Tag Archives: MaryAnn Guerra

From left: Chris Faller, COO of TinyKicks; MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel; France Dixon Helfer, president & CEO of TinyKicks; Ron King, chief science and business officer of BioAccel.

$150K awarded in BioAccel Solutions Challenge

TinyKicks and Omni BioCeutical Innovations won $135,000 in the second Scorpion Pit early-stage funding competition sponsored by BioAccel and powered by the Arizona Board of Regents.

The competition, dubbed the Scorpion Pit, was held on Friday, May 15, at the Croft in downtown Phoenix. The bioscience companies were selected for investment from local investors, called Scorpions, and also BioAccel. This intense evaluation process is modeled after Japan’s Dragon’s Den and American TV’s Shark Tank. 


·      Two winners: TinyKicks, which is developing technology to advance healthy pregnancy outcomes, will receive an estimated $75,000 to conduct a research study. Omni BioCeutical Innovations, which offers human translational stem cell/growth factor-based skin and hair care product lines, will receive an estimated $60,000 in early-stage funding. Final terms will be negotiated and awarded based on milestones defined by investors.

·      Two entrepreneurial start-up packages: Student entrepreneur teams, NeoLight and EpiFinder, will receive an entrepreneurial package of funding up to $15,000 and business and technology services. NeoLight is developing equipment that treats jaundice in babies while EpiFinder provides clinical decision support technology to neurologists for diagnosing epilepsy.

·      Grant for young entrepreneur: The Scorpions also awarded a $500 grant to a young entrepreneur, Asher Taghizadeh, for his “designer toothpaste” for children. The grant will be used to develop his website. LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, a Scorpion, provided Asher with a $100 investment on the spot during the young entrepreneur’s presentation to investors. Watch this cute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR7Fcs787KU&feature=youtu.be

The winners and all the other companies in the competition will continue to work with BioAccel, an Arizona based non-profit whose mission is to drive economic development through the accelerated commercialization of research. BioAccel will provide mentorship by helping the companies create improved business plans, new business opportunities, technical support and an opportunity to re-pitch their ideas to the Scorpions as they address the recommended actions provided by the Scorpions and mentors.

In 2014, BioAccel launched the Solutions Challenge – and its Scorpion Pit competition – to help advance the biosciences and created an enhanced start-up ecosystem.

“Year two was bigger and better than the first. Having Blue Cross Blue Shield and Gore involved as both sponsors and Challenge Category designers was really the icing on the cake. The Solutions Challenge is all about matching market need with innovation and investment, and this year we nailed it!” said MaryAnn Guerra, Chief Executive Officer of BioAccel. “For Arizona to reach its full potential in creating a strong bioscience driven economy, we need to build a solid ecosystem made up of a robust technology pipeline and local investment. The Solutions Challenge event was designed to help grow this ecosystem.” 

Working with local medical centers, provider organizations and specific industry leadership, BioAccel identified five critical unmet health needs in the categories of:

·      Digital, Wearable and Mobile Health (sponsored by Molded Devices)

·      Regenerative Wound and Aesthetic Therapy (Sponsored by Ulthera)

·      Simplified Access to Care (Sponsored and identified by Blue Cross Blue Shield)

·      A New Approach to Eliminating Type 2 Endoleaks (Sponsored and identified by Gore)

·      Wildcard for Student Entrepreneurs (Sponsored by Medtronic). The Wildcard Category

was new this year and targeted to help Arizona create the next breed of entrepreneurs focused on addressing market needs along with solid work force skills.

To address start-up company needs and to stimulate early-stage funding of these solutions, BioAccel assembled a prestigious panel of local investors, Scorpions, to judge the Scorpion Pit competition. The Scorpions have agreed to invest up to $50,000, if they find worthy projects. BioAccel agreed to match their investment. This early-stage investment is critical as 96% of Arizona investment dollars come from outside the state. Additionally, according to the National Venture Capital Association data, VCs provided only 1% of entrepreneurial funding in 2014 with the vast majority of ventures financed by entrepreneurs, their friends and family. BioAccel supports those entrepreneurs, providing critically needed advice and funding during the formative stages when the risk and potential benefit to society are greatest.

After a competitive process, seven finalists were identified to compete in the May 15 Scorpion Pit competition. Finalists were given 10 minutes to pitch their concept, followed by an onslaught of questions from the Scorpions. 



Craig Cafferelly, CEO

Saccadous provides the best non-invasive eye-tracking solution for diagnosing, tracking and advancing the treatment of neurological diseases and conditions like Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Alzheimer’s.

RightBio Metrics        

Paul Gilbert, CEO

RightBio Metrics is focused on ensuring accurate placement of gastric tubes. RightBio Metrics’ fluid measurement solutions challenge existing clinical and health care economics standards to produce safer, better and more financially viable results.

Omni BioCeutical Innovations           

Jane Christensen, CEO

Omni is one of the first medical cosmeceutical companies offering human translational stem cell/growth factor-based skin and hair care product lines.

