Tag Archives: Canada

ASU

ASU ranks among ‘best buy’ public colleges

Arizona State University has been named a “best buy” among public colleges and universities for 2015, according to Fiske Guide to Colleges.

ASU is among 22 public colleges in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom selected for their demonstrated commitment to quality academics and affordability.

According to Fiske, ASU is a place “where massive innovation is the norm and where an interdisciplinary culture is seen as the best means of developing world-changing ideas.” The research enterprise is growing in size and impact and the university is retaining and graduating more of its students.

In addition to highlighting the university’s top-rated academic programs in engineering, journalism, business, education, sciences, social sciences, sustainability, nursing, and health solutions, Fiske also offers an insight into the collaborative culture at ASU that is focused on student success.

According to an ASU kinesiology major quoted in the guide, “despite the challenging nature of the classes, professors are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that the student is successful.” Another student quoted in Fiske said, “the courses are difficult, but the group aspect of most project work makes the hard work much less overwhelming.”

Fiske cites as an example of ASU’s world-class facilities the nine-acre Barrett, The Honors College residential community that was designed by students, faculty and staff members working together with renowned architects. Other residence halls on campus are quoted as having larger than average rooms that are well furnished, and a diverse menu of food items.

School spirit receives high marks at ASU, thanks to highly ranked Division 1 athletics. The countless opportunities available to students, to get involved in student organizations, research or internships; study abroad in more than 300 programs in nearly 60 countries; or interact with other students socially add to a Sun Devil’s college experience.

Representative of Arizona’s socioeconomic, racial and ethnic make up, 19 percent of ASU’s student population is Hispanic, five percent of all students are African American, six percent are Asian Americans, and nearly two percent are Native Americans. ASU offers merit-based scholarships to qualified students and is also home to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center that provides a number of academic and student support services to more than 2,300 veterans and their dependents, enrolled as undergraduate and graduate students.

ASU has been consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States and the world. The Center for World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, both rank ASU as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The U.S. News and World Report list ASU as second on the roster of schools that are making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life. The Princeton Review has also named the university one of “The Best 378 Colleges” in a 2014 list.

medical.research

TGen study finds origin of lung fungus

Cryptococcus gattii, a virulent fungus that has invaded the Pacific Northwest is highly adaptive and warrants global “public health vigilance,” according to a study by an international team led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

C. gattii, which likely originated in Brazil, is responsible for dozens of deaths in recent years since it was first found in 1999 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, well outside its usual tropical habitats.

“We identified several genes that may make the outbreak strains more capable of surviving colder environments and that make it more harmful in the lungs,” said David Engelthaler, Director of Programs and Operations for TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (TGen North) and lead author of the study published today in the scientific journal mBio.

This study should form the basis of additional investigations about how and why C. gattii disperses and emerges. It identified several new genomic targets for diagnostic tests, and possible new targets for therapeutic drugs and preventative vaccines.

“By closely analyzing the genomes of dozens of outbreak strains, as well as globally diverse strains, we were able to closely compare and determine the genomic differences that may cause their clinical and ecological changes,” said Dr. Paul Keim, one of the study’s senior authors. Dr. Keim also is Director of TGen North, and Director of the Microbial Genetics and Genomics Center at Northern Arizona University (NAU).

TGen, working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, conducted one of the largest global fungal genome analyses of a specific species to understand its emergence in new environments. The collaborative team included 24 researchers from 13 institutions in seven nations who sequenced 115 genomes of C. gattii collected from 15 countries.

“By thinking globally, we were able to better understand what was happening locally,” Engelthaler said.

C. gattii was typically a tropical fungus before it was discovered in the temperate environs of Vancouver Island. It soon evolved into a new, more virulent, pulmonary disease that quickly spread to mainland Canada and south into the state of Washington. That was followed by an outbreak in Oregon of another new strain of C. gattii, which also displayed increased lethality and similarly spread throughout the Pacific Northwest.

