Tag Archives: Peoria


Environmental Excellence Awards honor state’s best

The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar earned the coveted President’s Award (Best of Show) in Arizona Forward’s 35th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards, held in partnership with SRP. The project is the first Made in America streetcar in nearly 60 years.

Arizona Forward celebrated its 35th milestone anniversary of this historic program, in addition to the competition’s statewide expansion. For the first time ever, all categories were open to submittals from anywhere throughout the Grand Canyon State.

“We’re breaking new ground by broadening the scope of our largest, most prominent event, which has become known as the Academy Awards of the environmental community,” Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Arizona Forward announced to nearly 600 business and civic leaders at the Sat., Sept. 12 gala. “It’s inspiring to see all the good work contributing to the environmental sustainability and economic vitality of Arizona cities and towns.” 

More than 120 entries were received in Arizona’s oldest and most prestigious awards competition focusing exclusively on sustainability. Submittals from 30 communities within the Grand Canyon State were represented, 18 of which were outside of Maricopa

County. The ceremony was held at an exclusive new venue, Chateau Luxe, and attended by a prominent audience of influencers representing state, county and municipal organizations, as well as the corporate sector. 

Arizona Forward and SRP presented 17 first-place Crescordia awards and 31 Awards of Merit. Projects were recognized in a range of streamlined categories, including two brand new ones – the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future and Healthy Communities. Other categories include: Buildings & Structures, Energy & Technology Innovation, Site Development, Art in Public Places, Environmental Education/Communication and the SRP Award for Environmental Stewardship. 

Jurists selected the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar for top honors because the iconic project is vital to improving the look and feel of downtown Tucson while providing a much-needed boost to the community’s infrastructure. The $196 million endeavor is the largest and most complex construction project the city of Tucson has ever undertaken. The project also earned a first-place Crescordia in the Healthy Communities Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity category. Crescordia is a Greek term meaning, “to grow in harmony,” and the President’s Award is selected from among all Crescordia recipients.

Running through the city’s largest activity centers, the Sun Link Streetcar connects more than 100,000 people who live and work in the vicinity. It provides affordable, clean and comfortable travel, connecting five of Tucson’s most unique districts along a 4-mile line with 23 stops along the way.

The construction of the streetcar generated more than 500 jobs and triggered six new housing projects along the corridor. Boasting about 4,000 riders per day, this innovative project is fostering and connecting a healthy, vibrant community in southern Arizona.

Five southern Arizona projects earned first-place Crescordia awards, including the notable Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales. Northern Arizona yielded three Crescordia awards: the Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection, The Arizona National Scenic Trail, and Northern Arizona University’s multi-panel solar thermal hot air system. Central Arizona earned nine Crescordia awards. 

Steve Seleznow, president & CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation, served as lead judge for the competition. Other jurists include: William Auberle, senior consulting engineer of Pinyon Environmental Inc.; Klindt Breckenridge, president of Breckenridge Group Architects/

Planners; Robert Breunig, president emeritus for the Museum of Northern Arizona; Joseph Loverich, senior project manager for JE Fuller Hydrology and Geomorphology; Christopher McIsaac, policy advisor for energy and environment for the Office of the Arizona Governor; Suzanne Pfister, president & CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives; Lori Singleton, director emerging customer programs – solar, sustainability and telecom at SRP; Stephanie Rowe, AIA, LEED AP, principal of Reece Angell Rowe Architects; Richard Underwood, owner & president at AAA Landscape; and Cree Zischke, director of philanthropy at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward, Arizona Forward has brought business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the sustainability of communities throughout the state. The organization operates with the belief that businesses must take a leadership role in solving the complex and sometimes controversial problems that confront growing population centers.

In addition to Sun Link Tucson Streetcar, Crescordia winners include:

TEAM ARIZONA COLORADO RIVER SHORTAGE AND DROUGHT PREPAREDNESS (City of Phoenix/Central Arizona Water Conservation District/ADWR Partnership) — Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future

In response to dwindling supplies, Arizonans are forming strategic alliances and innovative water management strategies toward ensuring an adequate, safe and sustainable supply. Water providers and planners have stored nearly 3.4 million acre-feet of Colorado River water underground; partnered to store Central Arizona Project water in Tucson aquifers; aligned with irrigation districts in central Arizona and other partners to conserve and store water in Lake Mead; provided $5 million to help fund the pilot Colorado River System Conservation Program; and established the Northern Arizona Forest Fund to protect the state’s watersheds. These collaborative efforts have significantly increased the resiliency of Arizona’s water supplies.

TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT PIONEERING 11 MW SOLAR PROJECT (Natural Power and Energy)—Governor’s Award for Energy & Technology Innovation, Southern Arizona

At more than 11 megawatts, Tucson Unified School District’s groundbreaking solar generation project encompasses 42 schools and is the largest distributed school solar project in the nation without utility incentives. It represents TUSD’s commitment to renewable energy, reducing its carbon footprint, saving money and serving as a model of environmental stewardship to students and other school districts. The project will ultimately supply about 80 percent of the electricity needed at each site, save an estimated $170,000 in energy costs in its first year and more than $11 million over the 20-year term. Systems are now operational at 15 schools. 

MARIPOSA LAND PORT OF ENTRY (Jones Studio) — Buildings & Structures (Civic)

One of the busiest land ports in the U.S., the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, processes more than 2.8 million northbound vehicles each year. Built in the 1970s, the port demanded modernization and expansion due to growth in international trade and traffic volume. Completed in August 2014, the LEED Gold certified 55-acre site contains 270,000 gross square feet of buildings, inspection facilities and kennels for both southbound and northbound traffic. The central spine of the port is the oasis, a desert garden that runs the length of the main buildings.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA OLD MAIN RESTORATION (The University of Arizona) — Buildings & Structures (Historic Preservation)

Opening in 1891, Old Main was the first building on the University of Arizona campus. The approach to preserving this historical structure included bringing the exterior appearance and features back to their original grandeur while placing the functionality of a 21st-century university into a 19th-century shell. Old Main is the oldest LEED certified building in Arizona and a model for sustainable historical preservation. The existing building envelope was largely unaltered, yet new mechanical systems reduced energy use by 24 percent. Deteriorated masonry was restored instead of replaced. Subterranean water infiltration was addressed through concealed drainage systems that preserved the existing habitat comprising the Old Main “teardrop” site.

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN ARIZONA EASTON COLLECTION CENTER (Kinney Construction Services Inc.)— Buildings and Structures (Commercial & Institutional)

The Easton Collection Center is a 17,282-square-foot LEED Platinum certified facility. It provides an optimal environment for long-term storage of priceless museum collections and sets a high standard for environmental sustainability while reflecting the character of the region and its cultures. Features include a 14,000-square-foot living roof, a 22,000-gallon rain/snow water harvesting cistern, drought-tolerant native plants and bioswales to utilize surface runoff. The facility was designed around existing ponderosa pines, none of which were removed. Following recommendations from an American Indian Advisory Committee, the building has a number of symbolic and functional elements designed to make the Native community feel at home in the structure.


Reclamation Department) — Buildings and Structures (Industrial & Public Works)

The Regional Optimization Master Plan is among the largest construction projects in southern Arizona. It significantly upgraded and modernized the metropolitan portion of the Pima County Regional Wastewater System, resulting in water clarity and quality improvements; reduction of nutrient pollution; declining effluent flow extent due to higher infiltration rates; and aquatic wildlife quantity and diversity showing signs of improvement. The entire program was completed in 2014 at a cost of $605 million. Design and construction followed two intensive years of planning and coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, national engineering firms and local stakeholders.


Environmental Design) — Healthy Communities (Sustainable Communities)

The Downtown Tolleson Redevelopment Project was a 1-mile urban revitalization effort that set out to create a true sense of place for the city of Tolleson. It reflects the city’s history, culture and spirit while integrating sustainable design principles. The pedestrian-friendly destination environment serves as an economic driver for the community and provides a foundation for fostering private investment. Wide pedestrian sidewalk zones encourage restaurants to utilize on-street dining. Many of the themed custom-designed elements, including the award-winning art sculpture program, dynamic paving system, signage and custom tiled seat walls, reflect the cultural story of Tolleson and its proud heritage.

LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT TOOLKIT (City of Mesa) — Healthy Communities (Public Policy/Plans)

Like most communities spanning Arizona, the cities of Mesa and Glendale historically considered stormwater to be a nuisance that needed to be quickly eliminated through an expensive pipe and channel system. By developing and advancing Low Impact Development, these communities are shifting the stormwater paradigm and recognizing stormwater as a resource that can be used to promote healthy urban communities. LID is a stormwater management method that engages native materials and simple tools to reduce runoff and pollution. The toolkit provides a user-friendly menu of LID methods, best practices, technical requirements and construction details that help communities restore washes and enhance streetscapes or parks while cooling down cities at night.

