Wayne Fox, The Rainmaker
It is hard to sum up a man’s career that spans over 34-years with the Northern Arizona University’s College of Business (now The W. A. Franke College of Business). A recent NAU news article showcased highlights after asking Fox himself what those highlights might be. Here is the article by Heidi Toth, posted February 15, 2017:
Toth tackled the summary:
“When he moved to Flagstaff in the early 1980s, he planned to open an accounting practice and teach a night class at NAU on the side. A meeting with the dean led to a full-time teaching job, and other opportunities just kept coming.
“Since then, he’s become an assistant dean, taken over the Road Scholar program and turned it into the largest affiliate in the country; created the Arizona Rural Health Initiative; found funding for and then kept the business outreach center running for almost 20 years; and runs the annual Economic Outlook Conference every November, which is NAU’s largest outreach to the business community. The center’s programs affect about 10,000 people annually and touch almost every aspect of life in Northern Arizona, including recreation, hospitality, transit, cost of living, Native American issues and more.
“It has been, to use Fox’s word, scintillating.”
Beyond his time teaching accounting at the FCB, which he thoroughly enjoyed, Fox facilitated many connections for NAU with the business community through the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center. It is easy to think of him as a Rainmaker. In business, “a rainmaker is a person who … generates substantial new business or additional cash flow from sources sometimes outside established business channels, sometimes by connecting with people in non-traditional or hidden markets, and sometimes by prompting current clients to spend more money. A rainmaker is usually a key figure in the business or organization … a principal or executive who is usually highly regarded within the enterprise.” [Wikipedia]
To say that Fox has served as Rainmaker is true, but to ask him about it, you wouldn’t know it. He is a Master of the Art of Deflection. If you ask him how “he” did it, he segues into the fact that “he” did not. It was the work of many that made it happen. And that may be, but to follow are testimonials from others at NAU and in the broader Flagstaff community that understand his role as a key player who helped bring them rain.
NAU and Community Responses, in no particular order
Eric Marcus, executive director of SEDI (Sustainable Economic Development Initiative)
It has been my pleasure to know and work with Wayne Fox since just after I arrived in Arizona more than four years ago. I know him to be one of the highest integrity, knowledgeable, and community-committed people I have ever met.
Wayne has long recognized the importance of economic development in northern Arizona and even more importantly wanted to ensure that a resilient economy is linked to social equity and ecological health. He was one of the original founders of the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and served as a Board member and Director for many years. He was one of the key people in charting the course of this organization more than a decade ago and is a critical reason for its successes over the years.
Wayne has been a leader in bringing high quality education to our community and eight years ago he thought it would be a great idea if teachers were recognized for their many contributions to sharing the values of sustainability with their students. He brought that idea home and discussed it with his wife, Lynn, a long-time public school teacher. Together, they created SEDI’s Teacher Awards for Sustainable Curriculum to encourage and recognize the development and implementation of innovative educational approaches in all disciplines (e.g. math, English, history, sciences, economics, etc.) that instill in students the importance, value and practicality of local environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability. They have been integral parts of this award program for eight years and have been responsible for generating nearly $100,000 for this program.
Whenever I have needed guidance or assistance in a community level endeavor Wayne has been there to share his expertise. He is widely respected throughout the community and will be deeply missed.
Carl Taylor, former Coconino County Supervisor & Founder of SEDI
February 8, 2017
It's difficult to know where to begin recognizing Wayne and his contribution to our community and its efforts to create a bright future! I will just mention a couple out of many examples:
• The Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI).
Wayne was among the founders of this unique effort to create a strong and diverse economy in our region, while modeling principles of sustainability in use of resources and within the carrying capacity of the area. He served on the Board of Directors for years and was an excellent officer! He was unfailingly generous in both helping to find funds for projects, but also in making key connections for fund-raising by others. His service on the Board was also valuable due to his humor and ability to synthesize ideas, all the while maintaining a spirit of creativity and goodwill when “questionable” ideas were raised during brainstorming sessions.
Wayne and his wife Lynn created a recognition program for teachers who provide sustainability education and projects. They have contributed significantly toward the financial awards given each year at the recognition event and were very successful in enrolling others in helping to assemble the recognition money distributed to deserving educators. Teachers and students recognized through this program have considerable esteem, as well as enjoying tangible rewards. Overall, a remarkable and inspiring success!
