Tickets going on sale for ‘Fun Home’ at ASU Gammage

Single tickets for the groundbreaking, Tony Award®-winning hit Fun Home at ASU Gammage will go on sale Monday, July 31 at 10:00 a.m. 

ASU Gammage kicks off the 2017-2018 Desert Schools Broadway Across America – Arizona season with Fun Home September 5-10 and runs with seven other remarkable productions, including the blockbuster hit Hamilton.

To purchase tickets, visit or call the Box Office at 480-965-3434.

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood that connect with her in surprising new ways. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. 

FUN HOME features music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and direction by Sam Gold, whose work on this production earned them Tony Awards® for Best Score, Best Book and Best Direction.  With this win, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori also made history by becoming the first female writing team to be awarded the Best Score Tony Award®.

FUN HOME was also nominated for 2015 Tony Awards® for Best Scenic Design of Musical (David Zinn), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Ben Stanton) and Best Orchestrations (John Clancy). The creative team also includes Danny Mefford (Choreography), Kai Harada (Sound Design), David Zinn (Costume Design) and Chris Fenwick (Music Direction).

Tony Award®-winning director Sam Gold, who staged both the Off Broadway and Broadway productions of Fun Home, restaged the national tour. The Broadway production opened on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre on April 19, 2015 and ran through September 10, 2016.

Producers Fox Theatricals (Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson) and Barbara Whitman are thrilled to announce the casting for the ASU Gammage engagement of the first National Tour of FUN HOME.

ROBERT PETKOFF (Broadway’s Ragtime, All The Way, Anything Goes) will play Bruce, SUSAN MONIZ (Broadway’s Grease, Chicago’s Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater) will play Helen and KATE SHINDLE (Broadway’s Legally Blonde, Cabaret) will play Alison.


3.88 acres at The Watermark | Tempe sell for $14.7M

Fenix Development and Cushman & Wakefield announced today that 3.88 acres at The Watermark | Tempe sold to Dallas-based Trinsic Residential Group for $14.7 million. The Cushman & Wakefield team of Brent Moser, Mike Sutton and Brooks Griffith represented the seller, Los Angeles-based Fenix Development in the transaction.

Aura at Watermark, the high-rise apartment tower of The Watermark | Tempe development, will offer 360 luxury apartments. The seven-story building will offer 23 floor plans with units ranging from 582-square-foot (sf) studio apartments to 2,282 sf penthouses, providing diverse options for a broad range of tenants.

The development’s amenity set will include two podium top courtyards with pools, spas, cabanas, gaming areas and social gathering spaces. In addition to the courtyards, Aura Watermark will have a 4,500 sf state-of-the-art fitness facility overlooking Tempe Town Lake, two bicycle repair and storage facilities, an indoor dog wash, an outdoor dog park and picnic area, water sports equipment rental and storage and a high-end clubhouse that will include a mezzanine lounge area for residents. Trinsic Residential Group plans to start construction in Q3 2017 and is scheduled to deliver in 2020.

“In partnership with Fenix Development, and a team of local experts, Trinsic Residential Group will provide a residential offering to coincide with the world class office, retail and hotel developments within The Watermark | Tempe. Trinsic Residential feels fortunate to have a partnership with Fenix Development, and the City of Tempe, that will provide an enduring legacy on Tempe Town Lake,” Todd Gosselink, Managing Director – Arizona, Trinsic Residential Group.

“As one of the premiere high density builders in the United States, Trinsic quickly recognized the property can never be duplicated in Arizona. Nearly 800 feet of lake frontage offering unparalleled lake views, along with easy access to both the Loop 202 and ASU are a few of the features that sets this urban property apart,” said Brent Moser, Executive Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield.

Fenix Development broke ground on The Watermark | Tempe in June of 2017. In addition to the 360 luxury apartments, Phase I of the 1.9 million-square-foot mixed-use development will include 250,000 sf of premium Class A office space and 44,000 sf of high-end restaurant and boutique retail service space. As Tempe’s first vertically integrated mixed-use development, the project is scheduled to deliver Phase I in the fall of 2018.

“Fenix Development and The Watermark | Tempe are very excited about our newfound partnership with Trinsic Residential Group. Aura at Watermark raises the bar for luxury, lakeside living and solidifies our vision for Watermark to be the preeminent live, work and play lifestyle destination in Metro Phoenix. Aura’s luxurious amenities are the perfect complement to our premium Class A office and high-end retail components,” said Mike Loretz, Project Manager of Fenix Development.

New Dean welcomes students at UA College of Medicine – Phoenix

Eighty first-year students from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix received the mantle of the medical profession Friday, July 21 when they donned their white coats for the first time during ceremonies at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.

The ceremony marks the students’ entry into clinical medicine and is a rite of passage in their journey toward a health care career.

Nearly 1,400 family members and friends cheered as each new medical student put on their coat.

Guy Reed, MD, MS, new dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, told the students that the white coat is “a symbol of our commitment to a profession that is built on a foundation of science, which is inspired by humanism and characterized by selflessness in the service of the greater good.”

It was Dr. Reed’s first day on the downtown Phoenix biomedical campus as dean of the medical school, which has 328 medical students in training to become physicians.

The College, which earned full accreditation earlier this year, was established as a way to ease the growing shortage of physicians in Arizona. The Phoenix campus has graduated 354 physicians in 10 years.

Prior to the ceremony, first-year student Neil Vigil, said he was excited and humbled to think of the responsibility that comes with wearing a white coat.

A U.S. Army veteran who piloted Black Hawk helicopters and led a 53-man platoon in Afghanistan, Vigil said he hopes to be involved in veteran-related research after four years of medical school.

In just the first two weeks, he said, he’s interviewed a standardized patient and shadowed physicians in the trauma center at Maricopa Medical Center.

His class is “the friendliest group of people I have ever met. They are really impressive, and from all walks of life,” Vigil said, adding that his early impression of the College is that it’s “not only interested in developing physicians, but also in transforming health care.”

Another student, Krichelle White, said she was struck by the diversity of her classmates.

“We all come from unique backgrounds,” she said. “We have classmates who have children, classmates that just got out of college and classmates like myself who have been out of college for a while.”

White said her goal is to establish a family practice locally and serve the Phoenix community.

The students will have four years of training at the medical school before they begin a residency program.

The keynote address was delivered by Kote Chundu, MD, professor of Child Health at the College and President and Chief Executive Officer of District Medical Group, which provides clinical services and manages medical administrative functions at Maricopa Integrated Health Systems.

He encouraged the class to cooperate with other physicians and members of health care teams.

“Team-based care is the best care, and sometimes the person with the right answer is not going to be you as the physician,” he said. “It should be a lifelong goal for you not to compete but to cooperate to improve patient care.”

Dr. Chundu’s advice was to think like business leaders, pace themselves, live in the moment, learn to listen and focus on the needs of the patient.

Sarah Coles, MD, who is a member of the first class that graduated from the medical school 10 years ago and is an Assistant Professor at the College in the Department of Family, Community and Preventive Medicine, delivered the alumni address.

