Tag Archives: jobs

Arizona's Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

The state’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 9.5 percent in October, as the economy added 27,400 jobs. This is the largest October job gain since 2004. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 93 percent of those jobs, or 25,600.  Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 1.1 percent last month.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct. 2009
United States 9.6% 9.6% 10.1%
Arizona 9.5% 9.7% 9.3%

This is the third consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment, and the rate of gains has been increasing each month. According to the ACA, Arizona now ranks 18th in the nation in over-the-year employment growth. The state was ranked 32nd in September. Significantly,  Arizona’s construction industry continued to show signs of improvement, and in October posted its first over-the-year increase since December 2006.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation is beginning to show indications of welcome improvements,” according to the ACA employment report.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct. 2009
Overall 2,432.4 2,405.0 2,408.0
Monthly  Change 1.1% 0.7% 0.7%
Annual  Change 1.0% 0.5% -7.2%

Over the month, 10 out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 7,100.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (1,700); financial activities (600); educational and health services (6,400); natural resources and mining (100); construction (5,100); leisure and hospitality (3,300); government (1,800); other services (1,400); and manufacturing (200).

The only sector to lose jobs was information (-300).

The unemployment rates dropped in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct.2009
Phoenix Metro 8.5% 8.7% 8.8%
Tucson Metro 8.3% 8.6% 8.6%
Yuma Metro 25.8% 23.9% 21.9%
Flagstaff Metro 7.9% 8.1% 8.4%
Prescott Metro 9.7% 10% 9.9%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 10.8% 10.8%
Apache Longbow

Boeing’s Mesa Operations Land Major Defense Contract

Arizona is on the receiving end of a multimillion-dollar defense contract.

The Boeing Company announced that it has received a $247 million contract to begin initial production of the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter, the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter in the world. The helicopters will be assembled, flight-tested and delivered from the Boeing Global Strike facility in Mesa.

Boeing's Apache Longbow

The new agreement covers the production costs of eight Apache Block III helicopters. However, a memorandum signed by the Department of Defense on Oct. 7 authorized the program to eventually produce 51 aircraft during the initial phase.

“Since the early 1980s, Boeing has successfully produced helicopters and developed new technologies in Arizona,” said Tony Ham, Boeing Mesa site leader, in a press release. “With the recently announced contract award for Apache Block III production, and additional work on other programs, our company leaders anticipate a continued and growing relationship with the people and industry within the state.”

Word of the Boeing contract comes days before the newly formed Arizona Commerce Authority hosts Aviation Week’s Aerospace and Defense Supply Chain Conference Nov. 1-3 at the Arizona Biltmore.

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, the aerospace and defense industries form one of the largest sectors in Arizona’s economy, generating $8.8 billion in gross state product and providing more than 93,800 jobs.

“Arizona is renowned for its strength and rich history in aviation and aerospace,” said Rob Morton of the Arizona Commerce Authority, in a press release. “The state’s affordable business costs, relatively low taxes, and competitive regulations have made it home to many of the aerospace and defense industry’s top companies.”

The Arizona Commerce Authority, formerly the Arizona Department of Commerce, is a public-private entity working to attract businesses to the state and encourage the expansion of companies already here. The agency maintains foreign trade offices in Asia, Europe and Mexico.

Cubicle

Jobs Grow Modestly; State’s Unemployment Rate Is Unchanged

The state added 16,000 jobs in September, mostly due to the start of the new school year. Despite the modest gains, the Arizona Department of Commerce reported today that the state’s unemployment rate remains at 9.7 percent


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept. 2009
United States 9.6% 9.6% 9.8%
Arizona 9.7% 9.7% 9.4%

Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 0.5 percent last month. August’s year-over-year numbers were revised from a loss of 0.1 percent in total non-farm employment to a gain of 0.3 percent. The August gains broke a 30-month streak of over-the-year job losses for the state.

For the month, the state’s employment gain of 0.7 percent were below the 10-year average, but was better than the previous two years, when the economy generated job growth of 0.2 percent in September 2008 and 0.5 percent in September 2009. The private sector had an anemic net gain of 700 jobs last month. However, for the past three Septembers, the private sector has lost jobs.


