Since 1993, Phoenix Community Alliance has honored men and women from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have made outstanding contributions to advance the quality of life and further the renaissance of Central Phoenix.

The Center City Champion Award was presented from 1993 to 1997. In 1998, the award was renamed the Center City Starr Award after the late Barry Starr, PCA’s long-time President. Prior to joining PCA, Starr served as a City of Phoenix Police Officer, Valley Big Brothers Executive Director, Phoenix City Council Member, and Assistant to Governor Rose Mofford and Mayor Paul Johnson. Starr was a driving force behind the development of Steele Indian School Park.


The Center City Awards were reimagined in 2020 and present both a Champion Award and Newcomer Award yearly. The Center City Champion is an individual who continuously goes above and beyond to positively impact our Greater Downtown Phoenix community. The Center City Newcomer is an individual who is quickly growing their impact on Greater Downtown Phoenix and is a future champion for our community.

Today PCA continues to find the right opportunities for business leaders to collaborate with government – city, county, state, and local federal agencies – and with other stakeholders including educational, cultural, research institutions, and emerging industries to build the 21st century city we want.

The Center City Award honors individuals who:

Consistently lead and challenge the community to continued quality growth and development.


Unfailingly support the commitment and efforts of business, government, educational, cultural, civic and religious organizations, neighborhood groups, property owners, and individuals to revitalize Central Phoenix and surrounding neighborhoods.


Tirelessly devote their time, talent, and resources to the betterment of Central Phoenix.

Center City Award Recipients

2022 Jim McPherson, Champion

2022 Jessie Ponce, Newcomer

2021 Eva Olivas, Champion

2021 Kell Duncan, Newcomer

2020 Sheila Harris, PhD, Champion

2020 Dominic Papa, Newcomer


Center City Starr Award Recipients

2019 John Chan

2019 Brian Cassidy

2018 Dan Klocke

2018 Beatrice Moore

2017 Councilwoman Thelda Williams

2017 Larry Lazarus

2017 Rick Naimark

2017 Tim Sprague

2016 Donald Keuth

2016 Kimber Lanning

2016 The Honorable Greg Stanton

2016 Mo Stein

2015 Ed Zuercher

2015 JoMarie McDonald

2015 Charlie Levy

2015 Diane Yazzie Devine

2013 Stuart Flynn, M.D.

2013 Cindy Dach

2013 Greg Esser

2011 Jeffrey Trent, Ph.D.

2011 Eugene Giovannini, Ph.D.

2010 Linda Hunt

2010 Michael Ebert

2010 Michael M. Crow, Ph.D.

2009 Kurt Schneider

2009 David Krietor

2009 Cindy Gentry

2008 Richard Simonetta

2008 John Murphy

2008 Judy Jolley Mohraz

2007 Brian Kearney

2007 James Ballinger

2006 David Smith

2006 Steve Zabilski

2006 Mark Holleran

2006 The Honorable James Bruner

2005 The Honorable Phil Gordon

2005 Valerie Manning

2004 Richard Mallery, Esq.

2004 The Honorable John Nelson

2003 William Post

2003 Jack Tevlin

2002 Jerry Bisgrove

2002 The Honorable Ed Pastor

2001 Ronald Bookbinder

2001 Lattie Coor, Ph.D.

2000 The Honorable Rick Romley

2000 Bette De Graw, Ph.D.

2000 Neil Irwin, Esq.

1999 Martin Schultz

1999 Dan Cracchiolo, Esq.

1999 Sheryl Sculley

1998 Keith Turley

1998 William Shover

1998 The Honorable Skip Rimsza

1998 The Honorable Tom Smith

1997 Kevin Keogh

1997 Richard Snell

1997 Barry Starr


Original Center City Champion Award Recipients

1996 Ray Bladine

1996 Louis A. “Chip” Weil

1996 The Honorable Jane Dee Hull

1995 The Honorable Paul Johnson

1995 Jerry Colangelo

1994 Frank Fairbanks

1994 Marvin Andrews

1993 Donald Bliss

1993 Robert L. Matthews