Tag Archives: phoenix

kids.money

Arizona Central Credit Union Launches Kids’ Website

ACCU smallArizona Central Credit Union is launching a new initiative to encourage financial literacy among children. Designed for children between the ages of 8 and 12, this program is intended to encourage sound financial habits and further an awareness of positive saving and spending practices.

Molly and Moe are the official mascots of the Monkey Money program, which incorporates an interactive website, children’s savings account and club member benefits. Games, stories, contests, jokes, definitions of financial terms, and information about the special Monkey Money savings program, can all be found on the website. Each month a new article and correlating activity will address a different financial theme. A coloring contest, which began at the launch of the website on June 21, 2014, will be held until July 31, 2014. Children don’t have to be Monkey Money members to enter, but can win cash prizes, and fun monkey items. Coloring sheets and the official rules for the contest can be found on the website.

“Arizona Central Credit Union is passionate about helping the children in our communities reach a higher level of financial literacy. By investing in creative and fun educational methods, we hope to encourage positive lifestyle patterns that will then translate into adulthood,” said Todd Pearson, President and CEO of Arizona Central Credit Union­.

Following the launch of the website on June 21st, Arizona Central Credit Union branches will be hosting a week-long youth event. Free gift basket raffle tickets and refreshments will be available at all branches. Arizona Central Credit Union will contribute a $10 deposit into Monkey Money accounts opened during this celebration week.

Founded in 1939, Arizona Central Credit Union has been serving members for over 75 years at 10 full-service branches, with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Glendale, Chandler, Tempe, Flagstaff and Show Low. Visit www.azcentralcu.org or their Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/azcentralcu for more information.

Nicole Stanton

Stanton Appointed to Business Court Advisory Committee

The law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that Phoenix office managing partner, Nicole Stanton, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Business Court Advisory Committee. This is a newly established committee, by order of Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, which is dedicated to examining current processes for resolving business cases in the Superior Court of Arizona, as well as reviewing business court models, processes, rules, and procedures in other jurisdictions.

In addition to her position as office manager partner at Quarles & Brady LLP and now serving on the Business Court Advisory Committee, Stanton is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Group. She also serves as a founding board member and past president of the Women’s Metropolitan Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum, as well as a member of Chart 100 Women.

Her experience includes defense of local and national law firms in legal malpractice actions and other business litigation disputes. She is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of law, teaching professional responsibility.

As a graduate of Valley leadership Class XXIX, Stanton was the YWCA of Maricopa County’s 2011 Tribute to Women honoree in the business leader category. She was honored as one of the 50 most influential women in Arizona. She received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Arizona and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.

Welcome to the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort Wins Gold Tee Award

The AAA Four Diamond Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix has earned the 2014 Gold Tee Award from Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine.

One of just 65 resorts honored this year, this highly-respected award is given annually to outstanding golf/meeting properties worldwide. Winners of the Gold Tee Award were nominated and selected by the readers of M&C based on their overall excellence.

“This audience of meeting industry’s most respected critics know quality when they experience it – and made their votes count – as they chose the best venues to support their valuable golf events ,” states Kirk Lewis, Meetings & Conventions’ Publisher. “Our entire team salutes the 65 properties worldwide that have distinguished themselves in this industry and earned the Gold Tee honor.”

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort offers a Troon® golf experience at Lookout Mountain Golf Club, and 65,0000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space including the award-winning Different Pointe of View mountaintop restaurant.

For more information on meetings and events at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, visit www.tapatiocliffshilton.com.

121956596

Mortgage lenders prepare for impact of Dodd-Frank Act

Stan Feffer is president and chief operating officer of Grand Canyon Title Agency, Inc. – a Phoenix-based firm with 18 offices located throughout Maricopa County. When Feffer is not leading Grand Canyon’s 120 employees, he prefers to navigate the cool waters off the coast of San Diego on his surf board. Patiently waiting for the right set of waves and watching the horizon closely helps him choose the right wave to commit his efforts. Diligence in picking the right waves makes for a good day surfing.

While at work, Feffer is focused on the pending impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the mortgage lending community and in particular the title industry. Prepared with more than 30 years’ experience in the real estate and title and escrow industry working both for a large, public firm and a local title agency, Feffer has charted a course for Grand Canyon to successfully navigate these uncertain waters and in doing so, established the organization as a leader nationally with its underwriters. By embracing industry reform, Grand Canyon is better prepared to deal with lenders’ compliance needs and to protect consumers’ privacy needs.

In 2010, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and provided authority for the CFPB to supervise financial institutions for compliance with federal consumer financial laws. Providing real estate settlement services to one of these regulated financial institutions (like your bank or mortgage lender) is deemed to be providing financial products or services under the act. As a result, the CFPB can bring enforcement actions directly against a real estate settlement services provider (such as your title insurance agent) for a violation of a consumer financial protection law or against the financial institution making the loan.

With the increased risk, banks are giving a hard look at all of their service providers. Complicating the matter, the CFPB has been faulted for its lack of transparency and guidance leaving many uncertain as to how to comply with the new requirements.

As a result, the Wall Street Journal reports that the CFPB’s actions are stirring concerns about large scale consolidation of closing services providers by the banks and the potential that some title companies – especially smaller firms that serve isolated and rural communities – will be forced out of business.

“When the Bureau (CFPB) operates in a transparent … and open … manner, the results are generally positive … However, when the bureau makes unilateral decisions, rolls out initiatives, rules or processes in a more closed deliberation, the results are far more likely to be problematic,” American Land Title Association (ALTA) President Rob Chapman said in testimony on May 21 before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services.

To strategically position itself and avoid this existential threat, Grand Canyon Title’s Feffer aggressively moved to establish the agency as a leader in “compliance” with the emerging rules to present an easy choice for lenders to work with. In late 2012, Feffer began steering the organization to adopt a series of industry “best practices” put forth by the ALTA intended to put settlement service providers (title agencies and escrow firms) in compliance with the CFPB regulations.

On July 19, 2013, when ALTA published its version 2.0 of “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices,” setting forth industry guidelines for business procedures and service levels, Feffer engaged WGM Associates LLC, a Scottsdale-based information technology and security consultancy with extensive banking and real estate experience to lead the effort. The ALTA best practices address seven main areas ranging from internal controls regarding trust accounts to protecting customers’ personal information and responding to complaints. Best Practice No. 3 deals specifically with protecting consumers Non-Public Personal Information or NPI. Best Practice No. 3 includes requirements and procedures for physical security of computers, “clean desk” policies, risk management, disaster recovery, information security practices and methods for the encryption of private data.

