Tag Archives: blue cross blue shield of arizona

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Banner Health create joint venture

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Banner Health announced today that they will enter into a new joint venture, to be known as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage (BCBSAZ Advantage), in which both companies will participate equally to bring enhanced Medicare services to Arizonans. The venture brings two premier organizations together with a common goal of improving the quality of patient care, enhancing wellness management and affordability for people enrolled in Medicare.
BCBSAZ Advantage will include Medicare Advantage plans for seniors in Maricopa County and portions of Pinal County, currently known as Banner MediSun Medicare Health Plan, including their MediSunONE Classic, MediSunONE Plus and MediSunONE Premier plans.

By aligning their shared interests and capabilities, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Banner Health will deliver value to Arizonans enrolled in Medicare programs by offering them the stability of two premier organizations that share a vision for the future delivery of healthcare that inspires people to live healthy and productive lives, and provides highly coordinated care when it’s needed.

“This is an opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand to position our company to more efficiently and effectively serve expanding markets in the government sector,” said Richard L. Boals, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “By joining with Banner to offer Medicare products, we’re now able to offer a broader range of services that furthers our position to compete as an industry leader during a transformative time in the healthcare industry.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona currently offers Medicare supplement and prescription drug plans (Part D) to more than 23,000 Arizonans. Through the joint venture with Banner Health, it’s estimated the companies will be serving 25,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees. Current Banner MediSun members will be able to keep their coverage intact as both companies are committed to focusing their efforts on making this a smooth and positive transition for members and employees alike. All terms are subject to final regulatory approval.

“This new collaboration with a proven community partner like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona clearly shows that when two leading organizations are so closely aligned, the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts,” said Peter S. Fine, president and chief executive officer of Banner Health. “This is an ideal opportunity for Banner to leverage our comprehensive network of quality providers who are supported and linked by an electronic medical records system and other enabling technologies that are unmatched in Arizona.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona also recently announced the launch of BlueAlliance, an innovative health insurance product offering lower premiums by using Banner Health Network’s local network of more than 2,500 healthcare providers in the Maricopa County area. BlueAlliance is the lowest-priced health plan available for small businesses in the entire Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona portfolio of health plans, which traditionally have focused on a broader network of more than 18,000 participating providers.

MediSun members with questions can call Member Services at 800-446-8331. For more information on BCBSAZ Advantage, call 888-288-0019.

hcla-featured

2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards Winners & Photos

David Lincoln and the Lincoln family earned Arizona Business Magazine’s first Lifetime Achievement Award to highlight the 5th annual, 2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards Thursday, March 8 at the Arizona Biltmore.

“Even though this is a lifetime award, I hope that I have a lot more life to live,” David Lincoln joked.

Thirteen other awards were presents to honorees, who heard keynote addresses from Dr. Michael Birt, director of the Center for Sustainable Health and interim co-director at ASU’s Biodesign Institute; and Elizabeth Reich, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona.

Congratulations to the 2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards finalists and winners!


View photos of the 2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards on our Facebook!


2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards Winners:

Community Outreach: Ruth Rimmer, Director of Psycho/Social Research, Arizona Burn Center, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems

Institution or Educational Program: Arizona Institute for Breast Health

Insurance Provider or Executive: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Volunteer of the Year: Jean Reynolds, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dentist of the Year: Tony S. Hashemian, DDS, A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

Nurse or Nursing Advocate: Dr. Anne McNamara, Grand Canyon University

Manager of the Year: Brain Shelley, Banner Del E. Webb

Hospital Executive of the Year: Rhonda Anderson, Cardon Children’s Medical Center

Hospital Administrator of the Year: Dr. Edgar Staren, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Researcher of the Year: Julie Robbins, Battelle

Healthcare Leadership Physician of the Year: Dr. Stephen Pophal, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Surgeon of the Year: Dr. David Jacofsky, The CORE Institute

Medical Center or Hospital: Thunderbird Medical Center

Lifetime Achievement Award: David Lincoln and the Lincoln Family


Photos of the 2012 Healthcare Leadership Awards reception and ceremony:

Photos: Cory Bergquist

[slickr-flickr tag="2012-hcla-reception" items="38" type="slideshow" id="77774765@N07"]


Presenting Sponsors:

CTCA LogoQuarles & Brady Logo
National Bank of AzHealth Care Trust of America, Inc.

Event Sponsor:

Arizona Biltmore Resort

Dessert Sponsor:

Scan Health Plan Arizona

HCL Awards 2012 - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

HCL Awards 2012: Insurance Provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona


Insurance Provider

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

HCL Awards 2012 - Blue Cross Blue ShieldBlue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which consists of 39 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, covering nearly one-third of all Americans. The not-for-profit company provides health insurance products, services or networks to more than 1 million individuals in Arizona.

BCBSAZ is continuously looking for ways to the improve quality of life for all Arizonans, while controlling rising healthcare costs. The company focuses on providing the best value in health insurance by automating processes, streamlining business operations and implementing continuous operational improvement activities. In partnership with physicians, BCBSAZ also helps customers manage complex conditions and provides ongoing education that enables them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

BCBSAZ contributed more than $1 million in the Valley of the Sun United Way’s 2010/2011 campaign. BCBSAZ’s cornerstone community program is Walk On!, which is the first step in helping to reduce the incidence of obesity among children in the state of Arizona. Walk On! is a grassroots program that challenges fifth-graders to be physically active every day during a given period of time. Walk On! also has become a model program for Blue plans nationwide.

azblue.com


Finalist

Bret Morris

Health Net of Arizona, Inc.

