Tag Archives: arizona state university

becky-armendariz

Armendariz named PR director for Banner East Region

Rebecca Armendariz, 27, public relations specialist at Banner Health, has been named public relations director for Banner Arizona East Region, effective June 24. She will oversee the public relations efforts at the following Banner Health facilities: Banner Baywood Medical Center, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, Banner Desert Medical Center, Banner Gateway Medical Center, Banner Goldfield Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital, Banner Home Care and Hospice and Banner Ironwood Medical Center.

Rebecca Armendariz has served as a PR specialist at Banner Health since September 2008. She is also the vice president of the board of directors for Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, where she has held a board position since November 2009. Prior to joining Banner Health, Armendariz was an account coordinator at a local PR agency.

Armendariz received a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 2008.

housing.prices

No Housing Bubble for the Phoenix Area?

Despite dramatic home-price boosts, don’t expect another housing bubble anytime soon in the Phoenix area. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University breaks down what’s happening in the Maricopa and Pinal County housing market, as of April:

* The median single-family home price climbed again to $181,399, up almost 30 percent from April of last year.
* The report’s author sees no housing bubble on the way, with a very tight supply of available homes for sale.
* He also sees no significant negative effect yet from rising interest rates on local housing demand.

Phoenix-area home prices have been soaring since they reached a low point in September 2011. The median single-family home price rose 29.6 percent — from $140,000 to $181,399 — between April 2012 and April 2013. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 23.5 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 34.6 percent.

“In previous reports, we predicted prices would rise significantly during the strong annual buying season that lasts until June,” 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. “From February through April, the average price per square foot did rise more than 9 percent for single-family homes, but the upward pricing pressure may finally ease somewhat this month.”

One big reason for the price gains has been the chronic shortage of available homes for sale in the Phoenix area. The number of active single-family-home listings (not including those already under contract) fell 7.3 percent just from April 1 to May 1. Only 24 days of lower-end supply (priced under $150,000) is out there. However, the frequent drops in supply have at least slowed down enough to let the market accumulate 20 percent more listings than it had at the same time last year.

Investor interest in Phoenix has also waned as prices went up and better bargains were still available in other areas of the country. Orr says the institutional-investor buying spree here began in 2011, peaked in summer 2012, and is now in a downward trend. The percentage of homes purchased by both small and institutional investors in Maricopa and Pinal counties in April was 26.8 percent, down all the way from 39.7 percent in July 2012, and most of these purchases were actually made by small-scale investors.

Many of the investor-purchased homes have already been turned into rentals for people who lost their houses during the recession. Some commentators have been saying there might be another housing bubble when investors decide to sell these homes, but Orr strongly disagrees.

“Some commentators talk ominously of a bubble bursting when these homes come back onto the market,” he says. “Such talk gets a lot of attention because we are over-sensitized to bubble talk after the disruptive events of 2004 to 2006. However, this idea falls flat when we examine the actual number of homes involved. The entire institutional inventory of 10,000 to 11,000 rental homes here represents a tiny fraction, less than 1 percent, of our housing stock. If every single one were to be placed for sale next month, we would still have less supply than in a normal balanced market.”

Demand from investors is already being replaced by demand from owner-occupiers and second-home buyers. Most homes priced below $600,000 continue to attract multiple offers within a short time. The luxury market is also gaining some steam. Single-family-home sales activity overall went up 4 percent from April 2012 to this April, beginning to reverse a long downward trend in year-over-year activity.

“There has been much talk of the negative effect that rising interest rates might have on demand,” says Orr. “So far, the increases have been minor, and the main effect has been to reduce the motivation to refinance existing home loans. At the same time, higher interest rates often create a greater sense of urgency among home buyers, so if lenders simultaneously relax their underwriting rules, this could stimulate demand, rather than reduce it.”

The market also continues to recover from the foreclosure crisis. The number of completed foreclosures on homes and condos in April of this year was down 46 percent from April last year. Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 60 percent. Orr expects the rates to fall below long-term averages soon.

With fewer foreclosures coming on the market, some buyers have turned to new-home builders. However, Orr says the construction industry is still building far fewer homes than needed to keep up with rising population and demand in the area. This is partly because the prices of land, materials and construction labor are all rising as subcontractors struggle to attract more workers. He says the developers are also being very cautious in their expansion. They enjoy the fact that limited supply allows them to continue increasing prices faster than their costs and don’t want to disturb this trend by overbuilding.

“Given the balance between supply and population growth in Phoenix, home prices are unlikely to fall below today’s level and are more likely to continue to climb for a long time, though at a more gentle pace.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201305.pdf. 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.

Test

Ryley Carlock Expands Corporate Practice in Phoenix

Ryley Carlock & Applewhite has added Amber D. Curto as an associate in the firm’s Estate Planning and Corporate Practice Groups.

“Ryley Carlock is committed to the recruitment of young talented attorneys like Amber, who can assist our shareholders in finding the best possible solutions for our clients,” stated Managing Shareholder Rodolfo Parga. “Amber brings together the legal capabilities and a strong commitment to our community that our firm values.”

Curto joins an established Corporate Law and Estate Planning Practice Groups, who represent hundreds of clients throughout the United States and internationally, offering legal counsel from start-up companies to mature businesses.

“I enjoy taking a client centered approach to estate planning to make sure that all details, whether it be in a simple estate or a complex trust administration, are taken care of,” stated Curto, “and having the ability to learn from and work with John Lischer and the other experienced and knowledgeable attorneys within this practice group will give me the ability to assist my clients in new and innovative ways.”

Prior to joining the firm, Curto clerked for the Honorable Judge Glenn Davis of the Arizona Superior Court and was an Associate for an Arizona estate planning firm.  She earned her law degree from California Western School of Law, San Diego, California, in 2011 and earned her Bachelor of Science, Summa Cum Laude 2008, from Arizona State University.  While in law school, she was a member of the Moot Court Honors Board as well as President of the Business Law Society. Her community service endeavors have included Girl Scouts of America, Project C.U.R.E. and Crisis Nursery. As a part of Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, Curto looks forward to continuing her community involvement by volunteering her time for local boards and organizations.

tempe

Ryan Companies US, Sunbelt Holdings To Co-Develop 2 MSF Multi-Use Office Development In Tempe

The City of Tempe announced today that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings will develop a site owned by Arizona State University adjacent to Tempe Town Lake, subject to City Council approval of development agreement details in the coming month.

State Farm will lease office space and anchor the multi-use development.

“We are thrilled that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings have been selected to co-develop and construct the State Farm regional hub,” said John Strittmatter, President of Ryan Companies US, Inc., Southwest Division.

“With retail and recreational amenities on site for State Farm employees and the entire community to enjoy, Marina Heights will become an important icon of the Tempe Town Lake landscape and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Marina Heights project in Tempe will be the largest office development deal in Arizona history, with more than 2 MSF to be constructed on more than 20 acres. Construction costs are estimated at $600M. Additionally, 40,000 SF to 60,000 SF of retail amenities will complement the transit-oriented development, including food service, coffee shops, restaurants, business services, and fitness facilities.

The site will also feature an approximately 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public.

