Tag Archives: Janet Perez

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – September 27, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz: Want to push it to the limit? The Sanctuary on Camelback is offering a program to help you train for triathlons. Remember what Mom said about eating your vegetables? Our health columnist says which vegetables can help you avoid a serious disease. Also, find the best apps to increase your web productivity. Log on every day to find all this and many other interesting business news and features on AZNow.Biz

Moving Valley Arizona 2010

Moving the Valley and Arizona Forward

Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.

That little tune written by Cole Porter and Montana engineer Bob Fletcher has served as the unofficial song of the West for almost 75 years. It’s captured the lure of the West; with all this room, there’s no need to grow up — grow out!

Despite warnings dating back decades, Western cities have been growing out at a rapid clip. Now we have to face the fact that our resources cannot sustain this type of urban sprawl.

It’s estimated that the state’s population will swell to 10 million by around 2040. Eight million of those residents will be living in the “megapolitan” Sun Corridor, a swath of land stretching from the middle of Yavapai County to western Cochise County to the Mexican border.

Fortunately, one organization, Valley Forward Association, has been working steadily on this problem for 40 years. Valley Forward’s mission is to bring business and civic leaders together in order to find ways to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities.

One of Valley Forward’s signature events, the Environmental Excellence Awards, takes place this weekend. The awards program is the state’s oldest and largest environmental competition. The program, now in its 29th year, recognizes buildings and structures, site development and landscape, art in public places, environmental technologies, environmental education/communication, environmental stewardship and livable communities that promote the cause of sustainability. The event is held in partnership with SRP.

While Valley Forward has long been at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the region, several others now have joined the cause. In recognition of that, the U.S. Green Building Council is holding its prestigious Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Nov. 11-13. The keynote speaker is Nobel Peace Prize winner,  former Vice President Al Gore.  AZ Big Media is a proud in-kind partner of Greenbuild.

Another sustainability event that’s making its presence known is AZ BIG Media’s own Southwest Build-It-Green Expo & Conference, presented by SRP. The second annual event takes place March 18-20, 2010.

This year’s inaugural BIG Expo & Conference made good on its promise to be the Southwest’s largest annual event on sustainability for the commercial and residential marketplace. Nearly 9,000 people attended the BIG Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, visiting the up to 300 exhibitors from commercial and residential businesses that offer sustainable products and services that affect everyday life.

The conference portion of the BIG Expo brought together industry experts, Valley leaders, instructors from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and members from such organizations as Valley Forward, Valley Partnership, BOMA, SRP, APS, the U.S. Green Building Council and many more.

While Arizona has made significant progress in the sustainability movement we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Janet Perez
Arizona Business Magazine


Phoenix Children's Hospital Expansion Will Try To Meet Critical Health Care Need, 2008

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Expansion Will Try To Meet Critical Health Care Needs

Building Hope

Phoenix Children’s Hospital expansion will try to meet critical health care needs

By Janet Perez

With the Valley falling short of health care resources such as doctors, nurses and facilities, Phoenix Children’s Hospital has an eye toward future needs as it launches its $588 million expansion. When Phase I of the expansion, which broke ground in May, is completed in 2012, the number of beds at Phoenix Children’s Hospital will grow from 299 to 632.

Those beds will be critical as officials at Phoenix Children’s estimate that by 2030, the number of children in metro Phoenix is projected to increase to more than 1.5 million, compared to 900,000 today. “There is a bed shortage in pediatrics in the Valley, as signified by things that are going on today, where we are basically running full all of the time. We turned away 1,700 children in 2007, so if you look at an admission base of 12,000, it’s 15 percent that are being turned away,” says Robert Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “We already have a crisis. And if you look at the physician side, there are backlogs for many specialties. There are four to six weeks before you can get a new appointment. We have been working to reduce those backlogs. So in response to all of those issues, we are making an expansion of the bricks and mortar, which is the hospital beds themselves. We are also doing a geographic expansion to make ourselves more accessible and to get the specialists themselves — not primary care physicians — but specialists out into the community.”

Along with the expansion, Phoenix Children’s is also busy building a series of ambulatory centers around the Valley, the first of which opened in the East Valley in December at Southern Avenue and Higley Road. The second is set for Avondale and McDowell roads and should be open early in 2009. Another center is set for the Northwest Valley, along with one that already is up and running at Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard.

