Tag Archives: Mayor

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Stanton pitches Phoenix to Silicon Valley businesses

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants businesses in Silicon Valley to relocate to Arizona.

Stanton traveled to California this week to sell Phoenix as a prime location for technology and manufacturing jobs.

Stanton says Phoenix needs to proactively attract employers.

Stanton’s office would not say what companies he is approaching in California because the meetings are confidential.

Stanton has traveled to Silicon Valley in the past to persuade companies there to relocate or open new branches in Phoenix.

He also has made several recent trips to Mexico to promote international trade.

Stanton was elected mayor in 2011.

Runoff Election, Early Voting Phoenix Mayor, Council

Andrew Thomas will run for governor

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says he’s planning to run for Arizona governor in 2014.

Thomas served as county attorney from 2005 until he resigned in 2010 to unsuccessfully run for Arizona attorney general.

A three-member disciplinary panel of the Arizona courts disbarred Thomas about a year ago for failed corruption investigations that he and county Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched against officials with whom they were having political and legal disputes.

Thomas is a Republican and he joins a growing list of candidates for governor.

Democrat and former Arizona Board of Regents Chairman Fred DuVal, Republican and ex-Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Americans Elect party candidate John Mealer have already formally filed to run.

Republicans Sen. Al Melvin and Secretary of State Ken Bennett have formed exploratory committees.

healthcare

ZocDoc will bring 600 jobs to Valley

A New York company that helps patients connect with doctors through an online service is opening a Scottsdale office and will hire more than 600 workers in the next three years.

ZocDoc is a free service for patients that also lets them book appointments online. Gov. Jan Brewer and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced the office opening on Tuesday.

Brewer has made three other major jobs announcements in recent weeks, including a new General Motors information technology innovation center in Chandler that will have 1,000 high-tech employees.

All three are benefiting from incentives from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The Commerce Authority also was involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

The company says it will hire nearly 70 people to staff the office by year’s end.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, second from left, joined city leaders March 14 at the American Animal Hospital Association’s annual conference to celebrate the millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since its $650 million expansion in January 2009. The millionth delegate, veterinarian Monique Weldon of Aurora, Colo., accepted a donation in her honor to the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR). Pictured from left are Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton, Mayor Stanton, AHAA President Mark Russak, ROAR spokeswoman Helen Oliff, Greater Phoenix CVB President Steve Moore, Weldon, and Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos.

Convention Center welcomes millionth delegate

A huge milestone at the Phoenix Convention Center arrived last week in the form of a petite veterinarian from Colorado.

Dr. Monique Weldon, owner of Loving Family Animal Hospital in Aurora, Colo., was the one millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since it emerged four years ago from a $600 million expansion.

Weldon, a veterinary professional in town for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) annual conference, was honored by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos in the convention center’s palatial North Ballroom during the AAHA’s May 14 opening general session. Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton and Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore also participated in the celebration.

“One million delegates is a testament to the drawing power of our city, our airport, our remade downtown, and this beautiful convention center,” Mayor Stanton said.

Cavazos pointed out that one million convention delegates visiting downtown Phoenix equates to nearly $1.5 billion in estimated spending for Phoenix’s economy.

The Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first convention attendees in January 2009. With a glass-and-stone design inspired by the turquoise waters and red rock of the Grand Canyon, the convention center boasts nearly 900,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space.

Mayor Stanton characterized the new convention center as a game changer, and called attention to several other developments that either dove-tailed with the facility’s construction or followed in its wake:

* METRO Light Rail began operation with 20 miles of line and 32 stations
* More than 60 new restaurants have opened downtown
* Every major hotel in downtown Phoenix is either completely new or has undergone multimillion-dollar renovations.
* CityScape was built, adding 2 blocks of new dining and entertainment options within a short stroll of the convention center’s doors.

On a more whimsical note, in the four years since expansion was completed, the convention center’s catering staff has served nearly 400,000 chicken breasts and 68,000 gallons of Starbucks coffee.

In addition to honoring Dr. Weldon with an array of gifts that included a return visit to Phoenix, representatives from the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau and three downtown hotels—the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix Downtown and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown—donated $1,000 to the Phoenix branch of AAHA’s charity of choice, the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR).

The AAHA matched that donation to ROAR, and another $2,500 was given to the group’s cause by BlogPaws, a collection of bloggers who write about pet-care information.

ROAR is a nonprofit that provides food, shelter and medical care to dogs and cats rescued from American Indian reservations. According to the organization’s website, extreme poverty and limited access to medical care lead to tens of thousands of animals being orphaned on Indian reservations each year; there are at least 1,500 stray dogs and cats roaming the Navajo Nation alone.

On hand Thursday to help ROAR accept the donations was Lucy, a German Shepherd mix who was found in a roadside cardboard box in a New Mexico pueblo. Lucy now lives in a mountainside home in South Phoenix, where she enjoys daily walks and swims in a backyard pool.

Jan Brewer

Brewer, GM announce Chandler Innovation Center

Michigan-based General Motors (GM), together with Governor Jan Brewer, Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), announced today GM has selected Chandler as the site of its fourth Information Technology Innovation Center.  These IT Innovation Centers enable GM to in-source the company’s innovation capabilities, strengthening its global competitiveness.

With the announcement, GM expects to invest $21 million in the new Chandler facility and hire 1,000 high-wage employees over the next five years.

