Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath says he left the group because its focus differs from his own.

Arizona Daily Star 2010

Oro Valley’s annual State of the Town address is also a luncheon. But that doesn’t mean its guest of honor, Mayor Satish Hiremath, gets to sit down and eat.

“I’m pretty much constantly busy,” Hiremath said of the event. “I don’t really have time to eat. It is a very good meal, though. I can tell you that. It’s not the normal rubber chicken people serve at these kinds of things.”

The 2013 Oro Valley State of the Town Address is at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 26 at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road.

Hiremath, who will give a talk about the accomplishments and direction of the town, isn’t the only one busy at the event, which will no doubt forge connections and collaborations.

A major networking event, the luncheon gathers crowds of more than 500 representatives of businesses, nonprofits and local governments.

Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Perry, whose organization stages the event, said it has grown every year since it started near the turn of the century.

Attendance last year was 517, and Perry projected the number would rise to 550 this year. Eventually, Perry would like to fill up the resort’s 750-capacity banquet room.

“I think that it’s really the singular Oro Valley gathering, if you think about it,” he said. “It’s the one place everybody’s in one room to talk about this place where we live and work. It doesn’t have a parallel. People want to go there to learn what’s going on and learn where we’re going as a town. That really has resonance.”

Hiremath said he takes care to make the event jovial and relaxed rather than stiff and proper.

“It’s one of those things where we use it as a town to really showcase what Oro Valley is about,” he said. “Where we’re going to head, where we’ve been. I think it’s different from a lot of other state of the towns that just give you a report card.”

Hiremath said he uses the event to help get people on the same page and help them buy into his vision.

“It’s a real exciting time for me,” he said. “I utilize the state of the town in order to kind of establish a mindset.”

Hiremath said he gets the sense that event attendees are there for the excitement rather than a sense of having to be there.

“It’s no disrespect to the prior mayor, but before it was really, ‘I just guess I’ve got to go because I’ve got to go to show a sign of support,’” Hiremath said. “We’re looking at increases in attendance every year, and aiming for a very high number. The difference is people who show up truly want to hear all the stuff about the vision and where the town is going. I think there’s a really big difference, and a ton of energy in that room.”

The event starts with a business expo and registration before lunch, and the speech start at noon.

In his talk, Hiremath will focus on “healthy growth,” which he defines as the holistic development of a community rather than a few indicators.

“Too often we see communities that pour their resources into one focus area while another area crumbles away,” he wrote in a preview of the speech. “The town of Oro Valley has taken great care to ensure that its roots and core values are nourished and maintained so that we are well-positioned for the opportunities that lie ahead. As a result, we’ve developed a strong framework for this year’s successes and our vision for the future.”

Hiremath cited the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, sports tourism, annexations and business-friendly programs among the town’s recent successes.

Perry said the event is crucial to create more of those successes.

“I think it is significant for businesses looking to leadership in government to project a vision that’s supportive,” he said. “To share the good stories that are going on and to encourage folks is really important.”

Contact Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or 573-4130.