Tag Archives: arizona state university

Jamie Killin

Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations new hire

Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations (SLE) has announced the addition of Jamie Killin to the public relations and marketing department.

With a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in mass communications, Killin graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 where she attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and was a member of Barrett, The Honors College. During college, Killin acted as a multimedia reporter for Cronkite News Service, maintained a position as an editorial intern with Phoenix Magazine and wrote for the Cronkite Journal.

Prior to joining Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations, Killin worked for Marketingworx Public Relations and Marketing where she was an account coordinator and social media specialist.

Outside of work Killin enjoys hiking, traveling and attending live music shows. “I’ve always been a music lover so having the opportunity to work at SLE, where music is such a huge part of what we do, has been a fantastic experience,” says Killin of her new position.

Lauren Stein

UMOM New Day Centers elect Lauren Stine to board

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Phoenix partner Lauren Stine has been elected to the UMOM New Day Centers‘ board of directors.

Founded in 1964, UMOM is the largest homeless shelter for families in Arizona. The organization aims to prevent and end homelessness, and it works to give people opportunities to gain the skills they need to rebuild their lives and succeed when they leave.

Stine is a member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group. She represents health care providers and professionals, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and direct sales companies in cases involving contract disputes, alleged fraud, deceptive advertising, and general litigation matters. She also assists clients in special action and appellate proceedings in state and federal courts.

Stine received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Arizona State University.

Arizona State Credit Union Awards Scholarships

TW Lewis awards 10 scholarships to ASU’s Barrett

T.W. Lewis Foundation continues its mission to help people reach their potential by offering 10 high performing graduates with a $5,000 scholarship for four-years ($20,000 total) to Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University (ASU.) The Foundation has awarded 130 scholarships to Maricopa County students since its inception in 2002.

The Foundation recognizes that while there are a variety of academic scholarships available to students, T.W. Lewis dedicates financial support to students focused on excellence and who will have a career of significance once they enter the workforce.

The T.W. Lewis Scholarship at Barrett Honors College was created to provide high potential student leaders with self-awareness tools, career counseling, learning opportunities and financial aid so they can finish college and have a positive impact on the world.

“The T.W. Lewis Scholarship program is our way of humbly paying it forward to students who are on the fast track to success,” said Tom Lewis, CEO, T.W. Lewis. “The quality students Barrett attracts are our future business and community leaders. The Honors College provides them with a strong foundation and the valuable tools to thrive. We are honored to support the programs and students at this remarkable institution.”

Following are the 10 scholarship recipients for 2015:

Kevin Bergauer, Chandler
August Elton, Scottsdale
BrieAnna Frank, Phoenix
Sierra Grubb, Cave Creek
Olivia King, Mesa
Sabrina Leigh-Godfrey, Mesa
Edward Meza, Gilbert
Timothy Otis, Mesa
Abigail Reed, Chandler
Ari Stoneman, Phoenix

ASUAFD Preliminary Master Plan - 6.16.15

Preliminary master development plan for ASU Athletics Facilities District released

Arizona State University (ASU) and Catellus Development Corporation, a nationally recognized master developer, are taking an important step toward creating a world-class urban community immediately adjacent to ASU’s Tempe Campus.  Following several months of due diligence and market analysis, Catellus worked in collaboration with ASU to develop a preliminary master development plan to transform the 330-acre Athletic Facilities District at the northeast end of the Tempe campus. The plan includes new and renovated NCAA athletic facilities, with more than seven million square feet of office, multifamily residential, hospitality and retail space, interconnected with vibrant sidewalks, bicycle paths and urban open spaces.

The careful study and planning invested in the project reflect ASU’s dedication, written in the university’s charter, to take responsibility for bettering the broader community. In pursuit of that mission, ASU and Catellus are inviting the public to view the plan and offer comment at an open house next week.

“This is a highly visible and prominent development that demands thoughtful planning and execution,” said Greg Weaver, executive vice president of Catellus Development Corporation. “We will collaborate with ASU and many other future partners to transform the district in a manner that maximizes financial returns for the University, while simultaneously creating a world-class, sustainable, urban neighborhood for the greater community.”

The facilities district will generate revenue to help fund the renovation and reinvention of Sun Devil Stadium and other University athletic facilities, without the use of tax dollars, through payments made by new private real estate development projects on University-owned land.  ASU has partnered with Catellus to oversee the development, marketing, leasing and management of the district.

“This is an important step in what will be a well planned process over many years to develop property adjacent to ASU in a way that serves the community and the University,” said Morgan R. Olsen, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for Arizona State University.  “ASU is committed to being a positive force in the communities we serve and, working with Catellus and our other partners on this project, we will set high standards and are confident that it will attract quality development.”

Activity is already underway in the district at Sun Devil Stadium.  That project is being phased to permit the venue to remain open during renovations.  Work on the first phase has started, with all three phases scheduled to be complete prior to the 2017 football season.

“The district and its capacity to generate revenue for the university and Sun Devil Athletics typifies the progressive thinking for which Arizona State has become known,” said Ray Anderson, Vice President and Athletic Director at ASU. “The development of the district will create a sustainable revenue stream necessary to support and invest in championship-caliber facilities for our 23-plus athletics programs and will benefit our 550-plus student-athletes.”

The district’s preliminary land use plan reflects a phased approach to private development over the next 20 years.  An initial phase that may include office, multifamily and retail development is expected to be underway as soon as 2016.

The preliminary master plan will be available for review during a public open house to be held on June 23, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Representatives from ASU and Catellus will be on site to answer questions and review district plans with attendees during the open house.  The open house will be held at Gallery 100, located at the Tempe Center, 951 South Mill Avenue, Suite 199. Attendees will also be able to provide comments for the project team to consider as the master plan continues to evolve.

“We are excited to share our first draft of the master plan for the district,” said Brian Kearney, senior development manager with Catellus Development Corporation. “Feedback from the open house and other meetings with stakeholders will continue to evolve our thinking as we strive to develop a community that will offer unforgettable life experiences.”

The district is located at the north end of the Tempe Campus. It encompasses most University-owned property generally bounded by Sun Devil Stadium, Veterans’ Way, University Drive, McClintock Road and Tempe Town Lake.

Until a permanent name is selected during the next phase of planning and development, the area will be referred to as the ASU Athletic Facilities District, or simply the district.

bioscience

ASU, Banner launch research on neurodegenerative disease

Arizona State University and Banner Health have announced a new research alliance to advance the scientific study, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The partnership between Arizona State University (ASU), one of the nation’s largest public research universities, and Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, includes the launch of a new Arizona State University-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center on ASU’s Tempe campus.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work together to build one of the world’s largest basic science centers for the study of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases at ASU and to further develop our clinical and research programs at Banner,” said Eric Reiman, M.D. Reiman is the executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and university professor of neuroscience at ASU, who along with Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Biodesign Institute at ASU, will lead the new alliance.

This effort capitalizes on Banner’s internationally recognized programs in Alzheimer’s disease research and patient care and ASU’s rapid ascension as a world-class research university. It also leverages Banner’s close working relationships with other research organizations in Arizona.

Dr. Reiman Phoenix, AZ.  Photo Brad Armstrong Photography

Dr. Reiman Phoenix, AZ. Photo Brad Armstrong Photography

“This extraordinary research alliance will help galvanize the search for answers to degenerative brain diseases,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “This is yet another example of how institutions in Arizona are leading the way for groundbreaking research in age-related diseases. This new effort will be a magnet to attract more researchers, more businesses and more resources to this urgent fight.”

Currently, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. This has profound implications for Arizona, with a population of more than 1 million people over age 65 living today that is expected to expand to 2.4 million by 2050.

The new center at ASU will begin July 1 and the search for a world-renowned scientific director will continue. As part of this partnership, ASU will invite six scientists from Banner Sun Health Research Institute to relocate to the Tempe campus where they will have access to other scientists, state-of-the art laboratory space and support to advance their research. The center is expected to rapidly grow to become a pre-eminent research center in both size and impact through aggressive recruitment of innovative research teams pursuing causes and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

Banner will continue to grow its clinical and research programs at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI). For instance, BSHRI plans to develop its clinical and clinical research programs for the study of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, further develop its world-renowned Brain and Body Donation Programs for the study of these and other age-related disorders, and explore new opportunities to work with the rest of Banner and its organizational partners to expand and test new models of elder care.

