Author Archives: Peter Madrid

Peter Madrid

About Peter Madrid

Peter Madrid has more than 30 years of experience in the newspaper industry as an editor and reporter at USA Today, Kansas City Star, Tucson Citizen and Arizona Republic. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico.

The Valley Partnership Community Project Committee toured nonprofits Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Valley Life.

Valley Partnership Reviews Sites for 2014 Community Project

Inspiring and heart-rending.

Those two words stuck in my mind all day as the Valley Partnership Community Project Committee toured the sites recently and met with officials of the three finalists for the 2014 event.

All three nonprofit organizations opened up their worlds to us and gave us an opportunity to learn more about them and those they serve.
• Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped;
• Boys Hope Girls Hope;
• Valley Life.

The day began at AFH, a human services organization whose primary mission is to provide quality, individualized services to those with physical or intellectual challenges in the least restrictive environment.

This is the first year that AHF responded to the request for proposal from Valley Partnership. AHF offers programs for adults with physical or intellectual challenges to assist them in achieving desired outcomes. The facility is in need of major upgrades. Built in 1956 as a school, the facility sits a few blocks from the intersection of Thomas Road and 32nd St.

AFH has successfully helped the adults it serves find community employment in landscaping, restaurants, retail stores, hardware distribution and supermarkets. Center-based employment includes assembly, inspection, collation, mail services, sorting and packaging.

The 18 committee members then toured Boys Hope Girls Hope, which serves promising, highly motivated children-in-need with alternative housing, private school tuition, college scholarships, and the resources to break the cycle of poverty.

BHGH was named one of the top 10 U.S. college prep programs for disadvantaged students by the Educational Policy Institute. Eight boys and eight girls live in separate housing that provides family-like situations for children of significant need. Their need is an adequate outdoor area with a sports court and site work at the boy’s facility.

The third stop was Valley Life, a community-based organization that provides services to individuals with disabilities. And as its CEO said, “Giving dignity to the life of people.” On its wish list is a sensory garden at its 27th Ave. facility.

All three finalists have stories that inspire. But at the same time, it’s heartrending when you realize there are groups and individuals with needs that go unattended.

The annual community service project is a cornerstone for Valley Partnership and this is the first year that I have been involved in the entire process. I can already see the benefits of engaging in the committee early on instead of volunteering solely for the annual community project. Visiting with the groups that so desperately need our help gave me a whole new perspective.

Going on my first tour made me realize what Valley Partnership is really all about: partners giving back to the community.
“I am so proud of this committee and feel that it gives us all an opportunity to collectively make a huge impact,” said committee co-chair Dena Jones. “We have 10 new companies represented within the committee this year and it keeps growing.

“This committee is comprised of committed, hardworking, servant leaders who lead by example and invite other partners to get involved. I feel so fortunate to work alongside of so many professionals committed to giving back.”

The committee partners that gave of their time:
Dena Jones, NAI Horizon; Chris Patton, Rick Engineering; Janelle Schick, Schick Design Group; Jorge Pierson, CSHQA; Ben Shunk, Gorman and Company; Todd Howgard, Thomas Reprographics; Ed Hansen, Morgan Realty Advisors; Katie Reiner, Pacific Aquascape; Julianna Norvell, Marc Taylor Inc.; Heather Markham, Markham Contracting; Doug Craig, Norris Design; Kim Kleski, Olsson Associates; Kent Norcross, Dibble Engineering; Mark Beal, Ryan Companies US; Mike Markham, Markham Contracting; Lisa Rowe, Work Spaces; and Matt Marcus, Ninyo & Moore.


Mark-Taylor, Kitchell Break Ground On Southern Arizona Development


A year after opening two successful multi-family developments in Maricopa County, the joint venture of Mark-Taylor and Kitchell has embarked on a unique mixed-use development that brings out the best of their combined experience and utilizes the gorgeous backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The 24-acre development in Oro Valley, being called “San Dorado,” will combine an exclusive residential rental community with a unique shopping destination. The project recently broke ground at the SEC of First Avenue and Oracle Road, in the shadows of gorgeous Pusch Ridge.

Mark-Taylor is designing and overseeing construction of the 274-unit exclusive apartment community, the Villas at San Dorado, while Kitchell will spearhead the retail component.

The “main street” style is a multi-use center that will house a unique list of retailers and restaurants, in addition to incorporating a few acres of grassy open space, which could be utilized by the town for chili-cook offs, farmer’s markets, etc.

There will be a series of interconnected pathways and ramadas built between to two developments, as well as a grand entry monument built on Oracle Road to promote the “resort-style” sense of arrival.

“This location in and of itself is quite an attractive place to live and warrants an upscale apartment community, but by offering a unique place to shop and dine next door, this development becomes truly one-of-a-kind,” said Mark-Taylor Vice President Chris Brozina. “Walkability to this degree is a very rare feature in the Arizona market.”

The Villas at San Dorado will provide the most spacious apartments in Southern Arizona, offering one, two, and three-bedroom floor plans averaging nearly 1,100 SF. The Villas’ features include some you may only expect to see in a modern, custom home, such as kitchen islands, custom wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, distressed plank flooring, dual-vanity sinks, pendant lighting, and private garages.

“It’s difficult to compare apartments today versus those built even 10 years ago. The interior finishes have clearly been taken to another level, but the amenities offered within the community rival those of professional gyms and spas,” Brozinasaid.

The Villas will feature the largest fitness facility in the industry, a spinning studio, virtual personal trainers, a cyber café with Mac and PC options, the quintessential lagoon-style pool that has become a Mark-Taylor trademark, and a guard-housed porte-cochere main entry gate.

The rental community is expected to open for leasing in the Spring of 2014, along with many of the retailers.


DPR Construction Building Out Las Vegas Law Firm Gordon Silver


DPR Construction’s Phoenix Regional Office is managing all construction services for DPR throughout Nevada, led by Corporate Office Leader Michael Rauschenberger.

The Gordon Silver Corporate Headquarters Tenant Improvement is designed by architect Gary Lee Partners.

Gordon Silver, a law firm, chose Alliance Project Advisors with eight offices across the nation, to oversee the work.

Subcontractors include American Demolition, Helix Electric and Ideal Mechanical T.

The project began in August with an expected completion date of 1Q 2014.

The 55,000 SF tenant improvement at 3960 Howard Hughes Parkway encompasses full demolition and build-back on the 7th, 8th and 9th floors, with high-end millwork and finishes for the partners offices on the 8th and 9th floors.

The existing 9th floor Data Center will remain operational, feeding the swing space via fiber runs between the buildings until the new data center on the 7th floor is complete. The 7th floor will consist of several conference rooms and a high-end lobby area.



Cabana On Thomas Wins Top Design Award From ASID


Deco Communities’ Cabana on Thomas project won the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Arizona North Chapter’s prestigious Adaptive Use award, a top design industry award honoring excellence in interior design.

Cabana on Thomas is one of Deco Communities’ apartment renovation projects in which infill buildings are revamped and given a new vibrant life. The property’s interior design team is Valley-based Private Label International. Private Label a full service, integrated interior design firm that develops strategic environments and lifestyle brands.

“The Private Label team has been instrumental in helping us define the Cabana brand as a concept that is fresh, inspired and forward-thinking in terms of style and design,” said Deco Communities Partner Rob Lyles. “We are honored that Private Label has received this prestigious award. This award is recognition that the Cabana brand is setting the standard for adaptive use projects both in the Valley, and across the country.”

Deco Communities purchased the 1960’s apartment complex in an transitional urban location and wanted to breathe new life back into this once-desirable place to live. The project scope included a comprehensive property-repositioning plan inclusive of exterior paint schemes, signage, graphic and cultural brand elements.

