Arizona community, economic development champion Dr. Sheila Harris honored as 2019 LAI International Member of the YearNews & Updates
PHOENIX, ARIZ. (Sept. 23, 2019) – Dr. Sheila D. Harris, Founding Director of the Arizona Housing Finance Authority and former Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, has been named International Member of the Year of Lambda Alpha International (LAI).
The winner is selected from chapter nominations of Chapter Member of the Year honorees for the current or prior year by the International Awards Committee. It based upon commitment to LAI, the nominee’s profession and to land economics with respect to achievement in the private or public sectors, research or education.
Dr. Harris, who owns a consulting firm in Litchfield Park, Ariz., has been a member of the LAI Phoenix Chapter since 2004. She served as Chapter President in 2013, LAI International Assistant Treasurer from 2013 to 2015 and LAI International Treasurer from 2015 to the present. LAI is the honorary society of distinguished professionals in all fields related to the use and development of land.
Dr. Harris was appointed by then Chairman Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She was the first official from Arizona to serve as a member of the San Francisco Head Office Board. During her tenure she served as Deputy Chair of the Board.
She served under two governors as Arizona State Department of Housing and Arizona Housing Finance Authority directors. During her 6-year tenure in those positions, she oversaw the financing of mortgage revenue bonds, HUD funds, state Housing Trust Funds and IRS Low Income Housing Tax Credits totaling more than $1.5 billion in housing and community economic development.
Dr. Harris will receive the award during the LAI’s semi-annual Land Economics Weekend in Austin, Texas, Nov. 7-9.
“It has been my pleasure to have worked with Dr. Harris over the past several years,” said Elliott Pollack, CEO of Elliott D. Pollock & Co., and LAI Phoenix Chapter member. “As the first director of the Arizona Department of Housing, she was able to accomplish far more than would normally have been expected because of her ability to understand the issues and effectively communicate them while navigating through the bureaucracy with unusual skill.
“She also was intellectually honest when it came to making the best choices for the state. While she was on the Fed’s advisory board, she used her skill set to aid the entire region. She has earned my respect,” Pollack said.
Dr. Harris has spent many hours at the chapter level, assisting with programming content and securing high-level speakers including Janet Yellen who later became Chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Dr. Harris continues to serve on the Phoenix Chapter board as an ex-officio member.
In her term as LAI International Treasurer, she has implemented new processes such as chapter dues payments being paid through online banking and automatic transfers of dues payment to the chapters. She implemented a new LAI International travel policy, and has been instrumental in the due diligence needed to be a good steward of the LAI members finances. She has worked tirelessly through annual budgeting processes.
About LAI International
Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is an honorary, networked international association for distinguished professionals in all fields related to the use and development of land. LAI is committed to promoting best practices and making a difference in our communities. The 2,200-plus members of LAI make valuable connections locally and with peers worldwide. The Phoenix chapter was formed in 1983 and its members – from business, academia and government – represent a wide range of professions dealing with some aspect of land economics. For more information visit www.lai-phx.org/