Tag Archives: Economic Development

Kristen Stephenson headshot.jpg

Glendale adds economic development talent

The City of Glendale Office of Economic Development has a new talented team member to tout: Kristen Stephenson has joined the city as an Economic Development Specialist. Stephenson spent 12 years with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), where she provided crucial economic and competitive analyses, including tax policy, incentive analysis and economic impact modeling and was most recently GPEC’s leading Economic Analyst.

“Economic development is an engine for the city of Glendale and we are fortunate to have someone of Kristen’s intellectual acumen on our team who understands the Valley and state and the value of progress through business,” said Brian Friedman, Executive Director of Community and Economic Development. “Accurate, well-positioned market and economic information is critical to everything Glendale does to communicate our proposition, from engaging clients to reaching out to brokers and developers and Kristen’s expertise will help us continue to grow.”

While at GPEC she also oversaw and managed the daily activities of the organization’s research internship program and was responsible for tracking GPEC’s progress toward its goals. Stephenson has played an instrumental role in the development of the new Greater Phoenix Rising website in which she researched, organized and compiled vast amounts of data to fill the site and provided feedback on its creative direction. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Arizona State University and has actively participated in the Arizona Economic Roundtable, an association for business economists, for the past five years. Stephenson grew up in Glendale and currently resides in Glendale with her husband and two sons.

For more information about the Glendale Office of Economic Development, visit www.glendaleaz.com.

Alameda Crossing, De Rito

De Rito Partners, Inc. Negotiates Sale of Alameda Crossing Restaurant Building

Agents Paul Serafin and Matt Morrell with De Rito Partners, Inc. negotiated the $1.4M sale of a 6,699 SF restaurant building at Alameda Crossing on the N/NE corner of Dysart & McDowell roads. The buyer was Rangel Enterprises, LLC for Martin & Patricia Rangel, Fiesta Mexicana Restaurants and the seller was AR 1733 North, Dysart LLC for Penny Pritzker, Deborah Harmon, Artemis Real Estate Partners.

Sonoqui Wash, Stanley Consultants

Sonoqui Wash Flood Control Project Wins Design Award

The Sonoqui Wash Channelization Phase 2 project, a regional flood control channel located in Maricopa County, recently received an Honor Award in the annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona (ACEC).  The project was designed by Stanley Consultants, a consulting engineering firm located in Phoenix.

“This project is a key element in the regional flood control plan for Maricopa County and the Town of Queen Creek.  It reduces the floodplain limit and removes residential properties from the floodplain,” said Tim Phillips, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Flood Control District of Maricopa County.  “And along with its primary flood control objective, the project also helps link adjacent communities, provides a recreational and open space amenity, and connects residents to local and regional trails and parks.”

Stanley Consultants also designed the downstream initial phase of the Sonoqui Wash Channelization Project (Phase 1), which was completed in 2008.  That project also received an Engineering Excellence Honor Award from ACEC. Together, the two phases protect over 150 homes from flooding and provide open space and seven miles of equestrian trails.  Phases 1 and 2 also provide an outfall for another upstream phase of the channel project (Phase 3) which will remove hundreds more residential properties from the floodplain.

Stanley Consultants has a long history of design and construction management on major flood control and water resources projects in the United States and internationally.  In addition to Maricopa County, the firm has designed regional channels and basins for the Clark County Regional Flood Control District in Las Vegas, post- Hurricane Katrina levees and pump stations in New Orleans for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, numerous locks and dams in the mid-west, and large regional facilities for the South Florida Water Management District.

Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

Project News: Perkins Coie LLP

Developer/Building Owner: Phoenix Plaza, PT, LLC

General Contractor: Wespac Construction

Construction Manager: Cresa Partners, Jason Wery

Architect: Evolution Design, Inc., Roberta Thomas, IIDA, ASID

Location: 2901 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Size: 89,000 SF

Brokerage Firm: Lee & Associates, Craig Coppola

Value: WND

Estimated start and completion dates: June 2012 to September 2013

Subcontractors: Transact Commercial Furnishings, Audio Visual Recorders, Dakota Security

Project Description: The Phoenix office of this 900-lawyer, 19-office law firm focuses on patent and commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, real estate and business transactions, and bankruptcy.

The client’s main objective was to create an updated yet timeless aesthetic. This project was an occupied remodel phased across four floors over a15 month construction duration.

The scope of work included full service design that encompassed space planning, design, furniture selection, construction documentation, and construction administration. The project was recently recognized at the 2013 ASID Design Excellence Awards with second place in commercial office design.

KrispyKreme

SRS Real Estate Partners Sells Building at The Park in Chandler to Krispy Kreme

SRS Real Estate Partners announced the sale of a 53,492-square-foot shopping center outparcel which includes a 3,504-square-foot former bank building located at the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and Alma School Road in Chandler, Ariz.

Alan Houston and Jeff Alba with SRS Real Estate Partners represented the seller, Grossman/Robson Associates in the transaction.  Andy Kroot with Velocity Retail represented the buyer, Hot Glazed Enchantment, Inc.

