Biz Tucson Winter 2023

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Radiology Ltd. The Gregory School & WINTER 2023
REPORTS: Southern Arizona Leadership Council
WINTER 2023 $3.99 DISPLAY UNTIL 3/31/23


The importance of Tucson’s diverse and prestigious arts scene to our economic sustainability can’t be overstated. These words from Tucson Metro Chamber President & CEO Michael Guymon could not be more true. Our region flourishes as a mecca of the visual and performing arts, with the pillars of a symphony, ballet, opera and professional theater company, as well as renowned museums and a backdrop of more than 2,600 arts organizations, nonprofits and businesses.

Southern Methodist University DataArts, which partners with local arts organizations nationwide, found that 37 Tucson arts organizations—36 with budgets under $5 million—generated more than $34 million in salaries and benefits. Statewide, the economic impact of the arts is $9.6 billion. Freelance journalist Loni Nannini offers an overview of this economic powerhouse, and let’s face it, we’re just scratching the surface of this sector’s expanding scope.

Tucson received some big news toward year’s end when American Battery Factory chose our city to build its first billion-dollar “gigafactory.” President and CEO Paul Charles chose Tucson because he wanted a forward-thinking area concerned equally about a skilled workforce and the environment. ABF said the capital investment in the gigafactory will be about $1.2 billion with an economic impact of $3.1 billion for the state. Tucson-based Sion Power also announced it would expand its facility that manufactures electric vehicle batteries, adding 150 jobs to the already 100 here. Roche Tissue Diagnostics recently unveiled its new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building in Marana in its effort to meet a growing global demand for cancer-detecting instruments and tests. The new Marana manufacturing building opens up a large amount of space in Oro Valley to increase reagent production.

Enhancing our region’s economic vibrance for more than two decades has been the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Honoring its 25th anniversary as a key nonpartisan, policy-focused organization, SALC boasts more than 140 C-suite executives who forward a unified business voice and a drive an enhanced quality of life. SALC’s meetings could be called the region’s version of a Davos or a G20 of the Southwest--essentially a summit of the region’s best business

minds. Freelance journalist Romi Carrell Wittman offers an in-depth, 60-page report on this organization’s siginificant progress for the region.

Celebrating an impressive 90 years here, Radiology Ltd. is the region’s top radiology practice trusted for its patient care excellence, technology and employee dedication. President and Chairman Dr. David Jeck said, “Quality has always come first. In all of our decisions, we don’t compromise on quality.” Freelance journalist Tara Kirkpatrick files an in-depth report on the company, whose successful model will likely expand beyond Southern Arizona in the future.

Freelance journalist Valerie Vinyard profiles The Gregory School, which has prepared future leaders for more than 40 years. The school was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which will be matched, to help enhance its innovative Friday Exploration curriculum. The Gregory School is the only Arizona school to receive this funding.

Opening in January in the University of Arizona Student Union is the new African American Museum of Southern Arizona, the only one of its kind in Arizona. With many educational features, the new museum will attract all ages. As Founder Beverely Elliott said, “Our vision is to serve as a resource and provide the community with lessons on tradition and heritage.”

We hope you enjoy this epic issue. As always, we are grateful for our loyal readers, our advertisers and our committed editorial team.


Winter 2023 Volume 14 No. 4

Publisher & Owner Steven E. Rosenberg

Creative Director Brent G. Mathis

Contributing Editors Donna Kreutz

Tara Kirkpatrick

Jay Gonzales

Elena Acoba

Romi Carrell Wittman

Valerie Vinyard

Contributing Technology Director Mike Serres

Contributing Project Coordinator Maricela Robles

Contributing Writers

Rodney Campbell

Jay Gonzales

Eva Halvax

Tara Kirkpatrick

Christy Krueger

Thomas Leyde

Loni Nannini

David Pittman

Steve Rivera

Valerie Vinyard

Romi Carrell Wittman

Contributing Photographers Brent G. Mathis

Chris Mooney

David Sanders

BizTucson News Update (Email Newsletter)


Brent G. Mathis

Tara Kirkpatrick

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Southern Arizona Leadership Council Sun Corridor Inc.

Tucson Metro Chamber Visit Tucson

BizTucson Magazine Issue 4 (ISSN 1947-5047 print, ISSN 2833-6739 online) is published quarterly for $16 per year by Rosenberg Media, LLC., 4729 E. Sunrise Dr., PMB 505, Tucson, AZ 85718-4534. Periodicals postage pending at Phoenix, AZ, and additional mailing offices.

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Biz 4 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023




44 The Major Players

48 Historic Arts Venues

52 UArizona Exalts the Arts

56 Tucson Desert Song Festival

58 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival



4 From the Publisher


24 Roche Tissue Diagnostics: Boost for Bioscience


30 American Battery Factory to Build Gigafactory

36 Sion Power Signals Expansion


60 New African American Museum of Southern Arizona


125 Tucson Values Teachers: Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards


130 Tucson Country Club at 75


156 SHRM-GT Innovation in the Workplace Awards

160 Tech Launch Arizona I-Squared Awards

162 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards


164 Applied Research Corporation at UA Tech Park at The Bridges


166 Cologuard Classic and Tucson Conquistadores New Executive Director BizTECHNOLOGY

168 $21 Million Expansion for Pima Community College Aviation Center


187 Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards


188 Simply Bits Evolves with Ting Acquisition


192 ASID Arizona South Commercial Award Winners

194 Cornerstone Building Foundation

Honors “Dream Team”


196 From Tucson to national “Top Chef”

Maria Mazon


200 Southern Arizona PRSA Chapter: IMPACT Awards


202 Margaret Larsen

Southern Arizona Leadership Council

Ltd. 90th Anniversary

Winter 2023 BizCONTENTS
ABOUT THE COVER City of The Arts Creative Design by Brent G. Mathis
65 171 Radiology
The Gregory School 40th
25th Anniversary
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Ribbon ceremony for Roche Tissue Diagnostics’ newly built 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building. From left – Marana Mayor Ed Honea, Jill German, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics, Kent Kost, global head of Roche diagnostics operations and Himanshu Parikh, VP of global operations for Roche Tissue Diagnostics.

A Boost for Bioscience Roche Increases Local Manufacturing Footprint

Roche Tissue Diagnostics is building and expanding manufacturing facilities in Marana and Oro Valley in its ongoing effort to meet a growing global demand for cancer-detecting instruments and tests.

At a Nov. 14 grand opening in Marana, Roche officials unveiled the company’s newly built 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building that sits next to an eight-year-old Roche logistics center of similar size. Barker Contracting served as builder.

“With the new building in Marana we will be able to expand our instrument manufacturing, which is tremendously important, because it will allow us to provide customers, and ultimately patients, with reliable access to quality cancer diagnostics no matter where they are in the world,” said Jill German, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics.

Roche also intends to remodel its manufacturing facility on Innovation Park Drive in Oro Valley in 2023. Roche officials said the new Marana manufacturing building opens up a large amount of space in Oro Valley needed to increase reagent production.

“With the building in Marana and remodeling in Oro Valley, we are continuing to invest in Southern Arizona’s bioscience industry while offering meaningful career opportunities to members of our local community,” German said.

When completed, the Marana building will house instrument and service manufacturing, along with instrument labeling, operations and support functions such as engineering, purchasing,

planning and finance.

“Relocating instrument assembly to Marana will make the manufacturing process more efficient, reducing the need to transport parts to Oro Valley for assembly into products,” said Himanshu Parikh, VP of global operations for Roche Tissue Diagnostics. “It will also make room for the expansion of diagnostic assay production at the Oro

Valley campus, allowing Roche Tissue Diagnostics to better serve a growing number of customers and patients globally.”

German said medical data indicates the number of cancer cases will increase in the future. “Every year across the globe, more than 14 million people develop cancer, a number that is expected to grow to more than 21 million by 2030.”

Approximately 140 Roche employees will be transferred from the company’s Oro Valley manufacturing facility to its Marana production site, which will bring the number of Roche personnel to approximately 180 in Marana. The relocation of those employees was expected to be completed by early 2023. Roche has a combined workforce of 1,800 full-time employees and contractors at its Tucson area facilities in the Tucson area.

Kent Kost, global head of Roche diagnostics operations, and Marana Mayor Ed Honea were among those who spoke at the ribbon-cutting event celebrating the construction of the Marana manufacturing facility.

“The completion of this building, as fantastic as it is, is really just the start,” Kost said. “I look forward to all the innovation that will come from within and all the hardworking employees who are going to come here and make a difference every day. That is what will make this place special.”

Kost said Tucson is a unique and important place for Roche, adding that the

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“With the building in Marana and remodeling in Oro Valley, we are continuing to invest in Southern Arizona’s bioscience industry while offering meaningful career opportunities to members of our local community.”
– Jill German Head Roche Tissue Diagnostics

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quality of the products and the consistent performance of the workforce here is regarded highly throughout the multinational company.

“Roche Diagnostics has a large manufacturing presence around the globe with nine different sites and 8,000 employees,” he said. “But Tucson is quite special because it is the only place where all of our reagents, as well as our instruments, are produced in a single location. It goes without saying that the products we make have an absolutely essential impact on human health.”

Honea was effusive in welcoming the large crowd at the ribbon-cutting.

“If you do diagnostic treatment for cancer you are doing something special; and if you’re doing that here, I think it’s even more special,” Honea said. “I’m thrilled about Roche being here, and thrilled about Roche being a Marana partner. I’m also thrilled about the jobs and opportunity it brings to our community. I’m very proud of the Roche facilities here.”

Roche is a multinational healthcare company with two major divisions –Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic. It’s the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of revenue, but it ranks as the top global provider of cancer treatments.

Roche has constantly supported its Tucson-area interests since acquiring Ventana Medical Systems for $3.4 billion in 2008. Ventana was founded in the mid-1980s by Dr. Thomas Grogan, a pathologist and University of Arizona professor, who ran Ventana in its early days from a small office and garage just off Prince Road and Interstate 10.

It was Grogan who pioneered the automation and standardization of tissue biopsy testing – a life-saving move that resulted in speedier, more accurate and greatly expanded cancer testing. Grogan didn’t stop there. Knowing that body tissue contains a wealth of information that is vital beyond cancer diagnosis, he expanded his research to the chemistry of cancer biopsies.

In the process, Grogan and Ventana enabled oncologists to personalize cancer diagnosis and treatment options for individual patients.


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Malea Chavez is the new CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Chavez brings an impressive background in the non-profit arena, extensive experience as a practicing attorney and a love of the Sonoran desert cultivated as a Cholla High School graduate. She recently served as the executive director of the Women’s Building in San Francisco, a community space that advocates gender equity and social justice.

of MHC Healthcare, effective Jan. 25. The University of Arizona graduate comes to MHC with over 20 years of experience working in the community health center movement, including recently as the COO of El Rio Health. Carzoli also has an extensive background in the Federal Drug Pricing Program and its impact on community health centers.

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Paul Charles President & CEO American Battery Factory

Power Move American Battery Factory to Build First Gigafactory in Tucson

In the careful and critical process of American Battery Factory’s site selection for its first billion-dollar “gigafactory,” President and CEO Paul Charles said the company had a long list of attributes to consider.

“We were looking for an area that was forward-thinking, that was concerned with the environment, and also concerned about the workforce,” Charles said. “We were looking for an opportunity to partner.”

The company currently based in Utah thinks it found what it needs here, making the announcement on Dec. 6 that it plans to build the first of a U.S. network of battery cell gigafactories near Tucson International Airport. The company also will set up its headquarters here, making Tucson the home base for a company that anticipates explosive growth in a clean-energy industry providing eco-friendly batteries for residential, commercial and utility use.

“We were able to see so many positive, small-town attributes but with a metro area of 1 million-plus people. That was very important to us,” said Charles, who has familiarity with the region having spent 15 years living in

Scottsdale prior to his involvement with ABF.

It’s a huge economic development victory for the region on the scale of attracting Caterpillar’s mining center to Tucson and convincing Raytheon to expand its business here by more than 2,000 employees, said Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc., Southern Arizona’s economic development arm.

In its announcement, ABF said it plans to produce its lithium iron phosphate battery cells at a factory that will ultimately grow to 2 million square feet. The batteries are considered clean energy in that they don’t use harmful materials in the batteries themselves or in the production process. Nickel and cobalt, long used as materials for batteries, are not used in the ABF batteries, which have the added value of doubling the performance of the average battery.

ABF said the capital investment in the gigafactory will be about $1.2 billion with an economic impact of $3.1 billion for the state.

In its first phase of development, the company expects to have 300 “high-paying” jobs

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 31 BizECONOMY

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scaling up to 1,000 jobs at the site in operations, production, research, development, automation, robotics and its executives.

“This investment represents a generational opportunity both for us as a company and for Tucson as a community as a means to truly make energy independence a reality for everyone,” Charles said in the company’s formal announcement. “Batteries make shifting to an entirely green energy economy possible. With this first factory, we will secure a strategically positioned company headquarters while taking the critical first steps in making it possible to one day move the country and the entire world to 100% renewable power.”

Snell said it’s more than an economic victory for the region, it’s also a victory brought on by the region’s overall long-

term planning and collaboration between the public and private sectors and a wide range of interests.

“It was a true team effort. We always say that, but this one really defined it,” Snell said. “There was a collective decision that we were going to win this. When you go into it with that mindset, I think it helps everybody align. Nobody’s ego got in the way. We were in the business of why we can rather than why we can’t.”

Pima County currently owns the 267-acre site at the Aerospace Research Campus south of TIA and adjacent to Raytheon Missiles & Defense. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the lease to ABF, which also gives the company an option to purchase the land in the future.

Charles said one of the major issues that had to be resolved was reliable pow-

er to the facility when it’s at full capacity. The company plans to build its facility in stages, adding modules to the campus until it is built out. The first module is expected to be producing product in 2024. Charles said the site has room for vendors and suppliers adjacent to the factory for efficiency.

“Power is one of the biggest challenges throughout America, because if you don’t have that power already available or if you haven’t anticipated and planned for that, you’re years out in lead times,” Charles said.

“We have an opportunity to work with the county in an air park that’s tailor-made for us. All the utilities are right there. And then you had the utilities that stepped in and said we will make sure you have sufficient power in the timeframe that you need to have it.”

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Snell specifically called out Tucson Electric Power for its efforts in going “above and beyond” to address ABF’s power needs.

Susan Gray, president and CEO of TEP, said the company was on board early with the project.

“Energy storage not only drives powerful environmental benefits for our region, but economic benefits as well,” Gray said in the announcement of ABF’s arrival. “TEP was a close partner on this project every step of the way, providing critical infrastructure and competitive pricing.”

By its unanimous vote, the supervisors were satisfied the transaction is meeting all legal requirements in the lease/purchase agreement.

“Today’s decision by the board is another significant return on investment made by the county and taxpayers 10 years ago when the board took positive steps to acquire the Aerospace Research Campus,” Board of Supervisors Chair

Sharon Bronson said. “American Battery Factory is exactly the type of highwage employer we hoped to attract.”

ABF’s plan to build a network of U.S. gigafactories is part of a strategy to help the country gain a foothold in a battery cell market dominated by Europe, Asia and specifically China even though lithium battery technology was actually invented in the U.S., Charles said.

“China has had 15, 20 years to learn how to take this wonderful U.S. technology, expand it and enhance it,” Charles said, estimating that China has about 80% of the battery cell production market. “They’re on track over the next few years to have 200 gigafactories.

“We’re truly in a third position but I believe that we’ll be able to leapfrog ahead and really regain our posture of being the global leader in technology, and also to manufacture in a safe, clean environment in volume.”

The modular approach to building the factory is one way the company plans to make its product cost-competitive, Charles said. The ABF fac-

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tory modules use a “tension membrane structure technology” that has been around for many years but hasn’t been used for battery manufacturing. He said a 500,000-square-foot module can be manufactured in about 10 weeks and then shipped to Tucson and put into operation in another 10 weeks.

Another of the many criteria ABF had to consider in its site selection was ensuring there is an available workforce. Jobs at ABF will range from requiring a high school diploma to a Ph.D.

Charles said the Pima Community College Centers of Excellence were just what ABF was looking for to ensure it has an ample workforce available. Pima College is building its Advanced Manufacturing Center at the downtown campus from where ABF expects to draw some of its workforce. The University of Arizona is a resource for some of the higher-end degrees needed.

“Our approach is a decentralized, modularized, rapid-construction approach to these factories,” Charles said. “As we looked at these different areas

throughout the U.S., we did not want to go in and create an environment in which we’re poaching people from the local businesses. We wanted to augment enhance and create new opportunities without hurting the local businesses.”

“We are strongly positioned to train the workforce ABF needs and partner with this new facility to fast-track next-generation battery innovations to full production capacity,” said PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert. “We’re looking forward to partnering with ABF on apprenticeship and internship programs for our students.”

Now that its location is selected, the company is eager to get started in what it calls a partnership with the region, Charles said.

“They had anticipated a company like ours coming here,” Charles said of the state and regional representatives he dealt with during the site selection. “That is one of the key differences between so many areas that we saw and what Tucson has really done. They’ve been preparing for this and apparently waiting for the right partner, so it’s really an ideal match that we’re very thankful and very appreciative for. We truly feel humbled by the outreach and love that we felt here.”

Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 35 Biz
“We were looking for an area that was forward-thinking, that was concerned with the environment, and also concerned about the workforce.”
– Paul Charles President & CEO American Battery Factory

Sion Power Signals Expansion Company to Add 150 More Jobs

Tucson-based Sion Power Corporation announced an expansion of its operation that manufactures electric vehicle batteries in a growing industrial sector near Tucson International Airport.

The company has plans to expand at a 111,400-square-foot building at 6950 S. Country Club Road, near its headquarters at 2900 E. Elvira Road. Sion expects to add 150 jobs on top of the 100 already here. The new jobs will be primarily engineering, skilled technicians and other manufacturing-related positions, the company said in a news release.

“The global construction of battery manufacturing plants is occurring at a rapid pace, and the United States can’t be left behind,” said Tracy Kelley, CEO of Sion Power. “With our facility expansion, it will allow Sion Power to further our mission of scaling battery manufacturing from research and development to commercialization. This enables us to better serve our customers and their applications.”

Sion began in 1989 as a spin-off from Brookhaven National Laboratory,

which was primarily a research and development company. The new facility in Tucson will double Sion’s footprint here.

Sion Power’s facility expansion will be equipped with fully automated battery cell production capabilities, including proprietary lithium metal anode manufacturing, cell assembly and testing, the company said.

The company is receiving financial incentives that must be approved by the Tucson City Council.

“I want to congratulate Sion Power and CEO Tracy Kelley on their latest plans for expansion,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Tucson is a national leader in EV readiness and a growing hub for battery manufacturing in the Southwest. Together, we are creating hundreds of high-wage green jobs and elevating Tucson’s reputation as a leader in climate action.”

The company said in its news release that it chose to expand in Tucson because of its history here and access to the availability of quality and skilled employees in the Tucson community. The company has been in Tucson since it was formed. The expansion will al-

low it to scale up its ultra-high energy, lithium-metal based Licerion® battery development.

“Sion Power’s expansion further emphasizes Arizona’s global leadership in battery and EV technologies,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are excited Sion Power will continue its impressive legacy in Tucson, manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles while expanding Arizona’s battery supply chain.”

Joe Snell, president and CEO at Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development arm, said Sion expansion plans here demonstrates the region’s commitment to getting companies to headquarter here with the ability to grow.

“Beyond business attraction, another critical aspect to economic development success is to help local headquarter companies like Sion Power expand,” Snell said. “We’re thrilled to see this expansion include innovative and nextgen technologies that offer high-skilled jobs to our community.”

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BizECONOMY 38 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023

Tucson Flourishes as Arts Mecca

Renowned as the “Old Pueblo,” Tucson has evolved into a 21st-century destination for the visual and performing arts.

More than 2,600 arts organizations, nonprofits and businesses in Southern Arizona form the creative infrastructure that drives civic, cultural, economic, educational and social influence across the region.

The Arts: An Economic Powerhouse

Statewide, the rich tapestry of traditional, Indigenous, contemporary and emerging forms of arts and culture account for more than 86,000 jobs and contribute $9.6 billion to the economy annually, according to 2020 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2021, Southern Methodist University DataArts (which partners with local arts organizations nationwide) found that 37 Tucson arts organizations – 36 with budgets under $5 million – generated more than $34 million in salaries and benefits to local residents and physical expenses (rent and repairs) paid to local businesses.

In Southern Arizona, this translates into real dollars for dining, lodging, retail and industries such as architecture, construction, commercial real estate, technology, industrial and interior design services. A 2020 study by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance revealed the nonprofit arts and cultural sector generates 10,000-plus jobs and $87.7 million in annual revenue.

“Prior to the COVID pandemic, statistics indicated that for every dollar spent attending a performance, an additional $5 to $7 dollars are generated in the local economy. We can tell you what is happening on all of the stages in Tucson, but as an industry, we must promote awareness about the economic impact of these performances,” said Chad Herzog, executive director of Arizona Arts Live.

The importance of Tucson’s diverse arts to economic sustainability can’t be overstated, said Michael Guymon, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber.

“All economically viable and successful communities have

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an abundant arts scene and Tucson is distinguished by offering every element of performance art: music, opera, dance, drama and vocal s,” said Guymon. “We also have a vibrant visual arts scene with venues like the Tucson Museum of Art he Museum of Contemporary Art, where I previously served on the board of directors. We also have incredible murals, public art and other nities typically found in major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.”

That profile is enhanced by safe housing and neighborhoods, education, health services and more that create “Livable Communities.” They result in a competitive edge over other cities as determined by the Economic Blueprint created in conjunction with Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development arm.

“Our original economic blueprint, which was developed 15 years ago and is still our guidepost today, notes that economically competitive communities have high standards for livability. We identified a vibrant arts and culture community as one of those standards,” said Joe Snell, Sun Corridor Inc. president and CEO.

Long-Term Investment Pays Dividends

The success of the arts is vital to the community, said I. Michael Kasser, founder and chairman of Holualoa Companies. Kasser and his wife, Beth, are patrons of Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Opera and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. They contribute extensively to the pre-Columbian ction at the Tucson Museum of Art.

“Tucson offers the five biggies – ballet, opera, theatre, music and visual arts – and many people considering a job offer or think-

ing about moving to Tucson want to make sure the city has these qualities for them and their children,” said Kasser.

The arts factor into the quality of life that attracts employees and businesses, said Lisa Lovallo, market VP of Cox Communications and member of the Sun Corridor Inc. Chairman’s Circle.

Tucson’s commitment to the arts is routinely pitched to prospective employers, Lovallo said. “Our region competes for talent from around the world. The arts play a vital role in selling Tucson to prospective employers and employees alike.”

