Tag Archives: CEO series

damore

CEO Series: Beverly Damore, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

Beverly Damore
President and CEO
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

Question: How is being CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank different from being CEO of a more traditional company?

Damore: I don’t know if it is a whole lot different. In terms of being a nonprofit, we are beholden to our mission and beholden to donor intent, whether it’s people donating their money or their time or food. Other than that, it’s very much the same. It’s about maintaining corporate policy and staying true to your intent.

Question: How do you define the company’s intent?

Damore: The concept of food banking was started here in Phoenix. St. Mary’s was the first food bank and is one of the largest in the nation. We are going out and find food that otherwise would go to waste, whether it’s the dozen eggs you didn’t take home from the grocery store because one was broken or working with corporations who will donate Grade A products. Essentially, we are hunters and gatherers who have developed a network to distribute all the food that we gather to those who are in need.

Question: What qualities do you have that make you an effective CEO?

Damore: I’m a manager that likes to bring people together to collaborate. I like to find people who have strengths that complement my strengths or and supplement my strengths. Once I have those people in place, I get out of their way and let them work their magic.

Question: What’s been your biggest challenge at St. Mary’s Food Bank?

Damore: As a reaction to the economic downturn, we had to grow really big really fast. When I first came on staff (in 2008), we were distributing about 45 million pounds of food a year. Last year, we shot up to 74 million pounds of food, so that was a really fast growth. That’s a challenge for any company to have that large an arc of growth. Now that we’ve achieved that growth, the challenge becomes “how can we run ourselves as a really strong, strategic business?”

Question: What is St. Mary’s Food Bank’s strength?

Damore: We do exactly what we say we do. We’re devoted to our mission. When people donate to us, they are confident that we are going to do exactly what we say we will do: feeding the people who need us in our community.

Question: What would surprise most people about St. Mary’s Food Bank?

Damore: How big we are. The majority of people think “food bank” and think “soup line.” We are more like a Costco warehouse. We’re the step before the agencies that are serving the food. We have strong name recognition in the state, but most people don’t realize just how big we are.

Question: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?

Damore: I have been involved with this organization for so long, I can honestly say that I have my dream job. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

damore

CEO Series: Beverly Damore

Beverly Damore
President and CEO
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

Question: How is being CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank different from being CEO of a more traditional company?

Damore: I don’t know if it is a whole lot different. In terms of being a nonprofit, we are beholden to our mission and beholden to donor intent, whether it’s people donating their money or their time or food. Other than that, it’s very much the same. It’s about maintaining corporate policy and staying true to your intent.

Question: How do you define the company’s intent?

Damore: The concept of food banking was started here in Phoenix. St. Mary’s was the first food bank and is one of the largest in the nation. We are going out and find food that otherwise would go to waste, whether it’s the dozen eggs you didn’t take home from the grocery store because one was broken or working with corporations who will donate Grade A products. Essentially, we are hunters and gatherers who have developed a network to distribute all the food that we gather to those who are in need.

Question: What qualities do you have that make you an effective CEO?

Damore: I’m a manager that likes to bring people together to collaborate. I like to find people who have strengths that complement my strengths or and supplement my strengths. Once I have those people in place, I get out of their way and let them work their magic.

Question: What’s been your biggest challenge at St. Mary’s Food Bank?

Damore: As a reaction to the economic downturn, we had to grow really big really fast. When I first came on staff (in 2008), we were distributing about 45 million pounds of food a year. Last year, we shot up to 74 million pounds of food, so that was a really fast growth. That’s a challenge for any company to have that large an arc of growth. Now that we’ve achieved that growth, the challenge becomes “how can we run ourselves as a really strong, strategic business?”

Question: What is St. Mary’s Food Bank’s strength?

Damore: We do exactly what we say we do. We’re devoted to our mission. When people donate to us, they are confident that we are going to do exactly what we say we will do: feeding the people who need us in our community.

Question: What would surprise most people about St. Mary’s Food Bank?

Damore: How big we are. The majority of people think “food bank” and think “soup line.” We are more like a Costco warehouse. We’re the step before the agencies that are serving the food. We have strong name recognition in the state, but most people don’t realize just how big we are.

Question: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?

Damore: I have been involved with this organization for so long, I can honestly say that I have my dream job. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Edgar Staren

CEO Series: Dr. Edgar Staren, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Edgar Staren is the CEO and President of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, Ariz. Az Business Magazine and Grand Canyon University invited Dr. Staren to speak to an intimate audience of one hundred Arizona business owners and executives at Grand Canyon University on June 27th. In this lecture he shares his first hand experience as a cancer survivor and the importance of empowering the patient to be in control of their treatment. Dr. Staren also speaks to the value of not only technological innovation, but process innovation in health care and other industries.

Rick Murray, chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association.

ASBA's CEO Ready for a close-up

Rick Murray followed an eclectic path to becoming chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association in February of 2012.

After college, he worked as a broadcast news photographer before starting a small advertising agency and production company, which grew into a sports production company before he ended up back in broadcast news, this time in front of the camera as a business and education reporter.

The bonds he developed in journalism led to jobs heading up the community and government relations department for the Albuquerque Public Schools, leading the New Mexico State Fair, working as the executive director of the New Mexico Dental Association, and then growing the Arizona Dental Association by nearly $2 million by developing relationships with businesses for mutual success.

Az Business caught up with Murray to talk about small business in Arizona.

Az Business: What have you learned in your first year as CEO of ASBA?
Rick Murray: What has surprised you the most about your position? The thing that has surprised me the most is how little the business community knows about the Arizona Small Business Association.  We have estimated there are nearly 400,000 small businesses in Arizona. Only 11,000 of them have discovered the tremendous value of membership through discounted products and services like office products, shipping, credit card processing, and health and dental insurance, just to name a few. Businesses are saving thousands of dollars a year using our endorsed programs. These are real dollars that goes back into the pockets of hard working business owners.  We are sort of the AAA of small business. We understand that small business owners rarely have a chance to come up for air so we need to do a better job of reaching out to them communicating the value of the Arizona Small Business Association.

AB: How does ASBA decide what its legislative priorities will be each year?
RM: Our legislative priorities do not change much from one year to the next because our efforts are concentrated on what we have determined are the most important policy issues concerning Arizona small business which are: taxation, regulation, economic development, healthcare and education. Each legislative session is different and not all of our policy priorities will be a priority to the current legislature. Not much happened in healthcare the previous two years for example, while this year healthcare has become the single biggest issue with the governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid. Next year it might be education or economic development.

AB: What are ASBA’s legislative priorities for 2013?
RM: We knew coming into this legislative session that reform of the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT), Arizona’s way of collecting sales tax, was going to be a major issue which we are strongly advocating for. It didn’t happen overnight either, much work was done in previous years which as lead us up to this point and we are confident we will have some success this year simplifying our complicated tax code. Improving the regulatory environment for Arizona businesses has been a long standing priority for ASBA, especially in the area of employer/employee relations. Unemployment benefits is an area where too many undue burdens have been placed on businesses making it difficult to comply. Bills such as HB 2147 that alleviate some of the burden on businesses and shifts some responsibility on an applicant seeking unemployment benefits, helps level the playing field and makes it easier for businesses to comply with the law. We are also supporting the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid in Arizona.

AB: How has the Arizona Small Business Association’s focus on public policy changed over the last decade?
RM: The change has been significant. The biggest change has been our renewed commitment to advocating for Arizona small businesses and making public policy one of the major strengthens. We are committing more time and resources to our public policy efforts today than ever before and are in it for the long haul.  The other major change is that we are now concentrating our efforts at the state level and some at the federal level. There was a time we use to get pulled into local policy issues but today you will no longer find us at City Hall or at County Board of Supervisor meetings. We strongly believe that the local chambers of commerce across the state should take the lead on local issues and advocate for their local business community. As a statewide business organization, we are better positioned to advocate for Arizona businesses at the state level where not enough advocacy for small businesses was previously taking place. Each year we are getting stronger as well as our membership/clout grows and our relationship with other business groups and elected officials continues to grow.

AB: Where do small businesses fit into the overall economy of Arizona?
RM: Small business is the economic driver for not only Arizona, but the entire country. Without small business, there is no economy. Never before has small business played such a pivotal role in an election season as in 2012, with candidates of every political persuasion promising their support of and ties to the small business community. But what really matters is what lawmakers are doing to move our economy forward. Between the ever-present economic uncertainty, the failure of Congress to truly address the deficit and widespread confusion over the Affordable Care Act, there are very few incentives to start or grow a small company.   ASBA will continue to encourage government at every level to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners who must lead, innovate and make tough decisions every day—always with the bottom line in sight.

AB: How friendly is Arizona to small businesses?
RM: On the surface, Arizona is very business friendly. Tax reform has been a priority for Arizona lawmakers for the last decade. Arizona has reduced the personal income tax rate and the tax rates for business property and research and development. Last year, Governor Brewer and legislative leadership passed legislation that reduces taxes to business property, both real and personal, as well as capital gains and corporate income tax. Today we are taking on the biggest challenge in reforming the sales tax in Arizona. TPT reform will make it easier for small business to pay sales tax.  But many cities oppose the move for fear of a loss in revenue and have been fighting it despite the fact that Arizona has the most complicated sales tax system in the country. These cities need to realize who pays the majority of these taxes (small business) and start working to improve the system rather than protecting their bureaucratic kingdoms.

