Effective corporate counsel has never been more important than it is now. Arizona Business Magazine is recognizing the important and vital role that in-house counsel plays in the success of a business with the Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards, ACC Awards 2012. The 27 finalists and winners were honored Thursday, January 12 during a ceremony and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, N through T.
ACC Awards 2012 Finalists, N through T:
Danny’s Family Companies
Naughton accepted the position of general counsel with Danny’s Family Companies just as the nation was beginning to understand the extent of the economic destruction resulting from the great recession. It soon became apparent that the company would need to restructure if it was to survive. Naughton masterfully navigated the company through the perilous and complex legal waters of a Chapter 11 corporate restructuring. The company’s continued success and emergence from Chapter 11 is due in part to Naughton’s insight and legal leadership. He is a native of Arizona and graduate of Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix.
In-house legal department
On Jan. 1, 2011, the acquisition of SANYO Semiconductor increased the ON law department from 29 to 47 legal professional. Still, the law department remains the smallest department in the company and consistently benchmarks favorably for cost expenditures for similarly situated in-house law departments. In recognition of the law department’s significant role in closing the SANYO deal, the M&A Advisor awarded the deal with the Major Transaction of the Year award for mergers and acquisitions from $500 million to $1 billion. On a personal note, department members participate in a wide variety of community service projects — from youth programs to animal rescue.
According to David Kash, a partner at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite in Phoenix, Paul did a “great job for a company in an economy under very trying times.” Paul’s great work paid off in 2011 as MD Helicopters was awarded a $186 million contract by the Army to build rotorcraft for training exercises in Afghanistan. Among her duties:
* Contract negotiation and drafting — national, international, sales, distribution, procurement, U.S. government, complex commercial and intellectual property licensing, ownership, transfers and development.
* Regulatory compliance.
* Intellectual property and contracts portfolio and systems development and management.
Jessica M. Pena
Tekco Management Group, LLC
In three years at Tekco, Pena has fundamentally reinvented the company’s approach to enforcing its intellectual property rights. Pena’s innovative use of unfair competition claims in conjunction with copyright enforcement is just one example of her ability to find new ways to tackle old, entrenched problems. Additionally, Pena’s innovative approach to intellectual property rights enforcement ignited a renewed effort against online copyright infringement in the adult entertainment industry. Due to her innovative and successful approach to stopping online copyright infringement in her industry, Pena was invited to organize and moderate a panel at the 23rd North American Entertainment, Sports & Intellectual Property Law Conference.
Deputy general counsel
American Traffic Solutions
Colleagues say Rasor has what it takes to create and maintain a well-oiled legal team as an in-house counsel. Some of her accomplishments include:
* Leading the legal aspects of two company acquisitions and countless lawsuits.
* After joining the legal team at ATS as the first associate general counsel, she was promoted to deputy general counsel the following year. She works with two other attorneys and two paralegals.
* Colleagues say Rasor is unequalled in her ability to foresee potential legal issues and head the off before they become a real problem for the company.
Executive vice president and general counsel
Reagan has been Kahala’s general counsel since January 2000. From 1993 to 1995, he served as a senior accountant with Deloitte & Touche in Phoenix in its audit division. He is currently a licensed attorney, as well as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), in the state of Arizona. Reagan holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of Arizona and a J.D. from Arizona State University. In Reagan’s 12 years at Kahala, the company has grown from a handful of employees to more than 250, from one brand to 14 brands, and the legal department has grown from one lawyer to six lawyers and 10 paralegals.
Associate general counsel
Insight Enterprises, Inc.
Rogers’ responsibilities include corporate governance work, SEC reporting, mergers and acquisitions, financing, design and implementation of compliance programs, internal investigations, negotiation of contracts and litigation and labor and employment management. He sits on Insight’s Disclosure Committee and currently chairs the Investment Committees for the company’s 401(k) and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation plans. Rogers was named a “Super Lawyer” in the 2007 Southwest Edition of Law & Politics Magazine and was the only in-house counsel named as a Super Lawyer in the edition. He is admired by colleagues for his great judgment, a key asset to outside counsel when analyzing facts and the law to develop strategies.
Catholic Healthcare West (Chandler Regional Medical Center)
Sehr has 25 years of experience as an attorney and 20 of those years have been devoted to healthcare law. Working in the healthcare field, there are many components that a legal department has to take into consideration to abide by regulations set by the state and federal governments. Sehr has made those regulations easier for everyone on the CHW staff to understand. Through Sehr’s leadership and expertise, the medical centers have been able to navigate and overcome hurdles with a strong sense of support, guidance and leadership toward the correct and proactive steps that need to be made.
Thomas F. Tollison
Senior assistant general counsel — marketing group
U-Haul International, Inc.
Colleagues say Tollison is an inspiration to those around him. “He inspires us to work hard and improve our craft,” said Isaac P. Hernandez, an associate at Ballard Spahr. “He inspires us to be leaders and to be involved with our communities. He reminds us to take a moment to smell the roses and enjoy life.” Among Tollison’s professional accomplishments is the negotiation of a multi-million-dollar asset/stock purchase of a telecommunications company, as well as providing lead counsel to the largest division on U-Haul — its marketing group.