Study: Arizona monsoon storms fewer but more extreme

Monsoon season now brings more extreme wind and rain to central and southwestern Arizona than in the past, according to new research led by the University of Arizona.

Although there are now fewer storms, the largest monsoon thunderstorms bring heavier rain and stronger winds than did the monsoon storms of 60 years ago, the scientists report.

“The monsoon is the main severe weather threat in Arizona. Dust storms, wind, flash flooding, microbursts — those are the things that are immediate dangers to life and property,” said co-author Christopher Castro, a UA associate professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

The researchers compared precipitation records from 1950-1970 to those from 1991-2010 for Arizona. They also used those records to verify that their climate model generated realistic results.

“This is one of the first studies to look at long-term changes in monsoon precipitation,” Castro said. “We documented that the increases in extreme precipitation are geographically focused south and west of the Mogollon Rim — and that includes Phoenix.”

The region of Arizona with more extreme storms includes Bullhead City, Kingman, the Phoenix metropolitan area, the Colorado River valley and Arizona’s low deserts, including the towns of Casa Grande, Gila Bend, Ajo, Lukeville and Yuma.

The Tohono O’odham Reservation, Luke Air Force Base, the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range and the Yuma Proving Ground also are in the region with more extreme monsoon weather.

Tucson is just outside of the zone with more extreme storms.

Having less frequent but more intense storms is consistent with what is expected throughout the world due to climate change, Castro said.

“Our work shows that it certainly holds true for the monsoon in Arizona,” he said.

When the researchers compared the results from climate and weather models to the actual observations, the model with a resolution of less than 1.5 miles accurately reproduced the precipitation data. The models with resolutions of 10 miles or more did not.

“You just can’t trust coarser simulations to represent changes in severe weather. You have to use the high-resolution model,” Castro said.

First author Thang M. Luong conducted the research as part of his doctoral work at the UA. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.

The paper, “The More Extreme Nature of North American Monsoon Precipitation in the Southwestern U.S. as Revealed by a Historical Climatology of Simulated Severe Weather Events,” by Luong, Castro, Hsin-I Chang and Timothy Lahmers of the UA Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences and David K. Adams and Carlos A. Ochoa-Moya of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F., was published July 3 in the early online edition of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

The U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México PAPIIT funded the research.

The researchers wanted to identify risks from warm-season extreme weather, especially those to Department of Defense installations in the American Southwest.

Existing global and regional climate change models don’t represent the North American monsoon well in either seasonal forecasts or climate projections, the research team wrote.

Looking at the average precipitation over the entire monsoon season doesn’t show whether monsoon storms are becoming more severe now compared with 60 years ago, Castro said.

Talking Stick Resort will host Arizona State Poker Championship

In only a month, poker players from across the State and across the Country will converge on The ARENA Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort for the annual Arizona State Poker Championship. Kicking off on Friday, Aug. 11, the No Limit Hold’em tournament, now in its 13th year, will feature a prize pool of more than $1 million dollars and will be hosted by four-time World Series of Poker champion, Tom Schneider. 

Upon entry, players will receive $16,000 in tournament chips with their $1,100 buy-in. They can also buy an additional  $10,000 in chips for $30. Tournament play will be broken into three days beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12 and 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13. Participants eliminated in the first three days of play can reenter.  

The semi-final tables will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 14 and will continue until 10 players are left. The remaining 10 players will be in the finals starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15 and continue until a new champion is crowned. The winner will receive $196,750, a Rolex and a trophy, while second and third place will receive $143,000 and a trophy and $110,000 and a trophy, respectively. However, final prize amounts will be based on the number of entrants.

Beyond the poker action and prizes, The ARENA Poker Room will keep players full and energetic by offering a special menu 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. Among the array of dishes available for $9 include Fish Tacos, BBQ Pork Sliders, Portabella Mushroom Burger and more.

Registration is currently underway in The ARENA Poker Room. For more details about the 11th annual Arizona State Poker Championship, visit or call (480) 850-7734. All participants must submit their $1,100 buy-in during the signup process.  Must be 21 or older to participate.

Polsinelli among Top 10 law firms for best client relationships

Am Law 100 firm Polsinelli has been recognized among 24 elite law firms nationwide for superior client relationships, ranking No. 10 on BTI Consulting Group’s 2017 Industry Power Rankings.

This recognition places Polsinelli among only 24 firms that clients consider both as their leading provider and as the first firm they recommend to peers. As part of the ranking on BTI’s Industry Power Rankings report, Polsinelli ranked on BTI’s Most Recommended Law Firms list as a Powerhouse firm in Health Care and Real Estate, in addition to recognition in Financial Services, High Tech, Professional Services, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing .

“It’s humbling to know that these results are based on feedback from leading major corporate decision makers and, most importantly, from our clients,” said Polsinelli Chairman and CEO Russ Welsh. “We’re proud to be recognized by BTI for our differentiated approach to client service, as this is a core value of our firm’s attorneys and staff.”

BTI’s Clientopia® 24 focuses on two critical elements: the client spending the bulk of their legal dollars with a firm as their leading provider, and the client’s recommendation first to peers in an unprompted manner. The 2017 Industry Power Rankings are based on 950 in-depth telephone interviews with leading legal decision makers, as well as trending data from more than 4,000 corporate counsel client interviews conducted over the last 17 years. Each year, BTI reaches out to a sample of legal decision makers at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.

As the No. 10 law firm in the nation with the strongest client relationships, Polsinelli vastly improved its position on BTI’s Industry Power Rankings, having previously earned a single Standout ranking in High Tech in 2016.

Polsinelli continues its significant momentum in 2017, having recently elected Real Estate Practice Chair F. Chase Simmons as the firm’s next Chairman, beginning in 2019. Demonstrating recognition for client service excellence, Polsinelli was also ranked No. 17 in BTI’s Client Service A-Team report published earlier this year, and was named No. 20 on BTI’s 2017 Brand Elite list, jumping 54 spots from No. 74 in 2016.

BOMA Greater Phoenix executive director resigns

Sarah Osteen has resigned as the executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Greater Phoenix.

Osteen took over as executive director last spring after the unexpected passing of her predecessor Mark Covington in December 2015.

As executive director, Osteen is credited with helping inspire and empower board members, committee members and local BOMA members at large during the association’s recent transitions.

In a statement released by BOMA Greater Phoenix, President Maricela Nunez stated, “Since her return to the organization last spring, we have experienced significant growth in membership, process improvement, strategic planning, operations and more.”

Nunez adds, “On behalf of the board of directors, we are disheartened to see her go, but confident in our leadership team that we will continue on this successful trajectory as we reimagine the future of BOMA Greater Phoenix.”

BOMA’s board of directors has already begun the process of finding Osteen’s replacement.

Osteen’s last day with the BOMA Greater Phoenix will be August 4 before she officially relocates to Montana with her family.

