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 www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com.

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 PriceRoadCorridor.com 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 www.uhc.com/transparency and www.guroo.com, 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.

bestcompaniesaz

Christopher Todd Communities creates A New Lease on Life

Christopher Todd Communities, a new innovative multi-family community developer in the Phoenix metropolitan area, has created a 501(c)3 a non-profit called A New Lease on Life™ to give those in need a hand up.  The first community outreach involves a partnership with The Veterans Directory.  One veteran will receive three-year rent-assistance at each of the first two Christopher Todd Communities luxury single-family rental home communities.  The first communities are under construction in Surprise and the other in west Phoenix on 99th Ave. One veteran – or their surviving spouse – will be selected for each of those communities.  

“We’ve been fortunate in our lives.  When we created Christopher Todd Communities, having a structured way to serve our community was an important pillar of our business plan. A New Lease on Life allows us to connect resources to make a meaningful impact, one person or family at a time,” said Todd Wood, CEO of Christopher Todd Communities. Christopher Todd Communities plans to utilize the New Lease on Life non-profit with each new community it develops, and will identify needs specific to that locale. 

The Veteran Directory, a subsidiary of the Maricopa Community College Foundation, will engage with the veterans via the Arizona Coalition of Military Families and the Arizona Department of Veterans Services to identify an honorably discharged veteran, who served post 9-11 and supported one of the active war campaigns.  Also considered will be the spouse of a service member killed in action or missing in action during the same period and scope.   The veteran or veteran spouse will need to meet specific criteria including financial stability, a commitment to the Veterans Case Management Tool initiative and willingness to commit to on-going engagement.  

In return, Christopher Todd Communities will offer the first year rent-free to the person selected, with a sliding scale of reduced rents for the second and third-year.  The company builds luxury single-family home rental communities with on-site amenities such as an event lawn park and luxury pool with cabanas and outdoor barbecues. Every community is pet-friendly and the professional community management company creates resident events to foster a sense of neighborliness.  The single-story, one- and two-bedroom rental homes are a modern alternative to traditional multi-story apartment buildings, and the company calls it “horizontal living.”

“Our involvement with the Veterans continues well beyond securing them a home. We offer training, leadership, financial counseling, wellness and other programs to help our Veterans successfully transition into civilian life,” said Joanna Sweatt, COO of The Veterans Directory. “We are honored to be helping Christopher Todd Communities find very deserving Veterans to participate in the New Lease on Life outreach,” she concluded.

Honorably Discharged Veterans (or within 90-days of exit from service with a command letter, “Positive Statement of Service”) Rank E6 or lower who served during the Post 9-11 era with a direct connection to supporting one of the active war campaigns during service time may apply.  Additionally, an unmarried spouse of a Veteran (Rank E6 or lower) that was KIA/MIA during combat or combat training during any Post 9-11 era American conflict may also apply.

The application and program requirements can be downloaded from The Veterans Directory website www.TheVeteransDirectory.org.

Most Influential Women: Colleen Jennings-Roggensack

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 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:

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director, ASU Gammage

Jennings-Roggensack is executive director of Arizona State University Gammage and ASU vice president for cultural affairs with artistic, fiscal and administrative responsibility for two cultural facilities, with additional responsibility for Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena for non-athletic activities.

Best decision: “Transitioning from a professional contemporary dancer and choreographer to an arts presenter in Colorado. I was hired for my deep knowledge of dance and passion for getting things done. And now, I get the honor of managing one of the largest presenting houses in the country at ASU Gammage.”

Surprising fact: “I officiate swim meets at ASU. I am also a USA and NCAA swim official. My daughter is a four time All-American swimmer.”

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.

Is middle management the glass ceiling for women in CRE?

Gender bias seems to be everywhere, even in today’s open-minded, equal-opportunity society. Fields like politics, finance and real estate have historically been ruled by men, and it’s hard to break out of that ingrained mindset. Though the situation has improved drastically over the last couple of decades, when it comes to the commercial side of the real estate business, it seems the upper tier of leadership is still dominated by men.

Commercial Café thought this was an issue worth diving into, so Commercial Café looked at the distribution of male and female employees occupying management positions within some of the largest real estate services companies in the U.S., where information related to organizational structure was publicly available. Commercial Café’s analysis included a set of 11 commercial real estate-focused companies and 8 residential real estate services firms. Commercial Café divided all the positions into two tiers: the middle management tier includes general managersregional managersmarketing managersoperations managers, research managers, and so on, while the upper tier includes C-suitepresidentchairmanpartnerdirector and principal positions.

On a national level, there is a significant discrepancy with regards to female representation in residential real estate versus the commercial realm. The distribution of male and female employees in middle and upper management positions is very balanced in residential real estate, while on the commercial side, male employees continue to occupy most of the top-tier positions. However, what Commercial Café’s research revealed is that women seem to dominate the middle management level in CRE, with just 33% of positions reserved for male employees.

Commercial Real Estate is Still ‘A Man’s World’

Commercial real estate, much like any other high-powered, high-risk industry, has a reputation of being a male-dominated environment. Regarded as a ‘rough and tough’ business, where chasing multi-million-dollar deals is a lot like a predator chasing its prey, the industry has historically been ruled by–you’ve guessed it–men. Antiquated notions have long been associated with the industry–men have a better chance at winning over clients and closing major deals, as women tend to be perceived as more emotional and likely to cave under the pressure that comes with the job. It’s no wonder then that the subject of diversity and female representation is still a sensitive one.

