Tag Archives: phoenix

Photo by Robin Sendele, Az Big Media

Sauce opens new location in Uptown Phoenix

Sauce Pizza & Wine opened the doors to its seventh Valley location in Phoenix. The fast-casual Italian restaurant located at 25 E. Camelback Road near Central and Camelback is the first site to open under the brand’s new owners led by local restaurateur, Scott Kilpatrick. Guests can expect the same great quality food and drinks, same friendly customer service, same inviting atmosphere but with a refreshed and reinvigorated design.

“We are proud to be expanding our presence in Phoenix,” said Kilpatrick. “We are especially excited about the look and feel of this restaurant and look forward to introducing the space to the Uptown neighborhood.”

Situated near a busy intersection in Uptown Phoenix, the charming 3,750-square-foot, white-brick building will serve as the home to the already popular dining spot. Unlike its predecessors, the new Sauce Pizza & Wine will feature an urban-like aesthetic. To add to the character of the building, the exterior walls have been hand-painted with an eye-catching mural of a Phoenix city street and woman in a headscarf and sunglasses. The restaurant also features a 400-square-foot patio covered with string lighting, radiating a metropolitan atmosphere. Inside, the space is more traditional to the brand, with retro-inspired chalkboard art carefully drawn by a local artist and a visible pizza oven behind the register.

Photo by Robin Sendele, Az Big Media

The menu includes a variety of salads, such as the Quinoa, Beet & Arugula with golden beets, avocado, goat cheese, fuji apples and pistachios and a gluten-free favorite, the Turkey & Feta with corn, cucumber, tomato, avocado and almonds. The heart and soul of the menu includes a “build-your-own” pizza, where guests can choose original thin or artisan hand-stretched crust that’s made fresh, in-house daily. A gluten-free option is also available. Signature pizzas include the Chicken Pesto with fresh mozzarella and marinated tomatoes and the Spicy Chicken Sausage with poblano peppers and smoked mozzarella. Additional menu options include paninis and pastas such as the Mac ‘N Cheese, a guest favorite.

Sauce Pizza & Wine is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Miracle Mile Deli

Miracle Mile Deli deal celebrates 66 years in business

It’s not often you hear of a restaurant celebrating 66 years of business. Friday, September 25—Sunday, September 27, Miracle Mile Deli is honoring their 66th year in business with an amazing deal.

Purchase an entrée, sandwich or breakfast dish and you can get a slice of pie or pint of beer for just 66 cents. Choose from any of their four craft beers on tap or try a slice of Apple, Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut Meringue, Lemon Meringue, Pumpkin, Pecan or Boston Cream pie.

The Miracle Mile story began in 1949, when founder, Jack Grodzinsky, along with his wife and children, arrived in Tucson from Brooklyn, New York. Grodzinsky took a bus ride to Phoenix looking for a business he could purchase to help support his family. He decided on a restaurant and took over an existing space on McDowell Road and 16th Street. This mile long strip of land where the restaurant was established came to be known as the “Miracle Mile”. Now, more than six decades later, the business is still in the family.

The locally-owned restaurant recently moved to their new venue at 4433 N. 16th Street in Phoenix. Miracle Mile Deli has been family owned and operated for three generations and continues to provide a unique experience in casual dining.


Phoenix designer creates one-of-a-kind swimwear line

For women, nothing is worse than walking into a room and seeing another woman wearing the exact same outfit.

It’s not that we hold anything against the other woman — unless she looks better in it, of course. Heck, we wore it too, so it must be cute. However, it sparks that lingering question in our minds, “Who wore it better?”

As I sat across from 31-year-old Catrina LaDell with her vibrant blue and green hair, dangling pink crescent moon earrings and spike-studded black sunglasses, she began to tell me her story of how she makes this awkward situation preventable with her custom-designed swimwear and lingerie line called Pink Moon Prophecy.



“There was this one day when I ate a lot of mushrooms and I came up with Pink Moon Prophecy as a name,” LaDell explained with no shame. “I don’t have any family. So one day, I did some research to find something to help me have as a sort of stability. I was born on the 16th of April and I learned that not only was that night a full moon, but it was the pink moon of April.”

LaDell’s creative and sexy swimwear line can be found in Misscontrued Boutique & Gallery, which is nestled among a hip collection of stores, bars and restaurants in Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. While she doesn’t personally own the boutique, her friend and mentor offered to take LaDell under her wing and promote her merchandise in her store.

You can see LaDell’s designs during Kaleidoscops Kove on Friday, Sept. 18.

“Growing up, I was really poor, so I would cut my clothing and make my own outfits all the time, so I always loved doing it,” said LaDell. “I’d make clothes for my dolls, gut my teddy bears and make them into backpacks It was psycho, but I just did whatever I could.”

In the beginning, LaDell tried out interior design, but found that was not her niche. “When it came to contributing to the art, it was too much of other peoples’ opinions and not my own. So it wasn’t really for me,” explained LaDell.

LaDell then decided to go back to her love of fashion. She began modeling full-time, as well as performance art that included burlesque and go-go dancing. Using the name Cataclysm, she became one of Arizona’s most successful alternative models and she enjoyed modeling and creating the clothing it desired.

“I would go-go dance and make sure that I had outfits that fit me,” LaDell said, “and if I booked another girl, I would make her outfit so we could match.”

However, after an injury, LaDell took about a year off and hid behind the curtain. She explained that she needed this time to focus on her art and figure out where life was trying to take her.

“I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously as an artist because my stuff was more for an alternative community,” she said. “With swimwear, I was able to get more of a stable type of fashion and more construction involved.”

Misscontrued owner and fellow fashion designer, , decided to give LaDell a little advice.

“She helped me become more girly, because I was more rugged and industrial with my fashion,” LaDell said. “Now I use a lot of pink, and pink is in the name of my label. Which in turn, has helped me sell more of my merchandise.”

Due to the kind of modeling LaDell had done in the past, she always had more of a male fan base. However, now that she has begun her swimwear line, she has found that her female fan base has grown exceptionally.

“Now, I have a larger female fan base that actually like what they see,” said LaDell. “It’s so rewarding. Sometimes, they put the suit on and cry. It fits and they tell me they’ve never felt sexier, and it feels so good. It touches me.”

LaDell prides herself on her handmade bikinis. All the way from measurements, to needle and thread, to the final product – LaDell does it all completely on her own.

“I can knock a suit out in a couple hours. And, yes, I’m the only one that sews them,” LaDell said. “Sometimes, my boyfriend will help me with the measurement math. I’ve tried to teach him to sew, but I don’t want him to touch my machine because I know he will break it.”

While LaDell embraces being the only designer, sewer, and mastermind behind it all, one can assume that her brand may expand due to its uniqueness.

“If I do expand, I’m going to hire people to sew for me, or a local manufacturer, but I want to keep it local, more on the smaller scale,” said LaDell “Handmade things are so rare. They have personality. They have character.”

Even though LaDell wants to stay local now, she said that California, Florida and even Australia could be in her future.

“I really want to have an Australian clientele because my off season here is their summer season. So that’ll keep me busy year round. But we want to wait and focus more on growing as a team. We will get there. California is probably our next step – Long Beach or Venice,” she said.

There are many rewarding aspects LaDell mentioned when it came to what she does for a living, but the most rewarding element went far deeper and more emotional.

“My most rewarding memory was with a friend of mine who does plus size modeling. I made her a suit that she wore in an online blog, so I was first noticed as a bigger suit designer. She got me a lot of attention and it’s when I make suits for people who have insecurities and can make them feel better about themselves, that’s what makes me feel amazing.”

While the rewards far outweigh the stress, there are still challenges LaDell faces.

“Getting a lot of orders in at one time gets extremely stressful,” said LaDell. “Especially between the months of March and June. I’m also trying to focus more on bigger sizes, but it’s a little stressful because I really want them to fit and I want these women to feel good in them.”

But LaDell doesn’t discriminate. There’s some love for the male gender as well.

“I like to make suits that anyone can wear. I want to be able to market to everybody,” said LaDell. “For my next fashion show, I’m doing my first pair of men’s bottoms, so I’m very nervous. Menswear will definitely be a challenge, but I want to make suits for anyone who wants to feel young and sexy.”

Since LaDell is a fashion designer and designer brands are typically known for their high prices, she said, “Compared with other designers, my merchandise is not that much. If I go out of my way to measure you — and depending on how customized it is — you can expect to pay around $200. But if someone comes in and purchases a suit I already made that’s on display, they start at around $80.”

If you visit Missconstrued, you will immediately notice the true uniqueness of LaDell’s swimwear. The patterns, the materials, the shapes, the accessories … it seems there is nothing she can’t do.

“So far, I’ve accepted all challenges and they’ve been a success,” she laughed. “I mean, if it’s short-term, I will probably turn it down. I just don’t want to dedicate to something and then not get it done properly, have to rush it, or have it not be to my or the client’s full expectation.”

