__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

SPECIAL REPORT 2020

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TUCSON METRO CHAMBER OUT IN FRONT FOR BUSINESS

Special Report Corporate Sponsor


66 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 67


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

WOMEN WHO LEAD

Amber Smith

President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber

68 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com


BizLEADERSHIP

Tucson Metro Chamber CEO Amber Smith More Collaboration, Better Community By Romi Carrell Wittman When Amber Smith took the reins of the Tucson Metro Chamber in January 2018, her motto was “better together.” Since then, the president and CEO has built on that concept and greatly expanded it, making the Chamber an integral part of the Southern Arizona community, as well as a resource for businesses big and small. “I really wanted to see the Chamber take on a more collaborative role, communitywide,” Smith said. One thing has stood out over the last two years of several changes. “The most significant thing we’ve done is to innovate an organization that had been stagnant for a number of years,” she said. Smith has overseen a great deal of change. Perhaps the most visible was the move from the Chamber’s old headquarters near St. Mary’s Road to a new location on Broadway in the heart of downtown. Though the move was to address some practical issues – the old building was too big for the Chamber’s needs – it also served to signal that the Chamber was headed in new and exciting directions. Under Smith’s leadership, the Chamber has become a proactive force in many areas, including education, workforce development, talent attraction, and advocacy at the city, state and federal levels. “The Chamber has adapted,” said Tim Medcoff, a managing partner at Farhang & Medcoff law firm and chair of the Chamber’s board of directors. “It’s no longer the good old boys network where deals are done in backrooms with a bunch of guys making all www.BizTucson.com

the decisions. Amber is a good reflection of that change.” Medcoff added that it’s important to have a diversity of voices and Smith, with her laser focus on collaboration and connectedness, has helped to get those voices in the room. “Diversity matters,” Medcoff said. “It helps us make better decisions and takes into account the community in which we live.” Amanda Brockman, assistant VP of Cradle to Career, a workforce development partnership with the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, said Smith has helped bring attention to the needs of communities that are often marginalized. “Amber has a microphone and she’s been willing to use it to support programs,” Brockman said. “She’s been extraordinary to work with.” This multifaceted work makes the Chamber extremely valuable to the community. “The Chamber drives objectives that bolster and support our economy. We’re in the process of meeting with city, county and private sector leaders,” Medcoff said. “We ask what the community actually needs.” Smith has had a long career of public service, including working in the office of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain from Arizona in constituent services and as an intergovernmental relations associate for Racy & Associates, a firm that specializes in policy and government affairs. Prior to joining the Chamber, she was the executive director of Metropolitan Pima Alliance for nine years. Not coincidentally, the MPA’s mission is advocacy, education and relationships.

Smith has worked hard to connect with the various chambers serving communities surrounding Tucson so they can be a strong and unified voice for a business community that comprises small mom-and-pop businesses and multinational firms. She also has strengthened ties between the Chamber and Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development engine. Smith has also embraced education, childcare and housing insecurity – all factors that affect economic success. In April, not long after the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey were put in place, the Chamber unveiled Pipeline AZ, a one-stop shop for job seekers to connect with local employers. It’s a statewide initiative based on technology that the Chamber piloted. But perhaps the biggest achievement under Smith’s leadership has been the sense that the Chamber is a resource for everyone. “There was a perception that the Chamber only focused on bigbusiness needs,” she said. “The Chamber had only been communicating to members, not the community at large.” Smith immediately realized this was not what the community needed. “We changed the way we communicate,” she said. “Our goal is to strengthen all of our partnerships so that we can all advocate together.” When asked what the chamber will look like in five years, Smith didn’t hesitate. “I want the Chamber to be known as 100% the resource for business.”

Biz Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 69


BizLEADERSHIP

Q&A with

Tim Medcoff

Diversity, Connection Drive Results By Romi Carrell Wittman

Q. How would you say the Chamber has

evolved over the past two years?

A.

The Chamber today is no longer the good old boys network where deals are done in back rooms. We’ve been very strategic in building a diverse board of directors, and I’m really proud of that. Our board is 50/50 genderwise. Diversity matters. I come from a biracial family and diversity is a big part of who I am. When we have a diverse group of people in the room, we make better decisions. It also takes into account the community in which we live, which is critical because we represent the community.

Q. What are some of the areas the Chamber

is focused on currently?

A.

Obviously, COVID-19 is a huge focus at the moment. But, in general terms, we need to work on our relevance to the business community. There’s a perception that the Chamber focuses on big business and we need to change that. Five to 10 years ago, chambers could rest on their laurels, but we can’t do that today. We need to actively support businesses big and small by connecting them to others and being a catalyst for business growth. Networking opportunities can’t be the only purpose of a chamber.

Tim Medcoff

Chairman of the Board Tucson Metro Chamber Partner, Farhang & Medcoff

70 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Q.

