Tag Archives: APS

Empire Power Systems

Largest Commercial Solar Rooftop System in Arizona Unveiled

Empire Power Systems this week completed the installation of an $11.5 million, 2.4 megawatt SunPower solar rooftop system on the Cowley Industrial Park building in South Phoenix. The project is the largest commercial solar rooftop system in Arizona and the second largest in U.S.

Cowley Companies, a Phoenix-based real estate investment firm, decided to install the solar system on this 850,000-square-foot warehouse because it houses food-service tenants that require large refrigerator and freezer units, which translate into high electricity bills. This was the company’s second solar undertaking; last year, Cowley added a 40kW, 188-module fixed mount system to the parking structure at its headquarters on Jackson Street in downtown Phoenix.

“We wanted to provide our tenants with a source of renewable energy that would reduce the property’s electric bills by approximately 40 percent annually,” said Mike Cowley, president of Cowley Companies. “When you consider that last year’s total electric bills for this property exceeded $1 million, you begin to understand how over time this solar system will realize significant cost savings that we can eventually pass on to our tenants.”

Since the system was commissioned Aug. 18, it has produced more than 600,000-kilowatt hours of electric power. It is expected to produce more than 4 million kilowatt hours per year, enough to completely power 340 homes. Additionally, it will offset 3,900 tons of carbon dioxide each year – the equivalent of taking nearly 700 cars off the road.

“This solar system will provide Cowley Companies with a competitive edge in today’s challenging commercial real estate market,” said Brett Burns, Empire Power Systems general manager. “Now the company has a performing asset on its rooftop that is making a positive impact on our environment. The company has a real opportunity to attract new tenants to the space who may not have previously considered it.”

The solar rooftop system features 7,872 ballasted SunPower T-5 panels, the industry’s first non-penetrating rooftop product, which are connected to an above-grade electrical conduit that runs into the inverter room, where four 500kW SatCon inverters convert the direct current energy into usable commercial electricity. Tilted at a five-degree angle, the T5 solar roof tile system approximately doubles the energy generated per square meter compared to systems that are mounted flat to commercial rooftops.

Empire Power Systems, a division of Mesa-based Empire Southwest LLC, served as the solar integrator for this project. Subcontractors (all of which are Arizona-based) include Buehler Brothers Electric, Cannon-Wendt Electrical, Progressive Roofing, Phasor Energy and Fifer Design. The installation was facilitated, in part, by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

pin

Pinnacle West Named To Three Sustainability Lists

There’s some good green news for Arizona. For the sixth year in a row, Pinnacle West (the parent company of Arizona Public Service Co.) has been separately named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DSJI) North America and as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the World.

The index recognizes sustainable business practices for publicly held companies and the Global 100 is a list of the most sustainable companies in the world, as compiled by global investing magazine Corporate Knights.

In addition, the company was named to the JustMeans’ Global 1000 Sustainable Performance Leaders, ranking 294th out of 1,000 companies worldwide.

These recognitions signify Pinnacle West’s impressive focus on the environment.

“APS and Pinnacle West long ago adopted – and adhere to – a corporate strategy that balances financial strength with an equal focus on the environmental and community impacts of our business decisions,” said Ed Fox, APS Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We are honored that independent and respected organizations, such as these three, continue to recognize our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices, both of which are key drivers in our long-term strategy and our day-to-day decisions.”

www.pinnaclewest.com
www.aps.com

Green Trash Can

Effective Ways To Go Green, High-Tech Trash Bins And More

Here’s some green bits from around the web. This week we’ve gathered stories about tattletale trashcans costing their owners big bucks, effective ways to go green that may surprise you, a possible “feed-in tariff” to encourage solar power growth in Arizona, test driving electric cars and others.

Feed-in Tariff to Aid Solar Weighed
Arizona officials are considering a “feed-in tariff” to encourage more solar power usage and to guarantee profits for solar developers. The tariff would require power companies to buy electricity from solar developers at prearranged prices, since they are required to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. Similar tariffs are in place in Germany, the world’s leader in solar power, and in many states and cities across the United States.