Together, Banner and ASU receive nearly $65 million in current research funding in the neurosciences. That number is expected to rise significantly with the recruitment of new researchers and funding.

“This collaboration is an opportunity to bring together Banner Health’s leadership roles in research and patient care with ASU’s growing translational science expertise to fight devastating neurodegenerative diseases,” said Peter Fine, Banner’s president and CEO. “Leaders from Banner Health and ASU have worked hard to make this partnership a reality – a partnership that will enhance the scientific strengths of our two organizations, provide major growth opportunities for research in the Sun City area, and strengthen Arizona’s position as a major research center.”

Barring any significant treatment breakthroughs, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease could more than triple to 16 million in the U.S. by 2050, at a health care cost of more than $1.2 trillion annually. Parkinson’s afflicts up to 10 million people worldwide, and an estimated 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, while thousands of cases go undetected. Other neurodegenerative diseases continue to take a devastating toll on patients and family caregivers.

Ray DuBois

Ray DuBois

“Bringing the two groups together will accelerate the bench-to-bedside development of new diagnostic, drug and other treatment options for patients and family caregivers,” said DuBois. “Time and time again, the scientific community has shown how multidisciplinary teams can come together as incubators for innovation and discovery.”

In addition to his other positions, Reiman is the CEO of Banner Research. He is internationally recognized for his contributions to brain imaging, the early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease, and the accelerated evaluation of Alzheimer’s prevention therapies. The Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center will be closely affiliated with faculty from ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Biodesign Institute, a translational science institute with some 500 faculty, staff and students, representing expertise in the biosciences, engineering and advanced computing.

The agreement between Banner and ASU is an extension of their work with the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, a leading model of statewide collaboration in biomedical research, and it is intended to help make Arizona a destination for the best and brightest minds in this field. The two institutions will continue to work closely with other organizational partners to advance scientific research. Under the agreement, the center’s scientists will hold joint faculty appointments at both ASU and Banner Research.

“The new collaboration will allow Banner, ASU and other organizations in the state to have an even greater impact in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases,” said Reiman, “and it will permit us to have an even greater impact on the care of patients and family caregivers.”

jupiter

ASU scientists play key roles in new NASA mission

NASA is sending a mission to see if Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, has conditions suitable for life, and three ASU scientists are involved with the mission’s instruments.

Three scientists in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) — Philip Christensen, Mikhail Zolotov, and Everett Shock — are involved with NASA’s newly announced robotic mission to investigate whether conditions suitable for life exist at Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The mission, scheduled for launch in the 2020s, will follow up on the results of NASA’s Galileo mission of 20 years ago. That spacecraft found Europa to be an intriguing body. Its surface is a shell of ice perhaps a few tens of miles thick, covering a salty water ocean.

The icy surface has numerous colored cracks and spots, perhaps rich in salts, where the ocean water appeared and froze. Observations from Earth orbit using the Hubble Space Telescope have also revealed that Europa erupts plumes of water vapor a hundred miles high or more.

The payload of nine science instruments will greatly increase the limited knowledge of Europa, tackling challenges such as imaging the surface in high-resolution and determining the thickness of the moon’s icy shell and the depth of its ocean.

A thermal instrument will scour Europa’s frozen surface in search of thermal anomalies.

“This is a terrific opportunity for ASU and SESE,” says Philip Christensen. A Regents’ Professor of geological sciences in SESE, he is the principal investigator for the Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System (E-THEMIS).

“The role E-THEMIS plays in the mission is to act as a heat detector,” he explains. “It will scan the surface of Europa at high resolution for warm spots.” Such locations, Christensen says, could be places where the ice shell has become thin and they are the most likely locations for plume activity.

The E-THEMIS instrument will be built at ASU using the engineers and facilities in SESE on the Tempe campus that are currently building Christensen’s OTES instrument for the OSIRIS-REx mission. ASU will do the instrument design, fabrication, assembly, test, and calibration, along with mission operations and science data processing. Ball Aerospace will develop the electronics that will be integrated into E-THEMIS.  

 “This plays perfectly into SESE’s strengths in combining science with engineering,” he says.

Everett Shock and Mikhail Zolotov, co-investigators for the MAss SPectrometer for Planetary EXploration/Europa (MASPEX), will apply their geochemistry expertise to interpret the results.

“In order to assess habitability of Europa we will need to gather information about composition of surface materials and understand their relations with putative water ocean,” explains Zolotov, who is also a co-investigator on the Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface (REASON) and SUrface Dust Mass Analyzer (SUDA).

The MASPEX and SUDA instruments will be used to sample Europa’s thin atmosphere, including plume emissions and small particulates of minerals and ice lofted into space.

“We anticipate lots of data, but the MEANING of the data for the habitability of Europa will require additional experiments, calculations, and theoretical modeling, which are major strengths of the combination of geochemistry, biochemistry, and planetary science in SESE and at ASU,” says Shock.

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is a unit of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Grand Canyon University; Photo by Shavon Rose for AZ Big Media

Arizona’s Valley of the Scholars

Phoenix may be built on a grid system, but it’s not too hyperbolic to say all roads (and, one day, light rail routes) lead to Arizona State University.

It’s the theory of diffusion of innovations, says Sundt Construction’s Business Development Manager Ryan Abbott. The theory, which has been around since Everett Rogers published a book about it in the ‘60s, suggests how cultures change and adapt to new ideas. What it takes for inertia to kick in on a cultural change is innovators (first 2.5 percent), early adopters (13.5 percent) and an early majority (34 percent). For an idea to carry, Abbott says, it has to reach a tipping point of 15 to 18 percent.

“That is exactly what the university and city did in downtown Phoenix,” says Abbott. “They started by innovating ways of being multiple places at the same time, using integrated technology, synergistic relationships, taking full advantage of mass transportation.  Next, they brought in early adopters — Millennials who wanted to understand and report on society. Where better to be than fully immersed in it at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism?”

Phoenix gets schooled
Sundt Construction built the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, a bright orange and maroon building that sits along Central Avenue and very much serves as the front door of the ASU downtown campus. It was completed even before the first dorms, Taylor Place, were done. The university sits right along the Central and Van Buren light rail stop, which shuttles thousands of students a day to and from classes.

Years later, Sundt was asked to build the downtown’s campus’ Sun Devil Fitness building by the YMCA across the street.

“When we were selected to build ASU’s Sun Devil Fitness, (the university was) approaching the fulcrum that pulls the early majority with it,” says Abbott. “They had a reason for adaptive, creative people to be downtown; now, they were creating the places that keep them there.”

“Part of ASU’s mission is to deliver positive impact in the local community, where we are socially embedded,” university spokesman Mark Johnson says.

Universities serve as the catalyst for business attraction, with its well-educated labor force, as well as a hub for the Millennial generation that is changing the way society looks at work and life.

“At the nucleus of that new societal space is the university supplying its innovation, early adopters and early majority,” says Abbott. “The universities (in downtown Phoenix) are landlords to fantastic restaurants, creators of walkways that connect and amenities that inspire,” Abbott says. “And now that they’ve pulled in the early majority, the late majority and laggards are only to follow.”

Sunbelt Holdings (Portland on the Park) and P.B. Bell are two examples of the Valley’s largest commercial companies breaking ground on their first urban projects in Phoenix. Both companies are known for their master-planned projects, though multifamily trends and the growth of Phoenix’s Millennial population, due to higher ed facility expansions, have caught their eye.

“The expansion of ASU and GCU moving into the downtown area did have an influence on our decision to proceed with developing an apartment community in downtown Phoenix,” says P.B. Bell President Chapin Bell, “We believe that there will be a need for additional housing for both the staff and students that choose to live near the downtown campuses. Also, we expect that the addition of these campuses will generate a new excitement and energy attracting new businesses and downtown dwellers outside of the student population as well.”

P.B. Bell was awarded the adaptive reuse project of the 100-year-old Barrister Place (colloquially referred to as the “Psycho” building, because it appeared in the 1960 film) for a multifamily development.

Downtown Phoenix has been working for more than a decade toward making plans for adaptive reuse and infill projects easier and incentivized.

Kimber Lanning, who founded Local First, was one of the first innovators of a “new societal space” in Phoenix. She actively worked to launch the pilot program nearly a decade ago to streamline the process for adaptive reuse projects in order to retain young, vibrant minds.

