Tag Archives: arizona

Hiking Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Increasing tourism shows importance of Arizona’s brand

The latest data on Arizona’s tourism industry says that business is on the upswing, which is good news for a state looking to put the Great Recession in its rearview mirror.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, the number of people visiting Arizona has surged back to pre-recession levels, providing a much needed injection of adrenaline into Arizona’s economy.

When we talk about promoting “base” industries in Arizona, look no further than tourism, which is the ultimate export-oriented industry. According to AOT, visitors to Arizona brought with them nearly $20 billion in direct spending last year on things like hotel rooms, meals and attractions.

That’s big money, and the nearly 200,000 jobs the industry supports are critical to keeping Arizona’s economy humming, which is why protecting Arizona’s brand is so important.

When there are state controversies, it makes it more difficult for our convention and visitor bureaus to succeed. There is no better place than Arizona for events and vacations, but there is fierce competition among the states for conventions and retreats.

Fortunately, the work of leaders like AOT Director Sherry Henry, Chamber board member and Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President Debbie Johnson and Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore has put one of our state’s most important job generators on solid footing.

What’s exciting is, as Director Henry told Capitol Media Services earlier this week, we still have room to grow. As Americans and international visitors (our neighbors in Mexico are our number one source of international visitors, Canada is number two) shake off the recession rust, more people are traveling. Attending the recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism gala dinner, I was struck by the level of talent possessed by the individuals assembled in the room who are so committed to growing the state’s profile and keeping Arizona at the top of the list for places people want to visit.

Next year is shaping up to be a big one for the state’s brand. The Super Bowl is coming to University of Phoenix Stadium for the second time (and to Arizona for the third time), and, thanks to leaders like Michael Bidwill, the NFL is bringing the Pro Bowl, too. Throw in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Spring Training, and the state is poised to break visitor records. Don’t be surprised if your relatives in Minnesota, where AOT is ratcheting up its marketing efforts, call looking for vacation ideas when they’re snowed-in as they watch the best in football, golf and baseball enjoy our gorgeous weather.

I’m convinced that tourism plants the seeds for future business opportunities. My first exposure to Arizona was as a tourist. Years later, when I escaped the freezing cold of Ithaca, New York to head to Arizona to check out law schools, I was hooked. Wherever and whenever I go outside the state, I’m heartened that Arizona is regarded as such an attractive destination. Business executives around the country tell me about golf trips and the visits to the resorts that they’ve made here. Earlier this week when I was in Denver, someone wanted to talk Spring Training. Half a world away in Israel a few weeks ago, in between my snorkeling expeditions, people shared with me their stories of visiting the Grand Canyon.

But tourists and convention planners have plenty of choices of where to spend their dollars. All of this is a good reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our profile outside our borders.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

firefighter

APS Fund provides grants to first responders

First responder agencies in Arizona now have the opportunity to apply for grants through a new APS Fund within the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. The fund, seeded with $50,000 from APS, is available to agencies within APS’s service territory throughout the state and provides the opportunity to procure much needed life-saving equipment.

“We have always been supportive of our first responders and we value the lifesaving work they do every day,” said Tina Marie Tentori, Executive Director of APS Corporate Giving. “We are excited to partner with Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to help ensure our first responders have the latest technology and equipment to save even more lives.”

Interested agencies can apply for funding from the APS Fund starting on July 1, 2014 through September 5, 2014. Grant applications can be completed via FirehouseSubs.com/Foundation. Applicants will be notified of their status after Sept 17, 2014.

“Since 2005, we have awarded more than $237,000 in grants to Arizona based first responders and we are thrilled that APS made this investment in their community to expand our reach even further,” said Robin Peters, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Executive Director.

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Squire Patton Boggs’ environmental practice honored

Squire Patton Boggs announced its Arizona environmental practice was ranked Band 1 in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA. The qualities on which rankings are assessed include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by clients.

Attorneys Christopher Thomas and Peter Culp received recognition within the environmental group, as well.

Dr. Christopher Salvino, West Valley Hospital’s Trauma Medical Director, (far right) watches during one of the mock drills leading up to the opening of West Valley Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center that opened on July 21. Photo by Abrazo Health.

New Level 1 Trauma Center opens in West Valley

Abrazo Health, the second largest health care delivery system in Arizona, announced that West Valley Hospital has earned a state designation as a Level 1 Trauma Center, which is the highest status attainable. As a result, the Level 1 Trauma Center at West Valley Hospital is officially open to the public.

The Level 1 Trauma Center at West Valley hospital offers 24-hour emergency care and advanced treatment options for a variety of traumatic injuries. Located in Goodyear, it is the first Level 1 Trauma Center in the West Valley and will serve Arizona communities up to the California state line. The trauma center expects to serve approximately 1,200 patients annually.

The state designation comes after extensive preparation, including a $26 million expansion project that added two trauma operating suites, two trauma resuscitation bays and 32 new private patient rooms. In addition to experienced trauma staff and board-certified physicians, there are more than 50 surgical specialists added to the staff practicing in areas including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, facial surgery, hand surgery, cardiovascular surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery.

“West Valley Hospital is the first Level 1 Trauma Center in Arizona and possibly the first in the United States to implement intense training drills as part of its preparation,” said Dr. Christopher Salvino, West Valley Hospital’s Trauma Medical Director, who spearheaded the mock drills.

Prior to opening, more than 70 mock drills were executed 24 hours a day for 17 continuous days to ensure a streamlined approach to trauma care by all hospital employees and several EMS providers. The drills included high-pressure situations such as car accidents, serious falls, gunshot victims and stabbing victims, Salvino added.

