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SPECIAL REPORT 2016

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THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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I want the people of Oro Valley, regardless of age, to feel like Oro Valley was specifically designed for them. –

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Dr. Satish Hiremath Mayor, Oro Valley

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BizCOMMUNITY

A Vibrant, Total Community

Oro Valley Sheds Retirement Image with Something for Everyone

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

By David Pittman

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Oro Valley rightfully boasts of its beautiful desert and mountain views, excellent public and private schools, pothole-free roads, well-landscaped subdivisions filled with high-end residential properties − and a reputation as one of the safest communities in America. Yet the town’s mayor, Dr. Satish Hiremath, believes the town can do better – much better. He envisions an idyllic community where people can reach their potential, fulfill dreams and develop fond, lifelong memories. “Most municipalities want to provide services to everyone. That’s our baseline. We try to exceed that,” Hiremath said. “It’s not just about service. It’s also about how does our town affect residents positively? I want the people of Oro Valley, regardless of age, to feel a sense of involvement. I want them to feel like Oro Valley was specifically designed for them.” Hiremath, 53, acknowledges his vision, which he plans to speak about in depth during his upcoming State of the Town Address – his seventh − is more philosophical than his past State of the Town topics. He said the subject is reflective of his own childhood memories of growing up in Kalamazoo, Mich., as one of four children of immigrant parents from South India. “When I was a kid, we never locked our doors at night,” Hiremath said. “If neighbors got sick, other parents would cook meals for them and kids would mow grass, rake leaves and shovel snow

for them because we knew if the situation were reversed they’d do the same for our families. “We knew all our neighbors down both sides of our street,” he continued. “Nowadays people are hard pressed to know even their immediate neighbors.” A dentist trained at the University of Michigan and Howard University in Washington, D.C., Hiremath’s vision of exemplary service is also derived from his private-sector business experience. “When people visit my dental practice, they expect to receive dentistry. But what are you going to do beyond that to change their attitude about coming into your office?” he said. “My mandate is to make people leave a better person after having met us. You do that by treating them exceptionally well, by being sickeningly polite, by smiling, by treating them with respect and by providing exceptional services.” ‘The demographic has completely changed’

At the time Oro Valley was incorporated in 1974, community leaders were content being a suburb of Tucson and dreamed of becoming the largest retirement municipality in the nation. When Hiremath arrived in Oro Valley in 1990, there were about 5,000 residents. Today, the population exceeds 43,000. He said residents want to live where they can work, educate their children, shop, dine, receive healthcare and, yes, retire, without leaving the town limcontinued on page 176 >>> Fall 2016

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BizCOMMUNITY continued from page 175 its. Where the population of Oro Valley was once 85 percent retired, now only 25 percent are retired. “The demographic has completely changed,” he said. “It’s been a huge shift.” Hiremath was narrowly elected to his first term in 2010 and won re-election in 2014 by about a 20-percent margin. Throughout his tenure, he’s led efforts to provide needed infrastructure and amenities. He also significantly changed the town’s bureaucracy and regulatory structure from one that was considered obstructive, to one that welcomes business and development, while maintaining high construction standards. ‘Business-friendly mentality’

Amber Smith, executive director of Metropolitan Pima Alliance, praised Hiremath for guiding Oro Valley toward more cooperative attitudes and policies concerning business and development. “Under Mayor Hiremath’s leadership, there’s been an evolution toward a more inclusive, business-friendly mentality − balancing the needs of both new and future residents, as well as businesses,” she said. “Today, Oro Valley is a more diverse and vibrant community as a result of increasing development flexibility that also maintains the town’s sense of community. This change in attitude is attributable to Mayor Hiremath.” During Hiremath’s tenure Oro Valley has added to its arts and cultural offerings – by annexing Tohono Chul Park, developing a partnership with the Children’s Museum Tucson to open a satellite museum in Oro Valley and establishing a continuing relationship with the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance. Oro Valley’s economic development strategies have landed

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and kept world-class companies like Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, Securaplane and pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which was recently acquired by Icagen. The town is strongly committed to the increased development of Innovation Park as a hub for bioscience and high-tech employers. To improve sports tourism, parks and recreation, the town has: • Invested $5 million in upgrading the Oro Valley Aquatic Center. • Made many improvements to Naranja Park, such as adding a six-target archery range, two walking courses, and multipurpose fields, with two additional fields planned for 2017 to support youth programs, such as football, baseball, soccer and lacrosse • And in 2015, Oro Valley purchased the former El Conquistador Country Club for $1 million, interest free, over three years to convert it into a community center. Hiremath said acquisition of the country club facilities was a great bargain and has been his single greatest accomplishment as mayor. “Oro Valley received 31 tennis courts, 45 holes of golf, a 50,000-square-foot building for a community center, a restaurant, a garden café, two pools and all that acreage for $1 million,” he said. “Just to give you a frame of reference on the cost, a single tennis court on average costs $250,000 to build.” With all he’s achieved and experienced as mayor, Hiremath firmly believes the Town of Oro Valley is a vibrant and diverse community, with services and amenities to meet the needs of all residents in any stage of life.

