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WINTER FALL 2012 2016

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

HOT SPOT FOR

MILLENNIALS

5

TOP

NATION’S BEST CITIES +

1 Austin 2. Atlanta 3. Columbus 4. Tucson 5. Seattle

TUCSON MAN & WOMAN OF THE YEAR AND FOUNDERS AWARDS

SPECIAL REPORTS:

VANTAGE WEST CREDIT UNION AT 60 THE GREGORY SCHOOL AT 35

www.BizTucson.com

WINTER 2016 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 03/30/16


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LGG Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley

Lock-Griffith Group is now

LGG Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley We are proud to welcome our new group member, Aditi Gupta Wayne F. Griffith, CFP®

Senior Investment Management Consultant First Vice President, Financial Advisor Family Wealth Director wayne.f.griffith@morganstanley.com

Marc H. Lock

Senior Investment Management Consultant Senior Vice President Financial Planning Specialist Financial Advisor marc.h.lock@morganstanley.com

Aditi Gupta, CFP®

Associate Vice President Financial Planning Specialist Financial Advisor aditi.gupta@morganstanley.com

www.morganstanleyfa.com/lggwm/

7175 N. Pima Canyon Drive, Tucson, AZ 85718 Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing Certification requirements. © 2016 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

520.745.7038

CRC1363459 12/15


BizLETTER

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Winter 2016

Volume 7 No. 4

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Photo: Steven Meckler

This fall Money magazine reported on the Best Cities for Millennials and the exciting news is that Tucson ranked No. 4 in the country. According to Money, our city’s attributes include affordable and desirable housing, a revitalized downtown, high-tech employers such as Raytheon Missile Systems and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and varied ethnic restaurants. The article also mentioned that Moody’s projects 11 percent job growth for Tucson over the next five years. Eric Swedlund files an in-depth report on the city’s burgeoning millennial movement, complete with data on why Tucson has become a hot spot for young professionals age 20 to 35, which now accounts for nearly 25 percent of the region’s population. Local millennials identify a dozen specific assets and attitudes that make our metro area a “hidden gem.” Startup Tucson CEO and Founder Justin Williams said, “The jobs aren’t necessarily here yet – but that’s the role of entrepreneurs. Opportunities to build a business are here today.” In October, international tech giant Samsung paid $200 million to acquire Smart Things, a tech company that started here in 2012, and leased office space downtown. “That’s the kind of trajectory we’re on. These are new digital-economy jobs,” Williams said. Also on technology, Jay Gonzales introduces us to Sunquest Information Systems and its dynamic President Matt Hawkins. Sunquest provides diagnostic and laboratory information systems to 1,700 laboratories around the world. Hawkins has exciting plans for growth and investment for this healthcare software company founded in Tucson in 1979 by Dr. Sidney Goldblatt. Sunquest recently announced that the former Muscular Dystrophy Association facility on Sunrise Drive will be its new international headquarters. The building, owned by Larsen-Baker, is 83,000 square feet, making this one of the largest office space leases in recent memory. Another hometown success story is Vantage West Credit Union, celebrating its 60th anniversary. Gonzales, David Pittman and Mary Minor Davis provide an in-depth report about the origins of the organization, which began as the DMAFB Federal Credit Union, primarily serving Davis-Monthan Air Force

Base employees, and its subsequent growth into a full-service, statewide credit union with assets of $1.5 billion. Vantage West President and CEO Robert D. Ramirez has set big goals for continued growth. His vision for building Tucson into a better place through leadership, civic involvement and philanthropy engages employees in a “culture of accountability.” Speaking of community involvement, April Bourie details plans for Tucson’s January 8th Memorial downtown and the fundraising campaign now underway. Renée Schafer Horton introduces you to the wide-reaching services of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, both here and abroad. And Romi Carrell Wittman provides inspirational profiles of the 2015 Man & Woman of the Year honorees Fletcher McCusker and Rosey Koberlein, as well as Founders Award honorees Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Clarence Dupnik. Another report explores The Gregory School, celebrating 35 years. Rhonda Bodfield provides a compelling look at this unique model for private-school education. Read about the innovation, creativity and commitment to excellence at the heart of this educational institution. Head of School Julie Sherrill shares her vision for the school’s future. As the New Year begins, mark yourcalendars to attend the Let’s Talk Ed: Teacher Workforce summit on Jan. 7. Created by Tucson Values Teachers, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Raytheon Missile Systems, the event features national and state experts discussing ways to improve teacher retention in Arizona and celebrates the winners of the Raytheon Leadership in Education Award. Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

Contributing Editors

Jay Gonzales Donna Kreutz Contributing Copy Editors Diane Luber Dave Petruska Teresa Truelsen

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Writers

Rhonda Bodfield April Bourie Larry Copenhaver Mary Minor Davis Jay Gonzales Chuck Graham Renée Schafer Horton Kate Jensen Christy Krueger Kate Mathis David Pittman Steve Rivera Dan Sorenson Monica Surfaro Spigelman Eric Swedlund Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman

Contributing Photographers

Carter Allen Kris Hanning Justin Haugen Amy Haskell David Long Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney Tom Spitz

Member:

Arizona Builders’ Alliance Greater Oro Valley 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 © 2016 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns or articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

POSTMASTER:

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

Biz www.BizTucson.com


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BizCONTENTS

67

FEATURES

WINTER 2016 VOLUME 7 NO.4

COVER STORY: 48

BizMILLENNIALS Hot Spot For Millennials

4 24 32 38 4O 42

BizLETTER From the Publisher BizART Western Life Infuses Art of Duo BizMUSIC HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival Oro Valley Music Festival BizSPORTS Arizona Distance Classic BizCOMMUNITY January 8th Memorial

48 51 56 58 62 92 98 104 110 112

BizMILLENNIALS Tucson ‘The Place to Be’ Who are the Millennials? 10WEST Festival Spotlights Creativity Young Professional Groups

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BizMUSEUM Holocaust Remembered

DEPARTMENTS

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BizMEDICINE $500,000 for Pediatric Cancer Research BizDOWNTOWN Picture of Success: Etherton Gallery BizTECHNOLOGY Simply Bits’ Voice, Data and Tech Services Global Experience Local Focus BizCOMMUNITY Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona

140

BizHONORS Tucson Man of the Year Tucson Woman of the Year Tucson Founders Awards

148 150 152

BizENTREPRENEUR Desert Angels Ranks No. 3 in Nation BizSPORTS PGA Event Rekindles the ‘Old Days’ BizRETAIL Premium Outlets Boost Marana’s Economy

ABOUT THE COVER Hot Spot for Millennials Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis Photo of millennials: Justin Haugen

BizENTREPRENEUR Movies + Food + Recliners BizAWARDS Copper Cactus Award Winners

BizMANUFACTURING 186 Iconic Mimbreño Designs Return BizCOMMERCIAL 190 CCIM Annual Forecast Preview 192 195 196

BizEDUCATION Shortage of Teachers: Survey Results Call to Action on Education: Jan. 7th Summit Funding Cuts Could ‘Decimate’ JTED BizAWARDS 198 MPA Common Ground Awards 200 ASID Design Excellence Awards BizGOVERNMENT 202 Tucson Metro Chamber Events

BizSALES Sales Guru Jeffrey Gitomer

BizRETAIL 120 Summit Hut Experience

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BizMEDICINE 154 Senner Endowment BizTECHNOLOGY 158 Darling Geomatics: Laser Accuracy 160 Quest to Invest

67 BizSPECIAL REPORT VANTAGE WEST CREDIT UNION AT 60

70 74 78 80 82 84 86 88

Culture of Accountability Building a Company Business Banking Quantum Leaps in Technology Culture Celebrates Employees Growing Hispanic Community Investment Services Division Roots in Its People

123 BizSPECIAL REPORT THE GREGORY SCHOOL AT 35 Exploring a New World

126 132 134 136

Innovation and Creativity at the Heart of School Committed to Customizing Student Learning The Gregory School Fab Lab Students Learn In and Out of Classroom

167 BizSPECIAL REPORT SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SHRM-Greater Tucson

171 174

Supporting People Who Manage People SHRM-GT Workshops www.BizTucson.com & Events: 2016


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Fred & Deborah Fellows

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BizART

e f i Western L Infuses Art of Fellows Duo By Monica Surfaro Spigelman There’s a pitch-perfect sense of the West as one turns off Arizona 83 in Sonoita to enter Fellows Ranch. Quarter horses graze in tall, rolling grasslands. The beauty is stunning. There’s a goodnatured hospitality that encourages visitors to understand and respect the land surrounding them. And, instantly, you do. Fred and Deborah Fellows have forged a singular niche in the world of Western art. Fred Fellows is three-time president of the Cowboy Artists of America and his expressive accomplishments in both realist cowboy genre painting and bronze sculpture appear on magazine covers and in museum collections. Deborah Copenhaver Fellows is a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the National Sculpture Society. Her monumental works are showcased in the U.S. Capitol as well as in public art spaces. Together, they are in seven galleries nationwide, and their symbiotic partnership is a powerful demonstration of what comes through a shared commitment to the American frontier.

PHOTOS: CARTER ALLEN

Spirit of the West

www.BizTucson.com

The greatest subjects for the art, they both note, come from everyday objects. They say, “You are inspired by and draw what you know – and you enjoy where it takes you.” Their life is a snapshot of the West’s adventurous spirit. As much cowboys as they are master artists, the Fellows rope cattle as others might play a round of golf.

They purchased land in Sonoita in 1996, and built their territorial adobe just next door to the Empire Ranch Bureau of Land Management conservation easement. There is a natural, comfortable character to their classically Sonoran home, with its inlaid mesquite floor and latilla ceilings. Large covered porches invite guests to enjoy the picture-perfect beauty of the surrounding mountains outside, and the Fellows’ considerable collection of ornate handmade saddles, knives and rifles inside. “This country is where your spirit soars,” Deborah said about their move to Sonoita from their previous home in Montana. “For the creative mind, there is no limit here.” Trailblazer

The way Fred tells it, life is a journey of experience – for him it was cowboying, calf roping and saddle making, with his passion for art always intertwined. Drawing since childhood, Fred’s talent was cultivated by an artistic aunt and grandparents who respected Western heritage. After several moves and his stepfather’s urgings, Fred went into commercial illustration, advancing to art director for Northrop Aircraft. With dreams of becoming a painter still calling, Fred – now married with a young family – went to Taos, N.M., where he bartered paintings for groceries. Although his work was becoming more appreciated, the move back west, to Montana, spurred him to paint in earnest. continued on page 26 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 25


BizART 4

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PHOTOS: COURTESY FRED & DEBORAH FELLOWS

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Deborah Copenhaver Fellows – 1. Bronze sculpture “Giving Thanks” 2. Goldwater Sculpture at the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C. 3. Bronze sculpture “She Rode Good Horses” Fred Fellows – 4. Monument honoring Ikua Purdy, a famous Hawaiian Paniolo (cowboy) on the Big Island of Hawaii 5. Oil painting “A Cowboy’s Lucky Day“ 6. Oil painting “When The Work’s All Done This Fall”

continued from page 25 His genuine love and knowledge of Western ways, coupled with considerable talent, took him into a circle of cowboy artists who rode roundups and shared fellowship about art and family. “We had our first show in 1967,” Fred remembered. The overwhelming response to their art built a group of talented cowboys into the prominent Cowboy Artists of America organization. 26 BizTucson

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Now the CAA’s longest emeritus member, Fred is one of only a handful of artists worldwide to win medals in drawing, sculpture and painting, as well as the prestigious CAA Award for best overall exhibition. Cowgirl artist

In the late 1970s, a fellow champion roper on the rodeo circuit, Jeff Copenhaver, asked Fred to take a look at the work of his sister, Deborah, a young sculptor who also was an accomplished

horsewoman. Fred did take a look… and wrote a significant recommendation for the future of her career. The two did not met again until 12 years later: Fred was now alone, after his wife died of cancer. Deborah, divorced and working in Spokane, was molding clay from her scaffolding with her infant daughter Fabienne cradled nearby. Once Fred and Deborah reconnected for professional reasons, personal sparks continued on page 28 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizART

This country is where your spirit soars. For the creative mind, there is no limit here. –

Deborah Copenhaver Fellows Artist Cowgirl Hall of Fame

continued from page 26 ignited and the couple married in 1990. “Of all my life’s turning points, the meeting with Fred was the most remarkable,” she said. “Fred also was the one to advise me to pursue an area wide open in Western art, about the pioneer woman.” Deborah’s 8-foot-tall bronze of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, in bolo tie and boots, was unveiled in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., early last year. Her Tribute to Ranching bronze can be viewed at the Santa Cruz Rodeo Grounds in Sonoita. Western ways

It’s the way of the cowboy to stay overly busy and the Fellows never tire of working their ranch – from checking fencing to moving hay. They have 14 head of racing and rodeo quarter horses, with Fred up at 5 a.m. to check on the horses and place a single red rose and a cup of coffee bedside for Deborah. Full days include five hours of work in their airy studio. On one recent day in the studio, Fred underscored the importance of ordinary Western life that continues to inspire the Fellows. “There’s the quote ‘genius is spelled w-o-r-k’ – and there’s never a lack of determination out here in the West,” he said as Deborah nodded, illustrating a relationship that sees the extraordinary in their ordinary, everyday adventure together. At the Fellows Ranch and Studio, this certainly seems to be an adventure well worth taking. Biz In Arizona, Fred and Deborah Fellows are represented by Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson. Visit FellowsStudios.com. 28 BizTucson

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Clockwise â&#x20AC;&#x201C; New Orleans vocalist and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins; National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, saxophonist and the HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival Guest of Honor; Grammy winner Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band; Vocalist Lizz Wright

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HSL PROPERTIES

BizMUSIC

Tucson Jazz Festival Take Two ‘Room to Grow’ on Last Year’s Success

PHOTOS COURTESY HSL PROPERTIES TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL

By Chuck Graham The first Tucson Jazz Festival last January sprang from the dreams and plans for continuing downtown’s revival – along with a suggestion from attorney Elliot Glicksman to his good friend Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. It has lived up to its name. The music by national artists who played that 13-day affair was well-received. The festival wrapped up with “a couple thousand dollars left over,” according to Yvonne Ervin, the festival’s executive director. “And now we have our own 501(c)(3) to be a nonprofit organization. We are Jazz in January,” Ervin said, her tone of voice and set of jaw making it clear she’s in this for the long haul. “Merchants will start seeing how the festival helps their bottom line,” Glicksman said. “They were a little skeptical at first, but now the enthusiasm is growing. Already we are so far ahead of last year for our sponsorships. “In time the Jazz Festival can duplicate the success of the Tucson Festival of Books. I’m convinced of that.” So the second annual Tucson Jazz Festival will be Jan. 14-24, 2016, mostly at downtown venues just like last year. Promoting the TJF reputation as the nation’s only jazz festival in January also sits well with everyone who helped stage that inaugural event. The deep winter identity implies much about the benefits of starting one’s New Year on vacation in the sunny, balmy Baked Apple. Ervin reports the Mayor is smiling, too. His objectives for the festival were www.BizTucson.com

met. Some 10,000 people attended and 28 percent of them traveled more than 50 miles. Plus, nearly 50 percent of those travelers came here specifically for the festival. “The hotel occupancy rate for January was 5 percent higher than usual,” said Ervin, happy for her contribution

The way local businesses have come together to support this event made me want to get involved. – Judith Brown Board Member UA Presents

to the increased tourist action. “But we still have a lot of room to grow.” Last year’s decision to book a wide variety of jazz styles from various historical periods worked well. All the events were well-attended. Even Robert Glasper, the most innovative jazz face at the festival – whose music combines elements of hip-hop, jazz, gospel, R&B and the kitchen sink – was a hot ticket. “We had 150 people walk up right before his concert. Some drove straight through from Los Angeles specifically

to see him,” Ervin said. The same diversity of styles representing several decades is locked in for the 2016 edition. Once again UA Presents provides the festival centerpiece. Last year it was Burt Bacharach. This year it is the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, led by Ravi Coltrane, saxophones, and Nicholas Payton, trumpet. Closest to the cutting edge is Grammy Award-winning Snarky Puppy – 13 younger guys playing an infectious mixture of chart-topping jazz, funk and world music. Carrying the most prestige is guest of honor and sax man Jimmy Heath, a top performer and studio player in the jazz world for 50 years, and a 2003 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award. On opening night he will sit in with the Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Band of high school students that has won multiple national awards. “Jimmy was one of the judges on one of the years that TJI’s Ellington Band won the national Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition at Lincoln Center,” Ervin said. Others in the Tucson Jazz Festival 2016 lineup include trumpeter Byron Stripling celebrating the “Sounds of New Orleans” with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Latin jazz innovator and conguero Poncho Sanchez, The Rad Trads octet of big city stompers, gospel-infused singer Lizz Wright and the New Orleans-styled entertainer Kermit Ruffins with his quintet. continued on page 35 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 33


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continued from page 33 An instant hit at last January’s inaugural fest was the free day of jazz to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, giving stage time to a number of local musicians and bands. For 2016, the main outdoor stage downtown will be dedicated to Latin jazz all day. Everything about the festival has grown except Ervin’s staff of one – herself. “The good news is I have a lot of volunteers this year,” she said with a smile. “Last year I wasn’t able to attend any events,” said Judith Brown, one of those new volunteers. She is a retired fundraiser for the University of Arizona and a current board member of UA Presents. “The way local businesses have come together to support this event made me want to get involved. “And Yvonne has a national reputation, so I knew it would be stellar.” Including other local arts groups as the festival expands is another of Ervin’s long-term plans. Along with the Tucson Symphony’s participation for 2016, the downtown Etherton Gallery of contemporary fine art photography, 135 S. Sixth Ave., will be involved. An exhibit of Herman Leonard’s photographs of jazz musicians, most notably from the 1950s and 1960s, will be up during the fest. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard his name. You will recognize his photographs filled with moody film-noir shadows and cigarette smoke. It’s a good bet you have at least one LP with a Herman Leonard photo on the cover. Although jazz is generally considered music for an older audience, Ervin said “the bulk of our tickets were sold through social media.” Quick to jump on this marketing shift, the festival now has an increased Facebook presence. There is a YouTube channel with many festival video clips as well. “We will be on more social media platforms this year, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus,” said Ervin. “In the last couple of years I’ve learned so much more about social media than I ever...” her voice trailed off in wonder.

BizMUSIC

For complete details, times, dates and ticket prices, visit www.tucsonjazzfestival.org

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BizBRIEFS

Crest Insurance Group Acquires Sierra Vista Insurance Agency

Crest Insurance Group has acquired Sierra Vista Insurance Agency, which was owned and operated by local business owner Wendell H. Gilbert for more than 35 years. It traces its roots back to 1954 when it was founded in what was then known as Fry, Arizona – now Sierra Vista. Gilbert will serve as Crest’s senior VP/producer. The agency’s team of experts provides insurance services including personal, commercial and employee benefits insurance to the Sierra Vista community. Crest Insurance also has offices in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.

Biz

Ellerson named CFO of Crest Insurance

Crest Insurance Group of Tucson has named Mike Ellerson as CFO to support what the company calls its aggressive growth plans. Prior to joining Crest in June 2015, Ellerson spent 30 years with Tucson’s Golden Eagle Distributors serving as VP and CFO beginning in 2002. He previously held leadership positions at Golden Eagle in accounting, information systems and human resources. Ellerson holds a bachelor of science in management information systems and a master’s of business administration from the University of Arizona. www.BizTucson.com

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BizMUSIC

Fans Flock to Oro Valley Music Festival

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Kate Mathis By Sept. 13, the 2015 monsoon should have been over, yet the rain was falling in heavy drops as music fans arrived at The Golf Club at Vistoso for the first Oro Valley Music Festival. An estimated 5,500 people attended the event that grew from an idea in November of 2014 to develop a goodwill project for the community from the new owners of the golf course. GM Rich Elias wanted to create an event that would bring the Town of Oro Valley, and specifically the Vistoso community together, and to gain some positive publicity for the golf course which was under new ownership. He envisioned a small charitable event that involved the whole family. Elias met with the charity Shine On Tucson, a local nonprofit that provides comfort to families of children being cared for at Diamond’s Children’s Medical Center and found there was a need for musical instruments for its music therapy program. From there the idea of having a music festival was born. The initial plan was to bring in local bands, have a barbeque on the fairway and expect a few hundred people to attend. Then in February, Elias pitched the idea to a representative from iHeartRadio. A month later, iHeartRadio representatives visited the golf course, and with the spectacular views of the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background, the prospect was sold. With iHeartRadio on board, the stakes were raised and the lineup for artists included well-known performers such as American Authors and Matt Nathanson. In May when Rachel Platten was signed on, there was no way to know that her “Fight Song” would be the breakout hit of the summer. Radio advertisements increased the expected turnout, and the initial barbeque idea was history. The storm rolled in as the first band, Parachute, began playing. Elias was on 38 BizTucson

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the phone with the National Weather Service and the fire department was on alert. Safety was the main concern, and as the storm neared, the crowd was pushed back from the stage and there was a brief halt to the music. Sponsors handed out ponchos to the patrons as the rain fell. The shower cooled down the spectators and families enjoyed the wide, grassy space to toss footballs and lined up at food and beverage trucks. Spirits were not dampened. The crowd was energized. By the time Platton sang “Fight Song” it was clear that this event exceeded all expectations. The mayor of Oro Valley, Satish Hiremath was there and beaming. Ryan Lameyer is CEO of Phenomenon Concerts, which produced the festival. He said, “We created a venue from a piece of grass. They were not opening an arena and stocking the refreshment stand – they were building a venue on a piece of grass.” Elias said the success of the event was a team effort. “The town was fantastic and it couldn’t have been done without the help of the major supporters.” Plus the drive of Elias himself who regularly put in an extra 30 hours a week to pull this event together over many months. From the feedback he received, the first Oro Valley Music Festival was “very successful,” Elias said. His goal was to do well by the community and the charity. The modest expectations were far exceeded. Fueled by the high praise received – with some minor criticism that he intends to address – Elias is already pedal-to-themetal for the second annual music festival. He promises 2016 will include a bigger stage, more food trucks and beverage stations, and a commitment to keeping this a fun family-oriented event. “The footprint has been set,” Elias said. “Look for a bigger, better event next year.” Biz

Zac Barnett American Authors

Rachel Platten

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Matt Nathanson

American Authors Parachute

Plain White Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

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BizSPORT

Going the Distance

Secret’s Out on Arizona Distance Classic in Oro Valley By Steve Rivera Peter Snell has participated in the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon every year since its inception in 2005. He says there’s no better race in the Tucson area. “In addition to thinking it’s done on a beautiful venue, we like how the race is run,” said Snell, who along with wife, Jeanne, owns Fleet Feet Tucson. “It’s got a big-time race feel to it without the huge numbers. It still has that feel, and the runners are treated very well.” It started with about 1,000 runners and walkers in 2005, and now the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon is expected to grow to about 3,000 participants. The numbers come as great news to the event organizers M3S Sports. “The focus of the event is the celebration of an active, healthy lifestyle,” said David Babner, the event’s organizer. “We celebrate runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes and abilities.” On March 20, 2016, the event will be in its 12th year in picturesque Oro Valley with the Classic beginning at Ventana Medical Systems, on East Innovation Park Drive, heading away from the mountain and down through Rancho Vistoso. There, the runners turn around

and head back toward the Catalina Mountains. “Oro Valley is just a beautiful area,” Snell said. “It’s one of the prettier race courses in Southern Arizona. I like it because of the hills. None of them are that long and that deep so it keeps the race more interesting, in my opinion, than a flat course.” The event will have a variety of distances – the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon, Half Marathon Wheelchair, Arizona Distance Classic Quarter Marathon, 5K Run/Walk, Kids Fun Run and Super Mile (Senior Walk). The event is limited to the first 3,000 participants. Register online. Prices vary. The Snells, like many of the participants, have done many of the events. They also have trained more than 1,000 participants for the event. The event was started on an invitation from entrepreneur John Corbett, who founded All About Running and Walking, an athletic footwear store in Oro Valley, and has been helped by the Town of Oro Valley and Northwest Healthcare (the presenting sponsor). Marathon planners recently partnered with Visit Tucson and the Hilton El Conquistador to help promote the

event. Babner said in 2015 about 20 percent of the participants were from out of state, coming from 43 different states and three countries. He added that Runner’s World Magazine listed the event as one of the best kept secrets in the Southwest. “We are working on changing the ‘secret’ part of that,” Babner said. To the Town of Oro Valley, the event is somewhat of a golden goose. Amanda Jacobs, the economic development manager for the Town of Oro Valley, said nearly 600 out-of-town participants got “to experience what Oro Valley has to offer – whether it’s outdoor recreation, our beautiful resorts, dining opportunities or our arts and culture.” After the last event in 2015, Jacobs said the event’s economic impact was $269,349 based on 578 room nights at nearby hotels. She also knows the event’s value in as much as she’s been a volunteer. “I’m truly inspired each year by the participants,” she said. Babner said: “The Town of Oro Valley has been an amazing partner since its inception and as the town has grown, we have grown right along with it.” Biz

March 20, 2016 – Arizona Distance Classic Starting Times All events start at Ventana Medical Systems – 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive, Oro Valley 6:55 a.m. Half Marathon Wheelchair

7:15 a.m. 5K Run/Walk

7 a.m.

Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon

10 a.m.

7 a.m.

Arizona Distance Classic Quarter Marathon

10:30 a.m. Super Mile (Senior Walk)

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Kids Fun Run


BizCOMMUNITY

An ‘Embrace’ for January 8th Memorial Fundraising Underway to Honor Victims, Represent Healing It’s called “The Embrace” because, from above, it resembles the outstretched arms of two people reaching for each other before engaging in a hug – the international gesture of love and friendship. More importantly, the name for Tucson’s January 8th Memorial reflects the reaction of residents after the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others during a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Tucson Safeway store in 2011. Thirteen people were wounded and six died that day – U.S. District Court Judge John Roll, Giffords’ Director of Community Outreach Gabe Zimmerman, 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy “Dot” Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwan Stoddard. Tucsonans reached out to one another and mourned by leaving tokens of support and affection at impromptu memorials at the shooting site, at Giffords’ midtown congressional office and at University Medical Center where the

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victims were treated. The temporary memorials were maintained as long as possible – but it became evident to many that a permanent memorial was needed for healing and to inspire everyone to move forward. In 2012, Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation was established to develop the permanent memorial. The site selected is at El Presidio Park near the historic Pima County Courthouse downtown. “The reasoning behind the building of the memorial is to honor the lost and wounded – and to celebrate the joy of the community coming together,” said Mark Salette, co-owner of Chee Salette Architecture Office, the design firm selected for the project. The foundation’s vision is a memorial that both respects the event and serves as a living symbol of the multiple facets of Jan. 8 – honoring those who died and were wounded, emphasizing the impor-

IMAGES: COURTESY TUCSON’S JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

By April Bourie

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Embrace the Challenge “I am also donating to this cause because it’s important. I encourage everyone locally and across the nation to contribute as well – whether it’s a dollar or a million dollars. We need to get this memorial built to remind people how we all need to care for one another.” – Jim Click Honorary Co-Chair “Together We Thrive” Capital Campaign

Build Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Donate online: TucsonsMemorial.org Or contact: Crystal Kasnoff Executive Director Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation (520) 393-8317

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continued from page 42 tance of participatory democracy especially when violence threatens, and paying tribute to the courage demonstrated by strangers joining together to heal and move forward. Honorary co-chairs Gabrielle Giffords, Jim Click

To achieve this vision, the foundation must raise $4 million to build the memorial. Giffords and prominent local businessman Jim Click are serving as honorary co-chairs of the “Together We Thrive” fundraising campaign. Click was approached to do so by Pam Simon, a shooting survivor. “I was honored that Pam asked me to serve as an honorary co-chair with Gabby, who is such an inspiration to us all – both before the tragedy and now,” Click said. “I also saw the outpouring of support that came from our community and the nation to Gabby and all of the victims. I wanted to give back. “Besides being an honorary co-chair, I am also donating to this cause because it’s important. I encourage everyone locally and across the nation to contribute

as well – whether it’s a dollar or a million dollars. We need to get this memorial built to remind people how we all need to care for one another.” He challenges the business community to follow his lead. Crystal Kasnoff is the new executive director of Tucson’s January 8th Me-

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly morial Foundation. “We have quietly raised almost $1 million for the memorial to date,” she said. “We are now officially launching a more aggressive public campaign that will request donations of all sizes from individuals, foundations

and businesses.” Giffords, who was shot in the head, has inspired many with her determination and the huge strides she’s made in her recovery. She regained the ability to walk and improved her speech. By April 2011, she was able to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour with her astronaut husband as commander. At their wedding, former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich raised a toast, “To a bride who moves at a velocity that exceeds that of anyone else in Washington – and a groom who moves at a velocity that exceeds 17,000 miles per hour.” A Tucson native, Giffords was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, then was elected to two terms in Congress. In January 2012 she resigned, saying, “The only way I ever served my district and Congress was by giving 100 percent. This past year, that’s what I have given to my recovery. I will recover and will return, and we will work together again for Arizona and for all Americans.” Since then, Giffords and Kelly have written a book, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.” The two continue

IMAGES: COURTESY TUCSON’S JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

Aerial view of “The Embrace” Tucson’s January 8th Memorial located at El Presidio Park near the historic Pima County Courthouse

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BizCOMMUNITY to be an inspiration. They currently travel the nation giving speeches and promoting Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization they founded. Those who meet Giffords personally are touched not only by her amazing progress but also her humble ability to make people feel welcome. 13 trees, 6 gardens, and a weeping wall

Feeling welcome is also the goal of Tucson’s January 8th Memorial. In addition to the outstretched arms of the memorial, “The Embrace” design includes 13 trees planted to symbolize the 13 surviving victims. Six gardens are planned to honor those who died. In the interior, symbols and names carved into the walls will represent first responders and the victims. The symbols representing those who died will be lit at night. The sound of water occasionally running down the interior of the walls will create a weeping wall. On the exterior, living walls created by woven plants and stones of the Sonoran Desert will represent the power of life.

A memorial museum will be located inside the Pima County Courthouse, created in partnership with Pima County and the Tucson Museum of Art. This will include exhibits derived from

This memorial is about more than the people affected that day. Democracy was also attacked – and we need to show the world that we can come back from the tragedy stronger than before.

Mark Salette, Co-Owner Chee Salette Architecture Office –

tributes left after the tragedy as well as exhibits covering historical aspects of the event. Oral histories by those directly impacted that day will be featured

through an array of technologies. A key aspect of the memorial is the revitalization of El Presidio Park. Funding for that was part of the Pima County bond package that voters defeated in November. Now the foundation is in talks with Pima County and the city to devise a new plan to fund that part of the project. “We have had the support of the county and the city from the beginning when they asked us to create a vision not just for the memorial, but for El Presidio Park,” said Karen Christensen, president of the foundation board. “Discussion with the city and county as to how they wish to move forward with the master plan for the park are ongoing.” Community forums, fundraising events

The design of the entire project is constantly evolving. Many details are yet to be decided. The foundation is working with local historians, the city’s Parks & Recreation Department and other sources. Public forums also have been held to gather input and more may be continued on page 46 >>>

Illustration of “The Embrace” at the entrance of the historic Pima County Courthouse

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BizCOMMUNITY Illustration of the proposed amphitheater

We are now officially launching a more aggressive public campaign that will request donations of all sizes from individuals, foundations and businesses.

Proposed amphitheater details of seating and stage

Bird’s eye view of the historic Pima County Courthouse and El Presidio Park

continued from page 45 presented in the future. One specific example is the evolution of the amphitheater initially proposed to seat 450 people. Public comments confirmed that size is needed downtown. Then enhancements were suggested to make seating more flexible to allow for smaller events by providing curtains to reduce the appearance of a partially filled house. In addition, the amphitheater is now proposed as a turnkey operation with built-in technology and stage – all stored under the seating risers onsite – to make it easy and affordable to use. Yet nothing can happen until the funds to build the memorial are available and other sources of funding are found for the park. Donations can now be made online at tucsonsmemorial.org. That’s also the place to view design concepts, learn more about the project and check the schedule of upcoming community and fundraising events. The foundation, along with honorary co-chairs Giffords and Click, fully expect the community to once again come together – this time to build a memorial for the Jan. 8 victims that will last for generations. “This memorial is about more than the people affected that day,” Salette said. “Democracy was also attacked – and we need to show the world that we can come back from the tragedy stronger than before.”

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IMAGES: COURTESY TUCSON’S JANUARY 8TH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

– Crystal Kasnoff Executive Director Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation


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BizMILLENNIALS Tucson – ‘A Great Place to Be’ Money magazine recently ranked Tucson as one of top 5 cities in the nation for millennials – young professionals in their 20s and early 30s. What are the assets that make this metro area such a “hidden gem?” Local millennials have already discovered the elements here that combine to create a quality of life that appeals to their generation. They cite a dozen specific assets and attitudes that make Tucson “a great place to be.”

➢ Robust entrepreneurial ecosystem

TUCSON Hot Spot for Millennials By Eric Swedlund

Range of high-tech jobs

➢ Positive intergenerational mentoring ➢ Bustling downtown with restaurants, nightclubs ➢ Affordable desirable housing ➢ Vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods ➢ Active year-round outdoor lifestyle ➢ Bicycle infrastructure and walkability ➢ Creative multi-cultural environment ➢ Ease of community involvement ➢ Support for work/life balance Learn more about metro Tucson’s millennial vibe in this special BizTucson report.

