Tag Archives: arizona state university

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

NIH awards BAI, Mayo $8.3 million

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) renewed funding for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) and Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, longitudinal study of the earliest changes associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. The award, an estimated $8.3 million over the next five years, continues NIH’s long-term support of the investigation.

The study, which began two decades ago, has been examining the subtle brain imaging, memory and thinking changes that occur in healthy late-middle-aged and older adults who have inherited from their parents either one, two or no copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s. Each additional copy of the gene significantly increases a person’s chance of developing the disease.

“We are extremely grateful to the NIH and our wonderful research volunteers for their support,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director and one of the study’s principal investigators. “From the beginning, this study has been driven by our interest in finding treatments to prevent or end Alzheimer’s as quickly as possible, and to provide the information and tools needed to do just that.”

By studying individuals at three levels of genetic risk, researchers have been able to get a sneak peek at the changes associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s. As study participants begin to reach older ages, researchers hope to further clarify the extent to which characteristic brain imaging and other biological changes are associated with subsequent clinical decline. Additionally, researchers hope to further clarify the number of at-risk persons needed to conduct prevention trials, as well as share this valuable resource with other researchers and further develop the methods needed to test the range of promising treatments as quickly as possible.

This longitudinal study began in 1994, soon after researchers discovered the APOE4 gene’s contribution to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They have been following approximately 200 healthy volunteers with varying copies of the APOE4 gene, starting between the ages of about 50-65. Every two years, participants are monitored using an extensive battery of brain imaging, memory and thinking tests. A growing number of participants have also been providing cerebrospinal fluid samples. As many of the volunteers reach older ages, a growing number are now at risk for developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. This disease progression will give researchers the opportunity to characterize the extent of change in various biomarker and cognitive measurements. Data will be used to evaluate potential treatments that could combat amyloid plaques, which are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s, as well as help inform the design of future prevention trials.

“Like Dr. Reiman, I am excited about the opportunity we have been given to help advance the study of preclinical Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Richard J. Caselli, Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the study’s other principal investigator. “We also look forward to the chance to share our data and samples with other researchers to help advance the scientific fight against this terrible disease.”

The study has had a profound impact on Alzheimer’s prevention efforts. It has helped shape the field’s understanding of the progressive brain changes that precede the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s by almost two decades. It has also served as the foundation for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, an international collaborative formed to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven therapies. Data from this longitudinal study has also contributed to the development of the National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association research criteria for pre-clinical Alzheimer’s. It has also provided key information for the first reconceptualization of Alzheimer’s as a sequence of biological changes that progress over a person’s lifetime.

“By providing insights into the earliest Alzheimer’s-related changes to brain function and structure, this study is contributing to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’ Disease goal of finding effective interventions by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads the NIH research program on Alzheimer’s.

This work also includes researchers from Arizona State University, University of Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, organizations that are partners in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. Dr. Eric M. Reiman of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Dr. Richard J. Caselli of Mayo Clinic are the two principal investigators.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects as many as 5 million Americans age 65 and older, according to a number of estimates. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

Nicole France-Stanton, office managing partner, Quarles & Brady.

Stanton named ‘Woman Worth Watching’

The law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Phoenix Office Managing Partner Nicole Stanton has been selected by Profiles in Diversity Journal to be honored at its 13th Annual Women Worth Watching® Awards. Stanton will join trailblazing female leaders from across the country in this honor and will be featured in the September/October issue of the magazine.

“Women Worth Watching award winners are role models to young women beginning their careers, and an inspiration to women in the pipeline,” says Profiles in Diversity Journal editor, Kathie Sandlin. “We are proud to tell their stories on lessons learned and obstacles overcome.”

In addition to her position as office manager partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, Stanton is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Group. Her experience includes defense of local and national law firms in legal malpractice actions and other business litigation disputes.

In the Phoenix community, Stanton serves as a founding board member and past president of the Women’s Metropolitan Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum as well as a member of Chart 100 Women. She also is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, teaching professional responsibility. A graduate of Valley Leadership Class XXIX, Stanton was the YWCA of Maricopa County’s 2011 Tribute to Women honoree, in the Business Leader category. She also was honored as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Business” by AZ Business Magazine.

Stanton recently has been appointed to serve as a member of the Business Court Advisory Committee, newly established by order of Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, which is examining current processes for resolving business cases in the Superior Court of Arizona as well as reviewing business court models, processes, rules and procedures in other jurisdictions.

Stanton received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Arizona and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.

housing

Phoenix Housing Market in a Slump

The Phoenix-area housing market is officially in a slump. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which reveals the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June:

* Though the median single-family home price went up 11 percent from last June, the forward price movement has dramatically slowed down from last year.
* Activity in the market remains sluggish, with single-family home sales down 11 percent from last June.
* A few slightly encouraging signs were for builders, who saw an uptick in new-home sales in June and their highest monthly total of new single-family construction permits in more than two years.

Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little earlier this year. Then, this June – after three months of almost stagnant prices – the median single-family-home price finally rose to $211,000. That’s up 11 percent from $190,000 last June. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 10 percent. However, the report’s author says we’re not likely to see much more forward movement for a while.

“We’re in an 11-month slump in demand; sales were very low in the spring,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “There are a few positive signs that demand may gradually start to recover during the second half of this year, but we are unlikely to see much help for pricing until 2015 because there is always a long delay – typically nine to 15 months — between any change in the market and the resulting change in pricing. Meantime, we may see a little downward correction, not a bubble bursting, as some have predicted.”

While sales of luxury homes continue to do OK in this market, demand for other categories remains weak. Sales of single-family homes and condos were down 11 percent from last June to this June.

Fewer investors are focusing their attention on the Phoenix area, now that better bargains can be found elsewhere. The percentage of Phoenix-area residential properties purchased by investors dropped all the way from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012 to 14.4 percent this June. That’s down around the historic norm for the Phoenix area. However, something is changing a little to create a different type of demand.

