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By David B. Pittman

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The business of the Tucson Metro Chamber is business. It’s about serving small business and big business – and everything in between. It’s about meeting the membership’s needs, helping them get the job done and providing value for their investment in the Chamber. That’s why Chamber President and CEO Michael Varney and his staff call Chamber members “investors.” Look at the Tucson Metro Chamber’s organization chart and at the top you will see the investor base of more than 1,450 firms that employ some 110,000 full-time workers. That base includes everything from large, well-known corporations to home-based momand-pop companies. Small business makes up 75 percent of the membership, which mirrors the overall metro area business community. Those investors are represented by the Chamber’s board of directors, which make up the second tier of the organization chart. It’s not until you get to the third tier that you get to paid staff and volunteers. In the three years since Varney became president and CEO, the Chamber has engaged in numerous outreach and research projects to learn what Chamber investors want and need so the chamber can adPHOTO dress those issues. “We’ve internalized what our investors’ issues are, their likes and preferences, their needs and challenges. We are on a constant mission to reinvent ourselves to be relevant and provide value to the people who pay us to be a chamber of commerce,” Varney said. Varney is widely viewed as a hard-charging, straighttalking, no-nonsense representative of the business community who listens to his investors and is determined to get results that benefit them. continued on page 106 >>>



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We are on a constant mission to reinvent ourselves, to be relevant and provide value to the people who pay us to be a chamber of commerce.

– Michael Varney, President & CEO, Tucson Metro Chamber continued from page 105 Chamber first if they have a problem. “We just completed a focus group, a “Since taking the helm at the ChamIf any of our investors have a problem, research project with small businesses, ber, Mike Varney and the entire board we want them to give us a written subto find out what they like about the of directors have revitalized the Chammission online.” Chamber, what their challenges are, ber, making it a driving force for posiIt’s a one-click portal to get to the We what the Chamber should be doing that tive change affecting the business and Can Help desk. it’s not doing and what the Chamber political landscape in Tucson,” said “We will solve the problem if we should be doing better,” Varney said. Craig Kaufman, office co-managing can,” Varney said. “If not, we will find One result of that research is the partner for the law firm of Quarles & somebody who can and we will triangucreation of an ambitious new program Brady. late the relationship.” – an online help desk called We Can Varney and the Chamber staff are The We Can Help program is underHelp. dedicated and working hard “to make way. The marketing program, already “The symbol for this program is a Tucson a more vibrant business comoutlined, will roll out around the first of life preserver,” Varney said. “We want munity,” Kaufman said, adding that next year. any business of any size to think of the the Chamber “is on track and moving The Chamber also has programs in the right direction.” to help small businesses make money, From a financial and membersave money and network with potenship standpoint, Varney has been tial clients. extremely successful during difficult Mission “One of the ways we help small economic times. Overall membership The mission of the Tucson Metro Chamber business make money is by holding has grown steadily during his tenure is to promote a strong local economy refederal procurement seminars,” Varand membership among larger comsulting in business growth, ample employney said. “We’ve done four or five panies has skyrocketed. ment and improving quality of life for all in the last couple of years and every “When I got here, the number of citizens. one of them has been completely full. investors that I would call major inEven though the federal government vestors – at our Chairman level or Vision is tightening its belt, it will continue higher – could be counted on one The Tucson Metro Chamber is the pre-emito be a big player in Tucson. Many hand,” Varney said. “Today, there nent resource and advocate for business in federal agencies and Davis-Monthan are more than 100 major investors at Southern Arizona. Air Force Base are looking for small those higher levels.” businesses to work with – but there is The result is a big-league jump in Core Fundamentals a special protocol for doing that. Small revenue that has put the Chamber businesses that don’t know that protoon solid financial footing following • Promote a strong local economy col will find it difficult to do business tough times experienced during the • Provide opportunities for you to build with this very big customer called the Great Recession. relationships and gain access federal government.” “The Chamber brand is back, the The Chamber has several special faith is back, the confidence is back • Deliver programs to help you grow discount programs that help investor and the value is back,” Varney said. your business businesses save money. One of the Virtually every program or action • Represent and advocate on behalf of most successful is the Chamber’s Copthe Tucson Metro Chamber underbusiness with government perPoint worker’s compensation botakes is motivated by a commitment nus dividend program, which rewards to forward one of these top four pri• Enhance commerce and increase businesses with top safety records. orities: quality of life through community “It was a real surprise when we stewardship To super-serve small business received our bonus check earlier this • Increase public awareness of year from the workers compensation To lead government relations and your business dividend program,” said Thomas public policy Bohn, contract supervisor at DVA • Provide symbols of credibility To help develop the local economy Consulting, a company that supervises To improve workforce readiness and maintains professional employees Source: Tucson Metro Chamber and education for multiple clients in multiple fields. continued on page 108 >>>

Chamber’s Mission

• • • •

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Mike Varney and the entire board of directors have revitalized the Chamber, making it a driving force for positive change affecting the business and political landscape in Tucson. – Craig Kaufman Office Co-Managing Partner Quarles & Brady

continued from page 106 “We got back a significant amount of money. In fact, it exceeded our Chamber membership dues – by far. Considering how much we saved, it would be unwise for us not to be Chamber members.” Last year, in a fact-finding effort dubbed the Business Expansion and Retention Project – now known as BEAR – the chamber polled leaders of larger businesses. Chamber investor volunteers surveyed 129 CEOs of companies doing business in metro Tucson that have 100 or more full-time employees. “Those surveyed spoke clearly and loudly,” Varney said. “They want a better interface between the private sector and the public sector. They also want the streets and roads in the City of Tucson and in Pima County to be fixed – yesterday. They are tired of excuses. They are tired of seeing money diverted to other things when that is what everybody wants, whether as part of the business community or as a private citizen. Nobody wants to drive on these streets. We are working with our elected officials to make this a higher priority.” Not only is the Chamber leading the effort to improve Tucson roads, it has also created a program it calls Interface, which provides business executives four opportunities a year to communicate directly to Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and four opportunities to speak with Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “We encourage openness, transparency and robust discussion,” Varney said. The Tucson Metro Chamber government affairs division is responsible for advocating on behalf of the business community with federal, state and local government entities to ensure an atmosphere in which businesses can thrive. The Chamber also attempts to recruit and elect business-friendly leaders to ensure an atmosphere in which businesses can succeed, create jobs and build a prosperous community. It also goes to bat for its investors. For instance, the Chamber helped push a bill through the Arizona Legislature that was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer that encourages and improves the viability of commercial space flight in the state. World View Enterprises, a Tucson-based company now in the test-flight stage, intends to launch passengers as high as continued on page 110 >>> 108 BizTucson


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BizLEADERSHIP One of those pies continued from page 108 is special events. The 120,000 feet, which Chamber hosts more it describes as “the than 50 of them anedge of space” in a nually to provide balloon-powered capbusinesses with the sule. opportunity to netTaber MacCallum, work, make stratechief technology ofgic connections and ficer of World View learn from business and one of the origileaders, elected ofnal crew members at ficials and industry Biosphere 2, said the experts. Chamber played an In January, after instrumental role in delivering the State the passage of HB of the State message 2163. at the Arizona Capi“During the last tol, the governor will legislative session, the travel to Tucson to Tucson Metro Chamdeliver the Southber played a central ern Arizona version role in getting the bill of that speech at a Jane Poynter,CEO, World View Enterprises; Ethan Orr, Arizona State Representative; passed,” MacCallum Gov. Jan Brewer; Eddie Farnsworth, chair of the House Judicary; Michael Varney, luncheon hosted by said. “They lobbied President & CEO, Tucson Metro Chamber the Chamber. In state lawmakers and March, the Chamber recruited other busiwill host a similar luncheon in which Mayor Rothschild will ness organizations to support our cause. They were there deliver the State of the City address. whenever we needed help.” Other major Chamber events include the Multi-Chamber World View’s first test flights, which have been done with Business Expo, the Chairman’s Breakfast, the Copper Cactus scaled-down flying equipment, have been successful. The Awards and the Holiday Legislative Reception. There are also company plans on testing a full-sized balloon and para-wing monthly Chamber XChange networking mixers held at invesearly next year and for commercial operations to begin at the tor businesses. end of 2016. These events offer investors opportunities to reach a broad MacCallum said future commercial flights will carry six segment of the local business community. passengers and two crew members. Several flights are already “Aligning your business with Tucson Metro Chamber events booked at a cost of $75,000 per passenger. MacCallum prethrough sponsorships puts your company in front of business dicts the cost will drop significantly over time. professionals and civic leaders,” Varney said. “Regardless of “We want to fly from Arizona locations. We want to set up your company’s size or business objectives, there are marketmanufacturing of balloons in Tucson. We are working with ing opportunities to meet your company objectives.” the Chamber to make that happen as well,” he said. “The Biz Chamber has their fingers in a lot of pies.”

