Tag Archives: innovation

DBruggeman

CRA President among life science’s most inspiring

Tempe-based Clinical Research Advantage (CRA), the country’s largest wholly owned network of clinical trial sites, announced that the company’s President & Chief Operating Officer,  David M. Bruggeman, has been selected by PharmaVOICE Magazine as one of the 100 most inspiring people in the life sciences industry. Bruggeman, a 30-year healthcare industry veteran, was honored for his vision and innovation in the clinical trials industry.

Since acquiring CRA in 2007, Bruggeman has been the pioneering force behind the development of an integrated platform for clinical research. This platform has allowed CRA to standardize its research procedures and make the trial process safer and more efficient. It has also enabled CRA to expand rapidly – growing from just six sites in Phoenix to more than 60 sites across the country in the past six years.

“David is an inspiring leader who is dedicated to furthering our industry,” said Mark S. Hanley, CRA’s Chief Executive Officer.  “David’s work has improved the quality and efficiency of clinical trials and improved the patient experience. On behalf of the CRA team, I’d like to congratulate David on this well-deserved honor.”

The PharmaVOICE 100 is an annual list of individuals recognized for their positive contributions to the life sciences industry. Nominated by thousands of PharmaVOICE readers, the recipients are selected based on comprehensive essays describing how they have inspired or motivated their colleagues, peers and others; and how they have affected positive change in their organizations or communities. The individuals of the PharmaVOICE 100 represent a broad cross section of industry sectors, including pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, contract research, clinical trial, research and development, patient education, patient recruitment, advertising, technology and many others.

DBruggeman

CRA President among life science's most inspiring

Tempe-based Clinical Research Advantage (CRA), the country’s largest wholly owned network of clinical trial sites, announced that the company’s President & Chief Operating Officer,  David M. Bruggeman, has been selected by PharmaVOICE Magazine as one of the 100 most inspiring people in the life sciences industry. Bruggeman, a 30-year healthcare industry veteran, was honored for his vision and innovation in the clinical trials industry.

Since acquiring CRA in 2007, Bruggeman has been the pioneering force behind the development of an integrated platform for clinical research. This platform has allowed CRA to standardize its research procedures and make the trial process safer and more efficient. It has also enabled CRA to expand rapidly – growing from just six sites in Phoenix to more than 60 sites across the country in the past six years.

“David is an inspiring leader who is dedicated to furthering our industry,” said Mark S. Hanley, CRA’s Chief Executive Officer.  “David’s work has improved the quality and efficiency of clinical trials and improved the patient experience. On behalf of the CRA team, I’d like to congratulate David on this well-deserved honor.”

The PharmaVOICE 100 is an annual list of individuals recognized for their positive contributions to the life sciences industry. Nominated by thousands of PharmaVOICE readers, the recipients are selected based on comprehensive essays describing how they have inspired or motivated their colleagues, peers and others; and how they have affected positive change in their organizations or communities. The individuals of the PharmaVOICE 100 represent a broad cross section of industry sectors, including pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, contract research, clinical trial, research and development, patient education, patient recruitment, advertising, technology and many others.

Beth Harmon-Vaughan - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Beth Harmon-Vaughan – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Beth Harmon-Vaughan – Managing principal, Gensler

With more than 30 year’s experience, Harmon-Vaughan leads design teams in innovation and service for Gensler in Phoenix. Her body of work, encompassing almost every type of commercial and institutional project, is continually recognized for design excellence. As managing principal, Harmon-Vaughan oversees project design development, management and overall strategy. She serves as the client’s advocate, challenging the team to explore all options to ensure solutions are thoroughly developed. Harmon-Vaughan has been recognized and honored by her peers with fellowship status in the IIDA.

Surprising fact: “I’m half Canadian.”

Biggest challenge: “The recent recession, which we have overcome by having positioned for a better market while building our local design portfolio.”

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

Translatinal Accelerator looks to invest in Arizona bioscience companies, 2008

BioAccel Challenges Entrepreneurs to Solve Healthcare Problems

BioAccel, a 501(c)3 non-profit and Arizona’s premier resource for healthcare innovation, is announcing the BioAccel Solutions Challenge to solve medical and health delivery problems in Arizona, stimulate new company formation and increase investment in the industry.

BioAccel will publicly release a vetted list of key healthcare problems, or “needs,” identified by industry practitioners and leaders, aimed to challenge entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to solve them. The needs are expected to focus on improving patient care and health outcomes by using medical devices, molecular diagnostics and potentially health IT, and will be released this summer.

