Tag Archives: phoenix chapter


Six SRP employees honored for volunteer work

In recognition of the invaluable contribution of their time, efforts and expertise to their communities, six SRP employee volunteers were awarded the SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award.

The award recognizes employees and retirees who are leaders in volunteerism and who serve as excellent examples of the power of caring.

“One of the truly remarkable aspects of the SRP employee family is the unwavering commitment to volunteerism that spans the entire organization,” said SRP President David Rousseau, who added that SRP employees and retirees, with help from their friends and families, donate thousands of volunteer hours a year to their communities. “Employees from all areas of the company help us build stronger communities through their personal commitment to volunteering.”

This year, SRP recognized employee Mike Heath with the Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his sustained leadership in addressing significant community needs. The late Karl F. Abel, a Glendale resident who served as president of SRP from 1972 to 1982, was a strong community advocate and  provided volunteer leadership to numerous organizations.

The 2015 SRP Presidents’ Volunteer Spirit Award honorees and the nonprofits they assist are:

Chandler resident Nancy Brooks – Most Valuable Pets

Nancy Brooks devotes more than 20 hours a week to Most Valuable Pets (MVP) and helps deliver mobile dog and cat health services to needy communities by supporting free spay/neuter events. Moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, the mobile surgical unit spayed and neutered more than 6,700 dogs and cats last year. Brooks manages all the publicity in the communities MVP visits; schedules and confirms appointments; picks up and delivers surgical patients; searches for grants to support the charity; and finds loving homes for unwanted animals. She has been with MVP for more than two years. In that time, the organization has helped thousands of pets in many underserved areas across the Valley. The MVP director says they could not do the work they do without Brooks’ ongoing support — she makes sure the mobile vet clinic runs efficiently and smoothly.

Chandler resident Dennis Gerlach – Flying Samaritans Arizona, Phoenix Chapter

Dennis Gerlach is a pilot who uses his plane to fly health care volunteers to Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to provide medical, dental and optical care to the residents in this small, remote fishing village. This volunteer group provides medical services to underserved communities in Mexico one Saturday per month, 10 months out of the year, and recently added a second clinic in Laguna San Ignacio. Gerlach has been active with the Flying Samaritans since 2008. In 2011, he became the Phoenix Chapter’s president, and this past summer, he was named vice president of the Flying Samaritans Arizona. Though not a medical practitioner, he supports efforts by serving as a clinic coordinator and by using his electrical engineering knowledge to repair medical and dental equipment. Gerlach also helps maintain the facility where the clinics are held. 

Peoria resident Mike Heath (KFA recipient) – Peoria Arizona Historical Society

The city of Peoria was established in 1886, and with nearly 130 years of history, the Peoria Arizona Historical Society is in charge of collecting, preserving, protecting and displaying significant artifacts, photographs and other materials for future generations. Mike Heath is the Historical Society’s vice chairman of the board and has been with the organization for two years. He is active in fundraising events, identifying opportunities for grants and providing tours of the jail house and museum. Heath is often found cleaning, making repairs and maintaining the museum to save the Historical Society money. In addition to the Historical Society, he also volunteers with Leadership West, the Glendale/Peoria YMCA, Benevilla and the Challenger Space Center Arizona. Heath spends much of his free time each month supporting a number of organizations near and dear to his heart. Identifying need and then helping address it, he is the recipient of this year’s Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award for his wide-ranging volunteer work in the community.

Phoenix resident Kim Humphrey – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Working to eliminate substandard housing in our community, Kim Humphrey has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona for nine years after introducing the SRP PowerWise home program to the charity as a Key Account Manager. Since then, Habitat has become one of the largest single-family LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) builders in the state of Arizona. Humphrey has been an active board member for several years and recently completed her term as chairman where she guided the board’s efforts and worked closely with the organization’s CEO to meet strategic goals. She raised money, recruited volunteers, led publicity campaigns, developed new community partnerships and helped build homes – all of which translated into 60 homes that meet the needs of more than 300 families. Humphrey also led the planning efforts for the Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s 1,000th home celebration with the help of several SRP employees.

St. Johns resident Les Young – New Hope Ranch

New Hope Ranch provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence as well as food boxes and firewood for the homeless in Apache County. Les Young has been volunteering with New Hope Ranch since 1998, assisting in maintaining the transitional homes, fixing plumbing and electrical issues and ensuring that everything is clean, in good working order and stocked with supplies for those in need. He helps when emergency situations arise and also performs regular volunteer work, including cutting wood, spraying weeds, painting and cleaning safe houses or helping out at the New Hope Chest thrift store. Living in a small town magnifies the needs of people in the community. Seeing this need, Young spends up to 25 hours a month supporting New Hope Ranch’s mission to better serve his community.


Tempe resident Nancy Starr-Cassidy – Toastmasters International, District 3

For nearly 30 years, Nancy Starr-Cassidy has been a member and a volunteer leader in Toastmasters International, District 3, an organization devoted to helping individuals become more effective communicators and leaders. First elected as an officer in the mid-1990s, Starr-Cassidy continued to be elected to higher offices, culminating in her 2004 appointment to the international board of directors. She founded the Toastmasters Leadership Institute after realizing newly elected officers did not have the business or leadership experience to guide the organization. Spending 40 hours each month, Starr-Cassidy provides instructional design skills to review and develop new curriculum for winter and summer education programs. She also serves as chief ambassador for the Revitalized Education Program and leads volunteer efforts to roll out a new educational program for Arizona’s 214 clubs.


AzLTA honors 'Stars of the Industry'

The shining stars of the hospitality and tourism industry were celebrated at the annual Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s (AzLTA) Stars of the Industry awards luncheon, held last week at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort.

