Tag Archives: phoenix

Sean-Currid

Blue Hound Hires New Executive Chef

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix has hired Sean Currid as Executive Chef. Chef Currid comes from Elements at Sanctuary Resort & Spa where he served as Executive Catering Chef. Currid has been in the Valley for nearly 20 years and has also worked at Michael’s at the Citadel, Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and Cafe ZuZu at The Hotel Valley Ho.

Blue Hound guests will get a taste of Chef Currid’s cuisine when he releases a variety of new dishes on the new fall menu in late October.

ABOUT SEAN CURRID:

For nearly 20 years, Sean Currid has honed his skills in the Culinary Industry in the Valley. His food style falls under contemporary American cuisine, complimented with classic French cooking techniques.

Sean was born and raised in Thousand Oaks, California. In his teens, his family moved to El Paso, Texas. One of his first jobs in Texas was in a restaurant as a dishwasher and short order cook. It was at this job, his interest in food and cooking grew. Shortly after graduating from high school, he decided that he would take cooking seriously. Sean relocated to Phoenix to attend Scottsdale Culinary Institute and graduated in 1997.

Currid started his professional career at JW Marriott’s Camelback Inn while attending Culinary School. Upon completion of school, he continued working there for the next four years. He moved through the ranks of the restaurants at Camelback Inn and finally promoted to Banquet Chef. He moved on to work at Michael’s at the Citadel and was asked once again to join the team at JW Marriott’s Camelback Inn overseeing banquets. Currid was then offered a position at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician and worked with James Beard Award winner, Chef Bradford Thompson. Over the next two years, he immersed himself in the restaurant and refined his cooking techniques. In 2005, Sean went to go with Chef Charles Wiley, another James Beard winner, to re-open The Hotel Valley Ho. His most recent position was working with Chef Beau MacMillan as Executive Catering Chef at Sanctuary Camelback Resort and Spa.

Under his direction as Banquet Chef, at JW Marriott’s Camelback Inn, the resort received the Gold Platter Award by Meeting and Conventions magazine. In 2010, Sean was named one of “The Valley’s Top Five Sous Chefs” in AZ Magazine. He was also named one of “The Valley’s Seven Top Chefs” AZ Foothills Magazine. Sean was on Food Network’s show “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell.

Sean continues to participate in charity fundraisers, and team with local farmers to create his menus. Currid has also had the privilege of assisting Chef Charles Wiley in New York at The James Beard House, as they represented Café ZuZu.

Key Elements to Retirement Planning

‘YOYO’ Economy Creates New Reality

With Social Security in its 79th year, and with real concerns about the future of the program, there is a different reality for retirement planning than when the agency started many years ago. Preparing for a secure retirement has changed drastically with today’s Baby Boomers living in what many call a YOYO (You’re On Your Own) economy. It is now important to look at retirement planning in a whole new way.

One Phoenix advisor, Andrew Rafal, an investment advisor and founding partner of Strategy Financial Group, offers insight on how to help prepare for the challenges of retirement. “A retirement plan in today’s world will look very different from what it looked like the past. For previous generations, there were company pensions, a well-funded Social Security program and personal savings, including home equity. Today, many retirement savers don’t have those retirement income sources to count on, making planning for requires a much different thought process than generations past,” says Rafal.

While the viability of Social Security is questionable after year 2033, it is still around today. If you’re a Baby Boomer quickly approaching retirement, when and how you file for your benefits is very important to understand. As most people know, you can start claiming Social Security any time between ages 62 and 70, but did you know the longer you can afford to wait, the more your monthly benefit amount grows. This could add up to a significant difference over the course of your retirement. How you file is also important: For instance, a single person has nine different claiming options and couples have 81 all of which could affect the benefits you receive, so it’s critical to evaluate your options carefully.

Another change over the past few years is the decline in the availability of pensions. Many state and corporate pensions have experienced financial difficulties over the years and have cut costs by lowering pension payouts and putting more of the responsibilities to save enough on the individual. Many companies have opted to get rid of their pension program altogether and offer defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans and similar, as an alternative.

Rafal says, “This trend away from state and corporate pensions has shifted the burden to the individual who now must contribute enough in order to create a secure income in retirement. In this YOYO economy how well you live in your golden years is up to you and how well you plan.”

No matter where you are on your journey to retirement, it is extremely important to be proactive when building wealth for retirement by saving the most money that you can afford. Put saving on autopilot with automatic payments. If you don’t see the money each month, you may be less likely to miss it.

The key to a secure retirement for most has become personal savings. Unfortunately, the housing and stock market volatility over the past decade stalled many retirement plans. Many have learned over the past decade that accumulating personal wealth, and maintaining it, can be a difficult challenge.

“The “modern retiree” will need to work even harder than generations past to build and manage their personal savings as for most this is all they will have,” says Rafal.

Rafal suggests:

Be cautious with your investments. Extreme stock market volatility and economic uncertainty, as seen over the past decade, shows how unpredictable the economy can be. Take charge of your saving strategies and do not risk too much of your hard-earned money in any one specific savings or investment vehicle.

Be flexible with your investments. Economic conditions often change in a fast-paced global economy, so adjustments to your financial plan may be necessary. The key to success is the ability to adapt to evolving market conditions.

Be strategic with your investments. Choose a variety of different financial instruments and investment vehicles so no one particular investment severely impacts your long-term financial and retirement goals. Diversification is critical to help avoid suffering a huge loss.

While retirement planning has changed over the past decades with some knowledge and guidance, it is still possible to secure a great financial future. One thing is for sure, the earlier you start the better off in the long run you will be so start saving as soon as you can.

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Spirit of Enterprise Award Finalists named

Arizona is still recovering from the Great Recession, and many local businesses are playing a key role in the comeback. Today, some of the state’s best companies are being recognized as finalists for the 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The prestigious awards recognize firms for creating jobs, boosting our economy and delivering great customer service. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, Ollie the Trolley and Total Transit (Discount Cab), as well as fast-growing businesses, such as Infusionsoft.

“We look for Arizona businesses that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We also want to see innovation, a positive internal culture, and an impact on both our economy and our local community.”

