Tag Archives: tempe

energy.bill

Direct Energy Opens Phoenix Area Call Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runoff Election, Early Voting Phoenix Mayor, Council

Andrew Thomas will run for governor

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says he’s planning to run for Arizona governor in 2014.

Thomas served as county attorney from 2005 until he resigned in 2010 to unsuccessfully run for Arizona attorney general.

A three-member disciplinary panel of the Arizona courts disbarred Thomas about a year ago for failed corruption investigations that he and county Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched against officials with whom they were having political and legal disputes.

Thomas is a Republican and he joins a growing list of candidates for governor.

Democrat and former Arizona Board of Regents Chairman Fred DuVal, Republican and ex-Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Americans Elect party candidate John Mealer have already formally filed to run.

Republicans Sen. Al Melvin and Secretary of State Ken Bennett have formed exploratory committees.

speakers

Tips for Getting Booked as a paid speaker

With 90,000 international, national and local associations holding 767 meetings a day, speakers are needed. But sometimes it’s hard for speakers to find those paying audiences. At the April meeting of the NSA-Arizona chapter, Certified Speaking Professional Ed Rigsbee will share how to get paid bookings through article writing.

Rigsbee, an author and expert on strategic alliances, has written 2,000 articles that he has offered to associations at no charge. It’s his primary strategy for getting booked as a speaker.

“Giving a talk at an association meeting is a great way to break into the speaking business,” said Susan Ratliff, president of NSA-AZ. “And our April speaker, Ed Rigsbee will tell us exactly how to do it.”

Rigsbee speaks to Arizona speakers and those interested in a speaking career at the chapter’s Tempe conference center on April 13 from 9-noon. More information and registration links are at http://nsa-arizona.org.

National Speakers Association-Arizona is an award-winning chapter of the National Speakers Association, an organization of professional speakers, trainers, facilitators and consultants. The chapter helps members increase their business, improve skills and network. For more information, go to http://nsa-arizona.org.

z'tejas - opening a new location

Z’Tejas Opens Fifth Location in Central Phoenix

On the heels of celebrating its 20th anniversary in Arizona, Scottsdale-based Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is announcing the opening of their fifth Valley location in central Phoenix located at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road, opening to the public April 22, 2013. This Z’Tejas location was one of the first “ground-up” construction projects in the neighborhood, with the restaurant modeled after famed architect, Ralph Haver, to blend in with the surrounding homes.

“This location is a sign of perseverance and support from the neighborhood,” says Z’Tejas CEO Steven Micheletti. “We are excited to open our doors in the heart of central Phoenix.”

The new location features five uniquely designed dining rooms each with a different feel, side panels that open to the outside, a greenhouse room with a retractable roof and “living wall” inset with live plants and greenery. The restaurant will seat roughly 290 guests and conveys a light, airy design.

The first Arizona Z’Tejas restaurant opened December 1991 in Scottsdale Fashion Square and continues to thrive in the community. The concept then continued to grow with three other locations at Shea & Tatum in Phoenix (1996) Tempe (2000) and Chandler in (2001).

Z’Tejas is at the forefront of unique Southwestern fare with seasonal menu items and specialty cocktails, including their award-winning Chambord margarita. Visit www.ztejas.com for more information and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ztejassouthwesterngrill and Twitter @ZTejas.

Infusionsoft

Wist signs contract with Infusionsoft

Wist Office Products, the longtime Tempe-based office supplier ranked “Best Office Supply Company” in the state for seven years and counting, today announced yet another victory in a year that’s already proven to be a standout for the locally-owned and operated retailer.

Infusionsoft, designer of the only all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses and a six-time Inc. 500/5000 company, has signed on with Wist Office Products, Arizona’s largest independent business product supplier, to exclusively provide all of the company’s office supply and business product needs. The announcement was made shortly after Wist Office Products secured a prestigious ILoA Award from AZ Business Magazine, recognizing local businesses for their contributions in five key industries – alternative energy, distribution and logistics, healthcare, hospitality, and retail.

“We’re thrilled to make Infusionsoft an integral part of the Wist Office Products team,” said Ian Wist, co-owner and general manager at Wist Office Products. “We’re longtime admirers of how they operate their business, and their passion and dedication to aiding small business growth. All you need to do is look at their own history and growth to see why an Infusionsoft/Wist partnership is an ideal fit for both sides.”

