Author Archives: Noelle Coyle

Arizona Inventors, Innovators - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Inventors, Innovations Leave Indelible Mark In American History

Arizona inventors and innovations leave an indelible mark in American history

Arizona may have been one of the last states to join the Union, but in its first 100 years, it’s been a leader in revolutionizing America. From nature’s mysteries to healthcare miracles, from sports to education and the exploration of outer space, Arizonans have had a hand in shaping our lives and the way we view the world.

Arizona Inventors & Innovators:

Name that sound

Arizona Inventors, Karsten Solheim
Frustrated with his putting, avid golfer Karsten Solheim created his “Ping” putter in 1959, named for the sound created when the putter hit the golf ball. Two years later, he moved from California to Arizona and continued to revolutionize golf. His success led to the start of a company that still calls Phoenix home today.

Rings of time

A.E. Douglass, an American astronomer, began researching the idea of tree-ring dating, or dendrochronology, prior to Arizona’s statehood. But the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona wasn’t formed until 1937. He is credited with pinpointing the age of ruins that include the Aztec Ruins in New Mexico and the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in Colorado.

A,B,C and 1,2,3

Joan Ganz Cooney, who received her B.A. degree in education from the University of Arizona in 1951, was part of a team who captured the hearts and imaginations of children around the world with the development of Sesame Workshop, creators of the popular “Sesame Street,” now in its 42nd season.

Mars brought to life

Launched into space in August 2008, the Phoenix Mars Lander was the first mission to Mars led by an academic institution, which was the University of Arizona and its principal investigator, Peter Smith, a professor at the school’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

Heart to heart

Arizona Inventors, Jack Copeland, artificial heart - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011
The first successful surgery and use of an artificial heart was conducted at the University Medical Center in Tucson by Dr. Jack Copeland in 1985. His patient lived nine days using the Jarvik 7 Total Artificial Heart before he received a donor heart.

The ripe test

Dr. Mark Riley at the University of Arizona has developed a sticker that, when placed on fruit or vegetables that emit ethylene gas, will change color. If the fruit is ripe, the sticker will appear dark blue. Once the fruit stops producing the gas, the color fades. The color change takes just a couple of minutes. Tests have been successful on both apples and pears, but the stickers aren’t available yet to consumers.

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

West Valley Cities Are Looking Toward Foreign Trade Zone To Boost Their Local Economies

After three years of hard work and dedication, WESTMARC and West Valley city leaders finally saw their labor come to fruition with the formal granting of the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone (GMFTZ) in December.

The establishment of the Foreign Trade Zone began following the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934.

Most FTZs are applied for by a single city, but Harry Paxton, economic development director for the city of Goodyear, says the GMFTZ is one of only a few in the United States that was supported by a consortium of cities for an entire region. The application fees were paid by landowners of the properties in the region requesting FTZ status.

“It is vital to high-volume importers and exporters (foreign or domestic) operating the United States in reducing duty fees and speeding up the supply chain, allowing companies operating … to maintain competitiveness,” Paxton says.

The GMFTZ, he adds, “is a valuable tool that is useful in attracting and retaining businesses, and creating new job opportunities.”

Paxton is a member of the GMFTZ Advisory Council, which was formed so each city participating in the GMFTZ would have representation.

The cities in the West Valley that are participating in the FTZ are Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise and Wickenburg. WESTMARC became involved in the process after community leaders with Goodyear and Surprise approached the organization requesting its support.

The approval in December gave FTZ General Purpose Zone status to four sites:

AIRPORT GATEWAY AT GOODYEAR

This 230-acre site located from Van Buren Street south to Yuma Road, will have approximately three million square feet of industrial and work space. It is located in close proximity to Phoenix Goodyear Airport, which is constructing an additional 4,300-foot runway and a new entrance to the facility, which will be adjacent to the FTZ site.

SURPRISE POINTE BUSINESS PARK

Located on the southeast corner of Waddell and Litchfield roads, this 130-acre site has access to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Line, which will send goods to Los Angeles ports.

PALM VALLEY 303

Located north of Indian School Road along Loop 303, the site features 1,600 acres and has designated 235 acres for FTZ status. Development of the entire project will be phased over the next 20 years and is expected to feature 20 million square feet of office, retail, warehouse and industrial space.

10 WEST LOGISTICS CENTER

This 318-acre site is located on 339th Avenue and the I-10 in Buckeye, providing easy access to the freeway.

Several additional sites throughout the West Valley are under consideration for FTZ status, including the Goodyear Crossing Industrial Park, a 198-acre site at the northeast corner of MC 85 and Cotton Lane.

WESTMARC

The benefits to being in an FTZ, Paxton says, are numerous.

“Businesses in FTZs are treated as though they are outside U.S. Customs territory, and merchandise that is repacked, assembled, manufactured, displayed or placed in storage can be brought into the FTZ duty-free,” Paxton says. “Imports can be moved more quickly, without full Customs formalities. In addition, qualifying businesses located in a FTZ in Arizona are eligible for substantial reductions — currently 75 percent — on real and personal property taxes.”

Several large companies already have started construction or announced plans to start a location on the FTZ sites. A facility for appliance manufacturer Sub-Zero, based in Wisconsin, is under construction and will bring an estimated 380 jobs to Goodyear. In addition, the plastics manufacturing company Schoeller Arca Systems, based in the Netherlands, will hire an initial 45 employees for its new site in Goodyear.

Companies based in an FTZ, Paxton explains, must comply with regulations set by U.S. Customs officials. Communities benefit from these regulations as well, he says, due to the higher levels of security for imports.

Moving forward, Paxton says his goals for the GMFTZ revolve around helping not only the city of Goodyear, but also the entire West Valley.

“(I want to) ensure that each community that has a desire to participate has the best opportunity to succeed in helping existing employers expand and attract new employers to their respective communities, which will create new jobs for our citizens.”

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

new WESTMARC CEO

Despite WESTMARC CEO Change, WESTMARC Keeps Its Focus

WESTMARC CEO Change – When WESTMARC entered its 21st year this past January, an announcement was made that few members expected. Jack Lunsford, WESTMARC CEO for the past seven years, announced he would be stepping down for health reasons.

In addition to leading WESTMARC in its goals for 2011, the incoming chair, Candace Wiest, suddenly had a daunting task ahead of her — finding Lunsford’s replacement.

“Losing someone like Jack is always very difficult,” Wiest says. “He’s been a known commodity for a number of years and has accomplished a lot in the West Valley, and so you kind of look around and go, ‘Wow, what are we going to do now, especially when it’s so unexpected like this.’ ”

Wiest and her team didn’t have to look far for an interim CEO. John Bradley, who had served on WESTMARC’s board for a number of years, stepped up to the plate and has helped guide the organization as it continues its efforts in advocacy and public policy for the West Valley, all the while searching a permanent leader. Wiest says they have narrowed that list down to six candidates and hope to make an announcement soon.

“As you can imagine, people get very nervous in a dues-paying organization when you lose your CEO,” Wiest says. “John stepped into that role literally the day Jack left and he has helped grow membership and really stabilized the organization. He’s just done a great job.”

WESTMARC is committed to several key issues that impact the 15 communities it represents, including education, economic development, transportation, tourism, health care, Luke Air Force Base, and quality of life.

One aspect of WESTMARC that makes it unique, Wiest adds, is its 250 employer members that represent 70,000 jobs. This cross spectrum of industries involved in WESTMARC makes the group qualified, she says, to understand and respond appropriately to economic development in the West Valley.

“Every single focus is on economic development and a responsible method of public policy,” Wiest says. She explains that the organization will be identifying and focusing its efforts on four projects each year that affect economic development in the West Valley. One such project it will work on this year is the recent impact fees legislation. The law will cause Arizona cities to give up some of their powers in assessing fees on new developments.

“The fact of the matter is that cities that are built out, like Tempe and Scottsdale, will not be as impacted as West Valley cities that haven’t yet matured,” she says. “It’s going to really change the way we can be developed and our desirability, so (the West Valley) is going to be the most impacted.”

One of the challenges Wiest says the organization has encountered in recent years, especially in the down economy, is retaining its membership numbers. She says WESTMARC not only has met that challenge, but has surpassed it with a growth in membership this year. The key to overcoming this challenge, she says, is ensuring the membership is reaping rewarding benefits.

She points to a health care forum held in May as one of the most recent benefits for members.

Christine Clouse and Sharon Grambow, co-chairs of the health care committee for WESTMARC, recommended holding the forum. Health care’s status as one of the leading economic drivers in the state also was a key factor in planning the event. The forum benefited not only health care industry members, Wiest says, but also other industry members who may have been overwhelmed by recent legislation.

Wiest says the health care forum most likely will be among this year’s greatest achievements for the organization, as will be the continued success of the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone, which she explains will be a great economic development tool for the region for many years to come.

WESTMARC also was among the first organizations to issue a statement in support of keeping the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes hockey team in Glendale, which Wiest explains was a valuable move for its membership. She adds that the possibility of the team leaving the state would have had a negative impact on regional economic development.

“I think what we do is very unique,” Wiest says. “Our mission is really driven by the needs of our members.”

