MARICOPA — The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance went through a makeover in 2020, dubbed MEDA 2.0, and as part of the ongoing upgrades, the board decided to hire long-time board member Adam Saks as new executive director.

Saks has been working in Maricopa for around a decade, getting involved in local organizations for about the same amount of time. As president of Dynamic Entertainment Group, and UltraStar Multi-tainment centers, Saks has not only been witness to the massive growth going on in Maricopa, he was a part of it. Over the eight years that UltraStar operated in Maricopa, Saks helmed the all-in-one entertainment facility.

But when the pandemic happened, UltraStar was forced to depart from Ak-Chin Circle, and Saks turned his attention to his other connections to Maricopa.

“As we all know, the world of hospitality is not what it was,” Saks said. “My focus now is in working with the city and growing the organization and bringing business and industry to Maricopa. My personal network plays into that. I’ve been doing development my whole career, it’s just been focused on entertainment.”

His personal network includes a web of local organizations and boards Saks is a part of. Saks has volunteered his time with Playworks AZ, First Things First Arizona and other youth-centered programs as a board member, and was formerly the president of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. He is currently vice chair on the First Things First board and treasurer of the Maricopa Community Foundation in addition to his new role as executive director of MEDA.

Though they don’t always coincide, these organizations all work toward the betterment of Maricopa.

“They symbiotically support each other because of the work they do for the citizenry of Maricopa,” Saks said. “Not that they’re really related, but they all support different facets of Maricopa. My involvement across the board certainly gave me a large range of being able to touch different segments and hopefully make an impact.”

Saks lives in Chandler and often finds himself saying, “my life is in Maricopa, but I sleep in Chandler.” His two adult sons have jobs within the city, one as a crime intern with Maricopa Police Department, and the other as a supervisor for the Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center. Saks also has a 10-year-old daughter, and credits his supportive wife of 26 years, Lynn, as a reason for his success and impact.

With MEDA, that impact will be especially palpable over the next year as they move into a more decision-making role with the city. Saks and the economic alliance hope to become the liaison for new business ventures and developments that are interested in moving to Maricopa, and generate more growth on behalf of the city.

“In 2020, there was yet another iteration for MEDA to serve as a deal-generating pipeline,” Saks said during a presentation to the city council in early March. “Our vision is to go out there and bring folks to the table and get them excited about things — get them to understand why we are the best business location to choose and what the many benefits of the City of Maricopa are.”

The executive director role was created to better facilitate MEDA’s new direction, and Saks has been hired on as an official staff member as opposed to his previous volunteer-based board member role.

City Manager Rick Horst sung praises of Saks’ early work as director, and said he was excited to see the new prospects drummed up by their alliance. Councilman Henry Wade agreed.

“I actually had no doubt that you would take this position and do what you have been doing for the city of Maricopa since I have known you — being actively engaged, showing energy, showing resolve to get it done,” Wade said. “I’m glad that you’re here, and you will continue to bring the same kind of energy to Maricopa.”

Mayor Christian Price echoed these sentiments, and stated during the meeting that open communication between the council and MEDA will be imperative to the success of their partnership.

“We’ve never been as synergistic as we are now,” Price said. “What I would encourage is that with this moment of clarity that we have, as we burgeon and sprout into something hopefully great, is that (you) continue to let the council and the city manager know what it is that you’re finding… what we can do, we want to do.”

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Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at ksawyer@pinalcentral.com.