Most Americans Unsure of Most Effective Ways to Save Energy
Researchers have discovered through surprising survey results that most Americans have vast misconceptions regarding the best ways to save energy. In general, the public thinks that curtailing energy use, by turning off the lights, for example, is the most effective way to save energy. In reality, using more energy-efficient equipment, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be just as, if not more, effective. There are a lot of surprising facts like that in this article and in the survey, found the results of which can be found here.

High-Tech Trash Bins Rat Out Residents Who Refuse to Recycle
Don’t recycle? Better start before your trashcan starts tattling and slaps you with a fee. In Cleveland, trash bins are being embedded with microchips that will prompt the collector to go through the bin if the recycling can isn’t brought to the curb regularly. If the bin is more than 10 percent recyclables, you get stuck with a $100 fee – all because your trashcan ratted you out. How embarrassing.

Study Finds 40% of U.S. Consumers Likely to Test Drive EVs
Despite the fact that most consumers have concerns preventing them from buying electric cars, a new study finds that at least 42 percent would be willing to consider and test drive an EV (electric vehicle). Concerns consumers face include the possibility of running out of battery power on the road and limited mileage, but the benefits, such as the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings, may soon outweigh the negatives.

Employees Losing Confidence in Companies’ Green Commitments
Americans’ confidence in their employers’ commitment to environmental responsibility has reached an all-time low, likely as a result of high unemployment and increased workflows. Meanwhile, local governments have inspired their highest level of confidence yet. These are based on the Green Confidence Index, a monthly online survey.

hr_team

2009 HR Team Of The Year Finalists

American Express LogoCompany: American Express Service Center – Phoenix
Web: www.americanexpress.com

Company established: 1850 | No. of employees in AZ: 7,400
No. of employees in HR dept.: 17

The 17 professionals in the human resources department at American Express’ service center in Phoenix have had a busy year and met many challenges amidst difficult circumstances.

The team fulfills its responsibilities by following two philosophies. First, it approaches its work as a partner with the center’s 2,900 employees. Team members participate in business meetings, listen to customer calls with employees and keep in touch with everyone who works there. Second, it believes all team members are “in it together.” They share information, focus on the most important priorities and support each other as a cohesive group.

The year began with work force reductions at the center, but the human resources team was expected to ramp up in areas needing additional attention. As part of that effort, the team successfully convinced existing front-line employees to take a chance and move into different jobs, even as the recession ravaged the financial-services sector.

Significant attention also was devoted to leadership development within the center’s management ranks. The team developed a new team-new leader assimilation program that reduced the learning curve for new managers. Four team members who specialize in leadership development conducted focus groups to help managers understand the needs and expectations of the employees they lead.

In addition, American Express selected its Phoenix service center to pilot a global wellness strategy this year. More than 1,300 employees participated in a kick-off event and 90 percent of employees who took on a healthy-living challenge completed it. The HR team also hired a full-time wellness coach and nutritionist.


Arizona Public Service Co.Company: Arizona Public Service Co.
Web: www.aps.com

Company established: 1886 | No. of employees in AZ: 7,147
No. of employees in HR dept.: 85

To say that the human resources department at Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is busy is a vast understatement. This team of 85 professionals has its hands full.

APS faces a staffing challenge at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix. As operator of North America’s largest nuclear power plant, APS must deal with the fact that the majority of the employees there will near retirement age at the end of this decade. Human resources has launched an intense 18-month program to train college engineering recruits on the operation of highly technical aspects of the plant. Also, existing Palo Verde engineers are being groomed as mentors for the college graduates.

Human resources overhauled APS’ leadership development programs, as well. Few succession plans were in place for key leaders, and many emerging leaders were not receiving the breadth and depth of assignments they needed to progress to the next level. All existing leaders are given values-based training and new leaders receive basic training in supervisory skills. And, for the first time, APS’ middle managers have a program that enhances their skill sets and gives them feedback from peers. In addition, human resources is developing an emerging-leaders program.

Another duty for human resources was modernizing the company’s compensation model. It also has revamped compensation philosophy, moving APS away from cost-of-living pay increases to a performance-based merit system. Starting in 2010, APS will have an incentive program impacting 95 percent of its work force that will be tied directly to performance of the company and its employees.


St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical CenterCompany: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Web: www.stjosephs-phx.org


Company established: 1895 | No. of employees in AZ: 5,000+
No. of employees in HR dept.: 26

The human resources team at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center played a significant role in helping the Phoenix hospital reach two milestones this year.

