Tag Archives: arizona

Fairmont.Princess

There is still time to book a memorable holiday party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a party. With the economic downturn slowly starting to appear in the rearview mirror, the office holiday party might be something that slipped your mind because it hasn’t been in the budget in years past. So if you still need to place to host your happening, here are a variety of options to create a memorable holiday event for employees.

Bar North at the Kierland Commons
With a gorgeous view of the main Kierland Commons courtyard, Bar North can host up to 60 guests reception style. The inside dining area is perfect for cocktail parties or lavish business dinners for up to 50 people.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

Blanco Tacos + Tequila at The Biltmore Fashion Park
Blanco’s private dining has the perfect spot for your fiesta. The private dining space is a hacienda style and comes complete with its own bar. Guest can mingle reception style up to 75, or sit down family style for up to 60 guests.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde
The Clubhouse is just minutes from North Scottsdale and offers both indoor and outdoor event venues. Its experienced staff and culinary team will customize and handle every detail of your holiday party to assure that it is worry free.
How to book: 480-471-2582 or tontoverde.org

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
You will enjoy a one-of-a-kind, high-energy experience in our warm and inviting space. Guests are welcomed to savor Whiskey Row’s award-winning, made from scratch menu. Features also include: live bands and DJs, karaoke, liquor and beer tasting, personal beer taps, decorations, games and more.
How to book: 928-710-8985 or email tinapeterson@riothg.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
With two 23,000 square-foot ballrooms, outdoor courtyards and three distinctive restaurants (Michael Mina’s Bourbon  Steak, La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval and the new Toro Latin Restaurant opening at the TPC Scottsdale) plus The Plaza Bar in the main plaza, there are endless possibilities for holiday parties, from intimate gatherings to grand galas.
How to book: 480-585-4848 or scottsdaleprincess.com

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria Old Town
With Frank Sinatra crooning in the background and the tantalizing aromas of over 100 years of pizza-making tradition in the air, Grimaldi’s combines classic pizzeria charm with a modern, stylish, loft-like atmosphere. Grimaldi’s is an excellent cost effective way to feed large parties and intimate gatherings, alike.
How to book: 480-874-8209 or email events@grimaldispizzeria.com

The Henry   
From the large private room with industrial touches, to a private kitchen that feels like the best home chef’s kitchen, The Henry is set to accommodate 10 to 100 guests. Like any seasoned host, The Henry offers reception menus or limited coursed menus of its tried and true favorites.
How to book: 480-751-2934 or email lbyke@foxrc.net

Hotel Valley Ho
Downtown Scottsdale’s historic icon offers fabulous fare for holiday parties and hip venues like the panoramic Sky Line Rooftop, high-tech SoHo Ballroom, and Sands, a private indoor-outdoor event space. Hotel Valley Ho has you covered, whether you’re hosting 50 guests or 500.
How to book: 480-248-2017 or hotelvalleyho.com

Kelly’s at SouthBridge
Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000-square-foot swanky pub offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine. Their private and semi-private dining spaces and patios offer a variety of options for any event. They can accommodate groups between 10 and 300 people.
How to book: 480-393-3205 or email events@kellysatsouthbridge

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix
Savor holiday fare and craft cocktails at this Downtown Phoenix boutique hotel. Choose from three different party packages to create a custom event including a holiday mixer, a festive buffet or the fare with flair package. Invite your guests to take the elevator home and spend the night while enjoying 20 percent off the best available rate when you book an event.
How to book: 480-478-1730 or email catering@hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

North in Arcadia
North has turned a modern lens on Italian cooking. Transport your guests to what feels like a charming Italian side street culinary gem with a patio event that seats up to 55, or can accommodate 70 guests reception style. The warm glow of the fireplace with set the mood and heaters will keep guests warm throughout the winter months.
How to book: 480-905-3278 or email asomers@foxrc.net

Octane Raceway
Octane Raceway offers the 45 mph Sodi-RTX karts, a Segway obstacle course, rock wall, video games and billiards. Octane also offers state of the art conference rooms with full A/V hookups, as well as a full kitchen and bar.
How to book: 602-302-7223

Olive & Ivy
At Olive & Ivy, discover an enticing selection of unexpected and familiar dishes in a rich, elegant, laid-back atmosphere. For special occasions or business meetings, the restaurant offers two private dining areas and beautiful patio space accommodating a varying number of guests.
How to book: 480-905-3273 or email nlasker@foxrc.net

The Phoenician
From grand ballrooms to intimate salons to a variety of signature dining venues, The Phoenician designs elegant holiday events for gatherings of all sizes.
How to book: 480-423-2722

Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse
Rawhide Western Town promises to deliver up a true western experience with 14 unique venues within town to host your private events perfectly along with multiple Wild West attractions and shops. Features include live action stunt shows, stagecoach rides and mechanical bull rides.
How to book: 480-705-2946 or email toni.mennuti@rawhide.com

Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
Forget about Ho! Ho! Ho! and say Ha! Ha! Ha! Join Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy and make this holiday the merriest yet. They can accommodate groups of 10-300 and do it all — drink, dine and laughs. They will even pick on the boss for you!
How to book: 480-420-3553 or email az@houseofcomedy.net

The Rocket
Let the party come to you. The Rocket, the food truck brought to you by North Italia, is a 700-degree wood burning pizza oven on wheels. It’s built to turn fresh ingredients and hand-stretched dough into a piping hot pizza pie in less than eight minutes. With five different signature pizzas, fresh salads, charcuterie and bruschetta, you can proudly cater a private party or corporate event for up to 300 people.
How to book: 480-751-2202  or email kmahoney@foxrc.net

Royal Palms Resort & Spa
For 12-18 people, the historic resort offers a variety of venues including the Delos room at T. Cook’s, The Study at The Mix Up Bar or the architecturally rich Vernadero boardroom overlooking the lawn and reflecting pool. The resort, built in 1929 as a private mansion, has cobblestone pathways, tucked-away courtyards with fountains and an enchanting atmosphere.
How to book: 602-808-3206 or email wstark@destinationhotels.com

SOL Mexican Cocina
Add a little Baja flavor to your holiday festivities. From sit-down, coursed meals to family style sharing or the more informal cocktail style party, SOL Mexican Cocina in Scottsdale Quarter can cater any holiday event to your needs. Available for private events are the patio and the private dining rooms.
How to book: 480-245-6708 or email scottsdaleevents@solcocina.com

Stand Up Live
The downtown Phoenix comedy club offers all-inclusive holiday packages to fit any budget that include show ticket, plated three-course dinner or appetizer, one top-shelf cocktail, tax, and gratuity. Stand Up Live can accommodate groups ranging from 20-500 guests with no waiting in line, waived service fees and all-inclusive pricing.
How to book: 480-467-3162 or email justine@standuplive.com

Taco Guild
Taco Guild’s Key Room holds 24 people, offers full kitchen, bar and wait staff. The innovative tacos at the celebrated restaurant in North Central Phoenix were recently named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as among the best in the United States.
How to book: 602-264-4143 or tacoguild.com

Talking Stick Resort
Talking Stick Resort invites guests to end the year in style when it hosts its Fire and Ice New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31. Kicking off at 6:30 p.m. in the Salt River Grand Ballroom, the two-day celebration will feature an all-you-can-eat buffet, cocktail specials and live performances by the legendary Sam Moore and Boogie Knights.
How to book: 480-850-7734 or talkingstickresort.com.

