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Clarence McAllister, president and CEO of Fortis Networks,

Arizona’s 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders

What would you do it you opened the pages of this magazine and saw Jerry Colangelo listed as one of the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona? You’d do a double take, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

Consider this: Among 439,633 Arizonans under age 5 in 2012, this is how the Census broke down those numbers:

• Hispanic: 196,776 (44.8 percent)
• Non-Hispanic white: 171,888 (39.1 percent)
• American Indian and Alaska Native: 22,198 (5 percent)
• Black: 18,617 (4.2 percent)
• Asian: 11,311 (2.6 percent)
• Two or more races: 18,088 (4.1 percent)
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 755 (0.17).

If you combine numbers like that with the fact that 91.7 percent of the nation’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 was attributed to racial and ethnic minorities, with the largest segment of population growth occurring in the Hispanic community, lists like this — the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona of 2014 — could become obsolete in our lifetimes.

Until we get there and as our state’s minority population moves toward majority status, it’s important to notice that the state’s most dynmanic business leaders have helped fuel our economic recovery and growth … and many of them just happen to be minorities. And while the future looks bright, we still have work to in overcoming outdated perceptions. According to a 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report commissioned by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, a significant portion of minority-owned businesses in Arizona have had problems earning the trust of their customers, suppliers, peers and lenders and need support from within the business community to help break down some of these misconceptions and stigma.

The 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona, whom you will meet below, have changed that perception.

Benito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Heritage: Mexican-American
A graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara, Almanza has been with Bank of America for 34 years. He is a member of the Teach for America Arizona Board.
His hope for professional legacy: “Working every day with great teammates to make our community better and surrounding myself with strong leaders and developing them to replace me.”

Glynis Bryan
CFO
Insight Enterprises Inc.
Heritage: Jamaican
Bryan is responsible for setting the company’s financial strategies; ensuring the company has the appropriate financial and operating controls and systems in place to support future growth; and serving as a financial and business advisor to the leadership team.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Setting a standard of excellence in an organization and helping teammates reach their full potential.”

Debbie Cotton
Director
Phoenix Convention Center
Heritage: African American
Cotton manages a staff of 240 employees, a budget of $47.5 million and is the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Throughout my career, I’d like to be remembered for adhering to high ethical standards and inspiring individuals to pursue careers within public service.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heritage: Peruvian and Mexican
De la Melena, who directs the state’s leading advocate representing more than 60,000 Hispanic business enterprises, has 20 years of global brand management, business development and Latino marketing experience gained from conducting business in more than 30 countries.
His hope for professional legacy: “For helping the lifeblood of our economy, small businesses, prosper – especially minority-owned businesses, now one-fourth of Arizona’s total. Our future global competitiveness depends on it.”

Diane Enos
President
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Enos is the 23rd president of the Salt River Community and the second women elected to the office. Enos is the first member of the Community to become a lawyer and practiced in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office for 11 years.
Heritage: Onk Akimel O’Odham, or one of the River People otherwise known as Pima
Her hope for professional legacy: “The top qualities I’d like to be remembered for is someone who was unafraid to try something new and to do it with integrity for the good of my people.”

Rufus Glasper
Chancellor
Maricopa Community Colleges
Heritage: African American
As the CEO of one of the nation’s largest systems of community colleges, he is leading MCCCD to address the community’s education and workforce training needs.
His hope for professional legacy: “An educator who focused on human rights and education for first-generation college students, quality healthcare, workforce and jobs, and re-framing an institution for the future.”

Deborah Griffin
President of the board of directors
Gila River Casinos
Heritage: Gila River Indian Community member and Mexican-American
Griffin leads Arizona’s largest minority-run business with more that 2,500 employees.
Her hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered for creating a legacy of self-sufficiency and volunteerism in my community. My Tribe needs only to seek within themselves and have confidence in the beauty of their abilities to continue this legacy.”

Edmundo Hidalgo
President and CEO
Chicanos Por La Causa
Heritage: Mexican-American
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the community. The Hispanic community is at a breakaway point because of our demographics and the opportunities we establish for our youth will have a tremendous impact on our state. As the Hispanic community goes, so will the State of Arizona. My focus has always been in support of education and ensuring that young people get the opportunities I received as I was beginning my career. I am blessed to have been mentored by many individuals who were willing to invest in me and I have the responsibility to do the same.”

Leezie Kim
Partner
Quarles & Brady
Heritage: Korean-American
Kim returned to Quarles & Brady after four years of service as a White House appointee to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and as general counsel to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Her hope for professional legacy: “As a trusted counselor to and partner with leaders in business, government and politics who found new ways to get things done that make life a little better for us all.”

David Kong
President and CEO
Best Western International
Since he was named president and CEO in 2004, Kong has guided Best Western International through a brand resurgence, winning numerous awards for training, social media and ecommerce initiatives. Brand Keys ranked Best Western No. 1 in customer loyalty for four consecutive years.
Heritage: Asian
His hope for professional legacy: “I’d like to be remembered for having made a positive difference – in Best Western, in the industry and the lives of all our associates and our hotel staff.”

