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10 FALL 2019 2012

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

REASONS

TUCSON +

SPECIAL REPORT:

TECH PARKS ARIZONA

www.BizTucson.com

FALL 2019 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 12/31/19


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BizLETTER 10 Reasons Millennials Tucson

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Volume 11 No. 3

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Photo: Steven Meckler

The cover theme for our Winter 2016 edition was “Hot Spot For Millenials.” The community was buzzing with the exciting news that Money Magazine just released its rankings for Best Cities for Millennials…and Tucson was rated as # 4 in the U.S. Journalist Eric Swedlund provided our readers with a “deep dive” on the many factors that contributed to this ranking. Recently, our team had a great meeting at Hotel Congress and discussed doing a Millennial update, based on the many advancements of Downtown’s revitalization, the city’s achieving the designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, being named one of the world’s nine best cities for events and festivals – plus Sun Corridor Inc.’s many expansion and attraction “wins” with major employers (Caterpillar, Raytheon, Amazon, etc.), a robust entrepreneurial climate and a growing startup economy, not to mention the recent Outside Magazine ranking, choosing Tucson as the #2 best place to live in the U.S. BizTucson compiled a list of 10 factors that make Tucson an attractive place for millennials and young professionals – based on research, interviews and feedback from the region’s businesses, leaders and our readers. At the heart of our city is one of the nation’s top-tier research universities. The University of Arizona is where the love affair with Tucson begins for many. This year marks the 25th anniversary for Tech Parks Arizona, which includes the UA Tech Park at Rita Road and the new UA Tech Park at The Bridges. Our team provides an in-depth Special Report on this Hub of Innovation that contributes a staggering $2 billion to the region’s economy annually. The 1,300-acre technology and research park in Vail houses 45 companies, and is home to many successful startups. We also provide an exciting “sneak preview” of the new UA Center for Innovation bioscience incubator in Oro Valley, located in Innovation Park, which is also home to Roche Tissue Diagnostics.

“The entrepreneurial spirit at the University of Arizona is changing. It is really a new day at the Tech Parks,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona and president of the UA Center for Innovation. Regarding the Center for Innovation, Stewart said “we are a full service incubator. We don’t just service one aspect of the startup company. Entrepreneurs need to consider money requirements, product development, who their customers will be, as well as what team they are going to put in place to run the company.” University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins said, “Ultimately it is the responsibility of the UA to be a catalyst and a driver for economic development.” Eric Swedlund interviewed Robbins to learn about his vision for the UA Tech Park at The Bridges, a 65-acre complex near I-10 and a straight shot from the university. In this edition, you’ll also meet the new President of Raytheon Missile Systems, Wesley Kremer. After college, Kremer served our country for 11 years in the U.S. Air Force, as a weapons system officer, who put in more than 1,500 hours flying fighter aircraft, including more than 90 combat sorties over Iraq and Bosnia. “I actually used Raytheon products,” Kremer said. “While in the Air Force, I learned that Raytheon represents the gold standard of quality engineered military defense products.” Journalist David Pittman files an insightful interview. This fall our team will continue to follow these and other developments that define our future. Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

Contributing Editors

Jay Gonzales Donna Kreutz

Contributing Copyeditors

Elena Acoba Diane Luber

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project & Event Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Elena Acoba Lee Allen Rhonda Bodfield April Bourie Rodney Campbell Mary Minor Davis Anthony Gimino Jay Gonzales Tara Kirkpatrick

Tiffany Kjos Christy Krueger Tom Leyde David Pittman Steve Rivera Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman

Contributing Photographers

Damion Alexander Joey Ambrose Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney Nicci Radhe Joe Ramirez David Sanders Rebecca Sasnett Member:

Arizona Builders’ Alliance DM-50 Southern Arizona Leadership Council Sun Corridor Inc. Tucson Advertising Federation Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tucson Metro Chamber Visit Tucson

BizTucson Phone: 520.299.1005 Subscription Information:

www.BizTucson.com subscriptions@BizTucson.com Advertising information:

Steve Rosenberg 520.299.1005 or 520.907.1012 steve@BizTucson.com BizTucson is published quarterly by Rosenberg Media, LLC., Tucson, AZ ©2019 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns or articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

POSTMASTER:

Please send address changes to: BizTucson, 4729 East Sunrise Drive, #505 Tucson, AZ 85718.

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BizCONTENTS

FEATURES

FALL 2019 VOLUME 11 NO. 3

COVER STORY:

134 10 Reasons Millennials Tucson

DEPARTMENTS

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32 65

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BizLETTER From the Publisher

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BizDEFENSE Raytheon’s New President: Wesley Kremer

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BizMILESTONE Commercial Real Estate Success: Larsen Baker

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BizSPORTS UA Women’s Basketball Coach: Adia Barnes NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Banner-UMC Medicine El Tour de Tucson

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BizTOURISM Visit Tucson’s Tourism Master Plan

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BizMUSIC Tucson Desert Song Festival

Spring Fall 2019 2018

BizSALES Sales Guru Jeffrey Gitomer BizCOMMERCE GEICO Moves in at The Bridges BizNONPROFIT Growth Partners Arizona

BizCONSTRUCTION 162 New To Market

65 Tech Parks Arizona’s 25th Anniversary

SPECIAL REPORT 2019

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

BizHONORS Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce BizBANKING Commerce Bank of Arizona

ABOUT THE COVER 10 Reasons Millennials Tucson Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis <<<

BizTECHNOLOGY TuSimple Partners with Pima Community College

SPECIAL REPORT

BizAUTOMOTIVE OOROO Auto Hits the Road

BizPHILANTHROPY 130 H.S. Lopez Foundation Center of Opportunity

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BizARTS Film Fest Tucson

BizBENEFIT 172 Tucson Classics Car Show BizTRIBUTE 174 Ken Flower 176 George Kalil 178 Dick Tomey

BizFUNDING 117 Igniting Innovative Minds 120 BizHOSPITALITY New Hotel Opens Near UA Tech Park 124 126

154 156 158 160

BizMILESTONE Hip & Historic: Hotel Congress at 100

BizEDUCATION 166 New Building for JTED

BizVIEWPOINT 52 Q & A with Outgoing Mayor Jonathan Rothschild BizMEDICINE 56 Robotics Improving Outcomes for Prostate Cancer BizHEALTHCARE 60 Pima Medical Institute’s New Campus 62

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DUSK cover photo courtesy Dusk Music Festival The LOOP cover photo courtesy Pima County

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Wesley D. Kremer

President Raytheon Missile Systems 24 BizTucson

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BizDEFENSE

Raytheon’s Wesley Kremer

Focusing on ‘Velocity & Efficiency’ By David Pittman Long before becoming president of Raytheon Missile Systems, Wesley D. Kremer experienced the powerful technological advantage the company provides our nation’s soldiers. A Montana boy who grew up near Yellowstone National Park, Kremer used an Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend Montana State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Following graduation, he served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force as a weapon systems officer who put in more than 1,500 hours flying fighter aircraft, including more than 90 combat sorties over Iraq and Bosnia from 1993 to 1996. “I actually used Raytheon products,” Kremer said. “While in the Air Force, I learned first-hand that Raytheon represents the gold standard in providing quality-engineered military defense products. The things we accomplish in this company to protect our warfighters and give them a technological advantage on the battlefield is absolutely amazing. It’s been interesting coming full circle on that.” Also while in the Air Force, Kremer earned an MBA in engineering technology management from City University of Seattle. A few years after leaving military service, Kremer began seeking work in the defense industry and was recruited and hired by Raytheon. “Coming out of the military, I’ve always challenged myself to be around people smarter than me – and I’ve been able to live that every day since I joined Raytheon in 2003,” he said. “I feel passionately that it’s the dedication and talent of the people in this company that make Raytheon what it is.”

On March 30, Kremer succeeded Taylor Lawrence, who retired after 11 years as president of Raytheon Missile Systems, the world’s leading producer of weapon systems for the U.S. military and allied forces of more than 50 countries. Kremer praised Lawrence’s leadership in guiding Raytheon Missile Systems through an era of growth and expansion. The latest data available from Arizona State University shows Raytheon has a $2.1 billion per year impact on the Arizona economy and does business with more than 500 suppliers throughout the state. Raytheon employs about 13,000 people in Arizona and is Pima County’s largest employer. “Taylor (Lawrence) did a great job growing RMS and it’s my duty to continue that legacy,” said Kremer. “The explosive growth he orchestrated was marked by the expansion of facilities, the addition of thousands of jobs and an increased positive impact on the local economy. My job is to continue his legacy and drive RMS to the next level.” Kremer, 54, said his future focus at RMS could be described as “continuing to accelerate our growth with velocity and efficiency. “Since returning to RMS, velocity and efficiency have been my mantra,” he said. “The threat environment has placed so much business in front of us that we have to go faster to keep pace with the needs of our global customers. We are continuously identifying and exploiting new ways to operate more efficiently. We owe it to our all of our stakeholders to accelerate the output of this great business.” Continued growth at RMS means more employees will be needed, which presents a difficult challenge because of changing demographics causing worker shortages. “We continue to hire at Raytheon at a rate of about 2,000 per year on a national basis,” Kremer said. “We’ll do that this year and we expect to do that next year. Close to 50% of our employees have been here five years or less, because the company is growing and a lot of the people who were hired during the last defense buildup in the 1980s are recontinued on page 26 >>> Fall 2019

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BizDEFENSE

continued from page 25 tiring. That’s contributed to us having a new and diverse workforce, which is both amazing and exciting. “Nearly 20% of Raytheon’s more than 64,000 employees nationwide are veterans,” he said. “RMS thrives on diversity. We have veterans from all military services. Diversity is important not only among our veterans, but also within our entire workforce. Our people come from different backgrounds, nationalities and upbringings; and I’ve learned that having that diversity contributes to our ability to innovate and offer superior solutions to our customers.” Kremer has had a meteoric career at Raytheon. He began a two-year stint as GM of Raytheon’s Advanced Products Center in Dallas in 2006. He joined RMS in Tucson in 2008 as director of Systems Design and Performance Engineering. He was named director of the Standard Missile-3 program in 2010 and was promoted the next year to VP for air and missile defense. In 2015, Kremer was bumped up to president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, one of the company’s four divisions, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. In early June, about two months after Kremer became president of RMS, Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. announced an agreement to combine companies in “a merger of equals.” The new company will be called Raytheon Technologies and it will combine Raytheon, a leading defense company, with United Technologies, a leading aerospace company. The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2020. Kremer said there is less than 1% job overlap between the two companies, which likely means little to no job loss and speedy approval from federal regulators. “The merger is about creating a leader in aerospace and defense that will make us a more robust company that will be 50% defense and 50% commercial, 50% domestic and 50% international.” Kremer said Raytheon Technologies “will enjoy enhanced resources and financial flexibility” to support significant R&D and capital investment through business cycles. He said the merger will create a juggernaut producing revenues in the neighborhood of $70 billion annually – making Raytheon Technologies the second largest defense contractor in the world.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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BizMILESTONE

From left

Margaret Larsen Co-owner

George Larsen Co-founder

Melissa Lal

President & Co-managing Partner

Andy Seleznov

Executive VP & Partner

Jennifer Raimondi

VP/Treasurer & Partner

Slow, Steady Growth

Brokers Celebrate 25 Years in Tucson By Rodney Campbell Twenty-five years after George Larsen and Don Baker started Larsen Baker as “two broke brokers,” the company is the largest commercial property owner in Tucson. Co-owner Margaret Larsen, who has been there since the beginning and made that colorful observation about the company’s early prospects, credits Larsen Baker’s success to a slow-growth approach that stressed small partnerships and the advantages of knowing the local real estate market. “We built the business steadily – one property, one tenant, one relationship at a time,” said Larsen, who co-owns the business with her husband, George, and three company executives. “Don Baker and George never strayed very far from Tucson, the city they loved.” Today Larsen Baker entities own and manage more than 2.7 million square feet of commercial properties and serve 350 tenants across Southern Arizona. They use their extensive local knowledge to gain an advantage over their competitors. “There are certainly larger national firms decontinued on page 30 >>>

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continued from page 29 veloping commercial real estate in Tucson, but we usually know first which new tenants are looking at Tucson,” she said. “We take that local knowledge and use it to determine what might be the best location to meet that tenant’s need – or to find an opportunity to turn a retail center into an office or vice versa.” One of the company’s biggest challenges came during the 2008-2011 Great Recession. Commercial real estate suffered numerous body blows during that challenging period. According to international real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, office vacancy rates across the U.S. peaked at 17.1% and retail vacancy rates reached 10.1% in 2010. Tucson was as hard hit as anywhere and Larsen Baker had to be creative to keep its tenants. “Those were tough times for our tenants. They would often ask us for rent relief,” Larsen said. “We worked with our tenants. We shared their hardships. We think it made for some very loyal future tenants.” Larsen Baker suffered an unimaginable tragedy in 2016 when co-founder Don Baker and his wife, Dawn, died in an airplane accident while returning from a conference in Deer Valley, Utah. It was a terrible blow personally and professionally to the Larsens and the company. “It was devastating to us,” Margaret Larsen said. “Don Baker was the partner who understood the operations of the company. He managed the staff. He was brilliant, hard-working and dedicated.” Baker’s death made Larsen Baker retool its business. Part of that involved promoting Melissa Lal to company president. “Melissa is bright, insightful and ambitious,” Larsen said. “She is young and brings a new perspective to identifying development opportunities.” Lal started her Larsen Baker career as an administrative assistant in 2007. She had a degree in American literature from the University of Arizona but did not think she wanted to pursue a career as a high school teacher. A friend told her Larsen Baker needed an assistant. Lal had never heard of the company. “I asked my mom if it was a bad idea to take an $11-an-hour secretary job,” said Lal, who now has her CCIM designation, which stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. “She told me, ‘Cream rises, Melissa.’ And she’s been telling me that every day since. I was fortunate to start my career with a company that saw my potential as a leader, promoted me, appreciated my commitment to the company, and saw my talents as a dealmaker.” The company has succeeded during its 25 years, thanks to long-term relationships with tenants and with their real-estate investor partners. Larsen Baker’s track record of making smart investments, being a safe bet for lenders, treating tenants as partners and supporting local charities has made it a trusted brand in Tucson. The company has adjusted after numerous challenges over the past decade and is primed for long-term sustainability. “We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year – but in a lot of ways we’re celebrating our first anniversary as Larsen Baker 2.0,” Lal said. “Larsen Baker 2.0 is all about continuing and honoring the reputation that George, Margaret and Don have created in this community as ‘value-added’ dealmakers who try to always do right by their tenants, investor partners and employees. That will not change.”

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PHOTOS: REBECCA SASNETT

Adia Barnes

Head Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Basketball Coach University of Arizona

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BizSPORTS

Adia Barnes Making It Happen By Steve Rivera On the walls in Adia Barnes’ cozyyet-lived-in McKale Center office you’ll find sayings that read: “Believe in yourself always” and “free your mind” and “hey girl you got this” and “The best is yet to come.” Welcome to Adia Barnes’ world where seeing is believing and believing is making every effort to make it happen. Basketball success can be found on the third floor of McKale Center in the Women’s Basketball Office where Barnes is going into her fourth season as head coach. After Barnes led Arizona to a 24-win season and the program’s best improvement from one year to the next – 18 more wins than the previous season – what’s not to expect but the best in the coming years? “I think what happened was perfect for where we are at,” said Barnes of the Wildcats’ six-game run to the Women’s NIT championship last season. “It was what the city needed and what the team needed. It was disappointing we didn’t make the NCAA tournament, sure, but in hindsight I’m happy because we got to play another month, six more games.” This last season could have been a prelude for coming attractions in the fall. After all, to see all the potential to play out in front of the masses that came out to McKale Center was just another McKale Miracle thanks in part to Barnes’ personality, availability and media savvy. From its first WNIT game where www.BizTucson.com

3,265 fans showed up for a win over Idaho State, fans gradually pushed the expectations and the numbers – 3,534 in game two, 6,307 in game three, 7,717 in game four and 10,135 in game five. In all, more than 45,000 fans packed McKale Center to watch the Wildcats team win the 2019 WNIT, selling out the arena – 14,644 – in the championship win over Northwestern. “It was amazing,” she said. “It was overwhelmingly touching. I don’t know how to explain it. For me, it was fun. It wasn’t scripted.” In fact, after games she’d get the mic and thank the fans because, well, she was grateful they had responded to her team and its success so well. It was like a warm hug. It also came at a time when Wildcats fans needed it. Given the troubles in the men’s basketball team and its disappointing season, Barnes and company took over the role of winner and ran with it. “I think Sean Miller is amazing and he’s a brilliant basketball mind and men’s basketball here is amazing,” she said. “But what (the administration) has done with me is help. If I need something, they brainstorm with me. It’s teamwork. “What we aspire to be is like them. They’ve had success for decades. I want this program to be like that one day.” Few are happier to see the success than Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke, who called UA’s run a “terrific accomplishment.” “Postseason play is important to

teams to be able to extend their season – especially when you can play at home in front of an outstanding fan base,” Heeke said. “To see all of Southern Arizona rally around the team and support the program was a very special sight.” Who would have thought all this possible 20 years ago? Back then, Barnes was creating her own legacy on the court as a player, working and playing her way to best player for UA – ever. Her coach, Joan Bonvicini, said Barnes was determined and focused as a player, later becoming a WNBA player who was more of a role player “who appreciated her role.” Then fate took hold when a coaching opening occurred at the University of Washington and she became a key assistant. “She didn’t have any coaching experience but because Adia is a relationship person and was well respected in the community, they gave her a chance,” Bonvicini said. “She took advantage of it.” It’s carried over to Arizona, where she recently was rewarded for her work and success with a new contract that goes through 2024 and pays her a reported $400,000 per year, up from $235,000. “Adia is an important part of our athletics department because she is a tremendous leader, coach and mentor,” Heeke said. “As a former student-athlete at the University of Arizona, she has a tremendous passion and drive to be a Wildcat and to guide the young women in her program to success on and off the court.” Biz Fall 2019

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BizSPORTS

1 1. The Nevada Wolf Pack defense lines up against Arkansas State in the 2018 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium.

2. University of Nevada Head Coach Jay Norvell holds up the 2018 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl trophy after his team’s victory.

Building an ‘Event’

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Takes Hold of New Year’s Eve By Anthony Gimino A football game is a football game. A bowl game is an event. That’s the theme that fuels the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl as it looks to amplify its unique charitable mission in its fifth season of existence. The bowl is expanding its local imprint this year, moving the game to a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on New Year’s Eve and later hosting the Downtown New Year’s Eve Bowl Bash. No need to be a football fan to get involved in that after-party. “Making that shift to New Year’s Eve was really important to us because what we’re trying to do is build a tradition around our bowl game,” said Kym Adair, executive director of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. “Having that game placed on New 34 BizTucson

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Year’s Eve this year – and hopefully, moving forward, every year – allows Southern Arizonans to know exactly when that game is going to be played, to plan for it and to join us in this tradition.” The downtown party is set for 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. with fireworks launching off the roof of Club Congress at midnight. “We’re creating this Tucson Times Square kind of concept,” Adair said. It’s one of the ways the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl is trying to set itself apart. From a football standpoint, it sits in a crowded field of 40 postseason games in college’s Football Bowl Subdivision. Many of the games that have been added in recent seasons – and still more

are coming after the 2020 season – exist because they are owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of the sports network, as television programming. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl exists to distribute all of its net proceeds to local nonprofits, the only postseason game that does so. Organizers estimate $3.5 million has been distributed in donations and grants to charity, with a four-year economic impact for Southern Arizona that tops $100 million. The announced attendance at the first NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in 2015 was 20,425. The three games since then have averaged 35,123. “When this game first started, it was a few people doing most of the legwork www.BizTucson.com


THE NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL Tuesday, December 31, 2:30 p.m. Arizona Stadium Television: CBS Sports Network Post-game fireworks show at the stadium

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Heroes Tribute Program Platinum Tribute Program ($10,000) 300 donated tickets to local heroes in the South End Zone 8 $125 Stadium Club game tickets (includes food and beverage) 8 Passes to the VIP Party in the Desert Diamond Casino Tailgate Festival

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2 VIP Parking Passes Full-Page ad in the official game program Commemorative NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl football

3. NOVA Home Loans CEO Jon Volpe

4. NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Executive Director Kym Adair

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ing this.” There are a couple of additions to the event package this year: a local talent competition with the finale to be held during a break in the fourth quarter of the game and a fireworks display after the game at Arizona Stadium for those who aren’t going to stay up late to attend the downtown event. Farhang said the bowl expects keep it’s New Year’s Eve date for the next few years. “Tucson is one of those cities that likes winners, and you have to build a tradition over time,” he said. “I think we’ve done a fairly good job of building a foundation where people are seeing all we’re doing and all the things we’re a part of and how it is more than a football game. “As we’ve progressed, we’ve seen more and more support from the community. My dream is that the people of this community see that this matters for all of us in so many different ways, and they block out their calendar for that week and enjoy being a part of it. I hope it resonates to the point where it feels like they have to be there.”

Biz

Silver Tribute Program ($2,500) 75 donated tickets to local heroes in the South End Zone

PHOTOS: COURTESY NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL

because that’s what had to happen,” said Ali Farhang, chair of the bowl’s executive board. “In my opinion, for this game to be an enduring success, it had to be something you gave to the community.” The bowl – televised by the CBS Sports Network the past two years, a step up from the Campus Insiders/ American Sports Network – hopes to bring in a variety of audiences to Arizona Stadium and at its events. Last season, there was a swearing-in ceremony for military service during the game and veterans have been honored on the field. There has been live music at events downtown and after the game, as well as a battle of the bands downtown. And the Heroes Tribute Program has been a success. Under that program, about 14,000 tickets were purchased last year by sponsors and distributed to groups that include active military, veterans, first responders and teachers. “We have a long list of hero organizations that look forward to getting these tickets and passing them out to their members,” Adair said. “That is something that has really, really benefited us and it keeps the focus on why we’re do-

Gold Tribute Program ($5,000) 150 donated tickets to local heroes in the South End Zone

ALL Heroes Tribute Program Sponsors will receive the following: • Logo will appear on the videoboard as a part of the Heroes Tribute Program Pre-Game Ceremonies • Logo will appear on the videoboard in-game promoting the Heroes Tribute Program • 1 position in both end zones LED rotation during the game • Logo rotation on Stadium QuadVision • Logo and link on Heroes Tribute Program page of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl website • Name recognition on the Heroes Tribute Program page in the official game program Packages can be purchased on the bowl website at www.novaarizonabowl.com. All packages are customizable by calling 520-203-7333.

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BizBRIEF

Cox Continues to Increase Internet Speeds Cox customers in Tucson will automatically get increased internet speeds and have access to three new products under the cable giant’s continuing investment in customer experience. Internet speeds were increased in the summer for Premier and Preferred customers. Customers with the Ultimate package will be added by October. Speeds were increased by 33% or 50%, depending on the service. Cox said it has increased internet speeds for these customers for 14 straight years. The new products are Panoramic WiFi Pods that eliminate coverage dead zones at home, the Contour Stream Player that gives users access to all their streaming services from the cable box or

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wirelessly, and the Panoramic WiFi app that gives users greater control of their home network. “These new products and features are part of a national rollout – but will make the biggest splash in Arizona, which is Cox’s largest market,” said Lisa Lovallo, Southern Arizona market VP for Cox. “This gives us an opportunity to closely monitor customers’ feedback and pain points.” Cox serves South Tucson, Green Valley, Sahuarita and some unincorporated areas of Pima County. (The Foothills, Marana, Oro Valley, Oracle and unincorporated Pima County areas north of Tucson are serviced by Comcast.) The new products are part of Cox’s aim to allow users to create a seamlessly

internet-connected home while giving them more control over their home network. The Panoramic WiFi, for instance, includes the ability to control internet access at specific times on specific devices and provides parental controls. “Our goal was to bring families closer together,” said Lovallo. “With so many devices in the home, giving parents the ability to pause internet access during intimate moments like dinner and family time is really important to us.” Cox expects to spend $10 billion over the next five years to offer new products for residential consumers, improve its network and technology and offer new services to its business customers.

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BizBRIEFS

Richelle Litteer Richelle Litteer has joined the Kozolchyk National Law Center as VP of development following a successful role as the primary fundraiser for Diamond Children’s Hospital’s $30 million capital campaign. The 25-year Tucson resident has worked in marketing, sales and fundraising for local, regional and national corporations. The law center, known as NatLaw, is a nonprofit research and education institution with the University of Arizona’s James E. Roger College of Law. Biz

Jay Gonzales Tucson native Jay Gonzales is now president of the Tucson Sugar Skulls indoor football team. He previously was the team’s director of media relations. He is responsible for non-football operations. That includes corporate sales and sponsorships, ticketing, game operations and media and community relations. He is a former contributing editor for BizTucson magazine, public affairs manager for Tucson Electric Power, City of Tucson communications director and Arizona Daily Star reporter.

