Gov. Jan Brewer has appointed NAU President John Haeger to serve on the Arizona Commerce Authority, a board tasked with focusing on the state’s economy through expansion and retention of businesses, entrepreneurship and workforce program development. The quasi-public board was created to fulfill Brewer’s initiative of reshaping the state’s existing Department of Commerce.

Brewer’s shift in strategy to address Arizona’s economic recovery entrusts commerce development to successful business and community leaders, and is expected to result in new partnerships between regional economic development groups, private employers, state government officials and higher education institution leaders.

“I am grateful for Gov. Brewer’s continued support of higher education, her recognition of our role in the success of this state and our inclusion in this economic initiative,” Haeger said. “Northern Arizona University is a natural partner in this state’s effort to build a strong economy. As the needs of our global market evolve, NAU will continue to provide opportunities for students to gain necessary skills to contribute to the betterment of the state’s economic future.”

State higher education institutions are a vital resource in remaining competitive in a global market, Haeger said. Through essential and specialized research, technological advancements and business development, the state’s universities are an integral part of Arizona’s financial recovery strategy.

Chaired by Brewer, the board is comprised of more than 30 private-sector executives and legislative leaders including Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Motor Excellence CEO Michael Manson and Science Foundation Arizona CEO Bill Harris. Haeger will serve as one of seven ex-officio members alongside Arizona Board of Regents’ chair Anne Mariucci, Arizona State University president Michael Crow and University of Arizona president Robert Shelton.