Tag Archives: companies

Tumbleweed Logo

Tumbleweed Center Relocates Phoenix Headquarters

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development will expand and relocate its headquarters from Downtown Phoenix to Siete Square II, 3707 N. 7th St. in Midtown, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc.

Tumbleweed was established in 1972 with a mission to provide a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in the community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.  The organization serves more than 3,000 young people each year, ages 12 to 25 years.

“Tumbleweed made a very shrewd decision to expand and relocate its headquarters at this time, locking in to today’s historically low rates.  This allowed us to lower occupancy costs over the long term,” said Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield.  “This strategy cut thousands of dollars in future rent expense that now can be redirected back into the organization’s much needed programs that serve Metro Phoenix’s teenage youth.”

The local non-profit has leased 13,047 square feet at the garden office complex and will locate from 1419 N. 3rd Street in fall of 2013.

Siete Square II is one of four buildings within the larger Siete Square garden office complex.  The Indiana Farm Bureau owns Siete Square II.  Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. represented Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in its lease negotiations.

Phil Breidenbach and Lindsey Carlson of Colliers serve as exclusive leasing agents for Siete Square II, representing the Indiana Farm Bureau.

WellsFargoLogo

Wells Fargo Plans 410,000 SF Expansion in Chandler

By Eric Jay Toll, Senior Correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange |

Special to Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine

 

Wells Fargo unveiled its 410,000-square-foot Chandler campus expansion to a neighborhood meeting in the East Valley September 16. Arizona Builder’s Exchange broke the story Monday night that the bank filed a rezoning application with the city to allow a pair of four-story buildings on the northwest corner of Price and Queen Creek roads in the Price Corridor.

More than 2,500 additional employees will work in the new Wells Fargo buildings, bringing campus employment to more than 5,000 workers.

The bank has selected an architect, but has not named the contractor for the project. A formal announcement with construction schedule is expected shortly. AZBEX reports sources saying the project could cost as much as $90 million.

The building shapes, design and materials are intended to mirror Phase I of the campus. The offices will rise to 64 feet. Three more buildings and parking garages are projected for future phases. The city has not set a hearing date for the zoning. Wells Fargo has not yet announced its construction schedule.

Read the original story here.

 

Eric Jay Toll is the senior correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange. His freelance work appears in a number of regional and national publications, including upcoming stories in AZRE and AZ Business.

Greg Guglielmino

Investment Specialist Greg Guglielmino Joins Colliers' Phoenix Office

 

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix announced that Greg Guglielmino, senior associate, has joined the Phoenix office.

Guglielmino specializes in the acquisition and disposition of single- and multi-tenant office and medical investment properties for private and institutional clients. He partners with Marcus Muirhead, associate vice president of investments. Guglielmino is also a member of Colliers’ National Healthcare Services Group.

“Greg is a skilled professional and a great addition to our team,” said Bob Mulhern, managing director of Colliers. “His experience in office and medical investment sales will complement and enhance the capabilities of our established investment professionals. We are pleased to welcome Greg to Colliers.”

Guglielmino has more than 5 years of experience as an investment specialist, focusing on medical office property sales. He is an expert in financial modeling, property evaluation, detailed market research, and submarket trend analysis.

His experience includes working on behalf of private investors and institutional lenders in the sale of REO assets and investment properties involving closed listings and buyside opportunities. Prior to joining Colliers, Guglielmino was an investment associate with Marcus & Millichap’s Phoenix office.

“There are a lot of great individuals at Colliers and Marcus Muirhead is one of those individuals,” Guglielmino said. “With our similar investment backgrounds and the team approach encouraged within the organization, it is a natural fit to team with him. Together, our abilities and skill sets will add value for our clients and expand on Marcus’ positive track record for success and client satisfaction.”

He adds that the strong camaraderie within Colliers provides a positive, collaborative environment that reflects a commitment to achieving clients’ goals.

“The Colliers’ culture, management and people are refreshing and I am excited to be a part of the team.”

Guglielmino holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Small Business and Psychology and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University.

 

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Kevin Woodhurst ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Kevin Woodhurst, Dolphin Pools and Spas

Kevin Woodhurst, Dolphin Pools & Spas

Kevin Woodhurst has been building and promoting energy efficient pools since 1996.

The companies that he has owned or worked with utilize the latest technologies and standards in order to deliver consumer and environmentally projects that save or conserve natural resources. Kevin has been a student to the pool industry for many years and as such has held or holds more certifications than nearly anyone in the country.

In Kevin’s words he says, “It is still not enough, you must go out every day and try to be better and learn something new”. Kevin is a well known industry expert and participates nationally and internationally in many industry forums.

He has won multiple local, state and national awards but still enjoys the smile on the face of a satisfied client more than anything.


Topic: Energy-Efficient Pools

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 155

BIG Green Conference 2011

 


BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



Sponsors:

Sea Life Interior

Paramount Promotions Puts Its Products On The National Stage

Each year Paramount Promotions transforms the University of Phoenix Stadium from the home of the Arizona Cardinals into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with colorful and eye-catching graphics.

 

 

Paramount Promotions Tostitos

Photo: Paramount Promotions

 

 

Phoenix-based Paramount Promotions designs and manufactures most of the graphic signs, banners and inflatables for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl held in Glendale annually.

The company created 25-foot tall inflatable Tostitos chip bags for the Fiesta Bowl, along with most of the banners and signs in the University of Phoenix stadium that can be seen during the game.

The 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was the second year of a five-year agreement between Paramount Promotions and the Fiesta Bowl. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl, Paramount Promotions also creates graphic signs for the Insight Bowl, held in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium each year. The company also created graphic banners for the University of Arizona’s football stadium.

“Working with bowl games have always been probably my favorite,” says Brad Bergamo, president of Paramount Promotions. “It’s always fun to go in and take a stadium and completely change the look of it. … So, you go from a stadium that’s just a lot of concrete, colorless, to having a lot of color and graphics.”

Although making over the stadiums is Bergamo’s favorite project, Paramount Promotions does much more.

The company, which was established in 1992, also designs and manufactures wraps for boats, cars, trailers, golf carts and more, all at its Phoenix location.

Paramount Promotions produces light boxes, banners, billboards, fence wraps, window graphics, inflatables, flatbed boards and more that can be seen across the country. The company also makes “fly guys,” the dancing or wiggling inflatable “men” often seen on the side of the road.

Paramount Promotions, which employs 11 people, serves clients nationwide, but about 85 percent of the company’s business comes from Arizona companies and individuals, Bergamo says.

 

 

Sea Life Exterior

Photo: Paramount Promotions

 

 

Another large project Paramount Promotions undertook was creating all of the signs and wall graphics for the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills.

