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THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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SPECIAL REPORTS: Sun Corridor Inc. Holualoa Companies WINTER 2021 • $3.99 • DISPLAY UNTIL 03/31/21

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BizLETTER Farming in the desert is nothing new. It dates back thousands of years. Farming here has always depended on human ingenuity to sustain itself, and in the Tucson region, that ingenuity has evolved into culinary creativity leading to Tucson being named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the U.S. five years ago. There’s never been a more important time to preserve this key economic sector and support our local farmers, produce operations and the amazing chefs and restaurants that provide us with culinary creations. In Arizona, it’s a business with a $23 billion impact, said George Frisvold, professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of Arizona. Additionally, read about StartUp Tucson which recently received a USDA grant to support local food entrepreneurs. Freelance journalist June Hussey provides us with a deep dive into this industry. As we enter 2021, it is imperative to recognize that Tucson continues to experience life-altering effects of the economic downturn. Years of economic development momentum and collaboration in the Tucson region are paying off in ways no one could have predicted in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 has crippled economies for nearly a year creating uncertainty for families, businesses and our future. Yet, Tucson finds itself in a better position than most for a post-COVID recovery that could set a path for a robust and resilient economic future. The economic development team at Sun Corridor Inc. is laser-focused on our region’s economic recovery. Sun Corridor Inc. has assembled a blue-ribbon committee of the region’s most prominent business leaders to create a recovery and resiliency plan called “The Pivot Playbook.” This is the centerpiece of a 60-page special report in this edition. Freelance journalist Jay Gonzales provides us with an in-depth report on the post-COVID recovery. The Sun Corridor Inc. team has identified five focus areas: company recruitment, workforce development/training, shovel-ready real estate and infrastructure, talent recruitment and tourism recovery. Our next special report is focused on one of our city’s great success stories. 4 BizTucson

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Photo: Steven Meckler

Farm to Table Inc.

Holualoa Companies is a commercial real estate development and investment firm managing more than $3 billion in assets in the U.S. and Europe that has achieved a significant milestone, surpassing 35 years in business. Holualoa oversees a diversified international portfolio of office, retail, industrial, apartment and hotel properties. Holualoa’s Founder and Chairman I. Michael Kasser is the ultimate renaissance man: scholar, real estate mogul, avid athlete and philanthropist, who was born during World War II in Hungary. By the time the war ended, the family had nothing. “We lost everything in the war,” said Kasser. As a youth, Kasser exhibited genius – skipping three grades and entering Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 15. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1960, he earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1961 and a doctorate in engineering at the University of Grenoble (France) in 1964. Kasser speaks six languages fluently – Hungarian, Spanish, English, French, German and Italian. Kasser’s parents played an integral role in a WWII humanitarian effort and are credited with saving more than 100,000 Jewish lives who were destined for shipment to Auschwitz or other Nazi death camps. The profile on Mike Kasser and his family is one of the most inspirational stories ever to appear in this magazine. Freelance journalist David Pittman files this in-depth report. There’s also a wonderful story about Kasser’s tremendous philanthropic impact on our community by Rodney Campbell. As always, we are grateful for our loyal readers, our advertisers and our committed editorial team. Steven E. Rosenberg Publisher & Owner BizTucson

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Winter 2021

Volume 12 No. 4

Publisher & Owner

Steven E. Rosenberg Brent G. Mathis

Creative Director Contributing Editors

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

Contributing Technology Director

Mike Serres

Contributing Project Coordinator

Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Elena Acoba

Christy Krueger Thomas Leyde Loni Nannini David Pittman Steve Rivera Monica Surfaro Spigelman Valerie Vinyard Romi Carrell Wittman

Rodney Campbell Mary Minor Davis Jay Gonzales June C. Hussey Kathryn Kellner Tara Kirkpatrick Donna Kreutz Contributing Photographers

Carter Allen Amy Haskell Brent G. Mathis Chris Mooney Dominic Ortega

BizTucson News Update (Email Newsletter)

Brent G. Mathis Tara Kirkpatrick Member:

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

BizTucson Phone: 520.299.1005 Subscription Information:

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

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

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

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BizCONTENTS

FEATURES

WINTER 2021 VOLUME 12 NO. 4

COVER STORY: 126

FARM TO TABLE INC. The Region’s Agribusiness Sector

DEPARTMENTS 24 30

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BizLETTER From the Publisher

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BizMEDICINE Roche Tissue Diagnostics Dr. Eslie Dennis

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Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan, University of Arizona

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BizENTREPRENEUR Start Up Steward Cindy Jordan, Pyx Health

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BizSPORTS PGA Tour Champions’ Cologuard Classic

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BizPHILANTHROPY Breast Cancer Survivor Ginny Clements Donates to Fund Research Institute

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Historic Gift for Pima Community College By Thomas R. Brown Foundation

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BizDOWNTOWN Armory Park Inn

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BizENTREPRENEUR A Showroom of Possibility: Rug Gallery

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BizDENTAL Delta Dental Foundation Grant for El Rio Health

BizCONSTRUCTION New Projects in the Region BizMUSIC HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival BizFOODS Imperfect Foods Serves Tucson, Helps Environment

BizFUNDRAISING 136 El Rio Foundation Embraces Creativity BizTOOLKIT 182 Best Practices for Virtual Meetings

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BizHONORS Man of The Year – Donal Drayne Woman of The Year – Judy Rich Founders Award – Dee-Dee Samet GTL Alumni Excellence – Gabriela Cervantes BizEDUCATION Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards BizAWARDS Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards BizTRIBUTE Armando Rios, Jr.

SPECIAL REPORTS Sun Corridor Inc.

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SPECIAL REPORT 2021

Lee Lambert

Diane Quihuis

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Michael Crow

Omar Mireles

Marc Cameron

Danette Bewley

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Butler

Dr. Chad Whelan

Wesley D. Kremer

Joe Snell

Mayor Regina Romero

Sandra Watson Lisa Lovallo

Ian McDowell

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David Adame

David G. Hutchens

Judy Rich

CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE LEADS THE WAY

Bill Rodewald

Region Focused on Recovery: The Pivot Playbook

Dr. Robert C. Robbins

Fletcher McCusker

Sharon Bronson

Fletcher Mike McCusker Ménard

Holualoa Companies

SPECIAL REPORT 2021

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

35th Anniversary

HOLUALOA

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C O M PA N I E S TH

ANNIVERSARY R E G I O N A L , N AT I O N A L & G L O B A L

ABOUT THE COVER FARM TO TABLE INC. Cover Image of San Xavier Cooperative Farm Design by Brent G. Mathis 12 BizTucson

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

WOMEN WHO LEAD

Dr. Eslie Dennis

VP, Medical Affairs Roche Tissue Diagnostics 24 BizTucson

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BizMEDICINE

Eliminating Cervical Cancer Roche Tissue Diagnostics Adds New Screening to U.S. Efforts By June C. Hussey Every 60 seconds, someone’s mom, wife, sister, aunt or daughter is diagnosed with cervical cancer somewhere in the world. Before you finish reading this article, cervical cancer will have taken another woman’s life. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Local leading scientists want to make sure everyone is aware of how to prevent this disease. Dr. Eslie Dennis, VP of medical affairs at Roche Tissue Diagnostics, is one of them. When Dennis joined Roche Tissue Diagnostics in Oro Valley eight years ago, she became an integral part of a team working with founder Dr. Thomas Grogan to help develop innovative tests to diagnose cancer and identify treatment options, and also to prevent cancer. Today, this physician-turned-scientist and her Roche colleagues are passionate about educating consumers about the importance of screening and cervical cancer prevention. Simultaneously, they are training healthcare practitioners how to use Roche’s sophisticated suite of cervical cancer diagnostic tools. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the latest test in the Roche portfolio for use in the country. “Coming from Africa, it’s more than a passion for me,” Dennis said. “Sadly, I’ve seen too many women presenting in advanced stages of cervical cancer with little hope for survival. Particularly in developing countries where there is limited access to preventative and early www.BizTucson.com

detection measures, cervical cancer is often not identified until it has reached an advanced stage.” Access to treatment of late-stage cervical cancer – such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy – is also limited, resulting in higher death rates in these countries. If cervical cancer is caught early the outlook is good, with an estimated five-year survival rate of 92%. For women with advanced disease, however, the five-year survival rate is 17%.

It’s an honor to get to work in the field of cancer research and to work on developing diagnostics that not only help diagnose and treat cancer but also prevent cancer.

– Dr. Eslie Dennis VP, Medical Affairs Roche Tissue Diagnostics

Dennis emphasized that nearly every cervical cancer diagnosis and death is preventable. The latest World Health Organization statistics rank cervical cancer as the fourth leading cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths in women globally, primarily because of lack of education and access to healthcare.

Know the Root Cause

Human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection estimated to affect over 80% of sexually active men and women at some point in their lifetimes. HPV is also known to be the central causative agent of cervical cancer. “HPV is very common in both men and women. It knows no socioeconomic barriers. There should be no stigma associated with getting a vaccination or a screening. The more we can educate people about this, the better,” Dennis said. Vaccinations

Primary prevention of cervical cancer is through vaccination against HPV. Available since 2006, HPV vaccines are typically administered to girls and boys starting at age 11 or 12. Dennis said it’s important for adolescents to finish all their rounds of HPV vaccinations prior to becoming sexually active before possible exposure to HPV. According to the WHO, global coverage of vaccinations is currently estimated at 15%. The global group is now calling for 90% of girls to be fully vaccinated by age 15 by 2030 as part of a triple intervention strategy that includes vaccinations, screenings and treatment. Roche Hones Screenings

Cervical cancer won’t be eliminated by vaccines alone. Screenings and treatment also play big roles. Since the Pap test was invented in the continued on page 26 >>> Winter 2021

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BizMEDICINE

Positive CINtec PLUS Cytology test results, dual staining of the biomarkers p16 and Ki-67

Roche’s Dr. Eslie Dennis Research for Global Impact

As a physician in Africa, Dr. Eslie Dennis worked to save one life at a time. Now at Roche Tissue Diagnostics, she and her colleagues can potentially save millions of lives.

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continued from page 25 middle of the 20th century, the incidence reduce overtreatment of women who have HPV, but are unlikely to progress to of cervical cancer has decreased by 70% cancer. With increasing access to such diin those countries where it has been imagnostic tools, more doctors will have the plemented. During the 1980s the link beability to accurately and objectively anatween HPV infection and cervical cancer lyze pre-cancerous cells and treat their was identified, which paved the way for patients accordingly. both vaccines and new screening tests. The U.S. Preventive Services Task For its part, Roche is adding sophistiForce recommends all women aged 21 to cated, next-generation, biomarker-based 65 be screened for cervical cancer. The diagnostic tools now available worldwide American Cancer Society recommends that detect high-risk HPV infections and screening beginning at age 25. WHO’s also identify precancerous changes where goal is for 70% of the world’s women to intervention can prevent cancer from debe screened twice, by age 35 and again by veloping. age 45, by 2030. Roche’s CINtec PLUS Cytology test, approved by the FDA in March 2020, alReducing Cancer Worldwide lows labs analyzing cells to more clearly Work at the Oro Valley diagnostics identify which patients have cells that may company has global implications, partransform into cancers. This is important ticularly in places without good healthinformation because there are 150 forms care access. Dennis of HPV, but only 12 experienced this disare known to cause parity first-hand as a cervical cancer, physician working in Dennis said. KnowAfrica. ing that a woman “As a physician, has an infection with it is immensely frusone of the high-risk trating when you HPV types is imporhave little to offer tant. However, most your patients,” she HPV-positive womsaid. “That’s what en will not develop led me into the biocervical cancer, so a tech industry. As triage step is necesmuch as I miss onesary to identify who on-one interaction is at higher risk and with patients, to get needs immediate into join a global retervention and who search and developis at lower risk and ment organization can be given more where I can be part time to resolve on of a team that is actheir own. The CINtually impacting the tec PLUS Cytology lives of millions of The CINtec PLUS Cytology test runs on test provides greater people worldwide, to confidence in deter- the BenchMark ULTRA system, Roche Tisme that is so compelmining who should sue Diagnostics’ fully automated immuling and so exciting.” nohistochemistry and in situ hybridizahave immediate intion slide staining system tervention and may Biz

Winter 2021

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Dennis was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to a microbiologist father and a mother who taught geography. Her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic and the responsibility to help make the world a better place. After growing up in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Dennis studied medicine at the University of Zimbabwe, going on to specialize at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. “Living in Africa and practicing medicine there, you see the devastating impact of poverty, the lack of resources, the inequity in healthcare systems, but you also see the tremendous dedication and persistence and resilience of healthcare service providers who work tirelessly to address needs of the communities as best they can,” Dennis said. That experience – especially in struggling with poor access to effective treatments for HIV and tuberculosis – compelled her to trade direct patient care on one continent for a research and development career with global impact. She moved to Tucson 10 years ago, working at the Critical Path Institute and then joining Roche’s team of about 1,600 two years later. Her important research with her team has resulted in patents and numerous articles in professional journals. “It’s an honor to get to work in the field of cancer research and to work on developing diagnostics that not only help diagnose and treat cancer but also prevent cancer,” she said. “I love the fact that I get to work with really smart, really talented people not just within the team at Roche; we get to collaborate with the world’s leading experts in oncology, pathology and tackle significant areas of unmet need.”

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BizPEOPLE Reid Clark

Reid Clark has joined Great Western Bank as Vice President, Senior Business Banking Relationship Manager for the Southern Arizona market headquartered in Tucson. Clark brings senior level expertise in commercial real estate and business financing.  GWB was established in 1935 and specializes in Business & Agricultural Lending.

Biz

Nicole Strom

Nicole Strom has joined Great Western Bank as Vice President, Business Banking Relationship Manager for the Southern Arizona market headquartered in Tucson. Nicole’s business experience spans two decades with expertise in lending to small and medium businesses as well as Medical and Wealth Management. GWB was established in 1935 and specializes in Business & Agricultural Lending.

Biz

Michael Trueba Michael Trueba, CCIM, has joined Great Western Bank as Portfolio Manager of the Southern Arizona Business unit. Trueba brings over two decades of business, agricultural and commercial real estate financing experience to GWB.  GWB was established in 1935 and specializes in Business & Agricultural Lending.

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Highlights of Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan’s 25 Years in Tucson 1995 Named Director, University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center; Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Professor of Physiology and Section Chief, Gastroenterology/Nutrition 1996 MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health 1998 Principal Investigator, Pediatric Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, UArizona Health Sciences 1999 Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center established Father of the Year, Father’s Day Council Tucson recognition 2001 Arizona Elks Major Projects established the Arizona Elks General Pediatrics Clinic

2004 Honored for major, lifelong scientific contributions with the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Shwachman Award 2005 Discovery of a new role for vitamin D on halting bone mineralization by down-regulation of the disruptive PHEX gene Cloned a novel sodium proton exchanger (NHE-8), which plays a major role during early life 2006 Co-Editor, Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Volumes 1 and 2, Fourth Edition Discovery of how TNF-alpha down regulates bone formation 2007 Established the PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center of Excellence Distinguished Alumni Award, Penn State College of Medicine

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PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

2003 Named Horace W. Steele Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research


BizMEDICINE

Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan

Trailblazer

25 Years of Pivotal Work Transforms Pediatric Healthcare By Monica Surfaro Spigelman You won’t hear the phrase “gut microbiome” in everyday conversation, but when you mention it to Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan, he leans forward, eager to discuss the millions of microbes that live in the human intestinal tract. His work on the role of a balanced microbiome as it relates to children’s well-being is a wealth of scientific discovery that continues to steer Arizona to prominence in pediatric healthcare. Ghishan is the transformative leader and beloved physician-scientist who in 2020 celebrated 25 years as director of the University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Center and chair of the medical school’s Department of Pediatrics. His contributions to children’s health have created a blueprint for excellence that blends scientific achievement with innovation in clinical practice and physician training. There have been no shortages of hallmark moments since Ghishan’s arrival in Tucson in 1995, when he was recruited from Vanderbilt University to head UArizona’s pediatrics department and direct the Steele Children’s Research Center. After 16 years at the Tennessee institution, Ghishan was ready to build a world-class center of pediatrics here. His vision was three-pronged: recruit top physicians, meet clinical needs and establish operations in translational research. “Research moves medicine forward,” said Ghishan, whose work in pediatwww.BizTucson.com

ric gastroenterology spans 53 years. “I knew there was opportunity in Tucson to build highly academic research clinics, which would attract top medical students and provide the needed clinical care.” Ghishan looked first to create centers of excellence that addressed children’s disorders, particularly as they involved the GI tract or gut microbiome. With so many children suffering from allergies and complex problems involving the airway and digestive tract, aerodigestive diseases became an early focus.

Medicine and science offer us a priceless perspective. Together, they remind us of the incredible privilege it is to continually create knowledge and then translate that to advance the well-being of the world’s children.

– Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan Director, University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center

Ghishan’s passion to advance medical knowledge was contagious and engaged collaborators. The Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, now known as PANDA, embraced Ghishan’s ideas. When PANDA took its community stewardship further by funding this critical need in 2007, Ghishan assembled a team of leading physicians and created the PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center of Excellence – the only one of its kind in the Southwest. Ghishan then expanded the Steele Children’s Research Center’s abilities to tackle other critical issues in children’s health. In 2016, the Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy Center became the first in the Southwest to bring together clinical care, teaching and science to treat an often misdiagnosed autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system attacks the brain following an infection like strep. Growing centers of excellence involved two leadership traits, according to Ghishan. “To be successful in life you need to have a vision,” he said. “But vision must be coupled with passion – otherwise it will never work.” Communities need to invest in families, Ghishan said, and that investment has the power to influence a region’s economy. Building a children’s hospital in Tucson was a natural extension of this aspiration. continued on page 32 >>> Winter 2021

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continued from page 30 2008 MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan Steele Children’s Research Center

2009 Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine 2010 Chair of the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition C Subcommittee of the Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Initial Review Group, National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH (until 2012)

Kids of Steele family auxiliary Women’s Board of Tucson established 2011 Physician-in-Chief, Banner Diamond Children’s Medical Center Chair of the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Special Emphasis Panels (until 2015) Kevin G. Schaefer, M.D., Memorial Guest Lecture, Rush University 2012 Co-Editor, Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Volumes 1 and 2, Fifth Edition 53rd Samuel W. Clausen Visiting Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center 2013 Recipient, five-year grant from National Institutes of Health to study how the NHE3 protein contributes to GI tract health Recipient, 10-year grant from National Institutes of Health for summer in children’s research for diverse high school students 2014 Horace W. Davenport Distinguished Lectureship Award, presented by the Gastrointestinal & Liver Section of the American Physiological Society Steele Children’s Research Center clinical research facility opens in Phoenix 2015 Nicholas Nelson Memorial Guest Lecture, Penn State Children’s Hospital 2016 Established the Children’s Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy Center of Excellence for neurological autoimmune disease Chair of the National Institutes of Health Special Emphasis Panel (for Microbiome and Related Sciences)

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continued from page 31 “When I would speak about establishing a children’s hospital during Steele Advisory Board meetings, one of the center’s founders, Joan Diamond, would nod and express interest,” recalled Ghishan. Ultimately, Diamond’s support became a driving force in helping Ghishan open the first academic pediatric medical center in Arizona. The Banner Diamond Children’s Medical Center opened in 2010 and Ghishan became physician-in-chief for the hospital in 2011. The impact of the hospital and the Steele Children’s Research Center in the region and beyond continues to grow. Last year, Ghishan and his multidisciplinary approach rocketed the center into further prominence as a pediatric research institution – placing it No. 31, just above Yale, based on National Institutes of Health research funding. Throughout his distinguished quarter-century in Tucson, Ghishan remains the Consummate pediatrician and quintessential mentor – attentive to each of his patients and an inspiration to the next generation of physicians. “One physician-scientist I trained came in as a pure clinician,” Ghishan recalled. “We discussed a project that would ignite her passion. In this case, it was providing adequate nutrition to critically ill children. She took ownership of this research and her discoveries now influence the care of these children, particularly after serious surgery. She’s now also an independent investigator and critical care

division chief. We need to continue to cultivate leaders through mentorship, so that young doctors contribute to further advancements in our profession that improve children’s health.” His career in the lab has led to a number of discoveries internationally recognized for their importance to the fields of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. He was the first to document nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a form of the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children. His research in cloning the gene responsible for absorbing sodium in the GI tract has advanced the understanding of diarrheal disorders and the relation to zinc deficiency. This discovery led to World Health Organization recommendations on zinc supplements, which continue to guide the care and healing of children with diarrheal disorders globally. Ghishan’s discoveries also have netted him numerous awards. His work has been continually funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 30 years. In 1996 and again in 2008, he received the prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He has authored more than 400 publications and edited the benchmark textbook, Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, now in its sixth edition. His knowledge of science, mentorship and pediatric medicine recently led to a new appointment as medical director of the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Research Centers (CATS). As one of UAriwww.BizTucson.com

PHOTO COURTESY THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Harold Schedl Memorial Lectureship in Gastroenterology, University of Iowa


BizMEDICINE

Father’s Day Council Tucson Funds Diabetes Research at Steele Children’s Research Center The Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes Research has reached $2.5 million to support research at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center. The endowed chair was established in 2008 with proceeds from the annual Father’s Day Council Tucson, Father of the Year awards ceremony, which began in 1994. Over the years, prominent, deserving fathers have been honored at an annual dinner with the proceeds targeted for Type 1 diabetes research at the center, directed by Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan. The Steele Children’s Research Center “is the state’s only academic pediatric research center designated

zona’s most prolific scientists, Ghishan will now lead the distribution of CATS resources and services, oversee clinical research operations and coordinate with clinical partners in pivotal work, including COVID-19 antibody testing. Ghishan is passionate about the influence of a “bedside to bench and bench to bedside” model in public health: “Pure basic science must be coupled with clinical translation and mechanism. Knowledge in the lab is translated to healing people. And what we discover by treating our patients is translated to our research.” A photo of Ghishan as a child in Jordan, dressed in a white jacket and carrying a briefcase, still sits on his desk, as a reminder of his mother’s early wishes for him to become a doctor. When he was 16, Ghishan traveled to Turkey with $50 in his pocket, entering medical school and fulfilling his dream. Returning to his native country to practice, Ghishan witnessed deaths of children suffering from GI disorders, malnutrition and dehydration www.BizTucson.com

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by the Arizona Board of Regents, and the only facility in Southern Arizona where researchers and physician-scientists are dedicated to advancing medical knowledge through basic and translational research to improve children’s health,” according to the Father’s Day Council Tucson website. www.fdctucson.com The center opened in 1992 with a $2 million gift from the Steele Foundation in Phoenix and has since received $4.5 million in proceeds from the Father’s Day Council Tucson. Ghishan was named director of the center in 1995 and remains in that position in addition to many other positions dedicated to curing and treating pediatric diseases.

from diarrhea. Those encounters resulted in his decision to continue studies in the United States, pursuing research that would give him insights into the causes and treatments of these disorders. Last year, the Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, PANDA Endowed Directorship was established, acknowledging in perpetuity Ghishan’s impactful work. Funded primarily by PANDA, the endowment ensures the mission of the Steele Children’s Research Center. Ghishan is grateful for its reminder of the welcome he received 25 years ago, when he, his wife, Joan, and their four children decided to move here. With a mountainous backdrop reminiscent of Ghishan’s Jordan birthplace, Tucson has truly become his home. “Medicine and science offer us a priceless perspective,” Ghishan said. “Together, they remind us of the incredible privilege it is to continually create knowledge and then translate that to advance the wellbeing of the world’s children.”

Recipient, five-year grant from National Institutes of Health to study the modulation of dendritic cell function in pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease Mentor to Dr. Katri V. Typpo, on a four-year grant from National Institutes of Health to study the effects of cardiac ICU practice variation on intestinal epithelial barrier function and microbiome diversity 2017 Chairholder of Arizona Elks Endowed Faculty Research fund for Technology and Innovation Named Alan and Janice Levin Family Endowed Professor of Pediatrics Recipient Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award from the UArizona Foundation Recipient, four-year grant from National Institutes of Health to study the novel roles of sodium hydrogen exchanger 8 (NHE8) in mucosal homeostasis 2018 Co-Editor, Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Volumes 1 and 2, Sixth Edition Chair, High Impact, Gastrointestinal Disease peer review panel Medical Research Program for the Department of Defense (again in 2020) BizTucson Magazine Global Visionary Award Recipient, four-year grant from National Institutes of Health to study the bile acids in necrotizing enterocolitis 2019 Microbiome Core at the Steele Children’s Research Center established to provide end-toend technical and research support to study microbial communities’ structure and function 2020 Named Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Sciences Research Center at the University of Arizona Honored with the Fayez K. Ghishan, MD PANDA Endowed Directorship at the Steele Children’s Research Center Recipient, five-year sub-award grant with Vanderbilt University from National Institutes of Health to study how probiotic-derived proteins regulate epigenetic programming in intestinal epithelial cells for longterm prevention of colitis.

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BizMEDICINE

Taking a Research Lead Top Doctor Now Oversees Hundreds of Disease, COVID-19 Studies By Jay Gonzales

While the world awaits getting a COVID-19 vaccine, critical medical research to fight the countless other diseases and threats to our health continues in labs and research centers in Tucson and elsewhere. The University of Arizona’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Research Center (CATS) is one of those where the physician now in charge has an impressive track record and is well-known in the medical community. Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan was named medical director of the CATS Research Center in November. With a plate full of major medical responsibilities, Ghishan now will oversee the center’s important research, including which projects get access to its resources. “The concept in medicine has been evolving, but generally we start with something called ‘bench to bedside and bedside to bench.’ That is, we create knowledge at the bedside and research labs,” Ghishan said. “Then, these advances in science have to be translated to patients because, eventually, the whole aim and idea of medicine is to serve our patients.” CATS is a center where doctors and scientists conduct research for cures and treatments of diseases – the bench – and have an opportunity to advance their research to trials on patients – the bedside – so it eventually results in success34 BizTucson

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ful treatments and cures. It’s all in one place at a 3,700-square-foot center at the Leon Levy research building of the Arizona Cancer Center next to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

I have a vision of why I went into medicine. My vision is to help patients. I can help them with my clinical skills or through research. That’s what I do. Vision without passion doesn’t work. I have passion for what I do.

Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan Medical Director University of Arizona Clinical and Translational Sciences Research Center –

“It offers space, materials, training and qualified experts and staff in one accessible location for active studies in more than 50 disease categories,” said Dr. Michael Dake, senior VP for UAri-

zona Health Sciences. “As a centralized medical research location, CATS provides a variety of services to investigators from study startup to closeout and allows for convenient access to hospital resources, such as laboratories, radiology and other clinical departments.” Dake didn’t have to look far for someone capable of taking the helm as the center’s medical director. Ghishan is among the world’s top physicians, scientists, researchers and educators in pediatric diseases. Since arriving at UArizona in 1995, he has built the Steele Children’s Research Center into a worldwide leader in research and treatment for pediatric autoimmune diseases, raising tens of millions of dollars for the effort. He also is the physicianin-chief at Banner Diamond Children’s Medical Center and is the chair of the UArizona Department of Pediatrics. “Dr. Ghishan is a passionate advocate for children’s health and builds trust with his young patients and their families to deliver the best pediatric care,” Dake said. “As a professor of medicine in pediatrics, he shares his enthusiasm and knowledge with his students and has mentored many early-career scientists who have become leaders in their specialties. In his leadership roles, Dr. Ghishan is viewed as an inclusive and compassionate leader who mobilizes continued on page 36 >>> www.BizTucson.com


PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan

Medical Director University of Arizona Clinical and Translational Sciences Research Center

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BizMEDICINE continued from page 34 others in achieving common goals and upholding the highest ethical standards.” Ghishan packs more than most into his days – balancing his research with his work as a physician. “I have a vision of why I went into medicine,” he said. “My vision is to help patients. I can help them with my clinical skills or through research. That’s what I do. Vision without passion doesn’t work. I have passion for what I do. “My first priority is my patients. If I’m doing something now in research and one of my patients calls me, if a mom calls me and says her kid is sick, I drop everything and I go see the patient.” His passion will now flow into CATS, which has a proven track record in critical medical research. There are 159 clinical studies currently underway at CATS, including close to 30 COVID-19-related studies, Ghishan said. Seven UArizona colleges,

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including medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, are involved in CATS research studies. That involves 26 departments within those colleges. In addition, some national pharmaceutical companies pay for the center’s use. As medical director, one of Ghishan’s responsibilities is to decide which projects move forward at CATS. “Let’s say someone says I want to do a study on kidney disease, they come to us and give us a protocol,” Ghishan said. “We look at the protocol and we decide, yes, this is safe. They have done studies in the lab on animal models. I review it. I make sure that it’s safe.” When a research project is approved, CATS assigns a principal investigator to the project and offers the necessary facilities for continuing research that might involve trials on patients who come to the center for treatment, mostly on an outpatient basis. Ghishan is familiar with the competitive nature of funding CATS research, in which research from within the campus is funded by dollars raised by the

researcher and subsidized by the university when needed. To compete for millions in private dollars from investors in the research or the company doing the research – for instance, at press time, Pfizer was close to putting a COVID-19 vaccine on the market – CATS must have everything the research project needs. That’s Ghishan’s job. “They want easy access. They want professional people running the place. They want to know that we are able to recruit patients for their study. They have monitoring systems,” Ghishan said. “If you don’t do a good job with them, they can pull the study.” That’s not likely, considering Ghishan’s success at UArizona. Most recently, the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, known as PANDA or People Acting Now Discover Answers, established a $5 million endowment in his name. “I’ve been a doctor for 53 years, so my heart and my brain belong to the university.” Biz

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WOMEN WHO LEAD

Cindy Jordan CEO Pyx Health

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BizENTREPRENEUR

Startup Steward

Entrepreneur Cindy Jordan Tackles Loneliness with New App

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Loni Nannini Cindy Jordan loves her iPad, rides a Peloton and develops healthcare technology for a living, but she doesn’t consider herself a techie. “I hire tech people, but I am a problem solver,” Jordan said. “When I was 21, I was a police officer in a suburb of Washington, D.C. I learned a lot about solving problems and seeing through stuff to get to a resolution, and that is what I do.” Others might call her a visionary, considering the CEO with an eclectic background in law enforcement, political fundraising and marketing has developed a trio of successful technology startups since arriving in Tucson 19 years ago. The entrepreneur credits the Sonoran Desert for inspiring her to be bold and to think big when she decided to make a life change after the 2000 election. “I had spent three years working hard for one outcome, and when I realized my life wasn’t going where I thought it would, I put my chihuahuas in a UHaul truck and moved to Tucson,” Jordan said. “I had been here for political events and I just fell in love with the desert and the idea that you can see everything on the horizon.” She put her keen insight to work as a lead strategist with LP&G Marketing. While working with a large healthcare client, Jordan saw the need for technology among physicians who relied on “a sticky-note system” to make specialist referrals. Jordan launched Medical Referral Source, a proprietary referral marketing tool for physicians, which was www.BizTucson.com

acquired by The Advisory Board Company for $11.5 million in 2013. Jordan continued to help grow MRS and then developed 10Fifty Safety, a wearable, discreet personal safety device for college students. Alert GPS acquired the device in 2017. Jordan had no plans to start another tech company, but her troubleshooting skills kicked in when her stepdaughter suffered a setback with bipolar disorder.

