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Pamela Conboy of Wells Fargo, James Lundy of Alliance Bank of Arizona and Curt Hansen of National Bank of Arizona help lead three of the state’s most charitable companies.

A culture of Meet 25 of Arizona’s most philanthropic companies Nonprofit


Holiday Guide


Arizona CFO of the Year


Arizona Forward


Arizona Bankers Association


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We help law firms and businesses identify outstanding talent and position that talent to succeed. Specializing in • Placement & Recruiting • Law firm expansion and new market entry • Mergers & Acquisitions • In-house searches David French

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• Succession planning


Phil Edlund

Phil Schneider

Bill Jury

With life-long members of the community and law fields, our team is committed to strengthening the local legal industry.

5353 N. 16th St., Suite 130 • Phoenix • 602.753.6027 •

Table of Contents 6

Up Front


CEO Series














Holiday Planning


Holiday Venues



48 Financial Executives International 55

CFO of the Year


Arizona Forward

97 Arizona Bankers Association

Making Arizona a better place to live and work


orporate social responsibility is a broad term used to describe a company’s efforts to improve the community it serves in some way. A company’s efforts can range from writing a check to support nonprofits to allowing its employees to volunteer their time during work hours to implementing environmentally-friendly policies in the workplace. Corporate social responsibility is not a mandated practice, but you’d never know that if you look at the many Arizona companies that go more than the extra mile to improve their local and global communities. In this issue of Az Business magazine, the spotlight shines on many companies and business leaders who are improving the quality of life for all Arizonans. Inside this issue: • Read about 25 of the most philanthropic companies in Arizona. Some of them are banks that are featured in the Arizona Bankers Association section. • Meet the Valley of the Sun United Way’s “Live UNITED Top 20.” • Learn about how the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International helps its members. • Read how Arizona Forward is helping to improve the state’s environmental quality and economic vitality.


In this holiday season, it’s only fitting that this issue of Az Business focuses on so many companies that give back and make Arizona a better place to live and work.

On the cover:

Pamela Conboy, lead regional president at Wells Fargo Bank; James Lundy, CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona; and Curt Hansen, executive vice president and CFO for National Bank of Arizona. Photos: Mike Mertes. Design: Anita Richey. 2

AB | November-December 2016

Michael Gossie Editor in chief

AB | November-December 2016


SHOUT-OUTS 20 companies that impact our communities


s we enter the holiday season season and a period of giving, the Valley of the Sun United Way knows it relies heavily on the support of Arizona organizations to help it fulfill its mission of improving the lives of children and families in need. To acknowledge those that make the most dramatic impact on the work done by the Valley of the Sun United Way, the organization announced its “Live UNITED Top 20.” Those companies making the list for 2016 are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

APS Freeport-McMoRan Inc. USAA Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc. QuikTrip Nationwide E&S/Specialty Wells Fargo Arizona Vanguard Arizona State University UPS Edward Jones Investments Salt River Project Enterprise Holdings Incorporated American Airlines Bank of America PetSmart, Inc. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union General Dynamics Target Corporation Macy’s

Leading economic development


he Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Board of Directors approved its new of officers. The newly elected board chairman is Chris Zaharis, executive vice president of Empire Southwest. Other officers include Vice Chair Tammy McLeod, vice president of energy resource management at Arizona Public Service; Secretary Andy Warren, president of Maracay Homes; and Treasurer R. Neil Irwin, partner at Bryan Cave, LLP.

Sprouts helps community health


prouts Farmers Market’s Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation awarded $1.6 million to nonprofit organizations that support health- and wellness-related causes this fall. The Foundation focuses its giving in promoting health education and nutrition, food security and hunger relief, and helping people living with disabilities and health concerns.


AB | November-December 2016

President and CEO: Michael Atkinson Publisher: Cheryl Green Vice president of operations: Audrey Webb EDITORIAL Editor in chief: Michael Gossie Associate editor: David McGlothlin Interns: Alyssa Hesketh | Taylor Neigum Taylor Neigum Contributing writers: Alison Bailin Batz | Erin Davis Sheila Kloefkorn | Manish Mamnani | Steven G. Zylstra ART Art director: Mike Mertes Graphic designer: Anita Richey DIGITAL MEDIA Digital editor: Jesse A. Millard MARKETING/EVENTS Marketing & events manager: Heidi Maxwell Marketing coordinator: Kristina Venegas OFFICE Special projects manager: Sara Fregapane Executive assistant: Mayra Rivera Database solutions manager: Cindy Johnson AZ BUSINESS MAGAZINE Senior account manager: David Harken Account managers: Jennifer Heberlein | Brit Kezar | Bailey Young AZ BUSINESS ANGELS Director of sales: Felix Mayo AZ BUSINESS LEADERS Director of sales: Sheri Brown AZ HOME & DESIGN Director of sales: Joe Freedman AZRE | ARIZONA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Director of sales: Ann McSherry EXPERIENCE ARIZONA | PLAY BALL Director of sales: Jayne Hayden RANKING ARIZONA Director of sales: Sheri King Az Business magazine is published bi-monthly by AZ BIG Media, 3101 N. Central Ave. Suite 1070, Phoenix, Arizona 85012, (602) 277-6045. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Submissions will not be returned unless accompanied by a SASE. Single copy price $4.95. Bulk rates available. Copyright 2016 by AZ BIG Media. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from AZ BIG Media.



What are Arizona’s fastest-growing companies?


total of 108 Arizona companies earned spots on the Inc. 5000 list of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for 2016. What are the 10 fastest growing companies in Arizona, according to Inc.?


5-year growth


Sparty Ventures


Advertising and marketing

IMPACT Technology Recruiting


IT services

LifeTree Manufacturing


Food and beverage

My Home Group Real Estate


Real estate









Cloud Software


Healthiest You



Phoenix Loans


Real estate

IT services

Who pays the most for car insurance?

Stress and paychecks A

ccording to data from Hyperwallet, a company that handles payments for contract workers, 1 in 3 Americans are anxious leading up to their next paycheck. Unless HR departments address this anxiety, experts say companies risk losing top talent. But don’t stress too much, a Hyperwallet survey also shows that 50 percent of Americans would delay paying important bills rather than modify their social life, give up going out with friends or ordering takeout if their next paycheck was delayed.


ccording to The Zebra, the largest car insurance comparison marketplace in the U.S., Arizona’s average annual car insurance premium is $1,096 and Phoenix residents pay even more. The average annual premium for the Phoenix metro area is $1,204. As for specific Phoenix-area cities: • • • • • • •

Phoenix (city) pays $1,308 Scottsdale pays $1,193 Glendale pays $1,247 Mesa pays $1,172 Chandler pays $1,145 Gilbert pays $1,159 Tempe pays $1,176

Which Phoenix-area zip codes pay the most for car insurance?

Top 10 accounting firms


NSIDE Public Accounting ranked CPA firms across the country based on metrics that measure growth, profitability, income, productivity, accountability, turnover, professional development and governance. Here are IPA’s Top 10 accounting firms for 2016




Net revenue

% change




2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)




3. Ernst & Young LLP



13% 14.8%

1. Deloitte LLP








6. Grant Thornton LLP








8. Crowe Horwath LLP




9. CLA







10. CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann

AB | November-December 2016

• • • •

85017: Annual average premium of $1,492 85031: $1,464 85009: $1,448 85019: $1,430 85035: $1,413

Still, some Phoenix residents pay more than others: Teens pay $5,208 annually for car insurance. Singles pay $8 more per year than married folks. • Men pay $9 more per year than women. • •

But who pays the least? The 85390 zip code in Wickenburg ($969), 85351 in Sun City ($1,056) and 85387 in Surprise ($1,059) have the lowest annual average premiums of Phoenix-area zip codes.


Where should you invest your money?


recent analysis by financial technology company SmartAsset uncovered which Arizona-based stocks have performed the best since January 2011. SmartAsset considered three factors in the analysis: stock price, dividends paid and volatility, and found the risk adjusted return of the stocks, by which companies were indexed and ranked. Where should you put your money? The list below shows the top performing companies in Arizona.



Ticker Symbol


Avg. annual Return


Stock performance index


STORE Capital Corporation







GoDaddy Inc.







Western Alliance Bancorporation







Pinnacle West Capital Corporation







Northern Tier Energy LP







Spirit Realty Capital, Inc.







Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.







Republic Services, Inc.







TASER International Inc







Accelerate Diagnostics, Inc.






Paper boosts productivity

T Phoenix residents rank among savviest investors

here were 1.4 billion smartphones sold materials for long periods of time. in 2015, yet most people still grab a • Paper helps you remember more: Writing notes by hand forces you to engage with the pen and paper when jotting down a note or reminder. There may be thousands of apps to information, synthesize it and then repurpose it. This increases how much you remember help you organize, but UCLA marketing and psychology professor Dr. Daniel Oppenheimer and how effectively you can apply it. • Paper helps you avoid making dumb says paper still has a lot to offer. mistakes: When you use paper, you tend • Paper helps you focus: Work that to think about how things are done. This is requires focused attention may be better why many people like to print documents served using paper, which is devoid of for proofreading. It helps them catch more distraction. There’s also less chance of typos and grammatical errors. screen fatigue, so you can concentrate on

TOP TECH TOOLS for business owners?


recent study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company, shows where in the United States people have made the most money from the stock market while taking the least risk. Cities were measured by residents’ investment returns and portfolio volatility, factoring in the tax and risk-adjusted return each city earned. Phoenix performed well in the study, ranking No. 4 out of 129 cities included in the study. Here is how Phoenix performed in each category of the study: • • • •

Annual return: -3.40% Volatility: 27.60% Post tax return: -3.40% Savviest investors index: 94.33

So, who has the savviest investors? Fairfax, Va. earned the No. 1 spot. 8

AB | November-December 2016


mall business owners have ranked their favorite tech tools and apps in SurePayroll’s third annual favorite tech tools survey. SurePayroll asked small business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide to rank their favorite tech tools in the categories of

Cloud storage providers, organization apps, social networks, social media management, customer relationship management and email marketing software. So, which are small business owners favorite tech tools for 2016?

• Cloud storage: Google Drive (last year’s winner was Dropbox) • Email marketing software: Mail Chimp (last year’s winner was Constant Contact) • Organization app: Google Drive • Social network: Facebook • Social media management: Hootsuite • Customer relationship management: Salesforce

AB | November-December 2016



Melissa Ho

Rising above the rest M

Here’s how to take charge

of your health


he National Center for Health Statistics says one out of every five men hasn’t seen a doctor in more than a year. According to Dr. Gene Winfield, primary care physician at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital and Desert Grove Family Medical, men typically don’t go because they are either too busy, are fearful that their doctor may find a serious problem, or are uncomfortable when it comes to exams like prostate checks. “Whether in their 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, men are not invincible,” says Dr. Winfield. Here is what he says you need to have checked, based on age: MEN IN THEIR 20s: An annual exam includes blood pressure and checking that height and weight are proportional. The checks also include cholesterol testing every five years. Doctors also screen for skin cancer, diabetes, liver problems, sexually transmitted diseases and testicular cancer. 10

AB | November-December 2016

Kristina Holmstrom

MEN IN THEIR 30s: Testing

includes much of what it did when they were in their 20s, only vision examinations and screening for coronary heart disease are common. MEN IN THEIR 40s: Testing expands to include diabetes screening every three years once patients are over the age of 45. Also, doctors tend to look more closely for skin and oral cancers, as well as behavioral health issues. MEN IN THEIR 50s: An annual screening for Type 2 diabetes is recommended, as well as checking for lipid disorders, conducting an electrocardiogram and testing vision and hearing. Doctors also screen more closely for prostate and colon cancer, as well as coronary heart disease. FOR MEN 60+: An annual physical looks for all of the above, with an added focus on lung cancer and mental health wellness, specifically screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Jeffrey Sklar

elissa Ho, a shareholder at the national law firm Polsinelli, has been selected for the 2016 edition of the first ever Under 40 Hot List of Benchmark Litigation, considered by many to be the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys. One of only 40 attorneys in the nation to make the list, Ho practices in the areas of government investigations and white collar criminal defense. Also making the list were Kristina Holmstrom (Phoenix) and Jeffrey Sklar (Tucson) from Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP.

What does the boss need to improve?


omparably recently completed a study called “What Does Your Direct Manager Most Need To Improve?” More than 3,000 employees were given five options to choose from: Accountability, communication, honesty, positivity and work ethic. Here is what those employees said their bosses needed to work on: Communication: 52.5% Accountability: 19.9% Positivity: 12.9% Honesty: 9.2% Work ethic: 5.7%


Cross-border boss

Newly named CEO paves own way to success across North America




hen Sally Taylor was 18, she was encouraged by her family, who were resigned to small-town life in rural Ohio, to simply elope with her boyfriend rather than consider a higher education. And while she did, indeed, elope with her high school sweetheart the summer after graduation, she knew she was destined for a life bigger than a town of 5,000 could offer. Talk about an understatement. On November 1, 2016, Taylor was formally announced as the CEO of leading wealth management firm KeatsConnelly in Phoenix. With nearly $7 million in revenues, KeatsConnelly is the largest cross-border wealth management firm in North America that specializes in helping Canadians and Americans realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle. “Not bad for someone who didn’t finish her first college degree until age 35,” says Taylor, who got a late start at higher education, but now holds a master’s degree in financial planning and is a Certified Public Accountant, Personal Financial Specialist and Certified Financial Planner, not to mention the immediate past-president of Soroptimist International of Phoenix and appointed member of the Arizona College Savings Plan Program Oversight Committee. Want to learn more about the winding road that brought Taylor here?

Az Business: What attracted you to the financial planning industry? Sally Taylor: At first, absolutely nothing. As a child, money —

specifically issues over a family inheritance — tore our extended family apart. I initially planned to be an artist. That was until I was 12

AB | November-December 2016

recruited by a family office near Cleveland. Working with families to communicate with each other about money and getting the chance to educate them on how to avoid what happened to my family, really inspired me. By age 27, I knew I was in finance to stay and started down a path to higher education. Over the past 20 years, I worked my way up through the industry and eventually made my way to Arizona, joining KeatsConnelly in 2007 as a financial planner and then its director of financial planning. AB: What led you to the CEO role? ST: In 2008, KeatsConnelly announced its plans to transition

ownership of the firm to a handful of employees gradually over a 10-year period. The deal was meant to allow next-generation team members like myself to take out loans from Fiduciary Network LLC of Dallas to purchase equity from the business’ principals, Bob Keats and Dale Walters, as they moved closer to retirement. Nearly eight years later, here we are. However, we are still lucky to have Bob and Dale continuing on with us, albeit moving to chairman of the board and executive director roles, respectively. AB: What qualities do you think an effective CEO needs to have? ST: Above all else — integrity. Beyond that, having both a clear

mission and vision for the business is paramount. Also, deep down, if a leader doesn’t truly want to make his or her community — beyond just the business — a better place to live and work, then how effective will they ever really be? AB: We have to ask: what became of that youthful elopement? ST: We just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary.

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With our deep expertise in more than 75 pediatric specialties, including Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s and other elite programs in cancer, surgery, orthopedics, trauma and cardiac services, Phoenix Children’s is leading the way, breaking new ground in pediatric research and treatment. You can feel safe knowing Phoenix Children’s covers your employees and their families with the state’s largest group of pediatricians and pediatric specialists in locations across the Valley for conditions from routine to rare.

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YOUR BUSINESS? Experts offer advice on how to execute and implement an effective personal device policy


AB | November-December 2016



echnology is a disrupting force, continuously bringing a wave of both good and bad to businesses, our personal lives and everything in between — whether we want it to or not.  Pokémon Go levied questions about workplace productivity; while smart watches, cloud computing and employees bringing their own technology devices into the workplace raise concerns about cybersecurity and data safety.   Stephanie Quincy, chair of Quarles & Brady LLP’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, says safety from technology starts with rules that are enforced, not just made, particularly when it comes to BYOD (bring your own device) policies. If a firm implements a rule that doesn’t allow employees to bring their own computers to work on or that they can’t chase or capture Pokémon around the office, then it must be enforced.  “If you don’t follow it, you’ve built the noose you have been hung by,” Quincy says.   Another tip to protect your business against the woes of technology is writing office or workplace policies in plain English, she says. If an employee understands the rule by just reading it, problems can be avoided.   Having employees sign off on some specific rules also helps protect a firm against potential risks and issues, Quincy says. Having an employee manually sign off — not only for the entire rule book, but for specific rules that could potentially get your company in hot water — certainly helps, she says.   This helps negate the, “I didn’t know excuse,” from an employee, she says.  So, what are some big issues employers can run into with mobile technology? Here are a just few examples:  Pokémon Go and augmented reality  The Pokémon Go phenomenon came, and sort of went, but what it really did was begin the popularization of augmented technology, which will only get increasingly popular as time moves on.   Quincy says employees who like to capture Pokémon

on the clock (and by proxy, engage in augmented tech at the workplace) can pose several problems. If the employee gets in an accident while they’re playing at the office, that can lead to a worker’s compensation claim, she says.   Many people find it hard to imagine someone would want to play Pokémon Go while they’re driving, but it happens. Employers need to make sure employees who drive aren’t playing the game, otherwise any accident they get into could make the employer responsible, Quincy says.  Issues with mobile working  Pavneet Uppal, regional managing partner at Fisher & Phillips in Phoenix, is focused on many cases involving the protection of trade secrets and confidential information.  Uppal says with the rise of the mobile workforce, companies need to have safeguards and procedures in place to make sure confidential or vital information doesn’t walk out the door on an employee’s mobile device.  “Fortune 50 companies down to small start-ups are increasingly recognizing that they need to have policies and procedures in place to protect their trade secrets and confidential information from walking out the door,” Uppal says.  According to Uppal, forms of protection, like company agreements and procedures, should be based off of the structure of the company and its resources, and how much attention the company gives to issues regarding data protection.  Hiring a technology consultant to evaluate where risk lives within a firm’s technology setup can go a long way with helping a business shape its data protection policies, Uppal says.   When it comes to the use of personal computers in the workplace, Uppal says that the safest route to protecting company data is to restrict employees from downloading information onto their own devices. The safest bet is to not allow employees to even bring their own devices into the office, he notes, which means employers should provide them with the right technology and resources to do the job on the go.  “There are trade secrets in just about every company, and that type of information should reside on a restricted database that is encrypted, that is password protected, for which there are additional protections in place,” he continued, “including, in all probability, not allowing employees to download that to a local hard drive.”  More control over the device  John Balitis, a member of the employment and labor relations practice group at Fennemore Craig, believes that the loss of trade secrets is an epidemic and many company secrets are getting lost because of the use and exploitation of technology. 

