Author Archives: Greg Sexton


Poison centers save Arizona residents $45.5 million every year

The 57 poison centers in the United States save citizens more than $1.8 billion annually in medical costs. And in Arizona, the state’s two centers, including Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center save nearly $45.5 million every year, according to a recently released report.

“Calls to poison centers keep the vast majority of people out of the hospital and decrease the length of stays for patients who are admitted,” said Steven Curry, MD, medical toxicologist at the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix.

“The role poison centers quietly play in the U.S. health system often goes unrecognized, but the savings to individuals, insurers and government is truly significant, and helps keep total healthcare costs down.”

Earlier this year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers commissioned The Lewin Group to determine the value of the poison center network as a whole. For its report issued in September 2012, The Lewin Group based calculations mainly on costs that were avoided because callers received medical advice that prevented visits to emergency rooms and other providers. Also included in the calculations were shorter hospitalizations enabled by medical staff consulting with poison center toxicology experts and callers’ reduced time away from work.

The separate 2011 data for Arizona indicates the savings to AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid system, were more than $9 million. About 20 percent of the Arizona patients whose toxic exposures are managed at home by a call to the poison center are enrolled in AHCCCS. Savings to private insurers in Arizona during 2011 exceeded $28 million.

“The life-saving work poison centers do is more important than ever,” said Mazda Shirazi, MD, medical director at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, part of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson.

“Did you know that deaths from accidental overdoses now exceed deaths from car accidents?” he continued. “It’s easy to see the vital role performed by a hotline that provides expert medical advice about medications and toxic exposures around the clock. But we think the citizens we serve should also realize that we are not just saving lives, but also saving millions of dollars a year for them and the companies and agencies that cover the cost of their care.”

Narrow Angle Camera Nasa Mars Mission University of Arizona

Strong Ties To NASA’s Mars Program Fuels Money Into State’s Economy

Millions of miles away and dragging a broken wheel, the Mars rover Spirit illustrates how the stars have aligned for Arizona and its growing position in space research and exploration. Besides the engineering miracle of functioning on just three working wheels, Spirit’s broken fourth appendage is unintentionally digging a trench, unearthing fresh proof the Red Planet once held water and the inklings of life.

Spirit, along with its twin rover, Opportunity, has been operating on the surface of Mars for more than five years, far longer than engineers predicted. In another happy accident, dust devils have routinely cleansed the solar panels of Opportunity, extending its life and its ability to transmit data and images of Mars. That’s something researchers did not expect, or plan for.

“That’s just great engineering — pure and simple,” says Jack Farmer, an Arizona State University professor conducting research in astrobiology within the university’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE). “It’s been a great twist of fate.”

While Spirit and Opportunity might be enjoying a little luck, it isn’t a coincidence that SESE has been quietly blazing a new path for ASU, and in the process elevating the school’s prominence with NASA and a cadre of impressed scientists and researchers.

Kip Hodges came to ASU three years ago to be the founding director of SESE and brought with him an impressive curriculum vitae that includes more than 20 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In less than three years, ASU’s reputation has risen among its peers, and in the process fostered an academic environment that appeals to some of the nation’s top engineering and research talent. Today, the school continues to conduct groundbreaking experiments and research that merges earth and space sciences with engineering and high-technology processes.

“The vision that has emerged from SESE is one that fuses science and engineering to explore space and the function of our home world, and show us how and where we might evolve in the future,” Hodges says. SESE pairs two already impressive ASU disciplines: geological sciences with astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.

“Among other things, we look at the fingerprints of ancient time — rocks, ocean sediments — study these and look at how life came to be here and the impact we as humans are having on it,” adds SESE Associate Professor Ariel Anbar, a biogeochemist interested in the evolution of the Earth’s environment. From an economic standpoint, Hodges says that while all the research — the trips to Mars and the search for how we came to be — is key to ASU, it also plays a huge role in the economy of the state and the Southwest. Partnerships to engineer a Mars rover, for instance, can impact several vendors and businesses across many levels. In Arizona, ASU has already worked with Honeywell, for instance, and aerospace and manufacturing titan General Dynamics has built transmitters and transponders to assist in retrieving the data and images from Mars.

The Phoenix Has Landed
Like an asteroid impact, the economic effects of space research extend far and wide. The Arizona Aerospace, Defense and Avionics Industry reports that Arizona ranks eighth in the U.S. in aerospace and defense industry employment and fourth in the employment of full-time workers. Industry figures show these jobs pay more than 52 percent higher than Arizona’s average wage. A recent Battelle study pins aerospace and the related research industries in the Grand Canyon State as one of Arizona’s core competencies. In fact, the state has one of the largest concentrations of telescopes in the world and a legacy of more than 50 missions.

It’s not just the Valley and ASU that reap the rewards of space research and exploration. Scientists, researchers and engineers in Southern Arizona have long played a vital role in the state’s space industry. One of the most visible projects, the Phoenix Mars Mission, put Arizona at the forefront of national media and space research interests.

The Mars Phoenix Lander descended on the Red Planet in May 2008, in full view of a worldwide audience awed by the entire process. The multiagency mission was led by the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, with guidance from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Phoenix Mars mission was the first to be led by a university, and one that Michael Drake, director of UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, says is the perfect example of what can be accomplished when a multitude of international agencies, governments and universities work together to accomplish a single goal — successful planetary and space research and all the far-reaching implications here on Earth.