“The real winners in this deal are the people of Arizona,” explains Kimber Lanning, executive director of Local First Arizona. “Most folks don’t realize that having business to business support between Arizona companies keeps up to four times more money recirculating in the local economy, and that means more tax revenue for parks, libraries and fire departments.”

Headquartered in Chandler, Infusionsoft’s contract with Wist indicates yet another way the company helps further the goals and objectives of small businesses, opting to sign on with their Tempe neighbor as opposed to forging a contract with a larger, national conglomerate.

“We love Arizona and the many businesses headquartered here,” said Eric Keosky-Smith, Infusionsoft regional development director for Arizona. “A partnership with a local company like Wist makes clear sense to us because it keeps more money in Arizona, which ultimately contributes to our company’s purpose – to help small businesses succeed. We hope to lead by example and show others that partnering locally can be an excellent option that isn’t just self-fulfilling but also beneficial to everyone in the local community.”

With a catalog of more than 50,000 office supply products and nearly 60 successful years in the industry, Wist Office Products has managed to successfully avoid the economic collapse that so many local companies have fallen prey to since the Recession began.

“It’s partnerships like this one that have kept business thriving over the years,” Wist said. “We’ve had a stellar almost-sixty years in business, and with the continued support of great companies like Infusionsoft, we look ahead to another sixty more.”

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Solar Investments

First Solar buys S. Calif. power project

First Solar said Monday that it has purchased a 150-megawatt power project in Southern California.

Construction is expected to start this year and finish in 2014. The Tempe company said that the plant could generate enough electricity to power more than 60,000 average California homes.

First Solar Inc. bought the project, which is near El Centro, Calif., from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., energy investment firm Energy Power Partners and a third partner that it didn’t identify. It didn’t say how much it paid.

First Solar, one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, also develops and builds large solar farms that generate electricity sold to utilities.

Its stock added 28 cents, or 1 percent, to $27.24 in afternoon trading.

The industry has in recent years been struggling with a steep drop in solar panel prices. Demand stagnated while manufacturing capacity increased and costs for raw materials plummeted.

basha

Eddie Basha memorial set for April 6

A memorial service for grocery store magnate Eddie Basha is scheduled for April 6 in Tempe.

The former chairman and CEO of the Bashas’ family-owned supermarket chain died Tuesday at age 75.

Officials of the Chandler-based company say the memorial will be held at 10 a.m. at Gammage Auditorium on the Arizona State University campus.

Basha guided the company that carried his family name for more than 40 years. At one time, the chain had more than 160 supermarkets serving all 15 Arizona counties.

He was appointed to the Arizona Board of Education in 1984, the state Board of Regents in 1990 and unsuccessfully ran for Arizona governor in 1994.

Basha is survived by his wife and six sons, including four from his first marriage.

Fulton Home building

Fulton Homes increases building

The first day of spring brought news for homebuilders that in cities across the nation potential home buyers suddenly find themselves with a low inventory of available homes to choose from. On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that many homebuilders are scrambling to find construction workers and obtain permits to keep up with the spike in demand.

While many homebuilders may have been caught by surprise, Tempe-based Fulton Homes was not.

“We started construction of nearly 100 homes months ago in anticipation of this housing shortage,” Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes, said. “Fulton Homes currently has the most move-in-ready homes of any builder in the Phoenix market.”

According to the Times story, the National Association of Realtors reports that the raw number of homes for sale across the nation is at its lowest level since 1999.

In January, Fulton Homes sold 52 homes; in February that number jumped to 87. These numbers compare to 43 and 72 respectfully, a year ago. Closings for January were 57 and 61 in February, compared to 41 and 31 last year.

“We expect to see a continual rise in the number of new home buyers who are purchasing their first home or upgrading with a new Fulton Home, “said Fulton.

According to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index earlier this year, sales prices of homes in the Phoenix area surged 23 percent in 2012. Rising prices often parallel the rise in the number of people looking for new homes.

Business Management

Mobile Mini names Olsson as its CEO

Portable storage container company Mobile Mini has named Erik Olsson as its president and CEO.

Olsson succeeds Steven Bunger, who stepped down as chairman, president and CEO at the end of 2012. In October Mobile Mini Inc. said that lead independent director Michael Watts would become chairman once Bunger left the company.

Olsson, 50, served as president, CEO and a director at rental equipment provider RSC Holdings Inc. from 2006 until the company was acquired by United Rentals Inc. in April 2012. He previously served as RSC’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Olsson will also serve as a Mobile Mini board member, pushing the board’s total back up to eight members.

