Tag Archives: arizona

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Arizona State Credit Union donates $5K to local food banks

During its 64th Annual Meeting, Arizona State Credit Union demonstrated one of its core values by donating $5,000 to Arizona community food banks. The recipients of this year’s donation include St. Mary’s Food Bank and Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“Making a difference in our Arizona communities is a key component of our mission at Arizona State Credit Union. To support this mission, we donate funds during our Annual Meeting to local food banks, which we have done for the past several years,” said David E. Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “We are proud to support food donation programs throughout the state, and appreciate all they do to provide for those in need.”

Donated funds will be distributed to various food bank locations throughout the state, and will support efforts to eradicate hunger in local communities.

“Thank you to Arizona State Credit Union for its generous donation to St. Mary’s,” St. Mary’s Food Bank president Beverly Damore said. “This donation will allow us to distribute enough food to provide more than 17,000 meals to the hungry of Arizona. This donation comes at a perfect time, with the long Arizona summer ahead of us. It will certainly be put to good use.”

Michael McDonald, Chief Executive Officer at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona says, “Summer can be a difficult time for families in need. Through their generous gift, Arizona State Credit Union is helping us put meals on tables at a time when they’re most needed. It’s an honor to have such a committed partner in the ongoing battle against hunger.”

For more information about how Arizona State Credit Union supports local communities, please visit us online at azstcu.org/about-us/community. For information on how you can become involved with local food bank programs, please visit firstfoodbank.org andcommunityfoodbank.org.

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Delta Dental of AZ hires Barbara Crawford as VP

BarbaraCrawford_editedDelta Dental of Arizona is pleased to announce the hiring of Barbara Crawford, who comes from United Concordia, as the dental insurance company’s vice president of sales and client service.

“We are thrilled to welcome Barbara to the Delta Dental team,” said Allan Allford, CEO for Delta Dental of Arizona. “Her extensive experience selling dental plans as well as managing both sales and service teams will be a tremendous asset for us, as the dental landscape remains highly competitive.”

Crawford’s expertise includes more than 25 years in health care benefits, with proven success locally and nationally overseeing consultant distribution channels, establishing strategic relationships with key business partners, developing alternative solutions through national consultant exchange platforms and overseeing regional dental sales.

She is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha, with a degree in decision sciences and business management.

“Delta Dental of Arizona has established itself as the marketplace leader. I am excited to join this thriving company and help Delta Dental continue to grow and provide dental benefits to even more Arizonans,” said Crawford.

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards' wines

Experts foresee gains for maturing Arizona wine industry

The back roads near Cornville look like many others in Yavapai County, until you turn a corner and find rolling hills filled with vines, tasting rooms and homes that are more Tuscan than Southwestern.

Javelina Leap Winery sits among grapevines in a small valley outside Cornville. The 10-acre property includes a vineyard, tasting room and production facility.

Owner Rob Snapp was one of the first to start his business in the burgeoning wine region. In the last 15 years, he’s seen the area grow from just a few acres of vineyard to a tight-knit winemaking community. Now, at least 70 acres of vineyard dot the landscape of this northern Arizona region just under an hour from Prescott.

Throughout Arizona, wineries have cropped up in droves. More than 90 locations have farm winery licenses in the state. They’re clustered in three general locations: Sonoita/Elgin in southern Arizona, Willcox in central Arizona and the Verde Valley near Prescott.

The wine industry grew gradually until 2001 when Arizona began to experience exponential growth. Wine production in the state soared nearly 700 percent in the 14 years since, well above the national average.

The winemakers have come to Arizona for the climate, business environment and love of the drink itself.

Snapp’s passion for wine began in California as a teenager and, like his product, matured as he aged. He became a chef and business owner, managing and cooking at a hotel and restaurant he owned near the Grand Canyon. Eventually, he sold the location and used his profits as seed money to start the winery.

“This was raw land when we got here,” Snapp said. “There wasn’t a road or a building or water or electricity, nothing.”

Snapp spent a lot of time learning the business and managing the estate. While he wouldn’t reveal Javelina Leap’s financial status, he said his business is doing well – and other wineries nearby share the same success.

A 2013 study done by the Arizona Wine Growers Association showed the Yavapai region produced about 72 tons of grapes that year, large enough to make tens of thousands of bottles of wine, but a small percentage when compared to other regions.

Arizona’s reputation has grown on the national stage, especially for wines in Yavapai County. For example,Page Springs Cellars, just down the road from Javelina, has garnered praise from multiple sources, including Wine Aficionado magazine, as a quality wine.

Why Arizona?

In the United States, California dominates the wine industry. The Golden State produces more than 80 percent of the country’s grape crush beverage.

Arizona pales in comparison, coming in at 28th in the U.S., according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. But, the state has slowly moved up the ranks as wine production has increased. Experts said the state might see its ranking rise even further as Arizona wine grows as a business and commodity.

Many experts, vineyard owners and educators in the wine industry said Arizona has the potential to produce high quality wines, comparing it to regions of Spain, France and Italy.

Rod Keeling with the Arizona Wine Growers Association said Arizona has some key incentives that are attracting newcomers to the wine industry:

• Costs are lower in Arizona. Land is less expensive than in California or other major wine states, and labor can cost less as well.
• The climate in the three major wine growing areas is warm in the day and colder at night. This helps the grapes grow, and some types of grapes, especially those used to produce red wines, need the temperature variations.
• Arizona doesn’t yet have the severe water issue California faces, Keeling said. This makes the state a safer bet when starting a winery.
• The Grand Canyon State offers more flexibility for wine producers than many other states.

Arizona’s three-tier system of liquor distribution allows farm wineries to produce, sell and distribute wine themselves as long as they follow certain regulations, including a production cap.

“There are three licenses that fall under this regulation,” said Lee Hill with the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. “Wineries, distilleries and microbreweries are able to do all three all under the same roof, so they have amazing privileges.”

Industry trends

According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, national wine industry production grew about 43 percent since 2001, and the number of wineries nearly doubled during the same period.

“It’s not just Arizona. The industry has exploded exponentially everywhere,” said Michael Kaiser withWineAmerica, a Washington, D.C.,-based public policy organization. “I think there are a few reasons for that. Obviously, wine consumption in the U.S. has increased. And as the industry has grown, people are realizing that wine doesn’t have to be from California to be good.”