C. gattii previously was associated with neurological disease in strains found elsewhere in the world. But the strains discovered in the Pacific Northwest not only establish a new environmental niche, but also display increased virulence and produce severe lung infections.

“We provide evidence that the Pacific Northwest strains originated from South America, and identified numerous genes potentially related to habitat adaptation, virulence expression and to clinical presentation,” said Dr. Wieland Meyer, the study’s other senior author.

“Further elucidation and characterization of these genetic features may lead to improved diagnostics and therapies for infections caused by this continually evolving fungus,” said Dr. Meyer, who is affiliated with: Sydney Medical School-Westmead Hospital; the University of Sydney; and the Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research.

This study concludes that: “Public health vigilance is warranted for emergence in
regions where C. gattii is not thought to be endemic.”

New tests developed for this study by TGen are making it easier to detect this and other fungi, and could lead to better monitoring and treatments. The same tools used in this study also were used to investigate the cause of a fungal meningitis outbreak associated with steroid back injections, and the recent outbreak of Valley Fever in the state of Washington.

The journal, mBio, is published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Collaborators in this study include researchers at the University of California-Davis, and in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Caledonia, Thailand, Columbia, and Brazil.

The study, “Cryptococcus gattii in North American Pacific Northwest: whole population genome analysis provides insights into species evolution and dispersal,” was supported by a grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH under Award Number R21AI098059. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Power Outage Map

UNS Shareholders Approve Acquisition by Fortis

Shareholders of UNS Energy Corporation voted overwhelmingly today to approve the proposed acquisition of the company by a subsidiary of Fortis Inc.

The votes were tabulated at today’s special meeting for shareholders at UNS Energy’s Corporate Headquarters in Tucson. Approximately 97 percent of the ballots cast supported the company’s acquisition by Fortis, the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility company in Canada.

“Today’s vote is a positive step toward a new partnership that will provide benefits for shareholders, customers, employees and the communities we serve. Joining Fortis will provide additional financial strength to help us maintain safe, reliable service throughout Arizona,” said Board Chair and CEO Paul J. Bonavia.

The merger agreement provides that Fortis will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of UNS Energy for $60.25 per share in cash. The $4.3 billion transaction, which includes the assumption of approximately $1.8 billion in debt, would provide additional capital and new resources for UNS Energy’s subsidiaries, including Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES). Both companies will remain headquartered in Tucson under local control with current management and staffing levels and no planned changes to existing operations or rates.

Joining the Fortis family of companies would improve UNS Energy’s access to capital to fund the ongoing diversification of its generating fleet as well as investment in other infrastructure improvements. Upon closing, Fortis will inject $200 million of equity into UNS Energy.

The merger is subject to the approval of regulators, including the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended; and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. UNS Energy anticipates the transaction will be finalized by the end of 2014.

Samantha Maracle

Maracle Named SCNM’s Director of Development

Samantha Maracle, CFRE, brings more than 20 years experience in nonprofit fundraising management to her new position as Director of Development at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Most recently, Maracle handled responsibilities as a Development Analyst with the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation.  Previously, she was Arizona Director of Development at the Devereaux Foundation.  Her experience also includes responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing and Development for Junior Achievement and as President of Performance Diagnostics, a consulting firm providing organizational assessment, development and program expertise to nonprofit agencies and businesses.

In addition to her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Maracle holds a Bachelor of Science degree with specialties in plant physiology, mycology (the study of fungi) and biochemistry from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

“Samantha brings an incredible depth of knowledge and strategic development experience to SCNM that will be invaluable as the college continues its rapid growth,” said SCNM President Dr. Paul Mittman.  “Her diverse core competencies in all areas of nonprofit development include a strong history of success in the corporate, nonprofit and private sectors as well as an understanding of scientific principles that are the foundation of naturopathic medicine.  She brings tremendous value to the SCNM management team.”

For information about SCNM, visit www.scnm.edu.