Kroot announced Krispy Kreme Doughnuts purchased the former Washington Mutual Bank building at the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and Alma School Road in Chandler. The transaction closed escrow on August 26, 2013 with Andy Kroot of Velocity Retail Group, LLC representing the buyer – Hot Glazed Enchantment, Inc., a New Mexico corporation and SRS Real Estate Partners representing the seller – Grossman/Robson Associates. The building was +/-3,504 SF on 1.23 acres of land and sold for $837,500.

“We are pleased to be able to help Krispy Kreme expand their presence and product offering in the greater Phoenix area,” said Kroot, “and we are continuing to look for sites (for sale or for lease) in the 1,500 to 3,500 square-feet range on freestanding locations or end caps with drive-thru.”

At the moment, Krispy Kreme has four stores open in the greater Phoenix area; the Mesa factory at Superstition Springs Boulevard/US 60 Freeway, 7055 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale AZ, 1984 W. Main St., Mesa, and 3201 W. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, with other stores in the works. Krispy Kreme was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, NC, and is well known for its signature hot Original Glazed® doughnut. There are 649 Krispy Kreme locations in 21 countries around the world.

Sandra Watson

Sandra Watson – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Sandra Watson – President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

Watson has more than 20 years of economic development leadership and experience. She and her teams have attracted hundreds of companies to Arizona that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 65,000 quality jobs.

Surprising fact: “My career in economic development began in Canada. When my family and I moved to Arizona, I continued economic development work with the City of Chandler and then the state of Arizona.”

Biggest challenge: “Economic development during the recession was extremely challenging. Working with Gov. Brewer and our elected leadership to create the Arizona Commerce Authority and lay the foundation for a more sustainable economy has been incredibly rewarding and is already paying dividends through quality job creation for Arizonans.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

Judith Dworkin - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Judith Dworkin – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Judith DworkinManaging partner, Sacks Tierney

Dworkin’s practice is devoted primarily to Indian law and water resources law issues. She also teaches courses in water law and natural resources Law at the ASU College of Law and advises its Indian Law Program. She lectures regularly and publishes on topics relating to economic development on Indian reservations.

Surprising fact: “After earning a Ph.D. and pursuing a career as an academic at universities in Canada and the United States, I left academia, with a newborn son in tow, to enter law school.”

Biggest challenge: “Whether managing or negotiating, I try to understand the people sitting at the table, so I can find a solution that works for all. It’s a continuing challenge.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

online sales tax issue

Legislative Session Improves Business Landscape in Arizona

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), the largest trade association in Arizona representing over 11,000 member businesses in all 15 counties, tracked 65 bills during Arizona’s 51st Legislature (Jan. 14 – June 13, 2013), eight of which were Priority Bills. ASBA has announced all eight Priority Bills passed.

“We have a strong sense of responsibility to our members and Arizona’s business community,” states Jerry Bustamante, ASBA sr. vice president of public policy. “We understand that our actions influence how our elected officials vote and that our members hold us to a high standard.”

To advocate for businesses throughout Arizona, ASBA focused on five legislative priorities: 1) Taxation, 2) Regulation, 3) Economic Development, 4) Health Care and 5) Education.

“Bills signed into law such as HB 2147 and 2324 are excellent examples of a good public policy that, collectively, make Arizona more business-friendly and provide relief to existing businesses,” says Rick Murray, CEO of ASBA. “HB 2111, commonly known as TPT, on the other hand, is a single bill that will make a dramatic contribution that will completely change the landscape in which businesses operate. TPT will provide a much needed overhaul to an overly burdensome tax system.”

Bustamante adds, “ASBA is proud to have been part of, and have taken a leadership role in, the coalition of business groups that fought to reform TPT and bring much-needed relief to Arizona.”

The following were ASBA’s 2013 Priority Bills:

HB 2111: Transaction Privilege Tax Change (TPT)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Lesko, LD 21
  • Summary: This is the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) simplification bill that intends to significantly reform how sales taxes are collected in Arizona. The intent of the bill is to provide Arizona businesses with, and return Arizona to, a single organization that manages all tax and audit activities. The Arizona Department of Revenue would be charged with creating an online portal to provide a single location to get a TPT permit, file TPT returns and make TPT payments for all jurisdictions in the state.
  • Result: After much debate and compromise, HB 2111 passed out of the House with a 58-1 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2147: Unemployment Benefits; Proof; Eligibility

  • Sponsor: Rep. Warren Petersen, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill is the latest effort to reform how unemployment benefits are delivered in Arizona and attempts to level the playing field where businesses have been at a disadvantage. This bill provides much-needed relief to Arizona businesses by shifting the burden of proof on an applicant who resigned their employment but claims they were fired. Unemployment insurance applicants, rather than the employer, will have to demonstrate that they involuntarily left employment.
  • Result: HB 2147 passed out of the House with a 34-24 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 17-12 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2324: TPT Exemption; Leases; Affiliated Companies

(Municipal Tax Code; Leases)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, LD 12
  • Summary: This bill exempts commercial leases from TPT tax when the owner of the business and the building being leased is one in the same. Municipalities and special taxing districts are prohibited from levying a transaction privilege or use tax on gross income derived from leasing real property between affiliated companies, businesses or persons, or by a reciprocal insurer. Cities that do collect such taxes may continue to require payment until October of 2013.
  • Result: HB 2324 passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