“We are finally seeing a change in the trend of low household formation,” explains Orr. “The nation saw some improvement in the second quarter of 2014. This means more people may be moving out and renting or buying their own homes.”

Perhaps in response to increased household formation, new-home sales had a pretty good month in June. For the first month all year, new-home sales topped the same time last year. In fact, new-home sales went up 5 percent just from May to June alone. New single-family construction permits also hit their highest monthly total since May 2012. Multi-family construction permits and rents continue on a strong upward trend, too.

Still, the supply of homes available for sale, especially at the lower end of the market, remains slim. Active listings (excluding homes already under contract) fell 5 percent during June. Also, new foreclosures aren’t broadly becoming available to create new supply. Completed foreclosures went down 35 percent from last June to this June.

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 will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

AZBio Pioneer Honoree Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D. of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Photo Courtesy of ASU.

AZBio honors ASU scientist Curtiss

Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D., of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Arizona Bioindustry Association.

“During his career, Roy Curtiss has had a profound impact on microbiology research and been a true pioneer in developing salmonella-based vaccines that are effective against a range of infectious diseases, which are still the leading cause of worldwide death,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of AZBio. “His contributions since being recruited to Arizona a decade ago have continued unabated, and he is now on the cusp of bringing his remarkable discoveries to the marketplace.”

“Roy’s lifelong dedication and achievements in bioscience research, education and innovation are really quite remarkable, and his efforts have inspired countless life science careers,” said Biodesign Institute Executive Director Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D. “His passion and commitment in taking on the challenges of combating infectious diseases and the impact he is having on urgent societal problems make him a stellar example of the translational research spirit of the Biodesign Institute.”

Curtiss was drawn to ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of a New American University and a new state-of-the-art research enterprise, the Biodesign Institute, which opened in 2004. Shortly after arriving at ASU, Curtiss received the largest support of his career, more than $15.4 million from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also received generous and continued support from the National Institutes of Health throughout his career.

Curtiss’ primary focus is alleviating worldwide suffering and death from infectious diseases, particularly in the developing world. At Biodesign, he directs the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, where he oversees a 130-member research team working on more than a dozen projects. He is also a professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

One of his major projects is development of a next-generation vaccine against bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia kills more children around the world each year than any other infectious disease, and the rising costs of vaccines has spurred researchers to develop new solutions. Curtiss and his global team are trying to perfect a safe, yet potent vaccine to fight pneumonia and can be tolerated even by newborn babies — and orally administered as a single-dose, low-cost solution. If successful, the new vaccine against bacterial pneumonia promises to outperform existing injectable vaccine in terms of safety, affordability, ease of distribution and effectiveness.

Preliminary studies have been successful, and the vaccine technology has moved forward to human clinical trials. In addition, his team is also targeting vaccine development for a host of other diseases, and to protect poultry and livestock against a broad range of bacterial marauders.

Before coming to ASU in 2004, Curtiss was the George William and Irene Keochig Freiberg professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he chaired the Department of Biology for ten years. His body of published work includes more than 250 reviewed articles. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

A ceremony honoring Curtiss will take place at the AZBio Awards on September 17, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of our bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement include: David S. Alberts, M.D., Director Emeritus at the Arizona Cancer Center, Raymond L. Woosley, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman Emeritus of the Critical Path Institute, and Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., founder of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

For registration and more information, go to www.azbio.awards.com.

mars

NASA chooses ASU for Mars 2020 mission

Arizona State University has been selected by NASA to design, deliver and oversee the Mastcam-Z imaging investigation, a pair of color panoramic zoom cameras, on the next rover mission to be launched to the surface of Mars in 2020. Jim Bell, a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, will be the principal investigator overseeing the investigation.

NASA has selected the instruments that will be carried aboard the Mars 2020 mission, a roving laboratory based on the highly successful Curiosity rover. The instruments were competitively selected from 58 proposals submitted, two times the average number of proposals submitted for instrument competitions in the recent past and an indicator of the extraordinary interest in exploration of the Red Planet.

The Mars 2020 rover will be designed to seek signs of past life on Mars, to collect and store samples that could be returned to Earth in the future, and to test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars. The instruments onboard will help to build upon the many discoveries from the Curiosity Mars rover and the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and will be the critical next step in NASA’s strategic program of exploring the Red Planet.

Bell will oversee an international science team responsible for creating and operating the cameras on NASA’s next, yet-to-be-named, Mars rover. Bell has been responsible for the science imaging systems onboard the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and is the deputy P.I. of the color cameras on the Curiosity rover.

“These cameras will be the main eyes of NASA’s next rover,” says Bell.

The imaging system ASU will deliver is a pair of multispectral, stereoscopic cameras that will be an enhanced descendant of Curiosity’s successful imaging instrument called Mastcam. Mastcam-Z will be comprised of two zoom camera heads to be mounted on the rover’s remote sensing mast. This matched pair of zoom cameras will each provide broad-band red/green/blue (RGB) color imaging, as well as narrow-band visible to short-wave near-infrared multispectral capability.

Mastcam-Z will have all of the capabilities of Curiosity’s imaging instrument, but is augmented by a 3.6:1 zoom feature capable of resolving features about 1 millimeter in size in the near field and about 3-4 centimeters in size at 100 meter distance.

“The cameras that we will build and use on Mars are based on Curiosity’s cameras but with enhanced capabilities,” explains Bell. “Specifically we will be able to use our zoom capability to allow us to play a much more significant role in rover driving and target selection.”

Mastcam-Z’s imaging will permit the science team to piece together the geologic history of the site—the stratigraphy of rock outcrops and the regolith, as well as to constrain the types of rocks present. The cameras will also document dynamic processes and events via video (such as dust devils, cloud motions, and astronomical phenomena, as well as activities related to driving, sampling, and caching), observe the atmosphere, and contribute to rover navigation and target selection for investigations by the coring/caching system, as well as other instruments.

