Developer: OasisTucson (Capstone Communities, operator)
The University of Arizona student-housing project includes two 11-story towers and another site with 3 stories residential. The $50M project is expected to break ground in 1Q 2012 with completion expected in 3Q 2013.
10 Top Discoveries in Arizona
There are many mysteries about Arizona. Before it was officially established as the 48th state in 1912, and far before colonization, there was life here. Archaeologists and investigators have been discovering ancient life and civilizations across the state, telling stories about the land before it became what it is today — as well as helping us learn about our potential future. Here are 10 of the top discoveries made that have changed Arizona as well as the world that we know.
Ruins of 10 Villages Found — 1924
Byron Cummings, a professor of anthropology at University of Arizona, and his students discovered villages over 1,000 years old near Tucson. Read More >>
700-Year-Old Relic Found — June 22, 1965
21-year-old Lynda Bird Johnson, President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s daughter, helped uncover remains in eastern Arizona during a two-week vacation study at the University of Arizona archaeological camp on the Fort Apache reservation. Read More >>
20,000-Year-Old Butcher Shop — 1931
The discovery of large elephant-like mammoth bones in Yuma County, hacked with flint knives, indicates that America has been inhabited for at least 20,000 years. Dr. Harold J. Cook of the Cook museum of natural history explains this and the significance to the finding. Read More >>
Hohokam Village of Pueblo Grande — 1920s
The site which can be viewed by the public at the Pueblo Grand Museum, includes an 800-year-old platform mound — where ancient buildings were constructed — and excavated prehistoric ballcourt. The central part of what is now the museum was first preserved in 1924. Read More >>
Rich Uranium Ore Found — April 7, 1950
Three new high-grade uranium minerals — which were used in building atomic bombs — were reported by the Geological Survey. The minerals were discovered by Dr. Charles A. Anderson in the Hillside Mine in Yavapai County. Read More >>
Columbian Mammoth Found — 2005
Now known as Tuskers, the remains of a Columbian Mammoth were discovered in a construction site when one of the workers found the first cervical membrane of the mammoth. The area located in Gilbert is now known as Discovery Park as a result. Read More >>
Dinosaur Tracks Found — 1929
It was reported to be one of the most important discoveries of dinosaur tracks, with a group of 300. They were found near Tuba City and the largest print was found to be nine inches long. Visitors are now invited to walk where these ancient reptiles did. Read More >>
Winona Meteorite — 1928
This meteorite was found near the ruins of the prehistoric Elden pueblo. It was in a stone cist on the ancient burial ground, suggesting that the people of the area treated it like a living being and buried it after witnessing it fall. Read More >>
Oldest Dinosaur Found — 1985
A 200-pound, plant-eating creature’s remains were discovered in the Petrified Forest by paleontologist Robert Long. The almost-intact skeleton was 225 million years old, four million years older than any previous dinosaur fossil discovered at the time. Read More >>
Las Capas Canals — 1998-2009
Irrigation canals built as early as 1200 B.C. were discovered in the Tucson area. They are the oldest known canals north of central Mexico. This site has revealed much about ancient irrigation and agriculture. Read More >>
The Arizona Commerce Authority aims to boost Arizona’s economy by creating jobs for Arizonans, attract and bring in new business, as well as show corporations Arizona is a better operating environment and a better place to collaborate and grow.
The following ACA Board of Directors are leaders within their respective fields:
|Chair: Gov. Jan Brewer|
|Co-Chair: Jerry Colangelo, Partner, JDM Partners|
|President and CEO: Don Cardon|
|Hon. Kirk Adams, Speaker, Arizona House of Representatives|
|Richard Adkerson, CEO, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold|
|Benito Almanza, State President, Bank of America Arizona|
|Dr. Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board and CEO (Retired), Intel|
|Michael Bidwill, President, Arizona Cardinals|
|Donald Brandt, Chairman of the Board and CEO, APS|
|Drew Brown, Chairman of the Board, DMB Associates|
|Les Brun, Chairman and CEO, SARR Group|
|Hon. Robert Burns, President, Arizona Senate|
|Steve Cowman, CEO, Stirling Energy|
|Dr. Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University|
|Jerry Fuentes, President, AT&T Arizona/New Mexico|
|Dr. William Harris, CEO and President, Science Foundation Arizona|
|Linda Hunt, President, Catholic Healthcare West Arizona|
|Mike Ingram, CEO and President, El Dorado Holdings|
|Sherman Jennings, Chair, Governor’s Workforce Policy Council/
Human Resources Site Leader, The Boeing Company
|Anne Mariucci, Regent, Arizona Board of Regents|
|Dr. Vicki Panhuise, Chair, Arizona’s Aerospace & Defense Commission/
Vice President, Honeywell Military Aircraft
|Mary Peters, President, Mary E. Peters Consulting Group|
|Doug Pruitt, Chairman and CEO, Sundt Construction|
|Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Executive Chairman, Abraxis BioScience|
|Mo Stein, Principal and Senior Vice President, HKS Architects|
|Pat Sullivan, CEO, Flypaper Studio|
|Roy Vallee, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Avnet|
|Gary Abrams, CEO and President, Abrams Airborne Manufacturing|
|Peter Herder, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Herder Companies|
|Dr. Robert Shelton, President, University of Arizona|
|Judith Wood, Chair, Governor’s Council on Small Business/ President, Contact One Call Center|
|Dr. John Haeger, President, Northern Arizona University|
|Michael Manson, Co-Founder and CEO, Motor Excellence|
|Dr. Jeanne Swarthout, President, Northland Pioneer College|
|Victor Smith, President and Owner, JV Farm|
Complete biographies for each of these Arizona leaders
can be found at on Arizona Commerce Authority’s website.
Mark Kranz, SmithGroup
Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP, is the design principal and lead designer for the Phoenix office of SmithGroup’s Higher Education and Science and Technology Studios. Mark’s work has been published locally, regionally and nationally.
He speaks publicly about sustainable design strategies for laboratory and academic facilities, and his work is consistently recognized by the design and construction industries. Kranz works regionally within the Western United States with research institutions and institutions of higher education creating laboratory and instructional facilities that elegantly reflect their specific context and function.
He has spent the past 11 years with SmithGroup, creating the vision for some of the most significant architectural contributions for some of the most prominent institutions and public entities in the Southwestern United States including Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, the City of Phoenix, the State of Utah, The City and County of Denver, and the Maricopa County Community College District.
He is currently behind the design visions for numerous landmark projects for clients including the National Renewable Energy Laboratories in Golden Colorado, The University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.
Topic: Sustainable Strategies for Higher Educational Facilities: A case study of four sustainable educational facilities in four unique settings.