HCL Awards 2012 - Bret MorrisMorris is focused on providing health care solutions to the people of Arizona ‚Äî offering products that consumers can afford. The company has grown by 45 percent in his first year as president. Health Net ExcelCare – the state’s first tailored HMO product that provides an affordable health care option for employers and employees – was launched during Morris’ first year. Morris also champions charities. Health Net of Arizona, Inc. donated $10,000 to the Tucson Tragedy Fund and Health Net of Arizona associates support numerous non-profit organizations with their time, talent and financial giving.

healthnet.com


Finalist

Helene Gingiss

Solutions 4 Seniors

HCL Awards 2012 - Helene GingissGingiss, president of Solutions 4 Seniors, has helped thousands of seniors locate the appropriate insurance and has lifted the bar on being a medical insurance advisor. Gingiss has developed a consulting approach to Medicare education and has helped SCAN Health Plan become the fastest-growing HMO in Arizona. In her five years as a medical advisor, Gingiss has proven that she is committed to helping seniors secure the most cost-effective medical insurance possible with integrity, impeccable customer service, and professionalism.


HCL Awards 2012 Winners & Finalists

AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Medical Technology: Increasing Longevity, Healthcare Costs

Advances in technology are great, experts agree, but costs need to mimic the rest of the economy.

As Arizona enters its second century and health care costs soar, we can’t help but ask: Has the technology that helps us live longer become too costly? Are we living too long? And who will pay for the high-tech advances that keep us going?

Leading healthcare experts in the Valley say our lifespan has increased, but not as much as most people think, they say. Though they agree that residents may have to work longer, most believe that is because of problems with the economy overall, not from the increasing cost of healthcare.

Technology has improved, they say, but the changes will soon get more amazing. Some of this will be costly, but improved technology can also make healthcare more efficient and less expensive in the long run.

And none of these experts believe Arizona residents live too long.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012“I suspect that people used to say that humans were living too long back when people lived 50 years or 60 years,” said Dr. Vishu Jhaveri, chief medical officer and senior vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “People may have the instinct to want to live longer, but what they really want is to live longer and healthier.”

Dr. Ed Staren, president and chief executive officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, agrees.

“I certainly don’t think people live too long,” says Dr. Ed Staren, president and chief executive officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear. “I greatly value the chance to learn from those more experienced than we are. The purpose of medicine runs parallel to the right of an individual to a healthy life, to empower them to pursue life to the best of their abilities.”

The mission statement for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Jhaveri notes, “is to improve the quality of life for all Arizonans, not just our customers.”

Healthcare and its new technology are not the major factors in a long life, says Dr. John Hensing, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Banner Health. Genetics, diet and nutrition and exercise are what count the most, he says.

“Do you smoke? Do you get regular exercise? What do you eat? Do you take care of yourself?” Dr. Hensing asks. “Those factors contribute much more to longevity. That being said, of course, there are certain people alive today because of improvements made in medical technology. These are people who 100 years ago would not have survived. But technology is only a modest factor in longevity.”

We do, of course, live longer and longer, but in general our lifespan has increased fairly slowly. According to the U.S. Census, the average life expectancy for men and women combined in the United States was 78.3 years in 2010; it was 76.8 years in 2000.

So how will we pay for the health care that gives us extra years and stronger bodies?

“The new technology allows us to be more efficient in the cost of delivering care,” says Dr. Greg Mayer, senior vice president of the Hospice of the Valley.

Those cost-saving methods can include electronic transmission of medical records; video visits to the doctor for routine illnesses; or even robotic surgery with the robot controlled by a doctor who is hundreds or thousands of miles away from the operating room.

“Many areas of technology are very high in cost, and we’re all aware that the increases in these costs cannot be sustained in future,” Dr. Mayer says. “If we aren’t smarter and more efficient in our use of health care, it won’t be helpful. It will just be fancier care.”

In the drive to cut expenses, he says, patients will probably find that less complicated medical care will be delivered by highly qualified middle level personnel like nurse practitioners, rather than doctors. “There have to be changes because we can’t sustain the current system financially. There aren’t even enough physicians to meet all the needs,” Dr. Mayer says.

Of course, medical technology has brought on major changes in how serious diseases are treated, the doctors say. Cancer is a prime example.

When Dr. Staren of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America started practicing in the 1980s, the bulk of cancer diagnoses were based on just looking at the size and shape of a tumor or on what could be seen by analyzing cells under a microscope. Treatment was limited to drugs and chemotherapy that had not changed much in 25 years.

Now, doctors have electronic equipment to look at cancers on the molecular level and differentiate among individual tumors and types of cancer. Targeted therapies can use drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth. These targeted therapies may be more potent than chemotherapy and radiotherapy and less harmful to normal cells.

“Now, cancer is being treated as a chronic disease, much like diabetes,” Dr. Staren says.  “There have been true paradigm shifts in treatment.”

It’s possible to treat tumors with minimal access to the body by delivering drugs through small pinholes in the abdomen, chest or brain. “This is process innovation that can result in lower costs and reimbursement,” Dr. Staren says.

“Right now, we’re going through transformation of our health care and how it’s paid for,” Dr. Hensing says. “We’re in a period of non-sustainable growth of costs. That has to change. The growth of costs must flatten out to a cost trend that looks like the rest of the U.S. economy – whether health care is paid for by employers or the government or both. We need a better way to deliver services, and they will be delivered in a more economical way. It will take the better part of a decade to do it.”

