Tag Archives: Inc.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

What Happens if you Lose a Laptop with Patient Information?

The government is starting to implement the HIPAA-HITECH Encryption Requirements 2012. If you choose not to encrypt data, the HIPAA Security Rule states you must implement an equivalent solution to meet the regulatory requirement. The law leaves encryption open to interpretation since covered entities vary when it comes to network and network usage, depending on the type and size of business.

Typically, if a doctor or nurse loses a laptop with patient data on it, they are required to report it.  But, now Marcus Networking, Inc. has a solution that meets FBI and government regulations.  It’s an encryption software program, that is installed on all devices (computers, handheld devices, etc.) with patient information and if it’s ever lost or stolen, the information can’t be recovered.  When the device boots up, it won’t open and hackers can’t get in.  The program is highly sophisticated and hackers haven’t been able to crack the password to get in.  The software program can take as little as 20 minutes to install and runs approximately $100 to $2,000, depending on the scope of work.

To learn more, contact Marcus Networking at 602-427-5027.

Steve Sanghi - Microchip Technology

Microchip Acquires Novocell Semiconductor

Chandler-based Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, through its Silicon Storage Technology (SST) subsidiary, and Novocell Semiconductor, Inc. (Novocell) announced that Microchip and SST have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Novocell.  The acquisition was approved by the Boards of Directors of each company and is being announced at the 2013 Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin, Texas.  The terms of the deal are confidential.  The transaction is expected to close in early June 2013 and is expected to be immediately accretive on a non-GAAP basis.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Novocell and are expecting great things as we integrate the technology into our ever-expanding portfolio of IP solutions,” said Mark Reiten, vice president of Technology Licensing for SST, a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip.  “This acquisition provides our customers with valuable and differentiated technology and helps us to enable their designs with an even more comprehensive set of solutions, expanding our position as a leading memory IP supplier.”

“We are extremely happy to become part of SST and the Microchip family and are excited by the strategic possibilities available to us, moving forward, from both a business as well as a technology perspective,” stated Walter Novosel, Novocell’s president and chief technical officer.  “Novocell has continued to grow its portfolio of non-volatile-memory IP solutions since its inception, and we fully expect the technology to see an increased adoption from joining a leader like SST in the memory IP market.  With SST’s offerings in the high-density arena, we can concentrate on not only expanding our customer base, but also growing the footprint that SST has built with customers worldwide in low-density OTP and MTP memory.”

Under the acquisition agreement, Novocell will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SST, a Microchip company.  SST and Novocell are committed to a seamless customer transition.  SST plans to invest in continuing, designing, developing and extending Novocell’s product portfolio and roadmap.

sales.tax

Arizona Business Community Supports HB2111

The undersigned organizations and businesses want to express their strong support for the passage of HB2111 with the floor amendment that will be offered by Senator Steve Yarbrough. This final amendment represents major concessions to address concerns that have been expressed by the city representatives.

This final amendment reflects the cities’ request for a separate online portal for the collection of sales taxes in the 18 non-program cities. In addition, the amendment reflects the cities’ demand to maintain the authority to audit single-location businesses in their city. Lastly, the amendment removes all of the changes to prime contracting tax except for the trade and service contractors.

While the Yarbrough amendment reflects major concessions to the cities that undermine some of the important reforms recommended by the Transaction Privilege (Sales) Tax Simplification Task Force, we believe this final proposal still reflects historic progress that deserves final passage.

The Senator Yarbrough floor amendment will provide for the following:

* Single Point of Administration – the Department of Revenue (DOR) will become the single point of administration and collection of TPT. However, at the request of the cities, there will be a separate online portal for the 18 non-program cities. Despite this concession, the cities remain opposed because they want to continue to require businesses making paper sales tax remissions to pay the state and city separately. Their proposal provides most small businesses no administrative relief from making multiple payments to multiple jurisdictions each month.

* Single and Uniform Audit – DOR will administer a standardized state audit program where all state and city auditors are trained and certified by DOR. Despite major concessions from the business community to allow cities to continue to audit local businesses, the cities continue to push for further changes that will undermine much needed reforms to standardize state and local audits.

* Trade/Service Contracting Reform – Service contractors working directly for an owner to maintain, repair, and replace existing property would pay tax on materials at retail and not be subject to the Prime Contracting Tax. During Task Force deliberations, the cities repeatedly conceded that this area of the prime contracting tax was problematic and should be changed. However, after almost a year of study and discussion, they have offered a change to the taxation of service contractors that provides no administrative relief and couples that change with a request that the state give the cities $80 million from use tax collections.

Arizona’s chaotic and dysfunctional sales tax system has been the subject of considerable controversy at the Capitol for over 30 years. The creation of the Task Force, as well as the appearance for the first time that the cities recognized the need for reform, gave Arizona businesses great hope that this system would finally be reformed. We strongly encourage state policymakers to pass a sales tax reform bill that is grounded in sound tax policy and focuses on reducing the extraordinary compliance costs on Arizona businesses.

Kevin McCarthy, President, Arizona Tax Research Association
Michelle Lind, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Association of REALTORS
Bas Aja, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association
Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Steve Macias, Chairman, Arizona Manufacturer’s Council
Francis McAllister, Chairman, Arizona Mining Association
Courtney LeVinus, Arizona Multihousing Association
Michelle Allen Ahlmer, Executive Director, Arizona Retailers Association
Steve Chucri, President/CEO, Arizona Restaurant Association
Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Small Business Association
Steve Zylstra, President & CEO, Arizona Technology Council
Greg Turner, Vice President, Senior Tax Council, Council On State Taxation (COST)
Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance AZ
Todd Sanders, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Tom Franz, President, Greater Phoenix Leadership
Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
Tim Lawless, Chapter President, NAIOP
Farrell Quinlan, Arizona State Director, NFIB
Ronald E. Shoopman, President, Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Scot Mussi, President, The Arizona Free Enterprise Club
Matt Beckler, Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Tax Officer, Apollo Group, Inc.
Steve Barela, State & Local Tax Manager, Arizona Public Service
Steve Trussell, Executive Director, Arizona Rock Products Association
Michael DiMaria, Director of Legislative Affairs, CenturyLink, Inc.
Gayle Shanks, Owner, Changing Hands Bookstore
Michelle Bolton, Director of Public Affairs, Cox Communications
Nikki Daly, Owner, Flair! Salons
David Karsten, President, Karsten’s Ace Hardware
Reuben Minkus, Minkus Advertising Specialties
PetSmart, Inc.
Tina Danloe, General Manager, Pima Ace Hardware
Molly Greene, Senior Government Relations Representative, Salt River Project
Les Orchekowsky, President & Co-Owner, Sierra Ace Hardware, Inc.
Ann Seiden, Administrator/Corporate Public Affairs, Southwest Gas Corporation
Joseph Hughes, Director of Government Affairs, U.S. Airways
Walgreens Co.

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

Tempe Town Lake July 4th Festival

Tempe lands state’s largest office development deal

The City of Tempe announced today that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings will develop a site owned by Arizona State University adjacent to Tempe Town Lake, subject to City Council approval of development agreement details in the coming month.

State Farm will lease office space and anchor the multi-use development.

“We are thrilled that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings have been selected to co-develop and construct the State Farm regional hub,” said John Strittmatter, President of Ryan Companies US, Inc., Southwest Division.

“With retail and recreational amenities on site for State Farm employees and the entire community to enjoy, Marina Heights will become an important icon of the Tempe Town Lake landscape and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Marina Heights project in Tempe will be the largest office development deal in Arizona history, with more than 2 MSF to be constructed on more than 20 acres. Construction costs are estimated at $600M. Additionally, 40,000 SF to 60,000 SF of retail amenities will complement the transit-oriented development, including food service, coffee shops, restaurants, business services, and fitness facilities.

The site will also feature an approximately 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public.

“This is a proud day for Tempe and everyone involved. We are tremendously excited about what the addition of State Farm will mean to our community over the decades to come,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “These employees, buildings, and amenities will further contribute to and showcase the vibrancy of Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue, and Arizona State University, and serve as a catalyst for more high-quality development.”

“We are thrilled that State Farm will be expanding in Arizona,” said Gov. Jan Brewer. “The jobs that will be created to make this project a reality will be a tremendous boon to our economy. This is a great example of how our plan to build an Arizona that is attractive to high value employers is hitting the mark.”

The five-building campus will be leased by State Farm and become a hub to include a combination of new hires and existing employees who will provide claims, service, and sales support to State Farm customers.

“State Farm selected Tempe because it has a growing population with skill sets that match our customers’ needs,” said Mary Crego, Senior Vice President, State Farm. “The site along Tempe Town Lake gives our employees access to nearby amenities as well as easy connections to public transportation.”

“We look forward to having State Farm as a neighbor and to working with the company on a variety of programs including employee recruitment and academic programs for their staff,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“State Farm’s decision to lease the land owned by the university immediately adjacent to the ASU Athletic Facilities District is the first major step in the campaign to fund new and renovated sports facilities for the university. The Athletic Facilities District will be home to an exciting mixed-use development reflecting high quality and the best practices of sustainability. A high stature tenant such as State Farm will add to the luster of the district and validates its attractiveness.”

The project is being developed by Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings. Tempe-based architectural firm DAVIS designed the project.

Tempe Town Lake July 4th Festival

Tempe lands state's largest office development deal

The City of Tempe announced today that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings will develop a site owned by Arizona State University adjacent to Tempe Town Lake, subject to City Council approval of development agreement details in the coming month.

State Farm will lease office space and anchor the multi-use development.

“We are thrilled that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings have been selected to co-develop and construct the State Farm regional hub,” said John Strittmatter, President of Ryan Companies US, Inc., Southwest Division.

“With retail and recreational amenities on site for State Farm employees and the entire community to enjoy, Marina Heights will become an important icon of the Tempe Town Lake landscape and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Marina Heights project in Tempe will be the largest office development deal in Arizona history, with more than 2 MSF to be constructed on more than 20 acres. Construction costs are estimated at $600M. Additionally, 40,000 SF to 60,000 SF of retail amenities will complement the transit-oriented development, including food service, coffee shops, restaurants, business services, and fitness facilities.

The site will also feature an approximately 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public.

“This is a proud day for Tempe and everyone involved. We are tremendously excited about what the addition of State Farm will mean to our community over the decades to come,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “These employees, buildings, and amenities will further contribute to and showcase the vibrancy of Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue, and Arizona State University, and serve as a catalyst for more high-quality development.”

“We are thrilled that State Farm will be expanding in Arizona,” said Gov. Jan Brewer. “The jobs that will be created to make this project a reality will be a tremendous boon to our economy. This is a great example of how our plan to build an Arizona that is attractive to high value employers is hitting the mark.”

The five-building campus will be leased by State Farm and become a hub to include a combination of new hires and existing employees who will provide claims, service, and sales support to State Farm customers.

