Tag Archives: arizona

Mediterranean Custom Home, Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2012

Help your favorites earn the spotlight in Creative Designer

We all have our favorite Arizona businesses or service providers who helped turn our houses into homes. Now, you can let other know about your favorites.

Creative Designer magazine will spotlight readers’ favorites in its next issue. The categories you can vote on include:

• Accessories and art

• Cabinetry, kitchen and bath

• Flooring, marble, granite, stone and tile

• Furniture

• Home building and remodeling

• Window treatments

• Bedding and fabrics

Click here to vote for your favorites. Voting for the 2016 Creative Designer issue ends October 2, 2015 at midnight.


Where are the best Arizona locations to take a selfie?

Sel.fie (n). “A photograph that is taken of oneself, then typically shared via social media.”

Do you think you have the best location in the Valley for a selfie — and can you prove it?! With the selfie trend being so popular that it has even caused and increase in plastic surgery, AZ Big Media thought it would be appropriate to let the people of Arizona know the Top 10 places to take a selfie. Here’s the catch — we want YOU to send in your best, most unique, fun or crazy locations you feel should be one of Arizona’s top places to take a selfie.

The locations can be anything from a restaurant you love to one of Mother Nature’s creations. If we find that your selfie location is a must-know for other locals, we may feature your photo in an upcoming story and video. Please include the exact location and a brief description of why you feel it deserves to be one of Arizona’s Top 10 selfie locations and send it here.

Good luck, and happy selfie-ing!

Craft beer

Arizona beer has an economic kick in terms of jobs, taxes

When Rob Fullmer, the executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, says “everything is improved by the presence of a brewery,” he’s talking about the economic buzz it brings and not the alcoholic kind.

“Anytime you can put a business between two breweries, you’ll see a much more foot traffic in that area, and you’ll see a real benefit to your employees,” said Fullmer – not to mention “the lunches and happy hours.”

New industry-generated numbers appear to back up that claim that beer brings economic growth and prosperity.

A recent report by the National Beer Wholesalers Association said the beer industry in Arizona – from brewers to drivers to bartenders – had an economic output of almost $4.3 billion in 2014, generated more than $800 million in federal and state taxes and was responsible for 38,627 jobs in the state.

“Arizona’s beer industry is doing slightly better than most,” said the association’s chief economist, Lester Jones. “It’s marginally above the national average in terms of its economic output, wages, jobs – which is not a bad place to be at all.”

With a gross state product in Arizona of just over $279 billion in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the beer industry accounted for roughly 1.5 percent of the total GSP. Arizona’s beer industry had the 21st highest economic output in the country and was 19th among the states in terms of wages and jobs, according to the report.

Nationally, the beer industry generated 1.75 million jobs in a U.S. labor force close to 149 million, and had an economic impact of nearly $252.58 billion on a gross domestic product of $17.3 trillion.

The study looked at the three traditional tiers of brewing, wholesaling and retailing and accounted for everything from the cost of equipping breweries, to the salaries for truck drivers who deliver it and bartenders who serve it.

The report said that for every retail dollar of beer sold in Arizona, the state and federal governments get nearly 36 cents in taxes. In other words, if a consumer pays $2 for a beer, about 71 cents goes to the government. Arizona was slightly below the national average of a 40 percent tax burden.

Despite the bite by the government, industry officials say the business is booming in Arizona, particularly among local craft breweries and craft beers.

Fullmer said Arizona is a “hot” for brewing, in more ways than one.

“I think Arizona’s numbers are better than what the NBWA is reporting,” Fullmer said. “They underrepresent the craft beer industry which has been particularly strong in the past few years.”

That was echoed by Chip Mulala, who goes by the title minister of craft beer at SanTan Brewing.

“There has been a tremendous amount of growth in the Arizona craft beer scene in the past few years,” Mulala said in an email.

“Just five years ago there were less than 20 breweries in the state and today there is almost 60,” his email said. “I believe most are flourishing and experiencing solid growth.”

The beer industry has gotten large enough in Arizona to have its presence felt at the state Capitol: Gov. Doug Ducey in March signed SB 1030, dubbed the Arizona Beer Bill, that raises the production cap for craft brewers above 200,000 barrels of beer a year and lets them operate more retail shops under the same microbrewer license.

“SanTan was very involved in passing SB1030, the Arizona Beer Bill earlier this year. The central tenet to this bill was jobs, jobs, jobs,” Mulala said.

“Every drop of beer that is locally produced creates jobs in this market, and a community that can be self-sufficient and rely less on beers imported from other states and countries will be a stronger community as a whole,” Mulala said.

And Fullmer sees more opportunity for the state going forward.

“We’re going to be known as a beer state because we have similar growth rates as big states and we’ve done so despite having only one large metropolitan city and having a desert-like geography, which is special,” he said.

Credit: Wavebreak Media Ltd.

Business community brings down hammer on CCEC

One of the most important things going on in Arizona politics right now is something you may not even know about. Arizona’s Citizens Clean Election Commission (CCEC) is working hard to change state election laws by proposing new rules that would sweep countless businesses under its jurisdiction in unprecedented ways. The business community has already been vocal in its opposition, and yesterday I testified at the CCEC’s open meeting on this issue. But it’s not over yet, and we believe it’s time for the business community to speak up even louder.

Earlier this month, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with Greater Phoenix Leadership, Arizona Small Business Association, Arizona Association of Realtors, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors, Arizona Tax Research Association, Arizona Business Coalition, and Valley Partnership submitted a letter to the CCEC in opposition to its proposed rules. In that letter, we voiced concern over both the substance of the proposed rules as well as the process for adopting them—one that would have allowed the CCEC to publish a draft version of the rules but adopt a wholly different version later without explanation or opportunity for public comment.

As it turns out, our concerns were justified. At the CCEC’s public meeting yesterday, the Commissioners seemed prepared to adopt changes to the proposed rules submitted by a former commissioner without circulating those changes to the public. Fortunately, the Secretary of State’s office, the business community, and others turned out to voice their opposition, and the Commissioners voted to circulate the proposed changes and give the public another 28 days to comment.

The new proposal, which is now under consideration for adoption by the Commission, appears to presume that any organization that spends or raises $500 in a calendar year is organized for the primary purpose of influencing an election, and it puts the onus on these organizations to prove that they haven’t violated any rules. It is a significant overreach by government to force honest and long-standing Arizona business owners to appear before a government agency to justify the primary purpose of their businesses in order to have a voice in the electoral process.

Not only do the proposed rules vastly expand the Commission’s jurisdiction, but they do so in a way that is unnecessary. This is certainly not an area suffering from a lack of regulation, as it is already heavily regulated by the Secretary of State’s office. But the CCEC’s proposed rules nevertheless vest it with authority to double-regulate businesses and political groups that are already subject to comprehensive regulation by the Secretary of State by allowing the Commission to employ a fuzzy formula to determine whether a political group (or perhaps just a business choosing to support a candidate for office) is a “political committee.” That designation would require it to comply with the CCEC’s own burdensome reporting requirements and chilling scrutiny—in addition to the Secretary of State’s applicable regulations—even if the group in question didn’t give a cent to a “clean” candidate.

Businesses in Arizona shouldn’t have to worry about duplicative and conflicting regulations from multiple branches of government before they can express support for a political candidate. It is odd that the Commission would try to expand its authority now, in light of the series of high profile cases at the Arizona and United States Supreme Courts that have come down on the other side. Additional litigation, which seems likely to be the result if the Commission’s proposed rules are adopted, is in no one’s interest.  Rather than working to expand its jurisdiction and implement new rules that make it more difficult for Arizonans to participate in constitutionally-protected speech, the CCEC should focus on its existing role and let the Secretary of State’s office do its job.

The Commission says it wants input from the public on its latest version of the rules. The business community must answer that call. The Arizona Chamber plans to submit additional written comments, and we will be at the CCEC’s next meeting on August 20 to continue to stand firm. I hope you will join us. Arizonans cannot permit the Commission to enlarge its power at everyone else’s expense.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Arizona repeats as No. 1 state for gun owners

For the third straight year, Arizona was ranked best state in the nation for gun owners by Guns and Ammo magazine, which praised the state’s self-defense and carry laws, its shooting sports and strong gun culture.