Qualified applicants will receive a $50,000 investment from BioAccel if they succeed in receiving matching funds from investors during a competitive and lively Investment Day event. Successful groups will then have $100,000 in proof-of-concept dollars to form companies to address these patient care needs.

“Necessity is definitely the mother of invention. There are a lot of very talented entrepreneurs in Arizona whose are poised to solve difficult challenges that face the healthcare system. They simply need to be informed about well qualified healthcare needs, so they can apply their creativity to finding solutions to real problems,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “The BioAccel Solutions Challenge program unlocks the innate nature of entrepreneurs to innovate new products as well as provide the capital and support they need for early-stage success.”

Upon announcing the needs, BioAccel will be hosting Q&A sessions across the state as well as a webinar to support the groups.

“We’re encouraging groups across the state to form in anticipation of the release and to start thinking about how they will create innovative solutions,” said Kelvin Ning, Associate Director of Business and Technology Development at BioAccel.

The final Investment Day event is targeted for the end of 2013.

“The BioAccel Solutions Challenge is bringing together innovators and investors across the state to drive economic development, while at the same time addressing critical needs that face our medical community. Our focus is to catalyze this interaction and stimulate the growth of new enterprises and novel products,” Guerra said.  The BioAccel Solutions Challenge organizes problem, solution and market need, along with the resources needed to support validated outcomes.

As part of the BioAccel Solutions Challenge, winners will receive mentorship and support from BioAccel’s extensive business and financial network. Winners will also have access to BioInspire, BioAccel’s device incubator in Peoria, which provides affordable space and support for medical device technologies.

“BioAccel’s objective is to create sustainable companies that produce valuable products that are needed in the marketplace. Our hope is that these companies progress into our commercialization programs and beyond,” said Dr. Ron King, Chief Scientific and Business Officer at BioAccel.

In addition to creating jobs and new companies, the BioAccel Solutions Challenge will drive the organization’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) that is focused on creating a more robust and qualified technology pipeline.

The TAP and New Venture Development Programs are commercialization programs unique to BioAccel, which are designed to specifically address the well-known Valley of Death that separates discovery from commercialization. Beyond access to BioInspire and capital, embedded within these programs is BioAccel’s due-diligence process, network of local and national subject matter experts, and healthcare business expertise.

 

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.

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Arizona SciTech Festival Opens Call for 2013 Events

Through a partnership formed between Arizona Science Center,  Arizona State University, Arizona Technology Council Foundation and the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival is gearing up for its second annual event designed to excite and inform Arizonans of all ages about how science, technology and innovation affects their everyday lives and will expand their economic future. After a successful Festival kick-off conference that brought together over 375 partners in industry, education, research, entrepreneurship, community, arts and culture, now is the time for all Arizonans to submit their ideas for events for the 2013 festivities.

“Our Festival network is growing and so is the excitement for the 2013 Arizona SciTech Festival,” said Dr. Jeremy Babendure, Festival director. “The 2012 inaugural Festival was a great success with over 200 amazing expos, celebrations, exhibitions, discussions, and tours delivered to over 220,000 young people and adults in venues located not only in Greater Phoenix and Tucson, but also in communities such as Casa Grande, Flagstaff and Showlow. We’re calling on all Arizona citizens to help us reach our goal of doubling those numbers by submitting their ideas and spreading the word about the Festival through their networks.”

Become a Collaborator Today! Deadline is November 10.
Although the 2013 Arizona SciTech Festival will take place throughout the state February 9 – March 17, all ideas for activities year round are welcome.  ACollaborator Portal (http://azscitechfest.org/collaborator-portal) on the Arizona SciTech Festival website serves as a place to submit events that are already organized, as well as a repository to match the needs between individuals and organizations that have ideas for content or venues to offer.

Specifically, the Collaborator Portal allows individuals and groups to do the following:
· Sign on as an official Collaborator
· Post an official Arizona SciTech Festival event that will go on the website and program schedule
· Post a venue – if you have a location and are looking for content, the Collaborator Portal can help those with content find your location
· Post your content – if you have content and are looking for a venue, the site can help match you with those who have locations
To become an official Collaborator and submit your events or ideas, please visit the portal today.  November 10, 2012 is the deadline for posting.

“The Arizona SciTech Festival would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “These generous businesses, agencies, institutions and individuals are ensuring that the future of Arizona is full of innovation and growth.”

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Spirit of Enterprise Award Finalists Boast Job Creation, Charity Work, Innovation

Despite the slow economic recovery, Arizona already has many businesses showing impressive growth and even job creation. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is recognizing 10 of the state’s biggest achievers as finalists for this year’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

The awards, now in their 16th year, honor firms for ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, Ollie the Trolley and Sundt Construction. Finalists are noted for creating a positive culture both internally and in the community as a whole.