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Ranked

#4

in Nation – and just on the heels What makes a city attractive to the up-andof Austin, Atlanta, and by Money coming millennials? Columbus. Who knew? Magazine Characterizing this genAs Tucson looks to its ecoeration of young professionnomic future, many aspects of als is tricky. They are independent the city align with the values and and not easily pigeon-holed. Experts goals of millennials – including a bursay that millennials in general value a geoning downtown, robust entrepresense of neurial ecosystem, tremendous outdoor purpose in their working life, seek activities, affordable housing, and a engagement with their community, and multi-cultural atmosphere. favor cities that reflect multiculturalism While the Money magazine ranking and diversity in everything from restaumay result more from Tucson’s potenrants to civic leaders. tial than from the current economic cliIndeed Money Magazine in October mate, local experts say recent shifts will ranked Tucson as one of the nation’s have major impacts in years to come. best cities for millennials – praising the “The jobs aren’t necessarily here yet, city’s revitalized downtown, range of but that’s the role of entrepreneurs,” ethnic restaurants, nightlife at spots like said Justin Williams, chairman and Club Congress, employers like RaytheCEO of Startup Tucson, a local busion Missile Systems, and high potential ness incubator. “Opportunities to build for job growth. Calling Tucson a “hida business are here today.” den gem,” the magazine ranked the city From what he’s seen while nurturing fourth – ahead of high-tech hub Seattle continued on page 50 >>> www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS1,3,4,5&7: JUSTIN HAUGEN

➢ Openness to doing things differently


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1. Josiah Hood and Ryan Sermon

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2. Courtney Fey, William Kovacs and Justie Lim (photo courtesy 10West) 3. Jeff Wood

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4. From left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Vince Duarte, Stephanie Bermudez, Raziel Yanez, Rosette Abud, Constantino Rodriguez, Alexis Cazares, William Kovacs, Ricky Abud, Alexis Chavez, Jeff Ell, Danielle Duarte, and Paloma LopezSantiago 5. Erin McEldowney, Michaela DeYoung and Isaac Figueroa 6. Audience at 10West presentation (photo courtesy 10West) 7. Ashley Hurand, Brooke McDonald and Josh Hurand

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The jobs aren’t necessarily here yet – but that’s the role of entrepreneurs. Opportunities to build a business are here today.

– Justin Williams Chairman & CEO Startup Tucson

continued from page 48 companies and young entrepreneurs, millennials “balance ambition and community-focused pride.” Ingredients for attracting millennials

“This generation is inherently entrepreneurial,” Williams said. “They hustle for the next gig – and if we wire our community for that, in addition to the low-cost housing and great lifestyle – those are the ingredients for attracting millennials.” In October, international tech giant Samsung paid $200 million to acquire Smart Things, a local tech company started in 2012, and leased office space downtown. “That’s the kind of trajectory we’re on. These are new digitaleconomy jobs,” Williams said. The revitalization of downtown, led by the modern streetcar and the development it spurred, changed everything by adding one critical component – density. Tucson’s music and art scene, young tech community, and the entrepreneurship ecosystem are all centered there, adding up to a critical mass that’s been missing for decades – and creating a new mindset in the community that dovetails perfectly with millennial values. “I’m excited to see there’s more and more support for having a culture of self-esteem that allows us to build off what we do have and not focus on what we don’t have,” Williams said. “The light rail gave us permission to think continued on page 52 >>> 50 BizTucson

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BizMILLENNIALS

Who are the Millennials? By Eric Swedlund

As far as Tucson’s appeal to millennials, Gilliland points to the city’s lively multi-cultural atmosphere, growing arts district and efforts to boost hightech industries.

The term comes from the idea that many came of age around the year 2000, raised in an era when personal computing, and even mobile technology, had already become a way of life.

“With Tech Launch Arizona, with the Maguire Center for Entrepreneurship, with a growing biotech industry added to existing aerospace sector, there are a number of excellent employment opportunities for today’s millennials,” she said. “This is a city within which, through good, careful and hard work, you can make a name for yourself, achieve and be successful.”

Yet beyond the technology, millennials have come to be defined by being more community-oriented than Generation X or the baby boomers, said Cindi Gilliland, professor of practice in the management and organizations department in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

Tucson Modern Streetcar

“I’ve really seen a generational shift such that millennials really have a much greater social consciousness than I’ve seen in previous generations,” she said, reflecting on 25 years of teaching. “I see many more millennials thinking about the purpose of their work. They’re less driven by monetary and fiscal concerns and more driven by a sense of meaning in their work.” It’s a generation uninterested in sprawling suburbia, cookie-cutter housing developments, and impersonal corporate jobs. Instead, millennials want to see their work matter, build their lives around personal connections to their community and experiences, rather than material possessions. That translates into increased interest in nonprofits and social impact careers, as well as the more personally driven world of entrepreneurism.

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“In terms of workforce and engagement in general, millennials are more and more showing themselves as being very creative,” said Zach Yentzer, whose work at Ministry Resources International puts him at the intersection of faith and technology. “There is a lot of innovation that’s defining this generation.”

Kylie Walzak, lead program manager for Tucson’s Living Streets Alliance, said the quality of life is what ultimately drew her to Tucson. “You can literally eat outdoors nine months out of the year. I can live seamlessly indoors and outdoors,” she said. “The sense of belonging to a community is huge here. A big part of that is being out on foot, on bike, having spontaneous conversations and small, meaningful interactions. When people talk about millennials, what we do share is the desire to have more interactions with more people and to connect and share. That’s the inverse of suburbanization.” Yentzer says that emphasis on place over job is common among his generation. “We’re finding that millennials in the workforce are looking to design a life before they design a career. That work-life balance is super important. We’re constantly weaving in and out of work and life and play,” he said. “Millennials are known for being shamelessly optimistic, which is interesting compared to the fact they’ve grown up during a recession – but they’re optimistic about life in general and the opportunity to do something outstanding.”

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

Johnny Gibsons Downtown Market

Millennials, who make up about a quarter of Tucson’s population, are generally defined as those who were born from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s.


continued from page 50 of ourselves as a new community. We don’t feel quite so small and off the map. That community shift in thinking is super important. It’s a huge priority for our community to build off of this.” In addition to the many restaurants and nightclubs, the new Johnny Gibson Downtown Market ends downtown’s status as a food wasteland. Tucson also offers affordable living in and near downtown, which is precisely where the millennials want to be. Employers are following millennials

“You don’t have to be totally separated from where the action is,” said Emily Yetman, executive director of the Living Streets Alliance and an Arizona native. “If you look at trends in other cities that are doing well, employers are following millennials. Cities are picking up on that and making a huge commitment to boosting the bicycle infrastructure and walkability.” Yetman sees the central core of Tucson, with its vibrant, mixed-use neigh-

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If you’re a millennial with a big idea, Tucson is a great place to be – because it’s probably not been done yet. You can define a name and a brand for yourself a lot easier than you could in other places.

– Zach Yentzer Director of Operations Ministry Resources International

borhoods full of local businesses as the ideal economic development engine for the city to continue attracting millenni-

als. “The tendency for the leadership in the Tucson metro region is to think in terms of big ideas, like this one big thing will boost the economy. I would say it is the opposite. It takes all the little things together to make that difference – and that includes the infrastructure,” she said. “I think about how many of my peers have opened small, local businesses and are thriving. Those projects are feeding the economy and it’s growing out from there.” Even some of the areas that Tucson has struggled with, like higher poverty rates and slower job growth, point to potential advantages for millennials, said 25-year-old Zach Yentzer. He works with the next generation of church leaders as director of operations for Ministry Resources International. “One of the knocks on Tucson has been a lack of opportunity, but I’ve always seen the opposite,” he said. “Where Tucson is at in its growth is a perfect time to do something big. Everything here is so wide open. “If you’re a millennial with a big idea,

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Tucson is a great place to be – because it’s probably not been done yet. What if I was trying to do what I do in Boston or San Francisco? There are things I’ve gotten to do here that I couldn’t do anywhere else. You can define a name and a brand for yourself a lot easier than you could in other places.” Positive intergenerational opportunities

Through his work Yentzer has seen that millennials’ approach to connectivity isn’t limited to their own age group. “As a millennial, I’ve found a lot of positive intergenerational opportunities in Tucson,” he said. “There are a lot of older individuals who have a passion for the next generation who are willing to take time and be a mentor. Nobody is looking at me like a kid. There’s a legitimate peer camaraderie. Because Tucson is Tucson, there’s a lot more openness to doing things differently.” Tucson still has significant challenges in terms of capitalizing on positive momentum and making structural changes, Williams said. Only about 25 percent

BizMILLENNIALS

The tendency for the leadership in the Tucson metro region is to think in terms of big ideas, like this one big thing will boost the economy. I would say it is the opposite. It takes all the little things together to make that difference.

– Emily Yetman Executive Director Living Streets Alliance

of Tucson’s workforce has bachelor’s degrees, in comparison to aspirational peers like Portland and Austin which are about double that percentage. “There’s a lot of inclination toward looking around at what we are today and thinking that’s definitely our future. That’s a mistake,” Williams said. “What gets me up in the morning is the ability to make a big impact in this community. A lot of that work is already done in other places.” But those other places can serve as an example for Tucson, blending best practices elsewhere with the region’s natural advantages for a brighter future. “I’m completely unafraid to borrow ideas from more established communities and look for new ways to incorporate them into what we do,” Williams said. “One of the cultural changes we’re trying to implement and help lead is a shift away from thinking in the mindset of scarcity, to things we can do with the limited resources we have. The community needs that optimistic leadership.”

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BizMILLENNIALS

MAP Reveals Mindset Tucson does indeed have specific advantages in many of the areas that millennials value. And that’s based on fact. Jennifer Pullen is research economist at the University of Arizona and project manager for the MAP Dashboard Project – which stands for Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona. She oversees this data-driven project to quantify Tucson’s strengths and weaknesses. The MAP research reveals specific information that supports Money magazine’s conclusion that this city has what it takes to attract young professional millennials. “We have a lot of innovation and a lot of new activity here and that helps to drive millennials to the area,” Pullen said. “It’s just less expensive to live here, relative to other areas around the West – particularly some of the more sought after cities. We also do incredibly well in bicycling capacity and we get tons of visitors to Tucson” for a wide range of recreational activities. The MAP Dashboard Project is a partnership of the UA Eller College of Management, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Three dozen areas of measurement are grouped into six categories – education, health and social well-

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being, infrastructure, quality of place, workforce and demographics. The MAP dataset compares 12 competitive metro areas in the Western United States – Albuquerque, Austin, Colorado Springs, Denver, El Paso, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego. These are market segment areas or MSAs.

Walkability The Tucson urban area ranks sixth, roughly in the middle of the pack, in walkability. Walkability is determined by proximity (walking time) to select amenities such as dining and drinking establishments, groceries, shopping, schools, parks and culture and entertainment type establishments.

Growth Rate The growth rate of Tucson business startups is 4.9 percent annually – which exceeds the national average. Tucson ranks fifth best among the 12 Western cities. Patents The Tucson MSA ranks fourth in the number of patents per 10,000 workers. Patents are one measure of innovative activity for a region and also serve as a measure of entrepreneurial activity. College Majors The percentage of college graduates majoring in a STEM-related field – science, technology, engineering or mathematics – in Tucson in 2013 was 47.5 percent, ranking second among comparable Western metros.

Pullen cites these specifics about Tucson that appeal to millennials: Outdoor Recreation Tucson ranks fifth among comparable cities in federal recreation land alone, not including any of the region’s other extensive outdoor opportunities. Bicycling Capacity Tucson ranks third in the number of miles of bike paths per square mile.

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Cost of Living Tucson’s cost of living is the fourth lowest among comparable Western metro areas. The cost of living in the Tucson area was 2.7 percent below the national average in 2013, and considerably below other desirable regions in the West where millennials are moving, such as Austin, Denver and Portland. In addition, rents in the region were 8 percent below the national average in 2013.

Median Home Price The median home price in 2014 in the Tucson metropolitan area was $175,800, substantially lower than other regions millennials are drawn to. The MAP Dashboard Project is designed to offer elected officials, business leaders and community advocates the information necessary to make informed decisions about the future of Tucson, set regional priorities, and gauge the effectiveness of various strategic initiatives.

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BizMILLENNIALS

Connect Coworking

10West Festival Spotlights Creativity

Ignite520 Attracts 110+ Millennials

By Eric Swedlund

Ignite520 took place at various

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the introductory festival. Organizers will incorporate feedback as they begin work on next year’s events to take advantage of strengths and smooth out any challenges. The 2016 10West festival is already set for Oct. 16-22. “Let’s build upon that platform. I don’t want to get greedy and make it too big too fast,” Teesdale said. “What I would like to do next year is a lot of what we did this year, just get more people in the seats. It’s so broad and so comprehensive about Tucson, the feedback I got was people wanting to do more for next year.” Scheduling and artistic outreach are areas Teesdale has already identified to improve for 2016. “We found that trying to do things every day of the week, in middle of the week, all day long, was a little difficult to attend,” Teesdale said. “We got responses from people who wished they could have done more things, so we’re thinking of ways to make things more accessible. “The other thing we need to work on is the artistic side of things,” he said. “It was great to have everything we had – the art walk and the music and the studio tours – but we really need to find a way to step that up and get more engagement with the arts community.”

sites downtown during the week of the 10West Festival. The concurrent two-day summit was hosted by Tucson Young Professionals Alliance and attracted more than 110 local millennials. The event was designed to catalyze personal and professional development, shake up connections and “celebrate awesome things happening in Tucson,” according to event sponsors. During breakout sessions, mixers and other activities, participants focused on how young professionals can create and share a vision for greater Tucson and make their mark as the next generation of movers, shakers and change-makers. Brooke McDonald, co-chair of the TYP Alliance, said numerous sponsors, including the University of Arizona, helped make ignite520 a dynamic success.

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PHOTOS: JUSTIN HAUGEN

The inaugural 10West festival in October put a spotlight on the creativity in Tucson’s tech industry, entrepreneurship culture and artistic scene. Organizers plan to build on the event’s success and make it a signature annual event. “We had such a variety of things, when I think of what is most memorable from it, hopefully it was different for everybody,” said 10West Executive Director Greg Teesdale. The myriad events – over 90 during the course of the week – were designed to attract a broad cross-section of Tucson, including the millennial generation that will form the backbone of Tucson’s future economy and culture. The 10West events were organized on three tracks – the tech track, the entrepreneur track and the new creative class. “I see a lot of what goes on here and I see a lot of talent that needs to be channeled better,” Teesdale said. “We have people who are leaving to go to places like Austin, Portland and Denver when we have the ability to create the environment for people to stay. “That’s what 10West is about. We want people who are creative – whether they’re creative with a paintbrush or a guitar or a web app, to come out and engage in the community.” Teesdale said he was pleased with the showing at 10West given this year was


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BizMILLENNIALS

Tucson Young Professionals Board of Directors

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

PHOTO: JUSTIN HAUGEN

Young Professional Groups in Tucson

Emerging Leaders Council

Resources & Opportunities to Lead By Eric Swedlund Young professional organizations in Tucson are making their mark in the city and promoting this region as a place for millennials to thrive – with the intent of forging the next generation of leaders. “Tucson is at a place of growth and change for the better as far as what’s offered for millennials,” said Brooke McDonald, co-founder of LeadLocal and chair of the Tucson Young Professionals Alliance. “This is a thriving energetic place for young people and there are a lot of opportunities to shape what our community will look like.” The alliance encompasses 11 different groups. It was founded through a 58 BizTucson

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partnership with the Southern Arizona Leadership Council to focus on retention and recruitment of talented, young workers – and to serve as a voice for the next generation in the city’s continued development. “A lot of people are unaware that we even have so many young professional groups in Tucson,” McDonald said. “One of the biggest assets Tucson young professionals have is this alliance. We’ve pulled together these groups into this collaborative network and it reflects the direction our world is moving. We can be a stronger community if we are connecting and sharing ideas.” The individual groups can focus on

industry-specific training and professional development and become a first stop for newcomers, McDonald said, while the alliance can serve as an umbrella organization focused on larger goals shared by young professionals in general. These groups range from young realtors, attorneys and financial advisors to the young professionals at Raytheon Missile Systems and Tucson Electric Power. The Tucson Young Professionals Alliance is four years old and continues to grow. Each year, the alliance chooses an initiative. In 2015, that was the ignite520 event, a two-day summit focused on personal and professional continued on page 60 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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continued from page 58 development, new connections and opportunities to share ideas about how to make Tucson greater. The ignite520 summit took place concurrently with the 10West festival, which focused on technology, entrepreneurship and the new creative class – showcasing Tucson from a business as well as an artistic and cultural perspective. McDonald said the social components of young professional groups do play an important role in forging connections, but the main emphasis is more on a call to action than an invitation to happy hour. “The really critical thing we as young professionals need to ask ourselves is ‘How do we want to make our mark on this town?’ Anyone who really wants to lead needs to jump in,” she said. “We might sit around and talk with each other about all these ideas, but at the end of the day, you have to act on those ideas to stand out as a leader in this community.”

Local groups for young professionals include: The Tucson Metro Chamber Emerging Leaders Council Founded in 2014, this group is a diverse team of upwardly mobile young professionals whose mission is to accelerate the growth of Tucson’s business climate along with their own careers. ELC members also advise the Tucson Metro Chamber Board of Directors on issues involving strategies to keep Tucson competitive in a world economy. www.tucsonchamber.org El Rio Vecinos A group of young professionals, ages 25 to 39, with a collective goal to provide philanthropic support to El Rio Community Health Center. Through individuals, private foundations and corporations, El Rio Vecinos develop charitable resources to enhance the health center’s programs and special projects, aid in capital improvements and build an endowment to provide financial security for future of El Rio. www.elriovecinos.org

The Tucson Young Professionals Alliance encompasses these independent organizations: Ad2 Tucson An organization for advertising, marketing and communication professionals age 32 and under. The mission of Ad2 Tucson is to aid in the careers of its members. www.ad2tucson.com CactusCats The University of Arizona Alumni Association Tucson Chapter hosts fun, networking and learning events that build on the Wildcat pride of UA Alumni. www.arizonaalumni.com/Tucson National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors – Young Advisors Team For members who are 40 years of age and under or within their first five years in the industry. This group was established to ensure that young and new advisors receive the vital tools, resources and networks necessary to succeed in the financial services industry. www.naifa-tucson.com 60 BizTucson

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BizMILLENNIALS The Pima County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division A group of attorneys who have been in practice less than five years and/or are under the age of 36. Membership is included at no additional cost by joining the Pima County Bar Association. In addition to membership in the Young Lawyers Division, bar association membership affords opportunities for networking, professional growth and a myriad of community service programs. www.pimacountybar.org/younglawyers/younglawyers Raytheon’s Young Employee Success Network An employee resource group that fosters a culture that is welcoming, supportive and inclusive of early-career employees. It assists new hires with a smooth transition into their work environment by providing networking and professional development opportunities to support their growth at Raytheon. www.tucsonyoungprofessionals.com/yesnet Tucson Association of REALTORS Young Professionals Network Promotes involvement through peer networking and adds value for young real estate professionals by providing tools and encouragement through activities such as social events, volunteering and education. www.tucsonrealtors.org/member-tools/youngprofessionals-network Tucson Electric Power Professional Development Group Founded two years ago by a group of employees, this group currently includes about a dozen members. It’s open to employees of all ages and conducts workshops on topics like how to build a resume, time management, public speaking and leadership. www.tep.com Tucson Urban League Young Professionals A volunteer auxiliary of the Tucson Urban League, composed of professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 who live, work and serve in the Tucson and Pima County region. The group is composed of young professionals who are committed to serving their local affiliate through social and civic engagement. www.tucsonurbanleague.org Tucson Young Professionals A group of young business and community leaders focused on the promotion, attraction and retention of young professionals in Tucson. www.tucsonyoungprofessionals.com United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Young Leaders Society United Way’s affinity group for professionals who invest in the community and are actively seeking ways to connect, serve and lead to make a positive and lasting impact throughout Southern Arizona. www.unitedwaytucson.org/yls Urban Land Institute - Southern Arizona Young Leaders Group The mission of the group is to educate and connect Arizona’s young real estate leaders of tomorrow through the exchange of ideas to better prepare them for the unique urban challenges in Arizona’s future. This group provides a dynamic, yet relaxed, platform where members can interact professionally and socially with the leaders of today. Biz arizona.uli.org/get-involved/young-leaders-group/ www.BizTucson.com

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BizSALES

Business Plans, Five-Year Spreadsheets and Other Fairy Tales By Jeffrey Gitomer

I have no business plan. I have no spreadsheet with five years of projected earnings. There are two reasons: Most business “plans” never come to fruition, and five-year sales projections are about as accurate as political polls. Oh, there is another reason: The people that you prepare a business plan for never read them, unless you put a one-page executive summary at the front. This is what I recommend: Prepare a one-page executive summary. Then create a forecast of what you believe sales will be over the next 100 days, and the next 12 months. Nothing more. Beyond that it’s a wild guess. The reason to make a 100-day plan is to ensure that in the short-term everything is much more intense, and your bluesky effort has a deadline. I sincerely apologize if I have busted your bubble. But in the long run I have just saved you 100 hours of work, a huge consulting fee (charged by people who use boiler-plated, cookie-cutter material), and the mental letdown of not achieving that plan anyway. If your banker insists on a business plan try this: Go online, download a business plan template, insert your name and logo, and in five minutes you will have a document that your banker will never read anyway. OK, that’s a joke suggestion – or is it? Here is the serious suggestion: Call a limousine service and rent a van. In the van, place your banker, any potential investors, some of your key executives and your best salespeople. Create a road trip that touches five of your biggest customers in four hours. Start at 8 a.m. at the first customer’s business, bring coffee and talk to the people who actually buy from you. Find out why they love you, talk to their CEO, tell them what your game plan is for the next 12 months – maybe have it prearranged so that they give you an order right on the spot – thank them for their business, their support, their loyalty and then go to the next customer. It is important that you bring a recording device (I recommend a Flip camera), so that throughout the morning you’re videotaping. Each time you visit a customer, go through the same pro62 BizTucson

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cess. Talking to the people that use your product or service, talking to the CEO, picking up an order, telling them your 12-month plan, and filming the entire process. Make certain you do this: Get testimonials from each one of the five customers you visit. Ask why they buy from you. Get their history of doing business with you. Ask why they would refer you. And get a call to action from them. That information can be used separately on your website, in your proposals, in CD-ROM or DVD format in sales presentations, as part of your social media presence, and/or in your follow-ups. After you have visited the last customer, take everyone to lunch. Nothing fancy, but not fast food. A local restaurant will work best. Make certain that they’re prepared for you. Have a book or a small gift sitting by each person’s plate. And have a general discussion about what just happened. Film the luncheon. Film everyone’s comments. Keep in mind that your Flip video only has about two hours worth of storage, and you will be on a five-hour trip, so bring two cameras and make certain that you have someplace to download the video to during the morning if necessary. Spend the afternoon editing the film, and get someone professional to help you. Make it real, but make it spectacular. Edit the entire thing down to 30 minutes or less. What you will have as a result of the morning will be a business plan, a marketing plan, loyal customers, excited bankers and investors and a real-world look at your business and the relationships you have with your customers. Reality news: In spite of banker’s euphoria, they have one prime agenda with respect to lending you money: making certain that you can repay. Period. Just keep that in mind as you listen to his or her glowing evaluation of the day. What I’ve just given you is a rough outline and game plan to create spectacular engagement and results. It will take planning, it will take coordination, and it will take some hard work – but the results will give you sales, sales tools you can use forever and relationships that will never forget what transpired that day. Or, you can write a fairy tale. Er, I mean a business plan. If you want a few more ideas on what to ask your customers during the visit, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words VALUE MOTIVE in the GitBit box.

Biz

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books including “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.” His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com. © 2015 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer, Inc • (704) 333-1112

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BizBRIEF

30 Local Nonprofits Benefit From Cox Charities Cox Charities is distributing a total of $110,000 in grants for Southern Arizona nonprofit organizations, most of them to support youth and education programs. “Local nonprofits, devoted to supporting youth and education, are the lifeblood of our community and Cox is proud to support them,” said Lisa Lovallo, VP of Cox’s Southern Arizona office. Since 1996, Cox Charities has awarded more than $6 million to local Arizona nonprofits that support youth and education. Here’s a look at three of the 30 grant recipients:

• Children’s Museum Tucson, $5,000

– The museum delivers experiential learning through fun and play for children. The grant supports the museum as a valuable community resource, assisting its efforts to offer free and reduced-admission programs. These programs help reach low-income families in Pima County, revitalize the urban core, and fill gaps in educational programming.

• Cochise Robotics Association, $1,500

– This nonprofit supports robotics programs throughout Cochise County. These programs, which enhance STEM learning, are expensive and can be cost-prohibitive to students. CRA’s goal is to help make them accessible to all K−12 students. CRA provides robot kits and parts, registration fees for competitions, and uniforms for local teams.

• Reid

Park Zoological Foundation, $5,500 – The grant supports development of the Zoo SMaRT program – which stands for science, math and related technology – for kindergarten through sixth grade. SMaRT will give students the experience of being a wildlife research scientist while ap-

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plying real-world math and science technology skills. These learning experiences will allow children to gain a greater appreciation for animals and the conservation scientists who help protect wildlife. Other nonprofits receiving grants from Cox Charities are:

• Amistades, $1,500 • Arizona Council on Economic Education, $2,500

• Arizona’s Children Association, $2,500

• Arizona Science Center, $2,500 • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, $1,000

• Arizona Town Hall, $6,000 • Ben’s Bells, $2,500 • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, $2,500

• Educational Enrichment Foundation, $8,000

• El Rio Health Center Foundation, $2,500

• Gabriel’s Angels, $2,500 • Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, $2,500

• Individual Achievements Foundation dba GaitWay, $2,500

• Literacy Connects, $1,500 • Live the Solution, $5,000 • Living Streets Alliance, $3,000 • My Team Triumph, $2,500 • Not My Kid, $1,500 • SciEn Te-K Foundation, $2,500 • Social Venture Partners – Fast Pitch Tucson, $20,000

• Southern Arizona Aids Foundation, $3,500

• Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, $2,500

• Steven M. Gooter Foundation, $2,500

• Symphony Women’s Association, $2,000

• Tucson Girls Chorus, $2,500 • Tucson Symphony Orchestra, $5,000

• Youth On Their Own, $5,000 www.BizTucson.com

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BizBRIEFS

Johnson Named CEO at El Rio Community Health Center El Rio Community Health Center has selected Nancy J. Johnson as its new CEO. She served as the nonprofit agency’s COO since 2009 and as interim CEO starting in July 2015. She succeeds Kathy Byrne, who retired in July. Johnson holds a doctorate in health sciences administration from Walden University and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Illinois and marketing from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. El Rio Community Health Center is the largest provider of medical and dental services to uninsured and Medicaid populations in Pima County. The agency serves more than 84,000 patients each year.

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Local Law Firm and 5 Attorneys Receive Benchmark Litigation Recognition Rusing Lopez & Lizardi has received the prestigious rating of “recommended” and five of the firm’s attorneys have been rated as local or future stars for 2016 by Benchmark Litigation. Benchmark Litigation publishes an annual guide of top firms and attorneys after research and interviews with leading litigators in all 50 states. Rusing Lopez & Lizardi was one of only 12 Arizona firms to earn a rating of “recommended,” and was the only firm from Tucson. Partner and founder Mick Rusing and attorney Rebecca O’Brien each received the rating of “local litigation star,” and attorneys Edward Moomjian II, Sarah Stanton and Patricia Waterkotte received recognition as “future stars.” Biz 66 BizTucson

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SPECIAL REPORT 2016

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

In Touch with Tucson


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BizCOMMUNITY

Culture of Accountability

Vantage West – In Touch with Local Communities

IMAGES: COURTESY VANTAGE WEST CREDIT UNION

By Jay Gonzales Going above and beyond banking is the aim of Vantage West in the services it delivers to its members and the impact it has on its communities. Homegrown and founded 60 years ago, Vantage West Credit Union is a thriving company that began by serving a niche market in Tucson, then branched out across the state of Arizona with plans to expand even farther. Robert D. “Bob” Ramirez, Vantage West president and CEO since 2000, has a number in mind – $6 billion in assets – when he defines where he wants the credit union to be in the relatively near future. It’s understandable that a big number defines the company’s success – since this is a business of numbers, whether it’s dollars or membership. Behind all the numbers is a way of doing things that has moved Vantage West from its birth 60 years ago as the DMAFB Federal Credit Union primarily serving base employees to a statechartered credit union with branches in four Arizona counties, serving diverse members across the globe via online 70 BizTucson

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and mobile channels. Under Ramirez’s steady leadership, the vision is for expansion beyond their current markets. “To say I want to be $6 billion really means I want to have a company that’s exceptional in terms of member service – and as a result of that we reach a certain threshold,” Ramirez said. “Whether it’s $6 billion or $10 billion, the idea is you get there by providing exception-

I want this company to be financially stable, well-capitalized and have systems in place that deliver exceptional service to our members – service that stands out, that is the envy of our competition.

Robert D. Ramirez President & CEO Vantage West Credit Union –

al service to the membership.” Although Vantage West has been celebrating its 60th anniversary during 2015, “this financial institution is in its prime,” said Board Chairman Charles Matthewson in the company’s last annual report. The company began to hit its stride in 1999 at the ripe age of 44 when it was solicited to consider acquiring the troubled Saguaro Credit Union, which had been serving University of Arizona employees and students at the corner of East Speedway and Euclid Avenue. According to news reports, Saguaro had been seized by regulators for making risky investments. That acquisition, Ramirez said, put the credit union on a path to ultimately apply for the state charter, change its name to Vantage West in 2006, then continue with more mergers and acquisitions to accumulate its current level of assets at about $1.5 billion. Today, Vantage West has branches in Pima, Maricopa, Pinal and Cochise counties and serves members across the United States and around the world. www.BizTucson.com


Robert D. Ramirez President & CEO Vantage West Credit Union

Serving local communities

“We aim to be the financial institution of the people in the communities we serve,” said Jill Casey, assistant VP for communications and content marketing. “We’re trying to build up the communities around us to create mutually beneficial partnerships.” The corporate culture at Vantage West is “people helping people.” And therein lies one of the primary differences between a credit union and a bank. Where big banks are in the business of making profits for shareholders and others, a credit union like Vantage West is member-driven and memberowned. It aims to make a profit that it invests back into the communities where it operates. When Vantage West uses its profits to improve the health of the communities it serves and supports, Casey said, the company benefits because it helps create more members, both business and consumers, who then need the financial services that Vantage West provides – checking and savings accounts, www.BizTucson.com

car loans, credit cards, business loans, mortgages and investment services. “One of the benefits we have is local decision-making,” Casey said. “This is the home office. This is where we fund the consumer and business loans alike. There’s a benefit to doing business with someone you know. “We’re a very large credit union. But we’re not so large or so far removed from our communities that we’re out of touch with what the needs are in terms of how we can help members build and strengthen their businesses and also where it’s important for us to give back.” One of those give-back areas is financial literacy, where again, Vantage West provides a needed service in the community. The domino effect is that when they provide that service, potential future members are created. “Something that is really important to us is financial literacy, financial readiness – because when you go all the way back to what makes a community viable, it’s that early learning and teach-

ing of financial literacy,” Casey said. “We have a financial literacy program that we’re actually delivering. We’re taking it into Boys & Girls Clubs. We’re taking it out into our community. It’s something we’re doing hands-on. “The stronger and more financially viable our communities are, it positions us for more growth. And as we grow we’re able to deliver higher levels of service and additional products and services.” continued on page 72 >>>

By the numbers • $1.5 billion in assets • 135,000 members in all 50 states • 3rd largest credit union in Arizona • 4 Arizona counties • 17 locations • 440+ employees • 60 years of service

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continued from page 71

Empowering employees

That philosophy provides multiple benefits for the company as it is the employees who work in the community, willingly and eagerly, Ramirez said. That involvement also makes it easier for employees to understand they have a voice in the company, whether it’s through work in the community or in the office making key decisions about the business. Ramirez is the big spirit that leads and inspires the staff in everything they do – across the spectrum from cyber security and account services to loans, new technologies and corporate giving.

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“When I took over I wanted to make sure the company was a company that had a culture where employees felt important, that they had a say in what was going on,” Ramirez said. “Our culture of accountability basically does that for us. It promotes speaking up to provide and give feedback. It’s really important that employees are heard because you learn more things by asking questions.” So the $6 billion question is: On a scale of 1 to 10, where does the CEO think his company rates overall? “I’d say we’re seven and a half to eight,” Ramirez said. “Can we do better? Absolutely. I think we need to invest more in technology. We need to become

more nimble. We need to have more locations in the Phoenix market and have more of a physical presence. We need to have a more robust sales culture to really take care of member needs. I think those are some key items.” Anything else? “I want this company to be financially stable, well-capitalized and to have systems in place that deliver exceptional service to our members – service that stands out, that’s the envy of our competition. I want to be known as a company that’s a good community partner that can be relied on to help out when there’s a need.”

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PHOTOS: COURTESY VANTAGE WEST CREDIT UNION

BizCOMMUNITY


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Robert D. Ramirez

President & CEO Vantage West Credit Union

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BizLEADERSHIP

Building a Company Ramirez Leads by Helping People

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By David Pittman Robert D. Ramirez, president and CEO of Vantage West Credit Union, has spent his life building things. As a young boy, he loved building model airplanes and model cars. At the age of 5 he recalls going to work with his father, employed by a locally owned Capin Mercantile Corp. department store in Nogales. Young Robert’s first job was working at that same store assembling bicycles, tricycles and other toys. Since graduating from Nogales High School and the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Ramirez has built an extraordinarily successful career.