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept. 2009
Overall 2,403.8 2,387.8 2,392.1
Monthly % Change 0.7% 1.6% 0.5%
Annual % Change 0.5% 0.3% -8%



Over the month, six sectors gained jobs and five lost jobs. The sector that had the most gains for the month was government, with 15,300. But those jobs came primarily from local and state education, with losses in the federal government offsetting some of the gains.


Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs; financial activities gained 1,700; educational and health services rose by 1,200; natural resources and mining generated 200 jobs; and construction also saw job gains of 200 in September

The professional and business services sector boasts the highest over-the-year job gains with 13,800. Over the year, trade, transportation and utilities was up 10,100 jobs; educational and health services gained 8,800; leisure and hospitality had a 1,500-job gain; and natural resources and mining generated 1,200 positions.

Over-the year losses were recorded with government (-7,300); construction (-6,100); other services (-4,000); financial activities (-2,500); information (-2,000); and manufacturing (-1,800).

The unemployment rates in the state’s largest metro areas mostly held steady or dropped slightly in September.


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept.2009
Phoenix Metro 8.7% 8.8% 8.8%
Tucson Metro 8.6% 8.7% 8.6%
Yuma Metro 23.9% 23.7% 21%
Flagstaff Metro 8% 8% 8.2%
Prescott Metro 10.1% 10.2% 9.9%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.8% 10.9% 10.8%

Stocks

Charles Schwab Bringing Hundreds Of Jobs To Phoenix

The investment services company Charles Schwab announced today that it is expanding its operations in Phoenix, which could result in up to 900 new jobs over the next five years.

The company’s main Valley location is at 24th Street and Lincoln Drive. Schwab plans to hire 200 new employees by the end of the year, on top of the approximately 300 that were added last year.

“We currently have approximately 3,200 employees in Phoenix, which makes this home to the single largest population of Schwab employees in the U.S.,” said Joe Martinetto, Schwab executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our corporate headquarters continues to be in San Francisco, but Phoenix is clearly a very important employment center for us.”

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordan said the Charles Schwab expansion not only would add jobs, but also $22 million in capital investments.

Schwab currently is recruiting to fill client service positions with starting salaries in the $34,000 to $40,000 range.

“Our purpose as a company is to help people become financially fit — not only our clients and our employees, but the people in the communities where we live and work too,” said Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, and a Phoenix resident. “This partnership with the city of Phoenix is an example of that — by helping us bring this acquisition to fruition, we are in a better position to continue providing high-quality jobs and opportunities to the people who make Phoenix their home.”

Interested job seekers should visit www.aboutschwab.com/careers.

Vacancy Rising in Phoenix

Vacancy Rising In Phoenix Despite Construction Pullback

Though employment growth will stimulate an increase in retail sales in 2010, the job additions will not be sufficient to prevent the vacancy rate in Phoenix from rising for the fifth consecutive year, according to the latest Retail Research market update from Marcus & Millichap.

Unlike previous years when excessive construction drove vacancy increases, lagging demand has become the anchor on the market. The pace of store closures clearly has slowed, but too few retailers have emerged to open new locations in the vacant space that has amassed. With the vacancy rate nearing its highest level in 20 years, rents continue to fall as tenants exercise the upper hand in discussions with owners.

Rents have yet to settle at a new, lower market level and may not reach their low point until late next year. The upside of reduced rents, however, has been a sharp decline in construction, as many projects simply no longer pencil for developers. After deliveries averaged 5.5 million square feet of new space each year during the past decade, a fraction of that total will come online in 2010.

Although the slowdown in construction represents a positive trend in a market with frequent overbuilding spells, the lack of properties under construction will restrain sales of new single-tenant, net-leased assets. As in other markets around the country, single-tenant properties net-leased to top-rated corporate tenants generate intense bidding when listed. In fact, cap rates for nationally branded drugstores and fast-food properties have fallen about 50 basis points since early this year to around 7 percent, with ground leases commanding even lower first-year returns.

