Tag Archives: arizona commerce authority

healthcare

ZocDoc will bring 600 jobs to Valley

A New York company that helps patients connect with doctors through an online service is opening a Scottsdale office and will hire more than 600 workers in the next three years.

ZocDoc is a free service for patients that also lets them book appointments online. Gov. Jan Brewer and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced the office opening on Tuesday.

Brewer has made three other major jobs announcements in recent weeks, including a new General Motors information technology innovation center in Chandler that will have 1,000 high-tech employees.

All three are benefiting from incentives from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The Commerce Authority also was involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

The company says it will hire nearly 70 people to staff the office by year’s end.

rsz_davecheatham_velocityretail_small_2013

Retail Overview: Big Boxes, Big Decisions

 

As a building owner of a vacant big box (or perhaps soon-to-be-vacant), there are a lot of factors that affect the return on your investment and the success of your asset.

From our experience in working with owners as they analyze their asset, we have found that one common denominator applies to every situation — the owner must be armed with specific market information so that they can make educated decisions.

Market intelligence or market analytics play a key role in nearly every building sale or lease. While it is important to know the vacancy rate in the market, it is even more important to drill down to specifics about your product type and market area.

Following are some questions you can ask yourself about your building or asset:

>> How many vacant big boxes are in the immediate trade area (what is my competition)?

>> Are the big boxes of the same product type? Neighborhood, vs. power center, vs. anchored, vs. unanchored?

>>  What is the average length of time these boxes are on the market before they lease or sell?

>> What deals have been completed recently which are similar? What was the rental rate, or concessions such as free rent or TI dollars?

>> Who would be the typical tenants to lease or buy the space? Are they already in the area?

>> Will the other tenants in my shopping center be able to stay open if the anchor space is vacant? If so, for how long?

Chances are you do not know all of these answers, or even know where you can get this information. However, we believe that these answers are critical to a successful outcome for your asset. Whether you want to lease and hold it as an investment, or whether you want to sell it as is, the information you gather to make that decision is critical.

Velocity Retail Group has allocated significant resources over the past two years to create a structured research vehicle aimed specifically at big box owners. We have drilled down to specific product types within cities, market areas and regional areas. Additionally, understanding absorption, vacancy and new construction are critical factors to any real estate decision.

Over the past year, we have been asked to present our information to various economic, industry and governmental groups throughout the Valley. The feedback we receive from these presentations has been extremely positive. In order to help share this information in a format that communicates the analytics succinctly we have created a video podcast series for our clients.

Click on the video at the bottom of this article to watch the eight-minute market overview recapping 2012.

Dave Cheatham is Managing Principal of Velocity Retail Group. He is an authority on retail real estate in the disciplines of brokerage, project leasing, development, consulting and advisory services. He is a senior advisor to merchants, entrepreneurs, investors and senior retail executives throughout the industry.

Jan Brewer

Brewer, GM announce Chandler Innovation Center

Michigan-based General Motors (GM), together with Governor Jan Brewer, Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), announced today GM has selected Chandler as the site of its fourth Information Technology Innovation Center.  These IT Innovation Centers enable GM to in-source the company’s innovation capabilities, strengthening its global competitiveness.

With the announcement, GM expects to invest $21 million in the new Chandler facility and hire 1,000 high-wage employees over the next five years.

“GM could have chosen to locate this premier facility anywhere in the country, so it is a tremendous credit to our state and everything we have to offer that GM has decided to build right here in Arizona,” said Governor Jan Brewer.  “Today’s announcement speaks volumes about the business-friendly environment we have created in Arizona, including our high-tech workforce, competitive tax policies and lean regulations. I could not be prouder of our state or what this announcement means for the future of the Arizona economy.”

With today’s GM announcement, Chandler joins previously disclosed locations for Innovation Centers in Warren, Mich., Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Georgia.

“The greater Phoenix area is a fantastic hub of emerging technical talent – from university graduates to working professionals. GM needs these kinds of world-class and skilled employees to be as successful as we want to be,” said GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott.  “Chandler is the perfect addition to our overall Innovation Center market strategy, locating in great communities that are on the leading edge of innovation and technology.”

GM’s IT Innovation Centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of on-going operations and increase its delivery of innovation.

“This is exactly the type of technology employer we need in Chandler and in our state,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “The GM Innovation Center is a perfect complement to Chandler’s Price Corridor, and furthers the City’s reputation as a regional hub for innovation and high-tech businesses.”

GM will begin recruiting and hiring software developers, database administrators and system analysts immediately.  The new Innovation Center is expected to be operational by first quarter 2014. Interested candidates can apply for positions at http://jobs.gm.com/.

“We are thrilled with GM’s selection of Arizona and its significant increased investment in our community.  The company’s long-term commitment grows and strengthens our economy in the form of quality jobs, high wages and capital investment, building on the technology and economic base in our state,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.  “It has been wonderful working with GM’s team throughout this process, and we look forward to a continued successful partnership for many years to come.”

“General Motors could not have found a better innovation partner than the City of Chandler, which has worked hard to earn its well-deserved status as one of the western U.S.’s top technology cities,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “GM’s investment is testament to our skilled workforce and quality lifestyle, as well as competitive and uncomplicated business landscape. Indeed, today’s announcement is a win for the entire region, and we look forward to developing a lasting partnership with General Motors.”

Arizona SciTech Festival - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona House panel OKs high-tech tax credits

An Arizona House committee has given initial approval to a bill that sets up a tax credit for insurance companies who invest in a new high-tech fund overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The bill sponsored by Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin gives insurers a credit against premium taxes they would owe of up to $10 million in the budget year beginning July 1 and $20 million in the next two years.

Tobin says the credit will prompt investment in biotechnology, semiconductors, electronics or other high-tech businesses.

It is one of two tax credit bills he is pushing that expand or create new tax credits. Tobin contends they will spur economic growth.

The bill passed the Commerce Committee Wednesday on a 7-2 vote with two Republicans opposing Tobin’s bill.

srp installs solar energy systems

Energy Consortium’s Roadmap puts state of path to build industry

Imagine Arizona as the energy hub of the Southwest — where major regional transmission lines tie into infrastructure in the state and serve a growing regional demand for energy. Arizona would be a place where an increasing percentage of jobs are related to the energy industry, whether in manufacturing, generation, transmission, energy efficiency, service or technology innovation. Many of these jobs would be higher-wage jobs requiring a skilled labor force fed by Arizona’s schools and universities. Arizona could be a hub of energy-sector jobs, with factories making equipment for the industry and power plants shipping electricity to neighboring states via new power lines, all contributing to a better economy.

That is the essence of the Arizona Energy Consortium’s Energy Roadmap, which the group hopes with be a catalyst for the state’s energy industry in the same way Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap helped the state increase bioscience jobs by 41 percent and helped increase the number of bioscience establishments by 27 percent during its 10-year plan.

“It was important to create this document to give the energy industry a unified voice and direction,” said said Michelle De Blasi, co-chair of the AEC and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “The energy industry is going to be here forever. We are always going to need energy. So the Roadmap was designed to make the industry better for everyone — consumers, developers, legislators. So it was critical that we get it right.”

This is the vision the Roadmap hopes to realize over the next decade: Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.

Once that vision is realized, De Blasi said the state can expect to reap these benefits:
• Enhanced job creation and higher-wage jobs within Arizona
• Increased state economic revenue
• Enhanced energy export potential
• Heightened energy self-sufficiency and national and state security
• Increased transmission reliability
• Continued low cost energy

“This Roadmap is going to help Arizona be looked at differently from outside its borders,” said Chris Davey, co-chair with De Blasi of the AEC and president of EnviroMission, which is developing a solar tower in Western Arizona. “The Roadmap will create a sense of certainty, which appeals to the finance community. So when they are looking to invest, that certainty creates a more attractive environment for developers and investors.”

Davey and De Blasi said they will be rolling out the Roadmap this year, presenting it to groups throughout the state. For more information on the Roadmap, visit aztechcouncil.org.

ROADMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
Arizona Public Service
Bridge Strategy Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
City of Mesa, the Office of the Mayor
Cleantech Open
Dircks
DIRTT
DMB Associates
Energy Services Coalition
EnviroMission
Faithful+Gould
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greenberg Traurig
The Green Chamber – Greater Phoenix
Golder Associates
Hensel Phelps
Ikoloji
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
J.D. Porter & Associates
Kolbe Connect
Matthew McDonnell
Ormond Group, LLC
RG Schmelzer, Inc.
Salt River Project
Stream Energy
Tucson Electric Power
Valley Forward
Valley Partnership

Business Awards: Are They Worth The Effort Of Applying?