Over the past decade, communities across Arizona have increasingly recognized the short- and long-term value of investing in the arts, said Kate Marquez, executive director of SAACA and founder of CATALYST Collaborative Arts & Maker Space. SAACA advocates for increased permanent arts funding through city, county and state governments.

“Communities have identified that investments in the arts are investments in tourism, hospitality and other industries while helping to build a stronger sense of self and place,” Marquez said.

Collaboration for Conscientious Growth

This value of arts as infrastructure is heralded by the Arts Foundation of Tucson and Southern Arizona, an agency that stewards funding for artists, arts workers, arts organizations and public art.

From July 2020 through June 2022, the foundation distributed nearly $2.5 million to 500-plus artists and arts organizations here. The funding was provided by the City of Tucson, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and the National Endowment for the Arts, along with Pima County and Arizona Commission on the Arts. It was funneled to artists and affiliate work-

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 41 BizARTS

I. Michael Kasser: Patron of the Arts

I. Michael Kasser is many things: real estate mogul, athlete, philanthropist, but he is also a devoted patron of the arts in Southern Arizona.

“I am interested in all the arts,” said Kasser, founder and chairman of Holualoa Companies. “You can’t name a type of art that I don’t like.”

Kasser and his wife, Beth, have donated millions of dollars to numerous charities and arts organizations including the Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Girls Chorus, Tucson Jazz Festival, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company and projects benefiting the University of Arizona.  He received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2015 in honor of all of his individual contributions.

In 2013, when ATC was on the verge of collapse, Kasser launched a campaign to raise the $1 million needed to eliminate the 2012-13 deficit and allow the organization to plan for another season.

The Kassers have since also backed a 6,000-square foot expansion for the Tucson Museum of Art and contributed extensively to the museum’s collection of pre-Columbian and Latin American art.

Kasser initially developed a taste for the arts from his parents and as a child living in Mexico. He began collecting pieces as his business grew.

continued from page 41

ers who lost an average of $10,000 in annual revenue, resulting in a loss of $25 million annually during the pandemic, said Adriana Gallego, executive director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona.

The Governor’s Office also recently awarded $750,000 to the region’s four leading performing arts organizations – Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, Ballet Tucson, and the TSO – to provide support in the pandemic’s wake.

“There has been a resurgence of audiences, but not to pre-pandemic levels,” Gallego said. “It will take time to understand the true impact and opportunities that have resulted from the pandemic. In general, artists and organizations who reconnect to their communities, revisit the core values of their missions, stay agile and correct any systemic inequities are able to bounce back faster.”

A post-pandemic plan for Relief, Recovery and Rebuilding will move into its final phase this year. Creative problem-solving, collaboration and reassessment form the plan’s core, along with expanded relationships with the public and private sectors.

“We know that artists spend tens of thousands of hours thinking outside the box and we want to make sure that kind of thinking reaches all sectors of society,” Gallego said.



“I have been a collector for more than 40 years and I have some art from all the way up and down the Americas,” he said. “As I got older, I had three choices: sell the collection, pass it on to my kids or give it to a museum. We decided the museum alternative was the right one. It allows us to share the collection with the community.”

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Major Players

MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Founded in 1997 in the HazMat building in the Tucson arts district, MOCA Tucson relocated in 2010 to 265 S. Church Ave.

It is the only museum in the city devoted exclusively to contemporary art from around the globe.

Under the new leadership of Executive Director and Co-Chief Curator Julio César Morales and Deputy Director and Co-Chief Curator Laura Copelin, the museum seeks to refortify efforts to “experiment with new ways

small museums can function both organizationally and as responsive agents within their communities, serving as a locus for consequential projects with international reach.”

Programming at MOCA Tucson is commission-based and Morales and Copelin are committed to enriching the field of art through through-provoking exhibitions and salient conversations.

Current exhibitions include “Plein Air” through February 5; “Kenneth Tam: Silent Spikes,” which investigates the intersections of masculinity, race, and labor. Opening in January is “Cecilia Vicuña: Sonoran Quipu,” an exhibition featuring two major new works by Vicuña, including a monumental quipu installation and an artist book 30 years in the making.

Arizona Opera

Founded in 1971 as the Tucson Opera Company with two productions of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” at the Temple of Music & Art, Arizona Opera expanded to Phoenix in 1976. Since its inaugural year, it has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company stages five productions per season, and its repertoire ranges from baroque, bel canto and verismo works to turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas and American operas.

The organization hopes to expand impact as the region

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continues recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Joseph Specter, the opera’s president and general director.

“Our birth city of Tucson has an amazing array of cultural offerings, and Arizona Opera is proud of our more than 50 years of service to this community,” said Specter. “As we look into our future programming, we are focused on how we can serve new and diverse audiences with this opera art form— from beautiful productions of traditional operas, to commissioning new operas, to serving students and others across the state with vibrant education and community programs.”

Arizona Theatre Company

One of just 80 League of Resident Theatres nationwide and the only one in the state, Arizona Theatre Company is also the only LORT in the country that produces in two cities: Tucson, where it originated in 1967, and Phoenix, where it began performing in 1978.

For 55 seasons, ATC has been on a mission to create world-class theatre that brings people together. To that end, the nonprofit subscribes to the acronym ACCESS: Artistry, Conversation, Collaboration, Equity, Stewardship and Sustainability.

“These values – ACCESS – are really important to us. We talk about them and live them constantly: They are our keystone. We want to reflect what is happening today on stage in relevant stories that inspire curiosity and creativity, while sparking empathy and joy,” said Gerry Wright, ATC managing director.

ATC also fulfills its mission through the ATC Academy, which offers theatre arts education and community engagement for children and adults. Programming includes in-school arts education residencies, internships and apprenticeships along with professional development for arts organizations

and teachers.

In January, ATC welcomes Matt August as the Kasser Family Artistic Director.

Ballet Tucson

Established in 1986 as Ballet Arts Foundation, Ballet Tucson became the city’s resident professional ballet company in 2004. It now employs 30 dancers from around the world to produce historic classics and innovative contemporary dance.

The company provides training for professional dancers through the School of Ballet Tucson, ages 4 to adult.

“Dance is the most powerful physical expression of art: It transcends words, and

continued on page 46 >>>

Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 45


continued from page 45 we are dedicated to bringing world-class dance to Tucson,” said Margaret Mullin, Bal let Tucson’s artistic director. “I am a native, and when I was growing up here, the arts had a huge impact on my life – they have become my liveli hood. I am excited to deliver great arts experiences to all Tucsonans, especially the next generation.”

After a 14-year career as a soloist with Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, Mullin is leveraging relationships with notable choreographers, stag ers and dancers to bring per formances of the highest cali ber to Tucson.

“We have legendary cho reographers and up-andcoming choreographers who are winning awards and col laborating in films, along with some Ballet Tucson favorites,” said Mullin. “We present tra ditional pieces, incredible new works by our dancers and work created by nationally and internally recognized artists. It is a fun blend.”

Broadway in Tucson/ A Nederlander Presentation

Broadway in Tucson/A Nederlander Presentation is part of the nationally recognized Nederlander Producing Company of America.

Broadway in Tucson has brought the Broadway touring experience to more than 1.5 million patrons. In 2010, it partnered with UA Presents (now Arizona Arts Live) for a three-week, sold-out engagement of “Wicked,” at Centennial Hall, leading to an ongoing collaboration with Arizona Arts Live. Broadway in Tucson now presents five to six full-week shows and special events each season.

“We are the only organization in Southern Arizona that presents national touring Broadway productions. That is our niche and it sets

us apart: We are a presenter

The museum was established in 1924 and features a permanent collection of more than 10,000 pieces of Pre-Columbian, Colonial Latin American, American, European, Indigenous, contemporary and folk art while also showcasing art of the American West. Additionally, it boasts a block of five historic homes, a gift shop and cafe.

The museum’s commitment to relationships with Indigenous communities to help present accurate and insightful information has also put it on the national map, said Norah Diedrich, the museum’s Jon and Linda Ender Director and CEO.

“This type of outreach, respect, inclusion and equity has become more and more important to the museum world in the 21st century,” Diedrich said. “The staff at the Tucson Museum of Art has been doing this for many years and the museum has received acclaim in the Southwest, across the entire county and around the world.”

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More Arts

Invisible Theatre

For more than five decades, the Invisible Theatre has been a vibrant tour-de-force in Tucson’s live theatre scene.

Starting as a small collective of actors at the Odd Fellow’s Hall downtown, Invisible Theatre derives its name from the “invisible energy that flows between performers and the audience: That makes the magic of theatre. . .it is a collective wave of energy that touches us deep in our souls,” said Susan Claassen, manag ing artistic director.

The professional theatre was built on the belief that arts can effect change and inspire communities. “When selecting plays, we look for a modicum of hope where we can showcase seasoned talent with up-and-coming theatre makers,” said Claassen.

“If there is anything we have learned over the past several years. it is that the human connection and human spirit can’t be diminished,” Claasen said. “The arts provide a light for everyone to grasp onto and that is why they are so important.”

Tucson Pops Orchestra

The force behind “Music

Under the Stars,” Tucson Pops Orchestra holds free concerts outdoors at DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center at Reid Park between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It also offers a secondary season in the late summer.

For 65 years, the nonprofit has been providing entertainment and bringing the community together with a repertoire that infuses the music of today with light orchestral classics. The orchestra features 55 musicians plus various guest artists designed to showcase diversity and variety.

Tucson Pops offers an introduction to orchestral music

without the pressure of spending, according to Conductor Khris Dodge.

“Trying to find funding for an organization that can be inclusive to the entire community is a challenge, but the orchestra works diligently to overcome that. It is made possible through the support of sponsors, members of the orchestra, and people who attend and donate,” said Dodge.

Tucson Symphony Orchestra

The patriarch of performing arts, Tucson Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1928. Employing more than 250 musicians and staff, it’s the largest nonprofit performing arts organization in Southern Arizona. TSO engages with 120,000 children, students and adults annually through performances at the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall at the Tucson Convention Center.

“The TSO is uniquely the only professional symphony orchestra in Southern Arizona,” said President and CEO Paul Meecham. “As such, its goal is to reach the full diversity of the many communities in our region, both through concerts and through extensive music education programs in public schools. As the largest employer of professional musicians, it also complements and supplements the activities of many smaller and specialist music ensembles in the area.”

Arts Express Theatre

This musical theatre nonprofit, which recently took up residence at Park Place Mall, is dedicated to building a better community through the arts. With more than 38 years in Southern Arizona, Arts Express Theatre offers programming for all ages and serves over 20,000 annually.

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music

In its 75th season, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music wants all Tucsonans to experience the genre of chamber music in its highest professional form. Under President of the Board Joseph Tolliver, the organization covers music from the transition of Baroque in the classical period through contemporary music, showcasing ensemble works for intimate environments. Additionally, it has commissioned well over 50 works with plans for more in the future.

Sout hern Arizona Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1979, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed selections and classically loved pieces. Under Music Director Linus Lerner, the orchestra seeks to inspire audiences and artists through classical music.

True Concord Voices & Orchestra

Tucson’s Grammynominated ensemble is the only professional chamber choir in the Southwest. Now in its 19th season, True Concord features 32 professional singers who perform classics, folk songs and contemporary music in combination with instrumentalists of the highest caliber from Tucson and nationwide.

Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 47 Biz Biz

Pride of Place

Scenic, Historic Arts Venues Enrich Performances

Over two centuries, Tucson has set the stage for legendary actors and artists by building venues that have become stars in their own rights.

Rio Nuevo, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and other stakeholders have championed the eclectic array of historic and modern performance spaces – and created economic opportunities – for artists, audiences, businesses and the region.

Colorful Histories and Community Pride

“Downtown Tucson is home to several iconic theatres, performance venues and a number of arts and cultural organizations,” said Kathleen Eriksen, president & CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. “The visual and performing arts are critical to a vibrant downtown. Their patrons support our culinary arts scene and a variety of other local businesses.”

That begins with the historic Fox Tucson Theatre.

“The Fox is an iconic space that holds an extraordinary amount of history,” said Bonnie Schock, Fox’s executive director. “It has welcomed millions of individuals over its lifetime for shared experiences and is a gathering nexus for community participation and community pride that is simply irreplaceable.”

Opened in 1930, the Fox was Tucson’s “Classic Movie Palace” for 44 years before decades of closure. A $14 million-plus renovation by the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation has since restored its former “Southwestern Art Deco” grandeur.

It re-opened as a nonprofit in 2005 and offers about 130 events annually, the majority of which feature national touring talent. With a 2022 operating budget of $4.5 million, the Fox also offers film screenings, special events, gath

The Fox’s $10-million annual economic impact on downtown will soon be enhanced by an acquisition of adjacent property and a 20,000-square-foot expansion.

“This bold vision will allow us to integrate this expanded building into our oric facility and give us an extraordinary new host of opportunities to really solidify the Fox as the most unique enue in Tucson and the best-in-class arts and culture hub at a national level,”

Downtown’s Rialto Theatre is recognized by Pollstar as a Top 100 Major enue worldwide.

Built as a sister structure to Hotel Congress in 1920, the theatre and surrounding commercial block are listed on he National Register of Historic Places. It opened as a showcase for vaudeville acts with stars such as Ginger Rogers, ballerina Anna Pavlova and the Sistine Choir. During the 1930s, the theatre accommodated English and Spanishspeaking films prior to renovation as a live music venue in 1995.

Operated by the nonprofit Rialto Theatre Foundation since 2005, the theatre also manages 191 Toole and R Bar. With a $5 million annual budget, it books almost 300 shows a year including concerts, comedy revues, spoken word shows, DJ battles and movie screenings. In 2021, it began providing free educational outreach to local schools.

“We are a true community theatre, and our goal is to be super diverse and inclusive for the entire community. It is important to be sure our community is getting the entertainment and experiences they need to feel fulfilled in the place they live,” said Rialto Executive Director Cathy Rivers.

continued on page 50 >>>

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and performing arts are critical to a vibrant downtown. Their patrons support our culinary arts scene and a variety of other local businesses.”
– Kathleen Eriksen President & CEO Downtown Tucson Partnership




Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 49

continued from page 48

Creating Niches for the Arts, Boosting Economic Prosperity

The recently-opened Century Room at Hotel Congress offers a world-class jazz club in the heart of downtown. Beginning in January, the venue will feature live music seven nights a week.

“Whether you are looking for an early concert or a late-night jazz experience after dinner or a show, the Century Room offers something that wasn’t available before,” said Arthur Vint, who designed and oversaw the $300,000 renovation of the space while working for his father, architect Bob Vint. “It is filling a void in culture here. We have lots of fantastic jazz musicians in Tucson, but there wasn’t a singular home for them and nationally-known touring jazz artists until now.”

The Century Room complements the famous Club Congress and the outdoor Plaza Stage at historic Hotel Congress –the only venue with three stages able to operate concurrently.

“On the weekend there might be a jazz band in the Century Room, rockand-roll on the Plaza and hip-hop artists in Club Congress. If you walk through all three venues, you can hear all of this different music and see all these different people rubbing elbows: It is a beautiful picture of Tucson culture,” said Vint.

Adding star power is the Temple of Music and Art, a refurbished 1927 theatre that is home to Arizona Theatre Company in Tucson. The 627-seat theatre was built in the Spanish Colonial style and offers a great view from every seat. In fact, no seat is more than 66 feet from the stage.

Teatro Carmen, which is being renovated, will fill another niche. Built in 1915, the theatre was the original cultural and artistic center for Tucson’s

Spanish-speaking community in the Barrio Viejo. It premiered Mexican and Spanish theatre groups, famous actors, musicians and vocalists and magicians.

Herb Stratford, founder of the nonprofit Stratford Artworks, is spearheading a $7 million project to restore the 300-person theater to its former glory. The work will include new theatrical and film projection systems, a new stage house, a restaurant, bar, kitchen and an 8,000-square-foot patio.

An expert in historic theatre renovations and incubator of FilmFest Tucson, Stratford is excited to expand Tucson’s footprint with year-round programming at Teatro Carmen.

“Film is such as important medium for storytelling and is really unmatched in the way that it captures people’s attention and emotions. It is universal to every country in the world and offers a unique opportunity for people to understand different cultures without traveling,” said Stratford.

Additional performing arts space is one goal of the recent $65 million renovation of the Tucson Convention Center including the Grand Ballroom, the Exhibit Halls and 16,000 square feet of new meeting space.

The project included two parking garages and a DoubleTree Hilton along with upgrades to the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, the Leo Rich Theater and the adjacent Alma Torres Plaza. The facelift for the music hall – home to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera and Ballet Tucson – included new seating and carpeting, lighting, sound and production systems. Leo Rich received similar upgrades and, together, the facilities are on pace to present 105 performances in the 2022 fiscal year.

“When selling Tucson to programs, conventions, associations or businesses, we are selling the whole market: Outside activities, the quality restaurants, the great facilities, and arts and culture are all part of the picture,” said Kate Breck Calhoun, director of sales and marketing for the Tucson Convention Center.
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CALHOUN Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 51

UArizona Exalts A Pillar of the Arts Community

The University of Arizona is transforming Southern Arizona into a stage and Arizona Arts is the headliner.

Created in 2019 through the Arizona Arts Master Plan in conjunction with the university’s 10-year strategic plan, Arizona Arts is the reimagined division that encompasses academic programs along with visual and performing arts experiences, events and venues at UArizona.

“The arts are the front porch of the university: Many people have their first

experience with the University of Arizona through arts engagement,” said Andrew Schulz, UArizona VP for the Arts and dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We have an important role to play in making sure that the audiences and communities of Southern Arizona feel at home and comfortable on this campus.”

Arizona Arts comprises three primary components: The schools of art, dance, film & television, music and theatre at the College of Fine Arts; a diverse array

of world-class experiences by Arizona Arts Live − formerly UA Presents; the Center of Creative Photography and the UArizona Museum of Art.

It operated an annual budget of over $35 million and has garnered more than $45 million in private philanthropic support over the past three years, Schulz said. Through more than 600 performances, events and experiences annually, Arizona Arts has solidified arts and culture as a foundational pillar of the university.

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the Arts


zona for a myriad of positive outcomes and Marroney Theatre remain icons of continued on page 54 >>>





Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 53

continued from page 53

“Arizona Arts Live is investing in the arts by bringing art to the people of Southern Arizona and into communities,” said Herzog. “We are accomplishing that by making connections throughout Southern Arizona.”

Arizona Arts Live is also cultivating relationships with Hotel Congress, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, Rialto Theatre, Children’s Museum Tucson, Galeria Mitotera, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Broadway in Tucson and other organizations.

“Relationships are important to us, and we know we are not in competition,” Herzog said. “We want to strategically work with partners so that we are all elevated.”

“We want to ensure that all members of our community see the university as place where they belong, as a place where they are invited and a place where there are interesting and exciting ways to experience the world through the arts,” added Schulz.

UArizona Arts District Re-envisioned

The plan for Arizona Arts to expand opportunities to understand, explore and celebrate the arts includes a re-envisioned campus Arts District.

Upgrades to the Arts District include a $10-million, multi-phase plan to transform the School of Art with recently completed renovations of the Visual Resource Center, the Art & Visual Education classroom, studio spaces and the Sculpture wing. Other improvements include refurbishment of the Marroney Theatre, which received a new entrance, front of house and stage as well as a digital laser projector.

The Arts District is further distinguished by Centennial Hall, a cornerstone of the performing community

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“The arts are the front porch of the university: Many people have their first experience with the University of Arizona through arts engagement.”
– Andrew Schulz, VP for the Arts Dean of the College of Fine Arts University of Arizona

since 1937. It has expanded relationships with other arts organizations, resulting in offering more than 300 performances, plays, musicals, concerts and UArizona events annually. The home of Broadway in Tucson/Nederlander Producing Company of America, it also welcomes six to eight nationally touring Broadway shows and affiliated special events annually.

The Stevie Eller Dance Theatre has boosted the trajectory of the top-ranked UArizona School of Dance as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, said Schulz. The dance program, built over 34 years by longtime director Jory Hancock and now led by Duane Cyrus, is ranked No. 9 overall and No. 2 among public universities, according to OnStage.

The 300-seat theatre, named one of 15 of “Arizona’s Greatest Architectural Wonders,” features a spacious stage, full-fly system and orchestra pit. Its columns are inspired by dancers in George Balanchine’s “Serenade” and its exterior wire scrims mirror movements of acrobats and dancers from the works of artists such as Eadweard Muybridge and Marcel Duchamp.

“The Stevie Eller Dance Theatre is a proof of concept in thinking about the value of venues,” said Schulz. “In and of itself, not only does it function remarkably well, but the art form is inscribed in the fabric of the building in a remarkable way.”

The Center for Creative Photography also has received international acclaim. The center houses a collection of more than eight million photos, negatives, contact sheets, albums, correspondence and other objects, and is a repository of the most recognizable names in 20th century North American photography. It holds archives for Ansel Adams, fashion photographer Richard Avedon, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, W. Eugene Smith, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Edward Weston and Garry Winogrand.

“The Center for Creative Photography is probably the foremost center in the United States for the academic study of photography,” said Schulz. “It is a fundamentally important research center and exhibition site for the history of photography.”

The University of Arizona Museum of Art is equally prestigious, boasting a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works including ancient- to modern-European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, antiquities and other works. It also is home to the Altarpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo, acknowledged by scholars as the finest 15th-century Castilian altarpiece in Arizona. Recently, the museum received international attention with its ongoing exhibition of “Restored: The Return of WomanOchre.” Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre” was stolen from the museum in 1985, but recovered several years ago at an estate sale and returned. The painting was restored by the Getty Museum prior to the exhibition.

“In some ways, Arizona Arts is leading the way in distinguishing the work we do as a university,” said Schulz. “It comes back to the arts being a gateway that provides a glimpse into the amazing intellectual and research operations at the university.”

Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 55 BizARTS Biz

Voices That Elevate

Tucson Desert Song Festival Brings Global Vocalists to Region

In its 11th season, the Tucson Desert Song Festival celebrates “Heroes and Villains” in its world-class offerings, starting in January.

“The Tucson Desert Song Festival has a unique business plan,” said George Hanson, festival coordinator. “We don’t actually present concerts, but provide grants to partner organizations like the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera, Ballet Tucson and others, enabling them to bring artists to Tucson who have just stepped off the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. This has a major impact on the cultural life of the city and generates its own kind of synergy.”

The festival enables partners to hire major artists whose fees might be beyond reach.

“Major vocal talents are extremely rare and that is why they command substantial fees,” Hanson said. “Typically, regional groups can’t afford these fees, so the festival enables them to bring talent to Tucson that would otherwise be unattainable.”

“When you bring in these great vocal artists, the performing arts groups themselves are inspired,” Hanson added. “They change the way they play by virtue of hearing that wonderful voice: It elevates the artistry of the entire group.”

The Tucson Desert Song Festival has raised the region’s national and international profile. As its reputation grows, it draws locals, tourists, prospective residents and additional artists. The festival also includes educational outreach to schools by at least one composer or vocalist serving as artist-in-residence.