For instance, loan and closing documents emailed to you containing NPI must be encrypted. Collectively, these practices are a means for settlement service providers to address the need for increased lender oversight and to ensure necessary safeguards to protect consumers. According to Feffer, WGM’s direct industry knowledge and extensive information security experience made the process clear and kept the mission on track.

The implementation of the Best Practices is voluntary, but an important means to ensure reduction of risk in the overall financial system and to protect against identity fraud. Many settlement service providers have adopted a ‘wait-and ’see’ attitude. However, large banks such as Wells Fargo have embraced the ALTA Best Practices Program validating Feffer’s strategy. In their newsletter to Settlement Agents dated March 6, 2014, Wells Fargo says that ALTA’s Best Practices “… are designed to help illustrate to consumers and clients the industry’s professionalism and best practices to help ensure a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience. Wells Fargo supports ALTA’s Best Practices, and considers them to be guidelines for sound business practices that should ideally already be in place for businesses providing title and closing services for our customers.”

Under the ALTA Best Practice Program, settlement service providers perform a detailed review and assessment of their operations – typically using an experienced third-party expert like WGM. The resulting Best Practice Certification Package is then used to certify to consumers, mortgage originators and mortgage servicers that the assessment found the firm to be in compliance with the ALTA Best Practices in all material respects and represent the firm will remain in material compliance for the next two years.

In January of 2014, Grand Canyon successfully completed its first compliance review. Feffer proudly presented the document to his business partners as evidence of their continued leadership in the Phoenix marketplace. Recognizing the effort is a continuing commitment and ongoing journey, Feffer conducts regular training and educational seminars for Grand Canyon employees with WGM’s help. Now Feffer confidently presents copies of the Certification Package to lenders when they meet, assuring them of their continued compliance effort. Feffer’s hope is that mortgage lenders and their peers will recognize Grand Canyon’s efforts and see the company as a logical choice to provide closing services and to help mitigate risk in this changing environment.

Affiliated Urologists

Affiliated Urologists Opens Third Location

Affiliated Urologists announced the opening of a new office in the Biltmore area. The expansion allows this locally and nationally recognized practice with a 40 year history of providing urologic care an opportunity to continue its tradition of excellence in other areas in the Valley.

Dr. Al Borhan and Dr. Mark Hong are heading the move to provide services in a growing area of the Valley. They have both been recognized as leaders in the Valley spearheading new procedures and techniques and trendsetters in the field. The new center is staffed by board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians who specialize in urological conditions including: kidney stones, prostate cancer, male infertility and bladder conditions to name a few.

“We are excited about the opportunity for our group to provide more accessible care to our patients. We have always had a very large referral base in the area and this allows us to concentrate our efforts in the area.” said Dr. Stephen Ponas, who has over 20 years with Affiliated. “We will definitely make an impact with our comprehensive urology care in that part of the Valley,” added Dr. Dan Jaffee, who heads the Female Urology division of the group.

The new office is located at 2222 East Highland Suite 400 in Phoenix near the Biltmore Fashion Park. The local medical practice has another office in downtown Phoenix and in the North Scottsdale/Desert Ridge area.

clear energy systems coming to tempe

SRP Increases Renewable Energy Portfolio

Salt River Project has agreed to purchase an additional amount of renewable geothermal energy from a number of plants located in the Imperial Valley of southern California. SRP has amended its agreement with CalEnergy, LLC to add an additional 37 megawatts to a previous contracted agreement of 50 megawatts for a combined capacity of 87 megawatts. One megawatt is about enough energy to power approximately 250 homes in the Phoenix area.

The geothermal facilities are located in Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area – one of the world’s most prolific regions for the production of renewable energy. SRP’s purchase will begin with 18 megawatts in 2016 and grow to the full 87 megawatts in 2020. The agreement will allow SRP to continue providing its customers with sustainable energy from these facilities until 2039.

A geothermal plant produces electricity from naturally occurring geothermal fluid. Steam is formed when production wells tap into superheated water reservoirs thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface. Unlike other forms of renewable energy such as solar or wind, geothermal power plants are highly reliable as they produce energy continuously, irrespective of the time of the day or weather conditions.

Geothermal is one of the cleanest sources of baseload generation because, instead of burning fossil fuel to heat water into steam as seen in most conventional forms of generation, heat from the Earth is used to create steam that powers a turbine generator. Geothermal energy is considered renewable energy because no fuel is consumed and the energy is from naturally occurring sources.

SRP estimates that the geothermal power generated by the project will offset approximately 800 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of taking about 70,000 cars off the road.

Under SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio goals, SRP must meet 20 percent of its retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix area, serving nearly 990,000 electric customers.

housing.prices

Big Increases Unlikely for Phoenix Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market has officially rebounded from artificially low recession levels, and we’re unlikely to see any more big price increases this year. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of April:

* The median single-family-home sales price stabilized at just under $205,000.
* Demand and sales activity were low for the normally strong spring selling season.
* Rental homes continue to be extremely popular, since many people are ineligible for home loans and/or uninterested in home ownership.

Phoenix-area home prices rose fast from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little bit earlier this year. This April, for the second month in a row, the median single-family-home price was just under $205,000. That’s up 13 percent – from $181,399 last April to $204,900 this April. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 12 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

Low demand is largely putting the brakes on more significant upward price movement. The amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 16 percent this April from last April. Sales of homes in the range below $150,000 alone fell 37 percent. New-home sales went down 12 percent. All of this, even though the period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand.

“The market has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices that prevailed between 2009 and 2011, and further significant increases are unlikely without some growth in demand,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “It’s also likely that the recent advance in pricing will fade during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet.”

Investors continue to show disinterest in the Phoenix housing market now that better bargains can be found in other areas of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was down to just 16.3 percent in April from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos were down 54 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.

In contrast, the supply of homes available for sale is way up, with 73 percent more active listings on May 1 of this year than May 1 of last year. As a result, buyers have far more choices. However, Orr believes that may change, if demand and prices don’t pick up. Potential home sellers may stay out of the market, deciding to wait for better times.

“The underlying key problem for entry-level and mid-range housing demand is a lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials,” explains Orr. “However, if household creation were to return to the normal long-term average, we would quickly have a housing shortage here in Greater Phoenix.”

Meantime, the demand for rental homes is very high, and Orr says the availability of those homes is dropping to unusually low levels. He estimates there’s only a 29-day supply of single-family rentals, and therefore, rent is starting to rise in the most popular locations. As a result of this demand, the Phoenix area is seeing a strong upward trend in multi-family construction permits.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Northbank Office

ViaWest Group completes $5.2M sale of Northbank Office Building

ViaWest Group announced the sale of Northbank Office Building, a two-story suburban office building in Phoenix, for $5.2 million. The ±31,231 square foot, multi-tenant property located at 5110 North 40th St., was built in 1983 and completely renovated in 2005, with additional upgrades in 2013. It is part of the master-planned Northbank Office Park, which is comprised of eight high-quality office buildings.