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill
Whether your group’s small or large, Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill can provide a great experience and value for any holiday event. They feature multiple options including a private event room and bar. Enjoy your choice of their 52 local, craft, import and domestic beers on draft or one of their unique specialty cocktails.
How to book: email ashelton@ceghospitality.com

Uptown Alley
Uptown Alley has 60,000 square feet of fun for everyone including 40 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, an upscale, casual full service restaurant, two high-energy bars, a sports theater, billiards, laser tag, over 80 video and prize games, live entertainment, private party rooms and much more. Special packages that include game play, rock and bowl, holiday menu and laser tag are available.
How to book: email kjovic@uptownalleysurprise.com

Wrigley Mansion
The Wrigley Mansion Venue and Restaurant, a landmark building constructed between 1929 and 1931 by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., offers breathtaking views of the Valley and can accommodate private events ranging in size from 10 to 1,200.
How to book: 602-553-7295 or wrigleymansion.com

holiday.shopping

Arizonans spend more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday

Arizonans plan to spend more money shopping electronically on Cyber Monday ($556) than hitting the malls and super-stores on Black Friday, where they plan to spend $433, according to the BMO Harris Bank Holiday Report.

The survey examined the buying intentions of consumers ahead of Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving; and Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. It marks the first in a series of reports from BMO Harris that will be released for holiday spending.

Fifty-five percent of Arizonans say they will shop on Black Friday, half plan to shop on Cyber Monday and 36 percent will do both. The results of the poll show 23 percent of Black Friday shoppers say they will spend more this year, and one-third percent of Cyber Monday shoppers say they expect their spending to go up. Two-thirds say they will spend about the same amount that they did last year during both shopping days.

“The U.S. holiday shopping season is expected to be moderately better this year due to stronger job growth, lower unemployment, improved confidence, record-high equity markets, and lower gasoline prices,” said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. “The only thing holding back sales is sluggish wage gains, though that is expected to change next year.  Price competition should remain fierce this season as a result.”

The commissioned survey, also found:

• Three quarters (77 percent) of shoppers are buying for themselves on Black Friday. On Cyber Monday, it will be slightly less (68 percent)
• Just over half (54 percent) plan to buy for parents and children on Black Friday, and 44 percent will shop for a partner or spouse
• Gifts for a pet will be bought by 21 percent on Black Friday and by 13 percent on Cyber Monday

Sixty-five percent say they have a budget, but may not stick to it. Only 12 percent say they will stay within their strict budget.

Debit cards are the payment method of choice for 71 percent of Black Friday shoppers, compared to 45 percent who will pay with credit card and one-third who will use cash.

Dennis Dahlen, senior vice president and CFO for Banner Health; Gary Dalke, CFO for Western Refining, Inc.; Lawrence Eisel, CFO of Total Transit; and Richard Skufza, executive vice president and CFO of LaneTerralever.

FEI Arizona honors CFO of the Year winners, finalists

The Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) handed out its annual CFO of the Year Awards Thursday during a ceremony at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale.

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The CFO of the Year Awards are given to professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. This program provides many benefits to the business community by highlighting the important roles that financial executives play within the region.

Earning 2014 awards were Dennis Dahlen, senior vice president and CFO for Banner Health in the nonprofit category; Gary Dalke, CFO for Western Refining, Inc. in the public company category; Lawrence Eisel, CFO of Total Transit in the private company category; and Richard Skufza, executive vice president and CFO of LaneTerralever in the private company category.

Here is a closer look at the winners:

Dennis Dahlen:  Dahlen oversees the financial operations of an organization with more than $5 billion in revenue, including all treasury functions related to investment management and capital development. Dahlen’s work with executives throughout the company ensures that realistic budgets are established and budget goals are met or exceeded.
Dahlen’s impact on Banner Health: Under Dahlen’s leadership, financial pro formas have been reliably solid foundations for Banner’s expansions in Arizona. They have included construction of Cardon Children’s Medical Center, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Banner Ironwood Medical Center, new towers at Banner Baywood Medical Center, Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and Banner Estrella Medical Center; the acquisition of Sun Health (two hospitals and a research center), Arizona Regional Medical Center and Casa Grande Regional Medical Center; and the development of the Banner Health Network.

Gary Dalke: Dalke is one of Western Refining’s founding executives and is responsible for all finance, treasury, tax, accounting, and information system activities throughout Western and its affiliates. Dalke is also a critical member of the executive committee, responsible for establishing company goals, performance metrics, and monitoring mechanisms.
Dalke’s impact on Western Refining: In the fall of 2013, Dalke guided Western through a spin-off of the company’s logistics assets via an initial public offering of a new entity — Western Refining Logistics, LP — and acquisition of the general partner and 38 percent of the limited partnership of Northern Tier Energy LP, both within a 31-day period. Dalke led by example, demonstrating a dedicated work ethic, calm demeanor, command of accounting principles and financial market prowess. Each of these attributes were critical to successful completion of these extraordinary accomplishments.

Lawrence Eisel: In his first five years, Total Transit’s revenue has nearly quadrupled. Eisel has been heavily involved in strategic planning, business planning, budgeting and working capital management to support this phenomenal growth.  In addition, Eisel has been successful in developing a strong relationship and credibility with the company’s banks to finance this growth.  He has also coordinated all risk management activities for the organization.
Eisel’s impact on Total Transit: Eisel has implemented several changes that define showcase his vision, including implementation of a balanced scorecard process, establishing an internal audit function and coordinating a significant estate planning project that will ultimately save millions in future tax liabilities. Most recently, to combat a tighter insurance market and increasing auto liability premiums, Eisel and his team successfully identified alternative insurance designs and created a captive insurance entity, which will control the costs of the company’s auto liability risk.

Richard Skufza: Skufza works closely with the CEO and other executive leadership to accomplish corporate strategic objectives. He is one of three key contributors to the development and execution of LaneTerralever’s’s corporate strategy while maintaining important external relationships with banks, clients, external auditors and suppliers.
Skufza’s impact on LaneTerralever: Over the last nine months, Skufza led the integration of the accounting, management information and telephone systems into one unified system and was instrumental in bringing the two cultures and two offices of E.B. Lane and Terralever into one office. Skufza’s prior initiatives include online recruiting and employee orientation process; an enhanced performance evaluation process in order to align corporate values, mission and vision throughout the organization; and employee training and staff development with the introduction of E.B. Lane University.

diversity

Wells Fargo gives $200K to Chicanos Por La Causa

Wells Fargo & Company announced it has donated $200,000 to Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) through its 2014 Leading the Way Home® program Priority Markets Initiative to  help stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods impacted by the economy.   The Leading The Way Home® program Priority Markets Initiative provides grant support for neighborhood stabilization projects that are located in areas designated for revitalization to stimulate growth, stability and investment in distressed areas.  This grant was part of a $6 million grant initiative awarded to 54 nonprofits across the country.

“Wells Fargo is proud to provide support to enable Chicanos Por La Causa to continue its work to stabilize and revitalize our local communities,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo Arizona. “Community support and neighborhood revitalization is a key focus for our company and we believe the work of the nonprofit community is a critical conduit to revitalize neighborhoods in cities that have been deeply affected by the challenging economy.”

