation for both foreign and domestic transportation companies. He was also Assistant Aviation Director at Sky Harbor from 1988 to 1996.

James has a Bachelor of Aviation Management from Auburn University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan. His numerous professional affiliations including being the former chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives and past president of the Arizona Airports Association.


Community Builder Award:

Tim Hardy, Director, Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center

Tim Hardy has been the Director of the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center for the last 22 years, with the responsibility of administrating 10 separate divisions, including a charter high school. As director, Tim oversees a $10-million annual budget for the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center, which employs 137 employees and numerous volunteers.  He is also responsible for a 68-bed juvenile detention facility.

During his employment with the Juvenile Court Center, Tim has participated in several committees, including the Statewide Risk Need Committee, Detention Standards Committee, the Detention Curriculum Sub-Committee and several statewide budget committees. He is a member of the Committee on Judicial Education and is past Chairman of the Committee of Probation Education and the Committee on Probation. Tim is also a past President of the Arizona Chief Probation Officers Association and is currently President Elect for the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA).  He will become President of APPA in August of 2019.

Tim is currently the Chairman of Kids at Hope Yuma Chapter, which is the first and only Chapter of National Kids at Hope. Kids at Hope Yuma was started in May 2014, with the simple belief that “All children are capable of Success, no exceptions”. Since this time, training for Kids at Hope has been delivered to 36 Yuma area schools and multiple agencies. The goal is to make Yuma a Kids at Hope Community.


Emerging Leader Award:

Dr. Braden Kay, Director, Office of Sustainability, City of Tempe

Dr. Braden Kay is the Sustainability Director at the City of Tempe working with city departments on reaching sustainability targets in energy, transportation, waste, water, land use, local food, housing, social issues, and resilience. Braden is working on Tempe’s first Climate Action Plan and he has brought over $400,000 worth of research grants and resources to the City of Tempe.

Braden received a Ph.D. from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. His dissertation was on sustainability strategy building and community engagement within the City of Phoenix. Previously, he held sustainability project manager positions in the City of Orlando, Arizona State University, and the City of Tempe. Braden is an active member of the Sustainable Cities Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.