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SUMMER FALL 2012 2018

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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SPECIAL REPORTS: Tucson Airpor t Authority BFL Construction

– Amazon Fulfillment Center – Rio Nuevo Extended www.BizTucson.com

SUMMER 2018 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 09/30/18


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BizLETTER

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Summer 2018

Volume 10 No. 2

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Photo: Steven Meckler

Tucson has emerged as a world-class city for cycling. With Pima County’s recent opening of The Loop, a 131mile, beautifully paved and landscaped pathway encircling the perimeter of the entire metro area, it’s pure paradise for anyone riding a bike – or for that matter running, walking, roller-blading or horseback riding. Journalist Romi Carrell Wittman provides in-depth coverage of the many aspects of bike riding in our town: the events, the venues, business ventures, nonprofits and future projects. In addition, you’ll learn about the economic impact, tourism and economic development advantages for the community. The event that started it all 36 years ago was El Tour de Tucson, which now attracts an average of 9,000 riders each year from all over the world and has raised $90 million for local charities. Anthony Gimino files a report on what he calls the “Big Bang” theory of cycling. El Tour Founder Richard DeBernardis started a movement with the Perimeter Bicycling Association. Just before press time, Amazon announced its plans to open a fulfillment center, which will be located at Port of Tucson. The economic development team that included Sun Corridor Inc., Pima County, the City of Tucson and Port of Tucson, should be congratulated as this global powerhouse brings 1,500 new jobs to the region. Jay Gonzales covers this breaking news for our region’s transportation and logistics sector. And there’s more exciting news on the economic development front as our region’s largest private sector employer, Raytheon Missile Systems, plans a $500 million expansion, growing their campus with new buildings and 2,000 new employees. There’s yet more good news to report as Rio Nuevo was granted a 10-year extension by the Arizona legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey, with the approval of the special taxing district through 2035. In the past decade, much of downtown Tucson’s revitalization, commercial construction and business attraction success can be credited to Rio Nuevo. This issue we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Tucson Airport Authority, with a special report. A newly released economic impact study reports that TAA has a $7.4 billion annual impact on the region. The report covers the

$47 million renovation and construction project at the Tucson International Airport, the first municipal airport in the U.S. It includes new local eateries, infrastructure, public art displays, a focus on safety and sustainability, plus plans for the future. Another milestone business success is BFL Construction’s 45th anniversary, the focus of a special report on the company founded by local entrepreneur Garry Brav. The breaking news is that BFL has been acquired by JV Driver Group, one of North America’s leading commercial construction companies. The report offers a glimpse into this well-diversified company that continues to grow in a number of areas of construction and now, real estate development. And finally, prepare to be inspired by Boulder Crest Retreat, a new facility for veterans of war, located in Sonoita. David Pittman provides compelling coverage. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 123 Americans, on average, commit suicide every day – and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that roughly 20 of those suicides are committed by military vets. Pittman writes, “Yet there is a glimmer of hope that those distressing statistics regarding suicide and PTSD among combat veterans can be reversed. That optimism is not originating from research hospitals, patient clinics or traditional mental health treatment centers – but rather from a pair of innovative nonprofit retreats in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and Arizona’s Coronado National Forest 45 miles south of Tucson in Sonoita.” Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

Contributing Editors

Jay Gonzales Donna Kreutz

Contributing Copyeditors

Elena Acoba Diane Luber Dave Petruska

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project & & Event Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Elena Acoba Lee Allen Rhonda Bodfield April Bourie Mary Minor Davis Anthony Gimino Jay Gonzales Chuck Graham

June C. Hussey Tiffany Kjos Christy Krueger David Pittman Steve Rivera Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman

Contributing Photographers

Damion Alexander Sophia Batiz Dean Kelly Austin Lenhart Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney Robert Vera Balfour Walker Thomas Wiewandt Kyle Zirkus

Member:

Arizona Builders’ Alliance DM-50 Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce Marana Chamber of Commerce Sun Corridor Inc. Tucson Advertising Federation Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tucson Metro Chamber Visit Tucson

BizTucson Phone: 520.299.1005 Subscription Information:

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

Steve Rosenberg 520.299.1005 or 520.907-1012 steve@BizTucson.com BizTucson is published quarterly by Rosenberg Media, LLC. ,Tucson, AZ ©2018 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.

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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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FEATURES COVER STORY: 32 34 40 44 46 50 52 54 56

CYCLING CITY U.S.A. Tucson Emerges As Global Leader Loving The Loop El Tour De Tucson Bicycling Events An Epic Business Tucson Origins Heritage Park Bike Riding Builds Life Skills TUGOs Taking Off Look! Save A Life

DEPARTMENTS

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BizLETTER From the Publisher BizLOGISTICS Region Lands Amazon Center BizAEROSPACE Raytheon’s $500 Million Expansion BizECONOMY UA Economic Impact – $3.6 Billion BizBIOSCIENCE Positive Economic Potential BizTOURISM Casino Del Sol Renovates AVA Amphitheater Tubac Golf Resort & Spa Receives Honor

WOMEN WHO LEAD 98 BizLEADERSHIP Linda Cormier 100 BizLEADERSHIP Mary Jacobs 103 104

BizAWARDS Dirck Schou of HF Coors Honored in D.C. BizCUISINE King of the Gill: Kingfisher BizHONOR 108 Hall of Fame Coach Gets Statue BizDOWNTOWN 110 Rio Nuevo Gets New Life BizVETERANS 118 Boulder Crest Retreat Arizona 126 128

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SUMMER 2018 VOLUME 10 NO. 2

BizARTS Kassers Donate $2.5 Million to Tucson Museum of Art BizAWARDS From Ideas Come Realities

ABOUT THE COVER Cycling City U.S.A. Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis

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BizTECHNOLOGY The I.T. Factor – CIO Profiles + Q & As Matt Federoff – CIO, Vail School District Frank Marini – CIO, Tucson Medical Center Jay Nunamaker – MIS Chair, University of Arizona David Diers – VP of Technology, Cox Communications

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BizEDUCATION Tucson Values Teachers’ 10th Anniversary Film Focuses on Teacher Turnover

BizCONSTRUCTION 206 New To Market BizAWARDS 210 Boys & Girls Clubs Honor Sam Fox 212 Cornerstone Building Foundation BizSALES 214 Sales Guru Jeffrey Gitomer 216 218

BizAWARDS Tucson Police Foundation’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ BizTRIBUTE Henry Koffler

SPECIAL REPORTS 65

Tucson Airport Authority at 70 Years SPECIAL REPORT 2018

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORIT Y $7.4 Billion Economic Impact

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BFL Construction at 45 Years SPECIAL REPORT 2018

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

photo: www.balfourwalker.com

BizCONTENTS

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PHOTO: COURTESY AMAZON

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BizLOGISTICS

Amazon Picks Tucson for New Fulfillment Center Adding 1,500 Jobs to Local Economy By Jay Gonzales Tucson took another giant step forward in a strategy to establish the region as a transportation and logistics hub with an agreement by Amazon to build a fulfillment center here adding 1,500 jobs to the local economy. In the announcement on May 16, Amazon said it will build an 855,000-squarefoot facility at the Port of Tucson, a privately owned inland port on Tucson’s southeast side, creating full-time jobs “with competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package including healthcare, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on day one.” Aside from the obvious benefits of jobs, tax revenue and having another prominent company make a home in Tucson, landing Amazon gives the region three major distribution centers – with Target.com and HomeGoods already operating here – in a specific strategy laid out in the Sun Corridor Inc. Economic Blueprint established in 2007 by the regions’s economic development leaders. The blueprint update in 2014 lists four trade clusters as focus areas for the region – aerospace and defense, bioscience/ healthcare, alternative energy/natural resources, and transportation and logistics. www.BizTucson.com

“This announcement of Amazon is really a prime opportunity to solidify our position as one of the nation’s leading centers for logistics and distribution companies,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO at Sun Corridor Inc. “It’s a big win.” Snell said there was plenty of credit to go around to partners involved in the 8-month process to attract Amazon to Tucson – including Gov. Doug Ducey, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Pima County, the city of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power. “This was a unique project in that it was a two-track process,” Snell said. “Amazon sent its real estate people to focus on the zoning, the land use, those kinds of things. The second track was really the economic development track – making the business case. “Pima County did an excellent job because there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that has to happen to make these things work. The county did a lot of the heavy lifting on the infrastructure and the land use.” With all of that put together – including annexation of the land into the city continued on page 18 >>> Summer 2018

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BizLOGISTICS

continued from page 17 of Tucson – the region still had to convince Amazon that it has the workforce and the presence as a logistics hub for a facility that large. “We were able to really make that case, in part because we have seen a number of logistics and distribution companies move to Tucson in the last few years,” Snell said. “Part of making the case to Amazon was to not just take our word for it. Others have found success in their logistics and distribution centers, and they agreed with it.”

it an opportunity to “win in transportation and logistics,” making that a focus area for the region’s economic development. “I think we’re showing all the time that this community can win in this,” he said. “We are a convergence center. The nation’s busiest port is still the port of Long Beach, California, and they’ve got tons of goods and services moving eastward. You’ve got the increasing strength of Mexico as a primary market with goods and services moving south to north. We’re in a convergence point

in Tucson and to continue innovating in a state committed to providing great opportunities for jobs and customer experience.” The fulfillment center will be used to pick, pack and ship small items to customers – including books, electronics, household items and toys, the company said in its news release. Amazon said that since 2007, it has invested billions of dollars into its fulfillment center infrastructure and through its compensation to employees in the state. Between 2011 and 2016, Ama-

This announcement of Amazon is really a prime opportunity to solidify our position as one of the nation’s leading centers for logistics and distribution companies. It’s a big win.

“This announcement of 1,500 new jobs with Amazon, one of the world’s largest brand names, is huge for Southern Arizona,” said David Hutchens, president and CEO of UNS Energy and Tucson Electric Power, and board chair at Sun Corridor Inc. “The ripple effect of a project of this magnitude will benefit the region for many years down the road.” Ducey said, “Amazon’s selection of Tucson for this impressive new facility demonstrates that Southern Arizona has a lot to offer businesses in terms of talent, location, pro-business environment and quality of life. This project will create thousands of new jobs and generate significant capital investment in the region.” Snell said Tucson’s location and infrastructure – rail, highways, land – give 18 BizTucson

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Joe Snell, President & CEO, Sun Corridor Inc. between those two and I think that’s really important.” “We see more and more international companies recognizing the advantages Tucson has to offer as a logistics hub and gateway to Mexico,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. The Tucson fulfillment center will be the fifth for Arizona. In a news release, Amazon said it currently has 7,000 fulltime employees in the state at the fulfillment centers and other facilities. “Since we first broke ground in Arizona over 10 years ago, we have found a network of support from community leaders to statewide officials, a dedicated workforce and fantastic customers,” Mark Stewart, VP of Amazon’s North America Operations, said in the news release. “We’re excited to open a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center

zon’s investments contributed an additional $900 million into Arizona’s economy. Using methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the company estimates its investments in the state have created an additional 18,000 indirect jobs on top of the company’s direct hires. With Target, HomeGoods and now Amazon on Tucson’s turf, Snell said economic development leaders will be trying to continue the momentum as a logistics hub that has developed over the last several years. “Tucson’s best days are ahead of us and we’ve got a pipeline absolutely full of companies, including logistics and distribution companies,” Snell said. “Do I think more are coming? Yeah, I do.”

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PHOTOS: COURTESY AMAZON


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IMAGE: COURTESY RAYTHEON MISSILE SYSTEMS

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2 1) Taylor W. Lawrence, President, Raytheon Missile Systems 2) Larry Lucero, Senior Director of Government & External Affairs for Tucson Electric Power with Gov. Doug Ducey; 3) From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Richard Fimbres, Ramon Valadez, Sandra Watson, Bonnie Allin, Gov. Doug Ducey, Taylor W. Lawrence, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Michael Bidwill, Ally Miller & Jim Click

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BizAEROSPACE

Raytheon’s $500 Million Expansion 2,000 New High-Wage Jobs

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

By Jay Gonzales The ribbon was cut May 10 on one of the region’s biggest economic development victories. With Gov. Doug Ducey and a bevy of leading government and business officials on hand, Raytheon Missile Systems President Taylor W. Lawrence officially opened the first new building in its expansion that is bringing 2,000 new jobs to its Tucson facility on the grounds of Tucson International Airport. “Today marks an important milestone for our company, our community, our state and for the defense of our nation and its allies,” Lawrence said in his prepared remarks at the formal ribboncutting in front of the new customer access center. “These new facilities in Tucson will house many of the 2,000 new employees we’re hiring over the next few years.” The expansion was announced in November. By the time of the ribboncutting, Lawrence said, more than 1,500 of the new jobs, with average salaries of more than $100,000, had been filled. In addition to the customer access center, an advanced testing facility and a multipurpose building are expected to be completed this year. “The new buildings are part of an overall expansion to really focus on our research and development,” Lawrence said. “They’re going to house laboratories, a high-performance computing facility, what we call an anechoic chamber – a massive indoor structure that allows us to test missiles and their sensors in an RF (radio frequency) quiet environment. So this is really all about highperformance, next-generation missile research and development.” As business and government leaders www.BizTucson.com

celebrated Raytheon’s investment in the region, they recalled that it was a major economic-development loss – the Tesla battery manufacturing facility in 2014 – that triggered the collaboration that put the incentives in place to get Raytheon to expand here. Lawrence said Raytheon looked at Texas, Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky and Arkansas before settling on its decision to expand at its existing facility in Tucson. “It was actually a loss that pulled this community together – and that was the opportunity to try to attract Tesla to this community,” said Larry Lucero, senior director of government and external affairs for Tucson Electric Power and former chair of the Tucson Metro Chamber board of directors. “We all realized that in order for us to play in the league that we always thought was way over our heads – if we all work together, if we all collaborate and look at all of our strengths – we can pull a great proposal together and attract the kind of employers like we have here already like Raytheon, but also new employers like Caterpillar, like Vector Space and on and on.” “That was a time when we all came together as a region, including the university, Pima College, Sun Corridor,” Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said of the Tesla effort. “We sat down as a team and said, ‘Look, let’s put this thing together.’ And we got to be one of the three finalists from not even being on the board. So there’s no question that when we work together, we can do it.” Lucero added: “The opportunities are there. There was this big ‘aha’ moment as we all sat around the room real-

izing that we had put together a really, really good effort, a great effort, and in some instances a superior proposal that we had never put together before. It was the light bulb going on.” Lawrence said one of the key moves for Tucson to get the expansion was the realignment of Hughes Access Road, now known as Aero Park Boulevard, to give Raytheon a critical buffer between its facilities and the airport. Raytheon also agreed to be annexed into the city of Tucson, which allowed city government to then provide additional incentives by setting aside tax revenue for future infrastructure improvements. “Everybody sort of said, ‘What do we need to do to make this happen?’” Lawrence said. “They came and got things done.” Lawrence credited Ducey and U.S. Sen. John McCain, among others, with providing the nudge to assemble the critical pieces of Tucson’s proposal after a time in which the region’s economic development stakeholders gained a reputation for operating independently and without a common vision. “It has gotten so much better in the last four or five years, especially since Gov. Ducey came in as governor,” Lawrence said. “I also give a lot of credit to John McCain. He got really involved in this. We were ready to look at other opportunities and then we got the road moved. There was a lot of bureaucracy that Senator McCain had to help us manage our way through. “The road was a big deal for us. But other infrastructure work on the freeways and in education is hugely important. We hire more engineers out of continued on page 22 >>> Summer 2018

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BizAEROSPACE

continued from page 21 the UA than any other college. We need healthy, vibrant university systems in the state because that helps us to sell to our employees that there’s a school system that will support their children. All those play into having a vibrant business environment that we can take advantage of.” Construction at the site will continue through 2020. The general contractor is Brassfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, Alabama, but Lawrence noted that 95 percent of the subcontractors have been from Arizona. The project has employed more than 600 construction workers. In a news release, Raytheon said it is “designing, engineering, testing and manufacturing some of the most advanced aerospace and defense technologies of today and the future – including missile defense systems, hypersonic missiles and space vehicles.” The new construction will add 559,000 square feet of commercial space with a total investment by Raytheon of more than $500 million. When the hiring is complete, Raytheon will have approximately 12,000 employees in Tucson. It is the company’s largest expansion in Tucson in 30 years. “The impact of adding nearly 2,000 jobs and significant investment by our region’s largest private employer cannot be overstated,” said Joe Snell, president & CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. “Raytheon’s decision comes on the heels of other relocations and expansions in the last few years by Caterpillar, HomeGoods and Comcast among others. Southern Arizona is a region on the move.” In addition to the jobs and impact it provides, Lawrence said, Raytheon’s presence provides Tucson with an anchor company that will attract others, can raise the quality of education in the area and can provide opportunities for a diverse and well-paid workforce. “We’re building an increasingly diverse, multi-generational workforce that enjoys a broadening range of career opportunities,” Lawrence said. “Working together, we’re demonstrating the potential of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) to create career opportunities and public and private partnerships to advance our local and state economies. “Together we are demonstrating Southern Arizona’s trends in innovation, technology and quality as a community to attract and retain top talent. As our business grows, we will hire people at all skill levels with an emphasis on engineering and other higher-wage and technical positions. These jobs will fuel Raytheon’s growth and bring even more top talent to this region.” Ducey said Raytheon’s expansion, while located in Tucson, benefits the entire state, considering the overall economic impact indicated in the ASU study. “This is another major win for Southern Arizona and really for the entire state as an international brand and company expands inside the state of Arizona,” Ducey said. “Raytheon’s importance to Arizona’s economy and our economic health and future cannot be overestimated.”

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BizBRIEFS

Dr. Michael Dake Dr. Michael Dake has been appointed senior VP of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. Dake is an internationally recognized physician-scientist, health educator and medical researcher. He leads the integration of undergraduate and graduate education, research and clinical activities among UA health colleges and their clinical partners. He made medical history in 1992 with the implantation of the world’s first thoracic stent-graph, the first in the United States. Biz

Stephanie Quesada Stephanie Quesada is the new VP of sales and marketing for the Tucson division of Miramonte Homes. She has been with Miramonte since 2012 and was promoted last year to director of sales and marketing. The company said her latest promotion was in recognition of excellent performance. She will use her leadership and operations experience to support Miramonte’s continued growth and success as one of Arizona’s premiere regional homebuilders.

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Trust The Clements Team To Protect You & Your Business The Clements Agency, LLC is a member of Trusted Choice®, offering the smart way to buy insurance. Trusted Choice® agents and brokers represent multiple insurance companies, offering you a variety of coverage choices and customized plans to meet your specialized needs. Most importantly, as Trusted Choice® agents we are not employees of an insurance company, so you have someone who works for you, not the company.

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PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

PHOTO: AUSTIN LENHART

Tucson Emerges as a Global Leader By Romi Carrell Wittman Have you heard the word? Cycling is the new golf and Tucson is at the center of the action. Cycling is increasing in popularity worldwide, partly due to its accessibility. You can rent a bike for a few bucks or buy one for a few hundred dollars. Unlike other hobbies, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars to get started. Just grab a bike and helmet and go. Tucson and Southern Arizona have been known to cycling pros, both road racers and mountain bikers, for many years. Pros and international cycling champions flock to Tucson to train because of the variety of terrain and overall mild weather, particularly our tem-

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perate winters. But Tucson is emerging as a top cycling destination for cycling tourists and, perhaps more importantly, it’s becoming a cycling city for locals. People are noticing. The benefits to Tucson and Southern Arizona as a whole are enormous. In its 2018 report, the Outdoor Industry Association reported that outdoor recreation, including cycling, is an $887 billion industry representing some 7.5 million jobs and $125 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Of that, roughly $96 billion is generated by what’s called “wheeled sports,” which

encompasses both paved road and offroad cycling. In Arizona, annual retail sales of bicycle-related goods to local and out-of-state customers is estimated to be $114 million, excluding internet sales. In Tucson, bicycle tourism and retail sales total roughly $20 million annually and that number continues to grow. In May, Tucson was listed as the No. 5 best bicycling city by PeopleForBikes, which bases its ranking on a data-driven process that rates ridership, safety, network, reach and acceleration. “It rewards cities not just for what they did 20 years ago, but also what they’re doing right now,” the organization said on its website.

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There are ancillary benefits as well. OIA reported that outdoor recreation infrastructure – things like The Loop, Pima County’s 131-mile route that circles the region – have proven to be invaluable assets for economic development offices and chambers of commerce seeking to attract new employees. Laura Shaw chief marketing officer at Sun Corridor Inc., the economic development organization representing Southern Arizona, said that outdoor recreation, specifically facilities like The Loop, are a great item to have in the recruitment and retention toolbox. “Cycling is in our DNA – it’s part of the fabric of our community,” she said. “The Loop is a key amenity we discuss with potential employers looking to relocate or expand in Southern Arizona. The Loop is a unique asset and great fun to promote.” Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath echoes that feeling. “The Loop is essentially the thread that binds our region together,” he said. “It creates an opportunity for users to connect to Oro Valley from Pima County, Tucson, Marana and South Tucson in an equitable, safe and meaningful way.” Then there are the health benefits. OIA reported that communities with a strong outdoor recreation presence enjoy personal and social benefits like reduced crime rates and improved education outcomes for elementary, secondary and post-secondary students, including higher high school graduation rates. Studies have also shown reduced long-term individual and public healthcare costs owing to lower stress and obesity rates. Tucson consistently ranks at the top

PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

BizSPORT

of cycling destination lists and it’s beginning to make the top lists of towns where cycling is a part of daily life. Outside magazine ranked Tucson No. 1 in its “Top 10 Best Bike Towns.” In 2013, The Atlantic’s CityLab rated Tucson No. 8 in its list of “Most Bikeable Cities.” And Forbes ranked Tucson No. 2 in its list of “America’s Best Cities for Bikers.” These rankings use a variety of factors to score cities, such as bike paths, bike share programs and road connectivity.

The Loop is a key amenity we discuss with potential employers looking to relocate or expand in Southern Arizona. The Loop is a unique asset and great fun to promote.

– Laura Shaw Chief Marketing Officer Sun Corridor Inc.

For cycling tourists, Tucson offers amenities and experiences riders can’t get elsewhere. Another major draw are the dozens of cycling events that Tucson hosts annually, like El Tour de Tucson in November and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo in February.

In 2016, The Economist’s 1843 magazine cited the ride up Mt. Lemmon among the seven best bike rides in the world. The writers singled out the 27-mile Mt. Lemmon ride for its curving, generously shouldered route, which climbs about 7,000 feet from the Sonoran Desert floor into the cooler, forested high country. Tucson sits at No. 23 out of the 50 best bike cities, according to Bicycling magazine. The writers cited the hundreds of miles of paved routes, not only The Loop, but also the many interconnected paths that wind through the city and county. They also mentioned TUGO, Tucson’s first municipal bikesharing program with 330 bikes available to rent at 36 stations across 13 neighborhoods. A variety of passes are available, from the frequent commuter to the visiting tourist. Mountain bikers also flock to Tucson. The Active Times named Tucson among its 10 top mountain bike towns. It secured its spot on the list with its surrounding five mountain ranges and 300 miles of biking trail, including the very popular Fantasy Island mountain biking facility on the eastside. Linda Fahey, a board member of the nonprofit El Grupo, an organization that helps kids get access to bikes, said, “Non-cyclists don’t realize that Tucson is a mecca for pros. Pros have known about Tucson for a very long time,” she said. But with the completion of The Loop, she said that more and more “average” people are discovering cycling in Tucson. “The Loop has added a whole other element. We’re seeing a different kind of rider, people who are doing it for purely recreational purposes.”

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Loving The Loop How Private-Public Cooperation Created a Tucson Crown Jewel One would be hard-pressed to find someone who could have predicted that a severe, days-long thunderstorm and flood would one day result in The Loop, a 131-mile system of paved, shared-use paths that encircles Tucson. “It’s one of the largest and finest recreational amenities in the country,” said Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County administrator and the major force behind the ambitious project. The Loop touches virtually every part of town, both the city proper and the unincorporated areas of Pima County, as well as Marana, Oro Valley, South Tucson and Vail. But how did a major flood lead to The Loop? It’s a story of collaboration and dedication that spans nearly 40 years. In late September 1983, Tucson experienced record-breaking flooding when Tropical Storm Octave brought nearly seven inches of rain over four days. Typically dry riverbeds were overwhelmed, causing many structures along their banks to collapse into the floodwaters. The rivers themselves were re-routed as floodwaters gouged out chunks of riverbanks. Statewide the damage was severe: Some 10,000 people were left homeless and 13 people died. According to Pima County, total flood damage reached nearly $300 million, or roughly $600 million in today’s dollars. The county, through the Regional Flood Control District, sought to prevent future damage and loss of life. It undertook a major bank protection project, using soil cement to shore up riverbanks throughout the county. But an interesting thing

PHOTOS: COURTESY PIMA COUNTY

By Romi Carrell Wittman

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Julia Strange VP of Community Benefit Tucson Medical Center

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BizSPORT

The clear economic impact of cycling, and The Loop by extension, has been measured in the tens of millions of dollars annually. – Amber Smith President & CEO Tucson Metro Chamber

continued from page 34 started to happen as engineers made their way through all affected areas: People used the unpaved maintenance access paths for walking, jogging and cycling. The idea of The Loop was hatched. In 1986, as the county continued its flood control improvements on the Rillito River, it installed the first features of The Loop – parks along the river and the first section of paved path along the Rillito from Campbell Avenue west to Oracle Road. Local residents loved it. “It’s been a long journey for me,” said Suzanne Shields, director of the Pima County Regional Flood Control District who has been involved with the project since its inception. She offered her perspective at the recent Loop dedication ceremonies. “We talked to each neighborhood. We wanted permanence, so we paved it and striped it.” Curtis Lueck, who serves on The Loop Advisory Committee, said, “Paving it for public use is really inexpensive. It’s only about $200,000 a mile above and beyond what they spent for flood control. That’s a lot of bang for the buck.” To offset expenses, the county formed public-private partnerships, such as the one with Tucson Medical Center. Julia Strange, VP of community benefit at TMC, said, “TMC’s goal is to keep people healthy and out of the hospital.” Partnering with the folks behind The Loop construction made a lot of sense for a variety of reasons. “We’ve taken a very functional need and leveraged that effort into making it a real community asset that makes physical activity accessible,” Strange said. “That’s critical to public health and critical to our ongoing commitment to public health.” “Most non-cyclists don’t know that Tucson is a mecca for biking pros for training,” said Linda Fahey, a board member of the nonprofit El Grupo, which helps underserved kids get access to bikes. “The Loop has added a whole other element of people who ride recreationally. We’re seeing different kinds of riders.” There are other benefits that stem from The Loop. Many folks use it to commute to and from work, which means fewer cars are on the road and less emissions are in the air. A less tangible, but just as valuable benefit has emerged around the The Loop: a sense of community. “These kinds of things create a great sense of commu38 BizTucson

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nity because people meet there, they form running groups, they meet up to walk,” Strange said. “They get to know one another.” There is great commercial potential, too. “Bicyclists love three things,” Lueck said. “They love biking, they love coffee and they love beer. There is a lot of opportunity for businesses along The Loop.” Many developers are jumping at that opportunity. Gene Goldstein, president of Bramic Design Group, represents clients who own office property adjacent to The Loop near the Hilton East on Broadway between Pantano Road and Kolb Road. He is working on getting the property rezoned from office space, O-3, to commercial, C-1. Once that’s complete, the three buildings, some 53,000 square feet, will be leased out as restaurant and retail space. “It had been mostly vacant office space,” Goldstein said. “Once the rezoning process is complete, it will be very conducive to people traveling The Loop.” Economic development organizations are using The Loop as a means to attract talent and businesses to Tucson. Amber Smith, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce, said, “The clear economic impact of cycling, and The Loop by extension, has been measured in the tens of millions of dollars annually.” She added that the chamber’s Talent Attraction Taskforce has cited The Loop as a major asset for employee recruitment. “Our climate and outdoor living is an enormous recruitment tool and The Loop supports these efforts,” she said. The Loop has a lot of tourism potential as well. Arizona already ranks high in lists of best places for destination bicycling. Arizona’s great year-round riding weather and the hundreds of biking events make it a sought-after locale. Lee McLaughlin, senior director of marketing at Visit Tucson, said The Loop offers riders an experience they can’t get elsewhere. “To be able to cover that distance – 131 miles – without cars is very unique. Cyclists can go almost all the way from Mission San Xavier to the Fantasy Island mountain-biking park on the eastside. Being able to cover that amount of ground on a dedicated path is a big attraction for cyclists.” Improvements continue to be made to The Loop and an app is in the works. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said, “The completed Loop is a great amenity for Tucson. Now we have to work to connect the wheel to the spokes, so to speak, and complete a bike and pedestrian network that runs through Tucson as well as around it.” “Signage along The Loop could be better,” added Lueck. “So we’re working with partners to come up with an app that tells you where you’re at so if you need to call for help, you can give them your exact location. We’d also like to include businesses on The Loop so riders know where they can stop to have a bite to eat or grab a cup of coffee.” The Loop is already emerging as one of Tucson’s crown jewels and it was only possible through the long-term vision, collaboration and cooperation of groups throughout the community.

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LOCAL GROUP MAKES GLOBAL IMPACT: Cycling So Others May Walk By Romi Carrell Wittman

In 2009, local Rotarian and hospital administrator Mike Harris decided to help fight this disease. He established the Rotary District 5500 Ride to End Polio with the goal of raising funds to eradicate polio through extensive vaccination efforts. Since then, the ride and its fundraising footprint has become an international affair, with the Rotary International Headquarters hosting a team of cyclists from around the world. In 2017, the Ride to End Polio raised nearly $12 million, including a funding match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In total, the group has raised $47 million – funds that have been used to purchase tens of millions of polio vaccines for children around the world.

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For more information, go to Ridetoendpolio.org.

PHOTO: COURTESY VISIT TUCSON

PHOTO: COURTESY VISIT TUCSON

The word “polio” seems like something from a bygone era. Thanks to aggressive vaccination efforts in the United States and abroad, gone are the days where people lived in fear of contracting the crippling, life-altering disease. Still, as recently as 1988, there were more than 350,000 cases globally.

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BizPHILANTHROPY

Cycling’s ‘Big Bang’ El Tour de Tucson, Richard DeBernardis Led the Way

PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

By Anthony Gimino

www.BizTucson.com

The loops and the lanes, the races and the rides, the designations of Tucson as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country ... all paths lead back to an idea conjured by Richard DeBernardis in the early 1980s – El Tour de Tucson. Its 1983 debut, conceived as a one-time event, is the “Big Bang” of Tucson cycling. “All roads lead back to Richard. That’s no joke,” said Todd Sadow, a DeBernardis disciple who became the CEO of Epic Rides, which puts on off-road events throughout Arizona and the U.S. Sadow is one of the many spokes that grew from the initial wheel of El Tour. “My career wouldn’t exist if not for that guy,” Sadow said of DeBernardis. “A lot of people in cycling here in this community wouldn’t.” DeBernardis, of course, didn’t stop after the first El Tour, which featured about 200 cyclists and raised $4,500 for the American Diabetes Association. Everything is, well, just a bit bigger these days. DeBernardis and his staff will be putting on the 36th El Tour de Tucson in November, an event that now draws thousands of cyclists, serves as a significant charity fundraiser, and is an economic engine for Southern Arizona while being an enduring source of pride as one of the region’s key annual events. “For 35 years he has dedicated his life to this mission of bringing the community together, and El Tour has become a key component of what makes the Tucson community so special,” said Ema Kammeyer, the CEO at Easterseals Blake Foundation, which is the primary beneficiary of El Tour. “Like the beautiful surrounding Sonoran Desert we travel on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, El Tour represents the positive results of working together to organize, participate, cheer on the cyclists, or just enjoy the day at home as the streets are filled with thousands of cyclists.” DeBernardis declined to be interviewed for this story because he didn’t want it to be all about him. In fact, El Tour touts more than 2,000 volunteers to be able to pull off the massive organizational puzzle. But think about this for a moment: What if there had never been an El Tour? “Tucson-area improvements that can be linked to Richard’s work – and the ripple effect of the El Tour weekend – include Pima County’s The Loop, countless miles of bike lanes on surface streets, and the designation of Tucson as one of the nation’s top ‘bicycle-friendly’ cities,” Kammeyer said. Maybe Tucson’s growth as a cycling community would have grown organically in a different way without El Tour, without DeBernardis – but maybe not. “Richard has influenced bicycling in Tucson more than anyone because El Tour de Tucson is such a great event that attracted both elite cyclists and the everyday rider,” said Wayne Churchman, the 2018 dedication recipient for El Tour de Mesa, which is one of five annual events continued on page 42 >>> Summer 2018

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BizPHILANTHROPY

Tucson-area improvements that can be linked to Richard’s work – and the ripple effect of the El Tour weekend – include the Pima County loop, countless miles of bike lanes on surface streets, and the designation of Tucson as one of the nation’s top ‘bicycle-friendly’ cities.

