Tag Archives: phoenix

LightRailQuestion

Phoenix tackles public transit head on

Remember what it was like to rely on Phoenix public transit last century?

Not in the early part of the last hundred years, but as recent as the 1990s. Phoenix had limited bus service and no service after midnight or Sundays. It was not the best system for a rapidly growing city.

At that time, the city created The Transit 2000 Plan. The plan focused on expanding bus service, building the light rail and creating public transit infrastructure. The plan was designed to create a new public transit system for the sixth largest U.S. city.

Public outreach was significant. There were numerous public meetings on the plan and surveys on the plan were sent to Phoenix households. The plan, and its funding source, four-tenths of a cent sales tax was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in March 2000. The tax would expire in 2020.

The successes of the plan are evident. Light rail is more popular than predicted and bus service has been expanded. However, what the city did not count on in 2000 when projecting the revenue from the tax, was two economic crises, the Sept. 11, 2011, downturn and the Great Recession of 2008. The money generated is less than projected. Consequently, many projects in the plan, such as light rail expansion, remain unfinished. More importantly, the funding source expires in 2020. In effect, all that has been achieved could shut down.
The city remains committed to public transit and is not going to wait until the money runs out to address the situation. Phoenix is also facing a funding shortage with respect to traditional road and freeway transportation.

Combining transit and transportation, the city created the “Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation,” a group of 30-plus individuals with diverse interests and expertise, who are assessing the current transit/transportation status and the looming expiration of the funding source.

The committee is thoroughly reviewing all aspects of Phoenix transit/ transportation and will report to the mayor and city council before the end of the year.

skd283121sdc

Actors Theatre closing its doors

Actors Theatre, which has produced compelling, thought-provoking and often edgy plays for nearly 30 years, is closing its doors.

The Board of Directors has unanimously voted to cease operations and liquidate the professional theatre company over the next 30 to 60 days.

“The simple truth is we’re out of money,” said Actors Theatre Board President Renee Gerstman. “This was not the result of a single event, but a combination of factors, primarily based on the fact that revenues – both earned and contributed – did not meet expectations and we found ourselves in a cash-flow crisis.”

Producing Artistic Director Matthew Wiener said that artists and staff involved in the scheduled productions of Annapurna, Stage Kiss and The Year of Magical Thinking started receiving notification of the shut down on Thursday.

“As we were preparing to produce Annapurna, we looked at the situation to determine how best to move forward,” he said. “We recognized that what Actors Theatre does and, most importantly, the way we do it is not sustainable in our community at this time. Among our strongest guiding principles is to pay everyone – and that includes artists and arts workers – a living wage. The economic dignity of our all of our artists and arts workers is one of our highest values, but our donor base and individual and season ticket sales were not substantial enough to provide the financial resources to support the cost structure of professional artists to the degree it needed to be.”

Gerstman said the company will “work through outstanding obligations to the best of our ability during the next 30 to 60 days. We also know we will receive questions about tickets that have been purchased. Though we would like to say we will refund those tickets, we simply can’t. We’re hoping that our patrons and supporters will consider taking the expense as a tax deduction after consultation with their accountants or CPAs.”

Wiener, who has been artistic director for 19 years, said that “the company made great strides and many changes over the past two years and we heard from a broad base of individuals that Actors Theatre is important. Unfortunately, while we agreed with those opinions, they did not translate into the revenue necessary to sustain the organization and we were unable to significantly improve our financial position.”

In a joint statement, Wiener, Gerstman and Black expressed their “deep and abiding gratitude for the support of our loyal patrons and those individuals, organizations and businesses who stood behind us. We are also incredibly humbled to have been able to work alongside a remarkably talented group of artists and staff to bring to the stage the type of productions that matter.”

“We are incredibly proud of Actors Theatre’s legacy over nearly 30 years.” Wiener added. “We know that many patrons left most of our productions affected by and talking about what they saw on stage. Perhaps we will again see those or similar productions and the high professional quality of what went on both on and behind the stage. In the meantime, and in spite our deep, deep sadness at this time, we do know that there are many great arts and cultural opportunities in the Valley. Perhaps we will be part of them again sometime in the future.”

football

Bluewater offers Fiesta and Cactus Bowl deals

Calling all Wildcats, Broncos, Huskies and Cowboys!  Bluewater Grill Phoenix is making it easy for students, alumni and fans of the teams playing in the Fiesta and Cactus Bowls to enjoy Arizona’s freshest sustainable seafood before, during or after the big games.

Now through Jan. 5, 2015, Bluewater Grill in the Camelback Corridor of central Phoenix will offer a free cup of its award-winning clam chowder or choice of an appetizer to fans in town for the 44th Annual VIZIO Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31, 2014, and 26th Annual TicketCity Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2, 2015, with the purchase of an entrée at the regular price. (One free cup of chowder per purchased entrée, or one free appetizer per party.)

To take advantage of this special offer, participants must present an official logo or team name of one of the four schools, or identify themselves as a fan, to their Bluewater Grill Phoenix server before ordering on or before Jan. 5, 2015. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. One free cup of chowder per purchased entrée, or one free appetizer per party. Some selections on the menu may not be available.

Bluewater Grill will also extend its popular weekday happy hours, featuring $4, $5 and $6 drink and appetizer specials, during all bowl games throughout the Bluewater region of San Diego, Southern California and Phoenix:

Specializing in the absolute freshest sustainable seafood, Bluewater Grill, Bluewater Boathouse and Bluewater Avalon have emerged as a leading family of seafood restaurants since the first location opened in Newport Beach in 1996.  Lunch and dinner menus feature more than 40 varieties of fresh seafood and shellfish served annually. Other highlights include outdoor patios, shellfish bars, kid’s menus, full bars and wine lists, weekday happy hours and monthly tasting events.

Guests visiting before Jan. 5, 2015, can enjoy a special Western version of “Holiday Baked Stuffed Maine Lobster,” the classic New England holiday family.  The limited-time Bluewater Grill offering includes a whole Maine lobster stuffed with a special shrimp and buttery panko-crumb stuffing and served with choice of two sides, unlimited fresh sourdough bread and a Bluewater Grill bib for a market price up to $34.95.  At least 15 minutes prep time is required.

Bluewater Grill is located at 1720 E. Camelback Rd., in the Camelback Corridor of central Phoenix. The phone number is (602) 277-FISH (3474).

School District

Autism schools open in Phoenix and Chandler

Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) today announced the opening of the CARD Academy schools in Phoenix and Chandler, Ariz. They are opening two private day schools for individuals with autism that use applied behavior analysis in the approach.

CARD Academy is a place where children and families can learn, play and thrive.  The curriculum is based on the Department of Education standards and is enhanced by CARD’s own assessment and curriculum called SKILLS®, a technology used by teachers and administrators to organize lesson plans, track progress, identify trends and allocate resources such as extra training.  SKILLS® is aligned with the Common Core curriculum.

