Tag Archives: January 2010

HR Awards 2010

2010 Human Resources Awards – Honorees and Finalists

2010 has been a tough year, especially for those in human resources who have the difficult task of dealing with the unpleasant consequences of a down economy. It’s time to show recognition to the hard-working HR professionals for all that they do for Arizona’s businesses.

The following are the honorees and finalists for the 2010 HR Awards:

HR Director of the Year

Honoree:
Maureen SterbachMaureen SterbachVice President of Human Resources
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
When Maureen Sterbach joined St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in 1998, the hospital turnover rate was 24 percent and morale was predictably low. Flash forward 12 years and the picture couldn’t be any more different. The hospital turnover rate is now 10 percent and growth has doubled to more than 5,000 employees.
Finalist:
Teresa BuelowTeresa BuelowVice President of Human Resources
Lapre Scali & Co. Insurance Services

HR Industry Leader of the Year

Honoree:
Cindy JonesCindy JonesVice President of the Human Resources Division
Synergy Seven
This past year, Synergy Seven has guided companies through the difficult decision of downsizing. Cindy Jones’ veteran human resources skills came in handy during these precarious situations. The company’s main role is to provide support during restructuring, downsizing and reinventing, resulting in a successful transition.
Finalist:
Christine NicholsChristine NicholsHuman Resource Manager
Human Capital Strategies

HR Team of the Year

Honoree:
Direct Alliance HR TeamDirect Alliancewww.directalliance.com
Employees in HR Dept.: 12
At Direct Alliance, there is no doubt as to what the outsourcing provider’s most valuable asset is — its work force. Direct Alliance’s “human capital” initiatives produce and retain the most innovative work force possible. The team filled more than 1,400 professional sales positions in 2010, doubling 2009′s number.
Finalists:
HR Team Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport AuthorityPhoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport AuthorityEmployees in HR Dept.: 4
HR Team City of ScottsdaleCity of ScottsdaleEmployees in HR Dept.: 29
HR Team KitchellKitchellEmployees in HR Dept.: 7

Measuring CityScape’s Impact On Downtown Phoenix

CityScape, a $900 million multi-use project nearing first-phase completion in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, will finally fill the so-called “hole in the doughnut.” Located on a 3-block tract centered at the zero-zero intersection of Central Avenue and Washington Street, CityScape is seen as the catalyst for long-overdue development in the city’s core. Key players in this project, the biggest private-sector undertaking ever in Downtown Phoenix, use such phrases to describe its impact as:

“It’s going to put the heart back into Downtown Phoenix.”
“It’s going to redefine Downtown, giving the area a critical mass of retail and amenities.”
“It’s really going to help change the face of Downtown Phoenix.”

Dave Kreitor, deputy city manager for the City of Phoenix, has helped guide the Downtown area through an unprecedented period of growth, but there was always a hitch. “When I was economic development director 15 years ago, we talked about those blocks being the hole in the doughnut,” he explains. “We would never be truly effective with our Downtown redevelopment activities until that area was developed.”

Spanning Washington Street to Jefferson Street, and Second Street to First Avenue, CityScape is a 1.8 MSF project featuring a 27-story tower that will be home to myriad retail outlets, prestigious law firms and other businesses. The development’s first office tenants are expected to move in by March, with retailers showing up in April. The bulk of the tenants should be up and running by July.

Kreitor expects CityScape to create a center of activity that will relate well to nearby US Airways Center, Chase Field, the Phoenix Convention Center, Arizona State University’s Downtown campus and the core office market.

Leasing Up
As of late November 2009, leasing activity was on target. Jeff Moloznik, development manager for RED Development, says nearly 75% of the 575,000 SF of office space, and 75% of the 180,000 SF of retail space, were leased. Rates PSF were being negotiated with retailers individually, depending on the tenant, Moloznik says.

Office
Jerry Roberts, leasing broker of CB Richard Ellis, says CityScape office space is going for low-to-mid $30 PSF, depending on the length of the lease. “The pre-leasing went better than almost any building I’ve ever been involved with.”

The pace of leasing CityScape office space would be considered very successful in any real estate market, let alone the market of the last two years, Roberts adds.

One of the tenants, Squire Sanders and Dempsey, a law firm with about 110 employees, is moving across the street from the Renaissance II Building. Robert Matia, a partner at Squire Sanders, says the floor layout at CityScape is ideal for the reduced amount of space needed for secretaries.

“Lawyers coming out of law schools have spent so much time on the computer that they prefer to type their own first draft on many documents,” Matia says. The law firm will occupy 72,000 SF on 3.5 floors, with room to expand.

Represented by CB Richard Ellis, the brokerage process for Squire Sanders went smoothly. “We knew RED Development was a great group to work with,” Matia says. “They were anxious to have us there and were accommodating to our needs.”

Retail
Don Keuth, president of Phoenix Community Alliance, says CityScape creates synergy for the area. “It sends a tremendous statement about Downtown Phoenix, that it is a vital place where investments can be successful.”

He applauds RED Development, which is also the brokerage firm for the retail portion of CityScape, for making the project a reality.

Among the challenges was providing enough easy-access parking, especially for retail customers. “We accomplished this by creating an open and inviting below-grade parking environment that allows visitors to intuitively find their way from their below-grade parking stall to their retail destination,” Moloznik says.

Retailers include CVS Pharmacy, Urban Outfitters, Lucky Strike upscale bowling, Sam Fox Restaurants, Designer District, The Breakfast Club and Gold’s Gym.

The key to maintaining and enhancing a successful Downtown, Keuth says, is to get more people to live in the immediate area. “We need to create a reasonably affordable housing option so young professionals can live here and enjoy the area,” he explains.


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

First Tower Of CityScape Development To Open Soon

A new 308-foot office tower notches the skyline of Downtown Phoenix. Hunt Construction Group recently topped off the 27-floor, 600,000 SF tower with its attached 3-story, 45,000 SF retail structure and 5-level underground parking garage, which opens in February.

When completed, the 1.2 MSF CityScape development will include a second tower featuring a 250-room, 400,000 SF boutique hotel; an additional 135,000 SF of retail, including a grocery store and pharmacy; a revamped, greener Patriots Square Park with retail elements; and two underground parking garages.

The RED Development project extends across 2 city blocks bordered by First Avenue and First Street, and Washington and Jefferson streets. A second-level pedestrian bridge will connect the 2 blocks.

Planning/Zoning
Planning began in early 2006. Keith Earnest, vice president of development for RED Development, says the permitting and zoning process went smoothly with no major obstacles.

“The City of Phoenix really wanted this project to happen Downtown, and they teamed with us to make it happen,” he says. Only minor zoning amendments were made due to old alleys that traversed the land, which was made up of multiple parcels.

Some infrastructure work was required. For the electric, RED Development trenched back to the Garfield substation — about 6 city blocks and under the light rail system that wraps around two sides of the project. Water lines also were replaced due to their age.

Originally planned to span 3 city blocks, the project’s condominium tower was put on hold due to the current real estate market.

Strong Foundation
One of the deepest excavations in the Downtown area in some time, approximately 275,000 cubic yards of soil materials were excavated to a depth of more than 65 feet. The dig uncovered many interesting artifacts:

  • A bowling alley with more than 150 buried bowling balls from the 1940s.
  • Below-grade bank vaults.
  • Foundations from the historic Hotel Luhrs built in 1887.
  • Remains of prehistoric pit houses of Native American farmers who lived in the Valley between A.D. 1 and 1450.

The depth requirement of the hole was to accommodate the extra-thick mat footing for the elevator cores in the two towers. Surprisingly, RED Development says it didn’t encounter any problems, such as hitting water pipes or storage tanks.

The biggest challenge was designing and constructing the project to go on-line at different times and still be functional, says Robert Tindall, chairman of Callison Architects, the architectural firm over CityScape.

The rest of Phase I, which includes the new park with surrounding retail, is currently under construction by The Weitz Co. and will open June 2010. Phase II, the South Tower (hotel) and its retail structure, is slated for completion in June 2011.

Precise coordination and timing are needed to meet these tight schedules. For example, Hunt built temporary shoring walls to allow the office tower (and the portion of the garage under it), to get underway while utility relocation under Central Avenue proceeded concurrently. The remaining part of the garage, which extends under Central Avenue, was built later. In addition, parts of Phase II have been built ahead of time; for example, the elevator cores that will serve the future hotel tower already have been incorporated into the garage.

Construction Details
The office tower is a complete concrete post-tension structure, and was cast using a flying formwork system, which allowed for larger concrete pours. This method resulted in pouring a floor of concrete each week. The retail portion of CityScape — a 3-story, fireproofed steel structure with concrete topping slabs — was attached to the concrete frame of the office tower.