“State Farm selected Tempe because it has a growing population with skill sets that match our customers’ needs,” said Mary Crego, Senior Vice President, State Farm. “The site along Tempe Town Lake gives our employees access to nearby amenities as well as easy connections to public transportation.”

“We look forward to having State Farm as a neighbor and to working with the company on a variety of programs including employee recruitment and academic programs for their staff,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“State Farm’s decision to lease the land owned by the university immediately adjacent to the ASU Athletic Facilities District is the first major step in the campaign to fund new and renovated sports facilities for the university. The Athletic Facilities District will be home to an exciting mixed-use development reflecting high quality and the best practices of sustainability. A high stature tenant such as State Farm will add to the luster of the district and validates its attractiveness.”

The project is being developed by Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings. Tempe-based architectural firm DAVIS designed the project.

tempe

Ryan Companies US, Sunbelt Holdings To Co-Develop 2 MSF Multi-Use Office Development In Tempe

The City of Tempe announced today that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings will develop a site owned by Arizona State University adjacent to Tempe Town Lake, subject to City Council approval of development agreement details in the coming month.

State Farm will lease office space and anchor the multi-use development.

“We are thrilled that Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings have been selected to co-develop and construct the State Farm regional hub,” said John Strittmatter, President of Ryan Companies US, Inc., Southwest Division.

“With retail and recreational amenities on site for State Farm employees and the entire community to enjoy, Marina Heights will become an important icon of the Tempe Town Lake landscape and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The Marina Heights project in Tempe will be the largest office development deal in Arizona history, with more than 2 MSF to be constructed on more than 20 acres. Construction costs are estimated at $600M. Additionally, 40,000 SF to 60,000 SF of retail amenities will complement the transit-oriented development, including food service, coffee shops, restaurants, business services, and fitness facilities.

The site will also feature an approximately 10-acre lakeside plaza, which will be open to the public.

“This is a proud day for Tempe and everyone involved. We are tremendously excited about what the addition of State Farm will mean to our community over the decades to come,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “These employees, buildings, and amenities will further contribute to and showcase the vibrancy of Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue, and Arizona State University, and serve as a catalyst for more high-quality development.”

“We are thrilled that State Farm will be expanding in Arizona,” said Gov. Jan Brewer. “The jobs that will be created to make this project a reality will be a tremendous boon to our economy. This is a great example of how our plan to build an Arizona that is attractive to high value employers is hitting the mark.”

The five-building campus will be leased by State Farm and become a hub to include a combination of new hires and existing employees who will provide claims, service, and sales support to State Farm customers.

“State Farm selected Tempe because it has a growing population with skill sets that match our customers’ needs,” said Mary Crego, Senior Vice President, State Farm. “The site along Tempe Town Lake gives our employees access to nearby amenities as well as easy connections to public transportation.”

“We look forward to having State Farm as a neighbor and to working with the company on a variety of programs including employee recruitment and academic programs for their staff,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“State Farm’s decision to lease the land owned by the university immediately adjacent to the ASU Athletic Facilities District is the first major step in the campaign to fund new and renovated sports facilities for the university. The Athletic Facilities District will be home to an exciting mixed-use development reflecting high quality and the best practices of sustainability. A high stature tenant such as State Farm will add to the luster of the district and validates its attractiveness.”

The project is being developed by Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Sunbelt Holdings. Tempe-based architectural firm DAVIS designed the project.

SPRBLMRBioPic

Harkins marketing duo forms Syndicate PR

Bryan Laurel and Melissa Rich, the two top-ranking marketing executives at Harkins Theatres, left the theatre chain to form their own PR firm – Syndicate Public Relations. Additionally, Laurel and Rich are proud to announce they will handle all publicity efforts for the Scottsdale International Film Festival, which celebrates its 13th year in October.

Syndicate PR specializes in public relations strategy and execution, promotional and strategic marketing and special events including product launches and fundraisers.  While working with retailers, businesses and charitable organizations, Syndicate PR will capitalize upon recent successes by working with motion picture distributors and independent filmmakers.

Laurel left his post as Director of Marketing in early January after 15 years with the company. His previous experience includes marketing roles for such brands as Apple Computer, Inc., General Electric, Dillard’s Box Office and AMC Theatres. Laurel spent much of his career at Harkins managing a well-rounded marketing team, executing high-profile promotions and cultivating relationships with valley media and executives at Hollywood motion picture studios.

Rich landed at Harkins in 2004 after building her career within several local full-service advertising agencies and ABC News in Washington D.C. Prior to her departure in February, Rich oversaw Harkins’ community relations program and in-kind partnerships with local charities generating more than $2 million in in-kind donations annually.

Together, Laurel and Rich created hundreds of motion picture promotions with major Hollywood studios and helped the company double in size via marketing campaigns for 18 new theatres in the Phoenix-metro area, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and California.  They also spearheaded the successful effort to bring the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine to their theatre at Tempe Marketplace in 2009. The event attracted thousands of moviegoers, hundreds of national and international media entities and hosted Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber and Will.i.am. as well as Valley-based celebrities.

“I had a great experience with Harkins. Giving fifteen years of my life to the company was easy when working for a man like Dan Harkins.  Melissa and I accomplished all we wanted to and now we’re taking our unique skills from the motion picture industry to a new world of clients” said Bryan Laurel, Principal at Syndicate PR.

“Bryan and I work together so well and this partnership made perfect sense for us as a next logical step upon leaving our corporate lives,” said Melissa Rich, Syndicate PR Principal. “I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I was given at Harkins Theatres, and I’m excited to showcase our expertise in new areas.”

skd258400sdc

Greenberg Traurig among ‘Best Corporate Law Firms’

The international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, with more than 50 Arizona-based attorneys, has been named one of America’s Best Corporate Law Firms by Corporate Board Member, an NYSE Euronext company, and global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc. in their annual survey of directors and general counsel of publicly-traded companies. The award was presented Tuesday as part of Corporate Board Member’s 6th Annual Legal Recognition Dinner in New York.

“We are very grateful for this honor,” said John Cummerford, a co-managing shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office. “This is especially noteworthy since this recognition comes from our peers in the industry – general counsel of public companies – and reflects the respect our firm has earned worldwide.”

Each year, Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting team up to conduct research to reveal those law firms that directors and general counsels believe to be the most respected legal counsel nationwide. This year, Greenberg Traurig is included on the 2013 Top 25 National Law Firm General Counsel’s Rankings list.

Greenberg Traurig attorneys represent both public and privately-held clients in a wide range of industries and in transactions including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, public and private offerings of securities, as well as litigation, real estate, intellectual property, tax and other matters.

skd258400sdc

Greenberg Traurig among 'Best Corporate Law Firms’

The international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, with more than 50 Arizona-based attorneys, has been named one of America’s Best Corporate Law Firms by Corporate Board Member, an NYSE Euronext company, and global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc. in their annual survey of directors and general counsel of publicly-traded companies. The award was presented Tuesday as part of Corporate Board Member’s 6th Annual Legal Recognition Dinner in New York.

“We are very grateful for this honor,” said John Cummerford, a co-managing shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office. “This is especially noteworthy since this recognition comes from our peers in the industry – general counsel of public companies – and reflects the respect our firm has earned worldwide.”

Each year, Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting team up to conduct research to reveal those law firms that directors and general counsels believe to be the most respected legal counsel nationwide. This year, Greenberg Traurig is included on the 2013 Top 25 National Law Firm General Counsel’s Rankings list.

Greenberg Traurig attorneys represent both public and privately-held clients in a wide range of industries and in transactions including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, public and private offerings of securities, as well as litigation, real estate, intellectual property, tax and other matters.

Arizona Small Business Association seeks new CEO

Small Businesses Slowly Increasing Economic Activity

Small business owners are showing a willingness to hire more employees amidst signs of expanding business activity, according to the most recent Business Confidence Survey released today by Insperity, Inc., a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions for America’s best businesses.  More than 40 percent of respondents say they are adding employees, up from 28 percent last October; 55 percent are maintaining current staffing levels, versus 63 percent last fall; and 5 percent are laying off employees, down from 9 percent in October.

Insperity also announced compensation metrics from its base of more than 5,500 small and medium-sized Workforce OptimizationTMclients.  Compared to the 2012 first quarter data, average compensation is up 3.7 percent and bonuses are down 0.6 percent.  Average commissions received by worksite employees reflected an increase of 4 percent versus a 2.6 percent increase in the first quarter of 2012.  Overtime pay is still low at 8.7 percent of regular pay, down from the 10 percent level seen last quarter that generally indicates a need for additional employees, but up slightly from 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

In the survey, 74 percent of respondents said that they are either meeting or exceeding their 2013 performance plans, up from 71 percent in the last survey; meanwhile, 26 percent report that they are doing worse than expected, down from the 29 percent response in October.  Concerning the timing of an economic rebound, 28 percent think one is currently in process versus 20 percent last fall; 26 percent expect a rebound in the third quarter or later; and 45 percent are unsure.  The percentage of those unsure of the timing of an economicrebound has remained at or above 40 for the last year.

“Business owners are slowly beginning to implement business plans that they hope will take advantage of any coming economic opportunities,” said Paul J. Sarvadi, Insperity’s chairman and chief executive officer.  “However, as in the previous survey, a significant number of respondents express continuing concerns about the negative impact of governmental policies on business activity.”  A representative comment from one participant was, “New federal regulations make plan execution difficult because more effort is going into avoiding penalties and less into delivering the product.”

Although the economy still leads the list of short-termconcerns of business owners, it dropped to 62 percent from 72 percent in October and 74 percent last July.  Government health care reform and rising health care costs are tied for second on the list at 51 percent, followed by hiring the right people, remaining at 42 percent.

For the list of longer-term concerns, 63 percent indicate they are either very concerned or have elevated concerns about potential tax increases, down from 69 percent in October; the Federal deficit and the total national debt ranked second at 60 percent; government expansion and its effect on business was third at 59 percent; and the economy dropped to fourth place at 50 percent, down sharply from 66 percent last October.

When asked about their pipelines for new business through 2013, 59 percent of survey respondents expect sales to increase, up from 52percent in October; 28 percent anticipate no change, down from 34 percent last fall; 7 percent predict decreasing sales and 7 percent are unsure, both thesame as the previous survey.

The survey results show that 59 percent of participantsexpect to maintain employee compensation at current levels through 2013, versus 53 percent in October; 26 percent plan increases versus 29 percent last October, but still up from 19 percent last July; 3 percent expect decreases; and 12 percent are unsure.

Concerning their current profit-generating activities, 67 percent listed increased service to existing clients as the leading strategy, and 66 percent cited selling new accounts.  This was followed by 50 percent saying they were adding new services or products versus 44 percent last fall; and 31 percent listing negotiating with vendors.

