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WINTER FALL 2012 2019

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

&

SPECIAL REPORTS: Town of Sahuarita Pima Community College

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WINTER 2019 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 3/30/19


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BizLETTER

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Winter 2019

Volume 10 No. 4

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Photo: Steven Meckler

In this issue Jay Gonzales files an exceptional report on Rio Nuevo – which is a State of Arizona Tax Increment Financing District and a vehicle for investing state sales taxes in downtown projects. Gonzales states, “To grasp the magnitude of the resurgence of downtown Tucson in the last few years, all you need to know is that until 2017, a new hotel had not opened there since 1973 – and that one was shuttered six years ago. Today, there is a gleaming new and extremely busy hotel in the center of downtown – the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown – and five more hotels are on the drawing board.” The impressive building on our cover is the concept illustration for the Moxy and Element hotels, both Marriottbranded hotels, a project that also will include upgrades to the historic Rialto Theatre at East Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Scott Stiteler and Rudy Dabdoub, who partnered on the nearby AC Hotel, also a Marriott, are developing the Moxy/Element site, which will have a total of 249 rooms. Rio Nuevo is supporting financing of the project with a sales tax rebate. In April, after legislative approval in the state House and Senate, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a 10-year extension for the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Taxing District, allowing it to continue operating until 2035. Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker provided exemplary leadership to make Rio Nuevo a dynamic catalyst in bringing the city’s dream of Downtown revitalization come to fruition, with new developments happening all of the time. Downtown is now buzzing with corporate headquarters, two professional sports teams and new offices and restaurants dotting the landscape. It has become one of the busiest commercial construction sites in the Southwest and an exciting place to live, work, dine, play and, for visitors, to stay. Twenty minutes south of this vibrant downtown area is the Town of Sahuarita, the subject of a special report. As Sahuarita celebrates its first quarter century this year, its leaders have significant goals for the region’s growth and its role as a major contributor to the area’s economy. Christy Krueger writes that town leaders are focusing on “resi-

dents’ needs and wants, maintaining the quality of life, and supporting the town’s award-winning school programs – all important considerations moving into the future – as are attention to the growing job market, the health of small businesses and relationships with major industries of the area.” The future also looks bright for the region’s education and its impact on workforce development as Pima Community College marks its 50th anniversary. Pima’s visionary Chancellor Lee Lambert and his team are developing impressive Centers of Excellence across Pima’s various campuses. These COEs are the foundation of Lambert’s longterm vision for the college and will serve to significantly advance economic development throughout Southern Arizona. As part of this this report by writers Romi Carrell Wittman, April Bourie and Lee Allen, you’ll also see the first public sneak preview of plans for Pima’s greatly expanded Downtown campus. This issue of BizTucson also underscores an evolving economic trend – our newfound ability to attract much-needed venture capital for the region’s entrepreneurs. At the top of list is UA Venture Capital, spearheaded by Fletcher McCusker and Michael Deitch – along with a new venture capital firm called BlueStone Capital, led by Mara Aspinall, former head of Ventana Medical Systems. Solstice Capital’s Harry George recently took part in a forum on what it will take to continue to grow the regions’ innovation economy. What an impressive way to launch the New Year ahead! Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

Contributing Editors

Jay Gonzales Donna Kreutz

Contributing Copyeditors

Elena Acoba Diane Luber Dave Petruska

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project & Event Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Lee Allen Peter F. Behan Rhonda Bodfield April Bourie Rodney Campbell Mary Minor Davis Brent DeRaad Anthony Gimino Jay Gonzales Chuck Graham

Tara Kirkpatrick Tiffany Kjos Christy Krueger David Pittman Steve Rivera Dr. Robert C. Robbins Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman Roger Yohem

Contributing Photographers

Damion Alexander Carter Allen J. Martin Harris Amy Haskell Martha Lochert Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney

Casey Numetko Dominic Ortega David Sanders Tom Spitz

Member:

Arizona Builders’ Alliance DM-50 Southern Arizona Leadership Council 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 ©2019 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.

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BizCONTENTS

FEATURES

WINTER 2019 VOLUME 10 NO. 4

COVER STORY: 110

RIO NUEVO – TRANSFORMING DOWNTOWN

DEPARTMENTS

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120

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BizLETTER 4 From the Publisher BizSPORTS 26 Sugar Skulls Bring Pro Football to Tucson 28 PGA Champions Tour BizEDUCATION 32 UA’s Bold Strategic Vision BizMUSIC 34 Tucson Desert Song Festival 36 Oro Valley Music Festival BizCYCLING 38 UK Gets Eyeful of Mt. Lemmon Bike Ride BizTOURISM 40 Visit Tucson Community Survey Seeks Input BizINNOVATION 42 Innovation Economy Forum BizFINANCE 44 Game-Changing UA Venture Capital BizTECHNOLOGY 48 TuSimple Expanding in Tucson 50 Axiscades Chooses Downtown BizHR 54 HR Heroes Enjoy Spotlight BizSPACE 58 Destination for Space-Related Business BizDEFENSE 60 Morris Air National Guard Base BizTAXES 62 Arizona Charitable Tax Credits BizWORKFORCE 64 New Program Connects Military Vets BizCONSTRUCTION 118 Downtown’s New Pioneer, Home to SinfoníaRx BizFINANCE 120 BlueStone Venture Partners BizCONSTRUCTION 122 New To Market: Projects in the Region BizHONORS 128 Man of the Year: Larry Lucero 130 Woman of the Year: Carla Keegan 132 Founders Award: Nancy Kinerk 134 Alumni Excellence Award: Suzanne McFarlin ABOUT THE COVER RIO NUEVO: TRANSFORMING DOWNTOWN Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis

136 174 176 178 180 182 186 188

BizNONPROFIT Linkages Building Bridges Awards Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch BizEDUCATION Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards BizTECHNOLOGY Bruce Wright – ‘An Agent of Change’ BizNONPROFIT Community Food Bank Honored as #1 in U.S. $750,000 Retires United Way Mortgage BizBENEFIT Gootter Grand Slam BizLITERACY 11th Annual Festival of Books

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BizMILLENNIALS TENWEST Festival BizAWARDS ASID Design Excellence Awards

195 197 200 202

BizREALESTATE 27th CCIM Forecast Preview BizAWARDS Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus MPA Common Ground BizTRIBUTE Pete Herder

SPECIAL REPORTS 65

Pima Community College SPECIAL REPORT 2019

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE VISION FOR THE FUTURE

137

Town of Sahuarita SPECIAL REPORT 2019

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TOWN OF

SAHUARITA You’re gonna love it here!

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PHOTOS: DOMINIC ORTEGA

BizSPORTS

Left to right at the announcement of the formation of the team - Rio Nuevo Board Member Mark Irvin, Sugar Skulls owners Cathy Guy and Kevin Guy, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Rio Nuevo Board Chair Fletcher McCusker, part owner Ali Farhang, Sugar Skulls Executive Director Mike Feder. Right, Sugar Skulls Head Coach Marcus Coleman is interviewed by the news media at the news conference announcing his hiring.

Sugar Skulls Bring Professional Football to Tucson Anticipated Economic Impact of $4 Million By Anthony Gimino Let’s start with the name. Gotta start with the name. It’s Sugar Skulls. Yeah, Sugar Skulls. That’s Tucson. Even if you know nothing about football, indoor football or Tucson’s new entry into the Indoor Football League, you should at least know that Sugar Skulls represent the community’s cultural history with Day of the Dead celebrations. For the ownership group, getting the team nickname right was the first step toward establishing a connection with Tucson as it adds a second professional sports piece to the downtown scene. “At first I wasn’t crazy about the name,” said Kevin Guy, co-owner of the franchise with his wife, Cathy, and Tucson attorney Ali Farhang. “But then I was reading an article in the Sports Business Journal about how the merchandise in minor league baseball was worth over $70 million, and the article tied much of that to the unique names that were tied to the communi26 BizTucson

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ties. “That did it for me. We wanted to be different. We wanted to be unique to Tucson because I wanted this to be Tucson’s team.” So, that’s the name, the brand that Guy hopes will rally interest. He said he couldn’t have been more pleased so far with the backing from local leaders, first meeting with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild in 2017. “He made it clear he wanted two sports in the building and directed his staff to start negotiating with us,” Guy said, referring to the Tucson Roadrunners, a minor league hockey team play-

ing its third season in the Tucson Convention Center Arena. “It took about a year, but we got it done. And it got done because everybody wanted to make it happen. I have been places where there are roadblocks, but there were no roadblocks here.” Rio Nuevo Board Chair Fletcher McCusker then got involved, with his group spending $400,000 for “tenant improvements” to the arena to accommodate game days. “He completely changed the mindset of the negotiations,” Guy said of McCusker. “I found Rio Nuevo to be very pro-business.” The team will play seven home games in the TCC arena – the IFL season starts in February and runs through late June – with a capacity of just under 7,000. Mike Feder, the team’s executive director, said he expects 6,000-plus for a home game. Feder is best known locally as the www.BizTucson.com


longtime GM of Tucson’s now-departed minor league baseball teams – the Toros/Sidewinders/Padres – but he also has experience with indoor football. He ran the New Orleans VooDoo and the Austin Wranglers for a combined three seasons. “It’s so fan friendly,” Feder said of the indoor game. “It’s just a party. I don’t know what else to say. The music is going to be nonstop. I’ve run the Triple-A team here for 15 years and the excitement level for the indoor game is 10 times greater. The fans are into the game, they’re close to the game. It’s so exciting.” Indoor football is fast, loud and, well, it’s football during the time of year when the NFL is in its offseason. Guy knows how this can work. He has spent 19 seasons in the sport. In a unique twist, he is the head coach of the rival Arizona Rattlers, which averaged a league-best 9,330 fans last year at its downtown Phoenix arena. Guy estimated that the Sugar Skulls could have a local economic impact of $3 to $4 million. In his research – including spending multiple “staycations” in Tucson – he believes the area is big enough to support an indoor franchise. Professional sports often have had a rough go of it in Tucson, which has lost Triple-A baseball, spring training baseball, PGA Tour golf and various other entities over the years. But a college football bowl game – the Arizona Bowl – is in its fourth year, the PGA Champions Tour has replaced the World Match Play Championship and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes moved their top minor league team to Tucson to help anchor downtown. “I’ve seen so many things leave this community,” Feder said. “People didn’t want to go to the south side (Kino Stadium) to watch a baseball game. There were no places to eat and there were no places to drink. That made it difficult.” No such worries downtown, before or after games, for the Sugar Skulls. That’s good for fans, for the team, for local dollars to change hands. Feder said all the home games will be set for fan-friendly Saturday kickoffs at 6 p.m. or Sundays at 3 p.m. “It’s going to be a party. We’re selling fun,” Guy said. “We’re all part of this together. It’s about growing Tucson and making Tucson’s economy very strong.”

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PHOTOS: J. MARTIN HARRIS

2018 Cologuard Classic Champion Steve Stricker

Cologuard Classic

Continuing a Tradition of Golf and Charity By Steve Rivera If the Cologuard Classic doesn’t have a slogan, well, here is a suggestion: “It’s more than golf.” Of course, it is. But during the week of Feb. 25-March 3, it’s a plethora of activities to appeal to most everyone. There’s unbeatable Southern Arizona weather, the locals’ excitement for their event, the weeklong party, a Friday-night concert by country artist LOCASH, raising awareness for a dreaded disease (colon cancer) that can be easily detected, and, well, of course golf by some of yesteryear’s favorites and stillnotable stars. That’s a lot. Golf just happens to be part of the party that brings in an estimated $25 million into the local economy. “There’s a little something for everybody,” said Judy McDermott, president of the Tucson Conquistadores, which will once again support the PGA Tour by operating the event. “Anyone can come to the tournament – whether you’re a diehard golf fan or not. You can walk and follow the players and not have to fight a crowd. Or you can sit in the hospitality tent and maximize the fun, maybe enjoying the 16th hole, par 28 BizTucson

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three. It’s a lot of fun.” That’s what it’s all intended to be for all involved – although it also is competitive for the 78-player field that competes for a share of a $1.7 million purse of which $255,000 and 255 Charles Schwab Cup points go to the winner. The event, now in its second year, is a no-cut, three-day format with a popular two-day pro-am going Wednesday and Thursday. Big names are expected, including the always-popular John Daly. Also scheduled to return is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who made an appearance for the proam and was popular and available to fans. Last year’s event was a resounding success, where more than 40,000 fans – golf and more – visited Omni Tucson National Resort and helped raise more than half a million dollars to assist the Conquistadores in helping local youth athletic programs. Since 1962, the Conquistadores have raised more than $60 million for local charities assisting youth sports. When all was said and done after last year’s event – after the wrap-up meeting occurred – there were plenty of high-fives and congratulations in the

By David B. Pittman

meetings. And they pulled it off with just 100 days knowing Exact Science’s Cologuard was on board as a sponsor. “What Cologuard did was give a mental boost to our whole organization for professional golf and the Tucson Conquistadores,” McDermott said. “If we didn’t have the golf tournament, how would we fund the charities? “We’re all about keeping professional golf here in Tucson.” Keeping it here and flourishing means making it better and better every year. After last year’s success, all involved quickly brainstormed the bigtime concert where if you purchase a ticket to the Friday’s golf you will also get the concert – a win-win. “We recognize that not everyone in Tucson is a golf fan,” said Bryan Goettel, senior manager of Cologaurd public relations. “But we are really committed and want to demonstrate that this is much more than golf. I would encourage those who are not golf fans to experience the tournament and they will see it’s much more than golf.” To Cologuard, it’s about raising awareness to get screened for colon cancer. And it fits right in the wheelhouse of those participating – at least www.BizTucson.com


BizSPORTS the age group of the 50-yearsand-older crowd. “Cancer isn’t talked about enough – and this is the second-leading cancer killer for men and women in the United States,” Geottel said. “We are very fortunate to have found a tremendous partner in Tucson and the PGA to have a platform to create awareness and hopefully make a difference to fight against this disease.” It helps to have golfer Jerry Kelly on board. In 2017, Kelly teamed up with Cologuard makers Exact Sciences to help raise awareness of colon cancer and the importance of regular screening at age 50. “The thing that struck me about the golfers in the event was that they understand and appreciate how fortunate they are to still do this for a living,” Goettel said of the golfers. “For them to recognize and fully appreciate the sponsors who give them the platform to do it was really special to me. “The icing on the cake was that every single player accepted Jerry Kelly’s challenge of making the promise to get screened for colon cancer. They realize the importance.” And the importance of passing on the message. In fact, watching Steve Stricker win the title may not have been the best moment of the 2018 weekend. It may have been seeing Cologuarduser/cancer survivor Brenda Boutin come to the event from Savannah, Georgia. Boutin and her husband, Jef, went to an event on Saturday and were acknowledged by golfer Tom Lehman. “Jef looked at me,” Goettel recalled, “and said, ‘This is the coolest experience of our lives.’ To provide that for a survivor and her spouse was very meaningful.” More than golf, indeed.

COLOGUARD CLASSIC

An Official PGA TOUR Champions Event

Three days of competition Friday March 1 – Sunday March 3, 2019, No Cut Pro-Am February 27–28 $1.7 million purse with first prize of $255,000 New for 2019 Friday night community concert starring country artist LOCASH

Host Site Omni Tucson National Resort, Catalina Course 2727 W. Club Dr. Host Organization Tucson Conquistadores Funds for Charity Net proceeds from the event benefit local youth athletic programs in need. The Tucson Conquistadores fund grants for equipment, facilities and scholarships to hundreds of youth organizations, teams and individuals in Southern Arizona – particularly those serving disadvantaged or disabled individuals. International TV Coverage The Golf Channel reaches 78 million households in the United States. International coverage in 190 countries and territories reaches more than 330 million households. Format No-cut 54-hole stroke-play championship competition Pro-Am Spots – $3,500 Play with a PGA TOUR Champion One-of-a-kind experience, side-by-side with stars in tournament conditions Includes $500 shopping spree, parties and prizes Honorary Observers – $500 Walk inside the ropes, up close with players. Receive tournament hat, autographed photo and your name announced on the first tee with the pros. Appeals to golfers and non-golfers. Tickets and information $35 per day $95 for 3-day general admission cologuardclassic.com (520) 571-0400

JOIN THE CONQUISTADOR CLUB The Conquistador Club is the place to be and be seen. View live golf – mixed with a lively sports bar with large-screen televisions on the 9th and 16th green. Club packages include credentials for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus preferred parking passes. Conquistador Club 2 Pack – $695

Two Conquistador Club tickets per day – Friday through Sunday

Each Friday Conquistador Club ticket includes general admission to the concert by country artist LOCASH

One preferred parking pass good all week

Food concessions and premium cash bar

Access to the Conquistador Club on the 9th and 16th

2 Friday, 2 Saturday and 2 Sunday general admission grounds tickets (Friday tickets include admissions to the concert)

BIRDIES FOR THE BRAVE SALUTE PROGRAM Individuals and businesses are invited to join the Tucson Conquistadores in honoring and showing appreciation for our courageous American heroes by serving as a sponsor of the Birdies for the Brave Military Salute Program. Our heroes – including active duty and reserve military members, military retirees, veterans and National Guard Service Members – and their families enjoy admission to the Cologuard Classic, exclusive access to the Patriots’ Outpost on Hole 16 tee box, includes complimentary food and beverages, as well as admission to the Friday night military salute concert. Recognition of sponsors’ support will be displayed at the tournament’s main entrance, Patriots’ Outpost and the Friday night concert. Operation I’m In – $1,000 Operation We’re In – $5,000

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BizBRIEFS

Sandra P. Barton Sandra P. Barton has been promoted to senior vice president, regional manager of commercial real estate for the Tucson Region for Alliance Bank of Arizona. Barton, a Tucson native and University of Arizona grad, has 25 years of commercial banking experience in Southern Arizona. She is a member of the Tucson Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), Executive Connection, Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and Southern Arizona CCIM.

Biz

Karen Sivert Karen Sivert has been appointed senior CP and commercial banking department manager at Alliance Bank of Arizona. She will lead the commercial banking team for the Tucson region. Sivert is a 30-year veteran of the banking industry, working primarily in commercial lending. She attended Pacific Coast School of Banking. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked with Project C.U.R.E., Habitat for Humanity, Parker Chamber of Commerce and Project Bridge for youth at risk.

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BizEDUCATION

University of Arizona’s Bold Strategic Vision Shaping the Direction of the World

By Dr. Robert C. Robbins, President, University of Arizona

Navigating tomorrow’s ever-evolving societal, economic and cultural landscapes will take audacious ingenuity.

Dr. Robert C. Robbins President, University of Arizona –

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Over the past year, the University of Arizona has engaged more than 10,000 stakeholders in collaborative dialogue about our future as an institution. I am incredibly grateful for the collective insight of Wildcats near and far that has led to a bold, distinctive and differentiated vision for UA. What will follow is the culmination of this process to build on the strengths of our past toward a focused strategic plan that has energized our people and will unleash the potential of our university in partnership with our community. As I wrote this column, I was preparing to present this new plan to the Arizona Board of Regents at its November meeting. Their input will shape the final detailed plan while elements are already poised for implementation as leaders of the plan’s 90-plus initiatives begin to engage campus and community partners in their rollout. Its framework is inspired by the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a time of augmented intelligence and the fusion of digital, physical and biological worlds. Navigating tomorrow’s ever-evolving societal, economic and cultural landscapes will take audacious ingenuity. We also must embrace our duty and privilege to serve the special needs of the state and its citizenry as this new era unfolds. As a leading international research university, we play a distinctive role in shaping the direction of the world. We tackle society’s biggest challenges by enabling discoveries that will fundamentally shape how we live and work, and by preparing graduates to successfully carry forward the torch of inspirational human endeavor. Student success is at the core of this plan. We will teach, mentor and engage our students in a way that cultivates a sense of imaginative, innovative thinking that will be adaptable in a future that will be both wondrous and complex. Our strengths as a research university create a setting where transformational learning experiences define every degree program and come from

across our entire campus. The bedrock of their experience at the University of Arizona will prepare them to lead meaningful lives and improve society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution economy. The strategic plan has been designed to position us as the world leader in space science and technology, a recognized research institution for fostering international fellows and a premier interdisciplinary innovation center in the Southwest. We also know that the quantum leap in science and technology will drive an even greater need for us to develop the essential qualities – empathy, creativity and critical thinking – that distinguish humans from machines. As such, we will continue to build our strengths in the humanities, arts and social sciences. This plan is designed around and will showcase the values and aspirations of our extended Wildcat community on campus, across Arizona and around the world. We will accomplish this while remaining faithful to our original mission as a land-grant university and our promise as an AAU institution. We will serve the diverse population of our state in ways that meet the unique needs of Arizonans in the 21st-century global economy and produce a strong pipeline of skilled talent, ready to meet the needs of innovative companies. As noted UA alumna, motivational speaker and climber who has summited the globe’s seven highest peaks, Alison Levine, has said, “Every time you get to the base of a mountain (literal or metaphorical), you’re presented with a new opportunity to challenge yourself, to push your limits beyond what you thought possible, to learn from climbers on the trail ahead of you and to take in some amazing views. Your performance on the mountain you climbed last week or last month or last year doesn’t matter – because it’s all about what you are doing right now.”  We look forward to working with partners throughout Arizona as we make this next climb. Biz www.BizTucson.com


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BizMUSIC

Tucson Desert Song Festival Seven Years Strong By Chuck Graham Broadway, film and television star during a weeklong August celebration Kristin Chenoweth, renowned opercommemorating the 100th anniversary atic soprano Ana Maria Martinez and of Bernstein’s birth on Aug. 25. inventive jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin Hanson said McGlaughlin’s reportlead the extensive list of guest artists for age was heard by half a million people the seventh annual Tucson Desert Song in 54 radio markets. Festival, set for Jan.16 to Feb. 5 at vari“We knew we had to come up with ous Old Pueblo concert venues. Pitching something really solid for 2019 to prove in to make it happen are 10 of the city’s 2018 wasn’t a fluke,” Hanson said. most prestigious arts organizations. “Actually, I’ve been working on this Last January’s Tucparticular lineup for son Desert Song Fesclose to two years.” tival tribute to LeonIn the world of ard Bernstein was premiere music casuch a smashing sucreers, it isn’t unusual cess, this ambitious for established perorganization knew formers to be booked the January 2019 well over a year in event would have to advance. So every be even better. star’s agent must also “It was the Bernbelieve you have the stein program that staying power to last put us on the map that long. nationally and in“Two objectives – George Hanson ternationally,” said I’ve had from the Director George Hanson, the beginning of TDSF Tucson Desert Song Festival collaborative festival’s is to have a national director. profile and the recognition of permanence as an arts orHanson was speaking of the enhanced amount of publicity the desert ganization that does important work,” fest received during the summer’s RavHanson said. enia Music Festival near Chicago and So with complete confidence that his by that city’s powerhouse classical muannual festival is cooking along finansic station WFMT. The station assigned cially, Hanson has announced a threesymphony conductor and radio host Bill week event celebrating “Latin Rhythms: McGlaughlin to cover the 2018 Tucson The Heartbeat of Tucson,” with perforfestival. His programs were broadcast mances at eight Tucson venues.

PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON DESERT SONG FESTIVAL

The festival continues to be a celebration of the human voice, with this year’s emphasis being on Latin singers.

Biz

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BizMUSIC

Wind, Rain Don’t Stop the Music Uncooperative weather did not dampen the excitement of the nearly 6,000 fans who braved wind, rain, mud, a new date and a new venue for the Oro Valley Music Festival. For 2018, the festival moved the date from September to October, changed the venue and added a new festival partner. Attendance averaged about 3,000 each day, down from an average of 10,000 in 2017. Steve Earnhart, senior VP of marketing and sales for iHeartMedia Tucson, said the big year-over-year drop can be attributed to all of the changes, as well as the weather and the lineup of artists. “For Sunday’s drop, it was also the lineup – last year’s Sunday lineup was stronger,” he said. The move to change the dates to Oct. 13-14 was to try to get better weather with cooler temperatures, Earnhart said. “So much for that idea,” he said after weather and accompanying inconveniences hampered both days of the event. Organizers have not yet announced dates for 2019. The festival’s move to Naranja Park stemmed from growth – they had grown too big for the Golf Club at Vistoso where the festival originated. “I think most everyone – the fans, the vendors and us – loved Naranja Park,” Earnhart said. “Those huge fields, onsite parking and the mountain views made it a great location.” iHeart also worked with R-Entertainment, a live events company they work with in other markets. The company is based in Scottsdale. “R’s main responsibility is the logistics and execution of the event,” Earnhart said. “We are working on next year currently and do not foresee any major changes on the operations.” Former Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath was a big champion for bringing the music festival to Oro Valley. With a new mayor and several new councilmembers in place in 2019, there is hope that town support will continue. “This is a great event for Oro Valley,” Hiremath said at this year’s festival. “It’s great for the community and for tourism. It’s become an iconic event.”

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Mary Minor Davis


Switchfoot

A Great Big World

MAX

Mat Kearney

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UK Gets Eyeful of Mount Lemmon Bike Ride By Romi Carrell Wittman and Jay Gonzales Tucson’s cycling scene is grabbing international attention. The challenging and scenic ride up Mount Lemmon was featured on the cover of the August issue of Cyclist magazine, a monthly publication based in the United Kingdom. The story, headlined “Rising Arizona,” featured the writer, James Spender, describing the ride up the mountain, taking in the scenery along the way including some of the mountain’s familiar sites such as Windy Point all the way to Summerhaven. The 17-page, full-color spread was complete with breathtaking photos. There were separate short pieces on some of the history on the mountain. Spender and a riding partner named Miguel, started their ride at Le Buzz Café at Tanque Verde Road and Catalina Highway, going all the way up to 38 BizTucson

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the Mount Lemmon Ski Valley and then circling back to Summerhaven. Being from the UK, Spender began his story with a reference to The Beatles song that famously mentions Tucson, Arizona. “The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ is the reason why the words Tucson and Arizona seem so inextricably linked in my mind, possibly the only reason before this trip that I knew where Tucson actually was,” Spender wrote. Spender quickly recognizes the significance of the iconic saguaro cactus which can be found in the lower portion of the mountain before entering the pine forests at the higher elevations. “People in Tucson pay more for houses with a saguaro in the garden,” Spender observed. “As we climb the early slopes of Mount Lemmon, in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest, I

am totally in the saguaros’ thrall. We are, after all, surrounded.” More Cycling News McKenzie Ranch North Loop Opens

If mountain biking is your jam, a brand-new trail southeast of Tucson just opened. The McKenzie Ranch North Loop, a non-technical flowing trail, features easy-to-moderate climbs depending on fitness. Per the mtbproject.com website, the entire loop is “newbie friendly and the twisty bits are very well-banked.” The trail can be ridden in both directions, but it was built to be ridden clockwise. This is a 6.5-mile trail built especially for racing, but is open every day, except on race days.

Biz www.BizTucson.com

IMAGES: COURTESY CYCLIST MAGAZINE – DENNIS PUBLISHING LONDON, ENGLAND

BizCYCLING


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BizTOURISM

Visit Tucson Community Survey Seeks Input

Our research shows that 80 percent of metro Tucson travelers intend to return within five years.

– Brent DeRaad President & CEO Visit Tucson

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Southern Arizona’s $2.3 Billion Travel Industry

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By Brent DeRaad When it comes to industries, travel is an main Visit Tucson’s core functions, we have enigma. moved into “product development” in recent We at Visit Tucson – the region’s travel years. Visit Tucson invests in dozens of area promotion agency – sell the essence of us. events annually, markets our region in cities We sell Tucson’s and Southern Arizona’s with nonstop routes to Tucson International culture, climate, attractions and way of life. Airport and participates in the First ImpresIn a very competitive marketplace, we invite sions project with landscaped medians and potential visitors to “Free Yourself ” by expeart installed on Tucson Boulevard leading in riencing our surroundings instead of those in and out of the airport. other cities. We have supported These visitors blend bond initiatives for Pima County 2017 into our daily lives. roads and parks, inTravel Impacts They drive on our vested in bringing in streets, eat in our res10 Major League Soc• $2.35 Billion Direct Travel Spending taurants, visit attraccer teams each winter • $756 Million Travel Industry tions, hike, cycle and for pre-season training Earnings engage in many other and partnered with • 25,550 Travel-Related Jobs activities that make the city of Tucson, • $74 Million Local Tax Receipts metro Tucson such Pima County, the a great place to live, Tucson Convention • $127 Million State Tax Receipts work, play – and visit. Center and the priSource: Visit Tucson 2017-18 Annual Report Because some visitors vate sector to manage & 2018-2019 Marketing Plan are not easily identiand promote the Tucfied as such, the $2.3 son Gem, Mineral & billion they spent in Fossil Showcase. We Domestic overnight visitors to Tucson Pima County in 2017 also sponsored the and Southern Arizona in 2017 totaled can be invisible. University of Arizona So, while visitors College of Science’s 6.5 million – an increase of 8.3 percent may not be top of Mount Lemmon Sciover the previous year. mind to all, they are ence Tour. This free Source: “Tracking Domestic Visitor Volumes vital to the 25,500 emaudio app, which defor Arizona: 2017,” Tourism Economics ployed by the travel inscribes the numerous dustry in Pima Counlife zones encountered ty. That is why Visit Tucson is leading an while ascending the mountain, has been effort to create a 10-year tourism masterplan downloaded by more than 100,000 residents for the region and why we need your help. and visitors. Great places to live are great places to visit What else do we need to enhance our – and visitors love our lifestyle. Our research quality of life? Your answers to that question shows that 80 percent of metro Tucson travwill help us prioritize our limited resources elers intend to return within five years. We on initiatives that are most important to you believe our primary job is to convince more and the visitor market. Again, please visit first-time visitors to make the trek here. our survey today to tell us what you think. I encourage you to share your thoughts Thank you for supporting one of metro about living, working and playing in metro Tucson’s top industries. The majority of us Tucson to help us better understand the were visitors first. Creating an even better community experience and quality of life isTucson/Southern Arizona quality of life for sues. Complete our online Community Surresidents, and an even better experience for vey at https://tinyurl.com/TucsonSurvey travelers, will pay off in additional jobs, dito provide input about how to enhance our rect spending and outside tax revenue that region’s quality of life. reduces the tax burden on locals. While sales, marketing and promotion reBiz www.BizTucson.com


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BizINNOVATION

Time to Court Innovation

Focus on Economic Development Efforts By Tiffany Kjos Once known as having a low-wage, low-tech job market, Tucson is changing – marching toward an economy based on high-wage, high-tech, innovationbased businesses. But it’s going to take a long time, a lot of effort, plenty of collaboration and a clear road map to get there. As we move toward the “fourth industrial revolution,” Tucson needs to design that road map, said Ron Shoopman, chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents and past president of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. “Southern Arizona has a lot of assets. We have some great opportunities, but we have some gaps. So what is the right course of action for us?” Shoopman said. Shoopman was among the experts who spoke at a conference at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch in late September to an audience of business leaders, politicians, educators and others who help shape economic development efforts here. “It will be up to many of you working together to figure out just what is the path for Southern Arizona, and Arizona more broadly,” Shoopman said. Most regions in the nation are not courting innovation – and they’re making a mistake in not doing so, said Eric Cromwell, CEO of the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. “When we talk about these innovation-based strategies, it is not a priority for most states. So that’s a problem, because the things you’re going to hear about today is, hey, we need to support innovation. We need to support entrepreneurship,” he said. Cromwell was invited to the forum to share some of his successes and challenges, as well as things regions should 42 BizTucson

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flat-out not do. His experience includes working for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, starting a business incubator and founding companies. A fresh focus on innovation requires a new perspective, Cromwell said. “What needs to happen at the state, local and, at times, the federal level is the policies need to change with it. It’s time to put some new tools in the toolbox.” Other things this region can do to draw business here and support startups include having plenty of venture capital, a long-term plan that focuses on the entrepreneur and a source of innovation such as a research and development center. “You have a great university – so that could be a focal point. You have a base of research here that is very impressive,” Cromwell said. What Tucson needs to offer are more flights, a much-improved public education system and new and improved infrastructure such as roads. Venture capital is a huge part of the equation, he said. Three of the newest venture capital enterprises here are offering at least $70 million in funding. They are UAVenture Capital, DVI Venture Partners and BlueStone Venture Partners. “Several of us recently put together a list of bioscience companies in Tucson – there were 24 companies. I was pleased and a little surprised by how large a number that was,” said Mara Aspinall, co-founder of BlueStone, former president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems and co-founder of the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics at Arizona State University. “We have had great growth of existing companies and recently a surge of new companies. That is great news for

the companies themselves – but it also makes Tucson a more attractive place to move to. When technology executives choose to come to Tucson they will now know that they and their spouse have several different companies that are in their industry.” One thing we can throw out is giving incentives such as tax breaks to incoming companies — particularly established companies with huge revenues, Cromwell said. “They’re still going to invest in your market. They’ll just do it without the subsidy.” Tucson-born Simpleview, which provides software for 600 convention and visitors bureaus in the U.S. and around the world, started here in 2001. CEO Ryan George is a Tucson native who graduated from Canyon del Oro High School and the University of Arizona. But his attachment to this area is not the only reason his business stays in Oro Valley. What keeps the company local is a low cost of living, superior quality of life and available workforce. “The talent that the UA produces has given us a great pool of resources to draw from,” George said. Simpleview has 235 employees in offices here, in Philadelphia and in Norway, but it took more than two decades to get to this point. That’s exactly why Cromwell said a plan for economic development must be a long-term one. Ultimately, he said, “Whatever kind of strategy you want to come up with for Southern Arizona, make sure that it’s rooted in what is helping the entrepreneur, because that’s what’s going to change your economy over the long run.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Michael Deitch Fletcher McCusker 44 BizTucson

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UAVenture Capital


BizFINANCE

Game-Changing UAVenture Capital $120 Million to Commercialize UA Innovations By Jay Gonzales

As a prominent Tucson businessman and ardent supporter of the University of Arizona, Fletcher McCusker was one of the first locals that incoming UA President Dr. Robert Robbins was encouraged to meet and get to know. It wasn’t long after Robbins arrived in the summer of 2017 that he and McCusker did meet for dinner at Café Poca Cosa, one of Tucson’s legendary downtown eateries. Not long after that, McCusker was launching – from an idea hatched at that dinner – a $20 million venture capital fund with bylaws that was to support technologies coming out of the UA. McCusker and his longtime business partner Michael Deitch launched UAVenture Capital in October 2017 with a mission to “commercialize University of Arizona science, technology, services and products,” according to its website. An additional fund of $100 million from other investors was launched in November. It all came on the heels of McCusker and Deitch’s completion of one of the great success stories in technology transfer coming out of the university – SinfoníaRx, a medication management program that had been developed by researchers at the UA College of Pharmacy. They turned it into a thrivwww.BizTucson.com

ing national operation that employed thousands of people around the U.S. and was eventually bought by publicly traded Tabula Rasa HealthCare.

