Robert Sarver is the principal owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. He founded the National Bank of Arizona in 1984 and is currently chair and CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation. He is also a director of Meritage Homes Corporation and SkyWest Inc. He lives in Paradise Valley, a suburb of Phoenix.
How long did you live here? How often do you return to Tucson? Do you still have family or friends here?
I was born in Tucson 50 years ago and lived there until I turned 30. I try to get back to Tucson every other week to see my mother. I also am on the board of Alliance Bank of Arizona and the Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona.
What was your favorite thing about Tucson?
I loved the beauty of the mountains, attending UA sporting events and hanging with my buddies from school.
What did you learn or experience in Tucson that has most affected you in your present life?
The most special part of my years in Tucson was my relationship with my parents and attending the UA. I also began my work career there and have very fond memories of those times.
What big changes have occurred in your life since you left Tucson?
Other than getting married, having three kids, major changes in my business career and getting too old to play sports, not much!
How were you involved in the Tucson Jewish community?
My mom (Irene Sarver) and Louis Pozez got me involved in the Jewish community at age 21. Over the years, I served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Desert Caucus, held various Federation campaign roles including major gifts chairman and was an active member and contributor to the Tucson Jewish Community Center and Jewish Family & Children’s Services.
Would you return to Tucson to live if you had the opportunity?
I would definitely return to Tucson once my business career winds down.
What has most surprised/delighted you about Tucson’s growth since you left town?
Growth at the UA has been great to watch and makes me proud to continue to be associated with it.
What would you most like to see change in Tucson if you were in charge?
My priorities would be job growth and early education. I think right now those should be the priorities of local government.
What’s the best thing about where you live now?
I like the fact that my businesses are close by, the city has a good buzz business wise, there are always great places to eat, plenty of sports to watch, and my wife and kids are happy here.
For more “Wandering Jews” profiles, see Special Sections – High Holidays