You mentioned COVID-19, which has upended life for virtually everyone. What has the Chamber been doing to help during this crisis?

A. first and put others’ interests ahead of their own and

The Chamber has been a leader. Leaders lead

that’s exactly what the Chamber has done during this crisis. We’ve been connecting clients to certified public accountants, attorneys and other professionals, and we’ve been working hard to share information. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. www.BizTucson.com


Q.

Amber Smith has been at the helm of the Chamber for more than two years now. What’s changed?

A. only business, but also nonprofit organizations and

We’ve been working very hard to collaborate with not

the community at all levels. Our aim is to be a connector and a collaborator. Along those lines, a goal of mine this year is to meet all the local elected officials. While we may not always agree politically, we can work collaboratively to advance our shared interests. We’re fostering relationships that perhaps were broken down before.

Q.

What value does the Chamber bring to Southern Arizona?

A. port our economy. We advocate for our members, we The Chamber drives objectives that bolster and sup-

share knowledge and information, we innovate and pivot when needed to meet the needs of our members to foster a climate where businesses thrive, and our community prospers. We’re positioning the Chamber so it’s financially stable and relevant now and into the future. The Chamber has been around for 123 years and we want to position it for the next 123 years.

When we have a diverse group of people in the room, we make better decisions.

– Tim Medcoff Chairman of the Board, Tucson Metro Chamber Partner, Farhang & Medcoff

Q.

What does leadership look like to you? How does the Chamber lead?

A. with smart people, many of whom think differently

Leaders have a vision. They surround themselves

than themselves. Leaders are willing to make tough decisions, even if it will subject them to criticism, because the tough decision is the right decision. Leaders also listen to their team and pivot when needed. That’s what the Chamber has done and will continue to do. We’re helping people and making a difference. Take the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber is connecting people to resources, while working remotely. I’m proud to be part of an organization that selflessly helps others. Biz www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 71


BizLEADERSHIP

Linda Welter Mayor Regina Romero

Mural by: Victor Ving Lisa Beggs. Rock Martinez contributed his artwork to the letter C Location: 406 N. 6th Ave. On the back wall of Miller’s Surplus.

Tony Penn

COVID-19: Chamber Leads Through Uncertain Times Out in Front for Tucson Businesses By Romi Carrell Wittman When COVID-19 emerged on the world stage, no one was prepared for the developing crisis. In the United States, medical personnel sprang into action while others were issued stay-athome guidelines to prevent the disease‘s spread. While the health crisis enveloped the globe, another threat loomed closer to home. With residents staying away, Tucson restaurants, retail stores and other businesses saw their sales plummet with an uncertain future ahead. 72 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

But Amber Smith, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber, saw a need the Chamber could satisfy. “It’s hard to look past COVID-19 right now,” said Smith. “We immediately became the air traffic controller of information.” In practice, that meant providing an information clearinghouse and a means for people to connect to the business resources they critically needed. ”Within 48 hours, we recognized the need and launched a resource page,” Smith said.

That page, COVID-19 Resources, can be easily found on the Chamber’s website. Linda Welter, CEO of The Caliber Group and a Chamber board member, said, “The minute the COVID-19 crisis hit, leaders around the globe were talking about the potential economic impacts to business, especially small business,” Welter said. “The Chamber jumped in immediately and was instrumental in starting dialogues with key continued on page 74 >>> www.BizTucson.com


Biz www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 73


BizLEADERSHIP continued from page 72 groups to help our community.” Not only did the Chamber put together an easily accessible resource page on its website to assist both individuals and businesses, it also reached out to local government officials to collaborate on best practices before, during and after the pandemic. City of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero worked with Smith and Chamber stakeholders before declaring a local emergency on March 17. Together, they established new measures to preserve public health, while also considering the effects on small business. That communication and collaboration continue. “The Chamber has been very helpful during my time in office, very helpful,” Romero said. While those discussions with the city were happening, Welter said the Chamber began hosting ”Knowledge

at Noon” Zoom events on a daily basis. These meetings covered a variety of subjects with the goal of helping organizations survive the pandemic. Topics covered legal issues, Paycheck Protection Program loans and marketing, among others. “Information is coming at us from all directions and it’s changing almost daily,” Welter said. “Being able to go to a local resource, someone you can pick up the phone and call, has been very meaningful to the community.” The “Knowledge at Noon” events were recorded and are archived for those who missed the live event. Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and former Chamber board member, said, “[We need] to assist small businesses that could be devastated. The Chamber is providing that assistance. It’s hard to find joy in this really terrible

health crisis around the world ... but, I’m fortunate to be part of the solution.” In addition to providing information and connecting various stakeholders, the Chamber maintained a clear focus on jobs. Robert Medler, the Chamber’s VP of state and federal affairs, said the Chamber is looking ahead to the workforce. “We’re helping business adapt to the new normal and to understand the regulatory requirements,” he said. “The other side is economic relief. The amount of people on unemployment nationwide is staggering. We want to help business and people get back on track.” With a long road ahead, the Chamber will remain focused on its core mission: collaboration, connection and advocacy. As Tim Medcoff, chair of the Chamber board, put it: “Being a good community partner is what you do.”

