Debra Z. (Deb) Sydenham, FAICP

Executive Director, ULI Arizona

Deb Sydenham joined ULI Arizona as its Executive Director after nearly 20 years with the State of Arizona, and 9 years in the private sector. Her vast statewide experience working with local, regional, state governments, and tribal communities, and state level policy issues serves as a solid foundation to moving the ULI mission forward.  Deb is the “face of ULI Arizona” as efforts to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities in Arizona are implemented by the ULI Arizona District Council.

Immediately prior to joining ULI, Deb was Deputy Director for the Office of P3 Initiatives at ADOT and was involved in establishing the state’s program to use public-private partnerships (P3) as a tool to address Arizona’s transportation requirements. She focused on implementing Arizona’s P3 program from the ground up and identifying methods to fund the construction and enhancement of roads, transit, rail and other transportation facilities. In addition to her ADOT role, Deb worked closely with the Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Military Affairs Commission on statewide military sustainability issues and continues to be a resource to the State in this area.

From 1992 to 2009, Ms. Sydenham led the Community Development and Planning component of the Arizona Department of Commerce.  As one of the agency’s assistant deputy directors, Deb was responsible for all Community Development functions including the Arizona Office of Smart Growth, Rural Development Office, and the Regional Managers.  She maintained oversight of the Growing Smarter Planning Grant Program and the $5 million-dollar Military Installation Fund.  Deb was the agency lead in all military sustainability and Smart Growth efforts and was responsible for staffing the Rural Economic Development and Viability Sub-Committee of the Growing Smarter Commission, the Governor’s Military Facilities Task Force, and the Governor’s Growing Smarter Oversight Council.  

Deb was also director of the Smart Growth Interagency Committee, an outgrowth of the Governor’s Growth Cabinet to instill a smart growth dialogue throughout state agencies.  She was a Governor appointee to the Growing Smarter Oversight Council and staffed the Governor’s Military Affairs Commission and the Arizona Military Affairs Commission.

Evaluation Panel