He has been a driving force in building the largest credit union in Southern Arizona and the third largest in the state. And he has helped build a better Tucson, not only by investing in the community, but also by giving back through charitable, philanthropic and civic endeavors. Ramirez has lived the American dream, rising from humble beginnings to become the leader of a $1.5-billion company. Inside Ramirez’s corner office at Vantage West corporate headquarters, a framed “Eisenhower” jacket hangs from a wall behind continued on page 76 >>> Winter 2016

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his desk. The jacket was worn by Ramirez’s father, a U.S. fighter pilot who flew many successful missions over Germany during World War II. “My father went into the Army Air Corps when he was 18. He married my mom, they were childhood sweethearts,” Ramirez said. “I was one of four kids. My father didn’t finish high school, but he was probably the smartest man I ever knew. He worked very long hours and instilled a strong work ethic in me. He taught me it was OK to work hard and have fun working hard.” However, Ramirez said it was his mother, who did graduate from high school, who was his “mentor and lifetime coach.” He said she taught him basic math and tutored him during his early schooling. “My mom taught me to never, ever give up,” Ramirez said. “She told all us kids that we were going to college, and all four of us are college graduates. I was taught the importance of education and that the more you know, the more you’re worth.” After graduating from UA in 1976, Ramirez returned to work in Nogales as the controller of Capin Mercantile, the family-owned retail operation where he worked while growing up. After 2½ years there, he moved to an accounting position at M.M. Sundt Construction Co. in Tucson, and passed his CPA exam. In 1985, he took a job at Vantage West, then known as DM Federal Credit Union, as controller. “My first day at the credit union, I’m waiting for my boss, the CFO,” Ramirez said. “He comes in 30 minutes late, drops a set of keys on the table and says, ‘I just resigned, good luck to you,’ and walks out. Within a half hour of starting my job, I became acting CFO.” Six months later, while the credit union was still in search of a permanent CFO, federal banking regulators hit the organization with a poor performance rating. “The former CEO was upset. He wanted to let everybody go,” Ramirez recalled. “I said, ‘Give me three months and I’ll get back your superior rating.’ He responded that if I did that, he would double my salary and make me CFO permanently.” Fast forward three months: The reg76 BizTucson

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ulators are back and they restore the institution’s sterling rating, resulting in Ramirez receiving a well-earned raise and becoming the official CFO. Ramirez has now been at Vantage West 31 years, nearly 16 as president and CEO. During that time, the company has been profitable every year but one. In 2008 – when a cataclysmic financial crisis struck the nation – Vantage West had losses of $10 million. In response to the severe economic downturn, businesses across the country were reducing workforces, cutting benefits and salaries, and slashing overhead in an attempt to survive another day. Ramirez bucked conventional wisdom and convinced his board of directors to support his plan “to grow our way into profitability, as opposed to trying to save ourselves into profitability.” “The idea was simple, it’s all about

Bob is a fearless, impactful, inspirational and compassionate leader. He is always looking at innovation and the next best thing for the members, the employees and the community.

– Jill Casey Assistant VP Communications & Content Marketing Vantage West Credit Union

people, and the most important people are my employees,” Ramirez said. “I could not expect them to be motivated and focused if I cut their salaries and benefits. The same was true for my members; I couldn’t expect them to frequent our branches unless I had highly trained employees and the latest technology to care for their financial needs.” No workforce reductions were made and salaries and employee benefits actually increased. Ramirez’s strategy proved successful. At the beginning of 2008, Vantage West had $948 million in total assets and 322 employees. By the end of 2009, the company had surpassed the billion-dollar mark with $1.07 billion in assets and had 323 employees. Today, the company has assets of $1.57 billion and 440 employees. It’s no exaggeration to say Ramirez is revered by his employees. “Bob is a fearless, impactful, inspirational and compassionate leader,” said Jill Casey, assistant VP of communications and content marketing for Vantage West. “He is always looking at innovation and the next best thing for the members, the employees and the community.” Examples of Vantage West efforts to benefit Southern Arizona go on and on, as do Ramirez’s volunteer efforts on behalf of civic and charitable nonprofit boards. Those boards include the Pima Community College Foundation, Tucson Metro Chamber, El Rio Health Center, DM50, San Miguel High School, Sun Corridor Inc., and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Ramirez also is chair of the 2015-2016 United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona fundraising campaign. Tony Penn, president and CEO of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, said Ramirez was selected as campaign chairman because he’s “a driven leader who has demonstrated great skills in organizing and inspiring people. I’ve had the good fortune of working with Bob on a number of occasions and he’s influenced me personally.” Ramirez will take over as chairman of the board of the Tucson Metro Chamber in April. “Bob is a terrific guy. I don’t know if there are words to describe how great a guy he is,” said Mike Varney, president www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

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BizLEADERSHIP and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber. “He is engaged and energetic and he wants to build a better Tucson. He is all about constant improvement.” Ramirez said the most rewarding part of his job is “helping people with financial challenges and making a real difference in their lives.” He said what he likes least is an overly burdensome regulatory environment that adds unneeded costs. Ramirez has received a bevy of awards and designations including the Eller College Associate of the Year (2004), Tucson Hispanic Chamber Business Man of the Year (2009), Outstanding Community Leader from the Eller Hispanic Honorary (2014), and this year he was named Professional of the Year by the Mountain West Credit Union Association. In November, Ramirez was inducted into the CUES Hall of Fame for his years of commitment and dedication to the credit union industry. He was honored as Father of the Year in 2010 by Father’s Day Council Tucson in recognition of his work to raise funds to fight type 1 diabetes. “My mother died from complications

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of diabetes,” Ramirez said. “We didn’t even know she had it because she kept it a secret.” There is more evidence of Ramirez’s remarkable abilities as a father written on the corner of a white board in his office. It is a note from his daughter, Gabriella, 19, that she wrote in August just before leaving Tucson to attend Regis University in Denver. The note says, “My dad is the best dad ever! P.S. He is awesome.” It is signed “Gabbie R.” Ramirez and his wife, Katharine A.

Ramirez, are proud of their daughter, a recent honors graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School. She was one of two graduating seniors to receive the Carmelite Medal, which honors a male and female student for consistently demonstrating the ideals of the Christian spirit of Salpointe. Ramirez also made a point to thank Katharine, his wife of 25 years who he also refers to as his girlfriend of 28 years, for her passion, commitment and dedication in helping him work through the many opportunities and challenges in growing Vantage West. Ramirez has never forgotten where he came from. “My mother used to say, ‘You have to give before you can get.’ I believe that,” Ramirez said. “If we help people find work and get people back on their feet, what do they need? Checking accounts, debit and credit cards, car loans and home loans – and who offers that? It’s a win/win. Helping people reach their financial goals helps us. It is part of my job, it’s in my DNA.”

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BizBANKING

From Zero to $106 Million

Business Banking a Boon for Vantage West By Mary Minor Davis When René Almazan, chief lending officer for Vantage West Credit Union, was brought into the company in 2003 to develop the Business Banking division, he asked company president Robert D. Ramirez what was in place as a starting point. “He said, ‘Wait a minute,’ and went over to his printer and pulled out a plain sheet of paper,” Almazan recalled. “It was basically a blank slate. What an opportunity.” Almazan and Carol Smith, now retired, spent the next year building the systems and infrastructure that created the company’s Business Banking services. In 2005, they issued the first business loan for $20,000. “We were very excited. We thought we had arrived,” Almazan said. Today, Vantage West has more than $106 million in business loans on the books with growth and momentum exploding in the last 24 months as the economy continues to recover. The leadership of VP of Business Banking Jim Hanson was instrumental in the division’s success during that time frame. Businesses make up more than 2,500 of the 135,000+ members Vantage West has nationwide. This year, the credit union saw a 52 percent increase in business loans, up from the 33 percent growth last year. Almazan credits Vantage West’s success to several factors. “We started with a focus on owneroccupied businesses and made a point of growing slowly,” Almazan said. When the recession hit in 2007, he said, they also started looking at commercial real estate, which was holding stronger in the market. Since then, they’ve focused on that area in growing 78 BizTucson

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their portfolio. “We have a great support staff to complement our sales staff which helps tremendously,” Almazan said. Vantage West is tops in deposits among credit unions in Arizona and is behind only the so-called “big three” banks overall. The other distinguishing characteristic, Almazan said, is the “fast, flexible and local” philosophy of the credit union. “We’re truly local. All of the decisions are made here,” he said, adding that it allows Vantage West to work with a business and tailor products and services to create success. Dr. Robert Hom of Tucson Central Pediatrics said these factors were important to him when deciding to work with Vantage West to refinance his practice’s building loan in 2014. “We found Melissa Galus, our business banker, to be most attentive to our needs and concerns, at the time of our decision,” Hom said. “The proposed terms for the refinance were very competitive and beneficial for our practice. We also liked that Vantage West is based in Arizona and has a small, ‘hometown’ feel.” Since then, Hom said, Tucson Central Pediatrics has moved all of its financial services to Vantage West, including its business checking and savings accounts, business credit cards and merchant services. “Working with Vantage West was the best financial decision for us,” Hom said. “The banking team helped make it a very smooth transition. We prefer to take care of the children, and let others who are more knowledgeable take care of our banking needs.”

Almazan said he finds great reward in what he does, especially when hearing from members like Hom that his team is providing personal service and finding the right tools to meet members’ needs. “It’s nice to see local business people get ahead in life,” he said. “It’s rewarding for me to be able to help people do what they want to do. It’s truly a joy for me.” Growing the Business Banking team has been a priority to ensure the right services and the right expertise are available to businesses of all types and sizes. Now with a staff of 11, Almazan said, “we’ve come a long way from our simple start and we remain committed to serving our members’ needs.” Tony Terry, president and co-founder of Gaslight Theatre, said the quality of the service provided by the business bankers is the most important factor for him as a member of Vantage West. The credit union handles all of the theatre’s payroll services, including direct deposit for the 200 Gaslight employees. “I can’t overemphasize how important it is for my staff to feel comfortable (with Vantage West) because they deal with them every day,” Terry said, adding that the payroll services for the theatre can be an “enormous headache. Our business banker just takes it in stride. And my employees couldn’t be happier.” Terry noted Vantage West went above and beyond, offering to look at the company’s mortgages, and was able to develop a plan that allowed them to nearly pay off their mortgage through a competitive refinancing review. “They really are the bank that helps,” he said. www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

PHOTO: TOM SPITZ PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Tony Terry President & Co-founder Gaslight Theatre

Dr. Robert Hom Tucson Central Pediatrics Going forward, Vantage West will be looking to add more staff to the Business Banking division to focus on the growth they are experiencing and to ensure service levels continue. Almazan said they frequently receive calls from business bankers in the industry who want to join the Vantage West team. “That’s probably the most flattering thing that can happen to you, when people from our competition call and ask, ‘How can I get in?’ To me, that’s validation that we’re doing the right thing.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

René Almazan

Chief Lending Officer Vantage West Credit Union

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Quantum Leaps in Technology Mott Learned Business from the Vault Up By Jay Gonzales The sign on the door says credit union, but for Steve Mott, senior VP of technology for Vantage West Credit Union, the expectations for his company’s technology and security are no less than that of a bank or other major financial institution. “We all face the same types of challenges,” Mott said. “Keeping our members’ data secure is what it’s all about while still allowing the convenience that everyone wants and has become accustomed to. “Everyone expects everything 24/7 and nothing can fail. (Members) never want anything to be down, and all of it needs to be protected. You can’t afford a breach because everyone’s trust is in you.” The complexity of managing banking technology today is not lost on Mott, who’s worked through massive advances in technology. “When I started, you had a mainframe and dumb terminals,” he said, referring to the computer technology of that time as if it were ancient history. “Now you have PCs and laptops and mobile devices and Wi-Fi.” Today, ATMs, 24-hour access, online banking, mobile phones and apps are a routine part of the business. That Mott is even in this position is a story in itself. He began at Vantage West in 1981 “filing folders in the vault as a high school student.” He worked his way around and up through the ranks as a teller, a loan officer, directing 80 BizTucson

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the branches – “I’ve done pretty much all the jobs within the credit union” – while going to college and eventually joining the executive team in charge of one of the essential departments that makes Vantage West go.

Keeping our members’ data secure is what it’s all about… You can’t afford a breach because everyone’s trust is in you.

– Steve Mott Senior VP of Technology Vantage West Credit Union

Mott knows that being the credit union around the corner with a local home office does not buy Vantage West any slack when it comes to the services it needs to provide for its 135,000 members. Members want all the accoutrements of a bank when they sign up with Vantage West – including security – and they want to know those services are at their disposal without thinking about what it takes to provide them. “We have to be able to offer all of the

technologies the consumer expects and wants,” Mott said. “When members take a card and put it in the machine, they don’t understand the encryption and all of the security that’s gone on in the background. They just know they put their card in, they put in the PIN, and they say, ‘I want 20 bucks’ and magically 20 bucks pop out.” Vantage West has its own ideas about where it’s headed with technology – and watching the large banks helps the company keep up with the latest and greatest offerings available. Mott said industry partners and vendors do that by exchanging information and new ideas. But he goes a step further with his own personal information gathering – by keeping a personal account with a large bank to get a firsthand look at what they offer their customers. “I say, ‘OK, they’re doing it right. How can we mimic that and build an online experience like that – but better?’ ” The next big thing – at least for Vantage West, Mott said, is full-service kiosks similar to ATMs but that do more than the standard machines, where banking generally is limited to deposits, cash withdrawals, transfers and checking balances. Mott sees this as “tellerless” banking and “the bank of the future.” After researching members’ needs and looking at industry trends, the company moved to pilot a new concept and added full-service kiosks at the branch www.BizTucson.com


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Steve Mott

Senior VP of Technology Vantage West Credit Union

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

at North First Avenue and East Wetmore Road. Like all good pilots, they quickly learned how to better service the members and started to make improvements in the service model. Mott said Vantage West went to work to redesign the technology – they are now in the prototype phase – beginning with writing new computer code to allow these new machines to interface with the database where more customer information is available, which will allow the machines to do more. “In the future, I can put in a check and cash it to the penny because it has a coin dispenser,” Mott said. “It allows you to update your address, add a joint owner, stuff you don’t normally do at an ATM. It can do everything an ATM can do – but because it’s talking directly to the core – basically the sky’s the limit.” And with a branch near the University of Arizona, Mott said there’s a readymade clientele for the technology. “Think of the people who use that branch. They’re not afraid of technology. They love technology,” he said. “We want to get them on the self-serve kiosks, make it fun, make it interactive – but number one, make sure it’s secure – and allow the members to go to the next level with that self-service. “There is this image that banks are sophisticated and up-to-date with technology and that credit unions are old and clunky.” Not so. “We’re out to change all that.” Biz

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BizCOMMUNITY

Culture Celebrates Employees Happy Workers Bring Happy Results for Vantage West By David Pittman Employees at Vantage West Credit Union have a great deal to celebrate. So it was appropriate when the company billed its latest quarterly employee gathering a “celebration,” rather than a meeting. Indeed, the Oct. 28 breakfast event at The Westin La Paloma Resort, attended by nearly all of Vantage West’s 440 employees, featured more than a buffet of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, bacon and a program showcasing company successes and employee accomplishments. It was a festive occasion that included widespread smiles, jokes, laughs, highfives, music, placard waving and the exuberance of employees happy to be where they are, working for a solid, stable company with outstanding leadership and values. People enjoy working at Vantage West and they aren’t shy about saying so. “I love working here,” said Danielle Bridges, VP of consumer lending for Vantage West. “Every day when I get in my car and drive to work I feel lucky, because I know everyone doesn’t feel that way.” During this celebration, an employee’s 20th work anniversary was recog82 BizTucson

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nized, positive data collected in a recent employee engagement survey was unveiled, early results of the company’s United Way Employee Giving Campaign were announced, and CFO Scott Odom provided an impressive financial report. “Our deposit growth is increasing at a 16 percent pace this year,” he said. “On the lending side, we are also exceeding our goal at a 13 percent growth rate. At the close of 2015, our annual profit will probably be around $12 million.” In both 2014 and 2015, Vantage West received an A+ rating from DepositAccounts.com for achieving the highest level of fiscal stability. The ratings, which evaluate all 14,000 federally insured banks and credit unions in the country, place Vantage West in the top 10 percent of banking institutions nationally for financial health. Leading the recent employee celebration was longtime Vantage West President & CEO Robert D. Ramirez. Vantage West workers widely view him as an articulate, thoughtful, competent, visionary and charismatic leader who pushes the entire organization to pursue excellence and looks after the interests of his employees.

During the employee celebration, the largest applause came when it was announced there would be no increase in employee health care contributions for the fifth year in a row. Last year, Vantage West was recognized as “One of the Country’s Best Credit Unions to Work For” as part of surveys conducted by Best Companies Group and Credit Union Journal. Only 30 of the approximately 6,500 credit unions nationally received the honor. The employee surveys measured workplace attitudes and experiences, along with company policies, practices and demographics. “Our core goal is to serve our membership, but along the way it is important for us to have happy, long-tenured employees to create an environment that is most beneficial to our membership,” said Odom. “There is a strong focus on employee engagement and providing a good level of benefits and competitive salaries. It is a nice environment to work in.” Employees of the credit union are also steeped in a company culture that encourages them to rise above their own circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary to achieve www.BizTucson.com


Jill Casey Assistant VP Communications & Content Marketing

Charles Matthewson Board Chair Vantage West

Allan J. S VP Mawitalski rketing

Vantage West’s Cultural Beliefs • Speak Up – I speak up, give and receive feedback and act on it. • Embrace Culture – See it! Solve it! Do it! Share it! • Expand Boundaries – I create loyalty by thinking beyond today. • Act On Fact – I act based on concrete facts to do the right thing. • Provide Solutions – I provide easy access to our core products and services to meet our members’ financial needs. • Reach Out – I promote teamwork, collaboration and alignment throughout our organization. • Own It – I’m empowered by taking ownership of our key results. www.BizTucson.com

Scott Odom CFO

“Vantage West employees are committed to taking care of our members, and beyond that, they are committed to taking care of each other,” Ramirez said. “Our employees make conscious, disciplined choices to be great every day, and that reflects in the service they provide.” In addition to financial stability, fair wages, quality benefits, enlightened management and a positive company culture, Vantage West employees can take pride in working for an organization that gives back to the community and provides them opportunities to participate in those charitable efforts. Vantage West operates a program that allows its workers to take paid leave from their regular job for 16 hours every year to work for the charitable group of their choice. Workers also can nominate a charity of their choice to receive $2,000 grants from the company. At least 10 charities a year receive those awards. As a company, Vantage West goes much farther than that in giving back to the communities it serves. Beneficiaries of Vantage West’s Commitment to Community Campaign include Pima Council on Aging, Boys & Girls Clubs

of Tucson, Children’s Miracle Network, Arizona Fisher House, El Rio Community Health Center, Junior Achievement, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, and Tucson Police Foundation. That is only a short list of the 150 charities that receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the credit union annually. In its commitment to giving back, Vantage West gave about $70,000 to the First Impressions Project, a Tucson Metro Chamber effort to beautify a more than half mile stretch of Tucson Boulevard at the gateway of Tucson International Airport. The project was completed about a year ago. In 2014, Vantage West donated $100,000 to build a Fisher House facility on the campus of the Tucson VA Medical Center. The project, now nearly completed, will provide a free place for military families to stay while visiting patients in the hospital. “I tell employees and prospective employees,” Ramirez said, “if they love helping people and love working in an environment that is very challenging and ever changing, Vantage West is the place for them. We make working hard look easy.”

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS & COURTESY VANTAGE WEST CREDIT UNION

key results. Over the last four years, Ramirez and his executive team regularly met and brought in a facilitator to identify what aspects of the company’s culture best defined Vantage West and should be encouraged and promoted. The company’s cultural beliefs, which have been formalized, were emphasized often at the employee celebration.

Stephanie Chavez Director of Marketing


PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizCOMMUNITY

Photos from left – Visiting credit union dignitaries and distinguished guests, including Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Enrique Gomez, Consul Adjunct of Mexico in Tucson, gather with President & CEO Robert D. Ramirez to raise the Juntos Avanzamos Flag; Ruben Moreno from Mariachi Luz de Luna; Vantage West Board Chair Charles Matthewson officially raises the Juntos Avanzamos flag with a hand from Enrique Gomez, Consul Adjunct of Mexico in Tucson.

Capturing a Segment Growing Hispanic Community Spells Opportunity By David Pittman Recognizing that a growing population of current and potential Hispanic customers is a trend, Vantage West Credit Union is dedicated to capturing as much of that business segment as possible. “At Vantage West, we recognize that in order for our local economy to thrive, it is important for businesses to grow,” said Vantage West President & CEO Robert D. Ramirez. “Likewise, it is important to recognize the sources of current growth and most likely sources of future growth. Reflecting on the past decade and looking at the current trends in our membership analysis, we see significant growth that is attributable to the Hispanic market.” Of Vantage West’s more than 135,000 members, approximately onethird are of Hispanic descent. The annual rate of growth of Hispanic membership at Vantage West is increasing by nearly 7 percent, while general market growth at the credit union is increasing at a slower rate. “As a company, we carefully analyze where we need to be to reach out to the Hispanic community,” said Luis Soto, Hispanic segment marketing manager for Vantage West. “Sometimes our Hispanic marketing is in English, sometimes in Spanish, and sometimes our 84 BizTucson

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messages are bilingual.” Soto said Vantage West focuses on community outreach by having a presence at events popular within the Hispanic community such as the International Mariachi Conference, FC Tucson soccer matches and events, and partnering with the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson at financial education forums. For its efforts, Vantage West became the first credit union in Arizona to receive the Juntos Avanzamos designation, which recognizes credit unions that are reaching out to the Hispanic

Reflecting on the past decade and looking at the current trends in our membership analysis, we see significant growth that is attributable to the Hispanic market.

Robert D. Ramirez President & CEO Vantage West Credit Union –

market and providing exemplary service. Juntos Avanzamos – which originated as a program of the Texas Credit Union League – recently became aligned with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, which intends to expand the program throughout the nation. In September, Vantage West became the federation’s first Juntos Avanzamos designee and the first credit union outside of Texas and Oklahoma to be so honored. Pablo DeFilippi, an NFCDCU VP, praised Vantage West for its “leadership, vision and commitment to financial inclusion that will increase asset building opportunities for the Hispanic community.” To earn the designation, Vantage West had to complete an extensive application, including information about what products and services it offers and what strategies it is using to serve the Hispanic market. Ramirez said receiving the Juntos Avanzamos designation “shows our commitment to our Hispanic community and that we are making strides to better serve their needs by focusing on their culture, their language and their financial goals.”

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BizINVESTMENT

Part of the Plan Investment Services Division Plays a Role in Members’ Long-Term Security By Mary Minor Davis plan, long-term care, or other products we can provide for them.” In 2014, Vantage West converted its service platform to CUNA Brokerage Services. Rivas said the change has integrated Investment Services more holistically into the company, providing a full range of services that members can

take advantage of. Since the CUNA conversion, Rivas said, her team has launched a comprehensive education campaign to make sure members are aware of the services available to them. Efforts include information and marketing in member communications, personal interaction when members meet with their bankers, and seminars that focus on individual topics related to financial planning, including understanding Social Security benefits, incomefor-life planning, and preparing for long-term care. In the last year, Vantage West has seen life insurance participation alone increase 73 percent, she said. The seminars, as well as personal consultation with advisors, are open to members, employees of business members, and Vantage West employees. This is only the beginning, Hernandez said. While only a small portion of the membership is engaged in Investment Services, Hernandez said Kenneth E. McGlamery it’s an opportunity for many people. Financial Advisor “It’s about education as Vantage West Credit Union part of our financial literacy mission,” she said. “We are here to meet the financial needs of our members, and this is an important driver in meeting those needs.”

Biz

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC Insured. May Lose Value. No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CBSI is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America. FR-1363953.1-1215-0118

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Jamie Hernandez is on a mission to help Vantage West Credit Union members plan for their long-term needs. As VP and regional manager for Vantage West, Hernandez is responsible for managing the Investment Services division and is committed to making sure that the more than 135,000 members know they can turn to her team to find the right financial planning resources to take care of their long-term needs. “With the aging of the population, we know there’s going to be a large wealth transfer in the coming years,” she said. “We’re helping to prepare members to secure their future financially.” Nicole Rivas, assistant VP and district sales manager for Investment Services, said the opportunity to fulfill this mission stems from awareness that Vantage West offers financial planning tools at all levels. “Members don’t typically look to their credit union to provide investment services,” she said, noting that Vantage West has been offering some level of financial planning since 2001. “Nine out of 10 times, when our members learn about the opportunity, they take advantage of our retirement planning tools, whether that’s life insurance, understanding your 401(k)


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BizLEADERSHIP

Roots in Its People Homegrown Talent Finds Opportunity at Vantage West

The word “homegrown” applies not big boys can’t do.” only to the roots of Vantage West CredScott Odom, 38, is CFO at Vantage it Union as a company born and headWest and the youngest member of quartered in Tucson, but also to a good the company’s executive management share of its high-ranking employees. team. Danielle Bridges, Scott Odom and He grew up in Phoenix and came Luis Soto are just three who have to Tucson to attend the UA, where he climbed the ranks to assume positions earned a bachelor’s degree with honors of influence and leadership. in finance, accounting and entrepreBridges, just 33, has risen to become neurship. He also recently earned an VP of consumer lending at the credit MBA from the UA Eller College. union. She was an honor student at Canyon del Oro High School and received a full scholarship to the University of Arizona, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics and finance at the Eller College of Management. After experience in other local companies, she joined Vantage West as an internal auditor, which required her to travel to various branches to ensure riskmanagement policies and compliance regulations were being followed. In 2008, Bridges moved into a new role as loan center manager. While serving in that position, she earned an MBA, again at UA’s Eller College. More Luis Soto promotions followed, first as asHispanic Segment Marketing Manager sistant VP of consumer lending Vantage West Credit Union and to her present post. During her tenure at Vantage West, Bridges has led many successful strategic planning, product Odom went to work for KPMG, a expansion, quality assurance and loan major national accounting firm, where growth initiatives. he was an external auditor for nearly Bridges said Vantage West’s competithree years. He and his wife were detertive advantage is its “flexibility and agilmined to relocate to Tucson, so he took ity in customizing innovative products a job in 2003 as a staff accountant with for its members, which is something the Vantage West, then known as DM Fed88 BizTucson

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eral Credit Union. At the time he was the only accountant on the staff who was a CPA, and he quickly moved up the organizational ladder. In 2005, he became controller. Odom attributes his rapid rise in part to his role in establishing product profitability analysis at the credit union. “The CFO at the time had selected an external vendor to help us perform that process,” Odom said. “I was the primary contact on our side to facilitate a lot of data collection and implementation of this profitability system. For me, I gained a lot of knowledge and it was a successful endeavor that to this day is utilized by our credit union.” The newest of Vantage West’s youthful standouts is Luis Soto, 25, who was hired as Hispanic segment marketing manager in January 2015 just after receiving his MBA from UA Eller College. Soto had been scheduled to receive his MBA in May 2015, but folks at Vantage West were so impressed with his performance as an intern for the company during the summer of 2014, they convinced him to complete his MBA studies early, in December 2014, so he could lead the launch of Vantage West’s new marketing campaign aimed at the Hispanic community. “I love my job. It gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact not only at Vantage West, but in the community,” Soto said. “It also allows me to work with the talented people here at Vantage West.”

Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

By David Pittman


Scott Odom

CFO Vantage West Credit Union

Danielle Bridges

VP Consumer Lending Vantage West Credit Union

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BizBRIEF

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Tenet Healthcare Corporation Announces Four Carondelet Health Network Executives

Tenet Healthcare Corporation, managing partner of the Carondelet Health Network, has announced the hiring of four executives, three at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital and one at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital. 1. Mark A. Benz is the new CEO at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital. Benz joins Carondelet from Tenet’s Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., where he served as the CEO. Benz oversaw the strategic, operational and clinical activities for the hospital. He led the hospital through financial improvement, increased physician engagement and patient satisfaction, top patient safety grades and volume growth. 2. Rollie Pirkl is the new CFO at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was the CFO at Tenet’s Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he received the Corporate Award for Exceptional Leadership on Quality, Compliance and Ethics, and the California Region Performance Recognition Award for the Health Information Management Department. 3. Juan Fresquez is the new COO at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital. He comes to Tucson after serving as the COO for Houston Northwest Medical Center since 2011. He was responsible for day-to-day operations of the facility’s main campus in Houston, and of the hospital’s providerbased entities, ensuring that the staff delivered high-quality, cost-effective care and services. 4. Jennifer Biggs, RN, is the hospital’s new chief nursing officer at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital. Previously she was the senior director of nursing. Biggs will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the hospital’s nursing department and its daily operations. As CNO, she also will work to align the nursing staff with the mission, vision and values of the organization. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Dr. Yi Zeng

Assistant Professor University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics UA Steele Children’s Research Center

Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis

Professor UA Department of Pediatrics, Pathology and Immunobiology UA Steele Children’s Research Center 92 BizTucson

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BizMEDICINE

$500,000 for Pediatric Cancer Research

Funded by Hyundai Hope on Wheels and Jim Click By Romi Carrell Wittman Think back to childhood and you likely fondly remember things like bike rides, hanging out with friends and sleepovers. But for a kid fighting cancer, childhood can mean endless hospital stays, pain, isolation and – worst of all – a loss of hope for the future. Finding a cure for cancer has long been a top goal of medical researchers – yet just 4 percent of federal cancer research funding is designated for pediatric cancer. This means researchers must find funding from other sources, but after the Great Recession of 2008, many funding sources evaporated. That’s why programs like Hyundai Hope on Wheels are critically important to finding a cure for the many different forms of pediatric cancer. In September, two pediatric oncologists and researchers at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center were chosen to receive grants totaling $400,000 from the national Hyundai Hope On Wheels program. Local Hyundai dealership owner Jim Click

committed an additional $100,000. The UA Steele Center is one of a select few facilities nationwide to receive the two grants offered by Hope on Wheels – the $250,000 Hyundai Scholar award, given to senior researchers in support of translational impact research, and the $150,000 Young Investigator Research Award to support innovative research by new and emerging researchers. Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis, a leader in pediatric immunotherapy, received the 2015 Hyundai Scholar grant. Click also designated $50,000 of his donation to go to Katsanis, the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. Dr. Yi Zeng was awarded the Young Investigator grant and will continue research in the area of Pak2, a type of enzyme in cells, as a means of suppressing graft-versus-host disease complications in children suffering from high-risk leukemia. “Our long-term goal is to improve the outcome of children receiving

allogeneic bone marrow transplants,” Zeng said. “These kids are so sick,” Click said. “This research gives them and their families so much hope.” The remaining $50,000 of Click’s commitment will go to the Steele facility to be used for research as needed. Zafar Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Hyundai Hope on Wheels and a director at Hyundai, said funding for the program comes from Hyundai Motor America and more than 820 Hyundai dealers nationwide in the form of a small fee on dealer invoices. “We’ve awarded $100 million since 1998,” he said, with some $670,000 awarded to the UA Steele Center over the years. “That doesn’t include the matching funds from Jim Click, which is maybe another $250,000.” Established in 1992, the UA Steele Center is one of the prestigious Centers of Excellence within the UA College of Medicine. Under the leadership of Dr. continued on page 95 >>>

From left – Dr. Fayez Ghishan; Nathan Miller, Regional Sales Manager, Hyundai; Jim Click; Dr Katsanis; Dr. Zeng Photo on the right – Dr. Ghishan with Jim Click (Photos courtesy University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center/Department of Pediatrics)

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Hyundai is about solving big problems. Cancer affects the whole family – we want to do whatever we can to help improve the care and find the cure for this disease.

BizMEDICINE

– Zafar Brooks Executive Director Hyundai Hope on Wheels

continued from page 93

Fayez K. Ghishan, researchers at the UA Steele Center are investigating a wide range of areas, including autism, gastrointestinal disorders, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer and blood diseases, lung disease, and more. The center receives grant support from many national funding agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, as well as many nonprofit agencies and foundations. Community philanthropy also makes up part of the Steele Center’s funding base. “Dr. Ghishan is the most amazing man,” Click said. “He loves his patients and wants to make the Steele Center a world-class research facility. Ghishan and his team are wonderful.” Brooks said that a number of the projects that received funding from Hyundai Hope on Wheels have gone on to make important advancements. “The work is to find cures and to improve the knowledge base. What we’re doing is making available a source of research funding that dried up during the 2008 recession. It’s a precious and reliable funding source that allows scientists to continue their work.” He added that Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai dealers nationwide are united in their passion for the cause. “Hyundai is about solving big problems. Cancer affects the whole family – we want to do whatever we can to help improve in the care and find the cure for this disease.”

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BizBRIEF

Drone Control Systems Wins Pitch Prize By Mary Minor Davis

Drone Control Systems took home the grand prize at the second annual Get Started Tucson small business pitch competition co-hosted by Cox Business and Inc. magazine. Drone Control Systems was one of five businesses competing for a $10,000 prize package that included advertising with Cox, an article in Inc. and $5,000 in cash. Each competitor was given 2½ minutes to make a pitch for their business to a panel of business leaders in front of more than 200 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and members of the public. Judges then had up to five minutes to question each of the contestants

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in “Shark Tank” style before making their decision. This year’s judges included Basil “Base” Horner, chairman of the screening panel for Desert Angels; Justin Williams, founder and CEO of Startup Tucson; Jon Fine, executive editor of Inc. magazine; Sharon Lurtsema, founder and CEO of Corporate CARE Solutions, and Ken Kraft, Cox Business Marketing VP. James Lawrence, CEO of Drone Control Systems, said in a news release that he intends to use the cash portion of the prize to complete development of a proprietary chip that uses cell data

to collect real-time telemetry to determine positioning during drone flight. His company’s proprietary software provides real-time data that is shared between drone operators and federal and local regulators. “It’s like an air traffic control system for drone operators,” Lawrence told the judges in his presentation. The four other finalists in the competition were Fed By Threads, InCycle Water, Desert Edibles and EOITech. The event was held in November at Tucson Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Tucson.

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Terry Etherton

Owner Etherton Gallery

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BizDOWNTOWN

Picture of Success

Etherton Moved Gallery Downtown in 1988 By Kate Jensen

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Pictured Left: Exhibition of photographer Danny Lyon’s masterwork, Conversations with the Dead. Photos Courtesy Etherton Gallery

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In the early 1980s Terry Etherton was selling photos out of the back of his car to museums across the country – and today he’s considered one of the top photography dealers in the United States. He moved the Etherton Gallery to South Sixth Avenue in 1988 after most of the retail stores had abandoned downtown and the streetscape was a collection of boarded-up storefronts. He’s weathered all the fits and starts of economic development and has been an anchor in downtown Tucson, contributing to its growth and to the cultural life of Tucson. Etherton Gallery, 135 S. Sixth Ave., has been successful – even when downtown was not. It’s been named the best gallery in Tucson by Tucson Weekly 12 years in a row. And recently the gallery was singled out in an article in The New York Times travel section as “a prominent fixture on the international art scene and one of the pre-eminent art and photo galleries in the Southwest.” Etherton helped launch the careers of many artists and photographers who now enjoy international reputations.