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2019 BANNER-UNIVERSITY MEDICINE EL TOUR DE TUCSON Primary beneficiary Diamond Children’s Medical Center Ride 100, 50, or 25 miles or the Fun Ride  of 10, 4 or 1 miles Expected number of Cyclists: 6,000+ Various start locations and times from 7 a.m. Last finish at 5:30 p.m. at Armory Park, 6th Ave at 13th St. Entry fee: $190 thru Nov. 15, then $200 thru Nov. 22

PHOTOS: DAMION ALEXANDER

Youth $40 thru Nov. 22 Online registration closes Nov. 19 www.perimeterbicycling.com info@perimeterbicycling.com

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BizSPORTS

El Tour de Tucson Endures Bumps in the Road Event Rides on for 37th Year By Romi Carrell Wittman El Tour de Tucson has become as much a part of Tucson’s Thanksgiving holiday as turkey and pumpkin pie. The internationally acclaimed annual biking event celebrates its 37th year on Nov. 23 and its roughly 9,000 participants – representing some 20 countries – will notice some changes, most notably the elimination of the 75-mile race. Behind the scenes, a new CEO, Charlene Grabowski, will be at the helm. And the event also got a huge boost in August when Banner-University Medicine stepped up with a $175,000 title sponsorship. Diamond Children’s Medical Center will be this year’s primary beneficiary. Rio Nuevo also is a major sponsor. Tucson lawyer and El Tour Board Chair Pat Lopez said the race changes were needed to make the event more economically sustainable and more enjoyable for riders. “We want to make it more of a celebration, a community-wide event,” said Lopez. The elimination of the 75-mile ride will help streamline race logistics. Lopez added that, in 2020, event organizers hope to introduce a 62-mile ride in place of the 50-mile ride. The 62 miles – 100 kilometers – is known as a “metric century” in cycling circles. All rides will still end downtown at Armory Park. These small changes reflect some bigger administrative changes that have taken place over the last year. El Tour and its parent organization, the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, www.BizTucson.com

found itself at the center of a financial controversy last spring when it could not pay its $180,000 debt to Pima County for barricades and traffic signs used during the November 2018 race. The organization has since paid Pima County. Realizing that El Tour needed a new vision, event founder and CEO Richard DeBernardis stepped down from his position to allow the board to focus on securing the organization’s financial footing. He will continue to assist the organization in an advisory capacity through the end of the year. The PBAA selected Grabowski as his replacement. She is a retired GE Healthcare executive with 30 years’ experience. Since retiring to Tucson, she’s worked as an executive leadership consultant. Lopez said, “Charlene has the commitment and business acumen to help Perimeter move into the future. Perimeter, El Tour de Tucson and the community will benefit from her ideas, enthusiasm and leadership.” Grabowski said she’s up to the challenge. “I’m excited to be working with El Tour and the Perimeter organization. This is an important part of Tucson’s identity, one that brings together cyclists, the community and out-of-town guests.” Lopez gives great credit to DeBernardis for creating the event and cultivating it all these years. “Richard is a wonderful guy who created a small local ride that became international in its reach.” continued on page 42 >>> Fall 2019 > > > BizTucson 41


BizSPORTS

I’m excited to be working with El Tour and the Perimeter organization.This is an important part of Tucson’s identity, one that brings together cyclists, the community and out-of-town guests. –

Charlene Grabowski CEO El Tour de Tucson

El Tour has been a boon to the local economy over the years, though there has been some disagreement as to just how much revenue the event brings to the region. An economic impact study conducted about 20 years ago by University of Arizona graduate students concluded that the event impacts the local economy by as much as $20 mil-

lion. However, some in the community were critical of the study’s methodology and questioned that figure. A recent economic study sponsored by Rio Nuevo and conducted by an economist concluded El Tour has a roughly $5.3 million impact on the region’s economy. As DeBernardis pointed out, since 1996 El Tour has offered itself to local nonprofits as a fundraising platform. This year’s supporting beneficiaries include the Easterseals Blake Foundation, ADHD America, the Arizona Justice Project, Beads of Courage, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cakes for Causes, Children’s Clinics, Friends of PACC, Into Africa, Tu Nidito, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, Tucson Riders 4 the Cure and Uphill into the Wind. The 2019 Banner-University Medicine El Tour de Tucson event will have 100-, 50- and 25-mile rides as well as a Fun Ride. The finish line for all races is located at Armory Park, where a Downtown El Tour Celebration is planned. The focus will be on the community as a whole and the tone will be one of celebration. “El Tour is a nonprofit with a mission to promote health and assist other charitable organizations, and it’s done a great job of accomplishing that mission,” Lopez said. He added that El Tour has helped put Tucson on the cycling map as well. “If you start looking at bicycle rides and cycling publications, El Tour has been ranked among the best rides in the world,” Lopez said. “It’s because of the flavor of the ride and the uniqueness of Tucson. El Tour is a Tucson community event – whether you ride or not.”

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PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

continued from page 41 DeBernardis looks back fondly on his years with El Tour and the community phenomenon it’s become. DeBernardis got the idea for the race back in the summer of 1983 during a ride of Tucson’s perimeter where he saw cyclists enjoying Tucson’s unique desert beauty. “I knew I had to find way to turn this vision into reality,” he said. He’s pleased to have been the catalyst for an event that’s helped raise millions for nonprofit organizations and raised the global profile of Tucson in the cycling community. “Never did I ever realize that 36 years later El Tour would become one of America’s largest bicycling events for cyclists of all ages and abilities, raising $96 million for over 100 nonprofits, attracting more than 250,000 cyclists from around the world … and that I would be here to see this day,” he said. Moving forward, Lopez said the board has been expanded and includes five new members, all of them cyclists. They are Tucson businessman Yoram Levy, accountant Charmaine Lang, attorney Natasha Wrae, Bicycle Ranch Tucson owner Steve Morganstern and software development manager Lee Walker. As for the event itself, the board has brought in outside assistance to manage it. Tim Escobedo, who has managed operations for two other large community events, Taste of Tucson and Tucson Meet Yourself, and who has provided support to El Tour in the past, has been contracted. In addition, Medalist Sports, a national event management firm, has been retained to help organize the rides.

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BizTOURISM

Tourism Plan Has Benefits for Visitors & Residents Changing Industry Puts Focus on More Than Travel By Mary Minor Davis Great places to live also make great places to visit and Visit Tucson wants to have an impact in the region for both residents and visitors. Changes in the tourism industry and traveler motivations will be a game-changer in how destinations balance the needs of the tourism industry with the needs of local communities, Brent DeRaad, CEO of Visit Tucson, said in unveiling the tourism organization’s Tourism Master Plan in June. To successfully adapt, leaders in the Tucson metropolitan area worked with Visit Tucson to develop the master plan with the aid of Resonance Consultancy, an international consulting firm that specializes in helping cities and destinations with market positioning. The 85-page plan outlines six key pillars that will move the region forward in growing tourism in the market. “We want to positively impact the region by investing time and money in events, infrastructure, new airline routes and experiences that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike,” DeRaad said. “Our primary 44 BizTucson

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focus remains marketing, promoting and selling metro Tucson as a leisure, meetings and sports destination. We’re simply trying to enhance the product we have to sell.” The plan was developed over the past year and involved several research components and datagathering to form the final recommendations. The six focus areas are well-being, placemaking, connectivity, culture, development/investment and advocacy. “The economy, business expansions and relocations, the University of Arizona’s growth, changes in visitors’ tastes and many other factors will impact metro Tucson tourism during the 2020s,” DeRaad said. “Those changes will affect how we address the plan’s six pillars, but those pillars won’t change.” DeRaad said while the plan’s tactics will be monitored and adjusted as needed, one of the biggest variables that presents a challenge to the plan is the economy. The country’s foreign policy also could affect anticipated outcomes. continued on page 46 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizTOURISM

Crafting the Master Plan By David Pittman Resonance Consultancy focused on five research activities to develop the Tourism Master Plan. The information gathered from these areas led to the development of six major focus areas laid out in detail in the plan. The following is the process that led to the final Tourism Master Plan for Visit Tucson. Stakeholder Engagement Meetings were held with 50 stakeholders over 25 sessions to identify regional strategic issues and opportunities. Visitor Survey The survey sought opinions and perceptions of previous Tucson-area visitors about their experiences. Respondents included 972 English-speaking visitors and 709 Spanishspeaking visitors. Destination Assessment This involved benchmarking Tucson-area experiences against 14 other destinations. Community Survey The online survey sought opinions and perceptions of residents about local key issues and opportunities. Festival and Events Analysis In order to understand the return on investment of Tucson’s festivals and events, this assessment of 227 events included in Visit Tucson’s calendar looked at several factors that were then scored against seven categories of “Event Impact.” With the information gathered from the research activities, Resonance hosted two visioning workshops and one Board of Directors meeting. This allowed Resonance to gain broad input and to envision and develop priorities for Tucson-area opportunities and challenges that might be addressed by the project. The results of the two workshops were then compiled into a Draft Recommendations Report, which was presented to the Project Steering Committee and the Visit Tucson Board of Directors for consideration, feedback and comments. The plan includes a Priority Analysis at the end of the 85-page document to guide Visit Tucson and its partners in developing annual plans and resources necessary to move the plan forward to implementation. 46 BizTucson

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We’re simply trying to enhance the product we have to sell. –

Brent DeRaad CEO Visit Tucson

continued from page 44 “Travel is one of the first cuts to corporate and household budgets in recessionary times,” DeRaad said. “Additionally, our nation’s foreign policy stances impact international travel to the U.S. While international travel has grown in recent years, the U.S. is losing visitor market share to other nations.” For the Tucson area, however, there is strength in the opportunities that have presented themselves in recent years. That has led to the region achieving growth in the industry, evidenced by the February occupancy rate of 85.4%, the highest in comparable markets and just percentage points behind Phoenix. “The biggest opportunities are through some of the incredible changes we have enjoyed in recent years,” he added. “Corporate expansions and relocations add flights and hotel stays. The work done by Rio Nuevo and the city of Tucson to transform our downtown has made it our most-visited area. The Chuck Huckelberry Loop allows residents and visitors to explore our region on bike or foot. The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase generates $130 million annually in direct spending throughout our metro area. We at Visit Tucson want to help our region achieve more of these victories in the years to come.” The Tourism Master Plan is available for download and review at www.visittucson.org/tourism-master-plan

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BizBRIEFS Danette Bewley

Tucson Airport Authority elevated Danette Bewley to interim president and CEO following her five years of service as VP of operations and COO. She joined TAA – operator of Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield – in 2012 after holding airport authority management positions in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada; Jacksonville, Florida; and San Diego. Bewley has 30 years of experience in the industry and holds leadership roles with the American Association of Airport Executives. Biz

Jessie Butler

Jessie Butler expands her role at the Tucson Airport Authority by moving to the position of director of communications and external relations. She worked as public information manager and public relations administrator in the four years she’s been with the operator of Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield. She holds a University of Arizona bachelor’s degree in communications and a University of Tennessee master’s degree in sports management. Biz

Celeste Fitzgerald Tucson native Celeste Fitzgerald is now marketing manager for the Tucson Airport Authority after working for two years as marketing administrator. TAA is the operator of Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield. Fitzgerald previously worked in marketing and communications for the Regional Transit Service in Rochester, New York, and Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm in Scottsdale. She’s an Arizona State University graduate with a bachelor’s in marketing. Biz 48 BizTucson

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BizMUSIC

Tucson Desert Song Festival Features World’s Top Vocalists By Chuck Graham Concord Voices & Orchestra, UA Presents, Arizona Opera, the Tucson Guitar Society, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Arizona Early Music Society, Ballet Tucson and the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music. Handling the daily decisions in Tucson is operations director Kathy Acosta Zavala and “a strong team of volunteers,” Hanson said. The festival was founded eight years ago. Hanson is also proud the festival has become so financially solid that it can fund commissioned works. For 2020, Richard Danielpour has been invited through the Wesley Green TDSF Composer Project to write a set of five songs based on ancient Persian texts, specifically for Israeli soprano Hila Plitmann. Danielpour also will serve as the 2020 festival’s artist-in-residence while taking part in other TDSF activities. Further proof of the song fest’s financial strength is that, for the 2021 festival, Jake Heggie (named by the Associated Press as a “pre-eminent opera composer”) has been commissioned to create a series of songs for popular mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who The Guardian has called “a great artist, no question.”

PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON DESERT SONG FESTIVAL

The three-week Tucson Desert Song Festival, set for Jan. 15-Feb. 6, aims to capture the opera world’s attention with showcase programs that include soprano Renée Fleming, baritone Thomas Hampson, tenors Ian Bostridge and Matthew Polenzani. Also getting featured billing are bass Morris Robinson and countertenor Reginald Mobley. “This will be, by far, the most impressive group of singers the festival has ever had,” said George Hanson, founder of TDSF. “Renée and Thomas are among the top five voices in the world. Ian and Matthew are also important to all opera lovers. “When people hear the names of the artists we are bringing to the festival, their reaction is exactly what we want,” Hanson said. “They can’t believe it.” Even though Hanson was recently named executive director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in northern Virginia, he will continue as TSDF’s festival coordinator, a post he has held since 2015. Hanson plans on returning monthly to Tucson and then being here for most of the festival’s events. The TDSF functions as a collaborating group of 10 Tucson arts organizations with Hanson the facilitator. Each group books, promotes and sells tickets to its own concerts. Participants include the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True

For the complete schedule of concerts and all details, visit tucsondesertsongfestival.org.

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BizVIEWPOINT

I hope people remember and hang on to the conviction that Tucsonans can accomplish great things when we work together.

– Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

Q&A with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will step away from the job after two terms, choosing not to run for a third term this fall. Rothschild is a native of Tucson who served the community after decades as a successful attorney here. As he prepares to leave office, he looks back on the job and where he hopes Tucson goes from here.

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the city stronger and better. That gives me the greatest satisfaction. I’m thankful that the voters passed the three ballot initiatives we brought forward for roads, public safety, parks and connections. Unlike Pima County, the city has to go to the voters for approval of tax increases. When we first went before the voters in 2012 with a plan to start to fix our streets, we barely won. And at that time Tucson had appeared on a list of 25 cities with the worst roads. After we stuck with the plan and showed we’d do what we said we’d do, the second initiative, for streets and public safety, passed by a much higher margin. And, as we’ve continued to show progress, we’ve maintained that support. That helped us to move from needs (roads and public safety) to needs plus wants in the next ballot initiative (pedestrian and bike safety plus parks). I really appreciate that support from Tucson voters.

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tive opinion of your time as mayor?

Looking back, what surprised you about this job once you became mayor?

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Several things – most of them pleasant. I was born here, lived here all my life except for college and law school. I worked with the business community and volunteered with the nonprofit community. I thought I knew Tucson. But I really had no idea about the richness and depth of this community – the many people and organizations working to help their neighbors to make this city better, businesses I’d never heard of that were having tremendous success. For a laid-back community, there’s an awful lot of energy here. But it’s purpose-driven, not hectic. I was also pleasantly surprised by the high degree of professionalism among city staff. I never bought into the negative stereotypes, but I’ve found that the people who work here are diligent, knowledgeable and love Tucson. You said “most of them” pleasant. Any unpleasant surprises?

I’d say the extent to which the Arizona State Legislature interferes in city business. The gun issue is a perfect example. The Tucson Police Department receives guns when someone turns them in or when they’re seized in a criminal matter. At some point, those guns become city property. But the legislature tells us that rather than have them destroyed, the city has to sell them and put them back on the street – where they could potentially be involved in more mayhem. I’ve learned that no matter is too small for the legislature when it comes to telling cities what they can and cannot – mostly cannot – do. Cities can’t regulate shopping carts. Cities can’t regulate plastic bags. It seems the legislature won’t be satisfied until cities have no rights at all to self-governance. That’s just wrong.

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What accomplishments make you the proudest?

A: It’s not an accomplishment, per se, but I’m proudest of the people we have in place – the city manager, the city attorney, the police chief, department heads, and all down the line. Good people are working to make 52 BizTucson

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Q: To what do you attribute the overall posi-

A: I’m a hard worker and I do my best to respond to people. Also, I figured out early on that there wasn’t much a mayor could do in our system unless he or she acted as a convener – bringing together people, inside and outside city government, with the resources and passion and expertise to tackle various initiatives. I started out with various task forces – on seniors, youth, poverty, healthcare, etc. Those morphed into less formal groups that got together to work on specific initiatives. For example, instead of a youth task force, we created Mentor Tucson Youth, working with nonprofits that already had youth mentoring programs to recruit more adult mentors, especially men of color. I took this approach to other problems. We worked with Realtors, nonprofits and government agencies to increase homeownership by promoting the many programs available to help Tucsonans buy a home. One of those programs, Pathway to Purchase, helped more than 1,300 Tucsonans continued on page 54 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizVIEWPOINT continued from page 52 become homeowners. Reentry – people returning to the community after incarceration – is another area we worked on. If people can’t find a job or a place to live coming out of prison, they’re much more likely to re-offend. So we convened a group of judges, prosecutors and corrections and probation officers and created Second Chance Tucson, which hosts job and resource fairs targeted at this population, as well as symposia for the community to learn more about reentry. To address the high-school dropout rate, we brought community volunteers together with TUSD staff and went door-to-door urging students to reenroll and graduate. The mayor’s office has a very small staff and very little funding. So to accomplish anything, really, we had to work with the community – and we have.

Q: Why did you choose not to run for a third term?

A: I’ve given eight years of really 24/7 work as mayor. I’m usually at work by 7 a.m. and have meetings and events all day, which often stretch into the evening. On the weekends, unless it’s a holiday – and sometimes even if it is a holiday – I may have five or six events in a day. I wasn’t sure I had another four years of that lifestyle in me, and I didn’t want to do it if I couldn’t commit to the same level of effort for all four years.

Q: What do you hope will be your legacy as mayor?

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More than downtown redevelopment and a more robust, more diversified economy – even more than the social programs – I hope people remember and hang on to the conviction that Tucsonans can accomplish great things when we work together, and that economic development is something we need to continue to focus on. Without a strong economy, there’s no funding for social programs. I said when I ran that I wanted Tucson to be a place where our children want to stay for quality of life and can stay for jobs. I’m happy to say that, in my family, all three of my adult children are still in town. I hope I’ve helped more Tucson families experience that and keep their loved ones close.

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GOLF BENEFIT FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER Saturday, November 9 7 a.m. Registration 8 a.m. Shotgun Start Sewailo Golf Club, Casino del Sol 5655 W. Valencia Road Early Registration $150 per person $500 per foursome Sponsorships available Silver $2,500 Gold $5,000 Platinum $10,000

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

www.uafoundation.org/urologygolf (520) 626-2016


BizMEDICINE

Robotics Improving Outcomes for Prostate Cancer University of Arizona Furthers Treatment Research, Increases Survival Rates By Mary Minor Davis Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men, behind skin cancer, according to most research. And in many cases, treatment can lead to successful outcomes, allowing men to lead normal lives. The University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and the Department of Urology at Banner University Medical Center – Tucson would like to see survival outcomes increase even more. The newest era in the treatment of prostate cancer could be just around the corner. The UA is now working with SWOG Cancer Research Network (formerly Southwest Oncology Group), a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trial cooperative. They recently launched a research trial that examines men who have metastatic prostate cancer. The research will look at the efficacy of treating men with both surgical removal of the prostate paired with chemotherapy. Dr. Benjamin R. Lee, a professor and chair of the Department of Urology at the UA College of Medicine, shared the latest efforts in both robotics “and a new clinical trial that hopes to offer even higher survival rates for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer.” To understand where prostate cancer treatment is today, Lee said it is necessary to understand where treatment was just over 20 years ago. “Historically, men would be diagwww.BizTucson.com

nosed very late after the cancer had metastasized into the lymph nodes or the spine. The only treatment option was radiation,” Lee said. “This often led to renal failure from the cancer blocking the kidneys. If cancer had metastasized to other areas, men could only undergo hormone therapy, which essentially blocked testosterone and was a type of chemical castration.” In 1996, the Prostate-Specific Antigen – or PSA – test was approved to help detect early signs of prostate can-

At A Glance • It is estimated there have been 174,000 new cases of prostate cancer among men in the United States this year, with 31,000 dying from the disease. • One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. • High-risk factors for prostate cancer are age, obesity and genetic history. • The average age of a man who is diagnosed is 66 years of age. • Of those patients who are being treated under “active surveillance,” 40 percent will end up getting additional treatment or undergo prostate removal.

cer. This was a game changer, Lee said. An elevated PSA reading of 4.0 or higher indicates a high risk of abnormalities and can be addressed before the cancer advances. Further, it allows the care team to assess the risks – how aggressive the cancer might be, health risk factors and overall quality of life. This then determines treatment, which can range from “active surveillance” to removal of the prostate with robotic surgery to radiation. Active surveillance is typically offered in “low risk” disease, where the cancer may not be aggressive. The cancer is carefully monitored by the patient’s care team through regular testing of the PSA. Around the same time the PSA became the go-to test, the first robotic surgical procedure to remove the prostate occurred. Today, Lee says robotic surgery is the norm for the many benefits it brings to the patient, including smaller incisions, much less blood loss and faster recovery. “Prostate surgery is a very delicate process,” Lee said. “The prostate has to be separated from the bladder, and then nerves that allow men to maintain potency are dissected free from the prostate and the dorsal vein is tied to reduce blood loss. The precision in robotic surgery is immensely beneficial.” He added that with robotics, he can complete the continued on page 58 >>> Fall 2019

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BizMEDICINE The American Cancer Society and American Urological Association recommend that men make an informed decision with their healthcare provider regarding screening for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after discussion about the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years. Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a father, brother or son diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65). The AUA encourages shared decision making for PSA testing beginning at age 55, proceeding based on a man’s values and preferences. Decisions regarding prostate cancer screening should be individualized, depending on race, family history and other risk factors.

continued from page 57 entire surgery in just under 90 minutes. “There is also a measurable difference in the amount of blood loss,” Lee said. “In open surgery, blood loss is between 800 to 1,000 ml (milliliters). With robotics, that is greatly reduced to 150 to 200 mls. That’s significant.” Most importantly, Lee said, “With the more advanced stages of cancer, robotics allows for greater chance of survival.” Recently, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the Division of Urology to be a stand-alone department, a move that Lee said is important as it recognizes the work being done by the urology team. It will also mean growth for the department, access to more research opportunities, fellowships and grants. “For us, the basic question is: When a man walks through our door, how do we know he will die of his prostate cancer or live with his prostate cancer? We’ve had some exciting research developments and revolutionary success with robotics. Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of a man’s life possible.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY PIMA MEDICAL INSTITUTE PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

Clockwise from top – Pima Medical Institute’s new Tucson campus is located at 2121 N. Craycroft Road; Pima Medical Institute hosted a ribbon cutting as part of its July grand opening ceremony; Pima Medical Institute’s Tucson campus features a large covered courtyard for students, faculty and staff to enjoy; Pharmacy technician students work in the campus’ new pharmacy lab; From left – Dale Berg, Tucson Campus Director; Kristen Torres, Regional Director of Operations; Richard Luebke Jr., Chairman of the Board and Fred Freedman, President & CEO; Dental assistant students demonstrate the hands-on learning for which Pima Medical Institute is known.

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BizHEALTHCARE

New Campus for Pima Medical Institute With Room to Grow By April Bourie Walking from one lab space to another at Pima Medical Institute’s new campus seems just like being at a hospital. The layout of each space looks and feels like the real thing, and the stateof-the-art equipment provides medical students the opportunity to use what is being used in their fields of study today. “The expansive space in the new campus allows us to have all of our programs in one location, which provides considerably more interaction between departments – just as there would be in a hospital,” said Dale Berg, campus director at Pima Medical Institute. “We also have additional space, which will allow us to add two new programs sometime in the future.” Pima Medical Institute is a familyowned and operated medical-career school that provides 12 associate and certificate programs in Tucson. There are 18 campuses throughout the Southwest plus an online program. The institute was started in 1972 by the late Richard Luebke, Sr. The new campus is surrounded by several medical offices and buildings and is located southwest of the intersection of Craycroft and Grant Roads, just south of Tucson Medical Center. “The location alone gives us the opportunity to establish new externship sites for students,” Berg said. Classes started in the new facility on April 8. PMI renovated the former Townsend Middle School – yet former Townsend attendees would find it difficult to recognize the old school in the new site. X-ray machines, hospital beds, veterinary surgery areas and a beautiful highwww.BizTucson.com

tech simulation theater where nursing students can sit and watch smaller groups do procedures have replaced standard classrooms with chalkboards. In addition, small cut-outs with tables and chairs are placed throughout the hallways to provide students a place to sit and work on small projects or just relax when not in class. The student lounge has a large write-on/wipe-off board for larger groups to meet, as well as refrigerators, microwaves and vending machines from which students can purchase items using prepaid cards available through PMI. Staff spaces have improved as well. In the old facility, there were three cubicles shared by all teaching staff. Today, faculty offices include 34 individual workspaces equipped with phones and computers, in addition to scanners to grade tests, plus copy machines and storage for office supplies. “When he started, there was one little campus in Tucson teaching only certified nursing,” Berg said of the founder Luebke. “He really had a heart for his employees, and as the corporation grew, he wanted to keep that family-type environment. He hired the types of individuals that he felt would keep that family feel even though they may be in different states.” In 2002, Luebke made an unprecedented move – giving 30% of the school to his employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Program. The share price is determined each year by an independent auditing firm that determines the value based on the strength of the school. Today, the percentage of the company owned by staff has grown

to over 50%. Employees had input in the design of the new campus. “Staff was heavily involved in the design process,” said Berg. “Everyone in the various programs had input on what they’d like to see in their program, both the classrooms and the labs. We look to employees to contribute. They’re majority owners, so they should have the opportunity to participate and share ideas.” Students remain a top priority at PMI. “Some other private schools have closed because they haven’t focused on student outcomes,” said Fred Freedman, PMI president and CEO, at the grand opening ceremony of the campus in July. Berg said, “We are mandated by our accrediting body to place a minimum of 70% of our students in employment in their fields – but we’re very proud that we place almost 80% on a consistent basis.” “Word of mouth is our biggest advertiser in Tucson. We are a school with a family of dedicated teachers, students and wonderful staff,” Dick Luebke, Jr., PMI chairman of the board, said during the grand opening ceremony. “A house is just a house – but it becomes a home when we love each other as family.” “It was so exciting to see the students who made the transition with us walk through the doors of the new campus,” said Berg. “Their eyes popped and their jaws dropped. They knew where we came from and coming from that to this is such an upgrade.”

