Most Influential Women: Nancy Ham, WebPT

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. Azbigmedia.com 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:

Nancy  Ham, CEO, WebPT

Best decision: “I ‘fired’ myself. I was CFO at ActaMed and we were preparing to go public. I suggested we hire a CFO with public company experience and hence, took the risk to fire myself. That ended up creating a series of unforeseen opportunities in my career. I was able to move into a mergers and acquisitions role, which led to the chance to run a business we acquired, which then led directly to an operations/GM path, which then led to me becoming CEO. While at the time, I just thought it was the best decision for the business, it actually ended up being one of the smartest decisions for my career as well.”

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.

Diamondbacks add urban garden at Chase Field

The Arizona Diamondbacks have added D-backs Greens, a vertical urban garden, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, at Chase Field to provide sustainability and educational opportunities throughout the remainder of the season. D-backs Greens will be located on the northwest wall of the stadium, just outside the main gates and will be visible to all fans for the remainder of the season.

D-backs Greens will contain nearly 200 assorted herbs, including sweet basil, chives, garlic chives, lavender, oregano, rosemary and more that will change seasonally. The garden was designed and created by a local company, Flower Street Urban Gardens, and features 180-square feet of vertically-hanging planting space. With the support of UnitedHealthcare, the D-backs will use D-backs Greens as an educational tool to teach fans about sustainability efforts and encourage healthy eating. As part of the D-backs’ sustainability efforts, the team will utilize compost produced in part from organic material collected from ballpark kitchens to enrich and enhance the soil in the garden.

The Diamondbacks have also partnered with Coors Light to install a D-backs-logoed sculpture in the rotunda that will be filled with more than 1,000 Coors Light beer cans collected after D-backs games throughout the second half of the season to illustrate their combined recycling efforts. 

Throughout the first half of the season, the D-backs have made significant strides in the team’s sustainability efforts and already this season have diverted more than 18 tons of organic material from the waste stream through a new organics collection program. Through 48 home games this season, the D-backs and Levy Restaurants have also donated more than six tons of unused concessions food to Church on the Street, which equates to roughly 10,000 individual meals that help people in need in the Phoenix community.

Heading into the 2017 season, the Diamondbacks had taken great strides to make Chase Field and D-backs games a more environmentally friendly experience for fans, including:

• In partnership with Waste Management, the D-backs added 200 dual recycling bins throughout all concourses; each bin is made with 1,300 recycled milk jugs

• Replaced paper towel dispensers with 50 high-efficiency hand dryers in concourse restrooms, which will reduce over 1,000 miles of paper towels from the annual waste stream

• Retrofitted 425 toilets and 260 urinals with low-flow flush valves, reducing water usage in these areas by 50%

• In partnership with Levy Restaurants and Waste Management, the D-backs launched a compost program to collect organics from ballpark kitchens and other areas of the ballpark

The D-backs continue to make sustainability a priority, and over the years have incorporated the following changes to positively affect environmental change:

• D-backs’ Spring Training complex, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, was the first LEED Gold-certified sports venue of its kind in the United States

• The APS Solar Pavilion, which covers 17,280 square feet above the Chase Field plaza near the ballpark’s western entrances and ticket office, provides extra shade over the ballpark’s heaviest-used entrances and generates 100,000 kWh of solar energy; enough electricity to power the lights at Chase Field for 11 home games

• The Arizona Diamondbacks are members of the Green Sports Alliance, a groundbreaking coalition of professional sports teams and sporting venues committed to promoting “greening initiatives” in sports

• Fans with electric-powered vehicles can charge their cars at one of the three electric car charging stations located at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Jackson

• Completed this past offseason, all concourse lighting, administrative parking, player parking and ballpark parking garages have been converted to energy-efficient LED, resulting in 60% savings in power consumption annually

• Utilize a Building Management System for timely and efficient control of facility lighting and cooling, further reducing energy consumption

• All of the disposable cutlery and plates Levy Restaurants uses at Chase Field are recyclable or compostable

• Full and half-season Season Ticket Holders are issued a reusable “Loyalty Cup” to use for discounted beverage refills which minimizes waste

• Uniforms worn by D-backs game day staff are made from RPET material, in which 16 recycled bottles contributed to the fabric of each shirt

For more information on D-backs Greens and all of the team’s sustainability efforts, visit dbacks.com/green.

