Tag Archives: arizona

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona Opens Mexico City Trade Office

The State of Arizona today announced the strategic expansion of its presence and investment in Mexico with the launch of the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office.

The grand opening of the Arizona office located in Mexico City was the culminating event of an Arizona-led trade mission conducted this week to strengthen the state’s relationship with its number one trading partner. During the mission, Arizona’s delegation met with Mexican government officials at the federal and state levels as well as private sector business leaders to discuss bi-lateral collaborations in key areas including: Economic Development, Trade and Innovation; Infrastructure and Corridor Competitiveness; and international Tourism.

The Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico will be led by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), in partnership with the City of Phoenix, and additional funding partners including Maricopa Association of Governments, the City of Tucson and Visit Phoenix. With the support of Governor Jan Brewer and the state legislature, Arizona has made a commitment of $300,000 to the ACA to establish and manage the office, which will create a platform for businesses in both countries to expand their international trade and foreign direct investment opportunities.

“Since becoming governor, I have made it my mission to enhance Arizona’s global competitiveness, support job growth and secure our economic vitality long into the future,” said Governor Brewer. “Our continued success in this mission will depend greatly on our ability to seize business and investment opportunities on an international scale. Expanding our presence in Mexico – by far our largest trading partner – will strengthen crucial economic ties, promoting economic development and contributing to high-paying jobs for Arizonans.”

Mexico is a growing world market, as well as Arizona’s most important trading partner. In 2013, trade generated between Arizona and Mexico exceeded $14 billion. Mexico is the world’s 14th-largest economy, and is projected by Goldman Sachs to be the fifth-largest by 2050.

Arizona’s trade office in Mexico will assist Arizona companies in successfully entering the Mexican market and attract new companies and investments that will contribute to the state’s economy to create high-wage jobs. The office will have a keen focus on targeted sectors that include aerospace & defense, medical devices, biosciences and innovation.

“This represents a significant milestone in building and strengthening a prosperous relationship between two trading partners that share a great deal of synergy, resources and geographical proximity,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “We look forward to working with our partners in Arizona and Mexico to execute a unified strategy to advance a sustainable trade ecosystem that drives innovation, job creation and international commerce for both countries.”

“It’s time that we fundamentally change our relationship with Mexico to one of shared economic opportunities,” said City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Our trade office is a tremendous step in the right direction.”

“Tucson is fully committed to increasing trade relations with Mexico and our having a presence in Mexico City can only further that goal,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

“The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has been working on a number of initiatives to help foster economic opportunities with Mexico,” said MAG Chair Michael LeVault, Mayor of Youngtown. “Arizona’s trade and investment office gives us a physical reality that extends beyond our 400-mile border. We believe this move will help us attract a larger share of the growing Mexican middle class and help us take advantage of new opportunities to enhance trade.”

Arizona’s new trade office builds upon the state’s current engagement in Mexico by complementing Arizona’s existing office in Hermosillo, Sonora, which is a collaboration between the ACA and the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

The ACA has secured Marketing One to assist the ACA with its economic development activities in Mexico. The Mexico City-based consulting firm has detailed knowledge of the Mexican market including more than 30 years total of international trade development experience. Victor Aguilar, Managing Director and President of Marketing One, and his team serve as Arizona’s representatives in the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office. The office will have a dedicated staff of international trade experts that will include an office director, trade consultants and specialists responsible for enhancing trade and foreign direct investment, as well as generating quality business leads and creating strategic outreach to key stakeholders throughout Mexico.

The Arizona State Trade and Investment Office is located in the Colonia Juárez neighborhood of Mexico City near the Paseo de la Reforma. The address is Hamburgo 231, Col. Juárez, C.P. 06600, México, D.F., México.

Avnet - Fortune Global 500

Phoenix MBDA Hosts Global Business Conference

The Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, is hosting Phoenix MBDA’s 2nd Annual Global Business Conference and the concurrent Global Business to Business Trade Expo on Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The expo will focus on topical business opportunities and will provide information on how to conduct business with local, domestic, and international companies.

The two-day event is expected to bring in 150 local, national, and international attendees, including foreign consulates, Arizona Mayors, businesses looking to expand their services and product offerings in international markets, and interested individuals who are looking to start and/or grow a business to support global initiatives.

In support of the conference, Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce said, “We know that when U.S. firms sell their goods overseas, the U.S. economy stands to benefit. U.S. exports reached a record $2.3 trillion in 2013, and exports now support 11.3 million jobs, up 1.6 million since 2009.”

Alika Kumar, Executive Director of Phoenix MBDA also emphasized the importance of the conference and said, “Understanding the simplified processes of how to do business in international markets is vital to all U.S. based businesses and all individuals looking to do business abroad. This conference will lay the framework and foundation for those looking to succeed abroad.” Panelists include Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, as well as Barry Broome representing the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). They will provide information about opportunities, including how to network, connect, do business, and succeed in international markets.

For information about registering or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kaaren-Lyn Morton at (602) 248-0007 or e-mail kaaren@phoenixmbdacenter.com.

SALT

OliverMcMillan breaks ground on SALT apartments

OliverMcMillan, a boutique real estate developer known for creating artistic, enduring destinations, has broken ground on SALT – a four-story, 265-unit, Class A apartment community in Tempe, Ariz.

The development will feature studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom living spaces.  Residents will enjoy boutique resort style amenities with two pools, spa, yoga lawn, poolside cabanas, multiple outdoor barbeque areas, lush landscaping, and direct frontage on Tempe Town Lake.   The community also includes a large gym complete with cardio equipment, free weights and resistance training equipment, a media room, and a spacious social room.  SALT (formerly the Lofts@Hayden Ferry) is slated to open in early 2016.

“We created  a modern, multi-family community that offers easy transition between indoor and outdoor living, drawing inspiration and vital energy from both environments,” said Morgan Dene Oliver, CEO of OliverMcMillan. “The location near Mill Avenue and Tempe Town Lake inspired the multi-faceted idea of SALT – our take on contemporary elemental living that we think will be very enjoyable for residents.”

The 3.7 acre project site is part of the Hayden Ferry Lakeside mixed-use Master Plan which includes residential, retail, hotel and office uses.  The site is nearby to Arizona State University Campus and the Mill Avenue Entertainment District.  It is next door to the new State Farm campus currently under construction.

“We brought together a fantastic team to make SALT stand out for its contemporary design and livability,” said Eric Buchanan, Managing Director of Acquisitions and Development for OliverMcMillan.

OliverMcMillan’s development team members include Amstar as equity partner, Comerica serving as the construction lender, and Adolfson & Peterson Construction serving as general contractor.

starbucks

More than 1,000 enrolled for Starbucks tuition program

Starbucks says more than 1,000 of its workers have enrolled for an upcoming fall semester at Arizona State University to take advantage of a program that helps pay for their tuition.

