Tag Archives: president

phoenix

University of Phoenix names new president

University of Phoenix announced that the institution’s board of trustees has named Timothy P. Slottow as the new president of the University.

Slottow’s distinguished career spans 30 years at public and private organizations throughout the U.S. He currently serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the University of Michigan, where he is responsible for operations and finance. Since 1998, Slottow’s work at the University of Michigan—one of the nation’s largest public universities—has helped the institution fulfill its academic mission and strategy on behalf of 61,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. He will assume office at University of Phoenix on June 20, 2014.

“Tim Slottow’s leadership at the University of Michigan amplifies what he has done throughout his accomplished career: delivering measurable results to public and private organizations as they embrace the principle of continuous advancement and transition to reach ambitious goals,” said Merrilee Lewis Engel, Ph.D., Chair of the University of Phoenix board of trustees.

“After a comprehensive national search, we are honored to have Tim Slottow join us from one of the world’s most respected higher education institutions,” said Gregory W. Cappelli, member of the University of Phoenix board of trustees, and CEO of Apollo Education Group, Inc. “Tim shares our commitment to the mission of University of Phoenix, and to delivering a quality education that helps students achieve academic and personal success to meet their individual and professional goals. I am confident that his focus on connecting students’ talents, skills, and educational achievement to employers’ ever-increasing human capital needs will help differentiate University of Phoenix and deliver genuine value to its students.”

“For decades, University of Phoenix has pioneered change throughout U.S. higher education, and I am honored to lead this groundbreaking and innovative university through its latest and most significant transformation,” said Slottow. “I am committed to furthering the University’s important work to deliver high quality, career-relevant educational programs that help all students achieve—and exceed—their professional goals.”

In his current position at the University of Michigan, Slottow supervises and is responsible for the university’s $6.3 billion annual operating revenues and more than $16 billion in financial and physical assets.

“Tim Slottow has played an integral role in the University’s growth and financial stability throughout the recession, ensuring the University of Michigan’s academic excellence as he worked in partnership with our academic and university leaders,” said University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman.

Prior to his work at the University of Michigan, Slottow oversaw strategic business planning and finance at Amtrak in Washington, D.C.; served as director of policy and planning for the City of Seattle; and was a manager at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting). He earned a master’s degree in business administration from University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley.

As the seventh University of Phoenix president, Slottow succeeds Bill Pepicello, Ph.D., who began his tenure at the University in 1995 and announced his intention to retire in September 2013.

Virtual Schools, Online Education

Pima Community College gets interim director

The retired president of a New Mexico community college has been named the interim director of a two-year college campus in Arizona.

Former Santa Fe Community College President Sheila Ortega said she starts her job at Pima Community College on Monday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Ortega will be paid $173,000 a year as interim president of the college’s Community Campus, which focuses on adult basic education, workforce training and online learning.

Ortega is under contract to serve in the job through June 2014.

The college in Tucson has six locations throughout Pima County.

Ortega retired as president of the community college in Santa Fe in 2012, after a nearly 30-year career at the two-year school.

quayle

Quayle elected to TGen Foundation Board

Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who served under President George H.W. Bush from 1989-93, was elected today to the Board of Directors of the TGen Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Vice President Quayle attended grade school and high school in Phoenix and Scottsdale and he and his wife, Marilyn, are now residents of Paradise Valley. He brings to the TGen Foundation his vast career experience in politics and financial investment.

“It is my honor to be selected to be a part of TGen and the phenomenal work this biomedical institute is doing to find better treatments for the most serious diseases affecting humanity,” said Quayle, who also is a former U.S. representative and senator from Indiana, and who today is chairman of Cerberus Global Investments, a private equity company with $25 billion under management.

TGen Foundation Board Chairman Bennett Dorrance welcomed Quayle, noting that he is instantly one of the best known among a cadre of top-flight Arizonans who serve on the non-profit panel.

“Today we welcome Vice President Dan Quayle to our TGen family with high expectations and confidence that he will further enhance our philanthropic reach across the nation and help fuel TGen’s genomic research of the world’s most pressing diseases,” Dorrance said. “We welcome his involvement, his extraordinary relationships and his business acumen.”

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director, also welcomed Quayle, whose term as Vice President (1989-1993) coincided with Dr. Trent serving as Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

“In 1990, the NIH and the Department of Energy joined with international partners in a quest to sequence all 3 billion letters in the human genome. Vice President Quayle is acutely aware of the importance of this public effort, and remains an advocate for genomic research and what is means for our patients,” Dr. Trent said.

TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff said that the addition of Quayle to the TGen Foundation Board of Directors would undoubtedly be of huge importance to the future of the institute.

“He brings a powerful internationally recognized voice to advance TGen’s scientific research,” Bassoff said.

Quayle graduated from DePauw University in 1969, and received his law degree from Indiana University in 1974.

He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 at age 29; to the U.S. Senate in 1980 at age 33; and Vice President of the United States in 1988 at age 41, during which he made official visits to 47 nations and served as chairman of the National Space Council. He has authored three books, including Standing Firm, a vice-presidential memoir, which was on The New York Times best-seller list for 15 weeks.