“We are thrilled to open schools in Arizona that will offer students with autism an individualized education where they can grow and thrive,” said CARD Academy senior managing supervisor, Mary Ann Cassell, MA, BCBA, LBA.

CARD Academy is designed after the CARD home-based therapy program for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and has developed an institution focused on teaching excellence.  Students receive a personalized curriculum based on their performance on several assessments.  Once the assessment process is completed, teachers and administrators work to create a dynamic Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  Student/teacher ratios range from 1:1 to 4:1 based upon need.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that one in every 68 children in America is diagnosed with ASD, with one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls diagnosed.  This is more than a 30 percent increase since the 2008 report.

As the prevalence of ASD has increased, services for children with ASD have not always kept pace with demand. As a result, families affected by ASD may encounter challenges when trying to access the services that are crucial to their child’s development, such as an individualized education in the classroom.

Holiday Parties and Premises Liability Concerns

Proper etiquette for holiday work parties

‘Tis the season for holiday parties in the workplace. While the mood is festive and relaxed, it’s still a work function, and there are things you should remember as you navigate the holiday gathering.

Career coaches Charles and Sherri Mitchell, the co-founders of All About People, a Phoenix-based professional recruitment and hiring firm, say that according to surveys, about 15 percent of companies who have holiday parties say inappropriate employee behavior has impacted an individual’s career growth at a company.

Avoid behaviors like the ones below, and you’ll be at the top of next year’s guest list.

1. Excessive Eating. People who attend events understand that food and drinks will be part of the experience. Enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and buffet, but don’t eat like it’s your only meal for the week. Properly discard napkins, toothpicks, etc. vs. leaving on the table. You don’t want to be labeled as the “messy” party attendee.

2. Excessive Drinking. This is probably the most common mistake some employees and leaders make at company holiday celebrations. Don’t forget where you are — at work! — with coworkers and managers. Treat the party as an extension of your work day. Keep in mind that everything has the potential to turn into judgment about your professionalism. Limit drinks with alcohol to a maximum of two. Regardless of an open bar, nobody should over-consume!

3. Inappropriate Attire. You’re not going to a club, you’re going to a work party. Leave the form fitting, low cut, sequined dress in your closet and lighten up on the new perfume. For men, dress conservatively as well. Same goes for your new cologne … easy does it! This may be a holiday party, but you’re rubbing elbows with your coworkers, not your friends and family. Think about the image you’d like your coworkers to have of you in the coming months. You do need to see these people — and work with them — again on Monday morning.

4. Mingle. Be sure to acknowledge all your coworkers. This is a great opportunity to spend time with associates you don’t know, as well as leaders in the organization. Talk to your coworkers and bosses about work only in a positive fashion. No one wants to listen to someone complaining all evening. Engage your coworkers and management about topics outside of work like hobbies, family, etc. Don’t forget to listen. That’s as important as small talk!

5. Attendance. This is a work function. Some think if they show up discreetly late, circle the room once, speak to a few colleagues, the boss and a direct counterpart that you will be safe to leave 20 minutes later. Understand this: showing up fashionably late is not okay. Arrive within the first 30 minutes if possible. Everyone remembers who stayed for just a few minutes. Senior managers should make a point of staying as long as possible. That means if you’re not there when the event starts, you should certainly stay until the end.

healthcare

Nomination deadline nears for Healthcare Leadership Awards

Az Business magazine is dedicated to bringing the stories of healthcare leaders, innovators, researchers and advocates to its readers. Each April, Az Business shines a special spotlight on the medical industry through its annual Healthcare Leadership Awards.

Arizona’s healthcare industry is a tremendous economic engine for the state and is making Arizona a better place to live, work and recreate. The selection committee is looking for the physicians, hospital administrators, researchers, medical companies and healthcare innovators who are making a difference in our communities.

The categories include:

• Healthcare Advocate of the Year
• Insurance Provider of the Year
• Researcher of the Year
• Medical Research Company
• Legal Advocate of the Year
• Medical Company of the Year
• Bioscience Company of the Year
• Physician of the Year
• Healthcare Executive of the Year
• Medical Center of the Year
• Lifetime Achievement Award

Now is the time to get your nominations in for the 2015 Healthcare Leadership Awards. Is there someone in the healthcare industry who you think deserves this honor? Is there a healthcare facility or company that is impacting the community is serves? Az Business wants to know. Click here to nominate a person, facility or company today. Nominations must be completed by Dec. 29, 2014.

Rosalinda Court Apartments_9-Units_Globe Street

Rosalinda Apartments sells in Phoenix for $545K

Cooper, Cardinal and Company LLC, a boutique multi-family investment brokerage firm with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, recently closed the transaction for Rosalinda Apartments, a 9-unit turn-key multi-family community located in Phoenix, Arizona. The sale price of $545,000 equates to $60,556 per unit or $61.44 per square foot.

Jack A. Cardinal, a Managing Director of the firm, and Jennifer Runyon, an Investment Associate, represented the buyer in the transaction.

“The sellers did a great job stabilizing the property. The asset consists of 80 percent, two bedroom and one bath units; and, all units have washer/dryer in each unit. These two key components are what attracted the buyer to this acquisition.” stated Cardinal.

The 8,870 SF apartment community was built in 1986 on a 0.59-acre lot. Jennifer Runyon added, “Properties like Rosalinda are valuable building blocks for a solid foundation to a successful multifamily portfolio.”

housing.prices

Phoenix housing market ending relatively flat year

After several years of wild roller-coaster activity, the Phoenix-area housing market is ready to end a relatively flat year. That’s according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the highlights of the new report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of October:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up just 4 percent from last October to this October – from $200,000 to $208,000.
• Demand remains lower than last year, with sales of single-family homes down 5 percent from last October.
• The Valley is experiencing a very small bump up in two areas – investor interest and new-home sales.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family-home price rose just 4 percent more – from $200,000 to $208,000 – from last October to this October. Realtors will note the average price per square foot also went up 4 percent. The median townhome/condo sales price rose only 2 percent.

“We’ve seen very little change in the Greater Phoenix housing market for the last year, and stability is the order of the day,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Price increases look tame over the last 12 months and even tamer if you examine just the last six months. There is no longer any real upward price momentum greater than the general level of inflation.”

Orr’s report notes that demand in the market remains lower than last year. In fact, the amount of single-family-home sales dropped 5 percent from last October to this October. Activity from first-time home buyers has been unusually low, in part because some people had their credit badly damaged during the housing crash and also because millennials are waiting to enter the home market until later in life than previous generations. These are also reasons the rental market is strong. Rents have increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months in the Phoenix area.

Meantime, Valley foreclosures have dropped way down over the past year. Completed foreclosures of single-family and condo homes were down 19 percent from last October to this October. The lack of cheap foreclosures here has been largely driving investors to other areas of the country, where bargains are more plentiful. However, there was a little bump back up between this September and October. The percentage of residential properties bought by investors hit 15.5 percent, the highest level since May, but still well below last year’s levels.