Colleen’s Dream grants $15K to UA College of Medicine

With the help of Colleen’s Dream Foundation, a University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix researcher is paving the way to improve the outlook of ovarian cancer through a new class of natural compounds.

Jerome Lacombe, PhD, was awarded a $15,000 grant by Colleen’s Dream Foundation on Behalf of its 2017 Golf Tournament and Evening of Dreams Gala Presenting Sponsor, Valley Toyota Dealers. “The Valley Toyota Dealers are honored to support Dr. Lacombe and Colleen’s Dream, an organization in our own backyard that is working to save the lives of women across the U.S. We’re proud to support their mission to improve ovarian cancer survival rates,” says Rob Ginis, Board Member, Valley Toyota Dealers. 

The grant will be used to further Dr. Lacombe’s exciting ovarian cancer research pertaining to withanolides (a group of naturally occurring compounds) that have recently emerged as a potential anticancer agent in light of identifiable antitumor activity. Dr. Lacombe is a young investigator and a member of the research faculty at the Center of Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine – Phoenix, specializing in the discovery of cancer biomarkers. Ovarian tumors are highly resistant to radiation, creating a need for more effective therapies and treatment approaches.

Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all gynecologic cancers, as more than 80% of women diagnosed have advanced (stage 3 or 4) disease. The standard, first-line treatment for ovarian cancer consists of surgery combined with chemotherapy. The majority of patients will experience disease recurrence, attributed to chemotherapy drug resistance. Withanolides, extracted from the plant ashwagandha, are used in various countries as a form of treatment for various illnesses. They have proved to be effective as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antitussive or immunomodulatory agent.

Remarkably, various studies from numerous kinds of cancers have shown that these natural products are able to sensitize tumors that are resistant to the current chemotherapy drugs, as well as radiation treatment. This promising competence has not been investigated in ovarian cancer. The team led by Dr. Lacombe proposes to elucidate these therapeutic mechanisms while identifying and testing new withanolide compounds developed by collaborators at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Natural Products Center. 

Nicole Cundiff, CEO and Co-Founder of Colleen’s Dream Foundation, said her mother, Colleen, was treated for ovarian cancer at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson. “We have firsthand knowledge of the university’s strong commitment to staying on the cutting edge of cancer research. A study that delves into the improvement of ovarian cancer treatment is crucial, as the platinum-based drugs that are generally administered to ovarian cancer patients are extremely toxic,” she said. 

Colleen’s Dream was founded in 2012 by Nicole and her husband, Billy Cundiff, a 12-year veteran kicker in the NFL. The organization funds ovarian cancer research with the primary goal of developing an accurate and accessible early detection test. Nicole’s mother, Colleen Drury, the foundation’s inspiration and namesake, served on the Board of Directors until she succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2013. By the end of 2017, Colleen’s Dream is projected to have funded approximately $1,000,000 in grants, supporting more than two dozen ovarian cancer research projects across the nation. 

“Colleen’s Dream is proud to support research in Arizona, made possible by our incredible partnership with Valley Toyota Dealers. We are excited about Dr. Lacombe’s research and hope this grant proves useful in his team’s quest to discover new and more effective ways treat ovarian cancer,” said Billy Cundiff, Board Chair.

“This is a cause that the Valley Toyota Dealers is passionate about, and because so little is known about ovarian cancer in proportion to other women’s health issues, we are committed to helping raise awareness,” says John O’Malley, President of the Valley Toyota Dealers.

DigitalWire360, Local First Arizona launch Brand Camp

DigitalWire360 and Local First Arizona are excited to announce the launch of their new Brand Camp initiative, an opportunity for Arizona small businesses to be selected for a brand makeover and connect with local audiences.

Each quarter, the DigitalWire360 branding experts will choose one small business to undergo a brand refresh, including digital marketing strategy, website development, social media marketing and public relations efforts.

“We’re excited that we can provide this type of branding opportunity to small businesses in Arizona and help them push the needle forward in their marketing efforts,” said Amy Packard Berry, Chief Dynamo at DigitalWire360. “We will work closely together to identify growth opportunities and develop strategies that will help grow their brand, and in turn, their bottom line.”

“Sometimes all it takes is partnering up with the right people to take your business to the next level and in front of the right audience ” Packard Berry continued.

The selected small businesses will be led through a summer camp style program with the help of DigitalWire360 and Local First Arizona experts acting as ‘camp counselors’.

“Every local business has a great story to tell, but often times they struggle finding the time and capacity to fully develop their brand in the midst of the daunting and daily tasks of running a business,” said Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “We’re excited to partner with Brand Camp because we’ll be able to help some deserving local businesses share their unique Arizona story, which will ultimately help them grow and succeed in the future.”

The first round of applications will be accepted from July 1-31 and the winner will be notified on August 7. In order to apply, small businesses will need to send in a video explaining why their company deserves branding guidance. Visit for more information.

Pathfinder Partners completes renovations at Aderra Condominiums

San Diego-based Pathfinder Partners, LLC has completed renovations on public areas as well as four models in Aderra Condominiums – an upscale, 312-unit, gated community at 11640 North Tatum Boulevard in Phoenix. The San Diego-based private equity firm acquired 90 units within Aderra in 2016 for $15 million.

According to Lorne Polger, senior managing director of Pathfinder Partners, the community is ideally located at the gateway to the exclusive Paradise Valley neighborhood. Adding to its appeal, he said, is that “Phoenix is one of the country’s top housing markets and continues to show robust population growth and the top job growth in the country, which creates strong demand for homes of this caliber.”

Sales have been brisk – Pathfinder has sold 19 homes in the past 15 months. Four luxurious designer models done in a muted transitional design are now complete and ready for viewing.

Upgrades include new flooring – designer carpet, wood look plank tile or engineered wood flooring in living areas; updated kitchen counter tops; subway tile backsplash; new lighting and appliances and new interior two-tone custom paint. Renovated bathrooms include new tile flooring and tile tub and shower surrounds with shower and tub accents, solid granite or quartz countertops, sinks, fixtures, lighting and framed mirrors. In addition, the community clubhouse, kitchen and sales office have been completely redone.

Aderra Condominiums, built in 2007, is situated on eight acres across from the Paradise Valley Mall overlooking Stone Creek Golf Course. Aderra is comprised of 15 three-story buildings with one- and two-bedrooms condos ranging from 811 to 1,284 square feet. Onsite amenities include underground parking, an oversized pool and spa with BBQ areas, a private resident clubhouse and a fully-equipped fitness center. The community is pet friendly, within walking distance to numerous dining and shopping options and has direct golf course access. 

The models are open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. More information can be found at


Digital Air Strike CEO uses social media to boost clients’ bottom lines

One of the core values Alexi Venneri implemented when she co-founded Digital Air Strike was, “Whatever it takes.”