Saguaro Medical Technologies, Inc.

Stacy Faught, CEO

Saguaro is developing a novel Liquid Embolic material intended to treat abnormalities in the peripheral and neuro vasculature such as arteriovenus malformations, arteriovenus fistulae, Type I and II AAA endoleaks, and other vascular procedures such as renal embolization.


France Helfer, CEO

TinyKicks is developing a wearable health-monitoring smart sensor that captures fetal movement and uses machine learning to predict and guide healthy pregnancy outcomes.

Student Entrepreneur Teams:


Vivek Kopparthi, CEO

NeoLight is developing high-intensity equipment that treats jaundice in newborn and pre-term babies.


Robert Yau, CEO

Provides clinical decision support technology to neurologists who want to know more about and effectively diagnosis epilepsy syndromes at the point of care.

Young Entrepreneur:

The morning event was capped with the presentation of a young entrepreneur, Asher Taghizadeh, presenting his concept for “designer toothpaste” for children. He designed a product to encourage the youth to brush more often and longer by using toothpaste that they mix themselves, or co-create with their parents, based on the flavors they like best! Asher’s father, Farhan Taghizadeh, M.D., is a principle in one of BioAccel’s portfolio companies, Aesthetics BioMedical. While Asher lives in New Mexico, his initiative was recognized as a good model for youth and future entrepreneurs. “Obviously it is never too early to take your creative ideas and turn them into a business,” said Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock. “We hope with BioAccel’s new Fund Raising Campaign, Reaching Our Potential, that we will see many more entrepreneurs, young and old, developing among us!” Watch Asher’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR7Fcs787KU&feature=youtu.be


The Scorpions for the event were: Alex Brigham, CEO, Ethisphere Institute; Eric Crown, Chairman Emeritus, Insight Enterprises; Todd Davis, CEO, LifeLock; Francine Hardaway, Ph.D., Founder Stealthmode Partners; and Vishu Jhaveri, M.D., Senior Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; and Jeff Pruitt, CEO, Tallwave.

Alex Brigham, Executive Director and Founder of the Ethisphere Institute, created the world’s most recognized authority in the research, rating and certification of corporate and institutional ethics, anti-corruption, and sustainability efforts.

Eric Crown, Chairman Emeritus, Insight Enterprises, is a serial entrepreneur and investor who has been building and investing in companies – startups to multibillion-dollar enterprises – for more than 30 years. A leader known for creating high-performance cultures and streamlined business processes, he co-founded Insight Enterprises, which became a Fortune 500 company with $5 billion in annual sales.

Todd Davis built an organization at the forefront of helping to combat identity theft crimes. Under his leadership, LifeLock was honored with the 2010 Best New Product or Service of the Year Stevie Award for the LifeLock Identity Alert™ system and the American Business People’s Choice Award for its TrueAddress™ service in 2009.

Francine Hardaway, Ph.D., co-founded Stealthmode Partners, an accelerator and advocate for entrepreneurs in technology and health care, in 1998. Hardaway was an Entrepreneurial Fellow of the Eller Entrepreneurship Center at University of Arizona, and was a founder of Social Media Club Arizona and the Arizona Software Association.

Dr. Vishu Jhaveri, Senior Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ, oversees the development of corporate medical policies and the daily administrative functions of the Health Services Division. In addition to the academics of medical policy development, those functions include: accreditation, medical claims review, clinical quality improvement, care management, disease management, health promotion/wellness, utilization review and provider credentialing.

Jeff Pruitt is the Founding Partner, President and CEO of Tallwave, a venture development firm and commercializor, headquartered in Scottsdale that helps entrepreneurs build their early-stage companies through sound capital strategy and well-executed go-to-market plans. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has sat on the advisory councils of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.


BioInspire earns ‘Excellence in Innovation’ award

BioInspire, the Peoria-based incubator for medical device companies, accepted an “Excellence in Innovation” award at WESTMARC’S Best of the West award ceremony this week.

The award is the latest recognition for BioInspire, whose goal is to help start-up companies in the competitive field of medical device innovative gain a competitive edge.

The BioInspire facility is a joint effort between Plaza Companies, the City of Peoria and BioAccel.   The Plaza Del Rio campus is the home of BioInspire is operated by BioAccel and is the brainchild of the City of Peoria Economic Development Office and Sharon Harper, the President and CEO of Plaza Companies. BioAccel offers first-class working space, technical and business assistance and collaborative opportunities.

A partnership between Plaza Companies, City of Peoria and BioAccel/BioInspire has produced results in the form of new jobs in the West Valley and in positioning Peoria and the West Valley as a hub for innovation and technology.

WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards is the West Valley’s most prestigious business recognition event, celebrating the best in Western Maricopa County for more than two decades. The event, on Nov. 5, was held at Phoenix International Raceway and honors outstanding contributions to the economic development, innovation and quality of life in the West Valley. A diverse panel of outstanding leaders, specifically chosen for their community and business expertise and located outside of the West Valley, determines the winners from a large selection of deserving entries.

