Tag Archives: november-december 2011

Arizona Forward - AB Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Forward Hopes To Preserve Parks, Open Land

As one of the earliest pioneers of sustainability in the Valley, Valley Forward has had an Arizona presence for 42 years. The organization’s focus on land use and open space, air quality, water, energy and transportation has grown immensely since its inception. It is no surprise that this progressive group has once again embarked on the next sustainable step with the creation of Arizona Forward — a public interest coalition aimed at bringing together business, community and civic leaders to convene public dialogue and advocacy on sustainability in the state.

“By promoting cooperative efforts between Arizona cities and towns, the state’s livability, sustainability and economic vitality will be enhanced for both current and future generations,” says Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner at Sundt Construction, Tucson Building Group Leader and Arizona Forward advisory board chair.

Arizona Forward is initially expected to focus on the Sun Corridor, the region encompassing Tucson to Phoenix, hoping to encourage collaborative efforts between members and strike a balance between economic growth and environmental quality.

“We believe there is a strong connection between the health of our environment and the health of our economy,” says Pat Graham, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Arizona. “Arizona Forward provides an opportunity for like-minded businesses and organizations from across the state to come together and come up with solutions.”

First on the agenda for the coalition is spreading the message about the importance of parks and open spaces and their economic impact on the state.

According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, nearly 5.5 million Arizonans participate in outdoor recreation. This leads to approximately $350 million in annual state tax revenue and supports 82,000 jobs in Arizona.  Arizona Forward leaders say the economic impact of parks and open spaces is just one reason why the business community should take notice and take a stand.

“One of the challenges today is the complexity of the problems we face,” Graham says. “It requires working together in new ways and with new partners to find solutions that improve the health of both the economy and our environment to maintain a good quality of life in Arizona.”

A study compiled by WestGroup Research on behalf of Valley Forward found that 93 percent of Arizonans categorize parks and open space as “essential” to Arizona’s tourism industry. The study also found that 23 percent of Arizonans visit parks or recreation areas at least once a week.

Just how much open space are we talking about? State and federal entities, along with Native American tribes in Arizona manage more than 70 million acres of land (excluding county and municipal parks). Not surprisingly, negative effects on our parks and open space have a big impact on the state’s bottom line.

“Economic development and new jobs rely on lifestyle considerations,” Wadlington says. “Parks, forests, refuges and other open spaces support the quality-of-life factors that can make a difference for communities seeking to attract employers and a strong workforce. Access to open space boosts property values and provides healthy outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike. If we don’t prioritize our parks and open space, we will lose our most treasured resources.”

Prioritizing these aspects has a major economic impact on Arizona. A 2009 National Parks Second Century Commission projected that every $1 in taxpayer money spent on national parks returned a $4 economic benefit through tourism and private sector spending. A June 2011 press release from the Department of the Interiors’ Economic Contributions Report further emphasized this information, with data showing that Arizona’s public lands supported 21,364 jobs and contributed nearly $2 billion to Arizona’s economy.

It is figures like these that Arizona Forward hopes will get the public and policy makers involved with protecting parks and open spaces. State legislators must stop encroaching on the parks-system budget and instead focus on securing funding for their protection, Valley forward leaders say.

“A depressed economy has impacted parks negatively at every jurisdictional level,” Wadlington says. He noted that an already-weakened parks system could be further depleted if lawmakers don’t get the message from their voters about protecting these open spaces.

“As the economy recovers and state revenues return, legislators will be faced with many choices on how to best allocate these funds,” Wadlington says. “As a community, we have to step forward collectively and make a strong case for the parks system and open space preservation.”

Like the mission Valley Forward embarked on 42 years ago, Arizona Forward hopes to serve as the catalyst for change during these trying times.  A diverse membership group with a common goal of environmental stewardship hopes to protect the state’s important parks and open spaces and other environmental issues facing Arizona.

“Future Arizona vision: A place where people want to live and work, where growth occurs responsibly and does not diminish quality-of-life,”  Wadlington says. “A place where business thrives, creating public revenue that can be reinvested in perpetuating sustainability of our state’s natural resources and quality-of-life amenities.”

For more information about Valley Forward and Arizona Forward, visit www.valleyforward.org.

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

Protecting Intellectual Property - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Planning And Patience: Keys To Protecting Intellectual Property

Planning and patience are they keys to protecting intellectual property

The seed for one of Tim Crawley’s inventions was planted in a teenage promise.

“When I was 16, I was (gold) prospecting with my uncle, who had rheumatoid arthritis,” says Crawley, president of the Inventors Association of Arizona. “It tore my heart out to watch him struggle to carry those five-gallon buckets. I told him, ‘Someday, I will fix that.’”

Crawley’s “someday” came more than 20 years later when he invented Snappy Grip, a replacement handle for five-gallon buckets that alleviates hand fatigue and makes it infinitely easier to carry them, particularly when they are filled. The product has been embraced by Arizona’s mining industry.

One problem: Crawley’s idea was also embraced by a competitor.

“Even though I filed my patent application first,” Crawley says, “he got his bucket handle into Home Depot first.”

The mistake Crawley made, he admits, was that the claims listed in his patent application were too wordy and allowed his competitor to make a slight adjustment to the design and beat Crawley into the marketplace. Experts say Crawley’s error is just one of many common mistakes individuals and businesses make when it comes time to protect their intellectual property.

”Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind,” says Robert J. Itri, a shareholder at the Phoenix law office of Gallagher & Kennedy. “Intellectual property includes inventions such as computer chips or new methods of manufacture; literary and artistic works such as novels, films and songs; symbols, names and images used to identify goods and services such as Xerox and Kodak.”