Samantha Maracle

Maracle Named SCNM's Director of Development

Samantha Maracle, CFRE, brings more than 20 years experience in nonprofit fundraising management to her new position as Director of Development at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Most recently, Maracle handled responsibilities as a Development Analyst with the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation.  Previously, she was Arizona Director of Development at the Devereaux Foundation.  Her experience also includes responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing and Development for Junior Achievement and as President of Performance Diagnostics, a consulting firm providing organizational assessment, development and program expertise to nonprofit agencies and businesses.

In addition to her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Maracle holds a Bachelor of Science degree with specialties in plant physiology, mycology (the study of fungi) and biochemistry from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

“Samantha brings an incredible depth of knowledge and strategic development experience to SCNM that will be invaluable as the college continues its rapid growth,” said SCNM President Dr. Paul Mittman.  “Her diverse core competencies in all areas of nonprofit development include a strong history of success in the corporate, nonprofit and private sectors as well as an understanding of scientific principles that are the foundation of naturopathic medicine.  She brings tremendous value to the SCNM management team.”

For information about SCNM, visit www.scnm.edu.

GPEC Forum

GPEC hosts forum with 4 new companies

On May 29, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) will host a forum featuring some of its locates, or businesses that GPEC and its partners have assisted in expanding or relocating to the Greater Phoenix region.
The companies, who have relocated or expanded from Minnesota, New York, Canada and the Netherlands, will discuss their decision to establish a presence in Greater Phoenix and their experiences since locating to the region.
The forum is part of GPEC’s ongoing ambassador event series.  Ambassadors are GPEC investors who help educate and inform stakeholders, policy-makers, citizens and media about key regional economic development issues.

FEATURED LOCATES INCLUDE:

Dalsin Industries:  Founded in Minnesota in 1945, Dalsin Industries has grown into a full-service job shop and contract manufacturer, specializing in sheet-metal fabrication and metal stamping. The company opened a new facility in Phoenix in December 2012.

Silent-Aire: A Canada-based, privately held family enterprise, Silent-Aire has been designing and manufacturing custom HVAC systems for more than 20 years, shipping its products all over the globe. Silent-Aire located in Gilbert in April 2013.

STEALTH Software: STEALTH Software is a Dutch-based software development company specializing in seamlessly and securely integrating applications and storage infrastructure. In February, STEALTH announced it will locate its U.S. headquarters in Greater Phoenix.

ZocDoc: ZocDoc, founded in New York in 2007, is a free service that allows patients to find a nearby doctor or dentist who accepts their insurance and to instantly book an appointment. In March, ZocDoc announced its plans to locate to Scottsdale.

Funding Startup Companies Jumpstart Economy

GPEC boosts state’s economy by attracting more foreign direct investment

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s California 50 program — which aimed to fly 50 Golden State CEOs to Phoenix for an opportunity to tour and explore the region’s business-friendly environment — proved to be so popular that they expanded it to 100 a week after its launch.

But it may be GPEC’s pitch to CEOs even farther away that makes the biggest impact on Arizona’s economy.

“GPEC is focused on a specific region in China, defined by Shanghai and 10 other cities connected by high-speed rail,” says Ron Butler, managing partner at Ernst & Young in Phoenix and co-chair of GPEC’s International Leadership Council. “This region (known as the ‘Z Corridor’) features China’s largest concentration of industries, including solar, medical device, IT, pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing and chemicals. GPEC has made tremendous strides over the past several years in China, particularly with solar and renewable energy companies. Now, the organization is looking to leverage those relationships and expand into other, capital-intensive industries.”

GPEC’s effort is significant, Butler says, because export industries and foreign direct investment (FDI) drive economic growth, create wealth within the region, and tend to be capital-intensive operations that pay higher-than-average wages. Currently, FDI accounts for 73,000 jobs in Arizona and the state saw a 235 percent increase in FDI from 2005-2010, from just over $270 million to more than $904 million.