That’s from about 4,000 workers who started the application process, 2,000 who completed it, and 1,800 who were accepted by the school, according to Starbucks. The Seattle-based company said the most popular degree programs being pursued are psychology, organizational leadership, health sciences, mass communications and media studies and English.

Starbucks said it is too early to tell how much the company will end up paying in tuition reimbursement for the first batch of students. Reimbursements to workers will vary, with many employees expected to qualify for financial aid such as federal Pell grants because of their limited incomes. Over time, however, Starbucks said it expects to spend “tens of millions of dollars” a year on the tuition reimbursement as more workers take advantage of it.

The company is partnering exclusively with Arizona State University’s online school to offer the benefit.

The program was greeted with fanfare this summer because tuition reimbursement is a rare benefit for low-wage retail and food workers. Starbucks also isn’t requiring workers to stay with the company once they finish their degrees. Some of the program’s terms also drew criticisms, however, such as its requirement that students complete 21 credits before being reimbursed.

The program’s terms also vary depending on the student’s year.

For freshmen and sophomores, Arizona State University is giving workers an upfront discount of about $6,500 to cover the estimated $30,000 in tuition for two years, according to Starbucks. To cover the remainder of the costs, workers would apply for financial aid, such as Pell grants, and pay for the rest either out of pocket or by taking out loans.

Students will not be reimbursed for those first two years, meaning Starbucks won’t incur any costs.

For the junior and senior years, ASU is giving a discount of about $12,600 of the $30,000. Starbucks would reimburse whatever tuition workers have to pay for after the financial aid they receive.

On Tuesday, Starbucks was set to announce that 70 percent of the workers who enrolled in the program this fall are juniors or seniors, meaning they will get full reimbursement. About half the workers are baristas and 35 percent are shift supervisors. The rest have positions of assistant store manager or above, the company said.

The company said the most applications came from California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

Human trafficking - Concept Photo

Grant Helps Arizona Combat Domestic Human Trafficking

The Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking will receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding will help provide services and comprehensive case management for victims of severe forms of human trafficking in Maricopa and Pima counties.

“This is a serious issue that is growing,” said Cynthia Schuler, CEO of Tumbleweed, a non-profit that serves homeless and at-risk youth in the Phoenix area. “We have a lot of work and research ahead of us, but this grant is a tremendous boost and provides us the funds to move forward in combating domestic human trafficking in Arizona.”

Tumbleweed is one of five organizations that make up the partnership and is the lead agency. The Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking includes TRUST, Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services (ALWAYS), Phoenix Dream Center and Our Family Services. The Arizona State University School of Social Work’s Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research will provide research and evaluate the effectiveness of the effort.

The new funding will help the Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking in several ways:
• Assess needs and develop community-driven action plans to strengthen services in Maricopa and Pima counties
• Identify and provide case management and comprehensive victim assistance
• Coordinate needed medical and mental health care
• Collaborate with ongoing efforts in international trafficking, law enforcement, domestic violence and sexual assault, runaway and homeless youth
• Integrate child welfare services and juvenile justice systems
• Evaluate project performance and inform local and national strategies on how to improve the availability of service, integration, and collaboration for trafficking victims.

“With this grant, the Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking can start to effectively evaluate the landscape in Arizona and, more importantly, service and help the victims of human trafficking in our state,” Schuler said.

Only three U.S. social service agencies were awarded grants in 2014 through the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the U.S. Administration of Children and Families, including Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families (New York) and the Asian Association of Utah (Salt Lake City). Of the three grant recipients, Tumbleweed and the Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking are the largest beneficiaries. Funding is expected to be fully received by the end of 2014.

classroom-update

Experts say quality education equals quality jobs for Arizona

The formula is simple: W = $. A well-qualified, educated workforce equals high-paying, deeply entrenched Arizona jobs and statewide economic growth.

“There are too many buzzwords and not enough solutions,” muses Rick Heumann, Chandler’s vice-mayor and a passionate education advocate. “If we don’t do something now, we’re going to lose an entire generation. The legislature cannot continue to starve schools and colleges and expect the economy to grow. Incentives will not overcome lack of qualified workforce.”

Heumann, and other business leaders also say that the solutions are more than just funding. It’s a challenge through the whole system to create opportunities and relevance for today’s students to become tomorrow’s well-qualified workforce.

“Arizona education has to produce the talent needed to find a job and fill the gaps in the workplace,” says Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “We need to create more robust opportunities to inform students about career opportunities and the need for education.”

The Arizona business community is finding opportunities and step-by-step trying to bring change to the state’s education system. This is a marked contrast from political attacks on Common Core that one business leader confided are demonstrations that the legislature just doesn’t understand education or economic development.”

“There’s too much rote and not enough reason,” sighs Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. “America is a world power because we know how to think. We’re losing our edge. Not only does STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) need to be at the core of what’s being taught, students must see relevancy to real life and learn to be creative and critical thinkers. It amounts to a needed change in the way we teach.”

Student retention through high school

“Ensuring that all our students are graduating from high school is simply the biggest priority,” sums Cathleen Barton, Arizona education manager for Intel. “We need students to graduate and be career- or college-ready,” she adds.

Study-after-study shows that students need education to get ahead. Barry Broome, CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council says that education is part of good economic development. “Improving education is a long-term investment for Arizona. Right now, only a small percentage of high schools generate half our college enrollment. That needs to change,” he says.

“We’re losing students at an unacceptable rate,” worries Bob Enderle, director of community relations at Medtronic. “About a quarter of our students don’t graduate high school, and that rate is higher in ethnically diverse populations.”

“Making education connect; making it more relevant will help keep students in school,” echoes Dave Cano, the company’s senior manager for continuous improvement and a member of Grand Canyon University’s STEM External Advisory Board. “When students don’t graduate, they earn less, the spend less and the add more costs to the system.”

Heumann adds that workers in minimum wage jobs do not earn enough to cover the costs of their services. “We need to help our students qualify for better jobs and then we need to make sure we have the jobs in the market,” he says. “With a high-paying job, a worker adds more value to the Arizona economy.”

Better education means a better economy

Eve Ross, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., director of public policy and strategic initiatives Ross about the vicious cycle, “Students are not getting a connection between what’s being learned and how it applies to careers. There are many well-paying careers that require some college, but not necessarily a four-year or graduate degree,” she says. “We need a whole class of student understanding and interested in manufacturing. We’re not talking about a worker tightening bolts on a parade of black Fords. We’re talking about workers who can see how things are made, and come up with ideas to make it better.”

“It’s a simple formula for economic growth. If we can’t attract well-paying careers, Arizona is not going to collect tax revenue for basic services,” she says. “We need a workforce who can read and understand a workplace; students who can do the math and innovate.”

Arizona does education well, but in pockets, says Koerber-Walker, “Schools are short on resources and there are many gaps creating ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ We’re at the bottom of the barrel in too many ways with education. Business will not come if kids are prepared for the jobs.”

