Tag Archives: high-tech

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What do golf and surgery have in common?

Imagine sinking chip shots on three of the world’s most famous golf courses while chipping in to help fund a high-tech hybrid operating suite at Banner Boswell Medical Center. How’s it possible you ask?

Sun Health Foundation and Arrowhead Lexus have joined forces to sell drawing tickets for a chance to play in the 2013 Lexus Champions For Charity Golf Tournament, a five-day golf getaway for two, held Dec. 11-15, in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Ticket proceeds will help fund a new hybrid operating suite at Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City.

Only 400 drawing tickets are available, with the winner and a friend earning the chance to “play like a pro” on three of Pebble Beach’s hallowed golf courses: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay.

The winning package includes meals, carts and green fees; an incredible tee prize package; transportation between local airports and the golf resorts and a teaching clinic from a top PGA professional.

Tickets are $150 each or five for $600. Ticket sponsorship packages are also available. The winning ticket will be drawn October 3 at Arrowhead Lexus Peoria. Need not be present to win.  Purchase tickets by calling 623-832-7609 or visit sunhealthfoundation.org.

Hybrid Operating Suite
The $8.2 million project involves transforming a 40-year-old clinical space into a futuristic hybrid operating suite, the first of its kind in the West Valley. Construction will also include refurbishing and constructing two new OR suites. The hybrid will combine the latest surgical, cardiac catheterization and 3-D radiology technologies with real-time patient monitoring, allowing patients to stay in one place.

Interventional cardiologists, electro-physiologists or interventional radiologists and heart and vascular surgeons will work side by side. It will greatly benefit patients requiring minimally invasive valve procedures as well as those needing cardiovascular or vascular treatment. The results will be shorter recovery times, fewer complications, reduced pain and increased quality of life. Expected to be completed in late summer 2014, the project also includes expanding the Same Day Surgery unit. Ultimately, the project will allow Banner Boswell to continue to expand its comprehensive cardiac program to meet the current and future needs of the community.

Arizona SciTech Festival - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona House panel OKs high-tech tax credits

An Arizona House committee has given initial approval to a bill that sets up a tax credit for insurance companies who invest in a new high-tech fund overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The bill sponsored by Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin gives insurers a credit against premium taxes they would owe of up to $10 million in the budget year beginning July 1 and $20 million in the next two years.

Tobin says the credit will prompt investment in biotechnology, semiconductors, electronics or other high-tech businesses.

It is one of two tax credit bills he is pushing that expand or create new tax credits. Tobin contends they will spur economic growth.

The bill passed the Commerce Committee Wednesday on a 7-2 vote with two Republicans opposing Tobin’s bill.

business - best and worst

CEOs Rank Best, Worst States For Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chalkboard - Making the Grade for Growth

STEM Education – Making The Grade For Growth

Arizona Leaders know it’s a problem.

“When one of our top employers of scientists and engineers says that if he had the decision to make all over again, he would never bring his business and its thousands of high-wage jobs to Arizona because of the lack of commitment to education, that is a call to action,” says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

The top employer Stanton is talking about is Craig Barrett, former Intel CEO, who told state lawmakers in no uncertain terms that cuts in education are stifling Arizona’s economic development. But the financial aspect of education isn’t the only thing suppressing the state’s ability to prosper in the technology and bioscience industries. It’s the quality of Arizona education that’s killing us, according to another Valley tech leader.

“Our high schools are a mess,” says Steve Sanghi, CEO of Microchip in Chandler. “They are among the worst in country and that is a major problem that we need to address before the state can prosper.”

Sanghi sees many hopeful workers come into Microchip looking for a job, but are unable to pass a remedial math test that the company gives to all prospective employees. If they cannot pass, they cannot get hired, Sanghi says.

“STEM education — science, technology, engineering, math — is where we lack,” Sanghi points out. “That’s where the most competitive, high-paying jobs will be in the future. That’s where other countries are taking our jobs and taking our positions. That’s where we need to improve, but that’s a very tall order.”

It seems like a Herculean task. Arizona ranks 44th in the country in the Quality Counts report, compiled each year by Education Week in conjunction with the Education Research Center. That ranking represents a slight drop from the state’s standing in last year’s report.

“Today’s students have a lot of distractions,” Sanghi says. “We cannot compete with Hollywood stars or sports figures because they are bigger than life. It’s easy to get students to dribble a ball or go into music or arts. It’s crucial that we get them interested in science and technology before pop culture gets them. Once pop culture gets them, we can’t get them back.”

The only way to change the way students view education is through visionary leadership, says Pearl Chang Esau, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona, a statewide movement dedicated to making Arizona education the best in the nation.

“Our leaders need to start viewing education as an investment, not as an expense,” Esau says.

Many of Arizona’s leaders are taking the challenge to heart and introducing programs and legislation aimed at promoting and strengthening STEM education in the state:

  • Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, has introduced a bill to make it easier for STEM professionals to become certified to teach and bring their expertise to the classroom.
  • Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, has introduced legislation to boost STEM education in poorly performing schools by calling for the State Board of Education to intervene when a school has earned a D or F for two consecutive years.
  • And Stanton, who campaigned on an education platform even though he was publicly criticized because school districts, not cities, have jurisdiction over education in Arizona, has created a Mayor’s Futures Forum on Education.