HB 2336: Taxation; Retail Classification; Cash Equivalents

  • Sponsor: Rep. Tom Forese, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill exempts a number of items referred to as “cash equivalents” purchased in advanced in a dollar value denomination from retail TPT tax. These cash equivalents are gift cards, vouchers, money orders and traveler’s checks. No TPT is paid to buy a gift card, but TPT is paid when a gift card is used to purchase goods.
  • Result: HB 2336 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 29-0 vote on the legislature’s final day and will soon arrive on Governor Brewer’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 2599: Procurement Code; Amendments

  • Sponsor: Rep. Justin Pierce, LD 25
  • Summary: This bill amends Arizona’s procurement code to more closely scrutinize state employees involved in purchasing decisions who move back and forth between government and private sector jobs. The bill also makes technical changes in how the state selects the winner of an RFP, and its overall intent is for government to operate more like the private sector.
  • Result: HB 2599 passed out of the House with a 59-0 vote, passed out of the Senate with a 24-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1168: Internal Revenue Code Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes changes to Arizona’s income tax laws to ensure that they conform to the federal IRS code in effect as of January 1, 2013.
  • Result: SB 1168 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1169: Prop 117, Conformity

  • Sponsor: Steve Yarbrough, LD 17
  • Summary: This bill makes various changes to the Arizona revised statutes in order to conform to Proposition 117 (property tax assessed valuation; limitation), which was passed by Arizona voters during the 2012 general election. Proposition 117 had nothing to do with the tax rate, but caps at five percent the maximum increase in property value that taxable real property can grow in a certain year.
  • Result: SB 1169 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 58-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 1233: Limited Liability Companies; Ownership Interests

  • Sponsor: Senator Adam Driggs, LD 28
  • Summary: We refer to this bill as the estate planning bill. This bill amends the Limited Liability Company Act by adding a new provision that governs members as it relates to forms of ownership. An interest in a limited liability company (LLC) may be held by two or more people as joint tenants with right of survivorship, or by a married couple as community property with right of survivorship, except as prohibited or restricted in an operating agreement.
  • Result: SB 1233 passed out of the Senate with a 28-0 vote, passed out of the House with a 56-0 vote and was signed into law by the Governor.

ASBA develops its policy positions and statements through its Public Policy Committee, which is comprised of ASBA members providing volunteer leadership and key ASBA staff. Under the direction of ASBA’s Board of Directors, the Public Policy Committee is charged with conducting research, surveying the membership, developing ASBA legislative priorities tracking bills and taking action to influence the passage or defeat of bills. Learn more about ASBA and its role in public policy, visit www.asba.com or call 602-306-4000 or 520.327.0222.

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Technology expands meeting and conference industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mane Attraction Salon logo

12/12/12 Deals At Mane Attraction Salon

One time only, on a day that happens only once every 100 years, Mane Attraction Salon in Phoenix is offering the following three specials:

  1. Book your next hair appointment for Wednesday, December 12 at Mane Attraction, and receive $12 off — whether it be a haircut, color or style.
  2. For those who haven’t booked an appointment yet, the 12th caller to schedule a service that day will receive a free haircut and a deep conditioning masque.
  3. And, lastly, the 12th client to check in that day will receive all of his or her booked services for free.

12/12/12 at Mane Attraction Salon

When: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 3156 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Contact: (602) 956-2996
Web: maneattractionsalon.com

sandra watson*280

Arizona Commerce Authority gets new CEO

The Arizona Commerce Authority — the state’s economic development organization — is finally getting a new CEO to replace Don Cardon. The ACA is charged with creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy.

The Arizona Commerce Authority board voted unanimously Tuesday to have a board committee negotiate a contract with Sandra Watson, who was chief deputy to former CEO Cardon and has served as interim CEO since July.

Watson has made $218,000 annually as interim CEO. Cardon’s salary was $300,000.

The quasi-private authority took over economic development functions from the now-disbanded state Department of Commerce. The authority gets $35 million of state funding annually, including $25 million for grants to help attract, expand or retain businesses.

Cardon announced in January that he will return to running his businesses.

The authority’s board hired a search firm to help find a new CEO, but Gov. Jan Brewer said no other candidates emerged from that process as a finalist.

“We certainly interviewed and consulted with a lot of people but no one rose to the occasion,” said Brewer, who heads the authority’s board.

The board’s executive committee decided “that Sandra really stepped up in the interim and that she would serve us well as the ACA president moving forward,” the governor said.

Brewer won legislative approval of creation of the authority last year as part of legislation that also included business tax cuts.

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AAED plans tribal symposium

Arizona Association for Economic Development to Host Symposium:
“Rising to New Heights: Tribal Economic Development Impact in Arizona”

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) will host a symposium, “Rising to New Heights: Tribal Economic Development Impact in Arizona,” Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Country Club, located at 2901 N. Seventh St. in Phoenix.

Luncheon keynote speaker will be Jonodev Chaudhuri, counselor to the assistant secretary – Indian Affairs, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, who will address “Emerging Opportunities for Business Collaboration” between the federal government and tribal businesses and will highlight examples of successful partnerships among government and business partners.

The morning keynote speaker will be Diane Humetewa, special advisor to President Michael Crow, special counsel, general counsel’s office & professor of practice, college of law, Arizona State University.
The cost is $65 for members, $75 for non-members and $90 for late registrants. Registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 28.  Lunch is included.   Please request vegetarian meal in advance.  Call AAED with questions at 602-240-AAED (2233), or visit the AAED website, www.aaed.com.

AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID).  The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991 to better reflect its broader mission.

The strategic vision of AAED is to be the leading advocate of responsible economic development for all of Arizona by leading the facilitation of public/private cooperation and fostering teamwork to address the growth and quality of life issues that face Arizona.  For more information on AAED, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Energy Supply And Demand – A Holistic Approach To Energy Independence

Energy is the lifeblood of the economy. Arizona’s population and energy use are projected to grow for the foreseeable future and our economic prosperity is closely tied to the availability of reliable and affordable supplies of energy. While energy supply, energy demand and the natural environment are at a significant point of conflict, the effect of this tension can be mitigated through a collaborative effort among all stakeholders which can help create balance.

The need for collaboration is at the heart of why the Arizona Technology Council accepted the responsibility of leadership for the Arizona Energy Consortium (AEC) in July, 2011. The effort was established under the auspices of the City of Phoenix related to a grant from the Federal Department of Labor to establish strategies for integrating the workforce needs of targeted green energy industries in Arizona. The City, as part of the central region, was awarded a large portion of the Arizona State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) grant that agreed to establish an energy consortium to define the workforce needs in the energy arena. Thus, the Arizona Energy Consortium was founded.

City leaders quickly realized they were addressing issues that went well beyond city borders and the workforce. When the City of Phoenix approached the Council about taking AEC under its wing, it made perfect sense to us. The Council has members from every side of the energy equation, from traditional production to renewable and energy conservation. We represent a statewide neutral ground that’s not tied to a particular technology, and can embody the entire energy industry.

Today, the AEC is comprised of more than 250 members from the state’s diverse energy sectors and is co-chaired by Michelle De Blasi, a partner with the law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP and chair of its Solar Energy Law Team, and Christopher Davey, executive director of EnviroMission. Constituents from city and state governments, utilities, law firms, conservation groups, private industry and universities are all working together to get real work done and break down the silos that have long existed in Arizona.

One of the charters of AEC is to serve as a supportive venue for current and new members locating or expanding their businesses within the state, as well as a repository for reliable information related to the energy industry. In addition, AEC is providing meaningful input towards the development of a long-term Energy Roadmap to strongly promote both economic development initiatives and continued technological innovation across the state. The end result will be similar to the long-term bioscience roadmap initiated by the Flinn Foundation designed to make the state’s life sciences sector globally competitive.

Can we achieve energy independence in our lifetime? Given Arizona’s unique abundance of sunshine, we certainly have an advantage on the production side of the equation in the renewable energy sector and are well positioned to become an exporter of energy. Arizona possesses many of the essential elements necessary to become a global leader in energy, but must strengthen its will, focus, collaboration and messaging, to achieve this goal. With everyone working together to raise all boats, AEC is taking this holistic approach.

For more information, visit aztechcouncil.org/committees/aec.


Steven G. Zylstra is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Technology Council.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

tucson airport authority

Tucson Airport Authority Hires Director Of Operations

Danette Bewley recently joined Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) as director of operations.

“I entered the aviation industry at birth,” said Bewley, whose father was a Navy fighter pilot and commercial airline pilot for more than 35 years.

A private pilot herself, Bewley’s 23-year airport management career has taken her around the nation. She recently served as assistant director of airport economic development for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority. Bewley previously held the director position at Jacksonville International Airport and worked at San Diego International Airport in several capacities over a 14-year period.

Bewley has earned Accredited Airport Executive (AAE) designation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and has been a member of AAAE’s board or directors and board of examiners. Bewley holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from National University in San Diego.

In the newly created director of operations position, Bewley’s role is to ensure compliance with federal regulations and maintain emergency preparedness at both Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield through oversight of airfield safety and communications dispatch efforts.

“This is an incredible opportunity to work for an airport authority that is respected worldwide for its exceptional leadership and contributions to the aviation industry,” Bewley said.

For more information on the Tucson Airport Authority, visit the Tucson Airport Authority’s website at flytucsonairport.com.

federal transportation bill

Brewer Applauds I-11 Inclusion In Federal Transportation Bill

The federal Transportation Bill made it through Congress and includes improving I-11.

WASHINGTON — Finding rare political accommodation on the cusp of a holiday recess, Congress passed legislation Friday designed to salvage 2.8 million jobs and shield students from a sharp increase in loan interest rates.

The legislation, which also revamps highway and transit programs and shores up the federal flood insurance program, now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signatures.

The federal Transportation Bill includes Interstate 11, which would better link Phoenix and Las Vegas.

There’s also the potential to extend the highway north toward Canada and south to the Mexico border.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says it would be “a significant step in continuing to foster economic development and tourism, build stronger transportation infrastructure for the Intermountain West and support national and international trade.”

The governor’s office says Phoenix and Las Vegas remain the largest U.S. cities not linked by an interstate highway corridor.

The combined population of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Reno was less than 700,000 when the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was enacted.

Lawmakers trying to leave town for a weeklong Fourth of July recess had been facing twin deadlines: Federal highway and transit aid programs and the government’s authority to levy federal fuel taxes were expiring Saturday. And interest rates on new student loans were set to double on Sunday.