Biz

The Tucson Metro Chamber maintains an extensive list of COVID-19 resources, including pandemic updates, employer resources, webinars, family resources and a jobs board at https://tucsonchamber.org/covid19/

74 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com


Biz www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 75


100% Business in a Post-COVID-19 World Partnerships, Collaboration Will Help Recovery By Romi Carrell Wittman When asked what she would like the Tucson Metro Chamber to be known for, president and CEO Amber Smith didn’t hesitate: “100% business. Business means jobs and economic growth.” An old-fashioned view of a chamber of commerce is of an organization that holds networking events and ribboncuttings. While there’s certainly a place for that at the Tucson Metro Chamber, there is so very much more. The Chamber offers a multitude of services for businesses large and small. Robert Medler, Chamber VP for state and federal affairs, and Michael Guymon, Chamber VP for local community and government affairs, serve as advocates for business in Southern Arizona on issues affecting commerce. “People say they have a ‘right-hand person,’ ” said Smith. “But I have a right-hand person and a left-hand person and I’m so lucky for that.” 76 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

Medler brings 13 years of Chamber experience to the table and is considered an expert in state and federal relationships. Guymon’s focus is all things local, including government relations and workforce development. “I have a vision or ideas or strategies and they implement them all,” Smith said. Medler tracks state legislation as it moves through the legislature, with a particular focus on economic development and fostering a business-friendly climate in Arizona. He summarizes these bills, communicates them with Chamber members and the general community, and provides voting recommendations and guidelines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medler focused on the impacts of the shutdown on business, as well as looking ahead at the eventual economic recovery. “I foresee more emphasis on in-

vestment in healthcare in the future,” Medler said. “What’s the Goldilocks point of having enough supplies on hand to provide care? The system was caught off-guard, though the response nationwide has been amazing.” Medler’s other focus has been economic relief. “With staggering levels of unemployment nationwide, it’s difficult to predict where that figure will really land once we’re in recovery,” he said. “The Chamber’s role will be on the workforce and helping businesses adapt to a new normal. We will help business owners effectively operate their business and get back to hiring people and opening their doors.” Business closures related to COVID-19 undoubtedly will provide less tax revenue to state coffers and create uncertainty for budget creation. Consumer confidence will be a key factor in that equation, moving forward. “We www.BizTucson.com


BizLEADERSHIP

Robert Medler

Michael Guymon

Tucson is a small-business town and small businesses provide cities their shape, texture and taste. For this reason, it’s important that these businesses are supported, especially now, as we recover from this economic crisis. That’s our job. have to get to the point where the average person feels comfortable going out and resuming daily life,” he said. Guymon was equally busy advising local businesses as they navigated the pandemic, as well as with rolling out Pipeline AZ, a statewide jobs resource roughly three years in the making. “Discussions were happening when the pandemic hit, which actually accelerated things,” Guymon said. “We launched a special site around COVID-19.” The website – covid19.pipelineaz.com – contains a huge repository of employment, education and financial resources for those affected by the pandemic. Guymon is actively involved in several other areas as well, including the Talent Taskforce, which looks at strategies to improve workforce skills so that employers can fill jobs with qualified, skilled candidates; the Healthcare Roundtable, which examines talent needs of the healthcare industry; and the Workforce www.BizTucson.com

Amber Smith, President & CEO, Tucson Metro Chamber

Blueprint, which examines what role the Chamber can play in job training programs and education. A significant achievement in this area is the relationship the Chamber has fostered with Pima Community College. “We’ve now become the catalyst to connect PCC with employers,” Smith said. “We feel this can augment the work of Pima County One-Stop, which has been part of this process from the beginning.” The Chamber also serves as a connector with local organizations, including Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Visit Tucson and Sun Corridor Inc., as well as many smaller chambers of commerce serving various municipalities in the region. Smith negated any perceived duplication of effort across these various groups. “There have always been conversations, but now we are coordinating, leveraging and partnering,” Smith said. “Where one group’s efforts end, the

baton is handed off, giving each of us a longer runway instead of ‘staying in our own lane.’ ” The Chamber also was instrumental in forming the Southern Arizona Chamber of Commerce Association, a group of 14 chambers of commerce located across Southern Arizona. The Chamber was the forming body of the organization and Medler serves as its executive director. The alliance promotes best practices and the strengthening of partnerships so that all chambers and the businesses they serve will benefit. “Tucson is a small-business town and small businesses provide cities their shape, texture and taste,” Smith said. “For this reason, it’s important that these businesses are supported, especially now, as we recover from this economic crisis. That’s our job.“

Biz Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 77

Mural by: Joe Pagac Location: The back of Epic Rides, 534 N. Stone Ave.