HONEYWELL ARIZONA AEROSPACE – BEING THE DIFFERENCE! (Honeywell)— Healthy Communities (Sustainable Workplaces)

Employees at seven Honeywell Aerospace sites in Arizona are empowered and encouraged to carry out improvement ideas targeted at reducing the corporation’s environmental footprint.

Since 2007, projects have matured from implementing “Turn It Off” campaigns and installing occupancy sensors on lighting to larger and more impactful efforts, such as completing a Building Envelope Solutions initiative. The focus has also expanded to include water conservation and waste diversion. Since the program’s inception, 595 energy projects targeting energy and water conservation have been executed, resulting in energy savings of 202 billion British thermal units and water savings of 24.8 million gallons. In addition, more than 3.6 million pounds of waste has been diverted from local landfills in the last 18 months alone.

SOLAR THERMAL HOT AIR TECHNOLOGY (Northern Arizona University) — Energy and Technology Innovation

Northern Arizona University this year installed the first known multi-panel solar thermal hot air system in the country, demonstrating a long-standing commitment to decreasing its fossil fuel consumption. While renewable energy alternatives like solar and wind can reduce net electricity use, options for directly reducing fossil-based heating are more limited. Yet heat and hot water comprise nearly half the country’s energy demand so the opportunity for cost-effective solar thermal technology is massive. Technology utilized by NAU and developed by

Phoenix-based SolarThermiX is expected to pay for itself in a fraction of the time of campus solar and wind ventures. It holds promise for more than 650 major educational institutions that have signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment pledging to reduce long-term carbon emissions.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE AVENUE (SmithGroupJJR) — Site Development (Public Sector)

Conceived through a unique public-private partnership between ASU and the City of Tempe, the project transforms the existing multiuse transportation corridor into vital public realm space with a focus on walkability that encourages infill development and adaptive reuse of vacant land and buildings. Incorporating strategies from the National Complete Street Coalition, the project eliminates unused vehicular pavement by narrowing travel lanes to create dedicated bike lanes and shaded pedestrian walkways. A flexible urban plaza serves as a venue for events of all sizes. A unified, integral concrete paving design for the street, sidewalks and plaza spaces creates an extension of indoor and outdoor areas associated with nearby retail, including ASU’s College Avenue Commons. The use of bollards, lighting and street trees delineate traffic, creating separation for bicyclists and users while allowing for flexibility in event staging. The “new” people-focused College Avenue has transformed this district into a vital active space, providing a gateway to the city of Tempe and ASU that will serve generations to come.

VALLEY PARTNERSHIP COMMUNITY PROJECT (Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped) — Site Development (Private Sector)

Valley Partnership’s innovative annual Community Service Project this year benefited not only the Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, a disability service provider, but also the community at large. This collaborative effort involved more than 92 different companies from throughout the Valley joining together to design/build a work site project using donated resources. Grounds of the facility, used daily by people with disabilities, were transformed into a therapeutic garden featuring desert plants and accessible space that serves the entire neighborhood. Landscaping enhances the area’s environmental quality and conserves natural resources, with catchment areas to harvest water for native plant irrigation. Raised gardens allow people with disabilities to grow herbs and vegetables for meals prepared daily. Adapted gaming areas and eco-friendly park furnishings promote health and well-being.

THE ARIZONA TRAIL ASSOCIATION’S GIFT TO ARIZONA (Arizona Trail Association)— Site Development (Parks and Trails)

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is one of the most innovative and unique approaches to fostering long term environmental sustainability throughout the state. This extraordinary project spotlights Arizona’s amazing biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, encouraging stewardship of our natural assets. The vison was conceived 30 years ago by Dale Shewalter, a Flagstaff sixth-grade teacher who sought a way to instill a spirit of conservation in Arizonans through experiential environmental education. It became the mission of the Arizona Trail Association, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994. Thousands of people were inspired by the concept and toiled tirelessly to establish an 800-mile sustainable pathway from Mexico to Utah. Today, the Arizona Trail links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities and people in a pathway that is protected in perpetuity by an act of Congress.

PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIRPORT TERMINAL 3, SKY TRAIN STATION PLATFORM AND BRIDGE (City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture) — Art in Public Places

Arizona artist Janelle Stanley merged her experience as a Diné (Navajo) weaver with contemporary design to create the terrazzo floors at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Sky Train Bridge and Platform at Terminal 3. She relied on Diné weaving and basketry patterns to design the flowing shapes and intricate details in the floors’ winding paths of color, pattern and surprising textures. On the transfer bridge, the turquoise blue and black overlays represent the twisting and spinning that strengthens and elongates wool into yarn. The design of the station platform was inspired by details from Haak’u (Acoma) pottery and a piece of treasured family jewelry. Both designs convey the artist’s interest in expanding her cultural heritage to create vibrant new public spaces. The floors were fabricated by Corradini Corporation, using about 100,000 pounds of crushed aggregate, 20,000 linear feet of divider strip and 9,000 custom waterjet-cut pieces. This spectacular project will enhance the traveling experience for visitors and residents alike for years to come.

CITY OF PEORIA SUSTAINABLE U (City of Peoria) — Environmental Education/Communication

(Public and Private Sectors)

The City of Peoria’s Sustainable U program is open to all Arizona residents to educate, demonstrate and empower citizens to make responsible choices and lifestyle changes to reduce their environmental impact. By 2030, it is estimated that almost 5 billion of the world’s population will live in cities. The City of Peoria has a long history of educating its residents about water conservation, stormwater pollution and waste management. Recognizing the importance of education in changing behaviors, the city of Peoria created this new initiative to empower people to make a difference. Sustainable U offers a diverse list of workshops that utilize in-house experts, community partners and the Valley Permaculture Alliance. These engaging, interactive and fun workshops focus on topics such as: desert landscaping, edible landscapes, energy efficiency, composting, recycling, renewable energy, culinary classes, rainwater harvesting, and composting.


School of Architecture) — Environmental Education/Communication (Educators, Students and Nonprofit Organizations)

The University of Arizona School of Architecture has long held a reputation for teaching that fosters a respect and reverence for the environment. As topics of climate change and sustainability become increasingly urgent, UA felt it was necessary to develop ways to improve its curriculum to address the needs of the future. In surveying what peer universities were doing, UA discovered that single classes or lectures were becoming commonplace. Upon further research and discussion, its Sustainability Pedagogy Task Force proposed using the entire five-year Design Studio sequence, which is the backbone of the curriculum, as the armature for investigating and teaching the principals of sustainable design. Over the course of the five-year sequence, each area of focus is highlighted at least once, so it becomes evident to students how the entirety of the sustainability issue might be seen holistically.


Sustainability is core to all facets of operations at Arizona State University’s Facilities Management Grounds Services/Arboretum/Recycling departments on the Tempe campus.

The grounds team began analyzing operations about 10 years ago, making some easy changes such as leaving grass clippings on the turf and eliminating unneeded desk phones. Then they started sending all green landscape waste to Singh Farms to be converted to compost. The finished product was returned to campus for use in an organic fertilizer program, along with coffee grounds collected from university cafes. ASU’s recycling program now encompasses all

campuses and includes commingled blue bins, organics, a student “Ditch the Dumpster” initiative, construction debris recycling and special collection streams, all around a zero waste goal. This highly sustainable university also installed some of the Valley’s first solar-operated landfill and recycling compactors.




Name of Entry: Team Arizona Colorado River Shortage and Drought Preparedness

Submitted by: City of Phoenix/CAWCD/ADWR Partnership


Name of Entry: Central Arizona Conservation Alliance

Submitted by: Desert Botanical Garden


Name of Entry: NAU Solar Thermal Air Heating

Submitted by: Northern Arizona University




Name of Entry: Mariposa Land Port of Entry

Submitted by: Jones Studio



Submitted by: LEA Architects, LLC


Name of Entry: City of Maricopa City Hall

Submitted by: Gensler 


Historic Preservation


Name of Entry: The University of Arizona Old Main Restoration

Submitted by: Sundt Construction, Inc.


Name of Entry: The Newton

Submitted by: John Douglas Architects


Name of Entry: Silver King Marketplace / Padilla Park

Submitted by: EPG


Commercial & Institutional


Name of Entry: Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center

Submitted by: Kinney Construction Services, Inc. (KCS)


Name of Entry: Arizona State University Downtown – Sun Devil Fitness Complex

Submitted by: Gabor Lorant Architects, Inc.