BIG Green Expo
Mark Roddy, SmithGroup
Mark Roddy, AIA, a design principal and lead designer for the Phoenix office of SmithGroup’s Office Workplace Studio, has over 18 years in the architectural field.
Mark received his bachelor degree from the University of Arizona in 1991 and a Masters in Architecture from UCLA in 1996. He has taught architecture design at the University of Arizona, Montana State University and Arizona State University.
His expertise produces civic/municipal spaces that respond to the surrounding community and its culture, while his office/workplace designs are efficient without sacrificing environmental responsiveness. This is most evident in the recently completed Chandler City Hall that is tracking LEED Gold Certification. This commitment to sustainability is also demonstrated in the “green” addition to his historic home in Central Phoenix that has won numerous awards including a Crescordia from Valley Forward. Mark’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.
He believes architecture should be expressive and environmentally responsible, but above all it should seek and find a balance between beauty and function.
Topic: Sustainable Office Design, Two Case Studies in Regional Office Design: Strategies and benefits of sustainable office building design, focusing on three main topics — regional design-buildings, performance strategies and employer & employee benefits.
BIG Green Expo
It’s no surprise that Sundt just celebrated its 120th anniversary. It is one of Arizona’s most respected businesses and among the 100 largest general contractors in the U.S. The company was founded in 1890 by Norwegian ship carpenter Mauritz Martinsen Sundt and has prospered and thrived ever since.
The company has gained and kept the respect of its clientele because of the quality and service it provides. Sundt employees take pride in their work, because they not only work for Sundt, they own it. The company is 100% employee owned.
The high-caliber work Sundt performs can be seen through many projects in Arizona, around the U.S. and abroad. Sundt has completed projects for the U.S. military, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, the Metro Light Rail, Sea World and condominiums in Saudi Arabia, to name a few.
Sundt prides itself not only on the relationships it develops with its customers, but also its relationship with the community. Sundt’s community service includes work with Habit for Humanity and participating in various walks for different organizations.
Through Sundt’s many years in the business, it has created a core philosophy: we are only as good as our people. This motto has helped it achieve the respect of the community, clients, and fellow contractors.
Each year Paramount Promotions transforms the University of Phoenix Stadium from the home of the Arizona Cardinals into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with colorful and eye-catching graphics.
Phoenix-based Paramount Promotions designs and manufactures most of the graphic signs, banners and inflatables for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl held in Glendale annually.
The company created 25-foot tall inflatable Tostitos chip bags for the Fiesta Bowl, along with most of the banners and signs in the University of Phoenix stadium that can be seen during the game.
The 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was the second year of a five-year agreement between Paramount Promotions and the Fiesta Bowl. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl, Paramount Promotions also creates graphic signs for the Insight Bowl, held in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium each year. The company also created graphic banners for the University of Arizona’s football stadium.
“Working with bowl games have always been probably my favorite,” says Brad Bergamo, president of Paramount Promotions. “It’s always fun to go in and take a stadium and completely change the look of it. … So, you go from a stadium that’s just a lot of concrete, colorless, to having a lot of color and graphics.”
Although making over the stadiums is Bergamo’s favorite project, Paramount Promotions does much more.
The company, which was established in 1992, also designs and manufactures wraps for boats, cars, trailers, golf carts and more, all at its Phoenix location.
Paramount Promotions produces light boxes, banners, billboards, fence wraps, window graphics, inflatables, flatbed boards and more that can be seen across the country. The company also makes “fly guys,” the dancing or wiggling inflatable “men” often seen on the side of the road.
Paramount Promotions, which employs 11 people, serves clients nationwide, but about 85 percent of the company’s business comes from Arizona companies and individuals, Bergamo says.
Another large project Paramount Promotions undertook was creating all of the signs and wall graphics for the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills.
With the use of digital printing machine, the Nur Expedic, Paramount Promotions prints an average of 1,800 square feet per hour. At that speed, the company could wrap 30 semi-trucks per day.
Even though Paramount Promotions works with large clients such as the Fiesta Bowl and the University of Arizona, it also offers many services for individuals and small companies.
Currently, the most common product for individual clients is canvas paintings of personal photos. The company has also done life-sized wall graphics — similar to Fathead sports wall graphics — of individuals or their children playing sports.
One of the more creative ways people use Paramount Promotions is to create a large graphic photo, whether it be of the beach, mountains or snow, to cover the boring brick walls that are so common in Phoenix.
“We’re pretty diverse right now. So as of right now, we’re not looking to expand into other products or services,” Bergamo says. “We’re trying to specialize in what we do now.”
The company has been growing steadily, even in the recent down economy, Bergamo adds. In the fall of 2010, Paramount Promotions acquired MonsterColor, a local, large-format printer. The acquisition has expanded Paramount’s capabilities.
This week on AZNow.Biz, the University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is making it easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners to expand their knowledge with three unique online certificate courses. Our personal finance columnist, Jacob Gold, writes about Americans putting more money into savings and how that benefits the economy. Plus, see some majestic views of the Grand Canyon in our Snap Shot feature.
As the state pulls itself out of the recessionary hole, small business owners and entrepreneurs have to re-think how they get things done. Getting advice from experts is critical, but who has the time?
On Aug. 15, the McGuire Center launched three unique online certificate courses that offer entrepreneurs a “practical university education,” said Randy Accetta, mentor-in-residence and communications mentor at the center, a top-tier university-based center for entrepreneurship.
The three areas of study are commercializing an innovation, starting a small business and growing an existing venture. The courses go along with the UA’s land grant mission, and are funded in part by a United States Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant. The courses are offered through the non-credit arm of the UA’s Outreach College.
The UA is still marketing the courses, and online classes haven’t started yet, Accetta said. Credit-bearing versions of the courses will most likely be offered during the spring 2011 semester at the UA.
What makes these online courses different is the amount of hands-on, one-on-one work students will do with Eller College of Management mentors and faculty members, Accetta said. Currently, the classes are structured as mentor-based and comprised of small cohorts.
Since the courses haven’t started yet, their structure can be modified and could range from small cohorts, as originally planned, to an independent study, according to what the market needs.
However the structure of the courses turns out, Accetta, the UA and the McGuire Center are committed to a high-quality educational experience that is focused on interaction between student and professor.
The UA and the McGuire Center wanted to provide entrepreneurs in the Southwest region with a university-type education in which students can end the course with a comprehensive understanding of the theories and concepts behind growing a business, Accetta said.
He added that the UA has been slow to offer distance learning and online courses, and these programs are part of the university’s effort to enter the world of online-based education. Distance learning is important, because the UA is pushing to “extend the intellectual quality of the university throughout the region,” Accetta said.
