Retirement hasn’t slowed down Wayne Ecton one bit.
After a distinguished career as a financial executive with Alcoa, Mr. Ecton has been a public servant for the City of Scottsdale in a number of capacities -- including as a member of the City Council, the Public Art Advisory Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Scottsdale Downtown Economic Vitality Coalition. And when he’s not serving the Greater Scottsdale community, he remains engaged with life at home at Vi at Grayhawk, a Vi and Plaza Companies community where he and his wife Martha moved in 2004.
From His Father's Restaurant to Alcoa Executive
Born and raised in Winchester, Ky., Wayne first displayed his tireless work ethic in his father’s restaurant at age ten, before becoming the restaurant’s manager after graduating high school. “That’s where I really got my work experience,” said Mr. Ecton. “I did all the purchasing, hiring, managing the books, I even cooked the breakfasts every day. You grow up fast when you have all that responsibility.”
Wayne’s corporate career began as an accounting clerk with Alcoa, the multibillion dollar aluminum company. By the time he retired, he was the Vice President of Administration overseeing operations in Guinea, West Africa and Hungary.
“My ability to manage teams and work with people from different walks of life paved the way for my future in politics,” he said.
Retiring to Scottsdale
After living overseas for many years, Wayne and his wife of 40 years, Martha, decided to retire to Scottsdale, where they enjoyed the weather and the active community. After serving as president of their homeowner’s association, Wayne decided to run for City Council. He asked Martha to be his campaign manager, which she agreed to under one condition: that he promise to work to bring a library into the north end of Scottsdale. Martha worked for many years as Alcoa’s research librarian and has always been passionate about libraries.
Wayne was elected, and tackled his new job with the same dedication he had during his career.“If you devote yourself to do the best job possible, being on the City Council is a full-time job,” he said. Participating in city events, meeting with residents in their homes and places of business, spending time with department heads, attending community meetings, and visiting sites were part and parcel of Wayne’s daily life as a City Councilman.
During Wayne’s eight and half year tenure, he supported a number of high profile projects to help revitalize Scottsdale. He worked to extend the bus service from downtown Scottsdale to the Scottsdale/Thompson Peak Medical Center, located just two blocks from Vi at Grayhawk, and the Soleri Bridge, one of Scottsdale’s most cherished landmarks. Vi at Grayhawk residents who visit the bridge can see their neighbor’s name engraved on a marker in the plaza.
But the accomplishment he's most proud of, is fulfilling his promise to Martha to bring a local branch of the Scottsdale Public Library to North Scottsdale. Wayne convinced a developer to donate four acres of land in North Scottsdale, and in 2009, the Appaloosa Library was built. “Martha gets a big grin on her face every time we drive by,” Wayne said. “It’s not that often that a dream comes true and pleases the community in the way the Appaloosa Library does.”
And the library is indeed a dream for locals too. Clocking-in at more than 21,000 square feet, it features 46 public-use computers, a drive-up window service, and is located just six minutes from Vi at Grayhawk.
Remaining Engaged in the Community
Today, Wayne continues to be involved with the City of Scottsdale through his work with the Chamber of Commerce, the Scottsdale Downtown Economic Vitality Coalition, and the Public Art Advisory Committee.
Martha and Wayne both recently completed the Scottsdale Fire Department’s Citizen Fire Academy, where they received training and firsthand experience in putting out fires. “We wore the suits and the heavy equipment and had to crawl around on the floor of a smoke-filled room looking for a teddy bear. It gave us a real appreciation for what our firefighters do.”
In addition, their involvement at Vi doesn’t go unnoticed around the community. “Some people think that when you come into a retirement community your life stops,” said Jan Wiggins, Sales Director, Vi at Grayhawk, “but that’s just not the case. People like Wayne and Martha are out there making a difference in Scottsdale, and then bringing it back here to our community.”