Tag Archives: CEO

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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.

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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.

Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

Tech Q&A: Outsourcing vs. consultant

Question: In this economy, does it make more sense to outsource IT or utilize a consultant?
 
Answer: Outsourcing is more cost effective than a full time person and you gain 24/7 support, whereas an employee only works a certain shift like 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Outsourcing means you are getting more than just a single person who manages your network. You are a getting a team of experienced technicians who can handle all areas of telecommunications and technology.

Let’s say you have an IT issue in the middle of the night, Marcus Networking has the ability to connect remotely to most computers and take control of the user’s session and see what’s going on.  We can provide hands-on support without being onsite. Most issues are resolved within 15 minutes and that’s faster than it would be to wake a sleeping employee, have them get dressed and drive to the office.

If we find a problem with parts or equipment, we can generally purchase a replacement component and be on-site and have the issue fixed within an hour or two of the diagnosis.  Again, much more efficient than waiting for the employee to get to work and diagnose what’s going on.

In today’s marketplace, outsourcing is about 45 percent less than the cost of a full time employee.  When you consider salary, benefits, payroll taxes, mandatory workman’s compensation, vacation days, sick days, 401K’s or a bonus plan it adds up quickly. Outsourcing is an affordable option for many businesses who wish to get a higher level of work.

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.

Jay Parry Headshot

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Hires CEO

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee today announced the appointment of Jay L. Parry to head the organization as Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Parry will oversee the Host Committee and will work closely with the NFL to deliver a successful Super Bowl XLIX to the State of Arizona, including driving marketing efforts, developing and implementing NFL and Host Committee programs, spearheading sponsorships, fundraising and community relations, and managing financials.

Super Bowl XLIX will be the third Super Bowl played in Arizona, and the second played at University of Phoenix Stadium. Super Bowl XLII in 2008 had an economic impact of $500 million, according to a study conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

Parry brings a sports and business acumen uniquely suited to lead the Host Committee’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX. Most recently, she was senior vice president of Brand and Business Development for the Phoenix Suns. Parry also spent seven seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Phoenix Mercury. During her tenure, the Mercury won two WNBA championships and generated double-digit business growth in corporate partnerships and attendance. Prior to her career in professional sports, Parry was an executive in a variety of roles with Bank of America, most recently as executive vice president in the Central Region. She served on the MVP Host Committee when Arizona hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996. Currently, Parry serves as a director on the boards of several local organizations, including Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE,) BMO Harris Bank Arizona Advisory Board and Thunderbirds Charities. See www.AZSuperBowl.com for Parry’s full biography.

Parry was named a Most Admired CEO by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2010 and in 2008, was selected one of the Arizona Woman magazine’s “20 Women Who Will Shape Arizona by 2020.”

Parry will report to David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman and president of Salt River Project.

“Jay’s appointment is an amazing coup for the Host Committee,” said Rousseau. “She is the ideal candidate for this role because of her deep experience in sports marketing, business and her strong ties to the community. Jay’s proven leadership skills make her well-suited to drive all facets of the organization from sponsorship and community activation and engagement, to the complex logistics involved in putting on the Super Bowl.”

“Arizona has so much to offer, and I’m honored and excited to be a part of demonstrating this to the world through the Super Bowl,” said Jay Parry, CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “Sports and business are not only my expertise, but my passion. Super Bowl is an exciting opportunity for Arizona that will leave a lasting legacy for our entire community.”

The successful 2015 game bid was prepared by the Host Committee, led by Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, Mike Kennedy, former chairman of the Host Committee, and Winnie Stolper. Stolper has worked with the Host Committee since 2006 and will take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer reporting to Parry.

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will bring together influential business leaders, senior government representatives, Convention and Visitors Bureau personnel, and thousands of volunteers to insure Super Bowl XLIX is a success, and results in positive economic impact under a global spotlight that enhances community pride.

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BioAccel Adds Stimwave Technologies To Incubator

BioAccel and the City of Peoria announced that BioInspire has accepted a sixth company, Arizona based medical device startup Stimwave Technologies, Inc., into the medical device incubator facility in Peoria,.

Stimwave Technologies has received a $300,000 investment from BioAccel’s New Venture Development Program and will be a resident of the new incubator facility in Peoria, where it will utilize BioInspire’s exceptional laboratory spaces and advisory services.