With the use of digital printing machine, the Nur Expedic, Paramount Promotions prints an average of 1,800 square feet per hour. At that speed, the company could wrap 30 semi-trucks per day.

Even though Paramount Promotions works with large clients such as the Fiesta Bowl and the University of Arizona, it also offers many services for individuals and small companies.

Currently, the most common product for individual clients is canvas paintings of personal photos. The company has also done life-sized wall graphics — similar to Fathead sports wall graphics — of individuals or their children playing sports.

One of the more creative ways people use Paramount Promotions is to create a large graphic photo, whether it be of the beach, mountains or snow, to cover the boring brick walls that are so common in Phoenix.

“We’re pretty diverse right now. So as of right now, we’re not looking to expand into other products or services,” Bergamo says. “We’re trying to specialize in what we do now.”

The company has been growing steadily, even in the recent down economy, Bergamo adds. In the fall of 2010, Paramount Promotions acquired MonsterColor, a local, large-format printer. The acquisition has expanded Paramount’s capabilities.

selfservicemakingyourbusinessbetter

Are Self-Service Technologies Making Your Business Better?

Self-service technologies, which automate routine interactions between companies and customers, are a source of convenience and efficiency to both parties — until something goes wrong and the customer cannot make the system work. Many companies should be focusing more closely on the overall customer experience, says Michael Goul, a professor of information systems and a researcher at the Center for Advancing Business Through Information Technology. Curiously, here’s a case where businesses could learn something from government! (12:32)

Rommie Flammer President and CEO China Mist Tea Brands - AZ - Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

China Mist’s Rommie Flammer Talks About Her First Job

Rommie Flammer
Title: President and CEO
Company: China Mist Tea Brands

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
At 12 years old, a friend and I got together a bucket, soap and a sponge, then went door to door asking if we could wash our neighbors’ cars. When they would ask “how much,” we would say “whatever you want to pay us.” I quickly learned my first business lesson, which is have an idea of what your service is worth before heading out. This job was short lived after we knocked on the door of Vern and Claudia Lipp, who bred and showed Himalayan cats. When we asked if we could wash her car she replied, “No, but I have a bunch of litter boxes that need cleaning and cats that need grooming.” …  For the next three years I cleaned and groomed cats, a job that could have definitely earned a spot on the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe!”

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
My first industry job was at China Mist right around the time I turned 16 years old. Over the course of 26 years, I have learned an incredible number of lessons and I still learn something everyday. … The most important lesson is to surround yourself with truly great people because your team is your greatest asset. Average employees don’t last long at China Mist. Next, is to always challenge the norms of your industry. … Indeed, it is the people who continually strive for a better product, better process, etc., who set themselves and their companies apart from the rest. Finally, focus on what you do best.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
When I started at China Mist, I earned minimum wage, which was around $3.35 per hour at the time. I cannot recall my hourly wage at Hotlipps Cattery, but the memories are priceless.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
I have had many mentors along the way, but would have to say that Mignon Latimer has been the biggest in my career. Mignon is the wife of a consultant hired by China Mist some years ago. I was an 18-year-old general manager at the time I started working with her. She taught me how to read and interpret financial details important to the company and precisely why they mattered. She gave me a truly sound financial base from which to build.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
While the barrier to entry is quite low, the competition is strong, so be sure you have a strong point of differentiation.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?

I really cannot imagine doing anything else, but if I had to pick a new industry it would be something in real estate.

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

2010 CFO Of The Year Awards

2010 CFO Of The Year Awards

The 4th annual CFO of the Year Awards ceremony took place on Nov. 4, at the Fairmont Scottsdale. The awards recognized 28 CFOs for their outstanding performances in their roles as corporate financial stewards. Four overall winners from the categories of private, small public and large public companies and nonprofit organization were recognized. The Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International partnered with Arizona Business Magazine to make these awards possible.

CFO Awards recognizing leaders

Joan Brubacher

Gayle Pincus

From left: Jonathan Keyser, Tim Einwechter and Joan Brubacher.

Finalists

From left: Cheryl Green, Joan Brubacher, Ryan Suchala and Mary Jane Rynd of the Virginia G Piper Charitable Trust.

From left: Andrew Ernst, Dan Bacchus, Cheryl Vogt and Joan Brubacher.

From left: Jonas McCormick, David Jackson, Tod Holmes, James Hatfield, Jason Berg and Joan Brubacher.
From left: Jonas McCormich, Tod Holmes and Joan Brubacher.

Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference

Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference

Arizona Entrepreneurs Hold Fifth Annual Meeting Of The Minds

Join in for an exciting opportunity to connect, share ideas and be inspired at the fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference.

This year’s conference, which will take place Wednesday Nov. 17, 2010 at the Desert Willow Conference Center, will feature tips and ideas from expert CEOs while also providing allotted time for networking with fellow entrepreneurs.

Over the course of the day several topics will be discussed including everything from effectively using social media and creating an eco-edge to conquering the chaos of entrepreneurship and engaging in top-notch customer service.

Attendees will not only get the chance to learn from local leaders on what it takes to get funded in Arizona, but will also see a showcase exhibit of Arizona companies and organizations that provide services that support entrepreneurs.

Additionally, this year AZEC will be addressing five of the most important needs to consider when reaching out to Arizona communities: collaboration, civics, education and training, arts and culture, and investment capital.

A variety of keynote speakers will accentuate the conference by providing their knowledge and expertise of the entrepreneurship field.

Debra Johnson, founder and CEO of EcoEdge will share how her passion for reducing environmental impact and being frugal created her award-winning company.

Jeremiah Owyang, a web strategist for Altimeter Group will discuss useful approaches to entering the digital world.

Dr. Paul Bendheim, founder and CEO of BrainSavers, a company that provides assistance in reducing the risk of memory disorders by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, will speak about his entrepreneurial experience.

For those who are just starting out or who have been lifelong entrepreneurs, this year’s conference will provide abundant opportunities to foster new ideas and learn how the experts first got started.

To register and for more information, visit azentrepreneurship.com.

leadershiphorizontal

Learn The Principles Of Effective Leadership

Knowledge: Great companies and great leaders are often synonymous, but what does it take to be a great leader? Dr. Angelo Kinicki is professor of management at the W.P. Carey School of Business. As a consultant, Kinicki often works with top management teams. Here, Kinicki discusses the principles of transformational and managerial leadership in increasing the efficiency of executives and the companies they lead. (18:09)

Patent

Failing To File Patent For New Technology Could Cost Company More Than Money

It is arguably one of the most exciting moments for a technology entrepreneur — seeing that invention for the first time. Whether it’s a new software program, mechanical device or a breakthrough biotech discovery, the feeling is always the same, pure elation. If you’re a technology entrepreneur you know the feeling. You spend months, possibly years, working toward this moment. Now that you’re here, you’re ready to turn this exciting innovation into a business. But before you take that costly leap of putting together a company and going to market, consider one very important step that can save you, and your company, everything you’ve worked for — the elusive patent.