AB: What is your five-year economic outlook for the small business sector in Arizona?
RM: Small-business owners today are feeling less optimistic about the outlook of their own firms and the overall U.S. economy than they did this time last year, according to our most recent economic report. Despite modest gains in the number of small businesses projecting U.S. economic expansion, the overwhelming majority, 86 percent, still believe the U.S. economy will be flat or recessionary in the coming year. Just over one-third (38 percent) anticipate their firms will grow in the coming year — the lowest this indicator has been since the National Small Business Association has began asking this question in December 2009. Additionally, many economists are concerned when the Affordable Care Act in implemented in January, it could add tremendous downward pressure to an already sluggish recovery, wiping out any gains we may have seen. In spite of this, Arizona businesses seem to be ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the country. As we see the credit market lighten up and the real estate market improve, we will see greater consumer confidence which is always a good sign for small business.

Rick Murray, chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association.

ASBA’s CEO Ready for a close-up

Rick Murray followed an eclectic path to becoming chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association in February of 2012.

After college, he worked as a broadcast news photographer before starting a small advertising agency and production company, which grew into a sports production company before he ended up back in broadcast news, this time in front of the camera as a business and education reporter.

The bonds he developed in journalism led to jobs heading up the community and government relations department for the Albuquerque Public Schools, leading the New Mexico State Fair, working as the executive director of the New Mexico Dental Association, and then growing the Arizona Dental Association by nearly $2 million by developing relationships with businesses for mutual success.

Az Business caught up with Murray to talk about small business in Arizona.

Az Business: What have you learned in your first year as CEO of ASBA?
Rick Murray: What has surprised you the most about your position? The thing that has surprised me the most is how little the business community knows about the Arizona Small Business Association.  We have estimated there are nearly 400,000 small businesses in Arizona. Only 11,000 of them have discovered the tremendous value of membership through discounted products and services like office products, shipping, credit card processing, and health and dental insurance, just to name a few. Businesses are saving thousands of dollars a year using our endorsed programs. These are real dollars that goes back into the pockets of hard working business owners.  We are sort of the AAA of small business. We understand that small business owners rarely have a chance to come up for air so we need to do a better job of reaching out to them communicating the value of the Arizona Small Business Association.

AB: How does ASBA decide what its legislative priorities will be each year?
RM: Our legislative priorities do not change much from one year to the next because our efforts are concentrated on what we have determined are the most important policy issues concerning Arizona small business which are: taxation, regulation, economic development, healthcare and education. Each legislative session is different and not all of our policy priorities will be a priority to the current legislature. Not much happened in healthcare the previous two years for example, while this year healthcare has become the single biggest issue with the governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid. Next year it might be education or economic development.

AB: What are ASBA’s legislative priorities for 2013?
RM: We knew coming into this legislative session that reform of the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT), Arizona’s way of collecting sales tax, was going to be a major issue which we are strongly advocating for. It didn’t happen overnight either, much work was done in previous years which as lead us up to this point and we are confident we will have some success this year simplifying our complicated tax code. Improving the regulatory environment for Arizona businesses has been a long standing priority for ASBA, especially in the area of employer/employee relations. Unemployment benefits is an area where too many undue burdens have been placed on businesses making it difficult to comply. Bills such as HB 2147 that alleviate some of the burden on businesses and shifts some responsibility on an applicant seeking unemployment benefits, helps level the playing field and makes it easier for businesses to comply with the law. We are also supporting the Governor’s plan to expand Medicaid in Arizona.

AB: How has the Arizona Small Business Association’s focus on public policy changed over the last decade?
RM: The change has been significant. The biggest change has been our renewed commitment to advocating for Arizona small businesses and making public policy one of the major strengthens. We are committing more time and resources to our public policy efforts today than ever before and are in it for the long haul.  The other major change is that we are now concentrating our efforts at the state level and some at the federal level. There was a time we use to get pulled into local policy issues but today you will no longer find us at City Hall or at County Board of Supervisor meetings. We strongly believe that the local chambers of commerce across the state should take the lead on local issues and advocate for their local business community. As a statewide business organization, we are better positioned to advocate for Arizona businesses at the state level where not enough advocacy for small businesses was previously taking place. Each year we are getting stronger as well as our membership/clout grows and our relationship with other business groups and elected officials continues to grow.

AB: Where do small businesses fit into the overall economy of Arizona?
RM: Small business is the economic driver for not only Arizona, but the entire country. Without small business, there is no economy. Never before has small business played such a pivotal role in an election season as in 2012, with candidates of every political persuasion promising their support of and ties to the small business community. But what really matters is what lawmakers are doing to move our economy forward. Between the ever-present economic uncertainty, the failure of Congress to truly address the deficit and widespread confusion over the Affordable Care Act, there are very few incentives to start or grow a small company.   ASBA will continue to encourage government at every level to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners who must lead, innovate and make tough decisions every day—always with the bottom line in sight.

AB: How friendly is Arizona to small businesses?
RM: On the surface, Arizona is very business friendly. Tax reform has been a priority for Arizona lawmakers for the last decade. Arizona has reduced the personal income tax rate and the tax rates for business property and research and development. Last year, Governor Brewer and legislative leadership passed legislation that reduces taxes to business property, both real and personal, as well as capital gains and corporate income tax. Today we are taking on the biggest challenge in reforming the sales tax in Arizona. TPT reform will make it easier for small business to pay sales tax.  But many cities oppose the move for fear of a loss in revenue and have been fighting it despite the fact that Arizona has the most complicated sales tax system in the country. These cities need to realize who pays the majority of these taxes (small business) and start working to improve the system rather than protecting their bureaucratic kingdoms.

AB: What is your five-year economic outlook for the small business sector in Arizona?
RM: Small-business owners today are feeling less optimistic about the outlook of their own firms and the overall U.S. economy than they did this time last year, according to our most recent economic report. Despite modest gains in the number of small businesses projecting U.S. economic expansion, the overwhelming majority, 86 percent, still believe the U.S. economy will be flat or recessionary in the coming year. Just over one-third (38 percent) anticipate their firms will grow in the coming year — the lowest this indicator has been since the National Small Business Association has began asking this question in December 2009. Additionally, many economists are concerned when the Affordable Care Act in implemented in January, it could add tremendous downward pressure to an already sluggish recovery, wiping out any gains we may have seen. In spite of this, Arizona businesses seem to be ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the country. As we see the credit market lighten up and the real estate market improve, we will see greater consumer confidence which is always a good sign for small business.

1

CEO Series: Jeri Jones

Az Business: How is being CEO of UnitedHealthcare different from being CEO of another company?
Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare: In the healthcare industry today, where we have been portrayed somewhat as the evil-doers of healthcare and increased costs, we spend a lot of time trying to educate those in the marketplace about what drives healthcare. That may be different from what a manufacturing company has to do every day. I also find myself more involved with legislators than I think I would expect in a different industry.

Video by Cory Bergquist

AB: How do you like working with legislators?
JJ: I have worked in two markets — Colorado and Arizona. Legislators in Colorado seem a little more reasoned in terms of making decisions. Last year, the Arizona Legislature seemed to be very caught up in not wanting to have anything to do with the Obamacare Act, as they saw it. It’s very unfortunate because they missed the boat on some opportunities and made some decisions in 2012 that hurt the industry in terms of keeping some federal dollars out of Arizona that would have helped the hospitals and kept some costs from being shifted to the business market.

AB: What qualities does an effective CEO need to possess?
JJ: Leadership. If you have strong integrity and the ability to inspire people to do what they love to do, that is the key to being a good CEO. You also need to build a good team around you, have the right people in the right roles, and help them be the best that they can be in that role.

AB: What qualities do you have that helped take you to the top of your industry?
JJ: One of the things I have been able to do over the years is be a an effective coach and mentor. I am pretty strong in finding good people and helping guide them so they can realize their full potential and advance in their career.

AB: Did you have a coach or mentor?
JJ: My father was a big influence on me. He taught me the importance of having integrity, speaking my mind and being honest. His example has helped me remain forthright throughout my career.

AB: What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in your industry since you started?
JJ: The old days of the HMO where everyone paid a $15 co-pay, compared with today, where it’s very consumer driven. Part of the reason healthcare got as expensive as it has over the years is that no one paid attention to what the cost was. Now, they have to.

AB: Health insurance exchange (HIX) is one the horizon. How is that going to impact UnitedHealthcare?
JJ: We see it as an additional avenue to sell our business. Hopefully, it will be in a way that aligns all of the carriers with very simple comparisons so everyone will be selling the same benefit plans and all the individuals looking will be able to identify quality versus value on the exchange and it will be a simpler tool for them to purchase. The advantage of the exchange in Arizona is that people will be able to move in and out of plans depending on their financial situation, but they will be able to stay with UnitedHealthcare.