“Investors and out-of-state buyers are showing a small recovery in buying interest, but to get our market back to what we would consider normal will still require a major increase in demand from local first-time home buyers,” explains Orr.

Some expect the coming introduction of conventional home loans with a lower, 3-percent down payments next year to stimulate more interest, but Orr isn’t sure this will make a major dent. He anticipates small, incremental improvements.

“The big economic gains of the last few years have helped companies, but not necessarily the average person who might consider taking out a home loan,” says Orr.

One other note from Orr: The market share for new-home sales is doing better and has recovered to 14 percent – the same level as October 2013. Taylor Morrison, Pulte Homes and Meritage Homes are leading the way in the Phoenix area.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

technology

Cox Arizona announces multiple employee promotions

Cox Communications has announced that three Phoenix-area employees, Zabrina Mogro, Scott Martin and Scott Magee Jr., have been promoted and will each be taking on new responsibilities as field supervisors.

With more than a combined 30 years of experience at Cox Arizona, each of the new field supervisors will be responsible for leading a team of Cox field technicians and overseeing their team’s repairs and maintenance of Cox residential services.

Zabrina Mogro has worked for Cox as a Universal Home Technician in field operations since 2007 where she also served as a mentor for other technicians. She served four years in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller before arriving at Cox. Mogro has been promoted out of Cox’s Tempe location.

Scott Martin began his career at Cox in 2006. During his time with the company, he has progressed and has held the positions of an Expert Technician with Home Security, a mentor to other technicians, and has also served in an interim leadership role. Passionate about development and leadership, he is a 2014 graduate from the Cox Communications Building Blocks Leadership Course and has also been involved in several special projects including the 2008 Super Bowl and Gigablast at Cox. He has been promoted out of Cox’s Scottsdale location.

Scott Magee Jr. started his telecommunications career in 1999 working as a Cox contractor with Western Cable. During his time in Field Operations, he became a three-product expert while also mentoring other technicians and serving in an interim leadership role. He has also been promoted out of Cox’s Scottsdale location.

High Street

11 new companies coming to High Street

Just in time for the new year, High Street in Phoenix is welcoming 11 new companies to their family of tenants. Vacant spaces at High Street will soon be filled with an array of new businesses, including a vacation rental office, nail spa, tea shop and creative studio. The shopping, dining and entertainment destination located just north of the 101 on Deer Valley Road has recently added Sprouts Corporate, Barbershop Jacks, Firehouse Subs and newly signed office tenants include Alliance Home Loans, Impact Global, Hanover Insurance and WJ Bradley.

AZ Vacation Rentals
Whether you are visiting Arizona for the first time or are a returning traveler, Arizona Vacation Rentals offers the finest professionally managed vacation homes in Arizona. Arizona Vacation Rentals has a wide selection of fully furnished vacation rental homes, villas, condos and townhomes which are equipped with kitchens, spacious bedrooms with baths, vaulted ceilings and a variety of amenities including private pools, pool tables, BBQ’s, big screen televisions and more. Even better, our properties are usually located near the most popular Arizona tourist attractions; top area golf courses; superb shopping and dining.

M3V Nail Bar
M3V Nail Bar is a sleek and stylishly designed nail spa that offers a unique, unconventional version of classic nail services with distinctive, relaxing experiences served in a laid back and hip environment.  This modern nail bar offers quality services at a great price, with the beverage bar included within the price keeping the experience hassle free. Whether it is the amazing white tea and fig scent, high quality hot coffee, refreshing morning mimosa’s, uniformed employees with name badges welcoming our guests at the door or relaxing on the couch while e-reading my book; all of this makes our guests smile and look forward to the next appointment.

Tea2Go
The dream of living a healthy lifestyle without giving up on taste is what drives the team at Tea2Go. Tea2Go brings the amazing health benefits and tastes of loose leaf tea from all around the world to the every-day man and woman. We provide an enjoyable experience for our customers while educating on what tea can do for their health brewed fresh in the store or at their very own home. Our unique tea blends are crafted from some of the most high quality tea leafs and ingredients from around the world to bring our customers the strongest flavors, most options, and greatest health benefits all at affordable prices. Tea is great for you and should be able to be enjoyed by all! Whether you are driving by and need your thirst quenched or want to take one of our 120+ flavors of tea home with you to brew, we strive to bring you the highest quality product at the most affordable price.

Pinspiration
Pinspiration is a creative studio space where everyone (young and old) is an artist! Enjoy painting, jewelry making, upcycled décor projects, clay, children’s projects and more in a beautiful setting. Linger with friends over a glass of wine. Relax with no hassles. No mess no excuses. Need inspiration?  Pinspiration’s list of monthly rotating projects feature all the materials and tools needed to create the most frequently pinned and popular craft trends on social media sites, such as Pinterest. Pinspiration removes barriers and saves you time. Step in for a unique and entertaining experience, where community meets creativity.

Sprouts
With an impeccable eye for what’s next in nutrition and a continuous drive to go the extra mile. Sprouts Farmers Market works to deliver the best possible shopping experience, helping customers live a healthy lifestyle at an affordable price—not just buy groceries. Sprouts is a healthy grocery store offering fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices. Since 2002, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with the best-in-class service—and to improving it every day.

Barbershop Jacks
Barbershop Jack is a full service, upscale, barbershop for the modern man and his family, catering to the client looking for top quality cuts, straight razor shaves, cutting edge products and shoe shines. Stop in and you will be transported to a whole new era, with 1950’s chairs, marble counter tops and dark wood stations. You will discover an “old fashioned barbershop experience” taken to a whole new level of sophistication. Barbershop Jack’s offers top of the line services, products, and complimentary refreshments for clients of all ages.

Firehouse Subs
With more than 800 Firehouse Subs restaurants in 42 states and Puerto Rico, owners are convinced we’re doing a few things right. This popular sub shop is known not only for superb customer service, but for having the best meats, cheeses, and toppings. People come back again and again because, unlike other sub places, Firehouse Subs steam heir meats and cheeses, releasing a rush of flavors, then stuff a serving that’s way over code on one of our toasted private recipe sub rolls. It’s a winning combination that satisfies ravenous appetites and the value conscious alike.

phoenix

UA’s Phoenix campus has nearly $1 billion economic Impact

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton today announced that the economic impact of the UA’s downtown Phoenix academic medical center in 2013 was $961 million, according to a report released by nationally recognized consultants Tripp Umbach.

“Our College of Medicine and the academic medical center have become key generators of economic impact for Phoenix and Arizona,” said President Hart. “It is through the great support of the city, the state and our partners in the medical center that we have been able to achieve this kind of impact.”

The Tripp Umbach report outlines the impact of the health science colleges and the surrounding academic campus as defined by the City of Phoenix master plan that includes education, research and clinical facilities over a designated 28-acre area.