A unitized curtain wall system, designed for speed of construction, was used as the skin on the tower. Coupled with the flying formwork method, multiple trades were able to work on the tower floor-by-floor and enclose the structure at a much faster pace.

“Within a month of finishing the concrete, we were done with the glass on the building,” says Brent Leif, construction manager for Hunt Construction Group.

As of October 2009, the project consumed 8,500 tons of rebar, 63,881 cubic yards of concrete, 507 tons of steel and 206,000 SF of glazing. The tower was built with 8,159 lites of insulated high performance glass and 1,744 aluminum panels.

Designing CityScape
CityScape is tied into the Northwind Downtown district cooling system. Other sustainable features include high-performance, reflective glass, and a curtain wall system that was engineered to a high PSF standard for water infiltration. A raised “mesa level” will connect the North and South towers, and was carefully positioned to provide optimum shade throughout the year as a pedestrian haven.

The tower features a street-level lobby enclosed with a structural glass wall and a second-level lobby, which are connected by escalators. Lobby finishes include Bianco Dorre floor tile with noisettle limestone accents, Torrean wall stone, custom-ribbed light Emperador stream wall stone, and accent walls of ribbed Bendhiem glass. The ceiling is a mix of decorative painted sheetrock and suspended wood panel ceiling panels.

Steps on the exterior of the office tower add interest and texture to the facade, according to the architect. Retail was designed around the perimeter of CityScape to activate the street level of the project.

Colors for the project include beige and reddish browns “for a more contemporary and fresh feel that emphasizes CityScape is the new heart of Downtown Phoenix,” notes Tindall.

“This project not only provides a nice skyline statement, but links the various sections of Downtown that have been isolated for years,” he says. “We have created the connection between the sports, civic, cultural and municipal (venues), creating the new business and financial center for Phoenix.”

www.callison.com
www.cityscapephoenix.com
www.huntconstructiongroup.com
www.phoenix.gov
www.reddevelopment.com


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

GCU’s Executive Education Programs Focus On Busy Business Leader

By taking academic principles and putting them in real-world scenarios, the Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is helping companies enhance the level at which they are operating. It does this through leadership programs that help busy executives work more collaboratively and with a constant eye on the big picture.

“Companies are looking for ways to enhance their competitive position, identify new opportunities and foster the development of their people,” says Ken Blanchard College of Business Dean Kim Donaldson. “We’ve developed programs that can help enterprises accomplish great things.”

The Corporate MBA Program offers companies an opportunity to identify and train a select group of promising future leaders with content similar to that found in the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA program.

“This program is in direct response to what is happening in the economy,” says Don Fraser, senior manager of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “Though they might have cut expenses, such as tuition reimbursement, companies still face important issues such as succession planning. We can help companies grow their internal teams.”

The Corporate MBA program includes a four-hour, in-person kick-off presentation by Ken Blanchard.

“Ken Blanchard is such a motivator, and the opportunity for companies to have him come on-site and share his philosophies with their executives is priceless,” Fraser says.

GCU has staffed the program with top-notch faculty who will come to a place of business for two in-person sessions, while monitoring students throughout an eight-week course. There are a total of 10 modules over a 20-month period.

Since the cost can be spread over two years, it can be conducted completely tax-free for employers.

“We have priced this so that with more students enrolled, the tax benefit for businesses just gets better, and if 14 students are enrolled it can be a complete write-off,” Fraser says.

For executives who desire a more intensive experience, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA Program offers students a 12-month program covered both in-person and online, in a class that includes students from a variety of industries and disciplines.

Known for the best-selling “One Minute Manager” and as an entrepreneur heading the San Diego-based Ken Blanchard Companies, Blanchard partnered with GCU to offer the one-of-a-kind, “leadership-first” program for executives. The residency curriculum, taught face-to-face by Blanchard and some of the nation’s top business leaders, is based largely on his writings, “Leading at a Higher Level” and “One Minute Entrepreneur.”

The 12-month program of study consists of three intensive four-day sessions facilitated by Blanchard, both in Phoenix and in San Diego, while students take the remaining coursework online. It is based on principles Blanchard has honed with Fortune 500 companies over the last 40 years. Underpinning it all, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA places a strong emphasis on character, ethics, values and identifying a higher purpose and vision for a company.

“We constantly hear from students that they learn something one day and use it the next day, often with measurable results,” says Taylor Carr, director of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “The impact can be immediate and profound, especially since our participants are in leadership roles and already have a mindset for leading positive change.”

One of the program’s recent graduates experienced this first-hand. As the person responsible for the training, policy and procedures for the 8,000 flight attendants with US Airways when Flight 1549 went into the Hudson River, Scottsdale resident Sherri Shamblin was able to immediately incorporate lessons learned from her executive MBA classes into the crisis situation.

“I had to lead by serving them, and surprisingly enough, that’s what many executives tend to forget. Rather than being a self-serving leader, you need to be a serving leader,” Shamblin says.

The Ken Blanchard EMBA program is highly rated for its participation by respected business leaders. Its advisory board members include former Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett, author of “Nuts! and Guts” Kevin Freiberg, nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay and former Senior Vice President of Corporate Governance for Tyco International Eric Pillmore.

As Ken Blanchard EMBA graduate and Avnet executive Fred Cuen experienced, the program’s curriculum can be customized for internal teams to help businesses work smarter. Cuen brought one of his favorite marketing exercises, led by Grand Canyon Professor Kevin McClean, to his colleagues at Avnet Technology Solutions to help them understand the interrelationship of the marketing mix.

“The exercise is designed to emphasize important concepts such as the value of consumer research, innovation, financial performance, market performance and, most importantly, customer satisfaction,” McClean said.

Cuen, who is a senior vice president and general manager at Avnet TS in the Americas, adds: “With a large company like ours, it is critical for our leadership team to gain real-life experience through education. In this case, we took a group of managers through a computer-simulation program that focused on running a business. Giving them hands-on experience in running a business prepared them for their future leadership positions. This exercise went a long way in helping our executives keep that big-picture perspective.”


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010


Thunderbird Uses Faculty, Students And Alumni To Advise Businesses That Want To Go International

As the world emerged from World War II, a visionary leader in the U.S. Air Force named Gen. Barton Kyle Yount dreamed of creating a business school that would focus exclusively on international management.

That dream was realized April 8, 1946, when Thunderbird School of Global Management received its charter, with Yount as the school’s first president. The campus opened on the site of Thunderbird Field, a historic airbase established to train American, Canadian, British and Chinese pilots during the war.

Today, Thunderbird is home to a strategy consulting unit called the Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network, which advises clients on their global business challenges.

Traditional strategy consultancies offer advisory services built on industry knowledge and client-led solutions. This has some upsides because it allows participants to replicate successful business models adopted by other clients. But the traditional model also has some drawbacks because it can force participants to fit a “round” strategy into a “square” organization.

More and more business schools also offer their own version of consulting services to corporations. The academic model normally involves teams of enthusiastic students who generate innovative ideas. The Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network takes the traditional academic model of solely student-led projects a step further.

By melding the talents of a pool of strategy consultants, world-class faculty, MBA students, alumni specialists and the world’s top advisers, the Thunderbird network provides globally integrated advisory services to clients in virtually any market.

The Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network works with organizations looking to grow their business nationally and internationally that need the support of experienced professionals who have done this many times before.

If an organization is challenged with getting its products onto the shelves of a supermarket in India, if it is looking for the right partner across North America, or if it is looking to know what its competitors are up to, the Thunderbird network attempts to shed light on how best to move in the right direction.

The network also helps customers execute their strategy and provides them with the right tools to take on their strategic challenges. These tools range from providing intelligence on the industry playing field — such as competitors, potential partners, market size and pricing — to a defined go-to-market strategy or simulation tools aimed at mapping potential market-development scenarios.

The Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network has been working closely on a wide range of projects with businesses in Arizona such as Fender and P.F. Chang’s to small upstarts. P.F. Chang’s, for example, came to Thunderbird wanting to benchmark its corporate social responsibility strategy with the best in class.

Along with focusing on the protection of a company’s intellectual property rights, the Thunderbird network also teaches clients how to carry on the work once the engagement is over, focusing on knowledge transfer and not just project execution.

In addition, the combination of practical consulting skills and the theoretical thinking and academic research brought by faculty ensures that the network tailors its solutions to the clients’ specific business challenges.

This can be done because the Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network can pull resources from almost anywhere on the planet. Thunderbird has 38,000 alumni scattered around the globe and across most industries.

So if a client needs to know more about solar energy suppliers in Indonesia or Native American business ventures in Colorado, there will almost always be an expert on hand from Thunderbird’s network who can give first-hand insight.