Public spaces included a leasing office and club room, bike storage, EV charging stations, model units, branded laundries, a fitness center, as well as exterior common spaces and signature pool cabanas. The challenges were to transform the property on a minimal budget and reuse as much of the existing architecture as possible. The overall vision for the property was strongly influenced by international fashion trends, national art and design, with a focus on the local community.

The designers pulled in unique vintage pieces from the neighborhood shops, incorporated one-of-a-kind art, and brought in a local artist to create exterior murals as public art. The combination of each of these elements resulted in the unique look that is attracting both tenants and the attention of the design community.

Representing the Society’s rich history, the annual ASID Design Awards signify the highest level of excellence in the interior design community, honoring those who have made substantial contributions toward the advancement of the profession, while exemplifying a commitment to enhancing quality of life.



JBA Consulting Engineers Opens Arizona Office


JBA Consulting Engineers (JBA), a global leader in active building systems, began operations in Arizona recently. It named Michael Shafer, CTS and Timothy Johnson RCDD, CTS as Managers of Technology Design Solutions and Senior Project Consultant respectively.

Shafer and Johnson’s more than 50 years of combined experience and vast knowledge of the market will allow JBA to provide consulting engineering services throughout Arizona and expand our expertise offerings to clients around the globe.

“Advances in technology continue to drive our global business and our core value of innovation.” said Dwayne Miller, CEO of JBA. “The expertise Michael and Timothy bring to our company enhances our ability to provide better solutions for our clients while also helping us drive our mission of improving and protecting the human environment.”

“The ubiquitous nature of technology results in a strong belief that all project designs should lead with technology. The progression of IP as de-facto standard has resulted in the evolution of facility technology from a legacy ecosystem of a cobbled mish mash of proprietary systems to a holistic platform of cross functional mesh networks.

“The addition of Michael and Timothy provides unique context for the Arizona market while also strengthening and further positioning JBA’s team of technologists as thought leaders and worldwide trusted advisors.”

Shafer joins with a long history of success advising clients such as the Mayo Clinic, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and a who’s who of architectural firms supplying them with visionary advice throughout the design, development and master planning of projects.

His more than 28 years of experience as an audiovisual expert and CTS have taken him around the globe while serving in leadership positions at SMW, Sparling, Avidex and most recently as a principal at the Sextant Group.

His vast knowledge of distant learning and class room technology for the healthcare and university sectors has positioned Michael as the thought leader for these hi-tech projects and in demand speaker within the AV convention circuit.

Johnson’s more than 32 years of experience as a telecommunication designer, CTS, RCDD and member of BICSI make him a perfect addition as a Worldwide Trusted Advisor. His s vast knowledge of data center, low voltage design and advanced infrastructure has positioned him as a prominent IT technologist in the region and Trusted Advisor for clients such as UA, ASU, College of the Desert and Oregon.

Martha Banning, CPSM, recently joined JBA’s Arizona office as to Manager of Corporate Business Development to lead the growth and development of JBA’s technology design solutions group (TDSG) for all domestic offices. She is a Certified Professional Services Marketer and brings more than 15 year experience in marketing professional services and client and project pursuit direction.



200,000 SF Tucson Medical Center West Pavilion Opens Its Doors


The Tucson Medical Center West Pavilion in Tucson opened recently, a project designed by Hobbs + Black Associates and built by JE Dunn Construction. The Tucson office of DLR Group also was part of the project.

The $74M, 200,000 SF medical facility consists of two major components. The first component is the main surgery department which features 24 operating rooms, 40 patient rooms, 58 PACU rooms and 45 prep/recovery rooms.

The second component is the Orthopedic Institute consisting of six radiology rooms, 74 exam rooms and 38 physicians offices. The project also includes a five-story, 633-stall precast parking garage, a 14,000 SF renovation of TMC’s Women’s Surgery Department and site infrastructure that includes bringing chilled water and electrical services from the central plant to the building.

Hobbs+Black’s visionary design for the new West Hospital complex combines a statement of technology and clinical excellence, with respect for the history and tradition of Tucson Medical Center and including the hospital’s significant ties to the community and pueblo roots.

Stone and copper are used to integrate the themes of the building, which houses two distinct surgery departments supporting the largest healthcare center in southern Arizona.

Subcontractors included Schuff Steel, Suntec Concrete, Borderland Construction, T-PAC, Sun Mechanical, Wilson Electric, MKB Construction and Kone Elevators.


hardison/downey construction Completes New High School Building For Phoenix Collegiate Academy


Phoenix Collegiate Academy, a free public charter school for 5th through 12th graders, has a new high school building ready for students coming back to classes this fall.

The building was designed by Steven Brenden Architect and built by hardison/downey construction.

rsz_2commons_4The 20,000 SF single-story building, at 12th St. & Broadway, includes classrooms, science labs, library, computer lab, lobby, student commons area and administration space housing staff offices, teacher workrooms, and conference rooms.

Since its inception, PCA has consistently been recognized as an outstanding educational facility, culminating with the distinction of being awarded the 2012 Arizona Charter School of the Year, given by the Arizona Charter Schools Association.

The success of PCA has landed it in the Building Excellent Schools (BES) family of schools nationally. In addition, it has recently been named recipient of the Inflection Point Grant, given by BES and funded by the Walton Family Foundation.


Gay Jarvis

Gay Jarvis Joins Cassidy Turley As Property Manager In Tucson


Cassidy Turley announced that Gay Jarvis has joined the company’s Property Management Group.

Jarvis will oversee the management of Tucson West, a 150,000 SF building at 333 E. Wetmore in Tucson. She will also oversee the management of the newly renovated Plaza Palomino, a 100,000 SF property at Swan Rd. and Fort Lowell in Tucson.

Jarvis will report to Senior Vice President Karinna Cassidy, CPM, in Cassidy Turley’s Los Angeles office.

“Gay is an accomplished and respected professional in the industry,” Cassidy said. “Her experience and connections with the Tucson real estate community will be a valuable asset to us and our client.”

Jarvis has more than 24 years experience in the real estate industry, the past 20 with Anthem Equity Group, Inc. She was an on-site manager for an eight-building, mixed-use property that included 40 executive suites, two restaurants and a large engineering firm. Ms. Jarvis was most recently the maintenance manager for the Anthem portfolio where she built integral relationships with a diverse group of tenants and vendors.

She holds a B.A. in Business with a minor in Computer Information Systems from National University, San Diego. She is the past president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Tucson. She was chosen as BOMA Tucson’s Principal Member of the Year in 2010.


Kirk McClure

McCarthy Building Companies Hires Kirk McClure As Director Of Business Development


McCarthy Building Companies recently hired Kirk McClure as Director of Business Development for the Southwest division. His primary focus will be on municipal, higher education and commercial construction projects.

In this position, McClure will play a key role, providing more than a decade of industry expertise with a diverse, well-rounded background in project management, commercial development and planning, and strategic planning.

He has been engaged in a broad range of business development and project management positions throughout his career, most recently as Vice President of Business Expansion for the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the state’s leading economic development organization.

McClure, a LEED accredited professional, has a critical understanding of the commercial real estate industry. Prior to his position at the ACA, he worked in land planning,project management and business development for Langdon Wilson, Atwell-Hicks, Graef and The Brooks Companies.

“Kirk has a passion for the commercial real estate industry and is extremely active within business circles here in Arizona,” said Bo Calbert, president of McCarthy Southwest. “The relationships he’s built through his previous positions and his volunteer activities will serve him well in his new role at McCarthy.”

McClure serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED), and is the chair for their annual golf tournament. He is also a member of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), SouthwestChapter of American Association of Airport Executives (SWAAAE) and has been an active member of CoreNet Global, Valley Partnership, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

He is also the founder and organizer of the monthly A/E/C Golf Invitational at Grayhawk Golf Club,which includes a league of professionals that work and support the development industry. He is also a USA Hockey-Certified youth hockey coach and has been coaching for more than 13 years, most recently with Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA).

He earned his MBA from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Design, also from ASU.