State of Arizona increases investment in the arts

On July 20, 2017, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced 234 grants to Arizona nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, schools, and community organizations. In total, the competitive grant review process for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018) resulted in an aggregate investment of $2,354,500.

A total of $1,259,500 was awarded to Maricopa County schools and nonprofit organizations from Queen Creek to Wickenburg, Carefree to Litchfield Park.

The state’s investment in arts organizations, festivals, and community-based programs was once again bolstered this year by a one-time $1.5 million allocation to the Arizona Commission on the Arts in the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget. This additional funding, derived from interest accrued on the State’s Rainy-Day Fund, represents a significant boost to the agency’s primary funding streams: the Arts Trust Fund, which contributes, on average, $1.43 million to the agency’s annual budget, and a state partnership grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which contributes $800,000 on average.

These funds are distributed throughout the state in the form of grants, but also in the form of programs and services that contribute to the growth and stabilization of Arizona’s arts sector, enhance student learning, nurture artists’ creative and professional development, and preserve the rich traditions of Arizona communities.

“With their repeat of the additional funding allocation for fiscal year 2018, the state’s leadership acknowledges the vital role that artists and arts organizations play in Arizona’s communities as innovators and creative catalysts,” said Robert Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “The arts are an economic driver, enhance the education of our young people, and create opportunities for dialogue and understanding among and within Arizona’s diverse communities.”

Grants were awarded in four categories:

• Community Investment Grants provide operating support to nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies and tribal cultural organizations whose mission is to produce, present, teach or serve the arts.

• Festival Grants support organizations in their efforts to provide quality arts and cultural programming through community festival activities.

• Arts Learning Collaboration Grants enhance the work of arts educators, classroom teachers and school-based arts programs through collaborative projects.

• Lifelong Arts Engagement Grants enhance the work of community and social service organizations/ governmental entities through partnership projects with professional teaching artists and/or arts organizations.

In accordance with the Arts Commission’s strategic plan and governing statutes, schools and nonprofit arts organizations are awarded grants based on such factors as community investment, quality of programming, fiscal ingenuity and responsible stewardship of public funds.

Grant applications are reviewed within rigorous panel processes which are open to applicants as well as the broader public. Review panels are led by Governor-appointed Commissioners and are composed of diverse community leaders, volunteer experts, educators and arts practitioners from rural, urban and suburban areas throughout Arizona.

“From Yuma to Teec Nos Pos, from Kingman to Bisbee, the Arts Commission utilizes its grant programs to provide essential investment in communities across Arizona,” said Robert Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “As part of this grantmaking effort, the State of Arizona is an indispensable partner to Arizona’s arts sector in pursuit of a shared mission: to imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

ASU researchers will explore solutions to food waste

Researchers from the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU will explore solutions to food waste through two unique research projects funded by the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

The first project will test online marketplaces and mobile apps. These emerging sharing economy companies could help farmers, restaurants, retailers and households manage problems with day-to-day food waste. 

For example, if a farmer has a box of ugly fruits or tomatoes that won’t sell in the supermarket because they’re too big for the grocery store display, for instance he can use an online platform to let others know he has a surplus of food. Consumers then visit the app or website, select the items they want, and the app coordinates delivery logistics and payment for the farmer.

Lead investigator Tim Richards of ASU says the idea is making markets, out of what would otherwise be waste. 

“In Arizona and around the country 18 percent of landfills is food waste, according to the EPA – and that may be a conservative number,” says Richards, Marvin and June Morrison Chair in Agribusiness at the W. P. Carey School. “If we can figure out a way to better utilize food that would otherwise be wasted we can minimize what goes into our landfills and more importantly make better use of the water that’s used to irrigate plants, saving 25 percent of our freshwater supply each year.”

Researchers at ASU are teaming up with Imperfect Foods, a startup delivery company based in San Francisco to test market theories and demand conditions. In addition, the experiment will use 400 business school students at Arizona State University and California Polytechnic State University to measure their use of food waste.

At the conclusion of the two-year research period, investigators hope to be able to answer the following:

  • How will these innovations impact farmers and consumer food prices?
  • How will knowledge and information impact demand uncertainty among food manufacturers, family meal planning, and food waste?
  • Are stakeholders in the food supply chain receptive to dealing with collaborative enterprises?

