Page 1

2013 Your resource to Mesa, Arizona

Connecting people, business and community

Welcome to Compass It’s an exciting time to be in business in Mesa. The Mesa Chamber is continuing to adapt to the changing needs of the business community as it continues to focus on the needs of our members. The Chamber remains focused on critical issues for our region, and continues to focus on the important issues our businesses face. Our dynamic membership has joined us in the effort of creating a stronger local economy, representing business issues through lobbying and political action and providing networking opportunities. I’m excited to see our members stepping up to not only be more involved but work together to make a difference. I encourage you to use the Chamber as a means of building relationships and participating in the discussion of these and other important issues. There is a place for everyone in your business to be involved and I encourage you to commit to making the most of what the Mesa Chamber has to offer. The Mesa Chamber of Commerce is here to support your business. We offer business advocacy, networking opportunities, special events, website and print opportunities and present educational opportunities to help you grow a successful business. We are excited about newer programs like Mesa Morning Live, which has a ‘talk show’ theme and is drawing fun and interesting guests and our new monthly ‘members only’ Business Roundtable luncheon with Mesa’s mayor. The past couple of years have truly been a time of change and growth for this Chamber and I would like to thank our board and members for the support and leadership in that change! If you haven’t gotten involved or aren’t a member yet, I encourage you to do so. We have many councils and committees for you to serve on. Check out our website or give us a call… we’d love to get you involved! I look forward to working with you and your business to ensure Mesa remains one of the best places in the nation to do business. Sincerely,

Sally Harrison

Acting President and CEO

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 1

Table of Contents Looking inside Mesa COMPASS: Connecting people, business and community 4 ������������� Introduction—Mesa: Changing perceptions, building for the future.

22 32

10 ����������� History of Prosperity— Special moments in Mesa’s long history 12 ����������� Mesa by the numbers 14 ������������ MESA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE— The voice of business, a century of commitment




22 ����������� Business Mesa is one of the most forward-thinking cities in the country, utilizing smart growth, strategic planning and a young, educated workforce 32 ����������� Housing Family-friendly diverse communities and neighborhoods create unique housing opportunities 40 ����������� Education From kindergarten to college, learning is a top priority for Mesa 48 ����������� Healthcare Mesa is home to world-class hospitals and research centers

52 66

52 ����������� Lifestyle Those looking for big-city amenities with a small-town charm will find it in Mesa 66 ����������� Looking Ahead Attracting high-tech industry and creating a strong education hub are among the city’s plans for the future 72 ����������� Advertising Index COVER PHOTO: Ivan Martinez PHOTOGRAPHY

General Manager: CAMI KAISER

A division of The Arizona Republic 200 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix AZ 85004

2 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Manager Creative Development: ISAAC MOYA Editor: JIM WILLIAMS

Managing Art Director: TRACEY PHALEN

Editorial Intern: Nick Kostenko

Art Director: LISA QUIRIN

Advertising: Brienne chance, kelli fawcett

Associate Art Director: theresa johnson

Together, we’re making a difference right here at home

We are more than just bankers, we’re your neighbors. We’re committed to making our community a great place to live. Some of the 2011 community contributions include:                                  Â? Â?Â?  Â?  Â?           Â?      Â?­  €    ‚ƒ    €  

Â…    †ƒ ‡       ˆ ‰Š ˆ ‹Â? ŒŽÂŒ ‘“Ž” Â?•Â?–—


4 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

me sa Ph otos : cit y of

Mesa: Changing perceptions, building for the future Sure, Mesa means business — but it means a whole lot more, too  A city with nearly 450,000 people that retains a friendly, neighborly appeal? It’s not a contradiction: It’s Mesa. “I’ve lived in Mesa 45 years,” says Mayor Scott Smith. “I grew up a couple of blocks from downtown Mesa, and while it’s grown in size and changed in makeup, it is the same with regard to the values and other aspects that made it a good community.”

Everything under the sun

The third-largest city in Arizona offers a multitude of options for business and pleasure, strategically driving development, investment and an overall superior quality of life. More than 17,000 businesses — including top employers Banner Health and Boeing Co. — can attest to an overall commerce-friendly environment, supported from the highest levels of municipal government. The transportation infrastructure, supporting both the movement of goods as well as employee commutes, continues to improve as the city works closely with the Arizona Department

By Jake Poinier

of Transportation to complete the 202 loop. In summer 2012, Valley Metro Light Rail broke ground on its 3.1-mile extension into downtown Mesa, sure to add appeal to the area’s burgeoning development and entertainment venues when trains begin to roll in fall 2015. Of course, you can’t talk about transportation without marveling at the growth of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and the resulting increase in passenger and freight traffic. “Going from zero commercial passengers to nearly 1.5 million in just 5 years is an unparalleled success story in the country,” Smith says of the former Air Force base that at one time was targeted for closing. “The recent announcement of a third airline, Frontier, is the cherry on top. With the major Denver hub and direct airline service in and out of Gateway, residents and tourists have airline service to a large area of the country with just one plane change.” In addition, Phoenix Mesa Gateway has also attracted the third-, fourth- and fifth-largest aircraft manufacturers Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 5


to site repair and maintenance facilities for commercial and business jet aircraft, and several other FAA-certified vendors for additional support facilities.

“ I grew up a couple of blocks from downtown Mesa, and while it’s grown in size and changed in makeup, it is the same with regard to the values and other aspects that made it a good community.”

These include one of the largest community colleges in the U.S., Mesa Community College, and the Polytechnic Campus of Arizona State University, with more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in scientific and engineering fields. Educating for the future The newly created Mesa Center for When it comes to training the next generation Higher Education, located in the downtown workforce, Mesa Public Schools have earned area, is destined to become a higher a national reputation for excellence, with education oasis. The 53,000-square-foot graduates equipped to pursue careers in building is being transformed into a shared industry or additional higher education. academic space to be home to three new Innovative programs, such as a junior high — Mesa Mayor Scott Smith colleges and universities expanding into academy focused on math and science, make Mesa: Albright College, Westminster a key difference at a critical age. College and Wilkes University. In addition, Benedictine Mesa is also home to the only vocational/technical high University and Upper Iowa University are coming to Mesa. school in the state, East Valley Institute of Technology, which offers 19 career paths in technical disciplines outside of higher education. The schools have also worked closely with local Healthy living higher education institutions for a more direct and seamless Healthcare is another huge success story for Mesa, with massive transition and to improve graduation success at higher investment by medical providers and hospitals in recent years. degree levels. “We’ve had three new major hospitals built, a brand-new 6 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Photos: city of mesa

“ In spite of the financial challenges in Arizona and nationwide...I honestly believe Mesa is a better community today than it was yesterday, and that it will be a better community tomorrow than it is today.”

Banner Health administrative center, and museums: Mesa Historical Museum, tens of millions of dollars in renovations,” Arizona Museum of Natural History, and says Smith, adding that the positive impacts Arizona Museum for Youth. Shopping include new employment opportunities as aficionados got a boost when Fiesta Mall well as increased quality and quantity of and Superstition Springs Mall were joined healthcare services. by Mesa Riverview in 2007. And having Of course, Mesa residents also enjoy their hosted the Chicago Cubs for more than fun, starting with affordable housing, friendly 50 years during Major League Baseball’s neighborhoods, and plenty of options for annual spring Cactus League, the city dining out. The city’s family orientation will up its game even further with a can be seen in the extensive library system state-of-the-art, year-round sports and and parks and recreation efforts. The latter, parks venue in 2014. — Mesa Mayor Scott Smith helping children develop their potential All told, Mesa is proving to be a leader in field and water sports, reached a recent in the region, with innovative approaches pinnacle with weightlifter Sarah Robles, a member of the and aggressive economic development that others would want 2012 U.S. Olympic team. to emulate. “In spite of the financial challenges in Arizona and nationwide, we’ve run against the grain and experienced more than our fair share of economic successes in the past Arts and entertainment three years,” says Smith. “I honestly believe Mesa is a better From an arts, culture, and entertainment perspective, the city community today than it was yesterday, and that it will be offers a dizzying array of options. The renowned Mesa Arts a better community tomorrow than it is today.” Center and Mesa Amphitheatre are surrounded by world-class Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 7


People who live and work in Mesa find that the city offers cultural and recreation amenities, quality education opportunities, combined with a thriving economic climate. The city is extremely business-friendly, and supports both small companies that are just getting started as well as major corporations like Boeing, Banner Health Systems, MD Helicopters, and others. With a population of nearly half a million, Mesa is currently the 38th largest city in the United States. The Phoenix-Mesa area is projected to reach 6.4 million residents by 2030, which makes the area especially attractive for all kinds of business opportunities.

CITY OF MESA | Office of Economic Development | | 480-644-2398 8 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

MESA: A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE It’s no wonder that so many people call Mesa home — the city is a vibrant and welcoming community, with an outstanding school system, activities galore, and great healthcare options. Mesa Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, is nationally recognized for its outstanding educational programs and student success in academics, creative and performing arts and sports, as well as career and technical training. In addition, more than 40,000 students are enrolled in higher education in Mesa at schools including Arizona State University Polytechnic campus, A.T. Still University, Mesa Community College, and many more. Residents also have access to world-class health care at Mountain Vista Medical Center and the many Banner Health facilities, including Banner Baywood and Banner Desert Medical Centers. Cardon Children’s Medical Center offers comprehensive pediatric care for children throughout the entire region.




Mesa residents have plenty of leisure options to keep them busy. The city’s commitment to business translates into many companies and organizations that offer fun and enjoyable activities for all ages. For example, those who enjoy professional performing arts performances, visual arts and arts education programming may head to the Mesa Arts Center (MAC). Opened in 2005, MAC is the largest arts center in the state and has nearly 300,000 visitors each year to its state-of-the-art campus. Mesa is also the spring training home of the Major League Baseball Chicago Cubs. Every year, thousands of people head to the ballpark to take in the most popular games in the Cactus League. Year round, both residents and visitors to Mesa partake in world class golf at dozens of beautifully manicured and challenging courses, enjoy fantastic shopping at a wide variety of indoor and outdoor malls, and relax over delicious meals at the area’s many restaurants.