When it comes to protecting those superhuman ideas, experts agree that it’s a decidedly human trait that gets most innovators into trouble.

“They let the genie out of the bottle,” says Ari Bai, whose practice at the Phoenix law firm of Polsinelli Shughart involves the preparation and filing of foreign and domestic patent applications in the mechanical, electrical and computer disciplines. “People disclose their ideas to others. Professors rush to publish findings before their colleagues. It happens all the time. What people don’t understand is that once that occurs, they are giving up all their foreign patent rights.”

According to Itri, these are the most common mistakes innovators make:

  • Failing to establish an intellectual property protection policy.
  • Failing to identify and record intellectual property as it is created.
  • Failing to ensure that all employees who contributed to the intellectual property have executed invention assignments.
  • Failing to use non-disclosure agreements and document trade secret policy for employees and business partners.
  • Waiting too long to file for patent protection. U.S. law provides that a patent application must be filed within 1 year of publication or first offer of sale.
  • Failing to police the unauthorized use of intellectual property. The failure to do so can, and often does, result in the loss of intellectual property rights.

 

“There’s a big problem in the private sector because companies are pushed to constantly get new products on the market to remain competitive,” says A.J. Moss, an intellectual property attorney with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Phoenix. “But if these companies wait too long to protect themselves and their ideas, it wipes out all rights they have to their own ideas and inventions.”

There are four categories of intellectual property rights — patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Gallagher & Kennedy’s Itri explains the rights that protect those intellectual properties like this: They are a form of property right that allow creators of intellectual property to benefit from their work or investment in a creation. These rights, which can belong to individuals or organizations, are recognized by governments and courts. The intellectual property rights system helps to strike a balance between the interests of the innovator and the public interest to establish an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish for all to benefit.

But what U.S. intellectual property rights don’t do, experts said, is protect the creator in the global economy.

“Just because you have a U.S. patent, that doesn’t protect you overseas,” Moss says. “You have to file for patent protection in every jurisdiction you plan to do business. If you don’t, you leave yourself vulnerable.”

And as the Internet has changed the way we do business, it has presented businesses with both opportunities and obstacles.

“Geographical borders present no impediment to distributing products worldwide,” Itri says. “These opportunities also present enormous challenges to businesses seeking to protect their intellectual property rights and to consumers as the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated products grows.”

It also presents a challenge when companies develop websites to boost revenue.
“Just as a wedding photographer owns the copyrights to the photos taken at your wedding, the website developer who designs your website owns the rights to that design,” says John E. Cummerford, co-managing shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Phoenix. “So if the developer suddenly thinks he wasn’t paid enough to do the job, you could have a problem if you didn’t protect yourself.”

To avoid those problem, experts agree, a business is best served by consulting a legal professional who has experience in obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights in the jurisdiction in which protection is sought.

“I tell other inventors to research the patent attorney they hire,” says Crawley, who has faced costly patent infringement issues on at least three of his inventions. “Make sure they have experience writing patent claims for ideas or inventions that are similar the one you have.”

If the worst case scenario happens and unauthorized use of intellectual property is detected, Itri said the property owner should consult an attorney to determine his or her legal rights. In the U.S., patent, trademark and copyrights are typically enforced through federal civil court actions. Claims for trade secret misappropriation are generally pursued through state court proceedings. Generally, an intellectual property owner may obtain both injunctive relief prohibiting and money damages for the infringing activity. In certain circumstances, the law permits enhanced or punitive damages for willful infringement.  If unauthorized use is detected abroad, the property owner should consult with a legal professional in the jurisdiction in which the unauthorized use is being made to determine its rights and the process to enforce those rights.

“The best way you can protect yourself and your ideas is to plan up front,” Cummerford says. “You can have the best ideas, the best business plan, the best website, the best marketing strategy, and the best product in the world, but it will all be for naught if you fail to protect your intellectual property.”

Four categories of intellectual property rights

Patents

An exclusive right granted by the United States Government through the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office for a new, useful and non-obvious invention or process. The grant of patent rights excludes others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention in the United States. U.S. patent rights do not extend beyond the United States and its territories.

How get a patent

An inventor seeking a patent must submit a patent application to the USPTO within one year of the first publication or offer for sale of the invention. A patent application consists of a written specification, a drawing — if necessary — to understand the invention or process, an oath or declaration of the inventor, and the appropriate filing fees. A patent may, and often does, take several years to issue.  Patents are valid for 20 years from the date of application.

Trademarks

Trademarks are what businesses use to identify themselves and distinguish their goods and services from those of other businesses.  Any distinctive word, name, symbol, or device or combination thereof may be used as a trademark.

Protecting a trademark

Under the common law, the rights to a trademark are established when the business adopts a particular mark and uses it in connection with the sale of goods or services.  The date of first use is important in establishing trademark rights. Although enforceable trademark rights can be obtained at common law, there are certain advantages to obtaining a federal registration for the mark, including nationwide notice of a claim of right to the mark, the right to use the ® symbol, and — most importantly — the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide in connection with the listed goods and services. A trademark owner seeking a federal registration must file an application with the USPTO.

Generally, provided that the trademark owner makes continuous use of the mark and does not permit unauthorized use of the mark by others, trademark rights can be indefinite.

Copyrights

Copyrights give authors, artists and creators of original works, which are “fixed” in any tangible medium of expression, such as in print, audio or digital recording, the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, make derivative works and display their work.

Getting a copyright

Registering a copyright is a simple and inexpensive process.  An application form together with one or two copies of the work (depending on the character of the work) are filed either in paper or online with the United States Copyright Office together with the applicable filing fee. The filing fee for online registration is $35.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets may generally be described as proprietary, non-public business information which enables the owner of the information through its use to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace.  One of the most famous trade secrets is the formula for manufacturing Coca-Cola.

