Tag Archives: Steve Johnson


BMO Harris Bank Names New Arizona President

BMO Harris Bank today announced the appointment of Steven Zandpour as Regional President for Arizona.  Zandpour will be responsible for overseeing a network of 50 BMO Harris locations, and driving growth to deliver the breadth of BMO Harris’ retail banking, small business banking and premier services across the state.

Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Head of U.S. Retail Banking for BMO Harris, said, “Steve’s energy is contagious. Arizona is an important market for the bank; he knows what customers expect and has the skills and determination to grow our business in the region.”

“The economic health of Arizona is definitely improving and the long term outlook is positive,” said Zandpour. “This positive outlook, combined with our solid business plan, provides us a great opportunity for growth and I look forward to help lead the charge,” he added.

Hired by BMO Harris in 2013 as President for the North Shore Market of the Chicago region, Zandpour led his team to become a top five producer for the bank in the U.S.

Zandpour brings more than 15 years of industry experience to the position, including; Commercial Credit, Commercial Relationship Officer, and Financial Center Manager.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa and completed the Consumer Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at Furman University.

Zandpour replaces Steve Johnson who was recently named Regional President, North Central States, for BMO Private Bank.

Economic concepts

Arizona Poised to See Above-Average Growth

Thanks to strong improvement in housing prices and improved population in-flow, Arizona should expect above-average growth through the year, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report from BMO Economics. Expected real GDP growth in the state is 3.2 percent, up from a 1.8 percent rate currently expected for 2013.

Nonfarm payrolls in Arizona were up 2 percent in 2013 – above the national average. The unemployment rate edged up through much of 2013, but moved lower late in the year to finish at 7.6 percent, the lowest since late 2008 and a significant improvement from the recession high of 10.8 percent.

“Although unemployment in Arizona is still higher than it should be, there has been solid progress made in generating good paying jobs that will bolster our overall economy,” said Steve Johnson, Regional President, Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “In particular we’ve seen a boost in professional services and the tourism industry, which is great news for business owners in those sectors.”

Population growth has picked up to a 1.3 percent year-over-year pace driven by the improving economy. While that is still below the 3.3 percent rate experienced during the housing boom, positive momentum is expected to continue through the coming years.

Reduced home inventories are allowing for improved construction activity, which was at a near stand-still during the recession.

“Arizona’s housing market is experiencing a strong recovery, despite a recent soft patch. According to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, Phoenix prices have surged more than 40 percent from their lows,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

“While the increase in mortgage rates through the summer softened sales and home building activity, that should prove to be temporary. The foreclosure rate fell to 1.3 percent in the third quarter of last year, from its high of 6.3 percent. Additionally, surging home prices have reduced the number of home mortgages under water to less than 25 percent,” Mr. Kavcic added.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

Yarnell Hill Fire

BMO Harris Bank donates $20K to help fire victims

BMO Harris Bank today announced a $20,000 donation to support those affected by the wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona and surrounding areas. The funds will be split between the 100 Club of Arizona and the Yavapai County Community Foundation, two leading organizations whose work is critical during a tragedy like this.

“Words cannot express the sadness we feel for everyone impacted by this terrible loss of life and I’m certain our community will come together to do whatever it can to help those in need,” said BMO Harris Bank Arizona President, Steve Johnson. “We have a long history of supporting first responders because they’re the ones who often make the greatest sacrifices in protecting countless others.  Their acts of bravery will never be forgotten.”

The 100 Club of Arizona, whose mission is to provide immediate financial assistance to families of first responders and public safety officers who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, has established  a memorial fund specifically for the families of those killed in the Yarnell fire.

The Yavapai County Community Foundation has established a fund to aid in the long-term recovery efforts, including relief for displaced families and individuals, animal welfare, environmental needs, community clean-up, rebuilding and more.

BMO Harris Bank encourages other businesses and individuals to provide assistance with relief efforts. To donate, contact The 100 Club of Arizona at www.100club.org, or Yavapai County Community Foundation at azfoundation.org/yarnellfire.


Photo: Poggenpohl

Kitchen Trend For 2013: Untraditional Cabinetry, Wood

Wild, wild wood: Cleaner, streamlined kitchens call for modern, untraditional cabinetry.

When times get tough, spice up your kitchen.

And over the past two years, both Steve Johnson, owner of Atelier Inc. in Scottsdale, and Allan Rosenthal, owner of Linear Fine Woodworking in Phoenix, have seen homeowners do just that — breathing life into their antiquated kitchens.

“They just want something different,” Johnson says. “Every few years, people get sick of seeing the same thing, so they push the envelope, wanting something different.”

Creating drama

As homeowners streamline their kitchens, integrating their appliances for a more clean, organized look, they are honing in on an important element of the overall design — the cabinets.

“Cabinets set the mood of the home,” says Tina James, sales and marketing manager of Custom Creative Marble and Granite.

