Tag Archives: arizona

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Inilex Makes Inc. 500|5000 List for 3rd Straight Year

Inilex®, a leading provider of aftermarket telemetry solutions for vehicles, has been named to the Inc. 500|5000 list for the third straight year. Inilex ranked No. 1056 on the prestigious national list, which recognizes America’s fastest-growing privately held companies. Inilex’s enormous growth makes it one of Arizona’s most prominent companies, as well as one of the most successful companies in the automotive telematics industry.

Inilex manufactures and sells SkyLINK – an intelligent vehicle recovery device that uses GPS and cellular technologies to locate stolen vehicles in real time. Unlike other car theft-recovery devices, SkyLINK provides broad, nationwide coverage and it works with all law enforcement agencies. Inilex also offers InilexGPS and InilexGPS Fleet, which enable large enterprise companies to remotely monitor and manage their assets and workforce.

“Auto dealers recognize the high-value SkyLINK can deliver to their customers, and at the same time, consumers are increasingly realizing the benefits of including SkyLINK with their new vehicle purchase,” said Michael Maledon, Inilex CEO. “It’s this market demand that is fueling our growth and we are rapidly scaling to meet it.”

SkyLINK and InilexGPS are both uniquely positioned in the growing “connected car” ecosystem. According to market research firm Infonetics, the connected car segment will experience a 25 percent compounded annual growth rate through 2018 and will reach almost $17 billion in total market revenue as companies learn about the safety and security associated with connected cars. Inilex is poised to capture a large share of that total market because its products are specifically tailored to meet the needs of a variety of companies ranging from major national auto dealers to local businesses. SkyLINK is available at more than 600 dealerships nationwide and is quickly becoming the foremost vehicle recovery device that even local police forces prefer because of its real-time, quick tracking technology. For example, recently Inilex was pivotal in helping police apprehend a kidnapper during an urgent Amber Alert.

Breast cancer treatment

Banner MDA engaged in cutting-edge study

A cutting-edge research study at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is testing the safety and effectiveness of a new investigational drug that, when combined with chemotherapy, may make a major difference in treating breast cancer in patients who carry harmful mutations on either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The Brocade Study will enroll patients with hereditary breast cancer that is metastatic, meaning it has spread to other parts of the body, or locally recurrent, meaning it has come back in the same original area. These patients also have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, similar to the kind that actress Angelina Jolie inherited. The study is examining the results of the oral drug Veliparib when taken in combination with chemotherapy treatments.

“These breast cancers can be very difficult to treat with traditional chemotherapy regimens. If Veliparib is found to add to the effectiveness of chemotherapy, it would give patients with BRCA mutations and metastatic breast cancer a new option for therapy,” said Mary Cianfrocca, MD, director of the Breast Cancer Program and medical director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at Banner MD Anderson. Dr Cianfrocca is also the principal investigator for the Brocade Study at Banner MD Anderson.

Veliparib is designed to prevent the cancer cell from repairing itself by blocking a protein called PARP, possibly making the cell more susceptible to anti-cancer drugs. Banner MD Anderson is the only health care facility in Arizona which is offering the study. To learn more about the BROCADE study call 480-256-3420 or visit, www.brocadestudy.com.

Banner MD Anderson, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient. The center uses an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care, and provides access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies. Banner MD Anderson also offers state-of-the-art technology for diagnosing, staging and treating all types of cancer. For more information, visit www.BannerMDAnderson.com.

foodbank

Wells Fargo Arizona collects more than 19 tons of food

Wells Fargo Arizona’s team members collected 39,328 pounds of food during the company’s statewide food drive that took place June 10-24. The amount of food collected was equivalent to providing 66,124 meals and benefitted Association of Arizona Food Banks members throughout the state at a time when the need is so great.

Food collection bins were placed in all Wells Fargo Community Banking stores, Mortgage and Finance stores and the company’s processing and operations facilities located throughout the state.

Arizona food banks collectively distributed 139.4 million pounds of food in 2013 – equivalent to 72,625 meals per 1,600 sites, or 199 meals each day. People who wish to donate cash can send checks to their local food banks or to the Association of Arizona Food Banks whose mission is to deliver food and quality services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of their commitment to eliminate hunger.

“As America’s – and Arizona’s — Community Bank, we are proud of our 15,000 Arizona team members who continue to be so dedicated to supporting our communities throughout the state,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “Team members collected food, volunteered and truly gave their all for this food drive and it has become an event that all look forward participating in each year.”

Needs of families and individuals around the state continue to be strong, according to the Association of Arizona Food Banks:
· Nearly 1 in 5 Arizonans (17.8%), including more than 1 in 4 children (28.2%), suffer from food insecurity – meaning they do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life.
· Arizona is ranked 6th highest (18.7%) for individuals living in poverty, and 5th highest for children (27%)

“We are very thankful for Wells Fargo’s annual commitment to helping so many through this food drive,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. “They have been a tremendous supporter and community partner for a long time and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

energy.bill

Fortis boosts power with Acquisition of UNS Energy

Fortis Inc. completed its acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation, adding UNS Energy subsidiaries Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES) to its growing international family of electric and gas utility companies.

TEP and UES will remain headquartered in Tucson under local control with current management and staffing levels and no planned changes to existing operations. Under the terms of a written order issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on Aug. 12, both companies will have enhanced financial strength and other benefits as part of Fortis, while their Arizona customers will receive $30 million in bill credits over the next five years.