CPLC is actively involved and experienced in community revitalization efforts and was identified by Wells Fargo as being in need of extra help with large-scale neighborhood revitalization projects. Priority Markets Initiative program grants can be used for any costs associated with the development or redevelopment of the project. Recipients must be an IRS 501c3 organizations with successful histories of building or renovating housing for low-to moderate-income homebuyers.

“We appreciate and thank Wells Fargo for their visionary work and investment in community revitalization,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, CPLC President and CEO. “We look forward to distributing the funding to ensure that quality affordable homes are available in our community; continue to help stabilize housing values and preserve neighborhoods; and empower potential homebuyers to make educated decisions when purchasing a home.”

CPLC will use the grant funds to rehabilitate 10 properties in three distressed Phoenix zip codes and provide down payment assistance to 10 homebuyers at or below 80 percent of the area median income.  The organization has a long-standing history of providing the tools necessary to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve their aspirations and become self-sufficient. In fact, CPLC successfully led a national consortium to revitalize markets in eight states through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2. CPLC understands that having a safe and comfortable place to live is fundamental for families to live healthy and prosperous lives.

Since 2009, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Priority Markets Program has provided more than $30 million across 100 communities.

Since 1993, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has stewarded nearly $300 million to nonprofits in support of affordable housing and community revitalization programs. Wells Fargo Housing Foundation programs have also delivered 4.7 million volunteer hours to build or rehabilitate more than 5,000 homes during the past two decades.

Local Enrollment Kiosk_Draft

New Health Insurance Kiosk Launches in Valley

Local Enrollment Services, the first health insurance kiosk in Arizona, will open at Christown Spectrum Mall in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment for health insurance on November 15. Local Enrollment Services and its staff will provide self-service solutions for people to enroll in the healthcare marketplace and to educate Valley residents about the 2015 health care changes.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that every U.S. citizen must have health insurance coverage by February 15, 2015 and the Health Insurance Exchange, which includes all of the public plans mandated by the Affordable Care Act, begins open enrollment on November 15. Local Enrollment Services is designed to be a convenient, fast, free way for people to sign up for health insurance. Licensed agents will be a the kiosk helping individuals, families and businesses navigate the health care changes and become savvy health care shoppers, enabling them to take control of the many health insurance options.

Located at Christown Spectrum Mall on 1703 W. Bethany Home Road in Phoenix, Local Enrollment Services will be set up right outside Costco for shoppers’ convenience. The kiosk will be able to help four shoppers at a time. To participate in the quick sign-up process that can take as little as 15 minutes, shoppers will only need to know their address, social security number, income for this year and an estimate of their income for 2015.

Local Enrollment Services Owner Nate Plett launched Local Enrollment Services to help people get the best health insurance for themselves and their families at the best possible price.

“We are committed to help Arizona consumers make the most intelligent and informed decisions about purchasing health insurance,” said Plett. “We want our customers to feel confident in making a decision to get the best health insurance policy available. Even if people enrolled last year, they should make sure their policy is still the best option for them. Local Enrollment Services is here to be a true community resource and help educate the public on why it’s important to have health insurance and have the right policy for themselves and their family.”

Local Enrollment Services will be open seven days a week starting November 15 during regular mall hours. For more information visit www.localenrollment.com or call 866.400.8901.

Banner Baywood Medical Center

8 Banner Health hospitals earn safety recognition

Eight Banner Health hospitals received top grades (A’s and B’s) for patient safety, an independent watchdog organization announced Wednesday.

Four Banner Health hospitals, two in Arizona and a pair in Colorado, earned “A” scores while four additional Arizona hospitals received “B” scores. Banner Boswell Medical Center and Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City join North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo. and McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colo. with top “A” grades for patient safety.

The Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score report was released by The Leapfrog Group an independent organization which grades hospitals on how they protect patients from errors, injuries and infections.

“Patient safety is a guiding principle for all of our employees in the communities we serve,” said Dr. John Hensing, Banner Health’s executive vice president and chief medical officer. “We are dedicated to providing the highest quality care in a safe and healthy environment and are proud to be recognized for our ongoing efforts.”

According to Leapfrog, the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from preventable harm. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in fall 2014, with about 31 percent receiving an “A” grade. The Hospital Safety Score is fully transparent, with a full analysis of the data and methodology used in determining grades available online.
Banner Health hospitals and their top Hospital Safety Scores:

Banner Boswell Medical Center (Sun City): A
Banner Churchill Medical Center (Fallon, Nev.): B
Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center (Sun City): A
Banner Desert Medical Center (Mesa): B
Banner Estrella Medical Center (Phoenix): B
McKee Medical Center (Loveland, Colo.): A
North Colorado Medical Center (Greeley, Colo.): A
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center (Glendale): B

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system manages 25 acute-care hospitals, the Banner Health Network and Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services, and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

health,informatics

Abrazo helps Arizonans with healthcare enrollment

Abrazo Health on Nov. 20 is launching its Path to Health education series aimed at helping Arizonans get affordable insurance coverage.

The new enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace, a one-stop shop to more affordable and accessible health care, is Nov. 15-Feb. 15.

Abrazo Health will hold free Path to Health seminars this month through February to present information about the potential benefits to individuals and families regarding the Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid Expansion.  Sessions are scheduled for Arrowhead, Arizona Heart, Maryvale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix Baptist and West Valley hospitals.

“We want to help individuals and their families understand the Affordable Care Act. We want to make sure our community members are well informed in order to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.’’ said Dr. William Ellert, Abrazo Health’s Chief Medical Officer.

In Arizona, about 8 out of 10 people qualified for financial assistance and cost reductions for 2014 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  The Marketplace’s health insurance plans offer lower costs on out-of-pocket expenses and premiums based on income while private plans do not. Federal tax credits, which can be used to lower premiums, are available to those who qualify.

Abrazo Health’s Path to Health sessions include:
·       Arizona Heart Hospital, 1930 E. Thomas Road: 6-7 p.m. Dec. 2 and Jan. 27.
·       Arrowhead Hospital, 18701 N. 67th Ave., 6-7 p.m. Nov. 20 and Jan. 8.
·       Maryvale Hospital, 5102 W. Campbell Ave., 6-7 p.m. Dec. 4, Jan. 10, Jan. 22 and Feb. 7 in Spanish; 7-8 p.m. Dec. 4, Jan. 22 and Feb. 7 in English.
·       Paradise Valley Hospital, 6-7 p.m. Jan. 13 and Feb. 5.
·       Phoenix Baptist Hospital, 2000 W. Bethany Home Road, 6-7 p.m. Dec. 6 and Feb. 3.
·       West Valley Hospital, 6-7 p.m. Nov. 22 and Jan. 24.

Individual appointments also can be made with Certified Application Counselors at Abrazo Health’s six hospitals to receive help in signing up for health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Coverage can begin Jan. 1 if enrollment is completed by Dec. 15.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who do not enroll in health insurance by Feb. 15, 2015 will have to pay a penalty fee of $325 per adult and $162.50 per child or 2 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher, and it will be collected when they file income taxes.