AB: What advice would you give to other women who aspire to be in your position?
JJ: Stand strong, be confident, love what you’re doing and you’ll definitely succeed.

AB: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you like to do?
JJ: I would be traveling the world and having a good time, but I’ve got a few years to go before I’m ready to do that.

VITAL STATS: JERI JONES
> Holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Northern Arizona University and is a C.P.A.
> After graduating from college, she traveled the country doing joint-venture audits of oil companies.
> Before returning to Arizona in 2011, she spent 21 years in Colorado.
> Member of the board of directors of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

rsz_davecheatham_velocityretail_small_2013

Retail Overview: Big Boxes, Big Decisions

 

As a building owner of a vacant big box (or perhaps soon-to-be-vacant), there are a lot of factors that affect the return on your investment and the success of your asset.

From our experience in working with owners as they analyze their asset, we have found that one common denominator applies to every situation — the owner must be armed with specific market information so that they can make educated decisions.

Market intelligence or market analytics play a key role in nearly every building sale or lease. While it is important to know the vacancy rate in the market, it is even more important to drill down to specifics about your product type and market area.

Following are some questions you can ask yourself about your building or asset:

>> How many vacant big boxes are in the immediate trade area (what is my competition)?

>> Are the big boxes of the same product type? Neighborhood, vs. power center, vs. anchored, vs. unanchored?

>>  What is the average length of time these boxes are on the market before they lease or sell?

>> What deals have been completed recently which are similar? What was the rental rate, or concessions such as free rent or TI dollars?

>> Who would be the typical tenants to lease or buy the space? Are they already in the area?

>> Will the other tenants in my shopping center be able to stay open if the anchor space is vacant? If so, for how long?

Chances are you do not know all of these answers, or even know where you can get this information. However, we believe that these answers are critical to a successful outcome for your asset. Whether you want to lease and hold it as an investment, or whether you want to sell it as is, the information you gather to make that decision is critical.

Velocity Retail Group has allocated significant resources over the past two years to create a structured research vehicle aimed specifically at big box owners. We have drilled down to specific product types within cities, market areas and regional areas. Additionally, understanding absorption, vacancy and new construction are critical factors to any real estate decision.

Over the past year, we have been asked to present our information to various economic, industry and governmental groups throughout the Valley. The feedback we receive from these presentations has been extremely positive. In order to help share this information in a format that communicates the analytics succinctly we have created a video podcast series for our clients.

Click on the video at the bottom of this article to watch the eight-minute market overview recapping 2012.

Dave Cheatham is Managing Principal of Velocity Retail Group. He is an authority on retail real estate in the disciplines of brokerage, project leasing, development, consulting and advisory services. He is a senior advisor to merchants, entrepreneurs, investors and senior retail executives throughout the industry.

Edgar Staren

CEO Series: Dr. Edgar Staren

Dr. Edgar Staren is president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America — Western Regional Medical Center.

How is being CEO of CTCA different than being CEO of a more traditional company?
I end up having a different ability to empower my stakeholders (employees). We believe in our value, which is we are hopeful, we are empowering, we are responsive, we are ethical, we a re innovative and we are compassionate, and I believe that the empowerment aspect as a CEO means that I’m allowed to encourage my stakeholders to do everything they can to take care of our patients, which are our customers

What qualities do you think an effective CEO has to have in any business?
They need to have leadership, which is manifested by a dedication to personify the mission, vision, values, and the foundation upon which the organization is based. I believe that they need to have absolute integrity. Without that, they are simply not going to be trusted or admired and respected by their stakeholders. Particularly in the healthcare industry, I believe they need to be servant leaders. They need to be out there demonstrating the type of service to the customers that they would want to be demonstrating among all the stakeholders.

What strengths make you an effective CEO at CTCA?
I’ve had a personal tragedy that I believe turned into a professional blessing in that I am a cancer survivor myself. It has allowed me to understand where our patients come from and the things that are of value to them. That has been more educational for me than any of the schooling or mentoring that I had prior to that point.

What is the biggest challenge for the employees at CTCA?
It’s hard to be a CTCA stakeholder. We try and provide mother standard of care. If Mom’s ill, that becomes emotionally tough. We become close to our patients; we care about them dearly; we feel like they are family. And to go to those lengths, to go to those extremes that you go through to be able to take care of a patient like it’s mom, can be hard. On the other side of the coin, it is so gratifying to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life. I feel very privileged to be doing important work, work that I know makes a difference and I’m paid a salary for doing so. What a privilege.

What advice would you give to someone who wants a leadership role in the healthcare industry?
Be true to your mission, vision, and values. Personify those as a leader. Recognize that much of what you do is not in the words that are spoken, but in the actions that you take. I think that reflects that whole philosophy of servant leadership and if you end up being an exemplary servant leader, then you are likely to be successful in the position.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you like to be doing?
I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I’m doing right now. I feel privileged.

freer

CEO Series: Jeremy Freer

Here is a Q&A with Jeremy Freer, CEO, Angel MedFlight, a Scottsdale-based air ambulance company that provides comprehensive worldwide air ambulance services.

What inspired you to start Angel MedFlight?
I grew up on a farm in Ohio and when I moved to Arizona for school, I worked as a flight paramedic that was doing something similar to what we do now at Angel MedFlight. During a break from school, I started thinking, “What am I doing and why am I doing it?” I wanted to do something with my life that I really loved and I loved the job as a flight paramedic, so I decided to start an air medical company, but I wanted to do it better.

Video by Cory Bergquist

How did a college student get the money to start an air ambulance company?
I was 25 years old, I put a business plan together, I sought venture capital, I sought investors and I was getting nowhere. It got to the point where I knew I had to do it myself. I pulled about $1 million in credit cards in just under 24 hours before the credit companies had time to cross-reference and that’s how we started.

You started Angel MedFlight in 2007. How were you able to start and grow a company in the middle of an economic crisis?
Instead of focusing on the financial climate, we’ve always put the patient first and we focus on doing the right thing the first time. As long as you always do that, you’ll be successful.

How are your challenges as CEO of Angel MedFlight different from challenges other CEOs face?
We have to deal with aviation, medical care, insurance regulations, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. We have to know all the state, federal and international laws inside and out and know how they intertwine. We have to have strict checks and balances in place and quality assurance processes to provide the best care possible. Other companies don’t have to deal with balancing as many different elements as we have to balance.

What qualities do you think an effective CEO has to have?
You need to learn how to manage yourself first and it begins with character. Once you learn to manage yourself and lead from the heart, you can then focus on effectively managing the organization.

What do you have to do to the planes to configure them for medical use?
There is a sled system that goes in where the seat rails are and the seats come out of the aircraft. There is a bed in in, an oxygen cylinder, suction units, that sort of thing. It’s all the same equipment that you would find in the emergency room of a hospital.

What have you done to distinguish yourself in the industry?
What we have done in order to create a greater continuity of care that is different from everyone else in the industry is that we have nurse case managers that are on the phones, working with the families and are familiar with what the families are going through and understand the medical components of what is going on with the patient.

How has Angel MedFlight changed your industry?
When I started, if someone needed a medical flight and they couldn’t pay cash, they weren’t going to fly. We came in and thought that this is something an insurance plan should cover. You’re not flying an infant in need of care from Tulsa to Rochester, Minn. for no reason. As a company, we have helped change that paradigm within the industry and more insurance companies have become more understanding about the medical need for our industry’s services.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

CEO Series: Eric Marcus

Eric Marcus
CEO, Marcus Networking
marcusnt.com

Az Business: What does Marcus Networking do?
Eric Marcus: We are a technology and telecommunications company. We manage people’s infrastructure. The easiest way to describe it is you can give us an empty building and we can cable it, bring in the dial tone, install the phone system, procure all the equipment, set up you private industry software, and then we can support it on a 24-hour basis. Our biggest customer base is medical providers. We work a lot with electronic medical records (EMR) and behavioral health.

Video by Cory Bergquist

AB: How is being CEO of Marcus Networking different from being CEO of a company in a different industry?
EM: It’s fun to be the CEO because I get to write my own rules. It’s nice to go out, meet with clients, build a relationship, and let them know that at the end of the day the company will be there for them and I will be there to support them.

AB: How did you start in your industry?
EM: I got into the IT field in 1999, working for a software company that did network management. That company grew from about 15 employees to about 155. As that company grew, my responsibilities grew.

AB: Were there challenges to launching a tech company in Arizona?
EM: For startup capital, I had to use money I had saved working at my previous job. The biggest challenge I had was with credit capital to support projects. You can sell a project all day long for $100,000, but if you don’t have the capital to buy the equipment, you’re kind of dead in the water.

AB: What qualities do you have that make you an effective CEO for Marcus Networking?
EM: I am able to educate a client about what they need to do for their company and let them make the decision. It’s their money, their business, their infrastructure, and at the end of the day it’s my job to be that consultant to educate them and take them from Point A to Point B and decide what is best to build them as a business.

AB: What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in your industry since you started?
EM: The advance of technology. What I mean by that is the cost of equipment and the specifications of equipment like hard drives and bandwidth. Ten years ago, a large hard drive was consider to be 73 gigs. Now, you can buy two- or three-terabyte hard drives for a fraction of that cost.