El Tour Has Raised $90 Million for Nonprofits By Romi Carrell Wittman Tucsonans know the weekend before Thanksgiving is almost as special as the holiday itself. It’s the time when some 9,000 cyclists from all over the world descend on Tucson for the annual El Tour de Tucson. But El Tour’s impact goes far beyond a mere one-day cycling event. For many local nonprofits, El Tour is the financial lifeblood of their organizations. Most of us know the race injects as much as $20 million to the Southern Arizona economy. What people may not realize is it is also a significant fundraising engine for local nonprofit agencies. How significant? Roughly $90 million has been raised for nonprofits via El Tour’s fundraising support. This year the total is projected to top $100 million. Ila Stadie, development director of the Perimeter Bicycling Association, said the fundraising aspect of El Tour was established in 1996 with the goal of introducing El Tour to a new audience while also enabling local nonprofits to use El Tour as a fundraising event. In that first year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society raised more than $675,000. Conservative projections are to raise $12 million this year. This fall, the Easterseals Blake Foundation is the primary beneficiary of the El Tour de Tucson event – yet any nonprofit can participate and raise funds as a supporting beneficiary. This year’s partners include the ALS Arizona Chapter, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, Cakes for Causes and Friends of Pima Animal Care, to name just a few. Beneficiaries are responsible for their own team coordination and fundraising management. Agencies must apply to the program, which begins each spring with informational meetings. Beneficiaries may participate in the El Tour main event and in the Fun Ride, which features shorter courses. For those who can’t be in Tucson on the big day – or for those who simply want to stay off the streets – the Indoor El Tour provides a stationary cycle alternative while still enabling participants to ride and raise money for their favorite organizations.

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Ema Kammeyer CEO Easterseals Blake Foundation –

continued from page 41 put on by Perimeter Bicycling Association of America. “All these riders have told their friends, and the elite cyclists come here to train, as well as do El Tour de Tucson.” As a practical matter, the big-picture economic translation from those out-of-town cyclists who participate, train and vacation in the Tucson area could have an annual tourism impact of $50 million to $70 million, Brent DeRaad, president and CEO of Visit Tucson, said in 2016. In that year, El Tour reported raising more than $12 million for 45 nonprofit organizations. “People do like giving,” DeBernardis said in a 2016 interview with BizTucson. “We’re Americans. We give and we help everywhere. When I developed El Tour, I made sure there was a charitable component. “My idea when I started El Tour was I wanted to create an example for nonprofit agencies on how you could put on an event and raise money at the same time, and also get people more healthy through bicycling. And it has happened. I saw it as a way of contributing to our community.” El Tour helped spark a local culture of cycling that continues to evolve. Using rankings just from the past couple of years, here is how Tucson has been designated nationally among the best cycling cities:

#1 Top-Ten Bike Towns by Outside

#2 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in America by Forbes

#5 Best Cycling Cities by PeopleForBikes

#8 Most Bikeable Cities by The Atlantic’s CityLab

Maybe it’s a stretch to draw a straight line from Tucson’s cycling scene to DeBernardis, but it does seem as if much of the current climate is at least an echo of the Big Bang of Tucson cycling. “Working with Richard to promote bicycling in the region, and worldwide, has been a pleasure,” Kammeyer said. “His passion for the sport, and the local beneficiaries, is unsurpassed.”

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Bicycling Events Across Southern Arizona By Romi Carrell Wittman Tucson plays host to a multitude of bicycling events throughout Southern Arizona. These events attract not only locals, but tourists from all over the world, as well as professional cyclists. There are weekly events, too, for folks looking to get out, ride and meet other cyclists.

1. MT. LEMMON GRAVEL GRINDER www.mtlemmongravelgrinder.com/

The third annual Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder takes place Oct. 27 and features one of Southern Arizona’s most historic gravel roads. The 60-mile course travels up the steep and narrow control road on the north side of Mount Lemmon. Riders start at the town of Oracle and end in Summerhaven at the top of Mount Lemmon.

2. EL TOUR DE TUCSON

www.perimeterbicycling.com/el-tour-de-tucson/

The oldest and probably the most well-known of Tucson’s biking events, El Tour de Tucson takes place every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It’s a traditional perimeter road race with courses for riders of all ages and abilities. This year marks the 36th year of the event and organizers estimate about 9,000 riders will participate. Routes include 100-, 75-, 50- and 25-mile events, as well as fun rides of 11 miles, five miles or one mile. The Indoor El Tour is a stationary-bicycle event that lets riders participate and help raise money while staying off the street. Since it began, El Tour has raised more than $90 million over 35 years for approximately 50 nonprofit organizations.

3. TUCSON BICYCLE CLASSIC www.tucsonbicycleclassic.com/

Held in March, the annual Tucson Bicycle Classic is an official USA Cycling stage race and offers a $10,000 purse. The challenging three-day race involves a time trial, road race and a circuit race. Riders must complete each stage in order to start the next stage.

4. CYCLOVIA

www.cycloviatucson.org/welcome/

Cyclovia Tucson, which is organized by the Living Streets Alliance, occurs twice a year with an ever-changing route to showcase different neighborhoods in Tucson. The routes are closed to motor vehicle traffic for a safe, family-friendly environment. This event isn’t a race or competition; rather, it’s a chance to enjoy the city on foot or by bike.

5. FANTASY ISLAND

www.sdmb.org/trails/fantasy-island/

If mountain biking is your passion, the Fantasy Island mountain biking park is a must. Located on the east side near Houghton and Irvington roads, this park offers a plethora of trails for the avid rider. Fantasy Island is accessible via The Loop.

6. SATURDAY SHOOTOUT www.arizonabikerides.com/rides/233/shootout-group-bike-ridetucson-arizona/

As the name implies, the Saturday Shootout weekly event starts at 7 a.m. (depending on the time of year) on the University of Arizona mall near University Boulevard and Park Avenue. The ride isn’t easy – it’s three hours of fast road racing in a group as large as 150 to 200 riders. Riders can expect to cover 60 miles.

7. 24 HOURS IN THE OLD PUEBLO www.epicrides.com

The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo ride, sometimes also referred to as ”Biking Man,” is one of the largest 24-hour endurance events in the world. It takes place every February near the town of Oracle. Event founder and Epic Rides owner Todd Sadow said, “The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo presented by Tucson Medical Center is a three-day respite for attendees to enjoy all that is good in the world.” He said attendees come from all over the country and beyond to celebrate mountain biking in the uniquely beautiful Sonoran Desert setting. “Attendees enjoy positive vibes while unplugging from life’s taxing Monday through Friday grind.” The 16-mile course in the Willow Springs Ranch area features some of the best single-track racing in Southern Arizona. Each year roughly 1,700 riders take part.

8. TUESDAY GROUP RIDE

www.arizonabikerides.com/rides/262/gates-pass-mccain-loop-bikeride-tucson-arizona/

Another tough ride, the weekly Tuesday Group Ride is a 20- to 40-mile ride that climbs up Gates Pass.

9. TUESDAY NIGHT BIKE RIDE

www.facebook.com/-Tuesday-Night-Bike-Ride-126690107419535/ Looking for something a little less challenging? Every Tuesday, some 200 commuters, BMXers and families convene for a six to 10-mile ride near the University of Arizona.

10. BICAS ANNUAL ART AUCTION www.bicas.org/art-auction/

Held each year in December, Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage raises money for its bicycle education and outreach programs through an auction of bicycle art. BICAS is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) bicycle center located near downtown Tucson.

11. VELO\VETS www.azvelovets.org

Velo\Vets offers two weekly rides supporting veterans, disabled veterans, and the larger community looking for opportunities to cycle, which combine fun, exercise, social connection and service. Velo\Vets participates and supports veteran riders for El Tour de Tucson, as well as other ride events.

12. BIKEPILGRIM.COM www.bikepilgrim.com

There are typically 60 to 100 rides a week listed. This also is a guide to volunteering opportunities as well as the race schedule for all of Arizona. Summer 2018

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BizENTREPRENEUR

Todd Sadow

An Epic Business

Epic Rides Spreads to Four States

Todd Sadow grew up riding bikes in Fort Worth, Texas, inspired by famous riders like Greg LeMond who won the Tour de France three times. “My passion for cycling grew at a young age,” Sadow said. His passion turned to mountain bikes while he attended the University of Arizona in the mid-1990s. After getting his marketing degree from UA, Epic Rides was formed. “Epic Rides was the product of combining my two passions,” he said, recalling he was 21 years old and seemingly ready for the world. With the help of El Tour de Tucson President Richard DeBernardis and others, he learned about the fundamentals of the business of cycling and how 46 BizTucson

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to run a cycling company. “He allowed me to focus on Epic Rides,” Sadow said. So, he did. And now, nearly 20 years later, Sadow is considered one of the top organizers for mountain bike events. It’s hard to argue, given his success with six major events in four states: 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo; Whiskey Off Road in Prescott; Tour of the White Mountains in Pinetop-Lakeside; Grand Junction Off-Road in Colorado; Carson City Off-Road in Nevada, and OZ Trails Off-Road in Arkansas. There could be more down the road, he said. His company may add two more events. How the company name came about is truly epic, too.

While riding for Arizona Bicycle Experts back in the day, he called himself a “shop rat.” Listening to people in the shop talk about their rides over the weekend, the phrase “epic rides” kept coming up, he recalled. In 1999 he purchased the URL for EpicRides.com. “That was forward thinking for the time,” he said. He absolutely loves what he does, but said, “It’s a lot of work.” However, that’s never slowed the now 40-year-old workaholic who has become one of the key contributors to Southern Arizona’s successful cycling landscape. Little slows him down, save for a seven-month-old who has him riding less for leisure. What he clearly continued on page 48 >>> www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: DAMION ALEXANDER

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BizENTREPRENEUR continued from page 46 doesn’t do is ride in his own events. “If you work for Epic Rides, you don’t ride in Epic Rides – you work Epic Rides events,” he said. “It’s important for us that everyone who signs up to ride is having the experience that we’ve sold them.” And that’s having fun, success “and finishing,” he said. “Most importantly, they need to have a good day outside. That helps them cut loose from their regular nine-to-five and their worries. “If they were to have the full spectrum of the experience, they would struggle a bit. They would question what they were doing a bit and yet they’d overcome the things they questioned that they were doing. And, they’d feel the reward and gratification.” When told it seems he’s just described his situation at Epic Rides – maybe a microcosm – he laughed. “That’s life,” he said. “If you choose to live life from the couch and you don’t want to take on challenges – and that’s OK, it’s not for everybody – there’s a lot of people out there who are excited to be faced with challenges. They’d appreciate the gratification of overcoming something. It’s about being their best selves.” So, here he is, leading the mountain bike charge in the Southwest and beyond with some of the sport’s coolest events. He never thought it would get to what it’s become, or at least he didn’t initially. “It was about producing a few events in Arizona and that would provide a good enough living and a small company with cool events,” he said. “And that would be a good lifestyle.” Everything just happened to take off in the last 10 years, coinciding with a consistent and trending interest in the sport. His vision back then was that if Epic Rides were to start developing cool events and be good at it, “We’d meet the industry’s needs and the mountain bike world would be ready for mountain biking again like it was in the ’90s,” he said. “We’d have a product the nation wants to see. “Fortunately, all the predictions have played out. It’s taken 12 years to play out.”

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BizPOTENTIAL

Proposed Tucson Origins Heritage Park Plan Honoring the Past Targets the Future By Romi Carrell Wittman Damion Alexander, a local realtor and avid cyclist, is a man with a plan. Specifically, he has a plan for a patch of land downtown at the base of Sentinel Peak, aka, “A” Mountain. The 40-acre area in question sits just south of the Mercado San Agustín on West Congress, which has emerged as a popular gathering spot for cyclists. Alexander’s ambitous vision includes a professional velodrome, which could be used for bike racing, a BMX park and a mountain bike skills park. A native Sonoran Desert garden and historical exhibits are included. Alexander believes the project could benefit the community in a multitude of ways, from economic development opportunities to public health. As an example, he pointed to the BMX park. “This would give the kids in our community a great playground to get ac50 BizTucson

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tive,” he said. There could be major economic benefits to the community as well. A velodrome is an oval bicycle track with banked turns similar to those you’d see in a NASCAR race. Such a venue could attract national racing events and, with them, major tourism dollars. Lee McLaughlin, senior director of marketing at Visit Tucson, is focused on expanding Tucson’s acclaim as a major cycling city. “We look at what we can ‘win’ from a tourism perspective,” he said. “The USA Mountain Bike team already trains here. A velodrome would position us as a base for USA Cycling.” Alexander said the facility could also double as an events space. In an interview for the “Life Along the Streetcar” podcast, he said, “It would be an area for a community gathering.” Since the velodrome would be fenced, but not

have a roof, it could make an ideal space to gather and celebrate the Fourth of July, for example. The proposed project also would include a horse trail and pedestrian and bike paths that would connect to The Loop at the Santa Cruz River. Facilities with a clubhouse, restrooms, parking and a plaza for events are also included in the plan. Garden and historical markers would tell visitors about the vibrant history of the area, which has been continuously inhabited for the past 4,000 years. The Tohono O’odham are direct descendants of the land’s original inhabitants. Sadly, despite its rich history, the area was neglected for many years. At one point it was a quarry and later, in the 1960s, the City of Tucson turned it into a landfill. Today Rio Nuevo, the force behind much of Tucson’s downtown www.BizTucson.com


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Damion Alexander Origins Heritage Park, the bond was defeated. Soon after the bond election, Alexander accepted an appointment as the volunteer executive director of the Arizona Bicycle Center, where he continues to advocate for the project. His focus has been on bringing all stakeholders together, weighing out all aspects of the

project and encouraging discourse. Alexander said an economic impact study shows the velodrome could deliver roughly $20 million into Southern Arizona each year, a figure that’s on par with the economic impact of El Tour de Tucson. He’s also quick to point out that, though the velodrome is the piece most people focus on, the project is actually much larger. “Only about 14 to 15 acres would be the bike park,” he said, with 25-plus acres designated as The Sonoran Desert Park Plan, which would focus on the natural ecology of the area. “It will be the true Tucson Origins Heritage Park,” he said. “We’ll talk about all the things that make our area great, that will make people who want to come here and learn about it. We’re going to tell a story.” Biz Summer 2018

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PROPOSED CONCEPT IMAGES: COURTESY TUCSON ORIGINS HERITAGE PARK

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

revitalization efforts, owns the property and is hoping to remediate the site so it can be used and enjoyed by the public. The remediation, which would involve the removal of 35 feet of garbage, is expected to cost an estimated $22 million. The site – and the velodrome project – haven’t been without controversy, with people disagreeing on how the area should be developed and, most critically, how it should be funded. Alexander is adamant that whatever is developed on the site must pay homage to the area’s history. “We need to be very respectful to the people who were here before,” he said. In 2015, Pima County voters had the opportunity to vote on nearly 100 bond measures. Among them was funding for the velodrome project. Despite his tireless efforts to get out the vote in support of the velodrome and the larger Tucson


BizYOUTH

El Grupo Bike Riding Builds Life Skills For a kid, hopping on a bike is more than just fun and a little bit of exercise. It’s about self-confidence, independence and the freedom to go farther. El Grupo, a local nonprofit organization, helps kids discover the joys of bicycling and teaches them critical life and leadership skills along the way. Daniela Diamente, executive director of El Grupo, said, “The bicycle is a means to much greater ends. It’s so much more than just riding with kids. It’s about leadership, youth development and quality mentoring.” El Grupo was founded 12 years ago by Diamente and Ignacio Rivera de Rosales. Rosales was working at the Bicycle Inter-Community Action and Salvage nonprofit while earning his master’s degree in bilingual education. A principal from a local high school approached him asking if there were any used bicycle racks to purchase. Rosales was intrigued and asked how he could help, and soon was teaching a group of high schoolers about bike riding. 52 BizTucson

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That first group of students eventually rode in the Tour of the Tucson Mountains and expressed an interest in participating in other cycling events. That was when the idea for El Grupo was born. Since that time, El Grupo has grown to serve nearly 1,000 kids each year. No special skills or gear is required; the organization equips kids with free or low-cost bicycles, helmets, lights and any other items they might need. The younger kids, those ages seven to 13, ride mountain bikes in a group known as El Grupito, while kids over age 13 usually ride road bikes. Currently, 110 kids participate in daily programming at El Grupo, which is located downtown along the Santa Cruz River near The Loop. El Grupo offers after-school programming at its downtown location as well as at some schools. In addition, it hosts full- and half-day, week-long camps each June. “We take our program to kids who

can’t come to us,” said Diamente. “We value diversity of kids from all different backgrounds, whether they can afford the program fees or not.” Diamente said that the program has a multitude of benefits for kids, including skill-building, goal-setting and leadership development. The older kids mentor the younger kids and also compete in events around the city. Currently, Diamente is the only fulltime staff person, but with the organization’s tremendous growth, it is looking to hire another full-time staffer soon. Thirteen people work in part-time positions as coaches, and there is a very dedicated cadre of volunteers that helps out. Many of those staffers are former El Grupo members. “Half of my staff are alumni,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for better staff because they’ve been through the program and they know how transformative it is. We’ve created a group of kids in the community that want to give back.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: DAMION ALEXANDER

By Romi Carrell Wittman


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BizTRANSPORTATION

TUGOs Taking Off

Bike Rentals Convenient for Users

You don’t have to convince Megan Noli of the coolness of the TUGO bikes you see around downtown Tucson. She and her husband, Matthew, use them often. “We use them for date nights primarily,” she said. “We live downtown so we hate to drive around there.” Instead, they tool around on the bright yellow, easy-to-use, pay-to-ride bikes that have gained popularity since coming on the scene in November. “Sometimes we’ll plan the night with the intention of using the TUGOs,” she said. “One date night we were using the streetcar, but then it got too late and we remembered that TUGOs are open 24 hours a day.” The Nolis are among the more than 16,000 riders who have ventured off on the bikes in the last six months, according to Nick Grzebienick, GM of TUGO Bike Share. “We’re very happy with how many rides we’ve had to date,” he said. “We’ve seen our system grow and we’re excited 54 BizTucson

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Tucson has really taken a hold of it.” Grzebienick called the number “amazing,” but not surprising given Tucson is considered a big cycling community, one reason why it was chosen for the program. Tucson is one of four cities – the others are Toronto, Detroit and Chattanooga, Tennessee – in North America with a TUGO program. There are 36 stations throughout the city holding 330 bicycles in 13 neighborhoods. Two more stations could soon be added. Officials break down their users as “casual users” and “monthly users.” Through the first six months, 75 percent are monthly users while 25 percent are casual users. “That’s right in line with what you should expect from a bike-share system,” he said. The majority of the docks are downtown and in the university area, making it easy for students without transportation to get around inexpensively. Daily passes are $8. Monthly passes

are $18 and yearly passes are $80. Daily passes allow for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes for 24 hours with a $4 overage charge for every 30 minutes over the first half hour. The monthly pass is for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes for the month with a $2 overage for every 30 minutes over the first half hour. And the annual pass is $80 up front or $8 per month with a 12-month commitment with benefits like the monthly fee. Qualified low-income customers can get a $5 Access Pass. Grzebienick said 15 percent of the riders in Tucson use the discount program. He added it’s a very good usage number since the normal rate is 5 percent. “We are getting a high-usage out of that program,” Grzebienick said. “That’s great to see because you like to see the inclusion of all demographics. It’s for everybody. We’re happy to see that in Tucson.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY TUGO

By Steve Rivera


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BizNONPROFIT

From left, holding photos of Arizona cyclists killed by distracted drivers – Kerry Fuller, crash survivor, Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp, Alberto Gutier, Director, Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Deborah Breslin with photo of husband Tim Breslin, Helge Carson, VP, LOOK! Save A Life, Brendan Lyons, Executive Director, LOOK! Save A Life, Karen Wilson, with photo of son, Daniel Wilson, Will Schneider, with photo of daughter Chloe Schneider, & Mario Butler.

LOOK! SAVE A LIFE

Personal Tragedy Transforms a Life and Saves Lives By Romi Carrell Wittman As a young man, Brendan Lyons had one goal: to become a firefighter. He achieved that goal, in part, on his bike. Lyons was working as an emergency medical technician and wanted to transition to his dream job, but wanted to lose some weight before applying. He took up cycling, discovered a new passion, lost about 80 pounds, then landed a job with Rural Metro Fire Department. He continued cycling, riding in El Tour de Tucson to raise money for Tu Nidito, among other events. He also continued to bike for fitness and fun. He was living out his dream. In 2011, he was on a ride when a driver turned in front of him, causing Lyons to flip over his handlebars. He suffered a deep gash to his chin that required 56 BizTucson

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stitches, but was otherwise unharmed. The incident resonated with him because, as an EMT, he’d responded to numerous incidents, some fatal, involving distracted drivers. He knew distracted driving was a very big issue and wanted to find a way to get the word out, but he didn’t want the messaging to be one-sided. “I wanted it to be a conversation between drivers and cyclists,” he explained. As he looked for a way to communicate the message, he discovered an organization in Boise, Idaho, called Look! Save a Life. He reached out to the group’s officials and they encouraged him to found a chapter in Tucson, which he launched in 2012. In his volunteer role as the founder and director of the nonprofit, Lyons worked to edu-

cate the public about road safety and formed a partnership with lawmakers in hopes of passing legislation regarding distracted driving. “The fine for feeding wildlife in parts of Arizona is up to $2,500,” he said, “but the fine for killing a bicyclist by failing to give three feet when passing while driving is only $1,000.” The need for that message became all too clear one October morning in 2013 when Lyons and his girlfriend went out for a morning ride. They were in the bike lane on East Sunrise Drive near North Kolb Road when a driver took his eyes off the road just for a second, but long enough for the car to drift – at 45 miles per hour – and strike both Lyons and his girlfriend from behind. continued on page 58 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizNONPROFIT continued from page 56

Lyons was thrown from his bike and suffered multiple injuries, among them a fractured pelvis, six fractured vertebrae, a severe gash to his leg where his bike’s gears tore into his quadriceps, and he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. First responders on the scene didn’t immediately recognize Lyons, even though they had worked alongside him for years. His girlfriend suffered a shattered wrist that required surgery. He spent nearly a month in the hospital, but the prognosis wasn’t good. The doctors told him he would never return to his job as a firefighter. “I went from one day being able to perform my duties as a firefighter to being unable to perform simple tasks, such as walking or going to the bathroom on my own,” he said. The driver who struck Lyons received two traffic citations — one for failing to stay in his lane, the other for failing to give a bicyclist a three-foot berth. Lyons’ arduous recovery and the end of his dream of fighting fires sent him to a dark place. In November 2013, while Lyons was still in a wheelchair recovering, Richard DeBernardis, founder

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of El Tour de Tucson, invited him to speak at the event’s dedication dinner. Lyons spoke about bicycle safety and his words resonated with famed basketball announcer Bill Walton, who was in the audience. Walton approached Lyons after the dinner and invited him to participate in a Challenged Athletes Foundation event that involved a bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego. While Lyons wasn’t able to participate that year, the invitation motivated him. Gradually, Lyons decided to move past what had happened. “I came across a quote that said, ‘Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself,’ ” Lyons said. That quote helped him regain a positive attitude, slowly heal and move past the tragic events of 2013. “You can get angry or move forward,” Lyons said simply. Since the crash, Lyons has become even more determined to use his nonprofit to advocate for safe roadways.

He travels to schools and shows kids his battered helmet from that day. He encourages sharing stories in these talks. “I bring my shattered bike frame,” he said. “I also invite people who have lost a loved one to distracted driving.” He tells students the importance of wearing a helmet and being aware. “Without my helmet, I’d be dead.” Lyons has forged alliances with local law enforcement and has worked alongside legislators like State Sen. Steve Farley to attempt to get distracted driving legislation passed at the state level. While those efforts are ongoing, Pima County, the City of Tucson and the Town of Oro Valley have passed laws banning motorists from using handheld devices while driving. He also has returned to school to earn his masters of public administration from the University of Arizona. “I never thought I’d get a bachelor’s degree let alone a masters,” Lyons said. He hopes to use his degree to further his work with Look! Save a Life. “Don’t live in fear and do everything you can to be safe,” he said. “And remember that safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

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BizBRIEFS Dani Durnal Gomez Dani Durnal Gomez has been promoted to marketing manager, business development and community relations, at Hughes Federal Credit Union. She reports to VP of Marketing Kellie Terhune Neely. Durnal Gomez joined Hughes in 2015 as a business development representative. She has been recognized by the 40 Under 40 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 20 Under 40 Mountain West Credit Union Association and Top 30 Millennials by AZ Big Media.

Biz

David Toler

David Toler is the new director of sales and marketing for Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. He has more than a decade of experience in sales and promotion of the Tucson area. He previously served as director of sales & marketing at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa where he was responsible for the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s year-over-year growth in all key metrics. He also has worked at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.

Biz

Mark Benz

Longtime healthcare executive Mark Benz is the new CEO of Carondelet Health Network. Benz brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience to the network. Benz steps into the CEO role following his tenure as CEO at Carondelet St. Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital. Under his leadership the hospital earned the top patient safety grade from The Leapfrog Group and was recognized as a top regional healthcare system by U.S. News & World Report. Biz 60 BizTucson

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BizECONOMY

University of Arizona Economic Impact – $3.6 Billion By David Pittman The Metropolitan Pima Alliance’s 14th annual Wild Ride was a misnomer. Unlike most of its past events that utilized buses or streetcars, there was no riding on this Wild Ride. However, the 2018 Wild Ride actually was an impressive walking tour that gave participants the opportunity to get an up-close and personal view of several of the newest, unique and historically important architectural projects on the University of Arizona campus. The event also boasted an impressive list of speakers. It was to underscore the event’s theme, “The University of Arizona, an Economic Engine,” which demonstrated the huge positive impact the UA has on Tucson and the entire state. According to a study released in 2014 by Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized research and consulting firm, expenditures on goods and services by the UA and its employees, students and visitors generated a total direct and indirect annual economic impact of $3.6 billion within Arizona. The study reported UA had an annual economic impact of $1.79 billion in Pima County alone. Collegedata.com reports that UA has 43,625 students, a number expected to jump to around 55,000 over the next 10 years, which will undoubtedly require increased infrastructure, facilities and programs to accommodate that growth. Likewise, the university’s current $600 million research portfolio is expected to jump by another $200 million over the next decade. This year’s Wild Ride started and ended at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility in the north end zone of Arizona Stadium. The top floor of the facility features the Sands Club, a luxurious place to watch college football in air-conditioned comfort. It also proved to be a suitable venue for presentations from UA officials and MPA members, as well as a brief afterparty enjoyed by many of the more than 200 Wild Ride participants. Other UA projects that were part of the MPA walking tour were: The USS Arizona Mall Memorial, which features both a full-scale outline of the deck of the battleship, as well as panels that hold bronze medallions displaying the name, rank and home state of each of the 1,177 sailors and Marines who died when the vessel was attacked at Pearl Harbor in World War II. The Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Lab Building, which serves as the center of UA’s world-renowned tree-ring studies. The facility provides laboratory, office and public exhibition space. The Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building, which utilizes an outdoor courtyard to evoke images reminiscent of a Sonoran Desert slot canyon. The building is billed as the most eco-friendly structure on campus. The Old Main Renovation, which was a restoration and remodel of the oldest building on campus. The project was recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with a Leadership Award. Robert Smith, UA VP for design and operations and a featured speaker at the Wild Ride event, said the university campus operates “like a small city” on about 380 acres.

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“It’s a very urban environment,” he said. “We actually have a campus that has more density per square foot than almost any of our peer institutions, including a number of inner-city schools. Still, we’ve managed to keep a good deal of open space and maintain a campus feel. This place was well planned more than 100 years ago when it was first laid out – and it’s been well developed and cared for ever since.” Smith, a Tucson native who graduated from UA in 1976 with a degree in architecture, said about $2.5 billion worth of construction projects have been built at UA over the last 20 years. “Remarkably, it has all been done absent of any litigation, legal claims or budget overruns. The credit for that goes not only to the university’s awesome plan, design and construction group, but also to the quality of the development community in metro Tucson.” UA has built a strong reputation for design excellence and construction quality. For that reason, the university has received more than 100 design awards for projects built on campus. “We don’t design and construct buildings for the purpose of getting awards,” Smith said, “but it is gratifying when it happens.” Smith said the UA “genuinely makes an effort” to spend its construction money in Southern Arizona by hiring local companies to work on its design and construction teams. “We’ve worked with more than 100 local design consulting firms over the last five years,” he said. “All of the general contractors we’ve utilized have had a significant Arizona presence, and about 80 percent of all our subcontractors are local.” Other speakers included Jeff Grobstein, division president of Meritage Homes, the title sponsor of the Wild Ride; Stephen Fleming, UA VP of strategic business initiatives; Stephen Bus, managing principal of UP Campus Properties, a company that works with universities to create economic development; Peter Dourlein, campus architect and UA assistant VP for planning, design and construction, and Keri Silvyn, a partner in the law firm of Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs. Silvyn spoke of the proposed Speedway Campbell Gateway project – a high-rise, multi-use development that would replace the Palm Shadow apartment complex on the northwest corner of the busy intersection. Following the speakers and the campus tour, many Wild Ride participants attended the reception back at the Sands Club at Arizona Stadium. One of those was Ramon Gaanderse, the director of corporate communications for KE&G Construction, an employee-owned general contractor that builds heavy civil/infrastructure projects in Southern Arizona. “I thought the tour was great,” Gaanderse said. “I was impressed by the reconstruction of Old Main and the Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building. I drive by that building on Sixth Street almost every day, but this was the first time I’ve been inside. It was neat to go all the way up to the roof.” Jamie Olding, the owner of Building Excellence, a Tucson general contractor, said he also enjoyed the tour. “I’ve been to the MPA Wild Ride the last four years,” he said. “I like learning what’s going on in Tucson. I work on a lot of projects outside the UA, so it was nice for me to see what’s happening on campus.”

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BizBIOSCIENCE

Bioscience Bounceback Positive Economic Potential By Lee Allen

Arizona’s commitment to the biosciences is paying dividends, and despite less-than-desired venture-capital funding figures, research performance barometers have rebounded, according to a report by the Flinn Foundation. “Arizona’s bioscience sector is adding jobs at a rate outpacing biosciences nationally – while the state’s public universities are seeing increases in bioscience research funding, expenditures, and tech transfer,” the report stated. That’s part of the good news that Flinn Foundation VP Matt Ellsworth brought to the biennial Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap event held in April. The status report on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, presented by the Flinn Foundation, a philanthropic endowment to support bioscience advancement, showed sector growth from 2002 to 2016 that approaches 60 percent – compared to 21 percent for the state’s overall private sector. That statistic represents approximately 1,500 bioscience firms encompassing more than 116,000 jobs with average wages of about $63,800. Keynote speaker Mitch Horowitz, principal managing director for TEConomy Partners, told the Roadmap luncheon audience that while venture-capital performance was a concern, “Arizona’s overall bioscience industry cluster growth remains strong and indicators show the state positioned to continue its bioscience momentum and growth.” Despite fierce competition for research funding, one of Arizona’s positive indicators – for the second straight 64 BizTucson

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year – is a $189-million National Institutes of Health grant. The Roadmap, originally envisioned as a decade-long strategy to help Arizona become globally competitive and a national leader in the biosciences, has now been extended through 2025. The Roadmap Steering Committee

The exact dollar impact of bioscience is clearly in the billions of dollars. – Mitch Horowitz Managing Director TEConomy Partners

of 100 leaders is chaired by Ron Shoopman, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. He said, “Despite a decline in bio-related venture-capital funding for bioscience firms – from $82 million in 2015 to $40 million in 2017 – there’s reason for optimism. That comes in the form of a network of angel investors and growing interest from funds outside the state wanting to invest in Arizona opportunities.” Additional optimism came from Flinn Foundation President and CEO

Tammy McLeod, who acknowledged that “the rewards of the strategic planning effort continue to become clear, based on collaborations and partnerships throughout the state.” “Bioscience becomes more relevant to our everyday lives, how we move forward in the high-tech age,” Horowitz said. “It’s going to converge with IT, advances in computing, plant science, climate issues – just about every aspect of our life and our economy.” Much of the credit for Arizona’s optimistic outlook was given to Gov. Doug Ducey for his 2017 signature on bills that recapitalized the Angel Investment Tax Credit and the Technology and Research Initiative Fund that enables university infrastructure improvements including next-generation research facilities. Shoopman said, “It’s part of Arizona’s DNA to keep talking about an issue until we find ways to solve it. It’s not just about bioscience, but the whole innovation economy as outlined by UA President Bobby Robbins – where life sciences are interconnected with all other engineering disciplines. I think you’ll see some impressive growth out of this university in these areas.” Among the focused upsides is positive economic impact. “The exact dollar impact of bioscience in Southern Arizona has yet to be specifically defined,” said Horowitz, “but it’s clearly in the billions of dollars – and when you bring that kind of new money to the region, everybody starts smiling.” The next data report will be released in 2020.