With so many different patterns and materials out there, LaDell provides a link to her customers that allow them to view all of her different ideas to make it easier for both them and herself.

“When a client contacts me about fabric choices, I have a blog link that I’ll send out to them. We update all our fabrics online,” explained LaDell.

She then explained her style in three words, “Fun, simple, eclectic. Some days, I’m wearing all black. Some days, I’m wearing bright colors,” she said. “I get bored easily. I even had rainbow hair … like, bright rainbow hair. It’s fun to change things up.”

After hearing Catrina LaDell’s story of success, she offered advice to others who share her same dream.

“Research and practice,” she said. “Sew every day. Even if it’s something simple just so you can keep your mind sharp. If you stop, you lose momentum. It’s kind of like riding a bike, but there are also so many things you have to remember, and so many little mistakes you can make. It’s very tedious. Whether it’s videos on YouTube, or constant practice, don’t stop looking for inspiration if it’s what you love.”

Accepting Valley Partnership's Crescordia Award were, from left, Robyn Ratcliff, center director for AFH; and 2014 Valley Partnership Community Project committee members Heather Markham, Dena Jones, Kaylynn Primerano, Peter Madrid and Katie Reiner.

Valley Partnership Community Project earns Crescordia

Valley Partnership’s 2014 Community Project won a prestigious Crescordia Award Saturday evening at the 35th annual Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards.

Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped (AFH), last year’s community project recipient, was honored in the Site Development Private Sector category at the Arizona Forward event at Chateau Luxe in Phoenix.

“We are so thrilled that Valley Partnership won the Crescordia Award,” said Robyn Ratcliff, center director at AFH. “We have watched this amazing project come to life through the collaboration of many talented people who donated so much. This award is the perfect way to celebrate all that Valley Partnership does to support the community.”

Work at AFH included a built-in grill, seating for outside dining, the re-purposing of a sports court, exterior musical instruments, and a sensory garden. Valley Partnership’s member companies and their employees collaborated to add amenities and upgrade the exterior AFH’s clients, friends and families.

“The annual community project is at the heart of Valley Partnership’s legacy along with advocacy and networking for our members,” said Cheryl Lombard, President the CEO of Valley Partnership. “This award recognizes the commitment to community by having hundreds of our members give their time and money to a charitable cause around the Valley every year. I thank Arizona Forward for recognizing our work, and I especially thank Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped for letting us contribute to the meaningful impact it has on our community.”

Valley Partnership was represented at the awards show by committee members Dena Jones of Fidelity National Title and Heather Markham of Markham Contracting, the 2014 co-chairs;

AFH is a human services organization whose primary mission is to provide quality, individualized services to those with physical or intellectual challenges in the least restrictive environment. It offers programs for adults with physical or intellectual challenges such as Downs syndrome, autism or severe epilepsy.

Arizona Forward is an advocate for a balance between economic development and environmental quality. The non-profit and brings together business, community and civic leaders for thoughtful public dialogue on critical sustainability issues. Considered the “Academy Awards” of the Arizona environmental community, the event is the state’s oldest and most prominent competition of its kind.


Phoenix ties San Francisco for No. 1 in tech job growth

Businesses looking for office space in the nation’s hottest tech markets should expect to pay a premium – and a hefty one in many of the top tech cities, according to a new research report by CBRE Group, Inc. The report, which analyzes the top 30 tech cities across the U.S. and Canada, showed an aggregate rent premium of 11 percent across all 30 markets. And while the numbers may have tech tenants in some markets cringing, companies located in or looking at metropolitan Phoenix should feel pretty good about two areas in particular: job growth momentum and rental rate growth.

Metropolitan Phoenix posted a two-year growth rate of 42.7 percent for high-tech services/software-centric jobs from 2012 to 2014. This translates to 12,662 new tech jobs added to the market over the two-year period. These jobs comprised 31.3 percent of overall new jobs added to the Valley’s office base. Comparatively, San Francisco also saw a high-tech services/software job growth rate of 42.7 percent from 2012 to 2014, which was 55.1 percent of that market’s overall office-job base. San Francisco’s actual number of new jobs in that time frame was 16,976.

In Phoenix, major high-tech leasing activity exceeded 1.0 million sq. ft. over the past two years; 40% was transacted through Q2 2015, making the current year tech companies’ most active yet in the metropolitan area. Tech firms employed 42,304 people Valley-wide at the end of 2014.

Rent growth across the Tech-Thirty markets display some of the biggest increases in office sectors across North America, with San Francisco and Silicon Valley topping the list with rental growth rates of 30.7 and 28.1 percent from Q2 2013 to Q2 2015, respectively. This growth translated to the two top tech markets posting average office rental rates of $67.99 and $49.20, respectively, in Q2 2015. In that same period, Phoenix saw rental growth rates of 8.3 percent and as of Q2 office lease rates were $22.06. Comparatively, Denver and Austin – two cities Phoenix regularly competes with in site selection bids for tech companies – have seen rental rate growth of 11.8 and 11.4 percent and posted Q2 rental rate averages of $24.15 and $31.33, respectively.

“Metropolitan Phoenix is undergoing major changes. We talk a lot about the diversification of the Phoenix and Arizona economies and reports like this one prove the investments that have been made towards economic expansion are paying off,” said Kevin Calihan, senior vice president with CBRE’s Phoenix office. “The Valley has a growing, young and educated workforce and an office market that’s attractively priced when compared to our competitors.”

Tempe came in as the Valley of the Sun’s hottest tech submarket, registering 18th on the Tech-Thirty list of the top tech submarkets in each market in terms of rent growth and 13th in net absorption. Tech occupiers’ demand for amenity-rich environments and quality office product has caused Tempe rental rates to appreciate when compared to overall market rates. And while current average rental rate in Tempe is $22.08, just two cents over the Valley wide average, premier properties can command rates nearing $40.00.

“Rental rates in Tempe can fluctuate depending on a number of factors, including location within the submarket,” said Calihan. “Rates in the more suburban parts of Tempe typically fall in the mid to upper $20.00 range, while rates in downtown Tempe are about $10.00 higher.”

In submarkets like Tempe, the lack of available space in blocks of 25,000 sq. ft. or more in buildings proximate to walkable amenities has developers jockeying to initiate new projects to chase this demand. Those developers that are successful in getting projects launched are being met with significant interest from tenants. Parkway Properties’ Hayden Ferry Lakeside is a prime example. The project’s third building broke ground in May 2014, and as it nears completion the property is already 85 percent pre-leased.

“There is definitely an urban migration happening in a variety of submarkets across the Valley,” said Calihan. “Companies, particularly tech companies, recognize employees want to work in amenity rich environments with access to public transit, multifamily housing options, and vibrant recreation and nightlife – submarkets like Tempe with projects like Hayden Ferry check all of those boxes.”

Dr. Miles Howard utilizes da Vinci Robotic Surgery technology at Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital.

WESTMARC turns West Valley into healthcare hotbed

There was a time when many West Valley residents had to travel to downtown Phoenix or the East Valley for specialized healthcare services and treatments.

Times have dramatically changed.

“Whether it’s specialized pediatric care, trauma care, cutting-edge heart care, or state-of-the-art cancer care, you can find some of the leading providers of those services in the West Valley,” said Rob Gould, president of Banner Health’s Arizona West Division.

You need to look no further than the Abrazo West Campus (formerly West Valley Hospital) and Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center — which are separated by less than two miles in Goodyear — to see the healthcare innovation that has taken over the West Valley. Surgeons at Abrazo West performed the first surgery in the Valley using the new da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system. In April, CTCA began the Phase II portion of a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, using a new immunotherapy treatment for patients with advanced small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and connective-tissue cancers, including breast cancer.

So how has the West Valley gone from having a reputation as a bedroom to community to one on the cutting edge of healthcare and medical research?

According to Sharon Grambow, chief operating officer of Sun Health Senior Living and immediate past chair of WESTMARC, the West Valley is well positioned for growth for healthcare organizations because of three factors:

• Demographics and concentration of seniors, who generally are high utilizers of care.

• The supply of healthcare professionals and workforce pool because of the growth of communities like Surprise, Peoria, Goodyear and Glendale.

• The changing face of healthcare which is trending away from the acute episodic incidents to more focusing on health and wellness, managing chronic disease and personal responsibility for an individuals health.

“There will be an explosion of growth away from the traditional hospital campuses,” Grambow said, “and the West Valley has the available land to support that growth.”

And writing the prescription to help the West Valley capitalize on healthcare opportunities has been WESTMARC.

Catalyst for growth

“What WESTMARC has really done well is bringing people together in a way that is starting to build a more definitive brand for the west side of town,” said Matt McGuire, president and CEO of CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center. “WESTMARC has an ability to bring thought leaders together to help better position the West Valley and really make it a place that is attractive not just to healthcare businesses, but to other businesses as well.”