Kaiser said that as younger consumers enter the wine market, they might have more interest in the local vintage.

However, Kaiser warned that the boon isn’t permanent.

“The wine industry will continue to grow, but the growth rate has slowed a bit,” Kaiser said. “One issue that some states have is that winery growth is outpacing vineyard growth and in some cases, there aren’t enough grapes to go around.”

That’s not necessarily the case in Arizona. The study by the Arizona Wine Growers Association indicated that most grapes produced in Arizona are used by the winery or vineyard that grows them, and vineyards sell very few grapes to others, in or outside of the state.

In a saturated national market, experts said the industry must continue to innovate to stay ahead.

So far, it has self regulated. In 2014, the Arizona Wine Growers Association joined other groups in pushing for changes to tasting room licensing, which will allow for greater growth.

“The producers are very innovative, they come up with new ways of using their property,” Hill said. “They now make distilled spirits out of their unused wine stock. These producers are very creative and as the industry grows, they come up with these really fabulous ideas to keep their businesses alive.”

Impact to Arizona

The local wine industry has not conducted a full economic impact study, but the association estimated sales revenue at about $2.2 million for 2013.

Despite this small number, the Arizona wine industry is more than just for hobbyists. It has led to full-time job increases in these regions.

“It’s about seven businesses in one,” Snapp said. “We’re working all the time, bottling, racking, selling.”

One unexpected impact has been to education. Yavapai College‘s Verde Valley Campus in Clarkdale offers a variety of courses in winemaking and vineyard care in response to industry growth.

The school began with a single acre vineyard in 2010 and now has more than 15 acres and about 100 students.

As part of the program, students can earn a two-year degree and get practical experience through internships with local wineries.

“We are really trying to be a region wide resource, not just local or statewide,” said Michael Pierce, director of the enology (winemaking) program at Yavapai College. “This program didn’t exist 10 years ago. If it would have existed, I would have attended. So to be here and help build it is really cool.”

Some experts said they expect the industry to continue to grow as water becomes more scarce in Arizona.

“Wine grapes are a model for a high value low water use crop,” Pierce said. “Wine grapes don’t take nearly the water use of something like corn or soybeans or cotton would. So hopefully, wine grapes can take that over in the state.”

Challenges ahead

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Arizona wine industry is the wine itself.

“I think white (wines) are doing really good. They are aromatic, expressive and acidic, which is really nice,” said Jason Caballero, lead sommelier for Vintage 95 in Chandler. “The reds are in a bit of an identity crisis. But when you think about it, we are at only about 30 years of growing, and every year they get only one shot.”

For Caballero, that youth plays a significant role. California has been in the industry since the 1800s and Europe for more than 2,000 years.

He said Arizona growers need to learn what types of grapes work best in this climate. The red identity crisis, he said, is as much from mixing a variety of grape types as from not growing what could work best in the state’s environment.

Price also plays a key role. Caballero said that on average, a bottle of Arizona wine costs $65 to $70, making it a hard sell for many customers.

“I understand people are getting in, and they want to recoup their cost, so I feel like sometimes it’s tough and they price themselves out,” Caballero said. “For that money, there are a lot of wines that many people will gravitate toward instead. I think if people will try it, they’ll like it. But a lot of times, people will go for tried and true kinds.”

Spreading the gospel of Arizona wine isn’t easy. Outside distribution is almost non-existent among Arizona wine growers. Most wineries make direct sales and self distribute, which makes getting wine onto tables more difficult.

And then there’s the state’s reputation as a desert location not suitable for wine growing.

But Snapp doesn’t see this as a problem at all.

“You know what we have more than anybody?” Snapp asked. “Sun! And soil. These are virgin soils in most of the state and volcanic soils. It’s one of the best growing soils in the world. You’d be crazy not to grow Arizona grapes in these soils.”

For Caballero and others, wine in Arizona isn’t a short-term industry but a future investment that is only now paying some dividends.

“Within 10 years, people are going to seek out Arizona wines over many others,” Snapp said. “It’s just the quality of the fruit.”

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Valley model Christa Sandstrom could ‘go global,’ experts say

Christa-Sandstrom-swimwear-003“I have a good feeling Christa Sandstrom is that Arizona fresh face that will actually go global,” Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week, said about the emerging model who is a Gilbert native.

Featured in major publications such as Mainsteam Magazine, Glamour Magazine Italy and Runway Magazine, Christa Sandstrom is being recognized as “on the rise,” and is quickly becoming one of the most famous models in Arizona, according to Sean Normoyle, publisher of Mainstream Magazine.

In addition to being featured in major editorial spreads of various magazines, Sandstrom has also worked with globally renowned designers such as GUESS by Merciano, Ted Baker London, Gemma Gucci, the late Oscar de la Renta, MAC Cosmetics, and many others.

Sandstrom has worked in various campaigns and participated in several fashion weeks that have taken place across the nation. Sandstrom currently models under the Ford/Robert Black Agency in Scottsdale and has recently campaigned for the Talking Stick Resort for release pool parties in Phoenix.

“Christa has always had a passion for our industry since she was a young teen model we started representing. We are so proud of her success and wish her all the best in her future endeavors. The sky is the limit for Christa,” said Sheree Hartwell of the Ford/Robert Black Agency.

Sandstrom admits she has always had an interest in a modeling career, stating that “it had always been a dream of [her’s], and it didn’t help that [she] was always taller than average.” Sandstrom began her modeling expedition when her mother enrolled her in a modeling school at the age of twelve. She was discovered as a model, however, during an international competition by the International Model and Talent Association in New York City, New York.

Sandstrom states that while modeling has always been a dream of her’s, she considered and still considers a different career path in the future. She has considered careers such as veterinary science because of her love for animals, but now has an interest in becoming a broadcast journalist.

For now, however, Sandstrom is fully committed to her modeling career, stating that she is focused on “getting to the next level as a model.” Sandstrom has an intensive diet and fitness regime she commits to in order to feel and look her best. “I do an hour of cardio every day with high intensity,” she said. “I eat a lot of superfoods and a lot of veggies. I also love to do yoga.”