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PHOTOS: COURTESY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

BizMUSEUMS

Kids’ Play

Children’s Museum Gives Parents Oro Valley Alternative By Romi Carrell Wittman At first glance, opening a children’s museum in Oro Valley might seem out of place in a community that began as a retirement haven. But the changing demographics of the town led the Children’s Museum Tucson to open its first satellite branch in Oro Valley last year, and it has left no doubt that it belongs. “The reception we’ve received is great,” said Michael Luria, executive director of the Children’s Museum Tucson. “We had over 33,000 visitors our first year, which exceeded expectations.” The Children’s Museum opened its branch in May 2015 in a shopping center in the heart of Oro Valley. The 3,200-square-foot location is geared toward children ages 5 and under, and offers a variety of hands-on exhibits and activities focused on early learning and school readiness. The idea for establishing the satellite location came from the Town of Oro Valley itself. Mayor Satish Hiremath, along with council members, approached the Children’s Museum with the idea of adding a branch in Oro Valley. With some initial concern that the new location would cut into the visitor base of the main location downtown, 178 BizTucson

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Luria and his team did research to find out what other children’s museums were doing. They found that while other museums had satellite locations, none were located close – usually no less than 50 miles – to the main museum. They also asked members about the frequency of their visits and found that residents of Vail, Sahuarita and Oro Valley uniformly said they’d visit more often if the museum were closer. “Although we had our concerns about losing visitors,” Luria said, “the results of the survey and knowing Tucsonans’ aversion to crossing town, we were confident and excited about moving forward with the Town of Oro Valley.” With a one-time financial commitment of $200,000 for exhibit costs plus an annual contribution of $75,000 from the Town of Oro Valley, and a one-time contribution of $11,510 from Pima County, Children’s Museum Tucson set to work on the Oro Valley location. With the exception of one exhibit, the exhibits in Oro Valley are unique from the downtown site. What the Children’s Museum Oro Valley does share with downtown is the early childhood education programming. In keeping with its toddler target market, everything is small with an area for crawlers and

a “Lullaby Lounge.” There’s a reading tree, the “Peek-a-Boo Palace” and, at the center, is “Toddler Town,” a hill covered with artificial grass bisected by a roadway. Toddler-sized buildings and other tactile experiences make it a haven for little ones. Hiremath said the addition of the museum provides a much-needed family activity to the area. “As Oro Valley’s demographic has become more balanced, we’ve sought opportunities to provide more services and programs for children and families,” he said. “The successful Children’s Museum Oro Valley represents the diligence of Town Council and community partners who are working to bring not only arts and culture opportunities for all ages to Oro Valley, but early childhood education as well.” Luria said the satellite location simply would not have been possible without the vision and commitment of the town. “The Town of Oro Valley is aligned in its goal of making Oro Valley familycentric,” he said. “They’ve been strategically and methodically working on improving and increasing resources that add value for residents. This exemplifies their commitment to the residents of their town.”

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BizMUSIC

Double the Music

Oro Valley Music Festival Expands to Two Days, Two Sounds Coachella. Glastonbury. Bumbershoot. Oro Valley? While Oro Valley doesn’t top the list of established national and international music festivals, that doesn’t mean that can’t change. In its second year, the Oro Valley Music Festival, to be held Oct. 1-2 at The Golf Club at Vistoso, already has grown to two days with two different musical formats. An estimated 15,000 people are expected to attend. “The first day will be country,” said Rich Elias, GM at The Golf Club at Vistoso. “The second day is adult contemporary with Daughtry headlining. Two different genres – that’s not something festivals usually do.” The concept of hosting a music festival in Oro Valley was born out of a desire to better connect the community. In 2014, The Golf Club at Vistoso was in trouble financially and OB Sports Golf Management was brought in to revitalize and rebuild the club. That’s when Elias came on as general manager. “Originally I was thinking of having a barbeque with local bands playing music,” he said. “I wanted to do something for the community, and something that would also benefit local charities.” 180 BizTucson

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Elias wanted to raise funds for Shine On Tucson, a local nonprofit that provides comfort to families of children in treatment at Diamond Children’s Medical Center. “Shine On has a music therapy program where musicians come in and play for the kids. But the instruments have to be kept at the hospital so they can be sanitized,” Elias said. His hope was to raise funds to purchase musical instruments that could stay at the hospital. Elias took his idea to the local radio group formerly known as Clear Channel, now a part of iHeartMedia. That’s when the barbeque concept morphed into a full-fledged music festival with nationally recognized artists Matt Nathanson, the American Authors and Rachel Platten, among others. This year’s lineup starts with country artists Billy Currington, David Nail, Chris Janson, Dan + Shay, Cassadee Pope and Brett Young. Day two is headlined by Daughtry, Colbie Caillat, Simple Plan and Ben Rector. About 5,500 people attended last year’s event and it was considered a huge success despite a few concessions snags that are being addressed this year. Elias decided on-the-spot to make

the event an annual one that remains family-friendly. “We’re telling people to bring their blankets and lawn chairs and to arrive early to stake out their spot,” he said. To address last year’s long lines and wait times for food and concessions, this year’s event will feature a dedicated concessions area along with double the number of bars for beverages. In addition, the VIP area has been expanded with more seats and a more upscale vibe. The festival will benefit local charities again, including Shine On Tucson, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, and The First Tee of Tucson, a youth development program that teaches leadership and life skills through the game of golf. For those planning to attend, parking will be available at the Oro Valley Marketplace, located at Tangerine and Oracle roads. Guests will be shuttled from the shopping center to the festival in coach buses. Tickets start at $49 and can be purchased at all Bookmans locations or online at orovalleymusicfestival. com.