“We do that for our clients, but also for our staff,” Venneri says. “We have people who have been here since Day 1 because we’re OK if you have to pick up your child from school and work a couple hours from home that night. We want to be fun. We want to be collaborative. We think about the new way to work.”

Venneri was thinking about a new way to market companies when she co-founded Digital Air Strike, an award-winning digital response and social media technology company that works with thousands of clients to drive sales through social media management and engagement.

Az Business: How did Digital Air Strike come to be?

Alexi Venneri: I was running an ad agency and looking for companies or tools to help manage the social networks. That didn’t exist eight years ago, so I thought, “That’s a business. We should do that.” We found the investors and the courage it took to do something that wasn’t being done at the time.

AB: Was there an epiphany moment when you realized the impact of social media on marketing?

AV: What we started to see during the rise and adoption of social networks was it wasn’t just college kids, it was everybody. It was grandparents and parents and businesses and it wasn’t going away. Today’s consumer doesn’t trust what the media says, they don’t trust what businesses say, but they do trust what each other says. How do you tap into that? That was really the moment for me when I realized the old ways to market just aren’t going to cut it anymore. You have to find a way to be in the conversation.

AB: What qualities make you an effective leader for Digital Air Strike?

AV: I’m an optimist and love finding new ways of doing things. I say, “I have an idea,” too many times a day. As a child, I wouldn’t play with board games that were given to me. I’d make up my own board games and make my own rules. I believe in ordering off the menu, doing things a little differently and I think that’s prevalent in the way we run the company.

AB: Are there things about social media that other CEOs need to know?

AV: They’re really not understanding the pot of gold that is out there. Even with negative content, you’re going to find the reason why someone got annoyed — something in your business that is not going right, a trend you’re missing or a demand that you don’t know about. There is so much great information available through social media, but CEOs cannot be afraid of it.

AB: How can social media impact the bottom line for that CEO’s company?

AV: There is a constant stream of feedback from customers and you just have to figure out a way to tap into it and leverage it. There is a lot of power in that. This isn’t just some marketing thing that the intern who works for you in the summer can handle. You cannot have your head in the sand on this because you’re going to get left behind.

Shula’s Steak House earns Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator

Shula’s Steak House at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino has been awarded the 2017 Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards Program for the sixth consecutive year.

Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards recognizes restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

As the recipient of the 2017 Award of Excellence, Shula’s Steak House offers an extensive wine lists, with more than 90 selections featuring a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, to perfectly match the dining menu in both price and style.

In 2016, the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards Program celebrated 35 years of championing excellence in restaurant wine lists. The awards are designed to elevate wine selection and service around the world and encourage strong programs that complement a variety of cuisines, settings and prices.

Shula’s Steak House at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler is open Sunday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Reservations are recommended, call 520-796-1972 or online at OpenTable.

Shula’s Steak House is best known for one of its featured entrées, the 48-ounce porterhouse. Diners who finish the entrée, join the “Shula’s 48-Ounce Club” which currently has more than 26,000 national members.

Record 43 million Arizona visitors equals $58 million per day

A record 43 million overnight visitors came to Arizona last year, and they collectively spent $58 million per day during their stays, according to new research focused on Arizona tourism from the Arizona Office of Tourism.

“Over 43 million visitors—which is larger than the population of California—understand all that Arizona has to offer,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “The money those visitors spend is crucial to Arizona’s economic wellbeing because it sustains jobs, generates tax revenue and improves our quality of life.”

Visitors to Arizona spent $21.2 billion in 2016—that works out to $58 million per day and more than $40,000 per minute.

Visitor spending directly supported 184,000 jobs in the state, and those Arizona tourism related jobs, in turn, generated $6.5 billion in employment revenue.

Each of these performance indicators—visitor volume, direct spending, jobs and employment earnings—represented a historical high for the Arizona tourism industry.

“It was another strong year for tourism in Arizona,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “We also saw the positive effects from advertising efforts in our target markets. Research told us we could increase market share in cities like Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, and that’s just what we did.”

The Arizona Office of Tourism released its annual research Wednesday afternoon at the 2017 Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the JW Marriott desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix.

Other highlights from the presentation:

  • Total tax revenue—federal, state and local—generated by tourism in Arizona was $3.1 billion in 2016.
  • The Arizona Office of Tourism’s advertising campaigns increased incremental travel in all markets where it was delivered, generating $829 million in ad-influenced revenue.
  • In Northern Arizona spending by visitors who stayed in hotels increased by $81 million compared to 2015.

The Arizona Office of Tourism’s annual research is performed by Dean Runyan Associates, Tourism Economics, Longwoods International, and Strategic Marketing and Research Insights. Summaries will be posted online at following the 2017 Governor’s Conference of Tourism, which continues through July 21.

Most Influential Women: Amber Gilroy, CTCA

Az Business and AZRE magazines announced the publications’ lists of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2017 in the July issues of the magazines. will be profiling each of theMost Influential Women in Arizona in the coming weeks.

The Most Influential Women in Arizona will be honored at a reception from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on August 23 at Chateau Luxe. For tickets or sponsorship information, click here or call (602) 277-6045.

Here is today’s spotlight:

Amber  Gilroy, senior vice president of operations, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Gilroy oversees all aspects of clinical and non-clinical hospital operations. She received her MBA from the University of Houston.

Best decision: “In 2011, I left consulting for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  I moved my husband, 1-year-old and 8-week-old sons to Chicago in the winter, but it proved to be my proudest professional decision. Since, I have grown my skill set beyond consulting and finance into hospital operations and executive leadership.”

Surprising fact: “In my spare time, I love gardening, canning and decorating.  I’m a huge HGTV nerd and can’t get enough of design and home improvement shows and magazines.”

Here is the complete list of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2017:

• Catherine Alonzo, founding partner, Javelina

• Monica Antone, lieutenant governor, Gila River Indian Community

• Kelly Barr, senior director of environmental management and chief sustainability and compliance executive, SRP

• Ann Becker, vice president and chief procurement officer, APS

• Maja Berlin-Del Vigna, vice president and general counsel, Commercial Electronic Solutions & Engines and Power Systems, Honeywell International Inc.