It gives us a chance to get in the game and compete with Denver, Salt Lake City, all these other emerging markets that potentially could have the same thing that we have, but just don’t have a fund yet.

– Dr. Robert C. Robbins President, University of Arizona

“We had already announced that the company was going to be sold and, frankly, there was a part of me that was

headed to the beach,” McCusker said of the timing of his dinner with Robbins. “He’s so captivating and he’s such a visionary about what this university could become, and he said, ‘You can’t leave. You’ve got to stay involved.’ ” And with UAVenture Capital, McCusker remains involved with the university, with the Tucson community and with his ongoing devotion to the resurgence of downtown as board chair of Rio Nuevo. No resting on laurels

While McCusker admittedly was not about to check out on Tucson because of his long history here and his involvement with downtown, Robbins’ arrival as the new UA president was the difference between being another UA supporter and putting his money on the table to advance one of Robbins’ major initiatives. “Bobby celebrated with us the success of Sinfonía, but, moreover, the opportunities that created for the University of Arizona,” McCusker said. “When he releases his strategic plan, you’ll see a huge focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization – and he really wanted us to be a part of that.” That UAVenture Capital came tocontinued on page 46 >>> Winter 2019

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continued from page 45 gether so quickly was a bit of a stunner to Robbins. As president and CEO of Texas Medical Center, Robbins had tried and tried to put together a venture capital fund for technologies being developed there. He worked potential investors in Houston. He went to the large funds centered in the VC havens of the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston – all with no success. “We built this incredible infrastructure for developing technology at the world’s largest medical center – but it had no major pharmaceutical, medical device or digital health company located in Houston,” Robbins said. “There was no real venture capital fund.” Not in Houston anymore

Sitting with McCusker at Café Poca Cosa, Robbins knew the game was different in Tucson and at the UA. “When you’ve got the whole portfolio of medicine, biotech, pharma, digital, computer science, and then you add on the No. 1 astronomy and space science program, the No. 1 optical science program, and if you can really get aligned and can leverage an entire university, then it’s fairly obvious that there are opportunities,” Robbins said. McCusker and Deitch, along with longtime Tucson lawyer Larry Hecker, were soon on the move, putting their own money into the fund and then tapping their connections for investors to build the $20 million fund.

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With UAVenture Capital, Deitch found himself in the middle of something different than anything he had done before. McCusker had hired Deitch on the spot in 1997 when he interviewed for the job of CFO at Providence Service Corporation, a holding company that McCusker founded. “We literally hired Michael in the interview,” McCusker said. Deitch recalled, “We had one contract at that time and I took my first chance in life. I’m telling my wife, Valerie, that we could always go back if things didn’t work out, but I was going to take a chance. It’s been a great ride.” Formed in 1997, Providence went public in 2003. By 2013, Providence was a billion-dollar business and McCusker and Deitch left together to work on commercializing spinout companies at the UA along with TechLaunch Arizona, the UA technology commercialization arm. That’s when SinfoníaRx came to fruition, which then led to UAVenture Capital. Looking back on the success of Providence, then Sinfonía, and leading to millions of dollars available to invest in UAVenture Capital, it may look like the road was littered with rose petals and pots of gold for Deitch and McCusker. Not so, Deitch said. Getting to where the two partners are today had plenty of hurdles. “Since early on, there have been several times where I didn’t know on Tuesday how I was going to make payroll on Friday,” Deitch said. “We just pulled together every resource that we could find – whether it was bank debt, personal money in-

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BizFINANCE vested, going on without paychecks. It’s been a constant for all these years – searching for money and reinvesting everything we would make. Finally, it was after exiting SinfoníaRx that I felt I finally was on solid ground.” ‘In the game’

So instead of riding into the sunset, McCusker and Deitch are putting their money back in play. Their first round of funding initially went to three companies in July, and two more were announced in November and December. They are:

• Codelucida was formed by engineering graduates and faculty at the UA. The company has developed an error-correction technology that can enable cheaper, high-capacity, high-performance, solid-state drives for consumer and data center storage.

• Regulonix has developed a powerful non-opioid, non-addic-

tive pain killer that has performed well in animals and is headed for human trials. The compound was invented by UA pharmacologist Dr. Rajesh Khanna and his team.

• Post.Bid.Ship has developed an application that automates

the process of identifying and locating available haulers and matches them with shippers. A team led by Jarret Hamstreet, a graduate of the UA Eller College of Management, invented the application.

www.BizTucson.com

• Qwick

connects hospitality businesses to workers in real time. Qwick has developed a technology platform which allows hotels and restaurants to immediately locate temporary staff by posting an open shift. Blaine Light, a graduate of the UA College of Engineering, is the company’s COO and cofounder.

• Freefall has licensed antenna technology, invented by UA sci-

entists and engineers, that has the potential to revolutionize both satellite and terrestrial wireless communications. The systems are compact, lightweight and low-power, enabling 360-degree, steerable, high-frequency communications with no moving parts. UA Venture Capital has acquired a 20-percent interest in the company.

Besides giving the UA the boost in reputation and opportunity for creative-minded faculty and students, Robbins said UAVenture Capital is a boost for the economy of the entire region. “First, Fletcher will want to keep the companies in Tucson, which is good for the university and good for the regional economy,” Robbins said. “And second, companies will potentially want to move to Tucson if that’s where their funding comes from. “It gives us a chance to get in the game and compete with Denver, Salt Lake City, all these other emerging markets that potentially could have the same thing that we have but just don’t have a fund yet.” Biz

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Gov. Doug Ducey addresses the gathering at the announcement of TuSimple’s expansion.

TuSimple Expanding in Tucson

Autonomous Truck Firm to Add 600 Jobs Here By Tiffany Kjos TuSimple, a Chinese autonomous truck startup, moved to Tucson just two years ago but is already making big changes. With headquarters in San Diego and Beijing, TuSimple first located on Tucson’s west side. It has since moved into a facility on Vail Road and expanded it from 6,800 to 50,000 square feet. TuSimple plans to grow even further in 2019, producing an estimated $1.1 billion in economic impact over five years – plus 600 jobs. “Along with these new jobs in engi48 BizTucson

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neering, autonomous truck driving, office management and more, this company plans to double the size of this facility by 2019,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said at a fall event announcing the expansion. Online job boards list TuSimple jobs in engineering, management and IT, along with benefits that include three meals a day and unlimited snacks. The company has been testing its trucks on Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Each has a driver on board and an engineer.

“TuSimple pays well above the regional median wage, adding significantly to the region’s highly educated, high-paid workforce – which is exactly the type of workforce we’re working to expand in the county,” Pima County District 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson said. Chuck Price, TuSimple’s VP, thanked the governor and others for “creating the country’s most rational strategy for supporting testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. It’s really the root of why we decided to come here.” www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY SUN CORRIDOR INC.

BizTECHNOLOGY


“And on top of that, I mean, look – it’s a great place to live and work.” The company has developed a perception system that, it says, allows its trucks to safely and efficiently drive at highway speeds. According to TuSimple, each rig is outfitted with enough cameras to detect 360 degrees of its surroundings with a range of 1,000 meters, more than any other autonomous vehicle system. TuSimple is building a 200-truck fleet, which Price said will be the largest in the world. “We chose Arizona because the regulatory climate is correct and allows for us to develop a safe and effective solution that we can bring from testing to production,” he said. “We also are impressed with the talent that is available here. We have a strong partnership with the University of Arizona and we also have a very strong partnership with Pima Community College – both of which are tremendous resources for us as we move forward.” When TuSimple arrived in Tucson it expected to have 100 employees here within five years. Now it’s expected to have 600, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said. “Technology and transportation are two of the five keys of Tucson’s economy. TuSimple is right at the intersection of both,” said Rothschild. Sun Corridor Inc., the Arizona Commerce Authority and Rio Nuevo are among the entities charged with bringing business here and helping existing firms grow. They’ve scored several home runs lately – among them Amazon, which is building a distribution center here; Texas Instruments, which is expanding, and Caterpillar, which is building a surface mining division headquarters downtown. “The recent wins absolutely capture the attention of site selectors and corporations looking for new areas to grow their businesses,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. “Our success has generated more interest in our region for business attraction and expansion than we have seen in years.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY SUN CORRIDOR INC.

BizTECHNOLOGY

Left to right: David Hutchens, Chair, Sun Corridor Inc., President & CEO UNS Energy Corp, Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services, Mritunjay Singh, CEO, Axiscades, Gov. Doug Ducey, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson

Axiscades Chooses Downtown

Firm Follows Caterpillar, One of Its Big Clients By Tiffany Kjos An international engineering firm based in India has joined the growing list of companies that have moved to Tucson. This one is following one of its major clients, Caterpillar, which is building a 150,000-square-foot headquarters for its Surface and Mining Division on the west side of I-10 south of Congress Street. The firm, Axiscades, has offices in the Transamerica building downtown, at 177 N. Church Ave. It’s expected to bring 320 jobs to Tucson. Axiscades (pronounced axis-kay-diss) works with the mining, construction, aerospace, defense, automotive, energy and healthcare industries. Along with engineers, it will employ workers in the fields of finance, research and development, hu50 BizTucson

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man resources, sales and project management. “These are precisely the type of high-paying jobs that Southern Arizona has been looking to attract – and it goes to show that when world-class leaders like Caterpillar recognize the opportunities that Arizona holds for business, the momentum keeps on building,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said at an event announcing the firm’s expansion to Tucson. “Landing Axiscades is a big deal for our entire state – especially when you consider the expertise they can provide to so many potential clients and partners who already call Arizona home.” Axiscades has more than a dozen engineering centers around the globe. www.BizTucson.com


We’re sending a message to innovators across the country and around the world that Southern Arizona is open for business. –

Gov. Doug Ducey

“I am very excited about what I see around here. There is tremendous potential in terms of defense work. There’s a tremendous potential in terms of talent,” said Mritunjay Singh, Axiscades CEO and executive director. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming mainstream in the defense sector, Singh said, and Axiscades sees Tucson as a place to grow in that direction “A lot of our prospects and customers that we have been working with are also present here,” he said. “We definitely want to take a look at that and see how we can add a defense capability that we have built in other places and see that we can build it here.” As is true with most economic development, it took a team of people to ease Axiscades’ move here. They include the city of Tucson, Pima County, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Tucson Electric Power, Rio Nuevo and Sun Corridor Inc. “With the arrival of Axiscades in Southern Arizona, once again we’re sending a message to innovators across the country and around the world that Southern Arizona is open for business,” Ducey said. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild pointed to Tucson’s unique location as a draw for new business. “Tucson’s proximity to Mexico and to Caterpillar’s Mexican and Latin American customers was one reason why Caterpillar chose to come here, and it’s one of the city’s most important strategic advantages. Cities, like business competitors, copy from one another, but they can’t pick up and move to a new location 60 miles from the border,” he said. Downtown’s resurgence has been recognized, said Dave Hutchens, chairman of Sun Corridor Inc. and president and CEO at Tucson Electric Power. “One of the coolest things about Axiscades coming here is the fact that they’re picking downtown, as so many other recent relocations have chosen downtown, including Caterpillar, Hexagon Mining, Madden Media,” Hutchens said. He also gave a nod to the impact of having a strong highereducation base here. “We have the ability to support high-tech growth companies like Axiscades. We have a lot of engineers at the University of Arizona, and whether it’s a Wildcat or whether it’s a Sun Devil, we’re happy to put engineers to work – and that comes directly from an engineering graduate from the University of Arizona.” Biz www.BizTucson.com

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BizBRIEF

Sun Corridor Inc. is Golden Economic Development Agency Wins AAED Gold Prospector Awards By Tiffany Kjos Southern Arizona’s major driver of economic development – Sun Corridor Inc. – won two Golden Prospector awards from the Arizona Association for Economic Development. The Sun Corridor staff works to bring non-retail jobs and companies to Southern Arizona and help existing businesses grow. The organization won the Deal of the Year award for its Hexagon Mining HQ Retention and Expansion campaign. The Deal of the Year award goes to regions and economic development entities that “attracted or developed the highest-impact projects,” according to AAED. A Sun Corridor special event, “Site Selectors Guild Tucson Advisory Fo-

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rum,” also received recognition. The special event award goes to a meeting, seminar, marketing tour, event or trip aimed at developing prospects and promoting economic development. “The Golden Prospector Awards were established by AAED to encourage and recognize excellence in economic development,” Joyce Grossman, AAED’s executive director, said in a news release. “The year’s winners truly demonstrate how effective they are in their respective communities.” Along with Hexagon Mining’s move and expansion, which will bring 120 new jobs in addition to the 140 already here, Sun Corridor has seen a recent surge in results. Amazon.com, Caterpil-

lar, Geico, Raytheon Missile Systems, Texas Instruments and TuSimple, an autonomous-truck developer, are moving or expanding here. Their economic impact runs in the billions of dollars and together they’ll create at least 5,500 new jobs in Southern Arizona, according to Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor. “We’re thrilled to be recognized for our hard work selling and marketing the assets of Tucson and Southern Arizona,” Snell said in a news release. “These projects will benefit our community and its brand for many years.” The wealth of information on Sun Corridor’s website pulls together loads of research and information of interest to job seekers and businesses. Biz

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BizHR

Society for Human Resource Management – Greater Tucson

HR Heroes Enjoy Spotlight

Event Recognizes Individuals Who Go The Extra Mile By Tiffany Kjos

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resources at the University of Arizona. She urged her fellow HR representatives to keep an eye on employment trends, which are changing fast. “The best people are already demanding a great deal from their workplaces, and practices that were considered revolutionary a few years ago will be considered standard or even insufficient in the coming years,” she said. Vaillancourt teaches grad students, many of whom have extensive work experience. What she’s hearing is that

COMMUNITY IMPACT Small Company Winner Native Tele-Data Solutions

Medium Company Winner Pima Federal Credit Union

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The UA libraries created a Diversity, Social Justice and Equity Council. The council helps staff learn of opportunities to be involved in diversity-related programming. The council also did an inventory of the libraries’ diversity efforts, which is being used to identify gaps and help staff and leaders prioritize future work. Pictured – Cheryl Neal, University of Arizona Libraries

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Small Company Winner Corporate CARE Solutions

Medium Company Winner The Offshore Group

Accepting the award, Hal Elzwerg said, “It was totally unexpected. One of our HR personnel nominated us. We put a team together in February (2017) to implement the technology we had available.” Pictured – Joy Hernandez, The Offshore Group

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Small/Medium Company Winner University of Arizona Libraries

TECHNOLOGY AND PROCESS IMPROVEMENT Corporate CARE Solutions provides national backup child and adult care to employers. Care is provided when and where it is needed. Technology allows care requests to be submitted anywhere in the United States in less than one minute and staffing fulfillment time was reduced to six minutes. The goal – cut down on employee absences. Pictured – Sharon Lurtsema, Corporate CARE Solutions

Large Company Winner Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona

Goodwill’s mission is to provide jobs and training for people to gain skills and achieve independence. Through the work of volunteers the academic services program has provided tutoring and academic support for at-risk youth, helping them achieve their GED, high school diploma or a certification. Pictured – Heather Karp and Ila Capriani, Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona

Large Company Winner Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet has adopted a do-good week where an entire week is dedicated to giving back. During dogood week in 2018 school supplies were collected and given to students in need. The company also partnered with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, the Primavera Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, and it encourages staff to become involved with nonprofits as board members. Pictured – Lynda Booth, Dun & Bradstreet

Native Tele-Data Solutions’ management team believes that they should respect, serve and treat others the way they want to be treated. The company encourages and supports employees’ volunteerism at organizations including the Gospel Rescue Mission, the ASPCA and GAP Ministries. Pictured – Deanna Nuñez, Native Tele-Data Solutions

Pima Federal Credit Union encourages employees to volunteer throughout the year – and 83 percent of its employees take time to do so. The Pima Federal Golf Classic raises funds to help local educators to help offset the cost of their classroom supplies. This year the donation to Tucson Values Teachers was $50,000, bringing the total donated since 2013 to $367,000. Pictured – Arielle Walker Overman, Pima Federal Credit Union

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workers want to feel valued, supported by management and colleagues and in the know. “They don’t talk about how much they got paid,” she said. “They talk about how work makes them feel.” The awards event, which drew about 225 people, certainly made quite a few people feel very happy for doing work for which they’re not often recognized. The following are winners of SHRMGreater Tucson’s annual Innovation in the Workplace awards

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Large Company Winner Randstad

Randstad implemented two major technology tools. One is a host for online recruiting and networking events, which increases employee engagement. Another is a workforce-schedule tool that automates employees’ scheduling – reducing labor costs and improving employee engagement. Pictured – Erica Otero Randstad, Randstad continued on page 57 >>>

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

The audience got more than it bargained for at the Society for Human Resource Management – Greater Tucson awards ceremony – a hilariously irreverent emcee and a peek into trends in employee recruiting and retention from a subject matter expert. Edmund Marquez kept the program moving and the audience laughing at his ad lib asides – many of which weren’t exactly human-resources friendly. Guest speaker Allison Vaillancourt is VP of business affairs and human


Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Award Winners

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LEADERSHIP â&#x20AC;&#x201C; INDIVIDUAL 9

Small Company Winner Joy Hernandez

Joy Hernandez is the senior human resources manager at The Offshore Group. She has a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in HR management. Hernandez has automated and streamlined HR to achieve a paperless office. She has improved contact between HR and employees and meets regularly with staff and focus groups

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Medium Company Winner David Seia

David Seia is director of operations at CTI. In difficult times for both recruiting and drivers within the transportation industry, Seia went the extra mile, involving employees in the process of identifying the root causes and solutions to problems, which for employees is encouraging and empowering.

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Large Company Winner (tie) Janet Rico Uhrig (left) and Kate Goldman (right)

Janet Rico Uhrig is executive director of human resources at the Tucson Unified School District. Uhrig has created revolutionary change by changing HR first, so the entire organization felt a relatively seamless transition to a regional operation. She also led her team to live the values that were selected by the team itself. Kate Goldman is director of human resources for Buffalo Exchange. Her diversity and inclusion leadership training and coaching with frontline staff through top management have had a great impact. Employees who feel they have no support in their personal lives know that when they go to work they are welcome and accepted for who they are.

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

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BizSPACE

Aiming High in Pima County

Region Developing as Destination for Space-Related Businesses By Rodney Campbell Using old-fashioned partnerships in pursuit of new opportunities, Southern Arizona is primed to enter the 21st century space race. The result could create millions of dollars in economic impact and thousands of jobs across the Tucson region. The Arizona Space Business Roundtable includes many local entities that are committed to helping the space industry take flight in Southern Arizona. Dozens of representatives from the public and private sectors meet every month at the roundtable to work toward that goal. The University of Arizona hosts the group, which began meeting in September 2017. “It’s almost impossible to develop a substantial technology cluster without a top-notch research university in the mix,” said Stephen Fleming, UA VP of Strategic Business Initiatives. “The University of Arizona is ‘Space U.’ We are engaged in all aspects of the expanding space industry. We are already a leader in spacecraft design, mission operations, data analysis and space situational awareness (space traffic control). “We have existing strengths in law, business, mining and public policy that can be readily adapted to space enterprises. We are one of the only universities in the world with such comprehensive capabilities. As the commercial space industry expands, the next generation of leadership will be educated here in Tucson.” A feasibility study compiled by Deloitte Consulting and rolled out at the roundtable in October found that the region should create a more formalized Southern Arizona space ecosystem. The UA would lead the group, which would concentrate on developing and supporting space-related companies. The region has gotten a head start. Pima County saw a 6.3 percent increase in the number of tech firms operating here in 2016 compared with 2015. That number grew just 1.9 percent statewide. Sun Corridor Inc. estimates more than 58 BizTucson

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200 aerospace and space-related companies are operating in the region. The Deloitte study found that, as of 2011, the state’s aerospace and defense industry contributed $8.8 billion in gross state product to the local economy and was responsible for 93,800 jobs. “There is much work to be done but through participation in forums such as the Space Roundtable, Pima County can collaborate with local businesses to provide incentives to invest and bed down in Southern Arizona,” said John Voorhees, assistant Pima County administrator and director of aerospace and defense initiatives. “Companies seeking to grow into this industry should look toward Pima County and Southern Arizona for their business.” Space situational awareness, one of the focus areas named in the report, has traditionally been the purview of the Department of Defense. The department serves as a traffic cop of sorts, tracking more than 20,000 objects. That total will only increase with the rapid growth of low-cost space flight. The UA has faculty and graduates and the region has companies who are poised to help. “With Southern Arizona’s reputation as ‘Optics Valley,’ Pima County has a growing number of companies that originated at the world-leading University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences and is uniquely poised to offer substantial benefit to this sector of the space business,” Voorhees said. “The University of Arizona’s expertise in optics combined with a large pool of engineering talent could create fertile ground for the new mission sector.” The private sector is filling the void as NASA’s leadership role changes in space exploration. That has opened the door for companies to seek regions that are willing to invest in the industry. In 2016, Pima County established an Aerospace, Defense and Technology Business and Research Park near Tucson International Airport. World View

and Raytheon are anchor tenants and Vector is planning to move there. More companies are anticipated: startups, local expansion and relocations, including some from other countries. Southern Arizona is also fortunate to have DavisMonthan Air Force Base, Raytheon and Bombardier here. “The space industry as a whole is in the midst of fundamental transformation,” Voorhees said. “What used to be the specific purview of the federal government has been expanded to the private sector. Companies such as Blue Origin, SpaceX, Vector and World View are making great strides to create affordable and sustainable space commerce.” Vector was created by SpaceX’s founding team. The company connects space startups with launch services and enabling platforms and is planning to send thousands of micro-satellites into space over the next several years. “Our intent is to support converting Arizona as a globally recognized commercial space hub across the fast-emerging commercial space value chain,” said Alex Rodriguez, Vector VP of government and external affairs. “The Arizona Space Business Roundtable is well-positioned to further catalyze, organize and connect all stakeholders in the commercial space sector as the Deloitte benchmark report indicates.” The Tucson Metro Chamber has a strong interest in seeing these efforts succeed. The Chamber has more than 1,500 members across Southern Arizona and is keen to play a role in further job expansion. “We have clear skies, testing facilities and strong collaboration among government, the private sector and academia,” said Amber Smith, Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO. “It is a natural transition to expand our clusters and leverage the strong presence of our active aerospace and defense industry.”

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BizDEFENSE

Morris Air National Guard Base Founder of 162nd Wing Honored in Naming Ceremony By David Pittman History first happens in the present – but later can be revisited, recognized, recovered and revered. That was demonstrated at a gathering of about 350 people at a November ceremony renaming the Air National Guard Base at Tucson International Airport the “Morris Air National Guard Base” as a posthumous honor to Brig. Gen. Donald E. Morris. Morris was the single most influential person in founding, building and growing the 162nd Wing in Tucson into one of the largest and most successful Air National Guard units in the nation. The base has more than 80 jets and nearly 1,900 personnel. It is the second largest Air National Guard Wing in the nation. “Gen. Morris was so influential in creating this unit and shaping it into what it has become today,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew J. MacDonald, the current commander of the Morris Air National Guard Base. “I am very appreciative of the legacy of the man who brought us here – and that was Gen. Morris.” In 1956, Morris, then 33, was directed by the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater to form the 152nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, the precursor to the 162nd Fighter Wing, and make it flourish. Goldwater, who served as a colonel in the Air Guard, had already established a similar squadron, the 161st at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, and instructed Morris to do the same in Tucson. Morris, who served during World War II and the Korean War, had 15 years of military service under his belt and had risen to the rank of major before moving from Goldwater’s Phoenix unit to the Old Pueblo. Morris initially brought only eight airmen with him to 60 BizTucson

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Tucson, and the base’s early facilities consisted of an old farmhouse; a small, dirt-floor hangar, and a couple of F-86 Sabre jets. Within a few weeks, Morris built the squadron to 15 officers and 80 enlisted men. Two years later, the base had 570 members. The 162nd Fighter Wing was off and running. Naming the installation Morris Air National Guard Base “honors a military leader who put his heart and soul

This honors a military leader who put his heart and soul into making the 162nd Wing what it is today.

Robert Medler President 162nd Air Guardians –

into making the 162nd Wing what it is today,” said Robert Medler, president of the 162nd Air Guardians, a civilian group that provides support to the installation and the men and women who serve there. “It is way past due time to name this the Morris Air National Guard Base.” Under Morris’ command, the Air Guard at Tucson International Airport was among the earliest to fly the F-100 Super Sabre, the first operational plane in the Air Force capable of breaking the sound barrier.

Major Gen. (Retired) Wess P. Chambers – the second commander at the 162nd Wing, a close friend to Morris and one of the original eight airmen who set foot on the TUS Guard site – said that early in his command, Morris made regular outreach efforts to build connections with community leaders. Chambers said Morris also traveled frequently to recruit new Guard members. Morris became known as “Mr. Tucson Air National Guard.” He also was referred to as “Mo.” During Morris’ tenure as commander of the 162nd, TUS was home to various aircraft, including F-86s, F-84s, F-100s and F-102s. During the Morris era, the Guard base underwent numerous upgrades and construction projects to accommodate an ever-changing flying mission and constant growth. Morris’ run as base commander, which stretched from 1956 through 1971, laid a strong foundation for the Arizona Guard installation. It was well-known that Morris thought the unit’s primary purpose would someday be pilot training. His vision became reality near the end of his service as base commander during the Vietnam War. It was then that the Air Force asked Morris’ group to change its mission from F-102 air alert to F-100 fighter training. The change proved pivotal, resulting in 47 years of training programs (and still counting) conducted at the base. The primary mission at the installation has evolved into F-16 pilot training. That training is provided not only to U.S. pilots, but those from foreign countries. For that reason, the 162nd is considered “the face of the U.S. Air www.BizTucson.com


PHOTOS: COURTESY MORRIS AIR FORCE BASE

A remotely piloted aircraft, or drone, program, which flies daily combat missions in the Middle East and provides troops on the ground with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

A homeland defense detachment with fully loaded F-16s and the pilots to fly them. They are ready to react to any threat or emergency – be it military attack, terrorism or a lost airliner – at a moment’s notice 24/7.

By 1971, Morris had earned the rank of colonel and the Tucson Air Guard unit had swelled to 1,000 members. Later that year, he left the unit he started from scratch and raised from a dirt-floor hangar. Over the span of his 39-year military career Morris compiled 9,000 flying hours, 5,200 of which were in jet fighters. His major awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Air Force’s Order of the Sword, which is presented by noncommissioned officers to individuals held in high esteem. Morris retired in 1983 and chose to return to Tucson, which Chambers said was a town his pal loved “where he still had many friends.” Chambers also said Morris’ life and work were all about family. His son, Don Morris Jr., and his grandson, John Morris, both served in the 162nd, just as thousands of other Tucson fathers, mothers, sons and daughters have done over the 62year history of what is now Morris Air National Guard Base. MacDonald said the shift to Morris Air National Guard Base actually isn’t a renaming at all. “This base really hadn’t been named before. People referred to it as the Arizona Air National Guard Base, but that really isn’t a name,” he said. “So, the dedication ceremony is actually the first time the base was named.” Morris, who crafted one of Arizona’s most impressive military legacies ever, died in 2016 at age 92. Biz

Brig. Gen. Andrew J. MacDonald, Commander, Morris Air National Guard Base, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Charles Neal, Command Chief, Morris Air National Guard Base

PHOTOS: CHRIS MOONEY

Force around the world” because it has trained jet pilots from more than 25 allied countries. However, the Wing operates other missions as well, including:

Brig. Gen. Andrew J. MacDonald Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire

Brig. Gen. Donald E. Morris

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BizTAXES

Tax Credits Can Benefit Schools and Those in Need By Peter F. Beahan, CPA

For the next several months, you will have the opportunity to reduce your Arizona income tax liability by making cash contributions to specified organizations. These organizations include public schools, private-school tuition organizations, charities that provide assistance to low-income residents or to children who have chronic illness or physical disabilities, and qualifying foster care charitable organizations. These cash contributions result in a dollar-for-dollar credit towards your Arizona income tax liability. The amount that you may claim as a credit depends upon your tax filing status.