Other initiatives include The Wes-

ley Green Composer Project, which commissions major figures in the classical and vocal worlds to write music tailored to vocalists. The acclaimed project will feature Ricky Ian Gordon on Feb. 9 at the Fred Fox School of Music.

“People who are familiar with the world of opera see these names and ask, ‘Really? In Tucson?’ That is the impact we are after,” Hanson said.

Community partners this year include Arizona Arts Live, Arizona Early Music, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Arizona Opera, Ballet Tucson, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Tucson Guitar Society and Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

Tucson Desert Song Festival visiting artists include soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, who appeared in starring roles on the Met stage for 12 consecutive seasons; Justin Austin, hailed for his “mellifluous baritone” during his debut at the Met this past season; and Grammywinning soprano Angel Blue, who opened the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019/2020 season as Bess. Blue has had historic performances as Violetta in Puccini’s “La Traviata” as the first Black woman to sing the role at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Other festival artists include Maria Brea, Kelley O’Connor, Fatma Said, Richard Trey Smagur, Kelly Markgraf, Nola Richardson, Tyler Duncan, Kelley Nassief, Emily Marvosh, Camille Ortiz, Cecilia Duarte, Laura Wilde, Caitlin Gotimer, Seokjong Baek, John Matthew Myers, Aleksey Bogdanov, Weston Hurt, Erika Burkhart and Mack Wolz.

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Jazz Across the City

The 2023 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival

It’s the smoothest festival in the West: The 2023 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival.

In its ninth season, the festival will feature 28 performances by more than 100 world-class musicians at indoor and outdoor venues Jan. 13-22.

“Jazz—and music in general—is something that unifies people completely,” said Khris Dodge, the festival’s executive director. “You play music with people together and a room becomes whole, no matter how divided people were before. It is so important in our world today to have something that brings us together.”

Dodge credits event sponsors for recognizing the festival’s cultural, economic and social merit as the festival expands its footprint.

“The COVID pandemic brought us some pivots that have become permanent,” she said. “Part of our goal with the festival is to create an atmosphere downtown of density– a large number of artists in different spaces that offer different experiences.”

Rooted in historic venues such as the Rialto and Fox theatres and the newlyrenovated Century Room at Hotel Congress, the festival is also embracing The Great Outdoors.

Outdoor experiences include the Plaza Stage at Hotel Congress, the rooftop at The Playground and numerous outdoor pop-up events across the city.

“You can enjoy the intimate experience of a nice jazz club and then have a completely different experience sitting outside with the sun on your face on a beautiful day in January,” said Dodge.

The festival kicks off at Centennial Hall with acclaimed saxophonist and jazz artist Joshua Redman at 8 p.m. on Jan. 13, followed by the Tucson Jazz Fest All Star Jazz Jam on the Plaza Stage at Hotel Congress, Noon on Jan. 14. Performances by classic jazz heavyhitters—a sextet conceived by two of the greatest jazz artists: Pianist Mike LeDonne and saxophonist Eric Alexander—will commence at the Century Room at 7 and 9 p.m. on Jan. 14.

Swedish singing and instrumentalist

Gunhild Carling will play up to a dozen instruments in the Downtown Jazz Fiesta at Hotel Congress Plaza, 11 a.m. on Jan. 16, and Terence Blanchard, a Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer and musician will perform with the E Collective & Turtle Island Quartet at the Rialto Theatre at 8 p.m. on Jan. 20.

Audiences can see 22-year-old Samara Joy at The Corbett, 219 E. 7th 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. Matthew Whitaker, who has played for Stevie Wonder and Harry Connick Jr., will take the Fox Theatre Tucson stage with his Quintet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15. The Fox will also feature legends DeeDee Bridgewater and Kurt Elling from the touring Monterey Jazz Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.

The festival culminates with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers at the Fox Tucson Theatre at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.

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African American History on Display

Interactive Museum at UArizona Highlights Tradition and Heritage

Tucson’s newest museum, and the only one of its kind in the state, is set to open in January to put visitors in touch with the tradition, culture and heritage of African Americans in Southern Arizona.

The African American Museum of Southern Arizona, situated in the University of Arizona Student Union, is scheduled to open on Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 13 and will offer wow factors that will attract all ages. It’s entertaining, interactive and educational, and it covers the gamut of local African American history.

“Our vision is to serve as a resource and provide the community with lessons on tradition and heritage,” explained Beverely Elliott, a long-time Tucsonan and retired educator who founded the museum with her husband, Bob, himself a prominent Tucson figure first as

a Hall of Fame UArizona basketball player and as a Tucson business leader. “There are digital and traditional exhibits. We want to include all generations,” Beverely said.

She said the campus is an ideal site for the museum. “One reason we wanted to work with UArizona is that during the pandemic, lots of museums closed because they couldn’t pay utility bills and donations went down.” Plans are in the works for the museum to eventually move to a larger space on campus when the university opens its new cultural center in two to three years.

The museum’s online experience launched in December 2021 and will remain active since folks from out of the country have shown interest and Elliott wanted to make it available to all. The site includes a virtual tour, numerous oral histories from locals, historical re-

sources, the arts and much more. Three permanent exhibits can be visited inperson and virtually – CROWN Act, Buffalo Soldiers and Quilts – each with educational opportunities for students.

Passed by Congress in 2020, the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair. It gives rights to people of all races and genders to wear their hair as they choose, particularly in the workplace and school.

“It’s been something I’ve been supportive of for a long time,” Elliott said. “I have daughters in the corporate world and in education, and it’s been brought to their attention to wear their hair straight. We want to teach the understanding to be who we are. It opens the door to be an individual and it’s okay to celebrate your hair. As part of

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS Beverely & Bob Elliott Founders
Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 61
African American Museum of Southern Arizona

continued from page 60

the educational component of the museum, we have crowns to decorate and where kids can style their hair any way they want.”

Another themed exhibit is on Buffalo Soldiers. “Fort Huachuca has a Buffalo Soldiers Museum, but they were all over Arizona. They were the primary reason African Americans settled here. Buffalo Soldiers came and stayed after the Civil War. Many had been slaves. It was a way to travel and see what was available, a new way of life.”

A collection of quilts is displayed in the museum and their significance relates to their role in the Underground Railroad. According to Elliott, enslaved Africans and African Americans used quilts like a GPS that would guide them safely along their journey by the use of meaningful patterns and symbols sewn into the fabric.

Art lovers will be drawn to the museum’s gallery, which houses works from local artists, including an encaustic painting by Joe Bourne titled, “Inspi-

ration.” The colors of the Pan-African flag – red, black and green – are portrayed within the image of a heart.

“When Beverely asked about donating a piece of my art, I thought I’d do something specifically for the museum,” Bourne said. “Each section is fabric dipped in different colors of wax, individually applied.” Next to the heart is Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.”

Elliott selected the layout and design of the museum with advice from the UArizona Facilities Management Team. Elliott and two advisory board members set up the traditional exhibits. The IT team led by Forrest Richoux were responsible for the digital displays of oral histories and legacy stories.

“We have received tremendous support and collaboration with the Tucson community,” Elliott said, adding that it included UArizona and the Juneteenth committee led by President Larry Starks.

Elliott said she is proud of the amount of work she and others have put into the museum and she hopes visitors find something that connects them to their American heritage. “This has been a passion of mine, a labor of love,” she said.

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“Our vision is to serve as a resource and provide the community with lessons on tradition and heritage.”
– Beverely Elliott Founder African American Museum of Southern Arizona

Mark Mistler

Mark Mistler, PNC Bank regional president for Tucson and Southern Arizona, announced his retirement effective Dec. 31. His career in financial services spanned 38 years with 35 of those in Tucson.

“We are grateful for Mark’s strong leadership,” said Dale Klose, territory executive in the PNC Office of the Regional Presidents Southwest and Mountain. “Not only is he a servant leader who prioritizes collaboration and inclusion, but he is also one of the biggest champions of Tucson’s people and communities.”

Mistler joined PNC Bank in October 2021 through the acquisition of BBVA USA Bancshares, Inc. He became regional president and head of Commercial Banking in 2021 and has been instrumental in delivering PNC’s national main street bank model throughout Tucson and Southern Arizona.

A native of Tucson, Mistler graduated from Sahuaro High School and attended the University of Arkansas on a football scholarship where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned an MBA from Arizona State University.

Mistler has been active in the Tucson community throughout his career in organizations focusing on economic development, higher education and social services. Mistler has served on the board of directors for Sun Corridor Inc. and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and is on the Catholic Diocese of Tucson Bishop’s finance council.

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Expanding Influence, Economic Vibrance


Expanding Influence,


Improving our future.

It’s a simple yet incredibly complex concept that Southern Arizona Leadership Council members step up to champion.

For the past 25 years, SALC has established itself as the region’s most influential nonpartisan and policy-focused organization. Composed of Csuite executives from a wide array of sectors, SALC’s mission is to bring together resources and skilled leadership to enhance the economy and quality of life in Southern Arizona.

Today SALC has more than 140 members who devote their time and talents to pressing issues facing the region, including transportation and infrastructure, governance, preschool to postsecondary education, healthcare and innovation, among others.

SALC President & CEO Edward P. “Ted” Maxwell said the group formed organically in 1997 in response to a vocal anti-growth sentiment in the region. “The founding members were concerned that the greater Tucson area was not being receptive to economic

growth.” he said. “There had been other organizations formed that weren’t effective, so a new approach was important.”

SALC immediately focused on coalition-building and bringing together people with diverse viewpoints. The group was cognizant that they couldn’t just be concerned with immediate business issues, and needed to look at all the issues effecting quality of life like education and healthcare.

SALC has had tremendous success on a variety of fronts over the years.

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SALC Economic Vibrance Southern Arizona Leadership Council Honors 25 Years of Advocacy

The Regional Transportation Authority, the first-ever independent taxing district focused on multi-modal transportation projects, was passed in 2006 thanks in large part to SALC’s tireless efforts to form the policy, then garnering voter support. The first RTA plan went into effect in 2006 and, since that time, 928 major improvement projects have been completed along with 300 miles of new bike lanes, including portions of the Chuck Huckleberry Loop. The second 20-year phase of the RTA will begin in 2026, pending voter approval.

SALC was also instrumental in establishing the Pima County Joint Technical Education District, which provides free career and technical education to high school students and is an essential component of developing the region’s workforce. Education remains one of SALC’s five primary focus areas, along with infrastructure, healthcare, innovation economy, and governance.

Rob Draper, president of O’Rielly Chevrolet and SALC’s current chair, said SALC brings people together, even during polarizing times, by focusing on

shared priorities and putting the needs of many over the wants of a few.

“I think SALC has remained important to Tucson and Southern Arizona because its mission is aligned with the ambitions of - and can be embraced bypretty much every community-minded, growth-oriented individual and entity in the region,” he said. “Differences of opinion will almost certainly [happen], but…it would be difficult to find many who would oppose the mission itself.”

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Susan Gray, president and CEO of TEP/UNS Energy and current vice-chair of SALC’s board, said that SALC influencers and advocates bring much-needed clarity and visibility to critical issues. “Crystallizing priorities, sharing perspectives and brainstorming is important, but these aren’t just theoretical conversations,” she said. “Our members are drawing from their own professional experiences in our community to identify shared areas of concern that can be effectively addressed through coordinated action.”

David Cohen, president of BeachFleischman and SALC’s Chair Pro Tem, took this thought a step further. “Anything that affects the community at large also affects business owners,” he said. “When making decisions, SALC digs deep

Looking Ahead

At its end-of-year Annual Retreat in December, SALC members discussed myriad issues of importance for the region and state. Also discussed was the level of bandwidth and advocacy to expend on priority issues.

into the issue to make informed decisions.”

Many issues lie on the horizon for the region. SALC’s Focus Areas, driven by dedicated teams of experienced professionals and SALC board members, focus on positive and workable solutions in education, infrastructure, healthcare, innovation and governance.

SALC President and CEO Ted Maxwell said that, in the area of public education, SALC is focused along the entire education pipeline. “SALC has successfully advocated for initiatives to provide targeted funding for early childhood, K-12, community colleges as well as Arizona’s universities. Each step in the education continuum is important and builds on one another. SALC provides strategic and timely support of initiatives that we believe will move the needle in terms of educational attainment. And we work with

THE TOP AREAS IDENTIFIED FOR 2023: u Workforce development
Working to ensure RTA renewal (“RTA Next”)
Leading to secure Southern Arizona’s water future
Increasing educational attainment in the region 72 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023
“I think SALC has remained important to Tucson and Southern Arizona because its mission is aligned with the ambitions of – and can be embraced by –pretty much every community-minded, growth-oriented individual and entity in the region.”
– Rob Draper President of O’Rielly Chevrolet and Chair, Southern Arizona Leadership Council

many partners in the state in this work.”

Promoting effective governance at the local and state levels is also an ongoing priority. Sarah Smallhouse, who co-chairs the Governance Focus Area alongside Ted Hinderaker and Si Schorr, said, “We believe our governance could be meaningfully improved though election reform. We are actively exploring alternative election processes that could improve our statewide and local election structures, as well as supporting efforts to educate voters on problems created by primaries. Our current system allows a small minority of voters to determine our general election choices. The goal is cross-partisan problem-solving and a collegial spirit of working together for the benefit of all.”

With drought severely impacting much of the western United States, wa-

ter policy also remains critically important. “There is much focus on the state of the Colorado River and therefore the Central Arizona Project,” Maxwell said. “But there are several other key issues as well, such as groundwater management.”

To that end, SALC has numerous members engaged on the topic both locally and statewide. Kip Volpe chairs the Tucson Regional Water Coalition and was a member of the Governor’s Drought Contingency Plan steering committee. Maxwell continues to serve on the Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council and currently serves on Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s Water Advisory Council.

Partnership and coalitions like these have always been and will continue to be a vital part of SALC’s advocacy

work. “SALC is a trusted partner in our region,” said Nicole Barraza, SALC’s director of governance and outreach. “Elected officials and community stakeholders consistently reach out when issues of regional or statewide significance arise.”

The Arizona Commerce Authority is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. Sandra Watson, ACA’s president and CEO, has worked frequently with the SALC team and believes SALC’s commitment to collaboration has advanced the quality of life throughout the state.

“We are grateful for SALC’s commitment and partnership to foster Southern Arizona’s economy and enhance opportunities for Arizonans,” she said.

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SALC Major Milestones & Impact

For more than two decades, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council has worked to increase economic vibrancy and quality of life in the region.

Reforms Drove Economic Growth

Worked with the governor and other business organizations to secure passage of major economic reform legislation:

– Reduced business property tax rate from 25% to 20% over 10 years.

– Created tax credits for investors who commit funds for high-tech start-up companies.

– Applied 80% sales factor benefit to businesses making $1 billion new investment in Arizona.


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Statewide Health Information Exchange Created

In partnership with HCSA, led conversation to create Southern Arizona Information Exchange, which ultimately merged with a state -level initiative.

Financial Crises Averted

Engaged with Governor Jan Brewer to develop a plan to borrow $1 billion, cut $1 billion and raise $1 billion via a temporary tax.


Expect More Arizona Founded Helped to create a statewide education initiative, Expect More Arizona, a publicprivate partnership as a shared voice of business and education leaders for P-20 continuum.

Tucson Values Teachers


SALC created TVT and spun it off into its own 501(c)(3) organization as the foremost voice on recruitment and retention of high quality teachers in the region.


Addressed a Critical Nursing Shortage

Helped ameliorate nursing shortage by founding Hospital Council of Southern Arizona and developing a plan to produce 150 new registered nurses for the community.

Strategic Leadership for RTA’s Future

Successfully led engagement with legislature to give Pima County voters the authority to increase sales tax to fund future infrastructure.

Created Arizona Bioscience Board to address lack of available risk capital, recruited CEOs statewide and produced comprehensive report spurring the establishment of new


Passed Charter Change

Led campaign to change City of Tucson charter by passing Propositions 403 and 404, giving city manager exclusive ability to hire/fire direct reports and the mayor a voting position on city council.

Developed a Leadership Fund

Established new Leadership Fund to provide nimble response to, and funding of, ey legislative campaign efforts.

Supported Billion-Dollar University Bonding Capacity

Strategically advocated to pass bonding package for R&D and infrastructure for Arizona’s universities.

Angel Tax Credit Funded

Prominent advocacy resulted in legislature reauthorizing and funding Angel ax Credit for investing in small, rural or bioscience companies.

Defeated Harmful Proposition 205

Convened campaign to defeat a “sanctuary city” proposition that would have caused Tucson to forfeit more than $138 million in state-shared revenue and federal grants, and would have prevented federal partners like FBI and DEA from assisting local police in solving crimes.


Supported School Funding Extension

SALC was first business organization to publicly back 20-year extension of Proposition 301, providing $444 million in new revenues annually for schools.

Rio Nuevo Extension

Successfully advocated for 10-year extension to Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District, the driving force for revitalization in Downtown Tucson.

2019 140 MEMBERS

GME Funding Expansion

Advocated to secure new funding for Graduate Medical Education, helping ensure an adequate pipeline of medical professionals for our growing region and state and serving as an economic driver.


Launched Mentorship Program

In collaboration with Tucson Young Professionals, initiated a guided mentorship to fur ther personal and professional development and groom the next generation of community leaders.

Secured Funding for Infrastructure

Crafted legislation and successfully appropriated $54 million for environmental studies to include the Sonoran Corridor; Successfully advocated for appropriation of $400 million to widen Interstate 10, potentially leveraging a federal match.

Co-Hosted Community Workforce Forum

Featured remarks from major employers of various sectors and explored solutions to critical challenges around workforce attraction and retention.

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Discussion Leads to Action

Founders Targeted Collaboration, Business Voice

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council grew out of a desire to bring together resources and CEO-level leadership to find solutions to critical strategic issues facing the region.

Dissatisfied with the lack of a strong voice of business, Hank Amos, owner of Tucson Realty and Trust, Tucson’s oldest real estate company, began a discussion with six visionary business leaders. The seven are now credited as founders of SALC. Those founding members represented a broad segment of Tucson’s economy – Amos; Si Schorr, a partner in one of Tucson’s most prominent law firms; Larry Aldrich, then-president and CEO of Tucson Newspapers; Charles Bayless, president and CEO of Tucson Electric Power; David Wright, president of Arizona Bank; David Mehl, owner of Cottonwood Properties; and Greg Shelton, a VP at Raytheon Missile Systems.

Conversations led to a series of meetings ultimately attracting 30 interested business leaders to the discussions. They shared a common theme – to form a group capable of using the influence, resources and leadership of local CEOs to create a vibrant economic environment and high quality of life in Southern Arizona.

The group identified an emerging category of new organizations known simply as CEO leadership groups. The founders of SALC adopted the basic structure used by these new groups adding a unique Southern Arizona spin. The formula: limit membership to the senior leader of an organization, engage issues of strategic importance, remain fiercely non-partisan and conduct business in an ethical way with integrity and honesty in every aspect of its operation.

Bayless was elected as the first chair of SALC and led the development of the vision and mission for the organization.

Similarly, business leaders in Phoenix had started their own CEO leadership group several years earlier, and those leaders saw value in a potential partner ship with the new Tucson-based group. They offered assistance as SALC began operations. Greater Phoenix Leadership immediately became a close ally and to day SALC works closely with GPL and the newest CEO group in the state, Flagstaff’s Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, for the good of all the communities and for Arizona.

Reflecting back, Bayless said, “I had no idea that SALC would grow and prosper as it has, but I knew the time was right for a new leadership group and I had to be part of it.”

SALC’s second chair, Aldrich, added, “We had some very difficult conversa tions in those early days and I wondered if we could keep the group together. In the end the members recognized what was at stake and today this community is far bet ter off because we did.”

“ The diversity of thought among the seven founding members of SALC was an important factor in making the organiza tion successful,” said SALC president and CEO Ted Maxwell. “It’s amazing to me that several of the original founders con tinue as active members of SALC today. The continuity they provide has served us well over SALC’s existence.”

“SALC has done many wonderful things and made a lot of progress,” Amos said, “but there is still much to be done in many areas. Two of the most critical are building needed infrastructure and im proving our business climate in order to at tract more jobs.”

SALC Vice President and COO Shelley Watson stated, “The caliber of SALC’s members has remained extremely high throughout the years, which has leveraged impact and progress.”

The roots of SALC go back to 1997, when a group of seven prominent Tucson businessmen incorporated the group.

Hank Amos David Mehl Larry Aldrich David Wright Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 81 Biz
Charles Bayless

Ted BizLEADERSHIP 84 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023
SALC Executive Staff from left Shelley Watson, Vice President & COO Maxwell, President & CEO Nicole Barraza, Director, Governance & Outreach

Better Together SALC Members Choose Progress Over Partisanship

Southern Arizona Leadership Council’s member-wide meetings could be called the region’s version of a Davos or a G20 of the Southwest – essentially a leadership summit of the best business minds.

With membership of over 140 people representing an incredibly diverse array of businesses and major community organizations, SALC’s board leads a dynamic group of accomplished business leaders with

deep connections throughout Southern Arizona.

SALC Board Chair Rob Draper is president of O’Rielly Chevrolet. Vice-Chair Susan Gray is president and CEO of TEP/UNS Energy. Chair Pro Tem David Cohen is president of BeachFleischman PLLC. Board Treasurer Cristie Street is CEO of Nextrio and Board Secretary Don Bourn is CEO of Bourn Companies.

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But how does this dream team of leaders manage to lead leaders?

Draper believes this is possible because of the perennial relevance of SALC’s mission and its consistent nonpartisan focus on collaboration.

“Members are expected to contribute their time and talents, but on the flipside they reap the benefits of being part of a top-level clearinghouse of information and ideas, a place where they can hear the latest thinking of others on key issues and expand and sharpen their own knowledge and understanding of those subjects,” he said.

This give and take keeps members involved and interested. “That and the sense of obligation and pride I think we all share in trying to make Tucson and Southern Arizona a better place to live for everyone,” Draper said.

Gray took this thought a step further. “Our members dedicate their talent and time as conveners, influencers and advocates, connecting the dots and bringing visibility to issues that are critical to our path ahead,” she said, adding that the diversity of thought and representation ensure that SALC and its message reach all corners of the region and state.

That SALC has managed to thrive during incredibly divisive and polarizing times is a testament to the organization’s commitment to nonpartisan consensus building and inclusiveness.

“In order to be placed on our agenda, an issue must be strategic and important to the welfare of the community and must have a reasonable chance of achieving an improvement in our region,” Draper said. He added that neither of those criteria can be met when issues only benefit a select group of people. “We focus our efforts on initiatives that can have the broadest impact on our community.”

This foundational approach sets SALC up for long-term success. “SALC is built for the future,” said Cohen. “We have invested in strong and inspired management, people that work hard and truly care about SALC’s mission and vision.”