Although Sandstrom can be seen on the runway sporting a Cinderella blue minidress with lace detailing by Ted Baker London or a plaid pantsuit by Daniel Esquivel on the runway, she admits that her personal style mostly consists of blacks and greys. “It’s a bit edgy but still well-put together,” Sandstrom explained. She admitted that she loves to pair her neutral outfits with a pop of color on her feet with colored flats or heels.

Sandstrom has been praised by photographers and stylists since she began her modeling career.  “It is amazing that someone that beautiful is so humble and friendly. It makes her so easy to work with and I feel honored to have had the opportunity,” David Apeji, a photographer from Pixyst Premium Imaging LLC, said about Sandstrom. Jackie Marin, a fashion stylist, stated that Sandstrom “knows how to bring high fashion” and is “one of her favorite models in Arizona.”

Sandstrom says that she loves her career because of its “competitive nature” and that it has always “pushed [her] to become [her] best.”

2012 Employee Appreciation Dinner

D-backs host APS Green Game on Earth Day Wednesday

The Arizona Diamondbacks, in partnership with Arizona Public Service (APS), have teamed up for the sixth annual APS Green Game, which will be held on Earth Day this Wednesday.  The goal of the event is to educate fans on how to become more energy efficient.

In support of all the green efforts on Wednesday, all electric vehicles will receive free parking in the Chase Field Garage.  During the game, the APS Green Team will collect recyclables in between each inning throughout the stadium and fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #APSGreenGame to see their energy-efficient social media posts on dbTV. As fans leave the stadium after the game, the D-backs and APS will hand out 10,000 CFL light bulbs. During the APS Green Game, the D-backs will purchase green energy from APS to power Chase Field. The total average consumption for the game will be approximately 238,000 kilowatt hours (kWh).

The D-backs are constantly seeking ways to be more energy efficient and more sustainable. Some of the top practices are highlighted by the following:

• Hosted the first-ever Zero-Waste Spring Training game in Arizona on March 13, 2014 at Salt River Fields to bring awareness to recycling and composting

• In 2014, the D-backs replaced fluorescent lighting along the main concourse with energy-efficient LED lighting that reduced the main concourse lighting power consumption by 60 percent.

• Fans with electric powered vehicles can charge their cars at one of the three electric car charging stations located at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Jackson at every game this season.

• The D-backs and Levy Restaurants donated four tons of leftover food after games in 2014 to Church on the Street, an equivalent of 7,500 meals for people in need in the Phoenix community.

• The APS Solar Pavilion, a 17,280 square-foot shade structure that generates 100,000 kWh of solar energy annually, enough electricity to power the lights at Chase Field for 11 home games.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets for the game at www.dbacks.com/earthday and $2 from each ticket will benefit Phoenix Revitalization Corporation.

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2 Banner Health facilities among ‘100 Great Hospitals’

Two Banner Health academic medical centers in Arizona have been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2015 edition of “100 Great Hospitals in America,” a compilation of some of the most prominent, forward-thinking and focused health care facilities in the nation.

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, formerly known as University of Arizona Medical Center – Tucson Campus, and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, formerly known as Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, both were named to the prestigious list, published today.

The hospitals are part of the newly formed Banner – University Medicine division of Banner Health, an Arizona-based nonprofit health system operating 28 hospitals in seven western states. In March, Banner Health entered into a 30-year academic affiliation agreement with the University of Arizona to become the primary clinical partner of the UA Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson. 

“We are confident that by combining Banner Health’s tradition of clinical excellence with the innovations of academic medicine, we will propel these already outstanding hospitals to new heights in medical research, education and patient care,” said Kathy Bollinger, executive vice president of Banner – University Medicine. “We see endless possibilities in this partnership with the University of Arizona to transform health care in our region and serve the people of Arizona.”

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, hospitals included on the 100 Great Hospitals list are home to many medical and scientific breakthroughs, provide best-in-class patient care and are stalwarts of their communities, serving as research hubs or local anchors of wellness. A version of this list has been published each year since 2011.

To develop the list, Becker’s Hospital Review‘s editorial team conducted research and evaluated reputable hospital ranking sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics, Healthgrades, Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, The Leapfrog Group and several other resources. The final result is a group of 100 hospitals that are leaders in their region, their state and the nation in terms of high-quality patient care.

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AXA Advisors Southwest earns Governor’s Award

The Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced that AXA Advisors Southwest, a leading provider of financial services for consumers and businesses, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for its dedicating to volunteerism, fundraising and general community service. AXA Advisors Southwest was honored by Governor Doug Ducey’s office on Friday, April 17 during a special event in the recipients’ honors held at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

“The volunteer Service Awards were established in 2002 to recognize and thank Arizonans who have dedicated their time and talents to help address the needs most important to Arizona communities,” said Carla Friedman, youth program development director for the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families. “A statewide panel of judges evaluated nominations for need, action, innovation and impact, and chose AXA Advisors Southwest based on its work with Elevate Phoenix, the AXA Achievement Scholarship Program and AXA Days of Service, among other activities.”

“We’ve raised funds to fill backpacks for kids in need and rolled up our sleeves to build homes for some amazing families in Arizona, not to mention created our own large-scale charity event – Weekend Jetaway Culinary Casino Classic – to give back in every way that we can,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest. “It takes a village – and at AXA Advisors Southwest we become that village, all in the name of volunteering and raising funds for our nonprofit.”

Sponsors of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards include the Arizona State Fair, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, ASU Office of University Initiatives, Cox Communications, Harkins Theaters, SRP, Fry’s and other businesses and organizations that are ardent supporters of volunteerism in Arizona.