“Our long-range vision is to grow a more educated, more motivated entrepreneur community,” he said.
In these difficult times, courses like these can have an impact beyond the classroom, or computer screen in this case, Accetta said, adding that building a business community that can identify and act on opportunities to stimulate entrepreneurial growth will result in a stronger economy for Southern Arizona.
The Arizona economy has marked some improvement and is much better than the public perceives, according to the Third Quarter 2010 Economic Outlook released by the Forecasting Project at the University of Arizona.
However, the report also states that will it will take some time for many Arizonans to recognize the improvement in the state’s economy and to repair the damage done by the recession. Estimates are that it will be 2013 or early 2014 before all the damage that occurred during the recession is repaired. The long-term forecast is for nation-leading growth to return to Arizona.
There was also some positive news in the CB Richard Ellis Third Quarter 2010 Analysis of Metro Phoenix Office, Industrial and Retail Markets. Highlights included:
Office: After 12 consecutive quarterly increases, the office market vacancy rate remained unchanged from the second quarter, at 25.9 percent. While the full service average asking lease rate for office space has leveled off in 2010, it has fallen 12.5 percent in the past two years, from $25.44 per square foot in third quarter 2008 to $22.25 per square foot today.
Absorption for the year is 147,610 square feet, with gross activity of 4.3 million square feet. This compares with negative absorption of 897,916 square feet and gross activity of 2.9 million square feet at the same time last year. An increasing supply of office sublease space continues to impact the absorption of direct space. There was 2.2 million square feet of available sublease space at the end of the third quarter compared to 2 million square feet one year ago.
Industrial: Through the first three quarters of 2010, the Metro Phoenix industrial market had positive absorption of 2.6 million square feet. Leading the way was the Southwest submarket, with more than 3.4 million square feet of positive absorption year-to-date. The industrial market vacancy rate decreased for the second consecutive quarter, dropping from 16.4 percent at the end of the first quarter to 15.3 percent today. One year ago the vacancy rate was 15.8 percent.
The net direct average asking lease rate for existing industrial product remained relatively unchanged during the past three months, ending the third quarter at $0.54 per square foot. However, in the last year the rate has dropped 5.3 percent. While there is 619,800 square feet of industrial product under construction, it consists entirely of build-to-suit projects. No speculative developments broke ground in the third quarter. This trend is expected to continue due to the challenging financial market and the glut of space.
Retail: The retail market experienced positive absorption in the third quarter, posting 83,491 square feet. This was the first time in seven consecutive quarters that the metro area reported more retail space was gained than lost. Vacancy increased slightly in the third quarter, from 12.2 percent to 12.3 percent. In comparison, the retail vacancy rate one year ago was 10.9 percent.
The average net asking lease rate for existing retail centers has declined 9.4 percent since the end of 2009, dropping from $17.33 per square foot to $15.71 per square foot at the end of the third quarter. The large supply of available big box space continues to weigh heavily on the Phoenix area retail market. Currently there are 303 spaces greater than 10,000 square feet, totaling 8.2 million square feet. The majority, 34 percent, can be found in the Mesa/Chandler/Gilbert submarket, with 2.8 million square feet of space.
There’s so much going on in sustainability, it’s hard to narrow down the news to share. This week we’ve gathered stories about new solar installations at the University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base, weird global weather patterns bringing to mind global warming, falling worldwide carbon dioxide levels and others.
Arizona Gets Two New Solar Installations
The University of Arizona and Luke Air Force Base will be home to two new solar panel power plants within the next year. UA will host a 1.6 mega-watt plant while Luke upstages the university with a 15 mega-watt plant.
San Diego Schools will be Home to Solar Roofs
Schools in the San Diego Unified School District will lend their roofs to Amsolar. In turn the schools can buy power at a significantly discounted rate.
Harvard Offers Online Sustainability Course
Executives and employees have even less time than before, so this online class offered by The Harvard University Extension School gives people a chance to learn at their own time. The adjunct professor teaching the class expects as many as 130 people from 20 countries to enroll.
With a cornucopia of strange weather events – everything from floods to fires to huge chunks of glaciers breaking off – trouncing the Earth this summer, can we deny global warming? Or should we just call it global weirding?
There’s Some Good News, and Some Bad News
Global carbon dioxide levels fell 1.3 percent in 2009. In a world that seems to be falling apart (see article above), it’s good to know that going green does have an effect. Although the decrease could have been greater, Asian and Middle Eastern countries increased their output while Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States decreased their outputs.
Ready to heave a sigh of relief over Arizona’s economy? Go ahead — but don’t get carried away. Some observers expect the second half of this year will bring positive signs that the economy is recovering, turning the dial toward even stronger growth in 2011 and 2012. Others aren’t so sure the state’s recession is in the rear-view mirror yet, and that a quick rebound is in the cards. Two of Arizona’s leading economists, Marshall Vest and Lee McPheters, disagree on how this year will shake out and how quickly a full recovery will be reached.
Vest, an economist at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, believes Arizona’s economy hit bottom at the end of 2009. He forecasts retail sales will increase 5 percent this year and 10 percent in 2011. Home builders are buying back land they sold a few years ago and preparing for new construction. The housing market is improving “fairly rapidly,” with sales of existing homes up and housing prices stabilizing.
“Housing prices will continue to move up because they are well-below trend,” Vest says. “New-home permits are off the bottom, but I don’t see a whole lot of upward potential until we have absorbed all the vacant houses.”
He estimates inventory at 120,000 homes statewide.
As for that other troublesome spot in the economy, jobs, unemployment dropped to 9.5 percent in April, and may already have peaked.
“I think we’ll see slow improvement in the number of unemployed,” Vest says. “But it probably will be two or three years before we get the (unemployment) rate below 6 percent.”
He expects the hospitality industry, wholesale trade, and the professional and business services sector to show employment gains the second half of this year. New jobs will attract more people to Arizona and Vest predicts the state’s population will grow by 2.5 percent in 2012.
“I don’t expect to see the 4 and 4.5 percent growth from the last expansion because the population base is so large now,” Vest says. “But a 2.5 percent increase is a lot of people.”
Although he says it will take years to repair the damage, Vest sees better days ahead, with the economy in full recovery by 2013.
“This year simply sets the stage for much stronger and broad-based growth in 2011,” he notes. “We should see some significant growth in most sectors of the economy in 2011 and 2012. The areas growing fastest likely will be professional and business services, trade, hospitality, health care and residential construction.”
However, commercial real estate and the public sector will continue to be a drag on the economy, according to Vest.
“Tax revenues lag at least a year behind an economy that is recovering,” he says. “It will be at least a year, maybe two or three, before state and local government regains its footing.”
