Tag Archives: ASU

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.
technology

Growing tech firms reflect emerging Arizona business sector

Don Hawley is the quintessential product of Silicon Valley. He went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, became a serial entrepreneur and founded and developed many successful technology companies in the San Francisco Bay area.

So why is he doing business in Arizona?

“Arizona is infinitely more business friendly,” said the founder, chairman and CEO of Scottsdale-based Innovative Green Technologies, which creates environmentally friendly products that reduce emissions and save users money. “Favorable tax rates make it less costly to do business in Arizona compared with California, which is attractive to newer companies that have to watch their pennies. Arizona is also blessed with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, which supply a constant stream of high-quality young talent, which is a great resource.”

Hawley isn’t alone. The recently expansions of Zenefits and Weebly into the Valley and the emergence of Valley-based WebPT and Infusionsoft as technology powerhouses reflect an exploding techn industry in Phoenix that is transforming the state’s economy.

“The technology ecosystem in Arizona has never been more robust and these recent business attractions are going to become more commonplace,” says Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “One of the vital attractions for startups in the Silicon Desert as compared with Silicon Valley is the drastically lower cost of living, especially in the area of housing. The word is getting out about Arizona.”

Valley economic developers are doing more than using lower tax rates and promises of sunshine to convince tech companies to relocate here, the state is building its home-grown success stories. A great example is WebPT, which launched its cloud-based physical therapy software in 2008 and has evolved from startup into one the fastest-growing software company in Arizona, creating more than 200 jobs in Phoenix.

“There are great incentive programs available to businesses looking to grow,” says Brad Jannenga, co-founder, chairman, president and chief technology officer at WebPT. “The Angel Tax Credit program offered by the state is a great opportunity for investors to have peace of mind when backing startups and knowing they can take a tax break when doing so. This was a major win for us when we went out for our Series A round back in 2010. Investors were lining up around the block partly because of the early stage success we had, but also largely because of the Angel Tax Credit.”

It’s the success of emerging companies like WebPT that are driving the robust growth of Arizona’s technology sector, says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

“What we’ve done on the policy side was working with the legislature and governor so they understand that even though the headlines belong to Apple and Intel and companies like that, it’s the hundreds if not thousands of small and medium technologically based enterprises that have the chance to be the next GoDaddy,” Broome says. “Maybe you get lucky and you get a Google or a Microsoft or maybe an Infusionsoft becomes a Microsoft. Having the ability to get those small companies to go to scale and having the economic development programs and policies in place to help them are where we’ve been most helpful.”

Jannenga credits organizations like GPEC for helping the technology sector grow by tirelessly looking at new ways to diversify the economy and working closely with Arizona’s universities to produce the next wave of talent needed to feed the workforce demands of the technology industry.

But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton put it simply: “WebPT is a game-changer, not only in terms of showing the growth in the tech sector in Phoenix, but growth in the warehouse district in downtown Phoenix.”

Experts say Arizona has actually done a number of things well to build a business environment that fosters innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“The state has emphasized economic development through support of key economic development groups like the Arizona Commerce Authority and GPEC,” says Jacque Westling, partner at Quarles & Brady in Phoenix. “(Arizona) has created and maintained some key tax incentives, such as the Refundable Research and Development Credit and the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program, promoted tech transfer from the universities and supported emerging areas of strength such as biotechnology, data centers, energy and other areas.”

Zylstra says having facilities with ready-to-go infrastructure in desirable hot spots such as downtown Phoenix and downtown Scottsdale has been a major part in attracting technology companies to the Valley.
“Knowledge workers like the type of amenities available in these locations,” he says. “When you add Arizona’s ample workforce, low taxes and low cost of doing business, the foundation is very strong.”

Jannenga says the state’s deep awareness of the emerging technology sector and what it means to our state’s economic future has been helpful to WebPT and other early stage companies.

“I think when people began to recognize that we couldn’t rely on the traditional engines that had previously fueled our growth — tourism and migration from colder climates chief among them — to provide the type of jobs we need, it caused a basic shift in how progressive leaders thought about the future,” says Don Pierson, CEO of SpotlightSales, which has developed a sales performance optimization tool.

With the foundation for building a successful technology sector in place, Pierson says he has seen tremendous growth in the software industry and expects that growth to continue.

“I think biofuels are really interesting,” he says, “and I’m always amazed by what comes out of the biotech area.”

Greg Head, chief marketing officer at Infusionsoft, agrees with Pierson that Arizona quickly becoming a center for software businesses.

