Tag Archives: Doug Ducey

Craft beer

Arizona beer has an economic kick in terms of jobs, taxes

When Rob Fullmer, the executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, says “everything is improved by the presence of a brewery,” he’s talking about the economic buzz it brings and not the alcoholic kind.

“Anytime you can put a business between two breweries, you’ll see a much more foot traffic in that area, and you’ll see a real benefit to your employees,” said Fullmer – not to mention “the lunches and happy hours.”

New industry-generated numbers appear to back up that claim that beer brings economic growth and prosperity.

A recent report by the National Beer Wholesalers Association said the beer industry in Arizona – from brewers to drivers to bartenders – had an economic output of almost $4.3 billion in 2014, generated more than $800 million in federal and state taxes and was responsible for 38,627 jobs in the state.

“Arizona’s beer industry is doing slightly better than most,” said the association’s chief economist, Lester Jones. “It’s marginally above the national average in terms of its economic output, wages, jobs – which is not a bad place to be at all.”

With a gross state product in Arizona of just over $279 billion in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the beer industry accounted for roughly 1.5 percent of the total GSP. Arizona’s beer industry had the 21st highest economic output in the country and was 19th among the states in terms of wages and jobs, according to the report.

Nationally, the beer industry generated 1.75 million jobs in a U.S. labor force close to 149 million, and had an economic impact of nearly $252.58 billion on a gross domestic product of $17.3 trillion.

The study looked at the three traditional tiers of brewing, wholesaling and retailing and accounted for everything from the cost of equipping breweries, to the salaries for truck drivers who deliver it and bartenders who serve it.

The report said that for every retail dollar of beer sold in Arizona, the state and federal governments get nearly 36 cents in taxes. In other words, if a consumer pays $2 for a beer, about 71 cents goes to the government. Arizona was slightly below the national average of a 40 percent tax burden.

Despite the bite by the government, industry officials say the business is booming in Arizona, particularly among local craft breweries and craft beers.

Fullmer said Arizona is a “hot” for brewing, in more ways than one.

“I think Arizona’s numbers are better than what the NBWA is reporting,” Fullmer said. “They underrepresent the craft beer industry which has been particularly strong in the past few years.”

That was echoed by Chip Mulala, who goes by the title minister of craft beer at SanTan Brewing.

“There has been a tremendous amount of growth in the Arizona craft beer scene in the past few years,” Mulala said in an email.

“Just five years ago there were less than 20 breweries in the state and today there is almost 60,” his email said. “I believe most are flourishing and experiencing solid growth.”

The beer industry has gotten large enough in Arizona to have its presence felt at the state Capitol: Gov. Doug Ducey in March signed SB 1030, dubbed the Arizona Beer Bill, that raises the production cap for craft brewers above 200,000 barrels of beer a year and lets them operate more retail shops under the same microbrewer license.

“SanTan was very involved in passing SB1030, the Arizona Beer Bill earlier this year. The central tenet to this bill was jobs, jobs, jobs,” Mulala said.

“Every drop of beer that is locally produced creates jobs in this market, and a community that can be self-sufficient and rely less on beers imported from other states and countries will be a stronger community as a whole,” Mulala said.

And Fullmer sees more opportunity for the state going forward.

“We’re going to be known as a beer state because we have similar growth rates as big states and we’ve done so despite having only one large metropolitan city and having a desert-like geography, which is special,” he said.

Trucks CrossingBorderat Nogales

Arizona trade mission builds confidence with Mexico

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris Camacho, joined Governor Doug Ducey in Mexico City for an important trade mission last week, with more than 40 business, university and government leaders – including GPEC board members Sharon Harper of The Plaza Companies, David Rousseau of SRP and University of Arizona President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.

At $15.8 billion, bilateral trade (imports into Arizona and exports to Mexico) between Arizona and Mexico is larger than the state’s next six largest trading partners combined. And according to an April 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, growth for total exports and manufacturing exports to Mexico is up 22.7 percent and 28.5 percent, respectively.  

“Arizona and Mexico share more than an important border for global commerce, but are also connected by the rich historical, social and cultural ties,” said Camacho. “Governor Ducey’s leadership, and the work of David Farca, president of the Arizona Mexico Commission, has set a new tone and reinvigorated dialogue with Mexico City.”

The impact of Gov. Ducey’s trade mission, and the recent opening of the Trade & Investment Office in Mexico City, sends a strong message that Greater Phoenix and the state of Arizona is open for business with our neighbor to the south. With more than 370 miles of shared border, there is an unparalleled opportunity for both Arizona and Mexico to continue to increase trade.

Camacho also added, “The meetings this past week with government and business leaders will further enhance the economic prosperity for both sides of the border, and I am eager to continue the work being done to foster this growth.”

For an international guide to doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.  

Water Conservation, City of Phoenix

East Valley Partnership will host SRP forum on water

East Valley Partnership, a coalition of civic, business, educational and political leaders dedicated to the economic development and promotion of the East Valley of Greater Phoenix, is hosting a Salt River Project lunch forum, “Keeping Water Flowing” beginning at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 9 at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, located at 60 E. 5th St. in Tempe.

Attendees of the SRP Forum event will hear remarks from Governor Doug Ducey, SRP CEO and General Manager Mark Bonsall, and Sarah Porter, director of Kyl Center on Water Policy at Morrison Institute. 

“Arizona’s vitality comes from sound management, responsible action and finding smart solutions to complex problems. That’s especially true when it comes to how we manage our water,” said Governor Ducey. “Water is one of the most dynamic components of our state, and a crucial player in the health and strength of our economy – it’s imperative that we have our fair share. I look forward to working with our state’s leaders to protect this precious resource and ensure a prosperous future for Arizona.”

Governor Ducey will address the important role dependable, renewable water supplies have played in Arizona’s history and how water is essential for Arizona’s economic future.

“SRP has long understood the critical connection between economic development and dependable water resources,” said SRP CEO and General Manager Mark Bonsall, “and we are eager to work with Governor Ducey to tackle these issues.” 

The SRP Forum is open to the public. Individual registration is $75 for East Valley Partnership members and $100 for non-members. Table reservations can be made for $1,000 for members and $1,250 for non-members. Presenting sponsorship is available for $3,500.

Seating is limited and reservations are requested online at www.EVP-AZ.org  or by phone at 480-834-8335 ext. 201.

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Comcast will add 1,125 jobs in Tucson

Comcast along with Gov. Doug Ducey today announced plans to open a new customer support center in the fall of 2015 in Tucson.

The state-of-the-art 100,000 square-foot facility will be staffed by 1,125 customer service representatives and managers. Comcast will begin filling positions this year. With the addition of the call center, Comcast will have more than 1,250 employees in Tucson. Comcast plans to have at least 15 percent of the new positions at the Customer Support Center to be filled by military reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners.  Nationally, Comcast is committed to hiring 10,000 reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners between 2015 – 2017 across all levels of the organization.

“Comcast’s decision to expand its presence in Tucson is excellent news for our state, and the latest validation that we’re open and ready for business,” said Governor Ducey. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will bring significant economic impact, create more than 1,000 quality jobs for southern Arizonans and further advance our position as one of the most pro-veteran workforces in the nation. This is a huge win for our state, and we’re thrilled to help this great company grow and thrive in Arizona.”

Customer service representatives in the center will assist customers with billing and repair questions – and sales and customer service.  Specialized teams will handle more complex customer needs.  The center will also be home to our new Spanish speaking employees specializing in social media.

Opening the Customer Support Center significantly expands Comcast’s presence in Tucson.  Comcast already serves 67,000 customers in Tucson including hundreds of businesses.  In 2014, Comcast paid more than $732,000 in property taxes, provided $3.3 million in franchise fees to local communities and invested more than $200,000 in Comcast Foundation grants, and contributions, public service announcements, campaigns, scholarships and community volunteer efforts.