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SPECIAL REPORT 2018

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

TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORIT Y $7.4 Billion Economic Impact


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PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Danette Bewley, Tucson Airport Authority VP of Operations/COO; Sarah Meadows, TAA General Counsel; Bonnie Allin, TAA President & CEO; Mike Smejkal, TAA VP of Planning & Engineering, and Dick Gruentzel, TAA VP of Administration & Finance/CFO. 68 BizTucson

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BizLEADERSHIP

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF AIRPORT SOARS

$7.4 Billion for Southern Arizona

www.BizTucson.com

To say things are “flying high” at the Tucson International Airport is more than just a cliché. A recently completed economic impact study for the Tucson Airport Authority revealed that Tucson’s airport – TUS on your luggage tag – along with Ryan Airfield, west of Tucson, and the businesses located on the airports’ campuses have an annual economic impact of $7.4 billion in Southern Arizona. In addition, direct jobs at TAA’s airports have an individual average annual wage of $81,731 including benefits, which is 174 percent of the Pima County household median income of $47,000. “As the region’s major commercial airport, most people know what a valuable asset Tucson International Airport is when it comes to travel to and from Southern Arizona,” said Bonnie Allin, TAA president and CEO. “Yet these numbers are even more impressive because they are so much higher than airports in most communities our size. They are comparable to the Baltimore airport.” Although a study was conducted in 2012 by students at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management, this is the first time the TAA conducted a full-scale study to understand its economic impact. The study was conducted by Elliott D. Pollack & Company, whose client list includes Arizona cities and towns, county governments and a number of departments in state government. “This is a much more robust assessment of the impact a well-run airport can have on an economy,” said Lisa Lovallo, chair of the TAA board and

Southern Arizona market VP for Cox Communications. Approximately 100 tenant companies on the TAA campus were included in the study in addition to the airlines and businesses that support the airport’s operations. Among the others, the most well-known are Raytheon Missile Systems, a maintenance and crew base for SkyWest Airlines (which flies for Delta, United, American, Alaska and other airlines), the Arizona Air National Guard 162nd Wing and Bombardier Aerospace, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of commercial passenger and business jets. Some of the lesser-known businesses included are Ascent Aviation, an aircraft maintenance and overhaul company, and Aerovation, an aeronautical engineering, development and testing company. “To determine impact figures, direct, indirect and induced statistics were gathered,” said Dick Gruentzel, TAA CFO and VP of administration and finance. “Direct impacts are the jobs created specifically at the airport and at the businesses within its complex. Indirect impacts are the number of jobs supported by suppliers to those airport businesses. Induced impacts are defined as the spending of both direct and indirect employees.” Direct operations of TUS, RYN and its tenants created 16,180 jobs with wages and benefits totaling $1.3 billion, resulting in an economic impact of $4.5 billion. Using new research conducted in 2017 of airport tenants and airline travelers, the study revealed not only the economic impact to the region, but continued on page 70 >>> Summer 2018

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COVER PHOTOS: © 2017 KYLE ZIRKUS PHOTOGRAPHY AND COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By April Bourie


Tucson Had First Municipal Airport in U.S. By April Bourie This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Tucson Airport Authority, operator of Tucson International Airport. Yet the history of the airport in Tucson dates back nearly a century, to 1919, when it was located where the Tucson Rodeo Grounds are today. “It was the first municipal airport in the United States,” said David Hatfield, TAA senior director of air service development and marketing. “As the planes got bigger the airport got congested and the dirt runway couldn’t handle that.” By 1925 the city wanted to build a larger airport with a hard-surfaced runway to attract the military. Through an act of Congress it acquired 1,280 acres of land that had been removed from homesteading where Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is located today. The city named the airport in honor of two local World War I pilots – Lieutenant Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan – who died in separate plane crashes after the war. But winning military approval took another two years. As is turned out 1927 was momentous, not only marking the arrival of the military, but also famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and Tucson’s first commercial airline service on Standard Airlines, a forerunner of American Airlines. “During World War II, aviation was very important, and the city continued pushing to get the military’s attention. In the 1940s it began acquiring more land south and west of D-M where Tucson International Airport is today,” Hatfield said. “Under the direction of the federal government, hangars for aircraft modifications were built on the new site, along with a runway and other support facilities.” After World War II when the Air Force was formed, the military saw the importance D-M could play in the military’s future and it wanted to be the sole user. At the same time, the thousands of additional acres the city had acquired during the war included improvements the federal government would give away to any municipality that would use them for civil aviation purposes. But city of Tucson leaders balked after an internal budget analysis showed it would lose $120,000 the first two years operating 70 BizTucson

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an airport. That’s when several Chamber of Commerce members came up with the idea of creating a nonprofit civic entity to run the airport under a long-term lease with the city. Being that the runway built during World War II already existed, most of the renovations needed to make it a commercial airport involved converting a hangar to a terminal and other support facilities. On April 12, 1948, TAA was officially formed by state legislation, and on Oct. 14 that same year, the city entered into a leasing obligation with the TAA to operate the airport. The very next day, the airport opened for business. Many of the founding TAA board members were the same Chamber of Commerce members who suggested the idea of the TAA – including Monte Mansfield, owner of Monte Mansfield Motors, Arizona’s first Ford dealership; Matt Baird, owner-operator of Ruby Star Ranch and headmaster of Arizona Desert School (Baird would later be recalled by the U.S. Air Force where he developed the training program that served as the prototype for the Central Intelligence Agency); Leon Levy, founder of Levy’s Department Store; and William A. Small, publisher of the Tucson Daily Citizen newspaper. The city budget analysis was correct in that the airport did lose money those first two years – $23,784 in operating losses on $127,683 in revenue. By the third year, however, the airport began to show an operating profit and was able to reimburse 25 business leaders who had each loaned $1,000 to the TAA to get the airport started. Through the years, the TAA has evolved and stayed true to its mission “to foster aviation and promote economic development” in Southern Arizona, adding Ryan Airfield in 1951 on Ajo Way west of Tucson, and at TUS welcoming additional airlines, bringing in the Arizona Air National Guard in 1958, moving into the jet age in 1959, becoming an official U.S. Customs Port of Entry, opening its new terminal in 1963, and going through the boomand-bust years of airlines since deregulation in 1978.

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PHOTOS: © 2017 KYLE ZIRKUS PHOTOGRAPHY AND COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

continued from page 69 also the fiscal impact for local governments. The city of Tucson received $36 million in tax revenues from businesses and employees of TAA, as well as airport tenants and tourist spending. This represents 3.7 percent of the city’s operating expenditures. Pima County received $45.4 million in tax revenues, 3.7 percent of its operating expenditures. Tourism impacts were significant as well. A total of $590 million was spent in the area by visitors arriving at TUS. This tourism spending generated approximately $22.5 million in taxes for the city, more than half of its total tax revenues generated by TAA. Taxes earned for Pima County by visitor spending were approximately $19 million, which is 42 percent of the total county taxes received from TAA’s operations. Spending by these visitors generated an additional 8,774 direct jobs with $241.7 million in wages and benefits. “The impact was staggering,” said Brent DeRaad, Visit Tucson president and CEO. “We really believe that a key to the future growth in visitation to Tucson is the growth of the airport. We are proud to partner with the airport to make that happen.” Like most commercial passenger airports in the U.S., TAA receives no local government funding. Operations are funded through revenues from public parking, space rentals and use fees, airline landing fees, concessions and land leases. “The economic impact numbers are powerful,” said Tony Finley, past chair of the TAA board and CFO of Long Realty. “As a CFO, I understand that it’s important to show the numbers – $7.4 billion is a big number – and that helps with economic development.” Yet there is more economic potential. A number of parcels of land within the TAA complex are available for lease and several are “shovel ready” with utilities already connected. It has been an ongoing goal of the TAA to develop the available land, and to that end, it has entered into a new partnership with Sun Corridor Inc., the economic development organization that works to foster business development in Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. Sun Corridor Inc. is now in charge of promotcontinued on page 72 >>> Summer 2018

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BizLEADERSHIP continued from page 71 ing the vacant land managed by TAA. The airport will be featured prominently when Sun Corridor Inc. promotes land to aerospace/defense and transportation/logistics companies – two of Sun Corridor’s industry focuses. The promotions will occur regionally, nationally and internationally. “This agreement is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of economic development,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. “The idea was hatched on the golf course while I was playing with Lisa (Lovallo). We started discussing how we could work more closely together to develop the available land at the airport. Once we presented our idea to TAA’s leadership, we found it was a natural fit.” “We’ve had an agreement with Sun Corridor Inc. to promote our vacant land since the beginning of their existence,” said Allin. “Our location is perfect for aerospace/defense and transportation/logistics companies. We’re close to Mexico, rail lines, I-10, I-19, and the future I-11. “The Arizona Department of Trans-

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portation recently did a study that showed we are also ideally located for multi-modal transportation companies. In our last airport master plan update, we did our most extensive planning ever for what we wanted in those vacant areas. We are ready to step up our marketing, and Sun Corridor Inc. has the contacts we need to do so.” “I would categorize it as an evolution of our partnership that creates a force multiplier for us,” Lovallo said. “Sun

It really requires good collaboration to run a successful airport that has a broader impact on the community.

– Lisa Lovallo, Chair Tucson Airport Authority Board of Directors

Corridor has a greater reach than what we could do on our own, and their focus on aerospace and logistics fits nicely into our portfolio. This agreement will put the airport front and center as the economic engine that it is, and it will bring to the airport some new contacts to develop our airport and aerospace corridor.” The success of the airport comes from its strong board and its relationships within the Tucson community, Lovallo said. “The Tucson Airport Authority board has always advocated for our economic development, the Tucson community and the airport,” she said. “Our partnership with Sun Corridor, the county and the business community is very valuable to us. It really requires good collaboration to run a successful airport that has a broader impact on the community.” The strength of the airport and its tenants is apparent, Finley said, “Air service is up and the recent renovations that were completed at the airport make us a world-class airport without lines,” he said.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizTRAVEL

From left - Tucson Airport Authority Police Captain Scott Bader, Officer Daniel Mesa and Sergeant Tony Hansen, with K9 Ficko.

Public Safety Is Top Priority By April Bourie Public safety officers at the Tucson Airport Authority have had some strange calls – such as someone picking up their friend at the airport on horseback. Yet most of the Tucson airport’s police and fire department calls are what other typical public safety departments would handle – medical calls, structure fires, car accidents and theft. 74 BizTucson

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“The difference is that we mainly are dealing with nice people who are stressed while traveling,” said TAA police Captain Scott Bader. “We are respected both by the travelers and the businesses that operate at the airport. It’s a very positive place to be a police officer.” Another benefit of being on either

the police or fire departments at the airport is that both work very closely together. “There is no tension between the two departments, which is not always common in other locations,” said John Ivanoff, TAA chief of public safety, who oversees both departments. “Our bigcontinued on page 76 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson Airport Authority Firefighter Paul Bedell, Firefighter Christopher Figueroa, Firefighter Harold Stocker, Captain Bill Swecker and Firefighter Matthew Robey. www.BizTucson.com

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BizTRAVEL

We are constantly training so that we know how to handle any situation that occurs at the airport.

– John Ivanoff Chief of Public Safety Tucson Airport Authority

continued from page 74 gest challenge is preparing for something that doesn’t happen very often. There are not a lot of case studies to follow for aviation accidents because flying is usually so safe.” In addition, the departments must be prepared to handle issues with a variety of aircraft – helicopters, large commercial planes and private planes – and to interact with many federal organizations such as the U.S. Marshals Service, the Secret Service, and the FBI. “Flights coming in and out of Tucson affect other flights traveling all over the world, and security is our top priority,” he said. Both departments have been recognized for being innovative. The “Stop the Bleed” campaign provides access to trauma kits in public areas and encourages bystanders to use them to stop blood loss when an accident occurs near them. “The airport was one of the first locations to install these kits in their public spaces,” said TAA Fire Chief Tom Tucker. “The fire department has trained every airport employee on how to use them and also partners with UA Surgery at Banner University Medical Center to spread the word about the campaign throughout the community through the Southern Arizona Stop the Bleed Coalition.” Recently, the fire department presented the campaign at a national conference of airport fire departments. The Hollywood Burbank Airport Fire Department also visited the Tucson airport this year to learn more about the program. The TAA police department this year was recognized for Public Health Excellence in Law Enforcement by the Arizona Department of Health Services for initiating an opioid-overdose program that teaches all officers how to use NARCAN®, which counteracts the life-threatening effects of interactions with opioids. The drug prevents officers from going into cardiac arrest if they accidentally get the opioid on their skin when treating opioid overdose victims. The airport’s police department is one of only 12 departments in the state and the second in Pima County to operate this type of program. “As you can tell by what we’re doing with these initiatives, our interest is really to protect the public and the employees who are here,” said Ivanoff. “We are constantly training so that we know how to handle any situation that occurs at the airport.”

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FLY TUCSON

Phoenix Not Usually Efficient Use of Time, Money By April Bourie It’s not a secret that many Tucson residents are prone to take flights from the Phoenix airport rather than the Tucson airport because they think it’s cheaper or faster. However, the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) says people who do that are short-changing themselves by not valuing their own time and stress it takes to drive two hours to the airport and two hours back, plus the extra cost of parking and gas. The difference in airfare can often disappear – especially if an overnight stay in Phoenix is necessary to catch an early morning flight. Several business entities in Tucson are working to encourage their members to fly out of Tucson. Both the Tucson Metro Chamber and Visit Tucson encourage their member businesses to do so. The Chamber also is supporting the TAA’s air service development efforts with a “Fly Tucson First” campaign, which can be seen on billboards and in other areas around town. In addition, the TAA is doing more online marketing to encourage Tucson residents looking to fly out of Phoenix to book Tucson instead. Chamber members behind the effort also point out there is a direct correlation between the vitality of an airport and the economy of the region it serves. A robust airport can attract added service from airlines and more flights means better access for commerce. Tucsonans who fly out of the Phoenix airport are helping to support the Phoenix economy, they said. And just to put a number on it, Tucson International Airport’s website has a cost calculator that will factor all of the additional costs for passengers flying from Phoenix to determine if the “cheaper” airline ticket out of Phoenix will actually save them money. (www. flytucson.com/flights/compare/) Dick Gruentzel, TAA CFO and VP of administration, also tries to dispel 78 BizTucson

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one of the other reasons people fly out of Phoenix rather than Tucson – because they want a direct flight that doesn’t require a layover. “I would argue that you are still making a connection,” Gruentzel said. “It’s just that you’re driving to your first connection rather than flying. Travel can be exhausting, and that two-hour drive coming home is difficult.” Still, if Tucson had more flights, more people would fly out of Tucson. So what determines which cities airlines fly to? “The simple answer to that is the demand for flights to certain destinations,” said Gruentzel. “About onethird of Tucson residents who fly begin in Phoenix rather than Tucson. If we could capture that traffic, we could easily add many more nonstop flights.” “The airlines track both where people live and which airports they fly in and out of,” said David Hatfield, TAA

Nonstop Destinations Seven airlines fly nonstop from Tucson International Airport to 20 destination airports: • Austin

• Las Vegas

• Atlanta

• Los Angeles

• Charlotte

• Minneapolis/ St. Paul resumes Nov. 17

• Chicago Midway • Chicago O’Hare • Dallas/ Fort Worth • Denver • Houston/ Hobby: seasonal • Houston Intercontinental

• Oakland resumes Oct. 7 • Phoenix • Portland resumes Nov. 2 • Salt Lake City • San Diego • San Jose • San Francisco • Seattle/Tacoma

senior director of air service development and marketing. “We work with an air service consultant who is an expert at figuring out passenger and airline data to help us present our case to airlines when proposing a new route.” In addition to route demand, the proposed destination also must fit with the airline’s business model, size of aircraft and the location of their hubs. Even if it doesn’t exactly fit their business strategy, an airline often will consider a new route if incentives are offered by the airport and its partners. “They want to know that there is a commitment from the community to making the route successful,” Hatfield said. “Visit Tucson is our No. 1 partner when making a proposal for a new route,” said Bonnie Allin, TAA president and CEO. “They dedicate marketing funds in the destinations we are proposing new flights to – and they can also provide information on upcoming conferences and tourist travel that would positively affect sales on the route.” “We really appreciate the Tucson Airport Authority including us in their conversations with the airlines about potential new routes,” said Brent DeRaad, Visit Tucson’s president and CEO. “What we bring to the table is the ability to market the destination to the airline and market Tucson to the destination that airline is flying to. Recently, we did promotions in Portland, San Jose, Minneapolis and Austin – and the results of those campaigns have helped us drive traffic to Tucson.” In the future, the main route priorities for the Tucson airport are New York City and Washington, D.C. In addition, routes to Mexico and Canada are high on the list, along with adding back routes that have been successful in the past – including Albuquerque, Sacramento and an additional airport in Southern California.

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$47 MILLION RENOVATION

More Improvements Planned By April Bourie Started in June 2016, the $28 million Terminal Optimization Project at Tucson International Airport touched every aspect of the terminal and was just one piece of the overall $47 million construction program under the banner, “A Brighter TUS.” “I fly out of the airport rather frequently, and I have really been enjoying the changes due to the terminal renovations,” said Kathe Dollish, a Tucson resident whose husband is retired from American Airlines. “I love that they have maintained the efficiency and small feel of the airport, but have increased that ‘Tucson feel’ in their artwork, look and furnishings.” Essentially completed in December 2017, the $28-million portion of the project introduced a new color scheme throughout that includes desert colors, new security checkpoints and shaded parking under solar panels. “The theme is very ‘Arizona’ with muted browns, golds and purples,” said Danette Bewley, TAA COO and VP of operations. “Over the last two years we’ve also been working on a landscape beautification project outside the terminal that includes a variety of rocks and drought-tolerant plants. These projects really develop a sense of place.” One of the most noticeable changes is the relocation of the security checkpoints, which have been moved to each end of the terminal where unneeded ticket counter space was previously located. “With the increase of online checkins and the consolidation of airlines, we didn’t need as much ticket counter space,” said Mike Smejkal, TAA VP of planning and engineering. “Moving the security checkpoints provided more room for the checkpoints and freed up space in the terminal for additional concessions beyond the security checkpoint.” That’s important, Smejkal said, because today’s travelers want to get through security before shopping or dining. Additional concessions give 80 BizTucson

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them more options and also generate revenue for the airport, which allows it to be self-sustaining as it does not rely on any local tax dollars. Covered parking in the daily and hourly lots at the terminal is another noticeable change. The photovoltaic shade structure with 129 solar panels saves the airport on average about $35,000 per month in electric bills. Some changes that aren’t as noticeable but are important for the functionality of the airport include upgraded sewers, electrical systems, computers and information technology. The CCTV security camera system also was improved through a $4.7 million grant from the Transportation Security Administration.

Our focus with all of these projects is to be able to provide for our needs and our travelers’ needs now and 20 years from now.

– Danette Bewley COO and VP of Operations Tucson Airport Authority

Although the Terminal Optimization Project is finished and “A Brighter TUS” is nearly complete, more – and bigger – changes are coming to the airport. An Airfield Safety Enhancement Program will improve the safety of the airfield, which includes the runways and taxiways. The project is the largest in the airport’s history at an estimated cost of $180 million, mostly funded by the Federal Aviation Administration

through the Airport Improvement Program, a federal grant program. The project involves relocating, widening and lengthening the parallel runway to match the main runway. Since it is made of concrete, it is expected to last approximately 50 years. Changes also will be made to taxiways between the two runways to improve their safety. Design should begin this fall and construction is expected to be completed in four to five years, depending on the federal funding grants. Another important project on the horizon is the addition of a plaza that will provide space for the various modes of transportation travelers use to get to the airport. “Many people are now being dropped off by Uber and Lyft in addition to the bus or taxi, and we also want to be prepared for any type of smart transportation that might be used in the future,” Smejkal said. TAA is conducting a study of the various transportation options and their passengers’ needs. “We’re early in the development stage, so we aren’t exactly sure what will be included, but in addition to drop off space, they might provide concessions and/or gas stations for drivers and those returning rental cars,” he said. An update to the master plan for Ryan Airfield also is being reviewed. “We have a lot of frontage along Ajo Way where we could do some commercial, industrial and/or retail projects,” Bewley said. “The area is underserved in these businesses, so we want to plan appropriate options there.” In addition, the infrastructure at Ryan needs to be renovated including a new sewer system and upgrading a nearby dike. Once the work on the dike is completed, the airfield will be removed from the 100-year flood plain. “Our focus with all of these projects is to be able to accommodate our infrastructure needs and meet our travelers’ needs now and 20 years from now,” Bewley said.

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PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Danette Bewley, Tucson Airport Authority VP of Operations/COO, and Mike Smejkal, TAA VP of Projects & Engineering.

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AIRPORT SHOWCASES LOCAL RETAIL

Travelers, Residents Like the Mix

PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

By Valerie Vinyard You might have noticed – and rightly so – that you have a few more places to pick up a souvenir or essential item at Tucson International Airport. In March 2017, Hudson Group arrived to tweak and renovate the 8,329 square feet of retail space at TUS. Besides the existing stores, Hudson added seven kiosks to showcase more local offerings. Founded in 1987, the East Rutherford, New Jersey-based Hudson Group is North America’s largest airport retail operator with 1,000 locations in 88 airports in the United States and Canada. Jeff Martin, regional VP of operations for the Hudson Group, said he immediately noticed something about TUS. “Tucson is very locally driven and amazingly so,” said Martin, who noted that airports usually have a 50-50 split between national and local brands. “We knew that, but not to the extent that it is.” The local culture is so strong here, Martin said, that the airport’s bestselling book is called “Jump!” by local author Guy Porfirio. It’s about a “clever cactus with a sense of adventure,” according to the book’s opening page. “There’s a lot of pride in the comwww.BizTucson.com

munity,” Martin said. “The more local we can do, the more successful we are.” Martin said the fact that Hudson kept all of the retail employees in a changeover from the previous operator has helped make the transition seamless. “We don’t try to re-create the business,” he said. “The people that are local, they know more than I ever could. They teach us the Tucson culture.” Martin said his team learned early on that anything related to the University of Arizona – sweatshirts, higher-end clothing, shot glasses, keychains, pillows, mugs, blankets, souvenir basketballs and footballs – is going to sell. “It’s a bigger piece of our business, over 10 percent of our sales than anywhere else,” he said. Many of those products are found in the Arizona Sport Zone, which is inside the Fort Lowell by Hudson store. The kiosks include Mast, which is a mini version of its downtown location that sells locally designed and crafted jewelry and leather goods. There’s also See’s Candies and the Western-themed Spirit, which sells Native American jewelry. Travel convenience store Arroyo Trading Post, which is on the ticketing level, includes products from Tucson’s

Agustin Kitchen Express. In February, the store reached No. 4 on USA Today’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Top 10 list of Best Travel Convenience Stores. Kristen Clonan, VP of corporate communications for Hudson, said Hudson unveiled its bookstore concept Ink by Hudson in 2012 and put one in the B Concourse at TUS in June 2017. Ink by Hudson has partnered with Tucson Festival of Books and the store always has a featured table with books by festival authors. “Every airport has a unique culture,” Clonan said. “The moment we started working with TUS, there was a certain charm.” To promote a sense of calm in all of its stores, Hudson studied customer behavior, established a natural walking path through the store and used color coding to label its sections, such as yellow for media and green for sandwiches and healthy foods. “If you go into a store and it’s not organized well, you get anxiety,” Clonan said. “That creates a lot of turmoil for customers.” “We pride ourselves on being the customers’ best friend,” she said. “We’re listening all the time and as we listen, we adapt.” Biz Summer 2018

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‘ART IN THE AIRPORT’

A Place for Local Artists & Musicians In 1987, the Tucson Airport Authority made a commitment to acquire and display art created by artists living in its airports’ service trade area – which includes Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties and northern Sonora. Today, more than 100 original works of art are included in TAA’s permanent collection. Well-known local and regional artists’ work in the permanent exhibit include tilework by Susan Gamble, glasswork by Tom Philabaum, and photographs by rodeo photographer Louise Serpa. These and other pieces of the collection can be found throughout the terminal at Tucson International Airport. Larger sculptures also have been placed outside to welcome travelers. With this year’s terminal expansion, art walls were added at security checkpoints, in the baggage claim area and at restroom entrances. “The best part about the airport’s arts and culture program is that it’s made up of artists living in Tucson and our local region,” said Viki Matthews, TAA community relations administrator who oversees the Arts and Culture Program. “Finding art for our exhibits is not difficult because Southern Arizona is home to some of the finest artists in the country.”

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In addition to the permanent collection, temporary art displays were incorporated in 1991. Today, the program boasts five galleries where displays are rotated throughout the year. The Lower Link and Upper Link Galleries are located on the baggage claim and ticketing levels, respectively, on the way to the rental car facility. The International Arrivals Gallery, is

The best part about the airport’s arts and culture program is that it’s made up of artists living in Tucson and our local region.

– Viki Matthews Community Relations Administrator Tucson Airport Authority

located on the ticketing level near Concourse A, and the Center Gallery is on the ticketing level between the Southwest and Delta ticket counters. The Artport Gallery is located near the exit

of Concourse B. Art in these galleries include photography, paintings, recycled art and creations by nonprofit organizations and educational institutions like Pima Community College. Current information on the exhibits is available on the airport’s website, flyTucson.com, for visitors and travelers who have time to explore the various pieces. You can also find a printable guide called, Art in the Airport, online at https://s20532.pcdn.co/files/2015Art-in-the-Airport-Brochure.pdf. Live performances were added to the airport’s Arts and Culture Program in 2007. Called Live@TUS!, performances provide a cultural experience for the traveling public, meeters, greeters and employees at the airport. “Performing at the airport is not exactly like the typical performance a musician has around town,” Matthews said. “The audience might only have a couple of minutes to enjoy the music as they are passing through on their way home or on their way into town for a leisure or business trip. We have a couple of regular performers who are dedicated to coming out to entertain our passengers each week. The idea is not to overwhelm airport visitors, but to greet them with a smile and a pleasant familiar sound.”

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PHOTOS: © 2017 KYLE ZIRKUS PHOTOGRAPHY

By April Bourie


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FOOD FLIGHTS

80 Percent of Airport Food Venues Are Local Nowadays, you might want to visit the airport just to enjoy a bite to eat rather than catch a flight to go see Grandma. Tucson International Airport, or TUS, now commands a place at the adults’ table when it comes to restaurants.  A bounty of diverse food offerings is available at Tucson’s airport, rivaling other airports when it comes to an emphasis on local cuisine. Sure, there’s a planned Dunkin Donuts, but major chains are in the minority. Eighty percent of the food venues are from Tucson. A total of 10 food venues are scattered throughout the A and B concourses. Two other options, local purveyor Arbuckles’ Coffee and Noble Hops gastropub, are positioned before security checkpoints so the public can visit. Plus, Noble Hops will validate up to two hours of parking with a mini86 BizTucson

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mum $15 purchase. Roger Schwandtner handles business development for Creative Food Group, which oversees the culinary programs at seven airports nationwide, including TUS. He said that Noble Hops’ outdoor patio is unlike any other venue at an airport in the country. “It’s right smack in the center of the airport,” he said. “No other airport has anything like that. You have the mountain range. It’s a beautiful view.” Built Custom Burger recently opened. Two more venues – Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, and an airport version of the Maverick, the iconic night club on Tanque Verde Road, won’t open until summer. But business from the other eateries already has jumped over previous years. Even with all locations under construction throughout the year and some places not open, business was only slightly down from the previous year when all restaurants were open

and operating, according to Barbara Hempel, director of properties for Tucson Airport Authority which operates the airport. Though Creative Food Group is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, Schwandtner and his team continue to frequent TUS because the more than 150 employees that work at the restaurants are employed by them. He sees great things ahead for Tucson’s airport. “This is by far – for the size – the best food and beverage program in the country,” Schwandtner said. “I think we partnered up with some great local brands.” Tucson International Airport is considered small even though more than 3.4 million people visited TUS in 2017, according to TAA. Food and beverage venues eat up 15,287 square feet of space at TUS, while retail encompasses continued on page 88 >>> www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

By Valerie Vinyard


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together the new concepts. After the request for proposals came in, it was down to two companies. TAA chose Creative Food Group. Schwandtner believes he and his team have created a great mix of eateries in TUS. “These are brands that people recognize,” he said. “I think it was a perfect blend of national and local brands. Overall, it’s one of the best programs in the country.” Creative makes up for its smaller size in important ways, he said. “We’re a relatively small company in this industry,” Schwandtner said. “All the big boys are hundreds-of-millionsof-dollars corporations. “When you get that size, you start to ignore the small airports,” he said. “TUS looked like it had been an airport that had been ignored for five years. We can pay attention to things that some of the larger companies forget about.” Since they’ve opened, Hempel has heard back from some of the restaurant owners. “They say, ‘I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this, but man, I’m glad I did,’ ” she said. One restaurateur who’s thrilled to be working with Creative is Ray Flores, president of Flores Concepts, who oversees El Charro and Sir Veza’s locations. El Charro has had a presence at TUS in the past. “There’s a lot more intelligent local inclusion – including everything from the local contractors, local architects, Shamrock Foods and local craft beer,” Flores said of Creative. “We really focused on all of that.”

Sir Veza’s opened last October on Concourse A and El Charro opened in March in Concourse B. They are among the most popular restaurants at the airport. “There’s something I like about every one of them,” Schwandtner said. “Empire, it’s the best pizza outside of New York with great portions and a good price. The Flores family – they’re iconic. Bruegger’s – they’re boiling and baking bagels on premise. It’s an overall taste of Tucson.” Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, which is slated to open the end of July or early August, plans to distill its own rum and perhaps vodka. The 638-square-foot Maverick will have low walls and will be open to the entire concourse. A stage that will feature local music acts will be visible from the gate area. Schwandtner said the restaurant-topassenger ratio generally runs one restaurant for every 150,000 to 200,000 passengers. With TUS having about 3.4 million passengers flying in and out of the airport every year, it’s a little flush in terms of the number of eateries. Though the cost of operating in an airport is much higher, Tucson adheres to a zero street-pricing strategy, meaning the foods you purchase at the airport are the same price as if you ordered them at the city location. Many airports offer street pricing plus 10 percent or higher. “They’re allowing the local side to be the strong side,” Flores said. “Twenty years ago, it was more chain-like and a lot more corporate. It’s really a part of Tucson now.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS AND COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

continued from page 86 8,329 square feet – yet the total space is a fraction of the airport’s overall 414,880 square feet. Because of these food options, diners can chart their courses, if you will, before they even set off on a flight path. They might first enjoy a craft beer at Noble Hops before they check in. They could follow that with a Sonoran hot dog at Sir Veza’s Taco Garage or a sandwich at Beyond Bread, get the kids a slice of pizza at Empire Pizza, and finish with a beer at Thunder Canyon Brewstillery or while listening to country music at the Maverick. Hempel works in offices on the top floor of the airport and she eats at the airport’s dining venues five times a week. “The favorite part of my day is when I want to go to lunch and I have to walk around to find a restaurant that has tables open – and I can’t,” said Hempel, who was hard-pressed to pick a favorite venue. “It’s exciting for me to see the passengers so excited for all of the food options.” It didn’t used to be this way. The former airport restaurant offerings were mostly composed of grab-and-go venues and offered less variety in dining options and an unnamed bar. To get to this point, Hempel was part of a team that looked for great local food options. Her team went into the community and approached local restaurants, gauging their interest. TAA also advertised for interested retailers and restaurants to throw in their names for consideration. Before all of that came to fruition, TAA had to choose a purveyor to bring


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BizTOURISM

Casino Del Sol Renovates AVA Amphitheater Casino Del Sol, always a busy place, is even busier these days with plans to add a new 3-star hotel and RV facilities. That’s following renovations completed on the AVA Amphitheater, Southern Arizona’s award-winning concert venue. “You won’t see anything that looks vastly different from what you saw last year – but things will be new and improved – with more seating, upgraded lighting and a variety of in-house improvements,” said Casino Del Sol CEO Kimberly Van Amburg. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, owners of the expansive yet intimate concert and event venue, used off-season downtime at the outdoor facility to add new covered seating and additional space on the lawn, “offering perfect sight lines from every angle,” according to publicity materials. “AVA, with seating for about 5,000 people, is unique in that it’s a beautiful setting in the middle of the desert, www.BizTucson.com

taking a good thing and making it better – big enough to do some really cool high-end shows, but not so big you lose intimacy. It’s not like you’re packed into a 20,000 seat venue. You’re with a few thousand friends who love the same type of entertainment you do and enjoying it under the stars,” Van Amburg said. First opened in the fall of 2001 and named after Anselmo Valencia Tori, a World War II veteran who became a Pascua Yaqui chairman, AVA has attracted a long string of well-known entertainers ranging from its first act, Alan Jackson, to Barry Manilow, Little Richard, Martina McBride, Tony Bennett and Bob Dylan – a marquee full of top-flight talent. AVA, Southern Arizona’s largest open-air concert venue, was the result of the tribe’s vision in creating a stellar destination. Some 1,700 seats ring the stage in a gently-ascending sweep to the adjacent lawn where 2,700 more attend-

ees can spread a blanket on the grass. As part of the renovation before the casino’s 17th season, nearly 300 additional reserved seats were installed., There is a better flow for VIP boxes, lighting has been increased, the walls separating two beer gardens from the seating area have been removed and – to help alleviate long lines at the concessions – electronic payment options have been upgraded. Already named Casino Arena/Amphitheater of the Year in 2015 by the Casino Entertainment Awards, the best just got even better. “We try every year to improve our facilities and our outlets to keep them fresh,” said Van Amburg. “These modifications will enhance the AVA experience and make it an even more enjoyable place to enjoy a show.” For upcoming events information, visit www.CasinoDelSol.com.