“Right now, there are thousands of entrepreneurs incubating new innovations, hundreds of software business growing and employing more people and several bigger software companies like GoDaddy, LifeLock, Infusionsoft and WebPT that are growing fast,” Head says. “The Arizona software community is growing up quickly.”

Experts agree that diversifying Arizona’s tech sectors will continue to power its growth. Zylstra expects aerospace and defense and semiconductor and electronics to continue to be strong, “but IT, especially software and data centers, healthcare, bioscience and alternative energy will help lead us into the future,” he says.

“We need to have all tech industries thriving in Arizona,” says Mike Auger, CEO and founder of PikFly, a technology-driven same day delivery network for local businesses. “A focus in one area puts us into a corner. Semiconductors have been great for our state, but that is really what we are known for — we need to be known for all types of tech.”

While Arizona’s growth in the technology arena is impressive, the state must tackle one major issue to maintain that positive trajectory.

“I spend more of my time as mayor in economic development recruiting and retention than I do anything else,” Stanton says. “The reality is this: the companies are concerned about workforce development. Do we have the pipeline of employees that they are going to need as their companies grow?”

Jannenga agrees that Arizona needs to invest heavily into all levels of our education system and diversify our skilled workforce.

“The places where we’re falling short is we’re not delivering the engineering talent necessary for the tech sector to really take off,” Broome says. “We need to make a big move on the production of engineers and make a big move on the production of information communication technology people.”
Broome says that big move can come from anywhere from community colleges to higher education to unique specialty certification programs that are putting students through six-month boot camps and producing a qualified workforce. He cites the Maricopa Corporate College as a unique training program that is developing and delivering customized workforces.

“You’re going to see continued movement in creating new educational options and a huge infusion of these intermediate training strategies to build the technology sector,” Broome says.

Creating a viable workforce to feed the needs is of the technology industry is a must to maintain the state’s robust growth and quality of life, experts say.

“We either grow the tech sector of the economy or we will fail,” Broome says. “That’s how important it is. It’s where the wages are. It’s where the high-end people are. It’s the part of the economy that is most sustainable. If you’re not building a tech sector, you’re relying on your current industries to remain relevant and we know from history that just doesn’t happen.”

Broome says the Valley has learned from companies like Motorola and General Motors than mature companies in mature industries contract and fade away, so it forces the business community to continually recycle its economic strategy around new industries.

“From my perspective, you’re looking at a make-it-or-break-it situation,” Broome says. “The reason the economy is so sluggish is because it’s waiting for consumption. It’s waiting for government spending and it’s waiting for retail spending and it’s waiting for construction and home buying. When your economy can only recover on that basis, you’re going to continue to have ebbs and flows and dips and falls. Even a place like San Francisco, which has a very difficult business climate because it’s expensive to the point of being unimaginable, its net year-to-year economic growth is much more robust than Phoenix and the rest of the country because its economy is built around talent, innovation and the high-tech sector. If we do a good job and build that out better, there’s no reason why Phoenix can’t be the most exciting community in the United States.”

Phoenix-Area Housing Market

How to survive the Phoenix-area housing market

The new year brings new challenges for those who want to buy or sell homes in the Phoenix area. Do you know what to expect? The Arizona Republic and the ASU Real Estate Council at the W. P. Carey School of Business will host an event Saturday, Jan. 17 to help you find out the current trends and prices in the market.

“Phoenix Housing Market Explained III,” a third annual event, will feature an overview of the local housing market, including trends like employment and population growth. The experts will also answer submitted questions from the audience.

The speakers – all experts frequently quoted in the media — will be:

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

Reagor says, “We hope to provide helpful information to both those in the real estate industry and those who are thinking about buying or selling their own homes in the Phoenix area.”

The event will be held in the Business Administration C-Wing Building, or BAC, at 400 E. Lemon St. on Arizona State University’s campus in Tempe. Registration starts at 9 a.m., followed by the presentations and discussion from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The cost is $30 per person, with a 30-percent discount available for subscribers to The Arizona Republic and ASU students, employees and alums.

Parking is available just across the street at the intersection of Apache Boulevard and Normal Avenue. Signage will direct participants from the garage to room BAC 116 on the first floor of the BAC building.

Space is limited, and you can register at tickets.azcentral.com. More information about the event can be found at www.money.azcentral.com, www.wpcarey.asu.edu, or by calling (480) 965-8517.

More information on the Valley housing market can also be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business website, including monthly housing reports available via subscription at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports.

Chandler Innovation Center

ASU professors named to Academy of Inventors

Arizona State University professors Stuart Lindsay and Michael Kozicki have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to the academy’s fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made an impact on the quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Those named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, representing more than 150 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.