The management team Cohen refers to includes: President and CEO

Ted Maxwell; Shelley Watson, VP and COO; Nicole P. Barraza, director of governance and outreach; John J. Pedicone, director of education policy, John Moffat, director of infrastructure policy, and Ron Shoopman, director of special projects, round out this team.

“SALC members represent the full political spectrum,” said Maxwell. “While we are nonpartisan, we deliberately engage a cross-partisan combination of individuals in our leadership teams from executive staff to board of directors. From our inception, we have maintained laser-focus on viewing issues through a business lens.”

As Draper put it, “It really doesn’t matter much what my, or any other individual member’s, opinion is regarding what are the most critical issues facing the region. One of the organization’s core practices is to poll ALL of our members at least annually to identify critical issues of the day, prioritize them, and decide whether and how best to engage to advance them.”

Once membership consensus is achieved, that information is assembled into an annual Legislative Agenda and set of Policy Goals, which are then pursued through SALC’s five committees, called Focus Areas.

SALC has several items on its future priorities list, including voter-approved renewal of the Regional Transportation Authority, securing the region’s water future, and growing a skilled workforce, among others. By nature, these are complex issues that cannot be solved quickly; in fact, many will take years to fully address. But SALC is well-positioned to see these issues through to solution and has a 25-year history of doing so on important issues. Draper attributes this to SALC’s staying power, organized approach and the committed membership and staff.

Cohen added, “I could not be prouder of the impact made by SALC in its history and it was an honor to lead the organization as its chair over the past three years.”

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“From our inception, we have maintained laser-focus on viewing issues through a business lens.”
– Edward P. “Ted” Maxwell President & CEO
Southern Arizona Leadership Council

A Unified Business Voice

Two SALC Members Share Their Why

Since its founding in 1997, SALC has grown from a membership of seven local business leaders to more than 140 members who represent an incredible diversity of thought, sectors and vision for Southern Arizona.

Over the past 25 years, SALC has become a respected and trusted voice on public policy through the lens of business at the local and state levels. This sterling reputation would not have been possible without the contributions of its members, each of whom is a distinguished leader in their own right.

Si Schorr was one of SALC’s seven founding members. A resident of Tucson since moving here in 1957, Schorr worked as an attorney in his ‘day job’ and devoted himself to numerous civic roles in his spare time, including service on the Governor’s Economic Planning and Development Advisory Board, Chair of the Tucson Pima County Commission on Improved Government Management, the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Commission and the Tucson Airport Authority.

Schorr was instrumental in the formation of SALC and provided a significant voice for many years on its board of directors. “We grew slowly, but surely,” he said. “We understood as we

evolved that we needed broader, more diverse representation and that our mission needed to expand beyond immediate business issues. We realized that we needed an increasingly expansive view of community betterment.”

Now retired, Schorr remains very active at SALC as co-chair of its Governance Focus Area.

Melanie Rice joined SALC last year. Rice serves as VP of the Southern Arizona Division for Southwest Gas, an organization that has long contributed its voice and expertise to SALC. Rice joined Southwest Gas in 2008 and has held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility.

A resident of Tucson for the past 23 years, Rice is familiar with the issues affecting both the economy and quality of life in the region. She respects SALC and the work of the organization. “SALC’s biggest strength is the collaborative, bipartisan approach that it employs on all sectors and sizes of the region’s business community,” she said. “Seeking and leveraging different perspectives from across [SALC’s] organization results in better solutions.”

While Rice is new to SALC, Southwest Gas has long been an active supporter. Rice takes the SALC reins from

Southwest Gas’s Julie Williams, who served as SALC’s Board Chair before being promoted to Southwest Gas’s chief operating officer and relocating to the company’s headquarters in Las Vegas.

As she takes on this new role, Rice said she looks forward to working in the key areas of education and infrastructure. “With my engineering background, I’m pretty passionate about quality infrastructure and energy systems that are appropriately sized for current needs, but flexible enough to accommodate future needs sustainably and efficiently,” she said. “We need creative solutions that foresee future challenges without an adverse economic impact to our communities.”

Rice looks forward to getting involved in the issues affecting the region. “SALC’s goals align well with our company’s, and I look forward to the opportunity,” she said.

Schorr added, “[SALC’s] goal is never to tell people what to do but to convene and partner with others working in the same venue. We believe that through cumulative effort and collaboration we can get things done.”

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Key Focus Areas

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council has established six key groups to direct its efforts for the broadest and most meaningful impact on the community and the economy. Visionary chairs lead each charge, through Education, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Innovation, and Governance Focus Areas and through a Public Policy committee.


Knowing that a skilled and educated workforce is key to fostering a thriving economy, SALC has identified P-20 education as one of its main focus areas. The term ‘P-20’ refers to the continuum from preschool through university and into career pathways.

Co-Chair Steve Lynn said securing adequate public education funding remains a top priority. “As long as Arizona is languishing in 48th or 49th place in state per pupil funding, schools are unable to meet their full potential, and by extension, neither can their students,” he said. “In addition to this major issue, SALC is involved in supporting funding for community colleges and the state universities.”

SALC has achieved some key successes in its support of public education. Co-Chair Donald Pitt said the creation of Tucson Values Teachers was a major milestone. TVT is a partnership of business leaders, educators and individuals with a shared mission to inspire and support teaching professionals in Southern Arizona. “Tucson Values Teachers now operates with an independent board as a subsidiary of SALC,” Pitt said. “Education with a quality teaching force is more likely to be successful and the actions of SALC to improve that important fact and take actions to improve compensation and working conditions for this very critical element of education is crucial.”

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Quality infrastructure is critical to the long-term health of any community.

SALC’s Infrastructure Focus Area has taken up this charge, with an eye toward effective water management and regional transportation issues.

SALC has racked up several ‘wins’ in this area. It was a leading voice in creating the Regional Transportation Authority in 2004, an initiative that was ultimately approved by voters and focuses on improving roadways and creating more efficient transportation throughout Southern Arizona.

Within its first decade, SALC opposed harmful propositions that would have limited water access. In 1997, it led the campaign to ensure access to CAP water to support growth in the region and in 2007, helped defeat a proposition that would have curtailed water connections and new home construction. After this, SALC founded Tucson Regional Water Coalition (TRWC) to ensure a coordinated response to issues of water resources and sound management of water resources within the region. SALC member Kip Volpe co-chairs the TRWC.





Access to quality healthcare is a crucial element in fostering a community’s high quality of life. SALC created the Healthcare Focus Area to champion a sustainable, high-quality healthcare system in the region and to foster growth in the regional healthcare industry.

Nancy Johnson, retired CEO of El Rio Health and co-chair of the Healthcare Focus Area, said healthcare is part of a ‘three-legged stool’ affecting the region’s quality of life and long-term economic outlook. “[We need] strong economic development, great educational systems and strong comprehensive healthcare systems,” she said. “Preventative community-based care

improves access to care, less chronic disease----resulting in the ability to be strong employees, complete and continue education and contribute to the community’s well-being.”

Johnson, along with co-chairs Greg Taylor and Chad Whelan, view their mandates as communication, advocacy and collaboration. She added, “As cochairs of the Healthcare Focus Area, our mandates are to keep business leaders educated on emerging healthcare trends, advocate for policies to improve healthcare and/or prevent harmful policies, and lastly, collaborate with key partners on healthcare programs and initiatives.”

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Arizona Regional Manager Granite Construction Company Vice President & Regional Sundt Construction

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Key Focus Areas cont.



Mara Aspinall

Managing Director

BlueStone Venture Partners


Anthony Cook

General Manager

AHS Center of Excellence



Calline Sanchez

VP, Arizona & New Mexico


To understand the work of the Innovation Economy Focus Area, it helps to understand exactly what’s meant by that term. SALC defines it as an economy that pursues the development of hightech, high-wage jobs for the region and one that supports efforts in research, tech transfer and venture capital. Simply put, an innovation economy is one that fosters a strong entrepreneurial culture.

“We recognize our region’s strong skills in technology and science,” said co-chair Mara Aspinall. “We call Southern Arizona the ‘Silicon Desert’ due to the extraordinary inventions, technolo-

gy and intellectual property coming out of our region. This is generated by our innovative companies, large and small. We are best in class leaders in software and data storage with IBM and others, in life sciences with Roche and others, as well as in aviation, mining, and imaging.“

This group identifies its ‘big rocks,’ or main priorities, as retaining early talent in Tucson, retaining and growing businesses who have chosen to locate in Tucson, and fostering diverse, on-going forums to discuss the best ways to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and support local business.

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Ted Hinderaker


Hinderaker, Rauh & Weisman


Sarah Smallhouse


Thomas R. Brown Foundation


Si Schorr

Partner (Ret.)

Lewis Roca


The purview of the SALC Governance Focus Area is to make data driven recommendations regarding how to improve local, regional, and state governance structures and then address deficiencies. Co-chair Ted Hinderaker said, SALC is a politically diverse organization, with members who are very conservative, very liberal, and everything in between. SALC does not have a partisan agenda but rather seeks to identify policies and win-win positions that are good for the entire region. Decisions are reached by consensus and we seek

to identify and implement good governance policies using a data driven approach.”

This Focus Area has had several notable successes. It led Prop 403 and 404 campaign to change the City of Tucson charter to give the Mayor voting parity on City Council as well as to give the City Manager sole ability to hire/fire direct reports. It also is a strong voice in support of making the requirements to vote and run for office uniform for all political parties.




SALC’s Public Policy committee monitors emerging issues influencing the economic viability and quality of life in Southern Arizona as well as the state of Arizona. This committee makes recommendations for action on pending legislation and initiatives, particularly on those issues that are not covered under one of the five Focus Areas.

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Three Pivotal Milestones

Tucson Values Teachers, Tucson Young Professionals and Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy

The founding of Tucson Values Teachers and Tucson Young Professionals and a strong partnership with FlinnBrown Civic Leadership Academy represents Southern Arizona Leadership Council’s commitment to enhancing the region’s economic climate and quality of life.

Recognizing the importance of highquality teachers for the success of our region, SALC set about to create an organization that would celebrate outstanding teachers and elevate the pro-

fession. The result was the founding of TVT in 2008 into its own 501(c) (3) organization, with office space and support provided by SALC, and member Jim Click was a key early funder of TVT.

“SALC’s members appreciate the direct connection between the strength of our education system and a high-quality workforce,” said Shelley Watson, VP and COO of SALC, and board member for TVT. “Teachers are at the heart of the education system and the No. 1

predictor of student success is a qualified teacher at the front of the class.”

TVT has become an important platform for recognizing and rewarding great educators. The group’s signature annual event, Stand Up 4 Teachers, brings together business and community leaders to honor the best and brightest educators from preschool through high school.

With the 2006 founding of Tucson Young Professionals, SALC demon-

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Andy Heinemann CEO Tucson Values Teachers Zach Yentzer Executive Director Tucson Young Professionals Dawn Wallace Vice President Arizona Center for Civic Leadership Flinn Foundation


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strated its desire to help shape the next generation of community leaders in Southern Arizona.

“Our members desired to create an organization that would encourage young and mid-career professionals to retain them in the region and assist in their development into community leaders,” Watson said. TYP was born and formed its own nonprofit organization. It has grown rapidly over the past few years, now with close to 1,000 members, and has forged creative partnerships with large employers in the region who sponsor TYP memberships for their employees interested in joining.

In order to ensure connectivity between the two organizations, SALC’s board voted to create a permanent seat on its board for whomever is presiding as the TYP board president. Additionally, SALC’s Director of Governance and Outreach, Nicole Barraza, serves on TYP’s board.

One of the highlights of the SALCTYP partnership is a guided mentor-

ship program in which SALC members are paired with TYP members for a 12week program consisting of 30-minute weekly conversations around personal and career goals. SALC mentors share their expertise and advice, and TYP mentees provide valuable “reverse mentoring” that helps SALC’s business leaders better understand the perspectives of their younger employees.

Shelley Watson added, “It has been amazing to witness what can happen in just 12 weeks. Truly life-changing results have occurred for mentees during this program – things like job promotions, successful handling of difficult professional situations, and formation of personal goals. We are grateful to SALC’s members who invest their valuable time to give back to young professionals.”

SALC has partnered with the FlinnBrown Civic Leadership Academy since its inception. The Flinn-Brown Fellowship is the flagship program of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation and helps emerging and experienced civic leaders

from throughout Arizona expand their knowledge, skills, and networks to help address Arizona’s long-term issues.

SALC extends a special invitation to Southern Arizona Flinn-Brown Fellows who have completed the program to join SALC as an associate member for one year. This practice was established in 2011 with the first Southern Arizona cohort to increase the fellows’ understanding of the role business and government play in building a strong economy for our state.

“Flinn-Brown fellows are our state’s most exemplary civic leaders,” said Dawn Wallace, VP of Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, Flinn Foundation. “By offering fellows a seat at the table with senior business leaders and actively engaging them in public policy decisions, SALC shows its commitment to further cultivating their civic leadership and utilizing their incredible talent and expertise to solve our state’s most challenging issues.”

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John Moffatt Director of Infrastructure Policy Andy Heinemann CEO Tucson Values Teachers Terresa Tauzin Director of Development Tucson Values Teachers
SALC TEAM (520) 327–7619 1760 E. River Road, Suite 280 Tucson, AZ 85718 SOUTHERN ARIZONA LEADERSHIP COUNCIL BizLEADERSHIP
John J. Pedicone Director of Education Policy
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Brian Brown Regional Executive Kitchell Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer Raytheon Missiles & Defense
SALC Members
Managing Partner Ernst & Young General Manager, AHS Center of Excellence Karen Cesare BeachFleischman CPAs Jaime Chamberlain President Chamberlain Distributing, Inc. Mel Cohen Partner Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, PC Pat DeConcini Managing Partner 4-D Properties, LLP Arizona State University President Northern Arizona University
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CEO Community Foundation for Southern AZ O’Rielly Chevrolet, Inc. Bruce Dusenberry Horizon Moving Group Senior Project Manager DPR Construction Edmundo Gamillo Exec. Dir. | Middle Market Banking | Commercial Banking Chase Bank Head Roche Tissue Diagnostics President Diamond Ventures, Inc.
John Graham President & CEO Sunbelt Holdings UNS Energy/Tucson Electric Power
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112 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023 SALC Members
Founder Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR Jim Horvath Chair & Founder Town West Companies Publisher Tucson Lifestyle
Josh Jacobsen Owner Lucky Wishbone Iridius Capital, LLC
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114 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023 SALC Members
Eller College of Management University of Arizona Jim Knutson Director, Integrated Solutions Trane Technologies George Krauja Director Fennemore Craig Trailhead Ventures Union Hospitality Group Clinton Kuntz CEO El Rio Health
Royal Automotive Group
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116 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023 SALC Members
Port of Tucson The Edmund Marquez Allstate Agencies
Cottonwood Properties
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Owner Moomjian Law Firm PLLC Manuel Ramos CEO Silver Mountain Mining Pima Federal Credit Union Barbi Reuter Principal & CEO Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR Melanie Rice Vice President, Southern Arizona President CATS Tonometer
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120 BizTucson < < < Winter 2023 SALC Members
CEO Tycon, Inc. IBM Lewis Roca Managing Partner Rancho Sahuarita President Thomas R. Brown Foundations
Carol Stewart Vice President Tech Parks Arizona
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Principal Swaim Associates Architects Arizona Complete Health The Talent Store Steve Utter Director of Product Support Services Empire Southwest VP & Treasurer Estes Company Whelan Consulting
Arizona State University

Stellar Teachers Honored in 2022 As Raytheon Leaders in Education

Tucson-area teachers were honored for excellence in the classroom Nov. 9 at the annual Stand Up 4 Teachers event, presented by Tucson Values Teachers.

The event, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, was held in the main student ballroom at the University of Arizona.

Tucson Values Teachers is a partnership of business leaders, educators and individuals with a shared mission to support teachers from Pre-K through 12th grade in Southern Arizona through collaborations that attract, retain and celebrate teacher excellence. Additionally, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, which sponsors the Raytheon Leaders in Education Award, received the Spirit of

Education Award for the second time.

“We were so pleased to have an outstanding turnout of over 300 people, celebrating not only the Spirit of Education Award to Raytheon, but also celebrating the winners and finalists,” said Andy Heinemann, CEO of Tucson Values Teachers. “You’re celebrating the business leaders and education winners all in the same evening.”

“We know that what teachers do is absolutely amazing,” added Wesley D. Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “We’re so proud to be a part of this community. So thank you for what you do.”

Next year marks Tucson Values Teachers’ 15th year. “We’re excited to make this an even bigger event and it’s all about recognizing and celebrating the very best teachers in Pima County,” said Heinemann.

Each winner received a $2,500 gift plus $2,500 in matching gifts for each of the teachers’ schools, a total of $20,000 in all. The winners also will meet with local business and political leaders over the next year to share success stories and find common ground for advocating achievements for advancement in education. Each finalist received $500.

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 125
PHOTO BY NICCI RADKE From left – Andy Heinemann – CEO, Tucson Values Teachers, Wesley Kremer – President, Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Terresa Tauzin - Director of Development, Tucson Values Teachers, Kim Ernzen – President, Naval Power


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Ariana Brown, a dance teacher at Flowing Wells High School in Flowing Wells Unified School District. Brown is in her eighth year of teaching students in grades 9-12 in all levels and types of dance. She is the director of Momentum Dance Company, a dance team at Flowing Wells that per forms at pep rallies on campus and at performances at schools throughout Tucson. She facilitates two dance teams at the high school and leads youth dance classes for children ages 3-14. Brown also offers adult dance classes.

Mollie Grove, a science teacher at Alice Vail Middle School in Tucson Unified School District. With a master’s degree in instructional technology from Arizona State University, Grove has taught science for 15 years and is national board cer tified. She is the teacher technology liaison, helping colleagues integrate technology into their lessons and serves as an advisor for Math Engineering Science Achievement Club.

Jaime Camero, a sixth-grade science teacher at Douglas Elementary School. She has taught for nearly 20 years–the past nine at Douglas Elementary School. She is national board certified and serves as the Science Fair and STEM Night coordinator and as an instructional coach. Camero is STEMAZing teacher for the district and was voted by her colleagues to be the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2022. She was recognized as the Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Foundation’s Champion Teacher of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Arizona Education Foundation’s Arizona Teacher of the Year.

Jessica Caramella, a preschool teacher at Emily Meschter Early Learning Center. Caramella has taught early childhood education for nine years and was named Teacher of the Year on her campus for 2017-18. She participates in the STEMAZing Teacher Leader Program, developing curriculum for the district. In 2021, Caramella was honored as Educator Advocate of Science and Engineering from SARSEF.


Jessica Jankowski-Gallo, Emily Meschter Early Learning Center, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Aracely Pacheco, Oyama Elementary School, Tucson Unified School District.


Jessica Wendt, Hendricks Elementary School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Robyn Yewell, Harelson Elementary School, Amphitheater Public Schools


Todd Johnson, Marana Middle School, Marana Unified School District

Samantha Rose, Hollinger K-8, Tucson Unified School District


Marian Johnson, Amphitheater High School, Amphitheater Public Schools

Usha Madhyanam, Star Academic High School, Sunnyside Unified School District

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Ariana Brown Jessica Jankowski-Gallo Aracely Pacheco Jessica Wendt Robyn Yewell Todd Johnson Samantha Rose Marian Johnson Usha Madhyanam Mollie Grove Jaime Camero
Jessica Caramella

Lisa Romero has been named assistant VP of marketing and communications in the University of Arizona’s Office of Research, Innovation and Impact. She will develop and manage marketing and communications strategy to expand awareness of UArizona’s research impact and thought leadership. Romero leaves BIO5, where since 2012 she has advanced brand impact for the interdisciplinary, translational research institute.

Brian Johnson joined Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, a Forbes Four-Star Resort, as managing director. Johnson brings extensive management experience, having served as managing director for Loews Ventana Canyon Resort from 2003 to 2014 and many other venues. He recently led the team at Scottsdale’s Great Wolf Lodge, where he helped open the 350-room resort with nine food and beverage outlets and an expansive water park.

Paloma L. Santiago

unior Achievement of Arizona has announced that Paloma L. Santiago is the new district director for Southern Arizona. Santiago will work with her team to increase funding and program-reach for regional students, including the xpansion of the new JA Inspire program that focuses on career readiness for middle and high school students. Santiago has 24 years of professional experience in the nonprofit,

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Lisa Romero
Brian Johnson
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Tucson Country

In communities like Tucson that have been around for more than 200 years, there are certain aspects of them – people, places, events – that make up their fabric.

For 75 years, Tucson Country Club is a place that has been just that to the Tucson community. It’s a place where prominent business leaders, politicians and philanthropists − some of them local pioneers such as Drachman, Boice and Amos − have been part of the club’s history on the city’s northeast side.

Over the decades, it’s been a gath-

ering place for golfers and families, a place where kids have grown into prominent business leaders, a place that has attracted newcomers through reputation, or in the current president’s case, through a sense that the people at Tucson Country Club are important to their community and at the same time welcoming.

Retired military officer and current club president Chet Nowak moved to Tucson in 2004 and joined Tucson Country Club about 10 years later.

“Two things sealed the deal for us,”

he said. “The people − everybody that I spoke to and everyone who I knew were members really enjoyed it. It’s just plain fun. The other aspect was that we have so many businesspeople or experts here, that if you have a question, you can find a member to ask, and then that helps you with whatever you’re going to do.”

After 75 years, traditions remain the foundation of the club. Members know what to expect in the amenities, in the membership and in the anchor to the club – the golf course. At the same time, the club is constantly evaluating the

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Club at 75 Golf, Amenities, Camaraderie and Giving

many trends in golf club membership to make sure new members have what they’re looking for when they’re signing on the dotted line of a membership agreement.

The golf course at Tucson Country Club is one of those historic – some will say “traditional” – golf courses that aren’t built anymore, at least not in the Tucson area or even in the state of Arizona.

It’s a walking course, comfortably fit on 160 acres of what was once a ranch far from the center of town when it was

built in 1947. The distances between greens and tee boxes are measured in feet and not fractions of a mile.

Look out onto the course on any given day and the members are walking. There’s a youth caddie program so golfers can hire a caddie for their walking rounds on the weekends or during the summer.

“It’s flat. There’s very minimal elevation change,” said GM and COO Ryan Davis. “We probably have 60-plus percent of our play that walks. People really enjoy that opportunity. It’s not a

desert course. It’s a true parkland-style golf course and a real, true, old-school test of golf.”

Tucson Country Club treasures its history and the generations that have been a part of it, members say. At the same time, there’s a recognition that there has to be more to a club than the elite golf. There has to be a sense of community, an attachment to the club surroundings, and amenities for everyone.

The club recently reached an agreement to be the home course for the Uni-

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continued from page 131 versity of Arizona’s nationally relevant men’s and women’s golf programs. The club is leasing land to UArizona where a clubhouse facility will be built. About $3.5 million in renovations to the golf course are scheduled to be completed next year, in part, to adapt the course for the young, long hitters whose parents probably weren’t a glimmer in anyone’s eye when the course was built.

