Tag Archives: CEO

Mark H pics 012

CRA's CEO Wins Gold Stevie Award

Mark S. Hanley, Chief Executive Officer of Clinical Research Advantage, Inc. (CRA), was the recipient of a Gold Stevie® Award in this year’s American Business Awards. Hanley was recognized as the “Maverick of the Year” in the Business Services category.

Hanley was honored for his innovative vision and leadership, which included acquiring Radiant Research in 2012 to create the country’s largest and most therapeutically diverse integrated network of clinical trial sites. “It is an honor to receive this award,” said Hanley. “But, this is really an award for the entire CRA team. It is through all of their hard work and dedication that we have accomplished so much in the past 12 months.”

The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 320 executives nationwide who participated in the judging process this year.

Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the 11th annual award ceremony was held on June 17th in Chicago, Illinois. This year, the judges reviewed more than 3,200 nominations from organizations of all sizes and virtually every industry.

 

Banner Good Samaritan Hospital

Banner Health Center preview on June 29

West Valley residents can tour the new Banner Health Center in Goodyear from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 29.The Center is designed to support high quality, convenient health care for the entire family.

Attendees will hear remarks by Banner Medical Group CEO Jim Brannon and Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord at 8:30 a.m., followed by a celebration including food, tours, giveaways, children’s activities and information about Banner Health facilities and services. Community members are invited to meet physicians and staff and even make an appointment.

“We want to become part of the fabric of the community by becoming the medical home residents look to for help in keeping their families healthy,” said Jim Brannon, chief executive officer of Banner Medical Group. “This Banner Health Center is designed to provide primary care to the entire family in one space. We want it to be the place you would choose for prevention, wellness, basic and complex medical care and the advice you need to thrive with chronic health conditions.”

At opening on July 10, staff physicians will include family practitioners and pediatricians. Banner Health Centers accept most insurance plans. The Center will be open extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Same-day appointments will also be available. Laboratory and X-ray services are also on-site.

Banner Health Center in Estrella will also be the gateway to the incredibly comprehensive services offered throughout Banner Health system, including Banner Estrella Medical Center and specialty facilities such as Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cardon Children’s Medical Center and Banner Concussion Center.

This location at 9780 South Estrella Parkway joins the existing Banner Health Centers offering health care where you want it and how you want it in Gilbert, Queen Creek, Surprise, Verrado and Maricopa, Ariz. as well as South Loveland, Colo. For more information on the Banner Health Center in Estrella, visit www.BannerHealth.com/HealthCenterEstrella.

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First Job: Steven Micheletti, CEO, Z’Tejas

What was your first job?
Delivering bread on my uncle’s bread delivery route at the age of 11. I worked every Saturday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. for two years.  When I became a teenager, it just didn’t seem like a cool job to be talking to your friends about, so I moved on to work in a fast-food restaurant called Spaghetti Bowl. Instead of serving buckets of chicken and fries, we served buckets of spaghetti and meatballs. My job was to make 500 pounds of meatballs every Saturday. It took me several months to stop longing for delivering bread.

Do you remember how much you earned at that first job?
I think my uncle paid me $5 a day and I also got tips from his customers. He had over 100 stops, so I made about $25 dollars in tips, which was a lot of money as an 11 year old.

What did you learn from your first job that still impacts you today?
Consistency. Folks expected to have their delivery occur at the same time every day and they would get quite upset if their delivery was late. Oddly enough, the consistency of time mattered almost as much as the quality of bread that was being delivered. You have to deliver on the promises you make to your guests and your team consistently or they start looking elsewhere.

You started your career as an attorney. What made you decide to evolve into the restaurant industry?
I have always worked in restaurants. My first bartending job was down the street from The Palm restaurant in Washington, D.C.  I had the worst shift, but I learned to love it because all the staff from The Palm would come in and eventually they took an interest in my classes. Eventually, if I told them I had an upcoming test, I would give them my notes and they would quiz me. It was pretty funny to see a bunch of waiters asking me question about constitutional law. When I finally graduated from law school and started practicing, I had this ache every so often and I eventually figured it out that my true vocation was being in the restaurant business.

What was your first job in restaurant management?
While studying for the bar exam, I become a weekend manager for a great little bar in D.C. called PW’s Saloon on 19th Street. The PW stood for the nicknames of the two owners, the Prince and the Walrus. I’ll leave the explanation of the nicknames to your imagination.

What is the biggest difference between the legal and restaurant industries?
This is an easy answer. Practicing law is an adversarial process; someone wins, someone loses. Someone is happy, someone is not. Restaurants exist to satisfy and please. When you do it right, it’s a win-win for just about every stakeholder.