 

“The city of Phoenix is not as well-positioned as it should be to compete in the national economy,” Stanton says. “We need more of our kids graduating high school and studying in areas that will create the jobs of the future.”

Ironically, the man who has been the biggest critic of the state’s poor education record may be the man to help give it a much-needed spark. Retired Intel CEO Barrett has been named chairman of the Arizona Ready Education Council. He will be heading “Arizona Ready,” which is dedicated to helping Arizona students prepare to succeed in college and in careers that will boost the state’s economy. To improve education, Arizona Ready has established specific, measurable goals and accountability for everyone involved in educating our children.

“There is a lot of room for improvement in the K-12 education system in Arizona,” Barrett says. “I believe it is the responsibility of society to give the next generation the tools to be successful.”

Barrett insists that Arizona schools need to strive not just to be the best in the state, but they need to challenge themselves to be the best in the world so Arizona can compete in the global marketplace.

“It is not appropriate to just compare one local school district, or state, with another,” Barrett says. “You have to compare the accomplishments of your students with the best in the world.”

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, agrees with Barrett that raising the standards is imperative to improving education and creating a pipeline of future workers with the skills to succeed in tomorrow’s tech-heavy industries. To accomplish that, Arizona Ready is raising the standards and hopes to accomplish these goals by 2020:

  • Increase the percentage of third-graders meeting state reading standards to 94 percent. In 2010, 73 percent met the standard.
  • Raise the high school graduation rate to 93 percent.
  • Increase the percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above “basic” on the National Assessment of Education Programs (NAEP) to 85 percent. In 2010, the numbers were 67 percent in math and 68 percent in reading.

 

“Every kid has that dream of becoming a celebrity in Hollywood or becoming a sports star,” Sanghi says. “But the chances of the average high school student making it in Hollywood or in sports is 1 in 1,000 at best. But if we can get them interested in STEM and get them to dream about becoming a doctor or scientist or engineer, the chances of them achieving their dream is pretty high. Most will be able achieve that.”

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

High-Tech Hopes For Arizona

The State, its universities and business groups work to make Arizona a high-tech powerhouse.

When the new millennium arrived, high-technology activities in Arizona were on a slide. The industry was unable to keep pace with the job demands of an expanding population or match employment growth in other economic sectors. That was then.

The state’s high-tech picture is much brighter now. Semiconductor, aerospace, defense and optics firms continue to be major forces in Arizona’s tech industry. But there’s also a growing presence of companies specializing in biotechnology, information technology, nanotechnology, renewable energy and other areas that fit under the high-tech umbrella.

A roll call of companies with their headquarters or major divisions based in Arizona is an impressive one. That list includes names you should recognize, such as semiconductor powerhouse Amkor Technology, optical-engineering firm Breault Research Organization, On Semiconductor and the highly diversified Avnet Inc. It also includes a high-tech Who’s Who: Raytheon, Intel Corp., Honeywell International, General Dynamics, Boeing, Motorola, W.L. Gore & Associates and IBM among others. And they have been joined by relatively recent arrivals such as Jobing.com, Ensynch Inc., Google, Monster, Amazon.com and PayPal.

“With Boeing, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Intel and Raytheon, you’ve got some big players here,” says Ron Schott, executive director of the nonprofit Arizona Technology Council.

Also, while the bulk of these companies are spread across Maricopa and Pima counties, Arizona Department of Commerce spokesman David Drennon points to significant aerospace, defense and agricultural technology activity in the Yuma area and the growth of bioscience in Flagstaff.

None of this happened by chance. It took, Schott says, a lot of hard work by a lot of different groups and individuals.

“If you set up a positive business climate, these people are very, very intuitive and they’re intelligent,” Schott says. “And if they see things that are happening, people who are trying to make it a positive business state, they recognize that.”

The steps that led to the current high-tech business climate are numerous and varied.

Gov. Janet Napolitano formed the Council on Innovation and Technology in 2003 to generate new development strategies. Later, the Legislature passed such measures as the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program to entice investors, and the “sales factor” tax bill, which led to Intel committing $3 billion in a new Chandler-based 300mm wafer-fabrication facility.

Other important developments include the formation of Science Foundation Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen.

Also vital is the role being played by the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. It’s no coincidence Google took up residence on the ASU campus.

Alaina Levine handles corporate relations for the U of A’s College of Science. She also coordinates the Professional Science Master’s Degree Program, a workforce development program that serves Arizona’s high-tech industry.

“Individual business leaders know that if they’re going to start a company here or if they’re going to bring a company here, clearly they need to know that they’re going to be able to staff it with very talented individuals and that there has to be a critical mass of those individuals,” she says. “Otherwise, it’s not worth the investment of moving or starting the company here.”

Arizona Business Magazine Dec-Jan 2008Likewise, those universities need to be widely respected for their academics and research programs. The highly regarded Eller College of Management at U of A and the Biodesign Institute at ASU are just two examples of the level of academic excellence found in the state.

Arizona’s rapid growth translates to a need for even more high-value jobs in the tech sector. And further industry growth will require the availability of vital business resources outside of the dominant population centers.

“It’s a positive, glass half-full scenario here in the state,” Schott says. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have problems, but we’re trying to work and focus on those problems and improve the environment the best we can.”