Tag Archives: habitat for humanity


Six SRP employees honored for volunteer work

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of their time, efforts and expertise to their communities, six SRP employee volunteers were awarded the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award.

The award recognizes employees and retirees who are leaders in volunteerism and who serve as excellent examples of the power of caring.

“One of the truly remarkable aspects of the SRP employee family is the unwavering commitment to volunteerism that spans the entire organization,” said SRP President David Rousseau, who added that SRP employees and retirees, with help from their friends and families, donate thousands of volunteer hours a year to their communities. “Employees from all areas of the company help us build stronger communities through their personal commitment to volunteering.”

This year, SRP recognized employee Mike Heath with the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his sustained leadership in addressing significant community needs. The late Karl F. Abel, a Glendale resident who served as president of SRP from 1972 to 1982, was a strong community advocate and  provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations.

The 2015 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Chandler resident Nancy Brooks – Most Valuable Pets

Nancy Brooks devotes more than 20 hours a week to Most Valuable Pets (MVP) and helps deliver mobile dog and cat health services to needy communities by supporting free spay/neuter events. Moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, the mobile surgical unit spayed and neutered more than 6,700 dogs and cats last year. Brooks manages all the publicity in the communities MVP visits; schedules and confirms appointments; picks up and delivers surgical patients; searches for grants to support the charity; and finds loving homes for unwanted animals. She has been with MVP for more than two years. In that time, the organization has helped thousands of pets in many underserved areas across the Valley. The MVP director says they could not do the work they do without Brooks’ ongoing support — she makes sure the mobile vet clinic runs efficiently and smoothly.

Chandler resident Dennis Gerlach – Flying Samaritans Arizona, Phoenix Chapter

Dennis Gerlach is a pilot who uses his plane to fly health care volunteers to Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to provide medical, dental and optical care to the residents in this small, remote fishing village. This volunteer group provides medical services to underserved communities in Mexico one Saturday per month, 10 months out of the year, and recently added a second clinic in Laguna San Ignacio. Gerlach has been active with the Flying Samaritans since 2008. In 2011, he became the Phoenix Chapter’s president, and this past summer, he was named vice president of the Flying Samaritans Arizona. Though not a medical practitioner, he supports efforts by serving as a clinic coordinator and by using his electrical engineering knowledge to repair medical and dental equipment. Gerlach also helps maintain the facility where the clinics are held. 

Peoria resident Mike Heath (KFA recipient) – Peoria Arizona Historical Society

The city of Peoria was established in 1886, and with nearly 130 years of history, the Peoria Arizona Historical Society is in charge of collecting, preserving, protecting and displaying significant artifacts, photographs and other materials for future generations. Mike Heath is the Historical Society’s vice chairman of the board and has been with the organization for two years. He is active in fundraising events, identifying opportunities for grants and providing tours of the jail house and museum. Heath is often found cleaning, making repairs and maintaining the museum to save the Historical Society money. In addition to the Historical Society, he also volunteers with Leadership West, the Glendale/Peoria YMCA, Benevilla and the Challenger Space Center Arizona. Heath spends much of his free time each month supporting a number of organizations near and dear to his heart. Identifying need and then helping address it, he is the recipient of this year’s Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his wide-ranging volunteer work in the community.

Phoenix resident Kim Humphrey – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Working to eliminate substandard housing in our community, Kim Humphrey has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona for nine years after introducing the SRP PowerWise home program to the charity as a Key Account Manager. Since then, Habitat has become one of the largest single-family LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) builders in the state of Arizona. Humphrey has been an active board member for several years and recently completed her term as chairman where she guided the board’s efforts and worked closely with the organization’s CEO to meet strategic goals. She raised money, recruited volunteers, led publicity campaigns, developed new community partnerships and helped build homes – all of which translated into 60 homes that meet the needs of more than 300 families. Humphrey also led the planning efforts for the Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s 1,000th home celebration with the help of several SRP employees.