“By focusing on the Z corridor, a zone known for its solar, high-tech, bio-medical, and chemical industries, GPEC has identified a region that can appreciate what Arizona and — more importantly Arizona workers — can do well,” says Ilya A. Iussa, assistant professor of law at Phoenix School of Law.

But it’s not just investment from China that is giving Arizona an economic boost within the solar and renewable energy industries. In addition to China’s Suntech, the region has seen investments from Spain’s Rioglass and Abengoa, England’s Faist, Germany’s Solon, France’s Saint-Gobain, and Canada’s Cosma International.

“GPEC smartly targets the regions and countries that represent significant growth opportunities, like Canada, China and Western Europe, and works these markets with effective marketing and business development strategies,” Butler says. “Now, with a more concentrated effort underway in China and successful positioning as both a leader in the U.S. solar market and an on-the-record supporter of expanded free trade with China, the Greater Phoenix region is poised for amplified growth in FDI, particularly from China.”

Despite its success, experts says Arizona still has some work to do.

“Our neighboring states and biggest competitors far outrank us in national FDI and export-trade rankings,” Butler says. “California is first for FDI and second for exports, while Texas is second for FDI and first for exports. As such, we must continue evaluating our market for additional FDI and export industry opportunities, and look for ways to increase our competitiveness in these areas.”

Lawmakers have identified one area that needs to be addressed to gain a competitive edge on other states.

“One of the first things we should do is focus on developing a highly educated workforce that will attract companies and businesses looking to move their headquarters,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-5. “In addition, it is equally important for us to create a pro-business environment and that comes by reducing harmful regulations that hamper economic growth. Both would increase Arizona’s role in the global economy.”

In order to be increase its global presence and become more competitive with neighboring states like California and Texas, Butler says Arizona must increase the number of export industries operating in the state.

“We can increase our competitiveness for these types of investments,” he says, “with a targeted economic development program for export industries, similar to the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program (SB1403), which has brought significant investments to the region and the Qualified Facilities Tax Credit (HB2815), which expanded the successful renewable energy program to include qualified, export-based investments.”

NYSubwayWrap_SpaExterior

Scottsdale Launches Warm-Weather Campaign

The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is promoting Scottsdale as a warm-weather destination in New York, Canada, and other top markets with the launch of its 2013 warm-weather marketing campaign.

During February 2013, New Yorkers riding the 42nd Street subway will find themselves soaking up the sun in the Sonoran Desert, relaxing in a Scottsdale spa or taking a casual stroll along the fairway. The exteriors and interiors of three subway cars will be wrapped with Scottsdale’s unique tourism assets: the Sonoran Desert, Old West heritage, spas and golf. Each wrap will direct riders to StepIntoScottsdale.com.

The chosen line connects Grand Central Station and Times Square, the two busiest subway stations in the country. Each day, 100,000 riders will spend their daily commute surrounded by iconic images of Scottsdale, with more than 33.6 million viewers during the campaign’s duration.

In addition to the New York subway wrap, the bureau will promote Scottsdale’s sun-soaked winter season through television commercials, radio spots, online and mobile ads, and billboards.

From Dec. 31 through March 31, Scottsdale’s local-weather forecast, including a weather-sensitive ad that will appear when the weather in viewer’s area reaches a certain chilly temperature, will appear on Weather Channel Canada. This national buy includes television ads that will be seen by 21.8 million viewers. Canadian Traffic Network in Toronto and Edmonton also will feature Scottsdale radio spots that are expected to reach more than 8 million listeners.

Additionally, the bureau will promote Scottsdale in Chicago, Denver and New York via Weather.com. Weather.com users who access the website from a downloaded desktop app or a mobile app will see a banner ad with Scottsdale’s high temperature. Likewise, digital billboards in Chicago will flash Scottsdale’s temperature and the campaign-landing page WarmUpinScottsdale.com, serving as a constant reminder of the sunny paradise in the Southwest.