“There is unquestionably a much better prospect for better quality and Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012quantity of life due to technology,” said Dr. Rafael Fonseca, deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. “But escalating costs remain a challenge.”

Costs are higher in the United States than around the world, he says, but that’s partly because the U.S. carries most of the cost of research and development. He sees room for containment of costs. “The notion that everything has to be managed by doctors must change,” Fonseca says. “Nurses can get a history and do a medical exam;. There can be electronic consultation. Nurses can deal with day-to-day problems with specialists handling individual cases.”

Here are the five things that Valley experts say will shape health care in Arizona as the state enters its second century:

Medical Technology

More improvements, including less invasive surgery, targeted drugs and therapies.

Cost containment

More use of nurses and trained technicians to give care.

Medical education

Training for technicians and nurses so they can administer more care.

Lifestyle education

Promotion of better nutrition and more exercise.

Growth of facilities

New clinics and hospitals in Arizona attracting patients from around the world.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

Green Schoolhouse Series

Green Schoolhouse Series Creates Sustainable Valley Schools

Thanks to the Green Schoolhouse Series, three Arizona schools will receive makeovers with sustainability in mind as part of an 18-market national tour.

For 14 million American children in school today, December 1, 2011 marked a step in the right direction for a healthier and greener future. This moment in time ceremoniously marked the groundbreaking day of what will become the first ever LEED-Platinum designed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) school right here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Roadrunner Elementary School is currently receiving a major makeover to become a healthy, environmentally friendly and energy efficient schoolhouse serving as the inaugural site of Green Schoolhouse Series.

Aiming to bring greener practices both in the construction of the schoolhouses and the student’s curriculum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) has partnered up with the Green Schoolhouse Series to put such ideas into action. The well-underway construction at Roadrunner Elementary, expected to be completed by May 2012 and ready for the fall 2012 school year, is just one of three schools in the state to receive a much needed upgrade. Orangewood Middle School and Green Phoenix Learning Center will also take part in integrating sustainable facilities and greener practices as part of the 18-market national tour.

The schools involved in the series are Title 1, low-income, public schools; they will receive facilities comprised of recycled and environmentally-friendly materials with solar rooftops and rainwater harvesting capabilities. Each classroom will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technology incorporating interactive white boards, surround sound, outdoor learning spaces and green gardens. These upgrades come as a stark contrast to the outdated portables found on so many school campuses across the nation.

The LEED-Platinum certified schoolhouses aim to have a net-zero energy use, net-zero water use and non-toxic interior environments. As for the technology within the classrooms, senior partner of the Green Schoolhouse Series, Jeff Zotara, says they hope to, “create an engaging environment for the students, while encouraging interaction.” With that, the curriculum within the schools will encourage green practices, such as conserving energy along with learning about the importance of eating healthy and organic.

Built entirely by professional and community volunteers, the construction of the schoolhouses will match the hard work of the teachers, school board members, students and parents of each chosen school who helped to submit the grant application for their school to become part of the Green Schoolhouse Series. In that, the school’s commitment to sustainable practices has already influenced other community members as many local and even non-local business have stepped forward to help make donations.

Although not every school in America is financially able to build LEED-certified buildings, Zotara describes the Green Schoolhouse project as a “national movement and an iconic example of what is possible.” Taking the ideas of living more sustainably, senior executive member of BCBSAZ, Deanna Salazar, comments on the impact of the projects saying, “It’s our hope that these schools will inspire other schools to look at ways green living and healthier practices can be incorporated into school curriculum.”

With the ongoing projects of Green Schoolhouse Series, there are still opportunities to get involved, as each project is 100 percent dependable on donations made by businesses, both small and large.

For more information on opportunities to get involved with the Green Schoolhouse Series call (760)431-5400 or visit greenschoolhouseseries.org to learn more.

Affordable Patient Care Act - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Affordable Patient Care Act May Cause Businesses To Drop Healthcare Insurance

Although most small businesses in Arizona aren’t dropping their healthcare insurance plans right now, some are thinking about doing it when the Obama administration’s Affordable Patient Care Act is fully implemented in 2014.

Meanwhile, many small business owners are also looking for new plans that will save them money, but may also slash benefits for their employees.

“We’re not seeing a dramatic drop in coverage as of today, but small businesses are asking a lot of questions about the health care reform act,” says Jeff Stelnik, senior vice president of strategy, sales and marketing for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, which has more small group customers than most other health insurers in the state.

“Companies with from two to 49 employees are also thinking about whether it makes sense for them to drop their coverage. Those with from 50 to 100 employees and beyond are less likely to do that.”

On one hand, the smallest companies — from two to 49 workers — are not required to provide insurance for their employees in 2014 and are not subject to any penalties. Those with 50 or more employees will face fines for failing to do so. So that in itself makes it easier for the smallest firms to cancel coverage.

Another incentive for small businesses to end insurance benefits is that many now offer plans with high deductibles, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, and requiring “strong” co-payments. These types of plans don’t meet the minimum requirements under the Affordable Patient Care Act. That means that as of 2014, they must upgrade their plans at great expense in order to keep insuring employees. Although some federal tax subsidies will be available to help small companies, it is still expected to be costly for small businesses to provide more generous health benefits to employees.

But even though the smallest businesses are considering dropping health insurance, “they absolutely would like to keep it if they can,” Stelnik says.

“If small employers drop coverage, they will probably give employees a bump in pay — another $50 to $75 in their paychecks,” says Thomas Katsenes, president of Katsenes Insurance in Phoenix. “But that’s not going to help those employees much when they go out to buy health insurance.”