• Noreen Bishop, Arizona market manager, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

• Lorry Bottrill, chief operating officer, Mercy Care Plan

• Jenn Daniels, mayor, Town of Gilbert

• Jennifer Davis Lunt, principal, Davis Enterprises

• Paris Davis, vice president/Northwest Arizona retail banking division manager, Washington Federal

• Kimberly A. Demarchi, partner, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie

• Allison DeVane, founder, Teaspressa

• Amber Gilroy, senior vice president of operations, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

• Denise Gredler, founder and CEO, BestCompaniesAZ

• Nancy Ham, CEO, WebPT

• Michele Y. Halyard, MD, dean, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Arizona Campus

• Sandra Hudson, president, TrustBank Arizona

• Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director, ASU Gammage

• Julie Johnson, principal, Avison Young

• Lisa Johnson, president and CEO, Corporate Interior Systems

• Mystie Johnson Foote, MD, CEO, Banner Medical Group

• Jennifer Kaplan, owner, Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

• Donna Kennedy, economic development director, City of Tempe

• Mindy Korth, executive vice president — investment properties sales brokerage, Colliers International

• Christina Kwasnica, MD, medical director of neuro-rehabilitation, Barrow Neurological Institute

• Laura Lawless Robertson, partner, Squire Patton Boggs

• Ericka LeMaster, senior vice president commercial real estate, Alliance Bank of Arizona

• Donna Lemons-Roush, COO, MT Builders

• Shawn Linam, CEO, Qwaltec

• Tina Litteral, executive vice president, AIA Arizona

• Shari Lott, founder and CEO, SpearmintLOVE

• Alisa Lyons, principal, Sloan Lyons Public Affairs

• Jodi Malenfant, president and owner, W&W Structural, Inc.

• Fran Mallace, vice president, Cox Media

• Dawn Meidinger, director, Fennemore Craig

• Marcia Mintz, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix

• Mary Nollenberger, director of leasing, SVN Desert Commercial Advisors

• Kathi O’Connor, lead personnel, Swaine Asphalt Corporation

• Laura Ortiz, president, Evergreen Development

• Desirae Outcalt, vice president relationship manager, Biltmore Bank

• Renee Parsons, co-founder, Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation

• Melissa Proctor, shareholder, Polsinelli

• Sissie Roberts Shank, president and CEO, Chas Roberts A/C & Plumbing

• Shawn Rush, LEED AP, principal, Corgan

• Jane Russell-Winiecki, chairwoman, Yavapai-Apache Nation

• Deanna Salazar, senior vice president and general counsel, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

• Catherine Scrivano, president, CASCO Financial Group

• Lawdan Shojaee, CEO, Axosoft

• Ashley Snyder, senior vice president, Cresa

• Sheryl A. Sweeney, shareholder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

• Sally A. Taylor, CEO, KeatsConnelly

• Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Olympic gold medalist and founder of Amy’s Army

• Katee Van Horn, vice president of global engagement and inclusion, GoDaddy

• Ashley Villaverde Halvorson, partner , Jones, Skelton & Hochuli

• Jacque Westling, partner, Quarles & Brady

• Jeri Williams, chief of police, City of Phoenix

• Tiffany Winne, executive vice president, Savills Studley

Check back here over the coming weeks to read individual profiles of all the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2017.

John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Arizona Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, his doctors said Wednesday, less than a week after he was hospitalized for removal of a suspicious blood clot over his left eye.

A statement from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where McCain underwent the blood-clot surgery Friday, said he has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma, which the hospital’s information page calls an “aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord.” It went on to say that glioblastoma “can be very difficult to treat and a cure is often not possible.”

But the clinic statement also quoted McCain’s doctors as saying he was recovering from the surgery “amazingly well” and it said his underlying health is excellent. The family is reportedly considering treatment options that could include chemotherapy and radiation.

McCain’s office also released a statement saying the 80-year-old senator is in “good spirits” as he recovers at home in Arizona.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan, posted a note to Twitter on Wednesday in which she asked for prayers for the family as it deals with the “shock of the news” and the “anxiety of what comes next.” But she added that her father was the “most confident and calm” of all of them.

“The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him. So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other,” her statement said. “Cancer may affect him in many ways: But it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”

That resilience was echoed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, one of McCain’s closest friends in Congress, who was on the phone with McCain to get updates on his condition Wednesday night.

Graham told reporters that McCain said, “I’m gonna stay here a little bit longer, take some treatments and I’ll be back.”

Senate Republicans were working on health care legislation on Capitol Hill late Wednesday night when they heard of McCain’s diagnosis. Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, said the room reacted with “stunned disbelief” when Graham brought them the news.

Hoeven told reporters said the senators prayed for McCain, led by Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.

McCain’s absence from the Senate has played a role in Republicans’ ongoing struggle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing last week that he would delay a vote pending the Arizona Republican’s return to Washington.

That plan appeared to fall apart this week when other GOP senators withdrew support for the proposed ACA replacement, and McConnell announced that the Senate would instead vote on a simple repeal of Obamacare. But the closed-door meeting of Republican senators last night was an attempt to bring a replacement bill back into play, which could make a McCain vote critical again.

McCain’s office said his return to Senate business depends on consultations with his doctors.

But while he has been recuperating in Arizona, McCain has not been detached from Washington politics. He issued a statement Monday, after the apparent collapse of the replacement effort, calling on senators on both sides of the aisle to take a step back, drafting a bill from scratch out in the open.

Glioblastoma is the same variety of cancer that killed Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, in 2009. Kennedy was diagnosed in 2008 after a seizure.

According to the American Cancer Society, glioblastoma tumors are a fast-growing category of brain tumors that begin in the glial cells, which surround the central nervous system.

After news of McCain’s diagnosis broke, the senator received an outpouring of support from friends and political foes alike.

Fellow Arizona Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake, said he spoke to McCain Wednesday night, saying, “Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.”

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Glendale, tweeted his condolences.

“I have just learned about my friend John McCain’s diagnosis,” Franks said. “I pray for him and his family tonight. He is an American hero.”

Former President Barack Obama tweeted: “John McCain is an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

Many of the statements echoed Meghan McCain’s.

“He is a warrior at dusk, one of the greatest Americans of our age, and the worthy heir to his father’s and grandfather’s name,” she wrote. “But to me he is something more. He is my strength, my example, my refuge, my confidante, my teacher, my rock, my hero – my dad.”

Lee & Associates sells DeMuro Corporate Square for $10.2M

DeMuro Corporate Square, a 7-building business park totaling 88,837 SF at 1505-1575 W. University Dr., Tempe, has sold to a California investment entity for $10,200,000. Occupancy was reported to be 92 percent. The transaction closed on June 30.

Lee & Associates Investment Principals Steve Gonzalez, Marcus Muirhead, and Greg Guglielmino represented the seller, University Corporate Square Associates, Santa Rosa, CA. The buyer was Tempe Creative Campus, LLC, Carlsbad, CA.

Built in 1985, the seven-building business park contains buildings of just over 7,000 SF to 17,000 SF. The business park features I-1 light industrial zoning and 319 parking spaces. The outstanding location is just three miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and several blocks from Downtown Tempe and the main campus of Arizona State University.

Dennis Desmond

Meet AZRE Forum panelist: Dennis Desmond

The AZRE Forum will be held on Aug. 3 at the Camby and Dennis Desmond, senior managing director of JLL, will sit on one of the three feature panels. The first two panels will focus on the multifamily, retail, office and industrial commercial real estate sectors in Arizona. The final panel will give an update on the state of the commercial real estate industry in Arizona.