Greg Guglielmino

Investment Specialist Greg Guglielmino Joins Colliers' Phoenix Office


Colliers International in Greater Phoenix announced that Greg Guglielmino, senior associate, has joined the Phoenix office.

Guglielmino specializes in the acquisition and disposition of single- and multi-tenant office and medical investment properties for private and institutional clients. He partners with Marcus Muirhead, associate vice president of investments. Guglielmino is also a member of Colliers’ National Healthcare Services Group.

“Greg is a skilled professional and a great addition to our team,” said Bob Mulhern, managing director of Colliers. “His experience in office and medical investment sales will complement and enhance the capabilities of our established investment professionals. We are pleased to welcome Greg to Colliers.”

Guglielmino has more than 5 years of experience as an investment specialist, focusing on medical office property sales. He is an expert in financial modeling, property evaluation, detailed market research, and submarket trend analysis.

His experience includes working on behalf of private investors and institutional lenders in the sale of REO assets and investment properties involving closed listings and buyside opportunities. Prior to joining Colliers, Guglielmino was an investment associate with Marcus & Millichap’s Phoenix office.

“There are a lot of great individuals at Colliers and Marcus Muirhead is one of those individuals,” Guglielmino said. “With our similar investment backgrounds and the team approach encouraged within the organization, it is a natural fit to team with him. Together, our abilities and skill sets will add value for our clients and expand on Marcus’ positive track record for success and client satisfaction.”

He adds that the strong camaraderie within Colliers provides a positive, collaborative environment that reflects a commitment to achieving clients’ goals.

“The Colliers’ culture, management and people are refreshing and I am excited to be a part of the team.”

Guglielmino holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Small Business and Psychology and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University.


Marina Heights rendering courtesy of DAVIS.

More Than $1B In Valley Economic Development Projects Announced In Banner 48-Hour Period


It could be the best 48 hours ever for Valley development and commercial real estate: three projects and more than $1B in economic impact.

In the past 48 hours plans were revealed for three major investment and construction projects in Metro Phoenix, including today’s announcement of the $600M Marina Heights mixed-used development on Tempe Town Lake.

>> Grand Canyon University yesterday selected DMB Associates’ Eastmark development in Mesa for its $150M East Valley satellite campus. GCU has the right to purchase 100 acres at Eastmark with an option to add up to 60 additional acres for future expansion.

>> USA Place, LLC, has been selected to develop a new 330-room Omni Hotel and 30,000 SF conference center on a 10.5-acre site located at the SEC of Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe, subject to Tempe City Council and Arizona Board of Regents final approval of development agreements. In addition to the hotel and conference center, the $350M mixed-use development will include a new national headquarters and training center for USA Basketball, a 4,500-seat event center, 500 luxury apartments, 160,000 SF of retail and up to 200,000 SF of office space, including the new home for Arizona Interscholastic Association events.

The crowning jewel of the two-day development splash was announced this morning at the Carson Center on the ASU campus. Marina Heights is a 20-acre, mixed-use development that will include five office buildings leased by State Farm, retail amenities and a 10-acre plaza to be constructed over the next four years.

The 2 MSF project, considered the “largest office deal in Arizona history,” will be constructed on ASU land and developed by Sunbelt Holdings and Ryan Companies, US, Inc. Speakers included Gov. Jan Brewer, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, State Farm Senior Vice President Mary Crego, ASU President Dr. Michael Crow, Sunbelt Holdings CEO and President John Graham, and Ryan Companies, US, Inc. CEO and President Pat Ryan and Southwest Regional President John Strittmatter.

“We are so proud to be a part of the team that is bringing this major corporate project and thousands of new jobs to Tempe. With the completion of this transit-oriented development, the vision for Tempe Town Lake will be realized,” Graham said.

Ryan Companies begins construction this month. The 20-acre mixed-use development will include five office buildings leased by State Farm, retail amenities and a 10-acre plaza that will be constructed over the next four years. The first 370,000 SF building is expected to be complete by mid-2015.

“Along with our design/build partner DAVIS, we are thrilled to unveil the renderings and design of this new campus today,” Strittmatter said. “We look forward to celebrating many more construction milestones over the next four years.”

Marina Heights is adjacent to ASU Sun Devil Stadium and ASU’s Athletic Facilities District.

“The groundbreaking demonstrates our partnership with State Farm who shares our strong commitment to education and the development of future generations. We look forward to opportunities to expand this partnership in new areas as advances in innovation and information technology provide opportunities for future programs,”  Crow said.

The new facility will provide claims, service and sales support to State Farm customers. Once completed, State Farm will have capacity for up to 8,000 employees in Metro Phoenix.

“We are pleased to be part of this collaborative project as we expand to a multi-functional facility in Tempe,” Crego said. “This is one of many changes to position State Farm to meet the evolving needs of our customers and better serve communities across North America.”

“We are proud State Farm has chosen Tempe for this major employment center,” Mayor Mitchell said. “This corporate expansion will be the catalyst for attracting thousands of jobs and even more quality development around Tempe Town Lake. We look forward to welcoming State Farm employees into our community and hope that Tempe will be their city of choice to live, work and play.”

“Arizona has cultivated one of the premier business climates in the nation, and companies are taking notice,” Gov. Brewer said. “I thank State Farm and its development partners for recognizing everything our state has to offer. This project is great news for the Arizona economy, and testament to our pro-growth principles and highly-skilled workforce.”

Award-winning architectural design firm DAVIS completed the design portion of the Marina Heights project, the single largest office development deal in Arizona history. It will include five buildings, ranging in size from 6 to 16 stories and spanning 20 acres along Tempe Town Lake.

The multi-building design will offer retail amenities including coffee shops, restaurants and fitness facilities. The site will also feature a 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public. Designed to complement the Tempe skyline, the complex will be an iconic landmark developed with a visionary concept that is minimalist, elegant and functional.

“We presented a bold vision for Marina Heights and State Farm: Five glass and stainless steel tower monoliths that will shimmer in the desert sun — cubist cloud towers floating above the lakefront,” said Principal Architect and project designer, Richard Drinkwater, AIA.

“The towers are minimalist with pristine, prismatic forms sculpted with deep insets and terraces strategically incised to create interlocking volumes. Tower heights are differentiated for skyline effect and are covered entirely in clear, reflective and fritted glass and stainless steel, reflecting and refracting the environment. This presents unique, ever changing views of the building as one’s vantage point changes. The design also includes a richly landscaped urban plaza, framed by metal podium structures, that engages the lake and park.”

USA Place

Principals of USA Place, LLC, include Susan Eastridge, CEO of Concord Eastridge; Michael Hallmark, principal of Future Cities; and Robert Harris, CEO of Harris Sports & Entertainment.

At a board meeting on July 25, USA Basketball’s Board of Directors approved the move to Tempe and USA Place as the home of its new national headquarters and training center.

The location, described by the developers as one of the most important urban sites in the Southwest, is adjacent to ASU’s main campus and Tempe’s Mill Avenue District, a short walk to light rail stations and minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The mixed-use plan created by Future Cities emphasizes walkable urban neighborhoods with four- and five-story residential units above retail shops, restaurants and services. Parking is designed to be primarily below grade and in one parking structure at the corner of 10th Street and Myrtle.

The full-service Omni Hotel will be Tempe’s first four-diamond hotel. With 58 distinctive luxury hotels and resorts across North America, Omni Hotels & Resorts is recognized as a market leader for group and transient business as well as with leisure travelers. The adjacent 30,000 SF conference center will feature a grand ballroom capable of seating 1,000 for dining, a junior ballroom and meeting space.

The site’s other major anchor will be USA Basketball, which will relocate its national headquarters and training center to USA Place in the fall of 2015. Currently based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball serves as the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the U.S.

It is officially recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as being solely responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, including the Olympics and World Championships.