“This is a proud day for Tempe and everyone involved. We are tremendously excited about what the addition of State Farm will mean to our community over the decades to come,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “These employees, buildings, and amenities will further contribute to and showcase the vibrancy of Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue, and Arizona State University, and serve as a catalyst for more high-quality development.”

“We are thrilled that State Farm will be expanding in Arizona,” said Gov. Jan Brewer. “The jobs that will be created to make this project a reality will be a tremendous boon to our economy. This is a great example of how our plan to build an Arizona that is attractive to high value employers is hitting the mark.”

The five-building campus will be leased by State Farm and become a hub to include a combination of new hires and existing employees who will provide claims, service, and sales support to State Farm customers.

“State Farm selected Tempe because it has a growing population with skill sets that match our customers’ needs,” said Mary Crego, Senior Vice President, State Farm. “The site along Tempe Town Lake gives our employees access to nearby amenities as well as easy connections to public transportation.”

“We look forward to having State Farm as a neighbor and to working with the company on a variety of programs including employee recruitment and academic programs for their staff,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“State Farm’s decision to lease the land owned by the university immediately adjacent to the ASU Athletic Facilities District is the first major step in the campaign to fund new and renovated sports facilities for the university. The Athletic Facilities District will be home to an exciting mixed-use development reflecting high quality and the best practices of sustainability. A high stature tenant such as State Farm will add to the luster of the district and validates its attractiveness.”

The project is being developed by Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings. Tempe-based architectural firm DAVIS designed the project.

education.business

ASU launches program for inventors and entrepreneurs

Arizona State University is seeking aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors who want to develop their ideas into solutions, products and services in a free summer program.

The university is recruiting participants for AREA48 (Applied Regional Economic Activity), a revolutionary new “formation space” that provides early-stage entrepreneurs with opportunities to access human and knowledge assets. While AREA48 is open to anyone, ASU is particularly seeking participation from retirees, veterans rejoining the civilian workforce and knowledge workers seeking new opportunities.

Located in a former restaurant in downtown Tempe, AREA48 supports the development of entrepreneurs by providing a central place for them to connect, collaborate and create as well as receive mentorship, advice and practical business training. There is no cost to participate in AREA48, which runs from June through September. Anyone interested in participating may apply online.

The initiative, which is run by ASU Venture Catalyst, the university’s startup unit, is funded by a grant from the Blackstone Organizational Grants Program, an annual $1 million program targeting organizations that focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Through this program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping innovative organizations that directly support entrepreneurs to pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

“AREA48 provides an opportunity to harvest untapped human resources to create high-growth ventures that will spur long-term economic growth and job creation in Arizona,” said Gordon McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “In addition, it will become a feeder to the state’s entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, including accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces.”

At AREA48, participants from diverse backgrounds who have varied skill sets will learn to use new product development and Lean methodologies to turn ideas into solutions, products and services. The initiative’s practitioner-oriented approach allows participants to engage in hands-on activities ranging from prototyping products to establishing a social enterprise to turning a hobby into a business.

AREA48, which officially opens June 24, is housed in the former Bamboo Club restaurant at 699 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe. The location features team huddle spaces, areas for prototyping and testing products, classroom space for “pracademic” courses and a “showcase space” open to the public.

ASU Venture Catalyst will offer its highly successful Rapid Startup School at AREA48, with classes on topics ranging from customer development, fundraising, and business modeling to product development, marketing strategies, and intellectual property. In addition, ASU faculty who teach entrepreneurship and innovation will serve as academics-in-residence.

AREA48’s location is also an innovative way of solving the problem of vacant buildings that is so prevalent in urban and downtown areas throughout the country.

“Locating AREA48 in a vacant restaurant in the heart of downtown Tempe creates easy accessibility for all audiences,” McConnell said. “It allows us to connect ASU’s tremendously diverse students, faculty and staff with AREA48 participants, helping bridge the divide that often exists between a university and its local human and economic infrastructure. Not only does this help create diverse teams, it offers students a real-world experience that is very different from a typical internship or academic course.”

For more information about AREA48, please visit http://www.asuventurecatalyst.org/p/content/area48.

Arizona Is Losing Economic Grounds To Other Southwestern States, 2008

Rebound for Arizona and U.S. Slows Down

Jobs, home prices and population growth are all slowly rebounding in Arizona. However, experts from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University say we still have a long way to go, and the automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester aren’t helping our momentum. The experts delivered their forecasts today at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club of Phoenix.

Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School, confirmed Arizona is once again a Top 15 growth state for both employment and population, but we’re not back to normal levels. From 1960 to 2007, we routinely ranked among the Top 5 states for both employment and population growth. In the rough years from 2008 to 2011, we dropped down to No. 48 and No. 14 in those areas.

“Last year, we finally bounced back to No. 8 for employment growth and No. 7 for population growth,” said McPheters. “However, the sequester and other factors have been clouding the economy here in recent months, and the year-over-year job-growth ranking issued this March dropped Arizona down to No. 13. The state will have to wait a couple more years for full recovery.”

Arizona added 48,900 jobs in 2012. The state is projected to add 61,000 jobs this year. The fastest-growing industries are construction, wholesale trade, information, state government and leisure/hospitality.

“Arizona has gained back 39 percent of the 314,000 jobs we lost in the recession,” explained McPheters. “However, that’s a pace well behind the nation as a whole, which has regained 67 percent of its 8.8 million lost jobs.”

In recent years, population growth in Arizona had dropped from the state’s typical 2- to 3-percent range to less than 1 percent. Finally last year we popped back up to 1.3 percent.

Personal income may also be coming back. The consensus of Arizona Blue Chip economists shows growth in this area of 3.7 percent in 2012, 5.1 percent expected in 2013, and 6 percent expected in 2014.

“The bottom line is that Arizona is doing better than most states, but this will still be the seventh year in a row of lean, subpar growth for us,” said McPheters.

Dennis Hoffman, economics professor and director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business, reiterated that Arizona is recovering more slowly from this recession than from others in the past. However, we are coming back stronger than the nation as a whole in most areas of the economy. Hoffman expects the United States to see 2- to 3-percent gross-domestic-product (GDP) growth this year. That will likely include more moderate job growth and low inflation.

“The economy is plodding along, assisted by the real-estate and stock-market recoveries, low fuel prices and innovation in the business world,” said Hoffman. “Still, we face a lot of uncertainty from our national-debt crisis, political squabbling in Washington, economic difficulties in Europe and China, and changing demographics. One huge issue remains the problem of future funding for Social Security and Medicare.”

At the state level, Hoffman says we’re going to be strongly affected by the decisions still to be made this year on possible Medicaid expansion, the loss of the temporary sales tax, the potential taxing of online sales, and other big issues. For now, state revenue has been coming back with the rebounding economy.

When it comes to the housing market, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business, delivered good news about the recovery. Specifically, the median Phoenix-area home price was up a whopping 58 percent from a low of $111,000 in May 2011 to $175,000 this March. Foreclosures were down 60 percent just over the last year from March 2012 to March 2013, and Orr expects foreclosure rates to dip below long-term averages by the end of next year. Also, less than 5 percent of Arizona home loans (not already in foreclosure) are delinquent now.