Awards are presented in the categories of Economic Engine, Excellence in Innovation and Quality of Life.

“BioInspire is especially deserving of an award that has the word ‘Innovation’ in it. BioInspire gives companies the chance to tap into business, marketing, research and development and other resources that give them the best opportunity for success,” Harper said. “With health care emerging as one of the country’s most important issues, now more than ever we need companies that can truly innovate in the medical field and this is what BioInspire is helping companies to do. It also means more jobs in the West Valley and will help to attract even more companies and more jobs.”

“We want Peoria to be a signature destination not only for visitors but for businesses,” said Scott Whyte, economic services director for the City of Peoria. “BioInspire reflects our message that we are looking to grow our economic base and that we will pursue partnerships, projects and initiatives that make sense and  help further this goal. BioInspire adds vibrancy and symbolizes the essence of innovation. It’s a perfect symbol for Peoria’s aspirations. We thank WESTMARC for recognizing the importance of this initiative with this award.”

“Great partnerships help foster innovation and drive economic success,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “That’s what we have with BioInspire, which is helping to bring jobs, products and ideas to Peoria in the form medical innovation.”

Plaza Companies, with office locations in Peoria and Scottsdale, Arizona, is an award-winning leader in the development and management of medical office properties, technology and bioscience facilities, and senior housing communities. Founded in 1982, Plaza Companies is a full service firm with a portfolio of more than 5.5 million square feet valued at more than $1 billion. For more information about Plaza Companies, visit www.theplazaco.com.

BioAccel is a unique, fully independent, non-profit organization created to provide funding and business expertise to develop early stage life science technologies that drive local economic development efforts. BioAccel accelerates the development of new companies, drives economic development, and creates new biomedical products, which over time will become available to the general public. For more, go to www.bioaccel.org.

The City of Peoria boasts 160,000 residents. To regular vacationers and smart home buyers, Peoria has long been one of the most desirable locations in the Grand Canyon State. 
The city of Peoria provides excellent municipal services by anticipating community needs, creating partnerships, promoting sustainability and embracing diversity.


City of Peoria honors BioAccel

BioAccel has received the City of Peoria’s 2013 Economic Development Award for the development and management of BioInspire, a medical device-focused accelerator program. MaryAnn Guerra, BioAccel’s CEO, and Thomas Rainey, Director of BioInspire, will accept the award on behalf of BioAccel’s staff, Board and advisors at the Peoria Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Celebration, May 22, 2013.

A City of Peoria-funded initiative, BioInspire was launched by BioAccel on September 25, 2012. To date, it has supported the recruitment of six new portfolio companies providing advisory services, funding, individual and common laboratory space and support services at the 6,800-square-foot facility in Peoria. Arizona Medical Systems, Hildeez, Kulira Technologies, Nasseo, Yolia Health and Stimwave Technologies are located at BioInspire.

“The next several years will be exciting as the City continues to execute its Economic Development Implementation Strategy and nurture this public-private partnership to support the region’s bioscience industry,” said Scott Whyte, the City of Peoria’s economic development services director. “As the clients at BioInspire grow and prosper, they will graduate from the resource rich accelerator program into their own commercial space within the City. BioAccel was chosen for this award based on their leadership and execution in assisting us in stimulating the local and regional economy, and planting the seeds for future growth.”

BioInspire’s goal is to create knowledge industry jobs and entrepreneurial wealth by supporting viable new medical device companies.

“Portfolio companies will play a vital role in Peoria’s economic development through their scalable businesses and the products derived from their innovative research. BioAccel provides critical support for that effort by providing proof-of-concept and seed funding, flexible office and lab space, and business and regulator advisory services. This significantly increases their chances of success,” Guerra said.

BioAccel’s interdisciplinary team manages a rigorous client selection process complemented by an expert advisory council that approves final selection of prospective company applications. The Council of Advisors includes senior managers from Medtronic, Covidien, West Valley Bancorp, HLM Partners, the City of Peoria and capital sources among others.

BioAccel was established to stimulate the development of technologies and spin-off companies based on research conducted at other public and private institutions and by local entrepreneurs.

BioAccel is a nonprofit organization dedicated to translating life science discoveries into new business opportunities that drive economic development. Since its founding in 2009, it has invested close to $2.5 million into companies and projects that have secured over $12.6 million in follow on funding thus far. For more information visit www.bioaccel.org.

Translatinal Accelerator looks to invest in Arizona bioscience companies, 2008

BioAccel Challenges Entrepreneurs to Solve Healthcare Problems

BioAccel, a 501(c)3 non-profit and Arizona’s premier resource for healthcare innovation, is announcing the BioAccel Solutions Challenge to solve medical and health delivery problems in Arizona, stimulate new company formation and increase investment in the industry.

