Tag Archives: total transit

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Spirit of Enterprise Award Finalists named

Arizona is still recovering from the Great Recession, and many local businesses are playing a key role in the comeback. Today, some of the state’s best companies are being recognized as finalists for the 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The prestigious awards recognize firms for creating jobs, boosting our economy and delivering great customer service. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, Ollie the Trolley and Total Transit (Discount Cab), as well as fast-growing businesses, such as Infusionsoft.

“We look for Arizona businesses that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We also want to see innovation, a positive internal culture, and an impact on both our economy and our local community.”

The 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Award finalists are:

• Clean Air Cab (Mesa) – a family-owned, eco-friendly cab fleet with consistent 100-percent annual growth and a Happy Ride consumer guarantee, sourcing more than 83 percent of its business needs from local providers and donating to local charities, including the ONE Community Foundation for advancing the rights of the LGBT community.
• Endless Entertainment (Tempe) – an events production and consulting company started by a college entrepreneur at ASU that has been lauded by Inc. magazine, has a strong customer-service focus, and has worked with a range of clients from San Diego Comic-Con and the X Games to the American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Target and Zappos.
• Ersland Touch Landscape (Phoenix) – a state-of-the-art landscape maintenance company with more than 30 years of experience, a complete customer “feedback log,” an Adopt a Highway commitment, work with nonprofits, and more than 400 residences and 20 homeowner associations as clients.
• India Plaza/The Dhaba (Tempe) – a small, minority-owned one-stop shop for all things Indian, including an award-winning restaurant, a marketplace and an education center, with a low staff turnover rate, a no-questions-asked return policy, and vegetarian, gluten-free and environmental initiatives.
• IO (Phoenix) – a firm focused on data-center technology, services and solutions that are defined by software, instead of physical locations, with more than 650 global clients, including Goldman Sachs and LexisNexis, as well as two patents and a focus on energy efficiency.
• I-ology (Scottsdale) – a woman-owned technology company offering Web design and related services that features close client relationships, heavy community involvement, and no management hierarchy, where all employees have the chance to participate in revenue sharing, stock options, flexible schedules and industry events.
• The James Agency (Scottsdale) – a boutique, full-service advertising and public relations agency specializing in high-end brands, which was started by a 25 year old and now boasts flexible work schedules, no outsourcing, annual pro bono clients and last year’s revenue of more than $2 million.
• Kitchell (Phoenix) – a 100-percent employee-owned commercial builder, developer and program manager launched 65 years ago, which now has more than 850 employees, international operations, innovations like virtual construction, an internal leadership program, significant charitable contributions, and a focus on safety, work quality and customer satisfaction.
• Melrose Pharmacy (Phoenix) – an independent pharmacy that offers fast, personalized service, contributions to the March of Dimes and other charities, and involvement in community issues, as well as achieving business goals of $2.7 million in sales by its third year in business and a 119-percent increase in net income so far this year.
• Potter’s House Apothecary (Peoria) – a pharmacy specializing in compounding, with its own continuous-quality-improvement program and patient seminars, which reached its three-year business plan projections in just 18 months and became one of fewer than 15 Arizona pharmacies with accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

The finalists from the W. P. Carey School for the Student Entrepreneurship Award are:

• Anthony Gonzales/Force Impact Technologies – Gonzales, who just graduated with his MBA, has made headlines as a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition with his grant-winning, ongoing development of FITGuard, a mouthguard designed to indicate when an athlete should be removed from a game for possible head injuries/concussions, as well as a matching smartphone application that can provide results to a diagnosing physician.
• Paige Corbett/PetSitnStay – Corbett was working as a kennel assistant and attending business school, when she came up with the idea to start an online service to connect pet owners with pet sitters and in-home care options as an alternative to less personal commercial boarding facilities.

Winners will be announced at a luncheon Friday, Nov. 21 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Hundreds of business and community leaders attend the annual event. Also, new this year, an entrepreneurship workshop will be held right before the awards luncheon. There, top W. P. Carey School faculty members will talk about what tools and techniques you can use to advance your business.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to attend, call (480) 965-0474, e-mail wpcentrepreneurship@asu.edu, or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/spirit.