Stimwave Technologies is a medical device company that develops that has developed  novel wirelessly powered microimplantable stimulators for the neuromodulation field for pain relief.  The company’s first novel device is a microstimulator placed through a needleless implantable device designed for patients suffering from chronic back and leg pain. Currently only wired solutions are available. The new device is 99% smaller in volume that the next smallest commercially available wired product on the market, and takes 75% less time for the clinician to place.

BioInspire, managed by BioAccel in partnership with the City of Peoria, is designed to foster and facilitate the development of medical device companies and to stimulate the development of products and spin-off companies in Peoria based on research conducted at other academic, public and private institutions.

“We are extremely pleased to be welcomed into the Bioinspire incubator to continue to apply our innovative technology to research new indications and support our transition to commercialization for our pain relief product,” said Laura Tyler Perryman, Founder and CEO of Stimwave. “Our commitment to superior patient care is unparalleled, and our goals are aligned with BioAccel to achieve the vision and purpose of BioInspire,” she said.

“The goal is to create knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that will drive and accelerate local economic development as well as bring novel medical devices more efficiently through the commercialization process,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “Stimwave is the kind of company that will drive job creation and growth through their scalable business plans and the products derived from their innovative research and accelerated commercialization.

“BioAccel is proud to be able to provide critical support for that effort through BioInspire, by providing funding, flexible office and lab space, business and regulator advisory services and expert mentoring critical to early stage companies.”

BioInspire’s Director Tom Rainey said that adding another company to the incubator space is a great sign of early success.

“We’re very excited to add a sixth company to the BioInspire family,” he said. “Considering that the incubator only opened in September, we are pleased with the number and quality of companies that have located within our space. It shows that BioInspire is achieving the goal of bringing growth and innovation to Peoria through these important medical device companies.”

Scott Whyte, City of Peoria Economic Development Services Director, said he is pleased with the success of BioInspire and glad to see more companies taking advantage of its resources.

“We’re delighted to welcome Stimwave to Peoria, and to see the BioInspire initiative take flight,” Whyte said. “As the client companies at BioInspire grow and graduate from the incubator program we are prepared to support their move into other commercial space within Peoria,” Whyte said. “This will serve as a significant economic engine for our local and regional economy, planting the seeds for future growth.”

healthcare

Maricopa County Medical Society Names new CEO

Sara Presler, JD has been named CEO/Executive Director of the Maricopa County Medical Society (MCMS) and Medical Society Business Services. The appointment, which was made by MCMS’ Board of Directors, will begin in December 2012. Founded in 1892, the Maricopa County Medical Society is a not-for-profit, voluntary association for physicians committed to promoting excellence in the quality of care and the health of the community, and to present and serve its members by acting as a strong, collective physician voice. More than 2600 members strong, MCMS supports physicians through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, education, volunteerism, philanthropy and professional development activities.

Presler brings more than 10 years of experience in law, community relations, and organizational management to the Maricopa County Medical Society. Before her appointment to MCMS, Presler served two terms as Flagstaff Mayor, General Counsel for Southwest Windpower, and in private law practice focusing on ethics and business law. She began her career as an attorney for children and behavioral health patients.

In each of her positions, she has focused on establishing and maintaining sustainable operations by applying strong expertise to long-term, mission-centric strategic planning. Presler will collaboratively work with the Board to achieve data-driven outcomes based growth, and the development of innovative products and services for Members and the community. The focus of Presler’s career has been the innovation and enrichment of programs to improve community health.

Board President, Michael R. Mills, MD, MPH said Presler has been a key Arizona leader and looks forward to her leading the Medical Society. Dr. Mills states, “Presler is a seasoned professional and is well suited to serve our Physician Members. I am a native Phoenician and I encourage our community to welcome Presler. You will find Sara has the expertise and passion to serve our medical profession and our community.”

Daniel Lieberman, MD, President-elect emphasizes Presler’s strong philanthropic and community relation skills as an asset to Members. “As physicians, we are closest to the patients, and, therefore, have the best understanding of what is wrong with the current system and how to fix it. We have traditionally helped our patients navigate the healthcare system; it is now our responsibility to change the system for the better on their behalf. Presler will lead the Maricopa County Medical Society toward fulfilling this responsibility.”