Mobile Mini is based in Tempe.

Americas Taco

Local Restaurant Gives Back to PCH

America’s Taco Shop is dedicating a day to Phoenix Children’s Hospital with their 2nd annual Carne for a Cause event. On March 23, 20 percent of all proceeds from each purchase at all six Valley locations will be donated to this special initiative.

“Carne for a Cause is a rewarding fundraising effort we have decided to make into an annual event,” says Terry Bortin, co-founder of America’s Taco Shop with his wife America Corrales-Bortin. “Phoenix Children’s Hospital provides needed care to so many children in our community. It is our honor to give back to the programs and individuals who make it all happen.”

Carne for a Cause started last year after Bortin’s two daughters wanted to give back to the children in the hospital after passing the colorful building every day. “Something struck a chord with them and they approached me about doing something to help,” says Bortin.

Carne for a Cause will take place at all six Valley locations:

2041 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85006

4447 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85013

735 E. University Drive
Tempe, Arizona 85281

7001 East First Ave
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

9261 E. Via de Ventura #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85258

5000 Arizona Mills Circle
Tempe, AZ 85282

Started in 2008 by the Bortins, America’s Taco Shop specializes in authentic carne asada and al pastor, which is used in their tacos, burritos, tortas and more. America’s Taco Shop has been dubbed “the home of the greatest carne asada” through many accolades in the Phoenix market including 20 Favorite Places for Tacos, 2011 Five Favorite Mexican Restaurants, Best Phoenix Mexican Food, Top 10 Mexican Restaurants, Best Sandwiches, Best New Restaurants, 2009 Best BBQ, Best Carne Asada, and more.

Visit www.americastacoshop.com for more information and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americastacoshop. For franchising opportunities, call 855-55-CARNE (855-552-2763).

dominos

Tempe Becomes 1st Company-Owned 24-Hour Domino’s

Late-night snackers, early risers, and everyone in between in Tempe can now satisfy their Domino’s Pizza cravings at any time. Beginning today, the Domino’s store in Tempe becomes the first company-owned Domino’s store in the U.S. to be open 24 hours a day – and the first and only Domino’s store of its kind in Arizona.

The store, located at 681 E. Apache Blvd. and serving Arizona State University and its surrounding area, has been open at this location since 2008.

“We’re excited to bring one of our corporate stores into the 24-hour space for the first time, and there’s no better location than at ASU,” said Chris Brandon, Domino’s Pizza spokesperson. “Domino’s continues to innovate and give our customers what they’re asking for, and now that means Tempe residents can satisfy any Domino’s craving at any time.”

The Tempe store becomes only the second Domino’s store in the U.S. to open 24 hours; in 2010, the Domino’s store in Dayton, Ohio, owned by franchise owner Tristan Koehler, became the first 24-hour Domino’s in the U.S.

Customers can call the Tempe Domino’s at (480) 968-5555 or order online at www.dominos.com.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

Marcus Networking Opens San Diego Office

Tempe-based Marcus Networking announced it has opened a San Diego office to better service Southern California clients.  They team is headed by Jaden Jeter, a 20-year sales executive, who resides in San Diego.  They will offer technology and telecommunications services to clients throughout Southern California.

“We’re growing across the country and servicing clients in multiple states now,” said Eric Marcus, president of Marcus Networking.  “The expansion to San Diego was a natural progression for us.  We have been servicing clients in Southern California for a couple of years, so it just makes sense to have a team in place that can provide 24/7 support, complete installations, troubleshoot and help with industry specific software issues.”

Jeter, who will serve as West Coast business development manager, brings nearly 20 years of sales experience to Marcus Networking.  Recent experience includes five years with MPower, who was recently acquired by TelePacific.  Additional sales experience includes commercial real estate with several large builders in downtown San Diego, a construction firm and radio station.

“The IT industry is constantly changing and evolving,” said Jeter.  “Marcus Networking is in a growth phase and it’s an exciting place to be. We have the ability to offer some cutting edge and cost efficient alternatives to our clients and it’s really neat to see them implement services that make their business more profitable and effective.”

Marcus Networking has an established portfolio in healthcare, real estate, governmental, nonprofit, retail, legal, manufacturing, call centers and finance.  Working with Marcus Networking eliminates the need to call multiple vendors because they can offer both technology and telecommunication solutions.