Name of Entry: The VILLAGE at Prescott College

Submitted by: WEDDLE GILMORE black rock studio


Industrial & Public Works


Name of Entry: Regional Optimization Master Plan

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department


Name of Entry: Clarkdale’s Broadway Water Reclamation Facility

Submitted by: Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona


Name of Entry: Cornell │ Cookson Industrial Door Manufacturing and Offices

Submitted by: Jones Studio


Sustainable Communities


Name of Entry: Downtown Tolleson Redevelopment Project: Paseo de Luces

Submitted by: J2 Engineering and Environmental Design


Name of Entry: Stepping Stone Place

Submitted by: Chasse Building Team


Name of Entry: Mountain Park Health Center

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Multimodal Transportation & Connectivity


Name of Entry: Sun Link Tucson Streetcar

Submitted by: Engineering and Environmental Consultants


Name of Entry: Hardy and University Drives Streetscape Projects

Submitted by: City of Tempe


Name of Entry: GRID Bike Share

Submitted by: City of Phoenix


Public Policy/Plans


Name of Entry: Low-Impact Development Toolkit

Submitted by: City of Mesa, AZ


Name of Entry: ReinventPHX

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department


Name of Entry: Northern Arizona Forest Fund

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation


Sustainable Workplaces


Name of Entry: Honeywell Arizona Aerospace – Being the Difference!

Submitted by: Honeywell


Name of Entry: Risk Recycling

Submitted by: Maricopa County, Risk Management Department


Name of Entry: Workplace Wellness Nurtures Work Well Done

Submitted by: U-Haul International



Name of Entry: Solar Thermal Hot Air Technology

Submitted by: Northern Arizona University


Name of Entry: IO Modular Deployment

Submitted by: IO


Name of Entry: InfinitPipe®

Submitted by: QuakeWrap, Inc.


Public Sector


Name of Entry: Arizona State University, College Avenue

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Name of Entry: Phoenix Tennis Center

Submitted by: Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc.


Name of Entry: GateWay Community College Integrated Education Building

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR


Private Sector


Name of Entry: Valley Partnership Community Project

Submitted by: Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped


Name of Entry: Airport I-10

Submitted by: Wespac Construction Inc.


Parks and Trails


Name of Entry: The Arizona Trail Association’s Gift to Arizona

Submitted by: Arizona Trail Association


Name of Entry: Echo Canyon Recreation Area Trailhead Improvements

Submitted by: EPG


Name of Entry: Riverview Park

Submitted by: City of Mesa



Name of Entry: Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal Three Sky Train Station Platform and Bridge

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Shade for Transit Series

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Pinnacle Peak Water Reservoir Public Art Project

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Public and Private Sectors


Name of Entry: City of Peoria Sustainable U

Submitted by: City of Peoria 


Name of Entry: 7th Avenue @ Melrose Curve Recycling Awareness

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture


Name of Entry: Avondale – I Heart Environment

Submitted by: City of Avondale


Educators, Students, and Nonprofit Organizations


Name of Entry: Bachelor of Architecture Sustainability Pedagogy

Submitted by: University of Arizona School of Architecture


Name of Entry: Mrs. Green’s World

Submitted by: Mrs. Green’s World


Name of Entry: Water RAPIDS (Research and Planning Innovations in Dryland Systems) Program

Submitted by: Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona



Name of Entry: Arizona State University Facilities Management Grounds/Recycling

Submitted by: Arizona State University


Name of Entry: Sun Link Tucson Streetcar

Submitted by: Engineering and Environmental Consultants

Jackrabbit Trail

WESTMARC seeks Best of the West nominees

WESTMARC is seeking nominees for its 23rd Annual Best of the West Awards, celebrating the best of Western Maricopa County, in partnership with Cox Communications, and with support from Gila River Indian Community, Republic Media, APS, CopperPoint Mutual Insurance, Arizona Cardinals, and Sub-Zero.

The purpose of the Best of the West Awards program is to recognize outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economic development in Western Maricopa County. This region includes the cities, towns and areas of Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria, West Phoenix, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg, and Youngtown.

A panel of judges from outside our region will select the best from the following categories:

Economic Engine Award

Nominations for this award should include individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which have created a significant economic impact for the West Valley. Nominees from both the public and private sectors and from a variety of industries are encouraged.

Quality of Life Enhancement Award

Nominees should include individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which have enhanced the quality of life in the West Valley. Potential nominees could be educational opportunities, recreational programs or facilities, arts and culture venues, etc.

Excellence in Innovation Award

Nominees for this award should be individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which demonstrate an innovative concept to accomplish one of the following: fulfill a need for West Valley citizens, preserve the West Valley’s assets or resources, create an economic benefit, etc.

Also presented at the Best of the West, and selected by WESTMARC’s Executive Committee (no entries are required), will be the following awards:

• West Valley Excellence in Leadership

• West Valley Regional Advancement

You are encouraged to submit nominations that you feel deserve recognition. To nominate yourself or someone else, download nomination forms here.

Submissions must be postmarked or delivered by 5 p.m. Friday, August 28, 2015 . The Best of the West Awards will be presented Thursday, November 5, 2015 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Wigwam Resort.


Arizona beekeepers adjust as honey production slows

Locally produced honey is flying off the shelves – so much so that many honey producers cannot meet the production demands.

“I’m not having problems selling my honey,” beekeeper Dennis Arp said. “I’m having problems with producing enough.”

Fifteen years ago, Arp’s Mountain Top Honey Co. in Flagstaff produced 126,000 pounds of honey a year. Now the farm only produces 70,000 pounds, he said.

The farm has several hundred more hives than it did 15 years ago, but with fewer foraging options for nectar, wet winter weather conditions and unhealthy hives, the bees don’t produce as much honey.

Nationally, beekeepers did better last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey production was up 19 percent compared to 2013, totaling 178 million pounds of honey from keepers with five or more hives.

But local experts said Arizona hasn’t necessarily followed that trend, which can hurt consumers.

People with seasonal allergies have struggled this season as pollen floats freely through the air. Some consumers look to local honey as a natural remedy.

Customer demand is so high now, Arp has relied on buying honey from other beekeeper friends to sell to his customers.

Prices have soared, too.

Arp said retail prices range from $20 for a quart to $80 for a gallon.

Arp said he estimates the state has 30 to 35 commercial beekeepers.

Though some bee farmers are doing brisk business, they have had to change the way they operate.

Many beekeepers loan out their bees to make up for less honey production.

Osman Kaftanoglu, project manager of the Honey Bee Research Lab at Arizona State University, said many beekeepers transport bees to almond orchards in California to make extra money.

Arp said he easily makes $150 every time he sends one hive to cross pollinate almond trees. Transporting eight hives turns into $1,200.

Nearly half of Arp’s income comes from almond tree pollination, he said.

“The almond industry is keeping the bee industry alive,” Arp said.

Beekeepers face major challenges in keeping beehives healthy and productive.

It’s difficult to find the right location to raise bees.

Orange groves, where bees depend on orange blossoms, are either dying of disease or being replaced by urban development, according to the city of Mesa.

In 1970, the state produced steady amounts of citrus across 80,000 acres, but as of 2012, the state grows just over 17,000 acres of citrus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tim Moore, owner and beekeeper of Honey Hive Farms in Peoria, said he only keeps his hives on organic farms because there aren’t any pesticides that could harm the bees.

Farms do more than just use pesticides. Killing weeds that grow along farmland hurts bees that depend on the nectar-bearing plants like milkweed, Arp said.

There are other concerns as well.

One of the farms Moore uses is Blue Sky Organic Farms in Litchfield Park, where he keeps his hives in a secluded area.

On a recent day, he examined a group of about 10 hives, checking on the honey combs for signs of trouble. The noise from leaf blowers and tractors competed with the buzz from the bees. Moore said if the noise became too loud, the bees would get “agitated” and could swarm.

Arp said that relationship between bees and humans ¬¬– making sure people are safe – is another business concern.

Ultimately, researchers and beekeepers said bee education is necessary for better bee business.

Moore started the Phoenix Beekeepers Club, which offers beekeeping classes as well as beginner beekeeper support.

While Honey Hive Farms has been successful, Moore said he wants to scale back from owning 400 hives to something more manageable. He said that having fewer hives allow him to take better care of the colonies.

Beekeepers who stay on top of managing its queen bees and growing bee-friendly plants can make twice as much honey on half as many hives, Arp said.


Intravest Title adds sixth Arizona location

Intravest Title Agency, Inc. has officially secured its sixth location: the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors® (SAAR) new headquarters. The title company has been rapidly expanding since March 2014 and was chosen by SAAR to be one of only four carefully selected tenants to join its new building. Intravest Title is one of the premier title and escrow companies in the state and has grown from four employees to more than 40 in the past 11 months and has captured a top 25 market share ranking.

“We are excited to open our new office and give more of the Valley’s top escrow officers the opportunity to join our team,” said Dylan King, CEO/President of Intravest Title. “We strive to be a great place to work and put a real premium on maintaining a family culture and providing a true work-life balance for all of our employees.”

Intravest Title offers employees the perks of corporate America while still encouraging quality of life. The company boasts a proven sales team that is dedicated to building each escrow officers’ client base and an executive leadership team that truly values each employee and their ideas. Employees are provided with the latest technology, up-to-date training and administrative support to ensure their continuing success.