 

law

Super Lawyers: Gallagher & Kennedy

The law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy announced that 18 of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized as 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers. Additionally, 12 attorneys have been named as 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Stars.   Annually, only the top five percent of attorneys in Arizona and New Mexico are selected by Southwest Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

The following Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys are named 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers in Arizona:

• Robert W. Boatman – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Timothy D. Brown – Tax Law

• Shannon L. Clark – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• John R. Clemency – Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights

• J. Stanton Curry – Environmental Law

• Mark A. Fuller – Business Litigation

• Michael L. Gallagher – General Litigation

• Jeffrey D. Gross – Real Estate Litigation

• Tom Henze – Criminal Defense Law

• Robert J. Itri – Business Litigation

• Michael K. Kennedy – Business Litigation

• Patrick J. McGroder, III – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Raymond M. Norris – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Mark S. O’Connor – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Kevin E. O’Malley – Business Litigation

• Jeffrey T. Pyburn – Insurance Coverage

• Terence W. Thompson – Mergers & Acquisitions

The following Gallagher & Kennedy attorney is selected to the 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers list in New Mexico:

• Dalva L. Moellenberg – Environmental Law

The following Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys are named 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Stars in Arizona:

• Kimberly G. Allen – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Laura E. Antonuccio – Government Contracts

• Tyler J. Carrell – Real Estate Litigation

• Lincoln Combs – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Alicia N. Corbett – Securities Law

• Jennifer A. Cranston – Eminent Domain

• Liana J. Garcia – General Litigation

• Janel M. Glynn – Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights

• Jonathan T. Hasebe – Business/Corporate Law

• Matthew P. MacLeod – Plaintiff’s Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

• Timothy W. Overton – Business Litigation

• Lindsi M. Weber – Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights

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Cox Arizona hosts tech recycling event

On Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, from 10:00am-6:00pm,  Cox Arizona will be partnering with CBS 5 to help reduce hazardous waste caused by improperly dumping electronics and will be a hosting an E-Waste Recycling drive. Cox Arizona invites Phoenix residents to drop off their old and unwanted technology, including everything from batteries and computers, to cell phones, at participating Valley Cox Retail Store locations.

“This Earth Day, we invite the public to have a hand in protecting our environment by recycling their unwanted technology and we’ll make sure they’re recycled properly,” said Susan Anable, Vice President of Public Affairs, Cox Southwest. “At Cox we strive to help the environment throughout the year by using solar power, recycling, and using fuel-efficient vehicles—this is one of many initiatives Cox supports to help reduce waste and energy consumption.”

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Cox Arizona and offer this resource,” said Ed Munson, CBS 5 Vice President & General Manager.  “So many people have these old items in the homes and just don’t know where or how to dispose of them.  This is a great opportunity to get rid of that old technology and keep Phoenix clean.”

As a thank you for keeping our environment clean, Cox retail store staff will hand out Cox Conserve logo’d grocery/shopping bags to those that bring in donations. 

Below are addresses of participating Cox Retail Stores:

  • Cox Solutions Store, 301 East Bell Road #100, Phoenix, AZ
  • Cox Solutions Store, 2040 East Rio Salado Parkway #128, Tempe, AZ

Below is a list of accepted materials:

  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Keyboards
  • Servers
  • Cell phones
  • Lap tops
  • Floppy drives
  • Video game systems
  • Cameras
  • Hard drives
  • Alkaline batteries
  • Modems
  • Routers
  • Cables and cords

To learn more about Cox Arizona’s green efforts, visit coxconserves.com. Nominations are now open for Cox Conserves Heroes, a program that recognizes local environmental volunteers and makes donations to local nonprofits on their behalf.

Credit Unions Big Boose to Small Business - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

BMO Harris Bank boosts credit to AZ business owners

BMO Harris Bank is making an additional $2 billion in credit available to businesses in Arizona over the next three years.

“We’re here to help, making more of our balance sheet available to businesses to support growth opportunities and help create new jobs,’ said Tim Bruckner, Arizona Commercial Banking Manager, BMO Harris Bank.

“We have heard from our customers who say they are upbeat on the economy. A BMO Harris report shows that more than 60 percent of Arizona business owners and CEOs plan to make at least one investment in their business this year,” added Mr. Bruckner.

“The Arizona economy is poised to accelerate in 2015, supported by an improved labor market and a recovery in the housing market,” said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. “Real GDP is expected to grow 3.4 percent, slightly higher than the national average and improved from the 2.5 percent expected in 2014. 

Mr. Gregory noted that improved business confidence should maintain solid growth in investment and hiring. Gains are expected in job growth, coming from the service sector – led by professional and business services, education and health and tourism. “The state is on track to add about 55,000 new jobs in 2015.”

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How can companies increase chances of securing capital?

Silicon Valley Bank committed to lend or invest at least $100 million to technology and life science companies based in Arizona over the next five years, yet many experts say lack of money is preventing the state’s tech sector from exploding.

“One area we still need to improve is in the area of capital availability,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Arizona lags behind our competitors in terms of access to capital.”

So what are banks looking for in up-and-coming companies in order to decide if they are worth the risk?

“There is a misconception about business lending, particularly with start-ups, that the application — all of the factual data surrounding the request, the projections, financial statement of the owner and business plans — are the most important things,” said Tim Bruckner, managing director and regional manager of commercial banking for BMO Harris Bank. “Though these items are important in underwriting, we are really looking for entrepreneurs that also show the ability to adapt to a changing environment, demonstrate knowledge and passion for their business and show solid understanding of where their business fits in its competitive environment. Too often, business owners overlook a banker’s interest and understanding in these areas.”

With that said, it is very difficult for a traditional bank to finance a start-up or new business, according to Mike Brown, Arizona regional president at Washington Federal.

“However, the ones that make sense have a well-developed and thought-out business plan, coupled with a strong guarantor,” Brown said.

Ed Zito, president of Alliance Bank of Arizona, the largest locally headquartered bank in Arizona, said Alliance looks at a start-up’s firm capitalization, cash position, “cash burn” rate and cash flow margins.

“Start-up company financing is a risk to be borne by the equity investors,” Zito said. “That said, accounts receivable, support by the ownership or equity investors can mitigate start-up risk.”

So when can a start-up do to increase its chances of getting financed in today’s heavily regulated and competitive economic climate?

Before you get started, Bruckner said to seek counsel from someone who has done it successfully.

“It is always good to hear the success stories, but these individuals will also have great insight into the stumbling blocks and things they would have done differently if they knew then what they know now,” Bruckner said.

Bruckner said first-time borrowers should also demonstrate that they have planned for contingencies, such as a cash shortfall or potential loss of a key customer.

“A start-up’s best chances at securing a loan is having an experienced management team or ownership, knowledge of the industry, proprietary product, service, technology, a demonstrated marketplace acceptance of the product or service and the ability to sustain the start-up until the company is cash-flow positive are crucial factors to consider,” Zito said.

Brown said that it’s imperative for new companies to have well-crafted business plans with reasonable targets to achieve.

“Make sure all financing sources are covered, because everybody has their particular niche or focus and your plan might fit that focus,” Brown said. “Look at traditional sources like banks, but engage all non-traditional sources like independent finance companies.”