Insperity conducted the survey April 9-11, 2013, of more than 4,840 chief executive officers, chief financial officers and other executives in a variety of industries at its more than 5,500 client companies throughout the United States.  The overall sampling error of the national survey is +/- 4.25 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 27 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. InsperityTM Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce OptimizationTM solution.  Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services.  Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2012 revenues of $2.2 billion, Insperity operates in 57 offices throughout the United States.  For more information, visit http://www.insperity.com.

deal

‘Deal of the Year’ Recognized at May 7 Event

Maybe it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Or maybe it did. Either way, it’s about to enter the spotlight.

It’s the “Deal of the Year,” an award given by the Association for Corporate Growth-Arizona to recognize a deal or transaction that took place in Arizona in the past year that had a beneficial impact on the companies involved. The award will recognize a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 and $500 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2012.

The Deal of the Year Award will be given out on May 7 at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. The ACG signature event begins with a networking session at 4:30 p.m. and culminates with the award presentation starting at 6:45 p.m.

The three finalists for Deal of the Year are:

• Alerion Capital Group’s purchase of Apex Microtechnology, a leading designer and manufacturer of high power, analog products with more than 2,000 customers. Apex’s amplifiers act as bridges between voltage sources and precise movements and positions or other accurate functions.

• Endeavour Capital purchased Arizona Nutritional Supplements, an industry leader in a the development of vitamins, minerals and supplements. The sale included an injection of capital that will allow ANS to expand its product offerings.

• The Wicks Group’s acquisition of McMurry, Inc., a leading Phoenix-based advertising and marketing firm. McMurry has a 25-year track record in custom publishing and content, and the sale resulted in the creation of a new company called McMurry/TMG with a strong presence in Arizona.

“Many of the transactions that fuel Arizona’s economy take place under the radar screen, but involve substantial investment in our state and its companies,” said Christine Nowaczyk, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “This award is a way to recognize and encourage investment and business activity involving Arizona companies, and celebrate some of the accomplishments and hard work of the many professionals who are involved.”

The award criteria are:

  • Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment
  • Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business
  • Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona
  • Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction
  • At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Tickets for the May 7 event are available for $135 for ACG members and $149 for ACG non-members, and may be purchased by visiting www.acg.org/arizona or calling 602-343-6280.

deal

'Deal of the Year' Recognized at May 7 Event

Maybe it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Or maybe it did. Either way, it’s about to enter the spotlight.

It’s the “Deal of the Year,” an award given by the Association for Corporate Growth-Arizona to recognize a deal or transaction that took place in Arizona in the past year that had a beneficial impact on the companies involved. The award will recognize a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 and $500 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2012.

The Deal of the Year Award will be given out on May 7 at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. The ACG signature event begins with a networking session at 4:30 p.m. and culminates with the award presentation starting at 6:45 p.m.

The three finalists for Deal of the Year are:

• Alerion Capital Group’s purchase of Apex Microtechnology, a leading designer and manufacturer of high power, analog products with more than 2,000 customers. Apex’s amplifiers act as bridges between voltage sources and precise movements and positions or other accurate functions.

• Endeavour Capital purchased Arizona Nutritional Supplements, an industry leader in a the development of vitamins, minerals and supplements. The sale included an injection of capital that will allow ANS to expand its product offerings.

• The Wicks Group’s acquisition of McMurry, Inc., a leading Phoenix-based advertising and marketing firm. McMurry has a 25-year track record in custom publishing and content, and the sale resulted in the creation of a new company called McMurry/TMG with a strong presence in Arizona.

“Many of the transactions that fuel Arizona’s economy take place under the radar screen, but involve substantial investment in our state and its companies,” said Christine Nowaczyk, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “This award is a way to recognize and encourage investment and business activity involving Arizona companies, and celebrate some of the accomplishments and hard work of the many professionals who are involved.”

The award criteria are:

  • Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment
  • Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business
  • Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona
  • Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction
  • At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Tickets for the May 7 event are available for $135 for ACG members and $149 for ACG non-members, and may be purchased by visiting www.acg.org/arizona or calling 602-343-6280.

Chandler Innovation Center

5 Mistakes that Quash Corporate Innovation

The biggest breakthroughs in the history of business – and the history of the world – are never  the result of conventional thinking, says Maria Ferrante-Schepis, a veteran in the insurance and financial services industry who now consults Fortune 100 companies such as GE with innovation agent Maddock Douglas, Inc.

“To echo Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt back in 1960, ‘In every case, the reason growth (in business) is threatened, slowed or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.’ Many of the world’s biggest companies are simply riding on inertia,” says Ferrante-Schepis, author of “Flirting with the Uninterested,” (www.flirtingwiththeuninterested.com), coauthored by G. Michael Maddock, which explores innovation opportunity through the lens of the insurance industry

“There’s a great saying in the South: ‘You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar,’ ” says Maddock, CEO of Maddock Douglas. “It’s hard to see a need and invent a way to fill that need when you’ve been inside one business or industry for a long time.”

Recognizing those needs requires stepping outside of the jar and viewing things from the outside, adds Ferrante-Schepis.

“You can’t innovate from inside the jar, and if you aren’t innovating, you’re just waiting for the expiration date on your business,” she says.

Ferrante-Schepis and Maddock bust five myths relating to corporate innovation:

• The preference of four out of five dentists doesn’t necessarily matter: Many years ago, when the Maddock Douglas firm consulted with P&G to develop new oral health care products, Crest was recommended by most dentists. However, it turns out the market had shifted; consumers became more interested in bright smiles than healthy gums. Many industries make the mistake of getting their insights from their own experts rather than asking the consumer.

• Giving all your love to those who already love you: In the interest of preserving customer morale, too many companies focus on those who already love their service. But that’s not what companies need to work on; they need to focus on what’s not working in order to improve. The haters very often offer well-targeted insights that can tremendously improve products, customer service, and/or operations.

• “We tried that idea. It didn’t work.” What idea, exactly? People who are in the jar interpret new ideas based on how they last saw them. You may think you’ve tried or tested an idea, but if you applied it in a conventional way, the way it’s always been used, you haven’t really tried it. Consider the term “auction” — in-the-jar thinkers envision Sotheby’s and not the more practical and innovative eBay.

• Trying to impress with insider jargon: Communication is a huge part of innovation. Policies in the health-insurance industry, for example, include language that may make sense to insiders, but say nothing to the average middle-class customer, which is prohibitive. Be very careful about the language you use. In this case, “voice of the customer” should be taken literally. Customers recognize, respond to and build from their own words more than from yours.

• Staying at your desk and in the office: Doubling down on what already has not worked for you is not innovative. Get outside your office and act like an anthropologist. Spend time with your customers and bring an expert interpreter and a couple members of your team. Compare notes; you’ll be shocked at how differently you all see the situation.

rsz_seo

If You're in CRE, Here's Everything You Should Know About SEO

By Elizabeth Schwartz and Ann Seibert, Anamorphics, Inc.

If you own a commercial real estate business, and especially if you have a company website, you have probably heard the phrase Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

Despite the common use of the phrase, many people still do not know what SEO truly is or how it works. The Internet is saturated with information about SEO: some of it true, much of it not, all of it overwhelming, and parts of it downright scary. With all the myths and misinformation available, it is, at best, a difficult world to navigate.

With this series of articles, we plan to demystify SEO for the layperson, helping business owners understand what it is, why they need it, and how it can work for them. We will address fears, answer common questions, and discuss the contents of the SEO toolbox.

>> KEYWORDS = HOW PEOPLE SEARCH

So, what is SEO? Simply put, it is a strategy designed to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). To work properly, SEO uses keywords. All types of SEO use keywords. Keywords are chosen for relevance to the business and its product or service. For instance, if the firm’s specialty is commercial real estate, some keywords to consider may be “commercial leasing” or “aquisitions” or “property management.”

How do you select keywords? The first step is research. With tools such as Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool, Google Insights for Search, Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction, Microsoft Advertising Intelligence, and Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand a firm can better understand customer search habits.

For example, last month more than one million searches occured using the words “commercial real estate” and locally (in the Valley) there were 673,000 searches. However, the use of the search term has been steadily declining since 2005. (Refer to the inset graphic)

Analytic tools enable a business owner to understand what terms are being used by customers and the competition. They identify where (both geographically and within the internet) people are searching and permit the comparison of search terms for performance.

When selecting keywords, it’s important to understand a customer’s search behavior. What a firm thinks a customer uses and what a customer actually uses, may be two very different terms.

>> ORGANIC VS. PAID

There are two types of SEO: organic and paid. Each type comes with its own collection of tools.

Organic SEO describes the processes to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Some techniques used for organic SEO include using keywords and keyword analysis, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content relevant for readers. Organic SEO is the result of a solid website design and proper development, working keywords into the content and coding of the site. It is slow-growing and requires patience, but organic SEO yields better, long-term results.

Paid SEO results are basically advertisements. Similar to organic SEO, Paid SEO uses keyword strategies. A firm sets up and pays for keywords. How? When a potential customer performs a search using a relevant keyword or phrase, the firm’s website appears in the SERP.

However, with paid SEO, you pay for each click connecting the customer to your website. This can lead to much faster but short-lived results. Some techniques used for paid SEO include: Google Adwords, Facebook Pay- Per-Click, paid directory listings, Google Maps paid version, paid ghost writing for blogs.

Still cloudy? Think of SEO in terms of tomatoes. Organic SEO is the tomato seed. You plant the seed, then you wait for the plant to grow. Once it does, it will bear fruit for a period of time. Conversely, paid SEO is when you realize that you don’t have time to wait for your plant to grow; you need a tomato for tonight’s salad. You go to the store and buy a tomato, obtaining immediate gratification, but with no lasting results. Both approaches have value. The tough part is determining the when to use them.

>> THREE COMMON QUESTIONS

When Anamorphics meet with new clients, there are inevitably three primary questions that surface regarding SEO. Do I need SEO? Can I do SEO myself? Why is it so expensive to hire an SEO firm? The answers to these questions tend to be the same, regardless of who the client is or what type of business they run.

Do I need SEO? Yes, you do. To grow a business in the 21st century, you must have an on-line presence, an no online presence is complete or effective without some kind of SEO.

Ann Seibert

Ann Seibert

Elizabeth Schwartz

Elizabeth Schwartz

Can I do SEO myself? You could certainly attempt it. SEO is not rocket science, but there is an art to it, and experience goes a long way. It is also incredibly time-intensive. Most companies, especially smaller businesses, do not have an employee who can devote the time needed to create proper SEO. Hiring a professional firm is not a requirement, but it is usually the best course of action.

Why is it so expensive to hire an SEO firm? Effective SEO requires extensive research, copywriting, content manipulation, and keyword strategies, all of which take time. You are paying for the firm’s time and experience.

Now you are familiar with the basics of what SEO is. In our next article we will discuss SEO Myths: the Good, the Bad, and the Gossip. In it we will address the truths and the common misconceptions associated with SEO.

merger

Steptoe Advises ALDILA on Merger

Aldila, Inc. announced on March 27 that it has closed its merger with Mitsubishi Rayon America, Inc. (MRA). The official effective time of the merger will be April 1.  Steptoe advised Aldila on the transaction.