I always say that it is not rocket science to offer lonely people connectivity and companionship. It is a simple answer to a complicated problem? –

Cindy Jordan, CEO, Pyx Health

“When you suffer from a mental health, behavioral health diagnosis, you are fine until you are not, and then things can spiral quickly,” said Jordan. “When all was said and done, we asked ‘What had we missed?’ We realized that she had started to socially isolate and, literally, that she was lonely.” Further research found that little was being done nationwide to address chronic loneliness and isolation, which is linked by the National Institutes of

Health to the risk of increased mortality, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline. In 2018, Jordan launched Pyx Health (https://pyxhealth.com), an interactive, mobile app-based platform that offers a solution to loneliness and social isolation, primarily for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, especially during transitions from emergency or inpatient care. The platform has resulted in a 46% reduction in inpatient spending, according to the company website. Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, Pyx Health has experienced a 690% growth in revenue. It completed a $3.5 million Series A5 round of financing in August, bringing its total funding to $6 million. Investors include Tucson-based Bluestone Venture Partners, Holualoa Companies, Phoenix-based Arizona Founders Fund, and LifeLock co-founder and former CEO Todd Davis. In October, Pyx Health was one of 20 startups chosen for exceptional growth and potential among 300-plus companies to be featured at UNMET Arizona 20 Startups to Watch in 2020. Featured companies have garnered the highest levels of investor interest in the UNMET conferences, which is dedicated to connecting venture capitalists and startups. Jordan described Pyx Health as “the peanut butter and chocolate solution.” “It is a perfect combination of artificial intelligence and compassionate continued on page 40 >>> Winter 2021

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BizENTREPRENEUR continued from page 39 human interventions to serve patients who have historically been forgotten by technology – Medicaid and Medicare members,” Jordan said. Pyx features an animated chatbot named “Pyxir” that offers constant companionship and support, along with self-care advice, jokes and motivational tips. The app also screens for loneliness and “social determinants of health” such as daily living conditions and socioeconomic factors. When a patient’s answer shows a heightened level of loneliness, Pyx Health offers human contact from “Andys” (Authentic, Nurturing, Dependable, Your Friend), who work in the company’s compassionate call center. “What became clear after the launch was that the robot wasn’t enough: You need humans who can intervene and help solve the problems. We are care conduits and we need technology since this has to be a 24/7 solution,” said Jordan. “The best ideas are the ones that catch on and have lives of their own,” she said. “They are the very simple answers to any problems you are trying to solve. I always say that it is not rocket science to offer lonely people connectivity and companionship. It is a simple answer to a complicated problem.” She has applied that mantra to every aspect of her life and said it has influenced her decision to make Tucson home. “We have a great university here with lots of smart people – my two main developers are UA alums – and an amazing angel investment community,” she said. “I think Tucson is kind of a hidden gem. Not only can you start a company and find good people, but you can have a family. I think Tucson really does give you the opportunity to have it all.” Overall, Jordan has built her startups around a trio of down-to-earth values. “I don’t think it is worth building a business of any kind if humanity, kindness and gratitude aren’t leading the way. This is engrained in our company culture,” she said. “We are helping people in the most profoundly important times and, as people delivering that service, we need to be in the right place to accomplish that.” Biz 40 BizTucson

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From left

Katy Pradella

Executive Director, Tucson Conquistadores

Dennis Caldwell

Tournament Chair, Tucson Conquistadores

Joe Wittmann

President, Tucson Conquistadores

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BizSPORTS

PGA Tour Champions’ Cologuard Classic Meet New Executive Director of Tucson Conquistadores

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Steve Rivera It was about 35 years ago when Katy Pradella’s father advised her that golf would be a big part of her life. After all, she grew up in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where golf courses were plentiful. “We were fortunate to have golf courses we could walk to,” said Pradella. “Dad only allowed us to carry around a 5-iron, a 7-iron and a putter.” She became a high school golfer and the sport has since stayed in her blood. It has now brought her to a spot she never imagined – as the new executive director of the Tucson Conquistadores, the venerable group of business and community leaders that hosts the PGA’s Cologuard Classic at the Omni Tucson National Resort, which is planned for February. Pradella, 42, was recently named to the position, replacing longtime director Judy McDermott, who became executive director of First Tee Tucson, a youth develop-

ment organization introducing the game of golf and its values to kids and teens. “What drew me to Tucson was the Conquistadores,” she said. “This group of guys are some of the best guys I’ve ever met in my life with their message of giving back to youth and sports. The volunteers I work with here are some of the best I’ve ever worked with in any event in the PGA Tour. That’s saying a lot. They have early days and late nights.” Pradella knows of what she speaks, given her work ethic and extensive background in golf. The Georgetown graduate grew up knowing Matt Kuchar’s family in Florida and knows many PGA champion players and those on the regular tour. She has worked at places and for people some only dream of. In 2003, she started at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma,

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Ticket Packages

BizSPORTS

2021 Cologuard Classic Event Details By Steve Rivera The Tucson Conquistadores will be thinking out of the tee box this year for the Cologuard Classic. It has no choice but to as it gets ready for the event that brings the Tucson community much golf joy as well as great financial payback (although this year it’s unclear what that will be). The rethinking comes because of the Covid-19 pandemic, something the event avoided last year when fans flocked to Omni Tucson National Resort to watch Bernhard Langer win the event over three days. “It’s a challenging year, that’s for sure,” said Dennis Caldwell, the Cologuard Classic’s tournament chair. Figure that: there will be no band (usually reserved for a big-name on a Saturday night) and there won’t be a big after-party on Friday. There will, however, continue to be a two-day pro-am. In 2021, it’s all about golf and that may be a great thing in as much as Ernie Els, Phil Michelson and Jim Furyk are eligible to participate. They have yet to confirm if they will play as of mid-November. And, of course, safety will be the tournament’s No. 1 priority. “That’s not only for our fans and player perspective but our volunteers and for all of our partners,” Caldwell said. “That’s the task at hand.” The PGA Champions will play a big part because of their protocols. Players will be COVID tested before they are allowed to play. There 44 BizTucson

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will be thermal checks, signage reminders and sanitizing stations for players and fans. For the past few months, the Tucson Conquistadores have met nearly every day to get ready for the event that typically brings in more than 40,000 spectators to watch the PGA Champions Tour. The biggest difference will be that there will be no general admission tickets available this year. It will all be corporate sales. Limited occupancy will be enforced. Caldwell estimated attendance will be anywhere from 2,500 to 2,700 fans daily. The main venues will have reserved tables and will be served drinks and food. “Things are changing from a food perspective,” he said. Ingress and egress will be key for numerous locations. There will be $500 tickets for two people, which will allow for a VIP experience. Those tickets are capped at 1,000 tickets per day for designated areas. Corporate partners will have a certain number of allocated tickets for their clients. “An extensive amount of thought has gone into all this,” said Joe Wittman, Conquistadores president. “We’re working with Pima County in making sure it’s going to happen and that it’s going to happen safely. “This is still something for the community and it’s still going to be fun and something you will want to be at.” Biz

Murphy Porch “Partial Shade” 4-Pack – $5,250 Four Murphy Porch tickets per day, Friday-Sunday Each Murphy Porch Suite ticket allows access to the Conquistador Club Two Preferred parking passes per day, Friday-Sunday   Founder’s Club 4-Pack (designated tables) – $4,200 Four Founders Club tickets per day, Friday-Sunday Each Founders Club ticket allows access to the Conquistador Club Two Preferred parking passes per day, Friday-Sunday   Founder’s Club 2-Pack (observation deck) – $2,100 Two Founders Club tickets per day, Friday-Sunday Each Founders Club ticket allows access to the Conquistador Club One Preferred parking pass per day, Friday-Sunday    Conquistador Club 2-Pack – $500 Two Conquistador Club tickets per day, Friday-Sunday One Preferred parking pass per day, Friday-Sunday  There will be $500 tickets for two people, which will allow for a VIP experience. Those tickets are capped at 1,000 tickets per day for designated areas.

At a Glance What: Cologuard Classic PGA Tour Championship Event When: Feb. 21-28 Feb. 21 – Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk Feb. 24-25 – Jose Cuervo Pro Am Feb. 26-28 – Cologuard Classic Where: Omni Tucson National Resort 2727 W. Club Drive Details: www.cologuardclassic.com


We’re extremely excited to have Katy on board as our new executive director. Her experience – a track record of successfully managing PGA Tour events – is unmatched. Joe Wittmann President Tucson Conquistadores –

continued from page 43 Calif., working her way up from answering phones and recruiting volunteers to working with title sponsors, eventually gaining experience in every area of the event. “I worked doing whatever I could to help in any way,” she recalled. She proved to be a particularly good communicator and was especially successful in managing and accommodating clients. That’s when – and where – Pradella truly caught the golfing bug, even if it had been in her blood all along. In 2009, when the PGA told her “she had outgrown her role,” she moved on to the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. “They kept saying there was this ambassador of the event named Jerry West,” she said, laughing. “I had recognized his name. The person who recommended me said, ‘Of course you do.’ ” Yes, it was that Jerry West, the former Los Angeles Lakers great turned NBA executive. “He was such a great influence on me,” she said. Pradella was the tournament manager there for seven years before moving on to the Invesco QQQ Championship, where she stayed for four years. “Without (all that) I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. Today, she in one of only four women to lead a PGA Champions event. Pradella also holds the title of tournament director for the Cologuard Classic. “It’s one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “I’m so excited for the opportunity in so many ways. I’ve worked my way up from the bottom, so I’m prepared for this. I’m very proud of where I’ve worked and where I’ve been. I’m glad that the Tucson Conquistadores were excited to see me for who I am and have given me the opportunity.” Last year, she was invited to participate in the Cologuard Classic in an advisory role, “and that sealed the deal” on her deciding to join the team earlier this year. “We’re extremely excited to have Katy on board as our new executive director,” said Joe Wittman, president of the Tucson Conquistadores. “Her experience – a track record of successfully managing PGA Tour events – is unmatched. Since she’s been here, she’s been an amazing addition. She has tremendous enthusiasm and is diligent. She will be a fantastic asset to the Conquistadores.”

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Joann Sweasy

Director University of Arizona Cancer Center

Ginny Clements

Community Leader & Philanthropist

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PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

From left


BizPHILANTHROPY

Breast Cancer Survivor Launches Her Legacy Ginny Clements Gives $8.5 Million to Fund Research Institute By Mary Minor Davis In advance of the 65th anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis, Tucson businesswoman Ginny Clements has given $8.5 million to the University of Arizona Cancer Center. The gift establishes an endowment for the Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer Research Institute and will fund a new endowed director’s chair, two professorships, startup packages for those professors and lab renovations, the UArizona Cancer Center announced in a statement. “I’m hoping that this institute will find several cures,” Clements said. “The UA Cancer Center has the No. 1 center with investigator-initiated breast cancer trials in the market.” “This incredibly generous gift will help produce bold research and provide the best breast cancer care to our patients,” said Joann Sweasy, UArizona Cancer Center director. “Breast cancer is an extraordinarily complex set of diseases, and we plan to recruit the finest clinician-scientists, basic scientists and top experts in breast cancer research so they can work together at our center. This collaborative approach will lead to novel discoveries and cutting-edge treatments that will have a direct and positive impact for patients across Arizona and well beyond.” Clements was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 15 in 1956. At that time, treatment was invasive. She underwent a radical mastectomy, removing the breast, chest muscles and lymph nodes under the arm. She was devastated, and while many people knew about her cancer, it was rarely spoken about in public. With the support of family and close friends, she got involved in school www.BizTucson.com

activities such as cheerleading and high school theater, which helped her move on with her life. At age 25, she met her husband, Bill Clements. They married in 1966, moved to Phoenix to help his father with a beer and distilled spirits business and then moved to Tucson in 1974 to start Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. in Tucson and five areas throughout Arizona, distributing Anheuser-Busch, Inc.’s products. Bill died in 1995 from lung cancer – on the same day Ginny went for surgery to repair damage from seven reconstructive surgeries caused by the massive tissue extraction from her mastectomy.

This incredibly generous gift will help produce bold research and provide the best breast cancer care to our patients.

Joann Sweasy Director University of Arizona Cancer Center –

Clements went on to run Golden Eagle Distributors through growth and financial success until her retirement in 2003. Her children, Kimberly and Christopher, ran the business until it was sold to Hensley Beverage Company in 2016. Clements has made numerous gifts to the UArizona Cancer Center. On the 50th anniversary of her diagnosis in 2006, she publicly spoke of her can-

cer experience for the first time when she announced the Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer and Research Fund, established through the UA Foundation. To date, this fund has raised more than $1.6 million and has been instrumental in providing the center’s researchers with critical resources to initiate original investigations and expedite critical research. It has also led to testing promising medicines and therapeutic approaches in clinical trials designed to improve patient care. Clements has served on the center’s advisory board. John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the UA Foundation, said Clements’ gifts have opened many opportunities to help cancer patients. “Ginny’s giving has truly changed the University of Arizona’s capacity to serve. I’m gratified to know her name will forever be associated with this leading-edge institute and with this cause so close to her heart,” said Roczniak. “I’ve been thinking about this for the last year,” Clements said. “Since I got breast cancer at such a young age, I’ve always wanted to leave a legacy for those who are still suffering from breast cancer and those who have survived. I’m grateful I have the means to provide this gift.” “My hope is that people, not only from the state of Arizona, but from other parts of the country, will want to make a donation to this institute, which will make such a difference to the research, but also donations in honor or in memory of someone.” If you would like to donate to the Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer Research Institute, please go to: www.give.uafoundation.org/cancer-center. Winter 2021

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From left: Sarah Brown Smallhouse, President of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations; Greg Wilson, Dean of PCC Applied Technology; Lee Lambert, Chancellor, Pima Community College;

Historic $2.5 Million Gift for Pima Community College Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation Boosts School’s Tech Training By Tom Leyde Pima Community College is embracing the largest gift it has received in its 51-year history. In October, the Pima Community College Foundation received $2.5 million from the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation to support the college’s Center of Excellence in Applied Technology. “The (Brown) family feels that sup48 BizTucson

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porting these foundation institutions in our community is one of the best ways we can execute the legacy of the company…,” said Sarah Brown Smallhouse, president of the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. That company is the Burr-Brown Research Corporation, started by Smallhouse’s father, Thomas R. Brown, in his garage and built into a world-renowned

semiconductor firm. Burr-Brown, established with partner Page Burr in 1956, produced, designed, manufactured and marketed high-performance analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits used in electronic signal processing. It was purchased in 2000 by Texas Instruments for $7.6 billion. Smallhouse, who leads the foundation with sister Mary Brown Bernal, www.BizTucson.com


BizPHILANTHROPY

Demion Clinco, Chair of the PCC Governing Board, and Marcy Euler, President of the Pima Foundation

We’re just so grateful to the foundation for their commitment to the future of the college. $2.5 million will make a significant difference. said PCC was instrumental in providing training for the corporation’s line workers. She said Chancellor Lee Lambert has been highly successful in helping to provide competent and skilled workers for technical jobs here. “We feel this is a great opportunity for us to jump in and reinforce what he is trying to do,” Smallhouse said. “We, at this point in time, have a good leader at Pima. This creates an opportunity for us to make an outsized gift to create an outsized gift to our community.” “We’re just so grateful to the foundawww.BizTucson.com

Lee Lambert, Chancellor, Pima Community College tion for their commitment to the future of the college,” said Lambert. “$2.5 million will make a significant difference.” Lambert said there are more than 175,000 low-wage earners in the Tucson area and half of them are people of color. This emphasizes the importance of having educational programs for high-demand worker training to upskill the labor force, “to strengthen what we already have or bring on something new and get us started.” Lambert is the driving force behind PCC’s educational master plan that is

creating facilities to help provide skilled workers for the future of Tucson businesses. The result is the establishment of the Centers of Excellence. “For me, the Center for Excellence is as much a mindset as a place,” he said. “We want to be best in class, and to be best in class, we’re going to try to do industry standards.” PCC is currently building two new buildings at its downtown Tucson campus to house its new and existing technicontinued on page 50 >>> Winter 2021

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS


BizPHILANTHROPY

continued from page 49 cal programs. An automotive technology building is nearing completion, said Marcy Euler, president of the Pima Foundation, which raises money for the college. Groundbreaking for an advanced manufacturing and applied technology building will take place in early 2021, Euler said. The $2.5 million gift will help achieve many things, including funding two endowed faculty chairs, one in aviation and one in advanced manufacturing. Greg Wilson, dean of PCC Applied Technology, is working on how and when the money will be spent, Euler said. At the October gift presentation, he said, “We work very closely with our industry and workforce partners because we want to understand what they need now and what they will need in the future. Our employers need students who are prepared to walk into their jobs, their workshops, their floors and be successful from day one. Thanks to this gift we can provide even more opportunities for them.” More specifically, the gift will allow for:

• More professional development and regular training in innovation and technological advancement for Pima’s faculty members.

• More opportunities and training for students in the col-

lege’s advanced manufacturing and automation programs, including machining, welding and computer-generated design.

• Purchasing

critical training equipment, including cyberphysical systems that incorporate networking, smart manufacturing and sensor and data analysis equipment. These systems are found in smart grids, autonomous vehicle systems, medical monitoring systems, industrial control systems, robotics and aviation. Purchasing a 3D printing program and a flight and maintenance repair program for drones.

Demion Clinco, a member of the PCC Governing Board, said the economic recovery from COVID-19 will be difficult, but the $2.5 million gift will aid in Tucson’s recovery. “This funding will help these centers (of excellence) in that recovery and will help our community lead the way in many areas of Arizona,” he said. PCC also got another gift of sorts after the 2020 election in November, when voters approved Proposition 481. The move fixes an outdated expenditure limit that governed how much money could be spent per student at the college in certain areas. PCC had been handcuffed, based on a per-student spending amount set in 1979, but now has more flexibility to spend tax-based revenues the college has already collected. “One of the challenges was getting people to understand that just because more money would be available to Pima, didn’t mean there would be a tax increase,” said former Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who helped champion the cause. The additional funds will help PCC acquire new equipment and programs for the Center of Excellence for Applied Technology, boost student services and increase the amount of people who can be trained for the region’s future workforce.

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Dr. Cwiak at Outreach Dental

A Model of Dental Health $100,000 Grant, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, Helps El Rio Health By Rodney Campbell A program that started as a pilot is developing into a model for health clinics that want to provide better dental care for children in underserved families. In January 2020, El Rio Health received a two-year grant for $100,000 from the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation to place in five of its clinics, a dental hygienist team that provides dental screenings, fluoride varnish treatments and oral-health education. The program will expand to seven clinics next year. The pilot program started in 2015 in the waiting rooms of El Rio’s pediatric clinics. There, a single dental hygienist would informally talk with parents about the importance of dental health as they waited for their kids’ other medical appointments. “We found a lot of parents didn’t understand the connection of oral to medical health,” said Brenda Goldsmith, executive director of the El Rio Founda52 BizTucson

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tion. “Whatever we can do to encourage early oral health is a win for children.” During the visit, the children received a dental screening and pre-fluoride varnish treatment, along with a Delta Dental Smile Bag that included a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and education materials. The partnership helped provide services to more than 6,000 children last year who otherwise might not have had proper dental care. “Moving the team into the pediatric clinic as an extension of the visit was a novel idea,” Goldsmith said. “We’re changing the course of many children’s lives. This will hopefully become a model for the country.” “Dental care is often an afterthought,” said Barb Kozuh, director of community benefit for Delta Dental of Arizona. “We’re trying to figure out how to make oral health important to families. If your mouth is healthy, the rest of your body can be healthier.”

Pairing dental and medical in one visit makes life more convenient for parents and prevents small issues from growing. When the hygienist sees a problem, the patient can be referred to a dentist on site. “Children don’t speak up when they’re in pain,” Goldsmith said. “They don’t want to worry Mommy and then, all of a sudden, they’re in an emergency room with an abscess that needs surgery. We’re helping families overcome those hurdles.” Founded in 1997, the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation is the charitable arm of Delta Dental of Arizona. Its mission is to improve oral health, particularly for underserved and uninsured groups and communities. Delta Dental provided $1.2 million in support to Arizona nonprofits in 2020. Delta also gave El Rio Health $50,000 for COVID-19 emergency support.

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PHOTO: COURTESY EL RIO HEALTH

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Amy Draper

Owner Armory Park Inn 54 BizTucson

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BizDOWNTOWN

rmory Park Inn History Meets Modern Luxury By Romi Carrell Wittman When the pandemic shut down virtually the entire U.S., Armory Park Inn owner Amy Draper knew she had an advantage: a place steeped in history, yet thoroughly modern. Located in the heart of Tucson’s vibrant and historic downtown district, the Armory Park Inn was once a stagecoach stop near Tucson’s armory, back when the area was not much more than a walled military settlement. Built in 1875, the inn is among the oldest structures in the area. With 22-inch-thick adobe walls and 18-foot-high ceilings adorned with saguaro ribs, the inn features a traditional zaguan layout, with a center hall that runs from the front door to the back of the building. The design is both beautiful and practical, providing a means of air circulation in the years before electricity and air conditioning. Today, the Armory Park Inn stands as a gorgeous, living example of pre-railroad, Sonoran Transitional architecture. While the inn is historic, it features thoroughly modern amenities. COVID-19-cautious travelers will appreciate the inn’s contactless check-in procedures, not to mention its seven sumptuously ap-

PHOTOS: COURTESY ARMORY PARK INN

pointed rooms, its full network connectivity and its environmentally conscious solar power. “People are looking for smaller hotels,” Draper said, referring to the new normal of traveling during the pandemic. “We offer a completely contactless experience with electronic keypads on both the front door and our guest rooms. We send guests a code and they let themselves in. They don’t have to interact with anyone if they don’t want to.” Further protecting guests, each room features its own self-contained air conditioning unit. In addition, all surfaces are sanitized several times a day and guests are required to wear masks. “People have been lovely,” Draper said. “They’ve been understanding and cooperative.” The inn is appointed with carefully curated vintage and custom furniture and each guest room honors an Arizona pioneer who helped shape the state we know today. One such figure is Estevan Ochoa, the first Mexican mayor of Tucson. He later served in the Arizona Legislature and introduced a bill to create the first public schools continued on page 56 >>>

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BizDOWNTOWN continued from page 55 in the state. Isabella Greenway, famed politician, entrepreneur, philanthropist and creator of the iconic Arizona Inn, is honored in another room. Peter R. Brady is honored in yet another room. Brady, a successful businessman who served in the Territorial Legislature, was the sheriff of Pinal County and started Arizona’s first mining company. Brady also happens to be Draper’s great-greatgrandfather. She commissioned custom portraits that depict each pioneer’s likeness as well as their story and achievements. “We hope our guests get a sense of our history as well as what we offer today,” she said. “We want guests to fall in love with Tucson.” An eighth generation Tucsonan, Draper has a deep appreciation of Tucson’s history and its unique culture. When the inn, which previously was a

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private residence, went on the market some years back, Draper was immediately struck by the history within its walls. “I thought of how many stories

have taken place here. It’s really incredible,” she said. “I was hooked.” The inn is a short walk or drive from a host of fun activities and destinations,

like the University of Arizona, The Loop cycling path, museums, art galleries and some renowned restaurants that helped Tucson become the first American city to be named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Draper said her guests come from all parts, but the vast majority have driven here. “We’ve seen several guests who were driving across country,” she said. “It’s been really fun hearing about their journeys.” “Amazing things are going on downtown currently and that’s a huge help,” Draper said. She credits people such as Carlotta Flores, owner of the El Charro family of restaurants; Sally Kane, owner of The Coronet, and the Rio Nuevo board for helping to create a thriving city center. “I’m so proud of Tucson,” she said. “I want to give a nod to those in the past as well as those in the present.” Biz

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Majid Arabshahi

(right)

Founder Rug Gallery

Mitra Shahi

(left)

PHOTOS BY BRENT G. MATHIS

Interior Design & Construction Management

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BizENTREPRENEUR

A Showroom of Possibility

Rug Gallery’s New Location Offers Interior Design, Remodeling Services By Christy Krueger Majid Arabshahi recalls with pride his simple beginnings when he traversed the country selling rugs from the trunk of his car. Eventually he opened Rug Gallery in the Williams Center, where it remained for 20 years. Today, Rug Gallery is one of the largest rug companies in Arizona and serves Southern Arizona from its 6,500-square-foot showroom in the La Encantada outdoor mall in the Catalina Foothills. Rug Gallery’s new location has brought it more visibility than its most recent location on River Road. “The traffic here is a million times better,” Arabshahi said. “People come here for lunch and walking. They bring visitors to La Encantada, and the hotels bring guests here on shuttles. We see all types of clients – from Seattle to New York. There’s a lot more exposure.” Rug Gallery moved to La Encantada in December 2019. The increased showroom space has allowed Arabshahi to make major changes. “We’ve been able to carry more merchandise and changed the style of rugs. Our clients have a more expanded taste,” he said. “We carry an excellent selection of modern and contemporary. I also have a lot of Southwestern and traditional designs, as well as antique rugs.” Rugs aren’t the only merchandise at Rug Gallery. Last summer, Arabshahi’s sister, Mitra Shahi, joined the business,

bringing with her more than 20 years of interior design and construction management experience. Previously, Shahi owned a design showroom in Los Angeles, where she worked on multimillion-dollar projects for clients across the globe. Shahi operates out of an in-store 3,000-square-foot showroom filled with a full spectrum of finishes and design elements. “Mitra is humble,” Arabshahi said. “She’s a designer and construction manager, and she knows what she’s doing.” Shahi added, “We’re turnkey, ranging from remodeling a bathroom or kitchen to building a 15,000-square-foot house. I manage everything. I work with the architect to help design the space, we get permits, and I send plans to engineers and ask where we can save money. I manage the job site and order plumbing fixtures, cabinets, accessories, furniture and, of course, include rugs.” Rug Gallery also features a 300square-foot space where other designers can bring clients to select finishes. This gives local designers more flexibility since, as Shahi noted, many designers in Tucson take their clients to Scottsdale. “Here, they have access to quality brands – from sinks to tile, carpet and furniture. And we have a conference room so they can bring clients and put orders in through us. If someone comes in to buy a rug and needs help, we’ll help them pick a rug and we work to-

gether. We’ll do a whole package,” she said, adding that the service is free. Shahi says she doesn’t have a particular style. “I’m not doing everything the same for all clients. I listen to them and work with how they see their home. We make it happen together.” Earlier this year, Rug Gallery closed its doors for two months due to the pandemic, but business has rebounded well. “Business has been fantastic since we re-opened,” Arabshahi said. “We go by the regulations. We have masks, gloves, sanitizer, and because our space is so big, social distancing is easy.” Shahi thinks the stay-at-home trend is good for Rug Gallery. “If you have an old kitchen at home, you see what you can do. At the start (of the pandemic), people were nervous about doing things. Then they decided this is part of life and life can’t stop. Our construction part of the business has been extremely busy.” Arabshahi and his sister believe the future of their business is very promising. “I think it’ll be fantastic because of the selection and quality of rugs and furniture, and our service is unmatchable in Tucson,” he said. “My goal,” Shahi said, “is to keep our business local and tell designers that instead of driving two hours to Scottsdale, come here and we’ll provide all the resources so they can spend their dollars locally.”

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BizCONSTRUCTION

N E W

T O

M A R K E T

Project: Daybreak Distribution Center Location: 6360 S. Tucson Blvd. Owner: Daybreak Industrial Contractor: N/A Architect: Seaver Franks Architects Completion Date: August 2021 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Located near Tucson International Airport, this planned 76,225-square-foot warehouse/distribution center will include up to four bays, ESFR sprinklers and 30-foot-high dock and grade loading clearance.

Project: College of Veterinary Medicine Oro Valley Renovation Location: 10900 N. Stallard Place Owner: University of Arizona Contractor: Lloyd Construction Architect: GLHN Architects and Engineers Completion Date: August 2020 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: Renovations were completed at the college to provide student support/administrative facilities and a wellness center.