Led by Chairman Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball’s programming for men and women includes U16 (16 years old and under), U17, U18, U19 and the national teams. USA Basketball also features national teams for 3×3 competitions, and a youth development program which provides kids, parents and coaches with instructional and educational resources. USA teams are the reigning men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics and currently rank No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world ranking categories, including men, women, boys and girls.

A new multi-court event center, with seating up to 4,500, will serve as the training site for USA Basketball primarily in the summer months and for regional youth and adult recreational and competitive athletics programming the rest of the year. A third USA Place development partner, former Phoenix Suns V.P. Robert Harris, will manage the facility and create original programming for the center including tournaments, camps, leagues and clinics.

“This is an exciting and an incredible opportunity that offers nothing but positives for USA Basketball,” Colangelo said. “USA Place will offer USA Basketball an excellent site for the development of its office headquarters, a training center and event center that will provide the organization with a first-class site for hosting junior level events and will allow USA Basketball to continue to evolve.”

“The new USA Basketball headquarters and training center will be first-class, state of art facilities, something I know we will be very proud of.”

In addition to USA Basketball, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) will also host programming at the event center, which will include post season state high school tournaments for boys and girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, badminton and spiritline. High schools will also have an opportunity to participate in regular season “Games-of-the-Week” there. AIA is the primary governing body for high school athletics in Arizona.

The AIA’s Chuck Schmidt said he believes the move will create more opportunity for high school programs.

“We’re very excited to have a permanent home where we can host our events. Being able to share a home court with USA Basketball will be a remarkable experience for our kids,” he said.

Omni executives recognize the Tempe site and development concept as important to Omni’s brand.

“USA Place is our first property development in the Valley, which is important to our brand development strategy as well as for our guests,” said Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “The complex presents Tempe with great synergistic opportunities, and we are committed to ensuring that the Omni Tempe Hotel, and our team, is engaged Tempe community, Greater Phoenix region and state.”

The site is located next to ASU’s Tempe campus on land owned by ASU. USA Place, LLC, is entering into a long-term ground lease with a base term of 99 years. ASU and the City of Tempe have formed a partnership to support the creation of the conference center and as a result, the conference center will revert to public ownership after twenty years.

Construction of the project is planned to begin by year-end with the hotel, conference center, event center and first phase of residential, retail and office scheduled to open during the second half of 2015.

GCU at Eastmark

Other sites considered for the new GCU campus were Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Tempe.

“In selecting the Eastmark site, we were especially impressed with the integrated community concept DMB is creating,” said Brian Mueller, president and CEO of GCU.

“This environment will give our students, faculty and staff an exciting place to learn, work and play while being an integral part of the East Valley community. We believe our presence will benefit the entire region by providing the option of a low-cost, high-quality Christian education to all its residents,” Mueller said.

DMB’s Eastmark community will be situated on 3,200 acres in the center of the Gateway region in Mesa, just minutes from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

“We are thrilled to be the future home of GCU, its faculty, students and staff,” said Charley Freericks, president of DMB. “DMB communities feature a focus on lifelong learning and GCU’s unique model for post-secondary education will bring a wealth of learning opportunities to Eastmark and to all of the East Valley.”

Construction of the new campus is expected to begin in 2014, with a prospective opening date in 2015. The university’s plan is to purchase up to 160 acres located east of Ellsworth Rd. and Point 22 Blvd. The 7-year build-out of the campus will include offices and administration space, classrooms, labs, library, a student union, student dorms, recreational fields and parking.

“The East Valley, and specifically Mesa’s Gateway area, is emerging as a destination for high-quality higher education. We are honored to welcome Grand Canyon University to Mesa, Arizona’s newest college town,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

Until the opening of the new campus, the GCU team will have a space in Eastmark’s visitors and community center this coming year for prospective students to come and learn more about the school as well as the new campus.

So that they can begin offering classes in the fall of 2014, the university is looking into leasing space in the Eastmark area. When the campus opens in 2015, those students would then transfer to the new location.


Larry Pobuda

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Larry Pobuda Joins Transwestern's Phoenix Team


Transwestern announced that commercial real estate veteran Lawrence (Larry) Pobuda has joined its Phoenix office, increasing its role in the leasing and sales of office buildings and providing in-depth expertise in development and investment.

As senior vice president, Pobuda serves institutional, corporate and private owners, as well as corporate users.

“It is exciting to make strategic expansions in our range of services with someone such as Larry,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Bill Zurek. “His national relationships and experience in a variety of real estate disciplines will enhance our already strong capabilities.”

Pobuda arrives from Minneapolis where he co-founded Stewart Lawrence Group, a partnership involved in acquiring and developing commercial real estate assets. In Minneapolis, he provided advisory services to key clients including the University of Minnesota.

He also served as senior vice president and member of the five-person executive team at United Properties/NorthMarq, a 500-employee, full-service commercial real estate firm. Pobuda also served as the 2010 National Chair of NAIOP, the 15,000-member commercial real estate development association.

His recent role as NAIOP Chair also brings an additional national perspective to Transwestern’s Phoenix team. Pobuda will maintain his relationships in Minneapolis in order to facilitate connections between those clients and Transwestern’s Minneapolis office.

“I am delighted to join Transwestern’s Phoenix team, which offered me the rare opportunity to interface between the worlds of development, investment and brokerage,”  Pobuda said. “Phoenix is a wonderful community where I have felt at home even while I was based in Minneapolis. As the region’s economy continues to improve I look forward to helping grow Transwestern’s business.”

Pobuda’s activity in Minneapolis included tenant representation, project and facility management and lease administration. He served such high-profile clients as BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, Ecolab, UnitedHealth Group, Silicon Graphics and Macromedia.

Responsible for the leasing oversight of 1.8 MSF of Class A office space, Pobuda successfully closed more than 2 MSF of leases with an aggregate value of more than $420M for companies including GMAC/RFC, Bank of America, Weber Shandwick, Oracle, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, William Mercer and AON.


AZCREW Q&A: Lindsey Carlson, Associate VP, Office Property Solutions, Colliers Intl.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.33 AMQ:Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: I am surrounded by an incredible group of women with knowledge and expertise in a variety of aspects related to real estate. Involvement in AZCREW has allowed me to learn from my peers and become a well-rounded broker who provides a high level of service to meet and exceed my clients’ expectations. It has given me great perspective and insight into what is happening in the commercial real estate market. I have such confidence in referring any of my fellow AZCREW members to my clients, knowing they will take great care of them.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  I’d say the networking with other successful women for whom I have the greatest respect. The friendships that have developed while serving on various committees and the board have been invaluable in providing a strong sense of community while working in a mostly male-dominated profession. The support we provide to each other, not only professionally but personally, is remarkable. These are amazing women with great stories, and many are role models and mentors to me. I aspire to have the same impact they have had on our community. Through AZCREW’s community service, many of us give time and resources to help women-focused groups, such as Fresh Start, UMOM and Susan G. Komen, which has been truly inspiring.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: Several years ago, we hosted our first CREW Careers event to mentor young women who were interested in a commercial real estate career. This program gave them hands-on experience and exposure to a wide range of real estate careers, while demonstrating how rewarding and fun it could be. Seeing the excitement on their faces while surrounded by a group of women who they could look up to and respect was extremely satisfying. I felt we truly made a difference in their lives and, hopefully, encouraged more women to join our industry.

Deep Roots: Q&A with Molly Ryan Carson

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.56.45 AMMolly Ryan Carson looks as comfortable professionally dressed, networking with clients, as she does donning a T-shirt, baseball cap and sweat pants volunteering her time for a community project.
She is active in several industry groups, including Valley Partnership, ULI and ICSC; sits on various boards, and is adept with a shovel or paint brush.
With more than a decade of experience as a developer and property manager, Carson (her married name) is the face in the Valley of Ryan Companies U.S., a firm her great-grandfather, James Henry Ryan, founded in 1938 in Minneapolis.
As Vice President of Development, she is responsible for site selection and acquisition, municipal use permits and approvals, design and construction coordination, financial packaging and
lease or sale negotiation. As Ryan Companies celebrates its 75th anniversary — almost two decades in Arizona — Molly Ryan Carson shared her thoughts with AZRE magazine.