For more information, contact Jaden Jeter, West Coast business development manager at 1-866-602-6974 x5043.

photo

Cookies From Home Launches New Corporate Program

Cookies From Home, famous for their delicious homemade baked cookies and customizable gifts, is offering businesses across the state the opportunity to serve their clients and employees fresh-baked cookies and brownies throughout the day at their own offices. The cookie and brownie dough comes pre-portioned, and ready-to-bake with consistent quality and taste every time.

“We see this as an opportunity to advance our already successful corporate sales program,” says Corey Meiteen, owner of Cookies From Home. “The opportunity this presents is immense.”

Business customers will receive a free loan of a compact oven with the minimum purchase of four cases per month, shipped on a bi-weekly basis to bake fresh on site for customers and employees. Cookie dough flavors offered include Chewy Chunk, Oatmeal Raisin, Triple Treat, Fudge Wheels, and Sugar Mama. Customers can also order gluten free varieties in Chewy Chip and Fudge Wheels. Frozen brownie dough is available in Fudge and Walnut Fudge varieties. New varieties are planned to be added on an ongoing basis.

“Offering your customers fresh baked cookies is one way to increase customer and employee loyalty,” says Meiteeen. “This is a great opportunity for car dealerships, financial institutions, retail stores, and much more!”

usairways

How will airline merger impact Arizona?

The potential merger of US Airways and American Airways raised fears in Arizona that the combined airline would ditch its major hub in Phoenix, costing thousands of jobs in a region just now recovering from the housing collapse and recession that crippled the economy for years.

But when the merger was announced Thursday, city and airline officials both said those worries were overblown.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said Sky Harbor International Airport and the vast majority of the employees based there aren’t going anywhere when the two companies merge. Instead, he said not only Sky Harbor, but the combined airlines’ seven other major hubs will stay.

That brought elation from officials in Phoenix, where 300 US Airways flights a day use 50 gates at the airport’s largest terminal. US Airways has about 9,000 employees in Arizona, most at Sky Harbor. Between 600-750 work at the company’s headquarters in nearby Tempe, and some of those are expected to go to Texas once the merger is complete, including Parker.

But John McDonald, the company’s vice president for corporate communications, said US Airways just signed a new five-year lease with a five-year option on its headquarters building and expects to keep hundreds of people working there.

American has a tiny presence by comparison, with just 20 departures a day using three gates in the smaller Terminal 3. Those operations will most likely move to the US Airways area of Terminal 4 when the merger is complete, airport spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said.

Still, the loss of the headquarters is a blow, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, even though the city will see more international destinations added with the merger.

“It’s great news that the world’s largest airline will maintain Sky Harbor and Phoenix, Arizona as a hub. It good news for the business environment in our entire region,” Stanton told reporters at the airport. “But we’re not naive, we’re not naive, we know it’s disappointing to lose a corporate headquarters, particularly one that has the history of US Airways and before that America West. We went through the 90s together, we went through Sept. 11 together. Phoenix was a big part of the recovery of America West after that tragedy.”

America West Airlines, headed by Parker, merged with US Airways in 2005 and kept its corporate headquarters in Tempe. The company has struggled with combining its labor contracts, but McDonald said that’s never been something that affected customer service. That, he said, has become better, with better on-time and lower baggage loss rates.

Some airline analysts questioned Thursday whether the combined company could keep all eight hubs, placing Phoenix on the short list for eventual closure. But McDonald said that’s not the case, American’s Los Angeles hub complements Phoenix, just as several hubs in the eastern U.S. complement each other.

“When you have an airport like Phoenix that can have a massive western region to feed, out of Phoenix, you have an asset to bring to this equation,” McDonald said. “American Airlines has a lot of trans-continental out of Los Angeles, they also operate some Asian Pacific out of Los Angeles, with very little West coast feed into that hub.”

usairways

Report: AMR, US Airways boards meet Wednesday

Directors of American Airlines and US Airways reportedly plan to meet Wednesday to consider a merger.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that negotiators were still considering the makeup of the combined company’s board and an exact role for the CEO of American parent AMR Corp.

US Airways and AMR declined to comment.

The companies are trying to finish a deal before Friday, when a confidentiality agreement covering some AMR bondholders expires. That could result in public disclosure about negotiation details.