• Regional workface needs assessment.
Flagstaff and the northern Arizona area, in general, suffer from not having a consistent and focused program for training high-skilled workers. This lack results in the loss of promising individuals from our communities, as well as discouraging the establishment or relocation of desirable enterprises into the region.
During our many sessions and fact-finding about this problem, it became apparent that we needed good information about actual employer needs and general worker demographics. Basically, who was looking for employees and what were they prepared to pay in training and wages.
Wayne made key and experienced staff from his organization available to conduct detailed research and interviews of employers, elected officials and non-profit organizations in order to quantify and prioritize the types of training that would be most beneficial to individuals and the regional economy. Hundreds of individuals and organizations were identified and interviewed, with thoughtful analyses included in a summary report. In addition to this very large and important survey, Wayne and his staff volunteered to undertake an update a couple of years later. It is difficult to estimate the retail value of such a survey and analysis, had it been commercially contracted, but it was substantial.
In addition to facilitating the collection of actual facts regarding workforce needs, Wayne attended many of the planning sessions of the working group, or sent a representative when he, personally was unavailable.
• Personal anecdote: lost in the wilderness.
I regard Wayne as a personal friend, as well as a community leader. He has always been interested and willing to join in exploring ancient cultural sites in our region.
On one occasion, I was “leading” a group, which included Wayne, to see a group of sites east of Flagstaff. We had approached the area from a different direction than that I used when originally discovering these ancient pueblos – and I was having difficulty locating key landmarks.
I was embarrassed and at a loss, when Wayne stepped up and volunteered to drive me around in his Jeep while I looked for landmarks. He did so with humor and patience. This actually was productive and we found what I had been looking for. All, with Wayne’s enthusiastic participation, then had a good time.
My experience has been that active and engaged people do not really “retire”; they just continue to work and contribute without compensation! I look forward to Wayne (and Lynne) continuing to be highly valuable, and lovable, members of our community.
Robert Kelty, Ed.D., former Coconino County Superintendent of Schools and SEDI VP Principal, Puente de Hozho Elementary School, Flagstaff Unified School District
…I will try my best, because Mr. Fox is one of my heroes!!!!!
Art Babbott, Coconino County Supervisor & SEDI officer
A couple projects that have been really important for me as a policy maker have been the Coconino County Trends document that Wayne and RPI put together in both 2012 and 2016. In addition, the Shultz Flood Full Cost Accounting assessment provided an insightful picture of the totality of impacts our community experienced as a result of wild fire and post fire flooding.
‘Wayne’s work has been critical in helping regional policy makers such as myself use data and sound analysis to develop and implement public policy initiatives. His wealth of knowledge, understanding of the region and sound methodologies makes his work critical in creating a prosperous, inclusive and vibrant future for our region. His great work and enthusiastic demeanor is greatly appreciated and will be missed”
Nat White, Coconino Community College Board; SEDI Teacher Awards chair of judges committee
Wayne is humble and effective, but he also is the first to encourage, congratulate, or give credit to someone else.
Annette Zinky, former president and CEO of NACET
… I can't imagine that I know of any projects you don't already know of related to NAU, NACET and NAH. He has had a tremendous impact on northern Arizona, for which we are all better off, and extremely grateful.
Sherri Slayton, Executive Vice President, Alliance Bank of Arizona
Wayne Fox was my accounting professor back in 1982 and as it turns out, it was his very first accounting class as a teacher. He came in on Day 1 with copious notes that he had handwritten on yellow legal pads. He proceeded to start lecturing us from the notes but after about 15-20 minutes, he set aside the notes and just started teaching us what he clearly already knew from his heart. He was a great teacher and we loved learning from him. All these years later, I’ve had the privilege of working with Wayne through sponsoring the Business Outreach Center at NAU first through Bank One/Chase and now through Alliance Bank. I also had the great privilege of working with Wayne at Flagstaff Medical Center on the finance committee and the board of directors. Wayne brings thoughtful leadership and business acumen and a calm demeanor to any situation and group. He has been a strong supporter and friend of mine for 35 years. Congratulations on your retirement Wayne and Lynn! Thanks for all your hard work and your contributions to NAU and to Flagstaff.