Drake says projects such as the Phoenix Mars mission bring to light the pioneering research and feats of engineering being conducted in Arizona, which pump significant dollars into the state’s economy. “These types of projects have a huge ripple effect,” Drake notes, adding that UA and ASU continue to work hand in-hand to build Arizona’s leading position in space research and exploration. But, he adds, it is an investment that must come with a commitment from state and federal leaders who must realize that money invested today will likely have a significant impact years down the road. Simply put, he adds, it’s an investment in the future of the state, our universities and our economy.

“The business community understands this,” Drake says. “Besides all of the university employees and researchers, we employ a variety of small businesses — mainly in Arizona. We keep the wealth here.”

Mars Money
George Rieke, a regents professor of astronomy and deputy director of the Steward Observatory at UA, says that unlike many universities working with NASA on space missions already in place, UA has had central roles in building and operating the missions, as well as reaping the scientific benefits.

“Perhaps the most dramatic example was the construction of the Mars Phoenix Lander and its operation from a control center in Tucson,” Rieke says. “As a result, our involvement with NASA brings high technology right into our midst, along with the public interest and excitement in the resulting scientific advances. This interest, in turn, will bring interesting, high-paying jobs to us in the form of a broad spectrum of technology-based businesses.”

The impact of space research is significant in Southern Arizona. According to a recent study by the Arizona Arts, Sciences and Technology Academy, astronomy and space-related research injected more than $250 million into the state’s economy during fiscal 2006. In addition, over a 10-year period from 1998 to 2007, NASA awarded UA $444.3 million in research grants and space exploration dollars. Arizona’s clear skies and moderate desert climate continue to drive much of the growth and interest in further space-related endeavors. Besides the effects in Southern Arizona, there has been a steady increase in the monetary impact to ASU from NASA. In 2000, ASU was awarded $9.9 million in NASA grants, nearly $10.1 million in 2005 and $16.8 million in 2008. Since 2000, ASU has been the recipient of more than $121 million from NASA.

Grant money fuels research, engages future scientists and continues ASU’s cutting-edge work. Hodges, likes to point out that grant money isn’t confined to ASU. When new faculty members or researchers come to ASU to work at SESE, they bring their families, buy homes, groceries and contribute in many ways to the economy of the state. Currently, there are 42 faculty and more than 60 research scientists and postdoctoral scholars at SESE, with 97 graduate and 96 undergraduate students.

Hodges says that while the state has rightly invested heavily in the biomedical sector — and recorded some impressive economic advantages and revenue sources such as TGen — many states around the U.S. are competing for some of the same slices of the biomed pie. However, Arizona has the opportunity to be a magnet for space research and exploration.

“The tactical advantage of space science and research is that not many people are playing in that sandbox,” Hodges adds. “There is a great deal to be gained from an investment perspective. The opportunities are fantastic here.”

Future research is also compelling. The upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission is scheduled to launch this spring. LRO is the first spacecraft to be built as part of NASA’s return to the moon, and SESE has been intimately involved in preparations for this mission. One of the orbiter’s seven instruments, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), was designed by one of the school’s professors, a project that has brought in nearly $10.4 million from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2007. The school’s lunar center has also been working with the Johnson Space Center to scan and create an online digital archive of all the original Apollo flight films.

In 2008, SESE was awarded $14 million in NASA grants, which equates to about 10 percent of all grants awarded to ASU, and about 20 percent of grants awarded to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU’s largest college. Unlike UA, ASU does not operate any telescopes. Also of note is the fact that $14 million is a hefty sum to be awarded when a mission is not being run.

“This is work force development at its finest,” Hodges says. “We cannot lose out on these opportunities and the momentum we’ve created.” Drake at UA agrees the state has seen significant momentum, but expresses caution and dismay over funding reductions by state lawmakers, who are wrestling with huge budget shortfalls and have identified significant cuts in Arizona’s universities.

“The state Legislature is unwittingly disregarding an enormous amount of money that comes into — and stays in Arizona — from space research and exploration,” he says. “If we can’t compete and keep the people and talent we have, the state is shorting itself of huge economic opportunities. It is very short sighted.”

Sumner Starrfield is a regent professor at SESE and a computational astrophysicist who studies stellar explosions looking for clues on where life originated on Earth. He notes that ASU and UA have made a great deal of progress in attracting and retaining faculty and, in the process, nurturing the next generation of researchers. While the state remains in the throes of a severe budget crisis, officials also contend that further cuts to Arizona’s educational system will put some brakes on the current progress.

“ASU has worked hard to get to where we are today,” Starrfield says. “The grant money generated by the school spreads throughout the economy of Arizona. It is important for us to remember what we are trying to accomplish and how it affects our future.”

Drake notes that while Arizona has made significant inroads with biotechnology job creation and research, space exploration remains an untapped galaxy of economic wealth.

“I always like to say, ‘If a field has a name, it’s too late to get into the game.’ The train has already left the station. That’s where we are at in space research and exploration in Arizona,” he says. “We are pioneering and creating a new economy here. We just need some help to continue to build something great.”

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

A view of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's instrument bench with both Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) telescopes visible in the center. Photo: University of Arizona

Mars' Arabian Terra NASA photos of space

A false-color image of the dunes on Mars' Arabian Terra from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on the Mars Odyssey orbiter. Photo: NASA/JPL/ASU

Charles Miscio, a senior vice president at Colliers International

Could The Current Real Estate Mess In Arizona Have Been Prevented?

A few short years ago, when Arizona’s residential market was really cooking, Charles Miscio was getting his teeth cleaned when his dental hygienist made an ominous comment: She owned eight houses and was renting them out to investors, speculators and anyone in between.