Examples of this broad expertise were plentiful at the 2009 Thunderbird Global Reunion in Macau in November. Alumni from all over the world came together to celebrate their successes and share global business knowledge.

Events such as these lead to new opportunities for the Thunderbird Learning Consulting Network, both in terms of new sales and new methodologies for future projects. So even on an airport runway in Macau, there is a piece of Arizona working to improve the way business is done.


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010


TREO Is Working To Position The Tucson Region For Post-Recession Growth

The past year was unprecedented in the U.S. economy. As experienced nationwide, the recent credit and housing crises resulted in rapid job losses and extreme economic uncertainty. While the situation at the national and state level is critical, leaders in the Tucson region are working to take our destiny into our own hands, providing leadership in developing local tools and programs to create jobs for our citizens.

Gains experienced in 2009 were a result of our ability to react quickly and develop programs and initiatives to mitigate the effects of the worst recession in 30-plus years. Significant progress was made in addressing the work force skills gap, improving and expanding our best practices, communications to internal and external customers, and thought leadership.

In response to the economic conditions, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) developed a plan called Tucson: Job One. In conjunction with all our community partners, we created a proposed immediate action plan with clearly defined priorities to address strengthening the local economy, creating and maintaining jobs, and spending. This is our chance to synergize the region’s recent strategic planning efforts and priorities, demonstrating how all local economic drivers can work together to emerge stronger and with a much more diversified economy.

To address local economic conditions, in early 2008 TREO embarked on a comprehensive survey of 170 of the top local companies in an effort to gather data on those planning to hire new employees within the next year. Companies that responded to the survey reported a total of more than 2,200 open positions anticipated to be filled within the next 12 months. TREO then created a job portal on its Web site as part of the Tucson: Job One program. Available at www.treoaz.org/Tucson-Job-Portal.aspx, the job portal provides links to the career pages of a sampling of companies that reported plans to hire despite the state of the economy.

The region realizes it needs to be poised and ready when the economy improves, so TREO has instituted some programs to help facilitate readiness.

Shovel ready and fast track permitting
TREO’s Shovel Ready and Fast Track Permitting program involves the certification of shovel-ready sites for fast-track permitting and development processes. The program makes the Tucson region more competitive in attracting and expanding new, high-skilled/high-wage jobs.

Certified shovel-ready sites are parcels that are on the market for sale or lease, appropriately zoned, pre-qualified to meet local planning requirements, served by utilities, and with identified access to transportation linkages. The certification requirements are designed to ensure the ability of a firm to proceed immediately to the building permit phase and be able to receive approval of plans within 90 days.

California job development program
Arizona Sun Corridor: Open for Business is an unprecedented partnership between the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), TREO, the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp., and the city of Flagstaff that is designed to bring high-wage jobs and investment to the Sun Corridor, a megapolitan projected as one of the 10 U.S. markets expected to see most of the nation’s growth in the next 35 years.

The program pools resources to place a contractor in California who will be responsible for researching companies and qualifying those poised to expand operations. The contractor actively generates business development leads in targeted industries such as aerospace/defense, health care/bioscience, transportation/logistics, renewable energy, and information communications technology.

Transportation and logistics focus
TREO’s efforts in the transportation and logistics industry focus on developing and presenting a regional implementation plan that positions the Tucson region as a recognized global logistics and distribution hub. The goal is to facilitate economic growth, prosperity and opportunity for the Tucson region through the promotion of freight, transportation and logistics.

The Tucson region possesses a strong transportation infrastructure, including interstate highway, railroad and air freight connections. The convergence of Interstate 10 and Interstate 19 provides the region with connections to major east-west and north-south trade corridors. The same advantage holds for the region’s rail connections — the Union Pacific Sunset Route runs east-west through Tucson, along with the north-south connection to Mexico via Nogales. The existing Port of Tucson intermodal operation is a huge asset for the expansion of rail opportunities in Southern Arizona. Additionally, current air freight operations include integrated carriers such as Federal Express and cargo operations provided via passenger carriers. Expansion possibilities exist for air freight with the ongoing expansion of the air cargo warehouse facilities at Tucson International Airport. Recent surveys indicate more than 150 logistics-based businesses are currently serving the needs of freight movement in the region, and more than 72,000 jobs are associated with the existing manufacturing, warehouse, and transportation sectors.

Aerospace and defense industry recognized
According to economy.com, Tucson’s highly concentrated aerospace product and parts manufacturing sector has an 8.35 location quotient, a ratio calculated to compare a region’s industrial activity level to the rest of the United States. The location quotient means Tucson is 8.35 times more concentrated in the aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry than the average of all metropolitan statistical areas across the country.
In August 2009, Business Facilities magazine named Tucson No. 6 on its list of the top 10 metro areas for aerospace/defense manufacturing in its fifth annual ranking report. The ranking is primarily based on a comparison of industry sector employment and wages. Also evaluated were major projects and facility expansion/relocation activity for a region in the past 12 months, and the number of major aerospace and defense contractors headquartered in the region.

Solar heats up
Tucson is home to a growing number of companies involved in the development and production of solar technology, including several recent investments from Germany, Europe’s solar hub. In 2009, TREO conducted an economic analysis revealing that there are close to 50 companies in the region involved in solar-related activities, directly or indirectly supporting more than 2,000 jobs with a total annual economic impact of more than $400 million.

New expansions and relocations
Switzerland-based Roche bought Ventana Medical Systems in early 2008, and purchased 17.1 acres for $8.9 million to expand its campus. Ventana is now the headquarters of one of Roche’s global business units that focuses on diagnostics. Roche CEO Severin Schwan says the company plans to expand research and development laboratories at Ventana’s campus and increase staffing levels from about 750 to more than 1,000.

Tucson-based Salutaris Medical Devices, a startup medical devices firm, received $1.5 million in Series A financing by Arizona venture capital firm Translational Accelerator (TRAC). TRAC, a private, Arizona-based, $20 million bioscience venture capital group, is Arizona’s first venture fund established to target early-stage bioscience companies. TRAC investments only support firms located in Arizona or those planning to move to the state.

The Rockefeller Group Development Corporation broke ground on the first of three distribution buildings on a 21.5-acre, pad-ready approved industrial site in the Tucson Airport Commerce Center. The first building, a 113,000 square foot state-of-the-art speculative distribution building was completed and ready for occupancy in June 2009.

Schletter, a manufacturer and distributor of solar mounting systems based in Germany, chose Tucson for its first U.S.-based operations center. Schletter has operated more than 40 years in the design and manufacturing of steel and aluminum products, and rose to be the largest provider of solar mounting systems in Europe, supplying utility-sized PV-projects. Following the German lead, the Tucson facility offers everything from design and development to manufacturing of Schletter products.

Since TREO was formed in 2005, more than 40 companies have announced their relocation or expansion in the region, adding thousands of new jobs and contributing more than $1 billion in fiscal and economic impact.

Laura Shaw, senior vice president of marketing and communications for TREO contributed to this report.


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Knowledge Of Heart Attack And Stroke Symptoms Can Help Save Lives

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often, people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

Chest discomfort — Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body — Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath — this can occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911.

Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get life-saving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff also are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

If you can’t access emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

Stroke warning signs
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay calling for help:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Immediately call 911 or the EMS number so an ambulance — ideally with advanced life support — can be sent for you. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action.

If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogenactivator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. The drug is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of stroke within three hours of stroke symptom onset.

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

18th Annual Start! Phoenix Heart Walk Set To Break Attendance Record

Have a heart and take a walk on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Tempe Beach Park, at the Start! Phoenix Heart Walk, sponsored by Health Net of Arizona.

This fun, 5K and 1 mile, family fitness event energizes the Valley to step up in the fight against heart disease and stroke. The walk is sponsored in part by FOX 10 and My 45. Join Ron Hoon, anchor of FOX 10’s Arizona Morning, along with KEZ’s Marty Manning, and more than 15 thousand walkers to help eliminate cardiovascular disease. Top walkers and corporate sponsors will have exclusive access to this year’s VIP tent. The beautiful VIP area is created by local interior design guru Anita Lang, Allied Member ASID of Interior Motives Inc.

The American Heart Association’s signature event will feature entertainment, exercise and lots of fun. The event wouldn’t be possible without outstanding community partners that include Health Net of Arizona, Marketside by Walmart, Weight Watchers, Catholic Healthcare West, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems, Abrazo, Mayo Clinic, 99.9 KEZ, Clear Channel Outdoors and Movin 97.5.

Participants earn incentive prizes by collecting donations. Money raised helps to fund life-saving research and community education programs supported by the American Heart Association. After the walk, the Wellness Village is in full swing, packed with heart-healthy activities, presentations, screenings, games, a live band and celebrity appearances.