The new Scottsdale office joins the existing Camelback Corridor, North Phoenix, Peoria, Tempe and Prescott locations. SAAR will be hosting a grand opening for its new building on February 26. Stop by the Intravest Office if you are interested in learning more. For more information about Intravest Title or to inquire about employment opportunities, contact Dylan King at 602-300-9969 or via email at dking@intravesttitle.com.

Arizona Commerce Authority awards grants to innovators

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced the six winning companies in its Fall 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC). These grant recipients represent innovative Arizona entrepreneurs who are creating technological solutions with the potential for global impact.

The Fall 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge Grant Recipients are:

·       Iris PR Management – Phoenix, AZ (IT – Software): Iris PR Management is the developer of the first core management system for the public relations industry. The SaaS platform enables PR teams to manage and automate all of their daily activity, streamline efficiencies, measure performance and prove value. No other software solution for the PR industry addresses these core needs.

·       Iron Horse Diagnostics, Inc. – Scottsdale, AZ (Bio & Life Sciences): Iron Horse Diagnostics is the creator of a diagnostic platform for neurological traumas and diseases. The company’s tests support the diagnosis and management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as traumatic brain injury, concussions and other neurological diseases.

·       NuvOx Pharma – Tucson, AZ (Bio & Life Sciences): NuvOx Pharma is the creator of a therapeutic biotechnology for improving oxygen delivery in the bloodstream to help treat life threatening conditions, including radiation-resistant cancers. The nanotechnology platform is based on dodecafluoropentane (DDFPe) nano-emulsion, which transports hundreds of times more oxygen per dose than other materials.

·       Park Genius – Tucson, AZ (IT-Software): Park Genius is the developer of a mobile application allowing motorists to conveniently pay for parking using their smartphone. The software solution also gives parking providers a cost-efficient way to process cashless payments for their parking operations and avoid the need to purchase new and expensive hardware designed to accept credit cards.

·       Pure Chat – Scottsdale, AZ (IT-Software): Pure Chat is the developer of a live chat solution for websites that helps businesses connect to their customers from anywhere.

·       Spotlight Software – Peoria, AZ (IT-Software): Spotlight Software is the developer of a SaaS-based sales performance management platform. It is the only remote sales performance optimization tool that tracks and measures individual behavior and soft skills to drive the actionable insight required to build a high-performance sales team.

A panel of expert judges evaluated 154 applications from the Fall 2014 AIC submitted by companies based in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. The judges assessed each application on a set of criteria including technology potential, marketing strategy, quality of management team and economic impact. These companies represent high-value industry sectors that include IT software, IT hardware, bio and life sciences, cleantech/renewable energy, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, and aerospace and defense.

“Congratulations to our newest AIC winning companies. They demonstrate the innovative spirit and next-generation thinking that make Arizona one of the top hubs for entrepreneurial excellence in the nation,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.

Under the Arizona Commerce Authority, seven rounds of the AIC have been completed and more than 1,200 applications received for the program since 2011. Including the Fall 2014 recipients, the ACA has awarded 44 AIC grants to Arizona’s entrepreneurs to help them accelerate their businesses and advance technologies, which are diversifying Arizona’s innovation economy.

Jane Poynter, CEO of Tucson-based World View Enterprises, a Spring 2014 AIC grant recipient knows the importance of Arizona’s support of its startup community. Her company develops and manufactures high-altitude balloon technology that provides trips to near space for tourism, R&D and industry uses. World View’s unmanned balloons carry payloads for communications, surveillance, research, and launching microsatellites.

“Winning an AIC award last spring represented a key milestone for our company as well as for our relationship with Arizona,” said Poynter. “We are using our grant to begin standing up our balloon manufacturing facility. It is a key enabler for our company, and affirms that Arizona is interested in supporting innovation and the creation of manufacturing jobs in the state.”

Scottsdale Stadium, WEB

Scottsdale to host Ariz. United Soccer Club

Arizona United Soccer Club – the state’s only professional soccer team playing in USL PRO – will play in Scottsdale Stadium beginning in April 2015, the club announced today.

“This is the next step in professional soccer’s evolution in Arizona,” Arizona United Soccer Club owner Kyle Eng said. “Our mission is to serve the entire Arizona soccer community, and this move will bring the beautiful game to a wider audience. With Scottsdale Stadium’s proximity to restaurants and nightlife in Downtown Scottsdale, our supporters will enjoy a game day experience that is second to none.”

Winter home of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, Scottsdale Stadium has won praise for its intimate sight lines, fan-friendly facilities and central location. The City of Scottsdale partnered with the soccer club.

“The people of Scottsdale love sports, and soccer is definitely among the most popular, Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane said. “That’s why we are so excited to welcome the Arizona United Soccer Club to Scottsdale Stadium and Downtown Scottsdale. It’s a great venue in a great location, and it will provide a great home field advantage for Arizona’s only professional soccer team. We can’t wait to kick off the season.”

Arizona United Soccer Club played its 2014 USL PRO home schedule at Peoria Sports Complex after Eng bought the club a little more than a month before the season opener. Arizona United Soccer Club averaged about 3,200 fans in 16 home matches, posting a 7- 7-2 record.

“We are grateful to the City of Peoria and the Peoria Sports Complex for their support and hard work in our first season,” said Eng, founder and owner of Peoria-based Arrowhead Advertising. “With their help, we provided a first-class venue for our players, fans and partners.”

In Scottsdale Stadium, the soccer pitch will run north and south, with the north goal in front of the left field wall and the south goal along the first base line.

“We’re looking forward to a long and successful partnership,” Scottsdale Stadium Supervisor Jeff Cesaretti said. “Professional soccer will expose the stadium to a new audience and Scottsdale Stadium will provide a unique experience for soccer fans.”


BioInspire earns ‘Excellence in Innovation’ award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tailoring Jobs

Goodwill gets $30K Bank of America grant

Goodwill of Central Arizona recently received a $30,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation that will provide funding to Goodwill’s Computer and Customer Service Training (CCST) program. The grant is part of the bank’s focus on supporting local workforce development programs.

Goodwill of Central Arizona offers CCST training programs on-site at four (West Central Phoenix, Peoria, Southwest Phoenix and Yuma) of its 21 career centers. As a result of the grant, training services at these locations will be further supported.

Goodwill training programs feature a two-week curriculum that includes: technical computer skills (internet usage, Microsoft Suite), human relations services, and extended career preparation services. Additionally, the grant will enhance Goodwill’s ability to prepare more job seekers for long-term competitive employment at family-sustaining wages.

“We appreciate Bank of America’s support and dedication to our mission,” said Tanya Perry, chief financial officer. “We have 21 Career Centers throughout Central Arizona and with corporate support from Bank of America, we’ll be able to reach even more job seekers in their search for employment.”

All of Goodwill’s Career Centers offer on-site Career advisors, and provide job preparation and employment services including: interviewing skills training, resume writing, on-site hiring events and more. They are equipped with computers, printers, Internet access, telephones, and fax machines to provide services at no cost to the community.

“Having the right career preparation can make all the difference in helping workers to be successful in an already competitive workforce,” said Benito Almanza, Arizona market president, Bank of America. “We’ve seen firsthand the tremendous impact of Goodwill’s Career Centers career-readiness programs for underemployed and unemployed residents in aiding future employment success. Bank of America’s workforce development grants help continue this type of focused and effective job preparation opportunities because sustainable employment ultimately helps to advance financial longevity.”

Innovators get boost from Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) has selected 18 recipients for AZ Fast Grant, a highly competitive grant program that provides qualified Arizona-based, early stage technology companies with intensive training and technical assistance to help them commercialize their innovations, grow their businesses and create quality jobs.

“Early stage companies play a key role in developing innovations that fuel our state’s economy,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “The AZ Fast Grant program helps companies with critical training, technical expertise and the ‘know how’ to secure additional funding and commercialization opportunities to propel their businesses.”

Companies may use AZ Fast Grant awards for professional consulting services (that may include an expert review of technology under development); a commercialization feasibility study; or other commercialization assistance such as training to compete more effectively for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding programs.

More than 50 Arizona small businesses applied for this round of the AZ Fast Grant program and awardees represent a variety of target industries.