McPheters, research professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, thinks Arizona’s recession is still in play as measured by employment. Reaching 2.7 million jobs, the peak of employment in 2007, indicates a full recovery, McPheters says. More jobs may be lost this year — perhaps 24,000 — and 2010 could close out with 2.4 million people employed.
“So 2010 is another recession year,” he notes.
McPheters sees recovery in three to four years. Full recovery could come in 2013 if Arizona averages 3.7 percent job growth between now and then, McPheters says. Three percent job growth means recovery in 2014.
Arizona’s economy likely will creak along at its trough through the second half of the year but “2011 should be a year when home prices, population and jobs show modest improvement,” McPheters says.
He forecasts a gain of 48,000 jobs next year, a 2 percent increase over 2010. Population should grow 1.8 percent, a nudge of 0.3 percent. Homebuilders will take out 17,800 single-family housing permits this year and 28,480 next year, but “you would expect Arizona to generate 40,000 to 50,000 permits in a ‘normal year,’ ” McPheters says. “The housing recovery really hasn’t unfolded the way I thought it would.”
He won’t forecast retail sales until he has more data in hand.
A labor shortage?
Dennis Hoffman, professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business, sees more questions than answers in Arizona’s immediate future.
“If you look at any kind of model about Arizona, you see significant growth coming in 2011 and 2012,” Hoffman says. “But that is nothing more than a reflection of history. The question is, are the dynamics that drove (economic) bounces in the past in place this time? This one may be different.”
Arizona’s rapid-paced recoveries from prior recessions “were fueled by the immediate availability of an abundant supply of undocumented cheap labor,” Hoffman says. “With Arizona’s attitude toward undocumented laborers, it’s pretty clear that abundant undocumented workers may be a headwind for us.”
With much of their assets tied up in real estate, Arizonans suffered “wealth erosion of massive proportions” as home prices slid 40 percent to 60 percent, Hoffman adds. Personal spending cratered and tax revenues plunged. Hoffman says the country’s household wealth fell 3 percent from December 1928 to December 1929 during the Great Depression. National wealth deteriorated 17 percent from December 2007 to December 2008 during the current recession, and Arizona was at least twice that bad, he notes.
“If we could regain consumer confidence and begin consuming close to historical norms, you’re talking between $14 billion and $16 billion in taxable spending,” Hoffman says. “That would do a lot to cure the ills of our very wounded economy.”
Arizona must become a magnet for new residents again, according to Hoffman, because in-migration fuels tax receipts as new arrivals buy homes, cars, furniture and other goods and services.
Indeed, economist Elliott Pollack, CEO of Elliott D. Pollack & Company, says Arizona will recover only if more people relocate to the state.
“We won’t need another square foot of housing, we won’t need another square foot of office space if people don’t move here,” Pollack says. “I expected population inflows to slow, but I never dreamed it would come to a screeching halt.”
Arizona’s total population growth (in-migration, plus births, minus deaths) was 3.1 percent in 2007 and 0.8 percent in 2009, Pollack says, noting that population will pick up slowly over the next four or five years.
He adds that Arizona’s recovery will be gradual and painful because the national recovery will be sluggish.
“Consumers are not nearly as able to spend as they have coming out of past recessions because they have to pay down debt and increase savings,” Pollack says. “That is not something they had to do in past recoveries.”
Becoming business friendly
Don Cardon, director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, sees “significant things happening in invisible areas.” He is bullish on the re-emergence of investment capital in Arizona this year.
“I am sincerely positive about what’s anticipated for the third and fourth quarters,” Cardon says. “I think we will see a re-engagement of capital streams, a softening of the ability of large investors to be interested in Arizona industry.”
Large investors will “beta test” the state and then secondary investors will decide they “have been out of the water way too long,” Cardon says. He sees Arizona businesses gaining traction over the next year. He also believes new capital will flow to energy-related industries, particularly renewable energy, the technology sector, small business and entrepreneurial ventures.
Last year, Gov. Jan Brewer appointed a commerce advisory council to identify an economic development model for the state and, following the group’s recommendations, has proposed scrapping the Commerce Department and replacing it with a so-called public-private commerce authority. Cardon says the authority would give Arizona a vital ingredient for improving the economy — focus.
“(The authority) has received unparalleled favor across party lines and in all sectors of business because it represents a sense of focus,” Cardon says. “We’re saying that at the state level, we haven’t been focused and we lost our connection with legislative support and confidence.”
Once necessary laws are passed to establish the authority, it “will create a tool for the private sector to say, ‘I understand this. We can count on them.’ We will go from an intangible entity to something that is specific and highly energized,” Cardon says.
The authority will emphasize energy and business attraction, retention and expansion, he says.
A boost to Arizona’s competitive position is critical to an economic recovery, and a statewide economic development program backed by a supportive tax policy is overdue, says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. In the meantime, he believes Arizona’s economy will bounce back “quicker than people realize, that it will be strong and that it will result in a faster rate of job recovery than economists are projecting for Phoenix and Arizona.”
Over the next year and a half, Broome says, Arizona will develop a full-fledged, renewable-energy cluster and transform itself into a solar energy hub; health care will experience a strong expansion with emphasis on information technology and telemedicine; and the aerospace market will hold its own. In addition, Broome expects an uptick in regional headquarter activity.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona has a customized executive education program that targets highly skilled professionals with advanced degrees in the industries of medicine, bioscience and engineering, and who are called upon to lead key divisions within the company.
These leaders frequently have had little or no formal training in essential business concepts and strategies. This “gap” between technical expertise and business training is widely recognized by the executives affected. Customized executive education can be designed to successfully bridge this gap, and specifically target an organization’s unique learning goals and performance objectives. The Eller College business of medicine, business of bioscience, and business of technology programs present topics and address issues specific to the client organization.
All executive education certificate programs are categorized as non-degree. Many Eller College business of medicine programs qualify for Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for physicians, in partnership with University of Arizona Health Sciences.
Step 1: Exploratory meetings
The director of executive education meets with the organization’s executives and key stakeholders to review the company’s strategic goals and objectives. A preliminary needs assessment facilitates a better understanding of the company’s challenges, which leads to the identification of specific learning objectives. Based on the outcome of these meetings, a proposal outlining the suggested curriculum is presented for discussion and review. Once the proposal has been refined and the contract executed, the project moves into the development phase.
Step 2: Program development
The proposed curriculum is fleshed out in detail using Eller’s 3-Cs of customized executive education development: content, context and critical mass. The content of each session, or module, must be results-driven, i.e. what action, behavioral change or deliverable is the ultimate goal? Next, how can the material be given context through embedding unique/specific corporate data, projects or activities into the module design? The third C is critical mass. The college believes that in order to effect behavioral change, or create momentum strong enough to enhance and influence actions beyond the classroom, there must be sufficient participation to create consensus, as well as critical mass within that organization.