 “The Tucson Customer Service Center is being designed from the ground up with training resources and equipment to help the customer service representatives provide exceptional service to our customers,” said Michael Eastman, Senior Director, Customer Account Executive, for Comcast . “When our customers reach this call center, they will be connected with agents who are best equipped to provide an outstanding experience.”

“Tucson has several key competitive advantages for this industry, such as an abundance of high-quality, customer-service labor, a bilingual and multilingual workforce, technical expertise, and a convenient location in the Mountain Time Zone,” said City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “These advantages align very well with Comcast’s goals to deliver superior customer service nationally.”


“Innovation drives global economic growth. So we are pleased that a global media and technology company like Comcast has chosen Arizona as a hub for one of its three state-of-the-art customer support centers,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona is a serious contender when it comes to innovative global companies seeking to expand operations in our dynamic and vibrant business environment. It’s a win for Tucson. And it’s a win for our entire state.”

 “This was a competitive national search, with Tucson combining a multitude of qualities to clearly emerge as the ideal site for this project,” said Joe Snell, president & CEO, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO), now known as Sun Corridor Inc.  “The expanded presence of Comcast, one of the world’s leading media and technology companies, will further strengthen Southern Arizona’s reputation as a location for high-quality businesses.  Our strategic location and talent pool continue to make us attractive to many companies considering expansion plans.”

When the building renovation is complete, the 100,000 square-foot, customer service center will include several resources for employees including product training labs, training rooms, video conference facilities, a cafeteria and fitness center.  Employees will also receive Xfinity products and services from Comcast at no-cost and reduced cost so that they can continue to learn about company products.

Comcast has begun advertising and posting new positions. Those interested in employment opportunities with Comcast can learn more at upcoming area career fairs and are encouraged to review job profiles and opportunities at www.jobs.comcast.com  where they can also apply for positions.

The Customer Support Center in Tucson is one element of a new, multi-year plan Comcast announced recently to reinvent the customer experience and to create a culture focused on exceeding customers’ expectations, at all levels of the company. The plan centers on looking at every decision through a customer lens and making measureable changes and improvements across the company. 

The core elements of the strategic plan include: creating more than 5,500 customer service jobs over the next few years and setting a goal to always be on time for customer appointments by Q3 of 2015.  It also includes major investments in technology and training to give employees the tools they need to deliver excellent service. The company will also simplify billing and create better policies to provide greater consistency and transparency to customers.  Additionally, the plan includes the renovation of hundreds of stores across the country and the development of new technologies that will enable customers to interact with us how and when they want.

Sam_Fox_Portriat_2012

Sam Fox honored as UA Executive of the Year

Sam Fox, CEO and Founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, was recognized as the 2015 University of Arizona Executive of the Year on Friday, April 17 during a luncheon at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson. Some 450 guests attended the event, including Governor Doug Ducey, UA President Ann Weaver Hart, UA philanthropic supporters Karl and Stevie Eller and many other high-profile leaders and business executives.

A Paradise Valley resident, Fox studied real estate finance at the University of Arizona and opened his first restaurant, Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, in Tucson at age 20. Fox Restaurant Concepts currently boasts 44 locations and 15 unique concepts spanning seven states. Tucson’s Wildflower American Cuisine was the company’s first concept. Now based in Phoenix, Fox Restaurant Concepts includes Blanco Tacos & Tequila, True Food Kitchen, The Henry, Flower Child, North Italia, Culinary Dropout and several other popular restaurants. Together, his restaurant group employs nearly 4,000 people.

The University of Arizona Executive of the Year program was established by the Eller College National Board of Advisors in 1983 to honor individuals who exemplify executive qualities in private enterprise and public service. Recent honorees include Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor (2014); Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants (2013); former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2012); and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (2011).

sedona-sunrise

Ducey declares this Arizona Travel and Tourism Week

Governor Doug Ducey, along with the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), has proclaimed May 2-10, 2015 as Arizona Travel and Tourism Week. The recognition honors Arizona’s tourism industry as a top revenue generator for the state. Arizona Travel and Tourism Week coincides with the U.S. Travel Association’s annual celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week.

“I’ve always said that Arizona is a premier place to live, work, play, recreate, retire and get an education – and our goal is to make sure the world continues to see that,” said Governor Ducey. “Travel and tourism is by far one of our most crucial industries and economic drivers – and with the historic success of hosting the most-viewed Super Bowl this February, Arizona truly was the center of the universe. I’m proud to continue showcasing our great state with Travel and Tourism Week.”

For Arizona, the economic benefits from tourism are far-reaching. In 2013, 39.1 Million domestic and international overnight visitors experienced Arizona as a travel destination. Spending generated by these visitors contributed directly to Arizona’s economy.

In 2013, visitors traveling to and throughout Arizona generated:

  • $19.8 Billion in direct travel spending;
  • 163,500 industry-related jobs, and when combined with indirect employment, direct travel spending impacts more than 300,000 jobs;
  • $5.4 Billion in earnings for Arizonans employed in tourism-related jobs;
  • $2.7 Billion in local, state and federal tax revenues providing a $1,100 tax break per Arizona household, and;
  • $1.6 Billion in local and state tax revenues, which were nearly enough to cover the wages of all police officers, secondary school teachers and firefighters employed within the entire State of Arizona.

AOT will release the 2014 Arizona Travel Impact report and visitation data at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism June 22 -24, 2015.

“Jobs, earnings and taxes generated by Arizona’s travel and tourism activities make this industry one of the State’s most important economic engines,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “As a leading export-oriented industry for Arizona, this industry brings new money into our economy, significantly contributing to our state’s overall health and vitality.”

In recognition of the week, the Arizona Office of Tourism is launching its Summer in AZ advertising campaign to inspire Arizonans to start planning their summer vacations. For ideas on what to see and do in Arizona, summer fun itineraries are available on the campaign website, summerinaz.com.

Governor Ducey and AOT encourage all residents to explore Arizona this summer and discover the reasons why millions of visitors choose the Grand Canyon State as their vacation destination.

For more information regarding the Arizona experience, please visit visitarizona.com. For more information on the Arizona Office of Tourism, visit tourism.az.gov.

Millennials

Ducey becomes the governor for Millennials

Arizona is a great place for millennials. It’s the perfect example of an ideal state for our generation to live, work, and play. We are the generation of start-ups, entrepreneurs and Internet campaigns, with a burning desire to express our innovative ideas. And in November 2014, we solidified Arizona as the ideal breeding ground for these ideas when we elected a governor who has proven to us that he wants millennials to have every opportunity to succeed.

Generation Y is all about speed. We like to see change, and we like to see change happen quickly. After one of the shortest legislative sessions in Arizona’s history, our governor made it clear that he likes to see change happen quickly, too. In just 81 days, millennials saw a number of new bills pass that will keep us pursuing innovation for years to come.

Let’s begin with a topic that my generation is particularly passionate about: craft beer. Arizona is proud to call itself home to dozens of craft breweries that are equally popular among tourists and locals. With so many breweries within close proximity to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, students in the 21+ age range have become quite fond of Arizona’s homegrown beers. When many beloved breweries were threatened with having to close their restaurants due to a statewide production limit, our generation immediately took to social media to express our concern. Thanks to our well-connected and social media savvy governor, our voices were heard. This session, the governor signed Senate Bill 1030 which allows our favorite microbreweries to continue to grow and thrive. Thanks to him, we can continue to boast about our state as home to some of America’s best breweries.

We’ve already established that millennials enjoy craft beer. But another thing we care about is our ability to get to and from a brewery safely and affordably. That’s why you’ll notice almost every single Generation Y smartphone user has a Lyft or Uber application on their phone. We’re crazy about ridesharing. It’s easy, safe, and affordable. Near a college campus, it’s practically a travesty not to take advantage of ridesharing and its advantages. That’s why we thank you, Gov. Ducey, for making Arizona a place where start-ups like Uber and Lyft can be given a chance to succeed, while making sure those of us who use their services are well protected and insured. In a national debate over the regulation of ridesharing, our governor has put Arizona ahead of the curve.