“It seems like everyone got caught up in that irrational thinking,” says Miscio, a senior vice president at Colliers International, who has more than 20 years of experience in the Arizona real estate market. “The train had left the station and no one thought it would stop. Well, it took some major missteps by Wall Street, but I think everyone can agree that money train has stopped.”

Fortunately, Miscio adds, Arizona did learn some lessons from past real estate market cycles, and things, especially in the commercial sector, should begin to look better following another nine to 12 months of uncertainty.

“Mid-2010 is what we as brokers are looking toward for recovery,” he says.
Right now, real estate executives and economic experts concede, a credit crunch, plummeting home values and corporate uncertainty have consumer confidence at historic lows. Companies aren’t expanding, leasing or buying more office space or hiring workers. Consumers, in turn, are wary about their jobs and have resisted spending on everything from new cars to health care.

It begs the question, though: Could anything have been done to prevent the current malaise?

Miscio says perhaps those with business ties to real estate (finance, mortgage, brokers, developers, etc.) should have watched the indicators better and kept a skeptical eye on the ever-outreaching building patterns. Developments continually moved to the periphery of the desert, making long commutes a norm for many and impacting the quality of life for many more. Exotic financial structures, which seemed too good to be true, also emerged. As it turns out, reality eventually set in.

“We just need to pinch ourselves once in a while,” the Colliers executive says.
Pat Feeney joined CBRE in 1985, and has ridden many waves in the market. Today, he is a senior vice president dealing mostly with industrial projects. He says current action in all sectors is down, and like, Miscio, he believes any improvement is closely tied to the replenishment of consumer confidence. That could take a while, as the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, a widely watched gauge of consumer spending, continues to fall to all-time lows. Currently, confidence in the economy is the lowest on record.

Feeney has seen these cyclical patterns before and believes, in the end, this too shall pass; it’s just a matter of time, although there are a few caveats in this current cycle.

“Historically, cycles come and go — the wounds heal and everyone goes back into battle,” he says, adding that past cycles were always followed with an “oomph factor.” That “oomph” was the Internet and tech boom earlier this decade, and the housing boom of the mid-2000s.

“Where is that next oomph?” Feeney asks, citing comments made by an economic analyst at a national economic strategy session.

“…it took some major missteps by Wall Street, but I think everyone can agree that money train has stopped.” — Charles Miscio, Colliers International

“This dramatic improvement also needs to be worldwide, since all of our economies are tied together. I agree with the cyclical thought process; I just think this one will take longer. I just don’t know how long.”

Several things from past booms are playing a huge role in the current bust. A run-up in the cost of land over the past decade held the lid on the market, as did escalating construction and material costs. Some key zoning changes, mostly around Sky Harbor International Airport, have also equated to a real estate industry that could be much worse off.

“This time around, there wasn’t unbridled and uncontrolled activity,” Feeney says. “This was more economically controlled and driven.”

Like many, Feeney remains bullish on Phoenix. People will always want to escape the inclement areas of the U.S. and the congested and strange factor of California. Arizona is a great place to live and affordable housing, one way oranother, will return.

Jerry Noble, a first vice president at CBRE agrees: “Phoenix continues to grow and be a leader in U.S. growth. We have always seen dynamic employers looking for space in quality locations with an affordable work force. Our fundamentals just need to stabilize and we’ll get back to where we need to be.”

Generation Y

The Me Gen: How The Bad Economy Could Affect Gen Y In The Workplace

Like it or not, the future is in the hands of Generation Y, and in this turbulent economy, an increasing number of companies are trying to find productive ways to work with a generation that has been raised on technology, the Internet, and ushered through their younger years on a velvet pillow.

Chris Elliott, senior manager of recruiting for the Phoenix office of The Capital Group, a worldwide firm that manages corporate and individual investments through mutual funds, says Gen Y poses some intriguing issues that companies must meet head-on. Like its investments, companies take the long-term view on employees, and this can be perplexing to the instant-gratification mentality of Gen Y.

“The recent change in market conditions seems to be best understood by people who consume a lot of news — whether through the newspaper, online or on television,” Elliott says. “Those people have heard about many companies that are reducing staff or decreasing benefits and they recognize that this has an impact on job offers in our market. However, some of Gen Y does not tend to follow the news closely and, not having experienced an economic downturn in their adult lives, they do not recognize the impact it could have on the overall job market.”

Mike Seiden, president and CEO of Western International University, believes Gen Y, even in this economy, is much more savvy than some might believe.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Yer is less concerned about money than previous generations,” he says. “They want to earn as much as they can and are more than willing to play prospective employers against each other. We’ve all seen employees who accepted a job offer and were scheduled to start on Monday, but didn’t show up because they got a better offer over the weekend. It’s really too early to tell how the current economic situation will pan out, but I don’t expect that too many new employees will lower their salary expectations because the economy is having problems.”

The changing economic winds have educators evaluating their methodology, as well.

“We need to recognize and integrate the needs of business with the innate skills of this generation,” says Ajay Vinze, the Davis Distinguished Professor of Business and director of the Executive MBA Program at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “With Gen Y, technology is part-and-parcel with their existence. They see their cell phones and the Internet, and see the world and how they can make an impact.”

The education experience remains key to ensuring Gen Yers — no matter the economy — are ready to hit the ground running when they enter the work force. Gen Y is adept at working in a team environment and likes clear expectations and goals outlined for them.