If the two carriers were to strike a deal, it would create the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic, although United Continental Holdings Inc. would still be bigger if regional affiliates are counted.

AMR has been operating under bankruptcy protection since November 2011.

US Airways has pushed for months for a merger. AMR executives were initially reluctant, but the company’s bankruptcy creditors urged AMR to consider a merger that they could compare to an independent American Airlines.

Shares of US Airways Group Inc. fell 29 cents, or 2 percent, to $14.46.

3

Female-owned AutohausAZ.com thrives in auto parts industry

In 1996, a Phoenix woman and her husband purchased an automotive parts wholesaler by the name of Autohaus Phoenix, Inc. During the 10 years that followed, the couple transformed the company from a local distributor into an entirely internet-based retailer and wholesaler, distributing automotive parts to more than 115 countries under the name AutohausAZ.com.

But the real growth story began when Carolyn Lefebvre, president and CEO of AutohausAZ.com, purchased her husband’s 49 percent share of the business, claiming 100 percent ownership of the company.

“I bought him out when we got divorced in January of 2006,” Lefebvre says. “Since that time, we have grown by 317 percent (from $4.59 million in sales in 2006) to projected sales for 2012 of $17.0 million.”

Also, just two years after the buyout, the formerly highly-leveraged company had paid down every cent of debt on its books, internally financing all growth since that time.
And the company has experienced explosive growth. By 2011, AutohauAZ had outgrown its facilities and relocated to its current 51,000 square-foot home, nearly three times the size of the previous location.

In such a male-dominated industry, Lefebvre says that being a female-owned company has given AutohausAZ unique advantages that have aided its tremendous growth.

“I think more than anything, the woman ownership has helped build a corporate culture of people who care about one another and who want to help the company succeed — a close-knit group much like a family,” Lefebvre says. “It’s that close-knit team that’s really been the driving force behind our growth ever since we became 100 percent woman-owned.”

At AutohausAZ, there is a saying that “customer service is a company-wide commitment, not a department.” It is Lefebvre’s belief that while it is not easy to earn respect and trust from customers, it is much more difficult to get it back once you lose it. This commitment to the customer has helped the company far exceed industry standards for conversion and customer retention.

“We’re doing extremely well with our commitment,” Lefebvre says, “but we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re always striving to find areas in which we can improve.”

This caring attitude has also fostered incredible employee loyalty. The average tenure at the company is more than 12 years, a number which, Lefebvre notes, would be higher, were it not for the many positions added out of necessity during the past several years of growth. Lefebvre says she honestly does not remember the last time an employee left the company.

“In short, it’s our focus on quality and people at AutohausAZ that gives us our momentum,” Lefebvre says. “Truly caring about everyone on the AutohausAZ team builds employee loyalty which, in turn, helps us build customer loyalty and this is what ultimately fuels our success.”

AutohausAZ.com
2850 S. Roosevelt, #102
Tempe AZ, 85282
602-276-9402

gokart

Octane Raceway will open in Scottsdale

The Valley leader in active entertainment, Octane Raceway, announced the opening of their new kart racing and entertainment venue in Scottsdale. Opening this spring, Octane Raceway will move their current Phoenix facility to a new location in the Pavilions at Talking Stick. The new Scottsdale location will be conveniently located just off the 101 freeway and Indian Bend Road. The venue is designed with a one-third mile racetrack and a unique layout where each lap begins indoors then winds through an outdoor section of the course covered by a permanent steel canopy. This is the only full-time indoor and outdoor racetrack in the United States.

“The new location in the Pavilions is a fresh and more upscale version of Octane Raceway’s proven karting entertainment concept,” says President Scott Sanders on why Octane is moving to Scottsdale. “The new, central location makes Octane Raceway more accessible to many people in the Valley, particularly providing easy access to our existing customer base in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Phoenix as well as puts us in the heart of Scottsdale just minutes from the Scottsdale Airpark and North Phoenix business districts.”

Adding to the allure of the new space are state-of-the-art high-speed electric karts that travel up to 45 miles per hour.

The first track in the United States to offer this model, the Sodi RTX electric kart is exclusively available at Octane Raceway at The Pavilions. Focused on delivering a great racing experience, before switching from gas to electric karts, Sanders traveled to Sodi headquarters in France to personally review and test the prototype RTX’s advanced technology and handling characteristics. Impressed with the kart’s technological advancements, Sanders confidently selected the model for the new Octane racetrack. Drivers of all sizes can expect a comfortable driving experience with fully adjustable pedals, seats and tilt steering wheels. An added emphasis on sustainability, the new karts will deliver a high performance ride with zero emissions.