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was admitting that the restaurant I opened in Portland, Maine was failing and needed to close. It wasn’t just about the money that I had lost, but the passion that went into creating it. It took me years to get over. For me, it was worse than being dumped by your first true love. Time heals all wounds and you analyze what went wrong and you learn to start over again.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you like to be doing?
I originally thought when I finished law school I would go and work for a movie studio in L.A. because I have always loved spending time in movie theaters. So I guess that would be an acceptable alternative even today. I truly believe that you are where you are because that’s where you’re supposed to be. I love the restaurant business and wouldn’t change anything.

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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.

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UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

child.hospital

UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

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Hispanic Chamber names Guerra Woman of the Year

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is honoring BioAccel CEO and Co-Founder MaryAnn Guerra as the Woman of the Year on Saturday at its 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards.

Guerra is being recognized for BioAccel’s leadership role in economic development and its ongoing effort to start new companies and create jobs in Arizona. The gala, which honors three other community leaders and a business, is being held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 330 N. Third Street.

“The centerpiece attraction of our gala is the Hispanic Chamber’s prestigious business awards, and we’re extremely proud this year to salute the achievements of MaryAnn Guerra, one of our the state’s innovative figures, by awarding her the 2013 Woman of the Year Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr.

Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. She has spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. Guerra is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.

“I’m honored and humbled by this award,” Guerra said. “BioAccel is a new kind of accelerator model in Arizona dedicated to creating knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that drive our state’s economy. It’s inspiring and invigorating work, and a privilege to work with a staff, board and industry leaders committed to realizing a big bio vision for Arizona.”

Prior to founding BioAccel, Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC, and Chief Operating Officer at TGen. While at TGen, she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO, she grew the organization from $30 million to $60 million in fewer than three years.  Guerra also served as the executive vice president of Matthews Media Group where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health in various senior level positions including executive officer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and deputy director of management & executive officer at the National Cancer Institute.

Guerra has received numerous awards for her work including Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 Fifteen Women to Watch. Last year, BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ Most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and the state of Arizona. Currently Guerra is a board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for ASU School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering. Guerra earned an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards event is the state’s longest running formal gala and honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders attend every year.

The Chamber will present awards during the gala in four other categories. This year’s winners are:

• Lattie F. Coor, Legacy Award

• Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year

• Israel G. Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year

• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award

Gehan Homes in AZ - rendering hi res.

Texas homebuilder Gehan enters Arizona market

Gehan Homes, a Dallas-based homebuilder, announced the grand opening of its first community in Arizona, Hacienda at Greer Ranch in Surprise. One of the top 30 builders in the U.S., Gehan Homes is introducing a new series of homes targeted to the move-up homebuyer. A model home is now open at 11520 N. 156 Lane in Surprise where homebuyers can see the six new floor plans and 18 new front elevations that are exclusive to the Phoenix market.

“Our opening at Greer Ranch is a vote of confidence in the Phoenix market, which has clearly rebounded and where we see positive signs for the longer term health of the housing market,” said Tim Gehan, CEO of Gehan Homes. Gehan Homes will build in four Valley-wide communities during 2013.

The award-winning builder is drawing on more than 25 years of experience to meet buyers’ everyday living needs. Committed to delivering homes that are “Designed for Your Life,” Gehan offers a broad selection of hundreds of design options for discerning buyers.

“A Gehan home is one that fits the energy and flexibility of modern life,” Gehan said. “The new floor plans at Greer Ranch are designed for today’s lifestyles and feature open floor plans that better connect family members, three car garages and flexible spaces that can be personalized to meet a variety of individual needs.”

Homebuyers can choose from 66 homesites at Gehan Homes’ Hacienda at Greer Ranch community with energy-efficient floor plans ranging from 2,001 to 3,947 sq. ft.  Gehan Homes chose to build in Greer Ranch for several reasons, including its proximity to hiking trails, parks, shopping and more. Streetscapes are tree-lined and all of the homes are within walking distance of the Excelling Sonoran Heights Elementary School in the Dysart school district. With prices starting at $247,990, Gehan’s stylish Greer Ranch homes are perfect for active families who value being able to personalize a new home to fit their lifestyle.

Similar upscale homes will be built in the Vistancia, Palm Valley and Bridges of Gilbert communities by the end of 2013.

For information about Hacienda at Greer Ranch, call (623) 584-0903 or visit www.gehanhomes.com.

gaia

Biltmore Bank Sponsors Start-Up Competition

Biltmore Bank of Arizona, a premier community bank headquartered in Arcadia along the Camelback Corridor that is focused on the needs of the small and medium-sized business, announced that it has joined Tallwave, a lean business accelerator and venture management firm also located in Scottsdale, for the first-ever “High Tide” Start-Up Competition.  High Tide is focused on commercializing new sustainable ventures in Arizona by bringing validated companies to willing and motivated capital sources.

