Tag Archives: Jan Brewer

bioscience

Arizona bioscience industry producing ‘aha’ moments

AZBio Expo 2014 had “aha moments” at every turn. With over 250 entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, legislators, scientists and researchers in attendance, the energy was sizzling and the outlook endless. Here are just a few of the event highlights, appropriately, A to Z:

A – Access to Capital is the key. No money. No honey. Capital fuels innovation and commercialization. In the first panel discussion of the day – Funding Paths for Innovators – AZBio chief Joan Koerber-Walker engaged Mary Ann Guerra (BioAccel), Paul Jackson (Integrus Capital/Worthworm) and Kelly Slone (National Venture Capital Association) in a no-holds barred discussion. “The entire ecosystem has changed,” according to Slone. “After the tech bubble burst, available venture dollars have been virtually cut in half.” Guerra explains that only one in 100 will get angel funding – and then only one in 100 will get venture funding. We need to think of new ways to help our startup entrepreneurs get funding.” Jackson urges innovators to think like investors and offers one solution with his online valuation process, Worthworm.

B – Bridging the Gap with the 21st Century Cures Initiative. “No industry has to face the challenges we face to bring a product to market,” says Koerber-Walker. “We have new hope in the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Google it. Watch the videos, See what they are doing. There is exciting stuff happening and some of it is happening in Arizona.”

C — Cure Corridor. Scottsdale’s Mayor Jim Lane shares his pride and plans for the largest concentration of bioscience businesses in the U.S., the Cure Corridor, bounded on one side by the Scottsdale Airpark on the West, and the Fountain Hills Mayo facility on the East, “a major driver of our economy, with $2½ billion in direct economic impact and $3.5 billion in indirect impact.” According to Lane, “Health and wellness are a part of Scottsdale’s identity. We should never stop asking how we can find new answers alleviate pain, restore health and improve the quality of life.”

D – Discovery. Development. Delivery. Valley Fever Solutions CEO David Larwood shared his company’s formula for achieving success in development and funding – The Five R’s:

Right drug.
Right patient.
Right safety.
Right time. (How long before we can sell it?)
Right reimbursent.

E – Epigenetics and Personalized Medicine. Start-up company INanoBio founder and CEO Bharath Takupalli, explained that the genome sequencing market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2020. With a unique capability to combine nanotechnology and biomedicine, his company is in the lead for building new solutions now. “We aim to develop a $100 ultrafast nanopore-based desktop sequencer – a point-of-care diagnostic” that will help change the face of healthcare, he explains.

F – Funding needs to be the focus for the future. According to a Flinn Foundation/Batelle report, “Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the [Flinn Foundation’s] Roadmap’s goals.” Last year, Arizona bioscience sector attracted $37 million in venture capital investment, up from $23 million from 2012, but that is only a fraction of the $9.8 billion invested nationally.

The goal is to increase the annual investment up to $40 million for seed capital in emerging companies and up to $125 million in venture capital.

G – Genomic advances hold high hopes for positively disruption. Explaining that healthcare premiums are growing at three times the rate of inflation and wages, Frederic Zenhausern, Ph.D., MBA, president of Whitespace Enterprise, says “The new era of precision healthcare (also called personalized healthcare) will provide more accessibility, transparency and health information to improve – dramatically – quality and lower cost over time.” His start-up company, based in Fountain Hills, develops methods for automating and miniaturizing the workflow processing of biological specimens.

H – Henry Ford.“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done,” said Henry Ford. So does Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the International Genomics Consortium and founder and CEO of Paradigm. “Phoenix has become the Grand Central Station for all the aggregating and analyzing cancer tissues. We have 10,000 tumors – and the information is publicly available. This will accelerate cancer discovery at a rate faster than ever,” he says. “This is a tidal wave that Arizona has led. Everyone in this room should be grabbing a surfboard and figuring out how to ride it.”

I – IPO: The nation’s top IPO of 2013 is right here in Chandler. With 380 percent growth in shareholder value, Insys Therapeutics, a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company, ended the year with a market cap of $800 million. Darryl Baker, the chief financial officer, explained how the company, founded in 2002 by Dr. John Kapoor, was determined to discover better ways to deliver existing medications to patients. A sublingual fentanyl spray technology delivers treatments to opioid-tolerant cancer patients and holds real possibilities for better helping patients with acute pain, major burns and pediatric issues. In the R&D pipeline now is the development of a pharmaceutical cannabinoid, aimed at easing epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy and cocaine addiction.

J – Jobs: 107,000 bioscience jobs – good-paying and growing. Arizona has nearly 107,000 bioscience jobs, based on 2012 industry data, and the sector contributes an estimated $36 billion in revenue to the state’s economy, according to a study by the Ohio-based Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Hospitals account for 83,000 of those jobs and $22 billion of the revenue. Arizona’s average annual wage in the bioscience sector is $62,775, 39 percent higher than the private-sector average, the report said. Not counting hospital jobs, the average wage for bioscience jobs jumps to $85,571. (2013 data).

K – Kalos Therapeutics is building a promising platform for future drug discovery. Start-up innovator Michael Kozlowski, OD, Ph.D., chief science officer of Kalos Therapeutics, explains that their focus on transforming the atrial natriuretic family of peptides engages a natural biochemical mechanism. This approach holds promise for people with pancreatic cancer because it results in a more complete response, reduced side effects and improved safety and a longer period of effectiveness.

L – Let’s leverage every resource, strength, collaboration and person we’ve got! Arizona’s bioscience industry is aiming to increase research revenue for institutions statewide by 69 percent over the next decade to $782 million and attract additional anchors for the sector.

M – Medtronic models aggressive, needs-focused growth. Keynote speaker Ron Wilson, vice president and general manager of the Medtronic Tempe campus made it clear that passion for people runs through his veins. Locating a small manufacturing facility here in 1973, the company’s facility today covers 30 acres, has 900 employees and generates $17 billion in revenues. How do they do it? We follow our founder’s vision still: We understand what the unmet needs are and we apply our knowledge for the good of people all over the world.”

N – Next Level. “Arizona has made unprecedented progress over the last decade in developing the talent, building research infrastructure, and growing its base. Taking it to the Next Level will require new collaborative partnerships, forward looking leaders, and aggressive investments from both the public and private private sectors to take our place in the top tiers globally,” shared Koerber-Walker. ”Now is our time. Let’s get it done!”

O – Orphans no more. Valley fever, considered an orphan disease, hits about 150,000 people a year – 60 percent live in central Arizona. Current treatments have major shortcomings, with about 60 percent of those treated being unresponsive. The result is 2,000 serious cases and 150 deaths a year. It affects pets in nearly equal proportion. David Larwood, CEO of Valley Fever Solutions, has some answers. His company is developing Nikkomycin Z (NikZ) as a dramatically superior potential cure for Valley Fever. To help raise awareness and prevention, the Arizona Board of Regents created Valley Fever Corridor project, a public health program led by University of Arizona College of Medicine’s John Galgiani, MD, who is also the chief medical officer for Valley Solutions.