The burst of legislating came just four months before the November elections, giving lawmakers achievements to show off to voters who have increasingly held Congress in low esteem while the economy continues to flounder.

“We have a bill that will boost this economy. We have a bill that is supported by conservatives and liberals, progressives and moderates. I think it’s a great day,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who led Senate negotiations on the transportation portion of the package.

Boxer estimated the bill would save about 1.8 million jobs by keeping aid for highway and transit construction flowing to states and create another 1 million jobs by using federal loan guarantees to leverage private sector investment in infrastructure projects.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Probably millions would have been put out of work if we hadn’t acted.”

Not all lawmakers were happy.

“At least it’s not as bad as our Republican colleagues wanted,” complained Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who has championed bike and pedestrian programs that the measure would squeeze. “But make no mistake, it is not a bill to be proud of.”

In the bargaining that led up to an agreement on the package earlier this week, House Republicans gave up their demands that the bill require approval of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline and block federal regulation of toxic waste generated by coal-fired power plants. Democrats gave ground on environmental protections and biking, pedestrian and safety programs.

The bill consolidates various transportation programs and reduces the number of programs by two-thirds. States would have more flexibility on how they spend transportation aid. It also revamps rules on environmental studies of the potential impact of highway projects, with an aim toward cutting in half the time it takes to complete construction projects. And the measure contains an array of safety initiatives, including requirements that would make it more likely passengers would survive a tour bus crash.

“It doesn’t have everything,” Mica said. But “we were able to do more with less and move transportation for the nation forward.”

The bill would spend about $100 billion on federal highway programs over two years, but puts off the politically tricky decision on how to pay for them after that.

The federal 18.4 cent-a-gallon gasoline tax and 24.4 cent-a-gallon diesel tax are no longer enough to pay for current spending on highway and transit programs. And two commissions and an array of private sector experts have said the U.S. should be spending about twice as much or more on its transportation infrastructure as it does now.

But Congress and the White House have refused to discuss raising fuel taxes or an alternative long-term source of money. The federal trust funds that pay for highway and transit programs are forecast to be nearly broke by the time the bill expires.

“When the bill expires we face a high cliff from which the program could fall,” said Erich Zimmerman, a policy analyst with Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The fuel taxes are not indexed for inflation and haven’t been increased since 1993, so their buying power has steadily eroded. Also, cars and trucks today are more fuel-efficient and the number of miles driven has flattened, resulting in less gas tax revenue. Since 2008, Congress has three times dipped into the national general treasury to borrow a total of $34.5 billion to keep transportation programs going.

Congressional bargainers reached an agreement earlier this week on the $6 billion college loan portion of the bill that would avert a doubling of interest rates beginning Sunday on federal loans to 7.4 million students. The current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans would balloon back to 6.8 percent on Sunday under a cost-saving maneuver contained in a 2007 law.

About $20 billion of the measure’s cost is paid for by making changes in companies’ pension calculations that will reduce their tax deductions, and increasing the payments businesses must make to insure their pension programs.

The bill also extends the federal flood insurance program to protect 5.6 million households and businesses. It addresses a shortfall arising from claims after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina by reducing insurance subsidies for vacation homes and allowing for increases in premiums.

The measure also requires that 80 percent of fines for violations of the Clean Water Act as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will go to a trust fund for Gulf Coast states damaged by the spill.

For more information on the federal Transportation Bill, visit The House of Representative’s website at appropriations.house.gov.

small business - ASBA advocacy

ASBA Shapes Public Policy For Arizona Small Businesses

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), the largest trade association in Arizona representing over 11,000 member businesses, has ramped up its public policy focus over the past few years at the state and federal level to advocate for small businesses throughout Arizona. After surveying its members, ASBA determined the following five areas as its 2012 Legislative Priorities: 1) Taxation, 2) Regulation, 3) Economic Development, 4) Health Care and 5) Education.

“We are committed to stronger representation and increased advocacy for small businesses at the state and federal level to make Arizona more business friendly,” states ASBA CEO Rick Murray. “And because of our size, ASBA has the clout to shape public policy.”

This year, ASBA had 13 priority bills to help support small businesses, six of which were passed and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Among them:

HB 2123 “Transaction Privilege Tax Reform Committee”

Establishes a 13-member Committee to study, make recommendations and propose legislation to revise Arizona’s tax code to reflect the 21st Century economy. This includes both individual and corporate income tax, as well as transaction privilege tax, or sales tax.

HB2159 “Unemployment Insurance; Independent Contractors; Appeals”

Clarifies language on unemployment insurance and essentially increases the amount of time an employer has to file various appeals on unemployment insurance claims.

HB2272 “Public Records Exemption, Research Data”

The exemption from public records laws for certain state university records is expanded to include information or intellectual property that is developed by persons employed by a university. This will protect the private sector’s intellectual property and encourage more research and clinical studies conducted in Arizona.

“Public policy is a priority of ASBA,” says Jerry Bustamante, senior vice president of public policy for ASBA. “We had a very productive legislative session this year with many wins that Arizona businesses are going to benefit from.” Bustamante adds that, while ASBA advocates for small businesses at the state and federal level, it also works with local chambers of commerce throughout Arizona on legislative issues and encourages them to take the lead and be the voice of business in their communities and city hall.