Protecting trade secrets

The most important factor in determining whether something is protectable as a trade secret is whether it is actually a secret and the business has taken reasonable measures to maintain its secrecy. Arizona law, like all other states’ laws governing “trade secrets,” permits the trade secret owner to obtain both injunctive relief and monetary damages for any actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secret. Trade secret law does not prevent the use of trade secrets acquired through proper means. Nor does trade secret law prevent discovery of the trade secret through reverse engineering.

Protecting intellectual property

To best protect its intellectual property rights, Robert J. Itri, a shareholder at the Phoenix law officer of Gallagher & Kennedy, says it is essential for the business to understand the various pieces that make up its intellectual property portfolio and which set of intellectual property rights — patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret — apply. Once identified, the intellectual property should be recorded and, with the exception of trade secrets (which should be closely guarded), registered with the appropriate governmental agency.

  • In the case of patents and trademarks, registration is with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • In the case of copyrights, registration is with the U.S. Copyright office.
  • Trademark owners who have registered their marks with the USPTO and copyright holders who have registered with the Copyright Office may record these rights with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). The CBP actively monitors imports to prevent the importation of counterfeited and pirated goods.
  • Any business which anticipates that its products or services will be distributed outside the U.S., should register its intellectual property in the country or countries it anticipates the product or services will be distributed.
  • In addition to registration, businesses also need to implement an intellectual property policy. Components of such a policy should include, at a minimum, employee invention and nondisclosure agreements. Intellectual Property protection language should also be developed for the various vendors and distributors with which the business deals.

 

 

 

 


Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

Jim Teter, Goodwill - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Jim Teter, Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona

Jim Teter, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona, discusses how the economic bust has affected Goodwill, why they’ve seen an increase in donations, employment at Goodwill, its future and more.

Jim Teter

Title: President and CEO
Company: Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona


Why did you decide to move to a nonprofit after all your years of success in for-profit industries?

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Goodwill’s mission and Goodwill’s board of directors was looking for a little bit different direction as we continued to grow. They were looking for someone that had business experience because we operate Goodwill like a business, but they also wanted someone who had some nonprofit experience as well. I’ve been involved in nonprofits as a volunteer for over 25 years, but I’ve run larger business operations. I think the board of directors found that appealing. It’s given me a chance to use all my experience to help make a difference for Goodwill. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about: helping Goodwill be all it can be as we grow and get bigger.

Has the economic bust been a boon for Goodwill?

Because of the nature of what Goodwill does, which is a thrift retail business, we tend to fare a lot better in difficult economic times than most businesses. Up until 2007, we were growing 20 to 22 percent a year. In the years during the recession we’re still growing at 11 or 12 percent a year and reaching thousands and thousands of people and helping serve them. So this has been an opportunity for us to introduce some new people to Goodwill because a lot of people are looking for the values that they find when they shop at Goodwill, so our customer counts are up and our revenues are up. Those are all good things.

Are you seeing a shift in donations?

What we’ve found is that people tend to hang on things a little bit longer. People are not donating quite as much as they did before the recession. But the good news is we have more people donating. Our donation counts are up about nine percent year over year. I think that’s because people know that we are going to get the most value out of their donations, and we help a lot of people prepare for and find work. That’s what we are all about: helping people find work.

How has the increased unemployment rate impacted Goodwill’s goal of putting people to work?

People that are coming in the career centers today are quite diverse in their backgrounds and their experiences. Generally speaking, we still have a lot of entry-level employees that are seeking jobs, but we get a little bit of everything these days. We have people that have college degrees, masters degrees, PhDs. What we offer them is, at no cost to them, a very convenient way to go build resumes, learn skills they didn’t have so they can move into a different industry. A lot of people are finding that attractive and taking advantage of that.

Where do you see Goodwill ten years from now?

We believe we can continue to grow and help more and more people. The only reason we want to be bigger is because we can reach out and serve more people, help more people prepare for and find jobs. I kind of wish we could put ourselves out of business, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We will be the first thing that comes to mind when people ask, ‘Who can help someone with employment and job training? That’s Goodwill.’ That’s where we would like to be in the next five to ten years.

Vital Stats: Jim Teter

    • Joined Goodwill in 2008
    • Before Goodwill, was Chief Operating Officer of Calence, LLC in Tempe
    • Graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering
    • Has more than 26 years of experience with high-profile corporations such as IBM and Avnet
    • Co-chaired South Texas United Way’s business campaigns, served on the Board of the American Heart Association, was an active member of the Corpus Christi Economic Development Corporation and served on the external executive committee for Texas A&I University (now part of the Texas A&M University System)
    • Actively supported Respite Care of San Antonio, Hacienda de los Angeles in Phoenix and Paiute Neighbor Association in Scottsdale
    • Member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Arizona Business Leadership, Phoenix Community Alliance, Organization for Non-Profit Executives and Greater Phoenix Leadership

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Bourbon Steak, AB Magazine November/December 2011

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’s Bourbon Steak Impresses

If you’re superstitious, you might believe bad things happen in sets of three. If you’re an optimist, you might believe “the third time’s a charm.” Well, Bourbon Steak debunks both well-known expressions. At Bourbon Steak, each dish presented in a trio is nothing short of mouthwatering, and patrons are willing to spend the triple digits for the lavish — but well-worth-the-price — meals.

Located on the grounds of the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Bourbon Steak’s dining area is engulfed with rays of natural light beaming from the floor-to-ceiling windows, exposing the outdoor patio with its sleek, steel and leather-bound décor — the interior boasting a similar industrial design. The lit candles flickering throughout, both inside and out, as well as the genuinely courteous and friendly staff gave the restaurant a warm, inviting touch.