P – Policymakers are on board. Gov. Jan Brewer’s time is coming to a close and it’s time to decide which candidate can bring their best to bioscience. Recognizing that the Arizona bioscience sector is growing at four times the rate of the national average, candidates Christine Jones, Doug Ducey, Fred Duval, Ken Bennett and Scott Smith shared their ideas on how to ramp up funding and revenues in 90-second videos. Koerber-Walker says, “The most important thing we can do this summer is vote in the primaries.”

Q – Cues: Here are a few Q’s for success. Some lessons learned, courtesy of Robert Penny:

Make sure you have:

Complementary skills and expertise
Trust
Interpersonal chemistry (It’s better to navigate bumps in the road with people you trust than people you don’t!)

Pick the right projects:

Big enough to be worthy of your efforts
Complex enough to need partnerships
Audacious enough to move the field

R – Remembering Polio: Can Looking Back Catapult Us Forward? How did we cure the world of polio? What did it take to conquer the most feared disease of the 20th Century? What threatens our world today and how can we continue to keep people healthy with the right vaccines, for the right person at the right time? Gaspar Laca, state government affairs director at GlaxoSmithKime, engaged David Larwood, CEO and president of Valley Fever Solutions (and a person who has been directly affected by polio) and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization, in a rousing discussion of what’s happening in Arizona today, the mounting threats of the ”vaccine exemptors,” and what we need to do now. (See Vaccines.)

S – Shoes. Did you see those shoes? “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Enough said.

T – Tucson’s Critical Path Institute creates new tools. A jewel in the bioscience crown – and located right here in Arizona! The Critical Path Institute (C-Path) is a breakthrough organization, creating a new movement: “consensus science.” Keynoter Martha Brumfield. Ph.D, president and CEO, shared what can be achieved when people come together with the belief that a “rising tide floats all boats.” Working to improve the unacceptable 95 percent failure rate in the testing of new drug therapies, C-Path is improving medical product development efficiencies by identifying pathways that integrate new scientific advances into the regulatory review process. Check out their Alzheimer’s clinical trial simulation tool.

U – United we stand. Mayors Jim Lane (City of Scottsdale) and John Lewis (Town of Gilbert) will join Koerber-Walker and an Arizona bioscience-business contingent next week at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego (June 23-26), the world’s largest biotechnology gathering. They will surely scoop up new ideas, new connections – and with any luck, new investment!

V – Vaccines: Get ‘em! Talk about ‘em. Challenge the myths. Explain the realities. Polio. Measles. And whooping cough today. Without proper vaccinations, whooping cough (pertussis) could be the polio of our time. “As science-minded people, the best thing you can do is activate conversations about the importance of vaccinations. Here’s some help: Why immunize?

W – White Hat event brings in national investors. (Apply by July 15th.) “AZBio’s White Hat Investor’s Conference is the first ever life science specific investor conference to be held in Arizona,” says Koerber-Walker. “Kelly Slone [of the National Venture Capital Association] has been an amazing partner to bring this together along with the state bioscience association leaders from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region. Investors and investment firms from across the country will be here, so get involved. Even if you feel like you are not ready yet, take the leap and apply to present. “

X – “X” marks the spot for our next big gathering. Wear your White Hat! The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers. Meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat Investors 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain & Southwest Region.

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the best biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain & Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 & 18, 2014.

Presenting Companies will be selected from the region’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of:

Diagnostics
Therapeutics
Medical Devices
Health IT

Y – Young Talent is being cultivated. We got it! With nearly 50 abstracts accepted and student presenters presenting at the Expo, Koerber-Walker got it right when she said, “These young people are going to be working on things that we can’t even begin to imagine!” Arizona’s tremendous mentoring people and organizations are sharing knowledge, support and inspiration. For example University of Arizona student Keeley Brown is destined to help the world crack the code on genetically modified foods and farming. (Her presentation was the “Epigenetic Effects of Transgenic Manipulation in Glycine Max (Soybeans).

Zzzzzzzzz – No one fell asleep at this conference! Catherine Leyen, founder and CEO of start-up RadiUp, says she comes to AZBio to stay abreast of the action, connect with like-minded people and soak up inspiration. Her verdict of AZBIO Expo 2014? Mission accomplished!

stem.cell

TGen and NAU celebrate 5-year research pact

Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a five-year agreement to promote innovation and quality research benefiting Arizona.

The NAU-TGen Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implements the allocation of state funding as directed by Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature, and reaffirms the commitment of both institutions toward quality research, training and educational opportunities, protection of public health and improved patient care. The Governor and Legislature recommitted state funding support as part of the 2014-15 state budget, recognizing the positive dividends from a viable, competitive bioindustry in Arizona.

“TGen has played a valuable role in developing and advancing Arizona’s bioscience industry,” said Governor Brewer. “From delivering medical breakthroughs and first-rate research — to creating quality jobs and growing our economy — TGen is a shining example of the innovative companies we seek to attract and expand in Arizona. By enhancing the successful partnership between TGen and NAU, we can ensure that both our bioscience industry and our economy will continue to thrive for years to come.”

NAU and TGen also announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a patent for a new set of genetically-based tests, jointly developed by NAU and TGen, that accurately identify fungal pathogens that threaten public health worldwide. Broad-based identification of fungi is essential for clinical diagnostics and also for environmental testing. This is the first of many patents anticipated through NAU-TGen collaborations.

The two institutions also are celebrating other joint research, including highly accurate, genetically-based tests for detecting and monitoring Valley Fever, influenza and different types of staph bacteria infections, especially the potentially deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

These achievements, and numerous other collaborations underway between NAU and TGen, will be celebrated at 2 p.m. today at NAU’s Applied Research and Development building.

The NAU-TGen developed genetic-based tests allow real-time tests in any location, including laboratories, but also clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms and even field settings. Immediate diagnosis of pathogens is a critical part of TGen’s push for precision medicine, in which patients receive the correct treatments as quickly as possible, speeding their recovery and saving lives.

The genetic-based tests for various pathogens were developed by a team from NAU and TGen that includes Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (also known as TGen North) in Flagstaff, and a Regents Professor and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

“These advanced diagnostics have far reaching implications for protecting public health, quickly treating patients and lowering the cost of healthcare,” Dr. Keim said. “Through our joint NAU-TGen research, we are continuing to develop tools and technologies that have a great impact on human health.”

This joint effort has generated other intellectual property, stimulated the founding of a startup company, and now generates licensing revenues for both NAU and TGen.