Presler holds a degree in History and English from Northern Arizona University and a J.D. from Michigan State University.  She is a Flinn Brown Fellow and alumni of the Flinn Foundation’s Civic Leadership Academy’s inaugural class. Presler is an active member of the State Bar of Arizona and serves on the board of the United Way of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona Healthcare Childhood Obesity Board, and is an Honoree for the Donor Network of Arizona, a few of her many philanthropic and community efforts.

Presler will succeed interim executive director, Alex Miles, who assumed the duties of the position after Daniel Mitten’s relocation to Oregon in November of 2012.

About Maricopa County Medical Society: Celebrating its 120 year anniversary in 2012, the Maricopa County Medical Society encompasses the Bureau of Medical Economics, a medical collection agency; Medabytes computer services; Greater Arizona Central Credential Program, a primary source, auditing and application service; and was the founding incorporator for what is now known as the Arizona Foundation for Medical Care. For more information, visit www.mcmsonline.com.

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GoDaddy hires tech veteran as CEO

GoDaddy, the world’s largest registrar of Internet domain names, on Tuesday said Microsoft and Yahoo veteran Blake Irving will become its CEO on Jan. 7.

He replaces Scott Wagner, an appointee from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts who has been serving as interim CEO since July. KKR, Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures bought Scottsdale-based GoDaddy in 2011, at which time founder Bob Parsons stepped down as CEO.

Irving worked at Microsoft Corp. from 1992 to 2007, ending up as the vice president in charge of the Windows Live online services. He joined Yahoo Inc. in 2010 as chief product officer.

Goran Dragic, Brandon Knight

Fulton Homes’ 3-Point Zone raises $10,500

That swish from the arc is beginning to add up.   Through the first month of the season, the Phoenix Suns have hit 105 three-pointers, banking a cool $10,500 for the Youth Assistance Foundation.  With five months of the season remaining, they are on course to raise more than $60,000 for the non-profit.

It’s all part of the Fulton Homes “Proud to own the Three-Point Zone” program, a partnership between the Tempe-based homebuilder and the Phoenix Suns.  With each three-point basket made, the Youth Assistance Foundation receives $100.

“Fulton Homes is dedicated to local charities like the Youth Assistance Foundation and recognizes the good work they do to prevent youth violence, promote good role models and positive interactions with law enforcement,” Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes, said.

Fulton Homes reunited this fall with the Phoenix Suns to revive the Fulton Homes “Proud to own the Three-Point Zone” program. In previous seasons, Fulton Homes has donated more than $206,000 over five years to local charities through Phoenix Suns Charities. This year’s partnership includes all 80 home and away regular season games broadcast on Fox Sports Net.

Does Your Online Presence Pass the Truth Test?

What’s the fastest-growing marketing trend on the Internet?

I’m sad to say it’s the “fakeosphere.” Yes, fake blogs (called “flogs”), fake web news sites and fake testimonials. They look like the real thing, right down to comments posted by “bloggers” and their supposed readers. Those comments appear to be written by people discussing the pros and cons of a particular product or service, and they even include some naysayers.

“But in the end, the bloggers and their readers always win over the skeptics and persuade them to buy the product from a convenient nearby link,” writes Bob Sullivan in his blog on msnbc.com.

He cites Internet marketing analyst Jay Weintraub, who believes the fakeosphere has become a $500 million-a-year industry.

These fake sites and phony conversations are often more than simply misleading – OK, fraudulent – marketing. For consumers, they can be downright dangerous.

“The end game for most of these sites – no matter what they sell – is to persuade a consumer to sign up for a ‘free’ trial of a product, then make it incredibly difficult to cancel before the trial period ends,” Sullivan writes. “A similar technique … is to offer a free product and charge a web user a token shipping and handling fee, just to get the consumers’ bank account information. Larger charges soon follow.”

Consumers are – and should be – increasingly wary. They’re scrutinizing websites more closely, especially if they’re considering making a purchase there. They’re avoiding social media interactions with anything that smells less than genuine, and they’re more careful about who they share information with online.