The 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Award finalists are:

• Clean Air Cab (Mesa) – a family-owned, eco-friendly cab fleet with consistent 100-percent annual growth and a Happy Ride consumer guarantee, sourcing more than 83 percent of its business needs from local providers and donating to local charities, including the ONE Community Foundation for advancing the rights of the LGBT community.
• Endless Entertainment (Tempe) – an events production and consulting company started by a college entrepreneur at ASU that has been lauded by Inc. magazine, has a strong customer-service focus, and has worked with a range of clients from San Diego Comic-Con and the X Games to the American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Target and Zappos.
• Ersland Touch Landscape (Phoenix) – a state-of-the-art landscape maintenance company with more than 30 years of experience, a complete customer “feedback log,” an Adopt a Highway commitment, work with nonprofits, and more than 400 residences and 20 homeowner associations as clients.
• India Plaza/The Dhaba (Tempe) – a small, minority-owned one-stop shop for all things Indian, including an award-winning restaurant, a marketplace and an education center, with a low staff turnover rate, a no-questions-asked return policy, and vegetarian, gluten-free and environmental initiatives.
• IO (Phoenix) – a firm focused on data-center technology, services and solutions that are defined by software, instead of physical locations, with more than 650 global clients, including Goldman Sachs and LexisNexis, as well as two patents and a focus on energy efficiency.
• I-ology (Scottsdale) – a woman-owned technology company offering Web design and related services that features close client relationships, heavy community involvement, and no management hierarchy, where all employees have the chance to participate in revenue sharing, stock options, flexible schedules and industry events.
• The James Agency (Scottsdale) – a boutique, full-service advertising and public relations agency specializing in high-end brands, which was started by a 25 year old and now boasts flexible work schedules, no outsourcing, annual pro bono clients and last year’s revenue of more than $2 million.
• Kitchell (Phoenix) – a 100-percent employee-owned commercial builder, developer and program manager launched 65 years ago, which now has more than 850 employees, international operations, innovations like virtual construction, an internal leadership program, significant charitable contributions, and a focus on safety, work quality and customer satisfaction.
• Melrose Pharmacy (Phoenix) – an independent pharmacy that offers fast, personalized service, contributions to the March of Dimes and other charities, and involvement in community issues, as well as achieving business goals of $2.7 million in sales by its third year in business and a 119-percent increase in net income so far this year.
• Potter’s House Apothecary (Peoria) – a pharmacy specializing in compounding, with its own continuous-quality-improvement program and patient seminars, which reached its three-year business plan projections in just 18 months and became one of fewer than 15 Arizona pharmacies with accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

The finalists from the W. P. Carey School for the Student Entrepreneurship Award are:

• Anthony Gonzales/Force Impact Technologies – Gonzales, who just graduated with his MBA, has made headlines as a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition with his grant-winning, ongoing development of FITGuard, a mouthguard designed to indicate when an athlete should be removed from a game for possible head injuries/concussions, as well as a matching smartphone application that can provide results to a diagnosing physician.
• Paige Corbett/PetSitnStay – Corbett was working as a kennel assistant and attending business school, when she came up with the idea to start an online service to connect pet owners with pet sitters and in-home care options as an alternative to less personal commercial boarding facilities.

Winners will be announced at a luncheon Friday, Nov. 21 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Hundreds of business and community leaders attend the annual event. Also, new this year, an entrepreneurship workshop will be held right before the awards luncheon. There, top W. P. Carey School faculty members will talk about what tools and techniques you can use to advance your business.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to attend, call (480) 965-0474, e-mail wpcentrepreneurship@asu.edu, or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/spirit.

The Spirit of Enterprise Awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center recently introduced the Sun Devil Select competition to honor ASU alum-owned or alum-led businesses, as well as the Sun Devil Igniter Challenge to help fund student businesses. The center also offers companies a chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while allowing students to get hands-on business experience. It is a gateway to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

internet

Cox names new Southwest Region manager

John WolfeCox Communications announced today that John Wolfe will take the reins as senior vice president and southwest region manager, effective immediately. The region is Cox’s largest nationwide and includes Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. Wolfe comes to the Southwest from Cox’s Northeast region, where he served as the senior vice president and region manager.

A nearly 30-year cable industry veteran, Wolfe has a demonstrated track record of success. After joining Cox in 1995 as part of the Times Mirror acquisition, he led the development of Cox’s government affairs, internal and external communications and corporate philanthropy strategies in New England, before being promoted to general manager, Northeast region in 2012. During his tenure as Cox’s Northeast region leader, Wolfe guided the company’s operations in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Ohio during a time of intense industry competition and company transformation.

Well-known in the communications industry for leading teams and working effectively with people, Wolfe’s abilities contributed to the Northeast’s company-leading customer satisfaction scores in 2012 and 2013. Prior to Cox, he served as director of public information for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and managing editor for Cablevision magazine.

Wolfe’s appointment follows company veteran Steve Rizley’s recent retirement announcement.

“With his tremendous leadership abilities, combined with a strong sense for what it takes to compete in our industry, I am confident that John will ensure the Southwest region remains a focal point for aggressive investment, growth and innovation, starting with Cox’s Gigabit Internet deployments this year,” said Paul Cronin, senior vice president of customer experience for Cox. “Under John’s direction, Cox will continue to lead Arizona and Nevada as a significant employer, community contributor and technology enabler.”

Cox recently announced plans to offer Gigabit Internet speeds, 100 times faster than the average Internet speed in homes today, starting later this year with new developments nationwide. In addition, the company is aggressively upgrading existing neighborhoods in Phoenix and Las Vegas metro areas in the Southwest region. The first customers are expected to come online in Phoenix in October.

Wolfe will relocate to Phoenix, the company’s Southwest region headquarters, and site of a recently created national call center of excellence.

LUSTRE Deck Ceremony 4.jpg

Hotel Palomar offers chic urban weddings

At Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix no two weddings ever feel the same thanks to the variety of unique indoor and outdoor settings, locally-inspired food and beverage options, high design and more, that come together to make every moment, every bite and every stylish detail all about a memorable “I do.”

What makes a wedding at Hotel Palomar so unique?

• 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, skyline view of downtown Phoenix skyscrapers, historic buildings and city lights
• A variety of stunning venues from a rooftop pool deck to sophisticated ballrooms
• Chef-driven cuisine focused on local artisan and farm fresh organic ingredients, and handcrafted cocktails
• Wedding packages starting from $1,500

As downtown Phoenix’s newest boutique hotel, Hotel Palomar Phoenix offers more than just stunning ballrooms and private dining rooms. One of the most awe-inspiring outdoor wedding venues in all of downtown Phoenix is LUSTRE Rooftop Garden, which is perched on the hotel’s third-floor pool deck and offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, downtown skyline of skyscrapers, historic buildings and city lights. LUSTRE is one of the Valley’s most impressive city venues to host anywhere from 20 to 200 guests to eat, drink and dance the night away under the stars.

For indoor options that also offer captivating downtown views, the Zia Room extends the entire west side of the hotel with three walls of oversized windows delivering unparalleled views overlooking the city. The Dreamcatcher Ballroom also plays hosts to wedding celebrations, with a stately space with soaring ceilings, breathtaking chandeliers and a gallery of large windows with views overlooking CityScape Phoenix. Each venue is also available for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, cocktail receptions and soirees of all occasions for up to 200 guests.