St. Joseph’s became the only hospital in Arizona to be recognized by BestCompaniesAZ as a best place to work for seven consecutive years. And for the first time, St. Joseph’s was named by Modern Healthcare as one of the industry’s top 100 best places to work nationally. BestCompaniesAZ administers best-places-to-work recognition programs in Arizona. Modern Healthcare is a national health care business news magazine.

Employee satisfaction may have something to do with St. Joseph’s open-door and two-way communication policies. Staff members have ample opportunities to ask questions and provide input. Each department holds daily employee meetings, with the hospital’s president hosting monthly employee forums. In addition, senior management conducts employee town halls throughout the year. To promote a work-life balance, the hospital offers telecommuting, flex hours, compressed work weeks, summer hours and job sharing.

The 25-member human resources team encourages diversity at St. Joseph’s. It partners with the Center for Transitional Rehab to integrate brain-injured patients into the hospital’s staff. The team partners with local and national job boards to reach out to ethnic groups and has developed programs to support a large Hispanic and Filipino work force. Disabled workers are encouraged to apply for employment or volunteer at the hospital.

Reaching out to the community, the human resources staff hosted five workshops this year to help the unemployed use alternative job-search tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn. gement, and employee relations. Its clients include startup companies and Fortune 50 firms.

Steven Lockhard TPI Composites

Steven Lockard – President And CEO, TPI Composites

When the goal is to carve out a spot on the cutting edge of green-energy technology, it helps to be in the business of making blades.

That’s the case with TPI Composites Inc., a privately held company now headquartered in Scottsdale that devotes a significant portion of its business to manufacturing massive wind-turbine blades used by such clients as Mitsubishi Power Systems and GE Energy. TPI Composites, which is also involved in the transportation and military vehicle markets, employs about 2,800 worldwide and operates facilities that house about 1.1 million square feet of manufacturing floor space in the United States, Mexico and China.

“Wind energy is our largest business,” says Steven Lockard, president and CEO. “It’s the business that is expanding at the most rapid pace.”

That expansion, which represents around 80 percent of the company’s annual sales, is indicative of an industry that has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years.

Lockard sees wind energy as a clean, reliable source of electricity and job creation, two areas addressed frequently in recent election campaigns.

“Three or four years ago when we had meetings in Washington, oftentimes we were trying to convince people that wind could become big enough to matter one day,” he says. “And that’s no longer the case.”

It matters now. In 2007, the domestic wind-energy industry expanded its power-generating capacity by 45 percent, installing 5,244 megawatts of wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That accounted for about 30 percent of the nation’s new power-producing capacity and represented $9 billion injected into the economy. Through three quarters of 2008, wind power was on pace to add 7,500 megawatts by year’s end.

And when it comes to job creation, TPI Composites plays a vital role. A newly opened 316,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Newton, Iowa, is expected to employ about 500 workers when it reaches full capacity. That is a welcomed development in a town hit hard by job losses when its Maytag Corp. plant closed down in 2007.

Although Lockard is optimistic about the long-term prospects for wind energy, he is also realistic about the short term, suggesting the industry may continue to be impacted by the capital crisis through, at least, the first part of 2009. His observations are exclusive to wind energy, an industryenjoying record gains of late, but there may be a warning here for other high-tech businesses dealing with current financial conditions.

“We would expect to see perhaps more modest growth (in 2009) … not the same degree of growth that we’ve been experiencing the last few years,” Lockard says.

www.tpicomposites.com

Baby Boomer Bust

Baby Boomers Bust

Companies get ready as boomers start leaving the work force

The catchy term many are using to describe the impending exodus of baby boomers from the work force sounds like the title of a science-fiction film: “The Brain Drain.

But there’s nothing fictional about it. The oldest baby boomers, a group that includes more than 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, began qualifying for early Social Security benefits this year. Some may choose to work beyond the traditional retirement age and others could stay on for financial reasons, but the eventual departure of baby boomers will have a serious impact on corporate America.
This might be a particular concern in upper-management ranks, where positions are most likely manned by older, more experienced personnel and a talent pool of capable replacements is thin.