The investment in education for tomorrow’s economy comes at a crucial time. Arizona has invested millions of dollars to ready the education system for Common Core standards. “Common Core came out of the business sector,” explains Broome. “Industry needs a uniform standard by which is can compare education achievement to the same standards in every state. This is going to create some concern in Arizona when the results start coming in.”

Building passion for learning

“The world is rapidly changing. Tomorrow’s workforce needs to be able to adapt to a rapidly changing world.” Hal Halladay is the chief people officer for Infusionsoft, “The system needs to focus on training and teaching students to love learning. Education does not end at graduation. Students must be able to continue to learn in order to be able to handle global change.”

Medtronic has jumped into the partnering role with education. It’s been incredibly rewarding and equally frustrating. “We tried to bring students to demonstrate relevancy between what they’re learning and career opportunities, but the process was filled with road blocks,” says Ederle. “We ended up bringing in teachers as interns. One of the science instructors going through the program said it would change the way he taught physics. That’s a success, as we see it.”

Connecting science and technology to something students understand is the key of generating a passion for education. Zylstra talks about the Arizona SciTech Festival, “We had a physics professor talk about the science of baseball. All of the sudden, the kids were seeing how math and physics are in the world relevant to their interests. It’s this type of change we need in education to connect students to learning.”

“We have a mismatch between skills and opportunity,” Barton emphasizes. “Jobs are changing too fast, and education is not changing rapidly enough to keep up. We need to take schools to the next level of teaching.”

Koerber-Walker is concerned that there has been so much focus on what needed to be learned to pass the standardized tests, students weren’t given an opportunity to understand how to use the learning. “There needs to be improvement in outcomes,” she explains. “Students are lacking in soft skills. They need to learn critical thinking, problem solving and an ability to write and communicate.”

“We’re getting good workers coming out of college,” comments Halladay. “The problem is that while the students have the technical skills, they are not getting training on how to function in a face-to-face environment. They need an ability to adapt to changes and creatively solve challenges.”

Partnership part of a solid solution

“This is not going to be resolved by just giving schools more money,” Zylstra says. “It start with motivating parents to be participants in their child’s education. It requires business to partner with schools.” Enderle and Cano at Medtronic, agree. Barton and Heumann cited examples in their conversation.

Heumann doesn’t mince words. “We’re not competing with Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi for jobs. We’re competing with Texas, California, Washington and New York. Our education investment needs to be at their levels, not the bottom of the heap.”

“We need to re-fund education. The way education is funded does not reflect the needs of business in Arizona,” suggests Koerber-Walker. “Teachers are spending major portions of their own incomes supplying classrooms. That has to stop. We need to invest some dollars to provide schools with the tools to teach the workers we want to offer new business.”

“We have a lot of thoughtful people involved in the process of bettering our schools and workforce. In business, we know that if you don’t invest in training, you start losing ground to competition.” Barton is listing off the solutions she’d like to see for schools. “We want teachers to have the resources to make the curriculum relevant to keep students engaged.”

“Charter schools need to have the same public accountability as public schools,” insists Heumann. “If we have a well-balanced education with pay encouraging bright and effective teachers into the profession, we’re going to do a lot better with students coming out.”

Halladay sums up what a good education system means, “When I try to recruit top-level knowledge workers for my company, the quality of schools is a big reason they will accept or walk away from the job offer. The inconsistency of education quality across the Valley is a major recruiting challenge.”

Heumann sighs, “We can spend millions on cutting taxes and offering incentives. If we don’t have good workers, we’re not going to get good companies locating here. It’s simple economics.”
A well-educated workforce equals strong economic development.

Not making the grade
Personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s states with the best and worst school systems. WalletHub used 12 key metrics, including dropout rates, test scores and bullying incident rates to assess the quality of education in each state. According to the analysis, Arizona has the 9th worst school system. Here is where Arizona schools rank in individual categories (1=best):
35th – Dropout rate
8th – Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade
36th – Math test score
46th – Reading test score
49th – Student-to-teacher ratio

Executive Education
Here are the colleges and universities in Arizona that offer post-graduate programs:

Argosy University
602-216-3118
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Norma Patterson, associate vice president of academic compliance

Arizona State University
480-965-7788
Website
Number of campuses: 4
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Michael Crow, president

A.T. Still University
480-219-6000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Craig M. Phelps, president

Communiversity @ Surprise
480-384-9000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Todd Aakhus, Ph.D., director

DeVry University
602-870-9222
Website
Number of campuses: 4
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Craig Jacobs, metro president

Grand Canyon University
800-800-9776
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Brian Mueller, CEO

Midwestern University
623-572-3200
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: No
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Kathleen Goeppinger, president and CEO

Northern Arizona University
928-523-9011
Website
Number of campuses: 34
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Rita Cheng, president

Ottawa University
800-235-9586
Website
Number of campuses: 3
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Master’s
Leadership: Dr. Kirk Wessel, dean of Angell Snyder School of Business

Thunderbird School of Global Management
602-978-7000
Website
Number of campuses: 1
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: MBA
Leadership: Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., president

University of Arizona
520-621-1162
Website
Number of campuses: 2
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Ann Weaver Hart, president

University of Phoenix
480-557-2000
Website
Number of campuses: 5
Online classes: Yes
Highest degree offered: Doctorate
Leadership: Timothy P. Slottow, president

ONEHOPE Wine

Arizona Vineyard Expands, Releases New Wine

After being in business for five years and with multiple award-winning wines in their portfolio, Willcox-based Carlson Creek Vineyard just recently released their first-ever Merlot varietal.

A 2012 vintage, aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels, this robust Merlot is highlighted by flavors of plum and cracked peppers with a lasting finish; a perfect pairing for ribs and a wine that both serious oenophiles and the newly initiated can enjoy.

In addition to releasing a new varietal, the Arizona vineyard has also undergone a recent expansion, from 120 to 160 acres. This new 40-acre lot of land includes two blocks of Riesling, with plans to add two 10-acre sections of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache during plantings in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

What’s next for Arizona’s premier family-owned vineyard? “We’re currently working with BAR Architects out of Napa, California to design a 10,000-case winery and tasting room in the middle of the property,” said co-owner Bob Carlson. “It’s been a long time coming and we hope to have it open for business in late 2015.”

For more information or to purchase any of the available wines from Carlson Creek Vineyard online, visit CarlsonCreek.com or visit their Where To Buy page for a list of available locations throughout
Arizona.

DSC_0221

Valley dining spots welcome patio season

It’s fall which means the desert is starting to cool down! Restaurant and bar goers all over the Valley begin to seek out the best spots to indulge in the beautiful Arizona weather. But look no further— these local restaurants have Valley residents covered with killer patios throughout Metro Phoenix.