“Arizona combines strong laws with an unmatched shooting culture and a strong industry presence,” said the magazine, which said it gave the state full points in each of the five categories in which it ranked states.

“I’m very proud of this ranking, most certainly,” said Noble C. Hathaway, president of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association. “Gun shooting is a wonderful, safe sport to be enjoyed.”

But where gun-rights advocates saw cause for celebration, others saw cause for concern, pointing to another No. 1 ranking for the state: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence finding that Arizona is the best state for criminals to get access to guns.

The gun-control group in March put Arizona at the top of its “criminals’ choice” states, which it said have weak gun laws that make it easy for criminals to get their hands on guns.

“In some areas, this ranking is not a bad thing,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said of the Guns and Ammo ranking.

“But when Guns and Ammo magazine and others do not look at the easy accessibility to weapons by people that should not have them, that’s not something we should be bragging about,” he said. “No one should be bragging about that.”

Gallego’s comments came at a Washington event last week, when he was joined by Scottsdale gun shop owner Chris Kitaeff to call on gun dealers to adopt the Brady Campaign’s “gun dealer code of conduct.” Kitaeff asked if being No. 1 on the Guns and Ammo ranking was a good thing.

“I roll my eyes at the Guns and Ammo ranking because some of the criteria and variables on why we’re first, like there’s no law for concealed-carry, didn’t make sense,” said Kitaeff, who owns Newport Firearms.

That was echoed by Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign.

“‘Best’ is not exactly the term I would use for states with lax gun policies like Arizona. ‘Best’ should be reserved for those states that promote responsible gun ownership and gun-sale practices,” Gross said in an emailed statement.

The Brady Campaign rankings were based on dozens of factors in several areas, including background checks, the state’s supply of guns and the amount of gun-related violence and crime in the state. States could get up to 100 points on the ranking: Arizona scored -39.

But one gun-rights activist called the Brady score “meaningless.”

“I see no statistical claim that their claim is true. It’s made up. As with most of their stuff, it’s made up,” said Charles Heller, spokesman for the Arizona Citizens Defense League.

“Don’t penalize the law-abiding for the acts of the guilty, which is what the Brady Campaign wants to do,” Heller said.

The Guns and Ammo report ranked states in five categories, including right-to-carry laws; the ability to own military-looking weapons, or “black rifles”; and the presence of Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws, allowing deadly force in some self-defense situations.

Hathaway said the No. 1 ranking is good for the state’s economy as well as its gun owners.

“Personally I feel, come and out and enjoy the guns in our state – come to our events, our competitions,” he said. “Enjoy our hotels, restaurants, weather, take advantage of it all.”

Gallego, who said he is a gun owner, agrees that Arizona should encourage people to visit it for hunting, camping, shooting and fishing, but that the state can do that and still toughen its gun laws.

“There are so many loopholes that need to be closed,” he said.

Kitaeff said he has not seen a drop in business since he adopted the gun dealer code of conduct.

“The funny thing about guns sales is that it’s recession proof,” he said. “Whatever is going on, people seem to like their guns, and us implementing the Brady Campaign standards haven’t impacted our bottom line at all.”

Alison Christian, shareholder at Christian Dichter & Sluga.

Ladder Down helps female attorneys rise in profession

More women are becoming lawyers, but they are struggling to earn positions as equity partners and shareholders at their firms.

“The real issue is that institutional obstacles have been in place that have made it very difficult for women to excel,” said Alison Christian, shareholder at Christian Dichter & Sluga.

Christian and Beth Fitch, founding member of the Righi Fitch Law Group, say women attorneys have a tough time rising to leadership positions at their firms because they lack sufficient  business training. They say part of the problem is the disparity of women lawyers at the top.

Looking more in depth at the issue, Christian and Fitch believe the root of the problem is lack of mentoring. With so few women lawyers at the top, it is hard for young lawyers to find role models.

Their solution: Ladder Down.

Ladder Down, founded by Fitch and Christian, provides women with the tools they need to get ahead as lawyers. This year-long program is broken up into monthly sessions focusing on three areas: leadership empowerment, business development and mentoring.

“Focusing on all three of these pillars is critical to creating a strong foundation with which women lawyers can achieve and succeed in the legal profession,” said Marianne Trost, Ladder Down coach and career management coach at Women’s Lawyers Coach.

The program begins with large group sessions focusing on leadership and taught by experienced business coach Lynn Moran of Arizona Coaching & Consulting Center LLP. It begins with learning one’s strengths.

“Self awareness is the foundation of empowerment,” Moran said.

Along with increasing self-awareness, these sessions teach participants to improve communication skills and understand different styles of conflict resolution.

The course then transitions to a four-month business development boot camp lead by Trost.  The participants meet with panels of corporate decision-makers, female judges and  industry leaders to learn how they can be more effective as female attorneys.

The monthly group sessions are accompanied by accountability sessions with smaller groups that meet and set individual goals to accomplish before the next session. These sessions are designed for discussing obstacles and challenges the women are facing, as well as giving them encouragement.

“You are always a leader and a follower, we challenge them to pay it forward,” Fitch said.

This challenge addresses the problem young women lawyers are facing when they try to find a mentor.

“Several participants of the Ladder Down classes of 2013 and 2014 have paid it forward financially and in-kind in order to enable other women lawyers to participate in the program,” Trost said. “That’s one of the biggest testimonials a program can receive.”

The Ladder Down process and three pillars together teach the participants the six philosophical foundations of the program: individual empowerment, women helping other women succeed, paying it forward, promoting diversity, commitment to change and quality instruction.

“We are giving them tools that will hopefully help initiate change on an institutional level,” Christian said.

Ladder Down participants are diverse in practice areas and experience levels. Some have been practicing for less than one year, while others have been in practice for more than 20 years. There is an application process to participate and Ladder Down will start accepting  applications for the 2016 program starting in mid-November.

“Our sweet spot is five- to 15-year lawyers because that is when women in private practice are looking to make their move and fulfill their potential at a law firm,” Fitch said.

The registration fee for the 2015 Ladder Down program is $675 for non-Arizona Association Of Defense Council members and $450 for members.

The program has reached more than just women in Arizona. In less than three years, the program has gone bi-coastal. Ladder Down launched in New York in September 2014 and is set to launch in Seattle this fall. The founders are hoping to continue to expand nationally, reaching more regions, cities and women.

No matter where or whom goes through the Ladder Down program, Christian wants them to walk away from the program feeling better equipped and empowered to reach whatever their definition of success might be.

From a business development standpoint, women who have completed Ladder Down have brought in new clients, successfully expanded existing relationships to other practice areas, have earned appointments to leadership roles, referred business to one another and have become effective contributors to rainmaking success, according to Ladder Down.

“I would like to see more women in leadership roles at firms,” Christian said, “and more women’s voices at the top.”

The founders believe these tools give women the training needed to successfully build a book of business and this will help them get ahead. Having a  book of business leads to increased compensation, promotions and women’s ability to effectively compete for leadership positions in their firms, according to Ladder Down.

“Ladder Down can be the real vehicle for not only incremental change,” Fitch said, “but exponential change.”


What: Ladder Down is dedicated to the principles of leadership empowerment, business development and mentoring for female attorneys.

When to apply: Ladder Down will accept applications for the 2016 program starting in mid-November.

Cost: $675 for non-Arizona Association Of Defense Council members and $450 for members.

Information: ladderdown.org


Tips for homeowners to avoid scorpions and other pests

In the heat of the season, its scorpions that drive people to call companies like Blue Sky Pest Control.

According to co-founder Nate Woolf, scorpions are among the most common pest complaints among homeowners this time of year. “We have one of the only poisonous varieties of scorpions in the area, the bark scorpion, “he said. “It’s been an active year because of the moisture for scorpions and other insects.”

Woolf and his co-founder Curtis Whalen, encourage Valley residents to take steps to make their homes less attractive to scorpions and other troublesome pests. “Removing leaf litter, keeping potted plants on stands away from the house, and avoid over watering,” cautioned Whalen.