Steve Lindley, Bob Buckley and Tracy Cartledge with Cassidy Turley’s Capital Markets Group negotiated the sale transaction.
Northbank Office Building was 94.2% leased at the time of sale, with 15 of 17 suites occupied.
“The property boasts an exceptional leasing history with average occupancy of 90.6% over the past 15 years, including 11 quarters at 100% occupied,” noted Steven Schwarz of ViaWest Group.

With multiple enhancements and upgrades over the past 30 years, the property includes a large open lobby with striking finishes including new flooring and energy efficient lighting. The façade and landscaping of Northbank Office Building were both updated during the recent renovations. The property sits on a two-acre site with 17 office suites averaging ±1,800 square feet, creating a desirable configuration for private tenants.

“Even though we bought this in 2005 (for $4.3 million) through strong management and negotiating a discounted note payoff, we made this a successful deal for our investors,” added Gary Linhart, also of ViaWest Group.

Northbank Office Building is located in the heart of the Camelback Corridor office submarket with an abundance of amenities within minutes of the property. It offers convenient access to multiple freeways, Sky Harbor International Airport, and high-end employment base.

bioscience

Regents Approve New UA Downtown Phoenix Project

The Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday approved plans to construct a 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building on the campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

The Regents, at their meeting in Flagstaff, endorsed plans for the Biosciences Partnership Building, which will be built immediately north of the Health Sciences Education Building near 7th Street and Fillmore in downtown Phoenix.

“In this building, partnerships will be forged in which our scholars and researchers will be looking for the answers of some pretty daunting questions,” Ann Weaver Hart, president of the University of Arizona, said in announcing the project. “This is critical and central to the core plans of the Never Settle commitment at the University of Arizona. It will advance the interests of health care, it will nurture the best new science and the translation of that science into specific treatments. It will provide a setting where partners can find ways to increase not only our effectiveness but also the economic development of our broader community by tapping into the biomedical sciences.”

Under the plan passed by the Arizona Board of Regents, ground would be broken on the $136 million building by the end of 2014, taking about 26 months to complete. It would translate into nearly 500 jobs in design and construction and another 360 permanent jobs at build-out.

Plans are for the university to pursue expanded partnerships with industry, multi-disciplinary collaborations with its Phoenix partners.

The building would continue the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix academic medical center after the 2012 completion of the award-winning education building and the ongoing construction of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015.

“It will mean more lab space for UA and give them even more tools to lead the way on neuroscience and cancer research and put an emphasis on health care outcomes,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “It is incredibly important that we keep the momentum going on this campus. One of the key components for economic future is best represented by everything going on this campus.”

The funding for the building comes from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development bonds approved by the legislature in 2008 that paid for construction of the Health Sciences Education Building and related campus improvements. The construction of this second research building was approved by the Arizona Legislature’s Joint Committee on Capital Review at the same time as the Health Sciences Education Building in 2010.

Research focus areas include neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and precision medicine.

options grow for telecommunication providers - AZ Business Magazine April 2008

One Stop Voice completes sale to Crexendo

Two Phoenix-based businesses have announced a purchase agreement of One Stop Voice (OSV) to Crexendo, Inc. (NYSE MKT: EXE). OSV, a company built by Joshua Simon, president of SimonCRE, provides top of the line, feature rich, cloud-based communications systems to small and medium sized business customers. OSV is located in Scottsdale and focuses on Arizona markets while providing telecom services nationwide. Crexendo is a hosted services company that provides hosted telecommunications services, hosted website services, website development software and broadband internet services for businesses and entrepreneurs. Their corporate offices are in Tempe.

This purchase will transfer certain infrastructure and customers of OSV to Crexendo. Crexendo has hired OSV’s customer service supervisor as well as their sales director to assure a smooth migration of OSV’s customer base into Crexendo. In addition Crexendo has entered into an agreement with OSV to maintain certain support functions to assure a seamless transition with no disruption to any customers.

Steven G. Mihaylo, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are very pleased with the OSV asset purchase and the synergies that our companies offer each other. We have indicated that we intend to grow our business both by acquisition and organically. We expect to add approximately $500,000 in annual revenues with this acquisition and we expect the acquisition to be accretive from day one. This acquisition confirms our commitment to acquiring accretive companies that expand our customer base and increase shareholder value. At the same time, we continue to make improvements to our internal sales as well as our dealer/partner program which we also expect will increase shareholder value.”

“We knew that to keep providing the level of service our customers expect, substantial infrastructure investment was required,” says Simon of the deal. “Crexendo provides world-class products and services and we knew our customers were in excellent hands. We are confident Crexendo will continue to provide the level of service that OSV customers have enjoyed while having the additional opportunity to provide some expanded services and offerings Crexendo has available.”

Simon is now able to focus his attention to his other business venture, SimonCRE, which is a nationally focused commercial real estate development company.

pt

Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics Expands

Integration, collaboration and education are hallmarks of the Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics, a co-management partnership linking The CORE Institute and Banner Health. Recently, the relationship between the two healthcare leaders was strengthened with the expansion of Banner CORE Center to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

One of the state’s oldest and most well-regarded academic teaching hospitals, Banner Good Samaritan, has spent more than six decades teaching and training the doctors of tomorrow. The partnership with The CORE Institute enhances the hospital’s scope of orthopedic services, including expanded orthopedic residency and fellowship training programs and a more robust framework for orthopedic trauma care.

“We’re building upon Banner Good Samaritan’s reputation as a provider of superior medical education and Level 1 trauma care by creating a more comprehensive program capable of managing even the most complex orthopedic cases,” said David Jacofsky, MD, Chairman and CEO of The CORE Institute. “At Banner Good Samaritan, the Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics model will focus on complete musculoskeletal health with sub-specialty programs for everything from spine, hand, and foot and ankle care, to sports medicine, joint replacement and trauma.”

Expansion to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, which began with orthopedic trauma coverage in October followed by the launch of elective procedures in February, comes on the heels of the successful implementation of Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics at four other Banner Health facilities across metropolitan Phoenix: Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City West, Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Banner Estrella Medical Center in West Phoenix, and Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.

DeLyle Manwaring, Senior Vice President of Hospital Service Line Integration for The CORE Institute, highlights improved quality of care, better outcomes and enhanced patient experience as key benefits of the Banner CORE Center collaborative model. According to Manwaring, this manner of bringing together physicians and hospital leaders with a shared objective of improving patient care, outcomes and overall volume does not exist elsewhere in the Phoenix market.