By serving as the leading advocate and economic development group for the West Valley, Gould said WESTMARC has helped outside companies better understand what the west side has to offer their businesses in terms of a skilled workforce, affordable land, freeway access to major markets and a high quality of life for their employees.

“We’ve also appreciated Westmarc’s efforts to help lawmakers better understand the positive impact healthcare has on the state and why we need to do all we can to support the healthcare industry,” Gould said.

WESTMARC has really help drive the growth of healthcare, Grambow said, because it is uniquely positioned to bring together all the stakeholders — government, business and consumers — to work together for optimal outcomes.

“I am really struck by how friendly and business-minded the political leadership has been in the West Valley,” McGuire said. “WESTMARC has an extraordinary ability to bring public and private leaders together to coalesce around opportunities and unique branding that makes the West Valley an attractive place for healthcare businesses and facilities to come.”

Once healthcare companies come, economic development experts said other businesses will follow.

“Healthcare is a huge economic development driver,” said Richard Hubbard, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Having the ability to promote high-quality healthcare facilities in the West Valley helps us attract businesses. When you can promote premier healthcare facilities, it’s really is a draw. Plus, healthcare is a very high-wage industry, so there is the added benefit of having the economic impact of having an elite industry in the region.”

Gould agreed that families and employers will often factor in the availability of quality healthcare before choosing where to relocate, “so having high quality health care institutions in the West Valley plays an important role in supporting the West Valley’s economic development efforts.”

Maintaining momentum

Experts said one of the biggest strengths the West Valley has going for it as it aims to maintain growth in the healthcare sector is its sizable and well-educated workforce, many of whom reside in the West Valley but currently leave to work elsewhere.

“That’s due, in part, to the fact that the West Valley is a great place to live and play, so it attracts a dynamic and diverse workforce,” Gould said. “Additionally, we’re fortunate to have so many terrific secondary schools, colleges and universities offering quality healthcare training programs.”

Gould said Banner enjoys a close relationship with several of them, including Glendale and Estrella Mountain community colleges, Grand Canyon University, Midwestern University and ASU West.

“Any day of the week, you can find nursing students, pharmacy students and medical students working alongside working professionals inside our hospitals, gaining the experience they’ll need to enter the workforce,” Gould said.

In addition to a built-in worksforce, another strength is the  tremendous support the healthcare industry receives from city leaders and economic development officials throughout the West Valley.

“A few years ago, for example, we completed a major $290 million campus expansion at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale,” Gould said. “You don’t get through a project of that scope and magnitude without extensive cooperation and support from the city’s economic development team, planning department and City Council. At Banner, we don’t take that support for granted, and we appreciate it when we see it.”

Healthcare leaders universally agreed.

“When I look at the mayors of the communities we serve — Avondale, Goodyear, Buckeye, Litchfield — they are all very progressive and collaborative,” said Stan Holm, CEO of Abrazo West Campus.

Not to be ignored when creating a checklist of West Valley strengths is the fact that the region has room to grow.

“The West Valley is poised for growth because the region is not land locked by anything tied to state land or Indian territories,” Holm said. “It allows businesses to continuously expand and the opening of the Loop 303 has geographically set up the West Valley to succeed for the long run.”

Don Freeman, senior project manager for healthcare for The Weitz Company said another advantage of the West Valley for healthcare facilities is the opportunity to get anchored and established in an up-and-coming market.

“Available land and economic development partners willing and able to work with real estate brokers, developers, new businesses and general contractors are the two major factors I see contributing to the growth,” Freeman said.

What’s next?

Valley residents don’t have to look any further than daily headline to see that healthcare is continuing to explode in the West Valley. In just the past five years, Gould said Banner Health has invested about $250 million to expand existing health care facilities and to build new ones in the West Valley. This figure is led by the $161 million expansion project that is nearly complete at Banner Estrella Medical Center in west Phoenix. And in June, Plaza Companies, which is based in the West Valley and is one of the premier medical office real estate firms in Arizona, announced it would help build a five-story addition to Banner Estrella Campus. It will be 70,000-square-feet initially, with future expansion capabilities up to 125,000 square feet.

“We are looking forward to this project and building a facility that will complement the success of the first Medical Plaza on the Banner Estrella campus,” said Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Companies. “This is yet another sign of the growing need for healthcare services in the west Phoenix area. For years to come, this facility will serve thousands of people in need of medical care.”

But that’s not the only growth Banner is looking at in the West Valley.

“In June, we embarked on a $2.3 million facelift of the Banner Thunderbird Medical Pavilion, a large medical office building on the campus of Banner Thunderbird Medical Center,” Gould said. “Next year, we plan to open a new Banner Health Center on the northwest corner of the Loop 101 Freeway and 75th Avenue in Glendale in the Aspera development. This center will include primary care physicians, specialists and lab and medical imaging capabilities.”

The new Banner Health facility will mark the company’s fourth in the West Valley, joining Banner locations in Verrado, Estrella and Surprise.

But Banner isn’t the only healthcare company expanding in the West Valley.

“We just finished a $26 million expansion a year ago,” Holm said. “In that, we had a south tower that was erected and the third floor was built out and we have shelf space on the first and second floors. We added operating room suites. We built out two operating rooms and have shelf space for future growth there. We are poised with shelf space to continue to grow with the community.”

At CTCA, McGuire said he is deep into the process of planning for growth.

“We initiated a five-year master capital planning process about three months ago and will be working with our board over the summer about what that will include,” McGuire said. “We are looking at options that include adding on to the existing footprint, but we also recognize where healthcare is moving, meaning much more care in the future is going to be delivered in outpatient settings.”

McGuire said than in addition to adding about 200 parking sppaces and finishing off a couple areas that are currently shelf space within the hospital, executives at CTCA are looking at adjoining acreage around the hospital for potential expansion opportunities.

“Instead of adding on, we’re exploring what it might look like to take a more campus approach for our hospital,” McGuire said. “A lot of that will be decided in coming months.”

As the healthcare industry continues to grow and medical innovation defines the West Valley, the West Valley has developed a swagger that has made it an attactive place to do business.

“The west side has also been hurt historically by its reputation as a bedroom community,” Gould said. “A thriving healthcare industry on the west side is helping change that perception. Today, in many of the communities we serve, our hospitals are the largest local employer, allowing residents to find quality, well-paying jobs in the same communities where they live and play.”

excessive heat warnings

Driving while single can cost more in Phoenix, study shows

Single, widowed and divorced drivers in Phoenix are likely to pay higher insurance rates than married drivers with identical driving records, according to a recent report from the Consumer Federation of America.

Phoenix was one of 10 large cities across the U.S. where the federation sought quotes for a 30-year-old woman with a perfect driving record – but different family particulars. In all 10 cities, most rates were higher for that hypothetical customer if she was single, divorced, widowed or single with a child, the study showed.

Critics say that’s the wrong thing for insurers to focus on.

Buying auto insurance “shouldn’t remind people to go get married,” said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. “Insurance pricing should remind people to be safe.”

But where consumer groups see rating criteria that have little to do with risk, others see a “sign of a healthy marketplace,” where different insurers are offering a range of pricing options.

Andrew Carlson, the legislative liaison for the Arizona Department of Insurance, said “there is nothing preventing” consumers from choosing a different insurance company.

“Consumers are free if they can find a better rate or premium,” Carlson added.

The report found differences between customers based on their marital status could be large: In Phoenix, for example, rates were sometimes as much as $400 a year higher for a widow than a married woman.

Four of the five insurance companies cited in Phoenix – GEICO, Farmers, Progressive and Liberty – had lower rates for the hypothetical married customer. Rates at State Farm did not vary with marital status, the report said.

Calls to the individual companies were referred to the Insurance Information Institute, where Michael Barry said it is not surprising to see different rates for different people.

“The auto insurance industry has generally found that married drivers pose less of a risk to insurers than single ones,” said Barry, adding that it is a “consensus opinion that has emerged over a period of decades.”

Not all risk factors are based on driving records, Barry said, noting that insurers in some states look to credit scores because they “have found that people who handle their finances correctly are less likely to file claims.”

Hunter disagreed with the notion that rates should be influenced by anything besides your behavior behind the wheel, but he said “credit score has more impact than anything else” on rates, even more so than drunken driving incidents most times.

Other advocates agree with Hunter, arguing there should be no correlation between auto insurance risk and socioeconomic factors.

“What does paying your credit card on time have to do with your driving?” asked Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.

“As far as I know, insurance companies are using a variety of unfair rating tools,” Mierzwinski said.

“Instead of using legitimate factors, based on causation,” Mierzwinski said the federation’s study points out “insurance companies trying to maximize their profits.”

Basing rates, at any level, on socioeconomic factors “undermines the safety” that auto insurance rates were once founded on, Hunter said. He said there is “more and more use of factors that have nothing to do with driving.”