Quayle also was a distinguished visiting professor of international studies at Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona.

At Cerberus, one of the world’s leading investment firms, he has been actively involved in new business sourcing and marketing in North America, Europe and Asia. His extensive global network of public and private sector decision-makers, combined with his investment expertise, has significantly contributed to the growth of Cerberus.

Tumbleweed Logo

Tumbleweed Center Relocates Phoenix Headquarters

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development will expand and relocate its headquarters from Downtown Phoenix to Siete Square II, 3707 N. 7th St. in Midtown, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc.

Tumbleweed was established in 1972 with a mission to provide a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in the community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.  The organization serves more than 3,000 young people each year, ages 12 to 25 years.

“Tumbleweed made a very shrewd decision to expand and relocate its headquarters at this time, locking in to today’s historically low rates.  This allowed us to lower occupancy costs over the long term,” said Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield.  “This strategy cut thousands of dollars in future rent expense that now can be redirected back into the organization’s much needed programs that serve Metro Phoenix’s teenage youth.”

The local non-profit has leased 13,047 square feet at the garden office complex and will locate from 1419 N. 3rd Street in fall of 2013.

Siete Square II is one of four buildings within the larger Siete Square garden office complex.  The Indiana Farm Bureau owns Siete Square II.  Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. represented Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in its lease negotiations.

Phil Breidenbach and Lindsey Carlson of Colliers serve as exclusive leasing agents for Siete Square II, representing the Indiana Farm Bureau.

WellsFargoLogo

Wells Fargo Plans 410,000 SF Expansion in Chandler

By Eric Jay Toll, Senior Correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange |

Special to Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine

 

Wells Fargo unveiled its 410,000-square-foot Chandler campus expansion to a neighborhood meeting in the East Valley September 16. Arizona Builder’s Exchange broke the story Monday night that the bank filed a rezoning application with the city to allow a pair of four-story buildings on the northwest corner of Price and Queen Creek roads in the Price Corridor.

More than 2,500 additional employees will work in the new Wells Fargo buildings, bringing campus employment to more than 5,000 workers.

The bank has selected an architect, but has not named the contractor for the project. A formal announcement with construction schedule is expected shortly. AZBEX reports sources saying the project could cost as much as $90 million.

The building shapes, design and materials are intended to mirror Phase I of the campus. The offices will rise to 64 feet. Three more buildings and parking garages are projected for future phases. The city has not set a hearing date for the zoning. Wells Fargo has not yet announced its construction schedule.

Read the original story here.

 

Eric Jay Toll is the senior correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange. His freelance work appears in a number of regional and national publications, including upcoming stories in AZRE and AZ Business.

Maria-1

New president joins Everest College Phoenix

Everest College Phoenix announced that Maria Walters has been appointed as president of the Phoenix campus. Walters, a veteran of the United States Air Force, has extensive experience as a leader, educator and certified interpreter. In her new position, Walters has responsibility for overall leadership and management of academic, administrative and fiscal operations of the Phoenix campus.

“We are honored to welcome Maria to our team. Everest College Phoenix will most certainly benefit from her extensive leadership skills and diverse experience ranging from the United States Air Force flight chief and college instructor to logistics manager and academic dean,” said Edward Johnson, Ph.D., president of Everest College Phoenix. “Maria’s background and dynamic leadership style will be great assets as the Phoenix campus continues to excel in preparing students for careers in in-demand occupations.

Prior to joining Everest College Phoenix, Walters served as the academic dean at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) for more than five years. She also served in the United States Air Force as a fighter squadron flight chief where she managed daily flying and maintenance operations including the supervision of 35 fighter aircraft mechanics.

Walters earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish teaching, English as a Second Language from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. She also holds a master’s degree in Peninsular Spanish Literature from the University of Utah.

Evening on the Diamond Presented by University of Phoenix

D-backs' CEO Honored By PRSA

Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall was honored with the prestigious Phoenix Award by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The honor recognizes a CEO, business leader or community leader who has elevated the best practices of public relations.

“I am deeply honored, humbled and moved by this award,” said Hall. “This is really a reflection on the Diamondbacks organization and all of our employees for the great way in which we relate to the public and work closely with our fans, media members and clients.”

The Chapter has only bestowed the Phoenix Award 17 times in its history, with other legendary names such as Lou Grubb, Jerry Colangelo and last year’s winner Phil Pangrazio of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.

Hall received the award during the event themed “Mastering the PR Puzzle” which took place at The Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Chapter also awarded Abbie S. Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations, with the Percy Award, which honors a professional who has demonstrated excellence in the practice of public relations, is an active supporter of PRSA Phoenix, and had made positive contributions to the Phoenix community. Christie Poole, PRSSA student with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University — of which Hall is a member of the Hall of Fame — was awarded the Phoenix Chapter Student Scholarship.

Hall began his career in public relations, initially working for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league affiliate in Vero Beach, FL before joining the Major League team as Assistant Director of Public Relations. He became one of the youngest PR directors in MLB history in 1996 and eventually became the league’s first Sr. Vice President of Communications in 2000, a position he held with the D-backs in 2005.

