BizTucson Spring 2021- The Region's Business Magazine

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SPRING FALL 2012 2021

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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SPECIAL REPORT: Pima JTED Joint Technical Education District 2021 Next Gen Leaders: 20 Rising Stars www.BizTucson.com

SPRING 2021 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 06/30/21



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BizLETTER

As we go to press, it’s been exactly one year since the U.S. declared a national emergency. This global pandemic created one of the most challenging years in modern times. The crisis of COVID-19, along with a severe economic downturn, closed businesses and schools, struggling nonprofits…the list goes on. At the same time, it’s a modern-day miracle that thousands of vaccines arrived at the University of Arizona, Tucson Medical Center, Tucson Convention Center and other locations. There is now a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Miraculously, Tucson has once again shown a spirit of resilience. Nationally, our city has been on the radar as one of the Top 10 US cities best positioned to recover post COVID-19, according to Moody’s Analytics in a recent Forbes article. Rather than putting the brakes on the ongoing facelift going on in Downtown Tucson, builders and developers continued with more than $500 million in construction projects during the pandemic, according to Fletcher McCusker, Chair of the Rio Nuevo Board. In a year that Tucsonans have mostly been confined to their homes, working remotely, with limited opportunities to venture out, Downtown Tucson has undergone a transformation that will surprise – maybe even shock – anyone who hasn’t been keeping tabs. You’ll be astounded by the amount of construction projects in the works, many of them completed in 2020. “We were worried in the pandemic that everything would just dry up, but Tucson is identified now as one of the premier destinations, post-pandemic,” said Rio Nuevo Board Chair Fletcher McCusker. “As a result of that, we’re seeing a lot of inbound interest.” The Tucson Convention Center is undergoing a $65 million renovation, with a newly completed parking garage, plus planned renovations for the Music Hall, Leo Rich Theater, the historic Eckbo Fountains and more. Journalist Jay Gonzales files an in-depth report into our rapidly revitalizing and transforming Downtown Tucson. Lots of apartment homes are coming into the market, two new hotels have been completed, with a couple more on the way, plus luxury lofts and more. These are just the type of amenities that draw more young professionals to the urban core to live, eat, work and play. Not only is our city’s future bright, with a vibrant downtown, we have young 4 BizTucson

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PHOTO BY STEVEN MECKLER

Downtown Rising

stakeholders who serve with unwavering dedication and commitment, striving to take our region to the next level. In this spirit, BizTucson presents the inaugural Next Gen Leaders – 20 Rising Stars To Watch. Journalist Romi Carrell Wittman profiles leaders who are actively engaged in many causes through organizations like Flinn-Brown Fellows, the flagship program of the nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership – plus other organizations including Tucson Young Professionals, Emerging Leaders Council, Greater Tucson Leadership and others. These 20 Next Gen leaders share their vision for our region’s future and how they’ve been able to navigate through the challenges of this past year. And finally, our in-depth Special Report focuses on Pima JTED, the Joint Technical Education District, one of this region’s under-the-radar success stories. You are sure to be inspired by this “national model of tuition-free job training” and the 100,000+ students who say “JTED changed my life.” Exceptional reporting by Tara Kirkpatrick and Rodney Campbell, plus the outstanding creative design and photography by Brent Mathis. Pima JTED’s new 50,000-square-foot campus – the Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges – is definitely a new flagship of our region’s future. The campus is now within range of 52,000 high school students and serves as a lucrative crossroads for career and technical education in Southern Arizona. As we mark our 12th Anniversary of BizTucson Magazine, we are grateful for our loyal readers, the tremendous support of our advertisers and our exceptional editorial team and their high standard of journalism. Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

Spring 2021

Volume 13 No. 1

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Contributing Editors

Donna Kreutz Tara Kirkpatrick Jay Gonzales Elena Acoba Diane Luber Romi Carrell Wittman

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Elena Acoba

Christy Krueger Thomas Leyde Mary Martin Loni Nannini David Pittman Steve Rivera Romi Carrell Wittman

Rodney Campbell Mary Davis Stephen Fleming Jay Gonzales June Hussey Tara Kirkpatrick Donna Kreutz Contributing Photographers

Mariah Alysz Carlos Chavez Kris Hanning Amy Haskell Ron McCoy Photographers Brent G. Mathis

Jesse Montañez Chris Mooney Danny Sax Austin Tepper

BizTucson News Update (Email Newsletter)

Brent G. Mathis Tara Kirkpatrick Member:

American Advertising Federation, Tucson DM-50 Southern Arizona Leadership Council Sun Corridor Inc. Tucson Metro Chamber Visit Tucson

BizTucson Phone: 520.299.1005 Subscription Information:

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

Steve Rosenberg 520.299.1005 or 520.907.1012 steve@BizTucson.com BizTucson is published quarterly by Rosenberg Media, LLC., Tucson, AZ © 2021 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns or articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

POSTMASTER:

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


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BizCONTENTS

t h

ANNIVERSARY EDITION

FEATURES

SPRING 2021 VOLUME 13 NO. 1

COVER STORY:

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DOWNTOWN RISING CONSTRUCTION UPDATE Transforming Downtown Tucson January 8th Memorial ‘Embrace’ Completed

NEXT GEN

DEPARTMENTS

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BizLETTER From the Publisher

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BizAUTO Royal Automotive’s New Showrooms

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BizHONORS Next Gen Leaders for 2021: 20 Rising Stars To Watch Emerging Leaders Council Tucson Young Professionals

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WOMEN WHO LEAD BizEDUCATION Kathy Prather Superintendent & CEO Pima Joint Technical Education District

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BizENTREPRENEUR Sharon Lurtsema Founder & CEO Corporate CARE Solutions

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BizCHARITY Rotary Club of Tucson Commits $250,000 to Pima JTED 16th Annual Gootter Grand Slam

BizCONSTRUCTION 134 New Projects in the Region

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BizPHILANTHROPY 138 Bank of America Donates $1 Million to Pima Community College 140 142

LEADERS

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20 BizHEALTHCARE 146 Vibrant New Mural for Diamond Children’s Medical Center 148

BizPHILANTHROPY United Way Receives Historic $10 Million Gift From MacKenzie Scott

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BizSPACE Paragon Space Development Creating Water Abundance in Space

BizTRIBUTE 152 Lynette Jaramillo BizTRIBUTE 154 Dan Lyons

SPECIAL REPORT 81

BizNETWORKING The New Arizona Sands Club inside Arizona Stadium BizPHILANTHROPY NOVA Home Loans Donates $500,000 to Nonprofits

SPECIAL REPORT 2021

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

PIMA

JTED

JOINT TECHNICAL EDUCATION DISTRICT

A NATIONAL MODEL OF TUITION-FREE JOB TRAINING

ABOUT THE COVER Downtown Rising: Construction Update Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis Historic Courthouse Photo Courtesy Pima County

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Joint Technical Education District: A National Model for Tuition-Free Job Training

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Showrooms Sparkle for Royal Jaguar/Land Rover & Lexus in New Buildings By Steve Rivera 24 BizTucson

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When brothers Neal and Craig Weitman stroll through their Jaguar/Land Rover and Lexus showrooms they feel a freshness, an openness and a design befitting the luxury cars they sell. “Each dealership I go into, I like the way it looks, and I like it way it feels. I’m happy with both,” said Neal, who coowns and operates Royal Automotive Group with Craig. Royal owns the two luxury dealerships. Both showrooms – Lexus on Speedway and Jaguar/Land Rover at the Tucson Auto Mall – were separate projects started at the same time before COVID-19 hit. Jaguar/Land Rover, 4670 N. Circuit Road, was a remodel of a building built in 2004. Lexus of Tucson, 4373 E Speedway, was a complete overhaul of the dealership. All of it was done by a local builder, local architect and local designer. www.BizTucson.com


“It’s important that we did that,” said Craig. “We’re local, so we want to use local.” Each project was completed as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages. But the Royal Automotive Group got through it and the Weitmans were impressed with the results. “It’s exciting for the employees and it’s exciting for the customers,” Neal said. Total construction cost of the two new facilities was approximately $13 million – $10 million at Lexus and $3 million at Jaguar/Land Rover. Royal had no say in the look of the Jaguar/Land Rover building as headquarters mandated the design. “You build it the way they want you to build it,” Neal said. In stepped J.V. Nyman and his local company, Concord General Contractwww.BizTucson.com

ing. The Jaguar/Land Rover showroom was gutted and remodeled, adding space for more vehicles on display. “It was a really fun project,” Nyman said, adding that it was done on time and on budget. “You made something from (a couple of decades ago) look more modern. It also fits the flair of the car they are selling.” “It looks good. It’s a more modern feel, cleaner lines,” Neal said of the 30,850-square-foot facility. “A lot of times when you remodel a place, it

doesn’t mean sales pour in. It doesn’t work like that. You do want your store to look up to date and the amenities to be up to date. It’s a luxury car and you want a nice building. We loved our older building, but it was time.” Jaguar/Land Rover provides a home base for the brothers – they both have offices there – when they are not roaming some of the other Royal Automotive sites. Royal Automotive Group has grown to include Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI and Kia, with seven service centers and two collision centers. “At the end of the day you’re doing it for the customers,” Neal said. “We’re not building a building for us to look at. We’re building it for the customers to enjoy and have a good experience, encontinued on page 26 >>> Spring 2021

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PHOTOS BY BRENT G. MATHIS

BizAUTO


BizAUTO continued from page 25

Craig Weitman Neal Weitman

PHOTOS BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Co-Owners/Operators Royal Automotive Group

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joy the amenities. The building doesn’t sell the car. The people do.” The reviews have been sparkling. “I was impressed,” Nelly Sanchez, a new Lexus owner, said of the new Lexus showroom. “The inside is like a luxury hotel. They even have a great lounge where you can get some peace and quiet instead of the hustle and bustle of downstairs.” The salespeople love it, too. “It’s one of the nicest showrooms I have ever worked in,” said Mark Weiss, who has been at Lexus for more than six years. “I’ve worked in big dealerships in Los Angeles, Denver and Scottsdale and this one is nicer than any of those. In the middle of the pandemic, this was one of the best (selling) years ever. I think a lot of it had to do with the new building.” The new Lexus building is different from many dealerships in Tucson in that it is two stories. It’s 35,375 square feet, about 30 yards west from its original space. It provides for seven to eight times more car displays out front. It’s has a “comfortable modern” feel that’s not opulent but stately. Gone is the darker look and in is a more wideopen, high-ceiling look. “It’s nice and well done – but not over the top,” Neal said of Lexus. “It’s not stuffy. It’s clean and open.” It includes a state-of-the-art cascading wall feature behind the receptionist area, a quiet lounge upstairs and an accommodating waiting area in the service department. And for those with families, it has a play area for the kids. There are white polished porcelain floors throughout the building with ceramic porcelain floors that look like wood in the service area. “It’s easy to maintain,” said Janet Fischer, of Tucson-based Fischer Design Studio. “It allowed for it to be a nice, bright and functional interior.” It has a modern big-screen TV, conference rooms and a training center, a quiet lounge, a service lounge and a 25bay service garage. “We just needed it to be bigger than the older one,” Neal said. “We had outgrown it. We wanted to make this one space we now have useful.”

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BizHONORS

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RISING STARS

Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders By Romi Carrell Wittman BizTucson Magazine is proud to announce our inaugural list of Next Gen Leaders – Rising Stars to Watch. Despite a pandemic that has tested and challenged this region, here is a group of young leaders and visionaries who are looking to the 21st century and beyond. They are tirelessly advo-

cating for Southern Arizona and working toward a prosperous future. BizTucson’s NextGen Leaders: Rising Stars to Watch will now be an annual recognition featured in our quarterly publication, online and in our bi-weekly newsletter. continued on page 32 >>>

NEXT GEN www.BizTucson.com

LEADERS

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BizHONORS CRYSTAL ADAMS

SENIOR DIRECTOR, MBA INNOVATION AND STUDENT EXPERIENCE ELLER COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS Crystal Adams graduated in 2014 with her MBA from the UArizona Eller College of Management and earned a master’s degree in human relations from Northern Arizona University in 2016. In addition to her job as senior director at Eller, she has taught business communications and management courses at the college. PHOTO BY KRIS HANNING

A Tucson native, Adams is an active and highly engaged leader. She is president of Tucson Young Professionals and serves on the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council. She also sits on the UArizona Health Sciences Tucson Community Council. “Workforce development is a key component of making Tucson better,” Adams said. “Attracting, developing, and retaining talent is the cornerstone of this. However, we also need great jobs and career advancement for this talent to take advantage of. These two things go hand in hand and I see Tucson headed in this direction. I am excited to see a vibrant future with young talent thriving.”

NICOLE BARRAZA

DIRECTOR OF GOVERNANCE AND OUTREACH SOUTHERN ARIZONA LEADERSHIP COUNCIL 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW Born in Tucson and growing up in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, Nicole Barraza attended Salpointe Catholic High School and received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College. She earned her master’s and doctorate from Stanford University in sociolinguistics and peninsular literature. Barraza taught at Pima Community College and UArizona in the Critical Lamguages Program. PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Barraza serves as the director of governance and outreach at the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, a public policy organization that works to improve the economic climate and quality of life in Tucson and Arizona. Barraza is passionate about civic engagement, public service and good governance. She was part of the inaugural class of the Civic & Political Leadership Academy, a program of the Rothschild Fund for Civic Innovation. She was selected as a 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow by the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation. Speaking of Tucson and her vision of its future, Barraza said, “I see greater Tucson and Southern Arizona leveraging its geopolitical location, resources, its melting pot of ideas and cultures to become a focal point for commerce and trade with opportunities for all.”

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2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

RISING STARS

JOSHUA BELHUMEUR

MANAGING PARTNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRINK TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

Joshua Belhumeur is the managing partner and creative director at BRINK, a creative group that plans and produces brand strategies, marketing campaigns, social impact initiatives, product innovation, cinematic video and digital experiences. Under his leadership, the Tucson-based company expanded to a second office in Washington, D.C., and has appeared multiple times in the Inc. 5000 list.

PHOTO BY DANNY SAX

Belhumeur is very involved in the community. He is VP of Tucson Young Professionals and advises on talent attraction initiatives with the goal of advocating for Southern Arizona as a place for young creative talent to thrive. He also hosts a monthly lecture series called CreativeMornings. When asked about Tucson’s future and a post-COVID-19 world, Belhumeur said, “I think our region is uniquely positioned to have its creative economy be one of the primary economic drivers alongside the other usual key industries we talk about.” He added that he believes bold investments in elevating and promoting local arts and culture will be a major factor in the city’s success. “If we are seen as one of the coolest places to live by the innovators and visionaries of the world, everything else will fall into place so long as we get out of their way.”

GABRIELA CERVANTES

MARKETING SPECIALIST SNELL & WILMER EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, GREATER TUCSON LEADERSHIP ALUMNI OF THE YEAR

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Since moving to Tucson in 1998, Gabriela Cervantes has devoted herself to improving the community. She’s an active board member at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona, the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and Tu Nidito. She has helped the Humane Society’s Capital Campaign, United Way’s Young Leaders Society, Tucson Medical Center’s Gala and Rock ‘n Rodeo, and the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball. Cervantes is a marketing specialist at Snell & Wilmer, where she helps attorneys with business development and assists in the firm’s many diversity programs. She received her MBA from the University of Arizona in 2010 and completed the Greater Tucson Leadership program, as well as its first Civic & Political Leadership Academy. She has been a member of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council, Tucson Young Professionals and Public Relations Society of America. “Tucson’s future will be bright as long as its leaders take innovative and bold approaches to its problems, including education and economic issues,” Cervantes said.

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BizHONORS FELINA CORDOVA-MARKS

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AMERICAN PSYCHOSOCIAL ONCOLOGY SOCIETY SCHOLAR FOUNDER OF INDIGENOUS VOLUNTEERS AND TUCSON VOLUNTEERS CHAIR, HOPI EDUCATION AND ENDOWMENT FUND BOARD

PHOTO BY JESSE MONTAÑEZ

Felina Cordova-Marks, currently an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, was a postdoctoral fellow with the UArizona Cancer Center, focusing on the science of cancer health disparities. She has a doctorate in public health from the College of Public Health at the UArizona. Her research focus was on caregiving and its, is on caregiving and its impacts on caregivers and their families, particularly for American Indian caregivers and for cancer patients. Throughout her academic career, Cordova-Marks has emphasized both the science of public health and the need for active community engagement. She regularly presents to communities and organizations about her research with 10 invited presentations over the last year, and has an active publication record with 13 articles, including seven as first author, published in the last five years. As the 2015 president of the UArizona American Indian and Indigenous Health Alliance, she created the Dr. Fileberto Lopez Scholarship for native university students majoring in the health sciences. She was recognized as Tucson’s Woman of the Year-40 Under 40.

STEVEN DUDLEY

DIRECTOR ARIZONA POISON AND DRUG INFORMATION CENTER UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF PHARMACY VOLUNTEER: PIMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT PHARMACY TASK FORCE

PHOTO BY JESSE MONTAÑEZ

Steven Dudley is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. He directs the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, which is helping county and state health departments answer COVID-related calls and to provide the information Arizonans need regarding the disease, testing, treatment and vaccination. Dudley is a board-certified clinical toxicologist. After graduating from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in 2015, he completed a toxicology fellowship with the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center in 2017, then became the youngest director in the center’s history. He has also been recognized as a 40 Under 40 honoree for his outstanding commitment to raising awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. “Tucson’s future looks bright!” Dudley said. “I think the same recipe for success in this country applies for Tucson and that is to embrace our diversity and perspectives and use that to create a better world for all.”

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2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

RISING STARS

ISAAC FIGUEROA

DIRECTOR OF LEASING AND SALES LARSEN BAKER TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL GREATER TUCSON LEADERSHIP

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Isaac Figueroa contributes his time to several community organizations in addition to his career in real estate. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, he became a residential agent, then entered commercial real estate as a broker. He is the director of leasing and sales at Larsen Baker. Figueroa is involved with the Urban Land Institute, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council and Tucson Young Professionals. He was a 2017 graduate of Greater Tucson Leadership, an honorary commander for the 357th Fighter Squadron for the U.S. Air Force, an active member of Centurions and sits on several nonprofit boards, including Children’s Museum Tucson, Downtown Tucson Partnership, GTL and Imago Dei Middle School. Figueroa was awarded the 40 under 40 Man of the Year honor in 2018 by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Arizona Daily Star. “As a real estate developer, I want to focus on sustainable development that not only enhances our experience and enjoyment, but also helps maintain responsible stewardship of our native landscape,” he said. “I also want to continue our efforts toward breaking the cycle of poverty and assuring that everyone has equitable access to basic human needs such as education, clothing and housing.”

SEAN GOSLAR

REGIONAL PROGRAM MANAGER CHICANOS POR LA CAUSA 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

Sean Goslar is the regional program manager for immigration services at Chicanos Por La Causa. Goslar previously worked as a congressional caseworker for several U.S. representatives from Arizona: Raul Grijalva, Gabrielle Giffords and Ron Barber. He also coordinated immigration services at Catholic Community Services.