She told the first-year students that their white coats would not stay white for very long.

“Wade in,” she said. “Get involved and get your hands dirty. Be an advocate for your patients, your profession, your community. And remember that empathy and compassion are themselves therapeutic and more valuable than all the tests, drugs and procedures we can offer.”

In addition to their white coats, donated by 100 sponsors, students received their first textbook, “The Patient History: Evidence-Based Approach to Differential Diagnosis,” courtesy of District Medical Group at Maricopa Integrated Health System; a stethoscope from Banner Health, and a lapel pin from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation containing an inscription about humanism in medicine. 

Facts about the Class of 2021

• Applications received: 4,721

• Students matriculating into the program: 80

• Arizona residents: 62 students, or 78 percent of the incoming class

• Average GPA: 3.75

• Average science GPA: 3.68

• Graduated from the University of Arizona: 27

• Graduated from Arizona State University: 32

• Number of universities represented: 28

• Demographics: 60 percent female, 40 percent male

• Have graduate degrees:  16 percent

CBRE completes $32.5M sale of San Paulo Apartments

CBRE has completed the sale of San Paulo, a 208-unit Class A multifamily community located at 14625 South Mountain Parkway in Phoenix. The property commanded a sale price of $32.5 million.

Sean Cunningham, Tyler Anderson, Asher Gunter and Matt Pesch with CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the seller, Seattle-based PrivatePortfolio Group. The buyer was New York City-based Rivendell Global Real Estate.

“Located in the preferred Ahwatukee submarket, San Paulo presents a tremendous investment opportunity,” said CBRE’s Cunningham. “The community is surrounded by numerous established master-planned communities with strong demographics, access to top-rated schools and proximity to some of the East Valley’s largest employers.” 

Built in 1996, San Paulo is a garden-style community with spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans equipped with 9-foot ceilings and full-size washers/dryers. Community features include a swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center and resident clubhouse. San Paulo is situated within the upscale Mountain Park Ranch master-planned community, which provides residents access to several Mountain Park Ranch HOA amenities including tennis courts, swimming pools and parks.

WESTMARC opens Best of the West nominations Aug. 1

WESTMARC is seeking nominations for the 25th Anniversary Best of the West Awards Dinner on Thursday, November 2nd, at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

WESTMARC is accepting nominations in three categories: Economic Engine, Quality of Life Enhancement, and Excellence in Innovation. The online nomination form opens August 1st and the deadline to submit is 9:00 pm on Friday, September 8th. Nominations can be submitted online at The cost for each nomination is $50 for members and $75 for non-members, organizations can submit multiple entries for different projects, companies, and programs. 

“The Best of the West Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle, and economy in the West Valley,” said Sintra Hoffman, WESTMARC President and CEO. “WESTMARC is proud to honor these outstanding individuals and organizations making a great impact in the West Valley.”

Nominations are sought for individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities or programs representing interests in the West Valley.

  • The Economic Engine Award recognizes individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities or programs which have created a significant economic outcome and/or job creation for the West Valley.
  • The Quality of Life Enhancement Award recognizes individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities or programs which have enhanced the quality of life for West Valley residents.
  • The Excellence in Innovation Award recognizes individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities or programs which have demonstrated an innovative concept to accomplish one or more of the following: Fulfill a need for West Valley Residents or Preserve the West Valley Assets or Resources.

In addition to the three annual awards, WESTMARC will also present awards for West Valley Inspiration in Leadership and West Valley Regional Advancement.

Sponsorship opportunities are available as well as individual and table rates. Visit for additional information.

WESTMARC—the Western Maricopa Coalition—is a public-private partnership of the 15 communities, the business community and the educational sector in the West Valley.

millennials in the workplace

Millennials in tech: Turning what makes them different into an advantage

It has become a standard part of any gathering of tech sector senior management; the “Millennials!” discussion. The generation that is referred to as Millennials grew up in a different world than the generations that now run and manage businesses. In fact, those of us who run tech enterprises are the ones that created the connected and screen dominated world that this young group entering the workforce grew up in. It is fun to complain, every generation has done it. But when the complaining is done, it is time to stand up and face the fact that millennials make up a growing part of the workforce. They are smart, they are driven, and they can make significant contributions to your business.

A good place to start in leveraging your Millennial workforce is identifying what motivates them. Every person is different, but this generation’s baseline can be significantly different. You and your managers need to reach out to the younger employees and understand not just what drives them in their work, but what their life goals are.

The next step is to modify a tried and true method. In the past, good managers in technology companies would identify the strengths of each employee and work to let the employee leverage those strengths. You need to do that with millennials, but you also need to acknowledge those strengths to them more. This generation has been encouraged and educated with this type of acknowledgment and it has worked to produce some outstandingly talented people. It gives confidence and overcomes hesitation. So take advantage of that instead of thinking there is something wrong with encouragement.

Another byproduct of the way this generation was educated and trained is that enthusiasm has been encouraged throughout their lives. And you can get all grouchy-old-person about it or you can realize that it’s a big positive, especially in a technology based business where you can face some pretty tough problems. Instead of grumbling their way through challenging tasks, tap into and encourage that enthusiasm.

The biggest complaint about Millennials in the tech workplace is that they feel entitled. They feel they want to be a CEO right out of college and don’t want to work for it. To a large extent, this is just not true. Yes, they want to progress faster, no they don’t want to wait. You can look at that as entitlement or as a drive to succeed. Leverage that drive by giving them challenges. They may not do as well as they thought and learn that some things take time. Or they may surprise you and show you that they can accomplish amazing things in very little time.

The older belief that you have to work your way up and take time to learn the business is actually just being slow and not pushing boundaries. When Millennials complain that they are not progressing in their career fast enough, give them more responsibility or more difficult work.

Which brings up the big question. What do you do if you work to understand the motivation of a young technology worker, acknowledge their strengths, leverage their enthusiasm, and give them challenges, and then they fail? Well, you do what you do with any employee of any generation: you work to fix it or you let them go. When a young employee fails it’s usually not because they are a Millennial, it’s because they didn’t have the experience, skill, drive, knowledge, or personality to succeed at the tasks they were given. The temptation is to throw your hands up and go “Millennials!” But they are employees like any other, with the same distribution of fantastic, average, and underperforming members as any other group. Leverage what does make them different and you will find and grow more of those fantastic workers.

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

Phoenix Suns player

Photos: Phoenix Suns player Devin Booker’s $3.2M home

The Valley is home to many impressive and inspiring homes, particularly in the Paradise Valley area.

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty recently worked on three multi-million dollar home sales, including Phoenix Suns player Devin Booker, who purchased a Paradise Valley home for $3.2 million.

The homes are located near the Valley’s most breathtaking mountains, and hottest neighborhoods.

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Vicki Zangl represented Booker in his purchase of a Paradise Valley home near Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive for $3,250,000. The 5,000-square-foot home has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a four-car garage, and a private pool and spa. The home was designed by the Scottsdale-based architecture firm Drewett Works and is located in a new Paradise Valley subdivision with modern and contemporary styles and finishes.