BioAccel will publicly release a vetted list of key healthcare problems, or “needs,” identified by industry practitioners and leaders, aimed to challenge entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to solve them. The needs are expected to focus on improving patient care and health outcomes by using medical devices, molecular diagnostics and potentially health IT, and will be released this summer.

Qualified applicants will receive a $50,000 investment from BioAccel if they succeed in receiving matching funds from investors during a competitive and lively Investment Day event. Successful groups will then have $100,000 in proof-of-concept dollars to form companies to address these patient care needs.

“Necessity is definitely the mother of invention. There are a lot of very talented entrepreneurs in Arizona whose are poised to solve difficult challenges that face the healthcare system. They simply need to be informed about well qualified healthcare needs, so they can apply their creativity to finding solutions to real problems,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “The BioAccel Solutions Challenge program unlocks the innate nature of entrepreneurs to innovate new products as well as provide the capital and support they need for early-stage success.”

Upon announcing the needs, BioAccel will be hosting Q&A sessions across the state as well as a webinar to support the groups.

“We’re encouraging groups across the state to form in anticipation of the release and to start thinking about how they will create innovative solutions,” said Kelvin Ning, Associate Director of Business and Technology Development at BioAccel.

The final Investment Day event is targeted for the end of 2013.

“The BioAccel Solutions Challenge is bringing together innovators and investors across the state to drive economic development, while at the same time addressing critical needs that face our medical community. Our focus is to catalyze this interaction and stimulate the growth of new enterprises and novel products,” Guerra said.  The BioAccel Solutions Challenge organizes problem, solution and market need, along with the resources needed to support validated outcomes.

As part of the BioAccel Solutions Challenge, winners will receive mentorship and support from BioAccel’s extensive business and financial network. Winners will also have access to BioInspire, BioAccel’s device incubator in Peoria, which provides affordable space and support for medical device technologies.

“BioAccel’s objective is to create sustainable companies that produce valuable products that are needed in the marketplace. Our hope is that these companies progress into our commercialization programs and beyond,” said Dr. Ron King, Chief Scientific and Business Officer at BioAccel.

In addition to creating jobs and new companies, the BioAccel Solutions Challenge will drive the organization’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) that is focused on creating a more robust and qualified technology pipeline.

The TAP and New Venture Development Programs are commercialization programs unique to BioAccel, which are designed to specifically address the well-known Valley of Death that separates discovery from commercialization. Beyond access to BioInspire and capital, embedded within these programs is BioAccel’s due-diligence process, network of local and national subject matter experts, and healthcare business expertise.



Hispanic Chamber names Guerra Woman of the Year

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is honoring BioAccel CEO and Co-Founder MaryAnn Guerra as the Woman of the Year on Saturday at its 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards.

Guerra is being recognized for BioAccel’s leadership role in economic development and its ongoing effort to start new companies and create jobs in Arizona. The gala, which honors three other community leaders and a business, is being held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 330 N. Third Street.

“The centerpiece attraction of our gala is the Hispanic Chamber’s prestigious business awards, and we’re extremely proud this year to salute the achievements of MaryAnn Guerra, one of our the state’s innovative figures, by awarding her the 2013 Woman of the Year Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr.

Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. She has spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. Guerra is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.

“I’m honored and humbled by this award,” Guerra said. “BioAccel is a new kind of accelerator model in Arizona dedicated to creating knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that drive our state’s economy. It’s inspiring and invigorating work, and a privilege to work with a staff, board and industry leaders committed to realizing a big bio vision for Arizona.”

Prior to founding BioAccel, Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC, and Chief Operating Officer at TGen. While at TGen, she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO, she grew the organization from $30 million to $60 million in fewer than three years.  Guerra also served as the executive vice president of Matthews Media Group where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health in various senior level positions including executive officer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and deputy director of management & executive officer at the National Cancer Institute.

Guerra has received numerous awards for her work including Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 Fifteen Women to Watch. Last year, BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ Most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and the state of Arizona. Currently Guerra is a board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for ASU School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering. Guerra earned an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards event is the state’s longest running formal gala and honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders attend every year.

The Chamber will present awards during the gala in four other categories. This year’s winners are:

• Lattie F. Coor, Legacy Award

• Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year

• Israel G. Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year

• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award


Hispanic Chamber honors leaders

The Center for the Future of Arizona’s founder and CEO is among the five award recipients to be honored at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards later this month.

“Dr. Lattie Coor is one of our state’s most iconic and beloved figures, and we’re honored to present him the 2013 Legacy Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr. “The awards ceremony is the highlight of the evening, and this year’s slate of winners prove that people who succeed in business are also among the most generous individuals in our community.”

Awards also will be presented in four other categories:
MaryAnn Guerra, Woman of the Year;
Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year;
Israel Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year;
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award.

The Black & White Ball is Arizona’s longest running formal gala. It honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. The gala also is the Hispanic Chamber’s largest annual fund-raiser. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders are scheduled to attend.

