Cottonwood richly blessed from leadership of Jack Seitz
During World War II, Sir Winston Churchill established an office outside his own chain of command. He directed the people who worked in this office to advise him on everything from his leadership style to the decisions he made.
They had nothing to gain or lose from the advice offered. For that reason, Churchill was assured they were not "yes men" who would tell him what they believed he wanted to hear. Instead, their very role was to provide direct, blunt truths that were sometimes less than flattering.
For more than 30 years, Jack Seitz fulfilled a similar role for a whole host of leaders in the Upper Verde Valley. Seitz, who died this week, never held a political office in the Verde Valley, never aspired for such, but at the same time was an undeniable political force. He did more for the economic growth of the Upper Verde, especially with the development of the Cottonwood Airpark, than perhaps anyone who has ever lived in the Verde Valley. Jack was one of the founding members and chairman of the Cottonwood Foundation for Economic Development and continued for nearly 20 years in that effort.
Mr. Seitz had a style of leadership seldom seen. His influence was often behind-the-scenes. He avoided headlines. He always got results. He often let others take the credit. The best example of this came in the construction of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce building in 1982. Seitz persuaded the owners of the property on which the building now sits to provide the chamber with a long-term lease. Then, he convinced volunteers, contractors and building supply houses to join forces in what was basically an old-fashioned barn-raising. At the time, some questioned the wisdom of the location. Today, the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce is situated on one of the most enviable pieces of real estate in the city.
Jack's door was always open. He was a good listener. The advice he gave was always sound. As a result, many a local politician and political aspirant went to Jack Seitz when seeking guidance on the best path this growing community should take. Like Churchill's advisors, he always steered them in the right direction with direct, blunt truths. He would later chuckle when they claimed his ideas as their own.
Jack Seitz loved Cottonwood and the Verde Valley. We are certain Jack would be the first to say his life was richly blessed because he chose Cottonwood to be his home. It was the other way around. Cottonwood was blessed because it was Jack Seitz's home.
Many thanks, old friend. You will be missed, and always appreciated.
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