When Penny Lyons moved to Lake Havasu City, she eagerly joined a business leadership group to get involved in the community and make new connections.
Then, after she was hired by UniSource Energy Services, she took a leadership role in the most recent class of the Lake Havasu Chamber Foundation for Education and Leadership to help others make those ties.
Now, as Community Customer Affairs Representative for UniSource, Lyons’ role is to enhance partnerships with the business community by participating in local organizations, strengthening economic development and providing community support. While this is Lyons’ primary job, other UniSource employees throughout Arizona continually work with local groups to prioritize business relationships and job growth.
“Community involvement is key for this position. Because I was already involved, I was able to easily network and continue those connections,” said Lyons, who started in the role in fall 2022.
Statewide, UniSource belongs to 14 chambers of commerce and other business organizations that support local economic development efforts. In addition, many employees also serve on nonprofit organizations through our service territories.
Flagstaff: UniSource co-sponsored the Green Business of the Year award through the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce’s Athena Awards, recognizing the importance of environmentally friendly practices.
Nogales: Employees maintain relationships with the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, which includes members representing produce warehouses and suppliers. Nearly 5 billion pounds of produce come through Nogales warehouses annually before being transported throughout North America.
Sedona: Through ties with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, UniSource made a donation to the chamber’s Sedona Trail Keepers program, which maintains walking and hiking trails.
As District Manager of the Verde Valley office, Duncan Jakes regularly attends meetings and functions of the Cottonwood, Sedona and Camp Verde Chambers of Commerce. It’s one key way to keep up with developments in the region, which is increasingly drawing more tourism.
“I’m interested in the economic outlook and what’s driving the economy in the valley. Ultimately, new customers here need new gas facilities,” Jakes said. “We’re making sure we’re connected and seeing what’s out there, not just from driving around.”
In Mohave County, Lyons regularly meets with business groups and government agencies. She also takes time to attend community events, such as the groundbreaking for the Mohave County Animal Shelter and the Havasu Balloon Festival.
For the past year, much of her time was spent as co-chair of the Lake Havasu Chamber Foundation for Education and Leadership, which brings together 22 adult professionals from various fields. The participants undergo training and complete a fundraiser to make connections and develop leadership.
Through her ties, Lyons meets new businesses when they come to town and helps them get set up with electric and gas service, explore locations and determine the logistics that are needed.
“All these groups help me connect with new and existing businesses to build and deepen those relationships,” Lyons said.