Ambassador Hans Hughes stands on the corner of Central Avenue and Washington Street so he can have a clear view of all directions.
“Whether you’re visiting or a long-time resident, you always have a friend in Downtown Phoenix.” This heartwarming statement was made by Hans Hughes, a nine-year DTPHX Ambassador who lives and breathes downtown. Hans is just one of the friendly faces you’ll see working seven days a week, 365 days a year to help make the sidewalk experience in downtown welcoming, safe and memorable. I spent the past week with Hans and several other Ambassadors and let me tell you — it was hot. But no matter the weather, these dedicated individuals are ready to serve DTPHX with a smile.
Who are the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors?
Sometimes you just need a good ol’ map and the guidance of an Ambassador — Kristina Kuhl pictured — to show you the way.
Although they’re occasionally thought to be volunteers, the Ambassadors are actually full-time employees of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. Currently, the Ambassadors range in age from 19 to 50+ and come from all backgrounds. One thing they all have in common though — they love downtown. Of course, in order to be an Ambassador you need to be able to withstand rain, wind and the Arizona sun. However, the top qualification to be an Ambassador is hard to put into words. From personal experience, I can tell you that they are some of the kindest, most energetic people I know. Here are some remarks from others who have received a helping hand from an Ambassador: “What a great compliment for people downtown. Makes a large city show heart.” -E. Hembree “Kristina was a lifesaver for us — it was pouring down rain and she lent us her umbrella and walked us to our destination.” -Renee Higginbotham from Show Low, Arizona “An amazing tour. Victor knows so much about the city and explained everything so well. I see Phoenix now with different eyes and I am so happy Victor was our guide.” -Isabel Muehlstaedt from Switzerland
What do they do?
Ambassador Arthur Scott gives water to a Phoenix Comic Fest cosplayer.
Ambassadors can help with almost anything in Downtown. Need to find a vegan restaurant or the best cocktail in town? They’ve got some great recommendations. They can also be a resource for finding parking or figuring out where you parked your car (it happens more than you’d think)! If you need an escort to your vehicle or anywhere in downtown, call the Ambassadors. They’ll gladly walk with you — and you’ll likely learn something new along the way. Other services DTPHX Ambassadors provide (when available) include: -Bicycle tire pump up -Hydration stations During conventions and special events, the DTPHX Ambassadors staff and operation water filtration stands to help keep visitors and event-goers hydrated. -Car battery jumps -Car unlocks -Safety & homeless outreach The DTPHX Ambassadors partner with Community Bridges to perform outreach and wellness checks on individuals experiencing homelessness in Downtown Phoenix. Additionally, DTPHX Ambassadors patrol downtown on bicycles and stay in close contact with Phoenix Police, acting as “eyes and ears” to help keep our sidewalks and streets safe.
Where do they serve?
The Downtown Ambassador program was launched in 2001 as a service of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, a City of Phoenix-created enhanced municipal services district that helps curate the sidewalk experience in downtown. Formed in 1990, the Partnership exists to strengthen Downtown Phoenix development and to encourage an environment of activity, energy and vitality. The team serves businesses, restaurants and venues occupying property inside the DPP’s service boundaries — Fillmore Street south to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Seventh Street west to Third Avenue. Ambassadors are deployed based on activity and event traffic in Downtown Phoenix, which means you’ll see a heavier Ambassador presence around lunch/dinner hours, special events and convention programs.
Once homeless himself, Ambassador Jefferson Haney (right) feels that building relationships and helping others in need, like Chad (left), is a rewarding part of his job. Ambassador Victor Valdivia also pictured. (Photo: Studio 616).
DTPHX is growing at breakneck speeds and has changed so much over the past decade. As visitors come from around the Valley and world, it’s nice to have someone there to be a guide and help in times of need. The Ambassadors are building real relationships with residents and visitors of downtown — while making people’s day a little easier and brighter. Last year, the Ambassadors assisted 229 individuals through homeless outreach, handed out more than 100,000 gallons of water and gave directions to countless visitors. Need an Ambassador? Look for the orange shirts with “ASK ME” on the back or stop by Downtown Phoenix Inc. offices located at 1 E. Washington, Suite 230 (CityScape East Block, second level) or “The Box,” an information kiosk located at the intersection of Adams and Second streets. You can also reach the DTPHX Ambassadors by telephone (602) 495-1500 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.