Evening on the Diamond Presented by University of Phoenix

D-backs’ CEO Honored By PRSA

Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall was honored with the prestigious Phoenix Award by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The honor recognizes a CEO, business leader or community leader who has elevated the best practices of public relations.

“I am deeply honored, humbled and moved by this award,” said Hall. “This is really a reflection on the Diamondbacks organization and all of our employees for the great way in which we relate to the public and work closely with our fans, media members and clients.”

The Chapter has only bestowed the Phoenix Award 17 times in its history, with other legendary names such as Lou Grubb, Jerry Colangelo and last year’s winner Phil Pangrazio of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.

Hall received the award during the event themed “Mastering the PR Puzzle” which took place at The Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Chapter also awarded Abbie S. Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations, with the Percy Award, which honors a professional who has demonstrated excellence in the practice of public relations, is an active supporter of PRSA Phoenix, and had made positive contributions to the Phoenix community. Christie Poole, PRSSA student with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University — of which Hall is a member of the Hall of Fame — was awarded the Phoenix Chapter Student Scholarship.

Hall began his career in public relations, initially working for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league affiliate in Vero Beach, FL before joining the Major League team as Assistant Director of Public Relations. He became one of the youngest PR directors in MLB history in 1996 and eventually became the league’s first Sr. Vice President of Communications in 2000, a position he held with the D-backs in 2005.

BannerEstrellaMedicalCenter

Banner Estrella celebrates construction topping-off

Banner Estrella Medical Center, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Valley’s top 10 hospitals, celebrated a major construction milestone today with a topping-out ceremony for the $161 million new patient tower.

Construction of the six-story, 279,000-square-foot tower at Banner Estrella, located at 9201 W. Thomas Road in Phoenix, will deliver 178 additional private patient beds to serve the growing West Valley, bringing the total number of beds at Banner Estrella to 392 at build-out. The lower level through fourth floor will be completely built out, and the fifth and sixth floors will be shelled for future build-out as needed by the community. The new tower will also contain additional obstetrical suites, additional neonatal intensive care unit capacity, new cardiac catheterization labs and a new endoscopy suite. The second tower is anticipated to open to patients in March 2014.

“When we opened in 2005, we promised residents that we would grow our services to meet the growing health care needs of the community,” said Deb Krmpotic, chief executive officer of Banner Estrella. “This project demonstrates our commitment to that promise and to the community we are honored to serve.

“We believe this project will strengthen our position as the leading provider of care in the Southwest Valley by providing our community much-needed inpatient beds, maternity beds, surgical treatment capacity and emergency room capacity to care for both children and adults,” she added.

Banner Estrella’s new patient tower is the first hospital structure in metro Phoenix to be built using concrete since the early 1980s. Aside from being more cost-effective, using concrete enabled the tower expansion to be completed earlier than a steel structure. Concrete also provides structural advantages of dampening vibration and, with medical equipment becoming more sensitive to movement, concrete offers important advantages long-term.

“Topping-out of the growing campus is an important milestone to achieve, marking our progress towards the successful completion of the hospital’s campus expansion that will serve the west Valley community,” said Bo Calbert, president of McCarthy Building Companies’ Southwest Division. “Thanks to collaboration with our partners, the choice to use concrete for the tower structure provides for easily adapting to the community’s long-term health needs, and allowed us to fast-track the project in order to meet demands sooner.”

During the topping-out ceremony, the final beam, signed by Banner Estrella staff and members of the design and construction team, was placed atop the tower. A mesquite tree was also lifted atop the structure, which is a tradition of recognizing project milestones achieved without injury. The mesquite tree will later be planted on campus.

roosevelt row arts district

Scottsdale Cultural Council CEO Resigns

Scottsdale Cultural Council President and CEO William H. Banchs has announced his resignation from the nonprofit organization effective August 31. Banchs plans to return to Miami to pursue new professional opportunities.

“During Bill’s five-and-a-half-year tenure he worked successfully to completely restructure and reorganize the Cultural Council’s governance and management, and to strengthen its development programs,” remarked Ellen Andres-Schneider, chair of the board of trustees.

“This was all done in accordance with a new strategic plan he helped to create. These positive developments took place during an unprecedented recession, which occupied the majority of Bill’s tenure. On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank Bill for his persistence and determination in bringing about these positive outcomes, which have helped pave the way toward a bright future for the Cultural Council,” Andres-Schneider added.

“I have been very fortunate to have served one of the most comprehensive cultural organizations in the nation. The artistic experiences I have had at the Scottsdale Cultural Council have been on par with the best I have ever seen or heard anywhere,” noted Bill Banchs. “I particularly wish to thank the City of Scottsdale for its commitment to the arts, the Cultural Council staff for its dedication to such high standards of artistic excellence, and the board of trustees for its active engagement and participation in our efforts to strengthen the organization and broaden its audiences and base of private-sector support.”

Banchs began his position with the Scottsdale Cultural Council in January 2008. He previously served as president of the Miami-based National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for 17 years.