“High Tide is the only startup competition in the Southwest, applying lean business and design validation principles to identify, develop and commercialize rapid-growth startups,” said Jeff Gaia, CEO and president of the Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “Through our sponsorship of this innovative program, we believe we can help connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Arizona as well as assist startups in becoming become viable, scalable and sustainable growth companies.”

Thus far in the competition, High Tide has selected and celebrated 20 companies throughout the Southwest to participate in its “Phase One: Validation” program, which examines viability of each venture. Six of these 20 companies have since been announced as finalists and have now moved to the “Phase Two: Acceleration” program, which assesses product-market fit and go-to-market commercialization.

The finalists – four of whom are from Arizona – are:
Convrrt from Chandler
Creative Allies from Santa Monica, California
GreenRx from Denver, Colorado
HiringSolved from Chandler
LocalWork.com from Phoenix
SaveOnCouriers.com from Phoenix

Each High Tide finalist will receive a cash grant of $15,000 for use in company operational expenses and an additional $35,000 in scholarships for either “Product Market Fit” or “Go To Market” services from Tallwave. There is no cost to entrepreneurs selected to participate in the High Tide program. For more information, visit www.TallwaveHighTide.com.

“As a High Tide sponsor, Biltmore Bank has visibility into Arizona’s most exciting and promising startup and early-stage ventures,” said Jeffrey Pruitt, Tallwave chairman and CEO. “Entrepreneurs need the help of community leaders such as Biltmore Bank and we applaud their support of the next captains of industry.”

AB's Top Lawyer's List, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Delta Dental names Director of Legal Affairs

Delta Dental of Arizona is pleased to announce the hiring of Anne Bishop as the dental insurance company’s Director of Legal Affairs and Compliance.

“We are thrilled to welcome Anne to the Delta Dental team,” said Allan Allford, CEO for Delta Dental of Arizona. “Her expertise in health care law will be an asset as we prepare for the launch of private dental exchanges and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.”

A magna cum laude graduate of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, she has extensive commercial and healthcare litigation experience. Prior to joining Delta Dental, Bishop served as an associate attorney for Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in Phoenix, where she focused on health care services, health care transactions, compliance and regulatory matters.

Bishop’s expertise includes seven years of experience analyzing and researching legal issues in healthcare, advising clients on HIPAA and other healthcare compliance issues, and coordinating intra-company fraud investigations. In addition, Bishop spent nearly 14 years with the National Security Agency, where she received more than a dozen awards for outstanding performance and exceptional contributions to the intelligence community. Bishop also holds a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

JPH-001_2

Heard Museum Names New CEO

James Pepper Henry has been named as the Heard Museum’s director and CEO. Henry comes to the Heard after a successful six-year tenure at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Alaska’s premier art, history and science institution. There, he oversaw the completion of the museum’s $110 million, 80,000-square-foot expansion, including the debut of the new Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center exhibition hall and the new Imaginarium Discovery Center.

“We are very pleased to announce that Jim Pepper Henry will become the new director of the Heard Museum,” said Heard Museum Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bonsall. “An extensive national search was conducted to find the person who will lead us into the future.”

Bonsall adds, “Jim brings a wealth of museum experience; he comes to us from his current post as director and CEO of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center and has also held leadership positions at several other museums, both Native and non-Indian. Jim is a sculptor in his own right and an enrolled member of the Kaw Nation. We are thrilled to announce his appointment as the executive director of our beloved Heard Museum, and very much look forward to his leadership of this preeminent institution.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the next director and CEO of the Heard Museum, one of the premier institutions of American Indian art and culture and an American treasure,” said Pepper Henry. “I look forward to working with the board, staff and community to present exciting exhibitions and programs, expand its audiences and steward the Heard into a new era.”

Pepper Henry formerly served as an associate director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) where, for nearly 10 years, he managed a wide variety of American Indian community-oriented programs, services, and traveling exhibitions. Pepper Henry played a pivotal role in the establishment and launch of NMAI, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that opened to the public in 2004.

Pepper Henry served as the founding director of the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Okla.; interim curator of American Indian Art at the Portland Art Museum; gallery director at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in Portland, Ore.; and gallery director for the Institute of Alaska Native Arts in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Pepper Henry is a member of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma and Muscogee Creek Nation. He is co-founder and president of the Kanza Ilóshka Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the cultural life-ways and traditions of the Kaw people. Pepper Henry is also an active American Indian traditional dancer and is co-founder of the Kaw Nation Traditional Dance Society.

He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a recipient of the University’s prestigious Council for Minority Education Leadership Award.  He is also a graduate of the Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.

