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Sara Dial - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Sara R. Dial – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Sara R. DialChief development officer, Discovery Triangle Development Corporation

Dial is president and CEO of Sara Dial & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in site selection, government relations, and economic and community development. She also helps lead the Discovery Triangle, a nonprofit services company that hopes to form a coordinated, regional force for urban redevelopment.

Surprising fact: “I was a nationally-ranked competitive swimmer as a child. It taught me the skills to be successful in business and life: self-discipline, focus, drive and teamwork.”

Biggest challenge: “In 2008, Mayor Phil Gordon challenged me to create a big idea around urban revitalization. After months of research and outreach, the Discovery Triangle, a new approach to regional urbanism, was born. Today, the Discovery Triangle region is thriving.”

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

National League of Cities Gathering

Phoenix Hosts National League Of Cities Gathering

Phoenix impresses peers as host of National League of Cities Gathering

Inviting municipal leaders from across the nation to spend nearly a week in your city requires great measures of confidence and hospitality. It is bold exercise in peer review, not unlike inviting Martha Stewart and Miss Manners to attend a dinner party you’re hosting, or inviting renowned golf architects Pete Dye and Tom Fazio to play a round on links you’ve built.

So last month, when the City of Phoenix welcomed more than 3,500 mayors, city councilpersons and municipal planners to town for the National League of Cities’ 2011 Congress of Cities and Exposition, it was no small undertaking.

The event, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, featured four concurrent conferences―Green Cities, Economic Development, Infrastructure and Your City’s Families. Civic-minded attendees heard from prominent speakers and issue experts, participated in leadership training sessions, attended leadership training sessions and visited mobile workshops across metropolitan Phoenix.

“Mobile workshops highlighted everything happening in Arizona cities, from sports to sustainability,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said.

When all the educational sessions and site tours and were over, Phoenix’s peers left impressed.

“We had a great time in Phoenix,” said Bluffton (Ind.) Mayor Ted Ellis, who was elected as the new president of the National League of Cities during the congress. “Coming to Phoenix allowed our members a number of opportunities to explore innovative ideas and programs in the city and the surrounding area. Between various workshop sessions and mobile tours, the city and the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau provided an in-depth exploration of the most pressing challenges cities are facing today.”

The mobile workshops took participants to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Civic Space Park and Downtown Public Market, and several City of Phoenix leaders leant their voices and expertise to the cause. Mayor Gordon and Councilman Michael Johnson spoke at the opening general session, Councilman Bill Gates spoke at Green Cities Conference opening session, and Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark spoke at the biomedical campus mobile workshop.

Phoenix Art Museum hosted 300 attendees at the Board of Director’s Dinner, and the Arizona Science Center was the site of the congress’ closing event on Nov. 12. Spouses of attendees were treated to tours of Desert Botanical Garden and downtown, and youth delegates experienced “Zoo Lights” at the Phoenix Zoo.

Attendees also got an up-close look at some of downtown’s newest developments, including the expanded Phoenix Convention Center, METRO light rail, Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus, CityScape, and the Sheraton and Westin hotels.
“This event was almost a decade in the making, and what better time to showcase downtown Phoenix than right now?” said Councilman Johnson, who, as the President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, led tours and spoke at a number of events. “The feedback I received from conference attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. National League of Cities attendees were impressed with the quality of conference workshops, tours and other amenities Phoenix offers our visitors.”

The 2011 Congress of Cities generated an estimated $8.7 million dollars in direct spending for the city. It also gave city leaders the opportunity to demonstrate to their peers that Phoenix is a diverse and welcoming destination for meetings and conventions―a fact that has been clouded by the national debate over Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law.

The National League of Cities expressed opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law last year, and the group had felt pressure from some corners to pull the 2011 Congress of Cities out of the state. Instead, it chose to conduct the event in Phoenix as planned, and took the opportunity to add Immigrant Integration training seminars to the agenda. These seminars allowed attendees to learn about different programs and policies to integrate immigrants into the community―economically, socially and culturally.