“Joining the Fortis family will generate benefits for our company, our customers and the communities we serve,” said David Hutchens, President and CEO of UNS Energy, TEP and UES. “While this transaction opens a new chapter in our company’s history, our story remains the same. We will continue working every day to provide the safe, reliable and affordable service our customers have come to expect.”

With the $4.5 billion acquisition, which includes the assumption of $2 billion in debt, UNS Energy becomes the second largest subsidiary of Fortis and expands that company’s customer base to more than 3 million. Fortis is Canada’s largest investor-owned electric and gas distribution holding company, with regulated utility holdings in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

“TEP and UES are well-run companies whose employees are committed to serving their customers and communities,” said Fortis President Barry Perry, who will succeed H. Stanley Marshall as the company’s CEO effective December 31, 2014. “We welcome both companies to the Fortis team and look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their customers’ energy needs.”

Local, Independent Board Majority

The UNS Energy Board of Directors was reconstituted today as a result of the acquisition. In addition to Perry and John C. Walker, Fortis’ Executive Vice President of Western Canadian Operations, the board’s nine members include Hutchens and six other longtime Arizona residents who will continue on as independent directors from the previous UNS Energy Board:

• Lawrence J. Aldrich, Chairman and Executive Director of the Arizona Business Coalition on Health.
• Robert A. Elliott, President and Owner, Elliott Accounting.
• Louise L. Francesconi, former President of Raytheon Missile Systems.
• Ramiro G. Peru, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Phelps Dodge Corporation.
• Gregory A. Pivirotto, former CEO and Director of University Medical Center.
• Joaquin Ruiz, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Science, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

UNS Energy remains the parent company of TEP and UES and will continue to oversee their local operations. UNS Energy’s stock will not trade on the New York Stock Exchange after today. Shareholders will be notified by transfer agency Computershare with instructions on how to redeem their shares.

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Glendale arena may change to Gila River Arena

Arizona Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc announced today that the Coyotes and Arizona-based Gila River Casinos have agreed to terms on a nine-year partnership agreement that includes the naming rights for Glendale Arena. The agreement is pending approval from Glendale City Council on September 9. If approved, the new name of the venue will be Gila River Arena. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization and Ice Arizona, we are thrilled to partner with Gila River Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community,” said LeBlanc. “Like the Coyotes, the Gila River Indian Community prides themselves on their commitment to business excellence and to their community. Pending Glendale City Council approval, we are looking forward to having Gila River’s prestigious and reputable name associated with our great hockey team and our state-of-the-art arena. This will be a great fit for both the Coyotes and Gila River Casinos.”

“As a long term partner of the Arizona Coyotes, Gila River Casinos and the Gila River Indian Community are delighted to partner with the Arizona Coyotes as a naming partner. On behalf of Gila River Casinos, I would like to thank the Arizona Coyotes and Rosette Law for working so diligently to complete the naming rights agreement. We extend our sincerest gratitude to both organizations for their continued support and partnership,” said Deborah Griffin, President of the Board of Directors for Gila River Casinos. “Gila River Casinos places a great deal of importance on being a good partner in the communities we work and live in, and this partnership provides the perfect opportunity to support long term economic growth and development to the city of Glendale and the state of Arizona.”

This will be the first naming rights deal for Gila River Casinos and the first federally recognized Tribal naming rights deal with a sports venue that houses one of four major professional sports leagues in the country. Under the terms of the agreement, Gila River Casinos will receive the naming rights and associated premier signage on the facility. In a separate transaction, the Coyotes and Gila River will enhance their long time sponsorship relationship with a variety of additional advertising, marketing and merchandising opportunities at the arena.

Owned by the City of Glendale, Gila River Arena is home to the National Hockey League‚s Arizona Coyotes and a multitude of spectacular entertainment events annually. The arena opened on December 26, 2003 (Arizona Sting lacrosse game) and the following night, December 27, the Coyotes hosted the Nashville Predators in front of a standing-room only crowd of 19,052 for the inaugural NHL game at the venue.

Since 2003, the venue has also hosted major acts such as U2, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Britney Spears, Usher, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith with Lenny Kravitz, Bon Jovi, Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and many more. Upcoming concerts include Marc Anthony (August 30), Ed Sheeran (August 31) and Katy Perry (September 25).

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Glendale OKs casino near Westgate

After months of diligent negotiation, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the City of Glendale have finalized an agreement ensuring that the West Valley Resort project provides significant mutual benefits to both communities for years to come.

In taking this step, the City of Glendale confirms its full support of the Nation’s project, which will include construction of a $400 million resort and casino on its West Valley property. The agreement conveys Glendale’s desire that the Nation constructs and opens the West Valley Resort as expeditiously as possible in order to create jobs and positive economic opportunity in the community.

Under the agreement, Glendale also recognizes that the Nation’s project has never been within its corporate limits or the boundaries of any other city or town. The City supports taking the entirety of the Nation’s West Valley property into federal trust as reservation land, as had been originally requested. Glendale will also withdraw from any litigation against the project.

In return, the Nation has committed to providing Glendale with annual funding in excess of $26 million during a 20-year agreement, including a one-time payment of $500,000 within the next ten days. As promised from day one, the Nation will pay for construction of the facility, as well as municipal services and all infrastructure costs in and around the project site. The Nation will then pay Glendale’s monthly standard fees and service charge rates for commercial customers. This support is in addition to the economic benefits the project will bring to Glendale and the region.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “This agreement marks a major step forward for the Nation, Glendale, and the entire West Valley, one that will lead to greater prosperity for all our communities. The Nation looks forward to continued partnership with Glendale as we work together to create jobs and a world-class entertainment destination.”