Banzhaf Promoted to Tucson Metro Chamber Executive VP Lori Banzhaf was recently promoted to executive VP of Tucson Metro Chamber. She now oversees membership sales, advertising, sponsorships and events. “Much of the Chamber’s success in reaching its goals can be attributed to Lori’s hard work and dedication to the Chamber’s mission of promoting a strong local economy,” said Michael Varney, president and CEO of the Chamber. Banzhaf joined the Tucson Metro Chamber in June 2011 as VP of business development.

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Before that she was director of major gifts and planned giving for the TMC Foundation. She also founded Monsoon Marketing, a fullservice event consulting and management firm which she ran from 2002 to 2008. In all, she has nearly 25 years of sales and marketing experience. Banzhaf was recognized as one of the 2010 Women of Influence by Inside Tucson Business. She is a member of the Western Association of Chamber Executives. She and her husband, Steve, are the 2015 Tucson Heart & Stroke Ball chairs.


BizLEADERSHIP From left – Tucson Metro Chamber’s David Long, Carol Gatewood, Edgar Martinez, Valerie Vargas, Leticia Valenzuela, Sarah Akers, Jill A’Hearn, Tammy Jensen and Marta Balcerak. Not pictured: Jason Cook and Shirley Wilka

Super-Serving Small Business 24/7


By Valerie Vinyard Michael Varney and his Tucson Metro Chamber team have created something unique in the chamber world. As part of the Tucson Chamber’s first priority to “super-serve” its investors, a new help desk has been unveiled, designed especially for small businesses. So what does it mean to super-serve a business? “We help small businesses make more money and save more money,” Varney said. Varney said that 75 percent of the businesses that join the Chamber have 25 or fewer employees. The Chamber already helps them in a variety of ways. One example is the Money in Your Pocket program offering discounts, including “super discounts” through a contract with Office Depot. The Chamber also presents seminars and workshops year-round for its investors. Varney said the new We Can Help 112 BizTucson


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desk, which launched the last week in June, will help smooth the way for some of the Chamber’s 1,450 investors. “I think it will have a positive effect on recruitment of new investors – and it will be a brand-new tool to retain the investors that we have,” said Varney, who has been the president and CEO of the Chamber since May 2011.

“All of the investors in the Chamber naturally have challenges. Nobody’s business runs on autopilot. Many times businesses need help, and in many cases, they don’t know where to go.” At first, the Chamber didn’t actively promote the help desk. People who explored the Chamber’s home page – – found out about the new service. Now that they’ve had a test run, Varney is hoping more investors will reach out to We Can Help. In the past, investors would phone in with their questions or concerns. Now the more streamlined method has people describe their problem or question in an email. The message then goes to a central receiving area and is forwarded to the most appropriate person. As small businesses grow, new challenges emerge. Often other businesses have already been there and done that. continued on page 114 >>>

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The Tucson Chamber is very pro-business and very pro-growth for the Tucson region. We like their stance on jobs affiliated with construction and mining, too. That’s why we joined.

– Ed Greer, Store/Regional Manager Atlas Copco – Mining, Rock Excavation and Construction

continued from page 112 There is no need to re-invent every wheel. The Chamber can be an invaluable resource. Varney said the help desk meshes perfectly with the Chamber’s top priority – to help its investors. “We are trying to position the chamber as the problemsolving organization,” he said. “Whatever the issue is, we will either have an answer inside our building or we will help triangulate the relationship. We can certainly connect people.” Answers and solutions will be provided. Sometimes, the Chamber saves the day. Ed Greer is the store/regional manager of Atlas Copco – Mining, Rock Excavation and Construction. The Swissbased business, which has 28 employees in Tucson, had purchased a building and some land near the airport. “We needed some rezoning and the city had stalled on it,” Greer said. “Mike was able to bring the mayor in and get the ball rolling. The Chamber really jumped on it.” Though that specific issue took place before the help desk was officially in place, Greer plans on using the new service. “We have stores around the country, and we don’t usually join the chambers because they normally don’t help as much,” he said. “The Tucson Chamber is very probusiness and very pro-growth for the Tucson region. We like their stance on jobs affiliated with construction and mining, too. That’s why we joined.” Greer also likes the events and meet-and-greets with government officials and local business leaders set up by the Chamber. “I’m sure we’ll use the help desk – but already the Chamber is very attentive to Tucson-area businesses,” he said. Varney has been in the chamber business for more than 14 years. Before Tucson, he worked for two chambers in Las Vegas. He has noticed that chambers of commerce tend to experience the same issues. “Challenges that businesses face in cities across the country are very similar,” Varney said. “There isn’t a city in the country that isn’t having a problem developing its 114 BizTucson


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workforce, where small businesses get bumped around more than big businesses in the economy.” Another way the Tucson Metro Chamber stands out from other chambers is by interviewing political candidates. It also has a PAC called Southern Arizona Business Political Action Committee that endorses and financially supports business-friendly candidates. “So much is riding on who does public policy,” Varney said. The Chamber “represents the best interests of business in the halls of government” because what happens there has a positive or negative impact on business and the economy. Even in better economic times, businesses – especially small businesses – will always have their share of challenges. “Problems haven’t changed,” Varney said. “Small businesses are still focused on ringing their own cash registers. Larger businesses are more aware of issues facing the whole community, while the small businesses want to make sure they make payroll and are making a profitable enterprise.” Varney is eager for investors to use this new resource and share their experience with others. With the help desk, “you’ve got an access point that you can use 24/7.”


Super-Serving by the Numbers • $450,000 – Market value of marketing and business plans created for local businesses with University of Arizona Eller College of Management • $360,000 – Amount raised for First Impressions project to beautify the road to and from Tucson International Airport • 357,000 – Number of online referrals – plus 1,200 online training and business resources • $143,323 – Total of CopperPoint workers compensation insurance bonus dividends awarded based on local businesses’ safety records • $90,000 – Office Depot savings awarded to Chamber investors

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BEAR Survey

Business Leaders Voice Priorities By Larry Copenhaver

We live in a beautiful, likeable area with a great climate, and we care about our community and our neighbors, according to a Tucson Metro Chamber survey of 129 local employers that have at least 100 employees. But respondents to the Business Expansion and Retention survey were clear – they have a high level of dissatisfaction with local government on how it treats businesses and how it maintains

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infrastructure – especially streets and roads. Many business leaders perceive government as more of an impediment than an ally in promoting business prosperity, stability and job creation. Instead, they said, local government adopts unnecessary regulations, levies job-killing taxes and fees, and prefers to support neighborhood organizations that embrace anti-business attitudes.

Understanding the perceptions of business leaders and working to remediate differences with government officials will help the Chamber retain businesses in Tucson as well as find avenues for expansion. The BEAR survey was taken between July 2012 and November 2013. Michael Varney, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber, said the data is clear, especially when compar-

People want government to help them grow their companies and create more jobs, or at least not be an impediment for them to be able to do that. Michael Varney President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber –

ing cities similar in size to Tucson. For example, the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area lags behind 11 peer MSAs slightly bigger than Tucson and five MSAs slightly smaller than Tucson in economic measures. The 2012 sum of all goods and services produced in the Tucson MSA – $33.4 billion – ranks tenth out of 11 cohort comparisons and represents about 34 percent less than the average for the

group, the survey found. The only MSA to rank lower than Tucson is Fresno, Calif., with its $31.9 billion gross metro product. The top MSA was Birmingham, Ala., at $59 billion. “We need a more robust economy to pull out of our slump before it turns into a death spiral,” according to the Chamber survey. The destiny of the local economy “is in our hands, and we need to have

a dialogue between public and private sector leaders to make sure we are doing everything we can to be business friendly and welcoming,” Varney said. So where to begin? Though costly, repairing asphalt may be the easiest task. Potholes are not controlled by any outside force and they are not going to be controlled by Phoenix or the feds, Varney said. “There are problems that are in our hands and we have local continued on page 118 >>>

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BizLEADERSHIP continued from page 117 solutions. “We asked every person who responded to the survey for their comments,” Varney said. Regarding roads and infrastructure, one respondent wrote: “This town is dirty and ugly. I am ashamed to bring clients and customers and recruits from the airport to my business.” In April the Chamber organized and executed a beautification project along South Tucson Boulevard, the street that carries most airport auto traffic into the metro area. And, to the city’s credit, in November 2012, a $100 million road improvement bond package was approved by voters, which has resulted in new surfacing on more heavily traveled streets. The estimated price tag to bring all Tucson streets up to par is $800 million, Varney said. Fixing the relationship between government and business is more complex than fixing streets. “I hear it all the time – people want government to help them grow their companies and create more jobs, or at

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least not be an impediment for them to be able to do that,” Varney said. The hope is that “elected officials put an objective ear to what these people are saying. “Remember, the best weapon on poverty is a paycheck,” Varney said. Varney is quick to credit Mayor Jonathan Rothschild for his attitude

We need to work very hard to upgrade the education of our workforce.