PHOTO BY MARIAH ALYSZ

Goslar is a 2020 Flinn-Brown fellow and a member of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council. He is in the 2021 cohort of Greater Tucson Leadership’s Civic & Political Leadership Academy, in partnership with the Rothschild Fund for Civic Innovation, and the Nonprofit and Public Sector Team for Tucson Young Professionals. Born in Tucson, he moved with his family to Guadalajara, Mexico when he was 9 years old. He returned to the United States to finish high school and graduate from the University of Arizona. Goslar said the COVID-19 pandemic has made him re-think how he interacts with clients. “While the entire world turned to video-sharing services online, we knew that for many of our clients, it was not feasible for them to meet this way,” he said. “We built ‘virtual’ offices where clients could come into the office through their own entrance and sit in a separate office room with a computer where we were ready to greet them on a video.”

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2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

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RISING STARS

KASEY HILL

CEO GREATER TUCSON LEADERSHIP

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Kasey Hill serves as the CEO of Greater Tucson Leadership and is a graduate of two community leadership programs. She’s a member of Women at the Top and currently serves as the Casa de la Luz Foundation’s board president. In addition, she serves on the Leadership Council for the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation and on the board of directors for the national Association of Leadership Programs. She is a 2020 recipient of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber’s 40 Under 40 awards. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Kentucky University and is a Gallup-certified strengths coach. She has also received certification as a travel marketing professional from the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College in Dahlonega, Ga., and graduated from the University of Kentucky Institute for Economic Development. Hill, who has lived in Tucson for five years, said collaboration is the key to a successful future for the region. “I would like to see more public-private partnerships and cooperation across sectors to solve some of the large-scale issues that exist in this region,” she said. “I believe this kind of collaboration allows for more innovation and opportunities to build a thriving, diverse economy.”

ASHLEY HULLINGER

RESEARCH ANALYST UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH CENTER 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW Ashley Hullinger is a 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow and research analyst at the UArizona Water Resources Research Center. She manages the Water Research and Planning Innovations for Dryland Systems program, which includes several counties in Arizona.

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Hullinger’s work involves developing accessible tools and approaches to understand complex water resource issues and to promote sustainable water management throughout Arizona, especially in rural watersheds. As part of the Arizona Cooperative Extension, she works in communities facing issues that consider the people and history that have contributed to current conditions. Her work has been based primarily in Graham, Greenlee and Gila counties, where she has led scenario planning, geospatial analysis, water supply and demand studies, and process design for effective stakeholder engagement. She holds a UArizona master’s degree in urban planning with a concentration in water resources and bachelor of arts degrees in history and geography from the University of Kansas. Hullinger noted that as difficult as COVID-19 has been, something positive can come from it. “Especially in challenging times, public awareness about the value and interdependence of social, economic and natural systems can grow,” she said. “I seek to innovate the platforms and virtual tools that engage Arizonans to learn about water and participate in decisions that impact sustainable natural resources for future generations.”

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BizHONORS

2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

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RISING STARS

NIKKI LEE

VICE MAYOR, CITY OF TUCSON DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY CAPTURE ENGAGEMENT LEAD RAYTHEON MISSILES & DEFENSE U.S. AIR FORCE VETERAN 2018 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW Nikki Lee followed in her family’s footsteps and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 17, allowing her to combine her passion for technology and the opportunity to serve her country. She has since helped lead Tucson in numerous ways.

PHOTO BY AMY HASKELL

Raised in a small Illinois town, Lee grew up in a working-class family. Her father was a miner and preacher and her mother owned and operated a small business. After her military service, she used the GI bill to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA in IT management, with honors. Lee has worked in the cybersecurity and technology sector for 20 years and is a STEM professional in the aerospace and defense industry. She has served as Tucson City Councilwoman for Ward 4 since 2019. “Tucson provides the perfect landscape for new business ventures and job opportunities that hone every strength of our diverse population,” said Lee. “My vision for Tucson is a diversified economy where everyone has a shot. With more industry and career choices, everyone can work, live and feel safe while enjoying our beautiful city.”

BRENDAN LYONS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LOOK! SAVE A LIFE 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL

PHOTO BY CARLOS CHAVEZ

Brendan Lyons holds a master’s degree in public administration, focused on collaborative governance, from the University of Arizona. As a firefighter responding to what he considered far too many vehicle crashes, Lyons became concerned about distracted driving. In 2009, he launched the nonprofit LOOK! Save A Life to create awareness. A year later, he became a victim of the very problem he fought. During his recovery, he continued to work with local and state politicians to get tougher laws against distracted driving passed. With overwhelming bipartisan support, in 2019 Gov. Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s Hands-Free, Distracted-Driving Law. Lyons is a 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow, a member of Tucson Young Professionals and a member of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council. “My vision for Southern Arizona is one where we bring back jobs and support public/private partnerships that contribute to our economy,” Lyons said. “My vision includes improving a quality education that paves the way for Southern Arizona to thrive. My vision supports our public safety, where we need to do a better job of protecting those who protect us. And lastly, my vision for Southern Arizona is to improve our roads and build up our infrastructure with Arizona’s future in mind.”

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BizHONORS

2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

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RISING STARS

YVETTE-MARIE MARGAILLAN CEO AND CLINICAL DIRECTOR ABA CONSULTING GROUP CO-FOUNDER, TUCSON TEA COMPANY 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW

Yvette-Marie Margaillan is the founder and CEO of ABA Consulting Group and Tucson Tea Company. ABA Consulting Group, which includes Autism Pediatrics, is a private medical practice specializing in therapy for children with autism and developmental disorders, and strategic technology and business consulting for healthcare companies, including employee training and professional development. In January 2021, Margaillan and her husband, Eddie Diaz, founded Tucson Tea Company, a loose-leaf, micro-blend tea company focused on promoting health and wellness and building partnerships among Arizona growers and artisans. She serves on the board of the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, is a member of Women at the Top and is an advocate for STEM, entrepreneurship, early childhood education and financial literacy causes. She has also been recognized as a 40 Under 40 honoree. Margaillan was recently elected curator for the Global Shapers Tucson hub. Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers community is a network of inspiring adults under 30 years old who work at the direction of global leaders to address local, regional and global challenges. She is working toward making an impact in a post-COVID-19 world by developing financial literacy models to address income inequality and help poor communities break the cycle of poverty through entrepreneurship and investments.

STEFANIE MURPHY ATF COMPLIANCE ADVISOR RAYTHEON MISSILES & DEFENSE 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL

Stefanie Murphy is an ATF compliance adviser in Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s office of general counsel.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYTHEON

Murphy joined Raytheon in 2018 as a global trade licensing analyst. Before joining Raytheon, she worked for Maricopa County Supervisor Denny Barney as the deputy administrator for District 1. She also held positions in Arizona government, including director of constituent services in the Governor’s Office and board administrator to the Arizona State Liquor Board. Murphy studied business administration and received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and an MBA from Western International University. When asked about her vision for Southern Arizona, she said, “I’d love to see Tucson continue to welcome and expand business opportunities, particularly in my neighborhood of Menlo Park, while preserving our culture, history and uniqueness.”

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BizHONORS

2021 Tucson’s Next Generation of Leaders

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LIZ POCOCK

CEO STARTUP TUCSON TENWEST IMPACT FESTIVAL

PHOTO BY JESSE MONTAÑEZ

Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson and the TENWEST Impact Festival, has a decade of experience in economic development, community building and nonprofit management. Pocock has led Startup Tucson to serve 2,500 entrepreneurs a year and grew TENWEST to 14,000 attendees. She has led the organization to secure local, state and federal grant funding and earn national recognition for its work to support regional entrepreneurship and innovation. Pocock received her law degree from the University of Arizona and taught as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the UArizona Eller College of Management. Before joining Startup Tucson, Pocock was an attorney for the National Law Center. Pocock serves on the Tucson Convention Center Commission and the boards of Sister Jose’s Women’s Center and Downtown Tucson Partnership. She chairs the Tucson Innovation Partnership. Pocock was a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree and received the 2020 Women of Influence Rising Star Award. “At Startup Tucson, we are evolving with the changing needs of our community’s current and future entrepreneurs to help them develop resilience in their business models,” she said.

ISAAC ROTHSCHILD

ATTORNEY MESCH CLARK ROTHSCHILD FOUNDER, TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR, TUCSON JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER Isaac Rothschild is a shareholder who practices in the bankruptcy section of Mesch Clark Rothschild. Since joining MCR in 2009, Rothschild has been active in the firm’s bankruptcy section as co-counsel in some of the largest reorganization cases in Arizona, and has represented trustees, secured insurance companies and local banks in Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and collection actions. His practice also focuses on asset protection planning and pre-bankruptcy planning. PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Rothschild is active in several nonprofits, including serving as chair of the Arts for All board and the immediate past chair of the Tucson Jewish Community Center. He was one of four founders of the Tucson Jazz Festival. He has served on the executive committee for the bankruptcy section of the State Bar of Arizona and currently serves as a Ninth Circuit lawyer representative. Rothschild has been recognized for his pro bono work and his service to the community. Rothschild said education, arts and culture are critical for the future. He wants to see “a community that uses its resources to create and support opportunities for children, individuals, businesses and institutions to pursue their goals and constantly striving to improve our education system and arts and culture activities,” he said.

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BizHONORS ERIC SMITH

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UA CENTER FOR INNOVATION EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL Eric Smith brings almost a decade of technology commercialization experience and a passion for entrepreneurship to his executive director’s role at the University of Arizona Center for Innovation. Smith came from his job as commercialization network manager for Tech Launch Arizona, the UArizona’s office responsible for moving university research and technological innovation into the marketplace. While at TLA, he managed a consultant network of domain experts and business leaders who advise on the commercial relevance of innovations as they are prepared for the market. He also managed TLA’s National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps site grant program, which teaches inventing teams how and when to create a startup. Smith is himself a successful entrepreneur after he started, developed and sold his first company and then embarked on a career in various technology startups. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from UArizona. “We have experienced our fair share of problems since the pandemic began,” Smith said. “Through it all, we have found ways to pivot our lives, businesses and social interactions, and some of the solutions we have created can exist in a post-COVID world. My goal is to take some of the efficiencies we discovered as a society over the past year and find ways to best implement them when it is safe for us to come together again.”

DEVON UNDERWOOD FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL THE TALENT STORE TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TUCSON METRO CHAMBER

Devon Underwood is the founder and principal at The Talent Store, a recruiting services and talent strategy firm, and also serves on the executive committee for Tucson Young Professionals and the board of the Tucson Metro Chamber. She has provided executive search, recruiting and talent acquisition strategy consulting for clients in 40-plus states for 15 years. “Tucson has such an incredible opportunity in front of it to lead in inclusion, innovation and placemaking,” Underwood said. “We are the right size to take smart risks, move more quickly than larger cities, get new and innovative voices at our tables. This is a beautiful place that makes you want to step outside and look up. We are on our way to attracting the talent that will carry us forward. The status quo will not get us there.”

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LINDSAY WELCH

VP, CORPORATE RELATIONS TECH PARKS ARIZONA EMERGING LEADERS COUNCIL

Welch has impressive experience and a profound portfolio of volunteer positions across the region. Welch’s leadership positions include immediate past president of the Tucson Metro Chamber Emerging Leaders Council, former board director for the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce and board director for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Welch has been recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 of Tucson for demonstrating leadership and endorsed problem-solving skills. She was named the Woman of Influence Outstanding Entrepreneur in 2018 and is a Greater Tucson Leadership alumna. She is a member of Angel Charity for Children, Social Venture Partners Tucson, Commercial Real Estate Women Network, Arizona Association for Economic Development and several other organizations. Her position at Tech Parks Arizona complements Welch’s natural ability to network while tactically scaling business growth opportunities for the benefit of our region. When asked about a post-COVID-19 world, Welch said, “Intentionality is an essential aspect to working through a post-COVID future. I have learned to be flexible and adapt my work environment to be more remote, attend mostly virtual meetings, and now much of my interactions have become less tangible. Relevance, personalization and creativity are key factors in evolving in a post-COVID business world.”

ZACH YENTZER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TUCSON YOUNG PROFESSIONALS 2020 FLINN-BROWN FELLOW

Zach Yentzer has intentionally focused his work on the intersection of neighborhood and housing policy, as well as workforce and economic development, to shape an inclusive, innovative future for Tucson.

PHOTO BY CARLOS CHAVEZ

Yentzer serves as the executive director of Tucson Young Professionals and serves on the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Talent Taskforce. He’s also the president of the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association, is a member of the Barrio Neighborhood Coalition and serves on the Downtown Tucson Partnership board as a director of its Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council. Yentzer hosts the daily talk show “Tipping Point” on 1030 KVOI-AM The Voice, and was named the 2019 40 Under 40 Man of the Year. “My vision for Tucson and Southern Arizona: a forward-thinking and innovative community that is the space and health technologies hub of the Southwest, building on its history and culture to create broad-based opportunity and prosperity,” Yentzer said.

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BizLEADERSHIP

Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council An Incubator of Young Talent By Romi Carrell Wittman If you think of a Chamber of Commerce, your mind may jump somewhere to the mid-1960s and a room full of old men making decisions over lunch and cigars. That couldn’t be farther from the truth for the Tucson Metro Chamber, which is actively pushing those old-fashioned notions aside by embracing and mentoring the region’s young leaders. Established in 2014 by Ben Korn of Safeguard, Melissa Dulaney-Moule of Tucson Electric Power and Whitney Thistle of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, the Emerging Leaders Council is a diverse group of young (under-40) professionals who are proven leaders in their fields. With incredibly diverse backgrounds, members of the ELC represent private, public and nonprofit organizations. Tucson Metro Chamber CEO Amber Smith said, “As a 125-year-old organization, the Chamber fights against the notion that it is antiquated and out of touch. ELC is just one aspect of our organization that reflects that this is not your grandfather’s Chamber.” ELC members are selected through a competitive process that focuses on professional experience as well as “extracurriculars” in the community. “Some are CEO founders of their own company while others are executives within

their respective field,” Smith said. Each ELC member is paired with an accomplished senior executive and member of the Chamber. They meet frequently and provide input to the Chamber’s board of directors. Crystal Adams, senior director of Eller MBA Innovation and Student Experience at the University of Arizona, serves on the ELC and said the organization is vital in creating a pipeline of future leaders for the region. “ELC recognizes our potential as future leaders and provides us with a forum to support the Chamber,” she said. “The ELC and the Metro Chamber support our continued journey to grow as leaders through learning about Tucson, exploring current issues, joining and contributing on Chamber committees, and being mentored by Chamber members.” The focus on mentorship sets ELC apart from other professional organizations. Where those focus on development and growth, only the ELC has a formal mentorship program in place to nurture and foster emerging leaders. The ELC also places a strong emphasis on building a culture of civic awareness and activism as it pertains to the region’s political and economic climate. “Many of the Council members advocate on behalf of the Chamber and are proactive within the organization,

ensuring that the Chamber engages leaders of all generations for our own sustainability,” Smith said. Diana Charbonneau, development coordinator of IMPACT of Southern Arizona, serves as the ELC’s communications chair. She said being a part of the ELC is an immersive experience that trains young leaders to excel in all areas and represents an investment that benefits the entire community. “Not only do we meet monthly to deep dive into important local issues, but also receive mentorship from C-Suite level members of the Chamber offering invaluable insight into career paths and professional development opportunities,” Charbonneau said. “I am grateful to be part of this stellar group and connections that the Metro Chamber provides for us reinvesting in the future of our community.” Smith said the ELC is one of the many ways the Chamber is working to keep Tucson competitive in a global economy. “We must create a community prepared for workers and companies of the future,” she said. “If we do not engage those who will be here for generations to come, we cannot expect to create the environment they want and need for their success.”

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Tucson Metro Chamber members who are under age 40 years old and qualify can apply to serve on the Emerging Leaders Council, which meets monthly. For more information, go to tucsonchamber.org/emerging-leaders-council

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Tucson Young Professionals

Cultivating the Region’s Next Generation of Leaders By Romi Carrell Wittman Connection. Professional development. Advocacy. These items are at the top of the Tucson Young Professionals list of goals. Formed in 2007 as a way to connect young professionals, TYP has grown into a community advocate and change agent. Today, its members, who range in age from 21 to 45 years, total more than 650. Zach Yentzer, executive director of TYP, said the organization fills both a community and professional need. “Tucson has a lot of opportunities for entry-level and senior-leadership positions. That mid-career stage – that’s kind of a doughnut hole,” he said. “TYP has become really focused on being a pipeline for young talent to stay, grow and be a part of the work of creating a community where someone can stay, raise a family and live longterm.” This positionfor advocacy and change is a relatively new one for the organization. Previously, the group focused almost exclusively on fostering an environment that would attract and retain young talent to the region in part through the creation of a vibrant downtown environment, and later on through continued connection and professional development opportunities. “TYP was created in the lead-up to the Great Recession,” Yentzer said. “We saw our friends and peers move away as downtown was boarded up. Jobs were hard to come by.” Yentzer added that, in those years, it was common to see more than 80% of University of Arizona graduates leave the region as soon as their degrees were awarded. Ted Maxwell, president and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership

Council, said TYP has grown into a force in the community. Though separate organizations, TYP and SALC have a long-standing relationship. SALC helped TYP get off the ground at a time when some of the region’s young professionals who were looking to get more active approached SALC. SALC members saw an opportunity to help the region’s future business leaders. “That was the beginning of TYP,” Maxwell said. “Initially, they were hesitant on taking on positions or advocating, but that’s changed. If you want to be impactful in the region, you have be heard.” To that end, TYP is focused on giving the region’s young professionals a voice and helping them to express that voice in a constructive way. It’s a focus that has helped the organization grow exponentially, from 120 members just two years ago to more than 650 today. This growth has necessitated some changes, like the addition of a full-time executive director in 2019 and a part-time program coordinator in 2021. “TYP was completely volunteer-run for about a decade,” Yentzer said. “It’s been really cool to see the growth.” TYP Board President Crystal Adams said one of the biggest organizational changes has been the creation of Teams, smaller groups of TYP members that connect and collaborate regarding specific community issues. These teams include Advocacy, Arts and Culture, Nonprofit and Public Sector, Philanthropy, Professional Development, and READI (Race, Equity, Access, Diversity and Inclusion). In addition, TYP recently launched its mentorship program, which pairs

interested members with mentors from SALC and other community partners. Accepted applicants receive one-onone mentorship with additional networking, professional development and community engagement training. TYP leadership co-chairs the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Talent Taskforce, which was formed to develop and promote effective strategies for attracting and retaining talent in Tucson. TYP is a core partner of Remote Tucson, an initiative spearheaded by Startup Tucson to attract and provide assistance to remote workers looking to relocate. These individuals bring their skills to Tucson while working, without taking Tucson jobs. The organization is expecting a busy 2021. On the advocacy front, TYP has identified education, economic growth and infrastructure as key issues. A mentorship program launches in the spring of 2021, along with a focus on developing and placing young leaders on local nonprofit and public-sector boards and commissions. Another strategic initiative is supporting the work of teams in organically improving core areas of the community with a goal of expanding job and economic opportunities in the region. “We want to keep the DNA of Tucson, but in a way where everyone can grow and benefit,” Yentzer said. “We want to maintain sustainability and quality of life while also bringing new businesses, helping existing ones grow and creating broad-based opportunity and prosperity.” Yentzer said it boils down to one simple concept: “You have to ask in the community, ‘How can I help?’ ” Biz

For more information on Tucson Young Professionals’ member benefits and corporate sponsorship opportunities, email TYP Executive Director Zach Yentzer, zach@tucsonyoungprofessionals.com or go to www.tucsonyoungprofessionals.com.