“Doctors Kozicki and Lindsay exemplify the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of faculty and researchers at ASU. They have made outstanding contributions to their fields, economic development and society,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “It is a great honor to have the NAI recognize their innovative and use-inspired work.”

Stuart Lindsay is a University Professor in physics and in chemistry and biochemistry at ASU and the director of the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics at ASU’s Biodesign Institute. His inventions in the field of atomic force microscopy led to the founding of Molecular Imaging Corporation, a pioneer in chemical applications of atomic force microscopy. It is now the Nanomeasurements Division of Agilent Technologies (Keysight).

Lindsay’s inventions in the field of molecular electronics laid the groundwork for a new single molecule sequencing technique, currently licensed to and under development by Roche. He has published more than 200 papers and written the first comprehensive textbook on nanoscience. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Antennas and Propagation Society and the Institute of Physics.

Michael Kozicki is a professor of electrical engineering at ASU. He is best known for the invention of Conductive Bridging Random Access Memory (CBRAM®), an ultra-low energy data storage technology, but his more than 80 U.S. and international patents also include innovations ranging from a cleanroom wheelchair to bio-inspired optical devices.  His patents have been cited over 1,000 times and are ranked in the top tier by independent intellectual property organizations.

Kozicki is also a founder of Axon Technologies Corp. and Idendrix, Inc., and served as chief scientist of Adesto Technologies.  He is a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh and is a Chartered Engineer in the UK/EU.  He has published extensively, developed entrepreneurship-infused undergraduate and graduate courses in solid state electronics, is a frequent invited speaker at international meetings, and has made several television appearances to promote public understanding of science.

The new NAI Fellows will be inducted on March 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, newly designed medal and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

immigration

ASU Cronkite program focuses on border issues

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, longtime owners of the national chain of Village Voice alternative weeklies, will use proceeds from a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a Chair in Borderlands Issues at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The $2M gift will support an endowed chair who will lead a new program at the Cronkite School in which students will cover immigration and border issues in the U.S. and Mexico in both Spanish and English. The Lacey-Larkin Chair will be the only endowed chair in the country focused exclusively on Latino and borderlands coverage.

The Chair will direct advanced student journalists in a professional immersion program in which they will report, write and produce cutting-edge stories that will be distributed in English and Spanish to professional media outlets and will be prominently featured on the Cronkite News website and Arizona PBS newscasts. Additionally, the Lacey-Larkin Chair will comment on and write about border and immigration reporting nationally, promoting public scrutiny and serving as a national voice on coverage of issues affecting the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

The new Chair will be the cornerstone of a Cronkite specialization that will include three full-time professors. The Lacey-Larkin Chair and a second, university-funded, professor to be added next year will join Cronkite Professor Rick Rodriguez, former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors, as Southwest Borderlands Professors.

Lacey and Larkin are drawing on proceeds from a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County in a widely publicized case that tested First Amendment rights as well as Arpaio’s policing practices. They said their gift to ASU grew out of their outrage at the way Mexican immigrants, in particular, have been treated by the sheriff’s office.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is trampling federal court oversight in his rush to harass the Hispanic community,” Lacey said. “During this past election, virtually every candidate felt compelled to discuss our border as if Mexico was an enemy instead of a neighbor. Elected officials are responding to and fanning the flames of bigotry. We intend to encourage the better nature of students at the Cronkite School.”

Larkin added, “I grew up in Arizona and was taught from an early age that one must give a hand to those of us less fortunate in life. There is not a more deserving group than those Mexican immigrants who braveunimaginable peril in the Sonoran Desert to travel to Arizona for work and economic opportunity. I hope my endowment of this Borderlands Chair at Cronkite shines a bright light on the Mexican immigrants’ heroic struggle for the American Dream in an unfortunately inhospitable Arizona environment.”

Cronkite Associate Dean Kristin Gilger said the Lacey and Larkin endowment adds to the pair’s already established legacies as champions of the oppressed and watchdogs ofgovernment. “It ensures that the work they care about so much and have done so well lives on in perpetuity,” she said.  “And it will give students an unmatched opportunity to do the kind of high-level and insightful coverage so needed in this area.”

The two news executives and the Phoenix-based New Times, part of the Village Voice Media enterprise, have long been critical of Arpaio and his deputies, charging them with racial profiling, illegal detention of Latinos and immigration sweeps in Latino communities in and around Phoenix. The New Times also published numerous stories alleging financial irregularities and mismanagement in the sheriff’s office, mistreatment and deaths of jail inmates and retaliation against the sheriff’s critics.