“GM could have chosen to locate this premier facility anywhere in the country, so it is a tremendous credit to our state and everything we have to offer that GM has decided to build right here in Arizona,” said Governor Jan Brewer.  “Today’s announcement speaks volumes about the business-friendly environment we have created in Arizona, including our high-tech workforce, competitive tax policies and lean regulations. I could not be prouder of our state or what this announcement means for the future of the Arizona economy.”

With today’s GM announcement, Chandler joins previously disclosed locations for Innovation Centers in Warren, Mich., Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Georgia.

“The greater Phoenix area is a fantastic hub of emerging technical talent – from university graduates to working professionals. GM needs these kinds of world-class and skilled employees to be as successful as we want to be,” said GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott.  “Chandler is the perfect addition to our overall Innovation Center market strategy, locating in great communities that are on the leading edge of innovation and technology.”

GM’s IT Innovation Centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of on-going operations and increase its delivery of innovation.

“This is exactly the type of technology employer we need in Chandler and in our state,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “The GM Innovation Center is a perfect complement to Chandler’s Price Corridor, and furthers the City’s reputation as a regional hub for innovation and high-tech businesses.”

GM will begin recruiting and hiring software developers, database administrators and system analysts immediately.  The new Innovation Center is expected to be operational by first quarter 2014. Interested candidates can apply for positions at http://jobs.gm.com/.

“We are thrilled with GM’s selection of Arizona and its significant increased investment in our community.  The company’s long-term commitment grows and strengthens our economy in the form of quality jobs, high wages and capital investment, building on the technology and economic base in our state,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.  “It has been wonderful working with GM’s team throughout this process, and we look forward to a continued successful partnership for many years to come.”

“General Motors could not have found a better innovation partner than the City of Chandler, which has worked hard to earn its well-deserved status as one of the western U.S.’s top technology cities,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “GM’s investment is testament to our skilled workforce and quality lifestyle, as well as competitive and uncomplicated business landscape. Indeed, today’s announcement is a win for the entire region, and we look forward to developing a lasting partnership with General Motors.”

boeing-phantom-ray

GPEC analyzes impact of potential defense cuts

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council today released findings and recommendations from its Aerospace and Defense Market Intelligence Program, a two-phase initiative that took an in-depth look at the region’s aerospace and defense companies to determine their strengths, weaknesses and readiness for the sequestration, federally-mandated automatic spending cuts scheduled to take place on March 1 unless Congress intervenes.

As a result of the sequestration, the Department of Defense (DoD) must cut $1 trillion from its budget. Arizona has the sixth largest share of DoD contracts, and stands to lose as much as $2.3 billion in annual revenue on account of sequestration-based cuts.  Until it happens, however, the size or effects of the cuts in Arizona remain ambiguous.

In anticipation of these massive cuts, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) – along with its Economic Development Directors Team and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce – last year undertook a major market intelligence initiative to determine the existing strengths and weaknesses of Arizona’s aerospace and defense companies. Based on this data snapshot, the analysis also sought to understand the potential impact of sequestration on our local companies, communities, workforce and innovation base.

“As part of GPEC’s program, I personally sat down with several aerospace and defense companies located in Phoenix. The message I heard from them was resoundingly clear – the uncertainty over the timing and severity of these cuts has many of them paralyzed, and they want guidance,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “With 49,000 Arizona aerospace and defense jobs at stake, it’s critical that our federal leaders work together to avert this crisis or at least provide a strategic direction for where we go on March 2 and beyond.”

“Sequestration is a bad way to budget. Local companies and individuals get caught up in a political game that does little to solve our nation’s long-term financial challenges,” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said. “Washington should follow the example of cities and make smart cuts to fix the budget rather than making arbitrary cuts that do more harm than good.”

The program consisted of two main components. The first developed an in-depth profile and analysis of 114 local companies identified by GPEC using data from the Office of Management and Budget. The second was an extensive door-to-door outreach effort to these companies, conducted by mayors, local chambers of commerce, GPEC Ambassadors (volunteers from GEC’s member companies) and municipal economic development directors and their teams.

“As a top-ranked defense state, Arizona has much to lose with the budget cuts associated with the 2011 Budget Control Act. The West Valley, proud home to Luke Air Force Base, has worked tirelessly to protect the mission of the base and to secure the F-35 aircraft,” Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers said. “Sequestration and the drastic budget cuts to defense and aerospace will undermine the efforts of the communities in the West Valley and negatively impact our local economy, which is tied closely to Luke Air Force Base and the defense-related industry.”

It’s also important to note that nearly 75 percent of the state’s research and development expenditures are housed within Arizona’s corporate infrastructure – companies like Intel, Boeing, Raytheon and Honeywell. As such, drastic reductions in their DoD contracts could result in losses in some of the state’s most significant research programs, which affect Arizona’s science position, its universities, and opportunities for increased investments and exports.

“These looming cuts represent a crossroads for our region,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “The region’s corporate, science, civic and government partners must convene to not only mitigate job loss but also to support and protect the region’s physical assets, workforce talent and innovation from being moved out of the market.”

The findings represent a snapshot of the Greater Phoenix region’s aerospace and defense industry for a specific period of time, from May through December 2012 when the data was collected. During this time period, sequestration was considered more of a threat and less of a reality.

Top-line analysis revealed that 76 percent of the companies reported to be either stable (52 percent) or expanding (24 percent). Twenty-six percent reported that their businesses were contracting – primarily companies and operations where DoD contracts represent the largest share of their revenue base. Those that were expanding focused on diversification, including commercial and international markets, or DoD growth areas like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber technology, space technology and counterterrorism.

