Tag Archives: management

Tumbleweed Logo

Tumbleweed Center Relocates Phoenix Headquarters

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development will expand and relocate its headquarters from Downtown Phoenix to Siete Square II, 3707 N. 7th St. in Midtown, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc.

Tumbleweed was established in 1972 with a mission to provide a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in the community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.  The organization serves more than 3,000 young people each year, ages 12 to 25 years.

“Tumbleweed made a very shrewd decision to expand and relocate its headquarters at this time, locking in to today’s historically low rates.  This allowed us to lower occupancy costs over the long term,” said Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield.  “This strategy cut thousands of dollars in future rent expense that now can be redirected back into the organization’s much needed programs that serve Metro Phoenix’s teenage youth.”

The local non-profit has leased 13,047 square feet at the garden office complex and will locate from 1419 N. 3rd Street in fall of 2013.

Siete Square II is one of four buildings within the larger Siete Square garden office complex.  The Indiana Farm Bureau owns Siete Square II.  Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. represented Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in its lease negotiations.

Phil Breidenbach and Lindsey Carlson of Colliers serve as exclusive leasing agents for Siete Square II, representing the Indiana Farm Bureau.

WellsFargoLogo

Wells Fargo Plans 410,000 SF Expansion in Chandler

By Eric Jay Toll, Senior Correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange |

Special to Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine

 

Wells Fargo unveiled its 410,000-square-foot Chandler campus expansion to a neighborhood meeting in the East Valley September 16. Arizona Builder’s Exchange broke the story Monday night that the bank filed a rezoning application with the city to allow a pair of four-story buildings on the northwest corner of Price and Queen Creek roads in the Price Corridor.

More than 2,500 additional employees will work in the new Wells Fargo buildings, bringing campus employment to more than 5,000 workers.

The bank has selected an architect, but has not named the contractor for the project. A formal announcement with construction schedule is expected shortly. AZBEX reports sources saying the project could cost as much as $90 million.

The building shapes, design and materials are intended to mirror Phase I of the campus. The offices will rise to 64 feet. Three more buildings and parking garages are projected for future phases. The city has not set a hearing date for the zoning. Wells Fargo has not yet announced its construction schedule.

Read the original story here.

 

Eric Jay Toll is the senior correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange. His freelance work appears in a number of regional and national publications, including upcoming stories in AZRE and AZ Business.

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve to close early July

Fire danger prompts restrictions and increased patrols -

Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve will close at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, to reduce the threat of wild fires during the Independence Day holiday. Summer temperatures dry out vegetation and create an extreme fire threat that can endanger lives, property and the Valley’s fragile desert. The availability and popularity of fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday increases that threat.

All trailheads into the 27,800-acre-acre preserve will have “closed” signs posted. Scottsdale police, staff and volunteer stewards will patrol the area to advise visitors about the closure and fire threat. Violating the closure is a Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by up to four months in jail and a $750 fine.

The use of fireworks is prohibited in Scottsdale, but sales are permitted. Fireworks should not be used in Scottsdale – or anywhere near a natural desert environment.

“While the legislature mandated that firework sales are permitted throughout the state, our local ordinance prohibits the use of any type of consumer fireworks within city limits,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ford. “Fireworks should not be used in Scottsdale – or anywhere near a natural desert environment.”

Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses the McDowell Mountains and large areas of the Sonoran Desert north of Dynamite Boulevard.

Visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/fire.

Samantha Maracle

Maracle Named SCNM’s Director of Development

Samantha Maracle, CFRE, brings more than 20 years experience in nonprofit fundraising management to her new position as Director of Development at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Most recently, Maracle handled responsibilities as a Development Analyst with the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation.  Previously, she was Arizona Director of Development at the Devereaux Foundation.  Her experience also includes responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing and Development for Junior Achievement and as President of Performance Diagnostics, a consulting firm providing organizational assessment, development and program expertise to nonprofit agencies and businesses.

In addition to her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Maracle holds a Bachelor of Science degree with specialties in plant physiology, mycology (the study of fungi) and biochemistry from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

“Samantha brings an incredible depth of knowledge and strategic development experience to SCNM that will be invaluable as the college continues its rapid growth,” said SCNM President Dr. Paul Mittman.  “Her diverse core competencies in all areas of nonprofit development include a strong history of success in the corporate, nonprofit and private sectors as well as an understanding of scientific principles that are the foundation of naturopathic medicine.  She brings tremendous value to the SCNM management team.”

For information about SCNM, visit www.scnm.edu.

Samantha Maracle

Maracle Named SCNM's Director of Development

Samantha Maracle, CFRE, brings more than 20 years experience in nonprofit fundraising management to her new position as Director of Development at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Most recently, Maracle handled responsibilities as a Development Analyst with the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation.  Previously, she was Arizona Director of Development at the Devereaux Foundation.  Her experience also includes responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing and Development for Junior Achievement and as President of Performance Diagnostics, a consulting firm providing organizational assessment, development and program expertise to nonprofit agencies and businesses.

In addition to her designation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Maracle holds a Bachelor of Science degree with specialties in plant physiology, mycology (the study of fungi) and biochemistry from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

“Samantha brings an incredible depth of knowledge and strategic development experience to SCNM that will be invaluable as the college continues its rapid growth,” said SCNM President Dr. Paul Mittman.  “Her diverse core competencies in all areas of nonprofit development include a strong history of success in the corporate, nonprofit and private sectors as well as an understanding of scientific principles that are the foundation of naturopathic medicine.  She brings tremendous value to the SCNM management team.”

For information about SCNM, visit www.scnm.edu.

Clees, Joe

Clees Among ‘Nation’s Most Powerful Attorneys’

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, announced that Joe Clees, a shareholder in the firm’s Phoenix office, has been named to Human Resource Executive magazine’s 2013 list of the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys.” This is the fifth consecutive year that he has been selected by clients and colleagues for inclusion in the Most Powerful list.

Attorneys were named to the list based on their excellence in guiding employers through today’s ever-intensifying legal landscape. To make the list, attorneys must receive glowing recommendations from corporate counsel who have benefitted from their services and would hire them again. Listed attorneys typically also must have practiced for more than 20 years and have amassed a number of accomplishments, including defending companies in headline-making cases and holding leadership positions within employment groups both in and outside of their firms.

Clees, who has practiced employment law for more than 25 years, represents employers throughout the United States. He also counsels clients on a wide array of state, federal, and tribal compliance laws. He has served as the chair of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Arizona’s Employment and Labor Law section, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Affirmative Action Association and the Valley of the Sun Human Resource Association (VSHRA), and as employment law counsel to many industry and trade groups. Clees regularly speaks and trains on labor and employment law topics, both regionally and nationally.

Beyond the “Most Powerful Employment Attorney” award, Clees has been recognized as one of the Southwest Super Lawyers (2007-2013), including several years in the Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers, and is regularly included in Chambers USA (2005-present). He has been included in Best Lawyers in America (2006-present), and this year, was named by Best Lawyers as the Phoenix “Employment Law – Management” Lawyer of the Year. Clees has also been singled out as one of the “The Legal 500.” Locally, Arizona Business Magazine rates him as one of the “Top Attorneys of Arizona,” and the Phoenix Business Journal designates him as a “Best of the Bar.”

rsz_glendale_corp_ctr

CBRE Negotiates Sale of Single-Tenant Building in Glendale

 

CBRE negotiated the sale of a 16,632 SF building at Glendale Corporate Center, a Class A office park north of the NEC of 99th Ave. and Camelback Rd. in Glendale.