Desmond will be speaking on the panel focusing on Arizona’s multifamily and retail markets.

Tickets for the AZRE Forum can be purchased here. Last year, the AZRE Forum focused on a variety of trends including access to capital, infill development and much more.

Here is a closer look at Desmond. 

Desmond has two distinct roles: leading his own successful investment sales practice within the Phoenix Capital Markets Group and directing the growth of the Phoenix office as a whole. It’s a process that has transformed the team into an award-winning brokerage group providing office, industrial and retail tenant and landlord representation, multifamily investment services, property management services and construction services.

Business advice: “Work hard. Start with the basics and learn them well. Always look at each of your transactions from the perspective of both the buyer/seller or landlord/tenant to ensure you are making accurate decisions and providing maximum benefit.”

Bungee workout has legs shaking in the Valley

People who walk into Tough Lotus for the Bungee Workout class often have the same reaction.

“It’s crazy,” said Amanda Paige, owner and operator of the fitness gym. “First of all, you’ll see it and you think it’s going to be so much fun and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that hard. It is so much harder than you think it is and it’s even more fun than you think it is.”

The bungee workout is a new fitness routine that originated in Thailand about two years ago and is springing into gyms around the country. The workout combines aerial fitness, dancing, core workouts, aerobics and toning.

The harness used in the workout look like one from a rock climbing gym. The bungees, suspended from the ceiling, pull on students as as they perform exercises that resemble sequences from an action movie.

“We were both studio trained, competitive dancing from the time we were four and two,” Gillian Grabowski said. “So we grew up dancing and this isn’t like any other workout we’ve ever done. This is even harder than dancing, I think. There’s a lot more core and…”“… You use different muscles,” her sister Allison, said. “My legs are still shaking.”

When Paige first saw the video of the bungee workout in Thailand, she fell in love with it. A sign in her gym says, “Master Training Center, 1st in the United States.”

“I called them. I said, ‘Hey, how do I get this out here?’ I flew to Thailand, I spent two weeks out there (and) became a master trainer,” Paige said.

The class lasts 75 minutes. Paige has her students do a 15-minute pre-workout stretch to make sure the body is loose before she has her students put on the harness.

“I always tell them, ‘You’re going to feel a little lift.’ So, I hook it onto their lower back and they go ‘ooooh,’ ” Paige said.

Once the harnesses are on, the students do squats and pushups. Paige also has them walk and lean forward in the harness to have them engage their core muscles.

All of the little steps are meant to teach the students an important lesson when doing the bungee workout.

“You have to think about it this way: The bungee cord, its job is to pull you up to the ceiling,” Paige said. “So it’s pulling you up so your job is to pull it down.”

“To do that you have to use core, you have to use quads and hamstrings to keep it low and the lower you go, the higher you’re going to release up into the air.”

In order to be successful in pulling off the moves in the class, a 100 percent effort is required or the bungee will take control, Paige said.

“People want to do the moves, they want to fly, they want to jump from their hands to their feet so it literally pushes them harder than anything else because they want to do it,” Paige said.

She has her workouts follow the flow of upbeat songs like “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and other songs that she plays during the class.

Ever since Paige brought the workout to the United States, she has received non-stop calls from people trying to open bungee workout studios.

“I was very grateful, because when I purchased this studio it was an aerial studio so it was rigged for aerial work,” she said. “So, it was very easy installation for me but for most, it’s pretty important. (People) came in from Las Vegas to rig this. It’s all professionally done. It’s not just your traditional ceiling. There’s a lot to it.”.

Paige is hoping to expand the bungee workout program. There are more advanced dances like the vertical wall, which also involves a harness, but the class is able to utilize more of a room, including running and bouncing along walls, flying higher for longer periods of time and being able to perform flips.

“When we get a bigger location, then we can add that vertical wall and do that but right now we don’t have the space for it here,” Paige said. “It’s fun though. I did it when I was out there.”

Additionally, Paige is planning on opening a new bungee workout classes to cater to a wider audience.

“We have a bungee fit that I’m about to introduce,” she said. “It’s going to be no combo, more like one song of just lunges, one song of just push-ups. It’s go, go, go like that.”

Paige also has in mind a class for those who are older or injured who need to go at a slower pace, and a bungee workout for kids.

For those that aren’t used to being active, Paige advises building up endurance before participating.

Her requirements for the class are still simple.

“If you can go for a walk or a run or whatever, come on give it a try.”


Story by Reinert Toft, Cronkite News

10 must-have summer accessories for women of the Valley

I won’t lament too much about the miserable, roasting heat of an Arizona summer, as I would assuredly be preaching to the choir. Instead, I offer my female audience a list packed with summer essentials to help beat the heat, pamper the soul (and face) and proliferate and enhance the more positive perks of our steamy “Ditat Deus” state. Whether you find yourself staying put, or are able to pack a bag, these 10 summer products and summer accessories are sure to lift your spirits and more …
1. Carmen Sol Jelly Bag – since we spend approximately 99.9% of our time near a body of water during the summer in the greater Phoenix area, this Italian-made bag (with matching shoes!) is a must to tote along to one of our many fine local resorts. It’s water resistant AND made of eco-friendly, recyclable material. Most importantly, it’s gorgeous – my red Carmen Sol makes waves in public (pun intended).
2. FACEatelier Lightweight Foundation – whether you reside in Scottsdale or Sedona, the last thing you want on your face is a foundation closely resembling concrete. It’s hot. It’s dry. We need a lightweight foundation that still offers good coverage, moisturizes and lasts. Not only does FACEatelier accommodate the previously mentioned criteria, I pretty much feels it was made for Arizona skin … which leads us to #3.
3. FACEatelier Face Finish Spray – use this as a finishing spray after applying makeup, for special occasions such as a wedding or event to ensure your makeup stays put, or simply as a refreshing “pick me up” while poolside. It smells like cucumber and feels like mist from the beach – which you can never get enough of when it’s 120 degrees.
4. Harts and Pearls Headwrap – you can just feel the Seattle inspired creativity in these delightfully bohemian summer accessories. Just due North in the cooler climate, Seattle-based Harts and Pearls has made a functional and chic headwrap for their Southwest friends, for which we humbly say, “thank you.” These will make any state of Arizona hair look good with little input and maximum fashion-forward output.
5. Cate & Chloe “Zara” Earrings – isn’t there something truly beautiful about rose gold? Cate & Chloe has a diverse jewelry line that encompasses more than simply earrings, but I love the “Zara” sterling silver 18K rose gold plated Swarovski studded earrings to subtly, and beautifully elevate any evening or event attire, and so will you.
6. iPops Charms – as much as we love our FitBits and Apple Watches, we may feel uninspired by their fashion statement (or lack there of). iPops are a fun way to spice up your favorite wearable iDevice. Coffee addict that I am, I love my tiny coffee mug iPop (reminiscent of a favorite coffee retailer I frequent), but for those looking for a more meaningful symbol, iPops also has accessories to honor breast cancer and cerebral palsy awareness and much more.
7. Wraps Headphones – there’s nothing worse than forgetting your headphones at the gym! Almost equally disappointing is neglecting to pack your favorite post-fitness accessories. I’m happy to say that Wraps takes care of both. So, while you’re running the canals (if you’re brave enough to run outside this time of year), or are conquering an Orange Theory workout, these headphones easily and attractively wrap around your wrist.

