Tag Archives: Northern Arizona University

college graduates

Arizona State Credit Union rewards grads

Arizona State Credit Union awarded $38,000 to 19 deserving students and alumni of Arizona universities and colleges through its Community Leaders Scholarship and Loan Reduction Grant program.

The seventh annual grant and scholarship program supports the Credit Union’s ongoing commitment to provide financial assistance to students and alumni of in-state colleges and universities.

“The Credit Union’s cooperative culture stems from our focus on what we can do to help Arizona residents and community members,” said David E. Doss, President/CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “Our scholarship program has been in place for seven years, and is one of the many ways we give back to the community. We are proud to once again reward students and alumni for all of their hard work.”

All 19 recipients hail from Arizona’s student and alumni population and are affiliated with one of the following schools: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, South Mountain Community College, the University of Phoenix, Yavapai College, Estrella Mountain Community College and Coconino Community College.

The Community Leaders Scholarship helps students attending state universities, colleges and vocational schools pay for various expenses, including tuition, books and other academic necessities.

The Loan Reduction Grant assists graduates in paying on their student loans, a significant financial burden that affects many students upon graduation. The grant was awarded to graduates who exhibited strong academic prowess and active participation in community efforts.

For information regarding 2015 scholarship and grant applications, visit us online at azstcu.org.

Congratulations to:

• Aaron Burger – Northern Arizona University
• Alyssa McGregor – University of Arizona
• Angela Towner – University of Phoenix
• Blake Koolick – Arizona State University
• Brandon Quezada – Arizona State University
• Clarence Cleveland Jr. – Arizona State University
• Connie Berry – Arizona State University
• Delaney Scanlan – South Mountain Community College
• Heather McCrea – Yavapai College
• Lauren Meyer – University of Arizona
• Maria Pina – Arizona State University
• Natasha Kukowski – Arizona State University
• Nathan Eyde – University of Arizona
• Nicole Porter – Northern Arizona University
• Rianne Gibson – Northern Arizona University
• Saumya Gupta – Arizona State University
• Sergio Copus-Nunez – Estrella Mountain Community College
• Spencer Forsberg – Yavapai College
• Taylor Richards – Coconino Community College

bioscience

ASU’s Arntzen Named Bioscience Researcher of the Year

image003Charles J. Arntzen, PhD, the founding director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been named the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year. The award is given annually to the life science researcher in Arizona who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and the understanding of biological processes.

“Charlie was instrumental in helping create an experimental drug called ZMapp that was recently used to treat U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola this summer,” says Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “His work has put Arizona on the map in new ways as people all over the world are fascinated by the idea that it is possible to produce medicine inside a plant.”

“Charlie’s work represents some of the best and brightest of Biodesign,” says Raymond DuBois, executive director of the Biodesign Institute. “By erasing traditional boundaries between the sciences, we are able to deliver unexpected solutions.”

Arntzen’s primary research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, as well as the utilization of plant biotechnology for enhancement of food quality and value, and for overcoming health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. He has been recognized as a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention, with special emphasis on needs of poor countries, and for disease prevention in animal agriculture. His work developed the technology by which human proteins (such as ZMapp) can be expressed in and harvested from plants.

Arntzen is the Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair and Regents’ Professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences. He serves on the board of directors of Advanced BioNutrition and is on the advisory board of the Burrill and Company’s Agbio Capital Fund and the Nutraceuticals Fund.

Prior to coming to ASU in 2000, Arntzen was president and CEO of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

Arntzen will be honored at the AZBio Awards Gala on Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across Arizona illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of the state’s bioscience industry.

Past winners of the Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year Award include: Leslie Boyer, MD (The University of Arizona), Paul Keim, PhD (Northern Arizona University and TGen-North), Jessica Langbaum, PhD (Banner Alzheimer’s Research Institute), Milton Sommerfeld, PhD, and Qiang Hu, PhD (Arizona State University), Bruce Rittman, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University), Rod Wing, PhD (Arizona Genomics Institute at the University of Arizona), and Roy Curtiss, III, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University).

stem.cell

TGen and NAU celebrate 5-year research pact

Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a five-year agreement to promote innovation and quality research benefiting Arizona.

The NAU-TGen Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implements the allocation of state funding as directed by Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature, and reaffirms the commitment of both institutions toward quality research, training and educational opportunities, protection of public health and improved patient care. The Governor and Legislature recommitted state funding support as part of the 2014-15 state budget, recognizing the positive dividends from a viable, competitive bioindustry in Arizona.

“TGen has played a valuable role in developing and advancing Arizona’s bioscience industry,” said Governor Brewer. “From delivering medical breakthroughs and first-rate research — to creating quality jobs and growing our economy — TGen is a shining example of the innovative companies we seek to attract and expand in Arizona. By enhancing the successful partnership between TGen and NAU, we can ensure that both our bioscience industry and our economy will continue to thrive for years to come.”

NAU and TGen also announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a patent for a new set of genetically-based tests, jointly developed by NAU and TGen, that accurately identify fungal pathogens that threaten public health worldwide. Broad-based identification of fungi is essential for clinical diagnostics and also for environmental testing. This is the first of many patents anticipated through NAU-TGen collaborations.

The two institutions also are celebrating other joint research, including highly accurate, genetically-based tests for detecting and monitoring Valley Fever, influenza and different types of staph bacteria infections, especially the potentially deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

These achievements, and numerous other collaborations underway between NAU and TGen, will be celebrated at 2 p.m. today at NAU’s Applied Research and Development building.

The NAU-TGen developed genetic-based tests allow real-time tests in any location, including laboratories, but also clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms and even field settings. Immediate diagnosis of pathogens is a critical part of TGen’s push for precision medicine, in which patients receive the correct treatments as quickly as possible, speeding their recovery and saving lives.

The genetic-based tests for various pathogens were developed by a team from NAU and TGen that includes Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (also known as TGen North) in Flagstaff, and a Regents Professor and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

“These advanced diagnostics have far reaching implications for protecting public health, quickly treating patients and lowering the cost of healthcare,” Dr. Keim said. “Through our joint NAU-TGen research, we are continuing to develop tools and technologies that have a great impact on human health.”

This joint effort has generated other intellectual property, stimulated the founding of a startup company, and now generates licensing revenues for both NAU and TGen.

“Our relationship with TGen exemplifies the importance of the biosciences to NAU and to Arizona’s economy,” said NAU President John Haeger. “An important mission of our university is to produce research with direct benefits to the state and to the world, and together with TGen that is what we are accomplishing. We look forward to much more.”

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director, praised President Haeger, Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature for helping ensure TGen’s continuing role in stimulating local research that directly benefits Arizona patients.

“We are enormously grateful to Governor Brewer and the state Legislature, particularly the leadership, for their continuing confidence and support in us,” said Dr. Trent. “In addition, as demonstrated by the leadership and cooperation of President Haeger, Dr. Keim and NAU, there is no question that these types of collaborations between universities and research institutions can result in significant commercial applications.”

Rita Cheng

Cheng succeeds Haeger as NAU president

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved the selection of Rita Cheng as president of Northern Arizona University.

The vote came during a special board meeting Wednesday in Phoenix.

Cheng has been the chancellor of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale since mid-2010. She’ll begin as NAU’s 16th president on Aug. 15.

The regents will be looking to Cheng to increase enrollment at the university that serves 26,000 students at dozens of campuses statewide and online.

Cheng will earn an annual base salary of $390,000 under her three-year contract. She’ll also get yearly allowances of $10,000 for a vehicle and $50,000 for housing.

Cheng succeeds John Haeger, who served 13 years as NAU president. He plans to remain at the school as a professor in higher education leadership and governance.

Arizona State University student team members Haylee Hilgers, right, and Jason Hyacinthe won the EMC Green Data Center Challenge at the Avnet Tech Games.