The Spirit of Enterprise Awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center recently introduced the Sun Devil Select competition to honor ASU alum-owned or alum-led businesses, as well as the Sun Devil Igniter Challenge to help fund student businesses. The center also offers companies a chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while allowing students to get hands-on business experience. It is a gateway to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

Chandler Innovation Center

Nominate Your Favorite for a Spirit of Enterprise Award

Want to help honor your favorite Arizona company? Nominate it for a 2013 Spirit of Enterprise Award.

The awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recognize some of Arizona’s best businesses for creating jobs, boosting our economy and treating customers right. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, China Mist, Ollie the Trolley and Total Transit (Discount Cab), as well as rapidly growing businesses, such as GlobalMed and WebPT.

“We’re looking for firms that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship,” says Gary Naumann, director of the Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They should have a great story and a positive culture internally, and be exemplary community partners in terms of how they give back.”

You can nominate any company that is:

* A for-profit enterprise in business for at least four years;
* Incorporated, headquartered or having a majority of its business operations in Arizona;
* Employing at least three or more full-time workers;
* Able to demonstrate profitability over the last three years combined.

In addition, one minority-owned business will receive the Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Once a company is nominated, it will have until July 31 to complete an awards application.

The winners of the 17th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards will be announced at a luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix on Nov. 22. Hundreds of Arizona business and community leaders attend this annual event.

For more information on nominating a company, applying for the awards, or attending the luncheon, call (480) 965-0474 or visit spiritofenterprise.org.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. In addition, companies can use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

federal transportation bill

Arizona Forward hopes to guide Arizona’s transportation systems

As Valley Forward transitions to Arizona Forward to encompass a statewide focus, it’s only fitting that the association with a 43-year history of success tackling environmental issues — including land use, water management, air quality and energy — turns its attention to an issue that impacts every resident and every business in Arizona.
Transportation.

“Valley Forward has always valued transportation as one of the organization’s key areas of interest,” says John Godec, president of Godec, Randall & Associates Inc., which helps governments and businesses solve public and stakeholder challenges. “The Phoenix and Tucson metros have seen radical transportation changes and improvements in the past decade, so we’re asking, ‘What’s next? Are we good to go now?’”

Just as it did last year with parks and open spaces, Valley Forward hopes to answer those questions as it unveils its stance on transportation, covering topics such as transportation planning, how it impacts the quality of life in the Sun Corridor and how transportation affects Arizona’s economy.

One issue that Valley Forward wanted to address in its Transportation Primer is one on the minds of every Arizona: traffic congestion and how to better connect cities with each other. According to a policy report written by Byron Schlomach for The Goldwater Institute, the average Phoenix commuter spends an average of 38 hours a year in traffic, while a commuter in Tucson spends roughly 42 hours in traffic.

In an attempt to remedy traffic congestion in Phoenix, voters adopted Proposition 400 in November of 2004, which allowed for the renovating and extending of current freeways and the addition of more public transportation, such as the Valley Metro Light Rail, all of which connect small communities with larger cities. In Tucson, Pima County voters approved the $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Plan, which saw the construction of a modern streetcar project throughout the city, giving more people a chance to get around, while getting cars off the highways.

However, the question that has been asked by Valley Forward is, is it enough, especially since Arizona only seems to be growing in size?

“At least half the transportation systems that the state will need in 2050 have yet to be built,” says Sally Stewart, deputy communications director at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and Valley Forward member. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Arizona’s growth is not over. It is not a question of whether the Sun Corridor — one of the emerging megapolitan regions in the country — will be a reality; it is simply a matter of when.”

According to a study published in March 2010 by ADOT, it is expected that Arizona’s population will more than double, from 6.4 million to about 16 million people in the next 30 years. Maricopa County’s population is expected to increase by 90 percent, from 4 million people to about 7.6 million. The study suggests that because of this population explosion, travel times for various destinations in the Sun Corridor could increase by about 100 percent by 2050. This could mean that a trip between Phoenix and Tucson, which currently is about a 95-minute drive, could take up to 5.5 hours in 2050 (assuming that the Interstate-10 freeway is widened to about 10 lanes).