Food Waste: A Market-Based Solution Using Commercial Peer-to-Peer Mutualization Systems won an Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities (AERC) grant totaling $496,589.

Scan-Based Trading: Opportunities for Enhancing Supply-Chain Efficiency

A second ASU research project will put scan-based trading (SBT) under the microscope. SBT is a newer type of contract used by food suppliers and retailers like Walmart and Target, where the supplier retains ownership of the inventory in stores, until the product is scanned at the register for checked-out by the customer.

Suppliers, such as dairy producers or bakery vendors are responsible for keeping products in stock, while the retailer provides vendors with valuable shelf space and its employees manage that space. Any loss of product between delivery and checkout is typically the responsibility of the supplier, not the retailer.

One major problem in SBT is ‘shrink,’ the loss of product between delivery and checkout – anything from expired inventory, broken cartons, and even theft. This could mean a loss for the supplier under an SBT contract, who may decide to increase wholesale prices to cover its losses. The retailer could then pass that increase along to customers, by raising prices according to lead investigator Elliot Rabinovich.

“We hope to explore the causes of shrink and how to address it. Can suppliers do a better job at managing it? Or do retailers need to have greater sensitivity – regardless of whether they own the inventory or not,” said Rabinovich, a supply chain expert and John G. and Barbara A. Bebbling Professor of Business at the W. P. Carey School. “It’s not finding out who’s at fault, it’s how do we work together.”

SBT contracts do have benefits, including giving suppliers access to real-time sales information from retail checkouts and the flexibility of replenishing stock in-store, without having to go through a distribution center which traditional contracts often require.

At the conclusion of the two-year research period, investigators hope to be able to answer the following:

  • How can SBT contracts support the objectives for both retailers, suppliers, and the farmers who sell to them?
  • Is there potential to minimize food waste through the supply system by using SBT?
  • How does shrink at SBT stores and non-SBT stores impact wholesale and retail costs?

Scan-Based Trading: Opportunities for Enhancing Supply-Chain Efficiency won an AERC grant totaling $496,407.

District Lofts now pre-leasing in Gilbert’s Heritage District

Renters looking to establish roots in one of the most desirable areas in the U.S. have a new option: District Lofts.

District Lofts is the only luxury rental community located within the Town of Gilbert’s soulful, urban and walkable Heritage District neighborhood. The Heritage District continues to lure the region’s most premier shops, dining and entertainment venues and with District Lofts, residents now have a unique place to call home.

“District Lofts was imagined and developed to create an authentic and fresh rental neighborhood,” said Colin Brown, principal and developer of Whiteboard Development Company, the visionary developer behind the community. “District Lofts is a place with a distinctively local personality which reflects the community’s deep rooted history, culture and life.”

Located at 170 Cullumber Ave., District Lofts is designed specifically to fit into the cultural and historic identity for which the Town of Gilbert is known. The thoughtfully-designed, contemporary floor plans offer expansive living areas and vintage appointments such as industrial sliding doors, cabinets with exposed shelving, distinctive lighting and plumbing fixtures, as well as distressed plank flooring, nine-foot ceilings, stainless appliances and full-size washers and dryers.

The community blends seamlessly with the old town character the Heritage District has come to embody, with warm, welcoming spaces that promote relaxing and socializing, including a rooftop lounge with an outdoor kitchen and commanding views of the San Tan Mountain Range.

“The project’s forward-thinking design was created to tell the story of this historic site, its industrial period and connectivity that inspires relationship building and community,” added Brown.

The premier location of District Lofts cannot be underscored enough. Located within the most lucrative corridor in the East Valley, the community cultivates an authentic, soulful experience. It’s also in the heart of a town that is consistently ranked among the Best Places to Live in America.

Gilbert’s Heritage District is home to an emerging and impressive restaurant hub, where local proprietors are strategically locating their most prized concepts: Postino East, Barrio Queen, Oregano’s, Pomo Pizzeria, Zin Burger and Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles are all within walking distance of District Lofts. Other notable retail and restaurant destinations include the iconic Joe’s BBQ, Liberty Market and Gilbert Farmer’s Market.