In 2004, the New Times published Arpaio’s home address in defiance of a state statute that bars news organizations from publishing home addresses of public officials if the information could pose a threat to their safety. The paper contended Arpaio was using the statute to hide his real estate assets.

Arpaio, claiming that he had received death threats as a result, sought to have Lacey and Larkin prosecuted. The case went nowhere for several years until then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas hired a special prosecutor in 2007. The prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik, issued sweeping subpoenas seeking the identities of anyone who read the paper online, including information about what other sites they had visited before and after reading the New Times.

Lacey and Larkin responded with a front-page article on Oct. 18, 2007, that criticized the investigation and revealed the subpoenas’ demands, calling them “a breathtaking abuse of the Constitution.” They also noted the prosecutor had attempted to set up an improper private meeting with the judge overseeing the case.

Late that night, sheriff’s deputies arrived at the two executive’s homes, handcuffed them and booked them into separate jails on charges they had illegally disseminated grand jury information. When Lacey was asked by other inmates why he was in jail, he responded with one word: “writing.”

The arrests prompted widespread criticism, and Lacey and Larkin were released the next day. Charges were dropped days later, and Wilenchik, the special prosecutor, was fired.

The arrests led to a prolonged court battle, with Lacey and Larkin suing Arpaio for violation of First Amendment rights and abuse of power. A series of decisions andappeals at the state and federal levels led to a 2012 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. That ruling said there was no probable cause for the arrests and the subpoenas were invalid as the hand-picked prosecutor did not consult a grand jury and issued them without regard for due process.

The court condemned public officials’ handling of the case, writing: “It is hard to conceive of a more direct assault on the First Amendment than public officials ordering the immediate arrests of their critics. And, in this case, there was nothing subtle about their efforts to stifle the New Times.”

The appellatecourt’s decision paved the way for a $3.75 million settlement paid to Lacey and Larkin by Maricopa County in 2013. The two subsequently established the “Frontera Fund” with the proceeds from the settlement to assist the Hispanic community, which has “borne the brunt of the racial animus and civil rights abuses in Arizona,” Lacey said.

A dozen nonprofit groups have received money thus far for programs that advocate for migrants on both sides of the border and promote civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, freedom of speech and civic participation. Beneficiaries have included Promise Arizona, Colibri Center for Human Rights, Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Puente, Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College and Fundación México.

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan, who issued a public statement shortly after Lacey’s and Larkin’s arrests in 2007 calling the actions again the news executives “a grotesque and unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial powers” and “a frontal assault on the rights of citizens,” said the endowment is a fitting reminder of the need for a free and unfettered press.

Callahan said the school will conduct a national search for the new Lacey-Larkin Chair and will launch the new Borderlands reporting program in the fall of 2015. The Chair will be held by a journalist who has experience and expertise covering immigration and Latino issues, who is bilingual in Spanish and English and who can write and edit professionally in both languages.

The Cronkite School has long been a leader in borderlands and immigration coverage. The school offers students a specialization in coverage of Latino communities as part of its Southwest Borderlands Initiative program, led by Rodriguez, who takes his students each year on a trip to another country to report on border and immigration issues. Those projects have three times won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award for reporting on social justice issues.

Commercial Development - AZRE Magazine January/February 2012

ASU School program focuses on border issues

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, longtime owners of the national chain of Village Voice alternative weeklies, will use proceeds from a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a Chair in Borderlands Issues at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The $2M gift will support an endowed chair who will lead a new program at the Cronkite School in which students will cover immigration and border issues in the U.S. and Mexico in both Spanish and English. The Lacey-Larkin Chair will be the only endowed chair in the country focused exclusively on Latino and borderlands coverage.

The Chair will direct advanced student journalists in a professional immersion program in which they will report, write and produce cutting-edge stories that will be distributed in English and Spanish to professional media outlets and will be prominently featured on the Cronkite News website and Arizona PBS newscasts. Additionally, the Lacey-Larkin Chair will comment on and write about border and immigration reporting nationally, promoting public scrutiny and serving as a national voice on coverage of issues affecting the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

The new Chair will be the cornerstone of a Cronkite specialization that will include three full-time professors. The Lacey-Larkin Chair and a second, university-funded, professor to be added next year will join Cronkite Professor Rick Rodriguez, former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors, as Southwest Borderlands Professors.