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TRANSFORMING

DOWNTOWN TUCSON $500 Million In Construction Projects By Jay Gonzales In a year that Tucsonans have mostly been confined to their homes, working remotely, with limited opportunities to venture out, Downtown Tucson has undergone a transformation that will surprise – maybe even shock – anyone who hasn’t been keeping tabs. More than $500 million in construction projects were ongoing during the pandemic, said Rio Nuevo District Board Chair Fletcher McCusker. A new hotel and a parking garage have gone up on the Tucson Convention Center grounds. The old La Placita Village has been replaced by a massive, soon-to-beopened residential and retail communi50 BizTucson

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ty. Two large residential/retail projects are in motion in the Mercado District west of Interstate 10. And plans have continued for the city’s first high-rise in 35 years that will change the downtown skyline we’ve come to know. Most downtown construction projects continued without a pause – yet not without angst – as the pandemic severely bruised the economy from top to bottom. But with Tucson ranked by outsiders as one of the U.S. cities best positioned for a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, the builders here kept on building.

“In the long run, we are still very bullish on the downtown Tucson market,” said Omar Mireles, president of HSL Properties and developer of The Flin, a 243-unit residential development on the site where the colorful La Placita Village office complex once stood on the southwest quad of Broadway and Church Avenue. “There are others that are bringing apartment homes into the market downtown,” Mireles acknowledged, “and I think perhaps it will be a little bit slower absorption than we initially anticipated. Given the challenges, we still remain bullish.” www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO COURTESY RIO NUEVO

The Monier

The Flin

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The Flin & One South Church

The Gadsden Company is developing two large, combined residential/commercial projects in the Mercado District. The Monier is a $35 million retail and residential complex directly south of the Mercado San Agustin shopping and dining center, which Gadsden built at Avenida del Convento and Congress Street. With 122 apartments and nearly 13,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, The Monier was slated to open for occupancy at the end of March. continued on page 52 >>> Spring 2021

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IMAGE BY BRENT G. MATHIS

‘Nothing short of Herculean’

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Admittedly, much of the construction underway downtown was beyond the point of no return when the pandemic disruption hit. It wasn’t feasible to just stop, developers said. But still, they were not shy about pressing forward with their projects, anticipating Tucson will remain on the radar for companies looking to relocate here and residents looking for a new lifestyle. “There really was no choice,” Adam Weinstein, president and CEO of The Gadsden Company, said of his decision to continue his two projects. “We had to just plow along and take our lumps.”

IMAGE COURTESY HSL PROPERTIES

Omar Mireles


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continued from page 51 Gadsden has a larger project, The Bautista, which is going up just to the east between Linda Avenue and the Santa Cruz River. The $72 million development is projected to have 253 residential units with 16,500 square feet of retail and restaurants. The project continued during COVID-19, but it is now slated for opening in 2023, about 90 days later than originally scheduled. “It’s a constantly moving series of needles rather than one needle, and getting them all aligned and moving forward is nothing short of Herculean,”

Weinstein said of managing two projects worth more than $100 million. “We always knew that we’d be able to get through it. “I think it was just a matter of how much of a delay this was ultimately going to cause, and making sure that we were in a strong position to be able to cover all of these circumstances and be able to move forward. That’s a big challenge, especially when you’re a small development company and you’re developing more than one product

at any one time.” Builders that received incentives and funding from Rio Nuevo universally credit the tax increment finance district with keeping the momentum going throughout the pandemic. Rio Nuevo provided a combined $4.2 million in funding for The Gadsden Company’s two projects, as well as millions in funding for a number of other projects that are changing the landscape downtown. As residents start visiting downtown again, they’ll see something

The Bautista

The Monier

Adam Weinstein

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More than $500 million in construction projects were ongoing during the pandemic, according to Fletcher McCusker, Board Chair, Rio Nuevo Tax Incrememt Financing District.

Mark Irvin

quite different. “They won’t recognize downtown when they come down,” Mark Irvin, longtime board member of Rio Nuevo, said about the area generally and the Tucson Convention Center specifically. “When people come back, there’s going to be a new hotel. There’s going to be two new garages. Eckbo Fountains are going to be fixed. There’s going to be 18,000 more square feet of meeting rooms. And the entire TCC is going to be upgraded.”

Tucson is ‘one of the premier destinations’

The Tucson Convention Center capital improvements – $65 million worth – also include upgrades to the Music Hall and the Leo Rich Theater. There are upgrades to the meeting rooms and the Exhibition Hall, which will have improved technology to attract meetings and conventions in a new environment brought on by COVID-19 and the various health and safety protocols.

“We were worried in the pandemic that everything would just dry up, but Tucson is identified now as one of the premier destinations, post-pandemic,” McCusker said. “As a result of that, we’re seeing a lot of inbound interest.” Developers Marcel Dabdoub and Ron Schwabe are still in the planning stages of their joint mega-project, the 19-story, 75 E. Broadway project that has yet to break ground. The pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn hasn’t soured them on the idea of adding a high-rise with a 3,000-squarecontinued on page 54 >>>

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

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Eckbo Fountains at Tucson Convention Center

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Fletcher McCusker


BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 53 foot footprint, the largest of any highrises existing downtown. The lot next door to the historic James A. Walsh United States Courthouse has been cleared. At press time, the developers were working on finalizing the financing so they could break ground in June. Swaim Associates is the architect on the project. Sundt Construction is the general contractor. The size of the property was too irresistible to let a global pandemic stop what Schwabe and Dabdoub wanted to build there. They forecast that 75 E. Broadway will be a building that could potentially attract a company that wants to relocate and needs a large space, but doesn’t want to occupy multiple floors in a headquarters. “There’s nothing like it” in Tucson, Dabdoub said. “The most important feature to the community is that we’re offering 3,000-square-foot floor plates of Class A office space, which does not currently exist in Tucson. There are prospective employers that are looking at Tucson. A lot of times they call brokers and ask if there’s any large floorplate office space available and there really isn’t.” “They go to Phoenix,” Schwabe said. “Phoenix has a lot of full, floor-plate kind of marquee buildings that they can just move right into.” Onsite activity as early as June 1

The building is still being designed and has undergone a number of transformations. At one point, it looked like it might be 22 stories, then was reduced

Phil Swaim & Mark Bollard to 14 floors. It is now planned to be 19 – the first two floors for retail space, a parking garage on five floors, four floors of apartments and seven floors of office/commercial space. The 19th floor is planned to include meeting space and a restaurant. Conceivably, someone could live in the building, work in it, shop and eat there, too. At one point, the building was planned to be entirely retail and office space along with the parking garage. When Schwabe and Dabdoub switched financing partners to Boston Asia Capital out of Massachusetts, the building took on its current configuration. “Our firm has been working with Marcel and Ron continuously to develop and modify the scope of that project,” said Mark Bollard, principal at Swaim Associates. “It’s going to move quickly. We have some milestones that we need to meet, and we should see activity on site as early as June 1.” “Boston Asia is very bullish on Tucson and they said, ‘Let’s go big,’ ” said

Principal Phil Swaim. “They think that adding the residential and adding the top-floor experience and things like that is going to make this a much richer building.” The three tallest downtown buildings are clustered within a block of each other on Stone Avenue from Pennington Street to Broadway. That will allow 75 E. Broadway to set its own mark about a block east, changing the skyline often seen in photos commonly shot from “A” Mountain. Its location will make every area of downtown accessible to its future residents, who will find themselves in the heart of activity from the eastern edge of downtown to the western entertainment area anchored by the TCC. The streetcar will also connect it to the Mercado District. The community as a whole

“When you look at the longterm growth that’s going to happen downtown, this is certainly where the new projects are happening – next to AC Hotel, TEP – and then you get this project in there,” Swaim said. “Hopefully, over the next few years we’ll see Ronstadt (Transit Center) developed just to the north of here. You get all of that done and it really does create a strong hub in this area.” With its hand in 75 E. Broadway and the renovations at the TCC, Sundt Construction is continuing its legacy of involvement in a long list of major projects throughout the community. One of its most recent and noticeable major projects was Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, the new hospital on continued on page 56 >>>

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PHOTO & IMAGE BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Doubletree by Hilton at Tucson Convention Center

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Ron Schwabe

Marcel Dabdoub

75 E. Broadway

75 E. Broadway

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J.V. Nyman

Ian McDowell

continued from page 54 the University of Arizona medical campus. “It’s a combination of sometimes being in the right place at the right time and a lot of really hard work,” said Sundt VP Ian McDowell. “I think we’ve all been dedicated to creating a community. We’re out there trying to be helpful, whether it’s to developers or Rio Nuevo or the county or the city. When somebody wants to get something done, they tend to come to us because they know we’ve got a good track record and we’re looking at the community as a whole.” Arguably, the most visible transformation during the pandemic has been at the TCC, where the DoubleTree by Hilton and a new parking garage opened in the east parking lot during the pandemic. Construction was underway when the pandemic hit, and limited activity and traffic around the TCC made for easier access and less disruption. Both the DoubleTree and the garage were designed by Swaim Associates. Ryan Companies U.S. from Minnesota built the hotel. Concord General Contracting and Sundt teamed together to build the parking garage as part of the overall $65 million in work. Both companies had completed prior Rio Nuevo work. Concord was the general contractor on the Tucson Arena renovation two years ago. Sundt built the Caterpillar office building on the west side of the freeway that many have seen as the catalyst for the downtown resurgence. “We figured why not put both our teams together. It was a natural fit,” said Concord President J.V. Nyman. “We have subcontractors that Sundt might not use and Sundt has subs that we may not use. Having two GCs come together makes the pool of subcontractors a lot bigger.” Nyman said the experience with Rio Nuevo on the arena project made it a no-brainer for his company to continue looking for opportunities to be involved in the transformation taking place downtown with Rio Nuevo’s support. “They do their best to set up our teams and the architecture teams for success, and then likewise on our end, we want to perform,” Nyman said, adding that roughly half of the $65 million in work at the TCC is done. “There’s about 30-some million to go, maybe a little more. We’ll be out there hoofing it for another minimum of a year.” More meeting spaces, expanded parking

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With all the work that remains, the area around the TCC is already transformed, said Glenn Grabski, GM of the TCC. “If you come down Church (Avenue) and look at the front of this building, it looks completely different than it did a continued on page 58 >>>


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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 56 year ago,” Grabski said. “The hotel is up. The garage is up. The landscape in front of the box office and the upper plaza area has been redone with lighting and trees and the bricks leveled out. It’s got a completely different curb appeal than before. “I stand out in front and I look toward the cathedral and the hotel going on behind that, I look north at The Flin project. When The Flin is completely finished, Church from Broadway to Cushing (Street) will look completely different, especially on this west side.” While the TCC undoubtedly missed the revenue generated by events that didn’t take place over the last year, work on the muchneeded renovations has been able to go on without much disruption. The older meeting rooms off the north plaza were refurbished with a new look and new technology, including teleconferencing capability for businesses and nonprofits that lack that type of capability in their offices. The restrooms in the meeting spaces got a welcome upgrade. “It’s made things a little easier for people just to not have to worry about event schedules,” Grabski said. “Evcontinued on page 60 >>>

Glenn Grabski GM Tucson Convention Center Kate Breck Calhoun Director of Sales & Marketing Tucson Convention Center

TCC Parking Garage

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PHOTOS & IMAGE BY BRENT G. MATHIS

TCC Refurbished Meeting Room

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 58 ery restroom in this facility needed work and we’ll pretty much get them all.” About 16,000 square feet of meeting space was added near the Exhibition Hall. The ballroom got a “facelift,” Grabski said. The parking garage added nearly 150 spaces to the east of the Tucson Arena with, according to Grabski, better lighting and easier access in and out of the garage than there had been for the parking lot. Upgrades to Music Hall, Leo Rich Theater

More work is ahead at the Music Hall and the Leo Rich Theater, including new seats in the Music Hall. Up the block from the TCC, The Flin has begun pre-leasing as it completes final stages of construction. Like the other projects, there was no turning back when the pandemic hit. Mireles and HSL Properties have not wavered in their belief in downtown and its future. “Downtown development is not for the faint of heart. It’s expensive. It’s

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difficult compared to other projects. It takes longer,” Mireles said. “There’s a lot of nuance to developing in downtown. As we’ve seen things develop over the last 12 months-plus, we have seen and learned that it is manageable.” The challenges at The Flin were as much about the tight quarters at the construction site as the issues brought on by working in the COVID-19 environment, which slowed the project, said Jim Tofel, VP of development for Tofel Dent Construction, the general contractor. The project will have 220,725 square feet in a six-story complex that will have two underground parking garages. Restaurant and retail space will take up about 4,500 square feet. There were several considerations, including preserving historic properties and buildings such as the iconic Plaza de la Mesilla, more commonly known as The Gazebo, on the north, and the Samaniego House at the southeast end. “We knew going in that that was going to be a very difficult project,” Tofel said. “It’s probably the most difficult

construction project in the state right now. It’s a tight footprint and we really pushed the boundaries in terms of packing as much into that footprint as we could. We’re surrounded by historic buildings. And the access to that site is really tough.” ‘Extremely challenging’ project

The former, colorful La Placita shopping and office center that was razed for the project had its fans who said it was a highly visible symbol of Tucson. Others said it didn’t reflect the character and culture of the community. Whatever replaced it was going to play an equally visible role. Tofel said The Flin, a signature project for the company, will fulfill that role. “There’s no question it’s the most difficult project that we’ve ever undertaken as a firm,” Tofel said. “We’ve got a lot of big projects going, but this one is extremely challenging and it’s something that I believe is going to be a huge success. It’s going to be something that we’re going to look at for the rest of our lives, and we’re going to be proud of it.” continued on page 62 >>>

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 60 PHOTOS COURTESY IRIDIUS CAPITAL

Another Church Avenue project continues north from The Flin. The $30 million renovation of the Pima County Historic Courthouse has already seen the iconic dome refurbished inside and out. The north side of the building had been renovated and gained a new second-floor tenant – Visit Tucson. UArizona’s Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum, The Dillinger Courtroom and County Sheriff and County Court Mini-Museum, and some county administration offices were in the final stages of renovation and were to be open in the spring. The outdoor January 8th Memorial to the west was finished in time to mark the 10-year anniversary of the tragic shooting that killed six. ‘No turning back’

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San Carlos Apartments

IMAGE COURTESY HSL PROPERTIES

Pima County Historic Courthouse

PHOTO COURTESY PIMA COUNTY

The pandemic may have affected smaller builders more than larger ones. People like Alex and Stephanie Lee, for whom the margin for error is less than for big builders, found there was no turning back on a project that was underway when the pandemic hit. The Lees were in the throes of a lifetime project, having purchased the San Carlos Apartments from Alex’s family, which had owned it since 1940. The building at 13th Street and Sixth Avenue west of the TCC dates to 1908. The first phase was to renovate 15 of the 30 apartments, which were completed and occupied by August 2019, and the rest of the project was cruising along. They were working on the second 15 apartments when COVID-19 hit and nerves got shattered. “There was no way we could stop because we couldn’t let our guys go. We have an amazing crew,” Alex said. “We had too much money sitting in the thing to not at least get it done so we could hopefully get some rents coming in. It was just too scary.” “We bet the farm,” said Stephanie. With Alex’s ties to a longtime Tucson family, the Lees have an attachment to downtown. They wanted to continue to be a part of the resurgence that clearly didn’t hit the brakes during the pandemic. They have now formed a construction company with the hopes of building a business focused on downcontinued on page 64 >>>

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RendezVous Urban Flats RendezVous Flats, at the center of downtown next to Tucson’s tallest building and across from the Fox Tucson Theatre and the 1929 Chase Bank Tower, is one of the city’s posh new rental communities. RendezVous is a vibrant, five story-framed residential community of 100 units over a 500-car below grade garage. Construction was completed in July 2020.

Rendezvous Urban Flats

The Flin

Jim Tofel

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continued from page 62 town. They purchased a boarding house on Fifth Avenue that will be their next downtown project. They’ve been working on permitting, which involves the Arizona Historical Society. “We hope that that’s kind of a niche for us,” Alex said. “We love the historic buildings downtown.” ‘We’ve kept our foot on the accelerator’

As the community and the world hopefully regain a sense of normalcy, Rio Nuevo’s leaders continue to forge ahead supporting projects. There’s 1 South Church, Tucson’s current tallest high-rise office building that will convert some floors for a hotel. There’s also the historic Sunshine Mile, a mid-20th-century strip of commercial and retail buildings east of downtown along Broadway. “I think the thing that is kind of interesting is while so many other people have their foot on the brake

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pedal, we’ve kept our foot on the accelerator,” said Irvin, the Rio Nuevo board member. “We’re just seeing a lot of people that are looking at downtown from a business perspective.” Tucson has gained national visibility from many high rankings in livability, jobs, workforce talent availability, tourism and more. That likely will continue to keep Tucson on the radar of companies, developers, employees and entrepreneurs, and leaders say, keep growth going. “All of a sudden Tucson is now in the top five of cities to look to postpandemic,” Rio Nuevo’s McCusker said. “We’re seeing a real migration of tech companies and tech workers like Austin and Portland saw. At same time, we’re seeing huge interest from developers that have targeted Tucson’s future. And somehow that became almost like a Pied Piper, and none of us had anything to do with that. The attributes of Tucson all of a sudden became important to a postpandemic population.” Biz

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

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One South Church

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Other Noteworthy Downtown Tucson Projects

BizDOWNTOWN 123 S. Stone Another Peach-Dabdoub partnership will renovate the historic Old Pueblo Club building at 123 S. Stone Ave. to make room for a ground-floor corner restaurant. James Beard award-winner Chris Bianco, who once had restaurants in Tucson, is returning to take over the space. The design will feature outdoor seating that opens to pedestrian walkways and shade structures, which are part of the recently completed Ochoa Streetscape improvements. Completion is expected in 2023.

44 E. Broadway Peach-Dabdoub’s renovation of the former Providence Service headquarters includes penthouse condominiums and 26,120 square feet of office and retail space. Two adjacent buildings under construction as part of the project will add 79,477 square feet of office and retail. The second through fourth levels will be used for parking.

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Other Noteworthy Downtown Tucson Projects

El Presidio Historic District Rio Nuevo is working with the El Presidio neighborhood, businesses and other partnerships to enhance and preserve the district and its history. Included in the vision is a renovation and re-opening of the long-dormant El Presidio Museum Duplex to help celebrate and promote Tucson’s colorful history and multi-cultural community.