“We’re providing cutting-edge care via an innovative model based on the highest level of collaboration,” he said. “Other healthcare organizations across the country are watching what we’re doing, and they have expressed interest in replicating the model being implemented at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.”

Being at the forefront of innovation, both in practice and principle, isn’t new to either The CORE Institute or Banner Health. The organizations’ willingness to innovate, push boundaries, explore all options, restructure when and where necessary, and settle for nothing less than the absolute best has earned much deserved distinction in their respective fields. Their collaboration sets a new standard for orthopedic care in Arizona and beyond.

“Given the hospital’s scope of services and position as a teaching hospital, the co-management model for musculoskeletal health at Banner Good Samaritan requires some restructuring in both orthopedic care and education,” noted Jacofsky. “This will touch multiple aspects of the hospital, but the end result will solidify a reputation as a world-class teaching hospital.” Patients often turn to the very hospitals in which physicians train.

“Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center has a long-standing reputation of being the place where the sickest patients from across the region come for care,” commented Steve Narang, MD, CEO of Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. “This isn’t just a coincidence.”

Indeed, Banner Good Samaritan’s position as a destination medical center is the well-deserved product of a commitment to medical excellence. Banner Good Samaritan invested more than $40 million last year alone in physician residency programs spanning 17 clinical specialties, including orthopedics. Jacofsky says the Banner CORE Center partnership will enhance orthopedic training by giving residents and orthopedic fellows greater access to highly trained specialty teams, including those dedicated to trauma care at the Good Samaritan facility.

“Orthopedic trauma cases at Banner Good Samaritan have tripled in just the first 90 days of this venture,” noted Jacofsky. “Numbers don’t lie. There’s a reason more people are coming to this hospital.”

Creating top-notch teaching programs attracts the best and brightest physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and others who are committed to delivering excellent care, conducting medical research and advancing the field of medicine.

“Our partnership with The CORE Institute is an investment that will ultimately shape the entire service line and distinguish Banner Good Samaritan as a leader in orthopedics,” said Narang. “As such, we will continue to attract leading orthopedic specialists and, in turn, patients who want the best possible care.”

The inevitable result of integrating clinical care teams, enhancing medical education, investing in the tools and technologies to deliver leading-edge care, and centering the entire orthopedic service line on evidence-based protocols is an unmatched, highly-coordinated care experience.

While still in its infancy, the co-management model at Banner Good Samaritan has resulted in enhanced orthopedic education, expanded capabilities, an influx in physicians on staff and a new framework for educating patients.

Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics treats injuries and disorders affecting the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. From total and partial joint replacements, to sports injuries, congenital conditions, arthritic and degenerative disorders, fractures and spine conditions, Banner CORE Center has the experience and expertise to treat virtually any orthopedic injury or ailment.

lawyer

10 Quarles & Brady Attorneys Earn Distinction

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that 10 attorneys from the firm’s Phoenix office – and a total of 48 attorneys nationwide – have been ranked in the 2014 edition of the prestigious Chambers USA directory.

“Quarles attorneys work hard to establish reputations for excellence,” said Firm Chair Kimberly Leach Johnson. “Chambers provides an excellent independent validation of our efforts.”

The Phoenix attorneys are:
Joseph A. Drazek – Environment (including water rights)
Steven P. Emerick – Corporate/M&A
Diane Haller – Real Estate
Christian Hoffmann – Corporate/M&A
Leezie Kim – Corporate/M&A
Don P. Martin – Litigation: General Commercial
Matthew Mehr – Real Estate
Jon E. Pettibone – Labor & Employment
James A. Ryan – Litigation: General Commercial
Derek L. Sorenson – Real Estate

internet

Cox Brings Gigabit Speeds to Arizona

Joined by government and community leaders at the site of the new Mark Taylor San Travesia Luxury Apartments in Scottsdale, Cox Communications President Pat Esser announced the company’s plans to roll out gigabit Internet speeds across its markets. The company will start with new residential construction projects nationwide. In Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha, Cox will begin to deploy technology to enable both new and existing neighborhoods to have gigabit speeds. In all Cox locations, the company will begin marketwide deployment of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016.

“We are excited about our road map to offer gigabit speeds to all of our residential customers,” said Esser. “Starting today, we will begin deploying new technology and infrastructure that will give customers the choice of gigabit speeds in all markets we serve.”

Attended by representatives from cities across the Valley, county and state, the event was held at the site of the new Mark Taylor San Travesia Luxury Apartments in Scottsdale where Cox has partnered with Mark Taylor to begin offering gigabit services to residents of the complex, in addition to providing Cox Metro Wi-Fi service to the common areas such as the community pool and community center.

“We are thrilled to be the first community in the Valley to partner with Cox to offer gigabit speeds this fall. Offering the fastest Internet speeds and Wi-Fi access where our residents live and play, makes it essential to connecting our tech- savvy residents,” said Dale Phillips, president of Mark-Taylor Residential.

The company announced that Cox’s metropolitan Wi-Fi service will launch later this year. The service will be available in high-traffic areas such as restaurants, malls, parks and sports arenas. Additionally, through the company’s partnerships with other cable companies, Cox customers can access 250,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country as they travel.

The company also said it will double Internet speeds for existing customers in its most popular tiers this year. Cox High-Speed Internet Preferred tier customer speeds will increase from 25 megabits per second to 50 megabits per second and Premier tier customer speeds will increase from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second. These tiers represent more than 70 percent of Cox Internet customers in Valley. Over the last 12 years, Cox has increased broadband speeds 800 percent.

“Arizonans have made Cox the largest ISP in the state for over 15 years. Millions of customers rely on us each day for personal communications, commerce, education and entertainment,” said Steve Rizley, senior vice president and general manager in the Southwest region. “Cox takes their trust seriously, and we will continue our investment and delivery of the fastest Internet speeds in the market.”

“Cox has consistently and aggressively increased its investment in its broadband network, powering economic growth and development for businesses, residents and our state overall. It is not a surprise to see that they are continuing this commitment to Arizona by expanding gigabit services to our residents,” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of
Commerce. “Arizona is fortunate to have a committed partner like Cox to help us continue to grow and prosper.”

In the last 10 years, Cox has invested more than $15 billion in its communities through infrastructure upgrades to deliver video, phone and high-speed Internet service to homes and businesses in the company’s service area. In Arizona, Cox has created more than 2,900 jobs and is responsible for a combined payroll of nearly $195 million.
Additionally, this year, the company gave more than $17 million in cash and in-kind support to partners in the cities and towns served in Arizona.