Creative catering designed to exceed expectations is also on the menu at Hotel Palomar Phoenix. The hotel’s on-site, award-winning restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, is available to create a menu specifically outfitted for each couple. Blue Hound’s talented culinary team focuses on contemporary American gastro-lounge fare that pairs seasonal, chef-driven cuisine with handcrafted cocktails. Restaurant and wedding menus are thoughtfully prepared to highlight skillful flavor presentations with a sampling of the region’s best organic produce and free-range meats.

Wedding packages at Hotel Palomar Phoenix start from $1,500 and offer a number of enhancements specifically catered to a variety of tastes, budgets and styles. With all wedding packages, the hotel provides a complimentary dance floor, celebratory toast, wedding cake, black pintuck or cream damask linens and votive candles.

For information about weddings at Hotel Palomar Phoenix, visit www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com/wedding or call 602-253-6633.

Dr. Miles Howard, an OB-GYN on staff at West Valley Hospital, who performed the first surgery with the new da Vinci Xi.

New robotic surgery debuts at West Valley Hospital

The first surgery in the Valley using the new da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system was performed September 15 at Abrazo Health’s West Valley Hospital.

West Valley Hospital in Goodyear is the only hospital in the Phoenix metropolitan area that has the da Vinci Xi, which is designed to offer patients minimally invasive procedures and faster recovery from a variety of surgeries.

The new technology provides advanced robotic technology including high-definition, 3-D visualization. It also allows for enhanced dexterity and greater precision and control for the surgeon.

Dr. Miles Howard, an OB-GYN affiliated with West Valley Hospital, performed the first hysterectomy with the da Vinci Xi surgical platform in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

He is among several surgeons on staff at West Valley Hospital who are trained to use the new Xi platform of da Vinci. Dr. Rama Muddaraj, a general surgeon on staff at West Valley Hospital, is scheduled to do the first general surgery procedure with the new da Vinci Xi surgical platform this week. He has been doing robotics surgery since 2012.

Howard, who has done more than 100 robotic procedures, said that the da Vinci Xi provides many advantages over earlier robotic surgery platforms.

For example, he said the endoscope can be used on any of the four arms and the Xi can be docked at different angles providing easier access to the patient and more flexibility for surgeons.

“Robotic surgery may result in less pain, less bleeding, less complications and a shorter hospital stay,’’ Howard said.

Purchasing this technology solidifies West Valley Hospital’s commitment to the healthcare of residents of the West Valley, said Dr. Pankaj Jain, a urologist affiliated with West Valley Hospital, who has done robotic surgeries since 2004.

”West Valley Hospital continues to advance the level of medical care in the region by purchasing some of the latest in robotics technology,’’ Jain said. “With this technology, my colleagues and I will be able to do even more types of complex surgeries with smaller and fewer incisions.”

Stan Holm, chief executive officer for West Valley Hospital, led the effort to bring the daVinci Xi to West Valley Hospital. “The da Vinci Surgical System provides surgeons with an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy, putting a surgeon’s hands at the controls of an advanced robotic platform.”

“The use of robotic-assisted surgeries continues to grow at a rapid pace, and West Valley Hospital is at the forefront of that growth. We are pleased to offer the da Vinci Xi Surgical System as part of our continued efforts to offer significant surgical advancements to our patients,” he added.

Surgeons with privileges at West Valley Hospital can perform many different types of robotically assisted procedures including prostatectomy, kidney and bladder surgery and gynecological procedures such as removal of ovarian tumors and other cancers and pelvic prolapse surgery, Holm said.

4594_Modern_Praire_B_2_large

Shea breaks ground on Shea3D community in Estrella

Shea Homes Arizona will break ground in mid-September, on its fifth Shea3D community in the West Valley, anticipated to open this December. Inspire at Estrella will be the sixth Shea Homes community opening this year.

Located in Goodyear, Estrella is a 20,000 acre resort-style, master-planned community set against the Sierra Estrella Mountains. Although it’s a short drive from Phoenix, residents have everything they need with Estrella’s extensive amenities, including a championship 18-hole Golf Club of Estrella, 72 acres of lakes for fishing/boating, 20 miles of hiking/biking paths, Starpointe Residence Club and Water Park, nearby shopping, dining, three onsite schools and more.

Inspire at Estrella has 110 home sites sized at 60×115 featuring four popular plans from Shea’s innovative product line called Shea3D. The plans are named Compel, Indulge, Spark and Excite ranging from 2,472-3,351 square feet with 3-4 bedrooms. With four YourPlans and three lifestyle centric spaces, buyers are able to choose between 12 unique layouts at Estrella. Pricing is still being finalized.

Shea3D is an all-new, patent-pending way of building homes that provides homebuyers with a decision they’ve never had before – the opportunity to choose from a variety of interchangeable lifestyle-driven spaces within each floor plan, also known as “YourPlans™”. Shea3DTM allows customers to choose from three unique main living spaces – Outdoor-centric, Entertainment-centric, or Kitchen-centric, empowering the customer to select the one that best fits their lifestyle.

“Our company values match perfectly with the community of Estrella’s values, and that’s all about creating a flourishing environment for families,” said Ken Peterson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Shea Homes Arizona. “We couldn’t be more excited to be expanding our West Valley presence. The West Valley is booming in general, and we’re happy to be a part of this growing market.”

These homes are also built for optimum energy efficiency and carry the newly upgraded ENERGY STAR 3.0 rating. They have multiple distinct features from other area builders including the Environments for Living (EFL) designation, which is a two year guarantee that the home heating and cooling won’t exceed a specified energy limit. If the home goes over the guarantee, a refund of the difference is given.

For more information about Inspire at Estrella or Shea Homes’ communities across the Valley, please call 1-866-696-7432 or visit http://www.sheahomes.com/arizona.

health

Banner Health sees major gains in quality

Phoenix-area beneficiaries in the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) served by Banner Health Network (BHN) receive a high level of quality care and preventive medicine that results in less cost to the nation’s Medicare system. Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the preliminary results for the Pioneer ACO’s Performance Year 2 (calendar year 2013) which further illustrates that point.

Recently released accountable care data from one of BHN’s payer partners in the private sector, offers similar cost and quality findings across commercial populations.

BHN’s quality score in 2013 reflected a gain of nearly 19 percent from the previous year. “Our providers are delivering high quality, coordinated care. The care they want to deliver,” said Dr. Shaun Anand, Medical Director for Banner Health Network. “They are rewarded for providing holistic care to BHN’s members and beneficiaries, and given the infrastructure, information and resources they need to be efficient and effective in preventive, chronic and acute care.”

As a top performer in the Medicare Pioneer ACO for the second consecutive year, BHN’s savings to CMS of more than $15 million made up 16 percent of the total $96 million returned by 23 Pioneers in Performance Year 2. This was possible as a result of delivering the right care, at the right time in the right setting.