Doubletree by Hilton at Cathedral Square Hotel choices in downtown Tucson are expanding as the Hilton brand jumps aboard. Fayth Hospitality Group is constructing a six-story complex that includes a 75-room Hampton Inn and a 123-room extended-stay Home 2 at Stone Avenue and Ochoa Street, just east of Cathedral Square. Construction began in 2019, and opening is scheduled for spring.

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Other Noteworthy Downtown Tucson Projects

The Citizen Hotel

Moniqua Lane, owner of The Downtown Clifton Hotel, plans to open her newest project, The Citizen Hotel, in late spring. She is renovating the 108-year-old original Tucson Citizen newspaper building, 82 S. Stone Ave., into a 10room boutique hotel with wine tasting in the 5,000-squarefoot basement. Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, which currently has a tasting room in Tucson’s warehouse district, will occupy and operate the wine room.

VFW Building

Built in 1948 as Arizona’s largest VFW post, this historic building in the Julian Drew block at 124 E. Broadway is being revitalized as a multi-use development by Ross Rulney. The second floor, which has 17-foot ceilings, will consist of nine loft apartment units and a rooftop deck for residents. Street-level spaces are designed for retail and a restaurant, and offices will occupy the lower level.

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New Outdoor Heaters Light Up Downtown Downtown Tucson Partnership and HSL Properties co-sponsored a new outdoor heater program for downtown businesses this year. DTP announced that 40 visually appealing, glass-tube heaters and an initial propane tank were distributed to 25 downtown businesses to support safe outdoor dining. “We’re happy to support the downtown heater program and hope this will provide greater opportunity for people to enjoy themselves in a safe environment, while experiencing all that Downtown Tucson has to offer,” said Omar Mireles, president of HSL Properties. Added DTP President and CEO Kathleen Eriksen, “The heaters are beautiful and really add a warm, welcoming atmosphere downtown.” Biz

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January 8th Memorial

‘Embrace’ Completed From left

Crystal Kasnoff Ken Dorushka Gabrielle Giffords Ron Barber Pam Simon

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‘A Place of Contemplation & Reflection’ If there was one thing the organizers and the developers of Tucson’s January 8th Memorial knew, it was that they had to get it right. There would be no margin for error despite the challenges of a worldwide pandemic, an unexpected archeologic dig, a mysterious fuel tank, a hard deadline and the emotion of an event that shattered a community. continued on page 77 >>>

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By Jay Gonzales

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PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

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PHOTOS COURTESY PIMA COUNTY

January 8th Memorial ‘Embrace’ Completed

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 75 The memorial, built adjacent to the historic Pima County Courthouse in El Presidio Plaza at 165 W. Alameda St., commemorates one of the most tragic days in the history of Tucson. On Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman killed six people and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, outside a Safeway grocery store on the northwest side. The shooting occurred during a “Congress on Your Corner” event that Giffords was holding at the store at Ina and Oracle roads. “Anytime you build a public project and there are many different people’s opinions – and this was going to be something that was not only for the people who are directly impacted, but for the entire community – there are lots of good ideas about how to do things,” said Crystal Kasnoff, who helped spearhead the effort as executive director of the January 8th Memorial Foundation formed about a year after the shooting. “There were probably some sleepless nights in there,” Kasnoff said. “But it all worked out in the end because I think it’s exactly in the right place – a place where people can come and see democracy in action.” The plaza is surrounded by city and county government buildings – Tucson City Hall on the west, the Pima County Superior Courthouse and Administration Building on the south and the historic courthouse and its iconic and recently renovated dome on the east. Construction took just over a year, after some fits and stops due to the discovery of archeological artifacts on the site, an underground fuel tank that had to be removed and some utility lines that needed to be relocated, said Leigh-Ann Harrison, client services manager for Chasse Building Team, the Phoenixbased general contractor on the project. Jeff Dupuis was the project manager. The construction cost was $3.5 million. There were roughly 34,000 manhours put into the project by the contractor and 18 subcontractors. That does not include the design team made up of Chee Salette Architecture Office of Glendale, Calif., artist Rebeca Mendez, historical researcher Jackie Kain continued on page 78 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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The memorial was funded completely by private citizens and companies. No federal funds or state funds were used for the construction.

– Crystal Kasnoff Executive Board Member January 8th Memorial Foundation

continued from page 77 and AG Licht of Germany, which designed the lighting. The design team was chosen after a national competition. They came up with the theme – “The Embrace”– in a design that includes gardens that capture the personalities of the victims, plus a water feature and soothing lighting for evening visits. The victims’ names are memorialized in the design and first responders are also honored. “The memorial is a place of contemplation and reflection where visitors can honor the victims and survivors of this tragic event who were there to engage in democracy, and the first responders who stopped the violence and saved lives.” That’s how Salette described the memorial on its website. “Symbols telling this story are cut and etched into this collective wall of memories, forming constellations that speak of the people who died, survived and responded on that day, and recall Tucson’s history of resilience.” The foundation raised nearly $3 million, as well as a significant amount of in-kind donations, Kasnoff said. Pima County and the City of Tucson donated the land in a process where the city deeded its portion of the land to Pima County, which then donated it for the memorial. Tucson Electric Power had to relocate some power lines that ran under the nearly one-acre site. “The community just stepped up,” Kasnoff said. “The memorial was funded completely by private citizens and companies. No federal funds or state funds were used for the construction.” The start of construction was delayed when some archeological artifacts were found on the site and had to be recovered. After construction began, the fuel tank was found, 78 BizTucson

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causing another delay. Construction became a race to the finish line – completion in time for the 10th anniversary commemoration. The finishing touches were literally put on in the last 24 hours before the virtual dedication, which only a handful of people attended because of the pandemic. Those included former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, Rev. Joe Fitzgerald, Banner University Medical Center chaplain, and Kasnoff, along with first responders for a presentation of flags. The memorial will open to the public when Pima County determines that COVID-19 protocols make it safe to do so. But although the public couldn’t see the memorial at the dedication, it didn’t mean there was room to maneuver for completion. That it came together in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more remarkable that the dedication could be held with the project finished. “We really believe that if we plan our work, the construction is much easier – and a lot of planning went into this,” Harrison said. “But I didn’t sleep a lot, to be perfectly honest, the last 30 days. This was our reputation. It was not an option” for the project to not be completed on time. With an actual construction start date of Dec. 1, 2019, construction was just over three months in when COVID-19 shut down just about everything. But construction continued and there were more issues – the fuel tank, the power line and also a water line had to be moved. “No one knew that the utilities were there,” Harrison said. “Then you find them and you’re like, ‘How do we adapt and move through it quickly?’ You just have to roll with it.” They did and construction continued, although there were times it seemed like it was at a standstill. The designers continued to have input and make adjustments. COVID-19, as it turned out, was not the biggest challenge the builders faced, Harrison said. “The plans had to be modified and adjusted along the way,” Harrison said. “It’s challenging when you’re working with an artistic designer. The end product is gorgeous and is probably going to win several awards. We definitely got a ton of gray hairs along the way. “COVID obviously was a challenge. We were ridiculously lucky and obviously had a lot of angels watching us.” As a longtime Tucson resident and Giffords’ childhood friend, Kasnoff said she is only now beginning to feel the longterm personal impact. “I feel a sense of accomplishment and relief for everyone who invested their time, energy and emotion in the project,” Kasnoff said. “I am a changed person for it. I think that being able to help facilitate what was important to the people involved in the tragedy was healing for myself. I will forever be changed for the resilience of those people. “Anytime I’m having a bad day, all I have to do is think about my friend Gabby Giffords, because Gabby’s motto is ‘move ahead.’ And so she is, along with the other survivors and victims. The families are the most inspiring people that I have ever met, and I can only strive to be as strong as they are.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

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BizPEOPLE Jill Adams

As VP of marketing at Mister Car Wash, Jill Adams brings 19 years of experience in marketing and communications and has worked with top brands in the restaurant industry. She oversees Mister Car Wash’s marketing communications, marketing technology and the brand’s subscription-based membership program. Before joining Mister Car Wash, Adams served as SVP of marketing at QDOBA Mexican Eats and led their creative, media, loyalty, product development and CRM efforts.

Paul Tees

Commerce Bank of Arizona appointed Paul Tees as Tucson market president and chief credit officer. A Tucson native, Tees has 30 years of experience in the commercial finance and banking industries in Arizona. He has held senior management positions in commercial real estate lending, commercial lending and wealth management. Before joining Commerce Bank, he was the CFO of Kiernan Family Holdings.

Robert S. Pearson Burris & MacOmber has welcomed attorney Robert S. Pearson to the firm. A graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School and the University of Arizona College of Law, Pearson is a Tucson native and civil/business litigator. With jurytrial and arbitration experience, he litigates high-stakes cases in federal and state court in numerous practice areas. Pearson routinely advises companies and individuals on compliance issues and pre-lawsuit disputes. 80 BizTucson

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SPECIAL REPORT 2021

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

PIMA

JTED

JOINT TECHNICAL EDUCATION DISTRICT

A NATIONAL MODEL OF TUITION-FREE JOB TRAINING


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Pima Joint Technical Education District By Tara Kirkpatrick At age 23, Lexi Alaniz owned her car and her home. She now owns a salon. When Cassidy Camp graduated, two construction companies were vying for her heavy machinery skills. Kagan Barber was just nominated to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program as a candidate in career and technical education. These are among the 100,000 success stories of the Pima Joint Technical Education District, a premier Southern Arizona CTE program on its way to becoming a national model for offering students lucrative career pathways with multiple jumping off points for success. In addition to preparing them

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for advanced degrees in 21st-century relevant fields, Pima JTED gives them the credentials for immediate employment in a regional economy eager to hire them. “We change lives,” said Pima JTED Superintendent and CEO Kathy Prather. “We open up a new world of possibility and at the same time, we are able to serve the economic development needs of our community. Our young people leave us with leadership skills in addition to the technical skills to be leaders of the future.” From welding to web design, phlebotomy to precision manufacturing, cosmetology to cybersecurity, Pima JTED offers myriad, free programs to high school students, who can enroll

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BizEDUCATION

online or contact their individual counselors at each designated high school. Pima JTED also serves students who have not earned a diploma or GED and are under the age of 22. Students may attend Pima JTED classes at one of its campuses throughout Pima County, or at one of the satellite locations at all public high schools in Pima County, Santa Cruz Valley, Nogales and in Mammoth San Manuel. There are more than 60 programs available in business arts and design; computers and media; health science; hospitality and human services; industrial technologies; public service; and science and engineering. “It’s very powerful to see how our programs have changed

our students’ lives,” said Greg D’Anna, Pima JTED’s director of public relations. “I have always had a passion for education, but what really got me hooked was seeing our students actually wearing scrubs and performing medical procedures, seeing firefighting students dressed in full gear, spraying water.” Local industries--many who have partnered with Pima JTED – have benefitted immensely from the high-quality graduates. “We must all recognize the value that JTED provides for the future of many different businesses, services and even continued on page 89 >>>

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PHOTOS COURTESY JTED

Readies Students for the 21st Century


Pima JTED’s Economic Impact 160,000+ sq. ft. of career and technical education learning spaces (central campuses)

The 3D Animation and Game Design program offered by Pima JTED is a stellar, groundbreaking digital arts class. Mr. Fuller is an excellent instructor

100+ sections of dual college enrollment

who offers a well-constructed

5,000+ industry certifications & licenses earned (2015-2020 central program completers)

curriculum and helps his stu-

dents achieve extraordinary things. Additionally, he has played a part in bringing the

150+ unique employers (2018 & 2019 central program completers)

latest 3D software and virtual

reality engines into the public

80% placement rate in college career and military (2018 central program completers)

class to any high schooler interested in CGI.

$34 million in estimated annual earnings (2018 central program completers – based on median Tucson income)

– Jesse Ormand Student

$100 million+ annual earnings per cohort (extrapolated central and satellite program completers) $2 billion in estimated annual earnings of JTED completers (extrapolated central and satellite program completers since JTED inception) $3 million/year per cohort in annual tax revenue (extrapolated central and satellite program completers at a normalized 3% income tax)

As a student in the personal

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

eye. I would recommend his

PRECISION MANUFACTURING

assistant caregiver program, I have been able to gain skills and insight into the caregiving field and how it can apply to my future goal of becoming an

obstetrician. The communication and employability skills that I have learned will help me in my future endeavors. – Eve Siame Alumna 2020

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BizEDUCATION

John Dennis

MEDICAL ASSISTANT from left

Alexia Garcia – 17 Alta Vista High School Senior Betzaida Novela-Heras, Instructor Laura Chang – 18 Alta Vista High School Senior

ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGIES Kagan Barber

Pima JTED is an important element in the education and workforce development ecosystem of Southern Arizona.

John Dennis Chair Optics Valley Arizona –

“Pima JTED is an important element in the education and workforce development ecosystem of Southern Arizona,” said Dennis, also president of consulting firm Strategy1 Services. “In spite of the setbacks from COVID-19, many aspects of our economy are experiencing robust growth. JTED students graduate from high school with specific skills to enable them to immediately become contributors to that growth and expansion.” Howard Stewart, president and CEO of AGM Container Controls Inc., said he doesn’t know how his company’s precision machine shop would have survived, let alone thrived, if AGM’s young machinists hadn’t had Pima JTED to support them toward a machining career. “JTED has been a God-send for AGM, continued on page 90 >>> Spring 2021

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PHOTOS COURTESY JTED

Jim Click

continued from page 87 our own personal livelihood,” said Daryl Koeppel, longtime parts and service director for Jim Click Automotive Team. “What kind of negative impact might you encounter should the automotive repair industry be unable to effectively support your transportation needs? The automotive technician of today must be smarter than a brain surgeon. They must be able to keep pace with the technical advancements used to work on automobiles and also keep pace with the ever-changing engineering designs.” Koeppel and Click were instrumental in promoting the need for Pima JTED when it was a ballot initiative in 2006. Koeppel himself was a vocational education student at Palo Verde High School before going to work for the Jim Click Automotive Team, where he has served for 46 years. They have hired hundreds of Pima JTED students over the years. John Dennis chairs Optics Valley Arizona, an Arizona Technology Council committee that supports optics, photonics and astronomy interests throughout the state.


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PHOTOS COURTESY JTED

continued from page 89 in terms of having provided the financial support and training for such students to hit the ground running in this ever-increasingly challenging, technical field.” Added AGM machine shop manager Tim O’Moore: “The caliber of the training provided by JTED to their students is what has enabled AGM’s Precision Machine Shop to grow almost exponentially in the last 10 years.” Mary Darling, CEO of Darling Geomatics, is an ardent supporter of Pima JTED. “As a high tech land surveying company that owns 10 drones, Darling Geomatics is seeking licensed pilots for aerial surveying and mapping, forensic investigations, damage assessments and natural resource mapping,” said Darling. “The JTED drone program is training students for jobs of the future, including jobs that haven’t even been imagined yet.” Pima JTED has cultivated a legacy of innovation and collaboration from the beginning. To this day, it actively seeks out partnerships with local industries to curate the classes offered and solicit instructors from those fields to guide the students. “Almost all of our instructors are from industry, with a passion for what they do and a desire to teach,” said D’Anna. “So we have people who are well-versed in what it takes to succeed in a profession.” Take Lexi Alaniz. Now the owner of Bellazza Salon 2.0, Alaniz first heard about cosmetology classes at Pima JTED as a Sahuarita High School student. In those classes, she found her calling. “I knew this was what I was meant to do,” said Alaniz. “I love it. I love coming into work every day.” “Not many students start their own business at age 17,” she said. “I started off with one goal: I want to do good hair, I want to take classes in education. Then, I wanted to teach, and I wanted to own my own salon and then I wanted to have a salon where everyone was confident in what they were doing.” Alaniz now regularly hires JTED graduates to work in her salon. When Cassidy Camp graduated in 2018, two construction companies were continued on page 92 >>> 90 BizTucson

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Howard Stewart

Mary Darling

Lexi Alaniz

CULINARY ARTS Victoria Valenzuela – 17 Sunnyside High School

HEAVY EQUIPMENT Greg D’Anna


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New Pharmacy Technician Program to Launch A new pharmacy technician program is planned to launch this fall at Pima JTED, strengthening its already robust healthcare training. In the new program, students will learn how to prepare and provide medications and assist patients, help manage pharmacy clinical and business operations as part of a team, the principles of pharmacology and pharmaceutics, drug identification, lab procedures, prescription interpretations and many other skills. “We started to have a conversation with community pharmacists and the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Wayne Peate, an associate professor of public health in the UArizona College of Medicine and a Pima JTED board member. “We learned many things. There is a tremendous shortage of pharmacy techs out there, we have an aging population, retirees are moving here. The need is great.” “Pharmacists say they don’t have enough hands to do the work,” Peate said. “They have been relying on trained techs, but they can’t get enough of them.” Interested students will first enroll in the Pima JTED health foundations class before advancing to the pharmacy tech program. Upon completion, not only can students immediately seek employment as a pharmacy tech, but they could also be in a more advanced position to pursue a pharmacy degree. “If you want to be a pharmacy tech out of high school, that’s a great career,” Peate said. For students who want to progress to pharmacy school, a graduate of the Pima JTED pharmacy tech program could essentially have advanced standing upon acceptance and delve into substantive research quicker than a student without those credentials. Even better, students could work as a pharmacy technician while attending college. “You would get to have mentors who are pharmacists,” Peate said. “You are right there observing every time you go to work.”

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gram has helped carve a career path for my future in the engineering fields. It has helped me grow and become

By Tara Kirkpatrick

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The precision machining pro-

confident in a field that consists mostly of male students. Now, I am able to walk into a classroom full of boys and not be phased by their presence. I became a leader in my class and am able to take on

responsibilities and tasks that have scared me in the past and that I will be facing in the future.

– Brianna Rodriguez Alumna 2020

With the EMT program’s community and

outreach hands-on

programs

ride-along

experiences, students from JTED have a front-seat opportunity to be ready to work in the field upon graduation. The personal skills and pro-

fessionalism they learn in their program provide them with the ‘curbside manner’ we look for in public safety.

– Gary Watson Northwest Fire District Captain

continued from page 90 fighting to hire her for her abillities in welding, driving a CAT and heavy machinery and masonry--all skills she learned through Pima JTED. At the groundbreaking for the new Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges, Camp operated one of the earth movers, said D’Anna. Kagan Barber has relished his Pima JTED classes in heavy machinery and drone operation. “It’s really the hands-on learning aspect,” he said. “I just really enjoy operating things, the physical and mentally challenging aspects of it.” Barber had the chance to go on industry visits to construction, mining and heavy equipment companies during his time at Pima JTED. During these visits, company leadership could actually hand-pick students they wanted to hire after seeing their skills— the way a college football coach pursues a potential recruit. “They can see the students they want,” he said. “It allows the student to get one foot through the door.” It was Barber’s construction technologies instructor, Craig Bal, who nominated him for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program— one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. “Pima JTED does an excellent job of finding out what the needs are in the community,” said Barber’s mom, Kami Blackhurst. “They will ask, what do you want in an employee and make sure they fit that bill.” As Pima JTED is poised to honor its 100,000th alumnus this year, Prather wrote a Feb. 5 editorial in the Arizona Daily Star. “We’re excited to be crossing the 100,000 threshold of JTED alumni, in this new year we’ve all been eager to welcome, having equipped them with skills they need to enhance our region’s competitiveness and participate in the new economy.”