 

West-MEC Aviation High School, Glendale, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

West-MEC’s Aviation High School Trains Teens For Jobs In The Aerospace Industry

Young people in the West Valley who have always wanted to work in the aerospace maintenance industry will now have the opportunity with the opening of the West-MEC Aviation High School in Glendale.

Aviation High School – The West-MEC program, which provides technical training in a vast array of careers, has grown exponentially since opening in 2003. What began with 450 students now serves more than 26,000 in 40 high schools within 12 member districts. Cliff Migal, assistant superintendent for West-MEC, says the program’s success is due in part to its partnerships with the business and education communities.

West-MEC Aviation High School, Glendale, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011There were no technical training institutes in the West Valley, Migal says, but through partnerships, they were able to get something started.

As Freshman, students may start taking satellite program classes on school grounds. As juniors, they can take the central program classes, which are held off school grounds. The programs also will one day be available to adults. The cost of adult tuition is still being determined, but Migal said it could cost about $14,000. Students in high school pay $500.

The aviation program, which officially launches Aug. 8, is a licensure program requiring 1,952 hours of training. It will
include studying an airplane’s wings, propellers, landing gears, hydraulics, electrical system and engine. Once completed, students can take the Federal Aviation Administration licensure exam. Those who pass will become licensed aviation maintenance technicians, qualified to work for airplane repair shops. The program, which is in the final stages of certification with the FAA, will be audited and reviewed annually by the federal agency, Migal says, to ensure the school is following curriculum and delivering a quality education.

The aviation school is the first of West-MEC’s programs to be built from the ground up. It was made possible through a lease-donation agreement with the John F. Long Revocable Trust and its innovative design has been recognized by WESTMARC with the Best of the West Architectural Innovation award.

DLR Group and McCarthy Building Companies were involved in the design and construction of the facility, which is like an airport hangar, but with features that disguise its identity. The exterior, Migal says, was designed to look like free-flowing wings and has taxi lines running up the sidewalk and into the building.

Inside, 12,000 square feet of open space provides plenty of room to maneuver.West-MEC Aviation High School, Glendale, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

Distinctive features include air ducts resembling airplane air ducts, a light fixture in the main lobby that simulates helicopter blades and airplane-related wall murals.

Sustainable features include a white roof to reflect the sun and an evaporation cooling system that cools and heats almost 40 percent of the facility. Solar panels might be added.

Advanced Real Estate Resources helped with the design and development. Williams Aviation Consulting helped develop the program’s curriculum and in locating donated equipment.

The program would not have been possible without an advisory committee of industry representatives from across the Phoenix Metropolitan area, Migal says. “We will always make sure that the skill set the school provides is the skill set industry needs and demands.”

[stextbox id="grey"]

For More Information:

West-MEC Aviation High School
Glendale Airport
6997 N. Glen Harbor Blvd., Glendale
(623) 873-1860
www.west-mec.org

[/stextbox]

 

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

The Wigwam, litchfield Park, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

Arizona’s Tourism Industry Has A Legacy Going Back More Than 100 Years

As one of the largest economic drivers, tourism has helped to shape Arizona’s culture and lifestyle long before it even became a state in 1912.

The Arizona Office of Tourism won’t be releasing 2010s tourism economic impact numbers until July, but in 2009, more than 35 million visitors spent $16.6 billion in Arizona. In addition, the industry generates an estimated $2.4 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues.

To trace the beginning of this industry’s roots, you must go back to the late 1800s, when the railroad finally crossed Arizona (it crossed Southern Arizona in 1881 and Northern Arizona in 1883). Jim Turner, historian and author of “Arizona: Celebration of the Grand Canyon State,” says that during this time, the Fred Harvey Company and Santa Fe Railway began marketing tours of Pueblo Indian villages in New Mexico and the Hopi villages in Arizona. Harvey’s stamp on Arizona is still evident today, most notably at the Grand Canyon with the continued operation of his El Tovar Hotel, wGrand Canyon Hotel, Williams, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011hich opened in 1905.

The Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams was also popular during this time, because for several years it was the closest hotel to the Grand Canyon at 65 miles away. Built in 1891, the hotel is considered the oldest in the state still in operation. It sat vacant for more than 30 years until 2004, when Oscar and Amy Fredrickson bought it and performed extensive renovations following decades of neglect.

“There’s such a niche for this type of business with the historic aspect of Route 66 and the hotel itself,” Fredrickson says.

The tourism market changed drastically in the 1920s. Factories began offering employees two-weeks paid time off, and with the advent of affordable cars and roads crossing the United States, such as Route 66 in 1926, more people began taking cross-country vacations. This was the start of automobile tourism in Arizona, Turner explains, with auto camps and motor hotels popping up every few miles along the entire highway.

Dude ranches also began operating throughout Arizona, especially in Wickenburg, where at the height of dude ranching popularity there were 13, says Julie Brooks, executive director of Wickenburg’s Chamber of Commerce. Today that number is down to four. Some of the closed dude ranches, she says, have reverted back to private family homes, while others have actually taken on the needs of other industries, such as the transition of Slash Bar K Ranch into The Meadows, a treatment center for addiction and trauma.

Among those dude ranches still operating is the Flying E Ranch, a 19,500-acre working ranch that transitioned into a dude ranch in 1946. In its infancy, the ranch had eight guest rooms, but that has now increased to 17 rooms, including two family houses, for a total occupancy of 34. The original guest rooms still contain their original chairs and lamps.

Many of the Flying E Ranch’s guests are repeat customers, says general manager Andrea Taylor, adding that one of the lessons she’s learned over the years is that guests don’t want anything at the ranch to change.

“I find that I can’t pull away from tradition,” she says. “People have grown to love what they have here. It’s like coming home to grandma’s house.”

The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, which first opened in 1929, also has evolved with the ever-changing needs of tourists. Celebrities were often found at the resort. Marilyn Monroe was quoted as referring to the pool there as her favorite, and Irving Berlin wrote his famous “White Christmas” while sitting by the same pool. The resort has had several additions and renovations since then, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. One of the most recent changes came in 2009, when the Arizona Wing was renovated and renamed Ocatilla at Arizona Biltmore. This “hotel within a hotel” offers even more amenities and elite service for those looking for the ultimate in a pampered vacation.

Tourism died down during World War II, Turner says, as everyone was involved in the war effort. But after the war, thanks to savings bonds and the GI Bill, people could afford to travel again. For the next several decades, motor hotels continued to thrive, but the fascination with the Western lifestyle slowly dissipated as destination tourism rose. Picking up in the 1970s and strengthening even today, tourists now seek the ultimate destination vacation experience, especially in areas that promote golf and spas, Turner says.

As the needs and wants of travelers evolved, hotels throughout the state also changed to accommodate them. The Westward Look Resort in Tucson, which was originally built as a family home in 1912, transitioned into a guest ranch in the 1920s, and evolved once again in the 1960s, when it became Tucson’s first resort. Today, in addition to deluxe accommodations and luxurious spa activities, the resort also encourages guests to engage in recreational tourism through its nature programs, which include horseback riding and hiking trails.

A more recent example of the continuing evolution of hotels is The Wigwam in Litchfield Park. The Wigwam’s identity has altered several times during its history. Originally built as an organizational house for Goodyear Tire and Rubber executives in 1918, it became a dude rancThe Wigwam, Litchfield Park, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011h in 1929, and as with The Westward Look Resort, it later added more deluxe amenities including golf and spa activities. The Wigwam just completed a $7 million renovation in January, a process that was necessary to not only stay current with today’s tourists, but also to prepare for the next generation.

“The Wigwam has been here for almost 100 years because it’s always been the type of property that adapted to different generations and different travelers and how those needs are ever changing,” says Frank Ashmore, director of sales and marketing at The Wigwam.

Sedona has always been a popular city for tourists, as well, due to its red mountain scenery. But in the late 1980s, it became even more well known when it was decided that Sedona had more metaphysical spiritual centers than anywhere else in the world, Turner says. Suddenly people were flocking to Sedona to discern this phenomena for themselves. This continues to be a draw for tourists today and many books can be found on the subject.

Business tourism also has had a large impact on Arizona, especially in the Greater Phoenix area. George Munz, general manager at the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, says 85 percent of the hotel’s guests are staying in town for business. The needs of business travelers, he says, are different from leisure travelers, especially in terms of speed and efficiency. And business tourism, Munz adds, helps boost leisure tourism as well.

“While (a guest) may come to my hotel for business, they may come back and go to the Royal Palms or Camelback Inn or The Phoenician,” Munz explains.

Even sports have played a part in Arizona’s tourism growth. While MLB spring training camps can be found throughout Greater Phoenix, the impact of sports tourism is probably most apparent in Glendale. After the opening of Westgate City Center, Jobing.com Arena and the University of Phoenix stadium, the number of Glendale’s hotels doubled and its occupancy more than tripled, says Lorraine Pino, tourism manager at the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

It was thanks in part to this sports surge that Glendale took the steps necessary to change its tourism office into an official CVB.

“Our tourism literally exploded over the past few years and with that we really needed to have that official designation,” Pino says.

Tourism in the entire West Valley will get to reap the benefits of the Glendale CVB, as Pino and her team will now work to promote all 13 cities in the region.

Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, says that the efforts of hotels and tourism leaders throughout Arizona has helped mold the state into what it is today and where it will go in the future.

“Arizona wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t have the tourism industry we have,” she says. “I really believe (tourism) is what makes Arizona so special.”

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Red Mountain Hike, Utah, Arizona Getaway Destination

Explore Utah – Summer Getaways: Escape the Arizona Heat

Explore Utah - It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are rising. The tourists are thinning out. Summer is making its approach and for those of us in the Valley who aren’t snowbirds, there’s no alternative except to tough it out. Or is there?Red Cliffs Reserve, Explore Utah, Arizona Getaway Destination

Thanks to Sky Harbor International Airport, there’s a plethora of vacation spots just a short flight away that offer considerably cooler temperatures and a wealth of activities sure to entertain even the pickiest of travelers. Many are even just a brief car ride away, with most being 12 hours away or less by car.

That may sound like a long time in the car now, but try hiking Camelback Mountain in 110 degrees and then ask yourself if 12 hours would be worth it for a cool breeze.

Good deals are hit-and-miss, whether you’re booking everything yourself individually, buying vacation packages, or using a travel planner. Do your research before finalizing your plans to get the most optimal vacation.

We took a look at the states bordering Arizona and selected our favorite stops. So pull out your frequent flier miles and pack your bags. It’s time for a road trip!

Explore Utah

Hidden Pool Coyote Gulch, Utah, Arizona Getaway Destination

From border to border, Utah is filled with beautiful scenery not unlike that found in our own state. But we decided to take a closer look at southern Utah and all it has to offer. There are national parks galore whose depths are just waiting to be explored. Popular outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking and river rafting. Or for a more relaxing vacation, golf and spas abound. The southwestern corner of Utah is known as Utah’s Dixie for its temperate climate. Temperatures in St. George, a city just over the Arizona border, average 85 degrees in May and 95 degrees in June. St. George is just a seven-hour drive from Phoenix, or is easily accessible by plane via a stop in Salt Lake City (flights average $250).

ATV Tours, Statewide

Get up close and personal with Utah’s backcountry by taking an ATV tour. Trips with Guides with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours will provide details about the state’s history as you tour the desert sands.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 656-2887
www.atvadventures.com[/stextbox]

Cedar Breaks National Monument 6th Annual Wildflower Festival, Cedar City

Visit this national monument just in time to see the high-country wildflowers burst into bloom. Festival events include guided walks, interpretive field trips, photography workshops and Junior Ranger scavenger hunts. July 1-17.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 586-0787
www.nps.gov/cebr[/stextbox]

Grafton

If you’re a fan of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, then you won’t want to miss this ghost town. Considered one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West, it was also featured in the 1929 film “In Old Arizona.”

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Kanab

More than 1.7 million acres make up this national monument, which features multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles and canyons.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 644-4300
www.blm.gov/ut
[/stextbox]

The Ledges of St. George, St. George

This 7,200-yard championship golf course features an innovative design surrounded by Utah’s rugged landscape. Amenities include GPS-equipped golf carts, high-tech teaching center and banquet facilities.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 634-4640
www.ledges.com[/stextbox]

Sagestone at Red Mountain Spa, Ivins

Signature treatments at this spa include the use of indigenous desert botanicals, Utah honey and mineral rich muds, clays and salts to enhance beauty and wellness.

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 690-9215
www.redmountainspa.com
[/stextbox]

St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, St. George

View more than 2,000 dinosaur tracks left behind by early Jurassic-period dinosaurs in exposed sandstone. Fossil exhibits and a gift shop are also on hand.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 574-3466
www.dinotrax.com[/stextbox]

Tuacahn Amphitheater, Ivins

Enjoy Utah’s scenic red rock setting at this outdoor amphitheater. During the month of June, two Broadway shows will be presented — Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and the ’70s classic “Grease.”

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 746-9882
www.tuacahn.org[/stextbox]

Utah Shakespearean Festival, Cedar City

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this Tony Award-winning festival features renaissance activities and Shakespeare productions presented on a rotating basis nightly. June 23-October 29.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 586-7878
www.bard.org
[/stextbox]

Virgin River Walkway

This paved trail runs parallel with Virgin River from Bloomington to St. George. Popular among biking, jogging, walking and rollerblading enthusiasts alike, it’s great for families and offers plenty of photo opportunities.

Zion National Park, Springdale

Towering cliffs and a narrow canyon await both experienced and novice hikers alike. The park also has several archaeological sites, although not all are open to the public in order to preserve them. Check with park staff to find out which are available for viewing.

[stextbox id="grey"](435) 772-3256
www.nps.gov/zion[/stextbox]

 

Missed the other parts of the Summer Getaways series?

We’ve got you covered:

Petroglyphs, New Mexico, Arizona Getaway Destination

Summer Getaways: Escape the Arizona Heat, New Mexico’s Next Door

ABO Ruins, New Mexico, Arizona Getaway DestinationIt’s that time of year again. The temperatures are rising. The tourists are thinning out. Summer is making its approach and for those of us in the Valley who aren’t snowbirds, there’s no alternative except to tough it out. Or is there?

We took a look at the states bordering Arizona and selected our favorite stops. So pull out your frequent flier miles and pack your bags. It’s time for a road trip!

NEW MEXICO

Shiprock, New Mexico, Arizona Getaway DestinationCelebrating its 100th anniversary as a state in 2012, New Mexico is rich in history. Mining, ranching and the establishment of the railroad helped make this state what it is today. When you come to New Mexico, you won’t be spending a lot of time hanging around your hotel room. With more than one-third of the state comprised of public lands, including 13 national monuments and parks, five national forests and 34 state parks, there’s a lot of land to explore.

Albuquerque Biological Park, Albuquerque

The close proximity of these four attractions — the ABQ BioPark Aquarium, Botanic Garden, Zoo and Tingley Beach — is ideal for families and large groups. Discover the joys of the jungle, the sea and lush gardens.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 768-2000
www.cabq.gov/biopark[/stextbox]

Battlefield New Mexico: The Civil War and More, Santa Fe

This event features military drills, lectures, glimpses of camp life and reenactments of Civil War battles fought in New Mexico.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 471-2261
www.golondrinas.org[/stextbox]

El Malpais National Monument, Grants

El Malpais, which means badlands in Spanish, is a rugged terrain that offers hiking, primitive camping and diverse wildlife. View evidence of volcanic activity, cinder cones, lava tubes and pressure ridges.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 783-4774
www.nps.gov/elma[/stextbox]

Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve, Santa Fe

This 35-acre nature preserve is great for bird watching and viewing wildflowers in bloom. Also offers environmental science workshops.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 428-1684
www.santafebotanicalgarden.org[/stextbox]

Museum Hill, Santa Fe

On Santa Fe’s eastside, four museums are available for your perusal — Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of International Fold Art, and Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 476-1411
www.museumhill.org[/stextbox]

Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque

View an estimated 20,000 carved images of animals, people and crosses, remnants of volcanic activity or traverse hiking trails at this national monument.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 899-0205
www.nps.gov/petr[/stextbox]

Pork & Brew BBQ State Championship, Rio Rancho

Spend your Independence Day weekend by sampling barbecue made by competitors from across the country. The three-day festival also includes live entertainment, fireworks and pig races. July 1-3.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 891-7258
www.rioranchonm.org/porkandbrew[/stextbox]

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe

More than 170 artists selling wares from more than 50 countries are on hand at this market. Ethnic cuisine, music and dance will also be on hand for your enjoyment.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 476-1200
www.folkartmarket.org[/stextbox]

Santa Fe Mountain Adventures, Santa Fe

Participate in guided hikes, GPS scavenger hunts, mountain biking, whitewater rafting or horseback riding.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 988-4000
www.santafemountainadventures.com[/stextbox]

Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, Cerrillos and Madrid

Travel 15,000 square miles of old mining towns, natural wonders, and a multitude of galleries and gift shops. Turquoise and lead deposits found here were used by prehistoric Indians in jewelry and pottery, and were even used in Spain’s crown jewels.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 438-8711
www.turquoisetrail.org[/stextbox]

Wildlife West Nature Park, Edgewood

Wolves, cougars, elk, deer, raptors and javelina all call this park home. Every Saturday from June to September, visitors can participate in a chuckwagon dinner. There are also camping spots available on site.

[stextbox id="grey"](505) 281-7655
www.wildlifewest.org[/stextbox]

 

Stay tuned for the rest of this Summer Getaways series.
Next stop? Utah!

 

Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Arizona Getaway Destination

Summer Getaways: Escape the Heat, Nevada’s Just a Few Hours Away

Nevada, Arizona Getaway DestinationIt’s that time of year again. The temperatures are rising. The tourists are thinning out. Summer is making its approach and for those of us in the Valley who aren’t snowbirds, there’s no alternative except to tough it out. Or is there?

We took a look at the states bordering Arizona and selected our favorite stops. So pull out your frequent flier miles and pack your bags. It’s time for a road trip!