Valley Forward experts say that Arizona must plan ahead to improve this possible transportation dilemma, especially if the state wants to see more business activity and economic improvement.

“Transportation is key for economic development,” says said Eric Anderson, transportation director at the Maricopa Association of Governments. “The ability of a company’s workforce to commute on a predictable basis is critical. The movement of freight in and out of the region is also important. Companies looking to locate in the region always look at the adequacy of the transportation system in providing mobility and travel options.”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates 36,000 jobs. Despite the fact that policies, such as Proposition 400, have created and funded transportation projects, Valley Forward says that there is still not enough money allocated for Arizona’s travel needs.

“Arizona’s future economic development will be tied closely to the state’s willingness to commit funding and resources to improving and expanding its statewide transportation system,” says Craig Hughes, CEO and founder of Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab in Phoenix and Tucson. “Without a firm commitment to building and maintaining an efficient, integrated transportation network, the future could be one of congested freeways, inadequate rural highways, gridlocked city streets and under-funded and under-utilized mass transit.”

Valley Forward hopes that its stance and data findings will help create a dialogue not only among Phoenix and Tucson residents, but also policymakers.

“Arizona’s business community is a vital participant in guiding policymakers regarding the infrastructure challenges facing the state,” Stewart says. “If Arizonans want to enjoy a better quality of life based on a vibrant economy, then the business community must work closely with policymakers to make the difficult, but necessary decisions regarding transportation infrastructure.”

Adds Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, “We want to bring together the public and private sectors. Valley Forward’s goal is to try and drive the conversation to the middle and take the politics out. We want to drive up solutions so that Arizona, as a whole, can advance and can sustain itself.”

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

LAWLOGIX GROUP LLC

Spirit of Enterprise winner: LawLogix Group

LawLogix Group earned the Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

In 2000, LawLogix co-founder Brian Taylor was sitting at a Burger King near the consulate in Nogales, Mexico, waiting for a new U.S. visa to be approved. His own immigration experience was time consuming and frustrating, and he knew there had to be a better way for immigrants to share their case information with attorneys.

So LawLogix – a software company focused on creating the easiest-to-use and most secure immigration case management and I-9 compliance software available – was born. Brian and his co-founder Dan Siciliano, a law professor at Stanford, set out to develop a service that would automate what is otherwise a time-, labor-, and paper-intensive hiring and visa application process.

Today, LawLogix software and services are used by more than 155,000 organizations and 4.2 million foreign nationals worldwide. The company’s success  is based on five core principles:

  1. Empower the client. When developing their first product, LawLogix bucked the trend of client-hosted software, giving clients more freedom with a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model.
  2. Innovate by listening. LawLogix listens to customers to better understand their needs, and then develops software to solve their pain points.
  3. Listen to the marketplace. When the new I-9 and E-Verify laws were introduced, LawLogix developed an entirely new SaaS product to make I-9 compliance easy for companies.
  4. Invest in employees’ career growth. LawLogix provides specialized ongoing education and training for its employees and promotes from within.
  5. Lead the way. Through webinars and speaking engagements, LawLogix offers its lessons learned and expertise to the immigration services community.

Name of business: LawLogix Group, LLC

Nature of business: I-9, E-Verify, and immigration case management software

Address: 3111 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, Arizona 85012

Web: LawLogix.com

Founded: 2000

Number of employees: 52

DAPHENE'S HEAD COVERS

Spirit of Enterprise winner: Daphne’s Headcovers

Daphne’s Headcovers earned the The Spirit of Enterprise Overcoming Adversity Award this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

When Jane Spicer was 10 years old she told her mother that she wanted a sailboat. Her mother told her she had to earn the money for it. Jane did: she sewed a bagful of stuffed toys to sell to friends and neighbors. At the Park & Swap she made $200, and has been hooked on entrepreneurship ever since.

“When I was 16, a customer suggested that I make animal golf club covers. It was really hard to break into that market, but my mom, Daphne, told me: Be tenacious.” Jane taught herself how to get past the attendants and assistants at golf resorts to get to the buyers. It worked: sales grew 400 percent in one quarter, her animal headcovers becoming the best selling item in golf after Tiger Woods started using one.