Because 2,000 companies throughout Arizona were awarded $13 billion in defense contacts in 2012 – and the industry represents 43,000 direct jobs – even a 25 percent contraction could be detrimental to one of the state’s major employment bases. For larger, Tier 1 companies, the short-term outlook is more stable as many have expanded products and services in anticipation of the cuts. However, Tier 2 companies that generally represent the industry’s supply chain are less likely to withstand the cuts due to their reliance on Tier 1 companies for contracts and subcontracts. Some of these companies have neither the access to capital or the working capital to wait it out – meaning they could be forced to lay off workers or cease operations.

Based on the program’s findings, GPEC’s five recommendations include:

1. A federal-level strategy from Arizona’s congressional leadership to either fully reverse sequestration or provide a “go forward” strategy to ensure Arizona’s aerospace and defense assets – including R&D and skilled workforce – are retained and redeployed.
2. Public and bilateral support for Governor Brewer and the Arizona Commerce Authority in their efforts to secure an FAA-designated test site.
3. A major commitment to science and technology to ensure the aerospace and defense industry’s existing knowledge and technology assets are leveraged to generate new and higher-value economic growth opportunities for our existing workforce talent while also attracting new, skill ed workers to Greater Phoenix.
4. Increased support for regional export opportunities from state and regional leaders.
5. An ongoing commitment to business retention and expansion, particularly with regards to sequestration.

To view the Aerospace and Defense Market Intelligence Report in its entirety, as well as all five recommendations, please visit http://www.gpec.org/aerospace.

Local Initiatives Check Pres 2-11-13_sml

Wells Fargo grants $1 million to six area nonprofits

Wells Fargo & Company, one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, announced the company will make donations totaling $1 million shared across six Arizona nonprofits to help further strengthen and stabilize Arizona communities.

The local grant recipients were identified in close collaboration with the City of Phoenix and Mayor Greg Stanton.  Grants are targeted to support five key areas:  Support services for the homeless, neighborhood beautification and improvement, education and workforce programs, small business and economic development, and the environment.

Wells Fargo is making $1 million in grants to the following Phoenix nonprofits:
· Arizona Citizens for the Arts — $50,000 to support the organization’s efforts in neighborhood beautification efforts and the arts.
· Keep Phoenix Beautiful — $100,000 in support of Phoenix neighborhood beautification efforts and the environment.
· Arizona Women’s Education and Employment, Inc. (AWEE) — $150,000 in support of education and workforce programs, homelessness, and economic development.
· Maricopa County Community College (MCCC)/Arizona Small Business Development Center — $200,000 to support small business programs and economic development.
· Teach for America – Phoenix — $200,000 to support the organization’s education programs.
· Valley of the Sun United Way — $300,000 to support the homelessness community, education, employment, and economic development.

The grants are funded through the Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFTSM  program that was launched early last year.  The program is an innovative effort created to help stabilize neighborhoods and help people buy homes by making properties more affordable with down payment assistance available for eligible prospective buyers.

“Wells Fargo is the leading mortgage lender in Arizona and we are proud to support our communities to help ensure a thriving and healthy community base,” said Pam Conboy, Wells Fargo Arizona Lead Regional President.  “These nonprofits are actively leading efforts to help stabilize neighborhoods and promote jobs and education programs, and we are excited to help support their tremendous efforts with the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program local initiatives funds.”

“City government is a key player in moving our economy forward, ending homelessness and advocating for quality education for our kids, but we cannot do it alone,” said Mayor Stanton.  “Our partners in the nonprofit and faith communities are indispensable to ending homelessness and ensuring a stronger economic future in Phoenix and the region.  Thanks to Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program and their continued efforts in our communities and for being a conduit for boosting programs that build our city up to a more promising future.”

In addition to the local grants, the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program is helping further the nation’s housing recovery by providing down payment assistance to help more local families achieve successful, sustainable homeownership. In Phoenix, more than $2 million is still available for down payment assistance grants of $15,000 for local eligible hombuyers as part of the $8 million commitment to provide down payment assistance grants, homebuyer support programs and local initiatives to help consumers achieve successful, sustainable home ownership.  Wells Fargo collaborates with the City of Phoenix and the non-profit organization NeighborWorks America and its local affiliate, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix, to implement the program.

Down payment assistance of $15,000 is available to those who qualify, buy and reside in a home in the city of Phoenix.  To qualify for down payment assistance that may be applied to mortgage purchase loans with any lender, applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area. Income maximums vary based on family size.  An event was held in Phoenix last March to kick-off the program and nearly 1,000 prospective homebuyers attended. Wells Fargo committed $8 million in the city of Phoenix to fund the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program designed to stabilize neighborhoods and help residents become homeowners.

Sun Health

Dignity names new West Valley hospital

Dignity Health announced that “St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center” will be the name of its new West Valley hospital during an official groundbreaking at the planned 35-acre medical campus near the Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue.

The $44 million Dignity Health facility is scheduled to open in early 2014 and will provide West Valley residents with a new alternative to receive high quality healthcare services. Dignity Health already operates three hospitals in the Valley including St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, which is home of the Barrow Neurological Institute in central Phoenix, and Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers. Dignity Health was previously known as Catholic Healthcare West.