This year’s finalists are:

180 Degrees Automotive, a woman-owned, full-service auto repair center that caters especially to women and minorities. The company has moved to bigger locations four times in six years, provides free car classes to women, hosts an art exhibit, gives free rides home, and leaves a gift in each car with each visit.

CyberMark International, a full-service Internet marketing firm named one of the best in North America by a panel of marketing professionals. CyberMark won a 2011 ethics award from the local Better Business Bureau, offers 24/7 availability for its clients, gives employees flexible hours, and donates service free of charge to several nonprofit organizations.

Daphne’s Headcovers, a novelty golf-club cover business started when the owner was just 16 years old, that once grew 400 percent in just one quarter. Daphne’s now serves fine resorts and golf shops in 75 countries, has covers in the bags of more than 200 touring pro golfers, and offers customers a lifetime guarantee to repair or replace products for free.

GlobalMed, a company that offers telemedicine solutions like innovative cameras, medical devices and software, so health practitioners can provide care to remote patients via telecommunications or satellite. GlobalMed made Inc. Magazine’s 2012 list of the nation’s 500 fastest-growing private companies, and it also made large donations to charity, including the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program.

Hard Dollar, a Scottsdale-based firm that provides software for planning, budgeting and managing big projects in construction, mining and energy. Hard Dollar has more than 200,000 global users, 30-percent year-over-year growth, a company-wide wellness program, and a cost-management system that can increase productivity by 300 percent.

LawLogix Group, a fast-growing provider of immigration, I-9 and E-Verify software. The company boasts a 96.9-percent client-retention rate, low 3-percent employee turnover, a large amount of nonprofit work, and more than 155,000 organizations as customers, including Fortune 500 companies.

NJOY Electronic Cigarettes, a company founded in 2006 that now has a 40-percent share of the electronic cigarette industry, which offers smokers a tobacco-free alternative to traditional cigarettes. The firm sells in most of the nation’s biggest convenience-store chains and offers a recycling program for its products.

Optimal Performance Training, a team of health and fitness professionals started by one man inside a small chiropractor’s office. The company has grown to a large studio, where high school and college Division 1 athletes train, and it promotes a community perspective.

Real Property Management East Valley, a full-service residential property management company that grew to a multi-million dollar business in less than five years. This family-owned firm prides itself on positive client referrals, which have led to about 40 percent of its new growth, as well as involvement with community groups, including the Boy Scouts and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Divers Posse.

Total Transit, a comprehensive mobility management company that runs the Discount Cab brand throughout Arizona. Total Transit has the largest fleet of environmentally friendly Prius cabs in North America and also provides innovative Dial-a-Ride services for Valley Metro and many large Medicaid and Medicare providers, while also donating to the community through its charitable Total Transit Foundation.

Hundreds of Valley entrepreneurs, community leaders, Arizona State University students and others are expected to attend the annual awards luncheon when the winners will be announced Nov. 1 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. One key program, Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), matches teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students with Valley companies to help tackle real-world challenges and opportunities. Companies can also use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

For more information on the Spirit of Enterprise Center, visit www.spiritofenterprise.org. For sponsorship opportunities or awards luncheon reservations, please call (480) 965-0474 or visit www.spiritofenterprise.org.

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Phoenix School of Law honored for innovation

The National Jurist has named Phoenix School of Law (PSL) one of the country’s 20 most innovative law schools and will be featured in the Back to School issue in the August edition of its preLaw magazine. More than 40 schools submitted nominations to be considered for how each is innovating their curriculum. Many schools are experimenting with everything from boot camps, distance learning, to their creative use of technologies, and mentoring programs. “We were surprised and impressed by the level of innovation today,” said Jack Crittenden, Editor In Chief of The National Jurist. “Legal educators are no longer just talking about change — they are taking the first steps to make it happen.”

PSL was in large part named as one of the country’s most innovative law schools due to its General Practice Skills (GPS) “capstone course”. The course began in 2007 and was designed to teach the skills and values needed by lawyers to be successful in the practice of law.  The PSL GPS course was selected as a winner of the E.Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award in 2009.  This is an award presented by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism. Further, the GPS course consists of six two-week modules.  Each module is taught by a team of two practicing lawyers under the direction of a full-time faculty director and an assistant director. The modules cover the skills and values needed for the professional practice of law in the areas of law office management, family practice, representing creditors and debtors,  representing small businesses, estate planning, criminal law practice, and personal injury practice.  In the context of each module students are taught and practice the skills and professional values identified as essential by the MacCrate Report (1992), the Carnegie Report (2007), and a survey taken of Arizona attorneys.