Survivors: The heart behind the walk
Heart disease and stroke survivors are a very important part of the Start! Heart and Stroke Walk. All heart disease survivors are recognized with a red cap, and all stroke survivors with a white cap. “In tribute to” stickers also are available for participants walking in celebration of a survivor or in memory of a loved one lost to heart disease or stroke. So mark your calendars. We hope to see you.

Start! Phoenix
February 27, 2010
Tempe Beach Park
Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue

8 a.m. — Registration and Opening Ceremonies
9 a.m. — 5K Walk and 1-Mile Stroke Walk
10 a.m. — Wellness Village and Entertainment

Registration Information:
www.phoenixheartwalk.org
(602) 414-5320

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Grand Canyon University Commits To Go Red For Women Campaign

Many in the Valley still don’t realize that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. But with long-standing health care educator Grand Canyon University (GCU) putting its muscle behind the annual Go Red For Women campaign, you can bet the issue will become top of mind.

“With our penetration in the local health care market and our ability to advocate through our 30,000 students, faculty and staff, we can take the community education component of the Go Red For Women effort to a very grassroots, but also broad-based level,” says Fran Roberts, RN, PhD., vice president of strategic business alliances of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Grand Canyon University.

Roberts is chair of the annual Go Red For Women campaign and luncheon, and GCU has agreed to a three-year sponsorship of the program. The power of GCU’s reach through its campus students and faculty, as well as its online student population, will take the outreach well beyond the Valley’s borders.

“The multiplier effects of our partnership should really help drive home the message throughout our community that heart disease continues to be the No. 1 health threat to women,” says Roberts, who will lead a community speakers bureau of advocates within GCU to promote the heart-healthy message.

GCU already has plans underway to mark the importance of the cause, making an effort to integrate components of the program into every aspect of the university, from food choices in the student union to “going red” at sporting events, and bringing in Go Red messages to its community events that reach tens of thousands of residents each year.

“Red represents much more than a color on this campus,” Roberts says.

The university will wear red with pride as the Grand Canyon team participates in the Start! Phoenix Heart Walk on Feb. 27, and will celebrate National Heart Month with a variety of activities.

The entire campus plans to be immersed in red  — including faculty, staff, students and wrapped buildings — on a designated date in February when the university hosts a Wear Red fashion show on the campus promenade and an important basketball game takes place.

In addition, GCU will host a Hearts in the Arts competition in the spring, encouraging high school students to celebrate heart-healthy living in a competition to benefit the Heart Association.

The sixth annual Go Red For Women luncheon takes place on May 14, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

www.gcu.edu

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Our Culture Of Physical Inactivity Is Killing Us

Cardiovascular disease is our nation’s No.1 killer. Physical inactivity significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Seventy percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise, blaming lack of time and lack of motivation.

People need help

  • People are less active due to technology, transportation, etc.
  • Sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950.
  • Almost 65 percent of American adults are overweight or obese.
  • Americans work an average of 47 hours a week — 164 more hours a year than 20 years ago.
  • Agricultural and manual laborers represent only 25 percent of the work force, 50 percent less than in 1950.

Companies need help too

  • Obesity costs American companies $225.8 billion per year in health-related productivity losses.
  • The average health care cost exceeds $3,000 per person annually.
  • An obese employee annually costs an employer an additional $460 to $2,500 in medical expenditures and absenteeism.
  • Preventable illnesses make up 70 percent of illness costs in the U.S.
  • The economic drain will only worsen with time as the percentage of the population over 65 is predicted to rise from 12 percent today to 30 percent in 2030.

Helping people

  • Individuals can gain two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous exercise (the “2-4-1” benefit).
  • Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce risk of stroke, bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and high blood pressure.
  • Physically active people save $500 a year in health care costs.
  • Walking has the lowest drop-out rate of any physical activity.

Helping companies

  • Employers can save $16 for every $1 spent on health.
  • Fitness programs have reduced employer health care costs by 20 percent to 55 percent.
  • Reducing just one health risk increases productivity and reduces absenteeism.
  • Every dollar invested in worksite health promotion programs averages between a $1 and $3.50 savings in health care and absenteeism costs.

What is Start!

Start! is the American Heart Association’s groundbreaking national campaign that calls on all American companies and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health in order to live longer, heart-healthy lives through walking. Promoting physical activity through workplace walking programs can help employees reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke and lead to longer, stronger, healthier lives.

Through Start!, the American Heart Association is challenging corporate America to create a culture of physical activity that can help companies address rising health care costs.

It’s also a call to action that evokes active, year-round participation in walking and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke by supporting the American Heart Association. By participating in the Start! Walking Program you are setting an example for your employees. If leaders show they have made health a priority, employees will do the same, resulting in an increase in productivity and a decline in health care costs.

In addition, Start! is a long-term commitment to fight the major causes of heart disease and stroke in American adults through a comprehensive walking and nutrition program. Companies that sign up for the Start! Walking Program receive a guide that includes a step-by-step plan to kick off a business’ Walking Program, as well as tips on how to maximize employee participation. By following the steps presented, you can encourage and motivate your employees to get involved, stay involved and improve their health. To learn more visit www.americanheart.org or call (602) 414-5353.

Why your company should get involved

Investing in the health of employees is one of the best decisions a company can make. At least 25 percent of the health care costs incurred by working adults are attributed to modifiable health risks such as poor diet and lack of exercise.

With more pressure today than ever before, Corporate America is struggling to be profitable while health care costs continue to rise and attack their most important resource — employees. Most executives know that creating a wellness environment is the only way to have healthier employees and ultimately, lower health care costs.

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

BLT Steak Offers Fine Food In A Classy, Yet Casual Setting

BLT — Oh, there’s bacon, lettuce and tomato alright, but not in the way you would expect. BLT Steak actually stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, named after its famous chef and the master behind the magic of this great dining experience. As part of the BLT Restaurant Group, the Scottsdale location is one of many restaurant ventures with homes in cities from New York to Los Angeles, and even San Juan, Puerto Rico. One thing that remains constant at all the restaurants is Tourondel’s devotion to fine ingredients, with simply prepared cuisine served in a relaxed dining atmosphere.

BLT Steak is known for its signature modern American steakhouse menu that is supplemented by weekly blackboard specials. The restaurant recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at the renovated Camelback Inn and continues to impress guests with great dining in a casually elegant setting. Chef De Cuisine Marc Hennessy has created a blend of American fare with a French twist, also paying homage to the location with hints of Southwestern seasonings and flavors.

After much discussion, my dining companions and I finally ordered some appetizers. We opted for the crabcakes and tuna tartare — little did we know that this was only the beginning of course after course, bite after bite of delicious dining. The crabcake, complemented by remoulade and radish salad, tasted delicious. But our table was simply blown away by the tuna tartare. The tuna was served on a plate of ice — a detail that would ultimately seal the deal as the table favorite — resulting in a pleasant, chilled taste, packed with the flavors of avocado, soy-lime dressing and a whisper of wasabi. Divine. Did I mention this was only the beginning of our meal? Our knowledgeable and friendly server, Jeanie, also brought out a chicken liver pate with crunchy, toasted bread and a fine assortment of antipasto.

Next, we were surprised with some massive carbohydrate creations. Giant Gruyere-crusted popovers, coupled with butter and sea salt, were brought to our table. The sheer size of these concoctions was intimidating, but once you broke through that crispy layer and unearthed the airy, warm, soft bread center, all fears disappeared. I indulged in one whole popover, though I really did try to stop myself, knowing that a full meal awaited.

We rounded out our starter selections with crispy field greens, flavorful roasted beets, and beefsteak tomatoes that impressed our table even further. What was next we wondered? The answer: more great-tasting food.

Sauteed dover sole, 8-oz filet, 14-oz New York Strip and braised short ribs were our entree selections. Just as the popovers had thrown us for a loop, so too did the entrees and the accompanying sides. We were lucky to sample a true assortment, everything from potato gratin and grilled asparagus to stuffed mushroom caps. We certainly got our daily dose of vegetables, even if some were served with bacon, as was the case with the brussels sprouts. As one of my dining companions noted, “the only way to do brussels sprouts is with bacon.” I can’t argue that one. But bacon or no bacon, every dish left us wanting more — and wishing we had the room in our stomachs to accommodate it.

The fish was buttery and light, simply melting in your mouth with each bite. Of course, we had to sample some signature steaks at a restaurant with the entree in its moniker, and we weren’t disappointed. The New York Strip had a zesty tang thanks to a peppercorn sauce. The filet’s medium-well cooked flavors were complemented by my choice of red wine sauce (FYI there’s myriad sauces to choose from), and the braised short ribs also were well received.

