Tag Archives: San Antonio

Amada Cruz

Phoenix Art Museum Names New Director

The Phoenix Art Museum Board of Trustees has named Amada Cruz as The Sybil Harrington Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, succeeding James K. Ballinger, who announced his intention to retire this past April.

Cruz, currently Executive Director at San Antonio-based Artpace, one of the premier artist residency and exhibition programs in the world, will assume her new responsibilities on Feb. 1, 2015. Her selection, with counsel and guidance from one of the nation’s most respected executive leadership and search firms, Russell Reynolds Associates, concludes an intensive seven-month process conducted by the Museum’s executive committee, which served as the search committee.

“Amada has a solid track record of building programs and new initiatives at Bard College, USA Artists and, most recently, Artpace,” said Phoenix Art Museum Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Patterson. “The search process was thorough, comprehensive and demanding and the search committee was unanimous in choosing Amada as the new director to build upon the remarkable foundation established by Jim Ballinger and his staff. She brings a very high-energy, creative and entrepreneurial approach to museum leadership and we are confident she can lead us to the next level of distinction.”

Ballinger, who has been the Museum director for 32 years and will celebrate his 40th anniversary with the museum in December, will assist in the transition “for as long as my input, assistance and counsel is needed to ensure that the transition is smooth so Amada can hit the ground running and continue the Museum’s forward progress,” he said. “She is a highly respected arts professional whose diverse experience, extensive background, knowledge and innovative spirit will serve Phoenix Art Museum and our community well for years to come.”

Susan Berresford, former President of the Ford Foundation, lauded the choice of Cruz. “Amada Cruz is a true star, bringing sophisticated knowledge of arts and artists and a determination to build institutions that nurture artists and their work,” she said. “Phoenix Art Museum has chosen someone who is smart, imaginative and a pleasure to work with. Bravo.”

As chief executive at Artpace, Cruz, who was born in Havana, Cuba, is responsible for the artistic and programmatic vision of the organization and serves as chief fundraiser. Artpace residencies, which are awarded by nomination and selected by a panel of international art professionals or a guest curator, are highly coveted. Artpace is an internationally respected public institution and a cornerstone of contemporary art.

“Phoenix Art Museum is a world-class educational and cultural institution, and reflects Jim Ballinger’s passion, vision, leadership and deep commitment to excellence,” Cruz said. “He has also built an extraordinary team of exceptionally talented, knowledgeable and devoted professionals whose contributions to the Museum’s success can not be overstated. I look forward to what we can achieve together for the people of Arizona and the entire Southwest.”

Previously, Cruz had served as Program Director for United States Artists in Los Angeles where she was responsible for all programming activities of a Ford and Rockefeller Foundations initiative. She also had been Executive Director of Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue in New York City, which awarded grants to visual artists in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago. Her experience also includes positions as Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College; Acting Chief Curator and Manilow Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; and Associate Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution. She began her career as a Curatorial Intern at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Cruz has served as a juror and advisor for numerous selections panels for institutional and individual grants across the country.

The Phoenix Art Museum is planning a series of events celebrating Ballinger’s tenure and legacy. Additional information will be released in the weeks ahead.

For more information about Phoenix Art Museum, visit www.phxart.org.

sedona-sunrise

Sedona No. 13 among Top 25 U.S. Destinations

Sedona has been ranked as one of the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Destinations in the United States.” Coming in at No. 13, Sedona is pleased with the abundance of positive feedback and awe-inspiring reaction of both long time visitors and newcomers to the area.

“Sedona is a true oasis, a vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert. Here, you’ll find resorts and spas, canyons and red rock formations. Bell Rock and Oak Creek Canyon are great hiking spots, and the dramatic architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a religious experience itself. When the sun dips down below the horizon it introduces the best show in Sedona: the night sky.” –TripAdvisor

“On behalf of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, it is great honor to be placed on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 Top 25 Destinations in the United States. As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor assists visitors in gathering travel information, posting travel reviews and engaging in interactive travel forums. This powerful web-based company boasts 200 million unique monthly visitors and over 100 million reviews and opinions. We are honored that world travelers voted Sedona as one of the best destinations to visit in the US,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

The top 25 destinations include: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington DC; Boston, Los Angles, Honolulu, New Orleans, Seattle, Miami, Sedona, Savannah, Charleston, Napa, San Antonio, Lahaina, Portland, Philadelphia, Myrtle Beach, Kailua Kona, Palm Springs, Naples, and Houston.