Aldila is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of carbon fiber shafts.  MRA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. and part of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation Group.  MRA has a business centered on MMA (methyl methacrylate) and AN (acrylonitrile) business complexes as basic raw materials and finished products.

The Steptoe corporate team was led by partner Kevin Olson with assistance from partner Kevin Hunter and associate Kami Galvani, all in the firm’s Phoenix office.  Partners Meredith Rathbone and Stephen Heifetz, and associate Teddy Nemeroff, all based in Washington, advised on the international trade aspects of the deal.

World of Beer

World of Beer Tempe Goes ‘Pale’ and Artsy

He took some of the world’s most beautiful black and white photographs long before Instagram and digital cameras. His work was as real as a cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on a crisp day.

In the spirit of the Tempe Festival of the Arts held April 5 -7, World of Beer Tempe plans to host a special exhibit of two original portfolios of works by Ansel Adams, who was a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways magazine.

sierra Nevada tapThe portfolios will be set-up and displayed April 1 – 7 in the back of WOB Tempe’s historic Tempe National Bank building which sits at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Mill Avenue, and dates back 100 years.

Admission is $8 and includes one free draft of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, perfectly fitting as it pays tribute to one of Adams’ most revered work: Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, 1944.”

WOB Tempe will be discounting the admission fee for students from any educational institution.

Our WOB family likes to be involved with and promote the communities where we do business,” said Manager John Watts. “We are especially interested in promoting institutions of higher education and the arts and hope this will inspire some up and coming photographers.”

Watts says a portion of proceeds will go to benefit the Downtown Tempe Community, Inc.

World of Beer started in Tampa in 2007 by two friends who shared a love of beer. The franchise has since expanded to more than 30 locations across the country. The unique bar concept provides customers with a friendly and neighborhood atmosphere and offers more than 75 beers on tap, 500 different bottles of beer from more than 40 countries as well as premium wines and fine cigars.

WOB Tempe location: 526 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe, Arizona 85281.

For more information on World of Beer Tempe: Go to the Facebook page, follow WOB on Twitter @WOBTempe or visit our wobusa.com/Locations/Tempe.aspx

hispanic

The 25 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders

Benito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Born into a family of migrant workers, Almanza is now responsible for all lines of business efforts, community and civic activities in the state. The graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara has been with Bank of America for 30 years, working in California before moving to Arizona in 1992.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Hiring top talent and developing them to replace me someday.”
Surprising fact: “Growing up working with my family in the fields helped me better understand agribusiness banking.”

Marty Alvarez
CEO, principal in charge
Sun Eagle Corporation
Alvarez is founder of family-owned and operated Sun Eagle, one of the top minority-owned general contracting and construction management firms in the country. He has been a chair and officer for the Associated Minority Contractors of America since 1993.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That our well-constructed buildings improved the landscape, and our assistance to individuals and families improved lives.”
Surprising fact: “I have been involved with Shotokan Karate continuously for the past 39 years.”

Victor M. Aranda
Area president, Northern Arizona
Wells Fargo Arizona
Aranda manages six Wells Fargo Community Banking markets; Northeast Arizona, Central Arizona, White Mountains, North Phoenix, North Scottsdale and Scottsdale. He is responsible for 816 team members, 69 banking stores, and $4.1 billion in deposits. A 25-year financial services veteran, Aranda presently serves as a board member for Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Leadership Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “My passion in life is to add value to those I come in contact with.  What I would like to be remembered for is how I spent my life serving, helping and developing the leaders of tomorrow.”
Surprising fact: “I was involved and directed a church Spanish choir and I have also sang in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel.”

Tony Astorga
Retired CFO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Astorga recently retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona where he served as the Senior Vice President, CFO & CBDO since 1988. He currently serves as chairman of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is a member of the board of directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, AZHCC, ASU Foundation, CSA General Insurance Agency, Phoenix Art Museum, and US Bank Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered in my profession as a CPA and CFO for being a good mentor and for helping develop my staff in their work ethic and level of growth.”
Surprising fact: “I have a sweet tooth for twinkies or that my favorite movie is ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, I still laugh when I think about the movie”.

Miguel Bravo
Senior community development consultant
Arizona Public Service Company
Bravo is responsible for directing community development initiatives statewide to help serve diverse markets for APS. He also collaborates with economic development organizations to attract industry to Arizona. Bravo also serves the boards of Friendly House, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Center at Morrison Institute, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates.
His hope for his professional legacy: “For conducting business with integrity, purpose, passion; and for having a conviction for public service.”
Surprising fact: “I became a US Citizen in 2007. Having grown up in Arizona, this was one of my proudest moments.”

José Cárdenas
Senior vice president and general counsel
Arizona State University
Before joining ASU in 2009, Cárdenas was chairman at Lewis & Roca, where he became the first Hispanic to serve as managing partner of a major law firm in Arizona. A Stanford Law School graduate, Cárdenas has served on many boards and commissions and has received various awards.
His hope for his professional legacy: “As a good lawyer who served his clients and community well with the utmost integrity.”
Surprising fact: Cárdenas was involved with death penalty cases for more than 30 years.

America Corrales-Bortin
Co-founder
America’s Taco Shop
Corrales-Bortin grew up Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico, watching her mother prepare the dishes that would become the recipes for success at America’s Taco Shop. Founded in 2008, America’s authentic carne asada and al pastor quickly built a following that has led to rapid expansion and a partnership Kahala, a franchise development company. So far in 2013, America’s has already moved into California, Texas and Maryland.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As someone who has a passion for the food we serve at America’s Taco Shop.”
Surprising fact: “People would be surprised that I am named after a famous soccer team in Mexico.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
In addition to leading the Hispanic Chamber, de la Melena Jr. operates the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the state’s leading advocate representing more than 100,000 minority business enterprises. De la Melena is also the Founder of edmVentures, LLC a small business investment company with holdings in Phoenix airport concessions at Sky Harbor International.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Helping small businesses succeed.”
Surprising fact: “I had the opportunity to do business in more than 30 countries before the age of 30.”

Robert Espiritu
Acquisition marketing
American Express
Espiritu’s diversified professional experience includes working for small business enterprises as well as corporate 100 businesses in the areas of sales, marketing and financial management. He has also been actively involved with various nonprofit organizations; most recently as the former chairman of the board for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Innovative and focused leader who delivers with energy and is known for building successful relationships and high performing teams.”
Surprising fact: “As a first generation American, I am passionate about helping aspiring and under-privileged youth achieve their dreams and advocating for Hispanic career advancement, education and scholarships.”

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick
Executive vice chancellor and provost
Maricopa Community Colleges
Harper-Marinick oversees all areas of academic and student affairs, workforce development, and strategic planning. She serves on several national and local boards including ABEC and AMEPAC, which she chairs.  Originally from the Dominican Republic, Harper-Marinick came to ASU as a Fulbright Scholar.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Passion for, and unwavering commitment to, public education as the foundation of a democratic society.”
Surprising fact: “The joy I get from driving fast cars.”

Julio Herrera
National Spanish Sales and Retention Director
Cox Communications
Herrera and his team work across markets and cross-functional departments to drive Spanish language sales and grow Cox’s Hispanic markets nationally. He also helped establish LIDER, a leadership program tailored for Hispanic team members looking for advancement opportunities in Phoenix and Southern Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Growing and improving the Hispanic customer experience and making a difference our communities.”
Surprising fact: “Spanish was my first language and I started my career in sales leadership at 18 ears old.”

Lori Higuera
Director
Fennemore Craig
Higuera defends, provides counsel and trains employers of all sizes. She’s a Southwest Super Lawyer, an employment law expert for the Arizona Republic/Arizona Business Gazette and is a recent recipient of the High-Level Business Spanish Diploma from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A skilled lawyer who elevated the practice by integrating the diverse perspectives of our community.”
Surprising fact: “I was fired from my first job as a Santa’s helper for being too social!”

Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
Associate dean, outreach and multicultural affairs
Professor of medicine (Tenured) and pathology, College of Medicine
Medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program
University of Arizona
López has a passion for addressing health inequities and human suffering. From clinical research with molecular targets to health services research, her work focuses on optimizing the health of individuals and communities.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Life is an opportunity to contribute. I hope to contribute, to make a difference.”
Surprising fact: “I love simple pleasures. Witnessing the daily miracle of the sun rising sustains me.”

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”
Surprising fact: “I’m seriously considering getting matching tattoos with my kids in the near future.”

Steve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias is a co-owner of Pivot Manufacturing, a Phoenix machine shop, chairs the Arizona Manufacturers Council, and is on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber. He is an active proponent of manufacturing in Arizona and a proud father of three boys.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Contributed in some small way to the sustainment of manufacturing in Arizona.”
Surprising fact: “In high school, I was the school mascot – a Bronco.”

Mario Martinez II
CEO
360 Vantage
Martinez is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of 360 Vantage, a leader in cloud-based sales and marketing technology solutions designed to solve the unique challenges of the mobile workforce in life sciences, healthcare and other industries.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would most like to be remembered for truly changing the lives of our clients, employees and our community in great and meaningful ways.”
Surprising fact: “I hosted a radio show during my college years.”

Clarence McCallister
CEO
Fortis Networks, Inc.
McAllister was born in Panama and earned his master’s in electrical engineering from ASU. In 2000, he and his wife started Fortis Networks, Inc., a certified 8a and HUBzone government contractor specializing in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Building a world-class organization that always exceeds our customers’ expectations.”
Surprising fact: “I did an emergency landing on a City of Mesa street.”

Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
In addition to managing a law firm with 120 attorneys, Parga has been to Best Lawyers in America for the last four years. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading non-profit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I want to be remembered as always trying to do the right thing and having led with integrity.”
Surprising fact: “I was bullied until age 11, which drove me not only to strengthen my body, but my resolve.”

Hector Peñuñuri
Senior planning analyst
SRP
Peñuñuri is an Arizona native and has spent most of the past 15 years in the Customer Services Division at SRP.  He has served on several boards including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and LISC.  He was raised in the West Valley, and currently resides in Gilbert.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A trusted and valuable team member/leader; a communicator who understands the importance of sharing knowledge to help others.”
Surprising fact: “I’m a jack of all trades – woodworker, photographer, musician, outdoorsman and a decent cook when I put my mind to it.”

Dan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck. D.P. Electric now has more than 200 employees and generated more than $30 million in revenue in 2012, making it the biggest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A guy that is fair, honest, hard-working and gives back both personally and professionally.”
Surprising fact: “Professionally, that I do not have a college degree and personally, that I am a Bikram Yoga junkie.”

Marie Torres
Founder
MRM Construction Services
Torres is an Arizona native and built her business in the community that she grew up in. With more than 30 years experience in the construction field, she started MRM in 2002 and currently has more than 50 employees. The focus of her company has been in government contracting and has self performed airfield work at Luke AFB, MCAS Yuma and Davis Monthan.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As being technically competent.”
Surprising fact: “I don’t like to drive and I am happy as a passenger – even in my own car.”

Lisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
After 15 years in international marketing and communications, Urias founded Urias Communications to address the need for advertising and PR with a uniquely multicultural focus. Now an award-winning advertising, and PR agency, Urias Communications specializes in the multicultural markets of the U.S. Southwest, with concentration on the burgeoning Hispanic market.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Bridging the divide between corporations and the growing Hispanic community for mutual benefit and respect.”
Surprising fact: “I am a fourth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was the first Hispanic city councilman.”

Dawn C. Valdivia
Partner, chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group
Quarles & Brady
Valdivia is the chair of Quarles & Brady’s Labor and Employment Group in Phoenix. She regularly advises clients in all matters of labor and employment law and is skilled in complex litigation matters, including wage and hour class action litigation in Arizona and California.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A creative problem solver, committed to her clients and to giving back to the community.”
Surprising fact: “I love adventure — sky diving, gliding, scuba diving, helicopters, etc.”

Lorena Valencia
CEO
Reliance Wire
Valencia is the founder and CEO of Reliance Wire Systems, a wire and tubing manufacturing company she founded in 2000. She is also the founder and president of Magin Corporation — an eco-friendly wood pallet alternative company — and the FRDM Foundation.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Empowering children by building schools and libraries in impoverished countries through my FRDM Foundation.”
Surprising fact: “I put hot peppers on almost everything I eat. The hotter. the better.”

Roberto Yañez
Vice president and GM
Univision Arizona
Yañez is a 27-year broadcast television veteran, who has served 17 of those years with the Univision Television Group (UTG). Yañez has created various opportunities that helped build the station’s relationship with the community: Cadena de Gente Buena, El 34 Esta Aqui and Ya Es Hora.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Someone who used his craft to build bridges between the problem and the solution.”
Surprising fact: “Though Monday through Friday you will never see me without a suit and tie, I am most comfortable in boots, jeans and driving a pick-up truck.”

87665813

Women to watch in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology

Here are some of the the Arizona innnovators who Az Business magazine thinks will be making waves in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology in 2013:

Ruth Carter
Owner, Carter Law Firm
carterlawaz.com
Her background: After graduating from ASU Law School in 2011, she opened her own law firm in January 2012 and focused her practice on social media law, intellectual property, business formation and contracts, and flash mob law. She will deliver a talk entitled “Protecting Your Copyrights in Digital Media” at the South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in March 2013. She also wrote the book “The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed.”
Fun fact: She was selected as an American Bar Association Legal Rebel in September 2012.
Her goal for 2013: To help entrepreneurs, writers, and artists turn their ideas into reality, to help them push the limits of what’s possible without crossing the line.

Michelle De Blasi
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
gtlaw.com
Her background: De Blasi focuses her practice on environmental law, with an emphasis on natural resources matters. She advises local and multi-national clients on energy and environmental sustainability, including the development of traditional and renewable energy power plants, climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions. She is a leader in many community organizations, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Arizona Energy Consortium, which has recently released the Arizona Energy Roadmap to further develop the state’s energy industry.
Fun fact: “I wanted to be an environmental attorney since junior high.  Working for six years at NOAA starting in law school was an amazing way to begin my career.”
Her goal for 2013: “Continue to assist my clients’ growth and expansion, including improving the regulatory and business atmosphere in the areas where they are located.”

MaryAnn Guerra
CEO, BioAccel
bioaccel.org
Her background: BioAccel was named the most promising initiative among the six winners of SSTI’s 2012 Excellence in TBED (technology-based economic development) awards. In three years, BioAccel — whose mission is to transform high-risk technologies into new businesses and high-wage jobs — has supported 11 companies in Arizona, investing more than $4 million directly as well as helping get an additional $15.5 million in downstream funding.
Fun fact: “I love camping outdoors in tents. After gathering wood from the forest, I  build the campfire, cook, then relax under the moonlight — with wine if possible.”
Her goal for 2013: “Personally: spend more time with my husband.  Professionally: expand BioAccel’s overall capacity, validate BioInspire as a model and help launch the BioAccel Accelerator Fund.”

Chevy Humphrey
President and CEO, Arizona Science Center
azscience.org
Her background: She oversees the $8 million operation of Arizona Science Center’s 185,000-square-foot facilities with more than 400 employees and volunteers. She is in line to become the next president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, an international organization representing science centers and museums with more than 600 members in over 40 countries worldwide. She currently serves as its secretary-treasurer.
Fun fact: Humphrey secured the largest gift in the Center’s history – $3.5 million.
Her goal for 2013: “Maintain excellence as Arizona’s largest provider of informal science education while providing educators with professional development and resources supporting the new common core education standards.”

Mary Juetten
Founder and CEO, Traklight.com
traklight.com
Her background: While earning her JD at ASU, Juetten combined her new knowledge of the law with accounting designations and 25 years of management, business and financial consulting experience to create Traklight.com in 2010.  Traklight is an online software as service company that offers products for inventors, creators, start-up or small companies to identify, secure, and manage their intellectual property to reduce the risk of infringement and IP loss, all without any prior knowledge of IP.
Fun fact: She played ice hockey in Canada and Phoenix.
Her goal for 2013: “I plan to spend more time outside with my husband: golfing and hiking.  Traklight will build upon our October launch and expand nationally in 2013.”

Kim Kundert
Vice president of clinical operations
Clinical Research Advantage
Her background: Kundert received the 2012 Silver Stevie Award — which honors the world’s bets and brightest female entrepreneurs and executives — for Female Executive of the Year in the Business Services category. Kundert has been a driving force behind the rapid growth of CRA, a clinical trial management organization that has helped trial sponsors bring drugs to market more quickly and efficiently.
Fun fact: She was born in Germany on Christmas Day.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal is to open 20 new clinical trial sites.”

Jessica Langbaum
Principal scientist, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
banneralz.org
Her background: Langbaum is actively involved in research activities focusing on the use of brain imaging for studying the earliest evidence of Alzheimer’s and on the design and execution of preclinical Alzheimer’s treatment trials. Langbaum has published papers in leading scientific journals on cognitive training, brain imaging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fun fact: Her family has been in Arizona for generations.
Her goal for 2013: “Enroll 100,000 people in our Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (endALZnow.org/registry), launch the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API)/Genentech trial, prepare for the next API-led trial, and potty train my son.”

Paula O’Neal Wichterman
Vice president, medical private banker, National Bank of Arizona
nbarizona.com
Her background: Wichterman is vice president in the Private Bank of National Bank of Arizona. Prior to joining NB|AZ, she spent 9 years in various advisor roles at two other lending institutions in both private banking and credit administration. In her role at NB|AZ, Wichterman is responsible for increasing NB|AZ’s focus on the physician and medical banking market.
Fun fact: “Being the Southern girl that I am, I LOVE to shoot sporting clays. It is a great stress reliever after a long week at work.”
Her goal for 2013: “I want to always inspire my family and friends. I try my best to lead by example. Whether it is at home or at work, I want to be the best that I can be.”

Angela Perez
Partner, Snell & Wilmer
swlaw.com
Her background: Perez is an Arizona native who holds a biology degree from Harvard University and law degree from The University of Arizona. She practices law in the field of business and finance, with special attention to representing clients in the biotechnology industry. Perez represents companies at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up to liquidity. Perez is committed to using her education and experience to improve the strength of Arizona’s economy by facilitating the growth of Arizona’s biotech industry.
Fun fact: Formed Snell & Wilmer’s Bioscience and Healthcare Industry Group shortly after graduating from law school.
Her goal for 2013: “Contribute to the success of my firm and clients by providing sound legal advice; support Arizona’s biotech industry; and shower my young family with love.”

Darcy Renfro
Vice president and coordinator of the Arizona STEM Network, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)
sfaz.org
Her background: Renfro is leading the way for Arizona’s STEM — science, technology, engineering, math — education initiatives. She spearheaded the development of SFAz’s Arizona STEM Network, a first-of-its-kind strategic effort to help transform Arizona’s educational system. The Network will help teachers and students prepare for the state-adopted, internationally benchmarked Common Core Standards, higher-education and careers that will help ensure our state remains globally competitive.
Fun fact: Arizona is just one of 16 states in the U.S. with developing or existing STEM Networks.
Her goal for 2013: “Increase the access and quality of STEM opportunities for Arizona’s students and teachers to inspire excitement and achievement in math and science.”

Virginia Rybski
President and CEO, Regenesis Biomedical, Inc.
regenesisbio.com
Her background: Rybski has combined 35 years of experience founding, building and growing emerging bioscience companies by developing and launching numerous advanced-technology, healthcare related products. She strategically positioned the company as a regenerative medicine business; raised $5.3 million in capital; has grows sales for 8 consecutive years; and helped it earn a position on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2012.
Fun fact:
Her goal for 2013: “Focus on improving patient care, and helping to provide better patient outcomes while lowering the overall cost of care. Healthcare, now more than ever, needs collaboration between providers, patients, and manufacturers like Regenesis, to help rein in spiraling costs.”

Joyce Schroeder
Chief science officer, Arizona Cancer Therapeutics
arizonacancertherapeutics.com
Her background: Schroeder, program co-leader in Cancer Biology and Genetics at the Arizona Cancer Center, is moving toward clinical trials for breast cancer treatment that inhibits metastatic breast cancer growth at cellular level and it is non-toxic. In layman’s terms, this could block breast cancer growth without the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. She is also associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona.
Fun fact: She is an avid Stephen King reader and loves Star Wars.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal for 2013 is to get our breast cancer drug approved by the FDA to be given to patients.”

Lori Singleton
Manager of Sustainability Initiatives and Technologies, SRP
srpnet.com
Her background: Singleton’s primary focus at SRP is environmental and renewable energy issues. Under her direction, SRP has provided incentives to more than 12,000 customers who have installed solar energy systems on their homes and businesses. In addition, she is an active volunteer and effective advocate serving on the boards of Audubon of Arizona and the National Solar Energy Power Association.
Fun fact: “Ballroom dancing is my passion. For me, it not only helps keep me physically fit but allows me to focus on something other than looming deadlines and work projects.”
Her goal for 2013: “As a Valley Forward board member, I will work to promote environmental quality statewide, elevate our state’s image and drive balanced policy as the organization evolves into Arizona Forward.”

Joy Seitz
Vice president of business and policy development, American Solar
americanpv.com
Her background: Since joining Scottsdale-based American Solar in 2009, Seitz has been a leading advocate for Arizona’s solar industry, making her presence felt everywhere that decisions are made about solar energy — city halls, Salt River Project and the Arizona Corporation Commission. Her company has designed and installed solar electric for more than 3,500 customers and created partnership with homebuilders including Shea Homes and AV Homes.
Fun fact: “I am a proud ASU West Campus graduate from the School of Global Management and Leadership, with an emphasis in finance.”
Her goal for 2013: “To put the power of solar energy into the hand of every homeowner. It is time that every Arizona homeowner understands that they can control what energy powers their home.”