St. Johns resident Les Young – New Hope Ranch

New Hope Ranch provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence as well as food boxes and firewood for the homeless in Apache County. Les Young has been volunteering with New Hope Ranch since 1998, assisting in maintaining the transitional homes, fixing plumbing and electrical issues and ensuring that everything is clean, in good working order and stocked with supplies for those in need. He helps when emergency situations arise and also performs regular volunteer work, including cutting wood, spraying weeds, painting and cleaning safe houses or helping out at the New Hope Chest thrift store. Living in a small town magnifies the needs of people in the community. Seeing this need, Young spends up to 25 hours a month supporting New Hope Ranch’s mission to better serve his community.


Tempe resident Nancy Starr-Cassidy – Toastmasters International, District 3

For nearly 30 years, Nancy Starr-Cassidy has been a member and a volunteer leader in Toastmasters International, District 3, an organization devoted to helping individuals become more effective communicators and leaders. First elected as an officer in the mid-1990s, Starr-Cassidy continued to be elected to higher offices, culminating in her 2004 appointment to the international board of directors. She founded the Toastmasters Leadership Institute after realizing newly elected officers did not have the business or leadership experience to guide the organization. Spending 40 hours each month, Starr-Cassidy provides instructional design skills to review and develop new curriculum for winter and summer education programs. She also serves as chief ambassador for the Revitalized Education Program and leads volunteer efforts to roll out a new educational program for Arizona’s 214 clubs.

Habitat for Humanity

10 offices we’d love to work in

How many offices can boast a 15-foot spinning Jumbotron, an entire room devoted to playing golf, a bat pole for riding between floors, a hidden kitchen for creative break times? We can think of at least one! From football fields to double-decker buses, these are the offices we’d love to work in — for at least one day.



6950 W. Morelos Pl., Chandler, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
DBSI, Inc.
DBSI Inc. works with financial institutions to re-brand and transform their branch locations.
With its high ceiling and open spaces, DBSI’s headquarters leaves plenty of room to promote creativity and fun at every corner. Some of DBSI’s office highlights include a room called the Ideation Center with a 15-foot TV “Wow Wall” that screens movies and broadcasts sports games while doubling as a secret door to a Collaboratory (aka a “test kitchen”), a golf simulator room and bat pole between floors for a rush of energy before employees return to work.

DIRTT Environmental Solutions

DIRTT Environmental Solutions

DIRTT Environmental Solutions
836 E. University Dr., Phoenix
Architecture/Design Firm:
Phoenix Design One
DIRTT, short for Doing It Right This Time, is a company that creates customizable architectural interiors with tailored prefab for flexible building designs.
There’s no such thing as a corner office at DIRTT’s factory environment. Not even the executive has a private office. Instead, people sit in the “Fish Bowl” in the heart of the DIRTT factory. Bordered on all sides with a Breathe Wall, employees gets to enjoy the greenery of live plants in addition to daylighting from skylights. Breakfast, lunch and breaks are catered by two full-time chefs in a cafeteria also used for presentations and networking events.

DRP Construction Phoneix Regional Office

DRP Construction Phoneix Regional Office

DPR Construction Phoenix Regional Office
222 N. 44th St., Phoenix
Architecture/Design Firm:
DPR Construction is a national technical builder that specializes in sustainable projects.
SmithGroupJJR turned a 28-year-old, 16,500 SF retail building into the first commercial office in Arizona (and second in the country) to achieve a Net-Zero Energy Building certification. The open-office environment has 58 work stations, nine conference rooms, a gym and locker facility and a zen room for quiet retreat. A Lucid Building Dashboard system shares building energy and utility usage in real time and has a “Vampire Switch” that, when pressed, turns off phantom plug-loads at the end of the day.

FITCH Phoenix Studio

FITCH Phoenix Studio

FITCH Phoenix Studio
16435 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 195, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
FITCH is a global design consultancy founded in 1972 in the UK.
The FITCH studio, nestled in the Scottsdale Promenade, a shopping center that offers a unique architectural setting inspired by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. What makes the LEED Silver office unique, inspiring and innovative is the group’s namesake. FITCH has a 1962 Route Master bright red double-decker London bus in its lobby. The bus was purchased in Los Angeles, dropped the engine and was completely restored by FITCH staff. The labor of love was completed with a fully functioning conference space on the lower portion and a lounge complete with television on the upper portion of the bus. It even hosts an annual British American Parliamentary Group meeting.