“Highly engaged provider partners, information technology tools and an organizational commitment to value-based care were key elements of our success,” says Chuck Lehn, Banner Health Network Chief Executive Officer. “Supporting beneficiaries when they were most at risk and in need of medical advocacy— after a new diagnosis, following hospital discharge, or as a result of multiple emergency department visits, for example— has also been an important strategy in this program.”

BHN has continued to participate with the Pioneer ACO program in Performance Year 3 (current calendar year), and has recruited new qualified BHN physicians to further develop our Pioneer program in Performance Year 4 (calendar year 2015).

In December 2011, Banner Health Network announced that it had been selected as one of only 32 organizations in the country to demonstrate the Pioneer ACO Model. Only 23 organizations continued with the model after the first year. The central premise of the Pioneer ACO effort is to create value through a highly coordinated, collaborative network of providers who are focused on achieving the highest level of wellness and prevention possible for their Medicare patients, while addressing chronic and acute illness aggressively.

Pioneer provider networks benefit financially when they return savings to Medicare, not through increased volume of services that are reimbursed in a traditional fee-for-service model. Revenues are generated through a percentage of Medicare savings. Savings are realized through tight coordination of care and adherence to evidence-based care. If expenses are greater than the expected benchmark, that Pioneer ACO is at risk for a percentage of losses.

In addition to participating in the Medicare Pioneer ACO, BHN has developed accountable care relationships with commercial payers such as: Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and UnitedHealthcare, among others.

BHN is comprised of Banner Health-employed physicians and Banner Health-affiliated community physicians; 14 Banner Health hospitals; Banner Health Centers and Clinics; hospice, home care, lab and related clinical services. The Network ensures convenient access to Medicare beneficiaries with more than 3,000 providers located throughout Maricopa County and into Pinal County.

skd283121sdc

Arizona Theatre Company opens season with laughs

Arizona Theatre Company opens the 2014-15 season with the Arizona premiere of the hilarious comedy of ill manners, the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” from Oct. 9-26 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in downtown Phoenix.

The show is directed by Joel Sass, the force behind ATC’s critically acclaimed production of The 39 Steps. The 2014-15 season is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser. Opening night sponsor in Phoenix is Gammage & Burnham.

In Christopher Durang’s “all out-smash” (Talkin’ Broadway), Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia are living a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, while their sister Masha travels the world as a movie star. Just as their cleaning woman, Cassandra, issues a warning about terrible events in their future, Masha returns for an unannounced visit with her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow – and so begins an unforgettable weekend building to a fever pitch of rivalry, regret and racket. Mixing Chekhov shout-outs with contemporary cringe-worthy flair, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a delightfully off-kilter season-opening romp that critics have hailed “a sublime state of hilarity” and “a zany joy!”

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is among the funniest plays to pass our way in a long time,” Arthur Dorman wrote on Talkin’ Broadway Minneapolis. “That it carries with it a tender heart and has been mounted in a sparkling production makes it a show not to be missed.”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike contains strong language. Total running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes including intermission. This production was produced in association with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Single tickets prices range from $41 to $72.

Season-ticket packages range from $87 to $372 depending upon the package and seat selection. Pick-Your-Play packages of three, four or five plays also are available as is the Flexpass that includes four tickets to any play in the regular season on any day, in any combination.

Season subscriber benefits include discounts on additional tickets, priority seating and up to 50 percent off regular box office prices, among others.

For more information in Phoenix call (602) 256-6995. For complete information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

foodbank

Progrexion Makes Large Donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank

Progrexion, a company dedicated to ensuring fair and accurate consumer credit reports, is hosting a one-year anniversary celebration today (Sept. 16) at 10 a.m. at its call center at 20620 N. 19th Ave. in Phoenix. The public is invited to bring canned goods and other non-perishable food that will be donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance as part of national Hunger Action Month. Those who donate in the month of September to the Progrexion location will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Pro Bowl tickets. Tickets will be awarded the first week of October.

At the event, Progrexion CEO Jeffrey Johnson will present a large check to St. Mary’s President and CEO, Beverly Damore. The company’s 310 Arizona employees collected cash and food over the summer in order to donate to the local nonprofit in September, as part of national hunger awareness campaign.

“We are so grateful to our employees in Phoenix for being so generous with their time and money and for getting behind this important cause,” said Johnson. “I also want to congratulate them all in celebrating a successful first year. Our company has grown significantly this past year, and we will continue to support this and other important community causes as we continue to expand in Phoenix and beyond.”

“We’re very grateful to Progrexion for actively collecting food and cash to help provide for the two million Arizonans who are living at or below the Federal Poverty Guideline,” said Beverly Damore, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. “And, we encourage to the community to continue to donate through Progrexion and our other community partners throughout Hunger Action Month.”

Progrexion’s Phoenix location, which started out with 30 employees one year ago, has seen impressive growth, and is now looking to hire 135 more by the end of the year, bringing a total employee count to 445 employees. The company will have recruiter’s onsite at the celebration on Sept. 17 from 10am-4pm to accept resumes and applications from people who would like to work for this organization that prides itself in giving back to the community.

“One in five kids in the United States faces hunger, and Progrexion is proud to be engaged in efforts that truly make a difference in the communities in which we work and live,” added Johnson.

Progrexion and its affiliated brands, including Lexington Law and CreditRepair.com, comprise the nation’s largest consumer advocacy network and employ more than 2,100 people at locations in Utah, Idaho and Arizona. Progrexion’s associates in Utah and Idaho also conducted food and fund donation drives this summer and recently donated more than $73,000 to non-profits in those states.

121277693

St. Joseph’s and Barrow’s add new board members

The Board of Directors of St. Joseph’s Foundation recently elected two new members for Fiscal Year 2015. The new board members are:

Barry Berman, of Scottsdale, graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s in business administration, a major in finance and a minor in accounting. He began his career as an equity trader at The Milwaukee Co. and Loewl & Co. Berman joined Robert W. Baird and Co. Inc. in 1974 as senior vice-president and director, working there for 32 years before his retirement in 2006.

Greg Valladao, of Phoenix, is a senior managing director at Cushman and Wakefield. He earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and history from Tulane University in New Orleans and a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law. For the past 30 years, he has used his extensive retail, sales, management and legal expertise to become a well-respected commercial real estate executive with a reputation as a regional retail expert.

The Board of Trustees of Barrow Neurological Foundation (BNF) recently added three new members and elected a slate of officers. The new members are as follows:

David Farca, of Scottsdale, is president of ToH Design Studio. Farca was born and raised in Mexico City. He earned a degree in biomedical engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana, a degree in medical imaging infrastructure from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in business administration from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. Farca built a medical imaging business in Mexico that grew into one of the industry’s largest government suppliers. In 2000, he sold the business and moved to Scottsdale, where he and his wife, Mavi, opened ToH Design Studio.