West Valley Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center is positioned to improve overall outcomes for critically-injured patients and their families.

“Our multidisciplinary trauma team is trained to provide around-the-clock expert medical care to these patients in complex emergency situations,” Salvino added.

The successes of the trauma drills will anchor West Valley Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center for a successful future, said Stan Holm, West Valley Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer.

“The synergies seen by our highly talented team members coming together was very rewarding to observe. Mock patients were moved from trauma bays to imaging to operating suites to intensive care to a post-surgical unit and other areas as the scenarios dictated. All of our team has done an outstanding job preparing us for this pinnacle moment in the history of West Valley Hospital,’’ he added.

“Launching such an endeavor required great planning, passions and persistence. Being the West Valley’s first Level 1 Trauma Center is a rewarding opportunity for all of us as we now have the privilege to care for the seriously injured in all of the western region of Arizona,’’ Holm said.

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Lodge at Ventana Canyon Plans Major Renovation

Arizona’s leading golf resort and club, The Lodge at Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club, today announces the first phase of the property’s multi-million dollar renovation. This first phase of the renovation, set to complete in January of 2015, will update all one-bedroom suites while the second and third phase, to start following the completion of the first phase, will debut revamped dining areas, a pool and Jacuzzi spa, and an expanded Golf House and Golf Academy. The all-suite property has completed a renovation to the common areas, including the lobby, fitness center, patios and a portion of the grounds.

“We are confident that these significant property enhancements will only further benefit the overall guest and member experience and will establish this property as a true gem in Tucson,” says CEO and General Manager George White. “We look forward to exceeding expectations for Tucsonans and visitors alike.”

The renovations begin with new furniture, bathrooms and kitchens in all one-bedroom 800 square feet King and Double Queen Suites. The formal dining and banquet space, the Catalina and Sabino Rooms, are getting a fresh, new look as part of the first phase. Second phase plans include renovation of the property‚s popular dining area, the Ventana Bar, which will be completely revamped to feature indoor/outdoor patio seating facing the pristine Catalina Mountains. The Lodge will also unveil a brand new resort-style pool and Jacuzzi spa, perfect for all ages. Finally, plans call for a renovated Golf House, which will include expansion of the Golf Academy.

“Our outstanding customer service and dedicated staff have helped The Lodge at Ventana Canyon become a recognized and sought after resort,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Chris Sabala. “The new space, renowned teaching staff and overall expansion will help catapult The Lodge at Ventana Canyon to a top-tier luxury property in Tucson.”

The Lodge is world famous for their award-winning Tom Fazio designed golf courses, as well as a premier tennis complex that includes a newly renovated 600-seat stadium court. In addition to being an all-suite boutique resort, The Lodge is complemented with a high-end country club, offering premier services and amenities to members that fit all lifestyles. With a focus on younger families and professionals, The Club will cater to locals and avid golfers near and far, providing members complete access to the extensive and updated facilities on property. Located in a well-maintained and gated community, The Lodge at Ventana Canyon is a place for community and family.

“Here on our property you can be a member for a day or for a lifetime,” says White. “From golf to tennis to social, the club offers a variety of memberships that will truly fit any type of lifestyle.”

Located in the private affluent community of Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Ariz., just 30 minutes from the Tucson International Airport, The Lodge at Ventana Canyon is a premiere destination for both out of state guests and locals. Boasting the most photographed golf hole west of the Mississippi and a multitude of programming options to choose from, The Lodge reflects the highest in Southwestern hospitality having been ranked a AAA Four-Diamond resort for 19 consecutive years.

Top 5: Arizona Casinos - Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

Senators Urged to Preserve Future of Indian Gaming in Arizona

Congress has the power to intervene in a growing national practice and problem of ‘off-reservation gaming,’ or ‘reservation-shopping.’ The topic was at the heart of an oversight hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs today, titled, “Indian Gaming: The Next 25 Years,” and included discussion of H.R. 1410—the bi-partisan bill to solve the problem faced by the city of Glendale in Arizona, that will protect the integrity of Indian Gaming in the state, but would also be a beacon to cities and towns across the U.S. that find themselves in similar circumstances.

A prelude to a vote on H.R. 1410 by the U.S. Senate, today’s hearing included testimony from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) President, Diane Enos and City of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, excerpts from their testimony follow, full transcripts can be found at www.indian.senate.gov.

SRPMIC President, Diane Enos opened her remarks, by saying, “For over 20 years Arizona Indian Gaming has been stable, predictable, and successful. However, sadly, its future in Arizona does not look good. It is threatened by the actions of one tribe. H.R. 1410, the ”Keep the Promise Act,” which is pending before the Committee, will help protect Indian gaming in Arizona. We respectfully urge the Committee to pass it.”

SRPMIC President explained to the Senators that private non-Indian gaming companies were always hovering over Arizona looking for an opportunity, a loophole, to overthrow Indian Gaming exclusivity, but that today, that exclusivity, and the current Indian Gaming compacts were jeopardized from within, by the Tohono O’odham Nation:

“This plan by the Tohono O’odham of building an additional casino in the Phoenix-metro area directly violates promises that they made, that other Arizona tribes made, and that the Governor of Arizona made to citizens who approved our compacts in November 2002,” stated Enos. In 2002, then-Governor Jane D. Hull announced that the compacts she and 17 tribes had negotiated for two and a half years – if approved by the voters – would ensure there would be “no additional casinos allowed in the Phoenix metropolitan area”. This promise of “no additional casinos in the Phoenix-metro area” was made by Tribes and the Governor over and over to the voters, Enos said, “because we believed it.”