Alas, our meal was slowly coming to an end. Despite the fact that not one of us thought we could muster another bite, we simply couldn’t leave without having dessert. Our commitment to the full dining experience was rewarded by the three desserts we selected: a warm chocolate tart, a peanut butter chocolate mousse and a blueberry-lemon meringue pie. The tart was incredibly rich, but was paired well with the coolness of a dollop of pistachio ice cream. The peanut butter chocolate mousse, served with banana ice cream, was an interesting mix with a great balance of flavors. And last, but certainly not least, I surprised myself with my personal favorite of the night. Normally, anything chocolate wins in my book, but the fresh fruit flavors of the pie and the tartness of the lemon sorbet were a perfect ending to a meal fit for a king. For a truly satisfying meal, excellent service and an overall pleasant dining experience, BLT Steak doesn’t disappoint.

If You Go:
BLT Steak Scottsdale
At Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa
5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 905-7979
www.bltscottsdale.com

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

First Job: Donald A. Smith Jr., President And CEO, SCF Arizona

Donald A. Smith, Jr.
President and CEO, SCF Arizona

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
My first job was my newspaper route delivering the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. The most important lesson I learned was the importance of being diligent and responsible. The news agency would put written complaints on my bundle of papers for a number of reasons (such as a wet paper, not bagged properly, a paper left in an inappropriate place or a missing paper). It really bothered me on the rare occasions when I received a complaint, not because I would get in trouble, but because I’d let someone down. I knew from my own parents how important that morning paper was to people.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
I was hired as a personal lines underwriter trainee in 1975. I had no idea what this job entailed but it was a tough time in the economy (much worse than today, I believe) and I needed to work! The job involved deciding whether to insure people for automobile and/or homeowners insurance, and what price we would charge them. From this job I learned an important skill: communication. I learned that the way you communicate is as important as what is communicated, and the tougher the message, the more thoughtful one must be. It was here that I learned to deliver the most difficult decisions in person or at least by phone, and not in writing. I find many others today have not learned this lesson.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
For my paper route it depended on the number of papers I delivered. I think I was paid two pennies a paper for the daily and a nickel a paper for the Sunday paper. I usually had about 35 dailies and 70 Sundays, so that was about $8 a week. For my job as an underwriter, I made a salary of $8,200 a year and no bonus. Try living on that today!

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
I had many mentors, but the one that influenced me most was Dan Smith (Do you believe it? Don Smith working for Dan Smith!).

Dan was the western region personal lines VP for our company. Dan taught me two important things: tenacity and straightforward honesty. I give him credit for pushing me to a level of accomplishment I myself didn’t believe could be done, and doing it with a direct, honest approach. Dan was not one for mincing words and this made everyone clear as to expectations. Most importantly, those expectations while a stretch, were never an impossibility. And he knew that to be the case.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
I would tell them that the opportunities are significant (there is already a shortage of qualified young professionals in the property and casualty business), but you must distinguish yourself from the pack, nonetheless. First, demonstrate good work habits; second, seek out educational opportunity (advanced degrees or at least certifications like the Chartered Property Casualty Professional designation); third, speak out and offer ideas and solutions when the opportunity presents itself; and finally, make sacrifices and don’t be afraid to take on the tough assignments that are offered or are available to you. Remember, your career advancement depends upon what you can do for your company, not what your company can do for you.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I love working with people and I love history. Almost all my leisure reading is dedicated to historic events or people. I would love to be a history teacher!


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Bob_Moran

CEO Series: Robert F. Moran

Robert F. Moran
President and Chief Executive Officer, PetSmart

How does the pet retail industry differ from the human retail industry?
First of all — passion. I’ve been in retail for 38 years and prior to coming to PetSmart, we use in retailing passion for the customer. But how can you be passionate about a shirt or a suit or a new coat? … I didn’t really discover passion in retailing until I came to PetSmart. … One of the things we focus on is how do we help pet parents help their pets, who have become members of the family, live long, happy and healthy lives? How can you not get behind that? … We’ve converted our environment not into, “How can I help you sir or help you ma’am,” but “Who are you shopping for today? I’m shopping for Buffy. Well, tell me about Buffy.” … All of a sudden you’re getting a life story and the conversation can go in a million different ways. Through that we’ve asked our store associates to be, pet detectives; find out how we can help, either aspirationally or inspirationally, to take care of some unfulfilled need they may have about a pet who has become a member of the family. … The other side of it is that we have enjoyed over the last 10 years within the pet retailing industry a growth of 5 to 6 percent. Probably the only sector in retailing that has been at that level has been electronics. Even in this recession we’re seeing it dip to 3 to 4 percent. So it’s a great growth industry. … This humanization of pets has really created this growth vehicle, not only for our industry, but for our company. We believe this will go on until about 2020. It’s a great industry to be in. I love the passion and it’s a great place to work …

Has the pet retail industry been able to weather this economic downturn better than the traditional retail industry, and why?
I think what has happened in this recession, which is the worst since the 1930s, is very similar to what happened after 9/11. What I mean by that is that people were sticking closer to home — we call it neighborhooding — they took staycations or no vacations at all, they found ways of not spending money but still having a good time. Pets played a role in that. The only way we suffered was in the housing side. What I mean by that is that there is a high correlation between pet acquisition and new houses. When that went into decline over the past two years that affected our industry. We have not been without problems. Within our industry, the hard goods side, the discretionary goods, the extra toy, the extra bed, the extra collar or leash has been deferred. So we had to find new ways to address the customer needs. I think we’ve been able to do that because of the humanization of pets, because of the neighborhooding, pets becoming, let’s call it, an affordable luxury in a roundabout way. … You’ll find ways to feed the dog, you’ll find ways to feed the cat because they’re members of the family. That’s probably why we’ve been more resilient than the human side.

PetSmart had to make some hard decisions last year in terms of the recession. What were those decisions and how have they helped the company?
Business is very dynamic and it’s always about gaining market share during good times and bad. We made a decision in the recession that cash was king; we had to watch our piggy bank, in a sense. What we ended up doing, because customers were not going to shop as much, we slowed down the number of stores, the number of pet hotels we were building. We also put an intense focus on expense management. … The other thing we did is we invested in the customer experience. A lot of companies didn’t do that. We increased payroll, we put an intense focus on customer satisfaction — the relationship with the customer — because we felt if we did that, as we emerged from this, we would be able to gain and pickup market share. … If you really look at other retailers during this time they cut back on payroll, they cut back on 401ks, they cut back on the quality of the associate life — they actually cut back on the customer quality of life inside a store. We didn’t do that at all.

Going forward, what does PetSmart see in terms of growth within its industry in general and what plans does the company have for the future?
We’re blessed to be in a great industry. We’re in an industry that will probably grow 3 to 4 percent. How do we take advantage of that? Not only can we bring in new customers, but we can also gain market share from some of our competitors. I do see that there will probably be a slow recovery. Now it’s anticipated that we won’t see the spending levels approaching the 2007 level until 2013 to 2014. But there will be a gradual recovery. Within there are opportunities to take advantage of. Customers are always looking for new things — innovation, services that in a sense fulfill some of their unfulfilled needs. … you can create points of differentiation. What frustrates me about retailers is that they don’t look at their point of differentiation for their business. They try to do a lot of “me too, me too,” and sometimes you don’t recognize the industry anymore because everybody is trying to do the same thing.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow the career path you made?
I have two things. One is don’t actually map out a career path. Seek out the knowledge and experience and the jobs you really need to work on so you can demonstrate accomplishments. If you do that the career path comes to you, especially if you are successful and are willing to make certain sacrifices along the way, it will come to you. My secondpiece of advice is, and it’s going to sound trite, treat your office as a prison and escape it as much as possible, because not everything is happening here. Everything is happening out there. The more you can roam, the more you can find out what’s going on, the more people you get to know. Early in your career you call it networking, but in networking you find opportunities. You can turn some of your knowledge and experience toward those opportunities. As you get older and start getting accomplishments and you get titles along with it, you find what’s going on and where you can prioritize the needs of the company and the resources of the company, and that becomes very important.

Vital Stats

  • Joined PetSmart in 1999 as president of North American stores.
  • Appointed president and chief operating officer of in 2001.
  • Named president and CEO in June 2009.
  • Former president of Toys R Us, Canada.
  • Spent 20 years with Sears, Roebuck and Company.
  • www.petsmart.com

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Ron Edwards, Executive Producer And CEO Of Audio-Video Networks, Always Knew He Would Work In The Music Industry

Ron Edwards
Audio-Video Networks
Title: Executive Producer and CEO
Est: 1985  |  www.audio-videonetworks.com

“It’s my job to find out what makes a business unique and to turn it into a campaign; to think outside of the box.” – Ron Edwards

When he was just five years old, Ron Edwards, executive producer and CEO of Phoenix-based Audio-Video Networks, knew he would someday work in the music industry. He grew up playing the piano, majored in music in college, started writing jingles at 18, and never stopped.

