Author Archives: Kerry Duff

Continuing Education Vital In The Health Field - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Continuing Education Is Proving Vital In The Health Field

From nurses to doctors to health care executives — and everyone in between — the job market in the medical field has tightened since 2007.

“For the first time in a decade, our undergraduate nursing graduates have had difficulty in finding positions or in obtaining a position in a specialty area in which they prefer to work, such as pediatrics, oncology or cardiovascular,” says Terry Olbrysh, director of marketing and communications at the Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “As the recession continues, nursing graduates’ job searches have taken longer. However, there is currently, and will always be, the need for health care, and our job market is still very strong compared to other industries in Phoenix.”

And the need for educational programs for both new and veteran health care employees continues to reach new heights.

In fact, according to Olbrysh, enrollment in ASU’s health care and health promotion graduate and doctoral programs has reached record levels at more than 400. And Sanford-Brown College, which provides education in allied health care and related fields designed to prepare its graduates for related employment opportunities, just launched its first campus in the Western United States in Phoenix due to the continuing opportunities for health care graduates.

“When we launched our Phoenix campus in October 2009 with our medical assistant and pharmacy technician programs, the response was overwhelmingly positive,” says George F. Fitzpatrick, president of Sanford-Brown’s Phoenix campus. “In fact, we quickly knew there would be a need for associate programs, as well as Spanish-language offerings, to better arm our growing student population and to better serve the community at large.”

In fact, in January, after just a few months in the market, Sanford-Brown expanded its offerings to include a medical assistant program in Spanish, as well as a specialized associate degree program in cardiovascular sonography. Offered during day and night sessions, and completed in as little as 70 weeks, these programs are designed to help those who are still working in other industries or at other full-time positions.

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU echoes Sanford-Brown’s success and opportunity. With one of the broadest nursing and health curriculums in the nation, the college is seeing record enrollment in multiple career track opportunities.

“We offer nursing, health promotion (i.e., nutrition, exercise and wellness, and health sciences) and interdisciplinary programs, such as the master’s of clinical research management and (master’s) of healthcare innovation, and all are seeing success,” says Linda Mottle, director of the center for Healthcare Innovation & Clinical Trials. “And we are also developing a new tri-university clinical and translational graduate certificate online, a new MS in regulatory science and health safety, and some online continuing education, self-learning modules for community clinical professionals who want to learn how to conduct clinical research in their practices.”

Those already in health care related fields also are finding new opportunities with several programs. Some of the most popular programs offered through ASU include:

Master of Science degree in clinical research management — an online program that prepares graduates to lead complex global clinical research operations at multiple types of employer settings in the rapidly growing clinical research industry.

Master of Legal Studies — a one-year graduate program that can provide health care professionals with interdisciplinary study in law and medicine. By choosing law classes that are of particular interest, an individual can develop substantive knowledge of law, as well as analytical and problem-solving skills necessary to understand both the underlying theory and practical applications of law in the ever-evolving health care industry.

Juris Doctorate — where health care professionals can focus their legal studies on health care. In addition, candidates can pursue simultaneously a joint MD degree through the Mayo Medical School, a Ph.D. in psychology in conjunction with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or a master’s in health sector management with the W.P. Carey School of Health Management and Policy.

“We also have a significant number of attorneys who would like to specialize in the emerging field of biotechnology and genomics, so we now offer a Master of Law degree in biotechnology and genomics — the first-ever degree program focused on the growing intersection of law and genetic applications, such as pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine, genetically modified organisms, forensic evidence, gene testing, gene therapy, cloning, stem cells, and behavioral genetics,” says Gary Marchant, executive director and faculty fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation bridges law and science by fostering the development of legal frameworks for new technologies, and advancing the informed use of science in legal decision-making. The center facilitates transdisciplinary study and dialogue among policy makers, academics, students, professionals and industry.

In addition, the center houses the Public Health Law and Policy Program (PHLPP), which brings together scholars, practitioners and other partners to focus on critical issues concerning law, ethics and public health.

“Profound issues of law and policy arise from the exploration, development and implementation of public health goals and objectives in society,” says James G. Hodge Jr., director of PHLPP.

Topical areas of interest for the program include:

  • Legal preparedness in response to H1N1 and other public health emergencies.
  • Public health implications of national health care reforms.
  • Vaccination laws and policy.
  • Child and adolescent health in schools.
  • National and state obesity laws and policies.
  • Expedited partner therapies in response to sexually transmitted infections.
  • Volunteer health professionals and emergency legal preparedness.
  • Mental and behavioral health legal and ethical preparedness.

www.asu.edu | www.sbphoenix.com

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

People in lab coats working in a wet lab office environment

East Valley Energy: Leaders In Business, Government And Education Are Working To Keep The Region Growing

The East Valley has experienced unprecedented growth since 1980. With nearly 1.7 million residents and more than 54,000 businesses, community and business leaders alike are looking to the future to prepare for greater global competition. They also are working to sustain a strong and vital economy that will protect and preserve the quality of life that exists in the East Valley’s 17 communities. In this East Valley report, Arizona Business Magazine looks at some of the major economic engines powering the region.

Arizona State University
Arizona State University, the largest public research university in the United States, has been contributing to East Valley and state economic development efforts since 1885, when ASU was initially founded. The university’s core focus is training the labor force and turning out college graduates that will stay and work in Arizona.

ASU is also involved in community efforts, such as bringing the Insight Bowl to Tempe. In addition, ASU Gammage is a major driver of people to local restaurants, stores, parks and stadiums. The university’s research and development efforts produce spin-off companies, as well as attract those that want to be near a research university. The perfect example is SkySong. Scottsdale raised $100 million to partner with ASU and create the innovation park that currently has more than 40 small, startup companies from 12 different countries.

“SkySong is a global portal for metropolitan Phoenix, and companies are attracted to it because they want to be near the university,” says Virgil Renzulli, ASU’s vice president of public affairs. “ASU is one of 100 universities in the country that turn out new knowledge.”

At ASU’s Polytechnic campus in eastern Mesa, the university brought in some of the best solar researchers in the country to work in the research lab.They also have alternative energy research programs in place to look at creating energy from light, and creating regular fuel and jet fuel from algae and bacteria.

“Working with East Valley cities and organizations is important because so many things today need a group effort,” Renzulli says. “It’s all part of the modern knowledge economy infrastructure. ASU wants to see things improve. We are good citizens and the majority of the time we look at what’s good for the East Valley, as well as the state.”

The city of Chandler
With companies moving less nowadays, the city of Chandler is planning to grow its own companies in hopes of diversifying and stabilizing the community’s job market, as well as positioning the East Valley in the global marketplace.

Chandler’s new venture is a wet lab incubator called Innovations, and it’s aimed at young, startup science and technology companies seeking move-in-ready lab space. Innovations is located in a 40,000 square foot former Intel building on McClintock Road and Chandler Boulevard. Space will be available for lease starting May 1. Christine Mackay, Chandler’s economic development director, said Innovations would contain everything — soup to nuts — that a young startup company needs to work and succeed.

Chandler City Council approved a 10-year lease on the building in September, along with $5.7 million to renovate the building. “Many young companies start with a grant or on a shoestring budget, so traditional commercial space is too expensive,” Mackay says. “They need a partnership to succeed until they can commercialize on their own. They could find cheap space without us of course, but they wouldn’t have access to things like business managers and attorneys to help them succeed and move forward.”

Studies show that 80 percent of small companies that start up through incubators succeed — four times the average of other small business startups. Although Chandler has yet to market the incubator, it has received a lot of interest from entrepreneurs and is already 25 percent pre-committed. ASU has expressed interest in leasing space, as well, Mackay says.

“Right now, we’re in the process of forming a team of experts with backgrounds in renewable energies, engineering, biosciences, applied materials, etc., to help us pick companies with the ability to succeed,” Mackay says. “Our hope is that those companies stay in Chandler long term.”

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
Allegiant Air began offering passenger service at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in 2007, with two aircraft serving eight cities. Today, the airline serves 20 cities with five aircrafts, and this year more than 650,000 passengers are expected to pass through the terminal. In the last two years, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft have both opened maintenance and repair facilities near the airport. Collectively, more than 35 aviation companies operate at the airport, generating more than $251 million in annual economic activity.