City of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers addressed the powerlessness of local government in this situation, saying, “Our choice was not ideal: continue to fight and hope for action from this body, or give in to this casino being forced on us. It is frustrating to be a city of our size and have no voice on a casino proposed by a tribal government more than a hundred miles away.”

Weiers also spoke up about what this means for other cities, “Our sister cities know that unless Congress acts, they may be next. There are over 200 other county islands in the Phoenix metropolitan area. And the Tohono O’odham Nation attorneys have said the Tribe has the right to close its existing three casinos and open them on these county islands. We are a test case, but it is the start of a very slippery slope. If Congress does not act, the entire Phoenix area should be prepared for more off-reservation casinos.”

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Lewis Roca Rothgerber honored for IP work

Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP was recognized among the top intellectual property firms in Arizona and Nevada by Managing Intellectual Property in its 2014 IP Handbook. Six of the firm’s attorneys were also named to the list of 2014 “IP Stars,” including Jeffrey Albright (New Mexico), W. West Allen (Nevada), Flavia Campbell (Arizona), Frank Hiscox (California), Michael McCue (Nevada) and Jennifer Van Kirk (Arizona).

The 2014 IP Handbook editors note that Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s intellectual property group “has expertise across a full range of intellectual property and is particularly well thought of with respect to life sciences-related work, trademark and copyright matters and counseling clients on developing and protecting IP assets.”

Lewis Roca Rothgerber is highly recommended in Arizona and listed as a notable firm in Nevada, the only designation available in the state. Managing Intellectual Property’s IP Handbook is based on extensive research among IP practitioners carried out over six months. A team of researchers sought responses from thousands of practitioners by phone,
surveys, email and in face-to-face meetings. The survey also includes a list of “IP Stars” in each jurisdiction, as recommended and confirmed by their peers and clients in each respective jurisdiction.

Firms cannot vote for their own inclusion or solicit votes from associates; to be included at all, a firm must have received a large number of recommendations from peers and clients.

health,informatics

UnitedHealthcare, Banner Health Collaborate

Banner Health Network and UnitedHealthcare are launching an accountable care organization (ACO) initiative to provide improved care coordination and enhanced health services to nearly 50,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants in the region.

Banner Health Network’s (BHN) partnership with UnitedHealthcare will help shift Arizona’s health care system from one based on volume of care to one that rewards quality and value. Banner Health Network and its affiliated physicians will manage all aspects of patients’ care, providing the right care in the right place at the right time. Primary care physicians in the ACO will receive regular patient updates, enabling them to monitor all of the care each patient is receiving, and to maintain all clinical information about each patient in a secure patient registry.

UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored plan participants who are currently served by BHN’s care providers will not have to do anything differently to receive the benefits of this new model, which include enhanced care coordination and follow-up.

BHN includes 3,000 care providers and 15 hospitals. BHN was one of the first care provider networks in Arizona to adopt the principles of accountable care, and one of the original 32 organizations nationally selected by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to demonstrate the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Model. BHN was one of the top performers among this select group in terms of achieved savings in the first year. Using the same technology, clinical models and engaged care providers, BHN has been able to adapt these value-based learnings to better serve people enrolled in commercial health plans, such as those of UnitedHealthcare.

“Banner Health Network is pleased to work with UnitedHealthcare to deliver value-based health care options for Arizona employers and their employees,” said Chuck Lehn, CEO, Banner Health Network. “We anticipate Banner Health Network’s 3,000 care providers will manage the care of more than 300,000 people who are enrolled in a variety of risk-based health plans. We use evidence-based guidelines to close gaps in care across our population. Yet, we also do not forget that each of our patients is unique and needs individual support to meet personal health goals.”

UnitedHealthcare and Banner Health Network will coordinate evidence-based care, ensuring that the primary care physicians, specialists and facilities are aligned with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI’s) “Triple Aim” objective: increase patient satisfaction, improve the health of the population and reduce the cost of health care.

Care providers will be eligible for payment incentives based on meaningful improvements in measures such as hospital readmission rates, disease management and prevention, patient safety and care delivery, as well as total cost savings and patient satisfaction.

“UnitedHealthcare continues to work with care providers statewide to help enhance health services and improve coordination of care for patients,” said Beth Soberg, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “We believe our accountable care collaboration with Banner Health Network will deliver enhanced quality, better outcomes and greater efficiency for our health plan customers in Arizona.”

This new ACO relationship is the latest in a series of partnerships UnitedHealthcare has launched in Arizona, all aimed at increasing quality and coordinated care. UnitedHealthcare recently announced similar arrangements with two other care provider networks in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.

Nationwide, more than $30 billion of UnitedHealthcare’s annual physician and hospital reimbursements are tied to accountable care programs, centers of excellence and performance-based programs. The company projects this will reach $65 billion by 2018. For more information about UnitedHealthcare’s accountable care initiatives, visit www.AccountableCareAnswers.com.

UnitedHealthcare serves 1.6 million people in Arizona with a care provider network of 78 hospitals and more than 14,000 physicians statewide.

Erik in front of building high res July 2014

How to protect AC unit during monsoons

Is your air conditioner ready for the dust storms, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning that is monsoon season? When an air conditioning system stops working during an Arizona summer, it is the worst and it can be very costly to repair or replace. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping you cool in the hot summer months.

“We live in an area where the nature is acute all the time, so we are always susceptible to failures,” said Erik Bryan, owner of Precision Air and Heating. “When you add a monsoon, it just amplifies the fact we are in a critical climate in the desert.”