Not that it was always easy: When the recession hit in early 2008, Jane said that she was paralyzed with fear. “I stopped taking a salary. I sold everything at home that wasn’t nailed down. But I never missed payroll and I didn’t lay off a single key employee. By 2011 we were profitable again.”

Jane and her company do a lot to give back to the community that, as Jane put it, built Daphne’s Headcovers. The company sells a special Weimaraner headcover and donates a portion of the proceeds to Gabriel’s Angels, which provides pet therapy to abused and at-risk kids. They also partner with charities globally to help make a difference and now Jane allows budding entrepreneurs to use her facility and equipment.

Through all of the ups and downs, Jane has lived out the directive her mother gave her, to be tenacious, and Daphne’s core value as well: to do good while doing well.

Name of business: Daphne’s Headcovers

Nature of business: Manufacturer of animal/novelty golf club covers

Address: 337 W. Melinda Lane Phoenix, Arizona 85027

Web: DaphnesHeadcovers.com

Founded: 1978

Number of employees: 19

GLOBALMED

Spirit of Enterprise winner: GlobalMed

GlobalMed earned the U.S. Bank Emerging Entrepreneur Award this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

In 2002, when Joel Barthelemy started the business that would become GlobalMed, he made imaging equipment for quality assurance in the semiconductor industry. “We did about $1 million a year in sales,” Joel recounted. “Just enough to keep the doors open.”

The company’s very fortuitous move into telemedicine came at the suggestion of a Tulane University pathologist. Joel took his advice and in April, 2005, GlobalMed delivered its first system: cameras and software for the first remote pathology consult, at Tulane.

Today, GlobalMed continues to develop the software and manufacture the equipment that makes telemedicine possible. “To date, we have installed well over 2,000 telemedicine systems in 55 countries,” Joel explained. “We provide patients with access to healthcare wherever there’s an internet connection.” He added, “We’re changing the healthcare system in the U.S. and globally.”

A story illustrates that fact quite poignantly: a woman in Minnesota was fishing with her kids and grandkids when she had a stroke. They rushed her to the community hospital, but it didn’t have the resources to meet her needs. So she was taken via air ambulance to the nearest stroke specialist, but by then she already had permanent paralysis and dementia.

In contrast, when the mayor of rural Copper Queen, Arizona had a stroke and was similarly rushed to the community hospital (which also didn’t have an in-house stroke specialist, but did have a GlobalMed system) he was seen within minutes by a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. The mayor has fully recovered.

Name of business: GlobalMed

Nature of business: Develops and manufactures healthcare IT systems

Address: 15020 N. 74th Street Scottsdale, Arizona 85260

Web: GlobalMed.com

Founded: 2002

Number of employees: 107

TOTAL TRANSIT

Spirit of Enterprise winner: Total Transit

Total Transit earned the The Spirit of Enterprise Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

When Total Transit CEO Craig Hughes bought a small airport cab company in 1984, he had only ridden in a cab twice, never in Phoenix. Needless to say, he had to learn on his feet, and learn quickly.

He did, and today Total Transit is a cab company unlike any other. For starters, the company manages both public and private transportation services, including Discount Cab, express route and paratransit service for Valley Metro, and service for many of the largest Medicaid and Medicare providers in the region. It’s a model Total Transit hopes to see spread. “We are truly committed to integrating and managing public and private transportation services in a new way. Our goal is to create the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible transportation network possible.”

One of Total Transit’s competitive differentiators is its transportation management system. “We have seven IT developers writing the software that keeps us competitive.” In the public arena, where governments are trying to do more with less, “efficient design, effective integration, and responsible management” are critical to maximizing taxpayers’ investments.

In an environment in which many transportation services companies are struggling, Total Transit has flourished, growing 25-35 percent annually over the last few years and set to grow more than 40 percent this year. That growth comes in part from the company’s commitment to its strategic plans, and in part from its stand-out customer service. “Phoenix is a unique market because customers choose who to call. People call us specifically because they know our high standards.”

Name of business: Total Transit, Inc.