“Our relationship with TGen exemplifies the importance of the biosciences to NAU and to Arizona’s economy,” said NAU President John Haeger. “An important mission of our university is to produce research with direct benefits to the state and to the world, and together with TGen that is what we are accomplishing. We look forward to much more.”

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director, praised President Haeger, Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature for helping ensure TGen’s continuing role in stimulating local research that directly benefits Arizona patients.

“We are enormously grateful to Governor Brewer and the state Legislature, particularly the leadership, for their continuing confidence and support in us,” said Dr. Trent. “In addition, as demonstrated by the leadership and cooperation of President Haeger, Dr. Keim and NAU, there is no question that these types of collaborations between universities and research institutions can result in significant commercial applications.”

manufacturing sector expanded

Brewer OKs tax cut law for manufacturers

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill that eliminates sales taxes on electricity and natural gas purchased by manufacturers and mining smelters, a move she said was needed to make the state more attractive to large businesses.

Brewer signed Senate Bill 1413 at a Capitol ceremony attended by a couple of dozen business leaders, calling it “another smart tax reform that will bolster job creation in Arizona and our competitive edge.”

The tax cut is expected to cost the state general fund at least $17 million a year. Brewer also vetoed money in the state budget designed to help counties make up for the losses, saying their loss was small and would set a bad precedent.

“Since becoming governor, my cornerstone priority has been to make Arizona as attractive as possible for new and expanding businesses, particularly for our manufacturing industry, which generates quality jobs and high-wage salaries,” Brewer said. “I want Arizona to be No. 1 and be the pro-business state in the nation and we have worked relentlessly to accomplish that.”

Later in the day, Brewer also signed a law providing a $5 million tax credit many say is aimed directly at Apple Inc. Senate Bill 1484 grants the tax credit to a company that installs at least $300 million in renewable power capacity to supply its own plant.

The governor touted other tax cuts, regulatory reform and business-friendly policies that she has championed since she took office in 2009. Those tax cuts have affected the state’s revenue, but she said they are important to growing the economy.

“When we bring in these new businesses it drives our economy, they bring in construction jobs, they bring in employees, they bring in money into the state,” she said. “So in the end, everybody’s ship rises.”

Brewer called for the elimination of the tax in her State of the State address in January, saying it was needed to make Arizona more competitive and draw new manufacturing to the state.

The bill received bipartisan support in both legislative chambers, although one conservative Republican in the House of Representatives dissented when it came up for a vote earlier this week.

Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, says the bill places a burden on rural counties that rely on that tax base. She and other rural lawmakers managed to get $1.3 million in the budget to make up for the cuts, but Brewer vetoed that money Friday afternoon.

“I am getting to the point that a lot of these special legislation bills that we are promoting are harming the state of Arizona, and they are harming our rural counties and our rural cities, and I don’t believe we are doing a very good job of doing what’s right for the right reasons,” Barton said during debate earlier in the week. She didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Others defended the bill.

“I think anytime we can support small businesses and reduce their taxes and large businesses and reduce their taxes, and allow them to reinvest in their business and reinvest in the communities and reinvest in their employees, I think we need to be looking for opportunities to do this,” Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, said.

Steve Macias, chairman of the Arizona Manufacturer’s Council and the operator of a machine shop that will get a small direct benefit from the tax cut, said it could bring in more manufacturing.

“Seventy percent, 80 percent of the business we do is right here in Arizona,” Macias said of his operation. “And almost all of that is to larger manufacturers, the General Dynamics of the world, the guys who make equipment for the solar industry. So when they attract those guys, I get excited because to me those are all potential customers.”

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said 38 other states do not tax electricity use by manufacturers and cutting the tax will help the state.

“These are jobs that pay more than the median wage. They’re jobs that every other state competes for, and we’ve done something significant to make Arizona more competitive today,” Hamer said.

The tax credit bill drew the ire of conservative House Republicans, who said say the bill is unfairly tailored to benefit Apple’s planned Mesa sapphire glass manufacturing plant and picked winners and losers among the state’s industries.

Apple said in November it will open the plant and eventually employ 700 workers to provide material for its iPhone 5 cameras and fingerprint reading sensors.

The tax credit could also be claimed by other companies that build similar facilities. Tesla Motors Inc. is currently looking for a battery plant site and often mentioned as a possible candidate.

“We as conservatives have got to step away from this crony capitalist style of development,” Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, said during debate on the bill Tuesday. “We cannot afford to pick winners and losers in industry. We believe in low taxes for everybody. We believe in simple rules for everybody.”

But the bill sponsor defended it, saying it was a small amount of money to help establish a large manufacturing operation. The Arizona Commerce Authority helped seal the deal with other incentives.

“I believe that they did the right thing to bring Apple here,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, carried the Apple bill, saying he did it because the Arizona Commerce Authority had made a commitment to the company as part of the deal to draw them here. “And the dollars are very small in the whole scheme of things with Apple being in the Valley. They could have gone to Texas, they could have gone other places and we wanted them here. It’s a good decision.”

aerospace

Schuknecht Appointed to Aerospace Commission

Fennemore Craig, a leading Mountain West regional firm, announced Seth Schuknecht, an attorney in the firm’s Phoenix office, has been appointed to the Aerospace and Defense Commission by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Schuknecht is one of 9 Commission members from the private sector appointed to the commission.

The Aerospace and Defense Commission is the state’s sole entity overseeing all aerospace an d defense related commercial partnerships. With more than 1,200 aerospace and defense companies in Arizona, the Commission is tasked with advancing aerospace and defense activity in the state. The Commission works with Arizona Commerce Authority to enhance and support the industry and has the power to adopt rules, establish goals, objectives and guidelines as well as, recommend legislation, manage contracts and provide general direction regarding the state’s interests in aerospace and defense.

Schuknecht practices in the areas of commercial litigation, intellectual property, and aviation, aerospace, and autonomous systems. “This is a great opportunity for Seth and Fennemore Craig, to showcase the firm’s knowledge and insight in the emerging and evolving legal issues relating to the integration of autonomous aerial systems,” says Doug Northup, chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation practice.

Prior to law school, Schuknecht served as a Naval Aviator for 9 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. His various assignments included selection and service as an instructor pilot at every operational squadron he was assigned. Schuknecht holds a civilian Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate with type ratings in five different aircraft. He received his B.A. with merit from the United States Naval Academy and his J.D., cum laude, from Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

startup

Getting an angel to open the checkbook

Governor Jan Brewer touts her policies and business regulatory climate as the reason Arizona is growing new businesses. That may be a factor, but it’s not the major reason Arizona topped the Kaufman Foundation Index of Entrepreneurial Activity in 2012. If it were the case, Arizona would have been on top again in 2013—instead of plummeting to 20th nationally.