Who needs it?
Many technology companies and entrepreneurs initially think they don’t need, or just can’t afford, patent protection at the very initial stages of their business development. “No one else could develop this right now in the exact same way we have,” or “It’s already protected by trade secret laws,” or “It’s going to cost a lot of money right now, so we’ll wait until the product is making us a profit.” The truth is, not filing a patent to protect your proprietary technology could cost a great, great deal more in the end, and might even make your company less attractive to investors and business partners.

What kind of companies should file for patent protection?
Companies in a wide variety of technology fields increasingly rely on patents as a key tool to protect their technology. For example, companies in the high-tech industry (software, semiconductors, etc.), the low-tech industry (consumer gadgets, etc.) and the life sciences/biotechnology industry (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc.) are spending more and more money on research and development and, thus, are increasingly looking to patents as a mechanism for protecting this expensive investment.

If you’re a typical technology startup, you will likely need to find early-stage, mid-stage and, eventually, late-stage investors for capital to continue to fund your research and development, and pay the tremendous costs associated with commercializing your products and services. Every kind of investor, from angels to venture capitalists, will scrutinize the adequacy and strength of a company’s intellectual property assets as a part of the investor’s decision to invest in that company. More than ever, investors are expecting a company to have either filed for patent protection or already have some patents. Another significant ramification of failing to obtain adequate patent protection is that investors may place a significantly lower valuation on your company. Thus, taking steps to file for patents, and then eventually obtaining patents, is often a critical and significant step in proving credibility to any kind of investor.

Another major benefit of patent protection is using your patents as a legal mechanism to protect your company’s most critical proprietary technology from infringement by competitors and others. Competition is fierce in the technology and biotech/life sciences industries and your competition may knowingly, or inadvertently, use your technology to gain market share. Your patent is often the most valuable tool to combat these serious situations and could be a key factor that differentiates your company from your competition.

How patents pave the way to new markets?
Many technology companies, particularly startups, are not in a position to commercialize their technology in every country in the world and in every “field of use.” A solution to this problem is to find business partners who can be given a license to use these technologies in other markets, both here in the U.S., and globally. Taking steps to file for patent protection can increase your company’s ability to find proper licensees who will scrutinize the technology and opportunity as much as any investor. Patent protection can also increase your negotiating leverage when entering into contracts with licensees and could have a significant impact on the level of royalties and other compensation that licensees agree to pay you for the use of your technology. Indeed, potential licensees who still want rights to your technology very often negotiate significantly lower royalty payments if you have failed to obtain proper patent protection because the licensee deems your technology to simply be unprotected “trade secrets.” As a bottom line, taking steps to obtain proper patent protection can potentially increase the revenue stream to your company from others who want to use your technology.

chart increase, AZ NASDAQ listed companies

An Analyst’s Look At How Arizona’s Nasdaq-Listed Companies Are Faring This Recession

Arizona has 52 Nasdaq-listed companies and the performance of those with the most capitalization during this economic downturn has been fairly good.

In early June, Stephen Taddie, managing member of Stellar Capital Management in Phoenix, reviewed the top 10 Arizona Nasdaq companies using Thomson Analytics as his data source. Those companies comprise nearly all the capitalization for Arizona Nasdaq-listed firms. They are Apollo Group, First Solar, Microchip Technology, PetSmart, ON Semiconductor, P.F. Chang’s, Amkor Technology, Mobile Mini, JDA Software and TASER International.

There was positive news concerning stock performance and internal company performance for the group as a whole.

Looking at stock performance for the three-month period from April 5 through June 5, Taddie found that “90 percent of the Arizona companies outperformed their peer group as a national comparison and all by a significant margin.”

Taddie next looked at stock prices for the year to date through May 31. While the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was approximately even for that period, seven of the top 10 Arizona companies outperformed the index by a fairly wide margin, Taddie says. Those that did not tracked the index closely, he adds. The seven companies were First Solar, Microchip Technology, PetSmart, ON Semiconductor, P.F. Chang’s, Amkor Technology and JDA Software.

“Apollo Group, the largest of the top 10 as measured by market capitalization, fared better than the rest through the first quarter of 2009, but was surpassed by the others as investor confidence rose significantly in April and May, encouraging investors to look past the current economic data and the financial statements of smaller, less capitalized companies to the earnings potential many of these companies will have in a more stable environment,” Taddie says.

Taddie also reviewed a compilation of analysts’ estimates for internal company performance for 2009. As a group — not as individual companies — analysts estimate revenue for the top 10 will be flat this year, up just .49 percent, but that it will grow 13.5 percent in 2010.

“Over the last six months, we saw many analysts lengthen the duration of the downturn but also decrease its severity,” Taddie says. “If we break it down quarter by quarter, the data reflect a fairly dismal first half of 2009, followed by a fairly decent last half of 2009.”

Estimates for next year’s revenue vary widely, Taddie says, because it is difficult to measure the impact of federal stimulus packages and significant cost-cutting measures in many industries.

“A significant capital-expenditure decline has frozen budgets,” says Taddie, who also is a member of the Western Blue Chip Forecast panel for the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “One firm’s cost reduction is another’s revenue shortfall and that has been trickling down the supply chain.”

Taddie says the data paint a picture in which Arizona firms, like many other companies across the country, are trying to preserve shareholder value by more closely aligning capital expenditures with expected revenue growth, or the lack thereof.

“Typically, the larger the company, the more apt they are to take a bet and invest into a downturn, so when the tide turns, they capture more market share,” Taddie says. “The smaller the company, the less apt they are to do that because they can’t take that risk.”

Managing expenses and growth in an environment where revenue expectations are “jumping all over the place” is a challenge, Taddie says.

“References to this period will show up in economics and business-management textbooks for quite some time,” he says. “The data is showing that the Arizona top 10 are faring at least as well as other companies and, when compared to stock-price performance so far this year, better.”

Green Advisers on a Mission

Green Advisers On A Mission

Name an industry and you’ll find a consultant — investment, finance, marketing, and so forth.

You can add eco-consulting to that list.

After reading an interesting article from the New York Times about eco-consulting, I was curious to see exactly what this new type of profession would encompass.

Is it a passing phase or a legitimate way to better educate citizens about how to live a greener life? To find out more, I contacted Valley eco-consultant Linda Benson. She trained to become an eco-consultant with Green Irene, a company founded by a husband-and-wife team that now trains consultants throughout the country.