“The work we did in 2006 put the wheels in motion for the Phoenix-Gateway area,” says Roc Arnett, president and CEO of East Valley Partnership. “We make things move and shake to improve business and quality of life in the East Valley.”

William Jabjiniak, director of economic development for Mesa, considers EVP a great partner.

“We look to East Valley Partnership for leadership and policy direction that affects positive change for Mesa,” he says. “It’s also important for the East Valley to have a unified voice and that’s what EVP is for us and our neighboring cities.”

Mesa, which is just shy of 500,000 people, is currently focusing its economic development efforts on four key industry segments: health care, education, aerospace and tourism. The city’s economic development team also is working diligently with existing businesses in the community.

“Economic development is based on relationships, which we are trying to grow with existing businesses and the brokerage community,” Jabjiniak said. “About 80 percent of growth in a community comes from existing businesses, so essentially they are the bread and butter.”

One of Mesa’s biggest retention projects over the last several months has been hanging onto the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have been holding spring training in Mesa for more than 50 years and provide the state with an annual economic impact of $52.2 million. In late January, officials with the Cubs announced the team would stay put in Mesa — if a new, multimillion-dollar stadium and practice complex is built.

Hospitals And Health Care Organizations Are Making Tough Decisions To Ride Out The Recession

Hospitals And Health Care Organizations Are Making Tough Decisions To Ride Out The Recession

After a decade of significant growth, the Valley’s health care industry has become an economic driver for the state. During this severe economic downturn, however, the health care industry busted the myth of being recession proof. But that doesn’t mean it’s recession battered.

Health care organizations have weathered the economic turmoil better than most industries in Arizona. For example, the Arizona Department of Commerce reports that in July, year-over-year job losses in health services stood at 1 percent, or 3,200 jobs. That was the slowest rate of loss of any major industry group in the state.

Nonetheless, hospitals and other health care organizations are feeling the effects of the recession and are working diligently to match revenue with expenses.

“Overall, the financial picture for Arizona’s hospitals is somewhat improved from the third and fourth quarters of 2008, despite decreases in volume,” according to Jim Haynes, vice president, finance, and Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. “That improvement is not due to better payment from payers, like the federal and state governments. It is directly linked to the steps hospitals took in late 2008 to contain and cut costs in response to the economic environment.”

Case in point: Linda Hunt, service area president for Catholic Healthcare West Arizona, which includes Chandler Regional Medical Center, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, says many local hospitals are facing state and federal funding cuts, as well as dealing with growing numbers of people who are uninsured. In addition, admissions in some specialty areas are down because people are waiting longer to seek health care and are canceling or putting elective surgeries on hold.

Catholic Healthcare West also has seen a decrease in donations. Many donors are either curtailing their commitments or making smaller donations.

“The health care industry is strained just like any business,” says Hunt, who continues to serve as president of St. Joseph’s. “Financially we’re facing cuts, plus we don’t know what health care reform is going to bring, so we don’t know what our future is going to be. That’s stressful for the industry across the board.”

To deal with the economic slowdown, Catholic Healthcare West started making cutbacks and implementing cost-saving measures last September. St. Joseph’s reduced travel and catering expenses by 35 percent for a cost savings of $780,000 in fiscal year 2009. The hospital also became more diligent about the use of linens and replaced disposable pillows with sanitary reusable pillows, saving $90,000 in FY 2009. The hospital’s management team also took a 2 percent or more pay cut to help save jobs.

“We met with all the employees and they came up with great money-saving ideas,” Hunt says. “When all was said and done, employee suggestions helped save us more than $3 million a year. We are back on budget and that was our goal.”

Phoenix Children’s Hospital also has been prudent in pushing expenditures back. It cut administrative and advertising costs and stopped using traveling nurses, a move that saved the hospital $7.5 million a year. Bob Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, says they also have taken a hard look at attrition over the past eight months and have backfilled only 30 of 100 open positions. Phoenix Children’s $588 million expansion, which kicked off in 2008, has been scaled back, as well. Plans now call for shelling 1.5 floors of the 11-story tower for future growth.

“Given the economy and Medicaid reimbursement uncertainty (about 50 percent of kids in Arizona are on Medicaid), we have to be more conservative and push expenditures back,” Meyer says. “But even shelling floors will increase the number of beds we have from 345 to 486 when we open, which is what we need. Our patient volume is growing 15 percent a year and every bed in service is occupied almost 100 percent of the time.”

The tower’s first four floors will be completed in late 2010. Occupying the floors will be a cafeteria, kitchen, clinics, an imaging center and a retail pharmacy. The remaining floors of the tower are dedicated to the hospital’s Center’s of Excellence, clinical programs and private patient rooms. They will be finished in late 2011.

To keep Scottsdale Healthcare moving forward, President and CEO Tom Sadvary cut expenses and re-focused capital spending on medical technology, information systems and refurbishing projects. He also streamlined the management and executive team structure, creating fewer layers and a more agile organization. Green measures also were implemented at Scottsdale Healthcare’s three hospital campuses. Examples of the efforts include:

  • Replacing 40 pickup trucks with electric vehicles at all three hospital campuses.
  • Installing energy efficient lighting in three parking garages, saving approximately $82,000 annually.
  • Reducing natural gas consumption by 10 percent at its power plants.
  • Replacing 300 copier machines with new models that use 40 percent less energy.
  • Eliminating printed payroll notices, saving approximately $150,000 annually and some 200,000 printed notices.

Sadvary contends that Arizona’s health care industry remains healthy and strong despite reimbursement challenges, nursing and physician shortages, and the abrupt changes the health care industry has faced over the past two years.

“I’ve been in Arizona 23 years and I’m proud of the health care industry here and what we’ve done to grow talent, capacity and to improve the size and sophistication of services for patients,” he says. “Arizona knows how to step up and we will continue to do that despite challenges along the way. The health care industry is sensitive to the budgetary issues the state is facing. And while we are all trying to be efficient and frugal with resources, our costs are going up. We’re doing the best we can to manage and provide great care with no more dollars coming in from the state.”

Banner Health President and CEO Peter Fine is a firm believer that major changes are coming down the pike in reimbursement formulas for Medicaid and Medicare that will cause more pressure on local hospitals. If that happens, he says, hospitals will have to make very difficult choices on what services to provide and what services they can no longer afford to provide.

“With rising costs and so many cutbacks in health-care spending, it’s amazing that hospitals and physicians can prosper today, as well as forecast for the future,” Fine says. “Companies have to be flexible enough to embrace change and move with what’s happening environmentally. Banner demonstrates flexibility by making investments grow and starting new programs. We also have great leaders at all levels and we invest in talent management, so our people are developed and prepared to lead us through tumultuous times.”

In spite of the economy, Phoenix-based Banner Health is continuing to make investments and grow in the communities it serves. Banner recently invested $289 million to build a new, seven-floor, 200-bed patient tower and emergency room at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale. It also invested $12 million to rebuild the old Banner hospital in Mesa and create the Banner Simulation Medical Center, the largest simulation training center in the nation. The 55,000-square-foot center opened in August and has 20 full-time employees who will train 1,200 to 1,500 medical professionals (nurses, physicians, surgeons, respiratory therapists) annually. The simulation medical center occupies the bottom nine stories of the building, with the top eight housing Banner offices.

Students at the simulation center train on high-fidelity, electronic mannequins that look like human patients and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The mannequins have a heartbeat and they talk, burp, sweat and bleed. They also have medical maladies such as strokes and heart attacks, as well as give birth and “die.”

“Banner Simulation Medical Center is basically a hospital where we can train nurses to work and interact with 20 patients on a floor at a time,” says Dr. Marshall “Mark” Smith, senior director for simulation and innovation at Banner Health. “Nurses that graduate from medical school can manage one patient, not multiples. We now have the ability to train new nursing graduates to care for multiple patients without putting them at risk or overwhelming them. ”

www.chwhealth.org
www.phoenixchildrens.com
www.shc.org
www.bannerhealth.com
www.azhha.org

Child Care: Phoenix Children’s Hospital And Cardon Children’s Medical Center Help Young Cancer Patients

Child Care: Phoenix Children’s Hospital And Cardon Children’s Medical Center Help Young Cancer Patients

Children in the Valley have access to some of the most comprehensive cancer care in the region, thanks to the two hospitals that are solely dedicated to pediatric patients — Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the soon-to-be-opened Cardon Children’s Medical Center.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital houses the state’s largest pediatric cancer program and is a long-standing member of Children’s Oncology Group research consortium. PCH also boasts the Valley’s only pediatric blood-and-marrow transplant (BMT) program, thanks to its partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Phoenix Children’s has state-of-the-art rooms to meet the special needs of BMT patients who have suppressed immune systems.