“Just because there are a lot of startups,” observes Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, “doesn’t provide a measure of the economic growth in the Valley.” A startup can be someone opening a consultancy, a contractor or the next Apple. Self-employment is a form of startup. The challenge is nurturing a startup so it grows with high value jobs.

Local governments and the Arizona Commerce Authority see major value with growing Arizona startups into enterprises. Chris Mackay, economic development director in Chandler says, “There’s staying power when a business is local. It’s connected to the local community and if the economy falters, the owners are more willing to keep going locally as opposed to closing up shop.” That local staying power is one reason Mackay says Chandler makes big investments in growing future enterprises.

Planting the seeds

Arizona’s new economy needs startups to scale up into enterprises. Those growing small businesses become hiring employers offering high value jobs paying home-buying income. Government policy supporting businesses that can scale up is based on simple economics.

Businesses with more than 20 employees, says the Small Business Administration, generate two of three Arizona paychecks. Those same businesses cut checks for more than 70 percent of Arizona’s private payrolls. The value in 2012 was over $100 billion.

All new businesses are “startups,” but not all startup businesses will be entrepreneurial enterprises. “There is no relation between starting a business and starting a company,” says Dr. Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice and founding executive director of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project in Boston. “Ninety percent of companies formed don’t grow high value jobs.”

Isenberg says that the difference between a start-up and enterprise is a matter of scale. He is an international advocate for scaling a business to grow as opposed to opening a business. An entrepreneur, he points out, is a business founder with a large company that just happens to be small right now.

Arizona State University, as the new American university, is at the cutting edge of helping turn ideas into enterprise. Recently, the college joined the elite ranks of schools offering a stand-alone degree in entrepreneurship. It’s on that list with Harvard Business School, Babson, and University of Texas. Its goal is getting new businesses that can grow into the market.

Locally grown

ASU says more than 70 percent of its W.P. Carey School of Business MBA graduates remain in Arizona. Keeping these graduates in state provides the human resources necessary to building new enterprises fueling the future economy.

“Starting a company — as opposed to just starting a business — is hard work,” says Isenberg. “An entrepreneur looks at the business and sees it growing. It’s a time of sleep deprivation, hard work, and endless pitches.” Few startups achieve quality growth—less than ten percent, he believes. “The golden triangle of a growing enterprise,” he continues, “is cash, customers and people.”

“An entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t limited to startups,” Isenberg emphasizes. “University research, family businesses, mature companies, all can be turned into a growing enterprise. Most startups tend to stay small.” The key to the economic contribution of startups in Arizona is scalability. He is adamant about it, “Ambition is not a dirty word. A business founder without ambition does not significantly contribute to overall economic growth.”

“There are a number of entrepreneurial success stories arising from a new direction for an existing, mature business,” Isenberg reports. Sometimes it takes a new owner with a vision; sometimes the existing management team finds a new direction. It can be a license from a university, a new product, or an innovative use of an existing product. Entrepreneurship can occur anywhere in a business’ lifecycle.”

Bringing ideas to market

Arizona colleges are on that licensing bandwagon. Entrepreneurs complain that it takes years to license patents or transfer technology from most universities. In ASU’s Office of Knowledge and Enterprise Development, the Arizona Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator — first project of its type in the world — slashes technology transfer time from years to months. The AZ Furnace is a joint venture of ASU, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Dignity Health. Funding partners include the Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, and additional support from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“There are hundreds of patents sitting on shelves at universities that could be in the market earning money for creators, colleges and businesses,” enthuses Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group in OKED. “We started a program to get patents into the market quickly.” The startups selected for incubation in AZ Furnace are either entrepreneurs in search of an idea to market or idea-creators ready to market through a business entity. The fledgling enterprises are capital-ready in 12 months or less.

Enterprise starts with a leader and a vision. The scale of the vision is what makes the difference, says Isenberg. The vast majority of business owners are thinking of a model that gets them to the point that they’re putting money in the bank. He says, “Entrepreneurs are thinking of a model that finds smart people, willing customers and puts the cash to back into the enterprise.”

“Angels invest in businesses they understand or CEOs they respect,” says Broome. “There’s a need for more of that in the Valley. We’re just not seeing the next Apple or Google evolving here.”

Gaining visibility

“The biggest challenge about getting angel and venture money is visibility,” says Brandon Clark, region coordinator for Startup Arizona.  “If you’re a promising digital startup locally, it’s a little harder to get noticed nationally being from a region not known for its digital startups.  That’s starting to slowly shift.” National publications, FastCompany and Entrepreneur Magazine, have eyed Arizona as an emerging technology region.

The development opportunity for the small business is capital. Combine the “Broome Factor”—known businesses; known leaders—with the large number of startups, and there are too many funding requests heading towards too few checkbooks.

What makes early investors open pocketbooks to startup businesses is scalability. Businesses with potential to grow create the greatest return on investment for the angels. “It’s also makes a difference to the local economy,” says Isenberg. “Local policymakers need to change their focus from ‘startup’ to a ‘high value growth business’.”

Cities like helping scalable startups — and provide resources that build success. There’s a loyalty factor when the business grows; it typically remains in the hometown that helped it succeed. This is important to Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Surprise. These five cities have specifically invested in incubators and accelerators to nurture and graduate businesses achieving market traction. Chandler, Phoenix and Tucson have involvement with collaborative workspaces — Gangplank and Co+Hoots — as well.

While an employee or two in a collaborative workspace works well for a while, the time comes when a move up is needed. Clairvoyant, an enterprise and analytics startup now in Chandler Innovations started with Gangplank. “We grew from four employees in March to 12 in April,” smiles Amber Anderson, a firm partner and its business developer. “We needed a place to meet with clients and work with a growing team.” Still self-funded, the growing entity plans to hit 20 employees by January.

Mackay explains, “We help a company like this grow and hope that as it expands it continues to locate in Chandler.” To that end, the city is working with landlords in its Price Corridor to offer “teenage” space that lets a business move from the heavily subsidized rents and back office support of the incubator into its own place—without too much sticker shock.

Support from cities

The difference by which startup is accepted into a city’s incubator is the ability to scale up from the garage to commercial space; from one employee to more than 20. Chandler and Mesa are looking for businesses with this capacity. Innovations gives lab and office space to businesses that have formed entities — LLCs, corporations, partnerships — and a business plan. Mesa’s new Technology Accelerator is planned with a similar focus, but is looking for businesses at an earlier stage. Surprise’s Arizona TechCelerator wants to shepherd a business to the angel investor stage.

In Surprise, scalability is one of the criteria to be accepted into Arizona’s oldest incubator. The TechCelerator is looking for businesses offering something outside the box or creating a new niche. “The company has to be started before we’ll consider them,” says Julie Neal, the economic development coordinator for the city’s enterprise. “They need a mentor, a plan and have to know where they are going.”