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This is a great program with amazing

opportunities

and

experiences. You spend time with people who share your interests and have the same drive as you with wonderful instructors who will help you get to where you want to be. I received professional experience in a working clinic as a high schooler so I was ahead of my peers when I graduated.

When Pima JTED began planning for its new Innovative Learning Center, the team engaged SOLON Corporation early to incorporate solar into the design and function of the building. SOLON was able to provide critical engineering support, enabling conduit to be installed in the ground level before building completion and the electrical system. This increased savings because the electrical system did not have to be retrofitted to include the solar, the company said. The 225 kWdc solar project will produce over 9.7 million kWh of electricity over 25 years—enough to power 786 Arizona homes for one year. In choosing solar, JTED is reducing greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount from 1,484 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The solar canopy includes 608 solar modules and provides 92 shaded parking spaces. Energy-efficient LED lighting was also installed under the canopy to boost savings and safety. SOLON arranged financing for the project with zero up-front costs for JTED, with year one savings in the thousands and term savings close to $600,000. A web-based solar monitoring portal provides ongoing student education about solar energy, allowing them to view solar production, weather data, performance and environmental statistics from any online portal. They can also see the working components of a full solar system on site, the company said.

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JTED has set me up for many advantages in the health care field. It allowed me to not only get a certification and license in high school, it prepared me

PHOTO COURTESY SOLON CORPORATION

SOLON Corporation Provides Solar for Modern, New Center

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– Hannah Barney Alumna 2020

better for college. I became even more excited and prepared for nursing school. I

found my passion for work in healthcare and the experience JTED gave me was so helpful. I will never forget it.

– Anneka Lopez Alumna 2016

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BizEDUCATION LICENSED NURSING ASSISTANT from left

Yenifer Dominguez – 18 Desert View High School Senior Debra Glessner, B.S.N., R.N. Clinical Nurse Educator Czerenise Romero – 18 Tucson High School Senior

Health Care Programs in High Demand By Tara Kirkpatrick

“This training puts a person with no cognitive impairment into the world of someone who is living with dementia,” said Beth Francis, a registered nurse who leads the award-winning healthcare programs at JTED. “They have a better understanding when caring for cognitiveimpaired individuals and how they try to live their life every day.” It’s just one of the many ways Pima JTED programs are preparing future healthcare workers to serve with compassion, as well as the sophisticated technical skills needed in hospitals and long-term care settings. The program has received the prestigious Golden Bell Award by the Arizona School Board Association. The numerous Pima JTED programs include healthcare foundations, licensed nursing assistant, physical therapy technician, registered medical assistant, health information technology and more. The Golden Bell Award, given to the school in 2019, recognized the pro96 BizTucson

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grams’ use of innovative techniques to help maximize the promise of each student. The dementia simulation, produced by Second Wind Dreams, has been a valued addition, giving students that “lightbulb moment,” Francis said. “These young people grow and flourish into young healthcare professionals,” she said. “The love and caring they provide their residents during clinicals is a site to cherish. “Any time I bring a principal, supervisor, or superintendent out to clinicals they are absolutely amazed how these young people perform in the clinical arena. Our healthcare partners also verbalize the quality that our program provides in educating and preparing our students for the workforce.” Theresa Cuhn, a clinical nurse leader for supplemental staffing at Tucson Medical Center, can personally vouch for that. “JTED is an amazing program that means so much to me as JTED was the start to my nursing career,” Cuhn said. “We have hired many JTED graduates to TMC with great outcomes. They are driven and motivated workers who are coming right

out of high school into the workforce.” Indeed, TMC has hired at least 300 students from Pima JTED. The JTED health care programs constantly monitor industry changes and adapt offerings to match the skills in demand. For example, a new comprehensive healthcare technician class is now in place to include phlebotomy, electrocardiogram and medical record technology and certifications for each to progress right to employment. A new pharmacy tech program is planned to launch this fall. “Our labs mirror what you would see in a healthcare arena,” Cuhn said. “We are blessed to have advanced technological medical equipment that exposes our students to what they would be exposed to in the real-world, healthcare environment. “These students have two years of course work at the time of graduation. They complete more than the required amount of hours for clinicals by the state board, as they have a rotation in long-term living facilities and the hospital, making them very well-rounded licensed nursing assistants when they graduate.”

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PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Through the unique Virtual Dementia Tour, students in Pima JTED’s healthcare programs see, feel and hear as if they were afflicted patients.


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A FLAGSHIP Pima JTED’s Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges

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PHOTOS BY RON MCCOY PHOTOGRAPHERS & BRENT G. MATHIS


BizEDUCATION

FOR THE

FUTURE By Tara Kirkpatrick

Location is everything. That’s especially true for the new, stateof-the-art Pima JTED Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges, which is now within range of 52,000 high school students and serves as a lucrative crossroads for career and technical education in Southern Arizona. “We wanted to build something on the southwest side of Tucson to serve students closer to where they live, but also convenient to east Tucson and south to Sahuarita,” said Kathy Prather, Pima JTED superintendent and CEO. “It’s a phenomenal location.” And location is just the beginning. With its modern, spacious classrooms, high-tech equipment, cutting-edge labs and collaborative spaces for project-based learning, the 50,000 square-foot campus is the flagship for a program on its way to becoming a national model. “This building is a testament to how a community can plan, dream and innovate together on behalf of the future

success of its young people and its economic development,” said Prather. The new center, designed by Joel Mesik of WSM Architects, Inc., was a joint venture of BFL Construction and Bourn Companies. “JTED is an inspirational organization,” said Mesik. “Every decision that was made throughout the design of this facility was intended to benefit the students...” BFL Construction built the new Pima JTED center--the fifth project the company has constructed for the district over the past several years. BFL built the district’s East Campus on 22nd Street and its northwest facility on Master Pieces Drive, which holds a state-of-the art cosmetology teaching studio that could rival a salon. BFL has engaged in several Tucson education projects over the years, including Flowing Wells Sentinel Peak High School, Mary Louise Robins Elementary School and Edge High School. CEO Garry Brav told BizTucson in 2018: “I love the challenge with bigger projects, the scope of continued on page 101 >>>

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BizEDUCATION

The high school

GRADUATION RATE for

Garry Brav

JTED students who

complete a two-year Career & Technical Education program is

98%

– significantly higher than the 79% four-year graduation rate for Arizona overall.

Joel Mesik

Mark Irvin

PHOTOS BY RON MCCOY PHOTOGRAPHERS

– Greg D’Anna Director of Public Relations Pima JTED

continued from page 99 them, the creativity that they permit...” JKaiser Workspaces, one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies, provided the sleek work tables, chairs and other furniture, while SOLON Corporation provided early engineering support for solar to be incorporated into the design and construction. Raytheon Missiles & Defense stepped forward with a $100,000 grant and Rotary Club of Tucson chose Pima JTED for a $250,000 grant in honor of the organization’s centennial year. The Pima JTED Foundation also recently received a $200,000 challenge grant from the Connie Hillman Foundation. “JTED is an amazing way for the Rotary Club of Tucson to leave a legacy to our community, one it has served for over 100 years, while partnering with a proven program,” said Mark Irvin, president-elect of the Rotary Club’s board of directors and head of Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Services. “When we started with our centennial project, we asked those interested in applying for our $250,000 grant to think outside of the box and present us with ideas and opportunities that would be reflective of our past efforts. We saw close to 50 applicants apply but Pima County JTED amazed us with the idea to partner and build a much-needed new campus in Tucson.” The Innovative Learning Center is nestled in one of Tucson’s newest urban developments – The Bridges. Here, biotech office and lab space will mix with shopping and entertainment, residential housing, and a series of outdoor interactive public spaces. The center is the first of three Pima JTED buildings planned for the area. “From the inception of the design process with WSM Architects, we knew that this building was going to be unique in so many ways,” Prather said. “The building was created to resemble a machine from the exterior, reflective of the high-tech and innovative nature of the technical education programs housed within.” “It was clear from the beginning of this project that the building needed to be as unique and inspiring as the programs that are taught at the facility,” Mesik added. The building will house many of Pima JTED’s high-demand programs such as health care foundations, culinary arts, drone navigation, cybersecurity, 3D animacontinued on page 102 >>> Spring 2021

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Classrooms enclosed by glass, allowing views of the top-tier learning taking place inside. Each classroom features a floating cloud-type acoustical panel at the front to facilitate quality sound throughout the room.

A large expansive cafeteria/event center on the lower level, sponsored by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, serves as a hub for student activity and will have interactive video artwork/murals, inspiring students to explore technical careers. Large rolling glass garage doors in the event center lead to a patio area for indoor/outdoor events.

A commercial teaching kitchen and lab that includes an inset area in the hallway to house a living hydroponics demonstration wall garden.

Health and medical career labs, designed with a simulator control and observation room, mirror the look and feel of an actual medical facility.

The 3-D animation, virtual reality game design, green screen studio is built behind a glass wall to allow a glimpse of projects in progress.

The industrial technology classroom and lab spaces amass 7000 square feet, allowing for the indoor operation of small drones, robotics and automation systems.

Color plays a key role in the building, Mesik said. “On the interior, bright colors are used to define collaboration spaces where students can gather for casual conversation or to work together outside of the classroom. On the exterior, the white, blue and purple convey the vibrant personality of the school and signify that this school is not traditional.” Flexibility of space was also top of mind. “The classrooms and labs were purposely built without many permanent fixtures to allow for the flexibility to add new programs and new technologies as they are developed,” Prather said. “ The building is intended to be continued on page 104 >>> 102 BizTucson

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3D ANIMATION & GAME DESIGN from left

Jed Ricks – 17 Home School Kristal Gutierrez – 16 Walden Grove High School David Fuller, Instructor

TRANSPORTATION/ FAA DRONE OPERATOR from left

Xavier Sanchez – 15 Mica Mountain High School Isaac Parks – 15 Cienega High School Brandon Tong – 17 Catalina Foothills High School

PHOTO COURTESY JTED

PHOTO BY RON MCCOY PHOTOGRAPHERS

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

continued from page 101 tion and game design. With those in mind, the building’s intelligent features include:

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BizEDUCATION PRECISION MANUFACTURING Azucena Mendoza operates a CNC machine in the precision manufacturing program at Desert View High School

Precision Manufacturing Gets Global Notice By Tara Kirkpatrick

Now, the instructor of precision manufacturing at Desert View High School, an award-winning Pima JTED satellite program, sets his students on a solid path toward careers in industrial technology. “This program ... was made by the hard work of the students and the partnerships we have with industry,” said Gutierrez. “The kids that I have were just looking for someone to lead them, believe in them and push them to a different level.” Gutierrez’ leadership has garnered national and global attention. In 2019, he and the school received $100,000 as a first-place winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. Almost 750 teachers across the

country applied for the prize. Gutierrez was the only winner from Arizona. His precision manufacturing program, which started with two manual mills, now boasts $1.5 million in equipment, including multiple mills, 3D printers, computers, simulators, engraving machines, CNC machines and an entire measurement room. “You could almost say we have as many machines as some companies here in Tucson,” Gutierrez said. The students have taken on contracted jobs to build parts for local aerospace companies, metal signs for businesses and other projects. In 2016, CNN reported on the students cutting parts for a company that then assembled and honed them for Boeing. At an industry conference, a group from South Korea wanted to emulate the program for its own students, Gutierrez said.

continued from page 102 dynamic in nature and serve the education and training needs of our youth for many years to come, no matter the technology.” Even the way the $14 million project was funded is unique for a public school district, she said. The cost of construction was funded not by a bond, but by a public-private partnership between Pima JTED, Bourn Companies and BFL Ventures. Pima JTED will make lease purchase payments for the building and land over a seven-year period. Brav credits Prather and her team for the project, which from start to completion was essentially one year even amid a global pandemic. “They have been key to the success,” Brav said. “They are very dedicated and love what they do. They run it like a well-tuned machine.” The building also houses Innovation Tech High School, 104 BizTucson

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“What’s not to love about having a highly engaged instructor who has the industry experience and has outfitted the program with state-of-the-art equipment?” said Greg D’Anna, Pima JTED’s director of public relations. “He also puts into place the business relationships so students are working on real-life projects.” “We have students who are goal-oriented, career-driven, university-driven,” Gutierrez said. “They understand now what they want to do. They have big goals and they set up all the little goals in how they are going to get there.” “I think one of the reasons the program is so successful – it never stops, it never stops growing,” Gutierrez said. “There is always something bigger and better. You are always looking for perfection.”

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where Tucson Unified School District operates a full high school during the day with Pima JTED classes as electives. In this format, about 400 to 500 students attend the campus during the day and another 450 to 550 attend in the afternoon and early evening for the CTE programs. “This is such a wonderful building,” said Mario C a s t r o , principal of the JTED Innovative Learning Center. “One of the unique things of this campus, when we were designing it, is we needed a theory-based area for instruction and a labbased area for instruction.” Hence, large open spaces allow for both.

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PHOTO COURTESY JTED

As a design student in college, Cesar Gutierrez was on his way to becoming a mechanical engineer. Then, he got a taste of teaching and his destiny was set.


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BizEDUCATION

Robert Schlanger

Alex Jácome

Brenda Marietti

Cindy Rankin

Dr. Wayne Peate

Leaders in Collaboration By Rodney Campbell

When Pima JTED was formed in 2007, its first board had 11 members who represented participating local school districts. Their task wasn’t easy – they had to serve as the governing board and community representatives for a program few knew existed. “The question we always got was, ‘What’s Pima JTED?” said Alex Jácome, one of the founding members who remain on the board. The board has since been pared to a more manageable five, but there’s strength in those numbers. Now the superintendent and CEO, Kathy Prather has been involved with Pima JTED since the beginning. She works with the incredibly engaged board every day and sees members representing JTED at events such as Southern Arizona Construction Career Days and on committees for organizations that include the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce and The Amigos, a mining industry group. “Pima JTED is very blessed and benefits greatly from our many volunteers in the community, especially our governing board members,” Prather said. “Each of them in their own way engages and provides guidance, advocating and helping us to connect to others in the community as well as sharing their vast knowledge and expertise from their respective fields.” The governing board members bring a wide variety of experiences to their roles:

• Chair Robert Schlanger is a business

owner in the automotive service industry as well as an active community advocate.

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• Clerk Brenda Marietti is a former ca-

reer and technical education teacher and program director who serves as executive director of the Pima JTED Foundation.

• Alex Jácome is a founding member

of the governing board who brings a wealth of experience from the retail and construction industries.

• Dr.

Wayne Peate is the founding chair of the governing board and a Harvard-trained physician with ties to the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

• Cindy Rankin is a physiology profes-

sor at UArizona and strong advocate of developing articulated pathways for students from Pima JTED to postsecondary education.

“I love knowing that I am a part of the journey to success of the many students we serve and how we are fulfilling the promise made years ago to business and industry to drive workforce development,” Rankin said. Board members often see real-life examples of the impacts that Pima JTED has on students and the people who care about them. They have firsthand stories that show why their efforts are so important. “I had a mom come up to me and say that JTED saved her daughter’s life,” Peate said. “She was headed for bad things and bad decisions. But she always liked to cook. She got involved in our culinary program, became a chef and eventually headed to France to further her education. We always say we help people try to find their dreams.”

In their many years as board members, Jácome, Peate and Schlanger have seen JTED become more in demand across the region. When JTED began, it had a handful of programs in about 9,000 square feet of instructional space. It now has more than 20 programs running in 200,000 square feet. Programs are available in schools in three counties (Santa Cruz, Pima and Pinal) with more than 22,000 participants from 37 high schools. Significant employers, including the Jim Click Automotive Group, Tucson Medical Center, Gadabout and Abrams Airborne Manufacturing, Inc., consistently hire graduates. “We increasingly engage the private and public sector,” Peate said. “Our new Innovation High School has TUSD and JTED teachers working together in the same building while the Rotary Club of Tucson made a sizable donation. We’ve learned with limited resources and increased demand for programs that collaboration is essential.” Board members are the best ambassadors for Pima JTED’s outstanding programs and hard-working students. Each year, young men and women who complete programs enter the workforce and/or future education and training to generate an average of more than $34 million in annual earnings and more than $6 million in income tax revenue for Arizona. “I provide a voice representing the community and advocate on behalf of opportunities for students as well as the workforce needs of business and industry,” Jácome said. “In fact, JTED is really Economic Development 101. This is where workforce development begins.”

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WOMEN WHO LEAD

I feel like the greatest days for JTED are ahead. I am so optimistic about the future and the amazing things we are doing.

– Kathy Prather Superintendent & CEO Pima Joint Technical Education District

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Pima JTED Superintendent & CEO

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

By Tara Kirkpatrick Kathy Prather learned early the importance of a trained workforce. After graduating from Northern Arizona University, the native Tucsonan went to work in television as an account executive for the NBC affiliate in Cheyenne, Wyo., and then in Flagstaff, focusing on media sales and production. She also worked for a video and film production company in Phoenix. As a result of those experiences, “I was able to see what made businesses successful, and a big piece of that was having a trained staff,” said Prather, who is entering her fourth year as superintendent and CEO of the Pima Joint Technical Education District. “Bottom line, the best marketing plans available still needed to have a trained and skilled workforce to implement them.” After this early business experience, she returned to NAU to get her master’s degree in vocationaltechnical education. “I went back to school to be able to be a business teacher,” said Prather. She would go on to teach classes in middle school and high school within the Navajo Nation and colleges in western Arizona before returning to Tucson to advance career and technical education, known as CTE. Now at the helm of Pima JTED, a program fast becoming a national education model, her journey is full circle. “I feel like the greatest days for JTED are ahead. I am so optimistic about the future and the amazing things we are doing,” Prather said. Pima JTED, created in 2007, works with 14 member public school districts to provide free, premier CTE programs to high school students from public, private, charter or home-school set-

tings. “We are creating programs that are really pathways to employment after high school, but also to achieve professional degrees,” Prather said. She’s been here from the beginning. Having led CTE programs at Tucson Unified School District and Sunnyside Unified School District, Prather was instrumental in Pima JTED’s formation. She led community forums and met with business and industry leaders and school district governing boards. At that time, Arizona was allotting $54 million for JTEDs. Maricopa County had most of them, but Pima County didn’t have one. “Pima County was not tapped into that funding source,” she recalled. “We were missing out on millions of dollars to provide enhanced career technical education for our youth. Once our business people found out about that, members of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and others, they became involved and engaged.” Tucson auto mogul Jim Click Jr. wrote the check himself to pay for a research firm to gauge and promote community support to get Pima County’s JTED initiative on the ballot in 2006. It passed with 70-percent approval. Today, Pima JTED programs and classes are not only successful pipelines to advanced degrees at Pima Community College, the University of Arizona and other colleges, they also provide certifications and credentials for students to enter the workforce immediately after high school graduation. In propelling Pima JTED’s success, Prather’s leadership is heralded across the community. continued on page 110 >>> Spring 2021

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BizEDUCATION continued from page 109 “There wouldn’t be a JTED in Tucson without Kathy,” said Click. “She’s done a great job of leading this program. I want to congratulate her in all that she has done.” “JTED has always been an important partner for Pima as we strive together to build an education-to-employment pipeline for Tucson-area high school students,” said PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert. “Our collaborations have deepened and expanded under Kathy’s sure-handed leadership. She’s a pleasure to work with – the perfect combination of enthusiasm and expertise.” In a Feb. 5 editorial in the Arizona Daily Star, Prather extolled the achievements of Pima JTED’s alumni, now 100,000 strong. “As I think about this year’s 100,000th alumnus and the others that came before them, I’m mindful of the impact they’ve had in enhancing Arizona’s competitiveness, through science, technology, engineering and other programs that we’ve developed with our industry and post-secondary education partners,” she wrote.