However, we do face some problems in the housing market. For one thing, there’s a chronic shortage of homes for sale. Now that there’s no flood of cheap foreclosures and short sales coming onto the market, buyers are dependent mostly on normal resales and new-home sales.

“Higher prices would normally bring more ordinary home sellers into the market, but many are either locked into their homes because of negative equity, or they’re simply waiting for prices to go up more,” explained Orr. “As a result, some buyers are turning to new-home sales, but developers are reluctant to overbuild as much as they did at the market peak. Therefore, we may see about 50,000 to 60,000 new people being added to our local population this year, but only around 12,000 new single-family homes being built.”

Today’s Economic Outlook Luncheon was held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The Economic Club of Phoenix hosts this event every spring, as one of its opportunities for Valley business leaders and others to network and engage. The club was founded by a group of prominent business executives called the Dean’s Council of 100, in conjunction with the W. P. Carey School of Business. More information about the club can be found at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/ecp.

Today’s presentations will be posted at knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource, at http://knowwpcarey.com.

David Van Slyke

Mutual of Omaha Bank Announces Phoenix Appointment

David Van Slyke has joined Mutual of Omaha Bank as vice president of commercial banking in Phoenix. Based out of the bank’s Arizona headquarters at 9200 E. Pima Center Parkway in Scottsdale, Van Slyke will work with local businesses, offering comprehensive commercial banking services, including commercial deposit accounts, treasury services and full-scale commercial and industrial financing.

Van Slyke brings over 25 years of experience to Mutual of Omaha Bank, most recently serving as vice president with the business banking group for a large, national bank in Arizona.

Van Slyke earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Arizona State University. He holds a Certificate of Mastery for Business Process Reengineering and is a licensed pilot.

Van Slyke is involved in the community as an advisory board member for Steps of Faith, a non-profit women’s health organization in Phoenix. He also has served as a panel member for the Phoenix chapter of the American Institute of Architects, on the Membership Committee for Valley Partnership and teaches classes in the community on sustainability, urban farming and organic food.

Mutual of Omaha Bank is a full-service bank providing financial solutions to individuals and businesses across the United States. With nearly $6 billion in assets, Mutual of Omaha Bank is a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha, a Fortune 500 insurance and financial services company founded in 1909. For more information about Mutual of Omaha Bank, visit www.mutualofomahabank.com.

home.prices

Phoenix-area Housing Prices Keep Soaring

Home prices continue their upward climb in the Phoenix area, with more momentum expected until at least June. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the latest information about the Maricopa and Pinal County housing market, as of March:

The median single-family home price was all the way up to $175,000, about a 30-percent increase from March of last year.
The supply of homes for sale continued to fall, but the problem is not so much the high demand, but more the lack of sellers getting into the market.
Rebounding population growth in the Phoenix area is also blasting past the rate at which builders are constructing new homes.

Phoenix-area home prices reached a low in September 2011 and have largely shot up since then. The median single-family home price went up 29.7 percent – from $134,900 to $175,000 – in the year from March 2012 to March 2013. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 23.6 percent during the same time. The median townhouse/condo price increased 43.2 percent – from $81,000 to $116,000. A big reason for all this upward movement is the scarcity of affordable homes for sale.

“The number of active single-family listings has been dropping fast and went down another 4 percent from March 1 to April 1,” 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. “Fewer than 12,000 single-family homes were up for sale (without an existing contract) on April 1, and 80 percent of those were priced above $150,000, making it very tough to find properties in the lower price range.”

Orr adds it’s actually not high demand that’s the major culprit here.

“The low number of sellers is what’s unusual, not the number of buyers, which is only slightly above normal,” he says. “Higher prices would normally encourage more ordinary home sellers into the market, but many are either locked into their homes because of negative equity, or they’re simply waiting for prices to go up more.”

Orr says most homes priced below $600,000 continue to attract multiple offers, and March is the peak of the buying season that lasts from January to June. However, due to the chronic supply shortage, the amount of single-family home sales actually went down 8 percent from March 2012 to March 2013.

Investors are also starting to lose some interest in the Phoenix area, since bigger bargains can be found in other areas of the country that haven’t rebounded as fast. The percentage of residential properties bought by investors dropped from 29.2 percent in February to 27.1 percent in March, the lowest percentage in several years. The market is now seeing increased demand from owner-occupiers and second-home buyers, instead.

Completed foreclosures were down an incredible 60 percent from March 2012 to March 2013. Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 53 percent. Orr believes we’ll see foreclosure-notice rates “below long-term averages” by the end of next year.

Meantime, new-home sales are also going up, in tandem with resale prices. In Maricopa County alone, new-home sales increased 37 percent from March 2012 to March 2013. However, new-home construction isn’t keeping pace with the Phoenix area’s rebounding post-recession population growth. The U.S. Census reports 1,220 single-family-home construction permits were issued in March, a very small number by historic standards. For example, the total in March 1996 was 3,071, and the total in March 2004 was 5,490.

“The population is growing much faster than the housing supply, with an expected 50,000 to 60,000 people being added to the Phoenix-area population this year, but only around 12,000 new single-family homes being built,” Orr explains. “Builders are scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to do. They don’t want to overbuild like they did during the peak, and they don’t want to build a bunch of new homes for people who can’t secure the mortgages needed to buy them with such tight lending conditions.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201304.pdf. 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.

Jaclyn Foutz

Jaclyn Foutz Joins Andante Law Group

Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC announced that Jaclyn D. Foutz has joined the firm as an attorney.  Her practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, bankruptcy, reorganization and capital recovery.  She represents creditors in collection and enforcement matters, as well as in all facets of bankruptcy proceedings and advising clients on creditors’ rights.

Daniel E. Garrison, Managing Partner of Andante Law Group stated,  “We are pleased to have Ms. Foutz join our firm.  She is a very talented litigation and bankruptcy attorney who will compliment our firm’s corporate restructuring, business bankruptcy, loan workouts and enforcement, and commercial litigation practice.

Prior to joining the Andante Law Group, Ms. Foutz was with Ballard Spahr LLP in Phoenix.  She began her legal career clerking for Justice Andrew Hurwitz at the Arizona Supreme Court.  Before re-entering private law practice, Ms. Foutz founded and was General Counsel to the Human Tribe Project, a patient support and fundraising website.

She earned her BS from the University of Arizona in 2000 and her JD in 2005 from Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.  She is licensed in both state and federal courts in Arizona and U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

veterans

USAA CEO Named Executive of the Year

Hiring and helping our veterans is as important today as it’s been at any other time in history. USAA’s chief executive officer will discuss how to assist veterans as they transition to civilian life when he’s honored for his achievements on April 25.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Josue “Joe” Robles served for 28 years in the U.S. Army. He now serves as president and chief executive officer of USAA, a Fortune 500 financial-services provider for members of the military and their families. This month, Robles becomes the 30th annual Executive of the Year chosen by the Dean’s Council of 100, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“Robles has set a superb example in serving both his country and his customers,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “USAA is known for exceptional customer service and for aiding our active-duty military members, veterans and their families. We’re proud to honor these efforts.”

USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.6 million members of the U.S. military and their families. The organization is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. It was founded in 1922 and now employs more than 25,000 people at offices around the world, including one in the Phoenix area.

Robles was a USAA board member from 1990 to 1994, while he was still on active duty in the Army. His stellar armed-forces resume includes command and staff positions in Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Middle East. He has received many honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He also served as commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division (the oldest division in the U.S. Army, also known as “The Big Red One”) and director of the Army budget prior to joining USAA in 1994 as chief financial officer. He became president and CEO in 2007. This new recognition adds to his full shelf of awards.

“I couldn’t be more honored, especially in a community that’s so important to USAA and our mission,” Robles said. “As a veteran myself, I am looking forward to discussing how we can help members of the military transition into civilian careers.”

Robles was named the “No. 1 Veteran in Business” by The Christian Science Monitor in 2009. Among other honors, he also received the Horatio Alger Award for being a dedicated community leader, committed to excellence. He serves on several boards, including the American Red Cross Board of Governors and the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ San Antonio branch.

The event to honor Robles will be held Thursday, April 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale. The W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council of 100 chose Robles to follow previous high-profile winners, including Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc.; Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; and Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company.

This event 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.

energy.bill

Navajo Generating Station worth Billions to Navajo Nation

The Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona will help contribute nearly $13 billion to the Navajo economy and help support thousands of jobs from 2020 through 2044 – if agreements can be reached to keep the plant operating beyond 2019 – according to a study prepared for the Navajo Nation and Salt River Project by the L William Seidman Research Institute at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Located on the Navajo Nation, near Page, NGS is one of the largest and most important suppliers of electricity in the Southwest.

According to the ASU report, Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine: An Economic Impact Analysis for the Navajo Nation, NGS and the Kayenta Mine, the plant’s coal supplier, will contribute $12.94 billion to the Navajo Nation economy through sustained jobs and wages if the plant was to remain operational through 2044.

NGS currently employs about 518 people, nearly 86 percent of whom are Native American.  The Kayenta Mine has more than 400 employees, of whom about 90 percent are also Native American.

“I have been saying we need to protect existing jobs on the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly.  “This study shows that the plant and the mine not only support existing jobs at the plant and mine, but support other jobs in the area.”

The ASU report examined the direct, indirect and induced economic impact of NGS and Kayenta Mine on the Navajo Nation using the IMPLAN model employed by the state of Arizona to examine various economic projections.  A full copy of the report is available at www.ngspower.com.

The study on the plant’s economic impact on the Navajo Nation is separate from a 2012 study from ASU that concluded that NGS and the Kayenta Mine will provide more than $20 billion in economic contributions throughout the state for the period measured from 2011 to 2044.  The new study examined the economic effects exclusively for the Navajo Nation.

Despite its economic importance, a number of significant challenges threaten the future viability of NGS.  To ensure future operations of NGS, the plant’s lease and various rights of way with the Navajo Nation must be extended and the coal supply contract with Peabody Energy renegotiated prior to any additional costly emission controls from the EPA.

The plant’s lease and various rights of way with the Navajo Nation are set to expire around 2019 and the Navajo Nation Council is currently considering legislation to extend them.  In addition, the plant’s owners are also renegotiating the coal supply contract with Peabody Energy.  Perhaps most significantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection has proposed additional and costly environmental rules to address regional visibility.

NGS is a coal-fired power plant that provides electricity to customers in Arizona, Nevada and California, and energy to pump water through the Central Arizona Project.  The participants in NGS include the plant’s operator, SRP; the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Arizona Public Service Co.; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Tucson Electric Power Co. and NV Energy.

molina

Hispanic Chamber honors leaders

The Center for the Future of Arizona’s founder and CEO is among the five award recipients to be honored at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards later this month.

“Dr. Lattie Coor is one of our state’s most iconic and beloved figures, and we’re honored to present him the 2013 Legacy Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr. “The awards ceremony is the highlight of the evening, and this year’s slate of winners prove that people who succeed in business are also among the most generous individuals in our community.”

Awards also will be presented in four other categories:
MaryAnn Guerra, Woman of the Year;
Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year;
Israel Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year;
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award.

The Black & White Ball is Arizona’s longest running formal gala. It honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. The gala also is the Hispanic Chamber’s largest annual fund-raiser. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders are scheduled to attend.

Emceed this year by international celebrity Marco Antonio Regil, the gala takes place April 27, 2013, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. Third St. An “after-party” is scheduled at the same location from 9 p.m. to Midnight. Cox Communications continues its support as presenting sponsor for the event, which features an elegant dinner, the business awards, and live music and dancing at an after-dinner cocktail party.

Past Legacy Award winners include Governor Raul H. Castro, Senator John McCain, Jerry Colangelo, former Govenor Janet Napolitano and the late Eddie Basha, Jr., who will be honored with a special memorial tribute at this year’s dinner.

“In addition to the honor of presenting our business awards, the gala’s Brazilian Carnival theme this year promises to make it a great night out on the town,” said De la Melena. “I invite everyone to come and celebrate the good work of our award winners, and afterward relax and dance the night away.”

For information about ticket sales or sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Arellano at 602-294-6085 or ChristinaA@azhcc.com or visit www.azhcc.com.

Dr. Lattie F. Coor / Legacy Award
Dr. Lattie F. Coor is President-Emeritus, Professor and Ernest W. McFarland Chair in Leadership and Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and is Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

For the previous 26 years, Dr. Lattie Coor served as a University President. He was President of Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002, and President of the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Coor served as an assistant to the Governor of Michigan and held faculty appointments in Political Science at Washington University. His administrative responsibilities there included those of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Director of International Studies, and University Vice Chancellor.

He has held positions with a variety of higher education associations, board and commissions, having served as a founding member and Chairman of Division I of the NCAA President’s Commission. He held the position of Chairman of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges in 1992-93, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1999 to 2002. He also served on the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land Grant Universities from 1996 to 2002. He served as a Trustee of the American College of Greece, Athens, from 1988 to 1998, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Deer Creek Foundation, St Louis, since 1983. He has honorary degrees from Marlboro College, American College of Greece, the University of Vermont and Northern Arizona University.

In Arizona, Dr. Lattie Coor serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, and has served on the Board of Directors of Bank One Arizona, Samaritan Health Services, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council. He was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education from 1995 to 1999. He served as Chairman of the Education Section of the Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and of the Public Sector of the United Way Campaign from 1999 to 2002.

Dr. Lattie Coor received the Anti-Defamation League’s Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award in 1994, the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award from the Greater Phoenix Urban League in 2000, The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 2000, The American Jewish Committee Institute of Human Relations Award in 2001 and the Center City Starr award from Phoenix Community Alliance in 2001. He was named Valley Leadership’s Man of the Year in 2006.
An Arizona native, Dr. Coor was born in Phoenix and graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964.

Alfredo J. Molina / Man of the Year

International jeweler Alfredo J. Molina is Chairman of The Molina Group, based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Molina Group is the parent company of Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix and New York and Black, Starr & Frost, America’s first jeweler since 1810, in Newport Beach and New York. Alfredo Molina is one of the nation’s most prestigious jewelers. His ability to secure the world’s rarest gems – such as the historic Archduke Joseph Diamond, the world’s twelfth largest historic perfect white diamond – has earned him guest appearances on numerous television programs, including CBS’ Early Show and NBC’s Today Show.