John Balitis

Stephanie Quincy Pavneet Uppal AB | November-December 2016


LAW “The statistics for the value of trade secrets that are being lost are staggering,” Balitis says.  If keeping an employee from bringing in his or her own device isn’t realistic for a firm, there are alternatives, experts say. Baits says a proper technology usage policy coupled with good device-management software can protect company data while simultaneously allowing the use of employee-owned devices in the workplace.  “The employee acknowledges through the policy that the employer is going to load the software on the device,” Balitis says, “and that the software is going to allow the employer to do certain things with that device remotely.”

In addition to coupling an effective technology usage policy with good device-management software, Balitis says employers should require employees to: • Protect their devices with passwords • Lock their devices after a certain length of inactivity • Report lost or stolen devices within a short period of time • And enable tracking services on devices that allow individuals to track them. Balitis says a usage policy should also prohibit employees from saving data to the cloud. He believes that all files should reside on devices simply to look at it and employees should not be saving files or transferring files to other locations.

The trouble with technology Laurent Badoux, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office, says there are a number of legal issues that can arise from the “bring your own device” to work trend. Among them: • Breach of confidentiality — especially with medical or financial data. • Commercial espionage or unfair competition. • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims of unreported or unpaid time.


AB | November-December 2016

• Dispute as to ownership of data stored on personal devices. • Claims of harassment, defamation, invasion of privacy, etc. from improper social media posting of workplace conduct. • Negligence torts if an employee tries to answer a work text or email while driving and causes an accident.

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Premium outlets If healthcare costs are busting your bottom line, what are some options to find relief?



he average annual workplace family health premium Tilton, senior vice president of sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.   has been on the rise since the turn of the century. Many different fees have been added since the From 2001 to 2006, there was a 63 percent increase, it rose another 31 percent from 2006 to ACA started, ranging from reinsurance fees to fees 2011 and we got hit with another 20 percent increase placed on healthcare providers and manufacturers. The cost of healthcare has been rising, too.   in the last five years, according to analysis from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan The market typically shows a medical cost trend increase by about nine percent annually, Tilton says. health foundation.   Although the increase in insurance premiums have Tilton compares that rise in price to the most recent seen a slowdown in recent years — we can expect only a three percent premium increase, as reported by the Kaiser foundation.  modest three percent rise this year, according to Kaiser — insurance is certainly not as affordable as it once was “Compared with the relative cost of healthcare in the for employers or employees.  According to Kaiser, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $18,142 this year, with workers on average paying $5,277 towards the cost of their coverage.   Experts say rising insurance premiums can be pinned on many different causes. Some of the rising costs can be associated with fees added by the Affordable Care Act, as well as coverage expansion designated under the law, says Mike David Allazetta Ryan Schmid Kathy Steadman


AB | November-December 2016

market, I would say (premium increases have) actually been a little favorable,” Tilton says.   Offering healthcare coverage has long been an attractive perk employers use to attract and retain talent, so offering less-than-favorable health insurance isn’t exactly a great option. But with rising costs and no expectation of a retraction in costs, at what point is it no longer the right business move for employers to offer health insurance to their employers?

There are options One option employers have been taking is changing

Sonja Talley

Mike Tilton

Greg Vigdor

benefit eligibility requirements for an employee, Tilton says. One way employers have been doing this is by creating more positions within a firm that are less than 30 hours a week.  This tactic has been one of the biggest critiques against the Affordable Care Act: employers being forced to cut employees’ hours so the yearly average would be less than 30 hours a week, and not required to be insured as a result.   Tilton has seen instances of employers cutting hours to save on insurance. An analysis of U.S. Burau of Labor Statistics data by the news site FiveThirtyEight found that thousands of workers have seen their hours cut by employers in a possible response to the health law.   Cutting employees’ hours might not be the best route. Tilton says employers have been hiring parttime workers to replace a full-time employee, who have left their companies. Tilton says looking into whether or not an employee has a better Paul Johnson AB | November-December 2016


HEALTHCARE option through Medicare or Medicaid is another route employers could take to save on insurance.  Other options employers have, Tilton mentions, is that they could change benefits to reduce costs. Another option is focusing on transparency methods, he adds.   By showing an employee all of their potential health insurance costs and comparing them, making the process more like buying a TV or a car, folks start to think more about their healthcare expenses. Blue Cross Blue Shield has invested a lot of money in these transparency methods, Tilton says, and transparency really helps everyone make a more informed decision.   “Those (methods) will really impact the cost of healthcare, as well as the employees’ out-of-pocket costs,” Tilton says.   Setting up a Health Savings Account, or HSA, for employees also helps. An HSA creates a healthcare bank account, essentially, where employees use a specific card, kind of like a credit or debit card, as if it were their own money.   HSAs really show an employee the cost of their healthcare and helps them associate it with the quality of care they may be getting, Tilton says.   Then there are wellness programs employers can use to keep insurance costs down, Tilton mentions. Setting programs up that help healthy employees stay healthy, and that get unhealthy employees healthy are all tactics employers can use to fight rising insurance costs.  Incentives like a 10,000 steps-a-day program, engaging with employees to create healthier lifestyles and assisting employees with chronic illness management are just a handful of examples to manage everyone’s wellness. 

Moving away from the group plan Self-funded insurance is another model employers could pursue to reduce the amount spent on insurance. Many largescale companies have already been utilizing the self-insurance model, where the employer essentially acts as the insurer, giving them a great deal of control, while also placing more risk on the firm.  Instead of writing a check to the insurer every month, the employer writes the check for the direct healthcare costs, under a self-funded model, says Kathy Steadman, who leads the employee benefits practice group at Coppersmith Brockelman.  Lately, Steadman has been talking about selffunded insurance a lot, giving many presentations about the increase in its usage since the implementation of the ACA.  These types of models are said to give the employers a lot more control over how their insurance dollars are spent, instead of writing a monthly check to an insurance company.   Firms hire a third party to manage the administrative side of things, acting like an insurer in that regards, but the employer is footing every bill.  Ryan Schmid, CEO of Vera Whole Health, one of the third-party firms that work in the self-funded insurance model space, says his company operates in parallel to the typical group insurance route.   “We try and create a realistic opportunity for smaller 20

AB | November-December 2016

5 tips for selecting the right health benefits


hoosing your health benefits carefully can help you make more informed choices that may improve your health and even save money. To make open enrollment season easier, consider these five tips from David Allazetta, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona: 1. Take time to review your options: Don’t wait until the last minute to choose your benefits or rush through the process. Remember there’s more to each plan than co-payments, deductibles and premiums. Take a few minutes to check if your doctor is in the plan’s care provider network and that your prescriptions are covered. 2. Look for incentive-based wellness programs: Some health plans offer wellness programs that enable people to earn financial incentives for completing health assessments, signing up for a health coaching program, lowering cholesterol, going to a gym or even using a fitness tracker to monitor daily walking patterns. 3. Take advantage of health care apps and online tools: The Health4Me app (available for Apple and Android devices) makes it possible for consumers to comparison shop based on quality and cost for more than 875 common medical services across nearly 600 health events. 4. Open a Health Savings Account: An HSA is like a personal bank account specifically for health-related expenses and they offer a triple tax advantage: money is deposited pre-tax from your paycheck and accrues interest tax-free, and withdrawals are not taxed as long as funds are used for qualified health-related expenses. 5. Don’t overlook other important benefits available to you: Benefits such as dental, vision, accident or critical illness insurance plans are often lower-cost options that can protect you and your family. Research shows a connection between oral health and overall health, so adding a dental plan may help prevent larger medical problems.

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How to handle insurance premium complaints from employees


mployees are well-informed when it comes to insurance and their premiums, says Sonja Talley, state director of the Arizona Society for Human Resource Management. Especially now, with insurers exiting the ACA marketplace en mass, employees are well aware there aren’t many options through the marketplace, and that the individual plans aren’t as rich as group health anymore, she says.   BE OPEN: Even if employees know their employer group plan is better than nothing, complaints can still happen. Like with many things, transparency is the best option when the premiums go up, Talley says.   COMMUNICATE: As long as an employer communicates to its employees that the firm is shopping around and is doing everything in the interest of the employees and that their benefits aren’t being reduced, then the complaints are minimal, she says.


AB | November-December 2016

companies to go self-funded and control their claims,” Schmid says.   The rising premiums are mostly impacting individuals going to the ACA marketplace, or fully insured businesses, he says, because they’re just getting risk pooled with everyone else. Going the self-insured route gives employers of all shapes and sizes more control over how their healthcare dollars are spent, he says.  In the past, large-scale firms have utilized the self-insured model, but smaller firms are starting to look into the model, too, Schmid says.  Vera Whole Health becomes a fixed cost for companies that decide to hire them as the third party for self-insurance, so firms know what they’ll be paying for each of their employees every year. But what Vera Whole Health specialzies in, Schmid says, is driving engagement.  By getting folks face-to-face time with their doctor and giving them an hour with the doctor, not just a few minutes, Schmid says, “you’re addressing all of the issues, managing all of the referrals and eliminating any carve-out solutions many employers pay for a la carte.”   The self-insurance model runs off of getting people through the door quickly to reduce costs.  Many health insurers create plans with very high deductibles and co-payments to keep people away from the doctor’s office, says Paul Johnson, CEO at Redirect Health, a Scottsdale-based self-insurance firm.   With a high cost of going to the doctor, people will avoid

With a high cost of going to the doctor, people will avoid tending to their health until their illness is serious enough for a hospital visit

HEALTHCARE tending to their health until their illness is serious enough for a hospital visit, Johnson says.   The first step in fixing that problem is by making it as cheap or as close to free as possible to get folks to visit their primary care physician, says Johnson. A self-insurance model is all about

The first step in fixing that problem is by making it as cheap or as close to free as possible to get folks to visit their primary care physician

creating a system to get people to the right place, where it’s cheaper and where they’ll get the proper care, Johnson says.  

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AB | November-December 2016

Blue Cross Blue Shield has been getting a lot of questions about self-insured models, Tilton says.   The initial inquiries happened right after the onset of the ACA, from folks thinking they can reduce costs by going self-funded, but Tilton says that’s not always the case. Tilton says a lot of the companies that go self-insured or that look at it believe their employees are healthier than they imagine.  The self-insurance industry hasn’t advanced and boomed as much as many have predicted in would in the wake of the ACA, Tilton says, and BCBSAZ clients who have explored it haven’t seen a massive cost savings, he added.  The one big issue to consider is the possibility that one or several employees could run up major healthcare costs from one incident or health crisis. But protections are in place, experts say.  Steadman, the employee benefits practice group leader at Coppersmith Brockelman, says there is stop loss insurance that can kick in once healthcare costs reach a certain threshold.   So technically, self-insured companies with stop loss aren’t completely self-insured, because stop loss insurance kicks in when prices get too high, keeping a company from going broke.   “Paradigm shifts happen quickly and until enough businesses get into (the self-insured model), we hang onto the old model,” says Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. “We are still far away, but I expect it to grow experimentally and there will be a flashpoint where people say, ‘That old system doesn’t work very well,’ and it will be time to do things differently and things will start to change immediately and it will be a whole new world.”

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of the most philanthropic companies in Arizona


AB | November-December 2016



iving back isn’t just the right thing to do for the communities a business serves, it also might be the best thing for its bottom line. According to the 2015 Giving in Numbers report, a study that examined the corporate philanthropic endeavors of 271 of the world’s largest companies Nicole Stanton from 2012-2014, the impact of societal investment was positively correlated with financial performance. “The companies most deeply invested in society were also the ones that saw the most robust financial performance,” the report highlights. In an era where there is a war for talent and keeping the best and brightest on staff, Gallup reports that only 32.5 percent of U.S. workers are engaged. That’s discouraging to both managers and human resources professionals considering the many benefits of engaged employees — increased job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, higher performance. Experts say corporate philanthropy gives employers a chance to engage employees in a unique and fulfilling way. A recent report from Realized Worth found that in companies where employees were more engaged than not: • Profitability jumped by 16 percent • General productivity grew 18 percent • Customer loyalty increased 12 percent • Quality improved by 60 percent If there was ever a place to get engaged in the community, Arizona is the place to do it. A land filled with transplants and newcomers, Arizona offers tremendous opportunities to become part of the fabric of the communities in which we live. “When I first moved to Phoenix, right after finishing law school at the University of Arizona, I started to explore ways to get involved in the community,” says Nicole Stanton, office managing partner at Quarles & Brady. “Phoenix is a wide open place, thirsty for leadership and for people to become engaged. It did not take me long to find numerous places to volunteer, including UMOM and Arizona Animal Welfare League.” Stanton, who started the Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention, isn’t alone in her passion to give back. In this holiday season, Az Business casts the holiday spotlight on 25 companies — in alphabetical order — that are giving back to Arizona communities and whose philanthropic ways are gifts we can all admire and emulate. Abrazo Community Health Network: In 2016, Abrazo West Campus partnered with Homeless Youth Connection to host a shoe drive to benefit homeless

teens on March 13 and Abrazo employees raised $94,629 for the American Heart Association’s 2016 Phoenix Heart Walk. Alliance Bank of Arizona: Alliance Bank of Arizona donated $100,000 to College Success Arizona, which will benefit students in Phoenixmetro, Tucson and Northern Arizona enrolling in a Community College. American Express: As part of The Salvation Army/American Express 2015 Pack to School drive, employees donated more than 273,000 items for underprivileged children in Arizona and spent countless hours sorting, packing and distributing the supplies to needy students throughout Arizona. APS: APS’ 2015 community investment in Arizona totaled more than $10 million, which included grants, sponsorships and in-kind donations from APS and the APS Foundation. In addition, APS employees donated more than 123,000 hours in volunteer time, an economic impact of $2.8 million. Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals Charities supports programs designed to improve the quality of life and enhance opportunities for children, women and minorities in Arizona. Since its inception, Cardinals Charities has distributed more than $9.1 million to worthy charitable organizations. Arizona Diamondbacks: In 2012, the organization coined the phrase, “D-backs Give Back,” a simple and concise phrase to explain the team’s dedication to the community. To date, the Diamondbacks and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation have made charitable contributions totaling more than $45 million. Avnet: Avnet’s employee volunteering and charitable giving program, Avnet Cares, is one of the company’s most successful corporate social responsibility programs. In 2015, Avnet donated $1,191,399 to 284 nonprofit organizations — mostly children’s services and education — and Avnet employees volunteered 15,153 hours. Bank of America: In May, Bank of America hand-delivered nearly $300,000 in grants in just three hours to 18 local nonprofits which will help more than 225,000 low and moderate income people receive job training, skills development, internships and employment placement. Barrett-Jackson: Barrett-Jackson raised $3,406,000 for local and national charitable organizations during its 2016 auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale, bringing Barrett-Jackson’s total raised to date for charities to just over $88 million. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona: Five Arizona teachers and their schools received $5,000 grants from BCBSAZ to fund programs that fight childhood obesity. The grants were awarded based on AB | November-December 2016



PRESIDENTIAL PLEDGE: GoDaddy’s pledge to hire 500 military veterans or spouses over the next five years as part of the national Joining Forces campaign earned employees a visit to the White House. PROVIDED PHOTO

the execution of the Walk On! Challenge, a health and fitness challenge that has reached more than 307,000 children. Clear Title Agency of Arizona: Clear Title raised more than $15,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley through a month-long “5-for-5” program. Clear Title donated $5 from every transaction closed in June and also raised outside donations. Cox Communications: Phoenix Children’s Hospital received a $200,000 grant from the James M. Cox Foundation — named after the founder of Cox Communications — to support the hospital’s “Connected Patient Project,” which provides customized patient care information on tablets. Delta Dental: Since its inception, the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation has provided more than $7 million in community grants to oral health promotion and dental disease prevention programs. The Foundation passes out free toothbrushes – 119,916 in 2015 – to make sure children have their own toothbrush. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union: To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Desert Schools launched Shine On, which recognizes six worthy causes with grants of $5,000 each and the 28