When the new facility opens, the first phase will contain a 60,000 square-foot hospital that will include an emergency room, 24 inpatient beds, two operating rooms and diagnostic services. For the most complex medical cases, patients will benefit from the clinical integration with St. Joseph’s in central Phoenix. Established in 1895, St. Joseph’s today is nationally recognized for its specialty care and its expertise in treating the most complex medical cases.

“St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center was selected as the name of the medical campus because it builds on more than a century of healthcare in the Valley and people recognize St. Joseph’s as a beacon of quality care,” says Linda Hunt, Dignity Health Arizona President and CEO. “We intend to deliver that same excellence to the residents of the West Valley.”

The hospital will initially employ 200 staff and will have the capacity to expand to 200 inpatient beds as demand grows. The 35-acre medical campus will house community physicians and outpatient partners, giving patients one location for their healthcare needs.

“St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center will be a vibrant medical campus right in the heart of the West Valley,” says Gregg Davis, President of St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center. “The campus is designed to be a model for the nation’s changing healthcare environment and will change as medicine and the community evolve.”

The campus will serve as a collaborative venture in partnership with physicians in the West Valley to enhance and better manage the delivery of healthcare to patients in the area.

“This is a great project for the City of Glendale as the Loop 101 corridor near Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District is one of the city’s key economic focus areas,” says Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. “The new hospital will not only expand development west of the freeway, it will also attract other healthcare-related businesses and jobs to the area.”

While this is the first Dignity Health hospital in the West Valley, the organization began to lay the business foundation of its launch several years ago. Today, Dignity Health operates a family practice clinic and an orthopedic clinic in Peoria, imaging centers throughout the area, an outpatient surgery center and a partnership with the Minute Clinics located in the CVS pharmacies in Glendale and Goodyear.

SS Reendering

SkySong sparks economic revitalization along McDowell Road Corridor

No one would guessed that a catalyst of innovation could rise from the ruins of a vacant shopping mall. And certainly no one could imagine that happening in the middle of a crippling economic downturn that affected the entire world.

But that’s what’s happened in Scottsdale.

“It is hard to think of a business attraction initiative the city has recently used that has not mentioned SkySong as a major attribute,” said Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. “SkySong has a national reputation and as it grows it will continue to elevate Scottsdale’s standing.”

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, opened in 2007 at the location that was once the Los Arcos Mall and has become one of the biggest success stories in the world when it comes to incubator and technology centers.

The vision for SkySong is to create a mixed-use project of 1.2 million square feet that will draw entrepreneurs and innovators into the project, give them the resources they need to grow and thrive, and provide them an exceptional home for when their businesses begin to take off. The vision started with Arizona State University President Michael Crow, who wanted to create the kind of technological and innovation-minded environment that would attract companies and job creation to the metro Phoenix area.

In addition to becoming home to more than 50 companies from 10 countries around the world, SkySong has become the anchor to what economic developers are calling Scottsdale’s McDowell Road Corridor, a community where innovation, technology, business and retailers have converged to create tremendous economic opportunities. Scottsdale economic development officials said more than $200 million of new capital in being invested along the McDowell Road Corridor. And the economic impact of SkySong — which was estimated to be $10 billion over the course of the next 30 years — is only expected to grow with the addition of SkySong 3.

“The targeted opening date for SkySong 3 is in 2014,” said SkySong spokesman Tom Evans. “We anticipate a kick-off in construction activity in the second quarter of 2013. In the meantime, work is continuing on the new residential units that are part of the SkySong project. The $45 million, four-story project will include 325 residential units, and is being built by MT Builders. Todd & Associates is the architecture firm for the project. The first of those units will open for occupancy in October 2013.”

Evans said you can expect to see companies that will mirror the energy of the firms that filled SkySong 1 and 2 when SkySong 3 opens.

“The businesses at SkySong share the spirit of innovation and technology that is so critical to the vision of SkySong,” Evans said. “Companies such as Jobing.com, Channel Intelligence and Adaptive Curriculum will serve as models for the new companies coming into SkySong 3 and for the smaller companies in the ASU SkySong incubator space. The companies at SkySong 3 will also continue the positive impact the project is having on the McDowell Road Corridor, thanks to the success of SkySong 1 and 2 over the past few years.”

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

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Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

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Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