AZ Fast Grant Recipients include (Total: $141,000, plus an additional $134,000 in leveraged funds):

* Arbsource, Tempe – Bio & Life Sciences
* Arizona Medical Systems, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Elliptical Mobile, Chandler – Advanced Manufacturing
* Engineering Science Analysis Corp., Tempe – Aerospace/Defense
* Grannus, Tucson – Cleantech/Renewable Energy
* Hildeez Enterprises, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* MediCoventures, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Movement Interactive, Laveen – Bio & Life Science
* Kulira, Peoria – Bio & Life Science
* Prime Solutions Group, Goodyear – Aerospace/Defense
* QuantTera, Scottsdale – Advanced Materials
* Saccadous, Scottsdale – Bio & Life Science
* Score Algae, Scottsdale – Cleantech/Renewable Energy
* SiO2 Nanotech, Phoenix – Advanced Materials
* StatTransfers, Flagstaff – IT-Software
* Verve, Peoria – Bio & Life Sciences
* Vicinity Health, Chandler – Bio & Life Sciences
* YourLabs, Tucson – IT-Software

“I can honestly say the AZ Fast Grant really helped us get over the hump,” said Joe Marvin, Founder and President of Prime Solutions Group, a systems engineering and IT services company providing consulting expertise to government and defense contractors. Prime Solutions Group received AZ Fast Grant awards this year and in 2013.

With the help of AZ Fast Grant program support and technical expertise, the company recently secured $1 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for its SBIR/STTR program submission this past fall. “We used our last AZ Fast Grant for commercialization strategy development, and that went directly into our federal proposal,” said Marvin.

USA Place includes a 390-room Omni International hotel, 65KSF events center and exhibit hall, 545 Class-A apartments, 180KSF of street level retail, 240KSF of office space and underground parking. Rendering courtesy of Concord Eastridge.

Valley sports venues a slam dunk for developers

The Valley is already home to the largest concentration of Major League Baseball fields, used during the Cactus League Spring Training, but even more sporting venues are breaking ground and with them a variety of mixed-use retail, hospitality and multi-family developments. USA Place, Avenue Shoppes at P83 and Riverview Park are such milestone investments in the Valley. Between the three projects, more than three-quarters of a billion dollars is coming out of the ground next to major sports venues. There’s something to be said about the generating return of investment when a few months of star-quality use also needs to spur another eight to 10 months of revenue.

The key behind the three projects is that developers are focused on what happens when USA Basketball and Major League Baseball Spring Training games are not filling the stadiums. It’s the “off-season” activities that return the investment and ensure successful revenue streams. These are “they’re coming; now we can build it” developments. However, each has its own business plan for success.

A City Built Around a Campus

Susan Eastridge, Concord Eastridge

Susan Eastridge, Concord Eastridge

When USA Place, the largest of the trio, broke ground in February, it became the second-largest Phoenix Metro project under construction. Its $450M price tag is second only to the nearby $600M Marina Heights project. Designed by Future Cities, one of the development partners, and Architekton, the single-phase project is being built by Turner Construction. CBRE is handling the office and residential leasing; Cushman & Wakefield is leasing the retail.

The joint venture that is USA Place LLC is run by Scottsdale-based Concord Eastridge. CEO Susan Eastridge says the project is the ultimate urban mixed-use development. Located on the future Tempe trolley line, USA Place is the new home to USA Basketball and Arizona Interscholastic Athletics. When it comes to filling the venue, AIA and landlord Arizona State University are the ones who will keep the 65KSF events center filled 10 months of the year. Eastridge says there are already 200 events a year locked into the facility.

Alisa Cutright-Thompson, Concord Eastridge

Alisa Cutright-Thompson, Concord Eastridge

“This is a community where people can literally live, work and shop,” explains project manager Alisa Cutright-Thompson. “We have retail shops, apartments for professionals, the events center, meeting space and a hotel in a single urban complex.”

“We’re building something that ASU and Tempe have wanted — a class-A hotel and mixed-use community,” says Eastridge.

“The AIA will fill the center with more than 200 events per year. Conferences and meetings from the hotel will fill the rest. The residents will connect with the shops.”

The high-rise, full-service hotel- and tallest building in Peoria- will have 140 rooms and likely carry a Hilton brand. The restaurant-retail complex will include more than 245KSF in space. The city is paying $30M for the twin parking garages that PSP LLC will build. Avenue Shoppes at P83. Image courtesy of Peoria Sports Park, LLC.

The high-rise, full-service hotel- and tallest building in Peoria- will have 140 rooms and likely carry a Hilton brand. The restaurant-retail complex will include more than 245KSF in space. The city is paying $30M for the twin parking garages that PSP LLC will build. Avenue Shoppes at P83. Image courtesy of Peoria Sports Park, LLC.

A Venue for Westsiders
One of the largest projects in the West Valley will be the $150M mixed-use retail and hospitality development called the Avenue Shoppes at P83. Anchoring the main gate of the Peoria Sports Complex, the project brings life to the P83 entertainment district the city is trying to create.

“This is going to be a destination,” says Peoria Sports Park LLC managing member Michael Oliver. The Peoria-based developer says his personal experience is what led to the vision for the facility. “There are no entertainment and shopping destinations in Peoria. We’re going to anchor this with a complex that is in a category falling between Scottsdale Fashion Square and Kierland Commons. It will be a place to go and stay, not just shop and run.”

The development includes city-funded parking garages and a 140-room, high-rise hotel. Not including the rooftop bar, there are 245K SF for restaurants and shopping. PSP is looking at a major flag for the hotel, which will be set on top of the retail complex on city-owned land.

The Avenue Shoppes will start construction in the next year and is estimated to costing $150M. Michael Baker Jr. Inc. is handling design duties; a contractor has not been selected. CBRE is consulting on leasing.

The Cubs Park stadium has touches of Wrigley Field. The bricks behind home plate and the scoreboard are replicas of the same facilities at the Chicago ballpark. The Sheraton Hotel and Wrigleyville will be east of Cubs Park. Photo by Eric Jay Toll.

The Cubs Park stadium has touches of Wrigley Field. The bricks behind home plate and the scoreboard are replicas of the same facilities at the Chicago ballpark. The Sheraton Hotel and Wrigleyville will be east of Cubs Park. Photo by Eric Jay Toll.

Mesa ‘Ville Plans Year-Round Action
“This is new money in the market, and it’s a destination with both regional and local opportunities,” says Mesa Mayor Scott Smith about the showcase Cubs Park and hometown Riverview Park complex nestled against the Loop 101 and 202 freeways in northwest Mesa. “It’s the anchor for a lot of activity,” he adds. “Wrigleyville’s hotel and shops provide an opportunity for conferences and sports events.”

The city invested more than $90M into Cubs Park and another $30M into the recreation and sports facilities at Riverview Park. Structures, Inc., and Powers Hotel Corp. will build a full-service Sheraton Hotel next to Cubs Park, along with 20K SF of retail space in the first phase.

Construction starts this summer and developer Bob Yost expects it to be completed in time for the Super Bowl. Structures Inc., with Yost as CEO, is handling the design-build. It’s estimated that the hotel-retail project will cost more than $60M, but no one from Structures would confirm the price tag.

The Loop 303 interchange is under construction. Photo courtesy of ADOT.

Headed for a boom, the West Valley is ready to go

Clumps of curved freeway fragments balancing on massive pillars of concrete resemble a giant modern art sculpture greeting Interstate 10 travelers through the far West Valley of the Phoenix Metro.

Later this year, those “art” segments will gel into a multi-level interchange linking the I-10 and the Loop 303, and launch the area’s burgeoning commercial development into warp speed.

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

The new interchange “will be a game changer,” said Kevin Czerwinski, president of Merit Partners, broker for the 1,600-acre, master-planned business park PV303, which straddles the confluence of those roadways and stretches north along the Loop 303 to Camelback Road.

For nearly a decade, the West Valley, loosely defined as everything west of Interstate 17, has been quietly emerging as the metro area’s hotbed for commercial development. It has been fueled by dwindling East Valley land availability and affordability and better transportation access. After completion of the Loop 101, developers quickly gobbled up land along the freeway for homes, shops and businesses. Then they continued the westward expansion.

Now the Loop 303 is offering another close-in frontier and shovel-ready options for new and growing businesses to expand or set down roots in the metro area. The nearly completed semi-circle of highway linking the I-10 and the I-17 will provide a high-speed route to northern states, bypassing metro area traffic congestion — a boon to companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which recently completed a 720,000 SF distribution center in PV303 to service its Western U.S. stores, Czerwinski said. And to other retailers such as Macy’s, TJ Maxx/Marshall’s and Target, e-commerce giants such as Amazon, and high-end manufacturers such as Sub-Zero and Cookson Doors that ferry lots of merchandise intra- and inter-state.

It’s more than just big-box industrial sites popping up in the West Valley.

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

Acres of farm land or empty desert hide the fact that in the offices of forward-thinking developers and savvy city economic strategists, there are detailed plans for office, light industrial and retail centers, medical complexes and regional malls to be built on that un-shoveled land.

“The West Valley’s day is coming,” said John W. Graham, president of PV303 developer Sunbelt Holdings.