A teenager at the time and now in his 90s, Fred Boice remembers that the impetus for building Tucson Country Club in 1947 was that the “country club” for Tucson at the time was El Rio Golf Course on the city’s west side where the Tucson Open originated.

“A lot of our residents, more and more, were east of town and they were looking for a country club,” said Boice, whose name can be found throughout Tucson business, philanthropy, education and, of course, at the Tucson Country Club.

His father became a founding member, Boice said, but mostly so Fred would have a place to play golf. Fred’s son, Henry, now has the family membership with Fred a senior member.

“Camaraderie” seems to be a word used often when the later generations of members discuss why Tucson Country Club has been part of their lives for so long. It may have started for them when they were kids hanging around the club, or later in life when they became members on their own.

Wanting to be a member wasn’t always about the golf, said Chris Gleason, whose father was an early member and from whom Chris bought the membership.

“I dabbled in golf a little bit but for me it was that we grew up here as little kids, little rug rats running around,” Gleason said. “It was a place where you absolutely learned respect for the older members. But it really was all about the camaraderie, the friendships that I would say that keeps me here more than anything else.”

Phil Amos and his family are literally pioneers in the history of Tucson Country Club. His grandfather, George Amos, was part of Tucson Realty and Trust from its formation in 1911, and he eventually became its president. He owned land adjacent to the club where lots were sold to finance the club. He also was a founding member. Later, Phil’s fa-

ther George “Buddy” Amos, Jr., became a member. And that membership eventually passed on to Phil, who has been a member since 1993.

“I grew up here,” Phil Amos said. “It was just ingrained in us and part of what we did, just living and growing up here.

“As far as I can remember, we were coming to the club for Christmas, for Thanksgiving. Sunday nights it was the buffet with the family. There were Easter egg hunts, summers in the pool. These are lasting memories.”

Boyd Drachman is another whose family name isn’t hard to find around the community. His grandfather, Roy Drachman, had his hands on a number of important elements of the community including being a founding member at the country club. Boyd’s father was also a member. Boyd became a member when he bought Roy’s membership.

“I had the privilege of getting to use the facilities at a very young age,” Boyd said. “The Sunday night buffet at the old pavilion building was awesome. I made a point to go to that as much as I could and sign my dad’s name and number every time.”

Fast forward to today and Tucson Country Club continues its legacy as a premier − some say, THE premier − private golf club in Tucson. The estates surrounding the club continue to be the home of leaders in all facets of the Tucson community. Homeowners don’t have to be members of the country club.

With the country club’s rich history, the members and management understand there must be a balance between its legacy and the need to continue to attract new members, new families and newcomers to Tucson, not just for golf but for everything the club has to offer.

“We have to be proactive and evolve with trends,” Davis said. “But the events we do and the decisions we make, while they are focused on what’s next, have to be rooted in tradition.

“When we look at doing our golf course renovation project next sum mer, the architect’s approach is to make changes that are consistent with what we’re seeing in golf today, but with re spect to the William Bell design, and the history and the tradition. We’re not changing it. We are enhancing the design based on today’s game.”


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“The events we do and the decisions we make, while they are focused on what’s next, have to be rooted in tradition.”
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– Ryan Davis
From left – Chet Nowak, Club President and Steve Pearl, Past President Past Presidents of Tucson Country Club From left – Henry Boice, Chris Gleason, Fred Boice, Boyd Drachman and Phil Amos

A Giving Side Members

Reach Out with Scholarships and Opportunity

Steve Pearl didn’t have to be president of the board of Tucson Country Club to know there’s at least one thing the membership has in common.

“If you’re a member of Tucson Country Club, you have been successful and fortunate,” said Pearl, the immediate past president at the club. “And if you have been rewarded in life − if you’re successful and fortunate − you owe something back.”

It’s a premise backed by action by the membership at Tucson Country Club as the club celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Pearl, a member of Tucson Country Club since moving from Chicago a dozen years ago, said he sought out a club that has most of what everyone wants in a club – great golf, great amenities, great camaraderie and great people.

What he found at Tucson Country Club was one more characteristic that was important to him – giving.

“I want to be around people that think the way I do,” he said, noting not politically speaking. “I want to be around people that want to give back.”

Ryan Davis, the general manager at the club couldn’t agree more. It’s an aspect of the club that he is making sure is part of a vision for the future.

“I think…people are really seeing our philanthropic side and the interest by the club in giving back,” Davis said, alluding to a partnership with San Miguel High School to provide work-study and scholarship opportunities. A partnership with the University of Arizona

men’s and women’s golf teams is another example of community outreach.

Members can also contribute to a Patriot Legacy Fund which provides education assistance through Folds of Honor Arizona to families of military members who have been disabled or killed. Families of first responders were recently added to be eligible for the education funding. Once a year, the club invites service members to a breakfast and golf tournament at the club, held in late November.

The work/study program with San Miguel is in its early stages as part of the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholarship program which has been around for decades.

Working with The First Tee – Tucson and the WGA, Tucson Country Club established a youth caddie program as an opportunity for caddies to earn an Evans Scholarship. The scholarship covers housing and tuition for the recipient at one of 21 universities that are part of the program. Scholarships are awarded to caddies with outstanding character, a strong caddie record, excellent academics and limited financial means, Pearl said.

He administers the program for Tucson Country Club as a member of the WGA. Since the program began at the club two years ago, it hasn’t had its first Evans Scholar because caddies must accumulate a certain number of “loops,” another word for serving as a caddie for a round of golf.

But despite those rules, club members have seized this opportunity to help and mentor the kids. And for these young people to get quality time with successful entrepreneurs can be priceless for them.

Pearl said a group of six members contributed $125,000 to fund a scholarship on their own. And other members are finding ways to give through mentorship, or even business connections.

Pearl said he asked one of his caddies during a round what she wanted to do as a career. She was very specific, Pearl said, in saying that she wanted to be an FBI agent specializing in counterterrorism.

“I’m thinking, ‘Wow, for a 17 year old that’s really specific,’ ” Pearl recalled. After a discussion with the caddie’s parents and a few phone calls, the caddie was put in touch with the right people and ended up with an FBI internship.

“We lost a caddy, and I don’t know how good that was, but we were able to help a young person with her goals.”

In the end, that is the essence of the caddie program, said Club President Chet Nowak.

“It’s two-way mentoring,” Nowak said. “I enjoy talking with them during the 3½ hours we play golf. I’m learning from them as much as they’re asking questions about what I did in my career.”

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SPONSORED CONTENT Programs Supported by Tucson Country Club

A Club for the Ages –Young and Old Traditions Stay While New Amenities Take Hold

When a country club has a 75-year history like Tucson Country Club, updating the club’s offerings while respecting its traditions is paramount.

It should be no surprise that the anchor to Tucson Country Club’s amenities is the historic William Bell golf course that remains one of the top venues in the region. It remains such an attraction that the club has partnered with the University of Arizona to make it the home course for the school’s traditionally powerful men’s and women’s golf programs.

But the changing landscape of country club membership means Tucson

Country Club must be on its toes with its amenities as new interests arise – anyone for pickleball? – and as the membership becomes more diverse in age groups.

A club needs to attract new members – some might suggest younger members – while keeping the so-called “old guard” satisfied that the reasons they joined, some of them decades ago, are still a big part of why they remain members.

Nationally, there is believed to be a “youth movement” toward country clubs even though some data suggests otherwise.

“We ran an analysis not long ago, and our average age actually has gone up a little bit,” said Ryan Davis, who has been at Tucson Country for six years and was named GM in 2021. “That’s somewhat contradictory to saying we have this youth movement and all these younger families are joining. But what has happened is people are either living longer or they’re loving the club and not leaving.”

The strategy is to honor the traditions of the 75-year-old club with its legacy members and family ties while addressing the needs of a new breed of member who wants the new stuff, like

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pickleball courts, a golf course that is up to date for today’s long hitters, and an opportunity to satisfy their fitness needs.

“I like to be out here and just talk to our folks and see what’s driving them and what are the issues that we have,” said Chet Nowak, current president of the club’s board of directors. “How can we grow our club? How can we attract younger folks to the club?”

For starters, the golf course will undergo a $3.5 million renovation next year, in part for the UArizona golf teams and in part to update the course in line with the courses being built today. It’s a traditional, parkland-style golf course unlike the dozens of desert layouts that have been built around Tucson since the mid-1980s. The course will close next summer for the planned renovations.

There’s room to maneuver within the footprint of the golf course. The changes will keep intact the overall William Bell design with tweaks like new tee boxes, sand traps being moved around and other similar changes.

Outside of golf, there are 10 tennis courts and now four pickleball courts for the exploding interest in a sport that has actually been around since 1965. There remain adult and youth tennis programs that have been a part of the country club for decades.

There are also plans for an expanded fitness center, again to address the demands of potential new members looking for a club that provides healthy options.

There have been some upgrades to the aquatics center that includes a lap pool, a family pool with a water slide, a splash pad and a snack bar that operates during the swimming season.

The club offers events throughout the year, including a grand Fourth of July fireworks show. Family can enjoy a number of kids activities and services such as “sitter service” and a junior summer camp.

And then there’s the staple of the high-end restaurant and bar as a gathering place for members because many

join Tucson Country Club for the social aspect of being among friends and family.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy this place many, many, many years with lots of great memories,” said Boyd Drachman, whose grandfather, Tucson business legend Roy Drachman was a founding member at the club. “You really do develop a base of friends from here. It’s a great place to come to socialize. I grew up here playing tennis. I didn’t really play any golf to speak of until after my college years.”

It’s a constant conversation, Davis said, to have a feel for the amenities, activities and events that will keep the membership engaged and attract new members at the same time.

“That’s the key for us when you have such a diverse demographic,” Davis said. “You have to find ways to engage all of the different segments of your membership.”

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“You really do develop a base of friends from here. It’s a great place to come to socialize.”
– Boyd Drachman, Member, Tucson Country Club



Winter 2023

90 Years of Excellence

At Radiology Ltd., Every Image Tells a Story

With a legacy begun by a prominent physician in 1933, Radiology Ltd. has cemented its status as the region’s top radiology practice and a world-class company trusted for its patient care excellence, state-of-the-art technology and unwavering employee dedication.

In fact, today’s Radiology Ltd. is a powerful convergence of Cs – customer satisfaction, convenience, confidence and costeffectiveness. The home-grown practice has 11 locations across Southern Arizona, a 97% patient satisfaction rate and a team of expertly trained people who thrive on compassionate, meticulous care.

“We have the most skilled and experienced staff who provide a fantastic patient experience,” said Radiology Ltd. CEO Logan Ward. “We have a group of radiologists who, because of their sub-specialization, are the radiologists anyone would want reading scans. Some of the largest physician groups in Tucson have a choice of where to send their patients for medical imaging, and they’re sending their patients throughout the region to us, because they understand the difference.

“We definitely hang our hat on that,” he said.

on page

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142 >>>

1933 1946

Radiology Ltd. 90 Years of Excellence

Dr. Edward Hayden founds his radiology practice. A 1925 graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Hayden completed post-graduate work in diagnostic X-ray at the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University. He was responsible for the X-ray department at the Desert Sanatorium (now Tucson Medical Center).

Hayden’s practice expands with the addition of the first partner, Dr. Arthur Present, and continues to grow with the addition of more than 20 radiologists over the next 3 decades.

With the construction of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the practice, now the HaydenPresent Group, continues to grow as the exclusive provider of radiology services. Radiology expands beyond X-rays and the group works to recruit younger physicians trained in “special procedures,” now known as interventional radiology.

The group officially becomes known as Radiology Ltd. and expands to include El Dorado Hospital. Dr. Donald Jeck becomes the 18th radiologist to join. TMC acquires the first Computed Tomography (CT) scanner in Southern Arizona and the scans are read exclusively by Radiology Ltd. physicians. The practice adds diagnostic ultrasound, keeping it on the cutting edge of medical technology.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) becomes the next advancement in radiology and Radiology Ltd. helps bring it to Tucson. TMC acquires the region’s first MRI machine with scans read exclusively by Radiology Ltd. Physicians. Radiology Ltd. begins operating outpatient imaging centers with CT and MRI capabilities.

continued from page 141

Added President and Chairman Dr. David Jeck, “Quality has always come first. In all of our decisions, we don’t compromise on quality. The degree to which we do that, sets us apart.”

The company story begins with Dr. Edward Hayden, a University of Minnesota medical school graduate with Mayo Clinic and Stanford University post-graduate training. Responsible for the X-ray department at the Desert Sanatorium (now Tucson Medical Center), Hayden started a private practice in 1933. With each new radiologist who joined him, the footprint in excellence he started has since grown over 90 years into a beacon of regional prominence.

“From where I sit now, I’m still impressed by the presence of Radiology Ltd. in the community,” said Dr. Donald Jeck, who was recruited in 1976 and served as president from 1980 to 2001. “People come up to tell me what good care they got here and it makes me very proud, to know that you were a small participant in that care.”

Radiology Ltd., which took its name in the 1970s, today employs more than 45 subspecialized, fellowship-trained experts in body imaging, women’s imaging, interventional radiology, molecular imaging, musculoskeletal imaging and neuroradiology, along with a dedicated staff of more than 500. The company is in-network with 99% of health plans and prides itself on patient-centric technology such as seamless, automated scheduling and prompt portal access to test results.

The people who work at Radiology Ltd. stay here–often for decades–because of the company’s dedication to employee development and support.

continued on page 144 >>> 1990s

Radiology Ltd. becomes the first Tucson practice to implement a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), and the first to provide interventional neuroradiology services.

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“Quality has always come first. In all of our decisions, we don’t compromise on quality. The degree to which we do that, sets us apart.”
– Dr. David Jeck President & Chairman Radiology Ltd.
1960s 1970s 1980s

Radiology Ltd. 90 Years of Excellence

Radiology Ltd. opens multiple imaging centers including Radiology Ltd. Rancho Vistoso, Radiology Ltd. La Cholla, Radiology Ltd. Wilmot, Radiology Ltd. Midvale and Radiology Ltd. Camp Lowell offering advanced imaging, dedicated women’s imaging, PET/CT and outpatient interventional services throughout the broader Tucson metro region and Oro Valley.

Radiology Ltd. adds 3D mammography to its dedicated Women’s Imaging Centers at Wilmot and La Cholla in 2014.  A partnership with El Rio Health Center is formed in 2015 for professional radiology services.  A 3-Tesla open-bore MRI is added to the Camp Lowell Imaging Center in 2016.  Radiology Ltd. continues to enhance the patient experience with all outpatient centers going fully paperless in 2017.  Radiology Ltd. Rincon opens on the TMC Rincon campus in 2017 and Radiology Ltd. Continental opens in Green Valley in 2019, expanding the Southern Arizona footprint.

Radiology Ltd. begins providing exclusive radiology services for Benson Hospital and Northern Cochise Community Hospital offering greater degree of subspecialized care to Southern Arizonans.

A second location in Green Valley opens with the addition of Radiology Ltd. Casa Verde and expansion continues to west Tucson with the addition of Radiology Ltd. St. Mary’s Medical Plaza.

Radiology Ltd. adds MRI to the Rincon Imaging Center and opens Radiology Ltd. Alvernon in Central Tucson with a new advanced, interventional radiology suite. Online scheduling capabilities including a mobile platform to add convenience to the patient’s experience.

continued from page 142

“We have a 90-year history and I have been here for almost half of it,” said Frank Rodriguez, a professional relations liaison who started as a dark room tech in 1981. “Radiology Ltd. has opened so many doors for me. It has fine-tuned my work ethic and my personality traits.”

Dr. Danielle Carroll, a women’s imaging diagnostic radiologist and incoming vice chairwoman for Radiology Ltd., said, “I love the people here. I love the staff. I love how everyone truly cares about the patients. I just feel fully supported. These are all people who are willing to hear someone’s vision or thoughts on how to grow and change, and they support you through that process.”

In addition to volunteer and fitness opportunities, the company hosts epic annual dinners to celebrate its technologists—the first people that patients see and their lifeline for compassion during difficult circumstances. “We just really want to celebrate them,” said Crystal Atwell, a compliance coordinator who volunteers on the event’s planning committee. “We love our people.”

Mandy Davis, a Radiology Ltd. breast patient navigator who assists patients after a biopsy, hailed this kind of investment into employees. “They care about your work and life balance, that you are healthy, physically and emotionally.”

Incoming President and Chairman Dr. Bobby Kalb, who worked in an academic setting before joining the company, said it was Radiology Ltd.’s signature model that appealed to him–one that he believes can advance beyond the region. “I’m really looking forward to leading Radiology Ltd. into the next frontier.”

“We want to continue to take this forward and offer our successful model in other places. We want to expand our reach to other areas which can benefit from what we have to offer.”

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 145
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Dr. David Jeck President & Chairman Radiology Ltd. Dr. Donald Jeck President from 1980 to 2001 Radiology Ltd. PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

A Family Tradition

Father and Son’s Legacy of Leadership

The inclusive culture that has shaped Radiology Ltd., helping to fuel robust growth and foster employee longevity, has been stewarded by a dedicated father and son: Drs. Donald Jeck and David Jeck.

Don served as Radiology Ltd. president from 1980 to 2001. David joined the company one year later and became president and chairman in 2015. Together, their impact on advancing the region’s top radiology practice over the past four decades has been indelible.

“This practice was the best I found, with highly trained radiologists at all levels,” said Don, who was recruited to Radiology Ltd. in 1976. “The quality of the practice and its history in the community - that’s why I joined.”

“I was most proud of the fact that we have grown from 18 to 46 radiologists,” he said of his tenure. “We put a lot into quality improvement and making sure we did things right. Internally, we were committed to look at our own processes and we continued to recruit the best radiologists we could find. The whole practice was a team from the ground up. We all worked together.”

Don’s kindness and empathy are still remembered by Radiology Ltd.’s most senior employees. “I started as a dark room technician and I remember he introduced himself to me and he took the time to have me sit next to him and learn,” said Robert Martinez, a 26year employee who now oversees the medical records department. “It was that caring for an employee that he started.”

David remembered the same collegiality at Radiology Ltd. picnics as a kid. “They knew my dad as not just their boss, but as their friend,” he said. “They knew he genuinely cared about their lives. That is the part that is ingrained in me.”

Though Don never pressured his son to join Radiology Ltd., he couldn’t be prouder that he did. “He’s smarter and better than I ever was. To have him here, he could have gone anywhere and he’s done a hell of a job.”

“I knew Radiology Ltd. was as good of a place as I could get, but I wanted to be here on my own credentials,” said David. “It’s been a huge honor being in the role that my dad was.”

Under David’s tenure, Radiology Ltd. has continued to prosper throughout the region, adding a location on the St. Mary’s Hospital campus, an interventional suite at the new Alvernon clinic and expanding into Green Valley. The company boasts more than 45 subspecialized, fellowship-trained experts in body imaging, women’s imaging, interventional radiology, molecular imaging, pediatric imaging, cardiothoracic imaging and neuroradiology, with an expertly trained staff of more than 500. “We have continued to focus on people, but also technology and infrastructure that is allowing us to expand service to broader areas,” he said.

Even with growth, Jeck and the leadership team have remained dedicated to supporting employees and bolstering the patient-centric approach that is signature to Radiology Ltd.

“They know that in any decisions we make, we will never compromise quality and I think they really respect that,” David said. “We are not going to cut corners to make a dollar.”

Just like his father, David and his family have been frequent volunteers at Radiology Ltd. community events, helping to make meals for Primavera Foundation Men’s Shelter and other opportunities to support the community in other ways beyond practicing medicine.

In welcoming new President and Chairman Dr. Bobby Kalb, who takes over in January, David will refocus on his clinical practice in diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology. He’ll also remain on board and committee leadership for Radiology Ltd.

“It’s really important to have a smooth succession plan for any company,” he said. “I love clinical medicine and I’m very excited about being able to do that full-time.”

Both Jecks still enjoy when people approach them about their great patient experiences here. “I’m still so impressed by the presence of Radiology Ltd. in this community,” Don said. “People come up to me and tell me what great care they received. It makes me very proud to have been a part of that success.”

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The Surgical Side of Radiology

A New World of Patient Care

which opened last year at 5th and Alvernon, is a tranquil, efficient alterna-

Often called the surgical side of radiology, these physicians use fluoroscopy, MRI, CT and ultrasound to conduct minimally invasive procedures that target, treat, and cure many conditions. Drs. Jason Hanley, Shaun McManimon, Steven Siwik, Matthew Vanasco, Julie Zaetta and Nurse Practitioner Liana McEvoy compose the IR team.

At the company’s new imaging and interventional suite in central Tucson, the team has found a modern, new setting to deliver this care. The new state-of-the-art IR and imaging facility,

“Diseases and health conditions that once required open surgery or caused the patient to be admitted to the hospital, can now be treated far less invasively, much less expensively, and with less risk and downtime for the patient,” said Zaetta, section chief of the IR team.

Beyond image-guided biopsies, IR procedures include treating fibroids internally by cutting off their blood supply, saving the patient from a hysterectomy. In liver cancer patients, a radiologist can pinpoint the tumor, use tiny catheters to inject chemotherapy and kill it. In elderly patients with softening

bones, imaging is used to insert a needle into the bone and inject cement to buttress it like a cast.

“We want patients and their doctors to know they have options,” Zaetta added. “When people learn that they can achieve the same outcome without going under the knife, we believe they will choose the less-invasive option.”

“I’ve been doing IR for over 25 years now and we are continuously innovating and reworking our techniques and devices, making them even more accurate,” she said. “The thing that I love most about interventional radiology is that it is highly creative, and we have a way to help with virtually every issue a patient might encounter.”

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From left – Interventional Radiologists Dr. Matthew Vanasco, Dr. Jason Hanley and Dr. Julie Zaetta

Compassionate, Expert Care

Women’s Imaging a Top Priority

Women who choose Radiology Ltd. for breast imaging are cared for by experts in their field.

“We have a team of highly specialized breast imagers who have dedicated a significant amount of their career to breast imaging,” said Dr. Danielle Carroll, a diagnostic and fellowship-trained breast radiologist and vice chairwoman of the company.

“Radiology Ltd. has the highest percentage of fellowship-trained breast imagers in practice in Southern Arizona, which means the radiologist has completed five years of radiology training and then a year of dedicated breast imaging training,” she said. “If you come to Radiology Ltd., you are getting a true expert reading your exam.”

Indeed, Radiology Ltd. is designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, the gold standard of accreditation in medical imaging. The company is also proud to provide professional services in breast imaging at Tucson Medical Center, El Rio Health and Northern Cochise Community Hospital.