The building is 100% occupied by the United States Marshals Service.

Barry Gabel, Mindy Korth and Ashley Brooks of CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the seller, HR GCC LLC, an entity controlled and managed by Los Angeles-based Regent Properties. The buyer was Glendale GSA LLC, an entity controlled by Titanium Real Estate Advisors in Chicago. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“This was the perfect match between buyer and seller,” Gabel said. “The seller originally purchased the building as part of a vacant three-building campus acquisition and successfully leased the building for 10 years to a tenant that the buyer is very familiar with. In fact, the buyer specializes in GSA properties, and this purchase marks their fourth GSA-leased asset acquisition in Arizona.”

Located at 5365 N. 99th Ave., the single-tenant office building sits in an amenity-rich area, minutes from Jobing.com Arena and the University of Phoenix Stadium, as well as numerous shops, restaurants and hotels. Its close proximity to the Loop 101 freeway offers easy access to many parts of the Valley via its connected highway system.

rsz_ec

Main Event Entertainment Buys 6.4 Acres at Tempe's Emerald Center

 

Main Event Entertainment purchased a 6.4-acre retail site in Tempe for $2.05M and will build a new 57,000 SF indoor entertainment venue.

The property is located in Emerald Center near Interstate 10 and Warner Road in Tempe adjacent to IKEA and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, this will be Main Event’s first building outside of Texas where it has 12 locations.

Construction is expected to start in 2Q 2013. The freestanding building will be located at the NEC of Emerald and Commerce drives and will have more than 400 parking spaces. It lies directly south of a future 74,000 SF retail showroom called Furniture Row that is being planned for 2014. Furniture Row purchased the site in 2011 and the two new buildings will share common parking and easements.

Main Event Entertainment will attract indoor corporate and family events and offers bowling, billiards, laser tag, glow golf, rock climbing, gravity ropes, arcade games along with food and beverage services.

Dan Gardiner and Greg Laing of Phoenix Commercial Advisors represented Main Event Entertainment in the site selection process. Rick Robertson and Chris McClurg of Lee and Associates Arizona represented the seller, First National Bank of Hutchinson, Kan., in the acquisition.

The new building was approved for a use permit by the City of Tempe in June 2012 and is being designed by Hunter Engineering.

rsz_university_center

Cushman & Wakefield Negotiates $23.5M Sale of University Center

 

Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona negotiated the $23.5M sale of the three-building University Center to the Arizona Board of Regents. This marks an acquisition for future expansion of Arizona State University.

University Center , located at Rural Rd. and University Dr., is situated across the street from ASU. The three buildings, 1100, 1130 and 1150 E. University Dr., contain a total of 169,997 SF of space. The 1130 and 1150 E. University Dr. buildings are three-story office structures, while the 1100 E. University Dr. is a single story flex building.

University Center was constructed in 1986/1987 and is occupied by major tenants that include Arizona State University, ACS Commercial Solutions, Nationwide Recovery and Laureate College.

The Arizona Board of Regents purchased the property from Travelers of St Paul, Minn., paying approximately $138.40 per SF.

“We have had the privilege to work with Travelers and Arizona Commercial Management on University Center for over 14 years,” says Karsten Peterson with Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona. “This project has, and will continue to be, a quality location for years to come. University Center has always enjoyed a great relationship with ASU as a Tenant and we are pleased to see ASU progress this relationship into ownership.”

Peterson, Dave Seeger and Mark Gustin of Cushman & Wakefield represented Travelers in the sale negotiations. Peter Lyons of Arizona Commercial Management also assisted in representation of the seller. Curtis Brown of Ross Brown Partners represented the buyer.

 

 

Steve Sanghi - Microchip Technology

Steve Sanghi, Microchip Technology Inc.

Steve Sanghi, talks about his experience as President and CEO of Microchip Technology, Inc. and the role technology plays in Arizona’s future.

Title: Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

Company: Microchip Technology, Inc.


How is being CEO of a technology company different from being CEO of a more traditional manufacturing company?
I used to think it was very different, but I’m not sure I believe that anymore. I understand the technology of a project, why our technology is better than the competition’s and why it is not. I think that makes me more effective. But it can also make CEOs with a technology background more biased; they do not rely on the team as much as they should.

Video by Duane Darling

What has been your most significant challenge as CEO of Microchip?
The first challenge was taking the company and turning it around. We were in so much trouble financially. We had no cash to go forward. Our technology was outmoded. Our employees lacked morale. Our factories were inefficient. So we took all those elements and developed what we call the “aggregate system,” a big-picture approach where we took all the elements of the business and created a better workplace and management culture that allowed us to succeed.

Any plans to expand your product lines?
I call my acquisition strategy “elbow out.” Our products need products from other companies around them to make them work. So we look at companies that make products that we do not make ourselves, then we look at acquiring them so we can “elbow out” the competition.

How does technology fit into Arizona’s economic future?
If you look at the state’s first 75 years, the four Cs that drove the economy were copper, cattle, citrus and climate. If you look at the last 25 years, technology, construction, retail and hospitality have taken a more prominent role. As we look forward, technology is going to play a more dominant role in Arizona’s economy as the world keeps moving toward a knowledge economy. So the four Cs that are driving Arizona today are computers, communications, consumer electronics and climate.

How is Arizona as a place to do business?
We have more than 400 people working here. Our business has grown from a $70 million company into a $1.5 billion company, so it has worked well for us. But there are pros and cons. Many times, to get the right talent, we have to go to other technology centers — California, Oregon, Texas, Colorado. If we had the talent here, it would make things easier. A benefit of being in Arizona is that we have a lower cost of living, the cost of doing business is lower, and our turnover rate is much lower than other tech centers. We have always been proud to call Arizona home.

What three things would make Arizona more tech-business friendly?
No. 1 is to improve the schools. Arizona high schools are near the bottom and if we don’t improve them soon, it’s really going to impact the future. No. 2 is getting a handle on the immigration problem and controlling it. No. 3 is that Arizona has historically lacked risk capital. Having more risk capital available is crucial so entrepreneurs can build companies here instead of having to look elsewhere.

Your biggest accomplishment as CEO?
Taking a company that was hemorrhaging money in 1990 and leading it to 84 consecutive quarters of profitability is something that I could not have imagined and is something that no other semiconductor company has been able to achieve. Right now, we are shipping about a billion units a year. So to see how far we have come and how well our products are accepted makes me very proud. You can only see so far in the future, but when you get there, you can see farther.