Q: As a part of the Ryan namesake, how important is that sense of family pride?

A: I am extremely proud to be a Ryan, but equally proud to be a part of the Ryan Companies family. Both allow and expect a great deal from you, but the reward of being part of something much bigger than yourself is far worth it.

Q: Do you feel a bit of pressure carrying on the family name?

A: The last name comes with an added sense of pressure, but a great kind of pressure. The founders of this company created a culture of doing the right thing and that is what we all strive to do each and every day.

Q: You are very visible in Valley commercial real estate circles, including networking events and philanthropic projects. I assume that’s also a great sense of pride?

A: Absolutely. I find it to be a privilege as well as a responsibility to become involved in your greater community. We are very fortunate to live in a world that allows us many freedoms and opportunities. With those benefits comes a responsibility to make this world a better place for all.

Q: How do you successfully balance work and family?

A: I am laughing at the question. Balance is the key word. I asked my dad this very same question about eight years ago, after a particularly rough day — we all have them — where you feel like you’ve failed in every aspect. He smiled and said, “It’s balancing marbles on a plate. There will certainly be things that move around, just make sure the big marbles stay on. And ask for help when you need it.”

Q: What are your recollections of growing up in the Ryan family?

A: I feel very blessed growing up with the family I have. Our home was one of support, love, faith, laughter, fun and hard work. We spent a great deal of time together as a family — lots of family nights, family trips, etc.  We ate dinner together nearly every night (only excuse to miss were sport commitments), which is a rule in our family now. I am the oldest of eight, so I don’t have many quiet memories. My parents worked to instill a strong set of values within us: love each other, love God and always do the right thing. Share your blessings, ask for help when you need it, work hard, play hard. Your family will always be there for you. We have a great loving support system as a result. I can only hope my children feel the same when they are asked this question someday.

Q: How long has the Valley been your home?

A: Me, my husband Mike, and our three kids, Trinity (9), Marley (7) and Seamus (4), have called the Valley our home for three years. Moving from Minneapolis, Phoenix was quite a change, with almost the exact opposite climate. We have found many wonderful people in this community. From a business standpoint, opportunities seem endless, if you are willing to work hard for them. I have met a great deal of smart, talented individuals within the industry who want to see Arizona grow and thrive as much as I do.

AZCREW Q&A: Judy Jones, Senior Investment Advisor, Sperry Van Ness

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.42 AMQ:Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A:  The purpose of the membership is to promote professionalism and mentoring amongst women in the commercial real estate community. I enjoy the camaraderie of professional women, mentoring of new members, and the opportunity to grow as a professional in commercial real estate.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  Meeting other professional women in the industry and having the ability to interface and learn from them while working collaboratively on meaningful business endeavors.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A:  The opportunity to work on a transaction with an attorney I had known through the organization, but had not yet had to opportunity to work with was memorable. I appreciated her experience, professionalism and sincere cooperation throughout the duration of the escrow.

AZCREW Q&A: Vicki Williams, Senior VP, PHX Team Manager, CRE Alliance Bank of AZ

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.25 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: I believe that AZCREW is invaluable in enabling real estate professionals to expand their network, listen to top speakers on timely topics, and support the mission of promoting the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry.  My personal involvement — along with the involvement of one of my colleagues — also affords the bank significant visibility within the real estate community. My bank’s annual sponsorship also shows our support for the organization and for our mission.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A: As I became more actively involved, the rewards increased. I had always enjoyed the monthly luncheon programs and decided to get involved by joining the programs committee. I later became committee chair committee and a board member. Though I’m no longer committee chair, I remain involved and take pride in the fact that the excellent quality of our luncheon programs. In addition, my current role as President Elect has introduced me to the national organization, CREW Network, and even more great CRE professionals across the country.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: I would say my first ‘aha moment’ goes back to my initial involvement with the programs committee where I felt I could make a positive impact. In that group, I saw firsthand that our members have great contacts within the real estate community and are well informed on a variety of real estate related topics.

AZCREW Q&A: Christine Hughes, Assistant Vice President, Fidelity National

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 8.03.14 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A:  Being a part of a professional organization supporting each other in the commercial real estate industry.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  Events and networking with a group of women interested in watching your success grow. Our programs committee has done an outstanding job of producing up-to-date, interesting and educational programs for our luncheons. They are a very creative group and deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments. 

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A:  It is not just one moment — it is a collection of moments. I could say when I served as the 2012 president; leading the organization, helping them grow by creating new events to bring the members together under different scenarios as everyone has diverse interests. These included the New Member Event, Team AZCREW and The Black & White Affair. Jackie Orcutt ran with my idea and was successful in raising money for the CREW Foundation and scholarship funds for MRED at the Black & White Affair. Then there are quiet ones that step up, volunteer and help out where ever needed. Val Marciano has done this on a regular basis on the board, the golf tournament, volunteering members of her committee to help on other events. I am thankful I have been able to be  part of this dynamic group.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.51.03 AM

Ryan Companies: "Building Lasting Relationships"

For 75 years, Ryan Companies U.S., Inc. has been “building lasting relationships,” as the company motto proclaims.
The Phoenix office, a year shy of celebrating two decades in Arizona, has made its own footprint on the state’s development landscape, building its own lasting relationships.
Ryan opened shop in Phoenix in 1994 to coordinate the construction of Target stores throughout the state. It is now a diverse company with approximately 80 employees in Arizona and services that include construction, development and property management. The Phoenix office is led by President/Southwest John Strittmatter, and Vice President of Development Molly Ryan Carson, whose great-grandfather, James Henry Ryan, founded the company in 1938 in Minneapolis.
“Providing great customer service to our clients is the key to Ryan Companies,” says Todd Holzer, a Ryan vice president. “Everyone in the company, no matter what level you might be, lives by the company motto and puts a priority on maintaining relationships. By being a fully integrated company that can develop, build and manage commercial real estate for both ourselves and our clients, we have the flexibility and expertise to touch real estate in many ways.
“We also give back to the community in many ways,” Holzer adds. “I have made it a core principal in my work at Ryan and in my personal life to commit my time and money to charitable and trade organizations.”
Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.51.16 AMRyan Companies has completed more than 18 MSF of development and construction projects over the past 19 years for customers such as Del Webb, KayBee Toys, NCS, Target, Honeywell, DMB, Dial Corp., Motorola, Edwards Jones, Maricopa County, the General Services Administration/FBI, Northern Arizona University, Avnet and UniSource.
“We have been doing business with Ryan Companies for about 10 years now and the relationship we have with them is exceptional,” says Robert Gracz, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate for Avnet. “John Strittmatter is one of the most professional men of integrity I know in our industry. Most impressive about his team is how they exemplify John himself, everyone in Ryan I meet.
“They truly live and work by their tag line of building relationships,” Gracz adds. “It’s not about now, but more about the long-term relationship on how they operate. I can tell you that John has stood by every commitment and then some he or his team has ever committed to me, and I assure they were some difficult ones. Yet he stood there honorably honoring his commitments. There is no better way to build relationships than that … people you can trust.”
The Phoenix office also supports professional and industry organizations such as Valley Partnership, Arizona Builders’ Alliance, NAIOP, CoreNet, ULI and BOMA. Charitable work includes supporting local nonprofits such as the Arizona Science Center, Childhelp, Brophy College Prep, St. Francis Prep, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Central Arizona, the Phoenix Symphony and Valley of the Sun United Way.