Some of the important health benefits covered under Marketplace plans include emergency services, maternity and newborn care, lab tests, preventive services and pediatric services. Free preventative services include screenings for blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and colon cancer.

For a schedule and more information, visit AbrazoHealth.com/PathToHealth. To register for a Path to Health seminar, call 866-893-8446.

foodbank

BCBSAZ donates 6,250 meals to the hungry

Arizonans across the state struggle with hunger. According to the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB), almost one in five adults, and one in four children, struggle with hunger and poverty in rural and metro communities alike.

Because food insecurity rates in Arizona are higher than the national average, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) selected three organizations to receive support as part of its 75th anniversary, “Arizonans First.  Always” campaign.

“Hunger is a disheartening and undeniable issue in Arizona,” said Rich Boals, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “We will do what we can to help fight hunger with the hope our contributions encourage others to do the same.”

The three programs supported include:

1.     The Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB) through a donation of 7,500 lbs. of canned food. The 7,500 lbs. is equivalent to 6,250 meals.“Items like canned chicken and similar canned foods are greatly needed,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the AAFB. “They are healthy and full of protein, which is always in short supply and necessary for a balanced diet. The Association of Arizona Food Banks could not accomplish our goals without these kinds of generous donations.”

2.     The Valley of the Sun United Way’s World Record to End Hunger project was supported by BCBSAZ volunteers lending time to assembling food bags for those in need. As it turned out, the volunteers broke the Guinness World Record by assembling more than 2,000 food bags in just three minutes.

3.     A contribution was also made to the Yavapai Food Council (YFC) which administers the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project and the National School Lunch Program countywide. The food that is collected through the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project will be donated to community food banks, pantries, and child-hunger programs. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced meals to students at rural and charter schools, comprised of more than 60 percent low-income families based on the U.S. Governments poverty guidelines.  A study conducted by YFC shows that one out of four adults and one out of three children in Yavapai County face food insecurity. Program funding is critical in helping these children grow up healthy and strong.

The “Arizonans First. Always.” campaign has already visited Pima, Maricopa, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, Apache, Navajo, Mohave and La Paz counties. Following the World Record to End Hunger project, BCBSAZ will visit Coconino County. To learn more about BCBSAZ and its 75 years in Arizona, visit azblue.com/birthday.

healthcare

Nominations open for Healthcare Leadership Awards

Az Business magazine is dedicated to bringing the stories of healthcare leaders, innovators, researchers and advocates to its readers. Each April, Az Business shines a special spotlight on the medical industry through its annual Healthcare Leadership Awards.

Arizona’s healthcare industry is a tremendous economic engine for the state and is making Arizona a better place to live, work and recreate. The selection committee is looking for the physicians, hospital administrators, researchers, medical companies and healthcare innovators who are making a difference in our communities.

The categories include:

• Healthcare Advocate of the Year
• Insurance Provider of the Year
• Researcher of the Year
• Medical Research Company
• Legal Advocate of the Year
• Medical Company of the Year
• Bioscience Company of the Year
• Physician of the Year
• Healthcare Executive of the Year
• Medical Center of the Year
• Lifetime Achievement Award

Now is the time to get your nominations in for the 2015 Healthcare Leadership Awards. Is there someone in the healthcare industry who you think deserves this honor? Is there a healthcare facility or company that is impacting the community is serves? Az Business wants to know. Click here to nominate a person, facility or company today. Nominations must be completed by Dec. 29, 2014.

veterans

Want to Honor Veterans? Help Them Start Careers

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s a day for parades, for speeches, and for thanking those who put their lives on the line to protect us and our way of life.

It’s also a day with a history of contradictions. What we celebrate as Veteran’s Day began in 1919 as Armistice Day. It marked the cease fire in 1918 on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month between Germany and the Allied nations that paved the way for the end of World War I, the “War to End All Wars”. But wars were not ended and on May 13, 1938, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of military personnel in our Nation’s history and after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, Congress revised the law and renamed the holiday to what we know it as today, Veteran’s Day.

We have yet to truly see a war to end all wars. Americans still answer the call to serve and the men and women of our armed forces serve to both keep the peace and when necessary battle to restore it.

When their work is done, our veterans come home and face the challenge of answering a life changing question. “What’s next?”

During the years that they serve, members of our armed forces have the opportunity to develop and hone the very skills that we so often hear are in short supply: leadership, decision making, team work, technical expertise and people skills. Our veterans are bringing home skills and experience that we can help them to reapply through training and development into roles that help to develop and to deliver the life changing innovations that will benefit people today and for generations to come.

This Veteran’s Day, AZBio is pleased to announce its partnership with MVPvets. With a mission to assist with re-careering for the thousands of transitioning military veterans in order to help prepare them for meaningful employment in the life sciences, MVPvets brings veterans, mentors, and companies together in a live and virtual collaborative learning environment.

MVP itself is a collaboration supported by AdvaMed, Life Collaborative and medtech and biotech corporate sponsors. The program is offered free of charge to veterans of all ranks who have been honorably discharged from the military or are currently active military with plans to transition out of the service within the next 24 months. To kick of this partnership, AZBio will host an information session and free after hours event on Thursday, November 13, 2014 featuring a presentation by Mike Grice, COO of MVPvets. All members of our life science, healthcare and business community are welcome to attend. (To learn more visit http://www.azbio.org/events/mvp-vets-11-2014)

While we were at home building our careers, our veterans were serving to ensure we have the freedom to do so. This Veteran’s Day, let’s do more than wave flags and give speeches. Let’s commit to helping them find new opportunities and answers to the question “What’s next?”

 

Joan Koerber-Walker is President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. AZBio is committed to building a top-tier life science industry in Arizona. She also serves as Chairman of the State Medical Technology Alliance (SMTA) a consortium of state and regional trade associations representing their local medical technology companies. SMTA’s mission is to collectively support the medical technology industry on the local, state and national levels by fostering a collaborative environment through sharing of best practices, promoting the industry, and advocating for public policies that support innovation.

diversity

Wells Fargo Arizona team members donate $3.4M to nonprofits

Wells Fargo & Company announced that its Arizona team members donated more than $3.4 million to nonprofit organizations and schools in Arizona as part of the company’s annual Community Support and United Way Campaign.  All donations were funded personally by team members. In addition to a 14 percent year-over-year increase in donations, the one-month campaign also resulted in 7,349 volunteer hours contributed by team members to 638 nonprofits and other causes in local communities across the country.

“Each year, our Arizona team members dig deeper to give more to their community.” said Pam Conboy, Arizona lead regional president and state campaign co-chair. “This annual campaign highlights the compassion of our great team members and reinforces that Wells Fargo truly is Arizona’s Community Bank.  Our team members’ deep commitment to our community explains why Wells Fargo has been United Way’s No. 1 largest corporate campaign over the past five years nationally.”

The annual Community Support and United Way Campaign encourages team members to give in ways that mean the most to them, whether by going out into the community to volunteer for their favorite nonprofit, or through financial contributions to any nonprofit, school, or religious institution of their choice. One hundred percent of team member donations go to the organizations they choose. Wells Fargo pays all processing costs and matches gifts, up to $5,000 per team member, to qualifying schools.