Mesa’s diverse and sustainable economy features a balance of base industries that have created high quality jobs for its residents. Mesa’s four key pillars of enterprise are known as HEAT, and are made up of healthcare, education, aerospace/aviation/ defense and technology/tourism. This quartet of sectors provides a solid economic backbone for the city’s residents. For those who are considering relocating or expanding a business in the area, a huge range of both growing and established companies are thriving in the Mesa area. A favorable economic climate and incredibly business-friendly atmosphere make Mesa a great place to own a company. Businesses of all sizes tend to thrive in Mesa, due in part to the city’s strong partnerships between the public and private sector, a competitive tax structure, and the region’s highly educated workforce. In addition, Mesa’s Office of Economic Development works closely with businesses throughout all phases of their development process. The department works as a team with local business owners, helping to provide them with solutions and ensuring a smooth transition to starting, running, expanding or relocating their business in Mesa. Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 9


History of prosperity

Photos: city of mesa

Early Mesa Timeline

“Remember When?” University, Broadway, Mesa Drive and Tom Rhodes, a two-time and current board Country Club. Where the museum is now was member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, the fire department and the library, was born in Mesa in 1946. When he was six, all crammed into one place. his father, John Jacob Rhodes, “ It sure seems And the original Chamber of Jr., was elected to the U.S. Commerce became the Parks House of Representatives like things have and Recreation Department, and took the family to happened in a hurry and now it’s the Downtown Washington, D.C., for much Mesa Association.” of the year. In 1973, after over the past 40 Equally remarkable, he having been in the U.S. Army years...I’ve lived here says, was the construction of and attended law school, Tom returned to Mesa full time. most of my life and I significant projects such as the 1st National Bank of Arizona “It sure seems like things don’t know anyplace building at Center and Main, have happened in a hurry the Phoenix Marriott Mesa over the past 40 years, and I’d rather live.” hotel, the Mesa Amphitheatre, it’s interesting how the uses — Tom Rhodes and the Mesa Convention of the venues have changed,” Center. says Rhodes, an investment “I’ve lived here most of my life,” says advisor who operates through Arque Capital. “When I was in elementary school, most of the Rhodes, “and I don’t know anyplace I’d rather live.” schools were in the downtown core, between 10 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

The Mesa area’s early origins weave a rich tapestry, including the Hohokam Indians, who built the 125-mile canal system still in use today, and Spanish missionaries as well as explorers on the hunt for gold. Early American explorers came through the Salt River Valley in the early 1800s, with the first settlement established in Maryville in 1865 west of what is now Val Vista road. Although that town was later abandoned, several waves of early Mormon pioneers came soon after, establishing settlements in the late 1800s, incorporating the town of Mesa City in 1880, and completing the Mesa Arizona Temple in 1927. Like many Valley communities, Mesa was very much agriculture-focused in its early years. With the arrival of World War II, and the construction of Falcon Field Airport and Williams Air Force Base in 1941 to provide training for British and U.S. pilots, the city began to hit its stride. Post-war, the City’s reputation for business and tourism — not to mention the arrival of the beloved Chicago Cubs for the Cactus League in 1952 — began its inexorable rise. Through subsequent decades, attention turned to attracting high-tech and aerospace enterprises, including the construction of the Boeing Co. Apache helicopter manufacturing plant in 1982.

Vision and Voices John Karolzak, Vice President, Southwest Zone, Rural/Metro Corporation

“ I focus on our company’s clinical excellence initiatives to provide the tools that each and every employee requires to deliver world-class care and customer service. To move Mesa forward, we need to do more than provide the highest levels of pre-hospital care. Our role also involves being an active participant, leader and philanthropist in the community. The more we participate in the community during non-emergency situations, the more we can prevent an emergency from occurring in the first place.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 11


Mesa by the numbers A statistical look at Mesa’s demographics Vitals

Year incorporated..............................1883 Elevation.............................................1,255 Cost-of-living index............................94.5 Annual average rainfall....................10.6" Average temperatures.................High: 88 Low: 56 Population

2011 estimate................................ 434,627 2021 estimate................................ 436,265 Growth 1990-2010................52.2 percent


2011 estimate.................................169,895 2021 estimate.................................210,904 Population by Age 2011

19 and under..........................29.5 percent 20–24.........................................6.6 percent 25–44..................................... 28.5 percent 45–64......................................20.9 percent 65+........................................... 11.1 percent Median age........................................... 33.1 Population by Ethnicity

White......................................77.2 percent African American...................3.4 percent American Indian and Alaskan Native................2.3 percent Asian.........................................1.9 percent Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander..............0.4 percent Some other race..................... 11.1 percent Two or more races...................3.6 percent Hispanic................................ 26.0 percent Education

High school graduate...........26.9 percent Some college..........................25.9 percent Associates degree or higher................................ 32.5 percent

Photo: Ivan Martinez

Household Income

12 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Median............................................$51,675 Average.......................................... $64,692 Source: City of Mesa, SitesUSA 2011

Mayor Scott Smith, City of Mesa

“ As Mayor, my goal is to put forth a vision for Mesa that residents can embrace and work toward fulfilling. Residents who believe in their city’s future become engaged in their community. They invest and work toward positive change. I believe that one of my primary jobs is to articulate this vision and a direction for the future of our city. I plan to work to raise the bar on what we can achieve as a community.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 13

Mesa Chamber

Mesa Chamber of Commerce The voice of business — a century of community commitment  From the day it opened its doors more than 100 years ago, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to improve the city’s business landscape. Sally Harrison, acting president and CEO, said the Chamber’s many accomplishments over the years show how it has successfully reached this goal.

Marketplace of opportunities

“The Mesa Chamber of Commerce has a history of influencing public policy on behalf of the business community and helping East Valley businesses become a thriving and dynamic marketplace of opportunities,” Harrison said. “The Chamber is also focused on business interests in both Mesa and the entire East Valley, working to help new industries grow and encourage job creation by enticing people to relocate to sunny Mesa and start new businesses in our diverse business climate.” As an advocate for promoting the growth and success of local businesses, the Chamber provides numerous avenues for members to market their businesses, Harrison noted. 14 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Alison Stanton

“From monthly networking programs to large annual events, and from smaller committee meetings to larger ongoing council meetings that oversee advocacy for business on city and state levels, our members can get involved and be a part of shaping Mesa’s business future,” Harrison said.

Helping nonprofits

At the beginning of this year, the Chamber’s staff and board members agreed to become even more involved with the community by focusing on nonprofit groups. “We formed our Business Quality of Life Council to develop synergy and collaboration among nonprofit organizations, increase awareness of their roles, and promote a connection with the business community,” Harrison said. Both long-standing and more recent members speak highly of the Chamber and its positive impact on their businesses.

Taking care of business

Susan Carland, a Realtor who has been a member since 1982 and who once served as chairman of the board, said she has always

Photos: Ivan Martinez

“ We are working every day to help members and prospective members understand and realize the value of their combined voices in public policy, economic development and state and local governance.”

been impressed by the way the Chamber takes recommend joining the Chamber and care of its members who are dealing with getting involved.” legislative issues and issues like workman’s compensation. Adapting to growth “They have always been in the forefront Although the Chamber still prides itself of the legislation, lobbying for the issues that on being “the voice of business,” Harrison affect business owners,” she said, adding that noted that the Mesa business community is the majority of her business has come from much larger and more diverse than it was her membership with the Chamber. over a century ago. — Sally Harrison, James E. Christensen, president and chief “We are working every day to help President/CEO, Mesa executive officer of Gateway Bank in Mesa, members and prospective members Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber has “opened so many doors” understand and realize the value of for the bank since it joined shortly after their combined voices in public policy, opening in 2007. economic development and state and local “This has been an excellent networking opportunity and we governance,” she said. continue to be amazed by the number of contacts we have made “We anticipate further growth of our business community in Mesa over our short 5-year existence,” Christensen said. with more diversity in business models and geographic “Gateway is one of the highest performing banks in Arizona locations. The Mesa Chamber of Commerce will continue and is in part due to our great relationship with the Mesa to advocate for business expansion and profitability into Chamber of Commerce,” Christiensen said. “We would highly the future.” Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 15

Mesa Chamber

Events, programs, activities, oh my Diverse year-round activities providing networking, education opportunities 

By Alison Stanton

• Serve its members. • Act as the collective voice of business, industry and the professions. • Maintain and strengthen a prosperous business climate in Mesa. • Enhance the quality of life in the community.

Every year, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce hosts more than 300 events. From weekly and monthly networking sessions and meetings to annual awards ceremonies and more, the Chamber prides itself on offering a diverse range of events for its members and the local community.

Something for everyone

“The best part about the Chamber’s programs is that no matter how busy you are, there is always something for you,” said Sean Barry, director of communications. “The more events we have, the more it helps our members as well as the business community.” For example, Barry said Mesa Morning Live is a popular program that is held the second Friday of every month. Both Chamber members and people from the local community are welcome to attend the show, which Barry said features a David Letterman-style comedy format. A well-known comedian and Chamber member hosts the program, which is also broadcast on Channel 11. Another event that tends to be well-attended is the Taste of Mesa, which takes place every third Tuesday of the month.

Relax, meet new members

“It’s pretty much a business Happy Hour,” Barry said, adding that a different Chamber member hosts the event each time. “It’s a great opportunity for networking in a relaxed atmosphere, along with getting the chance to enjoy some terrific food and music.” Another networking opportunity is held the second Tuesday of every month, Barry said. “Business Roundtable Luncheon with Mesa’s mayor is also held at a member’s location. It’s a great way to enjoy an awesome 16 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

lunch while meeting other people in the business community.” This “members only” event is also a great opportunity to ask questions and interact with our city leadership, he added. “For new members, this is definitely the one to go to.”

Community is welcome

While some of the Chamber’s programs and socials are designed specifically for members, the community at large is also welcome to attend many of the events. Aviation Fascination, which usually takes place on the second Thursday of November, is a family-friendly event that the Chamber hosts each year. “It is held at the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, and it is sponsored in part by The Boeing Company,” Barry said. “An Apache Longbow helicopter is there as well as a B-17 Bomber and Mesa Police helicopter that parents and their kids can tour, and members bring food for tastings.”

Leadership awards

Finally, the Annual Leadership Awards, which are held in April, recognize members that are achieving excellence in business. The event typically sells out and honors many people throughout the Mesa community. “In addition to the awards for members of the Mesa business community, we also give away Professor, Teacher and Students of the Year awards, as well as those for the Small, Medium and Large Businesses of the Year,” Barry said. For more information about the Chamber’s events, visit and then click on the “Programs & Events” tab.

Photo: city of mesa

The mission of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce is to:

Talk on the Street Mesa Chamber of Commerce members speak out

“ The Chamber helps Mesa Community College be more relevant, current, and effective.” — Dr. Shouan Pan, President , Mesa Community College

“ We have several staff members involved with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. There are numerous networking opportunities available throughout the year and Gateway has developed so many long lasting relationships over our brief 5-year membership. There is such a variety of activities that cater to different segments of our community, it always seems like there is a place to get plugged in. We could not have become this involved in the community without our membership.” — James Christensen, President/Chief Executive Officer, Gateway Bank

“ Through the Mesa Chamber, we build relationships that move us toward the overall goal of creating a prosperous community in which we can all live, work, play and shop.” — Steve Wood, Senior Property Manager, Superstition Springs Center

“ As soon as we joined the Chamber we received several orders that more than paid for our membership. Receiving business so quickly was a huge plus but the support and friendship of the members has been invaluable. I have lived in Mesa most of my life and this is the first time I feel a part of the community.” — Ashley Raposa, Idea Source

“ All of the dedicated staff at the Chamber has a tremendous amount of energy, professionalism and experience available to tap into when required in order to support the local business community. Whether it is to support a local business achievement or help to facilitate an introduction to the business community or local government personnel, our experience with the Chamber and its staff has been nothing but first class. We are proud to be a member of the Chamber and I would highly recommend it to any size or type of business who wants to take advantage of all the tools and skills available through membership.” — Christopher Hunter, President/Chief Executive Officer, Special Devices, Inc.

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 17

Mesa Chamber

Membership has its benefits

New location!