NEVADA

Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Arizona Getaway DestinationNevada is well known for its gambling playgrounds Las Vegas and Reno, but there’s more to this state than poker chips and burlesque shows. Not to mention the fact that it can get just as hot in Las Vegas as it does in Phoenix. For cooler temps, head northwest to a little gem called Lake Tahoe. The lake and its surrounding region have plenty to offer, from water fun to golf and shopping to, yes, gambling — there’s something for everyone. Roughly 13 hours by car, this destination can also be reached on nonstop flights out of Phoenix to Reno (prices average $240 round trip).

 

Black Rock Desert – High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Gerlach

Home to the longest intact segments of the historic emigrant trails to California and Oregon, featuring wagon ruts and historic inscriptions.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 623-1500
www.blm.gov/nv[/stextbox]

Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, Gardnerville

This state park was among the first ranches in Nevada. Founded in 1857, many buildings and original artifacts are on display.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 783-9417
parks.travelnevada.com[/stextbox]

Downtown Riverwalk, Reno

Enjoy downtown Reno’s Truckee River as you experience boutique shopping, dining, events, galleries and a whitewater park.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 825-WALK
www.renoriver.org[/stextbox]

Genoa Bar and Saloon, Genoa

“Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor” has been serving patrons since 1853, and has hosted presidents, actors and famous musicians. View genuine artifacts that have remained untouched for more than 150 years.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 782-3870
www.genoabarandsaloon.com[/stextbox]

Heavenly Flyer and Heavenly Gondola, South Lake Tahoe

If you’re looking for thrills, be sure to catch a ride on the Heavenly Flyer, an elevated zip line cable ride from the top of Tamarack Express to the top of the Gondola. If you’d rather take in the scenery at a slower pace, the Heavenly Gondola provides a 12-minute ride up the mountainside.

[stextbox id="grey"]800-HEAVENLY
www.skiheavenly.com[/stextbox]

Liberty Engine Company #1 State Fireman Museum, Virginia City

For those with children who dream of being a fire fighter, this museum is a must see where they can view firefighting equipment from the 19th century.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 847-0717
www.visitvirginiacitynv.com[/stextbox]

Mine Tours, Virginia City

Explore historic gold and silver mines where settlers in the 1800s endured multiple hardships in their search for a dream. Mines available to tour include Collar Mine and Ponderosa Mine.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.visitvirginiacitynv.com[/stextbox]

Piper’s Opera House, Virginia City

Built in 1885, this member of the National Register of Historic Places hosts numerous events throughout the year.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 847-0433
www.piperslive.com[/stextbox]

Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe

Enjoy the lake and its surrounding scenery without getting wet by following this 165-mile loop around Lake Tahoe. Recreation activities include mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 298-0012
www.tahoerimtrail.org[/stextbox]

Tour of the Carson Valley, Genoa

Choose between an 11-mile, 20-mile and 44-mile course that follows former pioneer, Pony Express, stagecoach and emigrant wagon roadways. After the ride, enjoy a barbecue and ice cream social. June 26.

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 565-2704
www.bikethewest.com[/stextbox]

Truckee River Whitewater Park, Reno

Features 11 pools for kayak adventures, as well as a kayak racing course.

[stextbox id="grey"]800-FOR-RENO
www.visitrenotahoe.com[/stextbox]

Vikingsholm Castle, South Lake Tahoe (California)

Built as a summer home in 1929, this “castle” was modeled after architecture found in Scandinavia. The grounds are open year round, but the home is only open for tours during the summer.

[stextbox id="grey"](530) 525-9530
www.vikingsholm.org[/stextbox]

Virginia & Truckee Railroad, Virginia City

Climb aboard a steam train for a 35-minute narrated ride through the historic Comstock mining region on this short line railroad.

[stextbox id="grey"](775) 847-0380
www.virginiatruckee.com[/stextbox]

 

Stay tuned for the rest of this Summer Getaways series.
Next stop? New Mexico!

 

Missed the other parts of the Summer Getaways series?

We’ve got you covered:

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado

Summer Getaways: Escape the Heat, Head to Colorado

Mountain biking, aspen grove, Vail, COIt’s that time of year again. The temperatures are rising. The tourists are thinning out. Summer is making its approach and for those of us in the Valley who aren’t snowbirds, there’s no alternative except to tough it out. Or is there?

We took a look at the states bordering Arizona and selected our favorite stops. So pull out your frequent flier miles and pack your bags. It’s time for a road trip!

COLORADO

Whitewater rafting near Durango, ColoradoThis renowned winter playground is often overlooked in the summer months. But even though the snow is gone, there’s still plenty to do and see in Colorado. Majestic mountains and lush green valleys abound in this state, so hiking and mountain biking opportunities are plentiful. Or you can rent a raft or kayak and navigate the waters of one of the state’s many rivers, such as the Colorado River, Roaring Fork River or Arkansas River. Vail, Aspen and Telluride are all well-known gems of the state, but don’t overlook smaller towns such as Breckenridge, Durango or Crested Butte.

Aspen Paragliding, Aspen

Strap into a harness and paraglide tandem off the slopes of Aspen Mountain. This awe-inspiring flight will take you high above the city of Aspen and its surrounding countryside.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 925-6975
www.aspenparagliding.com[/stextbox]

Aspen Whitewater Rafting, Aspen

Choose from 11 different rafting trips down either the Arkansas or Roaring Fork Rivers. Depending on which trip you choose, a lunch or snack will be served.

[stextbox id="grey"](866) 377-4837
www.aspenwhitewater.com[/stextbox]

C Lazy U Ranch, Granby

Stay or dine at this authentic dude ranch. Horseback riding, fly fishing, tennis, bicycling and zip line are just a few of the activities available on the ranch grounds.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 887-3344
www.clazyu.com[/stextbox]

Country Boy Gold Mine, Breckenridge

Explore this mine that was built more than 100 years ago. Pan for gold, slide down a 55-foot ore chute or examine original mining equipment, old photos and exhibits that help you discover the past.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 453-4405
www.countryboymine.com[/stextbox]

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango

This railroad has been operating for more than 125 years. Climb aboard for a trip through the canyons of San Juan National Forest to Silverton, an old mining town.

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 525-8855
www.durango.org[/stextbox]

Fly Fishing on the Blue River, Breckenridge

The Blue River flows through the heart of Breckenridge and is popular among fly fishermen for its rainbow trout, browns and native cutthroat. Check with the town’s local chamber for a list of fly fishing companies that can take you on a guided fly fishing trip.

[stextbox id="grey"](888) 251-2417
www.gobreck.com[/stextbox]

Gunfight at the Diamond Belle Saloon, Durango

This staged gunfight is a reenactment of what a gunfight in the 1800s would have looked like. Be sure to step inside the saloon, where employees dress in Victorian Era clothing and the interior is designed similar to the saloons in the old days.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 247-4431
www.strater.com[/stextbox]

Gunnison Outdoors, Gunnison/Crested Butte

Make use of this concierge service that helps you book your next adventure. They can set up everything from trail rides, rock climbing, jeep tours, balloon rides, ATV rentals, fishing, hunting and float trips.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 641-3877
www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com[/stextbox]

Hiking in Telluride

Telluride has more than 90 trails and historic walks to explore both around town and in the vast terrain of the San Juan Mountains. For a detailed description of the trails, check out the Telluride Hiking Guide for maps and more.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.telluridehikingguide.com
www.visittelluride.com[/stextbox]

Mesa Verde National Park, Durango

Discover cliff dwellings once called home by ancestral Pueblo tribes from 600 to 1300.

[stextbox id="grey"](970) 529-4465
www.nps.gov/meve[/stextbox]

Nova Guides, Vail

This outdoor adventure company offers whitewater rafting, Jeep and ATV tours, guided fishing trips and mountain biking tours.

[stextbox id="grey"](888) 949-NOVA
www.novaguides.com[/stextbox]

Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen

Ride this gondola 2.5 miles to the summit of Aspen Mountain, where you can then go on a hike, play disc golf, enjoy summer concerts or play a large selection of games with your children.

[stextbox id="grey"](877) 282-7736
www.aspensnowmass.com[/stextbox]

Telluride Golf Course, Telluride

Want to improve your game? Play a round at Telluride Golf Course, where your ball will travel greater distance than usual thanks to the region’s thin air, which creates less resistance. The par 70, 18-hole course was designed 9,300 feet above sea level and is surrounded by majestic mountains.

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 778-8581
www.tellurideskiresort.com[/stextbox]

Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs, Durango

While in Colorado, take advantage of one of its natural hot springs, such as this one in Durango. Its two saunas and natural heated mineral-rich hot pool provide the ultimate in therapeutic relaxation. Or choose from among more than 20 massage and body treatments.

[stextbox id="grey"](877) 911-7111
www.trimblehotsprings.com[/stextbox]

 

Stay tuned for the rest of this Summer Getaways series.
Next stop? Nevada!

    Missed the other parts of the Summer Getaways series?

    We’ve got you covered:

  • California
Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, California

Summer Getaways: An Escape From Arizona’s Heat Is Just A Few Hours Away

Coronado, California; Photo: Corporate HelicoptersIt’s that time of year again. The temperatures are rising. The tourists are thinning out. Summer is making its approach and for those of us in the Valley who aren’t snowbirds, there’s no alternative except to tough it out. Or is there?

