Tag Archives: Greater Phoenix Economic Council

AZ Business Magazine - Digital Issue

AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

The Centennial Issue

In this special Arizona Centennial issue of AZ Business Magazine, we not not only take a look back on the Arizona’s rich history, but also look ahead at another 100 promising years, asking experts in various fields, “What’s in store for Arizona’s next century?” Flip through, and you’ll also find out who the 27 Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards finalists and winners are, GPEC’s supplement looking into the future of the Valley economy for 2012, the future of technology in Arizona, the 50 largest employers in the state and more.

Read more articles from this issue on Azbigmedia.com

 

GPEC Forum

GPEC Hosts Forum For New And Expanding Businesses

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( GPEC ) hosted a forum on Dec. 8 to welcome three green and sustainable businesses to Arizona. While Arizona provides particular benefits for these businesses, including climate, educated workforce and tax credits, these businesses will provide benefits for Arizona and its communities by creating jobs, in addition to upholding the reputation of Phoenix as a leader in sustainability.

GPEC Introduces Clear Energy Systems, Maxwell Technologies Inc. and Bryan University to Arizona


Clear Energy Systems

GPECClear Energy Systems, is a research and design company based out of Tempe since 2001, but now that the company is ready to go into production mode, it was time to determine a home base.

Clear Energy Systems developed a clean burning, one-megawatt generator that is powered using natural gas, opposed to traditional diesel generators.

The Clear Energy Systems generator has been designed to meet or exceed the EPA and the CARB emissions requirements. The company expects to have its first saleable unit produced in 2Q of 2012, but even with the generator still in production, the company already has orders for 200 units.

Clear Energy Systems is gearing up to have a local workforce of 350 employees and represent five percent of the exports of the state of Arizona by 2016.

“We want Clear Energy Systems to be a place that people are banging down the doors to come work at,” says Joel Borovay, chief operating officer (COO) of Clear Energy Systems. “By 2014, we’ve committed to the state of Arizona that we will have 225 employees; today we have 11.”


Maxwell Technologies Inc.

GPECMaxwell Technologies Inc. representative, Earl Wiggins, the vice president of operations, was enthusiastic about expanding the company to Peoria.

Maxwell Technologies Inc. will be manufacturing Ultracapacitors in the Peoria plant. These Ultracapacitors are used in heavy transportation vehicles, such as buses, trains, trams and metros around the world. The mechanism stores the energy created when the vehicle stops and uses that energy for the vehicle to accelerate. This type of technology is also used in energy windmills to control the direction of the blades as the wind changes.

The Ultracapacitors have to be manufactured in a low- to zero-humidity environment, so choosing the Southwest was a no-brainer. Cities such as Albuquerque and San Antonio were competing for the patronage of Maxwell Technologies, but according to Wiggins, “Phoenix won out because of GPEC’s outstanding communication with our company and the current availability of facilities. The other cities were willing to build a facility for us, but time was a factor.”

Maxwell Technologies sells its Ultracapacitor model to 40 different countries and expects to bring 150 jobs to Phoenix in the next three years.


Bryan University

GPECBryan University is relocating its headquarters from Los Angeles to Tempe.

The online-based university offers a variety of courses for higher education seeking students. Eric Evans, chief technology/compliance officer for Bryan University, explained the high tech systems used to facilitate a successful and engaging learning environment that is available on the Internet.

The university uses programs such as Moodle, eDiscovery and Illuminate to facilitate a face-to-face learning environment with access to all the amenities that a student would receive if they attended a university in person, just simply eliminating the carbon footprint.

Bryan University was considering other locations in addition to Arizona as the optimal relocation for its headquarters; however, Arizona won top spot for its close proximity to its current location in California, the growing population of Arizona, the need and desire for online education and avaliablity for persons with higher education degrees to fit employment qualifications.

“In the next two years, we expect to hire between 150 to 200 employees with higher education degrees to fill positions with our university,” Evans says.


All three of these companies were in talks with other cities as the new manufacturing site or headquarters, but Phoenix won out as Arizona’s climate, population and desire for economic expansion won these companies over. Each feature of our state contributes to our success — expanding population, the sustainable technology programs provided by Arizona’s colleges and universities, the warm sunny weather and the continuing interest by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council for Arizona’s economic and sustainable improvement.

Strategic Economic Development Plan

Gilbert’s Strategic Economic Development Plan To Focus On Science, Technology

Economic Development Plan

The Gilbert, Ariz., Economic Development Office (EDO) is actively developing a strategic plan to attract companies and researchers from around the world to its community.

Operating under a mandate from its town council, the EDO organized citizen work groups and has held numerous meetings with business and community leaders to discuss opportunities, challenges and initiatives to enhance its economic policies, workforce development and marketing and branding. Eliciting input from the work groups ensured that the needs of the business community were fully understood and that all stakeholders would be represented in the strategic plan.

Economic development consultant Dr. Ioanna Morfessis was contracted by Gilbert to facilitate collaboration and prioritize recommendations within the work groups to help Gilbert achieve its goals.

“This five-year Strategic Economic Development Plan will effectively channel Gilbert’s resources into producing positive, measured results to meet its goals,” Morfessis says.

As a result of the Gilbert Town Council mandate and Summer 2011 work group meetings, it was determined that Gilbert should focus its economic development strategy on science and technology industries with an emphasis on biotech and life sciences. Gilbert is recognized as a regional leader in life science research and treatments for cancer and for research and therapies utilizing adult stem cells.

“Attracting companies from the biotech and life science industry sectors will strengthen Gilbert economically and provide immeasurable future benefits to our community as we work to become a net importer of these jobs over the next 20 years,” says Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. “I would like to personally thank the participants of our recent work group meetings for their time and valuable contributions to our strategic plan.”

“The Greater Phoenix region is emerging as a leader in personalized medicine, and Gilbert is a great example of a progressive and strategic effort toward the biomedical and health science community,” says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Gilbert’s wealth of health care assets, like MD Anderson, make it particularly well positioned under this mantle in the delivery of personalized care in the oncology sector.”

“Gilbert is fortunate to have several world-class anchor institutions, innovative private corporations and community assets that make it uniquely attractive to life science companies,” says Morfessis, founder of the international consulting firm, IO.INC.

Morfessis was recently recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her esteemed career of empowering communities and companies to prosper. She was the founding president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, working with Gilbert and other regional communities to attract more than 200 firms that generated more than 165,000 new direct jobs during her tenure.

For more information about Gilbert’s Economic Development Office and the five-year Strategic Economic Development Plan, visit gilbertaz.gov/econdev.

 

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Commerce Authority Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary

With the Arizona Commerce Authority celebrating its 1st year, jobs remain the focus as the state’s CRE industry reaps the benefits.

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011In August, Tempe-based First Solar purchased 635 acres in Pinal County for $9.8M and announced plans to build a generating station on the property.

The rapidly expanding, clean-energy company is still constructing its solar module manufacturing plant in Mesa, expected to be up and running by mid-2012 with as many as 600 new, high-paying jobs.

The company also is building generating stations in Gila Bend and Yuma. In January, Power-One opened its first North American manufacturing facility in Phoenix. The California-based company, which makes inverters to convert renewable energy to usable energy, said it will employ as many as 350 people at build-out.

At Power-One’s grand opening ceremonies, Gov. Jan Brewer credited  the Arizona Commerce Authority for the big win and for wielding CEO clout and corporate incentives in making Arizona a hot spot for solar companies looking to expand or relocate.

“I have been consistently focused on ensuring Arizona is a magnet for business relocation, capital investment and a catalyst for the creation of new business and new jobs. And, with the work of my Arizona Commerce Authority, we’re seeing tremendous results in the solar space,” Brewer said at the time.

A year after the Arizona Department of Commerce, a government agency, morphed into the Arizona Commerce Authority, a public-private partnership led by a board of directors filled with many of the state’s top business leaders, six solar companies boasting a combined 1,700 new jobs have announced plans to expand or move to Arizona, says Bennett Curry, who has been piloting the organization’s business attraction efforts since it launched.

Besides growth in the renewable energy sector, diverse companies are finding Arizona attractive. They include:

  • Amazon, which recently announced plans to add another 1.2 MSF of warehousing space and 200 jobs to its existing Arizona enterprises;
  • Able Engineering, which hopes to expand into new manufacturing facilities in Mesa, eventually more than doubling its 230-employee roster within a few years of the expansion;
  • Ventana Medical Systems, which is expanding and adding another 500 jobs in Oro Valley.

Best is yet to come

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Arizona Commerce Authority counts new jobs, not the square footage to house them, so it’s difficult to estimate the new office, manufacturing and warehousing space represented by the business growth, Curry says.

But while Arizona Commerce Authority’s mission is to generate jobs, Arizona’s commercial real estate industry is a big beneficiary of the growth, adds Mike Haenel, executive vice president Industrial Division at Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial.

“Job growth creates absorption, construction and new development opportunities for the state’s commercial real estate industry,” Haenel said.

Arizona Commerce Authority has assisted companies such as Amazon, First Solar, Suntech and others with expansions and relocations, he says, but possibly even more important is the organization’s impact convincing local legislators and other Arizonans about the importance of proffering tax breaks and other enticements to snag coveted business.

He credits the prestige of the corporate leaders backing the group with influencing passage of the Arizona competitiveness package. And their combined weightiness as enticing to national business leaders looking for relocation options.

“Even though the Arizona Commerce Authority has only been in existence for one year, and the fact that we are in a slow recovery cycle, the Arizona Commerce Authority has  been instrumental in educating the business community and those businesses looking to relocate that Arizona has the incentives available for quality job growth,” Haenel says. “We’re still in a tough economy and having Arizona Commerce Authority can only help the state with job attraction.”

Sundt Construction chairman Doug Pruitt, an Arizona Commerce Authority board member, says the organization has logged some early successes.“Working with Arizona Commerce Authority partners, there has been a
massive reduction in vacant space,” he says.  But Pruitt says the biggest bang-for-the-buck is still to come as the organization spent much of its first year laying groundwork.