ASU Research Park, Tempe, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
Patrick Hayes Architecture, SmithGroupJJR (Interior)
GoDaddy is an internet domain registrar and web hosting company.
The GoDaddy project is full of unique and quirky design features. It has an indoor go-kart/bicycle track; a slide that goes from the second to first floor (and is rumored to be six-degrees steeper than Google’s slide); several game areas for employees to refocus; a yoga studio and fitness center; it has an innovative workspace layout with meandering walkways and wide open spaces; the break room features 12’ x 30’ glass doors that open up allowing the inside and outside spaces to flow; site amenities include a soccer field, several multi-purpose sport courts (including a shaded basketball court) and electric vehicle charging stations.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity
3501 N. Mountain Ave., Tucson, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
DKP Architecture
An international, non-governmental and nonprofit organization dedicated to building homes that are affordable and address the issues of poverty housing.
“Habitat for Humanity is a functional, pragmatic organization and its new Tucson office captures the same spirit,” writes Sundt Construction’s Kurt Wadlington. A repurposed 1940s grocery store, the working environment was created for Habitat’s employees, volunteers and community and with a design emphasis on collaboration. The office’s signature element is its “House with the House.” This freestanding indoor pitched roof structure greets visitors and provides a communal conference area. The office also includes a children play area and open office areas held below the roof structure to preserve the high volume bowstring wood trusses of the original structure.



1260 S. Spectrum Blvd., Chandler, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
Balmer Architectural Group
Infusionsoft is a private company that offers an e-mail marketing and sales platform for small businesses, including products to streamline the customer lifecycle, customer relationship management, marketing automation, lead capture, and e-commerce.
Infusionsoft’s headquarters, located in a 90KSF, two-story office building in the middle of Chandler’s tech hub, is anything but stuffy. The office is built around a 40-yard indoor football field that acts as a central gathering place for company-wide meetings, department chats and a place to throw around a Frisbee or football. With a design focus on company culture, Infusionsoft features a fully stocked cereal bar, massage chairs, a game room, gym and showers. One popular feature is in the auditorium, which has a removable wall made up of blocks that can be removed to connect the auditorium with the rest of the office space or placed to create intimacy and privacy.

Recruiting.com & Jobing.com

Recruiting.com & Jobing.com

Recruiting.com and Jobing.com
1375 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 300, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
hayes/architecture interiors inc.
Jobing.com is an employment website focusing on local recruiting in 18 U.S. cities. Recruiting.com offers companies software and technology that helps in the hiring process.
This office space was a consolidation of Jobing.com and Recruiting.com’s headquarters with the end goal of a functional, motivating work environment. Want to have a meeting from a ceiling-suspended collaborative workspace? Park it in one of the two floating benches known as “huddles,” where you can host clients, video conferences or collaborative sessions. From the interesting wallpaper to the entertaining lighting and the collection of PEZ machines, Jobing.com’s space was designed to be as varied and diverse as its employees. From environments that cater to working out, napping, collaborating or working independently, there’s a spot for every kind of work style.

Rose Law Group

Rose Law Group

Rose Law Group
7144 E. Stetson Dr., Ste. 300, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
A full-service business law firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Rose Law Group is one of a handful of law firms embracing modern office design. After Rose Law purchased a space with two pre-existing suites, it engaged Gensler to design a cohesive floor. The two suites were brought together with a circulation loop, the center of which holds a “collaboration lab.” Gensler also worked to maximize the number of private offices along the perimeter of the building and accomplished this by increasing the number of offices from 8 to 28. Salvaged materials during the process were re-used for other areas of the project, such as flooring, shelving and reception millwork.