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”

Steve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias serves on the Governor’s Council on Small Business and is co-chair of the Supply Chain/Buy Arizona Committee, which is exploring ways government can help promote Arizona businesses.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “Someone who made a positive impact in promoting manufacturing as a worthwhile and valuable industry that provides quality jobs to the community.”

Louis J. Manuel, Jr.
Chairman
Ak-Chin Indian Community
Heritage: Tohono O’odham Nation and Ak-Chin Indian Community
Manuel has diversified his Community’s economy with Ak-Chin Farms, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Santa Cruz Commerce Center and a partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee.
His hope for professional legacy: “That my decision making gave value and sustainability in promoting a strong future and self-reliance for the people I serve.”

Clarence McAllister
President and CEO
Fortis Networks
Heritage: Black Latino
McAllister was born in Panama and earned degrees in electrical engineering from ASU and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. In 2000, he and his wife Reyna started Fortis, a certified 8a and HUBZone government contractor specialized in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream, and built a business that employs more than 100 Americans.”

Alfredo Molina
Chairman
Molina Jewelers
Heritage: Hispanic
Molina went from fleeing Cuba as a boy without a change of clothes to rocking the jewelry world by selling the Archduke Joseph diamond for $21.5 million, the most ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference. I believe that every individual is a precious jewel and it is my commitment and social responsibility to ensure they become brilliant.”

Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
Heritage: Mexican
Parga has been named in multiple editions of Southwest Super Lawyers®, including in 2014. He also serves on the doard of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading nonprofit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as always trying my best to do the right thing, and being fair and loyal.”

Dan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Heritage: Hispanic
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck and has built it into the largest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an individual who created a company that set industry standards, gave back to an industry generous with opportunity and helped people grow personally and professionally.”

Terry Rambler
Chairman
Arizona Indian Gaming Association
Heritage: San Carlos Apache Tribe
In addition to his AIGA leadership role, Rambler is chariman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “Strong vision, consistent oversight, yet humble leadership that helped build successful partnerships in economic development, cultural preservation, and the expansion of tribal sovereignty.”

Terence Roberts, M.D., J.D.
Radiation oncologist
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Heritage: African-American
Roberts specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery and tumors of the brain, spine, and prostate. He also received a law degree from Stanford University and practiced corporate law in the Silicon Valley for start-up companies.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered professionally as compassionate, knowledgeable and having integrity. Also as someone who innovated in an era of health care reform.”

Steve Sanghi
Chairman, CEO and president
Microchip Technology
Heritage: Indian
Sanghi, named president of Microchip in 1990, CEO in 1991 and chairman in 1993, is the author of “Driving Excellence: How The Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader.”
His hope for professional legacy: “For building Microchip Technology into one of the most successful semiconductor companies, which achieved an unprecedented 100 consecutive profitable quarters in a brutally competitive industry.”

Roxanne K. Song Ong
Chief presiding judge
Phoenix Municipal Court
Heritage: Chinese American
Song Ong, who chair the Arizona Supreme Court Commission on Minorities, was the first Asian female judge in Arizona and first minority to be named as Phoenix chief judge.
Her hope for professional legacy: “It would be my great honor to be remembered for three primary things: (1) my work in judicial and civics education, (2) the promotion of cultural competency and diversity in the judicial and legal profession, and (3) promoting access to justice for all Arizonans through legal services and education.”

Charlie Touché
Chairman and CEO
Lovitt & Touché, Inc.
In 2004, Touché became chairman and CEO of one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States, with nearly 200 employees in three offices and more than $300 million in total premiums.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “I’m proud to say that during this entire century, we’ve remained a client-driven, hands-on kind of company with people who will roll up their sleeves and jump in the trenches to help those we do business with.”

Lisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
Heritage: Mexican
Urias has built an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations agency that specializes in the diverse markets of the American Southwest, particularly the Hispanic market.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Having a nationally-known agency that successfully connects corporations to multicultural markets through ad campaigns, public relations and community outreach for mutual benefit and respect.”

Lonnie J. Williams, Jr.
Partner
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Heritage: Black
The Yale graduate’s practice focuses on commercial business and employment-related matters. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America.
His hope for professional legacy: “Martin Luther King said, ‘if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.’ Professionally, I would like to be remembered like that street sweeper.”

Kuldip Verma
CEO
Vermaland
Heritage: East Indian
Vermaland, founded by Verma, holds more than 24,000 acres of land in Arizona with a portfolio valued at $500 million. Nabha, the tiny Indian village Verma was born in, could fit many times into the acreage he now controls in the desert Southwest.
His hope for professional legacy: “I saw a dream and pursued it. Success without humility is a curse, but Success with your values intact is a blessing.”

AIGA's Spicer Was Featured Speaker in London

Valerie Spicer, Executive Director Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA), was a featured panelist at ICE Totally Gaming seminar, “Opportunities in Indian Country” on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in London, UK.  The seminar is co-produced by ICE Totally Gaming and Victor Rocha of PECHANGA.net in cooperation with Clarion Gaming’s Ewa Bakun.  Spicer is featured on the panel “Tribal Perspectives on internet gaming and overview of the tribal iGaming ventures.”