TEMPE

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill: Located in Tempe Marketplace, Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill has a great wrap around patio. With a southwestern exposure, the Thirsty Lion patio is perfect for watching the fall sunset. At this hip gastropub, you’ll find great food, more than a dozen big screen TVs, two bars and 52 beers on tap. Enjoy happy hour, seven days a week from 3:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m. & again from 9:30 p.m. to close. For more information, visit www.thirstylionpub.com.

SCOTTSDALE

TapHouse Kitchen: Located at The Hilton Village in Scottsdale, this neighborhood kitchen features a seasonal menu of “Modern American Cuisine” prepared in a “Scratch” kitchen. The 3,500 square foot location accommodates 144 guests and features a rustic and woody décor. The restaurant has a fully air-conditioned patio, with a large garage door that creates an indoor- outdoor atmosphere. Take advantage of their happy hour seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy $2 off House Wine (Cupcake Chardonnay & Cabernet), $2 off all draft beer, spirits & wine on tap, $2 off all beer flights, $2 off all TapHouse Kitchen custom cocktails, $2 off Tap”House” Margaritas and $1 off all well drinks. TapHouse Kitchen is located at 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd, #108 in Scottsdale. To find out more visit them at TapHouseKitchen.com or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TapHouseKitchen.

Kelly’s at SouthBridge: To both enjoy the cool weather and feel the awesome Old Town atmosphere, hit Kelly’s at SouthBridge this fall. Their spacious outdoor patio, adorned with bright red umbrellas, is hard to miss—it’s the perfect place for lunch, dinner, happy hour or late night festivities. There’s also plenty of room for big groups or parties too! Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000 square foot upscale restaurant offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine and the perfect laid back atmosphere. Enjoy ½ price bottles of wine (with purchase of food) 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day and all day Sunday. For more information, visit www.kellysatsouthbridge.com.

NORTH SCOTTSDALE

SOL Mexican Cocina: Located at the Scottsdale Quarter, SOL Mexican Cocina’s patio is the ideal place to sit back, relax and sip on margarita after a day of shopping or before a night out. The perfectly shaded patio features plush seating, an outdoor bar and a view overlooking the vibrant heart of Scottsdale. The restaurant’s menu features Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh, sustainable ingredients. Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert of the Baja peninsula, SOL features old world charm juxtaposed with an urban comfort. For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.

DOWNTOWN PHOENIX

Tilted Kilt: Overlooking downtown Phoenix at Cityscape is where this patio is located. At this Celtic-themed pub and eatery, you will always find five things: ice cold beer and plenty of it, a mouthwatering menu full of traditional and contemporary pub fare, large TV screens showcasing sporting events, a festive atmosphere full of fun and friends, and attractive cast members eager to put a smile on your face and make you feel right at home. Enjoy specials on their “Hoppy Hour” menu throughout the week. www.tiltedkilt.com.

WEST VALLEY:

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Enjoy your favorite pizza while you soak up the beautiful fall season. Each of Grimaldi’s eight Arizona locations has a distinct patio. The Peoria location has one of the largest—lining the entire north side of the building with seating for about 50 people. So if you’re in the mood for pizza and cannoli or just want to enjoy a glass of vino or beer, Grimaldi’s in Peoria is a perfect place to unwind. For more information, visit www.grimaldispizzeria.com.

Uptown Alley: Uptown Alley, located in Surprise, is a 60,000 square foot family entertainment venue featuring bowling, an arcade, two-level laser tag, an ultra-lounge and more. Check out their great patio during this fall at their full-service restaurant, Red Embers Bar and Grill. Indulge in six-hundred calorie selections, gluten free dishes, craft sandwiches, new signature burgers and a custom Burger Bar. Guests can also take advantage of the special Tailgate Menu that’s available every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday throughout football season. The menu includes items such as Smoked Turkey Legs, Chili Cheese Franks and Stadium Nachos. During the regular season every Sunday guests can enjoy the Touchdown Special that includes one game of bowling, shoe rental and a $5 game card all for just $7. Visit www.uptownalleysurprise.com for more information.

vaping

How Does ‘Vaping’ Fit Into Workplace Smoking Bans?

In 2006, Arizonans made their voices heard by passing the Smoke-Free Act, which prohibits smoking tobacco products in places of employment, but where do electronic cigarettes and “vaping” — the act of inhaling water vapor through a personal vaporizer or electronic cigarette — fit into the equation?

In the past 8 years e-cigarettes have become nearly an $8 billion industry. As vaping increases, so do the conversations about workplace policy. Many companies have adopted a vaping policy that echoes language in the Arizona’s Smoke-Free Act. However, it is potentially problematic because the Smoke-Free Act prohibits the use of lighted tobacco products and the statue does not address electronic cigarettes. The American Lung Association has expressed concerns about e-cigarettes after a 2009 Food and Drug Administration study found they released toxic cancer-causing chemicals. However, the FDA has yet to release rules on the e-cigarettes. With no firm federal and sates guidelines, companies are in limbo in terms of workplace policies regarding vaping.

John Egbert, a labor and employment attorney with Jennings, Strauss & Salmon,said the question is whether vaping legally fits into the already established law. Even though the federal government is still working on its policy, the situation is still fluid and employers need to decide how to handle the increase in the number of e-cigarette users before legal complication arise.

“Employers should consider revising their existing smoking polices to address the new issues associated with e-cigarettes in the workplace,” said Pavneet Singh Uppal, regional managing partner at Fisher & Phillip.

It benefits the employer to take a position while the government figures it out, experts said. When revising a smoking policy, companies need to address whether e-cigarettes are allowed in the workplace, in separate areas, in certain social situations and the grievance process or ramifications when the rules are broken and infringed upon.

“Because the exact effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown, it is best to err on the side of caution and designate a specific area where e-cigarettes are allowed, but is separate from traditional smoking areas,” Uppal said.

Many of the possible negatives of vaping are widely known — like air quality concerns and concerns about the amount of pollutants in the vapor. “But even though we all know that smoking is bad for you, employers should take time to understand how e-cigarettes work and that they may have some benefits,” Uppal said.

Gregory Conley, an attorney and president of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit organization established primarily for the purpose of positive media advocacy regarding vaping and e-cigarettes, believes “permitting vaping in the workplace, or even just setting up areas in the office where vaping in permitted, can foster a healthier workplace by providing great incentive for smokers to quit.”

Advocates to fostering a work environment that permits vaping believe productivity could increase among vapers. Smokers often spend time not working on a “smoke break,” while vapers could be allowed to remain at their desk. Due to the lack of smoke, e-cigarettes have been marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Additionally, a vaping office could serve as a more congenial atmosphere because e-cigarettes do not have a distinctive odor that is unpleasant to non-smokers.

“If vaping is better than smoking, getting smoking employers to vape is a step in the right direction,” Egbert said.