The Private Learning Uplifting Students (PLUS) tax credit allows donors to receive credit for a cash contribution over and above the School Tuition Organization credit explained above. The taxpayer must first donate the maximum to the School Tuition Organization credit. The maximum PLUS credit for 2018 is $1,103 if married filing jointly and $552 for all other taxpayers.

Public Schools Tax Credit

A payment of fees to an Arizona public school or charter school for extracurricular activities or educational programs will qualify for the credit. Examples of these fees include field trips, sporting activities and fine arts. A credit of up to $400 may be claimed by taxpayers using the status of married filing jointly. A credit of up to $200 may be claimed by all other taxpayers. Contributions made by Dec. 31, 2018 must be claimed on your 2018 tax return. Contributions made between Jan. 1, 2019 and April 15, 2019 may be claimed as a credit on either your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Private Schools Tuition Organizations and PLUS Tax Credits

A tax credit is available for cash contributions to qualified school tuition organizations. These organizations provide scholarships or grants to qualified schools from elementary through high school. Your cash contribution cannot be designated for the direct benefit of your dependent, but can be made to benefit any other student if they are not your dependent. Taxpayers that are married filing jointly may claim a credit of up to $1,110 for a cash contribution to a school tuition organization. All other taxpayers may claim a credit of up to $555 for a cash contribution to this type of organization. 62 BizTucson

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Peter F. Beahan Combining these two credits, a taxpayer who is married filing jointly may claim a total credit in the amount of $2,213. All other taxpayers may claim a total credit of $1,107. Contributions made during calendar year 2018 must be claimed on your 2018 tax return. Contributions made between Jan. 1, 2019 and April 15, 2019 may be claimed on either your 2018 or 2019 tax return. Qualifying Charitable Organizations

A credit of up to $800 for married filing jointly and up to $400 for all other filers is available for cash contributions to a qualifying charitable organization. These organizations include entities that provide services to needy families and children who have chronic illness or physical disability. The Arizona Department of Revenue has added a new reporting requirement for this credit for 2018 tax returns. A unique five-digit code has been assigned to each qualifying charitable organization. This code

must be included on your tax return for the credit to be accepted. Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations

A credit of up to $1,000 for those filing as married filing jointly and up to $500 for all other filers is available for cash contributions to qualifying foster care organizations. These organizations provide immediate basic needs to at least 200 qualifying individuals in the foster care system. Similar to the Qualifying Charitable Organization credit, a unique five-digit code has been assigned to each QFCO and must be included on your tax return. Contributions to a qualifying charitable organization or a qualifying foster care charitable organization made in calendar 2018 must be claimed on your 2018 income tax return. Contributions made between Jan. 1, 2019 and April 15, 2019 may be claimed on either your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Proposed Change in Federal Charitable Contribution Deduction

On Aug. 23, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service issued a proposed regulation that will eliminate the deduction of these contributions on your federal income tax return. The proposed regulations state that contributions resulting in a state or local tax credit in return for the contribution will not be deductible for federal tax purposes to the extent of the credit. This proposed regulation applies to contributions made after Aug. 27, 2018. In spite of this change, the Arizona tax credits still reduce your Arizona state income tax, dollar for dollar, so that you can support these organizations without any direct costs to you. Peter F. Beahan is COO of the Tax Department at BeachFleischman PC. He has over 30 years of experience in public accounting. In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, Beahan is also Accredited in Business Valuations (ABV).

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BizWORKFORCE

New Program Connects Military Vets to High-Tech Jobs By David Pittman Upon completing his military commitment and leaving the U.S. Marine Corps about a year ago, Nicholas Andres Figueroa found that landing work in the private sector was far more difficult than he’d expected. “I was proud to have served our country,” he said, “but I was surprised at how hard it was to find a job in the civilian world. I discovered I’d need a degree and that technology jobs were the future – so I went back to school” at Pima Community College. As it turns out, Figueroa was the first person hired through the Southern Arizona Workforce Initiative, a pilot program launched by the Tucson Metro Chamber. Showing initiative of his own, Figueroa attended the Sept. 13 news conference introducing the new program, where he met Cristie Street, managing partner for Nextrio, an IT adviser to more than 1,000 small and mid-sized businesses in Tucson and throughout the Southwest. “Nicholas has technical skills and he wants to be an information technology security specialist,” Street said. “He told me his story and I gave him my card and told him I wanted him to interview with me. To his credit, he called me the next day and we hired him within a week. He is working part-time so he can continue his education and he’s doing a fantastic job. From the first minute he walked through the door, his attitude and his excitement for the opportunity were off the charts.” Chamber Board Chair Barbi Reuter, president and principal at Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, said the workforce initiative advances the Chamber’s mission to “champion an environment where business thrives and our community prospers. Our members tell us their biggest challenge is finding and 64 BizTucson

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retaining qualified workers and we’re addressing this head on.” Widespread hiring through the program didn’t begin until the Chamber hosted its inaugural hiring event Oct. 23 at the PCC Downtown Campus, which proved to be an overwhelming success.

The Tucson Metro Chamber was selected to champion the program because it aligns very well with our missions to support both workforce development and the aerospace and defense industries.

– Amber Smith Chamber President and CEO

Fifty job interviews were conducted at the event by 13 employers, producing a 68-percent hiring rate. Some veterans interviewed and were hired right on the spot. “The success of the hiring event is the beginning of a significant movement addressing our workforce needs to not only fill positions and recruit from outside our community, but in also identifying skill gaps, providing better connections for the talent in our backyard and ultimately increasing our community’s competitiveness,” said

Chamber President and CEO Amber Smith. Chamber staff gives a great deal of credit for the excellent results of the hiring event to the use of a sophisticated online tool developed at the request of the U.S. Defense Department by Futures, a North Carolina company. The website (located at http://aerospacejobs.usmilitarypipeline.com) helps job seekers and employers connect with each other, as well as with education and workforce development resources. The site also helps match militaryoccupation codes with civilian skills, certifications and jobs. It also maps factors such as education, security clearances, work experience and job availability. Core tools for job seekers include searches for jobs and careers, plus a resume builder and a dashboard to manage the process. Employers will have a company landing page with job profiles, one-click application tracking and connections to designated case managers. Three communities were selected to participate in this national pilot program. In Tucson, the workforce initiative will concentrate on connecting veterans to jobs in the aerospace and defense industry. A life sciences pilot is being conducted in Michigan, while cyber-security will be emphasized in Virginia. “The Tucson Metro Chamber was selected to champion the program because it aligns very well with our missions to support both workforce development and the aerospace and defense industries,” said Smith. “We have five military installations in Southern Arizona and aerospace and defense is the largest industry in our region, which has continual workforce demands. Futures felt we had all the pieces.”

Biz

www.BizTucson.com


SPECIAL REPORT 2019

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

PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE VISION FOR THE FUTURE


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Center of

Pima Community College’s Vision for the Future

By Romi Carrell Wittman It’s not a stretch to suggest that if you haven’t taken a class or two at Pima Community College, you have a friend or family member who has during Pima’s 50 years in existence. Pima serves a unique market: generally older students – the average age of a Pima student is 28 – who are working full time while going to school and, oftentimes, are also raising families. These students – called “non-traditional” in higher-education lingo – look to Pima for everything from classes to earn an associate’s degree, to classes they can transfer to a four-year university, to training in highly specialized skillsets.

Currently more than 20,000 students are enrolled in classes at Pima. Chancellor Lee Lambert joined Pima in 2013 at a time when the college was struggling. It had been dogged by a very public controversy over changes made by the previous administration, related accreditation issues, as well as a general disconnection from the community. When asked why he made the decision to join an organization facing such difficult issues, Lambert smiled. “I like a challenge,” he said. “I don’t typically go out and look for jobs. I look at places where I think I can bring value.” Lambert said that when he learned

1966 The citizens of Pima County approve, by a large margin, the formation of Pima College.

1967 Pima selects 500 acres on the west side of Tucson as the site of its first campus.

of Pima and its challenges, he had a revelation. “I said to myself that my background would be helpful to add value to a place that had been one of the bright spots in the community college system – but somewhere along the way lost its way,” he said. “I’m a big believer in accountability and transparency and I knew I was up for the challenge.” After arriving in Tucson, Lambert quickly saw the disconnect between Pima and the business community. To put it bluntly, Pima wasn’t providing the education needed to adequately prepare the local workforce for available 1969

As construction on West Campus begins, Pima’s first classes meet at Tucson Medical Center.

1970 Pima College officially opens in August, enrolling 3,543 students. With five of 11 buildings at West Campus still incomplete, the first classes are held in a hangar at Tucson International Airport.

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BizEDUCATION

jobs. The result? Good, well-paying jobs often went unfilled. According to the National Skills Coalition, the jobs of the future will demand what’s known as “middle skills” – jobs that require more than a high school education, but less than a fouryear degree. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reports that Arizona ranks No. 1 in the country in the growth of so-called “good jobs” – those that pay from $17 to $22 an hour. The majority of these jobs require middle skills or more. Lambert saw arming students with middle skills not only as an opportu1971 West Campus construction is completed.

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nity for Pima to fill a need, but also as a necessity for the community. Lambert quickly became a highly visible ambassador of sorts for the college. He made a point of connecting with local business leaders and engaging with them to determine their workforce needs. He then hired Ian Roark as VP of Workforce Development to further these connections. “I saw there wasn’t a direct connection between business and the college,” Roark said, echoing Lambert. “This needed to be rebuilt. People had difficulty navigating the college.” Under Lambert’s leadership, Roark

sought to move the concept of workforce development to a more holistic model – one that actively engages business leaders so that high-quality, relevant workforce training curricula could be developed. “We are good listeners and observers,” Roark said. “We have to be able to understand the true needs of the business community. We understand that the needs of business and industry are not monolithic. We’re listening to each industry.” Lambert and Roark also wanted to give students multiple ways to access continued on page 72 >>>

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1981

The Board of Governors changes the name of Pima College to Pima Community College to better reflect the college’s mission statement.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools fully accredits Pima Community College .

For the first time, Pima enrolls more female than male students, a trend that has continued through today.

For the first time, Pima awards more than 1,000 associate’s degrees at graduation.

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Excellence


BizEDUCATION

TIMELINE

1983

Pima offers eight three-credit courses on the Cox Cable Channel.

1989

Pima signs an agreement with the University of Arizona to encourage Pima students to transfer to UA.

1991

The Center for the Arts opens at West Campus.

1992

Fall enrollment grows to more than 30,000 students.

1993

Desert Vista Campus opens.

1997

Community Campus opens.

1998

2000

Pima establishes the Northwest Community Learning Center, which would later be replaced by Northwest Campus.

Pima incorporates Pima County Adult Education Program into the college

2003

Northwest Campus opens.

2004

The PCC Foundation receives its first $1 million gift.

2006

2009

2010

Pima completes its first College Plan. The current iteration of the plan maps out strategies for Pima through 2021. Pima celebrates its 40th anniversary with community events and a fundraising gala. Pima is a finalist in the 2010 Bellwether Awards, which recognize innovative community college initiatives. continued on page 74 >>>

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continued from page 71 programs. “You can’t have a linear program,” Roark said. This means giving credit for prior learning and work experience, something that’s particularly beneficial for veterans seeking to return to school. “Pima Online is the fastest growing part of the college,” Lambert said, speaking to the point of accessibility. “Through Pima Online to date, we’ve been able to reduce textbook costs to students by more than $1 million.” Lambert points to this as an example of using technology to provide affordable, accessible education to students. These various and multi-layered factors are ultimately what led to the concept of Centers of Excellence – or COEs – across Pima’s various campuses. The COEs are the foundation of Lambert’s longterm vision for the college and will serve to greatly advance economic development throughout Southern Arizona. What is a Center of Excellence? Lambert says a COE embodies thought leadership combined with best practices in higher education and student learning. “We’re looking at Industry 4.0 and globalization and how this is redefining the notion of work. We have to make sure the college is in a place to help,” Lambert said. “We need to make sure we’re relevant in what we offer.” Pima’s educational and facilities master plans call for major advancements in facilities and equipment, as well as in the quality and structure of its educational programs. The Centers of Excellence are the next stage of that work, with an end goal of increasing the quality and quantity of a highly skilled workforce. The expectation is this will result in increased opportunities community-wide, for employers as well as employees. The 10-year vision for the high-tech, collaborative Centers of Excellence is about $300 million, funded largely through bonds and fundraising. Lambert and his team have identified several key areas around

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which Pima’s Centers of Excellence will be built. Lambert says construction of each COE will take place over several years. Applied Technology

To be located at Pima’s Downtown Campus on Stone Avenue, the COE for Applied Technology will focus on transportation and logistics, advanced manufacturing with an emphasis on aerospace and defense, and infrastructure with an emphasis on mining and energy technology. New courses in diesel technology, quality assurance, optics and photonics, and autonomous vehicle technology are also in the works. Lambert has identified this as a top priority and it’s the first COE Pima is undertaking. “The goal is to prepare students for high-wage, high-skill jobs,” Roark said. Caterpillar, self-driving truck firm TuSimple and AGM Container Controls have actively worked with Pima to develop courses that upskill employees in the field of applied technology. Caterpillar sent some of its engineers to Pima to take machining classes, so they would have a better understanding of how the designs they create affect day-today operations. TuSimple reached out to Pima in an effort to provide training for truck drivers who were at risk of being replaced by an autonomous truck. “There was a narrative that we were destroying jobs,” said Robert Brown, director of public affairs at TuSimple, “We didn’t want to be a negative disruption in the community.” Brown reached out to Roark and together they looked to see how former long-haul truck drivers could be upskilled. “We asked, ‘What skills does the modern truck driver need?’ ” The answers weren’t always obvious. “Logistics came to mind, as did diesel mechanics,” Brown said. Curriculum was then developed around these needed skillsets – yet continued on page 74 >>>

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BizMEDICINE

Now we do have a vision. We know where we’re going.

Lee Lambert

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Chancellor Pima Community College

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BizEDUCATION continued from page 72

TIMELINE

2012

Public Safety and Security continued from page 72 Pima is looking to expand its this will be an ongoing process as current course offerings so that it needed jobs evolve and change. can be a one-stop location for cerPima plans to invest $45 million tification, refresher and recertificaat the Downtown Campus for contion courses for those in the public struction of the Applied Technolsafety field. ogy COE. The project is ambitious – involving an extensive renovation Ethnic, Gender and of the existing campus – as well as Transborder Studies new construction on lots adjacent Pima has established a concento the existing campus. The coltration in Ethnic, Gender and lege wants to break ground on the Transborder Studies for the assoCOE in Applied Technology in late ciate’s degree in liberal arts and is summer 2019. working closely with the University Pima hopes the project will have of Arizona on course build-out. benefits for the surrounding neighInformation borhood as well. Technology David Doré, camPima is explorpus president and ing best practices vice chancellor in the area of cyof workforce and ber warfare with economic develthe goal of signifiopment, said that cantly improving Pima has partnerexperiential learnships with a numing for students ber of groups loand the commucated in the area, – Ian Roark nity. This COE will such as the Beacon VP, Workforce Development be based at Pima’s Foundation, La Pima Community College East Campus on Frontera and ChiIrvington Road. canos Por La Causa. Pima hopes the construction of Arts, Humanities and the COE and improvements to the Communications campus will serve as a catalyst for a Pima faculty and staff are curneighborhood revitalization. rently exploring this COE, with the “Pima Community College goal of drafting a needs assessment. Downtown Campus is partnering Work is ongoing. with these groups to revitalize the Hospitality campus neighborhood with an inRecognizing the critical role of tentional approach towards worktourism in our region’s economy, force and neighborhood economic Pima held an industry summit in development,” Doré said. November 2018 in preparation Health-Related Programs for launching a COE in hospitality Pima has big plans for its healthsometime in 2019. related programs, which will be Lambert’s enthusiasm for the housed at a Center of Excellence at future – and what that means for its West Campus on Anklam Road. the community at large – is palNursing, surgery technology, pable. “The institution didn’t really critical care, dental services and have a vision of where it was goradiologic technology are the priing. Now we do have a vision. We mary focus areas of this COE, and know where we’re going,” he said. there are even plans to develop a “You’re starting to see a whole new sleep center for respiratory therapy way of thinking. It’s all about the as well as a master’s degree conmission and fulfilling that promise.” current-enrollment program for nursing students with bachelor’s degrees.

Pima begins renovating Tucson Unified School District’s unused Roberts Elementary School, which becomes the 29th Street Coalition Center, housing Adult Education and the Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute.

2013

On July 1, Chancellor Lee D. Lambert begins his tenure at Pima.

2014

Pima holds its first Futures Conference, in which community leaders and Pima employees collaborate on ways to improve the college.

2015

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez tours Pima’s Aviation Technology Center.

2016

98 students pledge to begin or continue their education at Pima at NC3 National Letter of Intent Career and Technical Education Signing Day. By 2018, that number rises to 141.

2017

Pima is named one of the top 150 community colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute.

2018

Pima begins demolition of the Fortuna Inn and Suites near Downtown Campus. The project will culminate in a new Center of Excellence in Applied Technology.

We have to be able to understand the true needs of the business community.

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PHOTO: COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

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‘Keep Striving’ Pima College Tells Story with Branding Effort By Romi Carrell Wittman With so many positive changes already in place and several more on the horizon, Lisa Brosky, vice chancellor of external relations at Pima Community College, said, “It’s time to tell our new story.” Brosky is overseeing a massive rebranding and outreach effort designed to signal to the community that Pima Community College, now 50 years old, is a whole new animal. “We’ve been through so many changes and the college has been through difficult times,” she said. “We’ve turned a corner and we want to celebrate what Pima is today.” To assist with the rebranding effort, the college hired Stamats, a national highereducation marketing firm recognized for its integrated marketing campaigns. “Among their services is brand development,” Brosky said. “Pima was fortunate to engage Stamats because of their higher-education marketing and research expertise and because their vice president 76 BizTucson

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for client services lives in Tucson and knows the community.” The first step was to gather data – both qualitative and quantitative. The college convened several in-person focus groups and conducted a perception survey. More than 10,000 people – current and prospective students, community members, faculty and staff – participated in the research. The goal was to uncover their thoughts on the college’s role in the community and its workforce training and educational offerings as well as the college’s strengths and opportunities “We wanted to narrow down how people perceive the college and what they wanted to see in the college,” Brosky said. They tested a lot of language and branding in order to determine the phrasing that best described the college and its mission. “The research was critical for us,” she said. “We learned a lot from it – both about how people perceived us and how they wanted to perceive us.”

From there, two creative concepts were developed and tested among the focus groups. Ultimately, they selected “Keep Striving” as the cornerstone of the rebranding campaign. “Our students are very goal-oriented,” Brosky said. “It also encapsulates how the college is going to help students reach those goals.” Brosky stressed that the new branding effort goes far beyond simply marketing. “We want people to embrace and understand it. This brand isn’t just pictures and a tagline,” she said. “A brand is an emotional reaction. “We’ve made a promise to our community about the education they’ll receive at Pima. We’ve made a promise about the experience and support they’re going to get. These are more than just words we say. We have to live them.”

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Dean, Applied Technology Pima Community College

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Greg Wilson

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Building the Talent Applied Technology COE Trains for Real-World Jobs

Buzzwords come and go, but when an idea is built on a solid concept and a real community need, that idea can have staying power far beyond the trendy words used to describe it. While Pima Community College’s Centers of Excellence may, at first glance, seem “buzzy,” the reality is it’s a world-class model that’s enabling Pima to meet the skilled workforce needs of local employers. The first COE under development at Pima is in Applied Technology, which is primarily focused on manufacturing and advanced manufacturing, transportation technology, and infrastructure. Coursework and certifications in a wide variety of fields are – or soon will be – offered, including automotive technology, welding (including robotic welding), utility and energy technology, mechatronics, HVAC, and prototyping and design. Diesel technology, quality assurance, optics/photonics and autonomous vehicle technology are in development. The concept of a center of excellence took root in Chancellor Lee Lambert’s mind back when he worked for the state of Washington. “The state created a number of centers of excellence, funded and supported at the state level,” Lambert said. “The focus was to support the needs of business and industry by making sure we could supply

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the talents needed.” When he arrived at Pima in 2013, Lambert was surprised to learn that Pima wasn’t talking about centers of excellence, let alone developing them. But rather than simply announcing that Pima would pursue this concept, Lambert wanted to first map the assets of the college against the community to determine if it was something that would be viable in Tucson. A consulting firm was brought on to look not only at the educational component, but also Pima’s facilities. It was important to evaluate whether Pima could successfully and sustainably offer centers of excellence. The firm concluded that it was possible, and several critical areas were identified. “We put a focus on several key areas that we felt would drive the community from an education and training standpoint,” Lambert said. Before moving forward, Pima hosted a series of summits with the goal of gathering insights from industry leaders. It was important to foster collaboration with industry in order to get the COE content right, said David Doré, Downtown Campus president and Pima’s vice chancellor of workforce and economic development. Going forward, the COEs will facilitate collaborative partnerships in academic and technical programs with local school

districts, industry, university partners and the community. “It will be a hub for lifelong learning where students and incumbent workers get the education they need to succeed,” Doré said. Creating centers of excellence is a long-range project requiring significant investment both in terms of facilities, equipment and tools, but also faculty. “Centers of excellence mean thought leadership,” Lambert said. “You don’t often think of your community college as being a place for thought leadership. But a COE is a place for both thought leadership and world-class training and education. It’s about holding ourselves to a higher standard, to a higher level of excellence.” Centers of excellence have several key features – cutting-edge coursework and curricula; academically rigorous, but flexible courses; collaboration with the community and industry, and, last, but not least, innovation. The COE in Applied Technology will be located at Pima’s Downtown Campus on North Stone Avenue. The college will soon embark on a $45 million construction project to include not only new construction but also the renovation and updating of existing facilities. Project organizers hope to break ground in fall 2019. continued on page 80 >>>

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PHOTOS: COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

By Romi Carrell Wittman


BizEDUCATION continued from page 79 Lambert acknowledges that the capital needed for the project is significant – yet he said it’s critical given the nature of the programs to be offered at the COE. “Just think of the automotive program,” he said, offering up one example. “You need space to do high-level training in servicing and supporting a vehicle. You need the right types of equipment, and it’s got to be modern equipment. The flooring has to be thick enough for the wear and tear. You have to have an adequate power supply for the equipment. Pima doesn’t have the current facilities to do that.” There also are plans to construct a makerspace – a collaborative work space that also would be made available to the general public. In every way possible, Lambert said he wants “the learning environment to match the earning environment.” Ian Roark, Pima’s VP of workforce development, said the COE in Applied Technology has been possible thanks to the input of local businesses in identifying critical education and training gaps. “There’s a lot of different push and

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pull factors within industries,” Roark said. “We need to understand what’s going on in each of those industries to be able to help them meet workforce need. The COEs will be the talent fulfillment center of the community. We’re preparing students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Greg Wilson, dean of applied technology, has been working on updating old courses as well as creating new ones and getting them accredited. “We have to submit a business plan to the governing body along with enrollment projections,” Wilson said of the accreditation process. Wilson also has been working in concert with several other community colleges, including Maricopa, Mesa, Estrella and Gateway. The goal is to be part of a unified system with identical course names and requirements. “If a student finishes a semester at Pima, he or she can move to Phoenix and pick right back up. The courses will have the same name, same content and the same learning outcomes,” he said. Wilson is also working with several local high schools to offer dual enrollment where students can work toward certifi-

cations before they graduate from high school. Wilson sees the COE in Applied Technology as serving multiple audiences from a variety of backgrounds – everything from people looking for a certification to even university students in need of background learning. “If you’re an engineering student down the street, you’re expected to know the modeling software already,” Wilson said. “At Pima, you can take a class where you’re using the software in class, where you’re taught how to use those tools. Then you can go back to your other classes with that knowledge.” Roark said several things are keys to the COE in Applied Technology’s success. One of them is adaptability and accessibility; that is, the need it fills for a wide variety of students. The other is its proactive nature, which has been built into its foundation. “We’re looking forward to the future instead of always playing catch-up.” Roark said. “The COE is a transformational project. We can’t ignore changes – instead we’re prepared for them.”

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

Regina Suitt

VP, Adult Basic Education for College & Career Pima Community College

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Adult Education at Pima Community College ‘An On-Ramp For Anyone Who Wants to Work’ By Rhonda Bodfield If there was a recipe to bottle Regina Suitt’s passion for adult basic education, it would be one part pedigree and one part decades of absorbing countless stories of sacrifice and aspiration. There was the man who rode his bicycle after work from the eastside to downtown four nights a week so he could get his High School Equivalency diploma by passing the GED and civics tests. There was the boy who grew up in a house without water. Bullied in school because of his hygiene, he dropped out. Now he’s back in school, gaining college credits. There was the student who struggled to learn in the English as a Second Language program, but eventually obtained her citizenship and a college degree. Now she’s a head nurse at a local hospital.

• • •

“There are hundreds of stories,” said Suitt, VP for Adult Basic Education for College & Career at Pima Community College, who has been with the college for 28 years. “They drive me. They keep me connected to this work.” Suitt herself is a product of adult basic education. Her mother was an immigrant, coming to America as a single mother with of a year-old baby, no family or friends for support and no English skills. A graphic specialist by trade in Germany, she cobbled together dozens of different jobs to make ends meet – from cleaning hotel rooms to working in a San Manuel copper smelter. Her dad went back to college as an www.BizTucson.com

adult to become a nurse. He was a fierce union supporter, which helped draw his daughter to social justice. A natural teacher, her first job was in K-12 at the Tohono O’odham Nation. She began teaching adult basic education on the side, as a way to pay off her car. She had no idea those extra bucks would chart her future. “I found I loved teaching adults. Not only did they all want to be there, they were working hard and overcoming obstacles to do it,” she said. “I had such respect for them.” Soon, she was teaching at the Pima County Adult Detention Center and then moved up through the ranks. All too often, programs for those who didn’t make it through the traditional primary-middle-high school pipeline are forgotten. Adult education is a large educational system that doesn’t make it into the conversation. “I really felt like I could bring innovation to a model that hadn’t changed in a while,” she said. It wasn’t that the old model was wrong – the world was changing. “I wanted to incorporate what I had learned from students,” Suitt said. They come to class to learn English or get a GED, but their end goal was the same – to get a better job.  The program benefits the business community as much as it does the students. With at least 83,000 adults in Pima County lacking a high school credential, initiatives such as adult education – which serves 6,000 students annually – are critical to the region’s

economic development, because they provide work-ready employees for businesses considering expansion or relocation to the region. The college works with workforce development programs to identify gaps in the employment pipeline. Instead of taking years for students to obtain their basic education and then go to school for specific field study, Pima now accelerates that journey by pairing basic skills with certification training in what is known as Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training, or IBEST. Practicing skills in the context of future careers makes learning more relevant. The program has trained behavioral health technicians, machinists and medical assistants. Logistics and industrial technology are coming on board next year. It’s an on-ramp for anyone who wants to work – and almost everyone has a job waiting by the time they graduate, Suitt said. The program is routinely featured at national conferences, where education leaders are intrigued by Pima’s Ambassador Program, which teaches advanced leadership skills to students. Business leaders can help by considering graduates of her programs, she said. “You are going to get a quality, experienced, seasoned, mature worker,” Suitt said. “We have the most motivated students I have ever met – because they’re not just doing this for themselves, but for their families. If we don’t invest in them, we’re the ones who will be losing out.”

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Connecting to Businesses

Pima Community College Partners to Provide a Workforce By Romi Carrell Wittman That it is impossible to grow and improve if you live in a vacuum was something Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert was acutely aware of when he took the helm of the college in 2013. The college was dealing with several significant challenges and had seemingly stopped being a meaningful member of the business community. One of Lambert’s first priorities was to reach out to the community – specifically business leaders across a variety of industries – and to actively involve them with Pima and its mission. “The CEO is a reflection of the commitment of the organization to its values,” Lambert said. “When the CEO is not out in the community, then the college is not out in the community. The former administration was just not out in the community.” One of Lambert’s first orders of business was to change that dynamic. “It was about a mindset shift,” he said. “It was also about laying out a vision. When you take the mindset piece, the vision piece, the community piece, you start to see a whole new way of thinking.” Lambert took on an active role in meeting with business leaders and he took pains to create a team that was connected to and engaged with the community. Ian Roark, VP of workforce development, was brought on nearly four years ago with the express purpose of engaging industry throughout Southern Arizona. “When Lee came to Pima, he knew and understood there wasn’t a direct connection between business and the college. This needed to be rebuilt,” Roark said. Roark’s position was created to be a 86 BizTucson

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liaison between business and the college, a kind of mutually beneficial public-private partnership. Roark came to Pima from Odessa College in west Texas, where he was the executive dean of workforce development. After he arrived in Tucson, he found that many business sectors were clamoring for help and workforce development. “I had to prioritize,” Roark said, referring to the many needs of industry. “We built a business engagement team and worked with businesses of all sizes – from small all the way to really large.” One of the companies that most enjoyed this change was autonomous trucking company TuSimple. Knowing that the public had a perception that the company was a “job killer,” TuSimple management reached out to Pima to inquire about workforce training and “upskilling.” “We’ve been in Tucson a little over a year and we want to be a good community partner,” said Robert Brown, TuSimple’s director of public affairs. “I reached out to Ian and told him that we didn’t want to be a negative disruption in the community. “We want to make truck drivers’ lives better. That long haul drive from Tucson to Miami, we can solve that part for them. Then they can have increased local routes and be home every night.” Roark and Brown met many times and identified new career pathways – and the educational programs to provide that training – that could upskill workers so they’re prepared for 21stcentury jobs. “Logistics, sorting centers, diesel mechanics. These are the jobs that need to be filled,” Brown said. Caterpillar also has partnered extensively with Pima to create needed workforce training. Aimee Iverson, com-

munications manager for Caterpillar’s Surface Mining and Technology Division in Tucson, said, “Pima Community College has been a strong partner with respect to understanding Caterpillar’s employee development needs and collaborating on learning solutions.” Pima even plays a role in attracting firms like Caterpillar to Tucson as well as retaining companies that are already here. “Pima is a critical partner in our economic development efforts. They attend our client meetings, listen to the workforce development needs of each project, and deliver a thoughtful, comprehensive solution,” said Laura Shaw, senior VP at Sun Corridor Inc. “This approach is not just for new employers. Pima Community College has longstanding, excellent relationships with existing employers like GEICO and others.” Larry Lucero, senior director of government and external affairs for Tucson Electric Power, said that Pima has been instrumental in training students for utility jobs. “A lot of our workforce has started to retire,” Lucero said. Fearing a brain drain, TEP worked with Pima to create a program to train young people for well-paying careers at the utility. The program, which initially was highly customized to TEP’s human resource needs, was so successful that it became a permanent program at Pima. “It’s evolved and now all the utilities in the area are benefitting from it,” Lucero said. “When we’re in tune with business, it’s a multiplier effect,” Roark said. “It’s one of the best ways Pima Community College can meet the community’s needs.”