Did you know that a basic membership includes the following:

Mesa Chamber of Commerce 40 N. Center St., #104 Mesa, Arizona 85201 480-969-1307

Advertising, exposure, prestige

• Listing on the Mesa Chamber of Commerce website with a link to company site • Exclusive members-only advertising and sponsorship opportunities • Member-to-Member discounts • List employment opportunities on the Mesa Chamber website • Submit guest articles for the Business Insider Newsletter • Membership plaque recognizing membership commitment • Membership window decal


• Exclusive Member-to-Member Leads referral program • Member rates on all networking events • Ability to host a networking event


• Speakers and programs geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses • Presentations about a variety of subjects relevant to the business community • Business discussions on LinkedIn and other social media portals


• Voting rights: Ability to vote for elected members of the board of directors • Vote on issues important to the business community through the Public Policy Council

18 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

• Ability to participate in the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance meetings • Access to elected officials on the local, state and federal levels • “Business Alert” e-mails including fact sheets about major issues

Voice of the Business Community

• Members can take part in discussion at any of the Public Policy Council meetings and vote for recommendations that go before the board of directors


Service on Chamber councils and committees: • Business Advocacy Council • Business Expansion Council • Business Promotion Council • Business Leadership Council • Business Quality-of-Life Council • Business Benefits Council • Management Stewardship Council • Business in Education Foundation • Chamber Ambassadors • Mesa Young Professionals Group

Other benefits

“Members-only” pricing at Mesa Chamber of Commerce events “Get involved. Get connected. Join now!

To learn more about membership and corporate partner opportunities, contact Sally Harrison, acting president and CEO, at 480-969-1307, ext. 26, or by email at

Photo: Ivan Martinez

Joining the Mesa Chamber of Commerce opens a world of opportunity for knowledge and growth

Meet the Staff

Vision and Voices

Ready to help Mesa businesses succeed

Photo: Ivan Martinez

William J. Jabjiniak, Economic Development Director for the City of Mesa

The Mesa Chamber of Commerce has an outstanding staff of people who are equally committed to helping the local business community thrive. As acting president and CEO, Sally Harrison wears a variety of hats throughout the course of her busy days. For example, in addition to working with the board of directors, executive council and other staff members, Harrison also oversees Chamber memberships and works with new members to create corporate partnership packages. Harrison, who has been with the Chamber since October 2008, especially likes the way that no two days are exactly the same. “Another part of my job that I enjoy is meeting and working with Mesa’s finest — our local business people who just want to be successful!” Sean Barry has worked as director of communications since February 2011. He brings seven years experience as programs director to his current role with the Chamber. “I handle pretty much anything that comes out of this office, including all design elements, and the website and newsletter,” he said. For Barry, his fellow staff and the Chamber members help make his job something that he truly looks forward to doing every day. “Chambers have to learn to adapt to things like Facebook and other new marketing mediums so they are not left behind,” he said. “We are doing some amazing things here and are doing a great job changing with the times,” Barry said. “This Chamber rocks!” Other staff members who help keep the Chamber running smoothly, Harrison said, include Shauna Zuniga, Lara Brunia, Peter Sterling, Dave Barnes, and in partnership with East Valley Tribune, shared employee Theresa DiBona.

“ Through our work in the Economic Development Department, we will continue to support a variety of existing industries to grow and expand in Mesa. One of our primary goals is to foster and capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of the East Valley through the establishment of the Mesa Technology Accelerator in partnership with ASU Polytechnic.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 19

YOUR CUSTOMERS SHOP HERE! Arizona’s most popular weekly Kids Club.

ALIGN your brand with proven event and programs your customers love. INTERACT with future customers while they experience your brand at their favorite shopping center. Annual Summer Concert Series attracts thousands.

PROMOTE your products and services with creative on-mall advertising opportunities. For more information and to design a partnership today, contact Superstition Springs Center at 480.924.5050.

Advertising opportunities to meet every budget.



Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, The Cheesecake Factory and more than 150 specialty stores and restaurants | US 60 & Power Rd | 480.924.5050

*Use Gift Card only at US merchants that accept American Express® Cards, except cruise lines and recurring payment. No ATM use. Funds do not expire. Not redeemable for cash, except where required by law. Additional limitations apply. Read Cardholder Agreement. Issued by American Express Prepaid Card Management Corporation.


22 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

me sa Ph otoS : cit y of

Smart growth, strategic planning in Mesa’s DNA Accessible, business-friendly city with a young, educated workforce  Let’s count the ways why Mesa is a wonderful place to establish, relocate or expand a business. It’s a major city — 38th largest in the U.S. — that doesn’t have to contend with traffic congestion, uncontrolled growth or anti-business policies. Its workforce is young (the median age is 34), educated (almost 25 percent of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree) and affluent (average household income tops $67,000 a year). The city is situated near four major freeways and two commercial airports, Sky Harbor International and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Accessible city

“The completion of the Loop 202 made Mesa a more accessible city,” says Craig Henry, a member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and chair of the Chamber’s Business Benefits Council. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in east Mesa also has made the city easier to travel to, he said, adding that the next wave of growth for Mesa will be near Gateway Airport.

By DEbra Gelbart

“No other airport in the domestic U.S. has the available property that the Gateway area has,” says John Barry, manager of commercial passenger and cargo service development at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. “State leaders are in full support of turning the Gateway area into a nationally recognized aviation and aerospace center of excellence. And the benefits of a mayor and city staff who recognize the opportunities within our community and do everything possible to assure the success of every venture cannot be overstated.” Barry pointed out that Gateway is the only airport in the country that has a major university (ASU Polytechnic campus) directly across the street and a nationally recognized community college in immediate proximity that together have enrollments of more than 12,000 students. The airport itself employs just over 100 people, but the annual economic impact from the activity at the airport and from the commercial tenants who lease space owned by the airport and conduct business there amounts to $685 million, Barry said. In the first quarter of 2013, when a Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 23

PhotoS: city of mesa


198,000-square-foot maintenance, repair and overhaul facility is completed there, up to 500 additional jobs will be brought to the airport.

Attracting major employers

Although Gateway Airport has only offered commercial service for five years, Mesa has been an appealing location for major employers for 30 years. In 1982, Hughes Helicopters relocated from Culver City, Calif. to Mesa so that it could flight-test the Apache helicopter. Among other reasons, the company has cited access to a skilled, educated workforce to meet employment needs and support from state and local government as key factors in its relocation decision. The Mesa facility became Boeing in 1997. “The company has had a wonderful working relationship with the city of Mesa,” says Boeing Site Leader Tony Ham. “We have loaned employees to the city for projects and Boeing employees serve on numerous city boards. The city of Mesa has been responsive to our needs and issues.” And, he said, the city’s general plan has provided compatible land uses surrounding Boeing’s facility. “Other nearby cities have a service and professional economy,” says Henry, “but in addition to that, Mesa has manufacturing and aerospace employers and companies that support the mining industry.” He also praised the city’s outstanding high schools and superb technical school — East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) — all of which allow a seamless transition to either excellent community colleges or the ASU Polytechnic campus. “These institutions produce graduates who are in demand by our major employers,” Henry said. “Mesa really has it all when it comes to ideal site location.” 24 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber


Room to Grow By Debra Gelbart


Mesa offers plenty of opportunities to fill office, industrial and retail space 

Top 10 Mesa employers Across the city of Mesa, office, industrial and retail space is available to meet the needs of entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. In the first quarter of 2012, CoStar Market Snapshot and the City of Mesa’s Office of Economic Development report that more than 370,000 square feet of Class A office is accessible, along with 2.1 million square feet of general office space. About 2.64 million square feet of general industrial space also is available, as is nearly half a million square feet of flex space.

“ Mesa is unique in that the infrastructure in place to support businesses is phenomenal.” — Shea Joachim, Economic Development Project Manager, City of Mesa.

The city owns hundreds of acres of land and is offering space in several strategically located properties, including South Center Campus at 2nd Avenue and Center Street. 26 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

1 Mesa Public Schools: 9,100 2 The Boeing Company: 4,500 3 City of Mesa: 4,200

4 Banner Desert Medical Center: 3,400

5 Banner Baywood Medical Center: 2,000

6 Empire Southwest/ Caterpillar, LLC: 1,800

7 Mountain Vista Medical Center: 800

8 Mesa Community College: 700 9 FedEx Express: 600 10 Mesa Fully Formed: 600

This complex of four buildings is intended for health care, education or office use. On the southwest corner of Mesa Drive and University Drive, a 20-acre parcel is ready for mixed use with residential development. Privately owned Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments is offering hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space in neighborhood and strip centers in central and east Mesa. “Mesa is unique in that the infrastructure in place to support businesses is phenomenal,” said Shea Joachim, economic development project manager for the City of Mesa. “Easy access to two airports and several freeways and highways has become a backbone of job growth and economic development here.” Economic growth in Mesa is supported by an educational infrastructure, too. Mesa recently recruited five private colleges to establish satellite campuses in its downtown: Albright College, Benedictine University, Northern Iowa University, Westminster College and Wilkes University. And ASU Polytechnic in east Mesa “offers precisely the culture we’re looking for to support quality jobs,” Joachim said.


Up, Up and Away  By Stephanie Conner

Williams Air Force Base was once a significant contributor to the East Valley economy. Today, that space at Ray and Sossaman roads in Southeast Mesa is occupied by Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, home to Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines, three flight schools, more than 40 businesses and more than 1,400 on-airport workers. And according to a 2010 economic impact study conducted by Arizona State University, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway contributes $685 million a year to the economy. Last year, about 1 million passengers traveled through Gateway. “We were designated as a reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor,” explains Patrick Oakley, the airport’s community relations coordinator. “But our passenger growth has been better than expected, and we have been re-categorized by the Federal Aviation Administration as a small hub.” Another objective, Oakley notes, was to create high-paying skilled jobs. The airport’s newest tenant, Phoenix-based Able Engineering & Component Services, broke ground on a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility earlier this year. In 2013, more than 300 employees will move in.

28 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

ph oe nix-m esa ga teway

Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport 

“What’s important is that we could’ve lost Able Engineering to another state,” Oakley says. “Everyone is competing for those aviation-related businesses.” There are no plans to make Phoenix-Mesa Gateway a large airport, but as the Valley grows, the airport will continue to help relieve Sky Harbor and support the local economy. “It just makes sense to have multiple airports in such a large metropolitan area,” Oakley says. “We can work together to use both facilities and the airspace as efficiently as possible

Vision and Voices Tony Marinello, Chief Executive Officer, Mountain Vista Medical Center

“ My fundamental objective is to continually assess the health care needs of our community, and to provide high quality medical solutions and services to meet those needs. This focused purpose has earned Mountain Vista nationally recognized designations and certifications, helped launch senior services like geropsych, and resulted in such service-driven collaborations as the Transitional Response Vehicle (TRV) program. Ultimately, we’re here to improve the quality of life for the individuals and communities that we serve.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 29


5 factors that make Mesa an economic star What makes Mesa attractive for new business and expansion 

By Alison Stanton

Mesa is a vibrant and growing community, filled with ample opportunities for people who are looking to open or relocate a business. While there are numerous positive qualities that help set Mesa apart, William J. Jabjiniak, director of the city’s Economic Development Department, said there are five key areas that make Mesa especially attractive for business owners. 1 Leadership. Jabjiniak said that Mesa’s City Council has

clear priorities in regards to economic development. As a whole, he said, the Council as well as the past and current mayors are all forward-thinking, progressive and ultimately successful in helping to bring some significant industries to the city. “When the City Council has a clear and singular voice and is dedicated to growing Mesa, our jobs in this department become so much easier,” he said. 2 Gateway. The rapidly growing Gateway region offers new

and relocating business owners the unique opportunity to be close to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, a thriving commercial airport located next to Arizona State University Polytechnic campus. The synergy between the two locations, Jabjiniak said, will help set the Gateway area apart for years to come. “We have great clusters and available business locations both on and off the airfield,” he noted. 3 Light Rail. With the downtown area currently undergoing

revitalization, and the popular light rail system expanding into the district in the future, Jabjiniak said the city’s center core will also be a shining beacon for business owners. “Having light rail will add to the economic vitality and activities within the downtown area,” he said. “I truly believe that light rail will play a large part in the business community as we plan and prepare for what we are calling the activation of our downtown corridor.”