Monsoons are a fact of life in the valley, but they do not have to be disastrous. The biggest threat to an air conditioning unit during monsoon season, according to Bryan, is the humidity and electrical surges from the lightning. Make sure your central air conditioner is protected from those strikes and power surges with a surge protector to stay safe and cool during the season. A surge protector for an air conditioner can be insurance for your unit.

Lightning does not have to hit a home directly to cause a power surge. A lightning strike within a half-mile of a home can damage the air conditioner. Each strike delivers up to 20,000 volts of electricity through a home, which is more than enough to take out a central air unit.

“We use power strips at home for our computers to prevent a spike of electricity from damaging components inside,” Bryan said. “An air conditioner is no different.”

It can be crucial for those living in the valley to make sure that their systems are protected from the monsoons that flow into Arizona, but do not forget about making sure everything is running smoothly with your heater when the cooler months arrive.

Preventative maintenance is still essential, but a much bigger concern exists for people who have gas heat to make sure everything is checked so there are no leaks.

“Carbon monoxide asphyxiation is a very very real thing, it is a silent killer. We lose people ever year who turn their heaters on without getting them checked,” stated Bryan.

If the temperature is not just right, being comfortable is very out of reach. Air conditioning is one thing you should not take your chances with, so do not let monsoon season get in the way.

Catrina LaDell is the creative force behind Pink Moon Prophecy, a Phoenix-based swimwear company. Photo of Catrina LaDell by Party Through It Photography.

Valley model creates sexy swimwear line for all body types

Call it cataclysmic creativity. In this case, define cataclysmic as something that “brings great changes.” In this case, a great change for the fashion industry.

Pink Moon Prophecy's Galaxy Suit is modeled Andria Schmit. Photo by Michael Luna.

Pink Moon Prophecy’s Galaxy Suit is modeled Andria Schmit. Photo by Michael Luna.

Pink Moon Prophecy, created by local model and swimwear designer Catrina LaDell, provides sexy, custom handmade swimwear for all body types. LaDell, using the name Cataclysm, helped hone her unique style as one of the most sought-after alternative models in Arizona.

Torn between whether to continue designing lingerie for the alternative scene or to pursue a career in jewelry design, LaDell chose to channel her creativity through swimwear instead. She launched Pink Moon Prophecy in March of 2014.

The inspiration behind the swimwear line’s name came from LaDell’s frustration of not knowing her family history or where she came from.

“I found out this year that I was born under April’s full moon, which is a pink moon,” LaDell said. “That really spoke to me because I have nothing else to say where I’m from.”

Many designers gain their ideas from previous trends or through inspiration from other designers, but LaDell takes on a different approach. She believes in following her intuition and often gains her ideas from meditation sessions or even dreams.

Each piece emulates concepts adapted from architecture, graffiti art, cathedrals and stained glass, while incorporating styles from both the past and present. LaDell’s fully reversible swimwear styles consist of high-waisted, pin-up style bottoms to triangle shaped bikini tops that can be transformed into bandeaus or tube tops, “scrunched butt” bottoms and one-piece “monokinis.” The dream inspired designs are given unique names — including “lavendora”, “meridian” and “pink stardust”.

By creating customizable pieces tailored to requests or selling individual pieces, LaDell allows buyers to mix and match sizes or colors and strives to satisfy her customers.

“I just make them fully customizable and fully adjustable. That’s my big thing,” LaDell said. “I’ve been reading about how women would rather have a root canal than buy a bikini, so I kind of want to make it easier for women.”

LaDell puts a great amount of love and work into her designs by sketching and hand making each swimwear piece herself. She aims to not only create beautiful and unique designs, but also ensure durability and quality. She tests fabrics for color bleeding and snagging prior to selling her products.

The Pink Moon Prophecy designer is not looking to build a name for herself or gain fame and fortune, but instead looks forward to working toward a career path she is most passionate about. She hopes to someday create swimwear for fitness competitions and eventually return to designing dance wear and lingerie.

“I’m hoping that by the end of the year, everything will blow up. I’m hoping that it will be so good that I can’t keep up,” LaDell said. “I want to get to the point where I have to hire seamstresses. I want to keep it local and small, but in a big way.”

Pink Moon Prophecy swimwear can be found locally at Missconstrued Boutique or online at pinkmoonprophecy.com.

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Desert Schools Promotes Meshey to President

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has announced the appointment of the organization’s new president, Jeff Meshey. Desert Schools’ current CEO and President, Susan Frank, will retain the title of CEO and remain in the foremost executive leadership position. A former senior executive vice president and veteran of Desert Schools, Meshey assumes the role following 20 years with the company, all of which have been under Frank’s tenure.

Meshey has long been a key contributor to Desert Schools’ immense success in the Arizona market, leading the charge to expand the organization’s presence across three counties. Prior to the economic downturn in 2008, he was instrumental in leading the growth of the credit union’s branch network, helping to move the organization’s area of service solely from school employees to a full community charter, now serving any member of the community who lives or works within the three counties that the branches occupy.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to move further into a leadership role within Desert Schools and am humbled by the organization’s faith in me,” said Meshey. “I believe in being both a leader and a servant for our members and employees, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference in my new position.”

With $3.8 billion in assets, more than 300,000 members and 50 branch locations across Maricopa, Pinal and Gila Counties, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union assumes the title of largest credit union in Arizona.

energy policies

SRP Ranked No. 1 in Performance by J.D. Power

Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP higher marks for customer satisfaction, according to a report issued today by J.D. Power. With an increase of 21 performance points from a year ago, SRP ranks highest for residential electric service in the western United States among Large electric utilities for the 13th consecutive year.