Women Occupy 67% of Middle Management Positions in CRE, But Only 14% of Upper Roles

Our study shows that, on a nationwide level, only 14% of top-tier jobs in commercial real estate are held by women, while male employees occupy 86% of upper management positions–quite a wide gender gap. Our research indicates an apparent exception at the middle management level, where 67% of positions are currently occupied by women, and just 33% by men. Yet going up the ladder to the executive level, female representation drops dramatically. Why does this transition seem so difficult for women? Is middle management some kind of commercial real estate glass ceiling?

One reason for the low number of women in top-tier CRE positions is that turnover is very slow in the commercial business. Top-level executives are often the very people who founded the company in the first place, and they tend to hold their positions for decades. What usually follows is that the executive selected as replacement is another key player with a long history within the company. And since the largest firms in the industry were founded decades ago, when the gender gap was significantly wider, it’s no surprise that the highest ranks are mostly still occupied by men (CBRE was established in 1906, Cushman & Wakefield in 1917 and NGKF in 1929).

No Real Gender Gap on the Residential Side

Research conducted by The Real Deal in January found ‘a tale of two sectors’ when comparing the number of commercial and residential female executives on the New York City market. Zooming out to a nationwide perspective reveals quite the same stark differences. The residential sector might not be quite as fast-paced and business-focused as the commercial side, so the barrier to entry for high-ranking female executives is not as hard to break. Some of the biggest players on the residential market are currently fronted by female CEOs, even in highly-competitive markets like New York (e.g. Dottie Herman of Douglas Elliman and Pamela Liebman of the Corcoran Group).

Our analysis shows that 49% of upper management positions in the residential sector are occupied by women, with 51% of roles held by men–a much smaller gender gap compared to the commercial side. The situation is just as balanced at middle management level, with 48% of positions held by women and 52% by men. It would seem that the residential sector is doing a much better job at narrowing the gender gap, offering more opportunities for women to rise through the ranks and occupy leadership positions.

Is the Situation Any Different in Other Fields?

Commercial real estate is not the only industry where the gender gap is still significantly wide. A recent Financial Times study found that progress is just as slow, or even slower, in the financial services sector. According to the analysis, just one in four of those in senior financial services roles is female, the equivalent of just 25.5% of the total number of senior jobs. A survey quoted by CNBC also showed that men are 41% more likely to land management roles over the course of their careers, and nearly twice as likely to reach executive positions in the late stages of their working careers. The disparity, per the study, is most pronounced in the finance and insurance sectors, while in non-medical STEM fields, the scale is tipped in favor of women. This goes to show how difficult it is for women to rise through the ranks in industries that have historically been dominated by men. Yet progress, albeit slow, is happening, with many different studies raising awareness on the issue and forcing companies to pay more attention to their hiring and promoting strategies.

Beth Harmon-Vaughan

Meet AZRE Forum panelist: Beth Harmon-Vaughan

The AZRE Forum will be held on Aug. 3 at the Camby and Beth Harmon-Vaughan, managing director, principal of Gensler, 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.

Harmon-Vaughan will be speaking on the panel focusing on 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 Harmon-Vaughan.

Harmon-Vaughan brings more than 30 years of experience to her role at Gensler Phoenix. A recognized leader in design, she is sought after for her synthesis of practice, research, education and public service. Active in the local community, she serves on the Taliesin West Board of Stewards, holds Fellowship status in the International Interior Design Association and is an adjunct professor at ASU.

Business advice: “Don’t be afraid to disrupt the status quo. Disruptive leadership and ‘breaking things’ in a meaningful way can result in the most revolutionary and creative solutions.”

Tee it up to cure Leukemia

Registration opens for Tee it up to Cure Leukemia

The seventh annual Tee It Up To Cure Leukemia charity golf tournament is set for Friday, Sept. 29, at Legacy Golf Course, 6808 S. 32nd St., Phoenix. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.; the tourney tees off at 1:15 p.m.

The tournament is special to organizer Jana Brickey, associate and business development director at Dick & Fritsche Design Group. She lost a grandfather to leukemia and in 2009 a great niece was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. An avid bowler, Brickey also lost a friend with whom she competed in a national tournament was diagnosed with lymphoma and died within months

“When I started this event, it was my way of supporting my great niece,” Brickey said. “I wanted to be a part of her battle even though I lived two states away. As the years pass, I have been forever changed by the stories of survivors and have honored the families of those who passed. I hope our collective efforts help eradicate leukemia from our vocabulary.”

The golf tournament has raised more than $32,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Brickey said. LLS is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding research, finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Entry fee for the charity event is $90 per player before August 15, $100 after that date. The fee includes golf cart, range balls and lunch before the shotgun start. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

“Participation has increased each year,” Brickey said. “We had 96 golfers last year. September is also Blood Cancer Awareness Month so the timing of our event makes it even more special.”

2017 Tax reform: The potential end for 1031 exchanges

Section 1031 (§1031) of the Internal Revenue Code has encouraged investment, created jobs and stimulated the United States economy for almost 100 years by permitting tax deferral on the like-kind exchange of business and real estate assets.