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

From left

Lindsey Wiederstein

Director of Client Services & Co-founder OOROO Auto

Jeff Artzi

CEO & Co-founder OOROO Auto

Dillon Walker

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BizAUTOMOTIVE

OOROO Auto Hits the Road

Auto Repair at Home or Workplace By Tom Leyde There’s more to innovation in auto repair than the high-tech equipment used in most shops nowadays. OOROO Auto has taken a leap forward by going mobile with its services. The 5-year-old company launched two mobile vans a year ago that respond to auto owners’ needs not only at their homes, but in most cases, at their workplaces. OOROO Auto has partnered with more than 20 Tucson area businesses to offer workplace services. The responses have been positive. Not only are the workplace visits convenient, they also are offered at a group discount for the employees at no cost to the employer. “Employees are sitting in their cubicles 10 hours a day and we said, ‘Why don’t we come to them,’ ” said OOROO Auto CEO and co-founder Jeff Artzi. “If we can reduce their stress (over auto repairs) and give them their peace of mind, we’re successful. No employer wants an employee to say, ‘I can’t come in because my car isn’t working.’ ” A customized scheduling app keeps track of appointment availability and provides reminders for upcoming services. Mobile technicians have access to state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and repair vehicles in the field. Among the mobile services OOROO Auto offers are oil and filter changes, brakes, radiators and water pumps, steering, AC/heating, alternators, batteries, belts and hoses, sensors and spark plugs. Among the businesses OOROO Auto has partnered with for workplace services is Tucson Metro Chamber, which has 14 employees. www.BizTucson.com

“We use their services in our parking lot, which has helped with worker productivity by avoiding the time delay often affiliated with necessary care maintenance or repairs,” said President and CEO Amber Smith. “The customer service is fantastic. Services are efficient and professional, and the prices are extremely competitive.” Simpleview also has a partnership with OOROO Auto. “OOROO Auto has been with Simpleview for over a year now,” said Roxandra Acosta, director of organizational development. “We are extremely pleased with their level of customer service, the ease of scheduling appointments online and their responsiveness to issues that may come up in between appointments.” Acosta has used the mobile service at her home. “When I called OOROO, they were able to send a mechanic to check on the problem and fix it – all before I had to be into work the very next day,” she said. “They work fast and clean. For those of us who worry about environmental hazards or possible hazardous spills, I can tell you that once OOROO leaves our parking lot, there is absolutely no trace or evidence that the engine has been worked on in that very spot. “They are trustworthy, with very competitive prices, and display terrific customer care when dealing with any of our people,” Acosta said. “If a question was maybe not asked or answered before the appointment, someone from their offices will call to clarify, so that the mechanic is prepared with all necessary supplies when he comes on site to fix it,

avoiding unnecessary delays. “All this, on top of the fact that everything gets done while we work. What more can we ask for?” she said. “We do it with love and kindness,” Artzi said of the shop’s efforts. “It’s not the same old stuff. It really comes from a different place than most of the auto industry is coming from. Our motto is ‘people before parts.’ ” OOROO Auto won a Nextrio Innovation Copper Cactus Award from Tucson Metro Chamber in 2018. It has received a five-star user rating on Yelp and received the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona Torch Award for ethics and customer service excellence. Artzi began OOROO Auto by buying out Vistoso Automotive at 12945 N. Oracle Road in 2014. He co-founded OOROO Auto with Lindsey Wiederstein, director of client services, and Dillon Walker, chief technology officer. Walker and his team continue to develop proprietary technology to keep things running efficiently behind the scenes and to enhance customer experience. The company, which has 20 employees, celebrated its fifth anniversary on May 1. “We appreciate all our people, the way they take care of the people and their respect for the customers,” Artzi said. He said OOROO Auto plans to add more employees and mobile vans in the near future. But first, he said, “We have to take care of what’s in front of us.”

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BizBRIEFS Dr. Michael M.I. Abecassis

Dr. Michael M.I. Abecassis will become dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in November. He comes from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, where he was chief of the division of organ transplantation, founding director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center and professor of surgery and microbiology-immunology. He’s pioneered transplant surgical procedures and patient care and served as principal investigator for several research grants. Biz

Dr. Michele Boyce Ley

Arizona Oncology has expanded its multidisciplinary team by adding breast surgical oncologist Dr. Michele Boyce Ley. Ley has practiced in Tucson since 2006. After completing her general surgical residency at the University of Arizona, Ley served as UA director of breast surgery and associate professor of surgery. She is the medical director of Tucson Medical Center’s Breast Health Program. Arizona Oncology has more than 75 practicing physicians. Biz

Jill Clark Jill Clark has joined the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch team as director of sales, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience in the resort industry. During her career she has received many awards, including Sales Team of the Year with Marriott, the President’s Award for Excellence with Radisson and Manager of the Year for both Arizona and the United States from the Arizona and American Hotel and Lodging Associations. Biz 64 BizTucson

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SPECIAL REPORT 2019

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THE REGIONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Carol Stewart

Associate VP Tech Parks Arizona University of Arizona

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Tech Parks Arizona

Hub of Innovation for 25 Years $2 Billion Annual Economic Impact By Rhonda Bodfield

If you ask the casual observer to tell you something about the UA Tech Park at Rita Road two themes emerge: 1. It’s a large complex on the southeast side,

visible from the freeway.

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

2. There’s a bunch of smart people out there making good money.

What they may not know, however, is the kind of magic that bubbles and percolates and brews when smart, creative people have a chance to connect over imagination and innovation. What they also may not know is that the park contributes a staggering $2 billion to the state’s economy annually. Or that its 1,300 acres houses 45 companies and 6,000 knowledge workers who make an average annual wage of about $74,000. And what they almost certainly don’t know is that what they’ve known about the park for the last 25

years is in the midst of dramatic change – from its leaders to its geographic footprint and even its national profile among the roughly 200 tech parks in existence. “The entrepreneurial spirit at the University of Arizona is changing. It is really a new day at the Tech Parks,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona. She is responsible for the established UA Tech Park at Rita Road and the developing UA Tech Park at the Bridges as well as elevating the UA Center for Innovation. “We are still a sandbox and a living lab – providing a proving ground for new technologies coming out of the university and industry. We’re really excited to be celebrating our 25 years of history. But we are even more excited about the future and how we can help shape this economy.” President Robert C. Robbins, now in his third year leading the University of Arizona, has prodded and continued on page 73 >>> Fall 2019

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Elizabeth Cantwell Senior VP Research & Innovation University of Arizona

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The accessible, state-of-the-art resources of the UA Tech Parks help both new businesses in early-stage development, as well as established companies, expand their product development capacities.

– Elizabeth Cantwell Senior VP, Research and Innovation University of Arizona

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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challenged university leaders to seek out innovation. When he preaches the gospel of competing in an accelerated era of technological innovation, the UA Tech Park often follows in the next breath. “The UA Tech Park at Rita Road is where the Fourth Industrial Revolution plays out, especially for the University of Arizona as we aspire to translate fundamental discoveries from the convergence of digital, biological and physical sciences into commercializable products that make the world a better place,” Robbins said. Robbins himself was immersed in the culture of Stanford University for 20 years before moving to Texas to lead Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world and a frontrunner in life science advancements. The unshakeable belief that Robbins has transformative power lured Elizabeth Cantwell from her leadership post at Arizona State University to serve here in a newly created position as the senior VP overseeing the research and innovation function of the university. She was in the middle of a house renovation in Phoenix with no intention of leaving – but couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a difference, having fueled regional innovation ecosystems in other roles in other com-

munities. With the UA a research powerhouse, Cantwell’s very intentional role is to amplify the industry-sponsored research activities at the university while supporting the growing tech commercialization activities at the university. The UA Tech Park, she said, serves as a natural catalyst by moving inventions from within the university into the marketplace and providing companies – big and small – with an ideal place to develop, test and evaluate their products. She started in August, just as Stewart was hitting her eight-month stride. Cantwell, Stewart and Robbins are evangelists about innovation and bullish about the university’s potential to orchestrate an explosion around an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is rooted in technological advancement. “I try to share this message with every stakeholder, every student and every faculty member of the university – the only thing limiting us is our imagination,” Robbins said. “We can do anything here. We have the mindset and the resources to do it. It starts at a high level with the strategic plan and it filters down to deans, department heads, chairs, individual procontinued on page 74 >>> Fall 2019

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BizTECHNOLOGY

continued from page 73 Already, it’s one of the biggest fessors, students and the 600 clubs parks in the nation. The average we have.” research and tech park is about Stewart sees that vision play out 120 acres. The UA Tech Park at in real life every day. The park still Rita Road is approximately 1,300 has the original tenant in IBM, but acres. It’s an immense place that also has startup founders building includes a 223-acre Solar Zone, the future with technology such as and is engaging developers. ultrasound capacity into a mobile With only 3% vacancy, the park phone and technology that shortadded 60,000 square feet of repurens the life of cancer cells. posed space in September to ac“This kind of focus on innovacommodate more companies. Yet tion is going to be part of everyexpansion is coming in new ways thing we do moving forward – in too. part because Robbins is passionate The long-awaited park at The about it and elevates it, but also Bridges, encompassing 65 acres because that’s where grant and realong the Kino corridor, is poised search dollars are going,” Stewart to drive a different experience than said. its established and more remote “Innovation can be uncomfortcousin – just by sheer proximity to able because it’s change and it’s – Carol Stewart the university. disruptive. But people are talking Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona & Meanwhile, the incubator, Uniabout it every day from the top President, UA Center for Innovation versity of Arizona Center for Indown – and that’s a game-changnovation, is creating innovation er.” outposts in a network across the valley – including Sahuarita, The new leadership is shepherding a geographic expansion Vail and Oro Valley – capitalizing on synergies that exist alof innovation beyond the established park off of Rita Road ready in those areas. and I-10. continued on page 76 >>>

Innovation can be uncomfortable because it’s change and it’s disruptive. But people are talking about it every day from the top down – and that’s a game-changer.

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continued from page 74 Robbins isn’t stopping at regional boundaries either, noting he sees an opportunity for more collaboration with ASU, given the UA’s beachhead in its medical campus in Phoenix, and particularly around space, human health, infrastructure and data management. “Those are the sweet spots where we can legitimately compete globally to make Arizona the future state of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Robbins said. The goal of this diverse mix is to ensure companies looking for a landing space will have options to self-select into the space that works best for them. Maybe they’re professors who need to know how to draft a business plan. Maybe they’ve graduated from incubation and are ready to start scaling up. Maybe they’re an established company looking for interns to test drive as permanent hires. They all have a home. That kind of spread and diversity will help move the region along the innovation spectrum, said Stewart, who was the founding director of the research

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and tech park associated with the University of Waterloo in Canada. “When it comes to developing a continuum and ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs, Tucson is at a stage similar to the Waterloo environment before it hit its boom,” she said. “There is an organic way these things grow – and it’s typically a 10-year process. But we are putting the right energies and resources in place so we can leapfrog that organic process by at least five years and really shortcut our path to success.” Financing has been a gap. Local businessman Fletcher McCusker stepped into the void to launch new venture capital funds as the co-founder of UAVenture Capital. Another gap: Student startup culture campus-wide – not just in specific colleges. “You need students to be excited about starting their own business,” Stewart said. “It has to be the sexiest thing on campus.” Programs matter. Geography matters. Assets matter. But ultimately, the options have to be there and the de-

mand has to be there. That’s where Cantwell hopes to make a difference. In her vision, every building on campus will have an innovation space. It doesn’t have to be big, but it has to send a message that the university is fully engaged in harnessing the nascent innovation power of its undergrads, its graduates and its faculty. “The UA Tech Park at Rita Road is a remarkable asset,” Cantwell said. “The accessible, state-of-the-art resources of the UA Tech Park help both new businesses in early-stage development, as well as established companies, expand their product development capacities.” In the midst of all this change, one thing is likely to remain constant in this place of conceptual abundance – the collision space that happens among companies. About 36% of the tenant stew is comprised of companies just getting started or actively growing – and every day there are opportunities to connect with established companies that may be looking for the next new advancement or that are able to share guidance.

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BizTECHNOLOGY “That’s a purposeful thing we work on here. Building an innovation community is a contact sport and it doesn’t just happen on its own,” Stewart said. The UA Tech Park at Rita Road was recognized in 2018 by Arizona Daily Star readers as having the most innovative and best workplace culture. That was almost certainly based at least in part on creative programming such as yoga in the park or pop-up parties designed to intentionally draw people out of their lab space and into a social environment. For many innovators, their own families may not understand the work they do – so having those connections with others sets them apart from business complexes that are just a collection of buildings. On any given day, a defense executive may be on a treadmill in the fitness center adjacent to a scientist who is working on an invention that could be a tipping point. “That’s where anything can happen,” Stewart said. “That’s the serendipity you can’t predict.”

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UA Tech Park at The Bridges

Moving Innovations Forward By Eric Swedlund Industry insiders have a saying coined by University of North Carolina Professor Albert Link – “There’s one rule about tech parks. If you’ve seen one research park, well, you’ve seen one research park.” No two tech parks look alike – in large part because they take on the characteristics of the university they are affiliated with and split off in areas of specialization, research and amenities. And it turns out that’s true even when they’re affiliated with the same

university. The UA Tech Park at The Bridges is the new kid on the block – emerging from a vast undeveloped parcel around Kino Parkway and 36th Street at a time its original sibling is celebrating its quarter-century anniversary. The 65-acre site is just a straight shot from the University of Arizona – and that in and of itself creates a totally new dynamic and shapes an entirely different personality. “When professors come out to the

UA Tech Park at Rita Road location, it’s very purposeful,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona at the University of Arizona and president of the UA Center for Innovation. “We see the UA Tech Park at The Bridges as having a different spirit and more opportunities for students, faculty and corporations to interact.” UA President Robert C. Robbins has high hopes for the facility, which he describes as the commercialization hub for the university.

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Dr. Robert C. Robbins President University of Arizona

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Ultimately it is the responsibility of the UA to be a catalyst and a driver for economic development.

– Dr. Robert C. Robbins, President, University of Arizona

“I see it as helping us create a beautiful continuum,” he said. “We are telling our students to dream big – help us identify the next great discovery – and to understand we have everything we need right here at the UA to make those dreams happen.” Success isn’t always a straight line but the ideal flowchart for tech transfer as Robbins sees it, goes something like this: “It starts as an embryonic idea that then comes out of a lab or a department to

get incubated and then accelerated. I see a lot of that initial work happening at the UA Center for Innovation incubator outpost at the UA Tech Park at The Bridges, and when the company is successful, it will need to scale the business and possibly move to a larger place like the UA Tech Park at Rita Road.” The UA Tech Park at The Bridges has been a long time coming – in large part because there are a lot of expectations around the first building, which

not only has to establish the larger park system and complement that mission, but also set the tone for what’s going to be unique about the much-anticipated campus. At the same time, it has to meet a balance. It has to have some element of cool. It has to highlight the UA’s commitment in that space, provide an echo to the buildings on campus, and allow for an expansion of the complex over time as the project matures and enters

IMAGE: COURTESY BOYER AND SWAIM

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Conceptual plan of the first building at UA Tech Park at The Bridges

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continued from page 79 into the next phases of development. It also must be marketable and economically viable to compete in an area of town that generally offers affordable rent. It was worth noodling over all those elements, said Matt Jensen, senior project manager for the UA Tech Park at The Bridges development partner, the Boyer Company. The UA Tech Park at The Bridges will offer a variety of spaces such as office, lab and research & development areas designed to help company leaders, university researchers and entrepreneurs move innovations forward. One of the main advantages of this park is the ability to provide options for all types of tenants. “It’s tremendously exciting to have the opportunity to work closely with Tech Parks Arizona and the UA to create a space where the university and the business world come together and do great things,” Jensen said, noting access to the freeway makes the site convenient continued on page 83 >>>

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IMAGE: COURTESY THE UA TECH PARK AT THE BRIDGES

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UA Tech Park at The Bridges

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continued from page 80 for the business community. Convenience to the university is also critical. Tech Launch Arizona, the lead player in taking innovation out of the university and commercializing it, serves as an anchor tenant in the first building. If the Tech Park/UA Center for Innovation are a congratulatory handshake that a company is moving into a bigger phase, Tech Launch is more of an initial hug of support. They work with lawyers to patent ideas and with marketing experts to create buzz around a technology. They help secure licensing and negotiate business agreements. They help inventors find the right resources to build a business plan and implement a strategic vision. They work with as many as 300 inventions a year filing patents on 60% of them. They finalize about 100 license agreements annually, spinning out about a dozen startups. When the companies are being formed, the university can invest resources in these ideas. But once they get

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that license, there’s a bit of a cliff. Companies located at one of the Tech Parks benefit twofold – first by obtaining the physical space needed to grow, and second, helping to cement relationships with the university. Companies find value in funding research, working with researchers or working with interns to seed their pool of talent. “The UA Tech Park at The Bridges is really going to be the innovation hub of the university,” predicted Douglas Hockstad, assistant VP of technology transfer for Tech Launch Arizona. “What’s going to supercharge the ecosystem is for us to be co-located with our Tech Parks comrades, as well as the incubator space UA Center for Innovation. This allows our startups to co-locate with us, along with companies that move into that space because they want to partner with us and the startups.” The fact that it is an easy drive for university travelers also helps. “A lot of our startups are going to be people involved with the university and the closer you are to the physical location, the easier it is to move between your roles,”

Hockstad said. The rising-tide concept is at play, Hockstad said. “As we get more and more successful in commercialization and get more and more startups that grow, as we hire people and get additional investment, that will impact the whole community in only positive ways.” Robbins agreed, noting the UA Tech Park at The Bridges is one of the ways the university can prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “There’s an opportunity to strengthen those partnerships we have with existing companies as well as to attract new companies and new ideas,” he said. “In sports, you can get players on the free-agent market and import them, or you can grow through a farm system. We have to do both – we have to have a diversified approach. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the UA to be a catalyst and a driver for economic development. “I think we’re well positioned to do that. I just think it’s an exciting time to be at the UA.”

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UA Incubator Takes Root in Oro Valley

Building a Base of By April Bourie

Building a bioscience business incubator in Oro Valley has been a goal for several local business leaders for more than five years. Sufficient support for the project wasn’t available until recently when the University of Arizona Center for Innovation got involved. Gary Brav, CEO of BFL Construction, Paul August, VP of biology at Icagen, Ray Woosley, former CEO of CPATH, and Neil Simon, partner of Venture West Construction,

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have been involved with the project from the beginning. “Gary was the real driving force,” said August. “He would instigate monthly lunch meetings to get us all brainstorming about how to make the project happen.” The idea was to create a space where startup life-science companies could work with mentors in Tucson’s area industries to grow their product to the point where it is ready to go to market

while also preparing their businesses to launch the products. The business incubator would be important for the future growth of startup companies The champions continued their quest to garner support and get the project started. “The overarching vision has really been to create a critical mass of biotech companies that are co-located in a single area,” said August. “When University of Arizona President Robbins

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BizTECHNOLOGY

came to town, he was enamored with the fact that Sanofi (now Icagen) and Roche were co-located on Innovation Drive with some other healthcare facilities. He also was really impressed with the concentration of life-science companies that were already established in the area.” The business leaders brought forward the idea of building the incubator as a partnership with the university, explaining that it would create additional

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companies in that same area. “Successful startups are like little kernels of corn that you plant. Once you plant them in a location, they don’t usually move,” said August. The UA Center for Innovation agreed to run the incubation program and the collaboration has created great momentum. “When Carol Stewart arrived and began elevating the UA Center for Innovation, she became a catalyst to help us move this forward and grow

it as part of the regional incubator system,” said August. “She’s really helped us move to the next stage, and we believe that this relationship will catalyze our efforts and propel us into the future with the resources and startup expertise required to advance our mission. “We will incorporate Arizona’s most credible incubation program in the state with world-class minds in bioscience. Combined, this expertise will not only successfully start businesses but scale continued on page 86 >>>

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IMAGE: COURTESY TECH PARKS ARIZONA

Bioscience Companies


BizINNOVATION BOARD OF ADVISORS OFFICERS: 1. Chairman Paul August Icagen 2. Vice Chair Dr. Raymond Woosley The Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics 3. Treasurer Neil Simon Venture West MEMBERS 4. Pete Bantock Accelerate Diagnostics 5. Kissy Black, BioConvergence Media Lab | Lotos Nile 6. Garry Brav BFL Construction 7. Lawrence M. Hecker Hecker and Pew 8. Sharon Hesterlee AskBio, Inc. 9. Base Horner Desert Angels 10. Chuck Huckelberry Pima County 11. Mary Jacobs Town of Oro Valley 12. Thomas Koch Roche Tissue Diagnostics 13. Matthew Lingard Bayer 14. Fletcher McCusker, UA Venture Capital Fund 15. Nina Ossana BioIndustry of Southern Arizona 16. Dave Perry, Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce 17. Dr. Robert C. Robbins President, University of Arizona 18. Joseph Snell, Sun Corridor Inc. 19. Joe Tatso Roche Tissue Diagnostics 20. Ken Wertman BioIndustry of Southern Arizona 86 BizTucson

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The overarching vision has really been to create a critical mass of biotech companies that are co-located in a single area.

– Paul August VP of Biology, Icagen

continued from page 85 them rapidly – setting a technological advancement pace that will be seen worlwide.” The business incubation program by UA Center for Innovation, will provide lab space, business plan advice and other important assets to help these startups become successful companies alongside existing bioscience companies located in Oro Valley. August pointed to the example of Roche Tissue Diagnostics, formerly known as Ventana Medical Systems, as one success story. “Tom Grogan started the company in his garage and grew it to the company it is today, which employs 1,500 people and brings over $1 billion to Tucson’s economy. We want to feed more of those successful startups here and provide opportunities for graduates from local colleges, JTED programs and the UA.” In addition to the benefits of the program being run by the UA Center for Innovation, en-

trepreneurs will have access to a number of retired executives in their industries who live in Oro Valley. “Many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have retired to Saddlebrooke and Rancho Vistoso, as have executives who served on boards of large companies. The environment is really rich up here to tap into that group.” Groundbreaking for the center took place in September. The building will have 4,000 square feet of space for the incubator for the incubator. Room for expansion is available for companies interested in co-locating with the program’s startups. The incubator is set to open in June 2020. Many of the Oro Valley incubator’s original board members will act as science advisors for the program and will also be involved in selecting the startups that will participate in the program.

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The application for the UA Center for Innovation Oro Valley is available online at azinnovation.com. www.BizTucson.com


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I think the relationships we build are the reason companies stay here and grow, providing high-quality jobs in Tucson.

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

– Ken Marcus Chief Financial Operating Officer Tech Parks Arizona

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Tech Parks Arizona Provides Customized Support

Connecting Industry, University & Community By Rhonda Bodfield Businesses may share common denominators, but there’s no single recipe for success. Some may need dual-power feeds or redundant systems in their infrastructure. Others need flexible space to make operational adjustments. Some need synergies with other companies or connections to university, industry and community. And they all need to attract – and then retain – highly qualified and talented staff. That’s where the 18-member Tech Parks Arizona team comes in to foster “Communities of Innovation” – a phrase shared by leaders in the Association of University Research Parks as a nod to the potential of anchor institutions to build innovation ecosystems in their regions. With 150 years of collective experience among team members, they provide customized support to each company within the park. “The companies that come here are drawn because of our connection to the university community and to other industries,” said Ken Marcus, chief financial operating officer at Tech Parks Arizona. “They come here because of the type of facilities we have,” he added. “While companies are attracted to the facilities, I think the relationships we build are the reason companies stay here and grow, providing high-quality jobs in Tucson.” Marcus said part of the mix of a healthy economic ecosystem in the rewww.BizTucson.com

gion lies in retaining big anchor companies like IBM, which was there at the beginning and remains part of the park to this day. A second piece lies in attracting large existing companies to the region – with Caterpillar and Hexagon as recent examples drawn to Tucson because of the university. The other important piece is growing local innovation – from attracting foreign investment to nurturing new technology companies and building the future pipeline of workers. In 2009, for example, the UA Tech Park at Rita Road began working with Tucson Electric Power in building the Solar Zone, one of the largest grid-level, multi-technology solar demonstration sites in the North America. Just shy of a dozen companies work together, focused on expanding renewable energy resources in Southern Arizona. In partnership with Vail School District, the park has supported its Boxer Bot robot team. “You want to excite the younger generation about this work so you can help put them on a path to the high-tech jobs of the future,” Marcus said. Ensuring a varied mix of companies takes different strategies. It might include working with municipalities to ensure the right infrastructure – such as the traffic signal at the west entrance to UA Tech Park on Kolb Road or making improvements to Rita Road to support 6,000 knowledge workers coming and going every day. Or it may include hosting pop-up parties in the park or

massages for all employees onsite to celebrate National Relaxation Day. As a seven-year member of the board of directors for the Association of University Research Parks, Marcus has the advantage of learning about the other 200-plus research parks in North America, as well as some international parks. It’s a way to network and absorb best practices. But it’s also a way to see how Tucson stacks up. The UA Tech Park at Rita Road, one of the facilities run by Tech Parks Arizona, is one of the premier parks in the country, he said. That bragging right stems in part from its geographic size at approximately 1,300 acres and its employment numbers – but also because of its economic impact. “UA Tech Park tenants have a $2 billion impact in Arizona. That’s a staggering number and it just demonstrates the impact our tenants have on the region,” he said. Marcus said even after 20 years at the park, there’s never a dull moment. “One moment, you’re wearing a landlord-tenant relations hat, then you put on your hard hat or your economic development hat. You’re helping companies learn how to partner with the university and figuring out the amenities we need to retain them, as working to attract international companies to Tucson. We’re good at what we do – and companies stay, grow and innovate, providing those high-quality jobs we support to spread the economic growth in the region.”

