University of Arizona Tech Park Champion to Retire

Sept. 5, 2018

“Throughout the last five years collaborating with him as part of Tech Launch Arizona, Bruce has been a great champion for entrepreneurship and innovation at the UA and across the region. Under his leadership, Tech Parks Arizona has been a great partner in helping develop pathways for bringing UA intellectual property and startups to the marketplace.”

- Doug Hockstad, Assistant Vice President, Tech Launch Arizona

(Tucson, Arizona) After thirty-two years of working for the University of Arizona, Associate Vice President Bruce A. Wright is retiring from Tech Parks Arizona.

Wright joined the University of Arizona in the late 1980s and served in several capacities, including Director of the Office of Community and Public Service, Assistant to the President, Senior Officer for Community Affairs and Economic Development, and Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Associate Vice President, Office of University Research Parks and Associate Vice President, Tech Parks Arizona and CEO for Campus Research Corporation.

Wright brought a vision to the University and community that provided an economic development tool to build a technology-based economy in the region. Since the inception of the UA Tech Park in 1994, Wright has been resourceful in directing the University’s Research Parks. Under Wright’s leadership, the UA Tech Park developed into an economic powerhouse - growing technology companies and providing high-quality jobs for the region. The UA Tech Park is one of the leading research parks in the United States and was recognized as the most Outstanding Research Park in 2001 by the Association of University Research Parks.

“Bruce Wright took a new concept for the University of Arizona in 1994 and made the UA Tech Park at Rita Road an economic power house and recognized leader among university research parks,” said UA President Robert C. Robbins. “Bruce’s devotion to economic development and his entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in numerous initiatives benefitting 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 has been instrumental in building University, industry and community partnerships for over three decades. He has also contributed significantly to building Tucson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. As an advocate for technology commercialization both for the University and the greater Tucson region as well. He helped foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University. Wright was instrumental in the development of Innovation Day at the UA, which acknowledged and encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit across the UA campus for ten years. The event was successful in establishing a more entrepreneurial environment and culture among faculty, staff and students. Celebrating entrepreneurship within the UA was key to encouraging the University to move research from the lab to the market place. He also founded the first incubator in Tucson, the Tucson Technology Incubator in the late 1990s. When that organization dissolved, he worked to create a different and more sustainable model for technology incubation. Today, the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) is one of the longest continuously operating incubators in the state of Arizona and helps both university and community startups launch technology-based businesses.

As the director for the UA Office of Economic Development (OED), Bruce was influential in establishing several technology clusters in Pima County including the Optics and Bioindustry clusters. Wright 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 helped to develop a bi-national regional economic development plan for several governors of Arizona and Sonora. He served on the board of directors for the Arizona-Mexico Commission for over a decade and was instrumental in developing an economic indicator reporting tool that helped to influence policy changes that ultimately increased the flow of goods between Arizona and Mexico as well as increase the economic prosperity of the region.

Prior to joining the University, he served as Chief-of-Staff to U.S. Representative Morris K. Udall and staff consultant to the US House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Previously, he was a management analyst with the City of Tucson and Deputy Director of the Commission on Improved Governmental Management.

Bruce Wright has a long history of being active in a variety of community organizations. He is a past chair of the Southern Arizona Chapter (Tucson) of the American Red Cross. He also served on the Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the Wells Fargo Bank Community Advisory Board, Arizona Association for Economic Development, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and the Governor’s Arizona Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA). He served on the Association of University Research Park (AURP) Board including a term as the Association President and was instrumental in developing a standard methodology for calculating economic impact of research parks on a region. He supports the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) and is a member of the DM 50 and an alumni honorary commander of the 355th Operation Support Squadron (OSS). He currently serves on DM Tucson Valley Council (DMTVC).

Bruce Wright has received several recognitions throughout his years of leadership. Most notable awards include 2018 Man of the Year, Greater Tucson Leadership; 2018 Paul Fannin Award from the Arizona-Mexico Commission; 2017 Executive Leadership Award for a Non-Profit, Tucson Local Media and Inside Tucson Business; 2017 Best of Arizona Award, Arizona Association for Economic Development's (AAED), Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE), 2008 Economic Development Leadership Award CORE Net Global; and 2007 Career Achievement Award, Association of University Research Parks.

“I am extremely proud of the work accomplished over the years at Tech Parks Arizona. 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,” stated Bruce Wright, Associate Vice President for Tech Parks Arizona.

A farewell celebration will be held from 4-6pm on October 3 at Culinary Dropout, 2543 E Grant Road, Tucson, AZ 85716. All friends, coworkers and well-wishers are welcome to attend. Please RSVP here.(link is external)

About Tech Parks Arizona

Tech Parks Arizona creates the “Interactive Ground” that generates, attracts and retains technology companies and talent in alignment with the research, mission and goals of the University of Arizona (UA). Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges and the Arizona Center for Innovation, placing the highest priority on recruiting companies desiring connectivity to the University of Arizona.