[stextbox id="alert" bcolor="ffffff" bgcolor="eaeaea" image="null"]Vital Stats: Steve Sanghi

  • Named president of Microchip in August 1990, chief executive officer in October 1991, and chairman of the board of directors in October 1993.
  • Author of the book “Driving Excellence: How the Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader (Wiley).”
  • Member of the board of directors of Xyratex Ltd., member of the national board of directors of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Kettering University.
  • In 2010, Mr. Sanghi was named EE Times’ — a leading electronics-industry publication — “Executive of the Year.”
  • Under Sanghi, Microchip’s returns have increased 4,476% since the Company’s IPO in 1993.
  • Honored with the Arizona Technology Council’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

Aaron Matos is the founder and CEO of Jobing.com. - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Jobing.com’s Aaron Matos Talks About His First Job

Aaron Matos
Title: Founder/CEO
Company: Jobing.com

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
I was a bike mechanic at Swiss American Bicycles. I learned how to work for a boss who was demanding about service quality, timeliness and doing things right. When I was 14, I thought he was overbearing and too hard on me and others. Now, 24 years later, I realize he helped feed an insatiable desire to do excellent work.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
I was a personnel manager at El Dorado of Sun City. I learned that HR and managers can have too many rules, and that if management creates a culture where people are empowered they can accomplish great things.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
(Swiss American Bicycles) $3.35 an hour; (El Dorado of Sun City) $21,500 a year.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
Chris Gaffney, the current lead investor at Great Hill Partners. He has supported and pushed me as CEO … He has taught me that business and life have a long arc, and that you’ve got to keep your eye always focused on building a great business for your customers first and foremost.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
Focus on getting things done and accomplishing things. I always traded responsibility for pay, knowing pay would come. Too many people focus on “promotions” or “job titles.” Work to take on big projects and accomplish big important goals for your company. Not only will you learn and grow faster, but others will notice and you’ll get those promotions because you earned it.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I don’t spend energy thinking about what you could be doing instead. Too many people don’t succeed because they have their eye on another ball in a different game. Be passionate about what you’re currently doing.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Omer Faizi Room 3

Sellers Beware: Staging Can Help Sell Your Home!

It wasn’t just the tall cheetah print chairs, luminous red and green chandeliers strung from the ceiling, that were distracting. When apartment hunters stepped into the 5-floor studio for sale, they found a white leather upholstered bed with red and orange shimmering pillows, funky artwork and a hanging L.E.D. lamp giving off different shades of colors. Some said it reminded them of a set out of a science fiction movie.

Omer Faizi Room 4“Some would laugh,” said one of the listing brokers for the building. This was the model apartment for a condominium conversion project, and it was not selling itself, much less helping to sell other units in the same building as it was intended to do.

“They quickly realized that it hurt more than it helped,” the broker said.

I knew it would take more than replacing towels to make buyers feel comfortable in a space where even Lady Gaga might crave beige walls and cream couches.

With help from an interior designer, he had the white wood floors stained a darker shade and installed furniture more commonly found in Manhattan apartments, like a rectangular bed. He strategically placed on the kitchen counter martini glasses, a bowl of lemons and a shaker primed for after-work cocktails and left around reading material like the Sotheby’s catalog.

“This is the where I would live: said most of the people viewing the model, and a lot of people can identify with this,” said the new management team members as the owner walked through the new model unit.

The designer’s efforts had paid off.
 During the real estate boom, eager buyers bought units requiring enormous imagination to picture as homes: They bought un-built condos or empty spaces with blank walls. Today, buyers are much less likely to take risks on apartments, lofts, condos and single-family homes where they cannot figure out how to fit in their sofa bed or sideboard. So, brokers have been redecorating old model units or filling unfurnished apartments by doing it themselves, which can back fire if you don’t have the eye for design (to save cash), or by doing the smart thing, hiring a interior designer.

Omer Faizi Room 2The difference between three years ago and now is that you could have actually shown an empty apartment without much staging, the market was great, but now – we all know what is happening do I need to go any further?

For some high-end listings, the brokers will fill cabinets with fine china, not just “dishes in there from Kmart.” He has even had brokers fill closets of for-sale apartments with clothing like “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, and Paul Smith.”

If you’re going to hang anything in the closet, it should be a name brand that the buyer can relate to
. The clothing and accessories do not go to waste, they get moved to the next condo project.

But we must remember nothing comes cheap. There is a price to pay to hire a creative designer/team to execute a amazing sexy retro to traditional styles. So hire a designer who has the vision and can turn a blank canvas into a home – ”your home.”

Advance And Retain Women’s Role In The Financial Field - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Two Valley Groups Are Working To Advance And Retain Women’s Role In The Financial Field

It wasn’t so long ago that a typical business meeting at a banking or financial institution was dominated by the good ol’ boys network. Well, not anymore. Today, you are likely to see more women among the dark suits at the table.

“I have watched women evolve,” says Deborah Bateman, executive vice president of specialty banking and marketing at National Bank of Arizona, and a founder of the Women’s Financial Group. Bateman boasts a professional background spanning more than 40 years in the banking industry.

“Early in my career, I think we tried to mirror men,” she says. “Over time, women have recognized the skill sets they can bring to business, such as collaboration, connecting, coaching (and) creating value inside Corporate America.”

Women’s roles in the banking and finance sectors are widening, and the proof is in the numbers. In 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 54 percent of American women were employed in fields related to financial activities. This includes finance and insurance, banking and related activities, securities, commodities, funds, trusts and other financial investments. In Arizona, the percentage of women working in the finance and insurance industry also is significant. U.S. Census data shows there are actually more women than men working in these industries.

Although women have come a long way from their beginnings in these formerly male-dominated sectors, it is an ongoing struggle. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the disparity in salaries for men and women is significant.

In the Phoenix Metro area, during the third quarter of 2009, women made up 14.4 percent of the 35-44 age work force in finance and insurance (private sector) versus 10.4 percent for men. However, women in these fields average a monthly salary of $4,350, compared to men’s $6,643. For women aged 45 to 54, the salary gap grows even wider. In this age group, men on average earn 64 percent more.

“Women need to be more assertive about asking for money and tooting their own horn,” says Donna Davis, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) and a member of the Women’s Financial Group. “It’s OK to promote your organization, it’s OK to ask for money and to ask for more.”

However, Emily Amparan, vice president of development at Factors Southwest, says she thinks the numbers don’t reflect the real gains women are making.

“I always hold those figures suspect, as I rarely encounter hindrances to make money and achieve success in the financial field,” she says. “I think if you believe it to be so, it probably is … however, the most successful women in the finance industry don’t pay any mind to talk of obstacles, as they forge ahead to make their own path.”

Helping women make their own paths in the financial sector is the mission of a number of organizations emerging all over the Valley. For example, Bateman founded an internal mentorship program at National Bank of Arizona in 2009, that quickly expanded to outside industries and individuals. Later renamed the Women’s Financial Group, the organization’s focus is to bring together women of all professional backgrounds to promote financial planning, mentoring, business services and networking.

Bateman says she hopes the Women’s Financial Group can serve as a catalyst for women to succeed and attain higher positions in banking and finance without compromising their identities.

“For years and years, we would dress in tailored blue suits and wear ties,” Bateman recalls. “Women can be women in the business world. It brings enormous value to business, to their organizations and to the community.”

In addition, Davis says the group can help “women become more savvy financial business people.”

At a recent Women’s Financial Group event, women of diverse backgrounds, both personal and professional, filled the room. Some women were just beginning their careers and some were veterans with decades of experience. But all were there with a mission: to pave the way for future success in their respective financial careers.

Another group aimed at women in the financial sector is Women in Banking, the local chapter of the national Risk Management Association. Founded in 2006, its first meeting took place at a Chevy’s restaurant with 14 business women in attendance. Today, the group includes 50 to 80 bankers, consultants, marketers and business owners from around the Valley. And despite its name, the committee encourages men to join and attend its events.

“There is definitely a need for a professional organization that brings business and banking together for positive networking,” says Amparan, who is a member of the organization’s leadership team.

Along with helping women plot their careers in financing, Women in Banking is a strong supporter of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women in areas such as career change, personal growth, family relationships and more. The group collects clothes for donation and works to raise money to sponsor Fresh Start’s annual golf tournament and fashion show.