“Scaling up is difficult,” says Isenberg, “but doing it right defines the difference between the successful entrepreneur with a growth business and a startup that just stays small. Marketplaces are competitive. The startup has to acquire customers. That means overcoming inertia or changing buyer behavior. While established companies are cruising on their business platforms, the startup has to hire people, start a company, raise money, and all the while, it’s competing in the marketplace. That’s tough work.”

After incubation, the business must gain market traction. At this phase, the fledgling enterprise has product going out and customers paying for it. The kinks are being smoothed, and it’s time to move up to the next stage and grow. Isenberg says that the high growth criterion is simply 20 percent annual increases in sales or staff for five years.

Getting capital

To make this leap requires high levels of capital — the checks venture capitalists cut. The biggest challenge in Phoenix is that there are few sources for local venture capital. The venturists hang out in places like Silicon Valley, Boston, San Diego and Seattle. “There are even a couple of funds with deep ties to the Valley,” worries Clark, “but they have very little involvement in local startups.”

Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, had to travel out of town for his venture capital. “At one time, I was told that a fund wouldn’t cut a check for a firm in Phoenix because we didn’t have the workforce for success,” he says. “That’s no longer true; venture funds are seeing that there is a real climate for success in the Valley.”

Another resource for a growing business is the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “Growing Your Arizona Business” services. The quasi-public agency provides mentorship, regulatory assistance, access to incentive programs and site selection. It also works as a liaison connecting the growing business with other business resources. The agency mentors businesses in accessing federal procurement and grant opportunities as well as serving as an entrée to international trade.

Overall, the major resource in Arizona for start-up businesses is the universities. Anemic legislative funding for the schools causes their efforts to help to face the same struggles growing businesses face. Their efforts to improve Arizona’s long-term economy are stymied by a declining source of capital.

“ASU is underfunded,” complains Barry Broome. “The school has done an amazing job despite being financially crippled by budget cuts. It’s suffering from a lack of resources to take its programs to scale.” “Scalability” is applicable to the business-development programs at the universities and other public agencies just as it is for growing enterprises.

“Getting money for those programs is the top job for the next governor,” predicts Broome.
Opportunity in Arizona will come from the core of businesses growing today. They will create the jobs for the new economy and drive economic success for the next generation.

social media day

Gigya brings 200 jobs with Arizona expansion

A California firm that helps companies connect with customers through social media says it has opened a Phoenix office and plans to hire more than 200 employees within three years.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer touted Tuesday’s announcement by Mountain View, Calif.-based Gigya as the latest sign that her efforts to cut business tax rates and regulations is drawing new companies to the state.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer says the fast air access between Phoenix and the Silicon Valley, ease of setting up shop and available trained workforce made Phoenix the company’s top choice. The company will receive $450,000 for training from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Salyer says the company has begun hiring and expects to have 50 sales, account and client management employees here by the end of the year.

Phil Schiller

Apple brings 700 jobs to Valley manufacturing plant

Apple Inc. says it will open a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will eventually employ 700 workers.

“Apple’s presence in the region will be a game-changer for the Greater Phoenix area, its innovation landscape and future ability to attract other high-tech companies,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “Between their plans to hire 700 direct employees and run completely on renewable energy, I’m convinced Apple could not have chosen a better location than Mesa and Eastmark. This deal is the result of the cooperation and support of several parties, including Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, City of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, DMB Associates, the ACA and SRP, whose infrastructure will enable more projects to move forward in the surrounding area.”

The Cupertino, Calif., maker of the iPhone confirmed Monday that it is expanding its U.S. manufacturing operations in a former First Solar plant in Mesa. The city southeast of Phoenix already hosts a long list of high-tech manufacturing firms.

About 1,300 construction jobs will also be created as the First Solar plant designed to make thin-film solar panels is converted. The company sold the plant last month.

Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet says the plant will be powered with renewable energy provided by local utility Salt River Project.

Gov. Jan Brewer said Apple’s decision to come to Arizona is a sign that the state’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate are paying off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BORDER GOVERNORS

Will Brewer keep the Grand Canyon open?

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer must decide Wednesday whether to send more money to keep the Grand Canyon National Park open.

The agreement Brewer struck last week with the National Park Service to pay to keep the park open expires Friday night. The deal requires Brewer to give the park two days’ notice if she wants it to remain open.

Arizona is paying $93,000 a day to keep the canyon open during the government shutdown.

Businesses that rely on the canyon for tourist dollars were hurt during the 11 day closure that ended Saturday morning. Brewer is using money from the state Office of Tourism, the town of Tusayan and businesses to pay for park operations.

Grand Canyon - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Arizona strikes deal to reopen Grand Canyon

Arizona reached a deal Friday with the Interior Department to pay for Grand Canyon National Park to completely reopen using state and local funds during the federal government shutdown.

The deal means the park should reopen Saturday, allowing thousands of tourists to flock to the natural wonder in northern Arizona, said Andrew Wilder, spokesman for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

Arizona will pay the national Park Service $651,000 to keep the Grand Canyon open for seven days. The $93,000 a day is less than the $112,000 daily rate the federal government said this week was needed to fund the park operations.

In addition to state money, cash provided by the town of Tusayan and raised from private business would also be included in the funding.

Park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said Friday evening that officials at the park hadn’t been notified of the deal and were awaiting word.

Brewer had been pushing to only use state money to open a portion of the park, something the Interior Department said Thursday it would not contemplate because of the complexities of keeping some parts of individual national parks closed while other parts were opened.

National parks in Utah began opening Friday after Gov. Gary Herbert sent $1.67 million to the U.S. government, while Colorado paid $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through Oct. 20.

Brewer and the state’s congressional delegation had been lobbying the Obama administration to allow reopening of the park since shortly after it closed Oct. 1. Three other states also made the request about their parks.

customer.service

Connextions adding about 500 Jobs in Phoenix

Connextions, part of the Optum™ health services business of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), announced it will fill approximately 500 new jobs in Phoenix in the next 60 days.

Connextions, which helps carriers enroll, retain and provide service to their members, has already begun hiring people to work in its new solution center in Phoenix. These Engagement Specialists will help seniors and other beneficiaries understand their Medicare and prescription drug benefits options so they can evaluate, enroll in and effectively use the plans that best meet their needs. Connextions will also hire management and staff-level positions.

On Aug. 27, Connextions and the City of Phoenix will hold a job fair at Connextions’ new facility, where people can learn more about the available positions. The job fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4809 E. Thistle Landing, Suite 110, in Ahwatukee.

“Health care decisions can be very complex and personal, and we are committed to helping consumers understand their health plan options and how best to use their benefits,” said Steve Auerbach, Connextions president. “We are very excited about providing these services from Phoenix, where we know we will be able to find the compassionate and skilled individuals needed to help consumers manage their health and wellness.”