Avnet Tech Games Winners Announced

Avnet, Inc., a leading global technology distributor, announced the 2014 winners of the Avnet Tech Games. Close to 200 students from Arizona community colleges and universities competed head-to-head for top honors in the Avnet Tech Games Arizona onsite competition on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe. In addition, college students competing on a national level in the Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games had their work displayed and winners were announced during the awards ceremony at the onsite competition. Thirty winning students collected $1,000 each in scholarship money.

A panel of judges including technology executives, engineers and other business leaders selected the winners based on the students’ ability to meet the technical requirements of a task, apply innovative approaches to the solution and demonstrate professional skills. Nearly 76 teams of students competed in the onsite and virtual Avnet Tech Games, including 8 Arizona community colleges and universities: Arizona State University, ITT Technical Institute, seven Maricopa County Community Colleges, Northern Arizona University, The University of Advancing Technology and University of Arizona.

The winners of the 2014 Onsite Avnet Tech Games are:

Cisco Networking Expert Battle
South Mountain Community College
Faculty Coach: Tom Polliard
Student Team Members: Huy Mai and Justin Woys

Desktop Domination
The University of Advancing Technology
Student Team Members: William Hartman and Kelly Stahlberg

Digital Design Dilemma
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Bassam Matar
Student Team Members: Michelle Smekal, Niccolo Horvath and Neel Mistry

EMC Green Data Center Challenge
Arizona State University
Student Team Members: Haylee Hilgers and Jason Hyacinthe

HP Build the Fastest Computer
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Troy Gerloff, Blake Knoll and Jeremy Morgan

Java Blitz
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Rameen Kaliqu
Student Team Members: Zachary Peshke, Samuel Slater and Larry Standage

Robot Race Obstacle Course
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Richard Dale, Spencer Hall and Federico Ortega

Solar Scrimmage
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Justin Arispe, Drew Carlson and Jennifer Hooker

Since the inception of the Avnet Tech Games in 2006, nearly $300,000 in scholarship money and prizes have been awarded to hundreds of the approximately 2,680 students and 215 faculty members who have participated in the competitions.

“The Avnet Tech Games provide a great opportunity for students to test their technical and strategy skills by applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios,” said Joal Redmond, vice president of public relations for Avnet, Inc. “Students also had the opportunity to improve their communications skills by participating in a networking workshop and then practice those skills by meeting with Avnet and sponsor executives during a networking hour. Students win, schools win and business wins with the Avnet Tech Games.”

The annual multidisciplinary technology competition, composed of eight separate events, required students to work in teams to test their knowledge, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and technical skills. During the event, students showcased how they can make a difference in advancing business and improving quality of life by participating in competitions such as creating a solar-powered water-pumping system, racing to build a computer using refurbished parts and troubleshoot issues in the Windows 7 operating system.

2014 Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games
The Virtual Avnet Tech Games were introduced in 2010 to expand the breadth of the onsite event by allowing students to compete on a national level. More than 115 teams competed in the Virtual Avnet Tech Games competition. The winners were:

Android App™ Showdown
ITT Technical Institute
Student Team Member: Bryan Geesey

Green Video Competition
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Dustin Allen, Kendra Charnick, Joel Parker and Brian Weeks

JDA Supply Chain Challenge
Southern Methodist University
Student Team Members: Aaron Barnard, Matt Mulholland, Tushar Solanki and Meredith Titus

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s virtual and onsite Avnet Tech Games, especially our winners,” added Redmond. On behalf of Avnet, thank you to all of our sponsors, business partners and volunteers for helping to make this year’s event a success.”

Avnet Tech Games 2014 sponsors included signature sponsors CA, Cisco, CDW, Datalink, DPAIR, EMC, HP, JDA, Kyocera, Microchip, Nimble Storage and Sungard.

health.education

New Surprise College Spotlights Health Information

The College of St. Scholastica has opened its first venue in Arizona at the Communiversity @ Surprise, a higher education center at 15950 N. Civic Center Plaza in Surprise.

The Communiversity, which opened in 2009, is a partnership among six schools: Glendale Community College, Phoenix College, and Rio Salado College (all part of the Maricopa Community College System), Ottawa University, Northern Arizona University and now St. Scholastica. In addition to its new site in Surprise, St. Scholastica operates eight other U.S. locations as well a virtual campus, with a total enrollment of more than 4,200 students.

St. Scholastica’s initial programs in Surprise are online and include its Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Health Information Management, and a Master of Science in Health Informatics. St. Scholastica’s health information management program has been a national leader since it began in 1934 as the first such degree program in the nation. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which also accredits Arizona institutions of higher learning.

Each of the College’s online programs in Surprise provides in-person support for admissions, financial aid and advising from St. Scholastica and Communiversity staff.
“St. Scholastica provides a new pathway to baccalaureate and graduate degrees for students currently enrolled at the Communiversity, and more broadly the Maricopa Community College system,” said St. Scholastica President Larry Goodwin. “Our goal is to offer innovative higher educational opportunities for students in Surprise and the entire West Valley.”

St. Scholastica will also utilize space in the Communiversity to deliver professional development sessions so healthcare professionals can take advantage of the College’s expertise in healthcare, and earn continuing education credits.

The College of St. Scholastica is a 102-year-old independent private college in the Catholic Benedictine tradition with its main campus in Duluth, Minnesota. St. Scholastica is regularly recognized for the quality of its academic programs. The 2014 “America’s Best Colleges” survey by U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks St. Scholastica in the top tier of Midwestern universities. For more information, call 623-694-0984 or visit www.css.edu.

startup

Getting an angel to open the checkbook

Governor Jan Brewer touts her policies and business regulatory climate as the reason Arizona is growing new businesses. That may be a factor, but it’s not the major reason Arizona topped the Kaufman Foundation Index of Entrepreneurial Activity in 2012. If it were the case, Arizona would have been on top again in 2013—instead of plummeting to 20th nationally.

“Just because there are a lot of startups,” observes Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, “doesn’t provide a measure of the economic growth in the Valley.” A startup can be someone opening a consultancy, a contractor or the next Apple. Self-employment is a form of startup. The challenge is nurturing a startup so it grows with high value jobs.

Local governments and the Arizona Commerce Authority see major value with growing Arizona startups into enterprises. Chris Mackay, economic development director in Chandler says, “There’s staying power when a business is local. It’s connected to the local community and if the economy falters, the owners are more willing to keep going locally as opposed to closing up shop.” That local staying power is one reason Mackay says Chandler makes big investments in growing future enterprises.

Planting the seeds

Arizona’s new economy needs startups to scale up into enterprises. Those growing small businesses become hiring employers offering high value jobs paying home-buying income. Government policy supporting businesses that can scale up is based on simple economics.

Businesses with more than 20 employees, says the Small Business Administration, generate two of three Arizona paychecks. Those same businesses cut checks for more than 70 percent of Arizona’s private payrolls. The value in 2012 was over $100 billion.

All new businesses are “startups,” but not all startup businesses will be entrepreneurial enterprises. “There is no relation between starting a business and starting a company,” says Dr. Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice and founding executive director of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project in Boston. “Ninety percent of companies formed don’t grow high value jobs.”

Isenberg says that the difference between a start-up and enterprise is a matter of scale. He is an international advocate for scaling a business to grow as opposed to opening a business. An entrepreneur, he points out, is a business founder with a large company that just happens to be small right now.

Arizona State University, as the new American university, is at the cutting edge of helping turn ideas into enterprise. Recently, the college joined the elite ranks of schools offering a stand-alone degree in entrepreneurship. It’s on that list with Harvard Business School, Babson, and University of Texas. Its goal is getting new businesses that can grow into the market.

Locally grown

ASU says more than 70 percent of its W.P. Carey School of Business MBA graduates remain in Arizona. Keeping these graduates in state provides the human resources necessary to building new enterprises fueling the future economy.

“Starting a company — as opposed to just starting a business — is hard work,” says Isenberg. “An entrepreneur looks at the business and sees it growing. It’s a time of sleep deprivation, hard work, and endless pitches.” Few startups achieve quality growth—less than ten percent, he believes. “The golden triangle of a growing enterprise,” he continues, “is cash, customers and people.”

