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ACC Awards 2012

ACC Awards 2012 Finalists: N-T

Effective corporate counsel has never been more important than it is now. Arizona Business Magazine is recognizing the important and vital role that in-house counsel plays in the success of a business with the Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards, ACC Awards 2012. The 27 finalists and winners were honored Thursday, January 12 during a ceremony and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, N through T.


ACC Awards 2012 Finalists, N through T:

Dennis Naughton
General counsel
Danny’s Family Companies

ACC Awards 2012Naughton accepted the position of general counsel with Danny’s Family Companies just as the nation was beginning to understand the extent of the economic destruction resulting from the great recession. It soon became apparent that the company would need to restructure if it was to survive. Naughton masterfully navigated the company through the perilous and complex legal waters of a Chapter 11 corporate restructuring. The company’s continued success and emergence from Chapter 11 is due in part to Naughton’s insight and legal leadership. He is a native of Arizona and graduate of Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix.


ON Semiconductor
In-house legal department

ACC Awards 2012On Jan. 1, 2011, the acquisition of SANYO Semiconductor increased the ON law department from 29 to 47 legal professional. Still, the law department remains the smallest department in the company and consistently benchmarks favorably for cost expenditures for similarly situated in-house law departments. In recognition of the law department’s significant role in closing the SANYO deal, the M&A Advisor awarded the deal with the Major Transaction of the Year award for mergers and acquisitions from $500 million to $1 billion. On a personal note, department members participate in a wide variety of community service projects — from youth programs to animal rescue.


Karen Paul
General counsel
MD Helicopters

ACC Awards 2012According to David Kash, a partner at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite in Phoenix, Paul did a “great job for a company in an economy under very trying times.” Paul’s great work paid off in 2011 as MD Helicopters was awarded a $186 million contract by the Army to build rotorcraft for training exercises in Afghanistan. Among her duties:
* Contract negotiation and drafting — national, international, sales, distribution, procurement, U.S. government, complex commercial and intellectual property licensing, ownership, transfers and development.
* Regulatory compliance.
* Intellectual property and contracts portfolio and systems development and management.


Jessica M. Pena
General counsel
Tekco Management Group, LLC

ACC Awards 2012In three years at Tekco, Pena has fundamentally reinvented the company’s approach to enforcing its intellectual property rights. Pena’s innovative use of unfair competition claims in conjunction with copyright enforcement is just one example of her ability to find new ways to tackle old, entrenched problems. Additionally, Pena’s innovative approach to intellectual property rights enforcement ignited a renewed effort against online copyright infringement in the adult entertainment industry. Due to her innovative and successful approach to stopping online copyright infringement in her industry, Pena was invited to organize and moderate a panel at the 23rd North American Entertainment, Sports & Intellectual Property Law Conference.


Amy Rasor
Deputy general counsel
American Traffic Solutions

ACC Awards 2012Colleagues say Rasor has what it takes to create and maintain a well-oiled legal team as an in-house counsel. Some of her accomplishments include:
* Leading the legal aspects of two company acquisitions and countless lawsuits.
* After joining the legal team at ATS as the first associate general counsel, she was promoted to deputy general counsel the following year. She works with two other attorneys and two paralegals.
* Colleagues say Rasor is unequalled in her ability to foresee potential legal issues and head the off before they become a real problem for the company.


Michael Reagan
Executive vice president and general counsel
Kahala Corp

ACC Awards 2012Reagan has been Kahala’s general counsel since January 2000. From 1993 to 1995, he served as a senior accountant with Deloitte & Touche in Phoenix in its audit division. He is currently a licensed attorney, as well as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), in the state of Arizona. Reagan holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of Arizona and a J.D. from Arizona State University. In Reagan’s 12 years at Kahala, the company has grown from a handful of employees to more than 250, from one brand to 14 brands, and the legal department has grown from one lawyer to six lawyers and 10 paralegals.


Mark Rodgers
Associate general counsel
Insight Enterprises, Inc.