“We also have a long-term survivor follow-up program, which is really important in pediatrics because you’re not just taking care of a disease, you’re taking care of a child, and those children can be 18 months when they’re first being treated, they could be teenagers when they’re first being treated, either because of the disease they have or the treatment or the surgery or the radiation; its not like adults where a vast majority of patients don’t survive,” says Dr. Michael Etzl Jr., director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and co-director of the neuro-oncology program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “At least 70 percent of all pediatric oncology patients are long-term survivors. We actually have three of the nurses that are working for us that are childhood survivors of cancer.”

PCH also works to care not just for young cancer patients’ bodies, but also for their spirits. As part of that effort, the hospital offers its Rainbow Kids’ monthly events. Along with providing some needed fun, the events give families who have a child with cancer the opportunity to meet other families facing the same challenge.

The fight against pediatric cancer in the Valley gets a boost next month with the opening of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa.

Cardon Children’s Medical Center is the new name and home for Banner Children’s Hospital at Banner Desert Medical Center. The new children’s hospital is named after the long time, Mesa-based Cardon family, which operates the real estate company the Cardon Group, in recognition of its $10 million contribution. The Cardon family gift was officially given by Wilford Allen and Phyllis Reneer Cardon, and Banner states that it marks one of the largest donations to children’s health care in Arizona.

“There is no more important cause than the health and care of children,” says Wilford Cardon in a Banner Health statement. “We have been proud to be associated with Banner’s critical work in Arizona for many years and thought this would be a helpful and timely way to elevate pediatric care in this state. Those who have been blessed have an obligation to help those for whom blessings are still on the way.”

Cardon Children’s is a seven-story, 206-bed medical center and is part of Banner Health’s $356 million expansion of its Mesa campus. The expansion has allowed the children’s hospital to move from inside Banner Desert to its own facility on the Banner Desert campus. As a result, thenumber of beds at Cardon’s Children has expanded from 145 to 248.

The first dedicated children’s medical center in the Banner Health system, Cardon has a pediatric emergency room, as well as units for rehabilitation, radiology, intensive care and neonatal intensive care.

Cardon also has a 10-bed unit designed specifically for the needs of children with cancer and their families. The unit features private rooms, convertible sofas for parents, refrigerators, Internet access, flat-screen TVs and video games. The patients also take part in the Beads of Courage program, which helps them keep track of their progress.

Like Phoenix Children’s, Cardon Children’s physicians are board-certified and are members of the Children’s Oncology Group, a national research group. The oncology group works in association with CureSearch, which provides patients with the most advanced treatment options and research trials available.

Cardon Children’s also has partnered with Mesa Public Schools, so young patients don’t fall behind in their schoolwork. Teachers from the district come in and work with kids at their bedsides. For children who can get out of bed, the new hospital has a classroom where they can attend classes.

www.bannerhealth.com
www.phoenixchildrens.com

Growing Number Of Health Care Professionals Are Getting Their MBAs

Growing Number Of Health Care Professionals Are Getting Their MBAs

Despite the sluggish economy and rising unemployment, a growing number of health care professionals are headed back to school to get an MBA and increase their value in the job market.

A recent survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education showed an 18 percent increase in applications to graduate programs across the country for 2009-2010. More than 5,500 applications were submitted to the commission’s 83 accredited programs in 72 colleges and universities, and close to 2,100 were new students. The health care workers who signed up for MBA programs are from organizations such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, consulting firms, health insurers, government agencies and pharmaceutical firms. Doctors, nurses and health care specialists are also going back to school for their MBAs.

“We encourage all physicians to go back to school and get an MBA,” says Amanda Weaver, executive director of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association. “They need the education as a survival mechanism because of the managed-care environment and the reduction in Medicare fees. In the 1980s and 1990s, doctors did well in business. Now it takes a concerted effort.”

Marjorie Baldwin, director of Arizona State University’s School of Health Management and Policy in the W.P. Carey School of Business, said about 60 percent of students in the MHMS program at W. P. Carey are health professionals seeking to move into leadership positions; the remaining 40 percent have other backgrounds, but want to move into the health care field.

“Health care is a growing sector with opportunities for leadership and many people know that,” Baldwin says. “MBAs bring a lot to the table like knowledge of accounting and financial practices. They also think analytically about the way health care is provided and the way resources are utilized. They understand strategy, how to lead an organization and how to communicate with various constituencies. They bring a keen interest to the core product of the health care industry, which is patient care.”

The health care industry will generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care continued to add jobs in February, with a gain of 27,000. Job growth occurred in ambulatory health care and in hospitals.

The W.P. Carey School of Business graduates more than 1,000 MBAs annually. It offers two MBA health options: an MBA with a specialization in health care and a concurrent degree MBA/MHSM (Master of Health Sector Management). The MHSM also is offered as a stand-alone degree. The W.P. Carey MHSM is the only accredited program in health management in Arizona. Tuition for the MBA programs is roughly $35,000 for two years, but there is a payoff.

A survey conducted by ASU alumni in 2006 showed that 100 percent of MBA graduates landed a job within three months. The starting salary for MBA graduates is approximately $80,000 per year.

“There are many complexities and differences between the health care and business sectors,” Baldwin says. “Our students at ASU take economics with an MBA business core. Economics is built around supply, demand and competition. But health care doesn’t work that way. We don’t decide what we’re going to buy and sell. Health care providers decide what we need. We also don’t pay for it, the insurer does. People going into the health care industry need to understand this.”

Michael Abeles of Banner Estrella Hospital earned his MBA in 2005 from the University of Phoenix. He left the trucking industry to go back to school and now works alongside senior leadership at the hospital on employee development, talent mapping and employee relations.

“In today’s market a bachelor’s degree helps you get ahead, but it’s the MBA that provides you with better opportunities,” he says. “Companies need well-rounded leaders that can read and understand financial statements, work force planning and legal risks. So going back to school and increasing your education can only help your journey and assist you in becoming more competitive in the job market.”

Paul Binsfeld, founder and CEO of Company Nurse, worked for years before going back to college for his MBA. As a result, he was able to share practical business experiences with classmates and learn from them.
“I acquired a wealth of business information when I went back to school for my MBA and it gave me enough confidence to start my business,” he says. “It also permitted me to raise funds, tackle administrative and hiring issues, market my business and assess my capital needs. And I’ve been building my business, clientele and success ever since.”

Binsfeld started Company Nurse in 1997. The Scottsdale-based firm provides nurse medical triage and injury-management programs for thousands of employers across the country. Company Nurse has grown 400 percent in the last four years. Starting this year, growth will be 20 to 30 percent annually, Binsfeld says.

“Health care spending is not going down and there are lots of inefficiencies in the delivery of health care in this country, so everyone from physicians to administrators to nurses could benefit from more business acumen,” he says. “With an emphasis on cost savings and efficiencies today, an MBA is a logical step.”

Nursing Shortage Still Plagues Arizona’s Health Care Industry

Nursing Shortage Still Plagues Arizona’s Health Care Industry

Arizona’s nursing shortage is a very serious problem and it is not going away any time soon. The state is going to need approximately 49,000 new registered nurses by 2017 to keep pace with population growth, RNs retiring and nurses lost to attrition, according to the Arizona RN Shortage: 2007 Results, a report published by the Arizona Healthcare Data Center. The data center was started by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) in 2007 to study health professions in Arizona.

“I think people are tired of hearing about the nursing shortage,” says Bernadette Melnyk, dean of ASU College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation. “They don’t understand the adverse effects until they or a family member is hospitalized and they see for themselves the effect it has on the health and safety of people they love.”