Bell’s large international science team will include Mark Robinson, School of Earth and Space Exploration professor and principal investigator for the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Robinson brings significant experience in planetary geology and spacecraft imaging and will be responsible for characterizing the regolith from Mastcam‐Z images and assisting with camera calibration and mission operations.

In addition, Bell intends to involve a significant number of staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students in the mission. For example, SESE Research Scientist Craig Hardgrove and Technology Support Analyst Austin Godber are slated to play leading roles in the design, testing, and operations of the Mastcam-Z investigation.

Mastcam-Z remote instrument operations will be directed from the ASU Science Operations Center (SOC), housed in the Mission Operations Center located in the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV on the ASU campus. ASU faculty, staff, and students will work closely with mission engineering leads at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“We are very excited about playing such a critical role in NASA’s next Mars rover. And we are especially excited because this rover will be the first step in NASA’s Mars rover sample return mission,” says Bell. “We are eager are to play a role in the selection of the first Martian samples for eventual return to Earth.”

first solar - new ceo

Study: Humble CEOs Good for Business

Forget the stereotypes of arrogant, macho leaders who don’t care about anyone else’s opinion. A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows humble CEOs significantly benefit a company and its management — likely more than the blowhards who think it’s their way or the highway.

“Humble CEOs are more open to making joint decisions and empowering others,” says Professor Angelo Kinicki of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “Their behavior positively affects both top and middle managers, who then exhibit higher commitment, work engagement, job satisfaction and job performance. We see a trickle-down effect that seems to influence the company overall.”

The new research published in Administrative Science Quarterly comes from Kinicki, Anne Tsui and David Waldman of the W. P. Carey School of Business, as well Amy Ou of the National University of Singapore, Zhixing Xiao of George Washington University, and Lynda Jiwen Song of the Renmin University of China.

They interviewed the CEOs of 63 private companies in China. They also created and administered surveys measuring humility and its effects to about 1,000 top- and middle-level managers who work with those CEOs. The researchers specifically chose China because they needed a context in which CEOs would display a wide variety of humility levels. However, they believe the findings will generalize to many companies in the United States.

“Our study suggests the ‘secret sauce’ of great, humble managers,” explains Kinicki. “They are more willing to seek feedback about themselves, more empathetic and appreciative of others’ strengths and weaknesses, and more focused on the greater good and others’ welfare than on themselves.”

Kinicki says leadership behavior normally cascades downward, so it’s likely humility at the top effects just about everyone at a company. He points out a few examples of humble CEOs making news:

* Tony Hsieh of Zappos is a Harvard graduate, who helped boost his company to more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. He also helped drive Zappos onto Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, with innovative customer- and employee-pleasing policies, such as “The Offer,” where new employees are offered one-month’s salary to leave the company if they’re not dedicated and happy.

* John Mackey of Whole Foods has shown concern for the greater good through his advocacy of organic food and spearheading his company’s move to become the first grocery-store chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. He also announced in 2006 that he was chopping his salary to $1, putting caps on executive pay, and setting up a $100,000 emergency fund for staff facing personal problems.

* Mary Barra of General Motors has faced severe criticism for problems created at the company before she took the helm in January. However, she has been quick to apologize and maintain that she’s moving from a “cost culture” to a “customer culture” at GM. She has promised to do “the right thing” for those affected by recent recalls and the problems that led to them.

Kinicki knows some people may be surprised by the study results, but he summarizes, “It’s time we understood that humility isn’t a sign of weakness or lacking confidence, but rather, a good thing that can benefit us all.”

The full study is available at http://asq.sagepub.com/content/59/1/34.full.pdf+html.

ASU

ASU ranks among ‘best buy’ public colleges

Arizona State University has been named a “best buy” among public colleges and universities for 2015, according to Fiske Guide to Colleges.

ASU is among 22 public colleges in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom selected for their demonstrated commitment to quality academics and affordability.

According to Fiske, ASU is a place “where massive innovation is the norm and where an interdisciplinary culture is seen as the best means of developing world-changing ideas.” The research enterprise is growing in size and impact and the university is retaining and graduating more of its students.

In addition to highlighting the university’s top-rated academic programs in engineering, journalism, business, education, sciences, social sciences, sustainability, nursing, and health solutions, Fiske also offers an insight into the collaborative culture at ASU that is focused on student success.

According to an ASU kinesiology major quoted in the guide, “despite the challenging nature of the classes, professors are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that the student is successful.” Another student quoted in Fiske said, “the courses are difficult, but the group aspect of most project work makes the hard work much less overwhelming.”

Fiske cites as an example of ASU’s world-class facilities the nine-acre Barrett, The Honors College residential community that was designed by students, faculty and staff members working together with renowned architects. Other residence halls on campus are quoted as having larger than average rooms that are well furnished, and a diverse menu of food items.

School spirit receives high marks at ASU, thanks to highly ranked Division 1 athletics. The countless opportunities available to students, to get involved in student organizations, research or internships; study abroad in more than 300 programs in nearly 60 countries; or interact with other students socially add to a Sun Devil’s college experience.

Representative of Arizona’s socioeconomic, racial and ethnic make up, 19 percent of ASU’s student population is Hispanic, five percent of all students are African American, six percent are Asian Americans, and nearly two percent are Native Americans. ASU offers merit-based scholarships to qualified students and is also home to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center that provides a number of academic and student support services to more than 2,300 veterans and their dependents, enrolled as undergraduate and graduate students.

ASU has been consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States and the world. The Center for World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, both rank ASU as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The U.S. News and World Report list ASU as second on the roster of schools that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life. The Princeton Review has also named the university one of “The Best 378 Colleges” in a 2014 list.

trojan_colors_revealed_artists_concept

Asteroids named for 2 ASU faculty members

Two Arizona State University professors can add an unusual honor to the long list of accolades they have received: An asteroid has been named after each of them. This “out-of-this-world” honor has been conferred on professors Phil Christensen and Dave Williams. The two planetary geologists, both faculty members in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, now have even more reason to be gazing at the night sky.