“I’m pleased that Connextions recognizes the high-quality workforce and business-friendly climate we have created here in Arizona over the past five years,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “Health care is an important and growing part of our economy, and we are well-positioned to bring good jobs like this to our state. I am thrilled to welcome them to Phoenix.”

Connextions, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., has more than 8,000 employees at sites in North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado, Rhode Island and Texas. The new Phoenix facility is the company’s first in Arizona. Connextions anticipates additional employment opportunities in Phoenix before the end of 2013.

“The Seventh Congressional District is the economic heart of Arizona,” said Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz. “I’m pleased to welcome Connextions to Phoenix, and I know that they will find a workforce well-suited to helping guide consumers through their health benefits choices.”

“Connextions’ decision to invest in Phoenix is a testament to our talented workforce and our competitiveness in attracting new businesses to our region,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “We welcome the jobs Connextions will bring and its support in making Phoenix a destination for innovative and sustainable health care solutions.”

People interested in working in the fast-growing health care industry are encouraged to apply at www.jobs.Connextions.com.

The new jobs will bring UnitedHealth Group’s total number of employees in Arizona to approximately 4,600. UnitedHealth Group serves the health care needs of nearly 1.6 million Arizonans.

BORDER GOVERNORS

Brewer earns less than most governors

Besides having one of the lowest governor’s salaries in the nation, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer also makes less than almost all of the state’s top administrative officials, according to a recent report.

Brewer’s $95,000 annual salary was less than that of 44 other governors in 2013 and was topped by 37 Arizona administrators out of 44 included in an April survey by the Council of State Governments.

The top Arizona salaries in the report went to state officials who direct higher education and commerce departments, each of whom made $300,000, the survey said.

But governors across the country consistently make less than the bureaucrats who reported to them, according to the data, which came as no surprise to experts.

“We don’t pay our elected officials a lot. Period,” said Ruth Jones, a professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University.

And the author of the survey said the salary is not why governors run for the office, either.

“You don’t want to be governor just to make a lot of money,” said Audrey Wall, the managing editor of the Council of State Governments. “That’s not what your goal is if you’re running for that office.”

Wall said there is no single reason why governors make such little money relative to administrators.

The recession played a big role. But while Wall said that states “are on the road to recovery,” governors’ salaries will not rebound as quickly as those in the private sector.

“States have a tendency sometimes to move a little slower,” she said.

Wall said many governors do not receive pay raises because citizens don’t want to see their governors receiving huge CEO salaries.

“Governors are even more closely linked to the electorate, to the people,” Wall said.

Among governors, Brewer made more than only those in Arkansas, Maine, Oregon, Colorado and Alabama in 2013.

Among top officials in her own state, Brewer’s salary was higher than only the secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and administrators in public library development, employment services and education.

A state administrator’s pay in Arizona should not be compared to a comparable bureaucrat in another state, Wall said, because the structure of the state governments might be different. The official overseeing border security in Arizona, for example, might have more responsibilities than an official with the same job in Nebraska. That could account for a difference in state administrators’ pay, she said.

But Jones said the governor’s salary should not be compared to state administrator salaries at all. They are two different types of jobs, she said: One is an elected office and many of the others, like the administrator for higher education, are not.

Jones noted that Brewer receives other perks with her job. Governors get free transportation and probably don’t have to pay for many meals, she said. The biggest perk is the power and influence that comes with being governor.

Jones said she knows many people who say the state should not be giving more money to the governor. State voters and legislators are weary of raising the governor’s pay, Jones said, adding that, “it’s not good politics to raise your own pay.”

Brewer’s office did not return calls seeking comment on the report.

Wall said it is hard to predict if Brewer’s pay will be raised anytime soon. A lot has to do with politics and whether or not it’s an election year.

With or without a raise, Jones said the state is getting its money’s worth from whomever is in the governor’s office.

“It’s a hard job. It’s not an easy job,” she said. “It isn’t paid with what the job demands.”

Jan Brewer - 50 Most Influential Womenin AZ Business

Jan Brewer – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Jan BrewerGovernor, State of Arizona

Brewer became Arizona’s 22nd governor in 2009, inheriting the worst budget deficit in the country. Through her support of free-market principles, competitive taxes, lean regulations and a ready workforce, she has transformed Arizona into one of the most business-friendly states in the nation.

Surprising fact: “I’m a gardener at heart. You need the right seeds, plus water and sunshine. And you have to run off the rabbits. Sounds a little like the Legislature, right?”

Biggest challenge: “Balancing my family and home life with a career in public service. While this issue can never be truly ‘overcome,’ it’s one I manage day-by-day, guided by my love of family and the people I serve.”

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 >>

medical.research

Plans advance for Arizona Biomedical Corridor

Plans to establish a biomedical and advanced technology research and development campus in northeast Phoenix advanced this week as KUD International, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest development, design and construction companies, announced its plans and submitted an application to acquire 225 acres for the project from the Arizona State Land Department.

The proposed campus is the cornerstone of the Arizona Biomedical Corridor, a collaboration between the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic announced in 2012 to expand the state’s bioscience industry by clustering compatible organizations in the corridor, located in northeast Phoenix at 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, just south of the Loop 101 freeway. The development lies adjacent to the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic.

Acquiring the land could take up to a year, KUD officials anticipate. In the meantime, KUD is moving forward on plans for the first building at the more than $1 billion research park, which upon completion could generate thousands of jobs in the region.

Wyatt Decker, Vice President, Mayo Clinic and CEO Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said the project aligns well with Mayo Clinic’s plans in Phoenix and will play an integral part in its vision to continue to provide innovative, patient-centered medical care, supported by robust programs in research and education.

“The Arizona Biomedical Corridor will further strengthen the region’s growth as a national and international destination for healthcare-related research, education and private sector interests,” Decker said. “Our work with the City of Phoenix and ASU led to our relationship with KUD, a firm we believe will successfully complement and support our vision.”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow agreed, saying, “The development of the area adjacent to the Mayo Clinic Hospital, with its focus on biomedical and advanced technology research and manufacturing, is well aligned with ASU’s partnership with Mayo Clinic to create new health education and research facilities. We are encouraged that KUD shares our collective vision.”

KUD International LLC specializes in developing public-private projects around the world. It has extensive experience with large-scale developments that are founded on research and education and supported with a complementary mix of uses. The company is constructing a research park in Israel in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University that is similar to the one proposed in northeast Phoenix.

KUD International President and CEO Marvin Suomi said the collaboration with Mayo Clinic presented KUD with a sound basis to make a significant investment in establishing a major biomedical research and healthcare complex in north Phoenix. “We consider this a mission-driven project in alliance with Mayo Clinic, and procuring the land is the first step in realizing its vision set long ago,” Suomi said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer added, “I’m pleased the Arizona Land Department has accepted and advanced an application for this proposal, paving the way for the development of a premier medical and research facility in north Phoenix. Not only will this project create thousands of high-quality jobs, it will strengthen and secure our position as a global leader in providing world-class medical care. With the involvement of partners like the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, I know this project will be a point of pride for the entire state.”