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NANOPEC Mario Blanco, CEO, NANOPEC, is introducing disruptive technology such as MetaFluorex ceramic films in the area of clinical diagnostics. The films increase the sensitivity of fluorescence bio-assay by two orders of magnitude and eliminate a substantial number of false negative tests. NANOPEC is on its way to meet its Seed Series II funding by the end of Q3, 2019.

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION STARTUP CLIENTS

UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION STARTUP CLIENTS

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

ElectroSonix Dr. Russell Witte is founder and CSO at ElectroSonix®, a startup company developing patented technology for noninvasive imaging of electrical currents in the body with sub-mm precision. Sonia Vohnout is COO. ElectroSonix is focused on validating a real-time imaging system to improve screening of and help guide treatment for electrical abnormalities in the heart with other potential applications to the human brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Reglagene Reglagene is a cancer therapeutics startup based on University of Arizona research. Reglagene creates and develops new medicines that fight drug resistance, the greatest challenge cancer patients face today.

From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Vijay Gokhale, VP of Discovery; Teri Suzuki, Senior Biology Director; Richard Austin, CEO & President, and Laurence Hurley, Chief Science Officer.

UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION STARTUP CLIENTS

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

Emagine Solutions Technology Courtney Williams, co-founder and CEO of Emagine Solutions Technology, is launching VistaScan, an affordable ultrasound technology that transforms a cell phone or tablet into an ultrasound machine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; making it easier for clinicians to quickly understand patient conditions in time-sensitive situations. Clinicians can diagnose patients in moments with patented precise point measurements, saving time and ultimately lives at a cost 90 percent less expensive than a cart ultrasound machine. www.BizTucson.com

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UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION STARTUP CLIENTS UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION CLIENTS Not Featured in Photos

• Copperhead Aeronautics • NOAH • Homer Farms • Incident Decision Support • Insulin Initiative • Integral Healthcare Solutions

TG Companies Coby Tao is principal engineer and co-founder of TG Companies, a solar technology startup focused on sustainable deployment of solar energy as part of the world’s emerging energy problems. Their technologies will make the solar industry sustainable by providing recycling service and equipment for end-of-life solar cells and modules. Instead of ending up in landfills, the majority of these solar cells and modules are reused in new cells and modules.

UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION STARTUP CLIENTS

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

Souvie Biodelivery Dr. Souvenir Tachado, president and CEO of Souvie Biodelivery, has created a drug- delivery company that engineered the surfaces of cell-derived nanovesicles to function as disease-celltargeting drug-delivery vehicles. Engineered cellderived nanovesicles represent a novel class of biologics to treat human diseases – including inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular disorders.

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

UA Center for Innovation Team (from left) Carol Stewart, Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona and President, UA Center for Innovation; Anita Bell, Director; Shari Kahn, Administrative Assistant and Eric Smith, Executive Director

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BizTECHNOLOGY

UA Center for Innovation

Tech Parks Arizona Nurtures Startups By Rhonda Bodfield Around office water coolers and coffee stations, it’s common to hear employees talking about movies they’ve seen, sports they’ve watched or family matters. At the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, the water cooler and coffee pot chat among owners of technology startups in the program often can make a huge difference for their products and companies. “We don’t accept competing companies in our program, but we do work with startups in similar industries,” said Anita Bell, director of the UA Center for Innovation. “One time we had three different startups that were working with drones. “One was using drones to develop a geo fence around airports to restrict other drones from coming in. Another was attempting to find a way to control two drones flying together and the third was using a drone to identify where to best spray pesticides on crops. It really was helpful for the three of them to talk and share information,” Bell said. The UA Center for Innovation is a business incubator program located at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road that fosters startup technology companies, allowing them to evolve their products to the point where they can be launched into the marketplace. The program allows entrepreneurs to work together in a fast-moving, collaborative and creative environment and includes customized business-support programs like mentorship, connection to the resources of the UA and the Tucson community, interactive workshops, seminars and networking events. Entrepreneurs also are provided state-of-theart lab facilities and equipment. Entrepreneurs must apply to the program and pay a portion of the costs once they are accepted. They work on www.BizTucson.com

their products and their business plans concurrently during the process. “We are a full-service incubator,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP of Tech Parks Arizona and president of the UA Center for Innovation. “We don’t just focus on one aspect of the startup company. Entrepreneurs need

We are a full-service incubator. We don’t just focus on one aspect of the startup company.

– Carol Stewart Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona & President, UA Center for Innovation

to consider money requirements, product development, who their customers will be, as well as what team they are going to have to put in place to run the company.” “Working on both also gives program participants the opportunity to scale faster,” Stewart said. “This means they can evolve their product and grow their company more quickly and pivot to make necessary changes. For example, if while creating the business plan, a new market is revealed, the entrepreneur can easily adjust the product to

meet the needs of the new market segment. It actually provides guidance on how to develop the product more effectively.” Many startups that already have been through the program successfully launched their products. Emagine Solutions is developing a mobile ultrasoundimaging technology that doctors can use on their smartphones. “They are currently in the research and development phase of the product,” said Bell. “They have applied for approval from the FDA and are hoping to sell the product by the end of the year.” Metropia is another success story. The company developed a technology that is able to monitor and meter traffic, encouraging drivers to be on the roads during off peak hours when possible. “They have contracts with several different cities, and they also work with the Border Patrol to monitor border crossings,” Bell said. “In addition, they are working with our Regional Transportation Authority to look at traffic patterns and determine how to encourage travelers to use alternatives like Uber, the bus, etc., to move people from one place to another while reducing traffic.” Launching these successful companies only adds to the economic development of the region as they hire more employees and spend money running their businesses. “The UA Center for Innovation is a great asset for startups in the region, providing valuable guidance and access to top faculty and researchers at the University of Arizona,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development arm. “They continue to play an important role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for emerging and mature continued on page 101 >>> Fall 2019

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COMMUNITIES OF INNOVATION AT UA TECH PARK UA Tech Park at Rita Road Tenant Sampling

The UA Tech Park is a hub of innovation that spans 1,300 acres and houses 45 companies and 6,000 knowledge workers. It is one of the largest university research parks in the nation. The resources at the UA Tech Park help both startups and established companies expand their product development capacities. These are some of the innovations in progress.

2) NP Photonics NP Photonics is an optics company and the leading manufacturer of fiber lasers, fiber amplifiers and specialty fibers for the sensing, defense, metrology and research markets. NP Photonics, a company stemming from University of Arizona research currently has more than 1,600 lasers installed worldwide. It continues to grow through technology development, strategic partnerships and engagement with markets in which the company has a clear sustainable competitive advantage. 3) Ascensus Ascensus launched its west coast presence and moved into the UA Tech Park in 2017. This office has allowed the company to make a difference for others, and strive to reach its goal of helping millions of people save for what matters most — retirement, education, and healthcare.

4) Tech Parks Arizona Tech Parks Arizona develops the atmosphere for success which connects the university, community and industry. By linking cutting-edge technology companies with the resources of University of Arizona, Tech Parks Arizona creates an environment in which companies innovate, grow and succeed – a place where innovators and business leaders meet and where emerging companies and technology giants work side by side. 5) IBM IBM has been at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road tenant since 1979. IBM’s Tucson site has established itself as a strategic facility for the corporation. A majority of the staff at IBM Tucson are focused on data storage systems development. Major divisions include Systems and Technology Group, Software, Global Business Service and i2. To celebrate IBM Tucson and its great partnership with the UA Tech Park over the past 25 years, the dedicated team banded together, withstood the heat, and assembled into a human IBM logo. 6) Optum Rx At Optum, we collaborate and partner deeply, driven by a shared vision of health care that works better

for everyone. Our Tucson site at the UA Tech Park opened in September 2012 with 120 employees a combination of advocates and supervisors. We had trainers that came from various sites around the country to help and guide us in building our success in Tucson. Today we have grown to 445 employees with more classes slated for later this year. Our advocates use their personality and tools to help guide our members to understand their health care benefits and to make their better choices, to help answer questions and to educate them on a variety of topics. 7) Citi It was fifteen years ago that Citi established operations at the UA Tech Park. Each year, the company has grown and expanded its offerings. Citi often attributes their success in Tucson to their ability to attract and retain exceptional employees coupled with the state-of-the-art facilities and responsive management at the UA Tech Park. 8) Coherent Coherent Tucson, 14 years at UA Tech Park, manufactures high-power diode lasers for industrial, scientific, and commercial applications.

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF UA TECH PARKS

1) Darling Geomatics Darling Geomatics, a fast growth company using LiDAR, laser trackers, drones and GPS technologies for 2D and 3D models and maps; headquartered at the UA Tech Park.

UA TECH PARK TENANTS

PHOTO: JOEY AMBROSE

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COMMUNITIES OF INNOVATION AT UA TECH PARK

3) Vail Academy and High School Vail Academy and High School have twice been recognized as an A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Education Foundation, and have received the state’s highest ranking, either “Highly Effective” or an “A” for 13 years in a row. Vail High School began offering classes at the UA Tech Park in 1997. Vail Academy (K-8) joined the already established Vail High School at a new site in the UA Tech Park in 2010. Vail High School and the Tech Park have developed an innovative program that offer students realworld business experience by way part-time employment.

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

2) Association of University Research Parks The Association of University Research Parks – a professional association of global universityrelated research, science and tech parks and innovation districts – is headquartered in the UA Tech Park. AURP has direct connections with stakeholders from 200+ top level university research parks leaders.

UA TECH PARK TENANTS

1) University of Arizona Steward Observatory Researchers and technicians at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory are currently qualifying the control system for the M3 Tertiary Mirror Rotator and Positioner for the Tokyo Atacama Observatory Telescope. The telescope will be located on the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile at an altitude of 18,500 feet – the highest permanent astronomical observatory in the world.

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• AAA

• Pacific Maintenance

• Arzona Solar

• ProAutomation

• Cleveland Electric Labs

• Raytheon Missile Systems

• CTECH

• REhnu

• Duke Energy

• Securitas

• E.On

• Siemens Building Technologies

• Eurest

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• The Groundskeeper

• Hamilton Innovations • International Tower • Jacobs

• Tucson Electric Power • WGL Energy • Verizon Wireless

• Oracle

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BizTECHNOLOGY continued from page 97 companies to develop their ideas, inventions and products.” Creating an economic ecosystem for startup companies is important to the UA Center for Innovation, not only the UA Tech Park at Rita Road, but throughout the region. To expand the program’s reach, it will soon run its program in a new facility in Oro Valley. “Developing the next major employer like Roche or Icagen from scratch is incredibly challenging,” said Paul August, VP of biology at Icagen, who has been working to get a business incubator built in Oro Valley since 2013. “Southern Arizona has so much to offer new bioscience companies. Unfortunately, finding capital, great lab space and qualified personnel can be challenging in our region. The momentum of partnering with the University of Arizona through the UA Center for Innovation has been incredibly powerful.” The center also provides programming and office hours in Vail in partnership with the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce. “Vail Chamber Connection is one of the first collaborative office spaces for entrepreneurs on

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the southeast side – and the UA Tech Park at Rita Road is leading the initiative to build public awareness and assist

The momentum of partnering with the University of Arizona through the UA Center for Innovation has been incredibly powerful.

– Paul August, VP of Biology, Icagen

in business development,” said MaRico Tippett, Greater Vail Area Chamber president and CEO. BizLaunch Ideation Bootcamp, a crash course on what it takes to start a business in Sahuarita, is one of the services provided through the UA Center

for Innovation in cooperation with the Town of Sahuarita. “Entrepreneurial development is a commitment to improving the skills and knowledge of entrepreneurs by various means,” said Victor Gonzalez, economic development director for the Town of Sahuarita. “Our partnership with the University of Arizona Center for Innovation allows us to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sahuarita where aspiring entrepreneurs can thrive. Programs such as BizLaunch are a wonderful example of distinctive organizations coming together for the betterment of Sahuarita’s economic base and entrepreneurial development.” Nurturing an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in the region is also an important part of the UA’s strategic plan under President Robert C. Robbins’ leadership. “The University of Arizona is going to be around for a really long time,” said Stewart. “We want to build a continuum of successful technology startups and be the constant that makes them successful.”

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STEM Summer Camps

University of Arizona Steward Observatory

Tech Parks Arizona

Creating Opportunities Through Collaboration By April Bourie Of the many roles Tech Parks Arizona plays, connecting the University of Arizona to businesses and the community is one of the most critical. The UA Tech Park at Rita Road works with many different programs throughout the university to create opportunities to interact with the regional and international community. Internships for graduate and undergraduate students are one example of this interaction. Students from universities all over the nation partner with startup and emerging companies as www.BizTucson.com

well as the tech giants housed at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road to work on a variety of projects including industry reports, market analysis and technical programs like designing autonomous solar go-karts to gain â&#x20AC;&#x153;real-worldâ&#x20AC;? experience. These internships are crucial for developing a talented workforce for Southern Arizona and the nation. STEM summer camps allow the University of Arizona to reach out to the local community. Since 2015, Arizona Youth University has partnered with the UA Tech Park and the YMCA

to offer summer enrichment camps at the Tech Park at Rita Road. Facilitated by UA Campus Recreation, the camps are designed to introduce youth in grades three through eight to a variety of STEM fields including robotics, engineering, coding, website development, forensics and more, all in a realworld setting. A newly developed program with the UA Alumni Association will create networking channels between employees and alumni who work at the UA Tech continued on page 106 >>> Fall 2019

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PHOTO: COURTESY TECH PARKS ARIZONA

UA Connections


BizTECHNOLOGY

continued from page 105 Park and alumni in similar fields, providing opportunities for employees to supercharge their careers. Alumni also will be tapped for mentoring through the UA Center for Innovation, allowing startup founders to receive guidance in a variety of areas, including business formation, business development, market analysis and scaling collaboration operations. The recent expansion of Steward Observatory’s Engineering Technical Services to the UA Tech Park at Rita Road provides an opportunity for Tech Parks Arizona. “Our building at the UA is going through a major renovation, and the space here at the Tech Park was available for us to expand. Plus, it is already owned by the university,” said Jeff Kingsley, associate director of Steward Observatory and director of projects, engineering and technical services for the UA College of Optical Sciences. “It’s a one-year trial experiment, but if it works well, we’ll stay much longer than that, and the extra space will allow

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us to take on additional projects.” Steward Observatory provides resources for students and faculty in several programs at the UA. “Our mission is to support the research projects of tenured faculty at Steward Observatory, the College of Optical Sciences, the Lunar Planetary Labs and other areas of the university,” Kingsley said. “We want to be able to provide them with the resources they need to do big projects.” One of the observatory’s main projects at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road is the development of a new and less expensive 6.5-meter telescope. “We are working with local UA alumni-created companies M3 and CAID on this project,” said Kingsley. Observatory staff is also building the mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope, which has seven mirrors and will be located in Chile. There is a possibility that the cells, which hold the mirrors on the telescope, will be built in their facilities at the UA Tech Park if a new building can be built. Kingsley thinks this will be achieved fairly easily. “A ben-

efit of being located at the Tech Park is that they can build quickly here. We can move forward with this and even build more if necessary because the space is readily available.” In its UA Tech Park facilities, the observatory staff also is working on the San Pedro Mártir telescope, which will be placed in northern Baja, California, and finishing the primary mirror and support system for the Tokyo Atakama array going to the Atakama Desert in Chile. The projects draw researchers and astronomers from all over the world. While at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road, Kingsley plans to provide monthly lectures for employees who work at the UA Tech Park. Key senior technical presenters would discuss a variety of science topics, engaging employees at the tech park and creating further opportunities for networking and collaboration.

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Racing the Sun

Solar Powered Go-Kart Program Builds Teamwork By April Bourie It is a race – but it’s not all about speed in ate VP of Tech Parks Arizona Arizona and the Racing the Sun program developed by president of the UA Center for Innovation. Tech Parks Arizona. Bowman and Meyer are looking forward Racing the Sun is where high school teams to expanding the race in future years, both build and race solar-powered go-karts that geographically and by adding more teams to run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Howthe competition. Meyer holds a special place ever, the benefits that come from building the in her heart for racing, as she herself drove karts are more imporin Solo 2 races for her tant than how fast they father’s car until she can move. was 40. “There is a lot that Racing the Sun has to be done to run is currently the only these karts on solar competition of its kind power. Gear ratios in the Arizona region have to be adjusted – so teams from as and several other far away as Rio Rico, things have to be done Many Farms on the to make it work properNavajo Nation and ly,” said Brooke Meyer, even New Mexico can director of education come to compete. So and innovation for the far, teams from Sierra SARSEF, which stands Vista, Tucson and for Southern Arizona Phoenix have particiResearch Science and pated. Last year, 16 – Liz Bowman Engineering Foundateams competed, but tion. there is room for up CEO “Being so hands on, to 25. SARSEF it’s a tangible experi“When you talk ence for the students to students, you can to work through the engineering and desee how their lives are transformed by this sign process,” said Liz Bowman, CEO of process,” said Meyer. She was listening to SARSEF. “It’s the problem-solving process a participant who had been involved in the as well as teamwork that we want them to program for several years, moving up from experience.” driver her first year to captain of the team Tech Parks Arizona originally developed in her senior year. “To watch her transition the Racing the Sun program to enhance was so moving. It’s a great way to get girls workforce development programs in the reinvolved in engineering as well.” gion, then asked SARSEF to take over the “We feel so incredibly fortunate that Tech program this year to reach a broader group. Parks Arizona is supportive of us taking this “SARSEF is the ideal organization to move on. They’ve put so much passion and dedicaRacing the Sun from the incubation stage tion into this program,” said Bowman. “We and scale it up to magnify its ability to build want to continue to build on their vision.” future leaders,” said Carol Stewart, associBiz

PHOTO: COURTESY TECH PARKS ARIZONA

Being so hands on, it’s a tangible experience for the students to work through the engineering and design process.

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BizFUNDING

Igniting Innovative Minds Summit Focuses on Turning Innovators into Entrepreneurs By Lee Allen Tucson entrepreneurs who innovate – as well as those who support their creative minds financially and in other ways – answered the invitation to “Learn. Experience. Connect.” by attending a regional summit for funding and commercialization. Small Business Innovation Research/ Small Business Technology Transfer efforts are called “America’s Seed Fund” for early-stage development capital. Resources were detailed by public and university resources at the spring SBIR/STTR event. The highlight was success stories from local entrepreneurs who have climbed the ladder of innovation and found acceptance. A group of federal representatives presented at the summit held by the University of Arizona Center for Innovation at the UA Tech Park. The agencies and offices included National Institutes of Health, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval www.BizTucson.com

Sea Systems Command. James Zahler, representing the Advanced Research Projects Agency, Energy Division as associate director of technology-to-market, said his interest was in advancing high-potential, highimpact energy technologies – new ways to generate, store and use energy – that were too early for private-sector investment. “The path from seeding ideas to success in the marketplace is sometimes a long one, so we track private-sector follow-on funding for new methodologies that may compete with existing technologies or create new applications,” he said. Following the federal presentation was a similar panel on resources available at the university. Stephen Fleming, representing UA Office for Research, Discovery and Innovation, said, “You’re not going to build a successful company on SBIR funding alone. As your operation matures, our operation can help you connect with larger companies in-

terested in your area of specialization that will help you to advance.” Doug Hockstad represented Tech Launch Arizona, which brings faculty, staff and student innovation to market. “Through our commercialization network, we concentrate a lot of resources on technology, and are actually able to invest financially to help move things along pre-launch and pre-license. “There’s been a lot of change over the last five years in Tucson, growing the innovation ecosystem here. We’re a focal point in the Southwest now – with unique, talented people, great ideas and energy to build things. “What we’ve done at Tech Launch Arizona has had a lot of impact. We’ve spun out over 70 companies and recorded double-digit compound annual growth in all of our metrics. Tucson is ripe for this whole thing of growing a community that is built on innovation and entrepreneurship.” The interim director of the UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, continued on page 118 >>> Fall 2019

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BizFUNDING continued from page 117 Rick Yngve, told the 100-plus audience that his program, started in 1984 with an endowment from the late Karl Eller, is one of the oldest entrepreneurship centers in the country, nationally ranked in or close to the top 10 in most major categories. He said, “We’re classically known for our New Venture Program – where 100 students per year start with an idea and turn it into a real-world venture that ultimately launches – like one that was recently featured on the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’ ” Anita Bell, director of the UA Center for Innovation explained that the UA Tech Park, which covers more than 1,300 acres, has 18,000 square feet of incubator space in which to help develop new ideas. Randy Gustafson represented state support for creative minds. The senior VP of innovation for the Arizona Commerce Authority explained that ACA was a public-private development partnership for the state of Arizona with three main missions – to help companies move here, to help existing companies expand and to work with startup companies. “Ten years ago, Arizona wasn’t even mentioned in any connection to economic development,” he said, “but times have changed and over the last five years we’ve been ranked in the Top 5 Best States for Business – much of that due to the growth of our entrepreneurial efforts. “Our biggest and most popular program is the Arizona Innovation Challenge, one of, if not the, largest business franchise competitions in the country, especially on the basis of money awarded. Twice a year we hold new-company competitions where 10 companies get awarded up to $150,000 each – and every time we run it, we have at least one or two companies that, boom, come out of nowhere and win. “We’ve run this challenge 13 times with over 2,000 applications from more than 1,200 unique high-tech life-sciencebased companies that have gone forward to raise almost $1.1 billion – representing over 6,100 employees – and those numbers just keep going up.” He encouraged entrepreneurs in the audience to apply for the fall 2019 competition. Two innovator-entrepreneurs detailed their paths to success that were strewn with obstacles. Dr. Richard Austin, CEO of Reglagene, told the audience, “Becoming an entrepreneur involves a lifestyle change.” Emil Tremblay, SGNT CEO, agreed. He said, “It’s a brutal journey to get the funding needed to get the ball rolling – but you roll with the punches when you’re an entrepreneur.” Austin heads a therapeutics discovery and development company that investigates medicines addressing unmet medical needs in cancer treatment. “Reglagene’s products provide outcomes similar to gene editing,” he said, “but are differentiated by fewer safety concerns and easier product delivery to tumor sites.” Tremblay’s company offers “technology that significantly reduces financial loss and brand damage caused by product counterfeiting and tampering,” he said. “Scanning the patent-pending SGNT packaging seal with our simple smartphone app digitally proves the product is authentic and unaltered.”

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BizBRIEFS Bryan Hannley

Healthcare business consultant The Innova Group has brought Bryan Hannley in as senior consultant. He has more than 20 years of medical industry experience as a clinician, sales professional and manager. Hannley earned an MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. He serves as vice chairman of the Pima Community College Foundation and as a board member for the Centurions. He also helped found El Rio Vecinos.

Biz

Karla Farias

Karla Farias is the new bank manager for Great Western Bank, 3002 N. Campbell Ave. The recent University of Arizona graduate with a bachelor of law degree has over 10 years of banking experience. She has volunteered or interned with the Pima County Superior Court, the county Bar Association and the county Justice Board. Great Western Bank provides businesses with loans and credit lines, treasury management services and deposit services. Biz

John Green John Green has joined R&A CPAs as assurance manager. He’s had a career in assurance practice at three New York firms. Green’s extensive experience includes financial reporting and strategic planning for companies in insurance, specialty finance, hedge funds, private equity, healthcare, employee benefit plans and other sectors. Most recently he was CFO for Community Provider of Enrichment Services. He has a master’s degree in industrial and organization psychology. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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We knew Hampton Inn & Suites would be a tailor-made hotel brand for the UA Tech Park/Rita Ranch market. –

Omar Mireles President HSL Properties

You have four large demand sectors – the tech park, the fairgrounds, the interstate and a residential population.