One of his clients, who owns several fast-food franchises, is considering canceling an insurance plan it has for managers; the business does not cover other employees. The franchise corporate office provides no health insurance. “Those businesses most affected are the ones with fewer employees,” Katsenes says.

The full impact of the health reform legislation may not hit until 2014, but some changes already phased in have helped raise current health insurance costs by 15 percent and more, according to Katsenes.

“They’ve already phased in the mandated no-cost wellness benefits (like free mammograms for women) and the unlimited lifetime maximum costs for the insured, and they’re requiring coverage up to age 26 for children,” he says. “All these changes translate into higher premiums.”

Another broker, Bob Padgett, president of the Padgett Insurance Agency in the Phoenix area, hasn’t seen any cancellations yet, but some of his clients are looking at plans with $10,000 deductibles as well as partially self-funded insurance plans.

“Some businesses are reducing coverage for their employees, passing more of the cost on to them or no longer offering coverage,” says Donna Davis, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association, a group in which 85 percent of the membership has 100 or fewer employees.

“In a recent survey of our members, 74 percent indicated that the cost of healthcare was a significant challenge to the future of their businesses,” she says. “Most businesses have seen consistent year-over-year increases even before the Affordable Patient Care Act was enacted.”

Some employers are investigating defined benefit plans that allow six doctor visits per year and pay a limited amount per day for hospitalization, Katsenes says. “I may have a client who will be going for that soon. He has 15 employees to insure.

“It’s unknown what lies ahead for small businesses,” Katsenes adds. “So far we’ve dealt with about 900 pages of regulations and another 100,000 pages lie ahead.”

[stextbox id="grey"]For more information about the Affordable Patient Care Act, visit healthcare.gov.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

SBLA: Building High Performance Teams

Small Business Leadership Academy: Building High Performance Teams (Part I)

Last night, students in the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) formed two teams and competed to see which could navigate a “minefield” best. The exercise was designed to help students experience the dynamics of high performance teams as they move through all the stages of group development.

“Many of these owners are getting ready to launch their businesses into the next stage, and at some point they will need to form and lead teams,” said W. P. Carey clinical assistant professor Ruth Barratt, who is teaching two classes on how to build high performance teams. “Even the solo practitioner needs to understand team dynamics,” she added, “because they will be interacting with customers who work in teams.”

“One of the common mistakes managers make is to give teams too little time to do their work,” Barratt said. Managers must come in on time and under budget, and in a challenging economy, the pressure intensifies. But teams don’t achieve peak performance unless members have a chance to get to know each other – each person’s strengths, weaknesses, style – and the assignment.

Knowing yourself is the first step to understanding others, so before last night’s class the students completed the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. “It’s a valuable tool for understanding what their stressors are and how that affects the way they interact with other people,” Barratt said. Before class she had already heard from a handful of students: “the extraverts,” she laughed.

The class delved into the stages of team development and management, how to build a culture that leads to achievement, and what it takes to lead a team. “Story-telling is an effective way to build culture,” Barratt said, “so for next week’s class the assignment is to get ready to tell your business story.” In preparation, students heard about Miller Brewing Company’s Norman Adami, and how he used culture to turn around a sluggish company. And for an example of a well-told tale, she showed them Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech.

Next week’s class will be the final instructional module of the 2011 SBLA program.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy and building high performance teams and team development, please visit SBLA’s website.

 

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part II)

One company’s purchasing is another company’s marketing.

If small and mid-sized businesses can keep that in mind, they will have discovered one of the secrets of success for a supplier, according to Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business and instructor for the procurement classes in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy. Carter, a leading academic in the supply chain field, is also a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), designations granted by the National Association of Purchasing Management.

“The eye-opener for these business owners is self-awareness,” Carter said. “They are beginning to understand the role they play in their customers’ supply base.”

And that’s when procurement meets marketing.

“The owners of small businesses are so wrapped up in surviving that they don’t have the time – or the personnel – to specialize,” Carter said. “As a result many feel that their companies are under-appreciated by their customers.”

A company like SRP wants value from all of its customers, but a purchasing manager may be managing hundreds of suppliers. “A company, because it’s a large company, is not going to understand the supplier’s business and the supplier’s potential for adding value as well as the supplier does,” Carter said. Understanding the buying process and how the purchasing groups at large companies think enables suppliers to figure out what and when to communicate.

Suppliers must show how they add value to their customers’ enterprises. Sometimes that means understanding who the customer is. “The procurement officer is not your final customer,” Carter says. “Your customer is the user.” So small business owners cannot just try to compete on price. When dealing with procurement officers, they must elaborate on the total value that their company brings to the table, including “what’s in it for the procurement officer.” Elaborating on why working with their company will be worth the additional work of changing vendors, adding a new vendor, and the inherent risk of working with a new vendor, will enable that procurement officer to make that difficult choice with confidence.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

[stextbox id="grey"]

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corp Procurement Practices (Part I)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Understanding Corporate Procurement Practices (Part I)

If you are the owner of a small or medium-size business interacting with a big corporation, you need to know how that company thinks about procurement. That’s what students in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy are learning from Joseph Carter, the Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Typically, suppliers concentrate on the internal operations of their companies, Carter says, but if that’s their predominant focus, they will miss out on the advantages of optimizing their relationships with the companies that are their customers. Jeffrey Campbell of Western Truck Equipment Company, Inc. had the right idea when he asked, “What can I learn to better service the companies that we work with?”