Emceed this year by international celebrity Marco Antonio Regil, the gala takes place April 27, 2013, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. Third St. An “after-party” is scheduled at the same location from 9 p.m. to Midnight. Cox Communications continues its support as presenting sponsor for the event, which features an elegant dinner, the business awards, and live music and dancing at an after-dinner cocktail party.

Past Legacy Award winners include Governor Raul H. Castro, Senator John McCain, Jerry Colangelo, former Govenor Janet Napolitano and the late Eddie Basha, Jr., who will be honored with a special memorial tribute at this year’s dinner.

“In addition to the honor of presenting our business awards, the gala’s Brazilian Carnival theme this year promises to make it a great night out on the town,” said De la Melena. “I invite everyone to come and celebrate the good work of our award winners, and afterward relax and dance the night away.”

For information about ticket sales or sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Arellano at 602-294-6085 or ChristinaA@azhcc.com or visit www.azhcc.com.

Dr. Lattie F. Coor / Legacy Award
Dr. Lattie F. Coor is President-Emeritus, Professor and Ernest W. McFarland Chair in Leadership and Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and is Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

For the previous 26 years, Dr. Lattie Coor served as a University President. He was President of Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002, and President of the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Coor served as an assistant to the Governor of Michigan and held faculty appointments in Political Science at Washington University. His administrative responsibilities there included those of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Director of International Studies, and University Vice Chancellor.

He has held positions with a variety of higher education associations, board and commissions, having served as a founding member and Chairman of Division I of the NCAA President’s Commission. He held the position of Chairman of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges in 1992-93, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1999 to 2002. He also served on the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land Grant Universities from 1996 to 2002. He served as a Trustee of the American College of Greece, Athens, from 1988 to 1998, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Deer Creek Foundation, St Louis, since 1983. He has honorary degrees from Marlboro College, American College of Greece, the University of Vermont and Northern Arizona University.

In Arizona, Dr. Lattie Coor serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, and has served on the Board of Directors of Bank One Arizona, Samaritan Health Services, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council. He was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education from 1995 to 1999. He served as Chairman of the Education Section of the Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and of the Public Sector of the United Way Campaign from 1999 to 2002.

Dr. Lattie Coor received the Anti-Defamation League’s Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award in 1994, the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award from the Greater Phoenix Urban League in 2000, The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 2000, The American Jewish Committee Institute of Human Relations Award in 2001 and the Center City Starr award from Phoenix Community Alliance in 2001. He was named Valley Leadership’s Man of the Year in 2006.
An Arizona native, Dr. Coor was born in Phoenix and graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964.

Alfredo J. Molina / Man of the Year

International jeweler Alfredo J. Molina is Chairman of The Molina Group, based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Molina Group is the parent company of Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix and New York and Black, Starr & Frost, America’s first jeweler since 1810, in Newport Beach and New York. Alfredo Molina is one of the nation’s most prestigious jewelers. His ability to secure the world’s rarest gems – such as the historic Archduke Joseph Diamond, the world’s twelfth largest historic perfect white diamond – has earned him guest appearances on numerous television programs, including CBS’ Early Show and NBC’s Today Show.

Mr. Molina’s education and experience in the jewelry industry is extensive. He is a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America and a Fellow Member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain with distinction. He is a certified gemologist and appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is considered one of the world’s experts in the determination of country of origin of gemstones. He is past President of the American Society of Appraisers, Arizona Jewelers Association, and the GIA Alumni Association. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Jewelers of America Council and Co-Chairman of the Master Gemologist Appraiser program. Mr. Molina is also a qualified appraiser for the Internal Revenue Service and an alumni of the FBI Citizens Academy. He appears as keynote speaker at seminars and workshops on appraising gems, and discussing the latest gemological trends and developments. He assists law enforcement agencies in recovering stolen gems and serves as an expert witness for U.S. Customs Service as gems authority. In 2002, he was appointed to serve as Honorary Counsul of Spain for Arizona.

Alfredo, his wife Lisa and their four children devote time and many resources to the Arizona and California communities. The Molinas feel that The Molina Group is fulfilling their duty to their community, friends and supporters.

Lisa and Alfredo have chaired numerous charity events including the Arizona Cancer Ball, The Samaritan Foundation, The Symphony Ball, The Arizona Heart Ball, Crohn’s and Colitis, Women of Distinction Gala and Childhelp. They have supported Candlelite, JDRF Dream Gala, Susan G. Komen, the Pacific Symphony, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and were honorary Chairs of 2009 Orange Country High School for the Arts Gala and the 2011 Banner Health Foundation Candlelight Capers. Lisa and Alfredo have dedicated their lives to the service of others and their children are following in their footsteps. Through their generous sponsorship and support of local and national charities, they seek to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Gratitude, selflessness, love and a firm belief in the legacies of sharing comprises the Molina way of life.

Alfredo was honored in Washington, DC as one of seven caring Americans and was inducted into the Frederick Douglass Museum & Hall of Fame for Caring Americans on Capitol Hill. He was named 2008 Outstanding Business Leader by Northwood University at the Breakers in Palm Beach and he was recently inducted into the National Jewelers, Retailer Hall of Fame in the single store independent category.