“An entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t limited to startups,” Isenberg emphasizes. “University research, family businesses, mature companies, all can be turned into a growing enterprise. Most startups tend to stay small.” The key to the economic contribution of startups in Arizona is scalability. He is adamant about it, “Ambition is not a dirty word. A business founder without ambition does not significantly contribute to overall economic growth.”

“There are a number of entrepreneurial success stories arising from a new direction for an existing, mature business,” Isenberg reports. Sometimes it takes a new owner with a vision; sometimes the existing management team finds a new direction. It can be a license from a university, a new product, or an innovative use of an existing product. Entrepreneurship can occur anywhere in a business’ lifecycle.”

Bringing ideas to market

Arizona colleges are on that licensing bandwagon. Entrepreneurs complain that it takes years to license patents or transfer technology from most universities. In ASU’s Office of Knowledge and Enterprise Development, the Arizona Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator — first project of its type in the world — slashes technology transfer time from years to months. The AZ Furnace is a joint venture of ASU, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Dignity Health. Funding partners include the Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, and additional support from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“There are hundreds of patents sitting on shelves at universities that could be in the market earning money for creators, colleges and businesses,” enthuses Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group in OKED. “We started a program to get patents into the market quickly.” The startups selected for incubation in AZ Furnace are either entrepreneurs in search of an idea to market or idea-creators ready to market through a business entity. The fledgling enterprises are capital-ready in 12 months or less.

Enterprise starts with a leader and a vision. The scale of the vision is what makes the difference, says Isenberg. The vast majority of business owners are thinking of a model that gets them to the point that they’re putting money in the bank. He says, “Entrepreneurs are thinking of a model that finds smart people, willing customers and puts the cash to back into the enterprise.”

“Angels invest in businesses they understand or CEOs they respect,” says Broome. “There’s a need for more of that in the Valley. We’re just not seeing the next Apple or Google evolving here.”

Gaining visibility

“The biggest challenge about getting angel and venture money is visibility,” says Brandon Clark, region coordinator for Startup Arizona.  “If you’re a promising digital startup locally, it’s a little harder to get noticed nationally being from a region not known for its digital startups.  That’s starting to slowly shift.” National publications, FastCompany and Entrepreneur Magazine, have eyed Arizona as an emerging technology region.

The development opportunity for the small business is capital. Combine the “Broome Factor”—known businesses; known leaders—with the large number of startups, and there are too many funding requests heading towards too few checkbooks.

What makes early investors open pocketbooks to startup businesses is scalability. Businesses with potential to grow create the greatest return on investment for the angels. “It’s also makes a difference to the local economy,” says Isenberg. “Local policymakers need to change their focus from ‘startup’ to a ‘high value growth business’.”

Cities like helping scalable startups — and provide resources that build success. There’s a loyalty factor when the business grows; it typically remains in the hometown that helped it succeed. This is important to Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Surprise. These five cities have specifically invested in incubators and accelerators to nurture and graduate businesses achieving market traction. Chandler, Phoenix and Tucson have involvement with collaborative workspaces — Gangplank and Co+Hoots — as well.

While an employee or two in a collaborative workspace works well for a while, the time comes when a move up is needed. Clairvoyant, an enterprise and analytics startup now in Chandler Innovations started with Gangplank. “We grew from four employees in March to 12 in April,” smiles Amber Anderson, a firm partner and its business developer. “We needed a place to meet with clients and work with a growing team.” Still self-funded, the growing entity plans to hit 20 employees by January.

Mackay explains, “We help a company like this grow and hope that as it expands it continues to locate in Chandler.” To that end, the city is working with landlords in its Price Corridor to offer “teenage” space that lets a business move from the heavily subsidized rents and back office support of the incubator into its own place—without too much sticker shock.

Support from cities

The difference by which startup is accepted into a city’s incubator is the ability to scale up from the garage to commercial space; from one employee to more than 20. Chandler and Mesa are looking for businesses with this capacity. Innovations gives lab and office space to businesses that have formed entities — LLCs, corporations, partnerships — and a business plan. Mesa’s new Technology Accelerator is planned with a similar focus, but is looking for businesses at an earlier stage. Surprise’s Arizona TechCelerator wants to shepherd a business to the angel investor stage.

In Surprise, scalability is one of the criteria to be accepted into Arizona’s oldest incubator. The TechCelerator is looking for businesses offering something outside the box or creating a new niche. “The company has to be started before we’ll consider them,” says Julie Neal, the economic development coordinator for the city’s enterprise. “They need a mentor, a plan and have to know where they are going.”

“Scaling up is difficult,” says Isenberg, “but doing it right defines the difference between the successful entrepreneur with a growth business and a startup that just stays small. Marketplaces are competitive. The startup has to acquire customers. That means overcoming inertia or changing buyer behavior. While established companies are cruising on their business platforms, the startup has to hire people, start a company, raise money, and all the while, it’s competing in the marketplace. That’s tough work.”

After incubation, the business must gain market traction. At this phase, the fledgling enterprise has product going out and customers paying for it. The kinks are being smoothed, and it’s time to move up to the next stage and grow. Isenberg says that the high growth criterion is simply 20 percent annual increases in sales or staff for five years.

Getting capital

To make this leap requires high levels of capital — the checks venture capitalists cut. The biggest challenge in Phoenix is that there are few sources for local venture capital. The venturists hang out in places like Silicon Valley, Boston, San Diego and Seattle. “There are even a couple of funds with deep ties to the Valley,” worries Clark, “but they have very little involvement in local startups.”

Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, had to travel out of town for his venture capital. “At one time, I was told that a fund wouldn’t cut a check for a firm in Phoenix because we didn’t have the workforce for success,” he says. “That’s no longer true; venture funds are seeing that there is a real climate for success in the Valley.”

Another resource for a growing business is the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “Growing Your Arizona Business” services. The quasi-public agency provides mentorship, regulatory assistance, access to incentive programs and site selection. It also works as a liaison connecting the growing business with other business resources. The agency mentors businesses in accessing federal procurement and grant opportunities as well as serving as an entrée to international trade.

Overall, the major resource in Arizona for start-up businesses is the universities. Anemic legislative funding for the schools causes their efforts to help to face the same struggles growing businesses face. Their efforts to improve Arizona’s long-term economy are stymied by a declining source of capital.

“ASU is underfunded,” complains Barry Broome. “The school has done an amazing job despite being financially crippled by budget cuts. It’s suffering from a lack of resources to take its programs to scale.” “Scalability” is applicable to the business-development programs at the universities and other public agencies just as it is for growing enterprises.

“Getting money for those programs is the top job for the next governor,” predicts Broome.
Opportunity in Arizona will come from the core of businesses growing today. They will create the jobs for the new economy and drive economic success for the next generation.

native.american

UA Part of $6M research of American Indian Health

Public health researchers at the University of Arizona, along with researchers at two other higher education institutions in the state, have earned a $6 million grant to investigate health issues in American Indian communities.

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities awarded the five-year grant to a statewide team of researchers from the UA, Northern Arizona University and Diné College to establish the Center for American Indian Resilience, also known as CAIR.

The collaborative team will study why some American Indian communities facing high rates of chronic disease and poverty seem to thrive despite adversity.

“The basic practice of public health is about understanding ways to support healthy behaviors, and we know programs that are culturally relevant are more effective,” said Nicolette Teufel-Shone, professor of health promotion sciences at the UA’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

“We will take a look at existing health behaviors and programs that target the prevention of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to determine what is working and why,” Teufel-Shone said.

Teufel-Shone and Priscilla Sanderson, assistant professor of health sciences and applied indigenous studies at NAU, have been named CAIR’s co-directors. Diné College faculty on the project are Mark Bauer and Donald Robinson, both of the department of science education.
The UA public health college received $2 million of the CAIR grant, which includes collaborations with tribal communities and research projects.