“Arizona Commerce Authority’s active projects are up 38 percent over a year ago,” Pruitt says. “One of our short-term plans includes aggressive recruitment of California-based firms within our targeted business sectors.”And the vision doesn’t stop at the Pacific Ocean. “Not only are we working to promote the state nationwide, we are taking the message that Arizona is the best place to do business to a global audience,” he says.

DMB Associates chairman Drew Brown, also an Arizona Commerce Authority board member, says each successful recruitment breeds more business. And as the expansions and relocations pile up, a boom in the state’s commercial real estate industry will be a welcome by-product.

“I think Arizona Commerce Authority’s function of attracting high-quality export jobs will be a big shot in the arm for the local economy,” he says. “The multiplier effect will encourage other new jobs.”

As more businesses come to the state, they will fill up vacant residential and commercial real estate, generating demand for new construction and development and the new jobs associated with that. “It’s out there. It will happen,” he says.

Building lasting relationships

Arizona Commerce Authority, AZRE Magazine November/December 2011Brown, like other Arizona Commerce Authority leaders, says the organization can’t take most of the credit for attracting the impressive influx of new business during its first year.

Arizona Commerce Authority has been forging important strategic relationships with key economic development groups such as Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) to marshal joint clout, Brown says.

“We are working with the Arizona Commerce Authority on several active projects,” says Laura Shaw, TREO’s senior vice president for Marketing and Communications. “While the authority is still very new and thus getting its legs, so to speak, we have formed a close partnership and have many opportunities moving forward.”

And the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Curry says the new competitiveness package passed early this year opened a lot of doors for Arizona Commerce Authority to pitch the state’s wares.

“Before our toolbox didn’t have a lot of tools,” Curry says. “Now Arizona is ranked high among Western states.”

During a recent trade conference in San Francisco with international companies looking for a U.S. presence, the organization landed 19 meetings with interested prospects, and three are actively pursuing a possible Arizona relocation, he says.

Pruitt adds the Arizona Commerce Authority still faces hurdles — the uncertain global economy and Arizona’s somewhat tarnished reputation regarding school funding, immigration, gun laws and other issues. But he is optimistic.

“Some 300,000 of our residents have lost jobs since the recession began,” Pruitt says. “We realize that people are counting on us to do our job. The Arizona Commerce Authority takes this duty seriously and is focused on a single task — getting businesses to invest in Arizona to create jobs.”

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www.azcommerce.com
www.gpec.org
www.treoaz.org

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy

Coalition For Affordable Solar Energy Concerned Arizona Jobs At Stake

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) are concerned that jobs will be lost in Arizona due to the SolarWorld anti-trade petition.

Arizona is the third-largest employer in solar-related fields in America with nearly 5,000 jobs across 980 solar establishments in the state, according to the National Solar Jobs Census for 2011 report released by The Solar Foundation. Nationally, the solar industry is expected to add about 37,000 jobs by 2013, with many anticipated to be created in Arizona. SolarWorld’s trade complaint could put these jobs in jeopardy.

“Arizona jobs are at stake in the brewing solar trade war between the U.S. and China. As with most trade wars and protectionism, we stand to lose much more than we could gain – in this case, jobs for Arizonans and Americans,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

GPEC has worked tirelessly to attract solar-related businesses to expand or relocate to Arizona and create high quality jobs for Arizonans. The Greater Phoenix region is now home to leading global PV manufacturers such as Suntech and First Solar, as well as supply-chain leaders like Power-One, Rioglass, Maxwell Technologies, Gestamp Solar Steel and six others. The region also represents thousands of downstream industry jobs in sales, marketing, logistics, construction and engineering. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also completed a successful trip to China in September 2011 to continue attracting foreign investment opportunities that would benefit Arizona workers and the state’s solar industry.

“The U.S. is a net exporter of solar products to China and the world,” Broome said. “At the end of the day, free trade is good for the solar industry, it’s good for Arizona jobs, and it’s good for the U.S. economy. We encourage policymakers to reach a decent resolution that protects our U.S. interests without sacrificing the opportunities provided by a free trade alliance with China.”

In October 2010, Suntech opened a 117,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Ariz. With more than 100 well-trained workers, the facility is now operating 24 hours per day and producing nearly 50MW of solar panels per year. Suntech was planning to grow the facility to 120MW; however, the imposition of trade barriers would undermine the facility’s continued growth.

“Trade barriers would hurt the economics of our Arizona manufacturing operations,” said Polly Shaw, Director of External Relations for Suntech America, a member of CASE.

“Global supply chains have been critical to driving down the cost of solar manufacturing, and Suntech depends heavily on companies and operations in countries around the world, including both the U.S. and China. The U.S. has been a major beneficiary of solar trade, as a net exporter of solar products to China by more than U.S. $250 million and the world by nearly US$2 billion. In fact, Suntech has been a net consumer of solar products in the U.S. for almost a decade.”

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) was formed in response to an anti-trade action filed by Germany-based SolarWorld with the U.S. government that threatens the entire U.S. solar industry. CASE represents more than 100 leading U.S. solar companies that represent more than 10,000 jobs in the U.S. solar industry, or roughly 10 percent of the industry’s total workforce, and the coalition is quickly growing. The Coalition is committed to building a domestic solar industry, promoting innovation, and making solar an affordable option for all Americans.

To learn more about the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), visit coalition4affordablesolar.org.

 

First Solar, Mesa

First Solar To Open Manufacturing Plant In Mesa

First Solar is moving to Mesa after consolidating its Vietnam manufacturing plant. The First Solar manufacturing plant will bring approximately 1,200 jobs to Mesa. The plant is currently in its construction phase and the estimated completion for the manufacturing plant’s first phase will be in the third quarter of 2012.

First Solar’s Reciprocal Benefits For Company and Community

Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome is excited to bring another big name in solar technology and manufacturing to the Valley.

“The Greater Phoenix region is in a prime position to capitalize on this momentum,” Broome says. “Already home to First Solar’s headquarters in addition to its Mesa manufacturing facility, the region is also home to nearly one dozen solar and renewable energy or clean technology companies such as Suntech Power Holdings, Power-One, Gestamp Solar Steel, Rioglass Solar, Clear Energy, Maxwell Technologies and hundreds more within their supply chains.”

The United States Southwest holds the largest global manufacturing opportunity for solar, clean and renewable technologies. Broome says that First Solar’s choice to manufacture in Mesa will not only be beneficial for the company by being able to take advantage of renewable and sustainable tax credit program, but for the Arizona economy by creating solar technology careers.

University and community college students in the Valley will have an advantage for finding careers in solar technology and engineering when they complete their programs.

“Greater Phoenix turns out superb engineering talent through its universities and technical talent through its community college system,” Broome says. “Mesa was selected over Vietnam because of the [full pallet of renewable resources] that are produced in the East Valley, the leadership of the Mayor of Mesa, Scott Smith and the opportunity that has been built around the U.S. market.”

One advantage for First Solar manufacturing in the United States is the increase for efficiency and that of supply chains in relation to other parts of the country.

“Here in Arizona we have the chance to be an international leader in very important technology,” Broome says. “First Solar, Suntech and all these companies are a clear sign that [solar] is the technology of the future and we have to be strong and focused on this success.

“As illustrated today by First Solar’s decision to embrace Mesa over a low-cost overseas market, we can and will dominate the solar renewable energy and clean technology market.”

 

People to Know 2011 Reception & Awards Ceremony

People To Know 2011 Industry Leaders And Photos

AZRE Magazine’s People to Know 2011 reception and awards ceremony was held on November 10, 2011 at the Scottsdale Waterfront. In attendance was Arizona’s largest local and national real estate audience, including the following People to Know recipients: attorneys, accountants, city planners, property managers, economic developers and brokers.

Throughout the night, we also announced the top 11 industry leaders. Congratulations to our finalists and winners!

People to Know 2011 Industry Leaders

Architects & Engineers

Michael Medici, AIA
President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersSmithGroup
455 N. 3rd St., #250, Phoenix
www.smithgroup.com · (602) 265-2200

Responsibilities: Managing director and member of the firm’s board of directors, architectural management and design
Years at Company: 30
Years in CRE: 32
Accomplishments: Medici has been with SmithGroup since 1980 and has remained active in managing several of its key projects including TGen, Arizona Biomedical Collaborative, Freeport McMoRan Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Energy Systems Integration Facility, and the POW/MIA Forensic Laboratory at Hickam AFB in Honolulu. He is active in the the community and has served as event chairman of the Annual Cystic Fibrosis Stair Climb & Firefighter Challenge; as a member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board; and as past president of ASU Council for Design Excellence. His leadership enables SmithGroup’s Phoenix office to achieve success in the Valley, Arizona and the Southwest.


Attorneys

Michael E. Tiffany
Managing Attorney

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersTiffany & Bosco PA
2525 E. Camelback Rd., 3rd Floor, Phoenix
www.tblaw.com · (602) 255-6000

Responsibilities: Managing attorney and head of the real estate practice group
Years at Company: 40+
Years in CRE:
30+
Accomplishments: In addition to his duties as managing attorney, Tiffany concentrates in the area of commercial transactions, primarily in strategic planning, business solutions, real estate and finance. His accomplishments include closing HUD insured loans for more than 170 multi-family housing projects on behalf of borrowers, for an aggregate loan amount in excess of $2.2M; and preparing a development agreement between a landowner and the Town of Buckeye as a form for future development agreements. He is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and Maricopa County Bar Association. He is active in with the Thunderbirds and the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse of Maricopa County.