Eller executive education programs are designed for a minimum of 15 participants and a maximum of 50. Faculty and industry experts are selected based on their formal areas of expertise, as well as specific industry knowledge or experience particularly relevant to the audience. The client’s key stakeholders or planning team collaborates with the executive education team and UA faculty in developing the curriculum. Optimal results are achieved when instructors have ready access to key personnel within the organization during the development process for purposes of discussion and feedback. Also needed is access to pertinent data and internal reports relevant to the topics covered, and the overall learning objectives of the company. To ensure confidentiality, a non-disclosure agreement is put in place at the beginning of the development process.
Step 3: Program delivery
Custom programs are a minimum of one day in length and may be considerably longer based on the needs of the organization. Typical programs consist of multiple sessions or modules, with each module being one-and-a-half days to two days in length. Classes are dynamic and participatory; attendees engage in inter-session activities and exercises designed to transfer knowledge back into the organization after formal sessions are concluded. Participants are expected to complete advance readings prior to each session, and may be asked to complete specific activities following the module or between (multiple) modules. Classes may be conducted at either of the Eller College locations in Scottsdale or Tucson, or at a client-designated facility.
Step 4: Program feedback, evaluation and review
Following the conclusion of each module, program participants and other key stakeholders are asked to complete an evaluation designed to rate the process, instructors, content and deliverables. All evaluations and feedback, both formal and informal, are jointly reviewed by the Eller executive education team and the company’s management team. Specific activities or follow-up sessions are frequently assigned at the conclusion of each module to reinforce content, action items and deliverables.
Executive education as an investment
Customized executive education is an investment in a company’s single most important asset, its people. Every company is faced with the challenge of successfully developing, motivating and retaining top employees. This applies equally to current executives and high-potential individuals who are key to the company’s future success. An investment in executive education can pay significant dividends in many different ways, whether it is adding value that visibly impacts the bottom line or one that substantively enhances a company culture that believes in promoting excellence through continuing professional development.
Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green entrepreneurs, alternative energy sources, bioplastics and more.
Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.
Body Heat: Sweden’s New Green Energy Source
This article will make you think twice the next time you’re sweating it out at the gym or simply walking to work. Swedish engineers have figured out a way to harness body heat and transfer it to energy for an office building. Though using excess body heat to warm a building isn’t a new concept, transferring it from one building to another is. The future for this new energy source is exciting!
Entrepreneurs Ditch Day Jobs to Create Green mobile apps
Two University of Arizona graduates developed a green application for the iPhone geared toward the environmentally conscious consumer. iGoGreen offers green tips for hundreds of situations.
Solar Inspired, Eco-Friendly Gallery Opens at Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center announced the grand opening of its newly renovated gallery, Solarville. This hands-on gallery is focused on sustainability including exhibits on how to harness and distribute sustainable green energy, exploring ways to utilize solar and renewable energy in your everyday life and more. The exhibit opens May 23 and will offer daily demonstrations.
The Promise and Pitfalls of Bioplastic
In a previous post I wrote about petroleum and its strong presence in our everyday products. Since petroleum-based plastics do not biodegrade, bioplastics are hoping to fill the gap. This article discusses the future of the environmentally friendly plastic and its role in a petroleum-based world.
In an economic downturn that has plunged Arizona into its worst financial crisis in decades, one sector of the state’s economy that remains vibrant and growing is the health care industry. Consider recent developments driven primarily by population growth: the Creighton University partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center; the newly opened Cardon Children’s Medical Center, a Banner Health facility in Mesa; the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center scheduled to open in Gilbert in late 2011; and a major expansion of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
The academic affiliation between Omaha-based Creighton and St. Joseph’s will bring nearly 30 percent of Creighton’s medical students to Phoenix for two years of clinical studies. Since 2005, Creighton has sent relatively few medical school students to St. Joseph’s for one-month rotations. Under the new agreement, 42, third-year Creighton students will arrive at St. Joseph’s in 2012 and in 2013, for a total of 84 students on the new campus, to be known as the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Creighton will provide an associate dean and several administrative support staff, but faculty instructors will be St. Joseph’s doctors and other medical personnel.
Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona, president of St. Joseph’s and chair of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Healthcare Leadership Council, says the goal is to retain many of the students in Arizona for residency and eventually have them set up practices here.
“We’re a large population and when you compare us to the rest of the country we have to import our physicians,” Hunt says. “We need the capacity to educate and to care for more of the population.”
The Cardon Children’s Medical Center, which opened Nov. 9, provides comprehensive pediatric care for children. The facility has 248 beds and works with 225 physicians. Top specialties include cancer, neurology, emergency services, surgery, and a level-III neonatal intensive care unit.
“Children often need special help coping with acute and chronic illness,” says Peter Fine, Banner Health president and CEO. “We know Cardon Children’s Medical Center will make a difference in the lives of countless children and their families. Its opening will offer a new option for outstanding pediatric care that is clearly needed by the Valley’s growing population.”
Meanwhile, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center joined forces with Banner Health on Dec. 1, launching construction of a facility intended to deliver an unprecedented level of cancer care to patients in Arizona. Along with treating cancer patients, M. D. Anderson, based in Houston, also offers access to therapeutic clinical research exploring novel treatments.
Fine calls the relationship with M.D. Anderson “a major milestone in the vision of our two organizations to provide access to a new level of cancer care in Arizona.”
The $107 million, 76-bed center will be a 120,000 square foot, three-story building focusing on outpatient services, including physician clinics, medical imaging, radiation oncology, infusion therapy and many support services. Inpatients will be treated on two floors inside Banner Gateway Medical Center.
“M.D. Anderson is not and will not be something similar to what exists in the Phoenix market today,” Fine says. “We are bringing the No. 1 cancer center in the country to Arizona and to have them run it as closely as is possible. There will be significant amounts of automation tying in all their clinicians in this marketplace to clinicians in their Houston campus. For research purposes, protocol purposes, they will in essence be one clinical business on two campuses.”
In 2008, Phoenix Children’s Hospital broke ground on a $588-million expansion that includes an 11-story patient tower scheduled for completion by 2012. As of December 2009, Phase I marked its halfway point, was on-budget and on-schedule. The project will increase the number of its licensed beds to 626 from 345.
Bob Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, says research indicates Maricopa County has more than 1 million children today and by 2025, an additional 500,000 to 700,000 youngsters will be living in the Greater Phoenix area.
“If you believe those numbers,” Meyer says, “deficits in pediatric capacity are astounding. Estimates are that we will be short 800 pediatric beds by 2025, and short about 400 pediatric specialists.”