What would they say about your online presence? Do you look like the real deal, or a potential cyber threat?

Here are some ways to ensure you pass the reality test — and some missteps that will ensure you don’t.

On social media:

• Real people have real friends and family among their connections. They can’t resist sharing photos of their vacation, the newest baby in the family and their genius dog (not necessarily in that order). They have interests that may have nothing to do with what they’re trying to market, and they comment about them (“I shot a hole in one today!”) or share a photo (“Here I am buying everyone drinks after my hole in one today. That was the most expensive golf shot ever!”) They also respond to all comments, even if it’s just to say, “Thank you.”

• Fake people generate mostly sales copy – “Buy my product! It’s great!” They don’t engage in conversation, they don’t appear to have a personality – or friends or loved ones or hobbies, for that matter.

On your website:

• Real people have text that informs and entertains users while offering them helpful information. The copy is professionally written – no typos or other mistakes – and provides answers to anticipated questions. It’s easy to learn more about you or your business and to find your contact information. Testimonials are from real people whose existence can be verified through a simple Internet search. They write blogs that are updated regularly and/or post articles with helpful information.

• Fake people have websites with lots of pop-up advertising banners and text urging users to “Buy my product!” Testimonials are from untraceable people with vague titles or credentials. The site may be hard to navigate; contact information may be missing or difficult to find; and there’s no link to media about the person or company.

In your newsletter:

• Real people share valuable information in their newsletters (which can be as minimal as a “tip of the week” email). Their newsletter (or tip) includes no overpowering sales pitch or self-promotion – or, at least, includes that only occasionally. It conveys a personality, whether warm and friendly, authoritative, or humorous.

• Fake people blast newsletters and promotional emails that may identify a problem but offer as the only solution hiring them or buying their product. They may seem unprofessionally written (errors, etc.) and lack personality. They offer nothing of value to the reader.

All of these things will help you create an online personality that conveys your authenticity. But the No. 1 thing you can do – what I value above everything else – is to be, actually … genuine.

In my book, “Celebritize Yourself,” I write about identifying the passion that led you to start your business, create your product or write your book. Maybe you became a financial adviser because you found it gratifying to solve people’s money problems. Or you developed a product that you know will benefit others. Or you have expertise that can help people live longer, happier, or more productive lives.

Whatever it is that got you going, that’s what makes you genuine. Identify it and make it a part of your message, and no one will ever call you a fake.

Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.

Mark H pics 001

CRA forms alliance with Quintiles

Tempe-based Clinical Research Advantage (CRA), the country’s largest community-based network of clinical trial sites, has entered into a strategic agreement  with Quintiles to facilitate a higher level of clinical trial participation with an emphasis on safety, improved study efficiencies and excellent quality data in medical research. Clinical Research Advantage is the first therapeutically aligned network of Family Medicine community-based sites selected by Quintiles as a strategic alliance.

“It is an honor to be chosen by Quintiles, the world’s largest biopharmaceutical services provider with the highest standards for quality and safety,” said Mark S. Hanley, CRA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The core value and principal purpose of Clinical Research Advantage is to improve the lives of patients through the development of new medical therapies. Working with Quintiles will allow CRA to conduct an increased number of community-based trials with unparalleled accuracy and safety.”

“Clinical Research Advantage impressed us with their high standards for quality, high patient enrolments, and exceptional study start-up abilities,” said Lindy Jones, Senior Vice President, Integrated Site Services, Quintiles. “Many chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are now managed in the community. It is imperative that these patient populations have the opportunity to participate in studies and be a part of the quest to develop new and better medicines for conditions that have a significant impact on both individuals and society.  We are pleased to enter into this relationship with CRA and anticipate that together we will ensure that studies start on the right path.”

The CRA-Quintiles relationship marks a new era in Phase II – IV clinical trials, enabling physicians and clinical researchers to conduct an increased number of trials across a wide range of disease areas. In addition, it will streamline and expedite the process of bringing these potentially life-changing and life-saving drugs to market.
About Clinical Research Advantage

Tempe, Arizona-based Clinical Research Advantage, Inc. (CRA) is a provider of a range of research services to pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations. As a leading trial management organization, CRA operates from 38 sites across 17 geographic markets nationwide, helping trial sponsors bring drugs to market more quickly and efficiently. Founded in 1992, CRA has successfully completed more than 1,800 clinical trials on behalf of its clients. For more information, please visit www.crastudies.com.