“The issue is simply that our population is getting older and the birth rates aren’t equal to the aging of the population,” says Angelo Kinicki, an Arizona State University management professor, author and consultant. “You’re going to have more people exiting than you will have entering (the work force).”

Despite this demographic shift, recent surveys from Ernst & Young and Monster Worldwide agree that few corporations are properly prepared for the challenges ahead.

“What’s going to happen here is as baby boomers retire, you’re going to have a lot of people who have knowledge that are leaving the work force,” Kinicki adds.

Kinicki says it’s vital to create systems for transferring knowledge from seasoned employees and senior executives down to lower levels through the organization.
“I’d say the more progressive companies are engaging in what we call knowledge-management programs,” Kinicki says.

But, according to a 2007 Monster study titled “Building and Securing an Organizational Brain Trust in an Age of Brain Drain,” few companies have taken such steps.

While trying to determine the level of awareness companies have of the coming brain drain and what they’re doing to prepare for it, Monster found that only 20 percent of firms had a formal strategy in place to manage and preserve organizational knowledge.

Monster concludes that “the absence of such planning leaves a valuable asset exposed to a competitive market. Firms must not only recognize the value of knowledge but actively manage and protect it.”

Kinicki says several companies in Arizona, such as Intel, APS and Honeywell, have taken a proactive approach.

One corporation that has been especially innovative is Avnet Inc., a Phoenix-based Fortune 500 company that is one of the world’s largest distributors of electronic components, computer products and technology services.

Lynn Monkelien, vice president of learning and development, says Avnet is very cognizant of the imminent retirement of baby boomers.

“(We) have started looking at all kinds of ways that we can start to manage this transition period,” she says.

Among those is a multiple-tiered program that uses top-level management to teach classes for those viewed as future leaders.

Consider the Global Organizational Leadership Development, or GOLD, program. It does more than just cover particular subjects. Managers are able to expose students to their own experiences, while studentsget a chance to build relationships with senior leaders, paving the way for future coaching and mentoring.

“I think the real benefit is going to come as we start to replace some of the oldguard with the new guard,” Monkelien says.

The company also places great importance on succession planning, according to Linda Biddle, Avnet’s vice president for talent development. Avnet’s goal is to create a steady flow of people at all levels of the organization ready to take on new roles.

“Avnet is always thinking ahead, trying to predict what things are going to impact our business from a technology standpoint, from a process standpoint and, also, from a people standpoint,” Biddle says. “What we’re trying to do is not be reactionary — we’re trying to be proactive.”

Arizona Business Magazine February 2008

Chamber Board Leadership

Chamber Board Leadership Second To None

3’s Company

Chamber board leadership second to none

By Vanessa White

With the addition of President and Chief Executive Officer Katie Pushor in January, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors approved Pushor’s innovative three-year strategic plan in June. Some key points included growing and retaining membership, reaching out to mid-market businesses, and helping small businesses grow and maintaining a strong and diverse board.

Chamber Board - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006Steve Rizley, chamber chair-elect and vice president and Arizona region manager of Cox Communications, said one of the things he likes about the plan is it allows the chamber, as a dynamic organization, to evolve and suit the needs of businesses in metropolitan Phoenix today.

“Our business community has changed as the overall market has changed,” Rizley notes. “I don’t know of another metropolitan area in the United States that has changed more than Phoenix has in the last 25 years. There’s more businesses, there’s more opportunities to make a good first impression because people move here constantly, and what I think Katie and her crew have done is develop a plan that is going to allow the chamber to meet the needs of this dynamic business community.”

Current Chairman of the Board Jack Davis, president and chief executive officer of APS, adds the three-year plan is focused on three aspects. “One aspect is bring more membership, then look at increasing the renewal of membership in the chamber,” Davis says. “Also, increasing the technology on our Web site to make it easier for the members to use and access the benefits we offer.”

 

Jack Davis - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006

Jack Davis, chairman of the Chamber board and President and CEO of APS Former Chamber Chair

 

Mark Bonsall - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006

 

Mark Bonsall, chief financial executive and associate general manager of SRP

 

Steve Rizley - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006

 

Steve Rizley, chamber chair-elect and vice president and Arizona region manager of Cox Communications

Davis notes in order to bring in more membership and increase renewals, the board is looking at programs that would be beneficial to the chamber’s mid-market members. Those with more than 100 employees, but less than 1,000. “There are not that many big businesses here. The broad base of business and the success of Phoenix is built on businesses that are 100-300 employees, so doing the best possible job for them is very important,” Rizley said.