Nature of business: Transportation services

Address: 4600 W. Camelback Rd. Glendale, AZ 85301

Web: TotalTransit.com

Founded: 1984

Number of employees: 300

 

180 DEGREES AUOTOMOTIVE

Spirit of Enterprise winner: 180 Degrees Automotive

180 Degrees Automotive earned the Hahnco Companies Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

When Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner decided to open her own auto repair shop, she “had no business plan, no money.” What Bogi did have was a passion and a talent for fixing cars and taking care of people.

With a focus on women and minorities – customers who have traditionally been neglected or exploited by the auto repair industry and feel particularly intimidated by it – 180 Degrees Automotive grew rapidly, doubling each year after the first. “I was booked out two weeks in advance, but I knew that growth was not sustainable, that I was succeeding despite myself,” Bogi explained.

So she decided to learn how to be a business owner. “You name it, I did it – business books, training conferences, success coaches – but I didn’t like what I was learning. It was all about focusing on financials, structure, systems. I was scared that it would take away my passion and creativity.”

Despite her fears, Bogi stuck with it and has discovered that focusing on the numbers and the systems behind her business actually allows her more time to do the things she’s really passionate about. That includes moving 180 Degrees Automotive into a new building, which she owns, teaching car care classes, and co-hosting a national all-women car repair TV show.

The lasting success of 180 Degrees Automotive doesn’t come from the fact that the company focuses on serving women, or the fact that most of its mechanics and service advisors are women. “Being women in this industry may help to bring people in the door, but that’s not what keeps them here,” Bogi explained. “We still have to provide excellent service and go above and beyond to earn, and keep, the trust of our customers.”

Name of business: 180 Degrees Automotive, Inc.

Nature of business: Automotive repair

Address: 545 W. Mariposa St. Phoenix, AZ 85013

Web: 180auto.com

Founded: 2006

Number of employees: 6

photo

Top Arizona Businesses Win Spirit of Enterprise Awards

As Americans talk about how to improve our economy, we keep hearing how small businesses and entrepreneurs have to lead the way in the recovery. Today, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University honored five of the state’s best businesses for creating jobs, contributing to charities and introducing innovation. They’re this year’s winners of the prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

“What is striking about this year’s group of finalists and winners is that these entrepreneurs have chosen incredibly difficult industries and excelled where others have failed,” says Gary Naumann, director of the Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They are recognized today because of their hard work, dedication to the community, and great entrepreneurial stories.”

Hundreds of Valley business and community leaders attended today’s awards luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, where the winners were announced. The finalists’ impressive and often emotional stories were shown on video, as the firms were recognized for ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship.

The 16th annual Spirit of Enterprise Award winners are:

180 Degrees Automotive – The Hahnco Companies Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award. This woman-owned, full-service auto repair center caters especially to women and minorities. The company has moved to bigger locations four times in six years, provides free car classes to women, hosts an art exhibit, gives free rides home, and leaves a gift in each car with each visit. It also makes a notable commitment to “green” business practices and community causes.

Daphne’s Headcovers – The Spirit of Enterprise Overcoming Adversity Award. This novelty golf-club cover business was started when the owner was just 16 years old, and it had to address major growth issues when business shot up 400 percent in just one quarter. Daphne’s now serves fine resorts and golf shops in 75 countries, despite the recession that’s hit the golf industry hard. The company has covers in the bags of more than 200 touring pro golfers and offers customers a lifetime guarantee to repair or replace its products for free.

GlobalMed – U.S. Bank Emerging Entrepreneur Award. This booming company offers telemedicine solutions like innovative cameras, medical devices and software, so health practitioners can provide care to remote patients via telecommunications or satellite. GlobalMed made Inc. Magazine’s 2012 list of the nation’s 500 fastest-growing private companies. It also made large donations to charity, including the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program, the Strike Out Child Abuse Walk and the Migrant Clinicians Network.

LawLogix Group – Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. This fast-growing provider of immigration, I-9 and E-Verify software boasts a 96.9-percent client-retention rate, low 3-percent employee turnover, and more than 155,000 organizations as customers, including Fortune 500 companies. The minority-owned business also has a nonprofit practice that offers tools to hundreds of nonprofit and community-based organizations, so they can provide some of the same information as expensive immigration law firms.