That type of commitment to all women in the community is just one example of the impact women professionals in finance are making.

“Women in business are tremendous bridge builders and relationship makers,” Amparan says. “Banking and finance has become more of a warm, open environment to the credit of professional women across the state and country. People are starting to take notice of the successful way women are starting to do business and build relationships.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Misgana Kebede Company - Accent Transportation Services - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

A Dream Becomes A Reality for Ethiopian-Born Small Business Owner Misgana Kebede

Misgana Kebede
Company: Accent Transportation Services
Title: Owner | Est.: 2008
Web: www.transaccent.com

In May 2008, during the roughest stretch of the recession, a husband-and-wife team made a bold decision to start their own transportation business. Misgana Kebede and his wife, Bilen, started Accent Transportation Services, which specializes in executive car service around the Phoenix area.

Kebede moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia and was drawn to the tourism industry early on. In fact, he worked at various hotels and theme parks after high school and during college. Kebede eventually earned degrees in finance and logistics, transportation and supply chain management.

Prior to the creation of Accent Transportation Services, Kebede was working for Honeywell Aerospace in the supply chain department. Although he was learning a lot about the business, Kebede realized he wanted something more than to work in a cubicle.

“I had the dream of becoming a business owner, and a desire to serve others from the heart,” Kebede says.

When Kebede first started his business, the transportation industry was being hit hard by the economic downturn.
Companies were cutting down on travel costs, and car and limo services weren’t in demand. Despite the challenges, Accent Transportation managed to stand out to clients. Accent Transportation gains most of its business from repeat customers, and has grown from one vehicle to a seven-vehicle fleet within two years.

“Building a repeat customer base tells us we’re doing something right,” Kebede says. “Seventy to 75 percent of our business is repeat customers.”

Accent Transportation retains its customers because it continually focuses on improving the level of service it provides. It offers easy, online registration and account management. Customers can choose from Lincoln sedans, SUVs, stretch limos and a mini-coach. Kebede also emphasizes the importance of being on time.

Another major part of customer retention is that Kebede’s employees have excellent customer service skills. When looking to hire new employees, Kebede looks for people who already have spent time working in the hospitality business.

“If you know how to serve people, anything else can be learned,” Kebede says.

Kebede knows that building a business from the ground up is especially hard right now, but he is committed to his work.

“The first and foremost thing is to have a passion for what you do,” Kebede says. “Plan your days, weeks and months. Think about what will grow your business, not just what will help you get by.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Health Care Reform in Arizona - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Business And Community Leaders Are Trying To Figure Out What Health Care Reform Will Mean In Arizona

For government and business, providers and patients, the U.S. health care reform legislation promises a new world of costs and care.

Most individuals without insurance will be able to get it. Those who have insurance already probably will have to pay more for it. Hospitals, doctors and others in the front lines of health care will begin to change long-established ways of doing business. State governments and many businesses, already battered by recession, will face new costs and possibly some benefits.

But beyond these generalizations, little is certain about what health care reform will mean in Arizona and across the country. The bill is vague in many areas and leaves important details of implementation to be determined by federal regulators and other officials in the weeks and months ahead.

“Quite frankly, we won’t know the financial impacts until we move through the process and see what the federal government and insurance companies do,” says Donna Davis, chief executive officer of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA).

Barry Broome, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), says it is too early know what the bill will mean.

“It sounds very good to be able to cover the uninsured, but what the costs are and how they are going to be distributed are still not clear,” he says.

Marjorie Baldwin, director of the School of Health Management and Policy and assistant dean at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, says it is important to note that the law’s primary purpose is to cover the uninsured.

“This bill is about access,” Baldwin says. “It’s designed to cover the uninsured. There is much less in it about quality of care and little about cost controls.”

On what the price tag for health care reform will be, Baldwin says, “The one safe prediction is that it is going to cost much more than anticipated.”

Hospitals and doctors
Whether the health care overhaul is ultimately deemed a success will be determined to a large extent by what happens inside the nation’s hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

Peter Pavarini, a health care lawyer for Squire, Sanders and Dempsey and an adviser to health care organizations, believes hospitals are actually well-positioned to adapt to the new law.

“Hospitals have been anticipating something happening for some time,” Pavarini says. “Hospitals have the resources to prepare better than some of the other players in the health care system.”

Several provisions in the law are expected to lead to a dramatic shift in the way hospitals are paid by insurance. Under the existing system, providers receive set rates for specific medical procedures. The new law moves toward a system in which hospitals receive a set amount for treating an overall condition or a so-called “bundled payment.” This shift is expected to require more detailed treatment plans, coordinated care and closer cooperation among hospitals and physicians.

“With the bundled payments, you have to have a more integrated approach and an approach that aligns physicians and hospitals,” says Suzanne Pfister, vice president of external affairs at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

The hospital already has been moving in this direction, according to Pfister. St. Joseph’s has forged a series of partnerships with area health care organizations, including outpatient and short-stay providers United Surgical Partners and SimonMed Imaging
.
“We are continuing to look at moving from acute care to a continuum of care,” Pfister says.

Pavarini believes the new payment systems for Medicaid and Medicare will bring big changes to care at hospitals. When the system is in place, hospitals will get a set payment for delivering all of the care a patient receives from 72 hours before admission to 30 days after discharge, he notes.

“That’s a whole different model from what we have now,” Pavarini says. “This means it’s not good enough just to get the patient in and out of the hospital. It means testing can’t be duplicative. And it means patients better be ready for discharge when they’re released.”

Pavarini says doctors and hospitals will need to cooperate more closely as the law is implemented. He sees hospitals forging formal alliances with physician groups and appointing more practicing physicians to their boards of directors.
A more basic concern for hospitals is how much they will be paid. Because expansion of Medicaid is a key feature of the law, hospitals are concerned about long-term revenue.

“Payments are going to shift more to the level of Medicaid, and Medicaid has not been a particularly good payer,” Pfister says.

Officials at Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, are still examining the legislation to assess its consequences.

“This reform is primarily about health insurance, not health care reform,” the organization said in a statement. “It will result in expanded AHCCCS (Medicaid) coverage in Arizona and access to insurance, but the need remains to address reducing the cost of health care.”

The bill includes a number of provisions that will increase the role of primary-care physicians. Medicaid fees will go up for primary-care doctors, who also will be eligible for bonuses from Medicare.

St. Joseph’s is concerned about being able to find enough physicians as health care reform is implemented in the coming years, according to Pfister.

“Arizona has fewer physicians per capita than the national average, so we face that already. Arizona does not have enough primary-care physicians and even some specialists,” she says.

The larger hospitals that have formal ties to physicians and other providers probably will fare best under health care reform, according to Pavarini. But he believes smaller, more isolated hospitals will struggle and some will close.

“Arizona has a number of smaller hospitals in less populated areas,” he says. “I think the outlying hospitals in rural communities could have difficulty.”

Businesses
While all businesses will be affected by the health care reform law, some will feel it more than others. Probably least affected will be firms that already provide health insurance now and have a pool of employees large enough to allow the companies to self-insure.

“For most large businesses, fundamentally there’s not a lot of change,” says Keith Maio, president and chief executive officer of National Bank of Arizona. “For us, we’ll have to be a little more paperwork conscious.”

ASU’s Baldwin says the principal effect on large employers will be slightly higher expenses, as they absorb some of the cost of the system’s expanded coverage.