Bill Kelley CFO Diamond Ventures –

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PHOTOS: COURTESY HSL PROPERTIES

BizHOSPITALITY

New Hotel Opens Near UA Tech Park

Hampton Inn & Suites Tucson Tech By Rodney Campbell Before the partners even started construction on the Hampton Inn & Suites Tucson Tech project, both knew the hotel was being built on a solid foundation. That’s because HSL Properties and Diamond Ventures had a couple of can’t-miss advantages: a proven partnership and a market that was begging for more hotel space. The hotel opened in late May, much to the excitement of an area that has a growing population and numerous business interests, most notably the University of Arizona Tech Park. “We’re 50-50 partners,” Diamond Ventures CFO Bill Kelley said of the project. “It’s a very underserved trade area.” This is the third project the partners have undertaken together. The first two were apartment homes, HSL’s Encantada brand on River Road in Tucson and in Oro Valley. In all three instances, Diamond Ventures owned the land and HSL saw the potential and bought in. “Diamond Ventures was aware that we were in the market for hotel development parcels and they approached us about the possibility of teaming up on the Rita Ranch parcel they owned,” HSL Properties President Omar Mire-

les said. “It was a great opportunity to partner with a great organization and to develop an ideal site for a hotel in a submarket that had significant demand.” HSL has enjoyed a successful relationship with Hilton for more than five years, which began through its ownership of the Doubletree Williams Center and Hilton El Conquistador. The company has since acquired two existing Hampton Inn & Suites in the Tucson market and developed another in Marana in the past three years. “To HSL and Diamond Ventures, as owners, Hampton delivers market-leading support – and Hilton’s commitment to the brand is made clear by its continued investment and product innovation,” Mireles said. “We knew Hampton Inn & Suites would be a tailor-made hotel brand for the UA Tech Park/Rita Ranch market.” The Hampton Inn is the 11th hotel HSL owns. “We have found relative value investing in and developing hotel properties in the Tucson market over the last five years,” Mireles said. “We continue to seek out hotel investment opportunities.” The property is located off Interstate www.BizTucson.com


10 at the Rita Road exit. It features 104 rooms and suites, free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, a fitness room, pool and meeting space. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of the UA Tech Park and its tenants –including IBM, Raytheon, Citi and OptumRX, the pharmacy benefit management arm of UnitedHealthcare. The Target fulfillment center, built on land once owned by Diamond Ventures, is a short walk away. There’s also a sprawling residential component. A recent Diamond Ventures demographics study showed there were more than 93,000 residents in the southeast Tucson region. “We view this area of Tucson as a very dynamic market,” Mireles said. “It has an immense business presence with 47 companies and approximately 6,000 employees at the expanding UA Tech Park – and Rita Ranch is a thriving and growing community. Additionally, the Pima County Fairgrounds are located within five miles of the Hampton. These combined economic generators have created very significant hospitality demand that has not been met in this immediate geographical area until now.” Kelley said Diamond Ventures owned the land for around 20 years. Diamond developed numerous projects in the area as the property waited for the right opportunity, including the La Costeña canning facility, Target fulfillment center, Pilot Gas/Subway and a Burger King. Of course, there was one big stumbling block that brought development to a halt: The Great Recession. “We did Target in November 2007, it opened in May 2009 and then the downturn occurred,” Kelley said. “It changed the outcome we thought we would have. Now, we have momentum back.” While it’s too early to judge how well the project will turn just a few months in, HSL and Diamond Ventures are excited about the potential. Mireles believes the hotel will match the success of HSL’s Hampton Inn in Marana, which exceeded occupancy and rate expectations in its first five months. “You have four large demand sectors – the tech park, the fairgrounds, the interstate and a residential population,” Kelley said. “We’re excited as we can be about it.”

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BizHONORS

Hispanic Business Leaders of the Year By Lee Allen

Eight individuals and organizations have been honored with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards for outstanding service to the community. Dr. Eric Cornidez of Pain Institute of Southern Arizona was named the chamber’s Man of the Year. Marla Franco of the University of Arizona was named Woman of the Year. The THCC presents these top awards each year to a Latino male and female executive of a business of any size located or headquartered in Southern Arizona. Winners are recognized for “exemplifying the strength and importance of Hispanic entrepreneurship, organizational management and community leadership,” according to the chamber. In addition, THCC presented these awards to other community leaders:

Rising Stars of the Year

• Karla Morales, deputy director of the UA Office of Multicultural Advancement, was selected as “an impact-driven professional involved in community engagement to positively impact people’s lives,” according to the chamber. • Es Teran, CEO of Borderlands Brewing Company, was chosen for his “entrepreneurship, vision, assertiveness, and community engagement” as well as his business success.

NOCHE DE ÉXITOS GALA & BI-NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS Presented by Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Friday, November 22, Casino Del Sol Resort 5655 W. Valencia Road 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. $150 per person, $1,500 for table of 10 (520) 620-0005

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Public Servant Award

Vice Mayor and Ward 5 City Councilman Richard Fimbres received this award for making a substantial contribution to Hispanic youth. The Legacy Award

Humberto Lopez, Chairman of HSL Properties, earned his accolades as “a recognized community leader and strong advocate for the Hispanic community.”

The La Estrella Award

Steve Holmes, superintendent of Sunnyside School District, received this singular honor. It is given to an individual or organization for exceptional service to the Hispanic community in the border region. Southern Arizona and Mexican Corporation of the Year

Vantage West Credit Union took the win on this side of the border. Nominees were recognized for showing leadership in serving the Hispanic market and promoting U.S.-Mexico trade. Biz

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PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

BizHONORS

Eric Cornidez

2019 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year By Lee Allen

Dr. Cornidez’s nomination noted his “ability to transcend seemingly impossible barriers” as he became the first in his family to attend college – Northern Arizona University, then Stanford University School of Medicine – before becoming an anesthesiology resident at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. He later joined the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona as a partner, chief medical officer and president. He followed up on this success by earning an MBA from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management and receiving an appointment as clinical assistant professor at the UA College 124 BizTucson

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of Medicine. ”I see myself as a mentor and, hopefully, a role model in the community,” Cornidez said. His success comes from a full team of supporters – from business partners to family and friends. “A perfect example is when I was in medical school and needed all the help I could get at exam time,” he said. “There were literally 50 women at a church in Mexico praying the rosary in my name. Success is generally the result of a group effort and overcoming barriers isn’t insurmountable if you have the support of the people around you.” Given time to reflect after receiving

this award, Cornidez said that it has infused him with a deeper passion to help build the success of others – by serving as a role model. “Especially in a time of competition and polarization, my role is to support entrepreneurs around me, to inspire others to do whatever inspires them and to help grow the successes of Tucsonans. With this recognition comes the responsibility to continue advancing our community while maintaining an uncompromised moral standard.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

BizHONORS

Marla Franco

2019 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year By Lee Allen

Business Woman of the Year Marla Franco is another “first-of-the-family” to graduate from college – several times – with degrees from University of California, Berkeley; California State University and Azusa Pacific University. Franco currently holds one of the longest titles to ever fit on a business card – University of Arizona Assistant Vice Provost of Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives and Executive Director of Assessment, Research and Grant Development. She led the UA’s 2018 efforts for federal recognition as a Hispanic Serving Institution. Her efforts resulted in UA being one of nine universities across the nation to receive an inauguwww.BizTucson.com

ral Seal of Excelencia involving Latino student successes. “Receiving the honor among a room full of community members, university colleagues and members of my family was definitely a nice surprise – because these people are the ones I partner with to make this work happen,” she said. “Being recognized in this fashion represents a prize moment, coming full circle in my career of working in higher education for 20 years. Who would have known? If I’d had a conversation with a younger version of myself years ago, I never would have imagined having the capacity to lead and influence in this kind of work on a daily basis.”

Franco is proud of her leadership style, setting standards by example. “In this line of work, people are always watching what happens and how it takes place – so my actions, how I carry myself both on the job and within the community, they really matter – not just do as I say, but do as I do. You lead through example in the ways you demonstrate your leadership with care and compassion. “My actions transcend to my values, ideals and expectations – and how I treat others in the diverse communities I care for.”

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

From left

John P. Lewis

President & CEO Commerce Bank of Arizona

Evan Anderson

CFO Commerce Bank of Arizona

Paul Tees

Chief Credit Officer Commerce Bank of Arizona

Bill Assenmacher

Chairman, Commerce Bank of Arizona Board of Directors

Chris Webster

Phoenix Market President Commerce Bank of Arizona 126 BizTucson

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BizBANKING

Remarkable Rescue of Commerce Bank of Arizona John Lewis Takes Charge By David Pittman If a Hall of Fame for Southern Arizona bankers was created, John P. Lewis would be among the first inductees. Lewis, 73, has worked at seven different banking institutions in five different decades. He is currently president of Tucson’s only locally owned bank. And, that bank – Commerce Bank of Arizona – would not be operating today if Lewis and his team hadn’t rescued it from the brink of bankruptcy and forced closure by federal banking regulators. Lewis, brought in to save the bank in October of 2013, said his early days at Commerce Bank of Arizona were difficult and at times heart wrenching. “Each and every day I didn’t know what was going to hit me,” he said. “It could be a depositor coming in to close an account or a businessman walking into my office and dropping keys off at my desk and saying, ‘here’s your building back, I can’t make the payments.’” Chris Webster, Phoenix Market president for Commerce Bank of Arizona, said, “All banks were struggling in the wake of the Great Recession, which devastated U.S. financial markets as well as banking and real estate industries. Many banks went out of business and many others were sold. The recovery of Commerce Bank of Arizona was remarkable. It was probably the greatest

bank turnaround in Arizona history.” Bill Assenmacher, a longtime friend of Lewis and chairman of the Commerce Bank of Arizona board of directors, praised Lewis for his skill in guiding the bank through threatening times. “If it had been anyone else but John (Lewis) leading us, I doubt we could have been successful,” said Assenmacher, the former owner/CEO of CAID Industries. “He built a strong and talented transition team that paid attention to everything that could be done to make the bank healthy again. John was the right person at the right time to make the turnaround happen.” When Lewis stepped into the bank as president, Commerce Bank of Arizona, Member FDIC, had already been labeled a “troubled institution” and was under a consent order giving the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 100 percent authority over all bank decisions. However, Lewis was familiar with high-level banking examiners and federal regulators as both the longtime president of Southern Arizona Community Bank in Tucson and as a member of the FDIC Presidential Advisory Committee at the height of the Great Recession in 2008-09. “I was well aware of what FDIC of-

ficials thought and what motivated them,” Lewis said. “They knew I had the ability to run a good bank because I’d done so before. They told me the bank was in serious trouble, but they supported me and said if anyone could turn things around it was me. They had their job to do, but if I was struggling with something I could call them and they would provide advice. They wanted the bank to succeed.” Assenmacher said Lewis was highly respected by the regulators. “They had so much faith in John (Lewis) that even when they thought a task was near impossible, they willingly let him try things to see if he could straighten things out – and more often than not, he did.” Crippled by business-loan losses following the Great Recession, Commerce Bank of Arizona was ordered by the FDIC to increase its capital reserves. Raising needed capital funds was a major step in reversing the bank’s circumstances. The bank had two successful capital increases. The first was in 2015, when $3.6 million was raised. The second was in 2017, the same year the FDIC removed the consent order, when the bank brought in another $10.2 million. In all, nearly $14 million was accumulated, all from local investors. “Mr. Assenmacher and I had many continued on page 129 >>>

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

The banking team at the Broadway Branch of Commerce Bank of Arizona in Tucson.

Banking Based on Relationships By David Pittman John Lewis is an old-school community banker and he’s proud of it. He believes banking is about developing relationships with his customers and providing quality, friendly, accessible service. “I run Commerce Bank of Arizona. The buck stops with me,” he said. “If someone walks in and asks to see the president of the bank, I want to talk to them. “We are the last locally owned, community bank in Tucson. We want Tucson to flourish. We want to help local businesses succeed, grow and create jobs,” Lewis said. “When people go to most Tucson banks to apply for a loan, the decision regarding their application will be made out of state. When customers apply for a loan at Commerce Bank of Arizona the decisions will be made here and they will have the opportunity to speak with the decision maker.” 128 BizTucson

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Lewis said he is aware of every single loan application at his bank, though he has a chief credit officer who makes the decision on most of them. “We talk about every loan this bank makes – but he doesn’t need my approval to approve it,” Lewis said. “If there is a loan application that could go either way, we put our heads together and determine if it makes sense for our bank. And if a loan is large enough it goes to the board for approval.” Lewis says he is a hands-on, financially conservative leader because “we don’t want to make the mistakes that got this bank in trouble in the first place.” He said he’s always aware of the bank’s overall financial position. “There is a report I pull up every morning on my computer while I am having my first cup of coffee. It summarizes the condition of the bank on one page. It provides a great deal of information.”

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BizBANKING

He built a strong and talented transition team that paid attention to everything that could be done to make the bank healthy again.

Commerce Bank of Arizona Supports Small Businesses By David Pittman

Bill Assenmacher Chairman Commerce Bank of Arizona Board of Directors –

continued from page 127 meetings with potential shareholders,” Lewis said. “It was a remarkable experience. We were successful in raising capital because we convinced people we were here to stay and it was a good investment.” He also noted that “the money Commerce Bank of Arizona lends supports Arizona businesses.” The bank is well known for “local decision making, local ownership and a strong board of directors.” Lewis said he had plenty of help in getting the bank turned around. First, he credits Assenmacher; and second, he praises the staff he and Assenmacher assembled together. “Bill (Assenmacher) and I met back in the 1980s when I worked as the loan officer for CAID Industries. Bill was my first director when I was president of Southern Arizona Community Bank. When I asked him to come on the board at Commerce Bank of Arizona, he was happy to do so. Bill is a visionary leader and he has a tremendous amount of business expertise. I wouldn’t have taken the job at Commerce Bank of Arizona without Bill. We were kind of a package deal.” In July of this year, confirming Commerce Bank of Arizona is back on track, Bauer Financial, a Floridabased independent research firm that ranks banks and credit unions from zero to five based on financial data reported to the government, raised

Commerce Bank of Arizona to 3½ stars or “good.” The bank had been rated at zero stars, or “troubled,” by Bauer as recently as 2016. “Commerce Bank of Arizona once had a five-star rating and it was ridden down to a zero,” said Lewis. “Honestly, I didn’t know you could go to a zero, but we were a zero. Now we are back to 3½, and I’m confident we’ll again have a five-star rating in the near future.” Commerce Bank of Arizona management and staff are strong proponents of modern banking, but refuse to abandon community banking principles that emphasize service, customer relations and the importance and well-being of small business and local communities. “The truth is – banking has changed. Online banking, mobile banking, remote deposit capture and other technologies have put financial services at our fingertips no matter where we are,” Lewis has said. “What has not changed is the primary goal of our bank: We want to listen, understand, and execute on the specific needs of all our clients. The essence of community banking is being there when and where our customers need us – and that’s what CBAZ strives to do every day.” Learn more at www.commercebankaz.com.

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Daniel Contreras El Guerro Canelo Contreras, a Mexican immigrant, owns three El Guerro Canelo restaurants in Tucson and another in Phoenix. He said, “I went to bank after bank trying to get a loan, but none of them would help me. None of them trusted me. Unlike the others, John Lewis trusted me as a human and he trusted me to succeed. He gave me advice and he worked with me. He’s been my partner.” Joe Parsons Parsons Steel Builders Established in 1972, this Tucson company has successfully completed about 5,000 projects in the Southwest and worldwide. Parsons said, “The most important thing about Commerce Bank of Arizona is it’s a locally owned community bank. Decisions are made locally. You can pick up the phone and speak immediately with a real person who knows Tucson and your business. We believe in the people running the bank, because they believe in us.” Doug Vaughan Five Guys Five Guys opened its first restaurant in 2010 and now operates six locations in Tucson and one in Queen Creek. Vaughan said, “I believe it’s best to work with people you know and trust who are accessible. I speak with John Lewis on a regular basis and as a result he’s extremely knowledgeable about the workings of Five Guys. I consider John and his team to be partners in our business.” Jarrett Reidhead Tucson Integrity Realty This company specializes in student housing, a real estate niche that many banks do not serve well because they are reluctant to lend money for buildings and properties for use by college students. Yet Reidhead said Commerce Bank of Arizona worked closely with him. “I love Commerce Bank of Arizona. It’s been integral to my success. I think it’s the best bank in Arizona.”

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BizPHILANTHROPY

Tucson Visionary Donates Millions to Help Homeless

New Center of Opportunity Puts Resources All in One Place

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

By Tiffany Kjos There are people who think small. There are people who think big. Then there is Humberto “Bert” S. Lopez, who thinks gargantuan. Lopez has made a fortune investing in hotels, apartment complexes and a host of other ventures. Now he’s investing in something different – homeless people – with the vision of helping them become independent. “He’s a very generous man with a heart toward people who are struggling with poverty, with homelessness,” said the Rev. Roy Tullgren, who was executive director of Gospel Rescue Mission for 20 years. “He really wants to help people get back up on their feet – and where we are kindred is he wants that process to be one that values their dignity and selfrespect, to treat them well and respect them.” The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation, which is 100% funded by Lopez and his wife, Czarina, bought the onetime Holiday Inn on Palo Verde Road near Interstate 10. Now with 30-some nonprofit partners and loads of volunteers, the old hotel has been turned into a beacon for the homeless, with virtually every service a person might need all in one place. The new name of the former hotel is the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity. “What he did is close to unprecedented,” said Tullgren, who today serves as pastor for donor and church engagement for Gospel Rescue Mission.

Humble Means

Lopez comes from humble means. His father, a successful rancher in Cuidad Obregón in Sonora, Mexico, died when Lopez was 12. The family, which included six children, moved to Nogales, Arizona, to live with their grandmother and uncle. There, Lopez worked fulltime at a grocery store while in high school. During college, he picked melons, dug ditches and washed dishes to help feed the family. Armed with degrees from Cochise College in Douglas and the University of Arizona, he found he had a knack for investing and negotiating. In 1975 he established HSL Properties and has since made millions buying and selling hotels, apartment complexes, commercial properties and land. Over the years the Lopez foundation has donated millions of dollars to Tucson nonprofits with an emphasis on health, welfare and education. The foundation invested millions more to get the Center of Opportunity off the ground. The project started with a look at the Central Arizona Shelter Services in Phoenix, which Lopez saw in 2010. “It’s close to downtown and they provide a lot of the services on one campus, but it looked like a war zone. I mean it looked like a completely homeless camp around the premises,” Lopez said. “I liked putting together a one-stop all-services campus – but I did not want it to appear as a homeless shelter. I

wanted to be able to treat people with dignity and respect, no different than I would treat you or anybody else.” Quick Turnaround

When the chance arose to buy the hotel, Lopez wasted no time. “The opportunity presented itself, and since I had the idea already, I jumped at it and made it a reality. I’m a dreamer, but I try to make my dreams happen,” Lopez said. “With anything I do, I follow through.” Lisa Chastain, executive director of Gospel Rescue Mission, echoed his thoughts. She said, “Center of Opportunity is so many things – a dream come true, really.” Picture all these facets on the same campus – The Arizona Department of Economic Security, housing, food, job training, addiction counseling, medical and dental care, kids’ daycare, clothing, a fitness center, library and help for veterans. The point is to expedite homeless people’s journeys from hopelessness to able, productive and happy members of the community. Lopez interviewed several agencies, then decided his objective was most aligned with that of Gospel Rescue Mission, “a nonprofit that had been serving the homeless for more than half a century and was 100% privately funded with absolutely zero government funding,” he said. continued on page 132 >>>

1. Humberto Lopez, Founder, The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity 2. Lisa Chastain, Executive Director, Gospel Rescue Mission 3. Humberto and Czarina Lopez with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey www.BizTucson.com

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BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 131 Gospel Rescue Mission spent about $4 million to remodel and renovate the main building to make it suitable for the services it will provide. It also vetted all the other agencies that will call the center home. “Trying to keep 30-plus agencies working together will be the challenge, but it’s also the best opportunity. What will be accomplished is so much greater because there’s so much synergy,” said Doug Martin, president of Good News Communications, which also donated a million dollars to start rehabbing the property. Dignity and Respect

The concept of respect and dignity is woven throughout the center. The lobby was converted into the reception, welcome and community area, a comfy open space where people can play pool, play the piano, read and converse with their fellow residents. The dining service doesn’t make people go through a chow line, but serves plated meals at their tables by volunteers. The kitchen is serving nearly 1,000 meals a day, with the capacity to serve up to 3,000. “The food is good, very good. When I’m in town and have luncheon commitments, we go eat at the Center of Opportunity,” Lopez said. When purchased by HSL, the hotel included furniture, industrial kitchen appliances, linens, cookware, dishes and more. It was fully operational. As a result, this center looks nothing like a homeless shelter. The Lopez foundation is leasing the Center of Opportunity to Gospel Rescue Mission for 99 years for $1 a year. The campus includes a six- story tower with 250 rooms that La Frontera, a mental health and substance abuse treatment services provider, will renovate. Once the renovation is complete and new buildings are constructed, the center will be able to provide short-term, transitional and longterm housing. The H.S. Lopez Center of Opportunity was dedicated at a ceremony in May that included Bert and Czarina Lopez, along with dozens of officials and community supporters. That included Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County Supervisor Ramón Valadez, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Tucson Councilmember Richard Fimbres. They were treated to a tour of the facility – including the expansive hotel-style lobby that was turned into the welcoming entry, the site of several casitas, former meeting rooms converted to sleeping areas, new bathrooms and laundry facilities – along with the plans for five buildings to be constructed that will house some of the nonprofits that are now inside the welcome center. Path to Productivity

The center opened June 3 and in just the first 30 days provided 7,500 bed nights and 7,000 meals. Services were provided with the help of 2,000 volunteer hours. “We weren’t expecting to fill up so quickly,” said Victor Hightower, who does marketing for Gospel Rescue Mission. “We were expecting when we opened June 3 to take maybe 30, 40 people in. We took close to 200 the first day.” The center opened with 250 beds and is expected to add another 100 when construction of the buildings is completed. Eventually, the completed campus will accommodate 132 BizTucson

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about 600 residents. It seems as though the center covers every amenity, including a dog kennel, library, a work-out facility and a park. One cool aspect was unexpected: The hotel had a movie theater. It’s been renovated with all new seats, sound and video, and is used for chapel and Friday movie nights. “The main objective was not to house the homeless that are professional homeless, but to get these people to get training,” Lopez said, as well as clothing, food and selfrespect. People who need shelter but don’t want job training or addiction help are allowed to stay at the shelter for seven days. They must leave at 9 a.m. and can return at 5 p.m. “Those who want to make a commitment to get training are also helped to prepare a résumé, practice interview skills and find a job. They can stay up to 90 days and longer if needed. Those with addictions who want to get their lives back can stay and get help for up to 18 months,” Lopez said. ‘An Open Heart’

To keep the center funded, donors will be offered the opportunity to sponsor a building with naming rights. That money will go into an endowment fund to be managed by an independent board of directors including a representative of the foundation and the mission, providing grants to nonprofits operating within the Center of Opportunity and to maintain the premises. “I hope to stimulate others that also have been blessed to share their blessing with those who are less fortunate, and to support the many other nonprofits that operate within our community, making it a better place for all. We also need volunteers to help with the workload – as well as clothing, food and furniture which is given free of charge to those in need, no questions asked,” Lopez said. Lopez grew up on welfare and got financial aid from the government to attend college. He appreciates what a helping hand can do. “I’ve been very fortunate and blessed beyond my dreams. My children and grandchildren have been taken care of and I can’t take it with me. I’d rather help others by leaving our estate to this foundation to continue serving the many needs of our community. “It’s payback. I was helped, went through college with government help, and so I’m paying back my blessings. I do it with an open heart. No one forces me. You do it out of your own goodness,” he said. It’s amazing to watch people who were homeless and felt disconnected become productive people, said Martin of Good News Communication. One of those was his niece, a heroin addict who overdosed three times, went to jail and was put in a mental institution, all by the time she was 19. She lasted one day at a rehab program Martin paid for. She ended up at the Gospel Rescue Mission, went through a nine-month program there and hasn’t used drugs for years. Today she is a cosmetologist. “Her father, who was a cardiac technician, had to save her three times,” Martin said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that she would be dead by now if she hadn’t gone to the Gospel Rescue Mission.”

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R E A S O N S

By Eric Swedlund Isaac and Simone Figueroa represent both sides of the retention and attraction coin. A native Tucsonan, Isaac is a University of Arizona graduate and 2018 40 Under 40 Man of the Year, working in real estate and active in a host of community organizations, including the Centurions and Greater Tucson Leadership.   East Coast-born and -educated, Simone took a job in Tucson knowing nothing about the city, and quickly fell in love with the quality of life here. The couple met online, went hiking on their first date “and the rest is history,” Simone said. “There’s something about the energy here that’s really special. I feel happy, at ease and at home – and you can’t beat the mountain views. Isaac and I have found a really great balance and we love living here. It has a lot of charm and a lot to offer, especially if you take 134 BizTucson

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the initiative,” Simone said. “All my closest friends from childhood and college live in bigger cities, but none of them are involved in their city. It’s something I really love about living here, the sense of community and how open and warm everyone is and how young people take a leading role in shaping our community and our future.” Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – make up the largest generation in U.S. history. Some 92 million strong, millennials “have grown up in a time of rapid change, giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations,” according to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. Millennials desire work that fuels their sense of purpose and makes them feel important, seek engagement in their community and want to make a positive contribution to the world, ac-

cording to Gallup. Cities that are more attractive to millennials tend to be more diverse, with multicultural populations and a local character that reflects variety in terms of restaurants, events, activities and organizations. In 2015, a report from Money magazine ranked Tucson as one of the nation’s best cities for millennials – praising the city’s revitalized downtown, range of ethnic restaurants, nightlife at spots like Club Congress, employers like Raytheon Missile Systems and high potential for job growth. Calling Tucson a “hidden gem,” the magazine ranked the city fourth – ahead of high-tech hub Seattle – and right behind Austin, Atlanta and Columbus. In the four years since Tucson earned Money’s praise, increased momentum on many of those same attributes has created an even stronger position for the city.  Yet challenges undoubtedly remain www.BizTucson.com


BizMILLENNIALS

for Tucson. Earlier this year, Tucson Young Professionals brought together the Emerging Leaders Council, Hispanic Leadership Institute, Greater Tucson Leadership and Tucson Urban League Young Professionals for a summit to discuss areas critical to attracting young professionals. The Igniting Advocacy roundtable discussed Tucson’s challenges and settled on four broad themes that form the crux of what work needs to be done to improve Tucson’s standing: • Education • Jobs, innovation and workforce • Tucson branding, narrative and promotion • Quality of life and infrastructure

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TUCSON

“What Tucson is inherently good at will get you here – with the great culture, food and community. But the stuff we have a harder time executing on could move people away,” said Zach Yentzer, executive director of Tucson Young Professionals. “We need that focus on jobs, income, affordability and infrastructure. Let’s keep what we’re good at – but keep making sure to plug the holes a bit.” BizTucson compiled this list of 10 factors that make Tucson an attractive place for millennials and young professionals – based on research, interviews and feedback from businesses, area leaders and readers. “We get such a great quality of life for the cost of living here. Tucson has great food, great culture. The natural resources we have from the standpoint of things like hiking and outdoor life is pretty robust here,” said Isaac Figueroa. “Tucson is reaching a tipping point,

with companies like Caterpillar and Raytheon bringing more jobs, and people realizing this is a great place to live and work. We’re turning a corner and could be getting to a point where Tucson can grow and become even better. We have a lot of potential and we can become the best version of ourselves.”