The Westin Phoenix Downtown Lapis Pool Terrace.640x360

Westin Phoenix named best city experience

Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), unveiled the Starwood hotels and resorts voted the best beyond compare by SPG members from around the globe with the release of its 2014 SPG Member Favorite Hotels & Resorts list. The select list featured 67 of Starwood’s nearly 1,200 hotels and resorts, from the golf tees in Arizona to the azure waters of Greece. Members selected their favorite hotels worldwide in the following categories: Best Golf Getaways, Best Beach & Island Retreats, Best Winter Escapes, Best Family Adventures, Best City Experiences, Best Exotic Excursions, Best Small Luxuries, New & Noteworthy, Top 10 China, Top 10 USA Resorts, and Ultimate Top 10. The Westin Phoenix Downtown was named to the list of Best City Experiences.

The Westin Phoenix Downtown Exterior Dusk Angle“We are thrilled to be named a Best City Experience hotel,” said Todd Iacono, general manager. “Situated in the heart of a vibrant and resurging downtown Phoenix, our boutique-style urban hotel blends a sophisticated hotel experience with a sense of Westin’s signature elements. Our convenient location to entertainment and sporting venues, hundreds of eateries, and the area’s best theaters and museums, lures guests to our location where they can truly experience the best of downtown Phoenix.”

The annual list recognizes the most loved luxury resorts chosen from more than 200 properties as part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of more than 1,100 destinations globally including The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, Le Méridien and Sheraton resorts. Members vote on the resorts they adore most from the Maldives, to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Phuket and beyond each year to curate a list of must-see destinations of – Best Beach Resorts, Most Romantic Retreats, Best Exotic Escapes, Best Family Experiences, Best Golf Getaways, Best Island Paradise, Best Spa Indulgences, Best Winter Adventures and Best Small Wonders.

“The list allows our well-traveled members to identify their most beloved resorts around the world,” said Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest. “Being recognized by our members as a part of this distinguished list is a true honor for our resorts.”

fast.food

Phoenix Fast-Food Workers Strike

Calling for $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, fast-food workers in Phoenix walked off their jobs Thursday as part of a wave of strikes in more than 150 cities across the US and protests in 33 additional countries on six continents. In all, strikes and protests reached more than 230 cities worldwide.

“No question, I’m here for my families, for my coworkers and my community,” said fast food worker Rochelle Jordan, head of household mother who makes $8.25 an hour. “I struggle to buy formula for my baby and pay rent; meanwhile, Burger King is making a huge profit. I’m a working mom, not a teenager working a summer job. This is my livelihood.”

Workers from Burger King, Taco Bell and other fast food chains went on strike and protested at one of Phoenix’s most visited fast food restaurants, Burger King. Workers and community advocates walked inside the store and called for higher pay and right to unionize.

“Arizona certainly isn’t the friendliest state for workers, which is why today’s fast food workers on strike was not only bold, but history in the making,” stated Maria Jose Lopez of Arizona’s Workers’ Rights Center. “This is only the beginning for workers who are determined to make $15 an hour a reality for their families and our community.”

Across the nation, members Congress joined strike lines around the country and released a video declaring their support for the workers.

“Where Congress is failing to take action to address inequality, these workers are leading the way,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN). “Their fight for $15 and a union is a shining light that will ultimately benefit all workers in the country and help lift up our economy. It’s clear this movement isn’t going to stop until fast-food companies listen to the voices of these workers, who are struggling to support families on as little as $7.25 an hour.”

In the US, fast-food workers went on strike in more than 150 cities from Los Angeles to Boston. Around the world, workers protested in 80 cities spanning nearly three-dozen countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Malawi, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, and the United Kingdom.

In Dorchester, Mass. managers closed down a Burger King where a half-dozen workers were striking. In St. Louis, a corporate McDonald’s closed its doors at 3 am because managers knew the entire morning shift was going to walk out, and reopened three hours later with managers at the helm. Nearly 20 workers from that store are on strike. There was no breakfast at a Chicago Burger King when striking workers forced the kitchen to close. Strikes forced a Wendy’s in Pittsburgh to close, as well as McDonald’s restaurants in Oakland and Sacramento. All non-managerial workers walked off their jobs at a First Hill McDonald’s in Seattle, forcing managers to keep the store running.

San Diego fast-food workers led hundreds of religious and community supporters through a Burger King drive-thru Thursday morning, chanting, praying and holding signs that read, “Strike for Better Pay” and “Poverty Jobs Hurt San Diego.” State legislators joined striking workers outside a Charleston, SC Burger King and a McDonald’s in New York City. And in Los Angeles, the Rev. Al Sharpton was expected to brave 100-degree temperatures to join protesters on a strike line Thursday afternoon.

On Twitter, the #fastfoodglobal hashtag trended in nearly 20 US cities from New York to Phoenix, and around the world it trended in 50 cities from London to Lagos. Overseas, workers protested in 80 cities from Paris to Sao Paolo. Banner-waving protesters in New Zealand kicked off the international protests with a demonstration at a McDonald’s adjacent to corporate headquarters in Auckland, reading out the names of the 150-plus US cities on strike and calling for higher pay and better rights for McDonald’s workers in New Zealand. The police in India tried to shut down protests, but workers were not dissuaded and held a demonstration in front of a McDonald’s in Mumbai. On Friday, fast-food workers across Italy will walk off their jobs in a strike that is expected to bring the industry there to a standstill.

In the Philippines, workers held a flash mob inside a Manila McDonald’s during the breakfast rush. They sang and danced to “Let it Go,” from the movie Frozen, calling on McDonald’s to let go of low pay and let workers organize. In Japan, where protests were held in nearly every prefecture, workers protested at a McDonald’s in downtown Tokyo, adopting the US workers’ fight for 15 by calling for the company to pay Japanese workers 1,500 Yen. Bystanders stopped and applauded protesters in Sapporo, a rare occurrence in Japan. Protesters shut down a McDonald’s in Brussels during the lunchtime rush.