Mr. Molina’s education and experience in the jewelry industry is extensive. He is a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America and a Fellow Member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain with distinction. He is a certified gemologist and appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is considered one of the world’s experts in the determination of country of origin of gemstones. He is past President of the American Society of Appraisers, Arizona Jewelers Association, and the GIA Alumni Association. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Jewelers of America Council and Co-Chairman of the Master Gemologist Appraiser program. Mr. Molina is also a qualified appraiser for the Internal Revenue Service and an alumni of the FBI Citizens Academy. He appears as keynote speaker at seminars and workshops on appraising gems, and discussing the latest gemological trends and developments. He assists law enforcement agencies in recovering stolen gems and serves as an expert witness for U.S. Customs Service as gems authority. In 2002, he was appointed to serve as Honorary Counsul of Spain for Arizona.

Alfredo, his wife Lisa and their four children devote time and many resources to the Arizona and California communities. The Molinas feel that The Molina Group is fulfilling their duty to their community, friends and supporters.

Lisa and Alfredo have chaired numerous charity events including the Arizona Cancer Ball, The Samaritan Foundation, The Symphony Ball, The Arizona Heart Ball, Crohn’s and Colitis, Women of Distinction Gala and Childhelp. They have supported Candlelite, JDRF Dream Gala, Susan G. Komen, the Pacific Symphony, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and were honorary Chairs of 2009 Orange Country High School for the Arts Gala and the 2011 Banner Health Foundation Candlelight Capers. Lisa and Alfredo have dedicated their lives to the service of others and their children are following in their footsteps. Through their generous sponsorship and support of local and national charities, they seek to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Gratitude, selflessness, love and a firm belief in the legacies of sharing comprises the Molina way of life.

Alfredo was honored in Washington, DC as one of seven caring Americans and was inducted into the Frederick Douglass Museum & Hall of Fame for Caring Americans on Capitol Hill. He was named 2008 Outstanding Business Leader by Northwood University at the Breakers in Palm Beach and he was recently inducted into the National Jewelers, Retailer Hall of Fame in the single store independent category.

MaryAnn Guerra / Woman of the Year

MaryAnn Guerra, MBA is Chairman of the Board, CEO, and co-founder of BioAccel. Ms. Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. Ms. Guerra spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. She is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.

Prior to founding BioAccel, Ms. Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC and Chief Operating Officer at (TGen). While at TGen she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO she grew the organization from $30M to $60M in less than three years. Ms. Guerra also served as Executive Vice President, Matthews Media Group, where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She has had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health having held various senior level positions, including: Executive Officer, NHLBI and Deputy Director of Management & Executive Officer at the NCI.

Ms. Guerra has received numerous awards for her work, including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2013 Woman of the Year and Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 “Fifteen” Women to Watch. Last year BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and for the State of Arizona. She has received the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Top 25 Women in Business” award, as well as their “Power People” award, the Girl Scouts “Women of the Future World” award. Ms. Guerra has served on numerous Boards throughout her career. Currently she is a Board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission as well as many other board seats. Ms. Guerra holds an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.

Israel G. Torres, Esq. / Entrepreneur of the Year

Israel G. Torres is Managing Partner of Torres Consulting and Law Group, LLC. The firm provides a variety of services, including regulatory compliance, law, and government relations, to clients in the construction trades throughout the United States. His firm has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley in 2011. Torres Consulting and Law Group was also named 2009 Service Firm of Year during the Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards, a program that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Prior to establishing his firm, Mr. Torres was elected as the Democratic nominee for Arizona Secretary of State in 2006. He was the first Latino candidate in Arizona history to garner more than 600,000 votes statewide.

From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Torres served as Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and as a member of Governor Napolitano’s Cabinet. As the director, Mr. Torres served as the chief regulator of Arizona’s construction industry, regulating the activities of more than 52,000 active commercial and residential construction licenses amidst a time of unparalleled construction activity in Arizona. In that role, he also served as an advisor to the Governor and State Legislature on construction- and development-related issues. Mr. Torres was a national leader in the advancement of regulatory initiatives.

Mr. Torres is a member of the Arizona Bar and is licensed to practice law in Arizona. His educational background includes a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. He also holds a Construction Management Certificate from the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU.

Mr. Torres and his wife, Monica, live in Tempe and are raising two children, Cristian and Alysa. He enjoys outdoor sports, including mountain biking, hiking, boating, camping, and skiing.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona / Corporation of the Year

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at www.facebook.com/bcbsaz or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what BCBSAZ is doing in your community.

AB's Top Lawyer's List, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Delta Dental names Director of Legal Affairs

Delta Dental of Arizona is pleased to announce the hiring of Anne Bishop as the dental insurance company’s Director of Legal Affairs and Compliance.

“We are thrilled to welcome Anne to the Delta Dental team,” said Allan Allford, CEO for Delta Dental of Arizona. “Her expertise in health care law will be an asset as we prepare for the launch of private dental exchanges and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.”

A magna cum laude graduate of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, she has extensive commercial and healthcare litigation experience. Prior to joining Delta Dental, Bishop served as an associate attorney for Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in Phoenix, where she focused on health care services, health care transactions, compliance and regulatory matters.

Bishop’s expertise includes seven years of experience analyzing and researching legal issues in healthcare, advising clients on HIPAA and other healthcare compliance issues, and coordinating intra-company fraud investigations. In addition, Bishop spent nearly 14 years with the National Security Agency, where she received more than a dozen awards for outstanding performance and exceptional contributions to the intelligence community. Bishop also holds a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

technology

ASU adds Cutting-Edge online Engineering Degree

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) announced plans to offer its renowned Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Electrical Engineering in an online format beginning in the fall 2013 semester.

“Today’s rapidly changing world requires innovative approaches to education,” said Paul Johnson, dean and professor of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “We offer an impressive online platform that delivers science and engineering fundamentals, technical training, practical experience and student support. Our goal is to ensure that anyone who is motivated to pursue an electrical engineering degree, but needs a flexible format, has the opportunity to achieve their educational and career goals.”

The 120-credit hour degree program includes core-engineering courses and a minimum of 45 upper division credit hours in specialty courses. Upper division specialty courses examine topics such as analog and digital circuits, electromagnetic fields, microprocessors, communications networks, solid-state electronics and electric power and energy systems.

“Students in our program, whether on campus or online, learn and work with faculty who are leaders in their fields – from nanoscale electronic devices to the U.S. electric power grid,” said Stephen Phillips, director of the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

The new online program’s labs and simulations will also leverage some of the latest and most innovative learning technologies and platforms. This includes a combination of practical hardware and industry-standard design with simulation tools that will provide students with the applied skills needed in today’s global engineering environment.

“Our program integrates science and engineering fundamentals with real-world experience and state-of-the-art learning tools from the first day,” said Phillips.

ASU first offered an online graduate degree program in engineering in 2002. It has continued to expand availability of both graduate and undergraduate online engineering programs to provide flexible “any time/any place” learning for students in Arizona and around the world.