“Our task is to keep track of the characteristics and skill sets of what employers are looking for and translate that into our teaching,” says Barbara Keats, an associate professor of management at W.P. Carey. Keats adds that the school continues to see Gen Y students struggling with some fundamental communications skills.

“They have the knowledge, they just need to be shown some strategies to communicate,” she says.

Still, what remains are some underlining factors employers should think about with Gen Y.

“I believe there is absolutely more of a sense of entitlement in this generation than in older generations,” Seiden says. “They expect they will be treated with respect, rewarded whenever they do a good job, have opportunities to advance as rapidly as they think they deserve to and will have the flexibility to live as they choose with little or no interference from the company in their lifestyles.”

While some, like Seiden, say Gen Y has a strong sense of entitlement, Vinze isn’t so sure that’s really the case. In fact, he says, the eagerness and hyper-urge to get things done can make Millennials productive workers from day one. They like to create new titles as a sense of empowerment, such as chief knowledge officer or chief innovator. This shouldn’t be taken as entitlement, Vinze says.

What could be a big plus in this economic slowdown is Gen Y’s ability to multitask and seek creative solutions to everyday problems, adds Julie Smith David, an associate professor at W.P. Carey.

Gen Y is also interested in working with older employees who can serve as mentors and foster the capabilities of this future generation of leaders.

“My take-away is both older workers and Gen Y have a lot to learn from each other,” Smith David says. Seiden addsthat companies should remain flexible with this “new gen” and realize the old thinking of yesterday does not necessarily apply today.

“This may include such things as flexible work hours and telecommuting,” he says. “Gen Yers want to be challenged. They want assignments that will allow them to ‘show their stuff’ and gain recognition, so providing job opportunities that allow them to do so are important. They want assignments that are challenging, but they want to be trained and provided the tools with which to complete those assignments. Company image is important to them. There appears to be more of an emphasis on working for a good, socially responsible corporate citizen.”

Auto Auctions Boost Valley’s Economy

Two local auto auctions rev up the Valley’s economy.

Drew Alcazar was bit by the car bug early on. He remembers playing with Hot Wheels, and later as a teenager working obsessively to rebuild a 1967 Shelby Mustang.

“It’s a sickness,” says Alcazar, co-owner of the Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions. “The car hobby is an incurable disease.”

Alcazar recalls falling in love with that Shelby and running cars on a local, sanctioned drag race track on Saturday nights.

“It was truly ‘run what you brung,’ ”he smiles. “It was the best.”

Today, Alcazar is one of the fortunate ones who has been able to transform a hobby into a chosen profession. Alcazar worked for the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company from 1995 to 2000. He says that during this time he saw the show evolve into more of a “spectacle” than a true collectors show.

“I feel they lost the sight and focus,” he adds. “Car collecting is a hobby — it is not an investment. We are selling a hobby.”

Alcazar decided to create a boutique environment and position his show to the true car enthusiast. It seems the gamble has paid off. Russo and Steele will feature 500 cars during its show Jan. 16-20. Russo also does auctions in Monterey, Calif., and Hollywood, Fla.

Still, Barrett-Jackson is a force to contend with in the auto auction industry. Last year, more than 1,200 cars valued at nearly $112 million were auctioned at the Scottsdale event. Barrett-Jackson also produces a show in Palm Beach, Fla. This year, Barrett-Jackson will auction more than 1,000 autos during its Scottsdale show Jan. 12-20.

“Our Scottsdale automotive lifestyle event has become an annual pilgrimage for everyone connected to this hobby,” says Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, adding that in 2008, the show will again partner with the cable network SPEED for coverage.

While each show continues to evolve, Scottsdale officials couldn’t be happier. Between the two auto auctions, Arizona Business Magazine Dec-Jan 2008the FBR Open and football festivities, revenues at resorts, restaurants and retail shops continue to soar.

The two shows may compete against each other, but the synergy they create is second to none.

“The economic impact is huge,” Alcazar adds. “It may be a cliché, but I feel Russo and Steele truly is an economic engine that revs up our economy again and again.”

To find out more about the companies mentioned, visit their websites:

Super Bowl and Small Businesses

Super Bowl And Small Business: A Working Relationship

Businesses across the playing field of Arizona are poised to partake in another Super Bowl economic bonanza.

Obviously, beverage, automotive and food juggernauts are going to bank on huge profits, name recognition and marketing buzz, thanks to the game. But how can local businesses get their share? It’s simple: Just ask.
For more than a decade, the National Football League has made it a priority to include local and regional businesses in the big game. It established the Emerging Business Program to educate and provide business opportunities to minority- and women-owned businesses in the host city and state. This year, in true NFL style, the Emerging Business Program is presented locally by Salt River Project.

According to the NFL, the program aims to provide increased procurement opportunities — both short- and long-term — to small, minority- and women-owned businesses.

“The goal is simple,” says Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s vice president of Emerging Business and Outreach. “We want to facilitate the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses to be involved in the wonderful business opportunity presented by the NFL and the Super Bowl. Locally, the response has been overwhelming.”

Offered by the NFL since 1994, the program encourages local businesses to engage in the economic boon that follows the Super Bowl from city to city each year. Available to any certified minority and small business operation, the Emerging Business Program has been successful in affording businesses the chance to be involved with one of sports’ biggest productions in the nation.

Locally, Choo Tay is ready. So is Steve Cortez. Both are small business owners in the Valley poised to capitalize not only on the more immediate impact of the big game, but also on building long-term relationships whose roots are tied to the Super Bowl. In fact, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Mike Kennedy says more than 200 local businesses have expressed interest in the program, “a testament to the quality game atmosphere we provide,” he adds.