Lacey and Larkin are drawing on proceeds from a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County in a widely publicized case that tested First Amendment rights as well as Arpaio’s policing practices. They said their gift to ASU grew out of their outrage at the way Mexican immigrants, in particular, have been treated by the sheriff’s office.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is trampling federal court oversight in his rush to harass the Hispanic community,” Lacey said. “During this past election, virtually every candidate felt compelled to discuss our border as if Mexico was an enemy instead of a neighbor. Elected officials are responding to and fanning the flames of bigotry. We intend to encourage the better nature of students at the Cronkite School.”

Larkin added, “I grew up in Arizona and was taught from an early age that one must give a hand to those of us less fortunate in life. There is not a more deserving group than those Mexican immigrants who braveunimaginable peril in the Sonoran Desert to travel to Arizona for work and economic opportunity. I hope my endowment of this Borderlands Chair at Cronkite shines a bright light on the Mexican immigrants’ heroic struggle for the American Dream in an unfortunately inhospitable Arizona environment.”

Cronkite Associate Dean Kristin Gilger said the Lacey and Larkin endowment adds to the pair’s already established legacies as champions of the oppressed and watchdogs ofgovernment. “It ensures that the work they care about so much and have done so well lives on in perpetuity,” she said.  “And it will give students an unmatched opportunity to do the kind of high-level and insightful coverage so needed in this area.”

The two news executives and the Phoenix-based New Times, part of the Village Voice Media enterprise, have long been critical of Arpaio and his deputies, charging them with racial profiling, illegal detention of Latinos and immigration sweeps in Latino communities in and around Phoenix. The New Times also published numerous stories alleging financial irregularities and mismanagement in the sheriff’s office, mistreatment and deaths of jail inmates and retaliation against the sheriff’s critics.

In 2004, the New Times published Arpaio’s home address in defiance of a state statute that bars news organizations from publishing home addresses of public officials if the information could pose a threat to their safety. The paper contended Arpaio was using the statute to hide his real estate assets.

Arpaio, claiming that he had received death threats as a result, sought to have Lacey and Larkin prosecuted. The case went nowhere for several years until then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas hired a special prosecutor in 2007. The prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik, issued sweeping subpoenas seeking the identities of anyone who read the paper online, including information about what other sites they had visited before and after reading the New Times.

Lacey and Larkin responded with a front-page article on Oct. 18, 2007, that criticized the investigation and revealed the subpoenas’ demands, calling them “a breathtaking abuse of the Constitution.” They also noted the prosecutor had attempted to set up an improper private meeting with the judge overseeing the case.

Late that night, sheriff’s deputies arrived at the two executive’s homes, handcuffed them and booked them into separate jails on charges they had illegally disseminated grand jury information. When Lacey was asked by other inmates why he was in jail, he responded with one word: “writing.”

The arrests prompted widespread criticism, and Lacey and Larkin were released the next day. Charges were dropped days later, and Wilenchik, the special prosecutor, was fired.

The arrests led to a prolonged court battle, with Lacey and Larkin suing Arpaio for violation of First Amendment rights and abuse of power. A series of decisions and appeals at the state and federal levels led to a 2012 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. That ruling said there was no probable cause for the arrests and the subpoenas were invalid as the hand-picked prosecutor did not consult a grand jury and issued them without regard for due process.

The court condemned public officials’ handling of the case, writing: “It is hard to conceive of a more direct assault on the First Amendment than public officials ordering the immediate arrests of their critics. And, in this case, there was nothing subtle about their efforts to stifle the New Times.”

The appellatecourt’s decision paved the way for a $3.75 million settlement paid to Lacey and Larkin by Maricopa County in 2013. The two subsequently established the “Frontera Fund” with the proceeds from the settlement to assist the Hispanic community, which has “borne the brunt of the racial animus and civil rights abuses in Arizona,” Lacey said.

A dozen nonprofit groups have received money thus far for programs that advocate for migrants on both sides of the border and promote civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, freedom of speech and civic participation. Beneficiaries have included Promise Arizona, Colibri Center for Human Rights, Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Puente, Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College and Fundación México.

Cronkite DeanChristopher Callahan, who issued a public statement shortly after Lacey’s and Larkin’s arrests in 2007 calling the actions again the news executives “a grotesque and unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial powers” and “a frontal assault on the rights of citizens,” said the endowment is a fitting reminder of the need for a free and unfettered press.

Callahan said the school will conduct a national search for the new Lacey-Larkin Chair and will launch the new Borderlands reporting program in the fall of 2015. The Chair will be held by a journalist who has experience and expertise covering immigration and Latino issues, who is bilingual in Spanish and English and who can write and edit professionally in both languages.