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ENTREPRENEURIAL CLIMATE & STARTUP ECONOMY

Jeff Sales, executive director for the Arizona Technology Council’s Southern Arizona office, said the years that Tucson businesses and entrepreneurs have spent working to attract investors have paid off, with investors now coming to Tucson in droves. “One of the things we’re seeing is there is a lot of capital coming our way that never was here before,” Sales said. “Organizations that want to invest in continued on page 136 >>> Fall 2019

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BizMILLENNIALS continued from page 135 new technology are realizing Tucson is a place they can do that – and Tucson is a place they can do that more economically than even places like Denver or Salt Lake. Once those investors realize the market is here, then their pals are going to join too.” That rise in locally available investment capital corresponds to younger workers realizing that though other markets remain stronger, those cities are getting increasingly difficult to live in. “Many students have come to the conclusion that the grass is taller in places like San Francisco and Austin, but it isn’t necessarily greener,” Sales said. “Those are great places to have a job – but not a great place to have a life. In Tucson you can have both.” Investors and entrepreneurs alike are on the lookout for the type of things that are Tucson’s natural advantages, said Carol Stewart, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona. “We play the university card every day when we’re talking to companies, whether they’re startups or international companies we’re looking to attract, and everybody in between. The University of Arizona is top tier. When you have that kind of horsepower in your town, it’s a great selling point,” she said. The next phase for the UA Tech Parks will be starting construction on the first building at The Bridges, along with expanding the UA Center for Innovation and stretching tech commercialization efforts across the region to Oro Valley, Sahuarita and beyond. “Having a world-renowned tech park is an asset that people salivate over in

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our industry. This is one of the top parks and people really undervalue it in our community,” Stewart said. “When you look from outside, this is the place for companies to land and get plugged into the talent at the university in a very short order.”   The Tech Parks and Tech Launch Arizona flow well together, and the numbers – like a UA record 284 inventions disclosed last year – point to that collaboration. A key element to Tech Launch Arizona’s efforts is helping to build companies that can stay and grow here – creating more opportunities for graduates to remain here as well. “For everybody that’s dipping their toe in the water right now, there are five to 10 people waiting in the wings to see how successful they are,” Stewart said. “As soon as those first adopters become successful in building their own companies, there are lots of other people who will be getting into the startup game. It’s contagious.”  Dre Voelkel, programs and events director for Startup Tucson, moved here for the potential to be involved in the entrepreneurial community. “I was super ambitious and wanted to take on the world and spent a decade in New York and Chicago. I was doing well and could have continued that life – but as a typical millennial, I wanted more. In those big cities, there’s only so much one young person can do to make an impact. It struck me that Tucson is the perfect place to make an impact. Young, hardworking people have a seat at the table,” she said. The amount of small businesses – from the family taquerias to the bioscience companies that are coming out of the university – have great value for Tucson, Voelkel said. “We have a ton of makers and artisans and creatives who are able to build here, and that’s really special. There are a lot of innovators in a lot of different fields who play a critical role in our economic ecosystem,” she said. “When you study innovation ecosystems around the country, people want to do what worked in Seattle or San Francisco. The entire innovation community here thinks about how to tailor that to our unique ecosystem – so we won’t replicate some of the mistakes that have happened as growth has overtaken other cities.” At Startup Coffee, Startup Tucson’s free weekly morning mixer, Voelkel regularly meets newcomers who say the

word is definitely out about Tucson’s potential. “On a weekly basis, I talk to young people who’ve just moved here. They say ‘I had to leave Portland’ or ‘I had to leave Seattle’ because those cities are not the cities they grew up in. They’ve been overtaken,” Voelkel said. “What we want to do is create a place where we can plug them right in and give them a taste of everything that’s happening so they can find their place and find their role.”

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MUSIC, ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT & CULTURE

“It’s become somewhat of my life’s goal to put this city on the map,” said Matt Baquet, a music booker at Club Congress and director of the annual HOCO Fest. “Years ago I had this idea that I would move to Northern California and start a music festival with some friends. That dream slowly fizzled out, but I realized it didn’t really go away, it just molded into something that makes more sense. It’s the same goal, but in my hometown of Tucson.” Having lived in Seattle and New York, Baquet has seen cities where music defines the culture, which is emerging in Tucson as well. “I thought it would be really cool to make a city a music city,” he said. “I didn’t realize my hometown would be the perfect place to do that. It made me who I am and I love it for many reasons, but it’s a city on the rise. There’s this energy that comes with the business development and the city’s desire to grow and achieve. But most important to me is that it catches on with the creative community here because that’s ultimately what will attract more people.” HOCO’s 15th year coincides with the 100th birthday of Hotel Congress and is drawing more outside attention than ever. The festival has press in attendance from major cities like New York, Los Angeles, London and Toronto, with music insiders growing more and more appreciative of a carefully curated smaller festival, as well as the quality of the local bands in the mix. “HOCO is meant to share our flavor with the world. That’s what we’re trying to showcase with the festival. It’s not just about bringing in this crazy talent, it’s about showing North America what Tucson is all about,” Baquet said. “It’s continued on page 138 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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continued from page 136 this synchronicity. The community is getting on board at the same rate the national press is getting on board, and hopefully it will continue to snowball and continue to attract people from outside of Tucson to see more of our magic.” Jocelyn Valencia, co-founder and codirector of the Tucson Hip Hop Festival, said opportunities abound in Tucson, especially for musicians looking to find their voice and fans interested in experiencing live music without the huge crowds and high prices of larger cities. “Tucson is known for being a culturally rich city and the music scene is very present. I often get asked, ‘What’s the Tucson sound?’ I feel that Tucson is still developing its sound and identity. It keeps growing and I keep see-

ing more and more artists trying new things,” said Valencia, who also works with Dusk Music Festival and the Tucson Jazz Festival. “Tucson is a really good city to explore any ideas you have, whether that’s a business idea, an event idea or artists wanting to put out a project or collaborate with another artist.” One of Tucson’s challenges now, in the cultural area as well as other professions, is creating a city vibrant enough to retain the young, talented and promising artists. “Tucson breeds individuals well, but it’s also our main export,” Baquet said. “Hopefully if we keep doing big things here and reaching out to the community, to the younger people, that will continue to grow here and stay here instead of moving to New York or L.A. I see the whole crop of young kids getting excited, and it’s a contagious thing.” Both Valencia and Baquet echo the

mantra of many other entrepreneurs: They can make a difference in Tucson and bring their ideas to fruition in a way that isn’t possible in larger cities. “One of the most special things about Tucson right now is there are opportunities to put your imprint on the development here. HOCO Fest and working here at Hotel Congress is a beautiful fit,” Baquet said. “They want to preserve the 100-year cultural epicenter of the city and there can be no better partners to help us push our vibe. This block, with Rialto and Congress, is extremely important.” Tucson also boasts a big-city arts scene, anchored by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the oldest continuing professional performing arts organization in the state of Arizona, as well as opera, ballet, professional and amateur theater, Broadway road shows, chamber music and jazz. In total, the city

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BizMILLENNIALS is home to 215 arts organizations and more than 35 art galleries.

3

A WORLD FESTIVAL & EVENT CITY

Looking for something to do? The city’s calendar is full – year-round – with events, happenings, festivals and occasions. In fact, Tucson was recognized in 2017 as a World Festival & Event City, one of nine cities worldwide so honored by the International Festivals & Events Association, the major trade association of event professionals. “This recognition is a seal of approval and another tool in the toolbox to let the world know what a great place Tucson is,” said Donovan Durband, president of Festivals & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona, when he accepted the award on behalf of the city. “It should be a point of pride for

All Souls Procession

local residents that our culture is so robust and such an integral part of who we are – and how the world views us. There are people in the far reaches of the globe who may know about Tucson only because of our major productions. Festivals and events are undoubtedly part of Tucson’s ‘cool factor,’ ” Sports and recreation? El Tour de Tucson, Major League Soccer preseason and the Mobile Mini Sun Cup, the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, Cologuard Classic, Tucson Association of Realtors Soccer Shootout, Cyclovia and Rillito Park Racetrack, plus full seasons of hockey and indoor football at the Tucson Convention Center, with the Tucson Roadrunners and Tucson Sugar Skulls. Music, arts and entertainment? HOCO Fest, Night of the Living Festival, Dusk Music Festival, Tucson Jazz Festival, Tucson Folk Festival, Tucson

Winter Chamber Music Festival, Tucson Desert Song Festival, Tucson Hip Hop Festival, Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Comic-con, Tucson Comedy Arts Festival, Southern Arizona Blues and Heritage Festival and Tucson International Mariachi Conference. Movie buffs can enjoy Film Fest Tucson, Arizona International Film Festival, Loft Film Fest and Tucson Film & Music Festival. Uniquely Tucson? TENWEST Impact Festival, El Rio Vecinos Block Party, The Centurions’ annual event, Tucson Meet Yourself, All Souls Procession, Baja Beer Festival, Fourth Avenue Street Fair, Tucson Tamal and Heritage Festival, Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, Tucson Humanities Festival, Arizona Insect Festival, La Fiesta de los Vaqueros and Agave Heritage Festival. And there is much, much more. continued on page 140 >>>

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YOUNG PROFESSIONAL GROUPS & LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

“We have this thing to sell of a city on the rise. By being a part of Tucson’s story, you can write your own story,” said Yentzer of Tucson Young Professionals The collaboration and openness of young professional groups and other civic leadership organizations have not been this good for a long time, Yentzer said. There’s cross-sector collaboration at a high level and great momentum in industries like mining tech and aerospace. Opportunities abound in the city’s various young professional groups. The Emerging Leaders Council is a diverse team of under-40, upwardly mobile young professionals rooted in the Tucson community whose mission is to accelerate the growth of Tucson’s business climate along with their own careers. Founded in 2014 and supported by the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commere executive team and its board of directors, the ELC is committed to mentorship, pairing each member with an accomplished senior executive. 140 BizTucson

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The Hispanic Leadership Institute is a 12-week program co-hosted by Valle del Sol and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that offers participants the opportunity to engage Arizona’s foremost business and policy authorities in a continuing dialogue about leadership and Latino issues. Founded in 1980, Greater Tucson Leadership is a non-profit, non-partisan leadership organization dedicated to providing leadership education, community development and civic engagement. A partner program of the Tucson Metro Chamber, GTL has graduated more than 1,000 participants and maintains a strong alumni network. In January 2020, Greater Tucson Leadership, in partnership with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, will launch the inaugural Civic and Political Leadership Program. Tucson Urban League Young Professionals are engaged in leadership development, educational advancement, economic welfare and social interaction. “We’re coming together as young professional organizations and that speaks to the openness of this community. If you want to get involved,

you can get involved to a deep level,” he said. “If you’re in another city, like Atlanta or Austin, it’s ‘Who are you? Why should somebody care?’ Here, it’s an amazing community to get plugged in. If you commit to the city, there’s less of a barrier to entry.” Young professionals are telling Yentzer they can get into entry-level jobs, but Tucson doesn’t have as much in mid-career jobs. A main area of focus for Tucson Young Professionals is professional development, which can help retain that homegrown talent, which will make companies more eager to create those mid-level positions here. “Our advocacy efforts connect other young professionals with leaders to create change over the long haul and impact the community,” he said. “Tucson is primed to be, and in some cases already is, a Southwest hotspot where people who are broken by bigger cities can come for both the opportunities and the affordability. We have the food, the culture, the community and you can come and be a part of the startup scene. That’s magic.”

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OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Tucson ranks No. 2 on Outside magazine’s list of the 12 Best Places to Live in 2019. The magazine said America’s cities are the “new adventure capitals” – blending urban environments with day-to-day opportunities for an active lifestyle. According to Outside, Tucson is the “Desert Rose,” whose stereotypical resident is “the burrito-fueled cyclist who’s unafraid of hill climbs, cactus needles or riding single-track at night to escape the summer heat.” One of those stereotypical climbs is up Tumamoc Hill, a living desert laboratory and ecological preserve, but also one of the city’s most popular recreation areas. “I know for many people, where they bought their house or decided to rent is based on proximity to Tumamoc,” said ecologist Ben Wilder, director of the Desert Laboratory at Tumamoc Hill. “The mountain is such a central part of their day-to-day routine and that’s really important. It’s just such an incredible anchor to where we are.” The laboratory at Tumamoc was established in 1903, but human history at www.BizTucson.com

and near the mountain dates back 4,000 years, making it the longest continuously habited site in the United States. So even as people come to walk or jog that 1.5-mile trip to the top, they’re convening with Tucson’s past in a way no gym could ever match. “They come for the exercise, but once it becomes part of your routine, it’s so much more than that. You come with friends, or you might take a first date there. You stay healthy, but a real connection to the place you live is what forms,” Wilder said. “There’s such a defined sense of place here. It’s that combination of the spirit of the desert, from the rains to the distinctive food to the feeling of community. All those things are exemplified by Tumamoc.” The bike and pedestrian paths that connect the city’s neighborhoods to areas like Tumamoc are crucial to enabling the outdoors to become a part of daily life. “One of the rare things that Tucson offers that big cities can’t compete with is the ability to live in an affordable urban environment and literally hop on your bike and be at the base of a moun-

tain in five minutes,” said Emily Yetman, executive director of the Living Streets Alliance. “It’s amazing how you can be that close to the pristine natural environment and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and then be back in the bustling urban environment.” Yetman has seen in other cities no choice other than to drive for a while to get outside the city and find a place that gives you that sense of space. “The fact that we have managed to preserve so many of these great outdoor recreation places and natural ecosystems that are really accessible is phenomenal,” Yetman said. “Here, you can get to those places without having to commit a weekend to it.”

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REAL ESTATE & COST OF LIVING

“Nationally, we’re seeing a tremendous upsurge in purchasing homes because the economy is good and interest rates are low. Millennials are right in line with that,” said Randy Rogers, CEO of the Tucson Association of Realtors. “If you look at it locally, Tucson is booming everywhere you turn. People are wantcontinued on page 142 >>> Fall 2019

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Downtown Tucson continued from page 141 ing to move here. Tucson in particular is really at a wonderful spot because the homes are affordable still, which they aren’t in many other places.” For people who are trying to figure out what city is right for them, cost of living and quality of life are the two biggest factors, Rogers said. High prices in major markets drive more attention to secondary cities, and, in general, millennials are near the average age of first-time homebuyers. “Tucson is thriving in that market,” Rogers said. “The trend across the country is they’re not looking to spend hours cutting their grass in the yard over the weekend. They want to get out and do things, like hiking. So Tucson is perfectly aligned with exactly what the millennials want.” Today’s first-time buyers tend to be more interested in living in the urban core, as opposed to the suburban trend of their parents. Tucson has significant potential for urban infill and more dense development around downtown, said Isaac Figueroa, director of Real Estate Development at BFL Ventures. “One of the things I’m focused on is doing more affordable housing and close that gap, as well as maintaining our priority and commitment to sustainability at the same time so that we have smart and responsible growth,” Figueroa said.

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FOOD

In 2015, Tucson was named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, recognized for “our region’s rich agricultural heritage, thriving food traditions, and culinary distinctiveness,” according to city statements in announcing the honor. Since then, the designation has become a huge part of Tucson’s identity – for locals and visitors alike. 142 BizTucson

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James Beard winners Janos Wilder and El Guero Canelo and nominees Don Guerra of Barrio Bread and El Charro Café speak to the variety, quality and uniqueness of the city’s food culture. Ben Schneider, owner of TallBoys, grew up in Tucson with family-owned restaurants Bentley’s and La Cocina, so when he branched out to open his own spot, he wanted to make sure it had a friendly, community vibe. “I always have connected strongly with food and community being pretty much the same. If you have a place you can feel comfortable and eat slowly and have a friendly conversation, you feel more open. There are so many people who sit at the bar and laugh with us,” he said. “For us, that’s been our saving grace. We take food really seriously, but we don’t have to do it with an attitude. It helps our clientele feel more connected.” Creating a new venture in a renowned food city can be daunting, but Schneider set out to follow his passion. “My concept was to keep it simple as far as ingredients, have everything be super fresh, and I really enjoy the classic breakfast and a place you can get it all day long. I wanted that greasy spoon vibe, sassy waitress vibe, with a bit more of a modern flair,” Schneider said. “It resonates with a lot of people. As much as I appreciate higher-end cuisine, Tucson is a lower price-point town and I really wanted a place where people could feel at home.” Tucson is a perfect city for millennials and younger people to explore, find their identity and pursue their passions, Schneider said, something he sees firsthand on a daily basis in the musicians and artists who make up his clientele and staff. “You can’t do the things you can do in Tucson in other cities. There’s freedom to pursue personal endeavors and hobbies and passions,” he said. “What’s

Sonoran Hot Dog so inspiring about being in Tucson now is it’s in a flux phase. It’s in a bit of an identity crisis now with an opportunity to work with the town and figure out what it needs. “You see a lot of concepts that might have worked in San Francisco or New York and don’t quite hit here. There’s something endearing and exciting about that,” he said. “There are so many ideas of what a restaurant is and it’s really evolving right now. We’ve created an environment that’s as relaxed as possible and respects your time to come out and enjoy food. That’s why people come back.”

ON THE

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Lee McLaughlin, VP of marketing at Visit Tucson, returned to his hometown 10 years ago after college in Colorado, and found a town more accommodating to the career and lifestyle goals of millennials and young professionals. “At one time, people who came to school here may have thought it was a college town, but now they see it as a place to stay because of the development and infrastructure,” he said. “It’s a relatively inexpensive place to live, especially compared to other cities our size, but still has the place to eat and the things to do. The value is there. That’s an important factor to people. The coastal big cities are becoming less attractive because they’re untenable for people.” More than ever, the city is drawing attention from national media, travelers and rankings from entities like People For Bikes, which calls Tucson the second best large city for bicycling (behind Portland), and Outside magazine, which also ranks Tucson second on its latest list of best places to live. “Those are the rankings that stand out to us and show there is recognition for Tucson being a great place to live, www.BizTucson.com


The Loop work and play,” he said. “There’s been great emergence in demand for cycling activities, and bike tourism has been huge, especially for millennials. Those things go hand in hand – the combination of the great outdoor experiences, the connection to nature, the things we’ve always had – but also the great development we’ve seen in downtown specifically.” Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development group, tracks the ever-growing mentions of Tucson on various best-of lists: Top 10 Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future (fDi Intelligence), one of the U.S.’ Fastest Growing Technology Metropolises in 2019 (Oliver Wyman Forum), among the Top 100 Cities in the World (bestcities.org), hippest (msn.com) and most fun (Wallethub) city in Arizona, best college town to invest in (Redfin), second best small city in the U.S. (Resonance Consultancy), top 10 US Cities Where Everyone Wants to Live Right Now (Business Insider), and many more. Last September, in its 36 Hours travel column, The New York Times said, “Foodies, cyclists and the aesthetically inclined will find much to like in this desert city, home to a new bike-share system, adobe architecture and restaurants that reflect a mix of cultural influences.” With a host of downtown recommendations within walking distance of one another, the report was a major change from the typical travel coverage of Tucson that centered on golf and resorts. “People are looking for those undiscovered places or places they can have an authentic cultural experience. The development we’ve had in downtown has really helped us with that. New restaurants, craft breweries, the arts and music scene have put us on the map with people,” McLaughlin said. “What I always tell people if I’m giving them the elevator pitch why I love Tucson is it’s a place that’s an incredible outdoor www.BizTucson.com

community, national parks on either side of the city, mountains surrounding it, but also has those amenities of a big city – nightlife, great restaurants, breweries. It’s that big city-small town nexus that we all enjoy. That balance is pretty rare.”

9 AUTHENTICITY For millennials, the main draw of Tucson isn’t limited to the cost of living or size of the city, said Startup Tucson’s Voelkel. “There are lots of places like that. Tucson has a pull. Tucson is really unique in that it has been so resolutely different. A lot of cities grew in one particular way. Tucson has been careful in the way it’s grown,” she said. “There’s history, there’s culture, there are so many small businesses and it hasn’t been taken over by the sameness. That feels really special.” In terms of the nature and the desert, as well as the arts and culture, Tucson feels “undiscovered,” Voelkel said. “There are a lot of layers and depth to the city that you don’t get in a lot of other cities. You can come and be a part of it instead of passively receiving it,” she said. “Tucson isn’t, in a lot of ways, playing catch-up with other cities, but forging its own path. Everyone is very vocally involved and that’s exciting. A lot of other mid-sized cities are just trying to replicate something they’ve seen elsewhere. Tucson is creating something that’s uniquely itself.” Nicole Dahl, creative director and GM at Hotel McCoy, went to the UA and worked at Hotel Congress in her 20s before moving away in 2012. Revitalization was the talk of downtown in those years, but she didn’t comprehend how long it takes to get plans approved and bring them to fruition. When she returned to Tucson to launch the hotel in 2018, all those changes had arrived.

Modern Streetcar “It was neat to move away and come back. I was blown away because downtown had changed so much and to me it felt like overnight. They did such a beautiful job,” she said. “Even though there were all these new buildings and new energy and new businesses, I still walked from Fourth Avenue to downtown and saw familiar friends and the same friendly vibe. Even though Tucson continues to grow and change, we’ve kept that same culture.” Tucson was the perfect place to launch her hotel vision. Hotel McCoy, with its vintage style and classic hospitality, is running against the industry trends, seeking to capture visitors who value a more unique landing spot. “We’re using the community’s culture to create our hotel. Every piece of art on our walls, from the lobby to the murals, is all Tucson art,” Dahl said. “We have a lot of outsiders who come and are really excited to stay at a place where the Tucson experience doesn’t pause or end when they get to the hotel. They really feel like they’re experiencing their destination.” 10

DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION & NEW INFRASTRUCTURE

The streetcar is running. And since the opening of Sun Link’s 3.9-mile route in 2014, there has been more than $1 billion of private and public investment along the corridor, with significant housing, retail and corporate business expansions concentrated near the university and downtown. The Loop is complete. And now residents and visitors alike can enjoy the system of paved, shared-use paths and short segments of buffered bike lanes connecting the Rillito, Santa Cruz, and Pantano River Parks with the Julian Wash and Harrison Road Greenways. Completed in January 2018, there is a complete circuit of 53.9 miles surcontinued on page 144 >>> Fall 2019

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continued from page 143 rounding the city, part of a system of more than 120 miles of paved pathways and bike lanes. The long-term impact of downtown and neighborhood revitalization will continue to enhance the quality of life. Long anticipated transformation of the urban core has arrived. More than 2,000 employers accounting for 30,000 people working in downtown and more than 2,200 new housing units are being built downtown, according to Sun Corridor. The Downtown Tucson Partnership reports nearly 200 new businesses and private investment projects have arrived in the last few years, including 38 new dining options, 12 new bars and nightclubs and 23 new shops, along with 19 new offices including three new corporate headquarters. In 2018, city of Tucson voters approved Proposition 407, a $225 million bond package for capital improvements to city parks and connections like pedestrian and bicycle pathways. “It’s pretty exciting to see what the city of Tucson and Tucson voters have voiced support for and made happen. Millennials want transportation options, and those are starting to become a significant reality here and that bodes well for the future,” said Yetman of the Living Streets Alliance. “Prop. 407 is huge because it was all about creating great outdoor spaces in the city and safe, solid connections for people to move in between those destinations on foot and on bike. We’re starting to see Tucson at least put its money where its mouth is and things that are starting to come on line.”  Last year, Living Streets Alliance created its demonstration “parklet” at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street, showing that even small public outdoor spaces can have a big impact on the quality of life.  “Those are important little flags to plant. We have all these little things that really add up and signal to people that Tucson is a place that’s for you. We’re seeing the seeds that were planted over the last 10 years growing now,” Yetman said. “I’m seeing a lot of my peers come back, meet people who grew up here and moved to other places and now are coming back to raise families – and they’re excited to see what Tucson has to offer and see that Tucson has changed in a positive way.” Biz 144 BizTucson

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#1 Up-and-Coming City for Tech Talent Tucson’s Workforce Tops 15,700 By Eric Swedlund Tucson is ranked as the No. 1 up-and-coming city for tech talent in North America, according to a July report from CBRE that analyzed U.S. and Canadian markets according to their ability to attract and grow a high-tech workforce. Tucson’s tech workforce grew 90 percent over the last five years to 15,700 tech workers – the highest five-year job growth of all 50 small, large and up-and-coming markets included in the report.  In addition to nearly doubling the number of tech jobs, Tucson surpassed all other markets in terms of five-year annual tech wage growth – up 29% to $90,528, according to the Scoring Tech Talent Report from the commercial real estate firm CBRE. “Tucson has many ingredients to justify itself as the top up-and-coming tech talent market,” said Matt Siegel, managing director of CBRE in Tucson. “There are many initiatives by the University of Arizona and privatesector development that have created a tech ecosystem that should continue to thrive. Venture development by the University of Arizona coupled with many growing companies in Tucson has attracted talent to Southern Arizona – and there have been numerous innovative different companies that have established a presence and been able to capitalize on the resources that Tucson has to offer businesses and families.” One major factor driving the increase in tech jobs locally is the reorganization of the University of Arizona’s technology transfer program. Since its inception in 2013, Tech Launch Arizona has helped form more than 80 startup companies,

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an average of 14 a year. And as it continues efforts at technology commercialization, the results have been trending up. University employees disclosed 284 inventions in fiscal year 2019, more than any other year in UA history. “The investment capital is flowing here like it never was before,” said Jeff Sales, executive director for the Arizona Technology Council’s Southern Arizona office. “This is an incredibly productive place for research and technology and Tucson is a great place to start a company.” The top five markets for tech talent in 2019 were the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and New York, all large markets with a tech labor pool of more than 50,000. The Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 unique metrics – including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth and market outlook for both office and apartment rent-cost growth. No other city in the report came close to Tucson’s 90 percent increase. The next fastest growing markets on the up-and-coming markets list were the Ontario cities of Hamilton and Waterloo, increasing by 52 percent and 40 percent, respectively. On the list of large markets, only Toronto had a growth rate more than 50 percent. Carol Stewart, the newly appointed associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona, came to the UA in January from Waterloo, where she was founding director of the David Johnston Research + Technology Park at the University of Waterloo. Under her leadership, the park grew to 1 million square feet.