While Ryan is unique in the diversity of services it provides, its construction group provides services on a diverse range of product types as well. The group can be characterized by versatility, flexibility and high performance. Ryan’s construction group provides preconstruction and construction services on product types including office, industrial, tenant improvements, mission critical, education, healthcare, hospitality, recreation/sports facilities and even roads/infrastructure.
“We have our core business sectors, but based on relationships, our clients take us into new areas,” says Steve Jordan, Director of Construction Services. “We have a versatile group of construction professionals with well-rounded talent to assist with design and to build fantastic projects. We enjoy having involvement from the early stages of the projects, to provide value and expertise through the process to achieve our clients’ objectives.
“Our construction professionals look forward to the challenges and diversity that different product types can bring,” Jordan adds. “Those challenges are multifaceted — whether it’s the complex engineering and detailed nature of a data center or the weather variations that can impact a tight schedule at NAU, our team always rises to the occasion to successful completion for our clients.”
Building lasting relationships also extends to the subcontractors with whom Ryan works. Otis Elevator Co. has been doing business with Ryan Companies in Arizona since it first entered the market. More notably, Otis Elevator and Ryan Companies together built the Phelps Dodge Tower (One North Central) and the UniSource Headquarters in Tucson.
“Ryan Companies is one of the most professional and long standing developers/property managers in this market,” says Brian Skoczylas, Territory Manager for Otis. “We share that kindred attitude and look forward to many more years of sharing the role of building Arizona.”

Property management

While Ryan’s more visible reputation centers around development/construction, its Real Estate Management group has quietly developed a solid niche in the marketplace. More than 83% of Ryan’s REM business is non-Ryan owned that it manages for third party clients such as Mitsubishi Estate of New York, ASB Capital Management, Artis REIT, Fort Properties, UniSource and Behringer-Harvard.
“Our client relationships are long term, many in excess of 10 to 15 years, which have consistently resulted in expanded opportunities across the country for all of the Ryan disciplines,” says Anna Riley, Regional Director of Management. “Our approach to real estate management is organizationally and culturally comprehensive. Our managers are influenced by our internal areas of expertise through their involvement in development, design and construction processes, thereby allowing them a broader perspective as REM takes on the responsibilities of operations, lease up and financial management.
“We oversee the typical industry day-to-day operations. However, our expanded approach is to assess and identify opportunities and to drive the enhancement of asset value. Ryan REM has developed effective strategies for providing asset level intelligence at the pre-acquisition and through the ownership phases with operational due-diligence inspections, transition planning, repositioning, rebranding and lease up coordination. Our management teams align closely with our clients in understanding their investment objectives and we truly partner in achieving them.”
Ryan is culturally committed to building lasting relationships — it isn’t just a tagline, Riley says.
“It is demonstrated in our focus on the development of our people, our overt outreach into our communities and our loyalty to our clients, brokers and service providers,” she says. “When I joined Ryan more than 7 years ago, my role was to run a management business. As I began to experience the Ryan culture, my increased sensitivity to the relationship role and its responsibilities have shaped me both personally and professionally.
“I value the opportunities that I have to mentor my group, to effect results for our clients and to conduct business in a fashion that is responsible to our communities. Ryan’s culture has been a great fit.”
The same holds true for the property management subcontractors.
“Our relationship with Ryan Companies is built on mutual respect with a common goal,” says Mischelle Arreca, Director of Business Development for Caretaker Landscape. “We share in our commitment to create sustainable environments that are both cost effective and aesthetically pleasing.
“We partner to insure they have efficient outdoor water use, healthy and vibrant plants, properly maintained plant material and a budget-conscious future landscape plan. We value our relationship with Ryan Companies because they value their partners.”

AZCREW Q&A: Jackie Orcutt, Associate Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.17 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: Commercial real estate is a wonderful field in which to work, but it is no secret that historically there have been far fewer women in the industry than men. My membership has introduced me to so many inspiring people — men and women alike — who have professional goals similar to my own. What I love most about being an active member is the ability to collaborate with accomplished real estate professionals, learn from some of the best women in the industry, and participate in an outstanding national organization dedicated to promoting education and civic service.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A: I start every day with a list of items that I know I need to accomplish in order to meet the promises I have made to clients and colleagues. Unfortunately, business development always seems to take a back seat to deals in progress, or crucial client meetings. However, what I love about being a member of AZCREW is that you can count on networking and developing your business relationships by simply dedicating an hour or two of your week to attending the luncheons, special events or committee meetings. The interaction with members always leads to a deeper relationship with industry leaders which in turn fosters business development.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: I remember attending my first committee meeting 3 years ago. I sat at a small conference table surrounded by incredible members who were highly recognized in the industry: Mindy Korth (CBRE), Vicki Williams and Ericka LeMaster (Alliance) to name a few.  As I listened to them brainstorm about the hot topics in commercial real estate I realized I had so much more to learn about my own profession. Instantly I was excited to be actively involved in planning programs that would provide educational opportunities to our members and local commercial real estate professionals.

Q&A: AZCREW President Karen Halpert

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 8.03.02 AMQ: AZCREW is celebrating 30 years in 2015. How has the local organization helped shape the landscape of commercial real estate professionals in the Valley?

A: AZCREW facilitates business networking, enabling members to build their network. We create opportunities for our members to work together and offer a way for them to give back to their community.  Additionally, we educate women about career opportunities ensuring that commercial real estate remains not only a rewarding career choice but a viable industry for women. AZCREW is one of 76 chapters of the CREW Network. The Arizona chapter was established in 1985 and has a remarkable history of relationship-building and education, as well as an outstanding reputation for the success of its members as integral players in commercial real estate. AZCREW members represent nearly every discipline within commercial real estate including architecture, law, property management, finance, construction, brokerage, engineering, title/escrow, asset management and many others.

Q: Have you seen a significant shift in the balance of male vs. female leadership roles in Valley commercial real estate?

A: I have seen a number of studies regarding women’s progress toward achieving parity in the corporate world, but not much information exists specifically regarding women in commercial real estate. Women have not made enough headway in commercial real estate even though there are numerous studies reflecting an improved bottom line for companies with gender diversity at the executive level and boardrooms.  AZCREW is passionate about the mission of the organization to advance women in commercial real estate. Chairs, boards and committee members are dedicated to furthering the success of the members by training and mentoring the next generation of organizational leaders. These positions require active participation, hours of volunteer time and a commitment to making a difference in the organization and commercial real estate community.

Q: What challenge or challenges do you see AZCREW members facing now, in 5 years, and in 10 years?

A: Women need to help management overcome commonly misperceived notions about the skills and strengths women bring to the table and to fairly compensate women for their contributions. Salaries for women starting in real estate are much more similar to men these days. Therefore, as new generations of women move through the ranks the gap in pay between men and women should decrease. Women who have a mentor are more likely to achieve upward career moves. We need to continue to mentor younger real estate women. To assist this effort AZCREW now offers discounted membership for those under 35. On a broader scale, CREW Network is focused on helping more women transition to the industry’s top leadership positions.

Q: Of CREW’s core values — leadership, excellence, influence, community, integrity and advancement — which do you feel is most crucial?

A: For AZCREW to be successful as an organization we need all of these values, but building effective leaders is key to advancing women in the commercial real estate industry. To be an effective leader in real estate as with any industry, you must be able to communicate. Part of this communication involves networking, supporting and reaching out to our partners in the industry. Through participation in AZCREW, members have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by attending high-level leadership development training provided by CREW Network as well as opportunities to serve on boards both locally and nationally. This participation helps to develop and hone effective leadership skills.

Q: Of the benefits that membership in AZCREW offers, which do you feel is the most important?