AB | November-December 2016

opportunity for each of them to earn an additional $5,000 through online votes. GoDaddy: GoDaddy, which has donated more than $15 million to charitable organizations, supported 65 nonprofits through sponsorships and grants in 2015, donating close to $800,000 to organizations who foster STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), computer science education and entrepreneurship. Lovitt & Touché: In 2015, Lovitt & Touché committed more than $500,000 to charitable and professional associations and is on track to meet or surpass that in 2016. The company earned the Copper Cactus Award for Lifetime Achievement for Community Service from the Tucson Chamber of Commerce. Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments: Over the years, Michael Pollack has donated more than $4.6 million dollars between cash donations, discounted or free rent and other in-kind contributions to Goodwill of Central Arizona. National Bank of Arizona: In 2015, NB|AZ formed NB|AZ Charities, which is dedicated to providing support and



NON-PROFIT resources to Arizona nonprofit agencies, especially those focused on affordable housing, arts and culture, community services, economic development, education, health and human services and neighborhood stabilization. Petsmart: Petsmart Charities is committed to ending pet homelessness by investing in more than 3,000 animal welfare groups across the nation. The group has helped find homes for more than 6 million pets — representing one of every pet adoptions in the U.S. Phoenix Suns: Phoenix Suns Charities has been focused on doing all it can to improve its community since 1988. Since its creation, Phoenix Suns Charities has invested more than $17 million in their community. This year alone, the charity gave more than $1.2 million to Arizona nonprofits. Quarles & Brady: The firm is a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which challenges firms to contribute three percent of the firm’s total billable hours to pro bono work. Quarles & Brady recorded 19,800 pro bono hours in 2014, the equivalent of nine full-time lawyers. SRP: The goal of SRP’s Corporate Contributions program

is to make the community a better place for its customers and employees to live and do business. During fiscal year 2016, SRP supported the community through monetary and in-kind contributions totaling $3,387,052. Sundt: The Sundt Foundation was created in 1999 and focused on the needs of disadvantaged children and adults. Getting most of its funding through employee-owner contributions, the foundation has donated more than $7.2 million to community organizations and programs that benefit U.S. military members and their families. UnitedHealthcare: The United Health Foundation awarded the Maricopa County Department of Public Health a $1 million grant to support the Preventive Health Collaborative, which helps to ensure that all children from birth to five years of age, and their families, are living healthier lives. Wells Fargo: In 2015, Wells Fargo & Company donated more than $8 million to support Arizona schools and nonprofits, while its employees volunteered 110,344 hours. Wells Fargo Arizona team members’ volunteer hours impacted 2,970 Arizona nonprofits, schools and community organizations.


HEALTHY OUTLOOK: Sundt employee-owners and their families participated in the Phoenix Heart Walk in March. Sundt received the Cancer Gold Standard accreditation from the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization that works with companies that meet specific requirements in their endeavors to reduce cancer-causing risks across the board. Sundt has earned the accreditation every year since 2011. 30

AB | November-December 2016

Double the impact of your year-end donation

Twin sisters Karma and Kiana, 6, who both suffer from life-threatening blood disorder, enjoy Karma’s wish to go to her favorite theme park. Kiana’s wish, also to go to her favorite “other” theme park is scheduled for later this year. Help double your donation, like the wish experiences we are doubling for Karma and Kiana!

Make-A-Wish Arizona received a special $300,000 matching gift from a generous donor that will allow all gifts from new donors or increased donations from last year to have twice the impact on wishes for kids with life-threatening medical conditions. If your gift qualifies, you can have double the impact on Arizona wish kids and help us reach our goal of 380 wishes this fiscal year! · If it’s been a year or more since you donated to Make-A-Wish Arizona, your gift will be matched! · If you are increasing your gift from last year, that increased amount will be matched!

Help us reach this $300,000 goal and double the impact of your dollars. This ad was generously donated by Stevens Leinweber Construction.


Cashing in Investment in early stage companies will help Arizona’s technology sector grow faster


here are many encouraging signs for Arizona’s technology sector. Jobs are on the rise, our education system is more focused on STEM initiatives and Arizona has become a desirable place to move to for high-tech companies from innovation hotbeds such as California. The outlook for 2017 is even stronger. It may, in fact, be our most robust year following the recession. But there is one area in which Arizona has to improve before we can take the next step towards becoming a leader in technology. We need increased investments and capital. More specifically, we must attract risk capital for earlystage companies by improving incentives for investors. For a startup to raise money, the typical process is bootstrapping, or self-funding; Steven G. Zylstra followed by asking friends and Technology family for money; then courting 32

AB | November-December 2016

angel investors for capital. This last infusion of cash from angel investors is the money that will take a startup from an idea to being able to develop a proven product. Once startups have a proven product, they become an earlystage company and the focus shifts to scaling. This stage is often referred to as a “cliff,” mainly because it becomes incredibly hard to keep the money flowing. This is especially true in Arizona, where venture capital and angel investors for early-stage companies are currently few and far between. The technology industry would like to see the level of investment that real estate generates. Arizona has a great history of investment and development in real estate, and, as a result, there’s a lot of available money in our state. In fact, Arizona has around 113,000 millionaires but only roughly 500 are angel investors. This is largely because real estate has always been viewed as a less risky investment and Arizona’s technology industry is short on incentives to promote investment and mitigate risk. The most promising method of spurring investment in technology is the Angel Investment Tax Credit program. Since its beginning in 2006, the objective of the program has been

to expand early-stage investments in targeted Arizona small businesses. This goal was accomplished by eliminating Arizona capital gains tax liabilities associated with the disposition of investments in small businesses certified by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). According to the ACA, the tax credit program has proven to be extremely successful with a track record of more than a 2.3 to 1 return on investment (ROI). More than $420 million in financing is attributable to this program, in addition to the $62 million raised through the credits for investments. That combined ROI is 1,750 percent, making the total economic impact to Arizona’s economy an estimated $1.3 billion. The Arizona Technology Council has directly observed these results among its members — that is, until the program ran out of money and investments dropped significantly. Convincing our lawmakers to recapitalize the Angel Investment Tax Credit remains a high priority for the Council. Funding tax incentives as economic development tools will help improve the money available for companies but Arizona leaders also need to do their part to support the growth in technology. Venture

capital deals were on the rise here in 2015 and 2016 but they still trail U.S. leaders. It is pertinent to the health of our developing companies and startup ecosystem that we commit to recruiting venture funds to start here and to invest in Arizona companies. There are more than $40 billion in investments nationwide and Arizona attracts less than five percent, despite having one of the nation’s most attractive corporate tax structures and a lower cost of living than the leading investor markets. The only way we can truly compete with the nation’s technology leaders is to bring more experienced investors with capital into our state to take advantage of growing opportunities. Investment in early-stage companies and total investment capital are areas where Arizona falls behind California and other states with a strong focus on technology. If we can help promising startups grow in the most critical stage of their life cycle and recruit more venture capital firms that invest in Arizona companies, we will produce more innovative companies and our economy will thrive. Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. AB | November-December 2016


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Tackling the tough issues of software development


uccessful, modern companies leverage software in almost every aspect of business. As technology advances, demand increases for intelligently designed and well-integrated solutions. Businesses gain a competitive edge by offering innovative web and mobile applications that streamline internal processes or provide value to customers. However, not every company is configured to handle the complex nature of software development, even though they have a need for custom solutions. Be prepared for your next project by understanding these six issues and how to deal with them. Manish Mamnani


Identifying your users.

Having a clear target audience is the cornerstone to successful software. Knowing how to group them into personas and then design software based on their needs is somewhat of an artform. Map their core needs to features and then integrate real user feedback into your design and development process. Knowing what your users need. Software exists to help users accomplish a set of tasks, yet most users don’t know what they need until they see it. Involving users from the earliest stages of conceptual design will help validate your business goals. Including users in acceptance testing helps catch issues and fill in gaps prior to launch. By implementing based on real-time user feedback, your product is more likely to achieve higher adoption rates upon initial release. Understanding your integrations. New and existing technologies are expected to work together seamlessly, and thirdparty applications offer the promise of pre-packaged functionality 36

AB | November-December 2016

without doing the heavy development lifting. By understanding your business needs and clearly defining your requirements, you can decide how and where to integrate technology components and reduce complexity. Finding skilled team members. Each project demands skilled team members who understand the complex tools and environments required for implementation. Highly skilled resources are often difficult to find and tend to be costly. If you choose to hire a digital agency, be sure that their teams understand all facets of your business, requirements, and user experience needs. Duplicating the production environment for QA. It is difficult and costly to create a controlled environment for testing that adequately mirrors the real world. It’s impractical to think that all possible user environments can be tested prior to deployment. However, a skilled QA team can isolate critical testing needs while adhering to a budget. Nailing down requirements. It’s easy to get caught up in the creative nature of the design and development process. New ideas are great and should be captured and detailed, but scope must be fixed so budget can be met and team members can stay on pace. A solid project management team understands the difference between identifying requirements gaps and tacking on additional features. You need an expert Project Manager to avoid the latter. From the planning stage to deployment, understanding and mitigating the issues of software development ultimately ensures a productive project experience for your team and a satisfying experience for your users. Before a single line of code is written or the first wireframe is drawn, make sure that your IT team or outsourced agency understands your business goals, project scope, and core functional needs of your users. Manish Mamnani holds a master’s degree in computer science from New Mexico State University and founded Gate6, an Arizona-based creative and development agency that’s celebrating its 20th year.




An American Paul Martin’s delivers on its promise of ‘seasonal and delicious’


I Braised Short Ribs

Raspberry Martini

“Brick” Chicken

Paul Martin’s American Grill 6186 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale 85253 480-991-9342 38

AB | November-December 2016

t’s not often that you go to a restaurant and each dish tops the preceding dish in deliciousness. Paul Martin’s American Grill accomplishes that task. The degree of deliciousness may be attributable to the fact that Paul Martin’s focuses on seasonal ingredients, so the dishes are always vibrant and fresh. Paul Martin’s is committed to using local produce, sustainable fisheries, free-range and natural meats, artisanal cheeses and house-infused spirits. Paul Martin’s recently revamped menu features hearty soup selections (speaking of which: make sure you order the Wild Mushroom Soup because it’s amazeballs), several new entrees, delightfully comforting desserts and a wide variety of handcrafted cocktails. What makes the dishes taste even better is Paul Martin’s contemporary ambience that is hipster cool without the ironic beards. It’s the perfect place to take your significant other for date night, meet your friends for happy hour or meet colleagues to talk business. It’s not surprising that Paul Martin’s is a winner because it’s the brainchild of Paul Fleming, who has defined Arizona’s dining scene for decades. Fleming operated Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses for 12 years and developed P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Pei Wei Asian Diner. In Paul Martin’s, Fleming wanted to create a restaurant that serves classic comfort foods with an upscale and contemporary twist, but offered at accessible prices. Fleming has succeeded. Everything on the menu — even the desserts — is prepared from scratch. The chefs at Paul Martin’s even do their own

butchering. And that pride in preparation shows in a few of the must-try menu items: The Cedar Plank Steelhead ($27) — fresh salmon, shallots and bacon, organic spinach and crimini mushroom jus — might just be the best fish dish in the Valley. “Brick” Chicken ($24) — free-range chicken, mashed potatoes, za’atar croutons and herb jus — was as tender, juicy and packed with flavor as any chicken dish you will ever have. Hoison Marinated Boneless Pork Chops ($28) is served with sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and garlic. None of those items will be left on your plate because you’ll want to finish every morsel of food. Braised Short Ribs ($27) with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and beef jus might as well be home-churned butter because that’s how it melts in your mouth amid an explosion of tastiness. This will likely be your favorite dish on the menu, because it’s already everyone else’s. Besides the Wild Mushroom Soup, some suggested starters are the Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Chicken Tortilla Soup and Kale Caesar Salad. The desserts — particularly the Devil’s Food Cake and the Banana Cream Pie — were the perfect ending to an extraordinary dining experience. Beyond the exceptional food is a drink menu that features 75 wines by the glass and cocktails that make Paul Martin’s happy hour — which is served in the bar and on the patio every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — one of the most popular in Scottsdale. The Paul Martin’s mantra is “seasonal and delicious.” They deliver on that promise … and add too many bonuses to count along the way to a more than satisfied belly.

AB | November-December 2016



Secrets to hosting a stress-free party Knowing what type of experience you want to provide is the key to a successful holiday evenat By ALYSSA HESKETH


he holiday season is a time that many people spend shopping for the perfect gifts, decorating their homes and planning trips to visit loved ones, but the stresses of planning a corporate or family holiday party can stand in the way of celebration. Holiday parties can be tailored for intimate family gatherings or large corporate events to celebrate the end of a good business year and to hand out bonuses. Holiday parties can have a theme, feature live music, have holiday-related games to allow guests to interact with one another, or offer a buffet with various items to suit different tastes. It may be simple for most to remember the basics, such as preparing the guest list and choosing the right venue, but for those who want to plan a more intricate party, the decisions can be overwhelming. For most people who take on the role of the corporate or family holiday party planner, the goal of the party is typically centered around allowing guests to enjoy the holiday season, celebrate the year that has passed and prepare for the one ahead. No matter the goal of the party, the planning process can be managed easily and individuals with expertise in party planning, catering and hosting know how to plan the right holiday party. What should be expected when planning a holiday party? Susan Lagarde, special events manager at Dave & Buster’s: “First of all, they should be flexible and they should have a good idea of what they would like to do as far as a date or their preferred date and definitely their potential guest count so we can steer them in the right direction of availability. I say flexible because many places, such as Dave & Buster’s, does early


AB | November-December 2016

booking promotions, too, where if they book by a certain date on a certain day and time, there are some nice discounts for and perks for those that attend. If you are doing a planning committee, try to keep the committee small, because everybody is going to have their own opinions and it starts to get a little complicated. It is usually best to have one key contact within that committee communicating with the event planner, just to keep the communication to one person. That way, things do not get lost in the different emails and the different phone calls.” Aaron Chamberlin, owner and chef, St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Café: “When I have a party at my house, the biggest thing is to have all preparation done ahead of time, so that when the party starts, you can be engaged in the party. That is where a lot of people go wrong: They do not do enough prep ahead of time.” Greg Wirth, account director for catering at The Phoenician: “Some of the best advice is to pad your budget by at least 10 percent; you will thank yourself later. Undoubtedly, you will find yourself a few days from the event needing or wanting to add things here and there. The freedom to do so without concern because you allocated dollars just for that reason will alleviate a great deal of stress. Additionally, when detailing your needs, consider the ancillary costs for things such as bartenders, valet for your guests, signature drinks, audio visual/lighting, centerpieces and entertainment. Continually adding to the list of costs can slowly creep into and affect that overall bottom line.” How can a holiday party be kept within a budget? Lagarde: “Not every party needs to be a Friday or Saturday night in December. Individuals get busy – it

Aaron Chamberlin

Susan Lagarde

Greg Wirth

HOLIDAY PLANNING is a busy time of year for them at work and outside of work — so they do not always appreciate an event on a Saturday night when they have holiday shopping to do or when they have their children. As far as the budget goes, it is OK to have a budget. They should not be intimidated by that. A skilled event planner will be able to customize something for you as long as it is realistic. Some event planners at holiday season tend to send over the more expensive packages, but if you do your due diligence and call and see what else they have to offer, there is something customizable for everyone.” Chamberlin: “I look at what kind of food I serve. Do not buy filet and lobster if you need to keep costs down. Buy things that you can afford. Vegetables are a great way to go. You can use them in so many different ways, such as roasting and pureeing to create a dip. Sticking with heavy appetizers and going light on the main courses is also a great way to keep costs down.” Wirth: “One of the first questions we ask our clients is, ‘What type of experience would you like your guests to have?’ So much is decided from this one response. Ask yourself this question and write out the wish list for all items to be included — entertainment, décor, lighting and menus – along with anything else that comes to mind. You can easily pare down and button up the list as you move along in the planning. Find out what your venue or hotel is already providing, which also helps in slimming down costs. Stay with the basics regarding food and ambience. Your guests will provide the rest.” How can someone plan a last-minute holiday party? Lagarde: “(Dave & Buster’s) is huge, so we have a lot of flexibility, but the smaller venues may run out of those key spots. People should call and see what there is rather than referring to an email that was sent. Unfortunately, holiday season does bring some higher prices, but again, there is something for everyone. At least at Dave & Buster’s, we customize a lot. There will be some other venues that are strict in their guidelines, their pricing, but they should just really be open to a lot of different things and gathering different information.” Chamberlin: “My philosophy is I do what I can up front and when the party happens, I just let it go. Once the party gets going, there is nothing you can really do. This goes back to preparation — prep as much as you can. Be flexible and do not worry so much about the details, worry about the outcome. The outcome is that you want to have a good time with friends, enjoy good drinks and have good food. No one will remember the little Christmas trees on the table, or the bows on the chairs. Focus more on having fun, less on the details.” Wirth: “Many hotels offer holiday packages, which may include items such as centerpieces, candles, linen and other ancillary décor. When researching venues, ask if they are currently running a promotion and see how much is already taken care of for you. In the last-minute planning, the question regarding the type of experience may end up being, ‘What can I minimally do that will give me the most bang for my buck and the best experience for my guests?’ With this approach, you eliminate a lot of the bells and whistles and focus on creating an environment where guests have fun with one another, rather than relying on a lot of décor or flashy features for enjoyment. In the end, it is the connection to one another, the laughter and memories created that resonate the most.” 42

AB | November-December 2016


12 cool places to book a last-minute holiday party

The Phoenician

Dave & Busters

Uptown Alley



ou’ve worked hard. You’ve had a better year than last year. You’re cautiously optimistic about what’s coming in 2017. It’s time to celebrate. Even if the office holiday party is something that slipped your mind because it wasn’t always in the budget the last few years, there are plenty of options still available to create a memorable holiday event for employees. Here are some hot spots where you can book a last-minute holiday party or an of-site event to boost company morale.