Project: Pima Joint Technical Education District Innovative Learning Center at The Bridges Location: 3300 S. Park Ave. Owner: Joint venture between Bourn Companies and BFL Ventures; capital lease to JTED Contractor: BFL Construction Architect: WSM Architects Completion Date: August 2020 Construction Cost: $14 million Project Description: This 50,000-square-foot facility provides classrooms for culinary arts, mechatronics, robotics, aviation, healthcare and 3-D animation.

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BizCONSTRUCTION

N E W

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M A R K E T

Project: The Gallery Location: 127 S. Fifth Ave. Owner: Urban Ventures Contractor: Sundt Construction Architect: SBBL Architecture + Planning Completion Date: Fall 2021 Construction Cost: N/A Project Description: With 96 one-bedroom and studio apartments, the seven-story building project will include an amenity deck, on-site parking, bicycle parking and an activity center.

Project: Community Food Bank Location: 3003 S. Country Club Road Owner: Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Contractor: MW Morrissey Construction Architect: WSM Completion Date: December 2020 Construction Cost: $1.7 million Project Description: Tenant improvements were done in the renovation and modification of the existing warehouse cold storage and production area, plus the addition of a training room.

Project: St. Mary’s Medical Pavilion Location: 1707 W. St. Mary’s Road Owner: PMB Contractor: Barker Contracting Architect: Swaim Associates Architects Completion Date: January 2021 Construction Cost: $19.5 million Project Description: Within walking distance to St. Mary’s Hospital and its ancillary buildings, this Class A medical building has physician opportunities available.

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BizMUSIC

HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival Organizers Plan Outdoor, Streaming Performances

David Grusin & Lee Ritenour

As a result of COVID-19’s disruption to the music world, the Tucson Jazz Festival was able to book several highly acclaimed acts for its shortened event. A new format to meet the challenges of safely creating the festival might add some benefit for future editions. Grammy Award-winner Pacific Mambo Orchestra with its Latin big band sounds, bassist and composer Marcus Miller, and guitarist Lee Ritenour with pianist and producer Dave Grusin are among the performers in eight concerts that will be staged March 20 and 21. The other performers are vocalist Nayo Jones, neo-funk band Ghost-Note, guitarist Cory Wong with keyboardist Cody Fry, Swedish band Dirty Loops and Alabamabased St. Paul & The Broken Bones. All are making debut appearances at the jazz festival presented by HSL Properties. “Everyone on our list is brand new to Tucson except St. Paul & The Broken Bones,” said Andrew Birgensmith, the festival’s artistic director. That rock & roll and soul band performed at the Rialto Theatre in 2019. It was easier than usual to book acts because of the dearth of performance offers to artists. “Since there’s nothing competing with us right now, it was an easy offer-andconfirmation process,” Birgensmith said. Festival organizers are working with Pima

County officials to make sure they are meeting public health requirements. If the festival has to reduce its offerings or cancel, the artists already have committed to performing in 2022. This seventh edition will be outdoors for the first time, presenting four acts each day at downtown’s Armory Park. Tickets to attend will be limited to maintain distance requirements, but streaming options will be available. “Streaming allows us to sell another ticket level,” Birgensmith said. The hope, he added, was that it would make up for some of the expected revenue from ticket sales to attend live. The online presentations also might reach a broader audience. “We feel that now, we just opened the festival up not only to the rest of the country, but to the world,” he added. Fans from Sweden to Seattle can see their favorite local bands, getting a feel for what the festival is all about. As for moving outdoors, Birgensmith said it’s a natural change given the season to which this year’s festival has moved. The previous festival events ran indoors over two weeks in January. “I think an outdoor jazz festival makes sense,” he said. “I just think this – and with the streaming – will expose more people to this great little festival. It would be nice to really make it a destination festival.” Biz

HSL PROPERTIES TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21, starting at 1 p.m.

(520) 762-6260, tucsonjazzfestival.org Saturday, March 20 1 3 5 7

p.m, Nayo Jones p.m., Ghost-Note p.m., Cory Wong with special guest Cody Fry p.m., Dirty Loops

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL

By Elena Acoba

The Nayo Jones Experience

Marcus Miller

Sunday, March 21 1 p.m., Pacific Mambo Orchestra 3 p.m., Marcus Miller 5 p.m., Dave Grusin + Lee Ritenour 7 p.m., St. Paul & the Broken Bones Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave. Tickets $95-$275 for reserved seats, one or two days $75 for one-day general admission, $125 for two-day $40 for one-day live streaming, $75 for two-day People can register to buy tickets, essentially getting in line to pay for tickets once they are released.


SPECIAL REPORT 2021

Lee Lambert

Diane Quihuis

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Michael Crow

Omar Mireles

Marc Cameron

Danette Bewley

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Butler

Dr. Chad Whelan

Wesley D. Kremer

Joe Snell

David G. Hutchens

Judy Rich

CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE LEADS THE WAY

Bill Rodewald Mayor Regina Romero

Sandra Watson Lisa Lovallo

Ian McDowell

www.BizTucson.com

David Adame

Dr. Robert C. Robbins

Fletcher McCusker

Sharon Bronson

Fletcher Mike McCusker Ménard

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READY FOR NEW HORIZONS

Sun Corridor Inc. Forges Ahead with Economic Recovery Plan By Jay Gonzales Years of economic development momentum and collaboration in the Tucson region are paying off in ways no one could have predicted in the throes of a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 has crippled economies for nearly a year creating uncertainty for families, businesses and our future. Yet, Tucson finds itself in a better position than most for a post-COVID recovery that could set a path for a robust and resilient economic future. At least that’s what local economic officials believe, and they’re not sitting around waiting for something good to happen. They are seizing on what they see as an opportunity. From a strategic standpoint, Sun Corridor Inc. has formed a committee of the region’s most prominent business leaders that is deep into developing a recovery and resiliency plan. The team has identified five focus areas: company recruitment, workforce development/ training, shovel-ready real estate and infrastructure, talent recruitment, and tourism recovery. And in a position of strength, business and government leadership seems to be unified. “I remember decisions that were made by this community to keep busi68 BizTucson

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ness out. I remember some of the second guessing. I don’t hear that today,” said Judy Rich, the new board chair at Sun Corridor Inc. and CEO of TMC HealthCare. “I hear healthy debate, but I hear consensus if it’s good for the community.” That will be crucial when the recovery and resiliency plan is complete, said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. “What I think helps is it’s a pretty diverse group that is putting this together,” Snell said. “There should be buyin from the region’s top leaders. There shouldn’t be any rocks thrown at it.” The recovery and resiliency committee was formed in the summer in light of promising economic rankings, including a spring Moody’s Analytics report that listed the Tucson region as one of the top 10 communities poised to quickly recover post-COVID-19 and high marks from a site selectors group that aids businesses and industry in corporate location selection. The first step was to identify focus areas, and it came up with the five. After identifying the five focus areas, the committee’s 21 members under Chair Steve Eggen, a retired CFO from Raytheon Missile Systems, have formed

working groups that are developing specific action items for each area. Those groups have begun bringing information through presentations to the entire committee. The timeline is for presentations to be done by the end of the year or early next year, with an action plan to be launched late first quarter or early second. Admittedly, much work remains, Snell said. While the region is making a good impression on several fronts – most notably in talent development – some long-standing, underlying issues and perceptions must be addressed. “We still have some challenges if we’re going to come out of this and remain strong after COVID,” Snell said. “We still are fighting some perception issues even though we’ve gained some ground. The perceptions of Southern Arizona are still moderate as a good place to do business. Some of that is a lack of awareness. “We need more resources to effectively tell our story out there.” Foremost, Eggen said, is how to best position Southern Arizona post-pandemic. “We’ve got to be thinking something different about how this all is going to be playing out,” Eggen said. “We have a www.BizTucson.com


BizECONOMY

community that has some opportunities as a result of this. There are some things here that have a stronger appeal than riding a subway packed with people.” Improve Roads The most visible challenge within the committee’s focus areas that must be addressed, Snell said, is the familiar issue of the region’s roads, where improvement and progress are slow. “In the latest perception study where we touched the nation’s largest site selectors, they basically said, ‘You’ve come a long way. You’ve made progress in improving your market position since 2006, but you absolutely have got to figure out the road issue.’ ” The road issues include maintaining and developing everything from neighborhood streets to major arteries. “The roads are in disarray. They’re not up to snuff with the competition,” Snell said. “It’s time to get creative and act with tenacity to address our roads.” Attract and Develop Talent Despite the roads, there have been significant gains in other long-held perceptions about Tucson as a place for business – most notably developing talent for the high-end businesses and industries eyeing the city. www.BizTucson.com

Snell credits the University of Arizona, Pima Community College and Arizona State University for turning the tide in the region, giving businesses confidence that if they come here, the talent will be here to fill their jobs, even calling UArizona a “talent factory.”

From an economic development perspective, this is the work that’s going to continue to grow us economically as a community.

– Judy Rich Board Chair, Sun Corridor Inc. & CEO, TMC HealthCare

“The No. 1 driver for companies is still the whole talent equation,” Snell said. “Back in 2006, 2007, we really were seen as a place that had major questions and whether businesses could find the talent here. “What we’ve seen is a sea change where we’re believing that in certain in-

dustries, we can win that talent game, that we have the ability to produce the talented workforce.” That’s especially true in aerospace, one of the industries that communities covet because of the potential for highpaying, high-tech jobs with upward mobility and innovation. Ten to 15 years ago, the Tucson region wasn’t really in play. Today, PCC is developing centers of excellence, and UArizona is focused on innovation in a number of high-tech areas, including aerospace and biosciences. Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert heads the subcommittee addressing workforce development and training. In his presentation to the full Recovery and Resiliency Committee, he said some of the short-term solutions as we emerge from the pandemic are centered around “reskilling” and “upskilling.” The challenge will be providing those opportunities when most communication, meetings and classes are virtual, or the learning is a hybrid of virtual and in-person. Through its recent development of its Centers of Excellence, Lambert said Pima is already in position to be a driver continued on page 70 >>> Winter 2021 > > > BizTucson 69


BizECONOMY continued from page 69 in the area of talent development. “It requires that the college be wellconnected and really be listening and engaging on all fronts,” Lambert said. “I think that’s what you’ve seen happening at Pima. We have been engaging with so many of our partners to understand their needs and then align our resources to their needs. I think that’s partly why you’re seeing Pima emerging in a way that is more supportive of the needs of the community.” Dr. Robert C. Robbins, UArizona’s president since June 2017, said the university is attracting top talent among its faculty, which leads to sending top graduates into the job market. “There are people from all over the world who seek to come to the university to advance their academic mission and careers,” Robbins said. “Our professors are the ones that these mentees will gravitate toward. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some of the most talented faculty in the world, especially around astronomy, around optical science, the life sciences.” Robbins’ leadership and UArizona’s visibility on the COVID-19 front at the outset of the pandemic – with testing and protocols – have also drawn a huge spotlight on the region’s growing capability in the biosciences. Thriving Bioscience “The science that we’ve known the University of Arizona for is still a major driver for this economy and probably will be more important going into the future,” Snell said. “I think the visibility that Dr. Robbins has created has definitely helped us because, remember, one of the things we’ve always struggled with is living in the shadow of Phoenix. Getting that visibility out there is important.” Robbins said “it wasn’t intentional” that UArizona catapulted to the forefront of the biosciences industry, rather it was a circumstance of the pandemic and the university’s robust COVID-19 response. Robbins, a physician heading up a major research university, was frequently on national television and UArizona developed its own COVID-19 tests. The highly visible former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona was put in charge of UArizona’s incident command system. “No. 1, we knew from the start that taking this seriously was going to be im70 BizTucson

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portant,” Robbins said. “No. 2 is that we had to control our own destiny because we were going to be at the end of the supply chain. So getting our own tests, producing our own test kits, getting an organized incident command system with Dr. Carmona leading that, we made all the right moves early on.” It was an added boost to the momentum already being generated in the region’s biosciences industry. In midNovember, Sun Corridor Inc. released a summary of advances in creating jobs and gaining funding for the biosciences sector: u Arizona added 9,696 bioscience industry jobs between 2016-2018, an 8.3% growth rate, faster than the state’s overall job growth rate of 6.2%. u

From 2017-2018, wages for bioscience workers in Arizona increased by 4.9%. The national average increase was 4.1%.

u

In 2018, bioscience annual wages were nearly $18,000 above Arizona’s private-sector average.

u

From 2016-2018, bioscience research and development at Arizona’s universities grew by 25%, more than twice the national rate of 12%.

Going forward, Eggen said, the recovery and resiliency plan must be realistic with easy-to-measure results that economic development leaders can include in their pitch to boost Tucson as the nation recovers. “We’re not going to be able to solve everything. We’re not going to be able to attack everything we need to,” Eggen said. “We need to focus on those areas where we think we can be the most successful. “Really, those areas kind of play into where Sun Corridor Inc.’s emphasis has been. You talk about aerospace and defense as a category, biotech, logistics, mining and energy. Those are focus areas that have certainly been at the forefront for Sun Corridor Inc.” Reviving Tourism An additional recovery category for the committee is one of the region’s longtime, baseline industries – tourism. Brent DeRaad, president and CEO of Visit Tucson, was the first to present to the full committee on the crucial

need for a recovery plan. Tourism is one of the hardest hit areas with acclaimed restaurants closing and travel and hotel business down significantly. “It’s really gratifying to us to have tourism included in the overall recovery package for Tucson,” DeRaad said. “Just in 2019, the amount of spending by visitors was $2.6 billion – with a ‘B.’ When you look at that and then look at the impacts on tourism and travel from COVID-19, it’s really been substantial. We need to see tourism and travel get back to where it was in 2019.” With tourism and travel business down about 35%, tourism jobs are also taking a hit. Visit Tucson had already established a tourism recovery plan. But now, with tourism as a component of the overall Sun Corridor Inc. recovery plan, the work can be seamless. “One of the biggest things we’ve seen is that great places to live are great places to visit, and it’s really incumbent upon us to make sure that we’re partnering with Sun Corridor Inc. and with the business community as a whole to make Tucson a stronger place,” he said. “We need better roads. How do we enhance attractions? How do we get people visiting restaurants and keep these restaurants alive? How do we make Tucson better?” Rich, as chair of Sun Corridor Inc. and TMC’s CEO, has a unique perspective every day on the region’s ability to recover. The nurse of 17 years is not only managing a hospital during a pandemic and its priorities, she’s also helping to lead the economic development strategy. “From an economic development perspective, this is the work that’s going to continue to grow us economically as a community,” she said. “I really believe that it’s good work. It’s solid work. And it’s going to reap great benefits. “If you’re talking about life after COVID, I would say that’s a little different. I have a different perspective on that. I think that the people who live here have a lot to do with how that life is going to look. If we continue to wear masks, if we sign up for a vaccine once it’s ready for us, if we respect the rules of social distancing and we follow those guidelines, I think this community can get back very rapidly next year. If we drag our feet on adopting the science that’s going to be out there for us, then I think it could drag on for a long, long time.”

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BizECONOMY

New Runway for Tucson International Airport $327 Million Project to Add Safety, Reliability Projects like the $327 million Tucson International Airport runway safety enhancement project don’t come around very often. Over the next five years, the massive Airfield Safety Enhancement Project will demolish an existing runway and relocate and reconstruct a new parallel runway to meet FAA updated safety and standards, with an added benefit of greater efficiency for incoming and outgoing aircraft. The project, which broke ground in October, will generate an estimated 2,700 construction and trade jobs using a number of contractors. It comes at a time of intense economic pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “It would be very easy to say we had 72 BizTucson

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better stop or we should not move forward because of the uncertainty in the world,” said Danette Bewley, president and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, which operates the airport system that includes Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield. Bewley was named president in December 2019 after serving as VP of operations and COO since 2012. “We said no, we have the federal funding set up and we need to get this project done no matter what to ensure airfield safety. In addition, those are people’s jobs down there. Those are people’s lives. They have rent, they have mortgages, they have families to feed, and we take that seriously as a community partner.”

The project has been through the planning, environmental and design stages for 10 years, which Bewley said is standard for a project like this to come to fruition, considering the funding challenges and the federal approvals needed for most airport infrastructure projects. “Since the majority of our funds are coming from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), we have a lot of different hoops to jump through,” Bewley said. “This was a complicated project because of the size and scale and scope of it. It involved a lot of other players outside of the TAA.” The FAA, Arizona Department of Transportation, Pima County, the City of Tucson, the U.S. Air Force, the Ariwww.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

By Jay Gonzales


This will make us a more reliable airport for our commercial and business partners.

zona Air National Guard, airlines that use the airport, and Raytheon Missiles & Defense were all part of the planning and coordination process, Bewley said. “All of these partners had to come together with the FAA to identify the safety and standards measures, the ‘why’ of the project, and discuss how these changes impact all of the stakeholders and other government agencies,” Bewley said. The primary “why” is safety, said Mike Smejkal, VP of planning and engineering for Tucson Airport Authority. The centerpiece of the project is a new parallel runway, which will be the same size as the existing main runway used by all aircraft that land and take off from the airport. There will be new taxiways and other safety enhancements in the overall construction which is bro-

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– Mike Smejkal VP of Planning & Engineering Tucson Airport Authority

ken down into four projects. The new parallel runway means that when an issue disrupts traffic on one runway – for instance, when a landing aircraft gets a flat tire or has other trouble – the other runway will be available to prevent interruption and allow for the continuity of operation. In addition, one safety issue at TUS has been “runway incursions,” when an aircraft mistakenly taxis onto a runway or lands on a runway or the wrong runway without FAA authorization, which causes a safety issue and disruption to the normal operation of the airfield. “Most of the time the incidents are fairly minor, but you can have an aircraft blow a tire and the runway would be down for 30 or 40 minutes,” Smejkal said. “It always seems to happen on a Friday afternoon and during the heavy

departure block. The new parallel runway included in the ASE Project will make TUS a safer and more reliable airport for our commercial and business operators.” Smejkal said there are 30 companies or organizations that are part of the construction and design team. Opportunity for work is being spread out across the community, bringing welcome jobs and business for the next five years. “Once we start bidding more of the work, that contractor and subcontractor community will get even larger,” Smejkal said. “I think by the time this project is done, probably every contractor that does any sort of heavy civil work will have worked on a portion of this project.”

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. LEADERSHIP

CHAIR OF THE BOARD PRESIDENT & CEO TMC HEALTHCARE JUDY

RICH

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

We had just completed our goals for the year when COVID-19 was initially reported in the United States. Much of that work was put aside as we re-engineered our work processes and our facility to prepare for the first surge. COVID-19’s impact was a paradox in that as a health crisis, one would expect greater use of the healthcare system. Instead, while we saw more patients coming to us with a new, deadly contagion, we also saw our business cut in half when the governor halted “elective” procedures. Fewer patients meant less need for bedside staff, support staff, administrative staff and onward. To share the burden, most staff reduced hours yet we worked hard to maintain the hours and paychecks for our lower earning staff. We also worked to ensure staff had what they needed, and not just personal protective equipment (PPE). We opened a shop to provide free toilet paper, baby formula, cereal, paper towels and other essential items. Since most schools have been virtual, many staff elected to be home to help their kids. We’re working on ways we can help, including exploring a learning center on campus. Also, our nurses, therapists, doctors and clinical staff are burning out. I worry about the long-term impacts of this stress. It’s made harder when this epidemic is fueled by a lack of compliance with simple, effective measures. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic? 

One of the long-term impacts is the realization that a large part of our society doesn’t believe in science or evidence-based decision-making and is susceptible to misinformation. Death rates are soaring as a result. I’m not sure how we crack this

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nut, but stronger STEM education and critical thinking skills are essential. While the promise of vaccines is encouraging, the latest Gallup survey showed only 58% of the country is willing to get vaccinated. I also worry about the long-term impact on our doctors, nurses and other clinical staff. The toll is significant and I fear, many will leave health care for careers in other industries. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

As businesses learned telecommuting was a viable alternative to cubicles, I expect we’ll see telecommuters choosing to live in Tucson. Our downtown is a very attractive place to live with reasonable cost of housing and a vibrant environment. Our biosciences sector has been part of the COVID-19 vaccine development and I see many promising new regional startups. I think as soon as it’s safe, people are going to travel again and increased tourism will help the region. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

I love the outdoors here – and that’s been a great opportunity for us during this pandemic. It’s so easy to find a comfortable patio – whether at a restaurant or right in my backyard. I’m not from the desert, but it didn’t take long to fall in love with the mountains, the majestic saguaros, the birds and wildlife! I have to say, though, it’s more about the people. Tucson has friendly, smart and kind people committed to their community – and their community hospital!

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. LEADERSHIP

SECRETARY/TREASURER MANAGING DIRECTOR MIRAMAR VENTURES

DAVID

SMALLHOUSE

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

We have not experienced any major pivots besides those I think the majority of the local, regional and national business communities have had to make – more flexible work schedules to accommodate work from home, virtual meetings and no business travel. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Post COVID-19, I believe many of the pivots I previously mentioned will continue in some form for efficiency plus productivity reasons. Specifically, fewer traditional in-person meetings, less business travel and if  appropriate, the continuance of working away from traditional workplaces. Personally, I look forward to fewer virtual meetings with a gradual return to more in-person meetings. I know some organizations are also preparing for hybrid meetings going forward, where participants will have better options of attending remotely even if others attend in-person.   From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

Community College also plays a significant contributing role in creating and retraining our workforce talent pool. Our beautiful desert and open space, outdoor recreational opportunities, affordable living and high quality of life are significant drivers in attracting new companies and workers who no longer need to be working at the mother ship. Our friendly cultural ties and proximity to Mexico, with our strategic logistic and transportation assets, make us very attractive for post-COVID-19 international trade and reshoring activities.   What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson is an engaging, open and friendly community with many of the diverse cultural amenities normally available only in larger metropolitan communities. Our proximity to Mexico, the fabulous food, music and theater scene, our awesome outdoor recreation and the mountains all really impact my quality of life. The influence of the University of Arizona cannot be overstated. Not only is it an economic driver and provider of top talent, but the community members that the university attracts make us a rich place to make friends. UArizona is a huge differentiator when compared to our peer regional communities. Tucson has a special vibe and soul which is so hard to come by.

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Tucson and Southern Arizona are already being recognized as potential winners, post-COVID-19, by many industry experts including CBRE, Moody’s and the Site Selectors Guild, to name a few. We are a midsize metropolitan community with a great university that provides world-class research, innovation and supplies talent to local companies/industry. Pima

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. LEADERSHIP

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR PRESIDENT & CEO FORTIS INC. DAVID G.

HUTCHENS

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

deliver power, and I think many of those folks will continue working remotely at least some of the time – including me.

We quickly developed health, safety and sanitation protocols to allow our crews, system controllers and other critical employees to continue working together in person to keep energy flowing. We prioritized work on system improvements, shored up our supply chain and developed contingency plans to ensure the continued reliability of our service. Then, like a lot of employers, we transitioned the rest of our workforce out of our offices and into remote work, usually from their homes. Our Information Services team did a great job getting everyone set up with the tools we’ve used to remain productive throughout this pandemic. We also made sure to take care of our customers by providing increased support for bill payment assistance and COVID-19 relief efforts through our community partners.

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

We’ve seen a shift in electric consumption, with residential customers using more energy at the same time many businesses have pared back. Other utilities have seen similar trends, but the impact here has been more significant because so many people became so much more dependent on the HVAC units in their homes, particularly during this year’s hotter-than-usual weather. While we expect some reversion to previous patterns once a vaccine becomes widely available, many businesses have learned their employees can be very productive while working from home. We expect remote work will continue long after the pandemic has eased – including for us at Tucson Electric Power. We have many employees who are not directly involved in operating or maintaining the systems we use to generate and 78 BizTucson

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Our community is really the perfect size to respond to this kind of challenge. We’re large enough to provide employers with a diverse, flexible and well-educated workforce without being so large that our transportation or infrastructure challenges will become overwhelming. Our warm climate will allow us to continue spending time outdoors through the winter, helping to reduce the increased risk of viral transmission that most communities face while forced inside during a cold winter. We also benefit from strong collaboration among the leaders of our local governments and the business community, helping us develop timely responses to emerging challenges. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

The weather is high on my list, of course. It’s the main reason I came here from Minnesota to attend the University of Arizona. I stayed because of all the wonderful people I’ve met here – including of course, my wife, Cathy, who I met while we were both engineering students at UArizona. We’ve raised two wonderful daughters here, and I really enjoy spending time with them and enjoying Tucson’s friendly, college-town atmosphere. I also appreciate our community’s environmental focus, which is why I’m proud that TEP is so committed to clean energy, electric vehicles and community partnerships that protect our unique desert ecosystem.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. LEADERSHIP

PRESIDENT & CEO SUN CORRIDOR INC.

JOE

SNELL

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

The economic development business relies on strong relationships with site selectors and traditionally those relationships have been built in person. The standard site selection process is a difficult task amid COVID-19: the ability to physically visit a location. So, we have quickly shifted our mindset to virtual resources to maintain and build company and site selector relationships. With severely limited travel, we have become experts with Zoom and other virtual methods in order to stay top of mind in a very competitive landscape.  These technical skills and the addition of other virtual tools in our arsenal allow us to continue aggressively promoting Tucson and Southern Arizona as a business center. We have been successful in this shift. Case in point – we recently landed a new company, Sandvik, which conducted their entire site selection process virtually.  They signed the lease without ever having stepped foot in Tucson.  Sandvik officials  told us that finding partners like Sun Corridor Inc. that can connect with you virtually while advocating for you physically is invaluable in the new operating environment for growing businesses. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

There are several key trends emerging in economic development today. First, with the global disruption of supply chain caused by the pandemic, there is a growing trend of manufacturers considering near- and on-shoring their operations. Our proximity to Mexico and transportation infrastructure - via rail, air and highways with access to ports in LA – are huge benefits.  We believe virtual tours and limited business travel will turn from short-term trends to long-term trends, as com80 BizTucson

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panies are finding that it’s cost-effective and still productive. However, there is Zoom fatigue. Ultimately, I believe it’ll be a mix. Face-to-face still matters. I believe that companies will not authorize travel at the same levels they did when the pandemic is behind us. I think virtual meetings are here to stay. People will be allowed to work from home at least partially. This will change the types of buildings we need in the future. It is important for us to create an ecosystem to support the remote worker. Incentives that support people working from home and creating communities with high quality of life will change economic development.   From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

First, we had a strong economic foundation prior to the pandemic and that means those contributing factors, with or without pandemic, still exist and will speed our return to a healthy economy.  Economies that will be successful in the post-pandemic environment are those that offer a high quality pool of talent, innovative and effective workforce training and connected cost-effective real estate offerings. Site selectors and real estate consultants agree and predict that the most dynamic recoveries may bypass traditional powerhouses and take place in areas that were poised for growth in 2020 before COVID-19. Southern Arizona’s size, population density, wide open spaces and proximity to universities are our greatest strengths.  What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

I enjoy the outdoor amenities that Southern Arizona has to offer. From golfing to hiking to simply sitting by the pool.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT & CEO CHICANOS POR LA CAUSA

DAVID

ADAME

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

Chicanos Por La Causa operates in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and California, impacting almost 380,000 lives annually and many more indirectly. Our management team immediately went into pandemic mode. Office workers who could work from home have been doing so since March. Staff whose jobs required they meet with the public were advised of the latest COVID-19 preventative practices. The safety of our nearly 1,000 employees and the public is our top priority. We immediately realized it was not “business as usual” and addressed the resulting economic challenges. We hustled to get PPP loans to keep small businesses open. We serviced more than 920 loans, saving nearly 4,000 jobs. CPLC helped families facing crisis-related emergencies through rent and utility help and assistance to fight homelessness. We provided refurbished computers for students forced to learn at home, helping to address the digital divide. We provided basic needs and food boxes, including holiday bags. We have been involved with messaging prevention, testing, tracking and soon, helping out with vaccination distribution. In short, it was more than a “pivot.” It was more of “a full-court press” and we will continue to do so to serve the Latino community. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Most local and state COVID-19 relief efforts have come from the federal government. We know there is still political wrangling in Washington, D.C., with eviction moratoriums and supplemental unemployment insurance soon to expire. For an alarming number of people, the initial $1,200 individual stimulus check sent early in the pandemic is gone – as are any personal emergency funds. Many people have lost their 82 BizTucson

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jobs or seen their hours greatly reduced. In addition to many Latinos suffering from COVID-19, many families may soon face eviction – possibly their first such housing emergency. As a society, how can we help both landlord and tenant? We await the next relief package and the one after that. Perhaps 40% or more Arizonans who contracted the virus are Latino with a much higher death rate than the general population, yet the ensuing economic crisis will be felt for months and perhaps years by our most vulnerable. We must think both short-term and long-term. We must recover as a unified nation in an equitable way. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

One of the great advantages of our state, particularly our region, is its wide open space. Our ability to remain socially distant and leverage the research, technological and medical expertise of the University of Arizona, Banner Health and others is extremely advantageous. The robust multicultural community and sunny climate make us highly attractive to many industries globally.    What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

We are so fortunate here in Arizona to have such natural beauty. I particularly enjoy the Sonoran Desert landscape, mountains, history and culture. My family and I consider Tucson our second home. We have a house here, two of our daughters attend UArizona and Pima Community College and our son lives and works here. My CPLC Familia has been actively serving the greater Tucson community for 40 years! When I’m here, without a doubt, I am home. 