In the multi-tenant segment, buyers have intensified searches for suitable listings, but the ongoing reduction in rents continues to present challenges to arriving at valuations upon which owners and prospective buyers can agree. Current underwriting assumes additional increases in vacancy and further rent reductions, such that cap rates must vary from 10 percent to 11 percent to generate bids. Among specific properties, those with tenants that signed leases at the peak of the market
in 2006 and 2007 invariably face the prospect of re-leasing space at substantially lower rents when leases expire.

2010 Annual Retail Forecast

Employment: Government employment will decline over the second half due to the termination of census jobs and budget constraints at the state and local levels, while private
sector employers will hire conservatively. As a result, total employment will expand 0.8 percent in 2010, or by 13,700 jobs. Last year, 116,000 positions were cut.
Construction: Developers will complete 500,000 square feet of space this year, the lowest annual total in 30 years. In 2009, approximately 2.9 million square feet came online. Planned projects total 28 million square feet, although none has a scheduled start date.
Vacancy: The vacancy rate will increase 70 basis points this year to 12.6 percent, as store closures and a lack of new demand will result in negative net absorption of 721,000 square feet. Vacancy spiked 260 basis points last year and most recently surpassed 12 percent, a level last reached in 1991.
Rents: This year, asking rents will decrease 1.3 percent to $18.11 per square foot, following a 5.5 percent dip in 2009. Effective rents will slide 2.6 percent to $15.13 per square foot, compared with a 9.1 percent drop last year.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Newly Formed Arizona Commerce Authority Convenes Its Inaugural Board Meeting

Vowing that “today the rubber hits the road,” Gov. Jan Brewer and Jerry Colangelo assembled and introduced 35 state leaders representing diverse backgrounds for the inaugural board meeting of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The private-sector board will work to align diverse assets and opportunities within the state to compete economically in both domestic and international markets to create high-quality jobs for the Arizona residents.

“For the first time in our state’s history, we convene the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, and more than 35 of our nation’s most acknowledged leaders within both the private sector and academia – all with one express purpose: to advance the global competitiveness of our state the economic prosperity we seek for each person, each family and, perhaps more importantly, each child – it’s about a vision for a strong, vibrant economic future for this great state,” Gov. Brewer said.

“When I became Governor, I promised to get Arizona back on track by creating quality jobs, attracting high-growth industries, and advancing our competitive position in the global economy. We are doing just that. With this board, I have now delivered a model to advance Arizona.”

Presentations to the board outlined the impacts of the global economic crisis on the state, the forecasts if Arizona does not address diversification and growth in base industries, the state’s overall global competitiveness, and a focused approach to four core areas on which the ACA will focus and develop a planned approach to advance the state.

The authority will focus on improving the state’s infrastructure and climate to retain, attract and grow high-tech and innovative companies. That focus will be on aerospace and defense, science and technology, solar and renewable energy, small business and entrepreneurship.

“During one of the most challenging economic conditions in our nation’s history, Arizona is competing for something that is even greater than Olympic Gold; we are fighting for the health and future of our families and this state,” said Colangelo, co-chair of the board. “Today, with the expertise and leadership of each board member, we begin to compete aggressively for what really matters.”

Don Cardon, current director of the Department of Commerce, will serve on a selection committee to recruit a president and CEO of the ACA. Other committee members are Gov. Brewer’s chief of staff Eileen Klein; Mo Stein, senior vice president of HKS; Jerry Fuentes, president, AT&T Arizona/New Mexico; and Michael Kennedy, co-founder and partner, Gallagher & Kennedy.

Other notable board members include Kirk Adams, speaker, Arizona House of Representatives; Benito Almanza, state president, Bank of America; Michael Bidwill, president, Arizona Cardinals; Dr. Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University; Linda Hunt, president, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; Anne Mariucci, chairman, Arizona Board of Regents; Doug Pruitt, chairman and CEO, Sundt Construction; and Roy Vallee, chairman of the board and CEO, Avnet.

87813512

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Climbs In August

Despite some gains in the governmental sector, the state’s unemployment rate for August rose one-tenth of a percent to 9.7 percent as private sector hiring was flat, according to the Arizona Department of Commerce. Usually, Arizona’s economy generates jobs in August, but last month only 28,000 jobs were created. That was still better than August of 2009.