Fast-food workers went on strike in the following U.S. cities:
Alameda, CA; Arvada, CO; Atlanta, GA; Auburn Hills, MI; Aurora, CO; Austin, TX; Ballwin, MO; Belleville, IL; Bellevue, PA; Berkeley, CA; Bloomfield, CT; Bloomington, IN; Boston, MA; Cahoka, IL; Cary, NC; Central Falls, RI; Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Chesterfield, MO; Chicago, IL; Commerce City, CO; Concord, NC; Creve Coeur, MO; Dearborn, MI; Decatur, GA; Denver, CO; Dublin, CA; Durham, NC; East St. Louis, IL; Eastpointe, MI; El Cerrito, CA; Fairfield, CA; Farmington Hills, MI; Ferguson, MO; Ferndale, MI; Flint, MI; Flint Township, MI; Florissant, MO; Forsynth, MO; Fremont, CA; Glendale, CA; Glendale, WI; Greendale, WI; Greenfield, WI; Goldsboro, NC; Greensboro, NC; Greenville, NC; Grandview, MO; Gretna, LA; Haines City, FL; Hamden, CT; Hamtramck, MI; Hartford, CT; Harvey, LA; Hayward, CA; Henderson, NV; Henrico, VA; Highland Park, MI; Houston, TX; Huntington Park, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Inglewood, CA; Independence, MO; James Island, SC; Jennings, MO; Kannapolis, NC; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Knightdale, NC; Lakewood, CO; Lansing, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Lenaxa, KS; Lincoln Park, MI; Livonia, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI; Milwaukee, WI; Melvindale, MI; Memphis, TN; Metarie, LA; Miami, FL; Miami Beach, FL; Miami Gardens, FL; Morrisville, NC; Mt. Olive, NC; Nanuet, NY; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; North Charleston, SC; North Las Vegas, NV; Oak Park, MI; Oakland, CA; Opelika, AL; Orlando, FL; Overland Park, KS; Pawtucket, RI; Peoria, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Pleasant Hills, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pleasanton, CA; Plymouth, NC; Pontiac, MI; Providence, RI; Pueblo, CO; Raleigh, NC; Raytown, MO; Redford, MI; Redford Township, MI; Richmond, CA; Richmond, VA; River Rouge, MI; Rockford, IL; Roeland Park, KS; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Leandro, CA; San Lorenzo, CA; Seattle, WA; Seekonk, MA; Slidel, LA; Southfield, MI; Southhaven, MS; Spencer, NC; Springfield, MO; St. Louis, MO; St. Petersburg, FL; Tampa, FL; Taylor, CA; Taylor, MI; Temple Terrace, FL; Union City, CA; University City, MO; Warren, MI; Warwick, RI; Waterford, MI; Wayne, MI; Wausau, WI; Wauwatosa, WI; West Allis, WI; West Milwaukee, WI; Westin, WI; West Memphis, AR; Westview, PA; Wilkinsburg, PA; Wheat Ridge, CO; West Haven, CT; Wethersfield, CT; Wilmington, DE; Windsor Locks, CT; Wentzville, MO; Wiliamston, NC; Winston-Salem, NC.

video

Najafi affiliate acquires JVC’s video game division

Cinram, a Najafi Companies affiliate, has acquired JVC America Inc. (JAI), the games software division of JVC Americas Corp., a fully consolidated U.S. sales subsidiary of JVC KENWOOD Corporation. Terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close within 30 days.

With manufacturing and distribution operations in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Kennesaw, Ga., JAI specializes in the manufacturing and fulfillment of gaming software for major gaming publishers. JAI also provides turnkey fulfillment services such as packaging, shipping and inventory management to satisfy the supply chain needs of software content providers.

JAI is an award-winning supplier of optical media, supply chain management and logistics services whose core vertical markets include leading publishers of interactive entertainment products, OEMs, software publishers, marketing continuity and subscription-based clubs and online retailers.

Toronto-based Cinram is a leading service provider to the entertainment industry and one of the largest global manufacturers and distributors of pre-recorded media products for the world’s leading motion picture studios, record labels and game publishers. Cinram also provides turnkey packaging and distribution services to a growing number of non-media clients.

This transaction provides Cinram with the scale necessary to adapt to the changing landscape of the physical media industry, while strengthening its supply chain and expanding its product offerings to new and existing game publishing clients.

“Video games are one of the pillars of our global media business,” said Steve Brown CEO of Cinram. “This acquisition supports our games group significantly and allows us to further develop our offerings to our media clients.”

“JVC America furthers Cinram’s leading position in the multi-media industry,” said Najafi Companies CEO Jahm Najafi. “This acquisition allows Cinram to continue to lead the industry and strengthen its supply chains while expanding capabilities.”

Financial advisors for JVC Kenwood Corporation were SMBC Nikko.

Najafi Companies is an International private investment firm based in Phoenix, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Toronto, London and holdings in sectors including consumer, media, technology, industrial, energy and real estate across seven countries.
The firm makes highly-selective investments in companies with strong management teams across a variety of industries, often in areas undergoing rapid technological transformation. The firm takes a long-term view on its investments and focuses its efforts to create value through growth and superior performance. Najafi Companies funds its investments with internally generated capital, not through a fund. Free from the restrictions of a fund, the firm is able to move quickly and decisively when investing, and with no requirements to return capital to outside partners, Najafi Companies is able to make investments that create maximum value for the long-term.

Broome

Broome taking part in Global Cities Initiative

As part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Barry Broome, will join various business and elected leaders for a discussion on the development of a metropolitan export strategy.

“The mayors and business leaders from the region have led in the transformation of our economy” said Broome. “Developing a metropolitan export strategy through the Global Cities Initiative is a critical step toward ensuring our economic future.”

The forum, Going Global: Boosting Greater Phoenix’s Economic Future, taking place today at ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will feature many speakers, including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daly, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program co-directors Bruce Katz and Amy Liu, and Chase market manager for Arizona and Nevada Curtis Reed, Jr.

The half-day event will center on preliminary market assessment findings on how the Greater Phoenix region can better position its global competitiveness. The city of Phoenix is part of a network of regions across the nation participating in the Global Cities Initiative’s Exchange to help develop global engagement strategies

Closing out the forum, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will join the program via satellite to make an announcement regarding the National Export Initiative.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 12:15 p.m.

health

UA-Phoenix Graduates 37 Doctors

A new group of 37 University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix medical students were officially conferred with their medical degrees at ceremonies Monday in the fourth graduation for the downtown Phoenix medical school.

Led by a bagpipe and drum corps, commencement exercises began with a procession from the college to the ceremony at Phoenix Symphony Hall. The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix has graduated 151 physicians in four years. The school opened in 2007 in what was the largest city in the nation without an allopathic (MD-granting) medical school.

UA College of Medicine – Phoenix Dean Stuart D. Flynn, MD, began Monday’s ceremony with a short description of the fourth class to complete four years of study on the downtown Phoenix campus.

“You arrived with a wonderful mix of confidence and humility, fun interpersonal skills and leadership characteristics,” Dr. Flynn said. “You have valued being trailblazers on our campus and adjectives you have used to describe your class include that you have a community feel, you are family-centered and you are all in together.”