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT & CEO TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY

DANETTE

BEWLEY

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

Tucson International Airport (TUS) was on track to serve 4 million passengers in 2020, but instead welcomed only hundreds a day during the pandemic’s early stages. When the bottom finally came, it was far worse than anyone imagined. Airlines cut flights, concessions closed and the terminal became a ghost town. Our top priorities have always been safety, security and customer service, and the pandemic has crystalized those. We started the TUS CARES campaign and invested over a quarter of a million dollars in safety and cleaning enhancements. The measures included compliance with all CDC guidelines, social distancing messaging and signage throughout the airport and on shuttle busses, sanitizer dispensers, ultra violet lights to sanitize escalator and moving walkway handrails and elevator toe-kick buttons. We upgraded cleaning products and HVAC filters and mandated face coverings. We applied for and achieved the coveted gold standard accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council – only the 5th airport in the world to achieve it. We remain focused on best practices and innovative ideas and have made internal adjustments to closely manage and control spending. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Before the pandemic, U.S. airlines were experiencing a “Golden Age” of sorts, with U.S. airlines seeing an average 2.5 million passengers each day. Air travel between the U.S. and foreign countries reached an all-time high with nearly 80 million foreign visitors coming to the U.S. in 2019. The pandemic has since forced several airlines to restructure or cease operations. The first nine months of 2020 reflected operating reve-

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nues down about 60%. The industry is facing a material toll on U.S. airline employment – some reports indicate a reduction between March and September of 90,000 airline employees. The rate of layoffs and furloughs is projected to continue unless additional federal relief is provided. Through the CARES Act, the nations’ airports were granted $10 billion through a FAA grant – the share that TUS and RYN is eligible for is $22.6 million. TAA is using CARES Act funds to offset revenue losses, assist airlines through reduced rent and the waiver of certain minimum annual guarantees with concessionaires. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

The pandemic has created pent-up demand for travel, and leisure travelers are seeking open spaces and a desirable climate. Tucson is well-positioned to attract these travelers with wonderful hotels and resorts and an outdoor atmosphere for those seeking exercise and scenic beauty. TUS and the airlines serving TUS are taking notice. Airlines are adding flights and increasing capacity at a faster rate than many other airports. Though TUS is nowhere near pre-pandemic flight levels, the percentage of returning passengers is outpacing airports in California and in the Northeast. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson is a lovely place to live because of the friendly people, climate and scenic beauty, the diverse culture, amazing art galleries and restaurants, and, of course, the outdoor lifestyle. It is also a place that people want to visit for the same reasons, while staying at our fine hotels and five-star resorts. Tucson is a region that has something for everyone.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 3 PIMA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

SHARON

BRONSON

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

As the regional public health agency, Pima County has the sole responsibility for implementing public health actions during the pandemic. This caused a substantial shift in resources and personnel to our public health agency.  Our agency has been responsible for all testing, contract tracing and advisories, as well as, regulatory actions to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As a political subdivision of the state, Pima County cannot enact measures to prevent COVID-19 without the consent of the state.  This is the primary reason the county enacted a mask-in-public mandate days after a governor’s executive order allowed such. The county is a public service organization and as such, delivers services through our essential workers.  Even during the governor’s stay at home order, law enforcement continued to operate, the Pima County Adult Detention Center could not shut down. Transportation employees continued to maintain the roads and our wastewater employees continued to provide essential utility services.  Most of our workforce would be classified as essential employees. One of the bigger challenges was continuing to provide these services, while also providing equipment, processes and procedures that minimized the risk of COVID-19 for our employees. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the US and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

It is likely the long-term impacts will include increased remote or online working and a substantial shift in retail activity to online services.

From your business vantage point, what qualities put Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

The factors that will lead to a quicker economic recovery are related to how well the county has handled the pandemic, whether our actions are viewed by others as responsible, proactive and responsive to the medical needs of those infected with COVID-19. Pima County has received high marks for our COVID-19 response and earned a reputation as a proactive public health agency. In addition, our population size as a medium metropolitan area makes us attractive for relocations of employers and individuals from much larger areas as we have few natural disasters that affect the workforce and productivity.  Our primary threats are from fire and floods.  Fires occur mostly within the federal public lands surrounding Tucson and floods have been effectively managed through continued flood control investments. Finally, we have continued to plan and prepare for economic expansion through refining and advancing our Economic Development Master Plan in concert with Sun Corridor Inc. to train the workforce, provide shovel-ready locations for new or expanding employers and we continue to make directed infrastructure investment. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

We live and work in an ecological wonderland that I’m proud to have played a leading role in protecting over the past 20 years.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE DOD LIAISON

COMMANDER 162ND WING MORRIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE BRIGADIER GENERAL

JEFFREY L.

BUTLER

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

This pandemic caught us a bit off guard like the rest of the nation. Fortunately, our airmen are quite resilient and highly trainable, so we learned how to fight to this disease like any other opposing force. We carried two teams from April through August with maximum telework where applicable and working separate 14-day shifts in order to naturally segregate and prevent spread.  We also established 100% medical screening early in the pandemic.  In Arizona, our leader of the National Guard (Maj. Gen Michael McGuire) is a “Super TAG,” which means he also leads DEMA (Department of Emergency and Military Affairs).  As such, he is responsible to the citizens of Arizona in community, state and federal capacities.  McGuire’s proactive approach provided real-time information and a smart way forward in aligning with current policy and accelerated our learning how to combat this disease.  Since September, we have transitioned back to our full-time force, still maximizing telework and have been able to continue mission.  We have learned a lot with respect to this pandemic and have active measures in place to test and quickly contact trace when needed.  This has prevented this disease from stopping our ability to execute mission.  I’m proud of our citizen airmen and their resolve to prevail during this pandemic. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

steep virtual learning curve, but overall I would say the military has continued to execute mission in a fairly robust manner. We are still deploying on time and meeting requirements.  Much of this is due to the targeted nature of this particular virus.  Our airmen do not typically experience heavy symptoms if infected. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

We have the right climate to inhibit this disease, for one. The military footprint here is also a strong point with DavisMonthan and Morris installations bringing the city of Tucson usable revenue as well as patriotism in the local community.  Beyond that, people love living and working in Tucson. All you have to do is step outside anytime from October to May. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

What’s not to like? Tucson is a great place to raise a family and I have seven kids.  It’s also a fun college town with a downtown that will rival anything this nation has to offer.  My family and I also enjoy anything outdoors and Tucson offers the world in outdoor climate enjoyment.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

VICE PRESIDENT CATERPILLAR RESOURCE INDUSTRIES SALES, SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY DIVISION MARC

CAMERON

2021

As we welcome you to Tucson, describe your background in your industry, and what the immediate future holds?

I started my career as a civil engineer at Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., a large construction and engineering organization. I was given lots of opportunities in that role and it eventually led me to mining. After Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., I spent 18 years at Rio Tinto Plc, where I held various leadership roles, including as president and CEO for Diavik Diamond Mines and the Managing Director for Kennecott Utah Copper. Recently, I led the development and execution of the end-of-life strategy for Rio’s North American legacy assets. My wife, Charlie, and I plus our three sons Wyatt, Ryder, and Brooks have relocated to Tucson after I was named the VP of Caterpillar Inc. I am responsible for the Resource Industries Sales, Services and Technology Division, which includes all aspects of the go-to-market strategy for surface and underground mining, as well as services and technology. As I transition into this role and Tucson, I plan to do a lot of listening over the next few months to determine how I can best serve my team and my community. What are your first impressions of the region?

The Tucson area is booming with opportunity! It’s a diverse and welcoming community complete with top-notch universities and a great quality of life. It offers both the small-town feel and big-town amenities, which is something you can’t get in a lot of cities. As an avid outdoorsman, my family and I are looking forward to further exploring Tucson’s beautiful landscape and experiencing its unique culture. The people have been extremely welcoming, and I am genuinely impressed with the hospitality and kindness I’ve received. Thank you.

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What corporate goals do you have here in Southern Arizona?

One of our priorities is to partner with local schools, colleges, and universities to develop future talent. Providing students with exposure to mining as a whole and all facets of the industry, such as engineering, technology, business, machining, and welding to name a few, will provide an opportunity for future careers. It is essential to enriching our diverse talent pipeline so that we can continue to fill critical roles. In addition to developing local talent, we want to also contribute to the region’s success in attracting top talent and industries to Southern Arizona.  Tucson is a place where people want to live and work. We have a collective interest to ensure our community’s continued growth and economic success. Mining has a long history here and we are grateful to be part of the community in Southern Arizona. What are you looking forward to, both personally and professionally, in moving to Tucson?

As a new resident of Tucson, I am looking forward to meeting all the people both at Caterpillar and within the community. Relationship building and networking are very important to me – especially right now with so many people working virtually. It is critical to help us build and grow, and to our mental health and safety. I am also looking forward to working with other Tucson business leaders on the greatest challenges impacting our community.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

MICHAEL

CROW

2021

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

The key pivot points for us relative to the pandemic have been to accelerate innovation and to maintain steady focus. Luckily, we’ve been able to do both and we will be a stronger institution after COVID-19 than we were prior to the pandemic. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic? 

The long-term impact of the pandemic is that those who are technologically agile, highly innovative and adaptive, and capable of culture change will survive and prosper.   Others who choose to wait for a return to what was pre-pandemic will struggle with its artifacts as well as the rapidly accelerating rate of technological, physical and social change. 

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

The Tucson metro area, in the Sun Corridor, possesses many positive qualities, including its physical location in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This, plus its open culture and drive for success make Tucson a fabulous place to start or build a business, particularly in those areas where Arizona has a natural advantage, like industries related to health outcomes, sustainability and the environment, and innovation. If we can further accentuate these advantages it will be to everyone’s benefit. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

The attributes of Tucson that I personally enjoy the most are the culture, the uniqueness of the city itself, the natural physical beauty and the diversity of its population. All of these things give Tucson a unique edge in building its future.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT RAYTHEON MISSILES & DEFENSE

WESLEY D.

KREMER

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

We learned early on how to streamline our processes to get capabilities into our customers’ hands. One of the first things we did, along with our government customers, was shift most of our workforce to remote working. Before the pandemic, we were highly reliant on in-person meetings to drive action, which required extensive lead time to coordinate, plus the time and cost associated with traveling. By rapidly adopting remote work, we’re wiping out years of practices that didn’t always serve us. For the most part, productivity levels haven’t fallen off since this transition, and in many ways, I feel we are more efficient and nimble now.   What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

One thing COVID-19 has allowed us to do is refocus on digitally transforming our business, which will take years off the DoD acquisition process and allow us to deliver solutions that outpace threats sooner. In the digital environment, our customers can see the impacts of decisions in real time, and when issues arise, they can mitigate immediately to avoid rework and delays. This will have a transformative impact, enabling data-driven decision making, which saves time, reduces costs and shortens delivery timelines in ways we’ve never seen before. Our entire organization will be solving problems by using technology enablers like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, DevSecOps, Cloud Computing and 5G to not just understand but predict behavior. We see this in pockets now, but a full digital transformation will allow us to consistently apply these enablers in meaningful ways across not just our business but our entire industry. 94 BizTucson

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From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

We all know the ongoing impact of the pandemic has hit the commercial aerospace industry especially hard. But, on the defense side, where Raytheon Missiles & Defense is primarily focused, business remains strong. We are continuing to hire and expand our global footprint. And as the largest private employer in the region, that’s good news for Tucson. The city’s business-friendly regulatory environment and investment in workforce training and education make it very attractive to industry, and that enables businesses like RMD to attract topnotch talent to the region. It was also good news to read that Forbes magazine listed Tucson as one of the 10 U.S. cities best positioned to recover from coronavirus. The city is well known throughout our industry as an attractive and vibrant place for aerospace professionals who also look for flexibility, space, career progression and income growth. This should give Tucson a recovery advantage over many other cities across the country.   What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson is a beautiful place with rich culture, friendly people, great food and even better weather. We have 350 days of sunshine a year and can enjoy the outdoors more often than most other parts of the country. From hiking and rock climbing, cycling on The Loop, to attending a cultural event downtown or cheering on the Wildcats at a home game, there is so much activity and adventure this city has to offer. With its small town feel and charm, it’s a great place to raise a family.

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2021


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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

CHANCELLOR PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

LEE

LAMBERT

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

Pima Community College suspended face-to-face operations in early March and redesigned nearly 2,000 classes and many student services to deliver effective education and support to students when classes resumed, almost exclusively online. We retooled multiple systems to quickly relieve the pandemic’s economic strain on students. PCC received about $9.9 million in CARES Act funding. In April, PCC began to distribute $7.1 million to students, based on need and the number of credit-hours taken in the spring semester. Our Governing Board approved spending up to $2.6 million in those funds to close the digital divide that inhibits success of many students. PCC has purchased nearly 2,100 laptops and tablets and 250 WiFi hotspots. More than 1,000 students were approved devices on loan as of late November and more than 3,550 students received degrees and/or certificates during 2020 graduation – a number comparable to years past. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Higher education is recognizing its role in addressing the broad economic inequality revealed by the pandemic. The pandemic has also accelerated trends already taking hold in higher education, such as the pivot to online delivery of education and support. One such trend has been students’ increasing interest in short-term credentials. PCC is part of the Community College Growth Engine Fund that seeks to build “micropathways” – two or more credentials that can be packaged together to quickly connect learners to employment.

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From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

The Tucson region’s economy should rebound because elected officials, business and government leaders recognize that an educated workforce is a critical driver of short-term recovery and long-term revitalization. Area businesses understand that a well-trained workforce drawn from all races, ethnicities and gender identities will enhance their own competitiveness as well as Tucson’s overall economy. Appreciation of education and diversity has been evident throughout the pandemic. On Election Day, 70 percent of Pima County voters approved Proposition 481, which enables PCC to use more of the revenues it has collected to enhance student experiences. PCC also became part of significant public-private partnerships to prepare workers to rebound economically and to thrive in a world being transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Artificial Intelligence, mobile technology, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are key enablers of change in our region. Notable among these initiatives is the Reskilling and Recovery Network, a 20-state collaboration focused on helping women and communities of color who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and a partnership with Amazon Web Services and the Arizona Commerce Authority to increase access to cloud computing education. PCC has aided the region’s economic revitalization by developing Centers of Excellence – cutting-edge spaces created with the needs and expectations of industry in Applied Technology, Cybersecurity/Information Technology and other key sectors. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

I love the natural beauty of the area. The sunsets and the mountains are incredible to view and experience. The people are warm and friendly and care deeply about their community.. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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2021


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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

MARKET VP SOUTHERN ARIZONA COX COMMUNICATIONS

LISA

LOVALLO

2021

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

At Cox, we understand the critical role our products and services play in keeping families, businesses and schools functioning. During this pandemic, our teams have been working harder than ever to keep the community connected. We have put the safety of our employees and customers above everything else. Since March, we have been following all CDC guidelines and protocols, which has changed how we interact with customers.  PPE, masks and social distancing have temporarily changed how we work together and it has made our customer’s experience less personal.  We look forward to returning to a place where we can shake our customers hands, have lunch with colleagues and hug someone we care about.  What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

In the beginning of the pandemic, we stopped entering customers’ homes. Using new technology, new apps and common sense, our teams found ways to help customers help themselves. A customer’s ability to install our products and services without waiting days for an appointment has been a positive outcome. It is safer, it is faster and it is less expensive for everyone. It’s one example of how the pandemic created an opportunity to improve the customer experience. What is important long term is that we don’t lose the goodness that has come out of our pandemic response. We don’t want to “snap back” to the old way of doing certain things. The businesses that thrive in the future will be those that take advantage of what they learned during the pandemic. 

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

Tucson has many advantages. We have a large-enough population base to have great amenities, we have the University of Arizona driving innovation and industry, we have significant employers adding jobs and our cultural connection to Mexico makes our region unique and special. Our housing costs remain affordable, we have committed ourselves to protecting our environment and preserving our local habitat, wild spaces and open spaces. The pandemic has opened up the opportunity for a large percentage of the global workforce to work anywhere. Tucson is an attractive place for the new, virtual workforce. I think the way we handle the deployment of the vaccine will be critical to our ability to bounce back faster than other communities. We also need to be mindful about how CARES Act funds and additional stimulus dollars are applied to local needs.  If both of those things are done well, we will be in good shape in 2021.  What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

The pandemic has made me much more appreciative of my own neighborhood. Terri and I have been walking in our neighborhood almost every day since March. I have gotten to know so many of my neighbors and that has been a huge silver lining for us. Tucson has active and engaged neighborhoods.  I think that’s a strength. When neighbors know each other, help each other, care about each other and work together to make the community stronger, everyone wins. 

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

CEO UAVENTURE CAPITAL

FLETCHER

M c CUSKER

2021

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

We help commercialize University of Arizona technology. With the campus closed during the pandemic a lot of projects were delayed, labs were closed, committees on hiatus. There was no pivot for us, just delays. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

We don’t see long term impacts in the innovation, invention fields or university tech transfer. Raising capital will be more challenging, with investors taking less risk.

What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson’s food culture has been right up there with the top five cities in America and our music scene was second only to Austin, I believe. Food and music are the two most challenged activities during the COVID-19 shutdown. We have lost some of our best restaurants and the concert venues are dark. Bringing our entertainment sector back to where it was will be a huge challenge, but I am personally dedicated to both causes and convinced we will be back and better than ever. “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou.

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From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

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Tucson’s geographic location, dispersed living, cost of living and innovation/tech culture make us one of the most desirable cities post-pandemic.  

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

VP & TUCSON REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUILDING GROUP SUNDT CONSTRUCTION INC. IAN

MCDOWELL

2021

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

When the construction industry was deemed essential, we found ourselves on the leading edge of figuring out how to provide safe environments for our employees and subcontracting partners during the pandemic. We had to improvise ways to find or make items that were in short supply.  We actually wound up “manufacturing” hand sanitizer in our warehouse so we would have an adequate supply. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Construction work has been steady through the pandemic in the region, providing continued employment and new opportunities for displaced workers. Efforts by Sun Corridor Inc. have provided a new stream of employment opportunities, as well. I also think we are reaping the benefits of good momentum from companies like Caterpillar moving to town and the explosive growth downtown spurred by Rio Nuevo. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Too many to list. I love the food and the cultural offerings. I love that there is new growth blended with rich history. I love that the Arizona Bowl is the only bowl that gives all the proceeds to charity. I love that we are such a close-knit community.  I love that when my kids were younger, we would go to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum every weekend. Did I mention the weather?

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

The construction industry has been fortunate to be able to continue work during the pandemic. We are all watching to see how the airline and hospitality industries recover long term from the pandemic and how that will affect the built environment for these industries.  We are also interested to see how pandemic-induced “work from home” situations will affect office building demand and configurations in the future.  

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

GENERAL MANAGER BOMBARDIER AVIATION TUCSON SERVICE CENTER MIKE

MÉNARD

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

In the business aviation industry, safety is, and has always been, at the top of our priorities. To address the pandemic, we have added another dimension to our safety focus: viral protection for our customers, employees and business partners. Bombardier has taken prompt, decisive action to ensure that potential COVID-19 exposure and transmission is mitigated. We implemented new shift structures to minimize unnecessary contacts between employees, deployed technology for those who could work from home and implemented strict masking and enhanced sanitation protocols. Fortunately, the fundamental nature of our business didn’t have to change, but we did adapt to ensure we can continue to operate safely, preserving the health of all involved.   What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

The pandemic – with its ensuing heightened focus on safety and security – has highlighted the value of private business and personal travel. The value of in-person presence for many events has not lost its importance and will continue to be a necessity for both domestic and international business. The airline travel markets will recover in time. However, the recovery path of business aviation will be much steeper as the need for safe, efficient travel continues to increase globally. This trend has already begun even as the pandemic continues, as we all adapt to the new normal. It will only accelerate as vaccines are developed and deployed and the world rebounds. Bombardier’s business jets are now more than ever a key business tool. 

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?  

The region has a broad diversity of industries and businesses which help keep the economy balanced. The fact that area businesses remain resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic means that the region’s most valuable resource – its people – will power future growth. Every enterprise has been adversely affected by the pandemic but most Tucson businesses have adapted and continue to prosper. Area businesses have lost less ground and have less “making up” to do before they can resume growth and economic expansion.   Bombardier’s Tucson Service Center has actually grown over the past year, continuing to support local businesses. We have added personnel to all our business lines, responding to increased demand for aircraft maintenance services and supporting new aircraft deliveries across all of Bombardier’s model lineup starting with our flagship, the Global 7500.  What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson has its own hockey team – as a Canadian that should be all I need to know! However, as a new resident here, what strikes me the most – in addition to the beautiful mountain views in every direction – are the many activities and opportunities here. There is something for every season and every taste. Even through this pandemic, the eclectic restaurant scene remains vibrant. Within a couple hours’ drive, there are outdoor activities from skiing to fishing to hiking to top-rated golf facilities. The Tucson area offers all the advantages and opportunities of the big city and very few – if any – of the downsides.

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2021


SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

BOARD OF DIRECTORS & SECRETARY PIMA COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

2021

This past year, our work in the Tucson community has been defined by the pandemic and our response to it. Overwhelmingly, we have had an “all-hands-on-deck” response from the IDA’S support organizations (Community Investment Corporation, Family Housing Resources and Southern Arizona Land Trust) to meet the unforeseen needs of the community. More specifically, the Community Investment Corporation’s capacity as a fiscal agent for local government programs, partnered with Pima County to administer a $3.625 million grant to provide eviction prevention assistance to almost 1,000 county residents. With an estimated 74,000 renting households unable to make a rent payment over a three-month period, and an estimated cost of the impending eviction crisis without rent assistance interventions at over $419 million to the community, taking on this role was essential in our economic development and preservation role. The IDA has seen the current low interest rate environment reflect an increase in borrowings, including bond issues through the IDA. The low interest rates on home mortgages have meant that the use of down payment assistance programs that the IDA created, both “Pima Tucson Homebuyer Solution” and the “Single Family Mortgage Credit Certificates” have exploded, all with the goal of assisting affordable home ownership. Anyone trying to buy a home in Pima County is aware of this dynamic. However, the uncertain economic situation has also resulted in an increase in forbearances for the existing home loans. Family Housing Resources, as certified HID counseling entity, is actively involved in both foreclosure and eviction counseling, as well.

QUIHUIS

What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

The current political environment has created a great deal of uncertainty, impacting legislation, technology, government funding, fundraising and employee engagement. During this time when more services are needed from the general nonprofit industry, non-profits must also navigate through COVID-19 challenges and safety measures, mitigate uncertainty in funding sources from government entities and prepare for continued change in 2021. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

The ability of our local business leaders and local politicians to work together and quickly respond to safety measures (such as COVID-19 testing, wearing masks, social distancing, curfews, etc.) will help slow the spread of the pandemic and will improve economic recovery. However, the speed and delivery of the vaccine and approval of a new federal stimulus package for small business owners and Tucson residents is also key to our economic recovery. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

As a native of Tucson, I have come to appreciate our desert and scenic beauty. Our winter weather is often sunny and enjoyable. Our weather is why many tourists leave their snowy homes in search of some sunshine and warmer climate. It is a good time for outdoor activities. Our history and diverse culture also make Tucson a great place to live.

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In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

DIANE


SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

DR. ROBERT C.

ROBBINS

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

Nearly every aspect of our operations had to pivot. In March, our faculty and staff quickly adapted courses for remote learning, while also putting risk reduction measures in place to keep critical research labs open. The change created severe financial challenges, mitigated with a hiring freeze, pausing new construction projects, and furlough and furlough-based salary reduction programs. Led by Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general and a longtime faculty member, our reentry team worked over the summer and throughout the fall semester to implement our Test, Trace, Treat strategy and create a campus environment that would minimize the risk of viral transmission and allow us to offer in-person classes.    What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic? 

The pandemic has had a severe impact on higher education. We will emerge strong at the University of Arizona, but things are going to look different, probably for a long time. Online education was already growing, and that growth has accelerated. Online learning provides increased access to flexible, affordable, high-quality education, particularly non-traditional and underrepresented adult learners. It also allows us to continue serving international students who can no longer travel as freely. Our academic affiliation with the new, independent, Arizona non-profit, the University of Arizona Global Campus, will help extend the university’s mission to many more students.

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From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

The pandemic has demonstrated the extent to which we live in a global society, where the challenges of one community can have an impact worldwide. It also has demonstrated how Tucson and Arizona have the capacity for adaptation and problem solving necessary to lead on a global stage. We all need to work together, across the private and public sectors, across industries and disciplines. Southern Arizona’s culture of collaboration has primed us to emerge stronger than ever, if we take the public health emergency seriously and slow the spread of the virus. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

I have always loved the heat in Arizona, and the Tucson community is incredible.

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2021

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

SENIOR VP & REGIONAL MANAGER HARSCH INVESTMENT PROPERTIES

2021

The safety of our tenants, vendors and staff has been our top priority since the start of this pandemic. We then took a look at the financial impact of the pandemic across the Harsch Investment Properties portfolio, which consists of industrial, office, retail and multifamily properties, and assessed what resources our team would need to respond to issues in each product type and for each tenant individually. For our teams across all of the Harsch offices, it has been “all hands on deck,” as we work through what we need to do to keep our tenants operating safely and prepare our properties for a shift in how the public and our tenants use these physical spaces. We were looking forward to introducing our first speculative industrial project in Tucson at an incredible ribbon cutting event in March with the Mayor, City Council members and industry leaders, but that had to be delayed due to the pandemic. Our plan has always been to open a regional office in Tucson to serve our tenant base throughout Arizona. We moved forward with those plans despite the pandemic and it has been key to our success in retaining tenants and growing our footprint in the market. We’re now looking at filling the remaining vacancy at Tucson Airport Distribution Center with some amazing distribution tenants. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic? 

The most dramatic trend in the commercial real estate industry is the increased demand for warehouse and distribution space. The need for large functional buildings to accommodate e-commerce and last-mile users has exploded because of the pandemic and will likely have permanent implications going

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RODEWALD

forward. The office and retail sectors have been negatively impacted in the short term and have required individual tenant attention and cooperation, but those sectors should improve as we move toward an end to the pandemic. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

Open space and attitude. There has been a documented flight from densely built and populated cities because of the pandemic, with many companies learning they can survive and thrive outside of a downtown high rise. Employees now realize that hour-long commutes on subways or on crowded freeways are avoidable. Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, Boise and Tucson should benefit from these trends. The attitude component involves what I see as an amazing team approach in Tucson involving local government, education, industry and business leaders toward smart growth and a strong economy. Harsch Investment Properties is active in many communities on the West Coast and rarely do we see the level of cooperation among local stakeholders. Sun Corridor Inc. plays a significant role in this dynamic and they will be an important part in the recovery of the region. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Beyond the friends and business partners that I have met and worked with, I absolutely love the natural resources and outdoor opportunities available in and around Tucson. The food scene is another huge plus as are the wonderful hotels and resorts. The Arizona Inn seems like my second home.

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In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

BILL


SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

MAYOR CITY OF TUCSON

REGINA

ROMERO

2021

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

The City of Tucson immediately moved to a virtual work environment to keep all of our employees safe, while not skipping a beat in providing core services. Over the past year, our amazing city team and dedicated employees have been adjusting and re-evaluating while pivoting to serve the City of Tucson. We moved to virtual mayor and council meetings, set up mask giveaways, testing sites and virtual permit reviews. In May, to support the local economy, we launched a pilot program for businesses to temporarily extend outdoor dining areas and received approval within 72 hours. This was in addition to waiving easement and parking fees. I also asked the council to support an initiative to amend the parklet policy and permanently extend outdoor dining for businesses. Small business navigators were added to the team and have fielded almost 700 requests for assistance through October.

long-term goals. The good news is that we have momentum. In May, Moody’s Analytics ranked Tucson among the Top 10 U.S. Cities Best Positioned to Recover from the Coronavirus. In July, the Site Selectors Guild identified Tucson among top mid-sized cities for new projects. Thanks to wise financial planning by mayor and council, with support from the city manager and his financial team, the city is positioned to weather this pandemic and return even stronger. For the first time, we have the ability to set 10% of our General Fund in our Rainy Day Fund. Our city’s credit ratings improved this year once again, and we are in great standing to borrow for future needs at low interest rates, benefitting taxpayers. Finally, mayor and council made a once-in-a-generation decision to embrace historically low interest rates and sell pension obligation bonds to secure our public safety pension system. This move could save Tucsonans more than $600 million taxpayer dollars for decades to come and ensure the retirement security of our police officers and firefighters.

What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

As a region and community, we must join together to be mindful of our most vulnerable populations hardest hit during this pandemic. A multi-faceted solution by working together – the city, the county, the state, non-profit organizations and the private sector – will create a sustainable approach to address long-term impacts. From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?

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Our diversity and commitment to preserving our culture and history are among the many attributes that make Tucson unique. We are endowed with pristine landscapes and surrounded by breathtaking public lands with hundreds of hiking trails to enjoy nature and observe wildlife. Our community is environmentally grounded and has a strong ethic of conservation. We are working to beautify neighborhoods through the Tucson Million Trees Campaign and improve green infrastructure through the Green Stormwater Infrastructure program. It gives me great pleasure to serve such an environmentally conscientious community. Tucsonans are innovators and we never give up.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

PRESIDENT & CEO ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITY

2021 In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

The Arizona Commerce Authority has always served small businesses. As a result of the pandemic, we’ve substantially increased our services and programs to support them. For example, the virtual Small Business Boot Camp, which launched in April, has now hosted over 100 sessions attended by more than 7,000 small business representatives. More than 99% of all Arizona businesses are small, so their resilience and recovery are critical for the overall health of our statewide economy. Our team will maintain this high level of support, indefinitely. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic? 

Before the pandemic, Arizona led the nation in economic and population growth. Over the past year, our state has consistently ranked among the top five for economic momentum by State Policy Reports, which accounts for personal income, employment and population growth. Currently, we’re ranked No. 3 in the nation. Despite economic headwinds, the level of interest in investing in Arizona has not declined. Not only does our momentum remain strong, the projects we’re working on currently represent more jobs than roughly the same number a year ago – demonstrating the quality and size of companies looking here. Most excitingly, we’re experiencing a high degree of activity and interest here from companies in the manufacturing sector that are re-evaluating their global footprint. In fact, manufacturing projects currently make up nearly 58% of the ACA’s total pipeline. We expect many industry leaders will consider reshoring some operations and creating more regional supply chain hubs. Arizona is well-positioned to benefit from these shifts and lead the nation in advanced manufacturing growth. www.BizTucson.com

SANDRA

WATSON

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions? 