Beyond offering a full suite of breast imaging services, including 3D mammograms, breast ultrasound, breast MRI and image-guided breast biopsies, Radiology Ltd. is committed to making the experience not only comfortable

and compassionate, but efficient and patient-focused.

“We want to treat every patient individually,” Carroll said. “Our technologists truly appreciate and understand that each patient is an individual person. They make it their mission to make patients as comfortable as possible.

“Even in biopsies, we try to distract the patient and have them talk about something that makes them happy. We do everything we can to make these anxiety-provoking procedures less daunting.” For Carroll, the empathy is there as she personally discovered a breast lump and had to undergo a biopsy. “It helps me understand the angst they are going through.”

Radiology Ltd. CEO Logan Ward praised the company’s technology capabilities. “We’re trying to make it as seamless for our patients as possible. From scheduling their appointment, to checking in at the clinic, to receiving their report on their individual patient portal, we’re always iterating on our technology capabilities to improve the patient experience and increase the likelihood that they return for their annual mammogram.”

The company has also created a breast patient navigator program that shepherds women through the process following a positive biopsy. “When a

patient has a new diagnosis of cancer, it can be so overwhelming and confusing,” Carroll said. “Having the navigator guide them through the complex process is priceless.”

Longtime imaging tech Mandy Davis, now a Radiology Ltd. breast patient navigator, is devoted to nurturing and educating her breast cancer patients.

“When I was an ultrasound tech, I discovered I had a passion for the breast imaging part of my job,” Davis said. “I would follow them through the process and I developed this relationship with them over time. I discovered that I really felt such empathy and compassion. They are going through a really scary process.”

Providers are welcome to sign up for their patients to be a part of the patient navigator program. She talks with the patient directly about pathology results, manages their upcoming exams and appointments for new cancer diagnoses, acts as a liaison between the physicians and essentially handles all the leg work. Davis also gives each patient a notebook and resource guide.

“I care so much about this,” she said. “The difference this makes for patients is huge. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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Train and Retain A Company Devoted to Promoting, Supporting its Own

Kristal McCormick started at Radiology Ltd. at age 19 as an assistant. Jason Love joined as a young man out of the military.

The in-house training and support both received has not only kept them at the company, but promoted them to leadership and provided them top-level expertise.

“It just feels like family here,” said McCormick, who at 34 is now clinical manager at two Radiology Ltd. locations. “I can’t say enough good things about this company. They have been so wonderful to me. I am here for life.”

McCormick ascended through many positions at Radiology Ltd., including technical assistant, overnights as a reading room assistant and technologist roles in X-ray, CT and MRI. When she continued her education at Pima Community College, the company paid for it through its scholarship program, she said.

“Just so many opportunities were presented to me along the way,” McCormick said.

As clinical manager, McCormick splits her week between the company’s Rincon and Carondelet locations. She manages 20 people for all the radiology modalities, oversees daily orders and coordinates accreditation on 60 machines. “I have a strong team,” she said. “They all know what is expected of them and they are an amazing group of people.”

Love enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 19 and trained as a radiology tech and combat medic in the U.S. Army, but relished the challenging opportunities provided at Radiology Ltd. when he joined in 2005. His manager encouraged him to train in CT and get his CT certification, which he did. Then, he decided to cross-train in MRI and found his dream job as an MRI technologist at the Rincon campus.

“I just love MRI,” Love said. “The technology is so incredible and always changing. I never get tired of learning. My favorite part about the job is the technology itself. It is a fast-growing field. There is always new technology coming out and new applications for old technology as well. One of my hobbies outside of work is drawing and digital art. I feel like there is an art to medical imaging and I take pride in doing it.”

“I feel like I am blessed to work here,” he said. “The opportunities are always here with this company. To be able to work around so many techs who have that much knowledge. I have learned from techs who have been in the field for more than 30 years. It’s really incredible.”


A Philanthropic Force in the Region

Wearing their signature green and blue shirts, Radiology Ltd. employees are a presence as volunteers throughout the Southern Arizona community.

From making meals for Primavera Foundation Men’s Shelter and Ronald McDonald House to building houses for Habitat for Humanity, employees attend roughly 60 community and corporate-sponsored events each year. In fact, each employee receives four paid hours to devote to the community.

“We have always been focused on the community,” said Radiology Ltd. President Dr. David Jeck. “I believe in this very strongly. We are a significant employer in Tucson and Southern Arizona and we want to do what we can to make it a better place.”

Stephanie Swanick, Radiology Ltd. training manager, organizes group volunteer events for the company’s 500+ staff and includes upcoming opportunities in a weekly newsletter. “I really think this sets us apart,” she said. “I love that I can do what I would do on my free time and share the experience with people I work with. It fosters and builds teamwork.”

Each Radiology Ltd. employee learns about the program at orientation, where Swanick gives a presentation. With the company’s 11 locations throughout the region, volunteering gives all employees the chance to connect in a casual setting. “The vibe is friendly and fun. A person who works on the east side can meet a person who works on the west side where they may not otherwise have the opportunity.”

“We love our community,” said Crystal Atwell, a Radiology Ltd. compliance coordinator who is one of the company’s most prolific volunteers. “We are super involved with the different organizations. When we served breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House, that one touched my heart the most because I had a son who was born sick. Seeing all the parents coming in exhausted and being able to give them something, to provide a meal for them.”

Through the years, Radiology Ltd. employees have organized Trunk or Treat events at Halloween, volunteered at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Arizona, made Thanksgiving meals, crafted bells at Ben’s Bells and fundraised

for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night.

Swanick is always researching new opportunities and also encourages groups of employees to volunteer on their own if they have a personal cause. “It helps us build teamwork between departments. It builds bonds and enables people to meet as themselves, on the same level and the same team, while doing good.”

MRI Technologist Jason Love said he embraces the chance to help his community through Radiology Ltd. “All the men I have ever looked up to in my family, they worked in their community. I knew that would be me too.”

“This will sound cliche, but the most rewarding part of my job is serving my community,” Love said. “I have lived in and worked in Tucson for a decade and some change. People come up to me all the time while I am out and thank me for helping them or their loved ones.”

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A Place to Stay Radiology Ltd. Physicians, Staff Find Company that Values Them

Radiology Ltd. has a way with employees. Keeping them, that is.

The physicians and staff who join the region’s top radiology practice have found a company that embraces, supports and encourages them. Some started as student interns, only to rise through the ranks into a leadership role. Others came during fellowship training and found a place that valued their skills and expertise.

“I’ve never been a part of an organization that has had people with so much tenure,” said Radiology Ltd. CEO Logan Ward. “So many people have been here for 10, 20, 30 years. You really don’t see that anymore.”

Professional Relations Liaison Frank Rodriguez is among the most tenured, having worked at Radiology Ltd. for 41 years. He started in 1981 as a dark room tech and ascended through several positions. “I never went to college,” he said.

“Radiology Ltd. became my university. It opened a lot of doors for me.”

As one of three liaisons for the company, Rodriguez explains his role as a “walking, talking website” for Radiology Ltd. in the community. “I visit hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices in person. I try to assist with issues and meet with physicians as much as possible.”

Rodriguez met his wife at the company and also helped his cousin Robert Martinez join Radiology Ltd. Martinez has since given 26 years to the company, starting as a dark room tech and now managing the medical records department.

“Radiology Ltd. has invested a lot of money in me,” Martinez said. “They trained me. I’ve had some great mentors here to help guide me. There are just good people here and I enjoy what I do.”

Longtime radiologist Dr. Lindsey In-

ouye told his wife he would never work in Tucson when he came for his initial interview from Eureka, Calif. in 1989. “33 years later, we’re desert rats,” he joked.

“They had an old-fashioned, familyoriented practice approach to new partners, mixed with an honest, innovative business model,” Inouye said. “Basically, I love Tucson. Radiology Ltd. has treated me well.”

Crystal Atwell began at Radiology Ltd. as an intern in 2010 and is now a compliance coordinator. “I like this company because you are able to start somewhere and grow.”

“I think it’s the DNA of the group,” said President and Chairman Dr. David Jeck., who grew up going to Radiology Ltd. events before joining the practice in 2002. “It’s always had this atmosphere and that’s one of the things we feel is important to try to maintain.”

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Radiology Ltd. Charts an Ambitious Vision for Arizona

Closing in on a century in Southern Arizona, Radiology Ltd. is committed to using its 90 years of excellence as the foundation to increase its footprint as a force in medical imaging.

Helmed by CEO Logan Ward and incoming President and Chairman Dr. Bobby Kalb and Vice Chairwoman Dr. Danielle Carroll, Radiology Ltd. plans not only to add to its 11 locations, but also to bolster investment into innovation and patient-centered technology. Its new parent company, U.S. Radiology Specialists, will strengthen the infrastructure for expansion beyond Southern Arizona.

“Our goal is to meet the needs of the patient population here, and Arizona is a growing market,” said Ward. “We are trying to grow right alongside the marketplace, and as the radiology and imaging provider of choice, ensure our services are available to more patients. We want to be responsive to demand so patients aren’t having to wait multiple weeks to get in for an MRI, for exam-

ple, or a mammogram.”

Kalb agreed. “We want to continue to take this forward, having our infrastructure in place. We can offer our successful model in other places and we want to expand our reach in areas that could benefit.”

Over the past decade, Radiology Ltd. has invested heavily into the patient experience, creating easy scheduling and prompt delivery of imaging results. Once an order is made, patients receive a text or email on their phones with an embedded link to schedule their appointment. “This frees up our staff to call patients to schedule more complex appointments,” Ward said. “Streamlining communication with our patients pre- and post-appointment is a high priority for us.”

Equally important has been the company’s consistent investment into the best imaging technology. Radiology Ltd. acquired two new Siemens MRI machines this past year at the Rincon and Alvernon locations, a new Phillips

CT machine in Oro Valley and it’s adding new 3D mammography machines with numerous capabilities, he said.

“This is something that we monitor all the time: how is the patient experience from the time we receive an order to the time they are seen. If it’s too long, that’s where we look to invest in new equipment,” Ward said.

Kalb, who was drawn to Radiology Ltd. for its stellar reputation, said the company wants to be forward-thinking and continue to drive quality care. For example, Radiology Ltd. recently hired a physicist and expert on calibrating MRI machines, which has helped ensure image quality across the fleet and enables top-of-the-line staff training on the new MRI technology deployed at the Rincon and Alvernon locations.

“A lot of other practices will only depend on the manufacturer to give some applications and the techs just figure it out, but to have him go beyond the basics, we are now running it in the most advanced way,” Kalb said.

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 155 BizHR

SHRM-GT 2022 Awards

Honoring Businesses for Growing Tucson Community

The Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson held its annual Innovation in the Workplace event, presenting 11 awards to small, medium and large Tucson-area businesses and organizations.

The event was held Nov. 8 at the Savoy Opera House at Trail Dust Town.

SHRM-GT serves human resources


Small Company Winner

San Miguel High School

professionals as a resource for employment trends, best practices and innovative ideas. It advises the Tucson community on relevant and emerging employment initiatives at the local, state and national levels. The Tucson chapter has 395 members.

“This year’s Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace event was absolutely

The Catholic-supported high school was represented by Courtney Pulitzer, marketing and communications director; Samantha Miller, VP corporate work study program operations, and Dave Mason, president and CEO. “For many years since the school opened in 2004, San Miguel High School has been considered a talent pipeline for students that fill many of these high-skilled and diploma jobs that we heard about tonight that are a real need in our community,” Mason said.

Medium Company Winner

Bayer Marana Greenhouse

The company was represented by Stephanie Boe, community engagement and site enablement lead, and Edison Kemper, general site leader. “It takes a lot of individuals to do what we do,” Kemper said. “We need to be part of the community. We want to have an influence in the communities where we are. And I think (the award) also means the beginning of an even greater journey where the community knows us and we know the community, not as a company, but where we can be way more to the community.”

Large Company Winner

Goodwill of Southern Arizona Youth Engagement Centers

Goodwill was represented by Heather Karp, director of employee services and support, and Lance Meeks, director of community engagement. “This award means a lot to us that we are to be recognized for the Community Impact Award,” Meeks said. “There’s over 20,000 opportunity youth in our Tucson community, and Goodwill Southern Arizona continues to work with other community partners to engage young people so that their lives can be improved.”

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Small Company Winner Arizona

Technology Council

“The award is a representation of the work we’re putting in place to make sure that all of our members and all of our community outreach are included and have a seat at the table and have a voice to be represented within technology,” said VP Karla B. Morales. “It is important that we show there is a possibility and place for everyone in the community.”

incredible,” said Elizabeth Hightown, this year’s chapter president. “We had multiple nominations in four categories and each category (with one exception) had three winners: a small, medium and a large. And the wonderful thing about it is each of the winners is committed to growing the Tucson community. We’re very excited about that.”

Medium Company Winner

HDS Truck Driving Institute

Represented by Tara Staton, admissions, and Tara McKelvy, marketing manager. “The award is for getting more women into truck driving and making them feel open to coming to a profession that is a male dominated industry,” McKelvy said. The business started a monthly ladies night event to attract more women truck drivers.”

Large Company Winner

OneAZ Credit Union

Sherri Kempf, compensation and benefits manager; Jennifer Moody, HR and business partnerships, and Thea Ammon, senior benefits administrator, represented the organization. “This award means so much to us,” Ammon said. “We have been doing so much work in the DEIA space for both members and our associates. OneAZ truly exists to improve the lives of our associates and our members in the communities we serve.”


Medium Company Winner

Tetakawi (formerly The Offshore Group)

“This just really demonstrates the improvements that we’ve been making as an organization to our technology and to make a more paperless environment and technology driven,” said Joy Hernandez, senior HR manager. “We have kind of this mantra: ‘Make it run itself.’ We are a BPO (business process outsourcing) for manufacturing,” she said.

Large Company Winner

Town of Oro Valley Peak Performance Program

Sara Newlin, continuous improvement analyst, and Chuck Royer, chief innovation officer, represented the town. “This is recognition for our efforts for our Peak Improvement Program,” Royer said. “It recognizes a lot of the process improvements that our department made throughout the organization to increase efficiency and reduce waste.”

continued on page 159 >>>

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Society for Human Resource Management – Greater Tucson
1 2 3 5 8 6 4 7 Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Award Winners
Society for Human Resource Management –Greater Tucson
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continued from page 156


Tavi Meketon, R&A CPAs

“I’m very excited and honored to be nominated and chosen,” said Tavi Meketon, director of operations. “I work with an incredible group of people and I’m proud to be a member of the firm.”

Medium Company Winner

Anna Ginn, SHRMP-CP

Ginn obtained her SHRM-CP in 2017, elevating her role as a trusted leader and HR manager of CTI.

Large Company Winner

Janet Rico Uhrig, SHRM-CP

Uhrig is HR administrator for the City of Tucson. “I am so thrilled,” Uhrig said. ‘I have an amazing team who help me become more professional every day. I’m grateful to the City to Tucson and my family for their support.”


Richard Phipps, SHRM-CP

Phipps is membership and engagement co-director from SHRM-GT. He has worked in HR for 19 years, the last 10 in talent acquisition. “I love helping people match their skills set to a company need,” he said.


Edmund Marquez, owner of three Allstate Insurance agencies, volunteers his time as emcee to several nonprofit organizations’ events.
BizHR 13 12 11 11 12 13 Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 159
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ecosystem drivers at its annual TLA ISquared Expo and Awards Oct. 11 at the Health Sciences Innovation Building Forum.

Tech Launch Arizona paves the way to commercialization for physical and life sciences inventions developed through research at UArizona. From its beginning up through the end of its first decade this past summer, TLA measured substantial impact on Arizona

Inventor of the Year

Tech Launch

• 2,455 invention disclosures

• 492 exclusive licenses and options

• 128 startups

• 535 U.S. patents issued

• 2,500 jobs supported

TLA was launched in 2012 when David Allen was hired as its first VP. Douglas Hockstad was hired in 2018 to replace Allen when he retired.

potential to impact health and technology in Arizona, the U.S. and the world. UArizona ranks 28th in the world for patents issued, said Betsy Cantwell, senior VP for research, innovation and impact

“I congratulate Doug and the whole TLA team on a highly successful first 10 years,” Cantwell said. “I look forward to the next 10 because amazing things are going to happen.”


Robin Polt, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UArizona College of Science, the College of Medicine and the BIO5 Institute

Polt’s research focuses on developing novel synthetic amino acids and glycopeptides. He and his colleagues have launched two companies, one in the past year. Clinical applications include pain, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurogenerative illnesses.

Startup of the Year

Aqualung Therapeutics Corp.

The immunotherapeutics and biotech company, started four years ago, has developed an antibody to treat ventilator-induced lung injury. It was invented by CEO and Founder Dr. Skip Garcia. Aqualung was awarded two three-year National Institutes of Health fast track awards. In September, it received Federal Drug Administration clearance for a new drug application to proceed with human trials to support the development

of ALT-100, a humanized monoclonal antibody therapy for the chronic indications of pulmonary arterial hypertension and inflammator y bowel disease.

Student Inventor of the Year

Joel Berkson

A fourth-year doctoral student at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences and Steward Observatory, Berkson is doing surface measuring the perfection of radio antenna surfaces.

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1. 3. 2.
1 2 3

Arizona I-Squared Awards

mission. The UArizona Provost’s Office, led by Liesl Folks, helped elevate and support a culture of innovation across campus. It has partnered with TLA to create new awards for early career and distinguished level faculty and also is working with a national organization for promotion and tenure to recognize innovation.

organization based in Phoenix. It was established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The foundation is helping TLA with star tups and fueling entrepreneurial ecosystems. It leads the state’s bioscience roadmap effort and provides seed grants to faculty interested in moving technology closer to commercialization.

first VP at Tech Launch Arizona, and recognizes a lifetime of dedication to the UArizona ecosystem and entrepreneurship. Hecker has served on the TLA advisor y board and works with startups, representing them as they work through their launches. He is a UArizona alum and still teaches at the university.

Special Award


Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, acquired in 2022 by Panbela Therapeutics, is a clinical stage group developing disruptive therapeutics for treating cancer patients. Therapeutics are being developed to reduce the risk of recurring cancer and rare diseases. Panbela focuses on treatment of familial adenomatous polyposis, first-line metastatic pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, prevention and ovarian cancer. Gerner came to UArizona in 1974 as an assistant professor and formed CPP with Jeffrey Jacob, who served as CEO.
4 5 6

Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced this year’s Noche de Exitos & Bi-National Awards Gala honorees.

“We’re beyond thrilled to honor this most special group of community contributors at this year’s event,” said THCC President and CEO Rob Elias and Board Chair Karla Bernal Morales in a joint statement. “The work they have done and will continue to do in the community will leave a lasting impression for generations to come.”

The honorees were celebrated at the Noche de Exitos & Bi-National Awards Gala on Nov. 4 at the Casino del Sol Resort & Spa.


Corporation of the Year: Vantage West Credit Union

Hispanic Business Man of the Year: Felipe Garcia, Visit Tucson

Hispanic Business Woman of the Year: Magdalena Verdugo, YWCA Southern Arizona

La Estrella Award: Dominic Ortega, Community Organizer

Public Servant Award: Kate Hoffman, Earn to Learn

Public Servant Award: Maria Vianney Valdez-Cardenas, United Hearts of Arizona


Howard Stewart, AGM Container Controls

Vantage West Credit Union Board Member Manny Lucero Kate Hoffman Maria Vianney Valdez-Cardenas Dominic Ortega Karla Bernal Morales, Felipe Garcia & Rob Elias Karla Bernal Morales, Magdalena Verdugo & Rob Elias Karla Bernal Morales, Howard Stewart & Rob Elias PHOTOS: PHILLIP BENCOMO
Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 163
1) From left – Matt Jensen (Partner at The Boyer Company), MG Hale, Austin Yamada, Dr. Robert Robbins, and Ken Marcus (Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Tech Parks Arizona) 2) Conference Dedication to Col. Jay R. Vargas (AZ Medal of Honor recipient)
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3) From left – Major Gen. Anthony Reynolds Hale, Commanding General, U.S Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca; Austin K. Yamada, ARC president & CEO; Dr. Robert C. Robbins, UArizona President 4) The Refinery Building, part of UA Tech Park at The Bridges PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

A New Home for National Security Research

Applied Research Corporation Settles in at UA Tech Park at The Bridges

University of Arizona’s Applied Research Corporation held its grand opening last fall at the Refinery Building, part of UA Tech Park at The Bridges at Kino Parkway near Interstate 10.

The 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation occupies the fourth floor at 1600 E. Idea Lane. The UArizona-affiliated organization leases 12,000 square feet of controlled-access space.

Launched in 2018, ARC seeks and serves national security contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, focusing on special security requirements.

ARC’s expertise includes optics, cyber operations, hypersonics, quantum information science, space situational awareness and other research disciplines to help execute classified projects or other conditional or restricted activities that can’t be easily executed by other UArizona resources.

UArizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins said at the Oct. 11 grand opening that ARC “brings together government agencies, industry and the University of Arizona to do things in a secure manner that we couldn’t do without this facility.”

Within its space at The Refinery, ARC offers a modular lab design, providing customizable, re-configurable workspace, as well as in-depth security across multi-level operations.

“It was a collection of perspectives that helped this project (The Refinery) manifest itself,” Austin K. Yamada,

ARC president and CEO, said at the grand opening.

Yamada has an extensive background in national security. He’s retired from the Department of Defense, where he served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Special One operations tasked with combating terrorism.

ARC contributes to UArizona student education and training through its UA-ARC Skillbridge Gateway Program, which allows students to work at the corporation. The program has three tracks: education, employment and experience.

The program’s goal is to expand UArizona and ARC’s influence in projects and programs across the university. Student interns work with mentors to develop a schedule and obtain experience in their career fields while continuing their education. Students shadow individuals in their field of interest and network with professionals inside and outside the university. With their professors as project leads, students work on classified and nonclassified contracts at ARC.

An obstacle in student participation, however, is the amount of time it takes them to get clearance to work on classified projects. On average, it takes 411 days to onboard a new person to work on classified projects. Efforts are underway to shorten that time.

“I hope you (ARC) get a lot of contracts ... and we increase the amount

and leverage to multiply and amplify our research operation,” Robbins said. “We all want to see research grow at the university, but are committed to our students, helping them get security clearances to be able to come here and having experiences that they normally would not get. ... There are very few universities that have this kind of relationship.”

Major Gen. Anthony Reynolds Hale, commanding general of the U.S Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, also offered help regarding clearance issues.

“I’m going to commit to sponsoring students and interns with the Applied Research Corporation and Fort Huachuca to get them security clearances so that they can work right here in this facility,” Hale said at the grand opening. “We will continue to do everything we can to support the university and Applied Research Corporation.”

“We’re excited about what The Refinery can do not only for the Department of the Army but also for the Department of Defense,” said Hale, who also is in charge of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Calif. “And we’re excited about the opportunity to give the University of Arizona and its students in supporting national security.