Like ridesharing, our generation loves coming up with new solutions to old problems. We love to be our own entrepreneurs and find innovative ways to make and raise money. That’s why many millennials have embraced online money-raising platforms, like Kickstarter, to help fund our ideas. This is another example of how our governor has protected our interests by helping us cultivate our spirit of innovation. By signing House Bill 2591, he has allowed small businesses and entrepreneurs in Arizona to raise capital from investors and offer equity to them through crowdfunding, making it clear the governor wants to see entrepreneurship thrive in this state.

The governor’s belief in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology extends to the medical field as well. He signed into law H.B. 2645, which allows anyone to get laboratory medical testing without a physician’s orders. This means companies like Theranos, which is helmed by 31-year-old self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, can thrive in Arizona. The Theranos technology allows for a battery of tests with just a tiny drop of blood,  empowering patients with knowledge and driving down health care costs. 

On a similar note, Gov. Ducey has also protected us from being pushed into higher tax brackets should we ever receive a raise. Our generation appreciates follow-through on promises, and we certainly need to thank the governor for following through on this promise made during his State of the State address. When he said he would protect taxpayers from being pushed into higher tax brackets, he meant it. By signing House Bill 2001, the governor made it clear yet again that he wants Arizona to be a place where businesses can thrive and taxpayers won’t be punished for making more money. We like the sound of that.

If you’ve ever had the fortunate opportunity to meet Gov. Ducey, you’ll instantly be reminded that his respect for young people is genuine. In the private sector as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, his company gave many teenagers their first job, so he understands who’s entering today’s workforce. He’s also a dad. Gov. Ducey has three children, and it’s clear when talking to him that he wants to make Arizona a place where his children and all other children can thrive.

As a millennial, I want to thank Gov. Ducey on behalf of my generation for protecting our interests. I look forward to seeing our state continue to grow under the leadership of a governor who embraces our entrepreneurial spirit and does everything he can to protect it.

 

Melanie Lehnhardt is the assistant to the president and CEO at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She’ll be graduating from Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business later this month.

Mayor Elaine Scruggs

10 ways Ducey, Legislature helped Arizona businesses

Governor Doug Ducey promised an administration that would move at the speed of business. His first legislative session proved true to his word.

The session was lightning-quick at 81 days, the fastest since 1968. Together the governor and Legislature passed into law over 300 bills, many of which will significantly enhance Arizona’s business environment, making our state’s tax, educational, regulatory and civil justice frameworks some of the best in the country.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proud to have helped foster the pro-business policy environment and to have worked to advance a shared agenda of growth and prosperity.

Here are (just) 10 things that got done that are good for business:

1)    Tax reforms you can set your watch to. Governor Ducey and legislative leaders made clear early on in the 2015 legislative session that the tax reforms included in the 2011 and 2012 competitiveness packages would continue to be implemented without pause. That means the corporate income tax rate phase down from 6.9 percent to 4.9 percent, the business property tax relief, and the 25 percent reduction in the capital gains tax will continue to come online on schedule, giving Arizona job creators and taxpayers the certainty they need.

2)    Avoiding backdoor tax increases. The governor in his State of the State address called for Arizona’s tax brackets to be pegged to inflation and made it a priority agenda item for his first legislative session. This is tax relief for small businesses that file as individuals under the tax code and for Arizonans who have earned a raise and have been bumped into a higher tax bracket. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Justin Olson, who has made this issue a priority for several sessions, responded to the governor’s call and sent him a bill to make this commonsense reform, putting Arizona in the company of 23 other states that index their tax brackets to inflation.

3)    Putting downward pressure on insurance premiums. Speaking of dogged legislators, House Majority Whip David Livingston was successful in his push to send to the governor legislation that reduces the state’s insurance premium tax. Reducing this gross receipts tax insurers pay has been a priority for the Arizona Chamber for several years, and there was strong bipartisan support in the Legislature this year to pass this bill that phases down the tax from 2 percent to 1.7 percent over the next decade. We were thrilled that Gov. Ducey signed the bill into law, improving our insurance environment and even putting some downward pressure on premiums.

4)    A stop sign in front of new regulations. It’s important that Arizona continues to reduce the regulatory burden on job creators in order to realize Gov. Ducey’s vision of making “Arizona the pace leader in the competition for the very best state in America to do business,” as he said in his inaugural address back in January.” The governor started things off on the right foot, making his first official act a moratorium on regulatory rulemaking and calling on his agencies to review existing regulations.

Also on the regulatory front, Rep. Warren Petersen worked with the business community to craft an amendment to S.B. 1241, which prevents cities from instituting bans on certain types of containers, such as plastic bags, and prevents cities from requiring building owners to make public their energy usage as part of so-called energy audits. Creating yet more regulatory burdens for business to comply with won’t grow jobs in Arizona, and we were pleased that Gov. Ducey signed the Petersen measure into law.

5)    A focus on excellence in the classroom. Gov. Ducey and the Legislature made their first order of legislative business passage of the nation’s first American Civics Act, an effort led by Rep. Steve Montenegro, which will require Arizona students to correctly answer the same questions that appear on the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics exam before graduating from high school. Lawmakers and the governor also established the Arizona Public School Achievement District, which will be focused on expanding and replicating Arizona’s very best educational models.

6)    Tort reform that puts an end to “double dipping.” A landmark asbestos litigation transparency bill sponsored by Rep. Sonny Borrelli became law, which will help put an end to abusive “double dipping” by plaintiffs between asbestos trusts and trial courts. We’re now one of only five states with this important law on the books.

7)    Maintaining high academic standards. Our most vigorous defensive effort this session was devoted to ensuring that the state’s high academic standards were maintained. The State Board of Education has now been tasked by Gov. Ducey with reviewing our existing standards and replacing them with higher Arizona standards.

8)    Come fly with me. We averted unnecessary hassles to tourists and business travelers by seeing to passage legislation by Sen. Bob Worsley (H.B. 2609) that ensures Arizonans will be able to obtain identification that meets federal security standards to allow them to board commercial aircraft.

9)     Opening up international opportunities. The fiscal year 2016 budget wisely calls for the continued funding of Arizona’s trade office in Mexico City, the capital city of our largest trading partner. And Gov. Ducey made a great call when he named David Farca as the new president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission Board of Directors. David’s the perfect fit for this outstanding organization.  

10)   Keeping pace with technology. Gov. Ducey signed into law a bill by Rep. Jeff Weninger and Sen. David Farnsworth that opens up the growing crowdfunding space to individuals looking to purchase equity in a startup. This is an important bill that ensures our laws are properly aligned with emerging technology.

Respected national rankings continue to take notice of Arizona’s moves to improve its jobs environment. The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Rich States, Poor States report recently ranked Arizona number 5 for economic outlook. We made great progress this year, and expect to move up the charts again next year. 

 

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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AXA Advisors Southwest earns Governor’s Award

The Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced that AXA Advisors Southwest, a leading provider of financial services for consumers and businesses, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for its dedicating to volunteerism, fundraising and general community service. AXA Advisors Southwest was honored by Governor Doug Ducey’s office on Friday, April 17 during a special event in the recipients’ honors held at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

“The volunteer Service Awards were established in 2002 to recognize and thank Arizonans who have dedicated their time and talents to help address the needs most important to Arizona communities,” said Carla Friedman, youth program development director for the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families. “A statewide panel of judges evaluated nominations for need, action, innovation and impact, and chose AXA Advisors Southwest based on its work with Elevate Phoenix, the AXA Achievement Scholarship Program and AXA Days of Service, among other activities.”

“We’ve raised funds to fill backpacks for kids in need and rolled up our sleeves to build homes for some amazing families in Arizona, not to mention created our own large-scale charity event – Weekend Jetaway Culinary Casino Classic – to give back in every way that we can,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest. “It takes a village – and at AXA Advisors Southwest we become that village, all in the name of volunteering and raising funds for our nonprofit.”