Green Job Opportunities for Women

Analysis shows costs of wage gap for Arizona women

An analysis released for Equal Pay Day shows just how much damage the gender-based wage gap is doing to Arizona’s families and economy. Women employed full time in Arizona are paid just 84 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $7,263. This means that, collectively, Arizona women lose nearly $6 billion every year that could pay for basic goods and services that strengthen the state’s economy and are essential for the more than 306,000 Arizona households headed by women.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families when the U.S. Census Bureau released its most recent data. It is being released for the first time today. The full set of findings for Arizona, which has the sixth smallest cents-on-the-dollar gap among the states, can be found here. The National Partnership also found that Latinas in Arizona are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

These state-based findings are included in a new national report also released today, An Unlevel Playing Field: America’s Gender-Based Wage Gap, Binds of Discrimination, And A Path Forward. The report features original analysis, never released before, about the country’s wage gap across states, among women of color, and by parental and marital status. It identifies a punishing and pervasive gap that disproportionately harms mothers, single mothers and mothers of color, who can suffer from double and triple binds of discrimination.

“At a time when women’s wages are essential to families and our economy, the persistence of the gender-based wage gap is doing real and lasting damage to women, families, communities and to our nation. It defies common sense that lawmakers are not doing more to stop gender discrimination in wages,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “This analysis shows that women and families are losing thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could pay for significant amounts of food, rent, gas and other basic necessities. The effects ripple throughout our economy.”

According to the analysis of Arizona, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, a full-time working woman in Arizona could afford food for one more year, mortgage and utilities for six more months, rent for more than eight more months, or 2,100+ more gallons of gas. These basic necessities would be especially important for the 31 percent of Arizona’s women-headed households currently living below the poverty level.

Nationally, women working full time, year round are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men, with significant disparities for women of color. African American women and Latinas are paid 64 cents and Latinas are paid 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. The country’s wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At that rate, experts say America’s women will not be paid equally to men for another 43 years.

“It has been well documented that the wage gap spans geography, race, industry, education level and other factors, and that it is closing at a glacial pace,” Ness continued. “America’s women and families simply cannot afford to wait another four decades for fair pay. It is past time for fair and family friendly workplace policies that will level the playing field and give all women the fair shot they need to support themselves and their families while fully contributing to our economy.”

An Unlevel Playing Field outlines several measures that would help close the wage gap, including fair and family friendly workplace policies. Members of Congress have reintroduced three of the proposals so far this year: the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women; the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard; and the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. Other measures discussed in the report include an increase in the minimum wage and protections for pregnant workers.

The National Partnership’s analysis of the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day, which is April 14 this year. The day marks how far into the year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The state-by-state analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings for each state, state rankings, analyses specific to women of color and An Unlevel Playing Field are all available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.

Photo illustration of model Celina Maas taken at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media.

Valley surgeon develops alternative to traditional facelift

New research reveals that people in Arizona show signs of aging much faster than other parts of the country. After 20 years of research, renowned Valley-based plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Shapiro has developed a new alternative to the face-lift tailored specifically to each where each individual falls on the aging spectrum. The GENXLIFT™ is a revolutionary new procedure developed by Shapiro that addresses the continuum of aging that begins in the 30’s and continues through the 50’s and the first minimally-invasive procedure of its kind that offers rapid-healing and a less invasive alternative for patients not ready for a ‘full facelift’ or want shorter downtime.  This procedure does not need to be performed in the operating room and can be done as an in office procedure with local anesthesia and oral sedation, making the GENXLIFT™ an ideal alternative to the traditional facelift for Generation X, or people whose birth date fall between 1961 and 1981 and are roughly 33 to 55 years old.

The GENXLIFT™ was created specifically with the Sunbelt population in mind. A board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery, Dr. Daniel Shapiro spent over two years researching and developing the procedure after studying how and when faces age in the desert climate over the course of two decades.

“Living in Arizona, people show significant signs of aging much earlier than in other parts of the country where sun exposure isn’t as prevalent,” said Dr. Daniel Shapiro,a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery with over 22 years of experience,  and creator of the GENXLIFT™. “It’s not uncommon for me to see a ‘Generation X’ patient in their 40’s or 50’s that could benefit from some aspects of a face lift, but not everyone who wants to look younger needs or wants a full face lift. Until now there hasn’t really been a procedure that specifically addresses just the intermittent signs of aging that are different for each person depending on their age, their genetics and other factors,” he said.  “For years, surgeons either turned people at this stage away from their practice entirely or overly plumped them up with Botox and fillers in hopes of bridging the gap yielding less than ideal results. For the first time ever, the  GENXLIFT™ offers a way to address each nuance of your facial aging, and not a one size fits all approach,” he said.

With the GENXLIFT™, Dr. Shapiro’s innovative multi-tiered procedural approach merges the latest anti-aging technology with the most advanced, minimal incision surgical techniques. 

GENXLIFT™ Stage I will focus on the skin changes that occur in the 30’s along with early fat reabsorption.  If needed, non-invasive or minimally invasive neck tightening with fat removal can be coupled. A four-day laser peel is applied to treat changes of sun damage including broken capillaries, enlarged pores and fine lines. Fat transfer to the face would be performed to achieve more youthful volume as needed beneath the eyes, along the cheekbones, around the mouth, along the chin, and into the lips.

GENXLIFT™  Stage II will typically involve a combination of Stage I treatments coupled would be non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment of neck laxity. In this more flexible stage, treatment possibilities can include different modalities involving Ultrasound, laser, or radiofrequency to induce tightening of the skin of the neck and the reduction of fat of the neck. All treatments of Stage II would  amount to approximately7 days of downtime, significantly less than a full facelift.

GENXLIFT™ Stage III will impact advanced signs of aging. Signs of significant cheek laxity, jowl formation and neck laxity are the focus of this stage. It will consist of Stage I treatments, a pro-fractional four-day peel with Fat Transfer plus a Limited Incision Facelift. The Short Scar Facelift would address the cheek, cheekbone, and neck laxity. This minimal incision facelift would result in a total of seven to ten days of downtime, an incredibly rapid-healing alternative to the traditional face lift.

