Tag Archives: Phoenix Convention Center

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

Experts: 2 more years until full economic recovery in Arizona

We can expect our economic recovery to take about another two years in Arizona. That’s what experts said today at the 51st annual Economic Forecast Luncheon co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase.

About 750 people attended the event at the Phoenix Convention Center. Key experts delivered a comprehensive overview of what’s happening in the state and national economies, as well as the stock market and housing market. One main message was that Arizona is now growing at a faster rate than the nation, but we still have some distance to go.

“As of May, the United States finished gaining back 100 percent of its jobs lost in the recession, but in Arizona alone, we’re only 69 percent of the way there,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We expect to regain that last 96,400 jobs in the next year and a half.”

So far this year, Arizona has experienced 2-percent job growth, while our state’s 30-year average is a much higher 4.2 percent. Still, this rate was good enough to rank Arizona as the No. 12 state for job growth as of October. Arizona ranked No. 13 in personal-income growth by midyear. McPheters believes the state will speed up from here.

Among his Arizona predictions for 2015:
• Employment growth could rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to 2.5 percent next year.
• Personal-income growth could jump from 4 percent this year to 4.5 percent in 2015.
• Population growth could go up from 1.4 percent in 2014 to 1.5 percent next year.

McPheters added Arizona is doing particularly well in creating jobs in finance/insurance and health care. The state is lagging in manufacturing and construction. Arizona unemployment has dropped from 7.8 percent last year to 6.8 percent this year. However, we continue to recover much more slowly than from past economic downturns, and we continue to face risks from ineffective growth policies at the national level.

John Lonski, chief capital markets economist of Moody’s Analytics, addressed the national economy by saying that we can expect more subpar growth in 2015.

“We expect U.S. real GDP (gross domestic product) growth to rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to about 2.8 percent next year,” said Lonski. “We also anticipate the national unemployment rate may drop from 5.8 percent this October to 5.4 percent by the end of 2015.”

In addition, Lonski predicts U.S. wage and salary income should grow by about 4.5 percent next year. He believes industrial capacity will be more fully utilized. He said the housing collapse, tightening of fiscal policy, and insufficient new product development have been contributing to America’s economic struggle. However, he expects the next major wave of technological innovation to supply stronger-than-expected growth, whether it’s self-driving autos or robotics.

“We’re also experiencing some big changes because of a population shift,” Lonski added. “Only about 1.5 percent of the jobs added post-recession have gone to those ages 16 to 54, while those ages 55 and older gained 20.9 percent. This shift has prompted less spending and more saving, especially by those closer to retirement.”

Lonski also expects the budget deficit to go up, after bottoming out at 2.6 percent of GDP in 2015. That’s because of increased spending on retiring baby boomers, as well as the still-unknown costs of the Affordable Care Act. Decreased defense spending should moderate some of the increases.

James Glassman, managing director and senior economist for JPMorgan Chase & Co., covered the financial markets. He said that, despite the recent rise in stock prices, they are still fairly valued. He added household net worth is back in record territory.

“Credit conditions are improving, and rising vehicle sales prove it,” said Glassman. “Also, we’re seeing some improvements in the housing industry, since builders addressed their previous speculative overbuilding by underbuilding in recent years. Rising home prices are helping to drain the number of ‘underwater’ mortgages.”

Glassman notes the energy sector is also humming along. He expects interest rates to go up next year as the economy continues to improve.

Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based economic consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, covered the Arizona housing market. He repeated that the state has recently experienced a significant slowdown in population flows and only a modest recovery from the sharp downturn in our housing market.

Pollack said there are a few positives, such as slow acceleration of the local economy, decent home affordability, low mortgage rates, a slight loosening of lending standards, and the movement of many all-cash investors to other bargain areas of the country. These factors create more opportunity for local buyers who need financing.

“However, we still see several negatives that outweigh those positives, including relatively sluggish employment growth, fewer people moving, millennials delaying home purchases, many people still waiting out their required seven years in the credit ‘penalty box’ after foreclosures, and overall difficulty in getting home loans,” explained Pollack. “Full recovery is still years away.”

Pollack said more people who have been renting may jump back into the housing market over the next several years as conditions improve. Meantime, apartment construction is up. Pollack believes the Valley won’t see any significant office construction – except in select submarkets like Tempe – until at least 2017.

More details and analysis from the event, including the presentation slides, are available from the business school’s “Research and Ideas” website at research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

angel

Bioscience innovators will pitch at White Hat Investors

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 and 18, 2014.

“The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio). “Now, industry leaders and accredited investors have the opportunity to meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region.”

White Hat Presenting Companies were selected from the region’s emerging innovation leaders in the fields of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices, and Health IT. Presenting companies are developing lifesaving and life improving innovations that will benefit people today and for generations to come while addressing some of our greatest health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, neurological disorders, infectious disease, and more.

On September 17th, over 400 life science industry leaders will gather to view a company showcase, browse a student discovery zone and listen to presentations from local life science entrepreneurs on the BioAccel Best of the Best Stage from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the North Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center. Free and open to the general public, it presents an opportunity for members of the community to connect with the region’s fastest growing innovation sector. The public pre-event will be followed at 6:00 p.m. by the AZBio Awards gala (registration required) honoring life science pioneer Roy Curtiss, III, PhD; Charles Arntzen, PhD, the Arizona State University Researcher who, with his team, played a key role in the development of ZMAPP, the experimental Ebola drug given to two health workers who were sickened by the deadly virus earlier this year; W.J. “Jim” Lane, Mayor of the City of Scottsdale for his work in developing the Scottsdale Cure Corridor; innovative educator Miles Orchinik, PhD of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University; Jack B. Jewett of the Flinn Foundation for leadership of the longest running statewide bioscience development initiative in the United States; emerging technology leaders SenesTech, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals along with the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year, Insys Therapeutics, Inc.

White Hat events continue on September 18th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix with presentations by privately-held life science companies presenting to attending representatives of family offices, investment funds, corporate investment/business development professionals for life science oriented firms (strategic investors), granting foundations, venture capital firms, and accredited investors. In addition to great company presentations in the areas of Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Health IT, White Hat includes THREE general sessions featuring panel discussions on the investment environment from the perspective of Angels, Strategic Investors, and VCs.
Presenting Companies were selected from the Rocky Mountain Southwest’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of: Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices and Health IT and include:

• Aviratek, LLC
• Breezing
• Calimmune, Inc.
• CardioCreate, Inc.
• Convoy Therapeutics
• DiscGenics
• Elutin Vascular Inc.
• EndoShape, Inc
• Fluonic
• Imagenonics LLC
• Iron Horse Diagnostics
• INanoBio
• Kalos Therapeutics
• Kulira Technologies
• Meditope Biosciences, Inc.
• MSDx
• NeuroRecovery Technologies, Inc.
• NuvoMed
• NuvOx Pharma
• Pediatric Bioscience, Inc
• Portable Genomics, Inc.
• MedTalk Companion (Real Phone Corp)
• Recursion Pharmaceuticals
• RiboMed Biotechnologies
• Savoy Pharmaceuticals
• SenesTech
• Skylit Medical
• Sonoran Biosciences
• T-MedRobotics
• Valley Fever Solutions
• ValveXchange
• ViroCyt
• VisionGate
• Yolia Health

Things to do this weekend

Who’s looking to unwind this weekend? From dancing “All Night Long” to five-time Grammy winner, Lionel Richie, dressing up like your favorite comic book character, participating in the recording of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes’ podcast show, or celebrating Philippine’s independence from Spain, there are plenty of opportunities to let loose this weekend!