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PHOTO: COURTESY CASINO DEL SOL

By Lee Allen


BizBRIEFS

Dr. Matthew W. Beal

Dr. Sarah E. Schram

Dr. Gerald N. Goldberg

Beal, Schram New Owners of Pima Dermatology Dr. Matthew W. Beal and Dr. Sarah E. Schram are the new owners of Pima Dermatology, taking over from Dr. Gerald N. Goldberg, who founded the practice more than 30 years ago. Beal, an existing partner in the practice, and Schram, a new partner, are certified by the American Board of Dermatology. Goldberg will continue to provide medical and surgical care to Pima Dermatology patients as director of the new, 2,700-square-foot Cosmetic and Laser Surgical Center adjacent to Pima Dermatology. The center, slated to open by early 2019, will provide comprehen-

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sive cosmetic and laser surgical services in a serene and contemporary space. Pima Dermatology, 5150 E. Glenn St., is a full-service, 10,000-square-foot center that provides general services, laser procedures and skin surgery for adult, pediatric and cosmetic concerns. It is ambulatory-care certified and accredited through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Beal joined Pima Dermatology in 2013 and became a partner in 2016. He is a Tucson native who specializes in general dermatology with special interest in cutaneous oncology and psoriasis. He graduated from the University

of Arizona College of Medicine and completed his dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota, where he served as chief resident. Schram joined the practice in 2015 as its first full-time Mohs surgeon. Mohs surgery is a microscopically controlled procedure that treats common types of skin cancers. She is a fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery. She earned her medical degree and completed her dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She also has a special interest in cutaneous oncology and cosmetic dermatology. Biz

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Getting a Piece of the $2.6 Billion Federal Funding Pie It can be a daunting task for entrepreneurs, researchers and business owners to navigate the federal funding opportunities that are available in their technical fields. The Arizona Center for Innovation and Tech Parks Arizona, in partnership with Tech Launch Arizona, is doing something about that in the Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer areas. Now in its fifth year, the Arizona Regional Summit on SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities provided help to startup businesses and insights on how to get a portion of the $2.6 billion of federal funding available to such businesses under SBIR and STTR programs. Federal agencies provide these grants

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to small, innovative technology businesses to help commercialize inventions that offer solutions to specific technical problems, improve health and save lives, and aim to transform scientific discovery into social and economic benefits. About 70 entrepreneurs, researchers and employees of small businesses were on hand to learn about these opportunities, talk with experienced companies and connect with government program managers. Attendees had the unique opportunity to meet one-on-one with these federal representatives to discuss their specific innovation and how to navigate the complex process unique to each agency. Attendees heard from the CEOs of two locals companies that have successfully garnered grants. Dr. Evan Unger,

president and CEO of NuvOx Pharma, received several National Institutes of Health SBIR grants and shared his expertise on moving research from the laboratory to the marketplace with assistance from federal funding. Shiva Planjery, co-founder and CEO of Codelucida and a graduate of the AzCI program, talked about his team’s pursuit of securing both Phase I and Phase II funding from the National Science Foundation. “SBIR funding is such a vital source of funding for early-stage startups developing innovative technologies. I can confidently say that without the NSF SBIR funding serving as the critical catalyst, we would have not reached this point,” Planjery said.

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BizTOURISM

AAA Four Diamond Award for Tubac Golf Resort & Spa PHOTOS: COURTESY THE TUBAC GOLF RESORT AND SPA

By Lee Allen Under the leadership of GM Linda Cormier, the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa has received the coveted AAA Four Diamond designation. That’s in addition to being named previously as one of the “best cold weather escapes in the U.S.” by USA Today Travel and one of the “must-see, up-and-coming destinations in the world” by Conde Nast Traveler. The Tubac resort is now part of a select group of just 1,676 hotels to hold the AAA Four Diamond rating, awarded for the highest standards of service and world-class amenities. “These establishments dedicate a significant amount of attention to the little extras that help ensure a memorable guest experience,” said Michael Petrone, AAA director of inspections and ratings. “This past year, the owners and staff have dedicated themselves to investing time, effort and a quarter of a million dollars to meet AAA’s guidelines,” said www.BizTucson.com

Patti Todd, the resort’s public relations director. “Many upgrades were made, including a new resort pool, redesigned guest rooms and suites, and an expansion of the Stables Ranch Grille.” Cormier said that just 6 percent of the more than 27,000 properties inspected and approved by AAA are awarded the distinction. “This rating acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our staff that is committed to exceeding guest expectations and providing a premier travel experience. “We’ve been planning and working toward this recognition for the past five years,” said Cormier. “A lot of high-end travelers who go through social media sites looking for Four Diamond and above were not aware of us. Now they will be.” The Tubac resort is located a halfhour drive south of Tucson via Interstate 19. Snuggled at the base of the

Santa Rita Mountains, this designated Historic Hotel of America is advertised as combining “legendary heritage and culture with 21st-century amenities.” In addition to a 27-hole championship golf course and signature restaurant and bar, the property features 98 hacienda-style guest rooms as well as a spa and salon, onsite boutique shopping, a business and conference center, tennis courts, a fitness room and a wedding chapel. The resort recently hired a new head golf pro, Kristie Fowler, who quickly set up golf clinics for both older and younger duffers. Fowler, a former University of Arizona golfer who has served on the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, is herself is an award-winner and headline maker as she was named the 2017 National LPGA Professional of the Year.

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BizLEADERSHIP

Forbes Puts Cormier Among Top Women Hotel GMs If it were that easy, every woman in the work world would be recognized as tops in their field in Forbes magazine. But it takes an above-and-beyond effort to rise to those lofty ranks – and Linda Cormier, GM of Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, has done so. With the headline, “These Female GMs Are Changing the Face of Hotel Management,” the publication advises young businesswomen to follow the lead-by-example precepts shown by the three women receiving editorial honors. “Work smart. Work hard,” reads the story. “Our business is 24/7, 365, so it demands lots of effort and hours.” You’ll get no argument about the hours and effort required to rise to the top. “If you have the passion, the desire, and the spirit to lead, don’t take no for an answer,” said the Tubac GM. “Say out loud what your goal is. Keep following your dreams.” Cormier arrived in Southern Arizona with more than 30 years of sales and hospitality management experience, having climbed lots of rungs on a number of ladders. “I started in the hospitality business in a front-desk position, moving to sales and then upward into management. One resort owner saw my potential and convinced me I’d make a good leader,” she said. The obstacles were many. “I was the brunt of some of the inequality the Women’s Rights Movement was fighting against. I wanted to be a bellman, 98 BizTucson

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but they would only hire a man for that position. It was the 1960s and 1970s. I got bounced around a bit, taken advantage of because I was female. I received lower wages than my male colleagues and had to prove myself more so than male general managers. “But I love a challenge and learned to work harder and smarter. In my world, the true task of leadership involves the ability to make change happen.”

In my world, the true task of leadership involves the ability to make change happen.

– Linda Cormier, GM Tubac Golf Resort & Spa

Despite her successes as a leader, Cormier feels her inclusion in the Forbes article was serendipitous. “There are many equally qualified women managers in the industry who could have been chosen – so it’s an honor to be selected.” In her eyes, there are no secrets to good management – just concepts that have proved integral to success. “I lead by example and I don’t give up,” she said. “I’m the type of person that just keeps going no matter what kind of ob-

stacles I encounter. Obstacles don’t get me down. They just challenge me to figure out how to go over, under, around or through them to achieve my goal. “A basic part of my management philosophy includes a smile. I call it a patch for rough spots on the road because smiles go a long way in helping resolve problems. “Managers are supposed to take the reins and make the hard decisions and I have no problem doing that. I’ll push back if I feel there is validation, because if a smile helps, so too does a velvet hammer. I’m nice, but I’m no doormat, and sometimes I have to bring the hammer down.” Cormier also follows the example of her entrepreneur father who was a voice for the worker. “It’s the staff that implements management ideas and I’m always supportive of them, publicly recognizing their efforts and successes. My dad used to tell me, ‘The higher your place, the more humble you should be.’” Humble, yes, but there are other characteristics of a good manager in her opinion. “Be determined and persistent, do not give up. Maintain a steady course toward a goal. Sometimes you may have to take a path without a roadmap, but remain focused on the goal, keeping a smile on your face – and a hammer to use when needed.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Lee Allen


WOMEN WHO LEAD

Linda Cormier

GM Tubac Golf Resort & Spa www.BizTucson.com

Summer 2018

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BizLEADERSHIP

Mary Jacobs

Leads With Contagious Enthusiasm By June C. Hussey

Homegrown Talent

Jacobs couldn’t be more homegrown unless she had grown up on Steam Pump Ranch, the historic heart of Oro Valley. Born Mary Post, Jacobs is a native of Tucson, where her father was a professor of agriculture at the University of Arizona. She attended St. Cyril School and Catalina High School before obtaining her bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arizona. Jacobs said one of her first orders of business in Oro Valley was to forge relationships. “I believe you get things done through relationships – with employees, 100

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the council and the people we serve.” Her first six weeks on the job, she spent time getting out to every department, work group, shift change, police department. “I said to them, ‘My job is no more important than your job. It’s just a different job. We are in this together and I value you.’ Collaboration to me is how to get things done. I don’t have all the good ideas. I have a direction, some thoughts and ideas.” Oro Valley incorporated with 1,200 people in 1974. Today it is a bustling community of 44,000 residents and 24 square miles northwest of Tucson. Bordered by Coronado National Forest and Catalina State Park to the east, it includes Innovation Park, home of Roche-Ventana Medical Systems, Icagen (formerly Sanofi-Aventis) and Securaplane Technologies; abundant recreational areas including Oro Valley Aquatic Center in James D. Kriegh Park; and beautiful, master-planned residential areas including Sun City Vistoso, Honey Bee Canyon, Stone Canyon and Cañada Hills.

In addition to building relationships, Jacobs believes in building partnerships. “I’m a big proponent of partnerships,” she said. “We can do things better and get more done through partnerships. They do all the heavy lifting.” Oro Valley works with partners like Sun Corridor Inc. on economic development, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance on cultural development and Visit Tucson for tourism. The town is becoming known for events like

the Oro Valley Arts Festival and Oro Valley Music Festival, to name a few. The sports tourism industry also brings national exposure to Oro Valley with recent events by U.S. Synchronized Swimming, United States Tennis Association, along with 5ks, half marathons and soccer tournaments. Shifting Cultures

A leader in her profession, Jacobs is a longtime active member of the International City/County Management Association and served as board liaison to the Task Force on Women in the Profession. In this capacity, she learned that only 13 percent of top city administrators nationwide are women and set out to help change that. In Arizona, she estimates that only about six of 90 cities and 13 counties are led by women administrators. As a result, Jacobs has had to dig deep to find mentors in her profession. Now she makes sure she’s available as a mentor both inside and outside of work. “Mentoring women is a very important thing for me personally. I support women in whatever role they choose – from stay-at-home moms to CEOs. I just want to make sure they have the opportunities. “Public administration has been an incredibly rewarding career for me because it’s given me the ability to serve. I also serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, which is very important to me. Being a CASA lets me help one person at a time. My philosophy is: Everyone has to contribute in some way. If everybody helped one person, imagine where we would be. If we want our young people to succeed, those of us who have much, it’s up to us not to judge but to lead.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

When recruiting nationwide for a new town manager, it took the Town of Oro Valley nearly a year to find the right match. As it turned out, the best-qualified candidate, Mary Jacobs, was just 90 miles away serving as assistant city manager for Sierra Vista. Prior to her 17 years in Sierra Vista, she served as assistant town manager of Barnstable, Massachusetts, for six years. It had long been Jacobs’ goal to lead a municipality in a number one position, and the fact that her only daughter was about to depart for her freshman year of college left Jacobs free to embark on a new professional chapter. Impressed by her wealth of experience and contagious enthusiasm, the Oro Valley Town Council gave Jacobs their unanimous thumbs up. She relocated to Oro Valley and commenced in her new post on Sept. 5 last year. “I’ve received a very warm welcome by council and staff. It’s been nothing but positive,” Jacobs said earlier this spring in her Town Hall office overlooking spectacular Pusch Ridge.


WOMEN WHO LEAD

Mary Jacobs

Town Manager Town of Oro Valley

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BizAWARDS

Dirck Schou, President & CEO of HF Coors

HF Coors’ Dirck Schou Honored in Washington, D.C.

Small Business Person of the Year for Arizona

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Lee Allen From manufacturing beer bottles to brewing the stuff that went inside, the name Coors is well known. And while beer was brewed and bottled on one side of the Adolph Coors Colorado Glass Works, the company also set up an onsite china and pottery company. Today HF Coors in Tucson dinnerware continues that nine-decade tradition of offering both the food service industry and the public-at-large with plates and dinnerware to dine on. Every piece is commercial quality, restaurant grade, durable and chip resistant. The company, owned by Catalina China, does business as HF Coors Storeat-the-Factory at 1600 S. Cherrybell Stravenue. It arrived here in 2003 via California, installed a 200-foot-long gas tunnel kiln and got to work. President and CEO Dirck Schou was the oneman-band who oversaw everything – the investment in land, a 32,000-square-foot building, raw clay materials and recruitment of a local labor force. www.BizTucson.com

“It was a difficult move,” he said. “The company had essentially been shut down and left for dead by previous owners, so it was sort of a Lazarustype revival. It took a long time to bring things back to life, and just as we did so, we got hit by the recession that set us back a couple of years. But now, we’re humming in 2018 and going in the right direction, turning out 25,000 ceramic pieces weekly.” Earlier this year, during the celebration of National Small Business Week, Schou was honored as Small Business Person of the Year from Arizona. “Small-business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 30 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine of our economy,” said Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Armed with an MBA at Harvard Business School, Schou got into the dinnerware industry via a part-time job in a

pottery barn and by learning some management principles as a platoon leader in Viet Nam. When accepting the SBA award in Washington, D.C., he said, “It’s not about me, the individual, it’s about those who work with you, your team members. I don’t have a management philosophy per se, but I do lead by example, treating employees fairly and being transparent, sharing information and allowing workers to be part of the decision-making process.” The HF Coors team includes engineers, craftsmen, designers, hand painters, pottery workers, customer service persons and managers. “Although I do watch everything like a hawk, I try not to be too much of a micromanager because our workers represent the team that understands what we stand for and what we’re doing,” he said.

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Factory tours on Tuesdays are available with advance notice by calling (520) 903-1010. Summer 2018

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BizCUISINE Jim Murphy & Jeff Azersky

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Co-Owners Kingfisher Bar & Grill

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KING of the

Gill

After 25 years, Kingfisher Continues to Ride the Wave of Success

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PHOTOS: COURTESY KINGFISHER BAR & GRILL

By Valerie Vinyard When you walk into Kingfisher Bar & Grill, you’ll immediately feel part of a cozy, welcoming club. This “club” lures in diners who soak in the solicitous service and some of the best seafood in town. The longtime employees at Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road, know more than the names of their regular customers. Their seemingly steel-trap minds absorb tidbits they learn about customers’ family and work. “It makes you feel like they really care about you,” said Sue Jeffers, who recently stopped by Kingfisher’s bar to enjoy half-off shellfish during its daily happy hour. “I now live in California, which is full of great seafood restaurants, but I still stop in when I visit Tucson. Their food is so well-prepared and it’s so delicious.” Poised to celebrate its 25year anniversary on Sept. 1, Kingfisher’s two owners – Jeff Azersky and Jim Murphy – appreciate the comments, but don’t need to fish for compliments. continued on page 106 >>> Photo of Jeff and Jim taken in 1996 by Balfour Walker hangs on the wall above the Kingfisher Bar.

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M A N U FA C T U R E R O F R E S TA U R A N T D I N N E R WA R E

– HF Coors – Manufacturing High Quality, High Strength dinnerware, to meet the rigorous demands of the Food Service Industry, for over 90 years

“Talk with us directly about special orders”

JOIN OUR GROWING RESTAURANT FAMILY RESTAURANTS WE PROUDLY SERVE INCLUDE TUCSON Culinary Dropout • Prep & Pastry Commoner & Co. • North Italia Nook • Blanco Tacos and Tequila Coronet Cafe • Penca Beyond Bread The Lodge at Ventana Canyon The Hacienda at the River PHOENIX True Food Kitchen The Henry Culinary Dropout & The Yard Olive and Ivy Arrogant Butcher Matt’s Big Breakfast Scottsdale Resort Kierland Golf Club The Wildflower Bread restaurants in Arizona AND BEYOND The Hillstone restaurants nationwide (HQ Beverly Hills) The Ritz- Carlton, Dove Mountain, Coral Gables & Half-Moon Bay El Tovar at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon La Posada Hotel & Gardens Winslow, AZ Wolfgang’s Steakhouse New York City InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles Downtown NOPA San Francisco

www.hfcoors.com (520 ) 903 -1010 1600 South Cherrybell Stravenue Tucson, AZ 85713 106 BizTucson

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continued from page 105 Over the years, the restaurant has maintained an impressive presence in Tucson’s dining scene as many other longtime restaurants have closed. Upon entering the sophisticated and vibrant setting, you might be greeted by longtime employee Meg Daily or Teddy Hall, Kingfisher’s GM. “It’s got such a loyal following,” said Daily, who has been at Kingfisher almost 17 years. “They’re very good to us. They provide health insurance. They feed us. And we’re a family. And yeah, the money’s good.” The Long Island, New York-born Daily, who over the years has owned two restaurants and a small hotel, said it’s Kingfisher’s consistency that has made it a perennial favorite. “When the guests see the longevity of the staff, they like that,” said Daily, who ended up settling in Tucson years ago because her car broke down. “The product is good, it’s plated very nice and they love the food.” In 1993, Azersky partnered with Murphy, Tim Ivankovich and John Burke to open Kingfisher, which originally was home to the Iron Mask restaurant. Murphy had just received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and when he returned to Tucson, he hooked up with three friends who had worked together at long-gone Bocata and Jerome’s restaurants. The team borrowed most of the money from family members, then later acquired a $365,000 small business loan to open the 5,000-square-foot restaurant. Ivankovich unexpectedly died of a heart attack in 2012, so Kingfisher now is helmed by Azersky and Murphy. Both men are talented chefs, but they leave executive chef duties to Fred Harris, who has been with the restaurant 20 years. Murphy noted that the original restaurant space lacked a few things, including natural lighting. “When we came in, there were no windows, no skylights,” Murphy said. They added a few windows and skylights, but they kept the brick walls, barstools and booths from the Iron Mask days. A couple of years ago, the kitchen was renovated, and this summer two new air conditioning units will be installed. Kingfisher is open daily, save for major holidays and a couple of weeks in July, though originally the partners had decided to be closed on Mondays. “We realized we can’t make money if the doors are locked,” Murphy said. Perhaps for that reason, the restaurant often is open more hours than it is closed, from 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 5 p.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. “It became a real big deal for us pretty quickly,” Azersky said. Well, not that quickly. In those first few months, Murphy said, “you could have thrown a football through the dining room.” Those ball-throwing days are long gone. The restaurant, which employs about 45 people, is comfortably full most nights. Now, Azersky is amazed when longtime residents say they’ve never visited. “I’m happy when I hear it,” he said. “There’s new business to be had.” Doug Levy is the chef and owner of Feast, an innowww.BizTucson.com


BizCUISINE vative bistro that serves an eclectic, monthly changing menu that is located just over three miles from Kingfisher. Levy said Kingfisher came along at the right time. “Kingfisher came along at a juncture in Tucson where the seafood restaurants were the Red Lobster and Rodriguez Seafood Market,” Levy said. “The Solarium didn’t even exist anymore, nor did the Nantucket Lobster Trap. Then here came four guys – Jeff and Murph, who were cooking real food, and John and Tim, who were offering real service – in an era when even fine dining restaurants in town were serving frozen orange roughy, farmed Atlantic salmon and brown tiger shrimp. “Kingfisher made Tucsonans understand that quality seafood could be gotten in the desert, and that there were people here who were capable of preparing it correctly.” Kingfisher recently tweaked its menu to include such seasonal items as roasted chile verde soup, Fatoosh salad with tahini-lemon sauce and grilled sea bass with smoked mussel relish and pineapple BBQ glaze, plus orange-almond olive oil cake with blood- orange caramel and fresh strawberries. “Add to that a level of service that made you feel well-taken care of, a neighborhood atmosphere that was clubby but never stuffy and a nice-looking room adorned with original artwork from local artists that made you feel like you were getting the night out you deserved and it’s no wonder it’s become an institution here,” Levy said.   Locally made art includes Tom Philabaum’s glass pieces and selections from Etherton Gallery. Diners sit at tables and cozy horseshoe-shaped booths in the dining room, while a combination of comfortably close tables and barstools in the bar usually are full with people taking advantage of the restaurant’s superb daily happy hour or watching sports on television. In an industry where turnover is the norm, Kingfisher has held onto many employees over the years. Besides Harris, members of the 20-year-plus club are pastry chef Marianne Banes and bartender “Diamond” Jim Smith. Smith also worked at Jerome’s, where he was an oyster shucker for a few months before transitioning to bartender. “It’s a great atmosphere, the people are great,” said Smith, an affable bartender who knows the menu inside and out, reciting the daily mouth-watering specials and skillfully guiding diners to their perfect meal while concocting delicious drinks or pouring a glass from the carefully chosen all-American wine list. Levy said, “Kingfisher has a simple formula that sadly isn’t imitated enough: Use real, fresh ingredients of the best quality you can find and don’t dump in additives or canned and frozen substitutes. Staff your kitchen with people who care about what they produce and staff the front of the house with people who understand that service requires true hospitality, not just taking orders and dropping food in front of your guests. Serve something you can be proud of in a way that you can be proud of.”

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(520) 903-1010 www.hfcoors.com 1600 South Cherrybell Stravenue Tucson, AZ 85713 Summer 2018 > > > BizTucson 107


BizHONOR

Lute in Bronze

Hall of Fame Coach Gets His Statue The idea had been in the works for years. To most, it was obvious – McKale Center needed a statue of its greatest basketball coach and Hall of Famer, Lute Olson. The idea gained steam under Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke and University of Arizona President Robert “Bobby” Robbins, and it came to fruition on April 12 when a bronze statue was unveiled outside the Jim Click Hall of Champions. Addressing about 500 fans, boosters and former players who attended the unveiling, Olson said he never thought coming to Arizona would lead to a statue. But dreams did come true for the kid from Mayville, North Dakota. He gave credit to the hundreds of players who passed through the program to help him to 589 wins, four NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Fours and one national championship. “It’s a great honor to be recognized by this,” Olson said. “It’s been a great run. This means the world to me.” On this day – his day – the Wildcat basketball world watched and applauded the man they know simply as “Lute.” If the UA had been on the map before – for a moment or two under Fred Snowden in the mid-1970s – Olson was the man who stamped Tucson as a bona fide basketball town and turned the Arizona Wildcats into one of the blue bloods of college basketball. “It’s obviously long overdue and very deserving,” Heeke said at the unveiling. “I’m just glad we could play a small part to make it happen. “It’s important when you do these things that the people (involved) can see these things and be a part of it. It was important that the family was here and 108 BizTucson

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everyone could be there together. Lots of good people helped to pull it off.” Three donors in the effort – Ginny Clements, Tom Rogers and George Kalil – accounted for more than half the funding of the $300,000 project. About $250,000 has been raised and fundraising continues to cover the entire cost. “I thought it was a no brainer,” Clements said of the statue. “They said they were going to have this statue and I said, ‘How much? I’m in.’ Lute brought so much great basketball and I’m such a basketball fan. I’m so happy this happened.” Two-time NBA world champion head coach Steve Kerr, one of the faces of Olson’s program, said it was only “natural” Olson would get a statue. And perhaps it was only natural that Kerr, who helped lead the Wildcats to their first Final Four, would be instrumental in helping making it happen. Kerr’s replica No. 25 jersey was sold to help raise money for the statue. He called it a “community effort” to make it happen. “I’m just thrilled that it happened,” said Kerr, who was not at the ceremony because he was closing out the regular season with the Golden State Warriors, where he is in his fourth year as head coach. “He basically built that program with his own two hands. It was an amazing experience to be there at the beginning. “What he has done, for not only my life but all the players who played for him, it’s something that deserves to be memorialized for the long haul and for eternity. No one deserves it more than Lute.” All of Olson’s success is what former UA athletic director Cedric Dempsey

hoped for in 1983 when the team had just gone 4-24. He lured Olson to Tucson from a winning program at the University of Iowa. “I thought it was a good fit and I knew he wanted to come back out west,” Dempsey said, recalling his good fortune 35 years ago. “I got him at the right time.” Soon after, the good times rolled. “What amazed me was that he turned the program around so fast,” Dempsey said. Behind players like Kerr, Eddie Smith and Pete Williams, the rise of the Arizona program began quickly. Williams, one of the first players Olson recruited to Arizona, said the coach “changed the culture of losing to the point where losing would no longer be acceptable…and moral victories wouldn’t be acceptable. He taught us about winning attitude and it happened with us.” Miles Simon, who won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award in Arizona’s run to the 1997 title, agreed. “Obviously, he’s a legend in the coaching game and a great mentor, coach and friend to all his players and coaches,” he said. “It’s about time.” Andre Iguodala, who played for Olson in the mid-2000s and now plays for Kerr with the Golden State Warriors, said he admires his coach for what he’s achieved. “Coach O took a chance on leaving Iowa and turned Arizona into a tradition,” he said. “It’s carried on for a very long time and is still carried on. His legacy will always be remembered.”

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PHOTOS: STAN LIU/ARIZONA ATHLETICS

By Steve Rivera


Pete Williams

Lute Olson

Profile of the Lute Olson Statue Height: 6 feet, 4 inches (same as Lute Olson) Weight: 525 pounds Material: Bronze Artist: Omri Amrany, Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany (in Haywood, Illinois) Architect: Line and Space (in Tucson) Cast and Bronze: Bollinger Attelier (foundry in Phoenix) Cost: $300,000 www.BizTucson.com

Damon Stoudamire Summer 2018

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BizDOWNTOWN

MOXY HOTEL

Rio Nuevo Gets New Life 10 Years Added To Sales Tax District for Downtown

Rio Nuevo’s name translates from Spanish to “new river” in English, and now it has vida nueva, or “new life,” from the Arizona legislature with the approval of a 10-year extension of the special taxing district through 2035. The extension was surprising for some who have lived in Tucson since 1999 when voters approved Rio Nuevo funding to revitalize downtown Tucson through 2025. Since then, a portion of state sales taxes raised in the district, which runs from the base of A Mountain, through downtown Tucson and along the Broadway corridor to Park Place Mall, has been reserved to fund public and public/private development 110 BizTucson

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projects in the downtown area. Rio Nuevo got off to a rough start. Managed by the city of Tucson, the project produced many grandiose ideas to revitalize downtown, but not much action. The Arizona legislature reorganized district leadership in the fall of 2009, seating a new board whose members are appointed by the governor, the Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives. Since the reorganization, Rio Nuevo has successfully invested in a number of projects, relying largely on private investment in downtown. The most recent successes include the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown and the new head-

quarters for the Caterpillar Tucson Mining Division west of I-10. Renovations of existing buildings include the former Brings Funeral Home, which now houses office space and The Owls Club. Soon to be completed are renovations at 123 S. Stone Ave., which will house a new restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Chris Bianco. Because of Rio Nuevo’s poor early history, it may seem surprising that the extension passed in both houses with a fairly large majority. “Lots of people only remember the bad things about the early Rio Nuevo continued on page 112 >>> www.BizTucson.com

IMAGE: COURTESY RIO NUEVO

By April Bourie


RIO NUEVO PROJECTS 2019 & BEYOND Since voters approved Rio Nuevo funding to revitalize downtown Tucson in 1999, Rio Nuevo has invested $32.5 million of Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District sales tax revenue returned by the state to launch 20 projects valued at nearly $366 million. Every dollar Rio Nuevo invests yields $10 of privately-funded capital investment. That’s according to Fletcher McCusker, downtown champion and chair of Rio Nuevo’s board of directors. In recent years, the district has played a key role in downtown’s revitalization efforts by providing financial support for the five-story City Park project on Congress Street west of Scott Avenue; creating a sales-tax abatement agreement that helped with the development of the new $34 million AC Marriott Tucson Downtown, with similar plans on the horizon with other new hotel projects; and assisting in the creation of the economic development package that persuaded Caterpillar to locate the Tucson Mining Division and 750 jobs in the downtown area. Rio Nuevo also provided support for the Mercado San Agustin Annex retail center that is set to open next month. The district has also done $12 million in renovations to the Tucson Convention Center (which helped lure the minor-league hockey franchise Tucson Roadrunners to town) and supported the completion of the Mission Gardens, which commemorate Tucson’s birthplace. The sales-tax diversion was set to end in 2025 but will now continue through 2035. McCusker estimates that additional revenue could mean an additional $150 million, which, if properly leveraged, could produce more than a billion dollars in new construction. There are currently six projects downtown scheduled for completion in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Here’s what to expect: www.BizTucson.com

MARIST COLLEGE

MOXY HOTEL

Constructed in 1915, the original Marist College is the only existing three-story adobe structure United States. The newly renovated building will serve the senior community with eight one-bedroom housing units and classes that are open to the community.

The Moxy Hotel by Marriott is a boutique hotel that will add a vibrant nightlife scene to the east end of downtown Tucson.