AB: What changes do you see coming?
EM: Equipment is going to get faster. As bandwidth becomes cheaper or larger, you’re going to see more teleconferencing and unified communication.

AB: What is your greatest accomplishment?
EM: Being in business for 10 years. Being a small business, it’s tough. We had our best years through the worst times. This year, our business is up 50 percent and I know there are companies out there closing their doors or downsizing. The thing I’m most proud is we can scale our business tomorrow, so if I found five salespeople in California tomorrow that wanted to come on board and start selling our product and grow our business, I could hire them tomorrow and start.

AB: How were you able to weather the economic downturn so well?
EM: We are in the medical industry. Doctors have to be on EMR systems. It’s mandated by the federal government, so the government has created a need for our services.

AB: What advice would you give someone looking to start a tech company?
EM: Make sure you’re very organized and make sure you’re ready to sacrifice and be ready to work any day and any time. If we have a doctor call us at 3 a.m. and we don’t pick up that phone, we don’t have a job.

WebPT

Paul Winandy, WebPT

Paul Winandy, CEO at WebPT, shares what it is like to be the CEO of WebPT, which provides physical therapists with a Web-based electronic medical records system.

How did you end up as CEO of WebPT?

There is a group in town called the Arizona Technology Investor Forum, which focuses on early-stage technology investing. I was the managing director of that angel group, and I met (WebPT founders) Brad and Heidi Jannenga when they came in to present to the group. I looked over their strategy and vision and was really impressed and really enjoyed what they were bringing to the table.

Video by Cory Bergquist

What qualities do you have that helped WebPT triple in size in 2011?

My background is all in early stage technology startups. I’ve done about five in my career. My experience is taking those companies from the early stages and growing them to $10 million or $12 million in revenue. I’ve been through the wars and I’ve been through the battles, so I know what to do in terms of building the right team, bringing in the right resources and being able to grow the company fast.

What qualities do you think an effective CEO needs?

You have to be able to rely on your team. You have to realize what you bring to the table and you have to realize what you need to build out. In early-stage technology companies like WebPT, you have to have the ability to be able to get in there and get your hands dirty. I like that part of it. I like to be a hands-on CEO. But once you build up the team, you have to have the ability to let go and let that team be successful.

Are there benefits to starting a technology company in Arizona?

We’re a little bit under the radar in terms of the Silicon Valley mentality. In Silicon Valley, the mentality is “let’s get a great idea and get a little proof of the concept and then raise a bunch of money.” You can’t do that here in Arizona. You have to build a product that is out on the market generating sales before you can go out and raise a lot of money.

Are there any obstacles to starting a tech company in Arizona?

As much as being under the radar is beneficial, sometimes it’s nice to be out there in the spotlight so you can get the right talent. Phoenix has some phenomenally talented people, but we’re not as deep in the technology area as some other parts of the country.

Where do you see WebPT growing?

We need to stay focused on the physical therapy industry because that will allow us to be laser focused. There is a great market there. It’s a niche market, but it’s developing and it’s a very open and a very green field ready to embrace and adopt technology. There are about 30,000 physical therapy clinics and we have 2,100 now, so about eight percent of the market. So if we focus on that and become the dominant player, we’re going to have a nice, long track record.

What advice would you give someone looking to start a technology company in Arizona?

Solve a business need with whatever product you’re trying to develop. To be successful, it has to be something that is going to have a market demand. There are a lot of great ideas, but they cannot figure out how to make it solve a business need and get that first customer. So find out what is needed, create a way to solve that business need, and then go to market on that basis.

Vital Stats: Paul Winandy

  • Over the course of his 20-year career, Winandy has been an executive leader in four successful technology businesses, two of which were named to the Inc. 500 list and were later acquired by public firms.
  • For several years prior to WebPT, Winandy was an active business advisor and angel investor in fast-growing technology companies.
  • Before his advisory practice, Winandy was COO of SkillSurvey, a startup web services firm providing online reference assessment tools. Before that, he was director of strategic accounts for Khimetrics, a leading enterprise software firm specializing in revenue.

For more information about WebPT, visit their website at webpt.com

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2012

Redflex Traffic Systems - Karen Finley

Karen Finley, Redflex Traffic Systems

Karen Finley, President and CEO at Redflex Traffic Systems, shares what it is like to be the CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems and gives advise to women who aspire to have a C-Level managment job.

Are there misconceptions about Redflex?

One of the myths about the photo-enforcement industry is that we are always filming everybody. If you don’t break the law, you don’t get your picture taken. It’s as simple as that. The other thing is that we don’t decide who gets a ticket. It’s up to the police to accept or reject the violation. We just provide a tool for law enforcement.

Video by Cory Bergquist

Redflex’s revenues have increased 20-fold during your tenure. How did you do that?

It’s kind of a halo effect. As you implement a safety program into a community, the community next door is watching. They start talking to colleagues in neighboring communities and it starts to roll. I come out of a service background. We are providing a service to our clients and our focus on customer service has come across to clients. As a company, we have been very successful in winning programs from competitors based on customer service.

What qualities does an effective CEO have?

A lot of CEOs lose track of the fact that it’s the people around them who have helped grow the company. I am somebody who didn’t just land in a top job. I worked my way up. So I understand what it’s like to be the everyday employee. I think that understanding has made me a better leader. It’s important is to have compassion for your staff.

How is working at Redflex Traffic Systems different from other industries you worked in?

I worked in operations in the insurance industry and never had to work with anything political. I didn’t even fully understand how the Legislature worked. In the photo-enforcement industry, there is a lot of politics involved. It’s fun because you get to learn how bills become law and you don’t really get an appreciation of that until you work it every day.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Managing the magnitude of growth — especially in the early days — and making sure we had the right people in the right seats and retaining those people was the biggest challenge. It was a stressful time — the fun kind of stress — but it was a new technology and we were the first to use digital technology, so there was a lot of hand-holding and educating clients on the efficacy of the images. It was a very exciting, but challenging time.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

When I came to Redflex Traffic Systems in 1998, we had three contracts and about 20 employees. Today, we have 262 contracts and have 395 employees. I attribute that growth to the strength of the Redflex family. I am very proud of that.

What advice would you give to women who aspire to have a c-level management job?

Don’t give up. Be open to new new ideas. When I was working at an insurance company 14 years ago, if someone told me I would be where I am today, I wouldn’t have believed them. Finding a good mentor is still the best way to learn. There are a lot of things that come up every day that business school just doesn’t teach you. There is nothing in a textbook that can teach you how to manage through a crisis. But a good mentor can.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?

If money wasn’t an object, I would do more with my dog rescue, which is something that is very near and dear to me. I would foster more dogs and find more homes for dogs.

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Vital Stats: Karen Finley

  • Promoted to president and CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems in the spring of 2006.
  • Before joining Redflex Traffic Systems, spent 20 years in the insurance industry, most recently as the director of corporate services where she oversaw 200 employees.
  • Earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and her master’s in finance from Western International University.
  • Has a passion for dogs, especially Weimaraners. She dedicates much of her personal time to rescuing dogs and is in the process of setting up a 501c3 with a group of other dog lovers.

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For more information about Redflex Traffic Systems, visit Redflex Traffic Systems’ website at redflex.com

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2012

Michael Pollack - Real Estate Investments

Michael Pollack, Real Estate Investments

Michael Pollack discusses his experience in the real estate industry in Arizona.

Michael Pollack

Title: President and Founder
Company: Real Estate Investments


What was it about the real estate industry that attracted you?

My grandfather and father were in the real estate industry. Growing up, all I really knew was real estate. When I was in the fourth grade, I gave a presentation on how to read working blueprints. So I’ve been doing this a long time.

Video by Cory Bergquist

What qualities helped you become successful in your industry?

I believe that you have to be honest, you have to have integrity, and you have to work really hard. This is not a business that is easy. You have to be able to roll up your sleeves and work really hard.

What qualities do you think a successful CEO needs to possess?

I work sometimes seven days a week and four or five nights a week. But it’s not working to just work, it’s working smart. It’s important that you lead by example.

Are there any obstacles to working in Arizona that you might not face in other states?

We’re still not compared equally with metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. They are seen much more as financial hubs. Our state leaders really need to focus on what’s important today: employment and diversification. We built this state on construction. We built the economy by building homes to house the construction workers. Now, we need to diversify so that we build a more sustainable economy.

How has your industry changed since you started?

When I started, you could do a residential contract on one page. So it’s changed a lot in that it takes a lot more paper to do essentially the same thing.

How do you think your industry is going to change in the next 10 years?

One of the things that is going to be very important going forward is the lessons learned — hopefully — in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. That lesson is that you cannot have the attitude of “build it, and they will come.” We have to build for a reason. Hopefully, that lesson will be in the forefront as we emerge from what has been some very dark days. The other big change is that we are going to see retailers getting smaller again. They grew into these supermega-sized boxes that were so big you needed a golf cart to go through them. That’s going to shrink. We’ve learned that the biggest is not necessarily the best anymore.