A special hooding ceremony and the recitation of the oath were part of the ceremony, which included an address from renowned researcher Eric Reiman, MD, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and a faculty member of the UA College of Medicine.

“I am here to tell you that you are entering our profession at the most exciting time in history, the most important moment to become a doctor,” said Dr. Reiman, who is also director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. “You will have opportunities to make a difference far greater than you think, far greater than the rest of us could have imagined when we began our own careers. You will be on the frontline of a new frontier, you will transform the way health is promoted and care is provided and you will blaze the trail for generations to follow.”

Graduating senior Christian Dameff, who will be a resident in the emergency medicine department of Maricopa Integrated Health System, gave the student address.

“I am awestruck at the accomplishments of every single person in this class,” Dameff said. “The thousands of hours of volunteer work, the passion and dedication to scholarly research, the diligence they show during their study of medicine and most important, the passion and superior care they give when they treat every single one of their patients. It is truly inspiring.”

The ceremony capped a day of celebration that included a senior luncheon with graduates cited for awards by specialty and achievement in the community, for humanism and scholarship.

At the lunch, graduate Jacob Gold singled out the administration for its leadership, thank them specifically.

“For taking this school from this tiny, three high school buildings to this big building, very well respected organization that we have here,” Gold said.

Among the citations, faculty member Stephanie Briney, MD, who oversees the service learning program on campus noted that the Class of 2014 had collectively served more than 5,000 hours in clinics, teaching and other areas during their four years of medical school.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix opened in 2007 as a way for the state to address the critical shortage of physicians in Arizona. Nearly half of this year’s graduates from the Phoenix campus are staying in Arizona for their residencies and a similar number are pursuing primary care specialties.

Sky Harbor Airport

Sky Harbor Sets Record for Passengers

March 2014 was the busiest month in the history of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. More than 4 million passengers traveled through Phoenix Sky Harbor in March, 4,029,861 to be exact. That marked a 3.2 percent increase over March of 2013 and the first time the Phoenix airport has seen more than 4 million passengers in a single month.

“Spring Training, students on spring break, Arizona’s great weather and our state’s many attractions brought visitors to Phoenix in record numbers,” said Phoenix Aviation Director Danny Murphy. “Our tourism partners, such as hotels and rental car companies also enjoyed a tremendous spring travel season.”

“Valley hotels and resorts saw a 2.9 percent increase in occupancy in March 2014 compared to the previous March,” said Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association. “Tourists spend more than $19 billion every year in Arizona. An increase in the number of visitors to our state is good for everyone.”

In the first three months of this year, the Airport saw a 3.3 percent increase in passenger numbers compared to the same time period in 2013. April statistics for Sky Harbor are not yet available.

housing.prices

What Comes Next for housing market?

The Phoenix-area housing market is experiencing a normal seasonal spring bounce in activity and prices, but what will happen next? A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University talks about the waves of consumers that will likely start returning to the housing market next year, for the first time since the recession.

Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of March:

> The median single-family-home sales price recovered from two months of drops and is back to a level similar to December.
> However, demand and sales activity are still dramatically lower than at this time last year.
> The report’s author examines why certain waves of consumers may start returning to the housing market over the next several years.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from a recession low point in September 2011 until last summer, when the jumps slowed down. Then, this January and February, we saw the first two back-to-back monthly drops in the area’s median single-family-home sales price. This March, we saw that dip erased, but probably not for long.

“The bounce is a normal effect of the busy spring sales season, combined with a lot more high-priced homes in the current sales mix,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand, and it is highly probable we will see pricing fade again during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet. We may still be looking at little to no annual price appreciation by the end of the year.”

The median single-family-home sales price was up about 17 percent from last March to this March – from $175,000 to $204,520. The average price per square foot was up 15.5 percent. The median townhouse/condominium sales price was up 16 percent. We no longer have a tight supply of homes for sale like we did at this time last year. Supply stabilized in March, with 64 percent more listings this April 1 than last April 1.

However, low demand continues to be a problem. Single-family-home sales activity was down 20 percent this March from last March. Some of the drop comes from regular home buyers, but also institutional investors are just not as interested in Phoenix, now that better bargains can be found in other parts of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors in the Phoenix area this March was down to 17.4 percent from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012.

“The institutional investors are doing very little buying or selling in the Phoenix area at the moment,” says Orr. “Their focus has turned to property management, rather than acquisition or disposal.”

The areas doing especially well right now in Phoenix?

Luxury homes priced at more than $500,000 represented 11 percent more of the market’s sales activity this March than last March. High-end demand above $1.5 million was greater in the first quarter of this year than in any first quarter since 2007.
Rental homes are experiencing very strong demand. Interest is so robust that only a one-month supply is currently available on the market.
Multi-family construction permits are on a strong upward trend. In fact, Orr says the first quarter of 2014 was the second-highest quarter for multi-family permits in 12 years.

Meantime, single-family construction permits were down 18 percent this March from last March. New-home sales were down 15 percent.

Orr says, “A key underlying problem for current housing demand is lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials. However, we could see lenders become the most influential decision-makers in this situation. Many lenders are hurting for business, with applications at their lowest level since 2000, and some may become more forgiving, accepting lower credit scores for loans.”

Orr also predicts we’ll see the first major waves of consumers who lost their homes through foreclosure during the recession coming back into the market, starting next year. He says those who lost their homes at the beginning of the downturn will have spent their required seven years in the “penalty box,” and they’ll reemerge from 2015 to 2019. He adds it’s just a question of how many of them want to try again at home ownership.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

CGS Documentation Scrubber Removal

SRP Environmental Project Improves State’s Air Quality

A $470 million dollar effort to further reduce emissions from the Salt River Project’s largest single generator of electricity is now complete. On May 1, the last component of the project – selective catalytic reduction technology (SCR) – to lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the Coronado Generating Station in St. Johns became operational.

The project was a result of a 2008 agreement between SRP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve regional air quality by installing equipment and systems to remove additional emissions of NOx and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from CGS.

The new controls not only further reduce SO2 and NOx emissions from the plant, but also address mercury emissions.

“CGS is a critical component of SRP’s fleet of generating facilities that provide affordable and reliable electricity to our customers 24 hours a day,” said CGS manager Dan Bevier. “Now we will be able to achieve this goal and significantly reduce emissions.”

CGS, owned and operated by SRP, uses coal as a fuel to generate electricity from two 400-megawatt units for SRP customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Completed in 1980, the plant was equipped with then state-of-the-art emission controls including partial flow scrubbers for SO2 reductions and electrostatic precipitators for particulate matter reduction.