“I’m very fortunate that Valerie is able to join me at the ICE Totally Gaming conference in London as a panelist for the Opportunities in Indian Country:  Tribal Gaming Seminars,” said Victor Rocha.  “Val brings an extraordinary background in tribal gaming having worked in both the public and private sectors.  She not only has the respect of our industry, she was recently recognized as a Great Woman of Gaming, Proven Leader by Casino Enterprise Management.  I couldn’t ask for a better person to represent Indian Country in Europe.”

ICE Totally Gaming is the biggest gaming exhibition in the world. ICE 8 Conferences provide in-depth opportunities to learn through case studies, interactive discussions and focused networking about the most exciting areas in gaming. The seminars on Opportunities in Indian Country are free to participants at ICE Totally Gaming and designed to educate the European gaming industry about tribal gaming, the opportunities and impacts.

“The European market has conducted internet gaming for many years.  This program is a timely opportunity for us to engage with this market.  We anticipate an excellent exchange of information,” said Valerie Spicer, Executive Director AIGA. “Tribes will get qualified information on internet and social gaming and the potential business opportunities that can result, more importantly we can tell our story to the European market.  Personally I’m looking forward to explaining the difference between commercial and tribal gaming and how the economic impact from tribal gaming ripples through our communities and also positively affects our neighboring communities.”

The Arizona Indian Gaming Association has a membership of 17 tribes representing more than 90% of the Indian people living on reservations in Arizona. AIGA was established November 21, 1994 by Arizona tribal leaders.  The Association is committed to advancing the lives of Indian peoples – economically, socially and politically – so that Indian tribes in Arizona can achieve their goal of self-reliance.  Current membership includes:  Ak-Chin Indian Community, Cocopah Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort Mojave, Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Havasupai  Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab-Paiute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe,  Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation,  White Mountain Apache Tribe, and the Zuni Tribe.

For more information about ICE, visit http://www.icetotallygaming.com/opportunities-indian-country or ICE Totally Gaming: http://www.icetotallygaming.com/.

akchin1

Phoenix's Premier Amphitheater Renamed Ak-Chin Pavilion

 

Live Nation is proud to announce a partnership agreement with the  Ak-Chin Indian Community that includes the naming rights for Desert Sky Pavilion in PhoenixThe building will now be called Ak-Chin Pavilion. The venue will be host to an all-star lineup of performers this year including Pitbull & Ke$ha , Big Time Rush & Victoria Justice (6/25), Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (7/5), Kid Rock (7/24), Luke Bryan (7/27), Train (8/7), Rascal Flatts (9/12), Keith Urban (9/29), John Mayer (10/2), Depeche Mode (10/8), Jason Aldean (10/17) and more to be announced in the coming weeks.

akchin2“The Ak-Chin Indian Community has long standing roots in Arizona and have always believed that investing in our community is the right thing to do,” said Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. “We are excited about this partnership with Live Nation and working together to bring quality live entertainment to the Valley.”

“We couldn’t be happier to enter into this marketing relationship with the Ak-Chin Indian Community at our premier live entertainment venue in Phoenix,” said Maureen Ford, president of Live Nation’s Venue Network. “Their community and entrepreneurial spirit makes this sponsorship alliance a great fit, enabling them to reach, engage and connect with live music fans at our venue.”

Desert Sky Pavilion, which is operated by Live Nation, first opened in November of 1990 with a concert by Billy Joel. The 20,000-seat amphitheater is used mainly for concerts but is also available for other functions and has hosted events such as graduations, seminars, speaking engagements and company outings. It also recently served as additional parking for the NASCAR race fans. The Pavilion is also the only Phoenix Point of Pride in Maryvale.

About Ak-Chin Indian Community:

The Ak-Chin Indian Community is nestled into the Santa Cruz Valley of Southern Arizona. The Community lies 58 miles south of Phoenix in the northwestern part of Pinal County.  Ak-Chin is an O’odham word translated to mean “mouth of the wash” or “place where the wash loses itself in the sand or ground.” Ak-Chin has an enrollment of more than 947 tribal members and a land base of just over 22,000 acres. The Ak-Chin Indian Community has a variety of business enterprises including Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club and UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle.

About Live Nation Entertainment:

Live Nation Entertainment is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of four market leaders: Ticketmaster.com, Live Nation Concerts, Artist Nation Management and Live Nation Media/Sponsorship. For additional information, visitwww.livenation.com/investors.

 

kid_rock

Amphitheatre renamed Ak-Chin Pavilion

Live Nation announced a partnership agreement with the Ak-Chin Indian Community that includes the naming rights for Desert Sky Pavilion in Phoenix.  The building will now be called Ak-Chin Pavilion. The venue will be host to an all-star lineup of performers this year including Pitbull & Ke$ha tomorrow night, Big Time Rush & Victoria Justice (6/25), Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (7/5), Kid Rock (7/24), Luke Bryan (7/27), Train (8/7), Rascal Flatts (9/12), Keith Urban (9/29), John Mayer (10/2), Depeche Mode (10/8), Jason Aldean (10/17) and more to be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community has long standing roots in Arizona and have always believed that investing in our community is the right thing to do,” said Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. “We are excited about this partnership with Live Nation and working together to bring quality live entertainment to the Valley.”

