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Photo courtesy WESTMARC

Featured Article

Thankful for Our Community Advocates

Locals Impacting Our Community

Article by Angel Fuchs

Photography by Christine Andert—Picture Lady Photography LLC

Originally published in North Peoria Lifestyle

Sintra Hoffman


Hoffman, 57, is a New York native who put down roots in Peoria in 1999. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of WESTMARC (, which promotes economic development, job growth and quality of life in the West Valley. 

Hoffman serves on community and education boards that focus on improving the quality of life and economic vitality in the West Valley. These include the ASU New College Dean’s Advisory Board, the Grand Canyon University Honors College Advisory Board, Phoenix Children’s Hospital West Valley Foundation Board and the White Tank Mountains Conservancy Board.

Hoffman is passionate about the community she serves. “I've never experienced a more welcoming environment,” she says. “We are a great community that works together and supports one another.”

Heidi Bruce

OCCUPATION: Head of School at BASIS Peoria Primary

Heidi Bruce, 47, has dedicated her life to education. “I can't remember a time in my life that I did not want to teach children,” she says. 

Bruce earned her teaching degree at ASU and began teaching straight out of college. She left teaching to raise her children, but even then she couldn't completely step away, substitute teaching and coaching cheer.

Bruce is again in education as Head of School at BASIS Peoria Primary ( “I'm no longer in the classroom but making an impact by hiring the best teachers.”

Ajay Tanikella

OCCUPATION: Global Director of Customer Success, Microsoft

Ajay Tanikella, 50, works for Microsoft but has a side hustle teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) to West Valley youth. Tanikella teaches robotics in the third through sixth grades at Copper Hills Center for the Arts in Peoria. He also mentors high school students in medical engineering and technology.

Two years ago, Tanikella founded the NeoTech Foundation, a company with a vision that all children should have the opportunity to be a part of the “new technology revolution.”

Tanikella is passionate about the importance of STEM programs. “I learned that Arizona is 48th in the nation in education, and I wanted to do something about it,” he explains. “While the state education board is working to improve the state standards, I can make an impact outside the classroom and influence students through STEM education.”

In addition to his efforts in teaching STEM to children, Tanikella is also passionate about helping Arizona's wildlife through advocacy and rescue.

Scott Duke

OCCUPATION: President, Trilogy at Vistancia Veteran's Club

Scott Duke, 66, is a self-proclaimed “army brat” from a military family. “My dad was in the Army, older brother in the Navy and younger brother in the Coast Guard,” says Duke. “We have 102 years of military service between us.”

Duke serves as President of the Trilogy at Vistancia Veteran's Club, a 255-strong group of men and women who have honorably served in the military and reside in Trilogy at Vistancia ( The group is a service-oriented social club doing good in the community through such initiatives as Toys for Tots, food drives and “just rolling up our sleeves and helping where we're needed.”

Duke is inspired every day by the men and women in his club. “It warms your heart when you think about these 255 members, all who have honorably served their country, and now, even in retirement, still serve to help and volunteer to support military veterans less fortunate than themselves.”

  • Photo courtesy Basis Peoria Primary
  • Photo courtesy WESTMARC