Hill Returns to Tucson, Golf Roots

Geoff Hill Takes Tucson Conquistadores Executive

Director Post

At eight years old, Tucson native Geoff Hill wanted to be a golf professional, seeing himself on a golf course, living the dream of life as a golfer.

“One hundred percent I did. I vicariously lived through my buddy Michael Thompson quite a bit,” Hill said, referring to his fellow Tucsonan who became the PGA’s 2011 Rookie of the Year and is still on the tour. “There was a small jealous bone in me, but at the same time, I was thrilled for him. He’s had a long career. I ended up swallowing the pill and understanding that wasn’t my future.”

Still, life isn’t bad for Hill, the new executive director of the Tucson Conquistadores. The 37-year-old has returned to his roots and has found himself back on a course. He replaced Katy Pradella, who oversaw the Conquistadores and the annual PGA Tour Champions

Cologuard Classic. It returns Feb. 27 through March 5.

Hill traveled across the United States, cutting his teeth on different sports and different levels, including golf. He said the Conquistadores have “welcomed me with open arms.”

“It’s been a humbling homecoming,” he said.

After graduating from Rincon High School and the University of Arizona, Hill clocked more than 10 years in sports entertainment and with largescale events. He most recently served as VP of Operations at the Austin, Tex.motorsports track Circuit of the Americas, which hosts the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

Before that, he was the Tournament Operations Manager for the PGA Tour’s World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin

and the Tour Championship in Atlanta. And from 2014-2017, he was a tournament operations specialist for the PGA Tour Champions where he oversaw the Senior Players Championship.

He believes those “real-life experiences” have set him up for what’s ahead.

“I started as an unpaid intern, and I wouldn’t change my decision for anything,” he said of his early years. “It was a matter of meeting the right people and getting surrounded by the right people that you need to be successful.”

Hill admits that coming back to Tucson wasn’t initially on his radar, having had a g reat career in some great spots.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in and out of golf,” he said. “There was a lot of family and friends tied to my hometown. But it was the executive director role of the Conquistadores and the event and what the impact in the local

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PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON CONQUISTADORES Miguel Angel Jimenez with Tucson Conquistadores

community – nationally, as well – has. When I found out there was a chance to get back in the golf world and do it at a high level for an organization that stands for the certain details that they do is very exciting and very important.”

In introducing Hill in October, Conquistadores President Dr. Andrew Rosen said, “I am very excited for the new energy, enthusiasm and leadership” Hill will bring to the Cologuard Classic and the Conquistadores.

Hill plans to play observer for the upcoming event on the Champions Golf Tour to assess what’s next for Tucson’s professional tournament, which the Conquistadores have staged since 1966.

“I’ve talked to the Conquistadores about this and, being the time frame that it is, I don’t want to go in and try to change too quickly and disrupt anything they have going on,” Hill said. “They are a well-oiled machine, but I’ll definitely be working closely with their

operations and some of their business development teams trying to find avenues to grow revenue for the event and then find some efficiencies.”

He’ll then “dive into it with them over the next several years,” he added. That includes trying to “maximize what our beneficiaries can receive and maximize the revenue for the foundation to excel and to continue the event. We want to grow it in the future. I’ll be taking a really hard look at the budgets, finding ways where we can save money, finding new partners that want to get ingrained into our business, and see how we can maximize some of those partnerships. We want to better the organization, always wanting to grow.

“If I can be a small part of that and make an impact, it will make not only the Tucson community better, but it’ll make the event better for … our fans, our spectators and everyone involved.”

Arizona golf fans will be seeing more than one chase during the PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic at the Omni Tucson National.

While the players are chasing a championship, country singer Chase Rice will headline the Cologuard Classic Military Appreciation Concert. The March 4 concert, which will be held on the golf course’s practice range, is sponsored by DM50 and the Tucson Conquistadores. Joining Rice will be Chayce Beckham, a singer/songwriter who won American Idol’s 19th season.

“The Tucson Conquistadores and Cologuard Classic are thrilled to welcome multi-platinum entertainer Chase Rice and supporting star Chayce Beckham. We encourage all fans to join us at this star-studded concert,” said Geoff Hill, new executive director of the Tucson Conquistadores.

“Beyond the exceptional championship golf, we look forward to these stars bringing a high-energy atmosphere for all to experience through live music. It is truly a unique oppor tunity to get up close with some of the best musicians in the industry. We would also like to thank all our sponsors including DM50 for their support over the years, as well as our military and their families for their dedication and support.”

The concert is expected to start at 6 p.m. following the second round of the golf tournament.

Rice has sold more than 2.3 million albums and has more than 2.4 billion streams and a strong and loyal following throughout the world. His next album, “I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs go To Hell,” will be out Feb. 10.

Those attending the golf tournament on March 4 can stay for the concert for free. Tickets are $59 for those not attending the golf.

Tickets for the all-ages show are now on sale at

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“When I found out there was a chance to get back in the golf world and do it at a high level for an organization that stands for the certain details that they do is very exciting and very important.”
– Geoff Hill, Executive Director, Tucson Conquistadores
Chase Rice Headlines Military Appreciation Concert Geoff Hill Executive Director Tucson Conquistadores Cologuard Classic 2019

Flying High $21 Million Expansion to Pima Community College’s Aviation Technology Center

Near the thunderous roar of planes at Tucson International Airport sits Pima Community College’s newly expanded Aviation Technology Center—a $21 million-upgrade that will fuel a skilled workforce into the regional and global industry.

The expansion, celebrated in an Oct. 20 ribbon cutting, more than doubles the state-of-the-art facility from 35,000 square feet to 87,000 square feet and adds a second hangar large enough for large commercial aircraft, five new classrooms, five new labs, a new tool crib, break room and new offices for the administrative team. The modern center, with its stately blue exterior, sits on the airport grounds. M3 and Barker Contracting served as architect and builder, respectively.

“Today is not only a celebration of the completion of this project, but its importance to the aviation industry,” PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert told local officials and aviation students in attendance. The $21 million project was bolstered by a $15 million appropriation in the state budget.

PCC Governing Board Vice Chair

Demion Clinco said, “This is part of a bigger strategy for Pima College, which is building centers of excellence that align to the industries of Southern Arizona so that people in our community can get careers with high paying wages without going into debt. And this facility is the manifestation in reality.”

In 2018, when this expansion was first proposed, about 30% of the current ranks of aircraft mechanics were at or near retirement age, and those workers are still retiring faster than they can be replaced. Clinco cited Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook that projects 754,000 new airline maintenance technicians will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years. Economic Modeling Specialists, an employment data firm, estimates a 40% increase in aviation jobs for the region alone, compared to the national average of 10%.

“Pima County represents the largest concentration of aviation occupations in Southern Arizona, which is why this facility is key to Southern Arizona’s economic growth,” Clinco said.

continued on page 170 >>>

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1) Pima Community College’s newly expanded 87,000 square feet Aviation Technology Center. 2) Aviation Technology Center new tool crib. PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS
1 4
3 7 8 5
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3) Ribbon ceremony for Pima Community College’s newly expanded Aviation Technology Center. 4) Hanger 2 in the Aviation Technology Center. 5) PCC Chancellor Lee Lamber t. 6) PCC Governing Board Vice Chair Demion Clinco. 7) Dave Querio, president & CEO of Ascent Aviation Services. 8) David Gowan Arizona State Senator.

continued from page 168

Lambert added that a 2021 Federal Aviation Administration report anticipates a future of nearly 1 billion U.S. air passengers—a 10-fold increase from a decade ago. “Just a billion of us flying around in the air. So keep that in mind in terms of the significance of this project.”

During COVID in the U.S. alone, 23,000 aviation technicians left the industry, said Dave Querio, president and CEO of Ascent Aviation Services, a Marana, Ariz.-based aircraft maintenance company.

Querio said he employs 550 people throughout his three facilities in Tucson and New Mexico and he is currently short 130 technicians. “I have never seen our industry in such a shortage of technicians,” he said, addressing the students. “I’m so proud and I’m so pleased that you guys elected to come into aviation maintenance. It’s a great field... it’ll take you all around the world. Always know you’re going to be in high demand.”

PCC offers an associate of applied science degree in aviation technology and accompanying certificates for direct employment in the areas of airframe and powerplant, structural repair and avionics. The college is also one of only a handful of 160 FAA-approved schools that offers curriculum that targets large commercial jets.

With this expansion, PCC will double its enrollment and serve approximately 250 students per year. Combining lectures, hands-on work and independent projects, the program places nearly 90% of its graduates in top aerospace and defense jobs after graduation. The median annual earnings of those jobs range from $57,000 to $65,000.

In addition to many supportive partners, PCC leaders publicly thanked two state senators—Vince Leach and David Gowan–who were instrumental in lobbying the governor’s office and state legislators to allot the substantive $15 million appropriation for the expansion.

“When we were approached by Lee and Demion and their team about this dream, I would say we listened,” said Gowan. “We want to bring more economic viability to Southern Arizona...this is a wonderful dream realized.”

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“Today is not only a celebration of the completion of this project, but its importance to the aviation industry.”
– Lee Lambert Chancellor Pima Community College



The Gregory Prepares Private School has Provided a Robust

For more than 40 years, students at The Gregory School have actively experienced their own education − pursuing passions, building relationships with teachers, learning to self-advocate and participating in the community.

The peaceful campus sits on 35 sprawling acres on the banks of the Rillito River at Craycroft Road and has been providing excellent educational opportunities as an independent, private school in Tucson since 1980.

The school was founded by Ruth Elizabeth “Bazy” McCormick Tankersley, a former newspaper publisher and Arabian horse breeder.

Situated where the city meets the foothills, The Gregory School campus has breathtaking views of the Catalina Mountains. There’s a farmyard and vegetable garden, a student-created riparian area and countless areas to meet, study, relax and play.

Parents send their fifth- to 12th-graders to The Gregory School because of

its challenging curriculum, small class sizes, accomplished and dedicated faculty, strong sense of community, and state-of-the-art facilities. Together, school leaders say, these attributes create exceptional opportunities for student engagement, self-direction and leadership, and allow for flexibility as students initiate and pursue independent studies and build schedules based on ability and interests. Leadership is further engrained as faculty encourage students to accept challenges and explore new interests.

The Gregory School is the only school in Southern Arizona accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. It is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

“I love the autonomy you have with an independent school,” said Julie Sherrill, who has served as the head of school since 2013. “It enables us to customize and personalize learning for

students in a mission-driven setting.”

On any day you can find students delivering monologues in the theater, earning college credit in chemistry class, creating in the MIT Networkaffiliated Fab Lab, competing on its athletic teams, making music and art, tutoring peers in the writing center, working in the garden and farmyard, and serving the community.

The Gregory School is transforming learning and transforming students’ lives, leaders, alumni and parents say. Its alumni lead institutions, start movements, invent technology and run cities. Students graduate with a sense of agency; they believe they can change the world for the better, and it is the school’s aim to give them the knowledge, skills, experiences and confidence to do so.

The breadth of The Gregory School’s course offerings looks more like a liberal arts college than a middle or high school. Music, drama, dance,

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School Future Leaders

Curriculum, Talented Faculty Since 1980

fine arts, digital arts, along with science, technology, humanities, engineering and math – they’re all there for exploration, from introductory courses to advanced college levels.

“I think the great thing about a liberal arts education is it prepares us so well,” said Claudine Messing, an alumna and the current president of the TGS Board of Trustees. “I found the individualized attention, the sense of community, and the teacher-to-student ratio was most compelling.”

“The faculty really know the kids. They get your child on a profound level. I think that’s why The Gregory School is able to individualize the education for each student.”

Graduates can be found in high-level jobs regionally and nationally: a media president in New York; a renowned Tucson oncologist; attorneys and judges; local activists; entrepreneurs, artists, and more.

There are 368 students and 60 faculty at the school. When Sherrill started in 2013, the school was named St. Gregory College Preparatory School. A year later, the name was changed to The Gregory School. The school added a fifth grade to the student body in Sherrill’s second year.

“The school is a treasure – and getting national recognition for its excellence,” said Jennifer Lee Carrell, VP of The Gregory School’s board of trustees. “TGS is thriving as a dynamic and adventurous place and as a school with an emphasis on community and kindness.”

“I’m very proud to be a part of the school and to see the school really thriving under Dr. Sherrill,” Messing added. “I think Dr. Sherrill is really looking ahead to the next 10 years.”

Messing cited increased enrollment and a waiting list as proof of the school’s continuing success.

As a student at the school, she said the focus on critical thinking and intellectual curiosity prepared her well for the real world.

“We’re thinking of the holistic experience of the child,” she said. “We’re educating the whole child.”

The Gregory School curriculum has students taking six to eight courses over a four-day week. Friday Exploration classes end the school week.

Friday Exploration courses allow students to dig deep into a subject that matters to them, or even get into something completely different that interests them. Teachers can also get more creative by bringing in guest speakers, having extended labs and arranging offcampus excursions and field study.

Friday Explorations are like a regular class day but focused on the subject matter the student chooses.

Messing believes the school is poised for even more success.

“Now that we’ve taken off the CO-

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continued from page 175

VID lens, we can look forward to the 50th (anniversary),” Messing said. “I think we are beautifully positioned to thrive and excel.”

Messing attended The Gregory School starting in ninth grade. She graduated in 1988, and her son, Drew, graduated in May 2021. Drew is now a Stanford University sophomore majoring in political science. She said they are the first parent and child graduates of The Gregory School. Her daughter, Lily, is a junior there.

Carrell and her husband John Helebolt’s15-year-old daughter, Jasmine, is currently in ninth grade at The Gregory School. “When we looked at middle schools, my husband and I wanted a school with smaller classes – and therefore more individual attention.”

At first, Jasmine wasn’t on board with the idea, Carrell said, mainly because her friends were headed to other schools.

“Then she visited TGS on one of the prospective-student tours,” Carrell said. “Afterward, we had not yet even

reached the car when she announced that The Gregory School was where she wanted to be. She loved the people she’d met. She loved what she’d heard about classes and activities. She loved the place. And that was that.

“She’s come home talking about Shakespeare, civil rights and modern art,” Carrell said. “Even better – she’s put some of that learning into effect and tried her hand at acting, at participating in a women’s rights-oriented

club, in making modern art. As a beginner, she was able to try volleyball by being part of the school’s team, and has learned how to play and to love both the sport and the competition.”

But Carrell, who holds degrees from Stanford, Oxford and Harvard universities, is most impressed with The Gregory School’s faculty.

“The teachers are first-rate,” Carrell said. “They’re some of the best, most dedicated and creative teachers that I’ve encountered anywhere. I’ve taught both high school and university classes and have some idea of what it takes to design and deliver interesting courses –and the faculty at The Gregory School is, frankly, superlative, as good or better than faculty I’ve encountered at elite universities.”

Sherrill summed up The Gregory School experience for most students.

“Students receive individualized attention from faculty, and they develop relationships with each other and with faculty that last a lifetime,” Sherrill said. “We’re confident that our graduates will contribute meaningfully to our community.”

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“I’m very proud to be a part of the school and to see the school really thriving under Dr. Sherrill.”
– Claudine Messing, President The Gregory School Board of Trustees

Ford Foundation Grant Opens Doors to Exploration

The Gregory School is Only Arizona School to Receive Funding

The Gregory School’s Friday Exploration program is one that sets its curriculum apart from most schools.

Friday Exploration classes provide a slate of various subjects and ideas for students to try under mentorship of their teachers and guest speakers. The classes are beyond the regular schedule of classes taken during the rest of the week.

In November, the school was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which will be matched giving the school a half million dollars to enhance the Friday Exploration program and provide faculty and staff with professional development opportunities.

“I couldn’t be more grateful, excited and proud to be an EE Ford Leadership Grant recipient,” said Head of School Julie Sherrill. “Their approval affirms the great work that our faculty and staff have devoted to this exceptional learning delivery system.”

On the school’s website at, the Friday Exploration program is described as follows:

“Friday Explorations provide the opportunity for students to sign up for courses that allow them to explore

a subject more deeply or in a new direction, augment their learning, or try something entirely new. The program was created intentionally with a number of goals in mind, including ensuring that our 6 Cs (communication, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, community and compassion) are integrated throughout a student’s time at TGS.”

Students at The Gregory School attend classes as part of their regular curriculum Monday through Thursday then take part in the Friday Exploration classes at the end of each week.

Flexibility in the schedule allows students to participate in projects across academic disciplines, engage with guest speakers, spend extended time in labs and field study, and take off-campus excursions.

The bulk of the grant will be used to create a “technological infrastructure” needed to build a library of the contents of the more than 2,500 Friday Exploration classes that have been developed in the program and create a searchable database. That will allow the program to be shared while also establishing a resource for the long-term future of the program.

“Such a resource will be invaluable in faculty planning, student advising, and onboarding new faculty and staff to the school,” the school said in its grant application to the EE Ford Foundation.

“The grant will not only help us improve our program,” Sherrill said, “but it will enable us to share our protocols with other independent schools throughout the country.”

The proposal described the program as one that began “organically” during the 2014-2015 school year and was seen as an important component of the school’s efforts to provide a unique learning opportunity that might also be attractive to prospective students and their families.

Since 2015, enrollment at the school has jumped from 253 to 368.

Board VP Jennifer Lee Carrell, whose daughter attends The Gregory School, said the program “makes it possible for students to try out lots of different subjects and ideas – to get a flavor for different subjects and try something new. It’s a great addition to the solid core offerings. I look at the offerings and wind up envious of my daughter, thinking, ‘I want to try that one and that one and that one.’

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Julie Sherrill Head of School The Gregory School

continued from page 178

“Kind of like standing in front of the ice-cream case at the Hub: The Explorations let you try a little taste of a lot of different flavors – many you would never have dreamed up on your own, but they turn out to be wonderful.”

Applying for one of these grants is a detailed, rigorous and highly competitive process. According to the foundation’s website, this highly selective grant is awarded to schools “for direct application to program initiatives in support of faculty, students or the development of the educational program.” The Gregory School is the only Arizona school to receive the grant.

“It was an honor to represent the school and our board of trustees at the meeting in New York City,” Sherrill said. “The EE Ford trustees with whom I met were very curious about our work and seemingly pleased to learn more about this very special school in the Southwest.”

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Jennifer Lee Carrell Board VP The Gregory School
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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS From left Dennis Conner Sciences Faculty Member The Gregory School Dan Young Social Sciences Faculty Member The Gregory School

Turning Students into Entrepreneurs

Fabrication Lab and Startup Program Open New Worlds at The Gregory School

The Gregory School has a place where students explore the “why” instead of just learning the “how” of being an entrepreneur.

The concept started in the Fab Lab, short for fabrication laboratory, at The Gregory School, which occupies a space in the science building where students are inspired to imagine, conceptualize, design and build, and where tinkering, experimenting and failing are encouraged and celebrated.

The school is uniquely the first and only school-based member of the MIT Fab Lab Network in Arizona.

On a recent school day, a handful of students were spread throughout the lab, talking with instructors or using the state-of-the-art equipment available to them.

According to the school’s website, the lab is not simply a facility for prototyping and 3D printing; it is a forum for students. It is part of a much larger community that collaborates beyond international borders, sharing knowledge, designs and experiences.

Out of the concept of the Fab Lab came the idea for an Entrepreneurial Institute. Dan Young, a social sciences teacher at the school, said the entrepreneurial program started taking shape in November 2020.

The Institute is described as an educational center for entrepreneurial MBA-level theory, application, funding and creation. It adds mentorship of alumni and community entrepreneurs to the MIT Network Fab Lab’s emphasis on imagining and conceptualizing and its resources for designing and building.

Young worked with Yee Su, an entrepreneurial mentor and 2012 TGS graduate, and TGS science teacher Dennis Conner to develop the program.

“We wanted to create a program that offered the startup experience students

typically experience in a collegiate program while utilizing the design and prototyping opportunities available through our own fabrication resources,” Young said. “They get a chance to learn how to start a business.”.

It’s not unlike the Maguire New Venture Development program at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

The program includes inviting leading entrepreneurs who regularly speak to classes.

A program of this magnitude requires special funding. That’s when alumni parents Gurpreet and Reema Jaggi stepped in with a generous gift, seeding the program for the first two years.

The Entrepreneurial Institute is integrated into the school community and interacts with students and faculty, as well as family members. Juniors and seniors can apply to the institute in spring for the following academic year. The class meets three times per week.

Young said that students spend the first semester of the program learning the fundamentals of a “lean” startup, which includes customer discovery, the design-thinking process and the production facilities available in the school’s Fab Lab.

At the end of October, the students get to put their skills to use in the “Toy Challenge.” They work in groups, to imagine, design, manufacture and market a new toy. They get some help and advice from Autumn Ruhe (Class of 2001), who owns Tucson toy store Mildred & Dildred.

“This project gives them a chance to practice all the skills in a small-scale project before the second semester,” said Young, who also teaches economics at the school. “The teams are actually making and building their own thing. To my knowledge, there’s not another

school in Tucson that does this.”

During the second semester, Young said, the students take the skills they’ve learned and build their own startup.

“We give them a great deal of latitude in deciding what they’re going to launch, but we do require they have some physical product as part of their new venture,” he said. “While they do a great deal of the work independently, there are weekly check-ins to make sure they’re progressing and hitting their deadlines.”

Young said that the second semester culminates with a TechCrunch-style pitch competition in May. Each group is given 10 minutes to make their funding pitch and then respond to the judges’ questions. Last year’s judges were Mat Friedman (Class of 2011), a senior operations analyst at FullStory, Maggie Zheng, chief of staff at Doorvest, and Ron Stauffer, founder and chief marketer at Lieder Digital.

“Throughout the year, our students get to hear from individuals involved in all facets of entrepreneurship,” Young said. “We are lucky to have alumni and TGS community members willing to come and talk about their own experiences, lessons learned and recommendations. Meanwhile, our students get to hear that entrepreneurship isn’t just one thing.”

Young said that speakers have included artists, performers, cookie bakers, attorneys and venture capitalists, as well as experts in global branding. He also noted that Startup Tucson has been deeply supportive of the program. The entrepreneur organization helped coordinate additional guest speakers.

“We want our students to know that there are so many ways they can be involved in shaping their own path,” he said.

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2022 Copper Cactus Awards

The Tucson Metro Chamber announced 12 winners of Copper Cactus Awards at its signature annual event at the Tucson Convention Center on Sept. 23.

The awards, presented by Wells Fargo, celebrate the accomplishments and innovations of Southern Arizona’s small businesses and charitable nonprofits. This year marked the 25th consecutive

year of the Copper Cactus Awards and there were more than 400 in attendance. There were 270 nominations, and winners received a solid copper trophy. Finalists received a certificate to commemorate the honor.

the cocktail hour, and the emcee, Missy Paschke-Wood, engaged the audience throughout the evening.