Michael Hecomovich, of Scottsdale, is the founder and chairman/CEO, Global Marketing Services. Hecomovich earned a bacheolor’s degree in engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a master’s in business administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He has more than 30 years of experience in general management, sales, marketing and business development for a wide range of organizations—from Fortune 100 companies to small start-up ventures.

William R. Metzler, of Scottsdale, is the co-founder and principal of West Coast Capital Partners. Metzler received bachelor’s degrees with honors in accounting and real estate finance from the University of Arizona. He is a senior with the American Society of Appraisers and a certified public accountant. He has previously served as the managing director of New York-based ING’s Investment Banking Unit and Ernst & Young’s Real Estate Advisory Group.

BNF board officers are as follows: Chair—Michael Haenel, Phoenix, executive vice president, Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial Industrial Services Group; Vice Chair—Dan Pierce, Phoenix, president, Kitchell; Treasurer—Karen C. McConnell, Phoenix, partner, Ballard Spahr LLP; and Secretary—Michael R. King, Phoenix, founding partner, Gammage & Burnham.

St. Joseph’s Foundation and Barrow Neurological Foundation are nonprofit support foundations dedicated to raising funds for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Each foundation is governed by a board of directors made up of community leaders who serve on a voluntary basis. More information is available at SupportStJosephs.org, SupportBarrow.org or at the Foundations of St. Joseph’s on Facebook.

R&R Partners expands into Mexico

R&R Partners has announced that the independent marketing communications firm would make its international debut, opening its ninth office through an ownership stake in CMV, a full service agency based in Mexico City.

CEO Billy Vassiliadis will make the formal announcement September 12 during a keynote address entitled “Translating Success – Learning to Do Business Across Cultures” at Austin’s BonusMX@ATX, a forum for creative industry executives in the United States and Mexico.

Mexico City marks a long anticipated move by R&R Partners into Latin America, and represents the firm’s fourth new office in six years behind Austin, Denver and Los Angeles.

“When you look at American brands like Microsoft, Pfizer and Wal-Mart, which are well-established in Mexico, you’re seeing how 20 years of NAFTA has helped erase many of the old trade barriers,” said Matt Silverman vice president and managing director of the R&R Partners Phoenix office. “R&R Partners is particularly well positioned to help international partnerships that already exist and are forming in Arizona and Mexico,” added Silverman.

Under NAFTA, intraregional trade in North America jumped from $290 billion in 1993 to $1.1 trillion in 2012, roughly half of which crisscrosses the U.S./Mexican border.

Vassiliadis sees opportunity in the 2014 Global Attitudes Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, which found that six in 10 Mexicans are dissatisfied with their country’s economy.

“Mexico is at a critical point economically, politically and culturally and our skill set and partnership with CMV can have a real impact there,” said Vassiliadis. “Together, we bring an authentic Hispanic vision and voice and a proven track record in communications and government affairs work that will guide clients through this period of rapid change and growth.”

R&R Partners has long had a footprint in Mexico through their Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority client, which markets the Las Vegas destination there. In addition, R&R Partners serves international clients in West Africa, Central Asia, and Europe, as well as U.S.-based clients like Boeing that reach across the globe.

“R&R’s investment in CMV grew out of the recognition that our two agencies share a similar passion for tackling the tough issues, delivering key insights to our clients and building a strong internal culture of excellence,” said Diego Velásquez, founding partner and coach general at CMV. “It’s an ideal match that will continue to deliver top quality results across borders and languages.”

CMV/R&R Partners will use its deep experience in regulatory issues, public relations, crisis communications, research, media and branding to assist industries that face complex challenges in Mexico and Latin America. Areas of specialty include energy, telecommunications, packaged goods, technology, aerospace and travel and tourism.

“Being independently owned allows us to react quickly and guide our clients through the challenging regulatory environments they will find in Mexico,” said Vassiliadis. “It has also allowed us to pursue a rapid growth plan as an agency. International expansion was the next logical step for us.”

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

Cholla

APS proposes compromise for Cholla Power Plant

The coal-fired Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, Ariz., will close its 260-megawatt Unit 2 by April 2016 and stop burning coal at the other APS-owned units (1 and 3) by the mid-2020s if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a compromise proposal offered by APS, the plant’s owner. APS also will ask the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve the plan.

APS made the proposal with the understanding that it would not be required to install expensive emission control equipment on the units to comply with current rules under the agency’s Regional Haze program. The environmental benefits of this proposal are greater in the long term than the benefits that would have resulted from adding the emissions control equipment.

“This proposal provides the best outcome, allowing Cholla to continue to operate, while meeting environmental requirements,” said David Hansen, APS Vice President of Fossil Generation. “This solution balances several needs — supporting the local economy the best way possible; the need to provide reliable, low-cost generation resources for customers; and complying with federal rules and regulations.”

In 2010, APS was notified that Unit 2 needed to upgrade its scrubbers and add a super-sized sophisticated air filter called a “baghouse” to meet the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. In 2012, the EPA published a federal implementation plan, which overrides certain parts of Arizona’s plan to deal with regional haze. The federal plan requires Cholla Unit’s 2 and 3 to add expensive Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

“When the EPA issued its final rules to manage regional haze, we told the agency that the cost of adding SCRs along with the other technologies required to meet the mercury rules placed the unit at risk of being uneconomic to operate,” said Hansen. “We are clearly aware of the potential impact closing Unit 2 may have on the neighboring communities and arrived at this decision only after carefully weighing the options.”

By closing Unit 2, mercury emissions are anticipated to decline by 51 percent, particulates by 34 percent, nitrogen oxides by 32 percent, and carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide by 23 percent. There would be additional environmental benefits after units 1 and 3 stop burning coal. APS intends to continue working closely with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on environmental issues.

According to Hansen, there were three alternative approaches – investing hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment, converting the entire plant to natural gas by 2016, or closing the plant.

If EPA approves the APS compromise, it will save more than $350 million in potential costs that otherwise would be passed along to customers for emission control upgrades.

Potential job losses will likely be mitigated through normal attrition and retirements. Today the plant has 249 employees with an annual payroll of $29 million. It pays approximately $15 million in state, local and federal taxes annually.

The unit has been in service since 1978.

APS has been closing older, less reliable units and replacing them with newer, cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. This includes closing three units at the Four Corners Power Plant in Farmington, N.M., and two units at the Ocotillo Power Plant in Tempe, Ariz.

From an accounting perspective, APS intends to reclassify the remaining book value as a regulatory asset.

APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

health.education

Rural Health Program offers another side of medicine

Jordan Roberts was reminded of his calling to be a physician nearly 200 miles from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

Roberts, a fourth-year student, spent five weeks earlier this year at the Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low. Having grown up not far away in Snowflake, Roberts had a pretty good idea of life in the White Mountains but was reminded of a case he initially encountered as a first-year student.

