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Eva Putzova

What is your educational/professional background?
Master’s in Commercial Engineering (Commerce and Marketing), University of Economics, Bratislava, Slovakia

Certificates: Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University;
Leadership and Strategic Management, Cornell University

Director for Strategic Planning at Northern Arizona University
Owner of GeoDriven, LLC

How long have you lived in Flagstaff?
14 years

Why did you decide to make Flagstaff your home?
Location did not play a role in that decision.

Why are you running for city council?
I’m running for Flagstaff City Council to serve the people of Flagstaff and to improve their economic conditions; to represent those that want to advance sustainability, social and economic justice in our town; and to represent those who honor the rich cultural heritage of Native American and Latino communities.

How do you think as a member of council you can help improve our community’s economic outlook?
Seventy percent of our economy is driven by consumer demand. Thus, increasing people’s discretionary income will strengthen the local economy. As a member of the Council, I can work toward:

Implementing a comprehensive affordable housing plan that will lead to affordable renting options (52 percent of Flagstaff residents rent);

Improving the energy conservation and building codes to lower the energy-intensity of our housing stock, thus lowering the cost of utilities; and

Pursuing adoption of living wages through all available means and eliminating poverty among the working poor.

All these objectives would lead to a stronger consumer demand that is at the core of a strong economy.

What do you see as being the biggest hindrance to strengthening Flagstaff’s economy? How would you fix it?
Focusing on economic development activities that are either ineffective or result in proliferation of low-wage jobs.

Flagstaff has not been successful in making much progress in the attraction of new, high quality employers. Re-evaluating the decades old business attraction strategies and experimenting with new, more creative ones seems to be necessary. An example of a different approach could be focusing on promising business ventures at early stages of their development. Crowdfunding sites are full of prototypes and marketable inventions that already are attracting a significant amount of capital. Recruiting emerging entrepreneurs to relocate to Flagstaff while they are refining their products could be beneficial in many aspects—they come with funding; they can work with local researchers, NACET, and highly educated workforce while refining their projects (Coconino County is in the top 3 percent of the most educated counties in the nation); and they have a potential to become high-quality employers. Flagstaff can’t compete with other locations in terms of infrastructure; however, we have something that cannot be easily imitated and is—and will continue to be— highly valued: quality of life and a geographically concentrated, very active research community.

As a community we invest more in tourism than in any other sector, yet that sector is notorious for its low-wage jobs. But even in this sector there is great variability in wages. Some businesses take their social responsibility more seriously than others. If we accept the notion that these jobs are not going anywhere, we have a moral responsibility to employ all means possible to make these jobs the best they can be—in terms of pay and benefits. As several restaurants and hotels in the region have been demonstrating, one can run a profitable business and take care of the people that work there at the same time.