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PHOTOS: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Romi Carrell Wittman


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BizDINING

Harvest

Saffron Indian Bistro

The Overlook

Home-Grown Dining

Oro Valley Restaurants Making Their Own Mark By Mary Minor Davis When it comes to dining opportunities, Oro Valley has several specialty restaurants that originated in the community. While there’s no shortage of traditional fare and national chain favorites, several restaurants unique to the community have built up a fan following, even creating demand for regional expansion. Harvest Restaurant

Reza Shapouri, co-owner with his spouse, Lisa Shapouri, of Harvest Restaurant, said he took over the restaurant in 2011 because of the “tremendous growth potential” he saw in the community. With a small menu that focuses on farm-to-table food, he said they emphasize “quality over quantity.” “Our dinner menu has only 10 items on it, mainly because we want to do everything we do well. Everything is made inhouse and we give ourselves a pretty good chance of executing our menu, starting with very high-quality raw items.” In the early days, Shapouri said, they marketed primarily to Oro Valley residents based on the rule of thumb that 90 percent of restaurant business comes from within three to four miles. “We have a very strong base of customers from Oro Valley with amazing frequency,” he said. “After years in this business, I have never seen a place with so many regulars that visit so frequently.” Last August, Harvest opened a second location at River Road and Craycroft, and Shapouri said they are seeing a similar response from customers there. “The 182 BizTucson

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clientele for both locations is very similar. We are approachable to everyone who just comes in for a meal and nice enough for special occasions.” Saffron Indian Bistro

Saurabh “Mintu” Sareen said he did research for three years before deciding that “Oro Valley was the next hot spot for an ethnic restaurant. It truly felt like the Scottsdale” of the region. That was eight years ago and Sareen said the market is still growing. Sareen owns Saffron with business partner Sara Shicoff. The restaurant offers a contemporary look with a modern design, but at the same time offers a comfortable dining experience that Sareen said appeals to a diverse clientele. “We serve traditional Indian food with spice levels that cater to individual palates,” he said. They have a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian menu items, but the chicken tikka masala is “the best-selling entrée on our menu,” he said. Generally relying on word of mouth from their loyal customer base, Sareen said the restaurant’s “commitment to great food and customer service” has helped them to make a name for themselves in the market. “We are constantly striving for perfection in our food and service, and providing the experience of authentic food in a modern and contemporary setting.” The Overlook Restaurant

In April 2015, the Town of Oro Valley got into the restaurant business when it continued on page 184 >>>

Tohono Chul Garden Bistro

CONTACT INFORMATION Harvest 10355 N. La Cañada Drive (520) 731-1100 www.harvestov.com Open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday til 10 p.m. Saffron Indian Bistro 7607 N. Oracle Road, #101 (520) 742-9100 www.tucsonindianrestaurant.com Open Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Overlook at the Oro Valley Community Center 10555 N. La Cañada Drive (520) 229-5355 www.elconquistadorcc.com Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 3 – 5 p.m. Dinner Thursday & Friday 5 – 8 p.m. Tohono Chul Garden Bistro 7366 N. Paseo del Norte Tucson, AZ 85704 (520) 742-6455 www.tohonochulpark.org/dining Open daily 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For a complete list of Oro Valley restaurants, visit www.orovalleyaz.gov/business

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BizDINING continued from page 182 purchased the El Conquistador Country Club from HSL Properties for $1 million, and converted it into the Oro Valley Community Center. After extensive renovations to the restaurant, including replacing old carpeting with hardwood floors and updating to better serve people with disabilities, The Overlook − formerly known as La Vista − opened to the public in October 2015. GM Tom Meade said the restaurant offers a unique dining experience for several reasons. “We have the best views in town,” he said proudly. “Our night views of the lights to the west are unsurpassed, and during the day we have spectacular mountain views.” With Chef Tory Fitch in place − recently brought on from the Gallery Golf Club − Meade said diners can anticipate some exciting new menu changes in the coming months. The Oro Valley Community Center’s total membership represents about 1,000 households. Through social media, local advertising and members themselves, Meade said they advertise annual events such as the July 4th cele-

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bration, special dining events and happy hour specials that attract people from throughout the community. This fall, the restaurant will host its first major festival, the Southwest Craft Beer & Sports Festival, a kind of Oktoberfest. “We’re a great choice for guests of all ages, with a unique and affordable menu that appeals to any taste.” Tohono Chul Garden Bistro

Rose and Patrick Fahey − along with Jason and Kendell Hartenbach − operate the Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, as well as Flight Grill at the Pima Air and Space Museum, the Mobile Bistro Gourmet Food Truck and Edge Catering. Rose Fahey said that while they have the opportunity to provide dining at two of the region’s most iconic and unique destinations, Tohono Chul allows them to build a clientele in the community. “The Garden Bistro can be enjoyed whether you have time to tour the Tohono Chul Park or as a stand-alone destination, so the customer base is much different. We have the opportunity to build relationships with our guests and they can come back often.” Fahey said guests have responded well to their menu, which features breakfast

and lunch that changes seasonally, although she said guest favorites don’t go away. “Sometimes there is an item on the features menu that we simply can’t take off because our guests love it so much,” she said. “We collect over 400 comments cards monthly and take our visitors’ feedback very seriously.” One of the features of the location is that guests enjoy ingredients from the ethnobotanical garden on the park grounds. Fruits, vegetables and beans are brought in to the kitchen to prepare many of the dishes. The garden that surrounds the patio and the historic home also provide a nice ambience for guests. Fahey and her management team have operated the Tohono Chul Garden Bistro since 2012. “It’s an honor that Tohono Chul entrusted us to run such a special restaurant. It was a little daunting at first to come into a location that was so beloved to locals and visitors alike. We take the responsibility of running this gem of a restaurant very seriously. We love being a part of the restaurant and catering community in Oro Valley and Tucson.”