The GPS course is designed as a single semester, required, six credit, pass/fail course which meets twice each week for a three hour period.  In 2010 a survey was taken of alumni who had graduated from Phoenix School of Law and had been in the practicing community at least two years. Eighty-six percent of the alumni responders agreed that the GPS course was achieving its goal of helping them with the essential skills and values expected of attorneys in the legal community. “We are honored to have PSL named as one of the ‘Most Innovative Law Schools’ in the country. Our ability to preserve some of the fundamental teachings of the law discipline all while adding a fresh, outside-the-box perspective to our curriculum speaks to the inclusion of diversity that rests at the core of PSL’s mission,” stated Shirley Mays Dean of Phoenix School of Law.

For a complete list of the 20 Most Innovative Law Schools in the United States please visit:

http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/most-innovative-law-schools-announced

phoenix, innovation, efficiency

Phoenix Receives Award For Innovation And Efficiency

The city of Phoenix has received an Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Award from the Alliance for Innovation, a nonprofit organization that promotes innovation among local governments.

Phoenix was recognized for its Innovation and Efficiency Task Force, which consists of members of the public and city staff. Under the Task Force’s direction, the city has saved more than $40 million by implementing such strategies as consolidating departments and functions, right-sourcing, eliminating paper pay stubs for employees, and other creative ideas.

“This award acknowledges the tremendous strides our city has made when it comes to streamlining our processes and saving tax payer dollars,” said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency, Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. “There is no finish line when it comes to innovations and efficiencies. We will continue to explore every opportunity to better serve our residents and business owners while maximizing every dollar spent.”

“The city’s financial crisis in 2009 was an opportunity to galvanize the entire city,” said City Manager David Cavazos. “The private sector, policy makers and city employees worked together to come up with innovations and efficiencies that changed the way we deliver services to our customers.”

Over the next five years, total savings from innovations and efficiencies are expected to reach $125 million.

More than 70 cities and local government agencies applied for the innovation awards, which was presented at the Alliance’s annual conference.

“It was gratifying to see 700 local government professionals excited to recognize and learn about Phoenix’s Innovation and Efficiency Task Force concept. This innovative program, which partners the private and public sectors together to develop creative strategies and solutions, is now being highlighted as a leader in national best practices,” said Ed Zuercher, assistant city manager, who accepted the award for Phoenix at the conference.

For more information about the city’s innovation and efficiency program, visit phoenix.gov/efficiency.

Additional information about the Alliance for Innovation can be found at transformgov.org.

Clinics help workers stay on the job

Convenience Care Clinics Help Workers Get Back On The Job Faster

While we all expect quality health care to be available when it’s needed, our future could be flat lining. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, meager graduation and physician training rates in our country could cause a shortage of up to 150,000 doctors within the next 15 years.  As many of us are aware, Arizona already is battling an on-going primary care physician shortage, which will cause wait times and delays in care to grow in the coming years.  Because of this, no-appointment convenience care clinics have become an important and growing part of our healthcare landscape.

The Rand Corp. recently performed a survey which showed that convenience care clinics staffed by nurse practitioners or physicians assistants can treat acute, everyday illnesses in a way that is quick, convenient and significantly more affordable for the patient, without sacrificing quality. Convenience care clinics have shorter wait times than emergency rooms, help people avoid lengthy physician appointment scheduling delays, and in some cases, require a payment that is less than an office visit co-pay or co-insurance.  In short, convenience care clinics help people with minor illnesses return to good health and get back to their daily routine, and are efficient in doing so.

There are now 1,200 quick-care clinics operating in 32 states, according to the Convenient Care Association. In Arizona, Cigna Medical Group has opened nine CMG CareToday clinics since 2007, with at least two more planned this year and a newly opened facility off of the Metro Light Rail in down town Phoenix. Other health care organizations – including some Arizona hospitals – are recognizing that this facility model can help direct people to the right health resource based on the severity or simplicity of their symptoms.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, seven of the 10 most common reasons people go to the doctor are for minor needs that can be successfully treated by a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. Yet to function optimally, the providers in convenience care clinics should be integrated into a large medical group or health system in two ways.  First, they should be programmatically linked with supporting primary care physicians in order to make the treatment of patients more effective.  Secondly, they should share electronic health records with these same primary care physicians to have direct access to the detailed patient records prior to providing the acute care and to communicate back to the physician who is providing ongoing care.  If a system like this were in place at more neighborhood walk-in clinics, it would become easier for patients to go to a convenience care clinic for quick treatment, and still be sure that their primary care physician will be updated about any important changes in their health.