Other steps homeowners can take include:

• Avoid overgrown vegetation near the house

• Steer clear of river rock and palm trees

• Watch for leaky faucets or standing water

• Keep tree limbs trimmed, especially near the home

Whalen is considered one of the top experts on insects in the country and believes in not just treating the home with their “secret sauce,” but also looking at each customer’s home for trouble spots. 

“We help homeowners recognize what they need to do and suggest habitat modifications,” Woolf says.  “One recommendation is trimming bushes six inches back from your home. Also, trimming tree limbs that hang over roofs is important, since the limbs and foliage provide a bridge for insects to get into your home.”

Woolf also says that old wood piles, tool bins, yard debris and certain types of landscaping become an inviting habitat for pests.

“We also look at conditions like weather stripping, daylight gaps in doorways and leaky downspouts, all of which are conductive to attracting a wide variety of insects.


Royal Palms introduces ‘Babymoon’ package

Royal Palms Resort and Spa, A Destination Hotel, is introducing a new package – Babymoon Bliss – for expecting parents-to-be to take a well-deserved vacation before baby arrives.

Babymoons, a pre-baby getaway, have gained in popularity as expectant parents seek out a stress-free, romantic trip before the sleeplessness nights begin.

Couples in need of a “last hurrah” before their bundle of joy arrives can enjoy a relaxing stay at the Royal Palms that includes luxury accommodations, a prenatal massage, a welcome baby gift and a “baby bump” photo session on the resort’s picturesque grounds by a professional photographer.

Moms-to-be can satisfy pregnancy cravings with the in-room “Craving” menu featuring homemade cookies and ice-cold milk, ice cream with dill pickles and salty and sweet snacks, to name a few. Specialty mocktails like Blackberry Basil Lemonade and Strawberry Grapefruit Tonic are perfect for toasting. For dad, a Royal Palms signature cigar and cognac is available.

Babymoon Bliss package includes:

  • One-night luxury accommodations
  • “Baby Bump” photo session by professional photographer En[frame] (up to 30 fully edited digital photos included).
  • Mom-to-be Prenatal Massage at Alvadora Spa
  • In-room “Craving” Menu (see full menu attached)
  • Welcome Baby Gift
  • Rates from $699/night (promo Code: BabyBliss)
  • To book: www.royalpalmshotel.com602-840-3610

Located at the foot of Camelback Mountain, Royal Palms combines the graciousness and sophistication of a Mediterranean villa with the intimacy and privacy of a secluded retreat. It’s widely considered one of the most romantic resorts in the country.


BestCompaniesAZ plans Diversity & Inclusion Career Event

BestCompaniesAZ is hosting its annual Diversity & Inclusion Career Event on Aug. 13 at the Hyatt Regency, 122 North Second St., Phoenix, AZ,  85004, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The BestCompaniesAZ Diversity & Inclusion Career Event is free to job seekers but advance registration is required.

At the hiring event, a roster of award-winning companies are offering hundreds of open positions, at all levels, in the fields of finance, IT, healthcare, customer service/client relations, sales and hospitality. Sponsoring companies must have programs in place that support diversity and/or have earned at least one prestigious state and national workplace award to participate.  Most have earned many best practices awards, such as Diversity Inc.’s Top 50, Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, Arizona’s Best Companies to Watch, FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® in America, FORTUNE Most Admired Companies, US Veterans Magazine’s Best of the Best and others.

On event day, on-site registration and check-in for job seekers begins at 11:30 a.m.  Speaker presentations, which are geared to give attendees insights into the range of opportunities available with key companies, run from noon until 12:30.  Additional one-on-one career networking continues until 2 p.m. 

BestCompaniesAZ Career Events are unlike other job fairs, because we feature company spokespersons from the state’s top employers who provide specific insights in line with our theme – in this case Diversity & Inclusion – and how their company supports these initiatives.  Additionally, these company representatives are experts on their company’s workplace programs, growth opportunities and corporate culture, and are available to answer any questions about their recruitment process,” says Denise Gredler, Founder & CEO BestCompaniesAZ. 

Featured companies include: Charles Schwab, Dignity Health Arizona, Synchrony Financial, Progrexion, USAA , GoDaddy, Hyatt Regency-Phoenix, Medtronic, Vanguard, ZocDoc, Yelp, Aetna and Edward Jones. During the event, the nonprofit Career Connectors has volunteered to offer free coaching and resume services to career event candidates.

“At Progrexion, we are committed to hiring the most wickedly talented people who represent the diverse range of backgrounds and cultures of our customers nationwide. We look forward to participating in the Diversity and Inclusion Career Event to seek employees who are passionate about our mission,” says Jason Stevens, Site Director at Progrexion. “What is unique about Progrexion is that our employees are improving the lives of our customers one at a time by ensuring that they have a fair credit report and more financial freedom.” 

Shannon Feltes Grimes, Talent Attraction Manager of Charles Schwab, says, “Schwab is honored to be part of the BestCompaniesAZ Diversity Career Event. When Chuck started the firm, his vision was a world where investing was accessible to all investors. Because serving diverse investors requires diverse talent, we are committed to hiring and retaining employees from unique backgrounds, strengths and perspectives.  We have current career opportunities for job seekers at various stages in their career, from our Broker Training Program for those new to our industry, to the Relationship Specialist role in Advisor Services, to positions for both new and experienced technical professionals.  Once an employee has landed at Schwab, they will experience an inclusive, collaborative culture driven by our employees’ individual strengths.”

Melissa Pruitt: Future owner of LaGattara Cat Café.

A feline first: Cat café coming to the Valley

Seventeen years ago, an entrepreneur in Taipei, Taiwan opened the world’s very first café with cats as the guests’ accompaniment. With this attraction being as bizarre as it sounds, word got out and the cafés began to blossom worldwide.

These “cat cafés” have become such a trend that they have gained publicity on shows like “Shark Tank” and “The Amazing Race.”

Entrepreneur and cat lover, Melissa Pruitt, decided it was Arizona’s turn. Pruitt plans to open LaGattara Cat Café by January 2016. As of now, there is not an exact location. However Pruitt says, “We are looking at some locations in Old Town Scottsdale. Old Town is a great area that is walkable and quite central.”

Thinking back, Pruitt proudly explained that rescuing cats is in her blood. Her father, the sheriff of a small town in Illinois, was always one to feed, rescue and find homes to stray alley cats.

“I say it’s in my blood, because I only met my dad once and I have all the same traits as him when it comes to cats,” she says.

Pruitt’s inspiration to take action came from Adam Myatt and Anne Dunn, the owners of Cat Town, the United States’ very first cat café in Oakland. After paying a visit, Pruitt immediately knew that this is what she wanted to do. She loved the idea that cats can get out of the stressful environment of a shelter, and into a safe place where they can roam free, relax and receive healthy attention.

“The ultimate goal for the café will be to provide a calm open space for the cats and people to come together,” explains Pruitt. The cafe will have roughly 15-20 cats, all of which will be able to sleep freely about the café, as well as have access to a private room where they can be alone.

Pruitt is also making adoption an option.

“All cats will be adoptable!” Pruitt exclaims. “We are still working out the details with our partner shelters, but most likely we will do the application process at the café, and all adoptions fees will go back to the partner shelter.”

The café is currently in the process of finalizing these partner shelters, including All About Animals. There will be adoption packets loaded with information and Pruitt plans to go over it in detail with each adoption as every situation is different.

There will also be some new, exciting ideas that will make her cat café unique and fun. Not only will LaGattara Cat Café be incorporating a wine bar, Pruitt plans to include events with the cats like yoga and paint night. Customers can also rent out the café for birthday parties and corporate events.

Pruitt has lived in the Valley for 12 years and has independently rescued more than 300 cats and kittens with her own money.

“Making this a business, I’ll be able to help in a bigger way,” she says. “I’ve been in property management for almost 20 years and I’m ready to follow my heart and do what I love.”

geothermal plant

Arizona prepares for new EPA carbon emission standards

Arizona is preparing for new federal standards that will curtail carbon emissions coming from power plants.

By the end of summer, the Environmental Protection Agency will release its final regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent nationwide and in Arizona by more than 50 percent — one of the highest targets in the country. This is based on 2005 levels.

Last year, the state submitted comments on the EPA’s proposed plan, questioning not only the agency’s legal authority, but also the reduction targets and the pace of adopting them.