“For larger employers, the law is not going to mean a big difference, but they are going to see their costs go up,” she says.

Smaller businesses though will face new uncertainties, and, for some, significant new costs.

“I would say that there is a cloud of concern generally for small businesses,” says Maio, whose bank has many small business customers. “People who have been through the recession and are still slugging it out have learned to survive. But they still have trouble seeing how they can get back to where they were . That’s why something like the health care bill can have such an impact.”

The law offers a complex mix of incentives and penalties designed to spur employers to offer health insurance. In 2014, employers with 50 or more workers who do not provide coverage will face penalties of $2,000 or $3,000 per employee. Some employers who provide insurance and have fewer than 50 workers will be eligible for tax credits.

“In a sense there is both a carrot and a stick,” says Bradford Kirkman-Liff, professor in the School of Health Management and Policy at W. P Carey. “The idea is to create a very strong incentive to provide insurance.”

The tax credits could offset as much as half of the insurance costs for some employers, Kirkman-Liff notes.

“Arizona has a high number of small employers. Many of them don’t provide health insurance, but some do. This would give them a reason not to drop it,” he says.

The law also instructs states to establish insurance exchanges, where small employers and individuals can purchase policies from insurance companies. The exchanges are designed to bring down the cost of insurance by combining groups of buyers into large pools.

But even with government subsidies and insurance exchanges, some businesses will find the burden too large, according Maio.

“The greatest impact will be on those that employ entry-level employees,” he says. “Arizona has a lot of lower-wage businesses who won’t be able to afford to provide insurance. I think some will opt to pay the fine. Then what have you accomplished?”

Another problem that Maio sees is the 50-employee threshold for the coverage requirement. Employers with fewer than 50 can escape penalties for not providing insurance.

“Have you given them a disincentive to adding people?” he asks.

Davis at ASBA says most business owners are focused on short-term challenges and do not have a clear picture of how the law will affect them.

“For some small businesses who fit the prescribed requirements, it will help offset some of their costs,” Davis says. “For others, it simply won’t.”

leadershiphorizontal

Learn The Principles Of Effective Leadership

Knowledge: Great companies and great leaders are often synonymous, but what does it take to be a great leader? Dr. Angelo Kinicki is professor of management at the W.P. Carey School of Business. As a consultant, Kinicki often works with top management teams. Here, Kinicki discusses the principles of transformational and managerial leadership in increasing the efficiency of executives and the companies they lead. (18:09)

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2009 HR Team Of The Year Finalists

American Express LogoCompany: American Express Service Center – Phoenix
Web: www.americanexpress.com

Company established: 1850 | No. of employees in AZ: 7,400
No. of employees in HR dept.: 17

The 17 professionals in the human resources department at American Express’ service center in Phoenix have had a busy year and met many challenges amidst difficult circumstances.

The team fulfills its responsibilities by following two philosophies. First, it approaches its work as a partner with the center’s 2,900 employees. Team members participate in business meetings, listen to customer calls with employees and keep in touch with everyone who works there. Second, it believes all team members are “in it together.” They share information, focus on the most important priorities and support each other as a cohesive group.

The year began with work force reductions at the center, but the human resources team was expected to ramp up in areas needing additional attention. As part of that effort, the team successfully convinced existing front-line employees to take a chance and move into different jobs, even as the recession ravaged the financial-services sector.

Significant attention also was devoted to leadership development within the center’s management ranks. The team developed a new team-new leader assimilation program that reduced the learning curve for new managers. Four team members who specialize in leadership development conducted focus groups to help managers understand the needs and expectations of the employees they lead.

In addition, American Express selected its Phoenix service center to pilot a global wellness strategy this year. More than 1,300 employees participated in a kick-off event and 90 percent of employees who took on a healthy-living challenge completed it. The HR team also hired a full-time wellness coach and nutritionist.


Arizona Public Service Co.Company: Arizona Public Service Co.
Web: www.aps.com

Company established: 1886 | No. of employees in AZ: 7,147
No. of employees in HR dept.: 85

To say that the human resources department at Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is busy is a vast understatement. This team of 85 professionals has its hands full.

APS faces a staffing challenge at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix. As operator of North America’s largest nuclear power plant, APS must deal with the fact that the majority of the employees there will near retirement age at the end of this decade. Human resources has launched an intense 18-month program to train college engineering recruits on the operation of highly technical aspects of the plant. Also, existing Palo Verde engineers are being groomed as mentors for the college graduates.

Human resources overhauled APS’ leadership development programs, as well. Few succession plans were in place for key leaders, and many emerging leaders were not receiving the breadth and depth of assignments they needed to progress to the next level. All existing leaders are given values-based training and new leaders receive basic training in supervisory skills. And, for the first time, APS’ middle managers have a program that enhances their skill sets and gives them feedback from peers. In addition, human resources is developing an emerging-leaders program.

Another duty for human resources was modernizing the company’s compensation model. It also has revamped compensation philosophy, moving APS away from cost-of-living pay increases to a performance-based merit system. Starting in 2010, APS will have an incentive program impacting 95 percent of its work force that will be tied directly to performance of the company and its employees.


St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical CenterCompany: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Web: www.stjosephs-phx.org


Company established: 1895 | No. of employees in AZ: 5,000+
No. of employees in HR dept.: 26

The human resources team at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center played a significant role in helping the Phoenix hospital reach two milestones this year.

St. Joseph’s became the only hospital in Arizona to be recognized by BestCompaniesAZ as a best place to work for seven consecutive years. And for the first time, St. Joseph’s was named by Modern Healthcare as one of the industry’s top 100 best places to work nationally. BestCompaniesAZ administers best-places-to-work recognition programs in Arizona. Modern Healthcare is a national health care business news magazine.

Employee satisfaction may have something to do with St. Joseph’s open-door and two-way communication policies. Staff members have ample opportunities to ask questions and provide input. Each department holds daily employee meetings, with the hospital’s president hosting monthly employee forums. In addition, senior management conducts employee town halls throughout the year. To promote a work-life balance, the hospital offers telecommuting, flex hours, compressed work weeks, summer hours and job sharing.

The 25-member human resources team encourages diversity at St. Joseph’s. It partners with the Center for Transitional Rehab to integrate brain-injured patients into the hospital’s staff. The team partners with local and national job boards to reach out to ethnic groups and has developed programs to support a large Hispanic and Filipino work force. Disabled workers are encouraged to apply for employment or volunteer at the hospital.

Reaching out to the community, the human resources staff hosted five workshops this year to help the unemployed use alternative job-search tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn. gement, and employee relations. Its clients include startup companies and Fortune 50 firms.

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2009 Large Business HR Director Of The Year Finalists

Christine NicholsName: Christine Nichols
Title: Human Resource Manager
Company: Human Capital Strategies

Years with company: 1
Years in current position: 1
Company established: 2007
No. of employees in AZ: 980
No. of employees in HR dept.: 2
www.hcscando.com

Christine Nichols has a take-charge attitude that she applies to all her duties as human resource manager at Human Capital Strategies.

Nichols is thorough in establishing and implementing human resources programs such as employee orientation, and in providing proper training for employees so they can build value in the Mesa-based employment and human-services company. She also monitors staff efficiency by coaching employees on their assigned projects.