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BizTOURISM

The New El Conquistador

Multimillion-Dollar Remodel Adds Southwest Accents By Mary Minor Davis For the first time in its 34-year history, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort is getting more than an update. Indeed, the iconic resort, located at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains, is revealing new and exciting changes in nearly every corner − from guest accommodations to the total guest experience. When HSL Properties, a Tucsonbased apartment and hotel developer, purchased the resort in 2014, Omar Mireles, then-executive VP, announced the company would embark on a $16 million renovation over the next 12 to 18 months. Much of that work is starting to show, and the first newly remodeled rooms recently “went live” to the public. Combined with increased marketing efforts by Visit Tucson and the new nonstop air service to New York’s JFK airport, there is a sense of optimism for the recovery to pre-recession revenue per room, said GM Ghee Alexander. “We are already seeing the impact of this in our future booking pace which is up 28 percent to last year,” he said. 186 BizTucson

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The renovations have been meticulously overseen by Alexander, who took over the property nearly two years ago. One of the first things he said he noticed when he arrived was that the major guest areas seemed to “operate independently of one another. It was really difficult to get a sense of continuity or theme throughout the property.” Originally built as a Sheraton resort in 1982, the property was Tucson’s first major resort with more than 250 rooms on the original 121-acre site. It became a Hilton property in 2004. The overall goal for the remodel, Alexander said, is to create a greater sense of elegance and to make the property stand out from its competition in Southern Arizona. “We wanted to bring more of the Southwest experience into the property,” he said. Gone are the darker red, blue and gold that made up much of the property’s color scheme, replaced by an attractive blue and tan palette that offers a noticeably brighter guest experience. The first 135 remodeled guest rooms

were opened late this summer. The rooms are completely remodeled “from top to bottom,” Alexander said. There are new furnishings, light fixtures, plumbing and air conditioning. All 428 rooms will be completed by the end of the year, including the 139 casitas. Alexander said they are not only remodeling the casitas, but creating an entirely new guest experience by offering butler services to casita guests. “The casitas call for something special,” he said. “We want this to be unlike anything else in the market.” In addition to the butler service, preshopping in advance of guest arrival to stock up the casita will create an exclusive VIP experience. “Experience” is the key for Alexander at every touch point on the property. New outdoor seating areas invite guests to take in the magnificent sunsets against the Pusch Ridge backdrop, while they enjoy Native American flute music performed by Larry Redhouse Tuesdays through Saturdays The pool and poolside areas were continued on page 188 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizTOURISM

continued from page 186 resurfaced and furnishings were updated. The pool bar/café had a complete makeover. The grassy areas around the pool area were leveled for outdoor catering and events. A new patio area extension offers space for additional seating and dining options, outdoor functions and entertainment opportunities. Two new gardens offer guests a truly unique Southwest experience, Alexander said. The Epazote salsa and herb garden, which provides freshly grown native vegetables for the kitchen, will educate guests on the key ingredients of salsa. The hotel also will host salsa-making classes and competitions. Experts from Tohono Chul Park were called in to help with the new Hummingbird Garden. Guests will have an opportu-

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nity to learn about the different varieties of hummingbirds and will be able to take home information on how to plant their own hummingbird garden. “I come from a family of educators, so I’m really committed to providing an educational experience for our guests,” Alexander said. “When our guests stay with us, we know they want to experience the Southwest, and we want them to have that memorable experience that will have them recommending us to others, and returning on their own.” Inside, new and expanded guest services throughout the lobby are everywhere. The menu in the Epazote Kitchen and Cocktails has been completely redone with an emphasis on the ingredients found in the salsa garden. The lobby lounge has been renovated and

renamed Colibri, which is Spanish for hummingbird. “The logo was designed by Mark Griebel, a team member and local Tucson artist,” Alexander said with pride. “Our team members have gotten involved with our changes as well.” Other changes that will be completed by year’s end include a new tech lounge, a “Grab-n-Go” light meals concession and the lobby remodeling. Horseback riding also will return to the resort by the end of the year. With “the best layout meeting space of all of the resorts in the market, our repositioning now gives meeting planners a compelling reason to book with us,” he said. “We are looking at increasing revenues by as much as 15 to 20 percent over the next year or two.” Biz

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BizMONEY

Pima Federal Moves In

First Oro Valley Financial Center Opens By David Pittman said Eric H. Renaud, president and CEO of Pima Federal. “However, one constant remains − our commitment to helping our members and their families. It’s our vision to be the credit union committed to helping others, one that inspires and enriches the lives of our members, our neighbors and the communities we serve.” The Pima Federal board of directors and executive team are certain the move into Oro Valley will bring expanded membership to the credit union, as well as be a popular location for many current members. In researching a possible move into the town two years ago, they discovered more than 6,000 Oro Val-

ley residents already were Pima Federal Credit Union members. The Steam Pump Village Financial Center is being designed and built by DBSI Architects and Builders, a Phoenix firm that is well-known for working with credit unions. Many of the subcontractors involved in the construction of the 4,000-square-foot center are Tucson-area companies. The new “financial center” – which is what Pima Federal calls its branches – will introduce new, high-tech banking services, innovative customer-service systems and a modern, open interior design where offices have glass doors and walls and the entire interior of the

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Pima Federal Credit Union’s roots date back to 1951, when 16 Tucson school teachers pooled together $84 to found a credit union. Sixty-five years later, Pima Federal has assets of $477 million and serves nearly 55,000 members, and will chart new territory with the grand opening of its Steam Pump Village Financial Center at 11025 N. Oracle Road. The financial center, scheduled to open Sept. 21, will be Pima Federal’s first in Oro Valley, and its sixth in the Tucson metro area. “Through the years we have grown and become more sophisticated in the way we deliver service to our members,”

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building is, quite literally, transparent. Bruce Baca, senior VP and chief retail officer at Pima Federal, said customers of the new facility will have interactive digital technology to work with, while at the same time continue to receive the “personal Wow service” that is a trademark of the financial institution. “We are calling it a high-tech, hightouch environment,” he said. The new facility will allow credit union members to drive their own experience. Traditional bank tellers will not be utilized at the Steam Pump Village location. Instead, employees at the financial center will be called “retail experience specialists.” Conventional teller lines won’t exist in the financial center. Instead, when members walk into the center, they will begin their banking experience at an interactive digital board where they can choose from about 20 applications to identify what products and services they need. More than a bank teller, the retail experience specialist is a universally trained employee who can assist customers with all of their banking needs.