MaryAnn Guerra / Woman of the Year

MaryAnn Guerra, MBA is Chairman of the Board, CEO, and co-founder of BioAccel. Ms. Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. Ms. Guerra spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. She is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.

Prior to founding BioAccel, Ms. Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC and Chief Operating Officer at (TGen). While at TGen she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO she grew the organization from $30M to $60M in less than three years. Ms. Guerra also served as Executive Vice President, Matthews Media Group, where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She has had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health having held various senior level positions, including: Executive Officer, NHLBI and Deputy Director of Management & Executive Officer at the NCI.

Ms. Guerra has received numerous awards for her work, including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2013 Woman of the Year and Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 “Fifteen” Women to Watch. Last year BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and for the State of Arizona. She has received the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Top 25 Women in Business” award, as well as their “Power People” award, the Girl Scouts “Women of the Future World” award. Ms. Guerra has served on numerous Boards throughout her career. Currently she is a Board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission as well as many other board seats. Ms. Guerra holds an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.

Israel G. Torres, Esq. / Entrepreneur of the Year

Israel G. Torres is Managing Partner of Torres Consulting and Law Group, LLC. The firm provides a variety of services, including regulatory compliance, law, and government relations, to clients in the construction trades throughout the United States. His firm has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley in 2011. Torres Consulting and Law Group was also named 2009 Service Firm of Year during the Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards, a program that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Prior to establishing his firm, Mr. Torres was elected as the Democratic nominee for Arizona Secretary of State in 2006. He was the first Latino candidate in Arizona history to garner more than 600,000 votes statewide.

From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Torres served as Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and as a member of Governor Napolitano’s Cabinet. As the director, Mr. Torres served as the chief regulator of Arizona’s construction industry, regulating the activities of more than 52,000 active commercial and residential construction licenses amidst a time of unparalleled construction activity in Arizona. In that role, he also served as an advisor to the Governor and State Legislature on construction- and development-related issues. Mr. Torres was a national leader in the advancement of regulatory initiatives.

Mr. Torres is a member of the Arizona Bar and is licensed to practice law in Arizona. His educational background includes a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. He also holds a Construction Management Certificate from the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU.

Mr. Torres and his wife, Monica, live in Tempe and are raising two children, Cristian and Alysa. He enjoys outdoor sports, including mountain biking, hiking, boating, camping, and skiing.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona / Corporation of the Year

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at www.facebook.com/bcbsaz or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what BCBSAZ is doing in your community.


Women to watch in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology

Here are some of the the Arizona innnovators who Az Business magazine thinks will be making waves in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology in 2013:

Ruth Carter
Owner, Carter Law Firm
Her background: After graduating from ASU Law School in 2011, she opened her own law firm in January 2012 and focused her practice on social media law, intellectual property, business formation and contracts, and flash mob law. She will deliver a talk entitled “Protecting Your Copyrights in Digital Media” at the South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in March 2013. She also wrote the book “The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed.”
Fun fact: She was selected as an American Bar Association Legal Rebel in September 2012.
Her goal for 2013: To help entrepreneurs, writers, and artists turn their ideas into reality, to help them push the limits of what’s possible without crossing the line.

Michelle De Blasi
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
Her background: De Blasi focuses her practice on environmental law, with an emphasis on natural resources matters. She advises local and multi-national clients on energy and environmental sustainability, including the development of traditional and renewable energy power plants, climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions. She is a leader in many community organizations, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Arizona Energy Consortium, which has recently released the Arizona Energy Roadmap to further develop the state’s energy industry.
Fun fact: “I wanted to be an environmental attorney since junior high.  Working for six years at NOAA starting in law school was an amazing way to begin my career.”
Her goal for 2013: “Continue to assist my clients’ growth and expansion, including improving the regulatory and business atmosphere in the areas where they are located.”

MaryAnn Guerra
CEO, BioAccel
Her background: BioAccel was named the most promising initiative among the six winners of SSTI’s 2012 Excellence in TBED (technology-based economic development) awards. In three years, BioAccel — whose mission is to transform high-risk technologies into new businesses and high-wage jobs — has supported 11 companies in Arizona, investing more than $4 million directly as well as helping get an additional $15.5 million in downstream funding.
Fun fact: “I love camping outdoors in tents. After gathering wood from the forest, I  build the campfire, cook, then relax under the moonlight — with wine if possible.”
Her goal for 2013: “Personally: spend more time with my husband.  Professionally: expand BioAccel’s overall capacity, validate BioInspire as a model and help launch the BioAccel Accelerator Fund.”