“The EPA wanted to offer states a large amount of flexibility to resolve an issue or plan for compliance, the unfortunate part is that flexibility didn’t exist in Arizona,” said Eric Massey of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

While other states can use a variety of methods to reduce emissions, Massey said Arizona does not have the same options at its disposal, primarily because cutbacks in emissions here would come from switching to natural gas.

mediation - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Mediation becomes trend for resolving business disputes

While mediation used to be a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation has become mainstream.

Today, virtually every dispute that is not able to be resolved through direct negotiation is proceeding to mediation. The only questions are at what stage of the process will mediation be held and who will be selected as the mediator.   

When should parties mediate?

More often in business today, mediation can be mandatory, pursuant to a contract that requires mediation before arbitration or a lawsuit is filed, or pursuant to company policy that requires mediation before an administrative charge or suit is filed.    

If the timing of mediation is not mandatory, the parties can choose from various options:     

• Pre-suit. This occurs when one party, typically through counsel, sends a demand letter and suggests private mediation. The main advantage of this is privacy: no public suit is filed than can generate negative publicity or that will remain public information forever.   The other advantage is that resolution can occur before much is expended in legal fees. The disadvantage is that, without formal legal discovery, parties are making decisions that are less than “fully informed.”   However, parties can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• After suit is filed, before discovery. The privacy advantage is lost, but now the primary advantage becomes avoiding the extensive costs and emotional and lost productivity drain of protracted litigation. The disadvantage is that, as with pre-suit mediation, much information will not be known.

• After discovery, before motions filed. Much of the costs of litigation will have been incurred, but it avoids the costs of filing motions, which can run in excess of $25,000, and it avoids the risk of loss if the court rules against a party on a motion that may dispose of all or part of a case.

• After motion is ruled on. At this point, the parties have given their best pre-trial shot at convincing the judge of the righteousness of their positions, and the outcome is known. The advantage here is to avoid the risks at trial, if trial is still available, or of an appeal, if the judge has dismissed the case.

• Post-trial. Mediation at this point occurs after a highly-undesirable result has occurred at trial and the losing party wishes to avoid paying a huge verdict, and/or wishes to avoid the process, costs and risk of an appeal.

Who should be selected as the mediator?

Selection of a mediator is made easier today by on-line research. Ask your lawyer for a recommendation. Search mediate.com, the American Arbitration Association, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, or JAMS, for possible sources of lists of mediators. Mediator searches can be run by geographic location and by subject matter expertise and experience.

In making your selection, consider the following:

• Substantive expertise. Does the mediator have an extensive background in the type of dispute (i.e., real estate, employment, commercial, environmental, personal injury, domestic relations, etc.)?

• Reputation. Is the mediator well-known and well-respected in the legal community?

• Style. Do you prefer a mediator that is more directive, evaluative or facilitative?

• Availability. Is the mediator available within the time frame we need?

• Cost. While relevant, this should be the least important factor. Mediations generally last one day and if you can resolve your conflict in one day, it is a heck of a worthwhile investment.

Amy L. Lieberman is a mediator whose practice concentrates in employment and executive mediation. She is the author of “Mediation Success: Get it Out, Get it Over, Get Back to Business,” available on Amazon.com. She is the executive director of Insight Mediation and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers in ADR for more than a decade.


Taliesin West offers summer discounts for Arizona residents

Architecutral Achievements - AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Taliesin West is a national historic landmark nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale. And with the warmer weather comes a hot deal to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural wonder for a special price.

Wright’s Taliesin West offers Arizona residents a 50 percent discount on all tours until September 30. Book your tour on zerve.com/taliesinwest or call 888-516-0811 and use code AZRESIDENT. This offer only valid on tours booked through Zerve.com.”

Taliesin West is also the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Wright’s beloved winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, Taliesin West was established in 1937 and diligently handcrafted over many years into a utopian world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations

A lively community, Taliesin West is open to the public and offers a broad range of tours. Come experience the place that Wright called “the top of the world.”

Sedona Real Inn & Suites hiking and biking packages

Study ranks Arizona high for length of workouts

People in Arizona work out longer than those in almost any other state, according to an analysis of data from millions of users of a popular fitness app.

Arizona ranked fifth among states, with an average weekly workout of 79 minutes, said the analysis of data from the MapMyFitness app. California was first, at 87.4 minutes per week on average, followed by Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

Experts caution that the numbers don’t necessarily mean that Arizonans themselves are working out more – the app only records where a person works out at a given time, not where they live. But they also said that, current heat wave aside, the state’s standing makes sense given its climate for the rest of the year.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Sam McClung, president of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club. “Everyone’s active all year round, they don’t take any sort of break for the winter.”

He said he sees people in Arizona putting forth effort to get outside constantly, and his club plans hiking trips every week of the year. Summer heat just calls for earlier starts.

The analysis was done by UnderArmour, which owns the fitness app. It said 22 million people use the app, which lets users enter what type of exercise they’re doing and then tracks the time and location of that workout.

Arizona ranked 34th among states for duration of users’ runs, according to the data, but fourth for both walking and biking, to give the state a combined fifth-place finish.

That those three are outdoor activities is likely a factor in Arizona’s high rank, said Kristin Hoffner, a senior lecturer of kinesiology at Arizona State University.

“We do see correlations with things like nice weather, and a good environment to promote active behaviors,” Hoffner said.

She also noted that a gym workout can be intimidating to some people – but everybody knows how to walk.

“Thus, the outdoor exercise appeals to many more people that the gym may not,” Hoffner said.

Aside from the obvious draw of weather, local government officials said many Arizona cities also have developed trail systems that contribute to people wanting to get outside to exercise.

“I think we take the trails here very seriously, too,” said Joe Daynes, recreation services director for the city of Prescott. “People are really taking advantage of that right now.”

Daynes said the attraction makes sense.

“If you can get a good workout and be surrounded by Mother Nature at the same time I think you have a pretty good deal,” he said.

But Lawrence Frank, a professor of public health at the University of British Columbia, cautioned against taking data from a set of exercise-conscious people and trying to apply it to the state’s population at large.

“You have to understand, only a certain kind of person uses the app,” Frank said.

He also said there are other factors that could skew the data, which is self-reported. People who walk to work every day, for example, might not consider that “fitness” and might not log it.

Frank said data he has worked with in his research does not show Arizona to be a particularly high-ranking state in terms of overall physical exercise. The MapMyFitness data measures only users, not that larger state population, he said.

But Frank, who lived for a time in Tucson, said the data does generally reflect the longtime active and outdoor culture that is rooted in Western states.

Jim Buyens, president of the Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, said a lot of the appeal to hiking in Arizona lies in the range of scenery.

“Scenery is probably the No. 1 reason people join our club. They’re literally awed,” Buyens said in an email.

The climate also helps, said Buyens, whose group hikes trails all over the state.

“Hiking in the frozen north is, of course, possible, but I still suspect there are more summer-only hikers up there than year-round,” he said.

For hikers up north, he said, he supposes that “hiking one quarter-mile stretch of flat farmland has to be pretty much like hiking any other.” Not so in Arizona.

“They have nothing like the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco peaks, the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, Sedona, Mount Lemmon, and the many trails around Phoenix to draw them out,” Buyens said.


Report: Arizona receives a C for manufacturing

Arizona has received a C grade for its manufacturing industry and D in logistics, says new report from Ball State University.

The 2015 Manufacturing and Logistics Report, prepared by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) for Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing initiative, shows how each state ranks among its peers in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics. These specific measures include the health of the manufacturing and logistics industries, the state of human capital, the cost of worker benefits, diversification of the industries, state-level productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, the state tax climate, and global reach. 

CBER director Michael Hicks says “Arizona saw among the largest overall declines in the nation with this year’s Report Card.  Arizona’s grade dropped from D to F in diversification category, C- to D in logistics industry category. D to D- in human capital category, and B- to C+ in benefits costs category.  These factors suggest a poor long-term prognosis for the state. Arizona improved their expected fiscal liability grade from D+ to C and productivity and innovation grade from C to C+.”

