Tag Archives: Steve Macias

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Manufacturers Find Business-Friendly Environment In Arizona

Gov. Jan Brewer has done a lot to make Arizona more competitive for manufacturing, economic development leaders say.

“The repeal of the energy sales tax on gas and electricity is very big for us,” says Mark Dobbins, co-chairman of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We have a business friendly reputation and this change makes a big difference in our attractiveness to manufacturing.”

But there is one piece of the puzzle that still creates concern.

“Businesses wanting to relocate to Arizona are impressed with the business-friendly climate in the state,” Dobbins continues. “The question I hear most is, ‘Will I find an educated and experienced workforce for my business?’”

Concerns over education bring the Partnership and other economic development advocates around to the next focus — a quality, educated workforce to serve Arizona’s growing job demand. The conversation started with business, the community colleges, state universities and schools during the depths of the recession.

“The tax cut makes a major difference for a corporation,” says Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Tesla, if it locates here, saves $30 million to $40 million a year with that bill in place.”

Broome considers SB1413 the most important bill for business in the current session. “The (manufacturers electricity sales tax) exemption brings us in line with most of the rest of the country; only 15 states had such a tax. For big power users, this is a make-or-break proposition. High technology companies spend more on power than payroll.”

“Continuous innovation is what keeps Arizona competitive in manufacturing,” says Sandra Watson, CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We believe that the future is in research and development and Arizona has one of the most competitive R&D tax credits in the country.”

The ACA manages that tax credit and it’s not handed out lightly or just for large manufacturers. The state has seen much of its manufacturing employment growth, now six percent of the workforce, from the smaller businesses. The ACA makes the credit available to any sized qualifying firm.

The state’s manufacturing history is sometimes lost in the ads for golf courses and new subdivisions. “We have a history of solid manufacturing in the state that goes back 50 or 60 years,” recounts Steve Macias, president and CEO of Pivot Manufacturing, Arizona Commerce Authority board member, and chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, which falls under the umbrella of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This gives us a solid workforce with experience, ability and productivity that is a plus for any manufacturer wanting to relocate or expand.

In addition to the cut on the utility sales tax, SB1484 was another breakthrough for manufacturers. The bill created energy tax credits that can be claimed by manufacturers generating renewable energy to power Arizona operations.

Dobbins says that Arizona has all the right assets in place for manufacturing today, but can’t rest on what we have now for the future. “We need to invest more to build our assets up,” he says. “We need a lot of work to build our competitive logistics infrastructure.”

He lists logistics where the state needs to invest more money and projects. “We’re in great shape when it comes to passenger traffic with Sky Harbor and (Phoenix-Mesa) Gateway airports. We need to do more for air freight.”

Dobbins believes Arizona’s manufacturing future is in building our exports with Canada, Mexico and South America. He’s not alone in that view. State Transportation Board Member Joseph La Rue emphasizes the same position. “Interstate 11 makes this market a crossroads. Right now, we’re just connected to the east and west.”

The state is taking effective action, says Macias. “With the change in (sales tax on energy) and (research and development) tax credit, we’re a state that is very appealing to a capital intensive business. Arizona is moving in the right direction.”

Arizona’s manufacturing opportunities are spread across the state. Most people think of Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma as the places where the businesses cluster, but small manufacturers are seeing emerging markets in Flagstaff, Prescott and Kingman, according to Dobbins.

With the tax credits and incentives offered through the ACA and some local governments, Macias says a small manufacturer can take advantage of an underemployed workforce in a rural area. Arizona provides significant tax credits and incentives for businesses to train and develop their employees. These come through ACA and the Department of Economic Security Workforce Arizona programs.

“We’ve always had aerospace, defense and semiconductors as our base,” says Broome. “We’re starting to build manufacturing industry clusters in high technology glass. GT Advanced Technology in Mesa and Rioglass Solar Steel in Surprise are a start. Once businesses start to cluster, more become interested because it means there’s a growing, skilled workforce.”

“We need to do more to build our workforce,” says Dobbins. “Arizona has consistently underfunded education and we’re paying that cost now. Common Core standards will give us a business-accepted measure of how our workforce stacks up. We don’t just mean in college education, but also in the important areas of technical education.”

“Common Core (education standards) are driven by business so that there is a national standard of comparison,” says Macias. “We’ve been working on the need for a trained and educated workforce so that we don’t slip into a deep recession in the future. We were too dependent on construction.”
Arizona needs to get the word out, experts say.

“When people come in to Sky Harbor, they’re overwhelmed with ads for golf, resorts and housing,” muses Macias. “That’s why they’re here in the winter. We need to overwhelm them with a message of what we do in Arizona. We do a lot, and we do it very well.

Arizona’s 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders

What would you do it you opened the pages of this magazine and saw Jerry Colangelo listed as one of the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona? You’d do a double take, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

Consider this: Among 439,633 Arizonans under age 5 in 2012, this is how the Census broke down those numbers:

• Hispanic: 196,776 (44.8 percent)
• Non-Hispanic white: 171,888 (39.1 percent)
• American Indian and Alaska Native: 22,198 (5 percent)
• Black: 18,617 (4.2 percent)
• Asian: 11,311 (2.6 percent)
• Two or more races: 18,088 (4.1 percent)
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 755 (0.17).

If you combine numbers like that with the fact that 91.7 percent of the nation’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 was attributed to racial and ethnic minorities, with the largest segment of population growth occurring in the Hispanic community, lists like this — the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona of 2014 — could become obsolete in our lifetimes.

Until we get there and as our state’s minority population moves toward majority status, it’s important to notice that the state’s most dynmanic business leaders have helped fuel our economic recovery and growth … and many of them just happen to be minorities. And while the future looks bright, we still have work to in overcoming outdated perceptions. According to a 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report commissioned by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, a significant portion of minority-owned businesses in Arizona have had problems earning the trust of their customers, suppliers, peers and lenders and need support from within the business community to help break down some of these misconceptions and stigma.

The 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona, whom you will meet below, have changed that perception.


Benito AlmanzaBenito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Heritage: Mexican-American
A graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara, Almanza has been with Bank of America for 34 years. He is a member of the Teach for America Arizona Board.
His hope for professional legacy: “Working every day with great teammates to make our community better and surrounding myself with strong leaders and developing them to replace me.”

Glynis BryanGlynis Bryan
CFO
Insight Enterprises Inc.
Heritage: Jamaican
Bryan is responsible for setting the company’s financial strategies; ensuring the company has the appropriate financial and operating controls and systems in place to support future growth; and serving as a financial and business advisor to the leadership team.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Setting a standard of excellence in an organization and helping teammates reach their full potential.”

Debbie CottonDebbie Cotton
Director
Phoenix Convention Center
Heritage: African American
Cotton manages a staff of 240 employees, a budget of $47.5 million and is the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Throughout my career, I’d like to be remembered for adhering to high ethical standards and inspiring individuals to pursue careers within public service.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heritage: Peruvian and Mexican
De la Melena, who directs the state’s leading advocate representing more than 60,000 Hispanic business enterprises, has 20 years of global brand management, business development and Latino marketing experience gained from conducting business in more than 30 countries.
His hope for professional legacy: “For helping the lifeblood of our economy, small businesses, prosper – especially minority-owned businesses, now one-fourth of Arizona’s total. Our future global competitiveness depends on it.”

Diane EnosDiane Enos
President
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Enos is the 23rd president of the Salt River Community and the second women elected to the office. Enos is the first member of the Community to become a lawyer and practiced in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office for 11 years.
Heritage: Onk Akimel O’Odham, or one of the River People otherwise known as Pima
Her hope for professional legacy: “The top qualities I’d like to be remembered for is someone who was unafraid to try something new and to do it with integrity for the good of my people.”

rufusRufus Glasper
Chancellor
Maricopa Community Colleges
Heritage: African American
As the CEO of one of the nation’s largest systems of community colleges, he is leading MCCCD to address the community’s education and workforce training needs.
His hope for professional legacy: “An educator who focused on human rights and education for first-generation college students, quality healthcare, workforce and jobs, and re-framing an institution for the future.”

Deborah GriffinDeborah Griffin
President of the board of directors
Gila River Casinos
Heritage: Gila River Indian Community member and Mexican-American
Griffin leads Arizona’s largest minority-run business with more that 2,500 employees.
Her hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered for creating a legacy of self-sufficiency and volunteerism in my community. My Tribe needs only to seek within themselves and have confidence in the beauty of their abilities to continue this legacy.”

Edmundo HidalgoEdmundo Hidalgo
President and CEO
Chicanos Por La Causa
Heritage: Mexican-American
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the community. The Hispanic community is at a breakaway point because of our demographics and the opportunities we establish for our youth will have a tremendous impact on our state. As the Hispanic community goes, so will the State of Arizona. My focus has always been in support of education and ensuring that young people get the opportunities I received as I was beginning my career. I am blessed to have been mentored by many individuals who were willing to invest in me and I have the responsibility to do the same.”

leezieLeezie Kim
Partner
Quarles & Brady
Heritage: Korean-American
Kim returned to Quarles & Brady after four years of service as a White House appointee to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and as general counsel to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Her hope for professional legacy: “As a trusted counselor to and partner with leaders in business, government and politics who found new ways to get things done that make life a little better for us all.”

david_kongDavid Kong
President and CEO
Best Western International
Since he was named president and CEO in 2004, Kong has guided Best Western International through a brand resurgence, winning numerous awards for training, social media and ecommerce initiatives. Brand Keys ranked Best Western No. 1 in customer loyalty for four consecutive years.
Heritage: Asian
His hope for professional legacy: “I’d like to be remembered for having made a positive difference – in Best Western, in the industry and the lives of all our associates and our hotel staff.”

paulPaul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”

steve_maciasSteve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias serves on the Governor’s Council on Small Business and is co-chair of the Supply Chain/Buy Arizona Committee, which is exploring ways government can help promote Arizona businesses.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “Someone who made a positive impact in promoting manufacturing as a worthwhile and valuable industry that provides quality jobs to the community.”

louis_manuelLouis J. Manuel, Jr.
Chairman
Ak-Chin Indian Community
Heritage: Tohono O’odham Nation and Ak-Chin Indian Community
Manuel has diversified his Community’s economy with Ak-Chin Farms, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Santa Cruz Commerce Center and a partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee.
His hope for professional legacy: “That my decision making gave value and sustainability in promoting a strong future and self-reliance for the people I serve.”

clarenceClarence McAllister
President and CEO
Fortis Networks
Heritage: Black Latino
McAllister was born in Panama and earned degrees in electrical engineering from ASU and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. In 2000, he and his wife Reyna started Fortis, a certified 8a and HUBZone government contractor specialized in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream, and built a business that employs more than 100 Americans.”

alfred_molinaAlfredo Molina
Chairman
Molina Jewelers
Heritage: Hispanic
Molina went from fleeing Cuba as a boy without a change of clothes to rocking the jewelry world by selling the Archduke Joseph diamond for $21.5 million, the most ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference. I believe that every individual is a precious jewel and it is my commitment and social responsibility to ensure they become brilliant.”

rodolfo-pargaRodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
Heritage: Mexican
Parga has been named in multiple editions of Southwest Super Lawyers®, including in 2014. He also serves on the doard of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading nonprofit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as always trying my best to do the right thing, and being fair and loyal.”

Dan PuenteDan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Heritage: Hispanic
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck and has built it into the largest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an individual who created a company that set industry standards, gave back to an industry generous with opportunity and helped people grow personally and professionally.”

terry_ramblerTerry Rambler
Chairman
Arizona Indian Gaming Association
Heritage: San Carlos Apache Tribe
In addition to his AIGA leadership role, Rambler is chariman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “Strong vision, consistent oversight, yet humble leadership that helped build successful partnerships in economic development, cultural preservation, and the expansion of tribal sovereignty.”

Terence-RobertsTerence Roberts, M.D., J.D.
Radiation oncologist
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Heritage: African-American
Roberts specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery and tumors of the brain, spine, and prostate. He also received a law degree from Stanford University and practiced corporate law in the Silicon Valley for start-up companies.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered professionally as compassionate, knowledgeable and having integrity. Also as someone who innovated in an era of health care reform.”

Steve SanghiSteve Sanghi
Chairman, CEO and president
Microchip Technology
Heritage: Indian
Sanghi, named president of Microchip in 1990, CEO in 1991 and chairman in 1993, is the author of “Driving Excellence: How The Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader.”
His hope for professional legacy: “For building Microchip Technology into one of the most successful semiconductor companies, which achieved an unprecedented 100 consecutive profitable quarters in a brutally competitive industry.”

roxanne_song_ongRoxanne K. Song Ong
Chief presiding judge
Phoenix Municipal Court
Heritage: Chinese American
Song Ong, who chair the Arizona Supreme Court Commission on Minorities, was the first Asian female judge in Arizona and first minority to be named as Phoenix chief judge.
Her hope for professional legacy: “It would be my great honor to be remembered for three primary things: (1) my work in judicial and civics education, (2) the promotion of cultural competency and diversity in the judicial and legal profession, and (3) promoting access to justice for all Arizonans through legal services and education.”

Charlie-ToucheCharlie Touché
Chairman and CEO
Lovitt & Touché, Inc.
In 2004, Touché became chairman and CEO of one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States, with nearly 200 employees in three offices and more than $300 million in total premiums.
Heritage: Hispanic
His hope for professional legacy: “I’m proud to say that during this entire century, we’ve remained a client-driven, hands-on kind of company with people who will roll up their sleeves and jump in the trenches to help those we do business with.”

lisa_uriasLisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
Heritage: Mexican
Urias has built an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations agency that specializes in the diverse markets of the American Southwest, particularly the Hispanic market.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Having a nationally-known agency that successfully connects corporations to multicultural markets through ad campaigns, public relations and community outreach for mutual benefit and respect.”

lonnie_williamsLonnie J. Williams, Jr.
Partner
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Heritage: Black
The Yale graduate’s practice focuses on commercial business and employment-related matters. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America.
His hope for professional legacy: “Martin Luther King said, ‘if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.’ Professionally, I would like to be remembered like that street sweeper.”

kuldip_vermaKuldip Verma
CEO
Vermaland
Heritage: East Indian
Vermaland, founded by Verma, holds more than 24,000 acres of land in Arizona with a portfolio valued at $500 million. Nabha, the tiny Indian village Verma was born in, could fit many times into the acreage he now controls in the desert Southwest.
His hope for professional legacy: “I saw a dream and pursued it. Success without humility is a curse, but Success with your values intact is a blessing.”

manufacturing sector expanded

Brewer OKs tax cut law for manufacturers

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill that eliminates sales taxes on electricity and natural gas purchased by manufacturers and mining smelters, a move she said was needed to make the state more attractive to large businesses.

Brewer signed Senate Bill 1413 at a Capitol ceremony attended by a couple of dozen business leaders, calling it “another smart tax reform that will bolster job creation in Arizona and our competitive edge.”

The tax cut is expected to cost the state general fund at least $17 million a year. Brewer also vetoed money in the state budget designed to help counties make up for the losses, saying their loss was small and would set a bad precedent.

“Since becoming governor, my cornerstone priority has been to make Arizona as attractive as possible for new and expanding businesses, particularly for our manufacturing industry, which generates quality jobs and high-wage salaries,” Brewer said. “I want Arizona to be No. 1 and be the pro-business state in the nation and we have worked relentlessly to accomplish that.”

Later in the day, Brewer also signed a law providing a $5 million tax credit many say is aimed directly at Apple Inc. Senate Bill 1484 grants the tax credit to a company that installs at least $300 million in renewable power capacity to supply its own plant.

The governor touted other tax cuts, regulatory reform and business-friendly policies that she has championed since she took office in 2009. Those tax cuts have affected the state’s revenue, but she said they are important to growing the economy.

“When we bring in these new businesses it drives our economy, they bring in construction jobs, they bring in employees, they bring in money into the state,” she said. “So in the end, everybody’s ship rises.”

Brewer called for the elimination of the tax in her State of the State address in January, saying it was needed to make Arizona more competitive and draw new manufacturing to the state.

The bill received bipartisan support in both legislative chambers, although one conservative Republican in the House of Representatives dissented when it came up for a vote earlier this week.

Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, says the bill places a burden on rural counties that rely on that tax base. She and other rural lawmakers managed to get $1.3 million in the budget to make up for the cuts, but Brewer vetoed that money Friday afternoon.

“I am getting to the point that a lot of these special legislation bills that we are promoting are harming the state of Arizona, and they are harming our rural counties and our rural cities, and I don’t believe we are doing a very good job of doing what’s right for the right reasons,” Barton said during debate earlier in the week. She didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Others defended the bill.

“I think anytime we can support small businesses and reduce their taxes and large businesses and reduce their taxes, and allow them to reinvest in their business and reinvest in the communities and reinvest in their employees, I think we need to be looking for opportunities to do this,” Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, said.

Steve Macias, chairman of the Arizona Manufacturer’s Council and the operator of a machine shop that will get a small direct benefit from the tax cut, said it could bring in more manufacturing.

“Seventy percent, 80 percent of the business we do is right here in Arizona,” Macias said of his operation. “And almost all of that is to larger manufacturers, the General Dynamics of the world, the guys who make equipment for the solar industry. So when they attract those guys, I get excited because to me those are all potential customers.”

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said 38 other states do not tax electricity use by manufacturers and cutting the tax will help the state.

“These are jobs that pay more than the median wage. They’re jobs that every other state competes for, and we’ve done something significant to make Arizona more competitive today,” Hamer said.

The tax credit bill drew the ire of conservative House Republicans, who said say the bill is unfairly tailored to benefit Apple’s planned Mesa sapphire glass manufacturing plant and picked winners and losers among the state’s industries.

Apple said in November it will open the plant and eventually employ 700 workers to provide material for its iPhone 5 cameras and fingerprint reading sensors.

The tax credit could also be claimed by other companies that build similar facilities. Tesla Motors Inc. is currently looking for a battery plant site and often mentioned as a possible candidate.

“We as conservatives have got to step away from this crony capitalist style of development,” Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, said during debate on the bill Tuesday. “We cannot afford to pick winners and losers in industry. We believe in low taxes for everybody. We believe in simple rules for everybody.”

But the bill sponsor defended it, saying it was a small amount of money to help establish a large manufacturing operation. The Arizona Commerce Authority helped seal the deal with other incentives.

“I believe that they did the right thing to bring Apple here,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, carried the Apple bill, saying he did it because the Arizona Commerce Authority had made a commitment to the company as part of the deal to draw them here. “And the dollars are very small in the whole scheme of things with Apple being in the Valley. They could have gone to Texas, they could have gone other places and we wanted them here. It’s a good decision.”

Cushman & Wakefield Leasing

The 2013 Hammer Awards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; time to hand out some virtual hardware to the winners of the 4th annual Hammer Awards, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer’s look back at the wild and the wacky of the year in politics and anything else that’s on his mind.

State Leader of the Year: Gov. Jan Brewer

This one was a runaway. Not even close. The governor at the outset of the 2013 legislative session took on a set of issues that would make most elected officials wilt: Medicaid restoration and sales tax reform. She spearheaded highly effective campaigns on both issues, stood strong against a motivated opposition, and won the day in each case. Her accomplishments as governor are too numerous to mention, but she outdid herself this year, adding to her profoundly positive record for the state’s business environment for which the state will reap rewards for years to come. She’s building a legacy that will be tough to match.

National Politician of the Year: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Are you a Republican interested in running for statewide or national office? Take a lesson from two-time Hammer Award winner Gov. Chris Christie. The governor worked hard in his first term to burnish his image as pragmatic problem solver, and it paid off in 2013 when he won re-election in a route. Buoyed by a bevy of must-see YouTube videos, Gov. Christie made deep inroads into segments of the electorate that have been leaving the GOP in droves. I have no idea whether a Christie presidential campaign in 2016 will be a winning one, but his opponents underestimate him at their own peril.

Legislators of the Year: Reps. Debbie Lesko and Heather Carter

Some legislators get drafted into a fight, others volunteer. Rep. Debbie Lesko and Rep. Heather Carter volunteered to champion the year’s most contentious policy issues, and for that they each win a Hammer.

Rep. Lesko expertly navigated the thorny issues surrounding the reform of the state’s byzantine sales tax system in the face of an opposition that was perfectly willing to run out the clock on the legislative session and stick with the status quo. Rep. Lesko teamed with the governor’s tax guru, Michael Hunter, and refused to the let the session end without real reform.

Courage is an overused term in politics, but Rep. Carter has it in spades, as demonstrated by standing shoulder to shoulder with Gov. Brewer in her campaign to restore the Proposition 204 AHCCCS population. Rep. Carter didn’t waiver and remained committed in her belief that backing the governor’s plan was the right move. She was right on the policy, and I’m confident she’ll be proven right on the politics.

Rising Star of the Year: Adam Deguire

Rep. Matt Salmon’s Chief of Staff Adam Deguire has quietly become a mover and shaker in western politics. The Brophy grad has hit his stride as Rep. Salmon’s top aide after guiding Salmon’s return to Congress in the 2012 elections. Adam has done stints at the Republican National Committee as a field rep, was a senior level campaign and transition team aide to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in her 2010 run, and led the Hawaii GOP as its executive director. I always think it’s risky for a Hill office staff not to have ties back to the home state. Having Adam lead the staff and earn the frequent flyer miles between Phoenix and D.C. is a great move by Rep. Salmon, who will be well served by Adam’s commitment and loyalty.

Fighting the Good Fight: Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake

I’m in the camp that firmly believes that we’re going to see a true immigration reform package land on the president’s desk in 2014. (For those keeping score, I was also confident that we were going to get a deal in 2013, but who knew that a government shutdown and an amateur hour website were going to crowd out every other issue.) But as we sit here on the cusp of a transformative shot of adrenaline for the American economy, let’s give a Hammer where a Hammer is due. We would not have gotten this far were it not for Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake. Arizona is incredibly fortunate to have these men representing us in the world’s greatest deliberative body.

The Great Communicator: Matt Benson

Gov. Brewer has an outstanding team, including a few members who have won Hammers over the years. This year the governor’s former press secretary, Matt Benson, takes the honors for his outstanding work as the 9th Floor’s flack.

Issues like Medicaid restoration and TPT reform were incredibly complicated and they required their own public relations campaigns, but Matt communicated the governor’s positions on these and a host of other issues and acted as a liaison between the governor and her supporters, all while making it look easy. I should also note that there is no such thing as a day off for a gubernatorial press secretary, and Matt deserves a shout out for taking incoming fire from the fourth estate while he and his wife are still navigating the toddler years. Matt’s new firm, Veridus, is lucky to have this Hammer winner on board.

I Miss You, Man Award: David Cavazos

Phoenix is the best run big city in America. That’s in large part due to the dynamic Mayor Greg Stanton and a city council of professionals. But Phoenix this year bade farewell to its terrific city manager, David Cavazos. David was able to move effectively between different political factions in order to do what was right for the city. Having led efforts that ranged from attracting new investment to downtown Phoenix to spearheading trade missions to Mexico, he leaves big shoes to fill here. I don’t envy the search committee on this one.

A testament to David and Phoenix’s work is the appointment of Ed Zuercher as acting city manager. David left a great team behind as evidenced by Ed, a consummate professional, stepping into the top job.

An Apple a Day Award: Sandra Watson

I continue to be impressed by Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson’s talents. She’s taken the economic development toolbox assembled by the governor and Legislature and built something significant here. Constructing the deal that brought Apple to Mesa was a master stroke.

I can tell you from having traveled to Taiwan with the governor right after the deal was announced that bringing one of the most recognized brands to Arizona was a worldwide story. I did not expect dozens of Taiwanese reporters and businesspeople to pepper our delegation with questions about what makes Arizona so attractive to high-tech manufacturers. Sandra’s work is rippling around the glove, and for that she deserves a Hammer.

The Youngest Elder Statesman Award: Jaime Molera

The business community in 2013 rallied around Gov. Brewer’s health care restoration plan, but the campaign didn’t start to gel until Jaime Molera took on the role of a sort of campaign chairman. Jaime had the credibility and talent to bring together a host of lobbyists from across the health care and business community and assemble a dynamite team of political operatives to get the deal done. I hesitate to call a young man like Jaime an elder statesman, but the results leave little doubt that he was the right man for the job. Arizona owes a debt of gratitude to Jaime for stepping into the breach.

I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the work of Anne DeGraw, Jaime’s colleague at the firm of Molera-Alvarez, and Brittney Kauffman at the Arizona Chamber, both of whom ran the statewide campaign’s day-to-day affairs. Though he didn’t need it, they made Jaime look good.

The Mariano Rivera Best Closer Award: Jim Norton

On the last night of a legislative session, you can practically hear “Enter Sandman” echoing throughout the Capitol. This is the time that Chamber lobbyist and R&R Partners big shot Jim Norton shines.  When it comes to closing a deal, he’s the Mariano Rivera of lobbyists. He’s the best in the business, and I am incredibly fortunate not only to have him as the Chamber’s advocate at the Capitol, but to call him a friend.

He’s also a pretty good dancer. Give the man a Hammer.

The Legislative Branch Foreign Service Award: Speaker Andy Tobin and
his Mexico City trade delegation

Arizona in very recent history has had its share of missteps when it comes to our relationship with Mexico, which is why Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin and the seven legislators who traveled to Mexico City with him this year all deserve Hammers for hitting the reset button south of the border.

The speaker was joined by Rep. Tom Forese, Rep. Catherine Miranda, Rep. T.J. Shope, Rep. Karen Fann, Rep. Juan Carlos Escamilla and Rep. Lydia Hernandez. The bipartisan delegation was received warmly by everyone we met from Mexico’s executive and legislative branches, with everyone appreciating the genuine effort made by the bipartisan Arizona delegation to make clear that we view the Arizona-Mexico relationship as a special one characterized by friendship and trust.

Also deserving recognition are Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who led their own delegation to Mexico City this year. Both the mayors’ and the speaker’s trips drove home the potential benefits that could be gained by putting down deeper roots and elevating our presence in Mexico’s political and financial capital.

The Next Great Buddy Cop Tandem: Luis Gonzalez and me

I had the pleasure earlier this year of traveling to Guadalajara, Mexico with a delegation led by Mayor Stanton. As a big baseball fan, I was thrilled when I found out Luis Gonzalez was joining our group as a representative of the Diamondbacks.

By the time trip was over, I had been able to give Luis my keen insights on the improper use of closers, the proper execution of a suicide squeeze play, hidden ball tricks and when to pitch out against left-handed batters. I got the feeling there was some real chemistry there, the kind that a Hollywood screenwriter might want to tap into for the next buddy cop hit. I sense box office gold.

Most Versatile Player Award: Steve Macias

One of the reasons I love my job is because I get to work with an absolutely first class board of directors. The boards of the Chamber and the Arizona Manufacturers Council are comprised of some of the most outstanding leaders in their industries across the state.

One of these leaders is Steve Macias, the chairman of the AMC. Steve is the consummate champion for manufacturing in Arizona. As the president of Pivot Manufacturing, Steve knows the shop floor firsthand, which makes him such an effective advocate for this critical sector of Arizona’s economy.

Steve does it all for the Chamber. In addition to chairing the AMC, he’s always willing to serve as a master of ceremonies or moderator, and he’s an outstanding writer, providing insight through his occasional Made in Arizona columns. And the guy’s got a biting wit. He deserves a Hammer.

The Milton Friedman Rock Star of the Year Award: Bono

U2 frontman Bono has long been a champion of foreign and charitable aid to Africa as a means to alleviate poverty across the continent.  But in a speech at Georgetown this year, he said, “Aid is just a stopgap. Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid. We need Africa to become an economic powerhouse.”

Bono, your Chamber membership form and PAC solicitation are in the mail along with your Hammer.

Book of the Year: Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution
 
Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush and Goldwater Institute legal beagle Clint Bolick win the Hammer for their book Immigration Wars.

The book is an excellent piece of work, full of real, actionable solutions on the immigration front that could find themselves into the House’s immigration package.

Citizen Advocates of the Year: Linda Stanfield and Craig Barrett

One of them owns a plumbing franchise; the other is the former CEO of one of the world’s most respected tech companies. But both of them win a Hammer for stepping into the arena of public advocacy.

Linda Stanfield runs Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Arizona. She was the public face for TPT reform this year, testifying in committee hearings, appearing in campaign videos and standing alongside the governor at press conferences and, deservedly, at bill signing ceremonies. We need more Linda the Plumbers shaping policy in Arizona.

Craig Barrett heads Gov. Brewer’s Arizona Ready Education Council. He’s also the former CEO of Intel. If he wanted to, he could spend his days on a beach sipping mai tais, but instead he’s devoting his energy to ensuring that Arizona has an absolutely world-class education system, with high standards and expectations, accountable principals and teachers, engaged parents and students ready to learn.

Supreme Court Decision of the Year: Campaign contribution limits (award accepted by Rep. J.D. Mesnard)

Since it might seem unseemly to bestow state Supreme Court justices with the acclaim and notoriety that comes with a highly valued Hammer award, I’ll recognize state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, the architect of legislation that ushered in the modern era of political free speech in Arizona in a law recently upheld by the state’s highest court.

Also deserving recognition are attorney Mike Liburdi, who successfully argued in favor of the new contribution limits and Andy Gordon who, on behalf of the business community, filed an amicus brief that argued for the removal of aggregate limits on a candidate’s ability to accept PAC donations. Hammers all around!

Chairman of the Board: Rep. Tom Forese

Who needs a Hammer when you’ve got a gavel? Give Rep. Tom Forese a Hammer Award for expertly using his position as state House Commerce Committee chairman to hold informational hearings on topics that matter for Arizona’s economy. I was able to participate in his hearing on the state’s aerospace industry and the mining industry this year, and both were filled with outstanding content. There are true industry leaders in Arizona, and Rep. Forese deserves kudos for urging them share their knowledge with lawmakers.

From all of us at the Arizona Chamber, we wish you all the best this holiday season and in 2014.

Glenn Hamer is the 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.

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.

hispanic

The 25 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders

Benito Almanza
Arizona president
Bank of America
Born into a family of migrant workers, Almanza is now responsible for all lines of business efforts, community and civic activities in the state. The graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara has been with Bank of America for 30 years, working in California before moving to Arizona in 1992.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Hiring top talent and developing them to replace me someday.”
Surprising fact: “Growing up working with my family in the fields helped me better understand agribusiness banking.”

Marty Alvarez
CEO, principal in charge
Sun Eagle Corporation
Alvarez is founder of family-owned and operated Sun Eagle, one of the top minority-owned general contracting and construction management firms in the country. He has been a chair and officer for the Associated Minority Contractors of America since 1993.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That our well-constructed buildings improved the landscape, and our assistance to individuals and families improved lives.”
Surprising fact: “I have been involved with Shotokan Karate continuously for the past 39 years.”

Victor M. Aranda
Area president, Northern Arizona
Wells Fargo Arizona
Aranda manages six Wells Fargo Community Banking markets; Northeast Arizona, Central Arizona, White Mountains, North Phoenix, North Scottsdale and Scottsdale. He is responsible for 816 team members, 69 banking stores, and $4.1 billion in deposits. A 25-year financial services veteran, Aranda presently serves as a board member for Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Leadership Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “My passion in life is to add value to those I come in contact with.  What I would like to be remembered for is how I spent my life serving, helping and developing the leaders of tomorrow.”
Surprising fact: “I was involved and directed a church Spanish choir and I have also sang in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel.”

Tony Astorga
Retired CFO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Astorga recently retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona where he served as the Senior Vice President, CFO & CBDO since 1988. He currently serves as chairman of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is a member of the board of directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, AZHCC, ASU Foundation, CSA General Insurance Agency, Phoenix Art Museum, and US Bank Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered in my profession as a CPA and CFO for being a good mentor and for helping develop my staff in their work ethic and level of growth.”
Surprising fact: “I have a sweet tooth for twinkies or that my favorite movie is ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, I still laugh when I think about the movie”.

Miguel Bravo
Senior community development consultant
Arizona Public Service Company
Bravo is responsible for directing community development initiatives statewide to help serve diverse markets for APS. He also collaborates with economic development organizations to attract industry to Arizona. Bravo also serves the boards of Friendly House, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Center at Morrison Institute, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates.
His hope for his professional legacy: “For conducting business with integrity, purpose, passion; and for having a conviction for public service.”
Surprising fact: “I became a US Citizen in 2007. Having grown up in Arizona, this was one of my proudest moments.”

José Cárdenas
Senior vice president and general counsel
Arizona State University
Before joining ASU in 2009, Cárdenas was chairman at Lewis & Roca, where he became the first Hispanic to serve as managing partner of a major law firm in Arizona. A Stanford Law School graduate, Cárdenas has served on many boards and commissions and has received various awards.
His hope for his professional legacy: “As a good lawyer who served his clients and community well with the utmost integrity.”
Surprising fact: Cárdenas was involved with death penalty cases for more than 30 years.

America Corrales-Bortin
Co-founder
America’s Taco Shop
Corrales-Bortin grew up Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico, watching her mother prepare the dishes that would become the recipes for success at America’s Taco Shop. Founded in 2008, America’s authentic carne asada and al pastor quickly built a following that has led to rapid expansion and a partnership Kahala, a franchise development company. So far in 2013, America’s has already moved into California, Texas and Maryland.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As someone who has a passion for the food we serve at America’s Taco Shop.”
Surprising fact: “People would be surprised that I am named after a famous soccer team in Mexico.”

Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
In addition to leading the Hispanic Chamber, de la Melena Jr. operates the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the state’s leading advocate representing more than 100,000 minority business enterprises. De la Melena is also the Founder of edmVentures, LLC a small business investment company with holdings in Phoenix airport concessions at Sky Harbor International.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Helping small businesses succeed.”
Surprising fact: “I had the opportunity to do business in more than 30 countries before the age of 30.”

Robert Espiritu
Acquisition marketing
American Express
Espiritu’s diversified professional experience includes working for small business enterprises as well as corporate 100 businesses in the areas of sales, marketing and financial management. He has also been actively involved with various nonprofit organizations; most recently as the former chairman of the board for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Innovative and focused leader who delivers with energy and is known for building successful relationships and high performing teams.”
Surprising fact: “As a first generation American, I am passionate about helping aspiring and under-privileged youth achieve their dreams and advocating for Hispanic career advancement, education and scholarships.”

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick
Executive vice chancellor and provost
Maricopa Community Colleges
Harper-Marinick oversees all areas of academic and student affairs, workforce development, and strategic planning. She serves on several national and local boards including ABEC and AMEPAC, which she chairs.  Originally from the Dominican Republic, Harper-Marinick came to ASU as a Fulbright Scholar.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Passion for, and unwavering commitment to, public education as the foundation of a democratic society.”
Surprising fact: “The joy I get from driving fast cars.”

Julio Herrera
National Spanish Sales and Retention Director
Cox Communications
Herrera and his team work across markets and cross-functional departments to drive Spanish language sales and grow Cox’s Hispanic markets nationally. He also helped establish LIDER, a leadership program tailored for Hispanic team members looking for advancement opportunities in Phoenix and Southern Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Growing and improving the Hispanic customer experience and making a difference our communities.”
Surprising fact: “Spanish was my first language and I started my career in sales leadership at 18 ears old.”

Lori Higuera
Director
Fennemore Craig
Higuera defends, provides counsel and trains employers of all sizes. She’s a Southwest Super Lawyer, an employment law expert for the Arizona Republic/Arizona Business Gazette and is a recent recipient of the High-Level Business Spanish Diploma from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A skilled lawyer who elevated the practice by integrating the diverse perspectives of our community.”
Surprising fact: “I was fired from my first job as a Santa’s helper for being too social!”

Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
Associate dean, outreach and multicultural affairs
Professor of medicine (Tenured) and pathology, College of Medicine
Medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program
University of Arizona
López has a passion for addressing health inequities and human suffering. From clinical research with molecular targets to health services research, her work focuses on optimizing the health of individuals and communities.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Life is an opportunity to contribute. I hope to contribute, to make a difference.”
Surprising fact: “I love simple pleasures. Witnessing the daily miracle of the sun rising sustains me.”

Paul Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”
Surprising fact: “I’m seriously considering getting matching tattoos with my kids in the near future.”

Steve Macias
President and CEO
Pivot Manufacturing
Macias is a co-owner of Pivot Manufacturing, a Phoenix machine shop, chairs the Arizona Manufacturers Council, and is on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber. He is an active proponent of manufacturing in Arizona and a proud father of three boys.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Contributed in some small way to the sustainment of manufacturing in Arizona.”
Surprising fact: “In high school, I was the school mascot – a Bronco.”

Mario Martinez II
CEO
360 Vantage
Martinez is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of 360 Vantage, a leader in cloud-based sales and marketing technology solutions designed to solve the unique challenges of the mobile workforce in life sciences, healthcare and other industries.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would most like to be remembered for truly changing the lives of our clients, employees and our community in great and meaningful ways.”
Surprising fact: “I hosted a radio show during my college years.”

Clarence McCallister
CEO
Fortis Networks, Inc.
McAllister was born in Panama and earned his master’s in electrical engineering from ASU. In 2000, he and his wife started Fortis Networks, Inc., a certified 8a and HUBzone government contractor specializing in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Building a world-class organization that always exceeds our customers’ expectations.”
Surprising fact: “I did an emergency landing on a City of Mesa street.”

Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Managing shareholder
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
In addition to managing a law firm with 120 attorneys, Parga has been to Best Lawyers in America for the last four years. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading non-profit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I want to be remembered as always trying to do the right thing and having led with integrity.”
Surprising fact: “I was bullied until age 11, which drove me not only to strengthen my body, but my resolve.”

Hector Peñuñuri
Senior planning analyst
SRP
Peñuñuri is an Arizona native and has spent most of the past 15 years in the Customer Services Division at SRP.  He has served on several boards including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and LISC.  He was raised in the West Valley, and currently resides in Gilbert.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A trusted and valuable team member/leader; a communicator who understands the importance of sharing knowledge to help others.”
Surprising fact: “I’m a jack of all trades – woodworker, photographer, musician, outdoorsman and a decent cook when I put my mind to it.”

Dan Puente
Owner
D.P. Electric
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck. D.P. Electric now has more than 200 employees and generated more than $30 million in revenue in 2012, making it the biggest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A guy that is fair, honest, hard-working and gives back both personally and professionally.”
Surprising fact: “Professionally, that I do not have a college degree and personally, that I am a Bikram Yoga junkie.”

Marie Torres
Founder
MRM Construction Services
Torres is an Arizona native and built her business in the community that she grew up in. With more than 30 years experience in the construction field, she started MRM in 2002 and currently has more than 50 employees. The focus of her company has been in government contracting and has self performed airfield work at Luke AFB, MCAS Yuma and Davis Monthan.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As being technically competent.”
Surprising fact: “I don’t like to drive and I am happy as a passenger – even in my own car.”

Lisa Urias
President and CEO
Urias Communications
After 15 years in international marketing and communications, Urias founded Urias Communications to address the need for advertising and PR with a uniquely multicultural focus. Now an award-winning advertising, and PR agency, Urias Communications specializes in the multicultural markets of the U.S. Southwest, with concentration on the burgeoning Hispanic market.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Bridging the divide between corporations and the growing Hispanic community for mutual benefit and respect.”
Surprising fact: “I am a fourth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was the first Hispanic city councilman.”

Dawn C. Valdivia
Partner, chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group
Quarles & Brady
Valdivia is the chair of Quarles & Brady’s Labor and Employment Group in Phoenix. She regularly advises clients in all matters of labor and employment law and is skilled in complex litigation matters, including wage and hour class action litigation in Arizona and California.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A creative problem solver, committed to her clients and to giving back to the community.”
Surprising fact: “I love adventure — sky diving, gliding, scuba diving, helicopters, etc.”

Lorena Valencia
CEO
Reliance Wire
Valencia is the founder and CEO of Reliance Wire Systems, a wire and tubing manufacturing company she founded in 2000. She is also the founder and president of Magin Corporation — an eco-friendly wood pallet alternative company — and the FRDM Foundation.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Empowering children by building schools and libraries in impoverished countries through my FRDM Foundation.”
Surprising fact: “I put hot peppers on almost everything I eat. The hotter. the better.”

Roberto Yañez
Vice president and GM
Univision Arizona
Yañez is a 27-year broadcast television veteran, who has served 17 of those years with the Univision Television Group (UTG). Yañez has created various opportunities that helped build the station’s relationship with the community: Cadena de Gente Buena, El 34 Esta Aqui and Ya Es Hora.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Someone who used his craft to build bridges between the problem and the solution.”
Surprising fact: “Though Monday through Friday you will never see me without a suit and tie, I am most comfortable in boots, jeans and driving a pick-up truck.”

manufacturing

Regulations knock out production

Picture the slow motion shots of Rocky Balboa getting pummeled by Apollo Creed in the first of that eponymous series of boxing movies and you get the sense of what the economy — manufacturing and otherwise — is up against with regard to federal regulations.

In the course of one day last week, I interacted with people from three completely disparate industries, and the first item on the table of each casual discussion was what the new cost and time commitments would be to meet new federal government regulations.

First up was a customer meeting with a company that supports the oil and gas industry to discuss new traceability requirements put into place since the Gulf oil spill. While we can all agree the BP spill was a horrendous accident, the pendulum appears to have swung way too far the other way as the paperwork requirements for simple machined parts mean we now have to generate a half inch stack of documents that will add 20-25 percent to the cost of the part, which of course the customer does not want to pay, but is required by the government to have.

The second item of the day was a lunch meeting with a health care executive for a charitable event. We quickly became engrossed in the unseen paperwork costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. Their belief is that the added time, money, processes and people added to the system in order to comply with the regulations of the ACA will cause health care rates to jump significantly over the next 3-5 years as it is implemented, based purely on paperwork and systems – not healthcare – needs.

The last event of the day was attending an aerospace and defense supply management conference and dinner. In addition to the obvious talk of defense budgets and sequestration, the supply chain issue of the day was figuring out what to do about the new SEC rule requiring disclosure on the use of conflict minerals. As part of Dodd-Frank, this rule lays out a whole series of regulations on what to do and what must be filed if you used, did not use, knew, did not know, bought, contracted, processed, thought of, or looked at pictures of conflict minerals. Depending on your answer, independent audits may be required. So we’re now faced with not only the prospect of defense budgets being cut, potentially significantly, but now aerospace and defense companies are being asked to add another layer of non-value added work to the process.

Taken individually, each and every one of these mandates or regulations is certainly well meaning and in some cases needed. But when viewed from a cruising altitude, the totality of the regulations to the economy as a whole is stifling, which is especially troubling since we seem to always be a couple of tenths of a percentage point from teetering back into a recession.

As the new House and Senate is seated in DC, they must take stock of not only what effect each rule and regulation has on their particular hot point or constituency, but what it does to the economy as a whole and then truly question if yet another regulation is needed. Hopefully the ending to this movie is more like Rocky II. (Spoiler…Rocky wins.)

Steve Macias is the president of Pivot Manufacturing and the chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council. The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit http://www.nam.org/.