What has been your most significant challenge as CEO of your company?

The biggest challenge of my career was not getting carried away with the hype and exuberance of the marketplace in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 to the point where I could have easily over-leveraged and put myself in a position where I would be unable to make a recovery during the economic downturn. I watched so many friends and colleagues feasting on debt and getting to do all these projects while I watched from sidelines, telling myself, “This does not making economic sense.” Having the discipline to do that was the biggest challenge of my career.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I think we’ve truly been able to make a difference in the communities that we have worked in. Some of our redevelopment projects have changed neighborhoods and changed areas of our cities. My goal is to continue to make the communities we work in a better place one day and one project at a time.

Vital Stats: Michael Pollack

  • Has been involved in more than 11 million square feet of projects.
  • Is the drummer for Corporate Affair, a band that plays charitable events.
  • The Pollack family business began in 1937 in San Jose, Calif., when Sidney Gambord,
    Michael Pollack’s grandfather, decided to enter the real estate development business.
  • Entered the real estate business in 1973 while he was still in his teens, building
    single-family homes.
  • Began doing business in Arizona in 1991 with the purchase of a 23,623-square-foot
    shopping center that was 90 percent vacant. Within months, the occupancy rate climbed to
    more than 90 percent.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Steve Sanghi - Microchip Technology

Steve Sanghi, Microchip Technology Inc.

Steve Sanghi, talks about his experience as President and CEO of Microchip Technology, Inc. and the role technology plays in Arizona’s future.

Title: Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

Company: Microchip Technology, Inc.


How is being CEO of a technology company different from being CEO of a more traditional manufacturing company?
I used to think it was very different, but I’m not sure I believe that anymore. I understand the technology of a project, why our technology is better than the competition’s and why it is not. I think that makes me more effective. But it can also make CEOs with a technology background more biased; they do not rely on the team as much as they should.

Video by Duane Darling

What has been your most significant challenge as CEO of Microchip?
The first challenge was taking the company and turning it around. We were in so much trouble financially. We had no cash to go forward. Our technology was outmoded. Our employees lacked morale. Our factories were inefficient. So we took all those elements and developed what we call the “aggregate system,” a big-picture approach where we took all the elements of the business and created a better workplace and management culture that allowed us to succeed.

Any plans to expand your product lines?
I call my acquisition strategy “elbow out.” Our products need products from other companies around them to make them work. So we look at companies that make products that we do not make ourselves, then we look at acquiring them so we can “elbow out” the competition.

How does technology fit into Arizona’s economic future?
If you look at the state’s first 75 years, the four Cs that drove the economy were copper, cattle, citrus and climate. If you look at the last 25 years, technology, construction, retail and hospitality have taken a more prominent role. As we look forward, technology is going to play a more dominant role in Arizona’s economy as the world keeps moving toward a knowledge economy. So the four Cs that are driving Arizona today are computers, communications, consumer electronics and climate.

How is Arizona as a place to do business?
We have more than 400 people working here. Our business has grown from a $70 million company into a $1.5 billion company, so it has worked well for us. But there are pros and cons. Many times, to get the right talent, we have to go to other technology centers — California, Oregon, Texas, Colorado. If we had the talent here, it would make things easier. A benefit of being in Arizona is that we have a lower cost of living, the cost of doing business is lower, and our turnover rate is much lower than other tech centers. We have always been proud to call Arizona home.

What three things would make Arizona more tech-business friendly?
No. 1 is to improve the schools. Arizona high schools are near the bottom and if we don’t improve them soon, it’s really going to impact the future. No. 2 is getting a handle on the immigration problem and controlling it. No. 3 is that Arizona has historically lacked risk capital. Having more risk capital available is crucial so entrepreneurs can build companies here instead of having to look elsewhere.

Your biggest accomplishment as CEO?
Taking a company that was hemorrhaging money in 1990 and leading it to 84 consecutive quarters of profitability is something that I could not have imagined and is something that no other semiconductor company has been able to achieve. Right now, we are shipping about a billion units a year. So to see how far we have come and how well our products are accepted makes me very proud. You can only see so far in the future, but when you get there, you can see farther.

[stextbox id="alert" bcolor="ffffff" bgcolor="eaeaea" image="null"]Vital Stats: Steve Sanghi

  • Named president of Microchip in August 1990, chief executive officer in October 1991, and chairman of the board of directors in October 1993.
  • Author of the book “Driving Excellence: How the Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader (Wiley).”
  • Member of the board of directors of Xyratex Ltd., member of the national board of directors of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Kettering University.
  • In 2010, Mr. Sanghi was named EE Times’ — a leading electronics-industry publication — “Executive of the Year.”
  • Under Sanghi, Microchip’s returns have increased 4,476% since the Company’s IPO in 1993.
  • Honored with the Arizona Technology Council’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

Elizabeth Reich - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Elizabeth Reich, Make-A-Wish Foundation Of Arizona

Elizabeth Reich, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, discusses how Make-A-Wish was founded, its challenges, how they make wishes happen and more.

Elizabeth Reich

Title: President and CEO
Company: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona


What is something people don’t know about Make-A-Wish?

Most people don’t know that it was founded here in Arizona in 1980 after some DPS officers and a customs agent learned of a boy with leukemia whose one wish was to become a police officer. They decided to help make his dream happen. He got a uniform, was checked out on mini-motorcycle, and the experience was very meaningful to him. When he died, he was buried in the uniform and he was issued. After the officers saw the impact the wish had on the boy and his family, they said , ‘We should do this again,’ and it grew into what it is today. We have 62 chapters in the U.S. and we are in 35 countries worldwide. Make-A-Wish is Arizona’s gift to the world.

Video by Cory Bergquist

What has been your biggest challenge in this struggling economy?

We are 100 percent dependent on dollars from people and corporations to make our wishes come true and those dollars are fewer and farther between. People know that Make-A-Wish does great things, but sometimes they don’t see them as necessary things.

How do you show them that they are a necessity?

Fortunately, a 2010 study of more than 2,000 Make-A-Wish families and volunteers shows the impact of a wish beyond that moment — the impact on the family, the impact on the volunteers and the impact on that child through the rest of his or her life. Many of our Make-A-Wish children live to be adults. That wish experience has impact on their ability to recover from their illness. So as a result of the wish impact study, we can now say our wishes are not a ‘nice to have,’ they are a ‘need to have.’

What is your most rewarding moment at CEO of Make-A-Wish?

It’s always the most recent moment. There was a young lady who graduated early from high school and was No. 3 in her class. Originally, her wish was to go to Italy. But her wish changed. She said, ‘I want to focus on school. I want to focus on becoming a doctor.’ So her wish was for a laptop computer. Not only was her wish for a laptop granted, but she got an iPad, an iPod, and a desk to put the laptop on. She was so gracious and so thankful. It’s something that is going to enrich her life for years to come and it was her one true wish.

Are there common threads in the wishes?

Our wishes fall into four categories: I wish to be, I wish to go, I wish to have, or I wish to meet. But more and more, kids today are adding a fifth category: I wish to give. They use their wishes to give back. We are working with one girl whose wish is to have a national forum where she can talk about the importance of being a bone marrow donor. We are working with morning shows right now to arrange a platform for her so she can get her message out.

How do you make the wishes happen?

We have wonderful staff members called wish managers. They have to be part travel agent, part logistician, be multi-skilled, and have to work in concert with our volunteers. When you’re granting 251 wishes, like we did last year, you’re dealing with a lot of logistics and a lot of juggling. I like to say that we cry here every day. We cry for good things and we cry for bad things. But we know what we’re doing makes a difference for that child and for that family and that feels so good.

Vital Stats: Elizabeth Reich

    • Joined Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona in 2010
    • Graduated from Whittier College with a degree in political science
    • Previous jobs include vice president of advancement at Childhelp; CEO at VisionQuest 20/20; and vice president of development at Banner Health Foundation
    • From 1998-2003, was executive director of what is now called The Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, consisting of the Governors’ Divisions for Women, Children, Prevention of Family Violence, Drug Policy, Volunteerism, Community Outreach and Character Education
    • Raised money to support Banner Desert Medical Center and Banner Children’s Hospital in Mesa. Led the first stages of a capital campaign, successfully obtaining several seven-figure gifts

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

 

Jim Teter, Goodwill - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Jim Teter, Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona

Jim Teter, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona, discusses how the economic bust has affected Goodwill, why they’ve seen an increase in donations, employment at Goodwill, its future and more.

Jim Teter

Title: President and CEO
Company: Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona


Why did you decide to move to a nonprofit after all your years of success in for-profit industries?

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Goodwill’s mission and Goodwill’s board of directors was looking for a little bit different direction as we continued to grow. They were looking for someone that had business experience because we operate Goodwill like a business, but they also wanted someone who had some nonprofit experience as well. I’ve been involved in nonprofits as a volunteer for over 25 years, but I’ve run larger business operations. I think the board of directors found that appealing. It’s given me a chance to use all my experience to help make a difference for Goodwill. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about: helping Goodwill be all it can be as we grow and get bigger.

Has the economic bust been a boon for Goodwill?