In March 2014 the Glendale City Council also joined with other cities in the West Valley in opposing HR 1410, special interest legislation designed to stop the West Valley Resort and the thousands of jobs and economic development it would create.

Glendale is the fifth largest city in Arizona with more than 234,000 residents and four distinct areas: the Historic Downtown, the Sports and Entertainment District, the Arrowhead area and the Loop 303 expansion. The city is home to Luke Air Force Base, professional sports teams from the NFL, NHL and MLB and several higher education facilities. Visit www.glendaleaz.com for more information.

The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with existing reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona. According to the Nation, the West Valley Resort will be located at 95th and Northern avenues and will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyopportunity.com.

smartphone

Arizona Executives Don’t Vacation Without Smartphone

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that most business owners and executives in Arizona do not truly “get away from it all” when it comes to vacationing. Seventy-three percent of the respondents admit to checking their work emails during their time off; albeit 11 percent lower than the national average.

“Gadgets such as smartphones have been instrumental in making it easier to stay in touch, contributing to increased business productivity,” said Tim Bruckner, Managing Director, Commercial Banking – Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “The flip side is that same instant access fuels our need to stay connected at all times.”

Nearly half (42 percent) of those surveyed regularly work more than 40 hours each week. That “always on the clock” mentality translates into long hours focused on work. While 61 percent of the Arizona respondents describe themselves as workaholics, only a small percentage of them (six percent) cite their workaholic tendencies as the primary reason for their success.

energy policies

Solar and Other Ways to Save on Electricity Bills

In 2013, Arizona earned a new nickname -“the solar state”- by participating in heated debates regarding net metering and the growing solar electric industry. As expected, the utility companies put up a fight, which resulted in a minor victory allowing them to charge a small fee on new residential solar electric installations.

But the power companies cannot hold out forever, as solar power and other alternative sources of energy continue to gain popularity with consumers. Unfortunately there is still a long road ahead for everyone involved in solar power initiatives. Currently, Arizona Public Service Co. and others offer only a few renewable energy initiatives. To push the state from 2nd to 1st place in solar and renewable energy usage, utility companies should offer users the option to choose which percentage of their electricity is channeled from solar or wind energy, as opposed to other, nonrenewable sources. Many North American companies already do, and if consumers can find them — often through comparison websites — everybody wins.

Arizona has the sun to thank for its “solar state” title, but even if it’s a sunny day there’s still plenty you can do at home to pitch in, too. Take the first step and reevaluate the power usage within your own home. There are many new devices on the market that allow homeowners to track and discover just how much power is drawn from their electrical outlets, and adjust it accordingly. Not only will you discover which devices are “energy hogs”, and save money in the process, but you’ll reduce your home’s overall carbon emissions as well. Monitoring your home’s energy needs allows you to be a smarter, more environmentally friendly, consumer. Read on to learn more about the devices that can help you track your power consumption safely and easily:

TED Energy Detective: TED Energy Detective is one of the most highly comprehensive, and easily installable, energy monitoring systems. The product features a real-time display detailing exactly how many watts your home is using, with information on the hourly cost and continuous feedback on your energy use patterns. There are many versions and models of the TED home system, some of which come with their own wireless display, and others that are tracked using your mobile device or computer.

Google Nest Thermostat (Second Generation): There are smart thermostats, and then there are thermostats like the Nest. The Nest is more than programmable, it’s intuitive, which means that it will learn your schedule and program itself. An ordinary smart thermostat might remember to lower temperature control while residents are at work or school, but the Nest will go one step further and focus temperature control on the most used rooms, automatically adjust for sleeping temperatures. The device can even sense while you’re away on its own, due to the addition of a motion detector.

Eco-Friendly, Smart Appliances: For a while, energy efficient appliances were expensive and few and far between. Now, however, LG is one company that boasts an entire line of smart appliances. Examples include a smart refrigerator (the Smart ThinQ), an ultra-fast, eco-friendly washing machine, and a washing machine with Wi-Fi Smart Diagnosis (the Smart ThinQ Washer, which would reserve energy-intense cycles for off-peak hours, for example). LG isn’t the other company investing in the eco-trend, either. Energy Star certified appliances are available through almost every major preferred company or brand.

Power Adaptors and Smart Power Strips: Perhaps the most well-known and easiest tools to apply are power adapters, like those created by the company Green Plug, which limit the amount of energy over-charging consumer devices. If Green Plug’s adapters are in use, the supply of energy will be cut off after the device has received all the energy it needs to charge and operate. Likewise, smart power strips will limit any “vampire” charges sucked from appliances left plugged in.

iTech SolarCharger 906: Solar panels and solar technology at home is already popular in Arizona – but what about on the go? The iTech SolarCharger is just one option that allows electronics to be charged with the power of the sun. The iTech SolarCharger does take about 22 hours to power up (perhaps leave it on the deck on weekend day, but once it does it can easily charger phones and other electronics. The tool even comes with various adaptors, so homeowners don’t have to give up their solar preferences on the go.

While we wait for solar energy to be a cheaper, more feasible option on a large scale basis, there are many ways to cut down on electricity costs are home. A good energy monitoring system will make you aware of the need to conserve our energy resources. The accurate digital displays of the products listed above (and others) will give you new insight into how much electricity you consume, and where you can cut back each month.

Lake Mead's water level is at its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s.

Lake Mead’s low water levels may impact Arizona

Lake Mead is one of the main reservoirs in the vast Colorado River water system, and its receding shoreline is raising concerns about the future of a network serving the perennially parched Southwest.