Among the findings:
• The economic impact of the overall biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix in 2013 was nearly $1.3 billion, of which $961 million is attributed to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix presence.
• In 2013, the academic medical center accounted for 9,355 direct and indirect jobs. The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix is responsible for 7,185 of those jobs.
• The academic medical center generated more than $56.5 million in state and local government revenues in 2013 as a result of operational, employee and visitor spending. Of that total, $44.5 million is attributable to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix.
• The estimated economic impact of the academic medical center will reach $3.1 billion by fiscal year 2024-25.

The report was commissioned by the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix and the City of Phoenix.

“The activity on the downtown biomedical campus puts top-notch health care and the best-trained health professionals in our backyard, but it also creates high-value jobs in our city,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

The Phoenix Biomedical Campus plays host to four UA health science colleges – the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health as well as the colleges of nursing and pharmacy. Also on campus are three NAU programs – physician assistant, physical therapy and occupational therapy as part of the university’s College of Health and Human Services. Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Innovation is housed in the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative south of the Translational Genomic Research Institute (TGen).

The Biosciences Partnership Building is the latest development in the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix campus and emerging academic medical center. In 2012, the award-winning Health Sciences Education Building opened, housing health education for both the UA and Northern Arizona University. Construction continues on The UA Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Meghan Martinez, Founder of KEASY, a keyless, digital lock that provides safe and efficient access to rental homes.

KEASY sweeps winning prize at SEED SPOT Demo Day

Move over, Silicon Valley – Arizona is becoming quite the hotbed for startups. Just ask the 800+ people who attended SEED SPOT’s fourth Demo Day event in Phoenix, designed to highlight local, up-and-coming entrepreneurs and their successful and inspiring new ventures.

SEED SPOT, an incubator for socially-minded entrepreneurs, entertained a sell-out crowd at its Demo Day event, held Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix.

During this energetic and uplifting event, ten SEED SPOT entrepreneurs shared their socially-responsible, purpose-driven business plans. Each entrepreneur was given three minutes to give background about his/her startup, along with successes and next steps.

After every entrepreneur presented, everyone in the audience was able to vote via text message for their favorite new venture. The venture who received the most votes, along with a $5,000 cash prize from Cox Communications and a paid trip to a conference of choice was Meghan Martinez, Founder of KEASY, a keyless, digital lock that provides safe and efficient access to rental homes. After spending the majority of her career in real estate and property management, Meghan was always worried about floating keys and break-ins at her properties so an idea was born. KEASY can be managed from mobile and computer devices; it’s different from other keyless locks on the market  because it’s a patent pending technology.

In addition to KEASY, another award given that includes six months of free office space at SEED SPOT was given to Steve Zeidman, Founder of Vestafy, a software created to streamline and better help effectiveness for the animal welfare community. It’s also a mobile-friendly device that will allow animal control agencies and humane societies concentrate on helping to find pets homes.

Additional ventures honored include Paws 2 Read, a non-profit that certifies animal owners to take their pets into libraries and classrooms, helping children build confidence as they learn to read; along with Trade My Show which is an online service that allows leg amputees and people with disabilities to trade their shoes with one another around the world.

To prepare for Demo Day, the ten entrepreneurs went through a rigorous entrepreneurship program, with four months of curriculum from SEED SPOT and support from Arizona business leaders. Those selected to participate in Demo Day have worked hard to validate that they have customers and a solid business model.

SEED SPOT, a Phoenix-based nonprofit, incubates social entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainably solving important societal problems. The incubator has provided more than 25,000 hours of mentorship, positively impacting the lives of more than 107,000 people. Eighty-eight percent of SEED SPOT alumni are still in business, and 93 percent of them are still in Arizona. Applications for SEED SPOT’s 201 Program (a part-time, 12-week course) and 301 Program (a full-time, 14-week course) are being accepted now through Jan. 30, 2015 with the program beginning on Feb. 17, 2015. Visit www.seedspot.org for more details.

fine

CEO leads Banner Health through healthcare ‘re-invention’

Around the first of the year, Phoenix-based Banner Health is expected to close on a nearly $1 billion deal to acquire the University of Arizona Health Network and its subsidiaries. The deal will make Banner the largest private employer in the state, will pump least $500 million of spending on capital projects into the state’s economy of the the next five years and will pay of UAHN’s long-term debt, which totals about $146 million. Az Business sat down with Peter Fine, Banner’s president and CEO, to talk about the impact of the acquisition and the state of the healthcare industry.

Az Business: How have you been able to grow Banner through all the uncertainty in the healthcare industry?
Peter Fine: We have a lot of smart people at Banner. There is good leadership. There is good strategic thinking. There is great accountability. There is great discipline. There is great focus. It’s an organization that plans the work and works the plan.

AB: Hw have you been able to instill the discipline needed for growth?
PF: It’s a leadership culture. It’s an organization that strives to achieve, decides what it needs to get it done, throws a lot of resources at it to get t done and has leaders who feel accomplished when they achieve.

AB: Banner bought Casa Grande Medical Center last year when it was facing major financial issues. How were you able to turn it around so quickly?
PF: In this day and age of healthcare, there are a lot of pressures on healthcare organizations. Pressures are caused by a highly complicated environment, things are very ambiguous and it’s not always clear what to do. When you’re trying to respond to that kind of environment, which is an industry that’s trying to re-invent itself, that puts enormous pressure on individual organizations to maintain financial stability, high clinical quality and have the resources needed to invest in those things needed to re-invent yourself. Banner is able to spread fixed overhead over a big base. In a situation where an industry is re-inventing itself, you have to make investments — financial investments, people investments, resources , capital investments  — and that becomes hard to do when it’s an industry that’s having its reimbursement environment restricted. So it becomes even more important to find ways to spread that fixed overhead investment over a big base to bring down your costs for services. Casa Grande recognized the reality of today’s world and its position in today’s world and believed that working with Banner would provide advantages for the community by creating a more stable environment.

AB: How does that business relationship impact patient care?
PF: We have a care model that we like to put in place. We have an electronic environment that has has been very beneficial in improving outcomes. Our ability to provide capabilities that some of the more rural hospitals could never have one their own leads to an enhanced clinical environment.

AB: How is consolidation helping the healthcare industry?
PF: Consolidation is doing multiple things. 1) It’s letting organizations grow and spread fixed overhead over a big base. 2) It’s allowing organizations to make investments that they might not otherwise be able to make because it can bring financial stability. 3) It allows us to get into new ways of providing business, so the Banner Health Network was created to allow us to get into value-based care and population health management. If we didn’t have all the infrastructure of Banner Health, it would be impossible to provide that capability. It offers new options to the public. It offers new options to businesses, where they can contract for services and bring down their cost-per-unit of service because it’s based on our ability to manage care. At the end of the day, it’s going to be very, very hard to get a whole lot more improvement on the acquisition of product to bring down your costs. There’s only so far you can go on managing labor and still provide a reasonable product. The next great effort to reduce the cost of healthcare is to manage care better, which means you have to have techniques and capabilities in place to look at the cost of care and decide what is really necessary in the provision of care and where can you reduce the use of services, especially for chronic care patients. If you coordinate care better, you’re going to use services better, as opposed to an environment where there is no coordination, duplication of services, duplication of testing and there is more cost associated with that. So this whole issue of providing people with the right care at the right time at the right place is really what the coordination of care is all about, what value-based care is all about and what risk assumption of care is all about. From our perspective, if you can organize yourself structurally to do that, you then have an opportunity to be far more competitive, especially with organizations that are putting more and more of the costs onto the consumer through co-payments, deductibles and reductions of coverage. Therefore, we are moving into consumer world where people are going to make decisions on how they purchase healthcare far differently than they’ve made those decisions before. It’s going to be based on where they can get the best value for the dollar that they’re spending.

