The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry recognized Don Brandt, chairman, president, chair and CEO of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and CEO and chair of Arizona Public Service (APS), at its 2019 Heritage Award dinner Thursday.
The Heritage Award annually honors a distinguished individual whose accomplishments and commitment to Arizona are recognized nationally and internationally.
“On behalf of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, it’s really a privilege and honor to have a chance to recognize you,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer said at the Heritage Awards Dinner. “Don, I just want to thank you for the role you’ve played in making this the greatest state in the country.”
Brandt was humbled by the honor.
“Please accept my heartfelt and humble appreciation of this outstanding award. [My wife] and I made Arizona our home and we…share a commitment to serve its extraordinary people,” Brandt said in his acceptance speech. “Arizona’s prosperity didn’t rise by happy accident… In our state, the enduring promise of freedom and the ability to reap the rewards of honest enterprise still beckon.”
Brandt has nearly 40 years of experience in the power industry and has worked for electric utility holding company and APS parent company Pinnacle West since 2002.
At Pinnacle West, Brandt served as APS president, executive vice president and chief financial officer before being elected to Pinnacle West’s board of directors and promoted to chairman, president and CEO of Pinnacle West and APS in 2009.
“I always thought it was somewhat poetic justice that Don Brandt led an energy company because this is a guy that has a tremendous amount of energy,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said. “It’s often like he’s in three or four places at the same time.”
As a strong proponent in nuclear power, Brandt oversees Palo Verde Nuclear Plant and serves as chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute and vice chairman of Nuclear Power Operations.
“He has been a leader in nuclear energy and safety,” Kathy Munro, Pinnacle West board member, said. “It’s really been a privilege for me to work alongside Don during his tenure as CEO of the company.”
He has said it is APS’ responsibility to give back to the community because the community has been good to them. “If we help the community be healthy and thrive both emotionally and financially, it kind of comes back,” he said.
Brandt helped expand downtown Phoenix, serving as chair of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., and according to Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, Brandt was instrumental in moving the State Farm Arena renovation project forward.
“He is very smart, he is shrewd, he is decisive, he is gifted with a grace of leadership that few executives have. I can’t think of anybody more deserving to receive the Heritage Award this year than Don Brandt,” Bidwill said.
The utility executive is also passionate about serving veterans and helping them transition from active duty to civilian life. According to him, more than 20 percent of APS’s workforce is veterans.
“I believe Arizona has a potentially limitless future of growth and wealth creation. We share a duty and a public trust to cultivate today’s emerging economic trends and supercharge them well into the future,” Brandt said.
Brandt was feted at the event by Plaza Companies President and CEO Sharon Harper, a longtime friend and colleague.
“To know Don is to know someone funny and charming and endearing… but most importantly, Don embodies the charecteristics that we associate with a servant leader.” Harper said. “He’s a thoughtful steward, not only on behalf of his company and its shareholders, but of our community.”