This year’s campaign theme, Small is Huge. It all adds up to make a difference, was all about how small efforts that help to lift up communities can add up to huge results.  In addition to the funds that Wells Fargo Arizona team members personally contributed, they also coordinated activities to raise money for their favorite nonprofits, including Valley of the Sun United way, Homes for our Troops, Back to School Clothing Drive, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Soldier’s Best Friend, and many more.  Fundraising activities included a basketball tournament, a car wash, a Walking Tacos luncheon, craft sales, yard sales, a bake-off, a salsa challenge, and raffles.

Nationally, team members pledged a record $70.5 million to community nonprofits and schools during the campaign. Wells Fargo team members invest in nonprofits throughout the year.  To date, including the Campaign, team members have donated $97.7 million of their own dollars to nonprofits, a nearly 10 percent increase over 2013, and the twelfth straight year of year-over-year double-digit increases in pledge totals.

Diane Brossart -Describes Her First Step In The Industry, 2008

Arizona Forward, Univ. of Phoenix offer teachers scholarships

Diane Brossart, Valley Forward, BIG Green Conference 2011 Speaker

Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Arizona Forward.

In an effort to strengthen and expand environmental education opportunities for Arizona teachers, Arizona Forward has joined with University of Phoenix to offer three full-tuition scholarships to deserving Arizona K-12 teachers. The scholarship program will grant three teachers from across the state the opportunity to complete either an undergraduate or master’s degree program at University of Phoenix.

The scholarship program provides educational opportunities to local educators who have demonstrated sustainable practices in their classrooms and want to continue to make a difference in their communities.

“Educating and mentoring the youth of today — leaders of tomorrow — on becoming stewards of our unique desert environment and conserving natural resources is critically important,” said Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Arizona Forward. “It’s through the support of University of Phoenix that we are able to present educational opportunities of this magnitude.”

The scholarship program was announced in conjunction with Arizona Forward’s tenth annual EarthFest Educators Night on Oct. 28 at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Nearly 400 Arizona teachers attended EarthFest to enjoy nearly 50 exhibits, activities and environmental education resources to aid them in mentoring the next generation of environmental stewards.

“Arizona Forward and University of Phoenix share a commitment to teacher education and sustainability,” said Dan Litteral, incoming chair of the board for Arizona Forward, and vice president and deputy general counsel for Apollo Education Group, parent company of University of Phoenix. “University of Phoenix College of Education has been educating teachers for more than 30 years, and is proud to once again partner with Arizona Forward to empower teachers with environmental education to bring to the next generation of students.”

University of Phoenix is dedicated to addressing education and workforce needs in the communities it serves. The University’s College of Education provides associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for individuals who want to become teachers or current educators and administrators seeking advanced degrees. For more information about University of Phoenix® College of Education degree programs, visit www.phoenix.edu/education.

Educators across Arizona are encouraged to apply for the University of Phoenix Arizona Forward Scholarship by December 9, 2014, and recipients will be selected by January 19, 2015. Arizona teachers can visit www.phoenix.edu/azforwardscholar for the scholarship application.

Teachers who want to bring environmental and sustainable education opportunities into the classroom can find additional resources in the Arizona Forward’s online Environmental Education Directory. It features a comprehensive list of field trip opportunities, curriculum, classroom speakers and related materials.

sick

What is the chance of an Ebola outbreak in Arizona?

With every response to the threat of Ebola outbreak sending shockwaves of fear, confusion, and disapproval among skeptics and concerned citizens alike, the University of Arizona has begun to equip itself to handle a potential Ebola crisis.

Dr. Andy Theodorou, a chief medical officer with the University of Arizona Medical Center, addressed an auditorium packed with medical staff: “This is a big deal. We’re going to be prepared.”

“We’re not going to get caught by surprise,” he concluded.

This plan incorporates a screening process which examines a given subject’s past travel history within the last 21 days. Further, education on the proper protocol for preventing the spread of the disease, along with how to appropriately treat a patient once they’ve been confirmed to have Ebola, will be essential steps in controlling any potential outbreaks.

Despite these precautions, Dr. Sean Elliot confirms that the risk of Ebola in Arizona, particularly the southwestern region, is especially low due to the area’s extremely low population of those from West Africa along with the low number of travelers and tourists in the area. However, he emphasized the point that “we want to reassure the public… (that) our threat assessment is zero.”

Cause for concern

One of the most worrying aspects about the possible Ebola outbreak that stands before the United States, and one which no doubt has in some part resulted in the University of Arizona’s swift response, is the precedence of outbreaks which have afflicted American society – most of which offering fewer warning signs than Ebola.

“We have to work now so (that Ebola) is not the world’s next AIDS,” announced Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, during a recent meeting of the World Bank in Washington D.C. . Many have drawn parallels between the Ebola threat with that of the AIDS epidemic which threatens millions of people worldwide today, mostly due to some similarities such as their spread through bodily fluids and latency periods.

Comfortingly, the latency period in Ebola is much shorter and contagion is only possible when those who are infected are symptomatic. Disturbingly, the range of bodily fluids which contain the Ebola virus is much broader, including congestion, saliva, sweat, vomit, and bodily waste.

In a worst case scenario, Ebola has a significantly higher chance of causing an uncontrolled outbreak situation than HIV could. But with relatively small amounts of travel through Arizona, Ebola is far more likely to impact states with dense metropolitan regions if a widespread outbreak were to occur. In fact, the Arizona Department of Health has been in the process of selecting a hospital to aid Ebola patients rather than limiting travel to those who might carry the virus.

Looking forward

While the American public is heavily divided on where the United States should stand in assistance to those who are afflicted with Ebola, as well as whether travel sanctions or quarantines should be applied or avoided, President Barack Obama has stated that mandatory quarantines for healthcare workers should be avoided at all costs.

This is motivated, in large part, to avoid discouraging organizations like the Arizona Department of Health as well as individual health workers / volunteers from aiding those who desperately need assistance. However, there is concern among skeptics that this could leave the U.S. more vulnerable to an outbreak scenario.

Given that the nation’s healthcare system will require in excess of one million new and replacement nurses by 2016 to sustain our healthcare needs (illustrated in an infographic provided by University of Arizona’s College of Nursing), the nation could be particularly vulnerable if an outbreak situation were to occur.

While a crisis may be unlikely in Arizona now, the debate between those who want to aid in the Ebola crises around the world and those who believe that the U.S. should remain isolated grows more heated in the state along with the rest of the nation.

 

Brett Chesney is an avid proponent of fitness and questionably healthy amounts of video games. Connect with Chesney on his Twitter @DammitChesney

stk150362rke

84% of Phoenix buyers settle for ‘less than perfect’ home

According to a survey released by BMO Harris Bank, Arizona house hunters visit an average of 11 homes before they buy, with the majority (84 percent) of buyers spending up to six months searching the market.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed:
• Slightly less than half (48 percent) of home buyers currently on the market believe they will find their dream home in their price range, while 52 percent say it’s impossible
• 77 percent are willing to settle for a less than perfect home. In Metro Phoenix, that numbers rises to 84 percent
• Most (79 percent) of home buyers say they’ll know immediately when they’ve found their ideal house

“Typically the purchase of a home is one of the most important financial commitments we make,” said Tony Cesarano, Arizona Mortgage Manager, BMO Harris Bank. “For many people it is also a long-term commitment and is therefore, worth taking your time to find a home that both ‘feels right’ and fits within your budget.”