Sponsors of the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards include the Arizona State Fair, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, ASU Office of University Initiatives, Cox Communications, Harkins Theaters, SRP, Fry’s and other businesses and organizations that are ardent supporters of volunteerism in Arizona.

 

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Crowdfunding law gives Arizona startups a boost

A bill was introduced at the Arizona State Legislature during the 2015 session and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey that allows entrepreneurs to raise equity for their company from the general public.

The passage of HB2591 allows people to invest and potentially hold stock in companies that raise money through crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

“It’s basically the idea that companies shouldn’t be limited to having just rich people be their investors, and individuals shouldn’t be restricted from investing small amounts of money in companies that they know and love,” said Jonathan Frutkin, a Scottsdale attorney and author of “Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners.”

Crowdfunding has become a popular method used by up-start businesses to raise money for product launches or other business ventures. It works by allowing anyone to funnel money into thousands of projects you can find online.

However, concerns over fraud loom over the different crowdfunding websites. Although many remain hesitant to give money to companies electronically, concerns over fraud and embezzlement may be unfounded, Frutkin said.

“When an organization may ask ‘hey, you want to raise money online?’ Give me a copy of your articles of organization, your lease, intellectual properties.’ When you ask those question the fraudsters say, ‘there’s a lot easier ways to steal money that this,’ ” Frutkin explained.

HB2591 was originally introduced to the legislature by Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Phoenix. The Arizona Small Businesses Association helped write it.

Besides Arizona, 17 other states have passed crowdfunding bills. Frutkin said he expects at least 25 states total to have passed similar bills to HB2591 by the end of 2015.

Only Arizona residents would be allowed to invest in Arizona companies, according to the bill. Investors can donate up to $10,000, while companies can raise up to $2.5 million through crowdfunding campaigns.

Arik Tasa-Bennett, a finance major at Arizona State University, has run his own phone-resale business for several years. Tasa-Bennett said he hopes to become a successful entrepreneur, and sees the potential for future businesses to grow through crowdfunding.

“I think this system could be more efficient than traditional ways of financing a product,” Tasa-Bennett said. “With this idea, where the public can see the product and get an opportunity to invest in it, the advantage is that it brings the product closer to the end-user. That’s the whole goal of marketing. You want to know your consumer as well as possible.”

Said Frutkin: “The ability for the small investors, regular people, to invest $100, $200 in a company they love, a night club or restaurant they go to, that really doesn’t exist now. That’s what the Arizona crowdfunding bill will allow. It will allow Arizona people to invest in Arizona businesses.”

UberPitch

Uber, Lyft get a lift from new Arizona law

Soon after his election, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made a drastic decision to pledge his support to ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft by suspending the ongoing investigation into companies that were operating illegally under current Arizona law.

In addition, the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures announced that it would no longer be enforcing the same rules Arizona cab drivers are legally forced to follow.

Under debate is HB 2135, which outlines specific insurance guidelines separate from those of taxicab companies and ride-sharecompanies. Although this was great news for Uber and Lyft, there were many people up in arms working hard to fight against the bill, chiefly sponsored by Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott.

The bill, which Ducey signed into law April 9, is intended to even the playing field for taxicab companies and ride-share companies.

Despite Fann’s protests, the legislature is considering regulating both ride-sharing companies and taxicab companies and setting fair minimum insurance rules.

The new rules also include vehicle inspections, driver background checks and a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by drivers.

Arizona State University student Tim McGavock speculates on the bills final outcome.

It makes sense that a Republican such as Ducey, who was previously the CEO of Cold Stone would be advocating for a company that started as nothing and has been built into such a large corporation.

Tempe cab driver Clyde Riley is vocal in his opposition to the original bill.

I am trying to get several drivers together to fight this,Riley said. You cant have a law and only enforce it for half of the people.

Riley said Uber and Lyft have all but destroyed his business and all of the taxi businesses around Tempe. Then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year.

I dont know why our governor would do this to us, it is clear discrimination when our laws allow for certain companies to skate the rules, but not others,Riley added. To me it is the same thing as allowing only specific groups of people to shoplift. It just isnt right.

Riley said he feels that if Ducey really wants to change the insurance laws for vehicle transportation companies, then the law should apply to all parties. He argues that because they are essentially doing the same job and are fighting for the same customers, the rules should be equal across the board.

If they aren’tt going to let us take the stickers off of our car and do ride-share, then they shouldn’tt be making the exception for these two companies,Riley said.

Uber has boomed across the country in the past several years and now rivals almost all taxicab companies. With more than 160,000 drivers in 250 cities, Uber is no longer a small entrepreneurialcompany. Students everywhere are choosing to call a Lyft or Uber on their downloadable cellphone apps instead of calling for a cab.

I love Uber way more than taking a cab since it is much cheaper.,said ASU student Courtney Langfield. I also like having the convenience of knowing where they are located at all times and when they will arrive. I also like how you have record of who your Uber driver is in case something was to happen. I feel a lot safer in an Uber (ride) than in a cab.

I used to get over 400 calls a week,Riley said, now I am lucky if I get seven.

Riley has had to lay off his fellow driver and can barely afford a rented vehicle. He has been driving in Tempe for 26 years and now is close to being forced out of a job.

The problem with Uber and companies like it [under the original bill] is that they arent legally obligated to pay the same insurance fees that cab companies do, Riley said.

I would love to lower my rates,he said. Ive given quite a few people rides when they didn’tt have money at all. But unfortunately, I need enough money to operate.

ethics scale

Raising new taxes is not the answer for Arizona

Tim Lawless, AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

Job recovery has been sluggish as it relates to commercial real estate. However, if the cranes near ASU are any indication, economic activity appears to be looking up.

It’s also encouraging the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revised upward the number of national non-farm jobs created in August and September and that job gains through 10 months in 2014 were on average 228,500 per month, or 14 percent more than in 2013.

Adding to this optimism was the election of pro-business gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey, who has vowed to make job creation his first priority. It is expected that one of his first actions will be the continuation of a moratorium on new rules and regulations that impede job creation. We can also expect him to make many forays into California so that the jobs that leave that state come here rather than elsewhere.

To be sure, the current state budget deficit and a more daunting structural deficit the following year will be felt by all due to expected spending cuts. The budget situation, however, creates the opportunity to reform many aspects of state and local government service delivery not the least is K-12 education. Certainly, we can do a better job to get more money as a percentage of every dollar spent into the classroom than we did since the passage of Prop. 301 in 2000.

Because of the budget, NAIOP-AZ’s top state priority will be to preserve the assessment ratio reduction savings for commercial property taxation passed into law in 2011 (HB2001). We need to send the signal that we will continue to address our top impediment to economic development which are high commercial property taxes.

Along with Ducey, NAIOP-AZ will fight any effort to impose new taxes on business which includes a new temporary sales tax rate increase or to expand the sales tax base to include currently exempt goods and services from the State base such as commercial leases.

TimLawless1

Tim Lawless
NAIOP-AZ President

121277693

Experts share ‘wins and losses’ on Arizona state budget

Alberta Charney said she hasn’t heard much outrage from the business community over Arizona’s latest budget.

“Maybe we are used to it,” said the research economist at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. “We have seen so many cuts over the years.”

The fiscal 2016 budget is no different. Gov. Doug Ducey in March signed a $9.1 billion budget that adds some funding, but also trims millions from higher education and social service programs.

Business and economic experts said although they’re concerned about long-term implications on the state’s economy and job market, they also found some bright spots for the business community.

Cronkite News spoke to five experts to get their take on the highs and lows of the state budget. Here are their insights:

Win: Mexico trade office
In 2014, the Arizona State Trade and Investment Office in Mexico opened to expand the state’s business presence across the border.

State lawmakers included $300,000 to open the office in this year’s budget. And the state allocated the same amount to operate it for fiscal 2016, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Mexico is a growing world market and Arizona’s most important trading partner, according to the authority. In 2013, trade generated between Arizona and Mexico exceeded $14 billion, the group said.