Roberts has participated in the university’s Rural Health Professions Program since enrolling in the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. That program began at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson since 1997 but was expanded to include a Phoenix office this year. The first students from the downtown Phoenix medical school spent part of their summer in far off places, including one just outside of Arizona.

In describing his return to his White Mountain roots to complete the Rural Health program commitment, Roberts talked about a patient he first met three years ago with diabetes and how he manages his condition after not seeing a doctor for many years.

“I learned that one of the special things about these folks is their resilience – to the elements, to change, and even to disease,” Roberts said. “But I was also reminded that medicine is my medium to meaningful living.”

The program was created to help address the shortage of physicians faced by Arizona that is even more critical outside its urban centers. While the state ranks near the bottom in numbers of physicians per capita, the statistics for rural physicians are even more stark and problematic.

For every 100,000 Arizonans there were 124 doctors in rural areas compared with 231 in urban areas, according to a 2005 study. This places Arizona far below the national average.

The program also allows students a concentrated clinical experience after their first year of medical school. It also exposes them to procedures outside the urban clinical setting and work with different populations.

“Rural doctors are in short supply and the clinic faculty, staff and patients will want to convince you to return one day as a board-certified physician,” said Jonathan Cartsonis, MD, who is overseeing the program. “You will surely feel the difference your first day in a rural clinical site.”

For the first year of the Phoenix-based program, students spent time this summer at clinics in Page, Prescott Valley, Yuma and Silver City, N.M.

“The summer was part freedom and part ideal mentorship,” said second-year student Brock Bennett, who served in the Silver City clinic. “The freedom came as I was liberated from the walls of the library that are so familiar the first year of med school and able to finally see patients. Despite no required ‘homework’ I found myself studying more in the evenings, on cases I had seen that day, than I did during most block curriculum days.”

The Phoenix program also will recognize students who demonstrate a strong commitment to future rural medical practice with a “Distinction Track in Rural Health” recognition on their transcript.

“The physicians I worked with were willing to provide as much practical teaching as I would embrace,” Bennett said. “The more I put into the experience the more I continued to receive. I learned incredible lessons I will not forget.”

cox-hires-stephen-rizley

Long-time Cox leader Rizley announces retirement

Cox Communications Senior Vice President and General Manager Steve Rizley will retire at the end of the year. During his 34-year career at Cox in Phoenix, Rizley motivated and galvanized those around him, and created unique relationships with his employees, customers and the Southwest community through his many years of service to area non-profits. Rizley announced his retirement to employees last month.

In announcing Rizley’s decision to retire, Paul Cronin, Sr. Vice President of Operations, Cox Communications said “It’s never easy to say good-bye to a friend and colleague, especially one that has been a part of the Cox Family and the cable industry for more than 30 years. As general manager, Steve worked tirelessly on his employees’ behalf each day, and made sure Arizona was at the forefront of new product launches for our customers, including brining the company’s first gigabit residential product offering to the Valley and the latest Internet speed increases to customers statewide.”

Rizley has long been a community advocate for organizations including the American Red Cross, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Arizona Historical Advisory Commission, and Cox Charities to name a few, and is a past-chair of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and campaign cabinet co-chair for the Banner/M.D. Anderson Cancer Center capital campaign. He has also received several prestigious business and industry awards and honors including the National Cable & Telecommunications Vanguard Award and the “Man of the Year” from the American Cancer Society, as well as the Cable Television Advertising Bureau’s President’s Award.

“Steve’s well-deserved reputation was built on much more than his professional excellence serving Cox’s Southwest Region. During his time as Chairman of our Board of Directors, he left his mark on our Chamber and the business community with strong, visionary servant leadership that has helped shape our organization and our state. We are all indebted to Steve for his dedication and service, and I, personally, am proud to call him my friend.” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of
Commerce.

”It has been a great pleasure and inspiration having a leader like Steve at the helm for Cox for so many years. While the company has enjoyed great success in Arizona and Nevada under Steve’s leadership, he has also made our communities stronger with his commitment to local service and business leadership,” said Susan Anable, Vice President of Public Affairs, Cox Communications Southwest Region.

The company said it plans to announce Rizley’s replacement in the coming weeks.

airport

Sky Harbor launches enhanced free Wi-Fi

Boingo Wireless, the leading DAS and Wi-Fi provider that serves consumers, carriers and advertisers worldwide, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport announced the launch of the airport’s upgraded Wi-Fi network, offering enhanced Wi-Fi services for travelers.

Phoenix Sky Harbor visitors can enjoy complimentary, ad-supported Wi-Fi access throughout the airport, with improved coverage and capacity courtesy of the new Wi-Fi network featuring advanced 802.11ac technology. The airport will also offer new premium access options for travelers who need additional bandwidth to download high definition video or upload large files.

The upgraded network will also support the new Passpoint wireless industry standard, which was developed to make connecting to Wi-Fi as simple as connecting to cellular. Boingo’s “Passpoint Secure” network provides seamless, instant access to the secure Wi-Fi network using the industry’s latest technologies. Boingo subscribers and roaming partners who have Passpoint-capable devices and have installed a Passpoint profile will automatically be connected to the WPA2-encrypted network.

“The Phoenix Sky Harbor team knows that staying connected is important to our travelers. We’ve been offering complimentary Wi-Fi to our passengers since 2005, and in the last few years we’ve seen usage skyrocket,” said Mike Youngs, Deputy Aviation Director for Technology at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. “Our upgraded Wi-Fi network and services will offer improved free connectivity and new options for power users with heavy data needs, or with multiple devices.”

“The new Boingo Wireless network at Phoenix Sky Harbor takes the airport’s current Wi-Fi services to the next level. This new standalone network was built with state-of-the-art equipment to meet the growing demands of travelers who expect greater coverage, faster speeds, and advanced, seamless Passpoint connectivity,” said Scott Phillips, Boingo Wireless vice president of business development for North American airports. “The new Phoenix airport network is designed to meet both current and future traveler demands, including improved complimentary Wi-Fi and premium access services.”

Boingo is the world’s leading airport Wi-Fi provider, managing services at more than 75 airports, representing more than 40% of the world’s top 50 airports. The company manages Wi-Fi services at five of the top ten highest traffic airports in the United States, including Chicago’s O’Hare International, Los Angeles International, New York’s John F. Kennedy, and Miami International.

hispanic

Valley cities rank high for Hispanic business climate

The United States is often dubbed “a nation of immigrants.” But lately the path to American citizenship has been a rough road, especially for an increasing number of Hispanics. Whether they’ve entered U.S. borders lawfully or otherwise, many have felt the sting of marginalization, racism and discrimination in every kind of social environment. And despite the unfriendly welcome, they’re as motivated as ever to put down roots in American soil in order to find better opportunities and improve their lives.