My dinner companions and I started off the night with a trio of seasoned fries (herb-sprinkled, onion-scented and cheddar-dusted), cooked in duck fat. The fries arrived with three different dipping sauces (pickle-infused ketchup, BBQ sauce and an onion dip). Little did I know this trend of trios would become the dominant theme of the night.

We continued our meal with lemon-drizzled poached prawns; the Bibb wedge salad, with subdued Point Reyes blue cheese and touches of sprinkled bacon, avocado, croutons, tomato and onions; and the table favorite, the Foie Gras Sliders — with the liver so moist and tender, juices were not only flowing from the sliders, but also from our mouths.

However, the feast had only begun, and we realized this once our surf and turf dinner entrees began making their appearances. First up, the Tasting Trio of Beef — three types of beef perfectly paired with its individual side dish. The cast included the wood-grilled rib-eye flat with sweet, creamed corn; the flat iron steak made with American Wagyu beef, paired with soy-glazed shiitakes mushrooms; and the New York strip, also wood-grill, with smoked-onion sauteed spinach.

What makes the mesquite-grilled steaks so distinct? As our waiter Chris informed us, Bourbon Steak always cooks with natural, organic and hormone-free beef, slow-poached and cooked over a wood-fired grill. And with such attentive, patient care invested into the cuisine, it’s no wonder Bourbon Steak was the critics’ pick for best steakhouse on azcentral.com’s Best of 2011 list.

The surf portion of our dinner included the tapioca-crusted snapper, with a clean presentation and comprised of basmati, an almond crunch and a touch of sesame vinaigrette. Shortly after, the true show-stopper rolled up to the table — the Maine Lobster Pot Pie.

The lobster was tucked away beneath the crust, and as the waiter sliced open the pie, the aromas of the concoction intoxicated us, the billowing steam momentarily blinded us. We sat salivating, teased, as the waiter reassembled the lobster before us, thoroughly enjoying the presentation — especially when the green beans were delicately and playfully placed as the antennas, as the reconstructed lobster swam in a concoction of carrots, potatoes, brandied lobster cream and various other fall vegetables. Needless to say, the dish was incredible.

To round out our night, it was only fitting to order the beignets, a trio of desserts, including homemade vanilla crème brulèe, Macallan 18-year butterscotch pudding and Valrhona dark chocolate pot de crème. My personal favorite? The Valrhona chocolate custard, a red velvet cake with pecans and topped with a feather-light mousse.

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If You Go: Bourbon Steak

7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 585-4848
www.scottsdaleprincess.com/dining/bourbon-steak

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

AZRE Magazine Digital Issue

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011:

Grand Designs

This issue, find out how AIA Arizona Members are bringing their skills to the global issue. Plus, the Arizona Commerce Authority is 1-year old; how are they making a difference? And as part of our centennial series, take a look at some architectural achievements that have graced Arizona’s diverse landscape. Also, AIA-Arizona members are bringing their skills to the global stage, and our special section covers BOMA, Building Owners & Managers Association, which discusses its mentoring program for young professionals, as well as the TOBY Awards 2011, and much more.

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

AZ Business Magazine - Digital Issue

AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011:

The Finance Issue

In this issue of AZ Business Magazine, find out who the CFO of the Year Awards 2011 finalists are. Also, read about how innovators and inventors have shaped history in our Centennial Series, and how the economic downturn has changed the way businesses are giving back to the community. Plus, flip through to find out who the Spirit of Enterprise Awards finalists are, read about how Valley Forward is helping to improve the environment, and much more.

 

Read the articles online on AZNow.Biz.

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

CFO of the Year Awards

CFO Of The Year Awards 2011 Finalists And Winners

The CFO of the Year Awards are given to professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. This program provides many benefits to the business community by highlighting the important roles that financial executives play within the region. In addition to the awards, we’ll publish a special report that will accompany the November issue of Arizona Business Magazine.

Here are the CFO of the Year 2011 Finalists:

Karen M. Abraham

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Karen Abraham is responsible for providing direction and accountability regarding all financial matters at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. That was evident as she helped the company’s revenue grow from $313 million when she took over as vice president of finance in 1997 to $1.5 billion as CFO today.
In addition to the revenue boost, Abraham provided the vision and leadership to partner with other BCBS plans to decentralize the infrastructure necessary to process transactions, which will save the company millions of dollars.
Along with her many achievements, Abraham was responsible for getting the BCBS Association requirement to obtain a rating from S&P. Because of this rating, Abraham implemented a change in how the organization is managed, specifically providing an additional discipline in the budgeting, forecasting and rating of its products.
Abraham is a member of the Ethics and Compliance Committee that wrote the book for the organization’s policies for the finance and purchasing departments and other parts of the organization. She sits on several community boards, including the YMCA Town Hall Board and the W.P. Carey School Finance Advisory Board.


Darryl Baker

Chief Financial Officer
iGo, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Through his role as CFO, Darryl Baker has been instrumental in the revenue growth of iGo, Inc., a technology and consumer products company.
In the past year, Baker has boosted iGo’s product diversity by adding three new product categories, and has been instrumental in the acquisitions of Adapt Mobile and Aerial7, and teaming up with Pure Energy.
Baker is the driving force behind the iGo Code of Business Conduct and Ethics document, which he adheres to. In addition to this code, Baker leads iGo in an ethical manner and ensures that the financial reporting process is carried out smoothly to ensure the safeguarding of company assets.
As CFO, Baker is responsible for safeguarding company assets, maintaining its balance sheet, providing timely and accurate financial and operating performance reporting, implementing cost controls and reducing unnecessary expense, and forecasting and planning to ensure appropriate financing for the company’s business objectives.