Despite the extensive use of §1031 exchanges in the real estate and aircraft industries, there has been a movement on Capitol Hill to revamp or completely repeal §1031 as part of comprehensive tax reform.

In 2014, former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) submitted a tax reform proposal to repeal §1031 and use the additional tax revenue to finance a lower corporate income tax rate. More recently, in 2016, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) proposed a plan commonly referred to as the “Blueprint for Tax Reform.”

While the “Blueprint” does not specifically mention §1031 exchanges, an unintended consequence of its recommendation for full expensing of capital expenditures, except land, may be the elimination of §1031, which, according to experts, will have a significant adverse impact on the United States economy.

According to a November 2015 macroeconomic study by Ernst & Young titled “Economic Impact of Repealing Like-Kind Exchange Rules,” the repeal or limitation of §1031 would not only have an adverse impact on the real estate industry, but it would also significantly affect the economy as a whole and result in the following:

  • Estimated negative economic impact of $27.5 billion per year to the top ten sub-industries that engage in like-kind exchange activity (e.g. real estate, transportation, construction, oil and gas, equipment rental and leasing, etc.)
  • Overall reduction of approximately $8.1-$13.1 billion annually to the United States gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Increased costs of capital and greater reliance on debt financing
  • Slower economic growth

Another study titled “The Economic Impact of Repealing or Limiting Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges in Real Estate” analyzed more than 1.6 million real estate transactions from 1997 to 2014. The study was conducted by Dr. David Ling, a finance professor at the University of Florida, and Dr. Milena Petrova, a finance professor at Syracuse University. The following is a summary of their findings regarding the advantages of §1031 exchanges and the impact if §1031 is repealed:

  • Advantages of §1031
    • Encourages investment and promotes sales activity in commercial real estate
    • Redeploys capital to expand and upgrade buildings
    • Creates jobs
  • Impact of Repeal of §1031
    • Decline in property values
    • Decreased construction activity
    • Higher rents, reducing the affordability of commercial space for tenants

Finally, according to the study by Ling and Petrova, the State of Arizona is among several states that account for a disproportionate share of §1031 exchanges. As a result, the repeal of §1031 could have a significant negative economic impact on the future of Arizona’s economy.

According to Rick Wittstock, vice president – Arizona, Investment Property Exchange Services, Inc. (IPX1031®), “Our clients, many of whom are small businesses and middle class taxpayers, are growing their businesses and increasing their nest eggs through like-kind exchanges of rental properties, ranches and farms, machinery and equipment. The tax deferral provided by §1031 encourages and enables our clients to invest more capital into their replacement properties, which results in rejuvenated properties, improved communities, jobs and taxable income for contractors, suppliers, lenders, and others, along with increased economic activity, and state and local transfer, property and sales taxes. Simply stated, everyone benefits.”


Howard J. Weiss is a member at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. in Phoenix, Ariz. His practice is focused on counseling clients regarding the purchase, sale, and lease of commercial real estate, as well as business transactions and entity formation. The information contained in this column is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as providing legal advice or tax advice. If you have any questions regarding the topics discussed herein, you are advised to contact an attorney or tax advisor.

Arizona Green Jobs Increase

Cost/utilization modeling: A tool for improving your bottom line

For many companies, real estate constitutes a large portion of the company’s assets, liabilities, expenses or perhaps all three.

Additionally, whether through organic growth, piece-meal acquisitions, or simply an intense focus on the company’s core business, the company may find itself with a hodge-podge collection of real estate holdings that has little financial, functional or operational alignment.

Indeed, many companies take an ad hoc, transaction-based approach to real estate planning that focuses on a specific lease, purchase, or sale, one transaction at a time. This typical transaction approach may result in an effective property lease, yet negatively impact the company’s bottom line because that particular transaction is not aligned with the overall company business strategy. The company needs a strategic real estate plan.

Corporate strategic planning is not a foreign concept to business, but a real estate strategic plan may be long overdue.

Real estate strategic planning should focus on the destination: minimizing real estate costs as a percent of a company’s revenue and aligning real estate assets with the company’s business strategy. A company that develops a strategic approach to real estate planning will likely reduce its real estate costs as a percent of revenue, improve its operating efficiency, and improve its competitive position.

One simple tool in real estate strategic planning is a workspace cost/utilization model. This model can be used to test whether the company’s real estate occupancy costs — current or anticipated — positively or negatively affect the company’s bottom line.

The cost/utilization model evaluates the dynamics between the company’s current and ideal real estate occupancy costs per employee, the occupancy utilization of a given workspace, and the cost of a given workspace.

A company can easily calculate its current occupancy cost per employee by dividing its real estate costs by the number of employees. The ideal occupancy cost per employee can be determined through other corporate planning processes, such as projections for company revenue and profit, employee costs, operating expenses, capital costs, IT and R&D expenditures, determining competitors’ current costs per employee, debt service requirements, and general corporate performance targets.

Variations in the current and ideal occupancy numbers can be plotted as curves. On the y-axis is the cost of the real estate space (e.g., $/SF). On the x-axis is the space utilization per employee (e.g., SF/employee).

The difference between these two cost curves is an inefficiency and thus an opportunity to reduce the company’s real estate cost. Any space cost/utilization option that is on or below the company’s specific ideal cost curve is an acceptable real estate decision option.