The sprawling new facility covers 65,000 square feet allowing Octane to effectively host corporate clientele and social groups of up to 500 people. The novel 20,000 square feet of outdoor track and patio space gives groups flexibility to further customize their events. Corporate clientele can leverage Octane’s new flexible meeting spaces, the Indy and Daytona Rooms, to conduct meetings and presentations taking advantage of the venue’s full audiovisual capabilities. The spaces also can easily transform into the perfect setting for “lunch & learn meetings” or fully catered dinner parties.

Octane Raceway at The Pavilions boasts additional casual gathering spaces including the Billiards Room, the Trackside Bar & Grill and Victory Lounge. The Billiards Room comfortably accommodates groups of up to 50 people and includes billiards tables, foosball and a number of flat screen televisions. The on-property restaurant, Trackside Bar & Grill, serves up classic American fare including hamburgers, pizza and sandwiches with a full upscale catering menu available for group events. Domestic and imported beer and wine are available with a strict two-drink maximum enforced for kart racers.

Besides heart-pounding racing, many other activities await Octane guests. One of the most popular events at Octane Raceway is the Phoenix International Raceway Pit Crew Challenge, which is available as an additional enhancement to any of the group or team building experience packages where guests complete a full pit stop on a real NASCAR. The Segway Performance Course at Octane tests participant’s balance as they race against the clock with either an indoor or outdoor set up increasing both the challenge and fun. An interactive arcade is adjacent to the Trackside Grill for added fun for all ages.

A seamless transition is planned from the current location into the new Pavilions facility. The Phoenix location will be fully operational through March with the new location opening this spring.

gokart

Octane Raceway will open in Scottsdale

The Valley leader in active entertainment, Octane Raceway, announced the opening of their new kart racing and entertainment venue in Scottsdale. Opening this spring, Octane Raceway will move their current Phoenix facility to a new location in the Pavilions at Talking Stick. The new Scottsdale location will be conveniently located just off the 101 freeway and Indian Bend Road. The venue is designed with a one-third mile racetrack and a unique layout where each lap begins indoors then winds through an outdoor section of the course covered by a permanent steel canopy. This is the only full-time indoor and outdoor racetrack in the United States.

“The new location in the Pavilions is a fresh and more upscale version of Octane Raceway’s proven karting entertainment concept,” says President Scott Sanders on why Octane is moving to Scottsdale. “The new, central location makes Octane Raceway more accessible to many people in the Valley, particularly providing easy access to our existing customer base in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Phoenix as well as puts us in the heart of Scottsdale just minutes from the Scottsdale Airpark and North Phoenix business districts.”

Adding to the allure of the new space are state-of-the-art high-speed electric karts that travel up to 45 miles per hour.

The first track in the United States to offer this model, the Sodi RTX electric kart is exclusively available at Octane Raceway at The Pavilions. Focused on delivering a great racing experience, before switching from gas to electric karts, Sanders traveled to Sodi headquarters in France to personally review and test the prototype RTX’s advanced technology and handling characteristics. Impressed with the kart’s technological advancements, Sanders confidently selected the model for the new Octane racetrack. Drivers of all sizes can expect a comfortable driving experience with fully adjustable pedals, seats and tilt steering wheels. An added emphasis on sustainability, the new karts will deliver a high performance ride with zero emissions.

The sprawling new facility covers 65,000 square feet allowing Octane to effectively host corporate clientele and social groups of up to 500 people. The novel 20,000 square feet of outdoor track and patio space gives groups flexibility to further customize their events. Corporate clientele can leverage Octane’s new flexible meeting spaces, the Indy and Daytona Rooms, to conduct meetings and presentations taking advantage of the venue’s full audiovisual capabilities. The spaces also can easily transform into the perfect setting for “lunch & learn meetings” or fully catered dinner parties.

Octane Raceway at The Pavilions boasts additional casual gathering spaces including the Billiards Room, the Trackside Bar & Grill and Victory Lounge. The Billiards Room comfortably accommodates groups of up to 50 people and includes billiards tables, foosball and a number of flat screen televisions. The on-property restaurant, Trackside Bar & Grill, serves up classic American fare including hamburgers, pizza and sandwiches with a full upscale catering menu available for group events. Domestic and imported beer and wine are available with a strict two-drink maximum enforced for kart racers.