The Cronkite School has long been a leader in borderlands and immigration coverage. The school offers students a specialization in coverage of Latino communities as part of its Southwest Borderlands Initiative program, led by Rodriguez, who takes his students each year on a trip to another country to report on border and immigration issues. Those projects have three times won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award for reporting on social justice issues.

housing.prices

Phoenix housing market ending relatively flat year

After several years of wild roller-coaster activity, the Phoenix-area housing market is ready to end a relatively flat year. 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 the new report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of October:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up just 4 percent from last October to this October – from $200,000 to $208,000.
• Demand remains lower than last year, with sales of single-family homes down 5 percent from last October.
• The Valley is experiencing a very small bump up in two areas – investor interest and new-home sales.

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 4 percent more – from $200,000 to $208,000 – from last October to this October. Realtors will note the average price per square foot also went up 4 percent. The median townhome/condo sales price rose only 2 percent.

“We’ve seen very little change in the Greater Phoenix housing market for the last year, and stability is the order of the day,” 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. “Price increases look tame over the last 12 months and even tamer if you examine just the last six months. There is no longer any real upward price momentum greater than the general level of inflation.”

Orr’s report notes that demand in the market remains lower than last year. In fact, the amount of single-family-home sales dropped 5 percent from last October to this October. Activity from first-time home buyers has been unusually low, in part because some people had their credit badly damaged during the housing crash and also because millennials are waiting to enter the home market until later in life than previous generations. These are also reasons the rental market is strong. Rents have increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months in the Phoenix area.

Meantime, Valley foreclosures have dropped way down over the past year. Completed foreclosures of single-family and condo homes were down 19 percent from last October to this October. The lack of cheap foreclosures here has been largely driving investors to other areas of the country, where bargains are more plentiful. However, there was a little bump back up between this September and October. The percentage of residential properties bought by investors hit 15.5 percent, the highest level since May, but still well below last year’s levels.

“Investors and out-of-state buyers are showing a small recovery in buying interest, but to get our market back to what we would consider normal will still require a major increase in demand from local first-time home buyers,” explains Orr.

Some expect the coming introduction of conventional home loans with a lower, 3-percent down payments next year to stimulate more interest, but Orr isn’t sure this will make a major dent. He anticipates small, incremental improvements.

“The big economic gains of the last few years have helped companies, but not necessarily the average person who might consider taking out a home loan,” says Orr.

One other note from Orr: The market share for new-home sales is doing better and has recovered to 14 percent – the same level as October 2013. Taylor Morrison, Pulte Homes and Meritage Homes are leading the way in the Phoenix area.

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.

Fractured Prune

PHX Architecture designs ASU doughnut shop

PHX Architecture has completed designs for a new doughnut shop near Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus- Fractured Prune Doughnuts. The shop is located in Tempe on Veterans Way and College Avenue inside of the new University House residential high rise. The shop is expected to open in late January, just in time for the Super Bowl.

Fractured Prune, a unique doughnut shop based out of Ocean City, Maryland has become extremely popular in many states, and has prompted the expansion of locations into Arizona. The doughnut shop is known for their wonderful flavor combinations and unique name, which came from the story of the founder named Prunella Shriek, who is known by “Fractured Prunella” after breaking bones while competing athletically. The creative name and backstory along with the customized doughnuts provide for a truly unique experience soon to quickly take off in the Arizona area.

The Fractured Prune is a unique doughnut concept, where customers pick their own flavoring combinations for their doughnuts. With 19 different glazes and 13 different toppings, the flavors can range anywhere from marshmallow- bacon to blueberry-graham cracker and many more. According to their website, there are 155,648 flavor combinations possible, which includes their bestselling doughnut the OC Sand, which is a combination of honey glaze, cinnamon and sugar. This exclusive doughnut shop can turn even the most skeptical into doughnut lovers!

The design team was headed by PHX Architecture’s own Maurita Walker, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, and constructed by Salcito Construction. Other locations expected to be completed in January around the Valley include a Cityscape location in downtown Phoenix, and a Westgate location next to the AMC Theatres, both of which are expected to be completed in time for the Superbowl.

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

Experts: 2 more years until full economic recovery in Arizona

We can expect our economic recovery to take about another two years in Arizona. That’s what experts said today at the 51st annual Economic Forecast Luncheon co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase.

About 750 people attended the event at the Phoenix Convention Center. Key experts delivered a comprehensive overview of what’s happening in the state and national economies, as well as the stock market and housing market. One main message was that Arizona is now growing at a faster rate than the nation, but we still have some distance to go.