The following example will demonstrate the model.

A company has a current occupancy cost of $8,000 per employee and a strategic performance target with the ideal cost of $6,000 per employee. The company is evaluating various classes of real estate spaces ranging from $10/SF to $60/SF, at an occupancy density ranging from 100 SF/employee to 600 SF/employee. The graph below demonstrates these two curves.

Only those workspaces that are on or below the ideal curve ($6,000/SF) will satisfy the company’s workspace utilization performance target. Those spaces that are above the curve (including those in the current curve ($8,000/SF) negatively impact the company’s bottom line and should therefore be avoided, disposed of or redesigned.

The best approach is a comprehensive real estate strategic plan that incorporates the company’s business strategy and financial goals, the company’s current real estate operation, benchmarks of industry competitors, and the company’s specific real estate occupancy cost target.

Though a company may find itself with an assortment of real estate assets that were not necessarily acquired through such a strategic planning process, the cost/utilization model is a simple tool for evaluating whether the company’s real estate assets are in line with its overall corporate performance targets.

The cost/utilization model can be used both for evaluating current assets and for avoiding the negative financial impact that may result from acquiring a real estate asset that does not align with corporate goals.


This article was co-authored by Greg Fischer and Roger Owers. It is intended for general information only. It should not be construed as legal advice with respect to any particular situation. Readers should not act upon information contained in this article without first consulting their lawyer.

Greg Fischer brings over 35 years of experience developing strategic real estate and property management solutions to help clients align their real estate assets and costs with their business strategy and financial goals, to improve their bottom line.

Roger S. Owers is an attorney and commercial real estate agent. Roger holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering, is a registered professional civil engineer and is a licensed attorney. Roger focuses on non-traditional, complex, and hairy commercial real estate and land deals, including deals in Indian Country.

Building pros share job skills with Gila River students

Recently ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering brought together a host of local companies and academic experts to share building and engineering skills with a group of middle school students from Gila River Indian Community. The event was part of the Gila River community’s STEAAAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Agriculture, Architecture and Math) program. 

The event included team members from Phoenix-based Kitchell and other design and construction professionals who shared hands-on activities to teach the students critical thinking skills in both group and individual environments. The intent was to showcase how Native youth can learn about professions in the built environment and inspire them to pursue STEAAAM-related careers. Exercises and projects taught the basic elements of structural engineering (think: Legos) and how virtual reality illustrates how projects will look before they are completed. There was also a representative from the Carpenters Union to talk about trades.

“One of our big efforts when we take on a Native American project is to employ as many Tribal workers as possible,” said Kitchell’s Kari McCormick. “The more we can do to inspire youth to pursue careers in this profession, the better for all of us.”

In addition to Kitchell, participating companies were the Kapture Group, FCI Constructors Inc., Sletten Companies, SPS+ Architects and FourthWorld Design Group. Faculty members from the Del E. Webb School of Construction – Construction in Indian Country program and Gila River Indian Community Utility Authority (GRICUA) were also in attendance.

In 2016 Kitchell was ranked as the 6th-largest commercial contractor in the Southwest according to Engineering News-Record, and is consistently ranked as one of Engineering News-Record’s top 200 commercial contractors in the country.

Kitchell offers a wide array of services from development and program management to construction and facility management. Founded in 1950 as a modest family-owned construction company, today the employee-owned company manages projects from seven offices around the country, and has annual billings of more than $650 million. Kitchell offers expertise in hospitality, healthcare, corrections, gaming, utility, multifamily, renewable energy, retail, performing arts, custom homes and academia. Learn more at www.kitchell.com.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Lovell Foundation, CFSA award nearly $3 million to nonprofits

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) and The David and Lura Lovell Foundation announced their alliance to award almost $3 million to Arizona nonprofits to cooperatively address issues related to the awareness, understanding, and availability of end-of-life care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities. This vision is shared by all the participating nonprofits, many of whom have worked together for years as part of the End-of-Life Care Partnership with the ELDER Alliance. This innovative community-wide collaboration is one of the largest end-of-life care initiatives in the nation.

“We believe in the power of nonprofit and funding organizations working together to address issues collaboratively,” said Clint Mabie, CFSA President and CEO. “We are honored to steward Shaaron Kent’s legacy to the community. Her endowment fund at CFSA allows us to award these multi-year grants that will help grow a ‘change network’ by supporting and empowering organizations that are addressing hospice care issues and the universal experiences of death, dying and grieving.”

The Lovell Foundation awarded a total of $2,507,619 for end-of-life care and planning projects. CFSA grants total $390,000. Grants range from $20,000 to $1 million to support end-of-life care programs that engage the community, educate professionals and patients, institute organizational and community standards of practice, develop the healthcare workforce and impact public policy.  This year’s grants were awarded to the following organizations:

• Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

• United Way of Tucson and Southern ArizonaCoordinator for the ELDER Alliance

• Interfaith Community Services

• Tucson Medical Center Foundation

• Tu Nidito Children and Family Services

• Our Family Services

• Southwest Folklife  Alliance

• The Tohono O’odham Nursing Care Authority

• The University of Arizona Center on Aging

• Casa de la Luz Foundation

“Our collective goal is to fundamentally change the narrative on how we plan for, care for and experience death and dying in Southern Arizona and beyond,” said John Amoroso, executive director of the Lovell Foundation. “Ultimately we all – individuals, families, caregivers, health systems and communities – bear the responsibility for changing the status quo by helping each other to engage in compassionate, honest conversations about our mortality, the type of healthcare we wish to receive and how it is given across the spectrum of life choices.”