Pepper Henry has contributed essays to various publications including Stewards of the Sacred, co-published by the American Association of Museums and Harvard University, and Native Universe: Voices of Indian America, co-published by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society.

Pepper Henry will assume his duties on August 5.

Business Management

Mobile Mini names Olsson as its CEO

Portable storage container company Mobile Mini has named Erik Olsson as its president and CEO.

Olsson succeeds Steven Bunger, who stepped down as chairman, president and CEO at the end of 2012. In October Mobile Mini Inc. said that lead independent director Michael Watts would become chairman once Bunger left the company.

Olsson, 50, served as president, CEO and a director at rental equipment provider RSC Holdings Inc. from 2006 until the company was acquired by United Rentals Inc. in April 2012. He previously served as RSC’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Olsson will also serve as a Mobile Mini board member, pushing the board’s total back up to eight members.

Mobile Mini is based in Tempe.

Narang Headshot

Narang named CEO of Banner Good Samaritan

Steve Narang, MD, chief medical officer at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., has been named chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, effective April 26. He will assume the role from current CEO Larry Volkmar, who will continue to serve as CEO until April 25.

Banner Health Arizona West Region President Kathy Bollinger said Dr. Narang will have the opportunity over the next several weeks to work closely with Volkmar to ensure a smooth hand-off of responsibilities. “The collaboration between these two Banner leaders will ensure a smooth transition,” she said.

Dr. Narang, a pediatric physician, has served as chief medical officer at Cardon Children’s since June 2011. Prior to coming to Banner Health, Dr. Narang served in a variety of medical director and teaching positions in Louisiana, including medical director of graduate medical education and medical director of pediatric emergency services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“I’m looking forward to working with an outstanding team at Banner Good Samaritan,” said Dr. Narang. “We will work together to take its distinguished history of excellent clinical care, teaching and research and create a distinct value proposition around the delivery of high-value and innovative academic medicine in one of the country’s highest performing health systems.”

Bollinger said that Dr. Narang distinguished himself during the interview process as a visionary leader that is highly driven to deliver results. She said Dr. Narang’s impressive relationship-building strengths will be focused on engaging employees, physicians and the community around the excellence that is the foundation of Banner Good Samaritan’s 100-year legacy. “These strengths, combined with Steve’s background as a practicing physician, will be particularly effective in Steve’s engagement with the graduate medical education program,” she said.

Bollinger said it makes her especially proud that Dr. Narang’s selection reflects Banner’s commitment to internal opportunities for growth, development and promotion.
“In his experience as a physician, teacher, medical director and, most recently, as chief medical officer at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Narang has amply demonstrated leadership attributes that are critical to Banner’s future as a leading health system in the nation,” she said. “The future is indeed very bright.”

Dr. Narang received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and completed his pediatrics residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has a master’s degree in health care management from Harvard University in Boston.

Stealth Software CEO Gerard Warrens.

Software firm picks Valley as U.S. HQ

Stealth Software CEO Gerard Warrens announced Tuesday that the Netherlands-based company will locate its United States headquarters in Arizona, which the company selected over Austin, New York and Silicon Valley.

The software development and marketing company based in Luxembourg announced plans to open its U.S. headquarters and hire 200 people in metropolitan Phoenix.

Warrens said Tuesday that the privately owned company will pick a city within two to four weeks where it will locate its new office.

Warrens says the company considered Austin, New York and Silicon Valley, but picked Arizona because it offered a competitive business environment and a skilled workforce.

The firm is looking to hire software developers, sales people and others.

It also wants to do work in the bioscience, aerospace and defense sectors and collaborate in research projects with universities across Arizona.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says the announcement is a sign that Arizona’s business environment is becoming more competitive.

yazzie

Bankers Trust honors Native American Connections CEO

As a reflection of its growth in the Phoenix market, Bankers Trust hosted a Grand Opening celebration at its new, larger location at 2325 Camelback Road, Suite 100, just one block north of its former North 24th Street address on Tuesday. To commemorate a key factor in the branch’s growth ― its emphasis on giving back to the community ― the event included presenting the first-ever Bankers Trust Community Partner Award to Diana “Dede” Yazzie Devine, CEO and President of Native American Connections (NAC).  Pat Rourke, Phoenix Market President for Bankers Trust Company, presented the award alongside Suku Radia, CEO and President of Bankers Trust Company.

Rourke said, “We created the $3,000 annual award to recognize an individual who shares Bankers Trust’s core values in the areas of diversity, affordable housing and financial education, and who has made a significant, positive impact in the local community. Dede Devine certainly epitomizes those values, and we are thrilled to recognize and support her and Native American Connections in this way.”