In addition to Sedona’s superb positioning, beautiful Adobe Grand Villas has been ranked No. 3 out of 25 on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Small Hotels” list; as well as #5 on the “25 Most Romantic Hotels in the United States”. “We have such great guests, who become friends rather than just customers. We have a very high return rate due to our staff treating each guest as they are the only ones, even if it’s a full house. The villas are designed to create an intimate experience. Fires places are located in each room as well as by the Jacuzzi tub. Couples can also memorialize their special stay or occasion on our unique Love Lock fence. Call to create a special romantic stay, from flowers, couples massages, to a private dinner prepared special by Michael Merilli.”

homebuyers - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Veteran receives brand-new, mortgage-free home

In partnership with Operation Homefront, Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH) is handing over keys to three new homes to deserving military heroes and their families in time for Veterans Day. Located in the Phoenix, San Antonio and Raleigh metropolitan areas, the mortgage-free, energy-efficient homes are part of Meritage’s core purpose of enriching lives by satisfying the American Dream of home ownership for thousands of families across the nation.

“Every day, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces put their lives on hold and themselves into harm’s way to protect freedom and our way of life,” said Steven J. Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage Homes. “We are honored to express our appreciation to these exceptional families with a token of gratitude given the enormous sacrifices they have made for our country.”

In Goodyear, Army Sergeant Richard Neider II, his wife Kerry, and their two children will be moving into the first home that they have owned as a family. The 2,278-square-foot one-story home will provide the family of four a place to grow. The home includes some ADA-friendly features such as wider doors, roll in showers, roll under sinks and lower light switches that will allow Sgt. Neider to use his wheelchair inside the house. The Neider family will receive their key at Meritage’s Del Mar at Sedella community on Nov. 4.

Army Sergeant Aaron Kumamoto was selected to receive a new 1,508-square-foot home in Converse, Texas. The new home will keep Sgt. Kumamoto, his wife Erica and son Logan close to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where Kumamoto receives his medical treatment. The Kumamoto family will receive their key at Meritage’s MacArthur Park community on Nov. 6.

Born and raised in North Carolina, Army Sergeant Jeffrey Lynch was selected to receive a 2,066-square-foot home in Cary, N.C. The home is just half an hour away from Duke University, where Sgt. Lynch receives specialized medical treatment. Lynch and his wife Christy are parents of a four-year-old daughter. The Lynch family will receive their key at Meritage’s Park at Langston community on Nov. 8.

The key ceremonies will be held at 10:30 a.m. on each of their designated days, immediately followed by a Welcome Home barbecue hosted by each community to give local residents the opportunity to honor sacrifices made by men and women of the Armed Forces.

The three homes are being awarded through Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program which selects veterans based on a number of qualifications, including need and existing ties to the community. Since its inception, the program anticipates awarding 100 homes to deserving military families around the country this year. However, this is the first time the organization has provided newly built homes where recipients will be the first owners.

“These homes will provide three of our nation’s military families with an amazing opportunity,” said Tim Farrell, chief operating officer of Operation Homefront. “Every military family has sacrificed so much through their careers, and our Homes on the Homefront program is just one of the many ways that our organization shows its support to them. These three homes are the first newly built homes that we have been able to provide to veterans, and we are thankful to change the lives of the Neider, Kumamoto, and Lynch families.”

Sun Health

Banner Desert Welcomes Neurosurgeon

Dr. Nevra King, a neurosurgeon, has joined Banner Desert Medical Center. King comes to Phoenix from the United States Air Force where she served as Director of Neurotrauma and staff neurosurgeon at Wilfred Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. King was born and raised in Turkey where she earned her medical degree from the University of Istanbul and completed a neurosurgical residency at the Bakirkoy Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases Hospital in Istanbul.

After coming to the United States, Dr. King completed a Neurosurgery Observership at Barrow Neurological Institute and a Neurosurgery Fellowship at the University of Arizona Medical Center. She would later complete her general surgery internship at Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania and a neurosurgery residency at the University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque. Dr. King specializes in brain and spinal trauma, brain tumors and spinal disease and degeneration.

“I am thrilled to be back in Arizona and to be a part of the team at Banner Desert,” King said. “I look forward to working with the staff and expanding my expertise in neurosurgical pathology including brain and spine diseases.

King served in the United States Air Force, received an “Outstanding Neurosurgery Award” and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and American Medical Association. She also received the Most Compassionate Physician Award and Patient Choice Award.

Dr. Oddo

New Researcher Joins Banner Sun Health Institute

Dr. Salvatore Oddo, a leader in the development of genetically-engineered mouse models and their use in the study of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, will join the research team at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) as a Senior Scientist and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. Oddo comes to Arizona from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he served as an assistant professor in the physiology department. He starts at BSHRI on July 1.