“CAIR research will deepen our scientific knowledge of existing positive health outcomes in tribal communities, and then we will translate this knowledge to practice through public health education and policy,” said Sanderson, a member of the Navajo Nation.

Also under the grant, the UA public health college will collaborate with NAU and Diné College to support Diné College’s ongoing summer program to teach undergraduate students to consider and incorporate community strengths in their work as emerging public health professionals. The program combines classroom learning with hands-on experience through an internship in tribal communities.

The research project, directed by the UA, also involves a partnership with the Tucson Indian Center to interview elders about their concept of resilience and their perceptions of key factors that contribute to success in life.

Through this initiative, members of the Southwestern American Indian community will record video diaries to share their experiences of well-being.

“The goal of the video diaries project is to use existing information about which factors contribute to Native American resilience and spread this knowledge to other Native American communities,” Teufel-Shone said. “This way, researchers can learn lessons of how resilience is already effective in these communities, share experiences and allow community members to create new paths based on other people’s stories.”

Other UA College of Public Health participants include John Ehiri, director and professor; Division of Health Promotion Sciences; Agnes Attakai, director, Health Disparities Outreach and Prevention Education; Kerstin Reinschmidt, assistant professor, Health Promotion Sciences; and Rebecca Drummond, program director for Family Wellness.

NAU faculty and staff contributing to CAIR include Olivia Trujillo, professor of applied indigenous studies; Robert Trotter, Regents’ professor and chair of anthropology; Chad Hamill, assistant professor of music; Roger Bounds, associate professor and chair of health sciences; Lisa Hardy, assistant professor of anthropology; R. Cruz Begay, professor of health sciences; and Kelly Laurila, coordinator in anthropology. Paul Dutton, director of NAU’s Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute, will facilitate the executive advisory board.

Diné College faculty on the project are Mark Bauer, PhD and Donald Robinson, PhD of the Department of Science Education.

technical education career training looking at petri dish

Arizona Students Awarded United Health Scholarships

Six Arizona students have been awarded a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in health care. The students  joined future health leaders from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the United Health Foundation’s Fifth Annual Diverse Scholars Forum.

Kaitlyn Benally of Tuba City is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University studying biomedical sciences, with the goal of educating people about the risks associated with diabetes.

“I hope to make a difference as a member of the future health workforce by working with children and their parents to help them understand the benefits of healthy living,” she said. “Diabetes is a growing health concern on the reservation. I will educate people about the risks and show them ways to improve their lifestyle to become healthier.”

Another scholarship winner, Cecilia Espinoza of El Mirage, is studying nursing at Grand Canyon University. After watching her father pass away from cancer, she decided to pursue a career as an oncology nurse.

Other Arizona scholarship recipients, and their areas of study, include:

* Regis Maloney of Tonalea, Environmental Health at Dine College
* Jeffrey Sleppy of Chinle, Biology at Dine College
* Lorenza Villegas-Murphy of Litchfield Park, Nursing at Arizona State University
* Mycolette Anderson of Lukachukai, Nursing at Dine College

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, through its partner organizations, awarded $1.2 million in scholarships in the 2012-2013 school year to 200 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, with nearly $2 million in scholarships announced for 2013-2014. This is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to build a more diverse health care workforce.

By the end of 2013, United Health Foundation will have awarded $10 million in scholarships to diverse students pursing health careers. Nearly 70 scholarships have been awarded in Arizona since 2007.

“We know patients do best when they are treated by people who understand their language and culture,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support these outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.”

United Health Foundation made the announcement at its fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.

According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.

Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.

Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and adopt the medical treatment they receive1. Increasing the diversity of health care providers will reduce the shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, reduce inequities in academic medicine and address variables – such as language barriers – that make it difficult for patients to navigate the health care system.

“We are pleased to support these exceptional students in their efforts to achieve their educational goals and work to improve our health care system,” said Rubin. “The Diverse Scholars Initiative helps these scholars fund their education, and gives them an opportunity to learn from one another and interact with experts who are leading the way in improving patient care.”

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative is one facet of the foundation’s commitment to build and strengthen the health workforce. United Health Foundation supports additional programs like STEMPREP, which aims to produce the next generation of researchers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical fields. The foundation also supports A.T. Still University’s Connect the Docs Graduate Loanship Program that provides loan repayments to four qualifying graduates who secure jobs in community health centers.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.

Jeri Jones

Jeri Jones – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Jeri Jones – CEO, UnitedHealthcare

Jones has been with UnitedHealthcare for more than a decade and currently oversees employer and individual markets for Arizona, Utah and Idaho. Prior to taking this role, Jones was chief of staff for the West Region of UnitedHealthcare, responsible for strategy and execution of the regional vision and business plan. Jones holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Northern Arizona University and is a C.P.A.

Surprising fact: “I co-owned a hot-air balloon.”

Biggest challenge: “Public speaking. It hasn’t been easy, but as the CEO of a major healthcare company, I had to get use to speaking in front of groups, on TV and about myself, which I wasn’t very comfortable doing.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

asu

ASU recognized for American Indian education

A new study, “For Our Children: A Study and Critical Discussion of the Influences on American Indian and Alaska Native Education Policy,” cites Arizona State University as one of the most influential universities in American Indian education and recognizes American Indian Studies Director and Professor John Tippeconnic as one of the most “influential people in American Indian/Alaska Native Education.”

The study by Hollie J. Mackey, University of Oklahoma assistant professor of education, and Linda Sue Warner, special assistant to the president on Indian affairs at Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Okla., determined and described influential studies, organizations, information sources and people for American Indian/Alaska Native education policy. The “Journal of American Indian Education” that is published by the ASU Center for Indian Education was also identified as one of the most influential sources of information in the study.

Arizona State University was cited as an influential university with five other institutions across the United States, including Northern Arizona University. Arizona is home to 22 tribes and 28 percent of the state is comprised of tribal lands. Tippeconnic is recognized as one of the most influential professors in American Indian/Alaska Native education among a cohort of 20 professors from throughout the nation.

Tippeconnic is an accomplished scholar who was awarded the National Indian Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award last year. He is the former director of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Indian Education and past director of the Office of Indian Education Programs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior.

Tippeconnic, who is of Comanche and Cherokee heritage, was instrumental in bringing higher education to American Indian students in Oklahoma when he helped start a college there. Emphasizing the tribe’s native language and culture, the Comanche Nation College will soon achieve accreditation status.
ASU has one of the highest American Indian/Native American student populations in the nation with approximately 2,000 Native American students currently enrolled at the university. A new American Indian Studies master’s program that Tippeconnic was instrumental in creating began last year, offering a comprehensive view of Native American life with the opportunity to work directly with tribes.

ASU is also home to the American Indian Policy Institute that serves as a resource for research, partnerships and entrepreneurial endeavors that involve Arizona’s tribes and tribal nations throughout the United States.

American Indian Studies faculty at ASU are all American Indians and members of tribal nations while  American Indian Student Support Services supports the academic achievement and personal success of American Indian students while promoting traditional culture at Arizona State University.

A new course to be taught by Professor Donald Fixico at the university in the fall, “AIS 191: Preparing for Academic Success,” will mesh American Indian views and values with tools to succeed academically at ASU.

paying_for_online_education

NAU Introduces Personalized Learning

Ushering in a new chapter in 21st century higher education, Northern Arizona University (NAU) announced the launch of its Personalized Learning program, offering accredited, competency-based online bachelor’s degrees for just $5,000 a year. Initial degrees include Computer Information Technology, Liberal Arts and Small Business Administration. Students can begin the application process at www.nau.edu/personalizedlearning.

“Personalized Learning marks a watershed moment in higher education,” said John Haeger, president of Northern Arizona University. “As the first public university to launch this kind of competency-based program, Northern Arizona University is opening an entirely new level of access to a respected university education.”

Unlike standard online courses that offer repackaged content from traditional classrooms, or today’s popular MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses), NAU’s Personalized Learning program enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree online in a time- and cost- effective manner by crediting their existing knowledge and tailoring coursework to their learning preferences.