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When we’re in tune with business, it’s a multiplier effect. It’s one of the best ways Pima Community College can meet the community’s needs.

Ian Roark

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

VP, Workforce Development Pima Community College

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PHOTO: DAMION ALEXANDER

The Pima Community College Foundation Professional Team and Board of Directors. Beginning front row left â&#x20AC;&#x201C; KerrySue Koeppel, Foundation COO, Zulma Tapia, Scholarship Coordinator, Staci Stanford, Board member, Marcy Euler, Foundation President, Board members Edmund Marquez, Jeff Ell, Amber Smith, Monica Barcelo, Saby Andino, Foundation Development Officer, Board members Bryan Hannley, Hoot Gibson, Tommy Roof, Steve Thu, Toby Voge. Not pictured: Board members Paula Register Hecht, Nancy Johnson, Mike Kocsis.

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Supporting the Vision Foundation Helps Students & College By Romi Carrell Wittman Marcy Euler took the helm of the Pima Community College Foundation at a pivotal time. Over the past five years, Chancellor Lee Lambert has set a new vision for the college and its role in the community and now, on the eve of the college’s 50th anniversary, many important changes are coming to fruition. Pima Community College has a multi-focused mission. It serves as a bridge to a four-year degree for some students. For others, it’s a source of continuing education and “upskilling” – when Pima provides training in new technologies and trades so that workers have skills relevant for today’s jobs. To this end, several Centers of Excellence are in the works, to be located at Pima’s various campuses. Goals like these require significant funding and the PCC Foundation, which is a separate organization solely dedicated to fundraising for the college, will play a major role. Euler is leading several ambitious fundraising campaigns – including a $300 million capital campaign that will span 10 years, from the college’s 50th anniversary to its 60th. “Amazing things are going on,” she said. “We’re moving from a passive organization to a proactive one.” Established in 1979, the PCC Foundation’s mission is to secure and manage philanthropic contributions to support students’ access to education, enhance programs and provide additional resources to fulfill the mission of the college. It attained nonprofit status in 1981 and formally separated from the college in 2017. Euler joined the organization as the interim president in 2018 and was named permanently to the position in August 2018. Previously she served as the executive director of the enormouswww.BizTucson.com

ly successful Tucson Festival of Books. Under Euler’s leadership, the PCC Foundation is laser-focused on providing not only financial support for the college, but also its students and the community as a whole. Euler is working with Earn to Learn, a nationally recognized social impact organization that empowers low- to moderate-income students to successfully complete college by providing matched-savings scholarships, personal-finance training and success coaching. “Earn to Learn has partnered with the three state universities,” Euler said, “but we haven’t brought it to Pima. This is going to make a difference for Pima students.” Kate Hoffman, executive director of Earn to Learn, is excited to work with Pima and its students. “Earn to Learn operates the largest and most successful matched-saving scholarship program in the country and we’re excited to expand the program to Pima Community College,” Hoffman said, adding that the organization helps students “enter the workforce with little to no student loan debt.” The foundation board is filled with individuals who have deep roots in the community and who are true believers in Pima’s mission and vision. Nearly every board member has at one time taken classes at Pima or had a family member who has. Edmund Marquez, chair of the foundation board, was born and raised in Tucson and owns three Allstate Insurance agencies. His is one of the largest Hispanic-owned Allstate agencies in the United States. “Pima trains our region’s workforce,” he said, reflecting the foundation’s stance that preparing a qualified workforce is a business and philanthropic priority that builds the community.

Tommy Roof, a native Tucsonan and former Pima student, is the past chair of the foundation and a huge supporter of the college and its mission. “Pima provides the pathway for lower-income workers to improve their earning potential,” he said. “All immediate members of my family have taken courses at Pima that benefitted them.” He added that his construction business has also benefitted from the trained workforce that Pima provides the community. Jeff Ell, a local Realtor, also sits on the foundation board of directors. He believes that the foundation helps to support an organization critical to upskilling the workforce. “PCC provides a more affordable solution for higher education and offers many options and tracks to a degree,” he said. “Pima educates community members and gets them into the workforce quickly, which benefits the individual and our local businesses. Most PCC students stay in Tucson – and many return for training and additional education.” In January 2019, the foundation officially will embark on an annual giving campaign in addition to the capital campaign. These funds will be used to support everything from student scholarships to college construction. The college is using a $65 million bond to launch the construction of its Centers of Excellence. Funds raised from the campaign will enable Pima to pay off the bonds sooner. “I’ve never been more excited about a job,” Euler said. “The college has a wonderful place in the community – providing everything from adult basic education to continuing education to professional certifications to personal improvement courses and everything in between.”

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BizEDUCATION Downtown Campus:

Bigger and Bolder

Once fully online in late 2020, the expanded, reimagined Downtown Campus will be a hub for cutting-edge education and workforce training in its Center of Excellence in Applied Technology. Additionally, the expansion will reinvigorate the SpeedwayStone intersection, an important gateway to Tucson’s bustling downtown, and the adjacent Dunbar Spring and Barrio Blue Moon neighborhoods. About the map, which outlines plans for new construction west of the campus at 1255 N. Stone Ave.:

N

• Diesel: Working hand-in-

hand with industry, Pima is developing new programs in Diesel Technology, Optics/ Photonics and Autonomous Vehicle Technology while updating existing programs in Welding/Fabrication, Mechatronics, Automotive Technology and Building and Construction Technology.

• Makerspace: A public ex-

ploration resource for students and tinkerers to play with the latest advanced manufacturing technology, including 3-D printers, laser cutters, high-tech soldering and more.

How you can help: One of the keys to success to all of Pima’s Centers of Excellence is community investment. For more information on how you can contribute to a project that propels Tucson’s economic development, contact PCC Foundation President Marcy Euler, 520-206-4646, marcy@pimafoundation.org.

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Funding and Programs Help Hispanics Enter STEM Fields Gone are the days of students sitting in a vast lecture hall, listening passively while the professor gives a long, sometimes boring, lecture. Hands-on, engaged learning is the new gold standard in education. Pima Community College has taken this concept a step further, focusing efforts on providing not only interactive STEM learning opportunities, but also on attracting Hispanic students to STEM fields – with programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math. Historically, Hispanic students are underrepresented in STEM fields. With Pima now certified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution – or HSI – new opportunities are opening up and funding is coming around for the college to increase the number of Hispanics in STEM fields. HSIs are defined as systems or districts, like Pima, where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment. “Forty-five percent of Pima Community College students identify as Hispanic/Latino, which is closely aligned with the demographics of Tucson and Pima County,” said Hilda Ladner, Pima’s diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “As an HSI, Pima can compete for grant funding from the federal government, which helps us develop programs and practices for Hispanic student success.” In 2017, Pima received a $3.1 million HSI science, technology, engineering, 96 BizTucson

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mathematics grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help graduate more Hispanic and underserved students in STEM fields. The fiveyear grant has three major initiatives – to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students majoring in STEM programs; to increase the number of Hispanic/low-income students graduating with a STEM associate’s degree or certificate, and to increase the number of Hispanic/low-income students retained in STEM programs after transfer. Funds from this grant enabled Pima to build a makerspace at its East Campus. “It’s kind of an adult playground,” said Ted Roush, VP of East Campus. “Robotics. 3D printing. Modeling clay. Any student can come in and experiment in the makerspace. The goal is to kindle within them a spirit of exploration of learning.” Currently the makerspace features 10 compact 3D printers that students can use to make virtually anything. “ ‘Oh, I want to make a model heart. A flower vase. An interesting geometric shape,’” Roush said. “Students are fascinated by what’s in there.” Beyond the Makerspace, grant funds are being used to train faculty in more engaging, innovative teaching methods. “We have access to these funds because we serve a high number of Hispanic students, but the professional development our faculty gets through these grant-funded programs and the

improvement in our facilities and learning spaces serves all of our students,” Ladner said. “Through these federally funded programs, we have the opportunity to ensure that more of our students are achieving their higher education goals.” “We can essentially enliven the classroom with active engagement and more inquiry-based types of classroom experiences,” Roush said, adding that oneon-one student and faculty engagement and instruction are part of this initiative. “We want to foster a sense of play and discovery,” he said. So far, 236 students have attended five computer science, mathematics and biology classes taught through an innovative problem-based learning approach that minimizes lectures and maximizes student interaction with the coursework and each other. Pima is entering the third year of the five-year grant. Roush said the plan is to continue getting resources to students and to continuously improve both teaching and learning. He said this process is different from how things were done in the past. Typically, funding could be obtained only after a college could demonstrate success in an area. In this case, the funding has been provided to see what can be accomplished. Roush said: “The government is putting money on the line to build it and see if they will come.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

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Left to right - Lourdes Rivera, PCC Student Services Advanced Specialist, student Salena Ashton, Math Instructor Tal Sutton

Student Sabrina Cereceres

Student Tisha Cruz

Student Achievers

PCC Provides Opportunity Toward an Education It’s been nearly half a century since Pima Community College relocated some cacti and creosote bush west of Interstate 10 and built the original PCC West Campus on 267 acres near Speedway Boulevard and Anklam Road. In the intervening decades, thousands of students have passed through those portals and other locations throughout the community. These are the stories of three students who currently are making the most of their opportunity at Pima. Tisha Cruz

Though she’s too young to know about Rosie the Riveter, Tisha Cruz, a 2015 graduate of Sunnyside High School, is on her way to the title of Tisha the Welder. She is leaning toward a future in the field of creative arts worked into the world of welding when she graduates next May. “Welding will be the right career choice for me because I’ve watched other family members make businesses and careers out of it,” Cruz said. “I‘m just amazed at what you can create when you combine the science of welding with an artistic flair.” Already employed in the industry as an apprentice welder, and the only woman in the shop creating metalwork for the mining industry, she also finds time to be creative with welding projects for herself like making a new table top. 98 BizTucson

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“Pima has treated me well. I’ve learned the world of welding, how to apply it in today’s world, and I’ve earned certificates in four different types of welding processes. I’m hopeful for a career in welding that will allow me time for some artistic expression on the side.” Selena Ashton

Selena Ashton is an older-than-usual college student who has walked the academic aisles before earning a previous bachelor’s degree in family studies. She is enrolled at Pima to build up math and science requirements so she can apply for graduate school at the University of Arizona to work toward a doctorate in physics or applied math. “Haven’t decided which yet, because I want to do both,” Ashton said. “Maybe I’ll end up doing mathematical physics where you focus more on the math side of physics rather than the science side.” In the interim, she’s enjoying the current learning. “As an older student, I’m much more serious about my studies. I chose to go to Pima for a couple of reasons – primarily because I knew the classes would be smaller and I’d have more one-on-one time with the teachers – and I’ve found that to be true.” Sabrina Cereceres

Sabrina Cereceres is one of those Energizer-Bunny students, balancing school and two jobs along with ex-

tracurricular and volunteer activities thrown into the mix. She’s got it all under control. “My planner is color-coded so I can see my different obligations and my phone calendar is updated at all times,” she said. “With so many obligations, I’ve learned to concentrate on the task at hand. I plan every day to keep my schedule organized and my mind ready for upcoming events. But when I’m working on one thing, I’m not thinking about other to-dos – classes, jobs, events. I stay focused.” She had to reorient her focus moving from Ohio to Tucson and looking at the possibility of enrolling at the University of Arizona. For a variety of reasons, she was headed toward taking a year off from school, but her grandmother convinced her otherwise and she applied at Pima to pursue a liberal arts education. “They have knowledgeable instructors, lots of programs and classes to choose from, and are easily accessible because of their different campuses,” she said. “In nearly every class I’ve taken, I’ve connected with my professors in positive ways and they’ve helped me get to where I am today. Applying to Pima was definitely the right choice for me – educationally and personally. The experiences there have shaped my life and prepared me for my next steps.”

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PHOTOS: COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

By Lee Allen


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Pima Teaches What Businesses Need Custom Learning Through Workforce Development Programs By Romi Carrell Wittman Businessman Howard Stewart has such a good feeling about Pima Community College that his company is happy to pay for his employees to get their education there. “The class schedule is flexible, it’s affordable, the classes are smaller, the teachers connect with their students better,” said Stewart, president of AGM Container Controls. AGM offers a generous tuition reimbursement program to its employees – reimbursing 100 percent of tuition costs for courses in which the employee earns an A or a B. (They get 75 percent reimbursement for a C.) Even better, AGM allows employees to take whatever courses they desire, not simply courses that have a direct link to their jobs. Most opt to take courses at Pima. Stewart is especially proud of the fact that about 31 percent of his employees have taken at least one college course. He says helping his employees take classes is a big benefit to not only the individual staff member, but to his company as well. “I have a lot of loyal employees,” he said. “My turnover rate is half that of the average manufacturer in the Southwest.” He added that training and education only enhance the bottom line. “It’s not an expense but an investment with a considerable return.” AGM and Pima’s relationship is a close one. One of Stewart’s employees, shop manager Tim O’Moore, even teaches courses in machining at Pima. This came about because the machining program at Pima needed help from real-world experts. “Tim came to me 102 BizTucson

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and asked about teaching the course. For him, it’s not about the pay, it’s about giving back, and I try to support him in doing that.”

Pima wants to help employers be successful and they’re willing to work with you to develop curriculum. If they’re not teaching what you want, tell them.

– Howard Stewart President, AGM Container Controls

Currently, AGM is working with Pima to develop coursework for a quality-assurance program. “This is a great example of how Pima listens,” Stewart said. “QA is a problem for every machine shop and manufacturer across the city. They’re being responsive.”

Pima’s workforce training isn’t just about preparing students for new careers. Sometimes it’s about educating current staff about other areas of the business or industry, something very important to employers. Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc., said that Pima was critical in recruiting Caterpillar’s Surface Mining & Technology Division to Tucson. “The 20-week Applied Technology Academy program, focusing on fabrication, machining and welding, was created specifically for Caterpillar. You can’t get any better partner than that.” Greg Wilson, Pima’s dean of applied technology, said that Caterpillar approached Pima with a concept for two new courses – machining for non-machinists and welding for non-welders. Caterpillar wanted to give its engineers a better understanding of how their product designs impact manufacturability and serviceability downstream. According to Caterpillar, the courses are taught in a predominantly hands-on environment to ensure engineers gain a real-world understanding of the welding and machining skills required to design and manufacture quality products. Caterpillar and Pima will soon launch a third course – non-metals rapid prototyping. The course will teach Caterpillar engineers, manufacturing experts and service engineering teams how to build, review and inspect very early design concepts out of non-metal materials including 3D printed parts, foam and cardboard. This type of colcontinued on page 104 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

David DorĂŠ

Vice Chancellor Workforce & Economic Development Pima Community College

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BizEDUCATION

The 20-week Applied Technology Academy program, focusing on fabrication, machining and welding, was created specifically for Caterpillar. You can’t get any better partner than that. –

continued from page 102 laboration process will enable Caterpillar engineering teams to iterate early design concepts more quickly to deliver high-quality products to its customers. Aimee Iverson, communications manager at Caterpillar, said, “Caterpillar strongly supports continuing education for its employees and community workforce development. Pima has been a strong partner with respect to understanding Caterpillar’s employee-development needs and collaborating on learning solutions.” Robert Brown, director of public affairs at TuSimple, an autonomous trucking firm that moved to Tucson in 2017, said that Pima has been in-

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Joe Snell, President & CEO, Sun Corridor Inc. strumental in upskilling its workforce. “We’re working with deans on curriculum,” he said. “We hope to train people for better paying jobs that are easier on the body.” David Doré, vice chancellor of workforce and economic development at Pima, said that the role Pima plays in workforce development is critical for the community. “Pima recognizes that we as educators must adapt quickly to meet employer’s needs,” he said. “We provide high-quality, in-demand programs that cultivate an agile workforce focused on speed, convergence and adaptability.” Stewart said helping his employees take courses makes his company more

profitable. “People can’t help it. You get smarter and more useful and help your company when you take classes,” he said. “Pima wants to help employers be successful and they’re willing to work with you to develop curriculum. If they’re not teaching what you want, tell them.” Stewart said this responsiveness and adaptability would not have happened were it not for the vision and guidance of Chancellor Lee Lambert. “He’s listening and always meeting people interested in partnering with Pima,” he said. “He’s a wonderful man that has done a great job and I hope we have him for many years.”

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BizEDUCATION District Office 4905 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85709-1010 (520) 206-4500 (520) 206-4530 (TTY)

Pima County Community College District Pima Community

Maintenance and Security 6680 S. Country Club Road Tucson, AZ 85709-1700 (520) 206-2733 (520) 206-2682 (TTY)

College includes six campuses throughout greater Tucson, as well as multiple learning and education centers that deliver specialized training programs. Most Pima students take classes at multiple campuses, and are welcome to use student services centers, libraries and other services at any PCC campus. Students can take PCC classes at more than 100 locations around Pima County.

Community Campus 401 N. Bonita Ave. Tucson, AZ 85709-5000 (520) 206-3933 Desert Vista Campus 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz Tucson, AZ 85709-6000 (520) 206-5000 Downtown Campus 1255 N. Stone Ave. Tucson, AZ 85709-3000 (520) 206-7171 East Campus 8181 E. Irvington Road Tucson, AZ 85709-4000 (520) 206-7000 Northwest Campus 7600 N. Shannon Road  Tucson, AZ 85709-7200 (520) 206-2200

The Mission Pima Community College is an open-admissions institution providing affordable, comprehensive educational opportunities that support success and meet the diverse needs of its students and community.

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West Campus 2202 W. Anklam Road Tucson, AZ 85709-0001 (520) 206-6600

EDUCATIONAL CENTERS AND OFFICES Alumni Association (Located at the District Office)

4905C E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85709-1320 (520) 206-4646 Aviation Technology Center (Administrative Offices at Desert Vista Campus)

7211 S. Park Ave. Tucson, AZ 85709-6185 (520) 206-5910 Center for the Arts (Located at West Campus)

2202 W. Anklam Road Tucson, AZ 85709-0295 (520) 206-6986 Center for Training & Development (Located at Desert Vista Campus)

5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz Tucson, AZ 85709-6365 (520) 206-5100 Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Administrative Offices at Community Campus)

5355 E. Granite St. Building 2441, Suite 130 Tucson, AZ 85707-3009 (520) 206-4866 Noncredit Continuing Education (Administrative Offices at Community Campus)

401 N. Bonita Ave. Tucson, AZ 85709-5505 (520) 206-6574 Adult Basic Education for College and Career Administrative Offices (Located at Community Campus)

El Pueblo Liberty Learning Center 101 W. Irvington Road, Building 7 Tucson, AZ 85709-5640 (520) 206-3737 El Rio Learning Center 1390 W. Speedway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85709-5630 (520) 206-3800 29th Street Coalition Center 4355 E. Calle Aurora Tucson, AZ 85709 (520) 206-3550 Pima Community College Foundation (Located at the District Office)

4905C E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85709-1320 (520) 206-4646 Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute (Located at the 29th Street Coalition Center)

4355 E. Calle Aurora Tucson, AZ 85709 (520) 206-3501 Pima County Community College District Governing Board: District 1: Mark Hanna District 2: Demion Clinco, Chair District 3: Maria D. Garcia District: 4: Meredith Hay, Vice Chair District 5: Luis A. Gonzales Chancellor: Lee D. Lambert

401 N. Bonita Ave. Tucson, AZ 85709-5600 (520) 206-6500

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BizBRIEFS

Taylor Fulkerson Taylor Fulkerson is the co-lead for expansion efforts for DPR Construction in Tucson. He’s lived here for five years and is well-versed on the region and worked working on construction landscape at the University of Arizona. His high-level engagement and deep knowledge of the local subcontractor market enables him to personally and professionally support Tucson’s deep pool of talent and drive continued growth, joining forces with industry-leading companies in Southern Arizona.

Biz

Tim Hyde Tim Hyde, one of DPR Construction’s top builders, moved to Tucson from Phoenix to lead DPR’s Special Services Group, which serves the company’s client needs on fast-paced and technically challenging projects in Southern Arizona. He has a decade of successful project operations and remains committed in his senior leadership role to successfully delivering projects that will contribute to Southern Arizona’s economic growth.

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RIO NUEVO

TRANSFORMING

DOWNTO Hotels and Convention Center Upgrades in the Works By Jay Gonzales

To grasp the magnitude of the resurgence of downtown Tucson in the last few years, all you need to know is that until 2017, a new hotel had not opened there since 1973 – and that one was shuttered six years ago.

Today, there is a gleaming new and extremely busy hotel in the center of downtown – the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown – and five more hotels are on the drawing board. Downtown is now buzzing with corporate headquarters, two professional sports teams and new offices and restaurants dotting the landscape.

How did we get here after decades of deterioration and businesses fleeing from the once-bustling city center? There are lots of answers to that question, said Mark Irvin, a real estate broker who has been on the board of the Rio Nuevo Tax Increment Financing District since 2010. Rio Nuevo was approved by voters in 1999 as a vehicle for investing state sales taxes in continued on page 112 >>>

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BizDOWNTOWN

OWN

Construction of the Moxy and Element hotels, both Marriott-branded hotels, will include upgrades to the historic Rialto Theatre at East Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Scott Stiteler and Rudy Dabdoub, who partnered on the nearby AC Hotel Tucson

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Downtown, also a Marriott property, are developing the Moxy/Element site which will have a total of 247 rooms. Rio Nuevo supported financing of the project with a sales tax rebate. Winter 2019

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continued from page 110

CATERPILLAR HEXAGON

MSA ANNEX

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downtown projects. Ever since, Rio Nuevo has been a driving force in the transformation of Downtown Tucson. People can now live, work, play, dine, eat and sleep downtown. And the momentum continues. On Nov. 9 the Rio Nuevo Board voted to invest at least $50 million into improvements at the Tucson Convention Center, which could include a parking structure, outdoor dining and food and beverage areas, an outdoor amphitheater and possibly a public ice rink. The investment could reach $75 million. “It’s hard to pick just one thing that kind of set things off. I think there’s a whole multitude of things,” Irvin said. “But for the first time in the 30-plus years that I’ve been here, everybody’s playing well together in the sandbox. We’ve never seen that.” The players in the proverbial sandbox would include Tucson and Pima County government, commercial lenders, private developers and real estate investment firms among others, McCusker said. For a time, it looked like the sandbox was about to be buried for good when state legislators considered ending the Rio Nuevo TIF because of the millions of dollars that were spent with nothing significant to show for it. Downtown was still struggling in 2012 when a phone call to businessman Fletcher McCusker changed the direction of Rio Nuevo. McCusker had relocated his own business, Providence Service Corporation, to the corner of Congress Street and Scott Avenue after years in midtown. He had committed to doing what he could to promote downtown development. He said he and then Tucson Electric Power CEO Paul Bonavia discussed improving the area where the new TEP building now sits, including committing to developing retail and restaurants at the ground level. “We believed downtown could be renovated one block at a time,” McCusker recalled. “We worked together on the Broadway/Scott corner. We talked to everybody we knew to say you should bring your business downtown. We became pied pipers of what our downtown might become.” Leaders at the state legislature apparently noticed because it was Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce who called McCusker with a demand, not a request. “He said, ‘I want you to know I’m appointing you to the Rio Nuevo Board.’ And I said it didn’t sound like an ask. He www.BizTucson.com


said, ‘It’s not an ask. We want you and people that have skin in the game to get involved or we’re going to shut it down.’ ” Shutting down Tucson’s chance to revitalize downtown through Rio Nuevo was the last thing McCusker wanted to see, having grown up here, spending time downtown as a youngster before moving away for 22 years after graduating from the University of Arizona. “My grandfather moved here in 1929. He laid the sidewalks downtown and at the UA for a dollar a day,” McCusker said. “I was a downtown rat as a kid. I went to the Fox Theatre and the Mickey Mouse Club. My family shopped at Lerner’s and Jacome’s and Cele Peterson’s. “Here was a chance for me to pay my grandfather back for all those sidewalks. It became very personal to me.” Shortly after being appointed to the board, McCusker and newly elected Mayor Jonathan Rothschild led the effort to settle several lawsuits between Rio Nuero and the City of Tucson, and pledged to get Rio Nuevo on track for its intended purpose, to revitalize downtown and build it into an economic development asset. “Any community’s downtown is not only its outward face, but an integral component of its economic heart and soul,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO at Sun Corridor Inc. “When we developed the region’s Economic Blueprint in 2007, we knew we had to accelerate the process and pace of downtown development and worked very hard to refocus attention there. “Fast forward to today and Rio Nuevo has become a critical player in the region’s economic development efforts. They are involved in many of our client visits and site selectors are impressed. For example, Caterpillar’s relocation would not have happened without Rio Nuevo.” Caterpillar Surface Mining and Technology Division is building a $50 million headquarters on the west side of the freeway with a financial boost from Rio Nuevo. Two other headquarters, Hexagon Mining and Axiscades, an international engineering firm, have moved in. The Tucson Roadrunners, a minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, are playing at the refurbished Tucson Arena – another Rio Nuevo project – and the Tucson Sugar Skulls will play their first indoor football season there beginning in March. Take a nighttime walk around downtown – something that you just didn’t do 10 years ago – and restaurants and bars continued on page 114 >>>

MARIST COLLEGE AC HOTEL

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continued from page 113 are open, activity is abundant. There’s plenty of entertainment at venues like the Fox Theatre and Rialto Theatre, as well as at the Tucson Convention Center. Rio Nuevo continues to propel downtown progress. It has been involved with 23 projects using direct funding or tax incentives that helped get projects approved with lenders and companies looking to locate there. However, Irvin said, there are other projects not related to Rio Nuevo that have come to fruition, so there is plenty of credit to go around.

We knew the best way to bring people downtown was to do it through entertainment and music and food – and it worked well. But it was only enoughto get us going. We knew in order to sustain that we needed hotels, in order to sustain that we needed employers. – Mark Irvin Commercial Real Estate Broker, Rio Nuevo Vice Chair

“I think a lot of people forget how impactful the city was with having the vision to bring in the street car,” Irvin said. “I think we would eventually have gotten some hotels. But if it wasn’t for (hotel developer) Scott (Stiteler), we certainly would not be advancing five hotels.” Kathleen Eriksen is president and CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. She said, “Downtown Tucson is experiencing unprecedented growth, with more than $360 million dollars in projects currently underway – with 670 housing units and approximately 651,000 square feet of commercial space currently under construction. “On average a new business is opening every 10 days. Simply put, Downtown Tucson is transforming right before our eyes as evidenced by the number of cranes in the sky. Rio Nuevo and the Downtown Tucson Partnership have a symbiotic relationship. Rio Nuevo provides the investment necessary to encourage these developments and the Downtown Tucson Partnership creates an environment for those projects and others to thrive.” Irvin recalled, “When we started doing stuff downtown, we did things really backwards – but we had to. Most of the time, you’ll see retail and entertainment and all that stuff follow residential. We didn’t do that. We knew the best way to bring people downtown was to do it through entertainment and music and food – and it worked well. But it was only enough to get us going. We knew in order to sustain that we needed hotels. In order to sustain that we needed employers.” Downtown got both. Stiteler has been on the front lines of redevelopment and said he never viewed downtown as a place to avoid. Instead, he saw opportunity. Stiteler and his business partner, Rudy Dabdoub, were the first to toe the hotel water when they built the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown, a Marriott brand. 114 BizTucson

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Stiteler is developing two more hotels under the Marriott umbrella – the Moxy and the Element. Hilton has announced two of its brands coming to downtown – a Hampton Inn and a Home2 Suites. And Caliber Hospitality has a hotel with a parking structure in the works on the Tucson Convention Center property. From where we sit today, Stiteler said, it seems “obvious” that Tucson was ripe for what is happening with hotels downtown now that two of the world’s largest brands, Marriott and Hilton, are in play. Convincing others, like the hotel companies and the banks, was the tough part. “It’s much easier to say this today than four or five years ago, but the obvious is that Tucson is a community of over a million people with a downtown that has momentum,” Stiteler said. “To have zero new hotel rooms in a community that large in the core part of downtown, I don’t know if you could find an example of that in the United States for a city our size or even half the size. “That doesn’t mean it’s easy to go first because you look in the mirror and ask yourself why hasn’t the obvious happened. You have to question that so many times and it’s not just convincing yourself, it was convincing lenders and Marriott, which we were able to do.” There’s still a ways to go in downtown redevelopment, Irvin said. He estimates that even with the five new hotels totaling about 600 rooms that are already planned, economic studies indicate there’s room for another 700 rooms – or about four or five more hotels the size of the ones being built. He points out that when Caterpillar moves into its new offices in 2019, that will clear the office space it is now occupying in the center of downtown. Tenants will need to be found. “They’re going to vacate a 40,000-square-foot building that the county owns and they’re also going to vacate 20,000 square feet at 1 S. Church,” Irvin said. On the front burner for Rio Nuevo is the work at the Tucson Convention Center – including remodeling the ballroom, exhibit halls and meeting rooms, upgrading and refurbishing restrooms, replacing seating and carpeting at the Music Hall, replacing the roof at the Leo Rich Theater and upgrading the plaza around the TCC, including renovation of the historic Eckbo fountains. There’s also another $4.8 million worth of work to be done at the Tucson Arena to add a new sheet of ice and replace the floor, repair the roof, update the lighting and add 800 to 1,000 seats for the Roadrunners and Sugar Skulls. The previous renovation, completed in 2016, cost $11.2 million to upgrade the seating and build new locker rooms, among other enhancements. Glenn Grabski, GM of SMG, the company that operates the TCC, told the Rio Nuevo Board that work on the ice and the floor will begin as soon as the Sugar Skulls’ inaugural season ends in mid-June to get it done by the time the Roadrunners need it in October. “I don’t think we’re ever going to be done (revitalizing downtown),” Irvin said. “I think there’s always going to be an opportunity. I think there are some things that we did early on with Rio Nuevo that set the table and maybe we won’t have to do quite so much. Activity breeds activity.” Axiscades moving into Tucson is one example, Irvin said. “We didn’t have anything to do with that, we just set the continued on page 116 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 115 table – and because it was this great table set with two other mining groups here, all of a sudden that happened,” he said. With so much already accomplished, Irvin expects those who have been in-

BRINGS

volved in downtown’s turnaround will continue the work. Last April, Gov. Doug Ducey extended the taxing district by 10 years to 2035 which means there will be financial resources to keep the ball rolling. “I will tell you that the core groups that are there now are all there because

they want to make downtown better,” Irvin said. “It’s not about them, it’s not about us, it’s not about credit. It’s about making an impact downtown, making something that maybe we won’t be around to enjoy as much as we’d like to. But wouldn’t it be cool if our kids and grandkids did?” Biz

MONIER BUILDING

CONGRESS STREET

RECENT RIO NUEVO PROJECTS CAPITAL FUNDED PROJECTS

TYPE

RIO NUEVO TOTAL

City Park

Mixed-use development

$2,600,000

Marist College

Senior housing

$350,000

Monier Building

Mixed-use development

$2,400,000

MSA Annex

Retail and dining

$3,420,000

Cathedral Square

Street, sidewalk and landscaping

$1,000,000

75 E. Broadway

Site preparation

$1,100,000

REBATES IN LIEU OF INVESTMENT

TYPE

RIO NUEVO TOTAL

44 E. Broadway

Mixed-use development

$4,500,000

123 S. Stone Ave.

Historic building renovation

$1,775,000

AC Hotel Tucson (Marriott)

Office space and retail

$3,450,000

Brings Building

Retail and dining

$1,860,000

Congress Street

Block Renovation for retail and restaurants

TBD

Hampton Inn, Home2Suites (Hilton)

2-in-1 hotel, total of 177 rooms

$7,500,000

Moxy & Element Hotels (Marriott)

2-in-1 hotel, total of 247 rooms

$10,000,000

TCC Hotel – Caliber Hospitality

170-room hotel

$4,200,000

RIO NUEVO PROJECTS

TYPE

RIO NUEVO TOTAL

Caterpillar

Company division headquarters

$43,000,000*

TCC Arena

Arena refurbishing

$11,200,000

Greyhound Bus Terminal

Relocation of bus terminal

$1,875,000*

Fox Theatre

Historic building renovation

$313,000

Mission Garden

Historic site reconstruction

$1,100,000

Presidio Duplex

Historic building renovation

$450,000

Scott Avenue Streetscape

Street and landscaping project

$750,000

Sunshine Mile

Property acquisition/development

$740,000

Granada Drainage

Drainage project

$855,000

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* Build-to-suit projects funded with private investment Source: Rio Nuevo


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PHOTOS: AMY HASKELL

BizCONSTRUCTION

Photo at bottom right, The Holualoa Companies team, left to right - Perry Whitthorne, Asset Manager, Lani Baker, VP of Finance, I. Michael Kasser, President, Rick Kauffman, CFO, Stanton Shafer, COO

Downtown’s New Pioneer Owned by Holualoa Companies, Home to SinfoníaRx By Rodney Campbell When SinfoníaRx moved around the corner to its new headquarters in the old Pioneer Hotel building last March, company CEO Kevin Boesen had a vision for the new space. Well aware of the former hotel’s storied history, Boesen wanted his office’s portion of the facility to honor the Pioneer and serve as a showpiece for downtown Tucson. When Boesen and his company unveiled the results at an event in October, it was clear his mission was accomplished, thanks to financial support from property owner Holualoa Companies and hard work by Tucson-area contractors and artists. “I had a vision for this space – but it 118 BizTucson

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turned out to be 100 times better than I thought,” Boesen said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s an honor to be able to help restore this space.” The restorations brought the company’s 2,500-square-foot lobby area back to its 1930s glory, when the spot served as the Pioneer’s dining and ballroom. The work restored the ceiling, walls and balconies and replaced metalwork, including new chandeliers and wroughtiron balcony railings. The ceiling was repainted by artists who restored the equivalent of a mile of space. Their artwork was created Sistine Chapel-style, performed on their backs atop scaffolding.