“Today, the creation of value often requires careful coordination of activities across the boundaries between functions, business units and firms,” Carter explains. “In short, organizations that learn how to leverage procurement collaboration can obtain speed, innovation, dependability, flexibility, cost and/or quality benefits that go far beyond those potentially realized from solely optimizing a single firm’s internal operations.”

Carter is one of the top scholars worldwide in the field of supply management. He has published 60 articles about sourcing and supply management issues, and he has shared his expertise with firms all over the world.

Students are learning to understand strategic sourcing and their role as suppliers. To begin, they need to understand the importance of developing a collaborative relationship with a customer and how to manage it efficiently. Carter is taking the students “inside” their client companies by explaining the various roles and functions of a procurement department.

“Business owners need to understand the primary importance of sourcing when developing their strategy,” Carter says. “We’ll be talking about what they need to know in order to drive success for the buyer’s company as well as their own.”

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

[stextbox id="grey"]The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. [/stextbox]

Small Business Leadership Academy, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Last week, Small Business Leadership Academy students learned how to blueprint processes within their organization that affect customer satisfaction. Their application assignment was to pick an aspect of their organization to blueprint. By detailing the process, including both what happens behind the scenes and in plain sight of the customers, students were able to identify areas that are ripe for innovation and improvement.

Several students identified the phenomenon about how readily positive information gets passed up through the organization, while it is harder to get honest information about what is going wrong. Blueprinting your service can find pain points where the customer is not receiving optimal service or when the backroom systems aren’t running optimally.

“By going through this process, we were able to identify double handling inefficiencies,” says Rebecca Koury from Prudential Cleanroom Services. “Now I have a blueprint that I can use to write thorough work instructions. I think that will definitely benefit the customer, us, and our employees. Employees will be able to provide better service to the customer because they’ll now know where our inefficiencies are, and we can do a better job of keeping the customer happy.”

One of the factors mentioned in multiple students’ presentations was how a customer’s expectations of the service can have an influence on how they view the service. If front-line employees don’t communicate with their managers about the quality of their interactions with customers, or if there are too many layers between front-line employees and those managers that can affect change, then there will continue to be a gap between the customer’s expectations of the service and their actual experience with it.

“Another factor that can affect a customer’s perception of a service is how the front-line employee is evaluated,” says Professor Doug Olsen. If a customer wants fast service, but the employee is rated on whether they get the proper approvals, there will be a disconnect. If a customer wants resolution for their problem, but the employee is rated on how quickly they get the customer off the phone, there will be a disconnect. The desires of the customer need to be aligned with the evaluation system for the front-line employee to maximize service satisfaction.

By making those sometimes incremental improvements to their service offerings, small business owners can ensure that a customer will not walk away due to disappointment with a customer service interaction with their organization.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website.

 

SBLA: Building High Performance Teams

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part I)

The second module in the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) includes an examination of factors necessary for innovation and competitive success. One of the key mechanisms for companies to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, retain loyal customers and grow profits is through the design and execution of service.

Many small business leaders fall into the trap of saying “yes” to any and all potential customers.

“It is easy for small business leaders to get myopic,” says Douglas Olsen, associate professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Many owners try to be all things to all potential customers, and in the process, do not satisfy any of them. “Business owners should step back and ask what do people want, how am I segmenting the market, and how can I target segments differently?”

Instead of focusing on features, the focus should be put on benefits. This will help a potential customer determine whether your product/service can satisfy a need for them. Segmenting the marketplace and serving a specific target segment can lead to a clearer expression of your organization’s value proposition. Then, recognize that maximizing the service experience that these customers receive may provide a very strong competitive advantage. Learn how to diagram the process so that improvements may be identified.

Over the course of the next week, SBLA students will pick an aspect of their organization to blueprint. By detailing the process, both behind the scenes and in plain sight of the customers, students will be able to identify areas that are ripe for innovation and improvement.

“A lot of our business is customer service, asking questions about the product, placing orders,” commented Brandon Taylor, president of CPR Savers. “I haven’t really thought about the process from start to finish, of how many times a customer has interacted with our staff. This will be a good assignment for us to apply to our business and learn where we can improve on some aspects.”

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

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Missed any parts of this series?

Read Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part I)

Read Small Business Leadership Academy: Strategy for Competitive Advantage (Part II)

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Small Business Leadership Academy, W.P. Carey School of Business

Small Business Leadership Academy Impacts Business Growth

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank.

The 2011 SBLA program kicked off on Wednesday (August 31) night with an opening reception at the University Club on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. More than four dozen people, including several of the programs professors and administrators, sponsors and alumni celebrated the incoming class.

The alumni present spoke overwhelmingly about the benefits of going through SBLA. Many felt that SBLA had had a direct impact on the growth of their business. The alumni community continues to meet every two months, focusing on solving issues that many small businesses in the Valley face. The network is an on-going benefit to participation in SBLA.

Now entering its fourth year, the 2011 Small Business Leadership Academy program covers topics as varied as:

Business Strategy:

This course focuses on concepts of strategy and competitive advantage and how to achieve them.

Competing through Services:

This course asks students to examine the factors necessary for innovation and competitive success.

Procurement:

This course seeks to help students understand the principles, philosophies and value of an effective purchasing management process.

Negotiations:

This course teaches skills and tactics to add value to business relationships.

Building High-Performance Teams:

The capstone course of SBLA focuses on techniques for building a high-performing team of people in an organization.

Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.

Arizona Business People & Promotions

Arizona Business Promotions and People Moving Up

Arizona Business Promotions July 21, 2011 - Business is booming as important executives across the Valley are being appointed, promoted and honored. Major companies highlight their updates on essential leaders within their divisions.