But Carlson said that when underwriters determine premiums, “It all comes down to risk assessment.”

Companies compile all kinds of information, from marital status to driving records, he said, that helps them “determine what sort of risk they want to take with a particular customer.”

“They may target you, they may target me,” Carlson said. But ultimately they will “come up with a rate they think we will accept, so they can try to secure business.”

“They might think single people have an increased risk for that company,” he said of the federation report findings.

Hunter said the report also clearly shows “a widow penalty,” as insurance rates increase for a woman whose husband just died. The practice “just about takes the cake,” he said.

CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck said raising rates in instances like that “seems inhumane.”

“It’s not at all clear” why companies use such factors, he said.


OSHA heat reminder for Phoenix

With sweltering temperatures impacting Phoenix today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding employers to protect their workers from heat illness.

OSHA’s FREE Heat Safety Tool App can calculate the heat index for a worksite, and displays a risk level to outdoor workers. With a simple click, users can get reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness.

Heat illness can be deadly. Three simple words can mean the difference between life and death: Water, Rest and Shade.

To prevent heat related illness and fatalities:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Rest in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers.
  • “Easy does it” on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
Alison Christian, shareholder at Christian Dichter & Sluga.

Ladder Down helps female attorneys rise in profession

More women are becoming lawyers, but they are struggling to earn positions as equity partners and shareholders at their firms.

“The real issue is that institutional obstacles have been in place that have made it very difficult for women to excel,” said Alison Christian, shareholder at Christian Dichter & Sluga.

Christian and Beth Fitch, founding member of the Righi Fitch Law Group, say women attorneys have a tough time rising to leadership positions at their firms because they lack sufficient  business training. They say part of the problem is the disparity of women lawyers at the top.

Looking more in depth at the issue, Christian and Fitch believe the root of the problem is lack of mentoring. With so few women lawyers at the top, it is hard for young lawyers to find role models.

Their solution: Ladder Down.

Ladder Down, founded by Fitch and Christian, provides women with the tools they need to get ahead as lawyers. This year-long program is broken up into monthly sessions focusing on three areas: leadership empowerment, business development and mentoring.

“Focusing on all three of these pillars is critical to creating a strong foundation with which women lawyers can achieve and succeed in the legal profession,” said Marianne Trost, Ladder Down coach and career management coach at Women’s Lawyers Coach.

The program begins with large group sessions focusing on leadership and taught by experienced business coach Lynn Moran of Arizona Coaching & Consulting Center LLP. It begins with learning one’s strengths.

“Self awareness is the foundation of empowerment,” Moran said.

Along with increasing self-awareness, these sessions teach participants to improve communication skills and understand different styles of conflict resolution.

The course then transitions to a four-month business development boot camp lead by Trost.  The participants meet with panels of corporate decision-makers, female judges and  industry leaders to learn how they can be more effective as female attorneys.

The monthly group sessions are accompanied by accountability sessions with smaller groups that meet and set individual goals to accomplish before the next session. These sessions are designed for discussing obstacles and challenges the women are facing, as well as giving them encouragement.

“You are always a leader and a follower, we challenge them to pay it forward,” Fitch said.

This challenge addresses the problem young women lawyers are facing when they try to find a mentor.

“Several participants of the Ladder Down classes of 2013 and 2014 have paid it forward financially and in-kind in order to enable other women lawyers to participate in the program,” Trost said. “That’s one of the biggest testimonials a program can receive.”

The Ladder Down process and three pillars together teach the participants the six philosophical foundations of the program: individual empowerment, women helping other women succeed, paying it forward, promoting diversity, commitment to change and quality instruction.

“We are giving them tools that will hopefully help initiate change on an institutional level,” Christian said.

Ladder Down participants are diverse in practice areas and experience levels. Some have been practicing for less than one year, while others have been in practice for more than 20 years. There is an application process to participate and Ladder Down will start accepting  applications for the 2016 program starting in mid-November.

“Our sweet spot is five- to 15-year lawyers because that is when women in private practice are looking to make their move and fulfill their potential at a law firm,” Fitch said.

The registration fee for the 2015 Ladder Down program is $675 for non-Arizona Association Of Defense Council members and $450 for members.

The program has reached more than just women in Arizona. In less than three years, the program has gone bi-coastal. Ladder Down launched in New York in September 2014 and is set to launch in Seattle this fall. The founders are hoping to continue to expand nationally, reaching more regions, cities and women.

No matter where or whom goes through the Ladder Down program, Christian wants them to walk away from the program feeling better equipped and empowered to reach whatever their definition of success might be.

From a business development standpoint, women who have completed Ladder Down have brought in new clients, successfully expanded existing relationships to other practice areas, have earned appointments to leadership roles, referred business to one another and have become effective contributors to rainmaking success, according to Ladder Down.

“I would like to see more women in leadership roles at firms,” Christian said, “and more women’s voices at the top.”

The founders believe these tools give women the training needed to successfully build a book of business and this will help them get ahead. Having a  book of business leads to increased compensation, promotions and women’s ability to effectively compete for leadership positions in their firms, according to Ladder Down.

“Ladder Down can be the real vehicle for not only incremental change,” Fitch said, “but exponential change.”


What: Ladder Down is dedicated to the principles of leadership empowerment, business development and mentoring for female attorneys.

When to apply: Ladder Down will accept applications for the 2016 program starting in mid-November.

Cost: $675 for non-Arizona Association Of Defense Council members and $450 for members.

Information: ladderdown.org

PB Bell

P.B. Bell celebrates anniversary of their largest acquisition

P.B. Bell, a leader in multi-family housing development and management, is marking the one-year anniversary of its biggest acquisition by celebrating improved occupancies stemming from the completion of major renovations within the seven-property portfolio. The acquisition, which closed in July of 2014, included nearly 2,800 apartment units in complexes throughout metropolitan Phoenix. The transaction represented the largest in company history and one of the largest sales in the Phoenix multi-family housing market since the economic downturn reset the real estate industry in 2008.

Since taking ownership of the seven properties in Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Glendale, occupancy rates have increased by up to 8 percent and have reached an overall average of 97 percent leased.  To date, P.B. Bell has renovated about 300 apartment units and invested nearly $9 million into community improvement projects, such as new paint and landscaping, remodeled clubhouses and fitness centers, and updated pool areas.

“This acquisition in particular, the improvements that have followed and the ones that are still planned, illustrates our desire to pinpoint targets that allow us as a company to deploy our management and construction expertise in a way that elevates the profile of a community,” Phil Lake, P.B. Bell’s director of acquisitions, said. “We have the ability to recognize the strengths of a certain asset and capitalize on them, while at the same time finding ways to introduce new design elements to older communities.”

Clubhouses and leasing offices have been remodeled and updated with lounges and entertainment areas, pool areas have been repaired and updated with modern furnishings and buildings have seen extensive paint, roofing repairs and maintenance. In addition, a number of outdoor sport-court areas have been transformed into lush common areas equipped with barbecues, dog parks and shade structures.  Hundreds of apartments have also been updated to include new flooring, plumbing fixtures, appliances, sinks, countertops and light fixtures.

In the coming years, P.B. Bell plans to extend similar interior renovations to about 900 additional apartment units within the portfolio.

“We have received positive feedback from the residents living in these communities, which pleases us from a customer service standpoint, as well as from a leasing perspective,” Lake said. “While these improvements will attract new residents, improved amenities also help us add value to the area and retain current residents.”

mediation - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Mediation becomes trend for resolving business disputes

While mediation used to be a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation has become mainstream.

Today, virtually every dispute that is not able to be resolved through direct negotiation is proceeding to mediation. The only questions are at what stage of the process will mediation be held and who will be selected as the mediator.   

When should parties mediate?

More often in business today, mediation can be mandatory, pursuant to a contract that requires mediation before arbitration or a lawsuit is filed, or pursuant to company policy that requires mediation before an administrative charge or suit is filed.    

If the timing of mediation is not mandatory, the parties can choose from various options:     

• Pre-suit. This occurs when one party, typically through counsel, sends a demand letter and suggests private mediation. The main advantage of this is privacy: no public suit is filed than can generate negative publicity or that will remain public information forever.   The other advantage is that resolution can occur before much is expended in legal fees. The disadvantage is that, without formal legal discovery, parties are making decisions that are less than “fully informed.”   However, parties can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• After suit is filed, before discovery. The privacy advantage is lost, but now the primary advantage becomes avoiding the extensive costs and emotional and lost productivity drain of protracted litigation. The disadvantage is that, as with pre-suit mediation, much information will not be known.

• After discovery, before motions filed. Much of the costs of litigation will have been incurred, but it avoids the costs of filing motions, which can run in excess of $25,000, and it avoids the risk of loss if the court rules against a party on a motion that may dispose of all or part of a case.