“Personalized Learning takes the learning objectives of traditional college coursework and reorganizes them to be more engaging and applicable to today’s workplace,” said Fred Hurst, senior vice president, NAU-Extended Campuses and creator of Personalized Learning. “This program is about creating a skilled and inspired adult workforce with the necessary critical thinking skills that meet the demands of employers.”

rsz_az_opera_new_building_sign

Arizona Opera's New, $5.2M Center Opens on Central Avenue

 

Arizona Opera opened its new $5.2M, 28,000 SF Opera Center on Central Avenue in Phoenix.

The building project, in partnership with the City of Phoenix, included two phases. Phase 1 houses an intimate black box performance venue, rehearsal space, and orchestra loft and patron viewing gallery. General contractor was Brignall Construction; architect was Motley Design Group.

Phase 2 features administrative offices, box office, costume, wig and make-up shops, as well as educational and meeting facilities. Phase 2 made adaptive re-use of the previous Walsh Brothers building.

The Opera Center joins other cultural venues such as Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum and Phoenix Theatre in the “uptown” arts district, which is easily accessible via METRO Light Rail.

The Opera’s Opera Center, was built in partnership with the City of Phoenix, which provided $3.2M in city bond funds.

“We are thrilled to have found such a perfect location for our new home, near our sister arts organizations and directly on the light-rail route,” said Scott Altman, general director of Arizona Opera.

The first full opera production will be held in April 2014 in the black box theater, while rehearsals, master classes and workshops will be held in the theater as early as April.

Arizona Opera will continue to present main stage productions in Tucson Music Hall and Symphony Hall Phoenix.

rsz_reh_panorama

Restaurant Industry

HSMAI prepares next generation of hospitality leaders

To create the perfect meal, preparation is key. The same might be said for creating the perfect employee in the hospitality industry.

“Though some things like a friendly smile and a well-prepared meal will never change, the hospitality industry has gone through major changes in last few years,” says David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. “Guest expectations have changed. We are seeing a more food knowledgeable and casual-minded guests. The industry has changed and hospitality education has changed along with it.”

Landau says today’s hospitality industry workers need be comfortable with technology, from creating a profit  and loss statement in Excel or creating a training program in PowerPoint to being familiar with point-of-sale cash registers. To prepare the next generation of hospitality industry leaders, the Arizona chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is partnering with colleges and universities to stress the importance of education and training for the future of the industry. HSMAI’s impact is already being fealt. Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Scottsdale Community College are all offering classes in hospitality sales.

“Our core curriculum focuses on a diverse range of topics in hospitality; guest services management, marketing, information systems, human resources, accounting, food production and beverage management, property management and industry law,” says Janelle Hoffman, professor in the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Scottsdale Community College.

Hoffman says changes in hospitality educations have been influenced by technological advancements, the evolution of customer relationship management programs, societal marketing approaches, sustainability issues and international growth.

“I stay current in my research area of hospitality group sales,” says Richard McNeill, a professor at the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University. “Just this semester, I have integrated new research findings into my classes — for example, the rising power of third-party intermediaries and disruption on traditional selling methodologies. My sales classes involve B2B selling since group salespeople are involved with big-ticket items. It’s not unusual for a meeting or group to bring $300K revenue to a hotel.”

In addition to keeping a eye on the pulse of current trends like McNeill does, Hoffman says the changes in the hospitality industry that have had a biggest impact on education include:
• Every sector of the industry is reliant upon the efficient use of technology. Reservation systems, point of sale, property management and in-room technology are just a few areas in which the implementation and effective use of both custom and pre-designed software make a vital contribution to customer service, employee satisfaction and monetary success.
• Today, customer relationship management (CRM) programs that add value to the product and service are extremely beneficial to cultivating the life-time value of our patrons.
• Understanding how new approaches in areas of societal marketing and sustainability are trending in a response to customer demands and how these efforts assist us differentiating our products and services.
• The hospitality industry works in a global environment. In the last 10 years, new places have opened up to travel and development, providing new opportunities to international employment and community growth.
• The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest employers.

“Many years ago, if you worked hard, you could work your way up in this industry, but times have changed,” Hoffman says. “Everyone is still working hard, but education has assisted in professionalizing the service industry. An individual’s education is something that can never be taken away and helps differentiate them in a competitive professional environment.”

Hoffman advises today’s aspiring hospitality industry to try to understand how diverse the industry has become and identify your specific area of interest. Also, it’s important for students to have real work experience in the area of customer service to balance the concepts and skills they will be exposed to in the education experience.

“Work experience is what employers are looking for,” says Lynne Wellish, an adjunct faculty member in the Hospitality College at Scottsdale Community College. “Find a mentor in the industry and start building a network of contacts. Meet other students in your classes and nurture your relationships.”

As hospitality education grows and is offered as a program of study by more schools, educators say the bar for the industry’s workforce will be raised.

“The hospitality profession will grow in respectability as more individuals see it as a career choice not just a job,” Landau  says. “I also believe for those looking to enter the industry or for professionals who are already there, online education will provide the pacing and flexibility to meet the needs of these learners.  At Le Cordon Bleu, we work closely with our advisory boards on the local and national level to identify what skills employers want our graduates to have. So it works both ways: the industry informs education and vice versa.”

LOOKING TO HIRE?

Az Business magazine asked Arizona educators what advice they would give to hospitality industry employers who are looking to hire new workers.
Jessica Shipley, academic advisor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northern Arizona University: “Take chances on students. If employers took more risks in hiring someone who didn’t necessarily have a lot of experience, but the student showed the employer that they were outstanding in other areas, they might be surprised by how well that student ended up being a good fit for their company.”
David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale: “Don’t wait for graduates to knock on your door. Go to the source; contact an accredited culinary and hospitality school. We have a career services office that exists for employers to reach our student and graduates. Put new hires at ease; help that recent graduate see how their entry-level position is part of the overall mission. In order to be motived to succeed, Gen Y and Millennial workers need to know how their job is important.”
Janelle Hoffman, hospitality program advisor, Scottsdale Community College: “Look to hire a hospitality student, someone who has already made a commitment to the industry. Also, take good care of your team members. Word of mouth in our industry is strong. Happy employees create happy customers.”

rsz_lt_tempe

Liberty Property Trust to Develop Liberty Center at Rio Salado

 

Liberty Property Trust announced that it will develop a sustainable, mixed-use business park on 100 acres purchased from the City of Tempe last month.

The company is developing a site plan for the new park which will be known as Liberty Center at Rio Salado.

“After several years of continued success at our nearby Liberty Cotton Center , we sought opportunities that would allow us to continue to offer national and regional tenants opportunities to relocate to or expand,” said John DiVall, senior vice president and city manager for Liberty’s Arizona region.

“Liberty Center at Rio Salado is centrally located in the heart of Metro Phoenix and it will offer a terrific mix of office, flex and industrial space, and, we anticipate, hotel and retail locations.”

The Tempe City Council approved the purchase of the first 80 acres of land at Priest Road and Rio Salado Parkway in February. Liberty has the option to purchase 20 more acres at the location once development has begun.

“The City of Tempe offered its land for this project because we recognize that it is our role to encourage high-quality development and foster the growth of our local economy,”  Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. “We are proud to welcome Liberty Center at Rio Salado to Tempe and look forward to watching it thrive, provide jobs and add to our community.”

Liberty also plans to announce the development of its first speculative building on the site later this year. All buildings it develops at the park will be designed to meet LEED certification with a focus on energy efficiency.

The park will offer visibility from Arizona Route 143 and the Loop 202, within minutes of Sky Harbor International Airport. Liberty has launched a website featuring information about the park and the surrounding area: libertycenteraz.com.

“This is a prominent piece of real estate that will allow tenants many benefits, from its central location to the airport and major highways to access to a strong, well educated labor pool,” DiVall said. “We expect to grow here for many years to come.”