Known for her open-door policy, Nichols has established forthright communication that cultivates a sense of trust within the company and allows employees to participate in the firm’s growth. Each employee’s opinion is given respectful attention, and issues, concerns and ideas are appropriately addressed under Nichols’ leadership. In addition to encouraging employees to further their education and professional development through classes, Nichols also makes sure their responsibilities overlap into other departments, so they can carry out the duties of other staff members and are better candidates for promotion.

To encourage quality performance, employee accomplishments are recognized at biweekly staff meetings and quarterly team-building events.

Nichols’ department offers telecommuting and flex time for employees, especially when an illness strikes or the unexpected occurs in employees’ personal lives. These arrangements are particularly convenient for staff with children or elderly parents who need extra attention. Human Capital Strategies has found telecommuting and flex time highly beneficial; missed days are minimal and productivity is high. These arrangements also improve employee retention.

Diversity at Human Capital Strategies is based on the belief that quality people are not exclusive to a specific background.


Patti SorourName: Patti Sorour
Title: Director of Human Resources
Company: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Years with company: 1+
Years in current position: 1+
Company established: 2002
No. of employees in AZ: 1,000
No. of employees in HR dept.: 5
www.westin.com

Patti Sorour is putting her 25 years of human resources experience to good use at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Using a variety of programs, including those for employee development, incentives and recognition, Sorour works to keep employee morale and retention at a high level.

As director of human resources, Sorour looks for ways to help the Scottsdale resort’s employees follow the Westin philosophy of living and working well. Her department has disseminated tips on how to stay healthy during the flu season. The resort’s “Live Well. Be Well.” electronic newsletter also provides suggestions for healthy eating and fitness.

Sorour helps maintain a strong level of internal communication for both management and staff through daily and monthly newsletters. Employees are recognized for their hard work and dedication on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. Management also receives similar recognition quarterly.

Through Westin Kierland University, employees participate in classes that not only help them on the job, but also in their everyday lives. Classes have been offered for CPR, retirement planning and behavioral interviewing. The Phoenix Police Department’s “Don’t Be A Victim” program also has been incorporated into the classes.

Under Sorour’s guidance, the resort offers a six-month employee development program in which staff members are schooled on operational and leadership skills through hands-on experience and shadowing department heads. The aim of the program is to help participants prepare for leadership positions.

To help promote diversity at Kierland, Sorour recruits seasonal employees from other countries who work in a variety of departments, including culinary, dining and recreation.

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2009 Mega Business HR Director Of The Year Honoree

Dale SpartzName: Dale A. Spartz, Ph.D.
Title: Vice President of Human Resources
Company: John C. Lincoln Health Network

Years with city: 9
Years in current position: 9
Year incorporated: 1927
Employees in AZ: 3,470
Employees in HR dept.: 15
www.jcl.com

Imagine it’s an ordinary day at your company and you wander over to the employee cafeteria for lunch. A member of senior management joins you for a bite and a little conversation. You know each other.

That’s the kind of environment Dale A. Spartz has fostered at John C. Lincoln Health Network in his role as vice president of human resources. JCL executives are encouraged to interact with employees in order to promote face-to-face communication. Executives also participate in team-building exercises, and the CEO holds regular meetings with employees. Potlucks, holiday lunches and volunteer opportunities keep employees engaged with one another and their managers.

Under Spartz’s leadership, a culture of excellence is promoted through a variety of awards that recognize length of service, special achievements, exceptional nursing care and physician dedication to patients, and teamwork. Diversity also is appreciated at Phoenix-based JCL. Spartz’s human resources team has extended employee benefits to domestic partners, regardless of gender; special fairs encourage employees to showcase their cultural backgrounds; and international recruitment of registered nurses is ongoing. Also, older nurses returning to work are supported through a nurse-refresher course.

Women are well represented throughout JCL’s employee ranks, including the executive team. The CEO is a woman, as are eight of 15 vice presidents.

Described as a caring man with a comforting personality, Spartz is credited with leading the way in ensuring a healthy home-work balance at JCL. Some employees telecommute, while others work flex schedules. Child care is available onsite, as is adult day care for elderly parents and spouses. A fitness and wellness center also is available to employees.

Recruitment and retention of qualified and caring professionals is key to surviving and thriving in the highly competitive health-care industry, and Spartz’s educational background demonstrates his qualifications in that area. He has a doctorate in organizational development, a Master of Science degree in industrial and organizational psychology, a Master of Arts in human resources management, a Bachelor of Science in management and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Spartz is credited with being particularly strong in recruiting and developing talent, whether among nurses, his own staff or among myriad specialized health care professionals.

JCL’s employee satisfaction ranks well above national averages, as measured by Charlotte, N.C.-based Morehead Associates, an employee and physician research firm for health care organizations. JCL’s high-satisfaction scores have been recognized by Morehead through its Galaxy Award. JCL’s dedication to human services has helped it reduce expenses associated with recruitment, training and turnover.

Spartz also has demonstrated his leadership through the creation of partnerships between JCL and nursing colleges. In fact, the partnerships are a human resources function. Through these partnerships, employees who are in nursing school work in jobs commensurate with their education and are eligible for promotions as their education progresses. Spartz established a 90-day check-in with the nurses’ supervisors that includes a ceremony and a cash award. JCL also offers a mentoring program under which established registered nurses help new RNs integrate into the nursing profession and the JCL culture.

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2009 Medium Business HR Director Of The Year Honoree

Bruce GardnerName: Bruce Gardner
Title: Human Resources Director
Company: Town of Queen Creek

Years with city: 2.5
Years in current position: 2.5
Year incorporated: 1989
Employees in AZ: 230
Employees in HR department: 5
www.queencreek.org

Explosive growth was the norm not so long ago in Arizona, but there probably weren’t many people wondering about its impact on human resources departments at city halls around the state. Even after the recession took hold, cities and towns had to continue serving new residents and businesses, and they had to have staff to do that.

In 2008, the Town of Queen Creek created and absorbed two new departments for utilities and fire protection. Suddenly, Human Resources Director Bruce Gardner had to contend with more than 60 new employees, including 14 supervisors and managers. Gardner knew it was important to indoctrinate the new supervisory staff in the town’s leadership culture. To accomplish that goal, his department crafted in-house leadership training for those employees and 11 other prospective supervisors.

Topics covered in the supervisor training were comprehensive — communication, motivation and delegation, team building, equal employment opportunity, valuing and managing diversity, interviewing new hires, coaching and performance management, discipline and corrective actions, and leadership. In addition, several of the town’s department heads participate in Arizona State University’s certified public manager program.

Human resources also has created a progressive policy under which town employees take ownership of their training and professional development. Annually, each employee is responsible for writing a training-and-development outline. The town offers several options for accomplishing goals, including classes, seminars, conferences and town-sponsored training. All employees may take advantage of a customer-service initiative recently developed by Gardner that focuses on internal and external communication and teamwork.

In 2008, Gardner leveraged the power of technology to automate the town’s entire hiring and employment process. This has freed up his staff to devote more time to activities related to employee retention.

To improve the town’s competitiveness in the job market, Gardner recently implemented a middle-ground salary structure that allows the town to attract and retain exceptional talent without busting the budget.

Looking for a way to better balance the needs of its employees and its constituents, the town implemented a four-day work week. Extended hours Monday through Thursday offer more flexibility to those who need to conduct business with the town. Fridays off give employees extra hours to take care of personal business and have more family time.