Chandler Innovation Center

Nominate Your Favorite for a Spirit of Enterprise Award

Want to help honor your favorite Arizona company? Nominate it for a 2013 Spirit of Enterprise Award.

The awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recognize some of Arizona’s best businesses for creating jobs, boosting our economy and treating customers right. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, China Mist, Ollie the Trolley and Total Transit (Discount Cab), as well as rapidly growing businesses, such as GlobalMed and WebPT.

“We’re looking for firms that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship,” says Gary Naumann, director of the Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They should have a great story and a positive culture internally, and be exemplary community partners in terms of how they give back.”

You can nominate any company that is:

* A for-profit enterprise in business for at least four years;
* Incorporated, headquartered or having a majority of its business operations in Arizona;
* Employing at least three or more full-time workers;
* Able to demonstrate profitability over the last three years combined.

In addition, one minority-owned business will receive the Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Once a company is nominated, it will have until July 31 to complete an awards application.

The winners of the 17th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards will be announced at a luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix on Nov. 22. Hundreds of Arizona business and community leaders attend this annual event.

For more information on nominating a company, applying for the awards, or attending the luncheon, call (480) 965-0474 or visit spiritofenterprise.org.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. In addition, companies can use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

Sustainable Energy in Arizona - AB Magazine November/December 2011

Boone named interim dean of School of Sustainability

Christopher Boone, professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS) and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has been named the interim dean of the School of Sustainability, effective July 1, 2013. Boone has served as the associate dean for education of the school since July 2010.

“Chris Boone is an outstanding scientist and scholar whose extensive work in urban sustainability and world poverty exemplifies the very mission of the school,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “As associate dean he has helped lead the efforts to educate a new generation of students whose passion is to find solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges of the world. With Chris as interim dean the school is well-positioned to further enhance its academic programs and help students create solutions that will reshape our quality of life.”

Boone succeeds Dean Sander van der Leeuw, who will continue to further the school’s research and academic interests. Van der Leeuw will return as a member of the board of directors for the Global Institute of Sustainability and continue to serve as co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Network, as well as chair of the Consortium for Biosocial Complex Systems. He also retains intellectual responsibility for the Global Institute of Sustainability Climate Impact and Adaptation Center.

“Chris Boone has been an important figure in the development of the School of Sustainability, the first such school in the country, and he will be an important leader of the next stage of development of this unique academic unit,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, ASU executive vice president and provost.

Boone joined ASU in January 2006 as an associate professor and gained full professorship in April 2010. His research centers on urban sustainability, environmental justice and vulnerability, urban socio-ecological systems, global environmental change, human-environmental interaction, geographic information systems (GIS) and public health.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the School of Sustainability,” Boone said. “I see this as a really important continuation of the work Professor Van der Leeuw did to strengthen the school. ASU serves as an international model for blending sustainability education and research with practice. I am confident we will continue to be a leader in sustainability.”

Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, said he is excited about working with Boone, having “enjoyed working with him previously on sustainability concepts. I consider him to be a scholar of the highest caliber and deeply committed to sustainability and sustainability education. He, Rob Melnick and I will make a great team to lead GIOS and SOS in the coming years.”

Boone is the recipient of grants from prestigious organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a member of the executive committees of SOS and GIOS.

In 2009, Boone headed a provost’s committee to develop a minor in sustainability. He also serves on the supervisory board for the Social Sciences and Health, and Global Health programs. He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Urbanization and Global Environment Change program, and the Steering Committee of the Workshop on Climate Change in U.S. Cities in Support of the National Climate Assessment.

Boone currently serves on the editorial boards of journals such as International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development and Environmental Justice. He is also the associate editor of the nature-society section of the journal Current Research on Cities and co-editor of a new book series called New Directions in Sustainability and Society.

Boone received his graduate and doctoral degrees in geography at the University of Toronto before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability is the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States with a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Established in spring 2007, the School is part of the Global Institute of Sustainability, which is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. The School of Sustainability offers undergraduate and graduate programs and minors, as well as doctoral and professional leadership programs. Visit http://www.schoolofsustainability.asu.edu.

homes

Prices Up, Foreclosures Down, Investors Losing Interest

Phoenix-area home prices are back on their way up again, after a short drop in January. The latest housing report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows soaring prices, dropping foreclosures and waning interest from investors looking at Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of February.

* The median single-family home price shot up more than 4 percent in just one month — January to February.
* The median single-family home price went up 36.5 percent from February 2012 to February 2013.
* Foreclosures have resumed their downward trend, after a brief post-holiday bump, and they are likely to fall below the “normal,” long-term level by the end of next year.

Phoenix-area home prices have risen sharply since hitting a low point in September 2011. The median single-family home price went up 4.3 percent from January to February. It went up 36.5 percent – $124,500 to $170,000 – from last February to this February. Realtors will note the average price per square foot rose 30.9 percent year-over-year. The median townhouse/condo price increased 39.4 percent – from $77,500 to $108,000.

“These substantial increases were predicted in our last report and are almost certain to continue in March,” 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 at Arizona State University. “Pricing typically strengthens during the peak buying season from February to June each year.”

Orr adds the market is still dealing with a chronic shortage of homes available for sale. The number of active single-family-home listings (without an existing contract) in the greater Phoenix area fell about 5 percent just from February 1 to March 1. Also, 79 percent of the available supply is priced above $150,000, creating a real problem in the lower range.

“The shortage continues to get more severe among the most affordable housing sectors,” says Orr. “Overall, ‘distressed,’ bargain supply is down 32 percent from last February, since we’re seeing fewer foreclosures and short sales. First-time home buyers face tough competition from investors and other bidders for the relatively small number of properties available in their target price range.”

Thanks to the tight inventory, the amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 10 percent this February from last February. Things don’t appear to be getting better.

“Higher prices would normally encourage more ordinary home sellers to enter the market, but it seems many potential sellers are either locked in by negative equity and/or staying on the sidelines, waiting for prices to rise further,” explains Orr. “At some point, we will reach a pricing level where resale supply will free up, but we are not there yet.”

While high-end, luxury-home resales are picking up some steam, many frustrated home buyers in the lower price range have been turning to new-home construction. As a result, new-home sales were up an incredible 67 percent from last February to this February. New-home sales have almost doubled their market share from 6 percent to 11 percent over the last 12 months. Still, Orr says new-home sales have a long way to go to recover their normal percentage of the market.

He adds, “New homes are not being built in sufficient quantity to match the population growth in the Phoenix area. The construction industry remembers overbuilding from 2003 to 2007, contributing to the disaster in 2008 that resulted in layoffs and bankruptcies for some developers. For now, it looks like they will probably build fewer than half the homes needed to keep pace with current population trends.”

Investor interest also continues to wane in the Phoenix area. The percentage of homes bought by investors from 2011 to mid-2012 was way up, but it declined in Maricopa County from 37 percent last February to 29.7 percent this February. Many investors are looking at other areas of the nation where prices haven’t recovered as much and more bargains are available. Orr labels it a “significant down trend” here.