Of the approximately 49,000 RNs that will be needed by 2017:

  • 20,000 will be needed to keep pace with the state’s growing population, as well as to close the gap between Arizona’s current average of 681 RNs per 100,000 residents and the U.S. average of 825 RNs per 100,000 residents.
  • 10,000 nurses will be required to replace retiring RNs. More than one-third of Arizona’s current RNs are older than 55 and will retire over the next five to 10 years.
  • 19,000 RNs, or 3.5 percent annually, will be needed to account for the profession’s attrition rate.
  • Twelve of Arizona’s 15 counties also fall below the national average of RNs per 100,000 people, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The national average is 3.3 RNs per 100,000 people, and Arizona has 1.9 RNs per 100,000 people. The three counties that exceed the national average — Coconino, Pima and Yavapai — still face shortages of RNs.

    Adda Alexander, RN, MBA, former executive vice president of AzHHA, says Arizona colleges have increased their capacity and are graduating more nurses, but it is not enough. Arizona’s nursing programs need to graduate an additional 2,235 students per year just to keep pace with the state’s population growth.

    To help address the nursing shortage, Arizona hospitals contributed $57 million between 2006 and 2007 to the state’s education programs in the form of tuition reimbursements, loan forgiveness programs and in-kind giving (providing space for nursing education programs, sponsoring faculty salaries and tuition reimbursement). In 2005, the Arizona Legislature passed the Arizona Partnership for Nursing Education (APNE) bill, which provided $20 million over five years to double the capacity of Arizona’s college and university nursing education programs by increasing the number of nurse education faculty. As a result of the APNE funding, the estimated number of additional nursing graduates in 2010 will be 1,242. Alexander said APNE was a crucial step in helping the nursing shortage, but it sunsets in 2010 and the funding stops.

    According to Annual Reports from Nursing Education Programs, 2007, Arizona Board of Nursing, there were 41 vacancies for full-time Arizona nursing faculty in 2006, which was a 13 percent increase from the previous year. In addition, there were 38 vacancies for part-time nursing faculty in 2006, which represented a 600 percent increase in vacancies from 2005.

    The report also indicated that due to the lack of capacity, more than one-third of nursing students are wait-listed each year by Arizona nursing programs even though they have met all course prerequisites.

    Joey Ridnour, executive director of the Arizona State Board of Nursing, contends that the lack of clinical space also contributes heavily to the nursing shortage. Thus, many states are looking at using simulations in combination with clinical experience to teach students.

    “This may be a good combination to consider in the future, but faculty needs to figure out how to maximize it so students get a good education,” Ridnour says. “When I was a student, I would have valued doing some of the procedures through simulation rather than on live patients. It would have given me a better understanding and more confidence.”

    Melnyk believes the state has to hit the nursing shortage from two angles: (1) produce more nurses and (2) help them feel satisfied and empowered in their role. She says between 35 and 60 percent of new graduates leave their positions in the first year due to stress from staffing shortages and patient acuity levels.

    “I think nurses get out in the real world and don’t expect their jobs to be so stressful,” she says. “People in hospitals are very sick and oftentimes what the nurses are expected to juggle is too much for them to handle.”

    Melnyk also thinks nurses and other health care providers should be educated in evidence-based practice (EBP), a problem-solving approach that integrates the best evidence from research studies and combines it with patient preferences and the clinician’s expertise.A number of medical studies show that when nurses, physicians and other health care providers deliver care in an evidence-based manner, the quality of care is substantially better and patient outcomes improved.

    “Studies also show that nurses practicing EBP are more satisfied with their role, feel more empowered and make less medical errors,” Melnyk says. “A lot of people don’t realize that 99,000 patients die annually in the U.S. due to medical errors. That’s a staggering number of patients.”

    angel statue

    New Angel Investment Group Targets Women Entrepreneurs

    A new angel investment group called the Catalyst Committee is gearing up to invest in local startup companies that focus on consumer goods such as apparel, high-end furniture and cosmetics. Heading up the new committee is Dee Riddell Harris, president of the Arizona Angels, a group of private investors that has been funding startup, technology-based companies in Arizona for nearly a decade.

    “The Arizona Angels have rejected a number of applications from women entrepreneurs over the years because their ideas weren’t technology based or have a patent behind them,” Harris says. “So the point of the Catalyst Committee is to be supportive of entrepreneurs, particularly women, who have good ideas, as well as businesses that are not tech-based.”

    Harris started building the framework for the Catalyst Committee about nine months ago. The group met for the first time in November 2008 and now has 35 potential women investors from around the state. During the kickoff meeting, the founders of three local startups talked to the group to provide an idea of the type of companies that could eventually apply for funding. High-end fashion designer Debra Davenport talked about the fashion industry in Phoenix, her couture collection, which she launched in November 2007 during Phoenix Fashion Week, and her hopes of one day raising $1.7 million that would allow her to participate in fashion shows around the world. She also showed a number of garments from her couture collection.

    “Being able to participate in key fashion shows in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Milan and London is a fashion designer’s primary marketing tool,” Davenport says. “But it’s not cheap. It can run anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per show when you figure in pattern making, fabrication, manufacturing and all the specialized notions, materials and threads that have to be brought in from places like Paris and Italy.”

    Last year, Davenport was able to show her luxury collection during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles. It’s the second largest and most prestigious fashion week in the United States next to New York Fashion Week. Davenport was also the first and only designer to show from Arizona, according to IMG, the production company that puts on the show. Now, Davenport was invited to show her fall collection during the most recent New York Fashion Week.

    “I’m hoping that with the significant achievements we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 15 months, we will catch the eye of some savvy investment people who think this is a winning proposition,” Davenport says.

    She is planning to launch her first signature fragrance later this year or in early 2010. She also plans to expand her design offerings to shoes, handbags and china patterns. The 50-year-old fashion designer has already completed designs for china patterns, shoes and luxury handbags that will be manufactured in Italy.

    Kathie Zeider, senior vice president of Legacy Bank and a member of the Catalyst Committee, says there are many worthwhile businesses in Arizona like Davenport’s that serve women, or are women owned, and poised for high growth of $5 million to $50 million.

    “We’re in a service and tech economy, so for Arizona to grow and prosper we need to nurture both sides of the economy,” Zeider says. “Kudos to Dee Harris for seeing this gap in the Arizona marketplace and developing an initiative to fill this need.”

    Committee member Connie Jungbluth also believes early-stage investors are critical to the state’s economic vitality. “It’s important to infuse capital into early-stage companies in our community, especially in this economy,” she says. “Women are also big consumers, so overlooking businesses that serve them is not a good idea.”

    The Catalyst Committee is still in search of investors to join the group. Its goal is to have 100 investors and to help one local startup company a month. Investors must meet state and federal accreditation standards. Individual investors need an annual income of $200,000 for the current year and the past two years. Couples require an annual income of $300,000 for the current year and last two years. A net worth of $1 million is also acceptable in lieu of the income standard.

    Entrepreneurs can submit their applications and business plans to the Catalyst Committee via the Arizona Angels Web site. Harris says entrepreneurs seeking angel investment need to be well prepared when applying for funding; they need a strong business plan with important information aimed at investors.

    “Angels are extremely interested in the management team that gives credibility to the firm, so oftentimes they read the first paragraph of a business plan, then skip straight to the management team because it’s so important,” he says. “They also want to know about the company’s marketing and sales strategy and whether the company has some type of competitive advantage.”

    www.arizona-angels.org

    Healing Powers

    New Product By Valley Company Offers Innovative Way To Treat Wounds

    Bandages have changed very little over the years, but a new wound-care treatment called Prosit, developed here in the Valley, is shifting that paradigm.

    Prosit is a single-layer polyester fabric dressing that covers a wound like a bandage. But when moistened, it generates a micro-electric current that kills microbes — bacteria, viruses, fungus, mold, yeast — and stops them from penetrating skin. It also diminishes pain, speeds healing and can be cut to fit any size wound. Prosit was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as an antimicrobial barrier to infection. Last year, the FDA cleared Prosit for use in the care of all types of wounds, the number of days it can be used and for over-the-counter sales. Consumers can expect to see Prosit on store shelves later this year.

