Bruce Wright, UA Tech Park Champion, to Retire
After a 32-year career at the University of Arizona that included the establishment of the UA Tech Park, associate vice president Bruce A. Wright is retiring.
"Bruce Wright took a new concept for the University of Arizona in 1994 and made the UA Tech Park at Rita Road an economic powerhouse and recognized leader among university research parks," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "Bruce's devotion to economic development and his entrepreneurial spirit have resulted in numerous initiatives benefiting the University, Tucson community and state of Arizona, and he has built a strong foundation for the future. We are all incredibly grateful for his service and leadership."
Wright joined the UA in the late 1980s and served in several capacities, including director of the Office of Community and Public Service, assistant to the president, associate vice president for economic development and, most recently, associate vice president for Tech Parks Arizona.
Since its inception in 1994, the UA Tech Park has helped grow technology companies and provide high quality jobs for the region. It was recognized as the 2001 Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks.
Wright also was instrumental in the development of Innovation Day at the UA – an event held annually for 10 years to acknowledge and encourage entrepreneurialism across the UA campus.
He also created the Arizona Center for Innovation, which helps both University and community startups launch technology-based businesses. It is one of the longest continuously operating technology incubators in the state of Arizona.
While he was director for the UA Office of Economic Development, Wright was influential in establishing several technology clusters in Pima County, including the optics and bioindustry clusters. He also worked for many years to develop cross-border trade between Arizona and Mexico, promoting the area as one region rather than two countries.
He served on the board of directors for the Arizona-Mexico Commission for more than a decade and was instrumental in developing an economic indicator reporting tool that helped to influence policy changes that increased the flow of goods between Arizona and Mexico.
In 2001, he was named Arizona's Economic Developer of the Year by the Arizona Association for Economic Development. In 2017, the same organization selected him to receive the Arizona Best Award for Economic Development.
Wright, who served as president of the Association of University Research Parks, has a long history of community involvement. Among the organizations in which he has been active are: the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Regional Transportation Authority's Citizen's Advisory Committee, the Wells Fargo Bank Community Advisory Board, the Arizona Association for Economic Development, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and the Governor's Arizona Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance.
Among honors Wright has received are 2018 Man of the Year from Greater Tucson Leadership and the 2018 Paul Fannin Award from the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
"I am extremely proud of the work accomplished over the years at Tech Parks Arizona," Wright said. "The success didn't happen overnight. It was cultivated one by one through relationships with our business, community and industry partners. These accomplishments have built a strong foundation and will lead to a more prosperous future not just for the parks but for our community as well."
A farewell celebration will be held Oct. 3, from 4-6 p.m., at Culinary Dropout, 2543 E. Grant Road. Click here for more information.