Liberty Property Trust owns and manages more than 2 MSF of space in Phoenix, Tempe, Goodyear and Tolleson.

Some of its holdings include Liberty Cotton Center, Liberty 303 Business Park, Liberty Tolleson Center, Liberty Sky Harbor Center, and the LEED Gold and Energy Star certified 8501 E. Raintree Dr. office building.

pharmaceuticals

Arizona bioscience job growth outpaces nation

Arizona’s bioscience sector added jobs at nearly four times the national rate over the past decade and experienced double-digit job growth during the economic recovery, a new report shows.

Since Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002, Arizona’s bioscience jobs have increased by 45 percent to 99,018 in 2011. Nationally, the growth rate during this time was 12 percent. While hospitals dominate Arizona’s bioscience jobs, the state’s non-hospital subsectors grew 14 percent in 2011 alone.  During the economic recovery years of 2009-11, the state’s bioscience jobs increased 11 percent while there was no gain across the state’s private sector.

The new performance analysis of Arizona’s bioscience sector, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, also found that the number of bioscience establishments in Arizona continues to grow faster than the national average and bioscience wages in the state are outpacing those in other private-sector industries.

The 10th-annual study, released Feb. 5 by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, did reveal funding challenges for the state.  In 2012, Arizona fell to its lowest venture capital investment level since 2009 and suffered a drop in National Institutes of Health funding while the top-10 funded states advanced.

“Arizona’s bioscience sector continues to significantly outperform the nation in terms of job and establishment growth and has made impressive gains in building a more concentrated industry base,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.  “However, more attention must be paid to academic research performance and venture capital investment to continue the trend in years to come.”

Plosila added that progress has been made over the past decade on all 19 actions recommended by Battelle in 2002, including substantial progress on nine.

The Roadmap was launched in 2002 as a long-range plan to make the state’s bioscience sector globally competitive. The Roadmap was commissioned by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation, which committed to 10 years of major funding of Arizona biosciences and formed a network of committees involving statewide experts to implement its recommendations.

There was also a major increase in bioscience establishments, rising 31 percent since 2002 to 892 firms, which is above the national growth rate of 23 percent.

Bioscience jobs in Arizona pay an average salary of $56,328, or 28 percent higher than the $44,098 for all private-sector industries. Since 2002, bioscience salaries have increased 44 percent.

“After 10 years, Arizona has carved a niche in the highly lucrative and competitive biosciences field,” said Martin Shultz, chair of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. “We’re one of the nation’s top emerging bioscience states, and our growth in high-wage jobs continued during both good economic times and bad.”

In terms of research dollars, NIH funding in 2012 was $174 million, or 19 percent greater, than the 2002 figure. This is a decrease from $184 million in 2011. While NIH funding, the gold standard for biomedical research funding, did increase slightly faster than the national average of 18 percent over the past decade, Arizona is no longer meeting its goal of obtaining funding at a growth rate higher than the top-10 funded states. In addition, its share of the funding pool remains nearly the same as it was in 2002.

The latest data also shows:
•    The largest non-hospital bioscience subsector continues to be research, testing and medical laboratories. This group now boasts about 8,900 workers across 466 establishments, roughly a 60 percent increase in both employees and firms since 2002. The other subsectors are drugs, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics; hospitals; medical devices and equipment; and agricultural feedstock and chemicals.
•    Venture capital investment was $22 million in 2012, which is the lowest figure since 2009. This was a drop of 68 percent from 2011, compared with a national decline of 49 percent.
•    Bioscience-related academic research and development expenditures at Arizona’s universities reached a record $452 million in 2011, a 55 percent increase since 2002. Arizona’s growth had outpaced the nation until 2009, but now trails the overall U.S. growth rate of 74 percent.
•    Arizona universities spun out seven bioscience companies in 2012. University discoveries have now led to 67 new bioscience startups since 2002 as well as 180 bioscience patents.

There were a number of major developments in 2012 that showed the collaborative nature of Arizona biosciences, including the completion of major projects, the approval of future pursuits, and an emphasis on education.

The University of Arizona opened its new Health Sciences Education Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus that enabled the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to increase enrollment and for Northern Arizona University to begin Phoenix-based physician assistant and physical therapy programs. In addition, final approval was granted by the Arizona Board of Regents for the UA Cancer Center-Phoenix to be built on the same campus in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

A number of incubators and accelerators opened or expanded with more in the planning stages. BioInspire, an incubator for medical-device startups, opened in Peoria; GateWay Community College in Phoenix opened the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation; the Arizona Center for Innovation at the UA Science and Technology Park in Tucson opened upgraded facilities and launched new programming; Flagstaff received funding for a planned accelerator; and the statewide Arizona Furnace accelerator began awarding seed money and access to incubation space.

Among other major developments, the inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival attracted 200,000 participants from across the state during February and March 2012, making it one of the largest in the nation; Banner Alzheimer’s Institute launched a $100 million trial to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease; a new skin-cancer drug first tested by Translational Genomics Research Institute and Scottsdale Healthcare received expedited approval from the Food and Drug Administration; Arizona State University began leading the first national algae biofuel testbed; Mayo Clinic announced plans for a new cancer center on its north Phoenix campus; and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert announced a $63 million expansion.

On Dec. 4, 2012, the Flinn Foundation and bioscience leaders from across Arizona came together at the Arizona Biltmore to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launching of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. The Foundation announced it has committed to continue funding Arizona biosciences and coordinating the Roadmap as it enters its next chapter.

“We recognize this is a long-term pursuit,” said Jack Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “We will continue to strive to improve the lives of Arizonans today and tomorrow through new medical discoveries, access to clinical trials and the recruitment of top researchers, while also attracting high-wage jobs that will strengthen Arizona’s economy.”

The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based, private, nonprofit philanthropic endowment. It was established by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn in 1965 with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The nonprofit philanthropy supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the Flinn Scholars program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

Photo: alifemadesimple.blogspot.com

The Sweetest Spot in Flagstaff: Sweet Shoppe & Nut House

Coming from mountainous Manitou Springs, Colo. (population 5,113), Flagstaff seemed like a home away from home. Despite the significantly larger population, the classic architecture and bounty of local businesses made Flagstaff feel like a dilated version of the tiny, hippy town back home that I had grown to love. Despite my Colorado Springs residency, neighboring Manitou Springs became a home to me because I spent my entire senior year and post-senior year summer behind a local store’s candy counter slicing fudge and throwing chocolate-covered goodies into bags for tourists ranging from Mississippi locals to Scotland natives.

I discovered Flagstaff because my best friend, who also worked at the chocolate store and whose mother owned it, had her orientation for Northern Arizona University, and I went along for the ride. My Arizona State University orientation was just a few days later, so we decided to head out to the Grand Canyon State together. We roamed through downtown Flagstaff and along Aspen Street on our final day there before heading back down to Phoenix for my orientation. We ventured into quirky clothing stores and passed by little restaurants that filled our noses with delicious-smelling homemade cuisine. All of a sudden, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a colossal window display filled with mouth-watering caramel apples.

sweet shoppe & nut house

Our chocolate store back home had just begun experimenting with caramel apples, so naturally any intelligent owner would want to go in and check out the competition and possibly steal some inspiration. The three of us walked into The Sweet Shoppe & Nut House and were greeted by a friendly staff and trays upon trays filled with the prettiest, almost artistic fudge I had ever seen. I tried the dark chocolate, sea salt and caramel fudge and was hooked. Because I had spent so long working with every sort of chocolate treat known to man, I had built up immunity to how delicious it all is; but with this fudge, it wasn’t the case. I ended up buying a little chunk, along with a couple chocolate-covered potato chips, and it was definitely the best money I spent during my time in Arizona.