After contacting Green Irene for additional information, I received an e-mail from Jessica Clark, marketing manager at Green Irene, who supplied me with the following statement:
“Green Irene is on a mission to ‘Green Our World, One Home And Office At a Time.’ Green Irene trains independent, authorized distributors of Green Irene consulting services and recommended green home and office products. Through these services, eco-consultants assist neighbors, family, employees and coworkers implement proven green solutions in their homes and small businesses, and starts them on the path to a healthier, safer and more sustainable lifestyle.
As of July 2009, Green Irene has more than 425 eco-consultants in 45 states offering Green Home Makeovers, Green Office Makeovers, GO GREEN Workshops and many of the best green home and office products available.”

Guess this isn’t a phase after all.

Benson has been in the interior design industry for three years and her specialty is green, sustainable and universal design, so becoming an eco-consultant was a “good fit.”

She goes on to explain various initiatives offered by Green Irene, including but not limited to, green makeovers as well as “actual blueprints for converting your living, home products and just the way you carry out life on a daily basis in a green and sustainable manner.”

“I enjoy the challenge of re-using and re-engineering furniture and soft goods (bedding, window treatments) from items my clients already have,” Benson adds “I also love educating them on how to save money by making small changes to their lifestyle, such as changing light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) in a main living space, and using proper window treatments to hold down the energy loss in a room, just to name a few things.”

green consultingThis sounds like a great idea for people who are trying to make a positive change to better the environment and aren’t really sure how to begin. As Benson points, out the changes don’t have to be costly, and customers can start small and work their way up to more significant changes. The consultations can be done for private residents as well as commercial companies.

Benson has a positive outlook on the future of eco-consulting, not only locally, but also globally.

“I see eco-consulting encouraging people to save on resources, giving motivation to explore new design modes and methods, pushing people to think outside of the box, helping people who spend hard-earned money to use it more efficiently and to encourage saving,” she says. “I see eco-consulting bringing people to the outdoor style of living again by cooking more during the pleasant sunny days. I even see eco-consulting prompting healthy eating and encouraging more community activities again!”

www.greenirene.com

stream of information

Protect Stream Of Information Coming Into Your Company From Multiple Sources

About 2,500 years ago, the Spartans seemingly perfected cryptography by ingeniously wrapping a thin sheet of papyrus around a staff called a skytale. Today, while our encryption and data security methods have significantly improved, the need for securing data is just as relevant. And with the advent of cloud computing, new methods must be refined and perfected in order to compete in the online world of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

In case you’re wondering, the above-mentioned acronyms are not part of tech-geek poetry. They stand for the newest methods by which technology is developed and delivered. SaaS stands for Software as a service; PaaS stands for Platform as a service; and IaaS stands for Information as a service. And while we’re at it, let’s make sure we define another hot term right now, cloud computing. This essentially means that the information that used to reside on your desktop, such as most software applications, now resides on a server owned by the company that developed that software. Hence, Software as a service (SaaS). Developing and licensing software or other technology from a cloud environment is a rather new and preferred method. And if you bring up “the newest cloud application to hit the enterprise market” in your next business meeting, you’ll sound very smart.

The common mantra thus far has been “use the cloud only if security is not an issue.” However, if we are truly going to utilize the power of the cloud, the mantra should be “architect your cloud solution around a sound security model.” The cloud offers too many rich opportunities to be relegated into a space where security is an afterthought. But how do you build security into a new and evolving technology like the cloud, thus protecting the flow of your company’s intellectual property?

There are now some tried and true best practices, as well as unique approaches to securing IP data flowing into the cloud. The first is standard SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). For instance, many companies utilize Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) as their preferred method for data encryption. WCF allows the company to implement a robust security layer around all user data flowing into the servers. Through this encryption process, the security layer ensures no one is eavesdropping on sensitive data. In addition, all messages are signed to further ensure data integrity.

Companies should implement security measures that make sense for their unique scenarios. One way to ensure that customer data is secure is through a three-step algorithmic approach. First, all SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) messages are “owned” by the user. For example, if “Jon” uploads data to the servers, that line of communication is unique to Jon and can only be used by Jon. Second, to further ensure data integrity, the unique communication line that belongs to Jon also belongs to Jon’s group, or platform. Therefore, he can access data about his group, but no one else’s. Finally, the user and group binding is not only implemented in the call from the application, but also bound to the databases in the company’s servers. In essence, each user has a “tunnel” to their data that is designed in such a way that no other user can penetrate that tunnel, nor can a user expand out of his or her tunnel. Data is thus very secure.

At first glance, the casual reader may assume a paranoid approach to data security. However, in order to facilitate widespread adoption of the cloud for enterprises, security must be built up front, and continually improved as the software evolves. By employing standard security techniques, coupled with vendor-specific approaches, IP data can be safely secured, allowing enterprises to confidently employ the power of the cloud.

Michelle Kerrick

First Job – Michelle Kerrick

Michelle Kerrick
Managing Partner
Arizona Practice Deloitte, LLP

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
My very first job was waiting tables at a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Flagstaff during high school. My sister and I had signed up for a ski trip to Utah, but I needed to earn the money over Christmas break to be able to go. After dropping several meals and breaking the coffee pot, I realized that waitressing was not for me — but I learned several great lessons from that job. First, find the areas where you excel and the things you’re passionate about, and second, don’t let hot coffee land on the polyester uniforms!

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
I joined Deloitte, which was named Touche Ross at the time, as a staff accountant in 1985. I was recruited from Northern Arizona University and have been here ever since. My dad encouraged me to study accounting. He felt it would be a challenging field and a marketable career. I chose Deloitte because of the energy and warmth of the people I met. That stands true today. I work with an incredible group of very talented individuals. One of the most important lessons I have learned in my 23 years in this profession is the importance of flexibility. When you are a junior staff member, client, industry and team assignments change frequently, which can be intimidating. You have to be able to react to change in a positive way. I also learned that working hard and maintaining a good attitude not only helps you be successful, it fosters a collaborative environment where everyone benefits from the team’s accomplishments.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
My restaurant job paid the industry standard for tipped employees: less than minimum wage. In 1979, it was about $2.50 an hour. When I joined Touche Ross in 1985, I was earning a salary of $18,000, plus a $2,000 bonus, and I was thrilled. Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play? Two mentors influenced me tremendously. The first is a now-retired Deloitte partner named Dave Martin. I had the opportunity to work with Dave for a great portion of my career. He was an impressive leader with remarkable business acumen and taught me a lot about client service and navigating the Deloitte organization. My other mentor is a friend outside of the accounting profession whom I have known for more than 15 years. He helped me hone my business skills and develop the ability to take a long-term, big-picture view, which is critical for any business leader.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
Work hard and keep a positive attitude. Be flexible to the many changes that will come your way, since every new experience is a learning opportunity. Keep things in perspective: life will go on, and everyone makes mistakes. Strive for balance between work and your personal life — you can’t give 100 percent at work if you don’t take the time to stay healthy and fit.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I had always thought about med school; however, given some of the issues facing the health care system, I have no regrets! One of the great aspects of my job is the support and encouragement I receive from the firm to give back to the community. That is certainly something I am passionate about and I hope to always stay active in our community. I currently work with Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Saint Mary’s Food Bank and the United Way. I want to see Phoenix become the metropolitan area that will attract viable companies and great talent.

construction companies

Construction Companies Can Be Exposed To Lawsuits When Assisting The Government During An Emergency

Imagine that you own a construction company and one of your employees comes in and tells you that the two largest buildings in town have collapsed. You receive a phone call a few days later from a government official who informs you that the police and fire department need your construction company to send heavy equipment and demolition crews to the site of the collapsed buildings to help remove large pieces of debris in order to save people’s lives.