Ochoa Street & Church Avenue Completion Date – 2019

CAPITAL FUNDED PROJECT Rio Nuevo Spent – $350,000 Rio Nuevo Committed – $0 Rio Nuevo Total – $350,000 Estimated Total Project Cost – $24 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $1.3 million

OCHOA STREET CATHEDRAL SQUARE Ochoa Street between Church & Scott Avenues Completion Date – 2019

Improvements to Ochoa Street include sidewalk repair and landscaping that improve walkability and promote a pedestrian lifestyle. Ochoa Street improvements border the new Cathedral Square senior housing development that includes 75 residential units, parking and a community space. CAPITAL FUNDED PROJECT Rio Nuevo Spent – $5,000 Rio Nuevo Committed – $995,000 Rio Nuevo Total – $1 million Estimated Total Project Cost – $1 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $0

CATERPILLAR

845 W. Cushing St. Completion Date – 2019 Caterpillar’s Tucson Mining Division will create more than 650 jobs in the region over the next five years – bringing total Caterpillar employment to about 1,000 – with an estimated economic impact of $600 million. CONSTRUCTION Rio Nuevo Spent – $4.7 million Rio Nuevo Committed – $1.1 million Rio Nuevo Total – $5.8 million Estimated Total Project Cost – $49 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $2.7 million

55 N. 5th Avenue Completion Date – 2020

REBATES IN LIEU OF INVESTMENT Rio Nuevo Total – $4.78 million Estimated Total Project Cost – $23 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $12.5M

75 E. BROADWAY

Completion Date – 2021 The parking lot at Broadway and 6th Avenue in the heart of downtown Tucson may be home to a proposed mixed-use development by 2020. Developer JE Dunn has proposed a 250,000-squarefoot tower that includes two levels of retail and restaurant space, parking and office space. REBATES IN LIEU OF INVESTMENT Rio Nuevo Total – $1.1 million Estimated Total Project Cost – $120 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $6.6 million

TCC HOTEL – CALIBER 260 S. Church Avenue Completion Date – 2021

Caliber Hospitality is developing a 125bed hotel in the east parking lot of the recently remodeled Convention Center. The development also includes a parking garage to serve the hotel and downtown. REBATES IN LIEU OF INVESTMENT Rio Nuevo Total – $2.5 million Estimated Total Project Cost – $24 million Estimated Sales Tax Generated/ Construction – $1.3 million

Source: Rio Nuevo Summary of Investments & Financial Commitments

INCENTIVES Rio Nuevo Spent – $1.98 million Rio Nuevo Committed – $0 Rio Nuevo Total – $1.98 million

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continued from page 110 days,” said Fletcher McCusker, chair of the Rio Nuevo board of directors. “Overcoming this was a big hurdle. To combat this, we showed what we were doing to the Southern Arizona delegation and many Maricopa County legislators. We took them on a tour of downtown. It was important to show

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Fletcher McCusker, Chair, Rio Nuevo Board of Directors

them our successful projects because it was helpful in persuading the conservative Republican members who had only heard bad news.” It also helped that the sponsor of the funding extension bill was Republican Representative Mark Finchem. “He is known as a conservative Republican who is fiscally responsible,” McCusker said. Finchem explained that he introduced the bill because he saw the value in it both for downtown Tucson and the state. “For every dollar the state has invested in Rio Nuevo, we’ve gotten $10 in private capital investment. The state is also realizing $890,000 in 112 BizTucson

an end to Rio Nuevo in an orderly fashion,” he said. Major projects between now and 2035 include a 20-story tower across from the Tucson Electric Power building on Broadway and which will include two floors of retail. “This project will really change the game with retail, which downtown is still lacking,” McCusker said. The building will also in-

Summer 2018

though the state committee can’t reject investment plans, the committee can replace board members if they don’t like the projects they are investing in. Additionally, the Rio Nuevo board cannot issue any bond debt. Although another extension could be requested toward the end of this extension, the purpose of the additional funding period is to complete the revitalization of downtown Tucson, McCusker said. “There’s no reason we can’t be done by 2035,” said McCusker. An end in sight was another reason that Finchem sponsored the bill. “I saw an opportunity to drive results and put

clude five levels of parking and eight floors of headquarters-type office space. Another major project is upgrading the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, Exhibition Hall, ballroom spaces and the plaza in front of the Music Hall with its fountains that currently are not operating. “We are very grateful to Representative Finchem, Representative J.D. Mesnard, Senate President Steve Yarbrough and Governor (Doug) Ducey for supporting this initiative,” said McCusker. “We appreciate that they saw beyond the early rough start and understand the value that Rio Nuevo has created.”

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IMAGES: COURTESY RIO NUEVO

sales tax per month in the Rio Nuevo District, and that will probably increase to around $1 million per month by the end of the year as more projects are brought online.” Two new rules will be implemented during the extension period. The Rio Nuevo board will present any large projects the board is considering to a joint committee of the legislature. Al-


BizBRIEFS Cheryl La Plant

Cheryl La Plant is the new assistant property manager at Tucson’s largest commercial office building, 5151 E. Broadway. La Plant is part of the Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR company that oversees management and operations of 5151. She previously worked in client relations with Lawyers Title of Arizona, and earlier worked in the Trust Department of Ticor Title Insurance. Her career in the real estate industry has spanned 20 years.

Biz

Carly James

Carly James has joined Barrett Business Services as director of business development for the Tucson branch. Barrett Business Services is a national company with over 60 branches. It provides small- to medium-sized business owners with strategy, consultation and solutions. It offers flexible solutions designed to fit around how a business uniquely operates and includes payroll processing, human resources compliance expertise, risk and safety programs and an inhouse workman’s compensation insurance product. Biz

Carrie Gurenlian

Carrie Gurenlian is the new marketing communications manager at Sundt Construction. Gurenlian joined Sundt in 2016 as its public relations specialist. In her new position, she is responsible for planning and implementing marketing communications projects for internal and external audiences. She has more than 10 years of communications experience. She was honored in 2014 as one of Tucson’s 40 Under 40 and is immediate past president of the Public Relations Society of America, Southern Arizona Chapter. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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Marianna Pegno

Marianna Pegno, curator of community engagement at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, has received the 2018 Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education from the National Art Education Association. The award, determined through a peer review of nominations, recognizes the value of doctoral research in art education and its related disciplines. Pegno has been with the Tucson Museum of Art since 2010.

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Allyson Solomon

Allyson Solomon has been named executive director of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance. She is responsible for the overall management of the organization including strategic planning, government, special events and staff management. She also is the primary public contact and spokesperson for the MPA. Previously she was the community liaison for Rancho Sahuarita, working closely with the Sahuarita Town Council and staff on strategic planning and government relations. Biz

Lacey Roberts

Lacey Roberts has joined Bank of America in Tucson as a market manager. She is responsible for community partnerships, sponsorships and philanthropy in Tucson. Previously she served as the public affairs officer for the 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard. Since 2010, she has been serving as a member of the Arizona National Guard and will continue to serve as a part-time Guardsman. Biz 114 BizTucson

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BizBRIEFS Mike Trueba

Mike Trueba is the new VP and manager of business banking for Vantage West Credit Union. Trueba identifies and develops long-term strategies to grow Vantage Westâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business banking relationships. He also manages the financial needs of local small-business owners by ensuring the credit union offers a competitive mix of products and services within its commercial portfolio. He is a native Arizonan and a University of Arizona graduate.

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Sivan Korn

Jonathan Saffer

Sivan Korn and Jonathan Saffer have been named partners at the law firm of Rusing Lopez & Lizardi. Korn has worked in an of-counsel role at RL&L for the past two years. She previously practiced as a commercial litigator in Israel, New York and Tucson. Safferâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s practice for the last 16 years has concentrated on all aspects of commercial litigation, finance and business law, and he has extensive trial expertise.

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BizBRIEFS

Major Award for Golf Cars of Arizona Golf Cars of Arizona was chosen as one of the top 18 Club Car golf cart dealerships in North America. The company’s work in the Club Car Black & Gold Rewards Program has also earned it Black & Gold Elite partner status. The Black & Gold Elite status is only for select partners that have produced extraordinary results and helped build the Club Car brand and reputation. Owner Dareck Makowski won a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, as part of the honor. Golf Cars of Arizona was started in 1980, and Makowski took over the company in 2012. The company is the only Club Car golf cart dealership in Southern Arizona and is the largest golf cart

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Megan & Dareck Makowski

dealership in Southern Arizona. It offers new, reconditioned and rental carts and has locations in Tucson, Green Valley and Catalina. In 2013, Golf Cars of Arizona also became the new dealer for the Club Car Carryall commercial brand of utility vehicles. The dealership’s upholstery shop has grown to its own location on 22nd Street location that offers a quick turnaround for all custom seats and enclosures and a wide selection of fabrics and vinyl. The rental fleet is 175 cars. The company rents to golf tournaments, monthly long-term rentals, special events and everything in between, according to Makowski.

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New National Bank of Arizona Team Helps Small Businesses National Bank of Arizona has launched a business banking team to focus on helping Arizona small business owners find needed capital. Tucson-based David Lyons, regional president for National Bank of Arizona, is part of the team. Like other NB|AZ bankers, Lyons’ focus is to cultivate business relationships throughout Arizona that will offer solutions to businesses for lending, cash management and deposit accounts. Business bankers are located in Tucson, metropolitan Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, Yuma and Mohave County. The team is managed by Senior VP John D. Lewis and looks to provide improved service to businesses with annual revenues between $2.5 and $10 million.

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“We are committed to helping locally owned businesses of Southern Arizona as they are the lifeblood of our economy,” Lyons said. “National Bank of Arizona has grown from a small business started in Tucson to a statewide organization and understands the needs of the local business community. “The Business Banking team will add

Dave Lyons

to our existing group of local bankers to further assist clients with products and services designed specifically for our community.” Since its founding in 1984, NB|AZ has expanded to play a significant role in numerous communities across the state. It is backed by Zions Bancorporation. The bank offers a broad suite of products and services for individuals and businesses – from consumers to executive and private banking clients and from small businesses to corporate and commercial clients. Clients have access to executive management and local decision-making. Bankers contribute financial knowledge and serve as their clients’ strategic partners.

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BizVETERANS

Treating Invisible Scars of War Combat Veterans Recover at Boulder Crest Arizona

Suicide is rising at epidemic rates. It is now among the 10 leading causes of death in America and according to data provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the only one of those top 10 death causes that is on the rise each and every year. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 123 Americans, on average, commit suicide every day – and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that roughly 20 of those daily suicides are committed by military vets. In 2014, the latest year such statistics are available, more than 7,400 U.S. veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all our nation’s suicides. Veterans make up less than 9 percent of the country’s population. Yet there is a glimmer of hope that those distressing statistics regarding suicide and PTSD among combat veterans can be reversed. That optimism is not originating from research hospitals, patient clinics or traditional mental health treatment centers – but rather from a pair of innovative nonprofit retreats in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and Arizona’s Coronado National Forest 45 miles south of Tucson in Sonoita. Clearly the U.S. healthcare system is failing to provide adequate suicide prevention or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment to military veterans. In fact, the VA reports that 70 percent of veterans who perished from suicide were not regular users of VA services. The two wellness sanctuaries – which provide free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities, and novel programs to help U.S. veterans recover from the physical and invisible 118 BizTucson

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scars of war – are operated by the Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation. Ken Falke is the visionary founder, chairman and driving force behind Boulder Crest. He is a former Navy bomb-disposal technician and a disabled veteran who has made a remarkable recovery from serious injuries suffered in a parachute accident. After 21 years of service, Falke retired from the military in 2001. He then launched a second, entrepreneurial career as the creator and chief executive of A-T Solutions, an international counter-terrorism and security business he built into the second-largest

Ken Falke employer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Falke, an avid hockey player as a youth who said he barely graduated from high school, made a fortune when he sold his company to a private equity firm in 2008. A-T Solutions has since been purchased by PAE (Pacific Architects and Engineers), a multi-billion-dollar defense contractor. Falke’s new interest, borne of a wish to give back to the wounded warriors who’ve sacrificed so much for their country, is Boulder Crest, which he believes can be a catalyst to end the sui-

cide epidemic among military veterans and, he said, “improve the emotional, physical, spiritual and financial well-being of these remarkable heroes so they have the opportunity to succeed in their new mission – a life full of passion, purpose and service here at home.” Boulder Crest Retreat Virginia was built on a beautiful 200-acre estate owned by Falke and his wife, Julia, who donated 37 acres of the property to create the facility, which opened in September 2013. The Virginia Retreat serves about 700 soldiers and their families annually, a level Boulder Crest Retreat Arizona is expected to reach within a year. After receiving a $10 million gift from a prominent Washington, D.C., foundation, Boulder Crest purchased a 130-acre parcel of land at historic Apache Springs Ranch in Sonoita and announced plans to double its capacity by creating its second retreat here in Arizona. Boulder Crest Retreat Arizona began operations at Apache Springs Ranch, located in a lovely grassy canyon several miles off State Highway 83, in May 2017. It is open to combat veterans of all generations and their families, as well as civilian first responders and active-duty reserve and National Guard personnel. The facility – which has five-star lodging for up to 28 people within three guest homes and a handicapped-accessible dormitory – features a lodge that can accommodate large gatherings, a seven-lane archery range, horses and other animals, a labyrinth, walking and hiking trails, a fishing pond, an outdoor exercise area, a children’s playground and a walled garden. Apache Springs Ranch was the original homestead of Thomas Gardner, www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY BOULDER CREST RETREAT

By David Pittman


Post-Traumatic Growth is a decades-old science that provides a platform for transforming deep struggle into profound strength and lifelong growth.

Ken Falke, Founder & Chairman Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation

a pioneer and Indian fighter. Among Southern Arizona’s earliest entrepreneurs, Gardner captured wild horses, broke them at his ranch and took them to Tucson where he sold them as race horses. He also raised cattle, which he sold to mining companies that used the meat produced from the animals to feed the miners. Falke said military veterans diagnosed with PTSD and other war-related mental issues have not responded well to typical mental health treatment for many reasons. “A common scenario talked about by veterans diagnosed with PTSD is when a therapist says, ‘I know how you feel.’ The vet stands up and says, ‘You can’t possibly know how I feel because you weren’t there’ and often walks out and never comes back.” Falke said veterans have been trained not to acknowledge weakness and are experts at suffering in silence. He said vets also complain that mental health treatments focus on managing and mitigating their symptoms through talk therapy and medications. “The majority of veterans aren’t interested in learning how to live as a diminished version of what they were,” he said. In June 2014, Boulder Crest began utilizing an innovative approach to help veterans with PTSD or combat stress. The program is called Warrior PATHH –which stands for Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes. Warrior PATHH has little resemblance to mental health treatment – instead, it is the nation’s first program designed to cultivate Post-Traumatic Growth among combat vets. “PTG is a decades-old science that provides a platform for transformcontinued on page 120 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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ing deep struggle into profound strength and lifelong growth,” Falke said. “The underlying notion of PTG is best captured in the words of Nietzsche: ‘That which does not kill me makes me stronger.’ ” Warrior PATHH aims to train combat veterans to be as productive at home as they were on the battlefield. It is an 18-month program that begins with seven days of intensive and immersive boot-camp-style training that a small group of vets do together. Rather than being allowed to feel disconnected and isolated, participants are encouraged to bond together in order to help one another. “What we’re doing is training, not treatment,” said Brian Bell, executive director of Boulder Crest Retreat Arizona. “Most military vets don’t respond well to treatment – but they love training. We really don’t have therapists, we have PATHH guides who are combat veterans who have been through the PATHH program and have walked the path of trauma, recovery and growth. We train our students how to struggle well. Everyone struggles. During the seven days of intensive training, participants connect with the five or six other people in their cadre. So when they go back home, they leave here as brothers and sisters (male and female programs are run separately) on a shared journey who help one another.” “This is not a catch-and-release program,” he said. “There is 18 months of follow-up after-care in which our students have weekly assignments, and things are reviewed and taught during a weekly video conference or check-in phone call.” Bell spent 21 years in the Marines and saw combat during two tours of duty in Iraq. He enlisted in 1991 as a private, just as the Gulf War broke out. He was 42 when he retired from the military as a major “with some unseen scars that needed to be taken care of. The Veteran’s Administration had nothing for me but pills and a person who asked trite, sometimes probing questions,” Bell said. “I later heard about Boulder Crest and that’s where I found personal healing for myself. Now I’m helping other veterans and their families heal.” It is estimated that 700,000 post-9/11 combat veterans battle PTSD or combat stress. However, rarely are these troubles contained solely to soldiers; combatrelated stress often affects entire families. For that reason, Boulder Crest also offers Family PATHH, Couples PATHH and Caregiver PATHH. Family PATHH is a five-day program, while Couples PATTH and Caregiver PATTH are three-day programs. During down periods when BCR is not running PATHH programs, Boulder Crest allows veterans, first responders and their families to take time off at Boulder Crest for rest and recuperation stays. While it’s impressive that the two Boulder Crest retreats will soon be providing innovative mental health training to 1,400 combat veterans annually, Falke acknowledged that it is just scratching the surface of continued on page 122 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: COURTESY BOULDER CREST RETREAT

NDT A S W IE W A : THOM PHOTO

ments le C . W her Christop asha Clements S & Wife

Robert Vera

Raising Support for Veteran’s Retreat No Charge for Services By David Pittman Boulder Crest Retreat is a charity that operates military and veteran wellness programs at beautiful, comfortable, rural locations in Virginia and Arizona – and it does so at no charge to its clients. “As is the case with any nonprofit, you can’t survive without community support,” said Ken Falke, the founder and board chairman of Boulder Crest. “In Virginia, we have that community support in spades because we’ve been planning it, building it and operating it for almost seven years – but in Arizona we are just getting started and we have a long way to go in building the financial and volunteer networks and strong business and community relationships we need.” Two talented Arizonans – Christopher W. Clements of Tucson and Robert Vera of Scottsdale – were brought into the BCR fold to establish ties of support to help Boulder Crest succeed throughout Arizona and the Southwest. Clements – former vice chairman and CEO of Golden Eagle Distributors, a family-owned, Tucson-based beer wholesaler purchased two years ago by www.BizTucson.com

Hensley Beverage – was named to BCR’s board of directors. Vera, who has more than a decade of veteran-related fundraising experience, including working directly with the Tillman Family to establish the Pat Tillman Foundation, is heading the Boulder Crest Arizona development effort. An award-winning writer, Vera is the author of “Man of War,” the story of a Navy Seal whose struggle with post-combat stress led to transformation and personal growth. Clements, no stranger to philanthropy, established The Wings Like Eagles Foundation, a private, employee-supported group that donated about $2 million to numerous charities in communities served by Golden Eagle over a 12-year period. He’s provided volunteer service to numerous organizations, including the Salpointe Catholic High School Board of Directors, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Young Presidents Organization. “As a former member of DM50, who once was an honorary commander at

the base, I know many people with great passion for veterans,” Clements said. “It’s easy for me to contact those folks, inform them about Boulder Crest and find if they have an interest.” Among recent contributors to Boulder Crest is Joe Wittman, the owner and president of Universal Wallboard, and Bill Assenmacher, CEO of Caid, a manufacturing technology company. “I don’t think our country is doing enough for our combat vets,” said Wittman. “Boulder Crest is building an impressive record of success in rehabilitating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and helping them live productive, fulfilling lives here at home.” “We are fortunate Boulder Crest has chosen to locate its second campus in Southern Arizona,” Assenmacher said. “It is making huge progress in developing programs to heal those who’ve been through traumatic wartime experiences. Our community needs to step up and support the work Boulder Crest is doing.”

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BizVETERANS continued from page 120 those struggling from PTSD. However, he said Boulder Crest’s programs are working – and he intends to spread the word so the methods being utilized by BCR can be used by others across the country. “In January 2016, after more than two years of research, development, piloting and success, the Marcus Foundation funded the development of the first-ever curriculum effort designed to cultivate and facilitate Post-Traumatic Growth,” Falke said. “The curriculum includes student and instructor guides, a journal, syllabus, four pilot programs and an 18-month longitudinal study. “Right now, we are actually 15 months into that study and our results are about three times as effective as traditional mental health care. At the end of the 18 months, we are going to hold up the study and say, ‘Hey, we’ve developed something better,’ and then try to scale that out to the entire population. The information will be exciting to share.”

Changing Lives Veterans who experience care at Boulder Crest find it has lasting impact. These are a few examples from unnamed participants: “Thank you for sharing such a beautiful place for respite and a chance to heal what can’t be seen. I felt safe here. Thank you all for being so awesome.” “I have been deployed three times and had just about conceded to the fact that the very foundation of humanity that I had fought for was gone. But the love, charity, sincerity, concern that was given to me and my family during our stay here reminded me exactly what it is that was worth fighting for. My wish is that every service member who has deployed has the opportunity to experience this kind of kindness.”

“I wasn’t sure how this trip would end because of how it started. There was a fighting, yelling, screaming event to the point that my wife had to leave. Then the healing began. I feel free of my past and can smile on a daily basis. I am now leaving here with my wife. Our relationship is stronger and I am ready to face the world. God has worked a miracle in me and my family.” “If Boulder Crest were not here, I wouldn’t be either. Thank you.” Source: www.bouldercrestretreat.org

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BizBRIEF

Griffin Leads New Venture Capital Firm DVI Equity Partners, a newly formed, Tucson-based venture capital firm, plans to invest in Southwest companies that provide disruptive technology and companies founded and led by women and minorities. DVI was formed by Diamond Ventures, one of Arizona’s leading real estate development and venture capital companies, and Robert Griffin, who is DVI’s principal and new managing partner. The new venture capital firm aims to increase Diamond Ventures’ sourcing and analysis of investments of earlystage, emerging technology companies. It wants to support companies that create B2B value in national security, enterprise software, artificial intelligence, data analysis and other technologies. Griffin has collaborated with Diamond Ventures for more than a de-

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cade, beginning with his role as CEO of Knowledge Computing, a University of Arizona spinoff and early Diamond Ventures portfolio company that developed COPLINK, a suite of sophisticated data-analysis software for law enforcement agencies.

In 2009, he led a merger with United Kingdom-based i2 in partnership with Silver Lake Partners. In late 2011, as the CEO of i2, Griffin led the sale of the company to IBM. DVI plans to expand venture capital investments and services to the Southwest region’s technology sector. It offers management expertise, resources and relationships. Diamond Ventures, founded in 1988, has offices in Tucson and Denver and invests in a variety of independent businesses and real estate projects across the Southwest. Griffin’s team includes Nathan Levy, who runs the Diamond Ventures’ Denver office, and Ngoc Can, a private equity analyst with Diamond Ventures.

Robert Griffin

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BizBRIEF

Tucson Subaru Raises $78,376 for Youth On Their Own In April Tucson Subaru presented Youth On Their Own with an oversized check for $78,376. YOTO board members accepted the donation at a free public event at the dealership at 4901 N. Oracle Rd. The funds were raised through Subaruâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual national Share the Love program. Subaru of America donates $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased to the customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s choice of the charities or a hometown charity selected by participating Subaru retailers. For the past four years, Tucson Subaru selected YOTO as its nonprofit. Since the creation of Share the Love 10 years ago, Subaru of America has do-

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nated more than $115 million. For the past three decades the nonprofit YOTO has supported homeless unaccompanied youth in the greater Tucson area by providing financial assistance, basic human needs and guidance. With community support and contributions, YOTO has helped more than 15,000 students stay in school, remain focused on the goal of graduation

and become self-sufficient productive adults. Each year throughout Arizona, more than 62,000 children are displaced and unaccompanied through no fault of their own, ranking the state the fifth worst nationwide for child homelessness. Tucson Subaru is owned by the DiChristofano family that has been in the automotive sales and service business in Tucson since 1972 when Frank DiChristofano moved here and opened Wigglesworth Volvo. Tucson Subaru has been rated the #1 Subaru dealer in the United States four years in a row by Dealer Rater.

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BizARTS

Kassers Donate $2.5 Million to Tucson Museum of Art

Latin and Pre-Columbian Collection to Have Own Wing Tucson’s role as a leading arts oasis of the Southwest took a giant step forward when business leader I. Michael Kasser and his wife, Beth, donated $2.5 million to the Tucson Museum of Art. A longtime member of the museum’s board of trustees, Michael Kasser also is president and CEO of Tucson-based Holualoa Companies, a real estate investment firm. The museum announced the contribution as “the single most significant individual donor gift in the museum’s history.” In a companion move, Kasser offered his personal collection of pre-Columbian and Latin American art to the museum as a longterm loan. Included are more than 250 objects from the preColumbian period. The TMA will combine Kasser’s pieces with the museum’s own Latin American and pre-Columbian collection of approximately 1,000 pieces – including the Frederick R. Pleasants and Paul L. and Alice C. Baker collections. TMA also will break ground next spring for a 6,000-square-foot expansion gallery to be named the Kasser Family Wing. It will be architecturally integrated into the museum complex by unifying the main museum building and the John K. “Jack” Goodman Pavilion. Plans call for the wing to be completed in the fall of 2019. “This is the first expansion of the present museum building since it opened in 1975,” said TMA CEO Jeremy Mikolajczak. “From the museum’s beginning in 1924 there has been a long-standing commitment to pre-Columbian art because of its historic importance to this region.

“The impact of this gift will be tremendous. Its importance is much bigger than just the museum. It will put Tucson on the national map as a center for researching this period.” Kasser said, “This is exactly why I wanted my collection to stay here in Tucson,” noting that several other institutions would have welcomed it. “This is right where it belongs. This is the path the Indians took through the Southwest. They didn’t go through New York. They came through here.”

Michael & Beth Kasser Kasser said that since the four years of childhood spent with his parents in Mexico, he has been fascinated by preColumbian sculptures, those squat figures so distinctively designed. Sometime during his 30s, when Kasser was an established businessman in the United

States, he began buying pieces here and there. “About 25 years ago I started buying seriously, going to auctions and estate sales,” said Kasser, 77. “I have such an emotional attachment, especially to the sculptures. Some are more than 1,000 years old. “Just to hold a piece in my hands, something that old, that somebody has put so much work into – that’s a feeling you don’t forget. It’s like receiving a message from the artist’s spirit.” In keeping with the museum’s stated mission of “Connecting Art to Life,” Mikolajczak is developing elaborate plans to use the expanded collection to create interpretative exhibits. Those exhibits will represent the origins of all the distinct cultures that first came here, how those cultures mixed and how they represent today the rich cultural diversity of Tucson and the Southwest. “It is important to the museum to assist in adding that spark to these conversations in the community between the past and present, for the museum to be an active participant in the diversity that we have emerging,” he said. Key to developing this role at the museum is selecting a curator for the entire pre-Columbian and Latin American collection. The museum previously announced a donation by Jeanette H. and Bernard L. Schmidt to endow a staff position of curator of Latin American Art. That post will be filled early in 2019. “Our national search committee is going through applications now. We will begin interviews this summer,” said Mikolajczak. “This is a very serendipitous occasion for us.”

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1) Three Standing Human Effigies, 1000 – 500 B.C. 2) Hunchback Figure, 650 – 950 A.D. 3) Stirrup Spout Seated Shaman Vessel, 300 – 700 A.D. 4) Seated Female Dignatary, 450 – 950 A.D. 5) Standing Dignitary, 550 – 950 A.D. 6) Seated Female Dignitary, 200 B.C. – 300 A.D. 7) Five Standing Female Figures, 1200 – 900 B.C. 126 BizTucson

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART

By Chuck Graham


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BizAWARDS

From Ideas Come Realities

University of Arizona Recognizes Inventors By Lee Allen They call it “TLA I-Squared,” but there’s nothing square about this group of high-tech inventors, collaborators, startups and impact-makers at the University of Arizona. “The mission of Tech Launch Arizona is to commercialize inventions that come out of university research,” said David Allen, who made these remarks before he retired as TLA VP in April. “Last year we recorded a record number of inventions brought to us by faculty – 261 invention disclosures, 15 startup companies and 105 licenses for UA technology. And we’re on track to exceed those company and license category numbers this year.” At the fifth annual Invention to Impact Expo and Awards celebration honoring some of the standout efforts, UA President Robert Robbins made the trophy presentations and said, “This event is a wonderful way to showcase the incredible talent we have on campus. The University of Arizona is among the Top 25 public universities in the field of research and that’s because we create an environment of entrepreneurship. Our culture and spirit make it an important part of the field of discoveries that ultimately translate into making the world a better place. The UA’s future impact depends on turning discoveries into products, processes and goods that will benefit us all and help drive Arizona’s economy.” 2018 Startup Company of the Year was Codelucida, a firm based on data storage and error correction. CEO Shiva Planjery said, “2.5 billion gigabytes of information are generated every day, so we’re at the right place at the right time with our technology.” Christopher Walker of the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory was named Physical Sciences Inventor of the Year. “He’s been on fire for the last few years with inventions that just build upon each other,” said Allen. Walker told the audience, “If I’ve been on fire, it’s because Tech Launch provided the match.” Frederic Zenhausern of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix received Life Sciences Inventor of the Year honors. The developer of more than two dozen technologies lauded the UA community as being “dynamic and innovative.” Roger Miesfeld of the College of Science’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry earned a Campus Collaboration citation for his efforts to develop a culture of support by being a model for other department heads. Rio Nuevo Board Chairman Fletcher McCusker was lauded for his efforts at Ecosystem Impact through the UA Venture Capital investment fund that creates growth capital for faculty members. “This $21 million fund is a big part of what’s been missing in this effort,” he said. 128 BizTucson

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Allen, who recently retired, was recognized with an award for leadership and vision. “His strategic plan created a vision for our organization along with measurable goals that show we’re succeeding,” said Doug Hockstad, TLA’s former assistant VP who was promoted to succeed Allen. Inventor displays included Regulonix, whose mission is to develop non-opioid drugs for chronic pain. “We have a different approach to doing drug discovery,” said Rajesh Khanna, chief scientific officer. “Our end goal is to develop something that’s non-addictive and through a decade of laboratory research, we’ve come up with a way to suppress pain, not by drugs, but by targeting the excitability of cells.” Others projects showcased were:

ALSihThera: Developing small molecules as drugs to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS. Inventor: Daniella Zarnescu, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, College of Science and College of Medicine – Tucson

Bed Sled: Resistance-training device with the purpose of strengthening the lower extremities, preventing muscle deconditioning and overall weakness, and formation of blood clots. Inventor: Laura McRee, College of Nursing

CAST: Computer-assisted surgical trainer. Inventor: Jerzy Rozenblit, Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering

Fibronox: Small molecule drugs for the treatment of fibrosis. Inventor: Louise Hecker, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine – Tucson

FreeFall: UA startup, inflatable spherical reflectors for satellite communications and remote sensing. Inventor: Christopher Walker, Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory

Guía: UA startup, mining sensor network. Inventor: Moe Momayez, Department of Mining & Geological Engineering, College of Engineering

HexaFeast: Scalable system for raising edible insects. Inventor: Goggy Davidowitz, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Quantum-analogue Computing with Phi-bits: Inventor: Pierre Deymier, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, College of Engineering

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SPECIAL REPORT 2018

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

From left

Delbert D. Dittmer

Senior VP & Project Manager BFL Construction

Garry Brav

CEO & Founder BFL Construction

David Larson

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President BFL Construction


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BFL Construction Acquired by

JV Driver Group of Canada Local Company Now Backed by North American Giant By Jay Gonzales

In the four decades that Garry Brav built his construction company into one of the leading firms in Tucson, stability has been a constant. It may have come from his management style that kept his employees at BFL Construction from taking their experience and talents elsewhere. It may have come from a strategy to always be financially solid and never have any debt – a factor Brav said he recognized as common in the demise of construction companies all around him during the 45 years that BFL has operated in Tucson. Today, BFL Construction is taking stability to new heights after being acquired by one of the largest construction companies in North America – JV Driver Group of Canada. It’s a development that immediately puts BFL in competition with every construction company in the region, able to bid for the large projects – locally and regionally – that have been beyond its means until now. “It’s taken me 45 years to get here, continually marshaling our resources which are twofold – people and money,” Brav said. “You need both of those. If you don’t have the cash, you don’t have the bonding, and if you don’t have the people, you can’t perform the work because you don’t have the skill sets. “They’re both hard to find. They take years of ac-

cumulation. My frustration is that after 45 years, I could see that the runway to get to the next level was going to take at least another 10 years.” As Brav perused a recently published ranking of construction companies in the state by revenue, he pointed to BFL’s place on the list and noted that “here” is not where he wanted to be, although he would never say he was unhappy with what he’s built at BFL. Still, he wanted to be “there” as he pointed to companies that consistently rack up hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects each year. In 2017, BFL Construction was providing construction management or design/build services for $82 million in construction projects and was headed for more than $100 million in 2018 prior to the acquisition by JV Driver. But that was where Brav said he wanted his company to be 20 years ago. He felt his company was big for Tucson, but small by the standards by which he wanted to measure it. “I want to be big for the state,” Brav said. “I love the challenge with bigger projects, the scope of them, the creativity that they permit and the opportunities for employee growth that come with being a larger company with larger projects.” continued on page 137 >>> Summer 2018

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BANNER UMC

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

EL RIO EL PUEBLO

EL RIO CONGRESS From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Delbert D. Dittmer, Senior VP & Project Manager, BFL Construction; David Larson, President, BFL Construction; Garry Brav, CEO & Founder, BFL Construction; Dave Winsor, VP, BFL Builders; Lourdes Sykes, VP & CIO, BFL Construction

VENTANA MEDICAL SYSTEMS

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SENTINEL PEAK HIGH SCHOOL

COMMUNITY BRIDGES TOOLE FACILITY

CODAC COBBLESTONE COURT

CARONDELET ST. JOSEPH’S NEUROLOGICAL INSTITUTE AND WOMEN’S CARE CENTER

I love the challenge with bigger projects, the scope of them, the creativity that they permit and the opportunities for employee growth that come with being a larger company with larger projects.