Michael Varney President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber –

and leadership. “The mayor has always made himself available to share concerns. There is a willingness by the mayor to listen and to send a message to various city departments that we need to take a look at how they conduct business at the public level because people at the private level are trying to grow,

trying to expand and we need to do everything we can to help them.” Also credited for helping business is retired City Manager Richard Miranda, Varney said. “He has always brought the right people to the table whenever there was an issue that rose to his level, and for that we are grateful. But some systemic changes have to take place in how departments interface with businesses.” Education is the most complex issue to address. There also are some social issues that must be addressed. But businesses cannot grow without qualified workers, Varney said. “We need to work very hard to upgrade the education of our workforce. “To that end, kudos to Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez, who in a very short period of time, just over a year, has brought some very good and fresh ideas to improve K-12 education. We think he’s got the right answers. He listens well, and he knows there is a problem. It is complex – but you have to start someplace. We are big H.T. Sanchez fans.”


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‘It’s in Our Hands’ Are We on the Road to Success? By Jay Gonzales

Michael Varney knows that the Tucson community is going places. But here is the question: Is it headed for “Winnerville” or “Loserville”? “That’s what I can’t tell you with a degree of certainty,” said Varney, the Tucson Metro Chamber’s president and CEO since 2011. “I think most communities are in between. But it’s not where you are today that matters as much as where you’ll be five, 10 years from now.” The Winnerville/Loserville distinctions come from the book “When the Boomers Bail” by economic development expert Mark Lautman, which discusses the impact of the ongoing retirement of the 72 million so-called “baby boomers” in the United States. The book suggests there are seven metrics that can determine the long-term fate of a community during the 15-year period of the boomers’ retirement. Varney has embarked on a project he calls “E is Greater than P” to measure the Tucson community on those seven metrics – economy, population, ecosystem, education, crime, housing and healthcare. Lautman’s overall premise is that communities must do well on those metrics to grow their economy – the E – faster than the population – the P – to have better odds of landing in Winnerville. “Our concern at the Chamber is 120 BizTucson


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where do we stand given the key metrics?” Varney said. “What are we doing well and what do we need to change to be one of the cities that reside in Winnerville?”

We’re in a

very bad place in education in Tucson. Our local school systems are not putting out a qualified workforce.

Michael Varney President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber –

Even in the early stages of Varney’s project, he has found that education is showing up as a metric that is driving this community toward Loserville. “We’re in a very bad place in education in Tucson,” Varney said. “Our local school systems are not putting out a qualified workforce.” For example, Varney said, the Uni-

versity of Arizona and Pima Community College are offering an increasing number of remedial courses because high school graduates are not where they need to be when they arrive. Yet on the flip side, Varney said, the makeup of Tucson’s population puts it on the path toward Winnerville. While Tucson is often seen as a retirement community, or at least a community with an aging population, the demographics do not bear that out. There actually are more young people with long-term employment potential than people heading into retirement. “We’re in a good place there,” Varney said. “That’s due in large part to the fact that 30 percent of our population is Hispanic, and Hispanics have a high birth rate. We’ve got warm bodies. Then the question is, in those warm bodies, do we have a qualified workforce?” With baby boomers retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, the need for qualified workers to replace them is a challenge every community faces. The competition to get those workers into your community is fierce. “We’re in the early stages of it, but it will only get worse,” Varney said. “It’s really a fight for survival.” And the implications are long term. Lautman suggests that once a commucontinued on page 122 >>>

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We’ve got to put aside

personal and political differences to move this community forward. Michael Varney President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber –

continued from page 120 nity lands in Loserville, it’s hard to leave. “In Loserville, as the number of qualified workers continues to decrease and as companies have trouble finding workers, they will either move to a community that’s richer in qualified workers or they will stop doing business altogether,” Varney said. “That creates a chain reaction that includes unemployment, more of a demand on social services and a reduction of tax base. Cities get into what Lautman calls a ‘death spiral’ where you can’t pull out of it. Streets go into disrepair. There are cutbacks in public safety. It becomes a less and less attractive community to live in – so people move out. “In Winnerville, it’s the exact opposite. There are plenty of qualified workers earning good money. The tax base rises. There are nice parks, nice schools, good public safety, all of the things that tax dollars pay for. And the delta between Winnerville and Loserville will only increase going forward.” To keep from winding up in Loserville, Varney said, there is another factor that needs to be solved in the Tucson community – the prevalence of petty turf battles and focus on personal agendas. In a political climate where, at least nationally, turf and agendas seem to stunt any effort at progress, Varney said the local community has to focus on what it can control – itself. “I can’t speak for the country, which is going to do what it wants to do,” Varney said. “But locally we have total control for what we do. The future of our community is not in anyone else’s hands. It’s in our hands. We’ve got to put aside personal and political differences to move this community forward. “When you look across the country, communities that have Republican mayors and Democrat mayors have all been successful in doing this. This is not a party thing where one party is better at this than the other. It’s just a question of will and putting the community’s best interests in front of personal power and turf. That may be asking too much of people who are more concerned with their personal agendas than with the community’s agenda. But if those are the types of leaders we have, then we’re in a bad place.” And that place might be called Loserville.

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Individual Wins Benefit All

Municipalities Collaborate By Christy Krueger with our aquatic center.” He added that without the alliance When a biotech company moves into Oro Valley, or Sawith Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Roche would huarita successfully recruits an aerospace firm, or Marana sets not have expanded Ventana Medical Systems here, “and they homebuilding records, the individual towns don’t celebrate employ more than 1,000 people.” alone – because the entire Tucson metro area wins. Hiremath’s relationship with The best way to grow the reTREO led to his leadership of a gion, according to the area’s leadnew group – one that brings toers, is to collaborate and work toConnect with City, gether the area’s mayors, county ward common goals. County Leaders representatives and tribal leadOne way the communities are ers. “I was named chair of this connecting with one another Interface is a program that provides invesregional government group that’s is through the recently formed tors four opportunities per year to communia subcommittee of TREO,” he Southern Arizona Chamber of cate with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and four opportunities to speak with Pima said. “We work with other comCommerce Alliance, which holds County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry munities on how to partner with monthly lunch meetings – usually about public policy and doing business in the private sector. No matter how with a guest speaker. Southern Arizona. much the government wants to get Michael Varney, president and something done, it won’t get done CEO of the Tucson Metro ChamThe host speaker opens with a 15-minute without the private sector.” ber, said the alliance “benefits all presentation and then takes questions and The mayors of our area’s towns communities by information sharcomments from those attending. have become comrades in a way ing. It’s good to do – so we’re not Registration is free and meetings are held that wasn’t always the case, Hirein a vacuum. We promote regional from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m at the Tucson math said, and they enjoy the supcooperation and good communiMetro Chamber, 465 W. St. Mary’s Road. port from their peers. cation.” City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Joint advocacy is another result Meetings are scheduled as follows: Rothschild said he feels fortunate of the towns coming together. to have close working relationships After Pima Community College City of Tucson Pima County with the area’s mayors and recogChancellor Lee Lambert spoke to Nov. 20, 2014 Oct. 23, 2014 nizes how much they have in comthe alliance, its members were inmon. “The municipalities face the spired to help the college retain its Feb. 26, 2015 Jan. 22, 2015 same issues and have the same accreditation by writing letters of May 21, 2015 April 23, 2015 sources of revenue. So we meet support to the school’s accreditor. regularly and exchange ideas and “These days, it’s an environment Aug. 27, 2015 July 23, 2015 best practices.” we will only survive if we intenNov. 19, 2015 Oct. 22, 2015 Town of Marana Mayor Ed tionally partner with each other,” said Town of Oro Valley Mayor Honea reported that Marana curInvestors can register at rently has the highest number of Satish Hiremath. “Tucson Metro by using the event calendar or by contacting housing starts in the county, yet Chamber was involved with the Shirley Wilka at (520) 792-2250, ext. 132. he understands that many of the expansion of Securaplane (in Oro Valley), and Visit Tucson helped continued on page 126 >>> 124 BizTucson


