Maggie Tidaback is helping Chino Valley companies thrive through pandemic and beyond
By Joanna Dodder Nellans • Photo by Trisha Shaffer
Back in May 2019 when Maggie Tidaback was the new Chino Valley Economic Development Project Manager, she made a prescient observation in a town video: “Small towns are making a comeback!”
A year later the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation, spurring people to move from congested cities to rural communities. Maggie was ready to take advantage of this shift.
Maggie herself is a prime example of a broader movement toward rural areas. After graduating from Prescott High School in 1996, she spent the next decade working in Southern California’s commercial real estate field, then opened a Tempe restaurant. But when she and her husband decided to build a family in 2012, they chose Chino Valley.
“People like the open space out here,” Maggie explained. Her family, for example, enjoys school sports, swimming, camping, and riding quads in the surrounding Prescott National Forest.
Maggie is passionate about helping families make a living in Chino Valley. She’s focusing on attracting small businesses that residents want, with the help of a 200-acre business park.
Her second focus is on attracting tourism to Chino’s amenities including the Chino Valley Equestrian Park, Chino Valley Model Aviators’ paved model airplane flying field, Compass Training Center shooting range, town aquatic center, and adjacent national forest. An Arizona Office of Tourism Rural Marketing Co-op Program grant is helping her build a new website at discoverchinovalley.org while showcasing the slogans “Come escape the heat” and “Cooler than you think” on two Phoenix-area billboards.
The pandemic also prompted regional economic development organizations to further consolidate their efforts. Maggie and several other economic development practitioners traveled to Southern California with Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation officials to successfully woo small businesses to this region. Thermal-Vac Technology – a metals brazing and heat-treating industry serving the likes of NASA, SpaceX, and government militaries – liked what it heard. It plans to hire 30-40 people upfront and 80 within five years at its new Chino facility.
The Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation and other regional economic development organizations also teamed up with the Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center to support businesses during the pandemic and beyond. For example, Maggie encouraged Insurgent Brewing Co. in Chino Valley to apply for the Small Business Development Center’s Small Business Makeover program at the college, and Insurgent won.
Maggie also is a key player in the Chino Valley Recreation Partnership with the Prescott National Forest and State Land Department to expand the local trail system and encourage public lands stewardship.
She’s clearly a busy person, but she always finds time for projects that help her hometown:
“You have more passion for what you do when you’re invested in your community.”