Tay’s Web site and integrated marketing firm, media88, was founded in 1995. Her interactive media, online event management and Web-based solutions company is no stranger to the business of sports.

“One of our earliest projects was the design and hosting of the cheerleaders link of the Super Bowl XXX Web site,” notes Tay, referring to the last time the big game rolled into the Valley in 1996. “Since then, we’ve continued to grow and adapt along with the industry. We are thrilled to be part of 2008.”

Like any savvy businessman, when Cortez, owner and operator of Cortez Visual Communications, heard Glendale would be hosting the event, he immediately saw it as a perfect way to showcase his company, which offers innovative vehicle wraps, banners and posters.

“I believe the work we are doing for the Super Bowl will open many doors for us,” he says. “It will allow other large or small corporations and professional sports teams to see us at our best. Future customers will be happy to know that we are capable of doing high-quality work for some of the biggest companies in the nation.”

That’s the exact purpose of the program.

“This is our Super Bowl,” Rodriguez says. “This is not only Arizona’s chance to shine, but for our local businesses to share as well. As they say, it’s a win-win.”

Family-owned businesses share their secrets for success and sanity, 2008

Family-owned businesses share their secrets for success and sanity

All in the Family

Family-owned businesses share their secrets for success and sanity

Family-owned businesses share their secrets for success and sanity, 2008

By Greg and Cori Sexton

At 15, Buddy Stubbs had his first major ride: a 1954, KHK 900cc, two-wheel rocket he proudly roared around the streets of Decatur, Ill. By the early 1960s, Stubbs was on the racing circuit, eventually winning the Daytona 100 in 1963. Stubbs would seek further adventure over the next several decades doing motorcycle stunts in Hollywood.

Still, perhaps his biggest gamble was opening the first Harley-Davidson dealership in the Valley in 1966. Today, Stubbs owns and operates Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson with his two sons, Frank and Jack. For the Stubbs clan, working together with family has been a natural evolution over the years. And surprisingly, the Stubbs family, like

numerous other Arizona businesses run by family members, has found the experience extremely rewarding with little disharmony and one with great success.

So, what’s the key?

“We communicate with each other constantly, not only about business matters, but also personal matters,” Buddy says. “Occasionally business matters will create tension, but we are always able to make the best of any scenario. Family comes first and always will.”

Like many family businesses, the Stubbs’ have a definitive breakdown of responsibilities — which helps define the business while creating boundaries and clear areas of expertise. For Jack, the transition into family and business was natural.

“We grew up around motorcycles, spending a considerable amount of time at the dealership when we were young,” he recalls. “Since we developed the same passion for the business and industry as our father, it only seemed natural to get involved at an early age.”

And when you throw in the cool factor of working with motorcycles, it is a dream job waiting to happen.

“Who wouldn’t want to be involved with such a great brand and company as Harley-Davidson?” Frank asks. “I love working with motorcycles, people and family every day. It’s an exciting, fun and rewarding job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As a child, my father always seemed to enjoy his job and expressed a passion for motorcycles. We were also taught success does not come for free or without hard work.”

A Green Thumb
Passion and hard work are certainly something Andre Lugo can relate to. Lugo owns and operates The Green Goddess, a nursery and outdoor accessories company that has been around since 1977.

Over the years, Andre has worked with his wife, Claudia, among other family members. Like others, Andre cites “trust and confidence” as key factors propelling the family-operated business.

“You know your backsides are covered,” he laughs.

Andre has also pioneered other successful businesses over the years in the Valley. Still, he notes the challenges and differences family members have had over the years have made every step of the way a learning and growing experience.

“It is a great joy to work with your family,” he says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A Family’s Best Friend
Ed Marshall started E.D. Marshall Jewelers in 1971, and has since built a solid reputation in the Valley’s highly competitive fine gem industry. Today, Marshall runs his business with his wife and brother. The best part of working with family, Marshall says, is the strong relationship he has with family members.

Marshall says besides working with family, another strategic move his business made was buying and renovating its own building, the Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard location he’s owned since 1995. Again, family played a major role in that decision and family continues to grow the business.

“We all get along well, we understand each other and know the needs of the company,” Marshall says. “Of course, trust is a big thing in any business and it’s good to know that your family won’t stab you in the back.”
Life is Like …

James B. Cerreta gets to work every day with his family at the Cerreta Candy Company in much the same way his father did decades ago, growing the business and passing it along to future generations of the clan.

“It’s like a family picnic at the park every day,” laughs Cerreta, who works with his father, James. J. Cerreta, his sister, Jennifer, and his three brothers, Joe, Jerry and Jonathan. “We enjoy each other and we have for all these years. Of course, there are little things that pop up, but because we love each other and the business, we make it work.”

Much like the Cerreta’s story, which began in Ohio in the 1930s with James’ grandfather, Ben Heggy, making chocolate, a family-owned business starts as a dream — an alluring entrepreneurial concept or idea percolating in some form or another. In Arizona, there are thousands of family-owned businesses toiling away each and every day — at the office and at the home and, sometimes, both.

Cover-July 2008

Ernesto Poza, professor of Global Family Enterprise at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, has worked with family-owned enterprises for more than 30 years. He says families often start businesses with the underlying idea of growing a successful company and passing it down from generation to generation. The first generation, the foundation, is usually easy.

“When the kids join is when it gets complicated,” notes Poza, adding that functions are often assigned (i.e., sales, marketing, business development) to certain sons and daughters tackling certain aspects of the company.