He was the first in Tucson to show the works of artist and musician Daniel Martin Diaz, visual artist Kate Breakey and innovative landscape photographer William Lesch. But in the beginning business was slow – especially when the weather was hot. Etherton moved to Tucson from San Francisco in 1981, where he was working as a photographer and filmmaker. He said the work there was good, but the timing was tricky. “I’d have six months of work, then nothing for the next three.” Originally from Illinois, he had good friends from Illinois living in Tucson so he had visited here often. A big draw for him (other than his pals) was the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography. At that time, the center was housed in a small bank building west of campus, and he was blown away that it was showing photography by greats such as Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham. It made him believe that he could be successful opening a photography gallery here. “On paper, it made no sense at all,” Etherton said. “I had a background in

art and design – but no business background at all. I just figured that if I came down here I could make a living.” His first gallery, which he built out himself, was across the street from the Egg Garden on Fourth Avenue – 1,400 square feet with evaporative cooling. “No one told me about the summers here.” His fledgling business completely died in the summer so he took it on the road. He loaded up his car with photos and drove across the country to meet museum curators in hopes of selling his work. For three years running, he drove from Tucson to Boston to Florida to Kansas, combining business with Major League Baseball and making connections he maintains today. It worked. “Within a few years of opening the gallery, really good Tucson artists were showing me their work,” he said. In 1988, photographer Tim Fuller and artist Barbara Grygutis bought the Oddfellows Hall on Sixth Avenue just south of Broadway and invited Etherton to rent space. Fuller said continued on page 100 >>> Winter 2016

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 99 the bottom floor of the building was a complete mess. The top floors had no windows, had been home to generations of pigeons – and downtown was full of crumbling bars. “Downtown was OK for adventurous, young, arty kind of people – but it was very funky,” Etherton said. “The landscape has completely changed over the past two years. Downtown Tucson is truly becoming an urban center.” He points to three things he thinks tipped downtown in its current direction – “demarcation points,” he calls them. The first is Maynards Market & Kitchen, the restaurant that opened in 2008 in the renovated train depot on Toole Avenue. “When Richard and Shana Oseran opened Maynards, that was a risky move. It was the first high-end restaurant downtown and they put a ton of money into it,” Etherton said. “They produce a quality product and they are good to their employees. This was a

huge turning point for downtown.” The second is Janos Wilder opening Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails downstairs from the Etherton Gallery in 2010, in the space previously occupied by Barrio Grill. “It was bold of Janos,” Etherton said. Fuller said adding that Janos is like the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for downtown. “Anywhere he is is a good place. When he moved downtown, people said, ‘Yeah, now it’s happening.’” And the third is Tucson’s modern streetcar. City officials suggest that the streetcar may have already contributed to $930 million in investment downtown. Many, including Etherton, believe it’s a game changer. “We’ve got students downtown with developments like the Cadence,” he said. “That doesn’t happen without the streetcar.” Etherton has been a huge supporter of downtown and especially of artists living and working downtown for more than 25 years. He too lives downtown.

There’s still development that needs to happen downtown, Etherton said, and he’d like to see even more people downtown. “People who live in the foothills who never come downtown are hearing the buzz about downtown,” he said. “Just come down and see for yourself.” Last summer through early fall, the gallery presented the Citizens Artist Collective, showcasing art from the 20 artists who work in the Citizens Warehouse building on Stone Avenue and Sixth Street. The warehouse, designed by architect Roy Place and built in 1929, now has an uncertain future. In September Etherton hosted a panel on historic preservation at the gallery with a focus on how to save this historic building. Through Jan. 2, the gallery will present the work of photojournalist Danny Lyon – Conversations with the Dead – done in Texas state penitentiaries in the mid-1960s and recently reissued in a book by Phaidon Press. Biz

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BizBRIEF

PHOTO: MICHAEL C. SULTZBACH

Chicks n Chaps Event Benefits Arizona Oncology Foundation

THE 3RD ANNUAL TUCSON CHICKS N CHAPS WOMEN’S RODEO CLINIC

Benefiting the Arizona Oncology Foundation.

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 Tickets: $75, $50 for partner registration. Tickets include backstage tour and rodeo clinics, champagne breakfast, rodeo seating in the Vaquero Club and entrance to the barn dance. For more information, call Chair Mary Davis at (520) 270-9662, or go online at http://www.chicksnchaps.org/events/ tucson/

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The Arizona Oncology Foundation will be the beneficiary of the Chicks n Chaps Women’s Rodeo Clinic on Feb. 21, 2016, held as part of the 91st annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. “The Arizona Oncology Foundation is honored to be the recipient of support from this event. The proceeds will provide much needed services to breast cancer patients in Southern Arizona,” said Becky O’Hara, development director for the foundation. Chicks n Chaps Women’s Rodeo Clinic is a nonprofit organization that raises money for breast cancer programs, support and resources for patients in local communities suffering from the disease, while teaching

women about the sport of rodeo in a “girls-day-out” atmosphere. Tucson’s clinic, held during La Fiesta de los Vaqueros’ annual Pink Day performance on the first Sunday of the six-performance event, has hosted more than 200 participants in its first two years, raising nearly $10,000 for the Tucson community. Pink Day highlights breast cancer education, prevention and patient services. The clinic includes a morning in the arena with cowboys and cowgirls presenting roping demonstrations and insider information about the seven events in a professional rodeo, followed by a breakfast, silent auction and a dedicated “Chick Pit” during the rodeo.

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Pictured – Gary Williams, general manager of the Tucson Rodeo, shares the rodeo’s history with attendees at the Tucson Chicks n Chaps event, which raises money locally for patient support services. This year’s beneficiary is the Arizona Oncology Foundation.

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PRSA Awards

The Southern Arizona Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America presented the IMPACT Awards in October to celebrate the accomplishments of communications professionals throughout the region. The entries were judged by PR professionals from the Greater Kansas PRSA chapter. Recipients received either an IMPACT Award for Excellence or a Certificate of Excellence. IMPACT Award for Excellence

Best In Show Tech Parks Arizona for “Innovative Minds Challenge” News Release/Public Service Announcement AAA Arizona for “I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Get That: Voice-Activated Features Lead to Dangerous Distractions” Brochures Strongpoint Marketing for “Cox in the Community Impact Report” for Cox Communications Russell Public Communications for “Brewer’s Journal” for Barrio Brewing Co.

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Marketing Communications Kaneen Advertising & Public Relations for “How to Ride” for City of Tucson Department of Transportation & Regional Transportation Authority Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona for “Caring Cart” Overall Public Relations Program Strongpoint Marketing for “Whole Foods Oracle Road Grand Reopening” for Whole Foods Market Media Relations/Media Placement Strongpoint Marketing for “Girl Scouts Have the Courage to Go Over the Edge” for Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona Community Relations Russell Public Communications for “Jeep Cherokee Charity Raffle” for Jim Click Automotive Team Special Events and Observances for Corporate/Brand Kaneen Advertising & Public Relations for “Sun Link Streetcar Launch” for City of Tucson Department of Transportation & Regional Transportation Authority

Winter 2016

Russell Public Communications for “A New England Tavern in Tucson” for Jackson Tavern Special Events and Observances for Government/ Nonprofit Tech Parks Arizona for “Racing the Sun” Tech Parks Arizona for “20-Year Anniversary Gala” Government/Public Affairs Program Russell Public Communications for “Z Living: Defeating the Comcast Mega-Merger” for Z Living Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for “Total Force Training Environmental Assessment Release” Creative Communication Tech Parks of Arizona for “20 Years of Innovation” Digital Public Relations Storyteller Public Relations for “Alton Brown ‘Twitter-pated’ with Tucson Tamale” for Tucson Tamale SCRAM Systems for “Sober Days for the Holidays”

Certificate of Excellence

News Release/Public Service Announcements Tech Parks Arizona for “Solar Zone Completes Phase One” Marketing Communications Pima Association of Governments for “Walk Safe. Drive Safe” Media Relations/Media Placement Strongpoint Marketing for “Official Launch of the MAP Dashboard” for Community Foundation for Southern Arizona Russell Public Communications for “A Patient Safety Story” for Ventana Medical Systems Special Events and Observances Tucson Unified School District Communications Department for “#RWB4Borman” Internal Communications Russell Public Communications for “Patient Safety Global Media Toolkit” for Ventana Medical Systems

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BizAWARDS

Raul Aguirre Receives Highest Honor from Mexican Government Tucson businessman Raul Aguirre was honored with the highest award the Mexican government gives to a person abroad for his work promoting progress, empowerment and opportunities for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States. The “Ohtli” was given to Aguirre by Mexican Consul Ricardo Pineda Albarran during ceremonies celebrating Mexican Independence Day in September at the AVA Amphitheater on the Pasqua Yaqui Reservation. Aguirre is the president & CEO of REA Media Group, the advertising, marketing and public relations firm he formed in 1993 after nearly a decade as a producer, host and anchor for the Spanish-language television network Univision. The award derives its name from the word “Ohtli,” which translates to “the road” in Nahuatl, the language spoken

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by the ancient Aztecs in central Mexico. According to the news release issued by the Mexican consulate, ancient Nahuatl poets would ask, “What is the road that your heart must take?” The answer always was, “Melahuac Ohtli,” meaning the road of righteousness.

“As an active leader in the Latino community, Mr. Aguirre remains a visionary leader, defying the stereotypes and continuing to redefine the image of Hispanics in America through the development of a new generation of Latino leaders,” the release said. “Mr. Aguirre is recognized as a national advocate for the inclusion of minorities in general market broadcasting as well as a pioneer of bilingual radio and television.” In accepting the award, Aguirre said, “I’m grateful to our community for the many years of support that have always been given to my activities and projects. I gratefully accept (the award) on behalf of our community and all the leaders and activists who have come before me to make our communities and our nations stronger.”

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Simply Transformative Simply Bits’ Voice, Data and Tech Services Have Brought Big Changes to Local Clients By Rhonda Bodfield

Imagine, if you will, a dozen people tumbling out of a Smart Car. That’s the equivalent of what the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona was facing when it outgrew its antiquated phone system about three years ago. Beyond the spaghetti lines of wire, they had literally run out of extensions. The nonprofit contacted Simply Bits, a locally owned communications provider of network, data and voice services, and so began a relationship that has transformed how the food bank uses technology. First came the phones. But then the food bank learned how upgrading their technology could make data work better for them. Wiring was replaced in the building. The infrastructure was strengthened. And now it employs a chief information officer, who is engaged with data analytics to help build efficiencies and inform the food bank’s strategic direction. “We’re of a size at which it makes sense to have some folks in house, but outsource some of those more complex issues,” said CIO Mike Ryckman, noting Simply Bits goes beyond desktop support to help run the servers and the complex operations. “Because they are experts at what they do, it allows us to have a staff of one or two people, but leverage our relationship to have the knowledge and experience of a much larger department.” Joy Tucker, a 30-year employee at the food bank who was managing facilities at the time, recalled being unsure about the phone system Simply Bits offered since it was Voice over Internet Protocol, more commonly referred to 104 BizTucson

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as VoIP, and which bypasses phone lines altogether to transmit over the Internet. “I didn’t have any experience with the system so I really was nervous about the quality,” she said. But she was able to visit another Simply Bits client, Handmaker, to gauge their satisfaction with the product and, importantly, see it in action. “Once we saw someone using the system so successfully, we knew it was the right step for us to take,” Tucker said. Training the food bank’s 80 employees on how to use the system was seamless, she said. “They had it down to a fine science and we zipped through it. When we were dealing with our previous, smaller Internet company, it always took about a day for a response, but with Simply Bits, any time we had a question, they were on it.” In its 11 years in crowded and competitive commercial and residential markets, there are fundamental things that set Simply Bits apart, said the three partners who own the company – Joe Cracchiolo, Bradley Feder and Mike Bernstein. The mechanism of service delivery

Unlike traditional providers that run copper and fiber in the ground to facilitate network data and voice services, Simply Bits sets up network towers that provide those capabilities wirelessly over a 1,000 square miles in Tucson to Marana and along the I-19 corridor to Nogales. From a customer perspective, that means getting online even without a phone line or cable. If you really need A D V E RT O R I A L

service tomorrow, it’s merely a matter of putting up an antenna to connect with the towers. If a home or business has just one feed, such as cable, they’re out of luck if it’s down. But because Simply Bits works with multiple carriers, there’s enough redundancy in the system to shift traffic around and make sure customers have rock-solid, reliable connections at all times. From the company’s perspective, wireless technology is more cost-effective than digging trenches, and allows them to upgrade technology more readily. Importantly, it allows for a very nimble enterprise to set up temporary support for big conferences, public gatherings or retail shows. When President Obama came to mourn with Tucson following the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting, for example, the company was able to set up additional high-speed internet support on the University of Arizona campus to accommodate the vast numbers of media and attendees who would all be trying to access the local network at once. They can roll up to provide support in undeveloped or remote areas, whether it’s for a desert sporting event, concerts, a construction firm or a command post when forest fires break out. Recently, for example, a group of about 1,000 scientists descended upon the Tucson Mountains to comb through the desert for species that had not yet been cataloged. Simply Bits was able to crank up a tower, point it in the direction of their existing infrastructure, and take care of the needs. continued on page 106 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

“With growth and success come challenges. But they’ve allowed me to learn and grow personally and professionally along with the company.”

“I have a background in the arts and fundraising, so working at Simply Bits has allowed me to gain a whole new set of skills and knowledge.”

– Frank Nasser Installation and Inventory Manager

– Tanya Buffalo Fulfillment Manager

“It’s rare to have a group come together that cares about the customers, service, solutions and employees as much as we do.” – Jason Green Enterprise Services Manager

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Southern Arizona Coverage Nogales

“Working for a local company like Simply Bits is great not only because of the environment but the people I work with.” – Esteban Boubion Senior Installation Technician www.BizTucson.com

“I’ve watched the company grow into a team dedicated to local business, expanding technology and long-term customer relationships.” – Jodi Whitaker Accounting

“Simply Bits gives me the unique opportunity to stay current in wireless internet technology.” – Lance Jones Account Manager


continued from page 158 “We have a lot of smart people in the building and we’re also small and not restricted by our corporate rigidity,” Bernstein said. If a business is damaged in a fire, for example, feeds can be set up immediately so the phones ring in another office or temporary space. Or a customer can ask for extra capacity for a special event. “Click and it’s done,” Bernstein said. “You’re just not going to get that from your provider because they have no way to do that.” If you call Simply Bits, you’ll be talking to someone who lives in the community. The company also stocks its parts right here in Tucson, so there’s no delay in placing orders or shipping. “We don’t count on anyone else because our customers are counting on us,” said Bernstein. Robust business solutions

Handmaker approached the company when its enterprise resource software was forcing a migration to the cloud. “We provide expert care for residents, but IT (information technology) is not our specialty,” said CEO Art Martin. “We did not have the depth in our IT department to deal with that level of change.” Handmaker also did not have the hardware or network infrastructure to move to paperless charting. Simply Bits worked with Martin’s team to map out and implement a plan. “They’ve really pulled us up to cutting-edge technology,” Martin said, “and if we ever needed help with the transition and rollout, one of their people was there in half an hour.” Bernstein said staff is committed to solving problems for customers, whether it’s measuring dimensions of a space to determine Wi-Fi build, or finding ways to use technology to embed a strategic competitive advantage for the company. “For a lot of companies, the computer division is what keeps stuff running, gets rid of the virus that shows up, puts a new laptop on the network, and changes out the printer cartridges,” Bernstein said. “They’re not fundamentally trying to change the profitability of the business, the way it’s positioned, the way it’s marketed and how information is presented to customers and employees. “We want to make a difference in that business by utilizing technology to capture key competitive strengths.”

Internet or Wi-Fi? Frequently Asked Questions

About 99 percent of residential support calls go something like this, said Simply Bits co-founder Bradley Feder, “My Internet doesn’t work or is running slow.” That, almost always, has nothing to do with the Internet provider, Feder said. The fault typically lies with a customer’s Wi-Fi access point. Simply Bits answered the following frequently asked questions about common Internet service.

What is Wi-Fi? What is Internet?

People often confuse the Internet and Wi-Fi as being the same. However they are two different things. An Internet connection brings the Internet to a location. The Internet is wired into a location and works when a connection is plugged directly into a computer or into a wired or wireless router for further distribution. Wi-Fi is how that Internet connection gets from the router or access point to the various devices that use the Internet. Most locations today use a wireless router to distribute the Inter-

net connection to various devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Why is my Internet slow?

Interference with the wireless router can give you the perception that your Internet is slow. Wireless devices run at one or two different frequencies – 2.4 gigahertz and 5.7GHz. The 2.4Ghz frequency has been around the longest and is prevalent in all wireless devices. This frequency was originally given to the public domain by the Federal Communications Commission because it was seen as useless or, at the very least, not very valuable. Because any company could use the frequency for free, a multi-billion dollar industry formed to include items like cordless phones, baby monitors, wireless cameras and 802.11 WiFi. With all of these devices around, there is the opportunity for them to interfere with each other – and they do. Other common interference comes from building materials, insulation,

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HOUSHOLD COVERAGE

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Community is Keyword

BizTECHNOLOGY

Making Their Corner of the World Better Pushes Simply Bits Partners By Rhonda Bodfield Bradley Feder jokes that there was a time – back in the heyday of his previous company, RightFax – when he was something of a somebody at the airport, thanks to his lengthy and accumulated travels. Nowadays, the co-founder of Simply Bits is so firmly planted on the ground in Tucson, he’d be lucky to qualify for an extra bag of pretzels, let alone an upgrade. All three Simply Bits partners could have relocated anywhere they wanted. RightFax was a global enterprise with 220 employees when Feder and his partner, Joe Cracchiolo, left the company they founded a few years after selling it. So was Mike Bernstein’s company, Integra. But for various, yet similar, reasons, the partners all chose to build a legacy in Tucson and remain invested in its future with their new company. And despite offers to expand to other sites, they’ve shown no interest. “We have work to do here,” Feder said. Feder, who was born and raised in Tucson, still has family here. Cracchiolo’s family has lived here for generations. “Tucson is very special and has a lot of meaning for me,” said Feder, who graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in management information systems. “If I am able to create jobs and make a better place for co-workers and customers, that’s what I want to do.” For Bernstein, airplanes and airports have lost some of their appeal. “We’ve done the travel thing. At this point in our lives we just want to roll up our www.BizTucson.com

shirtsleeves and make Tucson a little bit better.” That community spirit comes in two flavors: through direct support of community programs, financial contributions or in-kind donations, and by bringing connectivity to people who would otherwise have no way to get it. The company encourages its employees to help with charitable events – a tone set by the three partners, who profess no favorite cause, but who have a list of about 100 different nonprofits

If I am able to create jobs and make a better place here for co-workers and customers, that’s what I want to do.

– Bradley Feder Co-founder, Simply Bits

they support. The company often donates equipment and time to special events – for years sponsoring the Fort Lowell Shootout, which involves thousands of soccer players. Because of their towers, games can be streamed and parents can be in Indiana, watching their kid score goals.

From an accessibility standpoint, the company established the “Wireless Wonders” program to improve community access. The original downtown Wi-Fi zone was engineered and is still managed today by Simply Bits. In additional to several locally owned restaurants, hotspots have been established at the Jewish Community Center, Foothills Mall and Tohono Chul Park. Last year, the company learned that Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon was a communications no-man’s-land when the towers were knocked out, and that the pay phone at the post office hadn’t worked in years. Simply Bits lit up that community to improve public safety. A free Internet connection is available at the Summerhaven Community Center and the pay phone is now a complimentary phone. “You’ve got people hiking and snowboarding and skiing up there and they had no way to access 911 service. That’s just not acceptable,” Bernstein said. “It’s important to us to be responsive to the community when we see needs like that.” The company also tries to be thoughtful about where it opts to provide service. The corridor along Interstate 19 to the tip of Nogales was fairly underserved, as were communities in Redington, northeast of Tucson. “A lot of big companies need so many homes per mile to make their investment worth it, but it’s important to us that we make the environment better for the community as a whole,” Bernstein said.

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Varied Products Keep Business Thriving Client Needs Are First Priority By Rhonda Bodfield One of the tenets of Simply Bits is that every customer has such different needs that a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work. Its business clients can expect face-to-face discussions to create customized solutions, including: Internet Services

Reliability was a critical focus when the company built its network. If a manufacturer said a connection was good for eight miles, they’d add another network tower at four miles, just to be sure. The company also works with multiple carriers. That means if, say, a cable carrier is down, there are two other mechanisms to serve customers. And it’s not just about staving off down time. The company’s systems are constantly scanning the connections, trying to decide which connection has the lightest traffic so their customers get the fastest service. The company also is very proactive in its monitoring. With many other providers, your problem doesn’t become their problem until you call to complain about something. Simply Bits, meanwhile, scans every piece of equipment every 180 seconds. Staff will call to check in with customers if they see any anomalies. “That is some of the behind the scenes work that customers don’t notice, but that really makes a difference,” said partner Mike Bernstein. The company also has an effective firewall to protect the Internet connection. “The Internet is inherently not secure,” partner Joe Cracchiolo cautioned. “Literally, 108 BizTucson

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if you plug a device into a connection without a firewall, it will be attacked within three minutes.” The company has a robust residential business as well. “People really want choice these days. They want what they want and they don’t necessarily want the bundles any longer,” Cracchiolo said. Phone services

You don’t have to buy a “phone system” ever again. “We try to interrupt the way customers think about phone systems,” Cracchiolo said. “They’ve been buying the same phone systems for about 50 years. But what we do is sit down with a blank sheet of paper and design a phone system for their business that is uniquely theirs.” While in the past, a business could easily spend $5,000 to $30,000 on a system, the capital needs for Voice over Internet Protocol is essentially a router if they go with a hosted network through Simply Bits. Customers pay a small installation fee and then pay per month per phone. One of the features of the phone is that it can be customized for the user. Employee John might want the phone to ring at his desk, his cellphone and his home phone simultaneously. Mean-

while, if employee Sarah wants to switch offices, she unplugs the phone and plugs it back into the next office. No work orders necessary. And if she wants to work from home, she can plug it in there, too, and it’s still Sarah’s phone with all of her extensions. Wi-Fi

Correctly engineering and setting up a reliable Wi-Fi system can be prohibitively expensive for a small business. “Wi-Fi becomes increasingly important every day, but most companies do not have the engineers and architects on staff to build a model of the building and show how signals will propagate through it,” said co-founder Bradley Feder. “They often just put in something cheap and then don’t receive optimal performance.” But with Simply Bits managing the system for a monthly fee, the staff looks at the physical layout of the business, considers the applications needed, and then designs the system and installs the hardware. Feder said, “When we bring Wi-Fi into the business, it’s a professional installation.” Business solutions

Ready for a technology partner? Simply Bits can learn about a company’s strategic objectives and think through what website application or software would allow it to springboard ahead of the competition. Let’s say a bakery wants to grow. The owner in the back room can manage 40 clients, but 400 would be impossible. The company can design a system to aggregate customer orders, forewww.BizTucson.com


Frequently Asked Questions Continued continued from page 106

cast when they need to reorder yeast, and determine previous history to come up with staffing for the week of Christmas, for example. “Our team didn’t get into this business to patch together a payroll system from 1976,” Bernstein said. “Our goal is to figure out how technology can be knitted into their business to really play a role in the growth – or the protection – of their business.” Data center

Need more technology space? Simply Bits hosts a data center in which customers can rent an inch, a rack or a whole cage to house their equipment in a place they can access 24 hours a day, with emergency power and strict biometric security measures. In 11 years, it has never been offline. Venture Technology

Among them, the three partners have 100 years of experience in running profitable businesses. In some cases, if they like a startup’s idea and believe the applicants have the ability to execute their vision, they’ll do work in return for equity and build the technology. “This is the entrepreneurial part of us and it’s a growing part of our business,” Bernstein said. Ultimately, he said, their approach is to recast the traditional cat-and-mouse game that companies play with their vendors. If Simply Bits is not the best solution, customers can expect to hear that. “Hearing ‘no’ is important,” Bernstein said. “Our reputation is our highest value. We aren’t going to tarnish that by trying to shoehorn them into a specific solution that isn’t good for them.”

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and specifically metal in a home or office that can affect the strength of a Wi-Fi signal. A rule of thumb is that you lose 15 percent of a perfect wireless signal for every piece of drywall it has to pass through from your access point to your device. Since a wall generally has two pieces of drywall, one on each side, it is possible to have little to no signal if your device is three rooms away from the Wi-Fi access point. Simply Bits once received a call from a customer who said her Internet was down. It turned out her homebuilder used a high-end, metallic paint that blocked the signal altogether, and the access point was in the very next room.

How can I tell if the problem is my Internet connection or my Wi-Fi signal?

Easy, plug your device directly into the connection. If you still can’t Google to your heart’s content, it’s your Internet and a call to your service provider is in order. If it’s working just fine, it could be interference with your Wi-Fi signal.

How can I get a better Wi-Fi signal?

Engineered solutions are by far the better way to go, but only about 15 percent of commercial customers and almost no residential customers make the effort to plan their Internet service and their access points. “It would be the difference between just placing sprinklers in your grass randomly, versus having a plan to cover the whole area,” Feder said. “In an engineered solution you would have nice green grass, but in a random placement, you would have a lot of dead spots.”

In a lot of cases, the access point gets buried in a cabinet or desk in an out-of-the-way room. The net effect is signal reduction due to absorption by all the building material between the access point and the devices. Often a single run of Category 5 Ethernet cable to get the access point placed in a more central, open area is all that’s needed to drastically improve Wi-Fi performance and reliability.

Why are dual bands important?

Wi-Fi runs in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Generically speaking, older Wi-Fi clients run only in 2.4GHz and newer ones in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Any Wi-Fi access point should operate in both bands to support newer and older clients. The client device also must support dual-band Wi-Fi, but most anything purchased in the last year or two is highly likely to support dual-band. When purchasing a new laptop, you should make dual-band Wi-Fi support a requirement.

What is latency?

In the simplest of terms, latency is the amount of time data takes to make a round trip to a host server, process it and get the request back. While some of us may not care if a page loads in three seconds or five, it matters a lot to financial traders and online gamers. The Simply Bits network boasts latency numbers that are comparable to high-speed fiber. “Part of what’s important in understanding a customer, is to understand the kinds of applications they have and what their needs are,” said cofounder Mike Bernstein, noting the company is always scanning to find the fastest routes and connections for customers, based on their needs.

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Simply Bits has a free Wi-Fi white paper available upon request. You can download it at www.simplybits.com/whitepapers or by calling (520) 545-0400. Winter 2016

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Global Experience Local Focus Simply Bits Partners Bring Varied Backgrounds to Create Perfect Team By Rhonda Bodfield

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BizTECHNOLOGY Had the three partners who founded Simply Bits ended up in a different office location instead of the one they occupy on North Sabino Canyon Road, the company might not exist today. But when they discovered the building didn’t have the communications infrastructure they needed for their original technology solutions business, Nextrio, they began looking at alternatives to the costly quotes they were getting to lay copper and fiber for conventional technological access. They considered wireless technology – and being entrepreneurs, they became intrigued at the prospect of launching a business. Eleven years ago, that technology was in its infancy – they like to describe the competition at the time as teams of guys in pickup trucks, buying equipment off of eBay. And while the big phone and cable carriers existed, they couldn’t match the vision of local service that the trio had in mind. So they quietly started building a broadband network. It started with the three of them. Simply Bits now offers the biggest private voice and data network in Southern Arizona, employing 60 and holding widespread brand recognition as experts in the field. Their story, of course, dates back farther than 11 years.

and not knowledge. We decided not to do any more of that,” Cracchiolo said. About then, some former RightFAX employees reached out to them to start a consulting group and Nextrio was the result – followed by the Sabino Canyon Road exercise. Although Simply Bits began with a focus on business, residential customers followed when they would share their dissatisfaction with their home service. And, being entrepreneurs, they became intrigued once again and now offer residential plans starting at $25. Magic men

The three have enough similarities to provide a unified focus and approach. And just tell them something can’t be done. When Cracchiolo’s children started Salpointe Catholic High School, school officials told him that several consultants had insisted there was no way the school could be Wi-Fi friendly. Now he’s live tweeting from his daughter’s volleyball game. “We’re great at working magic,” Feder said. They’re competitive like that, but they also each bring very different strengths. Cracchiolo is described as the technical backstop for the company. “I’ve never met anybody in my Competitors to co-founders whole career who solves problems like he does,” The three were once comFeder said. “You can’t even petitors, as opposed to partfathom what he is able to do ners. technically.” Joe Cracchiolo and Bradley Feder met each other at the Feder, meanwhile, is University of Arizona, and something of the heart after graduation, immediof the company, which – Bradley Feder ately went into business. They makes him ideal to oversee Co-founder, Simply Bits founded RightFAX in 1987, sales, support and finance. which would go on to become While the other two can the world leader in that technology. By the time get caught up in the technical aspects, Feder is the they sold the company about a decade later, it had communicator, with a strong ear for his employees 220 employees – 150 of them right here in Tucson and his clients. Bernstein said when he goes out – and generated $60 million in revenue annually. with Feder, he always knows there are going to be At about the same time, Michael Bernstein was 15 how-are-you-doing conversations and 12 hugs selling his mobile computing products company, at the end of it. Integra, to a Fortune 500 company. Bernstein is the dealmaker and a visionary. The three of them had worked together for Feder picks up a fork. “To you and I, this is a years, meeting at trade shows and slowly developfork. But if you’re out to lunch with Mike, he is ing camaraderie. Even when Tucson hit the ecogoing to pick up that fork and tell you there are 30 nomic doldrums in the early 1980s, Bernstein said different uses for it. He will go off in this immense he never lamented losing consulting bids to the othuniverse of thought that is unbelievable.” er two. “A peer respect had really formed because I Bernstein, in fact, was the one who came up with knew that they took care of their customers.” the company name. The job of a network, after all, The three always said if they ever had an opporis to move bits. Those bits, little ones and zeroes tunity, they should create something together. moving along a wire, are not particularly meanInitially, they tried their hand at angel investing, ingful. “But collectively, packaged up and with the but found they didn’t enjoy it. right applications, those bits turn into video, voice, “It became very frustrating because we saw the music,” Bernstein said. “A lot has been built up on mistakes they were making, but when we would try a one or a zero.” Biz to help, it became evident they just wanted money

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

We’re great at working magic.

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Stuart Mellan

President & CEO Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona

Francine Katz

Tom Warne

Chairman, Board of Directors Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona

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PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

Senior VP Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona


BizCOMMUNITY

‘Repair the World’

Jewish Federation Practices Tikun Olam By Renée Schafer Horton In a hallway off the lobby of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona – just past informational flyers and brochures about Torah on Tap, the Jewish Latino Teen Coalition and Tucson’s eight synagogues – boxes of instant oatmeal are stacked high on a small table. They are labeled simply, with just two black words printed on white office paper: HOMER DAVIS. Homer Davis Elementary School, located on North Romero Road, is one of the poorest schools in the Tucson metro region. The median annual household income for families with children attending the school is less than $24,000, and about six years ago, the Federation learned that food insecurity was a problem for many students. “A counselor had asked a student how his vacation was, and the student said he was happy it was over because he got food at school,” said Mary Ellen Loebl, the Jewish Community Relations Council associate responsible for the mountain of oatmeal. It seemed fairly simple: You hear children are hungry, and you find a way to feed them. Which is what happened in January 2010 when the Homer Davis Project was launched with the JCRC – an arm of the Federation – as project facilitator. It started with a few volunteers and only 20 students, but has steadily grown www.BizTucson.com

as more funding and volunteers become available. Weekend food packs containing items such as tuna, milk, sunflower seeds, oatmeal and fruit are assembled by a dedicated cadre of Federation volunteers each Thursday for distribution to 65 students identified by the Homer Davis administration. Donations from various Tucson businesses, individuals, Jewish congregations and even Bar and Bat Mitzvah students make the weekend food packs possible, as well as daily snacks for about 150 kindergartners and first-graders, a volunteer counselor for the school and a team of homework helpers for the afterschool program. The Homer Davis Project is just one of many ways the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona helps make a difference every day by promoting philanthropy and coordinating planning and funding among various Jewish entities to meet essential needs in the local Jewish community, Southern Arizona at large and around the world. The Federation’s reach includes helping elderly Jews in Russia, local Jewish families facing eviction and most recently, Syrian refugees. “Whether it is Haiti or Morocco or Israel or here in Tucson, helping Jews or non-Jews, we want to always have a response to the greater need of our world and our local community,” said Federation President and CEO Stuart Mellan.

“The intention is that whether the need be local or global, our Jewish community will respond in helping to repair the world.” By “we,” Mellan is including the Federation and the six Jewish agencies it helps fund, as well as the 25,000 Southern Arizona Jews who provide time or treasure to the various projects of the Federation or its partners. Without the community’s help, much of the Federation’s good work would be impossible, he said. Federation Senior VP Francine Katz agreed. “Many of the services we provide are made possible by 300 to 400 volunteers – we have volunteers from middle-school age all the way to 102,” Katz said. “They participate in fundraising and then show up to get things done. We are very volunteer-driven.” For almost 70 years, the Federation has served as the coordinating and convening body for the Jewish population in Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and Green Valley. By partnering with a network of affiliated agencies such as Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the University of Arizona’s Hillel Foundation and the Jewish Community Center, the Federation creates a domino effect of positive change. “What the Federation aspires to, and I think accomplishes, is the collaboracontinued on page 114 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 113


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Jewish Federation Beneficiaries Here and Abroad By Renée Schafer Horton The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has an impact locally and as far away as Israel, Morocco and Ethiopia. Its primary influence is through coordinating with and helping fund six Jewish agencies and partners that provide a variety of services in Southern Arizona while also supporting international causes. The six:

• Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging provides care and services to an aging population in need of assisted living, nursing or Alzheimer’s care. The agency recently built a new wing that is operated by Tucson Medical Center to provide hospital-level care to Handmaker residents with Alzheimer’s.