Tucson has many unique attributes that position it well. The city is experiencing incredible tech job growth. In 2019, it was ranked the No. 1 market in the nation for growing tech companies in CBRE’s Scoring Tech Talent Survey. That survey noted Tucson has seen 90% growth in tech jobs, accompanied by a 29% growth in tech wages – the highest among the survey’s top 25 cities. The University of Arizona is an incredible asset in attracting employers seeking highly skilled talent. Its selection for a $26 million National Science Foundation grant to establish the Center for Quantum Networks places Tucson at the forefront of innovation. For more evidence of Tucson’s ability to land global companies that will create high-wage jobs, look no further that Raytheon’s choice to keep the headquarters of its newly integrated missiles and defense business here. Tucson is a wonderful place to live, with affordable housing prices, vibrant arts and culture and an unmatched outdoor lifestyle. The pandemic has caused an exodus of highly skilled workers from costly markets such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York. Cities like Tucson stand to benefit greatly. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy? 

Tucson has an amazing culinary scene! I love El Charro Café and Maynard’s at the train depot is also a favorite. I also really enjoy the Pima Air & Space Museum – the history is fascinating.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE

CEO BANNER-UNIVERSITY MEDICINE TUCSON

DR. CHAD

WHELAN

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

In the pandemic’s early phase, we had to dramatically shift course and create new ways of caring for patients and their families. We were also under restrictions that markedly limited a core part of our business – taking care of people with non-COVID-19 needs. These concurrent events caused enormous financial pressure and stress. Early on, our leadership transitioned into an incident command mode, but realized we needed to learn from our frontline workers about what was working in real time.  We also learned that we needed to communicate, communicate, communicate. Over the next several months, we transformed our business so we can now safely care for large numbers of COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients. We have transitioned to more virtual visits, altered our visitor policies, changed how we provide in-person care and shifted many team members to work from home. The early pivoting we did has positioned us for continual readiness so that every day, we are forecasting capacity constraints and making adjustments. What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

Health care delivery has faced enormous changes through this pandemic. There is global concern about delays in care for non-COVID-19-related illnesses. Nationally, our frontline clinical professions, particularly nursing, are seeing a flood of retirements and transitions. The demand for traveling clinicians has also led to soaring pay rates, so nurses are choosing to travel rather than have a home base.  The loss in volume, and subsequently revenue, coupled with increased patient care costs places significant financial pressure on health care provid110 BizTucson

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ers. These stressors are being felt in the United States, locally, and particularly in rural hospitals and independent physician groups where closures may continue. We expect this will lead to increased consolidation. Still, here in Tucson and across the country, we have seen health care delivery systems partner with public health departments to better face this pandemic.  I hope we continue these partnerships and learn how to better serve our communities.   From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

Our climate and geography will be increasingly attractive for those who want to spend more time outdoors and have more room than in major cities. These same factors may allow us to better manage the delicate balance of public health to keep people safe and our community open. We have already seen this in our recruiting efforts for physician leaders over the past several months. What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?   

There are so many things about Tucson that my family and I love including the incredible diversity of people, the pride in histories and cultures of Tucson and the opportunities the University of Arizona offers. But there are two things that set Tucson apart.  First, the natural beauty we experience every day here is spectacular.  I love to watch the mountains wake up each morning, to be out on a run and catch a glimpse of wildlife or to explore a new hike into the mountains. Second, I really enjoy the people who choose to live here.  While there is great diversity in backgrounds and interests, there is a universal commitment to kindness.

Biz

www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

2021


SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mara G. Aspinall

Mara G. Aspinall

Managing Director, BlueStone Venture Partners CEO, Health Catalysts Group A $50 million venture capital fund focused on life sciences investments in the Southwestern states. BlueStone has three portfolio companies in Arizona. Serves on the board of directors of BCBS of Arizona, Abcam, Allscripts, Orasure, and Castle Biosciences. Co-founder of ASU School of Biomedical Diagnostics, the only program in the world focused entirely on the study of diagnostics. Aspinall is also the Principal Investigator in The Rockefeller Foundation / ASU grant on COVID-19 diagnostics research.   

Jean-Claude Bernard

Finance Manager – Service Center Network Bombardier Inc. Global leader in aviation and transportation headquartered in Montreal with over 52,000 employees worldwide and with production and engineering sites in over 25 countries. In fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2019, Bombardier posted revenues of $15.8 billion. Tucson facility serves the aftermarket business, servicing in-service business aircraft.  The facility is also the largest Bombardier service center in the world, providing aircraft maintenance, interior refurbishment and paint services to our worldwide customers.  Bombardier is present in Tucson since 1975 through Learjet Inc.

www.BizTucson.com

Jean-Claude Bernard

Robert Brown

Robert Brown

Senior Director of External Affairs TuSimple The world’s largest and most advanced self-driving truck company. TuSimple is developing a commercialready Level 4 (SAE) autonomous driving solution specifically designed to meet the demands of long-haul heavy-duty trucks and aims to transform the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry. The company was founded in 2015 with a mission to improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry and reached unicorn status in 2019.

Don Bourn

CEO Bourn Companies Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Tucson. Privately held real estate development and investment company, specializing in large-scale mixed-use projects, corporate office and retail properties. Completed more than 4 million square feet of projects across Tucson and the Western United States.

Don Bourn

James D. Buie President  Involta 

Award-winning national hybrid IT service provider and consulting firm. Involta helps organizations plan, manage and execute hybrid IT strategies using a broad range of services including strategic consulting, colocation, cloud computing, managed IT, cybersecurity, fiber, and network connectivity. Led the company’s expansion from a regional provider to a national brand, establishing its hybrid cloud strategy and building capabilities to better serve clients through numerous acquisitions while continuing to grow organically. 

James D. Buie

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SUN S RCORRIDOR O T C E R I D FINC. O D RBOARD AOB .CN OF I RDIRECTORS ODIRROC NUS

Jaime S. Chamberlain

Jon Dudas

Jaime S. Chamberlain

Jon Dudas

Founded in December 2004.

Founded in 1885

Brings together key stakeholders from the area to address improving Arizona’s largest port facilities, streamlining the crossing process at the Nogales ports of entry and enhancing economic development in the Nogales-Santa Cruz County region.

A land-grant university with a total enrollment of 46,932 students for Fall 2020.

Chairman Greater Nogales and Santa Cruz County Port Authority

The Mariposa Port of Entry and the Nogales port of entry system are the gateway for 13 million cars, 21 million people, 14,000 trains and 700,000 trucks representing close to $30 billion in international trade.

Amy Cohen

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Ranks in the top 20 among all U.S. public research institutions and top 35 overall nationwide with more than $687 million annually in total research activity University’s research ranks in the top 5 in astronomy and astrophysics and No. 2 in water resources worldwide (No. 1 nationally).    

Ali J. Farhang

Managing Partner Farhang & Medcoff

The industry’s most advanced end-to-end solutions to detect, track and engage threats.

Firm has offices in Tucson and Phoenix. Practices business consultation, commercial litigation, labor and employment law, and various regulatory issues. Chairman and founder of the Arizona Bowl.

Engineer/Program Manager with 30 years of experience in aerospace and defense.

Co-owner of the Tucson Sugar Skulls. Member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Assesses risk and ensures resiliency of products including missile defense systems, precision weapons, radars, command and control systems and advanced defense technologies.

Assistant Varsity Football Coach at Tucson High School.

Joe Coyle

CPA/ABV/CFF, CGMA CEO BeachFleischman

Vice President, Quality & Mission Assurance Raytheon Missiles & Defense 

Management consulting and executive search for the aerospace and healthcare fields.

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Senior VP and Chief of Staff for the University University of Arizona

Amy Cohen

Managing Director The Patrick Group

Joe Coyle

Ali J. Farhang

Coyle previously held senior executive positions with Raytheon Missile Systems, Hughes Aircraft, Loral Aerospace and Ford Motor Companies.

Co-host of the Sports Exchange, ESPN Tucson Radio 104.9FM/1490AM.

Marc D. Fleischman

Largest locally owned public accounting and consulting firm in Arizona with offices in Tucson and Phoenix. “Top 200” largest public accounting firm in the nation. Serves more than 7,000 private en-

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SUNSUN CORRIDOR CORRIDOR INC.INC. BOARD BOARD OF OF DIRECTORS DIRECTORS

Marc D. Fleischman

terprises, nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Helps clients enhance profitability, develop strategy, scale growth, save taxes, achieve compliance, improve accountability and protect wealth.

Tom Florino

Senior Manager, Public Policy Amazon Leads economic development for Amazon Studios worldwide. Supports retail operations and corporate expansion in the Western U.S. and Asian-Pacific region. Leads engagement with global emerging markets and indigenous peoples. Manages the economic development compliance team.

Sarah Frost

CEO Banner – University Medical Center Tucson  Banner – University Medical Center South  Nearly 7,000 employees providing exceptional patient care, teaching future healthcare professionals and conducting ground-breaking research.  Opened a $450 million hospital in April 2019.  Partnership between the University of Arizona and Banner allows for aligned leadership of academic research and clinical care delivery.  Banner’s 2019 economic impact in Tucson was $944 million.

Tom Florino

Sarah Frost

Edmundo M. Gamillo

Executive Director Chase Commercial Banking in Southern Arizona With 25+ years in the financial services industry, leads the unit providing banking solutions for Middle Market clients. Chase is the U.S consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase &Co. and serves nearly half of America’s households. The firm has 100+ years of history in Arizona through its predecessors Valley National Bank and Gila Valley Bank. In 2019, donated $377,000 to charities in Southern Arizona.

Michael Groeger

VP, Group Commercial & Specialty Sales Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Edmundo M. Gamillo

Committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. Offers health insurance and related services to more than 1.5 million customers with a focus on connecting people with the care they need. A not-for-profit company and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Employs more than 2,300 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson offices. Inspires health through advanced clinical programs and community outreach.

Michael Groeger

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Guy Gunther

Mary Jacobs

Guy Gunther

Mary Jacobs

Responsible for deploying and selling fiber in large and small markets across the United States.

Incorporated 1974 Population: 45,184 Median household income: $79,458

Under the CenturyLink brand, Lumen offers high speed internet, fiber, phone and TV services for residential and small business customers. CenturyLink is dedicated to empowering people through technology, both at home and work.

Oro Valley is home to global bioscience and high-tech companies.

Senior Director Mass Markets Fiber Lumen Technologies

Ryan M. Hartman

President & CEO World View Enterprises, Inc.

Ryan M. Hartman

Nancy J. Johnson

Leading the way in the emerging stratospheric economy, unlocking affordable new applications with the introduction of the un-crewed Stratollite flight vehicle. Provide on-demand, scheduled and historical aeria data and analytics from sensors deployed to the stratosphere with persistent coverage, higher resolution and increased value over traditional aerial and space imagery sources.

Town Manager Town of Oro Valley

Nancy J. Johnson CEO El Rio Health

Founded 50 years ago as a small neighborhood health center. The 20th largest health center in the nation, providing fully integrated health care for over 113,000 individuals in the Tucson community.   Offers medical, dental, behavioral health, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy and health and wellness services at their 12 locations across Tucson.  Has a $190 million budget and over 1500 employees.

Lawrence M. Hecker

Managing Partner Hecker & Pew Of Counsel, Sun Corridor Inc. Longtime Tucson attorney. 1993-2020 named among Best Lawyers in America in corporate law; mergers and acquisitions, business organizations, including LLCs and partnerships; corporate governance law, and venture capital law. Practice has been recognized among Best Law Firms in America.  

Lawrence M. Hecker

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ernie Jones

Ernie Jones

Senior Director, Customer Service Strategy and Operations CX Care Operations Comcast Corporation Leads Comcast’s National team Employee Experience and Engagement for over 2000 employees in Tucson, PA, NJ, CO and GA that provide support for residential products and services, Xfinity Mobile and bilingual Spanish-speaking employees specialize in customer service online and through social media channels. Sits on the board of directors for United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Bill Kelley

CFO Diamond Ventures Founded in 1988, the leading real estate development and investment company in Arizona. Mission-driven to provide high quality real estate investments and business ventures that create value for our partners and customers through successful collaboration, careful consideration for the community and attention to business details. As CFO, responsible for corporate financial planning and project financing.

Bill Kelley

Dr. Clinton Kuntz

Dr. Clinton Kuntz CEO MHC Healthcare

Founded in 1957. Arizona’s oldest community health center and the state’s first nonprofit community health center to integrate medical and behavioral healthcare into one facility. Serves Marana and greater Tucson in primary care, behavioral health, dental, radiology, lab, pharmacy, urgent care, women’s health and WIC. 16 health centers in the MHC Healthcare family serve more than 60,000 patients a year and employ more than 550 employees.

Steve Lace

President Tucson New Car Dealers Association VP Royal Automotive Group & Lexus of Tucson

Steve Lace

The Tucson New Car Dealers Association was established 1947 by dealers to offer support for economic development and transportation initiatives.

Robert Lamb

COO GLHN Architects & Engineers Established 1963. Employee-owned company offers services in architecture and mechanical, electrical, civil and technology engineering. 70-plus employees work in Tucson and Phoenix offices.

Robert Lamb

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

David Larson

Edmund Marquez

David Larson

in 2019 and 102,600 volunteer hours contributed by employees locally in 2019.

Ranked among Tucson’s top 10 commercial contractors.

Edmund Marquez

President BFL Construction Co.

$100 million in annual revenues. 50 FTE. In January 2018, BFL Construction Co. became part of JV Driver Group, an international construction firm headquartered in Canada. Has a Phoenix and Tucson headquarters.

Clint Mabie

Clint Mabie

President & CEO through 12/31/20 Community Foundation for Southern Arizona Created in 1980 to help connect individuals, families and businesses to the causes they care about by serving as a vital link between philanthropy and the community’s needs. In partnership with the community, CFSA has led many multisector initiatives, and with its donors, has awarded more than $200 million to nonprofits.

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Founded the agency in 1996. Southern Arizona’s largest Allstate group. Serves on the boards of Rio Nuevo, Reid Park Zoological Society, Tucson Metro Chamber, Sun Corridor Inc., and Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Chairs the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and is past-chair of the Pima Community College Foundation and Tucson Hispanic Chamber.   Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2004 Businessman of the Year and 2016 Father of the Year.

Kelle Maslyn

Executive Director of Community & Corporate Engagement, Tucson Arizona State University

Xavier Manrique

In 2008, celebrated its 150th anniversary in Arizona, dating from when the Overland Mail came to the state.

ASU is recognized globally as a topranked knowledge enterprise focused on solutions to society’s greatest challenges, advancing a better life for all. Some of these rankings include:

Service was suspended during the Civil War. Returned to Arizona in 1877 with five offices – including Phoenix and Tucson.

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Agency Principal Edmund Marquez Allstate Agencies

ASU’s nationally and internationally ranked programs prepare nextgeneration innovators while advancing pioneering research, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship and economic development.

Senior VP, Market Credit Leader, Southwest Division Wells Fargo Commercial Banking

Xavier Manrique

Kelle Maslyn

Today is Arizona’s fourth largest corporate employer. More than $7.6 million donated through 455 grants to nonprofits, schools and community organizations

#1 in the U.S. and Top 5 in the world for global impact in research, outreach and stewardship, #3 in the world for excellence in employer-student connections and #1 in the U.S. for innovation, 6 years in a row.

www.BizTucson.com


SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dennis R. Minano

Dennis R. Minano

Retired Managing Director CMM, Vice President Public Policy, Chief Environmental Officer General Motors Corporation Past Chair, Sun Corridor Inc. Sun Corridor Inc. Executive Committee

Omar Mireles

Farhad Moghimi

Executive Director Pima Association of Governments/ Regional Transportation Authority Coordinates regional planning efforts to enhance mobility, sustainability, livability and economic vitality of the region.

Omar Mireles

Programs federal, state, regional and local funding for all regional transportation investments.

Founded 1975

Manages the locally funded RTA and its 20-year, $2.1 billion regional transportation plan

President HSL Properties 

Owns and operates 38 apartment communities in Arizona, including 31 in the Tucson metro area, totaling more than 10,000 apartment homes. HSL is currently developing three apartment communities in Pima County, including The Flin in downtown Tucson. The company also owns and operates hotels and resorts, including the El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort, and The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain.

Mark Mistler

CEO – Tucson & Southern Arizona BBVA Ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. banks with 672 branches and 15 Southern Arizona branches. Benefits Southern Arizona charitable organizations through employee volunteerism and financial contributions.

Mark Mistler

Tom Murphy

Mayor Town of Sahuarita Population – 32,232 Median Household Income – $73,579 Full-time-equivalent employees – 144 Incorporated in 1994. Arizona’s fifth youngest town.

Farhad Moghimi

Focus on economic development is embodied in Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center (SAMTEC), a project that will establish a high-tech business incubator and offer opportunities to firms seeking relocation or expansion. Known for its well-maintained infrastructure, great schools, pristine neighborhoods, highly educated population and strong community spirit.

Tom Murphy

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Steve Odenkirk

Barbi Reuter

Steve Odenkirk

Executive Director, Southern Region Manager Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division of Western Alliance Bank. Member FDIC Founded in 2003. Offers a full spectrum of loan, deposit and treasury management capabilities with 10 offices in Tucson, Greater Phoenix and Flagstaff. Earned the 2018 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Phoenix Business Journal.

Jon Post

Walter Richter

Jennifer Preston

Lead Human Resources Manager Caterpillar Resource Industries Sales, Services and Technology  Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.  Tucson is home to the Tucson Mining Center.  Our Proving Grounds and Tinaja Hills Demonstration and Learning Center are located in Green Valley. 

Ranked No. 1 regional bank by S&P Global Market Intelligence for 2018 and in the Top 10 on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list from 2016 to 2019.

Barbi Reuter

Jon Post

Founded in Tucson in 1985.

Vice Mayor Town of Marana Marana native owns the 6,000-acre Post Farms and the Marana Pumpkin Patch. Crops include cotton, wheat, corn and alfalfa. Elected Marana vice mayor in 2013. Served on the board of directors for Trico Electric Co-Op, Cortaro Water Users Association and Cortaro Marana Irrigation District. Served as chairman of Marana’s Planning and Zoning Commission and was president of the Marana Junior Rodeo Association.

CEO/Principal Cushman & Wakefield|PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services Leading independently owned, full-service commercial real estate company. Licensed in Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, provides services in office, retail, industrial, medical, multifamily and land sectors.

Walter Richter

Public Affairs Administrator Southwest Gas Corporation  Founded in 1931.  Southwest Gas serves more than two million residential, commercial and industrial customers in parts of Arizona, Nevada and California.     Works with local, state and federal government officials to help create policies that result in lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions by utilizing Compressed Natural Gas in vehicles and the direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses. 

Jennifer Preston

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Adriana Kong Romero

Steven E. Rosenberg

Adriana Kong Romero

Keri Lazarus Silvyn

Through its commitment to the community, has invested more than $3 million in grants and matching gifts to local nonprofits over the past five years.  

Arizona’s preeminent land-use law firm with in Phoenix and Tucson. Specializes in zoning, land use, entitlements, development agreements and project approvals. 

Senior VP Tucson Market President  Bank of America 

Last year, employees volunteered more than 2,200 hours in service to the community and provided more than $296 million in loans to Tucson businesses.

Steven E. Rosenberg

Partner/Owner Lazarus & Silvyn, PC

Predominantly representing private property owners in zoning and economic development entitlements. Also represents local jurisdictions to drafting land use codes and ordinances. 

Publisher & Owner BizTucson Magazine The Region’s Business Magazine

Silvyn serves on the Arizona State Land Board of Appeals and on the Tucson Airport Authority Board of Directors.

Provides in-depth coverage of business news, including economic development, bioscience, aerospace & defense, technology, commercial construction, downtown revitalization, real estate, homebuilding, university research, arts, education, tourism, agriculture, philanthropy and nonprofits.

Kevin Stockton

Produced quarterly in print and online at BizTucson.com, the magazine has received national awards. BizTucson News Update, launched in 2020, is a digital newsletter, delivered twice weekly, covering regional news.

Jeffrey S. Rothstein

VP & Head of Legal Roche Tissue Diagnostics A world leader and innovator of tissuebased cancer diagnostic solutions. Provides 250-plus cancer tests with related instruments globally to improve outcomes for the 14 million people diagnosed with cancer annually.

Jeffrey S. Rothstein

Regional President & Market CEO Northwest Healthcare

Keri Lazarus Silvyn

An integrated network of healthcare services including Northwest Medical Center, Oro Valley Hospital, Northwest Medical Center Sahuarita, Northwest Emergency Centers, Northwest Urgent Care Centers and affiliated physician practices, employing more than 80 outpatient providers in 15 specialties. Will open Northwest Medical Center Houghton and Northwest Transitions Skilled Nursing and Inpatient Rehabilitation facility in 2021. Offers online check-in for emergency room and urgent care visits and online scheduling for in-person and virtual primary care appointments. Employs more than 3,000 people.

Kevin Stockton

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

James V. Stover

Col. Sandra L. Wilson

James V. Stover

Col. Sandra L. Wilson

With our partner Care 1st, we serve about 480,000 Arizonans across all 15 counties through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Markeplace health plans using a whole-health, communitybased approach to healthcare. 

Assists wing leadership in the management of more than 1,800 members of the Air National Guard’s largest F-16 and Remote Piloted Aircraft wing.

Medicaid President Arizona Complete Health 

Offices in Tucson, Tempe, Yuma, Casa Grande, Sierra Vista employ nearly 2,000 with emphasis on supporting diversity and inclusion.

Jim Tofel

A subsidiary of Centene, a Fortune 500 company, a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides services to government-sponsored healthcare programs, focusing on underinsured and uninsured individuals.

Jim Tofel

Managing Member of Development Tofel Dent Construction Formed in 1984. A third-party general contractor specializing in multi-family, hospitality and commercial construction throughout the Southwest.

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Steven G. Zylstra

Liaison to Board of Directors Department of Defense  162nd Vice Wing Commander Morris Air National Guard Base

Steven G. Zylstra

President & CEO Arizona Technology Council The state’s premier trade association for technology- and science-driven companies. Connecting and empowering Arizona’s community of innovation, AZTC is the driving force behind making the state the fastest-growing tech hub in the nation. AZTC works to further the advancement of technology through leadership, education and advocacy. Fostering a climate of creativity, innovation and community, AZTC works to create a destination for companies to be, thrive and stay.

www.BizTucson.com


SUN CORRIDOR INC. RECENT BUSINESS EXPANSION AND RECRUITMENT SUCCESSES

Jobs & Companies Keep Coming to Tucson The economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic has not put the brakes on Sun Corridor Inc.’s work to bring new and innovative companies to the region. “We haven’t slowed down a bit,” said Joe Snell, president and CEO at Sun Corridor Inc. “Since the start of the fiscal year in July, we added 24 new opportunities to the pipeline. That is outpacing the number of projects we had added to the pipeline during the same period last year. “We’re seeing strong interest from the bioscience and medical device sector that we haven’t seen for years that has to do with COVID and the science that’s going on here.” The following is a list of companies that relocated, set up operations or expanded in the Tucson region in 2020. Company information provided by Sun Corridor Inc. Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America, based in Washington D.C., opened its first satellite campus last fall in a unique partnership with Pima Community College, giving Tucsonans the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree from a private, Catholic university locally. COMSovereign Holding Corp.

COMSovereign Holding Corp. announced manufacturing operations to open in Tucson, creating 300 jobs and a total economic impact of $438 million. The company will manufacture wireless radio components, including equipment for emerging 5G wireless phone networks. COMSovereign Holding Corp. has signed an agreement to www.BizTucson.com

acquire a 140,000-square-foot building on 12.7 acres at 5120 S. Julian Drive. The building purchase with full-scale production is set to start at the facility by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Distant Focus

Distant Focus is an R&D manufacturing and engineering firm that specializes in optical and sensing technologies. The firm has relocated its headquarters to Tucson from Illinois to take advantage of the region’s strengths in optical sciences. Distant Focus will hire 15 optical engineers, highly skilled technicians and machinists, as well as general production workers. Over the next five years, Distant Focus’ economic impact will be over $27 million. DoorDash

DoorDash, the nation’s leading lastmile logistics platform, announced it will establish DashMart service in Tucson. DashMart is a new type of convenience store, offering household essentials and local restaurant favorites to customers’ doorsteps. DashMart offers thousands of convenience, grocery and restaurant items, from ice cream and chips, to cough medicine and dog food, to spice rubs and packaged desserts from local restaurants. DashMart stores are owned, operated and curated by DoorDash. Tucson is one of the first mid-sized markets for the DashMart concept. DashMart has leased 8,000 square feet of space for its new operations at 3981 E. Grant Road. The company plans to add 20 jobs, with additional potential future employment based on demand.

Modular Mining

Modular Mining, the global leader in the delivery of real-time, computerbased mine management solutions, unveiled its new Customer Experience Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony last January. Located in the company’s Tucson corporate headquarters, the CEC’s opening coincided with Modular Mining’s 40th anniversary and celebrated the company’s continued growth and positive trajectory in both Tucson and the mining sector. The company employs more than 800 people globally, with nearly 350 located in Tucson. Nanomoneo

After a competitive, multi-state process, Nanomoneo, a biotechnology instrument company, announced that it selected the University of Arizona Center for Innovation in Tucson for its new applied research operation. The newly formed venture-capital-backed company is working on solutions that allow consumers to “see” things that are not normally visible with the naked eye. The company plans to hire 14 people over the next five years, including research scientists, engineers and research support. The total economic impact is estimated at $17 million. The company will be located at the UA Center for Innovation at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road. PVB Fabrications, Inc.

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SUN CORRIDOR INC. INVESTORS & STAFF continued from page 105 government, heavy industrial and mining sectors, announced plans to expand its headquarters in Marana. PVB has purchased 10 acres on West Tangerine Road and is planning the construction of a new corporate headquarters to consolidate operations into one location. PVB currently employs 375 people. The full expansion over five years will add an additional 169 jobs primarily in operations, project management, quality control, engineering, business development and finance. Sandvik Materials Technology

Sandvik Materials Technology, a world-leading developer and manufacturer of advanced stainless steels and special alloys, announced plans to expand its operations of precision medical wire and wire-based components to Tucson. Sandvik has leased 8,800 square feet of space at 2424 E. Aragon Road near the Tucson International Airport. The full expansion over five years will add an additional 20 jobs primarily in operations and manufacturing. The facility is scheduled to be operational in early 2021. Vector Launch Inc.

Vector Launch Inc., a microsatellite launch company founded in Tucson, Arizona in 2016, announced that it will restart operations and remain in Tucson after a competitive, multi-state process. Verifone

Tucson welcomed Verifone to the community with the announcement of a new customer service and tech support operation, bringing 168 jobs and a total economic impact of $174 million over the next five years. The company has opened operations at 5151 E. Broadway. Verifone provides a unified platform to perform seamless payment experiences with any payment method. Biz

INVESTORS Burns & McDonnell Business Development Finance Corporation

DPR Construction

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5

6

7

8

9

Freeport-McMoRan GEICO Hacienda Del Sol Resort Hughes Federal Credit Union Long Realty Nova Home Loans

10

11

1. Cathy Casper, Senior VP

Rancho Sahuarita

2. Sydney Chong Marketing Coordinator

Trico Electric Cooperative

3. Susan Dumon VP, Economic Development

Venture West

4. Daniela Gallagher VP, Economic Development

Visit Tucson

5. Danielle Gonzalez Administrative Receptionist

Westland Resources

6. Angela Kish Controller 7. Skye Mendonca Corporate Administrator 8. Jeff Powell Economic Development Coordinator 9. Laura Shaw Senior VP

1985 E. River Rd, Ste 101 Tucson, AZ 85718

Winter 2021

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CBRE

www.SunCorridorInc.com

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Caliber Group

520.243.1900

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10. Joe Snell President & CEO 11. David Welsh Executive VP

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BizPEOPLE

Barbi Reuter Barbi Reuter, CEO/Principal of Cushman & Wakefield|PICOR, has been elected to the Commercial Real Estate Women Network global board of directors, serving as President-Elect in 2021. CREW is the industry’s leading advocate for the advancement of women in commercial real estate. Reuter will be the first Tucsonan to lead the 12,000 member organization, as president in 2022.

Biz

Doug Luckett Carondelet Health Network has announced Doug Luckett as its new Chief Executive Officer. Experienced in collaboration, clinical integration, acute care operations, board relations and community inclusion, Luckett will lead market strategy and operations at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Marana Hospital. Luckett previously served as regional president of Steward Healthcare.