Marina operators, water managers and farmers are closely tracking the reservoir’s water level, which is already at its lowest point since Hoover Dam was completed and the lake was first filled in the 1930s.

As federal officials ready to release a new projection for the lake, here are a few milestones to keep in mind and their potential impact:

• 1,080 feet above sea level is Lake Mead’s level this year, down almost the width of a football field from a full-capacity high of 1,225 feet in 1983. The lake is currently at 39 percent capacity.

• At 1,075 feet, water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada would be curtailed; the determination is based on projections made in January.

• At 1,000 feet, two existing Las Vegas drinking water intakes would go dry. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is drilling a so-called “third straw” to draw water from 860 feet.

• At 900 feet, hydroelectric turbine generators at Hoover Dam would be idled by lack of water pressure. Most of the electricity goes to Southern California. Nevada gets about 23 percent, and Arizona gets about 19 percent.

PLAYHOUSE 2014

Brookfield donates playhouse to Phoenix Zoo

Brookfield Communities, a successful master-plan developer of two Arizona active adult communities and large land-holder, is helping to raise funds for the Phoenix Zoo’s conservation and educational programs for a second consecutive year. The Phoenix-based developer and home builder has teamed up with its architect partners to custom design and build a unique western themed playhouse for the zoo to giveaway through its annual raffle.

Phil Petersen, founder and president of Brookfield Communities and also a Phoenix Zoo board member stated, “We are proud to be working with the Phoenix Zoo again and hope the playhouse helps raise significant dollars and awareness for worthy zoo programs. This year’s playhouse is really incredible. It’s a miniature western town with a hotel and a jail. The kids will love it!”

The Western Town playhouse is a spacious, two-room, professionally hand-crafted, high-quality, playhouse which will be raffled by the Zoo. Its custom design features old western swinging doors and a wraparound porch. Raffle entries are $20 each or six for $100. They can be purchased at www.phoenixzoo.org/rendezzoo, by visiting the Zoo’s Guest Services Lobby (admission to the Zoo is not required for viewing or purchasing an entry to win) or on Saturday, Oct. 11 during the Zoo’s Rendez-Zoo event.

The playhouse is now on display at the Phoenix Zoo and is available for viewing during regular Zoo hours. One winner will be randomly selected on Oct. 11 via a computer drawing, the evening of the Phoenix Zoo’s annual benefit, Rendez-Zoo. The winner does not need to be present to win.

In 2013, Brookfield Communities donated a pair of playhouses that helped raise funds for various zoo programs and initiatives. Once again this year, Christoph Kaiser of Christoph Kaiser, LLC and Larry Allen of 33 North Architects designed the playhouse.

“We are pleased that Brookfield Communities and its architect partners are providing this hand-crafted playhouse to help raise money for the Phoenix Zoo,” said Bert Castro, president and CEO of Arizona Zoological Society/Phoenix Zoo. “The playhouses were a big hit last year so we’re looking forward to what this year brings.”

To purchase raffle entries, visit phoenixzoo.org/rendezzoo.

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Seed Spot seeks best and brightest entrepreneurs

Have an idea that’s going to help make the world a better place? Ever daydream about what it would look like if your vision came to life? Look no further, because Phoenix is home to Seed Spot, a nonprofit business incubator that helps entrepreneurs turn their world-changing dreams into realities. Arizona entrepreneurs are invited to enroll in SEED SPOT’s part-time and full-time venture programs by Friday, Aug. 15.

WHAT: Seed Spot will hold two programs this fall – a part-time (evening) program and a full-time (day) program – for passionate entrepreneurs who want to create socially-responsible, purpose-driven business plans. The part-time program is designed for entrepreneurs who are at the idea or early-concept stage of their venture. Through a 12-week curriculum, these entrepreneurs receive education, training, and support to refine their concept into a business model. This program is offered every Monday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., from Sept. 8 to Nov. 24.

The full-time program is designed for entrepreneurs who may already have a service, prototype or product in the market, but need support validating all aspects of their business model to raise capital or contributions. Through a 14-week curriculum, these entrepreneurs receive formal education, mentorship, training, pitch practice, and more. This program is offered from Sept. 8 to Dec. 11 (specific hours TBD).

WHEN: The deadline to apply is Friday, Aug. 15 via www.seedspot.org/apply.

WHERE: Seed Spot, 2828 N. Central Ave., 7th Floor, Phoenix, 85004 (SW corner of Central Ave. & Thomas Road)

WHY: Seed Spot is one of six incubators in the country that focuses on social entrepreneurs – people who launch a product or service that benefits humanity. SEED SPOT provides curriculum, office space and a network
of advisors to help startups with business plan development, financial modeling, branding, marketing, operations, infrastructure and capital formation. Visit www.seedspot.org for more information.

Michael Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance.

MJ Insurance Named One of the Largest Brokers in U.S.

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s leading property-casualty and employee benefits agencies, is one of the “100 Largest Broker of U.S. Business” according to Business Insurance magazine. MJ ranked No. 97 in the publication’s 2014 list. This is the second consecutive year that MJ Insurance has received the honor.

Companies are ranked by 2013 brokerage revenue generated by U.S.-based clients. MJ Insurance was recognized by the publication in 2013 as well. The agency increased revenue by more than 11 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“We are proud to be recognized for our growth, but that is only one small measure of our success,” said MJ Insurance CEO Michael H. Bill. “Over the past couple of months we have added new services and employees to better meet the needs of our clients.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefit agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ celebrates its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefit programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

shopping

Arizona consumer spending remains weak

A new government report shows Arizona had the second-weakest growth in consumer spending since the recession ended

Spending increased 6.2 percent in Arizona from 2009 through 2012, the latest year for which figures are available. The only state with lower growth was Nevada, where spending eked out a scant 3.5 percent increase. Home values plummeted in both states once the housing bust hit.