Chevy Humphrey
President and CEO, Arizona Science Center
Her background: She oversees the $8 million operation of Arizona Science Center’s 185,000-square-foot facilities with more than 400 employees and volunteers. She is in line to become the next president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, an international organization representing science centers and museums with more than 600 members in over 40 countries worldwide. She currently serves as its secretary-treasurer.
Fun fact: Humphrey secured the largest gift in the Center’s history – $3.5 million.
Her goal for 2013: “Maintain excellence as Arizona’s largest provider of informal science education while providing educators with professional development and resources supporting the new common core education standards.”

Mary Juetten
Founder and CEO, Traklight.com
Her background: While earning her JD at ASU, Juetten combined her new knowledge of the law with accounting designations and 25 years of management, business and financial consulting experience to create Traklight.com in 2010.  Traklight is an online software as service company that offers products for inventors, creators, start-up or small companies to identify, secure, and manage their intellectual property to reduce the risk of infringement and IP loss, all without any prior knowledge of IP.
Fun fact: She played ice hockey in Canada and Phoenix.
Her goal for 2013: “I plan to spend more time outside with my husband: golfing and hiking.  Traklight will build upon our October launch and expand nationally in 2013.”

Kim Kundert
Vice president of clinical operations
Clinical Research Advantage
Her background: Kundert received the 2012 Silver Stevie Award — which honors the world’s bets and brightest female entrepreneurs and executives — for Female Executive of the Year in the Business Services category. Kundert has been a driving force behind the rapid growth of CRA, a clinical trial management organization that has helped trial sponsors bring drugs to market more quickly and efficiently.
Fun fact: She was born in Germany on Christmas Day.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal is to open 20 new clinical trial sites.”

Jessica Langbaum
Principal scientist, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Her background: Langbaum is actively involved in research activities focusing on the use of brain imaging for studying the earliest evidence of Alzheimer’s and on the design and execution of preclinical Alzheimer’s treatment trials. Langbaum has published papers in leading scientific journals on cognitive training, brain imaging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fun fact: Her family has been in Arizona for generations.
Her goal for 2013: “Enroll 100,000 people in our Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (endALZnow.org/registry), launch the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API)/Genentech trial, prepare for the next API-led trial, and potty train my son.”

Paula O’Neal Wichterman
Vice president, medical private banker, National Bank of Arizona
Her background: Wichterman is vice president in the Private Bank of National Bank of Arizona. Prior to joining NB|AZ, she spent 9 years in various advisor roles at two other lending institutions in both private banking and credit administration. In her role at NB|AZ, Wichterman is responsible for increasing NB|AZ’s focus on the physician and medical banking market.
Fun fact: “Being the Southern girl that I am, I LOVE to shoot sporting clays. It is a great stress reliever after a long week at work.”
Her goal for 2013: “I want to always inspire my family and friends. I try my best to lead by example. Whether it is at home or at work, I want to be the best that I can be.”

Angela Perez
Partner, Snell & Wilmer
Her background: Perez is an Arizona native who holds a biology degree from Harvard University and law degree from The University of Arizona. She practices law in the field of business and finance, with special attention to representing clients in the biotechnology industry. Perez represents companies at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up to liquidity. Perez is committed to using her education and experience to improve the strength of Arizona’s economy by facilitating the growth of Arizona’s biotech industry.
Fun fact: Formed Snell & Wilmer’s Bioscience and Healthcare Industry Group shortly after graduating from law school.
Her goal for 2013: “Contribute to the success of my firm and clients by providing sound legal advice; support Arizona’s biotech industry; and shower my young family with love.”

Darcy Renfro
Vice president and coordinator of the Arizona STEM Network, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)
Her background: Renfro is leading the way for Arizona’s STEM — science, technology, engineering, math — education initiatives. She spearheaded the development of SFAz’s Arizona STEM Network, a first-of-its-kind strategic effort to help transform Arizona’s educational system. The Network will help teachers and students prepare for the state-adopted, internationally benchmarked Common Core Standards, higher-education and careers that will help ensure our state remains globally competitive.
Fun fact: Arizona is just one of 16 states in the U.S. with developing or existing STEM Networks.
Her goal for 2013: “Increase the access and quality of STEM opportunities for Arizona’s students and teachers to inspire excitement and achievement in math and science.”

Virginia Rybski
President and CEO, Regenesis Biomedical, Inc.
Her background: Rybski has combined 35 years of experience founding, building and growing emerging bioscience companies by developing and launching numerous advanced-technology, healthcare related products. She strategically positioned the company as a regenerative medicine business; raised $5.3 million in capital; has grows sales for 8 consecutive years; and helped it earn a position on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2012.
Fun fact:
Her goal for 2013: “Focus on improving patient care, and helping to provide better patient outcomes while lowering the overall cost of care. Healthcare, now more than ever, needs collaboration between providers, patients, and manufacturers like Regenesis, to help rein in spiraling costs.”

Joyce Schroeder
Chief science officer, Arizona Cancer Therapeutics
Her background: Schroeder, program co-leader in Cancer Biology and Genetics at the Arizona Cancer Center, is moving toward clinical trials for breast cancer treatment that inhibits metastatic breast cancer growth at cellular level and it is non-toxic. In layman’s terms, this could block breast cancer growth without the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. She is also associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona.
Fun fact: She is an avid Stephen King reader and loves Star Wars.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal for 2013 is to get our breast cancer drug approved by the FDA to be given to patients.”

