Tag Archives: ASU

technology

Booker expands tech operations to Scottsdale

Booker, the leading platform for service commerce, announces plans to expand their operations to Scottsdale. With headquarters in New York City, and offices in Orange County, Calif. and Singapore, Booker’s decision to grow into Scottsdale at SkySong is a great addition to the companies who have already selected SkySong to grow.

Booker’s platform allows services businesses of all sizes to provide accurate, up to date information with their clients to connect them with various services. With Booker, businesses are able to engage with clients and expand their reach to a larger customer base. 

“We are excited to become a part of the unique ecosystem in Scottsdale’s SkySong ASU Innovation Center” said Josh McCarter, Booker CEO. “Scottsdale’s talent pool, world-class technology presence, and university partnerships make it an ideal place to expand our business and continue our mission of helping small and medium service businesses grow intelligently while serving their customers better.”

“Scottsdale continues to attract growing technology companies like Booker to Arizona,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “We believe that Scottsdale is cultivating a culture of innovation and leadership that fosters a spirit of collaboration amongst creative technology companies that wish to live and work in a community that emulates their lifestyle and beliefs.”

“Building upon the growing critical mass of technology companies in metro Phoenix, Booker joins the ranks of major tech companies such as Weebly and Zenefits, who have chosen to grow their operations in the region,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “This emergence of tech companies into the market is indicative of the robust talent pool that exists, and the great livability our communities offer these workers.”

“We are pleased to welcome Booker Software in joining more than 70 companies affiliated with SkySong,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship, learning from Booker’s tremendous success and offering a collaborative innovation environment as well as connections with ASU’s student talent.”

To learn more about Booker, and their current openings in the new Scottsdale location, visit http://www.booker.com/careers.

transgenderedit

ASU takes steps toward gender-neutral equality

Arizona State University is making gender equality efforts starting at home. Tempe campus’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) passed Senate Bill 81 (SB81) to enable gender-neutral bathrooms and housing floors across ASU.

Barrett, the Honors College’s Senator Daniel Martin wants to welcome individuals of all typical gender binary.

“What we’re looking to do here is get rid of the gender binary terms that are restricting people,” Martin said.

According to Tempe campus’s USG President Cassidy Possehl, ASU is behind on the cultural progression.

“There is such a strong culture of acceptance and diversity within the student body, but it seems that within the larger infrastructure of the university, things are lagging behind. USG has always been at the forefront of pushing for those infrastructural changes in collaboration with a lot of other student groups,” she said.

The bill would advocate changing current bathrooms sings and one floor of each residential building from one-gendered to neutral-gendered, according to Martin.

Arizona State University student and member of LGBT community Jay Gress has faith that ASU’s efforts are being heard.

“Lately I’ve been seeing gender neutral bathrooms at various locations,” he said, “just seeing small acts like this makes me feel assured that the human race is moving in the right direction, no matter how quickly,” he said.

Martin said modifications are projected to take place as early the next academic year.

I am confident that, if housing is willing, the changes could be made for the housing cycle beginning in the fall of 2016,” he said.

Gress has positive thoughts on ASU’s efforts for gender equality. Even identifying as a gay member of the LGBT community, he admits he is still learning,

“I was unaware that there were enough transgender students at ASU for whole dorm floors across campus,” he said.

USG holds power to their campus, so further collaborations will have to be made to enable modifications across all other campuses, according to Martin.

SB 81 specifically advocates for the changes to be made in Tempe because that is the limit of the power of the Senate; however, next year I hope that there will be collaboration between all of the USG’s and we can institute these changes (or even expand them) upon all campuses,” he said.

At this time, USG has passed the bill and is waiting for outside administration to take further action.

I hoped that passing this bill would give some urgency and sense of purpose to the potential advocates for Gender Neutral facilities.”

satellite

Arizona’s aerospace industry may turn to space tourism

Arizona’s missile and space vehicle industry has faced massive cuts to its government contracts over the last four years, forcing some companies to explore other revenue sources.

Experts said the industry may turn to space tourism and commercial space programs to fill that gap.

The state has several advantages to expand in this market: good weather, a strong infrastructure and legislative support.

One Tucson-based company plans to start taking passengers to the outermost edge of earth’s atmosphere in high-altitude balloons by next year. Another recently won a contract to develop humidity control systems for commercial spacecraft.

“Government funding is on the decline, but space tourism is set to launch,” according to a 2014 industry report by IBISWorld, a Australian-based research company.

Arizona has 1,200 companies operating in the aerospace field, making the state America’s third-largest supply chain contributor for aerospace and defense, according to a 2012 study by the consulting firm Deloitte, which looked at the emerging industry trends.

These aerospace companies significantly impact Arizona’s overall economy, contributing $15 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

The industry is “very important to the overall economy of the state,” said Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “(But) its growth is dependent on its ability to diversify away from the historical way business has been done.”

Industry depends on military dollars

The military accounts for 63 percent of the missile and space vehicle industry revenue nationwide, according IBISWorld.

In 2011, federal funding for defense began to decline. Experts estimated funding has dropped 3 percent annually from 2009 to 2014. The federal government contributed $620.6 billion in 2014 to the missile and space vehicle industry, according to IBISWord.

Reduced combat operations in the Middle East and the federal sequester – automatic across-the-board budget cuts – caused the decline, according to experts.

In 2012, the state’s space and defense industry received $14 billion in federal contracts, and 91 percent came from the Department of Defense alone, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

With the decrease of federal funds, Arizona has billions of fewer dollars entering the economy, said Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council and a 20-year veteran in the aerospace and defense industry.

With the industry’s top customer spending less, industry stakeholders need to explore broadening their horizons to accommodate more than just the military, Hoffman said.

Tucson’s aerospace cluster

Tucson ranks fourth in the nation for the total percentage of manufacturing workforce dedicated to high-tech work, with more than 51 percent related to aerospace and defense, according to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which cited a 2012 report by Brookings Metropolitan Policy.

Metro Tucson is No.1 in the nation for the most employees active in a missiles and space vehicles trade cluster, according to the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Clusters are geographically concentrated groups of connected companies, universities and related institutions.

But the industry has faced challenges. Direct aerospace manufacturing employment in Tucson saw a decline of about 4 percent from 2013 to 2014, said George Hammond, the director of the research center.

Tucson has been updating local infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the industry.

“Tucson is looking at ways to attract and gain firms in this cluster,” Hammond said.

In 2015, Pima County released a new economic development plan proposing a $600 million parkway-freeway combination, which would link Interstate 19 and Interstate 10. The road would cut through an area just south of The Raytheon Co., a major American defense contractor and missile systems facility in Tucson, Hammond said.

Officials said the plan may help prevent and slow some of the loss in employment by making it easier and cheaper for the suppliers and companies to do business in the area, Hammond said.

But the companies may need to change, too.

To remain competitive in the space industry, the government has encouraged increased competition in the commercial sector, IBISWorld reported.

The budget of NASA, the organization in charge of the U.S. space program and a major buyer of spacecraft and related equipment, has declined every year since fiscal 2011.

Still, IBISWorld predicted missile and space vehicle industry revenue will increase from 2014 to 2019, but only about 1 percent annually.