Scottsdale Realtors hand out awards

Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors (SAAR) announced their Annual Award recipients at their January 31st Membership Breakfast “Template for Arizona’s Future” which featured a panel of distinguished state leaders including Wellington “Duke “ Reiter, Sr. VP, ASU Foundation, Grady Gammage, Sr. Fellow, ASU Morrison Institute, Marisa Walker, Sr. VP Arizona Commerce Authority and Michael Ryan, Ryan Media.

Elaine Grill, of Re/Max Excalibur was named Realtor of the Year. Grill has been an active member of SAAR for the past twelve years.  Additionally, she has volunteered countless hours serving on the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) and also contributing as a member of the ARMLS Technology Committee.

Affiliate of the Year, Lonny Gibson, Alliance Financial Resources was honored for his contributions on SAAR’s Community Outreach and Awareness Committee and his leadership with the Lockbox for Seniors Program in conjunction with the Scottsdale Public Safety Department.

Citizen of the Year, Beverly Damore is President and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank and was recognized for her commitment to community and her work on behalf of the hungry in Arizona.

The Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors would like to once again congratulate and thank Elaine Grill, Lonny Gibson and Beverly Damore for their dedication to the Association and Scottsdale Area Community.  Over two hundred business and community leaders attended the event at Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale.

TREO-Chairmans_Circle_2013

TREO adds to leadership

The TREO Board of Directors announced the following new leadership additions:

> New Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect: Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink. The Vice Chairman serves a key leadership role in partnership with the Chairman of the Board, and serves as Chair-Elect for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.

New Chairman’s Circle Members:
> Karen D. Mlawsky, CEO, University of Arizona Medical Center
> Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

“We’re thrilled to continue adding top business leadership to our ranks,” said Steve Eggen, retired CFO, Raytheon Missile Systems. “We have put together the right critical mass of leaders to accelerate our economic growth.”

As CenturyLink’s Vice President and General Manager, Guy Gunther is responsible for Northern and Southern Arizona markets for voice, data, entertainment and managed services, including P&L, field operations, customer experience, direct and indirect sales channels, network development and community relations. Gunther has over 20 years of senior management experience in telecommunications, consulting firms and finance. “I am honored to become part of the leadership of this effective organization,” said Gunther. “TREO is the connective tissue in the region – promoting our assets and creating value for companies looking to establish or expand operations in Southern Arizona.”

As CEO of the Hospital Division of The University of Arizona Health Network, Karen Mlawsky oversees both The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus and The University of Arizona Medical – South Campus, as well as dozens of affiliated clinics and physicians’ offices. She previously served as vice president of oncology services for University Medical Center in Tucson and spent more than 13 years at the Ohio State University Medical Center. “Health care will likely be one of the top job-creating industries, regardless of a slow economic recovery,” said Mlawsky. “There is tremendous opportunity to contribute to our region’s economic development through teaching and training our future health-care workforce.”

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership and experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 65,000 quality jobs. With Governor Brewer’s visionary leadership, and a private sector board of directors made up of some of the state’s most successful CEOs, the ACA has established an aggressive five-year plan and is experiencing strong results in strengthening the state’s overall economy. “Partnering with regional groups such as TREO is critical to our overall success. TREO is central to a larger, collaborative movement in the state,” said Watson. “As a result of our strong, long-standing working relationship, we will continue to attract quality companies creating high-wage jobs in the Tucson region, benefitting the statewide economy.”

TREO Officers include:
> Chairman of the Board – Steve Eggen, (ret.) Chief Financial Officer, Raytheon Missile Systems
> Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect – Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink
> Immediate Past Chairman – Paul Bonavia, Chairman and CEO, UNS Energy Corp. & Tucson Electric Power Company
>  Secretary/Treasurer – Lisa Lovallo, Market Vice President, Southern Arizona, Cox Communications

TREO is governed by a 16-member Chairman’s Circle, which serves as a key advisory group for business development strategy and represents the Tucson region to national business prospects, and a 46-member Board of Directors.

TREO continues its Chairman’s Circle/Board of Directors expansion efforts begun in 2010. Economic development is a high priority, demanding increased engagement from the key companies, organizations and people that drive the Southern Arizona economy. TREO leadership recognizes the importance of providing strong thought leadership for community development and strengthening the Tucson “product” and positioning as a business center.

The above new members join other leaders providing both private and public sector perspective in accelerating economic development. For a complete listing of the TREO Chairman’s Circle and Board of Directors, visit http://www.treoaz.org/About-TREO-Board-of-Directors.aspx.

From left: Steven Murray, president of Direct Energy; Jim Lundy, chairman of GPEC; Kevin Sullivan and Matt George of the Arizona Commerce Authority. Photo by Huan Vo/Az Business

Direct Energy bringing 500 jobs to Valley

Wednesday marked the official announcement of the expansion into Arizona of Direct Energy, a multibillion-dollar energy company which promises to create about 500 new jobs by the end of this year.

Based in Houston and specializing in upstream production and downstream delivery, Direct Energy is one of North America’s largest energy services providers with approximately 6,000 employees.

The company worked with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Greater Phoenix Economic Council to open a new call center in Tempe, which is expected to bring $7 million of capital investment to the region and create 250 to 300 new jobs when it’s open.

“I can’t tell you how easy they have made it for us to expand and invest in Arizona,” said Steven Murray, president of Direct Energy. “It’s an easy, pleasant experience.”

Expected to be fully functional by the end of the first quarter year of 2013, the new call center will be tasked with call taking for the residential energy business, which will enable Direct Energy to “offer a wide range of products and services in one location,” according to the company’s news release.

Working with the ACA and GPEC gave Direct Energy an understanding of and access to a quality workforce that attracted Direct Energy in the first place, Murray said.

“Beyond the ease, I mean the quality workforce, you can have an entirely educated, motivated, hardworking people, and it really makes it easy,” he said.

“I think this commitment just illustrates that we do have a quality workforce in addition to the quality, smart economics policies that GPEC and ACA, the governor’s office, the state Legislature have been working behind the scenes just to get this economy going again,” said Jim Lundy, chairman of GPEC’s board of directors and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Direct Energy is on a mission to make a difference to its customers through the provision of choice, which will help families with tight budgets.

“In a world of constraint household economics, people on tight budgets need to have products that meet their needs and give them control of how they are actually consuming and spending money,” Murray said.

Murray said Direct Energy has grown quickly over the years, and with each step in growth, the company is doing its best to invest and create jobs in communities where it started.

Direct Energy is accepting job applications online at www.directyourenergy.com, and at the Nation Career Fair at Phoenix Airport Marriott, 1101 N. 44thSt., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 21.

boeing-phantom-ray

It takes fuel to win tech race

Many of us can relate to thinking of Arizona’s economy as an automobile race. To win, you need a smooth race course, a fast car, a winning driver and high-powered fuel.
Carrying that analogy into Arizona’s technology sector, it’s clear that a lot of resources have been invested and progress has been made in building a world-class race course.  We’ve made tremendous strides in creating a business climate and technology environment for facilitating both private and public sector support to address the needs of Arizona’s technology businesses.

The Arizona Technology Council has worked collaboratively with many different technology champions to build this course. Technology issues are supported by the Governor’s office, the state’s legislature, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and more.

Technology incubators and shared space facilities such as Gangplank in Chandler, Avondale and Tucson; Hackspace and Venture Catalyst at ASU’s SkySong in Scottsdale; BioInspire in Peoria; Innovation Incubator in Chandler; AzCI in Tucson; and AZ Disruptors in Scottsdale are making sure that today’s innovators are being given the right support, tools and environment to create the next big thing.

Collectively, our wins have included the passage of a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation, the creation of the first statewide Arizona SciTech Festival and the birth of the Arizona Innovation Institute, to name a few.
Arizona’s technology industry also has great race cars. These are the technologies and intellectual property that create wealth and jobs driven by both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs.  Companies such as Intel, Microchip Technologies, Freescale, ON Semiconductor and Avnet can all be found here.  Nearly all of the largest aerospace and defense prime contractors in the nation are located in Arizona, including Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

The state’s entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in companies such as WebPT, Infusionsoft, Axosoft, iLinc and Go Daddy that were founded in Arizona along with the many innovators that are coming to the table every day with new ideas rich in technology.