– Garry Brav CEO & Founder BFL Construction

continued from page 135

VENTANA MEDICAL SYSTEMS ORO VALLEY CAMPUS

A chance meeting between BFL’s newly arrived executive and future president, David Larson, and a representative from JV Driver Group turned into a quick and easy courtship. Larson, whom Brav had tapped as his heir apparent in April 2017, was attending an Arizona Mining Association conference in Sedona about a month later when he struck up a conversation with Ernie Smith, business development manager at JV Driver, who also was attending the conference. Both companies were exploring the prospect of adding mining site construction in Arizona to their business lines. The attraction was immediate, and they began talking about establishing some joint ventures in Arizona. At the same time, Brav was already working on a succession plan for his company – hiring Larson and initiating the process of establishing an employee stock ownership plan for the company continued on page 138 >>> Summer 2018

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Growing Up Fast


BizCONSTRUCTION continued from page 137 for the time Brav decided to call it a day. A meeting between BFL and JV Driver in Tucson at the end of October was followed by a meeting at JV Driver’s headquarters in Canada over Thanksgiving weekend. Within a few days, the companies had gone way beyond the joint-venture conversation. They agreed to terms for an acquisition of BFL by JV Driver the following week. It was a no-brainer, Brav said, because it accelerated BFL’s capacity in a hurry – right to where Brav wanted it to be. “It gets us to where it would have taken us another 10 years to get to with a little luck and some breaks,” Brav said. “It’s the difference between playing in the NCAA and playing in the NBA. Take that winning team (in the NCAA Tournament) and put them up against the Houston Rockets and it’s not even a game.”

JEWISH FEDERATION OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA CENTER FOR JEWISH PHILANTHROPY

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One of the first things established when the two companies began talking acquisition was that BFL would remain BFL Construction. Brav and Larson cited the model of their neighbor on Broadway – locally managed UNS Energy and Tucson Electric Power owned by Fortis, a Canadian energy company. “BFL is going to remain a Tucson company,” said Todd Patterson, COO of JV Driver buildings, civil and infrastructure enterprises. Patterson and JV Driver President Chuck Sanders negotiated and completed the acquisition of BFL. “We’re going to expand into other areas beyond Tucson as well, but the BFL head office and our office for the Arizona market and beyond will remain here. “The thing that we like about BFL is that they’re very involved in the community. The organizations that we invest in, we’re pretty careful to make sure that they’re invested in the communities they work in.” With BFL keeping hold of the reins in Tucson, Brav said future clients will continue to experience what BFL has always brought to the table with its management, its employees, its expercontinued on page 140 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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Big Resources, Same BFL


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EL RIO CONGRESS STREET/GOMEZ CLINIC

EL RIO MANNING HOUSE IT BUILDING

EL RIO CHERRYBELL

tise and its understanding of the community. It will just have a giant of a company and its resources behind it to expand its reach and capabilities. “Clients know we have 40 years in the community, and JV Driver has the benefit of those roots because we’re still here,” Brav said. “The experience that this company brings is amazing. “Over a period of the next 24 months, I think there’s going to be 140 BizTucson

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some tremendous growth in the types of projects that we do,” said Brav, adding that the company still will pursue the commercial construction projects in southeastern Arizona that have been its bread and butter, especially in the healthcare sector. What BFL can be, however, is distinctly different, Larson said. “There is no limitation – no geographic limitations, no size limitations.”

What Has Been, What Will Be

A walk through BFL’s office at Broadway and Euclid Avenue is a virtual tour of the Tucson region with photos displayed of the company’s prominent projects through the years – schools, government buildings, small hotels, medical campuses, banks and housing. BFL built the campus at Ventana Medical Systems, now known as Roche continued on page 142 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BFL HEADQUARTERS continued from page 140 Tissue Diagnostics, at Innovation Park in Oro Valley, and over the last 20 years has completed new construction, remodeling and renovation projects on the campus totaling more than $60 million. It has built a number of projects for the nonprofit El Rio Community Health Center. Its multifamily construction subsidiary, BFL Builders (formerly known as Preferred Apartment Builders), has helped make the Avilla product of luxury rental home communities a success in Tucson and Phoenix. What has been out of reach, however, were projects like the new nine-story

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hospital building going up at Banner University Medical Center, or any of the new multistory buildings that have gone up or are going up in downtown Tucson. “We can now direct our focus on that market and be credible because we have the expertise now to do that work,” Brav said. JV Driver has specialized in vertical contracting since 1989. Brav and Larson saw firsthand the magnitude of JV Driver’s capabilities during their visit to its Canada offices last November. At that time, JV Driver had 24 buildings under construction in Vancouver alone. They saw the

Olympic Village in Vancouver that JV Driver built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. They also visited Calgary, where there were several high-rises under construction. And that doesn’t take into account JV Driver’s massive industrial construction line of business. Tucson now has access to the capability of a construction company with $1.2 billion in annual construction volume and anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 employees depending on the amount of work in progress. “Our business is focused on buildings, commercial construction, as well

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as some of the heavy civil works, as a growth area for us,” Sanders said on a recent visit to the BFL offices. “Looking all over North America, we look for opportunities like BFL. When you find those opportunities, you get to know them and you’ve either got a good alignment or not. We fell in love with BFL right away. It wasn’t hard to see the value that can be created in terms of having the team of BFL and their great people inside our organization.” Right Place, Right Time

To use Brav’s analogy, Larson has gone from coaching an NCAA basket-

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ball team to being the president of an NBA team. The resources at his disposal now are massive. The opportunity is greater, but so is the responsibility. Larson said he arrived in 2017 comfortable with BFL as a company and comfortable with what it stood for. “You want to be with a company that shares your core values of integrity and honesty and fiscal responsibility,” Larson said. “Garry has a great vision for the future. Having somebody like Garry as a mentor was an important thing to me.” At the time he took the job, Larson

already had a vision to grow BFL into a company that could be strong locally and expand regionally. Brav’s financial strategy – to always be in a strong cash position with no long-term liabilities – was conducive to a potential growth strategy, Larson said. In addition, Larson saw a company where people stayed and built careers. “During walks around the office, 50 percent of the staff had been here for 10 years or more,” Larson said. “That says a lot about a company. You know that you’re going into a company that has something to work with, some great continued on page 144 >>>

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PIMA AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM


BizCONSTRUCTION

Looking all over North America, we look for opportunities like BFL. When you find those opportunities, you get to know them and you’ve either got a good alignment or not. We fell in love with BFL right away. –

continued from page 143 people to work with.” From a strategic standpoint, Larson was intrigued by BFL’s diversity in its business lines. BFL has close ties with several real estate development and investment firms – including Aerie Development, NexMetro and Iridius Capital – that create projects and match them with the necessary financing to ensure there is a steady stream of business. Aerie Development and NexMetro are the developers of the Avilla product in Tucson and Phoenix. Iridius is a company that secures investors for the

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Chuck Sanders, President, JV Driver Group projects. Brav, through BFL Ventures, is an investor in all three companies. “I’m really big on diversification,” Larson said. “As I walked around the office, I saw the diversification and I knew that this is a company that will reinvent itself when needed. It didn’t ever move the core values, but it diversified over the years from the very beginning of doing small tenant improvements to medical to mining to the Avilla product. “When you’re looking at a company that you are going to work with and be a part of, you want to be in one that’s diversified because you know you’re going

to have to change your model at some point.” Now as part of JV Driver, BFL is going through its biggest quantitative change ever, while offering the same high-quality products and performance. “It’s just fantastic,” Brav said. “What’s neat is that it’s not a major change in culture. It’s the culture that I’ve tried to create here for years. It’s worked and it’s going to continue to work in the future. It’s not like we’re changing the way we do business now. We’re just able to do business at the next level.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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From left

David Larson

President BFL Construction

Garry Brav

CEO & Founder BFL Construction

Chuck Sanders President JV Driver Group

Todd Patterson

COO JV Driver Buildings/ Civil & Infrastructure Enterprises

Delbert D. Dittmer Senior VP & Project Manager BFL Construction

Nimble Execs Ink Deal in 10 Days BFL Construction Now Part of JV Driver Group By Jay Gonzales Those who say that billion-dollar companies can’t be nimble haven’t met the executives at JV Driver Group – or, for that matter, those at the much smaller BFL Construction, a Tucson construction management company with an annual volume in the $100 million range. In a matter of days around last Thanksgiving weekend, JV Driver Group of Canada went from discussions of joint ventures with BFL Construction, to suggesting an acquisition, to terms that were agreed upon and put to paper. And just like that, BFL became part of one of the largest construction companies in North America, bringing a level of resources to Tucson that immediately puts BFL in competition with the state’s largest construction firms. The acquisition is simply what Chuck Sanders, president of JV Driver Group, does for a good portion of his time. An acquisition can take more than a year or, as in the BFL acquisition, it can take no time at all. It’s all about the opportunity in front of them, Sanders said. “We’re just executing on a strategy,” Sanders said on a recent visit to the BFL offices on East Broadway and Euclid Avenue. “We have a strategic plan that we wanted to be in this area with buildings and commercial construction. We looked around and this seemed to fit, obviously.” The courtship between the two companies actually started slowly in May 2017 at an Arizona Mining Association conference in Sedona. That’s where soon-to-be BFL President David Larson began discussing joint mining ventures in Arizona with Ernie Smith, a business development executive at JV Driver. The next step – still in anticipation of a joint-venture relationship – was a visit by JV Driver to Tucson in October. A date was then set for Thanksgiving weekend for Garry Brav, BFL CEO and founder, and Larson to visit JV Driver, which is where friendship turned to marriage faster than a Las Vegas wedding. continued on page 148 >>> Summer 2018

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BizCONSTRUCTION

continued from page 147 The early part of the trip was what the BFL executives would have expected. They visited projects. They spoke with project managers and superintendents. They asked about each other’s businesses. “We’re asking questions about their projects and how they do things, how they buy stuff, how they estimate, what software they’re using, what project management they use,” Brav said. “We’re just kind of comparing notes about how we do business and how they do business – talking shop.” 148 BizTucson

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The group stopped first in Calgary, Alberta, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to visit some JV Driver projects. The next day they visited Edmonton, Alberta, and then Vancouver, British Columbia, home to an impressive portfolio of JV Driver Group projects – including the Olympic Village for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “I was looking for things they were doing such as safety. I grabbed a couple of their safety cards that they had on site,” Larson said. “At this point, we were really looking at this as a joint venture.”

What Brav and Larson didn’t know was that the JV Driver representatives on the tour were all division presidents, not project managers. They found that out when they exchanged business cards at the end of the tour in Vancouver. At that point, Brav said, “we knew they were taking us very seriously and they wanted to make the best impression – otherwise why would you bring the top guys from your company? And from their perspective, they wanted their top guys to know who we were.” Brav said his takeaway was that if the two companies got involved in a www.BizTucson.com


joint venture, they already would have met with the company’s leaders, which would make the business relationship stronger and communication better. “I’m thinking they’re great guys. I’d like to be partners with these guys. They bring something to the table for me,” Brav said. “We can talk to them and I can get some straight information back. I’m thinking we’ve got a joint venture partner that has no limitations on their end. I’m the limitation.” “We didn’t think what happened next was going to happen,” Larson said. After the Vancouver projects tour, www.BizTucson.com

Brav and Larson were dropped off at their hotel, where they shared their impressions of the JV Driver Group with each other, still thinking they were looking at exploring joint ventures for mining projects in Arizona. “We talked about how we felt very comfortable with them because their presidents were in button-up shirts and jeans just like us,” Larson said. “They were regular guys. We realized they were a company that was different from the typical companies that we see of their size.” Brav and Larson joined Sanders and

other JV Driver executives for dinner a short time later and that’s when things escalated quickly. “They said, ‘Well, we really like your company. We like everything we’ve been talking about. We’d like to buy your company,’ ” Brav recalled. “Just like that,” Larson said, adding that the first reaction was to say nothing. “We had to think about what we were going to say.” Then Brav informed them that he was about to convert his company to an employee stock ownership plan – continued on page 150 >>> Summer 2018

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PHOTOS: COURTESY JV DRIVER GROUP

OLYMPIC VILLAGE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES


BizCONSTRUCTION

Within a week we had a solid letter of intent and everything was set. It was great. –

continued from page 149 he was essentially selling the company to his employees in preparation for his eventual retirement – and it was to go into effect on Jan. 1. “I said, ‘If you’re serious, I’m happy to listen to it – but this has to get done in the next week to 10 days because I’m moving forward one way or another,’ ” Brav said. “I said, ‘You’re going to have to get there real fast.’ ” Larson said he and Brav were “shocked,” but thoughtfully approached the prospect of selling the company. Back at their hotel, they found a patio where they discussed the implications of a sale to JV Driver versus the employee stock ownership plan. Brav particularly wanted to get Larson’s

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Chuck Sanders, President, JV Driver Group input because it was Larson who would end up with the reins to the company as Brav pondered his ride into the sunset. “He honestly asked me, ‘David, what do you think? What should we do? I want to make sure I have your input on this because you’re the one that’s going to be heading forward with this thing no matter which one we do,’ ” Larson said. “I felt this was an important moment in my life and in the lives of everybody here – and Garry’s life – and he’s asking me what I think. I had thought about it in those five minutes and felt strongly that we’re supposed to go forward with the sale of this thing.” As it turned out, the preparation for the employee stock ownership plan – as well as Brav’s longtime strategy to be

financially stable with lots of cash on hand, no debt and few capital assets – made it easy to value the company. Brav and Sanders agreed to terms of the sale on a phone call the following week – Sanders was in Scotland on other business at the time – and the two firms began to nail down the legal and operational details. The sale of BFL Construction to JV Driver Group officially closed on March 9, but the deal was done in 10 days after the dinner in Vancouver on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Brav said. “It was really quick,” Sanders said. “Within a week we had a solid letter of intent and everything was set. It was great. You know, the good ones come together quick.”

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JV Driver Group Sets Sights on Arizona

Acquires BFL Construction By Jay Gonzales

It didn’t take long for JV Driver Group to decide it wanted to acquire one of Tucson’s leading construction companies last fall, partly because the Arizona market and its growth potential had already been on the company’s radar. JV Driver, an international construction industry leader based in North America with a consistent annual construction volume of more than $1 billion, is now a player in Arizona with the purchase of BFL Construction, a company that’s been in business in Tucson for 45 years. JV Driver is headquartered in Leduc, Alberta, Canada, and has operations all over North America, including a fabrication facility in Phoenix. With the purchase of BFL, JV Driver’s Arizona office will be located in Tucson. Chuck Sanders, president of JV Driver Group, and Todd Patterson, COO of JV Driver’s buildings, civil and infrastructure enterprises, both said Arizona already was in their sights when the door swung wide open during discussions of a joint venture with BFL founder and CEO Garry Brav and its new president, David Larson, last fall. “We had already made a commitment that we were going to be in the Arizona market on the building side,” Patterson said. “We had been talking about it for almost two years, and we were setting things up to enter the market. “When BFL came along, they had a great company, so it just made total sense. They are a great, established company that’s got a great name and a great community presence.” 152 BizTucson

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That community presence is a characteristic prized by JV Driver. It’s a major factor in its acquisition strategy as it expands to other regions. Sanders and Patterson have stressed that BFL still will be managed by the existing management team, in part because they consider BFL’s business model is already aligned with JV Driver’s, and because JV Driver wants to benefit from BFL’s long-established connections in the business community. “We like to do business with people that are similar to ourselves and we feel that they are very similar to ourselves,” Patterson said. “It’s a people game,” Sanders added. “If you don’t have the great people to start with, you’re going to have nothing but trouble all the way through. We look for the alignment of core values as a starting point between us and whomever we’re looking at. “When you find that core value alignment, you know that as things move forward, you’re going to be okay no matter what happens. With David and Garry we saw that right away. It wasn’t hard to pick up.” Bullish on Arizona

Even before connecting with BFL, JV Driver was not a stranger to Arizona. JV Driver Fabricators opened in Phoenix in 2013 to do pressure pipe fabrication, structural fabrication, module assembly, sign fabrication and installation. Its other United States locations are two operations each in Texas and Louisiana.

From left

Chuck Sanders President JV Driver Group Todd Patterson COO JV Driver Buildings/ Civil & Infrastructure Enterprises

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AZURA (RESIDENTIAL TOWER)

ALEXANDRA (RESIDENTIAL TOWER) CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL

ROBERT H.N. HO RESEARCH CENTER

What caught JV Driver’s attention last year that led to the acquisition of BFL was Tucson’s mining industry. JV Driver, which has numerous mining-related projects and industrial maintenance operations, was interested in the business potential of the Rosemont mine, now owned by the Canadian company Hudbay. BFL also was exploring business opportunities related to the Tucson-area mine, so the two companies began to discuss synergies. However, as JV Driver executives spent more time looking at a potential entrance to the Tucson market, Patterson said, they were struck by the amount of development going on in the city and the potential for its building construction business. “We see the Tucson market as a market where there’s going to be growth,” Patterson said. “The market has been a little bit slow in Tucson, but it’s picking up. Because of the growth in Phoenix, you’re going to see a lot happen in Tucson.” Sanders said the attraction is also in the opportunity to get into a cozier market like Tucson as opposed to large markets like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston. Competition there is stiffer and more established and, as a result, margins are lower, especially for building construction. JV Driver recognized that there’s a lot happening already in Tucson downtown development, housing and building construction, as well as mining, and it wanted to be in on it before more competitors move in. “We built a business on not necessarily trying to jump feet first into a big market like that continued on page 158 >>>

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PHOTOS: COURTESY JV DRIVER GROUP

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MINING

CIVIL & INFRASTRUCTURE

INDUSTRIAL

MAINTENANCE

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FABRICATION

PHOTOS: COURTESY JV DRIVER GROUP

MARINE

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PHOTOS: COURTESY JV DRIVER GROUP

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INTERNATIONAL – Montego Airport WESBROOK 4 AT UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

CASINO & HOTEL

NEWS (RESIDENTIAL)

NISSAN DEALERSHIP

continued from page 154 and just compete with them,” Sanders said of the mega-cities. “You come to a town like Tucson and there’s redevelopment that’s going on. There are big companies that are coming that need space. There is a strategy in the community to attract those types of things. 158 BizTucson

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“That’s where you can create value. That’s where you build a sustainable construction business that provides real opportunity to people and communities – not trying to go at zero-percent margin in downtown L.A. against everybody else who’s been there for 45 years. You’re just gonna go broke.”

Doing More With More

JV Driver’s acquisition of BFL gives the Tucson company greater capacity and resources to take on larger projects and different projects than it has in its history, which has primarily been in building construction. With the flash of a pen on the acquisition documents, no continued on page 160 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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The market has been a little bit slow in Tucson, but it’s picking up. Because of the growth in Phoenix, you’re going to see a lot happen in Tucson. –

Todd Patterson, COO, JV Driver Buildings/Civil and Infrastructure Enterprises

continued from page 158 project is out of reach for BFL with JV Driver now behind it – except perhaps JV Driver’s marine business, because of Tucson’s obvious lack of proximity to water. “With us joining BFL, it’s going to open up some new doors for them sizewise, different clients,” Patterson said. “We have a pretty good industrial background. We know that there are some mining projects that are going to take place in this area and we’re certainly interested in participating in those – not just in buildings, but in any aspect where there are opportunities. We can do anything.” JV Driver’s portfolio stretches wide and far, and not just geographically.

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The company is divided into eight “Enterprises” – Technology, Industrial, Buildings, Marine, Fabrication, Maintenance, Infrastructure, Specialty Services and Shared Services. Everything it does includes innovative technology and an emphasis on safety through its branded program known as “Vigilance.” While the acquisition has only been final since early March, the two companies have been working together to establish just what they can tackle with the infusion of resources and BFL’s long history and familiarity with the market. “We’ve got a good strategic plan that we’ve been working on with Garry and David – of where our targets are and

how we’re going to grow this,” Patterson said. “It will take a little bit of time to get where we want to go, but we’ve got a good plan and I think you’ll start to see a big change in 2019. “You still have to be focused so you’re not going in 100 different directions. You have to be methodical in that plan to make sure that it’s going to be successful.” “It’s a little bit like a farmer who planted a new crop,” Sanders said. “We just planted a new crop and a bigger crop. We’re going to nurture it and watch it grow – as opposed to trying to be everything to everybody all at once.”

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JV Driver’s Vigilance Safety Program

26 Years Without a Lost-Time Incident By Christy Krueger

In construction safety, there’s a huge difference between complying with the rules and being vigilant on the job. That’s the belief of Chuck Sanders, president of JV Driver Group, the international construction giant that acquired Tucson’s BFL Construction earlier this year. As part of its ongoing goal of setting an example for the construction industry across the globe, JV Driver is introducing its world-renowned Vigilance program to Arizona. “Keeping people safe, taking care of each other every day is one of our core values,” Sanders said. “Not just because its what’s good from a business perspective, but because its morally right. We want people to be going home better than they came to work.” Vigilance was formed by JV Driver’s workforce during an oil refinery project for Exxon in northern Alberta, Canada. Sanders said. “From 2,000 workers we chose some from each job area – 93 people” who came to be called The Original 93. “They were devoted to finding what was best about the safety programs we had that already delivered superior results – and what would make those results even better and continuous.” The Original 93 held meetings to brainstorm methods for increasing the safety factor and how to get everyone on board. The idea of Vigilance is to 162 BizTucson

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get workers on job sites into the habit of looking out for those around them – to stop and ask the question: What could happen? Sanders compared it to having a scuba-diving buddy or airline pilots checking each other before they go to work. He said it goes far beyond compliance as set by industry watchdogs like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “It’s about taking care of your friend. It’s a basic human responsibility.”

It’s about taking care of your friend. It’s a basic human responsibility. Chuck Sanders President JV Driver Group

After Vigilance was established with that original project, Exxon recognized JV Driver with a safety award. Then the program moved to the next job, a project for Shell Oil. “We received an

award from the global CEO of Shell for having the best safety project – we won from among 400,000 contractors,” Sanders said. Eventually, JV Driver decided to brand the Vigilance program and run awareness campaigns using T-shirts, hats and temporary tattoos. “It extended outside of work – we’d see people wearing their hats and other gear in airports and all over,” he said. “It even changed people’s attitudes about safety at home and educating kids about safety.” Once the culture of vigilance became entrenched in the company’s workforce, management continued to make it an everyday state of awareness by producing training videos accessible online. They even used celebrity spokespersons in some, including former wrestler Hulk Hogan and National Hockey League and National Football League players. Other processes that emerged from Vigilance include the Act of Vigilance card, a tool which captures in real time the acts of vigilance which workers make daily to take care of one another and stop to think what could happen to prevent incidents from occurring. Getting into the habit of watching for potentially unsafe conditions or hazards makes workers more aware and causes them to think about solutions and prevention. continued on page 164 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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• Construction Owners Association’s Albert Awards for Best Practices and Safety Implementation for several years • Houston Business Roundtable Safety Excellence Award for world-class safety performance in 2018 • Chevron Phillips’ Contractor Safety Excellence Award in 2013 • Imperial Oil’s Golden Nugget Safety Award in 2011 • One of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in Western Canada

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continued from page 162 Sanders cited the example of noting electric lines over the job site. “Let’s tie ribbons on the overhead power lines so everyone is aware of their path over the job site. Or it’s hot today, have more water available for our crew, or be aware of changing weather conditions and their effect on the jobsite.” “Tool Box Meetings” help workers look at a job each day to see what risks may exist and allow them to discuss any events that stood out from the previous day. It also is where the previous day’s Acts of Vigilance are reviewed and actions reported. Workers can also use Acts of Vigilance cards to record their observations of positive behaviors such as interventions or observations where things are being done well and with Vigilance in mind. “We e-scan these cards,” Sanders said. “Management sees them and the worker will get feedback the next

day – such as we will change that or if not, why. We want at least one act of vigilance per day per worker. We reward workers based on this.” These programs and mindsets have helped JV Driver achieve world-leading safety results among its employees everywhere they work – in Canada, United States, Caribbean, Africa and United Kingdom. And the company continues to receive construction safety awards. It was recently honored by the Houston Business Roundtable for worldclass safety performance, Sanders said. JV Driver’s mission to “think different, build better” is reflected in its everyday approach to safety and its pursuit of safety excellence. “We are now 26 years without a lost-time incident,” Sanders said. “Our goal is always zero. The difference is personal choice and a vigilant mindset.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY JV DRIVER GROUP

Safety Honors

JV DRIVER’S METAL FABRICATION FACILITY IN PHOENIX, AZ


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BFL Adds Real Estate Development Full Spectrum – From Acquisition Through Completion

By Jay Gonzales

As much as anything, JV Driver Group’s acquisition of BFL Construction signals that a company with vast resources has every intent to have a giant impact on the Tucson landscape. Now that it is a part of JV Driver, BFL is launching a development arm of the company to give it the soup-to-nuts capability to create projects and carry them all the way through from land acquisition to handing the keys to a client. It puts BFL and JV Driver in position to impact the overall look of the city as it continues through a development period that has seen a resurgence in downtown and construction activity all over the region. “I really envision us just becoming the best version of Tucson – which is a kind of small town with a big-city feel, very community-oriented and just really offering a very high quality of life,” said Isaac Figueroa, who recently was hired to head BFL’s real estate development arm. “I think that’s the most important thing about Tucson. That’s why people stay – because the quality of life is so great.” Figueroa, a 30-year-old native Tucsonan who graduated from Sahuaro High 166 BizTucson

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School and the University of Arizona, said he simply wants the best for his hometown. He’s involved in a variety of community organizations. He realizes his work at BFL can have lasting impacts as the company now has the capability to be involved in the city’s largest construction projects, whether it’s a building, a civic project like a road, or a much-needed facility for a nonprofit. “We have a community that really cares,” Figueroa said. “The people here have character. The city has character. There’s a certain spirit and charm to Tucson. As developers, that’s something that we want to keep in mind and want to maintain and sustain while we’re improving the infrastructure and in the way we’re building.” BFL President David Larson said Figueroa’s new real estate position is part of an immediate growth strategy as JV Driver’s resources come into play. “Because of the resources and because of our plan to remain an integral part of this community and to grow BFL, we’re focusing in a couple of key areas,” Larson said. “This is one of them that we think will really make a change for ourselves and for the com-

munity. “We get to play in the community more, and that’s important to us. This is a significant portion of the plan.” The more traditional role for a construction company would be to wait for projects to come along and either be asked to participate or bid on the projects and hope for the best. With an inhouse real estate broker, BFL can seek its own development opportunities and create projects that it can then execute from start to finish. The real estate portion is something that Larson and BFL founder and CEO Garry Brav were both involved in before JV Driver purchased BFL. With the expectation of more and bigger business on the horizon, Larson said the two principals just needed to put it in someone else’s hands. The intent, Brav said, is not to compete with other developers. It’s to provide another level of service for clients who need or want it. Even before the design-and-build phase, which is where a general contractor usually steps in, there are a number of aspects to a project that have to be addressed by a decontinued on page 168 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Isaac Figueroa

Director of Real Estate Development BFL Ventures

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Everybody’s a little more cautious since the recession – but everybody’s optimistic and things seem to have shifted to another level. –

Isaac Figueroa, Director of Real Estate Development, BFL Ventures

continued from page 166 veloper – such as location of a project, feasibility studies, availability of water and utilities, and other engineering analyses. A contractor usually gets a project after all of that is done. “There are so many pieces to the puzzle,” said Brav, who started BFL 45 years ago. “Most general contractors really don’t have all those skill sets.” With in-house real estate expertise, Larson said, there is an expectation that there will be plenty of work for BFL, as well as for other developers and builders in the region.

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“There’s a lot of action,” Larson said. “It’s not the 2000s where you couldn’t miss. It’s a lot more calculated with a lot of moving parts and opportunities coming in all sectors of the market. It looks like it’s going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.” “Cautious optimism is usually the term that’s thrown around,” Figueroa added. “Everybody’s a little more cautious since the recession – but everybody’s optimistic and things seem to have shifted to another level.” While no one is declaring that Tucson’s economy is at full health, Brav said

waiting for that to happen before making a move to capitalize is too late. “I’ve always found that the best time to expand business is when it was slow because people have time to talk to you,” Brav said. “When it’s busy, they rely on relationships that they’ve already developed.” Larson said, “We see a future in the current market. That’s why we’re making this play. We don’t think we’re at the top yet. We haven’t seen the best that Tucson’s going to be.”

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Luxury Single-Family Rental Homes

Aerie and BFL Partner to Meet New Demand

During the 45 years since Garry Brav started BFL Construction, he has built many business relationships, as is often the case in Tucson. Brav had the foresight to take these connections to the next level – partnering with those he saw eye-to-eye with to bring about new business opportunities. Aerie Development is one such entity that came together with the goal of using the strengths of each partner to further the growth of all. Roger Karber, president of Aerie Development, explained the relationship: “Aerie Development is the development company I own 50/50 with G.S. Jaggi. We formed a partnership with Garry Brav and together we develop multifamily communities.” For each project, Aerie handles site selection and development services. BFL, through its subsidiary BFL Builders (formerly Preferred Apartment Builders), takes care of cost estimating and construction. Brav, Jaggi and Karber are sponsors of the projects and provide management. “I oversee the development process, Jaggi is responsible for the financial, and Garry manages the construction. Aerie finds the sites and provides all of the pre-construction services.” Karber said. 170 BizTucson

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We start with determining where consumers want to be located. The idea is to make the product accessible to jobs and be near riparian corridors.

Roger Karber President Aerie Development –

“Jaggi has a large pool of investors he brings in once the development starts. After meeting the team, it is not uncommon for the land seller to maintain an interest by staying in the project as an investor.” The group’s primary product is Avilla Homes, communities of luxury rental houses – or “casitas” – geared toward those who want want single-family-style living but with the freedom from homeownership and the work that may come with it. There currently are seven Avilla neighborhoods in the Tucson area. “We wanted Avilla’s features to have the broadest appeal,” Karber said. “There are 10-foot ceilings, which give a sense of additional square footage. Taller walls allow us to add more glass so the source of light is better. Security is important, so our communities are gated, and the homes have full security systems. Homes are detached singlestory, and each has a side yard and its own private, walled rear yard.” Most Avilla neighborhoods offer one-, twoand three-bedroom floorplans. Aerie does extensive research before selecting a site. “We start with determining where consumers want to be located. The idea is to make the product accessible to jobs and be near riparian continued on page 172 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BizCONSTRUCTION Avilla Luxury Rental Homes in Tucson (Year Completed)

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1) Tanque Verde (2012) 2) Marana One (2013) 3) River (2014) 4) Preserve (2014) 5) Sabino One (2014) 6) Marana Two (2016) 7) Sabino Two (2016) 8) Pima Canyon Apartments (Coming in 2018)

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corridors,” which means most Avilla neighborhoods are close to one of Tucson’s river systems. During the past decade, there has been a strong shift among young professionals to shy away from homeownership, Karber said. In many cases they can certainly afford to buy, but choose not to do so. (Avilla household incomes average $80,000 or more.) Karber feels this goes back to the months and years following Sept. 11. “In 2001 there was a nesting effect,” he said, noting that many owners stayed home more and fixed up their houses. “Then when the Great Recession happened, they doubled down. People were unsure of their source of income, and the desire to build an ever-bigger house decreased.” 172 BizTucson

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Karber and his partners understand the freedom of a rental lifestyle and try to make it as desirable as possible for their residents. “We wrap almost everything into rent – for example, we even change air filters. They pay their own electricity and we bundle almost everything else in the rent – it’s simple.” An interesting trend that came to Karber’s attention was with the female demographic. At Avilla Sabino, where only three-bedroom homes are available, he noticed that a high percentage of residents were single women. When he asked some of them about their choice of three bedrooms, they replied, “I think of it as a one-bedroom with a hobby room and a guest room.” Looking forward, Aerie has plans to continue building Avilla products in the

Tucson area. “We have 27 acres near Ina and Thornydale along the Cañada del Oro bank. There are about 280 Avilla homes there to date, with room for about 300 more.” Pima Canyon Luxury Rentals is a modified Avilla-style Aerie project nearing completion on Orange Grove Road one block west of Oracle Road. Instead of single-story detached homes, Pima Canyon is made up of two-story, eightplex buildings laid out so each home is a corner unit. The homes retain many of the sought-after features of Avilla, such as 10-foot-high ceilings. Another housing type that Aerie partners are committed to is what Karber called “urban-core product.” It includes rentals in or near downtown, for continued on page 174 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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continued from page 172 a target demographic he described as “boomerennials.” “The boomers are more interested in flexibility now that the kids are gone. Millennials also are frequently childless and have high disposable income. Both want to find entertainment outside the house. Boomerennials are a good match for dense urban-core housing communities.” One urban development Karber is particularly excited about is Bautista Plaza in the Mission District west of the freeway south of Congress Street. The development is named after Juan Bautista de Anza, who led the Spaniards through this area in 1776 on their way to San Francisco. Currently in the costestimating and design stages by BFL, Bautista will be a residential complex with sidewalk-level retail and restaurant spaces. “It’s a five-story patio concept where residences are distributed around a series of courtyards,” Karber said. “It can enhance density by providing pocket parks in a community. It’s right across from the Caterpillar headquarters currently under construction at Linda Avenue and Cushing Street. The pool will be on the edge of the Santa Cruz River near the bike path.” The property is close to Mercado San 174 BizTucson

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Agustin, which recently opened a new section of shops housed in shipping containers upgraded to class “A” interiors – a new trend in many Western urban centers. It adds dozens of retailers and amenities within walking distance of Bautista. A 500-seat amphitheater, grocery store and parking garage are also planned nearby.