IBISWorld said companies should focus on several areas: developing contracts for commercial space flights, meeting the growing demand for communication satellites, increasing exports to allies, adding new missile and space development programs and advancing into space tourism.

Zylstra said Arizona officials have recognized the opportunities: “We pushed legislation to make it more appealing to do work here in Arizona.”

In 2014, Arizona passed legislation that opened the door for commercial spaceflight in the state. HB 2163 allows companies to obtain waivers of liability for passengers on commercial spaceflights, in compliance with federal standards. The bill defines the potential risks of spaceflight to passengers and sets the terms and conditions of a waiver.

“Thanks to this bill, space tourism is able to find a home in Arizona,” Katelyn Mixer, a spokeswoman for World View Inc., said in an email.

World View provides commercial services for educational and research flights. But the company plans on entering the space tourism game in 2016.

The company has high-altitude balloons that can reach 100,000 feet in 90 minutes, with a total flight time of four hours.

The company will allow customers to take a space flight for $75,000 per person, compared to Richard Branson’s $250,000 Virgin Galactic’s space flight.

World View is taking reservations for manned flights and private tours.

People are investing time and money into space tourism to position themselves as leaders in “an industry destined to be the largest, most prestigious and profitable industry ‘off’ world,” said John Spencer, founder of the Space Tourism Society, a California-based organization that works to make space tourism readily available faster.

Experts predict that companies that meet the new demands of commercial space will find success and survive government budget cuts.

Major industry players don’t feel as much impact

Raytheon Missile Systems is largest private employer in southern Arizona.

The loss of government funds has caused problems for Raytheon, whose missile systems division is based in Tucson. IBISWorld estimated steep revenue declines for the company. In 2014, Raytheon’s space vehicle and missile manufacturing operations revenue was $6 billion, down $705 million from 2010, according to the research group’s estimates.

However, Raytheon officials said the global company does not feel the cuts like other aerospace companies because it manufactures weapons, not platforms, spokesman John Patterson said. He added that the government will continue to manufacture weapons.

Raytheon has a 26 percent national market share for guided missiles, making it one of the Top Four companies nationally active in this industry, according to IBISWorld.

But even Raytheon, which “does not do too much from a commercial standpoint,” Patterson said, sees its future in space operations.

Raytheon recently completed a 9,600 square foot, $9.2 million expansion of its Space Systems Operations factory at its Tucson International Airport plant complex. The “space factory” was created to boost the company’s ability to create rocket-propelled “kill vehicles” that hunt and destroy ballistic missiles in space.

Michael Shafer, director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and John Bentz, president of developer PAG-CDG.

ASU and Westward Ho launch innovative partnership

Residents who live in a landmark downtown Phoenix affordable housing high-rise will benefit from a new state-of-the-art clinic being built by Arizona State University (ASU) through its Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. The facility will also serve as a valuable training ground for students working under faculty supervision.

 The new facility was made possible by a lease recently approved by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) between ASU and PAG-CDG (Westward Ho developers and property managers). John Bentz, president of PAG said, “This is a rare project for HUD due to the lease and the related programming in the facility.  We are proud that it is happening right here in downtown Phoenix.”

The College of Public Service and Community Solutions is leasing 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the Westward Ho building but this is not the beginning of the relationship. ASU nursing students currently provides residents with health services such as blood pressure checks, nutritional help, and disease prevention programs. The expanded facility will also give residents access to counseling, referral services, community assistance as well as educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. The clinic will provide hands-on experience and professional development training for students majoring in social work, nutrition, therapeutic recreation, and nursing.

“We could not be more excited about this unique opportunity to put the design imperatives of Arizona State University and our College into practice.  An integral part of our mission is to fuse research, service and learning. This innovative partnership does exactly that;  And the Westward Ho initiative exemplifies our dedication to developing collaborative solutions in our community,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“Establishing an ASU presence within this historic landmark of our community is the embodiment of our university’s commitment to community embeddeness”, said Dr. Michael S. Shafer, professor of Social Work and director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. 

The 16-story Westward Ho is a historically significant building. It opened as a hotel in 1928 with 600 elegant rooms. With the exception of one building in Long Beach, California, the hotel was the tallest reinforced concrete structure west of the Mississippi. Its famous Thunderbird Room was added in 1951. The 1,000-seat dinner theater was the site for many grand Phoenix society receptions. In 1979, the 600-room hotel was converted to affordable housing. Today, Westward Ho is a 289 unit ‘elderly preference’ affordable housing development within ¼ mile from a light rail station and close to downtown amenities.

 

“We are happy to have Arizona State University here providing health and social services, “ said Mildred Webb, an 84-year-old resident at Westward Ho. “They have helped me and others many times and now my life is better. I am very happy they are expanding.”

 

“It is great to have companies such as PAG-CDG investing in the community as they have done for over twenty years,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 7. “Top that with ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy running some of the most innovative social programs in the country, and we have a great one-of-a-kind neighborhood asset.” said Councilman Nowakowski.

 

In addition to renovating office space for the faculty, staff, and students that work at the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, Westward Ho plans to repair and upgrade various building components including central plant mechanical and plumbing system repairs and replacement of select in-unit features.

 

“The lease represents the culmination of years of discussions with ASU and will be a true community asset, not only to the residents of Westward Ho, but also the general public,” said John Bentz of PAG-CDG.  “Having ASU expand North of Fillmore Street for the first time will help activate this area of Central Avenue and improve its walkablilty. This is a great example of a public-private initiative between multiple organizations coming together to create a unique and special community asset.”

The clinic is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.

running

Run, rock and roll this weekend

Every weekend brings a new lineup of rocking events around the Valley, and does this weekend rock. Lace up for an Arbor Day 5K, catch some live music and BBQ or prep some questions for a Q-and-A with Anderson Cooper in Phoenix.

Arbor Day Run
The Arbor Day 5K is in its fifth year. Proceeds from the run go to Trees for Tempe. The event allows runners, residents, and businesses to get involved with making the city greener. The route winds around Kiwanis Park. Runners will be timed via chip. Day of activities start at 4:30 pm with the run starting around 6 p.m. Kids can run for free in the Kids Dash.
Kiwanis Park, 5500 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, April 24, $20 in advance, $25 day of event

Anderson Cooper
CNN personality Anderson Cooper will be at the ASU Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. This Delivery Democracy Lecture will discuss the meaning of the word democracy. The lecture is a yearly event that brings in a guest speaker. Cooper is a social justice advocate. This Emmy-winning media icon will present his ideas on participatory democracy. The event is free, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket in advance.
Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, April 25, Free

Grooves, Hooves, BBQ and Blues
This second annual event mixes scenic views and BBQ for the all day event. The BBQ includes Western BBQ and a pig roast. There will also be a chicken wing-eating contest with cash prizes for the top four finishers.  If food contests aren’t your strong suit, there will also be a corn hole tournament with cash prizes for the first and second place teams. Essence Groove Factory will provide live music alongside Lady Jai. The event runs from 11 am until 3 pm.
Rustler’s Rooste, 8383 S. 48th St., Phoenix, April 26, $25

MIM celebrates five years
Since 2010, the Musical Instrument Museum has provided engaging experiences for the community. The MIM opened as the first and largest global musical instrument museum. The community is invited to come and celebrate their five-year milestone. Events will feature performances by some of the museums favorites. While you’re there, be sure to check out their current featured exhibition Beyond the Beat: Drums of the World.
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, April 25-26, $20

Rock n’ Roll by the Pool
Talking Stick Resort will be hosting their summer Pool concert series. This week’s star lineups include Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers in addition to ZZ Top. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers is a band from Tempe that have been rocking across the country since the ’90’s. They will be at the resort’s pool Friday night. ZZ Top will take the stage Sunday night. Formed in 1969, this classic American rock band is still at it today. Both take the stage at 8 p.m.
Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale, April 26, $30+

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute, started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

ASU researchers find potential clues to ovarian cancer

Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers – a type of blood-born signal – is another step toward early detection.