But the main building effort is taking place on Phoenix Children’s Thomas Road campus. Currently, the hospital is in a cramped location in a landlocked area of Phoenix. Meyer says hospital leadership looked at whether it should buy land in the suburbs and build a new campus altogether before opting to stay put.

“We vetted all those options out and came back to the idea that we really needed to stay basically where we are for a number of reasons,” he says. “One is freeway access and a central location to the Valley. Because we are a high end, tertiary referral center, access and a good central location are important. So literally, getting off the 51 freeway, you’re on our campus.”

For the expansion, property adjacent to the Thomas location was acquired, increasing the size of the campus from 19 acres to more than 34 acres. Phase I improvements include:
• A central plant.
• A 750-car employee-parking garage.
• A new, on-campus Ronald McDonald House.
• A new hospital featuring an 11-story patient tower and outpatient clinic space.
• A new main entry boulevard off Thomas Road.

Dave Cottle, executive director of planning, construction and design for Phoenix Children’s, says there may be a need for a Phase II expansion in the future, but in the meantime, half of the 10th and all of the 11th floor in the new tower will be shelled but not finished in anticipation of a demand for more beds.

“If our bed need increases right away, we can simply finish it off,” Cottle says. “We won’t have to bring the cranes back. We’ll be ready to go. So you build a little flexibility into your projects and that’s what we’ve done.”

The new tower will keep in place such Phoenix Children’s Hospital hallmarks as the bright color palette.

“Colors are everything for kids. You don’t see very many adult hospitals that use bright colors. It works well on kids, where it doesn’t on adults,” Cottle says. “Our artwork is different. It’s very playful versus serious. We have special committees that are going to help us with our artwork, with community input. We are going to have themes in our hospital that have to do with animals.”

Besides the children, construction of the new tower is taking into consideration the young patients’ families as well.

“This is family-centered care, so we not only look at the sick children, we really take care of the parents and give them a space to sleep in the privates rooms, we get them wireless connection to the Internet and easy access down to the cafeteria,” Cottle says.

Kitchell is constructing the new additions and the architectural firm HKS is handling the interior design.

Although the expansion comes with a more than half-a-billion dollar price tag, the current economic slump has not derailed plans, Meyer says.

“All the financing related to debt instruments for the new hospital was done in early ’07, so we avoided all those issues, and we structured it in a way that we are not affected by the current credit crunch in any way,” he says. “In terms of donations, yes, it will be much harder to raise money in this environment than it was two to three years ago. That said, in the longer-term perspective, we’re looking at a capital campaign of about $100 million to $105 million to support the expansion project over the next five to six years. Which again, is well within the capacity of this community to do.”

In fact, Cottle says, the economic malaise has actually helped the expansion, because with the residential building industry at a near standstill, construction workers are now more readily available. The cost of materials is also declining.

“Our hospital will be a steel building. Steel has gone down somewhat over the past few months because of the market,” Cottle says. “So we are enjoying good pricing on steel for instance. Of course, we’re not into the copper, the wiring and such, so we are keeping an eye on that as well. Some of those materials you can pre-purchase to keep the costs down.”

Besides the physical improvements to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the expansion will help the facility maintain its ability to attract new talent. Since taking the helm at Phoenix Children’s in 2003, Meyer says the hospital’s medical group has gone from 46 physicians to 155, many of them specialists in such areas as juvenile rheumatology. In addition, the hospital has opened the state’s only pediatric kidney dialysis unit, and is the only place in Arizona children can go for bone marrow transplants.

The expansion is expected to be a boon to the local economy as well. Phoenix Children’s estimates that the expansion will add 1,800 to 2,000 new jobs to the Valley, in addition to the current annual employee payroll of $164 million and an estimated $11.5 million in uncompensated carelast year.July Cover 2008

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says the hospital’s expansion also fits in with his vision of making the city a center of science, medicine and research. But it’s the intangibles that he finds even more rewarding for the community.

“It represents hope for a lot of people that are going through some of the most difficult and horrifying experiences they will ever face,” he says. “The hospital and its employees really represent this spirit of, what I define, as a city with heart and soul. You can just look at how dedicated the doctors are and the nurses are. I’m grateful to them being an asset to the community.”