Sunbelt was a big player in the East Valley boom of the 1990s and early 2000s, developing residential communities from McDowell Mountain Ranch in Scottsdale to Power Ranch in Gilbert and mixed-use complexes such as Hayden Ferry Lakeside in Tempe. Graham says the same scenario is playing out west of Phoenix now. Land Advisors CEO Greg Vogel compares Goodyear today to Gilbert of a decade ago.

First came the houses
As available and affordable East Valley land dried up, a spate of residential building in well-designed West Valley communities such as Vistancia, Estrella and Verrado have attracted home buyers at all price points, Vogel said.

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

A whopping 35 to 40 percent of Phoenix metro area residents now live in the West Valley, Vogel said. And all those people need places to shop, bank, and find medical care.

“Residential drives everything,” he said.

Now supermarket-anchored shopping centers and big-box power centers are springing up, two regional malls are on the drawing board, and spec office buildings are breaking ground — despite Valleywide office vacancy rates topping 22 percent. The completion of the Loop 303 interchange will accelerate that trend as it eases drive time for those who work in Phoenix but live in the far West Valley — or want to, Vogel said.

Goodyear, which is in the enviable location at the foot of the new interchange, has been proactive pitching its bounty. That includes PV303 and Goodyear AirPark, a 267-acre, shovel-ready business park at Litchfield Road and Highway 85, said Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, the city’s development services director. And Wakefield-Saenz expects Westcor’s long-planned 1.1 MSF Estrella Falls regional mall to start ringing up sales — and sales tax — in 2016.

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Wakefield-Saenz predicts that even more executive offices, high-end retail and high-quality manufacturing businesses will clamor for space in Goodyear during the next decade because of the in-place infrastructure and the educated workforce already living there.

Farther north in Surprise, the story is similar. In 2008, Sands Chevrolet built the first dealership in Prasada, a 4-square-mile, mixed-use development straddling the Loop 303. Now car buyers can shop at eight different dealerships at 303 AutoShow. And more are coming, said Jeff Mihelich, Surprise’s assistant city manager in charge of the Community and Economic Development Department. Neighborhood shopping centers are in the ground or on the drawing board as well, and another regional mall is pegged to land in Prasada, although no date has been announced.

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

But Mihelich doesn’t want to just provide shops and services and ease the daily commute for Surprise residents. He wants to lure more quality office and industrial employers so that residents can live, work and play in their hometown. Five years ago, Surprise reorganized its economic development department and goals to focus on becoming a major employment base, “concentrating on head-of-household jobs — people who will buy homes, go to restaurants,” he said. Major strategies included streamlining approval processes, persuading developers to pre-plan projects and build infrastructure before target tenants showed up, encouraging spec building, and aggressively marketing all those attributes, Mihelich said. That positions Surprise to take advantage of pent-up business expansion plans as the recent recession wanes, he said.

“When companies are expanding, they often have contracts in hand,” he said. Having property ready to build on can mean the difference between landing or losing a major employer, he said.

Optimistm Abounds
That optimism and pre-planning is not just happening in Goodyear and Surprise. Thanks to a wealth of available and affordable land, developers are eyeing West Valley cities from Avondale and Buckeye to Peoria and Glendale as future business hubs.

Justin Miller, Alter Group

Justin Miller, Alter Group

The Alter Group teamed up with property owner John F. Long to take advantage of the area’s growing popularity among home builders and buyers by developing three major business parks to attract employers. Algodon Center is a 1,000-acre mixed-use campus in Avondale and west Phoenix, Aldea Centre is a 150-acre business park at 99th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, and the 229-acre Copperwing Business Park is adjacent to Glendale Airport. All three have infrastructure and zoning in place and the flexibility to accommodate Class-A, back-office and light manufacturing operations, said Justin Miller, Alter Group vice president.

“The West Valley is a big component of our future,” Miller said. “It’s an area that Corporate America can use and expand because of the abundance of land.”

He’s not concerned about high office vacancies in the metro area. The easy commute for all those road-weary West Valley residents and shovel-ready land are compelling draws for big and small employers as they ramp up their businesses, he said. Valley dwellers who haven’t ventured west of the I-17 for years might be surprised to see the explosive growth.

“If people have not been to the West Valley in a while, they should come and take a look at us,” Mihelich said. “It’s truly a robust market. People outside of Arizona are noticing.”

Monterey Pines, WEB

Monterey Pines in Peoria Sells for $10.8M

Marcus & Millichap announced the sale of Monterey Pines, a 216-unit apartment home community in Peoria, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix. The $10.8M sales price equates to $50,000 per unit.

Cliff David, a Marcus & Millichap vice president investments, and Steve Gebing, a senior director with Institutional Property Advisors, a Marcus & Millichap company, both located in the Phoenix office, represented the seller, Murano Properties. David and Gebing also advised the buyer, Mentor Properties Inc.

“The interior amenities and community advantages offered by Monterey Pines are unparalleled for an asset of its vintage,” says David. “The property’s physical improvements include well-designed floor plans that amplify the available living space and feature revenue enhancement capabilities through existing washer/dryer connections.”

“Furthermore, Monterey Pines is located within a submarket that is poised for smart growth through the city of Peoria’s 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2013-2022,” continues David. “The plan is a $463M investment in 166 different capital projects focused on coordinating efforts with schools, utilities, developers, and other agencies for the express purpose of creating sustainable community assets.”

Developed by Hrebec Properties in 1984, the apartment complex is located on 10 acres at 8650 W. Peoria Ave. in Peoria, just south of the Bell Road retail corridor, which is anchored by the Arrowhead Towne Center, a 1.2 MSF regional mall.

Apartment interiors at Monterey Pines feature garden kitchen windows, oversized walk-in closets with double rods and shoe shelves, individual exterior storage rooms and covered private patios/balcony decks. Community amenities include two swimming pools and a spa, a poolside ramada with built-in barbecues, a newly integrated and lighted sport court, horseshoe pit, shuffleboard, playground and picnic area, reserved covered parking, contemporary clubhouse and complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity in the clubhouse and pool area.


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.

Sonoma Place, Colliers

Sonoma Place Apartments in Peoria Sell for $6.53M

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix recently completed the $6.53M sale of the 100-unit Sonoma Place, located at 11600 N. 75th Ave. in Peoria, for $65,300 a unit, or $80.33 a SF.

Denver-based Investment Property Exchange Services acquired Sonoma Place from Mentor Properties of Scottsdale. Bill Hahn, Jeffrey Sherman and Trevor Koskovich of Colliers’ HSK Multifamily team represented both parties.

Built in 1985, Sonoma Place is a two-story apartment complex with two bedroom/two bathroom units on 7.4 acres with 81,280 net rentable square feet. Recent renovations include new interior and exterior paint, landscape enhancements, refinished countertops, improved fixtures and the installation of washers and dryers into units.

Common amenities include a swimming pool, spa, outdoor barbecues, business center, playground and large grassy courtyards.

Sonoma Place is near higher education opportunities and entertainment destinations including Glendale Community College, Arizona State University’s West Campus, Arrowhead Towne Center, Westgate Entertainment District and University of Phoenix Stadium.


Cancer Center Creates Synergy with Like-Minded Life Savers

Cancer is a scary word.

“The word ‘cancer’ is actually the general name given to some 100-plus diseases from breast to lung to skin cancer, and is when cells in a specific part of the body begin to grow out of control,” said Dr. Daniel Reed, co-founder of Arizona Center for Cancer Care (AZCCC) in Peoria.

While the word itself may be general, those fighting its 100-plus diseases are anything but.

“No two cancer patients are alike – and no two patients’ treatment should be either,” said Dr. Reed, who understands this firsthand as his grandmother fought breast cancer while he was in medical school, inspiring him to go into the field.

Depending on a patient’s needs, he/she may require cancer treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both. If being treated with a combination, West Valley patients were often required to go to different cancer centers throughout the Northeast and Southeast Valley – sometimes hours away – for regular care. Unsatisfied with West Valley patients’ access to nearby facilities and support services, Dr. Reed partnered with fellow specialists Drs. Christopher Biggs and Terry Lee in 2008 to launch Arizona Center for Cancer Care in Peoria. Their mission, simply put, was to become the future of cancer treatment in Arizona.

“Our multi-specialty treatment center was designed to give us the ability to offer comprehensive cancer care to patients on this side of town – something never done before in this community,” said Dr. Reed.

Upon launching the facility, the group quickly became the first of its kind to offer West Valley patients Brachytherapy, which is an effective, less-invasive treatment for prostate, breast, lung, esophageal, gynecologic and head/neck cancers, among others. They also became the first to invest in and offer Radiosurgery to the area using a state-of-the-art technology called RapidArc® radiation therapy.

“This very precise form of therapeutic radiation uses beams of radiation to treat cancerous tissues without a surgical incision or opening, allows patients to receive treatment in as little as 10 minutes, compared to the several hours it used to take with older technologies like the cyber knife and gamma knife,” said Dr. Reed.

In 2008 the radiation oncologist and team realized they were ready to expand and partnered with prominent medical oncologist Dr. Devinder Singh and his practice, Arizona Center for Hematology and Oncology, increasing the practice to 10 physicians and the West Valley’s first comprehensive cancer practice. By 2011, when the Peoria center became Arizona’s only freestanding radiation oncology facility to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for accreditation, they had also added gynecological cancer treatment to their growing list of patient services, another first for the West Valley.

Over the past year, two major events have happened:
First, it partnered with Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists (ABCS) and Arizona Radiation Oncology Specialists (AROS) to expand into the Scottsdale and Southeast Valley markets.
Then, thanks in part to relationships with ABCS and AROS, the group joined together to enter into a long-term relationship with Scottsdale Healthcare, wherein AZCCC is now overseeing the Piper Center’s ENTIRE radiation oncology wing and beyond.

Today, the practice in total now boasts 52 physicians, more than 200 employees and 20 partner offices Valleywide as a result.

“We are a cancer center without walls whose services stretch into every inch of this community, offering the West Valley with the best doctors, best treatment technologies and best research in the country,” says Dr. Reed. “Cancer is a disease of survivors – and we want to keep it that way.”


Sun Health launches personalized memory care program

Sun Health has launched a Memory Care Navigator program, the newest offering in the nonprofit organization’s rapidly growing collection of community health programs.

Peoria’s Marty Finley, M.Ed. has been selected as the Sun Health Memory Care Navigator, who will provide personal and professional guidance to patients, family members and caregivers coping with the emotional, psychological and physical effects of dementia. The Navigator will prepare a plan of care individualized to their needs, and will serve as a liaison between patients and families, their physicians and ancillary community services.

Specifically, the Navigator is available to:

• Assess the needs of the patient and family and provide confidential consultation;
• Link patients and family members to education, support groups and assistive services in the West Valley;
• Be an ongoing resource for families and caregivers as new challenges arise through different stages of dementia;
• Educate patients and family members about available local clinical trials that they may discuss with their physicians; and
• Collaborate with and communicate recommendations to each patient’s physician.

“We want to provide a comprehensive resource that minimizes the stress of caring for a loved one with dementia,” Finley said. “A number of wonderful resources exist in the West Valley that can benefit dementia patients as well as their caregivers and families. We want to help people to be aware of these resources and take advantage of them”.

While local physicians can refer patients to the program, family members and other caregivers can also contact Finley directly. She can be reached at 623.832.9300. More information about the Memory Care Navigator program can be found at www.SunHealth.org/memorycare.

The program is offered at no charge to patients and their families, thanks to funds raised in the community through the Sun Health Foundation. Other nonprofit community health programs supported through the Foundation include Sun Health Care Transitions, Vial of Life and File of Life.

In addition, Sun Health will expand the free programming available through its Community Education series to include several seminars each month on topics related to brain health, dementia, and caregiver challenges. The monthly Sun Health Community Education lineup can be found by visiting www.SunHealth.org and clicking Community Education.

Banner Good Samaritan

E.V. residents can preview Banner Health Center

East Valley residents and visitors can be among the first to see the new Banner Health Center at a free “Community Preview” from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the center located at 1435 S. Alma Road, south of the Loop 202 between West Pecos and West Germann Roads.

Participants can hear the opening remarks and join in the dedication at 8:30 a.m., followed by a celebration including healthy snacks, giveaways, children’s activities and information about Banner Health facilities and services. Community members are invited to meet the center’s primary care physicians and staff, tour the new center, and even make an appointment to see a physician.

Banner Health Center in Chandler will open for patient care on Wednesday, Aug. 7 starting at 7 a.m. Staff physicians will include two pediatricians, three family medicine physicians and one internal medicine physician with plans to increase in the future. Along with 18 exam rooms, basic imaging and laboratory services are also available on site for added patient convenience.

Banner Health Centers accept most insurance plans. The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday with same day and next day appointments available. Concierge staff answers the phones one hour before and one hour after center hours. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (480) 668-1600.

The center will offer a wide range of services including:
·         Well-child checkups and immunizations
·         Adult physcials
·         Care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma
·         Treatment for ear aches, sore throats and infections
·         Sports injury and fracture care
·         Minor skin irritation treatment
·         Cuts and suture removal

The Banner Health Center in Chandler is the third of four in the East Valley to open after a shared groundbreaking on Oct. 25, 2012. Banner Health Center in Queen Creek opened May 1; a center in Gilbert opened May 22 and another will open in East Mesa in early September. An additional Banner Health Center opened in Goodyear within the planned community of Estrella on July 10, joining the existing Banner Health Centers in Peoria/Sun City West, Surprise, Buckeye in the Verrado Community, Maricopa, and South Loveland, CO.


CORE Institute Supports High School Athletes

Phoenix-based orthopedic group, The CORE Institute hosted sports physical which provided local athletes and organizations with the opportunity to support athletic programs. The exams cost $25 and 100% goes back to each respective athletic program.

The CORE Institute was able to raise and donate over $4,300 to local high schools in the Peoria and Dysart School District.  Sports physicians at The CORE Institute were able to complete more than 170 enhanced school physicals during this annual event. Student athletes are required to complete a sports physical in order to participate in their high school team sports.

“Participation in team sports is a significant part of High School for students that builds character, teaches teamwork, and improves one’s physical fitness,” said John Kearney, Jr., MD of The CORE Institute. “Our providers and staff are engrained in the community and enjoy giving back, we raise families in this community and we all work with student-athletes already – this is just one way that we can continue to give back.”


SRP Donates $94,500 to Nonprofit Agencies

Salt River Project employees are turning their volunteer hours into much-needed funds for the nonprofit organizations they assist through the SRP Dollars for Doers program.

The program contributes funds, ranging from $250 to $1,000, directly to community nonprofits based upon the number of volunteer hours donated during the 2012 calendar year by SRP employees. The grant program is designed to provide funding to nonprofit agencies that are also supported by the volunteer efforts of SRP employees.

“SRP has a distinct heritage built upon responding to the needs of our customers and the communities in which they live, and we recognize the value of providing support to organizations whose programs are improving the lives of our community,” said Jen Martyn who manages the SRP Volunteer Program.

SRP donated $94,500 to 106 nonprofit agencies in which 141 SRP employees donated more than 29,000 hours of their time and experience in cities throughout the Valley, including Avondale, Camp Verde, Casa Grande, Chandler, Douglas, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Higley, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Page, Peoria, Phoenix, Pine Top, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Scottsdale, St. Johns, Tempe and Tolleson and Tucson.

Employees contributed to their community in a number of ways, including:

· coaching youth football, baseball, soccer and swimming,
· providing children with special needs horse therapy rides,
· ushering during arts and cultural events,
· preparing meals for those in need,
· mentoring and providing leadership to youth and
· assisting schools through parent-teacher organizations and booster clubs.


JacksonWhite Names First Female Shareholder

JacksonWhite P.C. announced that attorney Susan Court was made a shareholder of the firm.  Court joins 12 other attorneys at JacksonWhite who share the distinction of shareholder.

Court joined JacksonWhite in 2005 and focuses her practice on elder law, probate, guardianships, conservatorships, and estate planning. Court assists clients with end-of-life issues including incapacity, mental illness and the transfer of assets before or after death. She is a member of the Arizona Fiduciaries Association as well as the State Bar of Arizona. Court is a former Maricopa County prosecutor and taught Business Law at Mesa Community College and Chandler Gilbert Community College. She is also active on the MCC Development Board, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

Founded in 1983, JacksonWhite P.C. offers a full-range of services to assist individuals, families and businesses with their legal needs. Since its inception, the Mesa firm has grown steadily to include 22 highly experienced attorneys and over 40 paralegals, legal assistants and staff. At this size, the firm is large enough to offer the efficiency and technical expertise of larger firms, yet small enough to provide clients with individualized, personalized attention. JacksonWhite has three offices around the state of Arizona including a Mesa, Casa Grande and Peoria location. For more information on a specific attorney or area of practice, visit www.jacksonwhitelaw.com or www.arizonaseniorlaw.com.


City of Peoria honors BioAccel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Youngtown becomes GPEC’s 21st member community

The Town of Youngtown recently joined the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) as its 21st member community. Youngtown is located at the Agua Fria River between Peoria, Sun City and El Mirage, and has a current population of approximately 6,200.

“We’re thrilled to have the Town of Youngtown on board at GPEC,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “Youngtown is a unique, up-and-coming community with tremendous potential for economic growth. We’re excited to assist with their plans to move forward as a community.”

“The 21st GPEC community for the 21st Century — we’re proud to take a seat at the GPEC table,” Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault said. “Youngtown is well positioned to be a vibrant and vital player in the region’s bright economic future.”