When Shaaron Kent designated in her will that a part of her estate be allocated to hospice programs, a group of volunteers with interest and expertise in end-of-life issues were assembled to help her carry out her wishes. Since 2012, CFSA has granted more than $850,000 from the Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund for education on end-of-life issues and programs. CFSA will continue to expand the awareness, understanding, and availability of end-of-life care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities.

“This is an inspiring and unique time for our community,” stated Sandra Nathan, VP of Community Investment at CFSA. “This in-depth collaboration and resulting synergies have tremendous potential to improve the quality of lives in Southern Arizona and beyond.”

The Lovell Foundation shared this interest in end-of-life care and previously funded “Passing On,” an award-winning documentary produced by Arizona Public Media and broadcast nationally by PBS, and other projects. “We did a community-wide scan on end-of-life issues. We discovered this group of dedicated organizations and individuals that had been working together with support from CFSA funding. That kind of energy and potential emboldened the Lovell Foundation to expand our commitment to end-of-life care and make an even bigger investment,” said Ann Lovell, president of the family foundation and daughter of its founders.

Bonnie Kampa is a member of the Lovell Foundation board of advisors and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona End of Life Committee. She said, “This amazing partnership of organizations and this significant funding over the next three years will put Southern Arizona – and all of Arizona – on the map as a national model and leader in the field. This vision to apply resources in this field is a great credit to both foundations’ trustees and leadership.”

HFF secures $38.6M in financing for 2 Phoenix properties

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announced that it has secured acquisition financing totaling $38.6 million for two Phoenix apartment communities – Pinnacle at Union Hills and Park 28. 

HFF worked exclusively on behalf of the borrower, Pure Multi-Family REIT LP, to place the long-term, fixed-rate loans with an institutional lender in two separate transactions.

Pinnacle at Union Hills is located at 4750 E. Union Hills Drive at the northwestern corner of Union Hills Drive and Tatum Boulevard providing access to State Route 51 (Piestewa Freeway) and Loop 101 (Pima Freeway).  The property’s location borders the future Arizona Biomedical Corridor and the prestigious North Scottsdale submarket.  Renovated in 2015, each of the property’s 264 luxury units feature fully equipped gourmet kitchens, full-size washers and dryers, nine-foot ceilings, oversized walk-in closets, soaking tubs and private patios or balconies.  Common area amenities include two resort-style pools with poolside cabanas, barbecue grilling areas, 24-hour fitness center and Wi-Fi café.

Park 28 is located at 4114 N. 28th Street in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood placing it within 15 minutes of some of the area’s largest concentrations of office, educational and medical centers such as the Camelback Road office corridor, downtown Phoenix, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Banner University Medical Center.  The property is also walkable to Sprouts Grocery, Starbucks and Los Olivos Municipal Park.  Completed in 2016, the Class A community consists of 152 luxury units and amenities such as a resort-style pool and spa, a two-story clubhouse and state-of-the-art fitness center.

The HFF debt placement team representing the borrower was led by senior managing director John Brownlee, senior director Brad Miner and director Michael Cosby.

Road trip

Arizona Office of Tourism unveils ‘unreal’ ad campaign for state

The newest advertising campaign from the Arizona Office of Tourism showcases experiences in the state that are at once authentic and unexpected, comfortable and grand, real and unreal. 

Iconic Arizona destinations such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are front and center—but so, too, are lakes, snow and slot canyons.

The campaign, “[un]real Arizona,” was unveiled today by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, an annual professional-development event for destination marketers and travel professionals in the state. The ad campaign is the Office of Tourism’s first brand refresh in four years.

“The ‘[un]real Arizona’ campaign illustrates how the experiences visitors expect to have in our state can be grander and more surprising than they ever imagined,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

The campaign pairs awe-inspiring hero imagery with simple, powerful headlines that play on both the authentic feel of Arizona and its stunning natural landscape. Some of Arizona’s most majestic destinations—including the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Monument Valley, Snowbowl, Antelope Canyon and Verde Valley—are featured in the campaign.

AOT collaborated with Off Madison Ave (OMA), a Phoenix-based integrated marketing agency, to create the “[un]real Arizona” campaign. It will launch nationally in the fall, targeting the key markets of Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and San Francisco. 

“Research has showed us that there is real potential to further increase travel to Arizona in these cities,” Johnson said. “We targeted Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco with our advertising this past year and increased market share by more than 20 percent in every one of those cities. This year we’re adding Minneapolis to the mix, and we’re confident we’ll see positive results there as well.”

According to an advertising-effectiveness study by Strategic Marketing & Research Insights, the increase in incremental travel to Arizona generated by the Office of Tourism’s most recent national ad campaign resulted in $829 million of spending in the state. Overall, 43 million people visited Arizona in 2016, contributing $21.2 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy.

The new “[un]real] Arizona” campaign celebrates the breathtaking natural wonders in Arizona while touching on the various types of experiences available throughout the state.