AZ Business Magazine July 2008 |
The merger between the Arizona Chamber And The AAI Has Given Business A Stronger Voice, 2008

The merger between the Arizona Chamber And The AAI Has Given Business A Stronger Voice

United and Standing

The merger between the Arizona Chamber and the AAI has given business a stronger voice

By Janet Perez

After years of wooing, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry finally succeeded last year in merging with the Arizona Association of Industries (AAI), and the result has been to give a stronger voice to a wider swath of the state’s business community.

“I think the merger has really served to strengthen the business agenda as a whole. (Legislative) policymakers have sometimes been confused in the past about what business needs and what business wants in this state to strengthen the economy, to strengthen the marketplace. I think the merger has allowed us to speak with a more unified voice,” says Eileen Klein, vice chair of public affairs for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and vice president of government relations for UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “It’s really allowed us to approach the Legislature with more diversity and also with the strength of more business behind our agenda.”
Overtures to merge had been made on-and-off by the chamber to the association for more than a decade, but in the spring of 2007, the talks became serious, says Mark Dobbins, former chairman of the AAI and current vice chairman of manufacturing for the chamber. AAI leaders agreed that by 2007, the chamber had changed to the point it was compatible with the association and they shared almost all of the same concerns.

“When (the AAI) board made the decision that we did not see any distinct differences in our policy positions, that was kind of the point that the wedding happened,” says Dobbins, senior vice president of human resources and general affairs at SUMCO, a manufacturer of electronic-grade silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry.

Not surprisingly, the merger led to a major restructuring of the chamber and its members’ functions. One of the first things the chamber did was restructure its board of directors and executive committee, says Ivan Johnson, chairman of the chamber and vice president of community relations and tele-video at Cox Communications. One major change was to put a board member as the chair of each chamber policy committee.

“And what that has done is that it has involved our board in developing the public policy agenda, which I think gives us a better agenda,” Johnson says.

The merger also brought the AAI’s longtime lobbyist, Jim Norton, who now uses his lobbying skills on behalf of the chamber, Johnson says. The changes have allowed the chamber to craft a more proactive public policy agenda.

“This year, for the first time, once we developed our public policy agenda, we presented that to the Legislature at our Legislative forecast luncheon. Rather than them telling us, which we always invite them to do, we said, ‘Here’s our agenda,’ ” Johnson says. “Those are things we hadn’t done historically.”

In addition, key chamber staff members now regularly attend Legislative hearings that affect the business community, as well as meeting with Legislative leadership and giving Gov. Janet Napolitano briefings every few weeks.

“We are more connected to the process at the capitol, and because of that, we have the opportunity to present the recommendations that come out of the state chamber on behalf of the business community,” Johnson says.

These changes allowed the chamber to accomplish something most said would have been impossible to do this year — make changes to the state’s controversial employer sanctions law. The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, punishes businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants. The chamber has come out in force against the law and has even joined a lawsuit to get it overturned.

“Most betting people thought it would be impossible this year to make any significant changes to help law-abiding businesses through the Legislative process,” says Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the chamber. “Through a combined effort, and working with other business groups and chambers from across the state, we were able to make some important changes to that law.”

One of those changes was to make the law apply only to employees hired after Jan. 1, 2008, and not retroactively as it had originally stated.

Another significant change to the chamber has been to create a fiscal task force that formulates policy both on how it thinks the Legislature should spend state funds and also how to allocate those increasingly scarce resources.

“We took about a dozen people on this task force through an education process of how the budget process at the state capitol works and what are the levers the Legislature and the governor have to pull to solve these issues,” Hamer says. “And then we came up with some recommendations that we then presented to both the Legislature and to the (governor). Then we started a dialogue between all of those folks and ourselves, which I think was very productive in terms of trying to come up with solutions.”July Cover 2008

While the merger has gone relatively smoothly internally, it did initially cause some confusion within the business community, Klein says. An announcement made in January when the chamber released its Legislative business agenda “really helped to clarify that this is really going to be an entity that is going to speak out on behalf of the statewide business community,” Klein says

Another challenge is to make sure members of the defunct AAI understand they hold a prominent place within the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We wanted to integrate them into the chamber because we believe that together we are stronger. But we also wanted them to continue to maintain an identity within the chamber, which we think makes us all stronger. They are not losing their identity; we are keeping them visible and their point of view very front-and-center in our deliberations in the things that we advocate for,” Johnson says. “I think the merger has been one of the best things for both organizations.”

AZ Business Magazine July 2008 |