Don J. Miner
Director

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersFennemore Craig PC
3003 N. Central Ave., #2600, Phoenix
www.fclaw.com · (602) 916-5000

Responsibilities: Focuses on various aspects of commercial real estate
Years at Company: 14
Years in CRE: 32
Accomplishments: Miner was the buyer’s counsel in sale of a portfolio of $101M of loans secured by residential real estate mortgages, and the seller’s counsel in the sale of an 832-acre farm for development of a master-planned community. He was the landlord’s counsel in negotiation and documentation of a 115,000 SF office lease, and tenant’s counsel in negotiation of a 130,000 SF office lease. He represented the ground lessee and developer in the negotiation and drafting of a 65-year ground lease covering 37.5 acres of Native American reservation land for purposes of the development of a commercial sea water aquarium, a butterfly pavilion and related entertainment and restaurant uses. Miner is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2003-2011.


Brokers

Anthony J. Lydon
Managing Director – Industrial/Supply Chain Logistics Solution

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersJones Lang LaSalle
3131 E. Camelback Rd., # 400, Phoenix
www.us.joneslanglasalle.com · (602) 282-6300

Responsibilities: Manages and directs the industrial supply chain marketing for institutional property owner clients and serves as an advocate for corporate occupiers of space
Years at Company: 1
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Lydon has spent his 30-year career focused on the industrial commercial real estate sector. In that time, he has become one of Phoenix’s most accomplished industrial brokers. In the last 18 months alone, Lydon has directed some of Phoenix’s top industrial transactions, bringing jobs and capital to the market via deals like the 1.4 MSF Amazon.com lease and the long-term, 153,000 SF Schoeller Arca Systems lease. Lydon has been recognized as a Top Industrial Broker by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), named a CoStar “Power Broker” and a NAIOP Industrial Broker of the Year. He is a 25-year SIOR Designee, as well as a member of the Jones Lang LaSalle Global Supply Chain Group. On a personal note, Lydon is part owner of a Michigan-based Class A minor league baseball team.


Developers

Kurt Rosene
Senior VP

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersAlter Group
7500 N. Dobson Rd., #151, Scottsdale
www.altergroup.com · (480) 302-6600

Responsibilities: Manage development, leasing and acquisitions for the Western Region
Years at Company: 20
Years in CRE: 24
Accomplishments: Rosene has led The Alter Group to accomplish remarkable things in Phoenix during the past 10 years. After opening the office a decade ago, he has helped solidify the company as one of the premier developers in the Valley. Nationally, Rosene has been able to develop more than $1B worth of real estate in 24 states. His expertise and level of customer service have led to numerous repeat clients. He’s earned the respect of the entire industry and made friendships throughout the country. Recently The Alter Group and John F. Long Properties of Phoenix announced a joint development of three major business parks in the West Valley totaling in excess of 1,500 acres. It is expected to create an estimated 65,000 jobs.


Economic Developers

Christine Mackay
Economic Development Director

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersCity of Chandler
P.O. Box 4008, Chandler
www.chandleraz.gov/ed · (480) 782-3030

Responsibilities: Directs economic development division, implementing programs to increase and diversify City’s economic base
Years at Company: 14
Years in CRE: 19
Accomplishments: Mackay has been with the City of Chandler for 14 years. During the past five years, she has helped locate or expand more than 145 companies in Chandler, and brought more than $8.9B in capital investment into the community. She was instrumental in helping land the $5B Intel Fab 42 chip manufacturing facility. In 2007, she was named the Economic Developer of the Year, Large Community, for the State of Arizona by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED). In 2010, Mackay was named Leader of the Year in Economic Development-Public Policy by the Arizona Capital Times. She has spent most of her career in commercial real estate. Before coming to Chandler, she was in private sector commercial real estate where she was the research director for a commercial brokerage firm.


Financiers & Accountants

William L. Spart
Senior Vice President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersWells Fargo Bank – Real Estate
8601 N. Scottsdale Rd., #200, Phoenix
www.wellsfargo.com · (480) 348-5333

Responsibilities: Business development for Wells Fargo
Years at Company: 21
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Spart, a 30-year veteran of commercial real estate finance, has witnessed the ups and downs of the industry firsthand. Perhaps that’s why he has taken a leadership role. During his tenure at Wells Fargo, Spart has been active with NAIOP (as a board member), Valley Partnership, Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers (as a member). Spart is a regular speaker at public forums around the Valley and was a member of the 2010 NAIOP roundtable in AZRE Magazine. In his position at Wells Fargo, he manages a diverse portfolio of commercial real estate loans and lenders.


General Contractors

Hamilton Espinosa
National Healthcare Leader

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersDPR Construction
222 N. 44th St., Phoenix
www.dpr.com · (602) 808-0500

Responsibilities: Developing DPR’s strategic healthcare vision
Years at Company: 13
Years in CRE: 21
Accomplishments: Espinosa, LEED AP, brings more than 20 years of construction industry experience to DPR. Based in Arizona, Espinosa is key to building the company’s healthcare experience locally and nationally. Instrumental in building more then $3B in healthcare projects, including the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, his reputation of producing results and developing long-term working partnerships is acknowledged throughout the industry. DPR is one the country’s top technical builders and has been ranked among the Top 50 general contractors in the U.S. for the past 10 years. Espinosa serves as vice chair of the St. Joseph’s Foundation board and is a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation board.


Property Managers

Mark Stromgren, RPA
Vice President, General Manager of Real Estate Services

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersNorthMarq
1110 W. Washington St., #110, Phoenix
www.northmarq.com · (602) 254-5790

Responsibilities: Oversees 600,000 SF of Class A office space, including three buildings which are 100% occupied
Years at Company: 4
Years in CRE: 25
Accomplishments: Stromgren joined NorthMarq when the organization acquired his previous employer, Opus Property Services, a move that doubled its portfolio to 60 MSF. For nearly 10 years, Stromgren served as a senior property manager with Opus West Management. Prior to that, he was a general manager with LaSalle Partners. He is an active member of BOMA and NAIOP. He was recently elected to serve as president of BOMA Greater Phoenix for the 2011-2012 board year. He is also a past president of the chapter and has served on the board of directors for 13 years. In addition, he has earned the organization’s RPA designation. He is aso a LEED AP and holds real estate brokerage licenses in Arizona and Colorado. He earned a BS degree from UCLA.


Subcontractors

Daniel Puente
Founder & President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersD.P. Electric Inc.
6002 S. Ash Ave., Tempe
www.dpelectric.com · (480) 858-9070

Responsibilities: Provides the necessary planning, organization, direction, coordination and control to meet company growth
Years at Company: 20
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Big events lit up the offices at D.P. Electric. Puente, founder and president, was awarded the W.P. Carey Spirit of Enterprise Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award, and the company celebrated its 20th Anniversary — growing from a firm with four electricians in a garage to a multi-million dollar local success story. Puente is a strong supporter of education and training aimed at fostering personal and professional growth within his organization. He acts as a mentor to educate small minority-owned businesses within the community. He oversees all aspects of the company, including profitability, staffing, marketing efforts, and customer and vendor relations.


Up and Comers

Kimberly Mickelson
Marketing Associate

People to Know 2011 Industry Leaders

Small Giants
4531 N 16th St #124, Phoenix
www.smallgiantsonline.com · (602) 314-5549

Responsibilities: Social media, proposal development and website management for clients
Years at Company: 2
Years in CRE: 8
Accomplishments: Not only is Mickelson one of just three Certified Social Marketing Specialists in the Arizona, she is also heavily involved in the commercial real estate industry. With SMPS Arizona, she is an active member, programs committee member, publicity committee member and social media chair. She is also moderator for the SMPS Twitter account and is in charge of blog submissions for the Building Arizona blog. She is an active affiliate member of AIA Arizona, and an active young leaders group member of ULI. She has coached and trained many organizations and individuals on valuable emerging marketing practices. She recently received the 2010 SMPS Arizona Chapter Rising Star Award. Her desire to make an impact goes beyond personal accomplishments or within her work with Small Giants.


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WESTMARC Logo - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

New WESTMARC President Leverages GPEC Experience To Benefit Organization

Michelle Rider, President and CEO, WESTMARCIn June, Michelle Rider was named WESTMARC president and CEO. On July 1, she officially replaced Jack Lunsford, who had held the post for seven years. For nine years, Rider has held key positions with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

How is the West Valley economy fairing compared to last year?

The West Valley still faces the challenge of having lost 300,000 jobs in recent years, as well as being affected by the housing bubble. It has also had several recent wins for its economy with the addition of companies such as Sub-Zero in Goodyear and Gestamp Solar Steel in Surprise.

What needs to be done to help the West Valley’s economy get back on track?

The West Valley has an opportunity to attract new quality employers. Bringing major employers in will create new jobs directly, but will also help provide a customer base for struggling small businesses. West Valley community mayors and councils aggressively compete for these opportunities.

How do you think your work at GPEC translates to your role at WESTMARC?

Everything I have done at GPEC translates in some way to leading WESTMARC. I have worked with many of the public and private sector leaders through GPEC on projects including fundraising, public policy and stakeholder engagement.

What new initiatives or policies will you implement for WESTMARC members?

We are developing a new strategic plan. I am fortunate that WESTMARC’s leadership (board and executive committee) is dedicated to prosperity in the West Valley. We look forward to creating a clear, measurable road map to guide the organization.

What sets the West Valley apart?

Most of the next decade’s growth projected for Greater Phoenix will occur here. We have the opportunity to define ourselves by leveraging and managing that growth to provide quality jobs.

Michelle Rider WESTMARC president and CEO

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

First Solar

First Solar and Mesa Proving Grounds: East Valley Center for Economic Growth

CoreNet Global brought together panelists who were instrumental in the planning that led to First Solar’s decision to locate their second US manufacturing facility in the City of Mesa. On March 17, 2011, First Solar announced it was acquiring 135 acres within the Mesa Proving Grounds to build the first phase of a $300 million solar module fabrication plant, their second facility in the U.S. To meet growing demand for photovoltaic solar panels, First Solar needed construction underway in 2011, with four manufacturing lines in production by late 2012.