To enhance its location near this thriving dining destination, District Lofts has launched the “Dinner Club,” giving the first 30 residents 30 free dinners.

District Lofts also features a community garden, dog park, 24/7 fitness facility and customized children’s play zone. It’s in close proximity to the East Valley’s booming digital and high-tech corridor and offers easy access to major transportation corridors, making any location in the metropolitan area accessible within minutes.

Managed by Mark-Taylor Residential, District Lofts is pre-leasing now with a planned opening in August. One- to three-bedroom options range in rates from $1,020 to $2,115.

Sunbelt Investment Holdings spurs development activity in Mesa

Sunbelt Investment Holdings, Inc. (SIHI), a privately held and family-owned real estate company with roots in Germany, is making a name for itself as one of the top commercial landowners in the East Valley through its continued investment in Mesa, the 36th largest city by population in the U.S. 

Sunbelt Investment Holdings has acquired seven large properties in Mesa over the last decade, totaling over 1,000-acres, and is currently pursuing additional sites for commercial and industrial development. “SIHI believes that there is a great potential for business and population growth in Mesa, and through future land and building development we plan to be a prominent player in the marketplace” said Todd Holzer, SIHI president. SIHI has significant land holdings near Mesa Gateway Airport, which are primed for commercial, industrial and retail development.

A recent Sunbelt Investment Holdings transaction includes a 27-acre sale to Niagara Bottling Company in Mesa’s Elliot Road Technology Corridor. Niagara is currently building a 450,000-square-foot facility.

According to Bill Jabjiniak, the City of Mesa’s economic development director, Mesa is experiencing the highest amount of land development that it has seen in the last nine years because of “access to skilled labor, transportation corridors, the City’s infrastructure investment, as well as the abundance of vacant land and competitive land costs.”

“Mesa prefers to partner closely with companies at the early stages of development to ensure the best use of properties for developers and the city,” said Jabjiniak. “We have a strong relationship with Sunbelt Investment Holdings and often promote SIHI properties to companies considering locating in Mesa.”

Holzer, who has more than three decades of experience in real estate development within Arizona, including OPUS, DeRito Partners and Ryan Companies, notes that SIHI owns and self-manages 3.5 million square feet of retail shopping centers in Arizona and California. The company’s affiliate is Metropolis Investment Holdings Inc., which also owns five large office towers and adjacent mixed use development sites in major central business districts throughout the U.S.

SIHI also owns 232-acres in four large properties in the West Valley and is currently under contract to purchase an additional 68-acre parcel for industrial development. With all of the activity, SIHI recently purchased an office building in Midtown Phoenix, and will open the office in Q3 2017.

Homeowners Financial Group triples size of HQ for new hires

Homeowners Financial Group (HFG), a Scottsdale-based mortgage company founded in 2004, has announced openings in six states and the expansion of its corporate headquarters to make way for new “Homies.” 

Homeowners Financial Group has 35 offices in 13 states and is licensed to do business in 23 states. Last year, HFG funded $1.51 billion of residential mortgages – a 35-percent increase in volume from 2015.

“We are on track to outpace last year’s growth,” says CEO Bill Rogers. “It is an exciting time to be in the industry, and we are helping more clients than ever through the most important purchase of their lives.”

The Scottsdale headquarters has tripled in size to 33,165 square feet, which hosts 164 “Homies.” The company plans to hire 50 people over the next 18 months. National expansion since January includes new offices in Las Vegas, West Des Moines, Iowa; Westminster, Colo.; Temecula, Calif.; Waukesha, Wa.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

“Our unparalleled company culture, customer service, innovative products and commitment to give back to the community have transformed us into the award-winning company we are today,” says President Pat Lamb. “Whether you’re in Des Moines or the Scottsdale office, you’ll find ‘Homies’ who take pride in their work and the neighborhoods they serve.”

Charity is engrained in the Homeowners Financial Group culture. Children’s artwork decks the headquarters’ walls, courtesy of Free Arts Arizona, a nonprofit that delivers creative and therapeutic arts programs to kids in situations of abuse, neglect or homelessness. CEO and President Rogers and Lamb also co-founded a nonprofit in 2010 called The Care Fund that helps families pay their mortgages while they are caring for their sick children.