While overall stress levels about the home buying process are moderate, Arizonans still have some concerns.  Their biggest worry is that they will find something wrong with the house once they move in (73 percent). In addition, 69 percent fear that housing prices will drop after they move in, and 57 percent fear the possibility of not being able to afford their mortgage.

“The housing market lost some of its forward momentum earlier this year, in the wake of higher mortgage rates and as the availability of credit was constrained by uncertainty over new regulations. The latter, as anticipated, proved to be temporary,” said Michael Gregory, Head U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets.

“In the third quarter of this year, mortgage lending standards were being relaxed more prolifically than at any other point since the Federal Reserve’s new survey began in 2007,” added Mr. Gregory. “Meanwhile, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have dipped back below the 4 percent level in recent weeks, for the first time since the spring of 2013. Both of these developments point to a pickup in housing market activity, in terms of turnover and homes — yes, even ‘dream homes’— available for sale.”

At the national level, the survey found:
• 77 percent of home buyers thought they will know their dream home as soon as they see it
• First time home buyers are more likely to feel stressed, but they are also more likely to be excited (47 percent), hopeful (43 percent) and happy (37 percent)
• 42 percent of homeowners spend 4 or more months actively looking at homes before buying
• 33 percent of homeowners visited 10 or more homes before buying

“Working with a qualified mortgage professional can help alleviate some of the stress connected with buying a home. I’d recommend getting pre-qualified so you will know exactly how much you can afford when you find the perfect home,” Cesarano added.

For more trends, tips and tools to help you plan for your financial future, including buying a home, click here.

abl

AZ Big Media honors Az Business Leaders

The are the deal makers. They are the innovators. They are the movers and shakers. And on Thursday, AZ Big Media recognized almost 500 of the most influential business leaders in Arizona during a reception at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Greg and Nicole Stanton
Greg and Nicole Stanton
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Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
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Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
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Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Angela Vaughn and Cheryl Green
Angela Vaughn and Cheryl Green
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Az Business Leaders reception.
Cheryl Green, Greg Stanton and Michael Gossie
Cheryl Green, Greg Stanton and Michael Gossie
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Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
Az Business Leaders reception.
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Az Business Leaders reception.
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AZ Big Media Publisher Cheryl Green
AZ Big Media Publisher Cheryl Green
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
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Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.
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Cheryl Green and Kathleen Goeppinger
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Midwestern University CEO Kathleen Goeppinger
Midwestern University CEO Kathleen Goeppinger
Midwestern University CEO Kathleen Goeppinger
Midwestern University CEO Kathleen Goeppinger
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Cheryl Green and Kathleen Goeppinger
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The men and women recognized at the event were all featured in Az Business Leaders magazine, which profiles the state’s most influential and dynamic business leaders in Arizona. The magazine is published by AZ Big Media, which also publishes Az Business, Ranking Arizona, AZRE, Experience AZ and several other Arizona-based publications.

“When we came up with the concept of Az Business Leaders magazine, we wanted to create a publication that was a guide to the people with whom you want to do business,” said Mike Atkinson, president and CEO of AZ Big Media. “Each year, over the course of about two dozen meetings, we sort through more than 5,000 contenders to find those women and men who have the biggest impact on Arizona’s economy and that’s who we profile in the magazine.”

Fittingly, the welcoming remarks were delivered by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who was also one of the leaders featured in the magazine.

Earning the distinction of Arizona Business Leader of the Year was Kathleen Goeppinger, president and CEO of Midwestern University.

“The business leader of the year has done what some may say is the impossible: she has built and grown a medical school from the ground up during a time when the healthcare industry has been in turmoil,” said Robert Milligan, CFO of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc., who presented the award to Goeppinger. “Her efforts have helped feed an educated workforce to an industry that has been exploding in Arizona. And the school that she started from scratch has more than 3,000 students and has an annual economic impact of more than $300 million a year, which boosts all our bottom lines.”

cybercrime

Quarles & Brady Launches Privacy and Security Blog

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP, which has three offices across Arizona in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson, today announced that the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Team has launched Safe & Sound, a blog that provides a practical, business-focused discussion of the legal issues relating to the privacy and security of a company’s data. This blog will keep businesses aware of current events, news, and legislation in this area.

Margaret Utterback, chair of the firm’s Madison Business Law Group, said Safe & Sound will discuss current news about U.S. and international regulations associated with privacy. It will keep businesses abreast of what they need to know to protect their electronic information.

“Our clients are facing new concerns about how safe their data is in a changing privacy landscape. They want to know how best to protect their customers from a breach,” said John Barlament, chair of the Data Privacy & Security Team. “Our Quarles & Brady lawyers often step in to help companies stay on top of changing regulations and get up-to-speed on what they need to know to be prepared. This blog will offer a place for them to get a greater understanding of what the conversation in this area is focusing on and what they need to consider.”

There are so many unknowns right now about what is required since the regulations vary from state to state and from country to country, said Heather Buchta, chair of the firm’s Phoenix Intellectual Property Group. This blog, housed on LexBlog, will allow clients to get a quick snapshot of what they need to know and what questions they should ask their legal counsel.

To subscribe to the blog and get the latest information, visit http://safeandsound.quarles.com/.

haunted

The 5 most haunted places in Arizona

Just in time for Halloween, we thought you might like to consider a ghostly visit to one of the five most haunted places in Arizona.

Hotel San Carlos, 202 N. Central Ave. Phoenix

Blood splattered on Leone Jensen’s white gown as she hit the pavement from the rooftop of the seven-story hotel. Heartbroken and lonely, 22-year-old Jensen committed suicide in 1928 at the Hotel San Carlos. Guests said they have witnessed a woman dressed in a white shear gown blown by the wind from nearby windows. Screaming children have also been heard running the halls late at night from the multiple drownings that occurred in a water well in the late 1890’s. The well remains on the first floor of the hotel and is the main water supply for the residents. Book a night in the San Carlos hotel to see what you might wake up to.

North Morton Hall at Northern Arizona University, 601 S. Knoles Drive, Flagstaff

Built in 1914, North Morton Hall on the NAU campus is a women’s residence hall and home to a girl who committed suicide in the dormitory. Her ghost has not left the premises as students have seen flickering lights, girls being locked in the bathrooms, blankets flying off beds, and even the sight of the ghost lurking the halls.

Jerome Grand Hotel, 200 Hill St., Jerome

A former hospital, a plethora of ghosts walk the halls and visit the rooms in this hotel in “Ghost City.” Many deaths have occurred in the hotel, such as Claude Harvey who was crushed by a self-serviced elevator and two suicides by hanging. Most of the ghosts are allegedly the patients who died in the United Verde Hospital. Flowers, cigar smoke, and whiskey are just some of the smells guests have said to be coming from the rooms. In the heart of the haunted city itself, witness the sights and smells of this five-story hotel.

Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., Tucson

Built in 1930, the Fox Theatre was used as vaudeville and movie house. During the Great Depression, a man would linger outside of the theatre asking for money to feed his family. Watch your wallets, there has been sight of male ghosts walking about outside of the theatre and might just snatch a couple bucks. Suspicious movement of objects in the theatre have some visitors questioning the eerie environment.