BizLEADERSHIP

T. VanHook Schuld

Amanda Brockman

Danny Knee

This mural Painted by Joe Pagac – Located The back of Epic Rides, 534 N. Stone Ave., facing Sixth Street

Bridging Business & Nonprofits

Vital Collaboration to Improve Lives By Romi Carrell Wittman People often put nonprofits in a different category from business. One makes money, the other provides much-needed services and relies on fundraising for income. But are they really so different? The Tucson Metro Chamber doesn’t think so. “There is an interconnectedness of the issues,” said Chamber president and CEO Amber Smith. “We’re connecting the dots so people see this, which is a new focus for the Chamber.” In the past, nonprofits were often unintentionally excluded from business 78 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

conversations. As the Chamber pointed out, the goals and needs of for-profit and nonprofit organizations overlap – each is concerned with workforce development, economic prosperity and sustainable wages, as well as the betterment of our communities and Southern Arizona as a whole. Reflecting this critical need for collaboration, nonprofits are represented on the Chamber’s board, which contributes to a diversity of perspectives for more effective, robust solutions that work for all members of the community.

Amanda Brockman, associate VP of Cradle to Career, a cross-sector partnership between business and K-16 education, said the Chamber’s support of nonprofits and, more importantly, the understanding of the connectedness between nonprofits and the business community are critically important. “The Chamber has been very supportive and very vocal in that support, especially last year, thanks to Amber’s extraordinary leadership,” she said. “The Chamber has a platform. It’s able continued on page 80 >>> www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 79


BizLEADERSHIP TUCSON METRO CHAMBER 2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Tim Medcoff Ian McDowell Kelle Maslyn Jill Malick Barbi Reuter Amber Smith TUCSON METRO CHAMBER 2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Grant A. Anderson Robert W. Assenmacher Kathi Beranek Danette Bewley Dr. Eric Cornidez J. Felipe Garcia Stephanie Gillmore Stephanie Healy Paula Register Hecht Ben Korn Mike Levin Wendell Long Edmund Marquez Mitch Pisik Ian Roark Joe Salkowski Lea Standridge Carol Stewart Howard Stewart T. VanHook Schuld Lindsay Welch Linda Welter Dr. Robert C. Robbins – ex-officio

continued from page 78 to vocalize and amplify strategies within the community that individual organizations don’t have.” T. VanHook Schuld serves as CEO for Habitat For Humanity. A longtime Tucsonan, VanHook Schuld has been affiliated with the Chamber for many years, but she said she sees a difference under the current Chamber leadership. “Amber is such a connector,” VanHook Schuld said. “She understands the relationship between workforce development, sustainable wages, housing – all the things that people need in their lives to be self-sustaining and self-reliant.” Smith said job training and other changes now will lead to long-term changes that benefit entire families. “We must provide people the job training and education they need to earn a higher wage,“ Smith said. “That leads to housing sustainability, food security and multigenerational changes.” Earlier this year, VanHook Schuld and Smith traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and representatives of Fannie Mae to discuss the need for more affordable housing across the nation and in Tucson. It was a multi-day marathon of meetings focused on the interaction between housing and job stability. “Amber is the first person we thought of when we went to Washington,” VanHook Schuld said. “She understands all aspects of it.” Danny Knee, executive director of Community Investment Corporation, a nonprofit economic development organization, has worked with the Chamber in the past, but most recently has been working with them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an organization that provides funding for small businesses, Knee knew that his organization’s services would be in high demand as businesses sought resources to stay afloat during the shutdown. “Amber is incredible,” Knee said. “She’s no-nonsense, but also optimistic, and I really appreciate that. We focus on what we can get done, but also within reality.” CIC has been busily helping small businesses obtain micro-loans and raising funds via Tucson Helping Tucson, a weekly live-streaming event spotlighting local events. Visitors to these virtual events are asked to make a small donation for a revolving loan and grant fund to help the city’s local businesses. “Amber has been incredibly supportive,” Knee said. “She lends credibility to what we’re doing. The fact that they’re willing to jump in with something as grassroots as this is great. I’ve worked in the nonprofit world for 20plus years and this isn’t how it’s gone in the past.” Brockman echoed Knee: “Amber has a microphone and she’s been willing to use it to support these programs. She’s been extraordinary to work with.”