In 2016, HFG assisted more than 60 charities through its 36 offices and won nine awards for office culture. This summer, the company is hosting a nationwide charity challenge with the hope to double last year’s donations.

“We’re passionate about the communities we call home,” Rogers says. “As we expand into new markets, we strive to be good neighbors.”

Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI installs new board

Lee Smith

Meeting Professionals International – Arizona Sunbelt Chapter (MPI AZ) recently installed its Board of Directors who will lead the association in 2017-18. Installed were:

The Executive Team:

• President Lee Smith, Hotel Valley Ho

• Immediate Past President David G. Rosenbaum, CHME, Carefree Resort & Conference Center

• President-Elect Danielle Adams, WM Symposia

• Vice President of Finance, Tiffany Higgins, The Tiffany Event

• Vice President of Communications Troy Peters, CTS, Video West, Inc.

• Vice President of Membership Susie Molinich, CMP, SMMC, American Express Meetings & Events

• Vice President of Education Sharon Scronic, CMP, American Express Meetings & Events

• Executive Director Joanne Winter.

The Directors: Sukki Jahnke; Wendy Frank,  Sheraton Grand Hotel Phoenix Downtown; Jacqi Marth, Destinations & Details; Amy Miranda, Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort; and Melanie Volkers, CHSE, The Hermosa Inn.

“We have an amazingly talented incoming board and I’m excited to see what they bring to our membership this year.  I’m honored and proud to be serving with them,” said 2017-18 MPI AZ President Lee Smith.

The 330-member Meeting Professionals International – Arizona Sunbelt Chapter (MPI AZ) was established in 1979. Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI membership is comprised of approximately 18,500 members belonging to 70 chapters and clubs worldwide. To learn more about MPI AZ visit www.MPI-AZ.org or call 602-277-149

Content Marketing

Tips on how to find success marketing brands to influencers

Hannah Tooker is the senior content manager at Santy.

The world of marketing continues to change and marketing professionals are changing their tactics as well. Simply, today’s consumers no longer look to brands to make purchase decisions, but rather to their peers. It’s a dramatic shift and one that creates great marketing opportunities — if deployed correctly.

Nielsen finds 92 percent of consumers around the world trust earned media (recommendations from friends and family, word-of-mouth and organic media coverage) above all other forms of marketing. This is where influencer marketing comes in. Utilizing influencers allows your brand to tap into their audience by using relatable people and content.

While influencers aren’t exactly in your audience’s inner circle, the influencers that most audiences engage with are ones they feel most closely aligned to. Influencers are often so ingrained in the consumer’s life that they do not make much of a distinction between a real life acquaintance and their favorite Instagram star.

Influence is described as the sum of the number of followers and the brand affinity (i.e, how much credibility and expertise an Influencer is perceived to have). Keeping this in mind, there are a few things to think about when deciding to take the leap into influencer marketing for your clients and their brands.

Five key things to know about influencer marketing

1. Who you choose matters – influence is more than just the number of followers someone has. You want to be sure the influencer engages with their audience and provides a valuable content experience for their followers beyond just pushing out a post.

2. Marketing that induces consumer-to-consumer word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sale of paid advertising. Of those that were acquired through word-of-mouth, brands have a 37 percent higher retention rate.

3. Alignment between your brand and an influencer is key. Seeking influencers that will appeal to your audience and uphold your brand tenants is paramount for success.

4. Influencers can cut through the advertising clutter and talk directly to the audience. Consumers see hundreds of ads a day and we are becoming immune as a result. Influencers help to take the marketing speak out of the equation and talk to their audience like a peer or friend.

5. Influencer marketing is a long-term strategy. Building relationships with influencers will help increase engagement and exposure over time and strong influencer relationships help create lasting content partnerships.

The addition of influencer activations to any marketing plan can help create new relationships with consumers, diversify content for your brand and increase engagement. Take the dive and see for yourself.

 

Hannah Tooker is the senior content manager at Santy. She prides herself on building brands by fostering meaningful relationships with audiences through serving relevant content with thoughtful promotion.

Most Influential Women: Denise Gredler, BestCompaniesAZ

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. Azbigmedia.com 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:

Denise Gredler, founder and CEO, BestCompaniesAZ

Gredler is a thought leader in employer branding, workplace culture and community improvement, best known for helping to create large-scale workplace awards programs, including Arizona’s Most Admired Companies and Top Companies to Work for in Arizona.