For more than 30 years, Devine has served as CEO of NAC, which is a Native American-operated nonprofit corporation that provides comprehensive behavioral health services, affordable housing and community-based economic development opportunities primarily to Native Americans living in Phoenix and nearby tribal communities. Radia said, “In 2011, NAC opened Devine Legacy on Central. This 65-unit, multi-family development enhances access to affordable housing in Phoenix, something we at Bankers Trust are keenly concerned about and want to support whenever possible.”

Devine said, “As CEO of Native American Connections for 34 years, my leadership and values are layered across the organization and mirror the commitment of Bankers Trust to diversity, personal service, leadership and stability. Like Bankers Trust, Native American Connections’ ability to serve our customers is dependent on wonderful relationships and partnerships. It is an honor to be recognized by Bankers Trust for leading a team of mission-driven employees.”

Tilted-Kilt_Roselle-IL-600x400

Tilted Kilt Hires New CFO to Focus on Expansion

Tilted Kilt has recently hired Eddie Goitia as the new Chief Financial Officer for the company. Goitia’s most recent experience includes a 19-year run at Monti’s La Casa Vieja Steakhouse in Tempe, serving most of his time as CEO and managing partner. At Tilted Kilt, Goitia will be responsible for developing and executing a strategic financial plan to assist in the expansion of the Tilted Kilt brand. As of now, Tilted Kilt has over 70 locations, in the United States and Canada.

“This is truly an incredible opportunity to work with a dynamic company with phenomenal growth,” says Goitia. “I look forward to working with the team at the Titled Kilt organization as we continue its expansive success.”

During his nearly 2 decade-long position at Monti’s, Goitia helped the restaurant’s sales grow exponentially, specifically in the catering and banquet arenas, utilizing the expansive space the restaurant boasts. His creativity, determination and success allowed him the opportunity to be scouted by Tilted Kilt.

Prior to joining Monti’s, Goitia served as Director of International Sales for Windsor Industries based in Colorado.  He began his working career as a member of the staff of Senator John McCain.

Goitia received a BS in Marketing from Arizona State University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  He has served his community as a member of the Tempe Diablos and is currently on the Board of Directors for the group.

He and his wife Stacey, an author, reside in Tempe. Their son Brice attends Barrett Honors College at ASU and their daughter Elise attends Seton Catholic Preparatory High School.

SRP Study Reveals How Businesses Reacted, Adapted To Economy

GPEC helps region build solid foundation amidst economic downturn

The economic downturn rattled almost every industry in Arizona at its foundation.

“The recession served as a necessary wake-up call for both the Valley and the entire state,” says Andy Warren, CEO of Maracay Home and Greater Phoenix Economic Council board member. “In the years leading up to the recession, many people in Arizona had a mindset that economic expansion was invulnerable to setbacks. The recession has changed that mindset.”

But in the middle of the unstable economic environment, analysts would have a hard time identifying Arizona as one of the states that was hit the hardest by the economic downturn if they looked only at GPEC’s success during that time.

In fiscal year 2012, GPEC helped 36 companies expand or relocate to the region — the most in the economic catalyst’s 23-year history. That topped GPEC’s previous record of 31 companies, which it set in 2011, giving GPEC its two best years when times were toughest and competition for companies was at its most fierce.

So how did GPEC achieve such success in a down economy?

“GPEC has distinguished itself as a true public-private partnership where the cities, county and business leaders have a working forum to collaborate around economic development issues,” says Don Smith, president and CEO of SCF Arizona and vice chairman of GPEC’s board of directors. “It also possesses an outstanding research capability that can reliability assist other economic development interests in making successful decisions. The strategies and tactics at GPEC are robust, and comprehensive, covering local, national and global interests on behalf of the state, and the ground game both internationally and domestically is exceptional.”

The economic impact of GPEC’s success is staggering. The 36 companies it assisted in 2012 will create more than 4,000 jobs for the Greater Phoenix region, will generate $178 million of net new payroll, and absorb or build approximately 3.8 million square feet with their phase one investments. Companies GPEC helped relocate to the Valley include CyrusOne, one of the largest data centers in the country, and Silicon Valley Bank, an expansion from California creating 250 jobs at an average salary of $88,000. Advanced business services, general business services, transportation and distribution, manufacturing and healthcare continue to drive the majority of GPEC’s relocation activity, with environmental technologies rounding out the lion’s share.

GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome credits part of his organization’s success to a major policy achievement for Arizona, the Qualified Facilities Income Tax Credit.

“Gov. Jan Brewer, House Speaker Andy Tobin, Senate President Steve Pierce and the entire Arizona legislature have worked hard to improve our business climate as evidenced by the Qualified Facilities Income Tax Credit,” Broome said. “Moving forward, key economic development programs are still needed to compete with other markets to attract high impact, export-oriented companies and investment — working together as we have done in recent years, I have no doubt we’ll get there.”