ASBA has a Public Policy Committee of dedicated volunteer members and staff that are charged with conducting research, surveying the membership, developing its legislative priorities, tracking bills and taking action to influence the passage or defeat of bills. In addition, Murray and Bustamante are Lobbyists and the organization maintains a Lobbyist dedicated to attending each day of the legislative session.

For more information on ASBA’s role in public policy and its 2012 legislative priorities and how it helps small businesses, visit asba.com/legislativesummary.

Phoenix AAED

AAED Announces New Board Members

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) has announced its new officers and new board members for 2012-2013.

Teri Drew

Teri Drew, regional director for NACOG-EWD

Teri Drew, regional director for NACOG-EWD, has been elected president. Serving with her on the executive committee will be Eric Larson, director of acquisitions for AVB Development, president-elect; Danielle Casey, assistant city manager for the city of Maricopa, vice president;  Julie Engel, CEcD, president and CEO, Yuma Economic Development Corporation, secretary/treasurer; and Chris Camacho, vice president of development for Greater Phoenix Economic Council, immediate past-president.

Newly-elected AAED board members include: Caroline Bowen of SOS Staffing Services and Amanda Jacobs of the town of Oro Valley, both representing metro Tucson, and David Drennon of the Arizona Commerce Authority and Jennifer Graves, CEcD, of  the city of Mesa, who represent metro Phoenix.

AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID).  The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991 to better reflect its broader mission.

The strategic vision of AAED is to be the leading advocate of responsible economic development for all of Arizona by leading the facilitation of public/private cooperation and fostering teamwork to address the growth and quality of life issues that face Arizona.  For more information on AAED, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.

economic development - 8 honored

8 Earn Economic Development Awards

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) has announced the recipients of its annual Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) awards. The awards were presented during an evening awards dinner at the AAED Spring Conference in Sedona.

The prestigious EDDE awards honor individuals and companies who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the organization and also to the economic growth within the state of Arizona. Recipients are selected from a pool of nominations made by members of AAED. Overall eight EDDEs were presented.

The William Lampkin Award for Long Term Excellence in Economic Development was given to Sally Odette, CEcD, senior consultant, Economic and Community Development for APS.

Julie Engel, CEcD, president and CEO of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, was the recipient of the Economic Developer of the Year, Large Community Award. The award for Economic Developer of the Year, Small Community, was presented to Richard Wilkie, senior management analyst for the city of Casa Grande.

Brandon Kavanagh, a partner with Mangum, Wall, Stoops & Warden in Flagstaff, was cited as Member of the Year.

Angela Talbot of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council was named AAED’s 2012 New Member of the Year.

Kari McCormick of Kitchell Contractors was recognized as Economic Developer of the Year – Tribal Communities.

The award for Large Organization of the Year was presented to the city of Phoenix and the award for Small Organization of the Year was bestowed upon Sigma Contracting.

AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID). The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991 to better reflect its broader mission.

The strategic vision of AAED is to be the leading advocate of responsible economic development for all of Arizona by leading the facilitation of public/private cooperation and fostering teamwork to address the growth and quality of life issues that face Arizona.

For more information on the Arizona Association for Economic Development, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.

desert peaks award

Desert Peaks Awards Recipients Named

During a special ceremony in June, the Maricopa Association of Governments will honor nine partnerships and individuals who have been selected to receive the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards. The prestigious awards are presented to those agencies and individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting, recognizing, and attaining the ideals of regionalism.

Recipients will be honored during the Maricopa Association of Governments Desert Peaks Awards on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel, 340 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix. The ceremony begins at 6:15 p.m. More than 200 people, including elected officials and business leaders, are expected to attend the ceremony.

Awards will be distributed in six categories: Public PartnershipPublic-Private PartnershipProfessional Service (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Partnership (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Excellence (two recipients were selected for this honor), and a  new category added this year, Outstanding Economic Development Champion.

This year, two individuals were selected to receive the program’s highest honor for Regional Excellence, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. Mayor Rogers was nominated “for her regional leadership in guiding the transformation of not only Avondale but the entire region through her direct engagement to ensure its economic, social and cultural vitality.” Councilmember Shana Ellis was cited for being instrumental in having the Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro) and METRO light rail work in tandem to realize significant efficiencies through a combined, streamlined regional agency.

2012 DESERT PEAKS AWARDS RECIPIENTS:

  • Public Partnership: Regional Emergency Transportation Service
  • Public-Private Partnership: City of Avondale and the Gangplank Collective
  • Professional Service: Mr. Ed Beasley, City Manager, City of Glendale; and Mr. David Smith, former County Manager, Maricopa County
  • Regional Partnership: Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project; Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative
  • Regional Excellence: Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale; Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe
  • Outstanding Economic Development Champion: The Flinn Foundation

Costs of the event are being offset through sponsorships. Gold Sponsors include Atkins North America; Cambridge Systematics; HDR Engineering; and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Silver Sponsors include APS; Arizona Lottery; Delta Dental; Kimley-Horn and Associates; MJ Insurance; Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander, P.A.; Wells Fargo, N.A.; and Wilson & Company, Inc. Engineers and Architects.

Bronze Sponsors include Arup; Burgess & Niple; The CK Group, Inc.; ECOtality, Inc.; Jacobs; Technical & Business Systems; TerraSystems Southwest; and Triadvocates.