Downtown Residential/ Mixed-Use Projects Bautista Plaza construction to start May 2019 The Cushing Building construction to start fall 2019 RendezVous Urban Flats under construction occupancy summer 2019

Other Rental Concepts Pima Canyon Luxury Rentals under construction opening 2018

Perhaps one of the best amenities for future residents will be nature itself. “The city and county are working together to recharge the Santa Cruz River to make a riparian habitat and it will be running all year round,” Karber said. Other downtown residential/mixeduse projects Aerie has on the board include The Cushing Building, an eightstory, 200,000-square-foot commercial office building also in the Mission District, and RendezVous Urban Flats on the plaza of One South Church. So far, all downtown Aerie residential homes are rentals – yet Karber hasn’t ruled out building condominiums. “There are currently no urban-core products that are ground-up condos. Ice House Lofts was a renovation of an existing building. There is demand there. I’d like to see something along the streetcar line.” Karber is excited about BFL’s merger with JV Driver. Participating in some of the BFL meetings with JV Driver, he believes the international company’s presence in Tucson is a positive one. “We see great value between BFL being local and JV Driver’s scale. We all benefit from Garry finding a way to make BFL even stronger.”

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AVILLA RENTAL HOME INTERIORS


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PIMA COUNTY JOINT TECHNICAL EDUCATION DISTRICT CAMINO SECO & 22ND STREET CAMPUS

When Nonprofits Build BFL Provides Expertise

Businesses often support nonprofits in their communities by occasionally writing a check, relieving some of the stress, worry and angst that comes with depending on the generosity of others to fulfill a mission. However, a business also can support a nonprofit in a way that provides more enduring relief from the organization’s stress, worry and angst – say, by helping them spend their money as efficiently as possible on a major project like constructing a building. BFL Construction, a company rooted in Tucson for 45 years, is like a lot of local, caring companies that donate thousands of dollars and have employees that volunteer and advocate for worthy causes. But it’s also a company that will partner with a nonprofit going through the often-stressful process of making a major capital investment such as new construction, bringing expertise, financing and labor to the table. Along with its extensive portfolio of commercial construction that includes biomedical campuses, housing, office complexes, banks, schools and government buildings, BFL has helped a number of nonprofits with their building process – sometimes from the very be176 BizTucson

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ginning at land acquisition to the very end when BFL hands over the keys to the front door. “We work with nonprofits because they are a group that needs help from a company with a core value of integrity that can go in and say, ‘What are your needs?’ ” said BFL President David Larson. “We can take this client, whose

We can take this client, whose core business is not construction, find out their needs, design a plan and get them there. David Larson President BFL Construction –

core business is not construction, find out their needs, design a plan and get

them there.” With precious financial resources at stake, the margin for error in a building project is minimal. It takes the expertise of a company like BFL to ensure that a nonprofit’s funds are spent wisely and that, at the end, it has exactly what it needs. While the construction company has all the operational and technical expertise, the nonprofit still has to have a firm grasp of what it actually does need. It may think it needs certain capabilities in a facility, or it may not realize that it needs something it hasn’t thought of. The builder – in this case, BFL – can provide that level of guidance. “We just kind of become the quarterback,” said BFL founder and CEO Garry Brav. “We recommend different players to meet with and just see if there’s chemistry, if there’s interest, if there’s expertise in specific things. “Different projects require different resources, different expertise, and there are different problems. So you just have to do it on a case-by-case basis to figure out exactly where the emphasis has to be and where the money needs to be focused.” In 2009, JTED, the taxpayer-funded Pima County Joint Technical Education www.BizTucson.com

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By Jay Gonzales


District, owned a 10,000-square-foot building on Tucson’s north side that it wanted to convert into a cosmetology education center, now known as the Master Pieces campus near River Road and Shannon Road. JTED Superintendent Alan Storm said BFL was the low bidder on the project and worked with JTED to get it done within the financial parameters of the bid. Within a year after the construction was completed, BFL was on the campus doing some follow-up, Storm said, when he struck up a conversation about needing an eastside campus for its programs. Word reached Brav, who said he owned a piece of land that might work for the new campus. The next steps were a typical instance of a design/build model known as EPC – engineering, procurement, construction – in which a construction company like BFL will work with a client to develop the scope of a project, then manage the process through completion, often including the land acquisition and the financing. BFL reached a lease-purchase agreement with JTED to put up the land, finance the project and build it. The

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agreement called for BFL to lease it back to JTED for a defined period of time, at which point JTED would assume ownership. Such a process allows an organization to develop new facilities without all the administration that it takes when a taxpayer or nonprofit initiates a project on its own. “We pay for things in cash. We hadn’t established credit,” Storm said. The lease-purchase agreement meant “we didn’t have to go and get a construction loan. We took it as a lease-purchase and paid it off in three years, and we became the owners of the property.” There were adjustments in the middle of the project, another aspect where construction expertise can adjust a project to fit the needs of the client. The initial plan was for five buildings on the campus. Three were built in the initial construction. When the time came to build the last two, JTED and BFL changed course and built one large building instead of two smaller ones. That construction was completed last year. “It was huge for us,” Storm said. “It was such a pleasure. I really didn’t have to worry about anything.”

In 2011, BFL took a similar approach with the Flowing Wells Unified School District. Aerie Development, a frequent partner in BFL development projects, owned a property that was suitable for a much-needed new high school for the district. Under an agreement with the school district and Aerie, BFL managed the design and construction of Sentinel Peak High School, an alternative learning facility for students with special needs. The district then leased the property for a designated amount of time, before assuming ownership. The cliché of a “win-win” applies as the nonprofits – in these cases, JTED and FWUSD – were able to quickly obtain the right kind of facility with an affordable financing arrangement and fewer planning and design headaches. At the same time, BFL made a profit while also giving its client peace of mind throughout the project. “These nonprofits are kind of like retirees in that they have a nest egg,” Larson said. “They have certain responsibilities for their nest egg and they hold it as very valuable. This is such a value to them.”

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Lourdes Sykes VP & CIO BFL Construction

PHOTOS: COURTESY BFL CONSTRUCTION

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High-Tech Solutions for Construction Building Information Modeling, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence By Christy Krueger BFL Construction’s growth during its long existence has meant an increase in the number of projects, clients and employees, along with massive changes in how companies manage their business. In that 45 years, hand-drawn plans and logbooks have gone by the wayside, replaced by technology and terms like BIM – building information modeling. Fortunately, BFL had a natural solution in a former accounting employee who learned the ropes of construction technology and is now the company’s 178 BizTucson

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CIO and a VP. Lourdes Sykes began working at BFL in the accounting department, left for five years, and returned, having been trained and certified in information technology, or IT as it is commonly known. On her return, Sykes realized she could help the company with the knowledge she had acquired. When she took over IT management for the company 10 years ago, her goal was to provide in-house expertise instead of relying on consultants. She also

focused on bringing the best software applications available for the industry into every facet of BFL’s work. “When I came back from Seattle, we weren’t much up on IT,” Sykes said. “Back then, we had a consultant and we had to call that person and wait.” She began updating hardware and software. She visited each department and recommended IT tools they could use, and she customized reports for clients. continued on page 180 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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Everyone can go on the system and see where we are on a project. We like to include clients and architects. We will give them software access. –

continued from page 178 “I analyze each department and try to better the processes and standardize tasks,” she said. “It’s critical for efficiency. I’m continually improving processes.” Sykes said the company began using cloud-based, construction-specific software called Viewpoint 15 years ago. This platform includes a crucial capability to provide customized reports for clients. “It provides reports and data, and it integrates between project management and accounting.” Over the years, BFL has served as a beta test site

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Lourdes Sykes, VP & CIO, BFL Construction

for new Viewpoint modules and other upgrades. On Center is another software BFL uses to evaluate architectural plans to determine quantities such as lineal feet, item counts and square footage. It enables project managers and administrators to apply material unit costs in budget estimates. A cost-loaded scheduling system from Microsoft Project is another software used by BFL. New Opportunities

The recent acquisition of BFL by JV Driver Group is exciting, Sykes said,

because of the ability to expand and the potential for incorporating new technologies the construction giant now uses. One example is Project Team Collaboration, a cloud-based, documentsharing software that JV Driver is recommending that BFL begin using. “Everyone can go on the system and see where we are on a project,” Sykes said. “We like to include clients and architects. We will give them software access.” Implementation will take place after Sykes travels to Vancouver, British Columbia, for training with JV Driver. Wireless communication brings great

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benefits to the construction industry as well, and BFL is no exception. Employees on job sites are no longer hampered by the infrastructure limitations of temporary office trailers. They can relay data, messages and images through smart phones and I-pads using a cloud-based app. Communication between field and office personnel will be enhanced further once Project Team Collaboration is up and running. BFL President David Larson also brings a technology background to the table for the company. Larson completed a bachelor’s degree in construction management at Brigham Young University in 2001, and technology was an integral part of his training. Today, when Larson has questions about emerging construction technologies, he consults with Brian Capt, a professor of building information modeling at Larson’s alma mater. Capt spent 20 years as a design-build general contractor before he began teaching at BYU. He said building information modeling – BIM – hit the construction

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industry about a decade ago along with the use of virtual reality. “It helps get things up quicker,” Capt said. “You can create everything with virtual reality. A lot of contractors use it in construction. They get the design from the architect and then build everything in-house.” Construction management majors are in high demand, according to Capt. At BYU they take classes in science, engineering and business. They study cost feasibility and the use of processes. He said that 100 percent of the department’s students in the past 15 years have found jobs in the industry after graduation, and they’re starting at $50,000$60,000 per year. “They’re taking positions as project managers, building information modelers, construction schedulers, estimators and other management jobs,” Capt said. A number of them start their own companies. And some of Capt’s BYU students have gone to work for BFL. The future of building information modeling, Capt said, is Oculus, a virtual

reality headset for use in all phases of construction design and management. “You put on the goggles and can select materials for the job,” he said. “You can walk through the entire project from the parking structure on. It’s good for intricate designs like hospitals because you can see how the equipment will fit in. We teach this to our students.” Another emerging technology in the construction industry is artificial intelligence, or AI, Capt said. “AI is used to make different models in designing projects. You tell it you want this number of units in each part of a project loaded into the system. Ask it to come up with 1,000 different requirements, and you can get 1,000 in 10 minutes. It takes six months off a construction project. It’s science fiction.” JV Driver has integrated BIM and other technologies in certain projects and will introduce their applications to BFL, the next big step in moving the company to the next level of construction management technology.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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From left – Richa Singh, Raj Bakshi, Whitney Capanear, G.S. Jaggi, Sally Cooper & Caroline Janjic

Financing Partner Sees Opportunities

Presence of JV Driver Adds Potential for Growth By Christy Krueger The recent acquisition of BFL Construction by JV Driver Group is expected to have a positive trickle-down effect on the people and entities that Garry Brav partners with in his multifamily building division. Those include Roger Karber of Aerie Development, Ken Abrahams, president of NexMetro Communities, which operates outside the Tucson area, and G.S. Jaggi, founder of Iridius Capital. Jaggi believes JV Driver’s presence in Arizona will increase opportunities for development of future projects for him and his partners. “JV Driver has the infrastructure and bonding capacity in place to increase the volume of business that BFL engages in,” Jaggi said. “BFL’s local leader182 BizTucson

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ship team will stay in place and continue to be a trusted construction partner.” In 2011, Jaggi founded Iridius Capital, offering real estate investment opportunities to high-worth investors. While he has extensive experience in venture capital and private equity, his preferred investment category is commercial real estate. “With real estate, there is always a tangible asset backing your investment,” he said. Iridius Capital’s real estate investing sectors include apartment, retail, office and hotel properties. Its first multi-family housing project was Avilla Tanque Verde in Tucson, a luxury rental home neighborhood developed by Aerie Development and built by BFL Construction. Since then, he has participated in

the financing of Avilla projects in Phoenix, which are developed by NexMetro. The Iridius team makes data-driven investment decisions and closely follows market circles. But it’s biggest strength, said Jaggi, is its relationships with its various partners. He explained that the development process begins with entitlements and land acquisition. Iridius typically raises capital from investors after the entitlement process is complete, reducing some of the risks investors might bear if they were investing during the earliest stages of development. Avilla Homes projects usually have a total investment period of three to four years. “The Aerie Development and NexMetro teams take a very strategic apcontinued on page 184 >>>


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BizCONSTRUCTION

Each of the markets that we’re in still have a lot of room for growth, and we’ve already started to identify the next markets we’ll move into. –

continued from page 182 proach to the entitlements process, and they build relationships with key stakeholders to get the required zoning approval and permits,” Jaggi said. And both organizations develop a high level of operational efficiency, which leads to meaningful results for investors. BFL – through its multi-family housing company, BFL Builders (formerly Preferred Apartment Builders) – is an integral part of the development team, Jaggi said. “Garry has always done a great job of balancing the importance of quality with the importance of cost efficiency. He outperforms the competition by skillfully identifying where development dollars are best spent to add the most value.”

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G.S. Jaggi, Founder, Iridius Capital

Jaggi also sees opportunities for partnership with BFL Construction and Aerie Development beyond the Avilla Homes concept, such as their recently opened Pima Canyon Luxury Apartments on Orange Grove Road west of Oracle Road and upcoming projects in the downtown Tucson area. Still, Jaggi anticipates that funding the development of new Avilla Homes neighborhoods will be his primary focus for the foreseeable future. After noting the success of Avilla Homes in Tucson, the founders of NexMetro Communities built their company to take Avilla Homes to Phoenix and other Sunbelt regions. Iridius Capital has remained the primary capital partner for all Avilla Homes communities to

date. “We think that the Avilla Homes concept is just starting to take off,” Jaggi emphasized. “Each of the markets that we’re in still have a lot of room for growth, and we’ve already started to identify the next markets we’ll move into. “Other developers have taken note of what NexMetro is doing and have tried to follow its footsteps, but it’s difficult for anyone to come in and truly compete. NexMetro’s track record of success gives it better access to great sites and more efficient financing options. I have complete confidence that NexMetro, partnering with BFL, will continue to be the leader in this truly unique market segment.”

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BizCONSTRUCTION

Avilla Product Expands

NexMetro Adding Projects in Florida

Since its 2012 startup in Tucson, Avilla Homes has caught the attention of others in the local residential development business. Some have tried to compete. Others, like Ken Abrahams, decided to work with the Avilla team and expand the concept into other markets. It’s taken off like wildfire. Shortly after Tucson’s first Avilla product opened, Abrahams launched NexMetro Communities to build Avilla-brand homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He has since expanded to Dallas and Denver. “My group put equity together to create a building group for Aerie Development,” Abrahams said. “Roger (Karber), Garry (Brav) and Jaggi were general partners for Tucson. I was asked to evaluate it, and I decided to set up NexMetro. We have partners including Aerie and the Alta Vista people and several others to support it. We decided Avilla needs to be in bigger markets, in bigger cities.” NexMetro has a large group of investors who like to invest in real estate projects. “They make their own decisions on what they’ll go into,” said Abrahams. “We’ve developed a reputation of being reliable to work with.” He also assembled a board of directors, and each market has a three-person market director team. NexMetro’s corporate headquarters in Phoenix now has about 20 employees. Market research guides the NexMetro team into areas with prime suburban growth that has a strong service base, such as retail, strong job growth and proximity to transportation. Avilla communities can be found in Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, Phoenix, Mesa, Surprise, Peoria, Deer Valley 186 BizTucson

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and Goodyear. “In Queen Creek we’re near a big commercial hub. Target is near, there’s easy access to a lot of retail, restaurants and health clubs in a suburban setting. We have 11 projects in the Phoenix area, seven under contract. We’re starting one every few months. Our market research is extensive – more than most in our business,” Abrahams said.

We decided Avilla needs to be in bigger markets, in bigger cities.

Ken Abrahams CEO NexMetro Communities –

Research also identifies exactly who the NexMetro Avilla clients are. “They prefer to rent now. They may buy later. About half are in the 23-33 age bracket and half in the 50-75 age bracket. About 70 percent of renters with us are women.” NexMetro homes are similar to the Avilla product in Tucson, Abrahams noted. “They’re single story, detached,

separated by a side yard, except the one-bedrooms are a duplex. They have private backyards. The appearance of the neighborhood is of a single-family neighborhood, but full-service. All is taken care of and in a great location and gated.” Floor plans differ only slightly from neighborhood to neighborhood. The interiors are upscale with 10-foot ceilings, open floor plans and modern kitchens, available with one, two or three bedrooms. “Exterior architecture varies,” Abrahams said. “It’s driven by local community standards. The goal is to fit into the neighborhood. Amenities are mainly in the home. We build a resort-style pool, Jacuzzi and ramada that are the primary exterior amenities, with a green belt and usually a dog area. Our clients want to spend their money on the home’s interior.” Looking ahead, Abrahams anticipates growth to be healthy, as indicated by the number of Avilla properties already built in the Phoenix area. “We’ll grow into other metro markets suitable for the product based on our research. We’re going into central Florida next year. We’ve identified 10 major markets in Florida.” Success is a two-way street when partners are involved. “BFL is a strategic partner and vendor, building all Avilla homes in Arizona for NexMetro,” Abrahams said. “BFL has helped NexMetro’s growth and in managing the construction field services.” Abrahams is confident about JV Driver Group’s future contributions. “JV Driver will have only positive effects. We hope to be a stronger builder in Arizona. We’re optimistic about the new company.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

photo: www.balfourwalker.com

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BizTECHNOLOGY

By Romi Carrell Wittman The role of a CIO has evolved from its early days when troubleshooting computer and network problems were the primary focus. Today’s CIOs are increasingly important to a company’s growth and viability, having a say in toplevel strategic direction and vision. They drive data and determine how to use that data to make better decisions faster. Some of the nation’s best and brightest information technology, or IT, minds are based here in Tucson. David Diers, VP of technology at Cox Communications, leads a large, multi-state IT team tasked with keeping up with customers’ data demands, while also ensuring the safety and security of that data. Jay Nunamaker, a pioneering professor at the internationally acclaimed Management Information Systems department at the University of Arizona, is at work on groundbreaking technology that has the potential to revolutionize customs processes at the border, and

could also be deployed in the medical field one day. Matt Federoff, CIO for the Vail School District, has overseen the implementation of technology in classrooms and beyond to expand students’ minds and better prepare them for 21st-century jobs. Frank Marini, CIO for Tucson Medical Center, has managed TMC’s transition to a “Most Wired” campus and is spearheading the hospital’s foray into telemedicine and the use of data to enable clinicians to make better decisions, with the goal of achieving better patient outcomes. BizTucson convened each of these leaders to discuss the myriad issues facing today’s business, both in the public and private sectors. The following Q&As examine what these CIOs face today as well as their thoughts as to what “the next big thing” will be and how it will impact consumers as well as corporations. continued on page 190 >>>

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Learning in the 21st Century

Vail Schools Rely on Technology to Teach By Romi Carrell Wittman We often hear stories about little oneroom schoolhouses. For the Vail School District, that’s not just a story; it’s history. Vail’s first school was built in 1903 to serve the children living in the eastside ranching and railroad community. Today, Vail has 18 schools – five of them high schools – that serve more than 13,000 students across 435 square miles. Most of this growth occurred recently – 16 new schools built in the last 20 years – making the Vail School District the fastest growing district in the state. Keeping up with the technology demands of a school district can be daunting and it’s made even more challenging when you throw in sudden and exponential growth. But it’s all in a day’s work for Matt Federoff, CIO for the Vail School District. Federoff has been with Vail schools since 1999. Prior to that, he was a science and technology teacher at Tucson Unified School District. During his tenure at Vail, he’s built and maintained the wireless networks at all 18 schools and helped to open 15 of them. In 1999, he helped Vail become the first school district in Arizona to provide grade and attendance information online to parents. He also oversaw the move to make Empire High School the first textbook-free high school in the United States. Today the entire Vail school district is textbook-free.

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Q.

How do you balance accessibility with security for the kids in the Vail School District? I like to use the metaphor of A. open streets and locked buildings. You can get around, but some

things are off-limits. Security is expected and we have to acknowledge that. At the same time, students need accessibility, so we’re constantly looking at that balance. Parents have entrusted us with the children and don’t take that lightly. It’s something we think about all the time. We have internet security in place and we monitor it all the time.

Q.

How does Vail Schools keep up with ever-changing technology? Vail was the first school district to A. enact BYOD – bring your own device to school. All five of our high

schools give Chromebooks to students, which they use for the four years of high school. Chromebooks cost about $280, which is a lot less than textbooks, and students can always get the latest information. In this case, we have to look at technology as a consumable versus capital. In other words, don’t look at it as a capital investment. Look at it as a consumable, in the same way as paper, pencils. Looking down the road, we want to ensure we have a reliable, fast infrastructure in place. That’s a constant investment we have to make.

Q.

What about students who don’t learn as well reading from a screen? There’s this impression that A. you’ll walk into a classroom and see students reading from laptops and doing all their work that way. That isn’t the case. Sometimes there will be a lab activity, sometimes it’s group work. We still employ traditional note-taking in our classrooms.

Q.

Why is there such an emphasis on technology in Vail Schools? We’re training students for the A. 21st century, so it would be almost irresponsible not to teach them how to

use technology. Successful employees can collect, aggregate and disseminate in a way that is meaningful and adds value. That’s what we’re teaching students. As an IT leader, there is a Cheesecake Factory menu of options available – there are just so many platforms and devices to choose from. As CIO, my goal is to find the best tool for the job at any given moment and put it in the hands of educators and students. Think back to when you were in school. You remember the teachers, not the subjects. My job is to help foster a relationship between our teaching staff and our students.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Matt Federoff

CIO, Vail School District

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Tucson Medical Center Leads Industry in Tech CIO Balances Security, Staffing, Innovation By Romi Carrell Wittman Technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, giving both patients and medical professionals the tools to make better healthcare decisions. Tucson Medical Center, a 70-year-old nonprofit hospital, has emerged as a leader in information technology and the use of data to assist medical professionals and patients manage healthcare. Every year since 2012, TMC has received the “Most Wired” designation by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum. TMC is one of a select few hospitals nationwide – and the only hospital in Arizona – to receive this designation. But what does this mean in practice? In a nutshell, TMC has consistently demonstrated excellence in IT implementation and innovation with regard to patient care and records management. As chief information officer of a hospital with 600-plus beds, Frank Marini deftly juggles the competing priorities that all CIOs face – resource allocation, staffing and recognition of the next big technological advance. BizTucson spoke with Marini and asked him about the big issues that face CIOs today.

Q.

What is the biggest challenge facing CIOs today? Cybersecurity is certainly a A. big issue and we spend a lot of time dealing with it. For us, electronic

medical records technology, or EMR, is also huge. With EMR we have even more data, more business intelligence and data analytics. Our chal192 BizTucson

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lenge is turning that into actionable data – while keeping the bad guys out. Another challenge we face is the staffing component. In tech, there is a range of jobs from the deep technical, like systems and software engineers, to jobs like project management and business analysts. The challenge is in deep-tech jobs and finding people to fill those jobs. At TMC, we often find people on staff and train them for some of these positions. For example, there are really talented nurses who want to transition from the operations side to business analysis. We also have a program where our IT staff teaches local high school kids programming. And we have unpaid internships for people who are interested in IT and want to learn more. It’s part of TMC’s commitment to the community.

Q.

How can CIOs best balance network accessibility with security? It’s a simple approach to acA. complish something difficult. We think about the minimum necessary to do the job. We look at defined roles, then what that job needs (in terms of data access). For example, we look at nurses and ask what’s the minimum amount of data they need to effectively do their job, then craft access around that. We also review roles and access periodically and go from there, knowing that there will always be exceptions.

At the end of the day, the people A. are what will make or break an organization. You must invest in quality

people. Hire for fit and soft skills – not just technical skills. We look for people who will be good team members and collaborators. As far as infrastructure, don’t skimp on cybersecurity or the network. I may stretch the life of a computer, but I won’t stretch the life of a network switch because the risk is too high. If the network goes down or is really slowed down, people can’t do their jobs. The systems have to run.

Q.

What are the technologies people can expect to see in widespread use in the next three to five years? Artificial intelligence – known A. as AI – has great promise and is maturing rapidly. We’re seeing EMR

systems that are smarter and more capable. In the future, AI will be able to compile all the data gathered from diagnostic devices – including more sophisticated wearables – and draw conclusions, enabling medical professionals and patients to make better decisions. It will be a big assist for physicians because AI can process a huge volume of data, more than a human can possibly process. A trained clinician will still make the final call – but they’ll have more data and diagnostics available to make that call.

Q.

What are the key/best network development/investments a CIO can make?

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Frank Marini

CIO, Tucson Medical Center

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Avatars Seek the Truth UA Professor Sees Future with Human-like Lie Detectors By Romi Carrell Wittman Jay Nunamaker, a Regents Professor and Soldwedel Chair in Management Information Systems (MIS) at the University of Arizona, has devoted his long career to information – moving it, analyzing it, interpreting it, securing it. Nunamaker is also the director of the Center for the Management of Information and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) at the UA. His current work involves the development of virtual border agents equipped with hightech devices to capture key details about people trying to enter the country. High-tech kiosks with avatars of cartoonish human faces greet travelers. The avatar asks the person in front of it a series of questions. Infrared cameras record eye movement and pupil dilation. A high-definition camera captures body movements like nodding, fidgeting and shrugging. A microphone captures voice data, like changes in pitch, volume and tone. These tells – dilated pupils, fidgeting, changes in vocal tone – are indicative of someone who is lying or trying to hide something. The avatar flags the questions where it identified these behaviors and alerts a human border agent that a more in-depth screening may be needed. The goal of these virtual agents is to increase screening accuracy, as well as decrease wait times in customs. Nunamaker put it this way: “It off-loads the initial screening from border agents, freeing them up. It’s helping to make better decisions faster.” These virtual agents have been extensively tested in the European Union. Nunamaker believes the technology may one day be used in office settings to screen job applicants and perhaps even be deployed in the medical field to make patients more informed. 194 BizTucson

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Q.

What is the most pressing issue in information technology today? breaches are the No. 1 A.Security thing that gets people fired. It’s

the biggest risk, but not the biggest problem. The biggest problem for a CIO is balancing what developers can do versus what the stakeholders want versus what the board of directors will approve. Cost overruns and late deliveries are a chronic problem in the industry and it stems from not outlining parameters clearly. People just want to talk about what they want, but it’s not specific enough for the design level. People want what they want, but then they don’t know what they want. It’s like someone who is going shopping for a house: They want a 4,000-square-foot home, but can only afford a 400-square-foot home. It takes a very strong CIO to understand the technology and what can be accomplished with the resources available.

Q.

How do you balance data security with accessibility?

A.

I think that more emphasis needs to be placed on screening employees and hiring those that won’t harm the company. Security can’t be achieved through rules – as in, Employee X can only get into these files, while Employee Y can’t get into those files over there. It’s inefficient and it hinders people from doing their jobs.

This is an area where technology like the virtual border agent can be used. Companies could have applicants answer a series of questions posed to them by the avatar. Employers are alerted to odd eye movements, voice changes or body language, which can be indicators that the person isn’t telling the truth or isn’t telling the whole story. This technology could also be adapted for the medical field. It could brief you on an illness before you see your doctor. It’s not making a diagnosis – that’s something the doctor must do – but it will make you more informed before you see your doctor.

Q.

What is the future of data? people in the tech industry, A.For the focus should be on partner-

ing with successful systems. Don’t build your own system. Don’t be the first – it’s always very costly.

Q.

What advice would you give people who want to go into the tech field? the best education you possiA.Get bly can … and look at things from an engineering perspective. Don’t treat technology as a black box. You have to know how it works both at the high level and down to the nitty gritty. If you don’t understand how these things work, you won’t appreciate what’s involved.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Jay Nunamaker

Regents Professor & Soldwedel Chair in MIS University of Arizona

Summer 2018

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BizTECHNOLOGY

David Diers

VP of Technology Cox Communications

Feeding Data Hogs Cox Invests in Meeting the Demand for Data Usage

As VP of technology at Cox Communications, David Diers oversees an ever-changing, ever-adapting technology department for a company that serves some 6 million homes and businesses across the United States. With constant changes in technology and increasing data demands from consumers, Diers is charged with ensuring the network runs seamlessly and securely day to day, and also with looking down the road and identifying key trends and potential trouble spots. 196 BizTucson

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Q.

What do you see on the horizon for consumers in terms of their future data needs and data use? We’ve seen a huge growth in A. the amount of data customers need. It’s been increasing 50 percent a year for the last eight or nine years. So, the question becomes how do we keep up with that? How do we keep up with the Internet of Things?

Q.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? The Internet of Things refers A. to all the devices and things customers connect to the internet.

Right now, the average customer has about eight devices attached to their network – mobile phones, iPads, computers, Alexa- and Google Home-type devices, TVs. In the future, we anticipate 50 or more devices connected to a network from a single home. www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY COX COMMUNICATIONS

By Romi Carrell Wittman


Q.

We’ve heard a lot about data breaches and hackers. How do you balance security with accessibility? Our goal is to provide service, A. but protect the core infrastructure from bad actors. We’ve seen an

increase in those schemes, so Cox aims to be a partner by monitoring and informing customers when we identify weaknesses.

Q.

What is the next big thing coming in information technology? Artificial Intelligence (known A. as AI) is going to play a bigger role. All these devices we have have an IP address, but they really act like more of a sensor. What do you do with all the information that’s gathered from these devices? Let’s say you have a car lot with 1,000 cars. You install a sensor on each of those cars to make it easier to locate on

the lot. But you can take this a step further. Let’s say you have 4,000 employees and a vehicle fleet of 2,000 cars. Those sensors can get stats on not only the location of the vehicle, but also the engine and overall health of the car. It can tell you when a particular car needs an oil change, when it was last serviced, that kind of thing. A human just can’t look at all that data, there’s too much. This is where AI comes into play.

Q.

What are the key investments a CIO should be making?

to seven years; now platforms reach end of life after three years. You’ll never get a return on investment with that environment, which is why we’re partnering with larger firms like CISCO to invest in platforms that won’t die in three years. We’ve also partnered with the customer. It’s a shared-risk, shared-revenue model where Cox partners with its business customers. You have to be more collaborative to minimize the risk for everyone.

Q.

What’s the immediate future of tech?

I think in five years we’re going At Cox, we need to create A. to see more smart communities A. more capacity, so we’re looking and the expansion of the Internet of at fiber-optic cable wherever possible. But, given the investment, it becomes a balancing act between fiber expansion and leveraging the existing network. In Arizona, Cox has invested $1.5 billion in infrastructure over the last five years and we’ve requested $10 billion of capital over the next five years. The issue is the speed of change in technology. End of life used to be five

Things. Given the nature of technology – and that it changes so quickly – there will be a continued shift to opensourced, cloud-based applications, as well as more leasing versus owning and operating. It goes back to becoming more collaborative rather than competitive in certain areas. You can compete in one space and collaborate in another.

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BizBRIEFS Rick Rubner

David Cook

The Clements Agency, a full-service, independent insurance agency, welcomes Rick Rubner and David Cook to its staff. Rubner has over 35 years of experience as an insurance broker working with local and multinational businesses and nonprofits. Cook is an experienced professional with emphasis on insurance services and wealth management. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry in the corporate and private sectors.

Biz

Larry M. Goldberg

Banner Health named Larry M. Goldberg president of Banner–University Medicine to succeed Kathy Bollinger who retired in May. Goldberg will oversee Banner’s three academic medical centers: Banner–University Medical Center Tucson, Banner–University Medical Center South and Banner–Medical Center Phoenix. Goldberg has had a distinguished career in the healthcare industry with extensive academic experience. He most recently served as regional president and CEO of Trinity Health’s Illinois region.