“When I started Local First, it was on intuition,” she says. “The kids coming to my store (record store, Stinkweeds) were leaving. I started to think about what do those cities have that connects them to those cities and not Phoenix. They were acting in a local manner. We were too spread out. I set out to create districts. We need to encourage small business development. The brightest people want to be where there are cool restaurants, for instance.”

P.B. Bell Companies has also broken ground this year on Velaire at Aspera, a community near Midwestern University’s campus in Glendale.

“The nearby university is expanding, which will create a  need for new, quality housing,” Bell says.

Strength in numbers
Universities aren’t just attracting new development. They’re actively participating.

“SkySong and the Chandler Innovation Center are strong examples of the kinds of projects that go beyond what you would expect a university to be doing, but provide linkage both to the university and to facilities attractive to new businesses,” says ASU’s Johnson. “We have regular conversations with municipalities around the Valley and around the state about projects that help build the larger infrastructure for economic development. We take those very seriously, but we don’t discuss them until they reach a greater level of fruition.”

Grand Canyon University (GCU), a for-profit, private Christian university, has more than doubled its footprint in the last seven years and plans to move more than 2,000 employees into West Phoenix with an office complex that will break ground next year. The university has 3,500 employees, is expecting 25,000 on-campus students and have half a million annual visitors to its arena. The school also invested $10M into Maryvale Golf Course to bring additional economic activity to the west side of Phoenix and is renovating 700 homes in the neighboring community with Habitat for Humanity over the next few years.

“We’re in the midst of a $1M partnership with the Phoenix Police Department to increase the police presence and combat crime in the areas surrounding our campus, which has had a huge impact on the community,” says GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller.

On top of those and other investments, GCU’s economic impact is about $1B annually, according to Elliott D. Pollack & Co.

“The biggest difference (between GCU and universities such as ASU) is that we are doing it as an enterprise, which means we are using investment dollars to build out a university that can make an impact in numerous ways in the community, all while also paying taxes back to the city, county, state and federal government,” Mueller says. “We’re having the same impact as other universities by producing more and more high-quality graduates and raising the intellectual knowledge of the community, but we’re doing it as a tax-paying enterprise, which adds a second benefit to the area.”

The university also claims to have more than 2,000 students enrolled in the fall semester from California.

“Arizona used to lose thousands of college students, mostly to California, who were seeking a private Christian education,” Mueller says. “Now, those students are staying home. What’s more, the trend has completely reversed, as we’re attracting thousands of students from California and other states to our campus because of the low tuition costs and affordable room and board rates. Those tuition dollars are now coming into the state and are being reinvested right here on our campus, which is a huge plus for Arizona. We hope that a percentage of those students will remain in Arizona after they graduate and build their careers here.”

Commencement
Ryan Companies, which is working on the 2MSF State Farm build-to-suit at Marina Heights in Tempe and the ASU Research Park, specializes in office development. Nearly all of its office product is affected in some way by university expansions in Phoenix Metro, says Molly Ryan Carson, vice president of development for Ryan Companies.

“The search for educated employees is universal,” she says. “Universities are certainly an important factor in many real estate decisions.”

Universities are surrounded by amenities, such as restaurants and recreational spaces, that appeal to prospective office tenants.

“Having a solid university like ASU in close proximity is viewed as a definite benefit by the tenants we are seeing in the market,” says Carson. “The opportunity to be near tens of thousands of potential employees is very appealing. Additionally, a university often is located in an area rich with amenities, again, a critical requirement for tenants.”

GCU has its eyes on the same type of growth.

“An estimated 1.2 million STEM jobs will be available in Arizona by 2018, yet our universities are producing just half the number of graduates needed to fill this demand,” says Mueller. “We’ve launched programs in computer science, information technology and engineering to help close that gap and are working with industry leaders in Arizona to ensure that we’re producing graduates with the types of skills they are seeking. When we grow out to 25,000 students in the next 4-5 years, it is our intention that 70 percent of those students will be studying in high-demand STEM areas that lead to good-paying jobs. That will have a major impact on the local economy and help attract businesses to Arizona that rely on having that workforce in place.”

89524671

Silicon Valley’s Wasabi Ventures heads to Scottsdale

Wasabi Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, announced today the formal launch of its operations in Arizona. After a nine-month due diligence process, Arizona was selected as the most promising location for a new office by the bi-coastal firm that has existing offices in Silicon Valley, Greater Boston, and Baltimore.

“We see great potential in the Arizona ecosystem,” said Wasabi Ventures General Partner Tom “TK” Kuegler. “The combination of strong universities, visionary government leadership, plus an active and increasingly cohesive ecosystem full of strong talent gives us great confidence that the Silicon Desert is a great place to be. We are committed to be an active contributor to building that ecosystem, and will do that in partnership with some of the leading actors in the space across the state. We plan to start 20 companies in Arizona in the next 24 months, and will run cohorts in Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson.” Kuegler participated in Startup Week Phoenix and sponsored Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness, while General Partner Chris Yeh covered Startup Weekend Tucson, as demonstration of the firm’s commitment to the ecosystem.

Wasabi’s principal office will be based in Scottsdale, at Deskhub, an innovative co-working space located at 4900 North Scottsdale Road, suite 400, and run by CEO Jay Chernikoff and Community Manager Gabe Gasca.  Chernikoff said, “Wasabi Ventures’ decision to open up shop in Phoenix is a reflection of the strong and growing tech scene in Phoenix and across Arizona.  We are pleased to host them and look forward to collaborating in offering regular programming to the community. We are delighted to begin this partnership and expand it to San Diego in coming months.”  Wasabi will host a launch party in the valley at Deskhub on Thursday, June 4th, from 5:30-8:30pm, where the firm will be announcing its plans to form a cohort in Phoenix, commencing in July.  Interested applicants are invited to apply now at www.academy.wasabiventures.com

Wasabi Ventures is providing venture acceleration support services to startups selected as part of the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator program.

Wasabi’s operations in Tucson commenced in early May in partnership with Startup Tucson and Innovate UA.  Justin Williams, CEO of Startup Tucson and Executive Director of Innovate UA, said, “ Wasabi Ventures’ focus on the individual entrepreneur, combined with the extensive free educational offering made available through the Wasabi Ventures Academy, nicely complements our existing offerings and fits the Tucson ecosystem very well.  The fact that they like to play as a co-founder at the very early stage fills an important gap, and makes them an ideal partner to Tucson entrepreneurs.”  One team from this introductory cohort is guaranteed to receive the backing of Wasabi Ventures as a cofounder of its new startup.  Wasabi Ventures will also offer regular programming in Tucson, open to the public, from a base at Startup Tucson’s Co-lab incubator facility.  A launch party in Tucson will take place on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 6:00 pm, at Ermano’s Craft Beer & Wine Bar, in conjunction with Startup Tucson’s June Startup Drinks.

In Northern Arizona, the firm has partnered with the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which runs programs in Flagstaff, Prescott and Maricopa. CEO Annette Zinky said, “NACET is thrilled to partner with Wasabi Ventures to form a Northern Arizona cohort to participate in their Startup Foundations program, starting in July. This will allow us to focus the direction and increase the momentum of the strong mix of ideas, passion and talent already present in the region. Wasabi Ventures’ decision to offer services here validates what we already knew: that Northern Arizona is a great place for startups.”  Wasabi Ventures will celebrate its launch in Northern Arizona concurrent with the launch of NACET’s new accelerator facility, where from which it will also offer regular programming, on or around July 21st, and the first cohort will run through Startup Weekend Flagstaff, concluding on October 9-11th, 2015.

Startup Foundations is a 13-week education program for entrepreneurs, and is the base course offering of the Wasabi Ventures Academy. Participants learn about the startup world directly from the firm’s general partners and along the way vie for the opportunity to form or join startups in the Wasabi Ventures portfolio.

“Our move into Arizona is just the first step in our strategy to bring Silicon Valley-style VC services to strong secondary markets, beginning in the Southwest,” said Chris Yeh, General Partner of Wasabi Ventures. “Phoenix is just a two-hour flight from Silicon Valley, so if we can bring the right combination of timely, strategic advice and investment to Arizona entrepreneurs, they shouldn’t have to move to Silicon Valley to build their companies. Entrepreneurs are just as smart and hardworking in Arizona as anywhere else, and this strong talent, combined with the lower cost of operations and reduced competition, presents an incredible opportunity for investors. Our strong focus on entrepreneur education and team building, and commitment to being a reliable cofounder, fills a gap in the ecosystem and will provide an important bridge for promising Arizona companies seeking to reach new heights.  We are excited to being operations and demonstrate the value of our model here.”

homes

Experts see a stronger year in Phoenix housing market

The spring weather isn’t the only thing that’s favorable in Arizona.