Former Chair Mark Bonsall, chief financial executive and associate general manager of SRP, agrees. “The emphasis that came out of the three-year plan was growth and focus on the mid-market sector, which is absolutely in need of services of the chamber,” Bonsall says. “I think the chamber has done an excellent job of servicing the entire spectrum of this community in the past, and if there’s a spot we need to focus on more, it is the mid-market business.”

However, Rizley says the mid-market focus is not meant to take away from growing small businesses and providing them with needed resources. He said one of the benefits of the chamber for small- and medium-sized businesses is the ability to have a voice in a large organization with so many members.

“The vision of the chamber has to do with being able to serve and further the interests of all types of businesses in metropolitan Phoenix, which means we’re providing a more fertile ground and giving businesses the tools they need to have benefits they might not otherwise achieve,” Rizley adds.

In expanding membership, Rizley says it is important for the chamber to develop a well-respected lobbying arm to market to all businesses. “We have to be able to demonstrate there’s a value proposition that resonates with businesses,” Rizley says. “If you look at what the chamber has achieved in terms of the credibility it has built, the way it is treated when working amongst our elected officials, and how much respect it has from large corporations, I believe that is happening.”

It is universal among members that the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors’ biggest strength is diversity and the plan aims to expand this even further. “We are a very large board with large businesses, small businesses, utilities, technology and all the other kinds of businesses we have in the Valley,” Davis adds. “That brings a tremendous amount of thinking to the chamber.”

Rizley concurs about board diversity. “Our board represents many different types of companies and represents many different types of interests and backgrounds. I think it represents every type of political affiliation,” he explains. “Because the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has a bigger representation from other Valley chambers, there’s also lots of geographic interests at the table.”

Rizley uses the example of the Southeast Valley compared to north Scottsdale. He said the two are mercurially different in terms of lifestyle and a lot of aspects as to why people choose to live and work in each.

“It is important to have a board that represents those interests and I think we’ve done a good job of meeting them,” Rizley says. Bonsall says the diversity is also a strength because it keeps the board active. “Everybody is encouraged to be on the committees and go to the different meetings,” Bonsall adds. “It’s a gathering place for consensus building.”

Davis says the three-year plan comes complete with instruments to measure the plan’s success and he is confident in the chamber’s future. “This is not a business plan that is pie in the sky,” Davis notes. “This is a plan where we can and will measure our success.”

Cover - AZ Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006Bonsall is equally optimistic about the plan and the chamber’s future under Pushor’s leadership. “With this three-year business plan and new leadership of Katie, the future of the chamber is the brightest it’s ever been. The sky is the limit with our chamber,” Bonsall says.

Rizley says of all of his affiliations, his chamber board position is most important. “This is the most important thing I am involved in. We believe that if business goes well, the quality of life and the opportunity to educate our kids and have everything, from sports teams to freeway systems, hangs together. People are employable in a great environment and this chamber is running right alongside these businesses, helping to create that environment, so I have a lot of optimism,” Rizley says. “The board shares that optimism.”

www.phoenixchamber.com
www.phoenix.cox.net
www.srpnet.com
www.aps.com

Inside the Chamber
2005-2006 Board of Directors
Executive Committee

  • Chairman: Mark Bonsall, SRP
  • Immediate Past Chairman: Rich Boals, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
  • Chairman-Elect: Jack Davis, APS
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Michael Holt, Holt & Frank, PLLC
  • Legal Counsel: Jay Ruffner, Fennemore Craig, P.C.
  • Vice Chairman of Healthcare: Reginald M. Ballantyne III, Vanguard Health Systems, Inc.
  • Vice Chairman of Economic Development: Bettye Jackson, Jackson Airport Enterprises
  • Vice Chairman of Transportation: Kevin Olson, Steptoe & Johnson, LLP
  • Vice President of Audit: William Hinz, II, Western National Bank
  • Vice Chairman of Human Resources: Manny Molina, Molina Media Group

Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006