Because of the nature of what Goodwill does, which is a thrift retail business, we tend to fare a lot better in difficult economic times than most businesses. Up until 2007, we were growing 20 to 22 percent a year. In the years during the recession we’re still growing at 11 or 12 percent a year and reaching thousands and thousands of people and helping serve them. So this has been an opportunity for us to introduce some new people to Goodwill because a lot of people are looking for the values that they find when they shop at Goodwill, so our customer counts are up and our revenues are up. Those are all good things.

Are you seeing a shift in donations?

What we’ve found is that people tend to hang on things a little bit longer. People are not donating quite as much as they did before the recession. But the good news is we have more people donating. Our donation counts are up about nine percent year over year. I think that’s because people know that we are going to get the most value out of their donations, and we help a lot of people prepare for and find work. That’s what we are all about: helping people find work.

How has the increased unemployment rate impacted Goodwill’s goal of putting people to work?

People that are coming in the career centers today are quite diverse in their backgrounds and their experiences. Generally speaking, we still have a lot of entry-level employees that are seeking jobs, but we get a little bit of everything these days. We have people that have college degrees, masters degrees, PhDs. What we offer them is, at no cost to them, a very convenient way to go build resumes, learn skills they didn’t have so they can move into a different industry. A lot of people are finding that attractive and taking advantage of that.

Where do you see Goodwill ten years from now?

We believe we can continue to grow and help more and more people. The only reason we want to be bigger is because we can reach out and serve more people, help more people prepare for and find jobs. I kind of wish we could put ourselves out of business, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We will be the first thing that comes to mind when people ask, ‘Who can help someone with employment and job training? That’s Goodwill.’ That’s where we would like to be in the next five to ten years.

Vital Stats: Jim Teter

    • Joined Goodwill in 2008
    • Before Goodwill, was Chief Operating Officer of Calence, LLC in Tempe
    • Graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering
    • Has more than 26 years of experience with high-profile corporations such as IBM and Avnet
    • Co-chaired South Texas United Way’s business campaigns, served on the Board of the American Heart Association, was an active member of the Corpus Christi Economic Development Corporation and served on the external executive committee for Texas A&I University (now part of the Texas A&M University System)
    • Actively supported Respite Care of San Antonio, Hacienda de los Angeles in Phoenix and Paiute Neighbor Association in Scottsdale
    • Member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Arizona Business Leadership, Phoenix Community Alliance, Organization for Non-Profit Executives and Greater Phoenix Leadership

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

CEO Lecture Series, AZ Business Magazine, GCU

CEO Lecture Series: Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.

Arizona Business Magazine in conjunction with Grand Canyon University would like to invite you to the CEO Lecture Series featuring some of the Valley’s most successful CEOs. Learn more about their leadership techniques and the best practices that took them to the top of their industry!


Presented By:
Arizona Business Magazine LogoGrand Canyon University Logo

Our next installment of the CEO Lecture Series will feature:
Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.
Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base

Thursday, October 6, 2011
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Lecture: 9-10 a.m.

Ethington Theatre
Grand Canyon University
3300 W. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85017
CEO Lecture Series: Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr.

About Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr. :


Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr. is the Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The 56th Fighter Wing’s mission is to train F-16 pilots and maintainers while deploying mission-ready warfighters. As part of Air Education and Training Command, and home to more than 135 F-16 aircraft and 24 squadrons, the 56th is the largest fighter wing in the U.S. Air Force and graduates more than 400 F-16 pilots and 470 crew chiefs annually. The wing oversees the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field and is steward of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a military training range spanning more than 1.7 million acres of Sonoran desert.The general has commanded at squadron, group and wing levels. Prior to his current assignment, he was Assistant Director of Operations, Plans, Requirements and Programs, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

The CEO Lecture Series is a free event, but register soon because space is limited.

For questions, contact Stephen Smith at Stephen.Smith@gcu.edu or 602-639-6601

 

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr., Commander, 56th Fighter Wing of Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Ariz. - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr., Luke Air Force Base

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr. discusses how his position is equivalent to that of a CEO, the importance of Luke Air Force Base, the importance of servant leadership, and more.

Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris Jr.

Title: Commander, 56TH Fighter Wing
Company: Luke Air Force Base


Why is your position equivalent to that of a CEO?

I look at our stakeholders as being the American public and certainly our senators and our governor, our government, and the political leadership that we have. Our customers are the combat forces, because here at Luke we train F-16 pilots and F-16 crew chiefs and we deploy combat ready airmen; so it’s those warriors and the commander on the other end that use them in combat that are customers we try and service.

How important is Luke Air Force Base to the economic success of the West Valley?

It’s a growing and vibrant economy here. Luke’s impact is about $2 billion a year. I heard a lot of great stories about how the 2008 Super Bowl contributed $500 million to the West Valley. Luke does that four times a year, every year, so that’s a big part of it.

What will the economic impact be if Luke Air Force Base is selected as the F-35 training site?

Based on the mission that’s going on with 138 airplanes that are currently on the ramp, with the F-35 arriving here we won’t see a whole bunch of long-term impact. We expect the F-35, if selected here, is going to bring in some immediate upfront building, some new construction – which will help with the local labor – and some of the things that are going on buying material and such.

In your brief tenure at the base, what type of feedback have you received from the West Valley communities?

It’s been phenomenal support. I have been probably at 15 or 16 different bases and some of those consider themselves to be the best support. Yet right here in Arizona — which is my home, too, by the way — I truly see that we’ve never had better support. All government from the county and the state are very positive with what we do. They’re looking to have, as they would say in their words, managed growth around Luke, yet compatible with Luke and that works out very well. I see a long-term relationship still going.

You’ve been quoted as saying you’re a believer in servant leadership. Why do you believe it’s the right thing to do?

When we show an organizational chart, we always show the CEO or the commander right at the top. That’s the way it makes sense because everybody sees how it branches out and goes to the different divisions or squadrons or groups in the organization. The way I’ve employed that here is while that is the way we show our organizational chart, I explain it to everybody that my job is to keep the next level of commanders trained, motivated, and certainly have the supplies they need in people, equipment and money to get what they need done.

Vital Stats: General Harris

    • Graduated from Washington State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering
    • Command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in F-16, T-37, T-38, Mig-29 and Mig-21 aircraft
    • Served as Chief of Strategy for 16th Air Force Commander and COMAIRSOUTH’s Crisis Action Group in Naples, Italy
    • Served as the Combined Air and Space Operations Center Battle Director for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom
    • Decorations include: Legion of Merit (2); Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service (3); and Air Medal (4)
    • Assistant Director of Operations, Plans, Requirements and Programs, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
    • Promoted to Brigadier General on Nov. 3, 2010

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2011

 

Rick Welts, president and CEO, Phoenix Suns - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

Rick Welts, President And CEO, Phoenix Suns

CEO Rick Welts discusses how the recession has affected the professional sports industry, the sports industry’s role in economic development, the Phoenix Coyotes, and more.

Rick Welts
Title: President and CEO
Company: Phoenix Suns


How did the recession affect the professional sports industry?

It certainly put pressure on pricing. The Suns haven’t raised prices in three years now and certainly didn’t feel like we were in a position to. The types of products that we tried to create for ticket buyers, I think, were reflective of the economy and understanding that we’re probably going to sell more partial full-season tickets than we are our traditional season ticket. … We have our own market for resale tickets for people who own tickets and want to sell them to other people, which was an opportunity for people to recoup some of the investment they’d made on season tickets. And I think we saw that across all the teams in the Valley.

Are you seeing any positive changes in the economy?

Our television ratings were up significantly this past year, and I think one of the trade-offs between people coming to the arena and the television broadcast was that we actually had more people that were part of our audience there. We’re unique among the Valley sports teams in that we produce and sell all of our own television games. … I think definitely last season we saw an upturn in ad spending, which is important to us because it’s a big part of our revenue on our television broadcast.

What role do pro-sports teams play in economic development?

I’m a huge believer that we are the greatest brand ambassadors for Phoenix that exist out there. … So, when we have games on national television coming from Phoenix, Arizona, and you have beauty shots of our incredible community, it’s really a two-and-a-half hour commercial for our region, for the city of Phoenix.

What about the rift between the Goldwater Institute and Glendale over the Phoenix Coyotes?

It’s really an important topic that cities are going to have to wrestle with, and our city is going to have to wrestle with. … The economics of our business are not such that sports teams by themselves can afford to build a multi-purpose facility … But how we pay for that, what’s the appropriate investment, what’s the right way to go about doing it is a very fair discussion to have out there between sports teams, the public and our elected officials.

Why was it important to publicly announce that you’re gay?

We really want to have an open discussion about sexual orientation within this industry, which is a very difficult topic for us to get to. For whatever reason, we’re a little out of step with where most of our society is today in having that discussion and feeling comfortable having it. The purpose was to hopefully facilitate more of that discussion, which I can promise you has been the case. What I also said is that I wanted to at least have a person out there who young people could identify with who might give them a little hope that pursuing their passion, if it’s team sports, wasn’t something that was out of reach just because of who they were. … I’m at the very beginning of what’s going to be a very interesting journey for me on this. … I’m going to let the experience guide me.