Lori Singleton
Manager of Sustainability Initiatives and Technologies, SRP
Her background: Singleton’s primary focus at SRP is environmental and renewable energy issues. Under her direction, SRP has provided incentives to more than 12,000 customers who have installed solar energy systems on their homes and businesses. In addition, she is an active volunteer and effective advocate serving on the boards of Audubon of Arizona and the National Solar Energy Power Association.
Fun fact: “Ballroom dancing is my passion. For me, it not only helps keep me physically fit but allows me to focus on something other than looming deadlines and work projects.”
Her goal for 2013: “As a Valley Forward board member, I will work to promote environmental quality statewide, elevate our state’s image and drive balanced policy as the organization evolves into Arizona Forward.”

Joy Seitz
Vice president of business and policy development, American Solar
Her background: Since joining Scottsdale-based American Solar in 2009, Seitz has been a leading advocate for Arizona’s solar industry, making her presence felt everywhere that decisions are made about solar energy — city halls, Salt River Project and the Arizona Corporation Commission. Her company has designed and installed solar electric for more than 3,500 customers and created partnership with homebuilders including Shea Homes and AV Homes.
Fun fact: “I am a proud ASU West Campus graduate from the School of Global Management and Leadership, with an emphasis in finance.”
Her goal for 2013: “To put the power of solar energy into the hand of every homeowner. It is time that every Arizona homeowner understands that they can control what energy powers their home.”

Lois Wardell
Principal, Arapahoe SciTech
Her background: Wardell’s technology focus includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and associated sensor technologies.  By developing partnerships with other innovators, she has been able to tackle technical challenges in emerging fields such as those in polar science. One example is a sterilization system for an ice drill that will access an Antarctic sub-glacial lake below a half-mile of ice to explore this unknown frontier on our planet.
Fun fact: Wardell has worked on all seven continents.
Her goal for 2013: “My goals include continued development of technology for exploration (both Earth and beyond) and to increase my focus on outreach activities to inspire students.”


BioAccel Adds Stimwave Technologies To Incubator

BioAccel and the City of Peoria announced that BioInspire has accepted a sixth company, Arizona based medical device startup Stimwave Technologies, Inc., into the medical device incubator facility in Peoria,.

Stimwave Technologies has received a $300,000 investment from BioAccel’s New Venture Development Program and will be a resident of the new incubator facility in Peoria, where it will utilize BioInspire’s exceptional laboratory spaces and advisory services.

Stimwave Technologies is a medical device company that develops that has developed  novel wirelessly powered microimplantable stimulators for the neuromodulation field for pain relief.  The company’s first novel device is a microstimulator placed through a needleless implantable device designed for patients suffering from chronic back and leg pain. Currently only wired solutions are available. The new device is 99% smaller in volume that the next smallest commercially available wired product on the market, and takes 75% less time for the clinician to place.

BioInspire, managed by BioAccel in partnership with the City of Peoria, is designed to foster and facilitate the development of medical device companies and to stimulate the development of products and spin-off companies in Peoria based on research conducted at other academic, public and private institutions.

“We are extremely pleased to be welcomed into the Bioinspire incubator to continue to apply our innovative technology to research new indications and support our transition to commercialization for our pain relief product,” said Laura Tyler Perryman, Founder and CEO of Stimwave. “Our commitment to superior patient care is unparalleled, and our goals are aligned with BioAccel to achieve the vision and purpose of BioInspire,” she said.

“The goal is to create knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that will drive and accelerate local economic development as well as bring novel medical devices more efficiently through the commercialization process,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “Stimwave is the kind of company that will drive job creation and growth through their scalable business plans and the products derived from their innovative research and accelerated commercialization.

“BioAccel is proud to be able to provide critical support for that effort through BioInspire, by providing funding, flexible office and lab space, business and regulator advisory services and expert mentoring critical to early stage companies.”

BioInspire’s Director Tom Rainey said that adding another company to the incubator space is a great sign of early success.

“We’re very excited to add a sixth company to the BioInspire family,” he said. “Considering that the incubator only opened in September, we are pleased with the number and quality of companies that have located within our space. It shows that BioInspire is achieving the goal of bringing growth and innovation to Peoria through these important medical device companies.”

Scott Whyte, City of Peoria Economic Development Services Director, said he is pleased with the success of BioInspire and glad to see more companies taking advantage of its resources.

“We’re delighted to welcome Stimwave to Peoria, and to see the BioInspire initiative take flight,” Whyte said. “As the client companies at BioInspire grow and graduate from the incubator program we are prepared to support their move into other commercial space within Peoria,” Whyte said. “This will serve as a significant economic engine for our local and regional economy, planting the seeds for future growth.”