ASU’s new study is the first use of high density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, according to the alliance.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer “with over 15,000 deaths per year,” said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

“Ovarian cancer is often detected late in its course, and by the time it is detected, it is too late to really have a big impact,” said Dr. Josh LaBaer, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection.

Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.

Physicians already use biomarkers to diagnose other diseases. For example, cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease, and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.

The institute, which focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care, also is researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the institute, and LaBaer started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer and after about 10 years of research, they narrowed it down to about a dozen biomarkers.

The institute used the microarray technology to identify three of these autoantibodies as promising biomarker candidates in the new study.

“Now it is time to come up with more serious validation studies to figure out how to put them together in a panel to get a better test,” LaBear said.

Some of the biomarkers discovered by ASU are in the clinical studies phase, and researchers must validate and vet the findings in national studies, Anderson said.

The current tests used for screening for other types of cancer ¬– like mammograms or colonoscopy – are great tools, but they are expensive.

“If we use that as a benchmark for what these tests usually cost,” blood tests can be more cost effective, Anderson said.

Diagnostic tests similar to what the researchers are trying to develop are relatively inexpensive, Anderson said. The molecular test for colon cancer only runs in the several hundred-dollar range.

college_students

Universities scramble to balance budgets after state cuts

At Northern Arizona University, Christopher Gass said he and other engineering students looked forward to having a new building to house the 3-D printers, machines such as laser cutters and other technology they need to complete capstone design projects.

But with Arizona’s public universities losing $99 million in state funding in the recently approved state budget, NAU has dropped plans for the building to help absorb that school’s $17 million hit.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” said Gass, who is studying mechanical engineering. “The entire year, they had planned the building down to the room.”

While universities are still formulating plans for the budget year that begins July 1, some details are starting to emerge.

At Arizona State University, President Michael M. Crow said in an interview with The State Press last week that seeking a tuition increase, something he had said wasn’t on the table, is now a possibility because of the depth of ASU’s cut: $54 million.

“Our total cut since 2008 on a per-student basis is above a 50 percent reduction on the public investment,” Crow said. “We’ve already had furloughs, we’ve already had 1,800 layoffs. We already restructured the institution. We have already made massive changes to everything that we are doing.”

Joe Cutter, director and professor of Chinese at the ASU School of International Letters & Cultures, told students in an email that the availability of some courses will be reduced. He mentioned Hindi as an example.

“We don’t have much to cut this time,” the email said. “It is very likely that we will not be able to offer some classes needed by students.”

At the University of Arizona, which faces a $28 million cut, Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said in an interview that while the funding cuts will be hard to take the school is committed to making it so no group bears the whole load.
“Tuition announcements will be out soon, and we have a proposal that really does not burden the students,” he said. “We’ve had extensive discussions with our student leadership over the last few months, and we’ve had a team-based approach on how we want to set tuition, and I just really want to recognize the leadership role the student played in shaping a budget proposal.”
Tom Bauer, director of the Office of Public Affairs at NAU, said the university wouldn’t be making any cuts to academics.

“We are not spreading this $17 million reduction across everything equally,” he said. “It’s divided on what will best serve students.”

In a letter to students about the cut, NAU President Rita Cheng said all hiring must be “carefully considered,” including her office approving any new positions. It said all travel must be approved by the university’s vice presidents and provost.

“We had been expecting cuts for several weeks, but the higher number significantly changes the scale of all that has been considered thus far,” her letter said.

Crow said ASU’s cut, which amounts to 15 percent per student, reflects an era in which public support for higher education is dwindling lower than ever before. listen

While ASU’s plan had been to reduce expenses in ways that don’t affect students, it might be unavoidable given the scale of the cut.

“We are doing everything we can to not raise in-state tuition,” he said. “We do, however, have an unprecedented financial adjustment that was unanticipated. So we have not made our final thinking on any of this yet.”

Pima Community College, which along with Maricopa Community Colleges lost all of its state funding, is raising in-state tuition by $5 per credit hour to $75.50 and out-of-state tuition by $23 per credit hour to $352 for the upcoming school year. The state eliminated $6.8 million in funding for PCC, which has a budget of $170 million this school year.

“There was already anticipation that funding would be gradually reduced, but not totally cut altogether,” spokeswoman Jodi Horton said.

Ducey said during Thursday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting that he is going to partner with university presidents to redesign higher education.

The UA’s Comrie said he welcomes the governor’s proposal.

“We’ve had very good discussions with him already,” Comrie said. “We have to be realists of what the budget will look like, and we are partnering on doing that.”

Public university cuts:

• NAU: $17 million (from $118.3 million in fiscal 2015)

• ASU: $54 million (from $349.3 million in fiscal 2015)

• UA: $28 million (from $278.9 million in fiscal 2015)

Source: Joint Legislative Budget Committee

 

College_Plan

Starbucks, ASU expand education partnership

Starbucks Corporation and Arizona State University announced that Starbucks College Achievement Plan, first introduced in June 2014, will now offer 100 percent tuition coverage for every eligible U.S. Starbucks partner (employee). As part of its commitment to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company, Starbucks developed this program in partnership with ASU to create additional pathways to opportunity for its partners. Full tuition coverage was previously available to juniors and seniors, but now all eligible part-time or full-time partners can apply for and complete all four years of a bachelor’s degree through ASU’s top-ranked online degree program. In addition to partners receiving full tuition coverage, the company is offering faster tuition reimbursement – now at the end of each semester.

“Everyone deserves a chance at the American dream,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo of Starbucks. “The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt. By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity. We’re stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success.”

Nearly 2,000 Starbucks partners have already enrolled in the program, and this significant expansion will offer a top-notch education to all full-time and part-time partners, with the opportunity to choose from 49 undergraduate degree programs through ASU Online. The company will invest up to $250 million or more to help at least 25,000 partners graduate by 2025. Over the next three years, Starbucks has also committed to hiring 10,000 “Opportunity Youth,” a population of nearly six million disconnected youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working or in school. With the right skills and training, Starbucks believes Opportunity Youth represent a huge, untapped talent pool for American businesses, and through employment and access to higher education, hopes to help create a sustainable future for these young Americans.

“The College Achievement Plan has been a powerful demonstration of what is possible when an enlightened and innovative corporation joins forces with a forward-thinking research university,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “This program is a clear expression of Starbucks commitment to its partners and ASU’s continuing mission to provide access to higher education to all qualified students.”

