Longtime APS lobbyist Marty Shultz is retiring after 32 years. He’s been an influential player in Arizona’s policy arena for more than three decades. We’ll talk with Shultz about some of his greatest successes and most disappointing failures during his career as a business and community leader.
Ted Simons: Good evening, and well come to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. After 32 years with Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, the parent company of APS, Marty Schultz is retiring at the end of the year. Schultz is the company's vice-president of government affairs, chief lobbyist at the state capitol. Through the years he's had a hand in shaping state and local policies on energy, education, taxation, transportation, and much more. The Palo Verde nuclear power plant, ASU's downtown Phoenix campus, metro light rail, they're all things that Marty Schultz helped create. Here now to talk about his accomplishments and future plans is oddly enough, Marty Schultz. Good to see you again.
Marty Schultz: Ted, good to see you.
Ted Simons: Lets get to some basics here, why are you retiring?
Marty Schultz: Because I became 66 and decided it was time, I've been 32 years with the company, and my original plan was to retire and Linda and I would go off cruising and do a few things like that. But I would still become involved with and stay involved with my civic activities.
Ted Simons: OK. Conversely, why did you stay at APS so long? 32 years, that's a good healthy run.
Marty Schultz: Five CEOs, I look at it like that. That is a healthy run. And I think it surprised me, probably surprised some of my colleagues as well. I'll tell you what, it's a great company. It was when I came in in 1979, even though the big challenge then was from a flat piece of land out west to literally build what turned out to be the last nuclear power plant ever built in America.
Ted Simons: I want to talk more about those accomplishments and things, but as far as being a lobbyist for APS, people hear that and some folks say oh, lobbyist, others aren't sure what a lobbyist for APS does. What did you do?
Marty Schultz: Some people say I talked a lot. The truth is that Arizona Public Service Company, and Pinnacle West, they're complicated companies. We've got energy issues that impact the company, and the profitability, we have customer related issues, we have transmission list issues, land use, taxation, environmental, I could go on and on. So helping shape policy so that it's good for Arizona and good for Arizona public Service company is really what I've done for all of these years. And I really mean it. I'm proud of it because whether lobbyists with bad connotations, our value system is such that we went to the lawmakers, went to the governors, and gave it our best shot and our best argument to advocate for a position.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about some of these accomplishments. Light rail, downtown campus for ASU, helping get Palo Verde built, helping raising money for TGN, expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, Human Services campus, that project down there that's gone very well, this is a lot of stuff going on. Best memories, what are you most proud of?
Marty Schultz: All those things you mentioned, but if I had to prioritize them, interestingly enough, being a corporate type, I really am proud of the Human Service campus. That's from a civic standpoint. Because that we raised $29 million and put together what has turned out to be a world class approach to handling people who are less fortunate. And people from all over the country and the world come to see, how do you handle homeless, seriously mentally ill, drug addiction, people who are really down on their luck, and move them from the homeless situation to sustainability, and to housing? And I'm very proud of that. From a company standpoint, I think that the Palo Verde nuclear power plant is such a big deal to our company, and to the energy future of Arizona, and has been a mainstay. Because it's a successful plant, 4,000 megawatts, takes care of the power needs in large measure of part of California, all of APS, about 30 percent of our load, salt river project and utilities in Texas and New Mexico.
Ted Simons: Lots of accomplishments, obviously, but I know there are things you didn't quite get done. Anything stick in your craw?
Marty Schultz: You mean celebrated failures? Yeah there are a couple of things. Frankly, I'd like my friends at the Arizona legislature and the governor to take heed. I was appointed by then president Ken Bennett, now secretary of state and then governor Janet Napolitano, to be the chairman of the school district redistricting commission. Because in Arizona, we have 227 school districts, which in my mind, is nuts. It grew up over the history of Arizona, that made sense, but now to try to manage the system with 227 superintendents, school boards, and I could go on and on, that duplication of effort is costly, it actually is one of the reasons that we don't spend as much per pupil, that we should in Arizona. But that got thrown out by the courts after half of the unification plans passed. So I would personally and hope others would be interested in going at that again.
Ted Simons: Many are concerned, and we've actually talked about this on and off camera, many are concerned with the direction of the state, with some perceive a lack of leadership, especially in comparison with the past as far as folks pushing the state forward and getting it to its full potential. Talk about that. Do you see that as well, a problem there?