You know the names of our solar system’s planets, but you might not have realized that thousands of asteroids and minor planets revolving around the sun also have names.

Asteroid (10461) Dawilliams was discovered on December 6, 1978, by E. Bowell and A. Warnock at Palomar Observatory. It orbits about 2.42 astronomical units from the Earth in the Main Belt, the vast asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Despite Hollywood’s love of Earth-smashing asteroid blockbusters, Williams has no worries that “his” asteroid will make doomsday headlines.

“It’s very unlikely that it will hit Earth, as it is in a stable orbit in the Main Belt,” explains Williams.
Also honored with an asteroid named for his work is Christensen, the instrument scientist for the OSIRIS-Rex Thermal Emission Spectrometer, a mineral-scouting instrument on the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu. He was also the principal investigator for the infrared spectrometers and imagers on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Exploration Rovers.

The asteroid is named (90388) Philchristensen and, like Williams’, it too is a Main Belt asteroid that is relatively small – approximately 4.6 kilometers (2.8 miles) across. It was discovered November 24, 2003 by the Catalina Sky Survey. It also poses no risk of collision with Earth.

“My research has long focused on Mars,” says Christensen. “But my broader interests involve all solar system bodies, and I’ve spent the last several years working on an asteroid mission. I really appreciate this honor.”

What’s in a name?
Having a namesake in the sky is no small honor. Unlike the selling of star names over the Internet, the naming of asteroids is serious business, presided over by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), an organization of professional astronomers.

Upon its discovery, an asteroid is assigned a provisional designation by the Minor Planet Center of the IAU that involves the year of discovery, two letters and, if need be, further digits. When its orbit can be reliably predicted, the asteroid receives a permanent number and becomes eligible for naming. Proposed names must be approved by the IAU’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature.

Although many objects end up being named after astronomers and other scientists, some discoverers have named the object after celebrities. All four Beatles have their names on asteroids, for example, and there is even one named after James Bond – Asteroid (9007) James Bond.

“I was very surprised to receive this honor from the astronomical community. Only a select few of the Dawn at Vesta participating scientists, who did exemplary work during the mission, were so honored,” said Williams, whose expertise in mapping of volcanic surfaces has been key to developing geologic maps of planetary bodies that include Mars, Io and Vesta.

Christensen and Williams share this honor with several colleagues in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. The following all have namesakes in the sky:

• Erik Asphaug, professor – Asteroid (7939) Asphaug
• Jim Bell, professor – Asteroid (8146) Jimbell
• Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Foundation Professor and School of Earth and Space Exploration director – Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton
• Ronald Greeley, professor emeritus – Asteroid (30785) Greeley, and Greeley’s Haven (on Mars)
• Sumner Starrfield, Regents’ Professor – Asteroid (19208) Starrfield
• Meenakshi Wadhwa, professor – Asteroid (8356) Wadhwa

phoenix_housing_2909512_l

Phoenix Housing Shortage Coming?

The Phoenix area could soon see another shortage of homes for sale, like the one it endured from 2012 to 2013. According to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, very weak demand is masking the fact that relatively few homes are coming onto the market for sale. The area only recently emerged from another shortage, when buyers had to battle each other for relatively few home options.

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

* The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000, almost unchanged for three months in a row.
* Activity in the market is extremely slow, with demand down around 20 percent from last May.
* This quietness is covering up the fact that the market’s supply of homes for sale has stabilized at about 10 percent below normal, which could lead to another shortage, if demand eventually picks up.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and even dropping a little earlier this year. The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000 in May, about the same as it was in April and March. However, that’s still up about 11 percent from the median of $185,000 last May. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 6 percent year-over-year. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

The market has now become extremely quiet, and further price increases are unlikely this year without some growth in demand. The amount of single-family-home sales went down 19 percent from last May to this May. Sales of townhomes and condos dropped 20 percent.

“Demand has been much weaker since July 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. “The slight recovery in demand that had been developing over the last two months dissipated again in May. While move-up homeowners and second-home buyers are starting to compensate for the departure of investors who went to other areas of the country for better bargains, activity by first-time home buyers is still unusually slow.”

Orr says some home sellers even appear to be canceling their listings and waiting for another time when buyers have a greater sense of urgency. These families are: 1.) choosing to stay in their homes longer than they did 10 to 15 years ago; 2.) possibly stuck with negative or little equity in their homes, discouraging buying or selling; and/or 3.) wanting to stay in their current homes to preserve their very low mortgage interest rates.

That means the market’s short supply of homes isn’t expected to get much bigger in the near future. Though the supply of active listings went up 69 percent from June 1, 2013 to this June 1, it basically stabilized at about 10 percent below normal. Completed Phoenix-area foreclosures were down 50 percent from last May to this May, eliminating another possible significant source of supply. This could lead to another shortage like the recent one when we saw 95 offers on a single home.

“Between 2012 and 2013, we experienced a chronic housing shortage in Greater Phoenix,” explains Orr. “This shortage has just been temporarily masked by unusually low demand, but that could change at any time. The market has plenty of pent-up demand.”

Orr points out that population and job growth have recovered faster in the Phoenix area than home construction has. The level of single-family-home construction permitting remains very small by historic standards, and single-family new-home construction and sales remain about 65 percent below normal. One bright spot is Pinal County, where new-home sales went up 22 percent from last May to this May.

Meantime, multi-family construction permits and rental-home demand remain strong in the Phoenix area. Unemployment, falling birth rates and greater home-sharing are helping to drive this demand. The supply of single-family homes available for rent was down to 32 days on June 1. The fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed rent up in the most popular locations.

Orr adds, “In Maricopa County, the percentage of properties purchased without financing in May was still at 25 percent. The normal range for cash buyers is only 7 to 12 percent, so mortgage lending still has a long way to go toward recovery.”