Not only is this critical in our personal lives, but access to healthcare (or delays to it) also has deep implications in the workplace. During this time where businesses are facing a great deal of economic stress, many offices are operating as leanly as possible and the absence of just one sick co-worker disturbs an entire department.  Because of this fact, employees are trying to be fully productive.

According to a 2008 survey conducted by Yankelovich for CIGNA, about 61 percent of U.S. workers said they reported for duty while they were sick or coping with family and personal matters.  On average, they did this more than twice as often as they missed work.  Employees who are ill at work are not fully “at work.” Their productivity, morale and concentration drops. Employees realize that presenteeism affects the workplace. In the same survey, 62 percent said they were less productive on those days they came to work too distracted to perform at their fullest potential. Yet, convenience care clinics – especially when located near dense, urban employment hubs – make it possible for employees to receive medical care near the office and return to work that same hour, or return home with medicine in hand to assist a speedy recovery.

This convenience care clinic model is proving to be effective and under demand in Arizona because more than ever before, greater health care access is crucial. Arizona continues to experience a shortage of primary care doctors, with a physician-to-population ratio that is below the national average, according to the American Medical Association.

It is our hope that more healthcare organizations, employers and individuals will help advance a new, stratified level of service: convenience care clinics for minor ailments, physician offices for more complex or specialty needs, urgent care centers for serious wounds or injuries, and quality emergency rooms for life-threatening needs.

A cooperative effort toward better public education and understanding as to which type of facility to seek for the appropriate  level of care would be a valuable step towards preventing over-crowding at emergency rooms and physician offices. Such an effort would assure that each type of facility provides the right care at the right time when patients come through the door. This adaptability, along with innovation, can give the customer quality care every time.

Most Admired Companies - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

2010 Most Admired Companies Winners – Workplace Culture

The Workplace Culture category recognizes companies with unique workplaces that offer employees benefits and perks, and emphasize diversity and other qualities that make the company a great place to work.

Winner: BeachFleischman PC
Category: Workplace Culture
Headquarters: Tucson
Year Est.: 1991
No. of Employees in AZ: 104
Recent Award: Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For – 2009
www.beachfleischman.com


video by Sonoran Studios

Although working at a CPA firm can be stressful, employees at Tucson-based BeachFleischman enjoy fun and relaxation alongside their jobs. In-house massages and ice cream socials are just a few of the ways employees recharge at the office. Work success is celebrated by featuring team stories in the company newsletter. Outside of work, the social and wellness committees take over and lead employees in a number of fun activities. Baseball games, barbecues, tennis clinics and rock climbing are some of the other ways BeachFleischman’s staff and shareholders bond while blowing off some steam.

The diversity of out-of-work activities is not the only thing BeachFleischman prides itself on. The company recruits from all over Arizona and out of state to find a diverse mix of potential employees. BeachFleischman wants the diversity of its employees to mirror the diversity of Tucson’s demographics. The company believes diversity promotes creativity and innovation, while providing an expanded knowledge base that allows it to serve a broader group of clients.

BeachFleischman also encourages its employees to pursue continual education. On average, professional staff members receive 40-60 hours of education each year. BeachFleischman encourages employees to receive professional licenses by paying for test preparation, and employees receive a bonus for passing their CPA exams. Employees who pass the CPA exam are treated to a happy hour to celebrate their success. With continuing education as a main goal, there are many opportunities to climb the corporate ladder within BeachFleischman. In 2009, BeachFleischman was named on Accounting Today’s list of Best Accounting Firms to Work For.


M&I Make Strides Walk

Finalist: M&I Bank
Category:
Workplace Culture
Headquarters: Phoenix
Year Est.: 1847
No. of Employees in AZ: 625
Recent Award: Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility – 2009
www.micorp.com

The Golden Rule is M&I Bank’s rule of thumb. By encouraging employees to follow the adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” M&I allows everyone to be heard and respected. The company ensures a diversity of thoughts and perspectives through a multicultural and multigenerational work force. All thoughts and perspectives are welcomed with open ears.

M&I offers its employees flex-scheduling, tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, plus everyone is eligible for wellness reimbursement to cover some of the expenses of health club memberships or weight control programs. Also, MiMentor is an online mentorship program that allows employees to connect across the organization. M&I not only wants its employees to be dedicated to their jobs, but also to extra-curricular activities such as volunteering and health-and-wellness pursuits. In 2009, M&I won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.