“The biggest overall trend we see in residential real estate is the market trending upward from relief to optimism,” says Matt Widdows, founder of HomeSmart International. “We are continuing to see an uptake in the market across the board. Housing prices are on the rise and so is the rental market.  We are seeing very early signs of multiple offers, which could possibly be an indication of the return of a seller’s market.”

According to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, all signs point to the Phoenix area housing market having having better results in 2015, compared with 2014. Here are the highlights of that report on Maricopa and Pinal counties for January:

The median single-family-home sales price went up 5.6 percent from January 2014 to January 2015 — $197,000 to $208,000.

• The average price per square foot gained 5.1 percent from January 2014 to January 2015.

• Condos and townhomes continue to gain a larger share of the market. Their median price up 11.6 percent – from $121,000 to $135,000

February figures show demand about to boom, with the number of homes under contract dramatically rising.

“January is always a quiet month, but we believe this was a lull before the storm,” explains Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School. “We have already seen early signs of much stronger activity from buyers in February and March. Looking at the number of homes going under contract, there was significantly increased demand in the lower and middle price ranges.”

According to the Fannie Mae February 2015 Housing Survey, consumer optimism toward the housing market and the economy has reached a new all-time survey high. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they believe the economy is headed in the right direction. Likewise, the share of respondents who believe it would be easy to get a mortgage today rose to 54 percent, another record survey high.

“Population growth is on the rise and home values, after a few years of steady growth, are now providing homeowners with more flexible equity positions,” according to Doug Reynolds, vice president, loan officer and division manager at Washington Federal Bank. “These improvements, along with long-term rates staying low and financing remaining readily available, should continue to be positive drivers of new construction and increased values.”

Orr notes that listings for non-distressed homes under contract in the Phoenix area were up 26 percent from last year on a typical day in February. Listings from $150,000 to $600,000 were up more than 30 percent. He attributes this largely to lenders starting to relax their tight loan-underwriting guidelines and “boomerang buyers” who went through foreclosure or short sale being able to come back into the market.

“I’m noticing a lot more showings at all of my listings, which is a sign of activity in the market,” says Mike D’Elena, a Realtor with HomeSmart and co-owner of Northgate Group. “Most of the buyers out looking right now are new buyers just beginning their search. I’m also working with a lot of move-up buyers — these are people who have recognized that rates are trending upwards and want to take advantage of current low rates and get a bigger home.”

Experts says supply is an issue when it comes to all types of homes, including affordably priced rentals, which Orr says are at the lowest level he has seen in 14 years. But Tom Davis, vice president at Pioneer Title Agency, says in some areas, pending listings are up as much as 33 percent and this appears to be the trend throughout the Valley. Davis is quick to add that we are still in somewhat of a sellers’ market, with only about a six week inventory of homes on the MLS.

“Supply remains relatively low except at the high end of the market,” Orr says. “At the moment, we are seeing early signs that demand is likely to recover quite a bit faster than supply. It would only take a modest increase in first-time home buyer demand to overwhelm the current weak level of supply, making it tougher to find affordable homes for sale.”

Orr says home builders aren’t enjoying 2015 much yet. In January, newly built single-family homes hit their lowest monthly sales total in three years. However, most experts expect that trend to reverse, too.

“Traffic is running about the same as it has been, but sales are substantially up,” says Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton Homes. “We are seeing more buyers that have experienced a short sale or foreclosure and now want to move into a new home again. We are also seeing people who have a home to sell being able to move up because the value of their existing home has increased.”

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Arizona’s aerospace industry may turn to space tourism

Arizona’s missile and space vehicle industry has faced massive cuts to its government contracts over the last four years, forcing some companies to explore other revenue sources.

Experts said the industry may turn to space tourism and commercial space programs to fill that gap.

The state has several advantages to expand in this market: good weather, a strong infrastructure and legislative support.

One Tucson-based company plans to start taking passengers to the outermost edge of earth’s atmosphere in high-altitude balloons by next year. Another recently won a contract to develop humidity control systems for commercial spacecraft.

“Government funding is on the decline, but space tourism is set to launch,” according to a 2014 industry report by IBISWorld, a Australian-based research company.

Arizona has 1,200 companies operating in the aerospace field, making the state America’s third-largest supply chain contributor for aerospace and defense, according to a 2012 study by the consulting firm Deloitte, which looked at the emerging industry trends.

These aerospace companies significantly impact Arizona’s overall economy, contributing $15 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

The industry is “very important to the overall economy of the state,” said Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “(But) its growth is dependent on its ability to diversify away from the historical way business has been done.”

Industry depends on military dollars

The military accounts for 63 percent of the missile and space vehicle industry revenue nationwide, according IBISWorld.

In 2011, federal funding for defense began to decline. Experts estimated funding has dropped 3 percent annually from 2009 to 2014. The federal government contributed $620.6 billion in 2014 to the missile and space vehicle industry, according to IBISWord.

Reduced combat operations in the Middle East and the federal sequester – automatic across-the-board budget cuts – caused the decline, according to experts.

In 2012, the state’s space and defense industry received $14 billion in federal contracts, and 91 percent came from the Department of Defense alone, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

With the decrease of federal funds, Arizona has billions of fewer dollars entering the economy, said Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council and a 20-year veteran in the aerospace and defense industry.

With the industry’s top customer spending less, industry stakeholders need to explore broadening their horizons to accommodate more than just the military, Hoffman said.

Tucson’s aerospace cluster

Tucson ranks fourth in the nation for the total percentage of manufacturing workforce dedicated to high-tech work, with more than 51 percent related to aerospace and defense, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which cited a 2012 report by Brookings Metropolitan Policy.

Metro Tucson is No.1 in the nation for the most employees active in a missiles and space vehicles trade cluster, according to the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Clusters are geographically concentrated groups of connected companies, universities and related institutions.

But the industry has faced challenges. Direct aerospace manufacturing employment in Tucson saw a decline of about 4 percent from 2013 to 2014, said George Hammond, the director of the research center.

Tucson has been updating local infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the industry.

“Tucson is looking at ways to attract and gain firms in this cluster,” Hammond said.

In 2015, Pima County released a new economic development plan proposing a $600 million parkway-freeway combination, which would link Interstate 19 and Interstate 10. The road would cut through an area just south of The Raytheon Co., a major American defense contractor and missile systems facility in Tucson, Hammond said.

Officials said the plan may help prevent and slow some of the loss in employment by making it easier and cheaper for the suppliers and companies to do business in the area, Hammond said.

But the companies may need to change, too.

To remain competitive in the space industry, the government has encouraged increased competition in the commercial sector, IBISWorld reported.

The budget of NASA, the organization in charge of the U.S. space program and a major buyer of spacecraft and related equipment, has declined every year since fiscal 2011.

Still, IBISWorld predicted missile and space vehicle industry revenue will increase from 2014 to 2019, but only about 1 percent annually.

IBISWorld said companies should focus on several areas: developing contracts for commercial space flights, meeting the growing demand for communication satellites, increasing exports to allies, adding new missile and space development programs and advancing into space tourism.

Zylstra said Arizona officials have recognized the opportunities: “We pushed legislation to make it more appealing to do work here in Arizona.”

In 2014, Arizona passed legislation that opened the door for commercial spaceflight in the state. HB 2163 allows companies to obtain waivers of liability for passengers on commercial spaceflights, in compliance with federal standards. The bill defines the potential risks of spaceflight to passengers and sets the terms and conditions of a waiver.

“Thanks to this bill, space tourism is able to find a home in Arizona,” Katelyn Mixer, a spokeswoman for World View Inc., said in an email.

World View provides commercial services for educational and research flights. But the company plans on entering the space tourism game in 2016.

The company has high-altitude balloons that can reach 100,000 feet in 90 minutes, with a total flight time of four hours.

The company will allow customers to take a space flight for $75,000 per person, compared to Richard Branson’s $250,000 Virgin Galactic’s space flight.

World View is taking reservations for manned flights and private tours.

People are investing time and money into space tourism to position themselves as leaders in “an industry destined to be the largest, most prestigious and profitable industry ‘off’ world,” said John Spencer, founder of the Space Tourism Society, a California-based organization that works to make space tourism readily available faster.