AB | November-December 2016

Dave & Buster’s: Host your corporate holiday party at Dave and Buster’s Glendale Monday through Wednesday and receive 10 percent off your event as well as a parting $10 Power Card gift for each person attending your event. There is still space available throughout November and December for us to to 1,900 guests. To book: 623-759-7806 FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel: Be among the first to experience a sense of community and discovery in this truly unique space. Experts will help you curate an inspired experience in our FOUND:RE’s gallery with

locally flavored art, food and spirits. To book: or 480-309-5858 Honor Amongst Thieves: The cocktail lounge can host up to 80-people and would a great intimate setting for a private office celebration. To book: events@ Marcellino Ristorante: Marcellino’s goal is to create a stress-free, unique and memorable event. Private, semi-private, at the bar or on one of two patios for groups up to 80 guests. To book: 480-990-9500

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AB | November-December 2016


HOLIDAY VENUES Octane Raceway: Octane Raceway offers an adrenaline-filled group package experience with 45 mph karts, a brand new catering menu with dishes prepared in-house, private meeting spaces, mini-bowling, arcade games and billiards. To book: 602-302-7223 or Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails: Okra features authentic Italian cuisine with an Italian twist. Okra can be reserved for partial or full buyouts, plus features a gorgeous outdoor patio. To book: 602-296-4147 Taco Guild: Set in a beautiful old church, this gastropub infuses new twists into time-tested recipes. Using farm fresh ingredients, the Guild’s culinary artisans mix Old World flavors with New World styles. The private event space can host up to 26 people seated and is a unique and

fun spot for any private event. To book: The Hermosa Inn and LON’s at the Hermosa: The luxury getaway and its award-winning restaurant offer a number of unparalleled spaces – along with views of Camelback Mountain – for holiday parties and events for anywhere from 20-200 people. To book: 602-792-1914 or info@ The Orchard PHX/Pomelo: The Orchard is a beautiful setting for business lunches, dinners, cocktail parties and can accommodate business meetings with AV in private dining areas. If the event is 25 or less, The Prchard now has its basement open. To book: 602-739-0424. The Phoenician: The iconic Phoenix location has ample space, both indoors

and out, for parties of 20-1,000 attendees. Given the beautifully appointed holiday décor throughout the property, the event will be enhanced at whatever location and event you may choose. To book: PhoenicianCatering@ or 480-423-2722 Tilt Studio: Eat, drink and be merry. Book your company holiday party at Tilt Studio in Arizona Mills Mall and receive free room rental and a fun at full blast experience. To book: or 623-238-8607 Uptown Alley: Uptown Alley is a great place to host a variety of parties. They can do anything from holiday parties to corporate and team building events and have many different food options from pizza to a full holiday dinner. To book: or

Hotel Valley Ho

Hotel Valley Ho: A number of dates are open for cocktail receptions, dinners and more. Unique venues include the panoramic Sky Line Rooftop, modern SoHo Ballroom and indoor-outdoor Sands venue. To book: 855-545-7718 46

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Taking account FEI Arizona president sees organization as a vibrant resource for young financial executives By MICHAEL GOSSIE


n his first five years as chief financial officer at Total Transit, Lawrence Eisel helped quadruple the company’s revenue. To do that, he implemented several changes that showcased his vision, including implementation of a balanced scorecard process, establishing an internal audit function and coordinating an estate planning project that will ultimately save millions in future tax liabilities. And to combat a tighter insurance market and increasing auto liability premiums, Eisel and his team successfully identified alternative insurance designs and created a captive insurance entity, which will control the costs of the company’s auto liability risk. Those efforts earned Eisel a 2014 CFO of the Year Award from the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI). Now president of FEI Arizona, Eisel is helping the organization’s members navigate an era of great change for financial executives. Az Business talked with Eisel about those changes and the shooting role and responsibilities for CFOs. Az Business: What is your biggest challenge as president of FEI Arizona?

Lawrence Eisel: The biggest challenge within the Arizona chapter is keeping FEI relevant to the younger demographic. Our chapter provides great value to our members in the form of continuing professional education, peer networking, career management services and advocacy at the national level. Millennials, however, get their education and networking accomplished in non-traditional ways. It is important for our chapter toWW adapt and deliver our value in a variety of ways to meet the future needs of our members. AB: How have you seen the role of the CFO change over the last decade?

LE: The role of the chief financial officer has migrated from finance and accounting to corporate strategy. The CFO participates in company strategic decisions, including everything from transactions to providing assessments of new business opportunities that go beyond determining the cash requirements for an investment. Many CFOs oversee information technology, human resources


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and often negotiate prices with customers. In addition, most don’t really spend a lot of time on the financial numbers anymore. Instead, they are focused on operations and strategic planning. AB: How do you expect the role of the CFO to evolve over the next decade? LE: Chief financial officers will be more involved with supporting and even developing strategy. CFOs must be versatile with the

What is FEI? MISSION: Financial Executives

International (FEI) is a network of more than 10,000 best-in-business financial professionals with 75 local chapters globally.


Chapter has approximately 178 members representing a broad spectrum of companies which operate in numerous industries. Chapter membership provides the opportunity to interact and network with local senior financial leaders in virtually all industries and company sizes. The Arizona Chapter dinner meetings are usually held on the second Tuesday of each month September to May at the Phoenix Country Club. You can earn CPE credits each year by attending various sessions held prior to the monthly dinner programs.


CASHING IN: Lawrence Eisel, chief financial officer for Total Transit, is the recipient of a 2014 CFO of the Year Award from the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI). PHOTO BY MIKE MERTES, AZ BIG MEDIA

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FEI talent to meet a continually changing set of circumstances. While today’s CFO must still focus on cash flow, internal controls, costs and risk, they must seek profitable growth for their organizations. AB: How is the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) new Revenue Recognition Standard going to impact  CFOs?

LE: The new revenue rule won’t affect every company, but every CFO needs to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the change. If a change applies to their organization, the CFO needs to communicate the impact to its executive leadership team and other key stakeholders. Until implementation (2017 for public companies and 2018 for private companies), the change to the revenue recognition standard will impact the CFO’s planning, forecasting and budgeting activities. AB: How is the FASB’s new Lease Accounting Standard going to impact CFOs?

LE: The new Lease Accounting Standard will impact CFOs in the same way as the Revenue Recognition Standard. Unlike the revenue standard, this lease accounting standard will likely impact almost every organization.  Implementation of the standard occurs in 2018 for public

Changes coming REVENUE RECOGNITION STANDARD: The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s new revenue recognition standard will eliminate the transaction- and industry specific revenue recognition guidance under current generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and replace it with a principle-based approach for determining revenue recognition. The revenue recognition standard will go into effect for public companies for annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2017. Nonpublic companies will be required to adopt the standard for annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2018. LEASE ACCOUNTING STANDARD: The FASB

issued its new standard on accounting for leases in February. Under the new standard, a lessee is required to recognize most leases on its balance sheet, which is a significant change from today’s accounting requirements. The leases standard is effective for public business entities for periods beginning after December 15, 2018. Nonpublic entities will have an additional year to adopt.


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companies and 2019 for private companies. Understanding the standard is the first step. Evaluating the impact to the organization’s financial statements is the second step. Finally, incorporating the impact of the change into the planning, forecasting and budgeting cycles will be critical. AB: How are concerns over cybersecurity impacting financial executives? 

LE: The CFO or the chief information officer (CIO) is typically responsible for the company’s cybersecurity program. Data breaches can be exceedingly costly and can jeopardize any business. Financial executives must understand their organization’s vulnerabilities and develop a risk management strategy to mitigate the risks of a data breach.

AB: What are your goals as president of FEI Arizona?

LE: As president of FEI Arizona, I would like to see our chapter membership grow from 175 to 200 active members. In partnership with our sponsors, our chapter will offer even more opportunities for education and peer networking over the next year. We also have an amazing roster of dinner speakers this year. My goal is for our members to attend as many of these events as possible. A large group makes the question-and-answer session fun and provides incredible value to those interested in peer networking.


How to talk to the CFO about your 2017 marketing budget


e’re deep into the quarter where marketing budgets for 2017 are being proposed to CFOs. The relationship between the CFO and CMO can be seen as adversarial where there is a tug of war to get the budget that the CMO envisions while the CFO struggles to see justification for budget items and approaches. If that is the general tenor of your discussions with the CFO, then it’s time to begin applying a different approach to the way that you talk to the CFO about your 2017 budget. Of course, the CFO is the one that holds the purse strings, so it’s in your best interest to see them as part of the process rather than the gatekeeper. In practice and in discussions, that means making the CFO an ally by learning to speak their language as a way Sheila Kloefkorn to present and interpret the Marketing marketing budget. That translates to putting the budget cost areas for channel and campaign spends as well as expected quarterly return on investment in terms of revenue, profit, and shareholder value among others. Discussing the budget with the CFO is partially about educating them on your goals and objectives as well as how you plan to achieve them. It’s equally about getting their input and using their knowledge to help make the case for your approach. That may mean some readjustments along the way, but that will help to serve the goal of achieving your projected outcomes. Speaking of projected outcomes, it’s common to see marketing budgets in terms of scenarios such as: • A lean plan focused on customer retention and modest growth goals • A target plan to solidify the base and more ambitious new prospect growth through advanced tools and strategies; or • A stretch plan for ambitious growth and new markets Regardless of which approach is taken, it can be advantageous for both of you to discuss the budget percentage allocation to the chosen approach and the specifics of what projected results will look


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like. The next step is agreeing on which analytics and metrics make the most sense for both of you in determining those outcomes. Most CFOs are interested in revenue metrics, which give visibility into the financial pipeline and help executives make forward-looking decisions for the business. Speaking their language via the marketing budget means discussing aspects like: • Percentage of conversion to opportunity and close • Percentage of dollar contribution to pipeline from marketing sourced leads • Percentage and dollar figure amount contribution to closed business These metrics should be discussed with as much specificity as possible as they pertain to percentages of the marketing budget that are tied to digital marketing aspects like: • Paid advertising • Content marketing • Search engine optimization • Influencer marketing • Community marketing • Social marketing

Of course, your percentages of the marketing budget allocated for digital marketing will be dependent on the industry sector that your business occupies. History is vitally important to these CFO conversations, so each budget aspect and its projected outcomes should be viewed through the lens of the last budget and its outcomes. CFO marketing budget discussions will benefit you and your company by: • Tracking marketing activities in realistic and specific outcome terms • Building in plan readjustment flexibility • Showing evidence of time and budget spend in areas that show the greatest growth year over year in past budgets This process can go a long way to instilling confidence even when some campaigns or approaches miss expectations and need adjustment. By using this approach to making the CFO an ally, you facilitate collaborative discussions that ensure that you and the CFO will have a shared perspective on the budget, its allocation and it outcomes. You will truly be a partner in growing the business. Sheila Kloefkorn is the president and CEO of KEO Marketing Inc.

American Heart Association Annual Heart Walk

Committed to community. At Lovitt & TouchÊ we are dedicated to giving back to the communities where we do business. In fact, it’s our most important policy. We are honored to support programs that promote education, wellness and organizations that help those who are most vulnerable. LOVITT-TOUCHE.COM

Recognizing professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards

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Letter from the president


he Arizona Chapter of the Financial Executives International (FEI) appreciates and thanks you for your interest in the 10th Annual CFO of the Year Awards. FEI Arizona is presenting the CFO of the Year Awards to senior level financial professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial leaders and stewards. The nominations and awards recognize exemplary financial management in three business sectors: public, private and nonprofit. An independent set of carefully elected and well-qualified judges from Arizona’s business community and academia have selected winners based on their contributions to their respective organizations and their overall involvement in the Arizona business community. FEI’s mission is to advance the success of senior level financial executives, their organizations and the profession. The FEI Arizona chapter is comprised of Phoenix Metro-area executives who represent and advocate for the interests of finance professionals of companies in all industries and all sizes within the public, private and nonprofit sectors throughout the state. FEI Arizona serves the community by offering its members opportunities to network with their peers, stay apprised of current financial policy, standards and regulatory guidelines, continue their professional development and form valuable relationships with community leaders. We also maintain an academic awards program to encourage professional advancement of promising, finance-focused students, and offer career assistance and development to members as well as contribute to the research and advocacy activities of our national FEI organization which impact the strategic planning of the profession’s policy, standards and regulatory structure. Additional information may be found on the national and chapter websites, and Finally, FEI Arizona would like to thank our sponsors who have worked so closely and diligently with us to make this event a success: Az BIG Media, Chase, Deloitte LLP, Keyser, Marsh USA and Vaco. Very truly yours,

CFO of the Year Sponsor Representatives Cheryl Green Publisher, Az BIG Media

Mike Green Partner, Vaco

Blake Hardison Member, Keyser

Curtis Reed Managing Director, Chase

Allan Smith Senior Vice President, Marsh USA

Tiffany Young Tax Partner, Deloitte Tax LLP

FEI Arizona Chapter officers President: Larry Eisel, CFO, Total Transit, Inc. First vice president: Stephen McCaskill, Controller, Swift Logistics Second vice president: James Walbom, CFO, Tiempo Development LLC Secretary/treasurer: Richard Skufza, CFO, Good Neighbor Support Services Past president: Adam Miller, Senior VP and CFO, Barron Lighting Corp.

FEI Arizona Board members

Larry Eisel President FEI Arizona


Stephen McCaskill Chairman CFO of the Year Committee

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Michelle Hoffman, CFO, COO, Real Time Companies Bret Lawson, Member of the board of directors, Financial Executives International Chris Niezgodzki, Director of budget, planning and analysis, Grand Canyon Education, Inc. Rachael Piergallini, CFO, Derma Health Adam Remis, Chief financial and human resources officer, InnSuites Hospitality Trust Jeff Ryskamp Mike Suriano, Vice president of finance, Bar-S Foods Company Paul Vadovicky, Controller, Ability Dynamics, LLC

Chase is a proud sponsor of the 2016 CFO of the Year Awards We extend our warmest congratulations to all the nominees and winners on their outstanding achievements. Chase is committed to helping middle market companies across Arizona achieve their goals. Just like you, your dedicated banker is a part of this community and understands the unique needs of the businesses that operate here. We offer local delivery of global capabilities and award-winning expertise. Through our partnerships, we deliver tailored financial solutions and first-c lass client service that will position you for success. We take pride in strengthening the communities we serve by helping local businesses thrive. Let us do the same for you. Curtis Reed Managing Director and Region Manager, Arizona and Nevada Chase Commercial Banking (602) 221-1884

© 2016 JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. “Chase” is a marketing name for certain businesses of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its subsidiaries (collectively, “JPMC”). 276643





Background: Anderson

Background: Barnes joined Blood

Background: Bassuk is an executive

CFO Society of St. Vincent de Paul

implemented internal programs that promote employee teamwork and promoted attendance at St. Vincent de Paul membership district and conference meetings so corporate employees can better understand the services provided by the organization and the issues it faces. He also serves as treasurer for Paz de Cristo, a Mesa nonprofit providing services to the poor.

Biggest challenge: “Many people,

and even some rating agencies, evaluate nonprofits based on their overhead ratio as a sign of how efficient they are. I constantly remind people to look at how effective an organization is in achieving its mission to serve those in need, and not simply focus on overhead.”

Greatest reward: “It is very rewarding to know that my work at St. Vincent de Paul supports others who serve those less fortunate. Our staff and volunteers do the real work - providing for the needy. The opportunity to work with dedicated people every day to improve others’ lives is the best part of my job.”


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Executive VP and CFO Blood Systems, Inc.

Systems, Inc. in 1991. She has been instrumental in designing and implementing several costsavings initiatives to assist the Blood Center Division in lowering the cost of blood to its hospital customers. Multiple financing facilities have also been put into place to assure a healthy balance sheet for the organization.