The environmental improvement project included the installation of low NOx burners on each of the two units – one in 2009 and the other in 2011. Additionally, SRP constructed new 100 percent flow SO2 removal systems on each of the units – one in 2011 and one in 2012. The project was completed when the SCR on unit 2 was installed and became operational on May 1.

According to SRP senior project manager Gary Barras, the environmental improvement effort at CGS was one of the largest construction projects in Arizona and involved nearly 3,000 workers and contractors at a time when the state was in the midst of the great recession. Barras said the project team completed each phase of work on-schedule and with an outstanding safety record.
The project also included the construction of two new 400-foot concrete exhaust stacks, two 22,000-square-foot multi-level absorber buildings and required more than 4,000 individual pieces of equipment. In addition, more than 29,000 cubic-yards of concrete, nearly 8,000 tons of ductwork and structural steel and more than a million feet of new conductor were needed. The project team also coordinated a global supply chain of consultants and specialized equipment manufacturers located on four major continents.

In addition to installing enhanced emission controls at CGS and as part of the agreement with EPA, SRP funded $4 million in several supplemental environmental projects including installing 100 to 200-kilowatt solar photovoltaic systems at public schools, upgrading emission controls on school buses and replacing wood-burning stoves with clean-burning wood pellet stoves. All of the supplemental environmental projects are contributing to cleaner air in the communities near CGS and in metropolitan Phoenix.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 985,000 customers.

law.courts

Greenberg Traurig attorney earns national honor

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Nicole Goodwin has been awarded the President’s National Meritorious Service Award by the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) for her ongoing efforts in the areas of professional development, ethics, education and training of forensic experts.

“Ms. Goodwin has shown extraordinary commitment to the advancement of the field,” said national FEWA President John Levitske during the association’s annual conference. “This is the first President’s National Meritorious Service to FEWA Award which has been presented to an attorney.”

FEWA is a national non-profit professional membership organization of experts who provide forensic services in all technical specialties. The organization presented Goodwin with the award Saturday, April 26 at the association’s annual conference in Tempe.

“For every attorney, obtaining reliable expert testimony is vital to ensuring every litigant receives the best representation at trial,” said Nicole Goodwin, shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “I am humbled by this award and have been impressed by FEWA’s dedication to expert integrity and professionalism.”

“We are proud that Nicole has been recognized by this prestigious organization,” said John E. Cummerford, co-managing shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office. “Nicole works tirelessly on behalf of her clients and is very deserving of this honor.”

Goodwin focuses her practice on commercial litigation matters, with an emphasis on corporate governance disputes, fiduciary litigation, financial services litigation, real estate litigation, antitrust counseling and litigation, and health care litigation.

Clean Energy

OneRoof Energy Expands Phoenix Call Center

OneRoof Energy, Inc., a complete solar services provider and subsidiary of OneRoof Energy Group, Inc., announced today that it plans to triple its existing call center from 40 full time employees to 120 full time employees, adding 80 jobs to the Phoenix market over the next twelve months. The call center expansion is necessary to provide support for the company’s growing direct sales force launched in 2013 and comes amid rapid market expansion, including the company’s entry into the Massachusetts market earlier this month. The center will also provide support for new channel alliances currently under development including retail energy partnerships.

“With a number of reputable call center training institutes in the area, Phoenix is a hot bed for call center expertise. It is also a mature solar market and that is an ideal combination for us,” states Nick Hofer, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at OneRoof Energy. “We are committed to providing the best customer experience in the industry and the call center will play a critical role in realizing that goal.”

Arizona remains one of the top three residential solar states in the nation. The residential market saw 72.7 MW installed in 2013, up 17% year-over-year despite a reduction in rebate funding to $0.10/W and a hotly contested regulatory battle over adjustments to Net Energy Metering (NEM).

“The Phoenix metro area has one of the largest call center workforces in the U.S., offering trained agents with excellent call center skills,” said King White, president of Site Selection Group, LLC. – a leading business location advisory firm. “With its expansion, OneRoof Energy is poised to be a leader in customer care in the residential solar market nationally.”

Fresh Water is Becoming Scarcer with the Planet's Changing Climate

CAP has $1 Trillion Impact on Arizona Economy

Key players in Arizona’s water supply gathered today at the GPEC Ambassador Event to discuss the future of water in greater Phoenix at Renaissance Square in Downtown Phoenix.

The event featured a panel consisted of David Modeer, general manager at Central Arizona Project, Grady Gammage Jr., an Attorney at Gammage & Burnham, Dave Roberts, the Senior Diretor of Water Resources at Salt River Project, and Michael Lacey, the director at Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The panel attempted to address various concerns facing Arizona’s water supply that have come to fruition as a result of what has been a 14-year drought extending from Texas to California.

“The efforts that the people on this panel and others have been making over the last 5-10 years in response to the drought, and going forward, are without question one of the most important efforts made to sustain the economy and quality of life of this state,” Modeer said.

The importance of the efforts to sustain Arizona’s water supply was highlighted in a study by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

According to the study, “Central Arizona Project’s delivery of Colorado River water from 1986 through 2010 has generated in excess of $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product.”

Between 2005 and 2010 alone, it is pointed out in the study, CAP’s contribution to gross state product increased 27.7 percent to 49.5 percent.

“The significance of what’s at stake for Arizona is unparalleled,” Modeer said. “Without water, we don’t have a viable state of Arizona.”

While plans for the future and actions that have already been taken were discussed with optimism, Lacey acknowledged that there are no definitive answers.

“I have people come up to me all the time and say, ‘so do we have enough water?’” he said. “And, that is exactly like if I come up to one of you and say, ‘do you have enough money?’”

The answer to both of those questions, he said, is: “it depends.”

“The real questions are ‘what do we do with the water we have and what are our chances of getting more?” he said.

In addressing these questions, Lacey said that the public needs to overcome several misconceptions.
One of these misconceptions, he said, stems from the fact that Arizona is the junior right holder on the Colorado River.

“Unfortunately, I think the public’s perception is, if there’s a declaration of shortage on the river, then Phoenix is dry,” he said. “That’s not true. While we are the junior right holder, it is highly unlikely that there will be nothing in the canal.”

Also, he said, even if there is a shortage, it will be mostly agriculture that is affected, not municipal use.

“A declaration of water is not going to mean there isn’t water coming out of your tap,” he said.
While it was acknowledged that there is no sure answer in addressing the issues, the discussion served as an opportunity to find consensual agreements between important Arizona figures.

“The issue that we in the system are dealing with is ‘how do you get an agreement among a really diverse group of states and water rights holders within those states to do something now?’” Modeer said.