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“We are a reflection of how much good a community can do when they work together,” Prather said. “Our success is the success of the community.” “Kathy continues to search for new ways and collaborations to expand the JTED opportunities in our region,” said Ted Maxwell, Southern Arizona Leadership Council president and CEO. “She understands not only the impact on academic achievement it provides the students, but also the benefits it provides our business and economic environment. “ In the design of the new Pima JTED Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges in south Tucson, Prather collaborated with instructors on must-have, high-tech details and modern, spacious classrooms. “Kathy is very capable of making decisions quickly, which is required for a project like this. She was unbelievable to work with,” said Garry Brav, CEO of BFL Construction, which built the new center. Her vision included housing the new Innovation Tech High School in the center. There, TUSD offers a compre-

hensive high school during the day with Pima JTED programs as electives. “Kathy did that on purpose.” said Greg D’Anna, Pima JTED director of public relations. “She worked with TUSD and said, ‘Would you like to be a part of this?’ and they jumped at it.” For Prather, the future of CTE is not only life-changing – it’s an evolution of education that meets 21st century demands and produces a better student. “I was in the Sabino High School business office program,” she recalled. “Then, it was training to be a secretary, typing and shorthand, but I took those skills and got a business degree and those skills have continued to serve me to this day. It’s important that we see that evolution and appreciate the roots of career education. The base of it is building successful students.” “I am most proud of the positive effect that our programs are having on the lives of our young people that we serve,” Prather said.

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Ross Potoff

Founder Potoff Private Philanthropy

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Philanthropist Gifts $1 Million to Pima JTED

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

By Rodney Campbell

Local students pursuing careers of the future through Pima JTED have a forward-thinking partner in Ross Potoff – a man who built his own distinguished profession from career and technical education. His Potoff Private Philanthropy is contributing $1 million to Pima JTED. The generous gift will enhance programs and curriculum through an endowed chair that provides exciting career exploration experiences in middle school, recruitment capabilities for programs, student advisory services and counseling during high school and job placement assistance after skills certification. continued on page 114 >>> Spring 2021

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BizEDUCATION continued from page 113 Potoff Philanthropy also supports the new JTED Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges, a technical training and academic building strategically located near The Refinery at Tech Parks Arizona. The center focuses on new programs, including engineering (with an emphasis on aerospace, mining and optics industry technologies), cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, air transportation-drone piloting, comprehensive health technology, entrepreneurship and an expansion of culinary/nutritional arts and 3D animation/game design. “We’re looking at kids’ futures,” Potoff said. “We’re determined to make it easier for them to enter the workforce with a vocation that will follow them their entire lives. The more diversification that we can provide them, the more well-equipped they will be to make career decisions.” Potoff Private Philanthropy Executive Director Bill Westcott brought Pima JTED to his boss’s attention after at-

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We’re looking at kids’ futures. We’re determined to make it easier for them to enter the workforce with a vocation that will follow them their entire lives. The more diversification that we can provide them, the more well-equipped they will be to make career decisions.

Ross Potoff Founder Potoff Private Philanthropy –

tending a breakfast meeting where thenSuperintendent Alan Storm made a presentation. When Kathy Prather took over after Storm retired in 2018, Potoff was impressed by the new superintendent’s enthusiasm and made his milliondollar commitment the following year. “She is an absolute dynamo,” Potoff said. “She’s thinking out further than we do.” While Prather greatly appreciates Potoff’s financial support, it’s his passion for helping students that most impresses her. “The dedication to Pima JTED by Mr. Ross Potoff has taken our mission and vision to a new level,” she said. “He sees his own personal journey reflected in each of our former, current and future students and knows firsthand the life-changing opportunities that Pima JTED provides. He offers encouragement and enthusiasm that even exceed the immense financial support he has provided and continues to pledge.” Potoff’s commitment to students is the continued on page 116 >>>

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BizEDUCATION continued from page 114 result of his upbringing in Waterbury, Conn. At age 7, he was working in his father’s factory sweeping and cleaning. Five years later, he was working in the factory’s commercial darkroom making lithographic plates and silk screens for cosmetic product containers. Uncertain of what direction he wanted to go, he enrolled in an exploratory skills program at Warren F. Kaynor Regional Technical High School, where he attained certification and expertise in numerous trades and manufacturing skills. “One other person I knew went to a vocational school,” Potoff said. “Because of my background, I thought it might be a good direction to go since I was mechanically inclined. It was a good base for me to make my decision.” After graduating from Kaynor, Potoff

enrolled at Waterbury State Technical College to study mechanical engineering. In his first year, he took the Air Force aptitude test and his impressive result led him to enlist to continue his education. “A college education isn’t for everyone,” he said. “By the time you graduate from college, your field may not exist any longer. You have robots doing things now. But who’s going to fix your toilet or rewire your house? Those jobs take skills and integrity.” His Air Force career eventually brought him to Tucson, where he was stationed at Davis-Monthan. Potoff’s experience working with high-tech systems led him to a career at the University of Arizona’s Optical Sciences Center. In his position, Potoff was responsible for designing and building unique precision machinery and optics devices.

His lab had 18 doctoral candidates for whom he was responsible and a constant flow of scientists from across the globe. In 1992, the university honored him as an outstanding employee for his contribution to science and education. He retired in 2012 after almost 40 years. “It was a little bit of magic,” Potoff said. “We were on the cutting edge of optical technology.” That experience, combined with his years of technical education, helped spark his interest in JTED. All it took was a happenstance meeting and an eye on the future. “I keep going back to the concept of forward thinking,” Potoff said. “We’re giving the student of tomorrow a chance to pursue what they might find intriguing. We want to help them realize what could be in their future.”

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Pima JTED is constantly looking for innovative ways to collaborate and partner with the Southern Arizona community. If your organization or company is interested in working with Pima JTED, please contact: Greg D’Anna, gdanna@pimajted.org.

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BizEDUCATION

Raytheon Event Center An Industry Partner in Prosperity

The Raytheon Event Center on the new flagship campus of Pima Joint Technical Education District is a telling example of the educational program’s importance to the community and Southern Arizona’s future workforce. Raytheon Missiles & Defense, an economic kingpin of the region, provided a $100,000 grant to sponsor a 4,000-square-foot center on the ground floor of the sophisticated Pima JTED Innovative Learning Center @ The Bridges in south Tucson. The Raytheon Event Center is a central hub for student dining, governing board meetings and community events. “As Southern Arizona’s largest private employer, we are building an increasingly diverse, multi-generational workforce that enjoys a broad range of career opportunities,” said Allen Couture, VP of operations and security at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Partnerships with JTED and other local education institutions are not only critical for our own recruitment of talent, but for the entire community pipeline of high-paying jobs that will expand growth in our region.” The two-story center, which opened in the fall of 2020, moves the district into the future. Here, Pima JTED offers high school classes and several 21stcentury relevant programs to provide the trained workforce that Southern Arizona’s top companies demand. 118 BizTucson

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As part of the agreement with Pima JTED, Raytheon is installing a hightech display in the event center to in-

Partnerships with JTED and other local education institutions are not only critical for our own recruitment of talent, but for the entire community pipeline of highpaying jobs that will expand growth in our region.

– Allen Couture VP of Operations & Security Raytheon Missiles & Defense

spire students to pursue STEM careers. Raytheon has a broader commitment to foster the next-generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. The company invests

heavily in numerous statewide education programs that cultivate the skills, diverse thinking and leadership abilities that lead to rewarding careers. “JTED’s Industrial Technologies programs graduate highly qualified specialists in trades, including machining, precision manufacturing, HVAC and welding,” said Couture. “This partnership represents our commitment to cultivating a local pipeline for employees as we continue to grow.” “In addition to sponsoring the event center, we will continue to provide mentorship opportunities that connect students with employees who can help them build their skills and confidence so they’ll be ready to pursue technical careers,” he said. Raytheon’s contribution is an example of the collaboration Pima JTED hopes will continue in a “shared ownership” of the region’s success, said Pima JTED Superintendent and CEO Kathy Prather. “It is inspiring that they want to be there with us, to really ignite the imaginations of young people,” Prather said. “We are grateful for Raytheon’s generous gift and their employee volunteers who continue to mentor our students to be innovators, inspire them to lead and guide them to meaningful careers that have a positive effect on the world.”

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PHOTO BY RON MCCOY PHOTOGRAPHERS

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BizEDUCATION PIMA JTED PROGRAMS & CLASSES Pima JTED Serves Southern Arizona School Districts Ajo Amphitheater Baboquivari Catalina Foothills Flowing Wells Mammoth-San Manuel Marana Nogales Sahuarita Santa Cruz Valley Sunnyside Tanque Verde Tucson Vail *High school students in private, charter or home-school settings also can enroll in Pima JTED classes.

Pima JTED Governing Board Robert Schlanger

Governing Board Chairman

Christina Suarez Executive Assistant

Brenda Marietti

Governing Board Clerk

Alex Jácome Member

Dr. Wayne Peate Member

Cindy Rankin Member

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BUSINESS, ARTS & DESIGN Business Startup/Entrepreneurship Project SEARCH Business Management & Administrative Services Business Operations Support & Assistant Services Fashion Design & Merchandising Professional Sales & Marketing Stagecraft COMPUTERS & MEDIA 3D Animation/Virtual Reality & Game Design Cybersecurity & Artificial Intelligence Graphic/Web Design Computer Maintenance Computer Science/Information Technologies Digital Communications Digital Photography Digital Printing Film & TV Music/Audio Production Software Development HEALTH SCIENCE Comprehensive Health Care Technician Emergency Medical Technician Health Care Foundations Health Information Technology Licensed Nursing Assistant Personal Assistant/Caregiver Pharmacy Technician Physical Therapy Technician Registered Medical Assistant Dental Assisting Emergency Medical Services Mental/Social Health Sports Medicine

HOSPITALITY, EDUCATION & HUMAN SERVICES Cosmetology Culinary Arts and Nutritional Arts/ Restaurant Management/Pastry Early Childhood Education Education Professions Hospitality Management INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES Air Transportation/FAA Drone Operator Automated Industrial Technology Automotive Technologies Aviation Technology Construction Technologies Energy Technology Heavy Equipment Operations HVAC Mechanical Drafting Precision Machining Precision Manufacturing Welding Technologies Architectural Drafting Automotive Collision Repair Cabinetmaking Carpentry Diesel Mechanics PUBLIC SERVICE Emergency Medical Technician Fire Service Law, Public Safety & Security Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Program SCIENCE & ENGINEERING Automation/Robotics – Logistics, Optics and AI Engineering – Aerospace and Mining Technology Mechanical Drafting Veterinary Science Agriscience Bioscience Electronic Technologies Engineering


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Rotary Club of Tucson Commits $250,000 To Pima JTED

The Rotary Club of Tucson is a strong supporter of Pima Joint Technical Education District, which offers students the chance to pursue a great career with zero debt, especially in a climate in which many young people today are straddled with significant student debt and degrees they can’t capitalize on for their future. For the past 14 years, the club has been hosting the Tucson Classics Car Show. To date, the group has donated $1.8 million dollars to local charities. This year, the club celebrates 100 years of truly impactful community service not only in Tucson but regionally and internationally. Joni Condit, chair of the car show, said that in honor of this milestone, there are big plans in the works. “Two years ago, the club’s members selected Pima JTED as the beneficiary from a wonderful list of local charity grant applicants. JTED is a terrific asset to our community, educating and training our future workers of Tucson and our Club has committed to raise $250,000 for JTED’s new building.” The car show features over 400 classic cars in mint condition. In past years, www.BizTucson.com

the raffle prize has been a classic corvette or $15,000 cash, but this year, up for raffle is a new 2021, C8 Red Mist Corvette Stingray—one of the hottest cars in the market. Only 2,500 of these cars could be manufactured last year because of the pandemic. If the winner doesn’t want the car, he or she can win $50,000 in cash, in addition to five other fabulous prizes. “Hats off to our friends at O’Rielly Chevrolet for believing in our efforts and using their influence to help Rotary secure this incredible car,” said Mark Irvin, president-elect of the club. The

15TH ANNUAL TUCSON CLASSICS CAR SHOW Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 10-4 p.m. at The Gregory School 3231 N Craycroft Rd. Raffle prizes: 2021 C8 Red Mist Stingray Corvette or $50,000 in cash, plus 4 other great prizes To learn more or purchase raffle tickets go to: https://tucsonclassicscarshow.com or call 440-4503

tickets are $10, which offers a chance to win one of these raffle prizes and is also an entry ticket to the car show on Oct. 16 at The Gregory School. A virtual and in-person auction is also planned on Sept. 25 for the Rotary Centennial Celebration. “There will be some great auction items, including a featured tour for two of the renowned Jay Leno Garages,” said Centennial Chair Jim Lubinski. “We think that people are going to be happy to be able, by this fall, to safely attend these two fun events. Our goal for the centennial celebration auction is to net $100,000 toward our commitment of $250,000 to JTED.” In addition to generating proceeds for JTED, these two events also offer opportunities for members to work together to benefit the local community. “We’ve gained life-long friends by working closely on a common goal that will help our community longterm and will prepare young people with skills that will help them find jobs locally”, said Jennifer Hoffman, 2020-2021 RCOT president. More information will be available in the coming months.

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PHOTO COURTESY HTE ROTARY CLUB OF TUCSON

Donation to Honor Club’s Centennial


BizTOOLKIT

From 2020 to 2021-Post COVID-19, What’s Next?

By Cynthi Knight, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, MBA, BCC, ACC Executive Coach & Consultant, WINNING LEADERS, SHRM-GT President 2020 introduced words and phrases to our organizations such as “pivot,” from in-person to virtual platforms; “You’re muted!” as we connected with colleagues in a new way; and “Zoom Fatigue,” resulting from hours in front of a computer screen conducting business. We embraced the whole person while video conferencing, which meant meeting the whole family: kids peeking in the camera, cats and dogs walking by, and the sounds of children and pets in the background. These were all experiences requiring vulnerability, patience and resilience as well as increased focus on employees’ emotional health. With a new norm of remote working and learning, we found that results could be achieved but not without challenges. Then came the George Floyd tragedy and the renewed attention on racial injustice. Organizations began to look at

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their diversity and inclusion efforts as well as potential systemic racism in human resources practices. Some leaders became more aware of the many issues, while others jumped into action. Changes were made to move forward to be not only diverse, but inclusive as well. The last quarter of 2020 brought disunity due to national politics. Ideally, differences of opinion are met with respect and listening without judgment or expectation of agreement. However, in a year of chaos and uncertainty, this led to challenges with conflict in the workplace and guidance to leaders on how to keep politics out. 2021 has looked and felt similar to 2020, but with more hope that conditions will return to “normal” or to a post-COVID-19 life as vaccines become available and cases decline. As the year progresses, effective leaders will continue to care about their em-

ployees’ emotional well-being; they will keep up their diversity and inclusion efforts; and they will promote understanding without judgment. Change will continue to be a way of life. Those who embrace a growthmindset can adapt more easily than those with a fixed mindset. Remote work may continue in organizations where it achieves desired results. Leaders navigating the constantly changing workplace landscape don’t have to do it alone. The Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson offers programs and resources on timely topics for members and community leaders and will continue to do so in an impactful way as we move forward with hope and optimism. Contact www.shrmgt.org for recorded and upcoming programs.

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WOMEN WHO LEAD

Founder & CEO Corporate CARE Solutions

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PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Sharon Lurtsema

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BizENTREPRENEUR

Providing Child & Adult Backup Care Nationwide By Loni Nannini Help is on the way for employers and employees facing child- or adult-care issues. Corporate CARE Solutions uses high tech to come to the real-time rescue of those in need of backup care. “We are like a work ‘life preserver’ that many employers don’t know is available. We started out as a backup care company that needed technology, and now we are a technology company that does backup care,” said Sharon Lurtsema, founder and CEO of Corporate CARE Solutions. Launched in 2014, the Tucson-based company provides high-quality child and adult backup care nationwide to companies of all sizes. Its roster of clients includes Tucson Medical Center, Vantage West Credit Union, 23andMe and the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C.. Lurtsema began building a career around caregiving 30 years ago when she left a job at the University of Arizona to become a nanny for a prominent family in New York City. “Caring for others is at the core of who I am. It is no coincidence that ‘care’ is the middle name of my company,” said Lurtsema. After returning to Tucson in 1992, she leveraged her passion into a business called Choice Options, which she started from a bedroom in her father’s house. The company continues to provide nannies, adult companions for the elderly and domestic services. www.BizTucson.com

Corporate CARE Solutions evolved naturally as an effort to combat the loss of earnings, time, productivity and revenue that results when an employee’s caregiving arrangement is disrupted. Care challenges cause a variety of problems ranging from tardiness and absenteeism to distraction and decreased productivity. These disruptions directly impact employees, their employers, and, ultimately, taxpayers.

Caring for others is at the core of who I am. It is no coincidence that ‘care’ is the middle name of my company.

Sharon Lurtsema Founder & CEO Corporate CARE Solutions –

“This is a multi-billion dollar problem. We truly believe that every employer needs backup care for its employees. At some point, all employees experience a breakdown in care – whether it is for a child, for an elderly parent or grandparent, or for a spouse recovering from an accident or illness. We specifically don’t call it elder care because it is

for any adult over the age of 18,” said Lurtsema. She experienced firsthand the difficulties associated with work and life challenges when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Five surgeries and 15 months later, Lurtsema was in remission. She credits her commitment to running her company for pulling her through the “tunnel of darkness.” “In retrospect, it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. An illness like cancer changes your gratitude and your direction and your appreciation. It emphasized that caring for others is totally what drives me,” Lurtsema said. Since then, growth for Corporate CARE Solutions has centered around two factors: creation of a technology platform that could serve the nation and development of a nationwide network of highly vetted, dependable care providers. The result is the company’s exclusive Human Touch platform that allows employees, employers and care providers to access care when and where they need it. The user-friendly platform includes a mobile app that allows employees to submit a “Care Request” in less than one minute. There are additional features: no annual prepayment or minimum utilization requirements, pay-as-you-go hourly billing and a comprehensive human resources portal continued on page 130 >>> Spring 2021

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BizENTREPRENEUR continued from page 129 with real-time reporting features. The My Choice Care Program allows users to select specific caregivers or daycare centers when a known caregiver is paramount. Pet care providers and nationwide tutoring support services are also available. Lurtsema said the award-winning technology also delivers the fastest fulfillment times in the industry. She likens it “to a ride-share app for backup care.” That technology became even more significant with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when homes became classrooms/offices and employees faced disruption of standard channels of care. Lurtsema said that Corporate CARE Solutions stands at the ready to provide care in employee homes, as well as at hotels and other locations when employees travel. “Going to work has taken on a whole new meaning, since that may now mean a corner in someone’s home or in the bedroom with the door closed. We can send a caregiver to the living room to orchestrate homework for children or to make grilled cheese sandwiches or help with laundry. Whether you work at home or need to leave the home for work, we can send caregivers to meet you where you are,” she said. Ultimately, Corporate CARE Solutions delivers a boutique approach to backup care, which Lurtsema said has “shifted from a luxury- or golden-carrot benefit to a necessity.” She has further tailored the business to fill employers’ short-term and emergency needs with three- and six-month contracts in addition to longer plans. The program can be implemented in 24 to 72 hours. “We know one size fits none, so we customize every approach to meet the exact needs of every employer. Maybe it goes back to cancer, but when you get a second chance on life, you absolutely need to make sure you do it right. I want employers to be treated the way I want to be treated,” she said.