LaVelle McCoy, former owner of McCoy Motors
I have known Wayne for many years and we served together on the FMC finance committee. Over the course of time Wayne has always been the “go to” person for economic impact surveys. To that end he has always been instrumental in providing information with respect to making strategic decisions for the organizations he served.
Marc Chopin (former FCB Interim Dean)
“Wayne’s World” (and he knows that’s what I call the ABBOC) has had an immense impact on the FCB. Many do not know that during construction of both the COB building and the renovation of the HRM facility the ABBOC provided cash to support purchasing the FF&E for those projects in anticipation of philanthropic contributions. While the COB project predates my arrival at NAU, I was Dean during the planning and execution of the HRM renovation. You may remember that was one of the SPEED projects that was on and off several times. Without the support of the ABBOC that project would be a faint shadow of what we were able to accomplish for HRM. In this case, Wayne’s success as a rainmaker coupled with his commitment to the FCB resulted in the completion of significant projects that benefitted the entire college. From my perspective, Wayne’s “center” was always what is best of the FCB and NAU, and in particular what was best for our students. The enterprise that he built over the years that is now known as the ABBOC is testimony to his talents as an entrepreneur. What he did with those talents is testimony to his character.
He is always the guy in the background getting things done without any expectation of recognition. He deserves to be recognized for what he has done.
I was part of NACET during my time in Flagstaff. Wayne introduced me to NACET during my first official visit to Flagstaff. Wayne and the ABBOC prepared economic impact assessments for NACET, supported construction of the accelerator and as usual was working behind the scenes.
Wayne was on the board [at FMC] for a number of years and served as chair of the finance committee.
Ron Gunderson, FCB economics professor
One of the many endeavors for which Wayne will be remembered, is his longstanding support and role in coordinating the Annual Northern Arizona Economic Forecasting Conference in Flagstaff each fall. At one time, it was run out of the Office of the Dean, but it was moved to Wayne’s area probably about 20 years ago, and this has become one of NAU and FCB’s primary local outreach events. The conference now attracts upwards of 500 attendees, and has become the College’s most visible outreach event within the City of Flagstaff. The conference has benefited from Wayne’s diligence in identifying and inviting key individuals from across the country to serve as the keynote speaker each year to complement the local presenters. The level of support and interest from throughout the community and around Northern Arizona, continue to serve as a living testament to the success of this event, and to Wayne’s role in shepherding this each year. As a longtime participant in this conference, I am very pleased to see how the conference has evolved over many decades, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to this foundation which has been established by Wayne over the years. Activities such as this generate a legacy which continues to reap rewards in future years, and also retains the memories of the efforts which went into making it what it has become.
Dennis Foster, FCB economics senior lecturer
I have three particular connections with Wayne. First and foremost is my participation in the annual Economic Outlook Conference that he has been shepherding for many years. Fourteen years ago he agreed to include me in the annual panel and has been a constant and enthusiastic supporter of my efforts in this regard.
I got to know Wayne in the late 1990s when I was teaching the Introduction to Business course in the college. At that time each area would have a faculty member come to this class to talk about their particular area with special emphasis on jobs and careers. Wayne was the rep for the accounting area and he enjoyed it so much that he returned semester after semester while I was teaching this class. He would talk to students about his own career path stressing that not only was this field a “profession,” but that it could lead to many wonderful and different opportunities.
And, in the “it’s a small world” category, Wayne and I have another connection. In the mid-1980s my sister was enrolled as a part-time student at NAU, commuting from her home at the Grand Canyon. One of her early morning accounting classes was with Wayne, whom she remembers as being one of her favorites.
Tom Combrink, director of ABBOC’s Rural Policy Institute
When I think of the things that Wayne speaks the most fondly of:
Bringing the Road Scholar/Elderhostel program to NAU and folding in the assets of the Yavapai Elderhostel program and the general success of Road Scholar
Helping to start the NACET program, going down to the legislature to pitch the idea of an incubator with Jeri Duster from the City
Helping with starting and supporting SEDI
All his work at helping Flagstaff Medical Center through his long service on the FMC Board
Starting RPI and the fact that we became an EDA University Center
I have enjoyed working with Wayne since our unit (AHRRC) moved over from HRM. I have always found Wayne to be a considerate and compassionate supervisor, and an outstanding program director. Wayne is well known in the Flagstaff and Coconino County community and has contributed to both town and gown through his participation on the Northern Arizona Healthcare board. I will miss working with Wayne, but I am thankful for how he has influenced me. Happy travels!