Congratulations to the following who have shown excellence in their field:

Dioguardi Flynn LLP

Mark Dioguardi and John Flynn:

Dioguardi and Flynn were added to the list of Arizona Finest Lawyers 2011.

Arizona Business Promotions - Mark Dioguardi, Dioguardi Flynn LLPArizona Business Promotions - John Flynn, Dioguardi Flynn LLP


U.S. Airways

Paul Galleberg:

Galleberg has been appointed to vice president, legal affairs.

John MacDonald:

Macdonald has been appointed to vice president, corporate communications.


Insperity Inc.

Deanna Hagan:

Hagan has been promoted to regional sales manager of the Phoenix and Denver markets.

Arizona Business Promotions - Deanna Hagan, Insperity


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Audrey Halvorson:

Halvorson has been promoted to vice president of actuarial sales and healthcare economics.

Arizona Business Promotions - Audrey Halvorson, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Jerome Ford:

Ford has been appointed to assistant director for migratory birds.

Arizona Business Promotions - Jerome Ford, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Commerce Bank of Arizona

Humberto Stevens:

Stevens, vice president, has been appointed to the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Board.

Teresa Nowak:

The Senior Vice President has been appointed to the Catholic Community Services Foundation Board.

 

Arizona Business Promotions - Humberto Stevens, Commerce Bank of ArizonaArizona Business Promotions - Teresa Nowak, Arizona Trauma & Acute Care Consortuim

Arizona Trauma & Acute Care Consortium

Dr. Forrest Moore:

Moore has been promoted to director of research.


More Arizona Business Promotions

Next:  Aug 28, 2011 Promotions

 

top 10 places 2011

Top 10 Places To Work In Arizona For Women

Arizona has an increasing number of employers that women have seen as a beneficial place to work. The following are companies that have been selected as the best places for women to work . No matter what your background there is a company that is dynamic enough to fit your needs.

10.

Bryan Cave LLPLaw firm

Bryan Cave professionals practice in client service groups and industry practice teams that offer legal counsel and advice in virtually every area of interest to business and entrepreneurial clients. Services range from insurance, commercial litigation, government contracts to non-profit organizations. This is a great place for women to work because of the diversity and the women’s groups the company supports such as:

St. Louis Women’s History Month Symposium

New York Women’s Forum Holds ‘Women of Inspiration’ Luncheon

New York Women’s Forum Holds Trunk Show

top 10 places 2011

9.

Express Scripts Inc. – Pharmacy benefits manager

Founded in 1986 and never owned by a drug manufacturer, Express Scripts aligns its interests with those of plan sponsors and their members. Express Scripts handles millions of prescriptions each year through home delivery and at retail pharmacies. A nice place for women to work because of the diversity and the wide-range of departments from which to choose.

8.

Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Inc. - Workforce development

AWEE has been transforming the lives of Arizonans into “faces of success” for nearly 30 years. Since their inception, they have helped create successful beginnings and renewed hope for more than 90,000 women, men and young adults. They assist in getting people off welfare. Today, AWEE is Arizona’s preeminent workforce development organization, offering a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services throughout Maricopa and Yavapai counties. This is a great place for women because it allows women to inspire other women and educate one another on business and employment. The name speaks for itself.

7.

WestGroup ResearchMarket-research services

WestGroup Research is a full service market research company based in Phoenix. As Arizona’s original and largest research firm, they have a history of working with most key government and corporate entities in the state since 1959. They are now the Southwest’s largest full-service market research firm, serving clients across the nation. This company has been selected as a great place for women to work because of they dynamic client base that connects with positions that typically are male based, such as banking and government.

top 10 workplaces 2011

6.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaHealth insurance

BlueNet offers online tools, resources and services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona members, brokers, providers and group benefit administrators. Women have advanced with this company quickly and possess skills for all health insurance offices.

5.

Arizona Department of Corrections

Women have been raising the bar with the Dept. of Corrections positions they obtain. Forty-seven percent of the officers are women.

4.

Intel Corp

Intel corporation are sponsors of tomorrow not only through their technical innovation, but through the endless efforts in education, environmental sustainability, healthcare, and much more — with the belief that technology makes life more exciting and can help improve the lives of people around the world. This is a great place for women to work because of the growth and transfer opportunities.

top 10 workplaces 2011

3.

Cox Media

As the third-largest cable entertainment and broadband services provider in the country, Cox Communications Inc. is best known for pioneering the bundle of television, Internet and telephone services together, offering consumers the ability to consolidate their services with one provider. This company made the list because they provide training that encourages women to be committed to ongoing learning, entrepreneurship, and Cox offers great benefits.

2.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital - Children’s hospital

Phoenix Children’s is one of the 10 largest children’s hospitals in the country and provides specialty and sub-specialty inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. This is a great place for women to work because as it expands the need for positions will grow giving women a wide variety of areas to transfer and explore higher educational options.

top 10 workplaces 2011

1.

USAA - Insurance, banking and financial services

USAA provides a full range of highly competitive financial products and services to the military and their families. Their  world-class employees are personally committed to delivering excellent service and great advice. Women have been able to gain great skills that will promote growth. This company encourages women to succeed and do better.

health care leadership awards - AZ Business Magazine 2011

HCLA 2011- Insurance

Honoree: David J. McIntyre Jr., President and CEO, TriWest Healthcare Alliance

David J. McIntyre Jr., President and CEO of Triwest Healthcare AllianceWith more than 27 years of experience in the health care industry, David J. McIntyre Jr. is the founder, CEO and president of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which offers 2.7 million Americans associated with the military access to high-quality health care in the 21-state TRICARE West Region.