By contrast, spending jumped 28 percent in North Dakota, largely due to revenues from new oil drilling techniques.

It is the first time the government has issued the report. The overall numbers point to substantial shifts in the economy since the recession ended.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

NIH awards BAI, Mayo $8.3 million

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David J. Jacofsky, MD, chairman and CEO of The CORE Institute.

Partnership unites Largest Neurological, Orthopedic Practices

Arizona’s largest and No. 1 ranked Phoenix-based orthopedic group, The CORE Institute, announced it has signed a partnership agreement with providers at the Arizona Neurological Institute, the largest comprehensive neurological practice in Arizona. The agreement combines the largest orthopedic and neuroscience practices in Arizona effective October 1, 2014.

Details of the new partnership are still being finalized, but Arizona Neurological Institute physicians and staff will be formally employed by The CORE Institute. The Arizona Neurological Institute currently has nine Phoenix area locations spread out between Sun City and Scottsdale, however it has not yet been decided if any of the locations may be merged with the 12 facilities The CORE Institute also has across the Valley.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the talented team at the Arizona Neurological Institute to expand and enhance the specialties that we can offer to our patients,” said David J. Jacofsky, MD, Chairman and CEO of The CORE Institute. “The CORE Institute is very proud to have grown into the largest orthopedic practice in Arizona and this partnership allows us to also become the largest comprehensive neuroscience practice providing accessible outpatient and inpatient neurological, physical and rehabilitative medicine services.”

“We view partnering with The CORE Institute as an important opportunity for our patients, our physicians and our staff creating an excellent fit combining their orthopedic expertise with our neuroscience expertise,” said Atul Syal, MD, President of Arizona Neurological Institute. “The CORE Institute has earned an excellent reputation nationally as an innovative industry leader maximizing best practices to benefit its patients and we look forward to furthering that mission as the organization continues to grow in Arizona and nationally. We are excited about using The CORE Institute platform and infrastructure to continuously improve our quality and grow our services. Musculoskeletal care, rehabilitation and the neurosciences are deeply intertwined and many conditions require the integrated approach of both specialties, making this a natural partnership.”

With the new partnership, The CORE Institute will now offer comprehensive orthopedic care, podiatric medicine, pain management, physical medicine and rehabilitation, comprehensive spine care, rheumatology, neurology, neuropsychology, physical therapy, and infusion therapy.

A computerized image of the brain fibers shows the sheath, deployed in conjunction with the BrainPath, inserted into the brain. The sheath allows a neurosurgeon easy access to the surgical site inside the brain.

Phoenix Baptist Hospital uses innovative brain surgery technology

BrainPath - DevicesAbrazo Health, the second largest health care delivery system in Arizona, has announced that Phoenix Baptist Hospital is the first in Arizona to provide a breakthrough surgical approach to remove once-inoperable brain abnormalities while minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue.

Dr. Marco Marsella, a neurosurgeon on staff at Phoenix Baptist has successfully performed this new surgery using the new NICO BrainPath device. He is the only physician in Arizona and among 121 doctors nationally trained to use the NICO BrainPath device.

The BrainPath device works with several existing and new advanced technologies integrating high-definition imaging, computerized navigation, access, optics, and tissue removal and collection. The device allows physicians to navigate safely through the natural folds and delicate fibers of the brain to reach the abnormality and minimizing tissue damage.

“With this technology we may approach tumors that were considered hard to remove or whose resection would pose a high intraoperative risk,’’ said Dr. Marsella. “Benefits of this device include safer surgery, that usually provides faster recovery time, minimal internal and external scarring, less trauma to the brain and nerves, and fewer side effects and complications post-surgery.”

The purchase of this new technology underscores Phoenix Baptist Hospital’s commitment to neurological patient care,” said Phoenix Baptist Hospital CEO Dan Jones.

“This is a promising and significant development for both the hospital and patients needing targeted, flawless brain surgery,” Jones added.

Tito Munoz conducting the Cleveland Orchestra

Maestro Muñoz Makes Debut Sept. 19-20

The Phoenix Symphony launches its 2014-15 season and Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz’ inaugural season with Carl Orff’s Carmina burana on September 19 and 20 at Symphony Hall. For this special occasion, Sandra Day O’Connor, Former Supreme Court Justice and prominent supporter of arts in Arizona, will conduct our nation’s national anthem before Sept. 20’s concert.

Audiences are invited to witness a historic weekend with The Phoenix Symphony as Maestro Tito Muñoz makes his debut as the Symphony’s eleventh Virginia G. Piper Music Director. Maestro Muñoz leads a powerful program with the majestic and scenic cantata, Carmina burana, featuring the famous “O’Fortuna” movement heard in numerous movie and television commercial scores. The Phoenix Symphony is joined by The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, the Phoenix Boys Choir, and features soloists soprano Mary MacKenzie, tenor Christopher Pfund, and baritone Corey McKern.

This 1936 cantata is based on a set of poems and dramatic texts from the 11th through 13th centuries that deal with subject matter such as greed, love, lust and gluttony. Upon its debut, Orff’s Carmina burana attained instant success and continues to be one of the most oft-performed classical works in the repertoire. This magical program also features Igor Stravinsky’s adventurous Firebird Suite, a masterwork of personal significance to Maestro Muñoz. “I am eager to bring on of my personal favorite pieces of music to Phoenix, The Suite from The Firebird, which is one of the first pieces of orchestral repertoire I learned in my youth, alongside the majestic and celebrated Carmina burana,” says Muñoz.