2040 E. Technology Circle, Tempe, Ariz.
Architecture/Design Firm:
ViaSat is a global satellite technology company based in San Diego, Calif. It Tempe office will be used for operations.
Despite being designed around engagement, connection, familial culture and exterior amenities, ViaSat’s Tempe operations building will have a 95 percent closed office environment. The office, smaller than a standard space, is broken up into private work spaces with glass fronts. Every “team cluster” has a front porch, which is a collaborative space for individuals. The office has a large gathering space designed as a place for meetings and a connection to the basketball and sand volleyball courts as well as outdoor meeting spaces.
nicole, small giants, web

Nicole Kadyszewski joins Small Giants

Nicole Kadyszewski has joined the Small Giants team as director of operations and recruiting, focusing on organizational management, process improvement and talent placement for marketing and business development professionals. With eight years of field experience in general contracting and real estate development, Kadyszewski is applying her project manager skills to orchestrate the team’s growing workload and operations.

Her technical understanding of the industry ensures all projects are completed with the highest level of value to the client.  Additionally, Kadyszewski leads Small Giants recruiting, placing marketing and business development candidates throughout the commercial real estate, and A/E/C industry.

Kadyszewski graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Construction Management. She is a LEED Green Associate and recently completed the Arizona Builders’ Alliance Leadership Development Forum, which strives to educate construction professions and cultivate leadership skills. She is also supporter of Advancing Women in Construction and Habitat for Humanity.

Davis Named Vice President of Pioneer Title Agency

Pioneer Title Agency announced it has appointed real estate veteran Tom Davis as its vice president. In his role, Davis will be responsible for collaborating with the leadership at Pioneer’s more than 50 offices statewide as well as working closely with the family-owned title agency’s area managers on operations, customer service, technology enhancements and marketing. In addition, Davis will work on both expanding current operations in Maricopa County as well as opening new offices in the coming year. He will work from the company’s Phoenix Peak office, which is located 7310 N. 16th Street in Phoenix.

Davis brings more than 30 years of industry experience to the role, notably as the president and chief operating officer of Westland Title and as the president of Grand Canyon Title. During his time at the helm of Westland, Davis was proud to have the business named among the “Best Places to Work in the Valley” three consecutive years. In the past, he has been involved in the community through the Wounded Warrior Project, No One Left Behind, Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society, among other organizations. Within the industry, he has been active with local REALTOR associations as well as the Land Title Association of Arizona.

“Tom’s reputation in our industry as a leader is second to none – he is universally respected,” said Keith Newlon, Pioneer Title Agency president. “His values and goals align with ours – commitment to service, our people and each community across Arizona.”

Davis lives in Peoria with his wife. He enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family, including his new grandchildren.

For more information about Pioneer Title Agency, visit www.ptaaz.com.

Reviving the Construction Industry

Habitat for Humanity is built by volunteers

There are many good people in Arizona.

Several weeks ago, a group of them stood in searing summer heat celebrating the completion of another Habitat for Humanity home-renovation project for a deserving family.

We are often asked how we’re able to build or renovate homes during Arizona’s oppressive summer months and despite the economic challenges.  Sometimes I wonder that myself, particularly about the heat.

And then I look around and the answer becomes very clear:  because of our volunteers.  In fact, at this particular event, one of our Bank of America volunteers, whose support was phenomenal on this house, commented that they’re ready to start the next company-sponsored home in September, but in the meantime they’re looking forward to volunteering on other home projects this summer.

How can we not succeed when we have that support from across the community from volunteers readily committing to a weekend project when the mercury would touch 119 degrees?

Support from the banking sector has been particularly strong and allowed us to continue our work during the severe economic downturn we’re now climbing out of.

The Corporation for National Community Service reported that Arizona’s 1.3 million volunteers donated an average of 28 hours each during 2011 for a total financial contribution of $3.1 billion in service.  Phoenix represented the largest percentage of those numbers with 850,600 volunteers donating 94.1 million hours valued at $2.6 billion.

Nationwide in 2011, 64.3 million volunteers – the highest level in five years – contributed 8 billion hours.  Three out of every five volunteers were between 25 and 54 years of age and were parents of children under 18.