Vital Stats: Rick Welts

    • Worked for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1969 to 1979 starting as a ball boy and ending as director of public relations
    • Started his tenure in the NBA league office in 1982 as director of national promotions for NBA Properties
    • Credited with the creation of the NBA All-Star Weekend concept in 1984
    • In 1998, Brandweek magazine named him Marketer of the Year for his role in creating and launching the WNBA
    • Left the NBA office in 1999 as the league’s executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties
    • Joined the Suns as president and COO in 2002
    • Named president and CEO of the Suns in 2009

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Richard Adkerson CEO Freeport-McMoRan Copper And Gold

CEO Richard Adkerson discusses the global Copper market, and how the recent economic recession has affected Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.

Richard Adkerson
Title: CEO
Company: Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold


How did the recession affect Freeport’s global markets?
Copper, which is our primary product, but all of our products actually, is sold on the basis of a globally set price. When the financial meltdown occurred in the second half of 2008, it had a dramatic effect on copper prices and the prices of other commodities that we produce. When I say dramatic, it was very sudden and very significant. In the third quarter of 2008, the price of copper averaged $3.50 a pound. By mid-December, it was below $1.50 a pound, and many analysts expected it to go even lower.

We sell about 4 billion pounds of copper per year, so when we lost $2 a pound that was like $8 billion gone very rapidly off of our top line. We had to respond very quickly. And I’m very proud of our organization on how we did respond. We cut back hard cost production, we deferred capital projects, we cut back on our corporate G&A expenses and adjusted the cost structure of our business to deal with the lower prices. And we were prepared to deal with that for some period of time. Fortunately, as 2009 progressed, by mid-year China had emerged with such strength that prices came back stronger and quicker than most in the industry and analysts expected. But we were prepared to deal with it for some time because it was so uncertain.

Where do you see prices trending in the next few months?
We never know and we never try to predict what prices are going to do in the near term and we don’t run our business on any particular projections of a price. We have a lot of confidence about the world’s need for copper and about the longer run positive nature of the markets that we’re in.  In the near term, though, you can develop different scenarios where prices may increase, prices may drop in today’s world — with all the events going on in Northern Africa and the Middle-East, with the issues associated with Japan … and with the issue in China of the government trying to slow economic growth and trying to avoid a bubble situation.

Having said that, as we sit here talking today, prices are well above where they were at their highest in 2007-2008. As a result of that, we are generating lots of cash flow, which has allowed us to increase the dividends that we pay to our shareholders.

What global markets are seeing increases in demand?
(China) developed originally on its export business, but now its internal economy is so strong and it continues to build infrastructure: housing, transportation, communications systems — and all of that requires a lot of copper and other basic materials to support that. … Behind China are the rest of the undeveloped nations in Asia … Beyond that, Eastern Europe, South America and Africa are going to be major markets.

How has Freeport reached out to former Phelps Dodge mining communities in Arizona?
We have a lot of high regard for the historical importance of Phelps Dodge to Arizona and the Southwest United States. … In Arizona we’ve gone into the communities and continued to interact with those communities to form partnerships … I think we spent $25 million last year in supporting communities and activities in Arizona alone.

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Vital Stats: Richard Adkerson

  • Joined Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold in 1989
  • A former partner and managing director of Arthur Andersen & Co
  • From 1976 to 1978, he was a Professional Accounting Fellow with the Securities
    and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.
  • Chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals
  • Executive Board member of the International Copper Association
  • President of the Mississippi State University Foundation board of directors
  • Serves on the boards of the Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Greater Phoenix
 Economic Council

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Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

CEO Linda Hunt - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Linda Hunt, CEO, St. Joseph’s Hospital And Medical Center

CEO Series: Linda Hunt

Title: President
Company: CHW Arizona/St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center


How is St. Joseph’s preparing itself to meet the changes being brought on by national health care reform and the state’s budget crisis?

We’ve been on the ground from the very beginning. Catholic Healthcare West, our parent company, has really been involved with the Obama Administration in looking at different ways to provide health care, and we know that health care has to change. The most important thing for us has been quality — providing the high quality access. We have a lot of people without care or without access to care. So when you look at how do we do that and how do we lower our cost of delivering care, those things have been driving forces for St. Joseph’s and CHW to be intimately involved in what needs to occur.
It’s a tremendous strain if we have the (state) budget cuts that are proposed. About 44 percent of our patients are AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System ) patients, and this will be anywhere between $25 million to $31 million for just our organization alone that we will see decreased.
We also are part owners of Mercy Care Plan, so for us it’s a real concern. Mercy Care Plan has 386,000 lives, and about 60,000 of those lives (coverage) will be eliminated if the state budget crises and the state waiver go through.

The mass shooting that took place in Tucson really put attention on the work of Level I trauma centers, such as the one at St. Joseph’s. What message has that sent to Legislators and the community?

Tucson was a great example of why Level I trauma centers are needed. It truly is the life-saving component of life care. If we would not have had the hospital in Tucson, if we would not have had the trauma surgeons, the neurosurgeons right there ready, a number of those people would not have survived. I think Gabby Giffords can really say one day, “I owe my life to these people and to the quick response that they had.” We have very limited funding. As you know, it’s not about money coming in from the federal government or the state government for Level I. It’s really thanks to a number of our patients who have insurance and the variety of people who give to us to make sure we can continue to have the resources available to provide that kind of care.

How has St. Joseph’s evolution mirrored that of the state’s health care industry?

When the (Sisters of Mercy) got here in the 1890s, they found a very small community of people who were working here, but also many other people who had come here because they were ill. (The sisters) came here to teach, and all of a sudden they looked around and said, “My gosh, it’s not about teaching. We have to provide health care for these people. They’re dying in the streets.”

So, I feel we are the beginning of health care in this community and have continued for almost 116 years. When you look at the number of firsts that were done at St. Joseph’s, many times we brought health care and progressive health care to this community. When you look at the first residency, the first pharmacy in-house, the first NICU, the first MRI, the first CAT scan … it truly is a jewel to be treasured in this community.

Is health care a cooperative effort in the Valley?

I think we all compete. We are businesses. But I think it’s a camaraderie because we’re all about taking care of people in this community. When you look back, there are a lot of great friendships that you have with the other CEOs. And we do share. We share resources. When we get in trouble as a Level I trauma center, when we’re overwhelmed, everyone pitches in and we fan out patients. We do a number of things together. If we need equipment, we lend it to each other. So in a way we compete, but we are all here to serve this community and I think that is very important.

How does St. Joseph’s work with rural communities?

Look at Children’s Rehabilitative Services, which we have been a partner of the state with in caring for children. We have clinics all over the state. We work with the Indian communities; we work with Flagstaff, Prescott; Yuma and Tucson work together with us. So right there is a perfect example of that collaboration. We have outreach clinics throughout the state, especially in the rural areas. We train residents and new physicians, which we think is a very important part of training the next generation of caregivers. We are training a lot of the physicians that will be practicing in rural Arizona and other rural areas of this country.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has stripped St. Joseph’s of its Catholic standing. how does that affect the average patient?

If you came into our hospital in early December and you came in today, we would look no different. The one thing we cannot do is Mass in the chapel. We still have worship services, they’re just not Catholic worship services. But we do have rosaries, we have spiritual hours, we have people who are there to allow you to pray and to provide that spiritual comfort, just as we did in the past. … We acknowledge that (Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead) has the authority to no longer designate us a Catholic hospital. We’re all very sad about that. … But we will always take care of people who are here and do what we can do to make sure they are safe, and that they receive the care that they deserve. … it came down to we had to save the life we could and we did.


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Vital Stats: Linda Hunt

  • Service Area President, Catholic Healthcare West
  • President, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing from William Carey College in Mississippi
  • Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Graduated from the Johnson & Johnson Fellows Program in Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Was on the faculty at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Regis University in Denver
  • Active in Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council

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Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Roy Vallee, Chairman & CEO of Avnet - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

CEO Series: Roy Vallee

Long-time member talks technology, dealing with global economic problems, adapting to the changing world of technology, and more.

Roy Vallee
Title: Chairman and CEO
Company: Avnet

How you would you assess the current state of your industry?
Things are going pretty well for technology. Calendar 2010 will be a very good year by historical standards for our electronics business and our IT business. And in 2011, I would say things are going to normalize and grow at the secular growth rate for the industries. For us that’s good news because secular growth is kind of 1-1/2 to 2 times overall economic growth, so things are pretty good in technology.

You had a great first quarter. What do you think that portends for the economy in 2011?
Well, I’m not 100 percent sure, of course, but I think a couple of things are clear. Technology is leading this recovery. We’re growing a lot faster than the overall economy, certainly certain segments of the economy. So, I’m very pleased about that. And I think it also does indicate that we are at least in the early stages of a macro-economic recovery, even if it’s a gradual one … and hopefully that cyclical recovery will continue through 2011 and beyond.

Could this improvement possibly be a blip?
I think from an IT spending perspective that the possibility of it being a blip is there, but let’s maybe define blip. … Corporate psychology is such that it’s ready to invest in IT projects after it’s done swapping out the old hardware. I would also like to point out, though, that a significant part of our business is electronic components and a portion of those find their way into a variety of consumer goods, and that part of our business is quite strong, as well. So it’s not just corporate spending that’s driving our growth.