Some large construction companies in New York were faced with that exact situation after the Sept. 11 attacks. The construction companies that helped clean up the World Trade Center disaster site were responsible for removing one-and-a-half-million tons of debris that covered many city blocks. Before long, the workers who were removing the debris started getting sick, as did police officers and firefighters who were stationed at the disaster site. Many of them have filed lawsuits against numerous entities, including the construction companies that were called upon to help with the debris removal effort.

The construction companies failed in a recent attempt to dismiss the lawsuits on grounds that they were immune from liability because they responded to an emergency situation.

Any business that decides to help in an emergency must protect itself, or face the legal consequences of the almost inevitable mistakes and accidents that will happen. With careful planning and prudent oversight, you can protect your business from lawsuits related to its help in an emergency or disaster situation in the state of Arizona.
Arizona’s immunity statute

The statute A.R.S. § 26-314(A) provides immunity for the state of Arizona and its political subdivisions (i.e., counties, cities and other local governments) for the actions or inactions of its “emergency workers.” The statute states that “emergency workers” shall have the same immunities as agents of the state of Arizona and its political subdivisions performing similar work. The term “emergency worker” is defined in part as “any person who is … an officer, agent, or employee of this state or a political subdivision of this state and who is called on to perform or support emergency management activities or perform emergency management functions.” Therefore, the only way to be sure your business is immune from lawsuits related to its assistance to the state or city government in a disaster or emergency situation is to wait until the government “calls on” your business to provide help.

Your business must always operate as an “agent” of the government to be considered an “emergency worker” and maintain its immunity. Your business will be considered an agent of the government if the government has the right to control the conduct of your business as it performs its work. Thus, you should determine who is in charge of the emergency site, and you should offer assistance to that person. You should seek detailed instructions from the person in charge and make sure it is clear that your business is operating under that person’s authority.

Should your business enter into a contract with the government to perform emergency services, then the rules change significantly. The provisions of the statute would still apply; however, a business that enters into a contract with the government would be considered an independent contractor. An independent contractor is an “agent” only if the government instructs the independent contractor on “what to do, not how to do it.” Therefore, when your business enters into a contract to help the government in an emergency situation, you must make sure the contract provides your business with control over the process and/or methods that it uses to do its work.

Of course, the Arizona Legislature can amend the statute to include immunity for any business entity that renders assistance during an emergency. If businesses were provided with clear protection under the statute, there would be no need for them to worry about being an “agent” of the government, and it would persuade more businesses to render assistance to the government in an emergency.

The Go Daddy Group Inc. - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Manufacturing & Technology

Manufacturing & Technology Honoree: Software Companies

The Go Daddy Group Inc.

The Go Daddy Group Inc. - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking ArizonaGoDaddy.com is the quintessential American success story — take a good idea, serve customers with low-priced products, innovate related products, mix in marketing “magic” and relentlessly improve en route to industry dominance. In 2000, Bob Parsons opened GoDaddy.com as a domain registrar. Why? He recognized customers were being under-served and over-charged for Web site address names. GoDaddy.com is now the world’s largest registrar — more than three times the size of its closest competitor. GoDaddy.com serves more than 6 million customers and employs more than 2,000 people, without offshoring. While you may have heard about GoDaddy.com’s Super Bowl advertising magic, it’s the less publicized stories that impress. The company routinely testifies before Congress on issues related to protecting children, keeping the Internet safe and reducing spam.

The company donates to the community and rewards its employees with prizes such as cars and cash.

14455 N. Hayden Road, #219, Scottsdale
480-505-8800
www.GoDaddy.com

Year Est: 1997
AZ Staff: 2,028
Principal(s): Bob Parsons


Manufacturing & Technology Finalist: Internet Service Providers

Cox Communications Inc.

Cox Communications is the third-largest cable provider and a multiservice broadband communications company serving more than 3 million residential and business product subscribers in Arizona. Cox’s 15,000 – mile hybrid fiber coaxial cable network throughout Phoenix and Southern Arizona provides homes and businesses with digital television, high-speed Internet, home networking, high-definition television and telephone service. In the last five years, Cox has topped 11 J.D. Power and Associates’ studies of customer satisfaction in a variety of categories.

1550 W. Deer Valley Road, Phoenix
623-594-1000
www.cox.com


Manufacturing & Technology Finalist: Wireless Communications

Verizon Wireless

“It’s the Network” isn’t just an advertising slogan — it’s Verizon’s foundation. Since 2000, Verizon has invested nearly $700 million in its wireless network in Arizona, and nearly $45 billion nationally to increase coverage, capacity and to add services. The leader in customer loyalty, Verizon Wireless has the nation’s largest 3G network, a reputation for reliability and an ongoing commitment to providing the best possible wireless experience. The company employs more than 2,200 wireless experts in Arizona who stand behind Verizon’s network every day.

77155 W. Detroit St., Chandler
480-763-6300
www.verizonwireless.com


Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

software

Failing To Honor Copyrights On Software Could Cost Company Thousands

If you use software in your business, a little knowledge about an often misunderstood area of the law could save you tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. The area of the law is copyrights — but don’t stop reading just because you know you would never illegally copyright software. I have had many clients come to me faced with serious financial sanctions who thought they did nothing wrong.

Perhaps you have never heard of the Business Software Alliance. You are lucky. If you don’t have written agreements with your employees about computer usage, you need to reconsider. And if you have no interest in reading that long license agreement before you click “accept” … well I can’t blame you, but you should at least read it before you make any extra copies of the program.

Let’s start with the basics. Microsoft owns the copyright on Word, Auto Desk owns the copyright on AutoCAD, and Adobe owns the copyright on Acrobat. If you “bought” any of those programs or any other software, you really only licensed them. Whether you bought a CD in the store, downloaded it from the Internet for “free” or it came bundled on your new computer, your use is subject to whatever conditions the copyright owner wishes to impose. If you exceed your permission, then you are violating the copyright. Another basic — you are responsible for the actions of your employees, even if you did not know they were violating the copyright law.