Arizona received the following grades:

Manufacturing: C

Logistics: D

Human Capital: D-

Worker Benefit Costs: C+

Tax Climate: B-

Expected Liability Gap: C

Global Reach: D

Sector Diversification: F

Productivity and Innovation: C+

Hicks also provides an analysis of why the American’ manufacturing and logistics are in better shape than many believe in the companion study The Myth and the Reality of Manufacturing in America. 

“There are major misunderstandings among the public and the media about the manufacturing sector,” he said. “The U.S. manufacturing base is not in decline, and we have recovered from the recession. Nor are jobs being outsourced because American manufacturing can’t compete internationally. Moreover new jobs in manufacturing pay well above the average wage.”

The study notes that the Great Recession had lost its stranglehold by 2014, when U.S. manufacturers attained record levels of production. 

 “Overall, only 13 percent of lost jobs over the past decade, which are less than 4 percent of all manufacturing jobs, can be linked to international trade and most of trade related job losses are in low productivity sectors,” Hicks said. “Changes in productivity, domestic demand and foreign trade all impact manufacturing employment in the U.S., and it’s important to clarify those impacts in order to understand what is happening in the manufacturing and logistics industries.”

Both reports are available at http://conexus.cberdata.org/

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Wildfire Pool.

Arizona’s best resorts offer summer staycation deals

Need a summer getaway? Stay home and save money.

Arizona is home to some of the world’s most fantastic pools, luxurious spas, romantic retreats, spectacular golf courses and best restaurants. So you can forget about flight delays and rental cars because many of Arizona’s award-winning hotels and resorts offer summer deals that are designed specifically for local residents who want a staycation to get away from it all. The best part about experiencing Arizona’s best resorts in the summer is that many offer great deals and low rates.

The Boulders Resort

The deal: The Boulders’ summer rates begin at only $99, which is more than a 70 percent discount from its current rates. The Boulders’ “Two by Fore” package includes private luxury casita accommodations, one round of golf per paying adult with same day replay, a 20 percent spa discount at The Boulders Spa, complimentary access to spa facilities and unlimited fitness classes for $189 per night.

To book: 480-488-9009 or theboulders.com

Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River

The deal: Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River offers a refreshing way to unwind. Book its Sleep In & Save Package and stay 2 nights, save 20 percent and sleep in with a 2 p.m. late check out. It’s your weekend to hit the snooze button and catch extra pool time.

To book: 888-236-2427 or courtyardscottsdalesaltriver.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The deal: The sky lights up this summer at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with fireworks every Saturday night, Dive In movies and the Techno Glo party after dark, a zip line across the lagoons, the SplashRider X-treme water ride, dining, spa golf and more activities for the entire family.  The summer “Sip, Savor & Splash” package starts at $169 per night with a $50 daily resort credit.

To book: 480-585-4848 or scottsdaleprincess.com

FireSky Resort & Spa

The deals: FireSky has four opportunities for locals to enjoy a much-deserved staycation:

• Fast Forward to Summer: Book early and save up to 20 percent off the best available rate, Must book 4 weeks in advance to receive this rate. Mention rate code FAST when booking.

• Tequila and Tanlines: Includes one welcome pitcher of margaritas from Taggia Bar, morning coffee and tea service in the living room and hosted evening wine reception in the living room. Mention rate code PTAN when booking.

• Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Includes welcome signature cocktail for each person from Taggia bar, transportation to Old Town bars, $10 “Raid the Mini Bar card” for after hours, Westcor shopping and dining incentive guide and more. Mention rate code PGRL when booking.

• Bros and Brews Package: Includes welcome round of four beers, appetizer in Taggia Bar and more. Mention rate code PBRO when booking.

To book: 800-528-7867 or fireskyresort.com

Graduate Tempe

The deals: Graduate Tempe offers two staycation options that appeal to very both risktakers and the more reserved:

• Round up your comrades for the ultimate test in fortitude and sport with the Weekend Warrior Package. Spend an afternoon with your buddies settling old scores at Tempe Paintball. One night stay over Friday or Saturday only comes with a $50 restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and two Passes to Tempe Paintball with transportation included.

• What better way to cultivate your intellectual curiosity than with a night at the theatre? You pick up the tickets and Graduate Tempe will take care of the rest with our Gammage Theater Package. One night stay includes $50 a restaurant credit for The Normal or Tapacubo and transportation to the theater.

To book: graduatetempe.com

The Hermosa Inn

The deals: Artist for a Day Summer Package, available May 1 – September 7, 2015Amateurs and experienced artists alike are invited to escape the heat and channel their inner Monet, Van Gogh and O’Keefe by booking The Hermosa Inn’s Artist for a Day summer package. Available May 1 through September 7, the artful package includes a stay in one of the 34 luxury casitas, two drink tickets and a one and a half hour private painting lesson (for one person) with on-property artists from Carrie Curran Art Studios at the Inn’s Blue Door Art Studio & Gallery. Twenty-four hour notice is required to schedule the class and the lesson includes all supplies, with acrylic, watercolor, pencil or oils on canvas ($30 fee for additional person to attend the class). Rates starting from $355 per night.

To book: www.hermosainn.com or 800.241.1210

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

The deal: With a recent multi-million dollar renovation,Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is offering summer rates from $168 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8. Splash into the red rocks with three pools, enjoy indigenous spa treatments at eforea: spa and take a swing at 18 holes of golf at the adjacent Sedona Golf Resort.

To book: hiltonsedonaresort.com

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

The deal: Escape the hustle, bustle and day-to-day responsibilities with the Fling & Swing package, an amenity-rich package starting at $149. The summer package, available through Sept. 7, includes a daily $50 resort credit, free golf on Faldo and Palmer championship golf courses, free meals for kids 12 and under, free access to the Family Escape Center and no resort fee.

To book: jwdesertridge.com

JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson Resort & Spa

The deal: The Play Your Way package allows you to escape to cool and comfortable elegance, exciting adventure and delicious dining. From $199 per night — including a $50 or $100 daily resort credit, depending on package booked — you can make a splash at the Starr Pass Water Collection, relax and rejuvenate at Hashani Spa, swing into action at the Starr Pass Golf Club or indulge in fresh and flavorful fare of one of the facility’s five restaurants.

To book: 800-721-6996 or jwmarriottstarrpass.com, use promo code ES7

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix

The deal: Hotel Palomar in the heart of downtown Phoenix is ready for some summer fun in the sun with its “Fast Forward to Summer” Staycation Package, starting at $119 per night. The package includes 20 percent off the best available rate, deluxe accommodations, 50 percent off valet parking, hosted wine reception in the living room and morning coffee and tea service in the living room.

To book: 602-253-6633 or hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

The Phoenician

The deal: Dive into summer at Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond resort with SunSational Summer at The Phoenician with starting rates of $159. Enjoy luxurious accommodations, signature amenities and incomparable service.

To book: 800-888-8234 (ask for rate plan SUMMER) or thephoenician.com/offers

L’Auberge de Sedona

The deal: For the past four summers L’Auberge has had a “Drop it Like it’s Hot” deal that is geared towards Phoenix residents. As the temperatures heat up in Phoenix, Phoenician can escape the heat and drive North to Sedona and “Drop it Like it’s Hot.” At 4 p.m., L’Auberge takes the temperature on Oak Creek and compares it with the temperature at Sky Harbor. The difference will be the discount on your rate.

To book: (928) 282-1661 or lauberge.com

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

The deal: Round-up the family for The Great American Summer at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, the ultra-family friendly resort with four acres of pools, waterslide, lazy river and more. With rates from $109 per night for stays May 26-Sept. 8, 2015, each summer weekend celebrates America’s favorite summertime experiences with beach parties, luaus, carnivals and more.

To book: squawpeakhilton.com, use promo code SUNSP

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

The deal: Leave the kids at home and escape to Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, where stunning views and a dramatic mountainside location meet luxe amenities, including all-suite accommodations, eight refreshing pools, golf, spa and romantic dining overlooking the city lights. Rates from $89 are available for Sunday-Thursday stays from July 6-Sept. 8.

To book: tapatiocliffshilton.com, use promo code TAPRM

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

The deal: Summer Returns Package, starting at $239 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $50 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package, starting at $249 per night, includes luxury accommodations and a $100 resort credit per night. Summer Fun Package (multi-night) is $999 for a four-night stay and includes luxury accommodations and a $600 resort credit per package. Resort credits may be used for dining, spa or recreational experiences — excluding golf.