The Tucson office of architectural firm Engberg-Anderson and local engineering consultants created the overall project plans. MW Morrissey Construction coordinated the restoration with support from two dozen local subcontractors and firms. The architect was fortunate to find original drawings of the building to remain faithful to the hotel’s look. Original features were destroyed or removed a few years after a tragic fire raged through the hotel in December 1970. “We had the opportunity to create something really cool that doesn’t exist in many buildings,” said Perry Whitthorne, Holualoa’s asset manager who www.BizTucson.com


oversaw the renovations. “We were lucky that when the damage was done in the late ’70s and people were punching holes through our plaster ceiling tiles that they didn’t just throw them all in the dumpster.” The Pioneer’s impact on Tucson was long-lasting. It served as a hub for activity in downtown for decades. The hotel closed in October 1974. The last function there was a Pima County Democratic Party convention in the former ballroom. “The Pioneer was a social destination,” said former Pioneer Hotel President Richard Darling. “If it was anything important, as far as social activities in Tucson, it was at the Pioneer.” Renovations have played a key role in downtown’s resurgence over the past several years. The Pioneer’s new look is similar to work performed at the Fox and Rialto theatres and Madden Media building. All of those buildings have regained their shine after careful refurbishments. “Our downtown has gone through a rebirth over the past decade,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. Having vibrant facilities downtown is

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Kevin Boesen CEO, SinfoníaRx crucial to further growth. Holualoa was enthusiastic to invest in the Pioneer renovations, which took a year to complete. It’s part of an overall plan to continue making downtown an appealing place to do business and spend time after the work day is over. “This is really awesome for downtown,” said Holualoa CEO and President Michael Kasser. “A city can’t be successful if its core isn’t successful.” SinfoníaRx spun off from the University of Arizona’s College of Pharmacy. As a UA faculty member, Boesen founded the Medication Management Center, SinfoníaRx’s predecessor. The company started in 2006 and became

a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinfonía Health Care Corporation headed by Tucson businessman Fletcher McCusker in 2013. The company has been named one of the top places to work in Arizona the last three years. SinfoníaRx was sold to publicly traded Tabula Rasa HealthCare in September 2017 and Boesen remains the CEO. Boesen, whose company was founded to optimize medication use and improve the health of patients with chronic illness through medication therapy management programs, moved to Tucson from Chicago in 1991 to attend the UA. Like Boesen, SinfoníaRx has deep roots in Tucson, where 308 of its 812 employees work. The company has 17,500 square feet of room on the first and second floors of the Pioneer building. While the company has offices in Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas, and Gainesville, Florida, Tucson will always be home. It’s where everything started with 10 employees and big dreams. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to Tucson,” Boesen said. “We want this to be a centerpiece of downtown.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Mara Aspinall

Co-founder BlueStone Venture Partners

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BizFINANCE

BlueStone Venture Partners

A $50 Million Local Venture Capital Fund By Jay Gonzales The mantra, “Why not us?” has been used across a wide spectrum of issues ranging from economic development to politics to sports. In Southern Arizona and the Southwest region, it is applying to venture capital, an industry that has been notably centered in two hubs – the Bay Area in California, including the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and the finance centers in Boston and New York. But that is headed for change, said Tom Nickoloff, who launched a venture capital fund, BlueStone Venture Partners, with Tucson businesswoman Mara Aspinall, a healthcare industry CEO and investment adviser. “There are going to be these other hubs,” Nickoloff said. “I’m not saying we all want to be Silicon Valley. But there’s only so much housing, so much infrastructure you can pack in an area. There are quality-of-life issues that we can take advantage of in the Southwest, cost-of-living issues.” BlueStone made the first investment from its $50 million fund in October when it provided equity funding for BroadSpot Imaging. BroadSpot Imaging is a developer of medical devices in the ophthalmic diagnostic equipment market. The arrival of BlueStone comes on the heels of the formation of two other local funds, both of which are focusing their investments in Tucson and the Southwest. UAVenture Capital was started in 2017 by business partners Fletcher McCusker, Michael Deitch and Larry Hecker, with bylaws that all of its investments will be in businesses and technology emanating from the University of Arizona. Longtime real estate developer Donwww.BizTucson.com

ald Diamond and his firm Diamond Ventures added a venture capital fund to its portfolio of businesses in May 2018 with the formation of DVI Venture Partners. DVI, according to its website, also will invest in the Southwest and has an “emphasis on ‘disruptive technology’ and companies founded and led by women and minorities, in technology areas, including national security, enterprise software, artificial intelligence and data analysis.” BlueStone’s vision is to invest in biosciences technology coming out of the Southwest region, essentially Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, or as Nickoloff said, where there’s a need and consequently an opportunity. Nickoloff has his office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while Aspinall works out of a Tucson office. Aspinall, former president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, now known as Roche Tissue Diagnostics, has been wrangling with the issue of bringing venture capital to the region for four years as a co-founder of the Arizona Biosciences Board with local businessman Ron Shoopman. She said the focus at ABB is on one issue – “increasing the availability of venture capital in the state.” While the bottom line in a venture capital fund is to make a profit for its investors, Aspinall said bringing venture capital closer to where the technologies and ideas are developed has impacts beyond profits., One of the most important is an economic development effort to keep companies operating in the region. “Too often, when a company gets funded from the East Coast or the West Coast, they want the company to move closer to them,” she said. “It is critical

for companies and for our entire ecosystem that we fund companies here because they are more likely to stay here. “There is no question that the coasts do not have a monopoly of great, smart and entrepreneurial leaders. We want to keep those leaders here and fund their companies here.” The region now seems to be generating momentum with venture capital funds beginning to recognize there are plenty of investment opportunities with the universities located in the four states, as well as other companies and organizations where technology – and specifically biosciences technology – is breeding and heading toward developing into companies with long life cycles. “We have a strong base of universities throughout those states and in New Mexico with the national labs,” Aspinall said, referring to Sandia National Laboratories based in Albuquerque and Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos. “These are hotbeds for the creation of intellectual property, for brilliant leaders,” Aspinall said. “The need for capital was clear and the demand was high. There are strong, strong ideas and leadership teams here. I like to call them hidden diamonds in the desert because the major firms – typically on the coasts – don’t want to travel outside of their physical geographic areas and therefore they don’t come here.” “This is a city whose time has come,” she said of Tucson. “This is a city with a vibrance and energy and intellectual content that I truly believe is second to none. If you take that energy and intellectual content and combine it with a great place to live, it’s hard to ask for anything more. For BlueStone, we hope to be a small part of that.” Biz Winter 2019

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Project: Oro Valley Police Department Substation & Evidence Storage Location: 500 W. Magee Road Owner: Town of Oro Valley Contractor: Lloyd Construction Company Architect: Breckenridge Group Architects Completion Date: May 2019 Construction Cost: Estimated $4.6 million Project Description: A new two-story substation will expand the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evidence storage capacity and house evidence personnel, a K-9 unit and a training unit.

Project: GEICO Regional Headquarters Location: The Bridges, 3050 S. M.L. King Jr. Way Owner: BP Bridges Partners #2, a subsidiary of Bourn Companies Contractor: The Renaissance Companies Architect: Onyx Creative Completion Date: Summer 2019 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: GEICO at The Bridges is a three-story, 200,000-square-foot building with a modern, open-office design and adjacent 20,000-square-foot outdoor patio.

Project: Maverick Location: Tucson International Airport Owner: Creative Food Groups Contractor: MW Morrissey Construction Architect: FORS Architecture Completion Date: July 2018 Construction Cost: $271,558 Project Description: This is new construction of a 900-square-foot restaurant and bar in the airport.

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Project: Sierra Cycles Location: 555 S. Highway 92, Sierra Vista Owner: Levitt Real Properties Contractor: Lloyd Construction Company Architect: Lloyd Construction Company Completion Date: July 2018 Construction Cost: Estimated $2.2 million Project Description: This Sierra Vista project entailed design and construction of a new sales showroom and service center for ATVs, motorcycles, scooters and utility vehicles.

Project: Splendido at Rancho Vistoso Villas Addition Location: 13500 N. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. Owner: Tucson Mather Plaza Contractor: W.E. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neil Construction Architect: Solomon Cordwell Buenz Completion Date: April 2020 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Addition includes 47 new luxury villas averaging 2,300 square feet per unit. The project is located on 7.5 acres.

Project: Tucson Westside Ear, Nose and Throat Location: 1358 W. Orange Grove Road Owner: Otoland Investments Contractor: Lloyd Construction Company Architect: Swaim Associates Completion Date: July 2018 Construction Cost: Estimated $2.2 million Project Description: The new 9,000-square-foot building houses an outpatient clinic for Tucson Ear, Nose and Throat, a group that has been providing quality care for the community since 1987.

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BizHONORS

2018 Tucson Man of the Year

Larry Lucero By Romi Carrell Wittman

Larry Lucero knew something was up when he walked into the TEP boardroom and was greeted with a group of people wearing masks with his face on them. Though he was aware he’d been nominated for the Greater Tucson Leadership Man of the Year award, he hadn’t dwelled on the possibility of being selected. “It was a total surprise,” he said. “To realize the community has selected an individual they think has conducted themselves in a manner they admire. I don’t think of myself as a leader or a doer, quite frankly. Being involved in the community is just who I am. You have to ask yourself, what can you do beyond what you get paid to do?” A Tucson native, Lucero has very much been a leader and a doer in the community. He’s spent his career in government relations, education and economic development and currently serves as Tucson Electric Power’s senior director of government and external affairs. In addition to his day job, Lucero is chairman of the Tucson Metro Chamber and is actively involved with a number of nonprofits. In 2016, Lucero received TEP’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the more than 4,000 volunteer hours Lucero has given to the community. Dave Hutchens, president and CEO of TEP, nominated Lucero. “They say a ‘rising tide lifts all boats.’ Larry lives and breathes this adage,” Hutchens said. “As chairman of the Tucson Metro Chamber, he led efforts to support a strong local economy. As president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, he strengthened trade relationships with partners in the state of Sonora and other locations in Mexico. As a member of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s Public Policy Committee, he advocated for children and the working poor.” Lucero earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Arizona in 1983 and later went to work for Pima County, focused first on job training and later economic development programs. He joined TEP in 1992. “Anyone who knows Larry can tell you how humble, warm and approachable he is. Larry is sincere and caring. He never turns down an opportunity to mentor, educate or encourage others,” Hutchens said. Amber Smith, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro www.BizTucson.com

Chamber, said “Larry Lucero has been a steward of our community for so long that it is difficult to imagine a time when he’s not serving on dozens of boards, committees and commissions. He has prioritized building diversity both on the board and at the highest level of the Chamber and has been consistent in promoting the need for partnerships, collaboration and working together to grow commerce.” Lucero gives generously of his time to a wide variety of nonprofits, including ACE Charter High School, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, Chicanos por la Causa, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the United Way, among many others. He’s also served on several statewide commissions, including the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Border Governors Conference. How does he find the time to do it all? “It helps to hustle – and nobody hustles like Larry,” Hutchens said. “His days begin early and finish late to make room for meetings with numerous groups working to build a better future. He accepts every invitation and works to keep every appointment – even if it requires ingesting dangerous levels of rubber chicken and other banquet fare.” Lucero says that giving back is second nature. “It was part of my upbringing,” he said, adding that as a Tucson native, he feels he bears an even greater responsibility to contribute. “For those of us who have been here long enough to understand the history and culture of who we are, we have to help our new residents appreciate the history and culture here and encourage them to plug into the community.” Fletcher McCusker is a longtime friend of Lucero. “I’ve known Larry for over 40 years and can tell you there is no one in this community more deserving for Man of the Year than Larry,” he said. “Larry’s leadership has been the glue for many of us striving to help our community.” Though Lucero is retiring from TEP this year, he plans to remain as active as ever. “I hope to continue to remain engaged in the community and actually spend more time in the trenches working on campaigns that may move the needle forward.”

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2018 Tucson Woman of the Year

Carla Keegan By Romi Carrell Wittman

Carla Keegan couldn’t figure out why her friend and colleague Carrie Durham was insistent they have lunch downtown at Café a la C’Art. “She said we were meeting with the mayor and he couldn’t get away,” Keegan said. Her suspicions were further piqued when, after arriving to the restaurant, she saw a large group of people as well as the mayor waiting. Then she learned the news that she was named the Greater Tucson Leadership 2018 Woman of the Year. “I was overwhelmed,” she said. “It was so humbling. It’s such an honor to be recognized.” Keegan has made Tucson her home since she attended the University of Arizona, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1980 and an MBA in 1982. Having grown up in a military family with posts all over the world – she attended eight schools before graduating from high school – she’s made Tucson her adopted hometown. She has fully embraced Tucson and has devoted herself to making it a better place. She’s done this through service on many nonprofit boards, taking on leadership roles in the community and mentoring others. Carrie Durham, of the American Heart Association and Angel Charity for Children, nominated Keegan for GTL Woman of the Year. She said Keegan has been an instrumental member of the team modernizing the Angel Charity for Children. “She was the 2018 general chair of the Angel Charity, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local nonprofits serving children. She’s implementing a new organizational chart as a result of the comprehensive strategic plan this year,” Durham said. “This includes an upgraded computer system, updating our website, purchasing new hardware and software, thus ensuring Angel Charity is a fully functional and sustainable organization.” Keegan has done this in addition to her full-time job as president and director of taxation at Keegan, Linscott & Kenon, a full-service accounting firm with offices in Tucson and Phoenix that Keegan founded. She’s done this while continuing her volunteer work and board service with the DM50, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Junior League of Tucson, Downtown Advisory Council, Downtown Business Association and Brewster Center for Victims of Family www.BizTucson.com

Violence (now merged with Emerge). Keegan also oversees the KLK Cares program, which was created for employees at her company to encourage community service and volunteerism. Her interest in giving back to the community was fostered during her undergraduate years. “Lynn Wood Dusenberry first got me involved with Junior League,” Keegan said. “She strongly suggested I get involved in things to better the community.” Keegan took those words of advice to heart. As Durham puts it, “Keegan is a ‘let’s get this done’ kind of woman and ‘how can we best do what needs to be done’ kind of woman.” Tucson icon Sally Drachman got to know Keegan through their work with the Junior League. In addition, Drachman taught a women’s leadership class at the YWCA and Keegan was one of her students. Keegan told Drachman of her desire to become a partner at the accounting firm where she was working at the time. “I suggested she do something differently,” she said. Keegan took Drachman’s advice and jumped in with both feet, founding her own firm despite the financial risk and the incredible amount of work involved. This didn’t surprise Drachman. “She’s a born leader and will take on any task as long as she thinks it worthy and will be successful every time,” said Drachman. Barbara Reuter, president of Cushman & Wakefield, is another true believer. “Carla’s chairing Angel Charity in 2018 has been the crown jewel atop a career of dedicated service, lending her many finance and accounting skills to numerous organizations,” Reuter said. “Carla has taken these assignments as calls to action, not resume builders. She has initiated strategic plans and translated big thinking to operational effectiveness for Angel Charity, DM50, Junior Achievement, Community Food Bank and many more.” Despite her lifetime of service to her profession and her community, Keegan remains humble about the Woman of the Year honor. “I couldn’t have done this without the help of my colleagues and teammates,” she said. “This honor is as much for them as it is for me.”

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2018 Tucson Founders Award Honoree

Nancy Kinerk By Romi Carrell Wittman

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world – indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead said these words decades ago, yet they are as true as ever. It’s safe to say that Nancy Kinerk, through her thoughtful and committed work, has changed the lives of thousands of Tucson children over the years. Through tireless fundraising and hands-on support, Kinerk has elevated dozens of local nonprofits – with the singular goal of making Tucson a better place. For more than 40 years, Kinerk has taken on major leadership roles with a variety of nonprofits, many of which she continues to support today. “Nancy is willing to get down in the trenches and do the dirty work if necessary. Yes, she’s a joiner, but, more than that, she’s a doer,” said Linda Breck, who, along with Tucson Lifestyle Magazine’s Sue Giles, nominated Kinerk for the Greater Tucson Leadership Founders Award. Kinerk has dedicated her life to her community and making it a better place. She’s demonstrated an unwavering commitment to education, children’s issues, health and wellness, and student life at the University of Arizona. One organization near to Kinerk’s heart is Tu Nidito Children and Family Services, a nonprofit that assists children who are coping with the death of a family member. Anne Melko, who worked with Kinerk via the Marshall Foundation, said, “Her leadership founded and sustained Tu Nidito. Nancy went about changing the world by healing one broken family at a time.” Kinerk and her family experienced tragedy in 1980, when her oldest child, Daniel, died in an accident. Rather than succumbing to sadness, Kinerk redoubled her commitment to helping others and making difference in the lives of children – from the very youngest to those reaching adulthood. “Nancy has spent most of her life volunteering and assisting others,” said Louise Thomas, founding chairman of Angel Charity for Children. “She is a most giving and generous person who has experienced both the joys of life from her very www.BizTucson.com

large family as well as tragedies.” In their nomination, Giles and Breck wrote, “Now is the time for her personal mission of service to be honored and observed.” Kinerk was actively involved with the Children to Children nonprofit grief support agency and helped facilitate its merger with Tu Nidito in 1999. She currently serves on Tu Nidito’s board. She’s also been very active with the Angel Charity for Children, serving as a charter member in 1982. In 1985, she helped raise $564,000 for two Tucson nonprofits and she remains involved today as a sustaining member. Jose Luis and Adriana Rincon met Kinerk through Tu Nidito. “Her dedication and passion for Tu Nidito is truly admirable,” they wrote in a letter of support. “Her excitement is infectious and motivating for all of us around her. But perhaps Nancy’s biggest value is one which provides a very personal connection. We share the tragic experience of having lost a child. The strength, dignity and grace Nancy and her family have shown in the 38 years since losing their son has been a source of strength for our family, since we lost our son more than 10 years ago. We are lucky to have her in our lives and in our community.” In addition to Tu Nidito, Kinerk has actively volunteered for and supported the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Junior League of Tucson, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and Kino Learning Center, among many others. Liz McCusker, executive director of Tu Nidito, said that Kinerk has directly impacted thousands of children and young adults in our community. She added that Kinerk’s work is often behind the scenes. “Nancy is involved in many organizations – like the University of Arizona Foundation, Casa de los Niños, Salpointe High School and many others,” she said. “She is most comfortable doing things without the need for attention –but because it’s the right thing to do.”

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2018 Greater Tucson Leadership Alumni Excellence Award

Suzanne McFarlin By Romi Carrell Wittman

Suzanne McFarlin was admittedly a little curious when her husband asked her to be home at two o’clock in the afternoon. When the doorbell rang and she looked outside, she was surprised to see a bunch of people she recognized. “Kasey was so sweet,” McFarlin said of Kasey Hill, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership. “She told me I’d been selected as GTL Alumni of the Year. It was just so special. I just couldn’t believe it.” McFarlin’s shock soon gave way to a deep appreciation and an inspiration to do more. “It was just such a wonderful confirmation of the work – I mean, nobody sets out to get acknowledgement,” she said. “You just put your heart and soul into helping your family, helping your friends, helping your community. When you see something that needs to be done, you just step in and do it.” McFarlin is driven by her desire to be a positive change agent in the community. She has adopted “speak up, step up” as her personal motto, something she shares with her students and clients in her executive coaching and leadership training consultancy. She views her purpose as motivating people to change and see new possibilities for themselves, their families, their organizations and their communities. “If you’re going to speak up on something, you must also be willing to step up,” McFarlin said. “This is something I realized as I went through the Greater Tucson Leadership class.” McFarlin’s relationship with GTL goes way back – all the way to her time as a student in the Class of 2005 and her later tenure as the organization’s executive director. Upon graduating from GTL, she was honored with the Ronald L. Kurth Merit Award, which is bestowed on the class member who made – and who has the potential to make – the most substantial contribution to the Tucson community. After graduation, she served on GTL’s board, becoming board president in 2011. At that time, it became evident that the organization was not financially sustainable. McFarlin, following her own motto, spoke up and stepped up, taking on the role of GTL executive director. Doing so necessitated scaling www.BizTucson.com

back her consultant work, but the result was that within four years she’d turned the organization completely around. She identified continuing funding sources, enhanced the core program, increased alumni involvement and brought GTL back into the Tucson Metro Chamber family. She also developed a vision for the organization as well as a mission – Connect. Learn. Lead. Though she handed off executive director duties to Hill in 2016 to return to her business full time, GTL remains near and dear to McFarlin’s heart. She says that she realized her voice mattered while she was going through the GTL class. She also realized that it was her responsibility to speak up and help to better her community. “We always think that it’s not our role, not our place. But if not me, then who?” she said. In addition to her work with GTL McFarlin has worked for, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Tucson Unified School District and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. McFarlin is also an honorary commander at DavisMonthan AFB, where she has coached the commander of communications and conducted leadership training. She’s served on the board of the Arizona Town Hall, a statewide organization dedicated to educating, engaging and empowering Arizonans to solve issues through consensus. McFarlin also gives generously of her time to the National Charity League, Kidsfest, Angel Charity for Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson and the Emerging Leaders Council of the Tucson Metro Chamber. McFarlin says her role model is her 79-year old mother, Suzanne, who, as a single mother with four very young children, modeled positivity and hard work for her children. “My father abandoned our family when I was 3,” McFarlin said. “As a single mom with limited resources, my mom taught us how to be generous and kind.” She took that lesson to heart in every aspect of her life – from her professional work, to her children, to her community. “This honor – it just inspires me to do even more.”

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BizNONPROFIT From back left to bottom right – Melissa Gaskell, Employment Specialist of the Year; Hailey Thoman, Executive Director for Linkages; Jim Click, Founder & Board President of Linkages; Marty Macias, Employee of the Year, and Susan Hurt of C3 CustomerContactChannels, Employer of the Year

2018 Linkages Building Bridges Awards Hiring People with Disabilities Is Good Business

PHOTO: MARTHA LOCHERT

By Tiffany Kjos Hiring people with disabilities isn’t charity. It’s good business. That’s one of the takeways from this year’s Linkages Building Bridges awards, which honors the Tucson employer, employee and employment specialist who have over the past year made an extraordinary impact on people who have disabilities. Linkages helps businesses and those with disabilities connect, with the idea that every person should have the opportunity to work. Last year the organization helped nearly 500 people find jobs. Linkages co-founder and Building Bridges ceremony emcee Jim Click has nearly 50 employees who have disabilities. Click and other speakers urged those in attendance to open their minds to hiring people with disabilities and figure out how to make the workplace fit those workers’ needs. “You just don’t know, folks, when lightning is going to strike your family, your business or you,” Click told friends, family and colleagues who gathered for the awards luncheon in midNovember at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. The awards event is in its 11th year. Joey Ingegneri, who was paralyzed in a car accident shortly after graduating from Sahuaro High School in 1997, can attest to how fast your life can change. Driving to San Diego with a friend, Ingegneri was asleep in the passenger seat, seat belt off, when his friend fell asleep at the wheel and veered from his lane. The car rolled several times and Ingegneri was thrown 90 feet. When he woke up at a hospital, the former high school athlete had an overwhelming thought. “When they told me what had happened and what my life was going to be like, I distinctly remember making the decision at that point – I’m not gonna let this affect who I am and the dreams that I had. I’m not gonna let this hold me back,” he said. Turns out it was not Ingegneri who held himself back, but prospective employers who could only focus on why he couldn’t do a job. “There are times when no matter how hard you try, there need to be opportunities,” he said. “I just wanted a shot.” He ended up with his own vehicle dealership in another state, but wanted to make a difference to people who have dis136 BizTucson

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abilities. Long story short, he moved back to Tucson, got a degree in physical therapy from the University of Arizona and now is director of community outreach for the Jim Click Automotive Team and Linkages. He urged the audience to do outreach and help employ people who have mental or physical challenges. In the end, he said, “The more people you can help be successful, the more successful you’ll be.” Linkages Building Bridges awards winners are:

Employer of the Year – C3 CustomerContactChannels The business processing outsourcing industry sees 30 to 45 percent turnover rate, according to the Linkages Building Bridges awards program, so C3 sought to fill jobs by marketing directly to people with disabilities and through Linkages. The company created a part-time work program that includes parttime training hours and a location on the Sun Tran bus line. Working through Linkages, it tapped 10 different community referral agencies to hire 41 people in a matter of a few weeks. Employment Specialist of the Year – Melissa A. Gaskell At her job with La Frontera Arizona, Melissa A. Gaskell works with people who have behavioral health challenges. She defines success as when a client can learn then repeat something on their own. “Melissa goes above and beyond by making sure the whole person is taken care of. This can be outside of employment, like picking up a food box for a job seeker whose fridge was empty to ordering phones so job seekers could be contacted,” according to her co-workers. This is the second year in a row that Gaskell has won this award. Employee of the Year – Martina Macias Martina Macias, who uses a wheelchair, works in the city of Tucson Office of Equal Opportunity Programs as its senior equal opportunity specialist. She handles extremely sensitive issues and complaints from city employees and the public, covering employment, housing and public accommodation concerns. “Martina’s focus is always on helping people reach resolutions to disability discrimination. Employment has allowed her to support herself and set a good example of work ethic and accountability for her son and co-workers,” according to the awards program.

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SPECIAL REPORT 2019

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

TOWN OF

SAHUARITA You’re gonna love it here!

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Safety, Education, Quality of Life

Sahuarita Residents Help Guide Growth By Christy Krueger As the Town of Sahuarita celebrates its 25th birthday this year, its leaders have big dreams for the area’s future growth and its role as a significant contributor to the region’s economic sustainability. At the same time, leaders understand that growth should be planned and controlled – and they’re particularly committed to including community feedback in their decisions. 142 BizTucson

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Residents’ needs and wants, maintaining the quality of life and supporting the town’s award-winning school programs all are important considerations moving into the future, the town’s leaders say, as are attention to the growing job market, the health of small businesses and relationships with major industries of the area. Sahuarita has had significant growth

in a relatively short amount of time. Mayor Tom Murphy said that when the town was incorporated in 1994, it had 1,800 residents. The population now is more than 30,000, with 6,500 students in its schools. Murphy envisions a population of 40,000 to 45,000 in the nottoo-distant future. He also understands that growth can be a challenge. Issues such as safety, schools, parks, www.BizTucson.com


25 Years

jobs, housing and retaining current residents are all tied to growth and attaining a strong economy. One of the biggest attributes of the town, said Murphy, is safety. “We start with a safe community,” Murphy said. “Safety-wise, we’re in the top five in the state. Our police department even has drones.” Murphy said Sahuarita is the first such department in the state to have them. In 2018, the town conducted a citizen survey to gauge residents’ opinions of the community, its amenities, government, businesses and a wide range of www.BizTucson.com

other topics. One glaring request was for more restaurants and shops, and, according to Victor Gonzalez, Sahuarita’s economic development director, residents want chains. While there are a variety of home-grown businesses, such as Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue and Cathey’s Sewing and Vacuum, the townspeople also like their TJ Maxx and Starbucks. National chains, of course, want to see towns with an increasing population. Towns want to bring in chains to attract homebuyers, add to the tax base and increase the number of jobs close

to home. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Education is also a big plus in Sahuarita. With the average age of residents at 34 years old, potential homebuyers look closely at the schools, of which there are nine in the Sahuarita Unified School District. “K-12 education needs to be well-rounded,” Murphy said. “We offer German, Mandarin and Chinese in our schools, with a Junior ROTC top program. Families look for these.” He also identifies the amenity-rich master-planned communities as being greatly responsible for putting Sahuarita continued on page 144 >>> Winter 2019

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

continued from page 143 on the map. “There’s Madera Highlands, Quail Creek and Rancho Sahuarita, the most affordable and highly amenitized. All have different demographics.” Part of the town’s growth plan includes adding facilities and programs desired by existing families. According to Gonzalez, that includes public gathering spaces – such as a plaza, performance area and splash pads. The goal is to create a “Main Street” near the town center that could also include office space, a hotel, a civic center, multi-family housing and other mixed-use developments. Murphy envisions it as a central area with grass, a place that can hold more people than what the town currently has. “This would bring different neighborhoods together,” he said. “It’s important to weave together different parts of our community.” Another issue to come out of the citizen survey is the need for more nighttime entertainment – which would likely be part of the Town Center District – although Town Manager Kelly Udall points out that the town isn’t completely void of such activities now. It has a monthly concert series by the lake and large annual celebrations such as the Fourth of July Red, White and Boom fireworks display, the spring Fiesta Sahuarita and the Winter Festival and Holiday Light Parade. Fiesta Sahuarita, which is presented by the Town of Sahuarita, brings families together for a day of fun, activities, games, rides, food and more. This small-town festival is held in Anamax Park each year in March. Local entertainment and live music performs on the mobile stage, and organizations throughout the region provide opportunities for local and new residents to discover their community. Another popular event is the annual Sahuarita Pecan Festival, which attracts 20,000 neighbors and visitors each fall. Held on the Green Valley Pecan Company grounds, the family-friendly experience offers wagon rides into the pecan groves, music, food, vendors, demonstrations and a kids’ area. “The overall feel of the event endears our community to the Town of Sahuarita,” Udall said. “The Waldens put that on. We coordinate with our police department and parks and rec.” Offering more social events isn’t simply a request by residents, it’s a part of what keeps the town cohesive and attracts new homebuyers, Udall said. “We have events that have a smalltown feel. It’s very important to us to foster the small-town feel where people know each other and enjoy cultural events. It’s critical for what we’re trying to create.” From an employment standpoint, residents work at Sahuarita’s large employers, including 144 BizTucson

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the town itself, its booming school district, Freeport-McMoRan and ASARCO mines, Farmers Investment Company (parent organization of Green Valley Pecan Company) and retailers such as Walmart. Other large companies nearby include Caterpillar and Komatsu, both of which operate proving grounds west of Interstate 19. Sahuarita residents also make the commute to work for major employers on Tucson’s southside, approximately a 20- to 30-minute drive, including Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Tucson International Airport. “Amazon is another business whose employees will live here,” Murphy said. He refers to the town as a “bedroom community” because folks feel that the quality of life in Sahuarita more than makes up for commuting to work. Yet town leaders realize a larger number of local employers are needed to attract the growth they envision. They have created a town master plan and economic-development blueprints. Udall believes workforce development is an important segment of the strategy and that includes recruiting and retaining businesses. “I expect to see 500 to 600 new jobs in the next several years,” Gonzalez said, from projects currently in the works and indirect jobs emanating from those projects. Gonzalez explained that while the Sahuarita area has sustained largely on mining and agriculture, diversification is necessary for the town’s longterm economic health. Targeting industries like technology and professional services, which are predicted to bring in future jobs, is a step of the town’s strategy that has already begun. West of I-19, the planned Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center, known as SAMTEC, is expected to attract high-tech companies and already has a number of prospects. Northwest Healthcare is planning an 18bed neighborhood hospital with approximately 180 employees making an average annual salary of $50,000. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2019. Sahuarita folks have much to look forward to this year with its 25th-anniversary celebration. “We’ll have an event each month for 2019, some larger than others,” Udall said. “All will call attention to the anniversary. In January we’ll have an open house at Town Hall where people can talk to elected and appointed officials. I’d like a farmers’ market at Phase I of where the district will be, near La Villita Road. We’ll have a calendar of all activities.” The mayor, with his always-optimistic outlook, is passionate about Sahuarita being a special and unique place for its residents as seen in his frequent use of the word “love” when describing the town and its people: “We love our active residents, we love our schools, we love our law enforcement.”