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High-Level Investors Keystone Investors Casino Del Sol Resort Diamond Ventures Hudbay, Rosemont Project Port of Tucson Providence Service Corporation Raytheon Missile Systems Tucson Electric Power Wells Fargo

Chairman Investors AAA Landscape Aerotek Agape Hospice & Palliative Care AGM Container Controls Alliance Bank of Arizona American Family Insurance American Fire Equipment Sales & Service Corp. American Openings Amity Foundation APAC Customer Services Arizona Army National Guard Arizona Daily Star Arizona State University ASARCO Atlas Copco – Mining, Rock Excavation & Construction

Avalon Southwest Rehabilitation Bank of America BBVA Compass BFL Construction BizTucson Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Bombardier Aerospace CAID Industries Caliber Group Carondelet Health Network CenturyLink Chase Bank Circle K Citi Climatec BTG Community Partnership of Southern Arizona Convergys Corporation CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company Coventry Health Care – First Script Network Services Cox Communications Crest Insurance Group Cushman & Wakefield/ PICOR CyraCom International Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment

Pima Federal Credit Union Pima Medical Institute Quarles & Brady LLP Royal Automotive Group Serrato Corporation Securaplane Siemens Industry Sinfonia Healthcare Corp. Southwest Airlines Southwest Gas Corp. Sundt Construction Target Commercial Interiors Tech Parks Arizona Texas Instruments The Jim Click Automotive Team The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa TM International Tucson Medical Center Tucson Unified School District UA College of Science UHS of Tucson dba Palo Verde Behavioral Health Union Pacific Railroad Company University of Phoenix – Southern Arizona Campus Vantage West Credit Union Vertech Walgreens Walmart

DVA Consulting El Rio Health Center Empire Southwest Encantada Luxury Apartment Homes Farhang & Medcoff Film Creations Finley Distributing Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Golden Eagle Distributors Granite Construction Company Graybar Holualoa Arizona HSL Properties Institute for Better Education Intuit Jacobs Engineering Journal Broadcast Group KVOI Lazydays Lovitt & Touché Madden Media Hyperlocal Online Solutions MC Companies McDonald’s Nextrio Northwest Medical Center Norville Investments Pima Community College

Teamwork Tucson Metro Chamber works collaboratively with Southern Arizona officials. Together we are helping create a more business friendly environment. We appreciate the leadership team that helps make this possible.

Chuck Huckelberry Pima County Administrator

Jonathan Rothschild Mayor City of Tucson

Satish I. Hiremath Mayor Town of Oro Valley

Ed Honea Mayor Town of Marana

Duane Blumberg Mayor Town of Sahuarita

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Chamber Investor Benefits • Access to the online We Can Help desk to solve business problems

• Business Resources – Free subscription to BizTucson (first year only)

• Savings through the Chamber’s affinity programs:

– Free subscription to Inside Tucson Business (first year only)

– Save up to 45 percent on office supplies with Office Depot

– Free copy of the Book of Lists (first year only)

– CopperPoint workers compensation insurance bonus dividends • Access to Peerspectives executive roundtable to solve business problems (additional fees may apply) • Increased exposure through enhanced online directory listing – Company logo – Business description – Map link – Keywords – Photo gallery – YouTube video

– Free subscription to The Chamber Edge quarterly news magazine • Tools for Business resources to help you grow your business • Invitation to a Breakfast with the Board event with the Chamber CEO and one board member • Investor postings of job openings • Coggno online training programs (additional fees may apply) • Opportunities to engage in volunteer activities and committees

– Search result summary • Free marketing opportunities – Display your company brochure in Chamber lobby – Listing in the Chamber’s printed Buyer’s Guide and Investor Directory – Post investor news announcements – Post upcoming events on Community Calendar – Post Hot Deal coupon offers for investors and non-investors • Business referrals from online and call-in sources

Join the Tucson Metro Chamber Growing Businesses. Building Communities.

The chamber offers an assortment of member­ship investment levels with varying portfolios of products, services and benefits to meet the needs of small businesses, those in a stage of growth and the interests of large businesses. Contact Lori Banzhaf, executive VP, to learn more about membership and how it can benefit your business or organization: (520) 792-2250 x 152 or

continued from page 124 town’s residents work in Oro Valley or Tucson. “A rising tide raises all boats and we all benefit in getting jobs and opportunities,” he said. Town of Sahuarita Mayor Duane Blumberg agrees. “I strongly believe if a new business comes to Tucson, Oro Valley or Marana, or a business expands, it’s good for us, too.” Although the end result wasn’t as hoped, both Blumberg and Honea cited Grand Canyon University as an example of regional cooperation. Honea recalled, “Satish Hiremath called me when Grand Canyon University was looking at a site on Naranja,” in Oro Valley. “He said if Grand Canyon comes to Naranja, would you support it? I said, ‘Put my name on a shovel.’ It’s a win for the whole region.” More recently the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Marana did receive a green light. Although the federal government provided a grant to fund the project, Marana needed $1 million to build an access road – money the town didn’t have. So Honea reached out for help. “We worked with Pima Association of Governments and they approved the money to build the road. It will benefit the whole area.” Sahuarita leaders hope to contribute to the region’s growth by attracting aerospace and defense firms, which Blumberg believes will diversify the economy. “There are a number of aerospace businesses in Sonora, Mexico, and our location gives us an advantage.” Blumberg recognizes Tucson as the supportive hub for the area’s smaller communities and the economic driver of Southern Arizona. Rothschild’s view is that all our towns contribute. “As mayors, we look at it as one valley – and we represent the valley as a whole,” he said. “When cities work together, we can do a lot for our region.”

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Michael Varney President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber

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Michael Varney By David B. Pittman When Michael Varney arrived in Tucson to take over the reins of Tucson Metro Chamber in 2011, he inherited an organization that was reeling from the recession and struggling with declining membership and revenue. Those involved in Varney’s hiring were impressed that during the interview process, he unveiled a list of 20 ways to improve the Chamber and outlined a long-range business plan. After accepting the position, Varney wasted no time implementing probusiness initiatives designed to superserve small business, take a leadership position in government relations and public policy, encourage and assist development of the local economy and improve workforce readiness and education. New Chamber programs introduced by Varney were aimed specifically at improving the value of Chamber membership. In fact, Varney and his staff now refer to Chamber members as “investors,” reinforcing the proposition that businesses can expect to get their money’s worth from joining the Chamber. Varney’s efforts have proved successful. Overall membership rebounded substantially and membership among larger firms skyrocketed. The result is the Chamber is again on solid financial footing. Varney, a native of Madison, Wis., earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin.

He is the chair-elect of the board of directors of the Western Association of Chamber Executives and serves on the boards of the Arizona Chamber Executives and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives as well as local civic and nonprofit boards.

provider and we will be judged by the quality and relevance of the services we provide. We are on a constant mission to reinvent ourselves to be relevant and provide value to the people who pay us to be a chamber. Everything we do concerns our membership’s needs.

Q. What changes to

Q. You mentioned

the Chamber have you brought since taking the job?

A.lish good connections in public

We have tried very hard to estab-

policy at the local and state levels to ensure the voice of business is at the table. The things we advocate are heard differently and reacted to differently by the various public policymakers – but all of them will hear the voice of business through the Tucson Metro Chamber. We’ve made changes internally that are not seen by the public. We have reconstituted almost all of the staff. We have very accomplished people in every position – communications, government affairs, finance, events, revenue development – you can go right down the line. They are working hard and are extremely productive. We’ve also made it a point to listen very intently to our customers, our investors, who are the people we serve. We never lose sight that we are a service

efforts to establish positive public policy connections. How have you done that?