30 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

4 Education. Thanks to Mesa’s Higher Education Initiative,

five new universities/colleges are getting ready to join the post-secondary fabric of the city. This influx of students will be great news to both small and large business owners who will rely on the pipeline of qualified graduates to work at their companies. “The city of Mesa values education in a very large way, and employers of the future will be able to rely on institutions like A.T. Still University and others to provide them with motivated and high-quality employees,” Jabjiniak said. “These colleges and universities will really help change the face of Mesa, creating quite a dynamic for the city as well as new legacies.” Then, you add to the star factor existing educational institutions such as ASU Polytechnic, A.T. Still University, Mesa Community College and Northern Arizona University’s extended campus in Mesa. 5 Health care. Finally, Jabjiniak said, Mesa is currently

working on a Business Development Strategy for Healthcare and Life Sciences that will help build on the impressive healthcare assets that are already in place throughout the city, including the Banner Simulation Center, A.T. Still University, Mountain Vista Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital, Banner Desert, and Cardon Children’s Medical Center, to name a few.

To stay in touch with Mesa’s economic development progress, visit

ck to ks in Th

Pushing the tech envelope More high-tech companies calling Mesa home  By Stephanie Conner

In the first half of the 20th century, Mesa was largely an agricultural town. But over time, more and more high-tech companies have moved to Mesa to set up shop and take advantage of the city’s educated workforce. The many military families who stayed in Mesa after World War II provided an aviation and defense employment base. Plus, with two airports — Mesa Falcon Field Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport — aerospace has become a natural economic draw for the city. Today, some of the world’s leading aerospace, aviation and defense companies are located here. These companies include: • Cessna Aircraft Company • Allegiant Airlines • The Boeing Company • Lockheed Martin • Embraer • L3 Communications • MD Helicopters • CAE Global Academy • Hawker-Beechcraft • USAF Research Lab • Timken • Silverado Cable The city’s airports serve as a hub for research, manufacturing, software and high-tech business. In fact, more than 100 companies are located near the airports, employing more than 10,000 people. The city’s work to recruit and retain these top employers hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2008, Mesa earned the Expansion Solutions Magazine’s Award of Excellence in Aerospace. And they’re not done yet — by 2015, the city is expected to spend more than $100 million in new infrastructure development. Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 31


“ One of our selling points is that our tax base is lower than some of the surrounding cities, which makes Mesa more affordable.” — Kenny Klaus, Owner, Keller Williams Realty

32 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Th ink stoc k

Photos: city of mesa

Th ink stoc k

Th ink stoc k

No place like home Diverse communities, neighborhoods create unique housing opportunities  Whether you’re in the market for a bungalow on a tree-lined street, a lock-and-leave condo in an upscale setting or a two-story Tuscan villa in a manicured, master-planned subdivision, Mesa’s wealth of family-friendly neighborhoods and housing opportunities have you covered. “Mesa appeals to everyone,” says Kenny Klaus, team leader and owner of the Kenny Klaus Team with Keller Williams Realty in Mesa, which — in the interest of full disclosure — is also the city he calls home. “One of our selling points is that our tax base is lower than some of the surrounding cities, which makes Mesa more affordable.”

Family friendly

Another thing he’s found is that Mesa truly brings families together. “The ‘kids’ — who are married, with a family — move here and then they call us, saying, ‘My parents want to retire’ or ‘My parents want a second home,’ ” he says, describing a frequent scenario. And, as luck would have it, Mesa has a diverse list of housing options, he says. There are single-family homes, multi-plexes, patio homes and condos available and, in and amongst all those, there are one bedroom homes all the way up to residences boasting six or even seven bedrooms. Want a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association? Not a problem, Klaus says. Don’t want an HOA? That’s a little more challenging, he admits, but definitely doable. What’s more is that with all of Mesa’s

By Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell

amenities, residents really don’t need to go anywhere else, he adds, but when they do, freeways and airports are easily accessible.

Affordable homes

While it’s true that homes under $200,000 are not plentiful anywhere in the Valley these days, Klaus says the historically low interest rates make some folks’ mortgage payments “less than a lot of people’s car payments.” “It is a great time to buy,” he says. Although there are far too many communities and subdivisions throughout the city to mention individually, these are a few of note: • Dobson Ranch, established in 1973, was the city’s first planned community. With its array of lakes, parks and pathways and a mix of housing types, it continues to attract homeowners, particularly those who want a home near or on the water. • The city’s downtown is a magnet for those interested in historic properties. Seven districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and bungalows and other homes featuring period architecture make for unique and sought after neighborhoods. Also highly desirable are Las Sendas and Red Mountain Ranch, newer subdivisions located in the far northeastern reaches of the city. Both families and winter visitors flock to the side-by-side communities for their golf courses and stunning views. Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 33

Ivan martinez


Welcome to the neighborhood Exploring Mesa’s Eastmark and other new developments, communities  Mesa residents can plan on getting some new neighbors in the next couple years — maybe several thousand — thanks to an upswing in new-home development.

34 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell

“It’s coming on strong now, and it’s a significant change,” says Kenny Klaus, team leader and owner of the Kenny Klaus Team with Keller Williams Realty in Mesa, commenting on recent

activity compared to the past several years. “New home excitement is coming back.”

Eastmark coming

He says some of the city’s newer communities like Bella Via and Trovita Estates are once again seeing traffic — and subsequently running out of new product — and at least one other huge project is getting closer to becoming a reality. DMB’s Eastmark. Located on the former 3,200-acre site of the former GM Proving Grounds near the southeast corner of Elliot and Ellsworth roads, Eastmark broke ground in May. Seven builders have committed to Eastmark. Dea McDonald, DMB’s Eastmark general manager, told The Arizona Republic in a June 29 article that “the commitment of these builders represents an unprecedented level of confidence in Arizona’s residential market backed by promising economic indicators.” The mixed-use development will feature a 100-acre central park, a large commercial hub, and, eventually, 15,000 dwellings;

700 single-family homes are expected to be available by the middle of next year. (Incidentally, yes, Eastmark has its own Facebook page.)

Building excitement

“Eastmark is the most anticipated project right now,” Klaus says, “because it’s truly going to be a master-planned community with some great builders, including Maracay, Taylor Morrison, Standard Pacific and Meritage. Residents are going to be close to the 202 and have views of the Superstitions. They’re definitely planning on making this quite a place.” In the meantime, established communities like Dobson Ranch, Augusta Ranch, Las Sendas and Red Mountain Ranch are holding their own against any and all newcomers. Homeowners in those communities may not be in the market for a new home, but Klaus says many are giving their nests a “new” twist, either by doing a tear-down and a remodel or just a remodel. “Home ownership still is a tremendous value,” he adds.

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 35

Photo: Ivan martinez


Homes with a history

Tree-lined streets wind through some of the Valley’s oldest neighborhoods in Mesa.

Many neighborhoods in Mesa on National Register of Historic Places  Drive around the heart of Mesa, and you’ll easily discover some of the city’s most wonderful treasures — its houses. The city’s neighborhoods are, in fact, home to seven districts on the National Register of Historic Places: Glenwood/Wilbur, Evergreen, Temple, Robson, Fraser Fields, West Side-Clark and West Second Street, which is the oldest. The homes’ architectural styles range from cozy bungalows, like those found in an older district like Robson, to rambling, post-World War II ranches like those that grace Fraser Fields. Lot sizes also range from snug to ample, but one thing ties it all together: pride of ownership, evident in manicured lawns, tidy streets and charming facades. “The city of Mesa actually is older than the state of Arizona, and I think people take great pride in that fact,” says Christopher 36 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell

Glover, a Mesa City Councilmember who was born and raised in Mesa (which was incorporated in 1883, a few decades before Arizona became a state in 1912) and whose district includes many of the historic areas. Glover, whose great-grandparents built a Temple district home that remained in his family for years, notes it’s not easy to find a home for sale in any of these beloved, popular enclaves that are “a legacy of the people who first came here.” But there’s another way to enjoy these historic beauties — perhaps even live vicariously through their owners — if only for a very short while: The Mesa Historical Museum’s annual historic home tour.

Vision and Voices


Jon Gale, a certified public accountant and partner with CliftonLarsonAllen

Enjoying the good life Mesa is one of the most desirable cities in the country for retirees, winter visitors  By Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell

Retirees and winter visitors in search of the good life will find just that — and more — in Mesa, says Craig Ahlstrom Sr. “You have everything here you could possibly need,” says Ahlstrom, a former president and board member of the Mesa Chamber and president and CEO of Farnsworth Development Company, which owns the Sunland Springs Village retirement community. After all, he says, the sunny desert climate and Mesa’s many parks, golf courses and pools offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy hiking, biking, swimming and golf. As for indoor amusements, there are museums and antique stores to peruse, dinner theaters and movie theaters to escape into and libraries to explore. The city’s also the place to catch a Cactus League spring training game, indulge in retail therapy in the charming downtown district or at Superstition Springs Mall or kick up your heels at one of the many dances held ‘round town. “Mesa is one of the huge square-dance capitals of the world,” Ahlstrom says, adding that ballroom dancing and other forms of dance are also huge hits with retirees and winter visitors alike. On a more practical note, the city’s affordability, numerous hospitals and healthcare providers and convenient freeway access — if you do actually need to leave the city’s borders — clearly make it a desirable place to call home, as do its welcoming residents. “Mesa’s just a great, friendly place,” Ahlstrom says.

“ I want to pass on a better community to the next generation and it starts with the people at our organization. Whether we are advising a manufacturer to relocate to Mesa, increasing our participation and giving to the Mesa United Way, or helping a social service agency comply with increasing regulations, my colleagues and I execute our work with the mindset of building future leaders and providing greater opportunities for our city.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 37


Th in ks to


Power Up! New to Mesa? Here’s some useful information to make your move go smoothly  People who are moving to or within Mesa will need to set up different city services and utilities in their new home. Below is a handy guide that features information on how to arrange for everything from electricity and cable television to gas, water and more.