Now let’s discuss a few common myths. Each of the following statements is absolutely false: (1) I can make extra copies for my own use as long as I don’t give or sell them to third parties; (2) I don’t use that computer anymore, so I can just copy the program onto the computer that I do use; (3) it was free on the Internet so it is in the public domain; and (4) they are not interested in going after a small company like mine.

The only way to really know whether an archive copy is permitted or how many different computers you can legally load the software onto is to read the terms of the license that you accepted when you downloaded or installed the software. Don’t assume. Don’t rely on the representative who sold it to you and don’t rely on your tech person. In almost every instance where one of my business clients was accused of copyright infringement, the business assumed or believed that the extra copies were permitted.

Finally, let’s discuss the myth that your business is too small to attract attention and why you should familiarize yourself with the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA is a trade association for copyright owners and it has one purpose — the protection of the copyrights of its members. Its members range from big players like Adobe and AutoCAD to smaller software companies. By turning these enforcement issues over to the BSA, the companies can focus on what they do best — write and develop software. What the BSA does best is locate, negotiate with, and sue infringers. A popular source of information for the BSA is disgruntled former employees. The BSA periodically runs advertisements offering rewards for information. No case is too small and no business is too small for the BSA. Also, the BSA’s idea of negotiation is to slightly discount the full damages. Since copyright laws provide for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, plus attorney fees, the exposure is significant and the alternative to accepting their proposals is daunting.

With just a few preventative measures, you can protect your business. First, educate your employees on the dangers of unauthorized copying and implement written policies and contracts that prohibit or provide a protocol for any software downloads or copies. By having appropriate policies, you may decrease the amount of damages that can be claimed against you. You will still be responsible for your employees’ conduct so it is important to educate and re-educate your employees on the importance of following the policy.

Another preventative measure is to review your current software and licenses. Un-install any extra copies that are not authorized. When you add a new computer, do not install any software from previous computers without reading the license provisions and determining whether the new install is authorized.

Most importantly, treat copyright protected intangible property such as computer software like you would treat tangible property such as fixtures and equipment. Teach your employees to do the same. You wouldn’t steal or even borrow your neighbor’s car without permission. Respect the intangible property of others in the same way and you are far less likely to find yourself on the wrong side of a copyright infringement claim.

Pick the Right Employee

Hiring The Right People Is More Important Than Ever, But Are You Asking The Right Questions?

When the economy slows, companies tend to slow their hiring and expect more from their existing employees. It quickly becomes critical that employees perform up to these new, heightened expectations. For those positions that companies do hire for, selecting the right candidate becomes more important than ever. However, many hiring managers tend to ask the wrong questions, focusing the interview on traits that are very trainable versus those traits that a company cannot train.

Hiring managers tend to focus questions on experience for the position, systems knowledge, actual time spent doing the job with previous employers, etc. In fact, these are actually poor predictors of a candidate’s success in the workplace. Generally, only employees applying for professionally educated positions (e.g. engineers, chemists, attorneys, etc.,) are exempt from this best practice. So what should you focus your interview on?

Focus of questions
Center your questions on traits that take more effort to develop. Interview questions should dwell on attention to detail, the candidate’s passion for the job, their initiative, and their self-confidence, to name a few.

There are many hiring managers that value a relative lack of experience (and many human resource managers that agree). Candidates without experience tend to lack the bad habits typical of those with experience. It is often easier to train a green candidate from ground zero (sometimes called growing a candidate organically) versus “untraining” an experienced candidate’s bad habits and then inserting the desired habits. A candidate who has worked for several companies doing similar roles and is now in your office looking for a job may have a significant number of bad habits and has a track record of leaving previous employers for “employment competitors.”

Experience is one of the easier items to give a new hire. However, try giving a new employee stronger customer-service skills, greater self-confidence to deal with those problem vendors, or a hunger for doing a great job. Those are not easily trainable, so those traits are what an interview should focus on.

Types of questions
Spend your time asking the candidate behavior-oriented questions. Typically, these questions start with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when you …” or “Give me a specific example of a time when you …” When asking these behaviorally focused questions, it is critical that the candidate gives you one specific example. Further, ensure he isolates his role in his example; don’t allow him to use words such as “we” or “our.” If he does, ask him what his specific role. This helps ensure his answer provides you with the information you need.

The days of asking, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why” are over. The current trend is asking negative questions — questions that force a candidate to talk about her weaknesses. This helps you see her willingness to admit mistakes, how she has handled mistakes in the past, and — most importantly — what she has learned from those mistakes.

Sample questions
Putting these guidelines together is the key to a solid interview. Some general, behaviorally focused questions include:

Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with a co-worker and what you did about it? — Listen to what the issue was over, how productive and mature the approach was, and what he specifically did to solve the problem. Candidates who have a passion for their work will work to resolve issues with co-workers and will keep the boss informed of personality clashes, typically without asking for intervention.

Tell me about the biggest mistake you made in the last 12 months and what you learned from it. — This negative question forces the candidate to take ownership for a relatively large mistake and should end with her telling you what steps she took to ensure a similar mistake (e.g. a time-management snafu, a relationship-building blunder, etc.) would not happen again. All employees make mistakes. Admitting them and taking corrective steps is the absolute most an employer can ask from their employees.

Give me your top three strengths and your biggest developmental need (weakness). — It is very telling to hear what a candidate believes are his behavioral strengths, as well as his biggest need. Listen for strengths that are traits you cannot teach a candidate (e.g. passion for the job, ability to work with others, etc.). Do not let candidates get away with telling you that their biggest need is that they work too hard or plan too much. Tell your candidate to dig deeper.

Interviews can be very useful at pulling out the different strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, as long as the interviewer is focused on the right personality traits and asks the right questions. Pull their experience from their resume, but pull their personality from their interview.

Keep Workers Working

Ways To Keep Workers Working In A Troubled Economy

Our current job market is struggling through one of the worst periods of unemployment in memory. The unemployment rate continues to creep toward the unspeakable double digits, a number not reached in Arizona for more than 25 years. Whatever name is attached — downsizing, rightsizing, re-sizing, layoff, offboarding, reduction-in-force, restructuring — the result is the same: lost jobs in the name of economic turmoil that has no conscience.

Whether you are amazed at the statistics or whether you are one, there is no doubt you have watched the economy take a frightening toll on your workplace. Those who are fortunate enough to still earn a paycheck have had to watch their co-workers walked out in myriad reduction-in-force actions that have dominated news media from California to Florida. Few companies have been spared in their attempts to balance their books by slashing one of the most expensive items on their check register — payroll costs. It’s an ugly story that plays out in all corners, and there is little confidence that the worst of the cutbacks is behind us.