With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 730 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, it is the 15th time in 16 years (1999, 2000, 2002-2014) that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West Large Utility region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, is 657.

SRP’s score was bolstered by ranking highest in the study’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six components, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service.

The 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 104,000 online interviews conducted from July 2013 through May 2014 among residential customers of the 138 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 96 million households. More information on the Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction study can be found at http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-residential-customer-satisfaction-study.

Today’s announcement was the second in the last week by J.D. Power in which SRP was recognized. On July 9, SRP was recognized for contact center operation customer satisfaction excellence under the J.D. Power Certified Contact Center Program. The Certified Contact Center Program distinction acknowledged a strong commitment by SRP’s service contact center operations to provide “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience.” SRP achieved certification for the live phone channel (ninth consecutive year), including interactive voice response (IVR) routing and customer service representative (CSR), as well as for the IVR self-service and Web self-service channels (first year, respectively). For J.D. Power 2014 Contact Center Certification Information, visit jdpower.com.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 1 million acre-feet to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.

Top 5: Arizona Casinos - Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

Glendale supports tribe’s casino plan

The Glendale City Council has approved a resolution to support the Tohono O’Odham Nation’s proposal to build a casino near the city’s sports and entertainment district.

The council voted 4-3 Tuesday to back the plan that the tribe projects will have a $300 million annual economic impact.

The Tohono O’Odham has been pushing a proposal to build a sprawling, Las Vegas-style casino since January 2009.

The Gila River Indian Community opposes the plan, saying it violates zoning and state laws and threatens the balance of tribal gaming in Arizona.

Opponents also argue a 2002 voter-backed compact bars more casinos from opening in metro Phoenix.

Gila River tribal officials say opponents will continue to do everything possible to stop the project.

The Tohono O’odham already operates several casinos in southern Arizona.

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Innovators get boost from Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) has selected 18 recipients for AZ Fast Grant, a highly competitive grant program that provides qualified Arizona-based, early stage technology companies with intensive training and technical assistance to help them commercialize their innovations, grow their businesses and create quality jobs.

“Early stage companies play a key role in developing innovations that fuel our state’s economy,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “The AZ Fast Grant program helps companies with critical training, technical expertise and the ‘know how’ to secure additional funding and commercialization opportunities to propel their businesses.”

Companies may use AZ Fast Grant awards for professional consulting services (that may include an expert review of technology under development); a commercialization feasibility study; or other commercialization assistance such as training to compete more effectively for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding programs.

More than 50 Arizona small businesses applied for this round of the AZ Fast Grant program and awardees represent a variety of target industries.

AZ Fast Grant Recipients include (Total: $141,000, plus an additional $134,000 in leveraged funds):

* Arbsource, Tempe – Bio & Life Sciences
* Arizona Medical Systems, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Elliptical Mobile, Chandler – Advanced Manufacturing
* Engineering Science Analysis Corp., Tempe – Aerospace/Defense
* Grannus, Tucson – Cleantech/Renewable Energy
* Hildeez Enterprises, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* MediCoventures, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Movement Interactive, Laveen – Bio & Life Science
* Kulira, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Prime Solutions Group, Goodyear – Aerospace/Defense
* QuantTera, Scottsdale – Advanced Materials
* Saccadous, Scottsdale – Bio & Life Science
* Score Algae, Scottsdale – Cleantech/Renewable Energy
* SiO2 Nanotech, Phoenix – Advanced Materials
* StatTransfers, Flagstaff – IT-Software
* Verve, Peoria – Bio & Life Sciences
* Vicinity Health, Chandler – Bio & Life Sciences
* YourLabs, Tucson – IT-Software

“I can honestly say the AZ Fast Grant really helped us get over the hump,” said Joe Marvin, Founder and President of Prime Solutions Group, a systems engineering and IT services company providing consulting expertise to government and defense contractors. Prime Solutions Group received AZ Fast Grant awards this year and in 2013.

With the help of AZ Fast Grant program support and technical expertise, the company recently secured $1 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for its SBIR/STTR program submission this past fall. “We used our last AZ Fast Grant for commercialization strategy development, and that went directly into our federal proposal,” said Marvin.

Img134_Xi_Surgeon_at_Console

Abrazo hospital 1st to get da Vinci Xi surgical system

Da-Vinci-Xi armsAbrazo Health’s West Valley Hospital in Goodyear is the first in Arizona to receive the robotic-assisted da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which offers patients less invasive options and faster recovery from a variety of surgeries.

The new technology, approved by the FDA on April 1, provides advanced robotic technology including high-definition, 3-D visualization. It also allows for enhanced dexterity and greater precision and control for the surgeon.

Being the first to purchase this technology in Arizona solidifies West Valley Hospital’s commitment to the healthcare of residents of the West Valley, said Dr. Pankaj Jain, an urologist affiliated with West Valley Hospital.

”West Valley Hospital continues to advance the level of medical care in the region by purchasing some of the latest in robotics technology,’’ Jain said. “With this technology, my colleagues and I will be able to do even more types of complex surgeries with smaller and fewer incisions.”

Dr. Miles Howard, an OB-GYN affiliated with West Valley Hospital, agrees.

“West Valley Hospital’s newest addition, the da Vinci Xi Robot, will put West Valley Hospital on the cutting edge for all surgical procedures. This will be a significant advancement in patient care for the West Valley.’’