Stewart sees much more tech growth in Tucson’s future. “As far as an innovation ecosystem, I would put Waterloo 10 years ahead of Tucson,” she said. “But what was really exciting to me is that I could see a lot of the ingredients were already here. I could bring those lessons to Tucson and leapfrog what’s organically happening. If we can shave off five years of what’s naturally going to happen, that leads to more success for Tucson.”  The number of tech-talent workers in the U.S. has increased by 27% in the past five years, adding more than 1 million jobs to the national economy. The big markets have continued to produce the largest volumes of jobs and tech degree graduates over the past five years – but several years of low unemployment rates have dampened the momentum of many leading tech talent markets, CBRE reported. As a result, smaller markets have absorbed an increased amount of techlabor demand. “Many of the opportunity markets offer quality labor pools that are untapped and have high growth potential. These markets can be ideal for small-scale operations, startups and tech jobs with non-tech employers – like banks, media and services firms that comprise nearly two-thirds of the tech labor pool,” said Colin Yasukochi, director of research and analysis for CBRE and co-author of the report. All those factors point to a lower cost of labor and a lower cost of living for tech workers, which help make Tucson one of the next hot places. 

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BizMILLENNIALS

TENWEST Focuses on Ways to Impact Tucson 15,000 Attendees Expected By Eric Swedlund In its fifth year, the innovation-centric TENWEST festival is adding Impact to its title, creating a platform that centers on how any participant can play an active role in the community. “This year TENWEST solidified what it is – and what we really are is an impact festival. That goes along with what millennials want to do with their lives,” said Dre Voelkel, programs and events director for Startup Tucson. “The objective of the festival is to activate people to make a difference in their community, whether that’s through arts, technology, business or education. TENWEST is this platform for everyone.” Since debuting in 2015 as Tucson’s answer to South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, the festival has grown larger each year and Voelkel anticipates at146 BizTucson

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tendance of 15,000 this year.The TENWEST Impact Festival will stretch 10 days beginning Oct. 11, with 60 community partner organizations contributing to the wide array of events and programs offered in and around downtown. “There’s a lot of growth that’s happened. As we expanded, we realized it’s really important to distinguish what we’re trying to do with the festival. Because it started with this loose, vague notion, our collaborators did a ton of research and came together with an idea of what the community really needs and how the festival can add value to the community,” Voelkel said. “People want to be involved, people want to shape their community. That’s how they started circling around the impact idea.”

The wide array of local organizations that partner with TENWEST don’t merely assist with the planning. They actively help shape the various sessions that make up the festival. “We work closely with all these community partners to ensure the content each day is really meeting the needs of our community,” she said. “They really put together something that represents Tucson well and can inspire Tucson forward. It’s all centered on taking an active role. Everybody has a place at the table, which is uniquely Tucson.” Carol Stewart, the newly appointed associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona, came to the University of Arizona in January from Waterloo, Ontario, where she was founding director of the David continued on page 148 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizMILLENNIALS continued from page 146 Johnston Research + Technology Park at the University of Waterloo. There, she was involved in a similar effort – the True North conference. “That was really our mechanism to celebrate our startups and it was also the convening of all the players,” Stewart said. “It was the reason to come together and have those conversations and get those who weren’t involved to become involved.” The Tech Parks, along with numerous other university entities, are major participants in TENWEST and will lead a curated bus tour of innovation efforts and new facilities at the university. “You have to define what is Tucson and what do we do well and what’s the character that we put on startups,” Stewart said. “That remains important – to be focused and not be a copycat. You have to be what you are and celebrate that.” TENWEST begins on Oct. 11 with Building Innovative Cities. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will lead a conversation with former mayors of Pittsburgh, St.

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Louis and Oklahoma City about the lessons they’ve learned and how those can be applied to Tucson. Chris Heivly, co-founder of MapQuest, will present the lunchtime keynote that day. Other days are devoted to “Culture & Community,” “Sustainability & Social Impact,” “Education” and “Arts,” which features the “Pixar in a Box Luncheon.” TENWEST will have a tent at Tucson Meet Yourself, offering microworkshops, crafts, games and more in partnership with Local First Arizona. The popular IdeaFunding returns on Oct. 17. The daylong conference is centered on business and entrepreneurship, including pitch competitions, keynotes, networking and community awards. Oct. 18 is the Fourth Industrial Revolution & You, with programs that includes the fifth annual Women’s Hackathon, presented by the UA Libraries. “Startup Tucson focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, and again and again, we come up against this roadblock that people don’t know all this amazing work that’s going on in Tucson,” Voelkel said. “So we wanted to create a platform and bring together

all these thought leaders.” To keep the festival accessible, passports cost $35, with admission for all TENWEST events and special discounts at affiliated events. “We are putting together this worldclass lineup of talent, speakers and experiences, and we really want it to be open to our community,” Voelkel said. Perhaps the most important thing about TENWEST is what happens the day after it’s over. Voelkel said, “In every place that we possibly can, we’re creating calls to action. That’s our measure of success of an impact festival. What are the relationships being built and what are the partnerships and new collaborations created out of this? You’re not just a passive recipient. You’re being activated. “There’s lots of potential for using this not as a once-a-year festival, but as a launching pad for all sorts of collaborations and new ideas that can be transformational for our community.” Visit www.TENWEST.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

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PHOTO: JANELLE

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BizMILESTONE

Hip & Historic Hotel Congress at 100

PHOTOS: COURTESY HOTEL CONGRESS

By Tara Kirkpatrick Its new sign says it all: Hotel Congress has reached its 100th year in Tucson. The landmark hotel – whose history is forever linked with the 1934 capture of notorious criminal John Dillinger and his gang – celebrates a storied history in which it began as the lodging for a young railroad city and, over the course of a century, has become the hip, urban anchor of downtown. “I love every brick of the place,” said owner Richard Oseran, a third-generation Arizonan who bought the hotel with his wife, Shana, in 1985. “It’s the cultural hub of the community. When you walk through those heavy front doors, you get it. You just get it.” Today, Hotel Congress is the city’s No. 2 Uber destination, behind Tucson International Airport. Thousands of people walk through the doors to listen to bands at Club Congress, eat at Cup Café, enjoy a drink at Tiger’s Tap Room and celebrate an event in Copper Hall. “We have taken a 100-year-old building and turned it into a multi-faceted art and entertainment hub,” said GM Todd Hanley. Built in 1918, Hotel Congress was constructed as part of a broader development of Congress Street in tandem with the Rialto Theatre. The new hotel, near the Southern Pacific train station, opened with three floors and 100 rooms, featuring many modern conveniences of its time, including a telephone in every room, elevator service and steam heat. Yet, it was a fire in January 1934 that truly put the hotel on the map. The blaze, which began in the basement, forced out members of Dillinger’s gang, who were staying on the third floor. The men cajoled the firefighters into going back into the hotel to retrieve their lugwww.BizTucson.com

gage and rewarded them with a handsome tip – a gesture that led police to their discovery and, eventually, the capture of Dillinger himself. Embracing this accidental fame, the hotel has celebrated Dillinger Days every January since 1994, reenacting the historic drama and offering music, food and whiskey tastings to boot.

I love every brick of the place. –

Richard Oseran Owner Hotel Congress

After the fire, the hotel was rebuilt with two floors and only 40 rooms. Club Congress opened in 1985 and was listed in Esquire Magazine’s 2011 “Best Bars in America.” The Cup Café, opened in 1990, has also received accolades for its food, including a 2015 Arizona Foodist Award for its cast-iron baked eggs. The Oserans have spent the last 34 years restoring Hotel Congress to its urban digs today. “We’ve tried to do it by salvaging historic property, nothing trendy, nothing glitzy,” Oseran said. The wood paneling in Copper Hall came from the old Roskruge Hotel on Scott Avenue. Maple flooring on one of the floors is from the now-closed Small Planet Bakery. The “Southwest Art Deco” murals in the lobby were courtesy of Bay Area artist Larry Boyce in

1989. “It has sort of taken itself where it wanted to go,” Oseran said. And family has helped. Hanley is the Oseran’s son-in-law, married to their eldest daughter. The couple’s other two daughters have also worked in the hotel. The youngest helped redecorate the rooms and the middle daughter was married in the hotel plaza. “It’s a family business,” said Hanley. “Part of my love and passion for working here is rooted in my love and passion for my in-laws and my wife. But I come back every day because of the people.” “All of our employees are pretty extraordinary. Some have been here 18 years, 30 years – people spend their entire lives here,” Oseran said. Perhaps the hotel’s most legendary employee is Tom “Tiger” Ziegler, who’s been the Tap Room bartender since 1959. At age 84, he still serves drinks in the bar that has since been named for him. To commemorate its centennial, Hotel Congress is planning a free, familyfriendly block party on Nov. 24 along with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Museum of Art and the Rialto, said Marketing Director Dalice Shepard. The staff is also creating a time capsule to be buried in the hotel plaza. The celebrations will culminate with an epic New Year’s Eve bash, she said. The banner year also finds the hotel planning more capital investment, including plans to restructure the hotel plaza into a downtown amphitheater, she said. “The 100th birthday is a significant milestone,” said Oseran. “When you take into account what the community has lost – most of the barrio, a lot of wonderful historic buildings – it stands as an example.” Biz Fall 2019

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BizARTS

From left – “Beauty and Ruin” and a screening room at the Scottish Rite Cathedral

‘Films That Will Start Conversations’ Why mess with a winning formula? Herb Stratford, founder and enduring spark plug of Film Fest Tucson, continues to strengthen his programming philosophy of seeking “unique films that will start conversations.” Strong films with actual cultural content have become the festival’s hallmark. Stratford knows that every year many interesting pictures never make it to the mall theaters. “We want to connect Tucson with films our audiences won’t have a chance to see anywhere else,” he said. As proof this strategy is working, Stratford added that the festival has finished every year in the black. The fourth annual Film Fest Tucson Oct. 10-12 will hold forth on seven screens in the heart of the city with 152 BizTucson

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events in the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown and the classic Fox Tucson Theatre. “We’ll also have four free shows outdoors on our 40-foot inflatable screen on the lawn at the Children’s Museum – two on Friday and two on Saturday,” Stratford said. The festival program was beginning to take shape by late summer. He expected to screen nearly 50 documentaries and narrative features in both short- and feature-length formats, plus program fun parties along with informative panel discussions. A documentary screening in collaboration with the Tucson Museum of Art is “Beauty and Ruin,” dramatizing the plight Detroit faced after declaring bankruptcy.

Investigators discovered one of the Motor City’s most valuable assets was its art collection acquired over the decades by the Detroit Institute of Art. Should the city sell off this incredible art collection to help pay pensions owed to city employees? Or not? “This year will also include the third annual Desert Pitch film and television idea contest,” Stratford said, when 10 finalists face a panel of seasoned industry professionals. The winner receives $1,000. “There is a science and skill to making a successful pitch,” said Stratford. “You need to have more than just a good idea.” For current news about the festival’s full line-up of films and special events, visit filmfesttucson.com. Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF FILM FEST TUCSON

By Chuck Graham


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BizTECHNOLOGY

Self-driving Trucks Hit the Road Pima Community College Certifies Big-Rig Drivers By Tiffany Kjos The trucking industry is going through a change that has big-rig drivers worried their jobs are evaporating and regular drivers concerned for their own safety. Getting in front of this over-the-road revolution are Pima Community College and TuSimple, an autonomous – or self-driving – truck manufacturer with a massive building here and headquarters in San Diego. “There’s a lot of fear in this industry about this technology,” said Missy Blair, program manager for truck driver training at the college. “The exciting thing about this is we

are essentially creating a program for a job that doesn’t exist,” she said. “We’re not following, we’re leading.” This fall PCC is rolling out a fiveclass, 12-credit certification program for drivers who already have their commercial driver’s licenses to teach them the technology at play in the new trucks. “How do we keep the truck driver relevant? That was the key question. You will not lose a job if you’re willing to upscale,” Blair said. The program will have a capacity of 20 to 25 students. Once the program is launched, Pima Community College and TuSimple will

work with other schools interested in offering the same kinds of courses. “The whole nation is excited about Pima’s program,” said TuSimple spokesman Robert Brown. “They should take a victory lap.” The certificate program will teach truck drivers how to interact with autonomous trucks. The industry is creating new jobs too. The trucks are monitored remotely and test drivers are in demand, as are regular over-the-road drivers. “We’re not trying to turn a driver into an engineer, we’re trying to teach them the verbiage,” Blair said. “If they are in the truck by themselves, they need to be

Lee Lambert

Chancellor Pima Community College 154 BizTucson

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able to speak that language.” At this point TuSimple’s trucks have a driver and an engineer on board. The goal is to have the trucks fully automated – but that will be a long road ahead. Truck drivers are retiring and the industry is growing, which makes for a sticky situation for companies who need drivers, according to an analysis by the American Trucking Association. The association estimates the industry will need to hire 89,000 drivers a year for the next several years. There have been challenges for TuSimple – including a truck going through a dust storm – but the trucks are “learning and getting better over time,” Brown said. “I always tell people the technology is amazing – but we’re not there yet.” The pay rate for drivers who get their certification will be above industry standard and include full medical benefits, vacation time and meals. Brown said the industry is growing rapidly – since October last year five new autonomous trucking companies have launched. TuSimple itself is growing like mad, too. It’s already building a second sto-

ry on its building at 9538 E. Old Vail Road. Most recently, TuSimple and the U.S. Postal Service did a two-week pilot program hauling mail between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas. It’s also been using autonomous trucks between Tucson and Phoenix. “It’s clear that the future of truck transportation will offer new employment opportunities for today’s drivers – but it will require a set of new skills,” Pima College Chancellor Lee Lambert said in a news release. “Working with TuSimple to develop this Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program ensures our students will build competencies in multiple areas – from logistics and information technology to automated industrial technology. These areas are being transformed by autonomy and drivers will need training in order to interact with autonomous trucks.” TuSimple is part of a larger trend, which is attracting new firms to Tucson. “It’s fun to be a part of the new exciting wave of technology companies coming to the area,” Brown said.

Biz

Pima Community College Honored for Financial Reporting Pima Community College received a high-profile award for its accounting and financial reporting. This marks the 27th time the college has been lauded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The college’s 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was judged by an independent panel and found to meet Government Finance Officers Association standards that include a “spirit of full disclosure,” according to a press release from the organization. “Our employees strive to maintain

The Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program at Pima Community College includes five classes:

clear,

• AIT 100 Industrial Safety (1 credit)

cellor for finance and administration at

• AIT 125 Electrical Systems I (3 credits) • AUV 101 Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles

(2 credits)

• CIS 136 Computer Hardware Components (3 credits) PHOTO: COURTESY TUSIMPLE

• LGM 106 Transportation and Traffic

Management (3 credits)

To receive certification through this program a driver must already have a commercial driver’s license. Students without CDLs are welcome to enroll but will not receive a certificate. For more information or sign up, call Pima Community College’s Center for Transportation Training at (520) 206-2744.

concise

financial

communi-

cations on behalf of the college,” said David Bea, executive vice chanPima Community College. “Recognition by the GFOA affirms their dedication to this work,” said Bea, who has been with the college since 2004. The Government Finance Officers Association’s focus is helping people who are responsible for government finance policy and management, according to the press release. It serves more than 20,000 people who are responsible for government finance policy and management. Fall 2019

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BizSALES

Making Your Customers Happy is Not Enough By Jeffrey Gitomer

What’s the difference between a traditional customer and a customer as a partner? About five times the business. “Partnerships are the way of 21st-century customer service. Just treating the customer well isn’t enough,” said Chip Bell, author of the book, “Customers as Partners.” In fact, he believes that “customer delight is a dead-end street.” Bell should know. He has served as a service quality consultant for such companies as GTE, Shell Oil, IBM and Nabisco. As an author of 10 books, including one titled “Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service,” which he cowrote with Ron Zemke, Bell has spent 20 years and traveled more than a million miles speaking on the subject of customer service to Fortune 500 companies around the world. Bell said, “ ‘Customers as Partners’ crushes a lot of myths about customer service. This book creates a whole new set of challenges to keep your relationships as solid as you think they are. Partners are more than customers. Partners have a stake in your success, the same way that you have a stake in theirs.” In our meeting before his Charlotte, N.C, a book signing, I wanted to get some specific examples of “partnership attitudes” from Bell. “The best example is when you compare one, shortterm transactional cost to the long term, relational value of the customer,” said Bell. “If a Cadillac customer is worth $350,000 over a lifetime, why does the service department argue over a $25 part? Why argue at all? Seems illogical but they do. Just give me a quarter for every time a service manager argued with a customer. Short-term win, longterm suicide.” Attributes of customers as partners begin with the principle that when relationships are long term they are valuebased, not value-added. The primary values associated with customer partnerships are: 1. Generosity – The spirit of giving (get other’s business). 2. Honesty – Truth makes a clean relationship (even if it hurts temporarily). 3. Trust – Assurances that preclude me from having to look over my shoulder or look for ulterior motives. 4. Comfort – Familiarity, no surprises. 5. Reciprocity – The balance of the deeds over time (not measured deeds, but gifts without expectation). If you measure you lose. Have you ever done someone a favor and said to yourself, “He owes me one?” If you think someone “owes you one,” one is all you’ll get. 156 BizTucson

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Want to give it a try? Start by looking for these five attributes inside you and your own company first. The best way to begin this process is to build a partnership environment in your own organization.

• Treat your employees as partners.

• Speak nicely about your customers behind their backs (they are your paycheck, you know).

• Accept responsibility when a customer calls even if it isn’t your specific job.

Show a spirit of cooperation and teamwork among coworkers, especially in the traditional rival areas of sales and production, or sales and the service department.

It is your inside partnership philosophy that permits the outside partnerships to take place with your customers. You can’t have internal chaos and outside harmony. Partnership attitudes are bred from within. Think about this: What message do you want to give your customers when they view your actions as a business? Are those actions congruent with the message carried today by your sales force to your customers and prospects about your product or service? If not, you will be seen as having two faces and be perceived as insincere. There are four prime paybacks for partnerships…beyond the economics: 1. Partnerships are more mature in their expectations – (realistic) less fluff and dazzle. More meat and potatoes (if you’re a vegetarian, more tomatoes and potatoes). 2. While partnerships tend to be more demanding, they are more forgiving of error. Everyone makes mistakes. Partnerships will allow you the benefit of positive recovery. 3. Partnerships are more apt to give candid feedback. This helps you improve the quality of service, thereby the quality of the relationship. 4. Partnerships are more apt to champion you in the marketplace. They become apostles on your behalf, street ambassadors. They tell love stories about you. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. Partnerships with customers don’t just happen. It starts with a game plan and a commitment. It takes an investment of time and resources to reap the dividends. Is it worth it? Your competition hopes you don’t think so. Biz Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books, including “The Sales Bible” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.” His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars, visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com. © 2019 All Rights Reserved. Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from GitGo, LLC, Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. (704) 333-1112.

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PHOTOS: COURTESY GEICO

BizCOMMERCE

From left – The GEICO Gecko; Terry Perkins, GEICO assistant VP; Nancy Pierce, GEICO senior VP; Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; Michelle Trindade, GEICO regional VP; Bill Roberts, GEICO president & CEO; Martha Furnas, GEICO regional VP; Vice Mayor Richard Fimbres; Don Bourn, Bourn Companies Founder & CEO.

GEICO Moves in at The Bridges By Mary Minor Davis GEICO cut the ribbon in June on its new 200,000-squarewith 800,000 automobiles and motorcycles insured. GEICO is foot Tucson operations office where it expects to have more the second-largest insurer in the country. than 2,000 employees working in the next few years. “When we opened in Tucson in 2003, we were the fifth The new building is in The Bridges delargest insurer in Arizona and employed 20 velopment off Kino Parkway near Interstate people,” he said. “This new, beautiful build10. The address is 3050 S. ML King Jr. Way. ing will be home for our growing number The company, which currently has 1,500 of associates who are making history for employees in Tucson, anticipates hiring anGEICO.” other 700 over the next few years, Regional Roberts also said this bodes well for the VP Michelle Trindade said at the ribbon community, noting GEICO and its employcutting on June 25. ees are active in supporting numerous non“This is really energizing,” Trindade said. profit efforts. “Our central location is much more attrac“In 2018, employees pledged $472,000 tive for recruiting.” to United Way,” Roberts said. “Through Bill Roberts, GEICO president and the Arizona Leadership Foundation, we’ve CEO, announced the company was repledged thousands of dollars to the scholar– Michelle Trindade cently named the largest insurer in Arizona, ship program, provided over 400 child car Regional VP, GEICO serving more than 500,000 policyholders, seats to families through the Safe Kids of

This is really energizing. Our central location is much more attractive for recruiting.

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Pima County program, and over 1,000 employees have volunteered for 76 organizations in the past year. And we’re on track to beat that record for 2019.” Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild praised the company’s location, noting, “GEICO could have chosen any other city, but you chose Tucson and we thank you. Your community involvement is why we’re glad you’re here.” Rothschild said The Bridges represents one of the key target economic development areas in the city. More commercial and office space is planned, as well as high-end residential development. Tech Parks Arizona has plans to build the new UA Tech Park at The Bridges, developing 1.8 million square feet of office and laboratory space which will also include an outpost of the UA Center for Innovation incubator. “Your pioneering on this particular plat will raise the economic value of the entire region,” Rothschild said to GEICO representatives at the event.

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Construction of the three-story building was managed by Bourn Companies. Amenities include modern open workspaces, an onsite cafeteria, fitness center, credit union and 20,000 square feet of patios, balcony and outdoor space. The building is one of the largest green buildings in Tucson, with solar paneledcovered parking that will provide about 80 percent of the power for the building. Employees moved in over a 10-day period in July. GEICO will immediately begin recruiting for positions in all major business functions, including insurance sales, customer service and claims handling. Experience in insurance is not necessary as the company offers training. Associates in Tucson can also earn degrees online through the company’s partnership with the University of Arizona. More information on opportunities is at https://www.geico. com/careers/office-locations/arizona-tucson/.

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Growth Partners Arizona Providing Loans to Help Nonprofits Grow By Valerie Vinyard

This is my home, and I want to see people improve their lives.

– Lesli Pintor Executive Director Growth Partners Arizona

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There are times when a nonprofit organization needs a lifeline. It might be the nonprofit’s slow season, or perhaps the physical space needs repairs or improvements. Whatever the case, money is needed. Lesli Pintor and Growth Partners Arizona want to be that lifeline. The organization’s mission is growing the intellectual and financial capital of nonprofits in the region. Growth Partners Arizona underwent a name change in May after six years as the Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Pintor was named executive director of GPAz in June. Pintor is eminently qualified for the role: She has 31 years in the financial services industry and served on the Nonprofit Loan Fund’s nine-person board before the name change. “Lesli takes the organization to a new level,” said Deborah Daun, a local marketing and public relations consultant. “With the name change, the organization is able to expand its scope of loan products.” Choosing Pintor for the job was a nobrainer, said Don Jenks, the GPAz board chair and a retired commercial banking executive who works with Pintor. “After an extensive national search, we realized the best candidate was in our backyard,” Jenks said. “Lesli’s background and success in commercial banking and her service on the GPAz board of directors, combined with her board experience on other nonprofit boards, meant she has a deep understanding of GPAz’s expanding mission. “We now not only help nonprofits grow, we are expanding into lending and advising for-profit businesses in distressed communities,” he said. “Lesli also has a strong entrepreneurial spirit that will help take this organization to the next level.” With the name change, Pintor and her team have developed a for-profit loan product targeted to distressed communities that

are creating change. Loans are funded through grants, investors and contributions. Currently, GPAz has cultivated about $1.5 million for loans. GPAz also provides technical assistance or education to nonprofits on topics such as how loans can help growth, better financial decision-making, and improved budgeting and strategic planning. GPAz is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, which allows access to federal funds not available through other sources and adds credibility with national funding organizations. To add to that, GPAz’s board is full of experts – a major plus for nonprofits. “There are smart banking people on the board and smart nonprofit people on the board,” Daun said. Overall, though, GPAz is an organic, home-grown effort. It doesn’t have an office and currently relies mostly on word of mouth to get its message across. Yet GPAz fills a much-needed niche. After all, major banks tend to shy away from loaning money to nonprofits because they are perceived as more risky. That’s not to say that nonprofits already don’t have options. Pintor acknowledges that there are “a lot of small business lenders out there” – but GPAz is working to fill the gaps. “There are a lot of good reasons nonprofits need money,” said Pintor, noting that she’d like to be involved in loans that have a bigger impact, such as providing loans for larger revitalization projects. “My vision is not becoming just another small business lender. We’re not going to make a big lasting impact doing one loan at a time.” In the future, Pintor said, GPAz will expand its emphasis on nonprofits but also look at including for-profit businesses. She’s envisioning something much more collaborative. Above all, she’s hoping her new role helps Tucson. “This is my home, and I want to see people improve their lives,” she said. Biz www.BizTucson.com


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BizCONSTRUCTION

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Project: Tucson Airport Distribution Center Location: 6850 S. Brosius Ave. Owner: Harsch Investment Properties Contractor: Nitti Builders Architect: N/A Completion Date: Estimated August 2019 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Tucson Airport Distribution Center is a classA state-of-the-art 32-foot tilt-construction warehouse distribution space.