“We couldn’t be happier to enter into this marketing relationship with the Ak-Chin Indian Community at our premier live entertainment venue in Phoenix,” said Maureen Ford, president of Live Nation’s Venue Network. “Their community and entrepreneurial spirit makes this sponsorship alliance a great fit, enabling them to reach, engage and connect with live music fans at our venue.”

Desert Sky Pavilion, which is operated by Live Nation, first opened in November of 1990 with a concert by Billy Joel. The 20,000-seat amphitheatre is used mainly for concerts but is also available for other functions and has hosted events such as graduations, seminars, speaking engagements & company outings. It also recently served as additional parking for the NASCAR race fans. The Pavilion is also the only Phoenix Point of Pride in Maryvale.

volunteer

Paying it forward: Why it Matters

If one person can make a difference, think what an entire company can do.

Giving back has been at the core of many great businesses, but there is a growing trend in the way businesses are paying it forward — employee-volunteer programs.

Many businesses understand that it’s more than just numbers, it’s about values. Generosity and corporate responsibility are some of those values. Generosity demonstrates a genuine corporate value that benefits the company and employees. Many businesses have started to make it a fundamental part of their mission.

In many different ways, businesses are looking for ways to reach their consumers, connect with them on a personal level and give back to the communities in which they live and serve. Through employee volunteer programs like HERO at Harrah’s Ak-Chin, employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to help individuals and communities in need.

Some recent HERO success stories include:

* Employees raised $7,000 for the Dove’s event to help with a late life domestic abuse program and shelter (first of its kind).
* Over 40 participants in Pat’s Run to help provide resources and educational scholarship support to veterans, active service members and their spouses.
* Participation in Maricopa Relay for Life dinner and walk raised more than $18,000 for cancer research.
* Employees collected 831 pounds of food and distributed to needy families at the FOR Maricopa food bank event.
* Partnered with the Ak-Chin Indian Community, with over 160 volunteers, for a community trash pickup in celebration of Earth Day.

But communities and organizations aren’t the only ones benefiting — businesses and their employees are also seeing the benefits, too.

What goes around comes around
Beyond helping the community, volunteer programs help employees. Volunteering boosts motivation and allows employees to work with each other outside of an office setting. When employees have the chance to give back in a meaningful way for something they care about, they will feel more positively connected to the business where they work.

As for businesses, a donation simply is not enough. It’s about the return. Making a lasting impact is just as – and perhaps more – important as defining your mission. You can’t solve disease or climate change with good intentions. As your name comes around as a business that is generous with their time and money, you’ll gain new customers, clients and overall respect from the communities you serve.

Other benefits:
* Improve relations with the surrounding community
* Enhance public image through a different platform
* Strengthen employee leadership and interpersonal skills
* Improve employee retention

Charity may begin at home, but it certainly does not end there. From the small grass-roots enterprises to large organizations, building partnerships with nonprofit organizations and supporting employee volunteer opportunities is a great way to give back to those who have helped support your business and will likely bring beneficial returns back to the business.

Mike Kintner is marketing director at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort.

 

 

121198354

Ak-Chin Indian Community Invests $10M in Maricopa

During the May 7 Maricopa City Council meeting, Mayor Christian Price announced that the Ak-Chin Indian Community would be making an investment of $10 million in Maricopa. Of the $10 million investment, $2.6 million will support the Maricopa Unified School District and $7.4 million will be allocated to the operation of the City of Maricopa’s Copper Sky Recreational Complex, a multigenerational/aquatic center and regional park, currently under construction.

The Community’s investment in the District will assist with the short fall within the budget and the failure of the previous tax initiative.   Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. has long valued the importance of education and has made it a priority for the Tribal Council to find ways to improve upon it, not only for the Tribal community, but for the City of Maricopa as well.

“As true leaders to those our youth look to for guidance, we need to invest in them to promote and partake in a future yet to be determined but with the belief of opportunities,” said Chairman Manuel.  “The Ak-Chin Indian Community believes a partnership like this goes beyond the boundaries and creates a relationship to forge a strong future for everyone.”

The Copper Sky Recreational Complex, slated to open in spring 2014, includes a multigenerational/aquatic center and a regional park.  The 52,000-square-foot center will have many amenities, such as a gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts, a fitness area, an indoor running track, a competitive pool, a recreational pool, and a splash pad.  The regional park is approximately 120 acres and will be comprised of a five-acre lake, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, multi-use fields, a baseball/softball field, a dog park, and bike and multi-use trails.