A:  The recent downturn in commercial real estate created a new role for women in the industry that AZCREW entitled “women in transition.”  It has become abundantly clear to those of us with long histories in organizations such as AZCREW that these groups provide the support, networking and community individuals need when transitioning from one company and job to another. I have worked in the commercial real estate industry for more than 20 years and formed strong and long lasting friendships and value the support, lifeline and opportunity these friendships offer in times of need and change. Change is a constant in today’s economic, business and commercial real estate environment. To quote Winston Churchill: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” I participate in AZCREW to mentor and support women and also encourage them to not just accept, but to embrace change as I have and the inherent opportunity it provides.
Karen Halpert is Senior Vice President, Single-Tenant Property Management at Cole Real Estate Investments. She is responsible for maximizing the financial portfolio performance of Cole’s nearly 1,950 single-tenant retail, office and industrial properties throughout the continental U.S. Prior to joining Cole, she held leadership positions in property management, asset management and leasing with Related Urban Management, RREEF Management Company, Cabot Industrial Trust and CBRE. She has been a member of AZCREW for 9 years.


Cultivating and Connecting: AZCREW

As the business environment in commercial real estate is changing, so is the mission and vision of AZCREW, the Valley group comprised of professional women in the industry.
Leadership development, education, networking and business development are but a few of the organization’s building blocks. Building a strong member base, embracing social media and branding are important as well.
Ericka LeMaster, senior vice president of Commercial Real Estate Finance at Alliance Bank of Arizona, been an active member for four years and is chair of the Programs Committee. AZCREW provides the platform, she says, “Where I can (with our very talented committee) exercise my passion for selecting educational tropics and arrange the high-quality luncheon speakers.
“Through being an active participant, I have had the pleasure to provide lending services to some of our members’ customers as well as refer new business to our title and legal membership base,” she adds. “Aside from new business opportunities I have made friendships that will survive my career in commercial real estate finance. AZCREW is driven by passionate professionals and I am proud to be a part of this organization.”
Since becoming involved with AZCREW, says Krystal Dill, marketing manager at Lincoln Property Company, she has experienced countless opportunities to grow professionally, make new connections and build great relationships.
“As a member of the (national) Crew Network, AZCREW is a wonderful resource for women in commercial real estate that offers access to local and national networks to cover every aspect of a transaction,” Dill says. “The organization encourages leadership and fosters success among its members. This is especially true of our committees where team members work together at a common mission to achieve specific goals.”
Upon membership, Dill signed on to the PR/Outreach Committee and was asked to serve as co-chair with Jackie Orcutt of Cushman & Wakefield. The committee is charged with overseeing community outreach, attracting new members, preparing quarterly newsletters and promoting AZCREW.
“Last year we were asked to plan the inaugural fundraiser event for scholarships to benefit the MRED program at Arizona State University,” Dill says. “We partnered with the AZCREW Special Events Committee to create a festive, elaborate and successful Black and White Affair. The event exceeded all expectations, enhanced brand awareness, built a partnership with ASU and benefitted terrific students.”
Programs offered by both the local and national organizations provide excellent education opportunities, says Cathy Teeter, acting market leader for Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona. AZCREW advocates a closing of the industry’s gender gap through quality leadership and respected professionalism. “AZCREW provides an invaluable resource and platform for not just women in the marketplace, but for the industry as a whole,” Teeter says.
“This organization improves the commercial real estate field by encouraging diversity and providing career development opportunities for dynamic women.
“Personally, I have found the networking system of AZCREW to be very important,” she says. “The monthly luncheons are informative and the subject matter is always timely. The social components, such as the annual charitable golf tournament and mixers, provide wonderful avenues to build relationships. The group encourages positive, professional relationships with all members of the real estate community.”
AZCREW is unique in that it brings people together from all sectors of the real estate industry. At any given luncheon, Teeter says, “you can sit at the table with your banker, attorney, broker or property manager.
“AZCREW has been very successful over the years, as demonstrated by the impressive number of females serving in leadership roles throughout the Metro Phoenix real estate market,” Teeter adds.
Little did she know years ago when Edythe Higgins of Wells Fargo encouraged her to join did Melinda Hinkson, business development, Sigma Contracting, that she would find AZCREW — and CREW — to be so fulfilling on so many levels.
“As a business owner and industry participant, I have benefitted not only from the networking but also the educational opportunities that CREW provides,” Hinkson says. “Even so, I am only in my infancy with the CREW Network, because there is much more opportunity and support through the national network that I have yet to avail myself of. There are annual conventions, leadership meetings, a deal database, professional development training, speaking, writing and leadership opportunities and awards programs, in which I have yet to participate.
“All of that provides me with many additional tools and opportunities for both personal and professional growth as I go forward within the CREW organization.”
Locally, Hinkson participates on the membership committee helping AZCREW grow its membership. She is also on the Golf Committee, which plans and runs the organization’s annual charity golf tournament, held at Gainey Ranch.
“AZCREW not only has provided me with the camaraderie of like-minded ambitious women, but has also afforded Sigma many opportunities to partner with other members on local building projects, and opened doors of opportunities with brokers, developers, and property management teams,” Hinkson says. “AZCREW has been a significant lifeline for both myself and my company throughout these trying economic times.  Its support has transcended basic networking, and I knew I’d found a valuable resource when several of us that hiked the Havasupai continue to look forward additional outings, including an upcoming canoe trip.  This is the group that will continue to challenge me to better myself and my relationships, whether personal or professional.”
In an industry where things are happening rapidly — changing ownerships, competition, social media and technology — no one can afford to sit back and be complacent, says Lisa Bentley, director of marketing, McCarthy Nordburg.
“You must know your market inside and out, be sharp and truly connected,” Bentley says. “That means constantly listening, reading and building relationships. The importance of AZCREW to me as a professional woman in commercial real estate is about knowledge, information and support  being the crux of why I rejoined after many years. I received information about a couple of the programs and went as a non-member. I found them to be so interesting, as it relates to our interior architectural design business, either because a broker or client was speaking.
“The programs were informative and relative to our local economy and I ran into so many nice folks I had worked with previously, that was my ‘aha’ moment. The plus with AZCREW is that the women not only speak the mission, they live it.”
Val Marciano, partner, Jaburg | Wilk, says AZCREW is an organization that “continues to shape my career.”
“While my practice of real estate litigation for 30 years has provided its own exposure to fascinating and unforeseen experiences — it is true that life is better than fiction — my membership in AZCREW has brought a new facet to my professional life,” Marciano says. “The splendor of AZCREW is that it unites distinct professions in a symmetry that expands its members’ business while, at the same time, promotes personal growth. The term ‘networking’ has become a mundane term, leading one to glaze over with the thought of perfunctory ‘meet and greet’ sessions that do nothing more than take time from other more interesting prospects.
“AZCREW has found a way to allow its members to connect, become associates, and form professional friendships that enrich one’s professional life. It is the formation of those meaningful professional friendships and associations that transcend ordinary networking, leaving AZCREW in a league of its own.”

Q&A with Casey Potash: President, IIDA Southwest

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.37.17 PMQ:  Are IIDA Southwest members seeing a trend in a certain type of commercial design?

A: Although this trend has been happening nationally for quite some time, environmentally friendly design is definitely becoming more prevalent in the Southwest. There are more readily available eco-friendly products and clients are starting to embrace the benefits of designing with the environment in mind. Another trend, due to the economic downturn we have experienced, is that designers are definitely getting more creative on a tight budget. Clients have not necessarily reduced their expectations, and they still want to have the same “wow” factor, but they want that with a more conservative budget.

Q: What challenge or challenges are IIDA Southwest members facing, and what challenges do you see them facing in the future?

A: The biggest challenge the local design community is currently facing is stress as a result of the economic downturn. There are many designers that are still in search of job opportunities, and those who fortunately have not lost their jobs are suffering through various other effects of downsizing and are typically experiencing larger workloads. There are definitely signs of improvement, and we are a very tight knit group within the Southwest Chapter. We try to help our members in any way we can with networking, continuing education, and professional development opportunities. We also continually advertise job postings, as we hear about them, in our email blasts. I think the biggest challenge our community will have in the future is the loss of talented and experienced designers who have either moved out of state where the economy has improved more quickly or have moved on to new ventures in their life.