Difficulties often ensue during transition periods, when children might want to change the original focus of the co

mpany, or when a parent has to face the fact that perhaps the designated heir may not be up the challenge of running the family business.

AZ Business Magazine July 2008 |
International business - AZ Business Magazine April 2008

International Business Opportunities Increase In Arizona

Arizona leaders are pushing the state’s businesses to the international forefront

When principals from United Kingdom-based txtNation, a technology solutions provider, wanted to spread their global wings they turned to Arizona to set up a U.S. location. Similarly, when the German firm Ubidyne, a wireless technology developer, was looking to establish its first U.S. global footprint, it zeroed in on Scottsdale and SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, to make an imprint. Ditto for Sebit, a Turkish e-learning company. Somehow, the Grand Canyon State is on the international radar these days.

Obviously, Arizona’s expansive blue skies and mountain vistas are appealing to these international companies. But the strategy behind such international business in Arizona hasn’t occurred by accident — it has been clearly mapped out by statewide economic development officials keen on building Arizona’s economy far beyond tourism, real estate and retirement mainstays.

Today, Arizona is playing on the global business stage and it is not a bit part. In 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Arizona exported $19.18 billion worth of goods to a collection of countries around the globe — up from $18.28 billion in 2006.

The bulk of Arizona’s exports came from the Valley. According to 2006 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the metro Phoenix area logged almost $11 billion in exports, placing it in the top 20 metro areas nationwide. Tucson exported more than $3.2 billion worth of goods in 2006.

Based on the 2006 figures, Arizona’s increase in exports outpaced that of Texas and California. In addition, Arizona’s per capita exports in 2006 were at $2,966, besting Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.

Along with increasing exports, economic leaders’ are also working to bring more international businesses and foreign direct investment to the state.

“We strive to put Arizona on the international map,” says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and one of a handful of statewide economic experts pushing for Arizona’s global business success, in large part with his role in an economic statewide partnership called the Arizona Global Network (AGN). “Arizona is emerging as an incubator for international firms expanding in the U.S.”

The AGN includes economic brainpower from Flagstaff to Tucson to Yuma and everywhere in between. All have partnered with the goal to put Arizona’s business on the international scene. This stepped-up spotlight can be attributed to a number of factors. But for txtNation Director Michael Whelan, the decision for his firm came down to the fact that Arizona is a state on the ascension in the international business community.

“TxtNation chose Greater Phoenix due to its location, being a West Coast city on the rise,” he says, adding there is a global sense that Arizona is becoming an international “entrepreneurial hotbed” and that it also played a role in the expansion process.

Northern and Southern Exposure

Of course, Arizona has long counted its brother and sister to the North and South — Mexico and Canada — as global business family partners. These efforts continue today.

Glenn Williamson has experienced success in the international business market. He’s founded, sold and run various enterprises, but today he’s gunning for Arizona to build successful partnerships and business relationships with Canada. Much like Canada’s wide-open lands, the opportunities are vast.

“Our primary goal is to push bilateral trade between Canada and Arizona to the $5 billion mark by the end of 2008,” says Williamson, founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC). “We are well on our way to achieving that goal.”
Canada is Arizona’s No. 2 global trading partner behind Mexico. In 2006, according to U.S. Department of Commerce numbers, Arizona exported more than $5.3 billion worth of goods to Mexico compared to just more than $1.8 billion to Canada.

Williamson says the CABC has several primary goals. First, besides significantly increasing the trade between the two countries, the CABC is seeking a direct flight between Montreal and Phoenix, while also upgrading the seasonal flights between various Canadian cities and Arizona. Then, there is fostering the huge impact of Canadian residents who are interested in, or already are, doing business in Arizona.

“Gov. Janet Napolitano gets international business, the tourism folks get it, Tucson gets it and the Arizona Department of Commerce gets it,” Williamson says. “Now, we have to convince everyone else.”

Williamson is quick to praise statewide efforts such as AGN and calls statewide leaders, including ASU President Michael Crow, key catalysts to pushing Arizona onto the international business stage.

“ASU is huge in these efforts,” he adds. “We need their brainpower to make this successful. Everything is pointing in the right direction, but we need to put the pedal to the metal.”

International EDU

Besides Crow’s intensity at ASU and the hotbed of activity at SkySong, which Julie Rosen, ASU’s assistant vice president for economic affairs, touts as an atmosphere of “unparalleled opportunity,” other educational institutions in Arizona are aiming for the international business beacon.
Consistently ranking in the top echelon of international business schools, the Thunderbird School of Global Management has operations in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Russia. The school has forged public sector partnerships like those with ASU to better compete in the international education arena. Over the past two years, Thunderbird has pioneered significant relations with ASU, especially ASU’s West campus and the School of Global Management and Leadership (SGML).

In addition, the Arizona Department of Commerce has foreign trade offices in London, Mexico and Japan, as well as investment offices in Ireland, Japan and Hong Kong.

“Broadly, business executives and community leaders recognize that attracting out-of-state and foreign direct investment and business, as well as increasing trade, should receive significantly more emphasis to secure Arizona’s growth and provide good, well-paying jobs,” notes Gary Waissi, dean of the ASU SGML. “There are several organizations with advanced initiatives working aggressively on these areas.”

ASU, GPEC, AGN and others are continually pushing for increased international business opportunities in Arizona. But, as Arizona Department of Commerce Director Jan Lesher points out, while exports and international business opportunities continue to increase in the state, there is a baseline that needs to be established before Arizona can truly “go global” now and into the future.