Recipients were selected by a distinguished panel of judges who represent diverse interests from throughout the Valley. The judging panel for the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards included James K. Ballinger, director of the Phoenix Art Museum; Don Cassano, former city of Tempe councilmember and ombudsman for the Arizona Department of Transportation; Angela Creedon, assistant vice president of public affairs with Arizona State University; Michael S. Ellegood, senior consultant of public works with PSMJ Resources; Lloyd Harrell, former city manager of Chandler; and Jack Lunsford, former executive director of WESTMARC.

For more information on the Desert Peaks Awards, visit Maricopa Association of Government’s website at azmag.gov.

business - best and worst

CEOs Rank Best, Worst States For Business

For the eighth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States Survey. Florida rose one spot to take the No. 2 rank, while North Carolina slipped to No. 3. Tennessee remained at No. 4 while Indiana climbed a spot to capture the No. 5 rank. CEOs named the worst states to do business as California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan.

Arizona ranked No. 13, down two spots from its ranking in 2011.

The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiment of CEOs on business conditions around the nation. For the 2012 survey, 650 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states on a broad range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure. The survey was conducted from Jan. 24 to Feb. 26, 2012.

Louisiana was the biggest gainer in the survey, rising 14 spots to be the No. 13 most attractive state in the country to do business. The biggest loser was Oregon, which dropped nine spots to No. 42.

CEOs surveyed said California’s poor ranking is the result of its hostility to business, high state taxes and overly stringent regulations, which is driving investment, companies and jobs to other states. According to Spectrum Locations Consultants, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009.

“CEOs tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas, by contrast, has been welcoming companies and entrepreneurs, particularly in the high-tech arena,” said J.P. Donlon, Editor-in-Chief of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. “Local economic development corporations, as well as the state Texas Enterprise Fund, are providing attractive incentives. This, along with the relaxed regulatory environment and supportive State Department of Commerce adds up to a favorable climate for business.”

Inhospitable business environments mean less jobs, as entrepreneurs and established corporations seek more cost-efficient and tax-friendly locales, said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. “This survey shows that states that create policies and incentives are rewarded with investment, jobs and greater overall economic activity.”

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, methodology and more, please visit ChiefExecutive.net.

AAED Conference

AAED Conference Will Focus On Healthcare, Energy, Aerospace, Technology

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) will host its annual Spring Conference, May 9-12 at the Sedona Hilton Resort and Spa in Sedona.  The conference, “Catch Arizona’s Heatwave,” will focus on healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology.

Cost for the conference is: $345 for member-practitioners, $395 for member-providers, and $495 for non-members.  The registration fee does not include accommodations.  Additional details are available at aaed.eventbrite.com or by calling (602) 240-2233.

In addition to educational programming, the conference features AAED’s annual EDDE Awards banquet recognizing Arizona’s top economic developers.

AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID).  The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991 to better reflect its broader mission.

The strategic vision of AAED is to be the leading advocate of responsible economic development for all of Arizona by leading the facilitation of public/private cooperation and fostering teamwork to address the growth and quality of life issues that face Arizona.  For more information, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.

Graph 1

GPEC: Plans To Revive The Economy

Look past the Valley’s long, slow climb out of a difficult recession to the next 10, 20, even 100 years and you see a potential hotbed of wealth and productivity: a regional economy that has diversified from its traditional reliance on growth and housing. That’s the vision painted by board members and financial supporters of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( GPEC ), which has been working since 1989 to leverage the many strengths of the entire metro area.

In the 22 years since its inception, GPEC already has assisted 488 companies in their moves to the Valley, which by its own count translates into 88,610 jobs, $9.96 billion
in capital investment and $3.1 billion in payroll.

In the next century, look for GPEC to shape the following sectors and services:

Municipalities

The greatest influence GPEC will have on Valley cities will be to help leaders think of themselves as a unified economy, says Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, which is one of the 19 cities and towns that contribute financially to GPEC.

“That sounds like a simple thing, but it’s actually been a very challenging task,” Smith says, with the East Valley vying against the West Valley, city fighting city, and “Phoenix fighting everyone else” for economic development opportunities.

In the coming decades, economic activity will continue to consolidate in cities, Smith says. Already, about 85 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product is generated in cities and it is estimated that 90 percent of the new jobs created will be in metro areas. GPEC will continue to play a major role in helping cities get beyond parochialism and work together to create a regional economic powerhouse.

“The Sun Corridor is not some figment of someone’s imagination,” says Smith, referring to the corridor stretching from the middle of Yavapai County south to Tucson that is expected in the next century to merge into one integrated metro area. “We see it growing every day.”

“GPEC plays a central role in that,” he says. “We are learning how to work better together.”

Technology

The Arizona of the future will do a better job developing a culture of innovation for small, high-tech companies, says Steve Shope, president of Sandia Research Corporation and a
GPEC board member.

A short-term goal that may reap long-term benefits would be to help companies attain funding through the U.S. government’s Small Business Innovation Research program, which awards funds for research and development that has the potential to be commercialized.

“In Arizona, we’re not doing a very good job of bringing that money into the state,” says Shope, who would like to see the figure double to $50 million.

The state needs a better representation of venture capital in general, he says, and thus needs to nurture venturecapital-ready companies.