“A retail experience specialist will be assigned to assist a member from start to finish,” Baca said. “So consumers will not be handed off from employee to employee. If someone comes in inquiring about opening a new account, they will continue talking to the same individual throughout the entire experience, rather than being told to take a seat and wait for a specialist to work with them. “The consumer understands more than ever that technology is here to stay, and Pima Federal Credit Union will continue to be just as progressive and innovative in rolling out new technologies as the big national banking institutions. But when we roll out technology, we always want to have a liaison − a human − providing personal service and acting as an intermediary to teach our members how to use the technology.” Pima Federal’s other financial centers are scattered throughout the Tucson area, there’s one location in Springerville, and its Home Loans office is located at 6840 N. Oracle Road in the Pima Federal Financial Plaza. As the credit union establishes itself

in Oro Valley, it also is providing technological improvements to its mobile banking app. “The new app will provide enhanced viewing allowing members to access their credit card information,” Renaud said. “The goal is to offer members one place to collect all of their financial account information and, at the same time, increase the security of supported devices. This will be accomplished by the use of biometrics (physical human characteristics).” Pima Federal Credit Union also offers free consumer checking and access to 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide and in Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and the United Kingdom through its partnership with the Allpoint ATM network. “It is our mission to, first, help our members achieve their financial hopes and dreams; second, improve the economic condition of our communities; and third, ensure the safety and soundness of member-owned assets,” Renaud said.

Biz

Pictured on the left from left – Cindy Campano, Senior VP/Chief Lending Officer; Danny Smith, VP of Consumer Lending; Bruce Baca, Senior VP/Chief Retail Officer; Eric Renaud, President/CEO; Georgina Beatte, Executive Assistant; Robert Dutcher, VP of Information Technology; Angi Griffin, VP of Human Resources; Tricia Norman, VP of Retail Support and Development. Not pictured is VP of Risk Management Laura Ward Pictured above – Illustration of the new Pima Federal Credit Union.

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BizSCIENCE

Roche Changing Cancer Diagnostics Oro Valley’s Top Employer, A Worldwide Leader By Romi Carrell Wittman When the diagnosis is cancer, treatment options typically involve a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. However, a dedicated team of scientists, researchers, physicians, engineers and manufacturing associates located in Oro Valley is blazing new trails toward a future where each patient’s treatment can be personalized to tackle their specific cancer. Roche Tissue Diagnostics (RTD), known locally as Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., manufactures more than 250 cancer tests with related instruments used around the world in the detection of cancer and other diseases. Ventana Medical Systems was acquired in 2008 by Roche, a global diagnostics and pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland with more than 91,000 employees worldwide. The company has called Oro Valley home since 2001, when what was then a privately owned company consolidated its three facilities into a single operation containing research and development labs, a manufacturing facility and marketing and administrative office space. Today, the RTD campus covers 70 acres in Oro Valley’s Innovation Park. With more than 1,400 employees, RTD is the largest employer in Oro Valley and one of the top 50 employers in Southern Arizona. AZ Business Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ have recognized the company as one of the state’s Most Admired Companies three times, most recently in June 2016. With Roche, RTD’s drive to further innovation and advance the company’s mission of improving the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer has been accelerated. RTD is regarded as a diagnostics pioneer, evidenced by the 736 patents issued worldwide, and another 562 pending. 192 BizTucson

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Ventana Medical Systems was founded in 1987 by Dr. Thomas Grogan, a pathologist at the University of Arizona, with a mission to improve cancer diagnostics through automation and treatment options for individual patients. In a few short years, the company became a global leader and innovator in tissue diagnostics, capturing the attention of Roche. The move to Roche has enabled the company to leverage Roche’s deep clinical knowledge and expand its footprint. RTD President Ann Costello said that being a part of the Roche family has led to greater technology and clinical advances. “We have been able to draw on the Roche network to better support our diagnostic product development and global reach to support the more than 14 million people afflicted with cancer yearly,” she said. In 2015, Roche invested 9.3 billion Swiss francs – about $9.5 billion – in research and development, more than any other company in the healthcare sector. The company recently combined its tissue, sequencing and molecular diagnostics organizations to create integrated molecular solutions to advance the standard of care. “Our immune systems can kill cancer cells. So why does cancer exist?” asked Dr. Eric Walk, chief medical officer and senior VP of medical and scientific affairs at RTD. “Because cancer hijacks pre-existing regulatory mechanisms preventing immune cells from recognizing cancer cells as foreign. Cancer turns off the immune system.” Advances in immunotherapy