Total Transit – The Spirit of Enterprise Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award. This comprehensive mobility management company runs the Discount Cab brand throughout Arizona. Total Transit has the largest fleet of environmentally friendly Prius cabs in North America and also provides innovative Dial-a-Ride services for Valley Metro and many large Medicaid and Medicare providers. It also introduced a Free Ride Back program to keep drunk drivers off our roads, by offering paying customers a free ride back to their car the next day. The company donates to the community through its charitable Total Transit Foundation.

The other Spirit of Enterprise Award finalists this year were CyberMark International, Hard Dollar, NJOY Electronic Cigarettes, Optimal Performance Training and Real Property Management East Valley.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. One key program, Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), matches teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students with Valley companies to help tackle real-world challenges and opportunities. Companies can also use the center to access other ASU business resources.

The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities. For more information, visit www.spiritofenterprise.org.

discount cab

Discount Cab Unveils New West Valley Driver Center

Discount Cab, subsidiary of Total Transit, has today opened a new, state-of-the-art facility next to its Glendale headquarters to be used exclusively for Discount Cab operations. A ribbon cutting, held in conjunction with members of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, officially opened the center. Among the center’s features are a new internet lounge and facilities for improved driver check-in and check-out. The second story of the facility is now home to the new Discount Cab call center, one of the largest taxicab call centers in the nation with 24/7 and multilingual support.

Discount Cab anticipates a ten percent increase in need over the next year for drivers, so company recruiters were on-site during the grand opening to meet with those seeking a new career as a driver. A raffle and lease specials were held for existing drivers during the grand opening, and social media contests will be held all week to celebrate the opening of the new center.

Reflecting the company’s mantra of being “Safe, Clean & Green,” Discount Cab featured a green carpet at the opening event, which, along with vintage vehicles, provided for excellent photo opportunities. A live DJ set the tone for a fun day of food, a screening of the film Taxi, networking, guided tours of the facility and more.

“I’m very proud to open this new Driver Center next door to our corporate headquarters,” stated Total Transit CEO Craig Hughes. “The new center shows our employees and independent contractor drivers that we care about their success. It is also a symbol of all that we’ve accomplished together and anticipates our continuing growth.”

For more information on Discount Cab and their services, please visit www.DiscountCab.com. Find @Discount_Cab on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DiscountCab.

Arizona Forward, State Park Issues

Arizona Forward Enhances Awareness of Arizona’s Park Issues

Arizona Forward Enhances Awareness of Arizona’s Park Issues

Arizonans value their parks and open space, consistently ranking them as key quality of life indicators. A recent survey conducted of residents statewide shows that 87 percent visit a park or recreation area at least once a year, with 23 percent doing so on a weekly basis. In addition, parks and open spaces create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.

Multiple land ownerships and funding mechanisms have produced parks and open space issues that are complex, confusing and sometimes controversial. In fact, the telephone survey conducted by WestGroup Research further revealed that most residents (80 percent) rate their knowledge of how state and local parks are funded as very low or in the middle range. Meanwhile, a depressed economy and recession has impacted parks negatively at every jurisdictional level from federal and state to county and municipal governments.

Recognizing the need for public education on the subject of parks and open space issues, Arizona Forward, a new statewide environmental/business coalition launched by Valley Forward earlier this year, developed a comprehensive report to provide unbiased facts, background information and answers to frequently asked questions about state and federal lands as well as county and municipal parks.

Designed to enhance awareness of and interest in solving Arizona’s parks issues, the primer is among Arizona Forward’s first projects towards its mission to promote cooperative efforts to improve the livability, sustainability and economic vitality of cities and towns across Arizona. Readers can sort out how much open space is available in the state, who is responsible for it and the challenges facing various jurisdictions of government. The user-friendly reference guide is described as ‘parks and open space 101’ and can be downloaded at arizonaforward.org.

While the primer doesn’t take a formal position on how to solve funding issues relating to parks, it communicates the economic impact of recreational and open space amenities and why Arizonans should care about these natural resources.

Charter members of Arizona Forward include: Arizona Community Foundation, First Solar, Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold, National Bank of Arizona, Solon Corporation, Sundt Construction, The Nature Conservancy, Total Transit and Wells Fargo.

For more information about Arizona Forward, visit arizonaforward.org.