Besides heart-pounding racing, many other activities await Octane guests. One of the most popular events at Octane Raceway is the Phoenix International Raceway Pit Crew Challenge, which is available as an additional enhancement to any of the group or team building experience packages where guests complete a full pit stop on a real NASCAR. The Segway Performance Course at Octane tests participant’s balance as they race against the clock with either an indoor or outdoor set up increasing both the challenge and fun. An interactive arcade is adjacent to the Trackside Grill for added fun for all ages.

A seamless transition is planned from the current location into the new Pavilions facility. The Phoenix location will be fully operational through March with the new location opening this spring.

Tilted-Kilt_Roselle-IL-600x400

Tilted Kilt Hires New CFO to Focus on Expansion

Tilted Kilt has recently hired Eddie Goitia as the new Chief Financial Officer for the company. Goitia’s most recent experience includes a 19-year run at Monti’s La Casa Vieja Steakhouse in Tempe, serving most of his time as CEO and managing partner. At Tilted Kilt, Goitia will be responsible for developing and executing a strategic financial plan to assist in the expansion of the Tilted Kilt brand. As of now, Tilted Kilt has over 70 locations, in the United States and Canada.

“This is truly an incredible opportunity to work with a dynamic company with phenomenal growth,” says Goitia. “I look forward to working with the team at the Titled Kilt organization as we continue its expansive success.”

During his nearly 2 decade-long position at Monti’s, Goitia helped the restaurant’s sales grow exponentially, specifically in the catering and banquet arenas, utilizing the expansive space the restaurant boasts. His creativity, determination and success allowed him the opportunity to be scouted by Tilted Kilt.

Prior to joining Monti’s, Goitia served as Director of International Sales for Windsor Industries based in Colorado.  He began his working career as a member of the staff of Senator John McCain.

Goitia received a BS in Marketing from Arizona State University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  He has served his community as a member of the Tempe Diablos and is currently on the Board of Directors for the group.

He and his wife Stacey, an author, reside in Tempe. Their son Brice attends Barrett Honors College at ASU and their daughter Elise attends Seton Catholic Preparatory High School.

usairways

Fuller planes help US Airways double profit

US Airways said net income doubled in the fourth quarter as its planes were fuller and it made more money off each passenger.

The airline on Wednesday reported a profit of $37 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with $18 million, or 11 cents per share a year ago. Excluding special items, net income was 26 cents per share, 7 cents higher than analyst forecasts, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 3.9 percent to $3.28 billon.

Per-seat passenger revenue — a key performance indicator for airlines — rose 2.2 percent. Occupancy rose 2 percentage points to 83.9 percent.

US Airways is in merger talks with American Airlines, but didn’t address the talks in its earnings release.

Some have assumed that as the fifth-biggest U.S. airline, US Airways needs the American merger to survive. J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a note to investors Wednesday that he disagrees.

“With 2012 margins just shy of Delta while topping those of Southwest and United, we find investor stand-alone pessimism to be significantly misplaced,” he wrote.

Shares of Tempe-based US Airways Group Inc. rose 30 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.15 in morning trading.

running

Runners pour into Valley for marathon

With ideal weather forecast and more than 25,000 participants itching to lace up their Nikes, the 10th annual P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon looms this weekend.

Thousands of runners, cyclists and even occasional weekend joggers will gather Sunday for the  yearly affair. Throughout its 10 years, the event has been known for its runners smashing world records, raising thousands of dollars for charity, and even qualifying one local Arizonan for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

The 2013 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon will be one to remember as it offers a little something everyone. There is the standard full marathon (26.2 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles), a mini-marathon (5.4 miles) and the KiDS ROCK mile-long run, allowing runners of all levels to participate.

KiDS ROCK is an untimed run for children grades K-6, which ends with every child receiving a T-shirt, finishers medal and goodie bag.

This year’s full marathon begins at CityScape in Downtown Phoenix, winds through Scottsdale, and after 26.2 hard-earned miles the runners will cross the finish line next to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

As if this route wasn’t enough to get any exercise enthusiast interested, the event has made an appeal to cyclists as well. The first annual Cole Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Bike Tour will also be on Sunday, prior the running events.