“I am ecstatic to see the countless benefits that come from building positive and valuable relationships with our wonderful neighbors, the Ak-Chin Indian Community,” said Maricopa Mayor Christian Price.  “As we embark on this new era of collaboration, I look forward to seeing our partnerships continue to develop and our communities continue to thrive. I am encouraged that, together, we will continue to construct a highly-prized and decidedly-successful region.  The City of Maricopa is extremely grateful for the outstanding generosity of the Ak-Chin Community and we look forward to building a prosperous future together.”

The Community’s $10 million investment will be made in one payment to the City, who will serve as the grantor of the $2.6 million to the District.

“We have a life-long relationship with the City of Maricopa; we have shared in each other’s growth and helped when called upon.  We hope to continue our partnership into the future,” said Chairman Manuel.

Ak-Chin Indian Community Partners with Quail Run Building Materials

Louis Manuel

Louis Manuel

 

The Ak-Chin Indian Community recently completed a multi-million dollar investment in Phoenix-based Quail Run Building Materials, allowing the two to move forward with plans to construct a manufacturing facility in the Santa Cruz Commerce Center, which is located on the Community’s reservation, near Maricopa.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community is excited to finally bring this opportunity to our community and neighbors in Maricopa and the surrounding areas,” said Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. “The initial conversations regarding this venture began more than 10 years ago and have evolved throughout the years to its completion last month.”

The Commerce Center will provide many employment opportunities for people from both the tribe and surrounding areas. Both parties are optimistic about the growth potential of the company and its role in Arizona manufacturing.

“We believe that the partnership with the Ak-Chin Indian Community will prove to have many long-lasting and positive impacts on the community,” said Robert Clark, CEO of Quail Run Building Materials. “The partnership reinforces our commitment to being the premier steel framing building products manufacturer in the Southwest.”

The Ak-Chin Indian Community is continuously working on other economic enterprises including the completion of the UltraStar Multi-Tainment Center and the Ak-Chin Water Treatment Plant and the current construction of Justice Center Complex scheduled for completion in July 2014.

 

Dierks Bentley scheduled to perform at Harrah's Ak-Chin.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort Shows Some Southern Hospitality

It’s that time of year when hundreds of people will travel to the great state of Arizona for some refreshing weather and southern hospitality. But they aren’t the only ones; along with the cooler temperatures also comes some of the coolest in entertainment. From local artists to Grammy-nominated performers, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort will showcase all the favorites.

The line-up includes entertainment for all ages. From the soulful sounds of rhythm and blues to country, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort has entertainment for everyone this fall.

On October 27, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort and the Ak-Chin Indian community are joining together to bring in the big guns for a day of unforgettable, live country entertainment. That’s right — fans from all over the state will invade Maricopa for what is expected to be the biggest musical festival this fall. Tickets for the highly anticipated event are expected to go fast as the all-day event is expected to draw thousands from all over the state. To purchase tickets, visit Ticketmaster’s website.

So grab your cowboy hat and boots and strap up for an afternoon of fun. Here is the line-up:

Rising Star, Kristen Kelly

She’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. Kristen’s background in singing helped pave her way to songwriting. Today, she emerges on the country music scene as a rising star. Enjoy her debut single “Ex-Old Man,” as she kicks things off with a bang.

Country Trio, Gloriana

Known for their powerful vocals and original sound, this dynamic trio brings their Tennessee sway to the southwest. The band is comprised of brothers Tom and Mike Gossin and Rachel Reinert. Hitting the charts with their latest song, “Kissed you Goodnight,” Gloriana will rock the house with other favorites, including “Can’t Shake You” and “Wanna Take You Home.”

Country Sensation, Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin will take you back to country roots as he hits the stage at this year’s event. His musical talent, all-American look and traditional sound have made him a country sensation overnight. He will rock the stage this fall as he performs hits like “A Little More Country than That” and “Roll with It.”

Arizona’s Favorite Son, Dierks Bentley

Arizona welcomes home its favorite son, Dierks Bentley, who is headlining the all-day festival. Bentley is among the artists up for Album of the Year for his album “Home” at this year’s Country Music Awards. He is known not only for his versatility as an artist, but also for his chart-topping hits, “Home,” named the official song the Arizona Centennial Celebration; “Come a Little Closer” and “5150.”

For more information about Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort, visit harrahsakchin.com.

Centennial Series - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Centennial Series: Arizona’s History Impacts The Way We Live Our Lives

100 Years of Change: From ‘Sesame Street’ to scientific breakthroughs, Arizona’s history impacts the way we live our lives

During Arizona’s first century, every elementary school student in the state learned about the five Cs that drove Arizona’s economy — copper, cotton, cattle, citrus and climate.

There is a chance that if you ask Arizona elementary school students what C words drive the state’s economy now, their best answers might be casinos or Cardinals, whose University of Phoenix Stadium has been filled with fans, and hosted both a Super Bowl and a BCS championship game since it opened in 2006.

A lot has changed since copper and cotton drove the state, but that doesn’t lessen the impact Arizona’s first 100 years had on the way we live our lives today.

Here are a baker’s dozen events, people or projects from Arizona’s history, its first 100 years, that shaped the state or helped the state make history:

Gaming

In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in response to the proliferation of gambling halls on Indian reservations. IGRA recognized gaming as a way to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government.