Luana’s Canyon southeast of Kingman

A miner and his family lived in a wooden shack in the opening of the canyon. The husband would leave his family for days to find food and mine for gold in the mountains. One day Luana’s husband did not return from his expedition and her family began to starve. Luana began to go insane as the children begged for food and were slowly dying. Impulsive actions took over and Luana chopped up her kids in the wooden house. The remains of her children were tossed into the nearby river, where she wept and screamed in remorse for her murdered children. Her screams are said to still be heard within the canyon and the blood-splattered house is called the “Slaughter House.” Check out this landmark to see if the blood remains on the walls and Luana’s scream can still be heard bouncing off the mountains.

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Super Bowl Committee aims to reach Hispanics

Urias Communications, a full service multicultural advertising and public relations agency was named Hispanic agency of record for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. Urias Communications will be responsible for advertising, public relations and community engagement within Hispanic and other multicultural markets leading up to Super Bowl XLIX – 2015 in Arizona on February 1, 2015.

“More than 65 percent of Hispanics are NFL fans and more than 20 percent cite the NFL as their favorite sport,” says Jay Parry, CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “It is critical, with more than 30 percent of Arizona’s population, to have the entire community engaged and participating with us during this dynamic time in Arizona. We’re pleased to be working with an agency that is specifically focused on these efforts.” The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee has been committed to reaching Hispanics and building strong ties with Mexico. The committee participates in cross border relations and earlier this year, partnered with the Arizona Cardinals and USA Football to host a series of clinics for young athletes, coaches and mothers in Mexico City.

“This is a time to brand Arizona on the international stage,” says Lisa Urias, CEO of Urias Communications. “We look forward to creating opportunities for the local, national and international media to see Arizona as a young, vibrant and multicultural state with key ties to Mexico and the Americas.”

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Arizona drops from Top 10 for job growth

We’re still slowly recovering from the staggering loss of jobs during the Great Recession, but some cities and states are rebounding faster than others. The job-growth numbers for the first three quarters of 2014 are now out. Research Professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides rankings and analysis of the winners and losers, based on the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top 10 cities and surrounding metro areas (1 million or more workers), for non-agricultural job growth — comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:

Orlando, Fla. – up 3.7 percent
Houston – up 3.5 percent
Dallas – up 3.4 percent
Miami – up 3 percent
Portland, Ore. – up 2.9 percent
Riverside, Calif. – up 2.8 percent (tie)
Denver – up 2.8 percent
San Francisco – up 2.6 percent (tie)
Seattle – up 2.6 percent
10.  San Diego – up 2.4 percent

Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth – comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:

North Dakota – up 4.6 percent
Nevada – up 3.6 percent
Texas  – up 3.3 percent
Utah – up 3.1 percent
Florida – up 2.9 percent
Oregon – up 2.8 percent
Colorado – up 2.7 percent
Delaware – up 2.5 percent
California – up 2.2 percent (tie)
Washington – up 2.2 percent

Analysis:

The United States has added about 2.4 million jobs so far this year. The monthly average from January through September was 1.8-percent job growth nationwide. That pace is only slightly better than last year’s, when we saw an overall annual increase of 1.7 percent, so the recovery remains relatively slow.

On the state list, North Dakota has held the No. 1 spot every year since 2009, largely thanks to its oil and gas production. Nevada, Texas and Utah also topped 3-percent job growth this time, with Nevada’s economy receiving a big boost from building activity and impressive construction gains of more than 10 percent.

“Seven of the top 10 job-growth states so far this year are in the West,” says McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Oregon and Delaware are new on the list this time, replacing Idaho and Arizona.”

Arizona actually fell out of the top 10 for the first time in two years. Even though it ranked No. 3 in health-care job growth and No. 5 in financial-activities job growth, the state has now dropped to No. 14 overall. Manufacturing, government and construction contributed to the decline.
The bottom 10 states so far this year are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, New Mexico and last-place Alaska.  Five of these states were also on the bottom in 2013: Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska.

McPheters notes very high interest in state economic performance right now because 30 governors are up for reelection, including those in top-10 states Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Colorado and California, as well as bottom-10 states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico and Alaska.

On the top 10 cities list, Orlando holds the No. 1 position with 3.7-percent job growth, double the national pace.

“Eight of the top large cities for job creation are in the West,” explains McPheters, “However, Florida also did well, with two cities on the list.”

Seven of the top 10 cities are clustered in Florida, Texas and California. They include Orlando, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside, Calif.

The greater Phoenix labor market dropped out of the top 10, as its rate of job growth slipped from 2.7 percent in 2013 to a more modest 2.2 percent during the first three quarters of this year. Phoenix is currently No. 12 among labor markets with 1 million or more workers.

Still, seven large labor markets have job creation below 1 percent: Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, northern Virginia and lastly, Detroit.

The full rankings and other job-growth data from McPheters can be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Job Growth USA” website: www.wpcarey.asu.edu/jobgrowth. Use the “year to date” function for the current 2014 numbers.

same sex

How Does Arizona Same Sex Marriage Impact HR?

On Friday October 17, same sex marriages became legal in Arizona. What are the changes that Arizona employers and their HR professionals need to be aware of?

1. The definition of spouse in employee manuals and handbooks. If a generic definition, such as “spouse” is used, there should not be a need to update. However, if a specific definition was used such as “wife” or “husband” the employee manual may need to be revised.

2. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) now covers same sex spouses. Accordingly, FMLA policy and notices may require modification. For private employers, FMLA still does not cover domestic partners, only married couples, and FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

3. Insurance coverage needs to be offered to all qualifying employees and dependents.This includes all legally married couples.The marriage will be a qualifying life event and will trigger an open enrollment.  Insurance carriers may require proof of marriage.

4. Federal and state tax forms may be updated to reflect the same sex couple’s new filing status.

5. Beneficiary forms for pension plans and life insurance may need to be changed to note “spouse” designation rather than “other”. Pension plan records need to be updated to show status as married and any authorization that require spousal consent will need the new spouse’s signature.

6. Any benefit that the company extends to heterosexual married couples should be extended to same-sex married couples.

In summary, with the advent of lawful same sex marriages, every person involved in HR should take a careful look at how this change affects your policies. If legal assistance is needed to review policies, our employment lawyers would be glad to help.

 

Kraig J. Marton heads the employment law department at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg & Wilk.  He assists employers and employees in complying with the many laws affecting employers. He also assists health professionals and others with issues related to medical marijuana.  He can be reached at 602 248 1017 or kjm@jaburgwilk.com.

phoenix

Arizona economy rising, report shows

Phoenix and the broader Arizona economy are expanding again after an extremely difficult recession, although growth will be more modest than the boom times of a decade ago, according to a report released today by BMO Economics.

The labor market is a bright spot, with the city remaining consistent in its job growth performance.  “The city has been a consistent job growth outperformer so far during the recovery and, after a soft patch earlier in the year, growth has accelerated again,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.  “If the recent growth clip persists – and we believe that it should – the Phoenix economy should be able to add roughly 85,000 new jobs by the end of 2016.”

“It’s encouraging that the economic health of Arizona, and Phoenix in particular, continues to improve,” said Steve Zandpour, newly-appointed Arizona Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. “It’s nice to see construction activity again. Projects that had been on hold for quite a while have broken ground, adding another positive stimulus to the community.”