To book: 800-241-3333 or ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain

Royal Palms Resort and Spa

The deal: The Royal Palms Resort and Spa, at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, is offering guests the “Luxe Lounging” Staycation Package, starting at $149 per night. The package features more than $135 of value, including an upgraded room, complimentary cocktails, $25 dinner credit to the renowned T. Cook’s and two $40 Alvadora Spa credits.

To book: 602-840-3610 or royalpalmshotel.com, use promo code PLL

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

The deals: Sanctuary offers a variety of staycation options to suit any interest or occasion:

• Couples looking to indulge in a quick, romantic escape can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Romance in Paradise package, which provides one night’s accommodations, dinner at elements, chocolate-covered strawberries and a rose petal turndown. Rates start at $410.

Friends seeking a sweet staycation can enjoy Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s BFF Retreat which includes three nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast, a guided hike, bento box lunch, and “build-a-martini” in-room kit. Rates start at $1,386.

Athletes can hone their skills during Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Triathlon Training package, which offers swimming workouts with Olympic Gold Medalist, Misty Hyman, tandem runs, and guided biking excursions with the resort’s staff of fitness experts. The package includes three nights’ accommodations, three days of training, daily breakfast and three spa treatments, designed to soothe the muscles after a hard day of workouts. Rates start at $1,797

To book: 855-245-2051

Talking Stick Resort

The deal: Talking Stick Resort is the perfect playground for your ideal summer getaway. Enjoy the Summer Playcation Package from just $119 per night. This exclusive package includes a daily $25 food and beverage credit with a minimum of a two-night stay. Valid for stays May 3-Sept. 30.

To book: 866-877-9897

We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center

The deal: For $129 per room, per nigh, the Summer Splash package includes a $50 food and beverage credit for the Ahnala Mesquite Room, room service or Pool Bar & Grill; $10 casino slot play for new Fortune Club members; and $5 casino slot play for existing Fortune Club members.

To book: 480-789-5320


Walt Danley ranked No. 1 AZ agent by Wall Street Journal

Walt Danley ranked as the No. 1 selling real estate agent in Arizona by sales volume, according to the REAL Trends “The Thousand: 2015 Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals.”  The list was published in The Wall Street Journal on June 26, 2015.

Danley is ranked No. 61 in the U.S. for individual sales volume, having sold $142,112,657 in residential real estate last year. Notably, he has been the top-ranked Arizona agent every year since “The Thousand” list’s inception. The 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 exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate and boasts the finest inventory of million-dollar estates within Arizona. Danley has sold over $3 billion during his 38-year real estate career, and has been ranked in the top one percent of real estate agents nationally every year since 1977.

“For nearly four decades, I have had the privilege of working with clients in the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix areas,” said Walt Danley, president of Walt Danley Realty. “While market and industry knowledge is imperative in the luxury real estate business, just as valuable is understanding the unique needs and objectives of those I represent. I am humbled that I have built longstanding relationships with many of our clients, and am entrusted with their major life decisions.”

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.


Super Bowl pumps $719 million into Arizona’s economy

Super Bowl XLIX scored big for Arizona’s economy.

A study completed by the Seidman Research Institute, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, determined that Super Bowl XLIX, the 2015 Pro Bowl and related events produced a gross economic impact of $719.4 million in the region. The announcement was made today at The Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the JW Camelback Inn in Scottsdale.

“As a proud Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee sponsor and one of the leading Arizona companies to step up and support this major event, it is gratifying to learn that Super Bowl XLIX had the largest economic impact of any special event ever held in the state”, says National Bank of Arizona Executive Vice President Jathan Segur.  “The momentum created by the events surrounding the Super Bowl have been tremendous … In addition to the numbers announced today, we have witnessed an increased interest in long-term economic development and investing in the growth of our state.”

This is the largest economic impact of any special event ever held in the state of Arizona, as well as the highest for any Super Bowl for which publicly released figures are available. By comparison, Super Bowl XLII played at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2008 generated a gross economic impact of $500.6 million (2008 dollars) based on research also conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business.

“This is tremendous news for our economy and a strong testament to the exceptional work of everyone involved,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “The eyes of the world were on Arizona, and we delivered in a big way. I look forward to our state hosting many more successful championship games and major events in the future.”

Commissioned by the Arizona Commerce Authority in partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the study focused on the nine-day period from January 24th through February 1, 2015 coinciding with the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl which were played at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25 and February 1, respectively.

The gross economic impact is defined as the direct amount of spending by visitors and organizations arriving from outside the state to participate in or create events directly related to the Super Bowl, as well as the indirect and induced impacts of those expenditures, often described as “ripple effects.” Resident and local business spending was not included.

To gather data about spending and duration of stay from visitors, on-site surveys were conducted at events around the Valley over the nine day period by teams of trained individuals from the W. P. Carey School of Business. Data was collected from out-of-town visitors who stated that the main reason for their visit to the Phoenix Metropolitan area was for the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and/or associated events. The data was collected across multiple days at multiple sites to sample diverse socio-economic and demographic groups. 

The indirect and induced economic impacts were calculated using an IMPLAN (IMpact analysis for PLANning) model originally developed by the University of Minnesota. This commercially licensed linear input-output model is widely used for economic assessment throughout the United States and is populated with local, regional and state data for Arizona.

Other findings from the Seidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey School of Business report:

• An estimated 121,775 visitors came to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX and/or the 2015 Pro Bowl; those visitors stayed an average of 3.99 nights.

• An estimated 5,033 out-of-town media members came to Arizona and stayed an average of 7.1 nights (up from 4.1 nights for Super Bowl XLII in 2008).

• The $719.4 million economic impact for Super Bowl XLIX represents an increase of 30.8% over Super Bowl XLII in Arizona (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, or BLS CPI, inflation calculator which expressed that the 2008 economic impact dollars have the same buying power as $550.1 million in 2015).

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona trade mission builds confidence with Mexico

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris Camacho, joined Governor Doug Ducey in Mexico City for an important trade mission last week, with more than 40 business, university and government leaders – including GPEC board members Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, David Rousseau of SRP and University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.

At $15.8 billion, bilateral trade (imports into Arizona and exports to Mexico) between Arizona and Mexico is larger than the state’s next six largest trading partners combined. And according to an April 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, growth for total exports and manufacturing exports to Mexico is up 22.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.  

“Arizona and Mexico share more than an important border for global commerce, but are also connected by the rich historical, social and cultural ties,” said Camacho. “Governor Ducey’s leadership, and the work of David Farca, president of the Arizona Mexico Commission, has set a new tone and reinvigorated dialogue with Mexico City.”

The impact of Gov. Ducey’s trade mission, and the recent opening of the Trade & Investment Office in Mexico City, sends a strong message that Greater Phoenix and the state of Arizona is open for business with our neighbor to the south. With more than 370 miles of shared border, there is an unparalleled opportunity for both Arizona and Mexico to continue to increase trade.

Camacho also added, “The meetings this past week with government and business leaders will further enhance the economic prosperity for both sides of the border, and I am eager to continue the work being done to foster this growth.”

For an international guide to doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.  

Top 5 Northern Arizona Day Trips (Spring-Summer 2012)

Arizona rates as 11th best state for summer road trips

With 85 percent of Americans planning summer getaways, 90 percent of which will be by car, the personal finance website WalletHub followed up on its analysis of Best Gas Credit Cards with a look at 2015’s Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips.

Using 20 key metrics, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states to identify the states that offer frugally minded road travelers the most fun for the least cost. Our data set ranges from average gas prices to the quality of roads to the number of attractions. 

Arizona as a road-trip destination (1 = best; 25 = avg.): 

  • 11th – Number of Attractions
  • 1st – Lowest Price of Three-Star Hotel
  • 15th – Vehicle Miles Traveled per Capita
  • 9th – Number of Scenic Byways
  • 5th – Lowest Price of Camping
  • 2nd – Quality of Bridges
  • 16th – Average Cost of Car Repairs

For the full report, please http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-for-summer-road-trips/4648/.