Lionel Richie w/Cee-Lo Green

Grab your “Endless Love” and relive some of Lionel Richie’s greatest hits. The five-time grammy winner is performing with Cee-Lo Green as part of his All the Hits All Night Long tour. Richie plans to release a new album in 2015, so you may even hear a new song!
Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, livenation.com. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8. $25-$135

Phoenix Comicon
photo-boothReady to experience pop culture in the flesh and let out your inner geek? Phoenix Comicon and its many visiting exhibitors and cosplaying patrons is taking over Phoenix. From meet-and-greet opportunities with your favorite actor or comic book artist to cutting a rug at the geek prom, this event has fun for the whole family — and the adults. You don’t have to dress up, but we guarantee it’s more fun if you do!
Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., Phoenix, phoenixcomicon.com, June 5 to 8, Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. $15 to $85 per day; free for ages 12 or younger with a paying adult

Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves Beach Night
baseballLooking for the beach in Phoenix? Chase Field may just be the next best thing. The baseball field is hosting a beach themed party to cheer on the D-backs as they take on the Braves. After the game, there will be a fireworks show featuring classic surf tunes. Each Beach Night ticket package includes a reversible D-back bucket hat.
Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com. Friday, June 6. 6:30 p.m., $15 to $160

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes

Jay and Silent Bob are joining forces for the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old tour. The comedic duo of the 1994 cult-classic, Clerks plan to record each show then release the audio as a free podcast. The show illustrates the life of two individuals growing up in the Hollywood limelight.
Stand Up Live, 50 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, standuplive.com, Saturday, June 7, 7 p.m., $40, 21+

Philippine Independence Day Celebration
96624108Celebrate Philippine heritage and history! The Annual Philippine Independence Day celebrates the date when Filipino’s gained independence after three decades of Spanish rule. The event will include a business expo, poster making contest for kids, a culture show and the Little Ms. Philippine AZ beauty pageant.
ASU West Campus, , 4701 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale, pidcaz.com, Saturday, June 7, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, free

Arizona’s 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders

What would you do it you opened the pages of this magazine and saw Jerry Colangelo listed as one of the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona? You’d do a double take, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

Consider this: Among 439,633 Arizonans under age 5 in 2012, this is how the Census broke down those numbers:

• Hispanic: 196,776 (44.8 percent)
• Non-Hispanic white: 171,888 (39.1 percent)
• American Indian and Alaska Native: 22,198 (5 percent)
• Black: 18,617 (4.2 percent)
• Asian: 11,311 (2.6 percent)
• Two or more races: 18,088 (4.1 percent)
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 755 (0.17).

If you combine numbers like that with the fact that 91.7 percent of the nation’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 was attributed to racial and ethnic minorities, with the largest segment of population growth occurring in the Hispanic community, lists like this — the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona of 2014 — could become obsolete in our lifetimes.

Until we get there and as our state’s minority population moves toward majority status, it’s important to notice that the state’s most dynmanic business leaders have helped fuel our economic recovery and growth … and many of them just happen to be minorities. And while the future looks bright, we still have work to in overcoming outdated perceptions. According to a 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report commissioned by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, a significant portion of minority-owned businesses in Arizona have had problems earning the trust of their customers, suppliers, peers and lenders and need support from within the business community to help break down some of these misconceptions and stigma.

The 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona, whom you will meet below, have changed that perception.


Benito AlmanzaBenito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Heritage: Mexican-American
A graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara, Almanza has been with Bank of America for 34 years. He is a member of the Teach for America Arizona Board.
His hope for professional legacy: “Working every day with great teammates to make our community better and surrounding myself with strong leaders and developing them to replace me.”

Glynis BryanGlynis Bryan
CFO
Insight Enterprises Inc.
Heritage: Jamaican
Bryan is responsible for setting the company’s financial strategies; ensuring the company has the appropriate financial and operating controls and systems in place to support future growth; and serving as a financial and business advisor to the leadership team.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Setting a standard of excellence in an organization and helping teammates reach their full potential.”

Debbie CottonDebbie Cotton
Director
Phoenix Convention Center
Heritage: African American
Cotton manages a staff of 240 employees, a budget of $47.5 million and is the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Throughout my career, I’d like to be remembered for adhering to high ethical standards and inspiring individuals to pursue careers within public service.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heritage: Peruvian and Mexican
De la Melena, who directs the state’s leading advocate representing more than 60,000 Hispanic business enterprises, has 20 years of global brand management, business development and Latino marketing experience gained from conducting business in more than 30 countries.
His hope for professional legacy: “For helping the lifeblood of our economy, small businesses, prosper – especially minority-owned businesses, now one-fourth of Arizona’s total. Our future global competitiveness depends on it.”

Diane EnosDiane Enos
President
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Enos is the 23rd president of the Salt River Community and the second women elected to the office. Enos is the first member of the Community to become a lawyer and practiced in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office for 11 years.
Heritage: Onk Akimel O’Odham, or one of the River People otherwise known as Pima
Her hope for professional legacy: “The top qualities I’d like to be remembered for is someone who was unafraid to try something new and to do it with integrity for the good of my people.”

rufusRufus Glasper
Chancellor
Maricopa Community Colleges
Heritage: African American
As the CEO of one of the nation’s largest systems of community colleges, he is leading MCCCD to address the community’s education and workforce training needs.
His hope for professional legacy: “An educator who focused on human rights and education for first-generation college students, quality healthcare, workforce and jobs, and re-framing an institution for the future.”

Deborah GriffinDeborah Griffin
President of the board of directors
Gila River Casinos
Heritage: Gila River Indian Community member and Mexican-American
Griffin leads Arizona’s largest minority-run business with more that 2,500 employees.
Her hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered for creating a legacy of self-sufficiency and volunteerism in my community. My Tribe needs only to seek within themselves and have confidence in the beauty of their abilities to continue this legacy.”