Thanks to Sky Harbor International Airport, there’s a plethora of vacation spots just a short flight away that offer considerably cooler temperatures and a wealth of activities sure to entertain even the pickiest of travelers. Many are even just a brief car ride away, with most being 12 hours away or less by car. That may sound like a long time in the car now, but try hiking Camelback Mountain in 110 degrees and then ask yourself if 12 hours would be worth it for a cool breeze.

Good deals are hit-and-miss, whether you’re booking everything yourself individually, buying vacation packages, or using a travel planner. Do your research before finalizing your plans to get the most optimal vacation.

We took a look at the states bordering Arizona and selected our favorite stops. So pull out your frequent flier miles and pack your bags. It’s time for a road trip!

CALIFORNIA

2H6 Dolphin, SeaWorld, California; Photo: SeaWorld San DiegoIf it’s the beach you’re craving, head west. California has roughly 1,100 miles of coastline stretching from Oregon to Mexico. The terrain varies from rocky slopes in the north to pristine, sandy beaches in the south. California also caters to the shopaholic, with shops varying from those carrying merchandise priced moderately to high-end boutiques. Animal enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies and roller coaster fans can get their thrills at hot spots such as the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld San Diego and Disneyland.

Casino Point Underwater Park, Catalina Island

Shipwrecks and varying reefs and marine life await your exploration under the sea. Be sure to get your diving permit before diving in.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.catalina.com[/stextbox]

Coronado Island

No visit to the San Diego region is complete without an afternoon at the famous Coronado Island. Frolic on the beach or enjoy a picnic on this picturesque island.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.coronadovisitorcenter.com[/stextbox]

Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure, Anaheim

Disney’s West Coast headquarters is always building something new and 2011 is no exception. Be sure to check out Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a new, dark ride attraction at Disney’s California Adventure.

[stextbox id="grey"](714) 520-5060
www.disney.com[/stextbox]

Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District, San Diego

This historic district contains more than 16 blocks filled with shops, restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.gaslamp.org[/stextbox]

Imperial Sand Dunes, El Centro

If you find yourself missing the desert, then visit the largest area of dunes in the state, with 40 miles of dunes. View what remains of a wooden road that was built across the dunes in 1916.

LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad

More than 50 rides and attractions can be found at this amusement park. Be sure to visit the new Octopus Garden next door at SEA LIFE Aquarium.

[stextbox id="grey"](760) 918-5346
www.legoland.com[/stextbox]

Pacific Park on the Pier, Santa Monica

For a more laid-back afternoon, visit this free amusement park that offers a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, miniature golf, midway games and restaurants.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.pacpark.com[/stextbox]

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Stroll down Rodeo Drive and venture into the boutiques of some of the world’s most popular designers.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.rodeodrive-bh.com[/stextbox]

San Diego Zoo, San Diego

It’s said that you’ve never really been to the zoo until you’ve been to the San Diego Zoo. Home to hundreds of animals, several new additions have been born in the past year, including a royal antelope in January that weighed just 10 ounces at birth.

[stextbox id="grey"](619) 231-1515
www.sandiegozoo.com[/stextbox]

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine

Bird enthusiasts will enjoy exploring this sanctuary’s trails, where they’ll encounter more than 200 species of birds.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.irwd.com/environment[/stextbox]

SeaWorld, San Diego

Get up close and personal with marine life from around the world. Advisory: If you visit any of the live shows, a rain poncho might be a good accessory to bring with you.

[stextbox id="grey"](800) 257-4268
www.seaworld.com[/stextbox]

The Wedge, Newport Beach

The waves at this popular beach destination offer bodysurfers a thrilling adrenaline rush.

[stextbox id="grey"]www.visitnewportbeach.com[/stextbox]

 

Stay tuned for the rest of this Summer Getaways series.
Next stop? Colorado!

The GPEC building in Phoenix - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Profiles

Georgia Lord, GPEC Ambassador ChairwomanGeorgia Lord
GPEC Ambassador Chairwoman
Former Vice Mayor
City of Goodyear

As the wife of an Air Force officer, Georgia Lord has experienced myriad of cultures. Little did she know that while with him on assignment in Germany, she would get the opportunity to ride in a blimp bearing, coincidentally, the name of the city she later served as a city council member — Goodyear.

Lord was originally elected to the Goodyear City Council in 2005. Following her successful re-election in 2009, she was elected by the council to be vice mayor. At the end of 2010, however, she had to resign that position in order to run for mayor of Goodyear.

“I’m fortunate to be able to take complicated issues that are important to citizens, break them down in a way that allows us to address the impact of our decisions, and really consider the consequences our actions will have down the road,” she says.

Lord conducts these discussions with others outside of the Goodyear leadership, as well. In fact, she’s able to fuel her passion for Goodyear’s economic development through participation with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, a venue that provides a sounding board for her ideas, and encourages interaction and support from other cities in the Valley.

“By working together as a team member of GPEC, we’re able to benefit from economies of scale and achieve our goals,” she says.

Lord is most specifically involved with GPEC’s Ambassador Program, which educates both the private and public sectors by highlighting the state’s strengths and the best ways to capitalize on them. Those education efforts, Lord explains, include tours of industrial facilities, workshops with industry experts, educational seminars and business training. She also participates in GPEC’s International Leadership Council, where she is able to draw on her past experiences overseas as she and other council members encourage foreign companies to invest in Arizona.


Scott Smith, mayor City of MesaScott Smith
Mayor
City of Mesa
www.mesaaz.gov

Scott Smith is not one to sit quietly on the sidelines. So, when he became increasingly frustrated with the direction Mesa was headed in, he decided it was time to “put up or shut up,” and was successfully elected mayor in 2008.

One of Smith’s greatest challenges since taking office has been the state of the city’s economy.

“It’s not allowed us to pursue some of the opportunities we would have liked to be well down the road with already,” Smith says. “We know that the only way for us to recover is to create a business environment where the economy can grow and business can thrive, so we’re working diligently to create that kind of environment.”

Smith has found that his involvement with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has been very helpful as he navigates the murky waters of the economy.

“Organizations such as GPEC that are focused on the region’s economic success are absolutely necessary tools for us to really experience the kind of success we think we are capable of,” he says.

The best way to build a successful environment, Smith says, is to identify a city or region’s strengths. The city of Mesa has done so through its HEAT Initiative — Health, Education, Aerospace, Tourism. Boeing, an important employer in Mesa, has received good news, Smith says, that will help solidify its position in the region, and MLB Spring Training continues to draw tourists to the state.

“If we can build upon our strengths … I think we can create a new or expanded economic base that will help us to grow in an organic and measured manner, rather than the boom-and-bust that we experience when we depend on growth as an industry,” Smith says.

Participation in GPEC and working with other cities, he adds, will be much more helpful for Arizona’s overall economy than a city trying to work its problems out on its own.

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Arizona Tourism Alliance Brian Johnson

Arizona Tourism Alliance

Brian Johnson, managing director Loews Ventana CanyonBrian Johnson
Managing Director
Loews Ventana Canyon
www.loewshotels.com

With 33 years in the industry, Brian Johnson has experienced firsthand the roller coaster ride the tourism industry takes as the economy shifts. Johnson has risen far in his career, working his way up from a dishwasher to his current position as managing director of the iconic Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson. But even a resort as well known and popular as the Loews Ventana Canyon must work hard during tough economic times and low tourism rates.

“As anyone else, we have to find ways to create a new wrinkle that will bring people back to our property,” he says. In the past and in recent days, those new wrinkles have included renovations, nature trail additions that harmonize with the surrounding environment, and a butterfly garden. As one of the first ecologically conceived hotels, the environment has always played a part in all of their decisions, he explains.

Johnson’s involvement in the Arizona Tourism Alliance, where he serves on the executive committee, has been beneficial for both himself and the resort.

“It’s one of these things where you have a group of like-minded people who are dealing with the same issues and putting everyone together to create that effect that will help the common good of our industry,” he says. “It’s a global standpoint; we’re not just looking at one area, we’re looking at all the components and doing what is good for all of Arizona.

“I think in our industry, you can be whoever you want to be. This industry has created that opportunity for me and my family … ”


Lorraine Pino, manager of Glendale Convention and Visitors BureauLorraine Pino
Manager
Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau
www.visitglendale.com

Spend just five minutes with Lorraine Pino and one thing becomes obvious — she’s passionate about tourism, not only in Glendale, but the whole state of Arizona.

As manager of the newly appointed Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau (formerly the Glendale Office of Tourism), Pino promotes all Glendale has to offer. She has managed several campaigns that benefit both Glendale and the West Valley. One such campaign is Shop Glendale, a program that provides daily discounts and monthly prizes for the public from more than 70 business participants. To date, more than 35,000 Shop Glendale cards have been distributed.

Pino also helped create the West Valley Events Coalition, which brought West Valley cities together to pool their resources for advertising and marketing efforts geared toward tourism.

Involvement in the Arizona Tourism Alliance has been vital to the efforts of Pino and her team, she says.