Others involved with the project identify KUD’s relationship with Mayo Clinic, its expertise and its initiative in acquiring the state land as important factors that will help the Arizona Biomedical Corridor become a reality.

“I think this is another example of Arizona’s economic recovery and an indication of the growing strength of the Arizona real estate market,” said Arizona State Land Commissioner Vanessa Hickman. “This is a big win for State Trust Land beneficiaries and the result of careful negotiations between the Arizona State Land Department and the other collaborators.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, “In January 2012, I announced a vision to grow more high-wage jobs in Phoenix by creating a second bioscience campus on a 1,000-acre corridor in Desert Ridge in Northeast Phoenix. Because we already have great partners like Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, KUD’s investment plans are the key private interest we need to unlock the potential at this location for education and research and create a greater magnet to attract high-wage jobs to Phoenix.”

District 2 Councilman Jim Waring adds, “In February 2013, the City Council adopted a formal strategy to focus on high-wage, bioscience and technology uses within this corridor. I am very pleased to see that the private sector agrees and validates the City’s concept. The City of Phoenix will be a great partner in the project, focused on helping KUD start their development projects as quickly as possible.  Our business community tells us time and again that five-day site plan reviews and one-day construction permitting provides great value and we look forward to delivering this same great service to KUD.”

foreclosure

Landlords must disclose foreclosures to tenants

Renters no longer have to worry about being surprised when their home is repossessed by a bank now that a new law requiring landlords to give them notice has been signed.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the tenant notice bill late last week amid a flurry of action on laws passed by the legislature in the session that ended June 14.

House Bill 2281 amends the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to require owners to provide written notice to tenants within 5 business days of receiving a notice of trustee’s sale. The law previously only required notice if a provision was in the lease.

Republican Rep. Steve Smith of Maricopa says he sponsored the bill after renters complained they were tossed out by banks without notice.

sales.tax

Arizona lawmakers adopt sales tax overhaul

The Arizona Legislature adopted a major overhaul of the state’s complicated sales tax collection system in the final hours of the session Thursday night after a deal with cities and towns removed a major roadblock.

Municipalities led by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns were able to hold off the overhaul after raising concerns they would lose revenue. Gov. Jan Brewer made the overhaul a priority of the legislative session and made major compromises before the final deal was struck Thursday.

The Senate passed House Bill 2111 unanimously and the House passed it with just one opposing vote.

The overhaul would not impact what ordinary consumers pay at store checkouts. Instead, it will make it easier for businesses that pay a so-called Transaction Privilege Tax. The deal leaves in place a tax on new construction that funds many city projects but eliminates it for companies that do home and other repairs.

Municipalities could still lose revenue, but the compromise gives them better ways to track revenue and clarifies how audits are done, said the sponsor, Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria. The deal that was finally cut Thursday happened after months of impasse.

“The League came to the table and gave us some reasonable language about what they wanted,” Lesko said.

The deal came together as the Legislature pushed out a budget and Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan and made a rush to finish work and adjourn Thursday night.

The overhaul targets the state’s complex system where businesses are taxed on their revenues, at different rates by different entities, including the cities, counties and the state. The tax on contractors and other business transactions known as the TPT, and the state alone is estimated to collect $3.8 billion of the state’s total revenue of $8.6 billion this budget year. Businesses also were subject to multiple audits and had to file returns in every city, county and town where they operated.

That system will be eliminated, with the state overseeing all those functions.

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.

healthcare

ZocDoc will bring 600 jobs to Valley

A New York company that helps patients connect with doctors through an online service is opening a Scottsdale office and will hire more than 600 workers in the next three years.

ZocDoc is a free service for patients that also lets them book appointments online. Gov. Jan Brewer and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced the office opening on Tuesday.

Brewer has made three other major jobs announcements in recent weeks, including a new General Motors information technology innovation center in Chandler that will have 1,000 high-tech employees.

All three are benefiting from incentives from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The Commerce Authority also was involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

The company says it will hire nearly 70 people to staff the office by year’s end.

Jan Brewer

Brewer's sales tax overhaul passes 1st House hearing

A proposal that would overhaul Arizona’s complex sales tax collection process got a strong endorsement from business leaders before unanimously passing its first Arizona House committee Monday.

The proposal from Gov. Jan Brewer is designed to ease the burden on businesses, and business leaders hailed the bill for its intent of cutting red tape and complexities.

Cities and towns object because of the way the measure shifts taxation of new construction. It’s now based on where the building is done, so growing areas get added revenue, but Brewer wants it changed to where the materials are sold.

The legislation doesn’t affect how consumers pay sales tax.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price testified at the House Ways and Means committee Monday that his city would lose millions in revenue a year because of the construction tax changes.

“Let’s call a spade a spade here. At the end of the day this is going to boil down to numbers,” Price told Ways and Means Committee members. “There are 91 cities and towns in this state that are very much opposed to this construction tax change.”

An amendment designed to ease the loss to municipalities was adopted, but cities said even with that change, the losses could decimate their cities.

“If you don’t want to see some of these become ghost town, like the city of Maricopa, they you need to listen to what we say,” Price said.

The bill would unify the state’s sale tax collection system, creating one return, one payment and one audit. That would replace multiple versions of each that businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions must deal with.

Jan Brewer

Brewer’s sales tax overhaul passes 1st House hearing

A proposal that would overhaul Arizona’s complex sales tax collection process got a strong endorsement from business leaders before unanimously passing its first Arizona House committee Monday.

The proposal from Gov. Jan Brewer is designed to ease the burden on businesses, and business leaders hailed the bill for its intent of cutting red tape and complexities.

Cities and towns object because of the way the measure shifts taxation of new construction. It’s now based on where the building is done, so growing areas get added revenue, but Brewer wants it changed to where the materials are sold.

The legislation doesn’t affect how consumers pay sales tax.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price testified at the House Ways and Means committee Monday that his city would lose millions in revenue a year because of the construction tax changes.

“Let’s call a spade a spade here. At the end of the day this is going to boil down to numbers,” Price told Ways and Means Committee members. “There are 91 cities and towns in this state that are very much opposed to this construction tax change.”

An amendment designed to ease the loss to municipalities was adopted, but cities said even with that change, the losses could decimate their cities.

“If you don’t want to see some of these become ghost town, like the city of Maricopa, they you need to listen to what we say,” Price said.

The bill would unify the state’s sale tax collection system, creating one return, one payment and one audit. That would replace multiple versions of each that businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions must deal with.

Jan Brewer

Brewer rolls out sales tax reform plan

Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to announce details of her proposal for a comprehensive simplification of the Arizona’s sales tax collection system at a press conference Monday.