Biggest challenge: “The blood

banking industry has been in transition for several years now and pricing pressures had placed the organization in a financial crisis. Leveraging the relationships that I had created over the years with banking institutions and refinancing the debt structure, I was able to maintain a good credit rating and allow the organization to survive, continue its life-saving mission and is now thriving again.”

Greatest reward: “Realizing the

impact that I have in the future, and in the case of Blood Systems, the mission of the organization.”

CFO Fennemore Craig

with extensive domestic and international experience in finance and general management. His expertise includes building driven teams, business analysis, process improvement and streamlining operations, balance sheet cleanup, SOX compliance and auditing, supporting growth, financial reporting, strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions.

Biggest challenge: “Resistance to change is always a big professional challenge. All improvement requires change and not all colleagues are equally comfortable with change. I have learned that involving people in the improvement process and effectively communicating the need and value of the change is vital to successful improvement implementation.” Greatest reward: “Being involved in the daily decisions and strategic direction that drive our company forward. I find it extremely rewarding to not only help lead the firm to greater fiscal strength, but also help it become a better and more collaborative work environment for all employees.”

Shining bright Congratulations to the CFO of the Year winners and nominees who sparkle in their roles Copyright Š 2016 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

2016 CHERYL CAMPBELL CFO Wildflower Bread Company

Background: Upon joining the Wildflower

team in 2011, Campbell immediately recognized that the company was uniquely positioned for persistent growth both in Arizona and beyond. She led a successful recapitalization of the company in 2012 by working diligently with all financial stakeholders, including investors, banks, consultants, and auditors. She managed negotiations to determine value, process and structure of stakeholders transitioning out of the company. As a result of Campbell’s leadership, Wildflower is now 100 percent locally and family owned.

Biggest challenge: “I worked for a company which experienced revenue growth of 500 percent in five years. We faced many challenges, including staffing, outgrowing systems and facilities. I found my best tool to overcoming all the growth challenges was to communicate effectively.” Greatest reward: “The opportunity to work with people all across the organization. I enjoy helping teams understand how their business decisions impact the company financial position and working with them to find the best outcome.”


Background: In his role as CFO at Local Motors, Capin Gally brings together his love of vehicles and his skill for crafting innovative new ventures. Prior to Local Motors, he was the CFO of Mastretta Cars, a vehicle design company that built the first Mexican sports car. Personal passion: Capin Gally is

passionate about spurring the growth of entrepreneurialism. He is a founding partner of Angel Ventures Mexico, the first angel investment network in Mexico, and remains a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs and financiers in this group. He is also an active member of Endeavor, a global nonprofit entrepreneur network, where he volunteers his time assessing business plans and growth strategies for entrepreneurs. Greatest reward: “Working with other team leaders to develop and support innovative thinking with financial grounding is challenging. But ultimately shaping these ideas, architecting our strategic growth and seeing these ideas come to fruition by successfully securing the necessary financial resources has been incredibly fulfilling.”


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Co-founder, chief administrative officer and treasurer DEPCOM Power Background: Chun is a highly

accomplished financial executive with more than 20 years of experience in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), solar, technology and consulting. He has a proven track record in leadership, process development, technology innovation, metrics and managing profit and loss. Prior to DEPCOM, Chun held management and leadership positions at First Solar and Accenture. At First Solar, Chun helped the company’s EPC business grow from zero revenue in 2008 to more than $3 billion in revenue. Over the span of his career, Chun has overseen more than 3.5GW of utility solar power.

Current role: At DEPCOM, Chun

has leadership responsibilities for areas including finance, information technology and human resources. Over the past two years at DEPCOM, Chun has successfully built corporate infrastructure and financial discipline to grow DEPCOM into a very profitable solar EPC company.


CFO PEM Real Estate Group Background: Gardier is directly responsible for

managing all phases of acquisitions, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, creating and managing joint venture relationships, debt and equity capital markets, financial reporting and accounting, audit and tax compliance and cross departmental collaboration.


Background: Before joining

DollarDays, Dorsey served as as director of finance for Cardinal Health, Inc., a Fortune 19 company that provides products and services that help pharmacies, hospitals, surgery centers, physician offices and other healthcare providers.

Biggest challenge: “In a small

company you tend to wear many hats. As the head of HR, I have worked hard to improve talent and change company culture. That required making some tough decisions, but by being as open and transparent as possible with our employees, they understand these decisions and feel like they have a hand in growing our company.”

Greatest reward: “The opportunity to

interact with every part of the business on a daily basis. I get great enjoyment out of interacting with sales, operations, marketing and merchandising to drive the growth of our business. It makes every day a new and exciting challenge.”

Biggest challenge: “Developing high performing leaders. I’ve overcome this by taking a genuine interest in the professional growth of our team members. I’m hyper-focused on fostering a Kaizen culture, real-time feedback, clear performance expectations, and discipline of never delivering a problem without a solution and deadline for resolution.” Greatest reward: “Observing improved company performance as a result of transformational changes in how employees use financial and non-financial data to preempt and solve operations problems and drive workflow priorities. This is rewarding because it’s evidence that I’m succeeding at cross-departmental leadership and that employees generally view my team as trusted advisors.”


Chief financial and operating officer Real Time Companies Background: Hoffman brings 23 years experience in public, private and investor backed company backgrounds. She has demonstrated success in handling significant growth, turnaround and downsizing environments. She serves as an instrumental key decision maker in all aspects of the business. Biggest challenge: “Downsizing due to

market/industry downturns. The challenge of motivating staff to continue forward with dedication and high work quality in an effort to maintain the existing business was difficult. However, it provided for a rare opportunity for leadership growth. I led by example, collaborated and openly communicated our situation daily.”

Greatest reward: “The ability and responsibility to provide the business owners

and investors the comfort and security that the company’s financial, compliance and stability is in dependable hands so they can sleep peaceful at night. Impacting such a significant portion of my company is rewarding and provides me with daily motivation.”


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Background: Howard leads Plexus

Background: In her current role, Ingersoll leads a global finance group of more than 250 finance professionals responsible for all financial operations and corporate finance functions including financial reporting, planning and analysis, treasury, general ledger maintenance and transaction processing, internal audit, field finance and investor relations.

Background: Kardasz has more

Biggest challenge: “In 2008, I was CFO for a semiconductor manufacturer with factories in six countries when the market crashed. I developed a survival plan to restructure the company by closing plants and consolidating our finance and administration under the parent company in Singapore, eliminating my own position in the process.”

Biggest challenge: “Taking over CFO responsibilities for our largest business group as Viad began a strategic shift away from a classic holding company model to a more streamlined structure. I was responsible for successfully restructuring the accounting and finance teams within that group to provide better and more efficient support to the business.”

CFO Plexus Worldwide

Worldwide’s finance, IT and human resources teams. In just three years, Howard led the charge for rapid growth at Plexus Worldwide, helping the company increase its annual sales more than 10-fold between 2012 and 2015. Howard is also responsible for improving internal control and financial reporting by implementing a new NetSuite ERP system.

Greatest reward: “I frequently break away from the numbers by walking the four corners of our building and interacting with people on the front lines. This gives me a fresh and balanced perspective from which decisions and actions can be taken, and it allows me to develop personal relationships across the organization.”


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CFO Viad Corp.

Greatest reward: “Finance touches every part of the business across all disciplines. Perhaps the most rewarding part for me is to play an active role in setting the strategic direction of the company, and to then contribute to the execution of that strategy and the shareholder value that it creates.”

Controller and VP of finance Total Dental Administrators, Inc. than 12 years of experience in the accounting industry serving in a variety of roles including audit manager, financial accounting manager and controller. He has been with Total Dental Administrators for three years and oversees the accounting and billing departments and staff. Kardasz has regulatory and statutory accounting experience as controller for Total Dental Administrators of Utah, Inc., a limited health plan and Total Dental Administrators Health Plan, Inc., an Arizona prepaid dental plan.

Impact on company: Kardasz has

worked to make TDA’s financial reporting process more efficient and to follow a detailed timeline that assures our results are provided to all necessary parties in a timely manner. Reshaping the financial reporting process included meeting with all parties involved, which included internal TDA departments and parent company departments. He obtained an understanding of the expectations of his superiors and peers at TDA’s parent company.

WELL DONE! Arizona Business magazine congratulates the 2016 CFO of the Year finalists, recognizing financial excellence.

Connecting Industr y with Nonprof its

602.277.6045 |

Marc Levine Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer JDA Software

JDA Software congratulates Marc Levine, finalist for 2016 CFO of the Year. Your vision, leadership and drive have been critical to our turn-around and successful recapitalization, providing a solid foundation for accelerated growth.


2016 LIZ KETTER CFO Terros Health

Background: Ketter is known as a dynamic

corporate finance and strategy executive. She offers more than 31 years of experience with a record of working collaboratively to achieve goals and produce results. She has extensive healthcare experience with both payers and providers, providing leadership in process improvement, strategic planning, finance, revenue models, accounting and facilities, call center and project management.

Biggest challenge: “I’ve faced a number of

situations in my career that have challenged me. But I’ve learned that creating collaborative relationships with a high level of trust results in me being sought out for consultation and advice much earlier in the process, while ideas are still in their infancy. My peers engage with me as a partner instead of a barrier or nay-sayer, and that’s satisfying and productive.” Greatest reward: “As a nonprofit organization, we are constantly reinventing ourselves

in order to maximize our outcomes with limited resources, while at the same time provide excellent customer service – that’s exciting and inspiring.”


CFO Able Aerospace Services Background: Leach provides executive-level

direction for all finance-related concerns at Able, including banking, risk management, financial analysis and tax compliance, as well as maintaining positive relationships with all stakeholders and vendors. Leach has guided Able through six years of rapid growth, expanding from 200 to more than 450 employees. Between 2010 and 2015, Leach helped Able more than double its total sales.

Biggest challenge: “My biggest professional

challenge was coming to work at Able. I had been out of the finance arena, working in IT, for about 20 years. When I returned, I had to quickly re-familiarize myself with the latest accounting trends as I learned about a whole new industry – aerospace.”

Greatest reward: “A CFO is able to see all aspects of a business. This allows us to analyze and tie multiple concepts and programs together to make lasting improvements for companies and their employees. It is a very gratifying position.”


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Executive vice president and CFO JDA Software Background: Levine joined JDA as

the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer in November, 2013. As CFO, Levine is responsible for the finance and accounting, legal, workplace, purchasing, and information technology activities for the company. Prior to joining JDA, Levine spent 25 years in a variety of senior financial leadership positions with Hewlett Packard. In his last role at HP, he served as the company’s senior vice president and corporate controller. Before that, Levine served as senior vice president of finance and chief operating officer for HP Enterprise Services. Levine also served as CFO for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Business, leading the finance function for the enterprise storage, servers, software and services businesses. Levine’s background includes six years in the Asia Pacific region; including serving as general manager of Southeast Asia for Hewlett Packard’s medical products business. Levine holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Connecticut

2016 SCOTT MANNING CFO Progressive Roofing

Background: In his time with the company,

Manning has helped grow Progressive Roofing’s revenue more than 1,700 percent with 15 locations nationwide. He oversees development of additional branch locations, implements consistent reporting requirements, assists in annual budget process for branch locations and educates general managers in understanding of accounting and finance. Biggest challenge: “Being able to let go of certain

MICHAEL J. LIEBMAN Senior vice president and CFO Global Water Resources, Inc. Background: Liebman brings

more than 14 years of finance and management experience. Prior to joining Global Water in 2013, Liebman was a senior director at Alvarez and Marsal, a turnaround and restructuring firm. There, he successfully negotiated the restructuring of more than $3 billion in capital and raised $750 million of new capital for clients.

Biggest challenge: “In 2016, we

executed three complex strategic initiatives all on parallel paths … The challenges related to managing a very large team of internal personnel and external parties, while coordinating three parallel projects and deadlines, was immense. It took a lot of team work, dedication and sacrifice to deliver a successful result.”

Greatest reward: “Working with a team to strengthen and grow our company as well as the individuals themselves, while also providing an essential service to our customers. It’s rewarding because, if done right, everyone wins — customers, shareholders and employees.”


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functions to be able to take on larger functions and larger roles. I think most accounting type people don’t care much for change, so it’s a constant battle to embrace the changes going on in systems and the business environment.”

Greatest reward: “Knowing and watching the financial pulse of an organization is what I find most rewarding. As a financial executive, you are aiding or directing the setting of a new business path. Being a financial executive, you get to see the numbers that result from that new path or change in direction.”


CFO and operational administrator Barron Lighting Group, Inc. Background: Miller is a financial executive with broad experience in finance, accounting, auditing, personnel and operational management. He has hands-on experience with real estate, manufacturing, distribution, enterprise resource planning implementations, business valuation, financial and litigation consulting and asset based financing. His operational focus has been on developing and implementing strategic plans, increasing efficiencies by streamlining operations, preparing complex financial models and negotiating asset-based financing. Biggest challenge: “After 35 years of

continuous employment, I was thrust into the status of being ‘in transition.’ The most difficult aspect of the ordeal was staying positive, organized and energized. I interacted with other very accomplished professionals who were or had been in a similar situation and learned from their successes and failures. After five months of searching, networking and interviewing, I gratefully accepted the position I still enjoy today.”

Congratulations, Gregg! Congratulations Gregg Leach on your selection as a CFO of the Year finalist. Your insight and expertise keep us ready and Able for a bright future!

It’s inspiring how hard and effectively Gregg worked through the acquisition of two of our businesses and seamless integration into the Textron family. He’s always level-headed and focused on results.

- Lee Benson, CEO, Able Aerospace Services

AD_KnightTransportation_AZBNovDec2016.indd 1

10/21/16 4:53 PM

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CFO, secretary and treasurer Knight Transportation, Inc. Background: Miller has been the

CFO of Knight since May 2012 and also has been its secretary and treasurer since February 2011.

Biggest challenge: “At the age of

31, I was afforded the unbelievable opportunity to be the CFO of a public company. Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed. I was fortunate enough to have had an outstanding leadership team around me … I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from the people around me to help me develop in the CFO role.”

Greatest reward: “Our culture is one of hard work, mutual trust and respect, and a constant desire to improve. We challenge the status quo, we encourage innovation, and we set high expectations for ourselves and each other. It is truly rewarding when our team members come together to leverage financial data, critical thinking, and creativity to develop solutions that have a meaningful impact on our business.”


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ROBBIE MOLNAR Director of finance Resolute Performance Contracting

Background: Molnar is responsible

for financial reporting, managing and forecasting budgets and identifying opportunities to create cost efficiencies. By approaching his responsibilities with a strategic and analytical focus, Molnar brings an ability to adapt quickly to novel situations and his background provides a unique point of view to the management team at Resolute.

Biggest challenge: “Without

having a construction background, it can sometimes be challenging to fully grasp some of our operational efforts. In order to be successful, I had to move out of my comfort zone by learning new terminology and procedures, cooperating with a variety of different co-workers and never settling for complacency.”

Greatest reward: “I enjoy using my

experience, knowledge, and passion to make financial performance tangible and relevant for the rest of my organization. It is my responsibility to empower others, so it is rewarding to watch coworkers make strategic decisions based off of sound financial data that has translated to company-wide success.”


CFO Homeowners Financial Group Background: Osselaer is

responsible for the company’s financial, accounting, secondary marketing, and IT divisions. Osselaer has been employed for more than 30 years in the financial services industry, including being president of the largest mortgage servicing company in Arizona

Biggest challenge: “Facing the total collapse of the savings and loan industry in the early 90s and the near collapse of the mortgage lending industry in 2007-2008 were the biggest challenges I have faced. I overcame these challenges through aggressive ongoing education and networking, which caused future employers to recognize my commitment to the financial services industry.” Greatest reward: “It’s the

opportunity to shape the policies of a company, both financial and nonfinancial, for the betterment of all its employees and customers. Why is this aspect the most rewarding? Because at this point in a career that has spanned 35 years, it is what drives me on a daily basis.”

Marcus Anderson Society of St. Vincent de Paul CFO

Congratulations, Marc! Thank you for advancing our mission and serving Arizona.

Strength in Numbers Vitalyst Health Foundation Congratulates 2016 CFO of the Year Nominee

Roy Pringle

For 15 years Roy has handled the Foundation’s accounting, portfolio management and program administration. In the critical role of financial steward, Roy’s accuracy, ethics and dedication have led the Vitalyst team to successfully pursue its mission of improving well-being in Arizona.

St. Luke’s Health Initiatives is now Vitalyst Health Foundation. Learn more at

AB | November-December 2016


Global Water Resources Congratulates Mike Liebman for his CFO of the Year nomination.

Mike Liebman CFO & SVP Pure-Play Regulated Water & Wastewater Utility Company

In 2016, Mike Liebman and the Global Water team:  Successfully merged a Canadian entity, which held a 48% interest in Global Water, with and into Global Water  Completed a U.S. listing on the NASDAQ which included an $8.4 million capital raise  Executed a debt refinancing of ~$115 million, reducing annual interest expense by ~200 bps (or ~$2 million per year)


 Improved shareholder value – stock price increased by over 40% to Oct-2016

Congratulations Susan Barnes, CFO of the Year Nominee


lood Systems is proud to recognize our CFO, Susan Barnes, as a nominee for CFO of the year.