United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, looks to this innovative model from Starbucks and ASU as an example for other industries and businesses. “Howard Schultz and Arizona State University President Michael Crow continue to do incredible work together,” said Secretary Duncan. “Today’s announcement from Starbucks and ASU is another win for students. Partnerships like this one show how innovative strategies can expand access to college for thousands of students. I hope more institutions and companies will take their lead to collaborate on ways we can all do more to make higher education more attainable and affordable.”

The value of higher education

There is a clear and demonstrated value of having a college degree, both the opportunity it affords and the measureable impact on earning potential throughout a lifetime.

  • The disparity between what U.S. college and high school graduates earn has more than doubled in the past 30 years.1 A typical bachelor’s degree recipient can expect to earn 66 percent more (compared with a high-school graduate) over a 40-year career.2
  • The benefits are not limited to wages alone. On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the percentage employed full time—young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.3 And, people with a college degree tend to be healthier, and they exercise more.4
  • Those with college educations are even shown to live longer than their peers. Between 1990 and 2008, the life expectancy gap between the most and least educated Americans grew from 13 to 14 years among males and from 8 to 10 years among females. This gap has been widening since the 1960s. At age 25, U.S. adults with a college degree can expect to live nine years longer than those with only a high school diploma.5
  • A college education promotes civic and community involvement. An individual with a bachelor’s degree is twice as likely to volunteer as a high school graduate6, and adults with a higher level of education are twice as likely to vote as those with lower education levels.
  • College education is crucial to getting a middle-class job – millennials with only a high school degree are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as those with a college degree.7
  • The fastest-growing jobs in America all require a college degree. By 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school.8

As an independent, private foundation, Lumina Foundation is committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with post-secondary credentials, and applauds this innovative program from Starbucks and ASU. “The value of a college degree only continues to increase. But so do the costs of achieving that degree,” said Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Starbucks is not only recognizing the value of higher education, but is actively addressing the disparity in opportunity to achieve a college degree. By investing directly in their partners, they are also investing in the long-term success of their company and the nation.”

In addition to benefitting the individual, educated and employed individuals have a positive impact on the national economy. Persistent high unemployment among young people adds up to $25 billion a year in uncollected taxes. One unemployed 18-24-year-old costs federal and state governments more than $4,100 a year in forgone tax revenue and benefits received.9 Educating America’s young people and giving them the best opportunity for a sustainable future and continued employment is a benefit to our economy and society.

The benefit for Starbucks partners

Through this innovative collaboration, all benefits-eligible partners in the U.S., including Teavana®, La Boulange®, and Evolution Fresh™ partners, who do not already have a college degree, may choose from 49 undergraduate degree programs taught by ASU’s award-winning faculty such as electrical engineering, education, business and retail management. Partners will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation. This is in addition to the full comprehensive package of benefits that Starbucks offers to its partners – including healthcare coverage, company stock for eligible partners and 401(k) matching. Starbucks is one of the only retailers to offer a stock program that includes part-time retail hourly partners.

ASU’s online degree programs offer the highest quality and most flexibility, ensuring the best chances for success in achieving a degree. Each course is fully designed to make the most of online learning, and ASU’s highly-engaged faculty are retrained for effective online teaching. ASU is a leader in employing innovative educational technology to deliver tailored academic support. They also invest in the student support services that are critical to reducing drop-out rates, and are ranked first in student services by US News & World Report. The diplomas ASU awards to online students are identical to their on-campus degrees, and their session-to-session student retention rates and graduation rates are extremely strong.

“I know that there is an entire company standing behind me saying ‘You can do this.’ And that is an incredible feeling,” said Markelle Cullom, a three-year Starbucks partner enrolled in ASU Online through the College Achievement Plan. “For me, working at Starbucks is the opportunity for a better future.”

Additional details on this announcement, as well as downloadable photo and video assets – including stories from partners currently enrolled in the College Achievement Plan – are all available on the Starbucks Newsroomhttp://news.starbucks.com/collegeplan.

121277693

Experts share ‘wins and losses’ on Arizona state budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said other investments may yield more than tax reform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury Home - AZ Business Magazine November 2008

Expect a stronger spring in the Phoenix housing market

Expect to see a stronger spring this year in the Phoenix housing market than we saw last year. January was the “lull before the storm,” according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the highlights of that report on Maricopa and Pinal counties for January:

  • The median single-family-home sales price went up 5.6 percent from January 2014 to January 2015 — $197,000 to $208,000.
  • Condos and townhomes continue to gain a larger share of the market.
  • Preliminary February figures show demand about to boom, with the number of homes under contract dramatically rising.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family home price went up about another 5.6 percent from last January to this January – from $197,000 to $208,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot gained 5.1 percent.

Condos and townhomes picked up even more momentum, with their median price up 11.6 percent – from $121,000 to $135,000. While single-family home sales activity dropped 7 percent from last January to this January, townhome and condo sales activity rose 6 percent. In fact, the amount of money spent on mid-range townhomes and condos was up an incredible 54 percent. Orr credits interest in easy-to-maintain homes.

Despite the attached-home phenomenon, though, the Phoenix market experienced relatively weak home-sales activity both last year and in January. However, things finally appear ready to change.

“January is always a quiet month, but we believe this was a lull before the storm,” explains the new report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We have already seen early signs of much stronger activity from buyers in February and March. Looking at the number of homes going under contract, there was significantly increased demand in the lower and middle price ranges.”

Orr notes that listings for non-distressed homes under contract in the Phoenix area were up 26 percent from last year on a typical day in February. Listings from $150,000 to $600,000 were up more than 30 percent. He attributes this largely to lenders starting to relax their tight loan-underwriting guidelines and “boomerang buyers” who went through foreclosure or short sale being able to come back into the market.

Rental homes are also doing well.

“With relatively fast turnover and low vacancy rates, rents have been increasing in the most popular locations,” says Orr. “We are currently seeing a 5.8-percent rise over the last 12 months across the Greater Phoenix area.”

However, supply is an issue when it comes to all types of homes, including affordably priced rentals, which Orr says are at the lowest level he has seen in 14 years. Single-family home listings (excluding those under contract) were down 7 percent on Feb. 1 from the already depressed level at the same time last year.

“Supply remains relatively low except at the high end of the market,” Orr says. “At the moment, we are seeing early signs that demand is likely to recover quite a bit faster than supply. It would only take a modest increase in first-time home buyer demand to overwhelm the current weak level of supply, making it tougher to find affordable homes for sale.”

Don’t expect more supply to come from foreclosures. Completed foreclosures were down 43 percent from last January to this January.

One last note: Orr says home builders aren’t enjoying 2015 much yet. In January, newly built single-family homes hit their lowest monthly sales total in three years. However, he expects that trend to reverse, too.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

diversity

Arizona Summit Law School among best for diversity

Arizona  Summit Law School was named one of the “2015 Most Diverse Law Schools” in the United States by PreLaw Magazine.

The private law school, located in downtown Phoenix, earned an A+ rating and was named among the top ten law schools for diversity by the publication, which regularly evaluates law schools across the country accredited by the American Bar Association.

