Glendale hires Fitzer to lead its development: Surprise loses top planner after tenure of growth

Surprise Community Development Director Eric Fitzer will be leaving his job this week to take over as the new Development Services Director for the City of Glendale. Mr. Fitzer, shown here talking to residents at the State of the City celebration on March 28, oversaw a period of growth in Surprise that included bringing Ottawa University Arizona to the city. [Jason Stone/Independent Newsmedia]


Surprise’s loss is turning into Glendale’s gain.

Economic Development Director Eric Fitzer will be leaving Surprise this week to take over the as the new development services director for the City of Glendale on Monday, April 22.

Mr. Fitzer is replacing Sam McAllen as Glendale enters a key period in its urban growth.

He leaves Surprise after five years as the top city planner.

“I am excited for this opportunity to join Glendale’s progressive leadership team at the exact time that economic development is going strong in the city,” Mr. Fitzer said in a statement announcing his hiring. “This is a chance for me to use my background and expertise to support and build a great team and drive excellence in operations and customer service.”

Surprise City Manager Mike Frazier praised Mr. Fitzer’s tenure with the city.

“Eric accomplished a lot during his time in Surprise,” Mr. Frazier said. “I am thankful for Eric’s service and leadership and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

Among his accomplishments in Surprise, Mr. Fitzer led the city’s Community Development team at what Mr. Frazier calls “a significant time of growth.”

In addition to leading the development of several new commercial and residential projects, Mr. Fitzer was key in bringing Ottawa University Arizona’s campus to Surprise.

During his time here, he also oversaw the creation of a Heritage Overlay District, the city’s first Arts and Culture Master Plan, the revision of the sign code and the launch of an update to the Land Development Ordinances and Planning and Engineering Design Standards.

City spokeswoman Virginia Mungovan said a “competitive recruitment process” will be underway soon to find Mr. Fitzer’s replacement.

Mr. Fitzer brings 14 years of experience in the public sector to Glendale, where he will oversee the Building Safety, Code Compliance and Planning divisions. As the city’s chief regulatory agency, Development Services manages investment and growth.

“Eric’s commitment to efficiency and his track record of driving creative solutions and engaging partners for a successful outcome aligns perfectly with Glendale’s economic development goals,” said Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps. “His senior leadership role in Surprise has shown him to be highly effective with bridging the gap of understanding between those we serve and the technical and political experts within the city.”

Mr. Fitzer is a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor of science degree in urban planning and an emphasis on economic development.

Editor’s note: Jason Stone can be reached at 623-445-2805, on email at or on Twitter at @thestonecave.

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