The Stars of the Industry award was created more than 40 years ago by the American Hotel & Lodging Association to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the lodging industry. While the categories have evolved over the years, the concept is still the same: to honor lodging and tourism employees who best symbolize the quality service of the industry.

The 2013 Stars of the Industry Winners

Outstanding Employee of the Year: Jarrod Voeller, Door Captain, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Outstanding Manager of the Year: Michael Cairns, Executive Chef and Director of F&B, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Front of the House Manager of the Year, Small Property: Kim Cole, Director of Public Relations, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale

Front of the House Manager of the Year, Large Property: Thomas Williams, Director of Guest Services, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Heart of the House Manager of the Year, Small Property: Robin Younger, Director of Housekeeping, Royal Palms Resort and Spa

Heart of the House Manager of the Year, Large Property: Eddie Zrimsek, Assistant Spa Director, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Food & Beverage Employee of the Year, Small Property: Dusty Cox, Server, The Hotel Congress

Food & Beverage Employee of the Year, Large Property: Peter Genovese, In-room Dining and Pool Server, The Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes

Guest Service Employee of the Year, Small Property: Jason Kennedy, Bellman, The Boulders

Guest Service Employee of the Year, Large Property; Otto Valdez, Guest Services Supervisor, Tempe Mission Palms

Housekeeping Employee of the Year, Small Property: Lucas Alonzo, Houseperson, Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas

Housekeeping Employee of the Year, Large Property: Nilda Staniscia, Uniform Attendant and Seamstress, Montelucia Resort & Spa

Property Achievement awards in five categories were also announced at the event. These awards highlight programs that showcase the involvement of multiple employees and departments which go above and beyond to build a better community internally and externally.

Community Service: Arizona Biltmore

Guest Relations, Lodging: The Boulders, “True Waldorf Committee”

Guest Relations, Tourism: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, “The Navigator Program”

Special Event, One Time: W Scottsdale, “CHILL”

Special Event, Ongoing: The Phoenician, “Discover the Phoenician with Phoe-Phoe and Friends”

Special Event Ongoing, Tourism: Phoenix Chapter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association, “Chinese Auction”

Good Earthkeeping Award: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

black and white photo of a truck with the bed full of trash

IFMA Members Reach Out To The Community

Facility managers are busy people. They’re constantly on the go. But they’re not so harried that they don’t have time to help others. IFMA’s Greater Phoenix Chapter has a history of working with charitable organizations to make life better for those in need. It also conducts projects that directly reach out to people and help keep Phoenix clean.

Ron Zardus, a retired Motorola facility manager, is chairman of the chapter’s community outreach committee that coordinates all community involvement. Word-of-mouth publicity plays a large role in local organizations’ awareness of IFMA’s efforts. Charities contact Zardus directly asking for help, and he also keeps in touch with various agencies to talk about their day-to-day needs.

Several organizations receive aid from the chapter, including H.O.P.E. Mission in Apache Junction, which serves pregnant and unwed mothers; and Sunshine Acres Children’s Home in Mesa for 5- to 14-year-olds in crisis. In Phoenix, IFMA lends a hand to Maggie’s Place, which serves homeless and pregnant mothers 18 and older; Homeward Bound, which reaches out to homeless and domestically abused families; Sojourner Center, which provides services for domestic abuse victims; and Missionaries of Charity, which serves the homeless and unemployed.

Help comes in the form of excess materials that are donated to the charity, including furniture, equipment and carpeting. Some items are purchased and passed along. For example, Zardus is always on the prowl for used vacuum cleaners that he buys, repairs and donates. Chapter members and contractors from Zardus’ extensive list of contacts also donate their time and expertise for such projects as roof installations and painting.

“My main aim is to help eight to 10 charities,” Zardus says. “We want to help with their day-do-day activities and also want to show them how we can help with their long-range plans.”

Twice he has arranged for the full committee to meet with a charity so everyone can get to know each other, and he plans to do more meetings this year. Zardus starts each year with about $4,000 in chapter money, and says he has yet to be turned down when he requests additional funding several months later.

Quarterly, IFMA cleans up a one-mile stretch of 52nd Street between Thomas and McDowell roads. The most recent cleanup occurred on Feb. 6.

“When we first started the street cleanup several years ago, we took two pickup loads of trash back to the dumpsters,” says Lee Cowan, chapter secretary and construction and engineering services manager at General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale. “Since then, the street has been significantly improved in its appearance and image. The results have gone further than our chapter. It has influenced several in the neighborhood to be more proactive in helping keep the street clean.”

Some residents leave the comfort of their homes to help IFMA members remove trash on 52nd Street.

“I was amazed when at one location, the occupants of the residence came out and assisted in cleaning up tree limbs by their fence,” Cowan says. “Talk about peer pressure.”

Zardus and Cowan say IFMA takes particular pride in its annual Christmas food drive for needy families. Food cards are distributed to a group of families each year. Last December, nuns from Missionaries of Charity helped Zardus identify five families that would receive $125 food cards they could present at Bashas’ and Food City supermarkets. Zardus and Cowan delivered the cards personally. Tears flowed. One woman told them the card would feed her family for an entire week.

“This made a tremendous impact on the recipients and their appreciation was very evident,” Cowan says. “Words alone cannot describe the conditions that these families were living in and going through. These folks were in dire straits, and it made me stop and think just how lucky we are to have good homes and jobs. The nuns that met with (Zardus) and me said these were the poorest of the poor that they were working with in the area. It really touched my heart to see the thanks and appreciation of the families receiving the cards.”