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Tom Murphy

Mayor Town of Sahuarita

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BizCLIMATE

Working for Business Town Puts Out the Welcome Mat

PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

By Christy Krueger When it comes to working with business owners, both new and longtime, Sahuarita officials are known for laying out the welcome mat. It shows in the simplified process of setting up a business. “We have no impact fees and we don’t charge for a business license,” said Mayor Tom Murphy. “We also don’t have property tax. We try to be as efficient and quick as we can. Time is money, so the quicker they can open, that’s our end goal. We try to be as cooperative as we can.” Town Manager Kelly Udall said that speeding up the business application process is a priority. “We’re one of the top in the area in turnaround time. We recently put our business-licensing online. We’re trying to speed up to keep up with the timeline of the business.” “There are more or less three areas we focus on,” said Victor Gonzalez, economic development director for the Town of Sahuarita. “First, how do we grow our local businesses? We have a program – BizEdge – that takes three businesses through workshops and we give one-on-one counseling. At the end, the three businesses compete in a ‘Shark-Tank’-like event. The winner this year will receive a $4,000 cash prize.” Freeport-McMoRan, the mining company that is a frequent community advocate, helps small businesses through grants. “A number of years ago,” Murphy said, “they provided 148 BizTucson

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a grant that we used to study homebased businesses here.” The mining company followed that up with a grant to repurpose the first floor of Town Hall. A kiosk, Wi-Fi, conference room and work stations were installed as part of BizHub to offer home-based businesses a professional work and meeting space. In addition, the town presents educational seminars on topics such as using Instagram. The second priority is developing mid- to longterm strategic initiatives. It’s about looking at the needs and opportunities that currently exist and planning for the future, Gonzalez said. Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center is an example. “It’s to diversify the economy beyond mining and agriculture,” he said. “Much of our labor force commutes to tech businesses in Southern Arizona. The town undertook the project to create infrastructure for the future.” SAMTEC is a 32,000-squarefoot multi-tenant facility currently under construction with a target completion date of late 2019. Sahuarita’s third point of focus is positioning itself to be more competitive in attracting new jobs. The town has been active with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Sun Corridor Inc. in regional strategies to attract jobs to the area. In an effort to advocate for existing businesses, Gonzalez said that continued on page 150 >>>

Victor Gonzalez

Economic Development Director Town of Sahuarita www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Kelly Udall

Town Manager Town of Sahuarita

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BizCLIMATE continued from page 148 in 2018 the town formalized a relationship with the Green Valley/Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce to further improve the local business climate. “It’s the first time we’ve formalized a working relationship. It’s a good first step,” Gonzalez said. “This establishes a scope in which the chamber is committed to providing support for our businesses and be more visible here.” Joe Erceg, the chamber’s president and CEO since April 2017, has taken off running in his mission to help advance Sahuarita’s goals. “There have been a lot of changes,” he said. “The attitude is more toward educating and helping small businesses. “We’re starting a business retention and expansion program, launching in first quarter, based on 50 to 70 businesses in the Sahuarita and Green Valley area.” In order to determine business owners’ wants and needs, the chamber will conduct a survey, made possible by a $10,000 grant from Freeport-McMoRan.

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Needs are different in the two towns because of demographics, Erceg pointed out. “In Green Valley the average age is 72, so business retention is the issue we concentrate on. In Sahuarita it’s 34, so it’s that too, but more in the area of expansion. We’re going to do a marketing boot camp if that’s a need, also a career fair if there’s a need. What we do (in 2019) will be based on the survey results.” The chamber recently joined with eight other chambers of commerce to form the Southern Arizona Chamber of Commerce Association. This alliance is working with UnitedHealthcare of Arizona to offer affordable health insurance to its members. “The No. 1 need among small businesses in the country is healthcare,” Erceg said. Under a new federal law, business owners with two to 50 employees can offer health insurance that is less restrictive than the Affordable Care Act. Another partnership Sahuarita has forged helps provide technical assistance, mentoring, workshops and one-

on-one one counseling to small business through the Small Business Development Center. “We try to listen to the needs of the business community and deliver,” Erceg said of the chamber’s partnership with Sahuarita. “The Town of Sahuarita is very open to new ideas. Victor Gonzalez is such a forward-thinking guy.” Likewise, Gonzalez believes in Erceg and his work. “Joe’s ability to connect with people is something that was needed to move in a different direction. He has infused energy.” Whether the intent is to attract new businesses, support existing ones or create opportunities for new industries, Udall believes all businesses can potentially be successful when the town stands behind them. “They see a community where they want to belong, to raise kids and have a high quality of life. It’s one of our highest priorities.”

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BizGROWTH

Life in Sahuarita Safety, Planning, Community Draw Residents

PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

By April Bourie

It seems a pre-requisite for Sahuarita residents to know the correct pronunciation of the town’s name: “Sa-wa-rita” with a little trill on the r. But that’s not all that Sahuarita residents have in common. They boast about the quality of life the town offers – friendly neighbors, safety, natural beauty, access to outdoor activities, a sense of community and an accessible town government. “When we moved into our neighborhood, I was welcomed with a fresh pumpkin pie,” said Angela Piñon, an import/export compliance officer for Universal Avionics. “I had to Google how to respond,” she laughed. She and her family moved to Sahuarita about five years ago from South Tucson to be closer to family and because she had heard that Sahuarita was named one of the safest towns in Arizona by the National Council for Home Safety and Security. Since moving there, she has come to love the unique scenery of the area. “With the pecan groves and our proximity to Madera Canyon, there’s more than desert landscape,” she said. “I’m outside more because of the easy access to outdoor activities.” Nanette Smejkal, Sahuarita parks and 154 BizTucson

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recreation director, said that the love of the outdoors is what many residents enjoy in the area. “There are a lot of families and young children as well as an active adult population in the area, and they all love their parks, being outdoors, being engaged and active,” she said. To that end, the department offers a variety of activities to residents – including fitness and art classes, fishing clinics, concerts, game nights and major events like the Fiesta Sahuarita, Spooktacular Halloween and the Fourth of July celebration that regularly draw 10,000 people. The mix of families and seniors drew James Ward, a retired University of Illinois professor, to Sahuarita 10 years ago. After he moved to Sahuarita, he learned about the Citizens Leadership Academy, a program that existed to familiarize residents with all of the departments in the town and would recruit for volunteers on various committees. The program is no longer active, but Ward said he secured a position on the Finance and Investment Advisory Committee, and the Town Center District Vision Planning Group. While resident involvement remains a foundation for the quality of life in Sahuarita, the town’s well-deserved repu-

tation for public safety is a priority as the town grows and its boundaries expand. “We are working to match our resources to keep up with the growth,” said Sahuarita Police Chief John Noland. “We recently sent three recruits through the sheriff’s academy and one of them received the highest reward for leadership. We also have three more going through the academy right now.” The police department engages with the public on a personal level with a number of programs, including “Coffee with a Cop,” where officers will sit down with a small group of residents in www.BizTucson.com


Parks & Recreation Director Town of Sahuarita

Public Works Director Town of Sahuarita

a casual setting and spend time talking about issues in the community. “We can enforce the law, but that doesn’t always solve the problem,” Noland said. “These types of programs allow us to work with the community to solve policing issues and help the community know the officers in a different capacity so they are more comfortable working with them.” As new residents make their way into Sahuarita, Sarah More, Sahuarita planning and building director, says the lower costs of land in the area and the variety of housing being built should be www.BizTucson.com

M.J. Dillard

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Nanette Smejkal

John Noland

Sahuarita Police Chief

attractive to them. “At Rancho Resort and in Quail Creek, seniors can purchase a ‘lockand-leave’ home that they live in only during the cooler months. Large family homes are available in Rancho Sahuarita and luxury homes with larger lots can be found at Stone House off of Old Nogales Highway.” The Town of Sahuarita is also preparing for growth by focusing on its infrastructure. “We do have a 10-year plan in place to apply the appropriate rejuvenation treatments so they don’t become a problem,” said M.J. Dillard,

Sahuarita public works director, adding that maintaining the town’s streets and roads is a point of pride for the town officials. Lou Alvarez, co-owner of Copper Fitness with Justin Foss, said that no matter how much the town grows, he appreciates that the town’s staff is accessible. “I can show up at a Town Council meeting and talk to everyone – from the police chief to the superintendent of schools to the economic development director. I have kids in this community, and that makes it easy for me to make an impact for them.” Biz Winter 2019

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BizECONOMY

A Regional Player

Sahuarita Key to Southern Arizona’s Economy The once small bedroom community of Sahuarita saw tremendous growth over the past 25 years, expanding from 1,800 residents in 1994 to more than 30,000 today. While several factors were responsible for the boom, much of it is credited to the rapid spread of new-home construction, which attracted a growing number of new residents of all ages. And it still does. Rancho Sahuarita, the town’s largest master-planned community, saw its first home sales in 2001. Its population has expanded to more than 18,000 residents. Founder and developer Bob Sharpe wanted to create a unique group of neighborhoods where families would experience a quality of life they couldn’t find elsewhere. Since then, Rancho Sahuarita has received a number of accolades, including the best-selling community in Arizona and fifth best seller nationally. It was a contributor to the Town of Sahuarita being on Money Magazine’s list of best places to live in 2015. Quail Creek and Madera Highlands also have contributed to the accelerated population growth east of Interstate 19 between Pima Mine Road and Green Valley. Quail Creek currently has approximately 2,500 homes with the potential to double that. Its 18-hole golf course, newly remodeled Quail Creek Grill, clubhouse and tennis and pickleball courts serve 35 different neighborhoods that make up the community. Madera Highlands has built approximately 1,100 homes to date with entitlements for another 500 lots. Community amenities include a pool and park. Five new neighborhoods currently under development will bring its total to 31. At least one Tucson developer is getting in on the scene in Sahuarita. Diamond 156 BizTucson

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Ventures recently began building Stone House, an upscale residential community south of Quail Creek. “From a housing point of view, we now have everything from Rancho Resort (a senior -living division of Rancho Sahuarita) to in-between housing and now with Stone House, new custom homes,” said Mayor Tom Murphy. “They’re trying to create a different niche. It’s a very nice project.” La Posada is a popular active-adult community with residential choices from independent-living garden homes to memory care, built just outside the town limits. “They asked us to be annexed into town. I took this as a compliment,” Murphy said. The annexation was approved in 2018. Benefits to La Posada include the installation of a traffic signal outside its entrance – a high priority for La Posada ownership – and now being located in the Sahuarita police department district. “Our advantage,” said Murphy, “is another 700 residents. Rooftops determine retailers coming here.” Another important benefit, he added, is more state-shared revenue for the town. Within Sahuarita, the Northwest Hospital that is anticipated to open in the first half of 2020 is expected to add 180 jobs, which will likely add new residents to Sahaurita. The Crossings at Sahuarita at the southern end of the town will have a grocery store in a planned commercial retail development that will add even more jobs. Economic development goals for town officials are not limited to its boundaries. They understand partnerships and the importance of the entire region’s success. Murphy divulged the presence of a company several miles past the town boundary that likely will contribute to Sahuarita’s business health. continued on page 158 >>> www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

By Christy Krueger


Northwest Healthcare Building Hospital in Sahuarita By April Bourie Sahuarita residents will no longer need to trek up Interstate 19 for emergency and medical services once Northwest Healthcare’s medical campus opens in the town in late 2019. The campus, which will be located near the intersection of Interstate 19 and Sahuarita Road, will include an 18bed hospital with an emergency room and two operating rooms on the first floor and medical offices on the second floor for primary care, cardiology, orthopedics and general surgery. The project was a team effort of the Town of Sahuarita, Rancho Sahuarita, Pima County and the Arizona Commerce Authority. The hospital is anticipated to have an estimated economic impact of $165 million over the next five years, and it is expected to employ 150 people. “The Northwest Hospital project in Sahuarita is monumental,” said Sahuarita Town Manager Kelly Udall. “It will transform our community economically and increase the quality of life for our www.BizTucson.com

residents.” “There is a big push in our economic development plan to bring more employment opportunities to Sahuarita,” said Sarah More, Sahuarita planning and building director. “The Northwest Healthcare hospital does just this, and we are thrilled that they are building the project in Sahuarita.” The campus is part of Northwest Healthcare’s “No Boundaries” strategy, which focuses on a commitment to easy access to medical care across the greater Tucson area. Other similar projects include the county’s first freestanding emergency department as well as expanded clinic locations for cardiology and primary care in Vail and the relocation of primary care services in the Cortaro Farms area. Northwest also recently opened its second FSED in Marana near the Tucson Premium Outlets. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for patients to receive affordable care, and the appropriate level of care, when and where they need it,” said

Kevin Stockton, regional president and market CEO for Northwest Healthcare. In a recent survey of Sahuarita’s residents, commercial and retail development was one of the top priorities, and the availability of local shops and restaurants was the single issue that was most important in deciding whether to remain in Sahuarita or move to another community in the next five years. This makes the hospital project even more vital as it is likely to have a snowball effect when its employees increase the need for additional commercial and retail development. “Not only is Northwest Healthcare providing convenient healthcare to the people of Sahuarita, it’s also providing high-paying jobs to residents there,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We thank the company for having the vision to expand in Southern Arizona and having faith in the workforce in the healthcare sector, one of the fastest-growing in the state.” Biz Winter 2019

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BizECONOMY

Rooftops determine retailers coming here. – Mayor Tom Murphy, Town of Sahuarita

continued from page 156 TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company from China, has set up a test facility east of town. “There’s a lack of over-the-road drivers now and in the future. They work with 18-wheelers,” Murphy said. “We will always get a share of workers living here even if their company isn’t in town. The quality of life will grow as the number of residents grows, such as adding parks.” Local and regional partners have been helpful in funding commercial facilities in Sahuarita, such as the new 32,000-square-foot, multi-tenant Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center west of Interstate 19. Freeport-McMoRan mining company, which often offers up grants for various town projects, contributed $330,000 through its foundation. Arizona Commerce Authority kicked in

$250,000 for a sewer extension to the venture. This was on top of a $3 million federal grant from the Economic Development Administration. When it comes to building transportation systems that increase travel efficiency for Sahuarita residents and visitors, partnering with other agencies is essential. The Sonoran Corridor is a plan to create new high-speed roads and alignments in Southern Arizona, and the Sahuarita folks see it as a potential game-changer in the positive direction. “Forty percent of Nogales trucks go east on Interstate 10, so we’re excited to be in conversations,” Murphy noted. “The project is in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement,” said Victor Gonzalez, Sahuarita’s economic development director. “It’s managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administra-

tion. The Town of Sahuarita, City of Tucson, Pima County and Tucson Airport Authority are part of it.” Gonzalez explained that the partners are looking for best alternate routes connecting I-19 and I-10 to make an interstate system. “It’s in a three-year study process and many factors are being considered and looked at – land ownership and broader alignments. There are five or six connection points identified between I-19 and I-10 that will be refined. “For our purposes, it’s an opportunity to create a loop system between interstates and to make a transportation system that better connects Sahuarita to the region. The alignment would extend eastward and make its way north/ northeast. When we look at Sahuarita growing to the east, a transportation system will support this.”

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BizEDUCATION

A+ for Effort Businesses and Schools Partner to Provide Opportunities

PHOTOS: COURTESY TOWN OF SAHUARITA

By April Bourie Although school districts focus on teaching the “three Rs,” a really successful district needs the support of its community to succeed, said Manuel Valenzuela, superintendent of Sahuarita Unified School District. SUSD has that community support, he said, and it’s making a difference in the success of its schools. “This community represents a unified commitment to creating a strong quality of life and a strong focus on quality education,” he said. One example of Sahuarita’s support for the schools is the National Math and Science Initiative – or NMSI – a nonprofit education program designed to prepare students for success in science, technology, engineering and math. The first of its kind to be implemented in the state, the program trains Sahuarita teachers to inspire their students to succeed in rigorous math and science courses, which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of students taking and passing advanced placement math, science and English exams. “We are now up to 16 AP courses that are offered in our district, which has quadrupled student participation in the classes,” Valenzuela said. “We had to provide lots of professional development training for teachers – over 600 hours in the first year – to make this possible.” The program is supported by grant funding. Both Freeport McMoRan and the Green Valley Pecan Company have invested the thousands of additional dol160 BizTucson

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lars needed to get the program off the ground and keep it running. “It all ties back to the community spirit and support for our schools that we find in Sahuarita,” Valenzuela said. Another successful program that the community has helped the district implement is the Joint Technical Education District offerings that allow students to start working in a professional field straight out of high school. “It took several years to get this off the ground,” said Brett Bonner, SUSD assistant superintendent for educational services. “We wanted to reach outside SUSD and work directly with Pima County JTED and Pima Community College, as well as industries that benefit from this programming, to make it successful.” The planning was worth it. One of the newer successful JTED courses is the heavy machinery program that teaches students how to operate the machinery used in mines and construction, two prominent industries in the Sahuarita area. The district partnered with the Sunnyside Unified School District to offer the program and they’re seeing 20 to 25 students take advantage of it. “The students just toured the Caterpillar proving grounds to see how their automated, high-tech equipment works,” said Bonner. Freeport McMoRan, owners of the nearby Sierrita Mine, also provides financial support for the heavy machinery program. continued on page 162 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Manuel Valenzuela

Superintendent Sahuarita Unified School District

Brett Bonner

Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Sahuarita Unified School District

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BizEDUCATION continued from page 160 In addition to the heavy machinery program, the district also offers JTED courses in 10 other industries, including automotive technologies, construction technologies, film and television, the culinary field, sports medicine and rehabilitation. “This is just another program that supports that theme of creating a shared and common direction and working in collaboration with the business community,” said Bonner. The school district and the Town of Sahuarita have forged some of their own direct partnerships. They worked together on the construction, funding, maintenance and joint-use of two “school parks,” facilities that can be used by the public when school is not otherwise in session. In 2006 they joined forces at the 11acre Anza Trail Park, and recently at the new Wrightson Ridge K-8 school where a 7-acre park is scheduled to open in 2019. The partnership has yielded six light-

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ed sports fields, tennis and basketball courts. The Town of Sahuarita has contributed a total of $3.7 million towards construction cost – $2.3 million for Anza Trail and $1.4 million for Wrightson Ridge. The Sahuarita Police Department also has worked with the district over the past couple of years to create a more refined School Resource Officer Program. Valenzuela and Sahuarita Police Chief John Noland met several times to discuss the development of the program, and there is now one police officer installed at each high school. “The SROs teach students, staff and parents about the importance of public safety,” Noland said. “It’s an opportunity to put police officers in front of students to help them make better decisions.” Business owners support students’ sports activities as well. The owners of Copper Fitness provided uniforms for Walden Grove High School’s football team, and also provide free memberships for students involved in sports at

both Walden Grove and Sahuarita high schools. “It’s a reward for the kids working hard,” said Lou Alvarez, co-owner of Copper Fitness with Justin Foss. “Some of the kids come to work out at 5 a.m., and it’s amazing to see that kind of discipline.” This collaboration with the community has helped the district to obtain an A+ rating for four of their nine schools. “It’s a very rigorous process to apply to be an A+ school,” Bonner said. “The Arizona Education Foundation looks at what makes the school unique – such as fine arts offerings, after-school programs, community collaborations, school leadership and assessment scores, as well as student, parent and staff input.” It takes a year just to complete the application process. “It forces the school to take a ‘deep dive’ into its processes and programs and allows the school to assess what it is doing well and what needs to be improved,” said Bonner. Offerings like the previously mentioned NMSI and JTED programs help

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This community represents a unified commitment to creating a strong quality of life and a strong focus on quality education.

– Manuel Valenzuela, Superintendent, Sahuarita Unified School District

a school stand out to the Arizona Education Foundation. “When a school receives an A+ rating, it means that it goes above and beyond and that it’s committing its full energy to creating a unique experience for students to help them succeed,” said Bonner. The fact that the district is so successful is even more impressive when you consider how quickly it is growing. Approximately 300 students move into the district each year. It encompasses more than 600 square miles, and its buses travel more than 3,000 miles per day. “We have a very large and diverse area that is continually changing with

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the growth of the town as well as the rural areas,” said Valenzuela. To prepare for continued growth and change, Valenzuela gathered a group of community business leaders in 2013 to discuss the community’s and the school district’s shared strengths, interests and assets as well as plans for working together in a mutually beneficial way. Representatives from the town government, the University of Arizona, Raytheon Missile Systems, Carondelet Health Network, Green Valley Pecan Company, Freeport McMoRan and several other entities attended and have been working together ever since under

the name “Sahuarita Wins” to develop a shared vision for the region. “It’s important to understand that if we can make a shared commitment to develop trust relationships and to find common ground, we create tremendous opportunity to work at a level beyond what any one entity can do by itself,” Valenzuela said. For these efforts and others, Valenzuela was named the Superintendent of the Year in 2015 by Arizona School Administrators.

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BizGROWTH

From Cotton to Pecans Walden Family Gives and Sahuarita Flourishes

PHOTOS: GREEN VALLEY PECAN COMPANY

By April Bourie It was 1948 when R. Keith Walden bought land in Sahuarita with a plan to grow cotton. He had been a cotton farmer in California, but after visiting friends in the area, he realized that he could purchase a lot more land at Arizona’s lower prices than he could in California. By the mid-1960s, Walden came to the realization that technology – such as it was in 1965 – might reduce demand for his crop with newly developed synthetic fibers hitting the market. He settled on a different crop and the Green Valley Pecan Company came to life. “He was very methodical about it,” said Nan Walden, co-owner of the Green Valley Pecan Company with her husband Dick, who is R. Keith Walden’s son. “He worked with the University of Arizona Extension to determine what would flourish in this area.” Walden settled on pecans because they were machine-harvestable and they had a long harvest time of five to six weeks, Nan said. Today, Green Valley Pecan Company is one of the largest irrigated pecan orchards in the world. Customers include Costco, AJ’s Market and other nationally known brands. It sells more than half of its nuts internationally. The Waldens grow crops in Sahuarita and San Simon, Arizona, as well as Albany, Georgia, and the company has a warehouse and buying station in Las Cruces, 164 BizTucson

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New Mexico. An important focus in all of their locations is being good stewards of the land. “We have laser-leveled our fields to reduce runoff. We water when it’s cooler during the day to reduce evaporation, and we are converting to sprinklers – which are 15 to 20 percent more efficient in delivering water to the trees than flood watering and also less laborintensive,” Nan said. In 2000, the Waldens applied to be a groundwater holding facility, and they are working with Freeport McMoRan to extend a Central Arizona Project canal closer to their trees so they don’t have to use groundwater on the crops. In addition, they protect their crops from pests using an environmentally friendly soapbased treatment for ladybugs and lacewings, and use a bacteria-based process to reduce mosquitos. “Our trees create a mini-ecosystem that attracts ravens, hawks, coyotes and many other animals that are also drawn to the nuts, so we want to be wildlife friendly,” she said. In addition to being good stewards of the land, the Waldens are focused on taking good care of their employees. They donated land for employee housing, and they like to hire family members of employees and promote from within. “The land donation was a way to

get our people into their own homes and improve their living situation,” explained Dick. “Those second- and third-generation employees really appreciate the company’s longevity, and they are loyal to us and to the crops. We treat them like family,” said Nan. “We’ve had health insurance for our workers since the 1950s, and our employees’ benefits are highly subsidized.” The family atmosphere leads to everyone working for the good of the farm. “Farming is so personal, and some of our employees feel like the little baby www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO: CARTER ALLEN

Nan & Dick DIck Walden

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

Green Valley Pecan Company

trees they planted are their children,” Nan said. “When we have bad weather, our employees volunteer to work overtime to harvest the pecans quickly when they get wet.” Not only do the employees benefit from the Green Valley Pecan Company, but so does the community of Sahuarita. The company’s Pecan Festival, held each November, always benefits a local nonprofit organization. “It also gives our employees a chance to show off a bit to their families and share with the community what they do,” said Nan. www.BizTucson.com

The Waldens donated land to the Sahuarita Unified School District when a new high school was needed and the district named the school Walden Grove High School. They were one of the first major donors to the district’s National Math and Science Initiative that quadrupled participation in Advanced Placement classes. “As a longtime and major landowner and employer in Sahuarita and Green Valley, we always try to make decisions based on what is good for our town and region,” Nan said. “We realize that we have a big im-

pact on the community, and we believe we have an obligation to give back,” Nan said. In addition to the schools, the Waldens also support other organizations – such as 4-H, the Audubon Society, the Sonoran Institute and the Nature Conservancy. “There are four legs of the stool in agricultural stewardship,” Dick said. “We must take care of our employees and community, our operations, our banking relationships, and our product for the benefit of the customer. If we do these well, everyone will benefit.”

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BizGROWTH

Big Plans Sahuarita’s Vision for Growth and Amenities By Christy Krueger

Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy is always encouraged when he sees new construction projects around town that will attract new residents, businesses and jobs. Yet he is especially excited about adding amenities that will improve the quality of life in a personal way for the town’s residents. Among those are the soon-to-be built 20,000-square-foot “permanent” library on the K-12 campus between Sahuarita Primary and Sahuarita Middle schools near Town Hall. Murphy refers to it as “permanent” because the local branch of the Pima County Public Library system will soon be housed in a constructed building. “We had a modular building and Rancho Sahuarita charged the county $1 a year to have it there; it was temporary.” On a larger scale and with longerterm implications, the Town of Sahuarita has embarked on development of a Town Center District to be a central destination not only for Sahuarita residents but for neighboring communities. The plan calls for a district with boundaries from Sahuarita Road, south to Duval Mine Road, bordered by the Santa Cruz River on the east and a western border slightly to the west of La Villita Road. The district is planned to incorporate a variety of uses including retail, arts, culture, food and entertainment. Looking into the future also means glancing at the past of one of the town’s oldest employers. Green Valley Pecan Company – actually located in Sahuarita – goes back to the 1960s when the Walden family converted its cotton farm to pecan orchards. It’s now www.BizTucson.com

among the world’s largest pecan growers and processors, selling 50 percent of its product outside the United States from its 100,000 trees in Sahuarita, plus yield from its two other farms. To keep up with demand, in October 2018 the company began construction on a new 40,000-square-foot refrigeration facility adjacent to its existing processing plant.

We’re envisioning what our future looks like and taking action.

– Sarah More Planning & Building Director Town of Sahuarita A few years ago the Walden family decided to explore selling 4,000 acres of its land. In 2015 it was approved and zoned as a master-planned community and named Sahuarita Farms. “The plans are they will either sell to developers or directly develop the property themselves,” said Kelly Udall, Sahuarita’s town manager. “They did a lot of public outreach and got a lot of input. When it came to the town council for approval, there was very little disagreement. The 50-year plan is to build 19,000 single-family homes.” “Pecan groves take up one-third of the town,” said Sarah More, planning

and building director for the town. “Sahuarita Farms is master-planned and zoned for future development – residential, commercial, employment and a river park. I think it could be a major attraction for the community with nice wide-open spaces and trails.” Also in the works for the future is Sahuarita East Conceptual Plan – or SECAP, a town expansion proposal that allows for future eastside development. SECAP was approved by voters in 2015 and adopted into Aspire 2035, the town’s general plan. Aspire 2035 is the primary tool defining a vision for the future of Sahuarita – a look at longterm growth that is “a policy document guiding future review of development and rezoning,” More said. The goal of SECAP, she said, is to annex land between the town and Houghton Road, most of which is rural residential zoning. “Sixteen square miles is state trust land, which is held in a trust to benefit education in Arizona. That goes from our eastern boundary to Wilmot Road. Then it’s private ownership to Houghton. “There was a planning exercise we did with an economic-development perspective with Pima County and the Sonoran Institute to provide for future expansion of the town,” More said. “We’re bound by the Tohono O’odham Nation, the mines and Green Valley. East is the only direction we could go. We’ll start looking into infrastructure, what are the roadway and utility needs. We’re envisioning what our future looks like and taking action.”

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BizBRIEFS

Mike Adams Mike Adams is group president of Great Western Bank’s Southern Arizona market. He has been with the bank for roughly four years and has more than 36 years of commercial banking experience in a variety of leadership roles, including commercial and real estate lending, treasury sales, credit and audit. Great Western Bank, a $12 billion publicly traded financial institution, has headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and 170 locations in nine states, including nine in Arizona.