Susan joined Blood Systems, Inc. in 1991 and was promoted to Vice President of Finance in 1993. She was later promoted to Executive Vice President and CFO in 2000. During her employment at Blood Systems, she has been instrumental in designing and implementing several initiatives to assure our financial health and enable us to enhance services to patients and volunteer blood donors. Susan’s work and vision have had a significant impact on Blood Systems’ ability to achieve its goals and to make progress in its key strategic areas of growth, focus on cost reduction and enhanced services. We congratulate Susan on her nomination for CFO of the Year and thank her for her commitment to the customers, patients and employees of Blood Systems, as well as her contribution to our lifesaving mission. We save lives. We don’t do it alone. We do it with blood donors who have strong ties to us, to service and to the strangers they save.




Background: Pringle has served Vitalyst as a pivotal member of the organization’s leadership team, including as COO, CFO and interim CEO during two leadership transitions. Through 15 years, he has been the Foundation’s primary leader and innovator in all financial matters.

Background: ​Siffren is a Certified Public Accountant and has more than 20 years of experience in finance, accounting, tax and business consulting. Prior to joining Global Patent Solutions, he worked for a local public accounting firm and a local financial advisory/consulting firm.

Biggest challenge: “The market collapse of 2008

Biggest challenge: “Global Patent Solutions grew

CFO and chief operating officer Vitalyst Health Foundation

presented significant challenges for foundations. The real challenge was continuing to meet the community’s funding expectations when it was needed most. While others were cutting payouts to match current endowment levels, I proposed taking a longer-term view, keeping community support high and managing post-recovery payouts to recover our position.”

Greatest reward: “ The CFO is connected to all

parts of the organization and serves as a strategic partner to all programmatic work. The intimate understanding of finance and operations allows for the generation of creative and innovative ways to use financial and other assets to continuously expand the impact of the organization.”


AB | November-December 2016

CFO and chief information officer Global Patent Solutions, LLC

from 20 employees to 125 employees in 18 months. Managing the financial implications inherent with this rapid growth was challenging. The key to success was careful planning and understanding of the many possible scenarios. Leveraging this knowledge to execute through this rapid growth continues to provide benefits today.”

Greatest reward: “My greatest satisfaction comes from the opportunity my position affords me to help shape the company’s direction. This is rewarding because of the opportunities those efforts create for our employees and seeing that the resultant company growth from my efforts are directly benefiting so many people and their families.”

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Background: Verbin has 16 years of experience

Background: At SheKnows, Vincent oversees

CFO and acting chief operating officer Discount Magazines LLC and LLC in both the public and private sectors, having overseen everything from finance to operations and IT. Since Verbin started in his current position, the company has earned numerous awards, including a spot on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list three years in a row.

Biggest challenge: “In 2007, I joined a seasoned

management team for a manufacturer without having industry experience. They ran archaic DOS-based software. Add a culture reluctant to change and a buy-in to upgrade systems was difficult. Outworking everyone and achieving huge early wins attained the trust needed to move forward.”

Greatest reward: “In my current role it’s the ability to help millions of people hold onto their hard-earned money. Cost savings — which our finance team has creatively driven out of our business — gets passed on to the consumers who need it most.”


AB | November-December 2016

CFO SheKnows

accounting, financial planning and analysis, human resources and administrative functions, ensuring that the company is well positioned for continued growth.

Biggest challenge: “Managing through and

recovering operations from Hurricane Katrina (as Cox Communications’ system CFO and vice president of business operations in New Orleans). Through strong teams and relationships — both corporately and locally — we had clear mandates, extreme focus and care for our people, our customers, and the business. We excelled because we focused on solving the real issues — a displaced customer vs. a lost customer — and strived to understand people’s needs.”

Greatest reward: “A unique and balanced

perspective into the business – understanding what drives value and creates opportunity. The CFO’s view is broad and I am able to help connect the dots, provide tools and information, and bring a balanced perspective to business issues. In addition, I value building the right teams for our company and seeing people grow into their potential while delivering value for the company.”

AB | November-December 2016



MORE THAN 100 YEARS OF QUALITY PRODUCTS, SERVICE, AND DEDICATION TO THE COMMUNITY. For more information, or to speak to us regarding any of your print needs please call 602.258.7789 or visit

Improving environmental quality page 84

The Grand Canalscape page 86

Building healthy communities page 90

Environmental Excellence Awards

page 94



AB | November-December 2016

Together, we can keep Arizona beautiful. SRP is proud to work with its customers on programs that help reforest land destroyed by fire, support solar for local nonprofits and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. After all, taking care of Arizona takes all of us. That’s why SRP demonstrates environmental leadership by using a diverse mix of wind, solar, and other sustainable resources. To learn what SRP is doing and how you can be a part of it, visit


Unity needed to improve state’s environmental quality and economic vitality


e have more in common than you might imagine. Sustainable growth issues facing Arizona’s north, south and central regions are surprisingly aligned. That’s why it’s imperative we work together to improve the environmental quality and economic vitality of our cities and towns. For example, the health of our rivers — the Santa Cruz, San Pedro and Verde — are critical to sustain habitat and wildlife, as well as the quality of life for residents. Flagstaff scientists at Northern Arizona University are connecting education, research and the community through health equity, biomechanics, astronomy and environmental sciences. Perhaps, the biggest issue of concern under study in Central Arizona is water – our most precious Diane Brossart and threatened natural resource. Arizona Forward These are just a few topics Arizona Forward covered in 2016. There’s good reason all of us who have made Arizona our home should care about the health and wellness of our communities. To keep young people here, they need to perceive Arizona is among the best places in America to live, work, learn and recreate. Finding a high paying job is important but not the catch-all. People of all ages are drawn to community design that enhances physical, mental, economic and social well-being. Walkability, mixed-use development and access to shopping, restaurants and cultural amenities are key elements of vibrant places. Alternative transportation – biking and transit – are also quality of life indicators, as are adaptive re-use, shade and open spaces.


AB | November-December 2016

It takes community and political will to create great places. That’s what Arizona Forward is all about. For nearly 50 years, this organization has mobilized the state’s business leaders and policymakers to leverage their collective power to influence how we best grow our communities, stimulate our economy and enhance our environment. Your zip code has a direct correlation to your health and wellness. Where you live directly impacts how long you live. Arizona Forward has presented three summits on Building Healthy Communities connecting community design and public health. The organization conceived Grand Canalscape, which the City of Phoenix is now designing. It will create a 12-mile continuous trail system along the Grand Canal from I-17 to the Phoenix/Tempe border. The project is part of a larger regional trail and crossing project that will ultimately result in a continuous trail along the Grand Canal between Glendale and Tempe. The priority of green design and a shared ethic to protect natural resources in Arizona is further demonstrated in the nearly 100 entries Arizona Forward received in its 36th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP. Arizona now ranks ninth in the nation when it comes to citizens being physically, emotionally and mentally healthy, according to a Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index. Forbes recently named our state the best in the country for future job growth and second for population expansion. Money Magazine ranked Tucson among the best five U.S. cities for millennials and National Geographic has designated the Verde Valley as a geo-tourism mecca. Arizona Forward members are setting the benchmark for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources and preserving our state’s unique environment for future generations. Diane Brossart is prresident and CEO of Arizona Forward.


The Grand


Plan will create a trail system from I-17 to Tempe and spark economic development along the way By ERIN DAVIS


hen a child first opens a box of Legos, he sees a random pile of attachable pieces. Once his imagination has been sparked, those singular pieces connect together to produce a masterpiece — a town, spaceship or creature. The City of Phoenix, Arizona Forward, SRP and many other public and private entities aren’t much different in their approach to connectivity concerning the Grand Canalscape Project. As Phase Two begins, existing pieces (the canals) are forming new connections between Glendale and Tempe, while improvements along the 12-mile trail system from 1-17 to the Phoenix/Tempe border continue to take place.

Connecting infrastructure and transportation

Most everyone involved in the Grand Canalscape Project agree that its singular greatest asset is connectivity.


AB | November-December 2016

By using the Grand Canal system already in place, enhancements are being made from around 15th Avenue to 16th Street and Indian School Road, and close to 36th Street, ending at 40th Street, with additional improvements occurring from 1-17 to 15th Avenue, and picking up again from 16th Street to 36th Street, and then 40th Street to the Phoenix/Tempe border. If you’re having difficulty visualizing this web of connections, defer to City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay, who explains, “From infrastructure to major crossing intersections, the Grand Canalscape will link city streets and continue through arterial streets for pedestrian activity and connectivity.” “The canals serve as the backbone for the multi-use, nonmotorized transportation system of Phoenix,” adds James Duncan, senior analyst water engineering for SRP. “Not to mention

acting deputy street transportation director for the Transportation Planning and Programming Division for City of Phoenix. Economic development connections

“From an economic development standpoint,” Mackay says, “any projects that make it more attractive to live, work and enjoy the landscape, the more we want to be involved. The Grand Canalscape Project does that. It creates outdoor environments and entices companies to the area.” James Duncan Monica Hernandez Christine Mackay Mark Melnychenko Although some areas along the canal have historically been saddled with a negative stigma, Mackay is confident these impressions will the many other bike paths and trails within 131 miles of the canal eventually slip away. “We see the value in these areas as the system running through exclusively urbanized areas.” arteries and lifeblood of Phoenix,” she says. “Companies will want According to Duncan, the Grand Canalscape Project will be to be part of the momentum.” the first major paved and improved path to connect downtown This is particularly true, according to Mackay, in terms of the Phoenix and Tempe. Gateway corridor. What was once a thriving area has fallen into The upgrades to the trail system are designed to entice more disrepair, but with the advent of Grand Canalscape improvements, recreational activity and encourage pedestrian and bicycle activity, the area has the potential to be a lively and enticing economic among other non-motorized transportation. development hotspot. “Safe, sensible options for mobility is our goal,” says Monica “There is opportunity for a great office corridor in the Gateway Hernandez, public information officer for City of Phoenix market,” Mackay says. “Around 40th Street, you’ve got Sky Harbor Transportation Department. Hernandez also emphasizes the benefit Airport and Gateway Community College, and on 44th, Van Buren of the canals’ various points in close proximity to the light rail. and Washington streets, there are opportunities for revitalization In addition to maximizing mobility along the Grand Canal, and viable land sites available for new development.” several safety enhancements are being implemented. Mackay also stresses the importance of connections in local “Several crossings throughout the 40th Street, Campbell and neighborhoods. “By adding playgrounds, bike paths and parks Central system will have a number of safety improvements, including surrounding the canals, we are reinvigorating and breaking down push-button, safe crossing features,” says Mark Melnychenko, barriers between neighborhoods,” Mackay says.

AB | November-December 2016


ARIZONA FORWARD 2016 Connecting education


N O M I N AT E T H E M !

Each year, Cox Communications, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, seeks nominations for



Arizona program,







are environmental volunteers in Phoenix and Southern Arizona. A total of $20,000 is donated

A key point of connectivity occurs with the union of four schools intersecting along the Grand Canalscape Project pathway. “Teachers and students from Brophy College Preparatory, Central High School, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School and Xavier College Preparatory have worked together to form a vision for the canal that would offer students and members of the community a space that fosters and promotes a sense of pride and collaboration,” says Mathematics Department Chair Janet Mambrino, Xavier College Prep’s representative on Arizona Forward’s Grand Canalscape team. Mambrino has been working with Arizona Forward, SRP, the City of Phoenix and faculty from the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability — among others — since 2013. Student teams have been an integral part of the process, outlining three focus areas of the Grand Canalscape Project: • Infrastructure (pathways, lighting and bridges) • Amenities (seating and shade) • Environment (landscaping) “The students all agreed that the improvements should cultivate a learning environment that would provide opportunities for students to study the canal system and conduct science inquiries, learn canal system history and the importance of water, water conservation and sustainability initiatives,” Mambrino says. The four-school junction isn’t the only education-based union along the Grand Canalscape system. “Another strong connection that may not be discussed as much is ASU and Gateway Community College and Grand Canyon University on the Westside,” Melnychenko says, “where students are apt to utilize the canals.”

each year to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the winner and finalists — $10k to the winner and $5k to each finalist! Spread the news! Arizona’s Cox Conserves Heroes Timeline: • Nominations Open: April 2017 • Online Voting: June—July • Winner Announcement: August

CONGRATULATIONS Cox Conserves Heroes 2016: Shawn Redfield, Arizona Trail Association 2015: Marilyn Hanson, Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum 2014: Greg Clark, Wild At heart 2013: Brad Lancaster, Desert Harvesters 2012: Melinda Gulick, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

Check out previous winners and finalists bios and videos by visiting 88

AB | November-December 2016

There is a substantial public art component Artistically connecting

The beautification aspect of the Grand Canalscape Project doesn’t simply involve the implementation of landscape, lighting and amenities; it incorporates transformation of these initiatives through local art and design. Duncan says. “We did an inventory of projects last year and calculated that $10 million in commissioned art is featured along the SRP canal.” This includes specialized signage along the canal explaining its history and items of interest and significance. “We are working with artist Michael Singer, known for his incorporation of concrete, steel and sandstone elements,” Hernandez says. “We will also be introducing trail markers, shade and benches.”

At Northern Arizona University you’ll learn from faculty who take the time to mentor their students. Because we know every dream is different. And the success of a college education is measured by the success after college.

the future looks better from here


Building healthy communities

Arizona Forward shows that your zip code has a direct correlation to health and wellness By ERIN DAVIS


id you know that according to statistics, 80 percent of how long we live is based on how we live — our lifestyles, habits and culture — while only 20 percent is based on genetics or our access to basic healthcare. In 2004, Dan Buettner joined with National Geographic to identify specific locations that exhibited instances of longer life. Five specific demographics were discovered around the world. Referred to as “Blue Zones,” they had commonalities in collective-community healthy living, environmental sustainability and responsible economic growth. What do Blue Zones have to do with Arizona? According to the mission of Arizona Forward: everything. “One of our stewardships brought in a speaker from Blue Zones,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Arizona Forward. “It’s a science, and one that Arizona Forward would love to see happen in our state.” Arizona may not yet be the sixth Blue Zone, but we may turn a hue of blue sooner than you think. Arizona Forward’s mission and vision match the characteristics of longevity-prone zones: lowenvironmental impact, high sustainability and overall health and wellness amidst ever-expanding economic growth. According to Brossart, a recent report ranked Arizona ninth in the nation for physical emotional and mental wellness — a jump from 19th place last year.

Economic growth and wellness As Arizona continues to expand, how are we keeping up in efforts to improve health, wellness, sustainability and environmental integrity? “Arizona Forward focuses on the balance of economic 90

AB | November-December 2016

growth and environmental quality,” Brossart says. “Cities and communities become stronger when practicing sustainability.” “Much of the last 50 to 100 years has been about unparalleled economic expansion,” adds Vitalyst Director of Communications Jon Ford. “Based on the results of hockey-stick growth and the impact it produced in terms of health and sustainability, it’s time to rethink, reconnect and reimagine our way forward.” Ford, who has been heavily involved with Arizona Forward for the past few years and is on the board of directors’ Communications Committee and Healthy Communities and Sustainable Growth Committee, has pinpointed the interconnectivity of health and sustainability in Phoenix, Tucson, Jerome, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley, Yuma, Rio Rico and others. What specifically are these communities doing to fit the environmentally responsible and sustainable mold? Brossart points to Peoria as one example. “Peoria created a cross-generational community garden, transformed from a vacant property in Old Town,” Brossart says. “What was once a blemish was transformed by master gardeners, high school students and residents within the community.” In addition to its community gardens, Peoria was recognized for several other environmental efforts, receiving several Environmental Excellence awards this year. Brossart also references Phoenix, Gilbert and Tempe for creating and maintaining initiatives for more healthy and sustainable communities. “About five years ago, Phoenix hired a Chief Sustainability Officer Mark Hartman, who put together a sustainability plan adopted by Mayor Greg Stanton,” Brossart says. “Tempe is known

for it’s walkability and Gilbert for it’s livability measures.” Other examples of sustainability reside in cross-community infrastructure implementations and improvements such as the Grand Canalscape project, designed to connect transportation and recreation throughout Phoenix, Tempe and Glendale. And, of course, there’s the light rail collaboration between Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. “These efforts toward more walkable and multi-modal living has a direct impact on health, well-being and social and cultural cohesion,” Ford says. “These make for better places to live, connecting more people to jobs and providing more opportunities for healthy living.”

Arizona Forward motion It’s clear that while Arizona expands and communities develop that environmental sustainability and accommodating health and wellness continue to evolve — parks, trails, gardens, community yoga, etc. “Promoting environmental integrity is the current trend,” says AECOM Associate Vice President Jennifer Pyne. “To have a sustainable future has everything to do with our economic and environmental integrity. Living effectively will require sustainability.” As Arizona Forward and partners move ahead to achieve these initiatives for existing and future communities, Brossart stresses the importance of public, private and government relationships moving forward. “Small and large corporations and business like Vitalyst and Honeywell, combined with Arizona cities like Sedona, Cottonwood and Tucson; and smaller architectural companies are working together to form a stronger state. As a nonpartisan entity, we are able to take the politics out of it,” Brossart says.

