Tanya C. Wheeless is the inaugural President & Chief Executive Officer of the USS Arizona Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit established to support the future USS ARIZONA (SSN 803) Virginia-class nuclear submarine, the fourth ship in U.S. history to be named for the great state of Arizona. The Foundation will also honor the memory of the USS ARIZONA (BB 39) battleship lost on December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor through public outreach and education.
As the key management leader of the Foundation, Tanya has overall strategic and operational responsibility for executing the organization’s purpose and overseeing its administration, programs, and strategic plan.
A native of Arizona, Tanya has twenty years of senior leadership experience. She practiced law before being named President & CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association. She then joined the Phoenix Suns as a Senior Vice President before leaving to start her own consulting business. Most recently, Tanya served as Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Martha McSally and even took her own run at elected office.
Tanya is proud to belong to a family of veterans. Her husband, Steve, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and served as an F-16 pilot. Both of her grandfathers served: one in the Army during WWII and the other retired from the Air Force right here at Luke AFB. Her Great-uncle Gilbert served in the Army during WWII. He was killed in the Battle of Okinawa and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Her Great-uncle Louie retired from the Army after serving in combat in WWII and Korea.
As a dedicated volunteer, Tanya has served on a number of civic and community boards including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Suns Charities, and the Girl Scouts Cactus-Pines Council. She is a member of ASU’s Women and Philanthropy and Charter 100.
Tanya is a proud ASU Sun Devil who enjoys travel, the great outdoors, and Sunday dinners with family. She lives in Tempe with her husband, son, and their two pups.