The PreLaw Magazine’s diversity rating is based upon ethnic diversity in comparison to the national average for students and faculty. The study was conducted to identify law schools in the United States that do the best job at including all races, rather than focusing on only one or select races. The publication, which is a law school journal published by National Jurist, recognizes the best law schools in the country for diversity accomplishments, and for putting diverse voices and backgrounds in the classroom.

“As we enter our tenth year, Summit Law is reflecting on the impact we are having in the legal community and on the communities we serve,” said Dean Shirley Mays. “Earning this top-tier ranking and significant national recognition is rewarding and reinforces our commitment to diversifying the legal profession and providing legal career opportunities to individuals of diverse backgrounds.”

 

ASU's Arizona Center for Law and Society

ASU named one of nation’s top law schools

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU) ranks No. 26 among the nation’s leading law schools, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of graduate schools.

The college moved up five spots in one year and is now in the top 13 percent of the 198 accredited law schools evaluated as part of the survey. The college also ranks No. 9 among public law schools in the nation, as well as No. 9 among all accredited law schools west of the Mississippi. Key contributors to the rise in rankings for ASU’s law college include a year-over-year increase in GPA, bar passage rate, and job placement within nine months after graduation.

The 2016 best law schools report also recognizes ASU’s law college for its flagship programs including, Legal Writing (No. 8), Health Law (No. 12), and Dispute Resolution (No. 11). ASU law students have won six national writing awards in the past four years, including the Burton Award, Scribes Awards, Albert S. Pergam International Law Writing Competition, and Mary Meors Wenig Student Writing Competition. The college has also bolstered its Health Law program, led by Professor James Hodge, who is joined by national and international leaders in the field like Regents Professors Gary Marchant and Rebecca Tsosie.

“Student success is our top priority,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “Students tell us they choose our college because of the connections and externships we are able to provide, the value they get from their investment, and the breadth and quality of our programs.”

Students also enjoy a faculty to student ratio of 10 to 1.

“In fall 2016, the benefits to ASU law students will further increase with our move to a new, multi-million dollar building in metropolitan Phoenix, just steps away from the legal, political and economic heart of Arizona,” Sylvester said.

Last year, ASU’s law college provided more than 300 externships — at least one for every eligible enrolled student — and clinical spots for every student such as a unique opportunity to draft and prosecute patent applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The college offers more than 150 courses per year for students who want to become lawyers, as well as customized, flexible Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degrees for non-lawyer professionals who want grounding in legal basics but do not intend to practice law. Later this week, ASU will host a Sports Law and Business Conference that will bring together experts such as Tony Dungy and Oliver Luck to examine the future of the sports industry. In May, ASU will host its inaugural Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators. These are just a sampling of the many events available to students, alumni, thought leaders, and community members.

Based on data collected by the American Bar Association, ASU’s law college was No. 5 among the nation’s public law schools and No. 19 among all accredited law schools for placement in JD required jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported job growth of 10.7 percent in legal occupations through 2022, adding 334,000 jobs. ASU offers a three-year JD, advanced standing JD, a one-year Master of Laws (LLM), and one-year MLS degrees with a variety of specialization and concurrent degree options. ASU also offers alumni of the law college an opportunity to continue their legal education through a Pay What You Want model as part of a “Law for Life” program. Select, recent graduates of the ASU law college may also be hired by the ASU Alumni Law Group, a not-for-profit law firm in the Phoenix area that provides affordable legal solutions.

Entrepreneurs

ASU honors top ASU-bred entrepreneurs

Arizona State University has been gaining a nationwide reputation as a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. Accordingly, next week, the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU is holding its first-ever Sun Devil Select event, to honor some of the country’s top ASU alum-owned and alum-run businesses. Seventeen firms from a variety of industries will be recognized for their achievements.

“We’re honoring organizations that demonstrate innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is hosting the event. “The inaugural Sun Devil Select class includes firms from Chicago, the Los Angeles area, Kansas City, Dallas and the Phoenix area.”

The winning firms and alums are:

  • Betablox – Weston Bergmann is an angel investor and the founder and chief executive officer of this Kansas City-based group that helps select startups navigate through their first stages of business.
  • Dunn Transportation – Margaret Dunn is founder and president of this transportation company, which owns Scottsdale’s popular Ollie the Trolley and an executive coach service.
  • Fan Interactive Marketing – Joel McFadden serves as chief operating officer for this California firm specializing in customer relationship management, interactive marketing, database knowledge and email deployment.
  • FSW Funding – Robyn Barrett is the managing member of Factors Southwest, LLC, an independently owned factoring firm in Phoenix that helps small to mid-size businesses to secure funding.
  • Higher Ed Growth – Frank Healy is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that helps schools reach enrollment goals by using proprietary technology.
  • Homeowners Financial Group USA – William Rogers is chief executive officer of this family-oriented, award-winning mortgage company based in Scottsdale.
  • Infusionsoft – Marc Chesley serves as chief technology officer for this Chandler-based sales-and-marketing software firm recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States eight years in a row.
  • itSynergy – Michael Cocanower is founder and president of this Phoenix IT consulting firm with more than 200 clients.
  • Off Madison Ave – David Anderson is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Phoenix-based marketing and advertising firm with clients that include Nike and LifeLock. 
  • Print.Save.Repeat. – Errol Berry is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Chandler toner-cartridge manufacturer that focuses on recycling and saving businesses money on printing.
  • RedShelf – Tim Haitaian is co-founder and chief financial officer of this Chicago-based company that partners with publishers and college bookstores to more easily and affordably deliver eTextbooks.
  • Signature Technology Group – Charles Layne serves as president and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based STG, which provides data-center services that support more than 300,000 devices across North America.
  • Skin Script Skin Care – Lisa VanBockern is the owner of this Tempe skin care company that makes natural clinical products designed to address anti-aging, sun damage, acne and other issues.
  • Skyhook – Dallin Harris is founder and chief executive officer of this Mesa-based Internet marketing firm that has worked with clients including AT&T, Subway and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Tiempo Development – Cliff Schertz is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that provides software firms with an integrated platform of services to accelerate how they develop, deploy and support their products.
  • Vetscience/Fruitables Pet Food – David DeLorenzo serves as president of this Dallas company that makes natural dog treats.
  • Western Window Systems – Scott Gates is president and chief operating officer of this Phoenix-based window and door manufacturer that has been making energy-efficient products for more than 50 years.

The Sun Devil Select Class of 2015 will be recognized at a special invitation-only luncheon on ASU’s Tempe campus on March 20. They will reconnect with their alma mater and spend time networking with each other and current ASU students, including some budding entrepreneurs. They will also meet Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; Christine Wilkinson, head of the ASU Alumni Association and ASU senior vice president and secretary; and Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Sun Devil Select is just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business-creation experience. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships to sustain its activities. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu/entrepreneurship.

manufacturing sector expanded

W.P. Carey offers supply chain refresher

Companies are always interested in keeping costs down, minimizing risk and streamlining efficiency. That’s why supply chain management is such a popular field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a 26-percent increase in logistics jobs by 2020. So, what do you do if you work in supply chains, but get transferred to another function or simply need a refresher on what’s new? The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers a program for that.