Shutterfly

Finalist: Shutterfly
Category: Workplace Culture
Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.
Year Est.: 1999
No. of Employees in AZ: 124
Recent Award: Ranked on Internet Retailers Hot 100 list – 2009
www.shutterfly.com | Facebook | Twitter

Shutterfly’s employee culture focuses on four major aspects: respect, innovation, achievement and customer centricity. The respect fostered in the Shutterfly offices creates a family atmosphere and an engaged work force that is encouraged through the sharing of ideas to be innovative. Innovation does not only relate to the employees and the products and services Shutterfly offers. It also describes Shutterfly workplaces, which are filled with beanbag chairs, pictures taken by employees, bright colors and white boards for constant brainstorming.

After work, employees can still see the benefits of working for Shutterfly. Employees can borrow a professional camera for their own use, take a free photo editing class and receive a gym membership discount. All of these benefits help to produce a high-performance culture in which employees hold themselves and each other to high standards of achievement. Shutterfly wants employees to have fun while working at a higher performance level in order to better serve the customer.


To buy a print version of the 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies
go to MagCloud.com

Arizona's Most Admired Companies November-December 2010

Tartesso Elementary

Elementary School Leaves A Small Carbon Footprint

Buckeye’s Tartesso Elementary School is receiving high marks, but it has nothing to do with the kids in the classroom.

On Aug. 19, 2010, the United States Green Building Council awarded the 3-year-old school with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for sustainable building design.

Tartesso, a part of the Saddle Mountain Unified School District, is the first fully state-funded LEED Silver School in Arizona with this recognition.

“Having the certification is a big bonus to our district,” said Dr. Deborah Garza-Chavez, principal of Tartesso. “It’s nice to be noticed as a small district by trying to provide the best learning environment for our students and staff.”

The school had just a little more than 200 students upon opening in 2008 and only served kindergarten through 6th grade. Now fully functioning up to 8th grade, more than 600 students walk the halls of a completely sustainable and environmentally conscious building.

Architects and engineers from DLR Group were responsible for the building designs of the school and worked with budgets allocated by the Arizona State School of Facilities Board.

“Before we started designing the facility in early 2006, we brought our team into a brainstorming session where we could evaluate and strategize as to what sustainable products we wanted to use,” said Bill Taylor, a LEED-accredited professional with DLR Group.

The staff and students at Tartesso have a wide variety of energy saving technologies and products that create a healthy learning environment.

In an effort to reduce water shortages, the building design provides a plumbing system that conserves water. All of the boys’ restrooms contain waterless urinals and the kitchen sinks have low flow water fixtures, a reduction that saves half a million gallons of water per year.

The school provides a high performing mechanical system that goes above and beyond state standards.

A completely computer controlled airflow system continuously brings in new air circulation and automatically turns off air conditioning in an unoccupied room.  This reduces the annual energy cost by 20 percent, in comparison to a building that just meets the state code requirements.

In addition to significant energy savings, DLR Group improved the indoor environmental quality of Tartesso.  The building is positioned so that natural daylight offsets the artificial lighting in all occupied academic spaces, reducing energy and improving the educational environment.

Only low organic compound paint was used and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) free carpets were installed to promote a healthy interior for students and staff.

“[Students] have benefited from not having those harsh smells,” said Angel Tellez, Facilities Engineer for Saddle Mountain Unified School District. “Everything is kid friendly and environmentally friendly and that is improving the learning environment.”

Not only has the school been a leader in sustainable innovations, but it has served as an asset to the economy by purchasing materials from local companies. Ingredients in the concrete were all locally harvested and nothing was shipped long distance.

“This is a place that has students, staff and the community in mind,” said Premnath Sundharam, Senior Associate for DLR Group. “It’s an educational tool for what can be done on limited funds while still making an impact on the environment.”

This exhibit showing the creative uses of recycled items is aimed at raising awareness of the sustainability movement in Poland. Photo: Kasia Marciszewska

Seeing Poland In A Green Light

Our associate editor and resident green blogger, Kasia Marciszewska, is currently traveling in Europe. While there, she stopped by her native country of Poland. Ever vigilant about the subject of sustainability, Kasia sought out Poland’s green side.

Visiting my home country of Poland is always a fun and exciting experience. It seems every time I come here something is different, as Poland continues to shift and grow with the changing times.

This visit proved to me once again how far the country has come, when I realized that Poland was taking “being green” to a new level.  The concept of eco-friendliness in some ways is new to the country, but upon closer inspection it seems that Poland was on the road to helping the environment long before it became popular.

One way the country is and has been reducing its environmental impact is through its transportation system. Many of Poland’s residents commute via public transportation, which includes trams, rail and bus. Though not always the fastest routes, public transportation is an integral way of life for the Polish people and definitely the greener way to travel.