By the end of 1994, 10 casinos were in operation in Arizona. Currently, 15 tribes operate 22 casinos in the state, creating a huge boost for Arizona tourism and the economy.

To put it into perspective, a study commissioned by the Ak-Chin Indian Community in 2011 showed that Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort alone accounts for 1,094 jobs, $36,713,700 in payroll, and a total economic impact on the community of $205,322,355. And those numbers represent figures before the resort added a 152-room hotel tower in July 2011.

Air travel

In 1935, the City of Phoenix bought Sky Harbor International Airport for $100,000. In 2010, the airport served 38.55 million passengers, making it the ninth busiest in the U.S. in terms of passengers and one of the top 15 busiest airports in the world, with a $90 million daily economic impact. The airport handles about 1,252 aircraft daily that arrive and depart, along with 103,630 passengers daily, and more than 675 tons of cargo handled.

“As much as anywhere in the U.S., Phoenix is a creature of good air connections,” says Grady Gammage Jr., an expert on Arizona’s history. “There is no good rail service (in Arizona). There are no real transportation corridors. Sky Harbor has had a huge impact.”

Road travel

Another transportation milestone occurred in 1985 when the Maricopa Association of Governments approved a $6.5 billion regional freeway plan for Phoenix and voters approved a 20-year, one-half cent sales tax to fund it. By 2008, the Arizona Department of Transportation had completed the construction and Phoenix boasted 137 miles of loop freeways that link the metro area.

The loop freeways have had a significant impact on shaping Phoenix and, ultimately, Arizona, says Dennis Smith, MAG executive director.

“The loop freeways resulted in a distribution of job centers around the Valley,” Smith says. “That allows every part of the Valley to achieve its dream and have employment closer to where the homes are. That distributes the wealth throughout the Valley.”

Smith says the freeways also extended the Valley’s reach to Yavapai, Pinal and Pima counties, creating a megapolitan area known as the Sun Corridor.

Master-planned neighborhoods

Arizona is home to countless master-planned residential communities, but the first one — Maryvale — opened in 1955 in West Phoenix as the post-war years exerted their influence. Its developer, John F. Long, wanted to plan and build a community where young people could buy an affordable home, raise a family and work, all in the same area. He named the development after his wife, Mary, and its influence is felt to this day.

“Because Maryvale was a master-planned community and because John did affordable housing, the master plan included a lot of parks, school sites and shopping areas,” says Jim Miller, director of real estate for John F. Long Properties. “It really was where people could live and work. If you lived in Maryvale, you weren’t more than three-quarters of a mile from a park or school. That forced a lot of other builders to adopt the same type of philosophy.”

The first homes sold for as little as $7,400, with a $52-a-month mortgage. The first week the models went on the market, 24,000 people stopped by to take a look.

Retirement communities

A year before Maryvale opened, Ben Schleifer introduced a different lifestyle to an older demographic. In 1954, Schleifer opened Youngtown in West Phoenix, the first age-restricted retirement community in the nation, according to research by Melanie Sturgeon, director of the state’s History and Archives Division. No one younger than 50 could live there. By 1963, Youngtown had 1,700 residents and Arizona was on its way to becoming a retirement mecca.

But it was builder Del E. Webb and his construction companies that firmly established the concept of active, age-restricted adult retirement in Arizona with the opening of Sun City on Jan. 1, 1960, next to Youngtown and along Grand Avenue. According to Sturgeon’s research and a magazine observing Sun City’s 50th anniversary, about 100,000 people showed up the first three days to see the golf course, recreation center, swimming pool, shopping center and five model homes. Traffic was backed up for miles. The first homes sold for between $8,500 and $11,750. Sun City had 7,500 residents by 1964 and 42,000 by 1977, the same year Webb decided the community was big enough and he began construction on Sun City West.

Law

Ernesto Arturo Miranda was a Phoenix laborer whose conviction on kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery charges based on his confession under police interrogation resulted in the landmark 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case (Miranda v. Arizona), which ruled that criminal suspects must be informed of their right against self-incrimination and their right to consult with an attorney prior to questioning by police. This warning is known as a Miranda warning.

After the Supreme Court decision set aside Miranda’s initial conviction, the state of Arizona retried him. At the second trial, with his confession excluded from evidence, he was again convicted, and he spent 11 years in prison.

Healthcare

The first successful surgery and use of an artificial heart as a bridge to a human heart transplant 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.

It also put the spotlight on Arizona as a place where cutting-edge research and healthcare was taking place.

Copeland made several other contributions to the artificial heart program, including advancing surgical techniques, patient care protocols and anticoagulation. He also performed the state’s first heart-lung transplant and the first U.S. implant of a pediatric ventricular assist device. In 2010, Copeland moved to a facility in San Diego, where he continues to make an impact on health care.

Entertainment

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, the children’s television show uses puppets, cartoons and live actors to teach literacy, math fundamentals and behavior skills. Today, Cooney serves as a member of Sesame Workshop’s executive committee. In 2007, she was honored by Sesame Workshop with the creation of The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, which aims to advance children’s literacy skills and foster innovation in children’s learning through digital media.