For Hispanics who’ve successfully integrated into American society, they also have managed to contribute significantly to the economy. Their collective impact is reflected in the growing quantity of Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, which stood at 3.1 million in 2013. Together, they hauled in an estimated $486 billion in revenue, as reported by Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Even the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. bestow net positive gains on the national economy over time.

Equally as impressive, Hispanics opened businesses — many owned by self-employed individuals — at a rate more than twice the national average of 18 percent between 2002 and 2007, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures. Today, Hispanics and Latinos constitute the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. And by 2050, they could make up a third of the country’s population, quickly becoming what USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez appropriately described as “America’s business future.”

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month beginning Sept. 15, WalletHub, a leading personal finance social network, assessed the minority business climate within the 150 largest U.S. cities. It did so by examining 19 key metrics such as Hispanic entrepreneurship rates, corporate tax systems and the share of businesses owned by Hispanics.

Among the Top 20 best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, Metro Phoenix is represented by two cities — Gilbert and Chandler. Below are the rankings of each of them together with the top metrics.

Gilbert ranks No. 4 for Hispanic business climate:
4th – Hispanic Renters to Hispanic Owners Ratio
12th – Unemployment Rate of Hispanics
15th – Housing Affordability for Hispanics
18th – Length of Average Workday

Chandler ranks No. 10 for Hispanic business climate:
15th – Unemployment Rate of Hispanics
18th – Income Growth of Hispanics
18th – Length of Average Workday
19th – Hispanic Renters to Hispanic Owners Ratio

rain

Record rain wreaks havok in Phoenix

Storms that flooded several Phoenix-area freeways and numerous local streets during the Monday morning commute set an all-time record for rainfall in Phoenix in a single day.

The National Weather Service recorded 2.99 inches of rain by about 7 a.m., breaking the old record of 2.91 inches set in 1933.

The Monday morning rainfall also eclipsed Phoenix’s average total rainfall of 2.71 inches for Phoenix’s entire summer rainy season.

A flash flood warning was issued for most of the Phoenix area and its outskirts through late Monday morning because of heavy thunderstorms and showers. Flash flood watches cover most of the rest of Arizona.

Sections of the major commuter freeways Interstate 10 and 17 in west Phoenix were closed during the commute.

ML-Daytime-Testing_10_10_2013-(4)

Reconnecting Tucson

While Phoenix is in the throes of commercial recovery, Tucson is, comparably, about 18 to 24 months behind. The city’s proximity to the border is touted as a draw for investors, but the player with the best hand remains the University of Arizona (UA), which is not only the largest employer in southern Arizona but also the nucleus to an otherwise stagnant city.

As development stands, experts point out Tucson has added 1,900 student housing units in the last year and the retail and office sectors in proximity to UA and Pima Community College show promise. In April, Colliers closed the largest office sale in Tucson since 2008.

“Multifamily has led the recovery in almost all markets,” says Cindy Cooke, who heads the Cooke Multifamily Investment Team at Colliers. “Since so much of Tucson is UA and the medical school, I think you only see that continue to be strong. The growth will be fantastic.” The first sign in recovery, she says, is when vacancy increases. Right now, Tucson’s multifamily vacancy is at 7.9 percent. In 2009, it exceeded 11 percent.

The UA is working to spin its innovation to the private sector and create small firms offering high-paying jobs in many areas of core competency, says President and Managing Shareholder of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, Mike Hammond. “The UA more than ever drives our community in a positive direction,” he says.

Kurt Wadington, Sundt Construction’s Tucson building group leader agrees. He adds that “apart from downtown and other isolated projects, Tucson’s market continues its softness in the shadow of a very slow economic recovery.”

Tucson’s streetcar project, Sun Link, aims to strengthen those existing assets and ignite future development. “With the recent infusion of student housing and corporate offices, downtown has become a desirable location for restaurants and bars as more people live and work in the area,” says Wadington. “This increased day and nighttime activity, that is expected to increase when Tucson’s new streetcar becomes operational on July 25, has numerous developers considering additional retail, office and housing projects.”

Though pens are to drawing boards, and the Sun Link has generated a “flurry of land sales,” there is some hesitation in development. Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR called Tucson a market in search of demand in its Q1 2014 reports. “One-liners are always a little true and at the same time false,” says Hammond. “Tucson says it wants good jobs but it acts differently when they appear.

Tucsonans tend to like the environment and object to nearly any attempt to develop on the land. This depresses demand as the process to develop anything is cumbersome and expensive with very little certainty of success, so we grow slower and some would say that is good. The right balance is tough to achieve.

“As government indebtedness drops, it is anticipated Pima County, followed by other jurisdictions, will pursue bonding authorizations for badly needed capital projects. Other needs may be met through public-private partnerships as public infrastructure needs continue to mount.”

UA is closely followed by Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the State of Arizona as top employers. Simply, southern Arizona relies on government funding.“I think the big rock the southern Arizona market is waiting for is some resolution at the national level on debt and how government goes forward at the federal spending level,” says Hammond.

“Much of our area is dependent of spending at the federal level and that has been decreasing, whether for infrastructure, military in general — the A10 fighter specifically — and Raytheon. No one expects funding to increase in these areas and these are very good jobs that bring new money into the area. The multiplier effect is real in the creation of jobs or the loss of jobs as the case may be.”

AMR-US Airways

Passenger Numbers Increase at Sky Harbor

Passenger traffic numbers at Phoenix Sky Harbor have increased yet again for the eighth month in a row. July numbers were 5.7% higher than last July. Year to date, numbers are up by 4% over 2013. In fact, passenger numbers have been rising every single month this year spanning from 3.0% to 5.7% increases.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community with an airport that offers flights to 100 nonstop cities and to anywhere in the world with direct or easy connecting service,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. He added, “This is great news for our local businesses and our partners outside Arizona who want to do business here.”

March 2014 was the busiest month in the history of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when the airport served more than 4 million passengers. The airport’s facilities are being updated as these numbers increase. Terminal 4’s restaurant overhaul is near completion, the new Sky Train station is set to open by Super Bowl and plans to modernize Terminal 3 are underway.

“We operate in a constantly changing environment, ready to adapt to passenger demand,” said Danny Murphy, Phoenix Aviation Director. “We are likely to continue to see the airlines making adjustments to their schedules and cities as they operate flights based on demand,” he said. “The great news is that passengers are flying again and Sky Harbor is ready to meet that demand.”

housing

No Housing Bubble Right Now in Phoenix

The Phoenix-area housing market is NOT creating another housing bubble to pop anytime soon. The latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows a lack of enthusiasm from both buyers and sellers. Here are the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of July:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up 8 percent from last July, but forward price movement is greatly slowing down.
• Activity in the market was also much slower this July than last July, with the number of single-family-home sales down 19 percent.
• The W. P. Carey School is launching an enhanced-content website where those interested in more in-depth housing-market statistics can get customized views of what’s happening.