The Cultural Council will appoint an interim CEO and begin a national search for a new president and CEO.

The Scottsdale Cultural Council is contracted by the City of Scottsdale to manage the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art.

Greg Guglielmino

Investment Specialist Greg Guglielmino Joins Colliers' Phoenix Office

 

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix announced that Greg Guglielmino, senior associate, has joined the Phoenix office.

Guglielmino specializes in the acquisition and disposition of single- and multi-tenant office and medical investment properties for private and institutional clients. He partners with Marcus Muirhead, associate vice president of investments. Guglielmino is also a member of Colliers’ National Healthcare Services Group.

“Greg is a skilled professional and a great addition to our team,” said Bob Mulhern, managing director of Colliers. “His experience in office and medical investment sales will complement and enhance the capabilities of our established investment professionals. We are pleased to welcome Greg to Colliers.”

Guglielmino has more than 5 years of experience as an investment specialist, focusing on medical office property sales. He is an expert in financial modeling, property evaluation, detailed market research, and submarket trend analysis.

His experience includes working on behalf of private investors and institutional lenders in the sale of REO assets and investment properties involving closed listings and buyside opportunities. Prior to joining Colliers, Guglielmino was an investment associate with Marcus & Millichap’s Phoenix office.

“There are a lot of great individuals at Colliers and Marcus Muirhead is one of those individuals,” Guglielmino said. “With our similar investment backgrounds and the team approach encouraged within the organization, it is a natural fit to team with him. Together, our abilities and skill sets will add value for our clients and expand on Marcus’ positive track record for success and client satisfaction.”

He adds that the strong camaraderie within Colliers provides a positive, collaborative environment that reflects a commitment to achieving clients’ goals.

“The Colliers’ culture, management and people are refreshing and I am excited to be a part of the team.”

Guglielmino holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Small Business and Psychology and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University.

 

asu skysong collaborates with Taiwan's ITRI

Crow explores potential of new educational technologies

Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow is among more than a dozen leaders from a diverse group of colleges and universities examining the disruptive potential of new educational technologies, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), to boost the number of Americans earning a college degree. The launch of the Presidential Innovation Lab was announced recently by the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest higher education organization.

“I look forward to helping lead a national dialogue about how newer educational innovations could be used by particularly older, post-traditional students, low-income young adults and other underserved students toward degree completion,” Crow said. “This opportunity aligns directly with our ASU vision as the model for a New American University – measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed.”

According to ACE, the Presidential Innovation Lab will bring together higher education leaders to engage in proactive thinking about this new learning space. The lab is part of a wide-ranging research and evaluation effort examining the academic potential of MOOCs announced by ACE in November 2012.

Initially, the lab will meet July 21-23 at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., an independent, nonprofit research organization that will help guide the work of the university leaders. A second two-day meeting is scheduled for October 2013 in Washington, D.C.

The new think tank of higher education CEOs will consider questions such as how newer educational innovations could be used by students toward degree completion and the potential impact of such innovations on the fundamental design and delivery of instruction. The lab participants also will examine how institutions recognize learning and which financing models underpin all of higher education.

Findings from the lab will be shared with ACE membership, policymakers and the media. Its work is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to Crow, other higher education leaders taking part in the lab include the following:

•           Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University (Massachusetts)
•           Chris Bustamante, president, Rio Salado College (Arizona)
•           Scott S. Cowen, president, Tulane University (Louisiana)
•           John F. Ebersole, president, Excelsior College (New York)
•           Renu Khator, president, University of Houston, and chancellor, University of Houston System (Texas)
•           Robert W. Mendenhall, president, Western Governors University (Utah)
•           Mohammad H. Qayoumi, president, San Jose State University (California)
•           Vincent Price, provost, University of Pennsylvania
•           L. Rafael Reif, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
•           Kevin P. Reilly, president, University of Wisconsin System
•           Clayton Spencer, president, Bates College (Maine)
•           Linda M. Thor, chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District (California)

Kristen Rosati

Rosati leads American Health Lawyers Association

Attorney Kristen Rosati, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli, has assumed the office of President of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). The AHLA has more than 12,000 members and is the nation’s largest educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field.

Rosati is a member of the firm’s Health Care Practice which is the fourth largest in the country according to the AHLA and Modern Healthcare. She’s a national thought leader in the electronic health industry and will use her term to advance outreach to younger members; increase support for existing programs in the areas of leadership, training and mentoring; expand the use of technology and social media in providing benefits to members; and continue the tradition of collegiality for which the organization is known.

“I am excited to assume the role of President of AHLA at this important juncture in health care law.” said Rosati. “Creating a strong foundation for the next generation of lawyers as well as continuing to support the unique programs that distinguish AHLA as the leading health care organization for lawyers in the country, is an honor that I am proud to accept.”

Rosati has been an active member of AHLA for many years, serving on the organization’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and as Chair of the Programs Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee, Chair of the Professional Resources Committee, Chair of the Quality Council, Chair of the Health Information and Technology Practice Group, and Chair of the HIT Think Tank.