For those who have always wanted to fight facial aging and had reservations regarding facelift surgery, GENXLIFT™ provides the perfect opportunity to get the desired results with minimally invasive procedures that fuse the best in technique and the latest in technology to restore the look of youth.

For more information about Dr. Daniel Shapiro and the GENXLIFT™ visit www.shapiroplasticsurgery.com or call 480.451.1700.

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Cox increases Internet speeds for Arizona residents

Cox Communications announced that it has increased the speeds on two packages of Internet service for all Arizona customers. Cox High Speed Internet Essential will triple its speed from five megabits per second to 15 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Starter will be five times faster, increasing from one megabit per second to five megabits per second. The new speeds automatically went into effect on March 23, 2015 (no customer action was needed to obtain the speed increase).

With speeds as fast as 1 Gig in the Valley, Cox is continuing to provide its customers the fastest speeds available.

“This is yet another of the many speed increases that Cox has implemented for our Internet customers in Arizona,” stated John Wolfe, Regional General Manager, Cox Southwest region. “It is the result of our investment in our network and commitment to offer access and choice to meet the needs of all our customers. We know this is especially important in today’s world where more and more devices are connected in the home.”

In fact, the increased speeds come on the heels of a double speed increase on the two most popular packages late last year.

“We will continue to invest in our network to bring our customers the best online experience possible, enhancing the value of the bundle of video, Internet, phone and home security services,” said Wolfe.

Cox also offers the most compelling combinations of speeds and features, with all customers receiving free cloud storage; 24/7 live, online sports coverage from ESPN; and McAfee Family Protection and Cox Security Suite Plus, a comprehensive package of Internet security tools to help ensure online safety with anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, parental controls and more. Cox customers with the Preferred or higher package also have access to more than 300,000 WiFi hotspots when they travel so they can stay connected on-the-go.

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BestCompaniesAZ hosts Career Event for Women

BestCompaniesAZ is hosting its annual Career Event for Women Tuesday, April 28th, offering an array of positions to qualified candidates from more than a dozen of Arizona’s most progressive, award-winning companies. 

The career fair is being held from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Western Spirit:  Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 N. Marshall Way, in Scottsdale, AZ 85251. The BestCompaniesAZ Women’s Career Event is free to attend but advance registration is required by signing up at http://bit.ly/BCAZWomensEvent415.

At the hiring event, job seekers will find a roster of award-winning companies offering hundreds of open positions, at all levels, in the fields of finance, IT, engineering, healthcare, customer service/client relations, sales and hospitality. Sponsoring companies must have earned at least one prestigious state and national workplace award to participate, and most have earned many,  such as Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, CareerBuilder’s Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, Arizona’s Best Companies to Watch, FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® in America, FORTUNE Most Admired Companies, Military Times Best for Vets Employers, US Veterans Magazine’s Best of the Best and other “military-friendly” company awards.

On Apr. 28th, registration and networking takes place from 2–3 p.m.  Speaker presentations are scheduled from 3–4 p.m.  Local author and banking executive Nicole Corning, and authority on women returning to the workplace, will be the featured speaker at 3 p.m. Additional networking takes place from 4–5:30 p.m.  Throughout the afternoon, company spokespersons will give short presentations on their workplaces, growth opportunities and corporate cultures. 

Featured companies include: Charles Schwab, Dignity Health Arizona, Synchrony Financial, USAA, GoDaddy, Hyatt Regency-Phoenix, Medtronic, Vanguard, ClearCall Solutions and Enterprise.  In advance of the event, the nonprofit Career Connectors has volunteered to offer free coaching and resume services to all registered career event candidates.

Denise Gredler, CEO of BestCompaniesAZ, says, “There is a huge demand for skilled customer service and sales personnel in Arizona.  If you’re feeling stalled in your career, looking to change direction or are returning after a leave, exploring starting positions at choice companies might be worth considering. These starting or lateral positions often evolve quickly into supervisory or management roles, particularly since most of these hiring companies are in strong growth industries and promote from within their own ranks first.  With time to learn the culture, develop new skills and build relationships, employees who choose this career path often enjoy the many perks that a top-notch company can provide while setting themselves up for management positions.”

Catrina LaDell is the creative force behind Pink Moon Prophecy, a Phoenix-based swimwear company. Photo of Catrina LaDell by Party Through It Photography.

Valley model creates sexy swimwear line for all body types

Call it cataclysmic creativity. In this case, define cataclysmic as something that “brings great changes.” In this case, a great change for the fashion industry.

Pink Moon Prophecy's Galaxy Suit is modeled Andria Schmit. Photo by Michael Luna.

Pink Moon Prophecy’s Galaxy Suit is modeled Andria Schmit. Photo by Michael Luna.

Pink Moon Prophecy, created by local model and swimwear designer Catrina LaDell, provides sexy, custom handmade swimwear for all body types. LaDell, using the name Cataclysm, helped hone her unique style as one of the most sought-after alternative models in Arizona.

Torn between whether to continue designing lingerie for the alternative scene or to pursue a career in jewelry design, LaDell chose to channel her creativity through swimwear instead. She launched Pink Moon Prophecy in March of 2014.

The inspiration behind the swimwear line’s name came from LaDell’s frustration of not knowing her family history or where she came from.

“I found out this year that I was born under April’s full moon, which is a pink moon,” LaDell said. “That really spoke to me because I have nothing else to say where I’m from.”

Many designers gain their ideas from previous trends or through inspiration from other designers, but LaDell takes on a different approach. She believes in following her intuition and often gains her ideas from meditation sessions or even dreams.

Each piece emulates concepts adapted from architecture, graffiti art, cathedrals and stained glass, while incorporating styles from both the past and present. LaDell’s fully reversible swimwear styles consist of high-waisted, pin-up style bottoms to triangle shaped bikini tops that can be transformed into bandeaus or tube tops, “scrunched butt” bottoms and one-piece “monokinis.” The dream inspired designs are given unique names — including “lavendora”, “meridian” and “pink stardust”.

By creating customizable pieces tailored to requests or selling individual pieces, LaDell allows buyers to mix and match sizes or colors and strives to satisfy her customers.

“I just make them fully customizable and fully adjustable. That’s my big thing,” LaDell said. “I’ve been reading about how women would rather have a root canal than buy a bikini, so I kind of want to make it easier for women.”