Together with Roche Pharma, RTD is working to find ways to get the body to turn its immune system back on

through cancer immunotherapy, an approach that harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The company has a recently approved therapy in this area that has shown excellent patient response rates. The rates, however, are higher in patients with a certain form of bladder cancer who are positive for an immune biomarker called PD-L1. The RTD team of scientists, doctors and researchers continues to search for additional immune “switches” in cancer. These pathology innovations extend into the digital realm. As tests become more complex, Walk said he believes there will be a time when digital pathology will be needed to interpret them. This will involve not only slide scanners, but also highly sophisticated software to assist pathologists in the scoring of assays, or tests. “It’s similar to what happened in the field of radiology,” Walk said. “There used to be films, which the radiologist would analyze. But now everything is digital. We see pathology moving the same way − away from the microscope to the computer monitor.” RTD has digital tools on the market, including slide scanners and diagnostic software algorithms that aid pathologists in the detection of specific cancerrelated biomarkers in patient tissue specimens. “No matter how advanced the digital tools become, however, the pathologist will always make the final diagnosis,” Walk said. “This isn’t diagnosis by robot.” He sees the move to digital diagnostics as not only improving accuracy, but also helping underserved communities globally. “It makes hub-and-spoke telepathology possible,” Walk said. “A central pathologist could serve a large rewww.BizTucson.com


gion of smaller communities that send their information to the hub for expert analysis.”

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Ann Costello

President Roche Tissue Diagnostics

Dr. Eric Walk

Chief Medical Officer & Senior VP of Medical & Scientific Affairs Roche Tissue Diagnostics Fall 2016 >>>>>> BizTucson BizTucson 193 193

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

While RTD is globally recognized as a cancer diagnostics innovator and leader, it remains a committed local partner, actively involved in a wide range of community programs designed to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. “Some of the most inspirational days on our campus are the ones spent sharing our story and our technology with bright young students and college interns who are the scientists of the future,” Costello said. “Initiatives like these, along with our many philanthropic efforts, underscore our commitment to inspiring the next generation of young minds to embrace the promise of cancer diagnostics discovery and innovation.” The company additionally supports local nonprofits working to fight cancer and those that assist people affected by cancer. The University of Arizona Cancer Center, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, BAG IT, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona and Tu Nidito are just a few of the organizations supported. RTD is also “green.” In keeping with Roche’s long-standing belief that only environmentally and socially responsible companies can achieve sustainable financial success, the company aggressively looks for ways to reduce waste as well as lower energy and water consumption. There’s a robust recycling program and donations of old computers and equipment to World Care, a humanitarian relief organization that uses donated items to create usable resources for health, education and sustainable communities worldwide. Costello is excited about the future, both in terms of the company’s extraordinary work in immuno-oncology and cancer diagnostics, and its role as an integral part of the town of Oro Valley. “As we move forward, our focus is to shape healthcare through innovative and comprehensive solutions for our customers and patients,” she said. “Our goal is to make a difference both in the field of cancer diagnostics and in the community where we work and live.”

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Committed to the community


BizEDUCATION

Officials from the Town of Oro Valley and the Amphitheater Unified School District break ground on the new STEM school in a ceremony in June. Rendering of the new STEM school. Images Courtesy Town of Oro Valley

First Elementary STEM School in Region Campus to Feature Weather Station, Water Harvesting By Renée Schafer Horton Back in the 1990s, a third-grade boy did his first engineering project − repairing a broken toaster. It took him most of four hours, and although the toaster was a little worse for wear from being disassembled and re-assembled by elementary-school hands, in the end, it worked. At that time there was no elementary school curriculum that would nurture his obvious leaning toward STEM skills − science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That would have to wait until high school. Fast forward to June 2016 − the Amphitheater Unified School District broke ground on the first STEM elementary school in the region, scheduled to open in August 2017 in Oro Valley. “This new school will focus completely on an inquiry-based and engineeringdesign learning model,” said Monica Nelson, Amphitheater’s associate superintendent for school operations. “We’re also working to improve STEM instruction throughout our district.” Growth in STEM jobs is three times as fast as that of non-STEM jobs, according to a 2013 U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration report. Nelson said em194 BizTucson

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ployers cannot find enough well-qualified employees to take those jobs. The STEM elementary school is now the first step in preparing students for those jobs. The new school will be located on a 10-acre parcel on Desert Fairways, north of Moore Road and east of La Cañada Drive. It’s being constructed with 2007 voter-approved bonds on land the district already owned in the Rancho Vistoso subdivision. It will serve 500 students. The Amphitheater Unified School District is working on a transportation plan so that elementary students throughout the district’s boundaries will be able to get to the school. Students outside the district also will be able to enroll, although they will need to provide their own transportation. The campus also will have a waterharvesting system, a student-monitored weather station, a garden, outside learning areas for the students to study the natural habitat and some see-through walls for students to observe how plumbing and electricity works. Much of what makes this school STEM-focused involves how the campus is utilized and constructed. Students

will be divided into learning groups composed of kindergarten and first graders, second and third-graders, and fourth and fifth-graders. Each group will be in its own building with learning lab spaces as well as traditional classrooms. While the school is STEM-focused, Nelson emphasized that it will provide a full curriculum − also offering the necessary comprehensive foundation in reading, writing, art, music and physical education. Veteran Amphitheater educator Michael McConnell has been named principal of the STEM school. Most recently he was principal at LuLu Walker Elementary School, which was recognized by the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation as the “Top Science Elementary School” in both 2015 and 2016. McConnell used a project-based, thematic instructional approach when he was teaching. “The STEM school will be using many of these same teaching techniques,” McConnell said. “I am excited to see all the creative ways that teachers will engage students and make learning relevant using science, technology, engineering and math.” Biz www.BizTucson.com