Hamer - June 2011-fornewsletter

The 2012 Hammer Awards

It’s that time of year to hand out some honors for the year’s best. So it is without further ado that I bring you the Third Annual Hammer Awards.
Impact Player of the Year: State Treasurer Doug Ducey
The keeper of the state’s checkbook took down Proposition 204 in a rout, and for that Doug Ducey wins a Hammer. Before he arrived on the scene, the tax measure was poised to coast to victory with no opposition. Ducey rallied opponents to make a clear case to voters why Arizona could do better by its education system than to saddle the state with a permanent tax increase that wouldn’t advance proven reforms. Ducey hit the exacta when Proposition 118, which would help create a more reliable funding stream into the K-12 system, also passed.
Best Public Policy Effort of the Year: (tie) Personnel Reform and Competitiveness Package 2.0
Two major policy efforts in 2012 deserve Hammers.
Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature, led by Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin, were firing on all cylinders in 2012 with their passage of a sweeping personnel reform package that injects a new and much needed level of accountability and professionalism into the state’s employment system. Newly appointed Brewer chief of staff Scott Smith deserves kudos for shepherding the package through the Legislature with the help of two of  the state House ’s brightest rising stars, Justin Olson and Justin Pierce.
As if that weren’t enough, though, the governor and Legislature also passed a major economic competitiveness package in 2012 that built on the gains passed in 2011. Who says you can’t have back-to-back once-in-a-generation job creation bills? This year’s wins included the state’s first ever reduction in the tax on investment income (capital gains), and it now makes Arizona more attractive from a tax standpoint to service providers who sell their services beyond the state’s borders, bringing the service sector into alignment with manufacturers. Gov. Brewer’s lead policy adviser and tax guru Michael Hunter, state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who was honored as the Arizona Chamber’s Representative of the Year, and Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson all deserve a Hammer for a job well done.
Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Salmon
The Hammer goes to former and now Congressman-once-again Matt Salmon for his return to the U.S. House 12 years after he stayed faithful to his term limits pledge that he made when he was a member of the class of 1994. As someone who had the honor of spending a good chunk of his professional life working for Matt, the East Valley will be well served by its incoming congressman who, by having served three terms in the 1990s, brings to his job a perspective (and seniority) few have.
Expect Big Things: Steve Chucri
Maricopa County Supervisor-elect Steve Chucri is one to watch, so he earns the Expect Big Things Hammer. Steve is one of the most affable guys you’ll ever meet. Adding his voice to the Board of Supervisors will ensure that the needs of Maricopa County will always come before any personal political agenda. Drawing on his experience as the chief of the Arizona Restaurant Association, I expect he’ll inject a pro-business point of view into the Board’s work that will help Maricopa County grow more jobs.
Southern Arizona Star: Lea Marquez-Peterson
Lea Marquez-Peterson, the president and CEO of the fast-growing Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, wins the Hammer for her groundbreaking work to illuminate business issues for southern Arizona’s Hispanic and Spanish-speaking community. Through her work on votaaz.org, an online guide to candidates and election information, Lea is ensuring that more people than ever understand public policy’s impact on business.
I’ll Be Back: Kirk Adams
Former state House Speaker Kirk Adams may have come up short in his bid for Congress, but he’s simply too talented a leader and respected as a conservative voice to be gone from the scene long. Here’s hoping it’s won’t be too long until Kirk returns to a position of influence.
Emerging Mayor: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
If I were pressed, I might be able rattle off the names of a dozen or so big city mayors around the country. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton gets the Hammer Award for now having clearly joined that small list of mayors whose influence exceeds the borders of his or her city. Mayor Stanton and his colleagues on the Council are doing great things in Phoenix. The Mayor has taken the lead in advancing trade with Mexico, developing a biotech hub, education and pension reform. Because of Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos, when cities around the country are looking for best practices, they’ll look to Phoenix.
Councilmen of the Year:  Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot
Phoenix has dramatically reduced the time it takes to get a project through the permitting process, an initiative headed up by Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Tom Simplot.  This effort has received national attention, including from columnist George Will.
Buy this Stock: Danny Seiden
Danny Seiden, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s political adviser, wins the Hammer for being a stock to watch in 2013. He was on the inside of two big wins in the 2012 election cycle: the defeat of Props 204 and 121, the so-called open primary measure, all while working with Montgomery to return the office of county attorney to respectability. And to boot, he’s married to one of Arizona’s most talented women, Southwest Gas executive Ann Seiden. Buy this stock!
The Next Generation: Martinez and Romero
They’re barely old enough to rent a car, but Gretchen Martinez (formerly Conger) and Lorna Romero each wins a Hammer for representing the next generation of Arizona politics. Martinez was the successful No on 204 campaign manager while doing her day job directing advocacy efforts at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Romero last month was named Gov. Brewer’s director of legislative affairs, where she helps shepherd the governor’s priorities through the legislative process.
Serious Work for a Funny Man: Chris Bliss and the Bill of Rights Memorial
Professional juggler and comedian Chris Bliss wins a Hammer for his dogged determination to install monuments to the Bill of Rights in civic spaces across America. Thanks to Bliss’ work and legislation introduced by U.S. Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona last week became the first state to dedicate a monument. The limestone pieces with the words of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution can be found at Wesley Bolin Plaza at the state Capitol.
Former Roommate of the Year: Steve Voeller
This is no slight to anyone else who split the rent check with me during my 20s, but Steve Voeller wins the Hammer for Former Roommate of the Year for his tireless and effective tax policy work at the state Capitol as head of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. Steve is now headed off to serve as Sen.-elect Jeff Flake’s chief of staff. A trusted adviser for years to the senator-elect, Steve will be an excellent leader for the Flake office as he shuttles between D.C. and Arizona. The Chamber wishes him the best of luck in his new post.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/.

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Phoenix Looks to Award Contracts to Local Businesses

Local First Arizona believes the leadership at Phoenix City Hall is moving in the right direction with respect to the inclusion of Arizona owned companies bidding for new contracts for the city’s towing.  A new towing contract proposes that Phoenix be divided into four zones, with local companies All City Towing and DV Towing being recommended for three of the four zones. The fourth zone is expected to go to an out of state company, Western Towing. The Phoenix City Council is reviewing staff’s recommendation that supports local businesses and will ultimately vote on the matter. Previously, the towing contract went to United Towing, a company based in Chicago that had a monopoly for many years.