McIntyre travels around those states to meet with health care providers, military leaders, government officials and military support organization leaders to determine the current needs of the military health care system. He also keeps in touch with commanders of National Guard units, nearly 70 military treatment facilities and leaders of Veterans Affairs.

TriWest has responded to the expanding need of military health care since 2001 by educating families on military health care plans and increasing the Arizona provider network, especially in rural areas. TriWest also has initiated a case management program to ensure quality care for the military’s wounded, produced a downloadable CD set about combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, and supports camps for National Guard and military children. McIntyre leads a team of 1,700 employees, including 900 working in Arizona.

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Finalist: Benton Davis, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of ArizonaBenton Davis, CEO of UnitedHealthCare of Arizona

As CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona’s Western States, Benton Davis oversees a staff of more than 2,700 employees. Davis makes sure to be involved in all aspects of the company, including sales, customer service, physician relations, and employee recruitment and retention. Under his leadership, patient care has improved, patient readmissions have decreased, and health care costs have been tamed.

One of Davis’ projects is PlanBien, a first-of-its-kind insurance plan targeted at Arizona employers with Hispanic work forces. It offers culturally relevant health information and customer service programs in both Spanish and English, at no extra expense to employers or recipients.

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Finalist: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Blue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaBlue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is a not-for-profit company based in Phoenix that employs more than 1,500 workers.

As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, BCBSAZ strives to provide quality health care to its 1.3 million customers, while also giving back to the community.

One way that BCBSAZ provides quality service is through Walk On!, its key community program. Focusing on reducing obesity among children in Arizona, the program asks fifth-graders to walk at least 10,000 steps a day during a given period of time, while tracking their progress with a tool kit provided through the program. Walk On! is recognized across the nation.

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The Arizona Chapter of FEI held its fourth annual CFO of the Year Awards

The Arizona Chapter Of FEI Held Its 4th Annual CFO Of the Year Awards

The Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) held its fourth annual CFO of the Year Awards on Nov. 4. FEI Arizona presents the CFO of the Year Awards to financial professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. The nominations and awards recognize exemplary financial management in all types of businesses: public, private and nonprofit. An impressive set of independent judges from local business and academia selected the winners based on their contributions to their respective organizations and their involvement in the community. The following CFOs were honored at the event:

Nonprofit CFO of the Year

Mary Jane Rynd Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Virginia G. Piper Charitable TrustMary Jane Rynd
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

 

The talent and drive that Mary Jane Rynd put into becoming the first female partner of a national accounting firm in Arizona is now benefiting one of the state’s largest nonprofits.

As executive vice president and chief financial officer, Rynd she oversees the investment management of the approximately $500 million endowment of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. She also supervises the trust’s investment consultants and staff in the investment committee of the board of trustees.

For more than a decade before Virginia Piper’s death, Rynd served as the philanthropist’s tax adviser. As a result, Rynd has a full understanding of Piper’s approach to her philanthropy — and translates that every day into the work and spirit of the trust.

“I think I’m really lucky, because the people that I work with are highly motivated, extremely good professionals,” Rynd said.

Among her achievements at the trust is the identification, purchase and complete renovation of the nonprofit’s current offices. Over the past four years, she also has managed the diversification of the trust’s investment portfolio.


Private Company CFO of the Year

Tim Einwechter Chief Financial Officer Ascent Healthcare SolutionsTim Einwechter
Chief Financial Officer
Ascent Healthcare Solutions

 

In his 13 years as chief financial officer, Tim Einwechter has guided his company from a small startup to the $160 million corporation it is today.

When Einwechter began his tenure at the company that was then known as Alliance, he had to deal with cash shortages and other various financial struggles. He aggressively pursued investment capital that allowed the medical device company to take advantage of opportunities in its market. He also initiated a merger in 2005 that allowed the organization to continue growing, and played a key role when Stryker Inc. acquired the company, now known as Ascent Healthcare Solutions, in 2009.

“Life as CFO is not one of simply saying no,” he said. “Rather, it is one of bringing sense of reason to the discussions, understanding the business drivers and supporting what is important to drive the success of the business.”

Beyond the financials, Einwechter is committed to maintaining the ethics that make Ascent a success. In fact, the company’s mission statement of “Results, Integrity, and Quality” was coined by him. Einwechter’s understanding of what makes a business successful, along with a strong focus on ethical behavior, has created a shared ownership of the company’s commitment to integrity.

2010 Health Care Leadership Awards

2010 HCLA – Insurance Executive

Honoree: Richard Boals

Richard Boals
President and CEO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Richard Boals, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaAs president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) since 2003, Richard Boals is dedicated to ensuring that the health care needs of 1.3 million beneficiaries are met and exceeded.

He leads a team of managers and staff totaling 1,500 in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Tempe. He joined BCBSAZ in 1971, and has served in a variety of capacities.

Among his initiatives, Boals pioneered a proactive program to provide health and wellness information to plan members, as well as the community. Under his guidance, BCBSAZ introduced a free online resource that provides access to certain HealthyBlue resources, including tools and services that can help individuals make better health decisions.

Boals’ trusted and effective leadership has established BCBSAZ as a health insurance leader in Arizona. He is committed to providing improved quality of life to Arizonans by delivering a variety of health insurance products and services to individuals, families, and small and large businesses.