T Mobile IPhone

Arizona State Fair’s Mobile App Debuts

In a continued effort to improve the guest experience, the Arizona State Fair launched a new mobile app free for download for iOS and Android. The app offers immediate access to information on attractions, rides, concerts, discounts, and all things Arizona State Fair. Guests can even find community stage schedules and contest winners for the livestock and competitive entries competitions on the app.

One of the great features of the mobile app is its interactive map. Users can filter icons on the map to display only certain categories, including the locations of restrooms and ATMS, stages, or shopping areas. There is also the ability to place personal markers to help guests remember where they parked or assign a family meeting place.

Users looking to plan ahead for their visit will find detailed attraction descriptions, concert times and reserved seating prices, ride information and ticket requirements, information on gate admission discounts, and a schedule of Fair events.

Whether you are planning your Arizona State Fair visit before ever stepping foot on the fairgrounds or navigating through the Midway, the Arizona State Fair app is a tremendous resource for everything taking place across the 18 days of the 2014 season.

Sandra Wilken Luxury Properties

Coldwell Banker Names New Arizona President

GregHollmanColdwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Arizona announced the company has appointed Greg Hollman as its new president. Hollman, who has held numerous leadership roles Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in both Arizona and Southern California, replaces Malcolm MacEwen, who will be stepping down as president and moving into a sales capacity with the company in order to spend more time with his family.

Hollman will oversee Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s 26 offices and 1,300 independent sales associates across Arizona. The company, which serves areas including Scottsdale/Phoenix and surrounding suburbs as well as Tucson, Prescott and Lake Havasu, is part of NRT LLC, the largest residential real estate brokerage in the nation.

“With Greg’s knowledge of the Arizona market, his proven track record and his familiarity with the Coldwell Banker culture, we are confident that he will successfully lead and grow our Arizona operations,” said Jeff Culbertson, regional executive vice president of NRT’s Southwest Region. “Malcolm has served our company well and leaves a legacy that will be difficult to surpass,” added Culbertson. “It goes without saying, he will be missed.”

Hollman, who has been with Coldwell Banker since 1991, started his career with Coldwell Banker Success in Arizona. In 2005, NRT acquired Coldwell Banker Success, where Hollman was made regional vice president of the Southern Arizona operations three years later. Since then, Hollman has held various leadership roles both in Arizona and Southern California.

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Humana, Iora Health partner in Arizona

Improved health and more coordinated care for Medicare Advantage members is the goal behind a new Accountable Care arrangement and population health management partnership between Humana Inc. and Iora Health.

The partnership launches Iora’s unique health care model in Arizona and Washington where Iora Health will open four new primary care practices – two in Phoenix and two in Seattle – under the Iora Primary Care brand.

The primary care practices are designed exclusively for Humana’s Medicare Advantage members and will provide members access to affordable, quality care. Building on Iora’s proven success, these practices will have integrated care teams that include doctors, nurses, health coaches, medication management, behavioral health and social services resources. Iora builds practices to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve, including hiring teams who speak their patients’ languages and who understand the local challenges patients face.

“The partnership with Humana allows Iora to help improve the lives of seniors in Phoenix and Seattle,” said Rushika Fernandopulle, M.D., M.P.P., CEO and Co-Founder of Iora Health. “Seniors deserve care matched to their specific needs. Iora’s people-first primary care operating system helps do just that. We’re thrilled to partner with Humana to continue to restore humanity to health care.”

Iora Health serves over 9,000 patients in seven primary care practices across four states. Iora has expanded the definition of primary care to include integrated health and wellness, offering behavioral health and groups like Diabetes Club and yoga. Results have shown improved patient engagement, experience and clinical outcomes. Additionally, Iora’s proprietary collaborative care technology enables Iora to treat and manage their full patient population and allows for patients to view and contribute to their medical record.

“Partnerships like the one with Iora Primary Care help Humana close the gap for our members by making access to care easier and providing coordination of care,” said Mark El-Tawil, West Division Leader for Humana’s Senior Products. “We’re excited that Iora’s unique care model will provide innovative patient-centered care for our Humana Medicare Advantage members, improving their well-being.”

The Arizona primary care practices are located at 3137 W. Indian School Road in Phoenix and 6611 W. Peoria Avenue in Glendale. The Washington primary care practices are located at 306 23rd Avenue South in Seattle and 15214 Aurora Avenue North in Shoreline.

The Arizona and Seattle primary care practices will open September 2014, and will start seeing Humana Medicare Advantage members on Oct. 1, 2014. The Shoreline, Wash., primary care practices will open October 2014, and will start seeing Humana Medicare Advantage members on Nov. 1, 2014.

Humana aims to work closely with doctors and hospitals through its Accountable Care Continuum. The continuum is a stepped approach to pay-for-value reimbursement that allows the company to implement different value-based partnerships with hospitals and doctors based on their infrastructure capabilities and risk-tolerance.

The new partnership between Humana and Iora Health includes value-based incentives tied to performance improvement and will bring better patient care coordination, more cost effective, quality care and a world-class patient experience to Humana members in Arizona and Washington. The partnership will offer more personalized care and a broad range of population management tools like predictive analytics and chronic care, disease management and wellness programs.

The Humana/Iora Health partnership emphasizes quality outcomes with a focus on care coordination and leverages measures as defined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set like diabetes care and treatment, breast cancer screenings, colorectal cancer screenings and high-risk medication.

Humana has a 25-year Accountable Care relationship history with more than one million members that are cared for by 33,000 primary care physicians, in more than 900 Accountable Care relationships across 40 states and Puerto Rico.

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Could fantasy football land you in jail?

Jonathan Hasebe, an attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy.

Jonathan Hasebe, an attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy.

With football season here, fantasy leagues are scoring big with sports fans. But, what may throw many Arizonans for a loss is many sports fans’ favorite pastime can also be a crime. The multi-billion dollar fantasy sports industry is illegal in Arizona, creating potential legal risks and gray areas for fantasy sport enthusiasts.

Since fantasy sports hit the scene, is has exploded in popularity and the professional sports leagues love it because of the marketing and exposure it generates for the leagues. In 2006, the federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act. However, Congress made a specific exemption for fantasy sports, based on the belief that fantasy sports are rooted in skill and outcomes are based primarily on statistical results of the athletes. However, the industry is regulated on the state level.

“Arizona is a unique minority in the nation when it comes to fantasy sports,” according to Jonathan Hasebe, an attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy.

Hasebe said Arizona state law differs with federal law, stating that fantasy sports are based on chance, not skill. This makes fantasy leagues that involve any kind of reward illegal.

Whether a specific fantasy league is legal in Arizona depends on where the league originates and the operating procedures of the league. Three ways exist for the league to be legal:

• The league does not play for money.
• If everyone participating is over the age of 21 and no entity outside of the contest benefits financially.
• If the league is conducted out of a regulated gambling establishment, like a tribal compact casino.