Youngtown was originally designed as a retirement community but has since evolved to accommodate young people and families. The community’s “village” feel sets the town apart from the rest of the region. The Town’s general plan for 2025 has a robust focus on economic development, targeting community revitalization, public relations and marketing, and business enhancement, attraction and diversification.

“Youngtown’s addition to GPEC’s family of communities speaks volumes about the depth and breadth of services available to its member communities and companies,” said Jim Lundy, GPEC’s board chairman and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona. “Whether an established business or startup, an older community or one just starting to rev up its economic engine, like Youngtown, GPEC offers expert economic development advice, marketing, research and prospect leads.”


Shea Homes reports steady sales for Q1

Shea Homes saw its sales hold steady through the first quarter of 2013, with its West Valley communities seeing higher than normal sales. Close to two thirds of the sales for Q1 came from Shea’s West Valley communities in Peoria, Buckeye, and Litchfield Park, which is a turn from the boom of its East Valley communities.

“Our overall traffic is up and sales have remained steady from last year, which was a huge recovery over 2011,” said Ken Peterson, VP of Sales and Marketing for Shea Homes. “We have seen hot spots in the West Valley- specifically our luxury homes at Vista Montaña in Peoria, where home prices have averaged $600,000.”

Shea’s two newest product lines, luxury homes and luxury villas, have shown tremendous growth so much so that an additional 23, out of a total of 43 homesites, were opened at Vista Montaña II earlier this year and the luxury villas are being expanded to a new community breaking ground in Verrado later this summer. The new community, called Vallarta at Verrado, will feature 63 homesites with luxury villa floor plans similar to Shea’s Vistancia community; Caletas at Blackstone.

Shea has been active in the East Valley as well, specifically San Tan Valley and Gilbert, where its innovative product SPACES at Evans Ranch has only one inventory home left. Evans Ranch was opened in May 2012 and has sold out ahead of projections. Shea Homes is currently building 9 models at Marbella Vineyards opening late-summer and getting ready to break ground for models at their Bridges communities in Gilbert. With close to 500 lots soon available and showcasing a completely new approach to homebuilding Shea Homes continues to challenge industry standards.

“Our homes at Marbella will be something the Valley has never seen before in homebuilding, it will completely redefine the concept of how the industry has built homes in the past,” said Peterson. “This summer will be an exciting one for us.”


11 SRP Employees Honored for Volunteer Work

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of their time, efforts and expertise to their communities, 11 SRP employee volunteers were awarded the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Awards. These dedicated employees have given countless hours of their time to help families put food on their tables; provide guidance to Latino youths as they prepare for college and give children with special needs horse therapy rides.

“Each year SRP recognizes inspiring employee volunteers who give of their time to helping Arizonans through a wide variety of community organizations,” said Rosemary Gannon, manager of SRP Community Outreach, who added that SRP employees and retirees, with help from their friends and families, donate thousands of volunteer hours a year to their communities. “Strong, thriving communities rely on the volunteer efforts of individuals like these recipients.”

This year, in addition to the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award, SRP employee Kyle Bridges was honored with the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his sustained leadership role in addressing significant human service needs in his community. The late Karl F. Abel, a Glendale resident who served as president of SRP from 1972 to 1982, was a strong community advocate and  provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations.

The 2013 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Chandler resident Holly Schaefer – AZ Happy Tails Animal Rescue
Holly Schaefer is a founding member of AZ Happy Tails Animal Rescue, which was established in 2009 to rescue and find loving homes for animals that are stray, abandoned or at risk of euthanasia. To date, AZ Happy Tails has rescued and found homes for more than 400 animals. Schaefer is responsible for all animal intake and adoption decisions, and she coordinates with foster homes to supply them with food and bedding and help with any other needs they may have.

Gilbert resident Barbara Sprungl – The Centers for Habilitation (TCH)
The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) provides promotes independence for Arizonans with developmental and physical disabilities. In 2010, Barbara Sprungl joined TCH’s board of directors, and she volunteers more than 20 hours a month. She chairs the Fund Development Committee and is vice chair of the Finance, Governance and Executive committee. She volunteers for fundraising events and helps with everything from setup and operation to planning. Sprungl implemented a new formal fundraising model and trained the rest of the board on the new approach. In 2012, she raised $12,500 for the Monster Mash Sponsorship Committee.

Glendale resident David Larson – Cactus High School Robotics Team
The Cactus High School Robotics Team is experienced in building, maintaining and operating robots. David Larson has been a mentor and coach since 2009 and volunteers an average of 67 hours a month. Because of his time investment, the robotics team has shown dramatic improvement. Larson readies the team for FIRST Robotics competition and this year they built a robot that plays basketball. Larson also holds workshops for welding, tube and wire soldering, painting, and many other skills. He also started a safety program, complete with a study guide and an exam for the program.

Mesa resident Kyle Tilghman – American Youth Soccer Organization — Region 1079
The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) provides soccer programs for children ages 4–19 and Region 1079 is the largest soccer program in the East Valley. The region is run completely by volunteer coaches and referees, and a number of volunteers dedicate a lot of time to securing soccer fields and marketing the organization. Kyle Tilghman has been a volunteer coach with AYSO’s Region 1079 since 2006. Six years ago, he was volunteering three hours a month, but over the years, he has taken on more responsibilities. In addition to coaching and refereeing, he serves as the coach administrator for the region.

Peoria resident John Buonagurio – Theater Works
Theater Works is a nonprofit performing arts organization that has been serving Peoria and the West Valley for more than 25 years. John Buonagurio is a volunteer of nearly three years and is chairman of the board. He also serves on the Governance, Development and Artistic committees. It has been a challenging time for Theater Works, like many other arts organizations, as support at all levels has waned because of the recession. Buonagurio’s leadership over the past few years has brought continuity to Theater Works during a time of change and challenges.

Peoria resident Mark Burkhart – St. Mary’s Food Bank  Alliance
St. Mary’s Food Bank alleviates hunger by gathering and distributing food to  two-thirds of Arizona’s 15 counties and is committed to volunteerism, building community relationships and improving the quality of life for Arizonans in need. Mark Burkhart has planned and managed a golf tournament that raises between $10,000 and $15,000 annually. Burkhart is dedicated to St. Mary’s and knows that every dollar he raises means seven meals for the hungry. In the 10 years he has been coordinating the golf tournament, he has helped St. Mary’s serve more than 900,000 meals.

Peoria resident Jim Custis – Joni and Friends Arizona
Joni and Friends Arizona works with local churches and organizations to form outreach programs for those who face the daily challenge of life with a disability. For the past six years, Jim Custis has been fundraising for the organization’s Family Retreat program, which provides a respite for families affected by disabilities. Custis and his family have raised more than $20,000 and spend about 15 hours a month volunteering with Joni and Friends and one week of vacation every summer serving families affected by disabilities.

Peoria resident Christopher Rodriguez – AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute
AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute prepares Latino/Latina youth, beginning as high school freshmen, for college admissions and graduation. Christopher Rodriguez fundraises, serves on the board of advisors and uses his bilingual skill to help Spanish-speaking parents understand the benefits of AGUILA and the importance of higher education for their children. He’s also a mentor, helping these students pursue their goals of higher education. Rodriguez is dedicated to this program because he knows many of the youth who attend AGUILA will be the first in their families to attend college.

Phoenix resident Shari Brady – Arizona FIRST Lego League
Arizona FIRST Lego League (FLL) is a robotics program for students ages 9–14 that promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects. Shari Brady began volunteering when she was an ASU student and continues to volunteer about 17 hours a week. She serves on the Advisory Committee, which plans regional tournaments and helps develop volunteer recruiting strategies. This year, the tournament was expanded to include remote northern Arizona teams, allowing a number of school teams from Native American communities to participate without long travel times to tournament venues.

San Tan Valley resident Kyle Bridges – Epic Food Mission
Epic Food Mission provides hope, help and support to families facing financial difficulty in the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley area. Every first and third Saturday of the month, Epic Food Mission provides food boxes, baby food and personal hygiene items for distribution to those in need. For five years, Kyle Bridges has volunteered with Epic Food Mission, serving as the organization’s distribution coordinator. He is responsible for organizing 50 volunteers and six team leaders to prepare hundreds of care packages for families. Bridges donates 50 hours of his time each month. For the past three years, he has also found time to volunteer with Compassion Connect, which helps unite and mobilize local churches, nonprofits, schools, and businesses to provide free dental and medical care for underserved populations.

San Tan Valley resident Marty Sonnenberg – Angel Acres Inc.
Angel Acres Inc. is a program created by Marty Sonnenberg in 2003, successfully combining her love of working with special-needs children with her love of working with horses. Every year from October through May, Sonnenberg and other volunteers teach grooming and horse therapy riding as part of a six-week program. During that time, Sonnenberg donates nearly 90 hours a month to keep program costs low and allow all the funds raised to go directly to the program. To date, the program has helped more than 446 children and given more than 2,680 therapy rides.