Tag Archives: arizona

star.wars

New ‘Star Wars’ trailer premieres at Tempe Marketplace

May the force be with you on November 28, when Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16 exclusively premieres Disney’s new 88-second teaser trailer for “‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Be among the first to see the highly anticipated trailer as Harkins Tempe Marketplace is the only theatre in Arizona, and one of 30 theatres nationwide, to debut this exclusive trailer. The trailer will run before every movie playing at Harkins Tempe Marketplace.

WHERE: Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281

WHEN: Beginning Friday, November 28, 2014 (Black Friday)

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Be sure to take advantage of Harkins Theatres’ Black Friday deal! Print a special voucher from www.harkinstheatres.com and redeem it between noon and 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 28. The voucher is good for one FREE Harkins 2015 Loyalty Cup with the purchase of a $25 Harkins 2015 Loyalty T-shirt.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo No. 1 SBA lender for Arizona

Wells Fargo & Company announced it is the No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7 (a) lender in Arizona in amount of dollars and number of loans  approved for fiscal year 2014.  Wells Fargo approved $89,034,400 and 197 loans to Arizona businesses from Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

“Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do and is a key focus for our company,” said Greg DeJesus, SBA regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Every SBA dollar we lend helps an Arizona business owner start, expand or invest in a business and helps keep the Arizona economy strong.  We believe that the flow of new loan dollars into our communities represents a very powerful statement for job creation and economic development.”

Nationally, Wells Fargo approved a record $1.6 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014).  The company increased its dollar volume of SBA 7(a) loans by 10 percent from a year ago. An SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, Wells Fargo also is the second largest SBA lender by units, extending 4,036 SBA 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014, a 16 percent increase in units from the prior year.

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas  – and the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans (units) in 8 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia.

football

NB|AZ partners with Super Bowl Host Committee

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces a new partnership with National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ). The partnership is a fully integrated program providing Official Sponsor designation, a custom media plan with traditional, digital and social elements, business development assets, as well as Presenting Partner status of the CEO Forum.

The recently announced CEO Forum is designed to directly foster Arizona economic growth, which correlates to the business and community goals of NB|AZ. The program leverages Super Bowl XLIX to host more than 50 business leaders from around the world and introduce them to the pro-business environment to encourage them to move or expand business operations in Arizona for a lasting economic impact.

“NB|AZ has a long tradition of supporting and leading economic development efforts across our state,” said CEO Keith Maio. “This partnership provides us with a platform to do what we do best, bring people together to talk about the great opportunities that exist in Arizona to grow business.”

The CEO Forum is unique to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and started in 2008, which resulted in more than 1,000 jobs and over $400 million invested in the state.

“There has been tremendous interest and support in the CEO Forum by Arizona-based companies and CEOs. They see the value and recognize that hosting Super Bowl XLIX is about much more than football,” stated David Rousseau, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “As an Arizona-based company with storied leadership and community support, NB|AZ is a natural fit to support programs that accelerate economic development.”

NB|AZ is also a founding sponsor of the Arizona Leadership Forum. This year, Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals and Host Committee board member, along with Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, spoke at the 2014 Arizona Leadership Forum regarding the overall economic impact of hosting Super Bowl XLIX and the 2015 Pro Bowl.

vaping

E-cigarette tax could generate $6M a year for Arizona

The Arizona Legislature’s budget analysts say a tax on electronic cigarettes could bring $6 million a year in new revenue into the state’s coffers.

The analysis released by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee bases that figure on taxing the nicotine vapor smokes at the same ratio as the current $2 per pack tax on regular cigarettes.

The analysts say the number could be as low as $284,000 a year or as high as $13.5 million a year if the Legislature adopts other rates.

Some lawmakers looking for ways to close a budget deficit estimated at $1 billion are floating a plan to tax the new products. But the proposal also faces opposition from lawmakers who believe a tax could discourage people from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking regular tobacco.

wildfire

How Arizona wildfires impact water supply, economy

Arizona is home to the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America, with a single stand stretching from near Flagstaff all the way to the White Mountains of the east.

And in the last 10 years, 25 percent of it burned, said Patrick Graham, Arizona state director for the Nature Conservancy.

Fire suppression and subsequent cleanup costs have risen far beyond estimated prevention costs, according to studies by the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and the Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI) at Northern Arizona University (NAU), among others.