Marty Schultz: I see it as a problem, but I also see it as an opportunity. And I'm usually one of these guys that's glass half full, not empty. But I will say this, that the Arizona legislature, but then Congress has gone more conservative to the right, so to speak, and that is probably the biggest challenge, because there are so many issues, and if we stay on some litmus test issues like immigration, and we don't talk about the real Arizona, or we don't get to balancing a budget, dealing with people who are in need of health care, the education investment in Arizona is extremely important. And Frankly, is the key to the future economy. These issues have to be tackled, so that while the conservatives are -- have taken over, they best have a broad-based agenda for Arizona, and it's one that will feature economic development and economic recovery.
Ted Simons: When you look at Arizona, do you see -- and you look in the past at the movers and shakers. Bygone eras, what were they doing that may not be done right now? What changed? What's different?
Marty Schultz: Interestingly enough, I was thinking about that in this last couple weeks. One of the movers would be Burt Barr, who is a famous majority leader, 21 years in the legislature. But he teamed up, he was a Republican and he ran for governor at one point and lost. He teamed up with Bruce Babbitt, with Alfredo Gutierrez. So they combined their talents. They were not in agreement philosophically or politically, but they knew they needed to get things done. And I would hope that would be the case for this legislature in going forward. Whether a conservative or a moderate, or a more liberal agenda evolves, what's really important is that results occur. And the results are going to occur I think in the most balanced way when all the elected officials, both on the right and the left, and the governor, get together in some kind of compromise. They're doing it in Congress today, as surprising as that is, Arizona can also do the same.
Ted Simons: Speaking of compromises, sounds like your career has hit kind of a compromise as well you're supposed to be retiring, but you're not really retiring. What's going on here?
Marty Schultz: I think I'm failing retirement. What happened is that I was fully intending to retire and focus on the civic activities, but I was recruited by some folks out of Denver a law firm that is very strong in Washington, DC, they both are a lawmaker and a -- law firm and lobby firm, Brownstein Hyatt, Farber and Shrek, they're bicoastal, they've got 12 offices around the country with heavy involvement in California, and on the West Coast. And they made my wife and I an offer we couldn't refuse. It isn't about the money. It's about the fact that I could continue to be involved with civic activities, and continue to try to build Arizona, at the same time repace myself a little bit, because I'm one of those folks that does work the 10 to 12-hour days, because that's what I'm made of, and I'm going to try to repace myself and hopefully be able to accomplish that objective.
Ted Simons: Sour going to stay, correct me if I'm wrong, staying with the Phoenix community alliance, the bioscience road map as well, and the discovery triangle.
Marty Schultz: That is correct.
Ted Simons: You're still going to be involved in those things.
Marty Schultz: I'm going to chair those three activities.
Ted Simons: When I go around my neighborhood, I look at homes, and I look at things, and I remember what was there, and who moved there, do you ever drive around Phoenix or just make your way around the town and just go, yeah, I had something to do with that, yeah I know what's going on, I know where that body is buried, you've been here a long time. In terms of movers and shakers, you've moved a lot and shaken up a lot.
Marty Schultz: Ted, you know, when I have occasion to fly back into Phoenix from a trip to squeeze grandchildren, let's say, in California, I sort of look out at the city, and no kidding, I look at where the transmission lines are, I look at where the Palo Verde plant is, where our other power plants are, I can see some of our folks who are sort of out there in a storm putting back poles that have been knocked down by God and the wind. Yeah, I think that I see that in that way. But when I was chief of staff to three Phoenix mayors and knew a lot about police and fire, I would literally see from afar the police and the fire stations and their activities. So you bet, I'm proud of the fact that we've built a great community, and we've got a lot more to do.
Ted Simons: Last question, you've been here, you kind of were raised here, weren't you? Came here as a young kid.
Marty Schultz: 1953.
Ted Simons: Central high, am I correct?
Marty Schultz: Central High bobcats.
Ted Simons: Arizona State University.
Marty Schultz: Go Devils.
Ted Simons: Alright. When you were a bobcat and a devil, did you think that Phoenix and the valley would wind up where we are now? Is this what you envisioned when you were a young man?
Marty Schultz: One may not believe this, but the answer is yes. For some reason, and I can't explain it, whether it was my brother, my family, friends that I made, including an early speaker, Tim Barrow, I came in contact with some people who had visions, and they taught me that this place can have vision. And so you bet, I picked up on that, I wanted -- I want to mention Keith TURLEY, my first CEO, to Bill Post and Dawn Brandt, who is the head of APS. These people have the vision, they have the sense of leadership, and their business is about building Arizona and building community, caring community, I trust, and I'm very interested in continuing that work.
Ted Simons: Marty, good luck in retirement. Such as it is I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you, and congratulations on quite a career.
Marty Schultz: Ted, thank you very much.