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BizOUTDOORS

Tohono Chul Park

Oro Valley Aquatic Center

4th of July Celebration

Move Across 2 Ranges Annual Hiking Challenge

Something for Everyone

Recreation Facilities Target Locals and Visitors By Renée Schafer Horton It’s a hot July evening at Naranja Park, but the dog park is bustling with canines and their humans. Lewis Foster, 72, chats with Brittany Miller, 25, as their dogs compete in an intense game of “roll-in-the-grass.” Across the parking lot a gaggle of teenagers enjoys a pickup soccer game, and southeast from all this activity near the entrance to the park, 47-year-old Greg Wahlmeier concentrates on honing his bowhunting skills at the archery range. The evening is a snapshot of today’s Oro Valley − the latest demographics show there are nearly as many residents under the age of 18 as there are over 65 in the town of more than 43,000. What was originally envisioned as the largest retirement municipality in the country has evolved into a far more diverse community. To meet the needs of its sundry residents, Oro Valley has gone all-out expanding its recreational offerings and amenities, a commitment that has 196 BizTucson

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earned the town a Playful City Community USA designation six times. “Parks and recreation is the single most important thing for the health of a community,” said Interim Town Manager Daniel G. Sharp. “It can also have an economic development impact as it relates to sports tourism. But the key driver is to provide for the health of the community, because that speaks to a community’s vitality.” Miller agrees. “This park gives us a great excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise,” she said. “We come here because it is always clean, the people are always friendly, and the dogs love the grass. It’s the best around.” Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Director Kristy Diaz-Trahan said the town has especially focused on expanding “family-friendly” offerings the past two years. It has been a wise choice for residents and to help Oro Valley get a

slice of the sports-tourism economic pie. A recent example was the addition of the multipurpose sports fields at Naranja Park. The town had too few soccer fields for the burgeoning youth sports population, and it affected quality of life − no parent wants to spend 90 minutes getting to and from their kid’s soccer practice. But building the fields to a professional standard not only made young players and their parents happy, it also allowed the town to rent the fields to professional soccer teams who needed competition-quality turf on which to play. Oro Valley has seen an economic benefit in the recent $5-million upgrade to its Aquatic Center. Adding a splash pad, slide and upgrading the 50-meter competition pool has resulted in happier residents and also attracted the USA National Synchronized Swimming Championship in 2014. The competition will be at the Oro Valley Aquatic continued on page 198 >>> www.BizTucson.com


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BizOUTDOORS continued from page 196 Center again in 2017, along with three triathlons and state swimming competitions. The town will also host the 2016 U.S. Masters Synchronized Swimming Championships this October. Next year, tennis and golf competitions will be hosted at the Oro Valley Community Center, the facility formerly known as the El Conquistador Country Club that was purchased by the Town of Oro Valley last year. The center features 45 holes of golf, 31 lighted tennis courts, two swimming pools, a fitness center and weight room, a restaurant, meeting facilities, and classes from boxing to Tai Chi. The American Junior Golf Association will rent the golf course in January, bringing elite junior golfers to town. A U.S. Tennis Association competition will be held in March. “We’re getting more well-known as a place to host your sporting event,” said Diaz-Trahan. “We’ve been known for years as the place to be with cycling and running because of our great roads, our spectacular pub-

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lic safety, and our outstanding views. Now we’re trying to let other sports know we’re here and welcome their events, all while we provide excellent options for Oro Valley residents.” One new addition the town is especially excited about is the “I Can Too!” program for elementary school children who have special needs. It was launched this summer with specially trained recreation staff and a 4-to-1 student-staff ratio. It features both individual and inclusion offerings. Sharp said the program is an excellent example of how Oro Valley tries to address the concerns of its residents. “A community member came to us and said the Community Center was great, but asked if there were plans for activities for children with special needs,” Sharp said. “That brought something to our attention that we hadn’t thought of, so we got right on it to develop programming. People often forget, but government is a community service. We are here to serve our community, and parks and recreation is a big piece of that.”

2016 – 2017 events Oro Valley will hold or participate in: • Oro Valley Sprint Triathlon: Oct. 1, 2016 • Oro Valley Music Festival: Oct. 1-2, 2016 • U.S. Masters Synchronized Swimming Championship: Oct. 19-23, 2016

• Southwest Craft Beer and Sports Festival: Oct. 22, 2016

• Doggie Dash ‘n Dawdle: Oct. 29, 2016 • Harvest Heritage Festival: Nov. 12, 2016 • El Tour de Tucson: Nov. 29, 2016 • Festival of the Arts and Tree Lighting:

Dec. 3-4, 2016

• New Year’s Hot Cocoa 5K: Jan. 1, 2017 For a full list of events in Oro Valley and details, visit www.orovalleyaz.gov/town/calendar/list

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BizREALESTATE

Mattamy Homes

Maracay Homes

Meritage Homes

Sombra Homes

Hot Spots

New Home Sales Increase in Oro Valley By Jay Gonzales Homebuilders in Oro Valley have been seeing a steady increase in sales now that they’ve been able to catch up with the demand for new homes, town officials said. By mid-year in 2016, there had been more newly constructed homes sold than in all of 2015, said David Laws, manager of the Permitting Division for the Town of Oro Valley. But it’s really not the demand last year that kept the total number of sales 200 BizTucson

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a little lower, he said. It was just that homebuilders were playing catch-up to meet the demand for sales as the real estate market recovered. The town had seen a small drop in new home sales in 2014 compared to 2013, Laws said. “The reason for that is we ran out of available lots,” he said. “Developers had to bring new product online. They had to develop undeveloped property.” By 2015, there were more new homes available for sale and there was a no-

ticeable increase with 155 homes sold, compared to 133 in 2014. By the end of July 2016, the total for the year was 171. “Now that product is available and we have a few subdivisions around town with some models open, we are seeing growth because we’re hearing from builders that buyers are looking,” Laws said. “I think everyone is optimistic that sales will continue. They’re not super strong, but definitely steady.” www.BizTucson.com


New Home Developments in Oro Valley

Subdivision: Eagles Summit at Vistoso Location: Moore Road and Rancho

Insight Homes

Vistoso Boulevard Opening September 2016

Location: La Cañada Drive south of Moore Road

Maracay Homes

Prices: Three floor plans with starting prices of $598,000, $604,000 and $649,000

Location: La Cholla Boulevard between Tangerine Road and Glover Road

Lots range in size from a half acre to one acre with “stunning mountain views while maintaining the surrounding native desert.” All floor plans are at least three bedrooms with a den or optional fourth bedroom and a three-car garage.