Off Madison Avenue Creative Director, Ben Galloway said the flexibility of the “[un]real” concept means that images and messaging can easily be adjusted depending on the market, target audience, seasonality and medium.

“The big idea behind this campaign is to show the world the Arizona that residents get to see every day, the Arizona that is accessible, yet feels like you’re the first person to set foot here,” Ben Galloway said. “But it’s not enough to just have a good creative idea. The collaborative effort between AOT and OMA truly produced something special with ‘[un]real Arizona.’”

Technology shakes up how projects are planned, scheduled and built

Over the last 10 years, innovations in technology have disrupted many of the industries across the world allowing for improved efficiency, savings and quality.

The construction industry is no different. Although, Jim Rogers, a well-known construction management and industry expert, says, “Construction lags behind other industries like manufacturing that have more quickly adopted and implemented new technology to improve the industry.”

Project managers at Ryan Companies use building information modeling to design and plan projects using 3-D modeling. (Provided by Ryan Companies)

But that’s changing as innovations like 3-D laser scanning, building information modeling (BIM), digital drawings, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 3-D printing and others are enabling incredible improvements in the construction industry from communications to improved quality, production, savings and safety.

In Dubai, the world’s first functioning 3-D printed building was completed in May by using a massive 3-D printer and a special mixture of cement to create a 2,700-square-foot office building in 17 days for about $140,000.

Meanwhile in Arizona, the use of integrated project delivery methods, virtual design and construction (VDC) teams and digital project plans are speeding up construction timelines and cutting down on costs. There’s also augmented and virtual reality applications that redefine how we can look at projects and interact with spaces before it is ever constructed.

New technologies are forcing construction companies to adopt these innovations in order to stay competitive, which means adjusting the ways it plans, schedules and builds a project.

Rogers says, the biggest impact on the construction industry is the fact that there’s a lot of stuff that we have to go and re-learn in order for these technologies to propagate throughout the field.

From what he sees and hears throughout the industry, Rogers explains, “General contractors are in the mode of learning all different kinds of training, construction management, professional development systems and tools within their organizations to keep up with all of these new changes, trends and technologies, which will be critical for them to stay on top.”

These are some of the new innovations transforming the construction industry and the companies at the forefront of the “constru-tech” movement.

ARCHSOL

Cyclotron: a high-energy particle accelerator (Provided by ARCHSOL)

ARCHSOL designed several custom radiochemistry facilities across the nation that are facilitating innovative healthcare treatments including a new building at a cancer clinic’s campus in Scottsdale for a radiochemistry laboratory and complex piece of equipment called the cyclotron, which is a high-energy particle accelerator used in the production of radiopharmaceuticals. The design and construction of the building required a specific density for the cyclotron’s concrete shielding and precise coordination of underground conduits for pneumatic system transport of radioactive isotopes, that have a half-life of as little as 20 minutes, to the patient point of care.

Balfour Beatty Construction 

Bluebell Extreme screenshot (Provided by Balfour Beatty Construction)

By using Bluebeam Extreme, project drawing sets are constantly updated as changes are made to all project documents including drawings, specifications, requests for information, architectural supplemental instructions, as-built drawings and others are hyperlinked to the Balfour Beatty dashboard and instantly updated, which are accessible anywhere on the jobsite through the employee’s electronic tablets. The BIM 360 Field by Autodesk — a field management software for 2-D and 3-D environments that combines mobile technologies at the construction site with cloud-based collaboration and reporting — helps the project team maintain logs of issues, creates checklists for safety and tracking punch list items.

Climatec

Climatec’s Axcess suite was built to transform the tremendous amounts of data that building systems generate into actionable intelligence. It leverages deep engineering expertise, advanced analytics and visualization technologies to optimize building performance and reduce operating costs, which Terry Keenen, president of Climatec, says, helps clients realize a greater return on their building investments. At multiple healthcare and government municipality projects already integrating multiple building subsystems and vendors, Climatec’s data visualization and analytics have generated $500,000 in annual savings and the optimization of systems added another $750,000 in annual savings.

DPR Construction

Installation of prefabricated exterior panels for the Banner University Medical Center Phoenix’s new patient tower. (Provided by DPR Construction)

Virtual reality, laser scanning and prefabrication are the latest innovations being used at DPR. VR and AR technology puts the user into a virtual architectural model so they can digitally experience the space and interact with it without the costly investment of building a full scale, physical mock-up. Laser scanning as a Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) tool ensures 1/8-inch accuracy and saves DPR projects $1 per square-foot in field rework due to human error. Meanwhile, the prefabrication process used for the installation of the exterior skin panels at the Banner University Medical Center Phoenix’s 16-story patient tower process increases safety by not having to work from scaffolding, reduces schedule durations by placing one level of panels in a day, and achieves consistent quality by working in an assembly-line like manner.

Eco 3-D

3-D model of processing facility (Provided by Eco3-D)

Using laser scanners to create highly accurate digital 3-D models reduces labor, material costs and the amount of re-work while aiding in schedule compression and mitigating costly requests for information, which helped the company’s VDC team save millions for clients like Walmart, New York University, Cushman & Wakefield and the Los Angeles International Airport. “The implementation of laser scanning and 3-D modeling is the next revolution in the construction world. Sensational cost reductions and efficiencies will be realized,” explains Ken Smerz, president and founder at Eco 3-D. “The owners will begin to take this information to digitally manage their assets all the way back into their income statements.”