• After motion is ruled on. At this point, the parties have given their best pre-trial shot at convincing the judge of the righteousness of their positions, and the outcome is known. The advantage here is to avoid the risks at trial, if trial is still available, or of an appeal, if the judge has dismissed the case.

• Post-trial. Mediation at this point occurs after a highly-undesirable result has occurred at trial and the losing party wishes to avoid paying a huge verdict, and/or wishes to avoid the process, costs and risk of an appeal.

Who should be selected as the mediator?

Selection of a mediator is made easier today by on-line research. Ask your lawyer for a recommendation. Search mediate.com, the American Arbitration Association, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, or JAMS, for possible sources of lists of mediators. Mediator searches can be run by geographic location and by subject matter expertise and experience.

In making your selection, consider the following:

• Substantive expertise. Does the mediator have an extensive background in the type of dispute (i.e., real estate, employment, commercial, environmental, personal injury, domestic relations, etc.)?

• Reputation. Is the mediator well-known and well-respected in the legal community?

• Style. Do you prefer a mediator that is more directive, evaluative or facilitative?

• Availability. Is the mediator available within the time frame we need?

• Cost. While relevant, this should be the least important factor. Mediations generally last one day and if you can resolve your conflict in one day, it is a heck of a worthwhile investment.

Amy L. Lieberman is a mediator whose practice concentrates in employment and executive mediation. She is the author of “Mediation Success: Get it Out, Get it Over, Get Back to Business,” available on Amazon.com. She is the executive director of Insight Mediation and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers in ADR for more than a decade.


GPEC attracted 6,200 jobs during last fiscal year

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) saw another record-breaking year for the Greater Phoenix region as GPEC worked with its 22 member communities with the location and expansion of 32 companies over the course of the fiscal year ending June 30th.   

Those companies will add more than 6,200 jobs across Greater Phoenix during the first year of operations, more than half of which are high-wage jobs with an average salary of nearly $70,000. The payroll generated from the new positions is anticipated to be over $330 million, in addition to a nearly $900 million capital investment to the region.   

“This year we saw an increase in the number of high-quality, high-wage jobs GPEC is bringing to the region,” said Chris Camacho, president & CEO of GPEC. “Our communities’ mayors and their economic development teams do a tremendous job showcasing the business-friendly climate and deep talent pool that makes Greater Phoenix a top choice among leading companies to grow their operations.”

New companies to the region spanned across various industry sectors as new tech companies expanded their footprint outside Silicon Valley, financial centers began construction on new operating centers, and regional headquarters for advanced manufacturing broke ground.

Since 1989, GPEC has been responsible for assisting in the location of bringing more than 630 companies to the region, adding more than $12 billion in capital investment and over 110,000 jobs. For more information on doing business in Greater Phoenix, visit gpec.org.

The Studio at Central Arizona Supply 3

Ask the experts: Home Remodeling 101

Undertaking a home remodel is a daunting task so Central Arizona Supply, the leading plumbing supply company in Arizona, is making things easier by hosting a free “Ask the Experts: Home Remodeling 101” event where the Valley’s top home remodeling experts will be under one roof to answer questions, conduct demonstrations and help take the guesswork out of the remodeling process.

From hardware, plumbing and lighting to appliances, countertops and cabinets, the open house event will offer advice, demonstrations, input on which areas of the home add the biggest value and all the ins and outs of remodeling. Industry experts, interior designers, contractors and remodelers will be on-hand to answer questions and give suggestions on how and where to begin when remodeling your bath, kitchen and home. 

The event is free and open to the public. There will be a giveaway for a faucet and showerhead along with a 25 percent discount on all merchandise storewide.

WHEN: Saturday, August 1, 9 a.m. – 3  p.m.

WHERE: The Studio at Central Arizona Supply, 4750 N. 16th Street (16th Street and Camelback Road), Phoenix

WHO: Central Arizona Supply

For more information about Central Arizona Supply, call 480-834-5817 or visit www.centralazsupply.com.  

123rf.com: feverpitched

Marcus & Millichap sells Phoenix apartments for $3M

Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, today announced the sale of Tidewood, a 49-unit apartment community located in Phoenix, AZ, according to Don Morrow, regional manager of the firm’s Phoenix office. The asset sold for $3,000,000.

Trevor Hardy, investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Phoenix office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a private investor.  The buyer, a limited liability company, was also secured and represented by Trevor Hardy.

Tidewood is located at 4021 & 4025 North 40th Street in Phoenix, AZ.


Goodyear defense contractor gets Air Force research grant

Prime Solutions Group, an aerospace and defense consulting contractor located at the West Valley Technology Center near the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, has received a prestigious Small Business Innovative Research grant from the United States Air Force.

Joseph Marvin, president of the 17-employee firm, said the Phase I grant is a major accomplishment that will allow his company to begin working on a cutting-edge project over the next year to help the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. PSG’s research will help fine-tune weapons systems compatibility and communications that will take fighter jets ranging from the F-16s to F-35s to long-range bombers to the next performance level. If the government accepts the results of his Phase I research, that would put Prime Solutions in line for a $1 million Small Business Innovative Research Phase II grant.

Prime Solutions Group is located in a 10,000-square-foot space of Building 4 at the former Lockheed Martin campus, 1300 S. Litchfield Road, and has continued to grow since Marvin launched it in his Waddell home. Marvin has since added engineers and scientists to accomplish the advanced research at the current location he leased earlier this year.

“This is exciting news,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said of Prime Solutions Group’s most recent grant. “PSG’s advanced technology represents the future of the Goodyear business ecosystem and mission of innovation. The city plans to maintain its presence in the aerospace and defense industry, and PSG is conducting research that is vital.” 

This grant, which was awarded in the amount of $150,000, marks the third Small Business Innovative Research Grant Prime Solutions Group has received over the last two years in the area of complex system design. It will allow research in Modeling and Simulation for Design, Development, Testing and Evaluation of Autonomous Multi-Agent Models. In 2013 and last year, PSG received SBIR contracts from the Department of Defense that is allowing the firm to conduct research on fine-tuning the accuracy of the missile defense system.

The objective of the latest research is to complement capabilities of future Air Force autonomous systems that require interoperable tools and methodologies to design, verify, validate, assess and operate human-machine system interactions associated with autonomous and manned systems integration.  The first phase of the effort will start with an F-16 tactical environment and expand to Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operations. 

“The Air Force is looking for “next level” capability necessary to design future complex systems, and that is right in our wheelhouse,” said Marvin, who will collaborate with global leaders on autonomous systems and systems challenges at the International Symposium of the International Council on Systems Engineering next week in Seattle.

“Our winning proposal teamed with world-class partners including the Arizona State University Cognitive Engineering Research Institute, Georgia Tech Research Institute, IBM Research and Lockheed Martin,” Marvin added. We want to see how the existing weapons systems will interact with the new systems including with the pilot, satellite systems and ground systems.”

PSG had established offices at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport in 2010 to be collocated with their prime customer Lockheed Martin.

“When Lockheed Martin announced its plans to downsize in Goodyear, many people thought it was the end of PSG,” Marvin said.  “Not so. We’ve grown from five to 17 people over the past two recent grant. “PSG’s advanced technology represents the future of the Goodyear business ecosystem and mission of innovation. The city plans to maintain its presence in the aerospace and defense industry, and PSG is conducting research that is vital.”

This grant, which was awarded in the amount of $150,000, marks the third Small Business Innovative Research Grant Prime Solutions Group has received over the last two years in the area of complex system design. It will allow research in Modeling and Simulation for Design, Development, Testing and Evaluation of Autonomous Multi-Agent Models. In 2013 and last year, PSG received SBIR contracts from the Department of Defense that is allowing the firm to conduct research on fine-tuning the accuracy of the missile defense system.

Much of former Lockheed Martin campus is configured with data access and security features necessary to support defense programs.  The uniqueness of the space accommodates PSG’s current and projected growth and can also accommodate other companies focused in cyber security and related information technologies.

Reliance Management working with brokers, Brian Gleason, SIOR and Bonnie Halley, CCIM of Phoenix West Commercial of Litchfield Park, have been marketing space in four buildings previously occupied by Lockheed.  There are three office buildings totaling 22,837 square feet as well as a 13,138 square foot data center available for immediate occupancy.  Phoenix West Commercial is also actively marketing the remaining 11 buildings totaling 412,160 square feet.

Marvin attributes much of PSG’s growth to expanded Lockheed Martin subcontracting that retains key engineering and development personnel.

“Lockheed Martin left a foundation to build upon,” Marvin said.  “Now we have the opportunity to extend the heritage at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport from sensor integration to new horizons of Sensor Networks of Sensors.  Lockheed has been very helpful and supported PSG as an industry sponsor on the recent innovative research award from the Air Force.”