ACC Awards 2012Rogers’ responsibilities include corporate governance work, SEC reporting, mergers and acquisitions, financing, design and implementation of compliance programs, internal investigations, negotiation of contracts and litigation and labor and employment management. He sits on Insight’s Disclosure Committee and currently chairs the Investment Committees for the company’s 401(k) and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation plans. Rogers was named a “Super Lawyer” in the 2007 Southwest Edition of Law & Politics Magazine and was the only in-house counsel named as a Super Lawyer in the edition. He is admired by colleagues for his great judgment, a key asset to outside counsel when analyzing facts and the law to develop strategies.


Cindy Sehr
Senior counsel
Catholic Healthcare West (Chandler Regional Medical Center)

ACC Awards 2012Sehr has 25 years of experience as an attorney and 20 of those years have been devoted to healthcare law. Working in the healthcare field, there are many components that a legal department has to take into consideration to abide by regulations set by the state and federal governments. Sehr has made those regulations easier for everyone on the CHW staff to understand. Through Sehr’s leadership and expertise, the medical centers have been able to navigate and overcome hurdles with a strong sense of support, guidance and leadership toward the correct and proactive steps that need to be made.


Thomas F. Tollison
Senior assistant general counsel — marketing group
U-Haul International, Inc.

ACC Awards 2012Colleagues say Tollison is an inspiration to those around him. “He inspires us to work hard and improve our craft,” said Isaac P. Hernandez, an associate at Ballard Spahr. “He inspires us to be leaders and to be involved with our communities. He reminds us to take a moment to smell the roses and enjoy life.” Among Tollison’s professional accomplishments is the negotiation of a multi-million-dollar asset/stock purchase of a telecommunications company, as well as providing lead counsel to the largest division on U-Haul — its marketing group.


Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

ACC Awards 2012

ACC Awards 2012 Finalists: H-M

Effective corporate counsel has never been more important than it is now. Arizona Business Magazine is recognizing the important and vital role that in-house counsel plays in the success of a business with the Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards, ACC Awards 2012. The 27 finalists and winners were honored Thursday, January 12 during a ceremony and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, H through M.


ACC Awards 2012 Finalists, H through M:

George Hittner
Corporate secretary, general counsel, vice president of governmental relations
American Traffic Solutions

ACC Awards 2012Hittner has overseen more than 150 lawsuits for ATS throughout the country, ranging from minor cases to multi-million-dollar class actions, with a 98 percent win rate since October 2008. Some highlights:
* Under Hittner’s leadership, ATS has never lost a constitutional challenge to one of its programs.
* Hittner led the successful legal strategy which resulted in a decision by the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that found the Akron, Ohio, intersection and speed camera safety ordinance legal and constitutional.
* Hittner’s focus on election law has protected the photo enforcement industry from illegal elections, including having three illegal elections declared invalid.


Christine Jones
Executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary
Go Daddy Group

ACC Awards 2012Jones is the leader for all legal affairs at Go Daddy. Go Daddy’s legal department is unique in that it encompasses functions that are not traditionally seen in corporate legal departments. Jones supervises more than 100 people in the legal, domain services, network abuse, and government relations departments. Jones has become and industry leader and activist in addressing Internet abuse, and she created the government relations department at Go Daddy to establish a respected presence and voice in Washington. To keep up to date, Jones enables legal professionals to present in-house continuing legal education programs on a monthly basis.


Sara Lee Keller
Executive vice president and general counsel
Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. — Americas

ACC Awards 2012Since Keller was hired on Jan. 4, 2011, she has grown the legal department from four attorneys to seven. Issues that were traditionally handled by outside counsel are now handled in-house, resulting is cost savings and better management of external spending. Some opinions of her work:
* “Our legal team at Clear Channel Outdoor is becoming a full-service firm right inside the four walls of the company,” said Joe Bagan, Clear Channel’s COO.
*  “This collaboration has improved our overall effectiveness as measured by successful outcomes, more closely managed costs … greater business impact, and improved client satisfaction,” said Ron Cooper, CEO of Clear Channel.