• The Jewish Community Center serves every age group from 6 weeks old on

up, offering a wide range of social, cultural, educational, recreational and athletic programs and activities.

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation is an umbrella organization serving the eclectic Jewish community on the UA campus. Hillel develops student leadership and initiative by allowing students to engage in proactive, democratic Jewish life through projects, lectures, discussions and social and cultural events.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services is a non-sectarian, nonprofit social service agency in Tucson providing counseling, consultation and social services to adults, children, adolescents, couples and families. Federation funding allows JFCS to provide emergency financial aid to about 400 families annually who are facing catastrophes such as eviction.

The Tucson Hebrew Academy is a Jewish community day school providing a Jewish and secular educational experience perpetuating Jewish and American values, ethics, culture and traditions in a nurturing environment.

• The Jewish History Museum is housed in the oldest synagogue building in

Arizona, the original home of Temple Emanu-El on South Stone Avenue, and includes the Holocaust History Center. The Federation helped raise $1 million in 2015 to expand the center’s exhibits, which 2,000 schoolchildren visited in the past year. Funds raised will also help subsidize gasoline costs for school buses in the future to allow even more Arizona students to visit and learn from the exhibit.

Internationally, the Federation:

• Helped resettle more than 1,000 Russian Jews in Southern Arizona in the 1990s as part of Freedom Run

Donates weekly care packages to 180,000 elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union

• Funds relocation efforts for thousands of displaced Jews from Ukraine • Helped resettle 120,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel in 2007 and continues to support them in Kiryat Malachi, Israel

• Donated $25,000 in 2015 to Jewish aid agencies helping with the Syrian refugee crisis

tive way we work with our partners. When we sit down to budget, we try to think of everything as our responsibility, not just the Federation departments,” Mellan said. “The agencies are independent, but the Federation works very hard to bring everyone together, both agencies and synagogue partners, respecting their independence and diversity while promoting all the projects and multiplying the effect.” The Federation is housed in a sprawling ranch house on East River Road between the Jewish Community Center and Tucson Hebrew Academy. It has an annual operating budget of about $5 million and distributes $4 million annually, much to its partner agencies and Federation departments, such as the JCRC and the Coalition for Jewish Education. Eighty percent of the funds are used locally in Southern Arizona, and about 20 percent go to overseas efforts, including an 18-year relationship supporting the town of Kiryat Malachi in Israel, which is comprised heavily of new immigrants from Ethiopia. Federation funding comes primarily from local Jews donating to the annual Federation Community Campaign or giving directly to a specific Federation project such as Mitzvah Magic, which helps support 26 economically vulnerable Jewish families on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Passover and Hanukkah. While local needs are identified through the collaboration of the Federation and local Jewish agencies and synagogues, international needs are discovered through the Federation’s membership in the Jewish Federations of North America, which has a global operations arm. “We hear about needs in other parts of the world through this affiliation and that helps us determine where we should act,” said Tom Warne, chair of the Federation board of directors. “The intention is that wherever there is an urgent need, the Jewish Federation of www.BizTucson.com


BizCOMMUNITY

Tikun olam says that we believe we are all on this earth to repair our world. That means not only taking care of our own Jewish community, but taking care of the world that we’re in.

– Tom Warne Chair, Board of Directors Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona

Southern Arizona will try to be there.” The Federation’s work is derived from its mission, which is based on three Jewish values: tikun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (righteous giving) and chesed (loving kindness). These ideals inform everything the Federation does, something demonstrated by its recent support of several thousand Jews displaced by conflicts in Ukraine, and $25,000 sent overseas to help with the Syrian refugee crisis, Warne said. “It is also an example of our broad reach,” he said. “The Ukrainians are Jews, but the Syrians are not. Tikun olam says that we believe we are all on this earth to repair our world. That means not only taking care of our own Jewish community, but taking care of the world that we’re in.” Indeed, the three largest partners the Federation helps fund – Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Tucson Jewish Community Center – serve primarily non-Jews. Only 30 percent of the residents at Handmaker and 30 percent of the clients served by Jewish Family and Children’s Services are Jewish. Additionally, the population accessing the myriad programs and amenities at The J is more than 50 percent non-Jewish. One of those programs at The J is a program for specialneeds young adults that began five years ago. It currently serves 26 clients, ages 18 through the early 30s, only three of whom are Jewish. There is a long waiting list for the program, which has led the community, through the Federation leadership, to form a special-needs task force exploring how to increase services to the special-needs population. “Historically, the Federation is looked at to provide leadership both in terms of convening the Jewish community and planning for the Jewish community, but also as the place to help identify areas in which the Jewish community can act collectively, such as with special-needs adults,” Mellan said. “And when the needs are identified, the Federation will be there to help our partner agencies provide the greatest good to the largest number of people.”

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1 1. Exterior of the Holocaust History Center 2. Interior of the Holocaust History Center 3. 1910 revival structure on South Stone Avenue â&#x20AC;&#x201C; once the original synagogue of the Arizona territory 4. Holocaust survivors Meyer and Susan Neuman and their children, Rosie, left, and Phillip, upon their arrival in Tucson in 1956

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Holocaust Remembered Linking Past Tragedy to Current Human Rights Issues By Monica Surfaro Spigelman

IMAGES: COURTESY JEWISH HISTORY MUSEUM

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Along a downtown road less traveled, a campus celebrating the powerful and fascinating corners of Tucson’s Jewish history is emerging. Soon, the small 1880s barrio home that adjoins the Jewish History Museum at 564 S. Stone Ave. will debut as Tucson’s own Holocaust History Center. After almost a year of restoration, collaborators at the Jewish History Museum and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona have created an environment that ties the inspiring personal stories of Holocaust survivors who settled in the region to contemporary human rights issues. A ribbon-cutting and public lecture are planned on Feb. 21 for the signature installations and reflection gardens at the Holocaust History Center as well as reopening new exhibits in the historic Jewish History Museum. “This does not intend to be grandiose, but rather to be a campus that is unique with world-class style, just like Tucson is unique in the world,” said Jewish History Museum Board President Dr. Barry Friedman. More than 230 Holocaust survivors from 18 nations have made Southern Arizona their home during the postwar era. Photos of many of them line a wall of remembrance. “Placing survivors front and center shows how, despite suffering and loss, many miraculously persevered to accomplish great things,” said Bryan Davis, director of the Jewish Community Relations

Council and interim executive director of the Jewish History Museum. In 2001, a group of local stewards formed a nonprofit organization to reopen the 1910 revival structure on South Stone Avenue – once the original synagogue of the Arizona territory – as the Jewish History Museum. There had been iterations including a Mexican radio station in the building’s storied history after the Temple Emanu-El moved further east from downtown in the 1940s. The nonprofit meticulously preserved original woodwork and restored the synagogue-turnedmuseum as a showcase of collections depicting a rich regional Jewish history. In 2012, the nonprofit acquired the adjacent 1880s territorial building, and within a year opened a 400-square foot exhibit, the first phase of an envisioned Holocaust History Center, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. The response to this tiny yet ultimately poignant and inspirational depiction of the Holocaust survivors who located to Tucson was immediate – more than 2,000 school children and thousands more adults visited. The powerful installation stirred momentum for a capital campaign to restore all 2,000 square feet of the house. An original $750,000 capital campaign grew to $1.1 million in pledged support this past year, allowing restoration to begin in June 2015. “Everyone involved has a vision and a passion for continued on page 118 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 117


BizMUSEUM continued from page 117 this project,” said Joe Gootter, chair of the campaign’s fundraising cabinet. “We want education to be the cornerstone, where we inspire a constant exchange on the lessons of the Holocaust.” The success of this campaign allowed the buildings and gardens to be converted into a campus that provides both intimacy and uplifting spaciousness. The new Holocaust History Center grabs attention along Stone Avenue with its preserved façade, use of distressed materials and novel touches including a front sculpture gallery. A think tank of interdisciplinary talent was responsible for the restoration, including locals SBBL Architecture + Planning and Kittle Design and Construction. Also assisting in revamping the building’s educational and media zones were Tectonicus Constructs, founded by Benjamin Lepley, Open Lens Productions, founded by Jonathan VanBallenberghe, and Avitecture, whose founder Sidney Lissner recently moved to Tucson. The team, working in collaboration with the capital campaign committees, has ensured a multi-sensory and teachable experience throughout the campus. Additional conservation and research areas are planned, including a library to house the nonprofit’s large collection of Holocaust-related literature and local Jewish history. The welcoming front environment features a sculptural grid, depicting the original barrio and how it has been transformed by growth. In the rear, visitors exit the center onto an elevated terrace where there are private spaces framed by salvaged beams and steps down to reflection gardens. “We are marrying the history of the Holocaust with contemporary human rights issues – drawing lines from past to present with the testimonial voice as our primary tool,” Davis said. “Every inch is being utilized, making this campus a space that is dense with opportunities for meaning making.” Friedman said, “The restoration allows us to present the public with important works that honor a most unique aspect of this region’s cultural vitality.” He hopes that communicating the stories of Holocaust survivors helps the campus become a pivotal gathering point in Tucson and also provides an unprecedented opportunity to highlight Tucson’s relevance to the global dialog about human rights. “We want this to be a campus that inspires meaningful exchange about history and our individual abilities to influence the world into the future – and does this in ways that help everyone feel at home,” Friedman said. The visual journey in the Jewish History Museum and Holocaust History Center campus is still unfolding. Visitors entering the center may notice a basket of stones – traditionally used on graves in Jewish cemeteries – as symbols of permanence. The stones seem well suited to honoring the importance of memory felt throughout, where the impact of the collections is just as lasting as the stones. For updates, visit JewishHistoryMuseum.org.

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

Jeremy and Dana Davis Owners Summit Hut

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BizRETAIL

Summit Hut Experience ‘Funky Feel’ Encourages Lingering By Steve Rivera Speedway that was formerly an Office Depot. Their plan was to have broad appeal for everyone, with a funky vibe that could also attract the young. “We had been worried that even though we have great stuff for everyone, we were not attracting the younger crowd,” Jeremy said. “The new eyecatching ‘funky’ feel is right on the mark for what we wanted. “We also didn’t want to create a space where we wouldn’t have to replace things over time and be wasteful – like carpet – so we went with a fairly raw concrete finish through the entire building.” (And of course thinking green certainly dovetails with a business focused on nature and the out of doors.) With 40 percent more retail space than the original Speedway location, the aim for the new store is to give customers a sampling of the outdoor experience right on the sales floor. The store is filled with unexpected surprises – including a faux climbing area, camping setups, a place to try out harnesses, and

a short rock-like bridge to let customers test the feel of the outdoor shoes they are trying on. The reading area sports a seat from the ski lift at Mount Lemmon. A couple of easy chairs sit in front of a large mural of golden autumn aspens. The store also has added a community room for use by exhibitors or to hold seminars, big enough for groups of 40 to 50 to gather and share their experiences and expertise. When not in use the space disappears behind wide, pale, wood doors subtly embossed with a map. From a merchandise standpoint, the store is loaded with thousands of products to make life a bit more comfortable, even luxurious, while living in the outdoors or journeying through it. “There is definitely something for everyone,” said Landon Q. Vincent, the store’s marketing manager – from comfy clothing to high-tech gear, to maps and guidebooks, thick, down sleeping bags, and chef-worthy cooking wares. Ample room to roam in the new continued on page 122 >>>

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

PHOTO: COURTESY SUMMIT HUT

When Dana and Jeremy Davis purchased Summit Hut from David Baker in 2011, they dreamed of something big for what they already knew was a wellknown, long-standing company for outdoor enthusiasts in Tucson. They also knew that only dreams come to dreamers so they decided to be doers and create an enticing adventure for customers who come to their stores. “We want people to experience the Summit Hut,” Jeremy said. The Davises were both employees of the Summit Hut under Baker’s ownership. The business had evolved from the days in 1967 when Baker and friend Jeff Conn started it by ordering specialty equipment and storing it in their bedrooms. They were 15 years old. Fast forward to 2011 when the Davises purchased the two existing stores and began fast-tracking to build the experience. They moved one store to 7745 N. Oracle Road, just north of Ina Road – and then went really big on Speedway, moving this fall into the 22,960-square-foot space at 5251 E.

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BizRETAIL continued from page 121 store – with wide aisles and strategically spaced merchandise – helps the customer not feel overwhelmed with clutter. “We have always felt here at Summit Hut that we needed to have better space to represent brands, merchandise product the way it should be, and not have a store that’s just a sea of racks,” Jeremy said. The vast square footage “has allowed us to better provide value to our customers and make it easier to find what they are looking for. Secondly, we have been growing both online and in the store. In the past we have been on top of each other in the offices and the warehouse areas.” The move, Jeremy said, also has allowed Summit Hut to become more efficient in all areas of the business. Vincent said it’s common for the stock from each store to be rotated every day. Because the newer midtown store is larger, it provides even more of a selection than its northwest brother. Jeremy said, for the most part, merchandise is separated by brands to make it easier.

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“We have found that many of our customers have done their homework and have a general idea of what they are looking for when they shop,” Jeremy said. “We decided to accommodate and group brands – and we allowed our key brands to represent themselves the way they would like to be represented in our market and tell their story.” Vincent, who has been with the company for three years, sees the trend of more people being active, exercising more and enjoying the outdoors – from hiking and biking to rock climbing and camping. “We’re helping them incorporate it more into their lifestyle,” he said. “We live in a pretty place to explore the outdoors – not too far from the mountains and great weather. It’s a good place to spend time outdoors.” Another draw, Jeremy said, is the new store “can connect to the younger consumer and have a place to feel comfortable, look around and be part of our great culture and community. We have had a great success with this so far.” Jeremy added that Summit Hut is tak-

ing advantage of social media, targeting young and old so they “stay connected. We don’t use social media much for sales per se – but we do use it as a way for folks to know who we are and what we are doing. These are the posts that get the most attention from our followers.” The Speedway store made its debut on Sept. 28. The move itself and opening day were astonishingly ambitious. But hey, the staff is passionate and energetic. On Sept. 27, Summit Hut employees gathered to move everything – yes, everything – overnight and have the entire facility set up to open for business the next morning. “The great thing about it was our staff was so excited to be part of something so amazing and do something that so many people did not think could be done,” Jeremy said. “You could hardly tell that it was 3:30 in the morning when we finished the move. “We have proud, enthusiastic and smart people who work with us and we are very fortunate to have them on our team.”

Biz

www.BizTucson.com


SPECIAL REPORT 2016

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Exploring a New World

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Exploring a Innovation and Creativity at the By Rhonda Bodfield The morning bell at The Gregory School finds students barreling into a unique laboratory space on campus that lets them stretch their definition of what’s possible. One student has just managed to get his quadricopter to fly. Another is building an electric guitar with the help of a 3D printer. And another is using the 3D printer to make – wait for it – another 3D printer in the school’s fabrication space, which is Arizona’s only member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Fab Lab Network. It’s that sense of inquiry and mastery that permeates the campus and drew Jim Carlson to teach Latin at the school 24 years ago. It continues to feed his passion for what he does. “I saw kids reading Shakespeare on the lawn, and I thought ‘This is where I want to be,’ ” he said. “The best way I can describe it is that there was this sense of paideai, which is a Greek word that describes kids loving to learn.” Virtually 100 percent of students go on to college from this independent 126 BizTucson

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school for students in grades 5-12, which launched 35 years ago as St. Gregory College Preparatory School. And while the school is well-known for its academic rigor, with a robust offering of Advanced Placement courses, it doesn’t come in the strictly drill-and-test flavor of learning. Students will tell you they are empowered with a sense of exploration. “You can take risks here,” said junior Maya Encila. “You will probably make mistakes, but you’ll be encouraged as you go, and you will learn so much that you really can’t fail. You really don’t have anything to lose by trying.” That’s why Alice Bates ran for student council, even though public speaking makes her nervous. She won a seat. That’s why when there weren’t enough girls for a basketball team last year, 10th grader Taylor Thompson joined the boys’ varsity team. And that’s why Lily Cate Smith joined the volleyball team, which has sent its varsity squad to state competition for the past three years. Even though she says she isn’t much of an athlete, she

wanted to give it a try. It’s why students explore their passions in The Gregory School’s theater group, band, choir, mock trial or in other outlets. “Part of learning and improving what you do is celebrating when things don’t work out perfectly,” said Head of School Julie Sherrill. “School has to be about celebrating colossal failures and recognizing how much we learn in thinking about what happened and how to regroup.” Given that mindset, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the school so rooted in tradition is simultaneously in the midst of shaking things up. There was the name change, which retained “Gregory” as a nod to the established brand, but dropped the part that caused so much confusion for the nonprofit independent school that has no religious affiliation. Market research spearheaded by the Board of Trustees showed a significant number of those surveyed believed it was a religious school. Even the professional who printed the school’s materials for the past 15 www.BizTucson.com


BizEDUCATION

New World years believed it was a parochial school. “It has become – and rightly so – a very competitive educational market with many choices and options for families,” Sherrill said. “In media interviews, we would spend the first few minutes telling everyone what we weren’t. Now, we can move past that confusion and start telling the story of the creative and innovative work that happens here on a daily basis.” The school, set on 37 picturesque acres near River and Craycroft roads, added a fifth grade to help students better transition to middle school. And it has added new dimensions of interdisciplinary project-based learning, to let students think deeply about problems, apply the learning and then tinker. That might mean simple modeling with pipe cleaners and foam board to test a concept, or doing sophisticated work with 3D printers and laser cutters in the school’s fabrication lab, aligned with MIT’s Fab Lab and the Institute of Design at Stanford University. “What we’re looking for is critical thinking, communication, collaboration www.BizTucson.com

and cultural competency,” Sherrill said. “Any longer, the world is our classroom, as it is for business and industry. We’re taking this interdisciplinary approach because that is the workplace students will enter.

The world is

our classroom, as it is for business and industry. We’re taking this interdisciplinary approach because that is the workplace students will enter.

– Julie Sherrill Head of School The Gregory School

“The fun – and difficult – part is figuring out how to create projects across academic disciplines so students perform and provide evidence that they have the skills we’ve identified as so important.” At a recent reception to share with parents how they can support the school’s new Fab Lab, Sherrill heard a story from one parent that encapsulates the direction the school is going. Her son, the woman said, never really worked to his potential in school and wanted nothing to do with his father’s engineering career. But since he has been working on a quadricopter in the Fab Lab, she has seen a 180-degree shift, with after-school conversations abuzz with the excitement of his project. He even wants to hear more from dad about his engineering career. The school has long embraced project-based learning. It’s visible throughout campus. One of the micro-spaces on the grounds is a patio, compliments of research and work by a previous Roman History class and an art class. Student designers copied the style of a continued on page 128 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 127

PHOTOS: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

Heart of The Gregory School


continued from page 127 Roman courtyard, planting pomegranate and fig trees near a fresco they painted of the House of the Marine Venus. A riparian area, complete with water plants and fish, cuts through campus, designed and built by students. Solar panels sit atop another patio, designed and built by students to power laptops and cellphones. The interdisciplinary work is even more pronounced this year, with the addition of a capstone simply called “Inquiry.” As an example, “Inquiry” students could be challenged to design a future network that Tucson will need to thrive over the next century. Their technology classes are already about networks, but in English, they might study “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac, reflecting on the networks of the Beat Generation. In social sciences, they might study immigration networks, both historical and contemporary. In math, they might consider scaling transportation networks. This winter, now fully immersed in 128 BizTucson

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You can take risks here. You will probably make mistakes, but you’ll be encouraged as you go, and you will learn so much that you really can’t fail. – Maya

Encila Student The Gregory School

the concept, they are gathering with classmates and getting to work, armed with sticky notes and ingenuity. “They’re entering a new world,” said Michelle Berry, who teaches History

and AP U.S. Government and who believes in classrooms as “radical spaces of possibility.” As Lori Patton, English teacher and middle school director of student services, explained, “We’re not moving away from a focus on skills. We’re helping students to develop those skills in authentic learning experiences. We ask, ‘What’s the problem? What’s the plan for solving the problem?’ Then, ‘What do we need to learn?’ ” School administration, with support of the Board of Trustees, has focused on realigning resources to fit the model. More time is being built into teachers’ schedules for preparation, and students are being given more latitude to customize their academic track, set their priorities and monitor their progress. Teacher-student relationships are the bedrock of that kind of accountability, and it is furthered, students say, by two things – small class sizes of about 14 students per classroom, and the fact that teachers often double as athletic coaches and advisors. continued on page 131 >>> www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

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We’re not moving away from a focus on skills. We’re helping students to develop those skills in authentic learning experiences. – Lori

continued from page 128 Tenth-grader Victoria Ainza came to The Gregory School in sixth grade as a very shy student from a public school where there were 32 students in her fifth-grade classroom. It was all the teacher could do to manage all of them, she recalled. “My first day here, my teachers wanted to know things about me and wanted me to participate in class,” she said. “I was timid at first, but now I’m not. This school has changed me as a person. It made me realize who I want to be.” Students also have an opportunity to take their learning off campus, required to spend anywhere from 10 to 50 hours a year volunteering with a nonprofit, faith-based or political organization.

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Patton, English Teacher & Middle School Director of Student Services Eric Johnson, a confident 11th grader, learned how to recruit and manage volunteers while working for a nonprofit issue advocacy group that promoted gun violence prevention and health insurance enrollment. “We have a small community here, but it has shown us the value of building relationships with people and has taught us how to interact with adults,” said Johnson, who wants to study political science in college. Alice Bates, meanwhile, may be only in 10th grade, but she knows what a request-for-proposal is through her community service with a local nonprofit. She reviewed applications, performed site visits and had a hand in deciding grant awards.

Those are the types of stories that allow Latin teacher Carlson, a quarter of a century later, to still find magic in what he does. “There are great teachers all over this community, but it’s very hard to do some of these things when you have 35 kids in your classroom,” Carlson said. “We have the luxury of having this special combination of the right circumstances as well as the autonomy and encouragement to do the kind of interactive learning that engages the students and helps them find their passions.” Sometimes, all it takes is a quadricopter or an electric guitar to unlock them.

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We can truly get to know every child, figure out what their gifts and talents and fascinations are. We are committed to customizing the learning experiences that take advantage of those amazing gifts.

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– Julie Sherrill Head of School The Gregory School

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BizEDUCATION

An Amazingly Good Fit Head of School Committed to Customizing Student Learning By Rhonda Bodfield After Julie Sherrill came on board to lead The Gregory School in July 2013, she picked up on two consistent threads. She learned about the alumni who went on to impact the world in beautiful, varied and positive ways. And she repeatedly heard the name of one particular teacher and the stamp he made on the school – John Menke, a biology teacher who was hired in 1984 and retired in 2006. Sherrill had to meet him, even though he has since moved to California. And what she heard served as reinforcement, at a time when Sherrill – with the support of the Board of Trustees – is taking the school in new directions, with a new name and a deeper focus on interdisciplinary projects and applied learning. “What John described to me is exactly consistent with the continued direction in which we’re going. He said always make sure that the learning is adventuresome and make sure the students have fun.” He ran the kind of class in which students got their hands dirty. He would take them into the field – sometimes out of state and sometimes even internationally – to collect and analyze data and test hypotheses. “It was delightful to hear him talk about this because we are committed to customizing student learning while building on the rich history of this school in which children’s lives have truly been transformed,” she said. Sherrill holds a doctorate in Professional Development of Teachers from The Ohio State University. She was 10 years in as the principal of Sunrise Drive Elementary School in the Catawww.BizTucson.com

lina Foothills School District when she learned that The Gregory School might be looking for a new leader. With a background as a teacher, principal of a middle school, assistant principal of a high school, and director of constituent services at Ohio State, she had an extensive background in education – but none with independent schools. Before taking the position, Sherrill spent 18 months learning about what independent schools are all about. She traveled to schools that had comparable missions. She attended professional conferences. She did research. And she concluded it was “an amazingly good fit.” “The philosophy, by and large, is one of trying to educate the whole child – of course with a rigorous academic foundation, but also realizing the importance of character and citizenship and leadership and service to others,” Sherrill said. “The idea that I could live my capstone experience as an educational leader, with the autonomy to do what is right for young people and prepare them in the best way we could imagine for the world they’re being launched into, was just too good to pass up.” She rose to the top among 70 applicants in a national search facilitated by the Board of Trustees. And when an opportunity came along to build on the school’s technology programs, she approached it with the same diligence. She traveled to see renowned laboratories and programs. She brought in experts to serve on a local advisory committee, including astronaut Mark

Kelly; Mara Aspinall, former president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche Group; and Jeff Goldberg, dean of the University of Arizona College of Engineering. “Now we’re coming to a place where we really can make learning much more hands-on and authentic and applied, without taking away from any of the amazing work that has continued to position us as a well-respected school in the Tucson community,” Sherrill said. While her school’s foundation lies in preparing students for college, a pure focus on test scores does a disservice to schools and students, Sherrill said. “Whether you’re a public or independent school, it seems like the major focus in the media over the last five to 10 years is who is better than whom, and it seems they’re solely looking at just quantitative data to determine those measures,” she said. “It is giving short shrift to the complexity of what it means to be an educator.” For Sherrill, it means unlocking the code for all children, finding out what makes them tick and what their passions are. It’s the kind of responsibility that gives one pause. And it’s complicated, she said. “It’s like flying the plane while you’re building it. I feel so fortunate to have the support of a courageous Board of Trustees.” But a safe landing is about preparation, not luck. “The beauty of this place, because of our size and scale, is we can truly get to know every child, figure out what their gifts and talents and fascinations are. We are committed to customizing the learning experiences that take advantage of those amazing gifts.”

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

PHOTO: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

PHOTO: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

BizEDUCATION

The Gregory School

Fab Lab

Giving Shape to Imagination By Rhonda Bodfield Breathing life into innovation is no easy task. Imagine if artist Leonardo da Vinci had access to an advanced laboratory with high-tech equipment. Who knows? Maybe instead of living out eternity trapped on paper, his sketches would have rolled across the land as forerunners to tanks, and his flying machines would have taken to the sky as helicopters. Enter the concepts of Fab Labs – or fabrication laboratories – and makerspace, with roots grounded in the premise that providing spaces of creation, exploration and design will lead to deep learning and innovation. Fab Labs, the equivalent of shop class gone super high-tech, are the brainchild of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The idea of makerspace in its pur134 BizTucson

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est form, however, is less about hightech gadgetry – more like a collection of go-to, do-it-yourself materials like putty, pipe cleaners, tinfoil, cardboard, glue guns, motherboards, tape and foam board. Think of it as the kind of experience you had in kindergarten, only with the added sophistication of business applications. Together, the two can fuel powerful student-driven learning. The Gregory School, which has long coupled exploratory, hands-on learning with academic rigor, was the first school in Arizona to open an MIT-sanctioned Fab Lab in the fall of 2015. On one side of the lab, a team might collaborate on a model, shaping it out of rudimentary materials. On the other side, thanks to higher-tech equipment, from power tools to laser cutters and 3D printers, they bring prototypes to life.

One recent morning found 14-yearold Allen El building a Stirling engine using the school’s 3D printer to produce engine parts. He finds energy fascinating. “This space gives us the freedom to build whatever we think about,” the freshman said. “The teachers here are really supportive. You can try a lot of things and if it doesn’t work, you learn from it and try again.” That’s exactly the sentiment that encourages physics teacher Dennis Conner, who has a master’s degree in physics from the University of Arizona and has taught at the school for nine years. “Kids come here to learn and we’ve always been focused on feeding them in ways that make it fascinating,” he said. “But this is exciting because this is the direction education is moving. We have the opportunity to do this with our kids www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

PHOTO: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

This space gives us the freedom to build whatever we think about … if it doesn’t work, you learn from it and try again. – Allen

now, in a real-world setting, solving realworld problems.” The laboratory came to fruition as a result of a philanthropic donation from a couple who was impressed with the physics work they witnessed in Conner’s classroom. “The stars then began to align,” said Head of School Julie Sherrill, who brought together an advisory committee of high-powered leaders and undertook plenty of research, peppered with tours of existing models. As part of the MIT network of Fab Labs, students at The Gregory School will have access to resources and experts in the field. They also can collaborate with students and faculty in other labs across the world, sharing tips and best practices, and conceivably developing projects together. The connections are already happenwww.BizTucson.com

El, Freshman, The Gregory School

ing. The Gregory School in April will be one of a handful of American schools to participate in the International Physics Tournament at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Students essentially try to build safes that cannot be compromised, while working to “crack” the safes of other teams. The Gregory School students will have the perfect space to work the puzzle as the safe pieces begin to arrive. “While it began as a discrete project, it really now represents the future of the school – having a space where faculty and students can come and imagine and collaborate and develop prototypes,” Sherrill said. The concept of connecting students with “real-world” learning isn’t new – it’s a standard that has been embedded in teaching curriculum for generations. What gets educators jazzed about the Fab Lab, though, is that it not only de-

mands invention and engagement from students, it spurs collaboration and builds resilience in students as they perfect designs that may not initially perform to expectation. “There’s educational value in struggle,” Conner said. “The lab will allow us to build new skill sets. Because it will let us shrink time scales, we’ll have an opportunity to find out if something doesn’t work, then fix it in the model and try again. You really empower students with the ability to think a project through multiple times. “We hope students will go on to be better equipped and be proactive in solving challenges,” he said. “I think all of this is going to motivate students to tackle bigger problems and come up with solutions the community needs.”

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BizEDUCATION

The Gregory School

Difference Students Learn In and Out of the Classroom By Rhonda Bodfield

Interim Week Each semester, the school suspends classes for one week to allow time for each class to participate in leadership retreats, experiential learning and team building. This year, the juniors went to Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, with a trip designed to mesh with their science and English curriculum. Sophomores went to New Mexico. Freshmen went to the Grand Canyon. Even middle school participates. Fifth-graders stayed overnight at the Reid Park Zoo – parents invited – and the sixth grade went on an overnight to Catalina State Park. “It’s important to us that students have an opportunity to learn about the world together,” said Head of School Julie Sherrill. College counseling Few schools have a staff member dedicated entirely to working with students and families through the college admissions process. It starts in middle school,

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asking students to poke about and identify their own curiosities and strengths. Do they want to be veterinarians? That probably means math and science would be useful classes as they progress in school. Families also are encouraged to think through other ways of showing leadership and teamwork skills. “In this day and age, as the college admissions process has become more complex and competitive, a plethora of Advanced Placement classes and high SAT scores will not set you apart any longer,” Sherrill said. “Colleges are looking for wellrounded people who are interested in giving back to the world.” Senior internship All seniors are required to complete a 60-hour senior internship that, ideally, taps into their vision of their future. Those internships can be highly customized. One student, for example, who is interested in biomedical engineering, is working for a local company, designing protocols for medical devices. “We

have the autonomy, we have the scale and we have the talented faculty who are flexible and can deliver a customized education,” Sherrill said. “It’s not about whether you as a teacher love your specific academic subject area and everyone else should, too. It’s thinking through how you can give value to all students, no matter what their interests.” International students About 10 percent of The Gregory School student population comes from other parts of the world, including China, Costa Rica, Germany and Croatia. It’s part of the school’s commitment to a diverse student body. Adding to the international flavor of the school are optional travel opportunities to Italy, France, Costa Rica and more. The Gregory School is the only school in Southern Arizona accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. It is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Biz

PHOTOS: COURTESY THE GREGORY SCHOOL

The Gregory School has a rich history of embracing the philosophy of educating the whole child. That often means encouraging exploration, which is at the root of the features that make The Gregory School different:


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BizHONORS

2015 Tucson Man of the Year

Fletcher McCusker By Romi Carrell Wittman “It’s the kind of thing that if they’d asked me, I probably would have said no,” joked Fletcher McCusker, Greater Tucson Leadership’s 2015 Man of the Year. “It was humbling … I see it more as a recognition of the downtown village that I’ve come to be a part of.” A Tucson native and successful entrepreneur, McCusker has long been an advocate for the city, in particular the revitalization of Tucson’s downtown. Gabriela Cervantes, of AGM Container Controls, was McCusker’s mentee in the mentorship program of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council. She nominated him for the award. “Mr. McCusker has done so much for Tucson and is such a business success story that people forget about his humble beginnings,” she said. “He came from nothing and did so much with the opportunities that he was presented with. To me, that’s the real story about Mr. McCusker; that’s what I find most inspirational.” A graduate of the University of Arizona, McCusker founded Providence Service Corporation, a national leader in health-risk assessment and workforce development, and located its headquarters in Tucson’s downtown. He has since gone on to found and serve as CEO of Sinfonía HealthCare and its affiliate operations: Sinfonía Rx, Assurance HealthCare and Assurance Health & Wellness. McCusker gives generously of his time and resources to several local organizations and nonprofits, including Rio Nuevo, UA Eller College of Management, Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation, Tucson Metro Chamber, Arizona Theatre Company, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art, YMCA of Southern Arizona, Sun Corridor (formerly TREO) and the Downtown Partnership. But it’s arguably his contribution to the revitalization of downtown for which he’s most well-known. He is co-founder of 2nd Saturdays, the popular event in which downtown businesses stay open late to welcome residents. Live music, food and street vendors add to the fun and eclectic atmosphere. Appointed by the state legislature, he is also chairman of the Rio Nuevo board, a project that was initially plagued with controversy. Under his leadership, the Rio Nuevo project is now recognized nationally for transforming Tucson’s downtown. www.BizTucson.com

Mark Irvin, of Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Services, worked extensively with McCusker on the Rio Nuevo project. “To be blunt, if were not for him, I would have stepped away from Rio Nuevo a long time ago,” he said. “He has been a rainmaker, and this community is damn lucky to have him in our midst.” McCusker is a committed advocate for Tucson and has made a point of locating his multimillion dollar businesses in Tucson’s downtown. He also helped establish the National Institute of Civil Discourse and worked to have the future January 8 Memorial located downtown. This “skin in the game” approach has inspired other businesses to follow his lead and locate their businesses in the city’s center. The economic benefits from this are immeasurable. “He does not get paid for his efforts in our downtown and our community,” Irvin said. “Leadership takes guts, courage and vision. Fletcher has all of these things and more.” Cervantes said McCusker’s efforts help to make Tucson an appealing place to live for both current and prospective residents. A vital downtown helps attract new businesses and retain talent, two key ingredients necessary for Tucson to thrive both now and in the future. “When I was paired with him as part of the Emerging Leaders Council’s mentorship program, I was incredibly astounded with Mr. McCusker as a person,” she said. “He has truly come from humble beginnings, overcome great personal loss at a young age, and aimed to serve others as his life’s purpose. As someone who comes from a similar background, I thought, ‘If he can make it, I can make it.’ ” McCusker is quick to deflect the praise and give it to others. “It’s a group of passionate people who are local. When Rio Nuevo failed, we engaged ourselves into revitalizing downtown. It’s been a real pleasure to be involved with it. It’s more about ‘we’ than anything I may or may not have done personally. It’s the whole region that celebrates our success downtown.” Reflecting on the award, McCusker said, “My grandfather came to Tucson in 1930 to lay sidewalks downtown as part of the Works Progress Administration. For his grandson to be recognized two generations later is really an honor for me.”