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From left: JohnJay Van Es, KC An, Paulette & Joe Gootter and Luis Gonzalez at the 2020 Steven M. Gootter Foundation Gala; Gootter Foundation donates an AED to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona; Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus at the 2020 Steven M. Gootter Foundation Gala

Gootter Fundraiser Aims to Raise $250,000 By April Bourie When Steve Gootter set out for his jog on the morning of Feb. 10, 2005, his family expected his return within the hour. Tragically, it was the last time they saw him. He collapsed and died from sudden cardiac arrest that morning. There had been no previous indications that Gootter had any cardiac issues. He was a non-smoking, athletic and healthy 42-year-old man who had a zest for life and family and no history of heart disease. His family and friends were devastated, but they decided to make something positive out of this tragedy by establishing the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. “We created the foundation to make sure that families like ours would not suffer from such a tragic event,” said Andrew Messing, Gootter’s brother-in-law and president of the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. “If we could lose Steve, it could really happen to anybody.” To support its activities, the Gootter Foundation holds a variety of fundraisers, including the Gootter Grand Slam Gala, which because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be streamed online on Friday, April 30. The event will include powerful survivor stories and information on current research. The event is free to watch, and donations will be accepted. Access to an online recording of the event will be available afterwards. One of the most popular aspects of the gala is the auction, which will be held online from April 20 to May 132 BizTucson

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2. “Our auction is famous for having items that are exclusive to the Gootter Foundation,” said Claudine Messing, Gootter’s sister and VP of the Gootter Foundation. “This year we are offering a vintage two-seater Mercedes convertible in addition to other unique items.” The auction is open to everyone, not just those who view the gala. The foundation raises funds to increase awareness of sudden cardiac death, provide education on the use of CPR and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and to fund research to cure the disease. The foundation heavily promotes the University of Arizona’s Sarver Heart Center CPR classes and has distributed more than 350 AEDs throughout the greater Tucson community. The foundation provides research seed grants to young investigators at the Sarver Heart Center and Stanford Uni-

GOOTTER FOUNDATION GRAND SLAM GALA Friday, April 30, 6 p.m. Auction April 20-May 2 Watch live online or a recorded version after the event Watching is free and donations will be accepted stevengootterfoundation.org (520) 615-6430

versity’s Cardiovascular Institute. These researchers often struggle to get funding for their work because they don’t have as much experience as those with doctorates. These grants often lead to additional grants from other funding organizations. The Gootter Foundation’s half million dollars in funding to the UArizona alone has led to an additional $7 million from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. The Gootter Foundation also recently became the leading funder of a new heart simulator at the Sarver Heart Center. “The simulator makes it easier to train doctors without having to practice on real patients, and allows doctors to perform more complex procedures to save patients who have suffered from cardiac arrest,” Andrew said. At press time, the foundation announced it had been awarded a trio of significant grants to expand donations of AEDs throughout Southern Arizona. Those included a $25,000 grant from Fiesta Bowl Charities, a $4,000 grant from the Sundt Foundation and a $5,000 grant from the Million Dollar Round Table. Gala and auction organizers hope to raise $250,000. “The Tucson community has been very supportive of our efforts, and we hope they continue to be,” said Claudine. “Sudden cardiac death doesn’t take a break, and our work is more important now than ever.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY GOOTTER FOUNDATION

BizCHARITY


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Project: Chemistry Building Renovation and Addition Location: 1306 E. University Blvd. Owner: University of Arizona Contractor: Sundt Construction Architect: Shepley Bulfinch/Poster Mirto McDonald Completion Date: Estimated first quarter 2023 Construction Cost: $28 million Project Description: Two-thirds of the historic building will be repurposed into collaborative learning space to increase student learning and development of workplace-relevant skills.

Project: SkyCAM Location: 6401 & 6405 N. Campbell Ave. Owner: Skyline Encantada Investors/Larsen Baker Contractor: Repp & McLain Architect: Repp & McLain Completion Date: First quarter 2022 Construction Cost: TBD Project Description: SkyCAM is located at the northwest corner of Skyline and Campbell and will offer Class A office space.

Project: Applied Research Building Location: Corner of Highland Avenue and Helen Street Owner: University of Arizona Contractor: McCarthy Building Companies Architect: SmithGroup Completion Date: Estimated July 2023 Construction Cost: $56 million Project Description: ARB will be an 89,000-square-foot, threestory building with laboratories and testing facilities to support the university’s space-related research and innovations.

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BizCONSTRUCTION

Project: Hexagon Second Floor Location: 40 E. Congress St. Owner: BP City Park Investors Contractor: MW Morrissey Construction Architect: SSBBL Completion Date: January 2021 Construction Cost: $1.1 million Project Description: Tenant improvements include offices, conference rooms, training rooms, restrooms and a break room/kitchen.

Project: SAMTEC (Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center) Location: 16220 S. La Canada Dr., Sahuarita Owner: Town of Sahuarita Contractor: Barker Contracting Architect: BWS Architects Completion Date: August 2020 Construction Cost: $3.8 million Project Description: The Town of Sahuarita plans to lease this 32,000-square-foot masonry building for light industrial use. It’s built with steel bar joists, metal decking and a thermoplastic polyolefin roof.

Project: Grand Challenges Research Building (GCRB) Location: 750 N. Cherry Ave. Owner: University of Arizona Contractor: Kitchell Contractors Architect: ZGF Architects/BWS Architects Completion Date: Estimated first quarter 2024 Construction Cost: $71 million Project Description: GCRB will be a 115,000-square-foot, six-story research building to support advances in research for the College of Optical Sciences, computing technologies and future research endeavors.

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BizPEOPLE

Reneé Gonzales

Long Companies announced that Reneé Gonzales was named CEO in January. Gonzales moves up from executive VP of Core Services, president of Long Title Agency and managing director of Long Mortgage Co.—roles she’ll continue to hold as part of her CEO position. Gonzales joined Long Companies in 2002 and led the 2004 start-up of Long Mortgage Co., serving as president of the new division.

Anjela Salyer Mattamy Homes announced that Anjela Salyer is the new president of its Tucson division. Salyer will oversee all aspects of Mattamy’s land development and homebuilding business here. She joined Mattamy Homes in Tucson in 2014 as director of sales and marketing and was promoted to the role of VP/ division manager in 2019. In 2020, she was named by Professional Builder magazine as one of the industry’s Top 40 Under 40 rising stars.

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Tucson Market President Bank of America

PHOTO COURTESY BANK OF AMERICA

Adriana Kong Romero

Lee Lambert

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BizPHILANTHROPY

$1 Million Donation to Pima Community College

Bank of America Supports Hispanic, Black Students

PHOTOS COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

By David Pittman Pima Community College and Bank of America are partnering to provide the education and training needed to bring more students of color into the local workforce and on a path to professional success. To make it happen, the bank is providing a $1 million investment over the next four years to PCC to address underlying issues facing Hispanic and Black students – such as disproportionate health and financial difficulties. Bank of America is also giving a similar $1 million gift to Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix. “We remain committed to helping address the barriers to sustainable employment that exist for many communities of color,” said Adriana Kong Romero, who serves Bank of America as Tucson market president and was recently named commercial banking market executive in the Southwest. “This program helps support Black and HispanicLatino students in Southern Arizona by creating a collaborative approach to job training that will enable them to make a real and meaningful impact in their communities.” PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert said, “The college is honored to partner with Bank of America to move the bar on graduation and workforce success” for PCC students. He added that the funding also “allows us to close critical skills gaps and open new opportunities for Pima graduates.” The initiative is part of the bank’s $1 billion, national four-year program to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, which includes a $25 million commitment to enhance educational training for Black and Hispanic individuals. www.BizTucson.com

In addition to PCC and ASU Downtown Phoenix, the nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges serving predominantly Black and Hispanic students, historically Black colleges and universities and public Hispanic-serving institutions. “Today, less than 40 percent of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment,” Romero said. “At PCC, while some students transfer to a university to continue their education, fewer than 16 percent of students earn a certificate or degree within six years.” With the support from Bank of America, Pima Community College will use its funding to accelerate the development and implementation of apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing, IT, construction, logistics and emergency medical services. These program options will address specific skill gaps to create pathways to higher paying and family-sustaining jobs that are in demand to increase opportunity and enrollment for students of color. Bank of America will also work with partner employers to ensure the programs target specific hiring needs leading to future employment. Romero, 41, has built an extremely successful banking career. Of Hispanic and Asian lineage, she was born in Tucson and raised in Douglas. Romero graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and public administration from the University of Arizona and earned a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. She began her banking career in 1997 at Chase Bank (formerly Bank One) in Douglas. She joined Bank of

America the following year and has served the company in a wide range of retail banking roles. Effective the first day of 2021, Romero was promoted to the position of commercial banking market executive throughout vast areas of the southwestern US. In that capacity she leads teams of bankers in Southern Arizona; New Mexico; San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara in California; and El Paso and Amarillo in Texas, in order to address social and economic concerns and build strong communities. In addition to those responsibilities, she continues her duties as Tucson market president for the bank. Romero also devotes a great deal of time serving the community as a board member of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Sun Corridor Inc., UArizona’s Eller College Center for Leadership Ethics, Hispanic Community Council and Hispanic Alumni Association, as well as numerous other charitable and civic causes. Romero credited “three strong women” who raised her – her mother, an aunt and her grandmother—for her many accomplishments. “I came from a family of educators who encouraged me to work hard and stressed the importance of education,” she said. “My mother was an elementary teacher, who later went into school administration; and my aunt was the principal of my elementary school. So there was no way I could get away with misbehaving at school. My grandmother, too, had a strong influence on me. I’ve also been fortunate to benefit from mentorship and sponsorship throughout my career.”

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BizNETWORKING

Arizona Sands Club A Place to Dine, Drink and Do Business

PHOTOS BY BRENT G. MATHIS

By Steve Rivera Brenda Baca had heard a lot about the Arizona Sands Club, a private business club housed in Arizona Stadium on the University of Arizona campus. So she joined to see if the good reviews were true. “I decided to become a member after attending a few networking functions,” said Baca, CEO and designated broker of real estate firm Arizona Housing Solutions. “I really liked the way they promote business growth by networking and building relationships with other members. It’s been a fun place to meet clients – being that it’s inside Arizona Stadium with the backdrop of the football field. It’s impressive.” More than 800 businessmen and women have become members since registration launched last summer, easily surpassing membership growth rates at the other four similar properties around the country. ClubCorp set a goal of more than 500 in its initial membership for Arizona Sands Club and picked up more than 600 by Nov. 1. The aim is to get near 1,500 members by the end of 2021. UArizona joins University of Texas at Austin and Baylor, Texas Tech and Florida State universities as ClubCorp’s stock of stadium clubs. ClubCorp, which owns over 200 properties, also operates the Oro Valley Country Club. ClubCorp invested $4.5 million into renovations atop the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility at the stadium that had been exclusive for game ticket holders and athletic boosters. The once open space was transformed into a dining, drinking and socializing spot with a contemporary industrial vibe. Capacity for the 18,000-square-foot area – completed by JE Dunn Construction Company – is about 600 members for one event. It also has amenities for businesses, including meeting space and services, equipment and videoconferencing facilities. General Manager Scott Goldberg said the club is a “win-win” as a space for the community and UArizona to enjoy. Great views, extensive food selections and a full 140 BizTucson

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bar set the stage for spacious gathering spots for work – privately and collaboratively – and play. “Our main attraction is the restaurant and our ability to produce a great experience,” said Matthew Hogg, Arizona Sands Club executive chef. “So, it is not just the great food, it’s also the service, the relationships we build and the home away from home atmosphere that we strive to deliver.” While membership makes Arizona Sands Club private, it’s open to other users. “We are a community space,” said Adam Begody, director of member services. “You don’t have to be a member to reserve the space.” That includes nonprofits and other groups. “The goal for us is to be a big community partner,” he said. “We want this space to be inclusive, approachable and a reflection of our community.” Arizona Sands Club is also committed to using local vendors for its products and food. The club, with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and the expansive stadium, is already attracting the college community. The UArizona men’s and women’s basketball teams eat there often, as does UArizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins. “What they’ve done with the re-do on the inside is tremendous, and the food is absolutely fantastic,” Robbins said. “It gives us a new option on campus for events and for our faculty. And that’s something we’ve been working on for a long time.” Goldberg said plans are already in the works for comedy shows on the weekends, live music and other scheduled entertainment. “I hope it continues to grow and exceeds everyone’s expectations,” he said. “ I want it to be an extension of athletics and faculty where it’s a country club without the golf course. I want it for everybody.”

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Arizona Sands Club Membership at a Glance Six membership levels with monthly dues from $30 to $400. All levels provide the following benefits: • Complimentary Continental Breakfast • Complimentary Hospitality Station • Complimentary “Chef’s Choice” Community Hour • Complimentary Game-Day Tailgate Experience with live music, food, drinks and entertainment at each Arizona home football game. • Member programming that includes access to Bear Down Kitchen Most members may add O.N.E.(Optimal Network Experiences) for $50 more per month. It provides 50% off á la carte dining at Arizona Sands Club, complimentary golf and dining at ClubCorp locations, plus special offerings at more than 700 hotels, resorts and entertainment venues.

To join:

Courtney Miller (520) 955-2479 Courtney.Miller@ClubCorp.com Joseph Erceg (520) 471-3708 Joseph.Erceg@ClubCorp.com

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1) Jon Volpe, NOVA Chairman and CEO 2) From left: Kym Adair, Executive Director of Arizona Bowl; Debbie Wagner, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson and Volpe

NOVA Home Loans $500,000 to Nonprofits in Communities it Serves By Rodney Campbell In a year when community-building took on an even larger role, NOVA Home Loans stepped up and made significant charitable contributions across Southern Arizona in 2020. NOVA made nearly $200,000 in gifts to nonprofits across the region, including a year-end donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. The gift carried a personal connection for NOVA Chairman and CEO Jon Volpe. “I was a club kid myself, so I know how powerful an impact the BGCT staff and volunteers can have in the lives of at-risk kids,” Volpe said. “They pushed me to pursue my dreams of going to Stanford and playing professional football, but most importantly, they showed me that it was possible to achieve personal growth even when you 142 BizTucson

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were dealt a rough hand.” NOVA has supported the clubs for the past two decades. The mortgage lender doubled its impact last year by teaming with the Jeannie and Cole Davis Foundation to give $50,000 to the Frank & Edith Morton Clubhouse and the BGCT “On the Go” virtual program, which uses social media to connect members and families to club activities during COVID-19-related school closures. “This gift could not have come at a better time as we are repositioning our services to best meet the needs of Tucson’s youth,” BGCT CEO Debbie Wagner said. The gift was part of NOVA’s Focus on Giving campaign, which it launched last year to provide more than $500,000

in donations to 17 nonprofits in communities it serves. The program continues in 2021 as NOVA accepts suggestions for nonprofits to support through a website, novahomeloans.com/giving. The company, which has offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas, has made more than $25 million in charitable donations in its 40-year history. NOVA is licensed in 15 states and has more than 1,000 team members across 20 branches. One well-known impact was its title support of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. From 2015-2019, the game generated more than $4 million in support for local charities. It was the only not-for-profit game on the NCAA bowl schedule. “Giving back is in our DNA because www.BizTucson.com


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By Gabr ielle Fim bres

Walker .com

Jon Vo lpe’s m ain goal best hu in sband, father an life is being be. the d provide r he ca Volpe, n chair m an and Home Loans CE O of and a Council No 20 va 13 Tucson Father’s a child Father Da y when his of the Year, wa His paren family moved s ts soon to Tucso worked divorce n. d, and a doub his moth le shift ther m as a wa oved itress. H er every oth out of town is faand he er saw him Volpe an weekend. fend for d his older br other we themsel re left to ves. “I would walk ho www.B continue me izTucso d on pag n.c

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Team members play a key role in supporting Miracle en El Barrio, an annual holiday toy drive that benefits children on Tucson’s south side. In its 18 years, the event has provided more than 40,000 presents to kids who may not have otherwise received one. Last year, team members delivered toys and gave more than $17,000 in cash. NOVA Education Exchange Manager Kathy Stern has organized the event for the past several years. One of her job’s perks is having a management team that believes in supporting its communities. “To be able to enrich our lives by helping others benefits not only our clients, but also our company environment,” she said. “Working for a company that supports me trying to make

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the world a better place is a privilege. NOVA Home Loans truly sees the value in giving back.” The company’s loan officers often make charitable contributions when they close transactions. The marketing department gives time as a group to help Ben’s Bells. It’s all about making Southern Arizona a more enjoyable place to live. “As a mortgage lender, we’re committed to building strong communities, but it goes beyond simply putting neighbors into homes,” Volpe said. “It starts at the ground level by investing in causes that provide our people with the tools they need to lift themselves out of tough situations and become strong members of our communities we serve.”

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PHOTOS COURTESY NOVA HOME LOANS

om

– Debbie Wagner, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson

we know we wouldn’t be where we are without help from others,” Volpe said. The company also provides a paid day off each year for its team members to volunteer at nonprofits of their choice. Employees have used the time to mentor and coach kids, volunteer at shelters and food banks, “adopt” families in need and serve on the boards of children’s hospitals. Empowering its team is one reason why NOVA was chosen as a “Top Company to Work for in Arizona” last year by azcentral.com. “We encourage our team members to pay it forward by playing active roles in communities we serve,” Volpe said. “We are enabling both personal and professional growth and building a stronger foundation as a company.”

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Makin g Dream s Com e True

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3) Volpe with his wife, Heather, daughter, Kaylie and son, Trevor 4) BizTucson Spring 2013 – Father’s Day Council Tucson honors Volpe as 2013 Father of the Year.

This gift could not have come at a better time as we are repositioning our services to best meet the needs of Tucson’s youth.