Best decision: “After reaching a vice president role leading the first Arizona company to achieve Fortune’s 100 Best Companies status, I gave up the corporate life to start BestCompaniesAZ to better our community through designing employer award programs and connecting employers and job seekers.  As I reflect on the past 15 years, it’s humbling to see the impact we’ve had on hundreds of employers, thousands of employees and countless members of our community who experience the benefits of a great place to work culture.”

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.

WESTMARC says new data showcases West Valley’s skilled workforce

If the West Valley could speak for itself, it would confidently articulate that in addition to compromising 15 unique communities with more than 50,000 businesses, it also houses a population of 1.5 million people. With equal tenacity, the West Valley would share about “her” ever-growing robust workforce that includes Banner Health, Luke Air Force Base, Amazon.com, American Express, APS (Palo Verde) and many more competitive top-target industry employers. It would tell you all this and more, with pride and assurance, laced with the best kind of humility of a thing that knows its worth without reducing or downplaying others. Now, WESTMARC says data can speak for the West Valley.

Although the West Valley isn’t a person with an audible voice, companies near and far, local economic development officials and loyal residents gladly serve as the voice with a mission of a growing an exceedingly competitive entity. One of the West Valley’s most avid supporters and interpreters, WESTMARC, is joining forces with some of the Valley’s most prominent decision makers, educators and analysts to develop and showcase a workforce that’s skilled, strong and unstoppable in attracting new businesses near and far.

West Valley employee statistics are finally hitting home

Did you know that 37-percent of healthcare employees reside within the West Valley? In fact, it’s Maricopa County’s leading industry. Why, then, are only 21 percent of healthcare jobs actually located in the West Valley? If that raises an eyebrow, this will lift the other: 34 percent of finance and insurance workers in Maricopa County live in the West Valley, yet only 12 percent of the jobs are located there.

If both brows are raised, and you’ve added a head scratch, you’re experiencing a reaction similar to that of economic developers and leaders in the West Valley. Intermingled with confusion has been an element of frustration among Maricopa County’s key players, whose responsibility it is to attract new businesses.

The frustration, until recently, has derived from the way data has been collected in workforce reporting. Prior to recent initiatives, analytic information was historically recorded based on place of employment, rather than residency.

“This issue of details involving employment occupation information rather than residence put the West Valley as a whole at a great disadvantage,” explains Scott Whyte, Peoria’s economic development director.

Why?

“Companies look at workforce availability first and foremost. How many skilled and talented individuals required by a company are available – not just bodies, but skilled workers? Not having accurate data puts us in a position of hardship,” Whyte says.

Thanks to the efforts ofWESTMARC, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Dr. Shade Shutters, EMSI and additional West Valley partnerships, inaccurate reporting is hopefully an issue of the past. How will this impact the West Valley’s employment reporting and efforts to attract new business?

“We can statistically show proof of having a skilled workforce,” says Buckeye Interim Economic Development Director Dave McAlindin, “rather than simply saying it.”

McAlindin adds, “In the past, the only way we could prove our workforce migration, was to tell prospective company decision makers to get up in the morning, watch the news and observe the traffic headed east on the I-10.”

According to WESTMARC’s President and CEO Sintra Hoffman, the improved methods of data sourcing aren’t simply correcting a significant discrepancy in workforce statistics, they are soliciting much more granular occupational data.

“With our partnership with MAG and the work of Dr. Shutters this year, we have been able to look more deeply into specific occupations and learn more about the 69 percent of West Valley resident commuters traveling east,” Hoffman says. “This targeted data is a significantly improved way of messaging the West Valley to companies.”

Sarah Murley, of Applied Economics, will add to the refinement and eventual execution of the new West Valley workforce data, says Glendale Economic Director Brian Friedman.

“Sara is analyzing the data and coalescing all the information to be easily read and digested,” he says.

Same players, but a new and better game

In reality, the heavy hitters of a skilled workforce have been in the West Valley for some time now. The assumption or perception that it hasn’t is something for which the current three-phase WESTMARC workforce study has labeled as “grossly outdated.”