Data breach: Not if, but when, experts warn

“It will never happen to us.”

That misperception puts businesses at risk for data breaches, expert say.

“The most common mistake is assuming your company won’t be breached because you’re not a large, multi-national company similar to the ones whose breaches are covered by the national media,” says Ari Bai, shareholder at Polsinelli. “In reality, however, every company is a target. Hackers, be they individual vigilantes, criminal organizations or nation-states, look for any and all data, and often the most accessible is that in smaller companies. Plus, small companies make for good ‘practice’ for hackers. Thus, when a company ignores the risk and does not set forth the proper protocols for protection and response, it is essentially asking to be breached.”

The 2015 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Chief Legal Officers Survey revealed that one quarter of general counsel report their companies have been hit by data breaches. And according to the 2015 Cyberthreat Defense Report, more than seven in 10 respondents said their networks were breached in 2014, up from 62 percent in 2013. The average cost of a data breach in 2013 for companies in the Unites States was $5.85 million. The scariest part about the threat of a data breach is that experts agree that there is no way to completely protect a business from becoming the victim of a data breach.

“Once we develop a way to protect ourselves from something, the hackers are already using a new technique,” Bai says. “This is why preparation is so important. Liability for lack of preparation can financially devastate a company. You are going to get hacked — with preparation, you don’t have to lose lawsuits.”

Being prepared

Like any potential business catastrophe, limit a business’ risk of becoming the victim of a data breach starts with preparedness, according to Paul Stoller, shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy.

“Every company should work with its legal professionals and IT staff to create and to implement a comprehensive data privacy and security plan, which will help to remove, or at least to reduce, the risk of many of the common causes of breach,” Stoller says.

Leon B. Silver, office co-managing partner at Gordon & Rees, says all companies, no matter their size, need to adopt data security as a core business practice throughout the organization and not look at it as something that is taken care of by one department or by an outside vendor.

“Policies on mobile devices, passwords and encryption are just part of an overall culture of data security awareness,” Silver says. “But be aware, a breach can happen.”

Heather Buchta, partner at Quarles & Brady says business leaders need to engage in some internal due diligence and ask themselves these questions:

• What internal policies are in place to protect data?

• Is there a policy against removing devices from the business location?

• Is there a policy to encrypt data?

• Even more basic, what kind of data does a company have?

“Risk of a breach increases as the volume of data a company has increases and oftentimes the data wasn’t even used by the business,” Buchta says, “which is creating an increased risk for no business purpose.”

Despite a company’s best efforts to lower its risk of a data breach, Buchta says today’s hackers are getting more sophisticated and businesses always have the added risk of employee error.

“The risk really lies in what was done ahead of time to try and prevent and breach and how the incident is handled afterward,” she says.

After the breach

While a business can be proactive in taking the appropriate steps to minimize risk and being well equipped to handle a loss or theft if data or information, there are no measures that provide a guarantee of security, Silver says.

“In fact, virtually every mid- to large-size company has already likely been breached, but the extent is either not known, or is not significant,” Silver says. “A big source of loss continues to be human error. That, coupled with continually evolving technology and more sophisticated theft/hacking measures equates to an ongoing need to stay ahead of the curve and simply arm yourself the best you can by adhering to and enforcing strict privacy policies following a thorough risk assessment.”

So what should you do if you’ve taken all the proper steps to reduce your risk of a data breach and your businesses is still victimized?

“The first thing is always to identify the source and to fix the issue that caused the breach so that there is not any further loss or theft of data,” Stoller says. “After that, the business needs to work with its IT professionals to investigate what caused the leak, to identify those persons who may be affected and to preserve evidence of what happened.”

Stella says it’s also imperative to work with legal professionals to determine a business’ legal obligations after a breach, including notifications to affected persons and government agencies.

“Don’t delay in investigating and don’t delay in calling in the experts,” Buchta says. “Businesses should have an incident response plan and that plan should identify the key players to investigate and manage a breach — legal counsel, IT forensics, operations/HR, public relations and the executive team.”

Because experts say a data breach is almost inevitable, it’s crucial for a business to develop and enforce sound privacy policies, including a response plan should a breach or loss occur, Silver says.

“Such policies will also need to evolve over time as technology continues to improve,” he says. “The bottom line is to expect the unexpected, think ahead, keep thinking ahead, and do your best to prepare.”

Advice from experts

Here is what Valley legal experts advise businesses to do to lower their risk of a data breach:

Ari Bai, shareholder; and Nick Verderame, associate, Polsinelli: “Start preparing now. Bring in technical and legal help to assess your data and risk levels, create technical protections, implement company procedures to protect against leaks, educate your employees and leadership, organize annual ‘fire drill’ tests and prepare a reaction and notification procedure.”

Heather Buchta, partner, Quarles & Brady: “Know your business. Know what data you have. Have an incident response plan in place in advance to facilitate the handling of an event when it occurs. Note I said, ‘when it occurs,’ not ‘if it occurs.’”

Leon B. Silver, office co-managing partner, Gordon & Rees: “Begin by assessing risk, including the availability of special ‘cyber risk’ insurance, which is not just for hacking and may provide coverage for both investigation and response costs, as well as defense and/or indemnity for third-party claims.”

Paul Stoller, shareholder, Gallagher & Kennedy: “The best practice for a business is to create and maintain a comprehensive data privacy and security plan. That begins with an audit of the business’s data and the development of policies and procedures to manage its confidential information. Then, it is essential to train employees on both the policies and procedure and the potential threats to the data’s security.”

The Techno Glo Party at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess features black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess packs fun for entire family

When I first moved to Arizona from New York in 1998, my father already knew his way around and could give me recommendations for the best places to eat, play and golf.

He didn’t live in Arizona, but he and seven of his friends spent a week each March taking advantage of Arizona’s great weather to play the state’s best golf courses. And they ALWAYS stayed at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

If anything, that only proves that father knows best.

Times have changed, but the Princess is timeless … and versatile. Not only is the Princess the perfect place for my father and seven of his white-collar golfing buddies to call home for a week, it’s the ideal spot for a family getaway.

Kids can zoom across a zip line, cool down on waterslides and watch fireworks light up the night sky this summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. For adults, the “Sip, Savor and Splash” package equips guests with a $50 resort credit perfect for sampling any of 240 tequilas at La Hacienda or retreating to Well & Being Spa.

Are you or your kids seeking a thrill? Poolside is the place to be with the spinning water adventure, SplashRider X-treme, and 200-foot waterslides. Guests are also able to upgrade to a Casita Signature Junior Suite with the “Upgrade Your Summer” package. Rates for both packages start at $169 per night through Sept. 6.

Once the sun goes down, it’s a disco down the slides with the after dark Techno Glo Party at Sonoran Splash. Black lights, lasers, fog, LED hula hooping, glow-in-the-dark bubbles, drinks and a DJ pulsating techno music rock the pool from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights for families this summer. Or, over at the South Pool, families can just chill at the Dive In Movies, also offered complimentary Friday and Saturday nights. Movie-watchers float on inner tubes, or enjoy movie snacks, Sabrett hot dogs and a taco cart poolside, as the family flick begins at approximately 8 p.m., with an intermission for fireworks at 9 p.m.

The Fourth of July Freedom Fest is the perfect time for you and your family to check out the Princess and find fun relief from the summer heat.

Well & Being Spa

Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has all-new “Live it Well” programs, sizzling specials and soothing spa treatments to keep you refreshed and energized all summer long.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the spa’s “Good Life” team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts are planning a “Happy & Healthy” calendar of interactive events including the new Hoopnotica hula hoop and beach body legs classes, tips for making healthy smoothies, acupuncture for sleep and laughing yoga, to name a few.

Well & Being Spa is 44,000 square foot sanctuary situated on three levels with exercise and work-out facilities, waterfall grotto, steam, sauna, salon, Well & Being Market, café and a scenic rooftop pool. For the first time, the spa is offering a summer “Happy Pass” for local residents, with unlimited access to the spa for $49 for an entire day, mid-week.

For an overnight spa getaway, the new “Stay & Spa” package includes accommodations, plus the choice of one 45-minute facial, massage, pedicure or body wrap, starting from $241 through  September 3.