42232 N 104th Way (Provided photo)

In another significant sale, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Donna LeGate represented the buyer in Russ Lyon Sotheby International Realty’s highest-selling house for June. Located at 42232 N. 104th Way and sold for $4,650,000, this award-winning Scottsdale home includes a wine cellar, a chef’s kitchen, a resort patio and casita, artisan doors, and custom cabinetry and hearths. The 8,459- square-foot home is surrounded by over 15 acres of open land and has incredible views of the Chiricahua golf course.

“This is a really amazing home,” said LeGate. “The finishes and details in this home were over the top, and the setting was surrounded by the golf course and an open area which are never to be built on, creating a 15-acre homesite.”

5015 N Arcadia Drive (Provided photo)

The second biggest sale of the month was 5015 N. Arcadia Dr., which was represented by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agents Leslie Jenkins and Joe Bushong and sold for $3,300,000. Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Cheryl Anderson brought the buyer.

This stunning 8,262-square-foot estate sitting on the south slope of Camelback Mountain is rich with historical touches and details from many local artisans. The home features hand-plastered walls, mesquite mill work, custom iron lighting, hand-crafted Spanish tiles, a gated entry, and a 5,000 bottle wine cellar.

“This is a stunning family estate that feels incredibly romantic and private,” said Jenkins. “It has extraordinary and timeless details you won’t find in most homes.”

Aloft Hotel will open at Westgate in Glendale

HCW, LLC announced today the land closing for the development of a 100-room, four-story Aloft Hotel located at the southwest corner of Glendale and 93rd Avenues in Glendale, AZ.  

The 2.4-acre property is located adjacent to the Westgate Entertainment District, one of the premier entertainment destinations in the region.  The mixed-use Westgate Entertainment District is anchored by a 20-screen AMC Theaters and Dave & Busters, and is adjacent to the 400,000 square foot Tanger Outlets. Westgate is next to the Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes, and adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals.

iStar Inc., the owner of Westgate Entertainment District and virtually all the developable land remaining in the Westgate planning area, was the seller of the parcel.

“The development of the Aloft Hotel continues our strategic progression of building out the Westgate project in a variety of manners, following our joint-venture development of the Tanger Outlet mall, our development of the Dave & Busters building next to the AMC Theater, and most recently our ground-lease of the southeast corner of Glendale and 95th Avenues for the wildly popular Dutch Bros. coffee chain,” said David Sotolov, Executive Vice President and Head of West Coast Investments for iStar.

“We are excited to bring the Aloft brand to this thriving part of Glendale, Arizona. The Westgate Entertainment District is the perfect location for Aloft’s business model providing a hip modern atmosphere at an affordable price,” said Rick Huffman, HCW CEO.

Aloft Hotels owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts has taken the lodging industry by storm offering urban, modern design and a hip social experience all at an affordable price. Catering to the next generation of travelers, Aloft is experiencing strong guest satisfaction scores, receiving third-party recognition and stealing market share. The phenomenon that went global within six months of creation is now in 18 countries across 4 continents with a portfolio of 126 hotels in 2016. Aloft Hotels has been an innovative brand since its inception in 2008. From design to programming to food and beverage, the brand has revolutionized the way the staid hospitality landscape approaches the guest experience. Keyless check-in? They were first. Robotic butler? Check. Global music programming? (Mic) Check. And with more than 126 hotels around the world, there are no signs of slowing down.

The Aloft Hotel is planned to open in summer of 2018.  Chuck Wells of CBC Advisors represented the buyer in the land transaction, while Jeff Teetsel of Teetsel Properties, the development manager for Westgate, negotiated the transaction for the seller.  Teetsel observed “We had a number of prospective hotel buyers interested in locating at Westgate.  We chose HCW and ALoft as the right brand quality and building architecture we desired at one of the gateways to the Westgate Entertainment District.  Hotel guests will be able to walk to enjoy the theater, restaurants and activities in the district.”

HCW’s project team currently includes Erickson & Meeks Engineering, LLC from Phoenix, AZ and architects, Butler Rosenbury and Partners of Springfield, MO, who also designed the Scottsdale Hampton Inn and many other projects for HCW Development.

HCW, LLC is a nationwide development company with offices in Wichita, KS, Branson, MO and Phoenix, AZ.

For more information on Westgate Entertainment District and to see what’s happening today, visit For more information about HCW, LLC visit  or call 417-332-3400.

Prime land parcel in Central Phoenix sells for $5.7 million

Acres of land are in high demand all over the valley but purchasing land in Central Phoenix off Central Avenue and Indian School Road is any investor’s dream. SVN Desert Commercial Advisors currently represents a number of land owners who are looking to sell their property to investors from all across the country.  Just recently, SVN advisors Paul Borgesen III and Justin Horwitz represented the buyer, Glasir Capital LLC in a land purchase for $5,701,500.  Christina Hughes with Fidelity National Title handled this transaction.

Greg Vogel, Chad Russell, and Waseem Hamadeh with Land Advisors represented the seller in the recent transaction.  This was a high profile 3.10 acre site at the SEC of Central Ave. and Indian School Rd. On the surface, the sale may appear as a straightforward transaction, but when investigated further, one would find that this deal was far from that. The site itself consisted of a complex series of three parcels that included a vacant lot on the hard corner once operated as a gas station, a Yoshi’s restaurant on a multi-year ground lease, and a parcel utilized for parking which is also under a multi- year agreement.

The Buyer, Glasir Partners, secured the site with plans for future mixed use development and ultimately closed in a double escrow after forming a partnership with a capital partner who funded the deal via a reverse 1031 exchange.

“We were proud to announce the sale of this site,” Justin Horwitz said.  Horwitz continued to express that, “Glasir did a tremendous job pooling resources to bring together the pieces necessary to acquire a site with as much complexity as it has potential.” 

Central Phoenix will have something to look forward to with a wide range of development options being considered.

Banner Urgent Care reduces wait times with online feature

Banner Health recently added an online feature that will increase comfort and convenience for patients receiving care at Banner Urgent Care facilities. The new online reservation system allows patients to virtually “save their spot in line,” thus avoiding the need to sit in waiting rooms when they aren’t feeling well.

Patients using the online check-in system can reduce their wait to as little as zero time up to an average of 15 minutes, depending on the location. Traditionally, urgent care clinics have operated on a walk-in basis, with no way to make an appointment or reserve a time to see a healthcare provider.

The process is quick and easy. By visiting from a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet, patients can book an online reservation at one of the participating Banner Urgent Care clinics. Patients simply type their name and why they are visiting the clinic.

Patients can schedule a visit daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., search by locations by ZIP code, by a range of distances up to 30 miles from their location and by clinics with a lab and diagnostic imaging on site. After selecting a reservation time and opting to receive text message updates, patients will receive alerts as the reservation time approaches. When patients arrive at the clinic, they check in electronically and can monitor where they stand in the queue or “line” on a screen in the lobby.