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 will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

thunderbird

Thunderbird School signs letter of intent to join ASU

The Thunderbird School of Global Management has signed a letter of intent to join Arizona State University.

The two schools released a statement Thursday that said both sides are working on a possible integration.

“This merger offers significant advantages to both institutions,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Through the integration of Thunderbird with ASU, the Thunderbird historic global education vision will be sustained and extended, students at ASU and Thunderbird will have access to more courses and programs, ASU’s executive education programs can be broadened and expanded, and financial efficiencies will be created.”

A deal would provide broad educational cooperation, make Thunderbird staff part of ASU and put the Glendale-based school under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents.

ASU and Thunderbird officials say they’re working diligently toward a final agreement by the end of this month.

Financial details of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

The statement says staff reductions are possible, but officials say the nature and the scale of the reductions still are being studied.

Ariel Anbar and ASU graduate student Yun Duan inspect a sample of 2.5 billion-year-old seafloor.

ASU biogeochemist among 15 top scientist-educators

Biogeochemist Ariel Anbar has been selected as Arizona State University’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor. This distinguished honor recognizes Anbar’s pioneering research and teaching.

He is one of 15 professors from 13 universities whose appointments were announced by the Maryland-based biomedical research institute on June 30. The appointment includes a five-year $1 million grant to support Anbar’s research and educational activities.

Since the inception of the HHMI Professor program in 2002, and including the new group of 2014 professors, only 55 scientists have been appointed HHMI professors. These professors are accomplished research scientists who are working to change undergraduate science education in the United States.

“Exceptional teachers have a lasting impact on students,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “These scientists are at the top of their respective fields and they bring the same creativity and rigor to science education that they bring to their research.”

Anbar, a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Liberal Art and Sciences, as well as a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability, was named an ASU President’s Professor in 2013 in recognition of his pioneering online education efforts. He is deeply involved in using the medium to its fullest to help educate and encourage a generation that has grown up with the Internet.

A leading geoscientist with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers to his name, Anbar’s research focuses on Earth’s past and future as a habitable planet. This expertise feeds directly into his teaching in the highly successful class Habitable Worlds, developed through ASU Online. In Habitable Worlds, Anbar and course designer Lev Horodyskyj combine the power of the Internet, game-inspired elements, and the sensibilities of a tech savvy generation to teach what makes planets habitable and engage students in a simulated hunt for other habitable worlds in the cosmos. This innovative online course kindles student interest and learning. Beginning in fall 2014, it will be available outside of ASU as HabWorlds Beyond (www.habworlds.org), via a partnership with education technology company Smart Sparrow. Habitable Worlds has been taken by more than 1,500 ASU students and consistently receives outstanding student reviews.

The HHMI grant will enable Anbar to develop a suite of online virtual field trips (VFTs) that teach the story of Earth’s evolution as an inhabited world. The virtual field trips will be based on nearly 4 billion years of Earth’s geological record. These immersive, interactive VFTs will take students to locations that teach key insights into Earth’s evolution, fundamental principles of geology, and practices of scientific inquiry.

Anbar helped lead a multi-institutional team that developed a number of such VFTs for use in Habitable Worlds and elsewhere (vft.asu.edu), supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the National Science Foundation. Now, working with ASU education technologist and doctoral student Geoffrey Bruce, ASU professor and geoscience education specialist Steven Semken, and partners at other institutions, Anbar will build virtual field trips covering the sweep of Earth history. He and his team will take students to some of the most important places on Earth to explore how the planet came to be what it is today.

“The goal is to develop powerful and engaging new tools to teach about Earth’s evolution,” explains Anbar. “In the near term, we will create VFT-based lessons that can be incorporated into existing introductory geoscience courses. Right away, that can impact the roughly 2,000 majors and non-majors who take such courses each year at ASU, as well as thousands of students elsewhere. In the long run we aim to create a fully online course like Habitable Worlds – I’m calling it Evolving World for now – that covers the content of one of the most important introductory geoscience courses, historical geology.”

Anbar’s plan could re-invigorate instruction in historical geology, which is taught in nearly every geoscience program. In addition to being fundamental to the field of geology, it provides vital context for the search for life beyond Earth, and for the changes that humans are causing to the planet. However, historical geology is best taught through field experiences, which are logistically challenging at large universities. Even when they are possible, it is impossible to expose students to all the most scientifically important sites because they are scattered around the globe. While VFTs cannot rival physical field trips, they are a big advance over teaching this material only through lectures.

“Most science classes teach science as facts and answers,” says Anbar. “With VFTs, as with Habitable Worlds, we are trying to teach that science is really a process – a process of exploration that helps us first organize our ignorance about questions to which we don’t have answers, and then helps us narrow the uncertainties so that we can replace ignorance with understanding.”

football

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Announces Board

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announces its Board of Directors for Super Bowl XLIX. The board of directors is comprised of business leaders that volunteer their time to drive the state’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX.

The Host Committee is a private, non-profit Arizona corporation. The mandate of the Host Committee is to galvanize local stakeholders in a united approach to hosting the largest single-day sporting event by maximizing positive media exposure, fueling the economic engine of Arizona and leaving a lasting legacy long after the excitement of the Big Game. The board was assembled in 2013 to begin planning and to garner local corporate support and sponsors.