Most of the seasonal job gains were the result of local schools bringing on 26,000 positions for the start of the academic year. State education added 7,000 jobs, with losses in other government agencies offsetting some of the gains.

The private sector posted gains in five sectors and losses in five sectors for a net decline of 800 jobs. Of the state’s 11 industry sectors, government posted the largest job gains at 29,000. Educational and health services followed government, adding 3,000 jobs. Construction continued to add jobs in August, generating 1,900 and giving the industry a net gain through the first eight months of the year.

The Commerce Department reports that, “Construction employment trends in 2010 indicate stabilization in the industry after 28 months of continuous losses.”

Other sectors creating jobs in August were: professional and business services (1,800); trade, transportation and utilities (1,100); and natural resources and mining (100). The sectors that lost jobs last month were: information (500); financial activities (800); manufacturing (1,400); and other services (2,000).

Leisure and hospitality lost 4,000 jobs last month, which the Commerce Department called “unusual.” With the winter tourism season generally starting after Labor Day, hotels and resorts in the state traditionally tend to ramp up hiring in August.

Year-over-year, the jobless situation in Arizona continues to show improvement. Total nonfarm employment last month was down 0.1 percent. In August 2009, it was down 8.3 percent. Compared to August of last year, four sectors registered year-over-year job gains last month. The professional and business services sector was up 8,200 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities was up 7,700 jobs; educational and health services had a gain of 7,100 jobs: and natural resources and mining posted gains of 1,000.

Around the state, only the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas held steady with their unemployment rates. Other major metro areas in the state posted increases in joblessness. Here’s a look at unemployment around the state:

Phoenix Metro: 8.8%
Tucson Metro: 8.7%
Yuma Metro:    23.7%
Flagstaff Metro:   8.0%
Prescott Metro:   10.2%
LHC-Kingman Metro: 10.9%

Crayon

ASU, Crayola & More Making Sustainable Impact

When it comes to sustainability, it’s a great time to be proud of Arizona.  This week we’ve gathered stories about ASU making the green honor roll, Phoenix being a top city for graduates and others.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing Shelby Hill.

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

ASU Makes the Green Honor Roll
Arizona State University was one of the 18 colleges and universities that made The Princeton Review’s 2011 Green Rating Honor Roll.  ASU was chosen for leading the way in the sustainability movement. It established the first School of Sustainability in the U.S., and employs more solar panels than any other university in the country.

Phoenix is One of the Top Cities for Green Grads
Phoenix is No. nine on mnn.com’s top 10 cities for new grads seeking green jobs.  Sandwiched between Detroit and Houston, Phoenix’s solar capabilities and commitment to green endeavors make it one of the top.  One of Phoenix’s favorite Suns also has his city on the list.  Sacramento, Calif., whose mayor is Kevin Johnson, is No. six.

Yet Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid

Hybrid cars are almost never stolen.  Whereas gas guzzlers like the Cadillac Escalade should just have targets painted on them.  One in every 100 cars that is stolen is an Escalade.  Small cars like the Mini Cooper and the Saturn VUE are also low on a thief’s wish list.

Crayola Goes Green
A 15-acre solar farm could help crayola not just produce green (crayons) but also be green.  Funded in part by a federal stimulus, this farm could produce enough energy to help produce one-third of Crayola’s annual output of crayons.

Walmart and Seventh Generation Team Up
Seventh Generation, which produces environmentally-friendly cleaning products, will put its products in about 1,500 Walmart stores nationwide and online.  Previously Seventh Generation and Walmart haven’t been the best of friends.  But maybe they’re coming together for a greater good?

Barbara Lockwood, APS

Valley Forward: Barbara Lockwood

Barbara Lockwood
Director of Renewable Energy
Arizona Public Service
www.aps.com

Barbara Lockwood is a chemical engineer who doesn’t consider herself an environmentalist at heart, yet there she is — director of renewable energy for Arizona Public Service.