The da Vinci Surgical System provides surgeons with an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy, putting a surgeon’s hands at the controls of an advanced robotic platform, said Stan Holm, chief executive officer for West Valley Hospital.

“The use of robotic-assisted surgeries continues to grow at a rapid pace, and West Valley Hospital is at the forefront of that growth,” Holm said. “We are pleased to offer the da Vinci Xi Surgical System as part of our continued efforts to offer significant surgical advancements to our patients.”

Surgeons with privileges at West Valley Hospital can perform many different types of robotically assisted procedures including prostatectomy, kidney and bladder surgery and gynecological procedures such as removal of ovarian tumors and other cancers and pelvic prolapse surgery, Holm said.

5 C's of Credit

Gilbert Offers Support to Emerging Small Businesses

GGilbert’s Development Services Department is launching a new program called Taking Care of Small Business (TCSB) which will provide support to emerging small businesses. The TCSB program guides owners through the development permitting process that is required when starting a new business.

“As Gilbert continues to grow, so do the number of small businesses,” says Development Services Director Kyle Mieras. “The goal of the Taking Care of Small Business program is to provide free assistance and support to small business owners as they begin their journey of opening a new business in Gilbert.”

For more information on the Taking care of Small Business program or to participate, visit www.gilbertaz.gov/TCSB or call Gilbert’s Development Services Department at 480-503-6719.

Grand Canyon Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Arizona Office of Tourism Partners With Buxton

The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is partnering with Fort Worth-based Buxton to develop in-depth profiles of Arizona visitors, at both the state and regional levels.

Buxton’s visitor profiling capabilities will help AOT leaders to:

* increase marketing campaign return on investment,
* better understand visitor potential,
* expand the impact of tourism on local economies, and
* identify ideal media channels to reach future and returning visitors.

The results of Buxton’s analysis will be presented at the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism, July 16-18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“AOT’s goal is to provide precise, research-driven strategies to expand travel activity and increase travel-related revenues in Arizona,” said Sherry Henry, director of AOT. “Partnering with Buxton supports this goal by providing the visitor insights we need to strengthen tourism marketing strategies across the state.”

“Buxton is pleased to support AOT’s tourism development efforts,” said Cody Howell, vice president of public sector solutions at Buxton. “Our best-in-class analytics will provide the insights needed to grow tourism revenues and enhance Arizona’s economy.”

By becoming a Buxton client, AOT will have access to SCOUT®, Buxton’s proprietary web-based analytics platform, giving leaders data and information at their fingertips to analyze visitor profiles for different areas of the state.

Buxton has worked with more than 650 cities nationwide to implement retail and tourism development strategies. Clients include Flagstaff, Arizona; Palm Springs, California; and Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state’s economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion. For information on AOT’s program of work, research and media plans, visit www.azot.gov. For information about Arizona travel experiences, visit www.arizonaguide.com.

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Danley Ranked No. 1 Selling Agent in Arizona

Walt Danley ranked as the No. 1 selling real estate agent in Arizona by sales volume, according to the REAL Trends “The Thousand: 2014 Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals.” The list was published in The Wall Street Journal on June 27, 2014.

Danley is ranked No. 30 in the U.S. for individual sales volume, having sold $167,105,094 in residential real estate in 2013. “The Thousand” list is comprised of third-party data and honors the top one thousand real estate professionals and teams in the nation.

Walt Danley is the president and namesake of Walt Danley Realty, a Scottsdale-based luxury residential real estate brokerage. The firm is Arizona’s affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate and boasts the largest inventory of million-dollar estates within Arizona. Danley has sold nearly $3 billion during his 37-year real estate career, and has been ranked in the top one percent of real estate agents nationally every year since 1977.

“The secret to successful real estate transacting is conducting business with integrity, building strong personal relationships, and leveraging the strengths of your team,” said Walt Danley, president of Walt Danley Realty. “I am honored to work alongside a team of the most skilled real estate professionals with vast expertise, market knowledge and creative ideas.”

Walt Danley Realty represents luxury homebuyers and sellers in the Northeast Valley of Phoenix including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Rio Verde, Arcadia, Biltmore, Cave Creek and Carefree. Walt Danley Realty is located at 6720 N. Scottsdale Rd., #140, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. For more information, visit www.waltdanley.com.

global

Phoenix eyes Mexico City Trade Office

The Phoenix City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to move forward with plans to partner with the Arizona Commerce Authority to open an Arizona Trade Office in Mexico City.

“Phoenix is taking the right steps to become a global city, and we’re ready to open our first trade office in Mexico City,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “This partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority demonstrates that we’re all committed to increasing exports, and that we know we can be more effective if we work together.”

The City, ACA and other regional partners plan to collaborate in the same office space in Mexico City. The partnership will better leverage the City’s investment and lower overall costs.

The City Council also voted to authorize the firm Molera Alvarez to represent and advance the City of Phoenix’s efforts with Mexico, specifically in the areas of trade, promotion, foreign direct investment and tourism.

electricity

East Valley Energized by New SRP Line

A major new transmission project that will bring additional electricity and increased reliability to the Valley is now fully energized.

The final phase of the Palo Verde-Southeast Valley-Browning (PV-SEV) 500-kilovolt (kV) project was placed into service for the first time this month. This marked a major milestone for SRP, as it was the last segment of a new 150-mile transmission line that runs from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant area near Tonopah to the Browning Substation located in east Mesa.

“We are glad that after 14 years this project is in service,” said John Underhill, SRP’s senior director of System Operations. “The entire East Valley will benefit. This new transmission line, which originates in the West Valley, will now bring that power all the way around to the east. This provides us with another power source into that area, where little or no generating plants are being built east of the Santan Generating Station.”