Experts predict that companies that meet the new demands of commercial space will find success and survive government budget cuts.

Major industry players don’t feel as much impact

Raytheon Missile Systems is largest private employer in southern Arizona.

The loss of government funds has caused problems for Raytheon, whose missile systems division is based in Tucson. IBISWorld estimated steep revenue declines for the company. In 2014, Raytheon’s space vehicle and missile manufacturing operations revenue was $6 billion, down $705 million from 2010, according to the research group’s estimates.

However, Raytheon officials said the global company does not feel the cuts like other aerospace companies because it manufactures weapons, not platforms, spokesman John Patterson said. He added that the government will continue to manufacture weapons.

Raytheon has a 26 percent national market share for guided missiles, making it one of the Top Four companies nationally active in this industry, according to IBISWorld.

But even Raytheon, which “does not do too much from a commercial standpoint,” Patterson said, sees its future in space operations.

Raytheon recently completed a 9,600 square foot, $9.2 million expansion of its Space Systems Operations factory at its Tucson International Airport plant complex. The “space factory” was created to boost the company’s ability to create rocket-propelled “kill vehicles” that hunt and destroy ballistic missiles in space.

Michael Shafer, director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and John Bentz, president of developer PAG-CDG.

ASU and Westward Ho launch innovative partnership

Residents who live in a landmark downtown Phoenix affordable housing high-rise will benefit from a new state-of-the-art clinic being built by Arizona State University (ASU) through its Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. The facility will also serve as a valuable training ground for students working under faculty supervision.

 The new facility was made possible by a lease recently approved by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) between ASU and PAG-CDG (Westward Ho developers and property managers). John Bentz, president of PAG said, “This is a rare project for HUD due to the lease and the related programming in the facility.  We are proud that it is happening right here in downtown Phoenix.”

The College of Public Service and Community Solutions is leasing 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the Westward Ho building but this is not the beginning of the relationship. ASU nursing students currently provides residents with health services such as blood pressure checks, nutritional help, and disease prevention programs. The expanded facility will also give residents access to counseling, referral services, community assistance as well as educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. The clinic will provide hands-on experience and professional development training for students majoring in social work, nutrition, therapeutic recreation, and nursing.

“We could not be more excited about this unique opportunity to put the design imperatives of Arizona State University and our College into practice.  An integral part of our mission is to fuse research, service and learning. This innovative partnership does exactly that;  And the Westward Ho initiative exemplifies our dedication to developing collaborative solutions in our community,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“Establishing an ASU presence within this historic landmark of our community is the embodiment of our university’s commitment to community embeddeness”, said Dr. Michael S. Shafer, professor of Social Work and director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. 

The 16-story Westward Ho is a historically significant building. It opened as a hotel in 1928 with 600 elegant rooms. With the exception of one building in Long Beach, California, the hotel was the tallest reinforced concrete structure west of the Mississippi. Its famous Thunderbird Room was added in 1951. The 1,000-seat dinner theater was the site for many grand Phoenix society receptions. In 1979, the 600-room hotel was converted to affordable housing. Today, Westward Ho is a 289 unit ‘elderly preference’ affordable housing development within ¼ mile from a light rail station and close to downtown amenities.

 

“We are happy to have Arizona State University here providing health and social services, “ said Mildred Webb, an 84-year-old resident at Westward Ho. “They have helped me and others many times and now my life is better. I am very happy they are expanding.”

 

“It is great to have companies such as PAG-CDG investing in the community as they have done for over twenty years,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 7. “Top that with ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy running some of the most innovative social programs in the country, and we have a great one-of-a-kind neighborhood asset.” said Councilman Nowakowski.

 

In addition to renovating office space for the faculty, staff, and students that work at the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, Westward Ho plans to repair and upgrade various building components including central plant mechanical and plumbing system repairs and replacement of select in-unit features.

 

“The lease represents the culmination of years of discussions with ASU and will be a true community asset, not only to the residents of Westward Ho, but also the general public,” said John Bentz of PAG-CDG.  “Having ASU expand North of Fillmore Street for the first time will help activate this area of Central Avenue and improve its walkablilty. This is a great example of a public-private initiative between multiple organizations coming together to create a unique and special community asset.”

The clinic is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.

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Dan Mann launches 3engineering

In just over one year, young civil engineer, Dan Mann, PE, started a new multi-disciplined firm, takes office space in the Camelback Corridor and gains multiple clients in his area of specialization.

Mann, who has been practicing civil engineering in Phoenix for more than 13 years, believes the success he has experienced in this short period of time has everything to do with working with clients ready for something uncommon to the civil engineering industry—personality and fun.

“Engineers are not on the top of everyone’s ‘exciting people to talk to’ list.  At 3 engineering, I try to make the process more enjoyable. I like truly engaging with clients and surprise them with the fact that not only can an engineer hold a normal conversation, they can do it while not staring at their shoes.”

Prior to starting the firm, located at 29th street and Camelback Road, Mann worked with local and national civil engineering firms, as well as worked alongside a general contractor to gain the insight from multiple perspectives. As a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in civil engineering, Mann quickly grew his career over the last 13 years while specializing in retail, quick service restaurant, institutional, hospitality, and multi-family market sectors.

“As I reflect on my first year since the start of my new venture, I can sincerely say that every day I am excited to come to work and create new opportunities to grow my business and build on the great relationships I have,” Mann said.

Mann expressed that gaining clients through referrals of current clients is one of the most rewarding part of the hard work he dedicates to growing the firm and delivering exceptional service to clients. “It gives me a lot of pride when existing clients are happy with our service, attitude, and outcome of projects and knowing new clients have been referred to us based on our performance.”

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute, started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

ASU researchers find potential clues to ovarian cancer

Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers – a type of blood-born signal – is another step toward early detection.

ASU’s new study is the first use of high density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, according to the alliance.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer “with over 15,000 deaths per year,” said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

“Ovarian cancer is often detected late in its course, and by the time it is detected, it is too late to really have a big impact,” said Dr. Josh LaBaer, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection.

Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.

Physicians already use biomarkers to diagnose other diseases. For example, cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease, and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.

The institute, which focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care, also is researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the institute, and LaBaer started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer and after about 10 years of research, they narrowed it down to about a dozen biomarkers.

The institute used the microarray technology to identify three of these autoantibodies as promising biomarker candidates in the new study.

“Now it is time to come up with more serious validation studies to figure out how to put them together in a panel to get a better test,” LaBear said.

Some of the biomarkers discovered by ASU are in the clinical studies phase, and researchers must validate and vet the findings in national studies, Anderson said.

The current tests used for screening for other types of cancer ¬– like mammograms or colonoscopy – are great tools, but they are expensive.

“If we use that as a benchmark for what these tests usually cost,” blood tests can be more cost effective, Anderson said.

Diagnostic tests similar to what the researchers are trying to develop are relatively inexpensive, Anderson said. The molecular test for colon cancer only runs in the several hundred-dollar range.

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Valley Leadership announces 2015 CEO Advisory Circle

Valley Leadership, the region’s premier leadership organization, announced its 2015 CEO Advisory Circle membership.  The CEO Advisory Circle will help Valley Leadership hone its focus on meeting future leadership needs in a fast-paced, ever-changing landscape.

The nine 2015 CEO Circle leaders were selected from diverse industries for their expert perspective on leadership, and for their long-standing commitment to and understanding of the Valley.

“The CEO Circle goes beyond a traditional advisory board format,” said Don Henninger, CEO Advisory Circle facilitator, “These leaders are not only committed to the success of Valley Leadership, they are dedicated to leading the way in fostering and promoting strong leadership for our region’s future.”

Leaders will meet quarterly to discuss Valley Leadership’s programming and goals, and offer advice on how to meet the needs associated with changes in leadership.

“The opportunity to tap this level of experience and diverse perspective is important as Valley Leadership continues to lead the way in leadership development programming,” says Brad Vynalek, partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, Valley Leadership board director and alum. “Their advice will be invaluable to Valley Leadership and the greater community.”

Vynalek and Katie Campana, fellow directors and alumni, worked with Don Henninger to create the Circle on behalf of the Valley Leadership Board. 

“Valley Leadership is looking forward to receiving high-level advice from the members, which will be applied to the strategic work of the board,” said Campana, community affairs and community development officer for Wells Fargo.  “This is a key leadership project important to the future of the Valley.”