Fairview Architectural North America

(Provided by Fairview Architectural)

Vitrabond G2, a light weight non-combustible metal composite material for building façades, was launched by Fairview Architectural North America in March along with the Arrowhead suite of façade panel installation systems, which were designed and engineered to package all the benefits of a traditional metal composite material. Jerry Fossey, general manager, says, “These two new products help protect the building and its occupants by being non-combustible and at the same time reducing the cost of installation due to the high speed in which they can be installed.”

Graycor 

Before and during construction, Graycor utilizes drones to gather accurate data and information about a site or existing structure. During pre-construction, a 30-minute drone flight, plus a few hours of information processing, can compare actual site elevations to a design plan, providing precise data for earthmoving activity, creating construction timelines and establishing budgets with trade vendors. During construction, a program called Drone Deploy uses photogrammetry to accurately compare the design plan to a project’s actual as-built conditions, which includes 3-D and virtual reality capabilities. Other client-facing advantages of drones include in-progress aerial photos, fly-through visuals and live feed options, which are a particular benefit for out of town developers.

JE Dunn Construction 

Mobile job site kiosk (Provided by JE Dunn Construction)

The Dunn Dashboard is a project specific collaboration website that enables projects teams, including the owner, architect and trade partners, to access all project documents and information in real time. It enables a paperless construction jobsite by using mobile jobsite kiosks, digital plan tables, tablets, smartphones and laptops to access and update information such as contract documents, RFIs, submittals, administrative documents, 3-D models, calendars, photos, project web cams, construction documents, project announcements and much more. John Jacobs, chief information officer, describes it as a “single source of truth” that supports 600 active construction projects.

Kitchell

Kitchell: Kapture off-site prefabrication and virtual design facility. (Provided by Kitchell)

Kitchell’s prefabrication and virtual design unit — the Kapture Group, a collaboration with MKB Construction — is a 42,000-square-foot facility enabling the design and build of certain aspects of construction projects in an assembly-line like process. “These are tools that enable us to use our resources wisely, save clients millions of dollars and shave weeks, and in several cases, months from a construction schedule,” says Scott Root, director of Kapture. Kitchell’s preconstruction team also uses an Assemble Systems program to create visual comparisons with precise illustrations for project designers and owners the direct cost of construction changes and corresponding financial impacts.

Mark-Taylor Residential

Vistara at SanTan Village in Gilbert marked the first apartment community in Arizona to offer remote, mobile-device enabled technology to its residents through an app that remotely control locks, temperature and lighting through a partnership with Clare Controls. Residents can also expand their capabilities with upgraded packages including video cameras, CCTV cameras and entertainment packages. This comes on the heels of Mark-Taylor’s roll-out of Amazon Locker technology throughout its Arizona portfolio, easing the burden of package delivery for property management offices and residents.

MODUS Development 

By working with a RESNET approved HERS Rater to perform energy use models using REMrate software, MODUS is able to develop the most cost effective building envelope for optimal energy efficiency. A proprietary database was created to measure the cost/benefit in HERS points for each sustainable item used in the building such as spray foam insulation, LED lighting, hybrid hot water heaters and more. Ed Gorman, founder and president, says, “Utilizing energy modeling tools and developing a database of cost and savings has allowed us to successfully build the first Net Zero Energy (NZE) townhomes in the state and the first NZE apartment building in the country.”

P.B. Bell 

P.B. Bell partnered with Cox Communications to offer residents at Escape in Phoenix access to a Smart Home experience through Cox Homelife, which features home automation capabilities, such as live video viewing and energy controls for temperature and lighting. At Solis at Towne Center, P.B. Bell partnered with Parcel Pending to offer 24-hour, automated parcel storage allowing residents to retrieve packages, which were installed in May. “These secure, automated lockers offer flexibility and convenience for residents, and we’re proud to be able to offer this type of amenity to accommodate a growing need,” says Chapin Bell, CEO at P.B. Bell.

Procore & Plans4Less 

For smaller mom-and-pop companies, building information modeling may not be an affordable option, which means printed documents are still a must. However, the most widely-used construction management software firm, Procore, has teamed up with Plans4Less, on a first of its kind app for printing and delivering construction documents that’s affordable and quick. In fact, all Procore software users now have the advantage of printing and delivering full-sized construction documents from Plans4Less for $1 each to anywhere in the country by the next day using a seamlessly integrated app.

Ryan Companies

(Provided by Ryan Companies)

Since 2012, its Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) team worked to transform a design concept into an image, animation or virtual reality in order to bring that concept to life through 3-D building animations and renderings, cost and schedule summary infographics, site logistics, process maps and through regional amenity marketing summaries. Today, Rick Collins, regional president at Ryan Companies, says, “With our Virtual Design and Construction program, we ‘build’ the building technologically, before we put a shovel in the ground. Our VDC group continues to push the boundaries of VR in providing valuable content to our current and prospective clients; allowing our users to ‘see’ the completed building to refine decisions along the way.”