Last year, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona served over 400 families, a tenfold increase from where we were in 2008 before the real estate market crashed.  We’ve also expanded our products to include home repairs, deepened our relationships with collaborative organizations and extended our reach with recent approval for an expanded service area to now include Pinal County.

We expect to complete about 60 homes from Buckeye to Apache Junction this year with a staff of 80 and nearly 10,000 volunteers.

But it’s during the summer that we can really measure the commitment, the passion and selflessness of the community and our volunteers.  Their desire to make a positive impact on the community says a lot about the character of the men, women and young people who choose to engage in this type of work.

I recently read that a volunteer is “a person that has a spirit of service, creativity, sensitivity for human pain, strong moral values, the ability to work in a team, and a social conscience.”

I couldn’t have said it better.


Roger Schwierjohn is President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.  For information about how to volunteer, visit www.habitatcaz.org.


Direct Energy Opens Phoenix Area Call Center

Direct Energy today officially opened its Phoenix area call center in Tempe symbolizing the company’s dedication to grow long-term in the Phoenix community. As part of the grand opening festivities, Direct Energy announced that the company and its employees would commit to volunteering a minimum of 2,000 hours over the next year among several different area non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the St. Mary’s Food Bank.

“Direct Energy takes community investment and corporate social responsibility very seriously,” said Scott Boose, president, Direct Energy Services. “We are committed to making a difference in our customer’s lives and positive impacts in areas like Phoenix where we are part of the community employing hundreds of people with plans to grow even more.”
The community involvement initiative announcement was made at a press conference at Direct Energy’s new call center. During the press conference, Direct Energy also discussed its optimism that Arizona will open to retail electric competition, an industry where Direct Energy is the largest in North America. Recently, Direct Energy submitted a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to serve retail electric customers in the state. The ultimate goal is to allow more consumers, specifically residential and small businesses, in Arizona to reap the full benefits of a competitive retail market structure, which may include cost savings.

“Across the United States in competitive retail electric markets, Direct Energy has offered choice and innovative time-of-use products to consumers that will save them money,” said Steven Murray, president, Direct Energy Residential. “Arizona should be no different and we look forward to working with the Arizona Corporation Commission Commissioners and other parties to continue the forward progress the state is making toward competition.”

Direct Energy employs more than 200 people in the Phoenix area with current plans to grow to as many as 500. The company’s call center in Tempe serves customers in both Direct Energy Services for their plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and electricians needs, and Direct Energy Residential for our retail electric customers.

“We are so pleased to celebrate this day with Direct Energy and its employees,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Tempe is excited about adding 500 new jobs to our community, and we are appreciative of the volunteerism of the Direct Energy employees. That is a genuine and generous sign that they are here to stay.”

“Our new call center is a symbol of the important position Tempe and the Phoenix area has toward growing our customer base and business in North America,” said Matt George, Direct Energy’s call center director and senior executive in the Phoenix area. “I look forward to showing the community our new workplace and enhancing our visibility and influence here.”

social workouts

Buddy Up: Social Workouts Can Keep You Active

Buddy Up: Social Workouts Can Keep You Active

It seems fitting that I follow up holiday eating with holiday fitness. For most of us, this is about balancing family and friends with exercise. If we start before the New Year begins, the extra effort will motivate us well into warm-weather vacation time.

What truly matters

We should never neglect the important people in our lives. They are a reflection of us and us of them. The ones who love us will also love what we do and vice versa — this includes exercise. Much frustration arises from trying to keep our fitness agenda completely separate from personal relationships. When we find something we love, we will make time to enjoy it. And, we should share our joy with others, such as with gift certificates to our favorite class. Or better yet, to your friend or loved one’s favorite class. It’s always fun to have a workout buddy, especially one you love.

Social and active complement each other

For my birthday, I got a group together for a yoga class at a friend’s studio. Some loved it, some did not, but we all appreciated a great laugh. We enjoyed some exercise and important bonding time. Working out doesn’t have to feel like actual work, and we shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to plan a group event.

