It’s not hyperbole to say that Steve Sossaman is one of the founding fathers of Queen Creek.
With a group of other area leaders, particularly Mark Schnepf of Schnepf Farms, Sossaman helped to shoulder the hard work of putting Queen Creek on the map and getting the town incorporated in 1989.
“Steve and I spent weeks going down to the Legislature, working on legislation that would help us,” Schnepf said. “It wasn't an easy process. It was knocking on doors and making calls and kind of ordering legislators to listen to our situation because we felt so passionately that Queen Creek should have its own identity.”
Schnepf said he and Sossaman have always been in agreement on what the community should be like and what’s needed to make Queen Creek not only better, but to also keep its identity.
When it was time to elect the town’s first mayor, Schnepf won the race, but Sossaman followed him as the town’s second mayor. Schnepf called Sossaman “an awesome mayor.” But it was after he stepped down as mayor and joined the planning & zoning commission that Sossaman sealed his legacy, Schnepf said.
“His service on the planning commission probably has had more of a lasting effect,” Schnepf said.
Current Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney calls Sossaman an “icon.”
“Steve became one of the town’s founding fathers more than 30 years ago,” Barney said. “Since that time, Steve has been instrumental in the vision of the community.”
Schnepf added that Sossaman has been very generous to various causes in the community.
“He's quiet about that generosity,” Schnepf said. “He does really significant things in a very quiet way.”
Yes, he helped incorporate the town, was mayor, served on the planning & zoning commission, and gives back to Queen Creek, but as far as Schnepf is concerned, that’s not what makes Sossaman a Hometown Hero.
“He's a really wonderful husband, he's a great father, he's a great grandfather -- he's just a really good person,” Schnepf said.
Name: Steve Sossaman
Business Name: Sossaman Farms
Town: Queen Creek
When and why I moved here: In 1955, I was born at nearby Williams Air Force Base (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport).
What I like most about living here: Queen Creek has always been a great place to live because of its proximity to so many things. While welcoming many new residents over the years, Queen Creek still maintains its small-town feel.
What I do: I am a fourth-generation farmer on our 103-year-old farm, homesteaded by my great-grandparents in 1919.
Personal background highlights: As a child, I attended the original Queen Creek Elementary School (now the San Tan Historical Society). I continued my education at Chandler High, the Air Force Academy and ultimately finished at ASU with a B.S. in Agribusiness. My high school sweetheart and I recently celebrated 43 years of marriage, and our family is complete with three daughters and two grandkids.
Professional background highlights: I have been involved in many national, state and local organizations over the last four decades. Highlights include serving as the second mayor of the town of Queen Creek, as well as volunteer positions centered around farming and agriculture.
What I like most about what I do: I love the farming life because of the flexibility of my schedule. Every day is something different.
What does being nominated for this category mean to you? Being nominated is quite an honor. I am grateful to be honored for what I love to do, which is helping our community.
What do you think you bring to the local community that makes it better? The founders of our town have always carefully planned how our community would grow and what it would look like, and I believe we have succeeded in creating Queen Creek’s unique character.
What would you tell people about why it’s important to make a difference in Queen Creek? Being involved in our town in a positive way helps our community and our own personal well-being.
My interests and hobbies: When the weather is nice (and it usually is), I enjoy hiking in the Superstitions, golfing and traveling around our beautiful state.
The traits I admire in others: Honesty, loyalty and compassion.
People who inspire me: My parents and grandparents inspire me; their perseverance through tough times in their lives encourages me to keep our farm prosperous and continue their legacy.
My guiding philosophy: Trust in the Lord.
My advice to today’s youth: Say “Yes” to new opportunities.