“It’s not something that’s innate in me,” Lockwood says about the environment. “I got into it from a business perspective. What makes sense to me is that we as a global economy are all tied together on one planet. What truly makes the world go around is our businesses and our connections. Accordingly, to sustain that and be viable long term we must do everything we can to protect and sustain the Earth. I truly believe our businesses run our society.”

At APS since 1999, Lockwood is responsible for renewable energy programs, including generation planning, customer programs and policy. Lockwood began her career in the chemical industry at E.I. DuPont de Nemours in various engineering and management roles on the East Coast. Later she moved into consulting and managed diverse projects for national clients throughout the country.

Lockwood, who joined Valley Forward in 1970 and now is a member of the executive committee, holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Clemson University and a master of science in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“I’m a chemical engineer and I stepped into the environment right out of college,” Lockwood says. “It was a hazardous waste treatment operation.”

Although much has changed since Lockwood launched her professional journey, “renewable energy was a natural progression of my career.”

All sources of renewable energy, including solar, wind and biomass, should remain part of Arizona’s energy portfolio, she says. Lockwood mentions a biomass operation near Snowflake that generates electricity primarily by burning woody waste material from nearby national forests.

Lockwood calls Arizona “the best solar resource in the world,” and expects greater use of that renewable energy in the years ahead.

“We’re definitely working on that,” she says. “Solar is the resource of choice in the sunny Southwest.”

The main benefit of renewable energy is what you don’t see.

“It reduces polluting emissions because it is a clean source of fuel, and it offers a stable price,” Lockwood says. “What’s more, it can create jobs in Arizona.”

Lockwood touts APS’ Green Choice Programs as a way to improve the environment. Green Choice involves such things as converting to compact fluorescent light bulbs, renewable energy resources such as solar and wind, and high-efficiency air conditioning.

She also touts APS.

“The company is committed to renewable energy, and I came here because of that reputation,” Lockwood says.

Developing an organics-to-energy biogas facility.

Don’t Let It Go To Waste, A Biogas Future

Ever wonder if you can actually do something useful with all the garbage we produce? Well it turns out we can! The city council in San Jose, Calif., recently announced that the city was in talks to develop an organics-to-energy biogas facility.

The facility would be the first of its kind in the United States, and could take in up to 150,000 tons of food and yard waste per year to process and produce energy— all this from waste that would otherwise be condemned to a landfill.

San Jose has made a huge step toward a goal of 100 percent energy independence and can act as an example for the rest of the country.The technology used to create the energy is a process known as dry anaerobic fermentation, which generates renewable bio-gas and high-quality compost, and has already been made popular in Europe. A company called BEKON Energy Technologies has successfully used this process and currently operates facilities in Germany and Italy.

We all know that San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area have long been on the environmental bandwagon, but we should certainly be quick to follow suit. According to San Jose’s Office of Economic Development its proposed biogas facility would employ 30 to 40 people during construction and development. Once fully operational the facility could create 50 to 60 jobs. News flash — it’s not only good for the environment but the economy as well :)

It’s exciting to hear about all this great new technology being developed and, hopefully, one day it will be the norm. Alas, one can at least dream that this kind of future awaits us.

waste=energy

Job Increase

Green Jobs, Good Future

We are all very aware of the plight our economy is facing, but there is one bright spot in the darkness of the recession — green jobs.

According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the number of green jobs in the United States grew 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2007. Traditional jobs, on the other hand grew by only 3.7 percent in this time frame. This trend was also reflected on a state level.

This is great news, not just for the world of “green” but also for the economic future of our country. It shows that even, or rather especially, in troubled times we are recognizing the importance of sustainability.

The study also stated that “America’s clean energy economy has grown despite a lack of sustained government support in the past decade. By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for about 770,000 jobs.”

And there’s more good news. While many who have been lucky enough to avoid layoffs still live in fear of possibly being let go, 73 percent of respondents in North America to the first ever Carbon Salary Survey reported that they feel safe in their jobs, thanks to ever-increasing attention being placed on the sustainability sector.

I find this information comforting and refreshing. Comforting because it’s nice to know that even in this bleak environment there are still job possibilities out there, and refreshing because well, quite simply it’s refreshing to hear at least some positive news.

Here’s to a greater, greener future.