How is Avnet dealing with the various Global economic problems?
We deal in a variety of markets. Some of them are actually quite exciting right now; obviously places like China, India, Brazil, other parts of Asia Pacific, parts of Eastern Europe. There are parts of our business growing very rapidly these days. So the way we deal with that is we gear up and try to support the market that is there. In the areas where the developed countries have been hard-hit by the economic downturn and credit crunch, we simply dial the resources down. … we basically size our business to the amount of opportunity that exists on a local level.

In December, Avnet celebrated 50 years on the New York Stock Exchange. What do you think that says about your company?
It says a lot of things. First and foremost, adaptability: there have been a lot of economic cycles, there’s been changes in technology, there’s been changes in our industry structure at the fundamental value proposition of distributors like Avnet; there’s been globalization. So, the company being (on the NYSE) 50 years says we’re highly adaptable as an organization. … I think another thing it speaks to … is what I would call financial conservatism or fiscal discipline. And I think the third thing … is the culture. We’ve got a culture that is very grounded in our core values.

    Vital Stats



  • Joined Avnet in 1977
  • Appointed president of Hamilton/Avnet Computer in 1989
  • Elected to Avnet’s board of directors in 1991
  • In July 1998, he was elected chairman of the board and chief executive officer
  • Named to the Twelfth District Economic Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2010
  • Member of the Arizona Commerce Authority board of directors
  • Member of the boards of directors for Teradyne and Synopsys
  • Inductee of the CRN Industry Hall of Fame
  • Participates in Greater Phoenix Leadership

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – January 3, 2011

This week on AZNow.Biz, read about how the economic recovery has companies looking for ways to make sure they retain their key employees. Also, read and watch the latest edition of our CEO Series. We talk to Roy Vallee, the CEO and chairman of Avnet. And check out our Touchdown AZ section to find out what kind of economic impact the upcoming BCS College Football Championship could have on the Valley’s economy.


Jerry Colangelo discusses Arizona's economic future and more. - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

CEO Series: Jerry Colangelo

Local businessman Jerry Colangelo talks basketball, Arizona Commerce Authority, the recession and more.

Jerry Colangelo
Title: Principal Partner
Company: JDM Partners

Did you always aspire to be in business or was it circumstances that put you on this path?
I transferred universities for basketball reasons, originally. I went to (University of) Kansas for a semester to play with Wilt Chamberlain. When he transferred — when he quit school — I transferred to (University of) Illinois. I had taken business courses in Kansas and when I transferred I brought those credits with me. But then I went into education. I thought I would teach and coach. But I had some business background and I was always a little bit of an entrepreneur, in terms of trying to make a dollar as a young kid, little businesses, etc. So it all kind of came together and I ended up being in the sports business, which means that I was being prepared all along.

How would describe the Valley’s business environment for entrepreneurs?
I think it is a good place, but it has evolved. I came to the Valley 40-plus years ago, when things were kind of wide open and there were many more opportunities, at least from my perspective. You had the ability to get things done because it was still a small town, to some degree. I’ve seen it quintuple in size, if you will, and we’ve had our ups and our downs in the Valley, but we’re trying to re-identify who we are and what our future holds. But there will always be room for entrepreneurs. There’s no question about that. I still believe in the Valley and the business climate, and it’s going to get better as our economy gets better, so there’s room.

How will the new Arizona Commerce Authority help the state’s economy?
I think the Commerce Authority is coming at exactly the right time. We have the opportunity to re-do how we do business in this state. It’s very important to retain the businesses that we have and it’s very competitive out there. The states are competing for big business and small business. We need to create a climate that is truly conducive for small and big business to come to Arizona. I think that with the people, the manpower that we will have on this authority, we have a chance to make that happen.

I’ve been a little outspoken about the fact that we need the Legislature to help with the funding — there’s no question about that — but at that point they need the business community to conduct the business of commerce. That’s what they know best. And if we can kind of separate that, we have a great opportunity to go out and be competitive. We’re going to need some things from the Legislature. Incentives — that seems to be a dirty word to some people, but it’s reality. That’s what’s happening in other states. That’s why they’ve had so much success. We have the models to look at.

For me, coming from the world of sports and every day you’re competing, it’s another game, it’s going for another win. This is a classic example of taking something that needed to be restructured, a little like my USA Basketball experience of late, when I took over the program and it was back on its heels. Today, we’re the defending gold medalists in every category, men’s and women’s, every age bracket. We have a chance with the Commerce Authority to basically do the same thing. We need to win a gold medal. We need to go out and compete with all the other states, because we have a lot to offer in this state. We just need some incentives. We need to look people eyeball-to-eyeball and sell them on why it’s important to come here, why they will enjoy not just the quality of life. We need to improve our education, we need to make it a better community in which it is conducive to do business here. If you get people jumping on the bandwagon, we have a chance.

How did the recession affect the sports industry in general and in the Valley in particular?

The recession has hit everyone and every segment of the marketplace. It’s interesting; when things are really bad economically, people still want to be entertained. … Vicariously, people follow sports teams because they once played, they have some affiliation, they love the association when their teams are winning. When teams are losing, that’s when they jump off the bandwagon. … We took a hit here in the Valley big time. Because we have so much emphasis on the construction industry, we were hit harder than other parts of the country — in the Southwest. No. 2, we are saturated right now with sports teams — no question about that. Everyone was affected. If we had continued with our growth, because we were on an incredible growth curve, we would have grown into maturity with all of our sports teams. What we have gone through have been some real challenges. But the good news is that the sports franchises have adjusted. They’ve had to adjust their policies, their attitudes toward discounts, etc. And that’s one of the things I’ve noticed in sports in the last two years is that they’ve made adjustments to deal with what’s taken place with the recession.

You are still involved in sports, but you’ve also moved on to real estate development. Some would say that’s a risky move. How do you respond to that?
People say when you make money in real estate is when you buy appropriately. There are a lot of deals out there to buy in — they say cash is king. Well, there are a lot of financial institutions sitting on a lot of cash, but they’re not really willing to let the consumer have that cash. So everyone is very hesitant right now. There is great opportunity in real estate. You have to be more specific about residential, commercial. My partners and I are involved in some iconic properties: the (Arizona Biltmore Golf & Country Club), the (Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa). In taking that step with distressed properties, we were able to take these properties out of bankruptcy. We believe we made a good buy at the time. We are making an investment in those properties, because we believe in the future. We believe things will get better over a period of time and that the real estate marketplace will continue to get better over a period of time. We’re sitting on 37,000 acres of property on the west side of Phoenix that have the ability and the approval to build a city of over 300,000 people. But this isn’t the time to start that project — that’s in Buckeye, Ariz. Do I think someday that will happen? Maybe in some way, shape or form; maybe not the way it was visualized five years ago, but are people going to continue to come here? I believe so. But back to the Commerce Authority; we have to bring jobs to Arizona. So by being creative and being aggressive going out to bring companies here — with high-paying jobs, not just service jobs — then we will continue with the growth pattern, because we have so many wonderful things to offer in terms of quality of life out here in the Southwest.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are ready to take their companies to the next level?
Don’t be afraid to fail. … You have to take calculated risks. You have to be willing to step out on that board knowing you might get pushed, fall off. The worst thing that could happen is you do — you get up and you start over again. One of the things that has probably marked my career is that I started with nothing and I was never afraid to go back to nothing, but I was going to enjoy the ride. And so as it relates to my mix of experiences. Being competitive as an athlete prepared me for the business world, which was another competition. No one has batted 1,000 percent. Hall of Famers hit .300 — that’s only three out of 10. So why is it any different in business? You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to learn from your mistakes. You can’t be afraid to fail, you have to be willing to take that kind of calculated risk. I’ve seen so many people, again in my lifetime, who have complained and whined about never getting an opportunity. And I would say to them, “Opportunity walked by you three or four times, but you never recognized it, because you’re so busy whining.” Get out there, don’t be afraid to compete and believe in yourself.

    Vital Stats




  • Became general manager of the new NBA franchise Phoenix Suns in 1968
  • Coached the Suns in the 1969-1970 and 1972-1973 seasons
  • Purchased the Suns for $44.5 million in 1987
  • Founder and owner of the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers from 1992-2005
  • Played a key part in moving the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets to Arizona in 1996
  • Launched the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in 1997
  • Launched the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998
  • Served as chairman and CEO of the 2001 World Champion Diamondbacks
  • Chairman of the NBA’s Board of Governors from 2001-2005
  • Sold the Suns, Mercury and Rattlers to an investment group headed by Robert Sarver in 2004
  • Sold his controlling interest in the Diamondbacks to a group of investors in 2004
  • Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004
  • March 26, 2004 proclaimed Jerry Colangelo Day in Phoenix
  • Named director of USA Basketball in 2005
  • Received the Spirit of Caring award in 2005 from the Valley of the Sun United Way
  • Inducted into the Suns’ Ring of Honor in 2007

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010