These companies large and small are driven by some of the greatest race car drivers the nation has produced.

But when it comes to fuel, Arizona’s economy has always been running close to empty. We lack the vital capital needed to win the race. Having access to angel investors, venture capital and private equity as well as debt instruments is critical to Arizona’s success.
The situation has not been improving on the equity side of the fuel equation. To offer some relief, the Arizona Technology Council is proposing legislation that would create a system of contingent tax credits to incentivize both in-state and out-of-state investors to capitalize Arizona companies.  This program, called the Arizona Fund of Funds, would allow the state to offer $100 million in tax incentives to minimize the risk for those seeking to invest in high-growth companies.  The state government’s role would be to serve as a guarantor through these contingent tax credits in case the investments don’t yield the projected results.  Expect more information on this important piece of legislation as it advances.

On the debt side of the fuel equation, there are encouraging signs that the worst of the credit crunch may be over. Early-stage companies need access to debt instruments, or loans. Capital is needed for equipment and expansion. A line of credit can help early-stage companies through ongoing cash-flow issues. But loan activity is still modest in Arizona for small companies. It remains heavily weighted toward the strongest corporate and consumer borrowers.

Capital goes hand in hand with innovation, high-paying jobs and cutting-edge technology, products and services. Before Arizona’s economy can win the race, we will need to become more self-sufficient at providing the fuel necessary to be a winner.

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

rsz_aris_announcement_group

Aris Integration Establishing HQ, Manufacturing Center in Tucson

Aris Integration announced that it is establishing its corporate headquarters and a manufacturing center in the Tucson region.

The building systems company plans to bring nearly 600 jobs to support its innovative, sustainable building technologies used in residential and commercial construction.

Aris will manufacture a cost-effective, panelized-wall system that integrates light-gauge-steel structural framing, ultra-lightweight foam insulation and vapor-barrier products and processes with other sustainable materials and energy-efficient design.

Aris’s new production process will yield fully customizable commercial and residential structural insulated panels up to 32-feet long, 10-feet tall and up to 12-inches thick, which will be lighter and faster to install.

Changes to panel dimensions, insulation value, interior/exterior coatings, stud spacing, as well as the addition of unique architectural features, such as arches and window/door designs, can be easily modified during the manufacturing process, reducing jobsite construction time and cost.

The same technology will be used in non-thermal wall panels, roof trusses and floor systems, to ensure high performance throughout the entire building.

The company is in the final stages of the decision-making process on a physical location of its new facility. UK-based Fusion Building Systems will be a key partner in the new facility.

Aris plans to begin manufacturing operations in Tucson during fall 2013. The company anticipates hiring nearly 600 skilled workers over the next five years, with 250 over the near term. Positions include executive management, sales & marketing, quality control, HR, and manufacturing, among others. Wage levels will be competitive with the industry.

Experienced construction industry personnel will be needed. The hiring process will be announced via arisintegration.com.

Aris chose Southern Arizona for its experienced pool of construction tradesmen as well as coordinated public/private support. The Tucson area facility will be the company’s second of six planned regional manufacturing locations across the U.S. by 2017.

“We’re pleased to locate our second manufacturing operation and Aris headquarters here in Arizona, where many on our team call home,” said Duane Armijo, CEO and founder of Aris Integration, LLC. “As a Southwest native, I truly believe the fuel for our nation’s housing recovery will stem from the type of next-generation jobs and innovative technologies that we are bringing to our Tucson facility.”

Beyond serving as a significant area employer, Aris will also be a provider of energy-efficient and sustainable building systems to cut energy and construction costs for many state and municipal projects. In addition to manufacturing, the company will also offer design, engineering and construction services for its high performance building systems.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Aris Integration to Southern Arizona. The growth of headquarter and manufacturing facilities contributes to a healthier, stronger overall economy,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.

“Additionally, the construction of Aris Integration’s cutting-edge, renewable building materials is an investment in a more sustainable future in Arizona and around the world. We want to thank our partners Pima County and TREO for their strong, collaborative effort in ensuring Aris selected Arizona as its new headquarters location.”

“One of the hallmarks of Pima County’s support of new and existing businesses is its focus on workforce development,” said Sharon Bronson, vice chair, Pima County Board of Supervisors. “Pima County opened the nation’s first workforce center aimed at helping military veterans find jobs in July of this year. The center is ready to assist Aris right away.”

“Aris Integration fits very well with our region’s assets as well as our vision of providing innovative products and services that contribute to important industries,” said Joe Snell, president & CEO, TREO. “I am proud of the unified approach displayed throughout this recruitment process, which included direct involvement from several members of the TREO Chairman’s Circle and Board of Directors.”

 

AZRE - Peter Madrid - Small Business Summit

Goodyear to host small business summit; AZRE editor to be keynote speaker

The City of Goodyear’s Economic Development Division, along with Sonoran Technology, will host a Small Business Summit for existing or emerging small businesses in the Southwest Valley from 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Tuscany Falls Clubhouse in PebbleCreek, located at 16222 Clubhouse Dr.

The summit will feature eight sessions that include topics involving banking, marketing, business development, business performance and speakers, including Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord and others from the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Small Business Administration, Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix Industrial Development Authority, U.S. Small Business Association and West Valley National Bank.

The event’s keynote speaker will be Peter Madrid, editor of AZRE – Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine. Madrid’s keynote speech will discuss “Embracing New Media: Big Steps to Building Your Small Business.”

“I am extremely pleased the City has partnered with one of our Goodyear small businesses, Sonoran Technology, to offer this inspiring and informative training for small businesses here in the Southwest Valley,” Mayor Lord said. “I am confident with the business experts on the program and the networking opportunities, business owners will leave with tools to help them succeed.”

Registration for the event is free, but seating is limited. Small business owners and their representatives can register online at goodyearaz.gov/summit or call Tina Daniels in the City’s Economic Development Division at 623.882.7874. The registration deadline is Oct. 1.

Attendees at the event will also have the chance to win an iPad by purchasing $10 raffle tickets. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Homeless Youth Connection. The Small Business Summit sponsors include APS, Insperity, Paragon Business Equipment, Sonoran Technology, Southwest Gas and West Valley National Bank.

cardon

Ex-Commerce Authority leader gets $60K bonus

The former chief executive of the Arizona Commerce Authority will receive a $60,000 discretionary bonus after quitting with more than two years left on a three-year contract and returning to his private businesses.

A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer told The Arizona Republic it’s his understanding that private funds will pay for Don Cardon’s bonus.

Cardon drew a $300,000 annual salary as Commerce Authority CEO, and he was eligible to receive a discretionary bonus of up to $75,000.

Critics have questioned whether Cardon’s compensation was excessive and have criticized the Commerce Authority for a lack of transparency with public funds.

Commerce officials contend they have been overly transparent and say Cardon’s salary and bonus were in line with industry standards.

The Commerce Authority’s executive committee voted Wednesday to give Cardon nearly 81 percent of the maximum bonus amount based on the number of new jobs the authority says were created in Arizona during his tenure.

Capital investment made in the state and long-term policy and strategy advancement achieved during the past fiscal year also factored into the bonus. Brewer also approved the contract, which was released publicly Thursday.

Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said the governor supports the “contract closeout” with Cardon.

The executive committee also voted to increase the pay of Sandra Watson, interim chief executive and president, by 15 percent, to $218,500.

Both actions drew criticism from Democratic Rep. Chad Campbell of Phoenix, the Republic reported.

“The Arizona Commerce Authority is a runaway train,” Campbell said. “This organization is handing out pay raises and bonuses to insiders. This kind of Wall Street mentality is dangerous, and it has to stop.”

Just more than half of Cardon’s bonus came because the Commerce Authority said Cardon helped create 5,610 jobs and $401 million in new capital investment.

However, not all of those jobs and capital investment funds will have been created on his watch.

Instead, Cardon is being credited for jobs and capital investment that businesses have promised to create during the next two years, even though he no longer is chief executive. The closeout contract did not break down how many jobs were created so far, or the capital investment that occurred during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Nor did the contract offer future projections.