Foreclosures and foreclosure starts (homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days) are both back on a downward trend, too, after a short post-holiday bump. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and townhome/condos fell 25 percent from January to February alone. They were down 52 percent from last February. Foreclosure starts were down 61 percent from last February. Orr predicts foreclosure-notice rates may be down to “below long-term averages” by the end of 2014. Meantime, the lack of cheap foreclosed homes continues to help push prices up.

“The significant annual price increase over the last 12 months has now spread to all areas of greater Phoenix,” says Orr.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201303.pdf. 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.

rsz_az_opera_new_building_sign

Arizona Opera's New, $5.2M Center Opens on Central Avenue

 

Arizona Opera opened its new $5.2M, 28,000 SF Opera Center on Central Avenue in Phoenix.

The building project, in partnership with the City of Phoenix, included two phases. Phase 1 houses an intimate black box performance venue, rehearsal space, and orchestra loft and patron viewing gallery. General contractor was Brignall Construction; architect was Motley Design Group.

Phase 2 features administrative offices, box office, costume, wig and make-up shops, as well as educational and meeting facilities. Phase 2 made adaptive re-use of the previous Walsh Brothers building.

The Opera Center joins other cultural venues such as Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum and Phoenix Theatre in the “uptown” arts district, which is easily accessible via METRO Light Rail.

The Opera’s Opera Center, was built in partnership with the City of Phoenix, which provided $3.2M in city bond funds.

“We are thrilled to have found such a perfect location for our new home, near our sister arts organizations and directly on the light-rail route,” said Scott Altman, general director of Arizona Opera.

The first full opera production will be held in April 2014 in the black box theater, while rehearsals, master classes and workshops will be held in the theater as early as April.

Arizona Opera will continue to present main stage productions in Tucson Music Hall and Symphony Hall Phoenix.

rsz_reh_panorama

Restaurant Industry

HSMAI prepares next generation of hospitality leaders

To create the perfect meal, preparation is key. The same might be said for creating the perfect employee in the hospitality industry.

“Though some things like a friendly smile and a well-prepared meal will never change, the hospitality industry has gone through major changes in last few years,” says David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. “Guest expectations have changed. We are seeing a more food knowledgeable and casual-minded guests. The industry has changed and hospitality education has changed along with it.”

Landau says today’s hospitality industry workers need be comfortable with technology, from creating a profit  and loss statement in Excel or creating a training program in PowerPoint to being familiar with point-of-sale cash registers. To prepare the next generation of hospitality industry leaders, the Arizona chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is partnering with colleges and universities to stress the importance of education and training for the future of the industry. HSMAI’s impact is already being fealt. Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Scottsdale Community College are all offering classes in hospitality sales.

“Our core curriculum focuses on a diverse range of topics in hospitality; guest services management, marketing, information systems, human resources, accounting, food production and beverage management, property management and industry law,” says Janelle Hoffman, professor in the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Scottsdale Community College.

Hoffman says changes in hospitality educations have been influenced by technological advancements, the evolution of customer relationship management programs, societal marketing approaches, sustainability issues and international growth.

“I stay current in my research area of hospitality group sales,” says Richard McNeill, a professor at the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University. “Just this semester, I have integrated new research findings into my classes — for example, the rising power of third-party intermediaries and disruption on traditional selling methodologies. My sales classes involve B2B selling since group salespeople are involved with big-ticket items. It’s not unusual for a meeting or group to bring $300K revenue to a hotel.”

In addition to keeping a eye on the pulse of current trends like McNeill does, Hoffman says the changes in the hospitality industry that have had a biggest impact on education include:
• Every sector of the industry is reliant upon the efficient use of technology. Reservation systems, point of sale, property management and in-room technology are just a few areas in which the implementation and effective use of both custom and pre-designed software make a vital contribution to customer service, employee satisfaction and monetary success.
• Today, customer relationship management (CRM) programs that add value to the product and service are extremely beneficial to cultivating the life-time value of our patrons.
• Understanding how new approaches in areas of societal marketing and sustainability are trending in a response to customer demands and how these efforts assist us differentiating our products and services.
• The hospitality industry works in a global environment. In the last 10 years, new places have opened up to travel and development, providing new opportunities to international employment and community growth.
• The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest employers.

“Many years ago, if you worked hard, you could work your way up in this industry, but times have changed,” Hoffman says. “Everyone is still working hard, but education has assisted in professionalizing the service industry. An individual’s education is something that can never be taken away and helps differentiate them in a competitive professional environment.”

Hoffman advises today’s aspiring hospitality industry to try to understand how diverse the industry has become and identify your specific area of interest. Also, it’s important for students to have real work experience in the area of customer service to balance the concepts and skills they will be exposed to in the education experience.

“Work experience is what employers are looking for,” says Lynne Wellish, an adjunct faculty member in the Hospitality College at Scottsdale Community College. “Find a mentor in the industry and start building a network of contacts. Meet other students in your classes and nurture your relationships.”

As hospitality education grows and is offered as a program of study by more schools, educators say the bar for the industry’s workforce will be raised.

“The hospitality profession will grow in respectability as more individuals see it as a career choice not just a job,” Landau  says. “I also believe for those looking to enter the industry or for professionals who are already there, online education will provide the pacing and flexibility to meet the needs of these learners.  At Le Cordon Bleu, we work closely with our advisory boards on the local and national level to identify what skills employers want our graduates to have. So it works both ways: the industry informs education and vice versa.”

LOOKING TO HIRE?

Az Business magazine asked Arizona educators what advice they would give to hospitality industry employers who are looking to hire new workers.
Jessica Shipley, academic advisor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northern Arizona University: “Take chances on students. If employers took more risks in hiring someone who didn’t necessarily have a lot of experience, but the student showed the employer that they were outstanding in other areas, they might be surprised by how well that student ended up being a good fit for their company.”
David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale: “Don’t wait for graduates to knock on your door. Go to the source; contact an accredited culinary and hospitality school. We have a career services office that exists for employers to reach our student and graduates. Put new hires at ease; help that recent graduate see how their entry-level position is part of the overall mission. In order to be motived to succeed, Gen Y and Millennial workers need to know how their job is important.”
Janelle Hoffman, hospitality program advisor, Scottsdale Community College: “Look to hire a hospitality student, someone who has already made a commitment to the industry. Also, take good care of your team members. Word of mouth in our industry is strong. Happy employees create happy customers.”

Phoenix-Area Housing Market

How to Survive the Phoenix-area Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market is especially difficult for home buyers to navigate right now. They face rising prices, competition from investors and other bidders, and a short supply of available homes for sale. That’s why The Arizona Republic and the ASU Real Estate Council at the W. P. Carey School of Business are hosting a free event to help people sort through the complications.

“We keep hearing from potential home buyers how tough it is to deal with current conditions in the Valley housing market,” says Catherine Reagor, who covers the real estate market for The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. “This is one way to help.”

The event called “Phoenix Housing Market Explained” will be held Saturday, April 6, starting at 9:30 a.m. at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

It will feature:

* Catherine Reagor, senior real estate reporter for The Arizona Republic
* Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business
* Mark Stapp, the Fred E. Taylor Professor in Real Estate and director of the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at the W. P. Carey School of Business

The three will participate in a panel discussion and then take questions from the audience. Reagor will offer insight into what she’s seeing as buyers and sellers negotiate ever-changing market conditions…and prospective buyers try to secure a mortgage.