“Arizona companies need to establish first a solid domestic market, and then consider expanding to national markets,” she says. “International customers can be ideal for Arizona-based businesses; however, this is a decision that needs to be done carefully — international means a company must have the resources, market know-how and commitment to stick with it.”

It’s a point not lost on those who, like Lesher, are continually working to cultivate these relationships.

“It is all about recognizing that in today’s world, business is truly global,” Waissi says. “And at the same time knowing there is a need to strategically diversify in select industries.

For more information visit the following websites:


Cover Story – He Shoots

He Shoots…

Will former Sun Dan Majerle
score in real estate?

Photography by Brian Fiske

Dan Majerle’s left ring finger is broken. It’s wrapped in a small black cast, the result of some aggressive play in a pickup basketball league he plays in. Ironically, the same finger on his right hand was broken in a hoop-playing battle called the NBA. “I went too hard after the ball, go figure,” he smiles as he relays the cause of his most recent injury. This late summer day, he’s sitting at a Starbucks in Phoenix sipping an iced coffee, wearing jeans and a cool blue T-shirt. He’s sporting a thick black leather watch and looking tan and relaxed — probably because he’s been playing golf and, well, playing basketball.

Dan Merjerle

But this day, Majerle’s thoughts aren’t too much on the sport that brought him wealth and fame. Several people will stop by for an autograph during our chat, which he always obliges with that Thunder Dan white-tooth smile. He’s got a couple things on his mind today: first up, it is his son’s fifth birthday.
“Getting ready to cut some cake,” he says.

Most days, however, Majerle, purple and orange No. 9 to most of us, is thinking about something beyond basketball and birthday parties. Like many sports stars, he is searching for the next big thing following his professional career. Sure he’s got a successful namesake restaurant, Majerle’s Sports Grill in downtown Phoenix and another one opening soon in Chandler, but No. 9’s thoughts are now on the No. 1 industry in the Valley and how he can partake in it, make a name for himself and maybe score a buck or two. Yep, today, Thunder Dan is a real estate man.

He Shoots, He Scores
The Dan Majerle Group will soon break ground on its first real estate project and already this former power forward is thinking about how he can score his next big deal.

“It’s been a great learning opportunity for me,” says Majerle, 42, who played pro ball for 14 years, eight of those with the Phoenix Suns. “I have surrounded myself with some great people and I think we can do great things. I don’t attach my name to anything but something that will be first-class.”

Majerle’s first commercial real estate venture will be a retail project at McDowell and Dysart roads called The Shops at Palm Valley. The two-and-a-half acre project is a slice of a SunCor 30-acre project and master-planned community, Palm Valley.

“We’ve been meeting people, getting into the groove and figuring this thing out,” says Majerle. “We’ve got our architect and we’re selecting a contractor. We should be up and running sometime by early next year.”
If anything, Majerle smells the sweet nectar of real estate: the planning, the vision, the design, the build-out, and of course, the payday. But for Majerle, it is much more than a power play. It is something his name is tied to, so it has to be great.

“Because of my name, my career and the like, I get approached by all kinds of people offering some sort of a great deal, a ‘sure thing,’” he says. “But I am careful. I will not put my name on something that isn’t good for me, the community and those who have placed their trust in me.”

Riding the Wave
Majerle has been a professional athlete, national spokesperson for various products, restaurant owner, as well as a color commentator with the NBA. So it begs the question: why real estate?

“Over the past 18 years in the Valley I have seen the tremendous growth and I thought with some of the relationships I’ve developed I could leverage to get involved in some projects,” says Majerle. “The projects that we are involved in are at different stages from negotiations to design, and up to construction.”

As Maricopa County continues to add more than 100,000 residents per year as it has for the past decade, real estate — both commercial and residential — has been a far better investment than the stock market. It is because of these real estate deals, grocery-anchored retail centers, mixed-use urban living complexes and more rural strip malls that many-a-fortune has been made. It is also where Majerle has found his calling.

“We are involved with all kinds of clients from nail salons, day spas, tanning salons, health food stores, sandwich shops, dry cleaners and vitamin stores — if you see it at a commercial retail site, we work with them,” says Majerle. “The community has welcomed me with open arms and I am excited about working with them. With any opportunities come different levels of challenges that one needs to overcome to be successful. With my sense of discipline and commitment, I have been fortunate to be successful up to this point in my life.”

No doubt, as it does in professional sports, practice produces results at the end of the day. However, a little luck, strategic planning and a quick elbow or two thrown in the heat of battle goes a long way. While the first of The Majerle Group’s projects will be in the West Valley, he isn’t limiting his company’s anchors to any single area of town, or region for that matter.

“There are so many real estate opportunities here in the Valley — and really the Southwest — that brokers are showing us on a daily basis, that we are looking at numerous sites from Buckeye all the way down to Queen Creek,” he says.

Even though Arizona’s residential real estate market has become mired, as has the nation’s, in a glut of oversupply, overzealous pricing, aggressive mortgage contracts and investor speculation, Arizona, and specifically Maricopa and Pinal counties, remain some of the strongest long-term plays in the national real estate market. Further, the region from Prescott Valley to Arizona’s border with Mexico has been tagged as a “Super Metropolis,” one of only a handful of mega-metropolitan urban areas in the nation that millions of residents and businesses will continue to call home. And of course, there are the retail and mixed-use centers that will surely follow.