    Jeff Skiba, product inventor and chief executive officer of Vomaris Innovations (formerly Silverleaf Medical Products) in Chandler, says local doctors and hospitals have been using Prosit for more than a year to effectively treat chronic wounds, surgical wounds, diabetic ulcers, cuts, burns and pain from laser resurfacing and shingles. Shingles patients reported feeling no pain after covering the rash with the antimicrobial dressing, and after a week the shingles were gone.

    Skiba himself had laser skin resurfacing to understand the pain level after the procedure and test Prosit on facial burns. Pain afterwards was an eight out of 10, he says, so he used the antimicrobial dressing to cover the wounds on his face. Prosit eliminated the pain and helped heal the skin in four days instead of a few weeks, Skiba says.

    “The pain from this procedure was excruciating, so without Prosit I would have needed to take a narcotic to kill the pain,” he says. “Most doctors prescribe Percocet to calm it down.”

    Sun Lakes resident Ed Foster, 66, met Skiba by chance one day when the inventor stopped in at Tolivers Carpet One in Tempe to buy flooring for his office. Foster says Skiba noticed the wound on the stump where he had a finger removed 20 years ago, and he said he had a product that might help it. Foster had surgery on the stump a few years ago to remove a piece of metal. Due to the way it was bandaged, bone pushed out the end of the finger and wouldn’t heal.

    “I went to see the top hand surgeon in the Valley right before I met Jeff, and he recommended getting my digit removed down to my hand, which I didn’t want to do,” Foster says. “So I gave Jeff a call and started using Prosit. New skin grew over the bone that was sticking out, so now you really can’t tell what it is, and the wound closed completely. Prosit was simple to use and now I’m completely healed. I couldn’t be happier.”

    Major military hospitals around the country are also seeing promising results from the wound-care treatment. Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., is treating seriously injured soldiers from Iraq. One particular soldier was scheduled for an amputation, but was able to cancel it after Prosit was applied to the open wound on his leg. The bioelectric dressing stimulated the skin around the wound and prompted skin tissue to start growing back and cover the bone and tendons. After two weeks, the entire wound was healed.

    “We’ve tested Prosit on the worst of the worst wounds and we’re seeing remarkable results,” Skiba says. “The only thing it does not work on is cancer wounds. The cancer has to be removed first, and then it can be applied to heal the surgical wound.”

    Tucson dermatologist and oncologist, Dr. Scott Sheftel, was so impressed with the results of Prosit after testing it on patients, that he got involved conducting research for Vomaris Innovations.

    “No one across the board has ever addressed wound care like this,” Sheftel says. “Prosit is an amazing wound treatment that will one day show up on drugstore shelves as an option next to band-aids.”

    Skiba raised $3.5 million in angel financing to pay for FDA approvals and product testing. Skiba is a graduate of Arizona State University and has degrees in both bioengineering and business.

    Vomaris Innovations manufactures Prosit at its plant in Tucson. The company has 10 employees and plans to add 15 more this year between its Chandler office and the Tucson manufacturing facility.

    “We already have a few big box retail chains that are interested in carrying Prosit,” Skiba says. “We’ll put it on store shelves so it’s available for simple things like bug bites, scraped knees and cuts. But we will continue focusing on chronic wound patients who have had nothing, until now, to help them.”

    Ensemble DevMan

    Ensemble DevMan Of Arizona Aims To Benefit Medical-Office Clients

    Medical real estate developers Ensemble Real Estate Services and DevMan Company have joined forces to become Ensemble DevMan of Arizona. The union was official Nov. 1.

    Ensemble DevMan specializes in medical office development, management, leasing and brokerage — a combination of each firm’s services before the merger. The new company has 110 employees and the combined portfolio includes 124 properties totaling more than 5.4 million square feet of space in four states. Since neither company’s location is big enough to house the new firm under one roof, the Ensemble building on 24th Street and Camelback has been dubbed the south office and the DevMan building a block away on East Missouri Avenue is the north office. Accounting, property management and development services are located in the south building and brokerage operations are in the north office.

    Michael Moskowitz of Ensemble Real Estate Services says no money changed hands when the companies merged — they simply combined the two businesses. Ensemble was founded in 1989 by Moskowitz and partners Kambiz Babaoff and Randy McGrane. The company’s focus is developing, leasing and operating medical facilities on hospital campuses.Michael Moskowitz of Ensemble Real Estate Services

    “This wasn’t a Wall Street-type merger,” says Moskowitz, Ensemble DevMan’s managing director. “Randy, Bill (Molloy) and I have known each other for a long time, so it was a decision that evolved from casual to serious over time. Earlier this year, we talked about doing a specific deal together and then we talked about it again over the summer and questioned whether we should put the businesses together. In the end, we all decided it made sense. Merging allows us to provide our clients with more talent and resources, a bigger knowledge base and more solutions.”

    DevMan founder Bill Molloy described the merger as comfortable because both companies share the same culture and values. He also considers it a wonderful opportunity to enhance services for clients and explore new projects. Molloy started DevMan Company in 1981 to provide brokerage and management services to the medical real estate community and to develop physician-owned medical office buildings.

    “As a result of the merger, we are now a stronger company with a bigger platform for projects,” Molloy says. “We also have a bigger resource team, so Randy, Michael and I can truly act as managing members and sponsor the business and identify new opportunities in Arizona and outside the states we currently work in.”

    Sheila Gerry, senior vice president of John C. Lincoln Health Network, has done business with Ensemble and DevMan in the past and considers both outstanding organizations.

    “Ensemble and DevMan have slightly different areas of strength, so this merger is going to bring a full array of diverse services to their clients,” she says. “It’s going to be great for physician-owners and tenants, as well as for our community.”

    Tracy Altemus, a member of DevMan’s staff since 1987, admits that initially she was cautiously optimistic about the concept of a merger, but then quickly changed her mind.Bill Molloy

    “There are always concerns with change, but I couldn’t have thought of a better fit for our two companies,” says Altemus, brokerage service manager for Ensemble DevMan. “I’ve known the principals of Ensemble for several years and always had a very high regard for them. I’ve also worked for years with their key brokerage employees, Sharon Cinadr, Marina Hammersmith and Murray Gares, and I always knew they were a class act. I also knew that their property-management philosophy was similar to ours: The tenant is ‘all important.’ In fact, when one of our clients moved from our building to theirs, I felt good knowing that they were in excellent hands and would be well taken care of.

    “Ensemble and DevMan have similar cultures and are a natural fit,” she continues. “We all feel energized by the change and are looking forward to building a better mousetrap to provide excellent development, brokerage, asset and property management services to our clients, while having fun and feeling rewarded as part of a quality-centric organization.”

    As a result of the merger, Ensemble DevMan has eight projects in the pipeline for development, totaling 369,000 square feet. The projected value of the projects is $170,537,000.

    The projects include:

    • The Medical Plaza at THE CITY, a 104,400-square-foot medical office building in Surprise. Project cost is $26 million and it is scheduled to break ground this month.
    • Summit Medical Plaza, a 45,000-square-foot physician-owned medical office building on the campus of Summit Regional Medical Center in Show Low. The $11 million project is scheduled to break ground in either March or April.
    • A 42,000-square-foot medical office building on the campus of Auburn Regional Medical Center in Auburn, Wash.
    • Banner Gateway Medical Center, a 36,000-square-foot medical office building on the campus of Banner Ironwood Medical Center in Pinal County.
    • Canyon Crossings, a $9 million, 31,000-square-foot retail and professional plaza across from Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert. Construction on this project kicks off in April and will be complete by the end of the year.
    • Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s West Valley Specialty & Urgent Care Center and an adjacent medical office building totaling 72,000 square feet in Avondale. The $19 million project will break ground sometime in February or March.

    “The merger of Ensemble and DevMan will ultimately provide Phoenix Children’s Hospital with access to the expertise from both firms,” says Robert Meyer, president and CEO, Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “As a client, this merger will increase the number of important relationships needed in the medical real estate community and will give Phoenix Children’s Hospital a broader reach in the Greater Phoenix market. Having existing relationships with both companies, I see this merger as very positive.”

    www.mayoclinic.org

    Susan Edwards - Banner Health

    Susan Edwards – President Of The Arizona Region At Banner Health Systems

    The health care industry remains a bright spot in Arizona’s dismal economic landscape, with Banner Health shining among the very brightest.