Brossart elaborates that effecting positive and lasting change requires collaboration to work successfully. Both public and private sectors have individual bureaucracies, which make it even more vital for cooperation in matters of environmental and sustainable integrity. “It’s not an ‘either-or’ mindset that will get things done,” Ford says. “It’s a ‘both-and’ perspective that Arizona Forward is embracing, taking into account the larger and smaller discussions.”

It takes a village — and individuals, too Bossart believes, as admittedly cliché as it may be, that progressing economic growth through environmental and healthconscious means literally “takes a village” to accomplish. Since a village is made up of groups of individuals, each person has the power to effect change. “I think the more people that become involved in understanding, voting in their communities and thinking less narrowly about health and more about how health affect their community, the more we will achieve our goals toward establishing vital and healthy environments,” Pyne says. Ford believes that public health and community design are powerful tools in working toward transformative changes to create a positive health impact. “The good news is that once you see your community through a health and well-being lens, it is hard to ‘unsee’ the opportunities to improve it,” he says. Brossart stresses that awareness is a valuable first step. “Attend city council meetings,” she says, “Bring a vision of what you want to see in your community. And find your passion This is your home. We need to help manage it ourselves.” AB | November-December 2016


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Environmental Excellence Awards Arizona Forward honors projects that create healthy, environmental friendly, sustainable communities


“building of the future” earned this year’s President’s Award (Best of Show) at Arizona Forward’s 36th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP. Jurists praised Northern Arizona University’s International Pavilion as among the greenest building of its kind in the world. Some 100 nominations were received for the 36th anniversary of the state’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition, demonstrating not only the priority of green design, but a shared ethic to protect natural resources and build in harmony with the environment. Three southern Arizona projects earned first-place Crescordia awards, including Tucson Water’s Conservation and Education Program, University of Arizona’s Beyond the Mirage and Tucson Water’s Advanced Oxidation Process Project. Northern Arizona yielded one Crescordia award for NAU’s International Pavilion, which then went on to take top honors of the evening. A total of 12 Crescordia awards were presented. Jurists selected the NAU International Pavilion as best of show because the iconic project is the university’s first net-zero facility – it produces as much energy as it consumes on-site. By achieving Platinum LEED-NC status (U.S. Green Building Council’s highest honor for its LEED program) combined with being net-zero, this building naturally responds to the imperatives of climate change. “This project represents buildings of the future,” said Patricia Reiter, senior sustainability scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and executive director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, who served as lead judge for the awards competition. “It manifests the connection between responsible engagement with the environment and global citizenship while creating a destination for domestic and international students that encourages engagement across cultural barriers.” In addition to the Northern Arizona University International 94

AB | November-December 2016

Pavilion, Crescordia winners include:

Northern Arizona University’s International Pavilion earned the President’s Award at Arizona Forward’s 36th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP. PROVIDED PHOTO

• Tempe Grease Cooperative (City of Tempe) — Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future • City of Peoria Sports Complex (City of Peoria) — Buildings & Structures (Civic) • Eisendrath House Rehabilitation (City of Tempe) — Buildings & Structures (Historic Preservation) • Kornegay Design (John Douglas Architects)— Buildings and Structures (Industrial & Public Works) • City of Peoria Community Garden (City of Peoria) — Healthy Communities (Sustainable Communities) • 56th Street Iconic Corridor (CK Group) — Healthy Communities (Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity) • El Rio Design Guidelines and Planning Standards (City of Buckeye) — Healthy Communities (Public Policy/Plans) • REI DC3 at PV303 (Merit Partners, Inc.)— Healthy Communities (Sustainable Workplaces) • Tucson Water’s Advanced Oxidation Process Project (Tucson Water) — Energy and Technology Innovation • Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (City of Scottsdale) — Site Development (Public Sector) • Desert Arroyo Park (City of Mesa) — Site Development (Parks and Trails) • Valley Metro Public Art Program for Northwest and Central Mesa Extensions (Valley Metro) — Art in Public Places • Peoria’s Desert Defenders (City of Peoria) — Environmental Education/Communication (Public and Private Sectors) • Beyond the Mirage (The University of Arizona) — Environmental Education/Communication (Educators, Students and Nonprofit Organizations) • Tucson Water’s Conservation and Education Program (Tucson Water) — SRP Award for Environmental Stewardship

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statements Where does the banking industry stand and where is it going in 2017? By MICHAEL GOSSIE


he banking industry is undergoing a massive change. The industry is facing disruptive competitors. Digital and mobile banking continues to evolve. Cybersecurity has forced banks to value tech troubleshooters as much as financial phenoms. Bank branches are starting to look like Apple stores. Interest rates have started rising. Regulation has never been so costly. These changes have the potential to shake the very foundation on which the banking industry has operated for generations. And banks have to balance these changes with rising consumer expectations and a changing perception of the industry. Az Business magazine talked with some of Arizona’s most brilliant banking minds in a virtual roundtable discussion about the industry.


AB | November-December 2016

Jack Barry

Scott Berg

Kevin Classen

Curt Hansen

Chris Sailus

Brian Schwallie

Joe Stewart

Mike Thorell

Candace D. Wiest

Ed Zito

The panelists are: • Jack Barry, president and CEO of the Arizona Region, Enterprise Bank • Scott Berg, chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Practice, Quarles & Brady LLP • Kevin Classen, president – West Valley Market, FirstBank • Curt Hansen, chief operating officer, National Bank of Arizona • Chris Sailus, vice president and Northeast Arizona division manager, Washington Federal Bank • Brian Schwallie, Arizona market president, U.S. Bank • Joe Stewart, Arizona market president, and Patrick Joyce, Arizona commercial lending manager, Bankers Trust • Mike Thorell, president and CEO, Pinnacle Bank • Candace D. Wiest, president and CEO, West Valley Bancorp, Inc. and West Valley National Bank • Ed Zito, president, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Here is their take on what’s happening in the industry and what we can expect in 2017. Az Business: How is the health of the banking industry in Arizona? Barry: The banking industry in Arizona is good and is

growing in a prudent and proper manner. We are seeing solid, responsible growth in commercial real estate and there is also a healthy backlog and new revenue opportunities in non-real estate related industries. Berg: The banking industry in Arizona today is robust. Banks in Arizona generally have a fairly sizable amount of capital and are utilizing that capital to make new loans to consumers, small businesses and others. This has helped grow the Arizona economy consistently over the past few years. Classen: I would characterize it as healthy at this point. Most of the approximately 70 banks operating in Arizona have returned to growth and profitability since

AB | November-December 2016



Arizona banks are performing well, consistent with many western region states


AB | November-December 2016

the last bank failure, which took place in 2013. The net number of branch locations in Arizona has declined only slightly in the last few years. Hansen: Arizona banks are performing well, consistent with many western region states. We are seeing solid job growth, housing prices, and loan demand, translating to loan and earnings growth for our banks. In addition, banks are becoming more efficient overall, and credit quality remains good. Sailus: Generally in Arizona, banks are well funded, in good shape, have capital ready to invest in lending to commercial, business and for consumers. Banks are anxious to grow, but finding the market demand is weaker than expected.   Schwallie: The banking industry in the Arizona area is strong and competitive. Our business clients are growing, expanding physical operations and hiring more staff. We are especially seeing growth in our small business segment. Stewart and Joyce: We would characterize it as vastly improved over three to five years ago. We see the commercial real estate market as solid and privately held companies are doing better. Overall, it’s a great story for the Arizona banking market and, fortunately, we aren’t seeing any early indicators that the market is overheating. Thorell: Banks in Arizona continue to see financial improvement within all key metrics but the many institutions, especially smaller ones, are still facing strong “head winds” as it relates to regulatory compliance, which ultimately effects financial success and mere existence. Wiest: I think the industry is a smaller, more well capitalized group than ever.  We are also the most overburdened group in terms of regulatory expectations burden, change management and  cybersecurity initiatives. Dodd Frank has been onerous for all banks, but especially community banks.  The industry is smaller because so much of the market is controlled by the biggest five banks. Zito: The state of the banking industry in Arizona is stronger than ever, though highly competitive in a continued low interest environment. Arizona mirrors the national trend of fewer banks with greater concentration of total deposits

among the largest banks. In Maricopa County, 22 percent of the assets are controlled by four banks: The Big Three, followed by Western Alliance Bank, parent company of Alliance Bank of Arizona and the largest locally headquartered bank in the state. AB: What sectors of the banking industry are strongest going into 2017? Berg: The strongest sector in the

banking industry in Arizona is clearly real estate, both commercial and residential. In the last several years, the real estate sector has been expanding at growing intervals, with individuals, developers and equity sponsors willing to risk capital and obtain loans to develop real estate in all sectors. Commercial lending — including lending to companies in the technology sector — has also been increasingly strong in recent years. Classen: The strong loan volume we’ve seen in 2016 will likely carry over into 2017 and has primarily been centered in construction, commercial real estate, and residential mortgage loans. A continued low interest rate environment and stable economy should further support strong loan demand and overall asset growth in 2017. Hansen: With the continued low interest rate environment, in-migration of population and good economic conditions, we expect continued strong mortgage demand. In addition, while small and middle market companies remain cautious due to political uncertainty, Commercial and Industrial loan growth has been steady and will continue in 2017. Sailus: Real estate-related lending will continue to be a big driver in 2017 in new multifamily apartments, residential housing developments, and commercial and industrial. The middle market had robust growth in 2016 and we expect the same this year. There is capital and equity coming in from investors already here in Arizona and from out of state as well to continue looking for opportunities. Schwallie: We are expecting 2017 to be a strong year for real estate construction and home purchases. On the residential side we offer a full line of loan programs from first time home buyer all the way to jumbo lending. We feel we are well positioned to increase our market share in 2017.

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ABA Stewart and Joyce: We see opportunity across the board – including in consumer banking and residential mortgages – but we believe commercial real estate will be strongest in 2017. Thorell: Residential and commercial real estate will be the strongest sectors for 2017, as we are seeing here in late 2016. Small businesses are growing modestly, which is driving the need for new and improved space and we are seeing some larger employers coming to Arizona to do business as well. Wiest: I expect to see strong growth in commercial real estate on all banks balance sheets. Currently, the market in Phoenix doesn’t appear to be overheated in owner-occupied or commercial investor commercial real estate with the exception of multifamily. SBA 7A loans for small businesses continue to grow at very competitive terms and rates. Zito: The strongest sectors include commercial real estate, healthcare, technology, professional services, education, tourism and hospitality, along with the continued demand for financing mergers and acquisitions. This  reflects the state’s more diversified economy, pro-business climate and the diligent work of our economic development organizations to retain, expand and attract business. Barry: Commercial real estate is strong and we continue to see job growth in that industry. The supply and demand curve in real estate overall is sound. More specifically, industrial and warehouse distribution is probably the strongest submarket, particularly along the I-10 corridor. I also think that the area south of Old Town (Scottsdale) down to ASU is ripe for gentrification in 2017 and beyond. Overall, real estate growth has been good and is a good indicator for our economy in general.

AB: Where does the industry need some help going into 2017? Classen: Overall bank regulatory compliance and

cyber security will likely be two areas that will continue to get attention from bankers in 2017. These issues impact banks of all sizes across the country and will likely be a concern well beyond 2017. Hansen: We need to pay attention to the commercial real estate market conditions and concentrations, liquidity risks in a potentially rising rate environment, and risk management requirements on a variety of fronts. Maintaining discipline in these areas while growing a bank is a delicate balance. Sailus: There will be challenges in the FinTech field as they continue to seek funds for the peer-to-peer marketplace, for banks that have exposure to the oil and gas industries and for non-depository lenders deciding to continue raising capital or partner with a bank. Stewart and Joyce: While, overall, the industry looks strong, some privately held, commercial and industrial businesses haven’t recovered as quickly from the recession of 2008. They may need a few more good years of improved revenues before they begin borrowing again to make investments in their businesses. Thorell: The overwhelming regulatory burden on the banking system that has been implemented over the past six years has proven to a negative in some areas. Government regulatory agencies are going to have to look into a reduction of unnecessary tired regulations that are outdated to today’s banking models. Wiest: I think you should watch multifamily housing. I attended a lenders conference in California two weeks ago. You can obtain non-recourse loans at rates in the low 3 percent fixed for 30 years. Those kinds of terms invite investors who have little skin in the game and could end up bailing if the markets change.

We are carefully tracking the growth of nonbank financial service providers — including the increasing crowdfunding sector


AB | November-December 2016


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AB | November-December 2016



We don’t just rent money, we are job creators and provide families with opportunities to improve their lives every single day. Barry: One of our major challenges will be securing enough banking talent to support the growth the market is experiencing. The downturn distracted our ability to attract a younger workforce into the industry. Berg: We are carefully tracking the growth of non-bank financial service providers — including the increasing crowd funding sector — in the consumer and small business markets. While these providers were launched to compete with traditional banks, over the next few years we should begin to see whether they will stay independent as bank alternatives or begin to partner with existing banks. AB: What has been your biggest challenge over the last year? Hansen: While the prolonged low interest rate environment

remains a challenge to net interest margins and earnings growth, we are highly focused on our customers’ experience and putting bankers in the best position to help them. Recruiting and developing good bankers remains the best way to increase our client base and revenue streams. Sailus: The regulatory and compliance environment has dramatically raised the cost of doing business. To keep pace with the ever-increasing rules and new interpretations has meant we needed to hire more compliance and legal staff and set up more thorough reviews of our practices to ensure we stay in compliance. Schwallie: For the banking industry, it continues to be the low rate environment. It makes for a challenging environment. We continue to remain disciplined about our expenditures and maintain outstanding relationships with our clients. Stewart and Joyce: In a market dominated by large brands with dozens – if not hundreds – of locations, our biggest challenge 106

AB | November-December 2016

in Arizona is brand recognition. Interestingly, brand building is also one of our greatest successes. We have seen continued strong organic growth through the relationships we’ve built and referrals from existing clients. Thorell: Jobs, jobs and jobs. Finding well-qualified, educated bankers to help our bank grow successfully is our biggest challenge. Our industry has had nearly a 10 percent job loss since 2009 — nearly 300,000 — and we have not been replacing those positions with seasoned banking professionals that left the industry. Wiest: Like most banks, we have two major challenges. The first is loan demand. Ten years after the recession started, loan demand is still not at the same level. I think there are two reasons for that. The first is the demographic trends. Boomers are looking at retirement, have faced diminished returns on some assets and may be gun shy about taking on new risk. The next group has not made the same income stream the Boomers did. They may not have the financial capacity to make large investments. There is light  in the tunnel, though. Millennials are a big group and as the Boomers retire, the Millennials that have a skill are going to be well compensated. I believe they will also make investments in commercial real estate, for example, because they value lifestyle investments and businesses. The second challenge is talent. Let’s face it: banking isn’t the sexiest career path. And it’s highly regulated, which doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity or flexibility in certain areas. Arizona is especially challenging for community bank talent due to the small number of banks in this state and the challenges of retaining young talent in a state that borders a bigger sexier market like California.  Zito: When Western Alliance Bank reached the $10 billion mark | 602.912.6720

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ABA in assets, we faced new challenges — challenges that required additional intellectual capital and technological enhancements. By streamlining back-end efficiencies, we have managed our expenses, while continuing to provide enhanced, personalized and responsive service  our clients have grown to expect. Today, we exceed $16 billion in total assets. Alliance Bank of Arizona is proud to be part  of one of the the fastest-growing banking companies in country, ranked 10th in Forbes’ 2016 “Best Banks in America” list. Barry: The competitive environment has increased substantially and as such we have begun to see some signs of relaxation in underwriting standards. Despite this trend, our bank is adhering to good underwriting principals. Berg: The ever increasing regulatory environment emanating from Washington D.C. and the European Union has challenged the industry, dramatically increasing the cost of doing business.  The (Loan Syndications & Trading Association), the American Bankers Association and other groups in the industry have worked with government to ensure sensible regulation, rather than regulation for regulation sake. The Arizona Bankers Association has been at the forefront of these efforts and kept members apprised of developments in a real time manner. Classen: The overall pace of change in the industry has been a primary challenge for many years now. Not only are we competing with banks, but also with financial technology companies such as PayPal’s Venmo Person To Person Payments and Intuit’s Rocket Mortgage. To succeed we have invested substantially in IT and developed innovative mobile and online banking solutions. For instance, we’ll join a short list of banks that will offer instant person-to-person transfers at no charge, using the ClearXChange network, starting next year. AB: What has been your biggest success story over the past year? Sailus: Positioning people from different parts of the bank

and regions to work together on teams in what I call a non-silent approach. By integrating those teams to provide our clients with a more seamless delivery of products and services, we’ve seen a very nice jump in business in 2016, and we expect an even bigger one next year. Stewart and Joyce: Bankers Trust is proud of the growth we have achieved since opening our doors in Arizona in 2008. Much of that growth has been through referrals. In 2015, we moved into a larger space, which has enabled continued growth and increased presence in Arizona. Bankers Trust will celebrate its Centennial in 2017, so we will leverage that milestone as we continue to build our brand in Arizona. Thorell: We have continued to be a dominant player in the small business lending space, despite being substantially smaller than our local and regional competitors. We are helping local businesses that are creating jobs in Arizona. To us, that is a huge success story that isn’t told enough. Wiest: To solve our issue with loan demand, we hired a small SBA group in Southern California. I am familiar with that market, so I actually spend time there meeting with our new clients. After just four months, we are seeing the positive impact 108