LL_FirecrackerChicken

Ling & Louie’s Kitchen Concept will Debut at Biltmore

Restaurant industry entrepreneurs Randy Schoch, founder and CEO of Desert Island Restaurants and Michael McDermott and Jason Merritt, co-founders of Kona Grill and Rojo Mexican Grill, have joined forces to launch a joint venture dining concept in the Biltmore Fashion Park in early December. Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, an upscale urban brand expansion of Schoch’s successful Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill concept, will introduce the Ling & Louie’s story (where Ling’s Asian flair meets Louie’s American comfort food) to the Camelback corridor.

Similar to Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, Ling & Louie’s Kitchen will offer Asian inspired cuisine with a contemporary American twist, but with even more exciting variations of American favorites including salads, burgers and sandwiches. Their signature dishes include Firecracker Chicken, Black Orchid Ahi, Braised Duck Flatbread and New Wave Pad Thai. Ling & Louie’s Kitchen will feature an upbeat full-service bar offering a variety of specialty cocktails, such as Ling’s Margarita and their famous Thai Mai, as well as a vast variety of beer including Ling & Louie’s Copper Ale, which is locally brewed, and a world-class selection of sake.

“With our modern Asian Cuisine and sophisticated take on American comfort food, Ling & Louie’s Kitchen will bring an inviting, but edgy lunch and dinner destination in a category of all its own to the Biltmore area,” said McDermott.

Development of the centrally-located 7,500 square-foot space, currently occupied by McDermott and Merritt’s Black Chile Mexican Grill, will begin Monday, Nov. 19. Black Chile will be open regular hours until Sunday, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. Ling & Louie’s Kitchen will open in early December.

Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill has locations in Chandler and Scottsdale as well as Anchorage, Boise, Denver and Reno with a new location opening soon in Dallas. In addition to Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, Schoch is well known for many notable concepts, including Nick’s Fish Market, Thaifoon-Taste of Asia, Black Orchid, and as a franchise owner of multiple Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Roy’s Pacific Rim and Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurants. McDermott’s more than 20 years in the restaurant business include the development of popular dining concepts such as Kona Grill, Black Chile Mexican Grill and Rojo Mexican Grill.

For updates on Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, the first phase of this unique partnership between two hospitality industry innovators, visit www.lingandlouies.com.

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Clinical Research Advantage VP earns Silver Stevie

Kim Kundert, RN, BSN, CCRC, has received the 2012 Silver Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in the Business Services category. Kundert was honored for her achievements as Vice President of Clinical Operations for Clinical Research Advantage, an integrated network of clinical trial sites.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2012 awards received entries from 17 nations and territories.

Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 200 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process this year.

“In 2012, Clinical Research Advantage became the largest integrated site network in the United States, and Kim Kundert has been a driving force behind the company’s rapid growth and expansion. We are thrilled that she has received national recognition for her executive leadership,” said Mark S. Hanley, CEO of Clinical Research Advantage.

This year marked the 9th Annual Celebration of the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. “This year’s Stevie Award-winning women are the most accomplished, impressive group we’ve ever had. Their stories of success will be an inspiration to women around the globe who dream of starting and growing a business and making a difference in the world,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.

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Experience Matters gets Grant from Virginia G. Piper

Experience Matters, an organization that connects baby boomers with nonprofit and social service organizations to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County, has received a $1.6 million grant over four years from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. The grant allows Experience Matters to expand its infrastructure to offer more paid and unpaid opportunities to more boomers seeking work in the social sector. Often referred to as encore careers, this represents a new life-stage in which experienced boomers find meaningful ways to engage in the community. Nationwide, 31 million boomers indicate an interest in encore opportunities.

Engaging boomers as the talent to solve community problems is the driving force of the Experience Matters’ vision and mission, and it is changing the quality of life for boomers such as Encore Fellow Anne White.  “I feel my work as an Encore Fellow brought more rewards to me than I gave to the Balsz CommunityEducation Foundation, my host organization,” stated White.  “Helping them build the infrastructure and fundraising programs for their foundation was incredibly rewarding, and I am thrilled to stay on as a volunteer with the organization beyond my Encore Fellowship,” she added.

