Buckeye employee

Suzanne Boyles, the Economic Development Director for the City of Buckeye, is one of 12 women who were named Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2022. (City of Buckeye/Submitted)

A Buckeye employee has been named one of the state’s most influential women in business.

Economic Development Director Suzanne Boyles is one of 36 finalists of the 2022 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business award. They will be recognized at an award ceremony and dinner on Aug. 25 at Chateau Luxe in Phoenix.

Since 2018, she has contributed to Buckeye’s economic boom with her passion for the community and efforts in its health care and industrial developments.

“Suzie’s passion and drive have changed Buckeye’s economy for the better,” Deputy City Manager Dave Roderique said in a statement. “Her attitude towards work and team effort is part of what makes Buckeye one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.”

The finalists for the award are selected from a pool of approximately 1,500 nominees. They are chosen by an editorial board of 12 previous awardees, who are undisclosed to protect the nomination process.

“When I first got the email and found out that I was one of the honorees, I did a double take,” Boyles said. “It’s an honor just because there are so many amazing people in the industry; for them to think of me, it’s just an honor and kind of surreal.”

Born and raised in West Valley, Boyles attended Western New Mexico University for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration before relocating back to her hometown.

“Being an Arizona native, it’s definitely personal to see the growth of the West Valley, but Buckeye is extra special to me because this is actually where I got my start in economic development as a career,” she said. “I started in economic development here in 2013, and that’s where I learned about economic development. So to be back and be in the director role and really being able to form the vision of the future is personal to me.”

A part of Boyles’ role is to create and expand upon different strategies for attracting and retaining businesses, expansion in small-business support and entrepreneurship reports for the department.

Under her leadership, the economic development department has significantly helped Buckeye’s growth by attracting an influx of new business to the area, including KORE Power, Five Below, Funko and Ross Distribution Center.

Ultimately, this has introduced up to 5,000 new job opportunities for residents.

“Our job is to make sure that the residents have the services and the employment opportunities to live, work and play here in Buckeye, so it’s really exciting to see the commitment of that many jobs to the community,” Boyles said.

A point of pride in her work and collaboration is the Buckeye Healthcare Initiative, a strategy created around three years ago to expand the city’s health care sector and identify existing assets. It highlighted gaps in service and needs that residents were having to leave the city to obtain.

“The reason why I’m so excited about it is we were so successful that it resulted in both Banner Health and Abrazo committing to building full-scale health care campuses in Buckeye,” she said. “Those campuses include medical office buildings, two acute care hospitals and other health care services. So, it’s just really exciting to see that substantial commitment result out of that initiative.”

Buckeye has over 1 million square feet of new retail in the community either underway or committed, and is working on more restaurants and entertainment to address services that are currently underserved and present more jobs for locals. The city is also seeing a large amount of industrial growth and interest, with about 40 million square feet of development in progress.

“It’s exciting because there’s just so much room for growth in Buckeye. We’re going to be growing for decades. It’s an economic developer’s ideal career — we’ll get to do fun things for a very long time,” Boyles said. “As Arizona’s largest city by land area, we’ve got a lot of land to build. I’m honored to really be a part of that.”