“We greatly value our patients’ time and busy schedules, and aim to do all we can to make their lives easier,” said Banner Urgent Care CEO Rob Rohatsch, MD. “Minimizing their wait in our facility can mean a great deal to someone who’s juggling many demands, facing a hectic day or simply not feeling well enough to sit in a waiting room.”

To view wait times or make a reservation for any of the 43 participating urgent care locations in Arizona, visit An additional urgent care site, in Casa Grande, will begin participating on Aug. 1.

Banner Urgent Care provides a close, convenient and affordable treatment option for patients with non-life threatening illnesses and injuries such as cold and flu; ear, eye and throat infections; fevers; skin rashes; and sprains, strains and lacerations. Banner Urgent Care is open every day of the year, and accepts most insurance plans. For more information, locations and hours of operation,  visit

Sarver says Suns need new arena to return to prominence

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver confirmed that the franchise is actively pursuing options to either renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena or leave its current home altogether.

After announcing general manager Ryan McDonough’s contract extension and introducing NBA veteran James Jones as the Suns’ vice president of basketball operations, Sarver addressed the importance of upgrading the team’s facilities.

“Our arena is becoming outdated,” Sarver said of the building that also is home to the Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers. “We’re soon to be the second-oldest arena in the league and the smallest arena in the league square footage-wise.”

Talking Stick Resort Arena opened in 1992, technically making it the sixth-oldest building in the NBA, but two franchises with older stadiums are building new arenas and Sarver believes the Suns’ home has fallen behind others that have recently undergone major renovation projects.

The Milwaukee Bucks broke ground on a $524 million arena in June 2016 that will replace the BMO Bradley Center for the start of the 2018-19 season, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The defending-champion Golden State Warriors began construction in January on San Francisco’s Chase Center, which is scheduled to be ready for play in 2019.

Minneapolis’ Target Center, which has hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves since 1990, will be the next to pass Talking Stick as its $140 million renovation project is scheduled to be completed before the 2017-18 season, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. New York’s Madison Square Garden completed a three-year, $1 billion transformation in 2013.

Meanwhile the Suns’ downtown Phoenix arena, which currently seats over 18,000 fans for NBA games, underwent its last renovation in 2003.

Sarver said he is currently listening to any and all options, including a potential stadium partnership with the Arizona Coyotes, but insisted that a deal with the Valley’s hockey team wouldn’t work out if the Suns decide to stay at Talking Stick.

“I’m open to doing what’s best for the city of Phoenix and for us first and foremost,” Sarver said. “If that happens to be this building, then that’s not an option because of the way this building was built.”

The Coyotes previously shared the downtown Phoenix arena with the Suns after their arrival from Winnipeg in 1996, but poor sightlines eventually prompted a December 2003 move to Gila River Arena in Glendale.

After Glendale voted to cancel the Coyotes’ lease in 2015, Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton urged the team to rekindle its partnership with the Suns and work together on a new downtown stadium that he felt would be in everyone’s best interests.

“I will do everything I can to pursue a course that makes a new facility home to the Suns, Mercury and the Coyotes,” Stanton said in his April 2016 State of the City address. “Building two new professional arenas in our region simply doesn’t make fiscal or common sense.”

Sarver stressed that the Suns’ priority is to stay in downtown Phoenix, but that hasn’t stopped them from searching elsewhere. He addressed questions about whether a bid he placed last week that was reported by Business Real Estate Weekly of Arizona on land just north of Sky Harbor Airport near McDowell Road and North 40th Street could be the future site of their new arena.

“Well not today it isn’t, someone else bought it,” Sarver said. “It was a state land auction last week. I thought it was a good location, a good option. I’m looking at different options here within the Valley.”

“We have to have an NBA quality facility. I know that, I think the city of Phoenix knows that and we have no choice but to get one of those two things (renovate or relocate) done, so hopefully within the next couple of years, we’ll start construction on something.”

Sarver did not offer a clear timeline for next steps in the quest for a new arena, but said he was willing to be patient when it comes to the making the Suns a championship contender again. He admitted that the team’s success in his first few years of ownership, when they went to back-to-back Western Conference Finals, may have spoiled him and that he’s committed to the rebuilding process he and McDonough have put in place.

“I want more to try win a championship for this city than I want to worry about being impatient,” Sarver said. “Right now, I think I just have a clear vision of what we want to do and how we want to get there and so I have no choice, but to be patient.”

McDonough, who signed an extension through the 2019-20 season, said that patience was also key in his pursuit of Jones for a front office role with the team. He said he spoke with Jones’ agent Joel Bell every July 1 for the last three to four years to inquire about the possibility of him returning to Phoenix.

“This is something Robert and I have discussed for a while,” McDonough said. “We spent a lot of time with James last week in Las Vegas and kind of talked about more how it would work. We’re thrilled to add him to our staff.”

Jones, who played with the Suns from 2005-2007, will report to McDonough and assist on any basketball decisions, including free-agent signings, trades and pre-draft player evaluations. After calling it quits on his playing career on the back of seven straight NBA Finals appearances, Jones hopes that he can help bring the Suns back to that level.

“If you’re on the outside, you may wonder why forgo an opportunity to compete for championships, but I see this an opportunity to compete for championships,” Jones said. “I like where the organization is.”

Sarver believes that Jones’ experience winning three NBA titles and his desire to succeed will make him a major addition to the team’s front office.

“James is intimately familiar with what it takes to win a championship.” Sarver said. “Our goal as an organization is to win a championship.”

“It’s really the only thing our organization hasn’t accomplished. We’ve had MVPs, we’ve been to the Conference Finals, NBA Finals, but we haven’t won a championship and that’s something this community and our fans deserve.”


(Story by John Arlia, Cronkite News)

Most Influential Women: Julie Johnson, Avison Young

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 the Most 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:

Julie Johnson, principal, Avison Young

Johnson has been a leader in healthcare real estate for over 25 years in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. In 1992, she achieved the prestigious CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation – often referred to as the Ph.D. of commercial real estate.

Best decision: “Early in my career I was referred many clients who were in the healthcare industry because I had worked in a healthcare related industry. There were only a couple of brokers specializing in healthcare and there was a skill set associated with doing these deals successfully and decided to specialize only in healthcare. Now, years later, there are many brokers specializing in healthcare, but to have made that decision early in my career was very beneficial.”

Surprising fact: “I’m an adrenaline junkie. I’ve driven race cars, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, parachuted, bungee jumped and still get the adrenaline rush from doing deals.”

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 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.

7 historic Phoenix landmarks that no one remembers

They are all historic Phoenix landmarks. They were centers for the community long before Phoenix became the fifth-biggest city in the country. They have all been replaced by various commercial real estate projects, but they created memories for all who visited them. Here are seven historic Phoenix landmarks that very few people remember.