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TEP Gets High Marks for Energy Storage A report released by the Smart Electric Power Alliance says Tucson Electric Power has developed energy storage systems at a scale that puts it among the utility industry’s leaders. TEP ranks second in the nation for per-capita additions to its energy storage resources in 2017 with 50 watts per customer. SEPA ranked TEP third in the nation for new energy storage capacity for adding 21 megawatts of battery storage systems to its local electric grid. Energy storage systems quickly boost power output levels to maintain the required balance between energy demand and supply. They store the output of wind and solar power systems for use during periods of high demand, adding versatility but also cost to renewable resources. TEP added two 10-megawatt battery systems last year. A lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt storage system operates at a TEP substation near Interstate 10 and Grant Road. It was built by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. A 10-MW lithium-titanate oxide storage facility linked to a 2-MW solar array at the UA Tech Park southeast of Tucson was built by E.ON Climate & Renewables. They support stable voltage on TEP’s local distribution grid during high energy demands. TEP participates in a research and development project with Chicago-based IHI Energy Storage, which completed a 1-MW lithium ion energy storage system at TEP’s 5-MW Prairie Fire Solar Array system near Interstate 10 and Valencia Road. The IHI system gets its charge with energy generated by TEP’s solar array. TEP has also announced plans for a new 30-MW battery storage system that’s paired with a 100-MW solar array to come online by 2019.

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Don Budinger

Helaine Levy

Paul Luna

10 Years Honoring Teachers Tucson Values Teachers Changes Perceptions By Rhonda Bodfield Key concepts were being batted about in Arizona education policy 10 years ago: • Academic standards. • Harnessing the rapid boom of information. • The crisis in science and technology education.

But finding good teachers and keeping them happy? Not so much. The fact that more teachers felt they were losing a solid footing in the middle class? Not that either. “What was missing from the conversation was a realization that the single most critical factor in helping 200 BizTucson

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kids achieve is the teacher,” said Colleen Niccum, a former communications executive at Raytheon, where she was deeply involved in STEM education efforts. “Unless we addressed that, any other initiatives were not going to have the impact people wanted them to have. “There was a lot of focus at the time on targeting middle-school students for STEM careers,” she said, “and we started thinking how many more kids we could touch if we got to their teachers. It was exciting.” Niccum agreed to serve as founding chair of Tucson Values Teachers, a partnership of business and education leaders who stepped in to head off what they saw as a future crisis in education: too few candidates entering the field

and too many teachers leaving it. She could not then have predicted that 10 years later she would be serving as CEO of TVT or that the milestone anniversary would coincide with #RedforEd, the mobilization of teachers – larger than anything in recent memory – that exploded into the social consciousness. “When you’re seeing this kind of national visibility, and more local teachers engaged than ever before, it’s quite a profound experience to be celebrating a decade of work in this area,” Niccum said. The impact of TVT has been measured in hundreds of gift cards over the years to fund supplies or small projects, as well as annual excellence awards. www.BizTucson.com


BizEDUCATION

Ron Marx

There’s also the Teachers in Industry program, which lines up summer jobs in local businesses for teachers to channel that real-world experience in preparing their students for the workforce. Kim Moran, a 10-year special education teacher in Amphitheater Public Schools, has considered leaving the field. She holds national certifications and a master’s degree, but still has to hold three jobs to make ends meet. She stays because teachers saved her life. She was a ward of Child Protective Services. “My teachers told me that education was my pass out of that cycle of poverty and abuse and they challenged me to reach for the future. I want to return that gift.” Moran first learned about TVT eight years ago, when someone mentioned there was a discount card that gave teachers a break on things like oil changes or meals out. “It just made me feel grateful that someone was thinking about the importance of educators,” Moran said. “It’s really nice to be recognized and valued as a professional.” Ron Marx, then the dean of the College of Education at the University of Arizona and a pivotal founding member of Tucson Values Teachers, said rooting the nonprofit in research was key. “We

Ron Shoopman

knew from research on effective teaching that every year is critical. One bad teacher can really derail a kid’s performance for subsequent years,” he said. And because Tucson is a poor community and there is a strong correlation between poverty and school performance,

Visionary Stewards of Education In honor of Tucson Values Teachers’ 10th anniversary, TVT will recognize these Visionary Stewards whose leadership and investments have ensured TVT’s success: •

Don Budinger, Rodel Foundation

Helaine Levy, Diamond Foundation

• Paul Luna, Helios Education Foundation •

Ron Marx, University of Arizona College of Education

Ron Shoopman, Southern Arizona Leadership Council

Amy Zuckerman, Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation

They will be honored as part of the Let’s Talk Ed event at the Tucson Convention Center on Sept. 20.

Amy Zuckerman

it is all the more imperative that students not lose ground. “What TVT has been able to do is educate an important group of civic leaders about the nuances of education and that has been helpful in getting a broader coalition of support for teachers,” Marx said. Cox VP Lisa Lovallo, for example, never questioned the value of education and the foundation it serves for business. What was a “punch in the gut” to her, she said, was seeing the data that gave shape to the problem. “I really had not recognized the fact that teachers can’t afford to stay in the field and that we were losing so many teachers.” Lovallo credits TVT with being smarter at outreach through broader and better communication channels. “Not everybody has kids in school, but everyone in the community needs to be concerned about the ability of the community to train, retain and develop teachers,” she said. Ron Shoopman, CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and an early influence in Tucson Values Teachers, took a trip to Seoul, South Korea, not long after the nonprofit was formed. He was struck by how the country had continued on page 203 >>> Summer 2018

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BizEDUCATION

2017 Stand Up 4 Teachers Raytheon Leaders in Education Award winners. From left – John Pedicone, VP of education policy, Southern Arizona Leadership Council; Steven Uyeda, bioscience teacher at Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside Unified School District; Lauren Marlatt, seventh-grade science teacher at Coronado K-8 School, Amphitheater Public Schools; Jessica Howell, third -teacher at Hendricks Elementary, Flowing Wells Unified School District; Jon Kasle, VP of communications and external affairs, Raytheon Missile Systems

continued from page 201 leveraged education to move from a largely agrarian focus to a high-performing system. Teachers, revered there, are called “nation builders.” “We need to honor our nation builders in the United States because if we don’t attract the best and brightest to lead our schools and educate our children, it’s going to be harder and harder to compete on the world stage. This really is a time-is-now situation,” said Shoopman, who will assume leadership of the Arizona Board of Regents July 1. “TVT has been very careful to understand it’s not just about the money and it’s not just about respect. It’s the combination of the environment where they work, the support they feel from the community and compensation that at least allows them to meet the basic needs of their families so they don’t have to leave a job that they love,” he added. For Niccum, it’s been rewarding to move from those early days of being a lone voice in the wilderness. “I think the longevity we’ve had has made a difference to teachers – that we’re still here for them and our commitment hasn’t waned. I do think we’ve been instrumental in raising awareness about the need for investment in education,” she said. Ten years from now, she hopes the discussion is different. “I hope we’ll be in a place where we don’t have to focus so much on the constant drumbeat of advocacy around funding and pay, and instead we can shift more toward recognizing and celebrating and developing our teachers. I’ll look forward to that.”

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BizEDUCATION

Film Puts Human Face on Teacher Turnover By Rhonda Bodfield Molly Reed is deeply worried about the future. A certified elementary teacher for a midtown school, Reed said seven of her colleagues are not renewing their contracts next year. A few are retiring – but most are looking for teaching jobs elsewhere or starting second careers with more pay and fewer demands. One is transitioning to a wholesale warehouse company. “I get so scared about the future,” Reed said. “These are amazing teachers who bring so much to students. Who is going to take their place?” It’s a valid question, given the growing teacher shortage across the state. At the start of the 2017 school year, there were more than 2,100 teacher vacancies statewide. Compounding that, more than 2,200 positions were filled by people using emergency or interim certificates. And the kicker – a staggering 42 percent of teachers hired in 2013 left the field within three years. Nearly one quarter left after just one year. The conversation – brewing among thought leaders for years – erupted into a movement that swept the country from West Virginia to Oklahoma, resulting in Arizona teachers conducting the largest teacher walkout in state history. Red T-shirts and protest signs are one way to raise awareness. Tucson Values Teachers unveiled a different tactic to about 100 key business leaders and supporters at its recent annual update breakfast. The nonprofit is creating a 20-minute documentary – “Teaching in Arizona” – that follows three teachers through the school year and into the summer. The premiere is anticipated Sept. 20 at Tucson Values Teachers’ “Let’s Talk Ed” event. “What we hear from teachers all the time is that people don’t understand the jobs they do,” said Colleen Niccum, TVT’s CEO. “There are a lot of myths and outdated perceptions out there about what it’s like to teach. This is designed to put a human face on the data www.BizTucson.com

and provide a deeper introduction for those who have little or no experience with schools today.” Niccum said the hope is that the film will be paired with panel discussions so that educators and members of the public can have an open dialogue about the challenges facing the profession and to inspire people to take action. David Baker, superintendent of the Flowing Wells Unified School District, said the situation has become markedly worse over the past five years. Hiring season used to be May, giving districts a chance to see student teachers in action. Competition is so fierce for certified teachers now, though, that school districts are making offers in January – just weeks after student teachers step into the classroom. Where he used to get 15 applicants for every teaching job, Baker now gets one or two for secondary-school positions, and five or six at the elementaryschool level. Exacerbating the problem is that neighboring states pay more. “This generation is more mobile and they’re willing to go where they are compensated for what they know is a demanding profession,” he said, noting college debt is a real concern for many. How to be part of the solution Engage. Partner with local schools and look for opportunities to support them, whether through assisting with field trips, mentoring students or donating supplies. Learn. Follow education advocacy groups to find out more about issues facing educators. Advocate. Take the pledge to value teachers and learn more about how at TeachinginArizonafilm.org. Vote. Make teachers and education a top priority at election time. Contribute. Support the work of Tucson Values Teachers and other education groups. Watch the film. Keep an eye out in September for the film and discussion panels. www.teachinginarizonafilm.org

Filmmaker Lisa Molomot jumped at the opportunity to work on the documentary because there’s an important story to tell. Although she’d spent time in her son’s classroom periodically to help with projects, what she saw during filming still surprised her. “Teachers are spending every moment of free time – whether it’s lunch or break or recess – contacting parents or assessing a student’s progress or grading papers or planning for the next period. When they go home in the evening, they’re still doing the work. I was really struck by how all-consuming the job is,” Molomot said. In fact, a recent TVT survey indicates that the median number of hours a typical teacher spends on the job each week is 57. And while that’s not necessarily new, a more recent phenomenon is that so much of the work that used to be done by other staff now falls exclusively on teachers. With funding constraints, there’s less help from counselors, librarians and teaching assistants. Summers are spent doing professional development, most of which teachers pay for themselves. Teachers often have to raise funds and arrange transportation if they want their students to have field trips. Combined with testing pressures and increasing concerns over violence, it’s becoming too much for far too many, said teacher Reed. “It’s very common for most teachers to have at least one side job to try to make ends meet,” said Reed, who pays for her children’s preschool in part through a second job with a nonprofit. She works after her kids have gone to sleep. “I was meant to be a teacher and I know a lot of teachers feel that way. There’s something amazing about being in my space and doing what I know is making a difference for these kids. I have hope. My daughter wants to teach. Some of my students want to teach. They see what we do and how much we love it. I just hope we can reach those who don’t know.” Summer 2018

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BizCONSTRUCTION

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Project: Lexus on Speedway Location: 4373 E. Speedway Owner: Royal Automotive Contractor: Concord General Contracting Architect: Acorn Associates Architecture Completion Date: May 2019 Construction Cost: Estimated $7.6 million Project Description: Demolition is being performed on the existing Lexus dealership and a new dealership will be built that includes sales and service buildings plus a car wash.

Project: Location: Owner:

75 E. Broadway Broadway & Sixth Avenue JE Dunn Contractor: JE Dunn Architect: Swaim Associates Architects Completion Date: December 2020 Construction Cost: Estimated $110 million Project Description: The 21-story mixed-use high rise will include 50,000 square feet of retail, 280,000 square feet of office space, 650 parking spaces and an urban retail alley.

Project: TMC Specialty Cath Lab Suite Remodel Location: 5301 E. Grant Road Owner: Tucson Medical Center Contractor: Chestnut Building & Design Architect: DLR Group Kim Wolfarth Completion Date: April 2018 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Renovations were done to one of the oldest sections of the hospital to provide the latest cath lab technology.

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Project: Sage Desert Assisted Living Location: 2351 W. Orange Grove Road Owner: Willis Development Contractor: W.E. O’Neil Construction Company Architect: Jeffrey Demure & Associates Completion Date: April 2018 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Included in the new 104,000-square-foot facility are 87 assisted-living units, 20 memory-care units, plus dining, spa and recreational elements.

Project: San Xavier District Senior Services and District Center Location: 2018 W. San Xavier Road Owner: San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation Contractor: W.E. O’Neil Construction Company Architect: BWS Architects Completion Date: December 2019 Construction Cost: $5 million Project Description: The 6,500-square-foot Senior Services building and the 8,200-square-foot District Center will provide meeting and office space as well as a commercial kitchen to service district members.

Project: Desert Diamond Casino Hotel Renovation Location: 7350 S. Nogales Highway Owner: Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise Contractor: MW Morrissey Construction Architect: HBG Design Completion Date: December 2017 Construction Cost: Estimated $3.4 million Project Description: Renovations of existing guestrooms, suites and public areas were recently completed, combining contemporary style and modern amenities.

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

Honoree Sam Fox with Kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson’s Holmes Tuttle club house

Sam Fox Receives Click for Kids Award

Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson’s Highest Accolade By Valerie Vinyard Since the late 1990s, Sam Fox has been regarded as a brilliant restaurateur who devises restaurant concepts that the masses hungrily devour. Around town, if you’ve eaten at Culinary Dropout, North Italia, Blanco Tacos and Tequila, Zinburger or his first Fox Restaurant Concepts’ restaurant, Wildflower American Cuisine, you have experienced the former Tucsonan’s deft ability at producing the atmospheres and flavors that diners desire. Fox currently lives in the Arcadia neighborhood in Phoenix, where Fox Restaurant Concepts is based. His cunning concepts currently number 14, and they’re located in seven states. 210 BizTucson

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His philanthropy, however, usually doesn’t receive much press compared to his food. Until now. Fox, 49, has been named the recipient of this year’s Click for Kids Award by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, which recognizes one person, couple or organization that has made a “substantial impact on the kids at the clubs over a significant period of time.” Past winners have included the Tucson Conquistadores and community philanthropist Mark Irvin. Created in 2009, the award is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson’s highest recognition and expression of gratitude. The www.BizTucson.com


award was presented June 8 at Casino del Sol Resort at the 27th Annual Steak and Burger Dinner. “I got involved early on with the Boys & Girls Clubs when I was living in Tucson in 1997,” Fox said during a recent phone interview. “We’ve been big supporters of them for so many years. I think they do so much for the community and kids who need some help. They provide a safe haven – all those programs they provide in the neighborhoods that need some extra help. They’ve done an amazing job of growing.” Fox remembered becoming friends with Jim Click in the ’90s when he was running City Grill on Tanque Verde Road. Click was one of the first people he approached for help when he wanted to open Wildflower in 1998. “I was looking for local investors,” said Fox, who was mum on future restaurant openings in Tucson, just saying he was “working on a few things.” “He helped with personal money. A lot of people helped me early on and were mentors,” Fox added. “I think it comes a little bit full circle.” Click, who helped a financially distressed Boys & Girls Clubs in the late 1970s and was the first recipient in 2009 for the Click for Kids Award, described Fox as a “fantastic father, wonderful husband, and I consider him a great friend. I loaned Sam the money for his first restaurant, and to see what he has done since then has been truly amazing,” Click said in a recent email. He believes that Fox is a worthy recipient of the Click for Kids Award because of his philanthropy, especially in Tucson. “Sam has given back, probably, ever since he has been making money,” Click said. “His commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs has been off the chart. Years ago, we had a huge Boys & Girl Clubs fundraising event at the Tucson Community Center. Sam was so kind, and he donated all the food. We were able to raise a lot of additional money because we didn’t have that cost of the food.  “I don’t think Sam has ever said no to the Boys & Girls Clubs. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.” Debbie Wagner, the CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Tucson, said Fox’s commitment to philanthropy was inspired by his parents while growing up in the restaurant industry. “Sam learned early the importance of building relationships, offering genuine hospitality to guests and a commitment to serving the community,” Wagner said. “These early lessons have become the backbone of how Sam operates his restaurants and approaches his philanthropic endeavors. Over the last 18 years, he has continually showed up for the clubs, providing nearly $1 million in support to the organization. This kind of support has been critical to the clubs’ fundraising success, making some of our events the most anticipated, well-attended fundraising events in the community.”  Wagner noted that through the clubs’ partnership with Fox, they are better able to serve their members and provide them with the resources they need most.  “It absolutely takes a village – all of us working together – to serve the nearly 9,000 youth throughout Tucson,” Wagner said. “We are truly grateful for Sam’s support and commitment to the clubs.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

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Cornerstone Awards Phil Swaim Receives Jerry Wyatt Community Service Award By Tiffany Kjos More than 300 people headed to the Desert Diamond Casino in March for a construction industry event that’s about helping up-and-comers as much as it is for recognizing some of Tucson’s top talents. Attendees included building contractors, architects, engineers and vendors, said Brent Davis, executive director of the event’s host, the Cornerstone Building Foundation. “I like to characterize Cornerstone as the non-homebuilding construction folks,” Davis said. Philip Swaim of Swaim Associates, a member of the American Institute of Architects, received the Jerry Wyatt Community Service Award. Swaim works with a range of organizations, including the city of Tucson, Pima County and the downtown redevelopment group, Rio Nuevo. “He’s been all over this community volunteering his time to make a better community,” Davis said. Swaim announced a new endowment to honor his father, the Robert J. Swaim Architecture Scholarship, funded with $50,000 from Swaim Associates. The endowment is one of several that are managed by CBF Charities, a separate nonprofit arm of the Cornerstone Building Foundation, which funds scholarships for people studying construction, architecture, design and engineering. An annual golf tournament also benefits the nonprofit, which since 1999 has funded more than $200,000 in scholarships at the Arizona Builders Alliance, University of Arizona and Pima Com212 BizTucson

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munity College, among others. In 2017-2018 alone, CBF Charities is funding $74,000 in scholarships, and its number of endowments is growing. Cornerstone pledged to raise a total of $20,000 over 2016, 2017 and 2018 for the Cornerstone Building Foundation Robert & Dee Hershberger Traveling Scholarship, which allows an architecture student to travel to the architectural site of their choosing. People at the March 6 awards event were among the first to learn that Cornerstone met that goal, which was matched by Robert Hershberger, who founded the Cornerstone Building Foundation in 1994, when he was dean of the architecture college at the University of Arizona. “The fund already had $30,000 or $40,000 in it, so it’s getting up there,” Davis said. Today, Cornerstone includes members of the Arizona Builders Alliance, American Institute of Architecture, American Council of Engineering Companies, the Construction Specifications Institute and the National Association of Women in Construction. The foundation’s goals mesh with those of the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, said the foundation’s Development Officer Kay Olsen Brown. “It’s a natural sort of thing in the building industry – architects and engineers work together as a rule, and working with contractors, it really needs to be a cooperative environment,” she said. “We’re teaching our students to work collaboratively.”

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

BizAWARDS

Kevin Morrissey & Matt Watza General Contractor of the Year – Under $2 Million MW Morrissey Construction

The MW Morrissey construction team delivers reliable, individualized and innovative construction services providing superior, measurable, lasting results for their clients, employees and community through building relationships and continually exceeding expectations.

Dave Diebold Architect of the Year Dave Diebold Architect

Dave Diebold Architect is a Tucson full-service architectural firm with offices downtown. The firm has designed many projects for the University of Arizona, including renovation of the main lobby at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building and designing several office buildings and spaces in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

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Winners of 2018 Cornerstone Foundation Awards

Larry Lang General Contractor of the Year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Over $2 Million Diversified Design & Construction

Diversified Design & Construction was founded in 1976 by its chairman, Hal Ashton. Its goal is to provide general contracting services to a wide range of clients who require exceptional service and quality construction. The firm is known for having built some of Tucsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique landmark buildings.

Ken & Michael Kelly Subcontractor of the Year Kelly Energy

Kelly Energy began as Kelly Electric in 1982, founded by Ken Kelly, president. He now owns and operates the family business with his brother Michael, who is VP, GM and chief estimator. Ken manages field operations, hiring and human resources, as well as technologies, purchasing and field support departments.

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Eric Barnett Design Consultant of the Year ARC Studios

Omar Mireles

Susan Mulholland

Owner of the Year HSL Properties

ARC Studios is a professional landscape architecture firm with offices in Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott. It incorporates architecture, science and ecology to integrate design and cultural and environmental conditions to promote social interaction and memorable living environments.

HSL Properties owns and operates more than 10,000 apartment units in 35 apartment communities, nine hotels and several other realestate holdings, which range from office buildings and call centers to industrial parks. HSL is the largest apartment owner in Southern Arizona and one of the largest in the state.

Jessica Kaiser

Nate Anderson

Supplier of the Year

Supplier of the Year

JKaiser Workspaces

Foundation Building Materials

(two winners)

Jessica Kaiser founded her company on two simple principles: Create dynamic workspaces and provide an exceptional customer experience. Four years later JKaiser Workspaces is a fullservice commercial furnishings company with a team of talented professionals creating built environments throughout the country for a growing list of world-class clients.

Professional Service of the Year Mulholland Art & Design

Mulholland Art & Design designs commercial building interiors with a purpose that starts with a holistic mindset and an integrated design solution. Its design philosophy is about providing personal service, expertise and outstanding interior design solutions for corporate, hospitality, healthcare and multifamily buildings that support living, working and well-being for everyone.

Philip Swaim

(two winners)

Foundation Building Materials began its presence in Tucson with the purchase of Southwest Building Materials in 2013. Foundation Building Materials is a distributor of drywall, metal framing, stucco, Armstrong ceilings and related building products. The company services residential and commercial markets in Tucson and surrounding areas.

Jerry Wyatt Community Service Award Swaim Associates

Named for the late construction industry notable Jerry Wyatt, this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award was given to Philip Swaim, who founded his planning and design company in 1969 to provide services for public, commercial and residential projects.

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BizSALES

Present Customers A Gold Mine Worth Refining By Jeffrey Gitomer

Looking for new prospects? Who isn’t! You probably have hundreds you’re not paying attention to ... your present customers. Consider these 10 assets already in your favor: 1.

They know you.

2.

They like you.

3.

You have established rapport.

4.

Confidence and trust have been built.

5.

You have a history of delivery and satisfaction.

6.

They respect you.

7.

They use (and like) your product or service.

8.

They will return your call.

9.

They will be more receptive to your presentation and product offering.

10. They have credit and have paid you in the past. I don’t think you could ask for much more than that. It beats a cold call by 1,000 to 1. You don’t have to wait until a customer is ready to sell them again. Here are some ideas to get your present customers to buy more – now: Sell them something new – People love to buy new things. Your enthusiasm will set the tone. Create excitement about how this new product will be exactly what will serve better, produce more. Sell sizzle, sell appointment. Sell them an upgrade or an enhancement – Bigger, better, faster. Enhancements and upgrades have kept the computer software industry profitable since its inception. Upselling has built fortunes – just ask any fast food business. (The question “Do you want cheese on that?” sells more than 1 billion pieces of cheese annually.) Sell them more of the same – Look for other uses, other departments, growth or expansion of the customer’s company, or replacement due to wear and tear. You may have to dig a little, but the soil is softer at a present customer’s place 214 BizTucson

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of business than the pile of rocks you usually face at a new prospect’s company. Sell them additional products and services – Your company probably sells multiple products and offers varied services, but very few of your customers carry your full line. Sometimes a customer will say, “Oh, I didn’t know you sold that.” Get your customer to meet you for lunch – If you can get the customer out of the office environment, you can often uncover more opportunities to sell (ask them to bring a referral along). Get them to give you one referral a month – This is the true report card on the job your product or service has done in performing for your customer, and a report card on your ability to gain enough buyer confidence that they will refer you to a friend or business associate Whether you make a sale or not, continuing to be in front of your customer builds relationship and goodwill. If you can’t call on your present customer, or if you come up with some lame excuse like “I’ve sold them everything I can sell them,” what this really means is:

• You have failed to establish enough rapport with the customer.

• You have probably not followed up well (or at all) after the sale.

• Your customer had some problem and you’re reluctant to call and open a can of worms.

• You’re in need of more training. And, the big one …

• You have not developed a proper relationship with the customer.

Most salespeople think that unless they are calling a customer to sell something, that it’s a wasted call. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m constantly amazed at the salespeople who make sales and move to the next prospect. I challenge you to carefully and honestly look at your customer list. I’ll bet there are hundreds of opportunities to sell something. Personally, I would rather have 100 loyal customers to do business with than a thousand prospects. Your present customer has a history of buying, has credit terms, likes your product and likes you ... What are you waiting for? Biz Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books, including “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.” His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy. com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer. com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com. © 2018 All Rights Reserved. Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from GitGo, LLC, Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. (704) 333-1112 www.BizTucson.com

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Erin Ysaguirre

Jack Julsing

David Caballero

PHOTOS: SOPHIA BATIZ PHOTOGRAPHY

BizHONORS

Pierre De La Ossa

A Pat on the Back for Unsung Heroes By Steve Rivera Sometimes heroes need a pat on the back, a high-five and a standing ovation – whether it’s impromptu or not. The Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation honored its own at its annual dinner and awards gala in January Erin Ysaguirre “You don’t go into a job expecting (an award), it’s not part of it,” said Erin Ysaguirre, an officer for 10 years who is now with the Marana Police Department. “But it’s a huge honor.” Ysaguirre said she was “raised as a person who helps – and I love talking to people.” And, well, as for being a police officer, “It fits me like a glove.” “I love getting up and going to work every day,” she said. “It’s one of those jobs where you know that it is thankless, but you are out to help someone and that’s what makes it worth it.” In nominating Ysaguirre, Marana Police Sgt. Chris Warren said, “Erin’s work ethic and dedication extend well beyond when her shift ends.” A few months ago, a fellow department member’s family was involved in a terrifying traffic accident. She took the lead in helping raise funds to help the family, including gifts for two children involved in the accident. “It just broke my heart,” she said of the incident. “It was small donations but it was something, and I thought it 216 BizTucson

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would bring a little bit of happiness when they were going through so much. It’s something and we were happy to do it.” Jack Julsing Det. Jack Julsing of the Tucson Police Department has a deep desire to help the area’s youth as well, talking to children at schools and being involved in other efforts. He is a sitting member on the Pima County Attorney’s Office Community Justice Boards, which operate on principles of balance and restorative justice while focusing on juvenile accountability. “This is a great program,” Julsing said. “A lot of kids have problems at home. I enjoy helping the underprivileged youth. It’s always good to help, but it also helps them get off that wrong track. It’s about strengthening their support systems and seeing what’s causing the root of their issues.”

Summer 2018

in a tribute to law enforcement officers who serve and protect. Officers Erin Ysaguirre, Jack Julsing, Pierre De La Ossa and David Caballero were honored at the 13th annual Unsung Heroes celebration. David Caballero Lt. David Caballero knows of the problems of youth, having been with the University of Arizona Police Department since 2002. The former Marine is the head liaison for the Devil Pub Program for Marine Corp Detachment 007 in Tucson. The program calls for children – ages 14 to 17 – to attend a 10-day encampment, which is similar to what Marines would experience at Camp Pendleton near San Diego. He experienced the exercise when he was younger. “I loved it,” he said. “I remembered what it was like to be 15 and guys were teaching us how to be better citizens.” Years later, he realizes the differences in how today’s youth have grown up compared to the past. “We give them everything,” he said. “The main lesson we teach them when they go through this is how to lose. They need to learn how to deal with disappointment and how they will react (to adversity). We want them to be humbled. We want them to respect their parents and have manners.” It’s all part of growing up and making the right decisions.

Pierre De La Ossa Det. Pierre De La Ossa has been part of the Tucson Police Department for more than 12 years. He’s one of the founding members of the Special Victims Investigators of Tucson. De La Ossa is instrumental in helping raise funds for victims of crimes. He said that growing up he always wanted to be a police officer in part because his father was one, as was his grandfather. “In my eyes, there is nothing better than serving my community, doing my part, however small, to protect my family, friends and everyone else who lives here,” he said. The Special Victims Investigators have raised thousands of dollars and “the joy it brings us to give back to victims is overwhelming,” he said. “My hope in receiving this award is that it will bring greater awareness and advocacy to domestic violence so that tragic events won’t happen.”

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BizTRIBUTE

Henry Koffler: a Passion for Public Universities The name Henry Koffler might not immediately ring a bell today – yet if you live in the Tucson region, this man had an enormous impact on your life. Koffler joined the University of Arizona as its president in 1982, and over the next nine years helped usher through a series of initiatives so successful that they put the UA on track to be an international research powerhouse. Koffler, who died March 10 at the age of 95, was a tireless champion of education. Under his leadership, the university’s enrollment grew by 16 percent, it added 700 staff and faculty members, and it more than tripled outside research funding – to $192 million. And this was brought about in large part by an Austrian immigrant who didn’t speak English when he fled his native country at the age of 17. Today the UA remains Tucson’s largest employer – ahead of Raytheon Missile Systems, the state of Arizona and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, according to the Arizona Daily Star’s Star 200. Koffler had a knack for surrounding himself with like-minded administrators and academics to grow the UA presence and ultimately provide a top-notch learning experience there. “Henry’s amazing talent … was his brilliance in recognizing and recruiting talent. This capacity in Henry also represented the height of informed appreciation and respect for what talented individuals had to offer,” said longtime friend and colleague George Davis, UA provost emeritus and regents’ professor emeritus of the UA Department of Geosciences. Koffler embraced a philosophy of lifelong learning. “For students as a whole, the gift he gave them was his ardent passion for public universities and how he basked each year in the largest number of students graduating – to go out into the world and contribute,” Davis said. Koffler, whose father died when he was 5, left Austria after the Nazis annexed it. His mother followed a few months later, and they settled in

Prescott. Koffler enrolled at the UA, where he studied chemistry and earned a bachelor’s degree. Fittingly, he met Phyllis, the woman who would be his wife, at the UA. They were married in 1946. At the time of Koffler’s death they’d been wed 71 years. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

Henry Koffler

Koffler Era Impact • 16 percent enrollment increase • 700 new faculty and staff hired • 24 buildings constructed • $192 million in outside research funding, up from $60 million • $198 million fundraiser, nearly double the goal of $100 million

Koffler taught at Purdue University, and earned a Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences and the Eli Lilly Award in bacteriology and immunology. He continued to move up the ranks of university administration at the University of Minnesota, where he was senior VP for academic affairs, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he was chancellor. Koffler was the first alumnus to serve

as president since the UA was founded in 1885. He stepped down as president in 1991, and that year was named president emeritus by the Arizona Board of Regents. Today students take courses in biology and chemistry in the Henry Koffler Building on campus. Another two dozen buildings there were constructed during Koffler’s tenure. Koffler led the university’s first major fundraising effort, which brought in $198,000 – nearly double the initial goal, according to the UA. Also during his presidency, the university was elected to the Association of American Universities, a group of leading U.S., British and Canadian research universities. “He crystallized the capacity of the University of Arizona to be and become formidably excellent, comprehensively,” Davis said. “AAU attainment was one visible outcome of this, the foundation for which began with his predecessor John Paul Schaefer.” As a result, the university is recognized as a leader in research in space exploration and other sciences, business, agriculture and the visual arts. The Kofflers lived at Academy Village, now known as Altura/Academy Village, a community made up largely of retired academics that was Koffler’s brainchild. One of the big draws of Academy Village, on Tucson’s eastside, is the nonprofit Arizona Senior Academy, which hosts a wealth of educational and cultural activities. Ever learning, at the age of 90 Koffler took up digital arts, creating abstract pieces on his iPad. His talent was recognized with a handful of shows, including one at the Tucson Jewish Community Center that was in place when he died. “He was just an amazing person,” said Barbara Judd, a close friend of the Kofflers. “He was always interested in people. He was always interested in learning new things. He loved life.”

PHOTO: COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

By Tiffany Kjos

Biz

Condolences – Sympathy cards and letters may be sent to Phyllis Koffler at the Vivaldi Villas, 7700 S. Vivaldi Court, Tucson AZ 85747. No flowers, please. Donations are being accepted for the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize at the University of Arizona Foundation (go to www.uafoundation.org for more information), and for the Koffler Memorial at the Arizona Senior Academy, 13715 E. Langtry Lane, Tucson AZ 85747. A memorial service will be held in November.

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