And according to Rosenthal, homeowners are moving away from the mainstream woods and gravitating toward the untraditional, including tamo ash, macassar ebony and block-mottled makore.

“They’re holographic, so when you walk by them, they actually move,” says Rosenthal. “They have a beauty to them unlike anything else, and they’re just spectacular materials.”

Tamo ash, from Japan, has an unusual, swirly-grain pattern and is famous for its “peanut” figure. Macassar ebony is somewhat similar to Zebrawood with a reddish-brown body and darker brown to black stripes. Block-mottled makore is deep reddish brown in color with a block-pattern figure. All three types of wood give off a dramatic effect.

Rosenthal goes on to say that not only can these untraditional woods last forever, but they can also handle moisture well, especially the areas around the sink.

The laminate look

Johnson, on the other hand, says he’s seen much more movement away from the woods altogether, with homeowners opting for laminates that look like wood. These laminates give kitchens a simple look; plus, they’re easy to clean, maintain and repair.

“If a wood door got damaged, and you had to replace it several years later, it’s very difficult to find one to match 100 percent,” Johnson says. “Whereas with the lacquer finishes, you could change it up 10 years later, and it’s still going to match.”

Laminates are also a great element for creating what Johnson says continues to gain popularity: an all-white kitchen.

“People are going more and more to white kitchens in the last two years,” Johnson says. “People just want that clean, crisp, white look. They’re tired of the down economy, and they don’t want their home to look heavy and dark, and they just want light, bright white — clean and uplifting. White never goes out of style.”

James agrees, saying she’s seen a growing trend in white. “But my favorite that I think will catch on more next year is grey. Contemporary,  more modern styles are getting to be more popular.”

What has gone out of style, according to Rosenthal, is the Tuscan-inspired design. “Tuscan is gone for the most part, and modern will be around for a long time because it’s timeless. You never get tired of it.”

View more photos:

Poggenpohl's +MODO kitchen is centered around the island, which has plenty of surface area and storage. Photo: Poggenpohl untraditional cabinetry untraditional cabinetry

For more information about untraditional cabinetry:

Linear Fine Woodworking
2825-2831 S. 46th St., Phoenix
(480) 968-1223

Atelier Inc.
4242 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale
(480) 424-7900

Custom Creative Marble and Granite
8260 E. Raintree Dr., #216, Scottsdale
(623) 570-5386

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013

kitchen work triangle

Escaping Kitchen’s Bermuda (Work) Triangle

Gone are the days of the traditional kitchen work triangle as homeowners alike expand their kitchen needs into multiple work zones.

Before the trend of multiple sinks, double ovens, detached cook tops and hidden appliances, kitchen setups followed the golden rule of what is known as the “work triangle.” Conceived in the late 1940s by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the work triangle consisted of the path between the refrigerator, cook top and sink to create an ergonomically-friendly workspace.

Devised to keep appliances in close proximity and keep movement to a minimum, the work triangle provided a functional one-cook kitchen environment that was suitable at the time.

Since then, the number of cooks in the kitchen has increased along with the doubling of appliances and even the tripling of tools. To accommodate these growing numbers, the kitchen as we know it has expanded to fit such needs while introducing the idea of multiple work zones as it has become the heart of the home.

“The traditional work triangle has been gone for some time now,” says Steve Johnson, owner of Atelier. “It has, over time, evolved into multiple work triangles throughout the entire kitchen, as it has been that way for some time now.”

Creating multiple workspaces for tasks, such as food preparation, baking, cooking, cleanup and eating, influenced the expansion of kitchen, thus ditching the traditional work triangle concept.

According to Johnson, “this trend makes for a functional space for more people to work in while remaining just as practical when used by one cook.”

Taking this concept of moving away from the traditional and more towards multiple workstations, Marc Desplaines, founder and president of Antoine Proulx, notes, “a kitchen that functions best for its owner is what is important.”

Desplaines’ personal remodel created an open kitchen concept with a clean and streamlined look eliminating upper cabinetry. Choosing to remove the pre-existing work triangle, the remodel created a kitchen with three work zones — preparation, serving and cleanup — allowing up six people to freely move within the multiple workstations.

“It is an excellent example of why a traditional work triangle is not always the best solution,” he says.

When plotting a kitchen remodel, the homeowner should focus on what is necessary and how the space will be used. “Eliminating the work triangle for the sake of a trend doesn’t make sense if the pre-existing space is already working for that user,” Desplaines adds.

However, as our needs increase to accommodate the growing number of cooks, appliances and space desired, incorporating multiple workstations has become a common setup for the contemporary kitchen we have now become accustomed to.

For more information about how you can make the transition from the kitchen work triangle to multiple work zones, visit:

Atelier Inc.
4242 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale
(480) 424-7900

Antoine Proulx, LLC
3320 North 44th St., Phoenix
(602) 952-1580

Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012