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BizHONORS

2015 Tucson Woman of the Year

Rosey Koberlein By Romi Carrell Wittman Rosey Koberlein was a bit annoyed at the prospect of having a team photo shoot on a Monday morning, but she didn’t make a fuss about it. When she walked downstairs, however, she sensed this wasn’t an ordinary gathering for a photo. “There were far too many people in that room,” she said, laughing at the memory. When Suzanne McFarlin, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership, told her she’d been named the 2015 Woman of the Year, Koberlein was stunned. “I always have something to say, but I was flabbergasted.” As CEO of Long Companies since 2004, Koberlein has long been a visionary leader in Southern Arizona. It was during her tenure that Long Realty became Long Companies, a title change that reflects the organization’s expanded range of real estate services and products. Under her direction, Long Companies has become one of the largest real estate companies in Arizona and one of the top 50 in the United States. Koberlein’s dedication to philanthropy and charitable works also has been evident throughout her career. She established Long Realty Cares Foundation in 2002 and since its inception it has awarded $2.5 million to more than 180 nonprofit organizations in Southern Arizona. In addition, the foundation coordinates Long’s employee volunteers who have contributed countless hours in a variety of areas, all with the goal of making the community healthier and more economically viable. Betsy Bolding, a retired executive from Tucson Electric Power and a longtime community advocate, said of Koberlein: “Her community involvements are many and strategic, and she is recognized both locally and nationally for her expertise and vision.” Koberlein’s list of community works is long and includes the YWCA Southern Arizona, Tucson Airport Authority, Pima County Real Estate Research Council, Tucson Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors and Habitat for Humanity. “Rosey displays an uncanny ability to see opportunity,” said Jodi Horton, a local public relations executive. She points to Koberlein’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that builds homes for those in need. “She saw a need to provide for Habitat’s ongoing operational needs and, at the same time, alleviated a shortage of truly affordable building materials and home furnishings, and reduced trips to the landfill.” Under Koberlein’s leadership, Long Companies provided start-up funding for the HabiStore, a local retail storefront that accepts donations of and sells building materials and furnishings. All proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity. Michael McDonald, executive director of Habitat at the www.BizTucson.com

time the HabiStore was created, worked with Koberlein on the project. “If you want to get something done – and enjoy a process that is highly focused with high energy – get Rosey involved,” he said. “She’s got one of the sharpest minds I know, and one of the biggest hearts.” Koberlein is also a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, an organization that works to improve the region’s economy and the quality of life of its residents. Along with Steve Lynn and Donald Pitt, she co-chairs SALC’s P-20 Education Committee, which focuses on the betterment of the region’s educational system from early childhood education through college. “Because of her commitment to development of an educated workforce and to creating jobs in our community, Rosey serves as co-chair of SALC’s P-20 Education committee where she helps to set education policy priorities and engages with school district leaders and education advocacy groups,” said Ron Shoopman, president of SALC. “Rosey has a great passion for mentoring and supporting her large team of sales associates and takes great pride in their accomplishments.” “She’s brought tireless energy and support for Tucson Airport Authority and its mission to promote aviation and foster economic development for Southern Arizona,” said Bonnie A. Allin, TAA president and CEO. This past year, Koberlein was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona by Az Business and AZRE magazines, and was listed in the top 100 executives (and top 10 women) of the Swanepoel Power 200, a national ranking of the top leaders in the real estate industry. She was also recognized for her community contributions when she was named one of Tucson’s Women of Influence by Inside Tucson Business and to the YWCA Women on the Move. But the extent of her community involvement isn’t widely known, Lynn said. “While she has been recognized by her peers for outstanding work in the real estate field, her community work has been – until recently – under the radar,” he said. “Rosey is always there when asked to take a leadership role in a community project and she is able to balance her substantial work responsibilities with an impressive resume of community service.” When asked what the award means to her, Koberlein gives credit to the 950 real estate agents and staff that make up Long Companies. “We have a superb staff and that allows me to be involved in the community,” she said. “If the company was struggling, I wouldn’t be able to do this. It’s a great reflection on the company.” Above all, she said she is honored by the recognition. “I look at the other nominees,” she said, “and I’m like ‘Whoa.’ What a circle to be involved in.” Biz Winter 2016

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BizHONORS

2015 Tucson Founders Award Honoree

Clarence Dupnik By Romi Carrell Wittman

We often hear people touting the length of their careers – 25 years, 30 years and more. But few can hold a candle to retired Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s 57-year career in law enforcement. Despite that impressive figure, Dupnik was taken aback to learn he’d been selected to receive a 2015 Greater Tucson Leadership’s Founders Award. “To say I was shocked is an understatement,” he said. “I certainly had no idea why the committee selected someone like me. I’m very honored.” His modesty is typical. “He’s a very deserving, good man,” said Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos. “After giving 19 years of service to the citizens of Tucson as a member of the Tucson Police Department, most would think that was enough. Not Sheriff Dupnik. He continued to give and give and give.” Dupnik attended the University of Arizona and joined the Tucson Police Department in 1958, a position he held until he joined the Sheriff’s Department as chief deputy in 1977. He was appointed Pima County Sheriff in February 1980 and ran for election to the post in November of that same year. He was elected an incredible nine times to four-year terms as sheriff. He officially stepped down on July 31, 2015. Dupnik has no shortage of supporters, people who admire him for his work as sheriff as well as his personal philanthropic nature. Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall worked closely with Dupnik over the years. “There has always been an enormous amount of solidarity, collaboration and teamwork between the Sheriff’s Department and my office,” she said. “Simply put, we are in the business of law and order together. My respect for him is deep and abiding. He is a man of courage, conviction and character.” Among his many achievements was the establishment of the drug-prevention group Tucsonans for a Drug-Free Workplace, which evolved into Arizonans for a Drug-Free Workplace. Dupnik also organized the Sheriff Auxiliary Volunteers, a nationally recognized, award-winning crime-prevention program to train law-enforcement volunteers. There are now more than 200 SAV volunteers working in the Tucson, Green Valley and Ajo areas. Dupnik also worked tirelessly to forge alliances with local www.BizTucson.com

law enforcement and emergency personnel. This vision led to the cross-agency development of the Pima County Wireless Integrated Network, a communications system representing a quantum leap in technology and interoperability for the county’s law enforcement, fire service and public works communities. For the first time, local public safety and service organizations are united on a single state-of-the-art network. Seeing a need to address the correlation between mental health issues and violent criminal activity, the Mental Health Investigative Support Team was created under Dupnik’s direction. This program is designed so that individuals with mental health challenges receive necessary treatment and support. The Pima Regional SWAT team, the largest, most capable tactical team in the state of Arizona and the only FEMA Type 1 tactical team in the southern region of the United States, was also created under Dupnik’s leadership. It includes officers and medical personnel from seven Pima County public safety agencies who work together to resolve dangerous incidents. Dupnik also instituted the first Border Crime Unit to offer a mechanism for state and local law enforcement officials to cooperatively address the illegal human and drug trafficking trades. The Border Crime Unit grew from five deputies to a multiagency task force comprised of 18 deputies, Border Patrol agents and officers from the Department of Public Safety while becoming a national model for border crime task forces. Over Dupnik’s 38-year tenure, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department gained a reputation as one of the nation’s best due to Dupnik’s innovative and effective leadership. That style spilled over into all aspects of Dupnik’s life. “His contribution to the community went way beyond law enforcement,” Nanos said. “He was always giving of his time and money to nonprofits, churches, schools, the elderly and the young. Sheriff Dupnik continues to this day to give of himself, always putting the needs of others in front of his own.” “I’ve been involved in many different events and communities,” Dupnik said. “I had a chance to meet a lot of good people. It made it easier to do my job because they supported me and the Sheriff’s Department.” Dupnik added that he is humbled by the honor. “The men and women who have served with you have helped make that happen. I felt, basically, it was like a huge family.” Biz Winter 2016

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BizHONORS

2015 Tucson Founders Award Honoree

Bishop Gerald Kicanas By Romi Carrell Wittman Bishop Gerald Kicanas was in Rome when he got the news via Facetime. “It was a big surprise,” he said of the moment Suzanne McFarlin, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership, told him he’d been selected to receive a 2015 GTL Founders Award. “I’m very honored and very proud of our community.” The GTL Founders Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated significant long-term community involvement and accomplishment, and who has helped shape Southern Arizona in a positive way. Kicanas has been a fixture in Southern Arizona since 2001, when he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Tucson. He became Bishop of Tucson in 2003. Prior to coming to Tucson, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. He worked as an associate pastor and held various offices within the seminary system of the Archdiocese of Chicago, including rector, principal and Dean of Formation at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South and rector of Mundelein Seminary. Born in Chicago, Kicanas considers Tucson his adopted hometown. “I feel very much at home here,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Tucsonan and I want to keep doing the work that needs to be done.” Kicanas’ work is multifaceted. From human rights issues both at home and abroad, to improving the quality of life for the less fortunate, to acting as a leader and role model to his followers, Kicanas embodies the very definition of a GTL Founders Award recipient. Over the years, he’s dedicated himself to the Hispanic community and immigration reform. At the risk of alienating millions of Catholics, Kicanas testified on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Enforcement. He supports executive action on immigration because it would help more than 1 million people currently with illegal status and keep millions of families together. When hundreds of immigrant women and children apprehended in Texas were being flown to Tucson and dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in downtown Tucson, Kicanas recognized the urgency of the situation and mobilized humanitarian efforts to provide clothing and food. As a longtime board member and past chairman of the national Catholic Relief Services, Kicanas has worked with lowww.BizTucson.com

cal, national and international Catholic institutions and structures to promote human development. Kicanas has weathered controversy over the years. When he arrived in Tucson in 2001, the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was all over the news. Under Kicanas’ direction, the Tucson Diocese set precedent by drafting comprehensive policies regarding the handling of sexual abuse cases, now considered a national standard. Looking to find a humane way to handle the sexual abuse litigation and keep the diocese functional, Kicanas took an unprecedented step of having the diocese file for bankruptcy. This allowed the diocese to maintain day-to-day operations through the settlement process. Kicanas has continued to devote himself to stewarding the diocese, righting past wrongs and regaining the trust of the people in the Catholic Church. Steve Lynn, a retired Tucson Electric Power executive and one of the people who nominated Kicanas for the GTL Founders Award, said Kicanas is an easygoing leader more comfortable digging into policy papers than basking in the spotlight. He addresses problems by first listening to what people need, then developing a solution. “You cannot be in his presence and not feel the humility and caring of the man. You cannot engage him in conversation and come away feeling down or disheartened. Why? Because he is one of the most positive, optimistic and gentle souls you will ever meet,” Lynn said. Jannie Cox, retired CEO of Carondelet Foundation, said she’s known Kicanas for many years and has seen the positive effect he’s had on the community. “I can attest to his leadership and his commitment to a vibrant, prosperous and peaceful community,” she said. Kicanas’ work is not yet done, nor will it likely ever be truly complete. The next issue Kicanas would like to address is the revitalization of Cathedral Square, which has fallen into disrepair. “It’s currently a blight and embarrassment to the diocese,” Kicanas said. He wants to see it restored to its former glory and provide a focal point for the downtown area and an opportunity for people to take pride in their city. When asked how it felt to be named a Founders Award recipient, Kicanas deflected much of the credit to those around him. “There are many people who contribute significantly. This award is a tribute to them,” he said.

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BizENTREPRENEURS

Over the past five years, 93 percent of our dollars have stayed within the state of Arizona. – Chris Gunn Desert Angels Chairman

Angels Rising

Tucson Investors No. 3 in Country, But Loss of Tax Credit Jeopardizes Future Arizona Investments By Larry Copenhaver Desert Angels, a Tucson-based nonprofit investment group, is the third-most active angel group in the nation in the latest rankings. The No. 3 ranking for 2014 elevates Desert Angels above angel groups in California, Texas and New York. But, with a state tax credit for Arizona investments having run out, there are some doubts the Desert Angels can stay near the top. Desert Angel Chairman Curtis Gunn has led the group for more than five years and also serves on the board of the Angel Capital Association – a national trade organization that helps angel groups. ACA comprises 220 angel groups representing 12,000 individual investors. There are other angel groups, perhaps up to 200 or more in the nation that are not members of ACA, Gunn said. “The growth of the Desert Angels has been tremendous, and we are honored to be recognized as one of the leading groups in the country, but we are not exclusive to Tucson,” 148 BizTucson

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Gunn said. “We have done deals as far away as Boston and Seattle, but over the past five years, 93 percent of our dollars have stayed within the state of Arizona.” The Angel Resource Institute released the 2014 annual ranking as part of the its quarterly Halo Report. The survey’s sponsor, PitchBook, provides private equity and venture capital communities high-quality, in-depth data so they are better prepared to make investing decisions. PitchBook is based in Seattle. The Desert Angels’ 98 members focus funding activity on early-stage technology and life sciences companies in Arizona. Members invested more than $6.8 million in 32 companies in 2014. Both numbers are the largest since the group’s inception in 2000, and up more than 25 percent from 2013. And that’s a good thing, said inventor and entrepreneur Tarek Makansi, founder and chief technology officer of startup Tempronics, which has developed a technology to cool seats www.BizTucson.com


in automobiles. “Tempronics is commercializing solid-state heating and cooling technology for automotive manufacturers to put into car seats,” Makansi said. “It does not replace the car’s compressor in the air conditioning system. The cooling goes into the seat and cools you, and that takes 35 to 40 percent of the load off a car’s air conditioning system. That was measured by the U.S. Department of Energy. “We are meeting daily with car manufacturers, and we are seeing very strong interest in our product,” Makansi said. “I consider Desert Angels a very active group. They have been absolutely essential to our success.” The high number of investment opportunities the Angels see can be linked to the University of Arizona, Gunn said. “UA is one of many important links for Desert Angels,” Gunn said. “We get a good deal of flow out of the University of Arizona, which is a good driver of new ideas, new prospects and new companies. The money that comes in to help fund the research to create or discover the ideas is vitally important,” he explained. “So far in 2015, we have done 19 investments worth just under $3.5 million. We are on track to perhaps $32 million for the year. I don’t know if we will get there this year, but we will be close.” Meanwhile, an obstacle has developed that might affect future investment plans for budding Arizona companies, Gunn said. “In 2006, the Arizona Legislature created the Arizona Angel

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Tax Credit,” Gunn said. “You have to understand, that what we do in the Angels is very risky investing. At least half the companies we invest in fail, and we lose our money so we created portfolio companies where the winners pay for the portfolio.” In 2006 the legislature put $20 million into a pool, but those credits ran out in June, he said. So the Angel tax credits that applied to investments in Arizona no longer exist. Gunn said he believes that will have a significant deleterious effect on early-stage investing in Arizona. “I don’t know where our new governor stands on this, but it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Gunn said. “Without the credits, investors will be more likely to take their program to other states.” That loss might be felt across the region. The tax credits are very important, Gunn said. “The Desert Angels is an extraordinary group of community leaders who have all been successful in their own business endeavors,” said Jeffrey Jacob, CEO of the startup group Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals. “They care deeply about Tucson and are extremely supportive of small companies like ours. We were incubated out of the University of Arizona six years ago, and they’ve participated every step of the way. Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals is fortunate to have investment specialist from Desert Angels, Jacob said. “They are more than investors; they are trusted advisers, sounding boards and good friends.”

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BizSPORTS

Jesper Parnevik

Fred Couples

Golf Buzz Is Back PGA Event Rekindles the ‘Old Days’ By Steve Rivera Familiar faces from the PGA Tour made a triumphant return to Tucson last year, bringing with them a flair that proved the fans here still thirst for good professional golf. After what was widely considered a huge success by organizers and the golfers themselves, the Tucson Conquistadores Classic is back this March, bringing with it golfers from the storied history of professional golf in Tucson. The PGA Champions Tour event replaced the WGC Accenture Match Play, which had a six-year run as one of the top events on the main tour before moving to California for the 2015 season. As golfer David Frost said, last year’s event had the feel of the old days. Good vibes and good times – the players felt them, as did the more than 50,000 fans who showed up at Omni Tucson National Resort to watch the tournament. Fred Couples, the 150 BizTucson

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1992 Masters champion, called it a “phenomenal event,” adding “it was one of the best events on the Champions Tour.” PGA officials were happy, too, saying Tucson fans “really delivered … creating a unique and memorable atmosphere.” “The Tour was pleased to maintain a presence in Tucson, and it was evident by the large galleries the week of the Tucson Conquistadores Classic that the fans agreed as well,” said Mark Williams, director of communications for the Champions Tour. “The tournament is back for the second year of a threeyear contract to give Southern Arizona golf fans a view of 81 of the world’s best senior golfers as they compete for $1.7 million and the winner’s share of 255 Charles Schwab Cup points.” The no-cut format features three days of competition March 18-20 (Friday through Sunday), with players particiwww.BizTucson.com


The Tour was pleased to maintain a presence in Tucson, and it was evident by the large galleries that the fans agreed as well.

PHOTOS: 2015 CHRIS CONDON/PGA TOUR

– Mark Williams Director of Communications PGA Champions Tour

pating in pro-am events on Wednesday and Thursday. “We believe it will be even better in 2016,” said Judy McDermott, executive director of the Tucson Conquistadores. “Obviously, we’ve got one under our belt and had everything established and have had time to make it bigger and better.” She anticipates bigger crowds because of the success of last year. “All of the credit goes to the Tucson Conquistadores for keeping professional golf alive and well in Tucson,” said Brent DeRaad, president & CEO of Visit Tucson. “Those who attended really seemed to enjoy watching Champions Tour players like Fred Couples, Davis Love III and Tom Lehman, who were top PGA Tour players for many years.” A highlight of the entire week was perhaps the pairings party where more than 50 pros attended and mingled with fans. “I had a surreal experience at the pro-am pairings party when I turned around in the buffet line and Tom Watson was standing patiently behind me,” DeRaad said. “The Champions Tour players are very down to earth, affable and approachable.” The one thing lacking to make it an even bigger event is a title sponsor. McDermott said the Conquistadores are on a continued search for a title sponsor and as of early winter have “five warm candidates.” “We have everything else,” said McDermott, who has been part of more than 20 PGA events in Tucson. “It’s a great event, but we haven’t found the right CEO to say ‘yes’ yet.” Because of its fundraising efforts – and last season’s success – the Conquistadores gave away about $500,000 to charities. “Our goal is a lot more, but we can’t without a title sponsor,” McDermott said. In more than 50 years of existence, the Conquistadores have raised more than $30 million for local charities. DeRaad said the Tucson area gets other benefits as well, but to what scale is undetermined in part because no economic impact study has been done. Still, the exposure Tucson receives is immeasurable. “Tucson benefited significantly from the Golf Channel’s coverage,” he said. “We at Visit Tucson marketed Tucson as a golf and vacation destination through commercials that aired during the event’s live and replay coverage. The Golf Channel also allowed us to tape a Tucson welcome message that aired, while the commentators mentioned that Tucson is an outstanding golf destination.”

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BizRETAIL

Premium Outlets Boost Marana’s Economy More Revenue, Jobs, Choices for Tourists By Mary Minor Davis It was a grand affair when Tucson Premium Outlets opened to the public on Oct. 1. Music, fanfare and, of course, shopping specials greeted the public as they arrived for the muchanticipated center’s opening. The outlet mall built by Simon Property Group of Indiana represents the company’s Arizona expansion to the south, following Phoenix Premium Outlets and Arizona Mills in Maricopa County. Simon retail properties offer a high-end outlet shopping experience – with luxury and designer outlets that include product lines Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Luxury Beauty Store, to name a few. The company is an S&P100 company and is considered a global leader in retail real estate ownership and premium shopping experiences, according to Rich McKeown, GM of the Tucson center. “Our site research indicated that the total population in areas surrounding our Tucson location has increased over the past 15 years, as have the average and median household in152 BizTucson

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comes,” McKeown said about the decision to locate in Marana. “The data also suggests the trend will continue in the coming years. The promise of a healthy Marana market and the gap for a dynamic retail offering were two of our reasons for choosing the location.” McKeown added that the area’s growing tourism industry was also a factor. The retail center offers 366,000 square feet of commercial space, with a hotel and auto mall planned for the 170-acre site. On opening day, 60 retailers had moved in, and since then four stores have been added with another seven slated to open in early 2016. “Plus others we’re not quite ready to talk about,” McKeown said. Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said he expects the center to be a companion draw for The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain resort. “The center really complements The Ritz-Carlton market as a shopping destination,” he said. “It’s a real boon for Marana to have these two reputable brands.” www.BizTucson.com


The addition of the Premium Outlets is a complementary amenity – as vacation and shopping go hand-in-hand.

– Michael Aylmer Director of Sales & Marketing The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Toby Parks, tourism and marketing director for Discover Marana, the town’s destination marketing department, said the presence of both The Ritz-Carlton and Tucson Premium Outlets expands the local and national awareness of Marana as a resort destination. “As these organizations make more and more announcements, it helps boost their presence here, which in turn raises the awareness of the quality of offerings that Marana has,” Parks said. McKeown added, “Simon’s investment in the area has allowed us a unique opportunity to develop a center unlike anything else available in the market, featuring the very best of national and local retailers and restaurants. We are confident Tucson Premium Outlets is a welcome addition to the area’s many attractions, and we are currently working closely with The Ritz-Carlton and other local businesses to complement our guests’ first-class experience.” Michael Aylmer, director of sales and marketing for The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, said the resort is promoting this shopping opportunity to their guests. “The outlets offer our guests an additional amenity to enjoy during their stay. We have already spotted shopping bags from the outlet stores on our guestroom bell carts,” Aylmer said. “The addition of the Premium Outlets is a complementary amenity – as vacation and shopping go hand-in-hand.” Tucson Premium Outlets also represents a boost to the town’s sales tax coffers. Marana Mayor Ed Honea said town staff worked with Simon and its construction team to fast-track the project. “We were able to work together and produce a project that would normally take three years and finish it in a year and half,” he said. “We recognized that the sooner they open, the sooner everyone can make money.” According to projections provided by Marana Finance Director Erik Montague, the center will generate more than $1.2 million in sales tax revenue in the current fiscal year, then nearly $2 million in its first full year of operation in fiscal year 2017. The independent analysis only includes revenue based on projected retail sales and does not take into account for the planned hotel or auto mall. McKeown said the center initially had a positive economic impact on the region, creating from 800 to 1,000 construction jobs. “Now that we are open, Tucson Premium Outlets also provides more than 800 full-time, part-time and seasonal positions. More jobs will come as more retailers confirm opening plans.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Grant and Michelle Senner

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Photo taken at The University of Arizona BIO5 Institute

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BizMEDICINE

Precision Medicine

Senner Endowment Funds Genetics Research By Mary Minor Davis Grant and Michelle Senner believe that genetics do not have to define a person’s health outcomes. They are so committed to that belief that the two University of Arizona alumni started an endowment at the UA Health Sciences Center to support the new precision health program based in the Center for Applied Genetics & Genomic Medicine. The Senner Endowment for Precision Health, founded in 2014 with an initial gift of $280,000, has already supported a number of areas for the center. This year, through additional contributions by the Senners as well as a match from other donors, the fund has grown to nearly $400,000. “We wanted to start with a healthy foundation,” said Michelle. “This is a large-scale commitment to innovation, and with the private sector working together with the university, so much more can be done. It’s so important that academic institutions have those strategic partnerships. They can invent the cool stuff – but they can’t always do something with it.” Precision health – or precision medicine as it is sometimes called – uses genetic profiles to guide decisions about diagnosis, prediction, treatment and prevention of disease for individuals. It can also build on that data to define larger community models and identify health trends. “It goes well beyond the genetic,” Grant explains. “It’s a much more personal approach that looks at behaviors that, based on individual risk factors, can ultimately lead to optimal health.” Grant first learned of precision medicine at the UA where he earned his bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology in 1997. He went on to earn his MD in 2004 from the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, but chose www.BizTucson.com

to forge a career path as a physician executive and not go into clinical practice. He currently serves as part of the leadership team at Phoenix-based Amnio Technology. While at school, Grant met Michelle, a graduate student at the Eller College of Management earning her master’s degree in management information systems and marketing. A Tucson native and daughter of Truly Nolen, she currently works as the director of marketing in the family-owned company. Introduced by mutual friends, the two hit it off and were engaged within six months. Ten years later, the Senners share a passion for wanting to make a difference in the health and well-being of their community, and they always knew they would give back to the university that had given them so much – including each other. When the UAHS released its new strategic plan that included precision health as an area of focus, both agreed that supporting the program would give them an opportunity to do both. “That was really the spark for us, our call to action,” Grant says, adding that the university’s leadership at the top and within the UAHS sealed the deal. Although precision medicine has been around for more than 20 years, Grant says it’s just now beginning to translate from research to bedside practice. Many universities around the nation recognize the need to update curricula to address the practice, but progress at the academic level is slow. “Population health management as a clinical discipline will drive medical delivery into the next decade and beyond,” he said. “We are in a health delivery system now unlike anything we’ve seen previously. This is not evolutionary

– it’s revolutionary.” From Michelle’s perspective, what she likes about precision medicine’s approach is the accountability it gives to individuals. They know more about their health, and thus can adjust behaviors to avoid medical crises. “Developing new habits is such a big part of this,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about going from a sickness model to a healthy model. Precision medicine allows you to know the behaviors you need to adopt, and helps create a supportive environment around you. It forces all of us to ask, ‘What are you doing to take care of yourself ?’ And how do you own that so that you live healthier?” Grant says they already have started to see the fruits of the endowment at the genetics center, including the addition of faculty to expand the curriculum and the purchase of capital equipment to provide research facilities and resources. There already are research projects underway that “seek to elicit functional mechanisms of precision health, and their impact on population-based programs,” he said. Recently, the UAHS announced a clinical partnership with Banner Health that will inject further resources into expanding and enhancing the academic programs. “It’s been our privilege to be more hands on with the management of the endowment, which is unusual,” Grant said. “We take a personal vested interest in what the work can look like. We are fortunate that our careers have allowed us to give back to our community in such an important way. This is intended to be a sustainable commitment for us personally.”

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BizBRIEF

BCBSAZ, Tucson Metro Chamber Team to Help Employers with Healthcare Options Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Tucson Metro Chamber have combined forces to help employers with health insurance needs for their workers. Together the organizations will assist Chamber members to find affordable medical coverage for employees while meeting their budget and business goals. Employers will have more than 20 plan options with different benefit offerings and deductible levels to secure affordable healthcare options for their workers. “We hope all small business investors in the Chamber will consider plans from BCBSAZ when making company

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health insurance decisions,” said Mike Varney, president and CEO of Tucson Metro Chamber. Small business owners have made it clear that access to quality, affordable health insurance for their employees is one of their greatest challenges. Through this arrangement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, business owners can provide options that offer good choices, access to a large network of healthcare providers, affordable rates and Web-based access to information, according to a news release. BCBSAZ, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is an Arizona-based health in-

surance company. The nonprofit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.4 million individuals. With offices in Tucson, Phoenix, the East Valley and Flagstaff, the company employs more than 1,400 Arizonans. Mike Tilton, BCBSAZ’s VP of sales, said as a local company, BCBSAZ understands what Arizona businesses are looking for in a competitive benefits package. “Offering affordable insurance is a driver for retaining talent,” Tilton said. “Working with the Chamber, we are able to help more employers find plans that will meet their employees’ needs.”

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Laser Accuracy Darling Geomatics Specializes in 3D Scanning, Surveying

It’s hard to imagine life without lasers, especially if you’re Mary E. Darling, CEO and principal owner of Darling Geomatics, located at the University of Arizona Tech Park. Lasers are a tool for a multitude of applications – including reading disc drives or digital discs, powering barcode scanners, performing robotic surgery, entertaining with light shows, and measuring an object’s shape, speed and distance. The latter might be the closest use for Darling, whose company uses the high-tech application of laser for 3D scanning and high-definition surveying. “Darling Geomatics is unique in that we perform 3D laser scanning and 3D modeling,” said Darling, whose company employs a dozen technicians and scientists. “We are the only company in Southern Arizona doing this. We have more scanners and more people with these qualifications than any other company in Arizona. “In 3D scanning, we provide information on every square inch of a building or topography where other surveyors get a measurement every foot or even every 10 feet or 100 feet. So we have accurate data that is accurate down to the inch.” For example, in a recent project, conventional examination did not explain exactly the lowest spot in a building where there was a subsidence issue. “But we found it,” she said. In another subsidence project, Darling Geomatics mapped the floor down to a quarter of an inch of elevation to show the client where the low spots were so they could determine where to dig to find out what was going on underneath the floor to cause the settlement. Darling Geomatics also did the 3D scanning of the Arizona Stadium addition, she said. “Geomatics saved the UA 158 BizTucson

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a lot of time and money because the 3D scanning sped up construction. “We also did the ‘as-builts’ in full-color 3D of the recent Old Main project. That allowed the architects and engineers to simultaneously redesign. They both had the same computer model, and the color helped them preserve the historical aspects.” “Laser scanning, which is what we hired them to do, is a very specialized service,” said Kurt Wadlington, the now-retired senior project director for Sundt, the job’s general contractor. “Old Main was the perfect use of that because we had virtually no as-builts when we started. Since we were the design/builder, we had the obligation to make sure the designers we hired had reasonably accurate drawings to design off of – so we had Darling do that during the proposal phase and it actually helped us win that project.” Darling Geomatics converted the laser scan to what is called a “point cloud,” which is millions of points of data so dense it almost looks like a picture. Then they converted that point cloud into a 3D building information model, commonly referred to by the acronym BIM, that the architects and engineers used in 3D as-built drawings of the building that dates to 1891. “Otherwise, we would have had to have the architects literally go out there with tape measures and cameras, and spend months trying to create documentation to design – and even then we wouldn’t have something nearly as accurate as we got from the laser scan,” Wadlington said. Having accurate and reliable as-builts was an immense advantage and saved a great deal of time and money, he said. “Laser scanning represents about 40 percent of our business, but we are

trying to make it the number one portion of our work,” said Darling, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences from Cal State, Sacramento, and a law degree from McGeorge School of Law, also in Sacramento. “Surveying makes up about half our work and deals with land surveying of property boundaries, construction staking and real estate projects where right-of-ways and boundaries are to be located,” Darling said. “We also do environment permitting, dealing with threatened and endangered species. That makes up about 10 percent of the business.” Darling Geomatics uses 3D scanning for archeological surveys, which better records data compared with sketching or photographing a site. “I started the business as an environmental consultant in Tucson in 1997 in our house,” Darling said. Her husband, Richard Darling – now president of Darling Geomatics – was working for another company, but after two years they joined forces and formed Darling Environmental and Surveying. After a couple of moves, the company set up shop at the UA Tech Park in 2008, a location that Mary Darling said is cherished. Then a few years ago, to reflect the high-technology aspect of the company’s work, the name was changed to Darling Geomatics. “We thrive on being at Tech Park because we are around companies such as Raytheon, IBM and other hightech companies,” she said. “Tech Park people make us feel like family. They are interested in our success, and they have introduced us to a wide variety of businesses and contacts. They want us to succeed.”

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IMAGES: COURTESY DARLING GEOMETRICS

By Larry Copenhaver


Scanning McKale

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Model of McKale

Old Main ITBâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;NAVIS

Old Main Attic Model

Mary E. Darling CEO Darling Geomatics

Biosphere Comparison

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BizTECHNOLOGY

Matt Hawkins

Photo taken at Tucson Medical Center

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

President Sunquest Information Systems


Quest to Invest

Sunquest & Hawkins Set Sights on Growth By Jay Gonzales When the opportunity arrived for Matt Hawkins to take the reins at Sunquest Information Systems, he wasn’t looking for a caretaker job on the way to another merger or acquisition. Hawkins had just wrapped up a merger at his previous company, Vitera Healthcare Solutions of Tampa, Fla., and he was looking to lead a company that had its sights set on growth and sticking around for awhile. Harvard-educated and a veteran of the healthcare software industry, Hawkins, as Vitera’s CEO, led the company through a 2013 merger with SuccessEHS Solutions and Greenway Medical Technologies resulting in a company called Greenway Health. “I started to look for what to do next and I started looking at different companies,” Hawkins said. “I knew quite a bit about Sunquest and knew it was a great company. But I knew it from a distance. I didn’t know it up close.” Sunquest has been through its own series of acquisitions since it was founded in Tucson by Dr. Sidney Goldblatt. In the latest acquisition in 2012, Roper Technologies, out of Sarasota, Fla., acquired Sunquest for $1.4 billion. Roper is an $8.4 billion company according to its 2014 annual report. “I wanted to focus on healthcare technology,” Hawkins said, recalling his thought process as he looked for his next opportunity. “As I started to really engage in dialogue with Roper, they shared with me their vision and how excited they were to buy Sunquest – and not just buy it and expect to sell it, but buy it, build it, continue to invest in it, grow it. That’s what got me excited. “So we really looked in earnest about www.BizTucson.com

moving to Tucson,” he said. “My core belief is that to be an effective leader in a business, you actually have to really be engaged at the headquarters of the company. You can’t be one of those folks that flies in a couple of days a week and flies back. So we made the commitment to come to Tucson.” Hawkins did most of his growing up in Utah and did his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University, so he had some connections to the West. But he hadn’t spent any significant time in Tucson when he arrived with his wife and four kids in May of 2014.