Biz

Rodolfo Paredes CPA Rodolfo Paredes of R&A CPAs was named the 2018 Global Financial Leader of the Year by Global Chamber Tucson, the only chamber focused on growing collaborative cross-border trade and investment across 525 metro areas. Paredes provides tax advisory, business consulting and compliance services to foreign and domestic enterprises and is director of the firm’s international division, helping clients plan, structure and implement processes to build their global presence. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS TUCSON

BizNONPROFIT

2018 Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Winners from left: Katie Frazee – Integrative Touch for Kids; Michael Martinez – Live Theatre Workshop; Amber Allen – Cody’s Friends Charities; Khailill Knight-Papioannou – The Dunbar Coalition; Penny Buckley – Sister Jose Women’s Center; Vana Lewis – Culture of Peace Alliance, Nonviolence Legacy Project; Maggie Trinkle – Sky Island Alliance

Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch 2018

Nonprofits Receive Training, Compete for Awards By Romi Carrell Wittman Within the first 30 seconds of the first pitch, there were very few dry eyes left in the house. By the end of the seventh pitch, people were on their feet, inspired to help seven amazing nonprofits continue their work in the community. The SVP Fast Pitch 2018 event took place in front of a soldout crowd at the Leo Rich Theater in November. SVP stands for Social Venture Partners, a local chapter of a national organization dedicated to connecting philanthropists with local nonprofits. The end goal is to strengthen nonprofits and find collaborative solutions to community social challenges. The central concept behind SVP is to go beyond merely writing a check. Instead, the hope is to build an ongoing relationship between nonprofit and philanthropist so that the nonprofit has a solid business foundation from which to grow. Leslie Perls of LP&G Marketing has been involved with SVP for the past five years. “SVP is about engaged philan174 BizTucson

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thropy,” she said. “We’re looking for people willing to give the three T’s – time, treasure and talent.” Modeled on the popular “Shark Tank” competition TV show, the SVP Fast Pitch event is the culmination of several weeks of work during which selected nonprofits work with assigned mentors to refine and clarify their pitches. The process begins in the spring, when SVP puts out its call for local nonprofits seeking to be a part of the Fast Pitch process. Last year, SVP received more than 50 applications, which the judges winnowed down to 15. Those 15 nonprofits then participated in a two-month communication-skills building and mentoring program. Judges look for organizations that have clearly articulated the social problem they’re trying to solve. Nonprofits must also detail what they do and how they do it – while showing innovative practices leading to more longterm results. Nonprofits www.BizTucson.com


must also show how they are addressing the root of the problem, not merely the symptoms. The 15 selected nonprofits practice and refine their pitches with a competition held to further narrow the field to seven. Those final seven go on to compete for a variety of cash awards at the Fast Pitch event. Aaron Rottenstein of UBS Financial Services has been involved with SVP for several years. “We want to make meaningful connections between nonprofits and philanthropists,” he said. “We’ve seen it happen.” He added that, for him, being involved with SVP helps him feel connected with the community and a part of the solution. “We can’t each fix the world, but we can help people who can,” he said. The seven 2018 Fast Pitch participants were Cody’s Friends Charity, the Nonviolence Legacy Project, Integrative Touch for Kids, Live Theatre Workshop, Sister Jose Women’s Center, Sky Island Alliance and The Dunbar Coalition. Amber Allen, executive director of the all-volunteer Cody’s Friends, a food and supply bank for animal rescue groups and people in need, said the event helped her streamline her pitch and better communicate the mission of Cody’s Friends. “This has been such a huge blessing,” she said. Through the contacts she’s made and the exposure her nonprofit received, she hopes to further outreach efforts in 2019. “We’ve always kind of worked in the shadows,” she said. “But now people know who we are.”

Each of the seven nonprofits competing in the 2018 Fast Pitch received $1,000 from the Marshall Foundation. More than $30,000 in additional prizes was presented.

• The

Nonviolence Legacy Project, which offers youth-led, adult-supported nonviolence training, won both the Judges’ Award of $7,500 and the Arizona Complete Health Community Transformation Award of $5,000.

Live Theatre Workshop, which brings theater to underserved schools, won the SVP Tucson Award of $10,000.

The Dunbar Coalition, a local group hoping to transform the old Dunbar School site and increase awareness of Tucson’s African-American history, won the Connie Hillman Family Foundation Impact Award of $7,500.

Sister Jose Women’s Center, which assists homeless women, won the TEP Power to the People Audience Choice Award of $5,000.

At the end of the evening, attendees could mingle with all 15 nonprofits that were selected back in the summer, including the seven Fast Pitch competitors. Local IT firm Nextrio had staffers on hand to assist attendees wishing to donate to any of the participating nonprofits. Rottenstein said, “SVP is something the business community ‘gets.’ SVP is creating impact and helping nonprofits grow their role in the community.”

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25TH ANNU AL

FATHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS GALA

2 0 1 9

Brent DeRaad Visit Tucson President & CEO

F A T H E R

Jon Dudas The University of Arizona Senior Vice President & Secretary of the University

O F

T H E

Ali J. Farhang Farhang & Medcoff Attorneys Managing Partner

Y E A R

Tony Finley Long Realty Company Chief Financial Officer

SAVE THE DATE: SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019 PRESENTED BY

H O N O R E E S

Stuart Mellan Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona President & CEO

Joe Snell Sun Corridor Inc. President & CEO

LOEWS VENTANA CANYON RESORT

BENEFITTING

FATHER’S DAY COUNCIL TUCSON For sponsorship and ticket information please contact Father's Day Council Tucson's Treasurer Stephanie Chavez at 520.343.2615 or Stephanie.Chavez@vantagewest.org. To purchase online visit:

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Nicole Tilicki

Patricia Vogel

Andrew Lettes

Let’s Talk Ed Honors 3 Teachers As Raytheon Leaders In Education By Rhonda Bodfield An engaging history teacher dishes ice cream on the weekends to make ends meet – and considers leaving the state to earn more pay. A young teacher shares her struggles with insufficient mentoring and training for early-career teachers. A master teacher’s young children play by themselves while she spends her evenings calling parents. The saga and the sacrifices of teaching were highlighted in the “Teaching in Arizona” documentary unveiled at the Let’s Talk Ed event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tucson Values Teachers. Ten years ago, when the bottom fell out of the economy, it didn’t seem like an opportune time to launch a new nonprofit in partnership with the business community. But recession or no, improving educa176 BizTucson

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tion couldn’t wait. With business leaders searching for a way to make a difference, Tucson Values Teachers was born, with a concerted focus on making education better by helping attract, retain and support quality teachers – and build value and respect for the profession. Colleen Niccum, the founding board chair turned CEO of TVT, recalled, “There was a growing reality that other initiatives weren’t going to have the impact that people wanted them to have unless we had that one critical factor in helping kids achieve – and that’s the teacher in the classroom.” A decade later, the nonprofit has given $3 million in direct support of teachers, as well as raised another $5 million to support its signature program in partnership with University of Arizona

College of Education – Teachers in Industry – in which teachers work through the summer in various industry jobs to enrich what they bring back to the classroom in the fall. In all, more than 10,000 teachers have received benefits from Tucson Values Teachers each year. The anniversary falls in a year in which teacher pay, respect and retention erupted across front pages across the nation. “Clearly we have much work to do to decrease teacher turnover and fully fund education in our state – yet I am very proud that Tucson Values Teachers has played a role in elevating the issue and changing the conversation in Arizona,” Niccum said. She hopes the documentary will continue to encourage discussion. Niccum said while Tucson Values www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON VALUES TEACHERS

BizEDUCATION


Teachers has had a strong focus on research, data and metrics, putting a human face on the numbers makes a compelling story. This was also an opportunity to dispel some myths – such as that teaching is a nine-month job – and to show the professionalism and the ongoing development and support required to be an excellent teacher, she said. One of the film’s stars – fourth-grade teacher Tia Tsosie-Begay of Los Niños Elementary in the Sunnyside Unified School District – participated in a panel discussion following the film and agreed with its perspective. “Teaching is a very complex and difficult profession. It’s not only about content and whether you know math or English language arts, you have to be a planner, know child development, work in a team, work in a system of schools and manage 33 students with different personalities and abilities – and that’s just the surface.” Ted Maxwell, president and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, told the assembled crowd it’s

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time for the community to come together to find a solution to longstanding education challenges. “I mean everyone – educators, businesses, education support organizations, business support organizations, parents, community members and elected officials. If one group of stakeholders thinks they can go it alone, the solution is rarely comprehensive, sustainable or accepted by those left out of the conversation.” The evening honored three recipients of the Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards: Nicole Tilicki, a third- and fourthgrade teacher at the Innovation Academy, Amphitheater Public Schools. Tilicki’s students lauded her for her “Genius Hour” in which third through fifth graders meet to collaborate, share ideas and come to consensus on solutions – with no ceiling, no floor, no boundaries and no grade. “You have to know the world is going to be even better than it is now – because what we’re seeing in the classroom is mind boggling,” she said.

Patricia Vogel, an eighth-grade en-

gineering teacher at Mansfeld Magnet Middle School, Tucson Unified School District. She believes all students can achieve high performance. “No matter how good or bad today is, I can make the next one better,” she said. Andrew Lettes, who teaches science at Pueblo High School, Tucson Unified School District. He believes that internships and job shadowing allow students to imagine their future selves working in high-demand, high-paying careers. He said, “Too much of the profession is ‘be great’ – and that’s not reality. Find good teachers and support them. Let’s keep them all in the game.” Raytheon awarded each of the three winners separate $2,500 gifts, plus an additional $2,500 in matching gifts to each of the teachers and their respective schools, for a total of $15,000.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

BizTECHNOLOGY

Bruce Wright – ‘An Agent of Change’ Guiding UA Tech Park Since 1994 By Lee Allen Bruce Wright is a believer in the Yogi Berra axiom – “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” For Wright, that fork-in-the-road moment came when he announced his retirement just before his 69th birthday after 32 years of working for the University of Arizona in various positions. Since 1994 he’s been associate VP overseeing Tech Parks Arizona, and CEO of the Campus Research Corporation. “In dynamic organizations, change is always good,” he said. “I served under eight UA presidents and felt it was time to bring in some new eyes to allow me to step out and do something different. I love this job and if I could pick and choose just specific parts of it to work on, I’d probably stay forever – but you don’t get that choice. It was my mis178 BizTucson

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sion to be an agent of change while I was here, yet at some point you have to say maybe there’s another way to do things.” At a farewell celebration attended by nearly 300 well-wishers, one of his former bosses, former UA President Peter Likins, said, “What he accomplished at the UA Tech Park was amazing – beyond imagination. When the property came to him with no budget, no state money and very little university money, he demonstrated tenacity, resilience and innovative entrepreneurial qualities that made good things happen.” Current UA President Robert Robbins echoed that sentiment. “Bruce made the UA Tech Park an economic powerhouse and a recognized leader among university research parks. He’s built a strong

foundation for the future and we’re all incredibly grateful for his service.” Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry also lauded Wright for his collegial manner in just wanting to get things done, no matter who got credit for the accomplishment. “He’s made his mark on Tucson,” Huckelberry said. “Probably the most impactful thing I’ve done is be part of the team that’s made the UA Tech Park a success,” Wright said. “It has a huge economic impact on Southern Arizona – about 7 or 8 percent of the total economic activity in the region. It’s approaching a billion dollars in value. It generates about $1.7 billion a year in economic activity and over $100 million in taxes for Pima County, all done without direct investment by city, state or university. More www.BizTucson.com


than 50 businesses and educational organizations employ over 7,000 employees on site. I think that’s a real success story.” The UA Tech Park at Rita Road is one of the leading research parks in the nation and in 2001 was recognized as Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks. “I’ve been given the opportunity to work on some exciting and impactful projects and I hope I’ve attacked every one with both passion and a thoughtful approach to the issues,” Wright said. “I believe in empirical-based decisionmaking, where I look at all the options, assemble all the facts, then make a decision and move forward with it. I call it constructive ambiguity. And if you suffer a defeat, you take a couple steps to the left or right and keep going, frequently turning that defeat into a victory. You don’t rest on your laurels; you keep pushing the envelope. “I think of myself as a ‘communitarian’ who follows what my mentor Congressman Mo Udall taught me about a sense of principles and a responsibility

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to make wherever you are a better place than it was before you got there.” Wright joined the University of Arizona in the late 1980s and served in several capacities, including director of the Office of Community and Public Service, assistant to the president and senior officer for Community Affairs and Economic Development. Prior to joining the university, he served as chief of staff to U.S. Representative Morris K. Udall and staff consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Throughout his career, Wright has received many awards. In 2018 that included Greater Tucson Leadership’s Man of the Year and the Paul Fannin Award from the Arizona-Mexico Commission. Though now retired, Wright said, “I don’t intend to ramp down to zero speed. I’m on the Regional Transportation Authority advisory committee and will still serve on the board of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. There might be some consulting to help bring international companies to the Tucson area and I have a business idea (proprietary

at the moment) that I’m kicking around. I don’t intend to retire into an inactive lifestyle – but I also don’t plan on getting up with the chickens every morning and getting home each day after dark.” In looking back as he looks ahead, Wright said, “UA Tech Park at Rita Road is almost fully occupied now, so I anticipate a need for further expansion, another building or two. And the whole village concept of residential and retail onsite has a viable future as tech parks morph into innovation districts where people live, work, learn, stay and play. “I also feel that The Bridges development – where Interstates 10 and 19 converge in close proximity to the airport, the university and downtown – is really set to take off. That project is at the point where it’s going to happen and it will be transformational for the university and Tucson. I’d like to hang around a bit longer to see the first blade go in the ground for construction, but I leave at a good time and feel good about where we are.”

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BizNONPROFIT

Michael McDonald CEO Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Community Food Bank of SoAZ Honored as Top Food Bank in U. S. By April Bourie

Many people know that the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona provides food to those in need – yet may not realize that the organization’s overarching vision is to fight the problems that cause poverty and to improve the health of its customers. Because of that ongoing commitment, the local nonprofit received the Food Bank Member of the Year Award from Feeding America, a network of more than 200 of the nation’s largest food banks. Feeding America is the third largest charity in the United States. “We are being recognized because we do a lot of programming to fight low-income problems such as insufficient funds and insufficient household assets like medical insurance or a break in employment. Another problem is that many low-income people are not engaged in the community because they don’t feel like anyone will listen,” said Michael McDonald, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona CEO. “We were 180 BizTucson

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really surprised to win the award because it is not self-nominating.” The Food Bank also operates what it coins a farm produce “rescue” program that saved 52 million pounds of fresh produce from going to the landfill last year. Each day, the Food Bank collects food that farmers can’t sell because of oversupply from farms in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. The collected produce is transferred by refrigerated truck to the main Food Bank facility and directly into a large refrigerator to be stored before it is distributed. The program has grown rapidly since it started five years ago when the Food Bank collected eight million pounds of produce. Because of that rapid growth, the Food Bank hopes to launch a $4 million capital campaign to purchase more refrigerated trucks and more efficient storage refrigerators. “We have an opportunity to acquire additional fresh produce – but we don’t have the refrigeration necessary to mainwww.BizTucson.com


PHOTOS: COURTESY COMMUNITY FOOD BANK OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA

tain the growth of the program,” McDonald said. “The money from the capital campaign will invest in that needed infrastructure so that we can take advantage of that fresh produce, help improve health and lower healthcare costs.” The expansion of fresh produce rescue in Southern Arizona is getting a boost from Feeding America. “Because they support our innovative fresh-produce initiative, they have agreed to donate $190,000 towards our expansion efforts, with a good possibility of another $360,000 to come in the next six to 12 months,” McDonald said. The total sum of $550,000 will fund 60 percent of the next year of the program’s operating costs. The next step is to obtain large local capital campaign donors to support the infrastructure campaign, before they begin looking for smaller donors. Donors of all sizes are important to the Food Bank for its day-to-day operations. “Approximately 75 percent of our funding comes from local charitable giving – so it’s mainly local people supporting and feeding local people,” he said. One of the successful Food Bank programs is Las Milpitas Community Farm at Silverlake Road and the Santa Cruz River. About 100 people grow food for themselves or to sell at farmer’s markets. Not only does the urban farm provide additional income to the farmers who sell their produce, it also increases the amount of fresh produce that these mainly low-income farmers and their families consume. The link between food and healthcare is important, according to McDonald. “Our new strategic plan focuses on this link. Disease management has become such an important issue – and it is really related to one’s diet. Whether it’s obesity or diabetes, we’re on the path to improve the diet of the people we feed.” Being healthy helps people to lower their healthcare costs and better manage their budgets. Another success to come out of Las Milpitas Community Farm is increased community action. Many of the urban farmers are residents of the surrounding neighborhood, and because they began networking with each other while at the urban farm, they decided to do something to increase safety in the neighborhood. “They reestablished their neighborhood association, which allowed them to lobby for and obtain such public safety improvements as traffic softening road improvements,” McDonald said. “This energized the entire neighborhood because they became a part of the public and political aspects of society and were able to achieve their goals.” The Food Bank’s service area spans the approximate 23,000 square miles of Pima, Santa Cruz, Graham and Greenlee counties. The main facility is located on Country Club Road in Tucson and satellite facilities are in Nogales, Amado, Marana and Willcox. A second location in Tucson includes a commercial kitchen that produces hot and cold meals to home-bound seniors and after-school meals for kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson and Southern Arizona. The Food Bank partners with more than 300 agencies across Arizona to provide services to approximately 180,000 people annually – and they don’t just provide food. Additional services include working with schools to create gardens for students, connecting with local growers to make their produce available in the community and offering nutrition education. www.BizTucson.com

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PHOTOS: CASEY NUMETKO

BizNONPROFIT

Helaine Levy and Tony Penn at event celebrating major gift from Diamond Foundation.

$750,000 Gift Retires United Way Mortgage First Focus on Kids Also Funded By Tiffany Kjos A pack of preschoolers stole the show at a recent event announcing a hefty donation to the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. The Diamond Foundation donation – nearly $750,000 – pays off the United Way’s mortgage. It also seeds the First Focus on Kids program, aimed at preparing kids for education from kindergarten to college and beyond, said foundation Executive Director Helaine Levy. “Almost 10 percent of our metropolitan area benefits from the safety net of services offered by United Way,” Levy said. “Some services offer immediate benefit and others long-lasting, like early childhood education, which is why 182 BizTucson

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our family has chosen to focus on this initiative.” The Diamond Ventures Campus, built in 1999 and home to the United Way’s headquarters, is now debt-free. Tony Penn, United Way CEO and president, said that’s been one of his goals. The contribution fulfills a $1.7 million commitment from the foundation, and includes money raised through the Diamond Challenge Fund, a new sixyear matching grant. “We also are challenging the community to help us with a matching-gift challenge again,” Penn said. “So the collective impact of this gift is a multimillion-dollar one.”

People can come together at the campus to create strategic partnerships to improve the lives of children, families and seniors, Penn said. The local United Way itself reaches tens of thousands of people each year throughout Southern Arizona. The multi-building campus houses several other groups, including the Easter Seals Blake Foundation’s Children’s Achievement Center. That’s where the talented tykes at the celebratory event came from. “Easter Seals, Blake Foundation has a five-star center that we’ve worked with for many years, actually supporting them in many different ways – but www.BizTucson.com


also benefiting us because our employees have used their services for their children,” said LaVonne Douville, chief impact officer at the United Way. A crowd of adults giggled and grinned as the little girls and boys, not a shy one in the bunch, each said a line they’d memorized as a book was read to them. Then they danced. “These kids are learning their ones, twos, threes and their ABCs. They are being nurtured. They’re being trained. They’re getting ready,” Penn told the attendees. “These are the kids that will be third-grade reading proficient, without a doubt. These are the kids that have the absolute very best chance to be able to excel in post-secondary education.” Levy is the daughter of Don Diamond and the late Joan Diamond, both of whom have had a long history of philanthropy with the United Way. Don Diamond was campaign chairman of the local United Way in 1975, and the Diamonds have supported the organization since then with donations of more than $4 million. “When our family moved to Tucson in 1965, my father thought he had re-

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Our family’s longtime commitment to United Way in Tucson and Southern Arizona has always been a reflection of our confidence in the professional leadership of the organization and its ability to tackle some of our community’s most pressing social issues.

– Helaine Levy Executive Director Diamond Foundation

tired, but my mother had other ideas about his free time and suggested that he get involved in the community,” Levy said. “United Way was one of the organizations he committed time, energy and financial resources to.” “Our family’s longtime commitment to United Way in Tucson and Southern Arizona has always been a reflection of our confidence in the professional leadership of the organization and its ability to tackle some of our community’s most pressing social issues.” United Way will celebrate its 100th anniversary in Southern Arizona in 2022, and has established a Centennial Endowment Fund with the goal of raising $25 million. If the fund has a 5 percent return every year, it will help pay for the nonprofit’s efforts for many years into the future. Why a $25 million endowment? “Because your United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is up to the task and it deserves a $25 million endowment,” Penn said. “That’s what will create the sustainability for this organization into the next 100 years.”

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BizBRIEF

OneAz Branch Gives $2,500 Grant at Opening Ceremony OneAZ Credit Union now has three local branches after the opening of its newest one in Plaza Del Oro in Oro Valley at 10718 N. Oracle Road. The grand opening included a ribbon cutting, live music, raffle prizes and a $2,500 grant presentation. The OneAZ Community Foundation impact grant went to the Southern Arizona Veterans and First Responders Living Memorial, a group that is working to erect a memorial in Naranja Park in Oro Valley. The memorial is entirely funded by donations. The Oro Valley branch offers a full suite of business and personal financial products, along with the convenience of two drive-up ATMs. In keeping with Oro Valley’s commitment to promoting www.BizTucson.com

art in the community, the branch also features a custom sculpture “Blooming Agave” by local artist and OneAZ member Matthew Moutafis. Branch hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Friday. Other OneAZ branches are in Main Gate Square and at 777 S. Alvernon Way. Cindy Hanson, who has over 37 years of financial experience in Oro Valley, is the Oro Valley branch manager. “We’re thrilled to be part of the Oro Valley community,” Hanson said in a news release. “Not only does this branch give us the opportunity to grow our member base, but we will reinvest profits in the local economy and help

Oro Valley continue to thrive.” OneAZ Credit Union is a $2.1 billion full-service, not-for-profit, local financial institution with a statewide branch network that has been serving members since 1951. More than 140,000 Arizonans turn to OneAZ Credit Union for its comprehensive business and personal financial services. OneAZ Credit Union is a 10-time winner of Arizona Business Magazine’s Ranking Arizona and a six-time recipient of the Peter Barron Stark & Associates Award for Workplace Excellence. OneAZ Community Foundation plays an important role in providing much-needed funding to nonprofit and community organizations throughout the state.

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Gootter Foundation Raises $4 Million for Cardiac Arrest Research

Frank and Jana Westerbeke to be Honored at Gala

PHOTO: TOM SPITZ

By Tara Kirkpatrick

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BizBENEFIT A recent phone call to Andrew and Claudine Messing reaffirmed their decade-plus mission with the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. A 45-year-old U.S. Army officer told them he suffered sudden cardiac arrest while driving in Oro Valley and collapsed in his car. He is alive today because the first police officer on the scene saved him using the automated external defibrillator in his patrol car. That very AED was donated by the Gootter Foundation. “This call just gave us chills,” said Andrew, president of the foundation board and brother-in-law of its namesake. “An AED is proven to save lives. Until there is a cure for sudden cardiac arrest, this is one of the best things we can possibly do.” Sudden cardiac arrest describes when the heart abruptly stops beating. Caused by an electrical problem in the heart, the victim stops breathing and loses consciousness. Blood flow to the organs halts. If not treated immediately, it leads to sudden cardiac death. An AED is the most powerful tool to restore normal heart rhythm – but it must be used within 10 minutes of the attack. Claudine’s older brother, Steven, was on a morning jog in 2005 when it happened to him, alone with no AED around. A successful entrepreneur, gifted tennis player and father of two, Gootter didn’t smoke, was physically fit and had no other warning signs that his life would end at age 42. “He was such an incredible human being,” said Claudine, VP of the foundation board. “His death just left a huge hole in all of our hearts. We literally want to save others from the tragedy that we experienced.” Andrew and Claudine, along with family and friends, launched the Steven M. Gootter Foundation shortly after Steven’s death in order to funnel their immense grief into a better understanding of this unannounced killer and find a cure. To this day, it continues to operate only with volunteers. They have since raised $4 million, which has enabled a $2 million Steven M. Gootter endowed chair for the prevention of sudden cardiac death at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center. The foundation also provided $360,000 in funding to Sarver for a CPR www.BizTucson.com

Research Laboratory, where continuous chest compression CPR was developed, Claudine said. That lab is also studying other methods to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest. Add to those contributions a landmark 300 AEDs that have been donated to nonprofit agencies and police – often the first to arrive at an emergency call – throughout Southern Arizona since 2005 and $500,000 in investigator awards to fund cardiac research at the UA and Stanford University. The Messings are especially pleased that those initial awards have garnered more than $7 million in additional funding from other sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. “The return on investment is really important to us,” said Andrew. “We look at ourselves as a little venture-capital arm, helping these young researchers prove a hypothesis they have. If there is merit, they can apply for even larger funds.”

2019 GOOTTER GRAND SLAM GALA Saturday, March 2, 6:30 p.m. The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa 3800 E. Sunrise Road $200 per person Sponsorships available Please visit: www.stevenmgootterfoundation.org (520) 615-6430 or info@gootter.org

The foundation’s vision continues to be three-fold – getting AEDs into as many locations as possible, funding more promising research and promoting education about sudden cardiac arrest. For example, many people are scared to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which has been proven to be unnecessary, Andrew said. Continuous chest compression is just as effective in trying to save a victim. Others might be reluctant to use an AED, for fear of “doing it wrong,” he said. “These are very smart machines,” said Andrew. “They won’t register a shock until they receive the proper reading they need. We need to take that fear

away from people.” The annual Gootter Grand Slam Gala in March is yet another chance to bring the message of sudden cardiac arrest to the community. The Army officer who reached out to the Messings will speak at the event, as well as those who saved him. “As my mom says, ‘If you save one life, you save the world,’” said Claudine. 2019 Gala to Honor Frank and Jana Westerbeke

At its 2019 Grand Slam Gala on March 2, the Steven M. Gootter Foundation will recognize the dynamic couple behind one of Tucson’s award-winning salon chains for their outstanding philanthropic work. For Frank and Jana Westerbeke, it’s a way of life they chose from the very start of their marriage. “If you give first and take care of others in need, you will always have more than enough,” said Jana, who runs Gadabout SalonSpas and VerVe Salons with husband, Frank. “We made that part of our practice in life. Every month when we were newly married, we would respond to every request, every basket, every donation. Then, we took care of the other incidentals. We wanted to pay it forward.” It’s also the philosophy by which the Westerbekes run their salon empire, which includes five Gadabout locations, a salon at the Arizona Cancer Center’s Peter and Paula Fasseas Cancer Clinic and two VerVe concepts. Gadabout also opened a resource center last year devoted to educating the team from within. “We don’t hire people, we grow people,” said Frank. “When you can help people be their best and then watch it happen, it’s what inspires me most.” Employee retention is high at Gadabout – with 94 employees who have been with the company for more than 10 years and 19 for more than 20, according to its website. Gadabout’s very first employee in the 1970s – when Jana’s mother Pamela McNair-Wingate opened the first salon – continues to work there. “They have done so much in the community, we really thought they deserved this award,” said Claudine. “They really exemplify the word ‘philanthropy.’”

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The Never-Ending Story 11th Annual Tucson Festival of Books By Valerie Vinyard Preparing for its 11th year, the Tucson Festival of Books continues to worm its way into people’s hearts. The third-largest book festival in the nation will take place March 2 and 3 on the University of Arizona Mall. “It is a sight to behold,” said Martha Brown, a 70-something book lover who eagerly awaits the festival each year. “It’s one of the things that makes Tucson so great.” Brown has lived in Tucson for more than 20 years and is proud of how the festival has grown. “It’s something for everyone,” said the former high school teacher. “I even take some friends who don’t really read and they’re usually captivated.” Debbie Kornmiller works for the 188 BizTucson

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Arizona Daily Star, one of the festival’s main sponsors. As a result, she has been involved in the festival pretty much since Day One. She said that a dozen or so years ago, Tucson luminaries Bill and Brenda Viner got the idea for a book festival in Tucson after visiting festivals around the country. They recruited fellow community members and friends who included Bruce Beach and former Star publisher John Humenik. “They had this big idea,” Kornmiller said. “They got a lot of their friends in the community involved. They know how to put on that big, complex event. Brenda can talk you into doing anything. She has such enthusiasm. It’s for a good cause. They just have that cha-

risma.” The first Tucson Festival of Books took place in 2009. The festival is a nonprofit, free-of-charge event that exists to improve literacy rates among children and adults. The University of Arizona, the Star, Tucson Medical Center and a slew of businesses and individuals from the community collectively put on this eagerly anticipated event. “Each year, it just gets better,” Kornmiller said. Attendance has grown from 50,000 in 2009 to more than 140,000 in 2018. More than 400 authors covering two dozen genres of books will be on hand to speak, participate in workshops and sign their books for fans. About 350 panels will take place in 36 venues around www.BizTucson.com


the university. Western National Parks will have its own venue and there will be four indie-author pavilions. Cooking demonstrations by cookbook authors will be held in the Culinary Tent. There also will be a kids’ section, demonstrations in Science City, performances on the entertainment stages, workshops and hundreds of vendors, including restaurants, bookstores and other retail shops. There will be two Food Courts as well as food carts throughout the mall area. “People come early and they stay late,” Kornmiller said. “A huge percentage who come never see an author – they shop. “The festival is surprise after surprise, a delight at every turn, an experience that you’ll never forget,” she said. “It’s about literacy, being literate in your community. It’s about people.” Kornmiller remembered the first year that R.L. Stine of “Goosebumps” fame attended the festival. “He sat and signed books until everyone’s book was signed -- it was more than three hours. It was little kids, it was big kids, it was parents. It transcended. He’s one of the top draws every single year.” “During one of the authors’ dinners, Stine read letters from his fans, including this one: ‘Dear R.L. Stine, I read all of your books, and I don’t think they’re very good,’ ” Kornmiller said, laughing. Melanie Morgan is the executive director of the Tucson Festival of Books. Apparently, books run in her family. When Morgan’s daughter was 8 months old, “the very first thing she did when she learned how to crawl was to go over to the bookcase and pick out a book,” said Morgan. I’ve never seen her happier.” That’s partly why Morgan loves the festival. “They have so much cool stuff to do – even for someone that young,” she said. Morgan has a paid staff of one parttimer. The rest are volunteers, including a slew of AmeriCorps workers. Notable authors making an appearance in 2019 include Ron Stallworth, author of “Black Klansman: Race, Hate and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime,” which is about a black police detective who infiltrated the KKK. Spike Lee released a movie www.BizTucson.com

version of the book this summer called “BlacKkKlansman.” Sandra Brown, best-selling author of romance novels and thriller suspense novels, including this year’s “Tailspin,” also will be featured. Money raised from the festival goes to literacy programs in Pima County. To date, more than $1.8 million has been raised. Bobbie Jo Buel, the board president of Literacy Connects, estimated that the organization has received $1 million over the life of the festival.