Biz

80 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 81


TUCSON METRO CHAMBER HIGH-LEVEL INVESTORS KEYSTONE

Arizona Complete Health Casino Del Sol Resort Caterpillar Surface Mining and Technology Division Desert Diamond Casinos – Sahuarita Diamond Ventures Great Western Bank Hexagon Mining Mortenson Norville Investments Port of Tucson Raytheon Missiles & Defense Tucson Electric Power University of Arizona Business Affairs Walbro Wells Fargo Bank

CHAIRMEN

AAA Landscape AGM Container Controls Alliance Bank of Arizona American Board of Radiology American Family Insurance Arizona Daily Star Arizona Lotus Corp Arizona State University ASARCO Atmosphere Commercial Interiors Bank of America – Commercial Banking Banner-University Medical Center Barker Contracting BBVA Compass BFL Construction BizTucson Magazine Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Burns & McDonnell CAID Industries Caliber Group Canyon Ranch Tucson Carondelet Health Network Casa de la Luz CenturyLink Chase Bank Cigna Citi Commotion Studios CopperPoint Insurance Companies Cox Communications Crest Insurance Group Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR DPR Construction El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort El Rio Health Empire Southwest Encompass Health Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson Film Creations Finley Distributing Flores Concepts Gibson’s Office Solutions Hamstra Heating & Cooling

82 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

HDS Truck Driving Institute Heinfeld Meech & Co. Hensley Beverage Company Holualoa Companies HSL Properties Institute for Better Education Intuit JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Kyte Enterprises La Paloma Academy Long Realty Company Lovitt & Touche’ Meritage Homes Mister Car Wash Modular Mining National Bank of Arizona Nextrio NüPOINT Marketing Paragon Space Development Corporation Pima Community College Pima Federal Credit Union Psomas Quarles & Brady Rancho Sahuarita Realty Executives Tucson Royal Automotive Group Rusing Lopez & Lizardi Scripps Broadcasting – KGUN9 and The CW Tucson Securaplane Technologies SMG - Tucson Convention Center Sonora Behavioral Health Sonora Quest Laboratories of Tucson South32 Southwest Airlines Southwest Gas Summit Funding Sundt Construction Swaim Associates Architects Texas Instruments The Clements Agency The Downtown Dispensary The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa Tucson Airport Authority Tucson Business RadioX Tucson Convention Center – ASM Global Tucson Roadrunners Tucson Federal Credit Union Tucson Local Media Tucson Medical Center U-Haul Moving & Storage at Automall UnitedHealthcare Universal Wallboard Corporation Univision Communications Vantage West Credit Union Visit Tucson

PREMIER

AAG Realty AC Hotel by Marriott Tucson Downtown ADP Afni

Arizona Correctional Industries Center for Neurosciences Chamberlain Group Chasse Building Team Chef Chic Cintas Tucson Circle K CODAC Health, Recovery & Wellness Coyote Creek Development Dave & Buster’s Farhang & Medcoff Focus Hospitality Management GLHN Architects & Engineers Heartland Hospice HomeGoods Tucson Distribution Center Horizon Moving & Logistics HTG Molecular Diagnostics Hudbay Rosemont Copper Hughes Federal Credit Union Kalil Bottling Co. KB Home KE&G Construction Land Advisors Organization Lasertel dba Leonardo Electronics US Lockton Companies Loews Ventana Canyon Resort M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation Madden Media Mesch Clark Rothschild MW Morrissey Construction Nova Insurance Services Old Pueblo Community Services OOROO Auto Paradigm Laboratories O’Rielly Chevrolet Pacific Premier Bank Pain Institute of Southern Arizona Peter Piper Pizza Pima County Fair Tucson Police Officer’s Association Radiology Ltd. Rain Bird Corporation Republic Services of Arizona Simpleview Southern New Hampshire University Strategy1 Sunbelt Holdings Swire Coca-Cola, USA SynCardia Systems Taylor Street The Lodge at Ventana Canyon Tomlinson Financial Group TruWest Credit Union Tucson Fire Fighters Association, Local 479 Tucson Orthopaedic Institute Tucson Police Officers Association Union Pacific Railroad WaFd Bank Watermark Retirement Communities W.E. O’Neil Construction Company World View Enterprises

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 83


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Women & Diversity in Leadership

Barbi Reuter

Danette Bewley

Supporting and Advancing Women in the Workplace Mural by: Rock Martinez with assistance from artist, Cristina Perez. Location: 440 N. 7th Ave. The west side wall of the Benjamin Plumbing Supply building.

By Romi Carrell Wittman Women lead successful businesses throughout Southern Arizona and women account for 47% of the U.S. labor force and 52.5% of the college education workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, the top corporate echelons still remain out of reach. The Chamber, with its focus on diversity and inclusion, aims to support women and other underrepresented groups in the workplace. Two Chamber board members explain what that means for our community. Barbi Reuter, President & CEO, Cushman & Wakefield I PICOR