Tickets start at $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 602-495-1999 or online at phoenixsymphony.org.

health,informatics

Fennemore Craig Expands Healthcare Practice

210Fennemore Craig, a leading Mountain West regional firm, announced Victoria Stazio has joined the firm’s Phoenix office as an associate practicing in the areas of healthcare litigation, professional liability, long term care and catastrophic injury defense.

“We are thrilled to welcome Victoria Stazio to Fennemore Craig,” said, Tim Berg, managing partner of Fennemore Craig. “Victoria’s skills and experience further enhances the firm’s growing health care practice.”

Prior to joining the firm, Stazio worked as an associate at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer in Phoenix, Arizona. She also served as Deputy County Attorney with the Mohave County Attorney’s Office. She earned her J.D. from St. John’s University, School of Law and her B.A. from Siena College. Stazio was a recipient of the Community Partnership Award from the Kingman Police Department.

Fennemore Craig’s healthcare practice includes more than 40 attorneys who practice in the areas of medical negligence defense, health care real estate, for-profit and non-profit health care facilities, medical associations and medical device companies.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Bank of America boosts rewards for Arizona consumers

Preferred Rewards, a groundbreaking program that recognizes and rewards clients for choosing Bank of America for more of their banking and Merrill Edge for their investment needs, is now available for clients in California, Oregon, Arizona and Idaho. These states are within wave two of a four-wave national rollout of the program that began in June and will be completed in September.

“Preferred Rewards is the first program of its kind to offer clients benefits and rewards for everyday banking,” said Dean Athanasia, president of Preferred Banking at Bank of America. “It is the result of deep client research to develop and deliver a simple program that provides clients benefits and rewards they will actually use, and shows them how much we appreciate it when they choose to do more business with us.”

Clients with a Bank of America personal checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more across their checking, savings and/or Merrill Edge® investment accounts can enroll. And, as clients’ combined balances grow, so do their benefits and rewards. With a three-tier structure – Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors – clients have additional opportunities to earn, save and get more back based on their tier, including:

• Rewards bonus: Bonus rewards – points or cash back – on eligible Bank of America credit cards.
• Priority service: Access to a dedicated team of specialists available to handle all our Preferred clients’ banking and service needs.
• Extra interest: Higher interest rates on Rewards Money Market Savings accounts.
• $0 equity and ETF trades*: $0 Merrill Edge online equity and Exchange-Traded Funds trades (30 per month for Platinum and 100 per month for Platinum Honors)
• Home equity interest rate discount: Interest rate reductions for home equity loans or lines of credit.
• Mortgage relationship credit: A relationship credit – $200 for Gold, $400 for Platinum and $600 for Platinum Honors – on a mortgage purchase or refinancing of a loan.
• No fees on select everyday banking services: Fees waived for services standard check orders, cashier’s checks and stop payments.

There is no fee to enroll in the Preferred Rewards program for qualified Bank of America clients. Once clients begin receiving benefits, their three-month average balance will be reviewed monthly for the opportunity to achieve additional benefits. The program was created to bring more benefits to Bank of America clients that do more business with the bank.

“The lower qualifying balance for Preferred Rewards than Platinum Privileges means more of our clients are able to participate in the program and earn greater rewards,” said Aron Levine, head of Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge Investing at Bank of America. “The rewards are broader and reach across the bank, so more clients can experience all that Bank of America has to offer through one simple program.”

Clients who are currently enrolled in Bank of America’s Platinum Privileges program are encouraged to enroll in Preferred Rewards at http://bankofamerica.com/preferredrewardsnews. Once they enroll in Preferred Rewards, their new benefits will replace existing Platinum Privileges benefits.

Hiking Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Wells Fargo issues Environmental grants

The Nature Conservancy’s Arizona Forest Restoration Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Phoenix District Youth Initiative today received a Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant for $25,000 and $24,097, respectively. Both organizations were selected from among 54 environmental nonprofits to receive grant dollars totaling $3 million from the 2014 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, which supports projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach in communities across America.

The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring Arizona’s Forests Program uses science-based solutions to restore Arizona’s Ponderosa Pine forest and conserve the lands and water on which all life depends. Forests are critical to Arizona’s rural economies, rivers and wildlife habitat, and our water supplies. The grant will help accelerate forest thinning – which is a natural solution to protect forests from long-term drought conditions and the risk of mega-fires.

“We are thrilled to partner with Wells Fargo on this project to help solve one of the toughest problems affecting Arizonans and nature,” stated Rob Marshall, Director of the Center for Science & Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy. “Accelerating forest thinning is urgently needed to improve forest conditions and protect our communities and water supplies.”

The Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District Youth Initiative Program’s grant will help build about 1,000 feet of new hiking trails around Phoenix; rebuild 1,300 feet of existing trails; improve deer habitat by removing 3,350 feet of fence; enhance the BLM Sonoran Desert National Monument by clearing debris; conduct official bird surveys; and collect data along the Agua Fria River and Burro Creek.

“We are thrilled to provide youth with an experience that will last a lifetime. We hope that the skills learned and experiences they have will inspire them to make public lands and natural resources a part of their lives both in work and play” said BLM Phoenix District Manager Mary D’Aversa. “We are honored that the BLM Arizona is a grant recipient. We are leveraging grant funds to educate and employ urban youth through our Arizona Youth Initiative,” added BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo.

The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation with a
$15 million, five-year commitment to promote environmental stewardship across the country.