Many areas have experienced an enormous growth in housing, but the retail/office market is underserved in new neighborhoods around town, notes Majerle, sounding more like Donald Trump than a physical education major from Central Michigan.

“If they stopped building houses today, we would need to build commercial development projects for the next five years to catch-up,” he says

Everyone Knows Your Name
As in sports, teamwork is key, and Majerle is certainly the go-to guy. He says he analyzes every deal that crosses his desk and knows real estate is a long-term play, not a fourth-quarter sprint.

“Development is all about relationships and with my 18 years in the Valley, I have relationships with a lot of influential people that we work with or complement us in the development game,” he says.

Here’s another intriguing piece of the development game in the Valley: Majerle’s former boss and Phoenix icon, Jerry Colangelo, now dabbles in the real estate game. Colangelo is part of the group developing Douglas Ranch, one of the largest master-planned communities ever to be built in the state. So will the two become business partners?

“At this time Mr. Colangelo and I have not talked about partnering in any deals,” Majerle admits. “I have the greatest respect for him, not only as a business man, but as a person. From day one when I came to the Valley in 1988, he treated my family and me wonderfully. I would love to be associated with him in any aspect.”

Meanwhile, away from the development game, the former Phoenix Suns’ player keeps busy with Majerle’s Sports Grill. The Phoenix location, now in its 15th year, has been so successful, it has spurred Majerle to open a second location in Chandler. The same hands-on, know-every-detail philosophy will be a part of the new Majerle’s Sports Grill.

“The best part of what I have been able to do lately is get more and more involved with the restaurants,” he says.

The Chandler location will mirror the downtown Majerle’s with about 5,000 square feet, a big bar, an indoor/outdoor patio with seating for lunch and dinner, as well as state-of-the-art audio/visual systems with flat screens throughout the restaurant.

Arizona Business Magazine Oct-Nov 2007“With the bigger kitchen size, we expect to expand the menu to include pizzas, fish, steaks and other daily specials that we cannot do at the downtown location,” Majerle says. “Besides that, we expect to bring the same friendly ‘Cheers’-type feeling from the downtown Majerle’s, and to make it both a satisfying and fun experience for everyone who comes in.”

If Majerle’s broken finger is any indication, the real estate industry has a true competitor on the scene. He’s proven throughout his career that he has the determination and smarts to be a major player on the court. Can he transfer this success to real estate?

“I know I can do this,” he grins as he signs another autograph for a fan, who is probably wondering why Thunder is talking about real estate and not hoops. “It’s time for another chapter in my life. I can’t wait to get rolling.”

AZ Business Magazine Oct-Nov 2007 | Next: A Mall Rises

Business Questions - AZ Business Magazine 2006

The Most Important Questions To Ask When Pondering Whether To Sell Your Business

The Big 8

The most important questions to ask when pondering whether to sell your business


Selling Your Business Questions - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006Some entrepreneurs spend years developing a solid business—growing, investing and nurturing their enterprise into a successful endeavor. Why then, would less effort be put into plans to sell a business? This may sound strange, but according to financial professionals, it happens all the time. Failing to structure your exit can cost in the form of tax penalties, lower profits and the potential for legal action.


There are eight issues to consider before selling your business:

1. Is your company structured to be tax efficient and easily sold? “Many businesses outgrow their initial founding entity,” says Carleen Shilling, a tax partner at Eide Bailly. “Having an entity that’s not tax efficient will cost a business owner substantially when they have to pay taxes on their gains.”

2. Does your business make a favorable presentation? Are your finances clear, complete and accurate? “Poor organization can cause a potential purchaser and advisors to label the business as poorly managed and prompt them to start looking for problems,” notes Michael Walling, vice president of mergers and acquisitions for R.B. Gold & Associates.

3. Have your advisory team evaluate plans to sell your business early on. Walling says business owners should begin planning the sale of their business up to three years before they plan to sell. “This is a major event in your life and your financial team should be on board at the very beginning,” says Shilling. Tax implications, legal obstacles and long-term financial requirements should be planned and executed with authority.

4. Have you considered all the tax consequences involved in the sale of your business? While the price may seem like the most important figure you are dealing with in the sale of your company, another figure that is paramount is the amount you will have after taxes are paid. Failure to factor in tax consequences prior to the sale can be costly and, in many cases, irreversible. One of the most common mistakes business owners make involve company real estate. “You never want to be in a situation where you’ve just sold a real estate property for cash and are then wondering if you can defer any taxes by reinvesting the proceeds into another property,” Shilling adds. “Unfortunately, in a normal sale transaction, once the seller gets the cash, it is too late for tax planning.” To defer taxes, a “like-kind” exchange must be executed in line with IRS codes and done prior to such sales.

5. Who are your potential buyers and what’s your sale price? Business owners should determine their goals for the future and determine the most beneficial sale situation. Grooming a successor, having key managers and raising the profile of your business are key, too. “The ideal situation is to attract a number of potential purchasers and initiate an auction,” Walling adds.

AZ Business Magazine October November 20066. How is your timing? Business owners usually can increase the price if they carefully plan the sale and time it just right. “If the business is expanding at the time of the sale, the owners are likely to get a better price than if the company has reached a plateau or is declining,” Walling says.

7. What will you do with your life after the you sell? Will you retire, start another business or reinvest in other entities? All factors should be considered before you sell. Age and lifestyle are other thinking-points. 8. Be prepared for the emotions involved. “Regardless of your age, selling a business can be more emotional than people realize,” Shilling notes. “It is important to be prepared for this huge decision and know that it isn’t always easy to do.”


Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006