Tag Archives: arizona state university

housing.prices

What Comes Next for housing market?

The Phoenix-area housing market is experiencing a normal seasonal spring bounce in activity and prices, but what will happen next? A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University talks about the waves of consumers that will likely start returning to the housing market next year, for the first time since the recession.

Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of March:

> The median single-family-home sales price recovered from two months of drops and is back to a level similar to December.
> However, demand and sales activity are still dramatically lower than at this time last year.
> The report’s author examines why certain waves of consumers may start returning to the housing market over the next several years.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from a recession low point in September 2011 until last summer, when the jumps slowed down. Then, this January and February, we saw the first two back-to-back monthly drops in the area’s median single-family-home sales price. This March, we saw that dip erased, but probably not for long.

“The bounce is a normal effect of the busy spring sales season, combined with a lot more high-priced homes in the current sales mix,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand, and it is highly probable we will see pricing fade again during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet. We may still be looking at little to no annual price appreciation by the end of the year.”

The median single-family-home sales price was up about 17 percent from last March to this March – from $175,000 to $204,520. The average price per square foot was up 15.5 percent. The median townhouse/condominium sales price was up 16 percent. We no longer have a tight supply of homes for sale like we did at this time last year. Supply stabilized in March, with 64 percent more listings this April 1 than last April 1.

However, low demand continues to be a problem. Single-family-home sales activity was down 20 percent this March from last March. Some of the drop comes from regular home buyers, but also institutional investors are just not as interested in Phoenix, now that better bargains can be found in other parts of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors in the Phoenix area this March was down to 17.4 percent from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012.

“The institutional investors are doing very little buying or selling in the Phoenix area at the moment,” says Orr. “Their focus has turned to property management, rather than acquisition or disposal.”

The areas doing especially well right now in Phoenix?

Luxury homes priced at more than $500,000 represented 11 percent more of the market’s sales activity this March than last March. High-end demand above $1.5 million was greater in the first quarter of this year than in any first quarter since 2007.
Rental homes are experiencing very strong demand. Interest is so robust that only a one-month supply is currently available on the market.
Multi-family construction permits are on a strong upward trend. In fact, Orr says the first quarter of 2014 was the second-highest quarter for multi-family permits in 12 years.

Meantime, single-family construction permits were down 18 percent this March from last March. New-home sales were down 15 percent.

Orr says, “A key underlying problem for current housing demand is lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials. However, we could see lenders become the most influential decision-makers in this situation. Many lenders are hurting for business, with applications at their lowest level since 2000, and some may become more forgiving, accepting lower credit scores for loans.”

Orr also predicts we’ll see the first major waves of consumers who lost their homes through foreclosure during the recession coming back into the market, starting next year. He says those who lost their homes at the beginning of the downturn will have spent their required seven years in the “penalty box,” and they’ll reemerge from 2015 to 2019. He adds it’s just a question of how many of them want to try again at home ownership.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

GA_tail lights 2

ASU opens 2 more PowerParasols

In order to line up more with Arizona State University’s goals of being carbon neutral on campus by 2025, the New American University has teamed up with start-up company, Strategic Solar, and has opened up two more PowerParasols on campus.

Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and CFO at ASU, said that these projects are extremely helpful and important to ASU’s goal of being carbon neutral and a leader of universities in cutting the impact that these institutions have on the environment.

ASU’s partnership with Strategic Solar began when they first built one of the PowerParasols, which have photovoltaic solar panels and supplies great shade for the community, at Lot 59, a popular tailgating spot for Sun Devil fans. Now, two more of these structures were built, one PowerParasol was erected outside of ASU’s Memorial Union and the other was built at a major entrance onto campus at Gammage Auditorium.

“The PowerParasols created an area we can enjoy 12 months out of the year,” Olsen said. They also generate sustainable energy for the campus and add to the 25 megawatts of solar energy that ASU hosts across four campuses, Olsen said.

Since 2007, ASU has cut its green house emissions by 36 percent per student, while enrollment has increased by 33 percent, Olsen said. “We’re growing and we’ve achieved these great metrics,” Olsen said.

The PowerParasol at Memorial Union has 1,380 photovoltaic solar panels, which produce 397 kilowatts, and the PowerParasol at Gammage is a little larger with 1,716 panels on two different structures and it produces 494 kilowatts.

These structures aren’t only great at supplying shade during the day, but at night they have luminous lights that create a beautiful friendly environment.

JA Solar supplied all of the panels that were used for these projects. APS community Relations Manager Michelle Gettinger congratulated ASU and PowerParasol with this brand new innovative and green structure.

Bob Boscamp, president of Strategic Solar, said that ASU was the first to partner and share the vision of installing PowerParasols. The PowerParasols are patent pending Boscamp said and he hopes to open up more at ASU and across the nation.

Olsen said that this is one of many of ASU’s projects that are being done to help minimalize the impact that Universities have on the environment. Zero waste initiatives have been enacted, across the campus there are multiple recycling bins for students to utilize and whenever the school receives boxes from shipments ASU sends them back.

Also, at the recent Pat’s Run, ASU had crews making sure what was recyclable at the event was recycled and anything that was organic trash went to proper biomass facilities Olsen said.

Top Ten Sports Bars, Photo: Clintus McGintus, Flickr

ASU unveils innovative sports law programs

If you want to work with professional sports teams, big sporting events or promising student athletes, then you may be interested in the innovative new sports law and business program officially being launched this week by Arizona State University. The highly ranked Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU are collaborating on two new sports law graduate degrees you can earn in just one year. Classes begin this fall.

“I’ve worked in the sports law field for three decades, and can see we need professionals who have training in both law and business to help work on regulatory and revenue issues in the sports industry,” says professor Rodney K. Smith of the College of Law, director of the new programs. “I don’t know of any other program in the country that offers a master’s degree like this with just a single, intensive year of study.”

The two new one-year degrees are a master of legal studies (MLS), for those without a law background, and a master of laws (LLM), for those who already graduated from law school. In each program, students will work on 18 to 21 credits from the law school, and six to nine credits from the W. P. Carey School. This includes an externship, which might be for a professional sports team, a sports law firm or even a big event like a college bowl game. The programs are going to be small and personalized, accepting fewer than 30 people each in their first year. They will also focus on team-based learning and look at real-world issues, such as stadium problems, player unionization and contract negotiations.

Ray Anderson, ASU vice president of university athletics and a former executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, will be a professor of practice in the programs. He wanted to be part of a high-quality sports offering, and this one is located in a metropolitan area with three professional sports teams, major golf events, college football bowl games and even next year’s Super Bowl.

“I am proud to be a part of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Sports Law and Business Program because it is the only one of its kind to offer a sports-focused graduate program that combines the strengths of a top law school with a top business school as its foundation,” Anderson says. “One of the reasons I came to Arizona State University from the National Football League is because of the vibrant Phoenix sports market, with its combination of sporting events representative of all major sports leagues and organizations. This fact, combined with a premier research university, will produce top-quality learning experiences for students in the curriculum.”