Q: Describe IIDA Southwest activities and share who is involved?

A:  IIDA Southwest is run by a chapter board comprised of volunteers, and our events are coordinated and planned by another group of volunteers. We have won many international awards for the success of our chapter, and this would not be possible without countless hours of dedication from these volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors. Our chapter includes four City Centers:  Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque. We have major chapter events, including the PRIDE Awards (Professional Recognition of Interior Design Excellence) in the spring, a trade fair/networking event in the fall, as well as rotating winter events, which include Couture (a fashion show where the fashion is derived from commercial building products and materials) and Connect4 (a philanthropic event that happens simultaneously in all four City Centers).

Q: The future of a group such as IIDA relies on the education and training of young designers. How does the Southwest Chapter reach out to students?

A: The students are the future of our chapter and industry, and we place a great deal of attention that is specifically targeted to help develop them into the professionals we need to have emerging from our local colleges and universities. We have a VP of student affairs, a director of student affairs, and a committee within the chapter that reaches out to students on a regular basis for design critique sessions. They also plan exciting networking and educational activities tailored to the needs they have. We have special student pricing for all of our chapter and City Center events, so they have more opportunities to meet with design professionals outside of our student oriented events.

Q:  Why is it important for a designer to be a member of IIDA?

A:  I’ve found it to be vital to the success of my career to be a member of a professional organization that fosters networking, educational, and social activities within the community. For me personally, I joined because I wanted to be a part of an organization that not only facilitated growth in my own design career, but also enabled me to be able to give back to the community. I truly believe that “you get what you give” in life. What I have found to be one of the most beneficial parts of my role as the chapter president is that I now have connections around the world in the design industry. I have the resources to be able to easily learn what trends are happening in other parts of the country, and this is invaluable.

Casey Potash is president of the IIDA Southwest Chapter. Prior to moving to the Valley, she received her BS in Interior Design from Indiana University. She is NCIDQ Certified and is LEED APl. She is a sales specialist for KI & PallasTextiles.


Tucson Market Update: Q&A with Joe Snell

Q&A with Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities President & CEO Joe Snell

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 12.31.25 PMQ: TREO recently launched a new economic development strategy focused on strengths of diagnostics in Southern Arizona. How important are biomedical sciences to economic development?

A: Our bioscience assets, particularly in the field of diagnostics, are world class. It’s no secret that the size of the bioscience industry and its projected growth represent a massive opportunity, so positioning our region to benefit from the industry is very important. We identified bioscience as a targeted industry as part of our original Economic Blueprint, and we’ve stayed focused on building the cluster and refining our focus. We’ve worked very hard to help our large companies like Ventana Medical Systems, now a member of the Roche Group, and smaller companies like the newly-relocated Accelerate Diagnostics secure the talent and facilities they need to continue to prosper here. The presence of a top research university is a very strong asset.  The economic impact is just beginning.
Q: The commercial real estate industry in the Valley is making a nice recovery from the recession. How have Tucson and Southern Arizona fared?

A: We’re seeing similar results. The general trends are certainly up and we’ve had two consecutive quarters of strong commercial leasing activity. Companies we’re working with are expressing a strong preference to lease rather than build and lease pricing is generally still attractive, but our supply of prime space is tightening.

Q: How is TREO doing in its mission of creating new businesses, expanding of existing businesses and attracting companies that offer high wage jobs?

A: Last year was very strong — more than 2,200 new jobs — and we’ve had one of our best years this year so far with more than 2,400 jobs announced. Our project pipeline has been very active across a very wide spectrum of industries and we’re excited about a number of working projects that are nearing fruition.
Q: The landscape of Downtown Tucson seems to have changed the past 5 years. What are some of the projects you’re excited about?

A: The building boom downtown has been great to watch, and there is tremendous entrepreneurial energy focused downtown right now. The urban feel and increased density, coupled with the mobility provided by the upcoming modern streetcar completion, has attracted a number of new restaurants, new retailers, small business incubation and co-working spaces. I’m excited to see the broad spectrum of the environment — new small and large business, public and private investment — accelerating development.

Q: What challenge or challenges does TREO face now? What will those challenges be in 5 years? In 10 years?

A: Tucson’s economy is very strong in the aerospace & defense sector. With sequestration effects looming, there will be challenges in adapting that industry to new marketplace realities. However, we are the best positioned to meet that challenge for a few reasons. First, our A&D sector has deep experience in commercial aviation, a market expected to grow substantially in future years. We also have a tremendous opportunity to capture the UAV business in coalition with our other state partners.

As president and CEO of TREO, Joe Snell brings 24 years of experience leading regional economic development organizations to an agency focused on the coordination of all economic development activities in Southern Arizona. He has led successful economic development organizations in communities of various sizes. His knowledge on building strategic, competitive and balanced economic development efforts has resulted in national recognition for his leadership role in creating strong economies in high growth communities. In his previous position he was president of the Metro Denver Network. Snell holds a bachelors degree from the University of Nebraska.

IIDA: Making Life Better Through Design

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.21.56 PMCommunity. Collaboration. Compassion. Creativity.
Four words that describe what the International Interior Designs Association (IIDA) Southwest chapter — comprised of City Centers Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Albuquerque — represents.
The commercial interior industry is all about creativity. With more than 350 members of all levels, the Southwest chapter — those in Arizona specifically — are the creative minds behind many of the dynamic and spectacular interiors that can be found in financial institution offices, all levels of education facilities and law offices, to name just a few.
Its annual event is the Design Excellence Awards, also known as the PRIDE Awards. It highlights the best work by Southwest chapter designers — both professionals and students.
But the “C” most cherished stands for Community.
This year IIDA Southwest unveiled a new philanthropic undertaking — Connect4 — that promises to make a big difference in the community.
“The meaning behind the Connect4 event is two-fold,” says Cheyne Brown, City Center vice president and an interior designer at Krause Interiors in Phoenix. “It was conceived as a way to bring together all four City Centers and to focus on four C’s. It was important to us that each City Center was able to select a charity to support what was important to their specific community and that it not be a ‘task,’ but something we could all really get behind and make meaningful.”
The 2013 Connect4 Phoenix winner is U.S.VETS Grand Veterans Village in Phoenix. U.S.VETS is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive services to homeless and at-risk veterans. The need for permanent and transitional housing led to the acquisition of an old motel on Grand Avenue. Renamed Grand Veterans Village, the motel is undergoing renovation and will ultimately provide affordable apartments to 130 veterans.
The Phoenix Connect4 committee is renovating eight of the bigger family rooms, and also a meeting room to be used for classes and therapy sessions. Each room/apartment needs new flooring, paint, furniture, fixtures and artwork.
“I have the pleasure of working on a committee with very talented people from the architecture and design community,” says Jennifer Kittoe, Phoenix City Center director and an independent representative at Loop Architectural Materials in Phoenix. “We strive to bring awareness of the benefits of IIDA, and put on programs that are educational, entertaining and philanthropic.
“IIDA members are all creative and, as we learned with Connect4, very generous. We want to give back, and Connect4 provided that outlet. Nearly 100 volunteers showed up on build day. We had two pages worth of sponsors. The event far exceeded by expectations.”
IIDA Southwest is perhaps best known for its Couture Fashion Show The 5th annual Couture event was held March 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Twenty-six teams of designers (including  design students) were randomly paired with a color forecast theme and an industry manufacturer’s material. The challenge: to create and model a fashion garment using only those colors/themes and materials.
“The Couture Fashion Show and Connect4 charity event will alternate each year,” Kittoe says. “Planning is already underway for the next Couture fashion show, scheduled for spring of 2014. A portion of the proceeds from Couture will be used to fund Connect4 remodeling projects in 2015.”
The other City Center Connect4 projects: Tucson, Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Room; Albuquerque, Boys & Girls Clubs Crafts Room; and Las Vegas, Hopelink main office.