38 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Alison Stanton

For electric, gas, water, wastewater, solid waste and irrigation new accounts, call 480-644-2221 or 866-406-9659 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays or visit and click on “Residential.” People may also e-mail with their questions. Customers who are requesting new residential utility services in Mesa will need to provide their name, social security number (or other government issued identification number), their spouse’s or roommate’s name, the service address as well as a mailing address, home and work numbers, email address, date of birth, and for renters, a copy of the renters/lease agreement. In addition, an identification document like a valid Driver’s license with photograph, Social Security card, unexpired U.S. Military ID and many others is required for all utility transactions. As noted on the website, a utility administrative fee of $11 will be assessed to start up a new utility account in Mesa. Also, different service connection fees will be charged depending on what metered services are activated. For example, electric and water are $16 apiece, and gas is $32. Those wanting to set up cable for their televisions should contact Cox Communications. Cox cable digital television offers customers more than 240 different channels. Cox cable digital TV is usually offered at a discount rate, depending on the customer’s location and what packages they wish to purchase. For more information, visit Satellite television systems have grown in popularity in recent years; residents of Mesa who are looking for this type of service can contact DirecTV at or Dish network at To start landline phone service, call 800-244-1111 or visit CenturyLink at and click on the “Moving?” tab. The company can also help with cable television set up if so desired.


High grades for education From K to college, learning is a priority in Mesa  Mesa is a great place to raise a family — and the city’s high quality educational offerings are part of that. From kindergarten through college, there are many stand-out schools and educational programs in the city. The new Mesa Center for Higher Education is one of the most anticipated developments in the city. MCHE building, centrally located in downtown Mesa, is being transformed into a shared academic campus for several new colleges and universities expanding into Mesa. Those are: Albright College, Westminster College and Wilkes University. Revitalization plans for the 53,000-square-foot building are currently underway with construction completed by July 2013. Also coming to Mesa in 2013 are Benedictine University and Upper Iowa University. Also, A.T. Still Unversity and Northern Arizona University’s expanded campus in Mesa give students a plethora of degree options. Here’s a closer look at Mesa’s educational landscape:

Mesa Public Schools  Mesa Public Schools (MPS) is comprised of

82 schools that offer a wide range of programs. Some of their unique offerings include a biotechnology program,

40 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Michelle Talsma Everson

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and dual language education. “Mesa Public Schools delivers innovative education built on a tradition of success,” says Helen Hollands, a district spokesperson. “Many students, staff members and schools have been recognized by state and national organizations for their excellence.”

Mesa Community College  Mesa Community College (MCC) serves 40,000 students annually at its two campuses and downtown center. Offering more than 200 degrees and transfer programs, MCC is a great educational option for students in all walks of life. The college also has a growing presence downtown. “The Mesa Community College Downtown Center offers a broad array of services to meet the needs of our community by focusing on workforce development, education, community outreach and engagement,” says Angela Askey, a college spokesperson.

East Valley Institute of Technology  As a leader in technology education, the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) offers high school students

PHOTOS: Ivan Martinez

tuition-free, career-specific training. While most of its offerings — in everything from automotive technology to the culinary arts — are geared toward high school students, EVIT also includes a career center for adults. The latest addition, their East Campus, opened last year. “The growth of the aviation industry in Arizona and close proximity to Mesa-Gateway Airport made the East Campus the ideal location to expand and feature our Aviation programs,” says EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey.

Arizona State University Polytechnic  ASU Polytechnic is a top-notch

place for students interested in technological programs. With an emphasis on experiential learning, the campus is home to high tech laboratories, flight simulators, a fabrication studio, and more. “At Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus we believe how our students learn is as important as what our students learn,” says Mitzi Montoya, vice provost at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation. “…Our partnerships with Mesa companies like Boeing, Mesa Arts Center, Banner Health and Lockheed Martin allow our students to learn the practical and technical skills that will help them find jobs and be successful after graduation.” Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 41


Vision and Voices Jill Kusy Hegardt, Vice President of Public Affairs and Economic Development DMB Associates Inc.

“ One of our key projects is the development of Eastmark, a 3,200 acre integrated community in the Gateway region. Our leadership team has taken an active role in local community groups to understand the priorities of the area. Our strategic approach to economic development and business attraction will continue to rely on the active partnership with regional business leaders and the City. Partnership and legacy are core values for everyone at DMB Associates Inc.”

TAKE THE NEXT STEP TO SEE WHERE YOUR FUTURE COULD TAKE YOU... Albright DCP courses are accelerated, meaning that the work is condensed into a five to seven week period. All of the degree programs are designed to be completed in 22-24 months of instruction. Major: organizational behavior/applied psychology Profession: senior vice president, director of corporate training


Ne Never underestimate the power of an education. on. – Kay Burky

What programs will be offered? ■ Information Systems ■ Organizational Behavior/Applied Psychology ■ Business Administration Student should have an Associates degree or equivalent college credits.

The program is designed to meet the needs of adults who wish to pursue a college education while working. Classes meet for four hours, one night a week, leaving students free to complete the remaining coursework whenever it is most convenient for them.

Mesa Financial Plaza 1201 South Alma School Road, Suite 5400 Mesa, Arizona 85210 42 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Contact us for appointments and additional information email: 855.252.2749


MCC sets bar high for academic excellence Mesa Community College offers more 180 degrees and transfer programs  The mission of our nation’s colleges is to educate and empower people for success through learning. Arizona’s Mesa Community College is a shining example of how a college operates, providing a wide range of program options that allow students to meet their learning and career goals. The college has built a reputation for providing a first-rate intellectual learning environment that is responsive, adaptable and inclusive. Today, with more than 40,000 students annually, MCC is one of 10 colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District and is the largest in the United States. “We offer more than 100 career and technical programs, as well as 150 degrees and transfer

44 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

“ At MCC, we continue to prepare students for the rigors of upper level computer science courses by stressing a firm foundation in programming language skills.” — Karl Zerangue, Computer Science Professor, Mesa Community College

By Shari Cohen

programs,” said Angela Askey, MCC media relations coordinator. “And we have numerous online classes which give students a wide range of program options to meet their learning and career goals.” One of the college’s fastest growing areas includes programs in biotechnology and computer science. “The biotech program at Mesa Community Colleges combines rigorous academic and hands-on training to prepare individuals for a career in the biological sciences,” says Stanley Kikkert, biotechnology program director. “Graduates of the biotechnology program have found employment at various laboratories in the Phoenix area including

Mesa Community College Photo: MESA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Mesa Community College, with two campuses and five affiliate locations, is dedicated to students’ academic and career success.

Translational Genomics (Tgen) and Genosensor. Several are currently enrolled in Masters, Ph.D and PharmD programs at ASU, NAU, UA and Stanford University.” For the past several semesters, Karl Zerangue, of MCC’s Computer Science Faculty, has seen enrollment increase. “At MCC, we continue to prepare students for the rigors of upper level computer science courses by stressing a firm foundation in programming language skills. This includes object-oriented techniques and data structures, digital and logic design, as well as an overview of different programming paradigms,” Zerangue says. Comprehensive transfer degrees, technical programs and student services enhance the full collegiate experience for the students at MCC. With its positive learning environment and cutting-edge instruction, Mesa Community College excels at providing the tools necessary to succeed in the local and global community.

Mesa Community College


or 47 years, Mesa Community College has been providing outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to Mesa and East Valley residents.

At its two state of the art campuses and Downtown Center, MCC offers more than 150 Associate of Applied Science Degrees and Certificates of Completion, numerous transfer programs and over 500 online classes. In addition, continuing and community education offers hundreds of noncredit personal-interest classes. Customized noncredit training for the local business community is available through the Center for Workforce and Community Partnerships. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering individuals to succeed in our local and global community. Mesa Community College is one of 10 colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. It is the largest, serving over 40,000 students annually.

Mesa Community College MCC at Southern & Dobson 1833 W. Southern Ave, Mesa 480-461-7000

MCC at Red Mountain 7110 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa 480-654-7200 Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 45



New approach to learning EVIT recognized nationally for innovative education and groundbreaking curriculum  Mesa’s East Valley Institute of Technology is a perfect environment for high school students to pursue their passion. As a school built on innovation and creativity, EVIT’s curriculum features a wide selection of opportunities to apply classroom education to real-world problems and projects.

46 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Shari Cohen

Hands-on learning allows students to earn elective credits in 35 occupation-specific programs including culinary arts, firefighting, police and EMT programs, welding, radio broadcasting and marketing. Almost all of this coursework leads to professional certificates. “The thing that makes me most proud, is that at EVIT we have really gone to work and raised the bar, making sure that kids are in the right program and teachers are teaching and on fire about their profession,” says Sally Downey, EVIT’s superintendent. “It’s about finding their passion and building on it. “EVIT requires the students to have internships and to work in the real world as part of their education,” Downey says. “I know that in our culinary program, we have kids working on weekends at 5-star restaurants such as Tarbells and the Sanctuary.” The EVIT is also home to the only National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation NATEF-certified collision repair program in the state of Arizona. “It boasts one of the highest internship placement rates in the nation and that is pretty spectacular,” Downey says. A new program recently launched is HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) that teaches students the fundamentals of electricity, thermodynamics, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning cycle. Upheld as a model for career and technical education by the U.S. Department of Education, EVIT provides students with the advanced skills and training needed to thrive in today’s competitive job market.

Benedictine University

Benedictine University at Mesa


enedictine University was founded in 1887 as an independent Roman Catholic institution. In January, the University was invited by the city of Mesa’s Higher Education Recruitment Initiative to open a downtown branch campus.

Benedictine University officials are confident that expanding into Mesa will fit the school’s mission to offer students a faith-based, values-centered liberal arts education based in history and Catholic heritage. This fall, Benedictine will begin its business operations at a services center in downtown Mesa, and will offer classes in Fall 2013. Initial offerings will include bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts, Criminal Justice, Communication Arts, Psychology, Theology, Nutrition, and Business Administra-

tion in Management and Organizational Behavior. Balance in mind, body and spirit is at the core of a Benedictine education. University officials expect to add residential facilities and longrange plans include a full-range of academic programs and extracurricular offerings including athletics. Benedictine is hiring instructors, support and administrative staff directly from the Mesa community. Benedictine’s reputation for offering outstanding programs in science, business, health, education and the liberal arts has caught the eye of various publications. “The Chronicle of Higher Education” ranked Benedictine University as the No. 1 fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit research universities, and “Forbes” magazine

named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for the second consecutive year. The new Mesa branch campus will provide students with a private values- and leadership-based education available in an inclusive environment where all students are encouraged to think critically and flourish.

Benedictine University at Mesa 51 E. Main St., Ste. 105 Mesa, AZ 85201 602.888.5500


In good health Mesa is home to several of the country’s finest hospitals  If you or a loved one needs medical care, Mesa is the place to be. Home to a variety of world-class healthcare facilities, here is a look at just a few of the quality local healthcare hubs.

Arizona Regional Medical Center  With the motto “your hometown hospital,” Arizona Regional Medical Center (ARMC) has two locations in Mesa and Apache Junction. Both facilities offer acute care services and are 89 percent physician-owned. With the latest high tech equipment, ARMC offers a variety of care specialties, including expertise in cardiac health, bariatric procedures, orthopedics, and more.