Local public job assistance resources have been overwhelmed. According to Patrick Burkhart, assistant director at Maricopa Workforce Connections, the no-charge centers have approached capacity in their attempts to provide local job seekers with a head start on hunting for new positions. The MWC has experienced a 100 percent increase in year-over-year traffic in its centers, which currently assist up to 500 job seekers per day in each of the two “one stop” centers. While laid-off workers range from the highly skilled to laborers, preparing them for their next opportunity is often an exercise in futility. With so few available positions, and no job growth predicted for 2009, it becomes a cruel parody of “all dressed up and no place to go.”

Corporate executives cannot be blamed for adding to this unemployment quagmire. Their directive is to ensure financial survival through any legitimate means available. For most, that means a consideration of reducing work force costs, which may include not only wages, but also significant associated costs of health and welfare benefits, matching 401(k) contributions, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, training or other company-provided benefits or perks. There is also an indirect impact on the company; a deterioration of employee loyalty, decreased customer confidence, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of apprehension among employees in fearing a loss of their own jobs. The result may have an effect on employee productivity and in retaining and attracting the best and brightest talent for the future.

It is no wonder then that reducing headcount is considered a last resort among decision makers. But what should companies do to prevent having to announce the dreaded “L” word, as 60 percent of surveyed U.S. companies plan to do in 2009, and thereby disrupt internal work operations for perhaps the long term? Executives first need to create a realistic vision of the direction of their business, attempt to recognize the timing of the “bottom” for their industry, and then set a plan in place to preserve a profit margin that will sustain the business. This analysis has become the key leadership initiative that guides decision making, and may ultimately affect the survival of the company.

It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. If so, companies are often cornered into making tough sacrifices in the name of survival. Human resources can play an integral role in the strategic analysis of the business plan, and while cost reductions must be considered to save jobs, there may also be time for process improvement opportunities.

Among budget initiatives to be considered:
Freeze unnecessary discretionary spending — Travel for other than customer visits, employee “business” lunches, social events, overtime, temporary help, consultants, new software, advertising, and conferences or training that are not critical can be curtailed.

Wage considerations — In addition to a bonus and wage freeze, consider a salary reduction, perhaps only for those earning above a targeted salary. Depending on work requirements, consider a reduced workweek in exchange for the wage reduction, or have a temporary company shutdown. Suspend any policy that allows employees to cash-in vacation or paid time off (PTO) accruals, and instead mandate they use the time.

Company contributions to employee programs — For companies that need to make a more serious dent in expenditures, cutbacks may be made in the health care plan design, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) match, or company paid life insurance or disability plans.

Don’t expect employees to express appreciation for these types of actions, but every wage earner in today’s work force understands the reality of a balance sheet and its affect on his or her job. While employees usually bear the brunt of company cutbacks, there are actions HR can propose that might soften the impact.

Cross training and skill enhancement — A business slowdown is an excellent time to prepare employees to assume additional job skills for the future through on-the-job cross training.

Solicit employee input — Using employees to provide savings suggestions will enhance their buy-in and may even improve morale. Above all else, they want to keep their jobs and when viewed as a partnership with the company, will help foster mutual respect.

Job transfer — Either as an assignment of temporary resources or a long-term solution to unbalanced workloads, employees may be interested in moving to a new function with a different career path.

Communicate — Employees may be more understanding of the company’s plight if they are able to share the news along the way with no surprises.

Today, we still find ourselves in the middle of a sluggish economy that has turned into a marathon, but the finish line must be somewhere down the road. Leaders who can see that far will make the right strategic decisions in the best interest of their organization and its employees. Those who consistently communicate that vision, and take action to save jobs wherever possible, will find a loyal work force ready and willing to enjoy better times ahead.

world currency

Companies Need To Start Thinking About Converting To International Financial Reporting Standards

More than 100 countries have already adopted or base their own accounting standards on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Last August, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved for public comment its long-awaited proposed roadmap for the eventual use of IFRS by U.S. companies.

The proposal foresees that early adoption of IFRS could happen as soon as this year for very large companies. For others, mandatory reporting under IFRS could begin in 2014, 2015 or 2016, depending on the size of the company.

Why think about it now?
With the global financial crisis, business owners may backburner IFRS in favor of more immediate issues. That’s understandable, but it may not be the right approach. If you are contemplating new finance systems or software purchases, for example, the systems you implement today will likely require modifications to ensure that the accounting, tax planning and compliance processes continue to operate effectively and efficiently under IFRS.

While CPAs regularly adjust to evolving accounting rules and standards, my experience with some of the largest companies in Arizona has shown that focusing on longer-term issues such as the implementation of IFRS can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Learning to “speak IFRS” may be challenging, but it will lead to increased transparency and investor confidence, and when that happens, everyone wins.

As a general rule, IFRS standards are broader than those of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP), and there are fewer bright lines and less interpretive guidance. In addition, IFRS has far-reaching effects beyond the accounting differences, and will involve every area of the company, beginning with the way data is gathered and processed to how debt covenants are written to the metrics against which executives and employees are measured. Conversion will take focus, planning, time and resources. Getting comfortable with IFRS now will make the transition easier for the entire company.

Timely training will be one key to a successful transition — and not just for staff. Investors and analysts will need to be educated about the effect IFRS will have on financial statements. Audit committee members will need to become familiar with IFRS to function effectively in their oversight roles and to understand management’s strategies. These activities should not wait until the new reporting standards are actually in use.

IFRS 101
The first step in any conversion is a gap analysis, or diagnostic, that compares reporting under US GAAP to reporting under IFRS. In addition to the reporting differences, the diagnostic will identify the main business effects of conversion, any tax ramifications and hurdles to conversion that may occur in the present finance structure, and will discover if the company has the resources to carry out the conversion in-house.

The diagnostic will also provide a timeline on who should be trained, when they should be trained and in what they should be trained. In designing a training program, your primary question should be, “What do we need to do to be ready on time?” As with all decisions, it’s important to be strategic. Educating the accounting and finance organizations is a given, as well as the information technology team. But it’s also important to involve other departments affected by the conversion early on in the process (e.g., investor relations, HR, sales and marketing) to make sure conversion is embedded in your business.

Human resources will need to understand how key performance criteria for incentive compensation may be affected by the conversion. In addition, accounting for stock-based compensation is significantly different under IFRS than under US GAAP. Tax professionals will require training on the conversion methodology, as well as on new IFRS accounting principles, to ensure appropriate tax planning and reporting of the tax provision, balance sheet accounts and tax return information. The legal team will need to examine debt, equity and lease financing arrangements; long-term customer contracts and long-term sourcing agreements, among others. The internal auditor’s enterprise-wide purview positions it well toprovide consistency, oversight and control to all areas throughout the conversion process.