With the health of the town’s employees in mind, Gardner is launching free wellness and fitness programs that offer biometric testing, health-related seminars and “lunch-and-learn” sessions with various agencies. When a new, full-service fitness center opened, an agreement was negotiated to offer reduced rates to the town’s employees and their families. The town also hosts a large-scale wellness fair that features health care providers, onsite medical testing and health-and-wellness vendors and speakers. Also, mobile onsite mammography services come to town hall annually.

With the four-day work week and a variety of wellness opportunities available to employees, the Town of Queen Creek has improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and increased utilization of preventive-health services.

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2009 Medium Business HR Director Of The Year Finalists

Anthony NardiName: Anthony Nardi
Title: Director of Employee Services
Company: Roskamp Sun Health

Years with company: 13
Years in current position: 13
Company established: 1998
Employees in AZ: 450
Employees in HR dept.: 4
www.rshaz.com

What does a carrot named Garrett have to do with attracting and retaining quality employees? Quite a bit at Roskamp Sun Health, a Surprise-based company that operates senior residential-care communities in northwest Phoenix.

Realizing that not all managers praise staff members for a job well done, Anthony Nardi — Roskamp’s director of employee services — developed a program called Carrot Culture. Employees who excel in their performance are praised and presented with a small stuffed carrot named Garrett that they can wear. Employees who receive the honor are given the opportunity to award a Garrett to another employee, who is singled out for recognition. Employees who receive a Garrett are inducted into the Carrot Culture Club. All Roskamp employees, from management to entry level, are eligible for the recognition.

Community residents, visitors or other employees also may nominate staff members for performance recognition in a Caught In the Act program. Employees are honored with a quarterly customer-service award, as well.

Among his many responsibilities, Nardi also gets residents involved in employee development. He coordinates a program in residents tutor employees in English and U.S. citizenship testing. Roskamp employees from Iraq, Mexico, Turkey, Poland, Jordan and Russia have benefited from the tutoring. Web-based training also helps employees grow professionally.

Roskamp visibly demonstrates work force diversity in the high number of women and minorities it employs. Diversity is celebrated in Food From Around the World events in which employees wear native dress, enact country dance themes and share their ethnic cultures.


Elizabeth ToshName: Elizabeth Tosh
Title: Human Resources Generalist for Arizona and New Mexico
Company: Diamond Resorts International

Years with company: 4
Years in current position: 4
Company established: 1994
No. of employees in AZ: 430
No. of employees in HR dept.: 2
www.diamondresorts.com

As a global hospitality company, Diamond Resorts International has a diverse customer base. That’s why diversity in its employee ranks is vital to providing quality customer service.

With Elizabeth Tosh serving as human resources generalist in Scottsdale, the Las Vegas-based company can boast a truly varied work force in Arizona. For example, an employee at one resort gift shop is more than 80 years old. She happily works alongside employees in their 20s. One of the company’s Arizona salespersons is deaf. She not only interacts efficiently with her co-workers, she also conducts sales tours in sign language for deaf guests.

With duties covering both Arizona and New Mexico, Tosh plays an active role in recruiting and retaining talented employees. She holds classes for managers and supervisors on how to effectively advertise, interview and retain high-quality staff. Knowing that great employees usually know other outstanding employees, Tosh makes sure Diamond Resorts’ staff members are aware of the company’s international employee referral program. She also directs employees to a variety of training programs offered by the company and conducts in-office training on a variety of topics.

Tosh works diligently to help employees understand they can grow professionally with Diamond Resorts and that she will assist them with changing positions or applying for a promotion.

Tosh also leads classes on the company’s benefits options and how employees can determine which package is best for them. In addition, she empowers managers to work with employees at times of illness or family-related issues when a leave of absence is needed.

Motivate Employees

Keeping Employees Motivated In A Troubled Economy Is Critical

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) figures that it can cost up to one-third of an employee’s annual salary to recruit and replace that employee. For the most part, it is to the employer’s advantage to retain and maintain their skilled work force in a tumultuous marketplace.

Uncertain times, family issues and unstable financial situations all compete with the workplace for balance. Couple that with the constant barrage of dismal employment news of company cutbacks, bailouts and failures, and understandably there’s not much motivation left for the workplace. Many people are wondering how secure their job really is and if they need to be on the lookout for the next opportunity.

How do you get your employees to step “up” and stay optimistic when it seems like so many things are falling apart around them? Here are a few quick steps to keep your employees engaged and positive.

Be honest and open
Communication is one of those things that you just can never get enough of — but it does take work. The worst thing you can do for morale is to paint a rosy picture one week, only to have the bottom drop out of their world the following week. No one likes workplace surprises, especially your employees. Regular and transparent communication is essential to maintaining your employees’ trust. Also, remember to let your team members know how much you appreciate them and their personal contributions to the company.

Partner with your workers
Let them be part of the solution. Good old-fashioned brainstorming and suggestion boxes are excellent ways for employers to engage and encourage their employees to use their expertise to help the company reduce costs and increase revenue. Remember to recognize those contributors whose ideas are implemented with either public praise and/or non-monetary perks, such as a certificate or a preferred parking space.

Build up your team
Creating a sense of community does wonders to build team morale. By encouraging positive working relationships through bonding, walls come down and individuals work together toward solutions. Staff development, lunchtime personal growth workshops, community service projects, or even a staff potluck lunch or get-together, are ways to promote team cohesiveness.

Reward creatively
Although a pay raise or some other cash award would be nice, it just may not be feasible for the company right now. But, that shouldn’t stop you from recognizing and rewarding hard work. A covered parking space in the dead of summer in Arizona or in the snowy winter in Ohio certainly is a major perk. A dress-down day when certain business goals are achieved would be welcomed. Even a handshake and “job well done” during a staff meeting can show appreciation without breaking the bank.

Help your employees create work-life balance
Work-life balance seems to be everyone’s hot button these days. Flexible schedules are one way of helping your employees realize it. Depending upon business needs and the employee’s position, flexible schedules can allow your employees to have the work-life balance they need. Telecommuting, job sharing, compact work weeks and flexible start times can be just the motivator the employee needed.

In moving forward, keeping employees motivated is truly a necessity in these uncertain times. Not only will your employees’ motivation be on target, but you’ll see positive results in your ROI as well.

A New Study Provides Lessons On Enhancing Hospital Board Effectiveness

A New Study Provides Lessons On Enhancing Hospital Board Effectiveness

It’s no secret that nonprofit hospitals, which account for the majority of hospitals in the U.S., are under growing scrutiny from legislators and regulators. In exchange for being exempt from paying taxes, nonprofit hospitals must provide benefits to their communities, including charity care. As health care reform efforts are beginning to get underway, an increasing emphasis has been placed on tax-exempt hospitals, and legislators are questioning the level of benefits actually provided to the local communities. At the core of this debate is how these hospitals are governed. Consequently, effective health care governance has never been more important.

So, what should health care systems be doing to maximize governance effectiveness? And what can these organizations learn from the governance practices of the most-effective community health systems?

According to a recent study, “Governance in High-Performing Community Health Systems: A report of trustee and CEO views,” which Grant Thornton co-sponsored in collaboration with the University of Iowa, College of Public Health and the American Hospital Association, there are a number of important lessons to consider. The study examines the governance of community health systems based on feedback from 123 hospital CEOs, and follow-up visits and onsite interviews with CEOs and trustees of 10 “high-performing” systems. The “high-performing” systems were selected from a set of performance and governance metrics.