A.anced approach in listening to

We’ve made sure we take a bal-

the community. Shortly after I got here, we balanced our candidate evaluation committee and our PAC – the Southern Arizona Business Political Action Committee. Previously, it did not have much balance. Now there is a balanced number of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who evaluate candidates. Our candidate evaluation committee makes recommendations to the political action committee, which can decide to act on those recommendations, or not. Acting on a recommendation might mean a candidate gets an endorsement, or it might mean they get an endorsement and some money. The people that serve on these committees, whatever side of the aisle they are from, are pro-business. We wanted continued on page 132 >>> Fall 2014 > > > BizTucson 129


Tony Penn Chairman of the Board Tucson Metro Chamber

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Tony Penn By David B. Pittman Tony Penn, president and CEO of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, is the 2014-15 chairman of the board of the Tucson Metro Chamber. Penn arrived in Tucson in May 2010 to take the helm of the United Way, which was mired in debt and management difficulties. Penn proved to be a masterful turnaround artist, erasing a $2 million debt. Penn also streamlined the organization by reducing full-time United Way employees from 75 to 52, curtailing the cost of doing business from 18 cents of every charitable dollar raised, to a dime per dollar. In fact, an analysis done in 2013 measuring 25 different statistical categories rated Tucson’s United Way among the top five United Way organizations – no small feat considering there are 1,400 United Way branches in 41 countries. Tucson’s United Way partners with more than 80 charitable agencies to help more than 100,000 people annually in the areas of education, financial stability and access to healthcare. In 2012-13, more than 13,000 employees from nearly 300 companies invested in the United Way, surpassing its $10 million fundraising campaign goal by nearly $147,000. Before moving to Tucson, Penn was a senior executive for the YMCA in San Antonio for eight years. He also worked 23 years at Teradyne Corp., a large,

high-tech designer and manufacturer of automatic test equipment, where he rose from field engineer to regional manager. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Penn graduated from the Southwest Leadership Program of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. He also earned certificates from the University of Texas and the Executive Education program at Harvard Business School. Penn is a board member for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities.

Q. What is a nonprofit CEO doing chairing the Chamber of Commerce anyway?

A.advocating for every day are not The fact is the people I enjoy

the folks who are standing on the side of a road with a sign. The folks I enjoy working for are at the bus stop at 5 a.m. going to their first job. Those folks really need our United Way. They aren’t looking for a handout – they’re looking for a hand up. They’re hardworking people that want more and better jobs to lift their families. The Chamber is all about strengthening the local economy and creating the best environment possible for economic development. It is about retaining major employers and assisting small busi-

ness so both can grow and hire more people. The Chamber is about improving workforce readiness, increasing high school graduation rates and endorsing pro-business public policy. Improving Tucson’s economy is good for everyone. It means more jobs, higher wages and a larger tax base. It means more money for schools and roads and charitable giving. A growing economy benefits everyone. Being on the board of the Chamber is something I aspired to because every successful community I’ve lived in has had two things – a successful United Way and a successful chamber. When I arrived in Tucson we couldn’t make that claim. Our Chamber was not where it is today. No knock on any previous administration or individual, but we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were four years ago. Under Mike Varney’s leadership, there has been an infusion of participation at the Chamber.

Q. You and Michael

Varney both took jobs where you faced some difficult situations around the same time. Have the two of you ever discussed that? continued on page 132 >>>

Fall 2014 > > > BizTucson 131


continued from pg. 131

A.We were both able to manage A.needs Yes, more than a couple of times.

in very challenging circumstances and create the turnaround necessary to strengthen the organizations we represent.

Q. What steps did you take to turn around the United Way?

A.and image development. When It began with communications

you have a bump in the road, it is crucial to face the music. I was willing to talk to any group that would listen. I titled my presentation “The Elephant in the Room.” The second step was strengthening our board. We needed to make it more reflective of the community and ensure all the necessary skill sets needed were represented. We’ve done both. The third step was reducing the costs of doing business. We’ve cut business expenses and are running a tight, taut ship. The fourth step was great financial development. Not only have we validated to the community that we’re efficient, we’ve also validated our performance through outcome metrics, which measure how effective we are in making positive transformation in the lives of children, families and seniors in our areas of focus. We have high expectations of our partners to do likewise. United Way has a great track record of building a “collective impact” in communities. “Collective impact” is a phrase we like to use. It is about creating positive transformations cost effectively. United Way’s business orientation and its use of volunteers is a huge part of its magic.

Q. What would you

like to accomplish during your tenure as chairman of the Chamber board?

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I believe that while business community, community also needs business. In my humble analysis, we need greater alignment between the various chambers and other business and economic development groups, such as TREO and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. We’ve also got to have cross-sector coordination with other major economic interests, such as large healthcare and educational institutions. For these discussions to be successful everyone would have to check their guns at the door and be willing to give a little. This is what we need to start the ball rolling. It is something I will work to accomplish. Biz

Michael Varney

continued from pg. 129

to shake off the notion that it was a hard-right, closed-door, good-old-boy process. It’s not.

Q. When will the First

Impressions project be competed – the more than $360,000 landscaping effort the Chamber undertook to beautify a nearly half-mile stretch of Tucson Boulevard at the entrance to Tucson International Airport?

A.for the project in mid-NovemWe expect to have a dedication

ber. It’s looking great and it will look even better when the individual pieces of art are mounted. We couldn’t have done this without the generosity of AAA Landscape and our six corporate sponsors: Casino Del Sol Resort, Crest Insurance Group, Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, Jim Click Automotive Team, Vantage West Credit Union and Visit Tucson.

In order to attract companies and a qualified workforce, we need to have an attractive community with amenities. It’s one thing to whine and complain that we need things fixed. It’s another thing to go do it and put your money where your mouth is. We hope the First Impressions project triggers other organizations, other businesses, and maybe the city and county to do more to beautify our community.


Many of our public officials – particularly one or two among our congressional delegation and the majority of the Pima County Board of Supervisors – oppose the Rosemont Copper Mine. Why does the Chamber support the mine?

A.should be allowed to operate the We believe Hudbay Minerals

Rosemont Copper mine if it can meet permitting and operating standards expected of it by regulatory agencies. Thus far, Hudbay seems to be meeting or exceeding those requirements and we trust they will do so going forward. No mine in history has gone to the lengths the Hudbay, Rosemont project has to employ 21st-century technology, mining techniques and mitigation and reclamation measures. The other thing that is often overlooked when we say no to business opportunity is that we are also saying no to increased sales and property taxes that could be used to fix our streets, build better schools, upgrade our parks and hire more police and firefighters. Tucson is impoverished compared to many cities. We need the high-paying jobs and tax revenue the Hudbay, Rosemont project would bring.


Fall 2014 > > > BizTucson 133




Vice Chairman Tom McGovern



Immediate Past Chairman Kurt Wadlington

VP/Regional Manager Psomas

Tucson Building Group Leader Sundt



Treasurer Robert D. Ramirez

President and CEO Vantage West Credit Union

2 0 1 4 - 2 0 1 5

Secretary Cyndy A. Valdez

VP General Counsel Golden Eagle Distributors

McGovern manages the Arizona operations of Psomas, a top-ranked engineering firm. He’s a past member of its board of directors and current chair of its retirement committee. His involvement with the Tucson Metro Chamber includes working with the executive committee and the government affairs committee. McGovern also contributes his time to Southern Arizona Leadership Council, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, Arizona Forward and TREO’s Blueprint Infrastructure Committee. He is also the vice chair of Pima Association of Government’s economic vitality advisory committee.

Wadlington oversees Sundt’s Tucson building operations, ensuring his team’s delivery of pre-construction and construction services are consistent with client goals and objectives. He is involved in numerous business and community organizations in the Tucson area including Greater Tucson Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Arizona Forward and Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to his involvement with the Tucson Metro Chamber, Ramirez is active in numerous community organizations, including DM50, Pima Community College Foundation, 162nd Fighter Wing Air Guardians and Ronald McDonald House Charities. He serves on the board of directors for Mountain West Credit Union Association and the Credit Union Executive Society, as well as the Carondelet Foundation board of trustees.

Valdez provides legal counsel and guidance to Golden Eagle’s officers and upper management. She’s vice chair of the Arizona State Liquor Board and is an active member of several state and national liquor industry organizations. These include Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona, Beverage Alcohol Community Information Council, National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. In addition, she serves on the board of directors for Greater Tucson Leadership and Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

William R. Assenmacher

James K. Beckmann

Timothy Bee

Jim Burns

Assenmacher presides over the dayto-day operations of a $50 million business that manufactures a wide variety of engineered products, both domestic and international. He is active with the Chamber in development and in improving job opportunities. Assenmacher is founder and president of Southern Arizona Business Coalition and chairman of AMIGOS. In addition, he is active with The Centurions, Tucson Airport Authority and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Beckmann is responsible for the strategic direction, vision and fulfilled mission of Carondelet Health Network. Since his arrival in 2011, he has instilled a vision of providing excellent patient care while focusing on the expansion of four key service lines – neurological, cardiovascular, orthopedic and breast cancer care. Beckmann serves on the Chamber’s nominating committee and is a member of Southern Arizona Leadership Council, TREO Chairman’s Circle and various industry organizations.