Courses in the new program will encompass both law and business areas, including “Sports Business Strategy and Industry Dynamics,” “Negotiations and Drafting in the Sports Industry,” and “Problems in Professional Sports Law and Business.” Big-name speakers from the world of sports are expected to participate, as well.

“The sports industry is complex and expanding,” says marketing professor Michael Mokwa of the W. P. Carey School. “The new program will provide skills and savvy for individuals seeking to make a real difference in the field.”

For more information about the new one-year degrees, visit law.asu.edu/sportslaw. A three-year juris doctorate program will also be added this fall for those who want to pursue their law degree with an emphasis in sports law and business.

grocery

Expect to Pay More for Certain Groceries

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores and to pay higher prices for those items. Professor Timothy Richards of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recently completed some research on which crops will likely be most affected and what the price boosts might be.

“You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” says Richards, the Morrison Chair at the Morrison School of Agribusiness within the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We can expect to see the biggest percentage jumps in prices for avocados and lettuce – 28 percent and 34 percent, respectively. People are the least price-sensitive when it comes to those items, and they’re more willing to pay what it takes to get them.”

Industry estimates range from a half-million to 1 million acres of agricultural land likely to be affected by the current California drought. Richards believes between 10 and 20 percent of the supply of certain crops could be lost, and California is the biggest national supplier of several of those crops. For avocados, the state is the only major domestic source.

Richards used retail-sales data from the Nielsen Perishables Group, an industry analytics and consulting firm, to estimate price elasticities – how much the prices might vary – for the fruit and vegetable crops most likely to be affected by the drought. Those most vulnerable are the crops that use the most water and simply won’t be grown, or those sensitive to reductions in irrigation.

He estimates the following possible price increases due to the drought:

* Avocados likely to go up 17 to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
* Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
* Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
* Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
* Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
* Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
* Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
* Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

“We predict the increased prices will change consumer purchasing behavior,” says Sherry Frey, vice president of Nielsen Perishables Group. “We’ve identified certain consumers who will be more heavily affected by the price increases — for example, younger consumers of avocados. In addition, there is a larger department and store impact retailers will need to manage. While some consumers will pay the increased prices, others will substitute or leave the category completely. And, for a category like avocados, there are non-produce snacking categories, such as chips, crackers and ethnic grocery items, that will be negatively impacted.”

Richards adds, “One other thing for shoppers to understand — Because prices are going to go up so much, retailers will start looking elsewhere for produce. This means we’ll see a lot more imports from places like Chile and Mexico, which may be an issue for certain grocery customers who want domestic fruit and vegetables.”

Arizona State University student team members Haylee Hilgers, right, and Jason Hyacinthe won the EMC Green Data Center Challenge at the Avnet Tech Games.

Avnet Tech Games Winners Announced

Avnet, Inc., a leading global technology distributor, announced the 2014 winners of the Avnet Tech Games. Close to 200 students from Arizona community colleges and universities competed head-to-head for top honors in the Avnet Tech Games Arizona onsite competition on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe. In addition, college students competing on a national level in the Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games had their work displayed and winners were announced during the awards ceremony at the onsite competition. Thirty winning students collected $1,000 each in scholarship money.

A panel of judges including technology executives, engineers and other business leaders selected the winners based on the students’ ability to meet the technical requirements of a task, apply innovative approaches to the solution and demonstrate professional skills. Nearly 76 teams of students competed in the onsite and virtual Avnet Tech Games, including 8 Arizona community colleges and universities: Arizona State University, ITT Technical Institute, seven Maricopa County Community Colleges, Northern Arizona University, The University of Advancing Technology and University of Arizona.

The winners of the 2014 Onsite Avnet Tech Games are:

Cisco Networking Expert Battle
South Mountain Community College
Faculty Coach: Tom Polliard
Student Team Members: Huy Mai and Justin Woys

Desktop Domination
The University of Advancing Technology
Student Team Members: William Hartman and Kelly Stahlberg

Digital Design Dilemma
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Bassam Matar
Student Team Members: Michelle Smekal, Niccolo Horvath and Neel Mistry

EMC Green Data Center Challenge
Arizona State University
Student Team Members: Haylee Hilgers and Jason Hyacinthe

HP Build the Fastest Computer
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Troy Gerloff, Blake Knoll and Jeremy Morgan

Java Blitz
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Rameen Kaliqu
Student Team Members: Zachary Peshke, Samuel Slater and Larry Standage

Robot Race Obstacle Course
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Richard Dale, Spencer Hall and Federico Ortega

Solar Scrimmage
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Justin Arispe, Drew Carlson and Jennifer Hooker

Since the inception of the Avnet Tech Games in 2006, nearly $300,000 in scholarship money and prizes have been awarded to hundreds of the approximately 2,680 students and 215 faculty members who have participated in the competitions.

“The Avnet Tech Games provide a great opportunity for students to test their technical and strategy skills by applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios,” said Joal Redmond, vice president of public relations for Avnet, Inc. “Students also had the opportunity to improve their communications skills by participating in a networking workshop and then practice those skills by meeting with Avnet and sponsor executives during a networking hour. Students win, schools win and business wins with the Avnet Tech Games.”

The annual multidisciplinary technology competition, composed of eight separate events, required students to work in teams to test their knowledge, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and technical skills. During the event, students showcased how they can make a difference in advancing business and improving quality of life by participating in competitions such as creating a solar-powered water-pumping system, racing to build a computer using refurbished parts and troubleshoot issues in the Windows 7 operating system.

2014 Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games
The Virtual Avnet Tech Games were introduced in 2010 to expand the breadth of the onsite event by allowing students to compete on a national level. More than 115 teams competed in the Virtual Avnet Tech Games competition. The winners were:

Android App™ Showdown
ITT Technical Institute
Student Team Member: Bryan Geesey

Green Video Competition
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Dustin Allen, Kendra Charnick, Joel Parker and Brian Weeks

JDA Supply Chain Challenge
Southern Methodist University
Student Team Members: Aaron Barnard, Matt Mulholland, Tushar Solanki and Meredith Titus

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s virtual and onsite Avnet Tech Games, especially our winners,” added Redmond. On behalf of Avnet, thank you to all of our sponsors, business partners and volunteers for helping to make this year’s event a success.”

Avnet Tech Games 2014 sponsors included signature sponsors CA, Cisco, CDW, Datalink, DPAIR, EMC, HP, JDA, Kyocera, Microchip, Nimble Storage and Sungard.

140054736

W. P. Carey Honors Executive of the Year

Jim Davidson has played a key role in some of the biggest deals in the technology industry, including investments in Dell, Skype, Go Daddy, Alibaba, Avago, Seagate and Sabre Holdings, which operates Travelocity. For his impressive work in the investment arena, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will honor Davidson – co-founder, managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake – with the school’s annual Executive of the Year Award next week.