“The resources, education and connectivity of the Arizona Tourism Alliance (ATA) are a huge help and much needed foundation for CVBs and DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations) throughout the state,” Pino explains. “With our recent transition to a convention and visitors bureau, the resources of the ATA were monumental in helping us form our business plan.”

The new status as a CVB has brought a wealth of positive changes, she says. Funding from the members can now be used toward more aggressive marketing and branding efforts.


Doug Yonko, vice president of communication Hensley DistributingDoug Yonko
Vice President of Communication
Hensley Distributing
www.hensley.com

Doug Yonko is a true believer in longevity and commitment. Just take a look at his employment history with Hensley Distributing. The Phoenix-based beer distributor has existed for 55 years and Yonko — who works as the vice president of communications — has been with the company for more than half that time.

Hensley Distributing is active in many of the community’s charitable efforts, and encourages its employees to do likewise. The company and its employees are also committed to being involved in key issues that impact the state, including Arizona’s tourism. Yonko demonstrates that objective through his involvement on the Arizona Tourism Alliance’s executive committee, where he says he has the “opportunity to connect with some really smart people who truly understand the significance of tourism.”

The downturn in the economy and political issues such as SB 1070 have hit the tourism industry hard, Yonko says, but the situation has taught the business community how to withstand hard times.

“I believe there is a silver lining in these challenges,” he says. “The issues ranging from immigration to budget cuts, etc., have brought the business community closer in terms of the discussion and development for long-range solutions to protect and to foster the growth of the tourism industry. … We have to hold ourselves accountable, as well as the Legislature for our future — funding is critically important if Arizona is to remain competitive.”

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

AZ Big Media 25 years

Arizona Business Magazine Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

An important lesson in the launch of any business or new product is to learn everything you can about your target consumer, and that’s exactly what Mike Atkinson did when he bought the Office Guide to Phoenix 25 years ago. He approached leaders in the community in such industries as health care and law, and asked them what they wanted and needed from a local business magazine.

“I took reams of notes and what came out of it was Arizona Business Magazine,” Atkinson says. “The research led me down a path of this is how it should look and read.”

Atkinson was inspired to enter the publishing arena because it presented the chance to exercise his artistic abilities. He wanted to create “a product that was fundamentally art-related and a product that could help inspire, excite and help educate,” he explains. “I’m an artist at heart, so the magazine’s pages were like my mini-canvases.”

Initially, Atkinson was the sole employee of the publication — he wrote the stories, shot the photos and sold the ads. Today, however, the company has increased to nearly 30 employees and publishes an additional six titles, including AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate, Ranking Arizona, Experience AZ, People to Know, Creative Designer and Scottsdale Home & Design. The flagship publication has also undergone many changes over the years, including its frequency, which has gone from quarterly to bimonthly, and in February 2008, to monthly. The company has evolved as well, and last year was re-named AZ Big Media.

Atkinson didn’t limit his creativity to the magazines, however. In 1991, the company launched its first Arizona Home & Building Expo, which is now in its 18th year. AZ Big Media also hosts a series of awards and events that honor various segments of the business community, from health care to finance. In March 2009, the company held its inaugural Southwest Build-it-Green Expo & Conference. AZ Big Media’s newest venture, the Home & Design Idea Center, opens this summer. The company is also building a strong presence online with its new Web site, www.azbigmedia.com, where readers can find many of the stories featured in each magazine.

“If you go to our Web site, you’ll see ‘online’ is where we’re heading in the future,” Atkinson says. He adds that the future will include more home shows when the market is ready for them. He also hints of possibly even adding a radio station.

If he could go back in time and change one thing, Atkinson says, it would involve the company’s interaction with its audience online.

“At the time, we were just learning about the Internet, and I remember one of my editors came in my office and said ‘Guess where I was today? I was on the computer and I was talking to people all the way in Italy!’ and he began to describe how it took him to different places,” he says. “I thought that was pretty cool, but I didn’t have the foresight to say, ‘This computer Web thing just might turn out to be something really big!’ ”

Looking back on the past 25 years, Atkinson says his success is due to two key things: “Hard work and surrounding myself with the right people.”

Here’s to one day cashing in this 25-year silver achievement for gold.

Craig Jackson of Barrett Jackson

Craig Jackson – CEO Of Barrett-Jackson

When Craig Jackson took control of his family’s business, Barrett-Jackson, following the death of his father and brother in 1993 and 1995, respectively, he inherited a company that took in $15 million from one automobile auction. He was ready for the challenge, however, having grown up in the business and working in various roles. Today, the company has grown to three auctions — one in Scottsdale, one in Palm Beach, Fla., and one in Las Vegas — and made roughly $135 million at its 2008 auctions. But to achieve that growth, Jackson had to make several changes.

“My goal was to make it more inclusive and more of a family-oriented lifestyle event, whereas before, you’d call it the boys club,” Jackson says. “(It wasn’t) something the wives felt like they had their own place.”

Live television coverage on the SPEED Network, an active Web presence, myriad vendors of food, clothing and accessories, and a fashion show were all among the auction’s new image. Jackson also broadened the core of the auction — its selection of automobiles.

“Car collecting now isn’t just classics,” he says. “It’s everything that’s got collectability and uniqueness to it. It’s a much broader hobby and industry.

“To have sustainability in this business, you need to have new collectors and a much broader assortment because some things are hot one year and some things are cold another,” he continues. “We’re like the New York Stock Exchange — we sell commodities from all sorts of different types of cars to all sorts of different types of buyers in an open arms-like transaction.”

The current economy, Jackson says, has not had too much of an impact on the business as of yet. The auctions are still garnering a lot of attention. The 2008 Scottsdale auction alone had an attendance of 286,000 people, 30 percent of whom flew in from out of state. However, he is planning some cutbacks in regard to logistics for the auction, including ending the auction earlier than usual. This year’s Scottsdale auction runs from Jan. 11-18 at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

The tourism industry in Arizona is heading in the right direction during this time, Jackson says, but it needs everyone to work together in order to make it stronger.

“Tourism is one of those things that needs constant looking after,” he explains. “There’s constantly a game plan by other states and cities to whittle away at it; this one should have a game plan how not to allow that to happen and not take it for granted. … There are other communities that are very aggressive and their job is to come steal what we have here, and if there’s nobody making sure we’re all getting the support we need, then all of the sudden (moving an event) seems pretty attractive.”

It’s especially important that Arizona municipalities work together, considering that other destinations don’t consider the state a threat, Jackson says. He attended a meeting in Las Vegas when the city government was voting on funding for a new convention center, and while there he saw a chart that listed other cities considered to be their competition — and Phoenix wasn’t listed.

“They’ve already discounted us,” he says, “and that was pretty telling. … It’s in Scottsdale’s best interest, it’s in Phoenix’s, it’s in Paradise Valley’s, it’s in everybody’s to work together collaboratively. … I think it’s turning in the right direction. We’ve let it atrophy for a while, but it needs, actually, an infusion of capital and attention.”

www.barrett-jackson.com

Evolution Tea Team

David Watson Revolutionizes Tea Industry

Revolution Tea — the name of the company says it all. In the late 1990s, after watching a rise in tea plarity at his wife’s tea room in Scottsdale, Larry DeAngelis recognized that the tea industry would soon experience a transformation, and he wanted to get involved prior to the “revolution.”

In 2001, he was joined by David Watson, who acquired majority ownership. Today, DeAngelis continues to serve as CEO, while Watson is chairman.

Watson is no stranger to making a company successful. He has dipped his hand in several industries, including real estate and cosmetics. In fact, he was president of BioMedic Clinical Care, which was sold to L’Oreal in 2001.

Watson says that when he joined Revolution Tea, he “saw what Starbucks did for coffee has happened (for tea at Revolution Tea).”

The company revolutionized the industry with its Infuser tea bag, which contains full-leaf teas and a carefully researched blend of natural fruits, herbs and spices. The special bag produces a fuller-bodied flavor due to its larger size and material. It now has 26 flavors to choose from; the five best-selling blends are Tropical Green, Sweet Ginger Peach, White Pear, English Breakfast and Earl Grey Lavender. They even have several organic flavors, including Organic Scottish Breakfast Tea and Organic White Chai Tea.

“The biggest challenge,” Watson says, “was educating the consumer they can have better packaged tea.”

They not only educated the consumer – they changed an industry. Today, more than three-dozen companies use the Infuser bag.

In May, the company continued making headway with the launch of Revolution 3D, which was introduced, Watson says, as a healthier alternative to soda and energy drinks. The canned beverage is a blend of fruit juice, multivitamins, and white tea, and is available in green apple, blueberry, mango and pomegranate. It is currently only available in Arizona and California, but it will be rolled out to the rest of the U.S. over the next 18 months.

The company has experienced rapid growth since 2002. In both 2005 and 2006, it grew 40 percent and its 40 employees work in a 37,000-square-foot warehouse in Phoenix. Watson is quick to give credit where credit is due, and says Revolution Tea would not be where it is today without all of its employees.

“Surround yourself with experts,” he recommends to other entrepreneurs. “Be humble to know what you’re not good at.”

The company also works out of contract warehouses in three other states that help distribute the products throughout the U.S. and to more than 40 countries worldwide. In addition, the products can be found in approximately 2,500 restaurants and 6,000 grocery stores. Every new product launched, however, is initially only offered in Arizona and California.