Phoenix-area home prices dramatically recovered from the housing crash, quickly rising from September 2011 to last summer. This year, prices dropped a little, leveled off, and then finally, the median single-family-home price rose this summer. The median jumped 8 percent — from $194,000 last July to $210,000 this July. Realtors will note the average price per square foot also went up about 8 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up about 6 percent to $130,000. However, don’t expect much more upward momentum.

“Most of the median-price increase over the last 12 months is because a greater percentage of the homes being sold are in the luxury market, not because home values overall are increasing,” 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. “We anticipate pricing will move sideways or slightly down over the next few months until supply and demand get back into balance.”

At the moment, both demand and supply are low in the Phoenix area. The amount of single-family-home sales dropped 19 percent from last July to this July. (The only bright spot is new-home sales, which increased their market share from 9 to 12 percent.) Investors have focused on other areas of the country with better bargains, so the percentage of residential properties they bought in July was just 13.6 percent, down from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Orr says other home buyers aren’t stepping in, and supply isn’t rebounding.

“Usually, when demand is weak for an extended period, supply starts to grow, as it did in the second half of 2005 and throughout 2006 and 2007, heralding the collapse of the housing bubble,” Orr explains. “However, this summer, supply is slowly weakening. It appears that the lack of enthusiasm among buyers has spread to sellers, instead of causing them to panic. Many sellers clearly have the patience to wait for better times and are unwilling to drop prices to dispose of their homes.”

Orr adds the choices for anyone who wants to buy a Phoenix-area house for less than $175,000 are pretty slim. For example, bargain foreclosures are few and far between. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos are down 45 percent this July from last July.

The limited options at the low end of the market are also contributing to the booming demand for single-family rental homes. Orr says fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed the rent on single-family homes in the most popular areas up 7.5 percent over the last 12 months. Affordable apartment and condo rentals have also become hard to find.

In order to better serve the public with more insight on the Phoenix-area housing market, Orr and the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business are launching a new enhanced-content website today. In addition to the free news releases distributed by the school, those wanting more housing data can subscribe at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on whatever interests you most about the market.

“Though we’ve already had a great response to our housing reports, we wanted to make our real estate information even more useful to people,” says Orr. “With the enhanced site, you’re able to customize your view to more closely examine data in particular price ranges, specific parts of the Valley, and even certain transaction categories. We think the real estate community will be really pleased with the new tools.”

_JD40686.jpg

Hotel Palomar Offers LGBTQ Wedding Give-Away

In celebration of Kimpton’s long-time support of the LGBTQ community, Hotel Palomar Phoenix is awarding one lucky couple an all-inclusive Wedding Give-Away.

Couples are invited to share their love story to enter to win a paid trip to California to get married, a reception at Hotel Palomar Phoenix upon your return to Arizona, and a Mini-Moon at Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona.

A trip to California, where you can legally tie the knot, includes:

• Flight for two to San Diego
• Two-night stay at Hotel Palomar San Diego
• Transportation to San Diego City Hall for ceremony and marriage license

Back at home, your Wedding Celebration at Hotel Palomar Phoenix includes:

• Ceremony on LUSTRE Rooftop or Calavera Ballroom
• Celebration Dinner and Celebratory Champagne Toast
• Custom Wedding Cake
• A Signature Cocktail Designed with LUSTRE’s Lead Mixologist
• Upgraded Leather Chairs, Table Linens, and Centerpiece Appointments
• Coordinated Wedding Rehearsal and Ceremony Sound System
• Overnight accommodations at Hotel Palomar Phoenix for the Newlywed Couple the evening of the Celebration
• Newlywed Breakfast for Two at Breakfast Club

Mini-Moon at Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona includes:

• Two Night Stay in a Suite
• Dinner for two at the newly renovated SaltRock
• Couples Massage at the Amara Spa

To enter to win, couples should submit their love story in the form of a short essay, video, or photo collection to catering@hotelpalomar-phoenix.com, by December 10, 2014.

Finalists will be selected by December 15, 2014 and will be placed on the Hotel Palomar Phoenix Facebook page to be voted on by the public.

To enter, contestants must comply with the Official Rules available here.

The winning couple will be announced on January 22, 2015.

For additional information, visit http://www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com/weddings/LGBTQ-wedding.html.

Nicole France-Stanton, office managing partner, Quarles & Brady.

29 Quarles & Brady Attorneys make ‘Best Lawyers’

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced that 29 of its Phoenix attorneys – and a total of 169 Quarles & Brady attorneys nationwide – have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015.

Quarles & Brady Phoenix attorneys distinguished for excellence in their practice areas are:

• Scott M. Berg (Banking and Finance Law)
• Brian R. Booker (Commercial Litigation / Product Liability Litigation – Defendants)
• Joseph A. Drazek (Environmental Law / Litigation – Environmental / Natural Resources Law)
• Steven P. Emerick (Corporate Law / Equipment Finance Law / Securities / Capital Markets Law)
• Nicole France-Stanton (Commercial Litigation / Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants)
• Jeffrey B. Fugal (Tax Law)
• Jeffrey L. Gage (Real Estate Law)
• Diane M. Haller (Real Estate Law)
• John A. Harris (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law / Litigation – Bankruptcy)
• Robert P. Harris (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law)
• Christian J. Hoffmann III (Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Securities / Capital Markets Law / Securities Regulation)
• Eric B. Johnson* (Employment Law – Management)
• Don P. Martin (Commercial Litigation / Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants / Litigation – Banking and Finance / Litigation – Real Estate)
• Matthew Mehr (Banking and Finance Law)
• Roger N. Morris (Health Care Law)
• P. Robert Moya (Corporate Law / Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Securities / Capital Markets Law)
• Daniel L. Muchow (Environmental Law / Natural Resources Law)
• John Maston O’Neal (Commercial Litigation)
• Jon E. Pettibone (Administrative / Regulatory Law / Employment Law – Management / Labor Law – Management)
• James A. Ryan (Bet-the-Company Litigation / Commercial Litigation / Tax Law)
• Edward Salanga (Commercial Litigation / Litigation – Construction)
• Brian Sirower (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law / Litigation – Bankruptcy)
• Derek L. Sorenson (Real Estate Law)
• Peter A. Terry (Banking and Finance Law)
• James A. Ullman (Franchise Law)
• C. Bradley Vynalek (Commercial Litigation)
• Jacque N. Westling (Banking and Finance Law / Corporate Law)
• Lori L. Winkelman (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law)
• Jeffrey H. Wolf (Franchise Law)

* Lawyers who are listed for the first time in Best Lawyers.