Prior to the PV-SEV line, SRP depended on a single 500kV transmission line to bring energy from the Palo Verde energy hub to the East Valley. The final line segment, which spans 100 miles, is the last component of the PV-SEV 500-kV project that began construction in 2006, after six years of planning and approvals.

The project resulted from a study by SRP and other Arizona electric utilities, and approval by the Arizona Corporation Commission, showing a need for increased transmission capacity to meet increasing energy demands created by business and residential growth in central Arizona and Tucson. The study concluded that energy deliveries in central Arizona required a new transmission line and other equipment additions, significant upgrades to existing equipment, and the project overall would increase system reliability.

“Years of planning and hard work by many entities, including SRP employees and contract personnel, resulted in a quality project that will serve the needs of the customers for many years to come,” said Dan Hawkins, senior project manager of Major Transmission Projects for SRP.

The project has included the building of five large substations — Pinal West, Duke, Pinal Central, Abel and Dinosaur — and additions to the existing Hassayampa and Browning substations. Also as part of the project, two 500/230-kV transformers at Pinal Central and one 500/230-kV transformer at Duke, located in Pinal County, were energized May 30 and June 12, respectively. The PW-SEV-BOB Project will serve customers in Pinal, Pima and Maricopa counties.

“The design and building of the 150-mile system is really remarkable,” added Underhill. “I received a firsthand aerial view as our staff inspected the line in a helicopter. It’s impressive how we were able to build the line to blend in with the landscape.”

Partners in the transmission project include SRP (project manager), Tucson Electric Power Co., Electrical District #2, Electrical District #3, Electrical District #4, Western Area Power Administration and the Southwest Transmission Cooperative Inc.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers.

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Each Class of Dropouts costs Arizona $7.6B

The more than 18,000 Arizona students who dropped out of high school this year will produce $7.6 billion less economic activity over their lifetimes than if those same students had graduated, according to a new report by the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable.

Cutting the dropout rate in half would generate $3.8 billion more in economic benefits to the state for each graduating class.

Mayor Greg Stanton and several Valley mayors released the research report today, which measured the economic impact of high school dropouts in Arizona.

Key takeaways from the study include:

· Each Arizona high school dropout results in a $421,280 loss in economic activity over his or her lifetime. This figure includes lost earnings, increased health care and crime-related costs, lost economic productivity and lost tax revenue.

· In the City of Phoenix, the number is higher: each dropout results in a $463,500 economic loss – creating a $1.42 billion economic loss per graduating class.

· In Arizona, each dropout will earn $271,040 less over the course of their lifetime than counterparts who graduate. Dropouts face higher risks of unemployment and economic insecurity.

· Each dropout will cost taxpayers an additional $98,520 more in crime-related expenses over the course of their lifetime.

· Of the $7.6 billion in Arizona economic loss, $1.5 billion represents lost revenue and increased expenses for state and local governments.

· In 2012, Arizona’s disconnected youth population – that is, young people who are neither in school nor working – was 183,200, or 22 percent of population aged 16 to 24. This disconnected population results in an aggregate economic loss of more than $127 billion.

The full report is available at http://azmayors.org/resources/college-and-career-readiness/.

“This report should be a wake up call to everyone in our state about why it is so important that we work together to get every student to graduate high school,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “It’s important for us to have city-level data so every elected official understands that if we sit idly by and leave this problem for others to solve, we do so at our own peril. In Phoenix, we’re working to tackle the dropout rate by making sure our kids read by the third grade, and opening an online high school that helps those who have dropped out get back into class and earn their diploma.”

“We’ve all known that dropouts have a cost to our society, but this report displays it in a startling way,” remarked Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “We at the Greater Phoenix Chamber commend the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable for illuminating the stark reality of the economic burden of dropouts in our cities and state, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the mayors and the community to seek educational reforms and provide programs that will ease the economic burden of dropouts and improve our future economy.”

“We appreciate the leadership of the Mayors Roundtable in shedding more light on a critical issue like the impact of the dropout rate on our state’s future economic viability,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation. “Having the Mayors hold these statewide discussions will help enable our communities to identify and respond to the contributing factors and set goals that will re-engage students and put them back on the path toward college and career readiness.”

“Beyond the profound consequences to individuals and their families, we are now able to quantify the impact of school dropouts on Arizona’s economy,” said Paul H. Koehler, director of WestEd’s Policy Center and coordinator of the Mayors Roundtable. “This report should serve as a clarion call to action for state educators, policy makers, and all Arizonans.”

Russell W. Rumberger, a professor of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara and director of the California Dropout Research Project served as lead author. Data was compiled from the Arizona Department of Education, U.S. Census American Community Survey and the 2014 study, “The Economic Losses from High School Dropouts and Disconnected Youth: Evidence from Across Arizona,” written by Clive R. Belfield, a professor at Queens College, City University of New York.

“The losses from failure to graduate from high school are sizeable, robust and pervasive,” Belfield said. “The social loss amounts to more than a high school dropout will earn in their lifetime; and the fiscal loss is almost equivalent to total spending per student over their entire K-12 years in the Arizona school system.”

spine

Spine Specialists Open New East Valley Office

Sonoran Spine Center, Arizona’s leading spine and back specialists are moving to a new office in Tempe. Located at 1255 West Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 107, this marks the fifth location for Sonoran Spine Center in Metro Phoenix with a sixth office operating in Show Low, Ariz.