Oddo and his colleagues continue to develop genetically-modified mouse models and study them in the effort to clarify some of the molecular and cellular disease mechanisms responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, to discover new treatments and to help test some of the treatments that are being considered for evaluation in clinical trials. Using the “triple transgenic mouse model” that he and his colleagues first developed at the University of California, Irvine, they have already made a number of pioneering contributions to the field.

His arrival marks the first of several joint recruitments that are planned between Banner and the medical college to advance the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It also provides an opportunity to expand the resources and collaborations involved in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, the nation’s leading model of statewide collaboration in Alzheimer’s research. While Oddo’s lab will be based at BSHRI, he will work closely with his new colleagues in the medical college and other organizations in the Consortium.

“I am extremely proud to become part of a fantastic Alzheimer’s disease research team and to establish my laboratory at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute,” Oddo said. “I look forward to developing new and stimulating collaborations with the faculty to identify new therapeutic targets for this terrible disorder.”

Oddo, who earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of Catania, Italy and his graduate degree in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory from the University of California, Irvine, has served as an assistant researcher at the University of California Irvine’s department of neurobiology and behavior. He is moving from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where currently he is an assistant professor in the department of physiology.

“This is the first and critical step in what will be an extremely robust partnership between the Banner Sun Health Research Institute and our college,” said Stuart D. Flynn, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. “Dr. Oddo is playing an important role in the research of Alzheimer’s disease, of critical importance as we address an aging population in Arizona and beyond.”

“We are pleased to welcome someone with Dr. Oddo’s scientific caliber and extraordinary productivity,” said Marwan Sabbagh, Director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute. “Dr. Oddo is a valuable addition to what is already a world-class team. We look forward to work ahead.”

BASIS_MESA_View_24

BASIS Selects Eastmark for Its Next East Valley School

The nationally renowned charter school BASIS has selected Eastmark for its next East Valley campus. Construction on BASIS Mesa at Eastmark commences in March 2013.  The new school is set to open fall 2013.

“BASIS is our first 5-12 educational partner and a perfect fit for this community.  Eastmark’s central location in the East Valley will give hundreds of children more opportunities to earn a world-class education, which is a tremendous value for kids, their families and our region’s future workforce,” said Dea McDonald, Senior Vice President of DMB Associates and General Manager of Eastmark.

“Every DMB community features education and lifelong learning among its Community Life pillars, which are empowered by partnerships that extend far beyond the classroom.  We’re delighted to bring to future residents and neighbors this charter school option in the early phase of Eastmark,” added McDonald.

The new BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will complement the East Valley BASIS programs.  Because of the strong interest by parents and students, the BASIS Board of Directors agreed there was enough demand to develop another school in the East Valley, explained Craig Barrett, retired Chairman/CEO of Intel Corporation and Chairman of the Board for BASIS Schools Inc.

“Our BASIS Chandler School has had a waiting list since we opened.  DMB brought us the opportunity to develop in their new community, in an early phase of the development, where we could be a true partner.  Its location, easy access to transportation and vision for the future made Eastmark the right choice for us.  We’re eager to grow another top performing school for the region,” Barrett said.

The BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will open with grades 5-10, adding grade 11 by 2014 and grade 12 by 2015. BASIS Mesa may also add K through 4thgrades in ensuing years.  The design and size of the new school will be similar to its Chandler and Phoenix campuses. The campus will be located adjacent to the Eastmark Great Park situated on approximately 4.5 acres. DMB is advancing the development and construction of Eastmark Parkway to meet the timelines of the opening of the charter school.

Families can sign up for the BASIS Mesa at Eastmark interest list at www.basislink.org.

The first phase of Eastmark’s residential development is in the Queen Creek School District.  The district does not have plans to build another campus in Eastmark in the immediate future.

Eastmark will host its grand opening on June 1, 2013 with seven builders offering homes in the first phase of residential development.

BASIS is the top performing school in Arizona with BASIS students ranked highest in Stanford 10 national test scores in both math and reading in 2012.
All BASIS schools are “A” rated by the Arizona Department of Education (“AZEd”).

Approximately 5,000 students attend BASIS schools with campuses in Tucson, Oro Valley, Scottsdale, Chandler, Flagstaff, Peoria and Washington, D.C.  BASIS is also opening new schools in Ahwatukee, San Antonio, and a new K-4 program in Tucson.

awhh_comm_wood_creek_reserve

Ashton Woods Tops List of Most Trusted Builders in America

Trust is the new currency by which customers evaluate the merits of new-home builders, according to ground-breaking national research of more than 21,500 new- home shoppers in the Lifestory Research Most Trusted Builders in America Study SM.