Edmundo HidalgoEdmundo Hidalgo
President and CEO
Chicanos Por La Causa
Heritage: Mexican-American
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the community. The Hispanic community is at a breakaway point because of our demographics and the opportunities we establish for our youth will have a tremendous impact on our state. As the Hispanic community goes, so will the State of Arizona. My focus has always been in support of education and ensuring that young people get the opportunities I received as I was beginning my career. I am blessed to have been mentored by many individuals who were willing to invest in me and I have the responsibility to do the same.”

leezieLeezie Kim
Partner
Quarles & Brady
Heritage: Korean-American
Kim returned to Quarles & Brady after four years of service as a White House appointee to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and as general counsel to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Her hope for professional legacy: “As a trusted counselor to and partner with leaders in business, government and politics who found new ways to get things done that make life a little better for us all.”

david_kongDavid Kong
President and CEO
Best Western International
Since he was named president and CEO in 2004, Kong has guided Best Western International through a brand resurgence, winning numerous awards for training, social media and ecommerce initiatives. Brand Keys ranked Best Western No. 1 in customer loyalty for four consecutive years.
Heritage: Asian
His hope for professional legacy: “I’d like to be remembered for having made a positive difference – in Best Western, in the industry and the lives of all our associates and our hotel staff.”

paulPaul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”

steve_maciasSteve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias serves on the Governor’s Council on Small Business and is co-chair of the Supply Chain/Buy Arizona Committee, which is exploring ways government can help promote Arizona businesses.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “Someone who made a positive impact in promoting manufacturing as a worthwhile and valuable industry that provides quality jobs to the community.”

louis_manuelLouis J. Manuel, Jr.
Chairman
Ak-Chin Indian Community
Heritage: Tohono O’odham Nation and Ak-Chin Indian Community
Manuel has diversified his Community’s economy with Ak-Chin Farms, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Santa Cruz Commerce Center and a partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee.
His hope for professional legacy: “That my decision making gave value and sustainability in promoting a strong future and self-reliance for the people I serve.”

clarenceClarence McAllister
President and CEO
Fortis Networks
Heritage: Black Latino
McAllister was born in Panama and earned degrees in electrical engineering from ASU and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. In 2000, he and his wife Reyna started Fortis, a certified 8a and HUBZone government contractor specialized in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream, and built a business that employs more than 100 Americans.”

alfred_molinaAlfredo Molina
Chairman
Molina Jewelers
Heritage: Hispanic
Molina went from fleeing Cuba as a boy without a change of clothes to rocking the jewelry world by selling the Archduke Joseph diamond for $21.5 million, the most ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference. I believe that every individual is a precious jewel and it is my commitment and social responsibility to ensure they become brilliant.”

rodolfo-pargaRodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
Heritage: Mexican
Parga has been named in multiple editions of Southwest Super Lawyers®, including in 2014. He also serves on the doard of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading nonprofit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as always trying my best to do the right thing, and being fair and loyal.”

Dan PuenteDan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Heritage: Hispanic
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck and has built it into the largest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an individual who created a company that set industry standards, gave back to an industry generous with opportunity and helped people grow personally and professionally.”

terry_ramblerTerry Rambler
Chairman
Arizona Indian Gaming Association
Heritage: San Carlos Apache Tribe
In addition to his AIGA leadership role, Rambler is chariman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “Strong vision, consistent oversight, yet humble leadership that helped build successful partnerships in economic development, cultural preservation, and the expansion of tribal sovereignty.”

Terence-RobertsTerence Roberts, M.D., J.D.
Radiation oncologist
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Heritage: African-American
Roberts specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery and tumors of the brain, spine, and prostate. He also received a law degree from Stanford University and practiced corporate law in the Silicon Valley for start-up companies.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered professionally as compassionate, knowledgeable and having integrity. Also as someone who innovated in an era of health care reform.”

Steve SanghiSteve Sanghi
Chairman, CEO and president
Microchip Technology
Heritage: Indian
Sanghi, named president of Microchip in 1990, CEO in 1991 and chairman in 1993, is the author of “Driving Excellence: How The Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader.”
His hope for professional legacy: “For building Microchip Technology into one of the most successful semiconductor companies, which achieved an unprecedented 100 consecutive profitable quarters in a brutally competitive industry.”

roxanne_song_ongRoxanne K. Song Ong
Chief presiding judge
Phoenix Municipal Court
Heritage: Chinese American
Song Ong, who chair the Arizona Supreme Court Commission on Minorities, was the first Asian female judge in Arizona and first minority to be named as Phoenix chief judge.
Her hope for professional legacy: “It would be my great honor to be remembered for three primary things: (1) my work in judicial and civics education, (2) the promotion of cultural competency and diversity in the judicial and legal profession, and (3) promoting access to justice for all Arizonans through legal services and education.”

Charlie-ToucheCharlie Touché
Chairman and CEO
Lovitt & Touché, Inc.
In 2004, Touché became chairman and CEO of one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States, with nearly 200 employees in three offices and more than $300 million in total premiums.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “I’m proud to say that during this entire century, we’ve remained a client-driven, hands-on kind of company with people who will roll up their sleeves and jump in the trenches to help those we do business with.”

lisa_uriasLisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
Heritage: Mexican
Urias has built an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations agency that specializes in the diverse markets of the American Southwest, particularly the Hispanic market.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Having a nationally-known agency that successfully connects corporations to multicultural markets through ad campaigns, public relations and community outreach for mutual benefit and respect.”

lonnie_williamsLonnie J. Williams, Jr.
Partner
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Heritage: Black
The Yale graduate’s practice focuses on commercial business and employment-related matters. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America.
His hope for professional legacy: “Martin Luther King said, ‘if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.’ Professionally, I would like to be remembered like that street sweeper.”

kuldip_vermaKuldip Verma
CEO
Vermaland
Heritage: East Indian
Vermaland, founded by Verma, holds more than 24,000 acres of land in Arizona with a portfolio valued at $500 million. Nabha, the tiny Indian village Verma was born in, could fit many times into the acreage he now controls in the desert Southwest.
His hope for professional legacy: “I saw a dream and pursued it. Success without humility is a curse, but Success with your values intact is a blessing.”

aerospace

Industry leaders view aerospace prospects

Through a joint effort led by Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority, Able Aerospace Services and SRP, industry leaders at next week’s MRO Americas convention in Phoenix will gain a birds-eye view of expansion and relocation opportunities in the Valley. The opportunity comes courtesy of a VIP aerial helicopter tour, as well as a reception and tour at Able Aerospace Services—a $20 million build-to-suit success story at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

“We are extremely proud of our relocation to Gateway, not only because of our expansion into a state-of-the-art facility but also because of the partnership that this building represents,” said Lee Benson, CEO of Able Aerospace Services. “This was a collaboration in every sense. We are honored to share our story with others in our industry who might benefit from these same opportunities.”

A total of three VIP tours will depart from downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 on a Bell 212 helicopter provided by event partner SRP. The tour will fly participants over Greater Phoenix for an aerial view of the Valley, then make an intermediate stop at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport for a reception and tour of the new $20 million Able Aerospace Services headquarters—an industry leading repair, overhaul, design and manufacturing facility, and a leading aftermarket supplier of FAA-approved replacement parts.

The Able event will include a short presentation on the cost savings incentives that made its new facility possible, and provide an opportunity for guests to talk directly with local leaders and partners in the MRO aerial tour, including the City of Phoenix, City of Mesa, Town of Gilbert, Town of Queen Creek, City of Apache Junction and the Gila River Indian Community. The return flight will fly over Falcon Field, then back to downtown Phoenix.

“This is a truly unique way for us to share Greater Phoenix’s regional assets with aerospace leaders from across the globe,” said Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Business Development Director Michael Merk. “In the span of about 100 minutes, we will showcase the best and brightest of our development and expansion opportunities—from the sky and from the state-of-the-art Able Aerospace Services operation that has made Gateway Airport a true manufacturing destination.”