Weems Turkey Ranch

The ranch was built around the time Arizona became a state in 1912.  It was surrounded by a six-foot granite wall.  The ranch covered about 80 acres and was located at 7th Avenue and Camelback.  It extended from 7th Avenue to 11th Avenue to the west and from Camelback to Colter to the north.  The ranch house faced east and sat about 150 feet north of Camelback and 100 feet west of 7th Avenue. Weems had hundreds of turkeys and also had chickens, geese and goats. Most families in Phoenix at the time bought their Thanksgiving Turkeys there.

Today: The area is home to an LA Fitness, Fry’s and other retail shops and restaurants.

Central Avenue Dairy

The dairy began in the early 1900’s and ran from Earl to just south of Thomas and from Central to 3rd Avenue (about 46 acres).  We never were bothered much by the smell as there were less than 100 cows at any one time. 

Today: Park Central Mall construction began in 1955, thus ending the run for Central Avenue Dairy. Nearby land was also used to build St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Phoenix Trap and Skeet Club

Located in Echo Canyon at the base of Camelback Mountain, it was an ideal place to be.  The club was organized in the 1930s.  In trap shooting, the“clay pigeons” are launched from a single machine away from the shooter.  In skeet shooting, targets are launched from two machines in sideways paths that intersect in front of the shooter. The club hosted the world national competition for many years until 1952, when the club moved to Papago Park.

Milky Way Ranch

The ranch was a gorgeous place to visit — a giant oasis of 320 acres.  It was located between 20th Street to 28th Street and from Camelback to Campbell.  The ranch’s headquarters was located exactly where Trader Joe’s is today. The ranch was built in 1900 and closed down in 1950, but a nine-hole golf course was built on the site in late 1951.   

Today: In 1965, Town and Country Mall was built and it has undergone renovations and a renaissance over the past several years.

Sportsman’s Park

Sportsman’s Park was a 160-acre horse racing track. It had a huge white sign with blue letters that rose high above the entrance at the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Indian School Road. It extended east to 3rd Avenue and north to Indianola.  The park was built in 1920. By late 1950, the racetrack closed its doors.

Today: The area is home to the entrance of the Melrose Historic District, a post office, fast-food restaurants and residential housing.

In this photo of Richard Kaufman taken at Cactus Air Park on March 18, 1951, the Mazatzal Mountains in Payson are visible in the background. Those mountains were 90 miles from the flying site.

Cactus Air Park

Cactus Air Park was an open area of 960 acres.  There was always at least three to five airplanes sitting at the northwest corner of the field. The airplanes did not have a closed hangar.  The area had no street signs until 1957.  All of the 960 acres were hard flat dirt without a single growth of anything.  This was due to the Borate compound the airplanes would spray on the field (Borate was later outlawed in the mid-1960s).  The confines were Shea to Cactus to the north and 32nd Street to 44th Street to the east.  Endless miles of desert extended beyond the confines.

Airhaven Airport

Airhaven Airport was built during WW II and was located between 27th Avenue and 35th Avenue just south of Indian School Road.  The runway ran 30 degrees northeast to 30 degrees southwest.  It was bordered on the southwest by Grand Avenue and the northeast by Indian School Road.  The Arizona Canal bordered the airport to the south.  The entrance was just before you got to the intersection of Indian School Road, 35th Avenue and Grand Avenue. 

Brent Herrington

Meet AZRE Forum panelist: Brent Herrington

The AZRE Forum will be held on Aug. 3 at the Camby and Brent Herrington, president and CEO of DMB, 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.

Herrington will be speaking on the panel focusing on the State of the State.

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 Herrington. 

Herrington provides strategic leadership for the DMB organization and oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. He joined DMB in 1998 and has been actively involved in the visioning and strategy of many of the company’s major projects since that time. Prior to joining DMB he served as town manager for Celebration, Florida, a 5,000-acre planned community developed by the Walt Disney Company.

Business advice: “The best real estate developers have an uncanny ability to design places and spaces that people really love. When designing a new project, focus first on what’s most important to the people who will live, work or play in the environment you are creating. In real estate, making people happy and making a lot of money tend to go hand in hand.”

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria continues to expand in Arizona

Chicago based Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria announces today it will be opening its third Arizona location in Scottsdale.  The opening is slated for early summer 2018.

The new full-service restaurant will be Malnati’s largest Arizona location to date at 10,000 square feet, including a spacious outdoor patio area. The pizzeria will include a full bar along with carryout, delivery and catering services. It will be located within the “Chauncey Lane” development announced last week by DBM Ventures – a 53,000-square-foot mixed-use project located near Scottsdale Road off AZ State Route 101. 

Lou Malnati’s Scottsdale plans to hire more than 150 employees prior to its opening in summer 2018.   Earlier this year, Lou Malnati’s announced its second Arizona location opening in the Arcadia neighborhood set to open this fall. Located at 3431 North 56th Street at the southeast corner of Indian School Road and 56th Street, Lou Malnati’s Arcadia will offer carryout, delivery, and catering services.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response this past year and are ready to expand so that we can serve more of our authentic deep dish to the people of Arizona,” said Marc Malnati, owner of Lou Malnati’s. “We are looking forward to immersing ourselves in more local communities.”

While the design details are still in the works for Lou Malnati’s Scottsdale, one key component remains the same.  Arizona’s pizza lovers can rest assured that they are experiencing an authentic taste of Chicago.  

2017 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week kicks off the season

For some, the falling leaves and subtle chill in the air signify the onset of autumn. Here in the Valley, local diners celebrate the season with the arrival of The Arizona Restaurant Association’s Fall Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW). This year marks the 10th anniversary of this food-focused event that has developed into a 10-day long gastronomic jubilee, with restaurants statewide offering their special ARW menus brimming with the bounty of the season’s harvest.

To celebrate 10 years of this spectacular event this year, the Arizona Restaurant Association is giving diners a chance to win big during Fall ARW with an exciting online contest featuring 10 experiential prizes that foodie and travel lovers will eat up.

The 2017 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week will kick off 10 days of dining, from September 15th through the 24th, with nearly 200 participating restaurants showcasing three-course prix-fixe meals for just $33 or $44 per person. In addition to Fall ARW, the Arizona Restaurant Association hosts Spring ARW in May and Arizona Breakfast Weekend in July, and is proud to be supported by its sponsors: Young’s Market Company, Sanderson Lincoln, Sanderson Ford, Open Table, the Arizona Office of Tourism, and American Express.

Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “Arizona Restaurant Week gives Valley diners a unique opportunity to try some of the state’s finest and most popular restaurants featuring special menus designed to let their culinary staff shine. We are proud to have contributed to the interest, development and support of the local culinary scene for the past 10 years — and counting.”

Participating Fall restaurants include: The Dhaba, Sumo Maya, Marcellino Ristorante, Sonata’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Artizen, Match, Nobuo at Teeter House, Café ZuZu, The Keg, El Panzon y Frida, Christopher’s & Crush Lounge, The Capital Grille (Phoenix & Scottsdale) and Arrowhead Grill amongst many others. 

Event updates along with a list of participating restaurants and their ARW menus can be found at

clinical research advantage

Walgreens bringing nearly 500 jobs to Chandler

Walgreens today announced it will bring nearly 500 jobs, including 191 new positions, to Chandler, Arizona as part of the relocation of its Tempe pharmacy operations support center.  The current facility in Tempe will remain open as a pharmacy mail services support facility to allow for future growth.