However, Arizonians cannot participate in nationwide fantasy sports leagues that involve reward because of the Arizona Gambling Law that states, “No other person, other than the player or players, derives a profit from the money paid to gamble.” Contests that have an administrative fee disqualifies the league as an “amusement” or “social” gambling event under Arizona law. These contests include popular leagues run by ESPN and CBS.

Last year, State Sen. Adam Driggs attempted to change the standing law with Senate Bill 1468. The bill intended to set fantasy sports apart from gambling and outline the specifics for what is considered fantasy sport under state law. The Arizona Indian Gaming Association came out against the bill, which would have legalized and regulated fantasy sports gaming. The bill failed to reach the senate floor.
“Personally I have never heard of the law being enforced,” Hasebe said.

But, Arizonians who participate are committing a misdemeanor. And under Arizona Chapter 33 of Title 13, which states, “benefiting from a game of chance” is prohibited, commissioners of leagues are committing a Class 5 felony.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association reported that in 2013 there were more than 33.5 million people playing fantasy sports in the United States alone. It is not only illegal for Arizonans to partake in this national trend, Arizona is also missing out on the business and money-making opportunities that come along with the industry, according to Hasebe.

Navajo Settlement

Navajo will receive $554 million settlement

The Navajo Nation is poised to receive $554 million from the federal government over allegations of mismanagement of tribal resources in the largest settlement of its kind for an American Indian tribe, according to an Associated Press report.

Much of the land on the sprawling reservation has been leased for uses such as farming, grazing, oil and gas development, mining and housing.

The leases once were largely overseen by the U.S. government, which mismanaged the revenue and failed to properly invest and account for it, according to the tribe.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Window Rock, Arizona, the Navajo Nation capital, to formalize the deal Friday.

She released a statement Thursday saying the agreement strengthens ties between the Navajo and U.S. governments and helps empower the tribe’s communities.

Navajo officials hailed the settlement as a positive end to a long ordeal. President Ben Shelly, in a statement, called it “a victory for tribal sovereignty.”

The tribe agreed to settle the case months ago but has been awaiting approval from federal agencies before the deal could be finalized. The Navajo Nation originally sought $900 million when the lawsuit was filed in 2006.

The 27,000-square-mile reservation is larger than any American Indian land base, and covers sections of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Almost two-thirds of the 300,000 Navajos live on the reservation that has some of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest and is rich in natural resources.

Quarles & Brady Managing Partner Nicole Standton, far left, firm Managing Partner Fred Lautz, Matt Dana and firm Chair Kimberly Leach Johnson attend a signing ceremony welcoming Dana to the team, effectively launching Quarles’ Scottsdale office.

Quarles & Brady Adds Dana Law Firm to Practice

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Matt Dana, a premier estate planning attorney in Scottsdale, will be joining the firm on November 1, along with two associates and two paralegals on his team. Their affiliation with Quarles & Brady will build on the work of Quarles & Brady attorney Trisha Baggs, a highly regarded estate planning attorney in the firm’s Phoenix office. With the addition of Dana and his team, Quarles & Brady will establish a presence in Scottsdale, its 10th location nationwide and third in Arizona. The new office will be located at 8817 E. Bell Road, Suite 201, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260.

Dana Law Firm founder Matthew S. Dana will be joining Quarles & Brady as a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office. He will combine his highly developed Arizona trusts & estates practice with Quarles & Brady’s national practice, allowing the two firms to support and augment one another on a single platform, enhancing the new union’s ability to serve clients across Arizona and the country in general.

The new Scottsdale office will continue to serve local trusts & estates clients, but the service offerings at that location will multiply, as it delivers Quarles & Brady’s full range of business legal representations as a full member of the national network.

Also joining Quarles are associates Trevor Whiting and Todd Smith, and paralegals Jennifer Skubic and Kate Sieger. Whiting and Sieger will join Dana in the firm’s Phoenix office, while Smith and Skubic will work in the Scottsdale office.

“We’re gratified that our firm continues to grow at such a robust pace, especially because that growth is driven by solid opportunities,” said Firm Chair Kimberly Leach Johnson. “We look forward to increasing our trusts & estates portfolio through the special strengths that Matt Dana and his team bring to the firm, and we’re also delighted to add Scottsdale to our national service network. It’s a win-win development.”

“My team and I have been providing our clients with premium trusts & estates services for many years, and now we have an opportunity, together with Trisha Baggs and the entire Quarles & Brady team, to offer them even more assistance, in many areas of law, with the power and reach of a national firm,” said Dana. “My team will continue to offer the same excellent estate planning services to our many former Dana Law Firm clients, but the chance to take it up another notch by joining Quarles & Brady is too good to pass on.”

“We are very pleased to have Matt Dana and members of his team join our Phoenix office and to be opening the firm’s third Arizona office,” said Phoenix Managing Partner, Nicole Stanton. “Partnering Matt with our own Trisha Baggs creates a powerhouse trusts & estates ensemble right here in Arizona, enhancing our on-the-ground presence and the width and breadth of our nationwide practice, allowing us to better serve our clients here and on a national scale.”

Quarles & Brady intends to be an active member of the Scottsdale community, as it has been in Phoenix, Tucson and its seven other locations across the country. The firm has a long history of enthusiastic social responsibility, embraced by civic-minded lawyers and staff members alike. The firm is committed to supporting and sustaining its local communities through its Quarles Cares program and pro bono services, reflecting an ongoing devotion to making communities the firm calls “home” better places to live. Matt Dana is himself a long-time, ardent supporter of Arizona State University and has been active in several of its programs and initiatives through the years.

About the Attorneys:

Matthew S. Dana, founding attorney of the Dana Law Firm, has spent last 25 years building one of the top estate planning practices in the state of Arizona. Dana practices exclusively in the areas of estate and asset protection planning. His clients range from modest estates to the extremely wealthy, including multimillionaires and other similarly situated clients, some of which have a net worth in excess of $50 million.

Trevor Whiting concentrates his practice on estate/gift tax planning and estate/trust income tax planning. Whiting’s strong background in tax law is beneficial to addressing the tax issues that arise while planning or administering an estate. He handles the estate and income tax issues related to dealing with out-of-state fiduciaries or trusts and estates owning property in multiple jurisdictions.

Todd Smith focuses his practice on estate planning, probate and trust administration, and business organizations. Smith has extensive experience with business organizations, including advising business owners and preparing buy-sell agreements for business succession planning as well as advising clients with substantial wealth in forming business entities like limited liability companies (LLC’s) and family limited partnerships (FLP’s) for asset protection and estate planning purposes.

Jennifer Skubic assists clients in estate planning, probate and trust administration. She has firsthand knowledge of how to execute trust documents and how to fund a living trust and works very closely with the attorneys to administer trusts and estates once someone has passed away.

Kate Sieger has extensive experience with helping clients attain their estate planning goals and enjoys working with a diverse group of clients. She works closely with attorneys, helping clients administer an estate after the death of a loved one.