“Jim Davidson has helped many businesses to strategically invest and grow into market leaders,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “He has been an active advisor in the technology industry for more than a quarter of a century and is considered a pioneer in the world of technology investments.”

Davidson co-founded Silver Lake in 1999 and has helped the technology-focused private-equity firm grow to manage more than $23 billion in assets and employ more than 200 professionals around the world. The firm’s portfolio currently includes or has previously included such companies as Alibaba, Ameritrade, Avago, Go Daddy, the NASDAQ OMX Group, Sabre Holdings, Seagate and Skype. The firm was also instrumental in the recent $25 billion deal in which Silver Lake partnered with Michael Dell to take Dell Inc. off stock exchanges to become private again.

Prior to his work at Silver Lake, Davidson was a managing director at Hambrecht & Quist, a technology-focused investment bank and venture capital firm that helped underwrite the initial public offerings (IPOs) of Apple, Netscape and Amazon.com. He was also a corporate securities attorney.

Davidson serves on the board of SMART Modular Technologies, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of flash memory cards and other digital storage products. He has also served on the boards of directors of many other Silver Lake investments, including Avago, Seagate and Skype. He is an active angel investor and advisor to several private tech companies and also serves on the boards of nonprofits, including the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and the U.S. Olympic Foundation Board of Trustees.

Davidson becomes the 31st annual Executive of the Year chosen by the Dean’s Council, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business. Previous honorees include Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company, and Mike Ahearn, chairman of the board of First Solar, Inc.

Davidson will be honored at a luncheon at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale on April 17. The event, which starts at 11:45 a.m., is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 727-0596 or visit www.econclubphx.org. Tickets are $75 per person for non-club members.

ali_pic

Kindness defines Sorority Secrets founder

Often times when one thinks of a great business mogul, words like “cutthroat” and “cunning” pop into their heads. But what about an accomplished business person who has made their success by going down a different path?

Ali Matthews, vice president of 224 Apparel and co-founder of The Sorority Secrets, has not emerged as a successful businesswoman by stepping on any toes or stabbing any backs, but by using a different weapon— kindness.

“She cares deeply and has a passion for bettering her surroundings, both in her personal life and in her business life,” said Karen Okonkwo, another co-founder of The Sorority Secrets.

Matthews met Okonkwo at Arizona State University in 2003 during sorority recruitment. After dreaming of being in a sorority for as long as she could remember, Matthews joined the Delta Epsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.

“I was one of those girls that was dying to be in a sorority when I was in high school,” she said. “I couldn’t wait.”

She served as recruitment chair, a position that is responsible for planning formal recruitment to find new members for the chapter, while she was in Theta. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Matthews openly admits that she struggled with letting others help her with recruitment.

“I don’t like sharing tasks with other people,” she said. “[Recruitment] was such a great experience to learn that I can trust other people to help me. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed.”

After graduating with a degree in communications in 2008, Matthews started a business to design recruitment packages for sororities. Although this venture was short-lived, she embraced it as learning experience.

“You learn so much more from failure than you do from success,” she said. “I would never say that my first business was a failure by any means, but I learned a lot from it. I try to learn every single day, and I challenge myself every single day.”

Sorority involvement led to Matthews’ next business venture when Okwonko approached her and another Theta sister, Sakura Considine, with the idea for The Sorority Secrets in 2012. The blog had its first anniversary in January.

“I think the best part, for me, about being a part of Sorority Secrets is that it is a platform to do good,” Matthews said. “We have an opportunity to help people.”

Although the website is filled with predictable content like beauty tips and baking recipes, The Sorority Secrets also shares an unique variety of content such as “Big Sis Tips” to help with filing taxes or inspirational stories about girls coming together to form a non-profit for a sister with cancer.

Despite her involvement in The Sorority Secrets, Matthews primary business endeavor is her clothing company that she started with her fiancé Jonathan Radow.

Matthews and Radow met during a business meeting for her first business venture. Following an instant connection, the two began to date. Radow owns BMSS, a lifestyle management company that offers private jet, credit card processing and real estate services. Radow wanted to add an apparel division to his company, and when he met Matthews on February 24, 2010 everything fell into place.

“He always wanted to do apparel, he met me, it made sense, so we just decided to go for it,” Matthews said.

Named after the day they met, 224 Apparel specializes in Greek and corporate clothing, ranging from sorority recruitment shirts to company uniforms. After founding this company just over 3 years ago, it has expanded across more than 50 college campuses solely based off of referrals. Although Matthews has a natural sense of style, the success of her company can be attributed to a combination of her hard work and personality.

“Out of all the other people I have worked for, she is so dedicated to her business and to her clients,” said Jacqueline Meyer, an intern for 224 Apparel. “She loves making her clients happy and coming back for more, whether it be more clothing or even someone to talk to.”

Matthews stands apart from other business owners because she not only takes on clients, but she forms genuine relationships with the people she is working with.

“Ali is professional, timely, creative, and also has awesome interpersonal skills,” Okonkwo said. “People gravitate toward her positive energy, because she sincerely cares about you.”

The company is currently moving into a bigger office to allow for more room to grow. The future of 224 Apparel is bright with Matthews’s drive, passion and charisma leading the way.

“You have to love it. You have to have the passion for it, and it’s like you’ll never work a day in your life, but you’ll never work that hard in your life either.”

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School Ranks Top 30 Again

U.S. News & World Report announces its prestigious annual list of the “Best Graduate Schools” in the country today. For the seventh year in a row, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University ranks Top 30 nationwide among full-time MBA programs. The school’s evening MBA program also ranks Top 20 among part-time MBA programs.

“We’re happy the new rankings confirm we’re achieving consistent excellence here at the W. P. Carey School of Business,” says the school’s dean, Amy Hillman. “We have a phenomenal group of faculty, staff and students who repeatedly boost us to the top, year after year.”

On the new rankings list, the W. P. Carey School’s full-time MBA program comes in at No. 27, the best ranking for any Arizona school. The numbers are largely based on the positive reputation of schools among corporate recruiters — who offer students jobs — and among top administrators from peer business schools in the know.

“We are proud to offer one of the three least expensive programs in the Top 30,” explains Stacey Whitecotton, the W. P. Carey School’s senior associate dean of graduate programs. “We also have one of the two smallest programs in the Top 30, allowing us to keep the class sizes small and personal.”

The W. P. Carey School’s evening MBA program ranks No. 18 for part-time MBA programs nationwide. The evening program is offered in both Tempe and north Scottsdale, and it’s the highest ranked part-time MBA program in Arizona. The school also offers other part-time programs not eligible for inclusion in this particular set of new rankings: an acclaimed online MBA program that U.S. News & World Report ranked No. 2 nationwide earlier this year and a weekend MBA program that mixes online learning and campus classes every other Friday and Saturday.