48 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Michelle Talsma Everson

Banner Heart Hospital  One of the largest freestanding heart hospitals in the nation, Banner Heart Hospital staff “provide the latest heart care technology in an environment of clinical excellence, compassion and healing.” With a growing medical staff of cardiac experts, this hospital is the state’s only Accredited Heart Failure Institute and home to the area’s only Women’s Heart Center.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center  While it’s located in Gilbert, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center serves patients from across the East Valley. This unique facility represents a partnership between the Banner healthcare system and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Tex. “Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center provides

evidence-based, multidisciplinary cancer care to patients and their caregivers,” says Susan Gordon Karesky, director of public relations. “This includes a focused, disease-specific approach to the treatment of cancer, combining state-of-the-art technology, expertise in a variety of supportive care areas, and access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies.”

Cardon Children’s Medical Center  Established in 2009, Cardon Children’s Medical Center caters to the youngest of patients. With an emphasis on making the hospital experience as comfortable as possible for children and their families, Cardon Children’s offers a wide array of medical services provided by specially trained staff. Some of their offerings include

an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a top-notch pediatric emergency department.

Mountain Vista Medical Center  Located in East Mesa, Mountain Vista Medical Center offers comprehensive care in a state-of-the-art environment. With 178 beds, the center is home to an array of services. “What distinguishes us from others is our national quality recognitions. Mountain Vista is ranked among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide and is designated 2012 Distinguished Hospital Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades in seven categories,” Mountain Vista CEO Tony Marinello says. The center has also earned many other local, regional and national designations.

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 49

Photo: Rick Delia


When virtual care meets reality Banner Simulation Medical Center offers state-of-the-art training  With all of the bells and whistles of a state-of-the-art hospital, the Banner Simulation Medical Center features an ICU, emergency department, operating rooms, and more — yet, all of its patients are computerized mannequins.

50 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Michelle Talsma Everson

Within its 55,000 square feet of space, Banner Health nurses, physicians and other medical professionals update their skills by treating virtual patients in a safe learning environment to help them prepare to treat real patients at their home hospitals. “We train new and experienced nurses here to see their baseline of skills and to improve their areas of opportunity,” explains the center’s senior manager, Terry Chavez, MSN, RN-BC. “Then, we train specific to what they need. The simulation center provides our nurses and physicians with the support and tools they need to provide better patient “ We train new and outcomes.” Open since late 2009, the experienced nurses center is used mainly for here to see their nurses who are recently hired to the Banner Healthcare baseline of skills and system. But, physicians and to improve their areas other medical professionals have been trained there of opportunity.” as well, especially when — Terry Chavez, senior working on a new procedure, manager, Banner Chavez says. Simulation Medical Center Located in downtown Mesa, the Banner Simulation Medical Center is one of the largest simulation centers in the world and thousands of nurses have gone through their programs. “The simulation center’s philosophy and overall feel fit right in to the downtown Mesa community,” remarks Fidelia Newell, RN, BSN, MHI, also a senior manager. In the center, nurses and others in training use the same technology that they would on the job. To learn more about Banner Simulation Medical Center, visit

Vision and Voices

“ I am an advocate for arts and culture in the City of Mesa. One of my goals is to engage our community in creative activities that can enrich lives and provide fun opportunities to learn. To this end, we’re expanding the MAC’s education and outreach programs, and paving new paths for people to become involved. Our extraordinary cultural institutions will help define Mesa as a place that nurtures creativity and innovation.”

Emily Piraino

Cindy Ornstein, Arts & Culture Director for the City of Mesa and the Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center (MAC)

Mountain Vista Medical Center


n July 2007, Mountain Vista Medical Center opened its doors to provide health care to the East Valley. Mountain Vista is a 178-bed, state-of-the-art hospital that offers

its patients an array of comprehensive health care services including emergency, cardiovascular, gastroenterology, radiology, neurology, women’s care and many others. Over 750 employees, 100 volunteers and 640 physicians work together to provide high-quality care to members of the East Mesa community. As a Primary Stroke Center, Chest Pain Center, and the first Provisional Level III Trauma Center in the East Valley, Mountain Vista Medical Center has attained national accreditations and certifications that help raise the standard of health care for its patients. Mountain Vista Medical Center was also named a 2012 Distinguished Hospital of Clinical Excellence™ by HealthGrades®, which also awarded

the hospital five-star ratings in 12 medical categories, including cardiology, pulmonology, joint replacement and gastrointestinal care.

Mountain Vista Medical Center 1301 S. Crismon Rd. Mesa, AZ 85209 480-658-6100 Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 51


Mesa offers world-class quality of life Big-city amenities with small-town charm 

By Rhonda Paschal

Few towns can offer all the advantages of a big city while maintaining an intimate, small-town feel. Mesa is one of those communities. Look at the award-winning Mesa Arts Center, attracting visitors from across the Southwest. Or the Arizona Museum of National History, which is the largest, most comprehensive of its kind in the state. Then there’s Cactus League baseball at Hohokam Park, along with easy access to parks, golf courses, schools, churches and other services. Fact is, Mesa is providing its residents with world-class quality of life that would rival any large metropolitan area in the country.

Residents find niche

Long-time Mesa resident Gary Brown is like many people who moved to the city with his family as a youngster. Like many 52 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

people originally from cold climates, Brown’s family left Canada to escape the long, snowy winters. He has called the city home since 1956, starting his own business — Surf and Ski Enterprises — in 1968. “We’ve been in downtown Mesa the entire time,” said Brown about his screen-printing, embroidery and promotional items business. “My first location here was so small that it was only six feet wide, 30 feet long and 180 square feet. Now we have 16,000 square feet plus another building for off-site storage.”

Work, live, play

Families relocating to Mesa have their pick of several schools in the area, including Mesa public schools, Mesa Community College, East Valley Institute of Technology, Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, Keller Graduate School of

Photos: City of Mesa

Photos: Ivan Martinez

Management, Arizona School of Health Sciences, and other educational institutions. Not only can city’s residents choose to play and go to school close to home, but thanks to several large employer groups, including Boeing, SRP, Banner Health, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, they can also work close to home. Sally Harrison, acting president and CEO at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, predicts continued growth for the city. “With a strong economic development team at the city and a council to back them up, we continue to draw the attention of businesses and educational institutions that want to move to Mesa and be a part of the great things that are happening here,” stated Harrison. According to Harrison, “Aviation continues to be a big factor in many opportunities here in Mesa.”

Naming its world-class arts center, strong school system, and great residential areas as some of its best qualities and attributes, Harrison has no doubt that Mesa is an ideal choice for a permanent home to both newcomers and its long-time residents. “Our community has pushed along the way for great things to happen in our city. It’s because of this, the residents and businesses in Mesa expect and deserve the best.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 53



The Chicago Cubs will have a new spring training home when the team takes to the field on 2014. The $99 million stadium will be state-of-the-art and will host various community events in the off season.

Let’s Play Ball, Mesa Wrigley-like feel to Chicago Cubs new park 

By Brian Sodoma

In July, city officials and Chicago Cubs ownership put shovels to dirt on the new Chicago Cubs spring training stadium located at the southeast corner of loops 101 and 202, the former Riverview Golf Course site. The new facility should be ready for the first pitch of the 2014 Cactus League season, said Scot Rigby, the city’s project manager for the development. The new stadium will have 10,000 permanent seats and 5,000 berm seats. It will also have some Wrigley Field aesthetics with a left field terrace similar to the Chicago park’s left field wall area and other Wrigley-like touches. The $99 million complex will include seven practice fields, two for year-round Cubs use. While currently in negotiations, if ASU’s baseball club signs on, it’ll have a dedicated field as well. 54 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

The other four fields can be used by the city for adult recreational leagues when spring training or other events are not happening, added Rigby. Just east of the stadium is Riverview Park, which will be renovated and expanded, with a larger fishing lake and more kid amenities. There is also more acreage to the east of the site, tentatively referred to as “Wrigley-ville West,” which is slated for possible future restaurants, entertainment complexes and nightlife attractions. “The idea is between the park renovation and the other commercial development we can get this kind of constant activity going on there,” Rigby says.

Vision and Voices Hohokam history....

Did you know? • When the Cubs first called Mesa their spring home in 1952, they played at Rendezvous Park. High spectator counts were a problem. So the team rented extra bleachers and 500 wooden chairs it called “box seats.” • Originally a Texas Ranger, Cub great Sammy Sosa was with the Chicago White Sox in anonymity for three seasons before striking home run gold with the Cubs. • Wrigley Field has only had lights since 1988. • Known for a long championship drought, the Cubs were a World Series mainstay in the early 1900s. The team went to the final in 1906, 1907, 1908 and 1910, beating the Detroit Tigers in both the 1907 and 1908 series. • The Cubs moniker came in 1903. Prior to that the club held several different names, among them: Orphans, Colts, Black Stockings and White Stockings.

Formerly known as Hohokam Park, Hohokam Stadium was built in 1997 on a site next door to the old Hohokam Park, the Cubs’ spring training home since 1979, which was demolished to make way for the current stadium. With the new 12,500-seater, the Cubs drew an attendance record in 2009, topping 203,000 fans for its 19 home Cactus League games. Ironically, the Oakland A’s, with whom the City of Mesa is currently in talks with to occupy Hohokam once the Cubs’ new stadium is built, were its first tenants in 1977. The club also trained in Mesa’s Rendezvous Park since 1969, which was demolished to make way for Hohokam Park. The stadium’s name has a prominent place in Arizona history. “Hohokam” is a Pima word meaning “those who are gone” and refers to a very advanced prehistoric civilization that lived in the area from roughly 1 A.D. to about 1450. It is best known for its many irrigation canals and water systems throughout the Valley.

T h in k s

toc k

Dr. Michael Cowan, Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools

“ I understand that along with our other obligations to the community, everyone at Mesa Public Schools must prepare our students to be active and engaged members of the community. For example, we are currently undertaking a school-wide initiative to dramatically increase the use of technology in the classrooms. I firmly believe that our district “starts” the economic engine and the City “revs that engine,” moving workforce and economic development forward in Mesa.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 55

Photo: city of mesa


Arts flourish at Mesa Arts Center Arizona’s largest arts center is also recognized internationally  Hard to beat a facility that has, literally, everything. With four theaters, 14 visual and performing arts studios, and a museum of contemporary art, it’s no wonder the Mesa Arts Center (affectionately called the MAC) was recently recognized by the International Association of Venue Managers with the Award of Excellence for Performing Arts Centers. The MAC beat out fellow finalists, the Sydney (Australia) Opera House and the Tampa Center for the Performing Arts, for the award. The MAC is situated on seven acres, and at more than 212,770 square feet, is the largest arts center in the state. People know a good thing when they see it! More than 387,380 visitors from across Arizona and the Southwest visited the center in 2011. “The Mesa Arts Center truly offers something for everyone,” says Cindy Ornstein, the MAC’s executive director. “World-class performances by international touring artists, great shows by regional companies, hundreds of studio classes for adults and children, festivals, outreach and education programs, and contemporary art exhibitions.” Clearly one of Mesa’s brightest cultural stars, the state-of-the art center enhances each visitor’s experience from the time they arrive at the facility and are greeted by glass walls and pergolas, 56 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Rhonda Paschal

sloping roofs, angled structures, regional colors and materials, and other stunning architectural features. A short 30-minute drive from most areas of the Valley, the MAC has certainly evolved from its humble beginnings when it was housed in the “Art Barn” in the 1970s, before the city of Mesa acquired the Irving School on Center Street in 1980 and moved all cultural programs to the Irving School location. Known early on as the Mesa Activity Center, the center was destined for greatness, serving more than a million visitors at its old location before closing its doors in 2004, and making the move to its current address at 1 East Main Street in downtown Mesa on the southeast corner of Main and Center streets. And the best is yet to come! “We recently changed our MAC Store to an Artists Cooperative Gallery, featuring works of art by Arizona artists who help direct and run the gallery,” Ornstein says. “We’ve partnered with local promoters to increase the variety and number of concerts by popular musicians, which has been bringing many new people to the center. People can expect this growth to continue, and we welcome input from the public on what they’d like to see at the MAC.” Visit to learn more about the Mesa Arts Center facility and programs.