Rebuffing critics who called for a boycott, the National League of Cities reaffirmed its decision to host the Congress of Cities in Phoenix, citing the following reasons:

To support Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns. The City of Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns have actively opposed to the state’s actions. As the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing cities nationally, we are going to Phoenix to support the efforts of the City and other Arizona cities and towns.

To promote and encourage constructive local action to integrate immigrants into the economic, social, and cultural fabric of cities through conference programming, training, and education.

As a continued call for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

For more information about the National League of Cities, nlc.org.

GoGreen Conference '11

GoGreen Conference ’11 Emphasizes Sustainability Education, Patience

Whether it’s educating attendees of green and sustainability in the workplace or the speakers’ efforts to educate public and private entities of sustainability in their community, “education” was the buzzword and couldn’t have been stressed enough at the GoGreen Conference ’11 this past Tuesday, November 15. Well, that and a lot of patience.

“It’s not just about being and going green,” said Ed Fox, chief sustainability officer for APS.” It’s about educating and sustaining it.”

Dr. George Brooks, owner of Southwest Green and NxT Horizon Group, agreed: “There’s more to sustainability than solar panels,” he said. “If you want to make sustainability and its process sustainable, you need to make it useful.”

More than 50 speakers from all over the state were in attendance for the first GoGreen Conference ’11 held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Furniture IKEA donated to the panel discussions will be donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

This all-day conference held back-to-back panel sessions with leaders of sustainable business, who educated attendees on the latest sustainable practices for their respective businesses.

City of Phoenix Major Phil Gordon announced that this was possibly his last opportunity to speak as an elected official about his and the city’s green efforts. He said that although mayor elect Greg Stanton was unable to attend the GoGreen Conference, Stanton is committed to “help build Phoenix as the greenest city.”

Gordon also shared Phoenix-area, sustainability-related statistics and accomplishments over the years, including:

  • Phoenix is home to the only solar light rail stop (near the U.S. Airways Center) in the nation, “maybe in the world.”
  • The city has raised more than $1M in incentives to businesses and homeowners for their sustainability efforts.
  • Through Solar Phoenix, the Valley has more than 425 solar-installed homes. These homeowners have saved 10 percent on utility bills, on average.
  • By 2025, 15 percent of the city will be powered by fossil fuels. And also by 2025, 25 percent of the city will be shaded throughout with canopies and palm trees.

Maria Baier, commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department, provided opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of supporting universities and higher education seeking research dollars for its sustainability efforts. She continues to speak about how to not only go green, but also stay green.

“In order to go green and stay green, we need to keep our product legitimate,” Baier said. “We need to continue to defend it and improve reliability and dependability.”

Rounding out the first session of the conference was Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability of Frito-Lay North America.

Halvorsen spoke about Frito-Lay and PepsiCo’s environmental sustain/ability journey — how they were able to confront their challenges (reducing its environmental impact), become an “embracer” of sustainability instead of a “cautious adapter,” and view sustainability as a competitive advantage — incorporating it into PepsiCo’s business with the following strategies:

  • Move Early: Over time, your business will evolve.
  • Balance Short/Long Term: Achieve near-term wins with long-term vision. Your business needs a foundation to help push longer-term envelopes.
  • Focus Top Down and Bottom Up: Track and monitor usage every day.
  • Measure Everything: By 2020, Frito-Lay predicts it will cut its diesel fuel usage in half.
  • Value Intangible Benefits
  • Be Authentic and Transparent: Share your business’s wins, losses and challenges.

“Sustainability for us is a journey and by no means are we there,” Halvorsen said. Jonce Walker, sustainability manager for Maricopa County agreed: “We are nowhere near done,” he said. “We still have so much left to do.”

Check back for part II of the GoGreen Conference ’11 coverage on AZNow.Biz.

For more information about the GoGreen Conference, visit www.gogreenconference.net.