Christopher Kevane
Senior vice president and general counsel
Rural/Metro Corporation

ACC Awards 2012Kevane has been advising and managing the legal affairs for Rural/Metro for more than seven years, the past two as senior vice president and general counsel. His recent accomplishments include managing all legal matters related to:
* The successful close of Rural/Metro’s acquisition by affiliates of the global private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC.
* The successful acquisition of multiple competitor companies throughout the nation.
* Regulatory matters related to SEC reporting mandates.
* Legal issues and settlement negotiations related to federal and state Medicare and Medicaid audits and compliance matters.
* Contract matters and negotiations surrounding executive departures and hiring.


Mark Larson
Vice president and chief litigation counsel — aerospace and transportation systems
Honeywell International

ACC Awards 2012Given Honeywell Aerospace’s content on global aircraft, chances are that if an aircraft accident occurs, Honeywell will be involved in litigation and Larson will ultimately become involved. Larson oversees a large, complex and diversified docket, encompassing litigation and arbitration matters throughout the world. Through skillful negotiation, Larson managed to settle a number of significant claims last year alone, saving Honeywell hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as protecting Honeywell’s product reputation and brand. In his 11 years at Honeywell, Larson has had just one trial loss. He accomplished all that while reducing outside counsel spending by almost 50 percent since 2007.


Ryan Liebengood
Intellectual property attorney
ASM America INC

ACC Awards 2012Colleagues admire Libengood for his unselfish community service. “I have been in the legal field for more than 40 years and as an in-house attorney for more than 15 years,” said Gary A. Smith, general counsel for Phoenix Engineering Services in Mesa. “Rarely have I seen a relative newcomer to the law become so enthusiastically involved in the community.” Libengood became a member of the Mesa Family YMCA, offering his assistance as the organization transitioned from a fitness facility to a service organization supporting a low-income population. He also volunteers with the Mesa United Way Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Program.


Virginia Llewellyn
General counsel and corporate secretary
Barrett-Jackson Auction Co., LLC

ACC Awards 2012Llewellyn has been general counsel at Barrett-Jackson since 2005. In this role, she is responsible for managing all the company’s legal affairs and overseeing outside counsel relationships. She serves as corporate secretary and works closely with other members of the senior management team on establishing and implementing company policies and procedures as they apply to employees, customers, and external business partners. She also serves as the primary liaison to the company’s media partners, including Fox’s SPEED Channel, which broadcasts more than 100 live hours of Barrett-Jackson events each year to more than 80 million homes.


Matthew D. Mitchell
Vice president legal, associate general counsel
Apollo Group

ACC Awards 2012Mitchell’s original responsibilities for Apollo — one of the largest employers in Arizona — were limited to the employment area, but he has since taken on litigation and regulatory responsibilities. Some highlights:
* He has been instrumental in implementing standard processes for the engagement of outside counsel (including outside counsel guidelines and electronic billing), e-discovery and litigation holds, Apollo board litigation updates specific to both the company and the for-profit education industry, and litigation tracking.
* Has assumed responsibility for securities litigation, derivative actions, wage hour class actions, qui tam litigation, and consumer litigation.


Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh
Vice president and general counsel
Honeywell International

ACC Awards 2012Since assuming the role of aerospace general counsel in 2005, Mountcastle-Walsh has forged a successful vision for the Honeywell Aerospace, Law, Contracts and Export (LC&E) function. Some highlights:
* Developed policies, procedures and best practices to streamline functionalization and reduce total expenses by more than 35 percent.
* Consistently strives to upgrade talent in her 400-person department through hiring efforts, and through a training, mentoring and a development process.
* Enabled growth at Honeywell through the development of its patent portfolio and IP licensing.
* Proactive litigation management has helped reduce Honeywell’s spending on outside counsel by more than 50 percent.


Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012