Another key reason for the expansion, Meyer says, is that the existing hospital building, which was built in the late 1960s, does not have the floor-to-ceiling height to accommodate today’s newer technology.
Dr. William Crist, vice president of health affairs at the University of Arizona, says the ongoing expansion projects in Greater Phoenix really are thoughtful plans for growth and development of service for a city that’s expanding markedly — even though that growth has leveled off because of the recession.
Crist cites the aging baby boomer generation as the reason for an increasing need in expanded adult medical care.
“Potentially, most cancer occurs in older individuals,” Crist says. “The aging of our population is made possible by advances in health care. It keeps you alive long enough to develop chronic illnesses.”
Arizona Business Magazine
Grad school has always been a safe haven for out-of-work professionals in a down economy. Now, as economic indicators suggest the economy has bottomed out and the long recovery has begun, those workers face a tough decision: try to stick it out in a brutal job market or invest in retooling their skills and re-enter the market on the upswing.
For many, the decision comes down to timing.
Accelerated MBA programs are an increasingly appealing option for professionals who want to earn an advanced degree quickly — and affordably — and time their returns to the work force to coincide with the economic recovery. Along with a two-year program for full-time students seeking an immersive experience, the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona has developed three accelerated MBA program options.
The 18-month evening MBA meets once a week and is aimed at working professionals.
The 14-month executive MBA is designed for high-level professionals with extensive work experience.
The newest program, a 12-month Accelerated MBA, is a full-time experience beginning in summer 2010. The program is designed for professionals with an undergraduate business degree and a few years of experience. After completing a summer boot camp experience, the students step into the second year of the full-time program and focus on elective coursework.
The 18-month and 14-month programs also are offered in Phoenix at Eller’s Scottsdale campus.
“Beyond timing, a traditional, two-year MBA program just isn’t the right fit for everyone,” says Trina Callie, assistant dean of Eller MBA programs. “Workers with significant professional experience will be more at home in an accelerated program, like our Executive MBA. Business professionals who are three to five years out of college will get the most out of our 12-month MBA, where they can focus on elective coursework.”
Hoon Choi, a student in the 14-month Eller Executive MBA program, spent months unsuccessfully looking for a job and networking before realizing that “most of the employers were looking for the total package: MBA plus experience. Now I am expanding my network through an opportunity to work on an innovative, exciting project with my peers, who are all experts in their fields.”
Katherine Tunsky entered the traditional, full-time program this fall and sees it as a way to build skills in industries she hasn’t yet explored.
“My passion is real estate finance, but while here at Eller, I plan on focusing on sustainability and I will be applying for the dual-degree program in hopes of earning a master’s in environmental planning,” she says.
The Eller MBA program also recently introduced new focus areas that help students build skills in specific growth industries, such as energy and health care.
“For example, all of our programs include an international component, which we believe is vitally important in today’s global business environment,” Callie says. “But we also offer students access to consulting projects and career services to help them build their resumes and better position themselves for their coming job searches.”
Liz Warren-Pederson is the marketing and communications manager at the University of Arizona, www.eller.arizona.edu.
In 2007, the state of Arizona made its first foray into “immigration reform” when it passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act. However, before the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) even became effective on Jan. 1, 2008, the Legislature went to work on amending the statute, presumably to “cure” some of the more controversial aspects of the law.
While the fundamental purpose and structure of LAWA has not changed, employers need to be aware of the current version of the law in order to limit the chances of being on the receiving end of an enforcement action. For example, the same legislation that tweaked LAWA also criminalized the act of knowingly accepting identity information from someone who is not actually the person represented in that identity information. Nevertheless, recent trends reported by a researcher from the University of Arizona suggest the enforcement tsunami that was expected to hit the business community is, up to now, little more than a ripple in a pond.
LAWA prohibits employers from “knowingly” or “intentionally” employing any unauthorized alien workers after 2007, and creates stiff penalties for employers who do. Penalties for first violations include mandatory probation for, and possible temporary suspension of, all business licenses issued by the state of Arizona. For a second violation during the probationary period, whether knowing or intentional, employers face permanent revocation of their state-issued licenses — thus effectively preventing the employer from doing business in Arizona. LAWA also requires every Arizona employer to verify new hire work eligibility through the federal government’s E-Verify system. However, LAWA created no “penalty” for failure to use E-Verify. So an employer who becomes the target of an enforcement action will likely be presumed to have “knowingly” hired an undocumented worker if that employer failed to use E-Verify. Evidently, most employers have decided either to roll the dice or they simply don’t recognize a risk. According to Department of Homeland Security data, as of late August 2008, only 5.6 percent of Arizona employers have enrolled in E-Verify.
Non-participation in E-Verify is not an option for contractors and subcontractors of any Arizona governmental entity. The LAWA amendments passed last year require those employers to participate in E-Verify as a condition of their government contract. In fact, any Arizona governmental entity (state or any political subdivision) would be prohibited from awarding a contract if the contractor or subcontractor does not comply with federal immigration laws and E-Verify requirements. LAWA requires government entities to ensure that their contractors comply with those requirements, and to include the following terms in their contracts:
- Each contractor or subcontractor must warrant their compliance with LAWA’s provisions.
- A breach of that warranty is to be deemed a material breach of the contract, subject to penalties up to, and including, termination of the contract.
- The government entity retains the legal right to inspect the papers of the contractor and subcontractor employees who work on the contract in order to ensure compliance with the warranty.
Also, employers seeking to obtain an economic development incentive from a government entity must first register for and participate in E-Verify, and show proof of doing so. LAWA further requires the Attorney General’s office to, on a quarterly basis, request a list of Arizona employers registered with E-Verify from the Department of Homeland Security. The Attorney General must make that list available to the public on its Web site.
So far, enforcement actions against employers have been anemic at best. Judith Gans, manager of the Immigration Policy Program at the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, prepared a study on the preliminary impact of LAWA on immigration trends and businesses in Arizona. She found that not a single superior court enforcement action was filed during the first year of LAWA’s existence. The number of complaints filed with each county attorney during that period was one or none in nine out of Arizona’s 15 counties. The Pima County attorney reported only five complaints, four of which were declined because they involved individuals hired before 2008. The Maricopa County attorney’s office stated that it does not keep track of the number of reported complaints, and those that are filed reportedly are turned over to the county sheriff for investigation. Notwithstanding a number of high profile “raids” conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2008, as reported in the local media at the time, no complaints have resulted in a LAWA enforcement action to date.
Finally, LAWA’s potentially adverse impact on Arizona’s economy has been negligible, or is simply undetectable. According to Gans’ study, the current recession has had a disproportionately adverse impact on business sectors that rely heavily on immigrant labor, such as construction. Therefore, because employment of all workers in those sectors, including immigrant labor, has been hard hit as a result of the current economic meltdown, any “LAWA-effect” has been masked.