CoreNet Global
Tues June 7, 2011, Phoenix Country Club
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Moderator:
Karrin Kunasek Taylor, DMB, Exec. VP, Chief Entitlements Officer

Panelists:
Steve Krum, First Solar, Director of Communications
Barry Broome, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, CEO& President
Mayor Scott Smith, City of Mesa

Background: In 2006, DMB bought 3,200 acres of the former 5,000-acre General Motors Desert Proving Grounds located in the City of Mesa and previously used for hot weather vehicle testing. DMB’s acreage became the Mesa Proving Grounds: the last significant, privately-owned contiguous land holding in Metro Phoenix’s southeast Valley. The City of Mesa has actively pursued employers for their Gateway Planning Area, which includes the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, ASU Polytechnic campus, and major freeway access.

Kunasek-Taylor: Mesa Proving Grounds is unique… it is a strategic site east of the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport which offers three runways that can land any aircraft in the world. This airport is one of the priorities of the Federal Aviation Authority for future funding. The adjacent ASU campus now has 10,000 students and plans for growth up to 30,000 students. 11% of the jobs in Metro Phoenix are in the Southeast Valley, and ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) will soon award the contract for first phase of construction connecting the 202 freeway to the airport. Zoning for Mesa Proving Grounds future development was based upon dividing the 3,200 acres into nine development unit plans, with pre-approved densities and uses. First Solar announced in the fall of 2010 that it was hunting for new manufacturing space capable of accommodating 5,000 employees.

Krum: Why was Mesa selected, when a solar panel manufacturing facility can be located anywhere since the manufacturing process doesn’t need sun? First Solar needed immediate availability of land and a quality workforce. There was a sense of urgency and commitment by Barry Broome of GPEC, the leadership of the City of Mesa and its economic development team, and DMB had a fantastic master plan for the Mesa Proving Grounds. With manufacturing facilities around the world, First Solar has choices. But it was very clear that the City of Mesa wanted First Solar. A lot of people here were trying to help us achieve our vision. Our fastest growing market right now is the Southwestern United States. The Agua Caliente project (290 megawatt solar photovoltaic generating facility) in Yuma County, southwestern Arizona. — we want to be in close proximity to projects like that. Pacific Gas & Electric has contracted to purchase Agua Caliente’s output for 25 years. There will be more projects like this to serve California, since utilities there have to meet California requirements for alternative energy sources.

Broome: In 2007 we saw the unprecedented spike in solar — we saw an incredible opportunity for Arizona. We went after every German solar company, but lost them (locating) to states like Oregon, New Mexico, Texas and California. It’s a capital intensive industry: we’ve got to help them recover their capital, help lower their operating environmental over 10-15 years, and we’ve got to deliver talent. Most of the guys who run solar companies are ex-Intel and Motorola guys. So we put together a platform that delivered engineering, real estate, and demand. On a policy level, we removed personal property taxes for a ten year period. With this program, the state of Arizona and the city of Mesa will make millions of dollars of corporate taxes in the coming years. There are many related solar supply chain companies coming into this market – we expect to announce another 16 solar related companies in the coming 18 months. The price of solar electric power will continue dropping, as technology improves. It was 28¢/kwh; not it’s down to 14¢/kwh, and it will go lower. This means more demand for solar.

Smith: The First Solar project is a great example of how economic development should work. Companies go to places where they can succeed. Tax policy is not an end-all. State policy has to be in place. Business attraction tools are set at the state level. Barry helped create the policy level, which gave us the tools. The three key things that make a deal are infrastructure, people, and real estate. We decided this was a deal that we were not going to lose. We brought out every resource we have in the City of Mesa. We needed 1 million square feet, all entitlements, and fast tract for opening in 2012. We needed the right zoning — that’s why DMB was part of this. I’ve got to give DMB credit for being flexible and having the right vision to make this work. They did not make money on this deal. It was a giant leap of faith to make the community better. The complexity of this type of structure — power, roads, water — Mesa passed a bond issue two years ago that allowed us to accommodate this size of project. We were able to solve the problems and create a environment so that First Solar couldn’t say no. First Solar will succeed, and others will come. This truly was a team success — state, county, city and private companies.

For more information about First Solar and more, visit:

firstsolar.com
dmbmesaprovinggrounds.com
mesaaz.gov
corenetdesertmtn.org

WESTMARC CEO & President, Michelle Rider

WESTMARC Announces New President And CEO

The new President & CEO of WESTMARC has been chosen — Michelle Rider.

Chair Candace Wiest says WESTMARC is delighted to announce Rider has accepted their offer as CEO.

Wiest commented on the selection process saying, “The skills we identified as critical were the ability to build relationships, strong background in economic development and public policy, relationships with centers of influence throughout the Valley, and a strong understanding of regional and local issues.”

Wiest went on to name Rider the “clear leader” in said categories.

Rider’s experience includes an extensive career with organizations focused on public policy and economic development. For nine years, she held an array of influential positions at GPEC where she had the opportunity form strong relationships with centers of influence in the Valley.

Hearing her comments on Rider, Wiest’s confidence in Rider as “spokesperson, advocate, and CEO of WESTMARC” is clear.Having worked with her in the past, Wiest testifies to Rider’s work ethic saying, “I have always found her to be professional, extremely knowledgeable and very adaptable when faced with fluid or difficult situations. I have also seen her work with a large, diverse group of leaders to build consensus on complex issues.”

Rider officially joins WESTMARC on July 1, 2011.

San Tan Valley Sunrise, Valley Forward initiative Arizona Forward

New Arizona Forward Initiative Hopes To Balance Future Economic Development With Sustainability Concerns

The future of Arizona’s economic development is one that is still being decided. In order to help push Arizona in the right direction, Valley Forward has launched an initiative called Arizona Forward.

The more than 40-year-old group brings together business and government leaders to help improve the environment and livability of communities in the Valley. Arizona Forward is an idea that Valley Forward has had in the works for years. Until now, however, the organization hasn’t had the funds to act on the idea. That all changed recently when the group received a grant that will fund the initiative for one year. Depending on the results it drives, the initiative may or may not look for additional funding.View from Cleopatra Hill, Powder Box Church in foreground

“Our areas of focus have a far greater impact than the immediate geographic location we currently serve,” Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward, said at a luncheon in February. “Arizona cities and towns are facing many common issues that should be addressed holistically and statewide.”

Arizona Forward will focus on bringing together cities and businesses to effectively put Arizona on the right path toward growth and sustainable development, turning ideas into reality.

“Arizona Forward will bring the business community, large companies and small businesses, and the government sector together to begin the dialogue,” Brossart said. “We want to reach consensus and drive a balanced public agenda.”

The initial goals of Arizona Forward are to establish cooperative relationships, convene public dialogue to improve Arizona’s sustainability, increase awareness and interest in the environment and serve as a technical resource for environmental issues in the state.

The main region Arizona Forward will focus its efforts on is the Sun Corridor, the area stretching from Phoenix to Tucson, which is home to 80 percent of the state’s population.

The Sun Corridor is a prime area for development in Arizona, and projects already are in the works, according to Morris Mennenga, president of the Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation and president of
Discovery Building Companies.

“There were some great things happening in the Sun Corridor and then the recession came on,” Mennenga said. “They’re coming back into play now. For example, we’re putting in an incredible infrastructure in that area. There will be an I-10 expansion (six lanes) that will stretch all the way to Tucson.”

According to Lisa Lovallo, chair of the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities and vice president and systems manager of Cox Communications, Southern Arizona, there are several issues that businesses and communities in Arizona need to focus on in order to have successful economic development in the Sun Corridor. Those issues include: high-skill high-wage jobs, a vibrant urban core, education, and government.

Creating high-skill high-wage jobs means bringing industries such as aerospace, biotechnology and information systems and logistics to Arizona. There is a need to make Arizona attractive to those industries so they will want to expand their business to the Sun Corridor. That in turn will bring development to the corridor — development that needs to be managed responsibly.

Roosevelt Lake Apache Trail, Valley Forward Arizona Forward“It will be a balance between economic development and economic equality,” Brossart said. “Our focus is going to be the issues related to land planning, open space, transportation, air quality issues, water management and energy.”

Gov. Jan Brewer signed new legislation in February that will make it easier for Arizona to recruit businesses to the Sun Corridor.
The new legislation, called the Arizona Competitiveness Package, includes business incentives and tax reforms that are designed to stimulate Arizona’s economy.

Another key opportunity for economic growth for Arizona lies with the solar industry. For a state that sees more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the chance to be at the front of the industry’s development is huge.

“There are a lot of good things happening in solar,” Lovallo said. “If we can keep the government positive to business corporate expansion, there’s no reason businesses won’t want to be here showing off their solar capabilities.”

The biggest challenge Arizona Forward faces is finding solutions that all Arizona cities can agree with and put into effect.
“For so long we have operated as separate cities,” Brossart said. “We’ve been focusing on Phoenix or Scottsdale instead of focusing on how we can market and benefit Arizona as a state.

“We have to do a better job of finding our commonalities between cities so we can make a difference in ensuring long-term development,” she added.

In terms of that long-term development, Arizona Forward will use data collected in 2008 by the Urban Land Development Institute during a Reality Check visioning exercise. ULI collected data from 300 Arizonans who worked together in groups to envision future job centers, transportation lines and housing.

While Arizona Forward will initially focus on the Sun Corridor, plans are to take the initiative to other parts of the state and work with existing environmental and economic development groups.San Tan Valley sunrise, Valley Forward Arizona Forward

“It is not our intent to duplicate efforts already underway in areas outside our traditional jurisdiction or to undermine existing civic structures,” Brossart said at the February luncheon. “Rather, we will foster relationships, build coalitions and maximize resources toward a sustainability agenda.”

Bill Pepicello, chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and president of the University of Phoenix, says Valley leaders have to step up to the job of designing Arizona’s future.

“We think the growth should not be counted on again as we did in traditional areas of retail and real estate,” Pepicello said. “As we look at the cycles of our past we know that if we don’t position ourselves going forward, we’re doomed to repeat those cycles.”