“Kristen has enormous respect among the healthcare bar because of her deep expertise in health information and technology, her prodigious work ethic, and her commitment to collegiality among her peers,” said Chief Executive Officer of the American Health Lawyers Association Peter Leibold. “Kristen is leading the Association in a direction that will provide significant benefit to members and continue the organization’s recent membership growth.

In her legal practice at Polsinelli, Rosati heads up the “Big Data” initiative. She plays a key role in assisting hospitals, physicians and other health care providers migrating to electronic health records as they tackle the legal complexities associated with HIPAA compliance, electronic health records roll-outs, health information exchange, data sharing for research and clinical integration initiatives and ACO’s, and clinical research compliance and clinical trials contracting.

“Kristen’s leadership in AHLA will not only benefit the organization, but it will also serve as a model for all of Polsinelli’s lawyers as we look for ways to be more in tune with our clients and the industry generally,” said Polsinelli’s Health Care Practice Chair Matt Murer.

MayorHR13

Mesa mayor leads US Conference of Mayors

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has been sworn in as 71st president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The outgoing USCM president is Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

Nutter appointed Smith as head of the nonpartisan organization during its 81st annual meeting Monday in Las Vegas.

More than 200 mayors met to discuss a broad range of policy issues impacting the nation’s cities including the economic health, immigration, school safety, energy efficiency, housing and help for returning military veterans.

As conference president, Smith will set the organization’s agenda, appoint committee and task force chairs and serve as the national spokesperson for the term that runs through next June.

Smith was the organization’s vice president over the past year.

Brewer

Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan secured

Arizona lawmakers have endorsed a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law in a huge political victory for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after a lengthy fight over Medicaid expansion that divided the state’s Republican leadership.

The expansion that will extend health care to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans came after months of stalled negotiations, tense debates and political maneuvering as Brewer pushed the Medicaid proposal through a hostile Legislature.

She secured her victory Thursday after lawmakers passed Brewer’s $8.8 billion state budget that included the Medicaid expansion provided under a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature’s Republican leadership called it “Chicago politics” and labeled Brewer a puppet master, but Brewer remained undeterred as she prepared to sign the measures into state law.

“The day has been a red-letter day for the people of Arizona,” Brewer told reporters after the budget votes Thursday. “It was a win, win, win all the way around.”

Brewer, an early critic of the Affordable Care Act, surprised the nation when she acknowledged the Medicaid expansion as the law of the land in her State of the State address in January. She noted that rejecting an expansion would mean Arizona taxpayers would subsidize care for those in other states while receiving no benefits themselves.

The expansion is expected to help reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals must absorb and help cut what Brewer called a hidden health care tax that people who buy insurance pay, through higher premiums, to cover others’ care.

After the Legislature secured her political win, Brewer softened her support for the health care law.

“Medicaid was here long before Obama health care. I have never liked Obama health care,” she told reporters after the vote. “It has nothing to do with Obama health care.”

The expansion is optional under last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law, and many Republican governors rejected it.

In all, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., are moving ahead with the expansion, while 15 states have turned it down. Another 12 states are still weighing options.

Nearly all the states refusing are led by Republicans. Several of the states accepting have Republican governors, but most are led by Democrats.

Washington will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent over the longer haul. It’s estimated that less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade.

In Arizona, Republican leaders in the Legislature called the expansion a massive government overreach that would drive the federal government deeper into debt. They predicted the government promises of paying for the expansion would turn out to be false.

“This is the biggest mistake we’ve made in the Arizona Legislature this year and maybe ever,” said Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, of Lake Havasu City.

Republicans control the Legislature and all statewide elected offices in Arizona, but the Medicaid fight highlighted internal fractures between those who want smaller government and others who, like Brewer, who said broader health care access is good for the state.

“The bottom line here is greed,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican who is running for governor and voted against the Medicaid expansion. “The people who want this know in their hearts that Obamacare is going to collapse under its own weight.”

A newly formed coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans worked closely with Brewer to stand up to the conservative leaders who had blocked debate on the Medicaid expansion for six months. Lawmakers worked through the night Wednesday to get the plan through the House, and the Senate vote came hours later Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve never seen the case where a governor has rolled over her own party because she was throwing a temper tantrum,” said Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, of Gilbert.

Senate President Andy Biggs said lawmakers had little information about what was in the budget before passing it.

“I am deeply and profoundly disappointed at the manner at which this came down,” he said.

Brewer dismissed the insults, predicting that all would be forgiven and Republican leaders would move forward together.

“Tomorrow they’ll probably say ‘I’m sorry’ or we will just forget it,” she said. “I just try to listen and let it go.”

It was a year of wins and losses for Arizona’s GOP.

The Legislature voted to adjourn its 2013 session early Friday morning after passing a slew of other bills, including an election overhaul that could make it more difficult for voters to obtain and return mail ballots. Biggs had to beg for extra votes to get the measure opposed by Democrats and voter outreach groups passed in the Senate.

Among the bills left on the floor was a proposal that would have prohibited abortion clinics from using Medicaid dollars to fund administrative costs and allowed for unannounced inspections, a top GOP priority.