Project: El Rio Health Southeast Campus Addition and Renovation Location: 6950 E. Golf Links Road Owner: El Rio Community Health Center Contractor: Lloyd Construction Company Architect: BWS Architects Completion Date: 3rd quarter 2019 Construction Cost: $7.5 million Project Description: An additional 27,000 square feet on two stories will allow El Rio to expand its services and increase patient capacity.

Project: Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church Admin and Multi-Use Classrooms Location: 3001 E. Miravista Lane Owner: Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church Contractor: Concord General Contracting Architect: Swaim Associates Architects Completion Date: Estimated December 2019 Construction Cost: $1.5 million Project Description: This project includes a multi-purpose gym/ dining space, commercial kitchen, classrooms, administrative space and a separate storage building.

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BizCONSTRUCTION

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Project: The Cathedral Square Location: Downtown Tucson Owner: Diocese of Tucson Contractor: Diversified Design & Construction Architect: The Architecture Company Completion Date: August 2019 Construction Cost: $16 million Project Description: Saint Augustine Cathedral campus is being transformed into a multi-phase project that will include offices and a conference center.

Project: St. Mary’s Medical Pavilion Location: 1707 W. St. Mary’s Road Owner: PMB Contractor: Barker Contracting Architect: Swaim Associates Architects Completion Date: Estimated September 2020 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: This two-story, 55,000-square-foot medical office building will be located in the heart of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital campus.

Project: Townsend Medical Collaborative Location: 2121 N. Craycroft Road at Pima Medical Institute Owner: Summit Development Partners Contractor: TBD Architect: TBD Completion Date: Mid-2021 Construction Cost: $22 million Project Description: The complex will contain 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of multi-tenant medical offices on Tucson’s premier healthcare campus.

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BizEDUCATION

Career & Technical Education Preparing High School Students for Workforce

IMAGES: COURTESY JTED

By Christy Krueger Thanks to a vote 13 years ago by Pima County residents, Career and Technical Education is changing the lives of area high school students and boosting this region’s workforce development. Pima County’s Joint Technical Education District, known as JTED, initially served students in 11 school districts. That has since increased to include one district in Pinal County and two in Santa Cruz County. What was once known as vocational training is now referred to as Career and Technical Education throughout the United States. JTED is one of 14 CTEs in Arizona and is considered a Pima County school district (#11). “We cover 12,000 square miles,” said Kathy Prather, JTED superintendent and CEO. “We provide Career and Technical Education to high school students – tuition free and now fee free. Any youth in grades 10 to12 who live in our delivery area can come to our programs. That includes public and private schools, charters, home-schooled and homeless students.”

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The district offers a wide range of programs – such as graphic design, fire service and construction technology – most of which are one-year programs. Classes are generally held at the end of the academic school day in a number of locations. “We have three models,” Prather said. “Satellite campuses are owned by the member districts. The central campuses we own and operate. Then some are leased land on school property. We lease the land and build a building on it.” In total, 40 locations serve JTED students. Funding, she said, comes primarily from two sources – property taxes and through the state. “Like other school districts, we receive money from the state based on enrollment. We also apply for grants.” Pima JTED Foundation was formed to help with costs that can’t be covered by these traditional sources. For example, if a student in construction technology can’t afford steel-toed boots, the foundation may step up and fulfill the

student’s needs. Occasionally, JTED receives private donations. Earlier this year, Ross Potoff, founder of Potoff Private Philanthropy, donated $350,000 to Pima JTED Foundation. Then, during JTED’s May 17 completion ceremony, a surprise announcement came that Potoff was pledging another $650,000 over the next five years. Prather said it’s extremely rare for any public K-12 school in Arizona to receive a gift of this size. Among the more popular programs the district offers are cosmetology, healthcare pathways and culinary arts. The healthcare programs in particular are intensive and rigorous, Prather said. “Our licensed nursing assistant program falls under the State Board of Nursing, and all their regulations we adhere to, such as clinical hours they have to perform and credentials of instructors.” JTED makes a point of working with businesses and institutions in the community to help students take the next step into higher education and employment. It’s a two-way street, as many in-

In May JTED broke ground for its new 50,000-square-foot, two-story Innovative Learning Campus.


dustries in Tucson struggle to find qualified employees. Pima Community College’s aviation program is an example of a JTED partnership. “We contract with Pima for aviation technology. Also, we have a program where we pay tuition for students to go to Pima. There were 45 students last year in the aviation program. They can make $60,000 to $70,000 per year in that field. We’re good for workforce development,” Prather said. “We also have advisory committees with each program area – such as construction, manufacturing and automotive technology. Their support is critical in what we do. We must gear our training to industry needs and keep our credentials up to date; they’re always changing.” A heating, ventilation and air conditioning program was recently added to JTED’s curriculum, due in large part to a request by Green Valley Cooling and Heating – a busy company in great need of skilled workers. “Demand is huge in all trades – skilled people are retiring. It’s the same in heavy equipment,” Prather said. “Skilled tradesmen’s average age is 58 to 59 years old. Green Valley Cooling and Heating also has people who want to be teachers, so we’re training them, too. We’re addressing a workforce need – it’s a public/private partnership.” In May JTED broke ground for its new 50,000-square-foot, two-story In-

We have seen lives changed. Students see their strengths and they leave with a true sense of accomplishment and pride.

– Kathy Prather Superintendent & CEO Pima County’s Joint Technical Education District

novative Learning Campus, which will provide much-needed classroom space and allow for future growth. The facility, to be completed in mid-2020, is located at Interstate 10 and Park Avenue next to GIECO and the UA Tech Park at The Bridges. “This has been in discussion for 14 years,” Prather said. “We’ll be accessible to Vail and Rita Ranch. We’re within a

25-minute drive of 52,000 youths aged 15 to19. TUSD plans to lease nine classrooms from us to offer academics so students can spend the entire day.” While JTED provides employment preparation, it does not offer straight academics or diplomas – these are still provided by the high schools. Students receive certifications in their JTED fields of study and attend a completion ceremony. Once the building is completed, it likely won’t be the end of JTED’s growth. “We have first right of refusal for two additional buildings on adjacent lots.” BFL Construction and Bourn Companies own these lots and have been working with JTED on future plans. “Don Bourn and Garry Brav (of BFL) got together to form an LLC to purchase the land. We’re doing a lease-purchase with them. It’s a community effort to have development, construction and schools come together to make it happen.” The benefits of JTED go beyond career training, Prather said. Many students of CTE receive college credits, and overall their college graduation rates are higher. They love the experience and meeting students from all over Tucson. “We have seen lives changed. Students see their strengths and they leave with a true sense of accomplishment and pride. And we fill a need in the community because the students are ready to serve.” Biz

JTED’s new Innovative Learning Campus is located at Interstate 10 and Park Avenue next to GIECO and the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.

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BizBRIEFS Otton A. Suarez

Coming off a successful 2017 renovation of El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort in Oro Valley, Otton Suarez was promoted from hotel manager to GM. Suarez has more than 36 years of hospitality industry experience, including management positions at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. He serves on the boards of Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Museum Tucson and Oro Valley. Biz

Alex Demeroutis

CBRE Tucson has named Alex Demeroutis an associate in advisory and transaction services for the commercial real estate company’s industrial and logistics team. She specializes in sales and leases of industrial properties for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, back office and research and development. She most recently was VP and events director for the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. There she led a team that built operating reserves and added 200 new members. Biz

Steven Szenasi

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The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain named Steven Szenasi, its director of operations for three years, as its GM. As operations director, he oversaw an extensive 2018 renovation of the Marana luxury resort property. Szenasi’s extensive hotel background includes leadership positions in catering and conference services, as well as event sales and marketing. He’s worked with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company since 2005 at properties in California, Colorado, Florida and Budapest. Biz


Edward T. Marley

Edward T. Marley, principal with Swaim Associates in Tucson, was elected a regional director for the National Council of Architectural Registration Board. The architect sits on the NCARB board of directors as representative of 13 states and territories in the Pacific, West Coast and Four Corners area. He has served on several board committees and represented NCARB at the national committee level. Marley joined Swaim in 1983 and became principal in 1992.

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Tara Tocco

Tara Tocco, Hughes Federal Credit Union’s internal audit manager, received the 2019 Randy Manscill Excellence in Service Award. The award from the Association of Credit Union Internal Auditors recognizes Tocco’s volunteer work that helped ACUIA expand its chapter base from 18 to 28 states. She’s also been elected to the board of directors. Her ACUIA service has included being board liaison to internal leadership groups and the social media committee. Biz

Mike Wall Mike Wall is director of commercial banking for Pacific Premier Bank’s Tucson branches. He leads a team that supports clients with loans, treasury management and depository services. Hall has spent more than 12 years in commercial banking. He grew up in Tucson and currently volunteers with Junior Achievement and Habitat for Humanity. He also is active in Southern Arizona CCIM Chapter and the Business Development Finance Corporation loan committee.

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BizBRIEF

Patio Pools & Spas Expands Patio Pools & Spas has bought the Tucson-area’s Poolwerx pool supply and service franchise. Patio Pools owners Gene and Nicole Ragel will run the two businesses as separate operations. “With our 50 years of experience in Tucson and Poolwerx’s 25 years of success as a global business, we look forward to this new partnership,” said company President Gene Ragel, “and are confident we will offer exceptional pool service supplies to the Tucson community and Southern Arizona.” Company VP Nicole Ragel said the arrangement will give new career options to their existing employees while adding jobs. “This partnership will position our business for continued growth,” she said. By operating both companies separately, the Ragels can expand their

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product offerings and share expertise on pool cleaning, service and remodeling across both firms.

Gene & Nicole Ragel Patio Pools & Spas is a retail firm providing supplies and cleaning services for swimming pools, spas and portable hot tubs. It also designs and constructs pools and has won awards for its work.

Patio Pools was founded by Gene Ragel Sr. in 1969 and the company is still owned and operated by the Ragel family. At one point it had five stores in the Tucson area. Today, its locations are at 22nd Street and Pantano Parkway, Oracle Road near Orange Grove Road and in Sierra Vista at 1160 E. Fry Blvd. Poolwerx is the only global pool brand and the largest in the pool service industry. Founded in Australia, it has over 160 retail stores worldwide, including 40 in the U.S. “We greatly respect Gene and Nicole Ragel and the business they have built together over the past 50 years,” said John O’Brien, Poolwerx CEO and founder. “We know the Ragels will be a great contribution to our franchise partner family.”

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BizBENEFIT

Enjoying the Rides Tucson Classics Car Show

PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON CLASSIC CAR SHOW

By Mary Martin

Like many young American boys, Mike Anderson loved cars growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In 1966, having graduated from college and preparing to go to Germany as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he ordered his dream car – a 1967 Corvette. He took the car, known as “The Blue Streak,” to Germany and explored the country as Germans marveled at what would become known as one of the coolest classic cars of all time. He sold the car when he returned to the U.S. and, 30 years later, Anderson, still a “car guy,” located and purchased back his classic ‘67 Corvette. “The Blue Streak” and a number of other classic favorites will be at The Rotary Club of Tucson’s 13th annual Tucson Classics Car Show Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Gregory School, 3231 N. Craycroft Road. Over 400 classic cars will be showcased with cars from the 1920s through the 1970s, while visitors will rock to music of those decades. We Buy Houses, owned by Anderson and his family, have been the title sponsor of the Tucson Classics Car Show for the past five years. The show is not just the biggest car show in Tucson. It brings together hundreds of Rotary and community 172 BizTucson

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volunteers to benefit Tucson charities who join with Rotarians in selling tickets. The charities keep a portion of the proceeds from their sales for their own projects and all net proceeds benefit local charities. The beneficiaries of the event this year are: • Make Way for Books, which works with children birth to age 5 and their families to increase children’s readiness to enter school, ensuring a successful future.

Interfaith Community Services, which works with low-income single mothers to secure housing, utilities and food to stabilize their lives so they can find work. Reid Park Zoo’s Building the Treetop Adventure campaign that will give younger visitors a birds-eye view of the zoo from climbing tubes and structures.

Over the last 13 years, The Rotary Club of Tucson has given $1.4 million to local charities through the Tucson Classics Car Show, which helped members achieve their goals and perform their mission. A $5 admission fee, which includes a raffle ticket, will help support these nonprofit organizations.

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13TH ANNUAL TUCSON CLASSICS CAR SHOW Sponsored by WeBuyHouses.com Saturday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m.to 4 p.m.

Tickets $5 -which includes admission and an entry into the car show raffle for a 2006 Corvette convertible or $15,000 in cash. Other raffle prizes include $3,000 shopping spree at Sam Levitz Furniture, $2,000 in airline tickets from Wellspring Financial Partners, $1,500 in appliances or furniture from Tucson Appliance and Furniture, $750 medical massage package from Tucson Family Wellness and a $500 car-care gift certificate toward a set of Cooper Tires from Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care. Admission for children under 18 is free with a paid adult Show field includes a food court, related car vendors, displays from nonprofit beneficiaries and musical entertainment all day long Sponsored by WeBuyHouses.com Tickets can be purchased at www.rotarytccs.com or from a Rotary Club member. www.BizTucson.com


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BizTRIBUTE

Remembering Ken Flower ‘A Legacy of Giving and Laughter’

There are few people in life that have nonprofit organization that raises monthe ability to touch every single person ey for charities throughout the comwith whom they come in to contact, munity. After Flower joined the board, whether it be for one day or for a lifeLewis said he was most impressed with time. Ken Flower was such a person and Ken’s business acumen. “Most people his impact on our community will resodon’t realize this but our board serves nate for generations to come. in an advisory role, setting policy and Flower, 61, died of a heart attack in corporate oversight. Ken took his roles early August while vacationing with very seriously.” friends in Lake Tahoe, leaving behind his bride of just eight months, Jeanne Flower; children Billy Flower, 27, and Lauren Flower, 24, and stepchildren Andrew Johns, 23, and Janae Windle, 20. “Kenny was one of those guys whose every expression or gesture was one of love,” Jeanne said. “The affection that couples casually experience every day meant so much to us – taking a walk, holding hands. He was my everything.” Jeanne met Ken after he joined the Commerce Bank of Ken & Jeanne Flower Arizona board of directors a little over four years ago as both the corporate secretary and chairman of the loan committee. She Lewis said Ken “knew everybody – worked in the Business Development his brand was all over town. He knew department. After a three-year friendwho to refer to the bank and how to ship, the couple married on December help us grow. He was just a very special 26, 2018. “It was a perfect day,” Jeanne person.” recalled. Ken gave generously of his time Following a successful career in marand resources. He supported numerketing and broadcasting with the NFL ous health-related nonprofits – ranging and teams including the San Francisco from the American Heart Association, 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams, FlowAmerican Red Cross, El Rio Vecinos, er founded Arizona Party Rental, growMuscular Dystrophy Association, Naing the business into one of the most tional Brain Tumor Foundation and successful event-planning companies in Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation to the region. the Carondelet Foundation and Tucson John Lewis, president and CEO of Medical Center. Commerce Bank of Arizona, volunLiteracy was also a focus of his phiteered with Ken in The Centurions, a lanthropy including the Tucson Festival 174 BizTucson

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of Books, Reading Seed, Literacy Connects and Make Way for Books. Children benefited through his support for Ronald McDonald House Charities and Tu Nidito. He also was involved with The Centurions and the Rotary Club of Tucson. One organization that has seen tremendous growth and is putting Tucson on the collegiate bowl map is the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Flower was a key supporter of the event from its inception. “I am deeply saddened by Ken’s death,” said Kym Adair, executive director of the organization. “He has been a true friend and supporter of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl from the earliest days and became like family to the staff and volunteers that worked closely with him. His generous spirit, smile and humor attracted so many friends to his side and will be dearly missed. There are many people in this world who say they want to make a positive impact in their community. Ken was someone who actually managed to do it. His legacy of giving and laughter will live on through his family, his friends and through the wonderful community he loved so much.” “Everything Ken touched was a success,” said Bob Logan, president of the Tucson Rotary. “So many things in our community exist because of his involvement.” Lewis said he and others are overseeing the planning of Flower’s memorial service, tentatively scheduled for October 6 at the DoubleTree Hotel.

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

By Mary Minor Davis


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‘The Original Good Guy’ George Kalil Leaves Legacy of Success and Giving By Rodney Campbell

When John Kalil sits at the desk once occupied by his brother, George, he feels a profound sense of loss. It goes deeper than missing a beloved older sibling – the two worked together in the family business for more than four decades before George died at age 81 in July. John is splitting time between Phoenix and Tucson to serve as Kalil Bottling’s president. Before that, he was the company’s VP and GM, living exclusively in Phoenix but never too far from the priceless advice offered by his older brother, who ran the business since 1970. “I had the benefit of working with someone who was not only my loving brother, but one of the best people in the industry,” John Kalil said. “I served a 44-year internship under George Kalil.” George Kalil was a giant in the bottling industry as a person in charge of a local independent company. He served on the board of directors for the American Beverage Association, was president of the Royal Crown Bottlers Association, and served on the board of directors for the Seven-Up Bottlers Association. Kalil was inducted into the global soft drink community’s Beverage Industry Hall of Fame in 1992, and received many other accolades, including the Beverage Industry’s Executive of the Year in 1998, the Retail Grocers Association of Arizona’s Supplier of the Year in 1991 and Arizona Small Business Person of the Year in 1981. “George was an icon in the industry,” John said. “You have three networks 176 BizTucson

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– Coke, Pepsi and the independents. We’re the little guy of the three. George was a strong voice. He wasn’t afraid to say anything. A lot of times independents in the country who couldn’t or wouldn’t say something knew he would have their back. He was very good at that.”

George Kalil Kalil’s generosity was legendary. His support of and passion for University of Arizona athletics led him to be labeled the Wildcats’ No. 1 basketball fan. For decades, he was a fixture behind the team’s bench and didn’t miss a game for years starting with the Fred Snowden era in the 1970s. “I will miss George’s smile and goodnatured personality,” Wildcats Coach

Sean Miller said in a statement. “I never saw him have a bad day.” Kalil’s willingness to give was felt across the community. He donated UA basketball tickets to the school’s foundation with which it generated more than $400,000 and gave $1 million to Salpointe Catholic High School to renovate its gym and athletic facilities. Salpointe President Kay Sullivan built a strong friendship with Kalil after a little break-in period. “When I met George, he came across as a gruff, scary, intimidating bear, but I soon learned that he was more of the teddy bear sort,” Sullivan said. “I came to know and love George Kalil. He was funny, absolutely irreverent, an ace storyteller, challenging, smart, hard-working and caring.” George’s approach to running the company – which for decades has used the tagline “The Good Guys at Kalil” – will live on through John. The younger Kalil feels the responsibility brought on by more than 700 employees spread across four markets – Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff and El Paso. The company must carry on after losing the original “Good Guy.” “The toughest thing will be to make sure I continue the success and growth we have,” John said. “We need to take care of markets and employees and still have fun while we do it. We sell a beverage that gives people a break during their day, a bright spot. We will need to stay focused on the big picture. It’s going to be difficult being here without my brother. But I expect we can do it.”

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BizBRIEF

Local Physicians Join Forces with One Oncology A local group of oncologists joined by a breast surgeon have formed a new practice to care for cancer patients in Southern Arizona. Arizona Blood & Cancer Specialists, along with Arizona Breast Health Specialists (a division of ABCS), partnered with the national OneOncology Network. The partnership, which was completed this summer, includes seven Southern Arizona clinics –three in Tucson, two in Nogales and one each in Green Valley and Safford. The physicians work as part of a larger, multidisciplinary care team that includes a host of specialists experienced in treating cancer, including local groups of radiologists, pathologists and others. Their goal is to provide the most effective, high-quality patient care that adheres to established treatment standards and guidelines.

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Prior to joining OneOncology, a national network of independent, community oncology practices, each physician in the group has had longtime practices in Southern Arizona. Their partnership allows them to share expertise and technology with OneOncology’s nearly 230 physicians practicing in more than 60 sites. “Our patient-centered and physician-driven philosophy aligns with the OneOncology mission,” said Dr. Robert J. Brooks, “and we believe this will drive the next generation of cancer care in our community.” Dr. U. Vanessa Roeder joined at Arizona Breast Health Specialists in July. She has practiced in Tucson for more than 30 years and specializes in surgery for breast cancer and benign breast abnormalities. Her patients will have access to a wide range of services provided by ABCS.

“This new division of the ABCS practice is one of the many ways that Arizona Blood and Cancer Specialists – and our partner, OneOncology – are working together on our shared vision of changing the future of healthcare and positively impacting patients’ lives,” Brooks said. The addition of Dr. Roeder to the practice will further complement the knowledge and experience our physicians bring to the OneOccology network.” ABHS is at 6288 E. Grant Road. The oncology and hematology clinics of ABCS are in two Tucson offices –at 3945 E. Paradise Falls Drive and 3987 E. Paradise Falls Drive. Other offices are at 514 E. Whitehouse Canyon Road in Green Valley, two locations in Nogales at 507 N. Western Ave. and 1710 N. Mastick Way, and one in Safford at 2115 W. 16th St.

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BizTRIBUTE

From left – Dick Tomey and his son, Rich, were teammates on a Tucson City League baseball team for 15 years. Dick Tomey was inducted into the University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and honored at that season’s homecoming game. Dick Tomey and his wife, Nanci Kincaid.

Dick Tomey Cared By Jay Gonzales

There are people who cross your path in your lifetime who, in the seconds after you meet them, you just know they will have an impact on your life. They might become mentors. They might become family. Or they might just be friends. From the moment I met Dick Tomey, he was one of those people. I met Dick in 1987 when I was a 28-year-old sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star and he was in his first year as the head football coach at the University of Arizona. I didn’t know at that moment that it would be the start of the friendship that would last until he passed away in May. But I knew instantly that as a young journalist, the professional relationship I had with him would have meaning beyond the words in the stories I would write. In those three years that I covered Arizona football and was around Dick probably more than he wanted me to be, I learned from him what I think his players and his fellow coaches learned from him and valued: He cared about all the people around him and that made you want to care about people the same way. Our professional relationship never hit a bump. He knew his job. He knew my job. And he knew both of us just do-

ing our jobs didn’t mean one of us had to win and one had to lose when difficult issues came up, as they so often do between the media and college football coaches. During that time, about a year after we met, Dick and I became part of a rag-tag, recreational baseball team that played together over 15 summers, getting together twice a week to compete, laugh and make memories and friendships. It was in that setting that I could see the man behind the curtain of the football coach. He loved sports, just like we did. He loved to compete, just like we did. And he played baseball for the fun and the joy of being on a field away from the spotlight of the job he held at the UA for 14 years. I witnessed his relationship with his son, Rich, and the love they had for each other and how they valued the rare opportunity for a father and son to compete together and be together on a team doing something they both loved. “Growing up Dick Tomey’s son was the most precious thing in my life,” Rich said at his dad’s memorial held at McKale Center. “He was truly a man that cared not only about me, but everybody.”

Someday, I would like my son to say something like that about me. In Dick, I saw a father who treasured those moments with his son. And that’s the lasting impact he had on me – and, I’m certain, on all of those players, coaches, parents and administrators whose paths he crossed. Watching Dick as a dad made me a better dad to my son and my two daughters. He made me want to remember the name of every person I meet and the names of all their family members, which Dick was able to do even with all those play calls and Xs and Os running through his head. He made me want to greet everyone with a hug and a smile. He made me want to stand on a soapbox and tell all those Arizona football fans who wanted him fired at the end of his UA coaching career that they would never have another one like him – and they haven’t. I cried the night nearly 20 years ago when he announced he would no longer be our coach. I knew the mold for Dick Tomey as a coach, a father, a husband, a mentor, a friend and a man all in one was broken long ago. Though he was gone from the football program, I knew, because of the person he was, he would never leave us. And he hasn’t.

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Dick Tomey Fields The University of Arizona will name its two new outdoor practice fields, adjacent to the new Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center, the Dick Tomey Practice Fields. A naming presentation, as well as a dedication, will take place later this season. 178 BizTucson

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www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2018

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BizTucson 195


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2018

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BizTucson 195

Profile for BizTucson Magazine

BizTucson Fall 2019  

The Region's Business Magazine

BizTucson Fall 2019  

The Region's Business Magazine

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