Gated neighborhood limited to only 68 homesites featuring all one-story home plan designs. Features stunning views of the surrounding Catalina and Tortolita mountains. Homes ranging from 2,723 to 3,845 square feet.

Subdivision: La Cañada Ridge

Lennar

Subdivision: Discovery at Vistoso Reserve Location: Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Vistoso Highlands Drive Prices: $259,990 to $305,990 Homes with four and five bedrooms and two to 3½ baths, ranging from 1,800 to 2,903 square feet. Within the 7,600acre Master Planned Rancho Vistoso community that offers an array of outdoor amenities for all ages.

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Subdivision: Rancho del Cobre

Prices: Starting at $410,000

Subdivision: Center Pointe Vistoso Location: North end of La Cañada Drive, north of Moore Road Prices: Mid $200,000s to low $400,000s Four separate developments: Desert Crest from the mid $200,000s; The Cove in the low $300s; Summit starting in the mid $300,000s; The Pinnacle starting in the low $400,000s.

Mattamy Homes

Subdivision: The Enclave at Stone Canyon Location: 405 W. Tortolita Mountain Circle Prices: $549,000 to $624,000 Located within the exclusive, privately gated Stone Canyon community. Homes with two to four bedrooms ranging from 2,320 to 2,758 square feet. Subdivision: Vistoso Trails Location: Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Moore Road Opening early 2017

Meritage Homes

Subdivision: Estates at Capella Location: La Cholla Boulevard and Naranja Drive Prices: $308,990 to $404,990 Two developments: The Canyons, from $308,990 to $364,490, three- and four-bedroom homes; The Vistas, from $350,990 to $404,990, four- and fivebedroom homes. Subdivision: Boulder Vista at Stone Canyon Opening in 2017

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PHOTO: TOM SPITZ

BizCOMMUNITY

Ironwood Ridge High School students Sam Sepulveda, left, and Michael Tinghitella share a laugh with Oro Valley School Resource Officer Matt Roth in front of the school.

Undivided Attention

Spotlight on a Model SRO Program By Renée Schafer Horton When people new to Oro Valley wonder why there are police cars outside all the public schools at all times, the quick answer is that Oro Valley places a high premium on public safety. But that is an incomplete response. The real reason is found in the worn-out knees of an officer’s pants. “We had this big, burly former motorcycle cop who became the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Copper Creek Elementary, and he had to switch to wearing BDU (battle dress uniform) pants after a few weeks on the job because he kept wearing out the knees of his dress uniform,” said Oro Valley Police Chief and Interim Town Manager Daniel G. Sharp. “He was constantly on his knees talking to the little kids at the school. That’s what our SRO program is about.” Oro Valley’s SRO program, initiated in 1977, is community policing at its best, creating bonds with youth from kindergarten through high school while also making certain that schools and the neighborhoods around them are safe. The program has twice received the Arizona School Resource Officers Association Model Agency of the Year award. The SRO unit is composed of one officer each at Copper Creek and Painted Sky elementary schools and Wilson K-8 202 BizTucson

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School, and two officers each at Canyon del Oro and Ironwood Ridge high schools. This fall, the program will do something unique by partnering with Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, a private school, to post an SRO on its North Oracle Road campus, about a half-mile from CDO. Deputy Police Chief Larry Stevens said Pusch Ridge officials asked about getting an SRO to serve their sixththrough 12th-grade campus a while ago, but because the school is private, town funds can’t be spent providing an SRO. The school committed funding in its budget and a contract was signed between Pusch Ridge and Oro Valley for an SRO on-site beginning this school year. The Pusch Ridge SRO’s first focus will be assessing the school’s disaster plans and threat assessment, then moving on to presentations in classes on contemporary law enforcement topics. Like all of Oro Valley’s SROs, the Pusch Ridge SRO will be active in the school community, attending sports competitions and other school events. “One of the reasons we’ve won the model agency award is because we have dedicated officers at each school,” said Lt. John Teachout, SRO program manager. “There are SRO programs out

there that have one officer that services multiple schools, but we have dedicated assets and resources in these schools. Our officers have specific training and supervision. We aren’t visitors that come every now and again – we are part of the community.” Another change in the SRO program this year is a partnership with mental health professionals to provide training for officers about adolescent mental health issues. “Oro Valley is never satisfied with the status quo,” Sharp said. “We are always re-evaluating so we stay relevant. Young people have a lot to deal with in today’s world and this training will help our officers help them.” That help is not always formal, Teachout said, which is the reason having dedicated officers at each school is so important. “Yes, we provide whatever formal presentations teachers or administrators need to bolster the educational curriculum,” he said. “But in terms of conversations about destructive decisionmaking or life choices or goal-planning, most of that work is in the hallways of the school or the doorways of the SRO office. And I’d argue those conversations often have more power than anything formal we do.” Biz www.BizTucson.com


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