    Headquartered in Phoenix, the not-for-profit health system has 12 hospitals in the Valley and is the second-largest employer in Arizona behind Wal-Mart with more than 26,000 full-time employees.

    Banner’s Arizona region President Susan Edwards says the state’s growing population has enabled the company to expand and provide high-quality medical services to communities throughout the Valley. Since 2002, Banner has opened two new hospitals, started construction on a third, expanded a number of current facilities and purchased land for future growth.

    “Banner has been in a growth mode for quite some time,” Edwards says. “And even though the population growth in Arizona has slowed down, we are committed to completing the projects on the table. We are a strong company and we run our hospitals very effectively. It’s not just about getting bigger and growing. It’s about continually improving how we structure our facilities and providing excellent patient care.”

    Edwards maintains she is very optimistic about the future of the health care industry, despite the increasing costs of doing business, lack of health care workers and the government lowering reimbursements to health care providers.

    “When the industry is challenged, we have to make major changes and adapt,” she says. “We also have to keep a close eye on operations so we get through the tough times.”

    Banner is currently scrutinizing business practices at all levels of its hospitals to see where it can make improvements on the company’s bottom line. Employees working on the front lines were asked to provide feedback on making business practices more efficient, and in twoweeks Banner officials received 412 suggestions. A suggestion that has already been implemented is going to save Banner $100,000 annually, Edwards says.

    Edwards, 52, has been president of Banner’s Arizona region since 2002. Prior to Banner, she served as both executive vicepresident and chief operating officer of St. John’s Health System in Detroit, and interim president and chief executive officer of St. John’s Hospital, a 600-plus bed tertiary hospital. Before that, she held health care leadership roles in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.

    Edwards was born and raised in Sparta, N.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Emory and Henry College, a master’s of health administration degree from Duke University, and a law degree from Wayne State University.

    www.bannerhealth.com

    buyers market

    Real Estate Companies Are Seizing Opportunities During The Bust

    With dark clouds hanging over the country’s economy and property prices tumbling, many people consider the idea of buying real estate absurd. Yet Valley real estate experts contend right now is the best time to buy.

    Jeff Pavone, principal of Commercial Plus in Scottsdale, says smart, experienced commercial real estate investors only buy property when the market is down and no one else is buying. Buyers today are sophisticated, have cash and are looking to pay a good price for quality, he says.

    “A year ago everyone could buy real estate and get financing,” Pavone says. “But today, it’s only qualified buyers with a strong portfolio, which puts the buyer at an advantage.”

    In spite of economic hurdles, Commercial Plus is still closing deals weekly and getting financing done for clients. It recently closed a deal on a property on Seventh Street and Camelback Road that sold for 20 percent less than last year. Pavone says the buyer was qualified to close, so he obtained 80 percent financing and closed right away.

    UTAZ founder Craig Willett says his company stopped buying properties four years ago because prices were too high. Now they are back in the game and in negotiations to buy a number of parcels near hospitals in the Southeast and West Valley. UTAZ specializes in developing professional office villages for small businesses. Since many small business owners have a hard time getting financing, UTAZ offers a lease with option to purchase. Willett says that model used to be 15 percent of the company’s business, but is now 45 percent.

    “Leasing with the option to purchase makes a lot of sense in today’s market,” Willett says.

    Pollack Real Estate Investments in Mesa is also buying again after taking a three-year hiatus. Founder Michael Pollack is shopping around for multiple commercial properties from single sellers in California, Arizona and Nevada. The company’s focus is redevelopment and renovation projects. Pollack Investments currently owns, operates, manages and leases its own portfolio of more than 100 commercial and industrial properties in California and Arizona.

    “Investors are getting more for their money right now than a year or two ago, so it’s a good time to buy,” Pollack says. “But it’s harder to get loans unless you have good credit and put down more money, which I support wholeheartedly.”

    Pollack says great buys exist today on land in Arizona and in all sectors of real estate. However, buyers need to look hard for quality opportunities and analyze the numbers, since many sellers want the same price today that they could have gotten three years ago.

    “We put a property in Mesa up for sale a couple months ago and sold it the same day,” Pollack says. “So, if a property is priced realistically and reflects the conditions of 2008, it sells.”

    Local experts agree that residential property is also a good investment right now, especially homes being sold by banks and by homebuilders forced to sell standing inventory. Greg Vogel, chief executive officer of Land Advisors Organization, says many of these properties are back to pre-boom prices, so they’re a real bargain.

    Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Companies bought Trend Homes in June for $86.5 million. The deal allowed the homebuyer, which reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, to grow and expand its Valley operations. CFO Tina Rhodes says Najafi is committed to homebuilding in Arizona and looks to invest in companies with strong management teams and long-term potential.

    Paradiso Development Corporation is moving forward on development plans for Paradise Reserve, a 40-acre, exclusive, luxury residential enclave bordering the Phoenix MountainPreserve on Lincoln and 40th Street in Paradise Valley. The desert retreat has 14 hillside estate lots ranging in size from one to three acres. Lot prices are $2.7 million to $5.4 million.

    “The 14 lots at Paradise Reserve are the crown jewels of our project,” says Scott Schiabor, principal of Paradiso Development. “They are rare and unique, and that will help maintain their value and attract investors. A big part of our market is also immune to economic changes, so while we expect some downturn due to the economy, based on the rarity of the lots, location and our target market, we expect sales to go extremely well. For many people it is still a good time to buy real estate and make quality investments.”

    Money Flow

    State-Chartered Banks Are Still Lending Despite The Credit Crunch

    The credit crunch is gripping much of the nation, but Arizona banks are still lending money and most are well-capitalized to weather tough economic times. The state’s core capitalization rate of 10.31 percent is well above the national average of 7.89 percent. That means Arizona banks have a good cushion to ride out the mortgage-induced banking crisis.

    Arizona has approximately 83 banks, and of those 33 are state chartered. It also has roughly 58 credit unions and 26 are state chartered. Felecia Rotellini, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, which oversees all state-chartered banks and credit unions, says state-chartered banks were not involved in subprime mortgage lending, so the mortgage meltdown is not impacting them. But capital drying up and lack of funds for borrowing, which precipitated the federal government’s $700 billion Wall Street rescue package, do impact state banks and make it more difficult for them to do business. Thus, state regulators across the country are closely monitoring the policies and proposals coming out of the U.S. Department of Treasury to make sure the advantages large national banks acquire from Treasury Chief Henry Paulson’s plan have equal impact on state community banks.

    “As a result of subprime mortgages, foreclosures and the drop in property values, banks are seeing a reduction in profits and asset quality,” Rotellini says. “But I believe our state-chartered banks are well-managed and well-capitalized to weather the storm. It’s a matter of good management and reserves.”

    In September, National Bank of Arizona’s strong capital position enabled it to acquire the FDIC-insured deposits of Silver State Bank’s Arizona offices in Tolleson, Chandler, Sun City and Scottsdale, after federal regulators took over the Nevada-based bank.

    National Bank of Arizona’s plan is to merge all Silver State offices into its own nearby branch locations. National Bank of Arizona President and CEO Keith Maio says the bank is currently lending money to small and mid-sized businesses and for commercial real estate projects. But unlike a few months ago, the bank now has a stronger pre-leasing requirement on commercial real estate and a slightly higher credit quality hurdle for small business transactions. The bank also takes into consideration whether a prolonged economic downturn will significantly affect a business and whether management has the ability to maneuver a company through a protracted economic slump. Assessing management is critical, Maio says, because good managers have a solid business plan, they don’t look for excessive leverage and they can run a business successfully through good times and bad.

    “Whether you’re an individual, business or bank, you can weather the storm if you have adequate capital,” Maio says. “Our goal is to work with customers the best we can while preserving our capital for future opportunities. That doesn’t mean we’re not making loans. It means we’re going to be judicious about capital. For the last eight to 10 years, there’s been too much leverage in both the business and consumer sectors and that’s what’s caused this financial crisis in its simplest form. Credit was too easy and too cheap. Now it’s harder to get and more expensive.”