8. Qurr Fortetropin Powder – forte-what? Fortetropin in a nutshell, is an all-natural ingredient in Qurr’s protein powder line designed to promote toning and lean muscle growth. Is it just me, or do my guns look leaner and meaner? In all sincerity, I’ve been working out for years and have had my share of horrible, chalky tasting, barely consumable protein powder. Qurr is the OPPOSITE. The powder can be used in a shake, pudding, smoothie and sprinkled over a favorite fruit dish and it tastes delicious. It’s just sweet enough without eliciting that icky protein-powder after taste.

9. Bumbrella – ladies, you will never look at slips the same way again. First, the word “slip” is typically associated with fashion circa 1950. The Bumbrella, however, I would describe as the futuristic, optimized slip. Much like its name, it’s designed for the bum – very smartly in fact. It eliminates annoying panty lines and is so lightweight, not even one of our heat-advisory days can bum the Bumbrella out. Now you can take out that favorite sheer summer dress you’ve been waiting to wear! And, as a bonus note, it’s lovely as a pajama gear too.
10. Snappy Snoozers – this is a double winner accessory. For some, it may even be more of a necessity than accessory. The Snappy Snoozer is a portable, inflatable pet bed. So, if you’re taking the trek to San Diego, but don’t want to drag the dog bed along, bring one of these. They’re super easy to pack and as an added plus, even more convenient to clean. You can simply unsnap the comfy cover and toss it in the wash.
Downtown Phoenix at night

MAG mourns passing of founder Jack DeBolske

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) announced the passing of its founder, Jack DeBolske. DeBolske passed away yesterday at the age of 89. DeBolske led MAG under the title of MAG Secretary from 1967 to 1996.

“I worked with Jack over the years and I am saddened to hear of his loss,” said MAG Chair Jackie Meck, mayor of Buckeye. “Jack DeBolske leaves a legacy of leadership that had a lasting impact on the formation of our region and our state, serving as the Executive Director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns for four decades and as MAG Secretary for 30 of those years.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “In Arizona, the highest honor we have for city and county managers who display professional excellence and exemplary leadership is the Jack Debolske Award.  He led the fight to build our regional freeway system. He was instrumental in creating the city manager form of government and the voter-approved state shared revenue system that keeps each of us who live in cities and towns secure and safe.”

Jack Debolske stepped away from policy making two decades ago, but his impact is felt here every day and will continue to make Phoenix and our state a better place far into our future.”

DeBolske set up the structure of MAG to include a governing body made up of elected officials from local governments, including cities, towns, county, and Native American Indian Communities. He also insisted on creating a Management Committee of the managers of those local governments to assist in policy guidance and direction. He was instrumental in the development of Proposition 300, which implemented a half-cent sales tax for transportation that built the regional freeway system.

“Jack made an indelible impression on the organization, the region, and on me personally,” said MAG Executive Director Dennis Smith, who worked for Jack from 1976 to 1996. “I was fortunate to have worked and learned from Jack for 20 years.  His honesty and integrity meant the most to him,” said Smith. “As a boss, he always had your back. He understood that the elected officials led the organization and it was not about him.  His signature MAG accomplishment was the creation of the regional freeway system through the passage of Proposition 300 that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters.  MAG was one of the first in the nation to use a sales tax to fund transportation. In addition to transportation, Jack also made his mark in air quality legislation, human services and population estimates and projections.”

Ken Driggs, former MAG staff coordinator and former executive director of the Regional Public Transportation Authority, also recalled the incredible trust the elected officials placed in Jack.

“He was strong and he knew the system. He knew how to work with the Legislature, he knew how to work with people around the state and how to balance different pressures,” said Driggs. “Jack DeBolske had built up credibility about his ability to work with city officials around the state and therefore, there was a trust relationship that allowed MAG to move forward.”

MAG was founded on April 12, 1967, and is celebrating its Golden Anniversary. In the Foreword to a recent book documenting the organization’s 50-year history released in June, Jack wrote, “We were fortunate to have great elected officials throughout MAG’s history who were willing to take risks. They were willing to take advice and counsel and then make decisions. These were the founders of MAG and that leadership continues today….I am honored to be a part of this incredible history.”

Smith says Jack’s service will be remembered for decades to come. “He will be greatly missed, but his legacy lives on through MAG,” said Smith.

The book, “MAG’s 50th Anniversary, Fifty Years of Serving the Region,” is available for download at A video documenting MAG’s history, including an interview with Jack DeBolske covering the first decade of MAG, is available

Steel beam signed by fans installed at Phoenix Raceway

Earlier today, the steel beam signed by fans and the entire field of drivers during this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix was installed in one of the two new Canyons – the redesigned and expanded entrances associated with the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar. Fans who signed the steel beam will forever see their part of The New Phoenix Raceway as the beam will be visible from the top of the new Canyon 1.

The steel beam is part of nearly 250,000 pounds of steel and over 8,500 square feet of metal decking that will make up Canyon 1. Once completed in 2018, the Canyons will serve as immersive and interactive entrances for fans, featuring vertical transportation by way of escalators that will conveniently and quickly transport them to their seats.

Since 1964, Phoenix Raceway has been the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest. Founded as an open-wheel racing mecca, Phoenix Raceway was proud to host the Phoenix Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series race under the lights in April. Phoenix is the only track in the West to feature two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends a year, beginning with the Camping World 500 race weekend in March 17-19. The schedule is anchored by the Can-Am 500 race weekend on Nov. 10-12, the semifinal race in NAS


Phoenix drops to No. 17 in CBRE’s tech talent report

Job growth that wasn’t as “outstanding” in 2016 compared with 2010 lowered Phoenix’s ranking from No. 11 to to No. 17  in CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report.

CBRE Research rates tech job growth on a five-year rolling average, and the Phoenix area’s tech job growth was among the strongest in the country from 2010 to 2012, said CBRE’s Phoenix office Executive Vice President Kevin Calihan. But last year’s job growth wasn’t up to muster.

“When our market leading growth in 2010 was replaced by good, but not as outstanding job growth in 2016, our ranking took a hit. Phoenix had good job growth in 2016, but other cities had similar growth,” Calihan said.

