Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli, Southwest Business Credit Services President/CEO Rich Adams

Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli, Southwest Business Credit Services President/CEO Rich Adams

Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli and Southwest Business Credit Services President/CEO Rich Adams are the 2019 Mesa Woman and Man of the Year.

The Mesa Citizen of the Year Association last week announced the 84-year-old honors and Cameli and Adams will be feted at a dinner in February.

Cameli began her career as a firefighter in 1983 with the Mesa Fire and Medical Department and as one of its first female hires. 

She rose through the ranks, including 11 years as assistant chief, before her appointment as head of the department in 2016.

Cameli, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in organizational management, is past president of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and is the metro section representative on its board.

She also is involved in numerous community organizations and is past chair of the Child Crisis Arizona board and former Mesa Sunrise Rotary president.

Cameli is currently vice chair of the Community Bridges and International Fire Service Training Association boards and a member of the International Center for Public Safety Excellence board. 

“She continues to stay very active in the community and volunteers her personal time to help and be involved with many volunteer operations within the community,” the Citizen of the Year Association said, quoting a Child Crisis Arizona member who declared:

“I have seen firsthand the deep commitment of Mary’s volunteerism on behalf of the children and families in the community. She has a passion to ensure the health and welfare of children is first and foremost a priority and truly stands up in the fight against child abuse & neglect.” 

Married to Mike Cameli, the couple has five daughters and four grandchildren.

Adams is a long-time resident and heads an organization specializing in business credit information and professional education. 

“Rich is a well-regarded civic volunteer and leader,” the association said, lauding his willingness to assume leadership positions.

“I have never seen Rich on any board he did not assume some sort of leadership role and where he did not give his all for the betterment of the effort,” an unidentified nominator told the Citizen of the Year Association.

A graduate of Valley Leadership Class XXI and Mesa Leadership Class of 1989, Adams has chaired the city Falcon Area Visioning Commission, a member and past chairman of the city Economic Development Advisory Board, and past chairman of the City of Mesa Planning & Zoning Board.

He is on the Mesa United Way Board and chairs the Visit Mesa board.

The Mesa Citizen of the Year Association is one of the oldest groups of its kind in the State of Arizona. 

Founded in 1935, the organization annually selects two individuals in the community who have dedicated a significant amount of time to volunteer activities. 

It annually salutes people who have exemplified a long-standing commitment to volunteer activities and leadership. 

The group also promotes volunteerism in Mesa and its positive impact on the well-being of residents and neighborhoods. 

The association has also recognized Mesa High School seniors for “exemplary service in their school and the community.” 

Cameli and Adams will be honored 

at a banquet Feb. 18 at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa. For tickets: or contact Debby Elliot at 480-969-2731.

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