Photo: Arizona Museum for youth

IMAGE: In interior shot of a museum mentioned below; could be a family enjoying the exhibit.

A world of discovery

All the colors of the rainbow can be found at ArtVille, which is one of the many attractions inside the Arizona Museum for Youth.

Mesa museums and cultural attractions offer education, family fun  A world of whimsy, a kaleidoscope of color and giant dinosaurs that seem to touch the sky. Oh what fun we can have at two of Mesa’s treasured attractions. Mesa is home to two other unique cultural attractions — the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Arizona Museum for Youth. During fiscal year 2012, the two venues welcomed a combined 223,587 visitors through their doors.

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Whether panning for gold or uncovering dinosaur bones, visitors of all ages can get down and dirty in the Paleo Dig Pit at the Arizona Museum of Natural History, which is the largest and most comprehensive natural history museum in the state. Boasting an extensive collection, exhibitions and programs in paleontology, archeology and southwest history and culture, this museum offers visitors hands-on opportunities to learn about creatures — both big and small — from another time. “The exhibitions are fun and accessible, and people of all ages find them interesting and fun,” explained Cindy Ornstein, who oversees both the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Arizona Museum for Youth. “It has an extraordinary collection and is engaged in field work in both paleontology and archeology, so we have expertise on staff to not only shed

By Rhonda Paschal

light on these subjects for the non-scientist, but also to work at finding and learning about new specimens or artifacts that we can then share with visitors.”

Arizona Museum for Youth

The Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) is a visual art museum for children and families that features fun and interactive arts experiences, and exhibitions that incorporate both original art and hands-on activities. AMY provides families the opportunity to have fun and explore their creativity together. “At the Arizona Museum for Youth, visitors with preschool children are big fans of Artville, a creative play space specifically designed for small children,” added Ornstein. “The exhibitions in the past year have ranged from The Art of Warner Brothers Cartoons to the current Extreme Pets exhibition, which has been hugely successful.” In addition to the Arizona Museum of Natural History and AMY, the Mesa Historical Museum recently opened a downtown site at 51 E. Main Street, adjacent to the Mesa Arts Center. For concertgoers who enjoy an outdoor venue, the Mesa Amphitheatre, located at 263 N. Center St., serves as an ideal location for daylong festivals and community events. Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 57

Mesa embraces diversity of religion  It doesn’t matter if you’re Roman Catholic or Baptist, Jewish or Episcopalian, you’ll find welcome arms in Mesa. Long-time resident Gary Brown moved to Mesa as a youngster and remembers warm weather and maintaining strong ties to his family’s religion were important deciding factors when it came to settling on a place to call home. In fact, the family chose Mesa over Palm Springs, Calif., to continue to be part of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and decided to settle in Mesa because of its close proximity to Arizona State University and the LDS Church. “Back then, only 25,000 people or 20 percent of the city was LDS,” Brown says. That number has grown exponentially. You’ll

58 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Rhonda Paschal

find many different denominations, people who are connected to their spiritual and religious roots, Brown says. “Newcomers to the area can expect to see Catholic, Evangelical, Presbyterian, LDS, Methodist, Church of God, and numerous non-denominational churches throughout the city. Mesa is a city that embraces religious diversity and practices spiritual tolerance.” Additionally, there are several mosques located in the Phoenix metro area, including the Islamic Center of the East Valley in Chandler. Mesa is also home to the Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Center.



Photo: City of Mesa


Get out and play! Take advantage of Mesa’s year-round sunshine  Mesa offers a plethora of wonderful outdoor activities that are perfect for everyone from the novice golfer to the more experienced hiker and everyone in between. Throughout the

60 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

How about a day at the old ballpark? While a Cubs spring training game is a great way to enjoy a day in the sun, Mesa is also home to nearly 60 parks.

By Alison Stanton

city, dozens of parks, pools and golf courses beckon to both residents and visitors, tempting them to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather. The Mesa Parks and Recreation Department operates more than 58 parks and seven sports complexes/recreation centers. These various facilities give kids and adults alike a pleasant and inviting place to play, picnic and more. During the long hot summer months, the city operates nine pools that offer residents a cool respite from the heat. For example, Falcon Hill Park, located near McKellips and Power roads, features playgrounds, horseshoes, a lighted full-sized basketball court, lighted sand volleyball, and picnic facilities spread over 22 acres of land. For more information on the city’s parks and recreation facilities, visit For those who love to get out and hit the links, Mesa is home to a wide variety of golf courses, some of which were designed by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye. According to, there are more than 40 golf courses within a 30 minute drive from downtown. Some of the courses feature breathtaking desert scenery while others look more traditional; all are sure to provide golfers with an enjoyable experience. People who wish to experience the beauty of nature up close and personal will not be disappointed with the variety of hiking trails that are located throughout the Mesa area. Hikers of all ages and skill levels are sure to find a path that suits them. Usery Mountain Regional Park is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bike riders and those on horseback. With more than 29 miles of trails to choose from, and distances ranging from 0.2 miles to over 7, the park truly offers a hiking experience for everyone.

Vision and Voices Melissa Buxton, Senior Manager, Marketing, for Superstition Springs Center and SanTan Village

“ As someone who lives and works in Mesa, I am most proud of our involvement in the community and our first-to-the-market stores and amenities. Education is an important focus for us, and we have contributed a lot of time, resources and funds to support local schools and community groups such as Mesa United Way, United Food Bank and, of course, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 61


Brands, bargains and boutiques Mesa is a shopper’s paradise 

By Alison Stanton

From the casual shopper to devout shop-a-holics, Mesa has a bevy of outstanding shopping opportunities throughout the city. Begin at Village Square at Dana Park. This unique retail haven offers 70 acres of premium shopping. The center features a variety of high-end retailers and popular restaurants combined with gorgeous amenities like cobblestone pavers, exquisite domes and inviting patios where hungry shoppers can enjoy a delicious meal in the warm Arizona air. Village Square at Dana Park is located at 1758 S Val Vista Dr. Info: Fiesta Mall is a well-established indoor mall that is home to many well-known department stores, specialty shops and tasty restaurants. Anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s and Sears, the mall has a total of 140 stores and food choices, along with plenty of parking. From shopping for the latest fashion and shoes to grabbing a quick bite for lunch, the conveniently-located Fiesta 62 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

Mall has it all. Fiesta Mall is located at 1445 W Southern Ave., #2104. Info: With more than 150 stores and eateries, it is no surprise that Superstition Springs Center is a popular place to gather. Where else can kids enjoy a ride on a double-decker carousel or cavort in the indoor play area while mom or dad takes a break from shopping? The mall also has an outdoor amphitheater, which features a free series of concerts. Superstition Springs Center is located at 6555 E Southern Ave. Info: Since it opened for business, Power Square Mall has given shoppers a unique variety of merchandise from which to choose, all at reasonable prices. The community shopping center offers people a variety of national tenants and familiar brands at classic outlet prices. The mall features both antiques and a variety of

Photo: City of Mesa

There’s no shortage of shopping and people-watching opportunities in Mesa.

boutiques. Power Square Mall is located at 2055 S Power Rd. Info: Mesa Riverview is Mesa’s largest retail shopping center. With more than 1.3 million square feet of retail space, shoppers of all ages are sure to find something they cannot live without. Mesa Riverview offers shoppers an impressive mix of shops and restaurants, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Kirkland’s, Home Depot, Famous Dave’s Barbeque and Cracker Barrel. One of the most popular shops at Mesa Riverview is Bass Pro Shops, which first opened in June 2007. The retailer stocks just about anything for avid fans of the outdoors, including fishing tackle and equipment, camping gear, hunting supplies, marine equipment, and much more. Mesa Riverview is located at 1061 N Dobson Rd. Info: Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 63


Dining out Get the ‘dish’ on 5 of Mesa’s culinary treasures  Mesa has deep roots in Arizona history, dating back to its first U.S. Army settlement in the late 1800s. So it’s not surprising that much of the city’s cuisine has long focused on the classics — hearty American fare such as the magnificent beef stroganoff found at the legendary Landmark Restaurant that’s housed in a former 1908 Mormon Church, or rib-sticking Mexican food from Matta’s, famous since 1953 for its gooey chilaquiles casserole and chile rellenos. Yet modern day Mesa has evolved into a delicious melting pot of delicious foods. Diners can find virtually any style of sustenance they crave, with eateries on nearly every corner. Here are five of our favorite spots to take a mini-tour of the world.

Moki’s Hawaiian Grill

3614 E. Southern Ave. 480-830-6654 Just in case you’re wondering where to get that whole suckling pig for your luau, Moki’s will happily cater it for you. Or, you can stop in on a Friday night when this family-owned eatery puts together luau feasts of their own, plus enjoy succulent slow-roasted Kalua pork any day of the week, finished in Hawaiian salt over shredded cabbage. Owner Masa Tukuafu is from Polynesia, and this taste of the Islands is authentic, from seared mahi mahi with macaroni salad, to the loco moco of sirloin beef patty over rice topped in eggs and brown gravy. Savor a mango shake or pineapple ice cream, too.

La Cucina di Venti

233 E. Brown Rd. 480-969-1621 Those looking to enjoy an Italian meal in a rustic setting should visit La Cucina di Venti, owned by Michael and Amy Brown. The food is baked fresh daily, including traditional pizzas made with imported Italian water. An extensive wine list will create the perfect complement to any meal.

64 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Carey Sweet and Nick Kostenko

TC Eggington’s

1660 S. Alma School Rd. 480-345-9288 If you like to start your morning with a scrumptious breakfast, visit TC Eggington’s for some of their English Toast made with cinnamon bread and custard-rich dipping batter. Founded by Thom and Kathy Coker, the restaurant cooks over 8,000 eggs a week and offers their special “Smoothie Shoogles,” an English-style shake.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

1740 S. Clearview Ave. 480-654-9099 This popular Italian grill provides you with a world-class atmosphere for a reasonable price. The menu features popular Italian cuisine such as Marsala and pasta stuffed with everything from cheese to seafood. Those with a sweet tooth should sink their teeth into of the Chocolate Dream’s many layers.

Anzio Landing

2831 N. Power Rd. 480-832-1188 Enjoy an outdoor fireplace or watch the staff prepare your favorite meal in the open kitchen at Anzio Landing. This Italian restaurant has a plethora of meat and seafood dishes covered in homemade sauces such as creamy garlic alfredo and sweet marsala.