In addition to the 191 new quality jobs that meet or exceed the Maricopa County 2017 median wage job, Walgreens will move 300 current positions from its Tempe facility to the new 60,000 square foot pharmacy operations support center in Chandler, located at 2225 S. Price Road. The positions at the Chandler facility will include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and specialists including call center agents.

The new support center is expected to be operational by fall 2017.

“We are excited to create new job opportunities in Chandler with the opening of our new pharmacy operations support center,” said Rex Swords, Walgreens vice president of pharmacy and retail operations planning. “The new facility will support Walgreens retail pharmacies around the country by performing tasks that allow pharmacy staff in stores to spend more time providing trusted service to patients.”

“The health care industry is a key part of Arizona’s diversified economy, and Walgreens decision to grow its operations in our state will significantly contribute to the strength of that industry,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said. “This project will not only create hundreds of new, high-value job opportunities in the East Valley, but will also provide excellent pharmaceutical services for our citizens.”

“Following a competitive process, Arizona has once again proven it is the ideal location for business,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO. “We’re proud that Walgreens – one of the most respected names in the industry – has selected Chandler to expand its operations, and we thank them for their commitment to Arizona.”

“The City of Chandler welcomes Walgreens to one of the premier employment corridors in the Southwest, and we look forward to their future growth and development in our community,” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said. “This investment by Walgreens contributes to a growing technology and health cluster here in Chandler, adding to an already dynamic local economy. We look forward to developing a strong relationship with Walgreens as they ramp up operations in the City.”

The pharmacy mail services support facility in Tempe is operated by AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a combined central specialty pharmacy and mail service company jointly owned by Walgreens and Prime Therapeutics.

SRP gets 1st approval for proposed Price Road Corridor project

At the conclusion of public hearings held July 24 and 25, the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee recommended approval of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC), for an SRP power line project that will help support economic development in the Chandler area known as the Price Road Corridor.

The committee approval is the first step of the application submitted by Salt River Project to the Arizona Corporation Commission that proposes using Price Road as the route for a double-circuit, 230-kilovolt power line to be constructed from the existing Knox Substation to the RS-27 substation.

SRP is seeking approval for 4.8 miles of a new overhead transmission line from the Knox substation to a new RS-27 substation. The line runs generally along the south side of the Loop 202 and then adjacent to the Gila River Indian Community boundary north of the substation site. A major portion of the line would be placed underground with the City of Chandler paying the difference between building the line overhead – SRP’s standard – and the added cost of putting them underground.

The ACC will address the application and is expected to make a final determination on the CEC application at a regularly scheduled open meeting. For complete project information, visit or call the toll-free line at (855) 584-1484.

SRP is a community-based not-for-profit public power utility, serving about 1 million customers in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona elects board chair

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) has appointed Greenberg Traurig Phoenix office Shareholder Rebecca Burnham, to serve as chair of its board of directors. Burnham commenced her two-year term as chair on June 1, 2017.

Burnham will lead a 16-member board that develops and oversees policies that impact the company’s ranks from the executive level to management. Burnham was first appointed to the BCBSAZ board of directors in 2008 and previously served as the board’s vice chair.

With more than 36 years of experience, Burnham is practiced in legislative and public policy matters pertinent to the real estate industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Burnham holds many professional accolades. She was honored as one of AZRE’s Most Influential Women in 2016 and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America from 1998-2017 and Chambers and Partners from 2005-2017.

Outside of her professional life, Burnham is active in her community. She is a member of the ASU Foundation Women and Philanthropy program, Urban Land Institute, Valley Partnership and Valley of the Sun United Way, Tocqueville Society, Arizona Women’s Forum and Home Builder’s Association of Central Arizona. She also sits on the Child Crisis Arizona Foundation board of directors.

CBRE will market and sell Containers on Grand

CBRE announces the firm has been selected as the exclusive agent to market and sell Containers on Grand, a sustainable apartment community made of repurposed shipping containers. The downtown Phoenix project was the first shipping container community in the Western U.S. and is the only shipping container community in the country on the market.

Located at Grand and 12th Avenues in the Grand Avenue Arts District, Containers on Grand is comprised of eight, 740-square-foot one-bedroom apartments. Each unit, made of two shipping containers, features a contemporary fully appointed kitchen, spacious living and storage space and in-suite washer and dryer.

Brian Smuckler and Jeff Seaman of CBRE’s Phoenix Multifamily Investment Properties team, will spearhead the marketing and sales of the asset, which is 100 percent leased.

“The pent-up rental demand for Containers on Grand is significant not only because its alternative and eclectic design elements that make the property intriguing, but also because of its easily walkable position within the bustling Grand Avenue Arts District,” said CBRE’s Smuckler. “The property benefits from a wealth of art studios and galleries, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, and is along the well-attended First Friday route. It’s just minutes from Downtown Phoenix.”

The property was built in 2015 by a local partnership including Scottsdale-based architectural firm StarkJames, LLC (Brian Stark and Wesley James) in partnership with Karl Obergh with Phoenix engineering firm Ritoch-Powell and Associates, and Bloomspot, LLC (Kathleen Santin).

“The Roosevelt Row Arts District and Grand Avenue have been nationally recognized by USA Today as one of the best art districts in America,” said Christine Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development. “Containers on Grand is the type of fun, funky project that makes this an important part of exciting downtown Phoenix. It’s among the reasons more than 275 technology companies now have offices in the area.”

“Interest in Containers on Grand has led us to explore why a container project captures the imagination of so many,” said Wesley James, architect and partner at StarkJames.

“Using up-cycled objects in design and construction is always beneficial,” added Brian Stark, architect and partner at StarkJames. “Containers on Grand is authentic adaptive reuse; the original floors, paint and markings were left intact, each with a story to tell.” 

Karl Obergh, president and CEO of Ritoch-Powell and Associates, continues: “This project laid the foundation for the next development of container projects throughout Phoenix.” 

The firm was awarded a Grand Award at American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona’s 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards for its involvement in the project.

Thunderbirds Charities awards more than $2.9M to 55 nonprofits

Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by The Ak-Chin Indian Community – awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 55 Valley charities during its spring funding cycle.  Most notably, Thunderbirds Charities granted $300,000 to UMOM New Day Centers, $250,000 to VOS YMCA, $150,000 to Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) and $80,000 to Desert Voices Oral Learning Center.

“The most rewarding part of this job is this time of year when we get to hand out much-needed money to deserving charities in our community,” said Andy Markham, President of Thunderbirds Charities.  “We are proud of what the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become and even more proud to be able to assist so many in need in our Arizona communities.”