“PSG’s vision is to be on the leading edge of future complex system developments,” Marvin added. “The company recognizes future system challenges as an opportunity for leadership in new development paradigms.  Data analytics and advanced software programming are essential to meet new imperatives of advanced defense, energy and health care systems.  We are at the edge of developments in cognitive processing and intelligent systems – and we are going to do that right here in Goodyear, Arizona,” Marvin said. 

4830 S 36th St

16,194 SF industrial manufacturing building sells for $1.065M

Commercial Properties, Inc., Arizona’s largest locally owned commercial real estate brokerage, has announced the sale of a 16,194 SF industrial manufacturing building located at 4830 S 36th Street in Phoenix, Arizona.  Jeff Hays of CPI’s Tempe Industrial Team represented the seller, Hadco Corporation, in this $1.065 million sale.

The site offers convenient freeway access and is located south of Broadway Road and east of 32nd Street.  The buyer, Advanced Interior Electronics, a full service home electronics provider, was represented by Century 21.

Roosevelt Pointe

Businesses in Roosevelt Row may get a boost

A group of business and property owners are collaborating to implement a $375,000 business improvement district in the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill area of downtown Phoenix by next year. 

According to the business improvement plan newsletter, a Business Improvement District is a plan that allows property owners to gather resources and provide services beyond those provided by government to improve their district through a self-imposed and self-governed property assessment. More than 1,500 BIDs with a renewal rate of 95 percent have been formed in North America.

Nancy Hormann, owner of Hormann & Associates, has led the plan’s development since June 2014 when the City of Phoenix approved a contract with Downtown Phoenix Inc. to create the BID. Hormann has helped create 17 districts including those in California, Texas and Arizona.

“Out of those districts that I have formed, some of them over 20 years ago, all are still in existence and are still very successful,” Hormann said in a phone interview. “It’s been a proven commodity. It really has helped boost the vitality of the districts and creates that colorful clout… so that the area speaks with one voice instead of fragmented voices.”

According to Hormann, a final plan should be done within a week and questionnaires will be sent out to property owners asking if they support the district. In order to get the city council’s approval, support is needed from property owners representing 51 percent of the assessments to be paid. If enough support is granted the plan will go to council in September, and money would be available in February or March 2016 to start the district.

In the earlier stages of the plan’s development Hormann said focus groups and surveys were conducted to gather ideas, and a working group comprised of community representatives and property owners worked to develop them.

Hormann said the community had an advantage in developing the plan because the area was “already viewed in a great light.”

“The Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation has done fabulous things for the Roosevelt Row area,” Hormann said. “They’re a wonderful, a great success, but they’re all volunteers, and they don’t have a consistent source of income. This is taking it out of the volunteer realm and putting it into the professional realm. “

Wathsna Sayasane, the project manager of community and economic development for the City of Phoenix, serves on the BID working group to provide assistance from the city and would lead the approval process through city council if the plan is supported.

“What the community wanted was to get to that next level in their efforts regarding marketing, branding, holding special events and trying to create more cohesion within some of the downtown groups,” she said. “I think it can add more security in the community’s stability and sustainability for future years.”

Patrick Panetta, the director of project management of university real estate development at Arizona State University, served on the working group as a representative of the ASU downtown Phoenix campus.

“I think it will help define the relationship between the district and the business owners in the district and the campus,” Panetta said. “One of the benefits is the coordination and organization of certain events, their impacts in the area and a more concerted public outreach effort…I think how parking in the area gets managed may be a topic that this new district board could address and help improve.”

Hormann said she is confident most property owners will support the BID, however “you can’t please everybody.”

“I think there are a couple property owners that are concerned about what benefits it’s actually going to provide because they’re essentially going to be assessing themselves an enhanced fee to provide these services,” Panetta said. “There are some that don’t believe it’s worth it, but a majority of property owners who have been involved in the outreach believe this should be a good thing for the area.”

“We’ve had great feedback from a lot of the people,” Hormann said. “There are a lot of great people who are working towards this. It’s a great community effort.”


Phoenix ranked No. 1 for energy efficiency

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has ranked Phoenix the Number 1 big-city local government in the nation for energy efficiency. The Council lauded the city for achieving its 2015 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in local government operations and then resetting its targets to be even more stringent.

The City of Phoenix shared the Number 1 ranking for local governments with Denver and New York. The overall energy efficiency ranking for Phoenix was 18th out of 51 large cities.

“When it comes to energy efficiency, the City of Phoenix leads by example. We don’t ask others to do what we aren’t willing to do ourselves,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “So it was gratifying – but not surprising – to see our local government lead the nation in energy efficiency.”

Stanton added, “Our goal as a metropolitan area is to break into the top 10 and ultimately top this list in all categories in the coming years, and we are heading in the right direction.”

Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates, Arizona Organizing Committee Co-Chair Brad Wright, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods, Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Glendale City Councilman Sammy Chavira and Arizona Organizing Committee Co-Chair Win Holden.

Sky Harbor unveils football championship countdown clock

With 195 days and counting until the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Arizona Organizing Committee (AOC) and several Valley mayors and city leaders, unveiled a countdown clock at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This clock will mark the days, hours and minutes until Arizona shines on center stage with the kick-off of the big game.

“The countdown for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship has officially begun. This marks another milestone for the AOC and the community as we prepare for one of the most exciting times in Arizona’s sports history,” said Brad Wright, co-chair of the Arizona Organizing Committee. “Everyone traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor will see the clock and know that Arizona is the destination for the biggest celebration of college football.”

Located in Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of Sky Harbor’s passengers, the digital clock is illuminated on a 55 inch high-definition LED screen at the west end of Baggage Claim. An additional countdown clock will soon be illuminated on east end of Baggage Claim.

“The first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship was a major success, and we expect an even bigger and better experience for fans when the Valley hosts the second National Championship in 2016,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “That phenomenal fan experience begins at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which serves as the gateway to the Valley for the thousands of fans traveling in to attend the game. This clock is our way of showing how much we look forward to welcoming them and providing a world-class experience.”

The second ever College Football Playoff National Championship will be played on January 11, 2016, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This will be the Valley’s first time hosting the game which debuted in its new format last year in Arlington, Texas.

More than 85,000 people are expected to visit the Valley of the Sun for the game and surrounding festivities. Phoenix Sky Harbor will serve as the gateway to the events, and provide easy access to Valley-wide activities. The PHX Sky Train® connects with Valley Metro Rail to provide a quick, convenient, and seamless ride from the airport to downtown Phoenix, where a multi-day fan festival called Playoff Fan Central will be held, giving fans the opportunity to be a part of the national championship experience.

Valley leaders in attendance at the countdown clock unveiling included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh, Tempe Vice Mayor Corey Woods, Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, and Glendale City Councilman Sammy Chavira.

123rf.com: inq

SimonCRE adds Peter Krahenbuhl as Project Manager

PeterKrahenbuhl_web-picCommercial real estate developer SimonCRE added Peter Krahenbuhl as Project Manager to assist with the development responsibilities of SimonCRE’s growing portfolio of projects. SimonCRE currently has over 50 projects in the pipeline valued at over $100 Million, creating thousands of jobs across the country.

Krahenbuhl will work closely with the Vice President of Development coordinating as well as other team members and will be responsible for tracking project timelines, submittals and file management.  He will be vital in the daily planning and processes associated with successfully driving projects from inception to completion.

“We are pleased to add another talented professional to our dynamic team,” says Joshua Simon, president and founder of SimonCRE. “Peter has a variety of commercial real estate skills and experience that will really attribute to the growth of the company.”

Krahenbuhl has experience in condo conversions and was vital in the planning of several multi-family condominium developments in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Flagstaff totaling over $100 million dollars in sales revenue.  He also brings site selection, acquisitions knowledge and several other tenant representation brokerage and leasing experience to the position.

Lauren Stein

UMOM New Day Centers elect Lauren Stine to board

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Phoenix partner Lauren Stine has been elected to the UMOM New Day Centers‘ board of directors.

Founded in 1964, UMOM is the largest homeless shelter for families in Arizona. The organization aims to prevent and end homelessness, and it works to give people opportunities to gain the skills they need to rebuild their lives and succeed when they leave.

Stine is a member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group. She represents health care providers and professionals, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and direct sales companies in cases involving contract disputes, alleged fraud, deceptive advertising, and general litigation matters. She also assists clients in special action and appellate proceedings in state and federal courts.

Stine received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Arizona State University.

Author Paul Johnson, former mayor of Phoenix, is chairman of The Nonpartisan Movement's 501c4 in Arizona.

Partisan system: Is it working? Is it fair?

The evidence says that we should be optimistic about the future.  Through innovation, entrepreneurs and dynamic businesses, we are on get verge of driverless cars, new energy sources, a cure for cancer, extending human life and untold millions of other wonderful discoveries.  Here in Arizona we have an amazing potential for job growth and an expanding economy. 

If businesses and entrepreneurs are our greatest hope, our political system is our greatest threat.