More than 11 percent of GPEC’s locates were international companies, primarily due to ramped-up efforts on the organization’s foreign-direct investment program and 16.7 percent were from California, another highly concentrated effort with partners throughout the state to draw investment to the Sun Corridor.

“We now have strong consensus that nurturing high quality job growth is our top priority,” Warren says. “Leadership at the state level, municipal level and from the private sector are now fully aligned with a singular focus toward specific growth industries applicable to Arizona. We are creating a fiscal environment where Arizona is fully competitive with other growth-oriented states … This clear mission and focus is on growth industries that will drive the future economy such as healthcare, clean technology, technology, aerospace and defense.”

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Take Charge America Announces new CEO

Take Charge America, Inc. is pleased to announce David Richardson has been promoted to chief executive officer of the national non-profit credit counseling and debt management agency.
Richardson joined the organization in 2008 as director of finance and was promoted to chief financial officer in 2009. He assumed the role of chief executive officer in late 2012.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Take Charge America offers financial education, credit counseling, debt management and housing counseling services. Since 1987 it has helped more than 1.6 million consumers nationwide manage their personal finances and debts.

“I’m honored to lead this company in my new role as CEO, and I’m eager to explore more innovative financial solutions that bring even greater value to consumers,” said Richardson.  “The credit counseling industry has changed a lot in recent years, and we are seeking new ways to adapt with the times while still providing the highest level of financial education.”

Richardson, a Certified Public Accountant, brings more than 30 years of experience to the helm of Take Charge America. He held numerous executive-level financial management positions in the health care and financial services industries prior to joining the company, acquiring a strong expertise in non-profit management. He has additional expertise in budgeting, financial audits, cash and investment management, financial reporting, systems conversions, and mergers and acquisitions.

Richardson earned a bachelor’s in Accounting & Finance from the University of Dayton and a master’s in Finance from Georgia State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA). He currently serves as board treasurer for the Arizona Family Health Partnership, and previously served on the board of directors for ASCPA from 2010 to 2012.

TREO-Chairmans_Circle_2013

TREO adds to leadership

The TREO Board of Directors announced the following new leadership additions:

> New Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect: Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink. The Vice Chairman serves a key leadership role in partnership with the Chairman of the Board, and serves as Chair-Elect for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.

New Chairman’s Circle Members:
> Karen D. Mlawsky, CEO, University of Arizona Medical Center
> Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

“We’re thrilled to continue adding top business leadership to our ranks,” said Steve Eggen, retired CFO, Raytheon Missile Systems. “We have put together the right critical mass of leaders to accelerate our economic growth.”

As CenturyLink’s Vice President and General Manager, Guy Gunther is responsible for Northern and Southern Arizona markets for voice, data, entertainment and managed services, including P&L, field operations, customer experience, direct and indirect sales channels, network development and community relations. Gunther has over 20 years of senior management experience in telecommunications, consulting firms and finance. “I am honored to become part of the leadership of this effective organization,” said Gunther. “TREO is the connective tissue in the region – promoting our assets and creating value for companies looking to establish or expand operations in Southern Arizona.”

As CEO of the Hospital Division of The University of Arizona Health Network, Karen Mlawsky oversees both The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus and The University of Arizona Medical – South Campus, as well as dozens of affiliated clinics and physicians’ offices. She previously served as vice president of oncology services for University Medical Center in Tucson and spent more than 13 years at the Ohio State University Medical Center. “Health care will likely be one of the top job-creating industries, regardless of a slow economic recovery,” said Mlawsky. “There is tremendous opportunity to contribute to our region’s economic development through teaching and training our future health-care workforce.”

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership and experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 65,000 quality jobs. With Governor Brewer’s visionary leadership, and a private sector board of directors made up of some of the state’s most successful CEOs, the ACA has established an aggressive five-year plan and is experiencing strong results in strengthening the state’s overall economy. “Partnering with regional groups such as TREO is critical to our overall success. TREO is central to a larger, collaborative movement in the state,” said Watson. “As a result of our strong, long-standing working relationship, we will continue to attract quality companies creating high-wage jobs in the Tucson region, benefitting the statewide economy.”

TREO Officers include:
> Chairman of the Board – Steve Eggen, (ret.) Chief Financial Officer, Raytheon Missile Systems
> Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect – Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink
> Immediate Past Chairman – Paul Bonavia, Chairman and CEO, UNS Energy Corp. & Tucson Electric Power Company
>  Secretary/Treasurer – Lisa Lovallo, Market Vice President, Southern Arizona, Cox Communications

TREO is governed by a 16-member Chairman’s Circle, which serves as a key advisory group for business development strategy and represents the Tucson region to national business prospects, and a 46-member Board of Directors.