“This new online certificate program will help participants think more about the company as a whole – about how to manage complex supply chain problems,” says Professor John Fowler, chair of the Supply Chain Management Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The program takes six months or less and is designed to fit into busy working professionals’ schedules.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business is launching the new online supply chain management certificate – an upgrade of an earlier program – this spring, with an April start. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 3 in the nation for online graduate business programs. The new certificate program is being taught by instructors from the school’s renowned supply chain management department, consistently ranked Top 10 in its field.

“Whether you work in logistics, operations management or supply management, this program can help get you up to speed on the latest developments in your field,” says Dawn Feldman, executive director of executive education at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “You can choose electives in anything from operations planning to supplier management and even reverse logistics and sustainability.”

The new non-credit, professional certificate program is designed to help supply chain workers expand their roles and skills, learning about a variety of industries. It includes case studies and simulations of real-world challenges. Courses can be taken one at a time, and assignments can be turned in at any time throughout the week.

For those exploring the intersection of supply chain management with the emerging field of “big data,” there is another option, too. The W. P. Carey School is also launching a new business-analytics certificate program that includes electives in supply chain management. It covers analytical decision modeling.

For more information on either program, call (480) 965-7579 or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education.

data.center

W. P. Carey helps you become part of ‘big data’ team

As jobs boom in the area of “big data,” there’s a need that hasn’t really been addressed. About 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies are planning for or already executing big-data initiatives. However, while some degree programs already exist to help train the actual data scientists – those who sort through and analyze the mountains of information coming into companies through the Internet and other methods – how do we train the team members who just work with the data analysts?

“We want to help the big-data team members who only need to know the basics to help them participate and make a significant impact,” explains Professor Michael Goul, chair of the Information Systems Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We are offering a short online certificate program in which they can learn business-analytics foundations and strategy, so they can communicate about big data, better understand what results are coming in, and contribute to making important decisions.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business is launching its new online business-analytics certificate program this spring, with an April start. Participants can complete the program one course at a time, in six months or less. The convenient format allows busy working professionals to do their assignments any time throughout the week.

“Those who take this certificate program will be able to contribute to the new culture of evidence-based decision making, which is becoming increasingly important in the business world,” says Dawn Feldman, executive director of executive education at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This will really help managers, marketers and others who regularly interact with data scientists and want to help address critical business challenges through the use of data.”

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 3 in the nation for online graduate business programs. This new non-credit, professional certificate program is being taught by instructors from the school’s renowned supply chain management and information systems departments, both consistently ranked Top 15 in their fields.

Participants will take two core courses in analytics, plus two electives. In the elective tracks, they can focus on either data management or supply chain management. It’s all about being a part of the process for the overall company.

To learn more about this flexible online certificate program in business analytics, call (480) 965-7579 or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education. The W. P. Carey School also offers full online master’s degree programs in business analytics and information management.

housing.prices

Phoenix-area housing market sees uptick

The sluggish Phoenix-area housing market just got a pleasant surprise. New figures show a sudden uptick in buyer demand, with a significant boost in homes under contract since late January.

“I do NOT think this has anything to do with the crowds that came in for the recent Super Bowl in Arizona, but that is coincidentally when we started to see this rise in demand,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Orr looked at statistics from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) for his W. P. Carey School of Business analysis. In 2014, the Phoenix-area housing market had relatively low demand, and sales activity even dropped 14 percent. However, the new ARMLS numbers show this year has already brought in more than the usual seasonal uptrend in almost every price range.

These numbers are for non-distressed homes under contract in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, on a typical day in late February 2015 versus the same day in 2014:

  • Under $150,000 – Up 7 percent
  • $150,000 to $250,000 – Up 35 percent
  • $250,000 to $400,000 – Up 38 percent
  • $400,000 to $600,000 – Up 33 percent
  • $600,000 to $1.5 million – Up 12 percent
  • More than $1.5 million – Down 10 percent

Overall, non-distressed listings under contract are up 26 percent. Orr says luxury homes aren’t seeing as much impact from recent changes in market conditions, but entry-level and mid-range homes are attracting far more buyer interest.

“The reasons for these increases include: 1.) that lenders have started to relax their previously tight loan-underwriting guidelines and 2.) that more people who went through foreclosure or short sale are now able to return to homeownership,” explains Orr. “These changes largely affect the lower and middle ranges of the market.”

Orr calculates that, in 2014, the median single-family-home price in the Phoenix area went up 5.4 percent. He now expects 2015 to be a much better year for home sellers, if the new trend continues. However, he does have one note of caution.

“The Phoenix area was already dealing with a relatively low supply of available homes for sale before this uptick,” says Orr. “If the higher-demand trend continues for several months, then that tight supply could become a bigger issue.”

Orr’s next regularly-scheduled monthly housing report will be out in mid-March. Meantime, those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

2015 RED Award logo

RED Awards 2015: Best Higher Education Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 10th annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2014 and the construction teams involved. RED Award trophies were handed out in 10 project categories, to six brokerage teams and safety, subcontractor, architect, general contractor and developer of the year awards were also presented. AZRE also recognized Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham with a lifetime achievement award. Click here to view all 2015 RED Awards Winners.

01-ASU-CACCollege Avenue Commons

Developer: Arizona Board of Regents
Contractor: Okland Construction
Architects: Gensler; Architekton
Size: 137KSF
Location: Tempe
Completed: July 2014

Arizona State University’s five-story College Avenue Commons is the new home for the Del E. Webb School of Construction, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, University Tour and Sun Devil Marketplace. The building contains a 200-seat auditorium, classrooms, BIM, materials testing and computational labs. Every tenant has a unique entrance off College Avenue, and the building is rife with didactic features. Elements of the design and construction were modeled in 3D so students can study the building’s construction. It also includes exposed mechanical, structural and electrical systems as well as chilled water, fire alarm and data systems that can be used for instruction.

2015 RED Award logo

RED Awards 2015: Best Mixed Use Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 10th annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2014 and the construction teams involved. RED Award trophies were handed out in 10 project categories, to six brokerage teams and safety, subcontractor, architect, general contractor and developer of the year awards were also presented. AZRE also recognized Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham with a lifetime achievement award. Click here to view all 2015 RED Awards Winners.

SkySong-3-Shot-4SkySong, The ASU Innovation Center — SkySong 3

Developer: Plaza Companies
Contractor: DPR Construction
Architect: Butler Design Group
Size: 145KSF
Location: Scottsdale
Completed: August 2014

SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, brought new life into a former shopping mall by turning it into a complex of office, multifamily and retail spaces for innovation and economic development. More than 50 companies and 1,000 people conduct business at SkySong every weekday. It’s estimated that the complex will have an economic impact of $9 billion over three decades, according to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Though that’s the complex as a whole, SkySong 3 is 90 percent leased as of January 2015, and is LEED Silver certified. It is the integral next step in the build out of one of the most important mixed use projects in the Valley of the Sun. The design of the building is also forward-thinking, with “fins” along the exterior and “horizontal brows” along windows that shade the structure to reduce solar effects.