Like the rest of the state, Southern Arizona has been in a recession since 2007, and at least one prominent economist says the situation won’t be getting better anytime soon.
“My forecast is that it’s going to take a while to get (credit markets) straightened out again and functioning as they should,” says Marshall Vest, director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. “I think that takes up most of 2009. Then we have all the excess housing that needs to be absorbed. That’s going to take some time and we’re not really absorbing the housing right now because credit markets have been essentially frozen. So, I think it’s the end of 2009 before the economy really regains its footing. I think we’ll start to move up in 2010. By move up, I mean the economy will once again begin to expand and enter a recovery phase.”
Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO), says that despite the already deteriorating economic conditions, Tucson still managed to draw new companies and expansions in 2008.
“We’re definitely seeing a slow down in a lot of ways, both in the recruitment of companies and the expansion of companies, but not a massive downtick,” he says. “Our pipeline is as full as it’s ever been. But what we are seeing are companies that may have been ready to announce a $100 million expansion in November saying, ‘We’re going to wait on that until January, we’re cautious, we want to see what’s going to happen in the next three months.’ ”
Last year, the region still saw growth in the health care, bioscience, alternative energy and aerospace industries. Of particular note was the purchase of Ventana Medical Systems in Oro Valley by Swiss drug maker Roche for $3.4 billion. Roche also announced plans for a $100 million expansion at Ventana that would increase employment from 750 to about 1,000. In addition, Roche purchased more than 17 acres of land around the Ventana site to expand the location.
“Possibly the most significant thing we can point to though, is that 57 percent of the successful projects were in our targeted industries, and that’s important because those targeted industries represent quality rather than quantity, meaning, closing the wage gap,” Snell says. “Historically, Tucson has ranked somewhat below both the state and the national average in wages. So we’re rapidly moving in the right direction to close that gap. To me, that’s a big takeaway.”
Southern Arizona has not been immune to the effects of the housing market collapse and its devastating impact on the construction industry. For example, one of the first companies TREO recruited, window and doormaker Pella Corp., announced in November 2008 that it was idling its Tucson plant, affecting 65 workers. When Pella first located to Tucson in 2005, company officials said it had plans to employ more than 400 people at its facility.
Still, as Vest points out, since the construction boom was not as great in Southern Arizona as it was in the Phoenix area, the drop has been less precipitous. For example, year-over-year job losses in the construction industry in October 2008 stood at 4,000 in the Tucson metro area, according to figures from the Arizona Department of Commerce. In the Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa area, 30,000 construction industry jobs were lost during the same period.
“Commercial (construction) is still in relatively good shape. Vacancy rates are moving up, but they are still fairly low. Tucson didn’t see the construction boom in commercial that you saw in Phoenix, so, commercial construction here in Tucson doesn’t have as far to fall,” Vest says. “For residential, the indicators that I see are pretty comparable to Phoenix, except for the housing price data. I don’t think the declines have been quite as large (in Southern Arizona).”
Snell says that so far, Southern Arizona has managed to hold its own on employment.
“We have losses in construction, but we’re gaining it on biotech, we’re gaining it on solar, we’re gaining it in logistics companies. I think right now we’re sort of a wash,” he says.
Vest, however, expects more job losses across the state as the recession drags on through 2009. In fact, comparisons of unemployment rates from 2007 and 2008 already are startlingly eye opening.
In October 2008, the unemployment rate for the state, the Phoenix metro and the Tucson metro stood at 6.1 percent, 5.5 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. In October 2007, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, Phoenix’s was at 3.4 percent, and Tucson came in at 3.9 percent.
“I think the unemployment rate will likely reach 8 percent before we’re through,” Vest says.
Vest adds that rate is in line with the jobless figures of the last major recession of the early 1980s. Back then, unemployment peaked at 13 percent in the state, 8.9 percent in Phoenix and 10.5 percent in Tucson.
Fortunately for Southern Arizona, Vest says, the region’s economy is considerably more diverse than it was in the early ’80s. But with credit still tight and the housing market stuck in freefall, Vest cautions about being too optimistic on the strength of a recovery.
“I really think this recovery is probably going to be muted. I don’t see us rebounding very strongly. The process is going to take awhile,” he says. “This recession is going to be longer than the recessions of the early ’80s or mid ’70s. If it stretches through 2009 and the recession began in the fourth quarter of 2007, we’re talking about a two-year-long recession. Nationwide, the longest recession has been 16 months.
“It’s been a very long time in this country since we have encountered a very severe recession. The recessions of 2001 and 1991 were both very short and shallow. They barely qualified as recessions, rather than a growth slowdown. It’s only the gray hairs that remember what a severe recession is like,” Vest adds. “This is scary. This is messy. But we’ve been through this before. If you are a business and you can hang on and remain solvent and get through this, there will be plenty of opportunities on the other side. I would also say that it’s during times like this that the seeds are sown for fortunes to be made. Savvy investors will take positions in markets where assets are cheap and will benefit handsomely as the economy recovers —as surely it will. And the deep pockets know that and there is a lot of money on the sidelines waiting for the right opportunity.”
Snell agrees, adding that now is the time for Southern Arizona to stake a claim in future growth and prosperity.
“We’re not going to ride out the recession. I’m a big believer that now is the time to get aggressive,” he says. “I think we have a good head of steam. At this point, I would say Tucson is as competitive as any major city in the country, including Phoenix. That’s a first for us. Are we going to get cooled off by the national economy? Yes, absolutely. But I think we’re in as good a position as anyone coming out of this recession to capitalize, and maybe within this recession to capitalize.”
The State, its universities and business groups work to make Arizona a high-tech powerhouse.
When the new millennium arrived, high-technology activities in Arizona were on a slide. The industry was unable to keep pace with the job demands of an expanding population or match employment growth in other economic sectors. That was then.
The state’s high-tech picture is much brighter now. Semiconductor, aerospace, defense and optics firms continue to be major forces in Arizona’s tech industry. But there’s also a growing presence of companies specializing in biotechnology, information technology, nanotechnology, renewable energy and other areas that fit under the high-tech umbrella.
A roll call of companies with their headquarters or major divisions based in Arizona is an impressive one. That list includes names you should recognize, such as semiconductor powerhouse Amkor Technology, optical-engineering firm Breault Research Organization, On Semiconductor and the highly diversified Avnet Inc. It also includes a high-tech Who’s Who: Raytheon, Intel Corp., Honeywell International, General Dynamics, Boeing, Motorola, W.L. Gore & Associates and IBM among others. And they have been joined by relatively recent arrivals such as Jobing.com, Ensynch Inc., Google, Monster, Amazon.com and PayPal.