The new U.S. News & World Report rankings also include other graduate-level “specialties” lists. The W. P. Carey School’s renowned supply chain management program ranks No. 3 for supply chain/logistics. The information systems program ranks No. 12 in its category. In addition, ASU’s Ph.D. program in economics ranks No. 36.

Other recent high rankings for the W. P. Carey School of Business:

> U.S. News & World Report ranks the school’s undergraduate business program No. 27 in the nation.
> Britain’s Financial Times ranks the school’s online MBA program Top 10 worldwide.
The Financial Times ranks the school’s China-based executive MBA program No. 28 worldwide.
> The University of Texas at Dallas ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 25 in the United States and Top 30 worldwide for business-school research productivity.
The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks the W. P. Carey School No. 21 in the world for economics/business.

engineering

ASU’s engineering schools merge

Arizona State University is merging its two successful engineering schools. The move will enhance and expand engineering education opportunities, lead to growth in the number of engineering and technology graduates, strengthen and increase the impact of research and simplify engagement for industry.

This is a natural next step for ASU’s successful College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) and the Polytechnic campus, where the college is located. Both are now about a decade old.

CTI will be renamed the Polytechnic School, and will be housed within ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The school will continue to have unique programs, and the engineering and technology programs will be expanded at the Polytechnic campus.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the change Feb. 5.

“For ASU to pursue its mission of innovative education and research, there needs to be continuous evolution and improvement of the university’s schools and campuses,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “By incorporating the Polytechnic School within Fulton Schools of Engineering, a top 50 nationally ranked engineering school, Poly will attract more students and expand research possibilities faster than could have been done otherwise. The Polytechnic School brings to Fulton a number of high-quality applied engineering programs and additional research facilities and programs.”

In recent years, ASU has constructed new academic facilities at Poly, built a residential life academic village, and added new recreation facilities. The goal remains to have 15,000 to 20,000 students there.

“The merger of CTI and the Fulton Schools represents a logical fusion of two very successful programs,” said ASU Provost Robert Page. “It will provide our students with a better-defined set of program options and allow new synergistic connections among our faculty.”

Both CTI and the Fulton Schools share a strong interest in innovative, experiential education, student success and use-inspired research directed toward solving societal challenges in areas such as energy, health, sustainability, education and security.

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the United States, with more than 10,000 students. CTI has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. The Fulton Schools undergraduate program ranking from U.S. News & World Report puts them in the top 25 percent of ranked programs. Both schools have faculty that have been honored with the highest awards in their fields.

Mitzi Montoya, who has served as vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation since 2011, has been promoted to vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and university dean for entrepreneurship and innovation. In this new role, Montoya will synthesize activities across campuses and continue to enrich the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

During her time as dean of CTI, Montoya spearheaded several initiatives designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. She was pivotal in bringing TechShop – a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio with locations nationwide – to the ASU Chandler Innovation Center. She also launched iProjects, which connects ASU students with industry to solve real business problems.

housing.prices

Phoenix Home-Price Rebound May Be Over

The big home-price rebound in the Phoenix area may officially be over. For the first time since last summer, the market experienced a month-to-month decrease in the median single-family-home sales price. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals that and other details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of January:

> The median single-family-home sales price was $196,900.
> Demand is very low, from both investors and normal homeowner-occupiers.
> Phoenix-area home prices are finally back in line with the Consumer Price Index, as if the recession and recovery had never happened.

Valley home prices started quickly rising after hitting a low point in September 2011, but they began slowing down this past July. Finally, this January, the median single-family-home sales price hit $196,900 — down 4 percent from December. It was the first month-to-month drop since the normal summer seasonal blips, and it’s largely due to a big drop in demand/sales activity.

“January is usually the quietest month of the year for sales, but this January was far weaker than January 2012 and 2013,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Despite the huge price increases between January 2013 and 2014, the total dollars spent on homes here this January actually dropped by 7 percent. This is the second lowest level of demand we’ve seen in 14 years, behind only 2008.”

Still, the median single-family-home sales price remained up 21 percent from last January, when it was at $163,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 19 percent. The median townhouse/condo price was up about 17 percent.

“The price gains now are weak, but it’s not clear that they’ll get much weaker or stronger,” explains Orr. “We’ve already seen a significant change in the market, which has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices between 2009 and 2011. Pricing is back to the level it would have attained if it had increased from 2000 in line with the Consumer Price Index.”

Demand from both investors and ordinary owner-occupiers is way down. Even though the available supply of homes for sale was up 47 percent from Feb. 1 of last year to Feb. 1 of this year, sales activity plummeted. Sales of single-family homes were down 23 percent from last January to this January. Sales of townhomes and condos were down 18 percent.

Luxury homes are one of the only bright spots in the market, with homes above a half-million dollars representing 14 percent more of the sales transactions this January than last January. However, even the supply of luxury homes is quickly rising, so sellers in that space will face tougher competition in 2014.

Investors continue looking to other parts of the country for bigger bargains, since Phoenix prices have risen. In January, the percentage of residential properties bought by investors was down to 21.1 percent from the peak of 39.7 in July 2012.

New home sales were also down 21 percent from last January to this January, representing the steepest fall in new-home closings in several years. Millennials and those who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale in the recession appear more interested in renting than buying. That’s led to an upward trend in multi-family construction permits. It could also lead to higher rental rates in the next two years, during which time, home sales may continue to be relatively slow.

“The market conditions suggest prices will struggle to make any further upward progress in 2014,” Orr adds. “With February through June the strongest part of the year, we may yet see a little forward movement, but it’s likely to be tentative at best. The real test will come in the second half of the year, which is likely to see lower prices unless demand takes a distinct turn for the better.”

Foreclosure levels remain below the normal, historic trends for Maricopa and Pinal counties. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – were down 55 percent from January 2013 to this January. Completed foreclosures were down 54 percent.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Panel will discuss Cybersecurity at GPEC

Members of Arizona’s business community are invited to the February meeting of the Arizona Aerospace & Defense Forum for a discussion centered on cyber-security including risks, trends and what businesses need to keep their businesses safe and secure online.

This event will be hosted at the offices of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) located at 2 N. Central Ave Suite 2500 Phoenix, Arizona 85004. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb.11 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There will be networking from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The forum will be led by panelists Bill Ross, vice president of information security solutions at General Dynamics C4 Systems; Ty Lindteigen, chief technology officer at SAIFE; Raz Yalov, chief technology officer of 41Parameters and Nadya Bliss, director of strategic project development at Arizona State University.

Greenberg Traurig, along with law firm Snell & Wilmer, were instrumental in the formation of the Arizona Chapter of the Aerospace and Defense Forum. Each month, the A&D Forum alternates from meetings in Phoenix and Tucson.

Registration required by going here.

Ivan Rosenberg, president and CEO of Frontier Associates is the executive director and co-founder of A&D Forum. Stephane Frijia, director, research and strategy at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council serves as Chapter Chair of the Arizona A&D Forum.