Dining at the Princess

La Hacienda is celebrating summer with the return of its popular “Guacamole Fest” sampler of various guacamoles, from pork belly to seafood and pomegranate, as well as Fresca Floats made with traditional Mexican sodas. (Prices of these a la carte items vary.)

The summer Kids Resort Dining Passport is a super deal for families for $29 per day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort dining outlets such as Ironwood American Kitchen, Trailblazers Kids Club, the pools, La Hacienda and Toro, plus a kid’s snack at the South Pool during the Dive-In Movie. These meals are from the children’s menus and are exclusive to overnight resort guests. Passports are available for overnight guests for purchase upon arrival at the Leisure Services Desk in the main lobby.

Spicing up the weekends is Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar’s new a la carte brunch, with live Latin music from 11 am – 2 pm, overlooking the 18th green of the TPC Scottsdale. Spanish mimosas, Brazilian French Toast (brioche bread topped with fried plantains, mescal maple syrup and whipped cream), an all-you-can-eat sushi bar, a build-your-own Bloody Mary cart and 111 types of rum are just a few highlights of this new hotspot.

Vacation packages

Celebrate summer with the new “Upgrade Your Summer” package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated Casita Signature Junior Suite at a Fairmont room price, starting from $169 per night weekdays and $189 weekends. These accommodations are more spacious, secluded and residential in style.

The popular Sip, Savor & Splash Package returns, starting from $169 per room, per night Sunday through Thursday and $189 weekends and includes a $50 daily credit for dining, spa or kid’s club. Summer package dates are based upon space availability, May 22-September 7, 2015. Taxes and daily resort fees are additional.

For reservations or more information on summer programs at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, call ((866) 540-4495 or click here.  The resort is located at 7575 East Princess Drive in Scottsdale.


Cachet targets Gen X buyers with design-oriented condos

A new generation of Arizona homebuyers have a different set of priorities in mind when selecting a new home. Location remains the No. 1 factor, but the HGTV generation is increasingly seeking homes that are not only architecturally unique but also stylishly designed leading a number of Valley developers to make Elle Decor-worthy interior design and planning an integral part of new developments. Pioneering this trend is Cachet Homes, Arizona’s leading luxury homebuilder, which has implemented a trendy yet timeless design scheme into their latest condominium offering in the North Scottsdale area, Monterey Ridge.

“Today’s Gen X and Y consumers are incredibly savvy homebuyers who want dynamic stylish living spaces with premium finishes,” said Matt Cody, CEO of Cachet Homes. “At Monterey Ridge, we collaborated with the best local design and architecture talent to create luxurious, convenient and modern homes that this demographic is proud to entertain in and call home,” he said.

Developing for the next generation isn’t just making sure living spaces are Instagram-ready with the latest design trends. With so much pent up demand in the market, condominium buyers are ready to buy- but they’re selective. From grand entryways to separate wings for entertaining and sleeping, artistic design touches and subtle mood lighting, Monterey Ridge showcases some of the most unique property specifications on the market with 144 single-level condominiums ranging from 1,091 to 1,870 square feet.

“It all comes down to lifestyle,” Cody said. “The Pinterest generation leads a completely curated lifestyle – from their clothes, to their cars, to their gadgets and now to where they live, everything must be representative of who they are and who they want to be,” he said. “With hundreds of award-winning restaurants, thousands of acres of desert preserve offering unmatched sports and recreation, countless holes of nationally-ranked golf, dozens of premier luxury shopping destinations, a number of world’s most-renowned healthcare facilities, instant access to the 101 and 51 freeways and the Scottsdale Airport, Monterey Ridge delivers what this emerging buyer market has been waiting for – convenient, stylish and affordable living with a prestigious address,” Cody said. Being in the heart of the Scottsdale Airpark, a Valley employment epicenter offering thousands of high-paying jobs for upwardly mobile young adults, Monterey Ridge aims to be a smart investment for savvy homebuyers.

For developers looking to cater to the growing Gen X and Y consumer base, finding out what they want isn’t difficult. From social media sites to message boards to comment pages on popular home and design reality TV shows, this is a consumer base that readily broadcasts their wants and needs and likes and dislikes when it comes to designing their dream home.

“The American dream has evolved over the last several generations,” explains Cody. “It’s not the house with the white picket fence these buyers want anymore. They want low maintenance, stylish and move-in ready homes that are primed to host an impromptu cocktail party or self-sustaining enough that the owners can have a weekend away at a moment’s notice,” he said.

“As we developed the latest phases of the project that are now for sale, we looked closely at the fast-paced lifestyle this demographic leads and created spaces designed to cater to their needs,” he said.

Many of the luxuries buyers would expect in a $300K home come standard at Monterey Ridge including slab granite counters, maple cabinets, upgraded flooring, 9.5-foot ceilings, gas ranges, and private terraces and a two-car garage that is connected to the building and accessed via elevator.

Because of this extensive research, planning and out-of-the-box development strategy, Monterey Ridge is attracting a varied North Scottsdale demographic including young professionals, busy executives and empty nesters who are all attracted to the opportunity to live an easy luxury lifestyle in the heart of the bustling North Scottsdale area.

“It’s an exciting time to be a developer in the Phoenix-metropolitan area,” Cody said. “The development game has completely changed, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help pave the way,” he said.

For more information about Cachet Homes and Monterey Ridge or to schedule an interview with Founder and President Matt Cody contact Melissa Rein.

Monterey Ridge is located at 17850 N. 68th Street in Phoenix, 85054. Homes are priced from the low $300s. For more information, visit (480) 356-0179 or www.cachethomes.net/montereyridge.


Risk of Desert Subterranean Termites rises in monsoon

While the drove of tourists who visited the valley of the sun during our unusually mild and rainy spring may not have appreciated the inclement weather, one valley resident most certainly did: the Desert Subterranean Termite. Water is conducive to these social insects that live in the soil in colonies that can number 300,000. A “mud tube” is often a sign that these pests have entered your home, but they are not always visible and can hide for years behind walls, plumbing fixtures and cabinets.

“The old adage about termites is especially true here in the valley: ‘There are homes that have termites – and those that will get them,’” notes Nathan Woolf, co-founder of Blue Sky Pest Control. “Last year’s heavy rains and this unusually damp spring mean our technicians are seeing a bumper crop of termites. And while the upcoming triple digits normally slow down their activity, our monsoons kick them right back into high gear.”

Termites are so common here that every home built in the valley is required to have a termite treatment prior to the pouring of the foundation. This pre-treatment has a three-year warranty. Since the products used for these pre-treatments break down over time, Blue Sky Pest Control recommends having a termite inspection, especially for older homes because left undetected, termites can cause significant structural damage.

“Termites genuinely own their nasty reputation since, unlike other critters, they NEVER rest – they’re active 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, 365 days-a-year,” shares Curtis Whalen, co-founder of Blue Sky Pest Control. “In our industry, modest estimates indicate that there is $5 billion worth of termite damage per year in the U.S. alone.”

Whalen also notes that even though Arizona is situated in the desert, our state is in a high-pressure zone for bugs, and in the Top 5 states in the nation for termite treatments.

“Arizona has a lot of pests because of our indigenous species, as well as the micro-environments we have created, with things like drip-systems creating man-made moisture pockets that are perfect for insects and pests like termites (all pests need food, shelter, and water),” adds Whalen.

Blue Sky Pest Control recommends periodically re-establishing the barrier established during your home’s pre-treatment and consistently monitoring as the best defense against Arizona’s subterranean termites.

In his 2005 article, “Arizona Termites of Economic Importance,” Dr. Baker of the University of Arizona states:

“In the post-construction phase, inspect your home twice a year or better yet, employ a pest management professional (PMP) to do an annual inspection. The practice of repeated visual inspections ensures that termite infestations will be promptly detected once termites have invaded the home. This practice allows control methods to be employed contemporaneous to the infestation, reducing the risk of serious structural damage.”

“If you’re in doubt in regard to your home’s age or condition, having your home inspected by a state-certified termite inspector is a great place to start,” explains Whalen. “If a termite infestation is found during inspection or a homeowner just wants to proactively re-establish the termite barrier, there are some excellent options available to keep your home protected.”