PINETOP-LAKESIDE — James Brimhall is operations manager for Exelligent, LLC out of New Mexico and he, like a growing number of individuals, works from home. He is hoping to find others who are also working remotely to join him in filling out a brief survey.

As a member of the REAL AZ group and the Economic Development Committee for NACOG, Brimhall’s goal is to glean information that will help these and other economic development organizations understand the needs of a workforce that spends at least some portion of their work week outside of the traditional office setting.

The REAL AZ workgroup made the decision in October to do this regional survey.

Brimhall is bullish on economic development. To him economic development means more than just jobs and growth.

Brimhall grew up in Snowflake where his father was a council member and mayor for over a decade and his mother was involved in the Snowflake Heritage Foundation. He learned early on the importance of community and getting involved in projects that help your community to be a better place to live and work.

Married with three children, Brimhall is vested in not only making Pinetop-Lakeside better, but Navajo and Apache counties and beyond.

In January he threw his hat in the ring as a candidate to fill the council seat vacated by Pinetop-Lakeside (PTLS) Councilor Kathy Dahnk. Though he did not receive the appointment, he stepped up once again when there was an opening on PTLS’s Planning and Zoning and is currently serving in that role.

“I have many ideas and thoughts, but my interest in Pinetop-Lakeside is to help the community and our leaders. I am interested in outdoors, ensuring we have green space, and water preservation. I am interested in ensuring that families and retirees enjoy living here. I love planning and working on the future, but I also enjoy improving the present and working on things that may not be glamorous, but are beneficial and needed for the community. If I have a concern, it then becomes my interest,” said Brimhall.

Brimhall received his MBA with a focus in strategic management and policy. He said that degree has helped him put multiple policies and guidelines in place. As operations manager for Exelligent, he is currently in the process of re-branding the firm, which is a project management company, and is establishing new training programs and initiating marketing efforts. He says he must make sure the projects are well planned and understood so they can deliver to their customers what they have promised.

All of the things Brimhall is doing with his own company can be translated into helping companies on the Mountain learn more about persons working at home all of the time or in a hybrid version of in office and at home. Having the information from the three minute survey will be a great benefit in providing data that will give REAL AZ and local leaders help with economic development.

“I have learned that in order to succeed, the project needs to be well defined, well supported, and achievable. When people volunteer, if it is too much or too grand, the risk of not completing increases. It is a balancing game to do the best you can with the time you have,” said Brimhall, who is involved in many things that benefit the community.

The goal for REAL AZ of Apache and Navajo counties with this survey is simple. It is to gather data to continue making steps to improve services on the Mountain.

REAL AZ plans to have the survey go live at the end of the month and run until the middle of December so that everyone can see the data and how remote work impacts Navajo and Apache counties.

You can access the survey at

Brimhall asks that you also share the survey link on your social media page and forward it to anyone you know that also works from home during the week.

Anyone with questions regarding the survey can contact Brimhall at 928-940-0365.

Reach the reporter at

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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