The tourism industry in Arizona, an estimated 20 percent of the state’s economy, is largely dependent on the health of forested lands and other wildlife preserves, a 2007 report by the Governor’s Health Oversight Council stated.

But “wildfires affect the entire state — not just the north,” said Eric Marcus, executive director at the Northern Arizona Sustainable Economic Development Initiative.

A full-cost economic analysis of the 2010 Schultz fire outside of Flagstaff by the ERI revealed the deeper effect of forest fires. More than 15,000 acres of forest were burned, causing an estimated $147 million in economic damage, the report found. An investment of only $15 million could have prevented this catastrophe, said Marcus.

Fire and water

But most of the damage from these wildfires occurs after the fire has been extinguished.

When major wildfires remove the trees and grasses necessary for holding soil in place, a once standard rainstorm can now cause dangerous floods and massive erosion, filling up the reservoirs and ultimately decreasing the carrying capacity of our water supply, said Bruce Hallin, director of water rights and contracts with the Salt River Project.

“These catastrophic wildfires go in and the fire burns so hot that it burns everything,” said Hallin. “It turns it into this wasteland.”

But nothing can hold back sediment from flowing directly into the water supply if a fire were to ignite downstream from the reservoirs, such as the Sunflower fire in 2012. If ash-laden water were to be delivered to processing plants, treatment costs would increase dramatically, thus increasing the price of the water, said Marcus.

The 2002 Hayman fire in Colorado deposited more than 1 million cubic yards of sediment into Denver’s primary drinking water supply. To this day, cleanup is still underway to restore Strontia Springs Reservoir, with costs exceeding $150 million.

“Ultimately, through forest thinning, we don’t want to get to that point,” said Hallin.
One century ago, Arizona’s northern forests were more akin to open grasslands interspersed with towering ponderosas. Ignited by lightning, the grass beneath the trees would carry a smoldering fire along the ground, burning the young trees while only charring the thick bark of the older, more established ponderosas.

Need for thinning

But Arizona’s northern forests have “all departed from the way they were historically,” said Diane Vosick, director of policy and partnerships at ERI.

When grazing came through in the late 1800s and removed all of the grass, fires could no longer move through the forest naturally. Bare soil — which resulted from result over-grazing — allowed the pines to germinate seeds more easily. However, when fires did ignite, the U.S. Forest Service fire policy at the time required any and all fires to be extinguished. This fire policy went unchanged until 1995, allowing millions of young ponderosas and other vegetation to crowd the once-thin forest.

A study conducted by ERI Director Wally Covington found that historically, Arizona’s ponderosa forests contained roughly 25 trees per acre. But now, one acre of forest can contain more than a thousand trees.

“You’ve basically got a big wood pile out there waiting to burn,” said Vosick.

SRP, the water supplier for more than half of Phoenix and nearly all of Tempe, manages eight reservoirs deep within Arizona’s northern region.

“That’s the goal,” said Vosick. “You want fire to do its natural role and to help manage the forests.”

The Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI, is a collaborative effort comprised of residents, industry, and the government to restore the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests through thinning and prescribed burning.

Vosick said that 4FRI hopes to have thinned at least 1 million acres of forested land within 20 years.

However, almost no thinning has taken place in nearly five years since the initiative began.

Seeking a solution

“Forest lands have been managed for the last 20 years through litigation and attorneys, not projects,” said Hallin. Because of these legal barriers, Northern Arizona’s timber industry has all but vanished. So even the lands that have been approved for thinning cannot receive the treatment prescribed because there is no longer any industry to do the work, he said.

“You can make money with big old trees, but we don’t want those trees taken out of the forest,” said Marcus. Private enterprise doesn’t want to invest because no money can be made from the small diameter trees, he said.

The only way to thin the forests in a timely manner is through convincing industry that their investment will not be inhibited by litigation because the federal government can’t do it by itself, Hallin said. “The fact of the matter is, without a successful forest products industry, that entire forest is going to burn.”

SRP, in conjunction with the National Forest Foundation, has created the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, enabling individuals and businesses to invest in restoring the lands that provide them water.

“We don’t need to do more research to know what our problem is; we need to generate public interest in fixing things,” said Marcus.

“You can pay me now, or you can pay me later. But if you pay me now, you pay me a fraction of what you’re going to pay me later and have nowhere near the devastating effects that you’re going to have down the road.”