Brewer and the Legislature created the Commerce Authority to attract jobs to Arizona. Although it is a state agency, private business leaders sit on the board and Brewer is chairwoman.

“I’m very proud of the work that was done by the governor and the Legislature, and I was blessed to be a part of it,” Cardon said.

Benson said it was his understanding that TEAM ACA, a nonprofit fundraising organization with close ties to the Commerce Authority, will later reimburse the state for the amount of Cardon’s bonus.

Cardon is now the paid executive director of TEAM ACA. He said his group next week will pay the state for his bonus, as well as for half of his salary while he was CEO.

Cardon announced Jan. 11 that he would resign from the Commerce Authority and return to running his businesses. Following a public uproar over the fact that he quit after taking the taxpayer-funded signing bonus, Cardon said he would return it.

clear energy systems coming to tempe

Clear Energy Systems Breaks Ground On Tempe Location

Clear Energy Systems, an innovator in mobile and distributed power generation systems, broke ground at its new location at Elliot Business Park in Tempe. The new facility is located at 7825 S. Hardy Drive. The 158,000 square foot building will feature 30 foot clear heights, a steel roof structure, energy efficient features and concrete paved truck areas.

In October, Clear Energy Systems announced it would expand its operations in Arizona, creating 225 quality new jobs, increasing Arizona’s exports globally and investing $10 million in the local economy.

“I am pleased that our planned expansion in Tempe is moving forward, and we are one step closer to moving into our new home,” said Tony Carmen, President and CEO of Clear Energy Systems. “We looked at many locations for our new site, and it was the collaborative work and support from Governor Brewer, the Arizona Commerce Authority, GPEC, and the City of Tempe that ultimately sealed the deal for us to bring the Genesis 1000 to Elliot Business Park.”

“Clear Energy’s decision to expand its operations in our State is a true testament to Arizona’s pro-business climate, competitive tax policies and skilled workforce,” said Governor Jan Brewer.

“I would like to thank Clear Energy Systems, the ACA and its partners for helping once again to bring quality jobs and meaningful investment to Arizona’s economy.”

“Tempe has long considered itself to be a great place to do business, and Clear Energy’s decision to expand here reinforces that belief,” said Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.

“The ACA worked closely with our economic development partners and the City of Tempe to ensure Clear Energy Systems knew all of the incredible benefits of doing business in Arizona,” said Don Cardon, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Clear Energy is a global leader in advanced technology, and the product being made in Tempe will likely be exported and provide incredible benefits to millions of people around the world.”

“Clear Energy Systems’ decision to stay in Greater Phoenix is testament to the unique collaborative effort Greater Phoenix has in support of regional economic development,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Clear Energy Systems is exactly the type of innovative company we like to see putting down roots in the region, and the City of Tempe is certainly the right place for them to do so.”

Clear Energy Systems chose the Elliot Business Park location for its enhanced building features including structure to support heavy duty manufacturing equipment and layout compatibility with the company’s production targets. Kevin Lange of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona represented  Clear Energy Systems, and Jerry McCormick of CBRE represented the building owner and developer, Tempe Marketplace Commerce Associates, an affiliate of Transpacific Development Southwest. DL Withers has been selected by the developer to construct the new building.

“Clear Energy Systems is a great addition to the current tenant mix of national companies at Elliot Business Park,” said Vincent Curci of Tempe Marketplace Commerce Associates. “Their new 158,000-square-foot facility and its sister 158,000-square-foot speculative building are the final phase of the park.”

“It can’t be understated how important the Clear Energy Systems and Elliott Business Park construction projects are to the continued growth in construction jobs in Arizona. With the combined vision of developers like Tempe Marketplace Commerce Associates we are putting the Arizona construction trades back to work,” said Dan Withers, president and CEO of D.L. Withers Construction.

For more information on Clear Energy Systems, visit Clear Energy Systems’ website at clearenergysystems.com.

Infusionsoft - Park Place

Infusionsoft Moving Its Corporate Headquarters To New Chandler Office

Infusionsoft, which creates sales and marketing software for small businesses, is relocating from Gilbert to a new 86,000 SF headquarters in Chandler at the end of this year.

Infusionsoft worked closely with the City of Chandler and the Arizona Commerce Authority to find a new home at Allred Park Place in the Price Corridor. Expecting to grow to 1,000 employees over the next three to four years, Infusionsoft will occupy the entire two-story building.

Willmeng Construction of Mesa is the general contractor and Balmer Architectural Group of Phoenix is the architect. CBRE will handle the leasing of space.

“We invested a great deal of time in our search for the ideal home for Infusionsoft as we continue this next phase of explosive growth,” says Clate Mask, CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft. “Chandler’s Price Corridor represents a budding center for tech companies and talent. In the City of Chandler and the Arizona Commerce Authority, we’ve found true partners committed to our expansion, and to the success of our small business customers.”

Mayor Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler goes on to say, “Infusionsoft is a perfect fit for Chandler and the high-tech, creative class workforce we continue to recruit. Collaborative partnerships are critical in this knowledge-based economy, and we know Infusionsoft will be a stellar addition to the technology hub being created in the Price Corridor.”

Infusionsoft is rapidly approaching 300 employees, growing its workforce at a rate of 15% per quarter, and is currently hiring across all departments. With more than 32,000 users in 62 countries, Infusionsoft’s Web-based all-in-one-one sales and marketing software helps small businesses get more customers, increase sales and save time.

Infusionsoft integrates CRM, email marketing, e-commerce and marketing automation into one simple-to-use system that helps small businesses automatically market to prospects and customers. In the 1st quarter of this year, Infusionsoft customers captured 11 million leads with the software and $281M in e-commerce dollars were processed through the Infusionsoft shopping cart.

“Infusionsoft is a rising star in Arizona, and the ACA is pleased to see this company realize such success,” said Don Cardon, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Infusionsoft was one of the first companies to take advantage of Arizona’s Angel Tax Credit to raise seed funding, and subsequent venture capital.  One of the ACA’s main priorities is growing our own — we provide assistance to help Arizona companies expand. Infusionsoft is a marquee employer in a growing industry sector.  The ACA is proud to have them as a partner in Arizona.”

Mask continues, “In this new location, we’ll create a world-class headquarters that represents the vibrancy and innovation of Infusionsoft. It will become the training center for small businesses in Arizona, and worldwide, to get the tools and education to help power their success.”

Working with the developer, Douglas Allred Company, Infusionsoft is creating a remarkable new work environment that will help the company continue to be one of the Best Workplaces in America and a Best Places to Work in the Valley.  The new space is designed to give employees a culture of inclusiveness, innovation and fun. Infusionsoft’s team will occupy the entire building, which is the first major speculative office building to be built in Arizona since 2009.

ACA FAST Grants promote growth

ACA Awards FAST Grants To Small Businesses

This week 25 small businesses were awarded $184,832 in FAST Grants by the Arizona Commerce Authority. The ACA hopes that this will initiate the commercialization process. The grants ranged from $5,000 to $7,500 for each company and may be used toward reviews of technology, commercialization feasibility studies and commercializations assistance.

According to the president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority Don Cardon, “This is a seed investment the ACA is making towards startup companies which we believe will assist the company advance in the crucial steps towards bringing the idea to the market place.” Don Cardon states that he is pleased with the amount of responses received for the program and believes that they are a promising glimpse into the future of Arizona.

Since 2008, Arizona has seen a 57 percent increase in entrepreneurial activity, ranking 5th in the U.S. for business start-ups. Programs such as the ACA’s FAST Grants awards have been crucial in the advancement of small businesses.

Executive director Laura Tyler of Stimwave Technologies Inc. said, “We are so thankful to the AZ Commerce Authority for their support of Stimwave’s efforts in expanding the reach of our innovative wireless neuromodulation platform.” Tyler also added that the grant will allow Stimwave to complete market investigations and device planning as well as local research partners like TGen/TD2 and Barrow’s Neurological Institute. This will further their ability to provide effective and minimally invasive therapies for cancer and brain disorder patients.

The co-founder and chief technology officer of Acudora, Inc. stated that the grant will be used to assist their continued commercialization efforts. Mark Banister, founder and chief technology officer of Medipacs said, “This grant will provide Medipacs the ability to finish market research and our product launch plan for a medipacs device that can be launched in the Veterinary market late this year. This product will help build value for our investors and jobs for Arizona.”