Military bases

Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, which broke ground for its Advanced Flying School on July 16, 1941, allowed more than 26,500 men and women to earn their wings. It was active as a training base for both the U.S. Army Air Forces, as well as the U.S. Air Force from 1941 until its closure in 1993.

It also opened the door for other military training bases in Arizona, including Luke Air Force Base; which employs more than 8,000 personnel and covers 4,200 acres and is home to the largest fighter wing in the world, the 56th Fighter Wing; Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, home to the A-10 Thunderbolt II, which was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 military vehicles, and 1,200 artillery pieces; and Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, which specializes in air-to-ground aviation training for U.S. and NATO forces. In 1990, almost every Marine that participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm trained at Yuma.

Solar power

Solar power has the potential to make Arizona “the Persian Gulf of solar energy,” former Gov. Janet Napolitano once said. But despite the overabundance of sunshine, the industry didn’t take root in the state until the end of the last century.

The first commercial solar power plant in the state came in 1997 when Arizona Public Service (APS) built a 95-kilowatt, single-axis tracking photovoltaic plant in Flagstaff. In 1999, the City of Scottsdale covered an 8,500-square-feet parking lot with photovoltaic panels, to both provide shaded parking and generate 93 kilowatts of solar power.

Arizona installed more than 55 megawatts of solar power in 2010, doubling its 2009 total of 21 megawatts, ranking it behind California (259 megawatts), New Jersey (137 megawatts), Florida (110 megawatts), and Nevada (61 megawatts).

Water

Construction of the Central Arizona Project — which delivers water to areas where 80 percent of Arizonans reside — began in 1973 at Lake Havasu. Twenty years and $4 billion later, it was completed south of Tucson. The CAP delivers an average 1.5 million acre-feet of water annually to municipal, agricultural and Native American users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties.

“Without the CAP, we wouldn’t have the population we have today,” says Pam Pickard, president of the CAP board of directors. “We wouldn’t have our economic base. We wouldn’t have the industry we have.”

But the CAP wouldn’t have been possible without another milestone that occurred nearly 60 years earlier — Hoover Dam and its reservoir, Lake Mead, 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam, constructed between 1933 and 1936, tamed the Colorado, which Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, says was even more erratic than the Salt River. The dam created reliable water supplies for Arizona’s Colorado River Valley and, eventually, Central and Southern Arizona via the CAP.

Sports

On April 24, 2000 Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull signed a bill that created the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority (initially known as the TSA). Later, it was renamed to the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority was instrumental in the constructions of University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and an anchor of Glendale’s sports complex. The development of the stadium, also home to the Fiesta Bowl, marked a shift in the economic landscape of the West Valley and Arizona sports. The Stadium has already hosted one Super Bowl and will host a second in 2015.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has also been instrumental in Cactus League projects — including Surprise Stadium, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Tempe Diablo Stadium, Scottsdale Stadium, Goodyear (Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds) and in Glendale (Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.) The economic impact of Cactus League baseball is estimated at $350 million a year.

“There’s no doubt about it, sports is an integral part of any destination tourism package,” says Lorraine Pino, tourism manager at the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our tourism literally exploded over the past few years.”

Isabelle Novak, Noelle Coyle and Tom Ellis contributed to this story.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012


Salt River Devco, Courtyard by Marriott - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

Salt River Devco, Ak-Chin Indian Community And Tribes Diversifying Their Holdings

Salt River Devco, Ak-Chin Indian Community And Arizona’s Native American tribes are diversifying their holdings through added infrastructure, business parks and development partners

When it comes to large construction projects on Indian lands, casinos and the hospitality industry supporting them generally dominate the public’s consciousness on the subject.
Powerhouse revenue generators such as Talking Stick Casino and Resort, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino and the plethora of other gaming-related projects completed in recent years support the notion.

But even those welcomed construction projects during an otherwise bleak period in the state’s commercial construction history should be viewed as the end of the boom period for casino projects, some observers say.

“A lot of tribes started in gaming and that’s consumed their focus,” says Vince Lujan, president of Salt River Devco, an entity of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Salt River Devco’s charge is to attract non-gaming related development to Indian community lands. “Now they want to diversify their holdings.”

Developing a game plan

If the build-out of casinos and their ancillary projects has indeed begun, as some suggest, Arizona tribes have already recognized the need to broaden their holdings. Several have launched into non-gaming development with little fanfare — but with the belief those projects will either keep generating revenue for the tribe and/or provide a higher quality of life for their members.

In many instances such projects are underway. The Ak-Chin Indian Community’s waste reclamation facility already is making life easier for tribal members. In other cases, tribes, such as the SRP-MIC, are aggressively adding tenants to their business park.

In addition to the spectacular Fields at Talking Stick spring training baseball facility that the SRP-MIC added to its holdings last year, it has also been ambitious in trying to grow its industrial park with tenants. Chaparral Business Center sits off Loop 101 in an area considered geographically prime because of its proximity to Scottsdale.