Allocating funds to keep this office during this budgetary time is a win, said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

However, Jim Rounds, a senior economist with consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Co., said it’s only a “win” if they’re successful in expanding business to Mexico.

Win: Tax reforms
Members of the business community said they were happy to see the tax reform competitiveness package, signed into law in 2011, remain on schedule.

This package includes phased-in reductions of the state’s corporate income tax down to 4.9 percent, among other reforms. The latest budget maintains the tax reforms the business community advocated for a few years ago, Hamer said.

“Businesses want to know with certainty that the environment will continue every year,” Hamer said, “providing the predictability in our tax environment that is necessary for economic growth.”

Rounds agreed it’s a win that lawmakers kept the tax reform. However, he said lawmakers need to “research first and put in the time to figure out where to get good return on investment.”

He said other investments may yield more than tax reform.

For business to remain competitive, the state needs to reduce the tax burden, said Dennis Hoffman, an economic expert at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Additionally, Ducey added indexing to income-tax brackets to account for inflation. Small business will benefit from millions in income that’s protected from being taxed at higher rates, Hamer said.

Win: Tourism
The state halted initial plans to cut $4.5 million from the Arizona Office of Tourism. Tourism is the state’s third-largest export industry and one of the largest state revenue generators, according to the Arizona Office Of Tourism.

“It’s a win, in this budgetary environment, to be able to preserve the budget of an agency so integral to the success of one of Arizona’s base industries is a very positive outcome,” Hamer said.

But, officials said, the budget still leaves the state short changed compared to neighboring states. Arizona has a $13.5 million tourism budget for fiscal 2016, while California’s is $100 million.

Loss: Higher education
The budget includes deep cuts for the state’s three universities: $99 million, a 13 percent cut.

“Some states are well endowed with college-educated people in the workforce and may not need to invest as much in their universities. That is not true of Arizona,” Hoffman said.

Experts agree that the larger share of college graduates in the labor force, the more prosperous the economy. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, skilled workers are imperative and it is “important to maintain a world class university system,” Hamer said.

Arizona business may have to look out of state to find skilled workers, which could increase search costs to find quality workers, said Daniel Herder, an Arizona State University student and president of the student economics association.

“It could, in fact, cause a bit of flight,” Herder said about people who must move out of state to find opportunities.

Rounds agreed that higher education funding is an important business concern. However, he said that in this current economy, lawmakers needed to make cuts.

He said he does not believe cuts to universities are permanent.

Hamer said that going forward, there is a consensus among experts that Arizona needs to put more resources into universities to keep Arizona businesses competitive.

Loss: Health care
Lawmakers voted to cut reimbursement by 5 percent to health care providers and ambulance services that serve Medicaid patients.

“We didn’t see wins in this budget at all,” said Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

Critics said the cut could cause long-term damage to the health care industry, one of the state’s more vibrant economic sectors.

The major factor for these losses is underpayment by government payers, particularly the state’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Containment System, according to the association.

The association predicts the repercussions in the health care industry are much larger than the savings.

“We are finally reaching the point with hospitals that it is too much of a hit,” Vigdor said.

Vigdor said cuts to the health care industry threaten hospitals’ ability to provide certain services and keep their doors open.

Since 2012, two rural hospitals in Arizona have shut down, according to the association.

ade statewide data system

Apple plans $2B expansion in Arizona, Ducey says

Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that Apple will be expanding in Arizona, with a $2 billion investment in Mesa on a command center for the company’s global networks — representing one of the company’s largest investments in history.

Apple said it will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data center in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the U.S. and serve as a control facility for its global networks.

The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot facility it bought in 2013 failed. The tech giant had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but the company declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed. GT openly accused Apple of using a “classic bait-and-switch strategy” with a deal that he called “massively one-sided.”

After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant. It also has been working to help more than 600 GT employees who lost their jobs.

“This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.,” Apple said in a statement. “Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm.”

An Apple spokesman said construction on the new data center should start late next year, if not earlier. GT is storing advanced furnaces it planned to use in its Apple venture at the plant while the furnaces are being liquidated, delaying the immediate use of the plant.

Apple company expects 150 permanent workers at the site, in addition to construction crews and contractors.

Apple also has committed to building and financing 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, enough to power more than 14,500 homes.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who took office last month, said the quick work to seal the deal with Apple showed that Arizona is the best state in the country to work and do business and works quickly to makes deals happen.

“Apple is exactly the kind of high-tech innovative company we want in the state of Arizona and we showed them that Arizona is the place to be,” Ducey said.

He declined to say what additional incentives Apple was offered beyond a large package offered by previous Gov. Jan Brewer in 2013 and a $5 million tax credit for building solar generation the Legislature passed last year.

Ducey was joined at a press conference announcing the deal by Republican House and Senate leaders, who touted the agreement.

Minority Democrats who watched the press conference said they worried that Ducey’s proposed cuts to schools, universities and the state commerce authority’s incentive funds may hamper efforts to attract business.

“Economic development isn’t just having a low-tax climate,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “Economic development means you have the people who are trained properly to actually be able to do the jobs that you’re encouraging companies to come here and take advantage of.”

GT’s October bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory marked a surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.

Then-Gov. Brewer had hailed Apple’s decision to open the plant in Mesa in November 2013, calling it a sign that the Arizona’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate were paying off. The state has cut business taxes and created several incentives designed to lure new manufacturing businesses in the past several years.

Apple’s data centers provide the computer muscle for the company’s iCloud, ITunes, Siri and other products.

 

 

revel

Revel Systems iPad POS expands into Scottsdale

Revel Systems, the world’s leading iPad Point of Sale platform, today announced it has expanded operations into Arizona through a new Scottsdale office. The company will create 160 new jobs during the next three years to drive its global sales growth. Revel’s Vice President of Sales, Bobby Marhamat will devote resources to create jobs and extend the local footprint in the Greater Phoenix market. Marhamat has been with Revel Systems iPad POS since June of 2014 and has successfully grown sales teams and business initiatives at companies such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

“Revel is building a world-class sales team here in Scottsdale, and we cannot wait to get started,” said Marhamat. “Thousands of food service and retail franchise operators and small-to-medium business owners worldwide depend on Revel’s POS platform to help grow their business. We expect 2015 will bring further interest and expansion in our offering and are excited to leverage Arizona’s vibrant talent pool to extend that momentum.”

“We’re excited to welcome Revel Systems to Arizona,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Their decision to expand in Scottsdale is a strong testament to the pro-business climate, booming corporate base and highly-skilled workforce that have made the East Valley one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing areas in the country. I am committed to ensuring that great companies like Revel continue to look to Arizona as the premiere place to bring their business.”

“We thank Revel Systems for selecting Arizona to expand, and are excited to see its new Scottsdale operation, and innovative POS technology solutions for business, advance the growth of other entrepreneurs across globe,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “Our state’s strategic Southwest location, proximity to key regional growth markets, and competitive cost of doing business continue to provide an attractive platform for today’s leading companies to thrive and achieve their corporate success.”

This Arizona expansion news follows Revel’s announcement in November 2014 where it secured $100 million in Series C funding to strengthen support and operations in order to meet rapidly growing demand and sales for its iPad POS solution.  Additionally, last month Revel opened a UK sales and operations center in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and an IT division in Lithuania.

The Revel iPad POS platform includes complete front-end order entry, POS system and payment processing, back-end personnel scheduling, time clock and payroll, inventory management, comprehensive product/menu management and advanced reporting to successfully measure and optimize business performance.

“We are thrilled to continue Revel’s significant growth with our first office in Arizona,” said Lisa Falzone, CEO and co-founder of Revel. “Our ultimate goal is to empower business owners to start and grow their own businesses, making their lives easier along the way. As we continue to expand Revel’s global reach, scaling a talented team of salespeople will be critical to Revel’s continued success.”

Revel’s new office will be located in the Scottsdale Innovation Center and is officially open for business January 12, 2015. Candidates interested in positions at the new location can contact Revel at jobs@revelsystems.com.