Source:
Pew Charitable Trusts
Carbon Salary Survey

Money Crunch

The Credit Crunch Is Leading Many Organizations To Outsource Asset-Intensive Legacy Processes

Market conditions are always a driving force in organizational spending, and the current environment is no exception. But in 2009, in addition to cost reduction, companies are now evaluating whether they can maximize their scarce credit availability by outsourcing capital-intensive IT functions that were traditionally “off limits” to these sorts of exercises or simply not technologically feasible.

Now, leading organizations are addressing not just the effective use of a third party expense platform, but also are evaluating the use of OPA — Other People’s Assets.

As with everything in business, outsourcing moves in cycles. In the early days of enterprise computing, when mainframes and huge computer systems were the only option and the cost to purchase was high, the only model that made sense was to outsource. However, as technology changed and developed — and as credit became more readily available — many organizations spent large amounts of capital to build and manage their IT infrastructure.

IT infrastructure comprises the data center, servers, routers, switches, firewalls and more — all of the components that make up the back end of your e-mail, CRM, ERP, Web sites, Blackberry servers, file servers, print servers, etc. IT infrastructure is core to every organization and it is not cheap, especially when you want to ensure you are doing it right.

Technology is a powerful enabler of these considerations, and nowhere can this more clearly be seen than in industry of outsourced IT infrastructure and hosted IT infrastructure. Technology has developed to a point where now the highest performance infrastructure can be allocated to multiple users. Companies such as VMware and Cisco have pioneered virtualization. This technology now allows hosting to go to the next level. No longer are hosting companies providing low-end servers and storage to their customers. With virtualization hosting, companies are now providing Fortune 100 quality infrastructure. Access to this type of technology can be a game changer, but at a minimum provides end users with the best opportunity to leverage their IT infrastructure.

Hosted infrastructure is very simply utilizing the above mentioned resources that are owned by someone else. There are multiple benefits to hosted infrastructure, including: specialization by your hosting provider (hosting is their core business), access to typically better infrastructure, newer infrastructure, higher performance, etc. And in times like these, perhaps the most relevant benefit is no capital outlay. In a time when capital is scarce, spending on only what you need and not making a major asset investment in infrastructure could be the difference between being buried in debt and fighting to the top of your market.

Emotion is perhaps the most difficult obstacle to overcome when evaluating an outsourcing decision. Wehave already touched on the fact that the job can be done internally. But another emotional aspect is tied to a person’s job, and if something isoutsourced then someone, maybe even the person doing the analysis, might put themselves out of work.Outsourcing has always been associated with people losing their jobs. But in reality, just the opposite istrue. If an organization is using capital to grow instead of building its IT infrastructure, more people will have opportunities and more jobs will be available.

Outsourcing of IT infrastructure and the use of hosted infrastructure are being utilized by nearly every large organization, and it is growing in the small and medium business sector. In the next five years, nearly every organization will benefit from outsourcing, whether it is their Web sites, e-mail, file servers, offsite storage or their entire data center. Organizations are realizing very quickly that it is more efficient to allocate their capital to grow their business than to buy servers and routers.

Lisa Nisleit of Color Repro Consulting

Color Repro Consulting

Lisa Nisleit
Color Repro Consulting
Title: President
Est.: 2001 | www.colorrepro.com

Lisa Nisleit was working for a large format printing company in 2001, when a client suggested she branch out on her own. She liked what she was doing and her accounts were satisfied with her performance, but Nisleit was frustrated that all the services she wanted to offer her clients weren’t available.

That’s when she decided to take the leap and launch her own business.

“The first thing I did was go out and visit as many accounts as I could. I wanted them to know that I would be the one-stop contact,” Nisleit says.

Color Repro Consulting’s primary services include printing for large format projects, trade shows, pamphlets and any other printing needs. Instead of customers dealing with a variety of vendors, Color Repro is responsible for every aspect of the project, from recognizing the types of services needed to completing the job and locating the suppliers and products, to printing and finishing the job on time.

“It’s project management, not just printing,” Nisleit says.

Her determination and focus on vendor-client relationships has helped transform her idea into a successful business.