The city’s actions will keep far more dollars, more jobs and more economic impact in the community due in large part to the fact that the locally owned towing companies being considered are rooted in Arizona. They utilize local accountants, payroll service providers, web developers, attorneys and more local businesses. Those dollars stay here and recirculate, retaining jobs and creating additional tax revenue for other city services. A procurement study done by Local First Arizona focusing on Arizona based office supply company Wist showed that locally owned companies keep three times of their total revenue in Arizona than an out of state company.  Another study shows that for every $100 spent with a locally owned business, roughly $45 remains right here in Arizona. When the same $100 is spent in a national business, only $13 remains here.

Phoenix is making a concerted effort to make sure more tax dollars spent on city contracts go to Arizona based companies. Recently Mayor Greg Stanton implemented a policy to encourage more contracts valued at $50,000 or less to local companies. This new policy shift is expected to generate an estimated $18-$20 million in new business in the local community each year.

Local First Founder and President Kimber Lanning said, “We are now seeing large and small City of Phoenix contracts go to local companies and the positive impact will be measurable and significant.  While I hope I am never in the unfortunate situation to have my car towed by the City, it’s encouraging to know that predominately local companies are on the job in three-fourths of the city of Phoenix.”

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Phoenix FC will play games at ASU

Phoenix FC, a franchise member of the USL PRO professional soccer league, is proud to announce a stadium agreement with Arizona State University for the 2013 inaugural season.  The team will play home games at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in Tempe beginning in the spring.

As part of the deal, Phoenix FC will invest to significantly expand seating capacity by more than 4,000 additional seats, taking the total capacity to over 5,000 seats.  Designs include the addition of North, South and East seating areas, with the South side reserved for a “Supporters Section” dedicated to the most avid fans.  Phoenix FC has already purchased the additional seating with construction slated to begin next month, and it will be completed before the team begins professional play in April.

Says Phoenix FC Chairman Eric Cornwell, “The entire Phoenix area has an incredible fan base for soccer, and we have been working hard to find the perfect location to launch a professional soccer team that allows enthusiasts to easily be a part of the experience. Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in Tempe is beyond ideal.  It’s centrally located, adjacent to the freeways and light rail, and it’s right in the middle of a fantastic area for restaurants and entertainment.”  Cornwell continued, “I cannot say enough about the hard work of Tim Thomas, Phoenix FC’s President and Steve Patterson at ASU in making this deal happen.  Both of them saw the amazing opportunity that this location presents to the Valley’s soccer community, and they simply got it done.  We couldn’t be more thrilled about the location, the process and our new partnership.”

“We’re proud to stand with ASU to welcome Phoenix FC to our city,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “This is an exciting opportunity to introduce people from all over the Valley, state and nation to Tempe and to have them watch a great soccer game in a first-rate location.  Fans are going to have a terrific time exploring our downtown and enjoying all that Tempe and ASU has to offer.”

Added Steve Patterson, Vice President of University Athletics at Arizona State University, “We are excited to partner with the city of Tempe to host professional soccer at Arizona State University. We will provide a first-class soccer stadium for Phoenix FC to play its home matches. Our women’s soccer program has been in the NCAA Tournament three of the past four seasons, and as soccer grows in the state, a partnership with Phoenix FC is a natural way to maintain that momentum. We share the same goals of competing for championships and cultivating a fan base with youth and adult soccer fans across the state, and we can work together to reach our goals.”

Season tickets deposits of $50 for Phoenix FC’s inaugural season are currently available and more than 500 deposits have been collected.  Seating is limited and interested soccer fans are encouraged to visit the team’s website at www.PhoenixFC.com to purchase season tickets before they are sold out.  Season ticket packages will start at just $187.00 per seat, with the option of General Admission seating or seats in the exclusive Supporters Section behind the South goal available at a later date.  Tickets will be made available through Glendale-based GetTix.NET.

With this location, near the northeast corner of University Drive and Rural Road, Phoenix FC looks to make an immediate impact and draw sell-out crowds of soccer enthusiasts across Arizona.  The team will play fifteen home games between April and September of 2013, joining the USL PRO’s Los Angeles Blues as the two premiere western franchises.  Additionally, the club will play exhibition matches against MLS clubs and International teams, and compete in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in May of 2013.

Phoenix FC is well on its way in establishing a competitive team led by management and coaches with a wealth of International soccer experience.  Former Portuguese professional player and coach, Rui Filipe Bento, will serve as General Manager of the team, while former Scottish star David Robertson will serve as Head Coach. Six professional players have already been signed to the team, including players from professional leagues in Scotland and Brazil, as well as established players from USL PRO.

The team will continue to enhance its professional roster, and it has already held open tryouts over the past few months. A number of local players have garnered the attention of the coaches, including Reid Schmitt of Ahwatukee and Brad Keller of Phoenix.  Schmitt played last season on the Professional Development League team, FC Tucson, and he recently signed on to join Phoenix FC in 2013.  The roster will be completed in January, 2013, and team practices will begin soon thereafter.

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Avondale mayor named NLC president

The mayor of Avondale has been named as the leader of the National League of Cities.

The NLC made the announcement Saturday that Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers would be the organization’s president for 2013.

Rogers says she is deeply honored to be elected to the one-year position.

The vote on a new president came at the end of the NLC’s annual Congress of Cities and Exposition in Boston.

The Arizona native grew up picking cotton alongside her parents, who were migrant farm workers. She was a social worker and city councilwoman before being elected mayor in 2006.

Officers in the NLC are charged with directing the organization’s advocacy and membership activities for the coming year.