TREO continues its Chairman’s Circle/Board of Directors expansion efforts begun in 2010. Economic development is a high priority, demanding increased engagement from the key companies, organizations and people that drive the Southern Arizona economy. TREO leadership recognizes the importance of providing strong thought leadership for community development and strengthening the Tucson “product” and positioning as a business center.

The above new members join other leaders providing both private and public sector perspective in accelerating economic development. For a complete listing of the TREO Chairman’s Circle and Board of Directors, visit http://www.treoaz.org/About-TREO-Board-of-Directors.aspx.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Are Arizona banks lending?

Are they or aren’t they?

Banks can only stay in business by making loans, not turning away customers who want to borrow money. So why does the public believe that banks aren’t lending?

“The truth of the matter is that when things were really bad a few years ago, banks weren’t lending,” said Robert Sarver, CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation. “The banking business, not unlike other businesses, tend to react and overreact and sometime we react too much when times are good and we lend too much money on too liberal terms, and when times are tough, we don’t lend enough money and are too conservative.”

Banks are a business — a unique kind of business — that is under significant pressure to make a profit like any other like any other business. A typical bank, in healthy years, should earn a return on assets (ROA) of 1.1 percent to 1.5 percent. That translates into an return on equity (ROE), because of leverage, of anywhere between 8 percent and 18 percent, similar to most other businesses.

A bank makes its money by investing deposits into either securities or loans, both of which earn a return. Typically, loans earn more than securities and both earn more than what banks pay out to depositors. Although loans earn more, they come with a credit loss rate that a securities portfolio generally does not have. In 2009, in the depths of the economic crisis, a typical bank had a loan loss rate of 1.73 percent on its loan portfolio, which ate into the profitability of the bank. So what does a bank to do when it incurs such high loss rates in its loan portfolio? It invests in fewer loans.

But that is changing. Banks have increased their lending for four of the last five quarters, but Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) acting chairman Martin Gruenberg, is still taking a ”wait and see if the trend toward increased lending can be sustained” approach.

“Banks are lending today, and most banks have excess liquidity that they would prefer to put out in loans,” said Keith Maio, president and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank of Arizona. “Those that feel that banks aren’t lending are likely those who have had their credit compromised in recent years. Loan demand is down from consumers and businesses particularly, since the recession. The recession has caused many personal borrowers to be more conservative in their approach to leverage. Businesses tend to increase borrowing when their revenues are increasing and they need to finance that growth.”

Sarver said that banks do want to lend, “but unfortunately there is a lot of regulation in our industry, which to a certain degree has stifled long-term growth because our capital requirements have almost doubled over the last five years, so that’s been another barrier to banks lending money.”

As an outgrowth of those regulatory changes, lending standards have tightened in certain consumer loan categories like mortgages, experts said. But while mortgage rules have changed, lending standards for business haven’t seen dramatic shifts.

“Commercial lending standards for owner-occupied real estate and commercial and industrial loans have not changed much,” said Kevin Sellers, executive vice president with First Fidelity Bank in Arizona. “For investment property loans, banks are requiring owners to maintain more equity capital in the properties and higher net operating income relative to the property debt service.”

According to Adam White, senior vice president of credit administration at Biltmore Bank of Arizona, bankers have always used the “Five C’s of Credit” to determine if a business is credit worthy.  Those included:
1. Cash flow – history of positive cash flows and probability of recurring
2. Collateral – adequate collateral support
3. Capital – adequate capital to support normal business operations
4. Conditions – what’s affecting the business
5. Character – who are the people behind the business

“In today’s environment, banks emphasize ALL five elements,” White said, “whereas in the past too much reliance may have been placed upon appreciating collateral values under unsustainable market conditions.”

Kevin Halloran, Arizona state president of Mutual of Omaha Bank, said that while there have been shifts in the requirements banks are setting for lending, he sees the industry taking steps toward normalcy.

“I believe lending standards have returned to the original norm,” he said. “In the early to mid-2000s, the banking industry required only limited borrower documentation relating to income and other basic information for residential loans. Now, the industry is requesting proper information to make sound decisions.”

On the business lending side of the equation, “lending standards over the past 10 months have loosened in both pricing and structure for both large and small companies,” Halloran said.

And while some banks have pulled back lending activity, it’s definitely not the case at many Arizona banks.

“Loans at our company have grown 8 percent this year and in discussions with my colleagues at other financial institutions in the Valley, they are experiencing similar results,” said Dave Ralston, chairman and CEO of Bank of Arizona. “Loans are the lifeblood of a bank and at Bank of Arizona. loan growth is our number one priority.  We are seeing increasing demand from credit-worthy consumers and businesses in the Valley.”