Burdensome regulations, a mounting $17 trillion debt, the possibility of not extending the debt ceiling, and destroying the good faith and credit of the United States. The failure to pass immigration reform.  An educational policy where one party continues to cut spending while the other wants more money but fights any meaningful reform to hold the system accountable.  And Arizona elected leaders pass laws that make us the ridicule of the nation and cause us real losses in economic development.

The partisan system provides incentives to elected officials to look out for small factions within their political parties, while ignoring the broader interests of the full public they represent.  With gerrymandering, stacked districts and low turnout primaries, special interests have disproportionate power over the majority.  But it doesn’t have to be this way!

The partisan system is exactly what the Founders of the United States of America wanted to avoid. They warned us about it.

Before he left office, President George Washington warned his countrymen about parties: “The common mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Washington and his fellow Founders believed that wise leaders focused on the public interest are most likely to appear if they avoided the divisiveness of “faction” created by political parties.

To any wise person today, it is clear that we have moved far away from the ideal framed by our Founders.

Our Founding Fathers challenged the status quo, asking two key questions about the Monarchy: “Is it working?” and “Is it fair?”  These are two questions Americans across the country are asking about today’s Partisan System. 

Disdain for the partisan process is evident as large numbers of regular Americans are abandoning the two political parties and registering as nonpartisan, independent, or unaffiliated.  In Arizona, independents comprise the largest segment of the electorate: 35% of registered voters. And this number is more than 3 times as high as it was 30 years ago. Furthermore, national surveys indicate that 70% of the newest voters – 18 year olds – are registering as independents. In time, independents will be a majority of voters.

Washington’s warnings have become reality.  The partisan system is not working. 

Satisfaction with Congress is at an all-time low, while candidates from both parties drive towards the ideological fringes.  A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last summer found that despite the steady pace of hiring, 76% of adults lack confidence that their children’s generation will have a better life than they do—an all-time high. The only issue that ranked higher than the economy as a major problem in a recent Gallup poll was the lack of leadership.  It also showed the partisan system was failing on immigration, education and healthcare.

The failure is the most evident when it comes to debt and deficits.  A $17 trillion debt eventually will result in the need to raise the yield to attract new investors.  This will reduce tax revenue and thus other governmental services.  American corporations, viewed as riskier, will face increased costs to borrow, which will increase costs for goods and result in inflation.  The net worth of homeowners will decrease as the cost of borrowing money to purchase a home increases.  The American people are right.  If nothing changes, our future generations will experience a lower standard of living.  Is that working?

To solve this problem, pragmatic Democrats should support entitlement reform to ensure the sustainability of programs they claim to hold dear.  Fiscally responsible Republicans should support reform to restore the good faith and credit of the United States.  Leaders in both political parties understand this, but it doesn’t change anything.  Is that working? 

In a partisan environment all that matters is who has a majority and who wants the majority.  Compromise is avoided to protect partisan causes.  So Democrats oppose entitlement reform and Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, resulting in the possibility of defaulting on the national debt.   Meanwhile, we’re facing an impending crisis of default which would create a crisis as big as the hyper-inflationary period prior to World War II.  Is that working?

This isn’t just a national issue.  Arizona has also been ravaged by partisan politics.  Our partisan process elected Evan Mecham, we grew our state budget to unsustainable levels at the height of the housing bubble, passed SB1070, narrowly avoided the SB1062 embarrassment, and defunded education.  In the past few years, our legislature considered bills that looked like secession movements, questioned the right of the Supreme Court to interpret laws, and opposed higher educational standards.  Is that working?

Why does the partisan system fail to match up with the will of the general public?

It is because many of our elected officials are elected in primaries where less than 5% of the public vote in either primary.  Stacked districts eliminate any real competition in the General Election.  So these politicians never really face a majority of the public.  If they did, they could not sustain these extreme views.  Is that fair?

Out of 435 elected members of Congress, because of gerrymandering, only about 35 districts have real competition in the General Election. That means that in the overwhelming majority of districts, a small minority of people has control over the direction of the United States. Is that fair? 

Meanwhile, voters not registered in a party have fewer voting rights than those who are in a party.  Nonpartisan voters have to re-register every election to receive an early ballot in a primary.   Nonpartisan candidates must collect ten times as many signatures for the same office as their partisan counterparts.  Is that fair?

The most insulting of all is that the parties take taxpayer dollars from independents and nonpartisan voters to fund their primary elections at the same time some are pursuing efforts to prevent those independents from even voting.  Is that fair?

This partisan system is destined to fail.  Our founders called those men who advocated for such a system where the few controlled the many as “tyrants.” 

Arizona needs a system that will grant the right of every voter to vote in every election.  In 2016 the nonpartisan movement will propose just such a measure in Arizona designed to pull people together as opposed to split them apart.

The public understands you can’t be pro-labor if you’re not pro-business.  You can’t be pro-business unless you are pro-education and you can’t be pro-education unless you are pro-funding and pro-reform.  But alas, today our politicians are not accountable to the public, but instead care only for the small factions that vote in their primaries.

As popular business author Jim Collins writes, you must “face the brutal facts” to succeed. The facts are clear. 

It’s time to reawaken American pragmatism, heed George Washington’s advice, and move away from the partisan system that threatens the future of our republic.


Paul Johnson, former mayor of Phoenix, is chairman of The Nonpartisan Movement’s 501c4 in Arizona: the Open Nonpartisan Elections Committee. For more information, visit www.openprimariesaz.org.

IO President Anthony Wanger.

Tech-friendly scene makes Arizona a data center hot spot

Phoenix has its head in the clouds.

Digital information—everything from financial and medical accounts to media entertainment and social networks—is now being stored in about 60 high-tech data centers throughout the Phoenix metro area, adding to the state’s growing reputation in the technology industry.

Renewable energy, geo-stability and tech-friendly legislation are a few of the reasons why Arizona has one of the highest concentrations of data centers in the United States, second only to Virginia.

Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, says one of the reasons Phoenix has seen a significant level of data center activity is power availability and competitive pricing.   

“We have very affordable power costs,” Camacho says. “Our utilities have been very flexible in supporting this industry to ensure we have dual feeds from the electrical standpoint. Having affordable power rates has been critical. The other attributes that are important to this industry as to why we have been successful are the level of infrastructure, that’s generally fiber infrastructure, and latency. We’re very favorable to the West Coast in that regard.  So our communities, as well as Cox, Century Link and others, have done a great job extending infrastructure to support this industry.”

Demand for renewable energy

As data centers continue to propagate, the demand for power increases.

A recent survey by Mortenson Construction, one of the leading data center contractors in the U.S., reported 84 percent of responding data center executives, developers and operators believe there is a need to consider renewable energy. Energy efficiency is a top concern and nearly half the survey participants believe improved technology can increase energy efficiency.

“Technology companies like Apple, eBay, Amazon and Google, all of the organizations that store massive amounts of information, tend to have leaders who are highly environmentally conscious,” explains Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council,  “They would much prefer to use renewable energy to power these data centers rather than power coming from a coal-burning plant. It’s less about the economics and more about doing the right thing.”

IO president Anthony Wanger agrees. IO, one of the largest colocation data centers in North America, has created and patented energy efficient data storage modules and operating software. In 2013, APS evaluated IO’s Power Usage Effectiveness ratings and determined the modules were more efficient than the traditional raised-floor data center environment.

In February, IO announced an agreement the company made with APS to be able to offer renewable energy to its customers.   

“We had a break through,” Wanger said. “We were able to negotiate a rate with APS that allows us to buy renewable energy. We were able to get a rate that reflects the scale of our use, and the option for our customers to simply choose to go green. For about a cent and a half more per kilowatt hour they can buy energy that is 100 percent renewable. It’s solar and wind. We have had terrific customer feedback about it.

“It’s important for us,” Wanger continues. “We want to be leaders in dematerialization and we want to be leaders in giving our customers the tools and the choices they need to manage their energy needs. Our very largest customer, Goldman Sachs, is committed to zero carbon.

“We have taken great strides in moving our energy over to renewables. I’m not going to tell 1,000 customers what they have to do,” he explains, adding that if he puts it on the menu and incentivizes it, he believes they will choose it. “We are committed to renewables, we are leaders in energy efficiency, by putting it out there, it’s going to be a needle mover.”

Making it happen

IO began with three businessmen and a foldup table from Costco, Wanger said. The table, signed by the co-founders Wanger, George Slessman and William Slessman, is somewhere in the Phoenix facility as a reminder of how they began.

“I always liked to build things. I have always been fascinated by buildings and real estate and systems and machines,” says Wanger, who comes from several generations of entrepreneurs. “I was brought up in the ‘you make your job, you don’t get a job’ mentality. Sit down. Figure it out. Make it happen. That’s the only thing that works for me.