LaDell puts a great amount of love and work into her designs by sketching and hand making each swimwear piece herself. She aims to not only create beautiful and unique designs, but also ensure durability and quality. She tests fabrics for color bleeding and snagging prior to selling her products.

The Pink Moon Prophecy designer is not looking to build a name for herself or gain fame and fortune, but instead looks forward to working toward a career path she is most passionate about. She hopes to someday create swimwear for fitness competitions and eventually return to designing dance wear and lingerie.

“I’m hoping that by the end of the year, everything will blow up. I’m hoping that it will be so good that I can’t keep up,” LaDell said. “I want to get to the point where I have to hire seamstresses. I want to keep it local and small, but in a big way.”

Pink Moon Prophecy swimwear can be found locally at Missconstrued Boutique or online at pinkmoonprophecy.com.

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Greasewood Flat auction offers pieces of history

Greasewood Flat, an Arizona Icon, is riding off into the sunset. Their last day of operation was March 31st. Local auction company, Sam Auctions, is inviting the public down to own a piece of the wild west on Saturday, April 11th. Greasewood Flat will sell many of the rustic treasures from one of the “oldest, quirkiest and most classic bars” in America.

You will also have a chance to win money from the famed “money room”, which is rumored to have more than $5,000 in signed dollar bills hanging from the ceiling, by purchasing a raffle ticket. Raffle tickets are $1 each and proceeds for the raffle will benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The event on April 11th is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information is below:

When: Saturday April 11, 2015, 10:00am – 6:00 pm

Where: 27375 N. Alma School Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Organized by: SAM Auctions

Register to bid: samauctions.com

Greasewood Flat began life as an old bunkhouse building in the middle of the sprawling DC Ranch which ranged over thousands of acres of Sonoran Desert in the late 1800’s. Over the last century this desert has developed into one of the most affluent areas of Scottsdale, AZ. Since then Greasewood has grown into one of the last bastions of Old West Scottsdale, with its outdoor dance floor, corrals full of burros, rustic wagons, fire pits, and cast of characters all contributing to an atmosphere that compels you to kick up your heels and toss back a cold one.

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Clinical trials change Arizona’s bioscience, business sectors

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

What Are Clinical Trials?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ranking Arizona party celebrates state’s top companies

Hundreds of Arizona’s top business leaders descended onto The Venue Scottsdale Thursday for Ranking Arizona’s Best of the Best Bash.

This party tonight is to celebrate the nearly 2,000 companies that are featured in Ranking Arizona,” said Michael Gossie, editor in chief of AZ Big Media, which publishes Ranking Arizona. “You are the innovators. You are the risk takers. You are the drivers of Arizona’s economy. And you are the best at what you do.”

Te see photos from the event, click here.

Special recognition was given to the sponsors — Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and The CORE Institute — and a video that showcased the companies’ affiliation with Ranking Arizona was shown.

Five companies were also honored as 2015 Ranking Arizona Hall of Fame inductees. To earn Hall of Fame status, a company has to be ranked No. 1 for 10 years. Joining that elite group of Hall of Fame companies that consistently deliver great services to the state of Arizona are Celebrity Theatre, Chandler Regional Medical Center, Cox Communications Arizona, Form Design Studio Ltd. and Royal Palms Resort & Spa.

Ranking Arizona is the outcome of the largest business opinion poll in Arizona. Rankings are based purely on voters’ opinion. Participants vote based on quality of product, service and who they would recommend doing business with. The responses are then assembled and ranked according to their total number of votes.

To vote for your favorite companies, click here.

Pieceful Solutions - Chandler

Arizona schools ‘Go Blue’ for World Autism Awareness Day

Pieceful Solutions, a K-12 school for children with autism spectrum disorders, commemorated Autism Awareness Month with a celebratory sunrise event today at its Chandler campus, Thursday, April 2 (World Autism Awareness Day), starting at 6 a.m.

Faculty members, families, students and community supporters gathered to increase awareness about the increasing number of children in Arizona with autism. They formed a human-ribbon on the outdoor field of the school’s Chandler campus, with everyone dressed in blue, a symbolic color used by the international autism community to commemorate the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Day.

“The number of children with autism continues to rise, and Arizona is at the top of the list,” said Kami Cothrun, Founder of Pieceful Solutions. “Parents deserve to know about the many different school solutions available to them, especially when one out of every 50 children born today has autism.”

Bashas’ Family of Stores donated coffee, blueberry yogurt and custom-made blue donuts for everyone to enjoy during the sunrise festivities. Pieceful Solutions Music Therapist Ryan Olmstead and his garage band of students also held a special performance.

Sparkle Magic, a local company that has mastered the art of innovative laser-lighting, donated lighting to turn Pieceful Solutions’ three school campuses (in Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert) blue during the entire month of April.

Pieceful Solutions Culinary Instructor Colleen Poiani has also encouraged students to participate in fun, hands-on food activities including how to make blueberry banana smoothies, gluten-free vanilla cupcakes and gluten-free sugar cookies. The cookies are made in the shape of a puzzle piece, a symbol that reflects the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Chef Colleen at Pieceful Solutions enjoys teaching students and their parents about how to use better-for-you ingredients to help maximize health and reduce allergies. “Children with autism often excel in the culinary arts, as they enjoy following exact instructions on a recipe, and can apply their math skills to measure ingredients,” she said.

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New fitness studio opens with free yoga

PowerTrainYoga opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale on Monday, March 30.

The modern 10,000 square foot studio will open its doors to the public with a free month of unlimited access to more than 130 group fitness classes offered each week from March 30 until April 29.

PowerTrain features a mix of workouts including heated and unheated Yoga, Hot Pilates, TRX suspension training, Kettlebells, Barre, Battleropes, Bootcamp, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and more. In an effort to make group fitness more affordable and accessible to people, they will offer unlimited memberships at a competitive rate.

The wide variety of class offerings are geared toward all ages and fitness levels. Aspects of yoga including flexibility and balance are incorporated into every class to promote good health and reduce the risk of injury. This gives members a well-rounded, safe workout with ultimate results.

The facility features a sophisticated environmental control system which monitors the heat, humidity and carbon dioxide levels in each training room. To give members the optimal workout environment, fresh air is pumped into training rooms when needed to increase comfort while reducing fatigue.