AB: What do you expect from Round 2 of healthcare exchange enrollment?
PF: Some of the insurers provided an unsustainable price for the product they were trying to provide, so I think some of those prices are going to go up. I think there will be continued growth in the exchanges, partly because I think employers are going to start making different decisions on their coverage within their employee population.

AB: What’s been the impact of the Medicaid expansion?
PF: I can tell you I think it’s been a boon for the state. We’ve seen a significant impact. It’s had its desired effect. We’ve had a decrease of uninsured an increase of Medicaid-insured population as well as people on exchanges. But remember, a population like Medicaid pays of 63 cents or 65 cents on the dollar of full cost. That means we are still cross-subsidizing off of some other category. But it is taking that category where there was no reimbursement at all and and making that category smaller. The best thing is that the part paid for by the federal government is only going to go up. 17 percent down to 10 percent.

AB: How do you hope the acquisition of the University of Arizona Health Health Network will impact the business side Banner Health?
PF: It’s a big acquisition and a complicated acquisition. Part of the goal is to help stabilize an academic environment which is beneficial to the state, but another part of the goal is growing Banner’s presence in other markets and build our state-wide presence for various contracting opportunities later on. It has the potential to be highly beneficial and we will be the primary teaching relationship for the two medical schools. We think we can help stabilize some of the issue around academic medicine and the clinical environment surrounding academic medicine. For us, it links us to a research and academic environment that we think will enhance the work that we do.

AB: How do you hope the purchase of the University of Arizona Health Health Network will impact the cutting-edge research already being done at Banner Health?
PF: It’s going to grow the research base of Banner. Today, Alzheimer’s is the biggest focus for us from a research perspective. As we move into a more direct environment with the medical schools, we are going to find other opportunities to invest significantly into this world of research as it pertains to the clinical environment. You’re going to see us make more investment in the clinical research side. I know there are folks at UA who love the idea of having access to the totality of Banner’s database, which can advance the research cause of the medical school.

AB: How does research fit into your mission and goals for Banner Health?
PF: Research has not been a priority in the past. It has been driven mostly by specific physician interest. When we acquired the Sun Health system in 2008, we acquired the Sun Health Research Institute, so that pushed some of our thinking. Clearly, our Alzheimer’s Institute has been a major area of focus. With this new relationship, I think you’re going to see a growing effort to be more involved in research, but specifically clinical research to improve patient outcomes and devise strategies to improve population health management.

AB: Which of Banner Health’s accomplishments give you the most pride?
PF: I came to Banner 14 months after the creation of the organization. (Editor’s note: Banner Health was created on Sept. 1, 1999, when nonprofits Samaritan Health System and Lutheran Health Systems announced their merger). Part of the job when was came was respecting history, but not being controlled by it. The goal was to take the historical essence and cultures of two organizations and create a new one. That can be very risky because people are very proud of their historical base. I’m not a retrospective thinker, I’m a prospective thinker. But if I had to say what I’m most proud of, it’s that we’ve been able to get Banner to look to the future, to not hold onto its historical past, recognize that this is an industry in turmoil that’s being re-invented and get people to focus on where we are going.

AB: How did you make that happen?
PF: Thirteen years ago, we created “Banner’s 2020 Vision,” which has been Banner’s guide since that period of time. It’s a 20-year-game plan to re-invent the organization. Some would say, “That’s really bold. You’re going to produce a 20-year game plan to direct your organization for that long a period of time?” We did and it has been a guiding reference tool for us for all the things we do — for strategies that we have, for tactics that we implement, the way we focus people, the way we pay people. It has been an overriding influence on the company’s direction and approach for dealing with an industry in turmoil. Without this guide, Banner could have been an organization that fell off the cliff. Instead of that happening, we’ve been able to bring together two cultures and get them to ficus on the future and it’s been one of Banner’s hallmark successes.

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PHX Sky Train to Terminal 3 opens to public

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, members of the Phoenix City Council, City and Airport officials took the first ride to the brand new Terminal 3 PHX Sky Train® Station December 8 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The event marked the opening of the newest section of the PHX Sky Train®, extending it to Terminal 3 with a walkway to Terminal 2. There is no Terminal 1 at Phoenix Sky Harbor. The train now connects the regional Valley Metro Rail with Sky Harbor’s East Economy Parking and all three airport terminals.

“All of Sky Harbor’s passengers may now enjoy an easy connection with public transportation, and a convenient ride between the Airport and downtown Phoenix. That is great news, especially with the Super Bowl coming to Phoenix in 2015,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Our goal was to open this extension before Super Bowl and we have exceeded expectations, opening it in time for December and January holiday travel.”

The PHX Sky Train® operates seven days a week, 365 days a year, and is free of charge to customers.

“We are proud to have completed this project not only early but under budget,” said Phoenix Acting Aviation Director Tamie Fisher.

The PHX Sky Train® Terminal 3 station received Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) certification. It also features magnificent floors which are part of a public art project designed by artist Janelle Stanley.

Frederic Wilson MD

Frederic Wilson joins The CORE Institute

The No. 1 ranked Phoenix-based orthopedic and neurological group, The CORE Institute, announced the addition of Frederic B Wilson, MD, a fellowship-trained orthopedic trauma surgeon specializing in primary and revision joint replacement of the hip and knee, limb deformity surgery and orthopedic trauma surgery.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Wilson has joined our talented team at The CORE Institute as we continue to expand within Arizona,” said Dr. Steven L. Myerthall, Market President at The CORE Institute. “Dr. Wilson will be caring for patients in our North Phoenix clinic location, as well as caring for any orthopedic trauma patient at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.”

Frederic B. Wilson, MD is a board certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic trauma surgeon specializing in adult and pediatric fracture care and joint replacement of the hip and knee. Dr. Wilson focuses on treating patients with compassion, expert medical care with state-of-the-art approaches to orthopedic treatment.

Prior to joining The CORE Institute, Dr. Wilson served as a Faculty Orthopedic Surgeon at St. Joseph’s Medical Group in Phoenix. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine on the Phoenix campus.