Photo by Shavon Rose/AZ Big Media

Vanessa Hickman resigns for role at ASU

On Jan. 9, Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman informed Gov. Doug Ducey of her resignation. Hickman has accepted a role at Arizona State University, which she will pursue after Jan. 12.

Hickman has worked at the Arizona State Land Department for five years and has been the commissioner since Nov. 2012. As state land commissioner, she oversaw the use of 9.3 million acres of State Trust Land. In 2013, under Hickman’s leadership, the ASLD sold more land in one year than any other year in the department’s history.

“Moving forward, I aspire to help improve the business as usual perspective on the intersect between real estate development, regulatory impacts and natural resource management with the support of a world renowned higher learning institution,” she wrote.

At ASU, Hickman will create an initiative to explore the issues impacting real estate, natural resources and economic development.

“I am confident this initiative will prove useful to the State of Arizona, Arizona State University and many others interested in thoughtful land use,” she wrote.

 

bioscience

Arizona bioscience industry producing ‘aha’ moments

AZBio Expo 2014 had “aha moments” at every turn. With over 250 entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, legislators, scientists and researchers in attendance, the energy was sizzling and the outlook endless. Here are just a few of the event highlights, appropriately, A to Z:

A – Access to Capital is the key. No money. No honey. Capital fuels innovation and commercialization. In the first panel discussion of the day – Funding Paths for Innovators – AZBio chief Joan Koerber-Walker engaged Mary Ann Guerra (BioAccel), Paul Jackson (Integrus Capital/Worthworm) and Kelly Slone (National Venture Capital Association) in a no-holds barred discussion. “The entire ecosystem has changed,” according to Slone. “After the tech bubble burst, available venture dollars have been virtually cut in half.” Guerra explains that only one in 100 will get angel funding – and then only one in 100 will get venture funding. We need to think of new ways to help our startup entrepreneurs get funding.” Jackson urges innovators to think like investors and offers one solution with his online valuation process, Worthworm.

B – Bridging the Gap with the 21st Century Cures Initiative. “No industry has to face the challenges we face to bring a product to market,” says Koerber-Walker. “We have new hope in the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Google it. Watch the videos, See what they are doing. There is exciting stuff happening and some of it is happening in Arizona.”

C — Cure Corridor. Scottsdale’s Mayor Jim Lane shares his pride and plans for the largest concentration of bioscience businesses in the U.S., the Cure Corridor, bounded on one side by the Scottsdale Airpark on the West, and the Fountain Hills Mayo facility on the East, “a major driver of our economy, with $2½ billion in direct economic impact and $3.5 billion in indirect impact.” According to Lane, “Health and wellness are a part of Scottsdale’s identity. We should never stop asking how we can find new answers alleviate pain, restore health and improve the quality of life.”

D – Discovery. Development. Delivery. Valley Fever Solutions CEO David Larwood shared his company’s formula for achieving success in development and funding – The Five R’s:

Right drug.
Right patient.
Right safety.
Right time. (How long before we can sell it?)
Right reimbursent.

E – Epigenetics and Personalized Medicine. Start-up company INanoBio founder and CEO Bharath Takupalli, explained that the genome sequencing market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2020. With a unique capability to combine nanotechnology and biomedicine, his company is in the lead for building new solutions now. “We aim to develop a $100 ultrafast nanopore-based desktop sequencer – a point-of-care diagnostic” that will help change the face of healthcare, he explains.

F – Funding needs to be the focus for the future. According to a Flinn Foundation/Batelle report, “Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the [Flinn Foundation’s] Roadmap’s goals.” Last year, Arizona bioscience sector attracted $37 million in venture capital investment, up from $23 million from 2012, but that is only a fraction of the $9.8 billion invested nationally.

The goal is to increase the annual investment up to $40 million for seed capital in emerging companies and up to $125 million in venture capital.

G – Genomic advances hold high hopes for positively disruption. Explaining that healthcare premiums are growing at three times the rate of inflation and wages, Frederic Zenhausern, Ph.D., MBA, president of Whitespace Enterprise, says “The new era of precision healthcare (also called personalized healthcare) will provide more accessibility, transparency and health information to improve – dramatically – quality and lower cost over time.” His start-up company, based in Fountain Hills, develops methods for automating and miniaturizing the workflow processing of biological specimens.

H – Henry Ford.“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done,” said Henry Ford. So does Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the International Genomics Consortium and founder and CEO of Paradigm. “Phoenix has become the Grand Central Station for all the aggregating and analyzing cancer tissues. We have 10,000 tumors – and the information is publicly available. This will accelerate cancer discovery at a rate faster than ever,” he says. “This is a tidal wave that Arizona has led. Everyone in this room should be grabbing a surfboard and figuring out how to ride it.”

I – IPO: The nation’s top IPO of 2013 is right here in Chandler. With 380 percent growth in shareholder value, Insys Therapeutics, a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company, ended the year with a market cap of $800 million. Darryl Baker, the chief financial officer, explained how the company, founded in 2002 by Dr. John Kapoor, was determined to discover better ways to deliver existing medications to patients. A sublingual fentanyl spray technology delivers treatments to opioid-tolerant cancer patients and holds real possibilities for better helping patients with acute pain, major burns and pediatric issues. In the R&D pipeline now is the development of a pharmaceutical cannabinoid, aimed at easing epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy and cocaine addiction.

J – Jobs: 107,000 bioscience jobs – good-paying and growing. Arizona has nearly 107,000 bioscience jobs, based on 2012 industry data, and the sector contributes an estimated $36 billion in revenue to the state’s economy, according to a study by the Ohio-based Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Hospitals account for 83,000 of those jobs and $22 billion of the revenue. Arizona’s average annual wage in the bioscience sector is $62,775, 39 percent higher than the private-sector average, the report said. Not counting hospital jobs, the average wage for bioscience jobs jumps to $85,571. (2013 data).

K – Kalos Therapeutics is building a promising platform for future drug discovery. Start-up innovator Michael Kozlowski, OD, Ph.D., chief science officer of Kalos Therapeutics, explains that their focus on transforming the atrial natriuretic family of peptides engages a natural biochemical mechanism. This approach holds promise for people with pancreatic cancer because it results in a more complete response, reduced side effects and improved safety and a longer period of effectiveness.

L – Let’s leverage every resource, strength, collaboration and person we’ve got! Arizona’s bioscience industry is aiming to increase research revenue for institutions statewide by 69 percent over the next decade to $782 million and attract additional anchors for the sector.

M – Medtronic models aggressive, needs-focused growth. Keynote speaker Ron Wilson, vice president and general manager of the Medtronic Tempe campus made it clear that passion for people runs through his veins. Locating a small manufacturing facility here in 1973, the company’s facility today covers 30 acres, has 900 employees and generates $17 billion in revenues. How do they do it? We follow our founder’s vision still: We understand what the unmet needs are and we apply our knowledge for the good of people all over the world.”

N – Next Level. “Arizona has made unprecedented progress over the last decade in developing the talent, building research infrastructure, and growing its base. Taking it to the Next Level will require new collaborative partnerships, forward looking leaders, and aggressive investments from both the public and private private sectors to take our place in the top tiers globally,” shared Koerber-Walker. ”Now is our time. Let’s get it done!”

O – Orphans no more. Valley fever, considered an orphan disease, hits about 150,000 people a year – 60 percent live in central Arizona. Current treatments have major shortcomings, with about 60 percent of those treated being unresponsive. The result is 2,000 serious cases and 150 deaths a year. It affects pets in nearly equal proportion. David Larwood, CEO of Valley Fever Solutions, has some answers. His company is developing Nikkomycin Z (NikZ) as a dramatically superior potential cure for Valley Fever. To help raise awareness and prevention, the Arizona Board of Regents created Valley Fever Corridor project, a public health program led by University of Arizona College of Medicine’s John Galgiani, MD, who is also the chief medical officer for Valley Solutions.