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011


 

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Companies may go out of business, but some are so memorable, they’re hard to forget.

Do you know of any companies that are gone but definitely not forgotten?

Let us know! Submit a company, and let us know if we’re missing any.

We’d love your input.[/stextbox]

CEO Linda Hunt - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Linda Hunt, CEO, St. Joseph’s Hospital And Medical Center

CEO Series: Linda Hunt

Title: President
Company: CHW Arizona/St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center


How is St. Joseph’s preparing itself to meet the changes being brought on by national health care reform and the state’s budget crisis?

We’ve been on the ground from the very beginning. Catholic Healthcare West, our parent company, has really been involved with the Obama Administration in looking at different ways to provide health care, and we know that health care has to change. The most important thing for us has been quality — providing the high quality access. We have a lot of people without care or without access to care. So when you look at how do we do that and how do we lower our cost of delivering care, those things have been driving forces for St. Joseph’s and CHW to be intimately involved in what needs to occur.
It’s a tremendous strain if we have the (state) budget cuts that are proposed. About 44 percent of our patients are AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System ) patients, and this will be anywhere between $25 million to $31 million for just our organization alone that we will see decreased.
We also are part owners of Mercy Care Plan, so for us it’s a real concern. Mercy Care Plan has 386,000 lives, and about 60,000 of those lives (coverage) will be eliminated if the state budget crises and the state waiver go through.

The mass shooting that took place in Tucson really put attention on the work of Level I trauma centers, such as the one at St. Joseph’s. What message has that sent to Legislators and the community?

Tucson was a great example of why Level I trauma centers are needed. It truly is the life-saving component of life care. If we would not have had the hospital in Tucson, if we would not have had the trauma surgeons, the neurosurgeons right there ready, a number of those people would not have survived. I think Gabby Giffords can really say one day, “I owe my life to these people and to the quick response that they had.” We have very limited funding. As you know, it’s not about money coming in from the federal government or the state government for Level I. It’s really thanks to a number of our patients who have insurance and the variety of people who give to us to make sure we can continue to have the resources available to provide that kind of care.

How has St. Joseph’s evolution mirrored that of the state’s health care industry?

When the (Sisters of Mercy) got here in the 1890s, they found a very small community of people who were working here, but also many other people who had come here because they were ill. (The sisters) came here to teach, and all of a sudden they looked around and said, “My gosh, it’s not about teaching. We have to provide health care for these people. They’re dying in the streets.”

So, I feel we are the beginning of health care in this community and have continued for almost 116 years. When you look at the number of firsts that were done at St. Joseph’s, many times we brought health care and progressive health care to this community. When you look at the first residency, the first pharmacy in-house, the first NICU, the first MRI, the first CAT scan … it truly is a jewel to be treasured in this community.

Is health care a cooperative effort in the Valley?

I think we all compete. We are businesses. But I think it’s a camaraderie because we’re all about taking care of people in this community. When you look back, there are a lot of great friendships that you have with the other CEOs. And we do share. We share resources. When we get in trouble as a Level I trauma center, when we’re overwhelmed, everyone pitches in and we fan out patients. We do a number of things together. If we need equipment, we lend it to each other. So in a way we compete, but we are all here to serve this community and I think that is very important.

How does St. Joseph’s work with rural communities?

Look at Children’s Rehabilitative Services, which we have been a partner of the state with in caring for children. We have clinics all over the state. We work with the Indian communities; we work with Flagstaff, Prescott; Yuma and Tucson work together with us. So right there is a perfect example of that collaboration. We have outreach clinics throughout the state, especially in the rural areas. We train residents and new physicians, which we think is a very important part of training the next generation of caregivers. We are training a lot of the physicians that will be practicing in rural Arizona and other rural areas of this country.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has stripped St. Joseph’s of its Catholic standing. how does that affect the average patient?

If you came into our hospital in early December and you came in today, we would look no different. The one thing we cannot do is Mass in the chapel. We still have worship services, they’re just not Catholic worship services. But we do have rosaries, we have spiritual hours, we have people who are there to allow you to pray and to provide that spiritual comfort, just as we did in the past. … We acknowledge that (Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead) has the authority to no longer designate us a Catholic hospital. We’re all very sad about that. … But we will always take care of people who are here and do what we can do to make sure they are safe, and that they receive the care that they deserve. … it came down to we had to save the life we could and we did.


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Vital Stats: Linda Hunt

  • Service Area President, Catholic Healthcare West
  • President, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing from William Carey College in Mississippi
  • Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Graduated from the Johnson & Johnson Fellows Program in Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Was on the faculty at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Regis University in Denver
  • Active in Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council

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Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Solar Companies - AZRE Magazine March/April 2011

The Fight To Lure Solar Companies To The Valley Is Fierce

The fight to lure solar energy companies to Arizona will be fierce in 2011, as states become more competitive in their efforts to land solar companies that are themselves battling for funding in a stagnant capital market.

“(This year) will be more competitive than 2010 because the states are feeling more pressure and the idea that we’ll emerge out of this recession soon is just falling out of people’s heads,” says Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, a major player in the efforts to bring solar and renewable energy companies to the Valley.

At least 10 renewable energy companies have located or announced plans to locate in Arizona since the state Legislature passed a tax-incentive program in 2009, Broome says. The most notable players are Chinese giant Suntech Power Holdings Co., the leading solar manufacturer in the world, and Power-One, which makes solar and wind inverter products.

Their arrival not only burnishes Arizona’s reputation as a potential leader in the effort to harness renewable energy, but also creates a burgeoning supply chain for solar energy manufacturers.

For example, United Kingdom-based FAIST GreenTek plans to open its first U.S. plant, a 56,000 SF facility in Phoenix, to provide metal steel containers for Power-One’s inverter boxes. Additionally, Spanish glass manufacturer Rioglass located to Arizona to provide materials for Abengoa’s Solana plant near Gila Bend, which is expected to be the largest concentrating solar energy power plant in the world.

“The tentacles that are caused by these companies will grow long over time,” says Eran Mahrer, director of renewable energy for Arizona Public Service, which will purchase the electricity generated at the Gila Bend site.

GPEC currently is working to lure two solar companies to the Valley, Broome says, adding, “I’m not saying we won’t see 10 companies again, but it’s much tougher. The industry is maturing and the capital markets haven’t recovered.”

He believes the market will see a roll up, or a decline in smaller, newer companies and will settle on fewer, major players.

The impact of solar companies on the commercial real estate market is significant. Solar-related companies gave a shot in the arm to Arizona’s persistently high industrial vacancy rates, says Pete Wentis, an industrial broker with CB Richard Ellis.

The second quarter of 2010 saw positive absorption in the industrial sector for the first time in a year and a half, Wentis says. By 4Q 2010, the market saw 4.4 MSF of positive absorption, which lowered the industrial vacancy rate in Maricopa County from 16.1% to 14.7%. Wentis estimates that solar companies contributed between 15% to 20% to that absorption.

The 14.7% vacancy rate means there is 40 MSF of industrial space available.

It is difficult to say whether there is enough available inventory for solar-related companies, as they don’t all require the same type of industrial space, Wentis says, adding that industrial is the most diversified of all the tenant types of space.

Solar proponents agree that Arizona is just starting to establish itself as a leader in the solar industry, but more needs to be done.

“Are we doing a good job? Yes,” Broome says. “Are we doing a great job? No. Could we be doing better? Yes.”

Factors that helped draw solar companies here and drive the production of solar generation include state tax incentives, utility incentives to customers for rooftop photovoltaic systems, a federal grant program that has been extended for one more year, and state renewable energy standards that require utilities to generate 15% of their kilowatt-hours sold from renewable sources by 2025.

Finally, the total installed cost of photovoltaics has dropped 40% in three years due to several factors, including better production, innovation, and the emergence of China into the market, says Nancy LaPlaca, a policy advisor and spokesperson for Arizona Corporation Commission commissioner Paul Newman.

Stable and well-thought-out energy policies would help the industry, Broome says, adding that the state has taken a “herky jerky” approach to renewable energy. A federal energy standard also would bring stability to the market, he adds.

The state also should discuss ways to export green energy, LaPlaca says. Currently, Arizona exports 30% of its electricity to California, but that is “brown” energy derived from coal, natural gas and nuclear.

For more information about GPEC and its efforts to bring solar companies to the Valley, visit gpec.org.

AZRE Magazine March/April 2011

The GPEC building in Phoenix - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Greater Phoenix Economic Council Profiles

Georgia Lord, GPEC Ambassador ChairwomanGeorgia Lord
GPEC Ambassador Chairwoman
Former Vice Mayor
City of Goodyear

As the wife of an Air Force officer, Georgia Lord has experienced myriad of cultures. Little did she know that while with him on assignment in Germany, she would get the opportunity to ride in a blimp bearing, coincidentally, the name of the city she later served as a city council member — Goodyear.

Lord was originally elected to the Goodyear City Council in 2005. Following her successful re-election in 2009, she was elected by the council to be vice mayor. At the end of 2010, however, she had to resign that position in order to run for mayor of Goodyear.

“I’m fortunate to be able to take complicated issues that are important to citizens, break them down in a way that allows us to address the impact of our decisions, and really consider the consequences our actions will have down the road,” she says.

Lord conducts these discussions with others outside of the Goodyear leadership, as well. In fact, she’s able to fuel her passion for Goodyear’s economic development through participation with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, a venue that provides a sounding board for her ideas, and encourages interaction and support from other cities in the Valley.

“By working together as a team member of GPEC, we’re able to benefit from economies of scale and achieve our goals,” she says.

Lord is most specifically involved with GPEC’s Ambassador Program, which educates both the private and public sectors by highlighting the state’s strengths and the best ways to capitalize on them. Those education efforts, Lord explains, include tours of industrial facilities, workshops with industry experts, educational seminars and business training. She also participates in GPEC’s International Leadership Council, where she is able to draw on her past experiences overseas as she and other council members encourage foreign companies to invest in Arizona.