We value people who don’t give up on the first try, who are curious and stay on a task or a problem until we solve it.

Matt Hawkins President Sunquest Information Systems –

“We’re brand new to Arizona,” he said. “Given the fact I’ve lived in different places, I wanted to know about the quality of the business infrastructure. We wanted to know about the quality of the companies here, the quality of the community. And on a personal level we wanted to know about the quality of

the schools, the quality of family-type activities.” So far… “We just love Tucson,” he said. “This is a great place to raise a family. People are so friendly. Tucson is a hidden gem. Maybe that’s by design. I don’t know yet.” On the business side, Sunquest and Roper together are following through on what Hawkins was told when he took the president’s job. On Oct. 26, Roper and Sunquest announced Roper’s agreements to acquire CliniSys Group, one of the largest European suppliers of laboratory information management systems, and Atlas Medical, a leading provider of clinical process and connectivity solutions in the U.S. In a news release, Roper officials said, “These acquisitions, combined with Sunquest and Data Innovations, expand Roper’s portfolio of companies focused on diagnostic solutions excellence even further, creating a unique breadth of capabilities that support clinical testing processes and connectivity to systems, instruments and providers across the world.” Hawkins contends that the next 10 years in the healthcare industry will be defined by vast improvements in understanding the human genome and the development of technology to use that knowledge to improve healthcare in the United States and internationally. He said companies like Sunquest, whose mission is to develop that technology, are poised for huge success if they accept the challenge, open their minds and understand their job is to continued on page 162 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 161


BizTECHNOLOGY

continued from page 161

Sunquest Relocating to Former MDA Building By Jay Gonzales In a move it calls an “investment in our employees,” Sunquest Information Systems will relocate its headquarters to the former Muscular Dystrophy Association building in the Catalina foothills, the company announced. Sunquest currently is headquartered at 250 S. Williams Blvd., in the Williams Centre office complex on East Broadway between Craycroft Road and Rosemont Avenue. The company will lease the foothills facility and will be the only occupant. Sunquest has about 700 employees worldwide, with about 350 in Tucson. All of the Tucson employees will move to the new site. The company anticipates a move-in date of fall 2016. Sunquest President and CEO Matthew Hawkins said that in addition to showing its investment in its employees, moving to the building also demonstrates the company’s commitment to Tucson. “Our employees are our greatest asset and they are dedicated to Sunquest’s mission to make healthcare smarter and patients safer,” Hawkins said. “Selecting the office as our corporate headquarters is an investment in our employees and our performance-oriented culture. “It is also an investment in Tucson as the place that Sunquest will call home for years to come. We will create a setting where our employees and clients will find the inspiration to innovate and collaborate.” The 83,000 square-foot building at 3300 E. Sunrise Drive was sold for $9.1 million to Sunrise Campbell Investors, a partnership of Larsen Baker, in 2014 after the MDA decided to move its headquarters to Chicago, ending 22 years in Tucson. The building opened in 1992. “The decision to buy this building was based on our faith in Tucson,” said Don Baker, principal at Larsen Baker. “Our city can compete for world-class, hightech companies, and this building is a world-class, high-tech office, right here in Tucson. We knew we would find a great tenant for it.” In announcing the move, Sunquest said it selected the building “for its iconic design, open floor plan and dramatic views of Tucson’s high desert landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows. The building’s aesthetics will foster employee collaboration and innovation, as well as become an inviting environment to host Sunquest’s international clientele.” Sunquest provides diagnostic and laboratory information systems to more than 1,700 laboratories around the world. The company has been headquartered in Tucson since it was founded in 1979. It also has offices in the United Kingdom and India.

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innovate and compete in a highly competitive industry that is built on “making healthcare smarter and patients safer.” To that end, Sunquest relies on its employees to understand that what they do is help people. “At the core, software businesses are people businesses,” Hawkins said. “Software businesses are not businesses that rely on conveyor belts and fancy robotics to produce our products. We don’t rely on fleets of planes and ships and trucks to move our equipment, and stores to sell our solutions. “We value people who don’t give up on the first try, who are curious and stay on a task or a problem until we solve it. We think work and fun should never be mutually exclusive. We value agility and the ability to empower our people to take risks and to take action and move quickly to address opportunity.” Being in Tucson, finding the right people for Sunquest’s mission is part of the challenge for Hawkins. With Arizona consistently receiving low marks for its education system, Sunquest, like other companies in Tucson, relies on a local and highly educated workforce as the company grows. “There’s a real opportunity in Tucson,” Hawkins said. “There are some biomedical companies here that are phenomenal. Look at Ventana (Medical Systems) up the road. Look at Cord Blood Registry up the road. Look at Sunquest. We are contributors to this national and international movement for improving healthcare. “But to attract people to Tucson who are willing to move here and pay taxes and contribute to the local economy, you also have to have good schools. You have to have good infrastructure. Since coming here, I’ve relocated three or four executives to Tucson as well. And I can tell you the first thing they ask me is, ‘How is the education here for kids?’ “I think there’s a real desire to keep Tucson that special place that’s naturalistic in many ways. I think you can do all that and still make investments in infrastructure and in education. I think people will be pleasantly surprised at the ability to stay authentic but to also create jobs. That can do nothing but make Tucson an even better place.”

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BizBRIEFS

Morehouse Named Senior VP/CMO for Banner Health Alexandra Morehouse has been appointed senior VP and chief marketing officer for Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems. Banner Health runs the University of Arizona BannerUniversity Medical Center Tucson, Banner-University Medical Center South and other healthcare outlets previously run by the University of Arizona Health Network. Prior to joining Banner, Morehouse served as customer and brand evangelist for the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan in California. Morehouse previously spent 11 years at the American Automobile Association as chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer. Prior to her role at AAA, she served as chief marketing information officer at Charles Schwab.

Biz

Ollankik Joins Sundt Construction as Project Executive David Ollanik has joined Sundt Construction as the company’s newest project executive. Ollanik will assist with principal leadership in business development, proposals, presentations, preconstruction and contract negotiations. Ollanik has more than 30 years of construction experience working in the Tucson and Southern Arizona market specializing in commercial, industrial and municipal construction. With offices in Tempe and Tucson, Sundt is ranked as the 75th largest construction company in the United States by ENR, the industry’s principal trade magazine.

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizENTREPRENEURS

Vincent Mast & Scott Cassell Co-Owners, RoadHouse Cinemas

Movies + Food + Recliners Tucson Friends Add Menu, Bar and Comfort to Theater Experience By Chuck Graham Some ideas are just out there in the air, floating on the breeze like the scent of money, or the smell of sweet success. Like the concept of “brew ‘n’ view,” basically an industry term for serving beer in a movie theater. Then along comes another idea, to replace all those traditionally straight-up movie theater seats with expansive, leather upholstered recliners complete with cup holders. It would be 164 BizTucson

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like watching movies at home. But bigger. For Scott Cassell and Vincent Mast, two Tucson friends always with their noses in the air for a new business opportunity, this confluence of coincidence became a perfect storm that looked like swirling clouds of cash. That was back around 2009-2010. “We did a lot of research on brew ‘n’ views. Visited several,” www.BizTucson.com


The strongest demographic we have is 30 to 60. They appreciate how our recliner seats are so comfortable. – Vincent Mast Founding Partner RoadHouse Cinemas

Cassell said. “Saw how they were catching on big in California and Texas. And in Oregon.” Keeping one eye on their business plan and the other eye on new ways to keep audiences watching movies instead of their smartphones, Cassell and Mast found two more partners. The quartet put together a reported $2 million budget for their own Southwestern version of a brew ‘n’ view, then bought and completely remodeled the second-run Grand Cinemas Crossroads 6 theater in the Crossroads Festival shopping center. On Oct. 3, 2014, they opened RoadHouse Cinemas – six screens offering a complete menu and full-service bar, with servers bringing everything right to your table-equipped sumptuous leather recliner as the movie plays. But this is not a story about two guys sketching out their dreams on a cocktail napkin. They had the chops to design a business plan with muscle. Cassell began his movie-managing career at Tucson’s Valencia Vista theater in 1986. By 1998 he was a founding partner for the city’s Grand Cinemas. As the next decade passed he was catching the fever for a new venture. Wouldn’t you know it, Mast during that same period was designing and opening restaurants. In 1995 he scored with Suite 102 at 5350 E. Broadway. His 30 years of experience (and winning two Silver Spoon awards) includes designing four other restaurant concepts from scratch and being a team member developing Sir Veza’s Taco Garage. Josh Snider is one of the additional partners. The other wishes to remain a silent partner. In the year since opening their doors, the partners have seen success. “The strongest demographic we have is 30 to 60,” Mast said. “They appreciate how our recliner seats are so comfortable.” “We’re very thankful Tucson has embraced us,” Cassell said. “We’re thankful our investors believed in us,” Mast said. While conventional movie houses make about half their income from tickets and the other half from the concession stand, Cassell and Mast say two-thirds of their revenue continued on page 166 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BizENTREPRENEURS continued from page 165 comes from food because of their extensive offerings. “Gina Durocher worked on our restaurant menu for a couple of years,” said Mast, definitely a detail man. “About 80 percent of the items are under $10.” Tickets for a movie are “a little under $10” during the week and “a little over $10” on the weekends. “We don’t want people just coming once in a while on special occasions,” Mast said. “We want them to be regulars.” The truth is, RoadHouse Cinemas is as much a restaurant as it is a movie theater. Each runs independently of the other. In what used to be the Crossroads 6 theater lobby, Mast has designed and built a full-service establishment with commodious table seating and a lengthy bar. They call it The ’Stache (as in mustache), a wood-and-wrought-iron place full of Victorian-styled Gay Nineties atmosphere with four large TV screens facing the bar, and a massive handlebar mustache on the canopy overhead. “I like to think we are the prettiest sports bar in town,” Mast said proudly. The ’Stache quickly became a popular spot for lunch, too, along with regular happy hours. Lots of daily specials are listed on the website, roadhousecinemas.com. But the real secret weapon, the X-factor responsible for all that RoadHouse success, Mast and Cassell agree, is their choice of the recliner seats that fill each theater. They are designed so the foot rest rises first, then the back begins to recline. That way you can sit fairly straight up – best for eating – but have your feet straight out in front. It’s the magic position, they say. “Every year we would go to the CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas and look at the recliners,” Mast said. “Somebody told me once, just casually, that to sit farther back from the screen you don’t want to recline as far, but you still want your feet up. “I always remembered that story. So the recliners we bought do exactly that. They had 11 different models of recliners up there, but only one had the feet come up first.” Cassell and Mast got that right. Finding your recliner’s sweet spot is pretty easy.

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SPECIAL REPORT 2016

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Innovation Workplace

in the

Society for Human Resource Management – Greater Tucson


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Supporting People Who Manage People

BizHR

SHRM-GT Offers Resources, Camaraderie By Christy Krueger Human resource professionals in the Tucson area have a large, active industry association to support their career roles and development. Its members regularly offer HR-focused expertise to the rest of the business community through special speaker events, legal seminars and online job listings. Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson, with approximately 300 members, is a local affiliate of SHRM national. SHRM is the world’s largest HR organization, said Janet Rico Uhrig, SHRM-GT’s 2016 president. One of SHRM’s main objectives is providing certification opportunities for its members. This includes re-certification, an important ongoing process of training and testing professionals employed in human resources, an industry that is constantly evolving. “Continually training is good because things can change in our profession and in laws,” Uhrig said. Meeting peers in the industry and exchanging ideas are also major advantages of membership. “For me, the networking, committee work, connecting with other members and building a portfolio of contacts is very valuable,” said Uhrig, who is director of talent acquisition, recruitment and retention for Tucson Unified School District. Other members of SHRM-GT agree with the importance of training and developing contacts. Heather Arnaud, HR director of Gadabout SalonSpas, said membership with the organization keeps her up to date on legislation. “Without SHRM, how would we know about these changes?” She also www.BizTucson.com

feels monthly networking provides an important support system. “At the lunches, sitting at a table with other HR employees, I can say, ‘This is my situation,’ and I can feed off the knowledge and experience of others.” Even HR specialists at organizations the size of the University of Arizona, with its 11,500 benefits-eligible employees, appreciate the opportunity for exchanging information through SHRM membership. Allison Vaillancourt, UA’s VP for human resources and institutional effectiveness, attends SHRM-GT functions. She said there are two primary ways the group benefits her and her staff: “Professional development contacts for UA employees who are members – and hearing what other employers in the Tucson region are facing and compare ourselves and offer support.” SHRM National Founded – 1948 Members – 275,000 in 160+ countries Chapters – 575 Website: shrm.org Events attended by SHRM-GT representatives: • Annual Conference & Exposition – June Exhibitors, master-series speakers and workshops that qualify for certification credits • Leadership Summit – November, Washington, D.C. Chapter president-elect and past president connect with legislators on a national level

The chapter holds monthly lunch meetings with educational workshops that regularly attract 100 members. Its special events, which are open to the general business community, can bring in from 100 to 300 members and nonmembers to hear top-notch presenters. These include the employment law update in April, the national speaker event in September, and the Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards in November. Topics are applicable to a majority of industries and nonprofits, with an emphasis on issues relevant to Tucson companies. Tickets will be available at shrmgt.org as the events get closer. The November awards ceremony is a large, first-class affair organized by three subcommittees. The awards recognize organizations and individuals who best exemplify innovation in the field of HR in such categories as diversity and inclusion, community impact and leadership. In order to maintain the multiple functions SHRM-GT provides, it requires and receives help from a large percentage of members who spend countless hours chairing and serving on committees and the board of directors. The programs committee, which organizes workshops and presentations, has expanded some of the events, Uhrig said. For example, the annual employment law update previously involved one law firm. Now, four firms are invited to speak, bringing more information to members. Forty years ago SHRM national created a 501(c)(3) fundraising arm to offer continued on page 172 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 171


BizHR

For me the networking, committee work, connecting with other members and building a portfolio of contacts, is very valuable. – Janet

Rico Uhrig 2016 President SHRM-GT

continued from page 171 grants for academic research pertaining to HR practices, as well as scholarships for SHRM members pursuing degrees in HR-related fields or certification. In past years the Tucson chapter was only involved through its donations. Recently, members decided to step up their participation, creating a committee to work with SHRM Foundation. Its responsibilities, Uhrig said, will include encouraging local companies to apply for educational certification opportunities. Last year SHRM-GT formed a community relations committee to help get its name out into the public, offering to be a resource for small businesses and civic groups that may not have an HR director. “This year we hope to expand our brand through media and social media and working with the state chapter,” said Uhrig. Another way SHRM-GT is reaching out to the Tucson community is through its website’s classified job listing page. This is a place where companies can post HR job openings. There’s no charge for member organizations to list jobs. The cost for nonmembers is $95 for 28 days. Some of the companies that use the site include Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, University of Arizona, Pima Community College, City of Tucson and Pima Medical Institute. The service is available free of charge for job searchers. If the success of an organization can be measured by how well it achieves its objectives, SHRM-GT’s members would likely give it an A. They value the opportunities for training, making contacts and collaborating with colleagues. As UA’s Vaillancourt said, “We’re committed to working collectively. When we have conversations together, we’re in a better position to move Tucson forward.”

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2016 Workshop & Events SHRM-GT presents HR-related educational programs each month throughout the year. In addition to those programs, new-member orientation breakfasts are held the first Tuesday of every month from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Blue Willow, 2616 N. Campbell Ave.

Jan.12

Creating and Implementing a Succession and Development Planning Program. Speaker is Kisha McCabe, assistant human resources director, Town of Marana.

Feb. 9

HR Metrics. Speaker is Karen Stafford, Arizona VP of membership development, Mountain States Employers Council.

March 8

Making Sense of the Assessment Nonsense. Speaker is Bill Wade, coach, Organizational Quality Associates. 174 BizTucson

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The 2016 events scheduled to date are listed below. Others will be added to the website at shrmgt.org as they are confirmed. Unless otherwise noted, these events include lunch and will be held at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, 5151 E. Grant Road.

April 21

Annual Employment Law Update â&#x20AC;&#x201C; full-day program at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. Presenting law firms are Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Snell & Wilmer, and Mesch, Clark & Rothschild.

May 10

Topic pending. Speaker is Trish Kordas, VP of human resources and development, Tucson Federal Credit Union and immediate past president of SHRM-GT.

June 14

Annual Wellness Month presentation by University of Arizona Department of Life and Work Connections, plus member trade show, at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Sept. 21

National Speaker Event at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Nov. 1

Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards and trade show at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

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Board of Directors/Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson

Sandra Abbey President/CEO, Leader Discovery Abbey leads a company dedicated to transforming supervisors and managers into leaders, helping individuals achieve the highest leadership potential and providing human resources consulting to small to mid-sized organizations. She serves as the SHRM Foundation director for the local chapter, helping to raise funds. Abbey volunteers her time with the Pima County Workforce Investment Board, the Pima County Self-Insurance Trust Fund Advisory Board and the Tucson chapter of the Association for Talent Development. Ann Berkman Consultant, Organizational Excellence Berkman provides services in the areas of employee relations, performance management, leadership coaching and organizational analysis. Her main role with SHRM-GT this year is chairing the programs committee, which identifies topics and speakers for monthly workshops and special events, such as the annual Employment Law Update. The committee helps members attending the training workshops meet certification requirements by submitting speaker bios and topics to the SHRM national recertification board. Berkman was a nominee for the AZSHRM Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Gary M. Bridget Human Resources Director, Town of Oro Valley Bridget directs all human resources functions such as employee and labor relations, recruitment, compensation, training and HR consulting for supervisors and employees. His current role with SHRM is director of the college relations committee, which partners with local colleges to provide assistance to students pursuing HR careers. He’s also director of the Arizona SHRM workforce readiness committee. Bridget is a retired first sergeant with the U.S. Air Force.

Ila Cipriani Employee Services and Support VP, Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona Over the past few years Cipriani has co-chaired SHRM-GT’s professional certification committee, which conducts study groups to help individuals prepare for professional-level HR certification. The multi-week course provides information relevant to the test material and offers test preparation tips. This year the position of SHRM-GT VP has been added to her responsibilities. Cipriani also volunteers with Junior Achievement.

Chris Dominiak Lead Benefits Analyst, University of Arizona Dominiak is a liaison between the Benefits Unit and University Information Technology Services. He uses PeopleSoft HRIS to monitor benefit transactions, research and resolve issues and ensure accurate benefit deductions for the university’s 12,000 benefits-eligible employees. He’s the 2016 SHRM-GT secretary/treasurer and he serves on the programs committee. Dominiak is also a member of UA Eller College Associates, the school’s alumni volunteer program. Brandy Ferrer President and CEO, Pathfinder Strategies Ferrer oversees operations and management of a growing consultancy company that specializes in leadership, team and talent development. Outside of work, she holds the positions of co-chair for SHRM-GT’s program committee, chair of National Association of Women Business Owners’ professional development committee and is a member of Foothills Club of Tucson. Ferrer was a finalist for the Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics-2015.

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Rebecca Fuentes HR Manager, Cushman & Wakefield|PICOR Serving in a department of one, Fuentes is responsible for HR budgets, benefits, recruitment and workforce development. She also manages the administrative department of four employees and an office of 40 staff members. Fuentes serves as SHRM-GT’s chapter engagement chair. She’s been honored with the C&W/PICOR President’s Award for Excellence, serves on PICOR’s Charitable Foundation and is a Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community volunteer. Kate Goldman HR Manager, The Offshore Group Goldman serves as the leader of human resources for the corporate sites of this international organization headquartered in Tucson. The Offshore Group is a leading provider of Mexico outsourcing solutions, helping manufacturers establish low-cost, low-risk operations. She holds the position of SHRM-GT diversity and inclusion committee chair. In 2014 Goldman and The Offshore Group were winners of the SHRM-GT Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards in the diversity and inclusion category.

Cynthi Knight Director, Team Member Services and Development, Tucson Airport Authority Knight’s department provides human resources products and services to TAA, including recruitment, employee relations, training and performance management. As HR certification chair for SHRM-GT, she facilitates study groups for members seeking SHRM or HRCI certification. Knight is an honorary life member of National Charity League, Tucson chapter, and serves on its national leadership development team. In addition, she volunteers with Therapeutic Riding of Tucson. Trish Kordas Human Resources & Development VP, Tucson Federal Credit Union Kordas drives the development and execution of the HR & D strategic plan and initiatives, which promote a unified positive company culture. She’s past president of SHRM-GT (2015) and currently holds the position of community outreach director. Outside of work and SHRM, she serves as board VP of Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. In 2015 she was an AZSHRM Judith Krebs Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award nominee.

Garrett Kowalewski CEO, Staff Matters As CEO, Kowalewski is responsible for managing all aspects of business operations for Staff Matters, a locally owned recruiting firm. This includes strategic direction, financial and operations management, account management and staff development. He is past president (2014) of SHRMGT and currently serves as the membership committee chairman. Kowalewski is a member of Southern Arizona Leadership Council, BioIndustry Organization of Southern Arizona and chairs the ambassadors committee for Arizona Technology Council. Bonnie Mattes HR Adviser, American Red Cross Mattes serves as adviser and consultant for more than 400 employees in the Red Cross Biomedical Division. She partners with business leaders to advise on current and future employee issues including policies, development and employee relations. Her roles with SHRM-GT for 2016 are chair of the legislative committee and editor of the monthly legislative newsletter. She serves on numerous Red Cross task forces across the country.

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Norma Ortega Assistant Director, Residence Life Human Resources & Operations University of Arizona Residence Life Managing and leading the HR and operations functions for UA’s housing department are among Ortega’s primary responsibilities. Recruiting, hiring, employee relations, payroll, purchasing and travel all fall under her department. She currently co-chairs SHRM-GT’s workforce readiness committee.

Linda Pitney HR Generalist, CARF International CARF’s human resources generalist supports the organization’s mission and strategic goals by performing functional HR resource activities that are in compliance with company policies, applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations. Pitney’s work with SHRM-GT includes chairing the workforce readiness committee, which offers high school students job-search and career-building skills. She also is a member of Southern Arizona Roadrunners and received the Wellness Council of Arizona Champion of Worksite Wellness award. Janet Rico Uhrig Director, Talent Acquisition, Recruitment & Retention – Human Resources Tucson Unified School District Assisted by her team members, Uhrig coordinates the district’s recruitment of qualified individuals to fill academic and business-related positions. She is the 2016 SHRM-GT president, following terms as president elect and VP and chair of the diversity and inclusion committee for 2012-2015. Other community involvement includes volunteering with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and Superior Court diversity training and education program.

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Gladys Walker Human Resources Manager, Lasertel Walker is responsible for overseeing HR functions including compensation and benefits, recruitment, training and employee relations programs. She supervises the implementation of processes and policies in compliance with corporate strategies to ensure that financial and strategic goals are attained. She is a past and current committee co-chair for the SHRM-GT Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace awards. Walker volunteers with YMCA youth programs and with Pima County One-Stop/LeadLocalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mentorship and internship workforce development opportunities.

Join SHRM of Greater Tucson Prospective members must be currently employed and/or meet the membership qualifications outlined on this site and within the SHRM of Greater Tucson bylaws. The cost for membership is $85.00 per calendar year for Professional and General Members, $110.00 for Associate Members and is payable by check or credit card.

The Application Process Once completed, your application will be routed to our Membership Committee and reviewed by the Board of Directors. Once a decision has been made, you will receive notice of your membership status and dues amount along with all the pertinent new member information.

Apply Online If you are not already a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) nationally we encourage you to join and experience the exceptional professional development and services offered by this international organization! For more information visit www.shrm.org. We look forward to your joining us and to advancing the HR profession in Southern Arizona!

For details, contact Garrett Kowalewski at GarrettK@StaffMattersInc.com

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BizAWARDS

2015 Copper Cactus Award Winners

William Assenmacher Named Small Business Leader of the Year By David B. Pittman In a celebration honoring the best of small business, the TucOur Support (AMIGOS), and actively serves organizations such as son Metro Chamber announced the 17 winners of Copper Cactus Global Advantage, UA Tech Parks, DM50 and the Southern Arizona Awards at a Sept. 11 dinner at Casino Del Sol Resort. Leadership Council. Assenmacher and members of the CAID leadership team also are active on behalf of charities, such as Habitat for The 18th annual Copper Cactus Award for Small Business Leader Humanity Tucson, Ronald McDonald House, the Tucson Centuriof the Year was given to William Assenmacher, CEO of CAID Industries. In addition, 16 Tucson-area businesses and nonprofit orgaons, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Tucson Festival of Books and United nizations received awards in the following categories: Best Place to Way. Assenmacher is also an active Tucson Metro Chamber Work, Business Growth, Innovation through Technology, and Charitable Nonprofit Businesses. member, is on its board of directors, and is chairman of its Tom McGovern, chairman of the Tucson Metro ChamEconomic Development Committee. ber board, praised the huge contribution small businesses “Bill (Assenmacher) is one of the Chamber’s best volunteers,” Varney said. “When he says he is going to do somemake to the local economy, while Mike Varney, the chamber’s president and CEO, lauded the courage, investment thing, he rolls up his sleeves and don’t get in his way – he’ll and hard work it takes to create and build a business from get it done.” the ground up. Wells Fargo created the Copper Cactus Awards in 1998 “In any city across the country, small businesses are the and turned over the lead role to the Chamber in 2012. Wells biggest employers and biggest consumers of business-to- William Assenmacher Fargo continues as a presenting sponsor of the awards. Intuit and Casino Del Sol Resort & Conference Center are business goods and services,” McGovern told the more than co-sponsors. 800 people who attended the awards gala. “You (small business) make Businesses that sponsor the various awards are BlueCross the local economy work.” BlueShield of Arizona, Cox Communications, Nextrio, Tucson ElecAssenmacher oversees a $50 million metal fabrication business that tric Power and CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company. manufactures a wide array of engineered products for domestic and About 450 small businesses were nominated and the winners were international projects. CAID Industries has about 240 employees. selected in each category by a panel of judges representing 10 promiAssenmacher is founder and president of the Southern Arizona nent businesses and nonprofit organizations. Award winners are: Business Coalition, chairman of Arizona Mining and Industry Get

PHOTOS: DAVID LONG

BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF ARIZONA BEST PLACE TO WORK

Michel Lahti Kerry Milligan Craig LeCroy

LeCroy & Milligan Associates is a full-service consulting firm specializing in program evaluation, technical assistance and training that is innovative, research-driven, practical and useful. Since its founding in 1991, the organization’s goal has been to provide program evaluation and training that enables its clients to document outcomes, provide accountability, and engage in continuous program improvement. The company has worked at the local, state and national levels with a broad spectrum of nonprofits, government agencies, universities, private businesses and foundations.

26 to 50 employees Maximum Impact Physical Therapy Services

The guiding principle of Maximum Impact Physical Therapy Services is a commitment to compassionate care for all its patients. Improving the quality of life of its patients is its goal. The extensive list of treatment services offered at Maximum Impact includes back and neck treatments, hand therapy, chronic pain, sports therapy, joint manipulation, and many others. Maximum Impact Physical Therapy Services operates four locations in the Tucson area. Pictured Above from left: Amanda Forler, Jean Dill, Stacy Adams, Mary Auchincloss, Jamil Loman and Sabrina Modrzejewesk

51 to 75 employees Lovitt & Touché

Lovitt & Touché was named for its commitment to employee satisfaction and fostering a positive and productive workplace culture. The company is among the largest insurance agencies in the country, with more than 200 employees in Tucson, Tempe and Las Vegas. Lovitt & Touché offers its clients property and casualty insurance, employee benefit plans, bonds and surety, personal insurance and specialty services. Pictured Above from left: R.J. Riley, Matt Nelson Steve Touché, Chris Helin and Tad Jewell

76 to 250 employees HDS Companies

HDS Truck Driving Institute has served Tucson since 1991. It is a fully accredited educational institution that has trained thousands of students for their commercial driver’s license test and produced the kind of professional drivers companies want to hire. HDS is licensed by the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division and accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The institute employs only experienced drivers as instructors. HDS continually studies and evaluates student outcomes and institutional goal achievement for the purpose of improving its training programs.

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Winners of the 2015 Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards

3 to 25 employees LeCroy & Milligan Associates

Doug Prall


BizAWARDS

Winners of the 2015 Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards

Mena Latas

Tonya Bunner & Jennifer Allen

3 to 25 employees El Con Health and Wellness Center

El Con Health and Wellness Center comprises an integrative team of medical professionals dedicated to helping men and woman look and feel their best. Using state-of-the-art medical aesthetic technology, the business offers plastic surgery, hair restoration, tattoo removal, skin tightening, cellulite reduction, hormone therapy, Well Woman exams, personal training, and nutrition counseling. El Con Health and Wellness also provides a full range of the latest cosmetic laser and radio frequency therapies for skincare needs.

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26 to 50 employees Bodycentral Physical Therapy

In 2001, Bodycentral Physical Therapy opened with a dynamic vision: To be the provider of choice for people in Tucson experiencing musculoskeletal injuries and pain conditions. The staff of Bodycentral includes doctors of physical therapy and therapists with board certifications in orthopedics, sports and women’s health. Bodycentral has four locations in Tucson.

Winter 2016

Andrea Randall

51 to 75 employees Agape Hospice and Palliative Care

Agape Hospice and Palliative Care is committed to providing the highest quality patientcentered hospice services to its patients and to assist them in achieving the highest quality of life possible during their final days. The organization’s philosophy is that hospice is not about dying, but about living and maximizing the quality of life that a person has remaining. It recognizes death as a normal part of life and provides a team of specialists to care for patients and their loved ones. Pictured Above from left: Sam Burns, Dr. Joel Moncivaiz, Tammy Burns, April Rosa and Bill Holmes

76 to 250 employees The Lodge at Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club The Lodge Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club offers an array of amenities. With two 18-hole championship courses designed by Tom Fazio, the club offers clinics and tournaments for players of every skill level, as well as professional instruction. The club also has 10 lighted tennis courts, a pro shop and a professional tennis staff. The Ventana Aquatics Program is centered on a 25-meter, yearround heated pool. It includes a child’s wading pool, snack bar, locker rooms and ramada area. Expert instruction by the club aquatics staff is available for all ages and skill levels.

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PHOTOS: DAVID LONG

COX BUSINESS GROWTH


PHOTOS: DAVID LONG

NEXTRIO INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

Patrick Marcus

Marcus Engineering is an electronics engineering firm that supports product development, project management, and instrumentation development for a variety of industries with a preferential focus on medical devices and medical instrumentation. The company offers a full range of engineering design services including embedded systems design, analog and power electronics, industrial controls and automation, software application development, engineering management consulting, regulatory compliance, test equipment and instrumentation, and wireless communications.

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26 to 50 employees

Prototron Circuits Prototron Circuits provides high-quality printed circuit boards to its customers while maintaining one of the highest on-time delivery rates in the industry. The company is dedicated to meeting all of its customers’ technological needs from the simplest to the most complex technology. The company operates from two locations: Redmond, Wash. and Tucson. Prototron’s Tucson division offers special expertise in the use of advanced materials, such as Teflon, Duroid and various hybrid configurations. The Tucson division received the Copper Cactus Award in recognition of its introduction of a proprietary hybrid lamination process using dissimilar material.

John Wieland, Jana Bauer and Randy Frazee

51 to 75 employees Andersen, Randall & Richards

Mark Ringlstetter, George Lawlor and Greg Weatherly

In 1998, Andersen, Randall & Richards was founded to help clients successfully manage and recover their outstanding accounts receivable. Since then, the company has grown from a modest home-based business to its current 13,000-squarefoot corporate office. The company has also added additional branches throughout the nation and these offices interact with the company’s international network, giving Andersen, Randall & Richards, which serves more than 8,000 clients worldwide, collection capability across the globe.

76 to 250 employees Truly Nolen Pest Control

Truly David Nolen founded Truly Nolen Pest Control in 1955. Nolen and his son, Scott, have worked to transform the once small, family-owned business into a truly remarkable company with more than 80 offices in seven states. The company serves more than 150,000 customers and employs about 1,100 partners. Domestic franchises are offered throughout the U.S. with international franchises in more than 30 countries.

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Winners of the 2015 Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards

3 to 25 employees Marcus Engineering

Kim O’Neil & Mike Graves


BizAWARDS

Winners of the 2015 Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards

JoAnn Turnbull

$50,000–$499,999 total revenue

Jeannette Maré

Handi-Dogs Handi-Dogs is dedicated to helping older adults and people with disabilities gain independence and improve their quality of life by teaching them how to train their own dogs to be their service dogs. The organization also advocates about the important role service dogs play in helping people. Founded in 1973, Handi-Dogs is among the oldest assistance dog training programs in the country.

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$500,000–$1,999,999 total revenue

Ben’s Bells The mission of Ben’s Bells is to inspire, educate and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness, and to act according to that awareness, thereby strengthening ourselves, our relationships and our communities. The programs and activities are centered on the symbolic and iconic Ben’s Bell. The pieces that come together to form a Ben’s Bell are crafted by volunteers. At least 10 people have participated in making one bell. Ben’s Bells are hung randomly around the community for people to find and take home as a reminder to practice intentional kindness. The charity, founded by its Executive Director Jeanette Maré, has grown to include three studios and the participation of more than 25,000 volunteers annually.

Winter 2016

Bob Heslinga

Monique Vallery & Wendell Hicks

$2,000,000–$4,999,999 total revenue

$5,000,000–$9,999,999 total revenue

Aviva Children’s Services Since 1978, Aviva Children’s Services has strived to fulfill its mission of providing enhanced services to improve the quality of life for children who are victims of neglect, abuse and poverty, and are in the care of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (formerly Child Protective Services) in Pima County. Aviva’s new Outdoor Visit Center opened last April. The first of its kind in Southern Arizona, the outdoor playing space is dedicated to helping DCS families in the process leading to reunification. Both Aviva’s indoor and outdoor centers reflect the group’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, happy and nonjudgmental place for families to heal and learn.

Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation In 1985, a few concerned citizens decided to make a difference in the community’s response to HIV and AIDS, forming the Tucson AIDS Project (TAP) and the Shanti Foundation. In 1987, a group of people living with HIV/AIDS incorporated their advocacy efforts into People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson (PACT for Life). In 1997, PACT, Shanti, and TAP merged to form the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation in one of the largest nonprofit consolidations in Pima County history. SAAF continues the traditions of PACT, Shanti and TAP, providing direct services and programs that enhance the quality of life for those affected by HIV/ AIDS.

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PHOTOS: DAVID LONG

TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER CHARITABLE NONPROFIT BUSINESS


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Dirck Schou

PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

President & CEO HF Coors

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BizMANUFACTURING

Iconic Mimbreño Designs Return HF Coors Produces Dinnerware of Fred Harvey Fame By Mary Minor Davis Dirck Schou is excited. Really excited. After nearly a decade of negotiating for the licensing of a legendary design, Schou, president and CEO of HF Coors in Tucson, finally can produce dinnerware with the iconic Mimbreño pattern derived from ancient pictographs. The Mimbreño pattern has deep roots in Arizona. Its creator was Mary Jane Elizabeth Colter, a renowned architect in the 1900s who decorated the El Tovar Hotel and designed Hermit’s Rest, Desert Watchtower and Hopi House on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The Mimbreño dishes were used exclusively by Fred Harvey in his hotels and railcars. “Bringing back the Mimbreño design is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Schou said. His company is now manufacturing the iconic design in Arizona. The original dinnerware was produced by the Onondaga Pottery Company in Syracuse, New York, under the Syracuse China brand. “We are the last surviving West Coast company manufacturing ceramic dinnerware that is of high value and quality,” Schou said. The pattern stems from Colter’s passion for Native American art. The Mimbreño designs are based on the pictographs of animals and geometric patterns left behind on clay pots by the ancient inhabitants of the Rio Mimbres Valley in southwestern New Mexico www.BizTucson.com

around 1100 AD. The Fred Harvey Company used the dinnerware in its hotels – including the El Tovar – and in dining cars on the “Super Chief ” and other trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway from 1936 to 1971. Though production of the Mimbreño dinnerware discontinued, some originals can still be found today in service on BNSF Railway business cars, which

We make a fantastic product – and we’re proud that we can do that here in Arizona. – Dirck Schou President & CEO HF Coors

merged with the Santa Fe in 1996. Original Mimbreño is identified by the exclusive backstamp on the bottom of the dinnerware – “Made Expressly for Santa Fe Dining Car Service.” The rights to this stamp are currently owned by the BNSF Railway, and it was this licensing that Schou worked so hard to secure. In the summer of 2015, HF Coors launched a series of mugs, and by the first of the year they will produce the full dinnerware line. “The mugs were introduced to great acclaim,” Schou said. “The first person to receive mugs was Allan Affeldt,” owner of the Colterdesigned La Posada Hotel in Winslow, which Affeldt has painstakingly and authentically restored. “He’s been a major cheerleader for us over the years we’ve been trying to get this off the ground.” The resurgence of the Colter design reflects one more evolution for HF Coors. Founded in 1925 by Herman Coors, son of the famous brewmaster, H.F. Coors China Company was based in California. When Schou’s company, Catalina China Co., acquired the business in 2003, he immediately moved it to Tucson. Schou dropped “China Company” from the name, but wanted to retain the strength of the Coors name which is “well-known and respected in the restaurant industry, with a reputation dating back to 1925,” he said. “I wanted to assure potential rescontinued on page 188 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 187


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1. Mimbreño Mugs coming out of the kiln 2. Factory quality control check 3. Chili Salsa Dip Bowl - Crimson Red 4. Day of the Dead Happy Skeleton plate 5. Ready for shipment 6. Westward Ho Rodeo pattern for made for True West 7. HF Coors Showroom continued from page 187 taurant customers that we were carrying on where Coors in California left off.” The Colter Mimbreño dinnerware is one of 17 patterns offered by the company, in addition to custom designs. Master artist and designer Robert DeArmond is the talent behind the art. The onsite retail store also offers limited-edition designs by other artists. Today, 38 percent of the customer base remains restaurants. HF Coors provides the dinnerware for 25 restaurants in Tucson and another 325 around the world. The company started offering products to consumers in 2007, a market that now represents 22 percent of its revenue. Custom mugs – including the Ellen mug for “The Ellen Degeneres Show” – are about 21 percent of the company’s revenue, with a little more

than 11 percent from the private label “UncommonGoods.” The remaining revenue is primarily government-contracted business, Schou said. During the recession, Schou had to cut back nearly a third of his employees and reduce production, but since then the consumer demand to “buy local” has produced a resurgence. Competition with cheaper manufacturing markets – including China and India – have challenged the company’s staunch commitment to maintaining its “Made in America” brand. “Not all businesses – especially restaurants – see China as a partner,” he said. “It’s also about quality, and relationships matter.” Vito Prencipe, assistant GM at North Italia restaurant, agrees. “HF Coors’ quality and service is amazing,” he said. “They offer a unique design for us. Even our customers compliment the dinner-

ware.” Schou’s career began in England and he has customized the plant’s equipment based on European manufacturing models. It allows greater adaptability on the line, and the ability to produce custom products. At full capacity, the plant will produce 7,000 mugs a day. It also allows them to serve customer needs quickly. “When we need it, they can always get orders to us quickly and that’s important for our business,” Prencipe said. Looking ahead, Schou says they will continue to be innovative and responsive to the market’s demand for quality dinnerware with a focus on growing both the restaurant and consumer markets. “We make a fantastic product – and we’re proud that we can do that here in Arizona.” Biz

1ST SATURDAY AT THE POTTER’S YARD HF Coors holds the 1st Saturday at the Potter’s Yard each month at 1600 S. Cherrybell Stravenue, offering overruns, discontinued items and seconds to the public at 70 to 90 percent off retail. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. October through May, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June through September. For more information call (520) 903-1010. 188 BizTucson

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BizREALESTATE

2016 Commercial Real Estate Forecast Experts to Predict Local Market Trends By David B. Pittman

sazccim@tucsonrealtors.org

Sarver to be Keynote Speaker at CCIM Competition By David B. Pittman Robert Sarver, a Tucson native who is chairman and CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation and managing partner of the Phoenix Suns, will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 CCIM Commercial Real Estate Forecast Competition. Western Alliance Bancorporation is one of the fastest-growing bank holding companies in the country with more than $13 billion in assets. It operates full-service banking divisions in California, Nevada and Arizona, including two Alliance Bank of Arizona operations in Tucson.

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

ern Arizona CCIM chapter. “The edHow does Tucson’s commercial real ucation curriculum that makes up the estate market compare with the rest of designation is really a comprehensive the country? What real estate transactions had the most effect on the local program of how a potential commermarket last year? And what big deals cial investment can be identified, anaare coming in the near future? lyzed, valued and negotiated from every The answers to those questions and party’s perspective.” At the forecast event, those real esmany, many more will be revealed at tate professionals who made the most the 25th annual CCIM Commercial accurate predictions from a year ago in Real Estate Forecast Competition on each market sector – industrial, retail, Feb. 9 at the Tucson Marriott Univeroffice, multifamily, land and finance – sity Park, where professionals reprewill make year-in-review presentations senting various specialties within their in their area of expertise and lead panel industry will recap the performance of the local market over the past year and discussions among those making foreoffer predictions for 2016. casts for 2015 regarding where such Coming up on a half century of real things as vacancy levels, interest rates, estate market presentations, the Tucland costs, construction prices and othson forecast competition is one of the er factors influencing the metro Tucson longest running events of its type in the real estate market are headed in 2016. nation. The Southern Arizona CCIM chapThe event is organized and sponter will host a CCIM 101 course at the sored by the Southern Arizona Chapter Tucson Association of Realtors buildof CCIM. More than 300 people are ing in March. It marks the first time a expected to attend. CCIM class has been offered in Tucson CCIM stands for Certified Comin seven years. mercial Investment Member. It is an “During the economic downturn, educational designation that conveys classes were limited to just the largest a knowledge and expertise in the field cities,” Lal said. “Having this class is of commercial so important real estate that because it will is recognized give local broby commercial kers and pro25TH ANNUAL CCIM FORECAST brokers, invesfessionals in COMPETITION tors and develour industry a Presented by CCIM Southern Arizona Chapter opers around great and conTuesday, Feb. 9 the world. venient opporTucson Marriott University Park 800 E. Second St. “The CCIM tunity to start Registration and Networking – Starts at 11:15 a.m. designation is the CCIM Program – noon to 4:30 p.m. (lunch will be served) the gold staneducation.” Networking reception – 4:30–5:30 p.m. (Cash bar) dard for comThe fourmercial real day class costs Early Bird Pricing by Dec. 31 Chapter members – $80 Nonmembers – $95 estate profes$1,000. Table of 10 – $900 sionals,” said Melissa Lal, Regular Pricing after Jan. 1 vice president Chapter members – $95 Nonmembers – $115 Biz of the SouthTable of 10 – $1,000

Sarver has been the managing partner of the Phoenix Suns for the past 11 years. During his tenure, the team has produced the fifth-best winning percentage in the NBA. He also serves on the boards of directors of Meritage Corporation, the NBA, the Weil Foundation, and the Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona.

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BizEDUCATION

Shortage of Teachers Arizona’s Inability to Hire and Keep Qualified Teachers is a Concern for Business Leaders By Rhonda Bodfield When Ron Shoopman wanted to talk about education at the October meeting of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, it was the threat of a leaky roof that convinced him it was the right topic. The contractor who came out to Shoopman’s home to fix his roof explained that he used to be a teacher. He said he left because he couldn’t support his family. Fixing roofs was far more lucrative. And he told his children to steer clear of teaching unless they wanted to worry about knitting together a living. “It’s becoming increasingly evident that we have a growing teacher workforce crisis,” said Shoopman, the president and CEO of SALC. “Establishing this as a priority really helps set the stage to find and drive solutions for the economic health of this region and this state.” There clearly is much work to do, according to the largest study of teachers in Arizona undertaken to date, a survey which asked more than 6,100 teachers about key satisfaction indicators. The April 2015 study, developed by Tucson Values Teachers and conducted by Strongpoint Marketing, confirmed that low pay is a problem. Teachers don’t go into the field expecting great wealth. But in Tucson, the median annual wage for a high school teacher is just slightly more than $38,000. That’s far below the national median pay of about $53,000 and significantly less than the $47,000 Phoenix-area schools pay. Jennifer Pullen, a research economist in the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, said she often hears people respond that the cost of living is lower here. In actuality, Pullen said, it’s only about 3 percent 192 BizTucson

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cheaper to live in Tucson. Even adjusted for cost of living, Tucson still is last in teacher pay compared to peer cities. Lack of value, respect

The survey showed that coupled with the low pay is a strong feeling among teachers that state leaders and members of the public do not value the work they do. Arizona’s inflation-adjusted spending per student was cut 47 percent between 2008 and 2015, making it the state with the largest cut in the nation during that period. Teachers also report feeling declining respect from students themselves and within the community for the work they do. Some are deciding it isn’t worth it, particularly when teachers often have advanced degrees. Teachers surveyed reported spending 64 hours per week on teacher tasks, including classroom instruction, grading, lesson planning, counseling and meeting with parents or administrators. More than 92 percent said with declining school budgets, they compensate by paying out of their own pocket – in Southern Arizona, those out-of-pocket costs were estimated at nearly $400 per year. The result, said Marian Salzman, executive chair of Tucson Values Teachers, is that good, experienced teachers are leaving the field and aren’t being replaced with quality candidates. Or if they are, she said, “Teachers are treating Arizona as a starter job. They get established here and then leave once they’re more experienced.” Colleges hurting, too

Higher education is similarly in crisis. Consider that a $100 million cut to universities last year means the state now funds 34 percent of what it costs to educate a student, said John Arnold,

VP for business management and financial affairs for the Arizona Board of Regents. That’s a dramatic drop in a span of less than two decades. In 1998, the state funded 89 percent of students’ educational costs. In 2008, it was 72 percent. Additionally, Arnold said, with the state funding zero capital costs, the universities have accumulated more than $600 million in deferred maintenance – the equivalent of a capital crisis. And the universities are at risk of losing quality professors, paying 14 percent less than peer institutions. Arnold said the reality is that Arizona is not replacing its current degree holders. Of the 80 percent of ninth graders who will graduate, only 40 percent will go to college. Of those, about 21 percent will finish with a two-year degree or better. “We need to improve access and additional state dollars will help us do that,” Arnold said. In response to the Governor’s request for a new, financially sustainable plan, Arnold said the Board intends to ask that the state split the cost of education 50/50. Better education, better economy

There is plenty of evidence that schools have a direct impact on the economy – including growth in highpaying, high-tech jobs such as those at Raytheon Missile Systems, the region’s largest business employer. “We need to continue attracting top technical talent to our operations here, and we call on all local businesses with the same requirement to be more proactive in supporting teachers and school systems,” said Jon Kasle, VP of Communications at Raytheon Missile Systems. www.BizTucson.com


Establishing this as a priority really helps set the stage to find and drive solutions for the economic health of this region and this state.

Ron Shoopman, President & CEO Southern Arizona Leadership Council –

Teacher Salaries in Tucson Compared to Similar Metropolitan Areas

He said about half of Raytheon’s philanthropic investment supports education – with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. “Raytheon has a vested interest in doing all it can to support positive outcomes made possible by Tucson’s teachers.” Among suggestions floated at the meeting:

• Lobby

state leaders to seriously weigh increasing the investment in higher education – at least to the 50-percent “ask” by the Regents

• Consider a sales tax directed solely at education

• Support

teachers through direct industry grants or partnerships with schools, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math career fields

• Follow

school board elections and deliberations more closely

Shoopman, of SALC, said there’s another way people can combat apathy and extend the dialogue about Arizona’s crisis in teacher retention and recruitment, while discussing solutions to help stem teachers’ dissatisfaction: Attend “Let’s Talk Ed,” on Jan. 7, an education summit to address the teacher crisis. The event, spearheaded by Tucson Values Teachers, SALC and Raytheon Missile Systems, takes place at the Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and features national and local education experts. Raytheon also will announce the three teachers who will win the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award. For more information, please visit www.TucsonValuesTeachers.org. www.BizTucson.com

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BizEDUCATION

Call to Action on Education

Summit Brings Education Experts Together to Talk Solutions By Rhonda Bodfield Is Arizona indeed facing an education crisis? A June report by the Arizona Department of Education warned that thousands of teachers have left the state in recent years. If that trend isn’t broken, the report continued, “Arizona will not be able to ensure economic prosperity for its citizens and create the workforce of tomorrow.” A recent statewide survey of teachers indicated that only 48 percent of teachers said they were satisfied with teaching. Teachers are leaving for five top reasons, the survey showed: low pay, heavy workload, lack of political support for education, declining respect for the work they do, and deteriorating work conditions. “Ultimately, if this trend is not reversed, it could erode the quality of life not just for our students and their families, but for all residents because it is detrimental to the effort to recruit new businesses and good-paying jobs,” said Katie Rogerson, who leads Tucson Values Teachers. “We don’t want businesses to pass on Arizona because of lack of funding for schools. We don’t want our kids growing up in schools that rank towards the bottom in terms of investment.’” To generate a dialogue on the issue, Tucson Values Teachers has joined the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Raytheon Missile Systems to bring together national and state speakers for the inaugural education summit “Let’s Talk Ed: Teacher Workforce.” The event, which features dialogue with education experts and the presentation of the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award for teachers, will be held from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Jan. 7 at the Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom, 260 S. Church Ave. www.BizTucson.com

“This is an opportunity to have a dialogue about the challenges we face today, and then leave the room with a positive call to action that will make a difference in keeping teachers in this state,” Rogerson said. The fact that Arizona is not alone in grappling with this entrenched problem and that there is hope to turn things around are comforting ideas to one of the summit speakers. While funding issues have long been a source of debate, it’s not the only critical piece of teacher satisfaction, said Richard Ingersoll, professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on teacher retention issues. Ingersoll, who will be a presenter at the summit, said other elements also are critical in improving teacher satisfaction, including giving teachers greater autonomy, more of a voice, and training and resources to do the job. “Historically, teaching was looked down upon as women’s work and systems were set up that were pretty topdown and didn’t give teachers much say,” Ingersoll said. “So now we have this historic legacy where we have leaders coming up with reforms and imposing them on schools without asking the people who are on the ground, actually doing the work with the kids. Treating teachers like the educated professionals they are will go a long way to improving satisfaction.” Ingersoll said teachers also may appreciate assisting with the development of a more strategic assessment of performance. As in other disciplines, he said, there are teachers who have more talent or put in more effort than others. But typically, performance is trumped by a salary schedule that skews heavily to years of service and educational attainment.

“So what you often end up with,” Ingersoll said, “is states coming up with new evaluation systems that typically fail because teachers haven’t been asked to help craft a fair, objective way to identify the really great work that is being done in the classroom.” Other speakers at the summit include:

• Lee Woodruff, contributing reporter for “CBS This Morning” and a contributing editor for Working Mother magazine

• Nínive Calegari, CEO and founder of the Teacher Salary Project

• Don Budinger, chairman, Rodel

Foundation of Arizona and Science Foundation Arizona

• Eileen Klein, board president, Arizona Board of Regents

In celebration of what is working well in education, the event also will feature the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award. Raytheon will award $2,500 each to three teachers and $2,500 to each of those teachers’ schools to honor their educational leadership. Rogerson said the business community has a crucial role to play by providing a strong voice for education, whether in partnering with neighboring schools, helping with supplies or professional development, or serving as advocates when speaking with legislative leadership. “There is a great deal of hope that we can turn things around,” Rogerson said, “but we all have to come together on this or it isn’t going to happen.” For more information about the summit, please visit http://tucsonvaluesteachers.org

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BizEDUCATION

Funding Cuts Could ‘Decimate’ JTED Program Makes Students More Employable By Larry Copenhaver $6.8 million – a 63 percent cut that takes effect July 1, 2016. So what’s going to happen with this reduction in funding? “We are working with the business industry, which was instrumental in getting the JTED legislation passed here in Pima County in 2007, to talk to lawmakers about the positive impact JTED brings to students and the community,” D’Anna said. “What the business community needed was a skilled workforce – not just technical skills, but soft skills such as learning how to apply for a job and keep a job, how to be a professional in the workplace.” The business community readily jumped behind the program and helped pass Proposition 400 to create the Pima County JTED, a separate, countywide

PHOTOS: COURTESY JTED

Arizona’s Legislature plans to slash funding for the state’s 14 Joint Technology Education Districts to save about $26 million annually. The cuts are expected to “decimate the JTED programs,” said Greg D’Anna, director of public relations for Pima County JTED. It’s an ugly trend – especially when the state is running a $650 million surplus, added JTED Superintendent Alan L. Storm. In 2011, state aid to JTED districts was about $92.4 million. Cuts set the 2015 budget at $69.4 million. Now, state aid to JTED for the 2017 fiscal year is projected to be $43 million. In Pima County, funding for 2011 was $18.4 million, about $11 million in 2015, and for the 2017 fiscal year, Pima County JTED is projected to receive

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school district that supports about 100 job-training programs for high school students. Now, their help is needed again. Some examples, according to D’Anna:

• “Arizona

is facing one of the greatest nursing shortages in the nation. Precision manufacturing needs skilled labor to be machinists, and welders are needed. It’s across the spectrum. The automotive industry is in need of skilled workers. The construction industry is beginning to come back from the recession and there is need there. Building a skilled workforce is necessary in these industries because many workers are reaching retirement age and companies are having trouble finding skilled laborers.”


• “We

have had, over the years, more than 200 JTED alumni working at Tucson Medical Center. Many have qualified to use the hospital-funded tuition reimbursement to continue their education. They usually get hired as patient care techs or phlebotomists, and with the tuition reimbursement, they might become registered nurses or other desirable positions.”

• “We have a lot of research that dem-

onstrates that our programs really work – and people in the community are seeing that. If businesses want to expand, or we want new businesses to move into the state, we need a skilled workforce.”

• Some

JTED-generated jobs are low paying – especially at first – but some can generate good paychecks. For example, precision manufacturing pays between $28,000 and $38,000 with a high school diploma and JTED certification. Yet highly experienced precision manufacturing jobs can garner $100,000 a year. The median pay for a Computer Numeric Control machinist can be $40,000 a year and the average pay for a welder is around $35,000 annually.

• “We

have an electrical program run in conjunction with Pima Community College, Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas. That program can be a pathway to high-paying jobs such

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as utility workers. Successful students might even be eligible for grants that will enable them to pay for their continuing education at PCC.”

Cuts to JTED could be a mortal blow. “From what I see, it will be like the room runs out of oxygen for the JTED programs. We know the programs will die – we just don’t know which one will go first. All the programs will eventually come to an end,” said Storm, the JTED superintendant. “Removing or overturning the language that will decimate JTED/CTE programs does not require taxes to be raised, nor does it require dipping into the state land trust. It doesn’t require any additional spending at all. It would maintain current funding at a time when we can afford to do so –

If businesses want to expand, or we want new businesses to move into the state, we need a skilled workforce. We have a lot of research that demonstrates that our programs really work.

– Greg D’Anna Director of Public Relations Pima County JTED

and can’t afford not to.” CTE stands for Career and Technical Education, a modern version of what used to be known as shop class. CTE programs are affected because they are financially linked to JTED. “Our programs are proven to help students be more successful, they are necessary for business and industry to grow, and they are vital to our state’s economy in terms of workforce development,” Storm said. There is talk going on among lawmakers about funding for JTED, said Robert Medler, VP of government affairs for the Tucson Metro Chamber. The funding is expected to come up in January when the legislative session begins. Medler urges voters to talk to legislators and express how important JTED funding is. Voices especially important to hear are those of former JTED students who have gone on to find success. “Why the state doesn’t want to fund the most sure-fire way to ensure a higher graduation rate while giving our kids opportunities to be employable upon graduation is confounding,” said H.T. Sanchez, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District. “CTE students have a 98 percent graduation rate – 16 percent higher than the average student population. If JTED went away, it would hurt every district in Southern Arizona.”

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DAVIS-MONTHA

AIR FORCE B

BizAWARDS

Construction of Aerospace Parkway

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

87 Years in Tucson Parkway, D-MHonoring Salute Take Top Honors

Y O U ’ R E I N V I T E D T O A S P E C I A L C E L E B R AT

Monday, November 10th, 2014, 4 - 8pm Pima Air & Space Museum

Projects Earn Prestigious MPA Awards of Distinction

Join forces with the DM-50, business and military leaders throughout the region to recogn

Davis-Monthan’s significant contributions to Southern Arizona, including its $1.4 billion annual eco

By David Pittman to our community. Learn what our community can to do to ensure the future of the base and its To launch the second decade of Common Ground Celebrations, the Metropolitan Pima Alliance gave prestigious Awards of Distinction to two local endeavors undertaken in 2015 – A Salute to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the construction of the Aerospace Parkway. In addition, MPA honored 20 other “top projects” at its annual dinner event at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. “MPA’s Award of Distinction is an exclusive award that has only been given to a handful of projects over the past decade,” said Stephanie Healy, representing Cox Communications, title sponsor of the Common Ground Celebration. “Past honorees include the Festival of Books, Mars Lander, FC Tucson at Kino Sports Complex, and the I-10 widening” – all of which have had a “profound impact” on the community. MPA – an alliance of businesses, government jurisdictions and nonprofit orAC Tucson Marriott

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to D-M ganizations – promotes responsible dePlease be aSalute part of making this event a success by becoming a sponsor! The celebration honoring D-M was velopment in Pima County and works For sponsorships and tickets, please visit www.DM50.org conducted Nov. 10, 2014, at the Pima to further the interests of the real estate Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valenand development industry through eduPRESE cia Road. The event not only sought to cation and public policy advocacy. honor its more than 88 years in Tucson, Amber Smith, executive director of Visit www.dm50.org for information on sponsors but to also guarantee its futurePayments operaMPA, said the organization created the to DM50 are not deductible as cha Printing Sponsor Exclusive Magazine Sponsor tions here. Common Ground Awards Celebration “It is important for U.S. national se“to showcase and encourage everything curity and the well-being of the local MPA represents,” which includes coleconomy that operations at Davis-Monlaboration, finding common ground, than continue,” said DM50 President and creating a vibrant community. Brian Harpel, who accepted the Com“More than 200 projects have been mon Ground Award of Distinction. honored over the past 11 years, and this DM50, which hosted A Salute to D-M, ceremony gives the community a unique is a nonprofit, volunteer organization outlet to celebrate and encourage the formed by Tucson civic and business positive impacts of working together,” leaders to “promote and preserve D-M” Smith said. “MPA features successful and to “improve the quality of life of collaborations in an effort to challenge D-M airmen and their families.” both the public and private sectors to D-M is among Tucson’s three largemulate this behavior. While some may est employers. An economic analysis disagree with the results of a particular released by military officials last year, project, the process of collaborating and which included the impact of local compromising is what makes a commumilitary retirees, placed the annual econity thrive.”

Home Goods Western Distribution Center

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Kino Parkway/22nd Street Intersection Improvement Project

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nomic impact of D-M on the Southern Arizona economy at $1.47 billion. “The purpose of the Salute to D-M was twofold – to educate the community about the importance of the base and to raise money to advocate for D-M’s longterm future in Tucson,” Harpel said. More than 100 Tucson businesses provided sponsorships for the Salute to D-M and nearly 600 people attended the event, which produced a “really strong net profit,” Harpel said, adding that 100 percent of those funds will be used to advocate in Congress and at the Pentagon for continued operations at D-M. “Nothing is guaranteed, but D-M has the best flying weather, range and air space in the country – so we have a great story to tell back in Washington, D.C.,” Harpel said. The success of the Salute to D-M event “shows strong community support for both the men and women who serve at D-M and for continued base operations here in Tucson.” Harpel, who owns and operates a Tucson commercial real estate firm, is a past president of MPA. That’s why he is very much aware that MPA Common Ground Awards “are held in high esteem by elected officials, staff and the development community.” A second Salute to D-M event is set for April 7. It will again be at the Pima Air & Space Museum. Aerospace Parkway

Construction of Aerospace Parkway is widely viewed as regionally significant because it aims to bring economic growth to Pima County by expanding opportunities for aerospace, defense and manufacturing industries and to facilitate access to hundreds of acres of undeveloped land for development. The parkway was initially proposed by Pima County Administrator Chuck Northern Star Planned Area Development

Huckelberry to replace Hughes Access Road and create a larger buffer area surrounding Raytheon Missile Systems’ airport campus. The new parkway is being built about a half-mile south of Hughes Access Road. The need for an increased buffer zone around the giant missile plant became a matter of public concern after Raytheon chose Huntsville, Ala., as the site for a new manufacturing facility in 2010. Raytheon officials said a key reason for its move to Huntsville was the lack of buffered space at its Tucson operation. Raythen is Southern Arizona’s largest private employer. The realignment provided by the parkway, which is scheduled for completion before the new year begins in 2016, also creates room for construction of a second runway at Tucson International Airport, enables a future expansion for the Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing at TIA, and allows the planning and installing of needed infrastructure improvements – such as electricity, gas, water, sewer and fiber-optic cable access – for an aerospace, defense and technology research and business park, which will be built along the new parkway. The cost of the parkway, which will be two lanes wide and 4½ miles in length, is $6.6 million. The contractor is the Ashton Company. Plans ultimately call for widening the parkway to four lanes in the future. “Receiving this award is recognition that we are on the right track with regard to growing high-tech employment and how important the Aerospace Parkway is to that growth,” said Huckelberry. “Construction of the parkway and development in that area will bring new high-wage jobs in aerospace, defense, manufacturing and technology, which is what we need in Tucson and Pima County.”

Other winners of MPA Common Ground Awards were:

Tucson Conquistadores Classic, PGA Champions Tour

Tucson Convention Center Arena Renovations

Biz

AC Tucson Marriott City of Tucson Food Scraps Collection & Composting Program City of Tucson Infill Incentive District El Rio Community Health Center – Congress Street Redevelopment Home Goods Western Distribution Center Houghton Road Corridor – Tanque Verde Road to I-10 Ina and Silverbell Subdivision Change of Zoning Conditions Innovation Frontier Southwest Kino Parkway/22nd Street Intersection Improvement Project La Doce 12th Avenue Cultural & Culinary Corridor Marana Center Northern Star Planned Area Development Pima County Animal Care Center Proposition 415 Pima Prospers Sahuarita East Conceptual Area Plan Sahuarita WINS Southern Arizona Construction Career Days Tucson Conquistadores Classic, PGA Champions Tour Tucson Convention Center Arena Renovations University of Arizona Old Main Renovation

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BizAWARDS

ASID Commercial Awards

Each year the Arizona South Chapter of the American Society of Interior designers recognizes excellence in the field of interior design. These are the honorees in the 2015 Commercial Design categories.

COMMERCIAL SPACE OVER 8,000 SQUARE FEET FIRST PLACE

COMMERCIAL SPACE OVER 8,000 SQUARE FEET FIRST PLACE INTERIOR DESIGNER Jen Thompson Liz Ryan Design PROJECT Platinum Fitness North PHOTOGRAPHER Robin Stancliff The designer was commissioned by the owner of four local gyms to create a brand for all his locations. Each gym was to stand out as unique, yet still be cohesive amongst the others. The design concept was to be active and bright, but with a retro gym feel. The most challenging part was working through the tight scheduling of a busy gym, but once completed, the overall results were seamless and exactly as envisioned. The colors chosen evoke energy yet are still in keeping with the desert Southwest. The beams were painted an iron-ore color to mimic beams found in industrial spaces.

COMMERCIAL SPACE UNDER 8,000 SQUARE FEET FIRST PLACE

The existing floor was leveled to install distressed vinyl wood planking in a herringbone pattern. The weight area walls were treated with vinyl diamond plate to protect them from inevitable wear and tear while still enhancing the industrial retro vibe. Inspirational words were added as heavy-duty decals on a focal wall and quickly became a favorite of employees and members alike. This project was a challenging process for the designer, owner, employees and members, but after all was said and done, gym membership increased 25 percent. The branding concept is now being continued at the other locations. SECOND PLACE INTERIOR DESIGNER Linda Kay Mracek, Aviar Design PROJECT Pima Community College THIRD PLACE INTERIOR DESIGNER Devorie Brown, Commercial Studio Interior Design PROJECT Obstetrix Medical of Arizona, an affiliate of Mednax

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COMMERCIAL SPACE UNDER 8,000 SQUARE FEET FIRST PLACE INTERIOR DESIGNER Linda Kay Mracek Aviar Design PROJECT Stryker R&D PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Wilson This 2,700-square-foot work area is a statement on leading design for collaborative work spaces. The room surprises by coming from a neutral office hallway, then opening to a spacious and voluminous room with 20-foot ceilings. The area has room for three teams of six people to work separately or together, along with areas such as a computer bar, small breakout tables and what is referred to as the “flop area.” These features encourage employees to move away from their benched workstation to complete different tasks, optimizing the chance for collaboration and team work. Furniture was selected based on the need for team interaction, including the use of peak-through screens on the benching system. Employees can easily see teammates, while still having privacy for heads-down work. The inspiration for this room came from the company’s own logo, which has an “S” that is similar to the “S” in the “Star Wars” film series. The majority of the finishes in this area were based on the earth tones and textures of the fictional planet Tatooine. To break up that neutral palette, blues, greens and purples were added in small doses. These colors also based on the “Star Wars” theme, being the colors of the Jedi lightsabers – are synonymous with alliance and teamwork. Clean, geometric shapes unify the neutral textures with the bright colors, giving this space a connected, intuitive flow while accentuating the area’s openness. No second or third place winners. www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2016

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BizGOVERNMENT

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

Tucson Metro Chamber’s

State of Government 2016

The Tucson Metro Chamber is hosting two upcoming events at the Tucson Convention Center featuring Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in January and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild in March. The State of the State address on Jan. 12 is Ducey’s second as Arizona’s governor. The State of the City address on March 1 is Rothschild’s fifth since becoming mayor. Ducey will outline his priorities, define the challenges the state is facing, and list the important initiatives he will be leading in 2016, including those most affecting Southern Arizonans. Ducey, Arizona’s 23rd governor, was

previously Arizona’s state treasurer and was the CEO of ice cream maker Cold Stone Creamery before serving in public office. The Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expo will be held in conjunction with the State of the State. It is free and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Arizona Daily Star and Shepard Exposition Services are the sponsors. Rothschild will present his goals, policies and vision for the City of Tucson in the coming year. He is a native Tucsonan who graduated from Canyon del Oro High School, Kenyon College and the University of New Mexico Law

School. Before he became mayor, he was managing partner of the law firm Mesch, Clark & Rothschild. The State of the City is presented by Crest Insurance Group, Norville Investments, the University of Arizona and Wells Fargo. The Multi-Chamber Business Expo will be held in conjunction with the State of the City. It is free and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is hosted by the following Chambers of Commerce: Tucson Metro, Greater Oro Valley, Tucson Hispanic, Marana, Greater Vail Area, Southern Arizona Green and Tucson GLBT. The Arizona Daily Star and Shepard Exposition Services are the sponsors.

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STATE OF THE STATE

STATE OF THE CITY

Tuesday, Jan. 12 Tucson Convention Center 260 S. Church Ave.

Tuesday, March 1 Tucson Convention Center 260 S. Church Ave.

10 a.m. – Business Expo 11:30 a.m. – Registration Noon to 2 p.m. – Luncheon and address $80 Tucson Metro Chamber members $110 Nonmembers

10 a.m. – Business Expo 11:30 a.m. – Registration Noon to 2 p.m. – Luncheon and address $75 Tucson Metro Chamber members $100 Nonmembers

Gov. Doug Ducey

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Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

www.BizTucson.com


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