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AWEE presents 2012 Faces of Success

A formerly homeless veteran who lost his hearing from an explosion in Vietnam, an ex-offender who chose drugs over her children and today counsels individuals in similar circumstances, and a Baltimore transplant who had to rely on the financial support of family when she couldn’t find a fulltime job despite a steady work history will tell their turnaround stories and be honored at the 18th annual Faces of Success Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15 at The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

The annual fund-raising luncheon supports Arizona Women’s Education & Employment (AWEE), a workforce development organization using a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services to advance Arizona’s workforce and change the lives of women, men, young adults and special populations through the dignity of work.

Also at the luncheon, Michelle King Robson, who overcame life-threatening health issues to start the widely praised social health website EmpowHER.com for women will receive the Jeanne Lind Herberger Award.

More than 700 people are expected at the luncheon, which is presented by Bank of America.  Registration and reception begin at 11 a.m.   The highly entertaining, rapid-fire program of giveaways, raffles and remarkably moving stories of success will be co-hosted by television personality Tara Hitchcock and Alfredo J. Molina of Molina Fine Jewelers.  Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will make brief congratulatory remarks.

Molina also has donated a stunning pair of 18-karat white gold earrings with .39 carats of brilliant diamonds surrounding black onyx for a raffle.  The earrings are valued at $4,990.  Raffle tickets are $25 each or 6 for $100 and can be purchased at the event or online at www.awee.org.

Individual tickets for the Faces of Success Luncheon are $100 each and also can be purchased online or the day of the event.  Sponsorships are still available.

The highlight of the annual luncheon comes midway through the program when the three Faces of Success take the audience through their personal journeys from rock bottom to steady employment and self sufficiency thanks to AWEE programs, services and support.

The 2012 Faces of Success are:

• Craig Leighton, a U.S. Marine Corp photographer whose life fell apart after returning from Vietnam in 1974 deaf and angry.  Leighton eventually found himself battling alcohol and drug addiction, homeless and in jail.  “I needed help,” he said.  “Coming out of prison, you have a choice:  Go back to your old behavior or start over.  AWEE is what saved my life.”

• Vicki Rainey, the mother of two children who grew up in Phoenix living a “wonderful childhood” until the family moved to a new neighborhood.  That’s when she started making a series of bad choices with alcohol, drugs and criminal behavior and wound up homeless and in and out of prison.  Prison let her come out of the meth-induced fog she had lived in for months when she chose the drug over her kids.  She learned about AWEE in prison workshops and classes, rebuilt her self-esteem and her life and is now the marketing manager at Recovery Opportunity Center.  “The simple fact is, I wouldn’t be where I am today without AWEE.”

• Tanya Smith moved to Phoenix from Baltimore after her mother died.  Smith wanted warmth and sunshine.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t find permanent work and ran out of money between assignments through a temporary agency, needing help from family members.  Surgery complicated matters.   After getting on AHCCCS, she was referred to AWEE where resume writing and interview training keyed her turnaround.  Today, she’s working fulltime in the Home Modification Division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Jeanne Lind Herberger honoree Robson combines a successful track record as a businesswoman and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of civic and community leadership to lead one of the fastest-growing social health companies on the Web.  She started EmpowHER following her own personal struggle with a debilitating health issue and the challenges she experienced in finding the health resources she needed.  “I thought ‘If this happened to me, what is happening to women all over the world?’  At that moment, I decided I would dedicate my life to making sure no other woman would suffer as I had by creating the resources I wish I had when I was sick.”

Kathey Wagner, CEO, B-On The Obvious and Nicole Spracale, Senior Vice President, Jobing, are co-chairs of the 2012 Faces of Success Luncheon.  Bank of America is the Presenting Sponsor with additional support from: The Herberger Foundation, Bruce T. Halle Familiy Foundation, APS, B-On The Obvious, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Discover Financial Services, Jobing, EmpowHER.com, First Solar, Molina Fine Jewelers, SRP, State Farm, Lewis & Roca, MidFirst Bank, Wells Fargo, Avnet, Comerica Bank and University of Phoenix.

For sponsorship information, contact Chief Development Officer Jamie Craig Dove at jamiecraigdove@awee.org or by calling (602) 223-4333.  For ticket information, visit www.awee.org.

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Banner Health Center to break ground in Goodyear

Elected and community officials from the City of Goodyear will join leaders from Banner Health on Thursday, Nov. 1 to break ground on a Banner Health Center located at Cotton Lane and Estrella Mountain Parkway.

Joining Banner leaders at Thursday’s ground-breaking will be Goodyear Mayor Georgia Long and Goodyear Director of Economic Development, Harry Paxton. The 18,000-square-foot center will open next summer. The Goodyear center comes on the heels of four similar ground-breaking celebrations Banner Health christened last week in the east Valley.

“We are pleased to be able to expand Banner’s presence in the Valley through this new health center,” said Jim Brannon, Chief Executive Officer for Banner Medical Group. “Through our community health centers we look to provide high-quality, convenient healthcare for the whole family — from young families to mature adults and everyone in between.”

Goodyear’s Banner Health Center will offer primary care including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. In addition, rotating physician specialists are expected to be scheduled onsite to meet patient needs. Basic imaging and laboratory services are available onsite for added patient convenience.