Dr. Wilson received his fellowship training in orthopedic trauma and adult reconstruction at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in Louisiana. He completed his orthopedic surgery and transitional internship at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington. He earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota where he received the “Outstanding Educator Award.” He obtained his bachelor’s degree at Collect of St. Thomas in Minnesota where he graduated cum laude.

Dr. Wilson is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), member of the Orthopedic Trauma Association (OTA), Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society, and SIGN Fracture Care International.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilson or any of The CORE Institute providers,call 1.866.974.2673.

cityscape

Thrill-seekers will rappel CityScape office tower

In an unconventional fundraising effort for Special Olympics Arizona, 160 thrill-seekers will rappel 27 stories in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s event is sure to soar to new heights with supporters such as Dallas Cowboys Announcer Kevin Ray.

Sponsors CityScape Phoenix and RED Development host the event at its offices, where participants who have raised more than $1,000 have the opportunity to experience Phoenix from new heights. Spectators, friends and family are encouraged to experience the launch for themselves at the Dec. 13 event.

“It’s fantastic to host something that pulls the community together and builds awareness in a nontraditional way,” Tim Martin, CEO of Special Olympics Arizona, said. “The increased interest we receive every year is a true testament to Phoenix’s dedication to helping Special Olympics Arizona and our athletes.”

Each participant, with the $1,000 fundraising goal, will be able to support two Special Olympics Arizona Athletes throughout 2015. Participants must meet the weight requirement between 100 and 300 pounds in order to rappel off CityScape. Those under the age of 18 will need a parent signed waiver. All proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Arizona.

“We’re honored to share our building for such a great cause,” said Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development at RED Development. “‘Over the Edge’ has grown into a signature event that our team looks forward to, and each year we’re exceedingly inspired by the participants who not only come out to rappel down the building, but also raise invaluable awareness for Special Olympics Arizona.”

Special Olympics Arizona provides every person with intellectual disabilities a place of welcome, acceptance and the chance to be their best. The organization’s mission is to empower over 180,000 Arizonans with intellectual disabilities to be healthy, productive and respected members of society through sports training, competitions and support programs.

ballet

Ballet Arizona Presents the U.S. Premiere of Napoli

With the winter presentation of Napoli, Ballet Arizonadance will become the first American ballet company to perform one of the most renowned ballets by legendary Danish choreographer, August Bournonville. The company is calling Napoli the highlight of the season and is eager to share it with fans of the ballet, new and old. Performances will run from February 12-15, with afternoon and evening shows at Symphony Hall in Downtown Phoenix.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Napoli tells the festive and uplifting love story of Gennaro, a poor fisherman, and his beloved Teresina. Teresina is washed away in a great storm only to be rescued by sea nymphs ruled by an evil sea spirit. The couple’s love must overcome trials and temptations so that light prevails over darkness in the best tradition of Romanticism.

There only two artistic directors in the U.S. with the background and expertise to present this Danish masterpiece in its most authentic form. Ballet Arizona’s, Ib Andersen is one of them. As a principal dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet, Andersen regularly performed Bournonville pieces, allowing him to become an expert in the choreographer’s style of quick footwork that is often much more difficult that it appears.  Napoli was, in fact, the ballet in which Andersen made his stage debut at the age of seven.

The U.S. debut of Napoli in Arizona is source of civic pride for the area – demonstrating that the performing arts in Phoenix are compare with other major cultural centers like New York City and San Francisco.

The highly acclaimed piece is said to be “one that best celebrates this world, real life, vitality and joy,” by the New York Times.

Ticket prices for Napoli start at $15, discounts offered for seniors, students, military and groups. Tickets may be purchased by calling 602-381-1096 or by visiting www.balletaz.org.

From left: SPIKE, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee mascot; Councilman Bill Gates, City of Phoenix; Councilman Michael Nowakowski, City of Phoenix; Jim Hughes, First Solar, Inc. CEO; and David Rousseau, Chairman, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Super-sized Super Bowl countdown clock unveiled

To build on the growing momentum and anticipation of Super Bowl XLIX the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and First Solar, Inc. unveiled the First Solar Countdown Clock in downtown Phoenix this morning. Over the next 60 days, the technologically advanced clock will provide the countdown to kick-off and keep fans “in the know” about events and activities coming up on the free, 12-city block fan campus known as Super Bowl Central.

The super-sized timepiece stands 13 feet tall, is made of aluminum and steel, and illuminated by more than 200 feet of LED lights. The First Solar Countdown Clock will display updated video content and a countdown to the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIX. It features three, 55 inch ultra-bright LED displays and nine First Solar panels, which were manufactured at the company’s US production facility outside of Toledo, Ohio.

“The First Solar Countdown Clock is the second exciting addition to Super Bowl Central, the epicenter of fan activity in Downtown Phoenix, and made possible by First Solar taking a strong local leadership role,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

First Solar is also a partner of the Host Committee’s volunteerprogram. With the support of its employees, it is currently the largest single corporate volunteer group for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

”Our association with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee demonstrates First Solar’s commitment to our home town,” said Jim Hughes CEO of First Solar. “Our associates are proudly participating in a variety of volunteer community service programs.”

The First Solar Countdown Clock is located on the northeast corner of Jefferson and 1st Street, which will be the heart of Super Bowl Central. The free, football-themed, pedestrian and family friendly fan campus will feature a multitude of daily activities such as outdoor performances by local musicians and national recording artists, an autograph stage, the iconic Super Bowl XLIX Roman Numerals and a beer garden. It will run from Wednesday, January 28 through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

In November, the Host Committee unveiled the first Super Bowl Central attraction on the corner of Central and Washington. The super-sized football towers more than 20 feet high, measures more than 32 feet around and weighs more than 7,000 pounds. Fans are encouraged to visit both monuments, take selfies, share them on social media using #sb49 and make their own Super Bowl XLIX memories.

US Airways 11_10_14

US Airways Center will now be Talking Stick Resort Arena

The Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announced today that US Airways Center — the home of the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers, as well as the Valley’s premier concert venue – is poised to take on a new name, Talking Stick Resort Arena, under an agreement reached between the two parties.

“Like Talking Stick Resort, this venue has become an iconic destination for entertainment in Arizona,” said President Diane Enos of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the owner and operator of Talking Stick Resort. “Thousands of families and individuals have created long-lasting memories at this venue which makes its new name, ‘Talking Stick Resort Arena,’ all the more meaningful. We have a shared commitment with the Phoenix Suns in building a sense of community in the Valley and we are honored to help them provide a place for so many people to gather and celebrate.”

The naming rights agreement for the downtown venue is a multi-year deal that builds substantially on the existing agreement between the two parties. The name change will be visible throughout the facility, with Talking Stick Resort Arena being prominent on the exterior of the building; on the underbelly of the center hung scoreboard; on the arena’s rooftop; and featured on the Suns and Mercury basketball courts. The Casino Arizona Pavilion – the arena’s main lobby area – will retain its name. Additional details on the provisions of the naming rights agreement will be released as the transition begins.