2015 Valley Leadership CEO Advisory Circle

Hon. Rebecca Berch, Arizona Supreme Court

Supervisor Steve Chucri, Arizona Restaurant Association

Dr. Michael Crow, Arizona State University

Derrick Hall, Arizona Diamondbacks

Sharon Harper, Plaza Companies

Edmundo Hidalgo, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Paul Luna, Helios Education Foundation

Ed Zuercher, City of Phoenix

Don Henninger, CEO Advisory Circle Facilitator

college_students

Universities scramble to balance budgets after state cuts

At Northern Arizona University, Christopher Gass said he and other engineering students looked forward to having a new building to house the 3-D printers, machines such as laser cutters and other technology they need to complete capstone design projects.

But with Arizona’s public universities losing $99 million in state funding in the recently approved state budget, NAU has dropped plans for the building to help absorb that school’s $17 million hit.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” said Gass, who is studying mechanical engineering. “The entire year, they had planned the building down to the room.”

While universities are still formulating plans for the budget year that begins July 1, some details are starting to emerge.

At Arizona State University, President Michael M. Crow said in an interview with The State Press last week that seeking a tuition increase, something he had said wasn’t on the table, is now a possibility because of the depth of ASU’s cut: $54 million.

“Our total cut since 2008 on a per-student basis is above a 50 percent reduction on the public investment,” Crow said. “We’ve already had furloughs, we’ve already had 1,800 layoffs. We already restructured the institution. We have already made massive changes to everything that we are doing.”

Joe Cutter, director and professor of Chinese at the ASU School of International Letters & Cultures, told students in an email that the availability of some courses will be reduced. He mentioned Hindi as an example.

“We don’t have much to cut this time,” the email said. “It is very likely that we will not be able to offer some classes needed by students.”

At the University of Arizona, which faces a $28 million cut, Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said in an interview that while the funding cuts will be hard to take the school is committed to making it so no group bears the whole load.
“Tuition announcements will be out soon, and we have a proposal that really does not burden the students,” he said. “We’ve had extensive discussions with our student leadership over the last few months, and we’ve had a team-based approach on how we want to set tuition, and I just really want to recognize the leadership role the student played in shaping a budget proposal.”
Tom Bauer, director of the Office of Public Affairs at NAU, said the university wouldn’t be making any cuts to academics.

“We are not spreading this $17 million reduction across everything equally,” he said. “It’s divided on what will best serve students.”

In a letter to students about the cut, NAU President Rita Cheng said all hiring must be “carefully considered,” including her office approving any new positions. It said all travel must be approved by the university’s vice presidents and provost.

“We had been expecting cuts for several weeks, but the higher number significantly changes the scale of all that has been considered thus far,” her letter said.

Crow said ASU’s cut, which amounts to 15 percent per student, reflects an era in which public support for higher education is dwindling lower than ever before. listen

While ASU’s plan had been to reduce expenses in ways that don’t affect students, it might be unavoidable given the scale of the cut.

“We are doing everything we can to not raise in-state tuition,” he said. “We do, however, have an unprecedented financial adjustment that was unanticipated. So we have not made our final thinking on any of this yet.”

Pima Community College, which along with Maricopa Community Colleges lost all of its state funding, is raising in-state tuition by $5 per credit hour to $75.50 and out-of-state tuition by $23 per credit hour to $352 for the upcoming school year. The state eliminated $6.8 million in funding for PCC, which has a budget of $170 million this school year.

“There was already anticipation that funding would be gradually reduced, but not totally cut altogether,” spokeswoman Jodi Horton said.

Ducey said during Thursday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting that he is going to partner with university presidents to redesign higher education.

The UA’s Comrie said he welcomes the governor’s proposal.

“We’ve had very good discussions with him already,” Comrie said. “We have to be realists of what the budget will look like, and we are partnering on doing that.”

Public university cuts:

• NAU: $17 million (from $118.3 million in fiscal 2015)

• ASU: $54 million (from $349.3 million in fiscal 2015)

• UA: $28 million (from $278.9 million in fiscal 2015)

Source: Joint Legislative Budget Committee

 

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Clinical trials change Arizona’s bioscience, business sectors

Last November, Arizona voters resoundingly passed Prop. 303 making it legal in Arizona for companies and physicians to provide terminally ill patients the “right to try” investigational drugs or therapies outside an FDA approved clinical trial.    While it sounded good in the short description provided to voters, in reality, it is unlikely to provide the outcomes one might expect since the manufacturers, physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals are required to follow the federal processes that govern these investigational treatments.  Proposition 303 did not change that.

What Are Clinical Trials?

The clinical trials process is an important step in the discovery, development and delivery pathway that leads to new life saving and live enhancing innovations.  Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for patients. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making and the studies follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients and help produce reliable study results.

Today, in Arizona, there are 1,380 ongoing clinical trials according to ClincialTrials.gov which is the national database provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  These studies cover a wide range of therapies and conditions.  Through the dedicated work of innovators, healthcare professionals, and patients, we are learning more about the safety and effectiveness of future treatments.

ClinicalTrials.gov  is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world and currently lists 187,600 studies with locations in all 50 states and in 189 countries.

How can we speed the path to innovation and give more patients access to life changing innovations?

On April 29th, members of Arizona’s life science industry and members of the community at large will gather the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for the 2015 AZBio Expo which will focus on clinical trials in Arizona. Event details and ticket information for the 2015 AZBio Expo on April 29, 2015 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown are available at AZBioExpo.com.

Thanks to the support of leaders in Arizona’s life science community, practicing physicians, patients, and caregivers are invited to register for the full day conference free of charge with discount code “AZBusiness.”

The program is designed to provide an update on what Arizona’s clinical trial landscape looks like today and what is could grow to be in the future.  The program includes:

• An Introduction to The Clinical Trials Process by Mark Slater, PhD, Vice President, Research at HonorHealth Research Institute

• A keynote presentation by Matthew Huentelman, PhD, Associate Professor, Neurogenomics Division and Head of the Neurobehavioral Research Unit at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)

• A keynote presentation by Glen Weiss, MD, MBA, Director of Clinical Research & Medical Oncologist, Western Regional Medical Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

• A View of Arizona’s Clinical Trials Landscape by Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association and Chairman of the AdvaMed State Medical Technology Alliance in Washington, DC.

• A Discussion on Funding Clinical Trials led by Joan Koerber-Walker with Terry Urbine, PhD of the  UA College of Pharmacy, Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD of the Barrow Neurological Institute, and Teresa Bartels from Gateway for Cancer Research.

• A Discussion on Engaging Patients in the Process led by Greg Vigdor, President & CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association with  Brian Browne of Banner Research, Barbara Kavanaugh of the Arizona Myeloma Network, and Marcia K. Horn of the International Cancer Advocacy Network

• A Discussion on Growing Arizona’s Clinical Trials Base led by Nazneen Aziz, PhD,  Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President, Phoenix Children’s Hospital with  Joan Rankin Shapiro, PhD of the UA College of Medicine Phoenix), and Linda Vocila, BSN, RN of TD2.

• Rapid Fire Presentations featuring Arizona companies with active clinical trials here in Arizona and around the world including:  Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  Capstone Therapeutics,  the Center For Sustainable Health at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University,  Cord Blood Registry,  Insys Therapeutics, Inc., and  NuvOx Pharma.

By focusing on clinical trials together, we can help find answers for the people who matter most, the patients.

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Valley Partnership reveals reality of residential real estate

Valley Partnership has announced the topic for its upcoming monthly breakfast on Friday, April 17. The month’s program will feature an update on the Valley’s residential real estate market in 2014.

Panelists will discuss whether 2015 will be more of the same or if the industry will finally see the uptick many believe is around the corner.

The panel will feature residential analysts Mike Orr, Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory & Practice at Arizona State University, and Jim Belfiore, President of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting.

The panel will also feature Greg Abrams, Vice President of Land for Taylor Morrison’s Phoenix Division, and Tom Lemon, Vice President of Land Acquisitions and Development for Maracay Homes.

The strong return of single-family home development is essential to the Valley’s full economic recovery,” said Cheryl Lombard, CEO and President of Valley Partnership. “We keep hearing that full recovery is ‘right around the corner’ and first quarter numbers have been promising. This group of experts will unpack that data and give our partners an in-depth look at what they can expect this year and in coming years.”