He started Audio-Video Networks, of which he is the sole employee, in 1985 as a way of creating effective advertising in electronic media.

“I heard a lot of things that were mediocre,” Edwards says. “I wanted to pull the best of a business forward and let people know about them.”

Edwards started writing radio jingles for his clients. As clients started asking about TV commercials and Web sites, he expanded his company to other include other forms of electronic media. Today, Edwards offers a full spectrum of advertising, including radio commercials, TV commercials and Web site development.

Each time he acquires a client or a new medium, Edwards adds to his pool of freelancers, which he regularly uses to help him with projects. He currently has about 15-20 regular sub-contractors who specialize in everything from writing to producing to editing. Edwards says this system works well for everybody because he retains his independence and the workers don’t feel trapped in a company.

The biggest challenge for Edwards when getting Audio-Video Networks off the ground was getting people to believe in a product without knowing if it would work for them. He overcame this by producing jingles for free and gained many paying clients this way.

“I put together a jingle for Sanderson Ford and now I’ve done four or five since then,” he says.

Edwards believes that his location in Arizona is advantageous because it is not as competitive as a bigger markets such as New York or Los Angeles.

“Bigger markets are so fast paced that you lose focus on the customer,” he says. “There’s a good pace here that allows us to focus instead of just throwing together a commercial.”

Like many other businesses, Audio-Video Networks was not immune to the effects of the recession. Edwards estimates that the poor economy caused a 5 percent decrease in business, at most. When companies don’t advertise, they don’t make money, so his clients recognize the value of his services. Most of the impact has come from the fact that several of his clients are auto dealers who have been severely affected by the economy.

Edwards attributes much of his success to his quick response time and advises other small business entrepreneurs to always be on alert.

“You lose business if you’re not always available to answer the phone or e-mails,” he says. “Always be available so that everyone is a priority.

Edwards’ biggest goal for the company’s future is to keep expanding and adding clients, stay available and continue providing the effective electronic advertising he always has.

“I want to get more people on board and give them great advertising campaigns,” he says. “Something unique. Something that will grab people’s ears.”


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Telecommuting Can Help Companies And Employees Save Money

The reality of today’s workplace is that many of us are able to plug in and do our jobs from just about anywhere at any time of day. It’s also a reality that we continue working outside of business hours by responding to e-mail when walking into the grocery store, exercising at the gym, or even after dinner while watching TV with family.

Why then are we still going to a designated office or worksite each weekday to do our jobs? Would it not be in everyone’s best interest if that changed for as many workers as possible?

Telecommuting — moving the work to the worker, instead of the worker to the work — can deliver surprising benefits to the employer and employee who are willing to address misconceptions and realize the gain. Telecommuting can reduce real estate or facility expenses and eliminate costly overhead; improve employee work/life balance, morale and loyalty; expand the recruitment pool to attract virtual talent; and alleviate traffic congestion and reduce local air pollution.

At a time when profit margins are shrinking or upside down, business leaders have been challenged to find new and different ways to cut costs while maintaining workplace morale. We believe that employing just 50 telecommuters can add more than $700,000 to a company’s bottom line each year.

Cost Savings
An effective telecommuting program takes little funding to start, virtually no budget to maintain and increases staff productivity.

Countless studies have validated that telecommuters are more productive than those in the office due to fewer interruptions. Telecommuters at American Express produce 43 percent more business than office-bound employees, according to internal evaluations.

With fewer staff in the office, companies also save thousands of dollars by reducing square footage, unnecessary parking spaces and more. Because about 25 percent of IBM’s workers worldwide telecommute, the company reports $700 million in real estate savings.

Staffing
In a year when employees saw benefits frozen or reduced due to the recession, telecommuting is a pragmatic strategy to demonstrate your awareness of their financial needs and remain a desirable employer.

Businesses also can expand their recruiting pool. An estimated 70 percent of U.S. workers process information as a primary part of their responsibilities, and knowledge-based jobs normally have some component that can be accomplished outside an office. By accepting a virtual workplace arrangement, businesses can find the best talent from a broader recruitment pool because it’s cheaper to move information than the person.

According to a compensation survey of 1,400 chief financial officers by Robert Half International, 46 percent said telecommuting is second only to salary as the best way to recruit top talent. Another 33 percent said it was the “top draw.”

Environmental
Telecommuting alleviates traffic congestion during peak weekday travel, thereby opening up roads for the transport of goods without the costly taxpayer expense of building more roads, freeways, highways or debating tollways.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, driving 45.5 miles adds about one pound of pollution to the air. With an average commute of 31.6 miles roundtrip, every weekday drive to work generates .69 pounds of Valley pollution, or nearly 180 pounds per employee per year.

Telecommuting is growing
Since 1983, telecommuting has grown more than 1,000 percent. Yet, only 28 percent of companies in Arizona have a formalized telecommuting program. Some reasons for this may be:

  • The desire to manage employees by sight.
  • The perception of costly equipment.
  • The need for impromptu meetings.
  • A fear of lost productivity.
  • A concern for equity among staff.
  • A hesitancy to provide this option to some, but not all employees.

All are valid concerns that keep organizations from testing the telecommuting waters. For guided development, take advantage of online information from the federal government or tap into other successful local organizations. Benchmarking other thriving organizations in similar industries is helpful, but look for those that are expanding participation — a clear indication of program success.

In this economic climate, we must employ all options to prevent further loss of revenue and stay competitive (defined here as expanding our recruiting pool, maintaining morale and releasing ourselves from excess overhead). If we can admittedly accomplish so much outside of the office, what else could be accomplished by not going there at all?


Where to Go
: Online resources
Telework Exchange
www.teleworkexchange.com
U.S. General Services Administration
www.gsa.gov
Valley Metro
www.valleymetro.org


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Outgoing AzHHA Leader John Rivers Talks About The Past, Present And Future Of Health Care In Arizona

After more than 23 years as president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), John Rivers announced he will be stepping down in January of next year. Arizona Business Magazine asked Rivers about his tenure at AzHHA and the challenges facing the health care system.

How has the Valley and state’s health care industry changed in the 23 years you’ve helmed AzHHA?
Health care in Arizona barely resembles what it looked like 25 years ago when I first arrived. In fact, I think it is better in every respect. Hospitals in particular are more sharply focused on cost-containment strategies, physician integration, patient safety and, of course, providing cutting-edge medical care to their patients. Hospitals have also made giant strides in better management of their human resources, particularly nurses, who are the heart and soul of good hospital care.

How has AzHHA’s mission changed over the years to adapt to the Valley and state’s evolving health care industry?
Our primary mission remains political advocacy, although the complexity and difficulty of doing that well has increased exponentially. The tremendous diversity among types of hospitals, and the even greater diversity of personalities among our CEOs, requires a great deal of adaptability on the part of the association CEO.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing the health care industry today?
All of us in health care are facing tremendous uncertainty about our future. Congress is on the verge of re-writing the book on government’s role in health care, and at the state level we face the greatest budget crisis in our history. With the federal and state government already purchasing about 70 percent of the hospital care in Arizona, our world will no doubt change dramatically. At a minimum, our future will require us to be more accountable, more transparent and more integrated. Also, we’ll see a seismic shift away from the revenue enhancement model to a cost-control model.

What would you say are some of AzHHA’s greatest successes over the past 20 years?
I think we have been very successful in our political advocacy and our record more than speaks for itself in that regard. More than that, I tend to define our success in terms of achieving our mission with competence and integrity — and keeping our focus on what is best for health care in Arizona and what is best for the patients served by our institutions.

Do you plan to stay involved in health care, and how?
I will definitely stay involved in a number of charitable and community service activities in which I currently participate, but I have no plans to remain involved in health care except as a citizen who cares profoundly about all that we do. I’ve spent the past 40 years of my life in health care, 25 of them in Arizona, and it’s time for me to move on and enjoy life in ways that I have not had time to do up until now. There’s more to life than driving to the office each morning and I intend to live my other dreams while I am still in good health and able to do so.

www.azhha.org

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

AHA Profile: Nabil Dib

Nabil Dib, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.C.C.
Director of Cardiovascular Research
Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers

As with most of life’s troubles, the problem starts small. A tiny bit of fatty material settles in on the walls of a major artery. Over several years, more and more of this plaque collects, until there is little to no room left for blood to flow freely. Without the blood and the life-giving oxygen it brings, the heart seizes — and the muscle begins to die.