The Chamber is led by a dynamic female CEO who understands the value of having diverse perspectives at the table and who is proud to serve concurrently with Tucson’s first female mayor. Gender is one of many diversity metrics we use in working to establish a board that reflects our community. Today, women make up 48% of the Chamber’s board. Diversity isn’t an initiative, it’s an imperative. Diverse teams and leaders drive higher performance and broad84 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

er, richer results. In addition to equity, when leadership teams and organizations reflect the communities they serve, constituents and stakeholders can better relate and visualize a path. Our Emerging Leaders Council, a forum for rising stars 40 and under, is also supportive of women, with 50% female representation. Mentoring pairs are matched between ELC members and senior people in the Chamber’s ranks. When Amber and I came into Chamber leadership together as CEO and board chair, the unstated community message was one of a current, progressive organization that was far from the ‘boy’s club’ of many years past. I was heartened to hear many personal comments from Chamber staff and members who were optimistic about the energy and results we worked hard together to bring forward for our membership and the broader business community. Danette Bewley, President & CEO, Tucson Airport Authority

Diversity in leadership means there is opportunity for conversations that may not have happened otherwise. There

can be different viewpoints, disciplines, problem-solving approaches and skill sets. It’s acceptable to have differing perspectives and opinions as long as there is respect and dignity. The Chamber promotes equal representation of both men and women in our community and in leadership positions. When I was named the president and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, the Chamber was quick to reach out and make time to meet with me to see how we could best partner with one another. The Chamber has reached out with unique opportunities for both myself and the TAA. This includes the opportunity to sit at the governor’s table at the State of the State luncheon and being asked to serve as a member of the board. There has been open and complete communication between the Chamber and the airport since becoming President/CEO.

Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 85


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Education & Workforce Development

Kelle Maslyn

Ian Roark

Making K-16 a Powerhouse

Mural by: Joe Pagac. Location: The old Catalina Theater building, 2320 N. Campbell Ave.

By Romi Carrell Wittman In its deep commitment to economic development and workforce development, the Chamber has become a champion of K-16 education in the region. Several Chamber board members talked about their focus on the future of education in Southern Arizona. Kelle Maslyn, Director of Community Relations, Arizona State University

The Tucson Metro Chamber has a long history of working with the school districts, Pima Community College and the University of Arizona to make sure businesses are aware of their strengths in meeting workforce needs. The Chamber’s Talent Attraction and Retention Taskforce has been really focused the last few years on uncovering what Tucson needs to keep the talent that graduates from the University of Arizona. We have been working with 86 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

the Eller College of Management and Career Services to understand how students view Tucson and what we need to do to be the community where they want to live. We held a Career Crawl downtown featuring different business sectors so the students could see what careers are available here. Ian Roark, VP, Workforce Development, Pima Community College

The Chamber continues to advocate for a policy environment, specific policies and programs that strengthen K-16 education. The Chamber also serves as the voice of business in metro Tucson – it has tremendous convening power. The Chamber staff members are approachable, and Amber Smith is a great connector. Under her leadership, the Chamber brings education leaders directly into discussions, committees,

and projects related to workforce development, rather than relaying concerns and waiting on action. The Workforce Development Blueprint effort and Pipeline AZ are examples of the level of strategy and connectivity that the Chamber is leading. Through this effort, we will have actionable strategies that maximize the strengths of the workforce development ecosystem partners while eliminating redundancies and communication barriers. Chamber members are on the front lines of challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of Industry 4.0 – automation, cloud computing, mobile technology, AI, the internet of things – on jobs, and changing demographics such as the “birth dearth.” As such, business practices and responses to these things are as diverse as the membership itself. Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 87


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Financial Services

Mitch Pisik

Jill Malick

Connector in Chief During a Crisis

Mural by: Joe Pagac. Location: 119 E Toole Ave. behind Borderlands Brewing

By Romi Carrell Wittman The Chamber’s role as a connector has been critical during the COVID-19 crisis. Chamber staff worked overtime to connect businesses with resources to help them survive and to position themselves for the eventual economic recovery. Two Chamber board members highlighted the Chamber’s role in financial services and crisis response. Jill Malick, VP & Senior Relationship Manager, WaFd Commercial Banking

I’ve worked every day since the Small Business Administration portal opened to take Paycheck Protection Program loans. We’ve been busy putting millions of dollars in the hands of local small business in Southern Arizona. When it comes to financial services, sometimes the hardest thing is to figure out where to start. The Chamber can 88 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

direct the business to the resource that best fits its needs and they can help the business navigate to the best possible resource versus just a Google search. The team at the Chamber is familiar with resources in Southern Arizona to help small business with financial literacy. For example, we have a great partnership with Startup Tucson, a local nonprofit membership hub for local entrepreneurs. The Chamber also refers businesses to other community organizations such as the Small Business Development Center, SCORE and Business Development Finance Corporation. Mitch Pisik, Founder & CEO Pisik Consulting Group

I’m a business consultant and executive coach, and one of my areas of expertise and experience is in turning

around the fortunes of companies and their owners/executives. This pandemic is tragic. It has, though, substantially increased the number of companies reaching out to me and provided me with the opportunity to be of assistance to them. The Chamber is a voice for the business community to the city, county and state and federal governments. The Chamber is the ‘hub of the wheel’ for business owners and managers to garner advice and informational assistance for their businesses. Tucson will never have the employee base that Phoenix has, but Tucson is authentic and has heart, and those are the things small- to medium-size companies look for when relocating. Sometimes companies want to be a big fish in a small pond, and Tucson is perfect for that. Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 89


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Health & Wellness

Kathi Beranek

Edmund Marquez

Connecting People to Resources

Mural by: Joe Pagac Location: The back of Epic Rides, 534 N. Stone Ave.