Promoting Smart Growth in Down Economy

Super Bowl Host Committee announces CEO Forum

Today the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee formally announces the CEO Forum, a cornerstone program that will directly foster Arizona economic growth. The CEO Forum will welcome more than fifty (50) business executives from around the world to participate in a premier policy discussion about opportunities and challenges that will shape our future communities and businesses. The program will take place the weekend of Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix and highlight the unique opportunities and positive business climate in Arizona.

“We want to introduce corporate decision-makers to Arizona and show them what our state has to offer. Arizona is pro-business and there’s a great workforce here. Our goal is simple, to encourage participants to move or integrate business operations to Arizona,” said David Rousseau chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “We want to plant the seeds during Super Bowl XLIX and see Arizona business grow in the future.”

Super Bowl XLIX will serve as a tremendous catalyst to boost the Arizona business environment. The game and surrounding events and activities are expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors, which will ideally foster future business relocations and expansions in Arizona as well as continuing strong tourism.

The Arizona Commerce Authority is leading Arizona’s various economic development organizations in a collaborative effort to identify a diverse group of companies to participate in the CEO Forum, from Fortune 500 corporations to emerging, high-growth businesses. The Host Committee has engaged with several presenting sponsors that are heavily invested in supporting Arizona growth to create a world-class program that capitalizes on the interest and prominence of the Super Bowl, including Apollo Education Group, First Solar, Inc. and National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ).

A pillar of the CEO Forum will be the CEO Leadership Huddle, a multi-panel policy forum being conducted in partnership with The McCain Institute for International Leadership. The panels will focus on a range of topics with the common theme of global leadership and will be highlighted by discussions between prominent business leaders, international politicians and philanthropic visionaries. In addition, the CEO Forum will include many opportunities for attending CEOs to engage with Host Committee sponsors, Arizona’s business leaders, elected officials and other advocates. Additional program and panel details will be announced in January 2015.

The CEO Forum is unique to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and was started in 2008 with Super Bowl XLII. The program brought more than 20 CEOs to Arizona for Super Bowl weekend and resulted in more than 1,000 jobs and over $400 million invested in the state.

One of the participants in the 2008 CEO Forum was Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who led a sizeable business investment in Arizona after participating in the program. Dr. Soon-Shiong recently joined the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Board of Directors and continues to be an advocate for investment in Arizona. He also will play a key role in the CEO Forum curriculum.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails' Prime Flat Iron Steak, served with whipped potatoes, crispy frites and a garlic cherry glaze.

Blue Hound’s new menu is a culinary masterpiece

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Executive Chef Sean Currid's Deviled Fried Oysters.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Executive Chef Sean Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters.

If you really want to give yourself a gift this holiday season, check out the new menu at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

Newly appointed Executive Chef Sean Currid, who joined the restaurant in September, has created a new winter dinner menu and the results are a culinary masterpiece like you’ve never experienced.

Currid came to Blue Hound from Elements at Sanctuary Resort & Spa, where he served as executive catering chef. He has also worked at Michael’s at the Citadel, Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and Cafe ZuZu at The Hotel Valley Ho.

But Currid’s new winter menu at Blue Hound distinguishes him as perhaps the Valley’s best chef.

While Currid has kept some old favorites — charred pork belly sliders, Hickman’s Farm deviled eggs, short ribs — on the menu, he has added some new additions that should not be missed.

During a recent visit, these are the dishes we sampled that will keep us going back time after time:

• Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters are served with grits, Meyer lemon and pickled shallots. They come in servings of two or four, but if they came by the gross, we’d have ordered a gross. That’s how incredible the dish tastes. The oysters are breaded are cooked to a perfect crisp. Currid’s decision to serve them over the best grits you will ever taste is a stroke of genius. This goes down as this writer’s favorite appetizer in all of Phoenix. No contest.
• Currid’s Prime Flat Iron Steak is served with whipped potatoes and crispy frites, but his garlic cherry glaze is what what took this dish from “Wow!” to “Holy cow!” because each bite was a religious experience. If you can imagine a piece of steak that is exquisitely cooked, with a cherry glaze that complements it so perfectly that it melts in your mouth like cotton candy, you might be able to imagine the deliciousness of Blue Hound’s Prime Flat Iron Steak.