The donation from Thunderbirds Charities to Special Olympics Arizona helps SOAZ to host its state competitions in 2017, increasing awareness for the Special Olympics movement while championing inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

“As a community partner, The Thunderbirds have diligently supported Special Olympics Arizona in our efforts to bring all persons with intellectual disabilities and closely-related developmental disabilities into the larger society where they are accepted, respected, and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens,” said Tim Martin, Executive Director of Special Olympics Arizona.  “The Thunderbird’s outstanding commitment to our organization extends beyond dollar donations, with generous in-kind support for events, partnering with law enforcement agencies in support of SOAZ, and a continuing enthusiasm to partner with Special Olympics Arizona on campaigns supporting our organization.”

The donation to UMOM assists the families and youth client assistance program to help end homelessness. 

“This extraordinary and generous gift provides critical resources for families, as well as the youth we’re now caring for through the former Tumbleweed programs,” said UMOM New Day Centers CEO Darlene Newsom. “The best part of working with The Thunderbirds is the fact that we’re building on a relationship that goes back decades. Since the mid-1990s, they’ve consistently given us a big boost on projects of all sizes – everything from opening an emergency shelter to supporting our new family facility to underwriting critical improvements like flooring and lighting in several of our facilities. We are deeply grateful for their unfailing commitment to the priorities we share.”

The gift to VOS YMCA helps support their water safety program and its day and afterschool camps, and the award to Desert Voices Learning Center was used for their Toddler Room program.

Additional grants from Thunderbirds Charities were awarded to the following charities:

About Care Inc. – $15,000 to the Volunteer Management Program.

ACCEL – $25,000 for upgrades to east campus facility, sports court and outdoor therapy area

Act One Foundation – $50,000 to the Act One Field Trip Program

Aid to Adoption of Special Kids – $25,000 to Kinship Foster Care, Social Work and Outreach

Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter – $20,000 to the Family Support Program 

Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels – $50,000 to the Comfort and Care Program

Arizona Council on Economic Education – $30,000 for Economics for Everyday Living Program

Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation – $15,000 to Fostering Success for Children

Assistance League of East Valley Arizona – $15,000 to Operation School Bell

Audubon Arizona – $25,000 to Nature in your Neighborhood program

Campus of Human Services – $150,000 to the Campus Engagement Program

Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation – $10,000 to Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy

Childhelp, Inc. – $100,000 for Specialized Therapy service enhancements

Chrysalis Shelter – $67,500 to Counseling for Child and Adult Victims of Domestic Violence

Civitan Foundation – $80,000 to Tot Turf Renovation

Cortney’s Foundation – $17,000 to Quality of Life Programs for Individuals with Special Needs

Desert Voices Oral Learning Center – $80,000 for Thunderbirds Toddler Room

Duet:  Partners in Health and Aging – $10,000 for Grandparents Raising Kids program

East Valley Senior Services – $7,500 to Assistance for Independent Living Volunteer Services

Expect More Arizona – $25,000 to Engaging Parents in Student Success

Family Promise of Greater Phoenix – $50,000 to Whole and Healthy Families Emergency Shelter

Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona – $35,000 to provide safety for at-risk young women

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona – $10,000 for Free Arts Programs for children

Future for Kids – $13,000 to the Discover Your Future – NAC Coral Canyon Complex

Gabriel’s Angels – $20,000 to its Pet Therapy Program

Girls Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine – $50,000 to its Family Engagement efforts

Higher Octave Healing – $10,000 to Social Connections

Homeless ID Project – $40,000 to ID Empowers Our Community program

Homeless Youth Connection  – $25,000 to Empowering Youth for the Future program

Homeward Bound – $200,000 to Empowering Homeless Families with Children program

House of Refuge – $55,000 to Adopt a Home program

Joy Bus – $10,000 to Meal Delivery program

Labors Community Service Agency – $5,000 to Family Stabilization Project

Leukemia Foundation of Arizona – $10,000 to Home is Where the Heart is program

Local First Arizona Foundation – $40,000 to Fuerza Local

MentorKids USA – $7,500 to Student Success program

Mitchell Swaback Charities – $20,000 to Harvest Compassion Center Phoenix

Musical Instrument Museum – $50,000 to A World of Musical Journeys

Neighborhood Ministries – $25,000 to Katy’s Kids Early Childhood Development Preschool

notMyKid – $37,500 to Prevention Program for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley

One Step Beyond – $50,000 to One Step Beyond Catering Expansion

Phoenix Art Museum – $50,000 to its Teen Engagement Initiative

Phoenix Children’s Chorus – $8,000 to Enriching Children’s Lives Through Music program

Special Olympics Arizona – $150,000 for 2017 Special Olympics Arizona State Competitions

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance – $300,000 to Kids Café Program, Vehicles and Food

Stand for Children Leadership Center – $10,000 to Family Engagement program

Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies – $10,000 for Gifts in Kind

Take Charge America – $7,500 to Financial Literacy and Life Skills for at-risk youth

Teach for America – $50,000 for recruitment, development and retention of teachers

Treasures 4 Teachers – $25,000 to Treasures 4 Teachers on Wheels

UMOM New Day Centers – $300,000 to Ending Homelessness for Families and Youth program

United States Veterans Initiative – $100,000 to provide housing and services for homeless vets

Valley Youth Theatre – $10,000 to Literacy and the Arts programming

Voices for Case Children – $50,000 for CASA Companion program

VOS YMCA – $250,000 for Water Safety and Camp Quality improvement

Dr. Michael Lawton will lead Barrow Neurological Institute

Barrow Neurological Institute has announced Michael Lawton, MD, as its new president and CEO following an extensive national search that considered many of the foremost names in neurosurgery. Under Dr. Lawton’s leadership, Barrow will continue to revolutionize the treatment of the most complex brain and spine disorders and expand to become the world’s top ranked neuroscience center.

Dr. Lawton, who succeeds retiring Robert Spetzler, MD as the head of Barrow Neurological Institute, comes to Phoenix from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) where he served as the vice chairman and chief of vascular neurosurgery in the Department of Neurological Surgery. Dr. Lawton built one of the busiest cerebrovascular services in the nation and amassed a clinical experience in vascular neurosurgery unheard of for someone his age. He has treated more than 4,000 aneurysms, 800 brain arteriovenous malformations, and 1,000 cavernous malformations. His first day at Barrow was July 3.

“I come to Barrow with pride and humility knowing that I follow in the extraordinary footsteps of Dr. Spetzler,” says Dr. Lawton. “The Lawton years will be a continuation of the Spetzler years. We will push the boundaries of neuroscience even further and strive to solve the unsolvable with new techniques, new technologies, and in ways we never thought possible.”

Considered one of the best neurosurgeons in the world, Dr. Lawton is no stranger to Barrow or Phoenix. He completed his 7-year neurosurgical residency and fellowship at Barrow under Dr. Spetzler.

“I’m thrilled to return to the place where my career in neurosurgery began,” says Dr. Lawton. “I’m a product of Barrow, I discovered my life’s work here, and I return with a passion and a promise to establish Barrow as the first place people think of anywhere in the world when they need help in the neurosciences.”