Board members include:
● Board Chair David Rousseau, president, SRP

● Brad Anderson, executive vice president, brokerage office services, CB Richard Ellis

● Michael Bidwill, president, Arizona Cardinals

● Jose Cardenas, senior vice president and general council, Arizona State University

● David Farca, president, ToH Design Studio

● Jim Grogan, chief operating officer, International Capital Investment Company

● Michael Haenel, executive vice president, Cassidy Turley

● Mike Kennedy, partner, Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. (chairman, Super Bowl XLII Host Committee in 2008)

● Dan Lewis, senior vice president, Sovereign Finance

● Jeffrey Lowe, president, MidFirst Bank

● Mary Martuscelli, regional president for the private client reserve, U.S. Bank

● Andrew McCain, vice president and CFO, Hensley Beverage Company

● Patrick McGinley, vice president of property management, Vestar

● Steve Moore, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix CVB

● Jodi Noble, partner, Deloitte

● Jay Parry, president and CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

● Earl Petznick Jr., president and CEO, Northside Hay Company

● Ken Van Winkle, managing partner, Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP

● KJ Wagner, president and CEO, Willis of Arizona, Inc.

● David Watson, co-founder and managing partner, mybody and president and managing partner, Revolution Tea

● John Zidich, CEO, Republic Media Publisher, The Arizona Republic

“We have an impressive group of business leaders working together to meet the fundraising goals for Super Bowl XLIX and to maximize the opportunity to build the Arizona brand in this unparalleled global spotlight,” said David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee chairman. “We want to promote Arizona as an ideal destination for businesses and tourists well beyond Super Bowl XLIX.”

Super Bowl XLIX is scheduled to be played at University Of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015, marking Arizona’s second Super Bowl in seven years. In Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008, The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14. Arizona’s first big game, Super Bowl XXX, was held at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in 1996, with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

For more information on the Board of Directors, please visit http://azsuperbowl.com/about-us/meet-the-team/

Salt-River-Fields-Medium

Pride Group, Salt River Fields strike deal

Locally-based Pride Group is taking over the Valley one venue at a time. The full-service event company aims to be the Single Simple Solution™ for their clients. As of May 1, 2014, Pride Group will be the exclusive event services provider for Salt River Fields. Among the many services Pride Group will offer, they will supply the venue with tables and chairs, mobile restroom suites, fencing, crowd control equipment, premium portable toilets, power generators, light towers, furniture and décor.

“Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is excited to have added Pride Group to its team,” says Salt River Fields at Talking Stick General Manager, Dave Dunne. “They are a tremendous partner and Salt River Fields is looking forward to working with them on all of our festivals, concerts and special events. Pride Group brings a professionalism that is unmatched in the industry and will only make our events that much better,” he adds.

Pride Group’s current client roster includes the Arizona Cardinals Football Club, University of Phoenix Stadium, Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl XLIX, P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Desert Mountain Club, City of Tempe Special Events, Arizona State University, the Senior & PGA Tours and now Salt River Fields.

“We are truly excited to partner long term with one of the most elite venues in Arizona,” says Pride Group CEO, Robb M. Corwin. “Their stellar customer service philosophies, desire to be the very best at what they do and attention to detail, put us in perfect harmony with one another.”

The two companies will work together to provide the best possible experience for those in attendance at any of the venue’s various events.

panchanathan_sethuraman_asuphotobytimtrumble

Obama appoints ASU leader to National Science Board

Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Arizona State University’s senior vice president of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and a key member of ASU’s research and innovation efforts, has been appointed to the U.S. National Science Board by President Barack Obama.

Panchanathan is the first American of Indian origin to be appointed to this preeminent board, which focuses on national science and technology policy.

In making the announcement of Panchanathan’s and others appointments, President Obama said: “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to being an advisory body to the U.S. President and Congress on science and engineering issues, members of the 25-member board establish the policies of the National Science Foundation (NSF) within the framework set forth by the President and Congress. The NSF is a major science-funding agency with an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014) and the goal of promoting the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

“Panch has worked tirelessly in advancing Arizona State and its rapidly growing research enterprise, promoting our unique capabilities and what we offer businesses and government agencies, and leading the way to a greater public understanding of the benefits that scientific research and technology development have to offer,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Panch exemplifies the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and social responsibility that ASU aims to cultivate. It is fitting that he be on this important board so that his influence can extend to the benefit of the nation.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to help our nation be in the vanguard of global competitiveness through the rapid advancement of science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Panchanathan said. “It is truly an honor to serve our nation in this capacity.”

Drawn from industry and universities and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service, and records of distinguished service. NSB members are appointed for six-year terms.

In addition to his work with OKED, Panchanathan is a professor in ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. He is also director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC).

Panchanathan recently was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He led a team that received two Microsoft Imagine Cup awards, he has been chosen for the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia award and the ASU Leadership Award.

Panchanathan has published or presented more than 400 papers in refereed journals and conferences, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

starbucks

ASU clears degree path for Starbucks baristas

Arizona State University is helping Starbucks give its baristas a bargain on an online college degree.

The company is partnering with ASU to make an undergraduate education available at a steep discount to 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Workers will be able to choose from 40 educational programs, and they won’t be required to stay at Starbucks after earning the degree.

For freshman and sophomore years, students would pay a greatly reduced tuition after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks, ASU and financial aid, such as Pell grants. For the junior and senior years, Starbucks would reimburse any money that workers pay out of pocket.

That means employees who already have two years of college under their belts would be able to finish school at no cost.

CEO Howard Schultz plans to make the announcement Monday at the Times Center in New York City, where Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in attendance, along with 340 Starbucks employees and their families.

Tuition reimbursement is a rare benefit for low-wage workers in the retail industry. In 2010, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. started offering partial tuition grants for workers at American Public University, a for-profit, online school.

Starbucks already has program that reimburses workers for up to $1,000 a year at City University of Seattle or at Strayer University. Starbucks says that will be phased out by 2015 in favor of the new program, which is far more generous.

The Seattle company doesn’t know how many of its workers will apply, and it isn’t saying how much the program might cost it. Tuition for an online degree at ASU is about $10,000 a year, although it can vary depending on the program. Many Starbucks workers would likely qualify for a Pell grant, which can be worth as much as $5,730.

Michael Bojorquez Echeverria, a 23-year-old Starbucks worker from Los Angeles, was flown to New York City by the company for the event Monday. He said that he works 60 to 75 hours a week, including a second job, and also attends community college.