Scott Smith, mayor City of MesaScott Smith
Mayor
City of Mesa
www.mesaaz.gov

Scott Smith is not one to sit quietly on the sidelines. So, when he became increasingly frustrated with the direction Mesa was headed in, he decided it was time to “put up or shut up,” and was successfully elected mayor in 2008.

One of Smith’s greatest challenges since taking office has been the state of the city’s economy.

“It’s not allowed us to pursue some of the opportunities we would have liked to be well down the road with already,” Smith says. “We know that the only way for us to recover is to create a business environment where the economy can grow and business can thrive, so we’re working diligently to create that kind of environment.”

Smith has found that his involvement with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has been very helpful as he navigates the murky waters of the economy.

“Organizations such as GPEC that are focused on the region’s economic success are absolutely necessary tools for us to really experience the kind of success we think we are capable of,” he says.

The best way to build a successful environment, Smith says, is to identify a city or region’s strengths. The city of Mesa has done so through its HEAT Initiative — Health, Education, Aerospace, Tourism. Boeing, an important employer in Mesa, has received good news, Smith says, that will help solidify its position in the region, and MLB Spring Training continues to draw tourists to the state.

“If we can build upon our strengths … I think we can create a new or expanded economic base that will help us to grow in an organic and measured manner, rather than the boom-and-bust that we experience when we depend on growth as an industry,” Smith says.

Participation in GPEC and working with other cities, he adds, will be much more helpful for Arizona’s overall economy than a city trying to work its problems out on its own.

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

A Rioglass solar facility - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program Helps GPEC Bring In The Shining Stars Of Solar

It makes sense that a city with an average of more than 321 days of sunshine a year is taking the lead in solar, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the energy source’s biggest crusader in Arizona: the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

“I think if you look at comprehensively the way that we approach the utilization of solar, this is top-down the best market to do solar manufacturing,” says Chris Camacho, executive vice president of business development at GPEC.

GPEC aggressively pushed for passage of Senate Bill 1403, the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program, that was signed into law in 2009. The incentives include a refundable tax credit and a property tax reduction.

Since January 2010, eight companies have made the commitment to come to the Phoenix Metro area, with many more anticipated for the future.

GPEC’s hard work has led to making connections around the globe and attracting a number of high-level renewable energy companies to the Valley. One of these companies is Suntech Power Holdings, the world’s largest manufacturer of photovoltaic modules.

“Arizona can be very proud that it has GPEC as an ambassador for the region to reach out to global companies,” says Wei Tai Kwok, vice president of marketing at China-based Suntech Power Holdings. “They’re pounding the pavement to get the message out there that they want to be the solar capital.”

It was thanks to this commitment that Suntech decided to make Goodyear the location for the company’s first U.S. manufacturing plant.

“(GPEC) helped us with the financial modeling, business plan and follow-up,” Kwok says. “They were very attentive and committed to our success … and they’re still at our side and supportive of our needs.”

He also listed other important attributes that factored into the decision, including the state’s skilled work force and Arizona’s serious commitment to solar energy.

GPEC’s Camacho says that type of confidence and emphasis helps the organization differentiate itself from similar groups.

“GPEC’s brand as a group can provide the highest level of services to companies in analyzing the Western U.S. for business locations,” he adds.

The companies that have worked with GPEC can attest to its capability in assisting with relocation efforts. Rioglass Solar, a company that produces reflector components for solar thermal power plants and is a subsidiary of Rioglass Solar Holdings in Spain, worked with GPEC to establish a manufacturing facility and U.S. headquarters in Surprise.

“It was very helpful for us to have an organization that could get us the support we needed,” says Greg Armstrong, chief operating officer of Rioglass Solar. “You need a site that is constructible, has infrastructure and has a quality work force.”

Armstrong adds that the company is highly confident that due to the support of the local community, the infrastructure and GPEC, coming to Arizona will meet Rioglass Solar’s objectives.

Of course, one of the biggest benefits the expansion of the solar industry in Arizona will have will be on job creation. The more activity there is in the region, the more high-quality jobs will be available. The Suntech plant already has created 80 jobs and is expecting to increase to about 150 people within three or four years. Rioglass Solar also anticipates more than 100 positions at its Surprise facility.

While there has been plenty to celebrate since the passing of the incentive program, there are still hurdles to overcome. The catalysts for future growth of the solar industry in Arizona certainly are in place, but the economic difficulties have had an effect.

“We have seen corporations be very conservative in how quickly they move on investment decisions,” Camacho says. “We still have another 150 renewable energy companies in our pipeline. As the economy continues to recover, credit becomes more available, we will welcome more and more companies.”

It’s safe to say that Arizona is moving ahead in the sustainability industry — most notably in the solar field — and thanks to GPEC’s support, there are no signs of this industry slowing down.

“I look at sustainability alongside health care as one of the two industries that is going to drive our economic future,” Camacho says. “Without groups like GPEC, a lot of this would not exist, and I’ll attribute that to having our team be at the forefront of understanding these technology applications, understanding what drives the location decisions of CEOs, and creating an environment that’s very supportive of the (solar) industry.”

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Arizona Mega-Region, Sun Corridor

Developing the Road Map to Growth in the Sun Corridor

With the housing industry in the slumps and fewer construction jobs, now is the time for Arizona to look at ways to diversify its economy to guarantee a sustainable future. The region’s population is poised to grow from 5 million to 10 million by 2050, so we will also face the environmental challenges of accommodating rapid population growth in a fragile desert community.

The changing demographic and economic situation is prompting researchers and leaders to think about how the mega-region known as the Sun Corridor can one day become a significant economic, technological and cultural center. In moving forward, how do we ensure a balance between economic growth and environmental quality?

If the region between Phoenix and Tucson becomes a new paradigm in Arizona for sustainable development with a diverse economic base, our state — quite possibly — will be on track to advance globally. With that said, it will take a substantial amount of cooperation between business and government as well as much better marketing of the region to encourage the wave of investment to continue and accelerate.

Next month, Valley Forward Association is hosting a luncheon focused on opportunities for the Sun Corridor. Panelists include:


The program will be moderated by Janet Perez, editor-in-chief of Arizona Business Magazine, and will focus the discussion on ways Phoenix, Central Arizona and Tucson might work together to enhance growth opportunities and the quality of life issues in the Sun Corridor. Be part of the dialogue that will help shape Arizona’s future!

PTK Top Industry Leaders 2010

People To Know’s Top Industry Leaders Of The Year Announced

AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate Magazine’s latest edition of Top People to Know (PTK) in Commercial Real Estate has just been published, and last night the winners of the PTK Top Industry Leaders were announced at a special event.

PTK showcases the most influential people working in commercial real estate in Arizona in the categories of developers and investors, brokers, architects and engineers, general contractors, sub-contractors, financiers and accountants, attorneys, city planners, property managers, and economic developers.

A committee of CRE professionals and the editorial staff of AZRE picked the people profiled in the 2010-2011 edition of PTK. Of those selected to be in the publication, the committee chose one person in each category as a Top Industry Leader.

A full profile on each of the Top Industry Leaders will be published in the January/February edition of AZRE.

Developers &Investors  Mike Ebert Managing Partner, Development RED DevelopmentDevelopers &Investors

Mike Ebert
Managing Partner, Development
RED Development



Brokers  Mike Haenel Executive Vice President Cassidy Turley | BRE CommercialBrokers

Mike Haenel
Executive Vice President
Cassidy Turley | BRE Commercial



Architects & Engineers  John F. Kane, AIA Partner ArchitektonArchitects & Engineers

John F. Kane, AIA
Partner
Architekton


General Contractors  Bryan Dunn, LEED AP Senior Vice President Adolfson & Peterson ConstructionGeneral Contractors

Bryan Dunn, LEED AP
Senior Vice President
Adolfson & Peterson Construction


Sub-Contractors  Tim Drexler President & CEO Ace Asphalt of ArizonaSub-Contractors

Tim Drexler
President & CEO
Ace Asphalt of Arizona


Financiers & Accountants  Mark Winkleman Chief Operating Officer ML ManagerFinanciers & Accountants

Mark Winkleman
Chief Operating Officer
ML Manager


Attorneys  Jordan Rich Rose Founder & President Rose Law Group pcAttorneys

Jordan Rich Rose
Founder & President
Rose Law Group pc


City Planners  Chris Anaradian Community Development Director City of TempeCity Planners

Chris Anaradian
Community Development Director
City of Tempe


Property Managers  Afton Trail Managing Director CB Richard EllisProperty Managers

Afton Trail
Managing Director
CB Richard Ellis


Economic Developers  Barry Broome President & CEO Greater Phoenix Economic CouncilEconomic Developers

Barry Broome
President & CEO
Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Health Care Reform in Arizona - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Business And Community Leaders Are Trying To Figure Out What Health Care Reform Will Mean In Arizona

For government and business, providers and patients, the U.S. health care reform legislation promises a new world of costs and care.

Most individuals without insurance will be able to get it. Those who have insurance already probably will have to pay more for it. Hospitals, doctors and others in the front lines of health care will begin to change long-established ways of doing business. State governments and many businesses, already battered by recession, will face new costs and possibly some benefits.

But beyond these generalizations, little is certain about what health care reform will mean in Arizona and across the country. The bill is vague in many areas and leaves important details of implementation to be determined by federal regulators and other officials in the weeks and months ahead.

“Quite frankly, we won’t know the financial impacts until we move through the process and see what the federal government and insurance companies do,” says Donna Davis, chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA).

Barry Broome, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), says it is too early know what the bill will mean.

“It sounds very good to be able to cover the uninsured, but what the costs are and how they are going to be distributed are still not clear,” he says.

Marjorie Baldwin, director of the School of Health Management and Policy and assistant dean at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, says it is important to note that the law’s primary purpose is to cover the uninsured.