Lois Wardell
Principal, Arapahoe SciTech
arapahost.com
Her background: Wardell’s technology focus includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and associated sensor technologies.  By developing partnerships with other innovators, she has been able to tackle technical challenges in emerging fields such as those in polar science. One example is a sterilization system for an ice drill that will access an Antarctic sub-glacial lake below a half-mile of ice to explore this unknown frontier on our planet.
Fun fact: Wardell has worked on all seven continents.
Her goal for 2013: “My goals include continued development of technology for exploration (both Earth and beyond) and to increase my focus on outreach activities to inspire students.”

srp installs solar energy systems

Energy Consortium’s Roadmap puts state of path to build industry

Imagine Arizona as the energy hub of the Southwest — where major regional transmission lines tie into infrastructure in the state and serve a growing regional demand for energy. Arizona would be a place where an increasing percentage of jobs are related to the energy industry, whether in manufacturing, generation, transmission, energy efficiency, service or technology innovation. Many of these jobs would be higher-wage jobs requiring a skilled labor force fed by Arizona’s schools and universities. Arizona could be a hub of energy-sector jobs, with factories making equipment for the industry and power plants shipping electricity to neighboring states via new power lines, all contributing to a better economy.

That is the essence of the Arizona Energy Consortium’s Energy Roadmap, which the group hopes with be a catalyst for the state’s energy industry in the same way Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap helped the state increase bioscience jobs by 41 percent and helped increase the number of bioscience establishments by 27 percent during its 10-year plan.

“It was important to create this document to give the energy industry a unified voice and direction,” said said Michelle De Blasi, co-chair of the AEC and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “The energy industry is going to be here forever. We are always going to need energy. So the Roadmap was designed to make the industry better for everyone — consumers, developers, legislators. So it was critical that we get it right.”

This is the vision the Roadmap hopes to realize over the next decade: Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.

Once that vision is realized, De Blasi said the state can expect to reap these benefits:
• Enhanced job creation and higher-wage jobs within Arizona
• Increased state economic revenue
• Enhanced energy export potential
• Heightened energy self-sufficiency and national and state security
• Increased transmission reliability
• Continued low cost energy

“This Roadmap is going to help Arizona be looked at differently from outside its borders,” said Chris Davey, co-chair with De Blasi of the AEC and president of EnviroMission, which is developing a solar tower in Western Arizona. “The Roadmap will create a sense of certainty, which appeals to the finance community. So when they are looking to invest, that certainty creates a more attractive environment for developers and investors.”

Davey and De Blasi said they will be rolling out the Roadmap this year, presenting it to groups throughout the state. For more information on the Roadmap, visit aztechcouncil.org.

ROADMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
Arizona Public Service
Bridge Strategy Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
City of Mesa, the Office of the Mayor
Cleantech Open
Dircks
DIRTT
DMB Associates
Energy Services Coalition
EnviroMission
Faithful+Gould
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greenberg Traurig
The Green Chamber – Greater Phoenix
Golder Associates
Hensel Phelps
Ikoloji
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
J.D. Porter & Associates
Kolbe Connect
Matthew McDonnell
Ormond Group, LLC
RG Schmelzer, Inc.
Salt River Project
Stream Energy
Tucson Electric Power
Valley Forward
Valley Partnership

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

BOK Financial Reports Record Earnings for 2012

BOK Financial Corporation, parent company of Bank of Arizona, reported record net income of $351.2 million or $5.13 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2012, up $65.3 million or 23% over 2011. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $285.9 million or $4.17 per diluted share.

“BOK Financial’s results for 2012 reflect the value of our diversified revenue business model,” said President and CEO Stan Lybarger. “Non-interest revenue increased by $103 million or 20% over 2011, led by tremendous growth in mortgage banking revenue. Our mortgage banking professionals originated over $3.7 billion in loans, assisting a record number of customers in the purchase or refinance of their home during this year. In addition to mortgage banking revenue, brokerage and trading revenue was up nearly $23 million over the previous year, which more than offset the full year effect of regulatory limits on interchange fees.”

“Our commercial loan portfolio grew by $1.1 billion or 16% and deposits grew by $2.4 billion or 13% over December 31, 2011,” said Lybarger. “Additionally, continued improvements in credit quality in 2012 required us to further reduce our combined allowances for credit losses by $45 million through net charge-offs and a $22 million negative provision for credit losses.”

“While persistently low interest rates and modest economic growth present a challenge for all banks, including BOK Financial, we expect the Company to continue to perform well,” said Lybarger. “Our outlook for the upcoming year includes continued loan growth, increased non-interest revenue and operating expense discipline.”

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $82.6 million or $1.21 per diluted share, compared to net income of $87.4 million or $1.27 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2012 and net income of $67.0 million or $0.98 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Highlights of fourth quarter of 2012 included:
• Net interest revenue totaled $173.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to $176.0 million for the third quarter of 2012. Net interest margin was 2.95% for the fourth quarter of 2012 and 3.12% for the third quarter of 2012. Securities portfolio yield continued to decline as cash flows were reinvested at lower rates.
• Fees and commissions revenue totaled $165.8 million, largely unchanged compared to the third quarter of 2012. Mortgage banking revenue decreased $3.9 million compared to the prior quarter primarily due to seasonal decreases in mortgage commitments and mortgage loans held for sale. Trust fees and commission revenue increased $2.4 million over the prior quarter. All other revenue sources were up $1.3 million over the prior quarter.
• Operating expenses, excluding changes in the fair value of mortgage servicing rights, totaled $226.8 million, up $14.0 million over the previous quarter. Personnel expense increased $8.4 million. Non-personnel expense increased $5.6 million.
• A $14.0 million negative provision for credit losses was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012. Improving charge-off trends resulted in lower estimated loss rates. Most economic factors are stable or improving in our primary markets. No provision for credit losses was recorded in the third quarter of 2012. Net charge-offs totaled $4.3 million or 0.14% of average loans on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to net charge-offs of $5.7 million or 0.19% of average loans on an annualized basis in the third quarter of 2012. Gross charge-offs continue to decline, down $921 thousand from the previous quarter.
• The combined allowance for credit losses totaled $217 million or 1.77% of outstanding loans at December 31, 2012 compared to $236 million or 1.99% of outstanding loans at September 30, 2012. Nonperforming assets totaled $277 million or 2.23% of outstanding loans and repossessed assets at December 31, 2012 and $264 million or 2.21% of outstanding loans and repossessed assets at September 30, 2012. Nonperforming assets increased $31 million due to the implementation of recent regulatory guidance concerning borrowers who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Excluding the impact of this new guidance, nonperforming assets decreased $19 million during the fourth quarter of 2012.
• Outstanding loan balances were $12.3 billion at December 31, 2012, up $479 million over the prior quarter. Commercial loan balances grew by $351 million or 19% on an annualized basis over September 30, 2012. Commercial real estate loans grew by $68 million, residential mortgage loans grew by $32 million and consumer loans grew by $28 million.
• Period end deposits totaled $21.2 billion at December 31, 2012 compared to $19.1 billion at September 30, 2012. Demand deposit accounts increased $1.2 billion and interest-bearing transaction accounts increased $885 million, partially offset by a $54 million decrease in time deposits.
• Tangible common equity ratio was 9.25% at December 31, 2012 and 9.67% at September 30, 2012. The tangible common equity ratio is a non-GAAP measure of capital strength used by the Company and investors based on shareholders’ equity minus intangible assets and equity that does not benefit common shareholders. The Company and its subsidiary bank continue to exceed the regulatory definition of well capitalized. The Company’s Tier 1 capital ratios, as defined by banking regulations, were 12.78% at December 31, 2012 and 13.21% at September 30, 2012.
• The Company paid a regular quarterly cash dividend of $26 million or $0.38 per common share and a special cash dividend of $68 million or $1.00 per common share during the fourth quarter of 2012. On January 29, 2013, the board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.38 per common share payable on or about March 1, 2013 to shareholders of record as of February 15, 2013.

Net interest revenue decreased $2.7 million compared to the third quarter of 2012. Net interest margin was 2.95% for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 3.12% for the third quarter of 2012.

The yield on average earning assets decreased 17 basis points compared to the prior quarter. The available for sale securities portfolio yield decreased 28 basis points to 2.10% due primarily to the continued reinvestment of cash flows from the portfolio at lower current rates. The loan portfolio yield of 4.33% was unchanged compared to the previous quarter.

“In the present low interest rate environment, our ability to further decrease funding costs is limited,” said Steven Nell, Chief Financial Officer. “In addition, our ability to bolster near term net interest revenue through continued securities portfolio growth may be constrained by our conservative approach to interest rate risk management. We intend to focus on supporting net interest revenue through continued loan portfolio growth. Based on the current interest rate environment, we see continued pressure on net interest margin in 2013.”

Average earning assets increased $741 million during the fourth quarter of 2012. The average balance of the available for sale securities portfolio increased $424 million over the third quarter of 2012 due primarily to growth in residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities issued by U.S. government agencies. Average outstanding loans increased $250 million due primarily to a $209 million increase in commercial loan balances.

Average deposits increased $1.4 billion over the previous quarter. Demand deposit balances were up $787 million and interest-bearing transaction account balances increased $624 million. Time deposit account balances decreased $59 million. The average balance of borrowed funds decreased $328 million compared to the third quarter of 2012.

Fees and Commissions Revenue
Fees and commissions revenue totaled $165.8 million, largely unchanged compared to the third quarter of 2012. Increased revenue from an acquisition made during the third quarter was mostly offset by decreased mortgage banking revenue.

Mortgage banking revenue totaled $46.4 million, down $3.9 million from the prior quarter. Record mortgage loan production volume during the fourth quarter was offset by a seasonal decrease in mortgage loan commitments and loans held for sale. Residential mortgage loans funded for sale totaled $1.1 billion for the fourth quarter of 2012, up $27 million or 3% over the previous quarter. Refinanced mortgage loans were 62% of loans originated for sale in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 61% of the loans originated for sale in the third quarter of 2012. Outstanding mortgage loan commitments decreased $95 million and the unpaid principal balance of loans held for sale decreased $25 million compared to September 30, 2012.

“Despite some industry forecasts of a reduction in mortgage lending activity, we expect our mortgage banking revenue to remain strong in 2013,” said Nell. “During 2012, we increased the number of mortgage lenders, expanded further into our regional markets and added correspondent loan origination channels. In addition, it does not appear that government policies that stimulate mortgage lending will end anytime soon. We also expect continued revenue growth from our wealth management business in 2013 through a full year’s performance from our Milestone acquisition and further expansion throughout our regional markets.”

Trust fees and commissions revenue were up $2.4 million primarily related to revenue from The Milestone Group, Inc., a Denver-based Registered Investment Adviser acquired by BOK Financial in the third quarter. Brokerage and trading revenue increased $697 thousand, transaction card revenue increased $221 thousand and deposit service charges and fees decreased $974 thousand.

