ADEQ hires Capalby for liaison for his community ties

A third-generation Kingman resident who has been active for years in the community is the new community liaison for Mohave County and portions of Yavapai County for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

ADEQ Director Steve Owens said he hired Matt Capalby to fill a position that has been vacant since Peter Foster moved to Durango, Colo., more than a year ago.

Capalby started Monday and works out of an office in the Mohave County Public Works complex on Horizon Boulevard in Kingman.

"There are two big reasons we hired Matt Capalby," Owens said.

"One is he is a great guy and he is going to be a tremendous asset in terms of providing a resource for the community."

Owens said the other reason for hiring Capalby is ADEQ needed to have a liaison based in northwestern Arizona and, especially, in Mohave County.

"We knew we needed to hire someone, and Matt was the most obvious choice for the job," Owens said.

"He knows so many people up there."

Capalby commented, "I think it is a wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Mohave County and function as a facilitator regarding many issues surrounding the environment, development, construction and rapid growth.

These are many of the challenges that our area faces, and I look forward to the opportunity to address them in an efficient manner."

Capalby, 38, said he does not think Owens – appointed by Gov.

Janet Napolitano - hired him to award him for his involvement in Democratic Party politics.

An unsuccessfully candidate in both 2000 and 2002 for a seat in the state House of Representatives, he said he has no immediate plans to run again for public office.

"They see the need for someone who has a background and well-established roots in the area and understands many of the growth and development issues as well as environmental issues," he said.

As liaison, Capalby will be responsible for working with the business community, elected officials, Indian tribes and other groups on issues that fall within the jurisdiction of ADEQ, Owens said.

Issues could include water and air quality, the effect of the purchase of North Star Steel by Nucor and the expansion of sewer service in Lake Havasu Ctiy.

Owens said Capalby will answer questions on applying for permits, understanding regulations and other matters.

He said Capalby will work closely with him and Jim Sedillo, manager of the northern regional office of ADEQ in Flagstaff.

Capalby is one of four community liaisons statewide, and will work closely with his counterpart in Yuma County, Owens said.

Capalby graduated from Kingman High School in 1983 and joined the U.S.

Coast Guard, serving until 1990.

He later attended Mohave Community College and Arizona State University, where he majored in political science.

After returning to Kingman in 1996, he served as operations administrator for his family's property development and management business and briefly as assistant director for the Mohave County Economic Development Authority.

He has been active with the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, and served on the city Planning and Zoning Commission and the Municipal Utliities Commission.

Capalby has been married to Miner news editor Abbie Gripman for more than four years.

Their daughter, Sophia, was born in December 1999.