One can easily travel throughout Poland on public transportation. The rail systems span the whole country, and you can travel with relative ease; from the northern city of Gdansk all the way down to Krakow in the south, it’s all just a train ride away.  Travel to neighboring countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic also can easily be done via trains, making visiting other countries ecologically sound.

Though transportation by car has steadily increased over the years, the sizeable difference is in the cars themselves, literally. Cars in Poland are taxed based on their engine size, so many people choose to drive cars with smaller engines (thus fewer emissions) in order to reduce their costs. That frugalness helps the environment at the same time (The price of gas in Poland is also extremely high, so using public transportation makes much more economic sense for most people).

Another “green” innovation in Poland is grocery bags, or rather the lack thereof. Many of Poland’s cities are making an effort to reduce plastic bag waste by simply asking customers if they need a bag. The catch? If you want a bag you’ll have to pay for it! A nominal fee is tacked on for plastic bags during your shopping, so a better, cheaper and greener alternative is to bring your own bags.

The cities of Gdansk, Inowroclaw, Tychy and Zabrze already have passed local laws to ban the free handing out of plastic bags, and many more cities are deciding on similar initiatives.

Poland is truly undergoing a cultural shift toward environmental friendliness. Awareness about the topic is spreading with more and more initiatives sprouting up all over the country.

I recently observed an exhibition at a shopping center in Wroclaw titled “Eco Fashion.” The goal of the exhibition was to demonstrate practices on how to recycle with a focus on fashion.  The campaign showed a multitude of creative ideas for recycling everyday items into clothes, furniture and more, along with games, prizes and interesting facts about recycling. For example, did you know that recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours?

The entries varied in shape and size from a plastic cup coffee table to a dress made from garbage bags. But the overall message was heard loud and clear, eco-friendliness is here to stay in Poland — with many more “green” advances to come!

out smart the competition

James Champy Talks About Outsmarting Your Competition

James Champy is the author of “Outsmart! How to Do What Your Competitors Can’t.” Champy profiles eight highly-successful firms as he develops his thesis that the key to outsmarting the competition is to focus on the external environment  – including the customers. Be ready to respond when opportunities appear. Sometimes that means changing your business model, or, as he says, “starting with a new sheet of paper.” Knowledge@W. P. Carey caught up with Champy at a conference sponsored by the Center for Services Leadership. Champy talked about the distinguishing characteristics of the companies he writes about, including the quality of their ambitions, their culture of innovation and the level of engagement at all levels. Podcast coverage of the “Compete Through Service” symposium is sponsored by IBM. (16:45)

Spreeman Piano Innovations

Michael Spreeman, Owner Of Spreeman Piano Innovations

Michael Spreeman
Spreeman Piano Innovations
Title: Owner | Est.: 2004
www.spreemanpianoinnovations.com

From an early age, Michael Spreeman knew he was meant to work with pianos. Beginning at age 18, he experienced nearly every aspect of the industry — from servicing pianos for recording studios and artists, to technical consulting, to working as a high-end piano re-builder.

That young mindset has now come full circle with the establishment of Spreeman Piano Innovations. The company offers two models of pianos, a 7-foot-3-inch piano and a 9-foot concert grand piano. Each piano is custom built based on the client’s preferences, requiring an average of 5,000 hours of labor.
Creating a business within an industry with long-standing brand loyalty was a difficult task, but for Spreeman, it was a no-brainer.
“There is always a market for exclusive, high-quality product,” Spreeman says.

It all began when world-class pianist and composer Bob Ravenscroft asked Spreeman to redesign a piano for him. After receiving positive feedback from Ravenscroft, Spreeman went ahead with his dream of launching his own custom high-end piano building business. A five-year process of designing the ultimate piano — taking conventional technology and amplifying it — eventually resulted in the Ravenscroft 9-foot model.

The pianos are built with the finest materials, including flawless exterior cabinetry and cast iron frames that hail from one of the oldest manufacturing operations in Germany. The soundboard wood used in some of the pianos is sourced from the same forest used to create the famous Stradivarius violins. After finalizing the design for the pianos, Spreeman and his team showcased it to others in the industry. “Concerts and venues have given our pianos recognition as (a) high-end performance instrument, acceptance and support from the technical community, and has helped to secure our position in the market with other high-end manufacturers,”Spreeman says.