The Banner Health Center in Goodyear will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Valley High School Students Compete at JA Stock Market Challenge

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and more than 400 high schools students from nearly 20 Arizona schools will come together for Junior Achievement of Arizona’s Sixth Annual Student Stock Market Challenge, in which teams compete to see who can grow their mock-stock portfolio and create the highest net worth. The event will be held at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Mayor Stanton will sound the closing bell at the event and congratulate the winning team.
Students have been preparing for the Challenge the past two months by participating in lessons designed to help them grasp the concepts they’ll need in stock trading, led by Junior Achievement (JA) volunteer instructors and our partner teachers. The JA Student Stock Market Challenge gives students a chance to practice those skills in a fun and dynamic environment. Particularly pertinent is that lessons learned during the Challenge are the focus of reflection exercises that will help today’s youth make smart financial choices as adults.

“Bestowing financial knowledge into high school students is crucial for our economic future,” said Joyce Richards, president of Junior Achievement of Arizona.  “Through the Stock Market Challenge and other JA programs, students are learning lessons on which to build effective personal financial habits for life.”

The Sixth Annual Stock Market Challenge is sponsored by: The Charles Schwab Foundation, Title and TruWest Credit Union, Champion of Hope.
For more information, visit www.jaaz.org.

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GPEC makes case against solar tariffs

In support of the prospering solar industry in the Greater Phoenix metro area, City of Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord testified against proposed tariffs on Chinese-manufactured photovoltaic cells and modules at a hearing of the International Trade Commission in Washington. The City of Goodyear is a member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and home to the only U.S. manufacturing hub for China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar manufacturer. Mayor Lord is the only elected official testifying at the hearing.

“Greater Phoenix was one of the hardest hit regions in the nation during the economic downturn, but thanks to the hard work of leaders in our community, we’ve created an industry cluster for renewable companies to create a more diverse and sustainable employer base,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the region’s premier economic development organization. “Now, we’re home to more than 260 companies within the solar supply chain, 27 manufacturing facilities and more than 9,000 jobs associated with renewable energy companies and utility-scale projects – a significant number when considering that parts of our state are at more than 20 percent unemployment.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if implemented, these tariffs would have a detrimental effect not only on our existing solar and renewable energy industry but also in our ability to attract further investments in this sector from around the world,” Broome added. “It would send a signal that the U.S. is closed for business when it comes to this flourishing global industry.”

GPEC works closely with companies on their expansion and relocation plans, including a concentrated approach to those making a foreign-direct investment in the United States. In recent years, it championed a renewable energy-specific incentive that has drawn numerous solar companies to Arizona, including Suntech. Additionally, there are another dozen Chinese companies with investments totaling $400 million that have identified the Greater Phoenix region as a potential location for their projects.

GPEC recently filed a formal letter of protest to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission against the tariffs. To view the letters, please visit www.gpec.org/tariff .

“Many of Goodyear’s economic development efforts center on solar or foreign-direct investment. As a small city located in a Foreign Trade Zone, we want more Suntechs – not less,” Mayor Lord said in her testimony. “In Goodyear, a town of just 70,000, Suntech employs more than 100 well-trained professionals and, if market demand continues, has plans to more than double that number.

“I’m worried that the imposition of punitive duties will put both current and future jobs at risk, in addition to those at related companies within the supply chain and the residual effects they could have on the people, schools and welfare of my community,” she added.

The Brattle Group recently reported that a 100 percent tariff would result in estimated job losses between 17,000 and 50,000 in 2014. Clearly, if implemented these tariffs would be detrimental not only to Arizona’s solar industry but also the entire industry nationwide and the U.S. economy as a whole, in addition to substantial job losses.

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9 Arizona Inc. 500 Companies to Speak at SkySong Luncheon

The nine Arizona-based Inc. 500 companies will speak to the business community at an educational luncheon event on Thursday, October 18th from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. These ‘best of Arizona’ company leaders will share insights on their remarkable economic success during challenging economic times.

These 9 local companies were recognized in the September issue of Inc. magazine that highlights the nation’s 500 fastest-growing companies. They hope that executives of other companies in Arizona can learn from their experience and growth techniques.

In aggregate, these nine Arizona companies increased revenues by 1,785 percen, from $4.8 million in 2008 to $90.4 million in 2011. This reflects a 166 percent annual compounded growth rate over this three-year period. What makes this even more remarkable is that this growth was achieved during
severe recessionary economic times as reflected by GDP growth of only 6.1 percent from 2008 to 2011. These companies grew almost 300 times faster than the US economy during this period.

The October 18th lunch event is titled “Arizona Inc. 500: Nine Ways to Grow” and will feature key executives from these nine companies discussing what has worked to achieve their growth.

This special business event will have three moderators: Glenn Hamer, CEO at Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Hank Marshall, Senior Vice President at Arizona Commerce Authority; and Doug Bruhnke, CEO at Growth Nation. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane will kick off the event. Five of the nine companies are based in Scottsdale. The presentations by company leaders will cover a range of corporate growth and business strategy topics in a panel format.

Arizona’s Inc. 500 Companies: The Joint (national chiropractic clinic franchise); GlobalMed (real-time healthcare delivery systems for telemedicine); Loan Resolution (assists banks in fixing bad loans and selling property); Blue Global Media (operates affiliate Performance Marketing Network); Digital Video Networks (interactive city-directory kiosks and audio video systems); MYTEK Network Solutions (IT services, analytics and help desk support); American Group (freight-shipping services for small and midsized businesses); DreamBrands (natural healthy anti-aging products for 40+ target market); and Citywide Restoration (restores damaged properties and offers related services).

Interested attendees can register by signing up here: http://arizonainc500.eventbrite.com/.