CEO CAID Industries

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President and CEO Carondelet Health Network

Senior Associate VP Legislative and Community Relations University of Arizona Bee leads the University of Arizona’s federal, state and local government and community relations teams. He serves on the Chamber’s government affairs committee. Other community activities include commissioner of Arizona Commission on the Arts and member of Vail Community Action Board. He also serves on the public policy committee for United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Former CFO/Interim CEO Casino Del Sol Resort Burns provides financial expertise to the Tucson Metro Chamber board of directors. Until recently he oversaw more than 1,500 team members and was responsible for the daily management of the casino resort and related properties. He’s currently in transition seeking new challenges. He is a member of the Arizona CPA Society and the Reid Park Zoological Society board of directors. He’s also a past member of the board of governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

continued on page 136 >>>

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Sherry Janssen Downer

Director Fennemore Craig

Downer represents businesses in the areas of employment and labor law and commercial and business litigation. She’s an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, teaching employment topics. Downer is peer recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America and a Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Star in employment defense and has received the highest rating available, AV Preeminent, by Martindale Hubbell. She was honored in 2013 as a Woman of Influence and one of Tucson’s 40 Under 40. She was also selected as a 2014 Up and Comer.

Robert E. Lenhard

President Hallmark Business Consultants Lenhard’s career leading Hallmark Business Consultants spans 26 years, since its founding in 1988. The firm represents buyers and sellers of all business categories and has completed more than 500 transactions. Hallmark also provides formal business appraisals to banks that lend to companies. Lenhard is active with Tucson Metro Chamber’s business expansion and retention committee and small business advisory council. Additional community involvement includes Hallmark’s charter membership with the Arizona Business Brokers Association and the Merger and Acquisition Source. In 2003 he received an award of excellence as Arizona’s broker of the year.

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2 0 1 4 - 2 0 1 5

Guy Gunther

Stephanie Healy

VP & GM CenturyLink

Director of Public Affairs Cox Communications

Dusenberry helps customers through personal and business transitions by providing outstanding moving experiences. His former company, Horizon Moving Systems, is now part of the Suddath Companies with operations in 23 cities nationwide. He serves on numerous boards, including Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Southern Arizona Defense Alliance and DM50. He was named Tucson Metro Chamber’s Man of the Year in 2009.

Gunther is responsible for sales, operations, marketing, community development and overall P&L performance for the greater Arizona market. CenturyLink is the third-largest telecommunications company in the nation, providing data, voice and managed services through its advanced fiber-optic network. Gunther is the immediate past chairman of Tucson Metro Chamber’s education committee and is chairman of the board for TREO. He’s active with Southern Arizona Leadership Council and other local organizations.

Healy oversees government affairs, public relations, community development and media relations in Southern Arizona for Cox Communications. She is a Flinn Brown fellow and has received a number of leadership awards in the community. Her civic participation and board memberships include El Rio Health Center Foundation, Arizona Forward, DM50, City of Tucson’s Economic and Workforce Development Commission, the City’s Charter Commission, University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Silver & Turquoise Board of Hostesses.

Larry Lucero

Jill Malick

Walter Richter

Malick oversees a team of eight Wells Fargo bankers who provide financial services to business customers in Tucson and Nogales. She co-chairs the bank’s Southern Arizona community advisory board and is a recipient of its national sales and service excellence award. Malick is one of Tucson Metro Chamber’s newest board members and also serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council board of directors.

Richter oversees community and consumer affairs, as well as local government relations for Southwest Gas throughout Southern Arizona. He serves on the Tucson Metro Chamber candidate evaluation committee and the Southern Arizona Business Political Action Committee. In addition to his work with the Chamber, Richter serves on the boards of TREO and the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Bruce Dusenberry

Business Development Consultant Suddath Relocation Systems

Senior Director of Government Relations and Economic Development UNS Energy Corporation and subsidiary Tucson Electric Power Lucero assists in advancing the interests of the utility and its customers. He’s a member of Tucson Metro Chamber’s government affairs committee and also works with a variety of community organizations. Among those are TREO, Chicanos Por La Causa Southern Arizona Advisory Council, Campus Research Corporation and Tucson Youth Development/ACE Charter High School.

VP Business Banking Manager Wells Fargo

Administrator Corporate Public Affairs Southwest Gas

continued on page 138 >>>

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2 0 1 4 - 2 0 1 5

Cody Ritchie

Steve Rosenberg

Owner and Publisher BizTucson Magazine

Partner and Owner Lazarus, Silvyn and Bangs

Keri Lazarus Silvyn

Lea N. Standridge

Ritchie oversees the operations of Crest Insurance in Tucson and Phoenix, concentrating on the agency’s sales and marketing functions. He serves on the First Impressions committee with the Chamber and is active with other community groups, including Rio Nuevo, Tucson Conquistadores, State Compensation Fund Broker Advisory Board and San Miguel High School. Ritchie also volunteers as a youth coach.

Rosenberg is founder of BizTucson, the region’s quarterly business magazine. In addition to the Chamber, he serves as a board member for DM50, Visit Tucson, Raytheon Spirit of Education Awards and Steven M. Gootter Foundation. Rosenberg is the founding chairman and a board member of Father’s Day Council Tucson. BizTucson has produced the CEO Leadership Summit and the Healthcare Summit, which are issues-based community forums.

Silvyn is a land-use attorney, working predominately with property owners and developers to help create responsible development throughout Arizona. She holds several positions with Tucson Metro Chamber, including chairwoman of the editorial committee. Silvyn is founder of Imagine Greater Tucson and a member of TREO. In 2011 she received the Small Business Association Athena Award, and in 2013 Greater Tucson Leadership named her Woman of the Year.

Standridge holds many responsibilities with Raytheon, which include overseeing strategic growth planning, and developing collaborative integrated mission solutions for its missile defense programs. In addition to Tucson Metro Chamber, she devotes time to the Casa de los Niños board of directors and is chair of Children, Youth & Camping Services at Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Howard Stewart

Cristie Street

Richard Underwood

President AAA Landscape

CEO Contact One Call Center

Stewart manages AGM Container Controls, which manufactures products for container, missile, electro-optical, automobile, packaging and public facility markets. He was recognized as Tucson’s Small Business Leader of the Year in 2002 and his company received a U.S. Chamber of Commerce designation as America’s Small Business of the Year in 2009. Stewart is the 2014-2015 campaign cabinet chair for United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and serves on the Greater Tucson Leadership board of directors.

Heading up this locally based IT firm’s team of professionals keeps Street on her toes. The company sponsors the Chamber’s Copper Cactus Awards, saluting innovation through technology. With Street’s dedication, it also supports Ronald McDonald House, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Social Venture Partners, Mobile Meals, Arizona Public Media and other local nonprofits.

In addition to presiding over AAA Landscape, Underwood is a partner with Arid Solutions Wholesale Plant Nursery and chairman of the Chamber’s First Impressions committee. Underwood serves on Arizona State Landscape Contractors Advisory Board, Metropolitan Pima Alliance, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board for the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. He’s director of Canyon Community Bank and a member of Tucson Airport Authority.

Community outreach, special projects and business development make up Wood’s primary job functions with Contact One Call Center. She serves on the government affairs committee and nominating committee for the Chamber. In addition, she’s active with Beacon Group, Arizona Commerce Authority, Governor’s Council on Small Business, Women at the Top and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Managing Director Crest Insurance Group

President and CEO AGM Container Controls

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Managing Partner Nextrio

Business Development Raytheon Missile Systems

Judy Wood

Fall 2014 > > > BizTucson 139


Local Corporate Headquarters Accelerate Diagnostics Arizona Canning Co. (La Costeña) Arizona Community Physicians ASARCO

Chamber Reaches Out to Next-Gen Leaders

Ascent Aviation Beacon Group

By Romi Carrell Wittman

Buffalo Exchange CAID Industries Canyon Ranch Carondelet Health Network Catalina China/HF Coors Darling Industries Eegee’s Fall Line Testing and Inspection Golden Eagle Distributors HJ3 Composite Technologies IBM Tucson Jim Click Automotive Team Long Realty Modular Mining Systems MineSight/Mintec Offshore International Precision Shooting Equipment Providence Service Corporation Raytheon Missile Systems ReliaSoft Corporation Sargent Aerospace & Defense Texas Instruments Tucson Sundt Tierra Antigua Realty Truly Nolen UNS Energy Corporation (Tucson Electric Power) Universal Avionics Systems Corporation Ventana Medical Systems Walbro Engine Management Source: Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities

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With so many social media tools available, it’s oh-so-simple to find and meet up with like-minded people, especially for young professionals. But it is not so easy to connect with people who can help young business owners and leaders grow their business, develop leadership skills and find mentors to share their expertise. That’s the goal of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s new Emerging Leaders Council – to connect business leadership across generations. “This is basically a roundtable of young business owners and leaders that we want to bring into the room so they can have a discussion about the issues they’re facing in their businesses,” said Robert Medler, VP of government affairs for the Tucson Metro Chamber. The hope is that the chamber and its investors, with resources throughout the region, can address those concerns, enabling local small businesses to thrive. The idea came from a series of discussions between Michael Varney, president and CEO of the Chamber, and Tony Penn, CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and chairman of the Chamber board. Varney mentioned his vision to invest in and support young leaders in the community. That was when Penn had an “a-ha moment” – why not connect the chamber with the United Way’s Young Leaders Society and its chair, Whitney Thistle. From there, Thistle and Varney brainstormed and the new council

became a reality. “This will be an intimate group of entrepreneurs and business owners, people who are invested in Tucson, who believe in it and will stay,” Thistle said. “The possibilities are endless.” Ben Korn, owner of Safeguard Tucson and an active community leader, was tapped to serve as chair of the new council, which will be based at the Chamber offices. Thistle, manager of volunteer programs at the United Way, remains the guiding force behind the effort and will be very active as well. Both Thistle and Medler are most excited about the council’s mentor program. “We are always hearing that the younger generations are looking for mentors, but there has been a disconnect of being able to find one,” Medler said. “So we’re going to start a mentor-matching program to address that need.” Mentees from the council will be paired with experienced mentors who are Chamber investors. “The idea is that you pair the mentee with someone outside his or her circle, someone they can turn to for input. And the goal is for this to be a longterm partnership,” Thistle said. Thistle said they have been careful not to over-plan the council or its mission. “We’re starting small and investing in a core group of about 18 to 20,” she said. “We’re leaving it open-ended. We want the group to guide us by telling us their most pressing needs.” Medler, who serves as the

This council is going to address a big need for millennials in our community and, hopefully, help them become the next wave of Tucson’s leaders.

– Robert Medler VP of Government Affairs Tucson Metro Chamber

ber staff liaison to the new council, said that they also were careful not to duplicate what other community organizations, like Tucson Young Professionals and Greater Tucson Leadership, are doing. TYP is a very active social and business networking group while GTL is an intensive yearlong leadership and community education program. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Raytheon Missile Systems also have their own leadership training programs. “We may find people to serve on the council from those groups,” said Medler, “but our purpose, our function, is very different.” With the program just getting off the ground, there is still a lot to be figured out, but Thistle and Medler are confident the council will succeed and make a difference. “This council is going to address a big need for millennials in our community,” Medler said, “and, hopefully, help them become the next wave of Tucson’s leaders.”


Tucson Metro Chamber Event Calendar COPPER CACTUS AWARDS Thursday, Oct. 30 Casino Del Sol Resort

5 p.m. Cocktail Reception 6:30 p.m. Dinner & Awards 9 p.m. After Party

The Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards presented by Wells Fargo celebrates our region’s best small businesses – one of the most vital sectors of our community. Fiftytwo businesses and four business leaders in Southern Arizona have been selected as finalists in award categories that include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Best Place to Work, CopperPoint Small Business Leader of the Year, Cox Business Growth, Nextrio Innovation through Technology and the new Tucson Electric Power Charitable Nonprofit Business award. OUTLOOKS LEADERS FOR CHANGE Wednesday, Dec. 3 Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa

7:30 a.m. Registration and Networking 8 to 9 a.m. Presentation 9 to 10 a.m. Speaker Meet & Greet

The Tucson Metro Chamber presents “Navigating Economic Whitewater” with economist and public policy expert Jim Rounds. Learn how data, public policy and community development combine to create budget priorities in cities, counties and at the state level. Get an up-close-and-personal perspective on the dynamics that govern the tug-of-war for funds and doing the people’s work in Arizona. Rounds is senior VP and senior economist with Elliott D. Pollack and Co. in Phoenix. He specializes in preparing economic analyses for both public and private sector organizations, including economic overviews related to the national and state economies. Rounds regularly advises the Arizona Legislature, Gov. Jan Brewer, mayors, city council members, county board members and other public and private leaders in the community. Prior to his current position Rounds served as a senior economist and senior budget analyst with the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee. STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS January 2015 Location to be announced

10 a.m. Business Expo 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Luncheon & Address

The Tucson Metro Chamber hosts Arizona’s new governor, who will deliver the State of the State address detailing the issues affecting not only Southern Arizona, but the entire state. This event attracts more than 800 people. Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expo will be held in conjunction with this event. This large expo provides exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the community. STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS Friday, March 6, 2015 JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa

10 a.m. Multi-Chamber Business Expo 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Luncheon & Address

The Tucson Metro Chamber will host the annual State of the City luncheon where Mayor Jonathan Rothschild addresses more than 1,000 people detailing the goals, planned policies and objectives for Tucson in the coming year. The Multi-Chamber Business Expo will be held in conjunction with this event. This large expo provides exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the community. GOOD MORNING TUCSON Wednesday, April 22, 2015 Location to be announced

7:30 Registration and Networking 8 to 9 a.m. Presentation 9 to 10 a.m. Speaker Meet & Greet

Join the Tucson Metro Chamber for a special event that will inspire individuals and businesses to be great leaders. Bill Graham presents “The Power of Likable Leadership.” This promises to inform and inspire attendees, regardless of company size or industry. Fall 2014 > > > BizTucson 141



Greater Tucson Leadership is an annual class that builds community leaders who are knowledgeable and connected change agents. The 2014 graduates and participants include from left: Front row – Paul Caser-

Cook, Tucson Metro Chamber; Jeffrey Scott, Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR; Anne Rounds, Ronald McDonald House Charities; Jessica Galow, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona; Evan Feldhausen, Beach Fleishman

tano, Pima Association of Governments; Heather Hiscox, Seven Degrees Consulting; Melinda Vollmer, Casino Del Sol; Jerusha Schmalzel, Tucson Symphony Orchestra; Amanda Iverson, Pinnacle Plan Design; Francine Schooling, Tohono O’odham Gaming Entertainment

Second row – Jennifer

Chenault, Lovitt &Touche; Diana Valenzuela, Casa de la Luz Hospice; Jennifer Harris, Long Realty; Jerah Yassine, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities; Debby Shively, University of Arizona Bookstores; Charles Everett, Raytheon Missile Systems

Third row – Brett Rustand,

Crest Insurance Group; Kelly Lensink, Bank of America; Karyn Damschen, Retirement Navigators; Hilary Van Alsburg, Humane Society of Southern Arizona; Matt Landon, Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Fourth row – Patrick Dooley, Sundt; Katie Grogan, Focus HR; Jason

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Not pictured – Marcus Diaz, Casino Del Sol Resort; Sherry Downer, Fennemore Craig; Jaclyn Gutmann, Raytheon Missile Systems; Patricia McDaniel, Casino Del Sol Resort; Nicola Hartmann, San Miguel High School; Eliza Holland, UA Health Network; Allie Jones, Northwestern Mutual; Donna Lewandowski, Arizona State University; Meredith Lipscomb, Junior League of Tucson; Amber Mazzei, American Lung Association; Linda McCollum, Pima County Attorney’s Office; Laura Nagore, Tucson Metro Chamber; Lesah Sesma-Gay, Casino Del Sol Resort; Devin Simmons, Raytheon Missile Systems; Milton Soditch, B/E Aerospace

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GTL Grads Make Measurable Impact By Romi Carrell Wittman People talk about making the community a better place and “giving back” – but the 2014 class of Greater Tucson Leadership made this a measurable reality. Instead of taking on a singular class project, the 37 class members signed a formal agreement to become community leaders. Then they got down to business. At the June graduation ceremony following their 10-month GTL program, the class members reported the results of that commitment – some 1,525 volunteer hours served and nearly $20,000 in contributions to local nonprofits, with a total financial impact of $92,945 in the community. They presented their im-

pact study and detailed their future leadership plans at the sold-out breakfast graduation event called Leaders in Action held at Hacienda Del Sol Resort. Ben Korn, president of the GTL governing board, said, “This is a reflection of the power of the program and the engagement of the individuals and organizations who invest their time and resources to make Tucson a better place for future generations.” GTL’s mission is to inspire, develop and promote leadership, as well as identify leaders who impact the Tucson region. GTL shapes these up-andcoming leaders by connecting them to the tools and resources continued on page 144 >>>