CBRE’s annual Tech Talent Report scores and ranks the top 50 U.S. and Canadian markets by their ability to attract and grow tech talent. Last year, Phoenix was ranked No. 11, and was also ranked No. 6 on the list overall of top “momentum markets,” based on a tech talent growth rate of 58.1 percent since 2010.

The rankings are determined through 13 metrics, including tech talent supply, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

The Phoenix area is also continuing to see its skilled workers leave for other states, as part of a “brain drain.”

CBRE’s report noted Phoenix’s brain drain included 3,100 workers. The team at CBRE looks at the “brain drain” as a positive thing, though, Calihan said.

The brain drain is an example of Arizona producing more skilled tech workers than it is able to hire, he said.

“Thus our market has room for additional employers to enter the market and hire local graduates. This should allow us to continue our impressive job growth into the future,” Calihan said.

There’s still plenty to brag about when it comes to technology in Phoenix.

Phoenix ranked No. 9 for technology employment growth with a growth rate of 33.5 percent from 2011 to 2016. The city’s tech employment growth beat out markets like Seattle, New York, Austin and Los Angeles in the same time period.

Phoenix has the 13th largest tech talent pool with 83,140 people in tech jobs, and these workers earned an average wage of $86,231 last year, according to the report.

The cost of business is still cheaper than the bigger markets like the Silicon Valley area and New York. The estimated cost of business in Phoenix, accounting for annual wages and rent, is $39 million. Utah is Arizona’s only neighboring state with a lower cost of business at $36.2 million.

“In addition to Phoenix’s deep skilled labor pool and relatively affordable operational environment, we’re also seeing strong tech employment growth, which is a good signal to employers that Phoenix has the momentum to meet their long term employment needs,” Calihan said. “More millennials are coming to realize Phoenix is an affordable place to live, offering them a higher quality of life than some other larger markets. The high cost of living in other large markets is becoming cost prohibitive.”

Steptoe becomes certified Phoenix Green Business Leader

Steptoe & Johnson LLP, which is celebrating its 30th year in Phoenix, has been certified by the city of Phoenix as a Phoenix Green Business Leader, becoming one of the first law firms in the city to be designated with this title. The Phoenix Green Business Leader program recognizes and promotes businesses that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible manner through waste diversion.

As a part of the Phoenix Green Business Leader program, Steptoe has committed to:

  • Supply the office with color-coded, labeled recycle bins in convenient locations that are paired with landfill bins.
  • Subscribe to adequate recycling and landfill hauling service.
  • Receive annual education and training from the Zero Waste Team to all tenants, employees, contractors and custodial staff.
  • Have Reimagine Phoenix promotional materials on hand and provide basic education about the Reimagine Phoenix initiative to employees and customers.
  • Provide the city with quarterly diversion rates.

After one year, Steptoe will be recognized at a special event with the Phoenix mayor and city council members, and will receive a Phoenix Green Business Leader plaque to distinguish the firm’s commitment toward recycling and sustainability. In addition, Steptoe is eligible to receive zero waste education and awareness training, and tours of the city of Phoenix recycling facilities. A group of lawyers and staff from Steptoe’s Phoenix office toured a city recycling facility on July 6.

Steptoe’s Kami Galvani, who serves as head of the community services committee for the firm’s Phoenix office, said: “The community services committee has implemented some innovative programs at the Phoenix office over the past few years that promote waste diversion in the office and in the homes of our attorneys and staff members. I am extremely grateful that our partners have encouraged and supported our efforts. I am thrilled that our hard work to encourage the reuse and recycling of items that would otherwise go to the landfill is being recognized by the city of Phoenix.”

Reimagine Phoenix provides the framework to achieve the city’s goal to divert 40 percent of trash from its landfills by 2020 and to achieve zero waste by the year 2050. The Phoenix Public Works Department provides various solid waste programs to divert and capture as many materials as possible to be reused, repurposed or recycled.

Paul Charlton, managing partner of Steptoe’s Phoenix office and the former US attorney for the District of Arizona, said: “The more we recycle, the less garbage winds up in our landfills and incineration plants. By reusing paper, glass, plastics and other materials, we can save production and energy costs, and reduce the harmful impacts that the extraction and processing of virgin materials has on the environment.”

Firm-wide, Steptoe has taken many steps to improve environmental performance. For example, the firm’s many copiers are programmed to produce double-sided copies. Styrofoam cups and plates in kitchens and the headquarters’ in-house cafe have been replaced with cups and containers made of paper products. Steptoe’s certifications include Gold & Silver LEED through the United States Green Building Council and Energy Star certification through the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Steptoe’s Phoenix office opened on January 1, 1987, and was the first regional office for the Washington, DC-headquartered firm, which today has nine offices, including three outside the United States. The lawyers in Steptoe’s Phoenix office represent a dynamic mix of clients in industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail, high technology, financial services, and healthcare. 

For more information on the Phoenix Green Business Leader Program, click here.

San Diego-based Rubicon Deli expands to Arizona

Rubicon Deli, an award-winning San Diego-based fast-casual sandwich restaurant, is set to open two locations in Arizona – one on Scottsdale Road and Acoma Drive in Scottsdale, and the other on Central and Virginia avenues in Phoenix.

Currently, Rubicon has four locations in San Diego and Reno, Nev. Soon, they will have two locations in the Valley of the Sun. The Scottsdale location is scheduled to open towards the end of this year, and the Phoenix location is scheduled to open in spring of 2018. Both leases are 10-year deals, with options to extend another 10 years.

Both stores will boast approximately 2,000 square feet of space. While the Scottsdale location will be in a previously-occupied space, the Phoenix location will be a new build. The general contractor is Tempe-based PRH Construction. Both locations will use Phoenix-based Archicon Architecture & Interiors for interior design.

“We’re thrilled to bring our premium, high-quality sandwiches and salads to Arizona, and we look forward to serving Valley citizens as their neighborhood deli,” said Marc Golan, chief financial officer for Rubicon Deli. “With an initial investment of more than $2 million in Arizona with our first two stores, we’re serious and excited about serving this market. We aim to open a total of 15 stores in Phoenix in the future.”

Since opening in 1994, Rubicon Deli has been known for its flavorful bread baked in-house, its use of fresh ingredients, and positive environmental practices. The restaurant offers sandwiches, salads, sides, scratch soups, acai bowls, and more. Catering is also available. Rubicon plans to use local vendor Greco and Sons for food products in their Arizona stores.

All Rubicon locations boast trendy and definitively dapper industrial settings with outdoor seating, great music, and upbeat friendly service.

Rubicon will be holding hiring fairs at both locations six weeks prior to opening.

For more information and to view the menu, visit

West 101 Business Center sells for $18.2 million

ViaWest Group and Cushman & Wakefield announced today the sale of West 101 Business Center, located at 1830-1850 N. 95th Avenue in Phoenix. Humphreys Fund I, LLC of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma purchased the property for $18,275,000. Steve Lindley, Bob Buckley, Tracy Cartledge and Ben Geelan of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller, ViaWest Group of Phoenix, in the transaction.