MRO Americas provides a world-class venue for the aviation/aerospace industry to exchange ideas, share best practices, gain knowledge, generate new business leads and cement existing relationships with other commercial air transport, maintenance, repair and overhaul leaders. The three-day event is held at a different U.S. location each year. This year, it is being held April 8 – 10 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

From left: David Rousseau, Chairman of Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Jay Parry, President & CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, Councilwoman District 8, Jim Waring, vice mayor of Phoenix and Michael Nowakowski, Councilman District 7.

Super Bowl Central will take over downtown

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announced several major initiatives that will take over 12 city blocks in downtown Phoenix and together will serve as the hub of fan, sponsor, media and NFL activities for Super Bowl XLIX.

The activities will cover 5th Street to First Avenue and Jefferson Street to Monroe Street and be anchored by the iconic Super Bowl roman numerals, which will tower 30 feet into the air.

Super Bowl Central, will feature live performances by national recording artists and local musical talent, community groups and schools, football themed activities, and beer and wine gardens. The festival will feature family-friendly activities for fans of all ages, will be free to the public and incorporate street level merchants and restaurants. Local culture and food will be showcased. This is a new addition to Arizona’s line-up of Super Bowl activities since the state last hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, and one million visitors are expected to participate.

“We are thrilled to be providing extensive and engaging events and activities that will showcase the energetic and vibrant culture of Arizona to fans, sponsors and media alike,” said David Rousseau, Chairman, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

Typically one of Super Bowl’s most popular activities, NFL Experience is the world’s largest interactive football theme park. For Super Bowl XLIX, it will be located at the Phoenix Convention Center and feature attractions such as kids’ football clinics, interactive football games, free autograph sessions and more.

NFL House, a VIP hospitality headquarters, is another new addition to Arizona’s Super Bowl activities and will be located at CityScape.

“Super Bowl Central, along with NFL Experience and NFL House, will turn
downtown Phoenix into the Super Bowl epicenter. It will provide both local and
visiting fans an amazing opportunity to be part of this global event. Super Bowl
Central delivers direct economic benefits to local businesses,” said Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix.

NFL Media Center, located at the Phoenix Convention Center, will provide working facilities for 5,000 members of the media from over 30 countries around the world.

National broadcast networks — NBC, NFL Network and others — will broadcast live from Super Bowl Central.

Additionally, NFL Headquarters will be at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

The average temperature in the Valley in February is 71 degrees, showcasing the ideal weather conditions for an outdoor fan festival as well as the Super Bowl game.

Super Bowl XLIX will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, on February 1, 2015. This marks Arizona’s second Super Bowl in seven years and the third overall. In Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 3, 2008, the New York Giants bet the New England Patriots 17-14. Arizona’s first big game, Super Bowl XXX, was held at Arizona State University’s Sun Devils Stadium in 1996, with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

bioscience

Bioindustry honors Innovators at AZBio Awards

The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) today announced that more than 350 leaders from across the State of Arizona will be gathering at the Phoenix Convention Center on October 10, 2013 to celebrate AZBio’s 10thanniversary as Arizona’s statewide bioindustry association and to recognize the leaders, innovators and companies that are making Arizona one of the fastest growing bioscience states in the nation.

“Over the last decade, Arizona’s bioindustry has delivered an aggregate job growth of 45% (2002-2011) and an increase in the number of healthcare and bioscience firms by 31%,” shared AZBio President and CEO Joan Koerber-Walker. “This is the result of executives, innovators, researchers, educators, and elected leaders working together to embrace possibilities and collaboratively create a fast growing industry that is creating high wage jobs and addressing some of our greatest challenges: improving health and creating new industries that leverage our natural resources and our steadily increasing collection of internationally recognized talent.”

In addition to honoring the hundreds of organizations that have worked together over the last 10 years to create and drive life science innovation in Arizona, the AZBio Awards recognize specific thought leaders and industry leaders for their contributions. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and gain insights from:

  • Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., Founder of Ventana and SVP Medical Affairs at Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche Group and recipient of the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement honoree.
  • Linda Hunt, President and CEO of Dignity Health Arizona, the 2013 Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year.
  • Amanda Grimes of the Mesa Biotechnology Academy in the Mesa Public Schools, recipient of the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year Award for inspiring students to explore careers in the biosciences.
  • Orphan drug pioneer Leslie Boyer, M.D., founding director of the VIPER Institute at The University of Arizona. With her team of international collaborators developed the FDA approved anti-venom for the scorpion’s sting.
  • John W. Lewis, Mayor of the Town of Gilbert, Arizona recipient of the AZBio Public Service Award for his leadership in attracting and supporting the development of world class research, manufacturing and clinical services in Gilbert.
  • The team from Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year – W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Arizona’s largest life science employer. The Gore Medical Products Division has provided creative therapeutic solutions to complex medical problems for more than 35 years. During that time, more than 35 million innovative Gore Medical Devices have been implanted, saving and improving the quality of lives worldwide Gore has been granted more than 2,000 patents worldwide ranging from polymer processing to medical devices.
  • Dr. Robert Bowser, AZBio Fast Lane Award winner for pioneering new diagnostics for ALS and traumatic brain injury at Iron Horse Diagnostics, Inc.
  • Dr. Garrett Smith, co-founder of Nasseo, Inc., the Fast Lane Award winning company that has developed the FDA approved TiArray™ Dental Implant.
  • Jeff Martin, CEO of Fast Lane Award winner Yulex Corporation and the team that delivers Yulex’s Guayule BioRubber Emulsions and BioRubber Solids that have medical, consumer, and industrial applications to grow an increasingly diverse market community with ultra-pure, high-performance products.
  • And executives from Algae Biosciences, Ventana, Pfizer, Genentech, EY, Northern Arizona University/TGen North, Regenesis Biomedical, Ulthera, VWR, and NACET.

The 8th Annual AZBio Awards will be held Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Phoenix Convention Center. In addition to the Gala Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the VWR Company Showcase and Student Discovery Showcase sponsored by NAU will highlight the work of Arizona’s current and future life science leaders from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. so that attendees can see the work being done across the industry and interact with the leaders and future leaders who are driving bioindustry innovation. The event is open to the public and tickets are available for purchase at AZBioAwards.com.

“Almost 100,000 Arizonans are embracing possibilities every day across Arizona’s healthcare and life science sector. Through their efforts, we are making life better here at home and around the world by discovering, developing, and delivering life science innovations,” added Koerber-Walker. “AZBio is honored to have the opportunity to work with them and to bring so many of our leaders together in one place on one day so our community can meet them and learn about them too.”

Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix; Andrea Streat, director of meetings and events for the American Alliance of Museums; Alyssa Kolat, conference manager for the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and James Jessie, senior vice president of sales at Visit Phoenix.

Visit Phoenix spearheads sales blitz in D.C.

Commuters hailing a cab or waiting for public transit in Washington, D.C. this month are likely to get a glimpse of iconic Phoenix imagery before their trip commences.

Visit Phoenix (CVB) is blitzing the D.C. area with a transit-based advertising buy that includes mini-billboards atop taxis and digital posters in transit stations. The ads showcase Visit Phoenix’s “This is Phoenix” ad campaign, which is built around dramatic photography of Greater Phoenix outdoor activity in the Sonoran Desert.