Currently, there are more than 700 international leaders involved in the A&D Forum. Other A&D Chapters are located in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, Calif. In Arizona, there are more than 2,000 companies in the aerospace and defense industry providing more than 43,000 jobs and significant positive economic impact.

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School Ranks No. 2 in the Nation

Online degree programs are skyrocketing in popularity, and if you’re looking for an online MBA or other graduate degree, then the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is an excellent choice. For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report ranks the school No. 2 nationwide on its list of “Best Online Graduate Business Programs.”

“Increasingly, people want the convenience of an online degree, but they don’t want to sacrifice the high quality of a recognized, top university,” explains Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “With the W. P. Carey School, you get the best of both worlds: the flexibility of an online format and the same stellar faculty members who teach in our other highly ranked graduate programs. The W. P. Carey School was one of the first highly respected business schools to launch online degrees more than a decade ago, and we use in-house course designers specializing solely in business classes.”

U.S. News & World Report already ranks the W. P. Carey School’s undergraduate business, full-time MBA and evening MBA programs among the Top 30 in the nation in their categories. This new ranking covers both the W. P. Carey School’s popular online MBA program and its online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program. The list is based on student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

“Students serving in the military, starting their own businesses, and traveling extensively for their jobs are among those who have chosen our online graduate business programs,” says Stacey Whitecotton, senior associate dean for W. P. Carey School graduate programs. “Participants have a dedicated financial aid specialist and a career center for those who want help with job searches.”

Again, the W. P. Carey School’s online MBA program garnered a No. 2 ranking last year, too. Among those who have completed the program: NFL Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff and Lt. Col. Scott Coulson — a recipient of the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq — who completed his degree while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

The 21-month MBA program allows students to meet at a face-to-face orientation just once at the ASU campus, then complete the rest of the courses online. Students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, focusing on one course at a time. This is also one of the few online MBA programs in which students can earn their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management.

The 16-month online MSIM program just launched in 2012 and is already drawing praise from those in the fast-growing information technology (IT) field. The degree is designed to provide professionals in any career area with a well-rounded education in IT and explain how they can apply that knowledge to their companies overall. American Express, Intel Corporation, Mayo Clinic and US Airways are among the companies that send students to the school’s MSIM programs. The W. P. Carey School’s MSIM programs have an exceptionally high retention rate, thanks to efforts by the world-class faculty and collaborative-learning training for students during orientation.

The W. P. Carey School also offers a weekend/online hybrid MBA and will launch an online version of its master’s program in business analytics (“big data”) this fall. All of the school’s online programs include small class sizes and comprehensive online-learning technologies that are easy to use. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu.

bioscience

ASU joins STEM mentoring initiative

Today, the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) at Arizona State University announced its partnership with the “Million Women Mentors” (MWM) initiative. MWM will launch Jan. 8, 2014 during National Mentoring Month, in Washington, D.C at the National Press Club. The initiative will support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors – male and female – to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

As a partner in the movement to increase the representation of women in STEM degree programs and careers, CTI has joined with MWM to help proliferate the opportunities for young girls to engage with STEM mentors. The partnership with MWM aligns with CTI’s recently developed Women’s Council for Science and Engineering that brings together partners from the community, college and industry to support academic initiatives and scholarships for women students pursuing STEM degrees at CTI.

“The underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM is of national concern,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “It isn’t enough any more to just raise awareness, we need to start implementing change that will move the needle. As a partner in the Million Women Mentors program we are part of a national movement that can inspire more young girls to pursue STEM degrees and careers, as well as mentor and sponsor them along the way.”

In the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. Today 80% of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and knowledge and skills in hard sciences. While women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, just 24% are in STEM fields, a statistic that has held constant for nearly the last decade. While 75% of all college students are women and students of color, they represent only 45% of STEM degrees earned each year. Too many of these young women begin in STEM degree but leave those degree paths despite their good academic standing, often citing uncomfortable classroom experiences and disconcerting climate. Even when women earn a STEM degree, they are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM field even though STEM jobs pay more and have a lower wage gap: 92 cents on a dollar versus 75 cents in other fields.

Even more concerning is the underrepresentation of women in engineering, specifically. In 2013, women made up only 19% of the national engineering class, a mere one percentage point increase from 2009. This, along with the need to increase representation in other science, technology and math fields is what drives special academic initiatives like the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) club at CTI.

Million Women Mentors is a collective effort of more than 40 non-profit, media, education and government industry partners and nine corporate sponsors. Through efforts planned during National Mentoring Month, CTI will actively engage girls, mentoring and STEM. CTI will host a Badge Blast & Imagine Engineering Day for the Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus—Pine Council, Inc., from 9am-3pm on January 25. The fun-filled day of hands-on badge activities and engineering-focused projects will engage girls in grades two through 12 with the opportunities found in STEM degrees and careers.

To become involved with CTI or Million Women Mentors you can find more information by visiting: innovation.asu.edu and MillionWomenMentors.org.

radio

KTAR Sports 620 moves to FM dial

In a significant move to expand its audience reach and community impact, Arizona Sports 620 (KTAR AM) will today begin simulcasting on 98.7 FM, strengthening its multi-platform distribution.

“Putting Arizona Sports on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore,” said Scott Sutherland, vice president and market manager for station owner Bonneville Phoenix. “Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.”

Besides a stronger signal and better statewide broadcasting reach, Sutherland said more than 85 percent of radio listeners utilize the FM dial.

The move also brings to a close a decade-long run for The Peak (KPKX) music station. “We want to sincerely thank everyone at 98.7 The Peak for accomplishing great things over the past 10 years,” added Sutherland. With the move, Sutherland said 11 positions are being eliminated.

Distributed on FM and AM radio, on desktop, tablet and mobile devices via ArizonaSports.com, and through Apple and Android apps, Arizona Sports is the leading sports media brand in the Southwest.

Arizona Sports is the flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.

housing.prices

Phoenix Housing Market Quiets Down

The Phoenix-area housing market is quietly ending the year, with a drop in demand and activity. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides the latest data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of October:

* The median single-family-home price was up 27 percent, to $200,000, since last October, but price increases are slowing down.
* Demand is rapidly dropping, and the supply of homes available for sale is quickly rising.
*First-time home buyers, especially those under 30, are showing little interest in getting into the market.

Phoenix-area home prices have been going up since they hit a low point in September 2011. The median single-family-home price went up an incredible 71 percent from October 2011 to October 2013. It rose 27 percent – from $157,000 to $200,000 – from just last October to this October. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 24 percent year-over-year. The median townhouse/condo price rose 27 percent, to $119,900.

However, the report’s author says the market has been cooling since July and will continue to lose momentum.

“I anticipate sales will be way down in November and through the holidays, when some people even take their homes off the market until late January,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We also anticipate a much slower rate of price appreciation in 2014 than the furious pace we have witnessed over the last two years.”