Experience Matters aims to expand operations and deliver $34 million in human capital to Maricopa County organizations over the next five years.  The organization’s strategic plan to connect boomers with service organizations was crafted by a group of highly experienced strategists, business owners, technologists, marketing experts and nonprofit executives and community leaders over a six-month period.

“This generous grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is vital to the successful expansion of Experience Matters.  We can significantly increase the number of boomers engaged in paid and unpaid social service opportunities to support our nonprofit community as they work so hard to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County.  Both boomers and nonprofit organizations are signing up rapidly to engage.  The demand is strong to connect the talent with the community, ” stated Nora Hannah, CEO of Experience Matters.

“Experience Matters produces a high rate of return on investment because there is nothing more valuable than giving a nonprofit talent and skill,” noted Patrick McWhortor, President and CEO of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits.  “As Experience Matters helps nonprofits engage experienced and talented boomers in their organizations, the capacity and effectiveness of the organizations has the potential to expand exponentially,” he added.

financial

Credit unions grow membership, revenue

Like many other industries, credit unions in Arizona are bouncing back from the economic downturn.

Credit unions, which are similar to banks in the products and services that they offer except at a slightly lower cost, are taking advantage of consumer disenchantment with big banks to attract new members. According to a recent National Credit Union Administration report, through the first quarter of 2012, credit unions around the country combined for a record 92.5 million members.

“As local, member-owned financial institutions, credit unions are simply doing what they have always been good at,” said Scott Earl, CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association, a trade organization of credit unions across Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. “They have a long history and reputation for providing excellent member service, financial education and a wide variety of financial services to fit their members needs. The recent increased recognition of these qualities and the progress credit unions have made is establishing their success as an industry.”

Nationally, credit unions generated $2.1 billion in profits and added 667,000 new members in the first quarter of 2012, a 25 percent spike in profits compared with a year earlier. Most large Arizona credit unions — including Desert Schools, TruWest, Arizona State, Credit Union West and Arizona Federal — saw profits roughly double in the first quarter of 2012, compared with earnings from a year earlier.

“The word ‘profit’ is a bit of a misnomer,” said Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand for Arizona State Credit Union. “Credit unions do have net income. However, all credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. The net income or funds available after expenses are paid become part of a credit union’s capital or are used to build new branches, purchase new technology or offer additional services.”

Something that Arizona State Credit Union added recently were construction loans to its home loan portfolio in anticipation of an improving economy, as evidenced by the 27 percent growth of new home sales in the first quarter, compared to the prior year.

The construction loan program allows members the opportunity to lock in their mortgage rate early and avoid the possibility of fluctuating rates during the construction phase. Additional perks to this all-in-one loan include needing to only qualify once, signing one set of loan documents and paying one set of loan fees for both the construction-phase financing and permanent mortgage.

“As a local financial cooperative, the Credit Union is proud to offer low rates and flexible terms on a product that few financial institutions are offering,” said David E. Doss, president and CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “We are excited to add construction loans to our home loan options as it is one more way we can assist members residing in the Arizona communities we serve.”

A J.D. Power and Associates study this year showed that consumer backlash against fees and the perception of poor customer service from some of the bigger banks have caused some consumers to switch to credit unions, whichunlike banks, which are run as private businesses seeking profits, operate as nonprofit entities and are technically owned by their members.

“Generally credit unions offer lower fees and better interest rates than banks,” Stull said. “This is one reason consumers may come to a credit union. We also see many people that switch because they want to do business with a local financial institution that is based in Arizona. Our deposits are returned to the community in the form of loans than in turn grow jobs and economic development in the communities we serve. Many consumers have made a choice to support local businesses, and credit unions are a great example of that.”

While credit unions never issue subprime mortgages, which many experts blame for helping lead the nation into the recession, credit unions did get hit with the impact of the failing economy. One lesson Earl said they learned: Innovation.