On Friday and Saturday, the Phoenix Convention Center will be taken over by more than 60 vendors and exhibitors for the Health & Fitness Expo. They will be showcasing and sampling the newest running gear, nutrition products and athletic apparel. Attendees can also participate in interactive clinics where they can test state-of-the-art sports equipment. This event is free to the public.

Since its start in 2004, the marathon has raised more than $28.5 million for 45 different charities. This year the event will be partnering with organizations such as St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, ASPCA, Team in Training and several other charities.

But don’t worry if running or cycling isn’t your thing. The event provides more than 3,000 volunteer opportunities for those who also would like to give back to the community.

With runners coming from all 50 states and 14 countries, the 2013 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon will be one for the books. Also featured will be a Health & Fitness Expo. This event will conclude with a Finish Line Festival and a post-race concert at Sun Devil Stadium headlined by artist Andy Grammer. Both of these festivities are free and open to the public.

Event Schedule

Friday

Noon to 7 p.m.

Health & Fitness Expo presented by Fox 10 and My45

Phoenix Convention Center, North Building

100 N. Third Street

Saturday

9 a.m.

KiDS ROCK Arizona

Tempe Beach Park

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Health & Fitness Expo presented by FOX10 and My45

Phoenix Convention Center, North Building

100 N. Third Street

Sunday

RACE DAY

7:15 a.m. – Cole Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Bike Tour Start

7:50 a.m. – Half Marathon, Relay, Mini Start

7:45 a.m. – Wheelchair Invitational Start

7:50 a.m. – Full Marathon Start

8:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.– Finish Line Festival

 

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor’s Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor's Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.

Eric Marcus, CEO of Marcus Networking.

CEO Series: Eric Marcus

Eric Marcus
CEO, Marcus Networking
marcusnt.com

Az Business: What does Marcus Networking do?
Eric Marcus: We are a technology and telecommunications company. We manage people’s infrastructure. The easiest way to describe it is you can give us an empty building and we can cable it, bring in the dial tone, install the phone system, procure all the equipment, set up you private industry software, and then we can support it on a 24-hour basis. Our biggest customer base is medical providers. We work a lot with electronic medical records (EMR) and behavioral health.

Video by Cory Bergquist

AB: How is being CEO of Marcus Networking different from being CEO of a company in a different industry?
EM: It’s fun to be the CEO because I get to write my own rules. It’s nice to go out, meet with clients, build a relationship, and let them know that at the end of the day the company will be there for them and I will be there to support them.

AB: How did you start in your industry?
EM: I got into the IT field in 1999, working for a software company that did network management. That company grew from about 15 employees to about 155. As that company grew, my responsibilities grew.

AB: Were there challenges to launching a tech company in Arizona?
EM: For startup capital, I had to use money I had saved working at my previous job. The biggest challenge I had was with credit capital to support projects. You can sell a project all day long for $100,000, but if you don’t have the capital to buy the equipment, you’re kind of dead in the water.

AB: What qualities do you have that make you an effective CEO for Marcus Networking?
EM: I am able to educate a client about what they need to do for their company and let them make the decision. It’s their money, their business, their infrastructure, and at the end of the day it’s my job to be that consultant to educate them and take them from Point A to Point B and decide what is best to build them as a business.

AB: What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in your industry since you started?
EM: The advance of technology. What I mean by that is the cost of equipment and the specifications of equipment like hard drives and bandwidth. Ten years ago, a large hard drive was consider to be 73 gigs. Now, you can buy two- or three-terabyte hard drives for a fraction of that cost.

AB: What changes do you see coming?
EM: Equipment is going to get faster. As bandwidth becomes cheaper or larger, you’re going to see more teleconferencing and unified communication.

AB: What is your greatest accomplishment?
EM: Being in business for 10 years. Being a small business, it’s tough. We had our best years through the worst times. This year, our business is up 50 percent and I know there are companies out there closing their doors or downsizing. The thing I’m most proud is we can scale our business tomorrow, so if I found five salespeople in California tomorrow that wanted to come on board and start selling our product and grow our business, I could hire them tomorrow and start.

AB: How were you able to weather the economic downturn so well?
EM: We are in the medical industry. Doctors have to be on EMR systems. It’s mandated by the federal government, so the government has created a need for our services.

AB: What advice would you give someone looking to start a tech company?
EM: Make sure you’re very organized and make sure you’re ready to sacrifice and be ready to work any day and any time. If we have a doctor call us at 3 a.m. and we don’t pick up that phone, we don’t have a job.