He hopes the program will allow him to reduce those hours and focus on school, where he does not pay tuition because of wavers. But he is applying for the Arizona State University program because he feels there will be greater certainty about financial assistance.

He says he will miss the socialization that occurs on campus.

“But hey, if they’re going to be paying my fees, I can manage,” he said.

Cliff Burrows, head of the Americas for Starbucks, said he hopes the program will encourage other companies to offer similar benefits. He added that Starbucks plans to look at expanding the educational perks to workers overseas.

The financial terms of Starbucks’ agreement with Arizona State are not being disclosed.

Starbucks workers would have to meet the same admission standards as other students at ASU. Only workers at Starbucks’ 8,200 company-operated stores would be eligible. Another 4,500 Starbucks locations are operated by franchisees.

The program is also available to Starbucks’ other chains, including Teavana tea shops and Seattle’s Best.

housing.prices

Big Increases Unlikely for Phoenix Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market has officially rebounded from artificially low recession levels, and we’re unlikely to see any more big price increases this year. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of April:

* The median single-family-home sales price stabilized at just under $205,000.
* Demand and sales activity were low for the normally strong spring selling season.
* Rental homes continue to be extremely popular, since many people are ineligible for home loans and/or uninterested in home ownership.

Phoenix-area home prices rose fast from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little bit earlier this year. This April, for the second month in a row, the median single-family-home price was just under $205,000. That’s up 13 percent – from $181,399 last April to $204,900 this April. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 12 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

Low demand is largely putting the brakes on more significant upward price movement. The amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 16 percent this April from last April. Sales of homes in the range below $150,000 alone fell 37 percent. New-home sales went down 12 percent. All of this, even though the period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand.

“The market has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices that prevailed between 2009 and 2011, and further significant increases are unlikely without some growth in demand,” 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. “It’s also likely that the recent advance in pricing will fade during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet.”

Investors continue to show disinterest in the Phoenix housing market now that better bargains can be found in other areas of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was down to just 16.3 percent in April from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos were down 54 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.

In contrast, the supply of homes available for sale is way up, with 73 percent more active listings on May 1 of this year than May 1 of last year. As a result, buyers have far more choices. However, Orr believes that may change, if demand and prices don’t pick up. Potential home sellers may stay out of the market, deciding to wait for better times.

“The underlying key problem for entry-level and mid-range housing demand is a lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials,” explains Orr. “However, if household creation were to return to the normal long-term average, we would quickly have a housing shortage here in Greater Phoenix.”

Meantime, the demand for rental homes is very high, and Orr says the availability of those homes is dropping to unusually low levels. He estimates there’s only a 29-day supply of single-family rentals, and therefore, rent is starting to rise in the most popular locations. As a result of this demand, the Phoenix area is seeing a strong upward trend in multi-family construction permits.

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.

hubble

Hubble unveils its most colorful view of the universe

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a very comprehensive picture of the evolving universe – and the most colorful. This study, called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project, provides the missing link in star formation, say researchers.

Prior to this survey, astronomers were in a curious position. They had knowledge of star formation in nearby galaxies from missions such as NASA’s GALEX observatory. And, thanks to Hubble’s near-infrared capability, they also studied star birth in the most distant galaxies, which appear to us in their most primitive stages thanks to the vast light travel time involved. But for the period in between — a range extending from about 5 billion to 10 billion light-years away — they just didn’t have enough data. This is the time when most of the stars in the universe were born.

Ultraviolet light comes from the hottest, most massive, and youngest stars. By observing at these wavelengths, researchers get a direct look at which galaxies are forming stars and, just as importantly, where within those galaxies the stars are forming.

Astronomers have previously studied the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in visible and near infrared light, in a series of exposures taken from 2004 to 2009. Now, with the addition of ultraviolet light, they have combined the full range of colors available to Hubble, stretching all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The resulting image — made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time — contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, extending back in time to within a few hundred million years of the big bang.

Studying the ultraviolet images of galaxies in this intermediate time period enables astronomers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way grew in size from small collections of very hot stars. Because Earth’s atmosphere filters most ultraviolet light, this work can only be accomplished with a space-based telescope.

“It’s the deepest panchromatic image of the sky ever made. It reaches the faintness of one firefly as seen from the distance of the Moon,” says Rogier Windhorst, professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Ultraviolet surveys like this one, using the unique capability of Hubble, are incredibly important in planning for the James Webb Space Telescope,” explained Windhorst, a team member. “Hubble provides an invaluable ultraviolet light dataset that researchers will need to combine with infrared data from Webb. This is the first really deep ultraviolet image to show the power of that combination.”

When better reductions of these ultraviolet images became available earlier this year, Windhorst made properly weighted stacks of the 13-filter images, and put them together in a final color mosaic. This then was perfected by Zolt Levay at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

ASU students will use images like these to analyze in detail the cosmic star-formation during the last 10 billion years. Such studies have become possible thanks to the unique ultraviolet imaging capability of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, the last camera installed into Hubble in May 2009. ASU has had major science involvement in WFC3, since the designing and building of it started in 1998.

Small Business Leadership Academy: Lauri Leadley

ASU and SRP Help Small Businesses

Small businesses play a key role in our economy, creating jobs and helping our community. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is offering a program to help small business owners and executives learn how to improve efficiency, streamline operations and raise profits. The seventh annual Small Business Leadership Academy is available to the leaders of small and diverse local businesses.

“Small businesses play a crucial role in our economy, and the W. P. Carey School of Business is very interested in helping local business owners to succeed through added education in subjects like strategy, branding and teamwork,” said Dean Amy Hillman of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We designed the Small Business Leadership Academy to fit into the busy schedules of executives from growing businesses.”

Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding co-sponsor, is offering a number of scholarships to its current suppliers and small business customers.