Operating Expenses
Total operating expenses were $222.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to $222.3 million for the third quarter of 2012. Excluding changes in the fair value of mortgage servicing rights, operating expenses totaled $226.8 million, up $14.0 million over the third quarter of 2012.

Personnel costs increased $8.4 million over the third quarter of 2012 due largely to increased incentive compensation and health care costs. Incentive compensation expense increased $5.8 million. Stock-based incentive compensation expense increased $4.8 million primarily due to increased incentive compensation accruals for executive compensation plans. Cash-based incentive compensation, which rewards employees as they generate business opportunities for the Company by growing loans, deposits, customer relationships or other measurable metrics, increased $1.0 million. Employee health care costs increased $3.0 million over the third quarter of 2012 primarily due to an increased level of large dollar claims.

Non-personnel expense increased $5.6 million over the third quarter of 2012. During the fourth quarter, the Company made a $2.1 million discretionary contribution to the BOKF Foundation. The BOKF Foundation partners with various charitable organizations to support needs within our communities. All other non-personnel expenses were up $3.5 million over the previous quarter.

Loans, Deposits and Capital
Loans
Outstanding loans at December 31, 2012 were $12.3 billion, up $479 million over September 30, 2012. All categories of loans experienced growth during the fourth quarter.

Outstanding commercial loan balances grew by $351 million or 19% on an annualized basis over September 30, 2012. Outstanding balances were up in most geographic markets, including $133 million in Oklahoma, $125 million in Texas, $46 million in Kansas/Missouri and $33 million in Colorado. Service sector loans grew by $134 million primarily in the Texas and Oklahoma markets. Energy sector loans increased $57 million. Energy sector loans grew primarily in the Oklahoma and Colorado markets, partially offset by a decrease in the Texas market. Healthcare sector loans increased $56 million primarily in the Texas market. Wholesale/retail sector loans increased $55 million primarily in the Texas and Kansas/Missouri markets, partially offset by a decrease in the Oklahoma market. Other commercial and industrial sector loans increased $33 million and manufacturing sector loans increased $18 million both primarily in the Oklahoma market. Unfunded energy loan commitments increased $170 million during the fourth quarter to $2.4 billion. All other unfunded commercial loan commitments totaled $3.2 billion at December 31, 2012, up slightly from September 30, 2012.

Commercial real estate loans were up $68 million over September 30, 2012. Loans secured by industrial properties increased by $59 million primarily in the Texas market. Other real estate loans increased $24 million. Growth in the Oklahoma and Colorado markets was partially offset by a decrease in the Texas market. Loans secured by office buildings were up $20 million primarily due to growth in the Texas market, partially offset by a decrease in loans attributed to the Oklahoma market. Growth in these loan classes was partially offset by a $40 million decrease in construction and land development loans primarily in the Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado markets. Unfunded commercial real estate loan commitments totaled $621 million at December 31, 2012, up $47 million over September 30, 2012.

Residential mortgage loans increased $32 million over September 30, 2012. Home equity loans increased $46 million. Growth continues to be primarily focused in first-lien, fully amortizing home equity loans. At December 31, 2012, approximately 63% of our $761 million home equity loan portfolio consisted of first-lien, fully amortizing loans. Non-guaranteed permanent mortgage loans decreased $11.0 million. Permanent mortgage loans guaranteed by U.S. government agencies decreased $2.2 million.

Consumer loans increased $28 million from September 30, 2012. Other consumer loans were up $40 million over September 30, 2012, partially offset by a $13 million decrease primarily related to continued runoff of indirect automobile loans resulting from the previously announced decision to curtail that business in favor of a customer-focused direct approach to consumer lending. Approximately $35 million of indirect automobile loans remain outstanding at December 31, 2012.

Deposits
Deposits totaled $21.2 billion at December 31, 2012 compared to $19.1 billion at September 30, 2012. Demand deposit balances increased $1.2 billion. Interest-bearing transaction account balances increased $885 million and time deposits decreased $54 million. Among the lines of business, commercial deposits increased $1.1 billion, wealth management deposits increased $599 million and consumer deposits increased $80 million. Energy, commercial real estate, treasury services and small business customer account balances all increased over the prior quarter. Commercial customers continue to maintain high account balances due to continued economic uncertainty and persistently low yields available on high-quality investment alternatives. A significant driver of deposit growth in the fourth quarter was sales of businesses or assets by customers. During the first half of January 2013, demand deposit balances decreased by approximately $700 million as customers redeployed these funds.

The temporary unlimited deposit insurance coverage program for noninterest-bearing transaction accounts at all FDIC-insured institutions provided for by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act expired on December 31, 2012. Noninterest-bearing transaction accounts are now insured up to $250,000.

Capital
The Company and its subsidiary bank exceeded the regulatory definition of well capitalized at December 31, 2012. The Company’s Tier 1 capital ratio was 12.78% at December 31, 2012 and 13.21% at September 30, 2012. The total capital ratio was 15.13% at December 31, 2012 and 15.71% at September 30, 2012. In addition, the Company’s tangible common equity ratio, a non-GAAP measure, was 9.25% at December 31, 2012 and 9.67% at September 30, 2012. Unrealized securities gains added 48 basis points to the tangible common equity ratio at December 31, 2012. The decrease in Tier 1, total and tangible common equity ratios was largely due to the $1.00 per share special dividend paid in the fourth quarter.

“BOK Financial has increased cash dividends each year since paying its first quarterly cash dividend in 2005,” said Nell. “We will consider migrating toward a higher regular dividend payout ratio in the future, subject to attractive capital deployment opportunities.”

In June 2012, banking regulators issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will incorporate Basel III capital changes for substantially all U.S. banking organizations. If adopted as proposed, these changes will establish a 7% threshold for the Tier 1 common equity ratio consisting of a minimum level plus a capital conservation buffer. BOK Financial’s Tier 1 common equity ratio based on the existing Basel I standards was 12.59% as of December 31, 2012. Our estimated Tier 1 common equity ratio under a fully phased in Basel III framework is approximately 12.15%, nearly 515 basis points above the 7% regulatory threshold. This estimate is subject to interpretation of rules that are not yet final. Additionally, the proposed definition of Tier 1 common equity includes unrealized gains and losses on available for sale securities which will vary based on market conditions.

Credit Quality
Nonperforming assets increased $13 million during the fourth quarter of 2012 to $277 million or 2.23% of outstanding loans and repossessed assets at December 31, 2012. Excluding the impact of recent regulatory guidance that primarily affected residential mortgage loans, nonperforming assets decreased $19 million. Implementation of this guidance increased nonperforming assets by $31 million in the fourth quarter.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued interpretive guidance in the third quarter of 2012 regarding accounting for and classification of retail loans to borrowers who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This guidance requires that these loans be charged-down to collateral value and classified as nonaccruing and troubled debt restructurings, regardless of current payment status. We have generally been complying with this guidance by charging down such loans to collateral value. Implementation of this guidance in the fourth quarter did not significantly affect charge-offs or provision for credit losses. Nonaccruing loans increased by approximately $19 million. At December 31, 2012, payments on approximately 65% of these newly-identified nonaccruing loans are current. Most of this increase in nonaccruing loans is attributed to residential mortgage loans in the Oklahoma market. Implementation of this guidance also increased renegotiated residential mortgage loans guaranteed by U.S. government agencies by $12 million.

Nonaccruing loans totaled $134 million or 1.09% of outstanding loans at December 31, 2012 and $132 million or 1.11% of outstanding loans at September 30, 2012. New nonaccruing loans identified in the fourth quarter totaled $38 million, including $19 million identified related to the implementation of the recent regulatory guidance on Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This was offset by $16 million in payments received, $8.0 million in charge-offs and $13 million in foreclosures and repossessions.

Nonaccruing commercial loans increased to $24 million or 0.32% of outstanding commercial loans at December 31, 2012 from $22 million or 0.30% of outstanding commercial loans at September 30, 2012. Nonaccruing commercial real estate loans decreased to $61 million or 2.71% of outstanding commercial real estate loans at December 31, 2012 from $76 million or 3.50% of outstanding commercial real estate loans at September 30, 2012. Nonaccruing commercial real estate loans consist primarily of land development and residential construction loans. Nonaccruing land development and residential construction loans totaled $26 million or 10.49% of all land development and construction loans at December 31, 2012, a decrease of $12 million during the fourth quarter.

Nonaccruing residential mortgage loans increased $17 million during the fourth quarter of 2012 to $47 million or 2.27% of outstanding residential mortgage loans. Principally all non-guaranteed residential mortgage loans past due 90 days or more are nonaccruing. Residential mortgage loans past due 30 to 89 days and still accruing interest, excluding loans guaranteed by U.S. government agencies, totaled $11 million at December 31, 2012 and $21 million at September 30, 2012.

The combined allowance for credit losses totaled $217 million or 1.77% of outstanding loans and 161.76% of nonaccruing loans at December 31, 2012. The allowance for loan losses was $216 million and the accrual for off-balance sheet credit losses was $1.9 million. Gross charge-offs continue to decrease, totaling $8.0 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $8.9 million for the previous quarter. Recoveries totaled $3.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2012. Net charge-offs totaled $4.3 million or 0.14% on an annualized basis for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with net charge-offs of $5.7 million or 0.19% on an annualized basis for the third quarter of 2012.

After evaluating all credit factors, the Company determined that a $14 million negative provision for credit losses was necessary during the fourth quarter of 2012. Improving trends in gross charge-offs and loan portfolio risk grading across most loan classes resulted in lower estimated loss rates used in developing the combined allowance for credit losses. Most economic factors are stable or improving in our primary markets.

Real estate and other repossessed assets totaled $104 million at December 31, 2012, primarily consisting of $44 million of 1-4 family residential properties (including $22 million guaranteed by U.S. government agencies), $25 million of developed commercial real estate properties, $18 million of undeveloped land and $16 million of residential land and land development properties. The distribution of real estate owned and other repossessed assets among various markets included $29 million attributed to Arizona, $18 million attributed to New Mexico, $16 million attributed to Texas, $15 million attributed to Oklahoma and $13 million attributed to Colorado. Real estate and other repossessed assets decreased by $337 thousand during the fourth quarter of 2012. Additions of $36 million were partially offset by $33 million of sales. Additions included $23 million and sales included $24 million of 1-4 family residential properties guaranteed by U.S. government agencies. Write-downs and net losses on sales of real estate and other repossessed assets totaled $4.1 million.

Securities and Derivatives
The fair value of the available for sale securities portfolio totaled $11.3 billion at December 31, 2012 and $11.5 billion at September 30, 2012. At December 31, 2012, the available for sale portfolio consisted primarily of $9.9 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities fully backed by U.S. government agencies, $895 million of commercial mortgage-backed securities fully backed by U.S. government agencies, and $325 million of residential mortgage-backed securities privately issued by publicly owned financial institutions. Privately issued residential mortgage-backed securities included $202 million backed by Jumbo-A mortgage loans and $123 million backed by Alt-A mortgage loans. Net unamortized premiums are less than 1% of the securities portfolio amortized cost.