Besides awarding FAST Grants, the ACA also secured $18.2 million for the Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund — A fund that helps stimulate business growth, capital investment and the creation of jobs in Arizona. The ACA’s second Arizona Innovation Challenge is also underway and semi-finalists will be announced in early March.

2012 Arizona FAST Grant Recipients
Acudora, Tucson, $7,500
Arbsource, Tempe, $7,500
Arizona Cancer Therapeutics, Tucson, $7,500
Castle Biosciences, Inc., Phoenix, $7,500
Colnatec, Gilbert, $7,500
Cyclone ADG, LLC, Tucson,$7,500
Earth Knowledge, Tucson, $7,440
ECOmplete, LLC, Chandler, $7,500
Fennova Corp., Tucson, $5,000
inXsol, Phoenix, $7,500
Kinetic Muscles, Inc., Tempe, $7,500
Latitude Engineering, LLC, Tucson, $7,440
Medipacs, Inc., Tucson, $7,500
MSDx, Inc., Tucson, $7,500
NEST Energy Services, Prescott Valley, $7,500
Power Gold, Phoenix, $7,500
Prime Solutions Group, Goodyear, $7,500
Provista Diagnostics, Inc., Phoenix, $7,500
Quaesta Instruments, LLC, Tucson, $7,452
Reply Buy, Inc., Scottsdale, $7,500
Science Tomorrow, LLC, Phoenix, $7,500
Serious Integrated, Chandler, $7,500
Siegel Consulting, LLC, Scottsdale, $7,500
Stimwave Technologies, Inc., Scottsdale, $7,500
VisionGate, Phoenix, AZ, $7,500

For more information on the Arizona Commerce Authority and its current projects visit azcommerce.com
Barry Broome, GPEC - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

GPEC’s Barry Broome Outlines Plan To Attract More High-Paying Jobs

Roadmap for the future: GPEC President Barry Broome outlines plan to attract more high-paying jobs, keep the ones we have

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( GPEC ) is beginning 2012 with an updated roadmap, the first leg of a five-year strategic plan, says its CEO and President Barry Broome.

Along with its historical mission to attract high-quality, high-paying jobs to the Valley, Broome says 2012 will also see GPEC bolstering its retention and expansion efforts, particularly in the aerospace industry.

Broome took time recently to list four of this year’s goals in the strategic plan. Look for GPEC to:

1. Help the Arizona Commerce Authority get off the ground. The public-private entity was established last year to create jobs and investment in Arizona. Broome says GPEC is working to coordinate efforts, leverage each other’s strengths and avoid duplicating efforts.

2. Work more diligently on retention and expansion, particularly in the aerospace industry, which is facing potential cuts by Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction, otherwise known as the Supercommittee.

“We’re analyzing 800 aerospace companies as we speak,” Broome says. “We want to make sure we really understand the aerospace sector.”  Information gleaned from analyses will be used to help cities identify companies under threat of budget cuts and find ways to support them.

Using the analytical skills of GPEC’s research team and internalizing it to Arizona is a new undertaking, he says, one that will help everyone better understand the sectors that drive the Valley’s economy. Historically, researchers have — among other things — focused on understanding the California market and which companies there may be candidates for relocation.

3. Support with data and information solid economic development tools. GPEC will be “meticulously” going over Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto letter for Senate Bill 1041, which would have cut the rate at which a business’ property is assessed if it committed to constructing or expanding in Arizona. The bill was meant to complement the larger, business-friendly tax package passed earlier by the Legislature. Broome says if a policy effort emerges to resurrect some of those ideas, GPEC will support it with data and technical expertise.

4. Focus on science and technology. GPEC established an Innovation Council last summer whose mission is to better understand and cultivate opportunities in the high-tech sector, says GPEC board member Steve Shope, president of Sandia Research Corporation and a member of the council.

For more information about GPEC and CEO/President Barry Broome, visit gpec.org.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

 

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Commerce Authority Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary

With the Arizona Commerce Authority celebrating its 1st year, jobs remain the focus as the state’s CRE industry reaps the benefits.

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011In August, Tempe-based First Solar purchased 635 acres in Pinal County for $9.8M and announced plans to build a generating station on the property.

The rapidly expanding, clean-energy company is still constructing its solar module manufacturing plant in Mesa, expected to be up and running by mid-2012 with as many as 600 new, high-paying jobs.

The company also is building generating stations in Gila Bend and Yuma. In January, Power-One opened its first North American manufacturing facility in Phoenix. The California-based company, which makes inverters to convert renewable energy to usable energy, said it will employ as many as 350 people at build-out.

At Power-One’s grand opening ceremonies, Gov. Jan Brewer credited  the Arizona Commerce Authority for the big win and for wielding CEO clout and corporate incentives in making Arizona a hot spot for solar companies looking to expand or relocate.

“I have been consistently focused on ensuring Arizona is a magnet for business relocation, capital investment and a catalyst for the creation of new business and new jobs. And, with the work of my Arizona Commerce Authority, we’re seeing tremendous results in the solar space,” Brewer said at the time.

A year after the Arizona Department of Commerce, a government agency, morphed into the Arizona Commerce Authority, a public-private partnership led by a board of directors filled with many of the state’s top business leaders, six solar companies boasting a combined 1,700 new jobs have announced plans to expand or move to Arizona, says Bennett Curry, who has been piloting the organization’s business attraction efforts since it launched.

Besides growth in the renewable energy sector, diverse companies are finding Arizona attractive. They include:

  • Amazon, which recently announced plans to add another 1.2 MSF of warehousing space and 200 jobs to its existing Arizona enterprises;
  • Able Engineering, which hopes to expand into new manufacturing facilities in Mesa, eventually more than doubling its 230-employee roster within a few years of the expansion;
  • Ventana Medical Systems, which is expanding and adding another 500 jobs in Oro Valley.

Best is yet to come

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Arizona Commerce Authority counts new jobs, not the square footage to house them, so it’s difficult to estimate the new office, manufacturing and warehousing space represented by the business growth, Curry says.

But while Arizona Commerce Authority’s mission is to generate jobs, Arizona’s commercial real estate industry is a big beneficiary of the growth, adds Mike Haenel, executive vice president Industrial Division at Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial.

“Job growth creates absorption, construction and new development opportunities for the state’s commercial real estate industry,” Haenel said.

Arizona Commerce Authority has assisted companies such as Amazon, First Solar, Suntech and others with expansions and relocations, he says, but possibly even more important is the organization’s impact convincing local legislators and other Arizonans about the importance of proffering tax breaks and other enticements to snag coveted business.

He credits the prestige of the corporate leaders backing the group with influencing passage of the Arizona competitiveness package. And their combined weightiness as enticing to national business leaders looking for relocation options.

“Even though the Arizona Commerce Authority has only been in existence for one year, and the fact that we are in a slow recovery cycle, the Arizona Commerce Authority has  been instrumental in educating the business community and those businesses looking to relocate that Arizona has the incentives available for quality job growth,” Haenel says. “We’re still in a tough economy and having Arizona Commerce Authority can only help the state with job attraction.”

Sundt Construction chairman Doug Pruitt, an Arizona Commerce Authority board member, says the organization has logged some early successes.“Working with Arizona Commerce Authority partners, there has been a
massive reduction in vacant space,” he says.  But Pruitt says the biggest bang-for-the-buck is still to come as the organization spent much of its first year laying groundwork.

“Arizona Commerce Authority’s active projects are up 38 percent over a year ago,” Pruitt says. “One of our short-term plans includes aggressive recruitment of California-based firms within our targeted business sectors.”And the vision doesn’t stop at the Pacific Ocean. “Not only are we working to promote the state nationwide, we are taking the message that Arizona is the best place to do business to a global audience,” he says.

DMB Associates chairman Drew Brown, also an Arizona Commerce Authority board member, says each successful recruitment breeds more business. And as the expansions and relocations pile up, a boom in the state’s commercial real estate industry will be a welcome by-product.

“I think Arizona Commerce Authority’s function of attracting high-quality export jobs will be a big shot in the arm for the local economy,” he says. “The multiplier effect will encourage other new jobs.”

As more businesses come to the state, they will fill up vacant residential and commercial real estate, generating demand for new construction and development and the new jobs associated with that. “It’s out there. It will happen,” he says.