Halloran echoed Ralston’s observations.

“Over the past three years, we have completed more than $500 million in new loans in Arizona,” Halloran said. “That includes commercial loans and commercial real estate financing across multiple industries, as well as private banking loans and residential mortgages. Our local commercial banking group has provided local businesses with working capital, revolving lines of credit, equipment loans, owner-occupied loans and merger and acquisition loans. Our commercial real estate group has provided loans in industrial, multi-family, senior and student housing, charter schools and multiple other real estate segments. So we have been – and will continue to be – a very active lender.”

A positive result in the changes in lending banks have been forced to examine in the wake of the Recession is that bank have learned lessons that will create a stronger business model for the industry.

“Banks need to consistently monitor their concentrations in all lending sectors and understand they can only provide so much capital to any one industry,” Halloran said. “Arizona’s population grew so much over the past decade that it resulted in a substantial need for real estate lending. The concentration Arizona banks had in real estate negatively affected all Arizona banks.  In the future, I believe all banks will be better at managing their overall balance sheet risk as a percentage of capital.”

5 C's of Credit

ASBA addresses issues facing small business in 2013

January 7, 2013 – The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) will offer a forum for Arizona small business owners and supporters of the small business community to discuss the critical issues facing small businesses this year at the 2013 Small Business Outlook.  ASBA’s annual event will be highlighted by a panel of industry leaders who will delve into important topics such as public policy, sales tax, healthcare in Arizona and access to capital.  The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 17at The Phoenician in Scottsdale.

Panelists for the 2013 Small Business Outlook include:

  • Jerry Bustamante, Senior V.P. of Public Policy + Southern Arizona, ASBA
  • Michael Hunter, Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Advisor on Tax Policy & Reform, Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer
  • Don Hughes, Policy Advisor for Health Care, Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer
  • Craig Jordan, Lender Relations Specialist, Arizona District Office
  • John Oates, Head of State Government Affairs, Cigna

Rick Murray, CEO of ASBA, states, “At our Small Business Outlook, our expert panel will explore the main issues expected to rule the headlines and dominate the dialogue this year.”

One such topic is public policy. Panelist Jerry Bustamante, senior vice president of public policy for ASBA, will discuss why he predicts there will be more cooperation across party lines. He comments, “We are entering Arizona’s Legislative session with more clarity this year, in comparison to the many questions left unanswered at this time last year.”

Michael Hunter, director of legislative affairs and special advisor on tax policy and reform for the Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer, can explain, for example, how the Fiscal Cliff being averted affects Arizonans and what the new tax bill means to small business owners. Also from the Office of the Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer, Don Hughes, policy advisor for health care, can speak about new health care policies.

Cigna Head of State Government Affairs John Oates will discuss health care policy as well. He is responsible for legislative and regulatory advocacy in the states, and formerly served as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives, a health policy analyst in the Texas Senate, a health policy advisor in the Governor’s office and as the Committee Director for the Senate Health Services.

Arizona District Office Lender Relations Specialist Craig Jordan will cover the topic of access to capital. Jordan will comment on the Small Business Association’s role in providing capital access to small businesses, loan production information, and the enhancements to programs and loan programs that currently exist.

The 2013 Small Business Outlook will commence at 7:30am and conclude at 10:00am on Thursday, Jan. 17.  The Phoenician is located at 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. To register for the event, please visit asba.com/outlook or call (602) 306-4000.

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is the largest trade association in the state representing 11,000+ member businesses, and over ½ million employees in all 15 counties. ASBA members enjoy access to significant group discounts, countless opportunities to do business with each other, a wide array of insurance products, and active advocacy efforts on public policy issues to protect their businesses. Discover more at www.asba.com or by calling 602.306.4000 or 520.327.0222. Join ASBA. Be amAZed®

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

Tech Q&A: What is cloud computing?

Question: What is cloud computing?

Answer: Everyone is talking about cloud computing.  So, what exactly is it and it is right for your business? Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).

The real question is should you use a hosted or non-hosted cloud? In other words, does your company want to own the system or lease it?

We’re firm believers that owning is a better solution. There are so many variables in cloud computing that no one takes into consideration. Where are you geographically located? How reliable is your internet connect? Can you survive without access to your cloud system? These are just a few things to think about.

Some benefits of cloud computing are lower overhead and system maintenance. Lower cost of ownership and upgrades. To determine which solution is best you really need to sit with a IT consultant and map out the big picture of your company.

Eric Marcus is CEO of Tempe-based Marcus Networking, which specializes in telecommunications centered on phone systems, cabling, and the network infrastructure also known as the “backbone.” Read more about Eric Marcus in the January issue of Az Business magazine.

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Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.