The Sweet Shoppe & Nut House originally opened in 2011 in Flagstaff but has now been franchised into Bridgeville, Pa. In a way it saddens me that this hidden gem is no longer one-of-a-kind, but then again, the East Coast should not be denied the bliss that comes after biting into The Sweet Shoppe’s signature fudge. I hope to pay another visit to this wonderfully decadent store as soon as I can persuade one of my car-owning friends to suffer through the two-hour drive to Flagstaff. But don’t worry, Sweet Shoppe; one way or another I’ll find my way back to you.

If You Go: The Sweet Shoppe & Nut House

Where: 15 W. Aspen Ave., Flagstaff
Contact: (928) 255-4919
Web: sweetshoppecandy.com

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards' wines

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Hosts 4th Quarter Wine Club Release At Firesky

This Saturday, December 15, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards is hosting a celebration complete with wine and light fair ― the 2012 4th Quarter Wine Club Release. During this special event held at Firesky Resort & Spa, guests will enjoy the tasting of two Arizona Stronghold Vineyard Site Archive wines as well as food from Taggia – Coastal Italian Cuisine & Cocktails, located in Old Town Scottsdale.

At the event, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards will be pouring its 2011 Nachise, 2011 Site Archive Riesling and 2011 Site Archive Bonita Springs Cabernet Pick 3. The two site archives will be available by the bottle at Taggia for a limited time.

Those at Arizona Stronghold Vineyards have planned the event in hopes to bring together Valley residents and Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Wine Club members to socialize and celebrate Arizona-made wine, which has had quite the impact on the state, pumping millions into the economy and drawing visitors from both in and out of state.

According to the Arizona Wine Tourism Industry Survey, produced for the Arizona Office of Tourism and conducted by Northern Arizona University’s Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center:

  • Arizona wine visitors had an estimated $22.7 million in direct expenditures, which resulted in an indirect economic impact of $4.3 million, and induced impacts of $10.5 million for a total industry economic impact of $37.6 million. Indirect business taxes based on direct expenditures produced an additional $5.9 million and the total economic impact supported 265 direct jobs and 140 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 405 jobs.
  • Day visitors had an average of $149 in direct spending, with restaurant and grocery expenditures ($44) accounting for the largest portion.
  • Overnight visitors had average expenditures of $370, with lodging or camping ($140) comprising the single largest item.
  • In terms of county origins, Maricopa County contributes more than half (55%) of all wine visitors followed by Pima County (33%).
  • Almost one‐third (29.0%) of the sample have never visited an Arizona winery before, while 6.8 percent have visited 11 or more Arizona wineries in the past 12 months (average 4 visits/year).
  • More than four‐fifths (82.7%) of all respondents said that their experience at the winery or tasting room was either “a little better than I expected,” or “much better than I expected.” A glowing endorsement of the customer service and value of the experience.

Admission into Arizona Stronghold Vineyards’ event is free for Wine Club members and $10 for non-members. For more information about Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, visit azstronghold.com, call (928) 639-2789 ext. 206, or email wineclub@azstronghold.com.

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards 2012 4th Quarter Wine Club Release

When: Saturday, December 15, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: FireSky Resort & Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Tickets: Free (Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Wine Club members), $10 (non-members)
(Purchase tickets here.)

veterans

Advancing Arizona’s Heroes

This week, our nation took time to celebrate the enormous contributions and sacrifices of those who have served in our Armed Forces. Just in time for Veterans Day, the Arizona Chamber Foundation released its latest policy brief, Economic Opportunity for Arizona Veterans. This new report highlights the importance of veteran employment and outlines specific policy recommendations for Arizona.

Arizona is home to an estimated 76,000 Second Gulf War veterans. According to national unemployment numbers for August 2012, these veterans face an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent, compared to the national rate of 8.1 percent. These veterans serve as an untapped resource for Arizona employers – one that has the ability to significantly grow and help diversify Arizona’s economy.

Military service prepares veterans with work ethic, teamwork and leadership skills. There are clear economic opportunities and synergies between the talents veterans bring to the workforce and the needs of private industry. Yet many veterans continue to face obstacles when transitioning to civilian employment. As the report recognizes, it’s incumbent on business and elected leaders to harness this talent by:

1) Adopting best practices for hiring and retaining veterans

2) Implementing policies to  facilitate the transition from military to civilian life

3) Streamlining and clarifying the wealth of public, private and non-profit resources that are available

To that end, the Arizona Chamber has established the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee with a vision of making Arizona one of the most attractive states for veterans to live and work. The committee serves as a resource and connector for employers that are interested in helping veterans transition from military service to civilian employment. The committee also works to support public policies that aid in this transition.

The committee has created a resource toolkit to help veterans and employers navigate the wide array of resources available. Additional next steps in addressing this issue include:

1) Finalizing a specific policy proposal to allow relevant military experience to count toward the certification requirements for occupations requiring a professional license.

2) Developing a strategy for disseminating company best practices for hiring and retaining veterans, reservists and National Guardsmen.

3) Partnering with like-minded organizations and interested elected officials to provide meaningful connections between employers and veterans.

Media response to these efforts has been overwhelmingly positive. Yesterday’s edition of Arizona Illustrated featured Suzanne Kinney, executive director of the Foundation and Captain Craig Doyle, chairman of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, in a discussion on the report’s findings and the importance of this topic. The issue is gaining traction and the efforts of Arizona businesses are being recognized.

It’s important to acknowledge the cross-section of Arizona Chamber member companies that were interviewed for the Foundation’s report: Amazon, Intel, Magellan Health Services, Northern Arizona University, Raytheon, Swift Transportation, University of Phoenix, USAA, and Wells Fargo. These companies along with the Arizona Department of Veterans Services provided valuable insight regarding best practices for recruiting and retaining vets. Many other chamber member companies, such as US Airways with their nationally-recognized Honor Flight Network, are taking action to support veterans as well. A key goal of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee is to help other interested employers adopt proven strategies that will lead to more veterans successfully transitioning to civilian employment.

The Chamber also owes many thanks to Captain Craig Doyle for his leadership and continued service.
An Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Captain Doyle recently returned from the Asian Pacific Theater, his third activation since September 11, 2001. While there, he was the first Naval Reserve Officer to serve as Commanding Officer of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka.  His mission included all operational, planning and logistical support for the Far East region. With both business and military leadership experience, Captain Doyle brings indispensable personal experience to this important endeavor.

We look forward to further advancing the mission of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee during the 2012 legislative session and continuing the recognition of this issue throughout the state. We will be working diligently to help more Arizona businesses implement proven programs to recruit, promote and retain veterans and to advance public policies that support veteran employment and entrepreneurship.

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/

carbon

TGen, NAU awarded $2 million to study biodiversity

Potential connections between the biodiversity of soil microorganisms and the carbon cycle will be studied by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) under a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The TGen-NAU project was one of 14 recently awarded a grant by NSF under the Dimensions of Biodiversity program.

“The work will test the idea that biodiversity is a fundamental driver of the carbon cycle, connecting microbes to the entire Earth system,” said Dr. Bruce Hungate, Professor of Biology and a Director in NAU’s Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research.

The project will investigate “a surprising response” to changes in soil carbon levels: When new carbon enters the soil, a chain reaction leads to the breakdown of older soil carbon that otherwise would have remained stable, Dr. Hungate said.

“Current theory does not explain this chain reaction,” Dr. Hungate said. “The project will explore new dimensions connecting the diversity of the tree of life with the carbon cycle.”

TGen’s role in the project leverages advances in metagenomic sequencing — spelling out the DNA code of microbial samples from the environment  —made by Dr. Lance Price, Director of TGen’s Center for Microbiomics and Human Health, and Dr. Cindy M. Liu, a medical doctor and researcher at both TGen and NAU, who now works for Johns Hopkins University.

“This project is a natural extension of our efforts to understand how the human microbiome responds to injuries, surgeries and chemicals,” Dr. Price said. “Here, we’re investigating how the planet’s microbiome responds to excess carbon inputs, which may in turn loop back to negatively affect public health.”

The work is important, Dr. Hungate said, because soil carbon is a major reservoir in the global carbon cycle, storing about three times the amount of carbon contained in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Some soil processes promote carbon storage, locking it away in stable forms, resistant to decay.