One of the first areas of growth under Dr. Lawton’s leadership is establishing a cerebrovascular research center, the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center. Dr. Lawton has brought with him a $6-million National Institutes of Health research grant to help unravel the formation and genetics behind complex cerebrovascular diseases. He has also established a center for artificial intelligence to harness the power of big data in revolutionizing care in the neurosciences.

Highly regarded by his peers around the globe for his surgical skills, patient care, innovation, and research efforts, Dr. Lawton has performed more than 7,000 cases, published more than 400 peer reviewed articles, authored 5 textbooks, and given more than 600 lectures nationally and internationally. 

“Dr. Lawton is an exceptionally qualified and gifted neurosurgeon and I am absolutely delighted that he was carefully selected from among the nation’s top brain surgeons to lead Barrow,” says Dr. Spetzler. “Under Dr. Lawton’s leadership, patients from around the world with the most complex cases can continue to find help at Barrow and the institute will continue to advance neuroscience through its medical treatment, research and teaching capabilities.”

Barrow Neurological Institute, located at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, performs more neurosurgeries annually than any hospital in the United States and is routinely listed by U.S. News & World Report as among the best hospitals in the nation for neurological and neurosurgical care. Many patients from around the world who have previously been told their conditions are untreatable come to Phoenix to undergo successful brain surgery at Barrow.

Attesa Motorsports destination

6,000 jobs may come from Attesa, the $1.1 billion motorsports project

The motorsports destination that’s in the works in the Casa Grande and Pinal County areas is projected to add more than 6,000 jobs to the area, according to a recent report released by the project’s developers.

Approximately 61 percent of the future Attesa employees will reside in Pinal County, according to updated projections from an Economic Impact Study prepared by Elliott D. Pollack & Company.

Casa Grande is projected to benefit the most from incremental local economic activity associated with nearly 5,000 Attesa employees. Maricopa, the county’s second largest city, is projected as the home of nearly 1,600 Attesa employees upon buildout.

Attesa, a $1.1 billion project, will initially recruit over 8,000 workers in the construction and building industry as it produces two racing circuits, a 300-room hotel and 20,000-square-foot conference center, driving club, multi-use venue, waste water treatment plant and solar canopied plaza.  Post grand opening, workers will be needed for ongoing home and commercial building, new on-site high tech and motorsports/transportation design companies, retail and hospitality partners, air park businesses, maintenance, security and more.

Tim Kanavel, director of economic development for Pinal County, said, “It will start with construction and then go from there. Jobs are going to be created, ongoing, and most of those people will live in Casa Grande, Maricopa, Eloy and Coolidge. The influx of new visitors and residents will create more jobs at restaurants, retailers and other consumer companies. Attesa is going to bring a lot of jobs and new residents.  We’re glad Attesa chose Pinal County as their home.”

“We’re essentially going to build a mini-city,” said Dan Erickson, member/manager of Danrick Builders, the company developing Attesa.  “We’re going to welcome tech companies who need to research, develop and test, and people who have a passion for performance cars and driving them at speed, and guests who want to be entertained with uncompromised customer service.  To provide the best experience possible, in all those areas, we’re going to need people.  And most of them will be local, within the County.”

In addition to those jobs projected for residents of Casa Grande and Maricopa, the report indicates that Attesa will provide employment opportunities for residents of Coolidge (313 estimated jobs), San Tan Valley (over 200 jobs), Arizona City (200 jobs), Florence (160 jobs) and Apache Junction (almost 100 jobs).

Attesa anticipates over 15,000 direct and indirect jobs upon buildout. From groundbreaking, scheduled for first quarter 2018, through Attesa’s subsequent industrial, retail and tourist attraction partner growth, the world’s first motorsports, technology and entertainment community is going to need a wide variety of workers.

“Our partners who test and build and do business at Attesa are going to need workers, that’s for sure,” said Pat Johnson, president of Danrick Builders.  “But so will Phoenix Mart, Lucid Motors, DreamPort Village and every other new development planned for Pinal County. And as we develop our 2,500-acre community, and as the other new companies start up and grow, Casa Grande, Maricopa and the rest of the cities in Pinal County had better be ready.”

Since Attesa was announced, the Casa Grande area has been getting a lot of calls about prospective economic development projects. Last November, Lucid Motors announced it will build a $700 million electric car manufacturing plant in the area.

Attesa is working with state universities, community colleges and vocational schools toward making sure the employees of tomorrow can receive the training and education they’re going to need today.

“We’re already collaborating with Arizona at Work and Central Arizona College,” added Kanavel.  “We understand what the future holds and we’re darn well going to be prepared.”

Attesa is presently undergoing the entitlement process in Pinal County.

Here are new ways to comparison shop for healthcare

As our nation seeks solutions to help improve the healthcare system, there is at least one goal we can all agree on: the importance of making healthcare quality and cost information more accessible to all Americans, and specifically, Arizona residents.

This is an important effort that has the potential to help improve health outcomes and make care more affordable – laudable goals considering the nation’s health care system ranks among the least efficient in the world, according to a recent Bloomberg analysis.

More widespread use of health quality and cost resources may be part of the solution. Providing health care prices to consumers, health care professionals and other stakeholders could reduce U.S. health care spending by more than $100 billion during the next decade, according to a 2014 report by the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center.

That is in part because there are significant price variations for health care services and procedures at hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, yet a study by Families U.S.A. concluded that higher-priced care providers do not necessarily deliver higher-quality care or better health outcomes. In Phoenix, a knee MRI can cost from $390 to $1633, and back surgery (lumbar fusion) can range from $42,821 to $91,347.

Having access to health care quality and cost information may be especially important during the summer to avoid the so-called “July Effect,” the time each year that the quality of care dips at U.S. hospitals, according to some recent studies

Fortunately, there are many new online and mobile resources that help enable people to access health care quality and cost information, helping them to comparison shop for health care as they would with other consumer products and services. And people are starting to take action: nearly one third of Americans have used the internet or mobile apps during the last year to comparison shop for health care, up from 14 percent in 2012, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey

These resources are far more accurate and useful than those of past generations, and in some cases provide people with estimates based on actual contracted rates with physicians and hospitals, including likely out-of-pocket costs based on their current health plan benefits. Some resources also include quality information about specific physicians, as determined by independent standards.

There are many resources people can consider when shopping for health care. In addition to online and mobile resources People can call their health plan to discuss quality and cost transparency information, as well as talk with their health care professional about alternative treatment settings, including urgent care and telehealth options. Public websites, such as and, also can help enable access to market-average prices for hundreds of medical services in cities nationwide, including Phoenix.

These resources can help people save money and select health care professionals based on objective information. A UnitedHealthcare analysis showed that people who use online or mobile transparency resources are more likely to select health care providers rated on quality and cost-efficiency across all specialties, including for primary care (7 percent more likely) and orthopedics (9 percent more likely). In addition, the analysis found that people who use the transparency resources before receiving health care services pay 36 percent less than non-users. 

As people take greater responsibility for their health care decisions and the cost of medical treatments, transparency resources are becoming important tools to help consumers access quality care and avoid surprise medical bills.


David Allazetta is CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona.