Thomas served 12 years as executive director of Facilities Services for APS, which allowed her to engage two of her passions: 1) having a positive impact upon the lives of children, and 2) facilities planning and development. Her career included over 20 years of programming and planning, design, project management, and construction experience including educational, commercial, multi-family, aviation and health facilities and electrical substations.
Her assignment included management of approximately $10 million square feet of property including 84 operating school facility sites serving a population of approximately 50,000 students. She was responsible for identifying the physical plant needs through effective planning, construction of new facilities, the renovations and additions for existing facilities, as well as, the maintenance and upkeep of those facilities, and effective management or disposition of surplus property assets. She most recently provided management and oversight for the development and implementation of a facilities master plan for APS to support $900 million worth of capital improvements.
“Valerie’s analytical skills played a key role in all decisions related to construction and facilities management, as well as long-term planning for the system,” APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall said at the ceremony. “From permits to politics, Valerie more than anyone else on our team knew all the variables that needed to be considered before making decisions about our school facilities.”
On a personal level, Thomas will be remembered by her friends, family and APS co-workers as a very outgoing, strong and independent woman who never met a stranger and had a genuine love for people — especially children. Considered a life-long learner who delighted in gaining new insights wherever possible, Bradford shared her knowledge and expertise with others. She possessed strong communication skills, particularly in the areas of oral presentations, written communications and soliciting and providing constructive evaluations and feedback.