“We’ve been really fortunate we have a really solid business with terrific institutional backers and terrific institutional customers. We’ve been able to attract some terrific talent. The way we got here is people. When I say make it happen, it isn’t just the three of us, it’s the entire team.

“Make it happen. That really is the moral of our whole story here. These data centers didn’t build themselves. These folks didn’t employ themselves. The capital didn’t raise itself. The customers didn’t identify and sign themselves. This is hard work.

He suggests that in order for Arizona to continue growing its reputation in the technology arena, it, too, will take hard work.

“If Arizona wants to continue its fantastic growth it’s going to be because it chooses to, not because it happens automatically. I feel very positive about Phoenix and Arizona’s prospects, but I think we have to be careful not to take things for granted,” Wanger says. “It’s a very competitive economy. I think we would be well advised to be purposeful in our recruiting and the way in which we create a climate where risk takers can take risks.”


Wanger and his partners at IO, which now has six locations around the globe, were among some of the early risk takers in the data center industry.

“We grew up with the GoDaddy guys. If you go back 10 or 15 years ago, they were in data centers. We were in data centers. There was another guy in data centers and that’s about it,” Wanger says.

According to a market overview analysis by CBRE, today there are about 60 data centers in the Phoenix metro area, including colocation operations and those used by individual companies. An additional 21 greenfield sites have been identified mostly in the East Valley for build-to-suit data centers.

Even with the explosion of data centers in Phoenix, Wanger says he is seeing a trend toward consolidation.

“We are moving away from square footage to more power in less space with shared highly utilized banks of computers,” he says. “I think that the Internet went from 400 markets globally to 200 to 50 markets. I think it’s on its way to being in 12 markets globally. That’s mega consolidation. We are doing everything we can do in our power to make sure Phoenix is on the winner side of that equation.”

Tech magnet

Energy affordability, access and renewable options are sited as reasons for locating power-intensive data centers in Phoenix, but there are more.

Geo-stability is an important factor when deciding a data center’s location. Arizona is free of natural disasters, making it an appealing locale.

“We don’t have hurricanes, or earthquakes or tornadoes or floods or any of those things that jeopardize a data center. We are a very sound place from that standpoint,” Zylstra says.

Moderately priced real estate with relatively low property taxes and legislative incentives sweeten the pot.

“A lot of economic policies in the legislature have supported both enterprise use and colocation centers,” Camacho says. “More recently there was legislation in the last few years that provided a sales tax exemption on server and IT equipment. That was one of the last pieces of the puzzle of being a great market in terms of allowing this market to grow and making it competitive against California and these other states.”

According to CBRE, “The financial impact of this law to a 1 MW tenant’s bottom line could be as much as $6 million to $7 million in tax credit savings over a 10-year period.”

Camacho continues, “There are tax credits available for companies of a certain investment scale, so, in a certain investment threshold, when they meet that level of capital investment, they are eligible, assuming they are going to use significant renewable energy resources, to obtain a corporate income tax credit.”

(subhead)The future

Locating data centers here is often an introductory step for some of the larger companies to test the business waters and learn about the Phoenix area.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working to support colocation operations in the market that are already here,” Camacho says. “And we are working as diligently as we can as we travel outside this market and showcase Arizona marketplace to prospective users. We’ll showcase IO data centers and Digital Realty Trust and others that are in this region with the goal of inducing these tenants to come and utilize colocation space and drive new investment and job creation at the same time.

Proximity to California has made it convenient for companies with corporate headquarters on the West Coast to locate their data centers here. “It encourages them to visit and to learn more about the operating environment. Then our goal is to talk further with them about future operational expansion. It could be back office, IT, or technology centers. Data centers and data storage are generally their first foray into evaluating this market on the office side.

“Once you become a nerve center where companies store data, then you start seeing a lot of these colocation tenants that are in these major facilities evaluating opportunities for back office expansion which generally comes with more job creation,” Camacho says.

CBRE reports a high quality of life and low cost of living have encouraged back shop operations for companies such as Wells Fargo, American Express, PayPal, Yelp and others to locate here.

“Companies tend to aggregate around each other,” Zylstra says. “At some point you get to a critical mass that people recognize and they want to be affiliated with it, connected to it.

“The recent Apple announcement is a watershed moment for us,” Zylstra says, referring to Apple’s plans to locate a data center in Mesa. “Apple is the most innovative company on Earth today. It’s the most successful company on Earth. When that kind of company makes a commitment here in Arizona it suggests that we have come into our own. I believe it is an important milestone in becoming known for technology.”

As the technology sector continues to grow, it is important to attract quality talent, he says.“ The greater the reputation the easier it is to attract and retain talent and that’s your competitive asset in a digital economy,” he says.

Drawing in talent is important, Camacho agrees, but he also says it is important to provide a continuing pipeline of trained talent in IT and technical services through our local educational system.

“That’s what is going to make this industry successful,” Camacho says. “We can see that pipeline coming through our Maricopa Community Colleges and the four-year systems that can meet the demand.

“Even though they are not large employers, there’s a very significant level of indirect technology job creation associated with these data centers. On average, you can provide anywhere from two to four indirect jobs for each of the jobs created within the companies themselves.”


‘100 Days of Summer’ returns to LUSTRE Bar

Recently named one of the best hotel rooftop bars by USA Today, LUSTRE Bar in Downtown Phoenix plans to keep things cool this summer with events nearly every night of the week, all summer long with its “100 Days of Summer” event series.

Perched on the third-floor pool deck of Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix LUSTRE is an oasis in the heart of Downtown Phoenix with a pool and cabanas that offer sweeping views of the city skyline, craft cocktails, an energetic vibe and seasonal menu items perfect for enjoying poolside.

During the 100 Days of Summer, these weekly events run through Labor Day:


  • Industry Appreciation Day
  • Pool opens at noon
  • Happy hour all day for those with a valid industry ID or business card.


  • Orangetheory Fitness Outdoor Series
  • 6pm – 7pm
  • $10 entry fee (includes a $10 food and beverage credit)
  • Free entry for hotel guests and Orangetheory members.
  • Orangetheory is bringing their popular workout to LUSTRE for this outdoor fitness series! The 60-minute workout is designed to push you into the “Orange Zone” to burn calories and give you noticeable, lasting results. Guests can mingle and enjoy cocktails and bites after the class.


  • Up on the Woof!
  • Rooftop happy hour with your pooch.
  • Food and drink specials from 5pm – 8pm.


  • Live at LUSTRE
  • Pool opens at 11am.
  • A guest DJ will spin tunes every Friday night from 8pm until midnight.

Saturdays & Sundays

  • LUSTRE Pool Party
  • Pool opens at 11am
  • Saturday: DJ from 2pm – 6pm and 8pm – midnight. Sunday: DJ from 1pm – 6pm.
  • Free and open to the public.
  • Guests can expect DJs, games like Champong, cornhole and table tennis and plenty of fun in the sun.

50th and 51st Day of Summer

  • Patriotic Pool Party
  • Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5
  • Pool opens at 11am.
  • $10 entrance fee for non-hotel guests. Free entry if you show your UBER receipt.
  • A guest DJ will spin tunes from 2pm – 6pm and 8pm until midnight on 4th of July and from 2pm – 6pm on July 5. Table tennis, cornhole and champong are available for unlimited fun in the sun.
  • Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com (search for LUSTRE 4th of July)

100th Day of Summer

  • Labor Day Weekend Pool Party
  • Saturday, Sept. 5, Sunday, Sept. 6 and Monday, Sept. 7
  • Pool opens at 11am.
  • $10 entrance fee for non-hotel guests. Free entry if you show your UBER receipt.
  • A guest DJ will spin tunes from 2pm – 6pm and 8pm until midnight on Sept. 5, from 2pm – 6pm on Sept. 6 and 1pm -5pm on Sept. 7. Table tennis, cornhole and champong are available for unlimited fun in the sun.
  • Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com (search for LUSTRE Labor Day)

Summer Hotel Packages at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix

Extend your summer fun with a stay at Hotel Palomar Phoenix with summer packages that run from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

  • 100 Days of Summer (rates from $109/night):  Includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations and 10 percent off all spa services and food and beverage at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails or LUSTRE Bar.
  • Urban Eats (rates from $149/night): Includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations and a $50 food and beverage credit to use at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails or LUSTRE Bar.
  • The Suite Life (rates from $155/night): Includes 20 percent off all suites.
  • Park it at The Palomar (rates from $119/night): Includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations and $10 valet or self-parking.
  • Uber Package (rates from $129/night): Includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two cocktails from LUSTRE Bar and, for Uber members, a free ride up to $20 to or from the hotel for new and existing riders.  

Booking: www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or 602-253-6633  

To book a cabana at LUSTRE Bar, call 480-478-1707 or see more details at www.lustrerooftopgarden.com. To learn more and to book a room at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix, visit www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or call 602-253-6633.