This scenario is the leading cause of death for both women and men. Approximately 1.2 million heart attacks occur in the U.S. every year, and more than 12 million people in the nation are suffering from some form of heart disease.

Efforts to reduce the occurrence of heart attacks through prevention are vital and remain our first priority. Clinical trials are currently underway at two Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) hospitals to determine whether adult stem cells can effectively improve cardiac health.

Using highly accurate 3D images of the heart, Dr. Nabil Dib and his team of interventional cardiologists at Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers are delivering adult stem cells directly into damaged heart tissue via a catheter. The goal of their series of clinical trial, is to determine if the adult stem cells will develop into new blood vessels that will prevent further damage to the heart.

Other treatments being conducted at the hospitals’ Cardiovascular Research Center are testing whether adult stem cells can re-convert scar tissue into live muscle, and whether specific genetic indicators can detect the early stages of heart disease.

“We’re researching whether these new treatments might help those who have exhausted all other options,” Dib says. “The aim of studies such as this is to see if adult stem cells will assist with cardiac regeneration and help repair damaged heart tissue. Cardiac regeneration is about trying to see if you can repair damaged heart tissue and hopefully provide people with a better quality of life.”

By integrating compassionate care with state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge clinical research, CHW is providing innovative treatments to those in need, and advancing the science of care worldwide.

www.chwhealth.org

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

AHA Profile: Pat Nevin

Pat Nevin
Vice President, General Manager
Fox 10 & My 45

Health and wellness has always played a significant role in Pat Nevin’s life. But today it takes on whole new meaning.

“In 2009, I competed in six triathlons in Phoenix, Payson, and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,” he says. “I hope to compete in at least 10 events in 2010, starting (with) this year’s triathlon season with the Navy Seals 1/2 Ironman race in April in San Diego (1.2-mile ocean swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run).”

In addition to being an avid runner, Nevin serves as vice president and general manager for FOX 10 and My 45 in Phoenix. Since 2004, Nevin has been responsible for all departments within the television stations’ operations in the nation’s 12th largest television market. With more than two decades of television experience, Nevin has helped increase the top-rated station’s viewing audience by serving the interests of the community, and staying actively engaged with station clients and station viewers throughout the Valley.

“Heart disease and its complications impact many of our television station’s viewers, our employees and their families — plus heart disease runs in my family. Several years ago my grandfather passed away from heart complications,” Nevin says.

As a married father of two, Nevin’s family is a top priority and passion in his life. It’s for this reason, and many others, that he remains committed to a heart-healthy lifestyle and he is leading by example.  “Keeping my heart healthy is something I take seriously,” he says, “and it’s great because I’m actually managing to have a lot fun in the process!”

www.myfoxphoenix.com

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

AHA Profile: Peter Harper

Peter Harper
Vice President and Treasurer
Scottsdale Insurance Co.

As the American Heart Association’s board of directors chairman, Peter Harper brings nearly 25 years of finance leadership experience to the role of vice president and treasurer of Scottsdale Insurance Co.

Scottsdale Insurance is one of the largest excess and surplus, and specialty lines carriers in the nation, with more than 1,400 employees and annual premiums in excess of $2 billion.

Prior to his current role, Harper served as treasurer and chief financial officer of Suntron Corporation. Additionally, he has held senior leadership positions with Iomega Corporation and General Electric.

Harper uses his leadership skills to rally employees at Scottsdale Insurance when it comes to workplace wellness, and understands the benefits associated with a healthy work force.

“Heart disease costs U.S. businesses $24 billion a year in lost productivity. Through wellness programs, companies are able to attract exceptional employees, while enhancing productivity and morale at the same time,” Harper says.

In addition, recent studies have shown that for every dollar spent on health and wellness, companies can save between $3 and $15. Harper says those savings are almost immediately seen within 12 to 18 months of implementing a program.

Harper also spearheads efforts to get employees involved with the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk each year. Scottsdale Insurance has sponsored the Lifestyle Change Award for the past three years.

“I am passionate about physical fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, which aligns with our Lifestyle Change Award sponsorship,” he says. “If we take the initiative to proactively reduce our risk of heart disease — including establishing a physical fitness regimen and adopting a healthier diet — not only will we improve the odds of not incurring life-threatening heart attacks or strokes, but we will be able to enjoy a happier, longer life with our family and friends who care most about us.”

www.scottsdaleins.com

 

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Who To Watch: Roy Vallee

Roy Vallee
Chairman of the Board and CEO
Avnet

“..we are seeing a bounce-back in IT spending.”

–Roy Vallee, Avnet

Although it believes its performance was pretty good under the circumstances, Phoenix-based Avnet Inc. chalks up 2009 as a harsh year. Now, Avnet is focused on an improving economy and the business it will bring.

Serving more than 100,000 customers in 70 countries, Avnet is one of the world’s largest technology distributors, linking end-user clients with more than 300 software developers and electronic component and computer product manufacturers.

“It’s fair to say we have been severely impacted by the global recession,” says Roy Vallee, chairman and CEO of the Fortune 500 company. “Sales (for calendar year 2009) will be down by a double-digit percentage and earnings per share will be down substantially more than that, probably by roughly 40 percent. It has, in fact, been a tough year.”

Avnet’s revenue for its July-to-June 2009 fiscal year declined 9.6 percent from fiscal 2008, to $16.23 billion.
Globally, Vallee says purchasing of information-technology (IT) equipment dropped “precipitously” in 2009 by 5 percent or 6 percent.

“There were only two years in history when IT spending was negative and that was 2001 and 2002,” he adds. “So there was a big cutback by businesses on IT in 2009.”

Because of the nature of the electronics supply chain, business spending on electronic components deteriorated more rapidly than IT. But Avnet held to its strategy of focusing on value-based management and return on capital, rather than earnings per share. As sales declined, it reduced investment in inventory and accounts receivable and generated $1.4 billion in cash flow from operations.

It also continued a tradition of acquisition, thus expanding its market. Avnet negotiated a controlling interest in Vanda Group in China, and acquired Abacus Group in the United Kingdom and Nippon Denso Industry Co. in Japan. It also formed a joint venture in Turkey with Sanko Holding Group. In India, it purchased a small firm to launch an IT distribution company.

Now Vallee thinks “we are past the trough.” The accordion-like behavior of the electronics supply chain is responding to the reviving global economy. What was once squeezed is now expanding. Vallee says IT spending is showing signs of improvement and that “components spending is increasing at a rapid rate.” That already is showing up in Avnet’s financials for fiscal 2010. And Vallee is hopeful that Avnet’s October-through-December second quarter revenue will top the same period a year ago.

“IT spending will grow in 2010, probably in the mid-single digits,” he says. “There is pent-up demand. Companies that needed to spend on IT put it off because they were uncertain about where the economy was headed. They were also uncertain about where they would get the money. But you can only delay that kind of spending so long. Now that the economy is turning and capital is more available, we are seeing a bounce-back in IT spending.”

That spending also is a result of renewed focus on business growth that follows a couple of years of emphasis on cash, balance sheets, profit and loss, Vallee notes.

www.avnet.com


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Who To Watch: Dr. Jeffrey M. Trent

Dr. Jeffrey M. Trent
President and Research Director
TGen

Since it was founded in 2002, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has been helping people with neurological disorders and such diseases as cancer and diabetes through business spin-offs and commercialization of its research. Today, TGen’s president and scientific director, Dr. Jeffrey M. Trent, believes this Phoenix nonprofit has built an “underlying bioscience engine” in Arizona.

In fact, with TGen helping to attract and retain a knowledge-based work force, Arizona’s bioscience-research sector has held its own during the recession and even expanded. “As far as jobs are concerned, bioscience is still an area that shows growth in Arizona,” Trent says. That doesn’t mean the recession did not affect the bioscience sector as a whole.

“The area that has fallen the furthest is venture capital to seed new company formation,” Trent says. “There is no question Arizona has been behind the curve in venture capital for biomedical science.”

Last year, TGen announced the formation of its 10th business, but Trent says the organization must “look around the world for funding for these companies.” This is a national problem, he adds, but he is optimistic it will improve this year. Philanthropic donations for bioscience research also slowed during the economic downturn, but Trent already sees a return of that type of funding and is hopeful it will continue to gather momentum this year.
Still, TGen has managed to prosper.

“In less than three years, we doubled our economic impact, doubled employment and increased commercial activities 375 percent,” Trent says. “The biomedical sector and nonprofits are being hit as hard as anyone (by the recession), but we were able to not only maintain, but also to grow the last two or three years.”