IFRS conversion most likely will be the largest, single change of accounting policies and procedures ever undertaken by U.S. companies. It is also an interesting challenge for businesses and provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to review and synchronize the processes and procedures that touch the entire organization. Ultimately, the business “owns” the conversion, and the more fluently it “speaks IFRS,” the better off it will be.

Arizona Businesses Succeeding

Arizona Businesses That Are Succeeding Despite The Recession Offer Lessons And Hope

Economists are the uncomfortable bearers of bad news. In recent weeks, they have been unhappily explaining that these are dark days indeed for Arizona’s business community.

But don’t tell that to businesspeople who have uplifting stories to tell amid the downdraft of Arizona’s recession.

While it’s true that Arizona’s economy is out for the count, many businesses are hardly on the ropes. They are succeeding, each in their own way.

But first, a look at that pesky economy.

It’s surprising some businesses are doing well because the experts are hard pressed to find any corner of Arizona’s economy that is untouched by the recession.

“I wish I had something positive to say,” says Tim James, a professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “It’s quite difficult to see any sector doing well … What could possibly happen to make things worse than they are? I can’t think of anything.”

James does point to one exception — discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam’s Club that sell the necessities of daily living. They are prospering, but “nobody will be immune to any of this at the end, as even the Wal-Marts will suffer,” James says.

Also apologetic is Marshall Vest, an economist at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Asked if there is any sector of the state’s business community that is well positioned and poised to take advantage of the recession, Vest responds, “The short answer is I don’t know. Most industries are feeling the effects of the recession.”

Yes, it’s tough out there. But there are success stories and those businesses offer lessons on how others can ride out this rough economy.

When Robert Meyer joined Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2002 as president and CEO, the nonprofit medical center for acutely ill pediatric patients was juggling several urgent problems. Arizona was in a recession, a shrinking investment portfolio had eroded the hospital’s capital base, cash reserves were dangerously low and the organization was facing a $46 million loss for the year while incurring the cost of moving from its location within another Phoenix hospital to its own free-standing building at 19th Street and Thomas Road. Meyer, who had been through five prior recessions in health care, focused on two areas — internal operations and strategic planning — and took steps that got the hospital back on its feet.

The hospital had no internal billing-and-collection procedures, no budgeting system and a few outsourcing contracts that were axed because they offered little value in Meyer’s eyes.

“We developed our own patient accounting department, which yielded tremendous improvement in our ability to bill and collect money,” Meyer says. “We started a budgeting system. The hospital had done a lot of outsourcing with a lot of companies and some of them were terminated.”

Meyer wanted a short, simple strategic plan that covered 18 months to two years — as compared to hospitals’ standard five years — and looked outside the health care industry for a sound planning tool. He found it at The One Page Business Plan Company in Berkeley, Calif. Soon, each of the hospital’s major programs had a one-page plan within a relatively brief strategic plan, and progress was tracked online against milestones.

The payoff came as early as 2003, when the hospital generated $3 million in net income. With its books in the black, the hospital took steps in 2004 to cement future success by implementing several new clinical programs. Profits grew to $49 million in 2007.

In today’s recession, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s primary business offers opportunities for new growth. Meyer says the number of children in the Valley is expected to increase from 900,000 in 2003 to between 1.5 million and 1.7 million in 2025. To meet the needs of its growing patient base, the hospital began rolling out a $588 million main campus expansion in 2008 — only six years after nearly succumbing to financial ruin.

Paragon Space Development Corporation, a small aerospace engineering and technology development firm in Tucson, is succeeding in tough times because most of its business comes from NASA.

“We’re a little bit out of the consumer economy’s ebb and flow,” says Taber MacCallum, CEO and chairman of the board. “What we are going to feel is the federal government’s response to the recession, not so much the recession itself.”

He expects his company’s work with NASA will continue. But things weren’t so rosy during the last downturn. Founded in 1993, Paragon initially booked more commercial than government work and was hit hard by the 2002 recession. It began playing out a variety of business what-ifs to help it prepare for bad times, and business has grown 30 percent to 50 percent annually the last three years.

“You’ve got to create your business model and then run good-and-bad scenarios and make sure you don’t cut so deep that you can’t respond to the recovery,” MacCallum says. “We call them down-and-out and milk-and-honey scenarios. You can do that with a small retail shop and you can do that with a large industry.”

Taber recommends taking advantage of opportunities that arise when other businesses downsize or close.

“This economy has presented a tremendous opportunity for us,” he says. “We’ve been able to pick up new employees and manufacturing equipment from other companies that have had to sell.”

There is also a beacon of hope in the rubble of Arizona’s mortgage industry. On Q Financial, a Scottsdale-based mortgage banking company, is growing as it serves buyers of condos and single-family homes and arranges residential property refinancing. In 2008, it opened new offices in Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle, and its Valley staff grew from 20 in 2007 to 50. In business since 2005, On Q zeroes in on what it can control, says John Bergman, president and owner.

“Every day, month and quarter, we focus on improving things internally that we can control,” Bergman says. “We can’t control the market.”

On Q strives to hire talented operations staff and constantly troubleshoots internal systems, processes and timelines. Business owners must have a firm grip on their financial performance, Bergman says.

“Every month, have financials reported to you in a manner you can use,” he says. “Look at them. You can always adapt and change according to what’s going on.”

On Q also pays close attention to customer service and market share. “We are really aggressive in offering great products to the consumer, and we negotiate for good pricing for our clients,” Bergman says. “No matter what the market does, there is always an opportunity to take a bigger piece of the pie.” Bergman says it’s critical to keep employees energized.

“Let them know that the tougher things get, the better things are when they turn around,” he says. “So you want to focus on the positives in your industry.”

Reeling financial markets commonly create a phenomenon known as the flight to quality — money moves from the stock market to the safety of bank accounts and certificates of deposit. Such is the case with the current recession, and Northern Trust Bank has seen a resulting increase in deposits and new banking relationships, which in turn has generated increased lending.

“We have, in many respects, been in a very nice situation when there has been a flight to quality in the banking business,” says David Highmark, chairman and CEO of Northern Trust’s Arizona bank. “The flip side during this liquidity crisis is that our loan volume is two to three times our normal amounts. Our earnings will be very strong, because today we are collecting so many new relationships that will materialize into new earnings down the road.”

Highmark emphasizes the importance of successful companies staying focused on their core business, a theme also repeated by Paragon and On Q Financial. Northern Trust’s primary business is lending to and managing assets for wealthy individuals and companies.

“We have never wavered from that core business,” Highmark says. “If there is a formula to survive in bad times, in our case — and I think in general in all industries — it is sticking to your knitting. Don’t vary from your core business.”