The ad blitz coincides with a sales mission in the Washington D.C. area by Visit Phoenix, the Phoenix Convention Center, and nine of the city’s largest hotels and resorts. The convention sales mission delegation will meet with professional associations and national trade unions, hundreds of which are headquartered in and around the nation’s capital.

Visit Phoenix staff just completed its fiscal year with a 30% increase in Phoenix Convention Center future year bookings and a strong rebound in resort/hotel leads and bookings. Continuing this momentum, the Phoenix convention sales delegation will meet with more than 250 DC convention planners and association executives through sales appointments, reception-trade shows, and a meeting planner forum during its three-day sales mission.

“Washington is a hotbed for meetings and conventions, and our sales team maintains a strategic presence there with in-market offices and annual events,” said Melissa Gogel, vice president of marketing, communications and tourism for Visit Phoenix. “To support those sales efforts, we’re placing our new ‘This is Phoenix’ ads in some high-traffic transit locations. The goal is to increase the exposure of the Visit Phoenix brand in one of our most important markets, and to do it at a time when our sales team is saturating the market with face-to-face calls.”

The delegation of sales professionals from Phoenix will host four events during the next three days, with one event each in Washington, Alexandria, VA and Chevy Chase, MD.

Phoenix was ranked No. 10 in the list of the “Top 50 U.S. Cities for Conventions in 2013,” according to Cvent, a technology company that connects event planners with more than 200,000 venues in destinations across the United States. Phoenix earned its top-10 destination based on its weather, its air-travel accessibility, its spectrum of meeting-friendly hotels and resorts, and its newly expanded convention center.

“The Phoenix Convention Center was expanded with big association groups in mind,” Gogel said. “It has the space and sophistication to host the biggest of them, or to host smaller ones concurrently. Our focus is to keep the convention center, the hotels and resorts, and the destination as a whole at the top of mind for meeting planners in D.C. and beyond.”

Vince Roig 02.2011

Helios Founding Chair Named 2013 Afterschool Champion

Education advocate and founding chairman of the Helios Education Foundation, Vince Roig, has been named the 2013 Afterschool Champion by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE).

Roig will receive the award on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the 12th Annual Arizona Statewide Afterschool Conference & Awards of Excellence Luncheon at the Phoenix Convention Center, North Building Ballroom, in downtown Phoenix.  Also at the luncheon, innovative afterschool programs and staff from around the state will be recognized for their exemplary work in delivering quality youth development programs.

Roig joins an impressive list of past honorees that includes former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Lattie Coor, Eddie Basha and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

“Vince Roig’s entire career has been focused on and dedicated to education,” said Melanie McClintock, executive director, Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence.  “His efforts have touched the lives of students at every level of the educational spectrum.”

Roig holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in secondary education.  He founded Helios Education Foundation, the largest nonprofit organization serving Arizona and Florida focused solely on education, in 2004.  The Foundation has invested millions of dollars in education-related programs and initiatives in three impact areas:  Early Childhood Education, the Transition Years  and Postsecondary Scholarships.

Before founding Helios, Roig was president and chief executive officer of Southwest Student Services Corporation, a full-service provider of student loan products and services. He serves or has served on the boards of numerous organizations including: Teach for America National, Stand for Children National, Take Stock in Children, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, Stand for Children Arizona Advisory Committee, Valley of the Sun United Way and the Phoenix Art Museum.  He also currently serves as chair of the board for the Arizona College Scholarship Foundation.

For information about the Statewide Afterschool Conference & Awards of Excellence Luncheon, including sponsorships opportunities, registration and individual tickets, visit http://azafterschool.org/Events/Awards-of-Excellence-Luncheon.aspx.

Debbie Cotton - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Debbie Cotton – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Debbie CottonInterim director, Phoenix Convention Center

Cotton oversees daily operations of the Phoenix Convention Center, Executive Conference Center, Orpheum Theatre, Symphony Hall and five parking garages. She manages a staff of 240 employees, a budget of $47.5 million, and is the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Surprising fact: “I have a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from Western Illinois University and began my career working for Xerox Corporation.”

Biggest challenge: “Stepping up to manage the Phoenix Convention Center in the midst of a global economic crisis that greatly impacted the hospitality industry. Not only did I have to deal with the effects of the economic crisis, but I had to quickly learn about an industry that was new to me.”

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

Phoenix Convention Center

More than 4,500 Mennonites will gather in Phoenix

More than 4,500 Mennonites of all ages will attend Phoenix 2013, the biennial convention of Mennonite Church USA, to be held July 1–6 in the Phoenix Convention Center. The convention’s theme, “Citizens of God’s Kingdom: Healed in Hope” (“Ciudadanos del Reino de Dios: Sanados por la Esperanza”), is inspired by Psalm 24:1, Philippians 3:20-21, Romans 5:1-5 and Ephesians 2:14-22. The theme points toward an allegiance to God that goes beyond national borders and racial divides. The last convention was held in July 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The total number of convention participants represents approximately 1,600 adults, 2,750 youth and youth sponsors, 80 junior youth and sponsors, and 100 children.

Mennonite Church USA is the largest Anabaptist denomination in North America, with more than 100,000 adult members in about 900 congregations in 44 states. The denomination has national offices in Newton, Kan.; Elkhart, Ind.; and Harrisonburg, Va.

Arizona is home to seven congregations that are part of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, one of 21 regional conferences of Mennonite Church USA. Phoenix-area Mennonite congregations include Christ Life Chapel, First Mennonite Church of Phoenix, Sunnyslope Mennonite Church, Koinonia Mennonite Church (Chandler), Life House Community (Surprise) and Trinity Mennonite Church (Glendale).

The convention will include time for worship, fellowship, seminars, concerts, performances, workshops and meetings of the Mennonite Church USA Delegate Assembly, the denomination’s primary decision-making body. Delegates plan to discuss two resolutions: one focusing on creation care and environmental degradation, and one addressing child abuse and neglect and encouraging the adoption of policies and practices to protect children and youth.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, second from left, joined city leaders March 14 at the American Animal Hospital Association’s annual conference to celebrate the millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since its $650 million expansion in January 2009. The millionth delegate, veterinarian Monique Weldon of Aurora, Colo., accepted a donation in her honor to the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR). Pictured from left are Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton, Mayor Stanton, AHAA President Mark Russak, ROAR spokeswoman Helen Oliff, Greater Phoenix CVB President Steve Moore, Weldon, and Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos.

Convention Center welcomes millionth delegate

A huge milestone at the Phoenix Convention Center arrived last week in the form of a petite veterinarian from Colorado.

Dr. Monique Weldon, owner of Loving Family Animal Hospital in Aurora, Colo., was the one millionth delegate to visit the Phoenix Convention Center since it emerged four years ago from a $600 million expansion.

Weldon, a veterinary professional in town for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) annual conference, was honored by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos in the convention center’s palatial North Ballroom during the AAHA’s May 14 opening general session. Phoenix Convention Center Director Debbie Cotton and Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore also participated in the celebration.

“One million delegates is a testament to the drawing power of our city, our airport, our remade downtown, and this beautiful convention center,” Mayor Stanton said.

Cavazos pointed out that one million convention delegates visiting downtown Phoenix equates to nearly $1.5 billion in estimated spending for Phoenix’s economy.

The Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first convention attendees in January 2009. With a glass-and-stone design inspired by the turquoise waters and red rock of the Grand Canyon, the convention center boasts nearly 900,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space.

Mayor Stanton characterized the new convention center as a game changer, and called attention to several other developments that either dove-tailed with the facility’s construction or followed in its wake:

* METRO Light Rail began operation with 20 miles of line and 32 stations
* More than 60 new restaurants have opened downtown
* Every major hotel in downtown Phoenix is either completely new or has undergone multimillion-dollar renovations.
* CityScape was built, adding 2 blocks of new dining and entertainment options within a short stroll of the convention center’s doors.

On a more whimsical note, in the four years since expansion was completed, the convention center’s catering staff has served nearly 400,000 chicken breasts and 68,000 gallons of Starbucks coffee.

In addition to honoring Dr. Weldon with an array of gifts that included a return visit to Phoenix, representatives from the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau and three downtown hotels—the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix Downtown and Sheraton Phoenix Downtown—donated $1,000 to the Phoenix branch of AAHA’s charity of choice, the Rescue Operation for the Animals of the Reservation (ROAR).

The AAHA matched that donation to ROAR, and another $2,500 was given to the group’s cause by BlogPaws, a collection of bloggers who write about pet-care information.

ROAR is a nonprofit that provides food, shelter and medical care to dogs and cats rescued from American Indian reservations. According to the organization’s website, extreme poverty and limited access to medical care lead to tens of thousands of animals being orphaned on Indian reservations each year; there are at least 1,500 stray dogs and cats roaming the Navajo Nation alone.

On hand Thursday to help ROAR accept the donations was Lucy, a German Shepherd mix who was found in a roadside cardboard box in a New Mexico pueblo. Lucy now lives in a mountainside home in South Phoenix, where she enjoys daily walks and swims in a backyard pool.

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

87690275

Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

p

Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

economy

Arizona Could Hit Full Economic Recovery in 3 Years

We’re finally on the path to full economic recovery, and Arizona may get there in about three years. That’s the main message from experts who spoke today at the 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase.

About 1,000 people attended the event at the Phoenix Convention Center, where economists painted a generally brighter picture for 2013.

“As of September, Arizona ranked fifth among states for job growth, and the Phoenix area was fourth among large metropolitan areas,” said Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Arizona is expected to add 60,000 jobs in 2013, led by professional and business services, retail, hospitality and health care. We should finally dip below 8-percent unemployment in 2013 — down to 7.6 percent.”

McPheters added, as long as the national economy doesn’t drag us down, Arizona may see 2.5-percent growth in its employment rate next year. The state had 2-percent growth this year. Despite the jump, Arizona has gained back less than a third of the jobs it lost during the recession. McPheters believes it will take another three years to return to pre-recession employment levels.

In 2013, McPheters expects improved 5-percent growth in personal income, up from just 4 percent this year. He projects retail sales will go up 6 percent, from 5 percent this year. He expects Arizona’s population to rise 1.5 percent, and he believes single-family housing permits will shoot up a whopping 50 percent, with the local housing market now on the mend.

Both McPheters and Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, hinged their forecasts on whether the national economy can really pull forward; otherwise, Arizona will go down, too. The biggest question out there is whether Congress can avoid the “fiscal cliff” – where automatic spending cuts would kick in, just as various tax cuts expire. Bovino says that could plunge the United States back into recession and push national unemployment back above 9 percent by the end of the year.

“If we can avoid the fiscal cliff, then it looks like the economy could finally be in a self-sustaining recovery,” said Bovino. “We expect this year’s gross domestic product (GDP) to hit 2.1 percent, stronger than previously projected. For 2013, we’re looking at about 2.3 percent. Reports also show a stronger jobs market and signs that households are willing to buy big items, such as cars and homes.”

Bovino adds the U.S. unemployment rate was at 7.9 percent in October, and she sees signs more people are joining the workforce and getting jobs. However, she says the labor participation rate is still near a 30-year low, meaning more people will still be coming back to the workforce to look for jobs, keeping the unemployment rate low for a quite a while. Despite this, Bovino expects the national unemployment rate to drop to 7.6 percent next year.

She also has a good outlook for the national housing market, with housing starts already up 45 percent this September over last September. Bovino referenced a report that 1.3 million homes rose above water – with the value going higher than what was owed – in the first half of this year alone. She expects residential construction to go up almost 19 percent in 2013.

In the financial sector, Anthony Chan, chief economist for private wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co., says corporations remain flush with cash. They’re waiting for some clarity on where the market will go as a result of the fiscal-cliff situation and other factors.

“U.S. corporations are reluctant to go through global mergers and acquisitions or make big investments until they have a clearer picture,” said Chan. “Corporations are keeping high cash balances, in order to deal with the uncertainty. They’re making near-record profits in some cases, and many values on the stock market look good. However, everyone’s waiting to see what will happen.”

He said high-yield investments, such as bonds, and gold remain relatively attractive. The U.S. dollar keeps falling against currencies from emerging markets, as monetary agencies work through different strategies of dealing with the rough economy.

In the local housing market, Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based economic and real estate consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, also drew some conclusions.

“Even though about 40 percent of Arizona homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, we’re starting to see a recovery,” said Pollack. “The single-family-home and apartment markets look great. Industrial real estate has improved quite a bit. Only office and retail have quite a way to go.”

Pollack adds new residential foreclosure notices are down almost 70 percent from the peak in 2008. Phoenix-area home prices are up more than 35 percent over last year. New-home sales are also doing well, with 67 percent of the local subdivisions active today projected to be sold out in less than a year. Builders are going to have to work to meet the demand, with less land and labor available.

Pollack sees a strong rental presence, with about 22 percent of local single-family homes being used as rentals right now. That’s up from less than 12 percent just a decade ago. Landlords appear to be buying up many single-family homes, and more people are moving to the area.

“In the absence of a fiscal cliff, things should continue to improve over the next several years,” said Pollack. “By 2015, things should be normalized. As I like to say, we’re only one decent population-flow year away from the issue being resolved.”

More details and analysis from the event, including the presentation slides, are available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com.

legends

Legends district partners with Southwestern Eye Center

The Legends Entertainment District, a first-of-its-kind joint venture between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, announced a new partnership with Southwestern Eye Center that features the District’s first static super graphic with a 3-D embellishment. The announcement was made by Legends Entertainment District General Manager Judd Norris.

“The Legends Entertainment District continues to break the mold of traditional ‘billboard’ advertising by bringing to life its first three-dimensional concept,” said Norris. “Southwestern Eye Centers challenged us to do something unique and memorable. Taking that into account, we were able to bring their already recognizable glasses campaign to life on a 36’ x 42’ super graphic. The glasses are so unique that the creator of the image, BlueMedia, has submitted the design into several marketing concept competitions.”

The first-of-its-kind graphic is located on the Phoenix Convention Center Garage at the corner of 5th Street and Jefferson, across from Chase Field. It is one of 36 static signs in the District that also features four LED signs, six window graphics and five custom signs.