“The partnership we have with ASU, coupled with the sponsorship and scholarships we offer to the academy, is a natural fit for SRP in supporting economic development within our own community,” said Carrie Young, senior director of SRP Corporate Operations Services.

The eight-week academy and its graduation will run on Wednesday nights from Sept. 3 to Oct. 29. The curriculum will cover business strategy, branding, competing through services, negotiations, management and teamwork, among other areas. Program applications are due July 18.

Participants must:

> Have been in business for at least three years,
> Have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million,
> Have fewer than 100 employees,
> Be the owner or principal of the business.

Applicants must be able to attend all scheduled classes and related activities. Those who complete the program will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Arizona State University. These units are widely used as a measure of participation in non-credit, professional development courses.

For more information about sponsoring a scholarship or applying to the program offered through the nationally ranked W. P. Carey School of Business, call (480) 965-7579, e-mail or visit http://wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education/small-business-academy. Current SRP suppliers can also contact SRP’s Supplier Diversity Department for information about this year’s nominating process at SupplierDiversity@srpnet.com.

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School earns No. 1 Ranking

This week, U.S. News & World Report issued some new rankings for online-degree programs, growing in popularity because of their convenience and flexibility. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University received the No. 1 ranking among the nation’s online graduate business programs for veterans.

“We’re honored to be ranked No. 1 in providing a stellar online graduate business education for our veterans,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The W. P. Carey School was one of the first highly respected schools to offer online courses more than a decade ago. We utilize the same MBA degree and the same faculty members online as we do in our highly ranked face-to-face MBA programs, making it convenient for active-duty military members and veterans to participate in a top program from any Internet-accessible location.”

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. Earlier this year, U.S. News also ranked the school’s online graduate business programs (online MBA and online master’s in information management) No. 2 in the nation. The new ranking covers the same two online programs for high quality, but it also adds a focus on meeting the unique needs of veterans.

The new rankings consider only distance-education programs housed in accredited institutions and performing well in areas including program reputation, faculty credentials, high student graduation rates and low graduate debt loads. The new rankings also consider criteria related to whether course credits are portable and relatively inexpensive for veterans, such as whether the institution is certified for the GI Bill, is a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Arizona State University overall has been recognized for its strong commitment to veterans on G.I. Jobs magazine’s “Military Friendly Schools” list five years in a row. Military Times Edge magazine also named ASU on its “Best for Vets” list. ASU has the Pat Tillman Veterans Center to help bolster engagement and guidance for the veteran population in areas like housing, career services, tutoring, and health and counseling services. The university has awarded more than 1,500 degrees using GI Bill benefits.

“Veterans and those serving in the military have repeatedly chosen the W. P. Carey School’s online programs because we feature a team-oriented, flexible approach,” says Stacey Whitecotton, senior associate dean for W. P. Carey School graduate programs. “In the online MBA program, for example, students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, typically focusing on one course at a time. We also offer one of the few online MBA programs that allow students to customize their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management.”

Among those who have completed the online MBA program is Lt. Col. Scott Coulson – a recipient of the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq. He completed his MBA degree while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

The school’s online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program is also popular, designed to prepare graduates for a career in the fast-growing information technology (IT) field. American Express, Intel Corporation, Mayo Clinic and US Airways are among the companies that send students to the school’s MSIM programs.

To learn more about the W. P. Carey School’s online programs — all offering small class sizes, a dedicated financial-aid specialist and a career center for help with job searches — visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Also today, GraduatePrograms.com issued a new ranking, placing the W. P. Carey School of Business’ full-time MBA program among the Top 25 worldwide. The new No. 21 ranking is based on student experience. The site conducted a survey of both current and recent graduate students.

Team Max

ASU real estate development students compete in challenge

Students in Arizona State University’s Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at the W.P. Carey School of Business will be competing for up to $6,000 in the inaugural REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13 at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix.

Three competing teams of graduating MRED students will each present a development solution for a storied asset of local Arizona commercial real estate including multi-family, retail and entertainment. MRED teams will demonstrate their strategy for the local development projects including acquisition, financing, entitlements and design.

Teams will have just 10 minutes to present followed by questions, with the winning team chosen by the audience. Winning team members will each receive a $1,000 cash prize, up to $6,000.

The REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge MRED case competition event is open to the public and cost is $35. The event includes a networking reception with appetizers and refreshments from 6-7 p.m. Seating is limited and reservations are required online at www.reiacsouthwest.org or call 623-581-3597.

The Southwest Chapter of REIAC, an exclusive organization of top real estate executives involved in developing, acquiring and/or financing real estate recently formed a partnership with ASU’s MRED program.

“REIAC is very excited to conduct this inaugural competition event for the MRED program, aligning top real estate experts and professional standards with academia for bettering the commercial real estate community as a whole,” said Todd Jarman, board president of REIAC Southwest and senior vice president, BBVA Compass.

The MRED student case study competition is sponsored by The Rockefeller Group who has a longstanding history of supporting education. The future W.P. Carey Evening MBA program will be located at The Rockefeller Group’s Chandler 101, an 844,000-square-foot mid-rise office development in Chandler’s Price Corridor

“We are extremely proud to be sponsoring this premier student competition of ASU’s graduate level program for demonstrating their mastery of a real estate investment and determining the feasibility of its development,” said Mark Singerman, REIAC board member and regional director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group.

“Many of Phoenix’s real estate executives have ties to ASU and a significant number are also members of REIAC. The alliance allows for the students to have access to local real estate leaders and we’re looking forward to seeing the teams showcase their talents in the annual REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge,” Singerman said.

“The REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge provides students an experience that teaches them how to apply the theory of real estate in a practical way only available because of local industry support that comes from this Challenge,” said Mark Stapp, executive director of MRED, W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU.

REIAC provided $5,000 in scholarships for the 2013/2014 academic year. Requirements of the scholarship program include being a full-time student, an Arizona resident and preferably, having the desire to work locally upon graduation.

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.

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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.

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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.”