“Learning to manage resources while providing increased quality of services through the recession has challenged the way credit unions approach problems,” he said. “Increased creativity and credit union technology are some of more positive lessons for the long term.”
In addition to lower fees and increasing efficiency that is resulting from lessons learned in the wake of the recession, Stull said credit unions offer free financial counseling, will help members create a budget to manage their funds, and Arizona State Credit Union’s Home Affordable Refinance Program has allowed homeowners who owe more than the house is worth to refinance and reduce their payments.

“Choosing a credit union is a win-win situation for consumers,” Stull said. “They can get a better rate or lower fees to help them stretch their budgets, and they can benefit their community by doing business with a local financial cooperative that helps create jobs and grow the local economy. You get a good deal and you can feel good about helping your community, too.”

Superstorm Sandy

Hunter Douglas creates fund to help storm victims

In immediate response to the unprecedented destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast and particularly in the New York tri-state area, Hunter Douglas, the leading manufacturer and marketer of custom window fashions in North America, announced today that it has created the Hunter Douglas Hurricane Sandy Relief & Recovery Fund.  The Company will make an initial donation of $100,000 and, in addition to that $100,000, will match every employee donation on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $250,000.

The Hunter Douglas Horizontal Blinds Division and Custom Shutters Division are located in Gilbert with a plant in Phoenix.  Comfortex Window Fashions, a Hunter Douglas company, also has a facility in Phoenix.

“All of us at Hunter Douglas are deeply saddened by the devastating effect of Hurricane Sandy on the lives of so many of our fellow Americans.  We want to do what we can to help those who are suffering and most in need of support,” said Marv Hopkins, Hunter Douglas North America President and CEO.

The monies are being donated to two highly efficient and effective nonprofits: The New York Times Neediest Cases Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort and Team Rubicon.

Managed by The New York Times Company, which absorbs all administrative costs, The New York Times Neediest Cases Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort is providing direct assistance through key area social service agencies to those people in the tri-state region most severely affected.

Team Rubicon, a veteran service organization that repurposes the ready-made organizational and operational skills of military veterans for disaster relief, has mobilized 1,000 veteran volunteers in the tri-state to assist in the response and recovery process.  Team Rubicon teams are currently working street by street, home by home, for post-disaster damage assessments, debris management and emergency coordination. All resources are devoted to the direct coordination and execution of disaster response and recovery efforts.

 

George Slessman_CEO_IO

IO CEO Honored by Goldman Sachs for Entrepreneurship

Goldman Sachs recognized IO CEO George Slessman as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs of 2012 at its recent Builders & Innovators Summit in Newport Beach, California.

Goldman Sachs selected Slessman as one of 100 leaders from multiple industries to be honored at the event. Slessman has been an executive in the data center industry for over a decade and a technology leader and entrepreneur for more than 15 years. In this brief period of time, he has founded and successfully exited several technology businesses, inventing and delivering transformational software, hardware and clean energy technologies for the benefit of enterprise, government and service provider customers. In addition to being recognized as a thought leader in the technology industry that solves problems for customers, his companies have organically created over a billion dollars of value for his investors to date.

“I am humbled to be included in this summit,” said Slessman. “This is truly an acknowledgement of the extraordinary people, organizations, and customers that I have had the privilege to learn from and work with in my own professional journey.”

“We are honored to recognize George Slessman as one of the top 100 most innovative entrepreneurs in the technology industry,” said David Solomon, co-head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs. “This inaugural event brought together emerging entrepreneurs paired with seasoned entrepreneurs from a diverse set of industries to discuss how to build great and enduring companies that reshape industries and the world through innovation.”

For more than 140 years, Goldman Sachs has been advising and financing entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses. In addition to honoring 100 entrepreneurs, the conference included general sessions and clinics led by Goldman Sachs experts and resident scholars.

IO designs, engineers and delivers data center infrastructure for the world’s largest enterprises, governments and service providers. IO owns and operates data centers for hundreds of customers, and has leveraged this experience to build a next-generation Data Center 2.0 cloud enabling technology platform. IO.Anywhere modular data centers provide enterprise-class infrastructure that can be delivered as DCaaS and rapidly deployed as a product to customer sites anywhere in the world. IO developed the first data center infrastructure operating system, IO.OS, to provide the intelligent control needed to maximize utilization, resiliency and energy efficiency. IO is a privately held company headquartered in Phoenix. For more information on IO, please visit us on the web at .io.com