133885164

TGen’s Keim named AZBio’s 2012 Bioscience Researcher of the Year

TGDr. Paul Keim, Director of the Pathogen Genomics Division of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at Northern Arizona University (NAU), will receive the 2012 Bioscience Researcher of the Year award from the Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio).

“Dr. Keim was nominated by members of the Arizona Bioscience Community and selected by an independent, statewide panel of leaders for this recognition of his research and innovation in the field of pathogen genomics and microbiology,” said AZBio President and CEO Joan Koerber-Walker.

His award will be presented at the 7th annual AZBio Awards on Oct. 23 at the Phoenix Convention Center. An industry showcase and student discovery session are scheduled from 3-5:30 p.m., and the awards gala is from 6-9 p.m.

“AZBio’s recognition of Dr. Keim is extraordinarily well deserved,” said TGen President and Scientific Director Dr. Jeffrey Trent. “Paul’s unique achievements in interpreting the microbial genomes of pathogens — both those that naturally cause disease, but also those made into weapons by terrorists — are of profound importance.  His research, coupled to his dedications to his students and to the cause of public health globally, place him in the upper echelon of premier scientists, and puts Arizona on the map in this critical growing area of research.”

Dr. Keim is a world-renowned expert in anthrax and other infectious diseases. At TGen and NAU he directs investigations into how to bolster the nation’s biodefense, and to prevent outbreaks — even pandemics — of such contagions as flu, cholera, E. coli, salmonella, and even the plague.

“Our science has been completely transformed by the rapid advancements of technology. Now, TGen’s job is to rapidly advance our science to make great impacts on human health. We have that ability, therefore, we feel that we have that responsibility,” said Dr. Keim, a Professor at TGen and Regents Professor of Microbiology at NAU.

Dr. Keim also is Director of NAU’s Microbial Genetics & Genomics Center, a program that works with numerous government agencies to help thwart bioterrorism and the spread of pathogen-caused diseases.

Since 2004, he has been a member of the federal government’s National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). He helped draft national guidelines for blunting bioterrorism while elevating ethical standards and improving the quality of scientific research. Dr. Keim’s work at the NSABB includes recently serving two years as the acting Chair.

While TGen this year celebrates a decade of progress, TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, also known as TGen North in Flagstaff, is celebrating five years of protecting human health though genomic investigations of some of humankind’s most deadly microbes.

“Paul Keim’s work ranges broadly — from plague in prairie dogs, to cholera in Haiti,” said NAU Provost Laura Huenneke. “Here at NAU, literally hundreds of students, both undergraduate and graduate, have participated in that research and launched from there into successful careers. His research group has also grown into the strong partnership between the university and TGen North — a huge economic development dividend for Flagstaff.’’

Arizona Stronghold Vineyard

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Wins Awards, Heads On Tour

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, a winery located in Cottonwood, is changing the wine industry one prestigious award at a time. The San Francisco International Wine Competition awarded Arizona Stronghold’s 2010 Dala Cabernet Sauvignon a Double Gold medal.

Arizona Stronghold’s Double Gold was one of only 27 Double Gold medals awarded out of the 4,556 wines that were entered into the competition. The submitted wines hailed from more than 29 countries.

Arizona Stronghold took home six other awards in addition to its Double Gold and has won more than 20 awards for its wines just this year.

Since the label’s inception, Paula Woolsey, director of sales, says her two favorite awards to date include the Double Gold from the San Francisco International Wine Competition, co-chaired by Tasting Panel Magazine, and a Gold medal awarded to Tazi 2010 by Sunset Magazine.

“The quality of judging is unsurpassed,” Woolsey says, “and I respect both of these publications immensely.”

Due to its numerous awards from local and international competitions, Arizona Stronghold is making quite an impact on Arizona’s wine industry, according to the Arizona’s Wine Tourism Industry Survey conducted by Northern Arizona University’s Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center.

According to the survey, the wine industry is boosting Arizona’s economy by creating jobs and bringing money into the economy through wine tourism — with Arizona Stronghold a major player. Because the brand distributes its wines on an international level, this helps build a reputation for Arizona wine across the globe. The winery’s tasting room is also the third most popular in northern Arizona.

Woolsey says that the wine industry is a great business to get into in Arizona because the climate is extremely conducive to both growing grapes and making wine. She adds that she has nothing but high hopes for the wine industry.

“It’s a real deal here; a whole big cultural movement,” Woolsey adds.

And the movement doesn’t stop there. Arizona Stronghold and its winning 2010 Dala Cabernet Sauvignon are heading on a Grand Tasting Tour across the country. Its first stop? The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on Thursday, September 6.

During the tour, attendees are able to participate in a grand tasting in which they were able to taste all the Double Gold winning wines. They will also have the opportunity to attend wine seminars, a mixology seminar and a cooking demonstration.

Arizona Stronghold wines are currently available in 40 states, four provinces and in Australia. For more information about Arizona Stronghold, and to learn more about its tasting rooms, visit azstronghold.com.

Arizona Stronghold
1023 N. Main St., Cottonwood
(928) 639-2789
azstronghold.com

Flagstaff_NAU_Skydome

NAU poised to set enrollment records

Based on the first week of student registration, Northern Arizona University’s Mountain Campus appears to be on track for another year of record enrollment.

A university spokesman says the incoming freshman class totals about 4,100 and enrollment in Flagstaff is up by 700 to 18,200.

Both of those marks would be records.

Statewide, enrollment at NAU is expected to top 26,000 students.

The Arizona Daily Sun says the official count will come on the 21st day of classes at NAU.

research chair

University Of Phoenix Welcomes New Research Chair

University of Phoenix announced the appointment of Dr. Troy Hutchings to serve as Research Chair for Education in the University’s College of Education and School of Advanced Studies. As Research Chair for Education, Dr. Hutchings will engage in research and provide thought leadership for scholarly initiatives in Education by bringing leading-edge counsel into the ethics courses offered in University of Phoenix education programs.

Dr. Hutchings brings more than 28 years of experience in the education field as a high school teacher and administrator, and most recently as Northern Arizona University’s Director of Student Services in the College of Education and an instructor in the Educational Leadership Department. Dr. Hutchings’ expertise and research spans the areas of teacher sexual misconduct, educator decision-making, and the professional continuum-of-responsibility associated with development of a professional framework for a moral and legal teaching practice.

“Dr. Hutchings is an international ethics expert on issues that are important to future teachers, including issues about relationship boundaries and behavioral models that protect both the teacher and student,” said University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies Executive Dean Dr. Jeremy Moreland. “University of Phoenix education students and faculty will benefit from Dr. Hutchings’ insight into the field as he continues to lead national dialogue and advances his scholarly inquiry.”

Dr. Hutchings has been a featured speaker on education leadership topics at a variety of events for state policy groups, school administrators, state teacher associations, department of education leaders, and licensing officials across the country. He has also assisted in the development of university curricula on educator ethics and law. Additionally, Dr. Hutchings has collaborated with the Province of Ontario, Canada, the United States Army JROTC and other agencies. He has served as the subject expert on a full-length interactive film dealing with teacher sexual misconduct, served as an expert witness, and has participated in a number of other educator ethics and law projects. His contributions to educator professional practices were recognized nationally by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification in 2009, when he received the Annual Doug Bates Award and delivered the associated lecture.

“Dr. Hutchings’ work in educator ethics and misconduct is well respected in the education field,” said University of Phoenix College of Education Dean Dr. Meredith Curley. “His work provides a solid framework for teacher preparation and ethics best practices in education, and we are excited to apply his expertise to University of Phoenix education programs to better prepare our future teacher leaders.”

Dr. Hutchings earned his Bachelor of Science in English Education from the University of South Dakota, Master of Education in Secondary Education from Arizona State University, Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

For more information about the research chair position at University of Phoenix, visit University of Phoenix’ website at phoenix.edu