Building lasting relationships

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Brown, like other Arizona Commerce Authority leaders, says the organization can’t take most of the credit for attracting the impressive influx of new business during its first year.

Arizona Commerce Authority has been forging important strategic relationships with key economic development groups such as Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) to marshal joint clout, Brown says.

“We are working with the Arizona Commerce Authority on several active projects,” says Laura Shaw, TREO’s senior vice president for Marketing and Communications. “While the authority is still very new and thus getting its legs, so to speak, we have formed a close partnership and have many opportunities moving forward.”

And the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Curry says the new competitiveness package passed early this year opened a lot of doors for Arizona Commerce Authority to pitch the state’s wares.

“Before our toolbox didn’t have a lot of tools,” Curry says. “Now Arizona is ranked high among Western states.”

During a recent trade conference in San Francisco with international companies looking for a U.S. presence, the organization landed 19 meetings with interested prospects, and three are actively pursuing a possible Arizona relocation, he says.

Pruitt adds the Arizona Commerce Authority still faces hurdles — the uncertain global economy and Arizona’s somewhat tarnished reputation regarding school funding, immigration, gun laws and other issues. But he is optimistic.

“Some 300,000 of our residents have lost jobs since the recession began,” Pruitt says. “We realize that people are counting on us to do our job. The Arizona Commerce Authority takes this duty seriously and is focused on a single task — getting businesses to invest in Arizona to create jobs.”

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www.azcommerce.com
www.gpec.org
www.treoaz.org

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Commercial Real Estate Industry - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

How Legal Issues Will Affect The Commercial Real Estate Industry Recovery, 2012

How Legal Issues Will Affect The Commercial Real Estate Industry Recovery, 2012

Arizona legislators packed the recent regular session with 357 new bills covering everything from food stamps to firearms.

But barely a handful will directly impact the state’s commercial real estate industry in 2012, and even those not significantly, says Greg Harris of Lewis and Roca LLP.

Still, that doesn’t mean the recent doings of Arizona’s state government, whether dictated by seemingly non-real estate focused laws or budget issues, won’t make a difference to the industry in the coming year, Harris and other local legal experts predict.

The few commercial real estate-related bills which did make it through the recent session were aimed at easing or clarifying municipal regulations and procedures that otherwise could hamper new development, Harris says.

SB1525, which was the latest of a series of laws aimed at limiting development impact fees, and SB1598, which attempts to provide some uniformity in permitting procedures among municipalities, are examples he cited.

Snell & Wilmer partner Ron Messerly adds a few more. SB1166 creates a tax exemption for certain commercial lease structures, and SB1474 has the effect of restructuring insurance requirements on multi-housing projects, Messerly says.

But any or all of those are unlikely to make much of an impact, the lawyers said.

Nor is anything monumental blowing in the wind for the next legislative session.

“There is nothing bright and shiny on the horizon that will have a significant impact on the commercial real estate industry,” Messerly says.

And that is good news, adds David Kreutzberg of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.

“The legislature was so absorbed with budget problems, it took energy from other issues,” he says.

Kreutzberg, who specializes in hotel real estate, says he was especially pleased that certain  laws which were proposed didn’t pass during the previous session.

He noted a chunk of immigration-related bills that were rejected by the legislature or vetoed by the governor.

“SB1070 was a disaster for the hospitality industry,” Kreutzberg says. “I think the legislature got the message that they were doing injury to the state.”

On another positive note, the legislature’s continued efforts to reform the business property tax structure is a hopeful sign, and the abolishment of the Commerce Department and establishment of the new Arizona Commerce Authority is “promising,” he says.

NAIOP Arizona chairman Mike Haenel echoed Kreutzberg’s concern about revising the tax structure to make Arizona attractive to potential new or expanding businesses.

Haenel says job generators will fuel the future of Arizona’s commercial real estate industry, and HB2001 may have more of an impact on the industry in the coming years than any of the actual real estate-focused bills passed during the recent legislative session.

All those legal issues help establish Arizona’s attractiveness as a place for businesses that might be looking to expand or establish new offices in the state, he said.

A legislative negative, however, is state budget cuts for public schools, Kreutzberg says.

“We’re losing our competitive edge. It’s one of the things that is holding Arizona back,” he says. “The governor and the legislature need to face the fact that it’s a big issue.”

And not all legal issues impacting Arizona’s business growth, and therefore it’s commercial real estate industry, are spawned by the lawmakers.

Harris is concerned less about what the legislature did than what local advocacy groups did or may do to restrict development.

Examples include recent litigation and unfavorable rulings on Phoenix’s incentives for upscale mixed use complex City North, and Glendale’s proposals for saving the Phoenix Coyotes, the centerpiece of the city’s vast commerce cluster.

“Even if you have a project that most think is a good idea, advocacy groups challenging (incentives) may have a chilling effect on investors moving forward,” Harris says.

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For more information about the real estate industry and the firms mentioned in this story, visit the following links:

www.lrlaw.com
www.swlaw.com
www.ssd.com

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AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

 

AZRE Magazine Digital Issue

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011:

Grand Designs

This issue, find out how AIA Arizona Members are bringing their skills to the global issue. Plus, the Arizona Commerce Authority is 1-year old; how are they making a difference? And as part of our centennial series, take a look at some architectural achievements that have graced Arizona’s diverse landscape. Also, AIA-Arizona members are bringing their skills to the global stage, and our special section covers BOMA, Building Owners & Managers Association, which discusses its mentoring program for young professionals, as well as the TOBY Awards 2011, and much more.

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

Don Cardon, Arizona Commerce Authority

Don Cardon: The Driving Force Behind The Arizona Commerce Authority

A political appointee with a successful track record in the private sector, Don Cardon has become the face of the new and innovating Arizona Commerce Authority. While Gov. Jan Brewer is chair of the public/private economic development agency and sports mogul Jerry Colangelo serves as co-chair, it is Cardon, as president and CEO, who has his hands on the reins.

Leaders who have gotten to know Cardon better during the process of creating the Arizona Commerce Authority say he keeps his cool at all times, in good days and bad, is respectful of all points of view, is thoughtful, and someone who projects an element of stability for the state of Arizona.

But even more importantly, according to Roy Vallee, outgoing chairman and CEO of Avnet, are Cardon’s financial skills.

“Not only does he have numeric literacy, (he also has an)  understanding of financing, how to pull deals together and how to interact with banks and other sources of capital,” Vallee says.

Cardon began his employment with state government in March 2009 as director of the Arizona Department of Housing, and just a couple of months later Brewer appointed him director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, predecessor of the ACA. Before joining the state, Cardon was president and CEO of Cardon Development Group, creating low-income workforce housing projects in Phoenix, Gilbert, Eloy and Winslow, and was the visionary behind the group that helped create CityScape, a mixed-use development in Downtown Phoenix.

Cardon’s stated intention was to see the ACA through its formative stage until a permanent president and CEO could be brought onboard, enabling him to return to the more lucrative private sector. But as the ACA board of directors took shape, comprising the cream of Arizona’s business and community leaders, Cardon was urged by Brewer, Colangelo and board member Michael Manson to remain.

“We sat him down and said you can’t create vision and hope with no structure or follow through,” says Manson, co-founder/executive chairman of Motor Excellence in Flagstaff. “That’s the worst kind of leadership. He realized that was true. We identified him as one of the few people in the state who had the political connections, the Commerce Department background and the business connections to make this work.”

Manson, who has founded several other companies, including PETsMART, says Cardon brings enthusiasm, energy and integrity to the ACA.

“He’s eternally optimistic and politically sensitive,” Manson says. “It takes a unique person to be politically rooted, but business oriented, and to be able to handle all of the political and business entities and very strong personalities it requires. He is truly focused on doing the right things for this organization.”

Indeed, focus is a key word in Cardon’s vocabulary. In guiding the ACA, the focus is attracting and retaining businesses in science and technology, aerospace/defense, renewable energy, and small business/entrepreneurship. He once told an interviewer: “You can’t just kind of throw a line in water and say whatever fish comes along you’ll take, which isn’t to say we won’t respond to any other opportunities. But you have to know what you’re trying to go after.”

At the Commerce Department, economic development was “a shotgun approach,” Cardon says. It was an approach he intends to avoid.
“There was no focus within the department,” he says. “Because of the lack of focus, I don’t believe the Legislature has had a great deal of confidence in our efficiency, our ability to accomplish what we set out to do. It was an agency that has really lost touch with what it’s really supposed to be about.”

Another ACA board member, Mary Peters, president of a consulting group bearing her name, touts Cardon’s private-sector background.
“Don understands what it takes to attract and retain businesses in Arizona,” says Peters, whose resume includes stints as federal highway administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation in President George W. Bush’s administration from 2006-2009, and director of the Arizona Department of Transportation from 1998 to 2001.

“He knows how to put projects together and how to manage,” Peters says. “That’s the value I see in Don and what he brings in the transition from the Commerce Department, having that continuity. Having spent most of my professional career in the public sector, it’s helpful for me to have someone with that private-sector experience to realize what businesses are looking for. I have a different perspective. I know very well the regulatory side of government. I know what it’s like to work through issues with government agencies so those issues aren’t barriers to companies that would like to come into Arizona.”

When Vallee of Avnet, also on the ACA board, heard about a move to encourage Cardon to accept the top ACA job, even after a search firm had been hired and specs of the job had been outlined, his instant reaction was, “That’s fantastic.”

The reasons: Cardon had a good track record at the Commerce Department and had been intimately involved in the creation of the Commerce Authority.

“He understands the history and the purpose of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Vallee says. “This was a brand new entity, and if we recruit someone who had not been involved in creating it, that person would flounder for a while trying to figure out what the job is all about.”

Because the ACA is a public/private partnership, having a CEO with experience and expertise in both areas is considered a huge benefit.

“He is better able to manage that environment very, very well — better than anyone with one viewpoint or the other,” Vallee says.

Vallee mentions Cardon’s core values, especially integrity.

“We all want someone in that role we can trust,” he says. “People are going to want to do business with someone they can trust, whether it’s investment coming from within state or from outside. As people get to know Don and develop that trust, it’s going to be beneficial to economic development.”

Vallee pauses and adds, “Don is a good man and a good executive, which makes him a really great fit for this job.”

[stextbox id=”grey”]For more information about the Arizona Commerce Authority, visit www.azcommerce.com.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2011

 

Arizona Commerce Authority - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Arizona Commerce Authority Aims To Bolster The Business Environment

The new kid on Arizona’s economic development scene is poised to shake things up. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), a public/private entity, is not merely a name change, a rebranding of the Arizona Department of Commerce that over the years received its share of praise and an increasing level of criticism. And it’s not just a committee of top-shelf business leaders.

“It’s more than that,” says Don Cardon, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “It’s really a call to arms.”

Created by Gov. Jan Brewer through an executive order a year ago, and formally established by the Arizona Legislature early this year, the Arizona Commerce Authority is the cornerstone of the Arizona Competitiveness Package, a mix of tax benefits and incentives targeting quality job growth. The Arizona Commerce Authority’s leadership board consists of 17 of Arizona’s top CEOs who provide oversight and valuable input, with House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Russell Pearce as ex officio members. Brewer chairs the Arizona Commerce Authority, and sports entrepreneur Jerry Colangelo serves as co-chairman.

The state’s university president, chair of the Rural Business Advisory Council and other committee chairs round out the balance of the 31-member ACA board.

The leadership board’s focus is on growing and diversifying Arizona’s economy and creating quality jobs throughout the state. The ACA works closely with such key partners as the Science Foundation Arizona, the three state universities, regional economic development groups and local communities.

The ACA is targeting these key base industries — aerospace and defense, renewable energy, science-technology, and small business and entrepreneurship. It is funded through existing payroll withholdings under an annual operating budget of $10 million, plus a so-called deal-closing fund of $25 million, some of which will be allocated for job training.

Michael Manson, an ACA board member and founder/executive chairman of Motor Excellence in Flagstaff, says he thinks the quasi-public agency will produce results for a number of reasons.

“By involving business leaders as we have and funding it by government we are removing some of the politics, enabling more performance and quicker response to commercial opportunities,” says Manson, who also founded PETsMART. “The pendulum swung a little far before the recession toward government regulations, but we need to get back to being more oriented toward entrepreneurial commercial opportunities.”

Mary Peters, president of Mary E. Peters Consulting Group, says the ACA draws from the successful endeavors of other states.

“We now have a mindset that Arizona is open for business,” says Peters, a former federal highway administrator with the U.S. Department of Transportation and former director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. “We’ll do what we can, especially in the aerospace and defense industries. If we’re not out there working to bring them to Arizona, other states will.”

Under the deal-closing Arizona Competes Fund, a company will need to achieve certain performance measures including average employees’ wages above the county’s average wage, health insurance coverage minimums and other requirements similar to the state’s existing job-training program. Backers say the fund will spur investment in projects in the targeted industries.

It replaced the inactive Commerce and Economic Development Council deal-closing fund, is controlled by CEO Cardon, and puts Arizona among the top one-third of states with aggressive economic development programs, supporters say.

Funds provided to growth projects must result in a net benefit to the state, consistent with the Arizona Constitution’s gift clause. In addition, an economic impact analysis by an independent third party will be conducted on all projects to determine potential return on investment benefits to the state. Furthermore, funding will be awarded with contractual provisions for performance and “claw-back” of funds for non-performing projects.

The Competitiveness Package extends the existing job-training program, a reimbursable grant program for job-specific training plans for employers creating new jobs or increasing the skill and wage levels of current employees.

Arizona’s Enterprise Zone Program is replaced with a new Quality Jobs Tax Credit for new job creation statewide. This tax credit is performance based on net new job creation and capital investment with specific eligibility qualifications for urban and rural businesses.

The tax credit for each new quality job created is $3,000 per year for three years and is limited to 400 new jobs per employer, per year. The program is capped at 10,000 new jobs per year. Experts say the program will increase Arizona’s competitiveness ranking to No. 3 from No. 9 in the Mountain West.

On the tax side of the equation, the electable sales factor for multistate corporations increases to 100 percent from 80 percent in equal increments from 2014 to 2017. A corporation that conducts business both in-state and out-of-state must apportion its income from business activity based on the ratio of property, payroll and sales in

Arizona compared to the corporation’s property, payroll and sales everywhere.

The corporate income tax rate is reduced by 30 percent to 4.9 percent from 6.97 percent in equal increments from 2014 to 2017. The change is expected to improve Arizona’s national ranking from 24th to No. 5, and from No. 6 to No. 3 in the Mountain West.

Arizona Commerce Authority

Under personal property, depreciation schedules are further enhanced for prospective acquisitions of commercial personal property on or after 2012.
Colangelo, partner of JDM Partners, explains his determination in agreeing to serve as co-chairman of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

“We will eliminate all distractions in pursuit of the ultimate goal — restoring economic vitality and stability to our state,” says Colangelo, former top executive of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks. “Our new structure automatically eliminates the agency’s culture of entitlement and political sloth, and we have introduced what I believe to be a ferocious approach to both retaining and attracting business for the benefit of Arizonans, their families and our children.”

For more information about the Arizona Commerce Authority visit www.azcommerce.com.

AZRE Magazine July/August 2011

Doug Pruitt: His Retirement & Accomplishments

Doug Pruitt - AZRE Magazine July/August 2011As president and CEO of Sundt Construction, Doug Pruitt is responsible for landmark building projects in the United States and abroad. As he prepares to retire in September after 45 years with the Arizona-based company, it’s the little things, he says, to which he’s looking forward.

“I’ve had a great career and fortunately I have enjoyed getting up every day and working,” says Pruitt, who steps down Sept. 29. “I hope to spend more time with my lovely wife (Becky) of 43 years and have our kids and grandkids join us often. I plan to hit a few golf balls, as well. It will be very different for both of us, but we are looking forward to it.”

Perhaps it’s only fitting that on his 45th anniversary and final year with the firm — he joined the employee-owned business in 1966 — Sundt is the nation’s 45th largest construction company, according to Engineering News Record. Sundt reported revenues of $1B in 2010. It has Arizona offices in Tempe, Phoenix and Tucson, plus offices in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.

But it’s the leadership and direction of Pruitt, who prefers to take a low-profile approach, that have put Sundt on the map as one of the top general contractors in the nation. Asked what he’s most proud of, Pruitt doesn’t hesitate in his response: It’s the Sundt Foundation that was started about 10 years ago.