“Our goal is to bring group fitness to the community at an affordable price,” said Steve Gregory, PowerTrainYoga CEO. “We want everyone to experience our wide variety of classes, try something new and most importantly, see results.”

With so many classes being offered daily, busy schedules won’t compete with getting in or staying in shape. Members have access to many different class types, giving them a total fitness experience in one location.

PowerTrainYoga is located just north of Thunderbird Rd. on the west side of Scottsdale Road at 14202 N Scottsdale Road #114 Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

For more information, class schedules and details, visit www.powertrainyoga.com or call 805.440.8761.

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Experts share ‘wins and losses’ on Arizona state budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said other investments may yield more than tax reform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Arizona beekeepers adjust as honey production slows

Locally produced honey is flying off the shelves – so much so that many honey producers cannot meet the production demands.

“I’m not having problems selling my honey,” beekeeper Dennis Arp said. “I’m having problems with producing enough.”

Fifteen years ago, Arp’s Mountain Top Honey Co. in Flagstaff produced 126,000 pounds of honey a year. Now the farm only produces 70,000 pounds, he said.

The farm has several hundred more hives than it did 15 years ago, but with fewer foraging options for nectar, wet winter weather conditions and unhealthy hives, the bees don’t produce as much honey.

Nationally, beekeepers did better last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey production was up 19 percent compared to 2013, totaling 178 million pounds of honey from keepers with five or more hives.

But local experts said Arizona hasn’t necessarily followed that trend, which can hurt consumers.

People with seasonal allergies have struggled this season as pollen floats freely through the air. Some consumers look to local honey as a natural remedy.

Customer demand is so high now, Arp has relied on buying honey from other beekeeper friends to sell to his customers.

Prices have soared, too.

Arp said retail prices range from $20 for a quart to $80 for a gallon.

Arp said he estimates the state has 30 to 35 commercial beekeepers.

Though some bee farmers are doing brisk business, they have had to change the way they operate.

Many beekeepers loan out their bees to make up for less honey production.

Osman Kaftanoglu, project manager of the Honey Bee Research Lab at Arizona State University, said many beekeepers transport bees to almond orchards in California to make extra money.

Arp said he easily makes $150 every time he sends one hive to cross pollinate almond trees. Transporting eight hives turns into $1,200.

Nearly half of Arp’s income comes from almond tree pollination, he said.

“The almond industry is keeping the bee industry alive,” Arp said.

Beekeepers face major challenges in keeping beehives healthy and productive.

It’s difficult to find the right location to raise bees.

Orange groves, where bees depend on orange blossoms, are either dying of disease or being replaced by urban development, according to the city of Mesa.

In 1970, the state produced steady amounts of citrus across 80,000 acres, but as of 2012, the state grows just over 17,000 acres of citrus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tim Moore, owner and beekeeper of Honey Hive Farms in Peoria, said he only keeps his hives on organic farms because there aren’t any pesticides that could harm the bees.

Farms do more than just use pesticides. Killing weeds that grow along farmland hurts bees that depend on the nectar-bearing plants like milkweed, Arp said.

There are other concerns as well.

One of the farms Moore uses is Blue Sky Organic Farms in Litchfield Park, where he keeps his hives in a secluded area.

On a recent day, he examined a group of about 10 hives, checking on the honey combs for signs of trouble. The noise from leaf blowers and tractors competed with the buzz from the bees. Moore said if the noise became too loud, the bees would get “agitated” and could swarm.

Arp said that relationship between bees and humans ¬¬– making sure people are safe – is another business concern.

Ultimately, researchers and beekeepers said bee education is necessary for better bee business.

Moore started the Phoenix Beekeepers Club, which offers beekeeping classes as well as beginner beekeeper support.

While Honey Hive Farms has been successful, Moore said he wants to scale back from owning 400 hives to something more manageable. He said that having fewer hives allow him to take better care of the colonies.

Beekeepers who stay on top of managing its queen bees and growing bee-friendly plants can make twice as much honey on half as many hives, Arp said.

Sherman & Howard's Hope Leibsohn was selected to Southwest Super Lawyers.

4 from Sherman & Howard make Southwest Super Lawyers

Sherman & Howard announced that four of its Arizona attorneys have been named 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers: John Alan Doran in Labor and Employment Law, Bob Hackett in Business Litigation, Hope Leibsohn in Estate & Probate and Brian Mueller in Business Litigation. John Alan Doran was also selected for a special recognition by the publication: Southwest Super Lawyers’ “Top 50.”

“Super Lawyers” are selected following a rigorous, multiphase process that combines peer nominations and evaluations with third-party research. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

John Alan Doran represents employers in all facets of labor and employment law, including mass employment, wage/hour, employment discrimination and trade secret matters in state and federal courts. John counsels clients on prevention strategies, executive employment contracts, downsizing, personnel policies, and merger/acquisition employment issues. John is a noted speaker and author and presents regularly at conferences and trade association events throughout the country. He has been recognized for his work by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Southwest Super Lawyers and he has recently been featured as one of Arizona’s Top 50 attorneys by AZ Business magazine.

Robert Hackett is a member of Sherman & Howard’s Litigation Department and has more than 45 years of trial experience. His practice focuses on complex multi-party litigation, with emphasis on trials in securities and business fraud, antitrust, real estate, contract, intellectual property, business dissolutions, corporate governance/director and officer liability and other fiduciary duty disputes.

Hope Leibsohn is a member in Sherman & Howard’s estate and tax planning department. She has experience in all aspects of estate planning involving wills, trusts, charitable techniques, estate freezes, and other sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. Hope specializes in customized legacy plans based on tax planning strategies and on incorporating each client’s unique family dynamics and core life values. In addition to her recognition in Southwest Super Lawyers, Hope has been named to Best Lawyers in America and Top Lawyers by AZ Business magazine.

Brian Mueller has more than30 years of experience handling litigation matters for a variety of clients ranging from individuals and small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations throughout Arizona, and the U.S. He counsels clients on litigation matters regarding contract disputes, real estate and valuations, estate planning and probate; banking and financial services, corporate control and shareholder rights, construction, intellectual property, commercial torts, professional liability, transaction privilege and use tax, and telecommunications matters. In addition, Brian has extensive experience representing various Arizona municipalities, and has served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court for 11 years. He has been named a “Top Arizona Attorney” and “Southwest Super Lawyer” for the last four years.