Mesa Names Mary Cameli and Rich Adams Citizens of the Year

This month’s community champions are the newly named Mesa Citizens of the Year, Mary Cameli and Rich Adams. Both leaders are dedicated East Valley volunteers who have demonstrated their long-term commitment to Mesa and offered a broad range of volunteerism that has significantly enhanced our community.

Mary Cameli is Mesa’s Fire Chief and a previously recognized Cadence Community Champion. As one of the first females hired by the Mesa Fire Department in 1983, Mary rose through the ranks until she earned the title of Mesa’s Assistant Fire Chief. She held this position for 11 years. Then in November 2016, Mary was named Mesa’s Fire Chief – becoming the city’s first female fire senior leader.

Throughout her professional career, she has volunteered significant time to improve her industry and our community — as a past president and board member of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, as a past chair of the Child Crisis Arizona Board and past president and member of Mesa Sunrise Rotary. Mary currently serves as vice chair of the Community Bridges Board, vice chair of the International Fire Service Training Association Board and serves on the board for the International Center for Public Safety Excellence.

A representative from Child Crisis Arizona said, “I have seen firsthand the deep commitment of Mary’s volunteerism on behalf of the children and families in the community. She has a passion to ensure that the health and welfare of children are first and foremost a priority and truly stands up in the fight against child abuse & neglect.”*

Rich Adams is the President and CEO of Southwest Business Credit Services, a long-time Mesa r resident and a well-respected community volunteer. He is a graduate of both Valley Leadership and Mesa Leadership and served as the City of Mesa Falcon Area Visioning commission chairman. Additionally, he has served on the City of Mesa Planning & Zoning Board as well as the City of Mesa Economic Development Advisory Board as a past chairman.

Currently Rich serves as a member of the Mesa United Way Board and is the chair of the Visit Mesa Board of Directors and member of the City of Mesa Economic Development Advisory Board.

A colleague shared, “I have never seen Rich on any board that he did not assume some sort of leadership role and where he did not give his all for the betterment of the effort.”*

The prestigious Mesa Citizen of the Year Award was founded in 1935 by Charles and Florence Mitten, owners of the Mesa Tribune. Mary and Rich’s service and leadership are an example to all East Valley community members and Cadence at Gateway congratulates them on this well-deserved accolade.

Know an individual or organization improving life in Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Chandler or Queen Creek? Send your Cadence Community Champion nominations to


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