West 101 Business Center, a high-quality office campus, consists of three single-story buildings totaling 118,853 square feet, with 87.1% occupancy. Developed in 2006, the property benefits from a freeway interchange location at Interstate 10 and the Loop 101, with access to a population of 2.4 million within a 30-minute commute in Phoenix’s west valley. 

“The property has a history of strong performance, leasing to almost 90% occupancy from 2008 to 2011, a time when most other properties in Phoenix were experiencing decreasing occupancy,” said Lindley. “The freeway interchange location has attracted strong tenants, with 51% of the property leased to billion dollar companies and government tenants, including NYSE-traded Aetna and $4.6 billion Archer Western.”

West 101 Business Center is the first Arizona direct property acquisition by Humphreys Fund I, an investment fund affiliated with The Humphreys Company of Oklahoma City, with a history of developing and acquiring income-producing real estate throughout the southern United States dating back to the 1960’s. The Humphreys Company now owns over 60 properties and interests in development companies in 15 states.

“We are excited to continue providing property management services and look forward to working with The Humphrey Company on a going-forward basis. They’ve purchased a great property, in the right location, with a high-caliber tenant roster,” said Danny Swancey, Partner of ViaWest Group. ViaWest Group originally acquired the property back in January 2013 for $12.3 million.

Virtual reality degree

The Shopping Experience of Tomorrow: AR and VR

For a lot of consumers, maybe the term AR (Augmented Reality) became exponentially popular with the game of collecting Pokémon in their neighborhood gym, or VR (Virtual Reality) with the popup shops in malls that let you try the dorky headsets – we are traveling to the future faster than we realize it.

Now, is the time for the retailers to be comfortable with this speed and embrace innovation in their strategies if they want to be successful with the generations growing up with these digital transformations.

Part of the promise behind AR/VR might seem like episodes of The Jetsons from your childhood, but history will have to repeat itself just like the transformation of cellular phones to smartphones. This new era of technology not only ushers a completely new way of interactivity between consumers and brands, but also makes their life experiences, including shopping, much easier.

VR, which is the full-immersive sibling of the two, uses wearable devices that produce realistic graphics and sounds where the user’s physical presence is mimicked in an imaginary environment. Many companies started experimenting with this technology to enhance their customer experiences. UK’s chain store Tesco’s demo is one example of how VR can be used in a retail shopping environment, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Buy+ platform video. These demos will mature enough in the next few years to become commercial for the mass market. At first impulse, this may look like just a lazy way to shop, but the key ingredient behind this technology will be the personalization of the experience. Imagine a store that is fully catered towards your wants and needs, discovers products for you and brings it to your home. VR will also be very effective in influential marketing campaigns. Consumer buying decisions are mainly based on feelings and experiences that are story driven. The whole promise of VR is to create those experiences. Fashion brand TopShop used VR headsets for a select number of its fans, to showcase the London Fashion Week live. The hotel Chain Marriott, used the technology to create a product where you can visit aspirational destinations without leaving your house. No more spending hours onTripAdvisor trying to find the best beach anymore, you can walk around the sands and judge for yourself.

AR, on the other hand, is the live real-world view environment, enhanced and modified by computer supported inputs such as graphics and sounds. One of the most common uses of AR in commerce today is the previews of products without buying them. It is being used to showcase products that are hard to “try” such as furniture. A smart phone screen can be used to capture your living room’s “real world” view and place the piece of furniture so you can preview and fit the products. AR will use the similar approach to mass-market personalized products or expensive novelty items, to remove frustration or customer disappointment from the process. You will be able to try/preview items even before items are manufactured.

The try/preview model does not have to be just for large or novelty items. Loreal created the Makeup Genius App which lets you try on different colors and shades of makeup without putting it on first. This is a very simple way of solving a very complex problem, a lot of consumers are having problems with, and AR is solving it.

Another disruption area for AR will be the brick and mortar retail. Virtual dressing rooms and smart mirrors are slowly coming into our lives. Rebecca Minkoff and eBay partnership brought us a fully connected store experience where the virtual dressing rooms are designed to make the shopping experience much easier. With engaging content being pushed to the consumer, new product discovery, looking for different sizes, AR is changing everything you hate about shopping in stores.

While AR/VR technologies may seem too futuristic for retail today, there are enough experiments to suggest they will be a mainstream in the very near future. Customers will start to expect a higher level of sophistication from this technology, because personalization, direct connection and ease of shopping will be the norm for commerce.

Questions you need to answer will be; How can you use the VR’s promise of creating worlds and telling stories for your brand? How can you create an experience for your consumers to connect with your brand emotionally? How can you use AR to make your product selection easier and shopping more fun?

Silicon Desert Insider is a weekly blog published every Wednesday on, about technology, trends, advice and more that could help your company. If you have an idea for “Silicon Desert Insider,” please email AZ BIG Media Associate Editor Jesse A. Millard at

Banner Desert Medical Center now has all-female leadership team

Banner Desert Medical Center’s executive leadership team is now comprised entirely of women, following the recent addition of Chief Operating Officer Cristal Mackay.

The facility’s leadership team also includes Laura Robertson, CEO; Tanya Kne, chief medical officer; Cindy Helmich, chief nursing officer; Cheryl Tong, chief financial officer. Many members of this team also lead Cardon Children’s Medical Center, which is located on the Banner Desert campus, along with David Morimosato, MD, who is chief medical officer for that facility.

“Banner Health takes great effort to maintain a diverse workforce, bringing together a wide variety of professionals to provide excellent patient care,” said Jackie Hunter, executive recruiter who oversees Banner Health’s workforce diversity efforts.

Women play a major role in Banner Health’s workforce, comprising 76 percent of its nearly 49,900 employees as of late May.

Several members of Banner’s Senior Leadership Team are women, including Becky Kuhn, chief operating officer; Alexandra Morehouse, chief marketing officer; and Naomi Cramer, chief human resources officer.

More than half of Banner’s 348 senior managers are female. Among 21 CEOs across the system’s acute care facilities, 57 percent are women.

“It’s an honor for all of us on the executive leadership team at Banner Desert to work with so many talented and dedicated women and men across the organization who are all working together with the same mission in common – making health care easier, so that life can be better,” said Robertson.

Banner Desert Medical Center is a nonprofit hospital in Mesa, Arizona, providing a range of inpatient and outpatient services. The medical center, which includes a Level 1 trauma center, is one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Arizona and serves as a regional referral center in the East Valley of metropolitan Phoenix. Banner Desert is recognized nationally by U.S. News and World Report for high performance in gynecology. The medical campus is also home to Cardon Children’s Medical Center. Both facilities are owned and operated by Banner Health, the largest provider of health care services in Arizona. For more information, visit