The festival is surprise after surprise, a delight at every turn, an experience that you’ll never forget. –

Debbie Kornmiller Senior Editor Arizona Daily Star

She said that about seven years ago, there were six literacy programs in the county. Five of the six programs merged and were renamed Literacy Connects. The other remaining organization is Make Way for Books. “The festival, for us, has changed the organization – from struggling to having that core of support that we know is going to be there,” Buel said. “It’s allowed us to continue to grow the programs.” Buel said that in 2017 Literacy Connects coached 1,606 kindergarteners through third-graders at 37 Title 1 schools. Through all of its programs, 162 volunteer tutors logged 19,173 hours last year. This is Buel’s fifth year volunteering

for the organization. She said reading to kids twice a week is “one of the greatest joys of my life. “There’s nothing better than sitting down and reading one on one. I’ve never had a child not become a better reader. It’s all about reading things they want to read. It changes their mindset.” A couple of weeks before the festival, Kornmiller will host a workshop at Tucson Medical Center on how to navigate the book festival. A couple of hundred people will crowd into a room and listen to her insider tips. “I start with where to park, where to go to the bathroom, where to get food without standing in line,” she said. “People want to do so much.” One of her tips: Check out all the authors and the events before you come. That way, you can plan a route and try to get tickets ahead of time for events that are sure to fill up. Also, download the Tucson Festival of Books app on your smartphone, which will help you get the most out of the festival. Because of space limitations, the festival is about at capacity for the number of events and authors. Yet that doesn’t mean the organizers won’t shuffle things around each year to bring added variety. “It’s very successful as it is,” Kornmiller said. “Once you get an author, they tell all their friends what a great experience it was, and they all come.” One pressing need that never abates: Getting enough volunteers. “There’s so much work to do,” Kornmiller said. “Sometimes it looks very simple to the outsiders. But the more volunteers you have, the more people you have that can answer festival-goer questions, author questions, keep the food court tables clean, escort the authors to the hotels and drive them to the airport.” Kornmiller enjoys how there’s always some sort of “ah-ha” moment at the festival. She remembered how the crowd rushed the stage for the late Merle Reagle, who constructed crossword puzzles for more than 50 newspapers, including the Star. “He was like a rock star,” she said. “But everybody’s a rock star at the book festival.”

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PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS

BizLITERACY


BizMILLENNIALS

TENWEST Festival Wows with 100+ Events NanoCheQ Wins Grand Prize of $25,000 By Lee Allen The enthusiasm of TENWEST Festival coordinators wasn’t dampened by unexpected rain in October. The 10-day festival, now four years old and growing in its local impact, featured a myriad of events that were supported by $285,000 in partner sponsorships. “The weather was not on our side and some of our outdoor events got rained on,” said Dre Voelkel, festival guru and Startup Tucson events director. “But you just keep going forward. Headcount and ticket sale numbers indicate that we saw a lot of growth over last year.” For those who missed the media blitz in advance of the 2018 festival, TENWEST (begun in 2014 by Startup Tucson) calls itself “an opportunity to discover what your next Tucson looks like – a platform to learn, inform, network and explore the community – while developing relationships that will further enrich their respective endeavors.” Though that may read like a press release, the extended celebration of the best and unique that Tucson has to offer is displayed through festival presentations, panels, discussions, mixers and workshops – all designed to “help you connect and explore things not available in your daily life – a world-class content experience.” Even as a startup, TENWEST captured Tucson’s interest with 5,000 visitors showing up in both 2016 and 2017 to experience anywhere from 40 to 60 unique events and exhibitions. This year there were more than 100 separate events. “Idea Funding, a full-day conference focused on entrepreneurship, was a runaway success,” said Voelkel. “We packed the ballroom at Tucson Convention Center with standing room only.” During that session, 25 Arizona-based companies in various stages of development were whittled down to five finalists in the Startup Showcase. They then engaged in head-to-head competition for $30,000 in prize money. The grand prize of $25,000 went to NanoCheQ and its unique microbial diagnostic kit that identifies bacteria. RentLab won a $5,000 prize to work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Operating under the mantra of “So Much Event, So Little Time,” the TENWEST schedule of events was manageable, albeit close to overwhelming with so many options to listen and learn. There was something for everyone in sessions designed to encourage curiosity and discovery in the arts, social impact, STEM, entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability. From a Film Fest and Agave Tasting Reception on the kick190 BizTucson

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off weekend to a Women’s Leadership and Veterans Conference leading up to a Tactical Urbanism Block Party and a planned-but-rained-out concluding pyrotechnic extravaganza to coincide with the lighting of A Mountain, the festival started strong, stayed strong and ended that way. One day featured the Social Impact Summit designed to “bring together individuals, nonprofits and corporations to discover ways to maximize social impact and drive innovation strategies,” according to Startup Tucson. A series of workshops, panels and roundtable discussions explored trends and innovations necessary to drive that future. Those attending a Developing Tucson’s Creative Capacity luncheon learned about a new endeavor as Kate Marquez, executive director of the Southern Arizona Arts & Culture Alliance, unveiled plans for a large-scale creative development project at Tucson Mall. SAACA, in partnership with Brookfield Properties, has broken ground for a $1.5 million space – the first of its kind in Arizona – that will incorporate more than 20 creative disciplines under one roof. “There’s nothing like this in the country and it’s a huge leap of faith for us,” said Marquez. “This will be a multi-disciplinary, 14,000-square-foot storefront that will offer a complete kitchen culinary laboratory, a hot shop with pottery kilns, coworking spaces, artists-in-residence and lots of classes from robotics to art, music and technology, as well as community events. The innovative project will leverage the power of our creative industries and makers to reinvent how we think about education, collaboration and community development. It will be a fun place to be and a blank canvas for future developments.” Designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin, it is scheduled to open in Spring 2019. Also announced during the festival was a Microsoft/University of Arizona partnership designed to solve an emerging problem in cloud computing – making data centers more efficient while using less energy. The cloud center will be the first such collaboration with a university as Microsoft invests more than $15 billion in its cloud-computing networks. UA President Robert Robbins was on hand to emphasize the university’s deep commitment to being a catalyst for Southern Arizona’s innovation economy and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders and STEM experts. “The STEM Connect event was a great opportunity to learn more www.BizTucson.com


about what we are creating and the positive impact we bring to our community and its economy,” he said. Also during the festival, the YWCA of Southern Arizona revealed a plan to develop an intuitive micro-lending marketplace app – the first of its kind in the country – as part of the Women’s Impact Fund for local small businesses. “The micro-lending program, now in its pilot phase, will launch later this year with lending availability running between $500 and $3,000,” said Marisol Flores-Aguirre, executive director of the Y’s Microbusiness Advancement Center. “TENWEST has become a platform where large organizations have taken note and are using the event to announce exciting new things,” Voelkel said. “Expect to see more announcements like these,” added Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson and director of TENWEST. “We seek to draw investment and talent to Southern Arizona – and the community of support for the event this year was a testament to how TENWEST is viewed as a real catalyst for growth in our area. “This year we implemented a collective-impact partner model and invited 30-plus partners to help develop content. It was a resounding success and conveyed the idea that TENWEST is a platform to highlight, raise up and bring together so many different communities. We’ve always had partners – but that expanded effort this year diversified audiences and content and proved that’s the direction we want to continue to head in.” “We’re going to do an even bigger Call for Partners for 2019,” said Voelkel. “We had lots of awesome sponsors and good response to our fundraising this year and we want to build on that, to cast a wider net. Our major events will still be spotlighted, but we want to expand our focus to some of the smaller curated events that you can’t get anywhere else. If there’s a project people have been wanting to get started, but have been unable to without resources or manpower, we want to focus in on things like that that offer both experiences and connections.” Likewise, said Pocock, the event is starting to draw outside interest. “Latin X Tech Startup Weekend brought in representatives from Los Angeles who were interested in accessing entrepreneurship from our Latin X community. And we’re getting greater representation from Phoenix. Excitement is building as people recognize Tucson is like where Austin was a few years ago and we’re hoping to expand our statewide engagement to involve outside speakers and attendees.” And while those responsible reflect on 2018’s event and the lessons learned, plans are already underway for the fifth-year milestone in 2019. “Some of this year’s sponsors have already indicated they want to be more involved next year to showcase some of the cool stuff their teams are working on,” Pocock said. “We’re not the new kid in town anymore and we’re starting to draw outside interest as people watch how we do things. They recognize our community is taking the right steps and TENWEST is building up further momentum to showcase what Tucson has to offer. “Ten days of TENWEST 2018 was very ambitious and we’re glad we did it. Attendees who visited us in the past came back because they saw the value in the content, connections and experiences, while first-timers were blown away by the things they didn’t know about. That’s inspirational and spurs us on to be bigger and better next year.”

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BizAWARDS

ASID Design Excellence Awards Interiors in Design took every commercial award presented this year by the Arizona South Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers in its annual recognition of excellence in interior design. The design team includes Eva Murzaite, principal designer, who established the company in 2009; Brandy Holden, associate designer, and Ana Fernandez, junior designer. These are their winning design projects.

SINGULAR COMMERCIAL SPACE

SINGULAR COMMERCIAL SPACE RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE The challenge while designing this children’s hospital family room was to create an inviting, residential feel while working within the confines of a commercial setting – an oasis and retreat for families of sick children. They gutted the large room and replaced muted colors with vibrant blues and greens to create a calming yet positive environment evocative of nature. The walls were painted a warm taupe with one accent wall covered with a shaded blue vinyl that evokes a sense of water. Artificial plants were used to add softness. The cabinetry was changed to warmer tones using sustainable materials. For safety concerns, rugs were avoided and instead flooring with a wood-grain finish was installed, accented by bright green and blue areas. Harsh fluorescent lighting was replaced with warm LED lighting on dimmers.

COMMERCIAL SPACE OVER 8,000 SQ. FT.

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COMMERCIAL SPACE OVER 8,000 SQUARE FEET THE RISE MULTI-PURPOSE AMENITY SPACE This space needed to be appealing to three demographics – the establishment’s owners, prospective and current student tenants and the parents of those students. This space serves multiple purposes, including a pub-style gaming area, computer lab and lounge area. The amenity area connects to the pool as a cohesive indoor-outdoor www.BizTucson.com


space, and contains a self-service leasing and marketing office. The designers had to work around the existing structure and make the décor elements virtually indestructible. They chose sturdy materials that are adaptable – such as magnetized tables that can be pulled apart and customized for studying, as well as pull-apart furniture that can be moved around for socializing. Different hues of green are featured through furniture and accents. The vivid tones impact productivity, improve focus and bring in a calming element of nature. COMMERCIAL SPACE UNDER 8,000 SQUARE FEET BOTTEGA MICHELANGELO This Italian restaurant was transformed from a formal dining area into a vibrant modern space that is open and inviting. The goal was to make the restaurant more appealing to a younger generation, while retaining some of its traditional charm. That meant creating open spaces in the dining area and revealing the kitchen’s pizza oven and prep area to diners. Metalwork around the bar created a few industrial accents in an otherwise warm space. Rich cobalt blue alludes to the Italian coast and sustainable quartz resembling Carrara marble play to the Italian roots of the establishment. The black-and-white cherub paintings and Michelangelo bust were kept and the original chairs were refreshed with new paint and upholstery. COMMERCIAL PRODUCT DESIGN NATIONAL SELF STORAGE DESK This self-service leasing desk for a storage facility was designed to be an eye-catching focal point at the center of a commercial space. The cloud fixture above the desk reflects the geometry of the desk and serves as efficient direct lighting for the self-service stations. Three counter heights – for ADA compliance, seating on a chair or the second at counter height and for someone standing – provide comfort for all customers. The desk and cloud were manufactured in Europe with sustainable materials. The design includes ample supply storage below the stations, plus electrical channels to hide wires and create a clean, streamlined look. This striking unit is a highly functional, inclusive and convenient resource for customers. Biz www.BizTucson.com

COMMERCIAL SPACE UNDER 8,000 SQ. FT.

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DEMAND TOTAL EXPERTISE INSIST UPON

A COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL Discover why less than 1% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commercial real estate professionals hold the coveted Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. 194 BizTucson

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FINANCIAL ANALYSIS, MARKET ANALYSIS, USER DECISION ANALYSIS AND INVESTMENT ANALYSIS CHAPTERS.CCIM.COM/SOUTHERNARIZONA www.BizTucson.com


BizREALESTATE

Tucson’s Rosy Commercial Real Estate Market CCIM Forecast Looks At Past, Present, Future By David Pittman professionals who made the most acA rosy outlook of continued strong and widespread growth in Tucson’s curate predictions at last year’s forecast commercial real estate market is exin each sector – industrial, retail, office, pected to be the predominate theme multifamily, land and finance – of the among prognosticators at the upcoming commercial real estate industry. Those 28th annual CCIM Commercial Real winners will also make year-in-review Estate Forecast. presentations in their areas of expertise. That view was expressed by James T. They will lead panel discussions among Lavery – a senior commercial associate those making forecasts for 2019 regarding vacancy levels, interest rates, land for RE/MAX Excalibur and presidentcosts, construction prices and other facelect of the Southern Arizona CCIM tors that influence the local commercial Chapter – who pointed to several reasons for that optimism. real estate market. “Banks have money to lend, unem“We’ve been doing the forecast for 28 ployment is extremely low, downtown years, which makes us unique,” Lavery continues to flourish, construction of said. “Very few CCIM chapters around student housing at the University of the nation host community gatherings Arizona is booming, Raytheon is expanding and major companies (Amazon, GEICO and Caterpillar) are in various stages 28TH ANNUAL CCIM FORECAST of building a presence and bringCOMPETITION ing thousands of new jobs to our Presented by CCIM Southern Arizona Chapter community,” said Lavery, who Tuesday, Feb. 19 will serve as master of ceremoTucson Convention Center (Copper Ballroom) 260 S. Church Ave. nies at the forecast competition. “Tucson’s economy is very strong Registration and networking – 7:30 a.m. Program – 8:15 to 11:45 a.m. right now.” Breakfast buffet includes coffee, pastries, fruit However, Lavery also cautioned that the national recovery Free parking available has entered the “seventh inning” Early Bird Pricing by Dec. 31 Regular Pricing after Jan. 1 and headwinds are developing Chapter members – $75 Chapter Members – $85 from rising interest rates, trade Nonmembers – $90 Nonmembers – $100 disputes, labor shortages, and Table of 10 – $900 Table of 10 – $1,000 increasing land and construcWalk-in Pricing on Feb. 19 tion costs that threaten the future Chapter members & nonmembers – $115 economy. sazccim@tucsonrealtors.org CCIM officials expect about Keynote Speaker 400 people to attend the event, KC Conway which will be Feb. 19 in the CopCCIM Institute Chief Economist per Ballroom at the Tucson ConDirector of Research and vention Center. Corporate Engagement The CCIM forecast is one of Alabama Center for Real Estate, the longest running events of University of Alabama its type in the nation. Those atCulverhouse College of tending will hear from real estate Commerce www.BizTucson.com

in which specialists provide insights on the outlook of the various commercial real estate sectors.” The keynote speaker at the forecast will be KC Conway, chief economist of the CCIM Institute and director of research and corporate engagement at the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama. Several changes to the 2019 CCIM event will streamline the program and shorten its length. For instance, the forecast will be conducted in the morning instead of the afternoon. The 40-minute luncheon is being replaced with a breakfast buffet of coffee, pastries and fruit. The longtime tradition of honoring a “Tucson Real Estate Legend” will be cut from the forecast program and conducted at an award dinner at a later date. “The forecast will be a 3½-hour event instead of a 5½-hour event,” Lavery said. “There was consensus among our members that the event was too time consuming. The commercial real estate market is hot right now and people are busy and anxious to get back to work.” CCIM, which stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member, is an educational designation that conveys knowledge and expertise in the field of commercial real estate that is recognized worldwide by brokers, investors and developers. To achieve the designation, applicants must attend classes, pass tests and document they have completed at least $10 million in real estate transactions.

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BizAWARDS

Copper Cactus Awards Honor Small Businesses

Leader of the Year – Daniel Stringer By Tiffany Kjos The 21st Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards banquet was no dull affair. The ceremony began with a parody video of Amber Smith, the chamber’s new president and CEO, making the rounds at the chamber office – where not one person was actually working. That set the tone for the upbeat evening – along with the noisemakers at every place setting. The event brought together 52 finalists, many with large, enthusiastic contingents. In all, 13 Tucson businesses received recognition at the Oct. 12 banquet at Casino del Sol.

“A region’s economic strength derives from its business community. Small businesses are leading the way – driving innovation, generating job growth and advancing economic prosperity,” said Barbi Reuter, Tucson Metro Chamber board chair and president of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR. A panel of judges selected the winners from among more than 400 nominees. The awards are sponsored by Wells Fargo, along with co-sponsors Casino del Sol, Arizona Complete Health and Intuit.

COPPERPOINT SMALL BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR

PHOTOS: DAVID SANDERS

Daniel Stringer Founder & CEO Total Care Connections Stringer started this business a little less than 10 years ago when he was 22. Total Care Connections provides in-home healthcare and assistedliving placement and has been on the INC 5000 list of America’s top entrepreneurs three years in a row. “Our mission is to really be able to elevate the level of quality and care that is available to families,” he said. Last year, Total Care added the option of private nursing. “Historically, care that’s provided in the home is done by a certified caregiver. So we are bringing to the market the option for families to elevate that to an actual nurse. In Tucson, as far as I know, there isn’t another company that provides that.” One client, in her early 60s, has a rare form of Parkinson’s disease. For the six months prior to hiring Total Care, she ended up in the hospital with infections every two weeks. “We brought in private nursing and now we’re over a year into providing care for her and she hasn’t been to the hospital one time,” Stringer said. “Now she’s been infection-free for a year.” www.BizTucson.com

ARIZONA COMPLETE HEALTH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AWARDS

3 – 50 employees Linkages

Linkages is a nonprofit whose mission is to contribute to the economy by linking employers with qualified candidates to ensure every veteran and person with a disability has an opportunity for employment. It achieves this by understanding what businesses need when hiring, then linking them to candidates directly or through Linkages’ job board, job fairs and its network of more than 125 organizations that support hiring people with disabilities.

Hailey Thoman Executive Director Linkages

51 – 200 employees AGM Container Controls

Since 1970, AGM Container Controls has led in the design and fabrication of environmental control hardware for the defense, aerospace and industrial markets. AGM’s full-service machine shop includes MSY and MS turning centers, vertical machining centers and other CNC machining equipment. The company uses FeatureCam, BobCad and SolidWorks for programming parts. They machine aluminum, steel, tool steel, stainless steel, plastic, brass and more.

Howard N. Stewart President & CEO AGM Container Controls

Daniel Stringer Founder & CEO Total Care Connections

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BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF ARIZONA BEST PLACE TO WORK AWARDS

3 – 50 employees Barker Contracting

Brian Barker President Barker Contracting

Barker Contracting is an award-winning commercial general contractor. The company creates attractive, well-built, functional spaces that support industrial, community, education, medical, office, restaurant, retail and solar uses. Barker Contracting credits its success to its employees’ expertise in delivering wellcrafted buildings. The company emphasizes developing strong long-term relationships as evidenced by its large number of repeat clients and their employees’ ongoing community involvement.

51 – 200 employees Home Instead Senior Care

Scott Ehrsam President & Owner Home Instead Senior Care

Home Instead Senior Care began serving greater Tucson and surrounding communities in January 1996. It was one of the first franchises of Home Instead, now the world’s oldest and largest provider of non-medical inhome care in more than a dozen countries. Scott Ehrsam started the company with two objectives – to be the best at what they do and to be a great place to work.

COX BUSINESS GROWTH AWARDS

3 – 50 employees Trusting Connections Nanny Agency

Caroline Wesnitzer Co-Founder Trusting Connections Nanny Agency

Trusting Connections is an award-winning nanny placement agency and sitter service founded in Tucson in 2011 by two University of Arizona grads and former professional nannies. Since that time, Rosalind Prather and Caroline Wesnitzer have opened an office serving the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and more recently in Phoenix. Trusting Connections provides families, churches, businesses and hotels with high-quality nannies and sitters and personalized child care solutions 24/7, 365 days a year.

51 – 200 employees Chasse Building Team

Leigh-Anne Harrison Project Director Chasse Building Team

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The Chasse company has been building partnerships since 2007 by dedicating itself to approaching the construction process as a positive, dependable team player. This general contractor strives to provide exceptional and innovative construction services. Chasse has a cost-effective overhead model and highly experienced builders. The firm aims to hire great workers and create a culture that inspires their teammates to be the absolute best they can be.

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NEXTRIO INNOVATION AWARDS

3 – 50 employees OOROO Auto

OOROO Auto’s mission is to be the most trusted source for auto services by delivering the highest level of expertise, safety, care and convenience. OOROO offers mobile auto repair and maintenance services, providing many automotive services at the customer’s workplace. This self-described “bay-onwheels” employs proprietary technology and resources that the technician would have access to in a physical shop without the hassle typically associated with auto repair.

Jeff Artzi CEO OOROO Auto

51 – 200 employees World View

World View’s flight technologies offer a unique perspective of Earth from the edge of space. World View delivers insights to enterprises, agencies and individuals via two primary business segments – Stratollite uncrewed flight systems and Voyager human spaceflight systems. Stratollites offer lowcost, long-duration, persistent high-altitude flight for enterprise and government agencies. Using advanced stratospheric balloon technology, Stratollite applications include communications, remote sensing, weather and research.

Jane Poynter Co-Founder & CEO World View

TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER CHARITABLE NONPROFIT BUSINESS AWARDS

$50,000 – $500,000 total revenue Junior Achievement of Arizona – Southern District

Junior Achievement is creating real, measurable change for the future of Tucson. JA in Southern Arizona empowers young people with the skills to emerge from inter-generational poverty and succeed in work and life. Junior Achievement gives students the knowledge they need to manage their money, plan for their future and make smart academic, career and economic choices. Trained volunteer mentors provide programs that focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

Chuck Zaepfel District Director Junior Achievement of Arizona – Southern District

$500,001 – $2 million total revenue Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona nurtures the health and well-being of children and their families. Its employees are guided by compassion in every interaction and every decision they make. The first Ronald McDonald House was built with love, and love remains at the heart of their work. The nonprofit believes that when a child is sick, there’s nothing better than having family close. Its focus is always on family.

Kate Jensen President & CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona

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TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER CHARITABLE NONPROFIT BUSINESS AWARDS (CONT)

BizAWARDS

$2,000,001 – $5 million total revenue Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation

Dave Volk Board Member Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation

The Fox Tucson Theatre is truly the “Crown Jewel of Downtown.” This meticulously restored gem is celebrated not only for its near-perfect acoustics, but also for the world-class performers who regularly grace its stage. During the coming year it will continue to expand its Youth Arts and Culture programming initiative, while offering even more live music performances, comedians, speakers, community events and classic films. 

$5,000,001 – $15 million total revenue Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Brandy Burke COO Humane Society of Southern Arizona

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The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is a leader in the animal welfare community, saving more than 95 percent of the animals that enter its doors. The Humane Society is on a journey to create a better future for pets and the people who love them. Since 1944, HSSA has served more than 1 million animals by creating innovative programs that emphasize the importance of humane treatment and proper care of pets.

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BizAWARDS

Common Ground Awards Celebrate Collaborations Significant and Successful Results By Tiffany Kjos Development can be tricky – involving lots of stakeholders, which often include neighborhood groups, municipalities, contractors, utility companies, government agencies, businesses, schools and others. Pulling a project together is, well, award worthy. So goes the thinking of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, which 14 years ago began recognizing projects that involve significant and successful collaboration. They’re called the Common Ground awards. At an October event at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, hundreds of people turned out to mingle and help honor the finalists and winners. Barker Contracting was the event’s title sponsor for the second year running. “Navigating the intersection of individual, consumer and private business needs can be challenging. The projects we celebrate are the best examples available of what happens when everyone works together, despite their differences,” said company president Brian Barker. This year the alliance honored five winners and 10 finalists, chosen from

Southeast Interceptor Sewer Augmentation Project

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among dozens of nominees. Nominees go through a rigorous process that includes an interview and some serious vetting by a group of judges. Allyson Solomon, executive director of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, said the awards are not about unique projects, but about projects that are carried out in a unique, collaborative way with input from multiple sources. A new county permitting process was among the winners. It brought together developers and conservationists who often don’t see eye to eye – or anything close to it. That is the kind of unusual partnership the Common Ground awards honor. “I think it shows that great projects are possible – even when they don’t seem to be,” Solomon said. “You just have to work together to make it happen.” Another project – to repair and maintain a sewer system in South Tucson, including along the bustling restaurant row on South Sixth Avenue – went above and beyond to lessen its impact on residents and businesses. The contractor, KE&G, did its best to adjust its work hours. “They worked

tirelessly with homeowners and businesses so access wasn’t impeded. They really did everything they could to mitigate the impact on the public – which is rare,” Solomon said. And another project – the new Community Foundation Campus – received special recognition for its “creative reuse of space and effort to create a centralized campus for the nonprofit community,” according to the judges. The campus is at 5049 E. Broadway Blvd. Solomon said the awards can have a long-term impact. “It’s the recognition that their hard work and their collaboration was noticed, and it really means something,” she said. “I think it encourages them going forward to create the best project possible – even if it’s not the most conventional way – for the benefit of the community as a whole.” Common Ground Award Winners Public Projects Southeast Interceptor Sewer Augmentation Project

In 2018, Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, along with its contractor KE&G Con-

MSA Annex at the Mercado

Regional Partnering Center-Sabino Canyon Shuttle Project

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struction, completed the two-year, 2.6-mile Southeast Interceptor Sewer Augmentation project south of downtown along the east side of Interstate 10 and through South Tucson. Nearly 40 agencies, residents, utilities and property owners are listed among those who helped coordinate the project, which is part of a multimillion-dollar wastewater department effort to extend the life of the community’s wastewater facilities by more than 50 years. New Construction and Development MSA Annex at the Mercado

The MSA Annex is the second-phase expansion of the Mercado San Agustin Public Market and doubles the amount of locally owned small businesses along Avenida del Convento. The stores and restaurants of the MSA Annex are housed inside modified shipping containers surrounded by a modern desertscape, making it unique, the first of its kind in Southern Arizona. The MSA Annex brings together 13 new businesses – including many owned by women and minorities. This brings the total number of businesses along the Mercado District’s Avenida del Convento to 26. A dozen collaborators worked to bring the project to fruition. Community Enhancement Regional Partnering Center-Sabino Canyon Shuttle Project

The Regional Partnering Center, which is part of the Pima Association of Governments, and its partners applied for and were awarded a five-year permit from the U.S. Forest Service to remake and operate the Sabino Canyon shuttle service. The new system

Speedway + Campbell Gateway Project

will feature five electric trams, all with narration systems and a multilingual program about the canyon’s natural environment and rich cultural heritage. The award lists 11 collaborators.

It shows that great projects are possible, even when they don’t seem to be.

Infill, Redevelopment and Revitalization Speedway + Campbell Gateway Project (Palm Shadows)

The Speedway + Campbell Gateway Project (Palm Shadows) is a mixed-use, transit-oriented development project at the northwest corner of Speedway Boulevard and Campbell Avenue. The 20-story tower will replace the Palm Shadows apartment complex. In planning the project, the developers sought input from neighbors and created a website so anyone could find out more about the project, including its permitting process. Nearly 20 collaborators are named as helping the project move forward. Programs and Policies Pima County Certificate-of-Coverage Program, Section 10 Permit

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 issued a special permit to Pima County and the Pima County Flood Control District for a multispecies conservation plan, which is designed to provide a solution to conflicts between developers and endangered species. Conservation advocates, the county, federal government and the development community hammered out this certificate-of-coverage program that will help developers, in part, through a streamlined regulatory compliance process. More than a dozen individuals and agencies collaborated on the permit.

Biz

Pima County Certificateof-Coverage Program

Allyson Solomon Executive Director Metropolitan Pima Alliance –

2018 Common Ground Finalists 1.

Big Wash Trail and Trailhead Project

2.

Living River Project

3.

New Community Foundation Campus

4.

Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center

5.     Tangerine Corridor, Phase 1 6.     The Schoolyard and Elementary Place 7.

The University of Arizona Health Sciences, Building 201, Renovation

8.    The University of Arizona Honors College 9.     William J. Dawson Memorial Rink 10.   Wrightson Ridge K8 School Winter 2019

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BizTRIBUTE

Pete Herder

Legendary Builder Had a ‘Servant’s Heart’ For a man who had friends in very high places, Pete Herder was very well grounded. He was a youth chaplain at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall during college. He coached high school and college wrestling and football for several years. Then back in his hometown of Denver, he dirtied his boots as a thirdgeneration builder before moving to Tucson in the 1960s. All the while, he was a salt-of-theearth kind of guy. It was his calling in life to counsel, guide and mentor. He called it his “servant’s heart” to encourage people to be successful. In August, Herder, owner of the Herder Companies, died at age 89. The business icon built more than 5,000 homes locally and The Herder Building on Speedway Boulevard. His developments included St. Philip’s Plaza, Butterfield Business Park, Ventana Canyon Golf Villas and Riverbend. Overall, he built 20,000 homes in Arizona, Colorado and California. His community service was restless and broad. It included three terms as Southern Arizona Home Builders Association president, Tucson Chamber of Commerce chairman, National Association of Home Builders president, director of President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Housing and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was a founding member of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Pete was pro-business and pro-Tucson. He volunteered his time, expertise and dollars to the betterment of our community and the homebuilding industry,” said Steve Canatsey, a fellow SAHBA and NAHB life director. “He was a great negotiator. He knew his land and building projects had to be a good deal for everyone. All parties involved had to benefit.” 202 BizTucson

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Herder had a passion for politics and his impact reached far beyond Arizona. While chairman of the Tucson Chamber in 1979-80, the organization spun off its tourism and convention activities to focus on public policy and government affairs. Public funding was no longer accepted.

Pete Herder “That’s where Pete gave his expertise. He was the guy who led the transition into a business advocacy group. The chamber became prominent at all levels of government – from city hall to the state legislature,” said Jack Camper, the chamber’s president and CEO from 1978 to 2011. “If government funded the chamber, how could we tell government what to do?” Herder served NAHB for decades and became an influential player in Washington, D.C. He worked with several U.S. presidents on housing issues. Rev. Dick Halverson, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, took Herder around to meet all 100 senators. Herder helped establish construction management programs in 24 universities. He became close to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain. Reagan was his favorite president be-

cause of his character. Reagan looked him straight in the eye when they first met, Herder once recalled, and “never looked over my shoulder to see who else was in the room.” Speaking of character, Herder was known for his humor. During his lateSAHBA years, I was a staffer who came to rely on his insight and advice. We often lunched with Canatsey and other directors. Herder watched his diet, yet always ordered three french fries on the side – and made us promise not to tell his wife. With a dozen builders, we attended a Bible-study lunch group. As its senior member, he was sensitive about his age. Accordingly, his young peers often asked what it was like to see Moses appear with the Ten Commandments. He never denied being there. Three prominent construction trade associations awarded Herder status as a legend in the industry. In ceremonies in Arizona and Washington, D.C., the groups honored his building achievements and celebrated his lifelong gift of paying it forward. In addition, the Tucson City Council recognized his contributions to the community in 2005 with Peter D. Herder Day. In a sometimes hard and cold world, Herder’s servant’s heart kept him connected with people in need. For decades, he called more than 100 people each year – not just for birthdays – but to check in on friends who were struggling in business, with health issues or from the loss a spouse. He thought they could use a lift from an old acquaintance and he walked with them through their misery. “One of the things I admired most about Pete was his willingness to help others,” Canatsey said. “If he had something to share or a way to help someone, he did not wait to be asked. He offered.”

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PHOTO: CARTER ALLEN

By Roger Yohem


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