In 2005, Boals introduced the Walk On! Challenge, a free, annual 28-day exercise challenge in February designed to motivate Arizona fifth-graders to include exercise in their daily routines. Participation in the program has increased each year by an average of 20 percent, with more than 45,000 participants in the 2009 Challenge. Since its inception, BCBSAZ has registered more than 130,000 students from 474 Arizona schools.

Boals regularly supports the fundraising efforts of nonprofits that provide programs and services to the military and their families.

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Finalist: Robert Beauchamp, MD

Senior Medical Director
UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

Dr. Robert Beauchamp, senior medical director for UnitedHealthcare of Arizona, is a member of the health plan’s senior leadership team and is its top clinician in Arizona. A major goal is to improve care while holding down costs. Robert Beauchamp, MD Senior Medical Director UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

His responsibilities include patient care, staff supervision and physician relations. He focuses on ensuring the appropriate use of medical services and improving clinical quality, efforts that promote positive patient outcomes and lower costs. He oversees three local medical directors and a team of nurses who serve patients in Arizona and Utah. Beauchamp makes weekly stops at three hospitals — Banner Good Samaritan, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and John C. Lincoln North Mountain — to review patient cases and meet with nurses and physicians.

Through his efforts, he has helped to improve patient care and limit patient readmissions. This enables patients to return home as soon as they are healthy, reuniting with family and friends.

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Finalist: Robert Flores, MD

Medical Director, Population Health Management
CIGNA HealthCare of Arizona

Robert Flores, MD Medical Director, Population Health Management CIGNA HealthCare of ArizonaAs medical director of population health management for Cigna Medical Group, Dr. Robert Flores has direct oversight of CIGNA HealthCare of Arizona’s Chronic Health Improvement Program (CHIP).

Flores and his team developed CHIP in 2007, after observing that patients with chronic conditions — especially those with certain combinations — often received fragmented care, were more likely to be seen in the emergency room, and were often hospitalized. As a result of Flores’ efforts, approximately 1,000 patients currently are enrolled in CHIP. Outcomes studies show that CHIP members have reduced their hospital admissions and bed days by about 55 percent. Flores has been working in his current position since 2001, and full time in the health care industry since 1999.

At Cigna Medical Group, his department is responsible for quality initiatives across 28 locations and more than 200 practicing doctors, nurses or health care professionals.

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Table & Chairs alone don't make a workspace comfortable

You Need More Than A Table And Chairs To Make A Conference Room Inviting And Efficient

A 2005 Microsoft Corp. survey of personal office productivity found that people spend an average of 5.6 hours each week in meetings. That meeting time may be spent in a well designed, comfortable conference space. Or it can be in an uncomfortable chair with no plug for the laptop or light to read presentation notes, or with the sun glaring in your face. It is only then that we wonder, did anyone think about the comfort and utility of this space?

Anne Elizabeth Hamilton and architect Nathan Leblang, AIA, both with the architectural and design firm of Orcutt Winslow Partnership, have given conference rooms plenty of thought. In fact, they recently finished designing new administrative offices for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, which included conference and meeting space. Here are their thoughts on creating a conference room:

Corporate culture
Think about the culture of your organization. Is there a need for privacy and separation or does your work style favor an open and team-oriented space? The level of visual and acoustic privacy should also be considered. Does the space need to be “dressed to impress” or do you want to create a level of comfort and informality? The company’s identity/culture should be clearly communicated so the space can reflect and showcase that identity to visitors.

Room size and shape

Design always impacts function. A room’s proportions — the height and the width of the room — are important. If a room is small and cramped, it cannot serve a large number of people. If a room is too large, it’s like having an intimate lunch in a train station. A large room needs a higher ceiling to “breathe” or it feels claustrophobic and oppressive. Lighting, color and window walls can make a small room feel spacious.

Tables and seating
Integrate flexibility wherever possible. Tables should be designed to work together or pull apart depending upon the use of the space. Estimate the average number of people who might be using the space. Every person who attends the meeting may not need a seat at the table, and benches or chairs along the sides may provide additional seating. Many conference room tables today are “sight-line” tables, which allow each participant to have a good view to a front screen and create a definite front-of-room layout. Storage space in large conference rooms for chairs, tables or equipment also should be considered.

Materials and lighting
The selection of materials impacts the toxicity of a room. It’s important to select nontoxic laminates, cabinets without formaldehyde, carpet without off-gassing VOCs (volatile organic compounds), “green” paint and wall coverings.

Provide as much natural light as possible, as long as it can be controlled for glare. Avoid placing windows behind a speaker podium or where a presenter will be standing. A comprehensive light plan includes low-energy, high-output lighting with good lighting over the table, flexibility in lighting control to separate perimeter lighting, task lighting, and accent art lighting. Automatic turn-off when the room is not occupied is an available and essential extra. Drop-down electric shades with perforated material for transparency and a second roller for room darkening can add drama by timing all the shades to drop together. Coordinate this with dimming lighting controls to set an anticipatory mood for a presentation.

Technology
The interface between technology and room design is critical. A room that works great otherwise won’t be used if there isn’t a sound system to allow people to hear the presentation or if there are no outlets integrated into the table or floor space to plug in laptops and projectors. Provide connections in the center of the table or in recessed junction boxes in the floor below the table for electrical/data/Internet. Place ceiling speakers throughout a large conference room to distribute sound.

You also can have built-in, ceiling-mounted projectors. For video and Web conferencing and presentations, ceiling-mounted screens, LCD TVs, white boards, wall-mounted chart holders and teleconferencing systems integrate cleanly into well-designed spaces.