Opened in 1999 by Dr. Dennis Crandall, Sonoran Spine Center includes a group of cutting-edge, innovative physicians and surgeons specializing in all areas of the back and spine. Their objective is to help adults and children with spinal curvatures, scoliosis, work injuries, slipped vertebra and disc herniations, as well as many other conditions. Their team of doctors have studied new and ground-breaking methods to improve treatment through both surgical and non-surgical techniques.

“Sonoran Spine Center is growing and adapting to our patients’ needs,” said Dr. Crandall. “We are excited about our new office opening this summer on Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, just down from ASU’s stadium and the Tempe Center for the Arts.”

Sonoran Spine Center physicians are known for their ability to assess and treat very difficult and complex spine problems. A significant portion of their patients, upwards of 90%, are able to avoid surgical intervention thanks to conservative care like physical medication and rehabilitation (PM&R) or physical therapy (PT.)

“The Mesa office, at the Banner Desert Hospital campus, limited our space and the services we could provide, plus the parking and access problems were a challenge for our patients. These problems are solved at our brand new office located in one of the most desirable areas of the East Valley,” added Dr. Crandall.

The new Tempe location will provide patients with a state-of-the-art medical facility and easy access off the 202 freeway at Priest Road. Updated services will also be provided at this location including convenient on-site Physical Therapy, x-ray and MRI facilities.

Sonoran Spine Center provides comprehensive care as well as spinal surgery options to for both adults and children. For more information about the services they provided or to schedule an appointment with one of the highly-qualified physicians on staff, visit sonoranspine.com.

stem.cell

TGen and NAU celebrate 5-year research pact

Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a five-year agreement to promote innovation and quality research benefiting Arizona.

The NAU-TGen Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implements the allocation of state funding as directed by Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature, and reaffirms the commitment of both institutions toward quality research, training and educational opportunities, protection of public health and improved patient care. The Governor and Legislature recommitted state funding support as part of the 2014-15 state budget, recognizing the positive dividends from a viable, competitive bioindustry in Arizona.

“TGen has played a valuable role in developing and advancing Arizona’s bioscience industry,” said Governor Brewer. “From delivering medical breakthroughs and first-rate research — to creating quality jobs and growing our economy — TGen is a shining example of the innovative companies we seek to attract and expand in Arizona. By enhancing the successful partnership between TGen and NAU, we can ensure that both our bioscience industry and our economy will continue to thrive for years to come.”

NAU and TGen also announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a patent for a new set of genetically-based tests, jointly developed by NAU and TGen, that accurately identify fungal pathogens that threaten public health worldwide. Broad-based identification of fungi is essential for clinical diagnostics and also for environmental testing. This is the first of many patents anticipated through NAU-TGen collaborations.

The two institutions also are celebrating other joint research, including highly accurate, genetically-based tests for detecting and monitoring Valley Fever, influenza and different types of staph bacteria infections, especially the potentially deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

These achievements, and numerous other collaborations underway between NAU and TGen, will be celebrated at 2 p.m. today at NAU’s Applied Research and Development building.

The NAU-TGen developed genetic-based tests allow real-time tests in any location, including laboratories, but also clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms and even field settings. Immediate diagnosis of pathogens is a critical part of TGen’s push for precision medicine, in which patients receive the correct treatments as quickly as possible, speeding their recovery and saving lives.

The genetic-based tests for various pathogens were developed by a team from NAU and TGen that includes Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (also known as TGen North) in Flagstaff, and a Regents Professor and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

“These advanced diagnostics have far reaching implications for protecting public health, quickly treating patients and lowering the cost of healthcare,” Dr. Keim said. “Through our joint NAU-TGen research, we are continuing to develop tools and technologies that have a great impact on human health.”

This joint effort has generated other intellectual property, stimulated the founding of a startup company, and now generates licensing revenues for both NAU and TGen.

“Our relationship with TGen exemplifies the importance of the biosciences to NAU and to Arizona’s economy,” said NAU President John Haeger. “An important mission of our university is to produce research with direct benefits to the state and to the world, and together with TGen that is what we are accomplishing. We look forward to much more.”

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director, praised President Haeger, Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature for helping ensure TGen’s continuing role in stimulating local research that directly benefits Arizona patients.

“We are enormously grateful to Governor Brewer and the state Legislature, particularly the leadership, for their continuing confidence and support in us,” said Dr. Trent. “In addition, as demonstrated by the leadership and cooperation of President Haeger, Dr. Keim and NAU, there is no question that these types of collaborations between universities and research institutions can result in significant commercial applications.”

Greene

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli creates new position

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli has created a new position, titled Director of Paralegals and Litigation Technology. This position is the first of its kind. “We believe having this new position will add value to the paralegal team as well as the clients they serve, by creating a more efficient and streamlined team,” says Jennifer Lovato, Firm Administrator.

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli promoted Narinda Greene into this role. She has served as a paralegal at JSH for the past ten years. During her tenure at JSH, she has helped coach and train the firm’s paralegal staff and continues to serve as a valuable resource to the firm’s 34 paralegals. It is because of her hard work and dedication that we have decided to create a new position at the firm. As the Director of Paralegals and Litigation Technology, Narinda will provide one on one training as well as develop group educational programs for the paralegal team. We are confident Narinda will continue to strive for success and serve as an excellent leader for the paralegals here at Jones, Skelton & Hochuli.

Jones, Skelton & Hochuli is one of the largest and most experienced defense trial law firms in Arizona. Having been in business for 31 years, the firm specializes in trial practice; insurance coverage; defense of corporations; self-insureds; municipalities and insurance carriers.