The program funds proposals in select cities/regions (see full list) that help address the most pressing environmental issues identified by each participating community. Some examples of past grant projects include: helping Camp Pollack in Sacramento, Calif., prepare for teaching local students; working with the Sea Turtle Conservancy along the Florida coast to keep endangered animals safe; and restoring the landmark Levi Carter Pavilion with the city of Omaha, Neb.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the 2013 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grants collectively helped reduce more than
3 million pounds of CO2[1], which is the equivalent to averting consumption of 8,535 barrels of oil1[2]. The program also planted 132,709 trees and restored more than 1,600 acres of habitat. These projects have trained 150 people in “green” jobs, while engaging more than 689,000 community members in the supported environmental grant programs.

“We believe that helping our communities become more resilient and better stewards of the environment will improve the long-term quality of life of our customers and team members,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs. “We’re proud to support both the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management with both grant dollars and support from our local employees, who volunteer their time and efforts through our 70 Green Teams.”

“Through our collaboration with Wells Fargo and their commitment to community-based efforts, this investment will support a total of 54 projects, and conservation efforts will take place in cities and towns across America,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “The experience will be an opportunity for participants in these communities to personally contribute to a more sustainable future, which would not be possible without
Wells Fargo’s long-term commitment to the Environmental Solutions for Communities program.”

The full list of 2014 winners can be found at http://blogs.wellsfargo.com/environment/.
Details of the program and a link to the 2015 application (available in September 2014) can be found at the NFWF application website: http://www.nfwf.org/environmentalsolutions.

Projects benefiting underserved communities and encouraging volunteerism are given priority consideration.

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper Rummell

Verde Canyon Railroad offers Fall Colors Tour

Glorious fall foliage adds to the colorful intensity of Arizona scenery each fall, and nowhere do the branches dazzle quite as brilliantly as they do along the Verde River. An adventure aboard Verde Canyon Railroad’s Fall Colors Tour showcases the rich hues of scarlet and amber, crimson and gold further enhancing the beauty of this red rock canyon in the heart of Arizona’s Sedona area.

Train passengers savor the comforts of classic rail travel and its exclusive panoramic vantage point to view the wilderness, breathe deep the inimitable autumn air and enjoy time with family. In anticipation of the beauty provided by Mother Nature’s seasonal display, first-class passengers celebrate with private-labeled wines, chocolate brownies and an abundance of freshly-prepared appetizers. The harvest season bounty of on-board refreshments includes fan favorites such as prickly pear margaritas and scrumptious fruit smoothies, adding extra relish to the adventure.

The deep summer greens along this rare desert river transform, changing the canopy of cottonwood, sycamore, willow, mulberry and oak into a riot of color. Photographic opportunities abound at every curve of the tracks. The first glimpse of brilliant vegetation arrives from below, as the train meanders along the canyon rim, overlooking the River. As elevation increases, the railroad cuts deeper into the riparian ravine, bringing passengers eye to eye with swaying tree tops near the Monocline Fold.

Further along the journey the crescendo of color builds as red sandstone walls and pinnacles reach ever higher for the sapphire skies as the vibrant autumn foliage arches over the train’s path from the canyon floor. Warmed by the languor of the late afternoon sun, the Verde Canyon’s hues begin to take on a dramatic radiance perfect for photos and lifetime memories.

The peak of the fall colors in the Verde Canyon depends on temperature, sunlight, and rainfall amounts. Timing can vary each year and can never be predicted exactly, however, passengers can generally be assured of viewing brilliant colors October through Thanksgiving, with the colorful climax reaching its peak during early November. Reservations should be made early, as this is a very popular time.

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October Verde Canyon Railroad offers an added treat, Ales on Rails. It’s a festive party on the patio where guests enjoy the option of a variety of hearty beers from Southwestern craft breweries and an Oktoberfest-style luncheon. The party continues on the train, as the copper, bronze and golden hues of the autumn are complemented by the rich amber lagers served aboard the train.

Postcard-perfect scenery is only part of the magic of Verde Canyon Railroad. The train provides a comfortable, yet exciting journey through this color palette as it travels a leisurely four hours from the charming Clarkdale depot to the ghost ranch at Perkinsville and back. Awe-inspiring rock formations, historic trestles, ancient cliff dwellings and soaring raptors are just a few of the trip’s many highlights. First-class cars boast plush seating, complimentary appetizers and a full-service bar.

Coach offers vintage Pullman-style seating, panoramic windows and snack bars. Everyone has access to open-air viewing cars offering 360-degree views and spectacular photographic opportunities.

Just 25 minutes from scenic Sedona and 10 minutes from historic Jerome, Verde Canyon Railroad is located in the heart of Arizona’s Verde Valley, named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations.

Only two hours from Phoenix, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at VerdeCanyonRR.com.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital - Pediatric Liver Transplant Program

Papa Murphy’s Teams Up with Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza has launched a new campaign to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH). The 40 Papa Murphy’s locations in greater Phoenix and northern Arizona will donate $1 to PCH from every Mini Murph™ Make ‘N’ Bake Pizza Kit sold now through September 30, 2014.

The Mini Murph is a hit for children’s play dates, sleepovers and birthday parties. The pizza kit, which sells for $3, has everything kids need to be a mini pizza chef including a fresh seven-inch pizza crust, pizza sauce, 100% all-natural mozzarella cheese, and slices of real pepperoni (enough to cover traditionally or place creatively.)