The Valley’s economic diversity will help it continue to recover at a solid pace.  “Phoenix boasts a diverse economy with exposure to a wide range of industries in high-tech manufacturing, construction, finance and professional services,” stated Kavcic. “Of the 250,000 jobs lost during the recession, nearly three-quarters of them have recovered.”

The finance and insurance sector employs more than 125,000 people – a record high, in the city.  The fast-growing biotechnology sector also has a strong presence in the region, with two new structures recently approved at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, including a $136 million investment by the University of Arizona.

On the housing side, the foreclosure rate across Arizona has tumbled to below 1 percent – now among the lowest in America – while higher home prices have reduced the share of mortgages in a negative equity position.  “Fundamentals support a continued, albeit more modest, housing market recovery in the city,” said Mr. Kavcic.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

downtown Gilbert AZ

Money Ranks Gilbert 22nd Most Livable City

Gilbert has received yet another recognition as one of the best places to live in the country.  Time’s Money Magazine has ranked Gilbert as the 22nd Most Livable Small City in America. The study reviewed 781 cities with populations between 50,000 to 300,000, comparing factors ranging from the local economy and housing market to schools and healthcare.

Gilbert was the only Arizona city to make the list. The average population of the 50 cities recognized is 87,500, with only two cities, including Gilbert, with populations over 200,000. The study also shows that, of the top 50 cities, Gilbert holds the 4th lowest average property taxes.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Money Magazine,” says Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “For a community of Gilbert’s size to be recognized as one of the most livable is an incredible achievement and is a reflection of our great residents, businesses, and schools.”

To see the full article, and the reasons behind Gilbert making this list, visit https://time.com/money/3312332/gilbert-az-best-places-to-live/.

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

4 big ideas shaking up Arizona-Mexico trade

While all of us have no doubt been busy getting enlightened by the endless stream of political TV ads, there have been lots of exciting things happening to grow Arizona’s cross-border trade profile with our neighbor Mexico.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match Dennis Smith and the team at the Maricopa Association of Governments deserve applause for the launch of the new website, BIEN, which not only means “good” or “right” in Spanish and French, but is an acronym for Building an International Economic Network.

Via BIEN, businesses in Arizona can set up an online profile that can connect them with buyers and sellers beyond our borders. Users can search for a business by distance, industry type or name.

As MAG Chair and Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault said, the site “allows companies in Arizona, Mexico and Canada to directly connect with each other using technology instead of travel to broaden their customer base.”

BIEN is a great new tool in Arizona’s trade toolbox. Kudos to MAG for making it happen.

Down Mexico way Years since it was shuttered, Arizona once again has an official presence in Mexico’s political and economic capital city.

I was proud to join recently a delegation of about 70 business, academic and political leaders led by Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and House Speaker Andy Tobin, for the official ribbon-cutting in Mexico City of the state’s new trade office, a joint project with the city of Phoenix. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne, the consummate diplomat and an outstanding representative our country’s interests, was on hand to mark the special occasion.

Before the new office’s opening, not only was Arizona falling behind border state competitors like Texas and California, but even states like Iowa maintained a presence in Mexico City. Meanwhile, Arizona was nowhere to be found in Mexico’s largest city, despite Mexico being our state’s largest export market.

Re-opening the office is the right move at the right time. We have seized on this unique moment in Mexico’s history. Reform-minded President Enrique Peña Nieto has positioned his country to grow rapidly by opening Mexico’s energy sector to foreign investment. With a new trade office, Arizona and Mexico businesses alike now have a one-stop shop to start making the connections that will remind folks on both sides of the border of what an incredible asset our international border is to our economy.

As Gov. Brewer said, “As long as we continue to pursue and capitalize on important business and investment opportunities, we will enjoy a strong, continually thriving and mutually-beneficial partnership with Mexico long into the future.”

A port of opportunity The newly redesigned Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales is open for business just as the busy produce season is ready to kick into high gear.

The Chamber’s Garrick Taylor blogged about the new port last week, but the big takeaway is that while a redesigned Mariposa is great for Arizona-Mexico trade, its value will be diminished if the feds don’t adequately staff the inspection booths. Even the most modern port of entry can’t efficiently move cargo if there’s not enough personnel to carry out the inspections.

Kudos to the entire Arizona congressional delegation, which last week sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson making clear that Arizona’s land border ports have real staffing needs that need to be addressed.

Expand the travel zone When former Mexico President Vicente Fox was in town a few weeks ago, the MAG team touted the effort it’s leading to expand Arizona’s travel zone statewide to Mexico visitors. The idea makes a lot of sense, and it’s something the Chamber supports.

Under current law, Mexican nationals with a valid Border Crossing Card (BCC) entering Arizona at certain land border ports can travel only as far north as Tucson before being required to secure further documentation and pay an extra fee. Traveling to places like Phoenix or Flagstaff requires an extra step and increased hassle in what should be a more seamless process. After all, the travelers who have valid BCCs have already been vetted at a U.S. consulate in Mexico, they still undergo inspection at the port of entry and, if the inspecting officer desires, the traveler can still be referred for more involved secondary screening or even be denied entry.

Doing paperwork with travelers who want to visit the Grand Canyon or go shopping in Scottsdale is not a good use of limited Customs and Border Protection personnel resources. Arizona’s travel zone has been expanded once before. It’s time to open up the whole state to Mexican tourism.

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.

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Silencing The Impact Fee

Richard Hubbard President & CEO Valley Partnership

Richard Hubbard
President & CEO
Valley Partnership


In 2011, the legislature modified the development “impact” fee laws. First, a little “Impact Fees 101.”

Arizona has the policy “new growth pays for itself.” When a developer wants to build a project, the city requires that the developer pay fees for the municipal infrastructure to service the project. Infrastructure includes “hard costs,” sewer lines, water lines, streets and sidewalks. It also includes “soft costs,” infrastructure maintenance and public safety services.

The law requires a “nexus” between the fee and the project. Developer pay fees directly related to the “impact” of the project to municipality. Impact fees have been a constant issue between municipalities and developers. Valley Partnership has been very diligent in protecting commercial developers from unreasonable impact fees.

Commercial projects have generally not been charged fees for residential amenities. These are “Parks and Library Fees.” If you build an office or retail center, the workers and guests will not use parks or libraries. There is no “nexus” between the fee and the commercial project.

In 2011, despite opposition, laws were revised to require municipalities charge impact fees in all categories to all projects. Commercial developers were now responsible to pay parks and library fees. However, the “nexus” requirement still exists.

On behalf of the commercial development industry, as each city revises their impact fee program, Valley Partnership has been arguing that, if commercial projects must pay a parks and library fee, the lack of “nexus” requires that the amount of the fee would be little or nothing at all. People that use commercial projects do not visit parks and libraries. Developers should not have to pay for those amenities.

Working in partnership with municipalities, Valley Partnership has been successful with several cities to keep parks and library fees extremely low or at zero. This permits cities to comply with the law, but not charge an inappropriate fee to commercial projects. The collaborative effort between Valley Partnership and our municipal partners is a great example of fulfilling our mission as “The Valley of the Sun’s Premier Advocacy Group for Responsible Development.