“We depend on (vendors) to assist us with taking care of our clients. They depend on us to bring them work. Our clients depend on us to complete their project on time and on budget. Everyone is happy,” Nisleit says.

After holding a variety of jobs, including positions in retail and even in the semiconductor industry, running her own business was not something Nisleit expected to do.

“I’m still amazed that I’m still here after all this time. At the beginning, it was a week-to-week thing, but I’m still here,” she says.

The early hurdles of running a business, such as cash flow problems, were something Nisleit encountered but overcame. Now, Color Repro has developed a reputation as a dependable printing company that will work hard to meet its customers’ needs.

“We find ourselves always being the go-to people. So many projects are last minute. One of the biggest industries we deal with is construction and architecture. These companies put together their proposal projects to submit, and then we’ve only got a couple hours to print it,” Nisleit says.

Delivering on her promise to get the job done on time and on budget is a key ingredient to the success of Color Repro.

“It is our job to know who is in this town who can turn things quickly on a budget,” Nisleit says.

Through hard work and determination, Nisleit was able to lead her company to success. Her future plans for the business include moving to a new, larger location and hiring more employees.

For all the potential entrepreneurs out there, Nisleit has these simple words of wisdom: “Take the risk. If it’s something that you really want to do and it’s something that you love, you’re going to be successful at it.”

Philip Francis Chairman and CEO, Petsmart

First Job: Philip Francis

Philip L. Francis
Chairman and CEO, Petsmart

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
I’m going to give you two. I grew up on a farm, so the first thing I remember is cleaning up barns and building fences and bailing hay, and I worked for room and board. What I learned is to get a good job and get a good education. And straight out of college, I was an assistant nature director at a 4-H camp. I controlled the 10-year-olds and smart 12-year-olds who knew more about nature than I did.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
In terms of a real job, I was a trainee out of college in a grocery store, and what I learned is it’s all about the customer.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
Assistant nature director was room, board and $200 a month. And my first full-time job (in 1971), was $13,500 a year, and I thought I was rich.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did he or she play?
The guy’s name was Winslow Smith, now deceased. He was president of the small grocery business that I had gone into. And, he let me go as fast as I could, as long as I performed. I am (now) willing to put young people in at or over their heads … if they’re good performers, they can go.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
Get a varied, rather than a narrow set of experiences early, and if you’re in a business where there are operations, make sure you include operations early in your career. If you can be in a good finance job early, but never learn the operations of the business, you’re going to top-out quicker than somebody who understands what really goes on in the business. That’s why I said get a varied set of experiences.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
Well, I like what I’m doing. I think at my age and stage I would be doing something in the give-back mode. So, I’d probably be working for a social service agency or group of some sort helping other people, old or young, who can benefit from help.

Bob McGee Southwestern Business Financing Corporation

Bob McGee – President And CEO, Southwestern Business Financing Corporation

Fourth generation banker Bob McGee, president and CEO of Southwestern Business Financing Corporation, sees a rough year ahead for small businesses in Arizona. When McGee says rough, he means rough compared to Arizona’s customary booming economy.

“We may only have 2 to 3 percent growth in the state, but as long as we have water and electricity to run air conditioners, people are going to keep moving here from Chicago and Minnesota,” he says. “Yes, businesses are going to have a tough time, but I still do not think it will be anywhere near as bad as the past couple of bad times we’ve been through.”

McGee, whose firm is a nonprofit Certified Development Company approved by the Small Business Administration to make low-risk 504 loans for fixed-asset projects, says the downturn has hit home. Southwestern loaned $90 million for projects in 2007, but SBA approvals are down 40 percent, while the actual loans he funded are off by 10 percent.

Surprisingly, McGee sees small businesses becoming more attractive in today’s economy.

“When times get tough, that’s when people start thinking about owning their own business,” McGee says.

Businesses with fewer than 20 employees comprise more than 90 percent of Arizona’s economic landscape, but they provide more than jobs.

“It’s the way people achieve a dream,” McGee says, “because many people are happy in their job, but their real dream is to own their own business and be their own boss.”