“Everyone at Papa Murphy’s is rallying around this campaign. We want to do everything we can to help PCH.” said Ed Holmes, who owns numerous Papa Murphy’s locations around Arizona. “These children deserve every dollar we can raise, so we look forward to breaking sales records of Mini Murph this year.”

Last year’s promotion raised thousands to help Phoenix Children’s meet growing demands. Every dollar raised this year will help with patient care, research and medical education. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country and continues to strive for innovation, most recently announcing the formation of a new state-of-the-art pediatric institute for molecular medicine.

“Papa Murphy’s has been a generous supporter of Phoenix Children’s Hospital for several years,” said Steve Schnall, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer. “We are so thankful for their ongoing support and are grateful for their generosity.”

To help, visit any of the 40 locations in greater Phoenix and northern Arizona. To look up an address near you, go to www.papamurphys.com.

veterans

Department of Defense honors APS

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, announced today that Arizona Public Service (APS) of Phoenix, Arizona, is one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. This year’s recipients were selected from 2,864 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists for going far beyond what the federal law requires to support their military employees.

“I’m honored to announce the recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “Guardsmen and Reservists across the nation rely on strong bonds with their civilian employers. By recognizing these 15 exceptional employers, the Department of Defense celebrates the contributions made by American employers to our Citizen Warriors. I commend these extraordinary employers for their unwavering commitment to service members and their families.”

APS was nominated by Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Michael Rich from the 13th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Division/Adjutant General. He highlighted the company’s “Troops to Energy Jobs” initiative, which accelerates the hiring of Guardsmen and Reservists and provides support to those employees and their families. APS has created an employee-led group, VETRN (Veteran Engagement Transition Retention Network), that promotes corporate support and recognition for members of the Guard and Reserve. In addition to sponsoring military and veteran organizations, the company also maintains contact with deployed service members, sending care packages overseas and offering assistance to families at home.

The 2014 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon Sept. 26:

Arizona Public Service
Phoenix, Arizona

AT&T
Dallas, Texas

Capital One
McLean, Virginia

CH2M-WG Idaho
Idaho Falls, Idaho

General Mills, Inc.
Golden Valley, Minnesota

J.G. Management Systems, Inc.
Grand Junction, Colorado

Los Angeles Fire Department
Los Angeles, California

N.H. Department of Environmental Services
Concord, New Hampshire

PNC Bank
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Shofner Vision Center
Nashville, Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee

Triumph Pharmaceuticals Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

UNC Health Care
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Washoe County School District
Reno, Nevada

Zions Bank
Salt Lake City, Utah

Kody McNew of VooDoo Bikeworks.

TV Series Spotlights Phoenix Custom Motorcycle Industry

Arizonans love their motorcycles. With a total of six Harley-Davidson dealerships in the greater Phoenix area, it is clear to see the brand of choice for many local riders. A subsidiary of this thriving commerce is the world of customizing these magnificent machines. Many of the country’s top bike builders reside in the Valley of the Sun. These creative geniuses are as colorful as they are talented, making them ideal characters for a reality TV show. On July 1st, the History Channel premiered “Biker Battleground Phoenix”, a series that chronicles the competitive, cutthroat relationships between the Valley’s top custom shops. Paul Yaffe of Bagger Nation, John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts, Brian Jenkins of Hatred Customs, Len Edmondson of Azzkiker Customs and Kody McNew of VooDoo Bikeworks are the five builders featured on Biker Battleground Phoenix. These gentlemen are more than willing to provide plenty of fodder for the drama hungry cameras. From good natured smack talking, to intense altercations, the show offers a fascinating peek into the trials and tribulations of staying on top of a market that is as trendy as the fashion trade.

The current focus of the show is on the race to get ready for the largest motorcycle rally in the Southwest, Arizona Bike Week. This week’s episode featured Brian working feverishly from his garage/shop to get a bike completed in time to compete in the rally’s “Baddest Bagger in Arizona” bike show. Kody announced his plans to attempt an unprecedented “72 hour build” in his vendor booth at WestWorld, during Arizona Bike Week. Paul, considered to be one of the founding fathers of the custom bagger craze, is intent on getting his new concept, the SRT, ready to unveil onstage before the Big and Rich concert, Thursday night at the rally.

Arizona Bike Week 2014 was held at WestWorld in Scottsdale, April 2-6 and is unarguably one of the fastest growing rallies in the country. With attendance up 25% at ABW this year, it’s very apparent why these gentlemen are so eager to showcase their latest and greatest works of art to the massive gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts the event draws from all across the nation. Even if you attended ABW 2014 and already know the outcome of the upcoming episodes, you won’t want to miss seeing the behind the scenes process that got each of these creations to the ABW main stage.
It’s easy to surmise what makes Arizona such a motorcycle mecca. Supreme riding conditions most months of the year, coupled with virtuously limitless scenic terrain, make it ideal for two-wheel exploring. The economic impact of this tourism focused industry is not lost on our state legislators. You may recall that the state of Arizona gave a nod to the local motorcycle community in 2012, when they commissioned Paul Yaffe to build the official mascot of the state centennial celebration, the “Copper Chopper”. The centennial parade was an organized motorcycle ride consisting of a reported 5,000 bikes, led by the Copper Chopper and ridden by its creator. This should certainly serve as confirmation that Arizona is truly a biker-friendly state.

Tune in to the History Channel Tuesday nights to see Biker Battleground Phoenix or you can attend one of the weekly viewing parties and meet some of the show’s stars at such local biker favorite watering holes as the Dirty Dogg Saloon, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row and the Hideaway Grill. Early reports indicate rapidly rising ratings for this new show and there are already rumors of a second season.