Another friend got us together to compete in a dancing video game — one that requires actual dancing. Is there anything wrong with celebrating a random Sunday shaking my butt to Pitbull? How about gathering teams for physically inclined charity events? Although running is the most common, there are other programs involving lots of movement, such as Habitat for Humanity.

Parents will also benefit from scheduling household activities. What adults call exercise, children call playtime. We can all learn from children. Give them a chance to pick and lead an activity. Post a calendar and develop a prize system for activities accomplished. The true reward is their improved development and overall growth as a family.

Traveling? Pack your workout clothes, even if you haven’t made exercise plans. Do your best to stick to your regular schedule and try not to sleep in too much. The presence of the clothes and additional free time will either stimulate or guilt us into action — so will the holiday eating.

Searching for variety and blending it with quality time will enhance the holiday season. If this time of year builds stress then it’s an ideal way to let such negativity go. Shifting our busy minds to enjoyable thoughts and connecting with those in our inner circles is a great way to recharge our spirits.

Have a wonderful holiday and a beautiful New Year.

E.J. and Jen Hughes, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

Dynamic Duo Doing Good For Boys & Girls Clubs Of Greater Scottsdale

E.J. Hughes is a “middle kid.”

“Actually, I am the oldest of two, but I am definitely what you call a ‘middle,’ ” Hughes says.

To Hughes, a “middle kid” is neither the top 10 percent of kids who always overachieve, nor the bottom 10 percent of kids who are always in trouble. Both of these groups, according to Hughes, tend to get a lot of attention.

And then there is the other 80 percent — the middle kids.

“As a middle kid, I wasn’t quite sure where I fit all the time,” Hughes says. “Until I found the Boys & Girls Club.”

At first, Hughes mostly just played whatever Boys & Girls Club sport was being offered on any given day. However, once he hit his teens, he discovered the organization’s Keystone Club, a leadership development program focused on providing teens from 14 to 18 community service opportunities, academic success support and career preparation.

“It also didn’t hurt that there was a pretty girl in the group, Marion, who I had my eye on,” Hughes says. “Today, she is my wife and mother to our three kids.”

Through Keystone, Hughes and his team had the chance to volunteer in soup kitchens and at shelters as well as volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and raise funds to attend leadership conferences nationwide, including a trip to Washington, D.C.

Eager to touch the lives of other “middle kids” like himself, Hughes dedicated himself to the Club, first as a teen junior staff member, then as a youth development specialist, then as a branch director and finally today as director of Club services.

One of his biggest contributions to the Club has been the development of a College 101 program for high school students, which brings in guests speakers as well as community leaders and educators to help teens make decisions about life after high school.

“He certainly inspired me,” says Jen Hughes, E.J.’s younger sister, who followed in her brother’s footsteps into the Club when she was in first grade.

While E.J. first turned to sports at the Club, Jen was attracted to the many fine arts programs.

“I was the girl who would ask to go to the bathroom and then sneak into the art room for hours,” Jen says,

Like E.J., Keystone also caught her eye.

“I loved being able to volunteer in the community with all of my best friends, not to mention fund-raise for the opportunity to travel the globe as a representative of the organization,” says Jen, who worked for two years to help raise $30,000 so her team could visit Europe while in high school.

Even after she left the Valley to move to Flagstaff for college, she would come back every summer to work with the Keystone kids and in the art room.

Today, she is the art coordinator for the Club, focusing on providing kids with access to photography programs, fine arts programs and even digital art imaging programs.

“Our DigiKids ImageMakers is a program offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that encourages Club members to learn and practice digital arts, including movie making, photo illustration, music making and graphic design,” Jen says. “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the National DigiKids Art Festival, and for the past three years, we have had kids place in the regional and national competitions.”

So, what’s next for this dynamic duo and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale?

“We have our inaugural Jingle and Mingle event at DC Ranch Market Street at 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, December 9,” Hughes says. “Set under the beautiful Market Street Holiday Tree, the event will offer guests the chance to sample savory bites from the culinary masterminds of North Scottsdale restaurants, including Mia Francesca, Armitage, and The Herb Box as well as sumptuous sips of holiday-themed spirits and wines provided by Southern Wine and Spirits.”