During his career with Southwestern, McGee has helped create more than 7,000 jobs through the funding of SBA 504 loans. Since its founding in 1981, the company has funded the purchase or construction of more than $1.4 billion of buildings for businesses. Most of his deals involve construction, which today is funded by a commercial bank.

“I don’t fund until the building is finished,” McGee says.

McGee cites three factors for current market conditions. One is a complete lack of secondary financing, as potential investors poured $4 trillionintomoney markets.

“That puts a crimp in my kind of lending, and more important, the banks I work with,” McGee says.

A second factor is that banks are reluctant to make any loans, and the third reason, he says, is that a large percentage of business owners considering the purchase of a building are “terrified” by what they see on the evening news and are waiting for the market to hit bottom.

“You can’t out-time the market,” McGee says. “The way I know when it bottoms is I look back a year later and say, ‘Oh, that’s where it was.’ ”

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ROI on mba

Higher Degrees Are Still A Solid Investment In Corporate America

If ever there was a time for a Master in Business Administration to pay dividends, this is it. In a troubled economic climate, experts say businesses are more careful about who they hire. Having an MBA opens doors to jobs and salary levels otherwise out of reach, and it provides a layer of protection against downsizing.

When the economy is in a downturn, the employees businesses let go first are the least valuable. People who are investing in themselves, gaining new skills through an MBA, send a signal to the marketplace that they are the one a business wants to keep.

Gerry Keim, associate dean for the W. P. Carey MBA in the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, says MBAs are better off in the job market under any circumstances.

“They’re more likely to get hired in today’s environment than people without an MBA, and when the economy is booming and everybody is getting hired, these are the people who tend to move up,” Keim says.

Craig Bartholomew, MBA, vice president/director of the Phoenix Campus of the University of Phoenix, says economic downturn, slow market and rising prices are terms being used to describe the current economic landscape.

“The word recession is looming over everyone’s heads, employers are hesitant to add staff, and one’s climb up the career ladder may look like it is coming to a sudden halt,” Bartholomew says.

Earning an advanced degree goes a long way toward enhancing one’s economic future.

“Initially, it might seem like a risky investment, but trends traditionally indicate that now is the time to gain a competitive career advantage through a higher-education degree,” Bartholomew says. “A slow economy is temporary, but higher education is a long-term investment that can make a professional more valuable today and in the future.”

But Keim doesn’t necessarily believe that having an MBA in and of itself makes a difference.

“The market is very discriminating,” he says. “Having a degree is not enough. Having an MBA from a school with a very strong program is a good investment. You have to have skill sets and mind-sets that enhance your ability to manage in today’s business world.”

Last year, 97 percent of ASU’s MBAs landed jobs within three months of graduation, and the program was on target to match that mark in 2008. In what Keim calls “a very down economy,” salaries and bonuses are in the upper $90,000 area, perhaps even six figures. MBAs are making almost double what they were before entering the program, he says.

One of the key elements of the MBA field involves competition. Schools compete for the best students and the students compete against one another for the best jobs. Competition among students gets especially tense. Earning an MBA from an elite, private university can cost upwards of $120,000, compared to $32,000 for a full-time student at ASU, Keim says.

Some students from elite schools, such as Harvard, wind up owing $100,000 when they graduate.

“Our students graduate with virtually no debt,” Keim says. “They get to take home their entire salary. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.”

Richard Bowman, area chair for graduate business at the University of Phoenix, a faculty member for 16 years and a financial planner, sums up the value of an MBA, telling his students: “You will run into a point in your career that to move up to the next level, a master’s degree is required or desired. If you want to be promoted to operations manager, director, vice president or general manager, you will not be competitive without an MBA degree or a master’s in general.”

An advanced degree is also vital in the military if an officer hopes to rise above the rank of captain, Bowman says.

Pursuing an MBA online has the advantage of flexibility. Bowman says he has taught students online who were in such places as Iraq, Kosovo, Japan, Great Britain and China. It’s convenient for mid-level managers who travel a lot, he says, but there is little opportunity for interaction with other students and the instructor.

He tells of working mothers who are full-time employees.

“After they put the kids to bed, they can do their master’s degree,” Bowman says.