Levi Esquerra, director of ABBOC’s Center for American Indian Economic Development (CAIED)
Wayne grew the Outreach Center to what it is today. At various times in his career he served as Director of all the units and has helped grow each of them. He played a key role in procuring funding from Alliance Bank (establishing the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center and expanding the Economic Outlook Conference), Economic Development Administration ($500,000 over 5 years for the establishment of the University Center), started a foundation giving grants to Teachers in the classroom (through SEDI) and assisted in developing a relationship with Johnson Scholarship Foundation. He established a strong relationship with Coconino County, which has provided funding for the Outreach Center at $31,500 a year.
In a nutshell, Wayne was and is all about producing! Step up and make it happen!
Rich Stephens, director of NAU Road Scholar (under ABBOC)
Wayne spent many, many years and 1,000’s of meeting hours with SEDI and NAH.
Road Scholar is the rainmaker unit of ABBOC and always has been. Tom knows about all the years of grants for the other units and then the naming grants from Chase and Alliance Bank have been significant. Finally the yearly EOC [Economic Outlook Conference] has been his baby.
Steve Peru, director of United Way of Flagstaff and former Coconino County Manager
Wayne was a driving force behind the creation of the Rural Policy Institute which has served as a critical resource for a variety of organizations, both the private and public sectors. Wayne was also brilliant at explaining the sometimes technical aspects of economic development in terms that a layperson, (like me) could easily understand. As a “community colleague” Wayne has always been available to provide input, support and, at times, a reality check, on ideas and initiatives. Now it’s your time, Wayne – enjoy!
Matt Ryan, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, District 3
Years ago, when Liz Archuleta and I were on the Board of Supervisors with Deb Hill, Paul Babbitt, and Louise Yellowman, we had discussions with our Alliance partners (City of Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College and the Flagstaff Unified School District) on how we needed research capabilities for our rural communities such as what the Morrison Institute provided for metro communities. Northern Arizona University stepped up to take on the task and most of the alliance partners provided funding to create the Rural Policy Institute (RPI). Since then it has been a wonderful asset.
When Wayne Fox stepped in to direct the RPI, we, the County and our staff, have often gone to Wayne to research topics pertinent to issues and trends that affected our County and our communities. Wayne has been quite the professional – dependable and always knew how to tap University resources, which provided just the type of product we needed. His soft style and quiet leadership has been wonderful to engage. We thank the University and most importantly Wayne for all that he has done.
Bill Auberle, chairman of the board of the Coconino County Industrial Development Authority
It is with mixed blessings, Wayne, that I welcome you to our growing gaggle of NAU retirees. Your contributions to the Franke College (and its predecessors) and to NAU are exceeded by your commitment to our community, state, and region. You even have a record of rescuing lost souls! I look forward to seeing you at our many common venues – most especially the golf course.
Elliott Pollack, long-time speaker at the EOC (just reached out on Sunday, February 5)
It’s been my pleasure to work with Wayne for quite a while. I worked with him on the annual NAU forecast luncheon. It’s a very successful event, in my opinion, for several reasons not the least of which is Wayne’s positive personality, his easy manner than puts everyone in the right frame of mind, and his willingness to experiment with different formats. He is simply one of a kind, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of my association with him. I wish him the best.
Ron Hubert, co-founder of SEDI
Here are the activities / projects where I know Wayne has been involved:
· Wayne was one of the founding group of the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative of Northern Arizona (SEDI), where he served on the board for 6-7 years, with at least 2-3 of those years as Treasurer
· Wayne and his wife started SEDI’s annual Teacher’s Awards program, recognizing K-12 teachers for innovative ways of incorporating sustainability in classroom studies and projects
· Wayne currently serves as a Director on the Coconino County Industrial Development Authority
Larry Dannenfeldt, Retired Deputy County Manager, Coconino County
Wayne assisted the County in numerous Economic Development Impact studies. The amphitheater impact study was of particular value as we analyzed and charted directions in evaluating Amphitheater Management Companies.