Single tickets are available at $125, with discounts on three or more, and are available at bgcs.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Jingle and Mingle Event

When: Sunday, December 9 from 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: DC Ranch Market Street
Cost: $125, with discounts on three or more
Web: bgcs.org


Mutual of Omaha Buys Mortgages to Support Habitat Mission

A growing number of families in central Arizona now have access to affordable housing, thanks in part to a unique arrangement between Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (HFHCAZ) and Mutual of Omaha Bank.

Mutual of Omaha Bank recently purchased more than two dozen non-interest bearing mortgages originated by Habitat for Humanity, totaling approximately $740,000. HFHCAZ has been able to immediately use the funds as capital, investing the money to help further its mission to build, renovate and repair affordable homes in partnership with families in need.

In total, Mutual of Omaha Bank has purchased nearly 250 mortgages and contributed nearly $8.1 million in capital to HFHCAZ since 2009. HFHCAZ has used that funding to provide adequate shelter to more than 500 low income families throughout central Arizona. The nonprofit organization also has invested in new land, new developments, new Re-stores and new home repair programs.

“During one of the worst recessions in history, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has been able to grow and triple our volume, serving hundreds of families, thanks in large part to Mutual of Omaha Bank’s support,” said Roger Schwierjohn, president and CEO of HFHCAZ. “Surviving this economic downturn and housing crisis would’ve been even more challenging without access to this important capital. Today, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is a much stronger and more vibrant organization because of Mutual of Omaha Bank.”

As part of its mission to provide affordable housing for low income families, HFHCAZ works to keep costs low with volunteer labor and donated materials. Once a home is built, HFHCAZ then sells the home to the new owner by asking for a minimal down payment and offering a zero-interest mortgage.

By acquiring the mortgages, Mutual of Omaha Bank has provided HFHCAZ immediate access to capital, while ensuring the mortgages are serviced by a local nonprofit that specializes in mortgage lending.

“With Habitat’s significant presence in the Valley, we saw this as a great opportunity partner with a solid nonprofit organization who invests in the local community,” said Kevin Halloran, Arizona state president for Mutual of Omaha Bank. “We are well-positioned to support and service these mortgages and are proud to help such a great non-profit like Habitat.”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, visit http://www.habitatcaz.org or contact Roger Schwierjohn at (623) 583-2417.

Arizona Bankers Association, Bankers Give Back - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Bankers Association Impacts State’s Economy, Communities

Arizona Bankers Association Impacts State’s Economy, Communities

Ryan Suchala, Bank of Arizona, Arizona Bankers AssociationBank of Arizona President Ryan Suchala recognizes the importance of community.

“This is where we live, work and play and in many cases the city where we are shaping our families,” Suchala says. “As a father of three I give my time to better our community because this is where my boys will become men. Last year, Bank of Arizona employees spent close to 450 hours working in our community and I personally became a board member at Arizona Women Education and Employment.”

To show the Arizona banking industry’s impact on its communities, the Arizona Bankers Association (AzBA) produced a brochure titled “Arizona Banks Give Back.” The report provides a picture of the economic and charitable support the banking industry gives back to the communities it serves, and shows the influence banks have on Arizona’s economy.

Arizona Bankers Association is an organization with more than 70 members that works to create a unified voice and engage members in issues that affect the banking industry.

Lynne Herndon, city president at BBVA Compass“It’s clear the banking industry has been under a microscope the last few years,” says Lynne Herndon, city president of BBVA Compass. “We wanted to pull our information and be treated collectively as an industry to say we are looking to work with companies to help them with their financial needs.”

Arizona Bankers Association created the “Arizona Banks Give Back” survey in November 2010 to collect a variety of data from Arizona banks. The results were released in February 2011. The 12-page brochure includes statistical data that shows how banks provide financial and social stability in Arizona.