“Arizona historically has been a testing ground for new products and services,” Watson says. “It has a makeup of diverse constituencies. … If (a product) will work in Arizona, it will work anywhere.”

Kona Grill opening new location

Kona Grill Opens Third Location In The Valley

By Noelle Coyle and Janet Perez

Despite the sluggish economy, restaurants continue to open or expand in the Valley, and Arizona native Kona Grill is no exception. Originally founded in Scottsdale in 1998, the restaurant has expanded throughout the United States, with locations in Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Texas and Florida. In June, it came back to its roots with the opening of a new location in Gilbert, and there are more plans for growth on the horizon. The Gilbert location joins two other Kona Grills in the Valley at Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Center.

The new Gilbert restaurant opened at SanTan Village, one of many recent outdoor lifestyle malls built in the Valley. Kona Grill’s interior includes many of its signature features, including soft lighting, a granite sushi bar and a 2,000-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with exotic fish.

Like its decor, Kona Grill’s menu is an inspired combination of American comfort food and Pacific Rim ingredients.

The appetizers exemplify this philosophy with onion rings served with a pineapple chipotle and spicy mustard sauce; blackened catfish or macadamia nut chicken tacos; calamari with a spicy aioli dipping sauce; and Kahuna Bites, beef sliders seasoned with onions and thyme. I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite Kona Grill appetizers is no longer on the menu, a spicy salmon sashimi paired with sour cream and avocado and wrapped in a flour tortilla that is then flash-fried. Here’s hoping Kona Grill brings that delight back.

Kona GrillThe dinner menu abounds with baby back ribs, pizzas, macadamia nut chicken, lemon grass crusted halibut and sweet chili-glazed salmon. The pizza toppings run the gamut of exotic from regular pepperoni to shitake mushrooms and goat cheese. The macadamia nut chicken might sound simple, but it features a shoyu cream sauce and a pineapple-papaya marmalade.

A special treat is the Big Island Meatloaf. If you’re expecting it to be just like Mom used to make, you’ll be in for a surprise — unless Mom hails from Hawaii. The meatloaf is made with sweet Italian and Andouille sausage with a mushroom ragu. The dish is topped off with white cheddar mashed potatoes and wok-tossed vegetables.

If you’re in the mood for steak, Kona Grill provides with 6 and 10-ounce filets, and a 20-ounce, bone-in rib-eye.

Now for me, the real attraction to Kona Grill is the sushi. I love sushi, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so with its full-complement of non-sushi dishes, friends and I can go to Kona Grill and both be happy.

The basic rolls and sashimi are handled well at Kona Grill, but it’s the restaurant’s specialty sushi dishes that are a real delight.

Called Kona Rolls, my favorites are the spider roll, deep fried soft-shell crab with crab mix, avocado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and soy paper, and topped with a sweet eel sauce; and the Sunshine Roll, spicy salmon with cucumbers wrapped with rice and seaweed, and topped with fresh salmon and thinlysliced lemon. Of the chef’s specials, I’m a fan of the Volcano, a dish made of baked crab, white fish and yamagobo (pickled burdock plant) and topped with motoyaki sauce, sriracha and eel sauce.

The Asian-fusion philosophy doesn’t extend to the dessert menu. The goodies there are strictlyall-American with fudge brownies, apple crisps, banana pudding and even a root beer float. The one exception is the crème brûlée, in which the traditional custard is infused with fresh passion fruit.

Mark Timms, CEO and Owner of Cool Clubs, 2008

Mark Timms, Founder and CEO of Cool Clubs

Mark Timms

Founder and CEO, Cool Clubs
Industry: Golf
Est: 2007

By Noelle Coyle

Passion is an important key to making a business venture successful, and Mark Timms parlayed two of his passions — golf and building — into the creation of his company, Cool Clubs.

Mark Timms, CEO and Founder of Cool Clubs, 2008

After college, Timms began a career in banking, but he says he soon got bored with the industry. In 1990, he opened a golf store in Connecticut. He then moved to Arizona in 2000 and opened Hot Stix Golf, a high-end custom fitting company for golfers. At the end of 2005, he sold his majority interest in the company, left in April 2006, and started Cool Clubs in April 2007. The difference between the

two companies, he explains, is that Cool Clubs utilizes newer technologies.

The concept behind Cool Clubs is to help people play better golf and this is achieved by creating custom golf clubs. Aspects taken into consideration for each club include how fast you swing, whether you slice the ball or hook it, your height, and whether you hit the ball high or low.

“We try to match their swing characteristics to the club that’s going to help them the most, and that varies from person to person,” Timms says. “PING might work better for some people and Callaway’s better for others. … A lot of stuff affects which clubs you look at.”

The fittings available are driver, long game, iron and wedges, putting and gap. Each of the fittings costs $100 and lasts for one hour, except for the iron and wedge fitting, which takes 1 1/2 hours and costs $150.

The facility, which is just under 10,000 square feet, features four private fitting bays where customers’ swing characteristics can be evaluated. There are also two putter fitting studios, which feature eight high-speed video cameras that capture various angles of your swing to help staff create more precise club fittings.

cover, July 2008

Timms has built a strong reputation in the industry, which has helped produce a client list of who’s who in pro golf. Cool Clubs also sees more amateur players, Timms says, explaining that most of his clients are avid golfers, not those who play maybe once a month for recreation.

The company only had three employees when it opened, but it has already grown to 25, and Timms expects to be near 40 by the end of the year. A second location will be opening in July in San Francisco, and an additional two locations will open by the end of the year in undisclosed locations.

“Our mission statement is to play better golf and that’s really what we’re here for,” Timms says. “(We’re) not trying to sell you something you don’t need or something that doesn’t work. Our finished focus is to make them play better and they do.”

www.coolclubs.com

 

AZ Business Magazine July 2008 |
Elements At The Sanctuary Delights Guest With Its Fresh, Local Ingredients, 2008

Elements At The Sanctuary Delights Guest With Its Fresh, Local Ingredients

Elements of Taste

elements at the Sanctuary delights guests with its fresh, local ingredients

Elements At The Sanctuary Delights Guest With Its Fresh, Local Ingredients, 2008

By Noelle Coyle

Set scene: A wood-paneled ceiling, hues of gray, black

and white, and wall-to-wall windows

offering views of Mummy Mountain, Piestewa Peak and the praying monk at Camelback Mountain. Asian accents can be found throughout — each table is adorned with a bamboo arrangement and a little Yin and Yang dish containing salt and pepper; paper lanterns hang overhead; and modern Japanese screens separate the dining area from wait staff. It’s just enough to get the point across without being overwhelming. This is the just the beginning of what guests will experience at elements, a restaurant concept at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.

I must admit, our party was looking forward to the evening. As would anyone familiar with the background of Executive Chef Beau MacMillan. The Massachusetts native has an impressive background in the culinary industry, and in recent years he has put elements in the national spotlight with appearances on NBC’s “Today” and The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” In fact, MacMillan battled against Iron Chef Bobby Flay to see who had the best American Kobe beef, and MacMillan came out on top with his critically acclaimed short ribs.
Our evening began with a chef’s tasting — a diver scallop with diced tomatoes, served on a small bed of grits — a light treat just enough to get your juices flowing for a taste of what was to come. The next course, our appetizers, did not disappoint. Our favorites were the spring melon and prosciutto, a light and refreshing arrangement of fresh fruits and prosciutto; and the creamy spinach and Parmesan casserole, a delectably rich dip served with tomato jam and herb toast. Although messy, it was too good to stop eating.

For our salads, we chose contrasting flavors — the organic spinach and frisee salad, served with Mandarin oranges, beets and pistachios for a sweet indulgence, and the more tangy farmer’s market, served with cucumber, carrots, daikon radish and soy vinaigrette.

July Cover 2008

While the entree menu (which changes seasonally) is a diverse selection of enticing meals, once I discovered they were serving MacMillan’s braised beef short ribs, I looked no further. I was curious to find out how award-winning short ribs would taste, and I was not disappointed. They were juicy and tender, so tender that the knife by my plate wasn’t necessary. Served with skillet roasted vegetables and grits (one of my all-time favorite foods), they were the crowd favorite at our table. The other winner of the evening was the bacon-wrapped filet of beef, served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, balsamic onions, mushrooms and blue cheese.

My favorite part of any meal, the dessert, was just as satisfying. If you order the chocolate peanut butter decadence, it’s best to share it with someone, due to its overwhelmingly rich ingredients. On the other hand, if you like having the dessert all to yourself, try the passion fruit cheesecake. Served with fresh strawberries, mango and a strawberry sorbet, its light textures and sweet flavor are the perfect way to end the evening.

www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com

 

AZ Business Magazine July 2008 |
Janet Napolitano

Gov. Janet Napolitano Is The Public Face Of Super Bowl XLII

Head Coach

New governors often inherit their predecessors’ programs and initiatives — the good and the bad — when they take office. So it was when Gov. Janet Napolitano officially took the state’s helm in 2003. But at least one of those programs already had her stamp of approval.