Six principal factors emerged from the study as critical to effective governance at high-performing systems:

Strong values-based CEO leadership and effective management teams
Effective CEO leadership is vital to achieving and maintaining a high level of health system operating performance. Among the specific attributes mentioned by interviewees were a commitment to the system’s mission and values, excellent communication and relationships with the board and medical staff, expertise in financial management and cost controls, a passion for improving the system and its patient care, and strategic vision. They also cited the importance of a strong, effective management team with expertise in the full range of management functions.

Well understood systemwide mission, vision and values
Interviewees emphasized that key internal and external stakeholder groups must understand and support a meaningful systemwide mission statement, a compelling vision for the system’s future and a clearly stated set of core values. These expressions of organizational mission, vision and values can be powerful in unifying the stakeholders and galvanizing energy toward established goals and standards, but only if they are consistently reinforced by organizational leaders throughout the system. Interviewees also recognized that building the understanding and support of key constituencies within the system, and in the communities the system serves, requires continuous attention by the board and management.

A highly committed and engaged board of directors
Trustees commented that a highly committed, well informed and proactive governing board is extremely important to achieving and maintaining organizational success. The board should work collaboratively with the CEO and physician leadership. In addition, many board members stressed the importance of well organized and staffed board committees, the leadership role of the board chairperson and a mutually supportive relationship between the board chair and the CEO. They also noted the need for trust-based relationship between the board of directors and its CEO.

Strong clinical leadership and capabilities
The majority of interviewees underscored the need for committed, competent clinicians as a critical determinant of operational performance. They commented that without strong physician leadership, no hospital or health system can achieve enduring success. A number of interviewees also noted the importance of excellent nursing leadership. Also critical were strong, mutually beneficial partnerships between the system and physicians.

Clearly defined organizational objectives, targets and metrics
Interviewees stressed the importance of working toward well defined organizational targets and evidence-based metrics. These enable the board, management team and clinical leadership to monitor actual performance in relation to established standards in key aspects of system operations. Metrics should include the health systems’ community benefit program, financial performance and quality of patient care.

Healthy organizational culture
Interviewees frequently mentioned the importance of organizational culture. They commented that the prevailing culture within their systems included broad-based commitment to excellence in patient care and operating performance.

In addition to the importance of these six factors, there is ample room for improving board performance, particularly related to boardroom culture, board evaluations and community benefit programs. We recommend the following:

Devote time and energy to serious reflection and dialogue about the board’s fundamental role, responsibilities and the overall caliber of its performance in recent years. Then, develop a concrete strategy for creating a better, more proactive and more effective board.

Reexamine the organization’s current board size and composition. Consider adding greater racial and gender diversity, as well as respected and experienced nursing leaders as voting members. Keep in mind that large boards can be unwieldy; nine to 17 members is considered ideal.

Take a hard look at existing board-development programs. On that basis, adopt a strong commitment and a concrete plan for improving them.

Initiate an overall review of the present board evaluation process. Objectively assess the value it has provided for the organization and determine how to improve its effectiveness. Board evaluation must not be a pro forma exercise with minimal value.

Give careful attention to the boardroom culture and determine steps to make it healthier and more effective. Board members must feel free to express their views and constructively challenge each other and the system’s management team. Directors should actively engage in discourse and decision-making.

Devote attention and resources to meeting emerging benchmarks of good governance for community benefit responsibilities. Establish formal measurable policies and measurable objectives for community benefit plans, with regular reporting on the achievement of those objectives. It’s also important to collaborate with other organizations in ongoing community needs assessment and to provide thorough reports to the communities served regularly at least once per year.

Current and emerging benchmarks of good governance for nonprofit hospitals and health systems should be reviewed, refined and compiled into authoritative, consolidated documents to provide guidance for trustees and CEOs as they strive to meet these benchmarks.

With growing attention from the IRS, Congress and the media, forward-looking health care organizations are taking steps to examine their governance and identify opportunities to strengthen it. Organizations that are committed to continuous improvement not only will enhance their performance, but also improve their systems’ contributions to the communities they serve. The time has never been better to apply these lessons learned.

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Wealth Managers Can Diagnose And Treat Battered Financial Confidence

If the past several quarters have taught us anything about wealth management, it’s the importance of routine maintenance, diagnosis and treatment of our portfolios — even if they are ailing. Much like the consistent faith we place in our doctors for our health, so too must we place trust in our wealth management advisory teams.

Oftentimes, it is the most difficult periods that strain our trust and twist our thoughts. When managing your wealth, don’t let fear or uncertainty guide you. Wealth management is not a product, or even a series of products, but a long-term strategic approach to assisting clients through comprehensive planning, solutions and personalized service.

Just as you wouldn’t seek a dermatologist for a kidney ailment, your selection of a wealth management clinician should be based on a long-standing track record of success in certain specializations. Similarly, seek financial institutions with strong, proven stability and those that are regulated and monitored by federal oversight agencies. Finally, successful wealth management relies on the integration of banking, financial planning and investment management with professionals on client-focused teams working together to develop and implement the strategies clients need to meet their goals.

Bad economy, good opportunities
The past six months have prompted fearful retreats to the sidelines when it comes to managing portfolios. Like ignoring a persistent cough, simply brushing the problem aside will lead to further difficulty down the road. The toughest economic times often provide the biggest opportunities, but a bold and confident approach is required. A back-to-basics approach that examines the variability of returns by asset class — a long-trusted wealth management strategy — can be best suited for those who have lost confidence in their portfolio management.

Wealth management as a field has changed rapidly over the past decade. The advents of technology, the integration of a global economy and a better-educated investor have caused an evolution in the industry. The recent economic crisis simply highlighted this new reality. It also illustrates why your wealth management team should consist of those with differing areas of expertise. There are several upside factors to working with larger, established wealth management institutions. Besides a strong track record of success and regulatory oversight by the U.S. government, larger networks of wealth managers offer precise insight on how to best manage your money.

Ask questions such as: Should I invest in foreign markets? What are the best times to buy commodities and what kinds? How much cash should my portfolio have?

While one wealth management adviser can answer these questions broadly, the better analysis and decisions will come from members of your team who are experts in each sector of investment and have access to the latest, most up-to-date analytics and data.

Assessing your goals
Another key element to assess — and this is truer today than ever before — is your risk tolerance. This answer doesn’t come easily, but ask yourself a few key questions: When do I want to retire? What is my desired quality of life during retirement? What kind of estate am I planning to leave for my children and family?
By educating yourself on your expectations, you can clearly report your needs and desires to your wealth management team and, in turn, they can come up with various strategies and tactics for your portfolio.

Also, expect these goals to change. An investor just starting a family is in a far different financial place than an executive in his 50s and vice versa. Your wealth management team must fluidly advise you on what your portfolio should look like at different phases of your life. A trusted adviser and a seasoned plan is needed for every stage of the wealth management cycle: accumulation, growth, transfer and preservation.

Much like that patient/doctor relationship, education is paramount. Good physicians lay out clear, professional advice on the best way to care for your health. The best doctors will also advise you to seek second and third opinions. You should do no less with your portfolio.After all, you’ve worked hard to build a healthy portfolio.

For me, wealth management has been nearly a four-decade process of learning and building relationships with my clients. They trust me much like they trust their doctor. It’s a cycle of service that continues to evolve. As you would with your health, use the expertise of your most trusted confidants to help lead your decision making — it will pay off in the long run by keeping you healthy, wealthy and wise.