Brewer says the current system has so many twists and turns it is extremely difficult for businesses to pay what they owe. She says business owners serving multiple cities must file multiple tax returns and undergo multiple audits. She’s said she wants a system that has just one form and one filing per business.

Cities and towns have objected to one part of the proposal that would change how sales tax on new construction is collected. They say that will hurt growing cities by sending the taxes elsewhere.

Brewer plans to announce the introduction of legislation designed to implement her plan.

SRP Study Reveals How Businesses Reacted, Adapted To Economy

GPEC helps region build solid foundation amidst economic downturn

The economic downturn rattled almost every industry in Arizona at its foundation.

“The recession served as a necessary wake-up call for both the Valley and the entire state,” says Andy Warren, CEO of Maracay Home and Greater Phoenix Economic Council board member. “In the years leading up to the recession, many people in Arizona had a mindset that economic expansion was invulnerable to setbacks. The recession has changed that mindset.”

But in the middle of the unstable economic environment, analysts would have a hard time identifying Arizona as one of the states that was hit the hardest by the economic downturn if they looked only at GPEC’s success during that time.

In fiscal year 2012, GPEC helped 36 companies expand or relocate to the region — the most in the economic catalyst’s 23-year history. That topped GPEC’s previous record of 31 companies, which it set in 2011, giving GPEC its two best years when times were toughest and competition for companies was at its most fierce.

So how did GPEC achieve such success in a down economy?

“GPEC has distinguished itself as a true public-private partnership where the cities, county and business leaders have a working forum to collaborate around economic development issues,” says Don Smith, president and CEO of SCF Arizona and vice chairman of GPEC’s board of directors. “It also possesses an outstanding research capability that can reliability assist other economic development interests in making successful decisions. The strategies and tactics at GPEC are robust, and comprehensive, covering local, national and global interests on behalf of the state, and the ground game both internationally and domestically is exceptional.”

The economic impact of GPEC’s success is staggering. The 36 companies it assisted in 2012 will create more than 4,000 jobs for the Greater Phoenix region, will generate $178 million of net new payroll, and absorb or build approximately 3.8 million square feet with their phase one investments. Companies GPEC helped relocate to the Valley include CyrusOne, one of the largest data centers in the country, and Silicon Valley Bank, an expansion from California creating 250 jobs at an average salary of $88,000. Advanced business services, general business services, transportation and distribution, manufacturing and healthcare continue to drive the majority of GPEC’s relocation activity, with environmental technologies rounding out the lion’s share.

GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome credits part of his organization’s success to a major policy achievement for Arizona, the Qualified Facilities Income Tax Credit.

“Gov. Jan Brewer, House Speaker Andy Tobin, Senate President Steve Pierce and the entire Arizona legislature have worked hard to improve our business climate as evidenced by the Qualified Facilities Income Tax Credit,” Broome said. “Moving forward, key economic development programs are still needed to compete with other markets to attract high impact, export-oriented companies and investment — working together as we have done in recent years, I have no doubt we’ll get there.”

More than 11 percent of GPEC’s locates were international companies, primarily due to ramped-up efforts on the organization’s foreign-direct investment program and 16.7 percent were from California, another highly concentrated effort with partners throughout the state to draw investment to the Sun Corridor.

“We now have strong consensus that nurturing high quality job growth is our top priority,” Warren says. “Leadership at the state level, municipal level and from the private sector are now fully aligned with a singular focus toward specific growth industries applicable to Arizona. We are creating a fiscal environment where Arizona is fully competitive with other growth-oriented states … This clear mission and focus is on growth industries that will drive the future economy such as healthcare, clean technology, technology, aerospace and defense.”

Brewer

Gov. Brewer, legislators ready to lead in 2013

Just as we always do this time of year, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry today kicked off the next legislative session with our annual Legislative Forecast Luncheon. This year’s edition was held at a packed Phoenix Convention Center, where the 1,000-person crowd had the opportunity to hear from Gov. Jan Brewer and state House and Senate legislative leaders about their vision for the 2013 session.

We also use the event as the Chamber’s opportunity to roll out our Business Agenda, and this year was no different. The Business Agenda outlines the top legislative priorities for Arizona’s business community. The Agenda, in addition to highlighting the Chamber’s priorities at the Legislature and in Washington, outlines the short and long-term goals for the Arizona Manufacturers Council and the Chamber’s policy issue committees.

In 2013, we’ll be working at a state level to:
> Support a world class education system, including the successful adoption of the Arizona > Common Core Standards.
> Reduce health care costs for business and restore Proposition 204.
> Expedite business permitting and licensing requirements.
> Support sales and use tax uniformity and simplification.
> Reduce the insurance premium tax.
> Allow relevant military experience to count towards training requirements for professions that require a state license or certification.

I thought Gov. Brewer’s comments today were excellent. She spoke with conviction behind her contention that the state’s sales tax system – known in Arizona as transaction privilege tax, or TPT – is overly complicated and needs reform. She was backed up in that assertion by the comments from the panel. The Chamber looks forward to adding its voice to this choir that business needs a simpler TPT system, which will in turn lead to greater compliance. TPT reform will make a great next chapter in the tax reform that this governor and the Legislature have advanced the past two years.

I was also heartened to hear the governor make clear her support for Arizona’s Common Core Standards. These new rigorous education standards will play a big role in ensuring that Arizona’s students are prepared for higher education and the workforce. By raising the bar and our expectations, we’re also strengthening Arizona’s competitiveness, making our state even more attractive to job creators as an outstanding place to invest. The Chamber will be in full support of the full integration of the Common Core into Arizona classrooms and the transition from the current AIMS exam to the PARCC assessment, which will be closely aligned with the Common Core curriculum.

The governor also took the opportunity to reflect on a major accomplishment from last session, personnel reform. Because of the work of the governor and the Legislature, more Arizona state employees are treated like their counterparts in the private sector. Last year’s reforms are not just about making it easier to dismiss poorly performing state employees, but rather about making it easier to attract talent and position the state to retain its talented workforce. We were proud to have supported the governor’s personnel reform plan so vigorously.

During our panel featuring Senate President-elect Andy Biggs, Senate Minority Leader-elect Leah Landrum-Taylor, House Speaker Andy Tobin and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, I was encouraged by the comity (and a little comedy) on display from all four legislative leaders. While there are clear differences in ideology and policy, I know everyone in attendance was impressed by their commitment to service and doing the right thing for Arizona.

Like any legislative session, there will no doubt be some dust ups over the path the state should take in critical areas of importance like health care, education, taxation and regulation. But because of our governor and Legislature’s desire to ensure a bright future for our state, I am confident that 2013 will be an excellent year at the state Capitol.

Glenn Hamer is the 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. http://www.azchamber.com/