Still, Brewer signed more than 100 bills advanced by conservative Republicans throughout the marathon session, including a measure that bars cities and counties from destroying guns turned over to police at community buyback events and instead requiring that they be resold. She also signed bills that will wildly increase campaign finance limits for state candidates and require unemployed workers to present documents showing they were fired before they can receive benefits.

Through it all, Brewer made it clear that the Medicaid expansion was her top priority. She held multiple rallies featuring low-income patients on the Arizona Capitol lawn and during the final month of the session, Brewer refused to sign any other bills until lawmakers passed a budget that included the health care expansion.

The Medicaid plan would cover people making between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and restore coverage to more than 100,000 childless adults who lost Medicaid coverage because of a state budget crunch. About 1.3 million Arizonans already are covered by the state’s plan.

Brewer

Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan secured

Arizona lawmakers have endorsed a key element of President Barack Obama’s health care law in a huge political victory for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after a lengthy fight over Medicaid expansion that divided the state’s Republican leadership.

The expansion that will extend health care to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans came after months of stalled negotiations, tense debates and political maneuvering as Brewer pushed the Medicaid proposal through a hostile Legislature.

She secured her victory Thursday after lawmakers passed Brewer’s $8.8 billion state budget that included the Medicaid expansion provided under a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature’s Republican leadership called it “Chicago politics” and labeled Brewer a puppet master, but Brewer remained undeterred as she prepared to sign the measures into state law.

“The day has been a red-letter day for the people of Arizona,” Brewer told reporters after the budget votes Thursday. “It was a win, win, win all the way around.”

Brewer, an early critic of the Affordable Care Act, surprised the nation when she acknowledged the Medicaid expansion as the law of the land in her State of the State address in January. She noted that rejecting an expansion would mean Arizona taxpayers would subsidize care for those in other states while receiving no benefits themselves.

The expansion is expected to help reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals must absorb and help cut what Brewer called a hidden health care tax that people who buy insurance pay, through higher premiums, to cover others’ care.

After the Legislature secured her political win, Brewer softened her support for the health care law.

“Medicaid was here long before Obama health care. I have never liked Obama health care,” she told reporters after the vote. “It has nothing to do with Obama health care.”

The expansion is optional under last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law, and many Republican governors rejected it.

In all, 23 states plus Washington, D.C., are moving ahead with the expansion, while 15 states have turned it down. Another 12 states are still weighing options.

Nearly all the states refusing are led by Republicans. Several of the states accepting have Republican governors, but most are led by Democrats.

Washington will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent over the longer haul. It’s estimated that less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade.

In Arizona, Republican leaders in the Legislature called the expansion a massive government overreach that would drive the federal government deeper into debt. They predicted the government promises of paying for the expansion would turn out to be false.

“This is the biggest mistake we’ve made in the Arizona Legislature this year and maybe ever,” said Republican Sen. Kelli Ward, of Lake Havasu City.

Republicans control the Legislature and all statewide elected offices in Arizona, but the Medicaid fight highlighted internal fractures between those who want smaller government and others who, like Brewer, who said broader health care access is good for the state.

“The bottom line here is greed,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican who is running for governor and voted against the Medicaid expansion. “The people who want this know in their hearts that Obamacare is going to collapse under its own weight.”

A newly formed coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans worked closely with Brewer to stand up to the conservative leaders who had blocked debate on the Medicaid expansion for six months. Lawmakers worked through the night Wednesday to get the plan through the House, and the Senate vote came hours later Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve never seen the case where a governor has rolled over her own party because she was throwing a temper tantrum,” said Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, of Gilbert.

Senate President Andy Biggs said lawmakers had little information about what was in the budget before passing it.

“I am deeply and profoundly disappointed at the manner at which this came down,” he said.

Brewer dismissed the insults, predicting that all would be forgiven and Republican leaders would move forward together.

“Tomorrow they’ll probably say ‘I’m sorry’ or we will just forget it,” she said. “I just try to listen and let it go.”

It was a year of wins and losses for Arizona’s GOP.

The Legislature voted to adjourn its 2013 session early Friday morning after passing a slew of other bills, including an election overhaul that could make it more difficult for voters to obtain and return mail ballots. Biggs had to beg for extra votes to get the measure opposed by Democrats and voter outreach groups passed in the Senate.

Among the bills left on the floor was a proposal that would have prohibited abortion clinics from using Medicaid dollars to fund administrative costs and allowed for unannounced inspections, a top GOP priority.

Still, Brewer signed more than 100 bills advanced by conservative Republicans throughout the marathon session, including a measure that bars cities and counties from destroying guns turned over to police at community buyback events and instead requiring that they be resold. She also signed bills that will wildly increase campaign finance limits for state candidates and require unemployed workers to present documents showing they were fired before they can receive benefits.

Through it all, Brewer made it clear that the Medicaid expansion was her top priority. She held multiple rallies featuring low-income patients on the Arizona Capitol lawn and during the final month of the session, Brewer refused to sign any other bills until lawmakers passed a budget that included the health care expansion.