    The spiraling economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise for Bankers Trust Phoenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the $2.5 billion Midamerica Financial Corporation. The bank opened in January with $15 million in capital and a clean balance sheet, enabling it to build relationships with local real estate professionals and lend against high-quality assets that are strategically well-positioned to ride the economic upturn early in the next cycle.

    “The fact that we missed the boom of the last several years has turned out to be an advantage for us,” says Patricia Rourke, president and CEO of Bankers Trust Phoenix. “As a newcomer in the market with no troubled credit and nothing in our portfolio, we were ready and able to lend when developers and real estate professionals were being turned away from other local banks.”

    Harry Mateer, president and CEO of Altier Credit Union in Tempe, says credit unions have also been affected by the country’s financial crisis, but to a lesser degree. Credit unions have strict investment policy guidelines that prohibit them from entering into many of the lending areas of banks and other financial institutions. They focus on specific areas of lending, such as auto loans, home equity and credit cards.

    “We’re currently seeing some liquidity shortages in the system,” Mateer says. “And I’ve heard this from other credit unions around the state, too. Members don’t have as much to save so there’s not a lot on deposit. Nevertheless, we’re focused on helping members in light of the economy and working with them when they have difficulties. People can still get loans, but we’ve changed our loan to value requirements to be a little more conservative. We’re now doing 80 percent loan to value, not 85 to 90 percent. And I think that’s what’s being done across all banks and credit unions.”

    As a result of the mortgage-induced banking crisis, Arizona legislators passed a law during the 2008 legislative session (SB-1028) requiring all loan officers of mortgage companies in the state to be licensed after 2010. The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is developing the licensing system for the state. Arizona has approximately 8,000 to 14,000 loan originators that will need to be licensed.

    “Over the past few years, there’s been a breakdown in education and training of loan originators in Arizona who explain nontraditional loan products to consumers,” Rotellini says. “A lot of borrowers got into a loan product they didn’t understand and couldn’t afford over the lifetime of the loan, and the loan originators didn’t carry out a loan transaction that was suitable for the borrower. Loan originators also made more commission on option ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) products that over time yield higher interest rates, so conventional loans and FHA loans fell out of favor.”

    The Department of Financial Institutions recently investigated a case that resulted in a Phoenix man losing his home. The man was put into an option ARM product with a teaser rate he could afford, even though he would have qualified for a VA loan. In time, the loan adjusted to a higher interest rate and the man couldn’t afford to make his house payments. When the man complained, the loan officer threatened to harm him, so the Department of Financial Institutions intervened. Unfortunately, it was too late. The man had no money to refinance, his credit was destroyed and he lost his home.

    “Requiring loan originators to be licensed raises the level of accountability,” Rotellini says. “It’s going to improve the whole mortgage-lending experience for consumers and provide assurance that the loans they enter into will not default and are legitimate. Of course interest-only products will still be available, but they will no longer be abused.”

    West-MEC provides career and tech training

    West-MEC Provides Career And Tech Training To West Valley Teens

    Keeping with its goal of enhancing the education system in the West Valley, WESTMARC is a major proponent of West-MEC — the Western Maricopa Education Center District. West-MEC is a public school district that provides Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to more than 21,000 high school students in the West Valley. West-MEC was formed in 2002 after eight west side communities voted to form the Western Maricopa Education Center. Today, 12 districts and 39 high schools make up the West-MEC district. Not only is WESTMARC a business partner with the school district, but also, President and CEO Jeff Lundsford is on West-MEC’s governing board.

    Greg Donovan, West-MEC superintendent, says combining efforts and expenditures allows West-MEC to offer students more than any one district could offer alone.

    “Some career and technical education programs require a lot of very expensive equipment,” he says. “Individual districts may not have the space, money or expertise to offer such programs, so we help fund the programs and provide the necessary equipment.”

    West-MEC programs include classroom instruction, laboratory instruction and work-based learning. Some of the career and technical education programs offered include business, finance, marketing, technical and trades, and health occupations. A school district works with local business and industry to build educational links to employment and continuing educational opportunities. Business leaders such as Mike McAfee, director of education for the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association (AADA), which represents and supports all new car dealers in the state, work with the school district. They help determine employment sectors to focus on the type of programs and equipment needed for training.

    McAfee helped Peoria High School become the first high school in the West Valley to earn NATEF Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and offer a class that teaches brakes, steering suspension, electrical and engine performance. High school students in the West-MEC district can take the same automotive classes at Glendale Community College. Ford, GM and Chrysler provide new vehicles and equipment for the program at no cost to the college so students can train on new vehicles. Gateway Community College has the same type of partnership but with Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Kia.

    “With more than 230 million cars and trucks on the road today, demand for highly skilled techs is going to continue,” McAfee says. “So when we employ students in their junior and senior years, we want them to continue their education.”

    Experienced technicians typically earn between $30,000 and $60,000 annually in metropolitan areas. Incomes of more than $70,000 are not unusual for highly skilled, hard working master technicians, according to the AADA.

    Stephanie Miller, a graduate of Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, wanted to explore a career in health care, so she took a two-part, CTE lab class during her senior year. When the class was over she was certified as a phlebotomist in Arizona. Miller’s certification landed her a job at Sun Health Del E. Webb Memorial Hospital, where she works as a part-time phlebotomist. She also attends Arizona State University and is taking classes to earn a degree in physical therapy.

    “This is my first job and I make well over $10 an hour so I consider myself lucky,” Miller says.

    Justin Rice, 19, a graduate of Centennial High School in Peoria, took automotive and medical CTE classes during his senior year. The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes were held at Glendale Community College. Since Rice was in high school, he did not have to pay the $800 tuition for the EMT classes.

    “If I hadn’t had this opportunity, I would still be saving to take the classes today,” he says.

    Rice now works as a part-time EMT for First Responders Inc., which provides medical support during Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns games, and for Little League games.

    West-MEC opened a new cosmetology training center in July for students who attend high school in the West-MEC district. The 10,000-square-foot facility in Peoria is operated through a partnership between West-MEC and Gateway Community College’s Maricopa Skill Center. The center opened with 240 students and next year, enrollment will increase to 480 students, which is the center’s capacity. Students who complete the state-required minimum 1,600 hours of instruction will be eligible to take the state cosmetology board exam to become certified cosmetologists.

    Chris Cook, West-MEC’s director of marketing and public relations, said the two-year cosmetology program costs $1,200 instead of $8,000 to $15,000 for the same program after high school.

    A 2007 survey conducted by the National Accreditation Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences showed that owners of Arizona salons are hoping to hire more than 6,800 individuals this year.

    “Students benefit greatly from these programs,” Cook says. “It’s a stepping stone to a career or post-secondary education.”

    Two new spring training stadiums

    Two New Spring Training Stadiums Set To Debut In The West Valley

    With football, hockey, baseball and possibly USA Basketball joining the mix, the West Valley is becoming an active sports mecca for the rest of the Valley. Recent additions to this bustling hub of game activity are new Cactus League training facilities in Glendale and Goodyear that will come online for the 2009 spring training season.

    This year, the Cactus League set a record when 1.3 million fans (60 percent from out of state) attended spring training games. The Cactus League’s contribution to the state’s economy is more than $200 million a year.
    “Spring training is a big draw and a great experience,” says J.P. de la Montaigne, Cactus League president. “We call it our Super Bowl every year.”

    Glendale’s new facility will be the spring training complex for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. The state-of-the-art baseball stadium will have seating for 13,000, four major league practice fields, eight minor league practice fields, two practice infields and 118,000 square feet of major and minor league clubhouses for the two teams. Down the road, the 151-acre site will also have residential, restaurant and retail development, a four-star hotel and an 18-hole golf course developed by Rightpath Limited Development Group.

    The Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority is funding two-thirds of the complex, and the city of Glendale is contributing one-third of the $90 million project, which is under construction on 111th Avenue west of the Loop 101 between Camelback Road and Glendale Avenue. Stadium construction started in November 2007 and will be finished in time for the 2009 spring training season.

    Tom Harrison, construction executive for Mortenson Sports, a division of Mortenson Construction which is building the complex, says planning the facility took longer than anticipated, so they added a night shift in August to keep construction on schedule.