A new award, the Shirley Wilka Perseverance Award, was created to honor her after she retired in 2021 from working for the Tucson Metro Chamber for 50 years. Finalists for this inaugural award must have worked for an organization for at least 10 years. Blue Cross Blue Shield

Many of the attendees embraced the “Roaring 20s” theme by wearing attire to reflect the era. The Max Schmid Jazz Trio entertained the audience during

Tucson Electric Power Social Impact  Up to $500,000 Revenue   Amphi Foundation  $500,000 to $2 Million Revenue  Tu Nidito Children and Family Services

$2 Million to $5 Million Revenue  Community Investment Corporation

Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 187 BizAWARDS
Best Place to Work   3 to 50 Employees  HiMS
51 to 300 Employees  Snell & Wilmer  CopperPoint Small Business Leader of the Year
Amanda Powers − Benevolent Sports Tucson DBA FC Tucson
Cox Business Growth Paradigm Laboratories  DPR Construction Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Drawing Studio
Innovation 3 to 50 Employees   University of Arizona Center for Innovation
51 to 300 Employees  Paragon Space Development Corporation
Tech Parks Arizona Start Up of the Year  Sonoran Stitch Factory  The Shirley Wilka Perseverance Award  Vanessa Bechtol − Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance
1 2 3 5 8 6 9 4 7 11 12 10 1. 4. 8. 10. 5. 9. 11. 12. 6. 7. 3. 2.


Simply Bits

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PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS From left Bradley Feder & Joe Cracchiolo

Simply Bits Evolves

Ting Acquisition Brings

Fiber Optic Networks to Region

One year after selling their internet service company, Simply Bits, Joe Cracchiolo and Bradley Feder are still around, working in their offices on Sabino Canyon Road.

In fact, not much has changed since Tucows, a global internet service provider, purchased Simply Bits through its subsidiary Ting Internet in November 2021. That’s just what Cracchiolo and Feder wanted.

“I had people asking if we were going to stay,” Cracchiolo said. “Of course, the answer was yes. We built a company that supports 60-plus people here. These are people I work with, families with kids. They need to be taken care of.”

Founded in 2004, Simply Bits grew into a leading independent provider of internet, voice and other enhanced broadband solutions in Southern Arizona. Cracchiolo and Feder, who met as University of Arizona freshmen and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in management information systems, say their skills are complementary and neither is shy about telling the other when he thinks he’s wrong.

“It’s not that we always agree with each other,” Feder said. “If two business partners always agree, there’s no need in having a partner.” It’s a formula that has worked for these entrepreneurs. Cracchiolo and Feder also started RightFAX, an electronic fax software, docu-

ment delivery and fax server product company in 1987 and sold it nine years later.

“We sit down every year and evaluate where the company is and what it’s worth,” Cracchiolo said. “We don’t have unreasonable expectations. If anyone comes in and makes an offer that’s fair, it’s something we’ll consider. There comes a stage when a company needs to have partners to take it to the next step.”

Most of Simply Bits’ employees work from home and no one was let go in the transaction. Becoming part of a larger corporate family has proven beneficial to the team.

“The opportunities for our team members to grow and expand really was enhanced,” Cracchiolo said. “They may have topped out at what they could do at Simply Bits. Their horizons have been widened. They were happy that we didn’t just hand the keys over and walk out.”

One of the keys to the sale was Ting’s ability to create fiber optic networks, complementing Simply Bits’ wireless capabilities. Feder said one of the big advantages fiber has over wireless is that the system is symmetrical, meaning that download and upload speeds are the same

Fiber networks require significant infrastructure work. While Simply Bits is accustomed to putting up towers for its wireless customers,

fiber must go underground at significant cost.

“You need a much bigger checkbook when you want to lay fiber,” Feder said. “That’s what makes us so excited. We want to be the ones who bring more fiber connections to Southern Arizona.”

Another goal is to overcome the digital divide that still exists across Southern Arizona. Many families don’t have the means to pay for internet. It’s estimated that more than 10,000 households in Tucson alone have no internet connection at all.

Simply Bits wants to make wider use of the Affordable Connectivity Program, a federal plan that helps underserved households afford the broadband needed for work, school, healthcare and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service.

“We’re very focused on bringing that to our customers,” Feder said.

Giving back to the communities it serves has also been a Simply Bits tradition. In fact, it’s one they say will be enhanced under new ownership. “The tools we can bring to bear to help the community will just get bigger,” Cracchiolo said. “We don’t (donate services) for attention. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

This past November, Simply Bits helped the Girl Scouts of Southern continued on page 190 >>>

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continued from page 189

Arizona in its “Over the Edge” event. The company provided infrastructure and streaming services as participants rappelled 17 stories down the side of 5151 Building on East Broadway Boulevard. The event provides support for the Girl Scouts; each participant raises $1,000. This year’s event brought in $82,000.

“I can’t say enough about (Simply Bits’) willingness to help,” said Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona COO MacGyver Tank. “It seems fun for them to go above and beyond to engage with the community.”

The Girl Scouts connected with Simply Bits through Nextrio, which provides the Scouts managed IT services. Simply Bits has towers at the 5151 building and connectivity is a requirement for the third party that runs “Over the Edge” as crews at the top of the building need to communicate with their colleagues on the ground.

As a bonus, Simply Bits’ ability to provide streaming services gave participants’ friends and loved ones the

chance to watch the action on a live feed in the courtyard. The Girl Scouts also showed the event live on their YouTube channel.

Simply Bits has supported numerous other causes, including providing streaming services for the Fort Lowell

off said Simply Bits started assisting his organization in 2015, when the company helped the center map its Wi-Fi infrastructure. The partnership accelerated over the years as the JCC and its needs grew.

“As we continued to expand, Simply Bits stepped up and helped us think through the most effective and efficient solution to infrastructure expansion,” Rockoff said. “When our new strategic plan included a technology and infrastructure pillar, Simply Bits was once again at the table with several other vendors to address Wi-Fi infrastructure, phone needs and our need for internet redundancy. We are grateful to Simply Bits for their generous support and being an invaluable thought partner.”

Cracchiolo and Feder plan to remain with Simply Bits and are happy that Ting wants to help the region prosper.

Shootout soccer tournament and Salpointe Catholic High School sporting events during COVID-19, along with several projects across the Tucson Jewish Community Center campus.

JCC President and CEO Todd Rock-

“We’re proud to be part of Tucson,” Feder said. “We’ve grown companies here and are proud that Ting is part of Tucson now. A year into it, I couldn’t be more pleased with Ting and the way they run things.”

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“The tools we can bring to bear to help the community will just get bigger.”
– Joe Cracchiolo Co-founder Simply Bits

Book: Everyone Has a Path. Let Yours Find You

Bob Logan has walked some long and meaningful paths in his life, leading him to believe that everyone has a unique path that can impact the lives of others.

His book, “Let Your Path Find You,” is Logan’s story of his own the paths and how those have given him the peace of mind that he wouldn’t change a single thing.

Logan, a Salpointe Catholic High School graduate, holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s from the University of Arizona. He was an assistant football coach at Arizona and later was a fundraiser in the UArizona Athletic Department and an assistant dean at the College of Science.

In the book, Logan shares with readers that he’s had many adventures, some successful and some not so successful. But in the end, he believes he’s where he’s supposed to be and he wouldn’t change anything along the way.

“This book is a fantastic collection of stories, life lessons, quotes and most importantly, takeaways you can do to im-

prove your own personal situation,” said Kerri Strug, a Tucsonan and 1996 Olympic gymnastics gold medal winner. Among some of the book’s lessons:

• Overcome fear of failure

• Don’t be afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone

• Tune out the naysayers in your life and find your own path

• Raise your ambitions and be bolder with your actions

• Listen to your inner voice more

• Live a joyful life in spite of the trials and tribulations we all face.

• Live YOUR life, not the life someone else wants you to live

“Don’t settle for someone else’s version of success,” Logan said. “Let your path find you. Then, follow it wherever it leads.”

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2022 ASID Arizona South Commercial Award Winners



Designers: Eva Murzaite, ASID

Brandy Holden, Allied ASID

Azucena Maldonado, Allied ASID

Jared Hood, Allied ASID

Photographer: Solaris Photography




Designer: Jennifer Kea, Allied ASID

Photographer: Robin Stanclliff


Designer: Eva Murzaite, ASID

Brandy Holden, Allied ASID

Azucena Maldonado, Allied ASID

Jared Hood, Allied ASID

Photographer: Solaris Photographyy


OVER 5000 SF



Designer: Eva Murzaite, ASID

Brandy Holden, Allied ASID

Azucena Maldonado, Allied ASID

Jared Hood, Allied ASID

Photographer: Solaris Photographyy


Designer: Lori Carroll, ASID

Katrina Saucedo, Allied ASID

Photographer: Jon Mancuso

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3 4 5
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Cornerstone Building Foundation Honors 2022 Dream Team

Cornerstone Building Foundation held its annual Awards Gala and Scholarship Presentation on Nov. 15 at Desert Diamond Casino.

Members of the leading construction trade and professional organizations in Southern Arizona are asked to nominate their favorite industry partners for the prestigious yearly awards which celebrate workmanship, skill, responsibility and integrity in the building development industry.

Subcontractor of the Year

Stark Electric

Wesley Stark, Bryan Stark, Robert Stark & Bryce Stark   Professional Service of the Year


Eric Majchrzak

Nominations reflect best business practices in areas such as quality of craftsmanship and consistency of service(s) to clients, contributions to the community, quality of design and documentation, responsiveness to schedule and budget, proficiency in financial management emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, backup of warranties and activity in respective trade or professional association

Supplier of the Year

Ahern Rentals

Christian Holguin, Janie Moulinet & Steve Sartin

Contractor of the Year –Greater then $2 Million Sundt Construction

Ian McDowell Contractor of the Year –Less then $2 Million Pate Contractors

Natalie Arzaga & Tim Pate

Design Consultant of the Year

The nominations are reviewed by a panel representing the participating organizations and past award recipients.

Founded in 1994 by Robert Hershberger, then dean of the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Cornerstone Building Foundation brings all the players of the construction industry together to create an exchange of ideas, provide a forum for educational opportunities and strengthen industry working relationships.

Zona Technical Engineering

Alec Zimmermann & Dave Tyrrell

Architect of the Year  Swaim Associates, Ltd

Ed Marley, Phil Swaim & Mark Bollard

Owner of the Year  Rio Nuevo

Edmund Marquez


Jerry Wyatt Community Service Award

Jim Luckow Pima JTED

Shirley Dahl Service Award

Shirley Dail

Shirley’s Plan Service Awarded posthumouslyAccepted by Chris Fields

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Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 195


Bravo – “Top Chef,” April 2021

Cooking Channel – “Man V. Food,” September 2019

Travel Channel – “Best Places to Pig Out,” February 2019

Food Network – “Chopped,” January 2018

Food Network – “Ginormous Food,” January 2017

Food Network – “You Gotta Eat Here!” October 2016

The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Travel + Leisure

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS Chef Maria Mazon Owner BOCA
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From Tucson to Top Chef

Maria Mazon’s Cuisine Attracts National Interest

When Maria Mazon opened her Fourth Avenue restaurant in 2010, BOCA Tacos y Tequila, she wanted the name to reflect her youth growing up in Sonora, Mexico.

“I’m from a place with a lake and small beach called Las Bocas,” said the acclaimed chef. “I have great memories of being there. Food and music are the two things that make you travel in time. I now have the power to do one of them – create the smell of being young. It was a simple life. That’s what BOCA means to me.”

As a teenager, Mazon moved to Tucson and lived with her aunt and uncle. While trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, she started working at a Mexican restaurant in town. “I discovered I can do this,” she said. Mazon eventually started a catering company, based at the restaurant, and three years later she opened BOCA Tacos y Tequila. She has recently simplified the name to BOCA.

“I didn’t know how to be a business person,” she said. “It was trial and error. I always wanted to make the real thing – tacos with pickled onions, cabbage and salsa – the Sonoran way. I had a rude awakening when I realized others were using yellow cheese and sour cream. But now I realize there are three styles: TexMex, American-Mexican and Mexican cuisine.”

Mazon was young when she started her business, and she admits she had a lot to learn. “Me and the business me didn’t like each other,” she said. But she listened to her gut about being true to herself, building on her creativity and not following what others were doing.

This has greatly paid off. Mazon and her restaurant have been featured in numerous media outlets, including Food Network, Travel Channel and The New York Times.

continued on page 198 >>>

BizCUISINE Winter 2023 > > > BizTucson 197


continued from page 197

She said she doesn’t know how they found her, but she remembers the first one, Food Network Canada. “They emailed me first, then they came and we closed the restaurant and they started filming. It was their version of (TV series) ‘You Gotta Eat Here.’ I didn’t know that a lot of Canadian people live here as snowbirds. All of a sudden I had a wave of Canadians, and they appreciated the food.”

Other media mentions followed, and so did the celebrities. “I remember Roger Clemens, the baseball player, came in,” she recalled. “He said a famous chef recommended my restaurant. I started appearing on the map.”

The business has grown to 40-plus employees and the addition of a tortilleria. “We make tortillas like in Mexico and we buy the best organic corn,” she said. She also became a salsa aficionado and started making salsas with flavors of other countries. “I fell in love with the blender,” she explained. “It’s a tool that’s made me noticeable. The salsa

started giving me a voice.”

2016, the newspaper respond ed with an article boasting of the fresh salsas Mazon pre pared daily using ingredients grown in the back of the res taurant.

tion has now surpassed tele vision shows and newspaper me

James Beard Award finalist and a semi-finalist in 2022 (no awards were presented in 2021 due to COV ID-19). At first, this attention gave her anxie one-hit wonder. But then she changed her attitude. “Validations are amazing; I want to enjoy them. If I continue, that’s great. But I don’t want to lose myself chasing after it.”

As for the future, Mazon wants to continue showcasing the beauty of Mexico and let Tucsonans know they don’t have to travel to find authentic

Mexican food. She does not feel competitive with other regional Mexican restaurants, and she said she’s very loyal to Tucson. “I breathe local stuff. When I was on ‘Top Chef,’ I was glad to mention Tucson. I’m proud of my heritage and what I do.”

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BizTucson Writer Offers

“Lessons from Lute”

Longtime University of Arizona men’s basketball writer Steve Rivera has released his latest book, “Lessons from Lute: Reflections on Legendary Basketball Coach Lute Olson.”

Rivera, a frequent BizTucson contributing writer, offers a celebratory collection of stories and memories about one of the sport’s greatest coaches. Interviews with former players, coaches, administrators and opposing coaches offer a glimpse of Olson’s warmth and wisdom as well as the unforgettable quarter-century that he expertly guided the Wildcats on and off the court.

“I wanted to write it through the eyes of those who loved him, respected him and spent time with him to see what he meant to them and the impact he had on them,” Rivera said. “Hopefully, I pulled that off… so far people love their stories and anecdotes.”

The book, published by Triumph Books, includes an emotional foreword from former Wildcat star Luke Walton and includes stories from Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, Richard Jefferson, Damon Stoudamire, Miles Simon and many others.

Rivera has covered Arizona men’s basketball for more than 25 years, most recently for and For two decades, he covered the team for the Tucson Citizen and has reported on 17 Final Fours, three NBA Finals and two Olympic Games. He co-hosts Eye on the Ball radio show with Jay Gonzales on Fox Sports 1450.

Rivera is also the co-author of “100 Things Arizona Fans Should Know BeforeThey Die” with Anthony Gimino.

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2022 IMPACT Awards

Southern Arizona’s Public Relations Society of America Salutes its Best

The Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America announced the winners of the 2022 IMPACT Awards for Excellence in Public Relations.

Top honors went to Jan Howard, a partner at NüPOINT Marketing, who was given the Career Impact Award, and the Arizona Daily Star’s Caitlin Schmidt, who was named 2022 Media Person of the Year. Craig Reck from the

IMPACT Awards for Excellence in Public Relations (Highest Scoring Category)

Tucson Water (2022 Best in Show Recipient)

• Newsletters: “Water Matters: A Monthly Newsletter from Tucson Water”

The Caliber Group & University of Arizona Center for Innovation

• Creative Collateral or Media Placement, Single Deliverable: “Video: An Entrepreneur’s Journey”

Gordley Group

• General Marketing: “MHC Healthcare Advertising Campaign”

• Digital Communications: “Halloween Social Media Campaign”

NüPOINT Marketing

• Government/Public Affairs Communications: “Flagstaff General Obligation Bond Initiative”

• Creative Collateral or Media Placement, Single Deliverable: “Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona Logo & Brand Development”

• Branding: “Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona Rebranding”

Tucson Airport Authority was honored as the 2022 Rookie of the Year and the winner of the 2022 PR Professional of the Year was Libby Howell, APR, from Pima Community College. The event was held at the Tucson Museum of Art.

The communications team for Tucson Water received this year’s Best in Show Award for its Water Matters newsletter, which educates and engages customers about evolving water issues.


Tech Parks Arizona & University of Arizona, Research Innovation and Impact

• Creative Collateral or Media Placement, Single Deliverable: “Tech Parks Arizona FDI Brochure”

Pima Association of Governments

• Newsletters: “Regional Connections Newsletter”

• Internal Communications: “PAG Props”

University of Arizona

• Media Placement: “Native American Student Tuition”

• Media Placement: “Black Hole Image Reveal”

Sundt Construction

• General Marketing: “Craft Recruiting Campaign”

Tucson Airport Authority

• General Marketing: “Nonstop for Tucson”

• Branding: “Nonstop for Tucson”

University of Arizona Health Sciences

• General Marketing: “Cannabis Awareness Month”

• Digital Communications: “Women in Health Sciences”

The IMPACT Awards honor PR, marketing, and communications professionals for the work they do each year across the region. This year’s submissions were judged and scored by the New Mexico chapter of PRSA. Honorees represent the highest standards in programs and projects that successfully incorporate research, planning, execution and evaluation.

2020 IMPACT Certificates of Excellence Winners

NüPOINT Marketing

• Annual Report: “FY 21 Annual Report”

Tucson Electric Power

• General Marketing: “A New Peak to Beat”

University of Arizona, Research & Innovation

• Internal Communications: “Women of Impact Awards & Celebration”

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

• Creative Collateral: “End of Life Care Partnership Training Video: Tim’s Story”

University of Arizona Center for Innovation & Biosphere 2

• Special Events & Observances: “UACI at Biosphere 2 Grant Opening”

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For more information, visit our website at THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE SPECIAL REPORTS: Southern Arizona Leadership Council Radiology Ltd. The Gregory School & WINTER 2023 $9 6 BILLION ARIZONA ECONOMIC IMPACT WATCH OUR IN-DEPTH COVERAGE IN JANUARY Tune in to KVOA - News 4 Tucson in January as our news team gives you in-depth coverage “City of The Arts”. Our city is truly one that celebrates the visual and performing arts. Tucson also boasts some of the most beautiful and historic venues that provide the very
places to
music, theater, ballet and more.
BizTucson magazine
We are honored to collaborate with
to bring you these stories.

Margaret Larsen Commercial Real Estate Professional, Philanthropist, Guardian Angel

If there is one story to illustrate the heart and drive of Margaret Larsen, it begins with a frog.

The commercial real estate professional, award-winning leader and devoted philanthropist kept a decorative one as a reminder. “Imagine you have to eat a frog every morning,” she told her friends. “Do you eat it in the middle of the day? No, you eat it first thing in the morning. Whatever the challenge is, you get up, you do the hardest thing you need to do and you do it first and you do it well.”

This is what brings success in business and in life, she said.

Larsen, a beloved wife and mother whose fierce intellect and incredible style were matched only by her kindness and sassy Texan wit, died Oct. 28 after a battle with cancer.

“Margaret captured all the light in the room and shared it with everyone she met,” said friend and photographer Britta Van Vranken.

Born in San Angelo, Tex., Larsen pursued excellence throughout her life. She earned her MBA before age 21, was Rookie of the Year at Grubb & Ellis, was board chair at The Gregory School, was named a Tu Nidito “Remarkable Mom” and was a designated Guardian Angel for Angel Charity for Children. Larsen became a Distinguished Toastmaster in less than two years with the public speaking program – most participants take six years to achieve that, if at all.

She volunteered for Greater Tucson Leadership, which gave her its Alumni Excellence Award in 2021. She also gave her time to Fox Theatre Tucson, National Charity League and Tucson CREW. Larsen was a member of Silver & Turquoise Board of Hostesses and the Junior League of Tucson.

Soonalyn Jacob, one of her best friends, recalled meeting Larsen as a freshman at Colorado Women’s College. “For some reason, she got there

early and knew the lay of the land before everyone else,” Jacob said. “She became the unofficial spokesperson for our class and representative of the college. She was the go-to person for everything, especially for fun.”

“She gave off this carefree aura, but studied hard and had a brilliant mind,” she said. “We had the same major, economics, and in her wonderful Texas twang accent, while the rest of us were

didn’t let him forget,” he jokingly wrote. Olivia, whom they called “Sweet Angel,” earned her own MBA and now works for GiveWell in San Francisco.

Larsen’s most passionate cause was Angel Charity for Children, where she helped raise millions of dollars for disadvantaged children and was one of three “Guardian Angels” entrusted to guide the organization. After her cancer diagnosis, she used her time left to establish the Angel Charity Foundation to support the group through planned giving. Larsen was always a top seller of “Chance” tickets for the annual Angel Charity Ball. Fittingly, the ticket website recently crashed after so many bought tickets in her honor.

Fellow angel and longtime friend Elizabeth Naughton said she will miss Larsen’s zest for life.

“She made the world a better place with her amazing dedication to philanthropy to so many causes, but especially Angel Charity,” she said.

problem, she announced out loud and to our very patrician professor...that there was an error in the textbook. The professor refused to believe it until Margaret proved it.”

Larsen started her professional life in Denver, before working for IBM in El Paso, Tex. But Tucson, a city she’d fallen in love with during a Spring Break trip, would provide her next, most important chapter: meeting husband George Larsen, founder of Larsen Baker, and raising daughter Olivia.

In a heartwarming tribute to his wife, George wrote that he interviewed her for a job in commercial real estate in 1987, but turned her down. She would then become Grubb & Ellis’ Rookie of the Year in 1988. “She ultimately forgave George and married him...but she

Larsen was also dedicated to The Gregory School, where Olivia attended. She not only led the search committee for a new leader in 2013, she served as board chair, trustee and honorary trustee. Last spring, she chaired the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.

“I remember my first year...I had to have awful ear surgery and I was still a bit wobbly, but I had scheduled a board retreat,” said Julie Sherrill, head of The Gregory School. “She reached out to me and said, ‘I will be there. I want you to have a cheerleader in your corner.’ That was the kind of person she was.”

“What we who love her will miss most is her exuberance, her friendship, her beauty, her brains, her resilience and her love of life,” George wrote. “She was kind and thoughtful and smart and sassy, all at the same time. She’d beat you in five straight games of Scrabble and then send you a thank you card for a wonderful evening.”

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