Bradley Nynalek of Quarles & Brady; Paul Hickman, president and CEO of Arizona Bankers Association; Elizabeth Reich, CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona; AZ Big Media Editor in Chief Michael Gossie; and AZ Big Media CEO Mike Atkinson.

AZ Big Media gives almost $17K to Make-A-Wish

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AZ Big Media and the Arizona Bankers Association have teamed up to make wishes come true.

The media company, which publishes Az Business magazine, AZRE, Ranking Arizona and five other Arizona-based publications, created Bankers Care, in which it donated a portion of all bank-related advertising revenue to Make-A-Wish Arizona. The Arizona Bankers Association is featured in supplement that is published annually in the November issue of Az Business magazine.

“We realize how much the banking industry gives back to the communities they serve in Arizona,” said AZ Big Media CEO Mike Atkinson. “We saw this as a way to show the banking industry that we appreciate the support they give to the business community that we cover. We also wanted to do our part to impact the community in a positive way.”

On Tuesday, Atkinson presented a check for $16,824 to Make-A-Wish Arizona CEO Elizabeth Reich, which was the result of the Bankers Care partnership between AZ Big Media and the Arizona Bankers Association.

“The fact that we were able to do this for Make-A-Wish meant a lot to me personally,” said said AZ Big Media Editor in Chief Michael Gossie. “I have two sisters who both had life-threatening medical conditions and both were beneficiaries of the amazing work that Make-A-Wish accomplishes. The joy that Make-A-Wish brought to my sister Lisa’s final days when they arranged for the Buffalo Bills to visit her is something that brought my family comfort in a time of great despair. And the strength that my sister Kristina’s Make-A-Wish trip to Disneyland gave her allowed her to weather her medical crisis and live a full life. I am proud that AZ Big Media’s contribution will help Make-A-Wish impact the lives of other families like it enriched my family.”

downtown Gilbert AZ

Money Ranks Gilbert 22nd Most Livable City

Gilbert, Arizona has received yet another recognition as one of the best places to live in the country. Time’s Money Magazine has ranked Gilbert as the 22nd Most Livable Small City in America. The study reviewed 781 cities with populations between 50,000 to 300,000, comparing factors ranging from the local economy and housing market to schools and healthcare. Gilbert was the only Arizona city to make the list. The average population of the 50 cities recognized is 87,500, with only two cities, including Gilbert, with populations over 200,000. The study also shows that, of the top 50 cities, Gilbert holds the 4th lowest average property taxes.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Money Magazine,” says Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “For a community of Gilbert’s size to be recognized as one of the most livable is an incredible achievement and is a reflection of our great residents, businesses, and schools.”

To see the full article, and the reasons behind Gilbert making this list, visit https://time.com/money/3312332/gilbert-az-best-places-to-live/.

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Arizona health official: Get your flu shot

Arizona’s top health official says it’s time to get vaccinated for the flu and to encourage others to do the same.

The flu season usually starts in October, and state Health Services Director Will Humble says steps now underway include monitoring reported cases and distributing distribution of vaccines.

He says officials also are testing flu specimens to identify strains that are circulating and to detect potential drug resistance.

Humble says the state has only one flu case reported in the past couple of weeks. He says

According to the Department of Health Services, 12,000 people in Arizona were hospitalized or sickened by the flu during last year’s season.

Michael Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance.

MJ Named ‘Best Places to Work in Insurance’

MJ Insurance, a leading property-casualty and employee benefits agency, was recently named one of the ‘Best Places to Work in Insurance’ by Business Insurance and Best Companies Group.

The annual program was created six years ago to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in insurance. To be considered for the award companies had to fulfill specific eligibility requirements including having a facility in the United States, have at least 25 employees, and be in a business for a minimum of one year.

Companies from across the country entered the two-part process to be considered. Companies are evaluated on their workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. Employees are also encouraged to take a survey rating their employee experience with the company.

MJ Insurance has also been named one of the “Best Places to Work” in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce for six consecutive years. MJ ranked No. 14 in the chamber’s medium-sized companies’ category.

“We are honored to be named a ‘Best Place to Work’ by multiple organizations,” said MJ Insurance CEO Michael H. Bill. “We are proud to have hardworking and dedicated employees in both our Indiana and Arizona offices.”

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.

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Leadership Forum: ‘Eyes of the world will be on Arizona’

The partnership between Starbucks and Arizona State University stirs up the way people can pay for college, have a family, and work at the same time.

Today, the 2014 Arizona Leadership Forum started off with the main message of, “We need you to lead us,” specifically speaking to attending business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. For quite some time, people have had the wrong impression of Arizona, but that’s about to change.

“Soon the eyes of the world will be on Arizona,” said Jathan Segur, executive vice president of National Bank of Arizona, referring to the 2015 Super Bowl, which will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. “We will have the chance to talk about what’s right about Arizona.”

Segur’s speech set the tone of hope and optimism for the Leadership Forum.

Among those messages of hope, was one about the American dream to receive a high-quality college education. Unfortunately, it seems an unreachable dream for most. College tuition costs have risen 80 percent in the past 10 years. Therefore, only a select few can afford to go to college, and even fewer get to finish.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is the first of its kind, where a national company is taking the initiative to partner with an educational institution to give employees a second chance to live out their American dream. Due to the increasing college expenses, less than 50 percent of college students complete their degree.

“We employ a generation hit hard by our recession,” said Dervala Manley, vice president of global strategy at Starbucks Coffee Company.

Starbucks part-time and full-time employees from around the globe can now apply to receive funding towards their degree from Arizona State University. Freshman and sophomores attending ASU will be given a partial scholarship, accompanied with financial aid depending on their needs. Juniors and seniors will be given full tuition reimbursement with each year they continue to finish their studies. Students will have no obligation to stay at Starbucks after graduation.

Philip Regier, executive vice provost and dean of ASU online and extended campuses emphasized on how ASU wants to give everyone, no mater what their background, an equal chance to get a high-quality education. ASU has all 40 majors online as well as in person, making it more convenient for the working class.

“We did it [partnership] because we had a set of shared values,” Regier said.

This partnership between ASU and Starbucks is a leading example for an innovative state of mind in Arizona. Through the voices of the people, partnerships can form to benefit this generation. This partnership has created a way for aspiring college students to reach their highest potential in life.
“The face of Starbucks is not Howard Schultz, it’s the barista,” Hanley said.

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Arizona State Credit Union rewards grads

Arizona State Credit Union awarded $38,000 to 19 deserving students and alumni of Arizona universities and colleges through its Community Leaders Scholarship and Loan Reduction Grant program.

The seventh annual grant and scholarship program supports the Credit Union’s ongoing commitment to provide financial assistance to students and alumni of in-state colleges and universities.

“The Credit Union’s cooperative culture stems from our focus on what we can do to help Arizona residents and community members,” said David E. Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “Our scholarship program has been in place for seven years, and is one of the many ways we give back to the community. We are proud to once again reward students and alumni for all of their hard work.”