Some of Currid’s personal favorites, and we cannot disagree, are:

• Hamachi: Ginger, pomegranate, pickled fresno peppers, extra virgin olive oil.
• Corvina Sea Bass: White beans, kale, clams, smoked bacon.
• Prime Flat Iron Steak: Whipped potatoes, crispy frites, garlic cherry glaze.
• Kale Salad: Pomegranate, pine nuts, shaved apple, parmesan.
Roasted Beet Salad: Medjool dates, arugula, clementine.

Do yourself a favor and check out Blue Hound’s new menu before the college football bowl crowds and Super Bowl crowds descend on the Valley and realize we have a dining diamond at Hotel Palomar Phoenix and make it more difficult to get a table.

And I didn’t even mention the Foodist Award-winning mixologists who create signature drinks that are out of the world and the S’more in a cup that was served as dessert.

Does it get any better than a S’more in a cup? Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters might give it a run for its money.

Managing Receivables and Increasing Cash Flow

Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors expands in Arizona

Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors (BPWA), a comprehensive wealth advisory firm and national enterprise building partnership, recently welcomed four experienced advisors to its Scottsdale office.

Brian Coughlan, MBA, Landen Lunsway, CFP®, Chris Palermo, CFA, CFP® and Andrew Reinhardt, CFP® officially joined the BPWA Arizona team as Partners and Managing Directors on Friday. The new team, which has over 60 years of combined investment experience, serves approximately 400 client households and manages more than $500 million in assets.

Coughlan, Lunsway, Palermo and Reinhardt were previously affiliated with Capital Investment Counsel, a wealth management firm based in Denver, Colorado.

“We are elated to have Brian, Landen, Chris and Andy join our BPWA team,” said Bruce Meyer, Founding Partner and Managing Director of BPWA Arizona. “Each individual brings a caliber of service and expertise in tailored investment solutions and financial planning that directly aligns with our mission to provide our clients with superb service across the board. They are all thoughtful, thorough and diligent thinkers and their relationships with clients are built on trust and mutual respect. We are extremely excited about this new partnership and further elevating our office in Arizona.”

In addition to Meyer, the foursome will be working alongside advisors Matt Armistead, CFP®, CIMA®, Eric Newby and Andrew Saltzman, CFP® in the BPWA Arizona office.

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with these four talented individuals,” said Matt Cooper, President of Beacon Pointe Advisor’s Private Client Group and head of BPWA. “With Brian, Landen, Chris and Andy, we are adding four senior advisors in the prime of their careers, who also happen to represent a significant block of business. This merger will not only more than double our advisor count in Scottsdale, but also set the foundation for that location to become a multi-billion dollar office.”

Coughlan has 16 years of investment experience with major banks and private money management firms. In addition to his expertise in customized portfolio management, investment recommendations and financial planning, he has also underwritten municipal bond issues throughout the United States, and is a visiting Professor of Finance in the Keller Graduate School of Management’s MBA program.

Lunsway brings over 14 years of experience in the financial industry to the team and has extensive knowledge of investments, insurance, tax, estate and retirement planning. He was a portfolio manager with Capital Investment Counsel and has also worked with large investment advisory clients at Charles Schwab Advisor Services.

Palermo has over 15 years of investment experience and specializes in portfolio management with an emphasis on financial, retirement, estate, tax and insurance planning. Prior to his time at Capital Investment Counsel, he managed assets for high-net-worth individuals, foundations and non-profit organizations at Northern Trust in Phoenix. Palermo also worked for Charles Schwab, where his various roles included asset management, derivative trading and conducting investment seminars.

Reinhardt has spent over 15 years facilitating growth and creating asset protection strategies for both high-net-worth individuals and families. He has specific expertise in the financial planning areas of retirement analysis, investment management, insurance, and tax and estate planning. In addition to his time at Capital Investment Counsel, Reinhardt served as an investment consultant with Charles Schwab and worked for Hackett Investment Advisors as a portfolio manager.

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

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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.

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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
Az Business Leaders reception.
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.
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
Az Business Leaders reception.
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.
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
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
Cheryl Green and Kathleen Goeppinger
Cheryl Green and Kathleen Goeppinger
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AZ Big Media Publisher Cheryl Green and Editor in Chief Michael Gossie
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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/.