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The vast majority of our graduates lead by example and continue on to do great things for years to come. –

continued from page 142 they need to effect positive, long-lasting community change. Class members, selected through an application process each spring, meet monthly for daylong Issue Days, which involve both classroom and field work. Each day focuses on a different aspect of the community and its challenges, offering different perspectives and viewpoints and challenging participants to go outside their comfort zone to come up with meaningful solutions. Each Issue Day also features professional development activities designed to help participants strengthen their leadership skills. Korn said, “GTL provides a way for people to maximize their ability to make a positive difference because

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Ben Korn, President, Greater Tucson Leadership Governing Board

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they’re knowledgeable and connected. The vast majority of our graduates lead by example and continue on to do great things for years to come.” Founded in 1980, GTL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan leadership organization dedicated to providing leadership education, community development and civic engagement for the greater Tucson community. Since its inception, more than 900 people have graduated from the program. GTL is the only formal, local civic leadership education program in Southern Arizona. In 2012, GTL became a partner program of the Tucson Metro Chamber and moved into the Chamber’s downtown offices. At that time, GTL also took over the annual Man and Woman of the Year and Founders Award event,

which has become GTL’s signature event. Nominations for the 2015 Man and Woman of the Year and Founders Awards will be accepted from Oct. 1 through 22. Tickets go on sale this fall for the Feb. 7 event to be held at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The 2015 GTL class got underway in August with a class retreat. Suzanne McFarlin, GTL’s executive director, said she expects this experience to be life-changing for the class members. “The Class of 2015 launched with enthusiasm,” she said. “Throughout the class, they will become more knowledgeable about the community, better connected and schooled in how to create social force and serve as strong change agents in our community.”


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Chamber Investors Speak Up

Quarles & Brady has been a proud member of the Chamber for the last 32 years. It has been our privilege to have a strong partnership with the Chamber over this time. Since taking the helm at the Chamber, Mike Varney and the entire Board of Directors have revitalized the Chamber, making it a driving force for positive change affecting the business and political landscape in Tucson. The Tucson partners at Q&B greatly appreciate all the hard work and dedication of the entire Chamber staff to make Tucson a more vibrant business community. We are on track and moving in the right direction.

– Craig Kaufman, Office Co-Managing Partner, Quarles & Brady

The Tucson Metro Chamber is relentless in helping support the small business interest in Southern Arizona and Tucson. With so many services and programs offered, you can’t go wrong. You just need to get involved.

–Bruce Seely, Sales Manager, Brady Industries

The Chamber has truly enhanced our efforts in connecting with other members in the community. We have been able to provide a higher quality of services to our clients because of our involvement with the Tucson Metro Chamber.

– Danielle Fowler, Employment Specialist, Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired

The Chamber is extremely important to all. By acknowledging and supporting new members, it not only helps us create new relationships, but helps our Old Pueblo develop a stronger economy – and thus a more attractive city to live in.

– Ed Palma, Business Development Manager, The Jim Click Automotive Team

Being an Ambassador for the Tucson Metro Chamber allows me a great opportunity to get an inside perspective of a new business member and to meet the management staff of these organizations during their company’s ribbon cuttings and one-on-one meetings. It is a wonderful way to connect and welcome a new company to the community.

– Gloria White, New Business Development Director, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

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Government Relations From Herding Cats to Collaboration By Jay Gonzales

Getting divergent government relations groups in the Tucson area headed in the same direction is a challenge comparable to herding cats. Yet accomplishing that coordination is critical for business, the community and even the governments themselves. Since the arrival of Michael Varney as Tucson Metro Chamber president and CEO in 2011, the Chamber has worked to take a leadership role in bringing various government relations entities together to build consensus and drive change in the Tucson community that will benefit businesses and, consequently, the entire Tucson community. “Mike has a philosophy of when business is good, life is good,” said Robert Medler, the Chamber’s VP of government affairs. “We know that a thriving local economy can fix a lot of the problems in our community.” The challenge, then, is in developing a consensus on what comes first, and then how to pull the various factions together to head in the same direction, solve problems and give businesses a chance to make Tucson a better place. Medler said the key to that is action. The Chamber has become involved in a wide range of government relations efforts and, in doing so, has tried to demonstrate that it can help to bring different entities together to face up to tough issues. “I’m a firm believer in action speaks louder than words,” Medler said. “When you see an idea, follow it all the way through. You’re not always going to succeed. But you’ve got to at least try. I think people respect that.” Medler points to the rewrite of Tucson’s Land Use Code as a success story that shows what can happen when factions with varying ideas about what’s good for Tucson come together and 148 BizTucson


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put in the work to reach a consensus. Medler was on the committee that completed the rewrite and he said word has spread that compromise can happen – at a time when the very thought of it seems to be lost in our current political climate. “It was business, developers, neighborhood representatives, architects – a wide spectrum of individuals who always fought over issues in rezoning,” Medler said. “It took four years. It… was…challenging. “But when we had an issue we would figure it out. Sometimes it was something simple. Other times the process was rigorous. When we got to the end, it was a compromise document and everyone for the most part was very happy. You have to sit down and sweat it out and spend the time and the effort because in the end, it’s worth it. But everyone has to buy in at the beginning. With Land Use Code we had that because people were tired of the fight.” One of the ways the Chamber has tried to engage business is to tap one of Tucson’s longtime and most respected government relations executives to lead its Government Affairs Committee. Larry Lucero, senior director of government relations and economic development for UNS Energy Corporation and subsidiary Tucson Electric Power, has run those programs for the utility since 1992. Before arriving at TEP, he was Pima County’s head of economic development. Lucero said the Chamber’s approach has already opened doors that had been pretty well slammed shut for longer than anyone can remember. In addition, it’s becoming an expectation that the Chamber will be deeply involved in government relations matters for the benefit of businesses.

“They have been put on the spot and held a lot more accountable than perhaps the old regime,” Lucero said. “It has gotten the attention of the local governments, particularly the city and the county, and as a result, dialogue has begun. I think we’ve entered a new era – perhaps not yet collaboration, but certainly communication. We want to get to a point where there is collaboration.” And there are plenty of issues to go around where collaboration is going to be needed. Foremost on the Chamber’s plate are this year’s elections; the continuing discussion of changing the Tucson City Charter; approval of the Hudbay, Rosemont project, an issue that the Chamber firmly supports; the pending court decisions to force state government to make up as much as $3 billion in funding for education; and an issue that hits home with everyone in the community – transportation and roads. “The pendulum has swung back toward a more collaborative approach among all the Tucson organizations,” Lucero said. “Tucson still is a very small town quite frankly. I think you can still see there are opportunities to have frank conversations as neighbors and colleagues. And that’s what sets Tucson apart from other communities. “One of the beauties of Tucson is that there is a lot of crossover between folks who are part of TREO, the Chamber, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the DM50 and so on. The advantage of that is that hopefully there is more of an understanding of what everybody’s role is and what everybody is trying to accomplish. I think we’re doing a much better job today.”


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The Tucson Metro Chamber executive team includes from left – Carissa Fairbanks, Communications Director; Jackie Chambers, Member Services & Affinity Director; Michael Varney, President & CEO; Lori Banzhaf, Executive VP; Robert Medler, VP of Government Affairs; Tony Penn, Chairman of the Board. Not pictured – Laura Nagore, VP of Finance & Operations.



Michael Varney President & CEO

Carissa Fairbanks

Lori Banzhaf Executive VP

Government Affairs

Member Services

Special Events

Communications Director

Robert Medler

Jackie Chambers

Events Manager

David Long

Leticia Valenzuela

VP of Government Affairs

Communications & Graphic Design Specialist

Shirley Wilka

Executive Assistant

Finance & Operations

Business Development Business Development & Advertising Director

Edgar Martinez

Member Operations Manager

Valerie Vargas

Operations Administrative Assistant

Business Development Executive

Events Coordinator

Member Services & Accounting Coordinator

VP of Finance & Operations

Marta Balcerak

Tammy Jensen

Jason Cook

Sarah Akers

Laura Nagore

Jill A’Hearn

Government Affairs Coordinator

Member Services & Affinity Director

Carol Gatewood

Member Services Administrative Assistant

Contact us: Call (520) 792-1212 – E-mail Stop by: 465 W. St. Mary’s Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Learn more at: 150 BizTucson


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