“This bill is about access,” Baldwin says. “It’s designed to cover the uninsured. There is much less in it about quality of care and little about cost controls.”

On what the price tag for health care reform will be, Baldwin says, “The one safe prediction is that it is going to cost much more than anticipated.”

Hospitals and doctors
Whether the health care overhaul is ultimately deemed a success will be determined to a large extent by what happens inside the nation’s hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

Peter Pavarini, a health care lawyer for Squire, Sanders and Dempsey and an adviser to health care organizations, believes hospitals are actually well-positioned to adapt to the new law.

“Hospitals have been anticipating something happening for some time,” Pavarini says. “Hospitals have the resources to prepare better than some of the other players in the health care system.”

Several provisions in the law are expected to lead to a dramatic shift in the way hospitals are paid by insurance. Under the existing system, providers receive set rates for specific medical procedures. The new law moves toward a system in which hospitals receive a set amount for treating an overall condition or a so-called “bundled payment.” This shift is expected to require more detailed treatment plans, coordinated care and closer cooperation among hospitals and physicians.

“With the bundled payments, you have to have a more integrated approach and an approach that aligns physicians and hospitals,” says Suzanne Pfister, vice president of external affairs at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

The hospital already has been moving in this direction, according to Pfister. St. Joseph’s has forged a series of partnerships with area health care organizations, including outpatient and short-stay providers United Surgical Partners and SimonMed Imaging
.
“We are continuing to look at moving from acute care to a continuum of care,” Pfister says.

Pavarini believes the new payment systems for Medicaid and Medicare will bring big changes to care at hospitals. When the system is in place, hospitals will get a set payment for delivering all of the care a patient receives from 72 hours before admission to 30 days after discharge, he notes.

“That’s a whole different model from what we have now,” Pavarini says. “This means it’s not good enough just to get the patient in and out of the hospital. It means testing can’t be duplicative. And it means patients better be ready for discharge when they’re released.”

Pavarini says doctors and hospitals will need to cooperate more closely as the law is implemented. He sees hospitals forging formal alliances with physician groups and appointing more practicing physicians to their boards of directors.
A more basic concern for hospitals is how much they will be paid. Because expansion of Medicaid is a key feature of the law, hospitals are concerned about long-term revenue.

“Payments are going to shift more to the level of Medicaid, and Medicaid has not been a particularly good payer,” Pfister says.

Officials at Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, are still examining the legislation to assess its consequences.

“This reform is primarily about health insurance, not health care reform,” the organization said in a statement. “It will result in expanded AHCCCS (Medicaid) coverage in Arizona and access to insurance, but the need remains to address reducing the cost of health care.”

The bill includes a number of provisions that will increase the role of primary-care physicians. Medicaid fees will go up for primary-care doctors, who also will be eligible for bonuses from Medicare.

St. Joseph’s is concerned about being able to find enough physicians as health care reform is implemented in the coming years, according to Pfister.

“Arizona has fewer physicians per capita than the national average, so we face that already. Arizona does not have enough primary-care physicians and even some specialists,” she says.

The larger hospitals that have formal ties to physicians and other providers probably will fare best under health care reform, according to Pavarini. But he believes smaller, more isolated hospitals will struggle and some will close.

“Arizona has a number of smaller hospitals in less populated areas,” he says. “I think the outlying hospitals in rural communities could have difficulty.”

Businesses
While all businesses will be affected by the health care reform law, some will feel it more than others. Probably least affected will be firms that already provide health insurance now and have a pool of employees large enough to allow the companies to self-insure.

“For most large businesses, fundamentally there’s not a lot of change,” says Keith Maio, president and chief executive officer of National Bank of Arizona. “For us, we’ll have to be a little more paperwork conscious.”

ASU’s Baldwin says the principal effect on large employers will be slightly higher expenses, as they absorb some of the cost of the system’s expanded coverage.

“For larger employers, the law is not going to mean a big difference, but they are going to see their costs go up,” she says.

Smaller businesses though will face new uncertainties, and, for some, significant new costs.

“I would say that there is a cloud of concern generally for small businesses,” says Maio, whose bank has many small business customers. “People who have been through the recession and are still slugging it out have learned to survive. But they still have trouble seeing how they can get back to where they were . That’s why something like the health care bill can have such an impact.”

The law offers a complex mix of incentives and penalties designed to spur employers to offer health insurance. In 2014, employers with 50 or more workers who do not provide coverage will face penalties of $2,000 or $3,000 per employee. Some employers who provide insurance and have fewer than 50 workers will be eligible for tax credits.

“In a sense there is both a carrot and a stick,” says Bradford Kirkman-Liff, professor in the School of Health Management and Policy at W. P Carey. “The idea is to create a very strong incentive to provide insurance.”

The tax credits could offset as much as half of the insurance costs for some employers, Kirkman-Liff notes.

“Arizona has a high number of small employers. Many of them don’t provide health insurance, but some do. This would give them a reason not to drop it,” he says.

The law also instructs states to establish insurance exchanges, where small employers and individuals can purchase policies from insurance companies. The exchanges are designed to bring down the cost of insurance by combining groups of buyers into large pools.

But even with government subsidies and insurance exchanges, some businesses will find the burden too large, according Maio.

“The greatest impact will be on those that employ entry-level employees,” he says. “Arizona has a lot of lower-wage businesses who won’t be able to afford to provide insurance. I think some will opt to pay the fine. Then what have you accomplished?”

Another problem that Maio sees is the 50-employee threshold for the coverage requirement. Employers with fewer than 50 can escape penalties for not providing insurance.

“Have you given them a disincentive to adding people?” he asks.

Davis at ASBA says most business owners are focused on short-term challenges and do not have a clear picture of how the law will affect them.

“For some small businesses who fit the prescribed requirements, it will help offset some of their costs,” Davis says. “For others, it simply won’t.”

Green Economy

Green News Roundup – Building A Green Economy, Solar Power & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about the benefits of making your home energy efficient, building a green economy and solar in Arizona.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.


Best of Green 2010: Business and Politics

Find out who the best political ambassador is, the best politics Web site, the best non-profit partnership and so much more, all with a “green” twist.

Building a Green Economy
This New York Times Magazine essay addresses how to cut greenhouse gas emissions without further injuring our economy. Along with a synopsis of climate change economics, the author dives into controversial aspects of the issue and sorts it all out so we don’t have to.

Arizona to world: Do we have solar!
The LA Times spotlighted Arizona’s efforts to draw solar companies to the Grand Canyon State. Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome is quoted in the article, emphasizing the state’s commitment to a sustainable economy.

Motivating People to make homes energy efficient
In this piece from the Washington Post, the author makes the case for energy efficient homes and looks at why homeowners don’t implement more measures. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration data, in the U.S. buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming. However, making your home more energy-efficient reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

GPEC Profile: Candace Wiest, President And CEO Of West Valley National Bank

Candace Wiest
President and CEO, West Valley National Bank

Even before West Valley National Bank opened its doors on Dec. 23, 2006, a decision was made to join the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Becoming an active member of GPEC made good business sense.

“What I like about GPEC is its economic development focus,” says Candace Wiest, president and CEO of the community bank. “It goes to the heart of what community banks do. I’m a firm believer in the saying that a rising tide lifts all ships.”

One of the first benefits Wiest saw for her bank was how GPEC helped attract the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to the West Valley. The nation’s fourth Cancer Treatment Centers of America, located in Goodyear, opened on Dec. 29, 2008, bringing with it quality care for cancer patients and 200 high-paying jobs. But there’s more.

“It certainly helped with some of the housing issues in the West Valley, created a lot of options in terms of health care, and gave the area national recognition,” Wiest says. “I couldn’t bank the hospital itself, maybe, but I certainly can be the banker for a lot of the people out there.”

GPEC efforts benefit the Greater Phoenix’s economy on a macro level, Wiest says, as well as on a micro level helping its individual members.

She enjoys serving on GPEC Next, which is an advisory group through which some of the newer ideas flow before being submitted to GPEC’s board of directors. She applauds GPEC’s role in supporting solar energy, which produces a benefit for her bank.

“I certainly cannot finance any big solar companies,” Wiest says, “but we have launched a program to finance construction for businesses that want to convert to solar.”

The solid relationship between West Valley National Bank and GPEC is ongoing. Wiest is on the board of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, maintaining a link between the cancer facility and GPEC; and she is a trustee of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University, named after the 14th U.S. president. The university already holds some classes in Goodyear and is considering an expansion, Wiest says, adding that GPEC is playing a role in that project.

Wiest says GPEC has done wonders to enhance the Valley’s image. While serving a pair of three-year terms as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, she heard numerous negative comments about the Phoenix area.

“GPEC has helped to debunk some of those myths,” Wiest says.

www.wvnb.net


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

GPEC Profile: Craig Robb, Executive Vice President And Director Of Finance And Administration, National Bank Of Arizona

Craig Robb
Executive vice president and director of finance and administration, National Bank of Arizona

With a 17-year career in land development prior to joining National Bank of Arizona seven years ago, Craig Robb was a natural to become an active member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Robb, executive vice president and director of finance and administration for the bank, is in his first year on the GPEC board of directors. He also serves on the GPEC Next Committee, which reviews possible projects and initiatives before forwarding them to the board.

But it was his two-plus years on GPEC’s Community Development Committee that enabled him to draw extensively from his combined experience in real estate and banking. Comprised primarily of real estate brokers and developers, with some bankers, the panel focused on shovel-ready projects as the construction industry’s fortunes plunged.

One of the areas his committee worked on involves sustainability and LEED certification.

“GPEC maintains a strong effort to identify programs and buildings that are more attractive to potential companies coming into the Phoenix area,” Robb says. “It’s an effort to match companies to a building that is LEED certified and sustainable, whether it’s office or industrial. That’s very attractive to a company that might be interested in relocating here.”

The bank’s relationship with GPEC is a two-way street.