“With Boeing, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Intel and Raytheon, you’ve got some big players here,” says Ron Schott, executive director of the nonprofit Arizona Technology Council.
Also, while the bulk of these companies are spread across Maricopa and Pima counties, Arizona Department of Commerce spokesman David Drennon points to significant aerospace, defense and agricultural technology activity in the Yuma area and the growth of bioscience in Flagstaff.
None of this happened by chance. It took, Schott says, a lot of hard work by a lot of different groups and individuals.
“If you set up a positive business climate, these people are very, very intuitive and they’re intelligent,” Schott says. “And if they see things that are happening, people who are trying to make it a positive business state, they recognize that.”
The steps that led to the current high-tech business climate are numerous and varied.
Gov. Janet Napolitano formed the Council on Innovation and Technology in 2003 to generate new development strategies. Later, the Legislature passed such measures as the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program to entice investors, and the “sales factor” tax bill, which led to Intel committing $3 billion in a new Chandler-based 300mm wafer-fabrication facility.
Other important developments include the formation of Science Foundation Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen.
Also vital is the role being played by the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. It’s no coincidence Google took up residence on the ASU campus.
Alaina Levine handles corporate relations for the U of A’s College of Science. She also coordinates the Professional Science Master’s Degree Program, a workforce development program that serves Arizona’s high-tech industry.
“Individual business leaders know that if they’re going to start a company here or if they’re going to bring a company here, clearly they need to know that they’re going to be able to staff it with very talented individuals and that there has to be a critical mass of those individuals,” she says. “Otherwise, it’s not worth the investment of moving or starting the company here.”
Arizona Business Magazine Dec-Jan 2008Likewise, those universities need to be widely respected for their academics and research programs. The highly regarded Eller College of Management at U of A and the Biodesign Institute at ASU are just two examples of the level of academic excellence found in the state.
Arizona’s rapid growth translates to a need for even more high-value jobs in the tech sector. And further industry growth will require the availability of vital business resources outside of the dominant population centers.
“It’s a positive, glass half-full scenario here in the state,” Schott says. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have problems, but we’re trying to work and focus on those problems and improve the environment the best we can.”
In the 21st century, incidents of corporate malfeasance have become commonplace. America witnessed the implosion of the onetime energy wonder Enron, the fall of telecommunications giant WorldCom, and the collapse of mortgage miracle Countrywide, just to name a few.
Not surprisingly, questions were quickly raised about the role business schools played in such scandals, the implication being that B-schools encouraged the blind pursuit of profit maximization and a “winner-take-all” mentality. While such fiery rhetoric is provocative, it’s important to point out that such pursuits run counter to the basic tenets of long-term, sustainable business practices taught in business classes.
While B-schools certainly have a role to play in promoting ethical practices, such a tremendous responsibility can’t fall squarely on the shoulders of B-schools. It is our families and institutions in society that must also demonstrate and reinforce personal and professional ethics.
Even though a host of ethics initiatives, centers, and/or institutes bubbled up across the nation in response to highly publicized cases of corporate corruption, nearly all are situated at the graduate level among MBA students and centered on matters related to corporate governance. The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona launched its ethics program in 2003, and it was met with interest and enthusiasm for being markedly different.
The Eller ethics program, E-tegrity (Eller Integrity), is aimed at undergraduate business students and is focused on connecting academic integrity in the classroom with future behavior in the workplace. As research suggests, student behaviors demonstrated in the classroom can carry over into careers. Put differently, students involved in cheating are more likely and at-risk to engage in unethical practices such as insider trading.
From the onset, E-tegrity was supported by Eller College Dean Paul Portney. Leadership from the top is always imperative to begin and maintain any program. Equally important is the buy-in from faculty and students. Faculty affirmed that the college had a responsibility to promote ethics and were invigorated with the prospect of establishing a culture of strong ethics. Students also proved deeply interested. With this broad base of support, E-tegrity began.
Prior to the start of the fall 2003 semester, faculty were asked to take three simple, but important measures in their classes: (1) include a college-adopted student oath statement on syllabi that addressed both academic dishonesty and academic misconduct, (2) formally handle all academic integrity cases, and (3) use the anti-plagiarism software (Turnitin.com) purchased by the college.
The code of conduct statements on syllabi would help ensure that faculty sent a consistent message to students. Formally handling cases would encourage that due process would be followed and cases would be officially reported. The anti-plagiarism software would help deter and detect plagiarism, which accounted for 70 percent of university academic integrity violations in 2002-2003. By adopting these measures, the faculty would take on the primary responsibility for the enforcement component of the program.
Because E-tegrity called for a cultural change in the college that centered on student involvement, in the same fall 2003 semester, students were invited to apply for membership to a new student organization known as the Eller Board of Honor and Integrity (EBHI). EBHI would ultimately be charged with the educational component of the program, working with students on a variety of innovative programs to help raise awareness. Members of EBHI would: (1) Develop a student oath that would be administered to students upon entry to the college; (2) offer presentations to students on the importance of ethics, whereby they not only promoted, but were expected to exemplify personal integrity and ethics among their peers; and (3) assist with the organization and delivery of a series of new and innovative programs that have come to define E-tegrity on a national scale.
Ultimately, the programs of E-tegrity are aimed at three levels: K-12, collegiate and executive. At the K-12 level, there is the High School Ethics Forum. EBHI members facilitate discussions among the city’s top high school students on matters related to personal and professional ethics. At the university level, there is the Eller Ethics Case Competition, in which top B-schools from around the country send their very best students to compete in a three-day event that challenges the ethical reasoning of students. At the executive level, there is the partnership with the Tucson Chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) where students from EBHI comprise a single vote in the BBB’s Annual Business Ethics Awards process. In the near future, EBHI members will also serve as teaching assistants in the college’s first ethics course. In this capacity, EBHI members will assist with the course objective of promoting ethical decision-making.
Over the past five years, E-tegrity has gained traction and matured as an ethics program. By connecting academic integrity in the classroom with future behavior in the workplace, the college motivates students to examine their personal values and consider all stakeholders in their decision-making.E-tegrity has been the recipient of various awards for excellence, and innovation has provided meaningful guidance to B-schools around the country looking to address and support ethical behavior on the part of undergraduate students and future business leaders. The real payoff will come in several years, when we begin to graduate students whose entire college career will have taken place in an atmosphere of high standards that are clearly articulated, widely honored, and vigorously enforced.
Paul Melendez is the founder and director of the ethics program at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. For more information on E-tegrity, visitugrad.eller.arizona.edu/etegrity