FATHER


BizTOOLKIT

How Captives Help Businesses Save on Healthcare Costs By Anthony Sylvester

Businesses of all sizes know well how costly employee healthcare benefits can be. Those costs seem to go up year after year without fail. Add in the sudden shocks and ongoing effects of the pandemic, and many businesses are seeking alternatives to gain more control over their costs while still providing a robust healthcare program that meets the needs of their employees. Self-funded captives are one of the alternatives drawing interest among employers looking for greater control and flexibility. What Are Captives?

Captives are alternative risk-financing solutions that allow businesses with at least 50 employees to pool with likeminded employers to share in the risk, essentially creating their own insurance company rather than contracting with a traditional carrier. By pooling risk, participating employers reduce claims volatility and take advantage of the law of large numbers.

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They provide businesses much more control than contracting with a traditional health insurer. Specifically, captives offer the types of cost savings usually reserved for larger employers. Greater Flexibility

Another benefit a captive provides is greater flexibility and control over the design and implementation of healthcare benefits programs. Although risk is pooled among multiple captive participants, each employer is in the driver’s seat in terms of overall plan design and coverages for their respective programs. Unlike a traditional model where employers are limited to the options offered by individual insurance carriers, captives allow them to customize the plan to fit the specific needs of their workforce. Full Access to Claims Data

Under a captive solution, employers also gain and maintain access to claims data and information, allowing for da-

ta-driven decisions and changes to get ahead of costs and instituting plan designs to steer employee behavior toward lower-cost alternatives. For example, if claims data reveals numerous, costly ER visits among employees, an employer can make plan changes like raising the deductible to discourage ER visits and encourage employees to visit lower-cost urgent cares. For employers seeking additional flexibility and control over healthcare costs, a captive can be a worthy alternative to a traditional insurance approach. With our local expertise and global reach, the team at Lovitt & Touché can help craft a captive solution that’s right for your business. Anthony Sylvester is manager of Lovitt & Touché’s Employee Health & Benefits Services division in Tucson. Reach him at asylvester@ lovitt-touche.com. Biz

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Work of Heart

Vibrant New Mural for Diamond Children’s Medical Center By Tom Leyde Children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer have a colorful new view from their rooms at Diamond Children’s Medical Center. A 900-square-foot mural by Tucson artist Joe Pagac was officially unveiled by hospital officials in January. The brilliantly colored mural features dolphins, whales, kittens, puppies, animals riding bicycles and other items from nature. It was designed to lift up spirits and bring joy to the children receiving treatment. The mural was a collaboration be146 BizTucson

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tween the hospital and DPR Construction, the general contractor of Diamond Children’s new pediatric hematology and oncology clinic at 1625 N. Campbell Ave. Painted on the side of an adjacent structure, the mural faces the windows of the new clinic. DPR decided there was a need to curate a mural, said Sarah Frost, CEO of Banner — University Medical Center Tucson and Banner — University Medical Center South. The effort, she said, was “above and beyond” DPR’s contract for the construction project.

Each year, Frost said, about 60 children begin their battle against cancer in Tucson. “We believe the children fighting this deserve the best,” she said. Matt Thrower, project executive for DPR Construction, said the new clinic and mural “is one of the best projects we’ve been involved in.” The company had asked its team of partners to participate in the mural project, Thrower said. “They wanted to be part of this mission to leave something special behind,” he said. www.BizTucson.com


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The team raised over $31,000 for the project and approached artist Pagac to commission the piece. Pagac has painted several large murals in Tucson, including humpback whales on a building at Campbell Avenue and Grant Road and “Epic Ride” at Stone Avenue and Sixth Street. “I was super excited about it,” Pagac said. “I thought it was a special project, something that you still know you were in Tucson, something that inspires people.” He asked people what images they’d like to see when they are ill, and people responded on the Internet. He incorporated those images and presented illustrations to partners involved. When www.BizTucson.com

the group gave its OK, he went to work. “There’s something for everyone to focus on when they’re getting their (cancer) treatments …,” Tucson native Pagac said. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this thing.” Pagac, assisted by painter Katherine Joyce, used augmented reality principles to seemingly make the images come to life. They used NovoColor paint for the project, which took two weeks to complete. A special guest at the unveiling ceremony in January was Lino Cordova, 18, of Tucson, who sat in a wheelchair pushed by his mother, Michelle Leon Cordova. He has battled leukemia since the age of 8.

In remarks, Michelle said the puppies and kittens represented the medical staff, as well as strength and resilience. The dolphins represented togetherness, and the bicycling animals represented the joy of children. She said she hopes the mural gives joy and strength to everyone. Lino said a cancer patient’s room can be a dark place without much color. The mural, he said, lets patients know there’s more in the world and gives hope. “If you don’t allow hope in your life, it can take you to a dark place,” he said. “I would not be here today if it weren’t for all of you. You give me hope.”

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PHOTOS BY AUSTIN TEPPER

1) Sarah Frost, CEO of Banner – University Medical Centers Tucson and South 2) Matt Thrower, Project Executive at DPR Construction 3) From left – Jana Montez & Lucy Pelayo-Katsanis, nurse practitioners at the children’s cancer clinic; Patient Marcelino Cordova and Michelle Leon Cordova 4) Artist Joe Pagac


CEO United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

Tony Penn

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BizPHILANTHROPY

Historic $10 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Hopes to Double Impact By Romi Carrell Wittman

MacKenzie Scott, venture philanpeople annually within the next three the United States. In a Dec. 15 column thropist and former spouse of Amazon that Scott posted on Medium.com, she years. Currently, the organization assists founder Jeff Bezos, recently selected 175,000 people each year. said, “I asked a team of advisers to help United Way of Tucson and Southern The United Way of Tucson and me accelerate my 2020 giving through Arizona to receive a $10 million gift – Southern Arizona qualified for the immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis. They the single largest in the 100-year-old orfunding under a search process that took a data-driven approach to identifyganization’s history. Scott implemented to find worthy oring organizations with strong leadership The gift was announced in Decemganizations to support. She assembled teams and results – with special attena team of nonprofit and philanthropy ber 2020. A significant portion is being used to assist in COVID-19 relief efforts experts that focused its national search tion to those operating in communities – specifically food, rents, mortgage and on three elements: impact, community facing high projected food insecurity, utility payments, diapers and medicaneed and equity. high measures of racial inequity, high tions, as well as other houselocal poverty rates and low achold and health-related items. cess to philanthropic capital.” Tony Penn, CEO of the Since last year, Scott has United Way of Tucson and given more than $4 billion to Southern Arizona, said the gift 384 organizations across in the also enables the organization United States, Puerto Rico and to further its work in expandWashington, D.C. ing equity with a specific focus Penn said the local United on education and the digital Way will continue its own acdivide that exists among discountability efforts with a focus advantaged students. “We will on increasing data collection continue and expand our work across all programs. The goal with the disconnected youth is to evaluate the vulnerable population, which we refer to populations United Way serves. Tony Penn with Edmund Marquez, board chair as Opportunity Youth,” Penn Penn said this is critical in orof United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona said. “Opportunity Youth are der to “ensure that we’re pro16- to-24-year-olds who are not moting equitable access to eduin school or working due to a difficult Melissa D’Auria, senior director of cation, financial wellness and healthy upbringing. Many of these are African marketing and communications for the communities.” Edmund Marquez, board chair of American, Hispanic and other children local United Way, said, “[Scott] wanted to find an organization that had the United Way of Tucson and Southern of color, and given the critical support capacity as well as the structure and Arizona, added, “Funds will start going they need, they will have the opportuframework in place so the money could out into the community immediately, nity to thrive.” go directly into the community. We’re The funding has enabled the United through designated community partWay to increase its financial wellness not creating a new program. We’re just ners who’ve joined us in the fight for services and education services. able to reach more people with the proracial equity and other pressing needs, grams we already have in place.” Thanks to the gift, Penn estimated and we’ll continue to work aggressively Scott, who has pledged to give away the United Way’s goal is to double its to raise additional funds to show Ms. impact in the community within three the bulk of her $57 billion fortune, has Scott how the magnitude of her investyears. The United Way has formally made many significant financial contriment can be multiplied.” committed to assisting some 350,000 butions to nonprofit organizations across

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1) Ron Sable – Chairman of the Board Paragon Space Development Corporation, Grant Anderson – President & CEO, Co-Founder Paragon Space Development Corporation – Photo by Chris Mooney 2) BPA Launch 3) BPA Acoustic Test 4) Paragon BPA Team at Launch

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BizSPACE

Creating Water Abundance in Space Paragon Space Development’s Landmark Technology to Revolutionize Missions

PHOTOS COURTESY PARAGON SPACE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

By Stephen Fleming Space wants to kill you. It’s either too hot or too cold, it’s drenched in poisonous radiation and it doesn’t have any air to breathe. Just surviving for more than a few seconds is an engineering challenge. But once the immediate threats are solved — where do you find water to drink? For short missions, like the Apollo moon landings, the answer was simple. Missions brought along enough water to drink and to rehydrate freeze-dried astronaut meals. Washing was minimal. And a flush toilet was something to look forward to when returning to Earth. But the United States and other nations have continuously occupied the International Space Station since Bill Clinton was U.S. president. Scott Kelly, brother of U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, spent over a year on the ISS and dozens of astronauts have lived aboard for six months or more. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommend that an adult should consume up to 3.7 liters of water per day—nearly one gallon. That’s not counting strenuous activity like spacewalks. This means each crew member will literally drink his or her weight in water every 25 days. For a crew of six, if water was managed like the Apollo missions, that would mean carrying up over 2000 gallons of water per year, at a launch cost of over $80 million. Supplying the same crew on a multi-year Mars mission, where the water would have to be rocketed to the red planet and back, would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There had to be a better way. There is. On Earth, water is recycled through a complex series of natural www.BizTucson.com

processes where wastewater is treated, returned to streams, flows to the ocean, evaporates into the atmosphere, then falls as rain to be captured and used again. That cycle takes place over multiple years and thousands of miles. In a closed environment like the space station, that must be done in a compact, power-efficient package. The world’s experts doing just that are at Paragon Space Development Corporation, headquartered in Tucson. Some of Paragon’s founding members came out of the Biosphere 2 project in the late 1990s—an early, overly ambitious attempt to develop life-support systems that could support humans in a sealed environment like a lunar or Martian colony. The Biosphere 2 project tried to generate everything needed to keep eight people alive for two years: breathable air, drinkable water and nutritious food, with no inputs from outside. Due to some rushed engineering, the balance didn’t work out and they had to inject oxygen into the system after 1.5 years. Biosphere 2 remains active today, as a busy University of Arizona research center focused on climate change. But two of the original “Biospherians” – Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum joined with Grant Anderson, a hard-core techie working at Lockheed Martin designing the space station solar arrays, to form Paragon. In 2014, Anderson became the CEO of Paragon, where he remains today. For over 27 years, Paragon’s engineers have specialized in keeping humans alive in harsh environments. Paragon has worked on every major human space flight program since 1999.

One of the company’s latest projects is its Brine Processing System, which launched to the International Space Station on Feb. 20. This system joins other Paragon hardware already on orbit, and it recycles astronaut urine to produce pure, drinkable water. Paragon’s patented process uses forced convection of dry spacecraft cabin air plus dual-membrane distillation to purify and recover available water while filtering out contaminants. The existing ISS systems recover between 75% and 90% of wastewater, but the new Paragon BPS is expected to hit 98% efficiency during its one-year trial-reducing the prohibitive 2000 gallon/ year requirement to an easily-managed 40 gallons of replacement water. Astronauts, commercial crew and tourists will soon be spending months and years on multiple space stations, the moon and eventually Mars and deep space. Humans need water to live, and the cost to ship enough to support long-duration missions is prohibitive. Reliable and efficient water recovery technology isn’t as visually impressive as a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral—but it’s an enormous technological challenge, and one that is critical to the exploration and settlement of outer space. Paragon is also working on the next challenge--recovering, separating and cleaning water extracted from the moon and Mars--with more high-tech innovations. Based on Paragon’s innovations, the long road to taking a drink of water in space starts right here in Tucson.

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BizTRIBUTE

Lynette E. Jaramillo Co-Founder, Casa de la Luz By Christy Krueger Lynette E. Jaramillo saw her dreams come true when she co-founded Casa de la Luz Hospice to provide compassionate support for end-of-life patients and their families. On Feb. 10, 2021, her wishes to continue expanding her company’s reach in the community ended suddenly when she passed away at home from heart failure. She was 78 years old. Jaramillo grew up in Mammoth, Ariz., and studied business management at Pima Community College and University of Arizona. She married, and is survived by, William Jaramillo Sr. They had three children. While working for a home health company in the 1990s, Jaramillo met Agnes Poore, a registered nurse, and they decided to go into business together. In 1998, they established Casa de la Luz Hospice, with Jaramillo overseeing the business operations and Poore handling the clinical end. “The two of us shared a lot of mutual values. It’s what made our relationship special – not just at work, but with our families and staff,” Poore said. “She had pride for all of them and took care of them. The other thing she was good at was mentoring and coaching people.” Casa de la Luz, which is Spanish for “house of light,” expanded its hospice services from solely in-home care to three patient facilities in various locations in northwest Tucson. The first, named Kanmar Place, opened in 2001 in a five-bedroom house. That was followed by locations at The Fountains at La Cholla and Hacienda at the River, both Watermark Retirement Communities. Casa de la Luz at the Fountains closed in 2020. “We had slow, steady growth for 20 years. We’ve taken care of over 20,000 patients in our community,” Jaramillo told BizTucson in 2018. Throughout the years, Jaramillo and 152 BizTucson

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Poore became more active in the community, joining associations such as the area’s chambers of commerce and Southern Arizona Leadership Council, as well as local and national hospice organizations. In 2015, Inside Tucson Business honored Jaramillo with a Women of Influence award in the Outstanding Entrepreneur category, and, in 2016, UArizona Eller College of Management recognized her with its Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things distinction.

Lynette E. Jaramillo Together, Jaramillo and Poore received many local honors, includimg Tucson Metro Chamber’s Copper Cactus Award for Business Growth, Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics and Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Legacy Award. Dave Perry, president and CEO of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, described the Legacy Award as “recognition for someone who has built and created an institution of lasting, real

value, or someone whose gifts to and service for the community will remain long beyond their days. Lynette and Agnes have not only created a remarkable business and service in Casa, but they have led the way by example for so many women.” Added Poore: “The Legacy Award was meaningful to Lynette and me. Besides our families, we have always regarded Casa as our legacy and proud of what we created together.” Jaramillo’s son, William Jaramillo Jr., has been facilities manager at Casa de la Luz for 20-plus years, heading up maintenance for Casa’s six buildings. But he was involved with the business even before its inception. “I’ve been part of it since we started talking about it around the dining room table,” he said. He believes his mother’s best qualities were her grace and determination. “She was the most determined woman I ever knew. She always had a plan – for family and business – and was always graceful about it. She was a special person.” As for Casa’s future, Poore said she and Jaramillo have worked hard to build a talented leadership team so they could someday step back. “I have no worries the hospice will continue to be strong. People will pick up different roles. We’re not replacing her. Lynette is not replaceable. She was a special lady. I’ll miss her greatly. Lynette was the closest woman to me outside my sisters.” In addition to her husband of 59 years and three children, Jaramillo was the matriarch to eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A video of the family’s Feb. 25 service at St. Philip’s in the Hills Church is posted on the company’s website, casahospice. com. Jaramillo often said, “We’ll bring light to people’s homes or where they are at end of life.” We can all hope she saw her own light on Feb. 10. Biz www.BizTucson.com


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BizTRIBUTE

Dan Lyons

A Force Behind Modern Tucson By David Pittman Dan J. Lyons III, a dynamic force in the mid-20th century transformation of Tucson from cowtown to modern American city, died on Dec. 7. He was 89. Lyons will be remembered as an entertaining storyteller and a fearless businessman who took on many challenges – and consistently came out a winner. Before partnering in a leading Tucson real estate business, he worked as a land surveyor, a civil and structural engineer, a bank founder and executive, and a building materials operator. Lyons orchestrated the purchase of the Pioneer Hotel, the city’s first skyscraper that once was the crown jewel of downtown. Born June 8, 1931, Lyons was the son of Helen Rita Malloy and Daniel Joseph Lyons Jr. The couple built a home in what is now midtown, which they moved into when Lyons was 8 months old and Tucson was a different place than today. “Our home was way out of town. All the streets surrounding us were dirt, including Broadway and Speedway. We could have wild horses and rattlesnakes on our front lawn (and) coyotes fought with our dogs,” Lyons wrote in a family memoir titled “Memories Are Made of This,” which demonstrated his sense of humor and storytelling skills. Examples of his youthful exploits included rubber bands in an incense burner as a choirboy; annual Halloween fights in which hardened, green ornamental oranges were used as weapons while in high school; and hot-rod racing on public roads and highways during early college years. At 17, Lyons worked a summer job as a surveyor for the Pima County highway department for $1 an hour. He went on to work many major surveying jobs as a youth and young man. After graduating from Tucson High School, Lyons attended the University 154 BizTucson

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of Arizona, which was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. Following the war, he returned to UArizona and received a degree in civil engineering. “By far the greatest event that happened to me at the university was meeting Bettina (Tina) O’Neil,” wrote Lyons, who married the love of his life Dec. 26, 1957. Until his death, Dan and Tina enjoyed nearly 63 happy years together as husband and wife. The couple had three children – Dan, David and Stephen (all of whom are successful businessmen themselves); and five grandchildren.

Dan J. Lyons III After college, Lyons’ first job was at Southern California Gas in Los Angeles. He moved back to Tucson when offered a position with Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon Missiles & Defense). He took on several major projects for the company, including serving as codesigner and engineer on reroofing the company’s main plant. Lyons was very busy in 1962, when he not only was hired as the engineer

to oversee the design and construction of a new parking garage and major remodeling of the Pioneer Hotel, but also organized a business group that included Max Lininger, D.M. Lovitt and Jack Winn. They worked to open a new bank downtown, which they named Union Bank of Arizona. The group decided Porters cowboy outfitters, a store adjacent to and owned by the Pioneer Hotel, would be the ideal site for their bank. But hotel management was already committed to renewing the Porters’ lease, so Lyons and his cohorts purchased the hotel in order to locate Union Bank in their preferred location. Lyons was 31 when the deal was struck. After buying the hotel and creating Union Bank, Lyons said he was “riding a whirlwind” that was difficult to get off. “I was signing over 500 paychecks – 350 for the hotel, 50 for Pantano Materials and 100 for Union Bank. It was crazy!” A fire at the hotel on Dec. 20, 1970 killed 29 people. Dan and Tina Lyons had sold their interest in the hotel in March 1966 and were not subject to the lawsuits filed following the fire. As for Union Bank, it became Interwest Bank, then Arizona Bank, then Compass Bank, and later BBVA Compass. After learning how much money the real estate agent brokering the Pioneer Hotel sale cleared, Lyons obtained a real estate license and eventually joined Tucson Realty & Trust, where he became a sales leader. There, Lyons met Andy Romo, who was hired by the firm directly out of college. In 1977, they formed the Lyons Romo Company, which grew to become one of the largest brokerages in Tucson with more than 65 agents. Lyons and Romo were active in land development and worked closely with Tucson-area home builders.

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