Conditions are getting better for buyers and worse for sellers, as the supply of homes available for sale has been rising fast. The Phoenix area had 40 percent more active listings (those not under contract) this Nov. 1 than last Nov. 1. At the same time, demand has been plummeting. The amount of single-family-home sales activity dropped 19 percent from last October to this October.

Orr believes supply will exceed demand before the end of the year, even though supply is still 15 to 20 percent below what would be considered normal. He blames the sudden weakness partly on poor consumer sentiment, including concern over the recent government shutdown. He also notes Census numbers showing fewer households are forming, as some young adults stay with their parents and others show little interest in leaving their rentals to buy a home.

“When you ask people under 30 whether they want to buy a home, they’re not planning on it like past generations,” explains Orr. “Also, demand for starter homes is limited by the difficulty of first-time home buyers in qualifying for loans. Plus, less than 3 percent of the new homes sold in Maricopa County in October were priced below $150,000, so new entry-level homes are getting very scarce.”

Investors and out-of-state buyers are also losing interest in the Phoenix area. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors has dropped from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012 down to 22.6 percent this October. The percentage of Maricopa County homes sold to out-of-state buyers was down from 20.1 last October to 16.4 this October. That’s the lowest percentage since January 2009.

The luxury home market continues to gain ground, with the stock market booming and the growing availability of jumbo loans. Sales of single-family homes priced above $500,000 grew 34 percent from last October to this October. At the same time, sales of lower-end homes priced below $150,000 fell by almost half — 49 percent.

Cheap homes are hard to find as foreclosure levels continue to drop. The number of completed foreclosures fell about 64 percent from October 2012 to this October. The number of foreclosure starts — owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 50 percent at the same time.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

ASU HR, McCarthy Nordburg

ASU HR Department Gets 17KSF of Tenant Improvement

McCarthy Nordburg announced the completion of the new Arizona State University HR Department to a second generation office building. The 17,000 SF second generation tenant improvement project addressed the tenant’s desire for an open collaborative space that incorporates ASU branding throughout. The reception area is the central hub for visitors and employees to gather. Jennifer Sasek and Jill Gibney were the design team from McCarthy Nordburg, Jokake Construction was the general contractor and Target Commercial Interiors provided the furniture.

Rugby, SL ONLINE

Inaugural Rugby Bowl Comes to WestWorld of Scottsdale in 2014

Getting bored with regular old basketball and football games? Brush off that Dorito dust from your hands and hop on your Harley — ’cause there’s a new extreme sport in town.

From the extreme-sport loving producers of The Polo Party and The Hottest Race on Earth comes a new event that puts quite the twist on a traditional spectator sport.

We’re talking about The Rugby Bowl: Spikes & Spokes, which goes down on April 12, 2014, at 1:10 p.m. at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Event spokespeople tell us one of the world’s most popular sports — rugby (the game of football played without helmets or pads and the newest Olympic sport) — meets the rolling thunder of motorcycles.

Hundreds of the hottest bikes in Arizona will growl along the field, while the nationally-ranked team from Arizona State University will take on the No. 1 ranked team and defending college champions from Brigham Young University.

Tickets are now on sale at TheRugbyBowl.com.

“The ASU Rugby Program is very proud to be part of the First Annual Rugby Bowl and showcase our talents. Our rugby season gets going just as the American football season ends, so it is a great way to continue the enthusiasm whether one is just getting to know rugby or is already an old pro,” said ASU Head Rugby Coach Gary Lane.

Expect top-notch entertainment and hospitality. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with kick-off starting at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 12th. Rugby fans who arrive on motorcycle will receive free general admission. Fans can choose from a general admission ticket, tailgating option or relax in one of several tents including a shaded mid-field VIP tent, a reserved Arizona State University tent or non-alcoholic reserved Brigham Young University tent. A VIP Sky Box option is also available for large parties and groups. Those interested in corporate sponsorships should contact Jennifer Moser at info@TheRugbyBowl.com.

Rugby fans will also enjoy cuisine from a variety of the Valley’s favorite food trucks, as well as some great local brews from an on-site shaded Beer Garden. Then stay for the on-site after party with entertainment by The Keltic Cowboys.

microchip technology

Phoenix Joins Initiative to Promote Global Trade

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council announced the region has been selected as one of eight metro areas in the country to join a new exchange network created by the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. The Exchange is a network of metropolitan areas committed to promoting greater global trade and economic competitiveness. As part of the inaugural Exchange, Greater Phoenix will be required to design and implement a regional export plan in 2014.

In Greater Phoenix, the Global Cities Initiative will be led City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and a core leadership team including the following representatives:

> Joe Stewart, market manager – AZ & NV Middle Market, Chase
> Dennis Hoffman, professor and director, L. William Seidman Research Institute at the
W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University
> Barry Broome, president and CEO Greater Phoenix Economic Council

“A strong trade and export strategy is critical to our region’s economic vitality, so I’m honored to lead this initiative for Greater Phoenix,” Mayor Stanton said. “I look forward to working with my fellow mayors and business and community leaders to build a regional export plan that capitalizes on our unique assets and advances a stronger and healthier economic platform by expanding our global trade and investment strategies.”

Other participating groups include the Arizona Export District Council, Canada-Arizona Business Council, Intel and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Brookings selected metropolitan areas to join the network after an extensive application process that evaluated regions’ readiness and capability to pursue the Exchange’s curriculum and commitment to fulfill its goals. Greater Phoenix joins Atlanta; Greenville, S.C.; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee; Phoenix; Sacramento, Calif.; and Wichita, Kan., in the Exchange’s inaugural class, which will work together over the next four years to establish new metro-to-metro relationships and to share best practices in global economic development.

“For the Exchange, we selected metro areas that are committed to expanding their global economic reach by working together to identify regional competitive strengths and increase exports,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow. “The eight metro areas selected for this round represent a growing group of U.S. metro areas that understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”

Over time, the network will expand to include additional U.S. and international cities working together to strengthen their local economies through increased engagement with the rest of the world. This builds on the Global Cities Initiative’s work, which equips metropolitan leaders with the information, policy ideas, and global connections they need to bolster their regions’ positions in the global economy.

“I’m delighted Greater Phoenix will be a part of this new network – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that is needed to ensure our community’s long-term economic success,” said Joe Stewart, market manager – AZ & NV Middle Market, Chase. “We have a long history of helping businesses connect to global markets and now the Exchange brings additional resources to help our region’s leaders design strategies to further create jobs and grow our economy through greater global engagement.”

The Global Cities Initiative supports the region’s existing efforts to implement the Brookings Metropolitan Business Plan (MBP), where business, university, political and civic leaders have adopted several core strategies to leverage  the region’s assets in a way that secures economic strength for Greater Phoenix through the 21st century. The Global Cities Initiative will serve to fulfill the MBP’s global export and foreign direct investment strategy. Further details about the MBP will be announced in early 2014.