The Medicaid plan would cover people making between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and restore coverage to more than 100,000 childless adults who lost Medicaid coverage because of a state budget crunch. About 1.3 million Arizonans already are covered by the state’s plan.

sales.tax

Arizona Business Community Supports HB2111

The undersigned organizations and businesses want to express their strong support for the passage of HB2111 with the floor amendment that will be offered by Senator Steve Yarbrough. This final amendment represents major concessions to address concerns that have been expressed by the city representatives.

This final amendment reflects the cities’ request for a separate online portal for the collection of sales taxes in the 18 non-program cities. In addition, the amendment reflects the cities’ demand to maintain the authority to audit single-location businesses in their city. Lastly, the amendment removes all of the changes to prime contracting tax except for the trade and service contractors.

While the Yarbrough amendment reflects major concessions to the cities that undermine some of the important reforms recommended by the Transaction Privilege (Sales) Tax Simplification Task Force, we believe this final proposal still reflects historic progress that deserves final passage.

The Senator Yarbrough floor amendment will provide for the following:

* Single Point of Administration – the Department of Revenue (DOR) will become the single point of administration and collection of TPT. However, at the request of the cities, there will be a separate online portal for the 18 non-program cities. Despite this concession, the cities remain opposed because they want to continue to require businesses making paper sales tax remissions to pay the state and city separately. Their proposal provides most small businesses no administrative relief from making multiple payments to multiple jurisdictions each month.

* Single and Uniform Audit – DOR will administer a standardized state audit program where all state and city auditors are trained and certified by DOR. Despite major concessions from the business community to allow cities to continue to audit local businesses, the cities continue to push for further changes that will undermine much needed reforms to standardize state and local audits.

* Trade/Service Contracting Reform – Service contractors working directly for an owner to maintain, repair, and replace existing property would pay tax on materials at retail and not be subject to the Prime Contracting Tax. During Task Force deliberations, the cities repeatedly conceded that this area of the prime contracting tax was problematic and should be changed. However, after almost a year of study and discussion, they have offered a change to the taxation of service contractors that provides no administrative relief and couples that change with a request that the state give the cities $80 million from use tax collections.

Arizona’s chaotic and dysfunctional sales tax system has been the subject of considerable controversy at the Capitol for over 30 years. The creation of the Task Force, as well as the appearance for the first time that the cities recognized the need for reform, gave Arizona businesses great hope that this system would finally be reformed. We strongly encourage state policymakers to pass a sales tax reform bill that is grounded in sound tax policy and focuses on reducing the extraordinary compliance costs on Arizona businesses.

Kevin McCarthy, President, Arizona Tax Research Association
Michelle Lind, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Association of REALTORS
Bas Aja, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association
Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Steve Macias, Chairman, Arizona Manufacturer’s Council
Francis McAllister, Chairman, Arizona Mining Association
Courtney LeVinus, Arizona Multihousing Association
Michelle Allen Ahlmer, Executive Director, Arizona Retailers Association
Steve Chucri, President/CEO, Arizona Restaurant Association
Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Small Business Association
Steve Zylstra, President & CEO, Arizona Technology Council
Greg Turner, Vice President, Senior Tax Council, Council On State Taxation (COST)
Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance AZ
Todd Sanders, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Tom Franz, President, Greater Phoenix Leadership
Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
Tim Lawless, Chapter President, NAIOP
Farrell Quinlan, Arizona State Director, NFIB
Ronald E. Shoopman, President, Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Scot Mussi, President, The Arizona Free Enterprise Club
Matt Beckler, Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Tax Officer, Apollo Group, Inc.
Steve Barela, State & Local Tax Manager, Arizona Public Service
Steve Trussell, Executive Director, Arizona Rock Products Association
Michael DiMaria, Director of Legislative Affairs, CenturyLink, Inc.
Gayle Shanks, Owner, Changing Hands Bookstore
Michelle Bolton, Director of Public Affairs, Cox Communications
Nikki Daly, Owner, Flair! Salons
David Karsten, President, Karsten’s Ace Hardware
Reuben Minkus, Minkus Advertising Specialties
PetSmart, Inc.
Tina Danloe, General Manager, Pima Ace Hardware
Molly Greene, Senior Government Relations Representative, Salt River Project
Les Orchekowsky, President & Co-Owner, Sierra Ace Hardware, Inc.
Ann Seiden, Administrator/Corporate Public Affairs, Southwest Gas Corporation
Joseph Hughes, Director of Government Affairs, U.S. Airways
Walgreens Co.

Glenn Hamer is president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

energy.bill

Direct Energy Opens Phoenix Area Call Center

Direct Energy today officially opened its Phoenix area call center in Tempe symbolizing the company’s dedication to grow long-term in the Phoenix community. As part of the grand opening festivities, Direct Energy announced that the company and its employees would commit to volunteering a minimum of 2,000 hours over the next year among several different area non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the St. Mary’s Food Bank.

“Direct Energy takes community investment and corporate social responsibility very seriously,” said Scott Boose, president, Direct Energy Services. “We are committed to making a difference in our customer’s lives and positive impacts in areas like Phoenix where we are part of the community employing hundreds of people with plans to grow even more.”
The community involvement initiative announcement was made at a press conference at Direct Energy’s new call center. During the press conference, Direct Energy also discussed its optimism that Arizona will open to retail electric competition, an industry where Direct Energy is the largest in North America. Recently, Direct Energy submitted a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to serve retail electric customers in the state. The ultimate goal is to allow more consumers, specifically residential and small businesses, in Arizona to reap the full benefits of a competitive retail market structure, which may include cost savings.

“Across the United States in competitive retail electric markets, Direct Energy has offered choice and innovative time-of-use products to consumers that will save them money,” said Steven Murray, president, Direct Energy Residential. “Arizona should be no different and we look forward to working with the Arizona Corporation Commission Commissioners and other parties to continue the forward progress the state is making toward competition.”

Direct Energy employs more than 200 people in the Phoenix area with current plans to grow to as many as 500. The company’s call center in Tempe serves customers in both Direct Energy Services for their plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and electricians needs, and Direct Energy Residential for our retail electric customers.

“We are so pleased to celebrate this day with Direct Energy and its employees,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Tempe is excited about adding 500 new jobs to our community, and we are appreciative of the volunteerism of the Direct Energy employees. That is a genuine and generous sign that they are here to stay.”

“Our new call center is a symbol of the important position Tempe and the Phoenix area has toward growing our customer base and business in North America,” said Matt George, Direct Energy’s call center director and senior executive in the Phoenix area. “I look forward to showing the community our new workplace and enhancing our visibility and influence here.”

Jan Brewer

Brewer Declares May 'Arizona Small Business Month'

Arizona State Governor Janice K. Brewer approved the Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) proclamation to declare May 2013 “Arizona Small Business Month.” The proclamation will be presented at ASBA’s 1st Annual Arizona Small Business Conference on May 16 at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale during the “State of Small Business Breakfast.”

Speaking at the State of Small Business Breakfast will be Governor Brewer, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, National Small Business Association President Todd McCracken and ASBA CEO Rick Murray.

“Declaring May as ‘Arizona Small Business Month’ celebrates our small business community for their great contributions to our State as entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders,” says Murray. “We thank Governor Brewer for honoring Arizona’s small business community in this way, and presenting this proclamation at our upcoming conference.”

Join the State of Small Business Breakfast on Thurs., May 16 at 8-9:00 a.m. at The Phoenician Resort (6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale). The breakfast is part of ASBA’s 1st Annual Arizona Small Business Conference, which will also feature the 20th Annual Enterprise Business Awards Luncheon honoring the National Small Business Association award winners in Arizona, an all day conference with breakout sessions, Networking Mixer, and a Business Expo (free admittance).

To register, visit www.azsmallbizcon.com or call (602) 306-4000.

Jan Brewer

Brewer Declares May ‘Arizona Small Business Month’

Arizona State Governor Janice K. Brewer approved the Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) proclamation to declare May 2013 “Arizona Small Business Month.” The proclamation will be presented at ASBA’s 1st Annual Arizona Small Business Conference on May 16 at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale during the “State of Small Business Breakfast.”

Speaking at the State of Small Business Breakfast will be Governor Brewer, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, National Small Business Association President Todd McCracken and ASBA CEO Rick Murray.

“Declaring May as ‘Arizona Small Business Month’ celebrates our small business community for their great contributions to our State as entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders,” says Murray. “We thank Governor Brewer for honoring Arizona’s small business community in this way, and presenting this proclamation at our upcoming conference.”

Join the State of Small Business Breakfast on Thurs., May 16 at 8-9:00 a.m. at The Phoenician Resort (6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale). The breakfast is part of ASBA’s 1st Annual Arizona Small Business Conference, which will also feature the 20th Annual Enterprise Business Awards Luncheon honoring the National Small Business Association award winners in Arizona, an all day conference with breakout sessions, Networking Mixer, and a Business Expo (free admittance).

To register, visit www.azsmallbizcon.com or call (602) 306-4000.

Ann Weaver Hart

U of A President to Speak At AAED Luncheon

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart will be the speaker at the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED)’s May luncheon on Tuesday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Phoenix Country Club, located at 2901 N. Seventh St. in Phoenix.

Hart will discuss the university’s role in economic development throughout the state.
The cost of the luncheon is $40 for AAED members and guests and $50 for non-members and late registrants.  To register, visit http://aaedmay7th.eventbrite.com. For more information, call AAED at 602-240-AAED (2233) or visit www.aaed.com.  The registration deadline is Monday, April 29.  Vegetarian meals must be requested in advance.

AAED was originally founded in 1974 as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID).  The organization, which was dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona, changed to its current name in 1991 to better reflect its broader mission.

The strategic vision of AAED is to be the leading advocate of responsible economic development for all of Arizona by leading the facilitation of public/private cooperation and fostering teamwork to address the growth and quality of life issues that face Arizona.  For more information on AAED, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

87690275

Technology expands meeting and conference industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

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

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

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

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

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

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

p

Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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