The Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group (SAEDG) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation. The Executive Board Members are:


Larry DempsterLarry Dempster - President

Larry’s family moved to Benson, AZ, in 1949.  After graduating from Benson High School, Larry continued his education and earned a BS Degree from the University Of Arizona College Of Business, followed by an MBA from California State University.  Larry served seven years as a member of the US Air Force and the Air National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant. 


Enjoying a career that spanned more than 30 years with Chevron Corporation, Larry retired as Chevron’s corporate manager of Employee Management Development and Organization Effectiveness and is a Cochise County rancher and businessman.


Larry is actively involved as President of SAEDG and serves as Vice President and Board Member of the Arizona Western Heritage Foundation.


Larry has published two novels, Shootout at Miracle Valley and One if by Land.



David DiPesoDavid DiPeso - Vice-President


David is a life long resident of Benson, Cochise County, AZ. After graduating from Benson High School, he received his AA degree from Cochise College and completed his BS degree from the University of Arizona.  David completed studies at the Hogan School of Real Estate and obtained his real estate sales, broker and appraisal license.

David’s business experience as a loan officer and appraiser for Farmers Home Administration, owning and operating the Red Bird Ranch in Cochise County (for 12 years) and since 2000 owning and operating DiPeso Real Estate and Appraisal allows David to offer varied business perspectives for numerous civic organizations.  

David has actively participated in the following organizations: Past Member of Benson Planning & Zoning commission, Benson City Council, Mayor of Benson, AZ.  President of MLS of Cochise County, President of Benson San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce.  Benson Task Force leader and Vice President of the Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group.  Board Member of the Cochise College Governing Board, Member of Cochise College Foundation Board.


Cindy BattenCindy Batten - Treasurer


Cindy Batten was born in Phoenix, AZ in 1962 but has lived in the Benson area her entire life. In 1980 she graduated from Benson Union High School, continued her education at Northern AZ University and then earned her AA in Business from Cochise College. She has been in the banking industry for the past 25 years, starting her career as a teller and working her way up through the ranks including Customer Service Manager, Branch Manager, District Operations Manager and Director of Customer Experience. Currently she is Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the local National Bank of Arizona branch.

Cindy stays involved in the community by volunteering with various sports related events through the local schools and is currently very active in the Arizona Roadrunner travel softball organization. She is now serving as Treasurer of SAEDG.

Cindy is married to Ernie, her husband of 32 years. Together they have 4 daughters, 3 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.


George ScottGeorge Scott - Executive Director


George Scott was born on January 1, 1947 in Tucson, Arizona .  George is a lifelong resident of Benson, Arizona. Graduating from Benson Union High School in 1965.  He attended Arizona Western College in 1965-1966 on a football scholarship.  In December of 1966 he joined the US Army and served until December of 1969 to return home with a honorable discharge as a Sergeant E-5.

Upon returning to Arizona George managed the family Redi-mix/Sand and Gravel company in Benson  while attending  Cochise College and raising his family.   He graduated from Cochise College in 1974 and continued managing the family business until it was sold in 1976.

From 1977 through 1990 George worked in the Real Estate Business as a Sales Associate and Broker in the Benson and Southeast Arizona markets.

1991 through 1994 George worked for Ryder Truck leasing in Tucson, AZ.

In 1995 George worked in RV sales in Tucson and Sierra Vista, AZ. To gain knowledge of the RV industry.

In 1996 George and his wife built a 105 space RV park on property owned by them in Benson, AZ.   They owned and  managed the RV park (Pato Blanco Lakes RV Park) that catered to the winter visitors  until it was sold in July of 2005.

In 2001 George was elected to serve as Vice-Mayor of Benson, AZ.  He served two years as Vice-Mayor and then four years until 2007 as Mayor of Benson.   He was elected to help clean up the small town  politics and  bring new business and progress to the area.  Under his tenure new home development got a start.  New retail businesses located to Benson to include a Super Wal-Mart.  City revenues increased and  to this day show positive growth due to policies enacted under his term.

After leaving the Mayors office in the summer of 2007 George and a group of local businessmen formed the Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group to help promote business in Cochise County.   George is the Executive Director of the 501c6 non-profit group.   “Our goal is to responsibly develop and expand the economy of Cochise County”.   At this time he is working on Solar projects for Benson and other Cochise County Communities, along with resurrecting  two failed housing projects in Cochise County.

George is married to MaryAnn,  between them they have five adult children and ten grandchildren.



Judy Thompson Judy Thompson -Board Member


Judy Thompson has lived in the Benson area for 53 years and she has worked in the banking industry for 41 years. As a banker, Judy has held various positions from loan processing clerk, new accounts, loan officer operations officer, assistant manager and manager. Currently Judy is an Assistant Vice-President and Branch Manager of the local National Bank of Arizona.

Always active in the community affairs, presently Judy serves as corresponding secretary for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Benson Juniors; State Field Director for the Miss Arizona Scholarship Foundation; treasurer of Southeastern Arizona Economic Group.

Judy is married to Roger, her husband of 37 years. Roger is a retired teacher and their one son Jason is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.  Judy, Roger and Jason are proud alumni of Benson High School.



Gil LuskGil Lusk - Board Member


Gil Lusk comes to the SAEDG Board with a distinguished and varied career.  After completing his college education Gil was assigned to the U.S. National Park Service enjoying positions in Vienna, VA, Valley Forge, Big Bend National Park, Glacier National Park, the Montana Nature Conservancy and concluding his National Park career by serving as the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service.


After relocating to Arizona in 1997 Gil became involved in the Sonoran Institute and has worked in real estate development and the Solar Park Foundation.  You can read more about Gil here.



L. H. HamiltonLeslie E Thompson - Board Member


Les is a Cochise County Native.  He lives in Benson.  Les owned and operated a successful equipment rental business in Tucson.  After selling the business in 1982 he and his family owned a small auto repair and towing business in Benson.  In 1992 Les sold his Benson business and entered Cochise County politics as a Cochise County Supervisor.  Les served the residents of Cochise County until his retirement in 2005.  Les is Married to Shirley, they have 3 children.





Kimberly Lockhart - Board Member