    “This is an exciting project and we have the right team to get it accomplished on time,” Harrison says. “I’ve been involved in five other spring training facilities in the Valley, but this is truly the most unique. The Glendale facility will be more than just a place to watch the game.”

    Harrison says the Glendale stadium will have a 1,400-foot-long lake as part of the facility. The lake will have an aesthetic function as well as serve as the irrigation source for the lush landscaping that will create a park-like setting at the stadium.

    “This is not going to be a standard practice area,” Harrison says. “It’s going to be an aesthetically pleasing setting with benches so fans can enjoy their surroundings.”

    Based on a 2006 economic impact study conducted by Economic Research Associates for the city of Glendale, the economic impact of moving the Dodgers and White Sox to Glendale could be as much as $19 million per year for the region.

    “The new spring training facility fits well in our sports and entertainment district,” says Jennifer Liewer, senior marketing and communications manager for the city of Glendale. “The Dodgers and White Sox want to make this something that will last and be part of the community, so we know that when they get to Glendale it will become their home as well.”

    The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds will play at the Goodyear Ballpark, which will be located on a 3-acre parcel south of Yuma Road and east of Estrella Parkway. The ballpark will open in March 2009 for spring training for the Indians. The Cincinnati Reds will move their spring training operations to Arizona in 2010.

    HOK Sport of Kansas City designed the baseball complex, which will have 8,000 lower-bowl fixed seats, 500 premium seats, 1,400 berm seats, six luxury suites, 3,000 parking spaces, and a state-of-the-art scoreboard and public address system. It will also have two group event areas: an outfield pavilion and bar with berm seating for 400 and a third-floor party deck behind home plate that will hold 150 people. Barton Marlow, a national construction services company out of Michigan, is building the ballpark complex.

    The Goodyear Recreational Sports Complex, which will house the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse/player development facility and two practice fields, is under construction on a 52-acre site east of Estrella Parkway about a half-mile south of the Goodyear Ballpark. It will be completed this month, at which time the Indians will begin using it. The Indians will use the clubhouse and two practice fields year-round. Besides the clubhouse, the Goodyear Recreational Sports Complex has six full-baseball practice fields, two half-baseball practice fields, a 36,000 square foot agility field, six covered practice batting cages and tunnels, three open practice minor league batting tunnels, six pitching mounds for the major league and six for minor league, an observation tower for the major league fields and a scoreboard.

    Goodyear citizens approved a bond election in 2004 for $10 million to help build the recreational sports fields, so the city will be able to use the four minor league fields 10 months of the year. Regis Reed, Goodyear’s senior project manager, says the city plans to use the fields for city events, youth programsand high school tournaments since the fields are lighted to high school standards.

    Ticket prices at the Goodyear Ballpark will be comparable to other Cactus League facilities, which are $8 for a lawn seat and up to $27 for a club or premium seat.

    Nathan Torres, stadium manager for the Goodyear Recreational Sports Complex, says that based on a 2007 Cactus League survey, the economic impact of the Cleveland Indians moving to Arizona in 2009 will be more than $23 million. That number will grow to more than $47 million when the Cincinnati Reds are introduced in 2010.

    Arizona Majority

    Surging Hispanic Population Growth Creates Opportunity, Challenges

    Arizona’s Majority Minority

    Surging Hispanic population growth creates opportunity, challenges

     

    Arizona’s population is changing as fast as its landscape. At present, approximately 1.6 million Hispanics, or one in four Arizonans, call the Grand Canyon State home. Since 40 percent of the state’s population now consists of Hispanic and other minority residents, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates Arizona will soon be joining Texas, California, New Mexico and Hawaii as a “majority minority” state.

    majority_minorityHispanics are the biggest and fastest growing minority group in Arizona, in its K-12 schools and in the United States, according to Datos 2005, an annual report released by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The number of Hispanic Americans grew by 40 percent between 1990 and 2000 and 49 percent from 2000 to 2004. Between 2000 and 2020, Hispanic growth is estimated to outpace that of non-Hispanic Whites by nearly 2 to 1. “Local businesses need to focus on the Hispanic market,” says Dr. Loui Olivas, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Arizona State University. “Whether businesses do an effective job will be measured through the metrics of customers, billing and revenue by market segmentation. But unless, and until, businesses grasp the numbers and clearly identify what they mean, the Hispanic market will continue to be a lost opportunity for many of them.”

    Harry Garewal, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recommends local business owners utilize published data to learn about the Hispanic market. Datos 2005 is a 10-year culmination of demographic and census data that can help businesses understand the changing Hispanic market, and in turn, help them develop a sound marketing strategy for selling products and services to the Latino community. “Businesses will have a better chance of developing a good marketing strategy if they understand the market,” Garewal adds. “That includes understanding that all Hispanics are looking for the same things as everyone else—opportunity, good quality of life, education and what brings happiness in life.”

    Avondale Mazda, an independently owned used car dealership that opened in November 2005, used the Datos report to develop its first marketing strategy. Since close to 50 percent of the local community and its customer base are Hispanic, the report was extremely helpful, says Xavier Brizar, Avondale Mazda’s Hispanic marketing and business manager. “Datos helped us gain a better understanding of the Latino market and the information was easy to understand,” he adds. “In the dealership world, no one in the past would consider using direct mail, but we learned from the report that Hispanics do read it, so using direct mail has been very successful for us. We also know the Latino market uses the Internet (13.6 million Hispanics online), so we have an Espanola link on our Web site to direct them to an Avondale Mazda site in Spanish.”

    Avondale Mazda has banners, signage and information about buying cars in Spanish inside the dealership, which makes Hispanic customers feel welcome and comfortable. The dealership also is involved in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is supportive of local community events. “This is a small dealership with only 40 employees, so if someone calls that speaks Spanish, they get to talk to me every time,” adds Brizar, who prior to Avondale Mazda spent 18 years as the marketing manager of Pioneer Ford, where 50 percent of customers were Hispanic. “We know our Hispanic customers want to speak with a person, so it’s important we take care of them in the manner they appreciate.”

    Home furnishings retailer IKEA launched a Hispanic multimedia marketing campaign in the United States in late 2004. The ongoing campaign includes Spanish-language TV and radio commercials, print ads, a 300-page Spanish catalog, store signage, product information brochures in both English and Spanish and sponsorships. They also have Spanish-speaking employees in stores. “The Hispanic market is vital to our business,” says Maria Lovera, IKEA’s deputy marketing manager for general and Hispanic markets in the United States. “We’ve always seen it that way, but in the last couple of years, we have strengthened our efforts to address their unique needs and understand their culture. We have also allocated more money for our Hispanic marketing efforts and made a very significant increase in our advertising budget. We feel this is a fast-growing market that is going to be phenomenally successful for retailers who can understand the benefit and embrace the Hispanic community.”

    Phoenix is a top 10 Hispanic television market. Hispanic consumers spend an average of 58 hours per week watching television. Arbitron ranked Phoenix as the ninth largest Hispanic radio market reaching 742,000 Hispanics more than 12 years old. Nearly half of Phoenix Hispanics read a Spanish-language newspaper compared to half as many reading an English-language daily.

    The Hispanic marketing team at Qwest has used Datos every year since 2000, as one of its tools to compile demographic and census information on the local and regional Hispanic market. They also use it to compare differences year after year in population growth, household growth, buying trends and purchasing power and to develop the company’s marketing strategy. “Datos comes in handy for the Arizona market in particular because it has the lionshare of the Hispanic market in our region,” says Hector Placencia, marketing director for Qwest. “Arizona’s population changes year to year and the updated reports keep us on the curve of these changes. There are many tools out there, but for us, Datos speaks to our customer base. We also share it internally with senior management to raise awareness of change within the Qwest organization.”

    AZ Business CoverBased on the growth of the Hispanic population in Arizona over the last year, Qwest, like IKEA, has allocated additional monies for marketing and advertising to the Hispanic community. The fattened budget also includes face-to-face events. “The Hispanic consumer likes to do business in person,” says Alex Juarez, marketing manager for Qwest. “So we partner with businesses in the community like Food City where we have Qwest kiosks set up to meet with them face to face. It works out great because we understand our market very well.”

    www.azhcc.com

     

     

    Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

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