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Chamber names Southwest Airlines, ASU Gammage as best businesses of year

(AP and Facebook photos)

PHOENIX — The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has named Southwest Airlines and Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium as the best businesses of the year.

“We are very excited and this is a great honor for Southwest Airlines,” Craig Drew, senior vice president of air operations and director of operations, said in a press release.

“This is an opportunity to represent to the community exactly what Southwest Airlines is.”

Prior to winning the award, Southwest announced plans to expand its presence at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by moving into the yet-to-be-built eighth and final concourse inside Terminal 4 by 2021.

“Our customers tell us they love the hospitality they receive at Sky Harbor and we’re looking forward to welcoming them into our new space when the new concourse opens in just a few short years,” Southwest Airlines President Tom Nealon said in a different press release.

In addition to taking over its fourth concourse in the terminal, Southwest will also spend $40 million to double its maintenance facilities at Sky Harbor and add a hangar.

ASU Gammage reported it had a $100 million economic impact during its 2015-2016 Broadway season, a record for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed facility.

“I was so elated, it’s tremendous,” Victor Hamburger, the senior director of marketing and communications for ASU Gammage, said.

“It reflects so well on all the work our team has done to bring the best of Broadway to the Valley.”

It’s likely that Gammage is set to build upon its record. It sold out of Broadway season tickets for the first time ever and will host the smash-hit musical “Hamilton: An American Experience” for nearly a month.

The chamber said both businesses were recognized during a ceremony at the Arizona Biltmore resort last month.

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