Entertainment Magazine: Tucson: Events: Tucson Rodeo: Grand Marshals

Joel Valdez is Tucson Rodeo & Parade 2011 Grand Marshal

Joel D. Valdez, a Tucson native, currently serves as a special adviser to President Robert N. Shelton of the UA Foundation.

In his position, he has provided guidance on the University’s growth and development and the UA’s role in the city’s Modern Streetcar Project.

Valdez also help forge the future expansion of the Marriot University Park Hotel, the potential redevelopment of the northwest corner of Speedway and Campbell and much more.

Valdez dedicated much of his free time to help others, where he has served on the boards of the Mariachi Conference (for which he is also a co-founder), Hellenic Cultural Foundation, United Way and the Diocese of Tucson, where he has been named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

He received a BS in education from UA in 1957, a Certificate from the Sloan School of Management, M.I.T in 1972 and a diploma from Harvard University’s Senior Managers in Government school in 1978.

At the tender age of nine, Joel was already delivering newspapers and was a contributing member of the community. As he grew older, Joel built up his paper routes until he converted them into an independent carrier service.

Joel was born in a house directly across from St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson.  His parents were from Sonora, Mexico and although neither graduated from high school, education was always a priority.

After receiving a Bachelors of Science from the University of Arizona, where he was a member of the Wildcat baseball team under “Pop” McKale,  Joel spent the next eight years at the Pima County Juvenile Court as a probation officer, eventually being named the Superintendent of Detention Services.

In 1966 the City of Tucson recruited Valdez to serve as Administrative Assistant to the Library Director. It was during his years with the library that his expertise in budget planning and monitoring was formed.

One of his major contributions while at the library was the opening of a bilingual branch in Tucson's south side, a concept in library service that became a model for cities throughout the southwest.  In 1970 Valdez advanced into the City Manager's office.  Within a year he was promoted to the position of Assistant City Manager and assumed a supervisory role over the departments of Library, Finance, Parks/Recreation, Community Center, and Federal Programs. 

In 1974 Joel became City Manager and for the next 16 years he went on to become one of the premier managers in the country, by effectively administering a budget of $500 million and work force of over 4,000 employees.  Valdez supervised the implementation of capital improvements totaling several hundred million dollars in the areas of housing, streets, water/sewer, public safety, buildings, libraries, parks, and public/private ventures.

In July 1990 Joel Valdez launched a new career at the University of Arizona as Vice President for Business Affairs.  Serving under four university presidents, Valdez has overseen over $1 billion worth of construction projects that have changed the face of the campus including the Student Union Memorial Center, the Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, the Medical Research Building, the Keating Bio-5 Building and eight student residence halls.

His retirement in 2010 did not mean his service has ended.  He is now a special advisor to university president Robert Shelton through the UA Foundation.

Joel Valdez’s other accomplishments include appointment to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Informational Sciences by President Bill Clinton, president of the Arizona City Management Association, and board membership for the United Way, Hellenic Cultural Foundation, Tucson-Pima Library, and Diocese of Tucson Finance Council.  Joel was recently given the 2011 Founder’s Award by the Tucson Chamber of Commerce.

His years of public service, community ties, and many accomplishments make Joel a perfect fit for selection as Grand Marshal of the Tucson Rodeo Parade.

About the Tucson Rodeo Parade and Committee

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee, Inc. is a non-profit organization that plans and organizes the annual Tucson Rodeo Parade and operates the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum, a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and Western memorabilia. For more information about the Tucson Rodeo Parade, visit www.tucsonrodeoparade.org or call (520) 294-1280.

Photo: 2011 Tucson Rodeo Parade Grand Marshal Joel D. Valdez, courtesy of Tucson Rodeo and Parade.

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