Governor Janet Napolitano

Proposition 302, which provided funding for the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, other sports-related programs and authorized the creation of the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority, was passed by voters two years before Napolitano took office. She says it has been money well spent.

“The voters decided to spend the money on the stadium and I think it’s proven to be a good decision,” she says. “We’ve been able to attract a lot of different events to Arizona because of that new venue and the Super Bowl is a great way to showcase Arizona.”

Napolitano, along with Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, then-bid committee chairman Gregg Holmes and retired ABC newscaster Hugh Downs, presented the bid to host Super Bowl XLII to National Football League team owners in 2003.

“They had already put together a good presentation. I just added my two cents worth as governor of the state that we were very supportive of the bid and we would do everything we could to support the Super Bowl,” she says.

The team’s efforts paid off, as did Prop. 302’s goal. And, Napolitano points out, other items funded by Prop. 302 have been successful as well.

“It’s not just the Super Bowl and the stadium, but the Cactus League venues, which are growing by leaps and bounds, the playing fields for young people and their teams, and all the other things that got wrapped into that funding for 302,” she says.

Short term, she says the Super Bowl will produce a lot of fun activities for the state and will generate an estimated $400 million in revenue. Long term, she expects the Super Bowl will generate interest among developers and investors to support Arizona.

“I’m hopeful that we can use this as an opportunity to show this state as a growing, vibrant economy,” Napolitano says. “A state that has a lot of things going on beyond sports and beyond some of the common stereotypes about Arizona.”

That includes construction, new laboratories, high-tech companies and medical schools, all of which she describes as the “foundation for our economy as we move forward.”

In 2008, Napolitano will focus on improving education, dealing with growth and transportation issues and protecting open space.

Arizona Business Magazine December-January 2008“We’re really looking to enrich, grow and diversify the economic performance here,” she says. “We’re going to have a good, fiscally sound budget that keeps investment where it needs to be, so that when we come out of the housing downturn, we haven’t cut off our nose to spite our face with respect to the state budget. Long term, the key thing is going to be education. None of this happens in terms of economic performance, generation of wealth … unless you have a sound education system underlying it, so we need to continue to keep our focus there.

“Being governor is a great honor. It’s the ability to try to set the agenda for the state — to try to enunciate our vision for this new Arizona we’re building and strategies on how to get there that are pragmatic and fit within our pocketbooks that keep us moving forward. I’m proud to say that I think we’ve done that over the past five years and we’re going to continue to.”

 

www.azgovernor.gov

AZ Business Magazine Dec-Jan 2008 | Next: Pampered Pooches…

Photography by Cassandra Tomei

Cover Story – Into the Blue

Into the Blue

Decades later Luke Air Force Base continues its mission

 

Most would agree they get a thrill watching jets take off and perform maneuvers with Kenny Loggins’ vocals in the background, right out of a movie like Top Gun. Arizonans can experience that thrill first-hand just by driving to the West Valley.

Into the BlueMore than 60 years ago, the city of Phoenix leased 1,440 acres to the federal government for the establishment of an Army Air Corps training field, known today as Luke Air Force Base. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles of desert, the base enjoyed years of solitude as it trained fighter pilots. However, Phoenix and surrounding communities grew at an astonishing rate, and the base found its once quiet location surrounded by a bustling metropolis. In an effort to stem the tide of urban encroachment, the base established the Community Initiatives Team (CIT) in June 2003, led by Director Rusty Mitchell in conjunction with the base’s commander, Brig. Gen. Noel T. Jones.

While Jones just joined Luke AFB in June 2006, he is no stranger to the Air Force and its goals. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1980, Jones has served on Air Force bases across the country and around the world, including California, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina, Spain and South Korea. He also commanded the 332nd Expeditionary Wing in southwest Asia during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In regard to urban encroachment, Jones says Luke AFB sets a standard for other military bases to follow. “I would propose that Luke AFB is the model for how to deal with encroachment concerns,” he says. “Over the last several years, Luke AFB has proactively provided the surrounding cities, county and state staffs with the information they need to zone for compatible land uses around the base. As you know, Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, and as such, it is in Luke’s best interest to provide the information they need to ensure our capability to perform the mission is preserved.”

Mitchell, who has led CIT since its inception, agrees that the program is one of a kind. “The Air Force has identified us as a ‘best practice’ for the Air Force—something that works, something that’s good and for other bases to emulate. My staff and myself travel to other bases at their request to assist them in addressing encroachment issues and in some cases, setting up an office similar to ours.”

The wing commander at that time, Brig. Gen. Phil Breedlove, recognized the increasing pressure from developers in the West Valley and wanted to set up a full-time office that could provide a faster response to those needs.

“One of the common complaints of the cities was they wanted to help, but they just didn’t know what our requirements were,” Mitchell explains. Mitchell and his staff meet with state representatives on a regular basis to review past legislation and discuss the possibility of future protections for the base. They also monitor city council agendas and attend city council meetings when land, close to the base’s border, or noise lines is called into question. He stresses that CIT has no zoning or veto authority on any development. All his staff can do is share with the public and government authorities the bases’ compatibility issues and hope everyone’s best interests can be met.

Luke AFB hasn’t always had problems with development though. In fact, Mitchell can remember when the location was thought of as the most remote in the area.

“I went to flight school at Williams Air Force Base in the ‘70s and nobody wanted to be assigned to Luke AFB because it was so far away from anything,” he says. “It’s just incredible—30 years ago, Luke wasn’t just on the outskirts, it was out of town.”

But now, the base is surrounded by cities like El Mirage, Glendale and Litchfield Park. Mitchell and his staff have established solid relationships with the surrounding communities’ leaders and he feels they have encroachment issues under control.

“Whenever there’s development, there are issues, but we feel confident that we have stabilized incompatible growth in the West Valley as far as our mission is concerned,” he says. “The danger is there, but it’s certainly not getting worse. It’s refreshing and heartwarming, really, to see the support of all the cities.”

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs gives the base her full support and says the personnel are like family. “Luke personnel are really members of our community,” she says. “They are involved in every aspect of our community—they are boy scout and girl scout leaders in schools, [they] volunteer hours to nonprofits. Too many times the personnel are thought of as being remote when in fact they are our neighbors…and they contribute a tremendous amount to make [the community] stronger and better.”

El Mirage Mayor Fred Waterman also supports Luke’s mission but admits his city struggles to find appropriate space for development, especially for schools. “One-third of our city is under their noise zone, so we’ve had to change the zoning immensely,” he says. “We can’t build certain things in different areas because of the potential impact on Luke.”

Mitchell says he’s aware of this dilemma and is working with the school board in El Mirage to find an appropriate location. “The attorney general has historically ruled that no school can be built inside our 65 decibel noise line, and that’s the problem El Mirage has,” he explains. “As you get closer to the runway, it becomes a safety issue and the state has determined that the risk is too high to allow schools inside that area.”

Financially, Luke AFB is a huge asset to Arizona. In fact, the base contributes in excess of $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy.

“It’s like its own city,” Scruggs says. “They contract for a large amount of services and goods and those contracts are through cities throughout the state. Also, the personnel spend money here and many people come to visit, so it contributes to tourism dollars. Their impact is within all reaches of the state, but first and foremost, they are a key part of our nation’s security system.”

“We don’t focus on that as our main purpose of being here,” Mitchell says in regard to their financial impact. “We are the only active duty F-16 training base in the world, which is critical to our nation’s defense.”

In fact, pilots trained at Luke will often times be in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan within 30 days of his or her completed training. The base also trains F-16 maintenance personnel, whose expertise is crucial to pilots’ success.

“A big change at Luke over the last 10 years has been our requirement to deploy mission-ready war fighters into the war. We probably average close to 1,000 personnel a year deploying over to the war and we don’t get backfill for those. We’re a 10-man football team—everybody steps up and does the job.”

With the ongoing war, Luke is unlikely to be closed any time soon. Mitchell explains the base was only closed once, temporarily, in the late 1940s due to inactivity. After a recent reevaluation, Luke’s grades on military value and other issues are high enough to ensure it will not be closed. But, Mitchell and his team must continue to keep a close eye on development to ensure encroachment does not jeopardize the base’s mission, Jones says.

“I don’t like to deal in hypotheticals,” Jones explains when asked if development would cause a base closure. “I will say that based on the great support we receive from the surrounding communities, county and state, I do not foresee encroachment growing to the point where we would be unable to conduct our training mission. It does require constant vigilance and monitoring, and that’s why we have committed a full-time staff to ensure the community has the information required to make sure the developments surrounding the base are compatible.”

Mitchell agrees with Jones’ assessment and says it takes a group effort between CIT and the surrounding communities.

AZ Business Magazine February March 2007“As long as the state of Arizona and surrounding communities continue to do the outstanding job they’re doing now, recognizing the mission requirements of Luke, there’s no reason at all that Luke cannot exist,” Mitchell says. “If it wasn’t for the support of Gen. Breedlove and the subsequent wing commanders (Gen. Rand and Gen. Jones), we would meld away into the wing and I think the base would be in danger. [CIT] has been accepted throughout the Air Force as, really, the way it needs to go in the future.”

www.luke.af.mil

 

AZ Business Magazine Feb Mar ’07 |   Next: Trojan Horse