P – Policymakers are on board. Gov. Jan Brewer’s time is coming to a close and it’s time to decide which candidate can bring their best to bioscience. Recognizing that the Arizona bioscience sector is growing at four times the rate of the national average, candidates Christine Jones, Doug Ducey, Fred Duval, Ken Bennett and Scott Smith shared their ideas on how to ramp up funding and revenues in 90-second videos. Koerber-Walker says, “The most important thing we can do this summer is vote in the primaries.”

Q – Cues: Here are a few Q’s for success. Some lessons learned, courtesy of Robert Penny:

Make sure you have:

Complementary skills and expertise
Trust
Interpersonal chemistry (It’s better to navigate bumps in the road with people you trust than people you don’t!)

Pick the right projects:

Big enough to be worthy of your efforts
Complex enough to need partnerships
Audacious enough to move the field

R – Remembering Polio: Can Looking Back Catapult Us Forward? How did we cure the world of polio? What did it take to conquer the most feared disease of the 20th Century? What threatens our world today and how can we continue to keep people healthy with the right vaccines, for the right person at the right time? Gaspar Laca, state government affairs director at GlaxoSmithKime, engaged David Larwood, CEO and president of Valley Fever Solutions (and a person who has been directly affected by polio) and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization, in a rousing discussion of what’s happening in Arizona today, the mounting threats of the ”vaccine exemptors,” and what we need to do now. (See Vaccines.)

S – Shoes. Did you see those shoes? “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Enough said.

T – Tucson’s Critical Path Institute creates new tools. A jewel in the bioscience crown – and located right here in Arizona! The Critical Path Institute (C-Path) is a breakthrough organization, creating a new movement: “consensus science.” Keynoter Martha Brumfield. Ph.D, president and CEO, shared what can be achieved when people come together with the belief that a “rising tide floats all boats.” Working to improve the unacceptable 95 percent failure rate in the testing of new drug therapies, C-Path is improving medical product development efficiencies by identifying pathways that integrate new scientific advances into the regulatory review process. Check out their Alzheimer’s clinical trial simulation tool.

U – United we stand. Mayors Jim Lane (City of Scottsdale) and John Lewis (Town of Gilbert) will join Koerber-Walker and an Arizona bioscience-business contingent next week at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego (June 23-26), the world’s largest biotechnology gathering. They will surely scoop up new ideas, new connections – and with any luck, new investment!

V – Vaccines: Get ‘em! Talk about ‘em. Challenge the myths. Explain the realities. Polio. Measles. And whooping cough today. Without proper vaccinations, whooping cough (pertussis) could be the polio of our time. “As science-minded people, the best thing you can do is activate conversations about the importance of vaccinations. Here’s some help: Why immunize?

W – White Hat event brings in national investors. (Apply by July 15th.) “AZBio’s White Hat Investor’s Conference is the first ever life science specific investor conference to be held in Arizona,” says Koerber-Walker. “Kelly Slone [of the National Venture Capital Association] has been an amazing partner to bring this together along with the state bioscience association leaders from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region. Investors and investment firms from across the country will be here, so get involved. Even if you feel like you are not ready yet, take the leap and apply to present. “

X – “X” marks the spot for our next big gathering. Wear your White Hat! The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers. Meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat Investors 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain & Southwest Region.

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the best biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain & Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 & 18, 2014.

Presenting Companies will be selected from the region’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of:

Diagnostics
Therapeutics
Medical Devices
Health IT

Y – Young Talent is being cultivated. We got it! With nearly 50 abstracts accepted and student presenters presenting at the Expo, Koerber-Walker got it right when she said, “These young people are going to be working on things that we can’t even begin to imagine!” Arizona’s tremendous mentoring people and organizations are sharing knowledge, support and inspiration. For example University of Arizona student Keeley Brown is destined to help the world crack the code on genetically modified foods and farming. (Her presentation was the “Epigenetic Effects of Transgenic Manipulation in Glycine Max (Soybeans).

Zzzzzzzzz – No one fell asleep at this conference! Catherine Leyen, founder and CEO of start-up RadiUp, says she comes to AZBio to stay abreast of the action, connect with like-minded people and soak up inspiration. Her verdict of AZBIO Expo 2014? Mission accomplished!

arizona.desert

Arizona land trust account tops $4 billion

The account that holds and invests money from the sale of Arizona trust land has topped $4 billion for the first time ever.

State Treasurer Doug Ducey says total assets in the state’s Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund exceeded the $4 billion mark at the end of February.

The fund gets it cash from the sale of some of the 10 million-plus acres of land granted to Arizona at statehood in 1910 and the treasurer invests the money. Sixty percent is invested in stocks and the rest in high-grade corporate bonds and U.S. Treasury notes.

More than 90 percent of the earnings from the fund are distributed to state’s K-12 schools. In the budget year that begins on July 1, nearly $68 million will go to those schools.

Hamer - June 2011-fornewsletter

The 2012 Hammer Awards

It’s that time of year to hand out some honors for the year’s best. So it is without further ado that I bring you the Third Annual Hammer Awards.
Impact Player of the Year: State Treasurer Doug Ducey
The keeper of the state’s checkbook took down Proposition 204 in a rout, and for that Doug Ducey wins a Hammer. Before he arrived on the scene, the tax measure was poised to coast to victory with no opposition. Ducey rallied opponents to make a clear case to voters why Arizona could do better by its education system than to saddle the state with a permanent tax increase that wouldn’t advance proven reforms. Ducey hit the exacta when Proposition 118, which would help create a more reliable funding stream into the K-12 system, also passed.
Best Public Policy Effort of the Year: (tie) Personnel Reform and Competitiveness Package 2.0
Two major policy efforts in 2012 deserve Hammers.
Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature, led by Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin, were firing on all cylinders in 2012 with their passage of a sweeping personnel reform package that injects a new and much needed level of accountability and professionalism into the state’s employment system. Newly appointed Brewer chief of staff Scott Smith deserves kudos for shepherding the package through the Legislature with the help of two of  the state House ’s brightest rising stars, Justin Olson and Justin Pierce.
As if that weren’t enough, though, the governor and Legislature also passed a major economic competitiveness package in 2012 that built on the gains passed in 2011. Who says you can’t have back-to-back once-in-a-generation job creation bills? This year’s wins included the state’s first ever reduction in the tax on investment income (capital gains), and it now makes Arizona more attractive from a tax standpoint to service providers who sell their services beyond the state’s borders, bringing the service sector into alignment with manufacturers. Gov. Brewer’s lead policy adviser and tax guru Michael Hunter, state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who was honored as the Arizona Chamber’s Representative of the Year, and Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson all deserve a Hammer for a job well done.
Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Salmon
The Hammer goes to former and now Congressman-once-again Matt Salmon for his return to the U.S. House 12 years after he stayed faithful to his term limits pledge that he made when he was a member of the class of 1994. As someone who had the honor of spending a good chunk of his professional life working for Matt, the East Valley will be well served by its incoming congressman who, by having served three terms in the 1990s, brings to his job a perspective (and seniority) few have.
Expect Big Things: Steve Chucri
Maricopa County Supervisor-elect Steve Chucri is one to watch, so he earns the Expect Big Things Hammer. Steve is one of the most affable guys you’ll ever meet. Adding his voice to the Board of Supervisors will ensure that the needs of Maricopa County will always come before any personal political agenda. Drawing on his experience as the chief of the Arizona Restaurant Association, I expect he’ll inject a pro-business point of view into the Board’s work that will help Maricopa County grow more jobs.
Southern Arizona Star: Lea Marquez-Peterson
Lea Marquez-Peterson, the president and CEO of the fast-growing Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, wins the Hammer for her groundbreaking work to illuminate business issues for southern Arizona’s Hispanic and Spanish-speaking community. Through her work on votaaz.org, an online guide to candidates and election information, Lea is ensuring that more people than ever understand public policy’s impact on business.
I’ll Be Back: Kirk Adams
Former state House Speaker Kirk Adams may have come up short in his bid for Congress, but he’s simply too talented a leader and respected as a conservative voice to be gone from the scene long. Here’s hoping it’s won’t be too long until Kirk returns to a position of influence.
Emerging Mayor: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
If I were pressed, I might be able rattle off the names of a dozen or so big city mayors around the country. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton gets the Hammer Award for now having clearly joined that small list of mayors whose influence exceeds the borders of his or her city. Mayor Stanton and his colleagues on the Council are doing great things in Phoenix. The Mayor has taken the lead in advancing trade with Mexico, developing a biotech hub, education and pension reform. Because of Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos, when cities around the country are looking for best practices, they’ll look to Phoenix.
Councilmen of the Year:  Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot
Phoenix has dramatically reduced the time it takes to get a project through the permitting process, an initiative headed up by Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot.  This effort has received national attention, including from columnist George Will.
Buy this Stock: Danny Seiden
Danny Seiden, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s political adviser, wins the Hammer for being a stock to watch in 2013. He was on the inside of two big wins in the 2012 election cycle: the defeat of Props 204 and 121, the so-called open primary measure, all while working with Montgomery to return the office of county attorney to respectability. And to boot, he’s married to one of Arizona’s most talented women, Southwest Gas executive Ann Seiden. Buy this stock!
The Next Generation: Martinez and Romero
They’re barely old enough to rent a car, but Gretchen Martinez (formerly Conger) and Lorna Romero each wins a Hammer for representing the next generation of Arizona politics. Martinez was the successful No on 204 campaign manager while doing her day job directing advocacy efforts at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Romero last month was named Gov. Brewer’s director of legislative affairs, where she helps shepherd the governor’s priorities through the legislative process.
Serious Work for a Funny Man: Chris Bliss and the Bill of Rights Memorial
Professional juggler and comedian Chris Bliss wins a Hammer for his dogged determination to install monuments to the Bill of Rights in civic spaces across America. Thanks to Bliss’ work and legislation introduced by U.S. Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona last week became the first state to dedicate a monument. The limestone pieces with the words of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution can be found at Wesley Bolin Plaza at the state Capitol.
Former Roommate of the Year: Steve Voeller
This is no slight to anyone else who split the rent check with me during my 20s, but Steve Voeller wins the Hammer for Former Roommate of the Year for his tireless and effective tax policy work at the state Capitol as head of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. Steve is now headed off to serve as Sen.-elect Jeff Flake’s chief of staff. A trusted adviser for years to the senator-elect, Steve will be an excellent leader for the Flake office as he shuttles between D.C. and Arizona. The Chamber wishes him the best of luck in his new post.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/.