In an independent analysis, Tripp Umbach, a Pittsburgh research firm, concluded that TGen generates an annual economic impact of $77.4 million, including spin-off businesses and commercialization. TGen’s economic clout is expected to reach $321.3 million annually by 2025, according to Tripp Umbach. Again, including business formation and commercialization in its calculations, Tripp Umbach reported that TGen produced $5.7 million in state taxes, created 461 full-time jobs and generated $14.07 for every dollar invested by the state in 2008.

In addition to federal funding and donations, and grants from businesses, foundations and individuals, TGen receives $5.5 million a year from state tobacco taxes. In 2025, the state’s return on investment is expected to reach $58.42 per dollar invested, tax revenues are estimated to climb to $27.4 million, and TGen is expected to generate more than 4,000 jobs when business and commercialization activities are factored in.

TGen reached several milestones last year, but from Trent’s point of view, the standout was its affiliation with the Van Andel Research Institute, a global organization headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“This affiliation brings a remarkably complementary scientific skill set under one roof,” Trent says. “Van Andel is basically a discovery engine and TGen gets to capture that and move it to a new test or treatment for patients. We are constantly renewing information that we can pull toward the patient.”

www.tgen.org


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Who To Watch: Gary Naumann

Gary Naumann
Director
ASU Spirit of Enterprise Center

Small businesses are guardedly optimistic about 2010, says Gary Naumann, who heads the ASU Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. He senses the mood from what he sees and hears, especially from entrepreneurs who attended the 13th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards last September.

“You can only look down at your shoes for so long,” he says. “It’s a lot more fun to look up. That’s what I sensed from the crowd of 800-plus at the awards event.”

Under Naumann’s leadership, programs at the Spirit of Enterprise Center are providing assistance to small businesses and real-life experience for students.

“People come up to me on a regular basis and say they’re thinking about starting a business or expanding,” he says.
As examples of the optimism he is starting to see, Naumann mentions two of the small businesses that were honored by the center this year. Caliente Construction is targeting 20 percent growth next year, and Terralever, an Internet-based marketing company, recently expanded to Los Angeles.

“That’s why we picked them — they’re doing good things in a tough market,” he says. “If we were able to find these kinds of small businesses in the last few years, we sure as heck are going to find them for our awards next September.”

Without duplicating other services offered at the School of Business, Naumann says the center’s focus is on opening doors to opportunity. The center assists hundreds of businesses each year, mostly small firms, by providing guidance and connections to key resources.

“The type of businesses we help is across the board,” Naumann says. “We believe entrepreneurship is alive and well, even though this is such a tough time to start a business. Dislocation creates opportunity. We’re definitely in that period where there has been a lot of dislocation the last 12 to 18 months. People look around and wonder what they can do to take charge of their future. That’s a very healthy thing for our economy.”

Naumann, who has been in the entrepreneurial field for 30 years, says the center will continue to honor entrepreneurs who are showing promise, and educate young entrepreneurs of the future. He has lined up three new guest speakers from different walks of life to share their experiences with students.

“We landed a venture capitalist, and they’re hard to find,” Naumann says. “Students hear from guest speakers about what they did right in business and missteps they took and corrected. They learn more from hearing about the mistakes.”

To do well next year, small businesses must be prepared to do a fair amount of what Naumann calls “heavy lifting.”

“They’ll have to do two things at the same time, even though they almost don’t seem to go hand in hand,” he says. “They’ve got to watch their cash flow like a hawk, and at the same time they have to have one eye toward growth of the business. People who are going to succeed are going to be on these two paths.”

wpcarey.asu.edu/spirit


Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Who To Watch: John Chan

John Chan
Interim Director
Phoenix Convention Center

Despite a slumping economy, the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center experienced a phenomenon expressed some years ago in a movie — “If you build it they will come.”

Indeed, convention delegates came in record numbers in 2009, attracted by the usual Phoenix amenities, including weather and reasonable prices. A new attraction was the convention center itself, which underwent a $600 million expansion project that was completed in December 2008, and tripled the size of meeting and exhibition space.

But John Chan, interim director of the Phoenix Convention Center, sees the recession taking a bite out of convention business in 2010. Looking ahead, Chan says the industry is moving into a tentative mode. Some groups are delaying making decisions on conventions because they don’t have a firm count on delegates. Businesses are deciding to send fewer people, and convention planners are opting against adding an extra day for a possible trip to the Grand Canyon, Chan says.

Still, Chan thinks the scheduled opening in mid-2010 of nearby CityScape, a multiuse project of restaurants and retail amenities that convention delegates always look for, and the existence of light rail service, will make Phoenix that much more desirable — even as the recession puts a crimp in business travel.

“We opened the new convention center during this down economy, and yet, during the last fiscal year we welcomed record numbers of convention delegates into the building,” Chan says. “The reason — most of the business was booked two to three years ago, while it was still under construction.”

In addition, the 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel opened one block from the center.

“Those two events merged to set the stage for the current fiscal year,” Chan says.

Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, saw 276,000 convention delegates enter the center, compared to only 104,000 the previous year, a rousing 160 percent increase.

In a sign that the struggling economy won’t negatively impact the convention industry as much as some fear, in the first three months of the current fiscal year the center already had received 220,000 visitors. Healthy numbers were spurred by major conventions held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Best Western International, and a volleyball festival. Best Western held a dinner for 2,400, and earlier, the National Rifle Association staged a banquet for 6,000, the largest sit-down dinner ever in Arizona, according to Chan.

He credits the surge in attendance to the expanded convention center’s ability to provide space for groups of 10,000 to 15,000. What’s more, the design of the building enables the city to host several conventions and groups simultaneously. The Phoenix Convention Center has nearly 900,000 square feet of rentable space and a total of more than 2 million square feet. The increased size has moved Phoenix from the 69th-largest convention center in the U.S. to the top 20.

“It is definitely meeting our expectations,” says Chan, who previously served as Downtown Development Director for the city of Phoenix. “We’re able to host groups we were not able to handle before expansion, and they’re talking about coming back — getting them as part of the rotation. That speaks to good customer service and the quality of food and beverage. It has really put Phoenix on the map of the meeting/planning industry.”

www.phoenix.gov/conventioncenter

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010

Who To Watch: John Chadwick

John Chadwick
President, Southwest Area
Pulte Homes

John Chadwick knows there have been better days in Arizona’s home-construction industry. Last year was a challenging time for homebuilders and he believes this year will test their mettle, as well. But he’s convinced that builders with sufficient resources will find opportunities as the state’s residential real estate sector begins to crawl out of a deep hole.

Chadwick is Southwest area president for Pulte Homes, the largest homebuilder in the nation and one of the largest in Phoenix and Tucson. Looking back on 2009, he references well-documented woes – deteriorating consumer confidence and job losses that sapped demand for housing and sparked an increase in foreclosures. Noting the impact of the real estate slowdown on the industry’s families, Chadwick says, “the contraction has led to painful and necessary reductions in our work force the past year.”

Looking for a toehold in a rocky economy, homebuilders are constantly assessing consumer needs and making adjustments in designs and floor plans and price, Chadwick says.

“Despite difficulties in market conditions, Pulte still performs at or near the top of the industry,” Chadwick says. “That’s because our strategy remained the same – providing high-quality products, providing buyers with affordable housing options and maintaining a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Those are the things that make the greatest difference in the long term – a willingness to stick to strategies.”

Another key factor in Pulte’s survival and its increasing market share is its diversified lines of business.  Pulte acquired Phoenix-based Del Webb in 2001, and last summer paid more than $1 billion for Centex Homes.

“Centex targets the first-time home buyer,” Chadwick says. “Pulte is targeted to the first-time move-up and move-up buyer. Del Webb delivers lifestyle communities principally to the active-adult buyer.”

There is hope for homebuilders with strong financial backing, Chadwick says. Thus the Centex acquisition and Pulte’s purchase last year of the 480-lot Rancho del Lago in Vail, southeast of Tucson. It now is a Del Webb active-adult community.

“There will be more to come.” Chadwick notes, adding that he is optimistic about the outlook for Arizona’s residential market.

“On a competitive basis, the Southwest – and that includes Phoenix and Tucson – has returned to affordability,” Chadwick says. “Price declines in housing have positioned Phoenix and Tucson for long-term growth relative to other Western states. They have a great quality of life and strong employment prospects and that makes those markets attractive on a long-term basis. Clearly, we are still in a challenging market environment, but I am encouraged by some signs that a recovery is in sight.”

Those signs include stabilizing prices, an increase in existing-home sales, demand for appropriately priced homes in good locations, a slowdown in foreclosures and a welcome reduction in inventory, he says.

“There is far less new-home inventory in the market and that is a great indicator of an improving supply-and-demand environment,” Chadwick says. “For builders with the resources, yes, 2010 will bring new opportunities to them.”

www.pulte.com

Arizona Business Magazine

January 2010