Biz www.BizTucson.com

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MERCHANT GARDENS

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SAN XAVIER COOPERATIVE FARM

www.BizTucson.com MERCHANT

GARDENS


BizAGRICULTURE

Centuries of Cultivation

THE REGION’S AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR By June C. Hussey Farming in the desert is nothing new. It dates back thousands of years. Like most other businesses, farming here has always depended on human ingenuity to sustain itself, and in the Tucson region, that ingenuity has evolved over the years into culinary creativity leading to Tucson being named the first City of Gastronomy in the U.S. five years ago. In Arizona, it’s a business with a $23-billion impact, said George Frisvold, professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona. “That is agribusiness at large, everything up and down the supply chain, which includes what’s going on at the farm, inputs they buy, food processing and economic multiplier effects,” Frisvold said. “There are a lot of folks involved in getting food on our tables, from the people in the field harvesting the crops, to the people who are processing meat, to the people who are working as checkers at the retail level, to the people who are driving trucks.” The recipe for bringing tasty local flavors out of the soil all the way to our tables began to take shape when heritage crops like corn, beans and squash, known as the “three sisters,” are thought to have been farmed collectively by indigenous peoples here as long as 4,000 years ago. Then as today, access to water in the desert set the stage. The Hohokam community is known to have used canals to irrigate crops in the 1400s. Native American, Spanish and Anglo farmers ever since have coaxed nourishment from fertile soil for generations near Southern Arizona’s precious riparian streams. When large-scale copper mining came to Southern Arizona in the late 19th century, the insatiable pumping of groundwater began leaving farmers even more dependent on seasonal rainfall and irrigation. During the 20th century, mass-produced food grown throughout the industrialized world and distributed widely through grocery stores curbed demand for local produce. However, as the 21st century’s slowfood movement gained traction, consumers opened

their eyes – and their mouths – once again to the nutritional, cultural and flavorful benefits of locally sourced ingredients leading to an industry that combines food production with healthy lifestyles, dining and tourism. Onto the Fork

While onsite dining in Tucson’s eclectic local restaurants is one way to experience and support our City of Gastronomy, home cooks can also look to Tucson’s top internationally acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors for inspiration. Chef Janos Wilder helped put Tucson on the world gastronomy map long before UNESCO designated it a City of Gastronomy. He was aptly appointed president of the Tucson City of Gastronomy board when it was created in 2016 after Tucson received the designation in December 2015. Before opening Janos, his first Tucson restaurant in 1983, the French-trained chef planted on-premise gardens to supply the herbs and produce he intended to serve. His contemporary nouvelle American restaurant soon launched Wilder into culinary orbit. Two decades after earning James Beard’s Top Chef of the Southwest title in 2000, Wilder has scaled back his commercial operations to the Carriage House, a catering kitchen and historic event venue located at 125 S. Arizona Ave. downtown. Home cooks can sign up for lessons from the chef or attempt to emulate Wilder’s recipe for salmon carpaccio and other dishes as published in his “Recipes and Tales from a Southwest Restaurant.” Those finding they have more green chilis than they know what to do with will love experimenting with his 30 traditional Mexican recipes along with contemporary interpretations in “The Great Chile Rellenos Book.” Another qualified ambassador for Tucson’s farmto-fork culinary scene is Chef Ryan Clark. Having graduated at the top of his class from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and having earned titles including Tucson’s Iron Chef, Copper Chef and one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs continued on page 129 >>> Winter 2021

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El Charro Café

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

CARLOTTA FLORES

PHOTO BY CARTER ALLEN

BizAGRICULTURE

NAN & DICK WALDEN Green Valley Pecan Co

PHOTO BY CARTER ALLEN

ARAVAIPA FARMS ORCHARD AND INN

CHEF JANOS WILDER

CHERI ROMANOSKI Cheri’s Desert Harvest

Southern Arizona Farms at a Glance City dwellers can easily forget where real food comes from and how good it is. A visit to any of these Southern Arizona farms or farmers markets will quickly remind you why it’s worth the effort. Apple Annie’s Orchard

Crooked Sky Farms

Larry’s Veggies

Sunland

Aravaipa Creekside Growers

Cruz Farms

Las Milpitas de Cottonwood

Sunset Cove Growers

Aravaipa Farms

Desert Pearl Mushrooms

Community Farm

Top Knot

Arivaca Community Garden

Elizabeth’s Garden

Merchant’s Garden

Tucson’s Birthplace

Arevalos Farm

DreamFlower Gardens

Mission Garden

Tucson Village Farm

Avalon Garden

Farmer ALP

Nido Farms

UA Controlled Environment

Beck’s Best Eggs

Forever Yong Farm

Rattlebox Farm

Agriculture Center

Blue Sky Organic Farms

Garden Goddess

Riverview Farms

Westover Farm

Breckenfeld Family Farm

Green Valley Pecan Company

Robb’s Family Farm

Wild Child Gardens

Briggs and Eggers Orchards

Heirloom Farmers Markets

San Xavier Co-op Farm

Careless Coyote

High Energy Agriculture

Sleeping Frog Farms

Cochise Family Farms

Iskashitaa Refugee Network

Southwinds Farm

Covilli Brand Organics

Kirundo Farmer

Sun Produce Co-op

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Note: “Good Food Finder” from Local First Arizona is a useful online resource to find out where to buy what’s in season. www.BizTucson.com


Startup Tucson Secures Federal USDA Grant to Help Local Food Entrepreneurs By June C. Hussey As the agriculture business rolls into 2021 in a worldwide pandemic, farmers are getting a much-needed boost from Startup Tucson and its partners Visit Tucson, BRINK media, Merchants Garden and the UArizona Department of Agricultural Education, Technology and Innovation which are helping local food producers increase financial security. Startup Tucson landed a two-year, $250,000 USDA grant late in 2020 to “level up” agricultural producers through technology, training and tourism. According to Startup Tucson’s Executive VP Dre Thompson, the USDA grant is expected to help local food producers “accelerate” their businesses. Entrepreneurial training will be offered to help farms develop new revenue streams, products and services. eCommerce websites will be built for food producers to help address the current gap in digital access. A new online platform shop will aggregate businesses into one location for easy consumer access, and an interactive “Virtual Regional Gastronomy Trail” will further encourage sales and stimulate tourism.

IMAGE COUTESY STARTUP TUCSON

continued from page 127 of the Southwest, Clark is Executive Chef for the AAA Four-Diamond and Forbes Four-Star Hotel Casino Del Sol Resort and Spa. The Tucson native relies on local and sustainable ingredients, including grains from Hayden Mills, Molino Pierson De Terrenate and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (milled in-house). Clark said that pastas are made in-house by hand using a local blend of White Sonora and Blue Beard wheat semolina flours. His breads use local wheat grains and sourdough starter which enhance the nutritional aspect and flavor. Whole grains are boiled until tender, fried until crispy then added to salads and entrees. “We work with local farmers months in advance to see what ingredients we should be highlighting. That could mean they have an abundance of something or simply that an item is at its peak for harvesting,” Clark said. During competitions and cooking classes alike, Chef Clark emphasizes ingredients like chilis, cactus varieties, beans, honey and nuts. “I think these ingredients not only highlight the region but also underscore the phrase, ‘What grows together goes together.’ Tucson and Arizona have come a long way in the past few years making local ingredients more accessible to restaurateurs.” In his cookbook “Modern Southwest Cooking,” Clark shares his recipes for Prickly Pear Mojito, Yam and Ginger-Jalapeno Pavé, California Halibut with Sautéed Succotash, Hanger Steak Chimichurri and Habañero Crème Brûlée, to name a few. Longtime chef and restaurateur Carlotta Flores has been described as “a force of nature.” At an age when many people are kicking back and showing off pictures of their grandchildren, Flores not only serves as the executive chef of Tucson’s three El Charro Café, she also has her hand in a host of related projects. They include the muscle-car-themed Sir Veza’s restaurants, with two Tucson-area and three Phoenix-area locations; Hecho en Vegas, a dining room in the MGM Grand Resort featuring dishes from El Charro and Sir Veza’s; the Stillwell House and Garden, a downtown Tucson events venue and catering company; Carlotta’s Kitchen, continued on page 130 >>>

“Our hope for this grant is that a laser focus on increasing revenue for farmers and producers through diversified business models and multiple channels to reach new markets and customers will help make the business of local food producers a more viable living and encourage more people to participate in this industry,” Thompson said. “We hope to help to make a measurable impact on jobs, sales and the interconnectivity of the food system overall.” Thompson said the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the fact that small businesses in general did not have the technology to pivot to eCommerce models needed to do business now that potential customers are increasingly turning to online shopping to avoid potential COVID exposure.

“We conducted a review and found that only 13% of regional producers had a modern eCommerce website in place,” Thompson said. “When I interviewed them, many of them identified that finding the time or capital to build a website was a huge struggle for them, so we knew that building eCommerce websites was a simple and straightforward service we could provide that would make a huge tangible difference immediately.” Thompson said Startup Tucson also found that producers were looking for ways to diversity their business by adding products – for instance jams and sauces – but needed help putting together the knowledge to launch new products. The organization formed the Startup Food Accelerator that is taking many of the organization’s startup concepts and adapting them for food producers and entrepreneurs in the business. “We believe that as the City of Gastronomy, our food sector has a lot of potential to support great businesses and even attract more national and international exposure,” Thompson said, “but right now they are really struggling.” Another aspect of Startup Tucson’s work with food producers is the creation of a “Virtual City of Gastronomy,” a digital platform where local producers can peddle their products and, at the same time, allow customers to learn more about the producers and hopefully build a long-term clientele. Some of the producers that have in-person experiences that will become available when the pandemic eases, will be able to have visitors book their experiences online. “The goal of the project is to provide technical assistance and support to make a major impact in both the immediate and long-term future of our local food system,” Thompson said. Biz Winter 2021

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Agriculture’s Economic Impact on Arizona By June C. Hussey As a land grant university, the University of Arizona has deep roots in agriculture research and education. George Frisvold, professor of agriculture and resource economics, explained the $23 billion impact agribusiness has on Arizona’s economy. “That is agribusiness writ large, everything up and down the supply chain, which includes what’s going on at the farm, inputs they buy, food processing and economic multiplier effects.” Even though three quarters of Arizona’s agricultural commodities come from Maricopa, Pinal and Yuma Counties, food production in Southern Arizona remains vital to sustaining the City of Gastronomy designation. When restaurants and schools closed because of the pandemic, demand for food overall did not decrease. Instead, the supply chain was disrupted. Consumers had to adapt as did food producers and distributors. This shift is benefitting many local growers and distributors. While the lingering impact of COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and tourism remains to be seen, the pandemic has underscored how every part of the food supply chain is important. “There are a lot of folks involved in getting food on our tables – from the people in the field harvesting the crops, to the people who are processing meat, to the people who are working as checkers at the retail level, to the people who are driving trucks. They all contribute to the $23 billion impact of Arizona’s Agribusiness,” Frisvold said.

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ANNE LOFTFIELD HIGH ENERGY AGRICULTURE FARMS RYAN CLARK – EXECUTIVE CHEF CASINO DEL SOL

volunteers are welcome at the farm to help nurture these traditional desert cultivars. Located in the ancestral village of Wa:k, just east of the Mission San Xavier del Bac, this farm is benefiting from the recent partial revival of the Santa Cruz River which flows north through the San Rafael Valley from the Mexican border, thanks to longterm recharge efforts. Visitors to the farm can see evidence of the environmental restoration in the cottonwoods, willows and cattails growing near the source. Seasonal crops plus wild gathered and prepared products are available for purchase at the farm weekdays and Saturdays. Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn is on a scenic 90-minute drive north of Tucson off State Route 77. These farms produce apricots, peaches and pears that have Tucson chefs and diners alike drooling. Nestled on the river bottom where the perennial Aravaipa Creek flows through it, the orchard was originally planted in 1885. Under current owners Kevin and Jill Madden’s care since 2017, 750 new trees have been planted making a total of 900 trees in production, with seasonally changing produce

Regional Food Producers

The San Xavier Cooperative Farm, run by members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, revived the ancient tradition of community farming in 1971, producing hardy heritage crops like 60-day summer corn and ha:l or “big squash.” Twice a week

DON GUERRA Owner & Baker at Barrio Bread

PHOTO BY BRENT G. MATHIS

MURAT KACIRA DIRECTOR OF THE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE CENTER.

continued from page 129 a Tucson commissary that turns out specialty burritos for 7-Eleven outlets across southern California, and a Mexican food concession at Tucson’s Rillito Park Race Track. That’s not counting the numerous charitable events she participates in, or the boards on which she serves. Don Guerra, owner and baker at Barrio Bread, grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoyed baking with his mother and eating his nana’s tortillas. He attended the University of Arizona to study anthropology and then headed to Flagstaff. Don worked in several bakeries before opening The Village Baker of Flagstaff in 1995. A few years later, he moved to Ashland, Oregon, to open The Village Baker of Ashland. After returning to Tucson, Guerra completed a degree in education and taught K-12 grade students for seven years. As time passed, he yearned to return to the artistry and passion of his baking days and started experimenting with new recipes. A “garage bakery remodel” yielded Barrio Bread in 2009. Guerra is committed to working with local farmers, chefs and other food producers to strengthen the local grain economy and grow the local food network. In 2015, he was awarded a USDA Local Food Promotion Grant that significantly helped him to increase collaboration with others and expand production with a new bakery. He has taught a variety of baking classes and presented at conferences and workshops in the United States and internationally, highlighting his business model and work with heritage grains. Carolyn Niethammer has been writing about foods of the Southwest for more than four decades. Niethammer’s most recent cookbooks include “The Prickly Pear Cookbook,” which shares recipes from great professional chefs for both the bright pink prickly pear fruit and nopales, the nutritious pads; “The New Southwest Cookbook,” with 135 recipes from top restaurant and resort chefs throughout the Southwest; and “Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants.” Niethammer also produces “Savor the Southwest,” a blog about seasonal edible wild plants.


BizAGRICULTURE available for the picking or convenient pick up at Heirloom Farmer’s Market. For full immersion in the farm experience, guests can arrange to stay a few nights in one of five charming casitas or a beautifully restored three-bedroom farmhouse adjacent to the orchard. Egg-producing hens and a ¼-acre estate garden supply the inn’s chefs with hyper local ingredients for meals prepared in the onsite commercial kitchen. Overnight guests look forward to farm-cooked meals after spending the day bird watching or hiking the nearby Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness area (permit required). After a nightcap under the Milky Way, they retreat to comfortable beds for a good night’s rest. Mornings bring the sound of birds along with the aroma of coffee and freshly baked breakfast treats served with home-made peach or citrus jam. Green Valley Pecan Company is one of the world’s largest growers and processors of organic pecans. The company has been growing pecans in the Santa Cruz River Valley for more than 60 years. Unfortunately, recent years have presented daunting challenges to the operation, according to Nan Stockholm Walden, VP and counsel. “Trade tariffs have had a devastating effect on agriculture in general and the tree nut industry in particular,” she said. “They have made it impossible for Green Valley Pecan Company to compete with nuts grown in Australia, South Africa, Mexico and South America.” To add insult to injury, Stockholm said, along came COVID-19. “We cannot operate the farm and shelling plant by laptop or remote control. We must keep our employees safe and our farm and plant operating amidst falling prices and demand. Even when a vaccine is available, we believe many sectors will see a slow comeback over several years.” Walden’s sobering perspective makes a solid case for shopping local. The Green Valley Pecan Store is a pecan lover’s dream online at www.pecanstore.com or in person at 1625 E. Sahuarita Road. Prickly pears grow wild in the Sonoran Desert and birds aren’t the only ones who love them. Since 1985, Cheri’s Desert Harvest has been producing all natural and organic preserves, candy, syrup and quick mixes made from prickly pears and other local, indigenous fruits and vegetables. Owner Cheri Romanoski started out making syrups and jellies in her home kitchen. Cheri’s Desert Harvest still relies on hand harvesting, processing and preparing products in small batches. No artificial flavoring, coloring or preservatives are used, only natural, locally sourced prickly pear cactus fruit, citrus, peppers and honey. In addition to the novelty foodstuffs, Cheri’s sells apparel dyed with prickly pear juice and an anti-aging oil made for the cosmetic industry from cactus seeds. Any leftover waste is used as feed at the zoo. Consumers can find Cheri’s products in tourist venues, department stores and at www.cherisdesertharvest. com. Young Farmers to the Rescue

The average age of Arizona farmers is over 60, a fact that is by no means unique to Arizona. The future of farming rests largely on the shoulders of incoming generations. Young farmers face many barriers to entry, one of biggest of which is access to affordable farmland. Housing development pressures inflate the value of open continued on page 132 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BizAGRICULTURE continued from page 131 land beyond what a farm can produce. Student loan debt often restricts access to capital. In addition, farming is physically taxing, particularly in Southern Arizona which is a year-round growing climate with extreme conditions. Add mental stress, isolation, lack of health insurance and retirement savings, and it is easy to understand the challenges young farmers are facing. Cameron Jones, 34, is a lifelong Arizonan and selfdescribed farmer without farmland and member of the Southern Arizona Young Farmer & Rancher Coalition. SAYFRC is committed to lowering the farmer’s average age by developing more young farmers and establishing more farms. A bright spot on the horizon, according to Jones, is that more people are starting to recognize the importance of nurturing young farmers. “Investments have been made by the Community Food Bank and others to support current growers and develop more markets, find new customers, and ensure stable demand for their produce,” Jones said. “Now we need to build an agricultural pipeline in our region that provides training and land access for younger people as they move from school gardens, to community gardens, to summer jobs and apprenticeships on farms, to full-time farm jobs, and finally to running their own operations on an incubator farm or as part of a cooperative farm that can share equipment, infrastructure, and other resources.” Jones points out that pieces of this pipeline are already in place in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Tucson Unified School District’s School & Community Garden Program with UArizona, Tucson Village Farm, 4H and Future Farmers of America, IRC’s New Roots program and Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Community Farm are examples. “We need to connect these existing pieces and expand them to include farmland for growers who want to grow beyond small, urban plots and increase their productive capacity on the peripheries of Tucson, and on farmland throughout Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise counties,” Jones said. “We also need to be creative with making public lands and unused private land available to farmers.” That would include flood-plain land adjacent to washes, open space farms and ranches owned by Pima County, and fallow farmland currently unused and in private hands. The land and water resources are out there, Jones said, and the region needs a vision and a plan to put them to work to increase the region’s food security. “We need to invest in the training and financial capacity of young farmers to be able to take over management of farmland in our region and support them in producing food sustainably, utilizing best practices that conserve and maximize limited water resources,” Jones said. “Above all we need consistent demand for their products so that they know they will be able to sell what they grow, and do so at a price that covers the cost of production as well as compensates them for their time, labor and skill. If this was going to happen on its own, the long-term trends in farming wouldn’t be what they are. We need to actively invest in agriculture to change its trajectory in our region.”

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Pivot Produce

Connecting Local Farms with Local Chefs and Consumers By June C. Hussey Local chefs don’t always have time to drive an hour to the source to pick up ingredients for that night’s menu and many therefore depend on Pivot Produce to bring the farm to them. Pivot Produce founder Erik Stanford, himself a chef, understands why chefs can’t always leave their kitchens. He also understands that farmers can’t always leave their farms to sell their goods. That’s why he created Pivot Produce. Since 2015, Pivot has served as a conduit connecting local farms with local chefs and consumers. “Pivot Produce has done an amazing job bridging the gap between the farmer and the buyer, making everyday purchases more accessible and streamlined. This is important not only to keep our farmers thriving but also for our guests that care and want to know where their food is coming from,” said Chef Ryan Clark of Casino Del Sol. Stanford came to Tucson ten years ago, working at Cup Café, with Janos, and later at Five Points Market, whose owners were passionate about establishing relationships directly with farmers. “We started hearing from the farmers how helpful it was to have a restaurant that understood how farms work and could ebb and flow with availability, weather and so on,” Stanford said. He also noticed farmers were constantly disappearing from Farmers Market. That’s what first sparked the idea for Pivot Produce. He leveraged relationships with chefs throughout Tucson to create a wholesale market. Before COVID-19 hit, Pivot was delivering weekly to 30 restaurants; now they are down to four. However after COVID-19, a new market opened with direct-to-door deliveries to 200 customers, plus senior living communities. As a result Stanford’s business has actually grown. Pivot currently works with about 50 individual producers. One of the biggest challenges Stanford faced in growing his business from $20,000 to $500,000 in annual sales has been to balance the needs of customers with his commitment to family-run, community-based organic farms. “It has been a balancing act, for sure.”

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Picture Imperfect Imperfect Foods Serves Tucson, Helps Environment By Valerie Vinyard Nothing is perfect. Imperfect Foods embraces food imperfections. By doing so, the San Francisco-based company, which has expanded into Tucson, combats food waste and helps the environment. Imperfect Foods extended its twoyear corporate presence in Tucson by beginning local delivery in October of weekly shipments of minimally processed foods. The company boasts customers in 38 states, including 35 major metropolitan areas. Imperfect Foods has more than 400,000 customers nationwide and plans to enter 30 additional markets by the end of 2021. In their weekly shipment, Imperfect Foods subscribers might receive a curved cucumber or a bag of brown rice that contains some broken grains from the milling process or perhaps a bag of almonds with some harmless markings on them. The company has capitalized on foods’ inherent imperfections by featuring products that aren’t necessarily 134 BizTucson

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picture perfect. This, in turn, can save customers money. Imperfect Foods said it can save customers an average of 30% over grocery store prices, depending on the order. The nutritional value is not diminished, and it helps growers save more food from being needlessly discarded. Reducing Waste, Growing Business

According to ReFED, a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the United States, 40% of the nation’s food goes uneaten. Some $218 billion in food is discarded every year and an additional 20 billion pounds of produce goes unharvested or unsold every year. Those figures are anathema to Imperfect Foods founders Ben Chesler, Ben Simon and Ron Clark. Chesler and Simon have been working to eradicate food waste since their college days at the University of Maryland, when the two founded a nonprofit called Food Re-

covery Network, which saved food from going to waste on campus. Food Recovery Network, which is America’s largest student movement against hunger, has grown to 230 chapters nationwide and has recovered more than 3 million pounds of food. In 2015, the trio initially called their new company Imperfect Produce. After expanding to offer other food categories, the founders changed the name to Imperfect Foods in August 2019. Maureen Shea, Imperfect Foods chief experience officer, or CXO, has been with the company since January 2018. She said the “imperfect” part of the product could be a difference in size or a blemish. “You might see some scarring on the outside of an orange,” Shea said. “I’ve seen a giant lemon. It makes you really aware of how uniform our produce has become. “They have all the nutrients and all the flavor; they just have some unique characteristics.” www.BizTucson.com


BizFOOD

Tucson’s firm citywide commitments to foster sustainability and creative food cultures stuck out right away. Maureen Shea, Chief Experience Officer, Imperfect Foods

Like most companies that were disrupted when the pandemic started in the United States, Imperfect Foods had to adapt. “2020 started as a really strong year for us, and then COVID hit,” Shea said. “It was a dramatic shift for everyone.” The “dramatic” part ended up working in the company’s favor, as many people didn’t want to venture out to shop unless it was absolutely necessary. That meant prepared food purveyers as well as grocers saw a huge uptick in deliveries. “For us, it really was an incredible growth,” said Shea, adding that the company saw a 40% rise in its active base due to COVID-19 stay-at-home measures. “Folks either did not want to go out or could not go out.” Shea recalled the surplus of milk during the initial phase of COVID-19. She said Imperfect Foods was able to repurpose some of that milk into cheese. “There are opportunities all over the place in order to save product,” she said. www.BizTucson.com

A Move to Tucson

In mid-2018, Shea said the company was looking for a hub for its customer care team. “Sun Corridor Inc. provided one of the most thoughtful and comprehensive site visits that I’ve experienced in my career, and shone an impressive spotlight on Tucson’s culinary and sustainability efforts,” Shea said. “The Sun Corridor team left no stone unturned to recognize our unique business needs, and we were thrilled to call Tucson home after just a few months.” She noted that the company was on the brink of national expansion, so it was important to find a passionate staff who believed in Imperfect Foods’ mission. “Tucson’s firm citywide commitments to foster sustainability and creative food cultures stuck out right away, and we’ve found great value over the years working with the Tucson community to actualize kindred goals to better our planet,” Shea said.

The company’s 25,000-square-foot building in Tucson is located off Valencia Road near the airport and opened in 2019. The food, though, comes from Imperfect Foods’ refrigerated facility and fulfillment center in Los Angeles. The company has added over 125 jobs in the Tucson area with plans to eventually employ a total of 350. How Delivery Works

A regular food box starts at $16, which includes “fresh, conventional produce,” while an organic box starts at $24 and includes organically grown produce. No matter how much you order or spend, a $4.99 delivery charge will be added. The company sources surplus food and imperfect produce directly from farmers, growers and food purveyors. On rare occasions, Imperfect Foods will substitute similar items if inventory runs out. For now, the company doesn’t offer alcohol.

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PHOTO: COURTESY IMPERFECT FOODS


Dominic & Myriam Ortega El Rio Foundation’s virtual Noche De Fiesta fundraiser

No Gala, No Problem

El Rio Foundation Embraces Creativity for Fundraising Success By Rodney Campbell When COVID-19 hit the country last spring, El Rio Health faced a pair of daunting challenges. The clinical side had to pivot to a new telehealth platform to keep people safe and offer options for care. El Rio also performed more than 28,000 COVID-19 tests in about eight months, most of them done by driveup. More than half of those were for El Rio’s patients and more than 4,500 people tested positive. “It was hard for our providers and health teams on the frontlines, working long hours and putting themselves at risk,” said Brenda Goldsmith, executive director of El Rio Foundation. The pandemic also made the team’s fundraising efforts more challenging. Their duties, which often involve faceto-face meetings and tours of the clinics, had to drastically change because of social distancing measures. There were no big events and only limited contact with donors. But private dollars were still sorely needed so patients could be served. “The conversation started early with our board about whether we needed to pivot,” said Goldsmith, who has been with El Rio for 16 years. “Fairly quickly, when the pandemic hit, we got emails 136 BizTucson

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and calls from existing donors, particularly foundations and several new donors, asking if we needed help.” Coincidentally, last year was El Rio’s 50th anniversary. The center had big plans, including a gala that would have drawn hundreds of donors and significant support. Goldsmith quickly went to work with volunteers and staff to find alternatives once it became necessary to cancel large in-person gatherings. Foundation staff and volunteers set up crowdfunding pages, and board members hosted mini-fiestas, social media live activities and a virtual gala. Combined with other major donations and challenge gifts, donors gave $750,000. “We were grateful that the community helped us,” Goldsmith said. “I’m proud to say that 95% of our donors have stayed with us through the pandemic.” The fundraisers helped El Rio Health fulfill one of its goals: purchasing a former Wells Fargo branch at Grant Road and Dodge Boulevard. The price tag was $1.8 million with improvements expected to cost another $13 million. With no federal funds for this new clinic, support from donors and foundations, a low-cost loan and clinic revenues are critical.

When it opens, the new clinic will be a 30,600-square-foot medical and behavioral health center with a laboratory, radiology services, a pharmacy and dental care. It will serve 4,000 people. “We have been focused on raising money for the new building and direct care for uninsured,” Goldsmith said. “The needs are great. We have 300 people a week trying to establish care at El Rio.” El Rio Health is still busy coping with COVID-19, and the foundation is continually searching for ways to engage with donors at a distance, using Zoom calls, testimonials, texts, emails, social media and cards. In a twist, Goldsmith has had children of board members make personalized posters for El Rio’s busy healthcare providers. Goldsmith and her team visited the clinic on Congress Street to hand out the mementos to grateful recipients. “I am very proud of the foundation team and the board,” said Kate Breck Calhoun, president of the foundation board. “It is wonderful to see the team come together in different ways to reach new and existing donors to support El Rio’s mission and patients in need.”

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PHOTOS BY DOMINIC ORTEGA

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SPECIAL REPORT 2021

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

HOLUALOA

35

C O M PA N I E S TH

ANNIVERSARY R E G I O N A L , N AT I O N A L & G L O B A L

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Marks 35 Years

BizDEVELOPMENT

Global Developer Bullish on Tucson & Phoenix By David Pittman Holualoa Companies, a Tucson-based real estate investment firm managing more than $3 billion in assets spanning the United States and Europe, has achieved a significant milestone – surpassing 35 years in business. “Our business had fairly humble beginnings and it has been gratifying to see it grow over the years,” said I. Michael Kasser, Holualoa’s founder and chairman. “Our culture has focused on discipline, attention to detail and patience, and we’re proud to have produced superior results for Holualoa’s investors for over 35 years, through bull and bear markets and favorable and unfavorable cycles.” Kasser began operating Holualoa in 1985 in Kai-

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lua-Kona, Hawaii. From the start, the company has focused on the acquisition, repositioning, redevelopment and disposition of under-performing commercial properties, particularly those in superior locations. Kasser credits much of Holualoa’s success to a “detailed due-diligence process” that fully analyzes potential risks and rewards before making investments. He said Holualoa also utilizes an “intensive management approach” to continually upgrade the value of its properties, which increases tenant satisfaction, raises property occupancy and makes investors happy. “Some say we’re too nitpicky, but it works for us,” Kasser said. continued on page 142 >>>

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continued from page 141 From Hawaii to Tucson

In 1992, Holualoa expanded into Arizona and moved its headquarters to Tucson. It was a period following the savings and loan crash of the late 1980s and early 1990s when the federal Resolution Trust Corporation was selling foreclosed commercial assets for pennies

on the dollar. Kasser and his wife, Beth, were first introduced to Tucson when they vacationed at Canyon Ranch. As the couple’s Tucson visits grew more frequent, Kasser and Holualoa began investing heavily in distressed properties in Tucson and Phoenix.