Sunflare Solar

Sunflare’s new solar technology, a super thin and lightweight solar “wallpaper” of sorts, is the lightest and most flexible solar panel of its kind. The solar cells are created with copper, indium, gallium and selenide. Unlike Tesla’s solar roof tiles, which began taking orders in the United States in May, Sunflare’s thin solar cells do not include glass, which means it can be attached to walls and roofs, the top of trailers and mobile homes, or anywhere a designer or builder can dream up by using some double-sided tape.

TruePoint Laser Scanning

(Provided by TruePoint Laser Scanning)

TruePoint uses 3-D laser scan technology to accurately capture millions of real-world data points for a building or space within seconds. Then, in-house engineers use the latest software to provide clients with practical and custom deliverables such as point cloud data, 3-D models and 2-D drawings. Ryan Hacker, president of TruePoint Laser Scanning, says, “As-built models can expedite design, reduce clashes and change orders, ultimately saving time and money.”

Most Influential Women: Sandra Hudson, TrustBank Arizona

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 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:

Sandra  Hudson, president, TrustBank Arizona

Hudson is CEO of Trust and Wealth Management and president  of TrustBank Arizona.

Best decision: “Confidence in my vision. I do not know the words ‘can’t’ or ‘no.’  I was able to take my vision of a boutique group of professional wealth advisors who work in a holistic fashion with customized solutions and no minimums to TrustBank, a 104-year-old bank, just over four years ago. We were recently named to Chambers 2016 ‘Top High Net Wealth Advisors in Arizona.’”

Surprising fact: “I would rather be baiting a fish hook instead of balancing the books.  I’m a low-maintenance mountain girl who enjoys horseback riding, fishing, hiking, camping and fresh air.”

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.

How can we close the gender gap in the technology industry?

The technology industry is one of the fastest-growing and most prosperous sectors in the world economy today. In 2016, 2,500 technology jobs were added in Arizona alone, according to a data analysis report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, EMSI and others. Despite the explosive growth of the industry and the capital pumped into it, industry leaders have yet to conquer one major disparity: the gender gap.

While statistics on women and minority groups are improving, they remain unacceptable. Google, Facebook and Yahoo all report employee makeup dominated by white and Asian males. On average, these technology giants employ 33 percent fewer women than the U.S. workforce as a whole.

CompTIA’s 2017 Cyberstates report breaks down data and trends in the United States’ technology industry. Statistics include technology employment gender ratios, which reveal women hold only 34 percent of the country’s technology jobs. A 2016 study done by Psychology of Women Quarterly found women who work in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields demonstrated lower psychological well-being than their male counterparts do. This was attributed to the exclusion and isolation women experienced from men in the work environments.

Women also face an uphill battle to gain leadership roles in the total workforce. At the current rate, it will be 2085 when women reach parity in leadership roles in our country, according to a gender gap report entitled “The Women’s Leadership Gap” by the Center for American Progress. Despite earning 60 percent of both undergraduate and master’s degrees, women in 2014 made up just 20 percent of executives, senior officers and management in U.S. high-tech industries. As recently as 2016, 43 percent of the 150 highest-earning public companies in Silicon Valley had no female executive officers at all.

Leaders in technology and education need to change the context of their environment to not only become more accepting and empowering towards women but also to support the elimination of gender biases and the gender gap that disrupt the learning cycle. Empowerment programs aren’t enough if we do not make changes at the psychological level.

More also can be done during early education to encourage women to explore STEM education programs. This starts with teachers, parents and investment in educational programs that not only accept but also celebrate young women pursuing STEM, such as the newly launched Girls in Tech Phoenix Chapter. According to the Psychology of Women Quarterly study, women as of 2016 were less likely than men to pursue careers in STEM fields due to factors such as gender ratios in STEM classes, lack of support from teachers and mentors, and lack of inclusion and civility.

Despite concerns, there is great hope for Arizona. Our state boasts three cities in the top 50 of smartasset.com’s 2017 analysis of the best cities for women in technology. Tucson, Chandler and Phoenix rank 23rd, 31st and 50th, respectively, in this study that analyzes gender pay gap, income after housing costs, technology jobs filled by women and four-year technology employment growth. That’s not to say female technology founders haven’t had more than their fair share of obstacles in Arizona. It is still more difficult for female entrepreneurs to access capital and funding, and female leaders are not provided the immediate respect that some of their male counterparts are afforded. Women in Arizona still fight to earn the respect of their peers, employees, partners and buyers.

While Arizona still needs to make improvements to see more female leaders in technology-related fields, we are closing the gender gap faster than many other well-established technology hubs in the country. The solution for expansive change isn’t obvious but leaders in technology are beginning to have serious conversations about gender and racial equality, especially here in Arizona. It is up to these leaders to empower women by funding equal education opportunities and providing avenues for women to pursue career paths in technology, as well as other STEM fields. To move forward, we must continue to foster a willingness to develop new solutions.

The Arizona Technology Council has been a leader in advocating for diversity in technology and working to propel, educate and empower women in technology, as well as young girls interested in STEM careers, through programs like Women in the Workforce. This committee and its events are organized by and feature some of the strongest female technology leaders in Arizona. The events were created specifically to empower women by giving them a voice, and are held in both Phoenix and Tucson. To find out more about the Women in the Workforce Committee and its events, we encourage you to visit the Council’s website ataztechcouncil.org.

 

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.