In addition to the panel, this month’s Mayor’s Minute will feature Cathy Carlat of the City of Peoria. Mayor Carlat will speak on economic development policies, current projects in her community, as well as future opportunities for the commercial real estate and development community.

Registration begins at 7 a.m.; program begins at 7:45 a.m. To register, please visit www.valleypartnership.org and click on the “Monthly Breakfast” tab.

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Experts share ‘wins and losses’ on Arizona state budget

Alberta Charney said she hasn’t heard much outrage from the business community over Arizona’s latest budget.

“Maybe we are used to it,” said the research economist at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. “We have seen so many cuts over the years.”

The fiscal 2016 budget is no different. Gov. Doug Ducey in March signed a $9.1 billion budget that adds some funding, but also trims millions from higher education and social service programs.

Business and economic experts said although they’re concerned about long-term implications on the state’s economy and job market, they also found some bright spots for the business community.

Cronkite News spoke to five experts to get their take on the highs and lows of the state budget. Here are their insights:

Win: Mexico trade office
In 2014, the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico opened to expand the state’s business presence across the border.

State lawmakers included $300,000 to open the office in this year’s budget. And the state allocated the same amount to operate it for fiscal 2016, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Mexico is a growing world market and Arizona’s most important trading partner, according to the authority. In 2013, trade generated between Arizona and Mexico exceeded $14 billion, the group said.

Allocating funds to keep this office during this budgetary time is a win, said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

However, Jim Rounds, a senior economist with consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Co., said it’s only a “win” if they’re successful in expanding business to Mexico.

Win: Tax reforms
Members of the business community said they were happy to see the tax reform competitiveness package, signed into law in 2011, remain on schedule.

This package includes phased-in reductions of the state’s corporate income tax down to 4.9 percent, among other reforms. The latest budget maintains the tax reforms the business community advocated for a few years ago, Hamer said.

“Businesses want to know with certainty that the environment will continue every year,” Hamer said, “providing the predictability in our tax environment that is necessary for economic growth.”

Rounds agreed it’s a win that lawmakers kept the tax reform. However, he said lawmakers need to “research first and put in the time to figure out where to get good return on investment.”

He said other investments may yield more than tax reform.

For business to remain competitive, the state needs to reduce the tax burden, said Dennis Hoffman, an economic expert at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Additionally, Ducey added indexing to income-tax brackets to account for inflation. Small business will benefit from millions in income that’s protected from being taxed at higher rates, Hamer said.

Win: Tourism
The state halted initial plans to cut $4.5 million from the Arizona Office of Tourism. Tourism is the state’s third-largest export industry and one of the largest state revenue generators, according to the Arizona Office Of Tourism.

“It’s a win, in this budgetary environment, to be able to preserve the budget of an agency so integral to the success of one of Arizona’s base industries is a very positive outcome,” Hamer said.

But, officials said, the budget still leaves the state short changed compared to neighboring states. Arizona has a $13.5 million tourism budget for fiscal 2016, while California’s is $100 million.

Loss: Higher education
The budget includes deep cuts for the state’s three universities: $99 million, a 13 percent cut.

“Some states are well endowed with college-educated people in the workforce and may not need to invest as much in their universities. That is not true of Arizona,” Hoffman said.

Experts agree that the larger share of college graduates in the labor force, the more prosperous the economy. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, skilled workers are imperative and it is “important to maintain a world class university system,” Hamer said.

Arizona business may have to look out of state to find skilled workers, which could increase search costs to find quality workers, said Daniel Herder, an Arizona State University student and president of the student economics association.

“It could, in fact, cause a bit of flight,” Herder said about people who must move out of state to find opportunities.

Rounds agreed that higher education funding is an important business concern. However, he said that in this current economy, lawmakers needed to make cuts.

He said he does not believe cuts to universities are permanent.

Hamer said that going forward, there is a consensus among experts that Arizona needs to put more resources into universities to keep Arizona businesses competitive.

Loss: Health care
Lawmakers voted to cut reimbursement by 5 percent to health care providers and ambulance services that serve Medicaid patients.

“We didn’t see wins in this budget at all,” said Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

Critics said the cut could cause long-term damage to the health care industry, one of the state’s more vibrant economic sectors.

The major factor for these losses is underpayment by government payers, particularly the state’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Containment System, according to the association.

The association predicts the repercussions in the health care industry are much larger than the savings.

“We are finally reaching the point with hospitals that it is too much of a hit,” Vigdor said.

Vigdor said cuts to the health care industry threaten hospitals’ ability to provide certain services and keep their doors open.

Since 2012, two rural hospitals in Arizona have shut down, according to the association.

Luxury Home - AZ Business Magazine November 2008

Expect a stronger spring in the Phoenix housing market

Expect to see a stronger spring this year in the Phoenix housing market than we saw last year. January was the “lull before the storm,” according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the highlights of that report on Maricopa and Pinal counties for January:

  • The median single-family-home sales price went up 5.6 percent from January 2014 to January 2015 — $197,000 to $208,000.
  • Condos and townhomes continue to gain a larger share of the market.
  • Preliminary February figures show demand about to boom, with the number of homes under contract dramatically rising.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family home price went up about another 5.6 percent from last January to this January – from $197,000 to $208,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot gained 5.1 percent.

Condos and townhomes picked up even more momentum, with their median price up 11.6 percent – from $121,000 to $135,000. While single-family home sales activity dropped 7 percent from last January to this January, townhome and condo sales activity rose 6 percent. In fact, the amount of money spent on mid-range townhomes and condos was up an incredible 54 percent. Orr credits interest in easy-to-maintain homes.

Despite the attached-home phenomenon, though, the Phoenix market experienced relatively weak home-sales activity both last year and in January. However, things finally appear ready to change.

“January is always a quiet month, but we believe this was a lull before the storm,” explains the new report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We have already seen early signs of much stronger activity from buyers in February and March. Looking at the number of homes going under contract, there was significantly increased demand in the lower and middle price ranges.”

Orr notes that listings for non-distressed homes under contract in the Phoenix area were up 26 percent from last year on a typical day in February. Listings from $150,000 to $600,000 were up more than 30 percent. He attributes this largely to lenders starting to relax their tight loan-underwriting guidelines and “boomerang buyers” who went through foreclosure or short sale being able to come back into the market.

Rental homes are also doing well.

“With relatively fast turnover and low vacancy rates, rents have been increasing in the most popular locations,” says Orr. “We are currently seeing a 5.8-percent rise over the last 12 months across the Greater Phoenix area.”

However, supply is an issue when it comes to all types of homes, including affordably priced rentals, which Orr says are at the lowest level he has seen in 14 years. Single-family home listings (excluding those under contract) were down 7 percent on Feb. 1 from the already depressed level at the same time last year.

“Supply remains relatively low except at the high end of the market,” Orr says. “At the moment, we are seeing early signs that demand is likely to recover quite a bit faster than supply. It would only take a modest increase in first-time home buyer demand to overwhelm the current weak level of supply, making it tougher to find affordable homes for sale.”

Don’t expect more supply to come from foreclosures. Completed foreclosures were down 43 percent from last January to this January.

One last note: Orr says home builders aren’t enjoying 2015 much yet. In January, newly built single-family homes hit their lowest monthly sales total in three years. However, he expects that trend to reverse, too.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Entrepreneurs

ASU honors top ASU-bred entrepreneurs

Arizona State University has been gaining a nationwide reputation as a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. Accordingly, next week, the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU is holding its first-ever Sun Devil Select event, to honor some of the country’s top ASU alum-owned and alum-run businesses. Seventeen firms from a variety of industries will be recognized for their achievements.

“We’re honoring organizations that demonstrate innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is hosting the event. “The inaugural Sun Devil Select class includes firms from Chicago, the Los Angeles area, Kansas City, Dallas and the Phoenix area.”