The transition from turning his passion into a successful business hasn’t beenan easy one, but it’s a journey that Spreeman has been more than happy to take. Instead of trying to do everything on his own, he has learned to seek assistance and advice fromthe business community. “By expanding my thinking to more of a ‘team’ or ‘collaborative effort’ approach, I have been able to assemble a core team whose skill sets are complementary,” Spreeman says.

The company employs Spreeman’s son, Andrew; Stephanie, the receptionist; and Robert Springer, who utilizes his high-tech skills to optimize the performance of the piano’s mechanical action. “As with any artist, I constantly seek out opportunities to further the knowledge base for my craft and interface with other successful business associates and artists,” Spreeman says. “Ultimately though, I’m just a guy with a dream, who is willing to take a risk and do whatever is necessary to fulfill it.”

Healing Powers

New Product By Valley Company Offers Innovative Way To Treat Wounds

Bandages have changed very little over the years, but a new wound-care treatment called Prosit, developed here in the Valley, is shifting that paradigm.

Prosit is a single-layer polyester fabric dressing that covers a wound like a bandage. But when moistened, it generates a micro-electric current that kills microbes — bacteria, viruses, fungus, mold, yeast — and stops them from penetrating skin. It also diminishes pain, speeds healing and can be cut to fit any size wound. Prosit was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as an antimicrobial barrier to infection. Last year, the FDA cleared Prosit for use in the care of all types of wounds, the number of days it can be used and for over-the-counter sales. Consumers can expect to see Prosit on store shelves later this year.

Jeff Skiba, product inventor and chief executive officer of Vomaris Innovations (formerly Silverleaf Medical Products) in Chandler, says local doctors and hospitals have been using Prosit for more than a year to effectively treat chronic wounds, surgical wounds, diabetic ulcers, cuts, burns and pain from laser resurfacing and shingles. Shingles patients reported feeling no pain after covering the rash with the antimicrobial dressing, and after a week the shingles were gone.

Skiba himself had laser skin resurfacing to understand the pain level after the procedure and test Prosit on facial burns. Pain afterwards was an eight out of 10, he says, so he used the antimicrobial dressing to cover the wounds on his face. Prosit eliminated the pain and helped heal the skin in four days instead of a few weeks, Skiba says.

“The pain from this procedure was excruciating, so without Prosit I would have needed to take a narcotic to kill the pain,” he says. “Most doctors prescribe Percocet to calm it down.”

Sun Lakes resident Ed Foster, 66, met Skiba by chance one day when the inventor stopped in at Tolivers Carpet One in Tempe to buy flooring for his office. Foster says Skiba noticed the wound on the stump where he had a finger removed 20 years ago, and he said he had a product that might help it. Foster had surgery on the stump a few years ago to remove a piece of metal. Due to the way it was bandaged, bone pushed out the end of the finger and wouldn’t heal.

“I went to see the top hand surgeon in the Valley right before I met Jeff, and he recommended getting my digit removed down to my hand, which I didn’t want to do,” Foster says. “So I gave Jeff a call and started using Prosit. New skin grew over the bone that was sticking out, so now you really can’t tell what it is, and the wound closed completely. Prosit was simple to use and now I’m completely healed. I couldn’t be happier.”

Major military hospitals around the country are also seeing promising results from the wound-care treatment. Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., is treating seriously injured soldiers from Iraq. One particular soldier was scheduled for an amputation, but was able to cancel it after Prosit was applied to the open wound on his leg. The bioelectric dressing stimulated the skin around the wound and prompted skin tissue to start growing back and cover the bone and tendons. After two weeks, the entire wound was healed.

“We’ve tested Prosit on the worst of the worst wounds and we’re seeing remarkable results,” Skiba says. “The only thing it does not work on is cancer wounds. The cancer has to be removed first, and then it can be applied to heal the surgical wound.”

Tucson dermatologist and oncologist, Dr. Scott Sheftel, was so impressed with the results of Prosit after testing it on patients, that he got involved conducting research for Vomaris Innovations.

“No one across the board has ever addressed wound care like this,” Sheftel says. “Prosit is an amazing wound treatment that will one day show up on drugstore shelves as an option next to band-aids.”

Skiba raised $3.5 million in angel financing to pay for FDA approvals and product testing. Skiba is a graduate of Arizona State University and has degrees in both bioengineering and business.

Vomaris Innovations manufactures Prosit at its plant in Tucson. The company has 10 employees and plans to add 15 more this year between its Chandler office and the Tucson manufacturing facility.

“We already have a few big box retail chains that are interested in carrying Prosit,” Skiba says. “We’ll put it on store shelves so it’s available for simple things like bug bites, scraped knees and cuts. But we will continue focusing on chronic wound patients who have had nothing, until now, to help them.”