“It’s fantastic that Greater Phoenix is participating in this initiative – a reflection of our unified commitment to attract and retain export-based businesses that are ultimately responsible for regional economic growth and prosperity,” said Dennis Hoffman, professor and director, L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. “A strong research university is an important attractor for businesses seeking talent and knowledge capital that can help them succeed in global markets, and I am pleased to represent ASU in this initiative.”

Metro area leaders play a critical role in promoting trade and developing infrastructure. Regional economic development leaders representing both the public and private sectors can help local firms access new markets and align existing export services because they know their regions best. These leaders are also best equipped to coordinate regional assets—such as skills training, innovation capacities, and freight and logistics—to better support global trade.

“In Greater Phoenix, we are already making exports and foreign direct investment a central and consistent part of our broader regional economic development strategy. Adding this partnership with the Global Cities Initiative will only strengthen our results,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “I look forward to the collaboration involved – not only within our own regional leadership but also with the other participating metro areas – to advance and diversify our region’s economy and solidify our future prosperity.”

In December, the Greater Phoenix Exchange team will join those of the other accepted metropolitan areas at Brookings in Washington to participate in their first working group session, where they will learn how to develop an export plan as part of a global economic development strategy. Throughout the four-year Exchange, participating metros will periodically convene for in-person working groups and will continually engage in curriculum via conference calls and webinars.

Coinciding with the work of the Exchange, Greater Phoenix will host a forum in 2014, bringing together regional and national experts on trade. Greater Phoenix is the only metro participating in the Global Cities Initiative to host such a forum. Its proximity to Mexico and trade relationships position the region as the ideal host of a conversation on global trade and exports.

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8 ASU grads lead companies on Fast 500 list

Eight Arizona State University alumni are CEOs of companies named to Deloitte’s 2013 Technology Fast 500™ list, according to information released by Deloitte on Nov. 12.

The ASU alumni whose companies made the list include:

  • Sean Barry ’93 B.S., of Bridgevine, Inc.
  • Thomas  R. Evans ’76 B.S., of Bankrate, Inc.
  • Diana P. Friedman ’84 M.A., ’89 M.B.A., of Sesame Communications
  • Brian Gentile ’92 M.B.A., of Jaspersoft Corporation
  • Chet Kapoor ’90 B.S.E., of Apigee Corporation
  • John McDermott ’83 B.S., of Endologix, Inc.
  • Tim Miller ’89 M.B.A., of Rally Software Development Corp.
  • James Triandiflou ’92 M.B.A., of Relias Learning

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 is the pre-eminent technology awards program in United States and Canada. Combining technological innovation, entrepreneurship and rapid growth, Fast 500 companies – large, small, public and private – span a variety of industry sectors, and are leaders in hardware, software, telecom, semiconductors, life sciences and clean technology.

For more information on the Technology Fast 500 list, visit www.fast500.com.

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ASU Polytechnic Students Take $2 Challenge

More than 30 students at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa, located at 7001 E Williams Field Rd, will abstain from modern-day luxuries and challenge themselves to live on two dollars a day and in cardboard-box houses from Nov., 12-15, 2013.  Students will convene outside the Student Union and begin building their homes at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 12th.

The Two Dollar Challenge, a national experiential learning exercise and poverty action program, is designed to give students an opportunity to step out of their daily lives and more tangibly reflect upon the daily and prolonged challenges of living in poverty while raising awareness and funds to support economic development organizations.

This Challenge is distinct from your average charity drive for three reasons. First, it asks students to restrict their consumption and live by other rules designed to simulate poverty. This experience gives students a glimpse of how nearly half of the world’s population lives every day. Second, the Two Dollar Challenge participants will raise funds for the cause of their choice. Third, through the experience and accompanying discussion students are educated about the complexity of world poverty. Student groups can become immediate actors in the eradication of global poverty and gain the experience to become passionate leaders in the field for the future.

“This is our second year partnering with Esperança and our students are looking forward to the challenge,” said Mark Henderson, engineering professor and co-founder of GlobalResolve at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation.  “During the three day Challenge, the students will clean dorm rooms, hold car washes and do other odd jobs to make money to purchase food and live.  It will be an eye-opening experience for them to see what poverty feels like.”

The students will also be holding a shoe drive to help fund Esperança’s programs.  Esperança is a nonprofit that improves health and provides hope for families in the poorest communities of the world through sustainable disease prevention, education and treatment.  The general public can drop off their gently used shoes at the Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa anytime during the three day challenge, Nov., 12-15, 2013.

“We’re excited to be a part of ASU’s Two Dollar Challenge,” said Tom Egan, executive director, Esperança.  “We offer programs and services in five countries and our volunteers are always surprised by the living conditions.  People in Bolivia and Nicaragua don’t always have access to clean water and food, they are disease stricken and don’t have stable homes to live in.  The Two Dollar Challenge is an opportunity for us to bring awareness to poverty locally, as well as nationally and internationally.”

prevention trial - brain scan images

ASU student ‘brains’ behind concussion tutorial

For decades, the devastating effects of repeated concussions on the health of professional athletes was a well-kept secret – until it exploded into a national controversy. As investigative journalists reported scientific evidence of the long-term impact of head injuries on NFL players, the focus soon shifted to high school athletes. How could we protect their health and safety?

Arizona was an early adopter of protection for high school athletes. In 2011, the state legislature passed a law requiring coaches to remove high school athletes from play if they even so much as suspect a concussion. The law requires that the athlete must obtain written clearance from a medical professional, like a physician or athletic trainer, in order to return to the sport.

State legislators also called for preventive measures that would make it mandatory for high school coaches, students and parents to complete concussion-education programs. To comply with the law, the Arizona Interscholastic Association deemed that every high school athlete in the state must complete Barrow Brainbook. This interactive, online training was developed in part by Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

But the real brains behind Barrow Brainbook belong to Arizona State University educational technology doctoral student Robert Christopherson.

“Over 180,000 high school athletes in the State of Arizona have benefitted from the knowledge of Robert Christopherson,” said Dr. Javier Cárdenas, neurologist and brain injury expert who is director of St. Joseph’s B.R.A.I.N.S. Clinic. “Robert’s expertise in educational technology is the primary reason Barrow Brainbook has not only successfully taught high school athletes about concussion dangers, but has become the most successful concussion education program in the country.”

When he began his research, Christopherson noticed immediately that most available concussion education programs targeted coaches and parents, but few addressed the athletes themselves. From the start, he said the directive from Cárdenas was empowering youth to assess the situation and be part of the decision-making process. Today, Barrow Brainbook remains the only concussion education program in the nation directed at high school athletes.

To engage the young athletes, Christopherson considered social media for two reasons. First, research showed that student behavior online and in classrooms was becoming increasingly similar. Second, it was important to deliver concussion instruction close to where the head injuries happen. Teaching the athletes on the football field was not an option, so the researcher had to come up with an equally effective venue.