Dan Behrendt

Chief Financial Officer
TASER International, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Since 2004, Dan Behrendt has been revamping TASER International, Inc. in order to ensure success.
Behrendt successfully redesigned TASER’s warranty programs, leading to a $25 million increase in revenue. In addition to this redesign, he created key performance indicators for each company department. This process measures growth and ensures that the company is moving toward its goals.
During a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, Behrendt made the decision to use an open door policy when others were against the idea. Because of his decision, after a 30 percent drop in revenue, TASER witnessed revenue growths of 42 percent and 47 percent the next two years.
In addition to his achievements, Behrendt oversees all aspects of corporate finance to make sure TASER is performing at the highest possible degree for its shareholders. He also runs the information technology department to ensure the company is being provided with the highest level of support and service.
In addition to building the company, Behrendt created the TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers as a way to give back to the community.


Karen Bretz

Vice President Finance
Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Karen Bretz relies on her unique ability of blending her analytical and creative mind to financially manage and grow Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.
Bretz refinanced the foundation’s main building, expanded a second site, and developed the thrift store initiative with ease. Since she became CFO, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has received a clean audit. In addition, Bretz’s financial leadership led to the foundation’s first profitable year from operations since 2003.
She revised the employee handbook to make the company’s policies and practices more clear. Bretz also created an internal grievance committee to implement processes to identify and resolve client complaints and grievances.
Bretz is responsible for the management of foundation finances, along with support for the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors. She manages strategic initiatives, including job placement services, the development of a thrift store, and managing the facilities of both of the Women’s Resource Center buildings.


Thomas R. Castellanos

Chief Financial Officer
Valle del Sol Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011In tough times for nonprofits and state-funded service providers, Valle del Sol is lucky to have Thomas Castellanos improving its finances.
By forming a Multiple Employer Welfare Association as a strategic cost reduction, Castellanos saved more than $600,000 in the group’s first year. Castellanos has been a change agent for Valle del Sol in order to achieve its goal of providing services to the underserved community. He focuses on the finance, accounting, facilities, and information technology side of the business. In the past year, four new clinics have opened and become licensed in Maricopa County with Castellanos’ assistance.
Castellanos created the idea of a chair of the board fund to address shortfalls in funding, given Arizona state budget cuts. This would allow services to be provided for AHCCCS recipients for a limited time until they could find coverage.
In addition to these achievements, Castellanos has increased Valle del Sol’s accountability by instituting internal controls within finance.


Mark D. Cavanaugh – Winner, Small Private Company

CFO of the YearSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Firetrace USA, LLC

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011It’s been said that “without Mark Cavanaugh, Firetrace would cease to function.”
When Cavanaugh began working at Firetrace in 20005, the aerospace and defense business had $189,000 in revenue. In 2010, that amount rocketed to more than $64 million. Focusing on the industrial commercial markets, Cavanaugh has strategically grown operations to India, Dubai, Singapore, Australia, and, in 2011, Brazil.
Using his public policy efforts, Cavanaugh secured more than $100 million for fuel tank fire suppression and got fire suppression mandated for all military vehicles.
Leading the Firetrace team in the adoption of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act, Cavanaugh is safeguarding the company’s financial assets.
Cavanaugh has been instrumental in the growth of the aerospace and defense team by using the philosophy, “Hire the best people and get out of their way.”
Cavanaugh is active in the community, coaching youth soccer, baseball, softball and basketball.


Thomas B. Fischer

Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Express Messenger Systems, Inc. dba OnTrac

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Thomas Fischer provides leadership and coordination in OnTrac’s financial, business planning, accounting and budgeting efforts.
During Fisher’s tenure, revenues at the overnight package delivery company have increased more than 200 percent, stockholders’ equity has increased 200 percent, and long-term debt has decreased from 75 percent to 10 percent.
Fischer also has played a crucial role in defining and executing the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP.) The ESOP currently is worth more than $15 million for 550 active participants.
Fischer’s aptitude for budgeting, cost control principles and managing resources is critical to the company’s success. His abilities in contracting and negotiating have allowed OnTrac to grow and expand.
Fischer works with the regional management team to foster healthy relationships within the company. He also exhibits leadership by encouraging his team to think critically and promote an enriched personal and work atmosphere.
He is an avid runner and a member of a Tucson running club.


William “Bill” McClung – Winner, Non-Profit

CFO of the YearChief Financial Officer
Southwest Human Development, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011After just three years at Southwest Human Development, Bill McClung has helped the agency grow and improve. In the past three years, the company has seen a positive gain in net assets of more than $1.5 million.
This can be attributed to changes McClung made to budgeting, financial reporting and cost containment systems. In fiscal 2011. Southwest Human Development reported revenue in excess of $45 million. Budgeted revenue for fiscal 2012 is $53 million.
In preparation for the tri-annual federal review of Southwest Human Development’s largest program, Head Start, McClung and his team completely rewrote agency policies and procedures to meet federal requirements.
McClung has developed a top-of-the-line board of directors financial oversight committee and has made technological improvements, acting as the organization’s chief information officer. He has proven to be adept in preparing internal financial statements for management and the board of directors that enable them to better understand and manage finances at all levels.
Under his method of “leading by example,” the company has experienced almost no turnover in staff.