“We could not be more excited about our expanded relationship with Talking Stick Resort,” said Phoenix Suns President Jason Rowley. “Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona has been a trusted and valued partner of the Phoenix Suns for many years. This naming rights agreement brings our partnership to a new level and will have an astral impact on the visibility of their support for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and the entire community.”

“This is an exciting day for Phoenix, and another example of what an incredible partner the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is for all of us,” said City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “We welcome the new name and look forward to the day when a Suns championship banner hangs from the rafters at Talking Stick Resort Arena.”

American Airlines, the current naming rights partner and owner of US Airways, has fulfilled all of its obligations and elected not to extend its naming rights agreement beyond the 2014-15 season. The facility’s naming transition to Talking Stick Resort Arena, from US Airways Center, is expected to be completed before the beginning of the 2015-16 Phoenix Suns season.

US Airways Center, which opened in 1992, has earned a reputation for excellence, having received a prestigious Prime Site Award from Facilities & Event Magazine as well as a Top 30 ranking for North American Arenas from Pollstar. It hosts an average of 130 events each year with a collective annual audience of one million people. Not only is the arena the home of the Phoenix Suns, but also the three-time WNBA world champion Phoenix Mercury. It is also the home field for five-time arena football world champions, the Arizona Rattlers.

In the past year, the arena has welcomed blockbuster acts such as Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga, adding to its long list of legendary performances from U2, George Strait and Garth Brooks as well as many others. Upcoming events include the UFC’s first-ever visit to Arizona in December, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Church with Dwight Yoakam, Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull, and Bette Midler. The arena also is known for its family content and is the host site each year for Disney on Ice, Marvel Adventure and Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The Phoenix Suns operate and manage all aspects of US Airways Center under a long term agreement with the City of Phoenix, which owns the facility.

Talking Stick Resort is a AAA Four Diamond Rated Resort and a central landmark within the emerging Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination. Talking Stick Resort is locally owned and proudly operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The 240,000 sq. ft. property offers culturally rich experiences and luxury accommodations throughout its 496 deluxe guest rooms, 11 restaurants and lounges, world-class spa, 650-seat showroom, 25,000 sq. ft. grand ballroom, thriving cultural center and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

As co-founder and CEO of SEED SPOT, Courtney Klein has created a culture and environment that is unique and empowering for entrepreneurs in the Phoenix community. Photo by Robin Sendele, AZ Big Media

Klein creates Seed Spot to help innovators blossom

Entrepreneurs move fast in all directions and for Courtney Klein, it’s no different. From presenting to boards to attending festivals to competing in triathlons to being a full-time CEO, Klein is entrepreneurial in all facets of life.

A few years ago, Klein was spending endless nights and weekends at local coffee shops talking to college students about how to launch businesses until it dawned on her, “Why am I not doing this full time?”

Now she runs the No. 1 incubator for social entrepreneurs in Arizona as the CEO and co-founder of SEED SPOT. Klein and company will show off a little bit of what they do during Demo Day at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Herberger Theatre.

At SEED SPOT, things operate differently than a typical 9-5 job. Interns don’t make coffee runs or get saddled with menial tasks — they sit side-by-side with the CEO. What Klein has built at SEED SPOT goes far beyond a success story. She has built a community centered on making an impact.

“I love working with entrepreneurs and supporting them from the idea stage of just a concept all the way to demo day when they validate everything about their company,” she said.
Born in Mesa and raised by a mother with extremely high expectations, Klein was destined to do something big, but she didn’t always think it would be with nonprofits.

In her first year at Arizona State University, Klein attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as a broadcast journalism student with dreams of being the next Katie Couric.

Things changed after an international volunteer program sparked an interest in starting a nonprofit. Her college advisor laughed and said many students have this dream, but few actually achieve it.

Despite the discouraging advice, Klein switched her major to nonprofit leadership and management and earned $1,000 in seed money from ASU that she used to launch Youth Reaction Corps, which empowered students to solve problems they saw in the world. Klein helped grow the organization, now New Global Citizens, into a sustainable nonprofit that reaches more than 14 states and 33 countries.

After leaving New Global Citizens, Klein took a position as the director of strategic planning and development for GPEC before co-founding SEED SPOT in 2012. The accelerator program takes ventures through the process of starting a company from providing access to capital opportunities to creating a personalized business plan.

“I realized how critical it was to have a network of people that believed in me and championed my ideas, so I looked for a way to connect other entrepreneurs, mentors, peers, community advisors and people who could really help each other,” Klein said.

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LaneTerralever Wins Best in Class Award at 2014 IMA’s

Phoenix-based LaneTerralever is the recipient of the 2014 Interactive Media Awards (IMA) Best in Class for its All In website design and development.

IMA is a competition designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet, and is presented by the non-profit organization, Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC). IMC is a group of industry leaders made up of web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals.

“Its an honor to be recognized for the second consecutive year with a Best In Class Interactive Media Award,” said Chris Johnson, president of LaneTerralever. “Such a prestigious award is a testament to the caliber of work our agency produces in partnership with amazing clients like All In.”

All In Magazine, The World’s Leading Poker Magazine, sought out LaneTerralever to build an innovative, responsive and content driven website that appeals to its global poker community. All In was the first entity to sponsor the World Series of Poker in 2004, and shortly after with the explosion of online poker, All In became a household name. With the development of the dotcom, All In has become the world’s fastest growing poker media house that provides direct access to online gaming action and luxury lifestyle.

LaneTerralever developed the high quality and innovative website in a two-phase operation over twelve, two week sprints. The completed website offers a user experience that effectively portrays the reemergence of the poker industry. The website is easy to navigate, offers a responsive design which adapts to varying screen sizes with seamless transition from desktop to mobile devices, and showcases All In’s full capacity including; poker tournaments, trends, tips, news, interactive gaming and big events.

Promoting Smart Growth in Down Economy

Super Bowl Host Committee announces CEO Forum

Today the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee formally announces the CEO Forum, a cornerstone program that will directly foster Arizona economic growth. The CEO Forum will welcome more than fifty (50) business executives from around the world to participate in a premier policy discussion about opportunities and challenges that will shape our future communities and businesses. The program will take place the weekend of Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix and highlight the unique opportunities and positive business climate in Arizona.

“We want to introduce corporate decision-makers to Arizona and show them what our state has to offer. Arizona is pro-business and there’s a great workforce here. Our goal is simple, to encourage participants to move or integrate business operations to Arizona,” said David Rousseau chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “We want to plant the seeds during Super Bowl XLIX and see Arizona business grow in the future.”

Super Bowl XLIX will serve as a tremendous catalyst to boost the Arizona business environment. The game and surrounding events and activities are expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors, which will ideally foster future business relocations and expansions in Arizona as well as continuing strong tourism.