“So we decided to make a pseudo-Facebook,” he explained. “We created an environment that looks like Facebook, has a lot of the same social network interactions and includes characters that represent those people who influence the athletes most – peers, role models including NFL players and college athletes, and doctors.”

housing.prices

Phoenix Housing Market Affected by Government Shutdown

The government shutdown may have dampened interest in buying Phoenix-area homes this fall. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows the latest data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of September:

* The median single-family-home price was up about 33 percent from last September, to $199,000.
* However, demand is waning, and that may be at least partly due to the recent government shutdown creating economic uncertainty.
* Meantime, housing supply continues to rise, with more people willing to put their homes on the market as prices go up.

Phoenix-area home prices have been rising since hitting a low point in September 2011. The median single-family-home price rose 32.7 percent — from $150,000 to $199,000 –from last September to this September. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 22 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 30 percent, to $117,000. However, the price gains are expected to slow down.

“Since the beginning of July, the Phoenix-area housing market has cooled dramatically,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The main change is a steep fall in demand, which we can see in the 12-percent drop in single-family-home sales activity just between August and September alone. Going forward, we anticipate a much slower rate of price appreciation than the furious pace we have witnessed over the last two years.”

Orr says the recent government shutdown may be at least partly to blame for the hard brakes on the housing market.

“The sudden weakness in owner-occupier demand since July is unusual and unexpected,” says Orr. “Poor consumer sentiment and concern over the government shutdown seem to have accelerated the decline. We also have no government information available yet on new-construction permits because of the shutdown.”

On the positive side, the number of available homes for sale continues to rise, after the area experienced a very tight supply for months. Active listings, not including those already under contract, went up 32 percent from Oct. 1 of last year to Oct. 1 of this year. More people appear willing to put their homes up for sale as prices rise.

“If the current trend continues, supply will exceed demand by the end of the year,” says Orr. “We now expect a balanced market to prevail during November. This is great news for buyers since they will experience less competition and be in a strong position to negotiate.”

The luxury market continues to perform well, thanks to the rising stock market and a big increase in the availability of jumbo loans. Sales of $500,000-plus, single-family homes grew an incredible 51 percent from September 2012 to September 2013.

However, cheap homes are tough to find, with fewer foreclosures coming onto the market. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 61 percent from last September to this September. Completed foreclosures declined 63 percent. Orr expects foreclosures to keep falling over the next several years, thanks to tight underwriting standards.

Institutional investors and out-of-state buyers continue to lose interest in the Phoenix area, since better bargains can now be found elsewhere. The percentage of homes and condos bought by investors in September was down to 22.7 percent, from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Also, the percentage of Maricopa County residences sold to owners from outside Arizona was only 16.4 percent, the lowest percentage since January 2009.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

JohnCreer

John Creer to lead ASU real estate activities

John P. Creer was named Assistant Vice President for Real Estate Development at Arizona State University (ASU). Creer comes to ASU from Coldwell Banker Commercial in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he has worked as a commercial real estate broker since August 2011. Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, announced Creer’s appointment.

“With his nearly 30 years of experience in commercial real estate development, consulting, property and asset management and venture capital, John Creer possesses the expertise to lead the university’s complex real estate activities,” Olsen said. “His skill set will be of great value to our Real Estate Development Office as ASU continues the development of the athletic facilities district and other strategic real estate initiatives.”

Creer’s most recent professional accomplishments with Coldwell Banker include brokering transactions with national and regional companies such as UPS, US Bank and Obagi Medical Products, Inc. He is a licensed real estate broker in Utah and is a licensed real estate agent in California. Creer holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with an emphasis in corporate and partnership taxation from the University of Utah.

“I’m excited to work with Dr. Olsen and the real estate team to develop and maximize the value of real estate assets to benefit Arizona State University,” Creer said. “President Crow and Dr. Olsen have created a refreshing atmosphere in a public institution that is on the leading edge of public-private partnerships. I believe my public and private development experience will bring an added dimension to ASU’s growth trajectory in relation to its real estate development initiatives.”

Prior to his Salt Lake City relocation, Creer worked for Grandview Advisors, LLC, Vanir Construction and the Trammell Crow Company on professional service contracts with the Los Angeles (California) Unified School District. One of his notable ventures with his partners at Grandview Advisors was the development of a master planning process and protocol to support a $7-billion, voter-approved capital investment program for 585 public school sites across the Los Angeles area.

Earlier in his Los Angeles work, Creer was responsible for the development and execution of a $2.3 billion master plan for 41 new San Fernando Valley K-12 school sites. He managed a $200-million charter school development program and started an asset management division to monetize underutilized real estate owned by the school district through public-private partnerships.

Previously in his career, Creer was chief financial officer for a Los Angeles venture-backed technology transfer company. He formerly served as managing partner of a Salt Lake City commercial development firm and was the chief financial officer of a Salt Lake City technology start-up company. Creer also performed various development, leasing and property management roles for a Salt Lake City commercial and industrial real estate development firm.

“With his wealth of knowledge and history of success in a broad range of real estate development ventures, I’m confident that John Creer can build on our achievements in the real estate arena,” Olsen said. “We are pleased to welcome him as part of the ASU Business and Finance team, and look forward to working with him in meeting the university’s complex real estate needs and developing new revenue streams to support ASU’s evolution as a New American University.”

Visit https://cfo.asu.edu to learn more about the office of ASU Business and Finance.

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TGen-led study finds link to Parkinson’s disease

The absence of a protein called SMG1 could be a contributing factor in the development of Parkinson’s disease and other related neurological disorders, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The study screened 711 human kinases (key regulators of cellular functions) and 206 phosphatases (key regulators of metabolic processes) to determine which might have the greatest relationship to the aggregation of a protein known as alpha-synuclein, which has been previously implicated in Parkinson’s disease. Previous studies have shown that hyperphosphorylation of the α-synuclein protein on serine 129 is related to this aggregation.

“Identifying the kinases and phosphates that regulate this critical phosphorylation event may ultimately prove beneficial in the development of new drugs that could prevent synuclein dysfunction and toxicity in Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies,” said Dr. Travis Dunckley, a TGen Assistant Professor and senior author of the study.

Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by aggregates of α-synuclein protein. They include Parkinson’s, various forms of dementia and multiple systems atrophy (MSA).

The study — SMG1 Identified as a Regulator of Parkinson’s disease-associated alpha-Synuclein Through siRNA Screening — was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

By using the latest in genomic technologies, Dr. Dunckley and collaborators found that expression of the protein SMG1 was “significantly reduced” in tissue samples of patients with Parkinson’s and dementia.

“These results suggest that reduced SMG1 expression may be a contributor to α-synuclein pathology in these diseases,” Dr. Dunckley said.

TGen collaborators in this study included researchers from Banner Sun Health Institute and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.

Tissue samples were provided by the Banner Brain and Body Donation Program. The study was funded by the Arizona Parkinson’s Disease Consortium, which includes Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Sun Health Research Institute, Barrow Neurologic Institute, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Arizona State University, and TGen.

The study is available at: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077711.