Steven L. Ortega

Chief Financial Officer
Leslie’s Poolmart LLC

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011For the past six years, Steven Ortega has kept Leslie’s Poolmart functioning swimmingly.
Leading the company through the national economic downturn, Ortega has helped it achieve 47 straight years of sales growth and 47 quarters of consecutive operating profitability.
During Ortega’s tenure, the company has developed a comprehensive five-year strategic growth plan. This plan was created as a roadmap to achieve the company’s goal of growing to $1  billion in annual sales revenues.
Ortega was instrumental in a financial transaction with CVC Capital Partners to invest in the company, which helped provide capital structure. Since 2005, Ortega has opened 172 retail stores, 17 new commercial service centers, relocated 12 retail stores, and remodeled more than 200 stores. In addition, Ortega was a key part in two strategic company acquisitions that led to market growth in both Texas and Arizona.
Ortega provides strategic leadership in which he revamped the new store development process, enhanced the company’s compensation plans, and enhanced the review and approval process for all contracts and agreements.


Tanya Perry

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Goodwill of Central Arizona

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Respected for her leadership, Perry has led Goodwill of Central Arizona to a new level of growth and success.
During her four-year tenure, Goodwill of Central Arizona has grown from 37 retail locations to 46. Along with retail growth, revenue has grown from $60.1 million to a projected $87 million.
Perry has been responsible for the stability, credibility, and overall effectiveness of the financial operations of the organization. Goodwill’s balance sheet has greatly improved, and debt balances have decreased from $22.3 million to $13.9 million.
Perry has created a financial culture that is focused on transparency, credibility (internally and externally), integrity, and a culture that is consultative, synergistic, supportive and advisory.
She was instrumental to the development of an innovative campaign called “Band Together to Spread Goodwill,” which features “Giving Bands” that are being sold at all Goodwill locations. Proceeds benefit nine different charities.


Kellie S. Pruitt

Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary
Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Healthcare Trust of America (HTA) has been in business for just four years, and its seasoned leader, Kellie Pruitt, is steering it in the right direction.
During Pruitt’s tenure, the company increased its financial flexibility by obtaining a $575 million unsecured credit facility, and was assigned an investment grade credit rating by Moody’s and S&P. In the past two years, Pruitt and efforts by the management team have led to a $1.6 billion increase in equity. As CFO, Pruitt is responsible for managing HTA’s accounting, tax, and finance, treasury and investor relations functions. She established the company’s corporate headquarters and closed over $1.2 billion of acquisitions   has helped hire and train all the company’s employees with the CEO.
Pruitt is involved in all strategic operating and financial decisions, but also actively drives and monitors the results. Her leadership has been essential to leading the company through the recession, always with HTA’s financial health and the best interest of the company’s investors in mind.
Displaying the highest level of ethics, integrity and trust, Pruitt believes in transparency with employees, the board of directors, and investors. She always believes in doing the right thing, even if it isn’t the most popular decision.


Dena L. Richter

Chief Financial Officer
SynCardia Systems, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011By overseeing all financial activities of SynCardia, Dena Richter leads the company that manufactures the Total Artificial Heart that helps people who suffer from heart failure. Her roles as both CFO and HR Director allow her to utilize her talents as a financial director and employee mentor. Financial reporting, cash management and five regulatory audits per year are just a few of Richter’s extensive responsibilities. Her leadership ability resulted in the vertical integration of a supply chain with an $800,000 purchase of a supplier’s Segmented Polyurethane Solution (SPUS) reactor. Trinity Capital Investment’s confidence in Richter led to their approval of an additional leasing capacity of $2 million along with a $1 million investment in SynCardia’s Series E equity round. These are just a few of her financial accomplishments. Her fiscal management of the company has resulted in explosive growth and sales. SynCardia’s success through Richter’s example has increased product manufacturing, allowing a great number of people to receive the care their lives depend on.


Jack Seaver

Chief Financial Officer/Human Resources Manager
CCS Presentation Systems

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Jack Seaver’s fiscal actions help the company provide quality audio and video systems for clients such as Intel, Arizona State University and Ratheon. With 13 years of experience, Seaver plays an essential role in making CCS one of the largest A/V integrators in the United States. His collection policies put the company’s current accounts receivable percentage at 90.4 percent based on approximately $5 million in receivables. Due to his initiation of the American Express “Plum” Credit Card, CCS receives 2 percent cash credit for all payments made accordingly. Seaver’s unparalleled leadership style has the company recognized for having one of the best operational practices in the industry. Known as the “rock” of the company, his generosity always shines through. Whether making a personal donation to a struggling employee or raising money for the Red Cross and local charities, Seaver goes above and beyond his written responsibilities through selfless acts of kindness.


Andrew A. Stevens

Chief Financial Officer
Liberty Distribution Company, LLC

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011As CFO and board member, Andrew Stevens is responsible for all financial aspects of Liberty Distribution, including financial reporting, treasury and risk management, investor relations, planning and analysis. As a crucial member of the company’s board, Stevens sets the strategic direction of the business while providing valuable feedback to the group. He works with sales to competitively price new account acquisition proposals, and significantly contributed to the acquisition of a competitor’s assets in 2008. Stevens seeks “balance” between risk and reward when analyzing opportunities, and is known by co-workers as both a leader and team player. His dedication to the success of Liberty Distribution does not hinder his commitment to service. Stevens has been an active member of organizations such as Childsplay, the America West Airlines Foundation and the University of Arizona Alumni Association. An active member of the church and the community, Stevens strives to bring people together through his discipline learned as a CPA.


Brian Swartz

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Apollo Group, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011After previously joining the Apollo Group as vice president, corporate controller and chief accounting officer in 2007, Brian Swartz was appointed CFO two years later.
Swartz is recognized by the company for his influence on goals and performance. Despite a 40 percent decline in new enrollment, he helped Apollo maintain its fiscal strength. His review of the company’s cost structure resulted in the identification and reduction of more than $100 million in costs through operational initiatives. With the help of colleagues, Swartz spearheaded a comprehensive overhaul of the governance practices at Apollo after discovering a stock option backdating issue. His oversight of the “Apollo Excellence” program helps ensure business processes are streamlined and cost-efficient. These are just a few ways Swartz continues to contribute his expertise toward the company’s enormous success.
Stevens also is actively involved in the community through serving on the board of directors of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.