The 55-acre park is only partially developed, but Salt River Devco is working hard to change that.

“We want to help the community develop a general land use plan for the 101 corridor,” says Jeff Roberts, Salt River Devco’s asset manager.

That plan calls for medical, retail and light industrial and Salt River Devco is touting its build-to-suit plans to prospective tenants.

In the buildings currently completed, occupancy runs at about 90%, Roberts says. Fender Musical Instruments, William Lyon Homes, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management and Insurance Co. are among the current tenants.

The tribe’s biggest commercial project currently underway is the $22M Scottsdale 101 Courtyard by Marriott on the NEC of Pima and Vista Drive, just south of McDowell Ave. When completed in January, it will feature 158 rooms, a 3,000 SF conference center and will be pursuing LEED certification.

Catering to business travelers and spring training guests, the hotel (Marriott’s first on tribal land) is just the kind of project that will boost the industrial park’s attractiveness in addition to supporting the casino and resort,  Roberts says.

“What the 101 corridor has it lots of available land in a desirable locations,” he says. “We want to position ourselves to propose new development to users.”

Because tribes generally don’t have a property tax base to help generate revenue, they are always on the lookout about how to generate revenue through sales taxes or other types of taxes, Lujan says.

Upgrading infrastructure

At Ak-Chin Indian Community in Pinal County, it is just wrapping up construction of a new water reclamation project and breaking ground on another surface water treatment plant.

The water reclamation facility is a $43M project that had been underway since September 2009. With 13 miles of new pipelines and pumping structures along with a 28,000 SF operations facility, the project  has received several awards for its architects, Carollo Engineers, and general contractor, MGC Contractors.

In June, the tribe started construction on the surface water treatment plant. That $18M project being built by PCL Construction is expected to be completed in July 2012.

“In order to support future growth and expansion, we realized there was a need to upgrade our infrastructure,” says Jayne Long, Ak-Chin capital projects manager.

Other Ak-Chin projects include the recent completion of a white shell building in May at its 110-acre industrial park. They are also planning for a second building at the Santa Cruz Commerce Center. Current tenants include Hickman’s Eggs, M&S Machinery, Hit & Pitch and Crossfit Battlefit. The tribe also owns a golf course and regional airport. At both sites, they plan to make improvements.

And in July, it began construction on a 6,500 SF grocery store within the reservation. The Vekol Market will be completed in November, giving tribal members a true grocery store shopping experience.

“The Community has gotten bonding or bank financing on some of these projects,” Long says. “But this community was self sufficient before they had casino operations from its agricultural interests.”

Still, the tribe’s 16-year affiliation with Harrah’s has been a major impetus behind its ability to take on so many projects. It continues to build homes for its members and just completed a new fire station. It is currently in the design stage for a justice complex that will include a police station, detention facility and court. That 50,000 SF project could break ground in 1Q 2012.

It also plans to make improvements to the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, which it acquired last year, and the Phoenix Regional Airport, which it owns.

That’s in addition to the recently completed expansion project at Harrah’s Casino, which doubled its room capacity with the opneing of a five-story addition. The $20M project was financed by the tribe. Harrah’s manages all aspects of the gaming operation and the hotel.

Looking to the future

Casino Del Sol Hotel Lobby, Pascua Yaqui TribeStill, the recession has hurt tribal development just as it has all development.

“The boom years are over,” says Dan Lewis, a Native American market sector leader in the Phoenix office for Leo A Daly, an international architectural, engineering, planning and interior design firm. “Now the focus is on maintaining casino competitiveness and meeting the needs of its members.”

Lewis’ firm just wrapped up design additions to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Casino Del Sol in Tucson. The project included the addition of a hotel, conference center, parking garage, laundry facility and warehouse to the existing 213,000 SF casino.

Peridot Healthcare Center - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

In Peridot, the $80.2M San Carlos Apache Healthcare Center is scheduled to open in 4Q 2013. The 184,000 SF facility will be a replacement hospital campus for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. It will consist of five buildings on a 50-acre site. The buildings include an ambulatory hospital, behavioral health building, dentistry building, public health building and EMS building.

At the Gila River Indian Community, an upscale premium outlet mall is the latest addition the tribe’s portfolio. The project is expected to break ground in 1Q 2012. It will eventually reach 360,000 SF and feature 90 designer name-brand outlets stores. Plans call for the mall to cover 45 acres.

“The conception for this came quite a few years ago,” says Alia Maisonet, director of communications and public affairs for the tribe. “Then the recession hit and slowed down plans.”

But the tribe recently received word from Simon Premium Outlets that it wanted to move forward. The mall will be next to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino on land previously designated for economic development. The project is expected to generate at least $2.6M in sales taxes.

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For more information about Salt River Devco, Ak-Chin and others mentioned in this story, visit the following links:

www.ak-chin.nsn.us
www.leoadaly.com
www.gilariver.org
www.saltriverdevco.com
www.sancarlosapache.com
www.srpmic-nsn.gov

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AZRE Magazine September/October 2011