Sam Fox, CEO and Founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, was recognized as the 2015 University of Arizona Executive of the Year on Friday, April 17 during a luncheon at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson.
Some 450 guests attended the event, including Governor Doug Ducey, University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart, University of Arizona philanthropic supporters Karl and Stevie Eller and many other high-profile leaders and business executives.
A Paradise Valley resident, Mr. Fox studied real estate finance at the University of Arizona and opened his first restaurant, Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, in Tucson at age 20, according to a press release.
Fox Restaurant Concepts currently boasts 44 locations and 15 unique concepts spanning seven states.
Tucson’s Wildflower American Cuisine was the company’s first concept. Now based in Phoenix, Fox Restaurant Concepts includes Blanco Tacos & Tequila, True Food Kitchen, The Henry, Flower Child, North Italia, Culinary Dropout and several other popular restaurants. Together, his restaurant group employs nearly 4,000 people, according to the release.
The University of Arizona Executive of the Year program was established by the Eller College National Board of Advisors in 1983 to honor individuals who exemplify executive qualities in private enterprise and public service.
According to the release recent honorees include Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor (2014); Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants (2013); former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2012); and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (2011).