By Romi Carrell Wittman For the business community, health and wellness means everything from providing health insurance and wellness programs to employees to fostering development of regional healthcare services. No matter what shape they take, health and wellness issues have a strong impact on this region. Two Chamber board members talked about the Chamber’s health and wellness initiatives. Kathi Beranek, Director, Government Relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

With healthcare industries represented on its board of directors, the Chamber has demonstrated that health and wellness are critical components to a successful business environment. The Chamber’s specific focus on workforce development in the healthcare space further underscores these beliefs. It’s important for the Chamber, as a leader in the business community, to ensure the environment for healthcare is favorable and strong so that we can 90 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

respond to the needs of businesses, large and small, and the community as a whole. I’d like to highlight two programs. The Chamber’s Healthcare Roundtable has been very valuable. It provides a forum for convening members of the healthcare industry to focus on emerging issues and do a deep dive on topics of interest. These roundtables feature speakers from various areas of the Tucson business community. The Chamber is constantly assessing the needs of its members and responding accordingly. The quick development of a comprehensive COVID-19 webpage that contained critical information with updates, resources, financial strategies and employer information during the pandemic is a prime example of the Chamber reacting swiftly and finding ways to help the Tucson business community. There is an abundance of information and the site serves as a one-stop shop for available resources during the pandemic.

Edmund Marquez, Agency Principal, Edmund Marquez Allstate Agencies

I enjoy having a seat at the table and a voice when it comes to the direction and representation of the businesses in our community. It’s important we stand together in an  effort to grow our local economy, prosper as a region, and the Tucson Metro Chamber is at the core of that effort.   A great local company that has been innovative is AGM Container Controls. While growing their company, and being our community’s largest Tesla supplier, they have created a program in which they pay for their employees’ continued education. They can attend one of three major universities, and more specifically Pima Community College, which has programs directly related to the engineering AGM does. Workforce development is tied to good jobs, which ultimately leads to good health and wellness in the community. It’s all connected. Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 91


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Helping Businesses Thrive

Howard Stewart

Wendell Long

Robert W. Assenmacher

Joe Salkowski

Carol Stewart

A Strong Voice for Southern Arizona By Romi Carrell Wittman Chambers of commerce are well known for their networking events and ribbon cuttings. But there are myriad ways the Tucson Metro Chamber advocates for, supports and amplifies the needs of businesses throughout the region. Four Chamber board members share their thoughts on the Chamber’s impact on business and our community. Wendell Long, President & CEO ARCpoint Labs of Tucson

The Chamber gives businesses a voice they might not otherwise have – it amplifies their voices. The Chamber has influence where a small, individual business might not. My business is small and we’re the people the Chamber does a good job of looking out for.

Mural by: Joe Pagac. Location: Goodwill location on Fourth Avenue.

Howard Stewart, President & CEO, AGM Container Controls

The Chamber offers business networking events where Chamber members have the opportunity to meet one another to discuss potential business opportunities. In addition, at the time of the Chamber’s annual State of the City event, the Chamber simultaneously runs its annual Chamber Expo, where Chamber members can exhibit their products. The Chamber frequently makes recommendations to our membership, as well as to the public at large, about a particular initiative, based on the given initiative’s potential for helping or hurting the Tucson and/or regional business 92 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

community. In addition, the Chamber maintains a legislative scorecard to help members understand how Southern Arizona lawmakers are voting on issues. The biggest issue facing my business today is COVID-19. Our Chamber is providing great leadership on this issue by helping to convene some of our community’s local leaders on how our city should respond to this global threat on a local level. Likewise, I’m sure that our Chamber will be there when it comes to helping such leaders think through the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of safely reopening our city’s and state’s business community. Robert W. Assenmacher President, CAID Industries

The Chamber provides a united/ common platform for communication on a variety of important small-business topics. It also provides tools that most businesses could not get affordable access to otherwise. The Chamber also advocates for the business community to all levels of government. The Chamber needs to continue to lobby government for pro-business policies to increase investments in the areas of mining, processing plants, energy plants, cement plants, manufacturing plants, etc.   Carol Stewart, Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona

The Chamber has its finger on the pulse of business through a board that represents diverse business perspectives.