AB | November-December 2016

on both our balance sheet and our earnings. I was also honored to be the first banker who took a chance on a retired vet who started a business that has grown exponentially because he had the capital sources to do so. Paul Smiley has several hundred employees and gave our bank a shout out at the SBA awards when he won the SBA business of the year. It reminded me that we don’t just rent money, we are job creators and provide  families with opportunities to improve their lives every single day.  Zito: We owe our success to attracting and developing talented commercial bankers, whose local market knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit has allowed us to deepen existing relationships while growing our footprint. Today, we’re ranked fourth in deposits in Maricopa County, seventh in the state. This market position, along with our industry and sector expertise, has allowed us to explore, build and grow specialty lines of business.  One such specialty is hotel franchise finance. We were able to translate our expertise in that specialty line into a big market advantage, culminating in the acquisition of  GE Capital’s domestic, select-service hotel franchise finance loan portfolio. Barry: Our biggest success story has been our role in providing senior debt financing in the middle and lower middle market mergers and acquisitions space. We have assisted many notable M&A transactions over the last 12 to 18 months. Berg: Quarles & Brady has internally been successful in integrating its banking practice across practice areas and clients. We are now able to service our banking clients in teams, servicing all of our clients’ needs seamlessly and in a coordinated fashion. This has significantly increased our business with many clients and in the industry. Classen: FirstBank’s commitment to consistent and high quality customer service has resulted in a nearly 20 percent increase in both deposits and loans in Arizona over the last year. Since opening in Arizona in 2007, we have continuously built significant personal and business customer relationships, for which we are very grateful. Last year in Arizona, we hit an especially big milestone: originating more than $1 billion in loans. Hansen: National Bank of Arizona has enjoyed widespread success this year. While there are always challenges, we are benefitting from internal partnering and a great group innovative of clients.  AB: How do you think automated banks will impact the industry? Schwallie: Banking is a relationship business and we don’t

believe that will change. That said, we look to service our customers in any and all channels they choose to do their banking. We continue to work on building and enhancing a unified customer experience where the service is seamless across multiple channels. Stewart and Joyce: While technology will continue to shape the industry, research tells us our customers want to interact with us in a variety of ways – mobile, online and in person. We work to provide the best possible customer experience across those platforms. Our new location in the Esplanade, for example, is what the industry refers to as a “universal banking” model, which allows us to serve customers in a more personal way and build stronger relationships with them. Thorell: All bank branches will not go away completely as currently rumored, but the automated banks will force brick-andmortar banks to think differently over the next decade as they continue to grow and exist in our community, regardless of your size. AB | November-December 2016



We view Arizona as very strong through 2017 Wiest: I think the FinTech type lenders are going to be a positive development for both their industry and the banks. It will provide our banks with a lower origination costs, ease the talent shortage and give the FinTech companies the capital and systems the regulators will expect. Zito: A great customer experience is technology-enhanced, personalized and proactive services. Technology will never supplant the value of a personal business banking relationship.  Understanding  what matters to our clients — what drives them — is priceless.  Nonetheless, technology has a role. It serves to enhance our banking relationships by affording our clients greater access to our top decision makers and the capital they need to grow by enhancing communication, transparency, and — of course — security. Barry: The “FinTech” phenomenon presents new challenges and opportunities. It represents the potential to more efficiently move money from one place to another. It’s a new reality and one in which we are responding to. Berg: There has been and will continue to be a natural tension between personal service and automation. Although there will always be a need for personal service in the banking industry, technological innovation — including addressing security issues — will continue to be a driver with banks at the forefront.   Classen: It seems logical that branch count will drop given alternative options for banking nowadays, including P2P payments, mobile wallet, and remote check deposit. Banks will have to be innovators in products and technology to continue to be successful. Hansen: If you think about how digital and mobile innovation has already changed the landscape, there are even greater opportunities over the next decade. That said, how we manage those risks that are inherent in new technology and innovation will differentiate the banks that are successful, both in partnering with and competing against new players. Sailus: We believe that automation isn’t a bad thing, as long as it is to support and enhance the delivery of services in a personable way. Innovation has to be a key for the banking industry to deliver better, more secure and cost-effective client services in the coming years. AB: What is your industry outlook for 2017? Stewart and Joyce: We view Arizona as very strong through

2017. Phoenix, especially, has recovered very well and, again, we don’t see any early indicators that the market is overheating. The 110

AB | November-December 2016

interest rate and regulatory environment will potentially impact the industry, in general, in 2017 and beyond. Thorell: The banking industry will continue to steadily improve overall, but we will continue to see a higher level of consolidation of small and regional banks that will, by necessity, have to find merger partners to be able to scale the costs of being in the banking business. Wiest: I expect to see one or two quarter-percent increases in interest rates. I also see another year of consolidation, more compliance and lackluster loan demand. But I am optimistic in that the economy seems to be positive, which could give us a lift IF our folks in Washington can get their act together and realize that there is a direct correlation between the performance of the economy and a strong community banking system. Barry: I am bullish on 2017 and see growth at an accelerated, but responsible pace. Berg: Currently, my outlook is positive as I believe the banking industry has weathered low interest rates and many of the new regulations, and the industry is generally better positioned for 2017. However, there are many variables that could alter that outlook, such as the elections and corresponding treatment of the industry, privacy and security issues, interest rates and the overall economic environment. Classen: Assuming the current economic trends of 2016 continue into 2017, I believe the banking industry will see moderate growth, continued stability, and success in developing new and impactful banking technology for consumers and businesses. Hansen: The industry will see rapid innovation, regulatory challenges, mobile and digital opportunities, and competition from FinTech firms. We will see increased regulation and oversight from these firms, as well as continued revenue and earnings growth for the industry as a whole. Sailus: Growth in Arizona will remain manageable and sustainable versus what we went through pre-recession. We expect to continue seeing new businesses moving to Arizona, and growth in both small and mid range companies.  Residential housing will enjoy relatively low rates, affordable prices, limited existing housing inventory, and builders ramping up development projects. Schwallie: We are excited about 2017. Again, we think the economy is trending in a positive direction and that business remains strong here in Arizona.



things to watch

that could impact banking in 2017


anks put a tremendous number of man hours and pour a staggering amount of resources in analytics so they can better understand, navigate and predict their risk environment. But there are some things that just cannot be predicted and banking leaders have to sit back and take a wait-andsee attitude. Technology, politics, interest rates and the economy are just some of the things analystics cannot predict. Here are 10 things Arizona banking leaders say to watch for in 2017. They could shake the foundation of the industry. 1. Dodd-Frank implications Jack Barry, president and CEO of the Arizona Region, Enterprise Bank: “Increased regulatory oversight. We are still seeing significant implications of Dodd-Frank and that continues to have a big impact on the industry.” 2. Interest rates Scott Berg, chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Practice, Quarles & Brady LLP: “Apart from the federal elections, interest rates could have the biggest impact on the industry in 2017. If interest rates rise, particularly significantly, although this would generally be good for the banking industry, there could be an adverse effect on many consumers and small businesses, who currently pay low interest on their borrowings, resulting in a wave of defaults.”


AB | November-December 2016

3. Federal Reserve Kevin Classen, president – West Valley Market, FirstBank: “A Federal Reserve decision to move interest rates from current levels could have a meaningful impact on the banking industry in 2017. Interest rates are currently at historically low levels and affect nearly all parts of banking from loan production to earnings.” 4. Innovation Curt Hansen, chief operating officer, National Bank of Arizona: “Rapid innovation and change driven by financial technology companies and how depository institutions partner, compete and manage associated risks will be interesting in 2017.” 5. Politics Chris Sailus, vice president and Northeast Arizona division manager, Washington Federal Bank: “Uncertainty. The political environment will be a question mark for some time, no matter who takes the presidency, until we see their regulatory stance. Just as important are interest rates; the expectations of the market and the direction from the Federal Reserve moves from Fed meeting to meeting. Moving rates up too quickly can cause detrimental effects in consumer and commercial lending, and potentially ruin a recovering housing market.”

6. The economy Brian Schwallie, Arizona market president, U.S. Bank: “In 2017 it will continue to be the rate environment and some of the economic challenges the country continues to face. We are in an election year, so a lot will happen in the next six to 12 months. We will continue to stay steadfast in servicing our customers and maintaining close relationships with our clients.” 7. Cybersecurity Joe Stewart, Arizona market president, and Patrick Joyce, Arizona commercial lending manager, Bankers Trust: “Cybersecurity is an issue that will continue to have a big impact on the industry. Bankers Trust is committed to the financial safety and security of our customers and we have made significant investments in both people and technology to stay ahead of potential threats. We are also keeping our eye on interest rates and the impact financial technology startup companies – or FinTechs – may have on the banking industry.” 8. Mobile banking Mike Thorell, president and CEO, Pinnacle Bank: “Mobile Banking will continue to have the biggest impact on banking for some time to come. Banks of all shapes and sizes will have to reinvent themselves to adapt to the technological appetite of the American public.”

9. Over-regulation Candace D. Wiest, president and CEO, West Valley Bancorp, Inc. and West Valley National Bank: “Regulatory burden is going to continue to be a problem in terms of costs, the business lines we will have to give up, the talent we need to be in compliance compared with the talent available and the brain damage of dealing with all of this. It makes zero sense to have community banks bound by rules made for the too-big-to-fail banks. Our risk profiles are incredibly different and if we fail, we don’t take down the free world economy. All of this combined has caused record-setting consolidation of the industry. We lose one community bank a day. If consolidation keeps going at this rate, it makes the big banks bigger and limits options for consumers and rural communities.” 10. Mergers Ed Zito, president, Alliance Bank of Arizona: “We expect to see continued growth and slightly higher interest rates. We also can expect more bank mergers and branch consolidations as the banking industry at large grapples with the ‘ideal’ online/offline balance to meet the changing expectations of customers. As a dedicated commercial bank, our growth is indicative of what we believe is the perfect balance. By servicing our clients where they live and work has allowed us to be more nimble and strategic with branch expansion.

AB | November-December 2016


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AB | November-December 2016

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future on the

Why have Americans forgotten how to save money and how can we change that? By JESSE A. MILLARD


he old line, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” seems to have been forgotten in recent years. It goes without saying how important it is to save. Without some sort of savings you can’t retire comfortably, meet sudden costs like healthcare emergencies, or afford that really expensive camera you’ve had your eye on. The Great Recession, yes we’re still talking about it, hurt nearly everyone, forcing many to clean out their savings so they could weather the storm. A Pew Research Center report in 2010 found that four-in-ten adults who had a savings, checking or retirement account withdrew money from those very places you’re Ben Garcia continuously advised to forget about and leave alone. Now, we’ve been in what many have called the recovery period, with Arizona only recently fully recovering from the downturn, but many of the jobs the state as recouped have left folks underemployed, which can have an impact on how much people save.

Eric Palmer


AB | November-December 2016

A recent poll conducted by the Associated PressNORC Center for Public Affairs Research found twothirds of Americans would have a tough go at paying for a $1,000 emergency. Eric Palmer, chief marketing officer at Brokers Alliance, says the poll shows people just aren’t saving as much as they used to. “We lost the art of saving,” Palmer says. “(Saving) was something the late generations were good at. Over time, it just seems that it’s becoming less and less of a priority.” Another report, released by the Federal Reserve in May, found 47 percent of its respondents had an emergency or rainy day fund that could meet three months worth of expenses. “Overall, many individuals appear ill-prepared for financial emergencies that may arise,” the Federal Reserve study states about its overall poll results. Palmer says there isn’t enough education around the art of saving. With today’s technology and the ondemand economy, it can be hard to save when there’s a new iPhone to buy or several dozen streaming services for which to pay. And it’s not just young 20-somethings who might not be saving their money because there’s so much to buy. The older generations are having a tough time at saving, too, because we’re all spending more than we’re saving, Palmer says. It’s just an overall change in habits across the country and across generations, he adds.

AB | November-December 2016


ABA Interest rates Beyond having more bills to pay, low interest rates on savings accounts has been disheartening to potential savers, too. Even though the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade last December from the zero percent to .25 percent range to .25 percent to .5 percent, according to CNN Money, it’s still not enough to convince people to save. Palmer says the low interest rates certainly have an effect on people’s saving habits because there isn’t much incentive or value for folks to stash their cash in the bank. Ben Garcia, Chase Bank’s Arizona market director in Consumer and Community Banking, says bankers get a lot of questions about interest rates when folks are looking to save. Just like there is more than one way to skin a cat, though, there are many ways to save your hard-earned dough. Garcia likens saving to investing, where you should put your money in multiple vehicles instead of just one savings account. “It’s a must,” Garcia says about spreading your assets. “It’s not good to have it all in one place.” Putting away money in a certificate of deposit and retirement funds to spread the wealth are all great ways to spread the wealth and save.

Out of sight, out of mind Saving with the classic mentality that you never really earned that money in the first place, is probably the best way to save your assets, Palmer says. Having your savings set up in a way where the money is put away into a 401k or some other type of savings vehicle before it even reaches your pocket will leave you surprised at how much you can save, Palmer says. If you received your whole paycheck, it might be a lot harder to put some money away, he says. It’s also best to have two savings accounts, Palmer adds. One account can be used for fun stuff like vacations and fancy clothes, while the other is strictly for emergencies. It may take a while, but it’s best to have six months worth of your earnings saved up in the emergency account, Palmer says. Everyone is different, though, and it may not be easy to save your assets because of financial obligations. Garcia says saving depends on the individual, and as long as you look at your assets and determine you’re saving enough for your goals, then the right steps are being taken.

Back to school Low-income families especially have trouble saving. Complaints about wage growth is one reason, but Garcia says education is another reason low-income families aren’t saving enough. Chase Bank has programs where its bankers go out into the community to teach financial planning and education, Garcia says. It’s especially beneficial to start young. Recently, Chase Bankers were on hand at the Salvation Army Kroc Center’s Back to School Bash to teach kids financial leassons. Savings is just one of those things that should be started early. “All of us in the finance industry would like more folks saving,” Garcia says.


AB | November-December 2016

Maybe we ARE saving?


he JPMorgan Chase Institute released a report on gas prices in early July revealing that people are saving more money now, but it’s at the gas pump. The report found: •

In 2015, households across the nation spent about $480 less on gas compared with 2014, increasing annual income for 60 percent of households

The money folks saved at the pump generated a potential savings of $632 for middle-income households

With the extra money, households spent approximately 34 percent of it on non-gas goods and services, mostly restaurants , retail and online retail

The low gas prices specifically helped households making less than $30,000, freeing up $332

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In life, you question everything. The same should be true when it comes to managing your wealth. Do you know what your investment recommendations are based on? Does your financial professional stand by their word? Do you know how much you’re paying in fees? And how those fees affect your returns? Ask your financial professional, and if you don’t like their answers, ask again at Schwab. We think you’ll like what we have to say. To speak to a Financial Consultant, stop by the Schwab Biltmore Phoenix Branch or call (602) 553-7908 today. 6350 N. 24th Street Phoenix, AZ 85016

Schwab ranked “Highest in Investor Satisfaction with Full-Service Brokerage Firms.”* Brokerage Products: Not FDIC-Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value

To see how Schwab stands by our word, visit *Charles Schwab received the highest numerical score in the J.D. Power 2016 Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study, based on 6,006 responses from 20 firms measuring opinions of investors who used full-service investment institutions and were surveyed in January 2016. Your experiences may vary. Visit There are eligibility requirements to work with a dedicated Financial Consultant. Wealth management refers to products and services available through the operating subsidiaries of the Charles Schwab Corporation of which there are important differences including, but not limited to, the type of advice and assistance provided, fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences when determining which products and/or services to select. The Charles Schwab Corporation provides a full range of brokerage, banking, and financial advisory services through its operating subsidiaries. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”), Member SIPC, offers investment services and products, including Schwab brokerage accounts. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides deposit and lending services and products. ASK QUESTIONS. BE ENGAGED. OWN YOUR TOMORROW. is a trademark of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ©2016 The Charles Schwab Corporation. All rights reserved. (1115-9S75) ADP92110-00 (09/16)

YOUR GOALS MATTER. That’s why our in-depth knowledge and expertise can be your advantage. We are relationship-focused and highly responsive, bringing you deep local roots, expert bankers, access to decision-makers, flexible solutions and a real commitment to superior service. All part of $16 billion Western Alliance Bancorporation, ranked #10 in the Forbes 2016 “Best Banks in America” list.

Your business matters.

Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division of Western Alliance Bank. Member FDIC.


AzBusiness magazine November/December 2016  

In this issue of Az Business magazine, the spotlight shines on many companies and business leaders who are improving the quality of life for...

AzBusiness magazine November/December 2016  

In this issue of Az Business magazine, the spotlight shines on many companies and business leaders who are improving the quality of life for...