“I was traveling back and forth between Hawaii and Canyon Ranch,” recalled Kasser. “I suggested to my wife that maybe it was time to move to Arizona because my partners weren’t going to continue investing if I was living 3,000 miles away. Beth told me she would leave Hawaii for Tucson, but not

CABANA – WASHINGTON GREENLIGHT COMMUNITIES

CABANA – POWER GREENLIGHT COMMUNITIES

CAMPBELL PLAZA – TUCSON TANQUE VERDE APARTMENTS – TUCSON

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Phoenix. So we moved to Tucson.” Holualoa has experienced consistent growth, and has opened offices in Scottsdale, Santa Monica, California, and Paris, as well as entered into partnerships in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Holualoa currently owns or manages more than 60 properties exceeding 6.5

million square feet. It has procured more than 180 loans totaling in excess of $2 billion from over 40 lenders. Changing Leadership

In late 2019, Richard B. Kauffman, who had been Holualoa’s CFO since 2000, was promoted to CEO, succeed-

ing Kasser and becoming only the second person to lead the firm. “I was ready to pass on leadership, and Rick worked his way into the position. He’s a natural leader,” Kasser said at the time of the transition. “Rick has continued on page 144 >>>

CABANA – HAYDEN GREENLIGHT COMMUNITIES

DISCOUNT TIRE HEADQUARTERS SCOTTSDALE FORBES RENDERING – TUCSON

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Our size is a strength. We are small enough to be nimble and responsive, but big enough to commit appropriate resources to opportunities. –

Richard B. Kauffman CEO Holuloa Companies

continued from page 143 been an integral part of Holualoa’s success over the last 20 years. He not only has my confidence and respect, but the confidence and respect of everyone in our company. This change is part of a leadership succession plan developed several years ago, and we are well-positioned to continue our momentum under Rick’s leadership.” Kasser said he remains active in the business, offering guidance and experience when needed. Kauffman praised Kasser for building a fantastic company. “Mike (Kasser) is very smart and he’s been an outstanding mentor to me,” Kauffman said. “He encourages people to speak their minds and wants to hear all sides before making decisions. He has a deep relationship with people and the communities. Holualoa is highly suc144 BizTucson

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cessful because of the culture Mike has created.” Kauffman said the business of real estate investment demands flexibility and a willingness to adapt. “Everything is cyclical and market conditions are always changing,” he said. “We study how apartments are doing in Los Angeles and how the industrial market is doing in Phoenix. We study various product types. The when, where, why and how we invest is always changing; that’s change of orientation, but our analytical approach and attention to detail is constant.” Though Holualoa covers large amounts of territory, it employs only 30 people, 17 of whom work in Tucson. “Our size is a strength,” Kauffman said. “We are small enough to be nimble and responsive, but big enough to commit

appropriate resources to opportunities.” That Holualoa has little turnover, “is a good reflection on the business and the quality of the staff,” he said. Arizona Growth

Holualoa is bullish on downtown Tucson. The firm’s downtown investments have included the Pioneer Building, Herbert Residential Apartments, One East Congress and McCormick Townhomes, which was recently sold. “Rio Nuevo is doing a great job,” Kauffman said of the tax-funded district whose board guides redevelopment efforts. “We have invested in several downtown properties and continue to look for future opportunities there.” Holualoa recently acquired a significant share of Greenlight Communities, continued on page 147 >>> www.BizTucson.com


BizDEVELOPMENT

SKYSONG – SCOTTSDALE SKYSONG – SCOTTSDALE

DEWOITINE – VELIZY FRANCE

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BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 144 a Scottsdale-based company dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable rental housing. Greenlight has more than 3,000 units under development in metro Phoenix. In those projects, buildings surround common courtyards that feature a pool, fitness areas and other amenities designed to encourage interaction. Kauffman said Holualoa is looking for sites to build similar communities in Tucson. Holualoa is also part of a joint venture CAMELBACK COLLECTIVE – PHOENIX – which includes New Mountain View and A.W. Mars – that is developing Mountain View Ranch, two distinct housing neighborhoods in Vail that feature home plans ranging from 1,800 to 4,000 square feet on one-acre lots with views of the Rincon and Catalina Mountains. Fairfield Homes, Bednar Design & Construction and Del Mar Homes are the home builders. Sales at Mountain View Ranch have increased by more than 43% over the past year despite challenging economic circumstances caused by COVID-19. Among Holualoa’s several significant commercial projects in the Phoenix area, two stand out as extremely massive, high-profile endeavors. SkySong, otherwise known as The Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, is billed as one of the Phoenix area’s premier economic engines. Holualoa has joined ASU, the City of Scottsdale and Plaza ComCAMELBACK COLLECTIVE – PHOENIX panies, the project’s master developer, as development partners. SkySong attracts cutting-edge, innovaMONTIGNY – PARIS tive companies to Scottsdale to connect with ASU’s Innovation Center. Five Class A, green office buildings totaling 750,000 square feet have been completed and are well-occupied. The final 320,000-square-foot building MONTIGNY – PARIS is ready to begin construction. The development also boasts more than 325 apartment residences, five restaurants, a hotel, and an extra-large shade structure that has become one of Scottsdale’s most recognized landmarks. Holualoa and Plaza Companies are also working to thoroughly modernize and expand Park Central, the first continued on page 148 >>> www.BizTucson.com

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BizDEVELOPMENT

FUTURE HOLUALOA COMPANIES HEADQUARTERS – TUCSON

PIONEER – TUCSON

PIONEER INTERIOR RESTORATION

continued from page 147 shopping mall in Phoenix. The shopping center is being converted into office and retail space with Arizona’s tallest precast parking structure that added 2,000 parking spaces to Phoenix’s core.

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Creighton University’s Health Sciences Campus is under construction and is expected to serve 900 students. A 278unit apartment community is also under construction at the site.

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I. Michael Kasser Founder & Chairman Holualoa Companies

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Super

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Achiever I. Michael Kasser

Real Estate Mogul, Avid Athlete, Philanthropist

I. Michael Kasser has many interesting accomplishments to his name after 80 years on this planet. His greatest business success is unquestionably Holualoa Companies, a Tucson-based real estate investment and development firm he founded and guided from the ground up. Today, the business oversees a diversified international portfolio of office, retail, industrial, apartment and hotel properties and land worth more than $3 billion. Kasser has worked hard and over-achieved his entire life. He was born during World War II – Dec. 9, 1940 – in Budapest, Hungary, to Alexander and Elisabeth Kasser. After the war, his family escaped to Mexico City before moving to the U.S. and bouncing between Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia and New York City, and www.BizTucson.com

finally landing in Montclair, New Jersey. In Hungary, Kasser’s father was an executive at one of the country’s largest paper mills. By the time the war ended, the family had lost everything,” said Kasser. “When we arrived in the United States we were broke.” As a youth, Kasser exhibited genius – skipping three grades and entering Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 15. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1960, he went on to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1961 and a doctorate in engineering at the University of Grenoble (France) in 1964. Kasser speaks six languages fluently – Hungarian, Spanish, English, French, German and Italian. continued on page 154 >>> Winter 2021 > > > BizTucson 153

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By David Pittman


continued from page 153

I. MICHAEL KASSER: AT CIVANA

After getting his doctorate in engineering, Kasser went to work for two years with his father, also an engineer, at a small paper mill in Quebec. “My father built the mill from old spare parts and it really worked,” Kasser recalled. “We made toilet paper from waste paper. After wrapping and boxing the individual rolls, I’d load them in a truck and sell the boxes to nearby grocery stores.” Kasser eventually left to attend Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA in 1968. Following his Harvard stint, he went to New York City to begin a job as a financial analyst for W.R. Grace, an international chemical company. After a few years, Kasser went out on his own and purchased, “for no money down,” a couple of saw mills in upstate New York. Like his father, Kasser was a sports enthusiast. His father played professional soccer for the Peugeot team in France. Kasser began running while in New York City and he’s been running ever since. He ran his first marathon – the New York City Marathon – in 1976. “I’ve run more than 100 marathons over the years,” he said. “I really got into it.”

Kasser met his wife, Beth, when they shared a ride with a mutual friend to the Yonkers Marathon, where they both competed. They were married in 1984 and the next year moved to Hawaii, where Kasser launched Holualoa Companies. An outstanding triathlon competitor, Kasser completed the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii eight times. A photo of Kasser wearing an Ironman sleeveless t-shirt was featured on the cover of the April 1984 edition of SPORTSWISE magazine, which declared him “The Renaissance Athlete.” The prosperity produced by Holualoa Companies enabled Kasser and his wife to become influential philanthropists who’ve donated millions of dollars to local charities and various other causes – including the Tucson Museum of Art, the Arizona Theatre Company and several projects benefiting the University of Arizona. Kasser is also a venture capitalist who has directed Holualoa capital resources to early-stage, innovative companies in a wide range of business sectors. Despite all his success, Kasser said his own story pales to that of

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PHOTOS: COURTESY KASSER FAMILY

I. Michael Kasser: Competitive athlete; family man with wife Beth, daughter Violet and son Mikey; world traveler with Beth; son of Holocaust survivors Elizabeth and Alexander Kasser.

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BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 154 his father’s. At the outset of World War II, Alexander Kasser frequently traveled to Sweden to find and purchase paper pulp for use at the mill where he worked. Because of those travels, he became close friends with professor Valdemar Langlet, a Swede who subsequently became head of the Swedish Red Cross in Budapest. Langlet asked Alexander Kasser to help him in organizing and running the enterprise, which, among other things, was utilized in a clandestine operation to hide and rescue Hungarian Jews who otherwise were destined for shipment to Auschwitz or other Nazi death camps. The Swedish Red Cross, led by Langlet and Alexander Kasser, rented buildings in Budapest and placed signs on the doors, such as “Swedish Library” or “Swedish Research Institute.” The structures were then used as hiding places for Jews being hunted by Nazi authorities led by SS officer Adolph Eichmann. Kasser’s parents were part of a humanitarian effort directed by Raoul

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Ironma n I. Mic in Apri hael Kasser l 1984

Wallenberg, an inspiring Swedish leader credited with saving more than 100,000 Jewish lives targeted by Adolf Hitler and Germany’s Third Reich. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Wallenberg was able to negotiate the creation of thousands of protective passes to allow Hungarians with family ties to Swedes to immigrate to Sweden. To save as many Jews as possible, Wallenberg had three to four times more

passes printed than were authorized. Elisabeth Kasser contributed to the saving of lives as the interpreter for Wallenberg. The Guinness Book of World Records credits Wallenberg as the all-time leader in saving the greatest number of people from extinction. In 1999, Alexander (posthumously) and Elisabeth Kasser were honored with The Raoul Wallenberg Award from the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States. The war’s ending wasn’t kind to Wallenberg, who disappeared shortly after the Russians marched into Hungary. Soviet officials long maintained he died of a heart attack in a Soviet prison. However, in 2000, the Russian government announced Wallenberg had been executed in 1947 in a KGB prison. Alexander Kasser was arrested and imprisoned by German and Hungarian authorities, but he managed to escape. And before he could be recaptured, the Reich fell and the war ended. Biz

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Richard B. Kauffman CEO Holualoa Companies

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BizDEVELOPMENT

Leading a Global Portfolio CEO Richard Kauffman Values Quality People, Strong Company Culture

Richard B. Kauffman, CEO of Holualoa Companies, loves his job and the company he leads. “I enjoy the opportunities and the challenges,” he said. “It’s a special place to be. If you’re passionate about what you do and you’re good at it, it doesn’t seem like work.” Throughout its 35-year history, Holualoa has made consistent profits, while acquiring more than $3 billion in office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotel, land and mixed-use properties stretching from Hawaii to Paris. Kauffman became the CEO of Holualoa on Dec. 1, 2019, after serving as the company’s CFO and VP of Finance for 20 years. Raised in Pennsylvania, Kauffman earned a degree in accounting from Penn State University and began his career with KPMG in Philadelphia. He was working as a corporate auditor for Campbell Soup when he met his future wife, Sandy Capin, a member of the well-known family that operated Capin Mercantile Corporation in www.BizTucson.com

Nogales, Arizona and owned businesses in Tucson. The couple moved to Nogales in 1990 where Kauffman worked for Capin Mercantile and later the Tuttle-Click Automotive Group before joining Holualoa. Holualoa Companies began in Hawaii, but moved its headquarters to Tucson and later added offices in Scottsdale, Santa Monica, California, and Paris. The company has also operated in Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico among its markets. Though Holualoa covers a great deal of territory, Kauffman is not anxious to open more offices or increase the staff of 30 people. “Growth for the sake of growth is not one of our goals,” he said. “There are advantages being a company of our size. We are small enough to maintain a responsive, entrepreneurial spirit, but big enough to commit appropriate resources to opportucontinued on page 162 >>> Winter 2021 > > > BizTucson 161

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By David Pittman


BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 161 nities. We have collaborated with most of our investors for many years and provided them with above average returns. As we see compelling new opportunities, we are confident our investors will continue to participate.” Kauffman said the knowledge and efficiency of Holualoa’s staff, as well as the culture developed by the company’s founder, are major factors in the company’s success. “We have quality people with very diverse and complimentary talents,” he said. “Our key people are highly skilled in such areas as accounting, legal matters, business operations, real estate brokerage, property management, acquisitions and investment – and all of them are extremely analytical. When you put all those skills together you get a very strong result.” Kauffman, 60, said employees at Holualoa know each other well and the company’s culture encourages open conversation, brainstorming and the sharing of ideas about the company and what it does. “A wide range of opinions get expressed because everyone looks at things from different angles,” he said. “That back and forth produces a better result. We are mindful not to change the culture that has worked so well for us without a compelling reason.” Kauffman said identifying and seizing opportunities is part of Holualoa’s DNA. In fact, the decision to move the company’s headquarters to Tucson in 1992 was made when I. Michael Kasser, Holualoa’s founder and chairman, discovered while vacationing here that repossessed properties were being sold for pennies on the dollar in Tucson and Phoenix by the federal Resolution Trust Corporation. As a result, Kasser moved himself and his company to Tucson. As for Holualoa’s future, Kauffman anticipates the company will remain active in its primary markets, including the Southwest, western regions of the United States and France. “We will also invest in other markets where we see exceptional opportunities or have experience and have realized success such as Hawaii, Washington D.C. and Mexico,” Kauffman said. “In addition, we will continue to invest in select venture capital opportunities.” Holualoa has been active in France since 1998 and has about 25% of its as162 BizTucson

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sets there where the company has developed strong business connections and overseen a great deal of construction. Closer to home, Holualoa will soon complete the transformation of a student housing complex into market-rate housing. The property, formerly known as Gateway Apartments, is at 2800 W. Broadway, near Pima Community College. It’s being re-branded as Sonoran Reserve. The project, which includes 10 buildings and a leasing office, will be completed during the first quarter of 2021.

Our key people are highly skilled in such areas as accounting, legal matters, business operations, real estate brokerage, property management, acquisitions and investment – and all of them are extremely analytical. –

Richard B. Kauffman CEO Holuloa Companies

Kauffman said the Sonoran Reserve project is a case study of the kind of work Holualoa was doing in Tucson during the RTC days. The student housing property went downhill after the City of Tucson approved new building regulations that allowed high-rise dormitories to be constructed near the University of Arizona. Many students chose to live in those large towers because of their proximity to UArizona, which resulted in properties such as Gateway, which is miles from campus, to lose rental clients

to the new dorms. In the case of Gateway, the lender took the property back and later put it up for auction, providing what Kauffman calls “an opportunity.” “We are aware of our market and we were fortunate to get a favorable price at auction,” he said. “Holualoa started out as a value-add firm. We would buy something that was broken, either physically or financially, and fix it. The value-add skill is still with the company, though now we are also doing quite a bit of development.” Kauffman said most of the units have already been updated and are rapidly being leased. The renovation has also included a new lounge, landscaping and repaving of the parking lot, as well as improvements to the swimming pool, fitness room and leasing office. Holualoa will soon be renovating one of its own buildings to be its new headquarters office. It will not be moving far, just one block north of the intersection of Sunrise and Swan, which is near its current location in an office building at 3573 E. Sunrise Drive. The new digs will be in a 17,000-square-foot, two-story office building with enough room for two or three other firms. Holualoa has taken steps to help some of its business clients that have experienced financial troubles caused by the pandemic. “We understand the impact the pandemic has had on many businesses and we’ve taken a proactive approach to help our tenants through this difficult period,” Kauffman said. “For about 50 tenants, we made accommodations on their rent in various forms or another,” he said. “The way we approached it was with transparency. If the tenant was willing to be open about their situation and share their numbers and plans with us, we were willing to help them through various abatements or modifications to their leases. It was well-received by our tenants and it was the right thing to do.” Kauffman believes Tucson will come back strong after the pandemic because of the climate, low cost of living and business environment. “A large number of businesses are leaving California and heading to lower-tax states, such as Arizona, Nevada and Texas,” he said.

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

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Lani Baker Principal & Chief Financial Officer – Tucson Lani Baker, a Tucson native who has worked for more than 15 years in commercial real estate, was recently promoted to CFO at Holualoa Companies. Her areas of expertise include commercial real estate acquisitions, financing, sales, treasury and investor relations. Baker’s advancement is connected to other company leadership changes. Former CFO Richard B. Kauffman succeeded company founder I. Michael Kasser as CEO who serves as chairman. Baker formerly was VP of Finance. “It is gratifying to take on this exciting role in a company I love with a team I greatly respect,” Baker said. “Mike Kasser and Rick Kauffman have been 166 BizTucson

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incredibly important to me and my career. Mike helped me develop critical thinking skills, taught me the importance of looking at situations from all sides, and showed me the rewards of being involved in your community. Rick taught me to always ask questions, stay curious and to hire team members smarter than you so the bar continues to rise.” Baker serves the community as a past VP and board member of the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona and is a current member of Angel Charity for Children. In 2016, she was named a 40 Under 40 member by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber and in 2018 as a

Tu Nidito Remarkable Mom. More recently she was recognized as a Real Estate Champion in the Women of Influence awards by Inside Tucson Business. She was the 2020 board president of CREW Tucson, which is part of the nation’s premier commercial real estate network. Baker resides with her husband and their two children. She attended the University of Arizona, where she received a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She also earned an MBA.

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BizDEVELOPMENT

Principal & Chief Investment Officer Aroon Chinai, Principal and Chief Investment Officer for Holualoa Companies, oversees property investment, financing and sale decisions. In addition, he directs the operations of Holualoa’s hotel assets, properties located in California and New York, and is involved in corporate direction and strategic planning. Since Chinai joined Holualoa, the company has acquired more than 100 168 BizTucson

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properties. He recently has become involved in forming relationships to access institutional capital and add to the existing high-net-worth investor base. Chinai joined Holualoa in 1993. Previously, he was a project manager of Ford Motor Company, managing the development of industrial facilities in the United States, Mexico, Spain and Portugal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engi-

neering from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree in real estate development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chinai also completed the Harvard University’s Running a Real Estate Company program. A member of the Urban Land Institute and MIT’s Real Estate Club, he is also involved in various international charities dedicated to children’s education. Biz www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: COURTESY HOLUALOA COMPANIES

Aroon Chinai


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BizDEVELOPMENT

Stan Shafer Stan Shafer, COO of Holualoa Companies, has observed the real estate industry from many angles. He began his career as a real estate attorney, later became a broker and now oversees the management and development of the company’s properties. “I spent 10 years protecting my clients from risks, then 22 years urging them to take risks, and now I’m taking the risks,” said the 68-year-old Shafer. “I love my job. As a broker and a lawyer I could never say, ‘I created that.’ It’s fun being on the creative side. I have no intention of ever retiring.” Shafer works from Holualoa’s Scott170 BizTucson

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sdale office, but he visits Tucson once a week. He spends a great deal of time on the phone speaking to those managing the company’s assets in places stretching from Hawaii to France. Shafer has been intricately involved in two of the largest commercial endeavors in metro Phoenix: the development of SkySong, known as The Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, and the redevelopment of Park Central shopping mall in Phoenix. Holualoa has developed those projects in partnership with Peoria-based Plaza Companies. Holualoa is filled with “great, talented people who have diverse skills and

are unafraid to express their opinions,” Shafer said. “We frequently disagree about things, but we always respect one another and, at the end of the day, we usually come up with the best solution to problems.” He added that “group think” is discouraged at Holualoa because it can lead to “a lot of mistakes.” Shafer grew up in Des Moines and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Iowa State University. He came to Arizona in 1974 to earn a law degree at ASU and has lived in the state ever since.

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Principal & Chief Operations Officer – Phoenix


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Steven Betts A prominent name in commercial real estate in Arizona has taken on a key role with Holualoa Companies as managing director of development. Steven Betts, who moved into the position in late August, had been working as a senior adviser to Holualoa for five years. “I have enjoyed working with Holualoa Companies as they have cemented their position as one of the premier real estate firms in the region,” Betts said. “I look forward to continuing to create exceptional development projects and identify new growth opportunities for the company in coming years.” 172 BizTucson

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Betts is a director for the Tejon Ranch Company in California and is development director for the Helios Education Foundation in Phoenix. He also chairs the board of directors for University Realty, which cultivates real estate to support Arizona State University. Betts is the retired president and CEO of SunCor Development, the subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital that had an asset base of over half a billion dollars. Betts has developed master-planned communities as well as large-scale office, industrial, retail and mixed-use projects. Betts has also served as co-chair of

Gov. Doug Ducey’s Transition Committee for State Lands, is a trustee to the Nature Conservancy, chaired and serves on the advisory board of the Urban Land Institute Arizona District, is a member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Executive Committee, and served as deputy campaign manager and senior adviser for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “Steve is one of the most respected people in our industry in the Western United States,” said Stan Shafer, COO for Holualoa. “He will be an invaluable asset.”

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Managing Director of Development


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In these uncertain times, they selflessly are allowing each employee to choose a charity in their own community and fund a donation on our behalf. I am proud to be a part of a company that looks beyond themselves.

– Tara Scherrer Manager – Treasury Holualoa Companies

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BizGIVING

Making it Personal

Holualoa Cultivates Legacy of Philanthropy By Rodney Campbell

Less than a month after COVID-19 emerged worldwide and became a significant economic disruptor in the United States, the executive team at Holualoa Companies had a discussion. As the management team of a company heavily involved in real-estate holdings, it would be understandable if Holualoa’s executives were concerned about the future. Instead, much of the discussion focused on how Holualoa could help the Southern Arizona community through the tough days ahead. “Early on, we could see a lot of people were having trouble,” said Kevin Gebert, a CFA and Holualoa invest-

ment analyst. “We could tell people would be hard hit. We had a feeling our business was going to make it through, so we decided to give back.” The plan they developed went beyond a corporate decision to send money to local nonprofits. This time, the company chose to make its contribution a little more personal. Executives decided to allow each of Holualoa’s 30 employees, many of whom work in Tucson, to earmark $2,000 apiece to the COVID-19 cause of their choice. Doing so put the workforce in charge of making gifts to nonprofits that meant something to them individually. The act turned out to be a

morale-builder during uncertain times. “Our employees did a great job of adjusting to the new realities of the pandemic, but as COVID-19 began to affect our personal and professional lives, we wanted to offer something positive to our team,” said CEO Richard B. Kauffman. “We were pleased with the enthusiastically positive response to the idea of participating in helping the community and in the breadth of organizations that were selected by our employees. Giving back is a great way to feel a sense of community.” Putting employees in charge of making substantial donations also showed that management trusted everyone, continued on page 178 >>>

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BizGIVING Holualoa Companies Select Charities Alexander and I. Michael Kasser Professorship in Chemical Engineering at M.I.T. Alexander Kasser Theatre at Montclair State University Angel Charity for Children Arizona Opera Arizona State University Foundation Arizona Theatre Company Challenged Athletes Foundation Columbia University Teachers’ College Downtown Tucson Partnership Dusk Music Festival El Rio Foundation Everyone Runs Film Fest Tucson Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation Harvard Business School Kasser Family Medical Center University of Arizona Kasser Family Pool - University of Arizona Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson Perimeter Bicycling Reid Park Zoo Foundation Tu Nidito Children & Family Services Tucson Festival of Books Tucson Girls Chorus Tucson Jazz Festival Tucson Marathon Tucson Meet Yourself Tucson Museum of Art Tucson Symphony Orchestra United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Urban Land Institute Foundation University of Arizona College of Science University of Arizona Foundation Source: Holualoa Companies 178 BizTucson

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continued from page 177 personally, to dole the money out in the most effective ways. “I am honored to work for a company that not only takes care of their employees, but also each employee’s community,” Tara Scherrer, manager-treasury for Holualoa, said in a news release, when the donations were announced in April. “In these uncertain times, they selflessly are allowing each employee to choose a charity in their own community and fund a donation on our behalf. I am proud to be a part of a company that looks beyond themselves.” Hungarian-born I Michael Kasser founded Holualoa in Hawaii in 1985. The company, along with Kasser and his family, relocated to Tucson 28 years ago. An endurance athlete who ran his first marathon in 1976, Kasser took an interest in supporting events such as the Tucson Marathon and El Tour de Tucson. Now, his company’s contributions extend to numerous local nonprofits, from the arts to health-related causes to higher education. Kasser has been named Father of the Year by the Father’s Day Council Tucson. He and his wife, Beth, have received the Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year Award from the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The family name appears on buildings on the University of Arizona campus and across the city. The company Kasser started follows his lead. “We have things we support on a regular basis,” Gebert said. “A lot of it is because of Mike Kasser.” CFO Lani Baker said, “It has been ingrained in team members that it’s important to be involved in our community and to help our friends and neighbors.” Kasser has been a board member for the University of Arizona Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Department of Scientific Research Visiting Committee in New York, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Critical Path Institute. Following his example, other Holualoa employees also give back by volunteering. Gebert has served on boards for the Tucson Museum of Art and Arizona Theatre Company. Baker has been on the boards of the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona, CREW Tucson (this year as president) and Angel Charity for Children. Other employees have been or are board members of the American Heart Association Heart Ball and Metropolitan Pima Alliance, among others. “It’s always important to support the community where you work,” Gebert said. “You need to lend your time and expertise where you can. I knew the Arizona Theatre Company was something we supported as a company. They are having a very tough time right now. They’re trying to get out in the community in any way possible.” Holualoa employees see it as their duty to repay Tucson for its support over nearly three decades. 2020 put Southern Arizona’s nonprofits in the tough position of soliciting support during a pandemic and economic downturn. “We believe that our contributions result in a mutual benefit,” Kauffman said. “Healthy communities facilitate growing companies. Successful companies should support the communities that allow them to thrive.”

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BizPEOPLE Chuck Luhtala

Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division of Western Alliance Bank, has hired Chuck Luhtala as Senior Director of Commercial Banking for Alliance Bank of Arizona in Southern Arizona. Luhtala, a banking industry veteran, will lead the commercial banking team with a specific focus on tailoring lending, deposit accounts and treasury management solutions for clients. Biz

Kellie Terhune Neely

Kellie Terhune Neely, VP of marketing for Hughes Federal Credit Union, is retiring after a distinguished 36-year career. Neely helped grow the union’s membership to more than 146,000 people and $1.6 billion in assets and has received numerous prestigious Credit Union National Association Diamond Awards. Neely also has worked tirelessly for numerous nonprofits throughout her career.

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Eric Majchrzak BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally owned CPA firm and a “Top 200 largest CPA firm” in the U.S., announced that Eric Majchrzak, the firm’s chief marketing and strategy officer, has been appointed CEO. Effective January 1, 2022, Majchrzak will be the third CEO in the firm’s 30-year history. He joined BeachFleischman in 2012 as chief marketing officer and elected shareholder in 2013. Biz www.BizTucson.com

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BizTOOLKIT

Best Practices for

Virtual Meetings By Kathryn Kellner Founder & Director, The Human Communication Studio These days, we are all spending a lot of time in front of our devices engaged in some kind of communication. Whether that be presenting before a client, holding a team meeting or connecting socially with one another, more of daily life is taking place in the virtual environment. If you’re finding a few bumps in the road as you navigate the new normal, you’re not alone. We’re all trying to figure out how to be effective, understand Zoom etiquette, practice good virtual manners and manage screen-time fatigue. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to make your energy and screen presence more effective on a video call. As you plan for your next virtual interaction, use these concepts to make an impression on a client, set an example for your team and set yourself apart from the competition. First of all, minimize distractions. Curate your background and set yourself as the only point of focus in the frame. Avoid whirling ceiling fans and intense backlighting from windows or open doors, and stay away from dimly lit rooms. In fact, two light sources will improve the quality of your image. Remember to wear solid colors to create

contrast and draw attention to the foreground. Dress just as you would if you were meeting in person. Next, decide if you are going to stand or sit. Yep! Standing is an option. The key is to set your device so that the camera is at eye level. Speak and listen from an attentive, ready position. To do this, compose a seated frame with uncrossed legs at hip distance apart and, if possible, with feet planted on the ground. Compose a standing frame with feet parallel and shoulder width apart. Raise and bend your arms at the elbow. Hold them at waist level for a mid-torso framing and higher at chest level for a computer-framed chest or head shot. Displaying physical readiness helps to show an engaged body, just as you would appear if you were presenting in person. Keep in mind that your voice will reflect your movements, physical energy and expressions. Remember, you need space within the frame to gesture. In a torso or mid shot, when seated on a plane a bit further back from your device, your gesture can extend more naturally. But the closer your camera is to your body, the more contained your gesture will need to be to remain in frame. Rather than forward

extension of gesture, move your arms and hands into the horizontal space available to the right or left within the frame. Remember that gesture supports modulation in vocal production and helps you communicate as if people are in the room with you. Use linear gestures to provide direction, inform or impress, and use rounded gestures to create narrative, build rapport and engage. On screen you will appear more physically engaged, more active and of greater interest to your audience. Position your hair, or adjust your glasses, so that your face can be seen and you can maintain a neutral or dropped cranial posture. This helps to project a confident screen presence and is a great position for looking straight into your camera. Eye focus is really important. Maintaining the focus relationship through the camera requires that you look through the lens as if the audience were on the other side. When your communication partners feel your eye focus is on them, and not your own video feed in the corner of your screen, you have the ability to create and maintain strong connections in any virtual communication space.