As leaders who support innovation and work with companies ranging from tech giants to small startups, we each bring a unique attribute. I like that I can bring my international real-world perspective to a community that is passionate about business and innovation. I was part of an exciting tech innovation boom in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and get to bring the best practice learned here. Joe Salkowski, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Tucson Electric Power and Unisource Energy Services

The Chamber engages with government representatives at the federal, state and local levels to advocate for policies that support the success of local businesses. For Tucson Electric Power, participating in the Chamber helps us build and maintain strong connections to our local business community. This helps us identify opportunities to improve our service to business customers because any issues that affect one small business are likely impacting others. For example, we’re now providing more information on our website about our electric service requirements, including a series of ”Partners in Success” videos that illustrate our safety and engineering standards.

Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 93


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Small Business

Grant Anderson

Felipe Garcia

Visibility That Matters

Mural by: Joe Pagac. Location: Goodwill location on Fourth Avenue.

By Romi Carrell Wittman Though small businesses account for the majority of all business in the United States, it can still be difficult to get their voices heard. The Tucson Metro Chamber has worked hard to ensure that small business is represented and has a voice. Chamber board members offered their perspectives on the Chamber’s work for small business in Southern Arizona. Grant Anderson, President & CEO, Paragon Space Development

The Chamber fosters small business through multiple paths. Networking between the business leaders is key and it also provides services like Issues over Easy, a breakfast meeting with a large range of topics and presenters, and, of course, the State of the City and State of the State luncheons, in which some Chamber members get VIP receptions with the governor and mayor. 94 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

The Chamber also looks out for and promotes good legislation – and sometimes battles bad legislation vis-à-vis the business community. The Chamber also promotes collaboration between businesses and civic entities – from schools to city and county leaders – to make sure small businesses are heard. Paragon has benefited both in visibility with civic leaders and business leaders and having a place at the table to exchange views and highlight issues in government that unnecessarily restrain or restrict business. The Chamber’s initiatives to promote ex-military hiring is great. Their response to the COVID-19 crisis has been superlative in both giving us a voice, as well as providing resources to help business leaders shape the response of their organizations appropriate to our industry and for the special small business considerations.

Felipe Garcia, Executive VP, Visit Tucson

Working with the Chamber has allowed Visit Tucson to partner in ways to make our community stronger – by fostering economic growth in our community. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Chamber served as a convener of different relevant groups in the community. The Chamber was an important liaison between restaurants and local government to facilitate their operations through carry-out and delivery. I have worked with the Chamber for many years, and I am glad to see more attention and focus being given to the diversity of the community. But most important, I am glad to see that diversity is being recognized as an asset to our community.

Biz www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 95


BOARD PERSPECTIVES: Focus on Leadership & Mentorship

Ben Korn

Lindsay Welch

Promoting Leadership Across the Region

Mural by: Ignacio Garcia Location: A Foam and Fabric Place, 246 N. Fourth Ave.

By Romi Carrell Wittman Fostering a healthy business community means grooming the next generation of leaders. The Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council, a group of young professionals under age 40, and Greater Tucson Leadership are at the center of its efforts to educate future leaders on the region’s most pertinent issues. Each program gives its members a voice in local political, economic and social challenges. Chamber board members Lindsay Welch, ELC president, and Ben Korn, a founding ELC chair and GTL graduate, talk about the Chamber’s commitment to Tucson’s future leaders. Lindsay Welch, VP, Corporate Relations, Tech Parks Arizona and President, Emerging Leaders Council

The Emerging Leaders Council is a diverse team of under-40, upwardly mobile young professionals rooted in the Tucson community whose mission 96 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

is to accelerate the growth of Tucson’s business climate along with their own careers. The ELC is comprised of young professionals who are proven top performers representing ‘best in class’ companies across a variety of local organizations, including private, public and nonprofit. Ben Korn, Owner, Safeguard Tucson

I’m extremely proud of the way leaders of tomorrow are developing in the ELC program. Not only does this group of dynamic young professionals learn a great deal from each other, they have guest speakers who provide insight into how Southern Arizona works and how to succeed in our environment. In addition, we developed a mentorship program pairing ELC members with seasoned executives in the community, and the stories of growth and breakthrough have been incredible.

I have engaged with mentors through ELC and also graduated from the GTL program in 2012. GTL hosts an annual leadership class in which class participants expand their knowledge of our region and become strong community leaders.   I believe the exposure to the topics, the leadership of the speakers and mentors, and the class content in GTL have given me perspective and invaluable knowledge about our community. My intent has always been to leverage that knowledge to make Tucson a better place, and I hope my activities and involvement over the last decade are making a positive impact to that end. GTL and ELC have been designed and cultivated to develop future leaders far beyond traditional Chamber functions like networking breakfasts and happy hours. They are focused on making a difference and are energetic about the future.

Biz

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 97


98 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2020

>>>

BizTucson 99


100 BizTucson

<<<

Summer 2020

www.BizTucson.com

Profile for BizTucson Magazine

BizTucson Special Section - Tucson Metro Chamber 2020  

BizTucson Special Section - Tucson Metro Chamber 2020  

Profile for mcserres

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded