Tag Archives: technology

Green Innovation SRP Earthwise - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Green Innovation

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: SRP EarthWise

SRP has a wide variety of sustainable solutions that allow customers to reduce their carbon footprint and do their part to help save the environment. The SRP EarthWise programs are the first step in this process.

One program, EarthWise Energy, produces electricity from renewable resources like the sun, wind and water. Once the electricity is produced, it is sent to the SRP electric system for all customers to use. By using renewable power, there is less need to use fossil fuels. This program is offered to customers for an extra $3 per month. So far, EarthWise Energy has about 5,300 people participating.

Another SRP EarthWise program, EarthWise Solar Energy, allows customers to install solar electric or solar water systems in their homes or businesses for a reduced price. Businesses also can offset electricity usage with natural sources by joining the EarthWise Renewable Energy Credits program. SRP customers also are given the option to support reforestation through Trees for Change.

SRP EarthWise has several other programs that help the community take an active part in the movement to save energy. These programs include: EarthWise Solar for Schools; EarthWise Renewable Energy Credits; EarthWise Trees for Change; EarthWise Mowing Down Pollution; and EarthWise Powering Our Future.

www.srpnet.com


Finalist: Burgis Envirolutions
www.burgisenviro.com

Burgis Envirolutions is redefining the traditional composting process, and allowing food operators to effectively manage food waste with innovative green technology.

The Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative is a technology that converts food into a water waste that can be discharged or treated and reused in irrigation. The ORCA uses natural microorganisms and biochips to process and break down food on site.

The ORCA allows businesses to save time and money, while reducing their carbon footprint. Businesses will not have to pay for hauling fees or labor costs that come from disposing their food waste at compost locations. By making less trips hauling food, carbon emissions will be lowered.

The ORCA is offered in six sizes. It requires very little power and uses only a small amount of water, from 40 to 200 gallons depending on the machine size.

Burgis Envirolutions was awarded the 2009 Valley Forward/SRP Crescordia Award in Green Technology.


Finalist: Phoenix Children’s Hospital
www.phoenixchildrens.com

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is changing the way hospitals approach their responsibilities to the environment and their patients.



The Hospital recently spent $588 million to build an additional 11-story tower for patients. During construction the hospital was conscious of the design, construction and operations practices it used, and as a result the new building will use 20 percent less energy.

Phoenix Children’s most recognizable sustainability effort is the Central Energy Plant (CEP) that powers the hospital’s 34 acres. The CEP uses an 800-ton water-to-water heat pump chiller that saves 5.6 million gallons of water each year, and over the next 15 years the CEP is expected to save the hospital $11 million in energy and operating costs.

The hospital maintains a paperless policy, and sends materials to subcontractors through online distribution. Recycling is heavily emphasized and throughout the construction process more than 70 percent of the construction waste was recycled.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

General Dynamics Green Processes - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Green Processes

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: General Dynamics C4 Systems

Scottsdale-based General Dynamics C4 Systems is cutting costs and its environmental impact at the same time. The company has applied various sustainable practices to its Scottsdale facility and achieved almost $750,000 in cost savings annually.

General Dynamics C4 Systems develops and integrates secure communication and information systems and technology for businesses and governments. Although the company does not directly focus on green products, it is committed to becoming environmentally friendly. The company’s Environment, Health and Safety Policy states that it strives to reduce its impact on the environment and continues to pursue improvement.

General Dynamics C4 Systems certainly found a way to shrink its environmental impact at its research-focused, 1.5 million square foot Scottsdale campus, which houses more than 5,000 employees, visitors and contractors.
The site utilized sustainable ideas and practices on the road to becoming a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified facility. Through the certification process, General Dynamics C4 Systems replaced or reconditioned the existing structures to lessen the site’s environmental impact. Also, the Scottsdale campus has saved more than 1.4 megawatts of power simply by turning off thousands of devices when they are not in use.

General Dynamics C4 Systems also integrated green cleaning and maintenance practices into its operations. The company utilizes reusable cleaning materials and cleaning chemicals that are non-obtrusive. It also extensively re-uses construction materials, equipment and components. Plus, the campus has upgraded the lighting system at its LEED-certified site and converted completely to locally manufactured recycled paper products.

The company also integrated its Computerized Aided Facilities Management system into its construction and maintenance processes. This system tracks sustainable data such as materials, infrastructure capacity, energy impacts and indoor air quality at its Scottsdale campus.

Additionally, General Dynamics C4 Systems produces the maximum energy savings and extends the life of equipment by integrating building operations procedures with systems commissioning.

Not only is General Dynamics C4 Systems’ own site lessening its impact on the environment, the company strives to meet environmental and safety requirements as it designs and manufactures products and services for its customers.

www.gdc4s.com

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Alternative Energy Leaders Award - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Alternative Energy Leaders Award

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: CarbonFree Technology

CarbonFree Technology campaigns for the use of green energy solutions throughout the United States and North America. The company, which was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, is a solar power project developer. It helps businesses and institutional customers develop solar power solutions for their energy needs.

CarbonFree Technology’s 2009 merger with SolEquity allowed it to increase its potential. The company negotiated the first successful implementation of a solar power purchase agreement in Arizona. This deal allowed Arizona State University to create a leadership position in its sustainability programs through the financing of two solar rooftop top installation and one rooftop. These installations create more than 1.5 megawatts of solar power. The ASU solar installations also are a visual reminder of the power of creativity and environmental responsibility that CarbonFree Technology champions.

CarbonFree Technology recommends appropriate solar solutions and securs available government incentives based upon each individual project. The company’s other duties include managing project construction, arranging financing, finding contractors to build the system and arranging monitoring and maintenance for the life of the system.

CarbonFree Technology’s work has a beneficial impact on the environment and the economies of the communities in which it works. In addition to creating solar power, CarbonFree Technology also creates jobs with each solar power installation. Every installation requires workers for everything from installation and arranging permits to painting and maintenance.

www.carbonfreetechnology.com


Finalist: Green Fuel Technologies
www.greenfuelsolar.com

Green Fuel Technologies combined its original vision and market-savvy timing to become a leader in technology development and implementation.

At its inception in 1999, Green Fuel Technologies’ goal was to provide economically and environmentally conscious alternative energy sources to Arizonans.  In 2006, CEO John Casey and president Dustin Hamby decided to explore the green building industry.
Now, not only does the company consult on developing technologies like bio fuel, wind and solar thermal, but it also develops unique green power systems for its clients. Green Fuel Technologies works with existing structures as well as conceptual designs to integrate alternative energy sources.

The company is currently partnering with Coulomb Technologies to create a network of 4,000 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Southwestern United States by the end of 2010.  This partnership exemplifies Green Fuel Technologies’ key to long-term growth — bringing new energy technologies to the marketplace.


Finalist: Republic Services, Inc.
www.republicservices.com


Republic Services not only provides trash collection services, it also derives useable energy from its landfills. Headquartered in Phoenix with 34,000 employees in 40 states and Puerto Rico, Republic Services has continually striven to be an industry leader since its founding in 1998.

The company has 74 landfill gas-to-energy projects nationwide, in more than one-third of its landfills.  Landfill gas is methane produced by organic materials as it decomposes in landfills.  After it is captured, the gas can be converted to an alternative fuel source for cars or to generate heat, steam, and electricity, among other things.  These landfill gas-to-energy projects combine to produce the equivalent of removing four million cars from the road.

Landfill gas-to-energy projects have economic impacts as well as beneficial environmental impacts.  These projects create jobs for professionals from engineers to equipment vendors.  Along with the landfill gas conversion, the company continues to research, develop and implement environmentally friendly technologies.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

University of Arizona Customized Executive Education - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

University of Arizona Targets Niche Markets For Customized Executive Education

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona has a customized executive education program that targets highly skilled professionals with advanced degrees in the industries of medicine, bioscience and engineering, and who are called upon to lead key divisions within the company.

These leaders frequently have had little or no formal training in essential business concepts and strategies. This “gap” between technical expertise and business training is widely recognized by the executives affected. Customized executive education can be designed to successfully bridge this gap, and specifically target an organization’s unique learning goals and performance objectives. The Eller College business of medicine, business of bioscience, and business of technology programs present topics and address issues specific to the client organization.

All executive education certificate programs are categorized as non-degree. Many Eller College business of medicine programs qualify for Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for physicians, in partnership with University of Arizona Health Sciences.

Step 1: Exploratory meetings
The director of executive education meets with the organization’s executives and key stakeholders to review the company’s strategic goals and objectives. A preliminary needs assessment facilitates a better understanding of the company’s challenges, which leads to the identification of specific learning objectives. Based on the outcome of these meetings, a proposal outlining the suggested curriculum is presented for discussion and review. Once the proposal has been refined and the contract executed, the project moves into the development phase.

Step 2: Program development

The proposed curriculum is fleshed out in detail using Eller’s 3-Cs of customized executive education development: content, context and critical mass. The content of each session, or module, must be results-driven, i.e. what action, behavioral change or deliverable is the ultimate goal? Next, how can the material be given context through embedding unique/specific corporate data, projects or activities into the module design? The third C is critical mass. The college believes that in order to effect behavioral change, or create momentum strong enough to enhance and influence actions beyond the classroom, there must be sufficient participation to create consensus, as well as critical mass within that organization.

Eller executive education programs are designed for a minimum of 15 participants and a maximum of 50. Faculty and industry experts are selected based on their formal areas of expertise, as well as specific industry knowledge or experience particularly relevant to the audience. The client’s key stakeholders or planning team collaborates with the executive education team and UA faculty in developing the curriculum. Optimal results are achieved when instructors have ready access to key personnel within the organization during the development process for purposes of discussion and feedback. Also needed is access to pertinent data and internal reports relevant to the topics covered, and the overall learning objectives of the company. To ensure confidentiality, a non-disclosure agreement is put in place at the beginning of the development process.

Step 3: Program delivery

Custom programs are a minimum of one day in length and may be considerably longer based on the needs of the organization. Typical programs consist of multiple sessions or modules, with each module being one-and-a-half days to two days in length. Classes are dynamic and participatory; attendees engage in inter-session activities and exercises designed to transfer knowledge back into the organization after formal sessions are concluded. Participants are expected to complete advance readings prior to each session, and may be asked to complete specific activities following the module or between (multiple) modules. Classes may be conducted at either of the Eller College locations in Scottsdale or Tucson, or at a client-designated facility.

Step 4: Program feedback, evaluation and review

Following the conclusion of each module, program participants and other key stakeholders are asked to complete an evaluation designed to rate the process, instructors, content and deliverables. All evaluations and feedback, both formal and informal, are jointly reviewed by the Eller executive education team and the company’s management team. Specific activities or follow-up sessions are frequently assigned at the conclusion of each module to reinforce content, action items and deliverables.

Executive education as an investment

Customized executive education is an investment in a company’s single most important asset, its people. Every company is faced with the challenge of successfully developing, motivating and retaining top employees. This applies equally to current executives and high-potential individuals who are key to the company’s future success. An investment in executive education can pay significant dividends in many different ways, whether it is adding value that visibly impacts the bottom line or one that substantively enhances a company culture that believes in promoting excellence through continuing professional development.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

USA Energy Guide

Green News Roundup – Alternative Energy, USAEnergyGuide & More

I’m always on the lookout for developments in the local sustainability industry. USAEnergyGuide was started by three Arizona entrepreneurs passionate about the environment. Realizing that rebate and tax incentives are hard for consumers to navigate, they jumped at the opportunity to create a site that would be simple and user-friendly.

Originally only for Arizona residents, the site has recently expanded to include California and Texas with plans to add more states in the future. USAEnergyGuide is your free online source used to calculate rebates and savings that you can receive by switching to more sustainable forms of energy.

I had the pleasure of meeting with two of the company’s founders — Michael Barber, director of operations and Ken Bonham, director of business development — who took the time to answer a few questions I had about their company.

What led to the creation of USA Energy Guide?
One of our Founders was going through the process of researching how much it would cost to install solar panels on their home, how much they would save on a monthly and yearly basis and what the tax incentives and rebates were, but couldn’t find a site that answered all these questions. So, we sat down and mapped out how we could make this process easier for consumers.

What challenges did you encouter and how were these overcome?
Similar to many startups we had the classic chicken and egg scenario. In order for the company to be successful, we needed installers who matched our qualification criteria and qualified leads (consumers) who were interested in being contacted by these installers. We worked to introduce ourselves to every installer in the markets we served so they could understand how we could help them be successful and also focused on connecting to consumers via social media. Along the way, various local media outlets stumbled across our site and did stories on us. The press stories and word of mouth helped us overcome both these initial challenges.

What are the company’s full line of  services?
For consumers, we provide simple ways to understand how much money alternative energy would save them, what rebates and incentives are available in their geographic area and all associated rebates for the products they are interested in. For installers, we provide leads to consumers and business owners who are qualified and ready to purchase these products.

What is your favorite aspect of the industry/company?
Our favorite aspect of the sustainability and alternative energy industry is that it is rapidly expanding and changing every day. There are new advances in solar technology and energy efficiency regularly, and more and more consumers are trying to understand how they can minimize their impact on the environment. This makes every day different and pushes our team to understand how we can help both our customers — installers and consumers — reach their goals.

What kind of a role do you think sustainability plays in today’s Arizona economy?
Right now, the sustainability industry in Arizona is only in its infancy. As costs for alternative energy technology decrease and consumers’ interest in living a greener lifestyle increase, the industry has nowhere to go, but up. However (and this is big however), the industry’s Achilles heel is support from local, state and federal governments. Without broad based government support to spur continued growth, the industry could die a quick death.

What has been the company’s greatest achievement to date?
From the beginning our greatest achievement has been providing information to consumers they couldn’t easily find before. Along with this, it’s the stories we hear from people who have used our site, found qualified installers and are now enjoying solar panels or solar water heaters in their home.

What are your future plans for the company?
While we have been primarily focused on the solar and energy efficiency industries, the sustainability industry goes well beyond those two verticals. We have big plans to not only expand the site beyond those verticals, but become a community where visitors can find a wealth of information across a wide variety of sustainability topics, both on a national and local level.

www.usaenergyguide.com

Green News Roundup, Recycling Cigarettes, Solar and More

Green News Roundup – High-Efficiency Solar Projects & More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about recycling cigarette butts, high-efficiency solar projects and more.

Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

A Call to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Every get annoyed by the countless cigarette butts that line every crevice of the sidewalks, roads, etc? Well fear not, a solution for this nuisance may be in the works! When New York State Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker received a suggestion for a cigarette butt recycling program from a constituent he admittedly “had a little chuckle” at first. Luckily, he didn’t dismiss the idea until he did a little research on it. Turns out scientists in China had discovered that “soaking cigarette butts in water creates a solution that can protect steel pipes used by the oil industry from corroding.” And that’s not all! A designer in Brazil cleans cigarette butts and spins them with sheep wool into clothes while an inventor in Ohio has a patent pending to turn cigarette butts into sealants and adhesives. Pretty impressive for something that most of us would assume is hardly fit to be recycled. Who knows what else may be on the horizon?

Victorville Campus to Unveil High-Efficiency Solar Project
A new high-efficiency solar project has been revealed at Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif. The school’s new 1-megawatt plant will utilize concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV. The technology is claimed to generate more energy at lower costs while using less open space. The plant will sit on a six-acre dirt plot in Victorville and will provide 30 percent of the campus’ power. This $4.5-million facility will be the largest of its kind in North America.

Oil Spill in the Mangroves is a Disgusting, Sticky Mess
Guest blogger Philippe Cousteau, chief correspondent for Planet Green shared his up close and personal accounts of the BP oil spill while reporting from Grand Isle, Louisiana. His reports show a sobering reality of the effects as they hit close to home. After visiting with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fish Department he learns that oil has made its way into the mangroves. This means that some of the most fragile wetland habitats in the world are at serious risk.

First Job: Steven G. Zylstra, President And CEO Of Arizona Technology Council

Steven G. Zylstra
President and CEO, Arizona Technology Council

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
I picked blueberries at Pottegetter’s Blueberry Farm in Allendale, Mich., with my parents when I was about 10 years old. It was hard work for a 10-year-old, but I learned that with hard work you could earn good money and buy the things you wanted in life. I earned enough money to buy an eight-transistor radio. The first song I remember listening to on my transistor radio was “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits, which was popular at the time.

I had dozens of jobs as a kid: topping onions, cutting celery, weeding pickles, butchering chickens, cleaning exotic bird cages, shoveling snow, inspecting eggs, selling seeds, delivering Grit newspaper, bus boy. I was a truck driver in my late teens. All of these opportunities taught me the value of hard work and ultimately helped me realize I could do more with a good education.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
My first job out of college was as a design engineer at the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. I had the opportunity to participate in a two-year graduate training program at Ford that was originated by Henry Ford. I had eight, three-month stints across the company in areas such as development, engine engineering, the Dearborn stamping and assembly plants at the Rouge, and body engineering. I even did a stint in product planning and had an office next to William Clay Ford Jr., the future chairman and CEO of Ford.

I learned the value of going above and beyond and trying to always exceed expectations. As a consequence of positive performance reviews while in the program, our vice president of advanced vehicle development recommended me for positions at Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp. in California at the time things got rough in the auto industry in the early ‘80s. That led me to spend the next 20 years of my career in the aerospace and defense industry.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
Picking blueberries in 1964 paid 5 cents a pound. In my first job at Ford in 1978, I made $18,000 a year — more than my Dad, who grew up on a farm and attended school through eighth-grade had earned in any year prior to that.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
I never really had a mentor per se, just role models. My father was a role model. He is still the hardest-working person I have known. I got my work ethic from my Dad. I had a high school girlfriend whose father was a role model. Beyond that, what pushes me is an internal drive to excel at whatever I do.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
After getting a great education, do what you love. People are always better at things they enjoy doing. I have always enjoyed going to work. I find it rewarding, invigorating. Always be honest and ethical. Don’t ever accept mediocre; pursue excellence. Always exceed everyone’s expectations — yourboss’, your colleagues’, your customers’, everyone. It will serve you well. Have fun!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I have always wanted to own a Harley-Davidson dealership (maybe a good retirement gig!). While often a lonely place, I like the challenges and rewards of having the top leadership position in an organization. I would enjoy serving as the CEO of many things, especially private companies, not-for-profits and trade associations. I would love to be a golf pro on the tour … if only I had the skill.


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

The Valley’s Health Care Industry Held Its Own During The Recession And Looks Toward Expansion In The Recovery

In an economic downturn that has plunged Arizona into its worst financial crisis in decades, one sector of the state’s economy that remains vibrant and growing is the health care industry. Consider recent developments driven primarily by population growth: the Creighton University partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; the newly opened Cardon Children’s Medical Center, a Banner Health facility in Mesa; the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center scheduled to open in Gilbert in late 2011; and a major expansion of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The academic affiliation between Omaha-based Creighton and St. Joseph’s will bring nearly 30 percent of Creighton’s medical students to Phoenix for two years of clinical studies. Since 2005, Creighton has sent relatively few medical school students to St. Joseph’s for one-month rotations. Under the new agreement, 42, third-year Creighton students will arrive at St. Joseph’s in 2012 and in 2013, for a total of 84 students on the new campus, to be known as the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Creighton will provide an associate dean and several administrative support staff, but faculty instructors will be St. Joseph’s doctors and other medical personnel.

Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona, president of St. Joseph’s and chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Healthcare Leadership Council, says the goal is to retain many of the students in Arizona for residency and eventually have them set up practices here.

“We’re a large population and when you compare us to the rest of the country we have to import our physicians,” Hunt says. “We need the capacity to educate and to care for more of the population.”

The Cardon Children’s Medical Center, which opened Nov. 9, provides comprehensive pediatric care for children. The facility has 248 beds and works with 225 physicians. Top specialties include cancer, neurology, emergency services, surgery, and a level-III neonatal intensive care unit.

“Children often need special help coping with acute and chronic illness,” says Peter Fine, Banner Health president and CEO. “We know Cardon Children’s Medical Center will make a difference in the lives of countless children and their families. Its opening will offer a new option for outstanding pediatric care that is clearly needed by the Valley’s growing population.”

Meanwhile, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center joined forces with Banner Health on Dec. 1, launching construction of a facility intended to deliver an unprecedented level of cancer care to patients in Arizona. Along with treating cancer patients, M. D. Anderson, based in Houston, also offers access to therapeutic clinical research exploring novel treatments.

Fine calls the relationship with M.D. Anderson “a major milestone in the vision of our two organizations to provide access to a new level of cancer care in Arizona.”

The $107 million, 76-bed center will be a 120,000 square foot, three-story building focusing on outpatient services, including physician clinics, medical imaging, radiation oncology, infusion therapy and many support services. Inpatients will be treated on two floors inside Banner Gateway Medical Center.

“M.D. Anderson is not and will not be something similar to what exists in the Phoenix market today,” Fine says. “We are bringing the No. 1 cancer center in the country to Arizona and to have them run it as closely as is possible. There will be significant amounts of automation tying in all their clinicians in this marketplace to clinicians in their Houston campus. For research purposes, protocol purposes, they will in essence be one clinical business on two campuses.”

In 2008, Phoenix Children’s Hospital broke ground on a $588-million expansion that includes an 11-story patient tower scheduled for completion by 2012. As of December 2009, Phase I marked its halfway point, was on-budget and on-schedule. The project will increase the number of its licensed beds to 626 from 345.

Bob Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, says research indicates Maricopa County has more than 1 million children today and by 2025, an additional 500,000 to 700,000 youngsters will be living in the Greater Phoenix area.

“If you believe those numbers,” Meyer says, “deficits in pediatric capacity are astounding. Estimates are that we will be short 800 pediatric beds by 2025, and short about 400 pediatric specialists.”

Another key reason for the expansion, Meyer says, is that the existing hospital building, which was built in the late 1960s, does not have the floor-to-ceiling height to accommodate today’s newer technology.

Dr. William Crist, vice president of health affairs at the University of Arizona, says the ongoing expansion projects in Greater Phoenix really are thoughtful plans for growth and development of service for a city that’s expanding markedly — even though that growth has leveled off because of the recession.

Crist cites the aging baby boomer generation as the reason for an increasing need in expanded adult medical care.

“Potentially, most cancer occurs in older individuals,” Crist says. “The aging of our population is made possible by advances in health care. It keeps you alive long enough to develop chronic illnesses.”

www.creighton.edu | www.stjosephs-phx.org | www.bannerhealth.com | www.mdanderson.org | www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.arizona.edu


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

IT Leaders Are Taking On A New Role As Companies Gear Up For Recovery

Who should CEOs increasingly turn to when they need to formulate modern business strategies that can generate new service revenues, cut across organizational boundaries, reduce costs, enhance productivity — and reach out to customers anywhere in order to deliver anything?

There’s a strategy Dream Team that likely exists right under CEOs’ noses. It’s a team primed to deal with what is being frequently called the emerging “freedom economy.”

Leaders in the areas of services marketing, IT and supply chain management comprise this new Dream Team, although they’re all often so busy they don’t have much time to have a meeting of the minds. But it is high time for CEOs to empower this team and engage their talents as new strategies are being formulated.

It’s pretty obvious to most product-oriented companies that services are an increasingly important revenue stream, so their services marketing leaders have to be front and center with their customer-centric focus. And it’s commonsense that agile and cost-effective supply chain leadership is a key to profitability, so new deployment and delivery issues related to goods and services should be placed in their trustworthy hands. But putting an IT leader on the dream team? Why now?

IT has been going through some major changes lately. IT leaders’ pain points already have generated calloused understandings of what it takes to deliver service (both internally and externally), leverage interorganizational relationships (some of them off-shore), reduce costs, improve the organization’s productivity and get information to where it needs to be to support company agents and customers before, during and after a product sale or a service encounter.

What most people don’t know is that the very systems and applications IT leaders are managing are undergoing significant change. Computing cycles are becoming virtualized, which means raw computation horsepower is now being outsourced. Even data is being managed and massaged in outsourced clouds. And the software itself is becoming service-oriented, meaning that applications are becoming compositions of interleaved executions — some internal to the organization and some running externally that are being out-tasked at the blink of an eye.

The new cell phone mantra — “I’ve got an app for that” — has become a rallying cry for what internal and external customers of IT capabilities expect today, and IT leaders are rapidly learning to respond. IT leaders are accustomed to managing relationships where the choice to switch, engage, disengage and negotiate are time dependent and customer-driven; i.e., they understand the emerging freedom economy.

The environment for IT leaders has changed so much that many now describe their role as serving as a “conductor.” This conjures images of a person standing on a podium waving a baton to orchestrate an ensemble of various instruments to deliver a classical masterpiece. It’s similar, but for the IT leader, the instrumentation has different levels of granularity. For example, an entire division’s IT operations might be outsourced or just one code component might be out-tasked. The conductor’s baton must be able to address broad and sweeping changes and relationships — and still be able to focus on even the smallest atom of syncopated execution. With this complexity, the IT leader role has emerged as one where partnerships are in a constant state of flux, governance processes must be correspondingly agile, and high levels of service must be maintained.

Calling on a Dream Team of leaders from services marketing, supply chain management and IT may not be all that new to many organizations that have been figuring out ways to cut costs to deal with today’s economy. But calling on the same team to help a company emerge successfully in the new market climate characterized by the freedom economy will be a long term make-or-break fact of organizational life.

Consider that latest app you just downloaded to your iPhone or Droid; you’re defining its context for value based on when you want it and where you are using it. You expect an excellent service encounter that will put a smile on your face when your app does its thing, and you expect the freedom to deal with a provider that in reality may be a complex chain of organizational collaborations. And another thing; You expect the execution of that app to be conducted in such a manner that the response is instantaneous, while the intricacies are hidden so you can delight in what the service does for you right now.

Underneath the marketing and chain management that is required to bring you that delight, there’s an IT conductor who has orchestrated the capability to jam out the behind-the-scenes core. That leader is sort of like the unsung hero of the Dream Team, but it’s an essential role that must be revered in order to engage in the harsh realities of the freedom economy.


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010

Green World

Green News Roundup-Sustainable Haiti, Economic Development & More

The catastrophic events that have stricken the people of Haiti demonstrate — quite lamentably — that in a world of nanotechnology, Google-enabled mobile phones, double tall soy lattes, and proposed universal healthcare, there remain societies on the brink of social, economic, and environmental collapse. For comparison sake, recall the 1989 earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area; a 7.0 geological shift took the lives of 63 people. The same magnitude befell the people of Haiti on Jan. 12; while estimates vary, 100,000 could be dead. That is half of the population of the City of Tempe.

International aid organizations have begun to alleviate immediate suffering; there has been a nationally televised charity concert where people could “text-message” help from the comfort of their own home; myriad countries have sent physical and monetary support. However, there remains a normative question that should be on our minds:

What should we do to ensure a more sustainable Haiti, in the future?

Consider these:

Expand education efforts:

In a nation where 38 percent of the population is under the age of 14, developing intellectual capital will allow good ideas to originate, blossom, and be implemented in a country that is in dire need of them.

Economic development and investment:

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. By advancing an equitable combination of foreign direct investment, NGO/nonprofit work, and domestic revenue producing opportunities we can ensure that Haitians are placed on a path of economic self sufficiency;

Further micro-lending networks and opportunities to allow access to entrepreneurial capital and development. Jobs starting from bottom up will empower individuals and reduce the economic stratification that is rampant in the country.

Establish legitimate governance systems:

Haiti’s government has utilized 8,000 U.N. peacekeepers to maintain some semblance of order and control since 2004. While a future government does not have to be a veritable paragon of representative democracy and efficiency, the people of Haiti deserve a government that will work — vigorously and in earnest — to advance their well-being. Imagine there were a comprehensive and enforced modern building code prior to the earthquake; would Haiti have fared more like San Francisco?

The world is not a mutually exclusive place anymore. We, a global people, are connected to one another in innumerable ways. As such, we need to demonstrate our solidarity and resolute commitment to creating a more sustainable Haiti. I challenge you to ask what else you, your business, organization, or nonprofit can contribute towards the economic, social, and environmental revitalization of Haiti.

Let’s start a thoughtful and innovative conversation about how businesses, organizations, and nonprofits can move beyond status-quo assistance and be truly entrepreneurial and ground-breaking in their aid. I look forward to making positive change happen, together.

Barbara Lockwood, APS

Valley Forward: Barbara Lockwood

Barbara Lockwood
Director of Renewable Energy
Arizona Public Service
www.aps.com

Barbara Lockwood is a chemical engineer who doesn’t consider herself an environmentalist at heart, yet there she is — director of renewable energy for Arizona Public Service.

“It’s not something that’s innate in me,” Lockwood says about the environment. “I got into it from a business perspective. What makes sense to me is that we as a global economy are all tied together on one planet. What truly makes the world go around is our businesses and our connections. Accordingly, to sustain that and be viable long term we must do everything we can to protect and sustain the Earth. I truly believe our businesses run our society.”

At APS since 1999, Lockwood is responsible for renewable energy programs, including generation planning, customer programs and policy. Lockwood began her career in the chemical industry at E.I. DuPont de Nemours in various engineering and management roles on the East Coast. Later she moved into consulting and managed diverse projects for national clients throughout the country.

Lockwood, who joined Valley Forward in 1970 and now is a member of the executive committee, holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Clemson University and a master of science in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“I’m a chemical engineer and I stepped into the environment right out of college,” Lockwood says. “It was a hazardous waste treatment operation.”

Although much has changed since Lockwood launched her professional journey, “renewable energy was a natural progression of my career.”

All sources of renewable energy, including solar, wind and biomass, should remain part of Arizona’s energy portfolio, she says. Lockwood mentions a biomass operation near Snowflake that generates electricity primarily by burning woody waste material from nearby national forests.

Lockwood calls Arizona “the best solar resource in the world,” and expects greater use of that renewable energy in the years ahead.

“We’re definitely working on that,” she says. “Solar is the resource of choice in the sunny Southwest.”

The main benefit of renewable energy is what you don’t see.

“It reduces polluting emissions because it is a clean source of fuel, and it offers a stable price,” Lockwood says. “What’s more, it can create jobs in Arizona.”

Lockwood touts APS’ Green Choice Programs as a way to improve the environment. Green Choice involves such things as converting to compact fluorescent light bulbs, renewable energy resources such as solar and wind, and high-efficiency air conditioning.

She also touts APS.

“The company is committed to renewable energy, and I came here because of that reputation,” Lockwood says.

Dell Mini Notebooks

Netbooks Are Becoming A Crucial Device For Business Executives

Less is more. While the adage might not apply to the appeal of an all-you-can-eat buffet, it certainly explains the recent netbook phenomena. Netbooks are small portable computers designed specifically for Web access and word processing. With screens between 7 to 12 inches, the mini-PCs typically weigh around two pounds at a price averaging around $400. These miniature computers have stimulated a previously lethargic PC market and enhanced electronic usage for users.

The power, portability and price have supported the mainstream adoption of netbooks, which expect to reach nearly 22 million in shipments in 2009. In fact, a survey conducted by Retrevo, a technology review Web site, reported that one-third of students plan to purchase a netbook. With the anticipated sales from students, the netbook would dethrone Apple’s Macbook, a product that has traditionally dominated the education market.

Students are not the only ones using netbooks. The lightweight and sleek design of the netbook has attracted business executives. The product has fallen into the laps of business executives who log onto their netbooks as a practical and portable electronic companion. The growing adoption of netbooks by business executives has shown that this device is more than just a fad. Some business executives believe they have not even scratched the surface of the netbook’s capabilities and are eager to include them more often in their business practices.

Alan Farber, CEO of Scottsdale-based Buildproof, recently purchased and fell in love with his netbook, an 11.6-inch Aspire 1 by Acer. Farber’s company provides a secure payment and project management system for home remodeling and construction projects. Lately, Buildproof has been working with governmental agencies to provide its system for managing contractors. While traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet government officials, Farber relied on his netbook for its dependability and flexibility. His travel preparations have become much simpler. Farber says he can grab his 8GB memory stick, load his files, and toss his netbook in his bag.

At first glance, netbooks seem like dwarfed versions of notebooks; however, netbooks feature unique functions that distinguish them from notebooks. Netbooks contain built-in Wi-Fi and standard Bluetooth connections to support Web access on the go. Installed with either Windows XP or Linux, netbooks allows users to perform basic functions such as checking e-mail, using Skype, creating documents and organizing spreadsheets. In addition to Web access and word processing, netbooks offer convenience with their element-resistant design.

With a low RAM, netbooks are not suited for complicated graphic processing. Most importantly, netbooks do not include an optical drive or Ethernet port, so users will need to invest in separate hardware such as a USB connected drive to use CDs. Netbooks also require some technical skills to adopt external drives to replace the nonexistent optical drive.

The size and power of the netbook can also be a setback.

“The screen size can make it difficult. I squint a lot while viewing e-mails,” Farber says. The miniature size limits the power of the speakers, which makes using Skype challenging for Farber. He also notes that battery life seems limited.

“You can get an extended battery, but that seems to defeat the purpose,” he says.

Accustomed to traditional notebooks, Farber expected his netbook to be difficult to configure. His netbook quickly challenged his expectations.
“It was a piece of cake to set up,” he says.

Farber also anticipated floundered typing due to the cramped size of the keyboard, and yet again he was corrected.

“It was an easy transition from a full notebook,” he adds. “I was quite surprised.”

Nearly every PC maker has incorporated netbooks into their product lines. In 2008 alone, netbooks garnered approximately 16 million sales in North America, which is not bad for a two-year old category. In order to expand the market, PC makers have developed netbooks with ambiguous distinctions between netbooks and notebooks, such as a larger size and more power.

Additionally, the distinctions between the smart phone and netbooks are also vague. Critics of netbooks often note that smart phones have similar features and more functions than netbooks. Although they enable Web browsing, document editing and the useful phone call, smart phones do not have the same comfort and power of netbooks — and mobile phone manufacturers definitely have noticed. In January, AT&T announced the development of a netbook that can access the Web with just a cell signal. With a two-year contract, AT&T’s netbook could cost as low at $99. The convergence of netbook and mobile markets also has interested Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who announced in August that Nokia plans to explore the netbook market. The interest from mobile phone producers such as AT&T and Nokia suggests greater potential for netbooks to become an integral device for business executives.

Farber recommends the netbook to any business executive.

“It is an absolutely fantastic resource to supplement a regular notebook or desktop,” he states, but he advises against replacing a notebook or desktop with a netbook due to the limited memory and battery. “For an executive, the netbook is an excellent supplement for travel.”

Table & Chairs alone don't make a workspace comfortable

You Need More Than A Table And Chairs To Make A Conference Room Inviting And Efficient

A 2005 Microsoft Corp. survey of personal office productivity found that people spend an average of 5.6 hours each week in meetings. That meeting time may be spent in a well designed, comfortable conference space. Or it can be in an uncomfortable chair with no plug for the laptop or light to read presentation notes, or with the sun glaring in your face. It is only then that we wonder, did anyone think about the comfort and utility of this space?

Anne Elizabeth Hamilton and architect Nathan Leblang, AIA, both with the architectural and design firm of Orcutt Winslow Partnership, have given conference rooms plenty of thought. In fact, they recently finished designing new administrative offices for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, which included conference and meeting space. Here are their thoughts on creating a conference room:

Corporate culture
Think about the culture of your organization. Is there a need for privacy and separation or does your work style favor an open and team-oriented space? The level of visual and acoustic privacy should also be considered. Does the space need to be “dressed to impress” or do you want to create a level of comfort and informality? The company’s identity/culture should be clearly communicated so the space can reflect and showcase that identity to visitors.

Room size and shape

Design always impacts function. A room’s proportions — the height and the width of the room — are important. If a room is small and cramped, it cannot serve a large number of people. If a room is too large, it’s like having an intimate lunch in a train station. A large room needs a higher ceiling to “breathe” or it feels claustrophobic and oppressive. Lighting, color and window walls can make a small room feel spacious.

Tables and seating
Integrate flexibility wherever possible. Tables should be designed to work together or pull apart depending upon the use of the space. Estimate the average number of people who might be using the space. Every person who attends the meeting may not need a seat at the table, and benches or chairs along the sides may provide additional seating. Many conference room tables today are “sight-line” tables, which allow each participant to have a good view to a front screen and create a definite front-of-room layout. Storage space in large conference rooms for chairs, tables or equipment also should be considered.

Materials and lighting
The selection of materials impacts the toxicity of a room. It’s important to select nontoxic laminates, cabinets without formaldehyde, carpet without off-gassing VOCs (volatile organic compounds), “green” paint and wall coverings.

Provide as much natural light as possible, as long as it can be controlled for glare. Avoid placing windows behind a speaker podium or where a presenter will be standing. A comprehensive light plan includes low-energy, high-output lighting with good lighting over the table, flexibility in lighting control to separate perimeter lighting, task lighting, and accent art lighting. Automatic turn-off when the room is not occupied is an available and essential extra. Drop-down electric shades with perforated material for transparency and a second roller for room darkening can add drama by timing all the shades to drop together. Coordinate this with dimming lighting controls to set an anticipatory mood for a presentation.

Technology
The interface between technology and room design is critical. A room that works great otherwise won’t be used if there isn’t a sound system to allow people to hear the presentation or if there are no outlets integrated into the table or floor space to plug in laptops and projectors. Provide connections in the center of the table or in recessed junction boxes in the floor below the table for electrical/data/Internet. Place ceiling speakers throughout a large conference room to distribute sound.

You also can have built-in, ceiling-mounted projectors. For video and Web conferencing and presentations, ceiling-mounted screens, LCD TVs, white boards, wall-mounted chart holders and teleconferencing systems integrate cleanly into well-designed spaces.

DATOS 2009 annual expert analysis of the role and impact of Latino businesses and consumers on the state’s economy

Comprehensive Information On Hispanics In Arizona

On Nov. 18, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, will release DATOS 2009, an annual expert analysis of the role and impact of Latino businesses and consumers on the state’s economy.

For nearly 15 years, DATOS has provided insight into issues ranging from the purchasing power of the Hispanic market to its prevalence in various segments of private industry. This year’s edition again provides detailed information on the Hispanic population’s growing impact on the economy. The report takes months to complete, with research overseen by Louis Olivas, professor emeritus at W.P. Carey.

The following is a summary of the key findings presented in DATOS 2009. The project is funded by SRP.

Hispanic Business
There are more than 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States with a combined revenue approaching $465 billion. Arizona is home to more than 35,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.

Nearly two out of every five Hispanic-owned businesses in Arizona is a sole proprietorship and 67 percent are family-owned. More than one-third of Arizona’s Hispanic-owned businesses have annual revenues above $500,000, and the median household income among Arizona’s Hispanic business owners is $76,400.

Purchasing Power
The purchasing power of the Hispanic market commands attention. In 2008, Hispanics accounted for 8.9 percent of all U.S. buying power, up dramatically from 5 percent in 1990. In total, U.S. Hispanics control $951 billion in spending power, and by 2013 this figure is projected to reach $1.386 trillion. In Arizona, Hispanics account for 16 percent of the total state’s buying power, leading Arizona to rank fourth among all states for its concentrated Latino consumer market.

Hispanic Consumers
When it comes to marketing, Hispanic consumers have diverse attitudes. Often, an individual’s language preference is a key determinant in their perceptions of advertisements and products. Understanding more about Hispanics’ household composition, financial resources, homeownership rates, methods of telecommunication and product preferences are all essential to developing loyal consumers. For example, did you know that Latinos nationwide were responsible for buying 297 million movie tickets in the past year, compared to 150 million tickets for African Americans and 155 million for all other ethnicities combined?

Technology

The Hispanic population is embracing new media and other technology at a promising rate. Fifty-two percent of the Hispanic population is now online, representing 23 million users nationwide. Internet use is far greater among English-dominant and bilingual Latinos than Spanish-dominant Latinos, suggesting tremendous room for growth. Eight percent of second-generation Latinos and 89 percent of college-educated Latinos go online. In addition to downloading music, uploading photos, and researching products, online news is also popular among Latino Internet users. While online, at least 80 percent said they read the news at least once per month.

Cellular use is also notably high among Latinos. Hispanics are more likely than white non-Hispanics to buy the latest phones, upgrade them faster and use special features. Hispanic adults ages 18-34 use an average of 1,200 cell phone minutes per month, compared to 950 minutes for the general population. They are also more likely to use features such as text messaging and music downloading.

In addition to cell phone use, online social networking is another sign of high social connectedness among Latinos. Forty percent of Hispanics maintain profiles on sites such as MySpace, Facebook or MiGente, a trend that is likely to explode as more Latinos hit their teens and young adulthood.

Media

Arizona contains some major Hispanic media markets. According to Nielsen Media Research, Phoenix ranks eighth for Hispanic TV household markets. Print media is also alive and well in the Hispanic community. The vast majority of Hispanic adults (82 percent) read Hispanic newspapers, and the same proportion pass them on to at least one other person. Among Hispanics aged 25-34, 25 percent have called or visited a store in response to an advertisement.

U.S. Latino Population
As a proportion of total U.S. population growth, Hispanics accounted for 51.6 percent of that growth. This is predominantly the result of births to the existing population rather than immigration; six out of 10 Hispanics were born in the United States. Larger average household size (3.6 for Arizona Hispanics versus 2.7 for all Arizona residents) is another contributing factor.

Over the next four decades, the number of minority workers in the U.S. labor force will grow from 32 percent to 55 percent, with the greatest increase coming from Hispanics. The country as a whole will benefit from the productivity, purchasing power, taxes, and Social Security contributions of Hispanic workers.

AZ Population
Arizona ranks fourth among all states for the largest percentage of Hispanic residents. In 2007, 1.9 million Latinos accounted for 30 percent of Arizona’s total population.

Maricopa County in particular has experienced tremendous growth in the Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2007, it ranked second (after Los Angeles County) for the largest increase in Hispanic population. Mirroring the nation, the majority of these Arizona Hispanics are U.S.-born (63 percent).

The median age of Hispanics in Arizona is 25, compared to 42 for the white non-Hispanic population, and the median household income is $40,476, compared to $55,554 for the white non-Hispanic population. Given the youthfulness of the Hispanic population, Arizona Latinos are certain to increase in number and purchasing power over the next few decades.

Birth and Fertility

In 2007, Hispanic births accounted for 25 percent of all births in the United States. Teen pregnancy is still a major issue facing the Latino community, but between 1991 and 2004, the birth rate for Hispanic teens fell 21 percent. Clearly, the relative youth of Hispanics will continue to impact future fertility patterns in the United States and Arizona. The Hispanic fertility rate in Arizona exceeds the U.S. Hispanic fertility rate. From 1987 to 2007, the number of Hispanic births in Arizona has increased 211 percent.

Growth trend

The Hispanic population in the United States has increased by 11 million since 2000, and Arizona ranks fourth among states for the largest percentage of Hispanics (30 percent). In the 2008 presidential election, Hispanics voted in record numbers, demonstrating growing civic engagement and a vested interest the country’s future. Specifically, 50 percent of Hispanics turned out to vote, an increase of 2.7 percent from the 2004 presidential election. And Hispanics are voting with their pocketbooks and mouse-clicks as well. Sixty percent of 18- to 34-year-old Latinos and 76 percent of U.S.-born Latinos access the Internet. During a recent 12-month period, the average amount spent online by a Latino in Phoenix was $831.

Hispanics Trend Young

One of the defining characteristics of the Hispanic population is its youthfulness. The median age of Hispanics in the United States was only 27.7 in 2008, compared to 36.8 for the total population. Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics are under the age of 35.

Furthermore, 25 percent of the nation’s children under age 5 are Hispanic. For all children under 18, 44 percent are non-white.

The median age of Hispanics in Arizona is 25, compared to 42 for the white non-Hispanic population. U.S.-born Hispanics’ median age is only 16, which means that half of these native-born Hispanics are not old enough to drive, vote or consume alcohol. However, they will be soon. And they are at a formative stage in their lives when core values and social and consumer habits are being influenced and developed.

Lifetime fertility for Hispanic women has been 45-47 percent higher than for white non-Hispanic women. From 1987 to 2007, the number of Hispanic births in Arizona has increased 211 percent.

Latino Student Population

In the fall of 2008, 416,705 Latino students were enrolled in Arizona’s K-12 system. Hispanics accounted for 86 percent of total growth in school enrollment from 1998 to 2008. According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, by 2017-2018, Hispanic high school graduates in Arizona will exceed the number of white non-Hispanic high school graduates. This phenomenon has already occurred in New Mexico and California, and Arizona is clearly moving toward this milestone.

    By the Numbers
    Trends that matter


  • U.S. Hispanics control $951 billion in spending power and by 2013 this figure is projected to reach $1.386 trillion.
  • Young Hispanics will grow to be Arizona’s future workers, business owners, consumers, voters and civic leaders.
  • Along the way, they will have significant impacts on Arizona’s public education system, arts and culture scene, and economy.
  • Hispanics are wired and tech savvy. They already utilize the Internet for shopping, social networking, and news. Their use of new technologies will continue to increase.
  • Source: DATOS 2009
meetings industry

MPI Is Touting The ROI Of In-Person Meetings

The best advocates for the positive return on investment of in-person meetings may very well be members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. The meetings industry has been hit hard by the media and public scrutiny of the actions of major companies that received bailouts from the federal government. But members of the industry remain adamant that face-to-face meetings are a crucial part of every business.

Mindy Gunn, CMP, AVP, senior meeting and event planner with Wells Fargo’s bank technology and operations group, and an MPI member for four years, is the first to admit that times have become increasingly challenging for professionals in the meetings industry.

“We are in a very transparent environment, and the meetings industry is being scrutinized from many angles,” she says. “This, combined with technological advances, has created a movement toward more virtual meetings, whether they be via Web, video or teleconference.”

However, she does not believe these technological advances can entirely supersede face-to-face meetings.

“I don’t think that in-person meetings will ever be completely replaced by Webinars or video conferences, especially those that are designed to build relationships and network with teams,” she says. “I do think, however, that the smaller meetings with existing teams can and will be replaced with the virtual approach.”

She adds that face-to-face meetings facilitate a form of relationship building that simply cannot be done via the telephone or Internet.

“The meetings where interaction plays a key role, such as large project planning, team networking and sales coaching, requires at least periodic face-to-face contact in order to create solid teams,” Gunn says.

Bernadette Daily, meetings manager, corporate meeting solutions with American Express and an MPI member for four years, agrees that in-person meetings offer something that other meeting formats cannot: the human touch.

“Yes, technology has changed meetings, and attendance for in-person meetings has lowered,” she says. “But we are humans. We like to see, feel and touch. People like to put a face with a name, and they like the camaraderie and personal touch that you get with an in-person meeting. Face-to-face interaction and body language mean a lot.”

Technology and recent media scrutiny may have changed the way meetings are being held, but MPI members are united in their belief in the benefits of face-to-face meetings.

There are obvious benefits of in-person meetings, according to Kathi Overkamp, CMP. Overkamp has been an MPI member since 1995, is past president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter, past board director for the international board of directors for MPI, and manager, special events and client hospitality for US Airways.

“In-person meetings are important for a number of reasons: better learning environment, networking, peer-to-peer interaction and accountability,” she says. “Our meetings are all business.”

Overkamp also thinks that conference calls and the like can be less effective as a result of daily diversions and interruptions.

“Have you ever been on a conference call at your desk? Do you check e-mails? Handle paperwork? Put the call on mute and talk to someone? How can you be engaged when there are so many distractions?” she asks. “Being able to see your counterparts face to face and meet folks you may have only communicated with via e-mail or on the phone is important.”

In Overkamp’s opinion, the biggest return on investment of meetings is face-to-face communication, whether it is a company or business update or training.

“You can communicate via the computer, conference calls and Webinars, but to have the leaders of your company in the same room as you, giving you important information about the direction of your business and then being able to network with these same leaders and talk to them up close and personal — that is priceless,” she says.

Gunn adds: “Meetings create a venue where strategy can be discussed efficiently and key decisions are made. In my industry, especially in the current economic climate, this is critical in doing business.”

She thinks that without effective meetings, the strategic and decision-making processes slow down and critical business suffers.

“Meetings, when planned and executed efficiently, bring together the key players and allow them to communicate in a way that other venues cannot duplicate, thus saving time and resources,” Gunn says.

www.wellsfargo.com
www.americanexpress.com
www.usairways.com

operational nightmare

Prevent An Operational Nightmare At Your Company

Imagine this scenario: Your business has superior processes and efficiencies in place for R&D. As long as payroll is made on time, sales are coming in and operations are otherwise running smoothly, you don’t question what is going on in your non-development related departments. Then, the person who’s been running your human resources department for 10 years leaves.

All of a sudden, claims are slipping through the cracks, payrolls are missed and there are major issues with your vendors. These are the very real problems that arise in businesses every day when they rely too much on the knowledge of their long-term employees and fail to transfer that knowledge into systems. In many companies, there always seems to be that one person in every department who has been there the longest and knows the most. But this knowledge does not last forever. Once this person leaves the company, you may have to start over in many ways — and that’s when time and money are lost.

You’ve likely gone to great lengths to implement processes with your development team so your products don’t fail. Now is the time to do the same with your other teams so your business doesn’t fail.

Hands-off the tactical work
For starters, you can outsource, locally, the operations that are imperative to running your business. Customer service and HR are two areas that are worth looking into, along with sales-lead generation, training and technical support. This doesn’t always mean you have to cut your own teams. Many times, companies find that the managers they already have in place running sales, support and HR, can be much more effective overall when the more mundane and automated tasks are outsourced. Pairing internal technological systems with outsourcing to companies that specialize in any one area not only can improve efficiencies, but also prevent disaster when the internal manager leaves. Companies that outsource their operations see many benefits, including:

  • More efficient operations that are automated and run seamlessly, no matter what’s going on inside the company.
  • Fewer missed deadlines, as results aren’t dependent on one person who may be the bottleneck, preventing operations from moving freely.
  • Better performance from employees who are freed up to work more on big-picture strategy.
  • Better team work and company culture, as there is less confusion over who handles which responsibilities.

Find the technology
It’s amazing how many companies are still using manual spreadsheets and logs to track things such as benefits, billing and sales leads. What good is your best salesperson’s lead-generation strategy, for instance, if it’s recorded on a document that only he or she can decipher? Your business needs visibility into how results are accomplished every day, in every department, so work doesn’t ever miss a beat.

So what technology solutions does your company need? CRM (customer relationship management)? Online time sheets? Benefits tracking? Start with those managers who are hoarding all that great knowledge. Ask them to research and implement solutions that will easily capture and communicate the processes they’re putting into action every day. The greatest benefit here is that once others have visibility into how your internal “experts” are working, they can learn from those experiences and improve their own performance. The expertise of your best players isn’t being put to full use if those who work alongside them aren’t learning from it. Additionally, if everything is being captured and shared correctly through these systems, then any new person should be able to step in and take over rather seamlessly.

If you do explore the outsourcing route, the vendors you use may also be able to point you to the best technologies available to help streamline the processes. For instance, your HR company should be able to help you find timesheets, reporting and other tracking systems that easily integrate into their own systems. Same with your lead generation company, which should be able to recommend the best CRM or CMS (content management system) for your business. This may seem like a tedious and expensive undertaking, but most companies find they save money and improve productivity (and their bottom line) greatly over time.

Hiring the best people to run your various operational needs is an important task for every company. But hiring the best expert you can find is only the first step. Do your business a favor for the long-term and make sure that expertise is shared and supported in a way that ensures smooth operations.

Antigua map

The ACULA Formed A Partnership To Help Peer Credit Unions In Antigua

Arizona credit unions are reaching out to professional colleagues in the former British colony of Antigua, offering instruction, training and guidance to help credit unions on the tiny Caribbean island expand and modernize.

Working through the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the Arizona Credit Union League & Affiliates has established a partnership with the Credit Union League of Antigua. The term partnership indicates joint interests and benefits, and that’s the nexus of what the industry calls its financial cooperative concept.

Credit union experts from Arizona have traveled to Antigua, which is in the eastern Caribbean north of the equator, to share ideas and strategies for improving services to their members and becoming more sophisticated in the making of loans.

Antigua has an estimated population of 85,000 and was granted its independence in 1981. The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide. The island has a handful of credit unions, the largest of which has assets of approximately $24 million, compared to one of Arizona’s largest, the Arizona State Credit Union, with assets of $1.1 billion.

Scott Earl, president and CEO of the ACULA, says the partnership was formed last year to enable Antigua credit unions to see what drives the industry in the United States.

“Typically, partnerships are established with developing countries,” Earl says. “It goes both ways. We send folks to Antigua who did some training there, and they have come up here. We learn from them as well, focusing on the roots of providing services to our members. The exchange helps rejuvenate our industry as well.”

Robin Romano, certified chief executive and CEO of MariSol Federal Credit Union, recalls a trip to Antigua last year. The focus was on bringing Antigua’s credit unions up to today’s standards.

“No matter what country you are in, credit unions pretty much operate in the same basics,” Romano says. “Members are members, and uniformity is comforting. Since Antigua got its independence, credit unions have been trying to improve their regulations and become a little more modern. When I say modern, I don’t mean technology. Most of them are computerized. But, they operate similarly to the way credit unions here did 30 years ago.”

What has changed in the past 30 years? Antigua credit unions were only offering signature or auto loans and savings accounts.

“Many had not ventured into checking accounts, certificates of deposit or money markets,” Romano says. “Few were doing any form of real estate lending.”

Because Antigua has no credit reporting system, much of the training dealt with how to determine the credit-worthiness of potential borrowers.

“We talked about different methodologies,” Romano says. “It’s a small island. You can call around for shared information. We talked about the evaluation of credit to make better decisions. In modern times, more people default. They were having issues with defaults and weren’t quite sure how to handle that. I have expertise in lending and I went to six credit unions, making presentations to staff and board members on how to do things better. We also talked about different collection methods. Collectors there have the same issues we have here. We were able to relate to one another.”

The trip did provide sort of a return on investment for the Arizonans.

“Going back to smaller institutions was a way of refreshing yourself on one-to-one operations,” Romano says. “Somebody comes in and they know that person’s entire life history. That intimate relationship was very rewarding.”

Mary Lee Blommel, a member services consultant for the ACULA for 27 plus years, went to Antigua last year with representatives of three Arizona credit unions. One of the Arizonans visited five Antigua credit unions, conducting sessions onloan underwriting and emphasizing the importance of doing a check with creditors. Another visitor focused on how best to provide services to members.

In addition to the face-to-face exchanges, the league arranges conference calls and Webinars to keep the lines of communication open with Antigua credit unions. Topics have included risk management and asset liability management — making sure they have adequate funds to lend.

“We did a one-hour Webinar on risk management — investment risk, loan risk, and credit union risk in these trying times,” Blommel says. “It went very well. They had the opportunity to ask questions. I could count at least 20 people in that room.”

man sitting in chair in front of office window

CEO Series: Steve Cowman

Steve Cowman
Appointed CEO and Board Member, Stirling Energy Systems (SES)

How has the recession affected the alternative energy industry?
It’s had a major impact on the solar industry and the renewable energy industry on two fronts. First of all, there are a lot of solar companies that are not going to make it through the current credit crisis because they are going to run out of capital. … You need to have a pretty strong balance sheet at the moment and you need to have a pretty strong parental structure to support you through this. That’s not just solar — that’s a lot of the renewable companies.

The second issue is getting the funding for the projects themselves. That is a huge challenge because these projects are typically between half a billion and a billion dollars in terms of capital requirement. … What’s really impressed me about the Obama Administration and the DOE (Department of Energy) is that they recognize that there is a technical challenge here given where the credit markets are. They also recognize that renewable energy has the real potential to be competitive in price with fossil fuel after three to five years. But to do that (companies) need some help to actually get there. I think the stimulus package, as it’s been outlined, has tremendous potential to help the renewable (industry) in general and the solar (industry) in particular.

Why is Arizona behind other states in developing solar energy?
Arizona is a great state and Phoenix has clearly grown, but it’s grown on the back of a particular focus … real estate, the holiday center, the golf complexes. … It hasn’t really focused on the industrial side of it. I think if you look at what has actually happened to Phoenix over the past 10 to 15 years, there’s been a slow erosion of its industrial and technological base. And some of the very large companies like Motorola, ON Semiconductor, Intel … have significantly slimmed down or have actually outsourced. And they haven’t just outsourced overseas. …

They’ve moved to New Mexico, they’ve moved to Nevada, they’ve moved to California. I think, to be honest, Arizona fell asleep at the wheel. … (it) didn’t really provide the right type of incentives, and I think it has paid the price.

However, I would say that in the last year, there’s been a shock of reality. Obviously, Arizona has seen the biggest collapse in housing prices. It saw the biggest run-up and it saw the biggest collapse, as well. I think of GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) as being particularly proactive in terms of trying to bring that awareness, in terms of trying to attract (companies). … That (Arizona) Senate bill (1403) that just went through … is significant, but it won’t fix the problem. But, it does show a culture change in the Arizona Legislature in terms of wanting to be more proactive about attracting inward investment at this time.

What do governments have to do in order to get more companies to turn to alternative energy?
There are two things the state has started to do. The first thing they’ve done is they are mandating renewable targets. So, they are mandating to the utility companies that they must have a certain percentage of their power come from renewables. And if there’s not, there will be financial penalties. That’s the stick, if you like. And the carrot that they are actually providing is the stimulus package to help the renewable companies to get the projects in the ground. So they’ve got those two things running parallel.

What do you see in the future for the alternative energy industry?
The potential is tremendous. You have a fantastic manufacturing and engineering base here. …  You have a large number of really blue chip, Fortune 100 U.S. multinationals that have established a really strong technology base here. You have Arizona State University that has some fantastic programs, and you have a great environment for people to live in. So, it’s a really attractive place and I have to think that the future will be really good. … (However) there are companies who have worldwide headquarters here but do no manufacturing here — who shall remain anonymous. So, the real challenge for Arizona is how do you get those companies to increase their level of vertical integration and move beyond just having headquarter functions to having manufacturing and design (here)?

What kind of leadership team works best for a company like Stirling?
Ideally, you want someone who brings a well-honed skill set. You want someone who has experience in, hopefully, one or two different areas, someone who has good interpersonal skills. … So it’s your personality, it’s your attitude. … If you have a can-do, we can knock down any barrier to make it work (attitude), you will make it work. … So what’s the ideal executive? The answer is there is not an ideal executive. What you want is a good mix.

    Vital Stats



  • Appointed CEO of Stirling Energy Systems in June 2008
  • Held numerous senior management positions at Greenstar Ireland, General Electric, Harris Corporation, General Semiconductor, Vishay Intertechnology, Volex Europe.
  • Earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from the University College, Dublin and Sheffield University; master’s degree in management science from Trinity College Dublin
  • www.stirlingenergy.com
Chevy Volt electric car, GM

GM Electrifies Drivers With The Chevrolet Volt

General Motors announced today that its newest vehicle, the rechargeable electric Chevrolet Volt, should get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. Highway mileage estimates have not yet been released.

Although the claims must first be verified by the Environmental Protection Agency, if they are true, they would beat out the current model of green driving, the Toyota Prius.

GM is marketing the Volt as an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). Unlike a traditional electric car, where a small electric motor powers the car when it’s moving slowly and the gasoline motor kicks in when the car accelerates, the Volt is a bit different. The Volt’s power comes from a high-voltage battery pack made from lithium-ion technology that is capable of storing enough energy to drive the car up to 40 miles in normal conditions. What to do when your battery is low? Simply plug it in just like you would any other appliance. A full charge takes three or six hours through a 110 or 220-volt wall outlet.

In addition, the Volt will still have a small internal combustion engine to produce electricity when the stored power is low, providing the driver with a total range of 300 miles. Think of this as a generator that kicks in, in the event you drive more than 40 miles. Some areas of the car are still being tested and refined, but the Volt is scheduled for release in late 2010.

The first-generation Volt is expected to cost almost $40,000, but hopefully the price will drop with future models. Alas, as I’ve said before, sometimes being green costs more from the get-go — but the long-term effects are most definitely worth it!

Consumers are much more conscious about the environment and many want to reflect that through the vehicles they drive. If the Volt can live up to its claims, it will be a great step forward and hopefully other automakers will follow suit.

www.chevrolet.com

Patent

Failing To File Patent For New Technology Could Cost Company More Than Money

It is arguably one of the most exciting moments for a technology entrepreneur — seeing that invention for the first time. Whether it’s a new software program, mechanical device or a breakthrough biotech discovery, the feeling is always the same, pure elation. If you’re a technology entrepreneur you know the feeling. You spend months, possibly years, working toward this moment. Now that you’re here, you’re ready to turn this exciting innovation into a business. But before you take that costly leap of putting together a company and going to market, consider one very important step that can save you, and your company, everything you’ve worked for — the elusive patent.

Who needs it?
Many technology companies and entrepreneurs initially think they don’t need, or just can’t afford, patent protection at the very initial stages of their business development. “No one else could develop this right now in the exact same way we have,” or “It’s already protected by trade secret laws,” or “It’s going to cost a lot of money right now, so we’ll wait until the product is making us a profit.” The truth is, not filing a patent to protect your proprietary technology could cost a great, great deal more in the end, and might even make your company less attractive to investors and business partners.

What kind of companies should file for patent protection?
Companies in a wide variety of technology fields increasingly rely on patents as a key tool to protect their technology. For example, companies in the high-tech industry (software, semiconductors, etc.), the low-tech industry (consumer gadgets, etc.) and the life sciences/biotechnology industry (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc.) are spending more and more money on research and development and, thus, are increasingly looking to patents as a mechanism for protecting this expensive investment.

If you’re a typical technology startup, you will likely need to find early-stage, mid-stage and, eventually, late-stage investors for capital to continue to fund your research and development, and pay the tremendous costs associated with commercializing your products and services. Every kind of investor, from angels to venture capitalists, will scrutinize the adequacy and strength of a company’s intellectual property assets as a part of the investor’s decision to invest in that company. More than ever, investors are expecting a company to have either filed for patent protection or already have some patents. Another significant ramification of failing to obtain adequate patent protection is that investors may place a significantly lower valuation on your company. Thus, taking steps to file for patents, and then eventually obtaining patents, is often a critical and significant step in proving credibility to any kind of investor.

Another major benefit of patent protection is using your patents as a legal mechanism to protect your company’s most critical proprietary technology from infringement by competitors and others. Competition is fierce in the technology and biotech/life sciences industries and your competition may knowingly, or inadvertently, use your technology to gain market share. Your patent is often the most valuable tool to combat these serious situations and could be a key factor that differentiates your company from your competition.

How patents pave the way to new markets?
Many technology companies, particularly startups, are not in a position to commercialize their technology in every country in the world and in every “field of use.” A solution to this problem is to find business partners who can be given a license to use these technologies in other markets, both here in the U.S., and globally. Taking steps to file for patent protection can increase your company’s ability to find proper licensees who will scrutinize the technology and opportunity as much as any investor. Patent protection can also increase your negotiating leverage when entering into contracts with licensees and could have a significant impact on the level of royalties and other compensation that licensees agree to pay you for the use of your technology. Indeed, potential licensees who still want rights to your technology very often negotiate significantly lower royalty payments if you have failed to obtain proper patent protection because the licensee deems your technology to simply be unprotected “trade secrets.” As a bottom line, taking steps to obtain proper patent protection can potentially increase the revenue stream to your company from others who want to use your technology.

chart increase, AZ NASDAQ listed companies

An Analyst’s Look At How Arizona’s Nasdaq-Listed Companies Are Faring This Recession

Arizona has 52 Nasdaq-listed companies and the performance of those with the most capitalization during this economic downturn has been fairly good.

In early June, Stephen Taddie, managing member of Stellar Capital Management in Phoenix, reviewed the top 10 Arizona Nasdaq companies using Thomson Analytics as his data source. Those companies comprise nearly all the capitalization for Arizona Nasdaq-listed firms. They are Apollo Group, First Solar, Microchip Technology, PetSmart, ON Semiconductor, P.F. Chang’s, Amkor Technology, Mobile Mini, JDA Software and TASER International.

There was positive news concerning stock performance and internal company performance for the group as a whole.

Looking at stock performance for the three-month period from April 5 through June 5, Taddie found that “90 percent of the Arizona companies outperformed their peer group as a national comparison and all by a significant margin.”

Taddie next looked at stock prices for the year to date through May 31. While the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was approximately even for that period, seven of the top 10 Arizona companies outperformed the index by a fairly wide margin, Taddie says. Those that did not tracked the index closely, he adds. The seven companies were First Solar, Microchip Technology, PetSmart, ON Semiconductor, P.F. Chang’s, Amkor Technology and JDA Software.

“Apollo Group, the largest of the top 10 as measured by market capitalization, fared better than the rest through the first quarter of 2009, but was surpassed by the others as investor confidence rose significantly in April and May, encouraging investors to look past the current economic data and the financial statements of smaller, less capitalized companies to the earnings potential many of these companies will have in a more stable environment,” Taddie says.

Taddie also reviewed a compilation of analysts’ estimates for internal company performance for 2009. As a group — not as individual companies — analysts estimate revenue for the top 10 will be flat this year, up just .49 percent, but that it will grow 13.5 percent in 2010.

“Over the last six months, we saw many analysts lengthen the duration of the downturn but also decrease its severity,” Taddie says. “If we break it down quarter by quarter, the data reflect a fairly dismal first half of 2009, followed by a fairly decent last half of 2009.”

Estimates for next year’s revenue vary widely, Taddie says, because it is difficult to measure the impact of federal stimulus packages and significant cost-cutting measures in many industries.

“A significant capital-expenditure decline has frozen budgets,” says Taddie, who also is a member of the Western Blue Chip Forecast panel for the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “One firm’s cost reduction is another’s revenue shortfall and that has been trickling down the supply chain.”

Taddie says the data paint a picture in which Arizona firms, like many other companies across the country, are trying to preserve shareholder value by more closely aligning capital expenditures with expected revenue growth, or the lack thereof.

“Typically, the larger the company, the more apt they are to take a bet and invest into a downturn, so when the tide turns, they capture more market share,” Taddie says. “The smaller the company, the less apt they are to do that because they can’t take that risk.”

Managing expenses and growth in an environment where revenue expectations are “jumping all over the place” is a challenge, Taddie says.

“References to this period will show up in economics and business-management textbooks for quite some time,” he says. “The data is showing that the Arizona top 10 are faring at least as well as other companies and, when compared to stock-price performance so far this year, better.”

Recycled Water in Space

Recycled Water — On A Journey From Space And Back To Earth

There’s What in My Water?

“Green” technology is constantly evolving and, consequently, so is my knowledge of it. Ever since I embarked on the journey of learning more about sustainability, nothing ceases to amaze me. Maybe some of the things I write about are old news to those more educated on the topic, but I’m sure there are many individuals such as myself who are taking this one day at a time.

In that vein, I stumbled upon a technology that NASA uses to solve the problem of not having a sufficient water supply for its astronauts in space. Hauling water to space is difficult and expensive, so instead NASA utilizes a special device that recycles astronauts’ sweat and urine (yes, urine) into drinking water.

The wastewater enters a processing machine where it goes through six steps of cleansing, including adding iodine to kill microbes. The water is boiled off, vapor collected and brine from urine removed. Add a dash of water from air condensation, filter, and voilà, recycled drinking water is born!

As space exploration evolved it became obvious the technology would be vital to the long-term success of NASA missions.

There's What in my Water?The recycling system was brought up to the International Space Station last November by the space shuttle Endeavour. However, only recently were the astronauts actually able to test the fruits of their “labor.” The project, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), also doubled the living capacity of the space station from three people to six.

Another plus? A portion of ECLSS has been adapted to Earth and is already helping rural villages in northern Iraq, the Dominican Republic and Pakistan generate clean drinking water.

One company at the forefront of this water treatment technology is Water Security Corporation. The company has taken the technology originally developed for NASA and commercialized it to make it accessible to those who need it most.

An interesting tidbit the company includes on its Web site is how similar the situations are between NASA and rural villages in developing nations in terms of having a sufficient water supply. Like the astronauts on the space station, residents in these villages must recycle everything they have. With the help of this technology, the villagers can treat what they DO have in order to keep the water supply constant without having to rely on the whims of others.

People in the developed world take for granted the basic things we are lucky enough to have on a day-to-day basis. This reminded me to truly make an attempt to not be wasteful and conserve our limited resources.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the astronauts say the water tastes just fine. :-)

www.watseco.com
science.nasa.gov

Law Review - Arizona’s Legal Landscape

A Look Back Finds Substantial Changes To Arizona’s Legal Landscape

Rapid-fire change has become the status quo in the legal and business community over the past 25 years. This change is particularly apparent to me, as my firm, Fennemore Craig, will celebrate its 125-year anniversary in Arizona next year, and I have practiced law for more than three decades.

One of the most pronounced and positive changes over the years has been who becomes a lawyer. Through an increased emphasis on diversity, law firms and legal departments have become places of opportunity for people of all backgrounds, reflecting the diverse nature of our communities and clients. We can do better, but the profession has made significant strides in the area of diversity since the 1980s.

While the face of the state’s law firms has changed, so has their size. Not too many years ago, the largest firms in the Southwest were still relatively small, with client bases dominated by locally headquartered companies and financial institutions. Since the 1980s, the region has lost quite a few headquarters, yet law firms like Fennemore Craig have benefited from strong economic growth in the Sun Belt, with Phoenix emerging as a regional business hub.

Notwithstanding the current economic downturn, the long-term economic prospects for the region promise continued opportunity. This economic strength has led to growth among several of Arizona’s home-grown firms and it also has attracted firms with their principal offices in other states. In turn, Arizona firms have responded with a growing platform of offices and lawyers expanding into other markets. The influence of technology in changing the legal profession over the past 25 years cannot be overstated. The pace and volume of work for us and for our clients have increased exponentially. Research, which is central to the law, has been almost totally automated. While successful lawyers still must be good communicators and excellent practitioners, information flow occurs literally around-the-clock. Waiting to work on a transaction or litigation based on deliveries through the U.S. Postal Service has gone the way of the typewriter and the mimeograph machine. Transmittal of documents, filings and other activities occurs primarily on an electronic basis and the demand for quick responses has increased accordingly.

The professional aspects of practicing law have shifted as well. Training is better than ever, though time pressures mean some of the one-on-one mentoring and discussions with senior lawyers that characterized much of my early professional learning curve are more rare.
As a credit to Arizona, it is also important to note that the state’s institution of the merit selection system for its judges created a better, more professional judiciary. Merit selection has improved both the state’s justice system and the practice of law here in terms of professionalism, fairness and quality.

One of the appealing aspects of the legal profession is its strong tie to tradition. We must discern when tradition is fostering positive values, rather than preserving the status quo for its own sake. The positive values inherent in the profession 25, even 125 years ago, remain true today regardless of the changes in pace, volume and complexity in the practice of law. Then as now, we have the opportunity and responsibility to help people solve problems and get things done.

Technology

Arizona’s High-Tech Sector Has Grown And Diversified Over The Years

Intel. Boeing. The Mayo Clinic. Try finding anyone who hasn’t heard these renowned names. Fortunately for Arizona, they and other companies like them have been key to our state’s technology scene growing dramatically over the past quarter century.

There is one name, however, many may have forgotten. Although no longer a huge presence here, one company paved the way for others, as well as gave birth to offspring that garnered their own recognition. Its name? Motorola.

After World War II, the Signal Corps asked officials at radio communications pioneer Galvin Manufacturing Corp. to move parts of their operations out of Chicago for fear an atomic bomb could wreck needed production capabilities. Following the Windy City’s snowbirds, Motorola headed West and eventually built its landmark 56th Street facility in Phoenix, signaling the start of phenomenal growth. Eventually creating other electronics as well as semiconductors, the company grew to more than 20,000 Arizona employees at locations across Phoenix and the East Valley. You could argue that our high tech golden era began a little more than 25 years ago, when Motorola unveiled a device that changed the world forever: the portable cellular phone for commercial use.

Another significant presence began when the Valley proudly proclaimed “Intel Inside” and the company’s “fab” plants and related campuses became part of Chandler’s landscape. Now using the innovative 45nm technology, Intel is the city’s largest employer and has about 10,000 employees in the state.

Also in the mid-80s, biotechnology research started with the opening of Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City. The following year, the Mayo Clinic opened its campus in Scottsdale. The next year, Arizona State University granted master’s and doctorate degrees in bioengineering.

When it came to getting the United States and other nations into orbit and keeping them secure, the world already had discovered Arizona. Key to that reputation is Honeywell. In 1986, it purchased Sperry Aerospace and became the world’s leading integrator of avionics systems. At the end of the 1990s, Honeywell made major headlines again when it merged with AlliedSignal. When the dust settled, Honeywell Aerospace called Phoenix its home.

Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems also claimed a piece of history when its Patriot missile became the star of the Persian Gulf War.

By the end of the 20th century, Boeing was ready for the next conflict, as its Apache Longbow helicopter took off.

The new millennium brought a new order and the beginning of the end for Motorola as we knew it. After ON Semiconductor was spun off, the company sold its Scottsdale-based government IT division to General Dynamics, and its life-sciences arm to Britain’s Amersham. Motorola spun off its Freescale Semiconductor operation in 2003, shrinking Motorola’s Arizona payroll to 3,500. Some observers now put that number at 500 after Emerson Network Power acquired the Embedded Communications Computing group in Tempe last year.

The real growth was happening in biotechnology. One of the biggest coups occurred when the International Genomics Consortium announced it was moving to Phoenix to create the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Also in 2002, Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, began outlining recommendations for the state to become a national biosciences leader.

ASU and the University of Arizona joined the effort. The first building of ASU’s acclaimed Biodesign Institute opened in late 2004, followed by the facility’s completion two years later. UA’s BIO5 Institute was launched to pursue life sciences research.

As you can see, the infrastructure is in place for the future to bring even more. Everyone has a chance to share the rewards. The technology industry is viewed as the bright spot of what has been a dismal economy. Arizona companies already are reporting new hires to help serve new contracts. There’s no doubt we live in a top-tier technology state.