“As a locally based company celebrating 30 years in business, we are excited to be part of something that hasn’t been done before,” said Southwestern Eye Center Vice President and General Counsel Shane Armstrong. “We value the opportunity to work with Legends on this advanced project and to be part of the revitalization efforts downtown.”

Celebrating 30 years in business this year, Southwestern Eye Center, founded in 1982, is dedicated to providing the best possible care for patients seeking or in need of LASIK, cataract surgery, retinal surgery, cosmetic surgery or glaucoma evaluations and treatment throughout the Metro Phoenix area and rural communities of Arizona. With several accomplished specialists in the areas of LASIK, cataracts, retina, glaucoma and cosmetics, Southwestern Eye Center is able to provide patients in Arizona and New Mexico with improved vision by using some of the most advanced and sophisticated techniques and technologies available today. There are 23 Southwestern Eye Center locations in Arizona and three in New Mexico. For more information, visit www.sweye.com.

Southwestern Eye Center joins a growing list of partners for the Legends Entertainment District, including APS, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Fox Sports Arizona, Fry’s Food Stores, Gila River Casinos, AZ Family, MillerCoors, AZ Pain Centers, Cox Communications, Dodge and the Arizona Rattlers, among others.

The Legends Entertainment District offers customized, larger than life out of home opportunities that run 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. The project was designed to encompass landmark downtown facilities, extending from 1st Avenue to 7th Street and Washington to Jackson Street.

In addition to the corporate partnership signage, the Legends Entertainment District provides digital informational programming in the form of LED news tickers and other relevant content that can change on a moment’s notice.

Nearly two billion individual LED lights are used to illuminate the Legends Entertainment District, which includes 13 screens for a total of 6,819 square feet of LED and over 50,000 square feet of static signage. The fiber optic cable laid end to end is 228 miles in length, which is equal to the distance driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. The Legends Entertainment District includes nearly 100,000 pounds (50 tons) of steel and more than 140,000 feet of electrical wire.

Downtown Phoenix attracts more than eight million visitors annually at over 700 events, while 57,000 office workers are based out of the area. For more information about the Legends Entertainment District, visit www.legendsentertainmentdistrict.com.

economy

2013 Economic Forecasts for U.S. & Arizona

Arizona’s economy improved somewhat this year, but what can we expect in 2013? Top experts on the U.S. and Arizona economies will deliver their forecasts for the state, nation, stock market and housing market at the Valley’s largest and most trusted economic-forecasting event on Dec. 5.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon is co-sponsored by the Department of Economics at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“Arizona’s economic forecasters are patting themselves on the back, since their projections made a year ago appear to be accurate for 2012; the state seems certain to record about 2-percent job growth, and we are seeing the beginning of a housing comeback,” says Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “However, 2013 is a different story. A huge cloud of uncertainty is caused, not only by questions about what the next Congress will do, but also about how the overall U.S. economy will react to recession in Europe and slower growth in China. Though the national economy always has some impact on Arizona, until housing and population growth really pick up, the state seems destined to closely follow the national business cycle. If the U.S. economy contracts, then Arizona’s economy will, too. That’s the major risk we’re watching.”

Presentations will include forecasts on:

* Arizona and the regional economy from McPheters, who is also editor of the prestigious Arizona and Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast publications.
* The U.S. economy from Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, a widely quoted media expert with two decades of financial experience, including a position at the Federal Reserve.
* The financial sector from Anthony Chan, chief economist for private wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, appears monthly on CNBC and is a member of the Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones weekly economic indicator panels.
* Real estate and construction from Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Elliott D. Pollack and Company, a highly regarded Scottsdale-based economic and real estate consulting firm.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon will be held in the Phoenix Convention Center’s West Ballroom on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $90 per person. Proceeds are used to support student scholarships, faculty research, and other academic and professional activities in the Department of Economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

For more information, including registration details, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/efl or call (480) 965-3531.

145914530

Convention group plans home makeovers for Phoenix families

Nearly a quarter million convention delegates pass through the Phoenix Convention Center each year, and all of them spend money at local businesses — to the collective tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But some conventions that visit Phoenix leave behind more than just dollar bills and credit-card receipts. Some of them choose to make a lasting impression.

The Association of School Business Officials International is one such group.

This professional association of school managers, known by the acronym ASBO, will make life a little better for two Phoenix families next week by transforming their bare-bone houses into warm, welcoming homes. The makeover project is part of the group’s Positive Impact Program, which is designed to give something back to the city that hosts ASBO’s annual meeting.

The group’s 2013 Annual Meeting and Expo started Friday at the Phoenix Convention Center with volunteers gathering Monday, October 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. to carry out the pair of makeovers.

Partnering with ASBO to make this charitable effort happen is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – which helped the group select worthy families. Following the script of a popular TV show documenting home makeovers, volunteers will paint, decorate and move in furniture while the families take leave of their houses for several hours. Then, at day’s end, the families will be welcomed back for big reveals.

“The folks at St. Vincent de Paul introduced us to a couple of wonderful families, and we were able to work out their needs and compile a wish list for them,” said Maureen Thompson, director of meetings for ASBO.

Items on that wish list were placed on a registry at Wal-Mart, so ASBO members could make purchases and donate to the cause. Thompson said she expects about 75 volunteers at Monday’s makeover sites including 30 local ASBO members in Phoenix.

“It’s good for the community to know that an association that comes and goes at the convention center wants to leave a little something behind for Phoenix,” Thompson said. “Tourism is valuable for any city, and I know conventions put heads in beds. But, for us, a service initiative like the Positive Impact Program makes our annual meeting a little more special; and maybe by the time we leave town, the community will remember us not by just an acronym but as people and faces.”

According to the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau—which booked ASBO’s annual meeting and expo into the convention center and provided the group with a list of local charities that might be able to assist with the Positive Impact Program—about 1,600 delegates will attend the four-day event at the convention center, and those delegates will contribute an estimated $2.3 million in direct spending to Phoenix’s economy.

“As far as convention groups go, ASBO is fairly modest in size,” said Scott Dunn, a spokesperson for the Greater Phoenix CVB. “But their contribution to these two families is definitely outsized. This program is a perfect example of how bringing meeting and conventions to downtown Phoenix can positively impact the community as a whole.”

The 5,000-plus members of ASBO manage the business side of school operations. Their expertise spans the areas of budgeting, purchasing, maintenance, human resources, technology, transportation, security, food service and health care. Members are employed in K-12 school districts, community colleges, universities and state departments of education.

For more information about the group’s Positive Impact Program project in Phoenix and the families it benefits, visit http://www.asbointl.org/Positive_Impact_Program.htm.

RandyJohnson

Randy Johnson Earns Spot In Legends Entertainment District

Sunday’s D-backs-Giants game as the newest “Legend” in the Legends Entertainment District in downtown Phoenix as part of the D-backs’ Alumni Day festivities.

The D-backs and Legends Entertainment District unveiled a 42-foot tall super-graphic of Johnson on the FOX Sports Arizona pregame show prior to the D-backs broadcast. The graphic now hangs on the Phoenix Convention Center Garage located across from Chase Field closest to the intersection of Jefferson and 5th Street.