Fiesta Mall

Fiesta Mall Since the day it opened for business in 1979, Fiesta Mall has strived to offer shoppers a wide variety of stores and restaurants that offer high quality merchandise and delicious food. Over the years, the indoor mall has earned a well-deserved reputation for its welcoming atmosphere, wide variety of name-brand anchor stores, and for being a unique and enjoyable place to shop. Shoppers who are looking for a new outfit or a new outlook will not be disappointed— Fiesta Mall is sure to have what they are looking for. With dozens of stores offering the most up-to-date styles and fashions, the center is a perfect one-stop fashion destination. At 933,000 total square feet, Fiesta Mall is incredibly spacious and is the home to many major retailers, including Macy’s, Sears, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s Clearance Center. Hungry shoppers appreciate the many choices of

eateries; Panda Express, In-N-Out Burger, Sbarro and Subway offer people the chance to sit down and recharge their shopping batteries with some tasty fare. A renovation in 2008 upgraded the look of the mall and helped to revitalize it and the surrounding area. Conveniently located off the U.S. 60 and Alma School Rd., and close to the Loop 101 and Loop 202, Fiesta Mall is easy to get to from anywhere in Mesa. Parking is also easy to find in its generously-sized lot. Fiesta Mall welcomes children from throughout the community to the colorful play area and for its familyfriendly programs. The mall is a convenient, family friendly shopping destination that works hard to serve the needs of the diverse East Valley community. Fiesta Mall also embraces the growing and underserved Hispanic population

in the East Valley, many of whom live very close to the center. Local families enjoy the mall’s Hispanic traditional cultural celebrations, weekend entertainment lineups, and variety of Legacy events and programs. The mall’s own official Mariachi enhances the location’s appeal as a Hispanic family destination as well as a great place to shop, eat and visit.

Fiesta Mall 1445 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, AZ 85202 480.833.4121

Looking Ahead

66 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

HEAT is on for Mesa Economic development inititatives to set up city for future  In a world of budget shortfalls and high unemployment, few cities can claim to be as proactive as Mesa. Among its strongest efforts is its H.E.A.T. (healthcare, education, aerospace, tourism/ technology) economic development initiative, which works to nurture the city’s “industries of opportunity.”

Education outreach

Education is at the forefront of the initiative, according to William Jabjiniak, economic development director for the city. About a year-and-a-half ago, Mesa officials embarked on an aggressive outreach plan to bring educational institutions offering undergraduate and graduate level degrees to the city. Mesa officials mailed more than 8,000 invitations and received 12 qualified responses. While the statistic may not seem impressive, five established institutions, the youngest of which is 80 and the oldest 157 years old, are making their way to Mesa.

By Brian Sodoma

They are Benedictine University, Westminster College, Albright College, Upper Iowa University and Wilkes University. “We want to give an alternative to the big state institution. These are small liberal arts schools. It will allow students to have that choice for a smaller environment,” Jabjiniak added. “And it’s also a great chance for redevelopment downtown.”

Heathcare recruitment

Mesa is also in the midst of developing a healthcare recruitment strategy. The city is blessed with more than a half dozen full size and specialty hospitals, said Jabjiniak, and its time to build on that foundation. Under consideration is adding more specialty hospitals focusing on certain diseases. In addition, the city is also entertaining the question of whether there are partnership opportunities with specialty centers around the valley as well. “We’re looking to see who we can target and the recruitment strategy will follow,” Jabjiniak said. Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 67

Looking Ahead

Coming soon! Photo: city of mesa

Mesa’s economic development efforts are bringing jobs to the community today, educational opportunities for tomorrow and endless possibilities for the future. Here are five areas of development activity that could be game-changers and city-shapers for years to come.

rt ine Ph oto: iva n Ma


The Cubs — Yes, the new $99 million stadium, located at site of the former Riverview Golf Course will be beautiful, state-of-the-art and so on. But possibly bringing the Oakland A’s to Hohokam could also be a bonus. Not to mention future development adjacent to the new Cubs stadium tentatively referred to as “Wrigley-ville West,” could become a new valley entertainment hot spot. ASU’s baseball club is also in negotiations to use the site for its 30-plus home games.

Transportation and tourism

The economic development pro sees aviation as a potential booming field in Mesa, particularly given the infrastructure in place with Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Established as a mere reliever site for Sky Harbor in 1994, the airport now serves 1.2 million people annually and houses flight schools and has nearby educational institutions. In addition, terminal upgrades are ongoing and the city’s establishment of the Arizona Laboratories for Security and Defense Research, or AZ LABS, is a positive step toward bringing defense research and development to the area. On the tourism front, Jabjiniak can’t say enough about the new under-construction $99 million Cubs stadium at the southeast corner of the intersection of loops 101 and 202. The state-of-the-art training facility also brings the potential for future commercial development on adjacent land. Not to mention, Hohokam Stadium, the current Cubs home, is rumored to be a possible landing place for the Oakland A’s in the future. 68 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

AZLABS — Its nine buildings on 6.5 acres are empty now, but the former Air Force Research Laboratory and the last functioning portion of Williams Air Force Base, closed in 1993, will see new life in coming years. Expect lease announcements from the now city-controlled site in coming years as companies doing aerospace and defense research make their way to Arizona. Able Engineering & Component Services — Moving from Phoenix to Mesa may not seem like a big deal, but the aviation company that has been steadily adding employees and looks to add 100 more after its upcoming move to Gateway Airport could be a catalyst for more economic activity in the area. Kudos to the City of Mesa for finding a way to get a $16 million building built and then leasing the facility to Able. Downtown — Several liberal arts schools are coming to the area, and some 1,500 students could be found in the downtown area on any given weekday. With more schools to come, revitalization efforts are well underway. Airport — With 1.2 million people served annually, several flight schools calling it home and major air carrier support from Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier airlines, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway is becoming an economic force. With future aerospace defense research facilities coming and nearby educational facilities and flight schools to complement, the sky could be the limit for the area.

Vision and Voices Otto Shill, Shareholder at JacksonWhite, Attorneys at Law

“ JacksonWhite is passionate about making a positive difference in not only our clients’ lives, but in our community as well. In addition to serving our clients, the firm supports the activities of a number of Mesa-area non-profit, civic, and industry organizations, and our attorneys give their time serving on boards and committees throughout the state. I am the 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.”

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 69

Looking Ahead

Mesa on the move Transportation, METRO Light Rail expansion help support business  Mesa businesses can look forward to welcoming new customers in 2015, when the 3.1-mile Valley METRO Light Rail extension is expected to be complete. Construction for the extension, which will run along Main Street between Sycamore and Mesa Drive, is already under way. The benefits of connecting more people to high-capacity transit are many, says Hillary Foose, director of communication and marketing for Valley METRO. In addition to the large workforce employed during the construction phase, rail generates economic development. “Light rail investment attracts business,” she says. “We’ve seen that in the 20 miles we have in service today. Businesses looking to invest tend to look for communities with fixed infrastructure.” Businesses on or near the rail line may also see an uptick in business once the line is complete, she notes. “It will bring people — and new people more than likely — to their doorstep to experience what Central Mesa has to offer,” 70 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

By Stephanie Conner

Foose says. “We see … folks trying out new restaurants, events and arts and culture venues that they didn’t ever attempt to before.”

“ Light rail investment attracts business. Businesses looking to invest tend to look for communities with fixed infrastructure.” — Hillary Foose, Director of Communications and Marketing, Valley METRO During construction, commuters will still have access to the businesses along the rail line, and Valley METRO will communicate regularly with both business owners and residents in the area through e-mail, Facebook and in-person visits to the area. “We want to make sure the community is aware of what we’re doing,” Foose says.

Photo: Metro Rail

By 2015, you’ll be able to glide into the heart of Mesa thanks to 3.1 miles METRO Light Rail extension.

Mesa Chamber | Compass Magazine | 71

Advertiser Index Special thanks to those who support Mesa. DMB/Eastmark —Zion & Zion................................................ IFC Wells Fargo.......................................................................................3 Mesa Economic Development.......................................................8 Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel and Convention........................12 Downtown Mesa............................................................................13 Falcon Field Airport......................................................................13 Superstition Springs Center.........................................................20 Comm Metals Co...........................................................................24 Brown Evans...................................................................................25 Empire Southwest..........................................................................27 Commemorative Air Force..........................................................28 Mesa Chamber of Commerce......................................................29 Arque Capital.................................................................................31 Bjerk Builders.................................................................................34 Heritage Square..............................................................................34 Bayside at the Islands....................................................................34 Rowley Chapman Barney & Buntrock.......................................35 Century Link..................................................................................38 Taylor Morrison Homes................................................................39 Still University................................................................................41 Albright College.............................................................................42 Mesa Unified School District.......................................................43 Mesa Community College............................................................45 EV Institute Technology...............................................................46 Benedictine University..................................................................47 FastMed Urgent Care....................................................................50 Mountain Vista Medical Center..................................................51 Acme Locksmith............................................................................58 Fellowship Square Azaha..............................................................59 OB Sports Golf Man......................................................................60 LSM Golf.........................................................................................61 Mountain View Funeral Home & Cemetary.............................63 Fiesta Mall.......................................................................................65 Thompson Auto Repair & Towing..............................................69 National Comedy Theatre............................................................71 MJB Marketing International......................................................71 Ivan Martinez.................................................................................72 Cox Communication..................................................................IBC Northern Arizona University.................................................... BC 72 | Compass Magazine | Mesa Chamber

“Our relationship with Cox Business has allowed us to be successful by streamlining our communications and letting us do what we do best.” – Kiersten Traina, Co-Owner, Liberty Market

Get to know the

BUSINESS SIDE OF COX. Liberty Market in historic downtown Gilbert did. They bundled phone and business-class Internet for seamless communication between their employees, customers and vendors on a network with 24/7 support. Advanced communications solutions with 99.99+% reliability. It’s a network designed to exceed your current needs and service designed to exceed your expectations. That’s how we do business.

Call Today! 623-594-7302

Internet. Data. Phone. TV.

In 1980, this was how we delivered distance education As early as 1980, NAU faculty traveled by plane to teach classes in a handful of Arizona communities. We recognized a need, and we answered the call. Since then, delivering a quality university education to communities across Arizona has become integral to our mission.

We’ve come a long way – together. Over the past three decades, we’ve expanded the number of communities served and innovated delivery modes. But our commitment to providing Arizonans with access to a quality, rigorous university education has remained constant. Since 1990, over 30,000 students have earned NAU degrees through Extended Campuses programs.

NAU in Mesa NAU has been serving East Valley residents for more than 20 years. From our partnerships with Mesa Community College to our degrees tailored for working adults, NAU continues to empower East Valley residents to advance in their careers–and contribute to their community in meaningful ways.  Over 2,000 students have attended NAU in the East Valley–in just the past two years.  NAU-East Valley Campus now houses 20 full time staff and faculty.  Programs include business, public management, education, justice administration and more.

To learn more, contact Bobbie Crouse at or (602) 776-4675.

35 Campuses—One University STATEWIDE. ONLINE. FLAGSTAFF.

Mesa Chamber of Commerce-COMPASS  
Mesa Chamber of Commerce-COMPASS  

Mesa Chamber of Commerce-COMPASS, connecting people, business and community