The emergence of accurate reporting, however, has and will continue to enable invaluable players to rise from bench to limelight. How will this change the desirability of the West Valley in the eyes of businesses seeking a new location? The short answer: business will boom.

Turn your attention to Glendale as a perfect example. With a current population of 250,000 and a workforce of 120,000, Glendale is expected to rise to 350,000 residents by 2040 with 200,000 jobs.

“Driving the entire Valley of The Sun, Glendale has about about 32 million square feet in total space — office, retail and industrial — and now we’re in a place where we’re welcoming more jobs than people,” Friedman says.

Further west, Buckeye is experiencing an explosion in population, with 654 housing permits – a 46 percent increase over last year — with an anticipated 2,000 permits projected for 2017, making it the No. 1 population-based rising West Valley city.

Great news indeed. The West Valley steadily fills homes, has attractive space for a number of desirable industries and plenty to attract new businesses, but let’s revisit how this plays into the workforce.

The proverbial players in the limelight are a multifaceted workforce highly skilled in healthcare, transportation, distribution, business services and manufacturing.

If you’d like another analogy, think about whales and barnacles. They have a perfect symbiotic relationship. If you’re thinking the barnacles represent the West Valley workforce, think again. The West Valley workforce is a beautiful Orca who just made her most impressive “sky hop” and she’s about to be covered in barnacles.

As new businesses continue to realize the breadth of an existing and ever-growing skilled workforce through improved and substantial data sourcing, with any luck I-10 East will look much less like an ant parade during the 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. commute.

Who is in the limelight?

As Hoffman previously stated, the improved employment data analytics aren’t simply illuminating more accurate numbers, they’re shedding light on who comprises the West Valley’s skilled workforce.

“We know through MAG mapping and the site selection community that we have a strong skilled FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) workforce,” Friedman says.

Beyond the West Valley’s robust workforce, composed of skills in advanced business services, healthcare, STEM professions, advanced manufacturing, IT and aerospace, there is another invaluable demographic from which to acquire skilled workers.

“Every year, an estimated 400 Luke Air Force veterans separate from the military,” Hoffman explains. “This means we have highly skilled people available in this region now. This gives the West Valley a paramount opportunity to acquire highly skilled individuals to make an existing impressive workforce even more formidable.”

Of course, WESTMARC’s relationships with educational entities like West-Mec, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Maricopa Community Colleges and more are also producing educated, skilled and available qualifiers to fill the existing needs of targeted top industry employers, all of whom are lucrative to the continued prosperity of the West Valley’s economic development upturn.

We’ve built the workforce, now … will they come?

If the data provided by the collaborative efforts of MAG, EMSI, Dr. Shade Shutters and Sarah Murley prove true, we can expect business to grow exponentially over the next decade and beyond. A new means of collecting data is the No. 1 source of gratitude. Finally, the West Valley’s workforce is being recognized for what it is: a powerhouse.

“Together,” Friedman says, “Our cities in the West Valley collectively house 1.6 million people strong. We are definitely a force to be reckoned with and will only get stronger. All our economic directors are meeting now on a routine basis. United, we are encouraged, proud and pleased that the West Valley has matured and is in a good position to have a good future.”

The West Valley may not have “her” own voice, but does she really need it? After all, she has the numbers, a soluble workforce and finally, a way to show it.

Grady Gammage, Jr.

Meet AZRE Forum moderator: Grady Gammage, Jr.

The AZRE Forum will be held on Aug. 3 at the Camby and Grady Gammage, Jr., founding member of Gammage & Burnham, will moderate one of the 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.

Gammage will be moderating on the final 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 Gammage.

Gammage grew up on the ASU campus in the 1950s. After graduating from Stanford, he came home and started practicing law in the mid 1970s. With two partners, he founded Gammage & Burnham in 1983. Gammage practices in the areas of zoning, land use and real estate. He is also a senior fellow at ASU’s Morrison Institute and the Kyl Center for Water Policy. His work there focuses on urban growth and development, quality of life and local economic issues. He also teaches at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and at the W.P. Carey School of Business.

Business advice: “You don’t need to behave like an obnoxious jerk to be a successful lawyer.”

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 www.TalkingStickResort.com 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 digitalwire360.com/brand-camp/ 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 http://liveaderra.com.

 

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 tourism.az.gov 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. Azbigmedia.com 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.”