The winning firms and alums are:

  • Betablox – Weston Bergmann is an angel investor and the founder and chief executive officer of this Kansas City-based group that helps select startups navigate through their first stages of business.
  • Dunn Transportation – Margaret Dunn is founder and president of this transportation company, which owns Scottsdale’s popular Ollie the Trolley and an executive coach service.
  • Fan Interactive Marketing – Joel McFadden serves as chief operating officer for this California firm specializing in customer relationship management, interactive marketing, database knowledge and email deployment.
  • FSW Funding – Robyn Barrett is the managing member of Factors Southwest, LLC, an independently owned factoring firm in Phoenix that helps small to mid-size businesses to secure funding.
  • Higher Ed Growth – Frank Healy is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that helps schools reach enrollment goals by using proprietary technology.
  • Homeowners Financial Group USA – William Rogers is chief executive officer of this family-oriented, award-winning mortgage company based in Scottsdale.
  • Infusionsoft – Marc Chesley serves as chief technology officer for this Chandler-based sales-and-marketing software firm recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States eight years in a row.
  • itSynergy – Michael Cocanower is founder and president of this Phoenix IT consulting firm with more than 200 clients.
  • Off Madison Ave – David Anderson is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Phoenix-based marketing and advertising firm with clients that include Nike and LifeLock. 
  • Print.Save.Repeat. – Errol Berry is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Chandler toner-cartridge manufacturer that focuses on recycling and saving businesses money on printing.
  • RedShelf – Tim Haitaian is co-founder and chief financial officer of this Chicago-based company that partners with publishers and college bookstores to more easily and affordably deliver eTextbooks.
  • Signature Technology Group – Charles Layne serves as president and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based STG, which provides data-center services that support more than 300,000 devices across North America.
  • Skin Script Skin Care – Lisa VanBockern is the owner of this Tempe skin care company that makes natural clinical products designed to address anti-aging, sun damage, acne and other issues.
  • Skyhook – Dallin Harris is founder and chief executive officer of this Mesa-based Internet marketing firm that has worked with clients including AT&T, Subway and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Tiempo Development – Cliff Schertz is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that provides software firms with an integrated platform of services to accelerate how they develop, deploy and support their products.
  • Vetscience/Fruitables Pet Food – David DeLorenzo serves as president of this Dallas company that makes natural dog treats.
  • Western Window Systems – Scott Gates is president and chief operating officer of this Phoenix-based window and door manufacturer that has been making energy-efficient products for more than 50 years.

The Sun Devil Select Class of 2015 will be recognized at a special invitation-only luncheon on ASU’s Tempe campus on March 20. They will reconnect with their alma mater and spend time networking with each other and current ASU students, including some budding entrepreneurs. They will also meet Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; Christine Wilkinson, head of the ASU Alumni Association and ASU senior vice president and secretary; and Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Sun Devil Select is just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business-creation experience. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships to sustain its activities. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu/entrepreneurship.

manufacturing sector expanded

W.P. Carey offers supply chain refresher

Companies are always interested in keeping costs down, minimizing risk and streamlining efficiency. That’s why supply chain management is such a popular field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a 26-percent increase in logistics jobs by 2020. So, what do you do if you work in supply chains, but get transferred to another function or simply need a refresher on what’s new? The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers a program for that.

“This new online certificate program will help participants think more about the company as a whole – about how to manage complex supply chain problems,” says Professor John Fowler, chair of the Supply Chain Management Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The program takes six months or less and is designed to fit into busy working professionals’ schedules.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business is launching the new online supply chain management certificate – an upgrade of an earlier program – this spring, with an April start. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 3 in the nation for online graduate business programs. The new certificate program is being taught by instructors from the school’s renowned supply chain management department, consistently ranked Top 10 in its field.

“Whether you work in logistics, operations management or supply management, this program can help get you up to speed on the latest developments in your field,” says Dawn Feldman, executive director of executive education at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “You can choose electives in anything from operations planning to supplier management and even reverse logistics and sustainability.”

The new non-credit, professional certificate program is designed to help supply chain workers expand their roles and skills, learning about a variety of industries. It includes case studies and simulations of real-world challenges. Courses can be taken one at a time, and assignments can be turned in at any time throughout the week.

For those exploring the intersection of supply chain management with the emerging field of “big data,” there is another option, too. The W. P. Carey School is also launching a new business-analytics certificate program that includes electives in supply chain management. It covers analytical decision modeling.

For more information on either program, call (480) 965-7579 or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education.

data.center

W. P. Carey helps you become part of ‘big data’ team

As jobs boom in the area of “big data,” there’s a need that hasn’t really been addressed. About 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies are planning for or already executing big-data initiatives. However, while some degree programs already exist to help train the actual data scientists – those who sort through and analyze the mountains of information coming into companies through the Internet and other methods – how do we train the team members who just work with the data analysts?

“We want to help the big-data team members who only need to know the basics to help them participate and make a significant impact,” explains Professor Michael Goul, chair of the Information Systems Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We are offering a short online certificate program in which they can learn business-analytics foundations and strategy, so they can communicate about big data, better understand what results are coming in, and contribute to making important decisions.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business is launching its new online business-analytics certificate program this spring, with an April start. Participants can complete the program one course at a time, in six months or less. The convenient format allows busy working professionals to do their assignments any time throughout the week.

“Those who take this certificate program will be able to contribute to the new culture of evidence-based decision making, which is becoming increasingly important in the business world,” says Dawn Feldman, executive director of executive education at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This will really help managers, marketers and others who regularly interact with data scientists and want to help address critical business challenges through the use of data.”

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 3 in the nation for online graduate business programs. This new non-credit, professional certificate program is being taught by instructors from the school’s renowned supply chain management and information systems departments, both consistently ranked Top 15 in their fields.

Participants will take two core courses in analytics, plus two electives. In the elective tracks, they can focus on either data management or supply chain management. It’s all about being a part of the process for the overall company.

To learn more about this flexible online certificate program in business analytics, call (480) 965-7579 or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education. The W. P. Carey School also offers full online master’s degree programs in business analytics and information management.

housing.prices

Phoenix-area housing market sees uptick

The sluggish Phoenix-area housing market just got a pleasant surprise. New figures show a sudden uptick in buyer demand, with a significant boost in homes under contract since late January.

“I do NOT think this has anything to do with the crowds that came in for the recent Super Bowl in Arizona, but that is coincidentally when we started to see this rise in demand,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Orr looked at statistics from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) for his W. P. Carey School of Business analysis. In 2014, the Phoenix-area housing market had relatively low demand, and sales activity even dropped 14 percent. However, the new ARMLS numbers show this year has already brought in more than the usual seasonal uptrend in almost every price range.

These numbers are for non-distressed homes under contract in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, on a typical day in late February 2015 versus the same day in 2014:

  • Under $150,000 – Up 7 percent
  • $150,000 to $250,000 – Up 35 percent
  • $250,000 to $400,000 – Up 38 percent
  • $400,000 to $600,000 – Up 33 percent
  • $600,000 to $1.5 million – Up 12 percent
  • More than $1.5 million – Down 10 percent

Overall, non-distressed listings under contract are up 26 percent. Orr says luxury homes aren’t seeing as much impact from recent changes in market conditions, but entry-level and mid-range homes are attracting far more buyer interest.

“The reasons for these increases include: 1.) that lenders have started to relax their previously tight loan-underwriting guidelines and 2.) that more people who went through foreclosure or short sale are now able to return to homeownership,” explains Orr. “These changes largely affect the lower and middle ranges of the market.”

Orr calculates that, in 2014, the median single-family-home price in the Phoenix area went up 5.4 percent. He now expects 2015 to be a much better year for home sellers, if the new trend continues. However, he does have one note of caution.

“The Phoenix area was already dealing with a relatively low supply of available homes for sale before this uptick,” says Orr. “If the higher-demand trend continues for several months, then that tight supply could become a bigger issue.”

Orr’s next regularly-scheduled monthly housing report will be out in mid-March. Meantime, those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

2015 RED Award logo

RED Awards 2015: Best Higher Education Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 10th annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2014 and the construction teams involved. RED Award trophies were handed out in 10 project categories, to six brokerage teams and safety, subcontractor, architect, general contractor and developer of the year awards were also presented. AZRE also recognized Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham with a lifetime achievement award. Click here to view all 2015 RED Awards Winners.

01-ASU-CACCollege Avenue Commons

Developer: Arizona Board of Regents
Contractor: Okland Construction
Architects: Gensler; Architekton
Size: 137KSF
Location: Tempe
Completed: July 2014

Arizona State University’s five-story College Avenue Commons is the new home for the Del E. Webb School of Construction, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, University Tour and Sun Devil Marketplace. The building contains a 200-seat auditorium, classrooms, BIM, materials testing and computational labs. Every tenant has a unique entrance off College Avenue, and the building is rife with didactic features. Elements of the design and construction were modeled in 3D so students can study the building’s construction. It also includes exposed mechanical, structural and electrical systems as well as chilled water, fire alarm and data systems that can be used for instruction.