Carol Curtis, director of the Coconino Career Center
Wayne served as an important member of the Coconino County Workforce Board. In that role, he added to the depth of meeting deliberations on economic issues and helped the Board make informed decisions. He and his staff provided an ROI Report on local workforce programs at no cost to the County. Evaluating the Report allowed the County to target investments to realize the most return on workforce strategies.
He was an essential presenter regarding the regional economy at the first Northern Arizona Economic Outlook Conference that was conducted in Page. Insights and actions from that event will be used to guide subsequent activities to promote the economic resilience of that region as they face the impending closure if their main economic engine – the Navajo Generating Station.
Neal Young, Deputy County Manager, Coconino County
…And, Wayne was fun to work with
Supervisor Liz Archuleta, District 2, Coconino County Board of Supervisors
Coconino County faced the worst disaster in its history as a result of the Schultz Fire and Flooding. The funds needed to mitigate such a catastrophic event had to largely come from federal sources. Wayne Fox stepped up and offered the support of the Rural Policy Institute to generate a study that captured the dramatic cost impacts from this disaster – in excess of $130 million. The study was fundamental to the County successfully securing over $20 million in response and mitigation funding.
Joe Walka, former dean of the College of Business, 1986–1996
Wayne was a first-class administrator. What I learned early on is that the best thing I could do as dean was to stay out of his way and just chat together about once a week. He’s kept us out front on Elderhostel, economic development, and on so many other fronts.
Molly Munger, director at Northern Arizona Healthcare
A RETIREMENT ODE FOR WAYNE FOX
There once was a man named Wayne Fox
Had beautiful short wavy locks
He’s been here and there
Always impartial and fair
How we loved this entrepreneur
Taught, mentored & advised at NAU
Made an impact on more than a few
‘Cuz his mantra was, “I’m here for you”
Served on many boards in our great city
Advisor, Chair, collaborator – a smile & quite witty
An asset to them – he’ll be missed; what a pity!
I knew him well thru the past 20 years
NAU, FMC, NAH – with so few fears
He’s admired & respected – I will shed some tears
So now, dear Wayne Fox – happy retirement to you
The horizon is out there – challenges anew
Bon voyage – I bid you & Lyn a happy adieu!
Article on Wayne from May 2012 in the AZ CPA magazine: CPA Movers and Shakers: Wayne Robert Fox, CPA – Sustaining the Community
Article in 2013 in Cronkite News re: a presentation at the State Capitol:
In presentation at Capitol, universities promote their economic impact
Article in 2015, Flagstaff Business News Re: CAIED’s 1st Tribal Economic Conference:
More on the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center (ABBOC)
The Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center (ABBOC) is comprised of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center (AHRRC), the Center for American Indian Economic Development (CAIED), NAU Road Scholar, and the Rural Policy Institute (RPI). Learn more about ABBOC HERE.
Wayne Fox served as assistant dean and director of the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center (ABBOC), and a member of the accounting faculty in The W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. ABBOC provides training, consulting, research and other services to over 10,000 clients throughout Arizona annually through its five outreach units.
Prior to coming to NAU in 1984 he was a senior auditor with Arthur Andersen and Company, President and shareholder of Pacific Kenyon Corporation, and practiced as a CPA in California.
While at NAU Fox has also served as director of the Small Business Institute, the Center for American Indian Economic Development, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the Arizona Rural Policy Institute, and Elderhostel (now NAU Road Scholar).
Fox serves on several local and state boards and has authored or co-authored over forty economic impact and business related studies.
M.S., Accounting, Graduate School of Management, University of California at Los Angeles, June 1971
B.A., Economics, University of California at Los Angeles, 1969
Arizona CPA Foundation for Education and Research (President)
Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants
Northern Arizona Chapter, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Arizona State Society of Certified Public Accountants
California State Society of Certified Public Accountants
Northern Arizona Public Accounting and Taxation Continuing Education Committee
Northern Arizona Healthcare – Board of Directors and Treasurer
Flagstaff Medical Center – Board of Directors and Vice Chair
Sustainable Economic Development Initiative – Board of Directors and Treasurer
Arizona Rural Development Council – Board of Directors and Treasurer
Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona – Advisory Board
Arizona Nonprofit Resource Center – Board of Directors
Hopi Economic Development Corporation – Board of Directors
Categories: wayne fox alliance bank business outreach center spring 2017 2017 faculty director of the alliance bank business outreach center abboc