First PlaceAZ, a nonprofit designed to help provide housing options for people with autism and other special abilities, has appointed Joe Cooper as its chief financial and operating officer. In December 2016, the organization broke ground on First Place-Phoenix, a new $15 million, 81,000-square-foot residential property, located at 3001 N. Third St. in Phoenix. Designed for adults with autism and different abilities, the property represents a one-of-a-kind approach to combining apartments, a residential training program and a national leadership institute to advance more independent and community integrated living options.

Spanning a total of 30 years in financial and business leadership roles, Cooper also served as executive vice president of NYSE-listed Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation in Scottsdale where he was responsible for corporate development and operations. He has consulted with numerous health care and technology companies. He will oversee the financial management and operational growth of the First Place AZ and plans for replication and licensing of its curriculum and programs.

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