The banks that chose to participate in the survey felt that it provided a good opportunity to change the way people currently view banks. The biggest surprise to Paul Hickman, president and CEO of Arizona Bankers Association, was how high bank lending was in Arizona in 2010.

According to the survey results, Arizona banks lent $5.9 billion in new and renewed commercial loans, and more than $11 billion in new and renewed consumer loans in 2010.

“A lot of the feedback we’ve been getting is ‘Wow, I didn’t realize the volume of lending was that great in this economy,’” Hickman says.

The number is likely higher as only 35 AzBA-member institutions responded to the survey, which only represents 63 percent of the organization’s membership, and does not include information from non-member banks.

In today’s economy, banks are more cautious about lending, but the data proves that Arizona banks are continuing to lend to commercial businesses and consumers.

“We keep hearing banks won’t lend,” Hickman says. “But banks don’t make money if they don’t lend.”

Banks want to lend so they can pump money into Arizona’s economy.

Arizona banks provide direct loans to help the state government finance public improvements by improving water, sewer and public health facilities and by helping build schools.

Banks pay income tax to help support local communities as opposed to credit unions, which don’t pay federal income tax.

Arizona banks are also putting money into the economy by being a leading employer of local residents. Banks bring high-wage jobs to the local community, and employ more than 42,000 Arizonans.

Wells Fargo Bank was the fifth largest employer of Arizonans in 2010, and the average salary for an employee working at a bank was around $66,625 in 2010.

By providing jobs, banks provide a ripple effect in the community, because employees pay state taxes and are also consumers that put money back into local businesses.

Arizona banks are also doing more than just putting money into the economy. Members of Arizona banks are striving to aid their community through service.

According to the results from the Arizona Banks Give Back survey, bank employees donated 211,615 volunteer hours to community service in 2010, and donated $15.5 million to charitable and cultural organizations.

“Actions speak louder than words,” says Craig P. Doyle, Arizona regional president of Comerica Bank. “We get out and are active in making a difference in our communities. It’s better than just handing money out.”

To show their commitment to the communities they serve, Comerica employees work with nonprofits like Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Homeward Bound, Junior Achievement, Sojourner Women’s Shelter, United Food Bank, Central AZ Shelter Services and many others.

An effort from Suchala and the Bank of Arizona helped improve literacy across the Valley.

“Last year, we hosted our annual Caring for Kids Book Drive and collected over 14,000 books for children and adults in our community,” Suchala says. “We educate with multiple employees teaching Junior Achievement programs and with educational programs to local school children. Our employees have worked together this past year sorting school supplies at the annual Salvation Army Pack to School Drive, serving food alongside Alice Cooper for the Cooperstown Christmas for Kids event and pounded nails at two Habitat for Humanity events.”

“These are good members of the community,” Hickman says. “These are people that are donating their money and time at philanthropies around the state and they’re trying hard to impart their discipline.”

Arizona banks participate in programs such as neighborhood revitalization, financial education and assistance for the underprivileged.

In 2008, Mohave State Bank created a program called “Junior Bankers.” Three years later, Mohave State bankers are still training children at Jamaica Elementary School in Lake Havasu about balancing accounts, taking deposits and bank rules. Volunteers meet each week with students before school. The program has expanded to three other elementary schools.

In 2010, the National Bank of Arizona donated one of its foreclosed homes in Glendale to Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona. The bank partnered with the organization to help renovate the property, and 118 people worked to build walls, paint and landscape the property.

Arizona banks are committed to helping the community both financially and through service, Hickman says.
“This industry is like the cardiovascular system of our economy and it needs to be robust and healthy,” Hickman says. “We don’t grow or recover without this industry.”

For more information about the Arizona Bankers Association, visit azbankers.org.

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Arizona Gives Back: By the Numbers

  • More than $5.9 billion distributed in commercial loans (new and renewed) in 2010
  • More than $11 billion distributed in consumer loans (new and renewed) in 2010
  • More than 1,300 banking center locations in Arizona
  • More than 42,000 people work for Arizona banks
  • $66,625 is the average bank employee salary


Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011