Net unrealized gains on available for sale securities totaled $255 million at December 31, 2012 and $281 million at September 30, 2012. Net unrealized gains on residential mortgage-backed securities issued by U.S. government agencies decreased $34 million during the fourth quarter to $239 million at December 31, 2012. The privately issued residential mortgage-backed securities portfolio has a net unrealized gain of $2.3 million at December 31, 2012 compared to a net unrealized loss of $5.3 million at September 30, 2012.

The amortized cost of privately issued residential mortgage-backed securities totaled $323 million at December 31, 2012, down $14 million since September 30, 2012. All of these securities are rated below investment grade by at least one nationally-recognized rating agency. The amortized cost of these securities was reduced during the fourth quarter of 2012 by $14 million of cash payments received and $197 thousand of credit-related impairment charges during the quarter.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company recognized net gains of $1.1 million from sales of $84 million of available for sale securities. These securities were sold either because they had reached their expected maximum potential total return or to mitigate exposure to prepayment risk. Net gains from sales of $209 million of available for sale securities in the third quarter of 2012 totaled $8.0 million.

The Company also maintains a portfolio of residential mortgage-backed securities issued by U.S. government agencies and interest rate derivative contracts designated as an economic hedge of the changes in the fair value of our mortgage servicing rights. Due to changes in residential mortgage interest rates during the fourth quarter of 2012, prepayment speeds decreased and the value of our mortgage servicing rights increased by $4.7 million. This increase was partially offset by a $2.9 million decrease in the value of securities and interest rate derivative contracts held as an economic hedge.

About BOK Financial Corporation
BOK Financial is a $28 billion regional financial services company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Company’s stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the Global Select market listings (symbol: BOKF). BOK Financial’s holdings include BOKF, NA, BOSC, Inc., The Milestone Group, Inc. and Cavanal Hill Investment Management, Inc. BOKF, NA operates the TransFund electronic funds network and seven banking divisions: Bank of Albuquerque, Bank of Arizona, Bank of Arkansas, Bank of Kansas City, Bank of Oklahoma, Bank of Texas and Colorado State Bank and Trust. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides commercial and consumer banking, investment and trust services, mortgage origination and servicing, and an electronic funds transfer network. For more information, visit www.bokf.com.

housing.prices

Phoenix Leads U.S. in Median Home Price Gains

ZipRealty, Inc., the leading online technology-enabled residential real estate brokerage company, has released the most accurate and complete MLS data showing that Phoenix median home prices have increased more than any other market in the U.S. on a year-over-year basis. Median home prices rose 36 percent in the Phoenix MSA from November 2011 to November 2012. The Silicon Valley recorded the second-highest price increase during that time at 30 percent, while Tampa prices rose 26 percent. Rounding out the list at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, were San Francisco’s East Bay and the city of San Francisco, which jumped 24 percent and 23 percent, according to MLS data.

Phoenix median home prices increased from $116,000 to $158,000 from November 2011 to November 2012. “There are likely a few different factors contributing to this surge, including decreased housing inventory, lower unemployment numbers, high-tech job growth, steady population gains and increased investor activity, especially from out-of-area buyers,” says Lanny Baker, Chief Executive Officer and President of ZipRealty, Inc.

“Phoenix saw a strong run-up in housing prices from 2004 through 2006,” says Daniel Leboffe, Director of Agent Development at ZipRealty and a Phoenix area Realtor since 1997. “Phoenix was one of the leading markets for price increases during the real estate boom fueled by affordable housing, population growth, relaxed lending standards, zero-down financing and investor/speculator interest. Conversely, it was one the hardest hit areas during the Great Recession, resulting in a strong spike in foreclosures and short sales. Now, a number of these cities within Greater Phoenix are seeing some of the biggest rebounds,” he adds.

With investors acquiring foreclosures and the mortgage delinquency rate declining, the inventory of distressed homes in Phoenix has decreased, according to Leboffe. “As a result, many buyers –especially first-time buyers – are being priced out of the existing housing market, and turning to newly built properties. To meet this new demand, developers have acquired large tracts of land to build new homes,” notes Leboffe.

Leboffe observes that, once again, strong interest from out-of-area investors has impacted housing prices in Phoenix. “Out-of-area investors have ramped up home buying activity during the past three years or so, which has placed upward pressure on prices,” he says. “Because of the mild local weather, relatively cheap cost of housing and favorable currency exchange, Canadians have been a notably active segment of the local market. They typically pay cash and actively purchased foreclosed homes for both investment and as second homes, which helped relieve market distress,” he shares.

“As the local economy strengthens and as newly built homes come to market easing relatively low levels of resale homes, more people should have the ability to purchase a home in Phoenix, in spite of still-tight underwriting standards being implemented by the lending community,” notes Leboffe.

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

customer.service

ASU Center becomes a resource to teach service

Customer service was once viewed as the cost of doing business.

“Across almost every industry, leaders are focusing on service as a way to compete in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Mary Jo Bitner, academic director for the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

But times have changed. Companies that are in search of new revenue streams are finding that in addition to providing great customer service, offering value-added services to their product lines are helping their bottom lines. And the help them make the most of the opportunities, many are seeking help from the ASU Center, which focuses on research and executive education in managing and marketing services.

“Customer demand and the competitive challenges posed by the commoditization of many products has pushed many goods-based companies to take another look at services as a source of revenue and profit,” says Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Services Leadership, who has spent the past 20 years tracking the growing importance of services as a product. “Many are following market leaders to become goods-and-services companies.”

For example, Boeing has broadened its offerings by adding the lucrative market of services to its aircraft manufacturing. The Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger created a new company whose major product is services. IBM’s impressive financials over the past decade — in shining contrast to its competitors — were largely the result of its service businesses.

“In 2001, we were launching our first fee-based service business,” says Steve Church, president of Avnet Integrated and chief corporate business development and planning officer. “We wanted to offer more services and solutions. We knew a lot, but there was a lot we didn’t know.”

Church says Avnet’s membership in the center — which concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of business strategy in the real world — allowed the company to “build a culture of service excellence that focuses on the customer and gives each a great customer experience.”

The Center, which was created in 1985, remains the only one of its kind in the United States, devoted to research and education in the services field.  Its research findings form the foundation of the Center’s executive education program, attended by managers and executives of leading firms.  Member companies include AT&T, Charles Schwab and Co., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Mayo Clinic and others, who sponsor research, fund scholarships, host MBA student teams and participate in executive education.

Many member companies sponsor research that is published in academic journals, and shared at the Center’s executive education forums. Bitner, for example, has been studying the effects of self-service technologies (SST), working with Ford and a major pharmaceutical benefits management company.

“The Center is really a tremendous resource for any company that has a strategy to to improve customer serve or add services to augment its products,” Church says. “We learned that by getting our employees engaged in customer service, we built customer loyalty, it helped us compete, and it enhanced our financial performance.”

87789455

Seven Habits of Seven Successful Arizona Entrepreneurs

Everyone wants to know the secrets to succeeding in business. Most agree hard work and intelligence are a given.  But what about those attributes that cannot be taught in school or by working long hours?

Entrepreneurs are a breed who typically embody qualities that make up a successful business person. They tend to be risk-takers, passionate, altruistic and confident. They avoid getting stuck in a rut. Entrepreneurs turn what other see as obstacles in to challenges, and ultimately, opportunities. They are relentlessly positive.

In addition to possessing some of these qualities, entrepreneurs usually have a rule, philosophy or ritual they live and breathe each day. This can be anything from beginning the day in a positive way to how they treat anyone the come into contact with. As an entrepreneur myself, I have learned the importance of working “on” my business and not just “in” the business.  By this I mean you must treat your business like we treat our clients and must make time to focus on our strategic planning and growth.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a leading professional organization designed to offer entrepreneurs additional resources, support and collaboration, has an extremely successful Arizona chapter. Some of our state’s most recognized small business owners are EO Arizona members, ranging from well-known restaurateurs to real estate moguls.

What are their secrets to success? Here is insight from EO Arizona’s most established entrepreneurs (hint: Their habits are less about what you know and more about achieving the right mindset):

Paul Dembow, Arizona Natural Resources, Inc.

I wake up early everyday and meditate for 15 minutes with positive thoughts and deep breathing. I exercise for an hour, then start my business day. I also study, read, research, etc. but the mental attitude that my morning routine gives me is the winning edge. Attitude is everything!

Dan Sager, Civil Search International

If I hold myself 100 percent accountable for all my work/relationship problems, then all issues can be quickly rectified.

Derek Greene, Get Your Move On

The most impactful habit I have practiced is meditation. With this hour of “me” time, I afford myself the time to enjoy a calm cup of coffee, read the news online, do a brain teaser and most importantly sit quietly for 10 to 12 minutes and breathe. I do not miss a day most months and I do the same thing before bed. I find myself, among many other things, as serene as I have ever been in my life.

Max Hansen, Y Scouts and Job Brokers, Inc.

The rule I live by that has been a big contributor toward my success is summed up in a quote by Theodore Roosevelt.  “People don’t care about what you know, until they know about how much you care.”  As with anything in life and business, people follow people they trust and care about them.  Once you genuinely care, you just have to show them and tell them.

Robert Clinkenbeard, Integrated Landscape Management

Discipline is one of my biggest rules in business which also translates into my Ironman training. Unless you have a vision or goal, develop a plan and have the discipline to execute day after day then it is very easy to become distracted, lose focus and not achieve anything. Every year I prepare my business and personal goals for the year ahead and then every month and week I review them and figure out how I am going to execute them.

Steve Levine, Steve LeVine Entertainment

At Steve LeVine Entertainment and Public Relations, we have 2 rules that we use in our office on a daily basis.

1. Never assume anything.  When we assume we are taking a chance to get something wrong. If we never assume, and double check our work, we are less likely to have mistakes and the final product is always better.

2. Take responsibility for your actions. If you know and admit your mistakes, I have found that this helps future mistakes. Also, a client wants to hear us take responsibility rather than pass the blame on to someone else.

Jonathan Rosenberg, Levrose Commercial Real Estate

Over the years, I have learned when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.  When I was younger, I said “yes” to every client or potential business opportunity and soon found that it was impossible to be as effective when trying to please everyone.  Determining where to draw the line between these two responses has allowed much greater focus and clarity.

Every business person is different and their own personal formula for success depends on so much more than one daily ritual or philosophy. But, by using the advice from the above local entrepreneurs as a starting point, you are sure to be on the right path.

 

David Anderson is the communications chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Arizona chapter, a professional group of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. He is also the managing partner and CEO of Off Madison Ave + SpinSix, a marketing and communications firm in Phoenix.