“As of May, the United States finished gaining back 100 percent of its jobs lost in the recession, but in Arizona alone, we’re only 69 percent of the way there,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We expect to regain that last 96,400 jobs in the next year and a half.”

So far this year, Arizona has experienced 2-percent job growth, while our state’s 30-year average is a much higher 4.2 percent. Still, this rate was good enough to rank Arizona as the No. 12 state for job growth as of October. Arizona ranked No. 13 in personal-income growth by midyear. McPheters believes the state will speed up from here.

Among his Arizona predictions for 2015:
• Employment growth could rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to 2.5 percent next year.
• Personal-income growth could jump from 4 percent this year to 4.5 percent in 2015.
• Population growth could go up from 1.4 percent in 2014 to 1.5 percent next year.

McPheters added Arizona is doing particularly well in creating jobs in finance/insurance and health care. The state is lagging in manufacturing and construction. Arizona unemployment has dropped from 7.8 percent last year to 6.8 percent this year. However, we continue to recover much more slowly than from past economic downturns, and we continue to face risks from ineffective growth policies at the national level.

John Lonski, chief capital markets economist of Moody’s Analytics, addressed the national economy by saying that we can expect more subpar growth in 2015.

“We expect U.S. real GDP (gross domestic product) growth to rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to about 2.8 percent next year,” said Lonski. “We also anticipate the national unemployment rate may drop from 5.8 percent this October to 5.4 percent by the end of 2015.”

In addition, Lonski predicts U.S. wage and salary income should grow by about 4.5 percent next year. He believes industrial capacity will be more fully utilized. He said the housing collapse, tightening of fiscal policy, and insufficient new product development have been contributing to America’s economic struggle. However, he expects the next major wave of technological innovation to supply stronger-than-expected growth, whether it’s self-driving autos or robotics.

“We’re also experiencing some big changes because of a population shift,” Lonski added. “Only about 1.5 percent of the jobs added post-recession have gone to those ages 16 to 54, while those ages 55 and older gained 20.9 percent. This shift has prompted less spending and more saving, especially by those closer to retirement.”

Lonski also expects the budget deficit to go up, after bottoming out at 2.6 percent of GDP in 2015. That’s because of increased spending on retiring baby boomers, as well as the still-unknown costs of the Affordable Care Act. Decreased defense spending should moderate some of the increases.

James Glassman, managing director and senior economist for JPMorgan Chase & Co., covered the financial markets. He said that, despite the recent rise in stock prices, they are still fairly valued. He added household net worth is back in record territory.

“Credit conditions are improving, and rising vehicle sales prove it,” said Glassman. “Also, we’re seeing some improvements in the housing industry, since builders addressed their previous speculative overbuilding by underbuilding in recent years. Rising home prices are helping to drain the number of ‘underwater’ mortgages.”

Glassman notes the energy sector is also humming along. He expects interest rates to go up next year as the economy continues to improve.

Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based economic consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, covered the Arizona housing market. He repeated that the state has recently experienced a significant slowdown in population flows and only a modest recovery from the sharp downturn in our housing market.

Pollack said there are a few positives, such as slow acceleration of the local economy, decent home affordability, low mortgage rates, a slight loosening of lending standards, and the movement of many all-cash investors to other bargain areas of the country. These factors create more opportunity for local buyers who need financing.

“However, we still see several negatives that outweigh those positives, including relatively sluggish employment growth, fewer people moving, millennials delaying home purchases, many people still waiting out their required seven years in the credit ‘penalty box’ after foreclosures, and overall difficulty in getting home loans,” explained Pollack. “Full recovery is still years away.”

Pollack said more people who have been renting may jump back into the housing market over the next several years as conditions improve. Meantime, apartment construction is up. Pollack believes the Valley won’t see any significant office construction – except in select submarkets like Tempe – until at least 2017.

More details and analysis from the event, including the presentation slides, are available from the business school’s “Research and Ideas” website at research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

tax

Will campaign contributions lower your tax rates?

Many politicians will tell you that donating to their campaigns does not affect the way they vote or design laws. However, a new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University suggests regular ongoing contributions do help provide access to influential lawmakers and that companies making campaign contributions specifically to tax-writing members of Congress wind up paying lower tax rates over time.

“We found that firms investing in relationships with tax policymakers through campaign contributions do gain greater future tax benefits,” says Assistant Professor Jennifer Brown of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “We specifically looked at members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee in the research. Overall, we saw that donating companies experienced lower and more consistent effective tax rates in the long run.”