Orr, a prominent real estate expert whose monthly reports on the Phoenix-area housing market are often covered by the national media, will talk about many factors that could affect prospective home buyers right now.

“Everything from investors to rising prices and the short supply of houses are coming into play for people who want to own a new home,” says Orr. “It can be frustrating to bid repeatedly for properties and still come up dry. I’ll go over some of the latest data that could help provide an edge.”

Stapp, an established real estate developer himself, will moderate the discussion and explain current trends in new-home building.

The event will be held in the Business Administration C-Wing Building, or BAC, at 400 E. Lemon St. at ASU in Tempe. Parking is available just across the street at the intersection of Apache Boulevard and Normal Avenue. Signage will direct participants from the garage to room BAC 116 on the first floor of the BAC building.

Because space is limited, registration is encouraged at conversations.azcentral.com. More information about the event can be found at www.money.azcentral.com, www.wpcarey.asu.edu, or by calling (602) 444-4931.

More information about the Valley real estate market is available in the W. P. Carey School’s monthly reports at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/market-reports.cfm.

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Liberty Property Trust to Develop Liberty Center at Rio Salado

 

Liberty Property Trust announced that it will develop a sustainable, mixed-use business park on 100 acres purchased from the City of Tempe last month.

The company is developing a site plan for the new park which will be known as Liberty Center at Rio Salado.

“After several years of continued success at our nearby Liberty Cotton Center , we sought opportunities that would allow us to continue to offer national and regional tenants opportunities to relocate to or expand,” said John DiVall, senior vice president and city manager for Liberty’s Arizona region.

“Liberty Center at Rio Salado is centrally located in the heart of Metro Phoenix and it will offer a terrific mix of office, flex and industrial space, and, we anticipate, hotel and retail locations.”

The Tempe City Council approved the purchase of the first 80 acres of land at Priest Road and Rio Salado Parkway in February. Liberty has the option to purchase 20 more acres at the location once development has begun.

“The City of Tempe offered its land for this project because we recognize that it is our role to encourage high-quality development and foster the growth of our local economy,”  Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. “We are proud to welcome Liberty Center at Rio Salado to Tempe and look forward to watching it thrive, provide jobs and add to our community.”

Liberty also plans to announce the development of its first speculative building on the site later this year. All buildings it develops at the park will be designed to meet LEED certification with a focus on energy efficiency.

The park will offer visibility from Arizona Route 143 and the Loop 202, within minutes of Sky Harbor International Airport. Liberty has launched a website featuring information about the park and the surrounding area: libertycenteraz.com.

“This is a prominent piece of real estate that will allow tenants many benefits, from its central location to the airport and major highways to access to a strong, well educated labor pool,” DiVall said. “We expect to grow here for many years to come.”

Liberty Property Trust owns and manages more than 2 MSF of space in Phoenix, Tempe, Goodyear and Tolleson.

Some of its holdings include Liberty Cotton Center, Liberty 303 Business Park, Liberty Tolleson Center, Liberty Sky Harbor Center, and the LEED Gold and Energy Star certified 8501 E. Raintree Dr. office building.

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Sports Commission names new leader

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission (PRSC) has named Katie Brown as its new president and executive director.

Brown joins PRSC after serving as secretary, general counsel and a member of the PRSC Executive Board for the last six months, and serving as a board member for the past two years. She is a licensed attorney with more than a decade of diverse experience in athletic administration, with expertise in sports law, operations, fundraising and NCAA compliance.

“We are pleased to name Katie to this position,” said PRSC Board Chairman Garry Hays.  “Her experience and passion for sports will help her lead the Commission and its mission: grassroots sports tourism, youth athletic development and driving economic impact into the Phoenix community.”

Prior to joining PRSC, Brown served as an associate attorney for Polsinelli Shughart, PC in Phoenix, representing both individuals and companies in complex commercial litigation, contract negotiations and business transactions.  During her tenure, Brown was recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in 2012 and 2013.  Before that, she worked in the legal department at Mesa Airlines, Inc.  Her sports career includes ties to the athletic departments at both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, for which she served as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and Camp Director.  She was also previously the Assistant Director of Football Operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brown earned her juris doctorate in 2008 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe.  While pursuing her degree, Brown served as president and Symposium chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Law Student Association, for which she organized various events discussing the legal issues that arise in sports, including an annual symposium that featured prominent sports executives from around the Valley.  She is a 2000 graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance.  She was also a track and field athlete, and earned All-Conference honors both on the track and in the classroom.  She earned a master’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Sport Administration in 2003 from the University of North Carolina at

Chapel Hill.  While at the University of North Carolina, Brown received a research grant from the National Association of Basketball Coaches to complete her thesis, titled “An Analysis of the 2002 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Bracketing Procedures.” For this research she was awarded the 2003 John E. Billing Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, and the research was discussed in Athletic Business magazine.

A native of Tucson, Brown was a three-sport varsity athlete at Catalina Foothills High School in track and field, basketball and tennis.  She currently resides in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is a non-profit organization created in 1988 to “Enrich Our Community Through Sports.”  The Commission currently collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill this mission, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.  In 1999, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games.

For more information about the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission call (602) 258-6272 or visit www.phoenixsports.org.

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Quarles & Brady Immigration attorney honored

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that Lisa D. Duran, a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office, was named to The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers 2013 by Who’s Who Legal.

Duran was among 476 individuals in the world to be named leading corporate immigration lawyers. Nominees are selected based upon comprehensive, independent surveys with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed. The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers 2013 guide will be published in April.

Duran practices in the areas of commercial litigation, international business law and immigration law. Her experience includes representing clients in international arbitration proceedings, assisting clients in negotiating and documenting international transactions requiring Spanish language fluency, representing corporations in sponsoring foreign national professionals for employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visas (“green cards”), and representing foreign nationals in obtaining United States citizenship administratively and through federal court litigation. She is an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, where she teaches business immigration law.

Duran was named in Best Lawyers’ 2012 Phoenix Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year. She earned her law degree from Arizona State University College of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois respectively.

602-264-6404

Quarles & Brady Immigration attorney honored

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that Lisa D. Duran, a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office, was named to The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers 2013 by Who’s Who Legal.

Duran was among 476 individuals in the world to be named leading corporate immigration lawyers. Nominees are selected based upon comprehensive, independent surveys with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed. The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers 2013 guide will be published in April.

Duran practices in the areas of commercial litigation, international business law and immigration law. Her experience includes representing clients in international arbitration proceedings, assisting clients in negotiating and documenting international transactions requiring Spanish language fluency, representing corporations in sponsoring foreign national professionals for employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visas (“green cards”), and representing foreign nationals in obtaining United States citizenship administratively and through federal court litigation. She is an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, where she teaches business immigration law.

Duran was named in Best Lawyers’ 2012 Phoenix Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year. She earned her law degree from Arizona State University College of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois respectively.