T Mobile IPhone

ASU study reveals formula for app success

Americans love our smartphones, and we’re constantly downloading more apps to use on them. So, how do you know which apps are going to be the most worthwhile to get — the ones that will ultimately be the best sellers? A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University breaks down the formula for a winning app.

“More than 1,200 apps are released each day, and we found a number of ways to determine which ones would be the most successful,” explains Professor Raghu Santanam, one of the study’s authors, who teaches in the Information Systems Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “For example, simply providing updates for an existing app can really add to its popularity.”

Santanam and Ph.D. student Gun Woong Lee conducted the new research, recently published in the Journal of Management Information Systems. Since Apple doesn’t release sales figures to the public, the researchers tracked individual apps and their presence on the “Top 300” charts in Apple’s App Store over 39 weeks. The final dataset covered about 7,600 apps by almost 4,000 sellers, and the researchers found a number of factors that make an app more attractive to buyers.

“Free app offers, high debut ranks, expanding into less popular categories, continuous quality updates and high user-review scores all have positive impacts on an app’s sustainability,” says Lee.

In fact, the study found that each time a seller just expands to a new app category, it bumps up that seller’s presence on the top-grossing charts by about 15 percent. The researchers also discovered that free apps generally stay on the charts up to two times longer than paid apps. In addition, when sellers keep updating and improving the features in an app, it can help the app stay on the charts up to three times longer.

“For app sellers, it is a great idea to implement some type of portfolio-management strategy to app markets that focuses on developing multiple apps with low production costs,” explains Lee. “Then, they can take advantage of a large network of different user groups by selling many apps in multiple categories and offering frequent updates to those apps.”

Santanam adds, “The App Store launched with only 500 apps back in summer 2008, and seven years later, users can now download about 1.2 million different apps from that store. Developers and sellers have the opportunity to change the features and characteristics of the apps based on user feedback, reviews and other factors listed in our research, even after those apps go on the market. We’re hopeful this new study will provide them with useful information about how to make adjustments to benefit both consumers and their own company bottom lines.”

More on the study is available at http://www.jmis-web.org/articles/1202 and http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2560677.

housing.prices

Phoenix home prices rose 5 percent in 2014

The final numbers are out for 2014, and the median single-family-home prices in the Phoenix area officially went up 5.4 percent. That’s according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the highlights of that report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of December:

• The median single-family-home sales price rose 5.4 percent in 2014 – from $204,000 to $215,000.
• Demand for townhomes and condos is strengthening, and the median sales price for those types of homes went up a whopping 15 percent in 2014.
• Demand for rental homes also remains strong.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family-home price rose just another 5.4 percent — $204,000 to $215,000 — from December 2013 to December 2014. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 3 percent. At the same time, townhomes and condos really took off, with their median sales price up about 15 percent – from $123,900 to $142,000.

“The most promising signs in 2014 were for townhomes and condominiums, where both sales volumes and prices were higher than expected,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director or the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Demand is shifting away from single-family homes and toward smaller attached homes that are easier to maintain and to ‘lock and leave.’ Growing numbers of baby boomers, whose children have grown up and left, are downsizing. Many millennials also seem to show a preference for smaller, easy-to-maintain homes in central locations.”

Orr adds that mid-range and luxury homes continue to do relatively well in the Phoenix market, while it’s tougher to find homes priced below $150,000. The amount of single-family home sales overall was up 3 percent from December 2013 to December 2014.

Meantime, the supply level remains low. The number of active listings available on Jan. 1, 2015 was down 3 percent from the already low level of Jan. 1, 2014. Fewer “distressed” homes are coming onto the market, with completed foreclosures down 42 percent from December 2013 to December 2014. That lack of cheap inventory is keeping investor interest significantly lower than it was during the initial housing recovery.

Other home buyers weren’t filling the gap, but we may see a positive turn soon.

“We anticipate a modest increase in sales in 2015, as compared with 2014,” says Orr. “The primary increase in demand is likely to come from boomerang buyers who have repaired their credit after foreclosure or short sale several years ago.”

Multifamily units and rental homes continue to command local attention. The multifamily vacancy rate for the end of 2014 was at an all-time low, and multifamily construction permits have been on a strong upward trend. Rental homes are seeing relatively fast turnover and low vacancy rates. As a result, rents are up 6.8 percent in the Phoenix area over the past 12 months.

Lastly, Orr mentions that some Canadians may decide to lock in profits made on Phoenix-area homes bought since the housing crash. In 2014 alone, the prices went up an additional 15 percent when converted to the Canadian dollar.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Warren-Buffett

Warren Buffett headlines new ASU speaker series

Leading business figures, including BerkshireHathaway CEO Warren Buffett, are participating in a new speaker series at Arizona State University.

The “Iconic Voices” lecture series, to be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, features candid in-person and video interviews with business notables that include Buffett and Freeport-McMoran CEO Richard Adkerson as well as Andrew Fastow, the former Enron chief financial officer who was at the center a scandal with the energy company.

Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice at ASU’s Cronkite School and the W. P. Carey School of Business, is the creator and host of the series, which is scheduled  for select Thursdays during the spring semester.

Cunningham, who is the former publisher of Forbes Magazine, said, “‘Iconic Voices’ will focus on candid discussions about the everyday lives of extraordinary people.”

“We have chosen to bring these important leaders and disruptors to the Cronkite School to impart the lessons from disruption in non-media industries that could be applied to the digital transformation taking place in the media,” he said. “They have relevance to our student journalists’ understanding of how different leaders approach change, innovation and disruption.”

“Iconic Voices” kicks off on Feb. 26 with an in-person interview with Fastow and concludes March 19 with an interview with Adkerson. The hourlong talks are open to the public and will take place in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

The interviews will be featured on iconicvoices.org, currently under development, with articles written by Cunningham.

Cunningham joined ASU in 2014 as a professor in the areas of disruptive innovation and the business of media. In addition to serving as publisher of Forbes Magazine, he also was publisher of American Heritage magazine, founder and editor-in-chief of Directorship Magazine, the leading publication for corporate board directors, and a senior executive with BusinessWeek.

Cunningham has profiled or interviewed many key business and public policy leaders, including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro and Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO  Lloyd C. Blankfein.

“Iconic Voices” Schedule

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015
7-8 p.m.
Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer, Enron Corporation; convicted in 2006 of two counts of securities fraud
“Failed, Jailed, and Recovered”
Live interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

Thursday, March 5, 2015
7-8 p.m.
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer, Berkshire Hathaway
“When I Buy a Company, I’m a Journalist”
Video interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham,professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

Thursday, March 19, 2015
7-8 p.m.
Richard Adkerson, vice chairman, president and chief executive officer, Freeport-McMoRan
“The World of the Global CEO”
Interview conducted by Jeff Cunningham, professor of practice, Cronkite School and W. P. Carey School of Business

housing.prices

Are investors returning to Phoenix housing market?

Investors appear to be returning to the Phoenix-area housing market. The latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University examines that new trend, as well as the possibility of a future supply problem. Here are the highlights of the new report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of November:

  • The median single-family-home sales price went up 5.5 percent from November 2013 to November 2014 – from $200,000 to $210,990.
  • President Obama announced a housing plan in Phoenix last week that might help create both more demand and a supply problem.
  • Investors are returning to Phoenix, with their percentage of the area’s home purchases up over the past four months.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family-home price rose just another 5.5 percent from November 2013 to November 2014. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 5 percent. The median townhome/condo sales price actually dropped 2 percent.