Sustainable Banks, Green Banking

Arizona panel recommends pension alternative

A committee that studied funding issues with Arizona’s pension system for public employees is recommending that current and former workers be allowed to move into a 401(k)-style plan as an optional alternative to fixed-benefit pensions.

The report by the pension-study committee led by state Treasurer Doug Ducey says the state should also raise the retirement age for future public employees if Arizona is interested in changing its underfunded public-pension system.

Ducey’s committee presented its report at a hearing Thursday.

The Arizona Republic reports Republican committee member Sen. Steve Yarbrough says he will seek legislative approval of some of the report’s recommendations.

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Heroes, Goats and ‘Pure Idiocy’

In case you’ve been living in a cave, next Tuesday is Election Day. Here are a few thoughts about some of the folks that have distinguished themselves as true leaders and others who have made us tune them out this election season.

The Heroes
 
The Treasurer

Treasurer Doug Ducey’s leadership on Proposition 204 is astonishing.  Before his involvement the tax measure was cruising to what many – including me – believed to be a double-digit win.  But now, from every poll that I have seen – including in swing districts in southern Arizona – it is behind and headed for defeat.

Treasurer Ducey has raised dollars, rallied the major chambers and small business groups and an impressive list of mayors and has articulated a clear case on the ills of what would be the state’s largest tax increase. Win, lose or draw, Treasurer Ducey should be recognized for his efforts.

The real education reformers

One of the savviest and wisest policy minds in this state, Jaime Molera, deserves praise for his gutsy opposition when Prop. 204 first hit the streets.  Also making the case for real education reform is Dr. Craig Barrett, who has made clear that 204 is rotten policy. The retired chairman and CEO of Intel delivers as effective a speech as any educational leader in the country on what it takes to improve our schools.  We all agree we need to improve our K-12 education system.  A proposal that permanently raises the state’s sales tax to the second-highest in the nation without directing dollars to proven education reforms is obviously not the answer, though.

The President and the Speaker

Steve Pierce and Andy Tobin have been paragons of leadership at the Legislature the past two years, and in the last year have led their chambers as Senate President and House Speaker, respectively.  Not only have the two championed passage of the most comprehensive set of job creation proposals in the nation, they have passed responsible budgets and moved the state past divisive issues.  As a result of their work and the vision of Gov. Jan Brewer, Arizona is now ranked as a Top-10 state from Chief Executive Magazine and rated number one by the Kauffmann Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Index.

Both President Pierce and Speaker Tobin have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect viable and valuable incumbents, particularly those now thrust into more competitive districts as a result of the redistricting process.

I find it humorous that some would attack Pierce in particular on fundraising.  He has raised more than anyone in the state, perhaps ever (not counting unions; see below) for legislative races. Compare his Herculean efforts with any challenger or even the state GOP and it is obvious that any criticism is crass political posturing. But if you don’t think the president and speaker have done enough, there’s still time to write a check.

The Goats
 
The Pinal County GOP Brain Trust

Sen. Andy Biggs deserves credit for his role in shaping a strong budget this past year.  With that said, it makes no sense to listen to a few angry and misguided Pinal County GOP poobahs and change horses in legislative leadership when under President Pierce’s direction the Senate has been firing on all cylinders. The thought of replacing Andy Tobin’s steady hand with freshman Steve Smith, no matter his enthusiasm, is absurd.

What is particularly outrageous is that this call has been issued at the end of an election in an area of the state that is so hotly contested. Their time in these last precious hours before the polls close would be better spent working to ensure that candidates like Frank Pratt and TJ Shope have a seat in the House of Representatives come January.

Richard Carmona

Rich Carmona’s ad implying an endorsement from Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain is both deceitful and stupid.  Not to provide proper context from remarks made from our senators over 10 years ago is wrong.  Carmona launched his ad on the 45th anniversary of Sen. McCain being shot down over Hanoi. Instead of taking that day to thank and honor Sen. McCain, Carmona instead chose to use the senator to deceive voters.

The Carmona campaign didn’t do itself any favors when it, in response to Sens. McCain and Kyl’s anger over the ad, dismissed the senators as career politicians. The Arizona Republic nailed it in Tuesday’s editorial when it called the Carmona charge, “pure idiocy.”

Carmona left himself open for a strong counterpunch, and the senators connect in their response ad. The counter ad should be enough to put Congressman Flake over the top and into the U.S. Senate.
 
The name callers

If you want to talk about lazy language, the charges that John McComish is an extremist don’t pass the laugh test.  McComish is a business-minded, independent former chamber executive who supports jobs-friendly legislation and stands strong against the bad ideas.  And hopefully there is a price to pay for the bozos who took a page from the Carmona playbook and suggested that Sen. Jerry Lewis endorsed Russell Pearce.  For anyone awake in Arizona, you’ll recall Sen. Lewis defeated Pearce in a recall race last year. You can Google it.

Final Observations

For those not convinced that paycheck protection is urgently needed to prevent union members’ paychecks from being raided to underwrite political campaigns, one need just to look at what is going on in the Senate races involving Senators McComish and Lewis.

Some feel that appeasement works and that certain unions will play nice if left alone.  Well, after somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 in outside dollars -much of it union money – launched against Sen. McComish, we get a sense of how well appeasement works.

If you’re shopping for an early Christmas or Hanukkah gift for Arizona, I recommend paycheck protection legislation.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.