The new research was recently published online by the Journal of the American Taxation Association. The authors are Brown and two recent Ph.D. graduates from the W. P. Carey School at Arizona State University: Assistant Professor Laura Wellman, now of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Assistant Professor Katharine Drake, now of the University of Arizona. In the study, they remark that political action committee (PAC) contributions to members of Congress, in general, rose 60 percent from the years 2000 to 2008, but PAC contributions specifically to tax-writing members of Congress went up even more — 80 percent.

“Proactive firms build relationships with policymakers through continued campaign support, with the expectation of gaining some economic benefit,” says Wellman. “There is an advantage to getting in the game early and maintaining your seat at the table. Our research provides evidence that increasing the number of political ties to tax policymakers produces a stronger effect on future tax rates.”

The paper points out that one member of the Senate Finance Committee raised more than $11 million in his 2008 campaign, even though he was running essentially unopposed. The research isn’t aimed at showing that anything inappropriate is happening, but rather, that contributions to tax policymakers may help supply more access, such as a receptive ear.

The study utilizes PAC data from the Federal Election Commission and lobbying data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The researchers found that when a firm moved from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile of “relational” activity – equal to supporting at least five more candidates — then that firm experienced a lower future cash effective tax rate, which added up to an average of about $33 million in annual savings. The frequency of the donations and the power level of the candidates also play a role in the equation.

The article adds that lobbying and contributions work together in achieving firms’ tax-policy outcomes. The full study is available at http://aaajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.2308/atax-50908.

stem.cell

Scottsdale hosts second Cure Corridor Event

Scottsdale economic development will be hosting the second annual Cure Corridor Event at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This event features a significant lineup of Cure Corridor partners sharing their insight into the future of the Cure Corridor and Bio-Life Sciences Industry. Keynote speaker Elizabeth Holmes – founder and CEO of Theranos, which recently located at Scottsdale’s SkySong, will headline the event.  Ms. Holmes was recently featured on the cover of Forbes magazine and debuted on Forbes 400 as the youngest self-made woman billionaire.

The first annual Cure Corridor event was launched in September 2013 and entertained hundreds of attendees with strong presenter content. The City of Scottsdale’s goal is to raise awareness about the innovation activity taking place in the community while supporting business growth and collaboration among industry partners.

This year’s event brings together a multitude Scottsdale industry partners in bio-life science to share recent happenings in their core areas of research in a rapid fire presentation format. The current line-up of noted rapid fire speakers include:

• Martin Shultz – Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee
• Dr. Michael Gordon – Medical Director of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program at Scottsdale Healthcare
• J.D. Weir – Primus Pharmaceuticals
• David Bennett – Orion Health
• Dr. Robert Greenes – ASU and Mayo Clinic
• Walter Cooper – Matrix Medical Network

“Our healthcare and life science community in Scottsdale is a vital economic sector and is as a key driver for job growth in our community,” said Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “More importantly, leading life science innovators call Scottsdale “home.” This means that the people of our community have access to the best possible healthcare services, cutting edge research, and other opportunities that will benefit the people of Scottsdale today and for generations to come.”

The Cure Corridor is not only a location but a concept designed to promote the innovative activities occurring around the concentration of the Bio-Life Sciences sector throughout Scottsdale. This sector is a major driver of the innovation economy in the State of Arizona, Greater Phoenix region and City of Scottsdale. According to the Flinn Foundation, the biosciences in Arizona “develop treatments for health afflictions, design diagnostics to gauge and prevent illness, strengthen our food supply, develop alternative fuel sources, and much more.”

The Scottsdale Cure Corridor is more than a brand or location. This strategic concept includes activities designed to promote the innovative practices occurring around the concentration of biotech and life sciences industries from Shea Boulevard to the Scottsdale Airpark and throughout Scottsdale. The bio-life science sector has a strong presence in the city’s economic health, with Scottsdale housing 13 percent of all Phoenix Metro area bio-life sciences employment. The Scottsdale bio-life sciences activity includes a workforce of about 27,700 people and a direct economic output of $2.5 billion and indirect output of $3.5 billion annually anchored by companies such as TD2, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and Mayo Clinic.

The Cure Corridor isn’t just home to some of the world’s most prestigious clinical research facilities it is also home to pharmaceutical companies such as Primus, Prismic and West Pharmaceuticals.

The health-service industry burst in 2014 with major location and expansion announcements by some of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.  Companies such Orion Health, ZocDoc, Zenefits and Accolade have all chosen Scottsdale because of its skilled workforce, high quality of life and a booming industry cluster which is drawing national recognition.