All 19 recipients hail from Arizona’s student and alumni population and are affiliated with one of the following schools: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, South Mountain Community College, the University of Phoenix, Yavapai College, Estrella Mountain Community College and Coconino Community College.

The Community Leaders Scholarship helps students attending state universities, colleges and vocational schools pay for various expenses, including tuition, books and other academic necessities.

The Loan Reduction Grant assists graduates in paying on their student loans, a significant financial burden that affects many students upon graduation. The grant was awarded to graduates who exhibited strong academic prowess and active participation in community efforts.

For information regarding 2015 scholarship and grant applications, visit us online at azstcu.org.

Congratulations to:

• Aaron Burger – Northern Arizona University
• Alyssa McGregor – University of Arizona
• Angela Towner – University of Phoenix
• Blake Koolick – Arizona State University
• Brandon Quezada – Arizona State University
• Clarence Cleveland Jr. – Arizona State University
• Connie Berry – Arizona State University
• Delaney Scanlan – South Mountain Community College
• Heather McCrea – Yavapai College
• Lauren Meyer – University of Arizona
• Maria Pina – Arizona State University
• Natasha Kukowski – Arizona State University
• Nathan Eyde – University of Arizona
• Nicole Porter – Northern Arizona University
• Rianne Gibson – Northern Arizona University
• Saumya Gupta – Arizona State University
• Sergio Copus-Nunez – Estrella Mountain Community College
• Spencer Forsberg – Yavapai College
• Taylor Richards – Coconino Community College

Chad Heinrich is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

We need to truly measure students’ knowledge and skills

In the business world, when something isn’t working, we work hard to change and adapt it to better meet the needs of the market. The same should be expected of our education system in Arizona.

For years we’ve been operating off a system that isn’t hitting the mark and meeting the needs of future employers. Extremely low standards coupled with a test that told students they were graduation-eligible at merely a ninth- or tenth-grade level have left Arizona behind in the dust. A system that resulted in nearly 53 percent of high school graduates who do not qualify for admission to our state public universities along with 59 percent of community college students requiring remediation. Worse yet, the old system didn’t prepare students for employment. Local businesses have stated many times that newly hired high school graduates are deficient in reading, writing and math and lack basic communications skills.

So where do we go from here? The Arizona Legislature made a bold move in retiring Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) during the 2013 session, a decision that was strongly supported by the business community. In implementing Arizona’s higher, more rigorous K-12 standards, there is a clear need for a new assessment that measures those standards and skills needed for employment.

The State Board of Education is in the process of selecting a new assessment; however, there are some basic things we know to be true about the configuration of a new test. First, the test selected will align with the new standards, while providing students with an opportunity to go beyond rote memorization and demonstrate their critical thinking skills. The new test will give teachers and parents a clearer picture that students are on track for college and career, something AIMS did not do. Importantly, the test will help students measure the skills demanded by today’s employers.

Instead of a high stakes “pass or fail” determination that required a student to pass the AIMS test to graduate, high school students will get a “college or career readiness” score that might eventually be factored into their course grades. Students and families will have a score that is worth paying attention to, instead of an ambiguous “pass” that only tells them they have mastered the skills of a tenth grader.

Additionally, these tests will likely be the same across much of the country, meaning students will be held to the same expectations in each grade across schools, districts and states in a way that has not been possible until now. As they prepare for life beyond high school, this will create an environment where Arizona students will know if they are competitive with their peers across the country and around the world.

As business leaders, we have supported the accountability systems the legislature has moved forward over the past several years, including school A-F letter grades, teacher and principal evaluations, as well as Move on When Reading, Arizona’s third-grade, reading-retention law. These accountability measures are all dependent on data that monitors how students are doing and how much they are progressing from year to year, which requires a meaningful assessment.

The business community will continue to strongly advocate for the adoption and funding of a high-quality, aligned assessment. It is critical that we better prepare our students for college and career, and this starts by adopting a functional assessment that students, families, teachers and employers can rely on to truly measure knowledge and skills.

Chad Heinrich is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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Arizona Theatre Company opens season with laughs

Arizona Theatre Company opens the 2014-15 season with the Arizona premiere of the hilarious comedy of ill manners, the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” from Oct. 9-26 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in downtown Phoenix.

The show is directed by Joel Sass, the force behind ATC’s critically acclaimed production of The 39 Steps. The 2014-15 season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser. Opening night sponsor in Phoenix is Gammage & Burnham.

In Christopher Durang’s “all out-smash” (Talkin’ Broadway), Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia are living a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman, Cassandra, issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow – and so begins an unforgettable weekend building to a fever pitch of rivalry, regret and racket. Mixing Chekhov shout-outs with contemporary cringe-worthy flair, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a delightfully off-kilter season-opening romp that critics have hailed “a sublime state of hilarity” and “a zany joy!”

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is among the funniest plays to pass our way in a long time,” Arthur Dorman wrote on Talkin’ Broadway Minneapolis. “That it carries with it a tender heart and has been mounted in a sparkling production makes it a show not to be missed.”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike contains strong language. Total running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes including intermission. This production was produced in association with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Single tickets prices range from $41 to $72.

Season-ticket packages range from $87 to $372 depending upon the package and seat selection. Pick-Your-Play packages of three, four or five plays also are available as is the Flexpass that includes four tickets to any play in the regular season on any day, in any combination.

Season subscriber benefits include discounts on additional tickets, priority seating and up to 50 percent off regular box office prices, among others.

For more information in Phoenix call (602) 256-6995. For complete information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

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Harmon Solar Making a Solar Power Impact in Rural Arizona

Driving around the Valley, it’s hard to miss all of the solar panel installations that are taking place at many of the schools around town. What you probably haven’t noticed is this same type of activity is also happening at schools in more rural parts of the state. Through APS’ Solar for Schools and Government program, Harmon Solar is fortunate to be a big part of the alternative energy evolution and solar panel installations that are taking place in Northern and Southern Arizona!

The program is an innovative cooperative effort to enable publicly funded K-12 school districts, publicly funded charter schools and government entities to enjoy energy savings with solar power. In 2012 alone, Harmon Solar has been awarded almost 35% of the school projects available through this program, the most granted to any one solar installer! We have completed 10 photovoltaic solar panel arrays in Cottonwood, Douglas, Oak Creek, Prescott Valley, and Dateland, and another in Gadsden is underway. The solar power systems are installed on top of new covered parking structures, not only providing energy savings with solar power but much needed shade from the Arizona sun!

Harmon Solar is excited to be a partner with APS for their solar power program, Solar for Schools and Government, which will ultimately offset approximately 62,000 megawatt hours of energy consumption or generation over its first three years. This is equivalent to removing 5,400 cars from the road.

For more information, contact Harmon Solar at 623-879-0010 or visit www.harmonsolar.com.