“We are glad to be a contributor to GPEC, which is absolutely the right organization for promoting Greater Phoenix,” Robb says, “especially how difficult it is now, with the competition we face in a national and global economy. On a reciprocal basis, we have benefited. GPEC has given us a greater interest in sustainability.”

The bank, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009, decided to upgrade some of its nearly 80 branches that were facing energy challenges.

“We started our own effort to see what we could do to create a more sustainable platform for our own buildings,” Robb says.

About the same time in late 2008, Robb, through a GPEC event, met the CEO of Solar City.

“That blossomed forward, and we ended up with a $1.5 million installation at our Biltmore location, improving our energy efficiency,” he says. “In addition, the bank has committed $25 million to provide a lease program that allows individuals to lease solar equipment for their homes.

“We made our contribution to GPEC, and as a result here is a relationship that has blossomed into well over a $50 million investment related to solar.”

www.nbarizona.com


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

GPEC Profile: Steve Cowman, CEO Of Stirling Energy Systems Inc.

Steve Cowman
CEO, Stirling Energy Systems Inc. (SES)

With more than a hint of an Irish brogue, Steve Cowman sounds like he has found a home in what he calls the solar capital of the Southwest.

The CEO of Stirling Energy Systems Inc. (SES) is enthused about the prospects for an expanding solar energy industry, the strategic access to his market that Phoenix provides, and the proactive reputation of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. SES is a pioneer in the design and development of Concentrated Solar Power solutions.

Cowman joined the company in May 2008, after having worked for General Electric for 10 years, including eight in the United States. He’s been living in the U.S., mostly on the East Coast, for 12 of the past 20 years.

Barely a year after taking the helm of Stirling, and choosing Phoenix for its corporate headquarters, Cowman joined GPEC and sits on the economic development organization’s executive committee. Though a relative newcomer to the Valley, Cowman, who has a background in semiconductor engineering, had a longtime involvement with Intel, Motorola and Arizona State University.

With Stirling targeting markets in Nevada, New Mexico, California, Texas, and of course, Arizona, Cowman says of Phoenix, “I liked the location and the infrastructure.”

While Cowman was working in Dublin, GPEC dispatched a representative to his company to reinforce the story about what Phoenix offers.

“I was impressed with the people and with the vision they have to reverse the trend of losing engineering and manufacturing-intensive businesses in the Valley,” Cowman says. “I like GPEC, and I want to stay here and grow here.”

Cowman applauds the efforts of GPEC to attract more solar energy businesses.

“A number of companies are looking to relocate their design or manufacturing operations to the Phoenix area,” he says. “The larger solar infrastructure we build in the Valley, the better it is for companies like Stirling. It improves the gene pool we can all draw from and helps with collaborative programs.”
In addition to marketing and promoting the Phoenix area from coast to coast, GPEC also gets into what Cowan refers to the “hard stuff,” pushing legislation that helps the solar industry.

On the lost manufacturing jobs, Cowman says, “These jobs are not going overseas. A lot of them are going to places like Nevada and New Mexico.
Arizona has some catching up to do, and GPEC is doing that. GPEC is trying to make the Valley look more attractive, and state officials need to wake up to the reality that we have a competitive disadvantage.”

www.stirlingenergy.com

Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

Q&A With Michael Bidwell, Chairman Of GPEC, President Of The Arizona Cardinals

Michael Bidwill
Chairman, GPEC
President, Arizona Cardinals

Why did you opt for a second term as GPEC chairman?

It is an honor to serve a second year as chairman of GPEC. The organization is doing meaningful work, and I wanted to help build upon that work. I think it’s also important to provide consistency in leadership, particularly during times like this. Over the last year, GPEC has made impactful contributions to Arizona’s economy, including our work on the renewable energy incentive program (SB1403). We have much more to do and serving another year as chairman will allow me to continue to work closely with the governor, Legislature and business community on vital economic development issues.

You have been GPEC’s chairman during one of the worst economic downturns the Valley has seen in decades. What lessons have you taken from this experience and what have you learned about the business community?
Our state was unprepared for the slowdown in the economy and the ramifications are going to be sobering in 2010 for those not following the state budget cuts. It is clear that the business community needs to lead the effort to diversify our industry base. And it is equally clear that we have many talented, passionate business community members who are ready to step forward and provide new leadership. Like in football, we need a game plan and players on the field to execute it.

Economists say the recession has made Arizona more affordable again, and thus more attractive to relocating companies. Do you agree with this assessment, and how is GPEC making sure the Valley maximizes its competitiveness?
I believe it is one factor, but not significant enough to be a game changer. Arizona needs to understand that we compete for business expansion and relocation with our Mountain West competitor states. Decision makers who decide where these projects (and jobs) are located factor many things: an educated work force, cost of and access to capital, business operating environment and an ability to attract and retain talent. Housing costs play a role, but our competition has a leg up on Arizona in many of the other areas. We need to stress to our elected officials that we need a game plan to recover from this downturn and diversify our economic base.

GPEC has targeted the renewable energy industry as a source of new business opportunities. How do Arizona’s efforts to attract green companies compare with those of other states? How would you assess any progress the state has made?

With the passage of SB1403 last session, we are well positioned to land new solar and renewable energy companies. But Corporate America is going green too and looking for green or LEED-certified buildings. Arizona needs to develop new programs to bring our commercial buildings to LEED certification. There is no doubt this will help in our effort to land new projects.

What are some of the goals and initiatives GPEC is taking on this year and how will it go about achieving those goals?

We have several efforts. First, we are providing analysis to the Legislature on how rewriting the state’s Enterprise Zone legislation will stimulate job creation and fill some of the empty commercial space. Second, we have renewed our focus on marketing Greater Phoenix with an emphasis on positive business news and opportunity. We’ve created a new Web site called opportunitygreaterphoenix.com that showcases the region and unique opportunities businesses and people have here. Next, we are organizing executive missions to Washington, D.C., and New York, where we’ll meet with leaders who can help influence positive economic activity for Arizona. And of course, we’ll continue to work hard to bring solar and renewable energy companies to Arizona under the new incentive legislation passed last summer. It will be a busy year and we are committed to doing all we can to improve the Valley’s economy and bring jobs to this region.

www.azcardinals.com


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

GPEC Launches A New Website To Promote The Greater Phoenix Story

At a time when traditional newspapers are struggling or even vanishing, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council has launched a new Web site designed to provide information that offers a complete picture of what is going on in the Valley.

One of the goals behind the formation of OGP — opportunitygreaterphoenix.com — is to offset some of the negative news coverage that continues to plague Arizona. Barry Broome, GPEC president and CEO, says community leaders agreed on the concept of establishing a communications initiative that focuses on the brand of the Greater Phoenix market.

“We’re more transactional,” Broome says. “A lot of great attributes about our market don’t necessarily get conveyed in a transactional exchange. Our reputation is tied to a lot of things that go well beyond building work force availability and the cost of a transaction.”

Working with the Maricopa Partnership of Art, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, GPEC maintains the Web site that enables people in Arizona and elsewhere to read stories about Arizona they might not see anywhere else.

“You can find the kind of in-depth stories not necessarily always available in a typical news environment,” Broome says. “Hopefully, it will become a social media phenomenon. Our goal is to complement blog activity and news activity in the market, and really tell our story. It’s more of a communications initiative than a Web site.”

Events of the past two years spurred the creation of Opportunity Greater Phoenix. There was concern that mainstream media were not defining Greater Phoenix in a fair and equitable way. Those events Broome mentions include the immigration debate, the housing market collapse, the impact on Arizona from the banking crisis and issues related to a state budget bleeding red ink.

GPEC Chairman Michael Bidwill and Vice Chair William Pepicello obtained funds from the private sector to launch the site. A Web publisher and a part-time reporter were brought onboard. Discussions about OGP began Oct. 1. Eight weeks later, the site was up and running.

The OGP site is designed to inform and influence the conversation about all things related to business, employment, and the economy in Greater Phoenix. It provides accurate coverage of news, trends and analysis relevant to the local economy, along with resources such as database searches, lists, links and summaries on work force, quality of life, and overall competitiveness. It will be particularly helpful, Broome says, when GPEC embarks on economic development trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. Interested parties can go to a single site and get a broad base of stories about the Greater Phoenix market, he says.

Commenting on the emergence of blogs, Broome says, “There’s not a lot of peer review to a blog. As communications becomes more organic and viral, we think it’s important that the market has an organic and viral communication device that will allow readers who are intrigued about our market an intense reading and learning experience.”

So where and how will the site get its information?

“We will be reconstituting information from mainstream media, and producing a lot of fresh new stories of our own,” Broome says. “We expect to write at least five new major stories a week. We’ll have features on CEOs, a community news site, profiles on individuals, and there may be an interactive opportunity to interface with an expert on the economy. The content will be fresh and compelling, but it won’t all be originally generated.”

As an example, Broome notes that Nobel Prize winner Lee Hartwell left the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he was executive director, to establish and co-direct the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.

“That’s a big deal,” Broome says. “There’s a lot more to that story. What will be the focus of his research? It’s important to the region’s reputation that the story gets told in a more comprehensive and robust way.”

Another example of a story waiting to be told involves a dynamic young woman who graduated from ASU and launched a wireless company in Chandler.She might not be a candidate for a major news story by a major news outlet, but she’s young, which addresses the notion that Greater Phoenix is a retirement community, and she’s talented, which more accurately describes ASU as a first-class institution and not a party school, Broome says.

“That story won’t be in the New York Times,” he adds. “They write about our housing troubles. And The Washington Post writes about our budget problems.”

Opportunity Greater Phoenix is more than a news source. OGP is a resource, Broome says.

“Businesses looking to relocate or expand into Greater Phoenix will find information about the work force, quality of life, policies and legislation that impact decisions,” he says. “And those looking to visit or live in the Valley will find useful information on employment, neighborhoods and arts and culture.”

opportunitygreaterphoenix.com


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010