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Kathryn Kellner is the founder and director of The Human Communication Studio. As a strategic communication consultant with a practice spanning over 30 years, Kellner draws from the world of cognitive science, communication philosophy and principles of acting from the classical school. Her clients have included leading figures in the fields of law, engineering, politics, healthcare, business, education and technology. Locally, Kellner has 20 years of experience partnering with University of Arizona student programs and attorney training at the Pima County Attorney’s office. Additional material can be found at www.humancommunicationstudio.com 182 BizTucson

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Tech Parks Arizona Receives Global Economic Awards In addition to an award-winning project with BizTucson, Tech Parks Arizona received two other awards from the International Economic Development Council, which recognizes top economic development programs and partnerships throughout the world. “We have been very strategic in our economic development activities and to be recognized by IEDC reinforces the significance of the work being done at Tech Parks Arizona,” said Carol Stewart, associate VP of Tech Parks Arizona.

Caliber Group and Litteer Films, the video brought the technology playground to the audience. The video carried the campaign theme into the storyline and captured the culture and spirit of the park.

Bronze Award for Tech Parks Arizona 25yr Future Focused Video, Multimedia/Video Promotion

As part of the 25-year anniversary campaign, Tech Parks Arizona developed a video to demonstrate the significance of how a supportive business environment builds a thriving economy. Using a video team that included the

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Carol Stewart Associate VP Tech Parks Arizona

Bronze Award for its Tamales and Tech Parks Arizona, Special Event

The Tamales and Tech Parks campaign provided a new way to engage site consultants, commercial brokers and other key partners to highlight Tech Parks Arizona as a strategic business location. A virtual FAM tour was accompanied by a taste of Tucson. Attendees received an email with business rankings, details of the University of Arizona campus and a link to order gourmet tamales. IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards acknowledges the world’s best economic development practices and people. The council received over 500 submissions from four countries.

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BizBRIEFS

Tech Parks Arizona Special Section in BizTucson Wins Global Award BizTucson Magazine teamed up with Tech Parks Arizona to highlight the organization’s first 25 years of success with a focus on the future. The 52-page special section detailed university-based economic development activities, showcasing examples of successful tech companies, university connections and Tech Parks Arizona’s support of innovation through all stages of development. The effort won a Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council at its annual Excellence in Economic Development Awards. The piece is now a business development tool for potential tenants and startups, economic development professionals, developers and partners as a key promotional piece – reinforcing that Tech Parks is a critical driver of the Southern Arizona high-tech economy. IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards honors the world’s

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best economic development practices and people. In total, 35 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their endeavors in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural

communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. “The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said Kenny McDonald, 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

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BizHONORS

2020 Tucson Man of the Year

Donal Drayne By Romi Carrell Wittman

Catching Donal Drayne in a quiet moment is nearly impossible. Although he’s been retired from the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa after a 40-plus year career in the hospitality industry, he’s as active as ever volunteering for a number of organizations near and dear to his heart. It’s this dedication that’s earned him the honor of being the Greater Tucson Leadership’s 2020 Man of the Year. McKensie Neff, executive director of the American Heart Association, nominated Drayne for the award. “Donal has dedicated his life to making a difference in the Tucson community,” she said. “He commits more time to his community than most commit to their day-to-day profession.” Drayne came to Tucson in 1987 from Cincinnati, where he was working as the catering manager for a Westin property. La Paloma had opened the year before and the general manager called Drayne and offered him the job. “It was a two-minute phone call,” Drayne said. “And then I moved.” Drayne has never been shy about exploring possibilities and seeking out adventure. His gentle brogue hints at his birthplace of Northern Ireland, which he still visits often. His extended family still operates a retail dairy farm in Belfast and, when Drayne visits, he stays in a 220-year-old home. After settling in Tucson and his new job, Drayne immersed himself in the city and its culture. “I was brought up to adapt to places and embrace them,” he said. Almost immediately, he signed up for an 8-week course at the Arizona Historical Society. “I can’t talk like a native, but I can act like one,” he laughed, referring to his status as an adopted Tucsonan. He also began volunteering with the Tucson Metro Chamber. He traveled to local high schools and talked with students about negative stereotyping. He leaned on his natural ability to find common ground to win the kids over. “They were all negative stereotyping me as a white guy from La Paloma in a suit and tie,” he said. “I let them talk and they said I had no idea, and I told them they were right.” Drayne then would steer the conversation to his family’s business in Northern Ireland. “I told them that some people won’t buy from us because we’re Catholics. When I said that, I got their attention because they know I could understand,” www.BizTucson.com

he said. “Do not feel ‘poor me.’ Just park the drama and take the high road,” he added. “My main motivation is to connect with people. I don’t care who you are. ” In addition to his work with the American Heart Association and its Heart Ball, Drayne serves as chairman on the boards of the Salvation Army, the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, the TMC Foundation Board and the TMC Board of Trustees. He also chairs several events, including the last three Catholic Foundation galas and the past four Salvation Army harvest festivals. “Donal’s sunny disposition and his humble demeanor inspire everyone he meets to be a better person,” said Carla Keegan, a past GTL Woman of the Year honoree. “One day while volunteering at the Salvation Army, the janitor didn’t show up, so he picked up a broom and started sweeping. A child said something to the effect of ’Hey, you’re not the janitor, that’s not your job.’ Donal responded, ‘My job is to do whatever needs to be done.’ ” Though Drayne retired five years ago, he’s as busy as ever. “I’m retired, but I’m so excited because I’m learning new things,” he said. “When you see young kids, they’re always smiling and laughing and it’s because they’re learning something new. It’s the simple things that give me pleasure.” Although he doesn’t have children of his own, Drayne is a proud godfather to Ryan and Courtney Retz. In addition to serving as a de facto bonus parent, Drayne took them to Ireland many times when they were children. Drayne and the children, who are now 30 and 26 years old, respectively, continue to be an active presence in one another’s lives. Drayne is thrilled, if a bit overwhelmed, by the Man of the Year honor. “I handled the event for many years as part of my job,” he said. “It was a good event, but I thought there was no way I would ever get that award. I thought you had to be a CEO or a mover and shaker. I’m very humbled. It’s a great honor to be recognized.” It’s precisely this humility that makes him so special and remarkable. Said Neff: “His character and heart are rare and hard to find.”

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BizHONORS

2020 Tucson Woman of the Year

Judy Rich By Romi Carrell Wittman Judy Rich’s influence can be felt in nearly every corner of Southern Arizona. Since taking the helm of Tucson Medical Center in 2007, Rich has made improving our community a top priority. Greater Tucson Leadership has named her the 2020 Woman of the Year. Rich began her career as a registered nurse, and that training and experience still guide her work. As Julia Strange, TMC’s VP of community benefit, said in Rich’s nomination letter, “No matter how we describe Judy, we first must call her a nurse .... Nurses are compassionate people who have heart. They want to help others heal, to ease their suffering, to honor each person’s uniqueness in what may be their most vulnerable time.” Rich’s community involvement is extensive. Currently, she serves as chair of Sun Corridor Inc., and is on the board of directors of the Tucson Airport Authority – two entities that bolster the community’s financial well-being. In addition, she serves on the boards of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and numerous hospital professional associations. Rich is also a longtime supporter of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. She has spearheaded several key initiatives with the goal of improving life in Southern Arizona. She led the partnership between TMC and CODAC Health to create the Connie Hillman Family House, which provides a safe living place for women undergoing substance abuse treatment. Rich has also been an active Get Out the Vote organizer and volunteer. In 2014, Rich led the coalition to expand Medicaid in Arizona. Thanks to these efforts, nearly 400,000 Arizonans were able to gain healthcare coverage under Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. This expansion benefitted all hospitals, but especially smaller, rural hospitals that otherwise might have had to close their doors. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said, “As president and CEO of TMC Healthcare, Judy Rich has a profound understanding of why economic development is so crucial to our region.” This work has been made more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Huckelberry said Rich’s work has ensured Tucson will recover. “In part because of Judy’s work on these economic initiatives, this region was recognized by the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants as one of the top 10 in the U.S. to recover from the pandemic.”

Rich is actively working with Sun Corridor Inc. to ensure that the region’s economic recovery is robust. “After serving on our Chairman’s Circle for many years, in 2020, Judy was selected to be chair of the board for Sun Corridor Inc. in a most pivotal time for our economy,” said Sun Corridor President and CEO Joe Snell. “Under Judy’s leadership, we will unveil an Economic Recovery Plan to ensure that Southern Arizona emerges from the health and economic challenge by building on the strengths in place and returning the region to its prosperous path prior to the pandemic.” Her vision, creativity and proactive nature has made her a tremendous force. Louise Francesconi, chair of TMC Healthcare board of trustees, said Rich demonstrated this last spring when COVID-19 first affected our community. In mid-March, with just one affected patient in the intensive care unit, Rich activated TMC’s Hospital Command Center to determine best practices to mitigate the spread, to obtain adequate personal protective equipment and supplies, and to ensure sufficient staff resources. Part of this preparation was also to support hospital staff whom she knew would suffer fatigue and burnout as they cared for the thousands affected. Rich showed her creative and compassionate focus when she helped to develop protocols to enable COVID-19 patients to see their families. “Because TMC is mostly a ground-level facility, nearly all the rooms have windows that face out to courtyards,” Francesconi said. “Judy realized that those windows can be the connection point our patients and their loved ones have been craving. Today, the program is an unmitigated success with between 125 and 150 people a day coming to see their friends and families through the windows of TMC.” Rich is characteristically humble about the Woman of the Year award. “It’s a moment you never forget,” she said, referring to when she was told of the honor. “My executive team was there and my daughter, who lives in Tucson. My other children were on the big screen in the auditorium. They were larger than life and I couldn’t stop looking at them. “Obviously, I felt very honored. I love Tucson and I’m grateful I live here. I see the incredible needs in this community, the social needs, the poverty, the stark contrast between the beautiful place we live and the needs of the community. Getting involved is a natural progression of my work.” Rich looks forward to continuing her work in the community. “I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be and that feels good.”

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2020 Tucson Founders Award Honoree

Dee-Dee Samet By Romi Carrell Wittman

Creative. Boundless energy. Analytical. Intuitive. That’s quite a list of adjectives and each has been used to describe Dee-Dee Samet, the Greater Tucson Leadership 2021 Founders Award recipient. Samet was very excited to learn she’d won the award, but she was characteristically humble about it. “It was quite unexpected and lovely,” she said. “You do what you can for your community. I’ve never understood people who don’t.” Samet’s résumé – both her work as an attorney and her many volunteer and philanthropic endeavors – is extensive, which might make one wonder how she can fit it all in. “I work fast and I don’t need a lot of sleep,” she said, laughing. She has played pivotal roles at numerous nonprofits, including Casa de los Niños, Invisible Theatre and Legal Aid of Arizona. In her professional life, she was one of the longest active members of the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors and she’s chaired several committees for the Pima County Bar Association, including the Public Outreach Committee, the Courthouse Tours Committee and the Domestic Relations Pro Bono Committee. She has also been a force on several statewide and national professional organizations. Jean Gage, managing attorney at CopperPoint Insurance Companies, nominated Samet for the award. “Her résumé speaks for itself,” Gage said. “Dee-Dee is known for her work ethic and her ability to formulate ideas and get things accomplished. She brings people together for a common cause and, through her leadership, she can focus people to work together to get a mission accomplished.” Susan Maxwell has worked alongside Samet for 25 years, including on the current Casa de los Niños Foundation Board, of which Samet is president. “She challenges those around her to be better thinkers and to focus on the mission to meet the needs of Tucson. She doesn’t just sign up for the task; she commits and works on the task ... and is relentless in seeing it through to completion.” In a letter of support for Samet’s nomination, her longtime friend Hector Estrada wrote that her work touches many aspects of the community, often for those in the greatest need. www.BizTucson.com

“As an attorney, her practice primarily centers on seeking assistance for the disabled,” he wrote. “Over the years, numerous state and federal judges have appointed Dee-Dee to represent for free litigants who cannot afford counsel. We have never heard of Dee-Dee declining any appointment or request for service.” Another passion of Samet’s is the Invisible Theatre. Managing Artistic Director Susan Claassen said Samet has been an active member of the theater’s advisory board for the past 16 years. “She’s the type of board member everyone wants on their board,” Claussen said. “She is an active advocate and is immensely generous of her time and expertise.” “Dee-Dee does not dabble,” said fellow attorney Pamela Treadwell-Rubin. “If she commits to something, she commits for a long tenure. Not only does she hold herself to a high standard, she encourages all who know her to do better so we can join her at those high levels of performance.” Samet is also passionate about Tucson Homeless Connect, a nonprofit that gathers local agencies, government, businesses and medical providers to collaborate to provide homeless people with basic needs, referrals and advocacy. “We have two events a year,” Samet said. “We try to help the homeless find jobs and get mental health treatment. We help them get identification cards; Walgreens provides flu shots and Primavera and other organizations are there to provide clothing and housing assistance; we have judges there that help with any tickets the person may have, and Pima Animal Care is there to provide licenses and shots for pets.” Samet said the event is critical because it provides an efficient one-stop shop that allows homeless people to start putting their lives back together. “It takes just a couple of things converging and you could wind up homeless,” she said. “The city has a lot of homeless and we need to reach out and help.” When asked what still drives her after so many years of service, Samet responded in her typical, get-it-done style: “I just believe so firmly that we need to help our community and do what we can.”

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2020 Greater Tucson Leadership Alumni Excellence Award

Gabriela Cervantes By Romi Carrell Wittman

Gabriela Cervantes was beginning her day like so many of us in this time of COVID-19: She was prepped for a day of Zoom meetings. Translation: She was career-ready from the waist up, still in pajamas from the waist down. Cervantes didn’t think much about it when she hopped on the call with colleague Julio Espinoza, but then she saw Greater Tucson Leadership CEO Kasey Hill was also on the call. She only grew more confused when they told her, “We’re outside your house!” The reason for the morning in-person visit? She’d just been named the 2020 recipient of the GTL Alumni Excellence Award. Cervantes was overwhelmed. “I’ve seen amazing people win various categories,” she said. “It never occurred to me that I could get this.” Since moving to Tucson in 1998, Cervantes has devoted herself to improving the community and helping people who live here. The list of projects and organizations for which Cervantes has volunteered her time and expertise is truly staggering. She’s an active board member for several critical nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona, the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, and Tu Nidito. She has served on countless committees and helped to raise much-needed funds for others. Cervantes has made her mark professionally in a number of marketing roles. Currently, she works at Snell & Wilmer, where she helps attorneys develop and execute individual marketing plans. Education is an ongoing focus for Cervantes. She obtained her MBA from the University of Arizona in 2010 and has since completed the GTL program, as well as its first Civic & Political Leadership Academy. Former Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild got to know Cervantes during the yearlong program. www.BizTucson.com

“Gabriela was an outstanding member of the class and I see great potential for her continued leadership in the community,” Rothschild said. “Her personal story, background and accomplishments are inspirational.” Julio Espinoza, Latinx communications manager for the Arizona Democratic Party, said of Cervantes in his nomination letter, “No matter the challenge, the circumstance of the environment around her, she adapts, she thrives and she helps others succeed.” Cervantes said what she loved most about the GTL program was getting to learn the community’s inner workings. “I’ve lived here for 22 years .... It’s so easy to take things for granted. You live here, you go to work,” she said. “GTL has a way of showing you how all the moving parts work together and it shows how if one part isn’t working, it affects how everything functions.” Cervantes believes her advocacy and volunteer work are her life’s work. “I don’t have children and don’t plan to have children, so this is my legacy. These projects are my children,” she said. “They’re going to be around long after I’m gone. There’s always an opportunity to do something so why not help out?” Amalia Luxardo, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, has worked with Cervantes extensively. She is struck by Cervantes’ ability to connect people and build bridges. “Professionally, Gabriela managed projects that were once unprofitable and converted them into multimillion-dollar lines of revenue,” Luxardo said. “As I have gotten to know Gabriela these last few years, it has become very clear that she is tenacious, passionate and incredibly dedicated to the causes she believes in.” Cervantes has no plans to rest on her laurels. She remains actively committed to nearly a dozen local nonprofits and serves in leadership roles in most of them. As Luxardo said, “Gabriela’s drive has truly inspired us all to do better.” Biz Winter 2021

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Shelley Valencia

Jessica England

Christopher Pankratz

Latricia Ferguso

Vanessa Schiess

Gricelda Meraz

Adam Scafede

Eric Freitchen

Julie Ramsey

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON VALUES TEACHERS

BizEDUCATION


Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards Tucson Values Teachers Honors Educators By Tom Leyde Nine Pima County teachers were honored for their work at the fifth annual Tucson Values Teachers Stand Up 4 Teachers ceremony. On Nov. 4, at the University of Arizona, they received cash prizes as part of the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award in recognition of their work. The top three award winners received $2,500 and a matching amount for their schools. The Raytheon Leaders in Education Award program honors Pima County teachers in grades K-12 who are achieving outstanding classroom performance, demonstrating leadership in their schools and communities, and supporting their peers The honorees were:

Grades 6-8:

Shelley Valencia, kindergarten teacher at Centennial Elementary School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Jessica England, 6th-8th-grade band, orchestra and choir director at Sahuarita Middle School, Sahuarita Unified School District

Christopher Pankratz, 9th-12th-grade theater arts teacher at Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Award finalists, who received $500 each, were: Grades K-5:

Latricia Ferguson, Cottonwood Elementary School, Vail School District

Vanessa Schiess, J. Robert Hendricks Elementary School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

in a committed teacher workforce. “The Raytheon Leaders in Education Award honors and recognizes the very best educators we have in our community,” said Andrew Heinemann, CEO of Tucson Values Teachers in a news release. “Highlighting the contributions and professionalism of local teachers is especially important during such an unprecedented time in education, as teachers have faced new and unique challenges.” Attendance at the event was limited to 50 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also streamed virtually.

Gricelda Meraz, Hollinger K-8 School, Tucson Unified School District

Adam Scafede, Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8, Marana Unified School District

Grades 9-12

Eric Freitchen, Desert View High School, Sunnyside Unified School District

Julie Ramsey, Amphitheater High School, Amphitheater Public Schools

Ron Shoopman Spirit of Education Award Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Ron Shoopman received the Spirit of Education Award. Shoopman is a member of the Arizona Board of Regents and one of the founders of Tucson Values Teachers. He previously led the 162nd Fighter Wing, which was responsible for training both U.S. and foreign pilots flying F-16s.

Shelley Valencia Centennial Elementary School

Shelley Valencia is in her 22nd year of teaching kindergarten at Centennial Elementary School. “It was amazing,” she said of receiving the Leaders in Education Award. “I was really honored to represent kindergarteners as well as the Flowing Wells School District.” Valencia said teaching remotely during the pandemic is pretty comparable to teaching in the classroom. “It’s been going really well, actually,” she said. “It’s been really nice. The kids have been able to stay online for about two and a half hours before taking a break.” In her kindergarten class, students are working on reading, sounding out words and blending letters to make words. They’re also learning to write two sentences. “It’s (kindergarten) changed a lot since I’ve been there.” she said. During her career at Centennial Elementary, Valencia has held leadership positions, including grade level chair, teacher assistance team coordinator, continued on page 198 >>>

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BizEDUCATION

Ron Shoopman Receives Spirit of Education Award By Tom Leyde

Retired Air Force Brigadier General Ron Shoopman received the Spirit of Education Award at November’s Stand Up 4 Teachers event—a testament to his commitment to Tucson education. Shoopman was president and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), a group of local business leaders that has become a highly respected voice on regional public policy, when he founded Tucson Values Teachers. Shoopman is also immediate past chair and treasurer of the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees Arizona’s public universities. “It was a great honor to be recognized as a founder of Tucson Values Teachers, which has been making a difference for teachers over 12 years,” Shoopman said. “It reflects the commitment and will of the business leaders of Tucson to do something about retaining quality teachers in our classrooms. The fact that it’s been very successful has been very rewarding.” While at SALC, Shoopman led the investigation into why Arizona teachers were leaving the field. “It was assumed that we were losing teachers over low pay,” he said. “While that was a factor, it was not the top reason. Among them were lack of support and lack of respect.” 198 BizTucson

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SALC research found that teachers were not only teaching but acting as counselors and finding resources for students, such as clothing and shoes. The name, Tucson Values Teachers, was chosen as rallying call to make sure teachers were given the value and community respect they deserved. That effort began in 2007 and continues today with programs that support, reward and recognize teachers. One such program selects teachers to work for three years in summer jobs at Tucson corporations while earning a master’s degree. Another provides teachers with credit cards to purchase needed classroom items. Tucson Values Teachers also presents a series of awards, including the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award presented during the Nov. 4 event. A former wing commander of the 162nd Fighter Wing, Shoopman has received a number of accolades during his career. His Air Force honors include the Legion of Merit. He also was named the Governor’s 2009 Celebration of Innovation McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year, the 2012 Tucson Father of The Year and received the Greater Tucson Leadership 2019 Founders Award.

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continued from page 197 mentor teacher, member of the school improvement team and cooperating teacher. In that last role, she personally supported 16 student teachers in her classroom. She currently serves as head teacher at the school. Valencia was a member of the team that wrote the A+ School of Excellence application, which was awarded to Centennial. During the 2011-2012 school year, she was awarded the Centennial Elementary Teacher of the Year Award. Jessica England Sahuarita Middle School

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this award,” said England. “The event was really special. I’m glad we were able to do it despite COVID.” England is a graduate of Central Michigan University and moved to Arizona with her husband. They live in Sahuarita. In her fourth year at Sahuarita Middle School, England is a member of the school’s site council, coordinator of the district’s orchestra festival and clinician for beginning instrumentalists in the district’s Jumpstart program. She also offers music tutoring, a ukulele class and facilitates the Kindness Club on campus. England began a jazz band program, which earned a spot in the Jazz in the Desert festival. She just completed her first year of candidacy for National Board of Teacher Certification. Christopher Pankratz Flowing Wells High School

Christopher Pankratz is in his sixth year of teaching theater arts at Flowing Wells High School. “I’m very honored,” he said about receiving the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award. “It’s a big deal for our school and our theater program, too. It’s nice being recognized.” Pankratz, a Tucson native, has overseen the production of 33 plays. He has written and produced eight original plays for specific classes at Flowing Wells High, including an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” He also developed Teatro Habla, which gave Spanish-speaking students a chance to translate and perform in both Spanish and English. In 2019, he was named Best Director in The Monte Awards, a division of the National High School Musical Theater Awards, a national celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater that also honors teachers and their schools’ commitment to performing arts education. “Teaching in the pandemic has been really stressful and really important to connect with the kids,” said Pankratz, who is teaching students both in person and virtually. “It’s nice to connect with them even though it’s a crazy time.”

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BizAWARDS

2020 Copper Cactus Awards By Mary Minor Davis

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David Mason, President & CEO San Miguel High School

PHOTOS: COURTESY COPPER CACTUS

Tucson Metro Chamber celebrated the 23rd annual Copper Cactus Awards in a livestream event this fall, with a new award added to its usual honors: Start Up of the Year. The annual event recognizes the achievements and innovation of locally owned small businesses and individuals in Southern Arizona. “We want to celebrate the entrepreneurs taking the risks to create scalable ventures that solve real world problems,” said Eric Smith, executive director for the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, in introducing the new award sponsored by Tech Parks Arizona. Nine recipients were recognized from among 27 finalists selected out of hundreds of nominations. “We congratulate all of these exceptional small businesses for their spirit, strength and resiliency,” said Tim Medcoff, Tucson Metro Chamber board chair and managing partner of Farhang & Medcoff. The Innovation award category was adjusted to incorporate “Innovation in Remote Working,” acknowledging the efforts of small businesses to find new ways to bring their product or service to market. “We adapted our innovation award to reflect the extraordinary efforts of Southern Arizona businesses who had to pivot and persevere during a global crisis,” said Michelle Singer, director of account management for Nextrio, which sponsors the award. Each year, the chamber selects the CopperPoint Small Business Leader of the Year. 2020’s recipient was Grant Anderson, president and CEO of Paragon Space Development Corporation. “Tucson is a great place to start a bioscience company,” said Anderson. “We have outstanding technology coming out of UArizona, a well-trained and available workforce and a superb network of technical and non-technical service providers.” The following is the list of the 2020 Copper Cactus Award recipients.

Richard Austin PhD, MBA, CEO, Reglagene

Kym Adair Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Cathy Rivers, Executive Director Foundation for Creative Broadcasting/KXCI

Jeff Artzi OOROO Auto

Barry Chasse Chasse Building Team

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ARIZONA COMPLETE HEALTH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & EDUCATION San Miguel High School www.sanmiguelcristorey.org San Miguel High School is a Catholic, Lasallian college-preparatory school in south Tucson. Students take a full course load while simultaneously holding internships, working in corporations and earning nearly 40% of their school tuition. It is a member of the Cristo Rey Network of work-study schools. TECH PARKS ARIZONA START UP OF THE YEAR Reglagene www.reglagene.com Reglagene discovers and develops low-cost and noninvasive therapeutic solutions that help to regain control of genes exploited by cancer and keep patients responsive to treatment.

Danny Knee, Executive Director Community Investment Corporation

TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER CHARITABLE NONPROFIT BUSINESS TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER SOCIAL IMPACT (WITH REVENUES UP TO $2 MILLION) Community Investment Corporation cictucson.org CIC is a nonprofit economic development organization dedicated to providing education, home ownership assistance, grants and funding for small business and nonprofit enterprises, all to improve economic prosperity in Pima County.

PHOTO BY AMY HASKEL

TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER SOCIAL IMPACT (WITH REVENUES BETWEEN $2 MILLION AND $5 MILLION) Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl www.theArizonaBowl.com The Arizona Bowl is a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA that began play in 2015. The game is held at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, featuring teams from the Mountain West Conference and Mid-American Conference. NEXTRIO INNOVATION IN REMOTE WORKING Foundation for Creative Broadcasting/KXCI www.kxci.org KXCI is a community radio station that serves the greater Tucson market. Programs include talk shows, music shows and call-in shows. COX BUSINESS GROWTH Sonya Sotinsky, Co-owner FORSarchitecture+interiors

FORSarchitecture+interiors www.forsarchitecture.com Hospitality and residential design in Tucson since 1997. BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD BEST PLACE TO WORK (WITH 3 TO 50 EMPLOYEES)

PHOTO BY CHRIS MOONEY

OOROO Auto www.oorooauto.com Mobile and in-store auto care with locations in Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley.

Grant Anderson, President & CEO, Paragon Space Development Corporation www.BizTucson.com

BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD BEST PLACE TO WORK (WITH 51 TO 200 EMPLOYEES) Chasse Building Team www.chasse.us General contractor and builder in Tucson since 2007. COPPERPOINT SMALL BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR Grant Anderson, President & CEO, Paragon Space Development Corporation www.paragonsdc.com Engineering, design, analysis and manufacturing of life support and thermal control technologies for space, defense and commercial industries.

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BizTRIBUTE

Armando Rios Jr.

His Hometown’s Greatest Advocate A mover and shaker in regional business, sports and politics. A passionate advocate for community transportation. A connector of people and a loving father and son. They are all fitting descriptions of Armando Rios Jr., who passed away in December. Local businessman Jim Click Jr. knew Rios for more than 30 years and was always impressed by how he handled himself in business and in life. “Armando was a very smart man,” said Click, president of the Jim Click Automotive Team. “He never met anyone he didn’t like. He had a knack of bringing people together in a variety of ways, through business and otherwise.” From being a representative for The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation and Humberto S. Lopez to serving as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson to chairing the Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizens Accountability for Regional Transportation Committee, Rios wanted to make Tucson, his hometown, better for everyone in every way. “Armando was passionate about the Regional Transportation Authority and was always thinking from the citizen perspective,” said RTA Executive Director Farhad Moghimi. “As a member of the RTA’s citizens oversight committee since it was established in 2006, and most recently as chair, he was conscientious of ensuring public transparency and letting the citizens know about the ‘good work’ of the RTA. He wanted the public to know how much the RTA projects are positively influencing our economic future by ensuring we have a quality transportation system for everyone.” A University of Arizona graduate, Rios joined Tucson attorney Burt 202 BizTucson

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Kinerk with his fledgling agent business, consulting boyhood friend Sean Elliott, Arizona’s consensus All-American. “Armando was a networker,” said Cody Ritchie, CEO of Crest Insurance Group. “Armando was always hustling in a good way. And I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. I thought the world of him.”

Armando Rios Jr. A decade ago, Rios, who owned Rios Consulting and Management, became the first and only Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson alumnus to become the CEO. In a 2010 BizTucson story, Rios said had it not been for the Boys & Girls Clubs, “I can’t imagine what my life would be .... It gave me a purpose in life.” “His passion for making this place a better place was infectious. He was a perfect fit,” said Laurie Wetterschneider, an emeritus board member with Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. “It was incredible for us … his passion and knowledge. He was the perfect story.”

Mark Irvin, a leader in Tucson’s commercial real estate industry, agreed. “Armando learned how to be impactful in our community from a young age by initially focusing his energy at helping kids, like those from his stomping grounds at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Irvin, a Boys & Girls Clubs emeritus board member. “Being a product of the clubs himself, Armando understood issues kids faced.” Most recently, he helped with the the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity, in collaboration with Gospel Rescue Mission, which was created out of a former Tucson hotel. “Armando was there from the start,” said Lopez, who added that Rios was like a member of his family. “Armando was my consultant, screening all the grant requests. He recommended the ones that fit. When we bought the hotel ... he was instrumental in getting it started, making sure my mission was carried out. He was on top of everything. That gave him a lot of satisfaction and pride in helping those who were homeless and in need.” Rios never changed from that streetsmart, savvy and sure young man who grew up to be a go-getter. It’s what landed him a spot on the Wildcat football roster as a walk-on. “I’m not surprised how he ended up doing what he did (in the business world),” said former UArizona coach Duane Akina, now with the Stanford Cardinal. “He was one of those that I talk about to players today –be a player who earns the respect in the locker room. He got along with everybody.”

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PHOTO: DOMINIC ORTEGA

By Steve Rivera


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