“The Sundt family had a long history of contributing to our society in many ways, but we hadn’t created an environment that encouraged our employees to get involved in charitable giving and volunteerism,” Pruitt says. “The Sundt Foundation has given them that opportunity. They have really risen to the occasion, and through a combination of their gifts and the company’s matching funds, the foundation has been able to award grants totaling more than $4 million. Employees have also volunteered thousands of hours. I’m extremely proud for what they have done.”

Pruitt’s retirement comes at a critical time. The commercial real estate industry continues to grapple with the aftermath of the Great Recession. However, Sundt has been able withstand the economic downturn better than other general contractors, but it isn’t immune to the industry’s peaks and valleys. The industry was flourishing when Pruitt served as executive vice president and manager of the building division, as well as in 1992, when he assumed the position of president and CEO.

“Construction is a very cyclical business and as the economy cycles we are usually hit a lot harder than most industries,” Pruitt says. “In this recession, the general economy saw an unemployment rate at approximately 10%. However, in the construction industry it hit 24%.

“Sundt has had its share of ups and downs during the many years that I have been there. I have now been through six recessions and Sundt has been very resourceful at adapting to the different markets, and moving around the globe to keep our revenue up and survive.”

These days, it’s rare for one person to spend more than a handful of years — let alone an entire career — in one place. Besides running the company, he has authored articles and chaired national and state committees. Pruitt is a board member with the Arizona Commerce Authority, and in 2009 was president of the Associated General Contractors of America, the trade organization for commercial contractors.

“My theme for my year as president was, ‘Dare to Challenge — Dare to Change,’ ” Pruitt says. “I chose that theme because our industry has seen very little productive growth compared to other industries, and I really wanted us to challenge our industry to change.”

Pruitt’s retirement this fall marks a new chapter in terms of his role with Sundt and in the community. He will remain a member of the board of directors at Sundt, and he will continue serving as a board member of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

He offers these parting words: “Think about it. There is nothing that goes on in our society that doesn’t go through our industry. We build the homes you live in, the streets, highway and bridges you drive on, the hospitals you are treated in, the schools and universities you are educated in, the power plants that generate your electricity, and the list goes on. What an awesome job.”

For more information on Doug Pruitt and Sundt Construction, visit Sundt’s website.

AZRE Magazine July-August 2011

Arizona Unemployment

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate in February Stays Steady at 9.6 Percent

The state’s unemployment rate held steady in February at 9.6 percent for the fourth month in a row. The economy added 23,400 nonfarm jobs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the job gains were predominantly seasonal and slightly lower than the historic average.



Feb. ’11Jan. ’11Feb. ’10
United States8.9%9.0%9.7%
Arizona9.6%9.6%10.2%



The private sector generated 12,000 jobs in February and the government sector created 11,400 jobs.

“Overall, nonfarm employment in Arizona in February was somewhat weaker than typical Februarys
in years prior to the recession, but moderately better than the last three years,” according to the ACA employment report.



Feb. ’11
Jan. ’11
Feb. ’10
Overall 2,386.62,363.22,381.3
Monthly Change1.0%-1.8%0.8%
Annual Change0.2%0.0%-4.4%



Nine of the state’s 11 major sectors gained jobs, one was flat, and one lost jobs last month.

Gains were reported in: government (11,400); educational health services (4,300); leisure and hospitality (3,500); trade, transportation and utilities (2,800); and professional services (1,700). Financial activities, other services, manufacturing and information combined created fewer than 10 percent of the total jobs in March.

Losses were reported in construction (-2,300); and natural resources and mining was flat.

The unemployment rates dropped in all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Feb. ’11
Jan. ’11
Feb. ’10
Phoenix Metro8.8%9.3%9.7%
Tucson Metro8.8%9.2%9.3%
Yuma Metro21.5%23.1%20.0%
Flagstaff Metro8.9%9.4%10.2%
Prescott Metro10.5%11.0%11.0%
LHC-Kingman Metro10.9%11.5%11.7%
Construction Industry, AZRE Magazine March/April 2011

Arizona Construction Industry Gains Footing In 2011

Fueled by education-related projects, another new Cactus League spring training facility and Indian casinos, the construction industry in Arizona appears to be gaining footing in 2011.

Though not experiencing a full-scale rebound, contractors have reasons to be somewhat optimistic. For example, K-12 school districts around the state won voter approval in November of bond issues and budget overrides totaling more than $500M — but not all of the money is earmarked for construction or remodeling.

Contractors also anticipate increased activity in the solar energy field, thanks in part to SB 1403, approved in 2009. The law offers tax incentives for businesses locating alternative and solar energy manufacturing plants and corporate headquarters in Arizona.

Perhaps the highest-profile project that attracted numerous general contractors is the proposed spring training stadium and facilities for the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. Beth Huning, Mesa city engineer, says the city hopes to break ground on the 100-plus acre project southeast of the intersection of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways by the end of 2011. The Cubs want to use their new facility for spring training in 2013.

Mesa voters on Nov. 2 approved a ballot measure that allows the city to spend up to $84M for a new stadium, practice fields and training facilities. In addition, city officials have promised to spend no more than $15M for associated infrastructure improvements. The Cubs will be responsible for any cost overruns, and plan to build a “Wrigleyville West” entertainment and retail complex next to the baseball facilities.

Mortenson Construction, which just completed Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the new spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies at Loop 101 north of Indian Bend Road on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, was among the general contractors vying for the Cubs facility.

George Forristall, director of business development for Mortenson, says the firm is involved in major projects at all three state universities. He cites two Arizona State University recreation facilities — one at the Polytechnic campus in Mesa and one at the ASU West campus — each in the $17M range; a $53M Health & Learning Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff that may not break ground until 2012; and an expansion of the north end zone at the University of Arizona football stadium in Tucson. The UA project, estimated at $50M, includes replacing aluminum seating with 5,000 upgraded seats, new concession concourses, additional restrooms, and elevators to improve access for the disabled.

Robert “Bo” Calbert, Southwest regional president of McCarthy Building Companies, says his firm expects to be active in public school projects, considering the success of numerous bond issues and budget overrides totaling a half-billion dollars.

“The K-12 market is a pretty big market for us,” Calbert says. “We expect to see several projects this year — not a ton compared to the last few years, but it’s a steady market.”

Among the successful school districts were Kyrene Elementary, $116.9M; Scottsdale Unified, $115M; Chandler Unified, $84.3M; Washington Elementary, $65M; and Marana Unified, $43M.

“A lot of schools will do upgrades and renovations, but not much new construction,” Calbert says. “Considering the state of the economy, it’s a fairly active market, albeit smaller than two-three years ago.”

He suggests a reason for the wave of successful bond issues: “The public has seen … state cuts in education spending. If not for bond issues, the needs of these schools would not be met.”

Many of the projects will involve heating and air-conditioning upgrades, with some schools opting for solar devices.

McCarthy, making a big push into solar, has secured one contract and was closing in on a second substantial deal, Calbert says. He sees solar, particularly in Arizona with abundant sunshine and relatively low-cost construction, as an industry for the present and future, though challenges remain for financing.

“We’re betting on it,” he says.

McCarthy is building a new hotel for the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe near Tucson and hopes to land the Navajo Nation’s proposed Twin Arrows Casino in Northern Arizona. And there is talk of a new Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache casino near Fountain Hills, Calbert says.

In addition, despite mounting local opposition, David Jones, president and CEO of the Arizona Contractors Association, says he expects the Tohono O’odham Nation to be successful in building a resort and casino adjacent to Glendale for an estimated $500M. Also in 2011, Jones sees a continuation of healthcare and hospital construction, solar projects in the Kingman and Gila Bend areas, a private prison near Prescott, mining projects southeast of Tucson and near Patagonia, and perhaps federal projects to beef-up security along the border with Mexico.

Forristall says the formation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, a public/private agency to spur economic development, is “a very positive sign.” He also praises the efforts of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in utilizing the tools in SB 1403 to attract solar projects.

Forristall sees a gradual recovery in 2011. He says 2009 was a tough year for construction and 2010 basically maintained the status quo. “I see 2011 — not a U-shape — but I see a bit more activity, more optimism,” he says. “So we’re positive about the outlook.”

For more information about the construction industry and the projects mentioned in this story, visit:

mortenson.com

mccarthy.com

mesaaz.gov/engineering/cubs.aspx

AZRE March/April 2011