Shope is a member of GPEC’s new Innovation Council, which he says is developing a framework for how it will operate and hopes to have a master plan this year.

Another way GPEC will shape the future of the technology industry is by continuing to focus on clean tech companies, particularly renewable energy companies and those involved in residential construction and high-efficiency housing.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, a subset of Arizona’s already mature aerospace and defense industry, is a sector that “is in the Model T stage, but has potential for gigantic growth,” Shope says.

Housing

Looking back, one can see how homebuilding and construction became primary drivers of the state’s economy, says Andy Warren, president of Maracay Homes and a GPEC board member.

Looking forward to the next century, GPEC will play a major role in helping to diversify the Valley’s economy so housing plays a less dominant role in it. If GPEC can do that, Arizonans won’t be held hostage to vicious boom-and-bust cycles inherent in the real estate industry.

“If GPEC is successful, the housing industry will be a less significant player in our economy over the next century and that will be a wonderful thing,” Warren says. “The amplitude of those cycles can be pretty extreme.”

It has been estimated that Arizona has lost 300,000 jobs in the recession, with the bulk of those coming from the construction and retail sectors.

GPEC’s efforts to lure high-wage, high-quality jobs in the clean technology, healthcare and aerospace sectors and its efforts to strengthen manufacturing will be instrumental in diversifying the economy of the future, he says.

A key to that strategy is GPEC’s commitment to supporting competitive tax incentives and policies that promote growth, and its work bringing together officials and policy makers throughout the region. “It’s a great collaborative effort,” he says.

Law

When GPEC reaches out to businesses considering a site in the Valley, one of the first things business leaders ask is, “‘Do you have the legal talent in Arizona and in Phoenix to do the things we want done?’” says Barry Halpern, a GPEC board member and partner at Snell & Wilmer.

In that respect, GPEC and the legal community have a symbiotic relationship that will only deepen in the next century as GPEC brings more sophisticated and diverse industries to the Valley, Halpern says.

The legal profession in the Valley — already a diverse community — will have to rise to the needs of emergent industries.

Almost all aspects of economic development require legal representation, including the demand for capital financing or the need for representation in emerging niches like the solar industry, agrees Scott Henderson, a shareholder at Polsinelli Shughart and a GPEC board member.

“GPEC will shape the legal practice as it attracts more businesses and more industry and those businesses will require a greater depth of legal talent,” Henderson says. “To that extent, local law firms will want to play a greater role in the growth of the state. The growth of the economy helps everybody—lawyers are no exception.”

Banking

The near future for banking in Arizona is brightening as lending activity has increased and most banks’ biggest problems are behind them, says Jim Lundy, GPEC vice chairman and president and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

“The recovery is slow, it’s bumping along the bottom, but it is there,” says Lundy, who also serves as chairman of the Arizona Bankers Association.

The long-term prognosis for banks is a bit harder to predict, but Lundy says he is sure of one thing: it is inextricably linked with a diversified Arizona economy that is not dependent on population growth.

In that sense, GPEC’s goal of fostering cooperation between cities and creating a diversified economy will directly shape the industry.

“Our success and our growth depends on companies that actually produce something,” Lundy says. All the important emerging industries — like healthcare, clean tech and aerospace — create spin-offs in the economy that are good business for the banking sector.

“We need successful enterprises to make those loans to,” he says. “At the end of the day, if the banking sector is going to grow successfully it needs GPEC and its role in helping get Arizona’s economy growing again.”

Education

It’s not hard to figure out why leaders in the field of education sit on GPEC’s board of directors: education is essential to economic development, and vice versa.

“As we look to the future, we see that growing the right talent for the new markets that will be out there is imperative,” says GPEC chairman Bill Pepicello, president of the University of Phoenix.

That may require more coordination between Arizona’s “robust” array of higher education institutions—statefunded universities, community colleges and private institutions. “I envision campuses as multi-functional areas that are working cooperatively on the ground and online to serve Arizona,” he says.

Arizona’s education of the future will also need to be “efficient and effective,” says Rufus Glasper, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District.

In the next 30 years, he says more than 1.8 million new jobs will be created in Arizona and these jobs will require students who are competent in what is know as the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math.

Educational delivery systems will include more online, hybrid and fast-track training, he says, and willuse mobile devices and social media to create more access to new ideas, networks and educational exchanges.

Like Pepicello, Glasper envisions closer relationships between secondary schools, post-secondary colleges and universities.

Manufacturing

The Midwest has always been known as the heavy industry manufacturing hub of the United States. But Arizona in the next century could attract more technology manufacturing, says Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, which has worked alongside GPEC in the past to nurture the tech industry here.

“To the surprise of a lot of people, manufacturing is actually coming back to the United States,” he says. Wages and manufacturing costs in China are rising, so companies that sent manufacturing overseas are finding that once they pay for shipping, it’s cheaper at home.

Areas of promise include the manufacturing of medical devices, bioscience-related products, renewable-energy equipment and the semiconductor industry.

When it comes to the semiconductor industry, that optimism is warranted, agrees Jason Bagley, a government affairs manager at Intel in Arizona.

Intel has always manufactured most of its leading-edge products in the United States, he says, and plans to continue doing so. Since 1996, it has invested $12 billion in manufacturing in Arizona, not including two projects currently under construction in Chandler.

For more information about GPEC visit, gpec.org

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012