The study finds that three-fourths of customers (76 percent) report that trust is a critical criterion by which they evaluate the merits of a home builder before making a purchase decision, placing significant emphasis on the perceived trustworthiness of home builder brands. “Home builders need to begin to ask themselves how consumers see their brand in regards to trust if they wish to effectively compete in the current marketplace,” said Lifestory Research President and CEO Eric Snider. “We find that the trust held by a customer toward a home builder is playing a central role among home shoppers as they seek to reduce uncertainty in the high-risk decision of purchasing a new home.”

The Lifestory Research Most Trusted Builders in America Study tracks 133 home builder brands in the top 27 housing markets in the United States.  However, for purposes of examining builders at the national level for this release, a builder brand was included if a builder was in the top 30 builders in the United States and was selling homes in at least three markets.  Based on this, the following brands were included in the national study of the Most Trusted Builders in America: Ashton Woods, Beazer, Centex, DR Horton, David Weekley, Del Webb, Drees, Gehan, Highland (TX), KB Home, KHovnanian, Lennar, M/I, Meritage, Perry, Pulte, Richmond American, Ryan, Ryland, Shea, Standard Pacific, Taylor Morrison, Toll Brothers, Trilogy by Shea Homes, and Woodside.

The Most Trusted Builder in America was Ashton Woods, the nation’s 25th largest builder selling homes in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Antonio and Tampa.  Ashton Woods produced a Net Trust Quotient Score of 111, followed in order by David Weekley Homes (108.5), Trilogy by Shea Homes (106.9), Perry Homes (106.8), Drees Homes (106.8), Meritage Homes (104.2), Highland Homes of Texas (104.2), Taylor Morrison Homes (101.6), M/I Homes (100.8), and Woodside Homes (100.8). Trilogy by Shea Homes also was recognized as the Most Trusted Active Adult Builder in America.

In a shift away from product usage and satisfaction research, Lifestory Research’s investigation focuses on how brands influence the purchase behavior of home shoppers. “We have seen a fundamental shift in consumer psychology that has occurred in response to the massive social revolution that has taken place over the last several years,” Snider said.  “Consumers are referencing customer advocacy organizations less for product information; instead, people are turning to their peers, friends, and digital social networks to garner opinions.  Moreover, in the process of shopping for a home, consumers rely upon their direct experience they have with the multitude of builder brands in a given marketplace.  As a result, we have seen brands rise in importance in the consumer purchase process.”

The study, in its first year, evaluates attitudes from thousands of consumers who are actively in the process of shopping for a new home in one of the top 27 housing markets in the United States.  Trust is measured through the Lifestory Research Net Trust Quotient Score.  This score is based on the fundamental perspective that every organization’s customer can be divided into three categories: “advocates” are customers who feel a significant trust toward a given brand; “neutrals” are customers who trust a specific brand, but they do not see a specific brand as standing on the shoulders of other brands in regards to trust; and “antagonists” are skeptics who have little, if any, trust in a specific brand.

The most effective way to gauge the trust of a brand is to take the percentage of customers who are trust advocates and subtract the percentage of people who are dis-trusters.  Scores are standardized (using z scores and t scores) with 100 being equal to the overall average.  Scores can array above and below the 100 point average.  Each Net Trust Quotient Score represents the net value of a brand on trust.  A brand with a high positive score is an indication that the brand is trusted by a large portion of the target market.  Conversely, a low score is an indication that the brand is not trusted by the consumer marketplace.

To qualify to participate in the study, participants must have met all of the following criteria:  Household located in the metro area of one of the 27 markets in the study (see link for list of markets), a household income in excess of $50,000, between the ages of 25 and 69, actively shopping for a home during the last 90 days, and with intentions of owning their next home (versus renting).

Detailed information about the study can be found at www.lifestoryresearch.com/builderrankings.

87479659

Scottsdale ranked No. 1 for Republican singles

While Democrats had a big win with President Obama this week, Republicans, do not fret. As a consolation prize for the presidential race, Chemistry.com has released the Top 10 Cities Where Republicans are Still Irresistible. The site reveals where conservatives are in the highest demand online, showing the top U.S. cities where red reigns. Republican singles in Scottsdale receive the most attention, followed by the swing state of Florida and then historically conservative Texas. You can find the full blog post here.

Top 10 Cities for Republicans to find their like-minded match:
1. Scottsdale
2. Jacksonville, FL
3. Dallas, TX
4. Houston, TX
5. Colorado Springs, CO
6. San Antonio, TX
7. Oklahoma City, OK
8. Virginia Beach, VA
9. Raleigh, NC
10 Charlotte, NC