Johnson was selected as the District’s newest “Legend” based on a fan vote on foxsportsarizona.com. The nominees included Matt Williams, Curt Schilling, Mark Grace and Johnson. Arizona Diamondbacks legend and special assistant to the president, Luis Gonzalez, was the first D-backs player to be featured in the Legends District in September 2011.

Johnson was a 10-time All-Star and five-time Cy Young Award Winner. He is the franchise leader in nearly every pitching category following his tenure with the D-backs (1999-2004 and 2007-08), including wins (118), strikeouts (2,077), complete games (38), innings pitched (1,630.1), games started (232), ERA (2.83) and shutouts (14). He shared World Series MVP and Sports Illustrated “Sportsmen of the Year” honors with Curt Schilling following the D-backs’ World Championship season in 2001.

Legends Entertainment District offers customized, larger than life out-of-home signage opportunities that run 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. The project is designed to encompass landmark downtown facilities, extending from 1st Avenue to 7th Street and Washington to Jackson Street.

volleyball festival

Volleyball Festival Draws Thousands To Phoenix

Known as one of the Top 10 major events in Phoenix and one of the largest volleyball tournaments in the world, the 29th Annual Volleyball Festival Championships commence Tuesday, June 26 at the welcoming ceremony at Chase Field, followed by a week of competition and festivities at the Phoenix Convention Center.

In addition to the tournament and several family-friendly activities, U.S. Olympian Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor will speak to participants and sign autographs at the Phoenix Convention Center on June 28.

More than 6,000 young female athletes from across the globe will compete in seven different age divisions from 12 to 18 years. The Volleyball Festival is unique compared to other tournaments in that there is no pre-qualification and it’s open to all club and school teams. Past participants have included former Olympians Kerri Walsh, Misty May, Heather Cox, Kristin Folkl, Holly McPeak, and Tara Cross-Battle, among others. Teams can still register at www.volleyball-festival.com. All activities are open to the public and spectator tickets can be purchased online or at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“My wife and I created this Festival 28 years ago when our two daughters started playing volleyball in junior high school,” said Dr. David Epperson, co-founder of Festival Sports.” “Only eight years after the enactment of Title IX, there were still very few resources available to support female sports in most schools. We took it upon ourselves to create an experience for our daughters and many other young female volleyball players, and now our small event has grown into one of the largest competitions in the country.”

The Volleyball Festival provides several family-friendly activities, including a Kids Zone and Special Olympics division. This year’s festival theme, organized by Festival Sports and sponsored by Nfinity, Spalding, SnapSports and The CORE Institute, is “Ho’olaule’a.” Pronounced ho-o-lau-lay-ah, the Hawaiian word for festival.

“The Volleyball Festival is all about celebrating the spirit and accomplishments of our athletes. Our goal is to create experiences that inspire, friendly competition that empowers and relationships that unify our athletes for life,” said Bryan Kelley, President of Festival Sports.

During a time when tourists and visitors are lower than at other times of the year, the Volleyball Festival brings 6,000 athletes and their families and friends to the Phoenix area, making an estimated annual economic impact of $22 million. More than 100 local hotels, businesses and restaurants offer special packages and discounts to Festival attendees, which provides them an uptake in patronage during the weeklong festivities.

“This is our fourth year in Phoenix, and we’ve received very positive feedback from our athletes, coaches and parents about how much they enjoy the downtown Phoenix area. Our event is about building a sense of community and we feel Phoenix has become a major part of that,” said Kelley.

The Olympic-style Opening Ceremonies are from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 26, and will feature Guest of Honor Jenny Kropp, pro beach volleyball player and team captain of Nebraska’s undefeated 2000 NCAA National Championship indoor team. All participating teams will parade onto Chase Field followed by an awards presentation, inspirational moments and performances by Polynesian dancers, drummers and fire dancers.

The Volleyball Festival Tournament games begin 8 a.m., Wednesday, June 27 and continue through Sunday, July 1, 2012 and include the following:

  • The highly anticipated championship game for the 18-year-old age group takes place at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 30 and is televised on FOX Sports.
  • The Special Olympics volleyball competition takes place on Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28.
  • Friday, June 29 is “Win With Heart” Day, where all teams wear red in support of Nfinity’s non-profit campaign “Win With Heart,” which aims to fight and prevent heart disease and raise awareness among young female athletes. Donations will be accepted.
  • The Kids Zone is open all week with fun-filled activities, including four inflatables (bounce house, slide, obstacle course, and boxing ring), half-court basketball, mini volleyball, video games, movies, and coloring. On Sunday, July 1, the Kids Zone will feature a Wii dance off, face painting and bingo.
  • For athletes from the graduating classes of 2013-2016, The Volleyball Festival provides a venue to showcase talent for college and university scouts. Biokats Sports Network and the National Scouting Report will be conducting player showcase sessions during the competition and offering free recruiting seminars and workshops for parents, athletes and coaches, as well as free player evaluations.

Tickets for the volleyball festival can be purchased online at www.volleyball-festival.com and range from basic daily prices of $8 for adults and $5 for children to packages priced at $35 to $50 depending on type of ticket, which include all-access, weekly and Kids Zone. To attend the opening ceremonies only, tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Phoenix Convention Center

Conventional Wisdom – Catering To Phoenix Visitors

Debbie Cotton has gone from helping people travel around Phoenix to trying to convince people to travel to Phoenix.

Cotton, the former director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department, is about six months into her role as director for the Phoenix Convention Center.

“The biggest difference for me is that each day is very different,” says Cotton, who replaced John Chan, who became community and economic development director for the City of Phoenix. “Each customer of the Convention Center has their own set of individual needs, so we have to come in here and reinvent ourselves every day so that we can fulfill our clients’ needs.”

Catering to convention-goers’ needs are more important than ever. To compound the hit that the economic downturn placed on the convention industry, Arizona’s tough stance on illegal immigration has put the state in a negative light in some decision-makers’ eyes, and an incident where a lesbian couple was asked to leave a downtown restaurant ignited a social media firestorm.

“People are very aware of some of the social unrest we’ve had in the community,” Cotton says. “That is one of the things that people have questions about when we talk with them about coming to Phoenix.”

If you look at the numbers, the controversies don’t seem to have an impact on tourism’s bottom line. A report from Dean Runyan Associates shows that gross sales at state hotels have increased more than 12 percent since 2010, and travel spending in Arizona has increased 7.9 percent since 2009. Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 — the strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in recent history — into law in 2010.

“In the next five years, we will have 900,000 delegates come through the Convention Center doors with an economic impact of $1.3 billion,” Cotton says. “That is a slight increase from the previous five years.”

A $600 million expansion project that tripled the size of the Convention Center and was completed in 2009 has raised the profile of both the center and the convention industry in Phoenix. In 2010, the Convention Center received the Inner Circle Award from Association Meetings Magazine, which ranked the facility as one of the 15 best Convention Centers in the nation for service excellence. And in April, the Phoenix Convention Center was ranked seventh among the best U.S. convention centers by Business Review USA.

“The addition of ASU and CityScape have given downtown more vibrancy and a youthful exuberance that has really made a difference for visitors,” Cotton says. “People want to play and have fun here. We need more of that.”

To get the Convention Center to the next level, Cotton and her staff plan to launch a redesigned website and use social media — Twitter and Facebook — to engage th