“Prices in the Phoenix-area housing market remained relatively flat in 2014, when you take into account the general level of inflation,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “When you look at the change in the mix of sales – with more expensive luxury homes being sold – there is not much real upward price momentum.”

Orr adds there also isn’t much downward price momentum because both supply and demand remain relatively low. The number of single-family-home sales dropped 9 percent from November 2013 to November 2014. The low demand has largely been masking the fact that the market also has a low supply of homes – a situation that appears to be getting worse.

“The rate of new listings has dropped significantly since April, and active listings even dropped slightly in November, which is unusual and signals a weakening supply,” explains Orr. “It would not take much of an increase in demand to overwhelm the current level of supply, and if this occurs, we should expect prices to start rising once more. We will have to wait and see how first-time home buyers react to the new lending environment in 2015.”

Orr’s concern about the potential supply problem stems from a number of things meant to stimulate housing demand:

  • Down payments being reduced to 3 percent on certain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional loans
  • Continued drops in mortgage interest rates for all types of loans
  • Reduced mortgage insurance premiums announced by President Obama in Phoenix last week

Orr weighed in on the president’s new housing initiative by saying it may help middle-income renters buy their first homes. However, he also doesn’t think the overall impact will be that great.

“By the government’s own numbers, it will only add 250,000 sales nationally over the next three years – increasing sales only about 1.6 percent,” Orr says. “It’s a step in the right direction, but only a small step. A resurgence in home buying will probably occur anyway.”

Meantime, foreclosures remain well below long-term averages for the Valley. Completed foreclosures were down 39 percent from November 2013 to November 2014. Earlier, the loss of these bargain properties prompted a trend of investors leaving the Phoenix area for cheaper areas of the country, but now, that’s changing. The percentage of residential properties bought by investors was up to about 16 percent in November, the highest level since May. All-cash purchases are also back on the upswing.

“While investor purchases are still below the peak levels we saw in the Phoenix area after the housing crash, the levels have started to recover over the last four months,” says Orr. “However, we may see fewer international buyers in the market now because of the recent dramatic rise in the value of the dollar against most foreign currencies.”

Rental-housing demand in the Valley remains strong, partly because many people had their credit damaged during the housing crash and because millennials are waiting until later in life to enter the home market. Rents rose 4.8 percent in the Phoenix area from November 2013 to November 2014.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. They also hear directly from Mike Orr about his latest housing report at an event co-hosted by The Arizona Republic and the W. P. Carey School of Business tomorrow morning at Arizona State University. More information and tickets are available attickets.azcentral.com.

Virtual Schools, Online Education

Top 5 ranking for W. P. Carey School of Business

Online education keeps growing in popularity, thanks to its flexibility and convenience. New rankings from U.S. News & World Report show, if you want to get an online MBA or other graduate-level business degree from a highly ranked school, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University would be an ideal choice. For the third year in a row, the publication ranks the school Top 5 nationwide for online graduate business programs.

“The W. P. Carey School of Business offers the same renowned faculty members and degrees in its online programs as it does in its highly ranked on-campus programs,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This school was one of the first highly respected business schools to launch online degrees more than a decade ago, and we use in-house course designers specializing solely in business classes to provide the best possible experience for students.”

U.S. News & World Report already ranks the W. P. Carey School’s undergraduate business, full-time MBA and evening MBA programs among the Top 30 in the nation in their respective categories. The new rankings cover the W. P. Carey School’s popular online MBA program and online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program.

The online MBA program ranks No. 4 nationwide in its category, and the school’s online MSIM program ranks No. 3 on a separate list of “online graduate business programs.” Both new rankings are based on student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.

“Students serving in the military, starting their own businesses, and traveling extensively for their jobs are among those who have chosen our online graduate business programs,” says Stacey Whitecotton, senior associate dean for W. P. Carey School graduate programs. “Participants have a dedicated financial aid specialist and a career center for those who want help with job searches.”

  • The 21-month online MBA program allows students to meet at a face-to-face orientation just once at the ASU campus, then complete the rest of the courses online. Students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, typically focusing on one course at a time. This is one of relatively few online MBA programs in which students can earn their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management.
  • The 16-month online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program is designed to provide professionals in any career area with a well-rounded education in information technology (IT) and to explain how they can apply that knowledge to their companies overall. American Express, Intel Corporation, Mayo Clinic and US Airways are among the companies that send students to the school’s MSIM programs.

The W. P. Carey School also offers six online undergraduate business programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks ASU No. 8 for online bachelor’s degrees.

In addition, the business school has a weekend/online hybrid MBA program and a 16-month online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA) program, which focuses on the booming field of “big data.” All of the school’s online graduate programs include small class sizes and easy-to-use online-learning technologies. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu.

 

Virginia Zuber Small Business Leadership AcademyThe W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is one of the top-ranked and largest business schools in the United States. The school is internationally regarded for its research productivity and its distinguished faculty members, including a Nobel Prize winner. Students come from about 100 countries and include about 50 National Merit Scholars. For more information, please visit wpcarey.asu.edu andhttp://research.wpcarey.asu.edu

Image provided by ASU

ASU ranks high in U.S News & World Report

Arizona State University ranks among the top 10 best schools in the nation for online education, according to rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report.

ASU is ranked eighth place overall for undergraduate online programs in the U.S. News & World Report 2015 edition of “America’s Best Online Programs” among public and private universities. That’s a move up from No. 9 last year.

The university also claimed five spots among the top 25 graduate online programs.

“We are pleased that ASU continues to be recognized for its academic excellence and as an innovator in higher education,” says Phil Regier, dean and executive vice provost of ASU Online. “We are committed to offering the best experience possible to all of our students and ensuring that anyone who is motivated to pursue a bachelor’s degree has the opportunity to achieve his or her educational and career goals.

U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on factors such as graduation rates, indebtedness of new graduates and academic and career support services offered to students. Only degree-granting programs offering classes online were considered. For more information on the Best Online Programs rankings, visit www.usnews.com/online.

ASU Online (http://asuonline.asu.edu) currently offers 41 undergraduate and 38 graduate online degrees and continues to see tremendous enrollment growth, with a 42.6 percent increase since 2013.

Unlike a standard online lecture, ASU’s courses are highly interactive, engaging each student and ensuring the subject matter is fully understood. This structure also facilitates interaction with the highly recognized faculty on campus and classmates to encourage learning through collaboration. The courses are specifically designed to provide access to the vast academic, research and career resources that ASU offers – to anyone, anywhere.

Individual ASU programs recognized for online excellence in the rankings include:

  • ASU School of Criminal Justice, in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, ranked No. 2 in the country for best online graduate program in its field.
  • The W.P. Carey School of Business, named third best for online graduate business program and No. 4 for online graduate MBAprograms.
  • The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, ranked 14thin the nation for best online graduate engineering programs.
  • The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, rated 23rdfor online graduate education
  • The College of Nursing and Health Innovation, rated 74thfor online graduate nursing programs.