The Arizona Commerce Authority is leading Arizona’s various economic development organizations in a collaborative effort to identify a diverse group of companies to participate in the CEO Forum, from Fortune 500 corporations to emerging, high-growth businesses. The Host Committee has engaged with several presenting sponsors that are heavily invested in supporting Arizona growth to create a world-class program that capitalizes on the interest and prominence of the Super Bowl, including Apollo Education Group, First Solar, Inc. and National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ).

A pillar of the CEO Forum will be the CEO Leadership Huddle, a multi-panel policy forum being conducted in partnership with The McCain Institute for International Leadership. The panels will focus on a range of topics with the common theme of global leadership and will be highlighted by discussions between prominent business leaders, international politicians and philanthropic visionaries. In addition, the CEO Forum will include many opportunities for attending CEOs to engage with Host Committee sponsors, Arizona’s business leaders, elected officials and other advocates. Additional program and panel details will be announced in January 2015.

The CEO Forum is unique to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and was started in 2008 with Super Bowl XLII. The program brought more than 20 CEOs to Arizona for Super Bowl weekend and resulted in more than 1,000 jobs and over $400 million invested in the state.

One of the participants in the 2008 CEO Forum was Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who led a sizeable business investment in Arizona after participating in the program. Dr. Soon-Shiong recently joined the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Board of Directors and continues to be an advocate for investment in Arizona. He also will play a key role in the CEO Forum curriculum.

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Arizona businesses win Spirit of Enterprise Awards

We all win when local companies grow, create jobs and help boost our still-recovering economy. Today, several of the state’s best businesses were honored for their positive role in our communities. They’re the winners of the 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“We enjoy recognizing locally owned companies that introduce innovation, empower employees, impress customers, and make a real difference in Arizona,” says Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This year’s Spirit of Enterprise Award winners are in a variety of industries, and they all meet a market need and have a great impact on the Valley.”

Hundreds of business and community leaders attended today’s awards luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, where the winners were announced. The finalists’ impressive stories were shown on video, as the firms were lauded for ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship.

The 2014 Spirit of Enterprise Award winners are:

• Ersland Touch Landscape – Overcoming Adversity Award. This state-of-the-art landscape maintenance company started as a one-man, one-mower operation run out of a garage. After 30 years in business, it now has a complete customer “feedback log,” an Adopt a Highway commitment, work with nonprofits, and more than 400 residences and 20 homeowner associations as clients.

• IO – Emerging Enterprise Award. This growing firm is focused on rethinking data-center technology, using software solutions, instead of just physical locations. It has more than 650 global clients, including Goldman Sachs and LexisNexis, as well as two patents and an emphasis on energy efficiency.

• I-ology – Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. This woman-owned technology company offers Web design and related services. It features close client relationships, heavy community involvement, and no management hierarchy, offering all employees a chance to participate in revenue sharing, stock options, flexible schedules and industry events.

• Kitchell – The Hahnco Companies Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award. This 100-percent employee-owned commercial builder, developer and program manager launched 65 years ago. It now has more than 850 employees, international operations, an internal leadership program, significant charitable contributions, and a focus on enabling employee-driven innovation.

• Melrose Pharmacy – Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award. This independent pharmacy offers fast, highly personalized service; utilizes cutting-edge equipment; and supports charities like the March of Dimes and local community issues. It has also achieved a 119-percent increase in net income already for this year.

The other Spirit of Enterprise finalists this year were Clean Air Cab, Endless Entertainment, India Plaza/The Dhaba, The James Agency and Potter’s House Apothecary.

Also this year, the Spirit of Enterprise Student Entrepreneur Award went to Anthony Gonzales, a recent W. P. Carey School of Business MBA graduate. Gonzales is a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition with his grant-winning, ongoing development of FITGuard, a mouthguard designed to indicate levels of head impact for athletes, as well as a smartphone application that can provide data to a diagnosing physician.

The event also included its first-ever National Founder of the Year award. The honoree is Sam Calagione, founder and president of Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery. Calagione’s family-owned business started small and grew about 400 percent in just four years. He still experiments with new products, works creatively with other breweries and food companies, and has written books about his experiences as an entrepreneur.

The Spirit of Enterprise Awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business-creation experience. The center recently introduced the Sun Devil Select competition to honor ASU alum-owned or alum-led businesses. The center is also self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships to sustain its activities. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu/entrepreneurship.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails' Prime Flat Iron Steak, served with whipped potatoes, crispy frites and a garlic cherry glaze.

Blue Hound’s new menu is a culinary masterpiece

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Executive Chef Sean Currid's Deviled Fried Oysters.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Executive Chef Sean Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters.

If you really want to give yourself a gift this holiday season, check out the new menu at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

Newly appointed Executive Chef Sean Currid, who joined the restaurant in September, has created a new winter dinner menu and the results are a culinary masterpiece like you’ve never experienced.

Currid came to Blue Hound from Elements at Sanctuary Resort & Spa, where he served as executive catering chef. He has also worked at Michael’s at the Citadel, Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and Cafe ZuZu at The Hotel Valley Ho.

But Currid’s new winter menu at Blue Hound distinguishes him as perhaps the Valley’s best chef.

While Currid has kept some old favorites — charred pork belly sliders, Hickman’s Farm deviled eggs, short ribs — on the menu, he has added some new additions that should not be missed.

During a recent visit, these are the dishes we sampled that will keep us going back time after time:

• Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters are served with grits, Meyer lemon and pickled shallots. They come in servings of two or four, but if they came by the gross, we’d have ordered a gross. That’s how incredible the dish tastes. The oysters are breaded are cooked to a perfect crisp. Currid’s decision to serve them over the best grits you will ever taste is a stroke of genius. This goes down as this writer’s favorite appetizer in all of Phoenix. No contest.
• Currid’s Prime Flat Iron Steak is served with whipped potatoes and crispy frites, but his garlic cherry glaze is what what took this dish from “Wow!” to “Holy cow!” because each bite was a religious experience. If you can imagine a piece of steak that is exquisitely cooked, with a cherry glaze that complements it so perfectly that it melts in your mouth like cotton candy, you might be able to imagine the deliciousness of Blue Hound’s Prime Flat Iron Steak.

Some of Currid’s personal favorites, and we cannot disagree, are:

• Hamachi: Ginger, pomegranate, pickled fresno peppers, extra virgin olive oil.
• Corvina Sea Bass: White beans, kale, clams, smoked bacon.
• Prime Flat Iron Steak: Whipped potatoes, crispy frites, garlic cherry glaze.
• Kale Salad: Pomegranate, pine nuts, shaved apple, parmesan.
Roasted Beet Salad: Medjool dates, arugula, clementine.

Do yourself a favor and check out Blue Hound’s new menu before the college football bowl crowds and Super Bowl crowds descend on the Valley and realize we have a dining diamond at Hotel Palomar Phoenix and make it more difficult to get a table.

And I didn’t even mention the Foodist Award-winning mixologists who create signature drinks that are out of the world and the S’more in a cup that was served as dessert.

Does it get any better than a S’more in a cup? Currid’s Deviled Fried Oysters might give it a run for its money.