Susan Sweeney

Chief Financial Officer
CyraCom International, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011As CFO of CyraCom International, a provider of language services for people with limited English proficiency, Susan Sweeney executes an extensive array of financial duties.
During her four-year tenure, Sweeney has accomplished an incredible amount for CyraCom. Under her guidance, the company doubled revenues to $37.4 million, and increased the earnings per share by 180 percent. The company also met all cost and revenue budgets for 41 of the past 42 months, with a staff that expanded from 248 employees to 600. Sweeney’s leadership helped increase CyraCom’s borrowing capacity from $1.5 million to $18 million, enabling its first acquisition. As a result of these successes, CyraCom was honored as the second-fastest growing company in Southern Arizona by the Arizona Daily Star, as well as listed in the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing companies for 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Sweeney’s grasp of cost-control and decision management has made her an admirable part of CyraCom’s team. Her personal interest in the well-being of employees has them continuing to hold a full suite of benefits.


Dan Urness – Winner, Public Company

CFO of the YearChief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer
Cavco Industries, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Dan Urness has led Cavco Industries to financial success.
He is responsible for IT functions, payroll, human resources oversight, corporate development work, as well as all financial affairs. More importantly, he has been highly influential in the company’s growth.
By providing innovative ideas into Fleetwood Homes’ and Palm Harbor Homes’ bid strategies, Cavco changed from a regional manufacturer to the second-largest national supplier, retailer, financier, and insurer of systems-built housing in the U.S.
During the 2008 economic market crisis, Urness demonstrated his valuable leadership by actively managing the company’s excess cash and investments to prevent that loss in value and liquidity that many other companies experienced. This proved critical when funding subsequent expansion.
By recognizing that the implementation of a company-wide enterprise resource planning IT system would be critical to future success, he worked closely with the IT department to identify and retain the chosen provider.
Urness volunteers as a youth leader in his free time.


Dale Wanek

Chief Financial Officer
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011With 12 locations and growing, the Boy & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix relies on Dale Wanek to oversee the accounting, information technology, human resources, and facilities functions.
In his role, Wanek has worked with the organization to achieve many milestones. During his tenure, the organization has had yearly clean audits without discrepancies. His vendor negotiations have resulted in savings of $150,000 in the past year. The Boys & Girls Clubs also remodeled existing locations, and has undertaken an expansion plan for a dental clinic that is expected to be completed in 2012.
Wanek’s innovative approach to finance has helped establish new policies, such as fortifying the organization’s reserves to maintain a minimum of 90 days of cash on hand, and strengthening the business relationships in the community to solicit donations.
Wanek also helped secure a $10.8 million new construction loan to build three new clubhouses. The organization recognizes him as both an easygoing and engaging person with whom to work.


Steve Ward

Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Steve Ward serves as both CFO and COO for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Arizona’s oldest and largest nonprofit AIDS organization.
Ward’s timely and effective tactics regarding finance have helped the agency excel during the economic crisis and beyond. By helping the agency with effective banking arrangements, it continues to have strong months of fundraising.
His ability to submit financial, operational, and qualitative program narrative data directly addresses grantor’s needs. The Southwest Center benefitted from Ward’s financial planning by receiving voter approval for $3.6 million in public funding to establish a community center.
He oversees a clinical trial program which previously lost $300,000 per year, but is now breaking even and growing in revenue thanks to his leadership.
Ward has been called an ambassador of collaborative, creative solutions among community partners. His popular “can-do” attitude and optimism have helped the agency become a critical outlet for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.


Margaret Wolford

Chief Financial Officer
Children’s Museum of Phoenix

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Margaret Wolford has assembled financial reporting systems and procedures that have advanced the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to an unparalleled level.
When her fiscal management began, the organization was staffed with a small operational planning group that oversaw $22 million in multi-year charitable gifts. After her influence and leadership, Wolford converted the museum’s systems to sophisticated management software.
The reporting systems she established advanced the museum to a level of efficiency many mature organizations have not yet seen. As a brand new museum, Wolford increased operational staff members from 12 to 85 in three weeks. The budget also skyrocketed to $3 million.
Aside from her museum duties, she is an activist working on issues of human understanding and world peace. She models both peaceful and humane behavior in the workplace, and embeds the principles of ethical practices into everything she does.


Michael Zimmerman – Winner, Large Private Company

CFO of the YearChief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President
The Go Daddy Group, Inc.

CFO of the Year Awards 2011 Finalists - AB Magazine November/December 2011Under the financial supervision of Michael Zimmerman, the Go Daddy Group is the world’s No. 1 domain name registrar and largest Web hosting company.
Responsible for financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, as well as daily financial affairs, Zimmerman has taken the initiative as a true leader over the past 10 years. He was instrumental in managing a financial deal with other investors worth more than $2 billion. Amid the economic recession, Go Daddy earned double-digit growth, thanks to Zimmerman’s relentless approach with financial tracking.
Under his leadership, Go Daddy also increased sales by 21 percent, added a new facility and hired 400 employees. Zimmerman also oversees Go Daddy Cares, which donated more than $4.7 million in 2011, surpassing previous contributions.
After negotiating a partnership with the “.co” domain name that resulted in a Super Bowl commercial, the marketing strategy generated more than a 500 percent spike in domain name sales.
Zimmerman shows commitment to doing the right thing with each decision he makes, and is known as a “down-to-Earth and appreciative person.”

Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

 

November Commercial Real Estate Networking Events

November Networking Events

November Networking Events

Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC)

Best of the West Awards
Nov. 3 & 5 p.m.
9495 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale

Come join the Western Maricopa Coalition for its 19th annual Best of the West Awards, which celebrates the best of Western Maricopa County, recognizing outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economic development in the county. Business or cocktail attire is required at this event. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m., while the dinner and awards start at 7:00 p.m.


NAIOP

NAIOP Golf Tournament
Nov. 17, 8 a.m.
9998 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale

Show off your best athletic skills at the NAIOP Golf Tournament at the Talking Stick Golf Resort. The pre-reception and registration begin at 8 a.m., with the shotgun start at 9 a.m. and the post-reception at 3 p.m.


Valley Partnership

Friday Morning Breakfast
Nov. 18, Dec. 16, 7 – 9 a.m.
2901 N. 7th St., Phoenix

Come check out Valley Partnership’s annual holiday wreath raffle at this month’s Friday Morning Breakfast, held at the Phoenix Country Club. Members are strongly encouraged to donate a holiday wreath, which will be presented and raffled off during the event. All proceeds from the raffle tickets will be donated to Maggie’s Place, the charity chosen for this year.


American Subcontractors Association of Arizona

Holiday Open House
Dec. 14, 4 p.m.
4105 N. 20th St., #230, Phoenix


Arizona Commerce Authority

Board Meeting
December 13, 10 a.m.
333 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

ACA focuses on recruitment of quality companies and jobs for Arizona as well as the expansion of established, local companies already here and will hold a board meeting December 13.

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

November Seminar Events

November Seminar Events

November Seminar Events

Arizona Multihousing Association

2011 Perspectives and Projections Conference
Nov. 10, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
100 N. 3rd St. Phoenix

At the Phoenix Convention Center’s south building, industry experts will answering questions geared toward the multihousing industry — including where the market is headed, how current inventory is being financed, who’s buying and selling in the state and the status of multifamily foreclosures. Experts include Barry Broome, Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Joe Snell, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities; Don Cardon, Arizona Commerce Authority; Elliott Pollack, Elliott D. Pollack & Associates and more.


Lambda Alpha International

Emerging Trends in Real Estate
Nov. 18, 7:30 a.m.
2901 N. 7th St., Phoenix

Come join Lambda Alpha International at the Phoenix Country Club for Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the most highly-regarded and widely-read forecast report in the real estate industry. This report will be presented along with breakfast for everyone present.


International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

Retail Green Conference and Trade Expo
Nov. 29-30
5350 E. Marriott Dr., Phoenix

Sustainability is now more important than ever, and ICSC’s Retail Green Conference and Trade Expo at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa intends to show everyone just how much better things have gotten in this field. Conference sessions here are meant to help business owners develop and refine more sustainable practices. Not only that, attendees are encouraged to share any experiences and advice with their peers.


Land Advisors Organization

Land & Housing Forecast
Nov. 30, 3 p.m.
340 N. 3rd St., Phoenix

Come join the Land Advisors Organization at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix for an interactive discussion of how current housing and land market conditions will affect real estate development. During this event, experts will be able to answer any questions you have, and hopefully give you a better understanding of the real estate industry.

AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Small Business Leadership Academy, Brandon Taylor - AZ Business Magazine November-December 2011

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Small Business Leadership Academy Helps Boost Knowledge Base For Executives

Like most small business owners, Brandon Taylor is always looking for ways to boost business.

“I wanted to learn how to be a better manager and entrepreneur,” says Taylor, president and co-founder of Scottsdale-based Small Business Leadership Academy - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011. “I eventually want to get an MBA and I thought the Small Business Leadership Academy program was a great step in that direction.”

Jointly developed by the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business insight, skills and knowledge of small business executives. The 10-week program is now in its fourth year.

“The curriculum is based primarily on courses taught in our MBA programs,” says Trevis Certo, an associate professor at Arizona State University who taught an SBLA module called Strategy for Competitive Advantage. “At the same time, we focus our discussions on  concepts and topics that are most relevant to small companies.”

Gaining a better understanding of those concepts that can impact a small business owner’s bottom line is what benefits participants the most.

“The SBLA program touches on strategy, marketing, procurement, negotiation,” Taylor says. “I have learned some important principles like Porter’s Five Forces (a framework for industry analysis and business strategy development formed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School), services blueprinting, and procurement techniques that have helped me think about ways to improve our business efficiency and day-to-day operations.”

Certo says increasing a business owner’s knowledge base is particularly important in a turbulent economic environment.

“Business owners are always looking for new ideas, and these searches are amplified during economic downturns,“ Certo says. “Several participants have discussed how competitors have ‘disappeared’ during the downturn. These disappearances provide opportunities for those who remain in the marketplace.”

Taylor is one small business owner who sees education as a way to grow his business and make it stronger

“The more I learn, the better businessman, leader and manager I become,” Taylor says. “Everyone gets caught up in day-to-day operations and your business becomes a job.  Taking the SBLA program has forced me to spend time improving the business operations and growing the company.”

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Learn more about the Small Business Leadership Academy

What it is: Small Business Leadership Academy
Who does it: W.P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor.
What it entails: A mandatory orientation followed by five modules – each consisting of two class periods — taught over a 10-week period. Classes consist of lectures, case discussions, group exercises and simulations, all geared to provide participants with key takeaways to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Requirements: To qualify, you must have a minimum business tenure of three years; have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million; have fewer than 100 employees; be able and willing to attend all scheduled classes and related activities.
Tuition: $4,000, which includes all instruction, books and materials, parking, and graduation. A limited number of scholarships will be made available.
Web: wpcarey.asu.edu

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011