Tag Archives: westin kierland


Drones prepare to take flight in retail facility management

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) also known as drones have captured everyone’s attention. They have been spotted virtually everywhere in recent months. Amazon.com wants to use drones to deliver packages, realtors want to use them to shoot property photos and numerous other industries are considering drone applications.

Even the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM), the authority on retail, multi-site facilities management (FM), is conducting a special educational sessions on using drones in retail facility maintenance.  The high-flying session will take place during PRSM’s mid-year conference being held this week at the Westin Kierland, Scottsdale.

“Drones have earned a bad reputation, due to highly publicized incidents involving commercial aircraft or flying in restricted air space,” explains Josh Pola, COO of Springwise Facility Management, who is promoting drone usage during the PRSM conference.

“However, drones have the ability to save retail facility professionals a lot of time and thousands of dollars,” he continues.  “They can perform rooftop aerial surveys of large retail buildings to detect roof leaks before they can damage the interior of a retail store or distribution center.  And, they are also highly effective in performing aerial property surveys.”

“Drones can provide a facility manager very affordable views of a building or property that were either very expensive to obtain using airplanes or helicopters, or in most cases impossible to get due to the location of the building. In some locations, you could use a plane or chopper to do what a drone can do. However, it would cost thousands of dollars, compared to a few hundred using a drone,” Pola explains.

Equipped with an infrared camera, a drone can provide thermography images facility managers can use to detect potential or existing roof leaks. All the time avoiding the danger and expense of climbing onto the roof and spending hours to complete the same work. “You can get a much clearer view of the roof, HVAC units and other systems and never get off the ground.”

“In environmentally sensitive areas, they (drones) can perform aerial property surveys that can be used to complete building plans without stepping foot into the area,” Pola continues.  “The drone technology isn’t new. We’re simply using it to accomplish tasks much more efficiently and safely.”

Due to current FAA regulations, drones can only be used for personal use without an FAA exemption.  Even with an exemption, they are still restricted to altitudes of less than 400 feet and cannot be used in any restricted airspace near airports, or in many public areas.  “At this time, drone usage by retailers is very limited to ensure they do not endanger the public in any way,” Pola explains.

“However, recently the FAA has begun developing new regulations to allow expanded use of drones in a commercial setting by a licensed pilot.  In the meantime, the exemption is the only way a drone can be used commercially”

Pola explains that Springwise has filed for an FAA commercial exemption, has licensed commercial drone pilots on staff, and has conducted test flights around their own buildings to demonstrate how drones can enhance safety, save time and money. “Springwise prides itself in being on the leading edge in technology and providing  facility managers the tools they need to get the job done. “In facility maintenance the goal is to always complete a task safely in the most efficient manner at the lowest possible cost providing the best data or results,” Pola continues.  “Drones can achieve all of these goals under the right circumstances.”

While no retailers are using drones at this time, Pola sees a lot of opportunity, especially with big box, multi-site retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco, Sears, Lowes and others, as well as with distribution centers and in industrial applications. “Facility managers at these sites are responsible for acres of rooftops, and using drones could save thousands of dollars in managing their facilities,” he concludes.

Being a drone pilot is not a skill normally required for most jobs. However, the next generation facility professional might need to add it to their resume, if they want to keep up with the high-flying demands of multi-site, retail facility maintenance.

AZ Wine Dine Logo


The Valley’s stars of the culinary scene will gather for a high-energy celebration of food and wine at the second annual AZ Wine & Dine, hosted by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, to be held at the hip, urban setting of Scottsdale Quarter on April 4, 2013.

AZ Wine & Dine night imageAZ Wine & Dine targets executive foodies and is designed to highlight the distinct variety of culinary outlets at Arizona hotels and resorts, as well as showcase several Scottsdale Quarter restaurants and a wide variety of wines and craft beers. Additionally, much of the proceeds benefit the educational efforts of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association.

The lush and luxe setting of Scottsdale Quarter provides the perfect setting for attendees to experience culinary delights from hotel and resort participants including: The Phoenician, The Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, T. Cook’s at Royal Palms, Westin Kierland, Montelucia, TK’s Urban Tavern, District American Kitchen & Wine Bar and many more.

AZ Wine & Dine dusk image“It is important for us to produce a culinary event where local foodies and business executives can be a tourist in their own town, enjoying samples from top resorts and restaurants in a fun and festive atmosphere,” said Arizona Lodging & Tourism President & CEO Debbie Johnson. “AZ Wine & Dine’s inaugural year sold out, so it’s clear that the Valley’s finest chefs combined with this venue is a recipe for success.”

AZ Wine & Dine will feature 20 booths offering culinary samples paired with fine wines and craft beers, live music from the Shining Star Band and a silent auction with amazing deals on vacation getaways and gift certificates from Scottsdale Quarter’s eclectically rich mix of specialty shops.

When: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 pm.

Where: Scottsdale Quarter (Scottsdale Road and Greenway)

Tickets: $75 in advance; $100 day of the event (includes all food and beverage)

Advance purchase is strongly recommended as the event sold out last year.

*No one under 21 years of age will be admitted. AZ Wine & Dine will be held rain or shine.

AZWineandDine.com, Twitter: @azwineanddine, Facebook: AZ Wine & Dine


SnöBar Cocktails Expands Its Presence In Arizona

After one of the biggest splashes in the state’s alcohol history, SnöBar Cocktails is further expanding its footprint in Arizona to include additional resorts, liquor stores and restaurants. SnöBar’s alcohol infused ice cream and ice-pops are made with natural ingredients and premium alcohol. There’s a full cocktail in every serving and the alcohol infused desserts are guaranteed to stimulate and please even the most sophisticated palate.

New locations carrying SnoBar’s alcohol infused ice cream and ice-pops include JW Marriott Camelback Inn, Westin Kierland Villas Scottsdale, Wigwam Resort, Friday’s Front Row at Chase Field, Hotel Valley Ho and BevMo locations in Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale and Phoenix. Over the next few weeks, SnoBar will also be available at Montelucia Resort & Spa, Chase Field and additional locations across the state.

“The response from Arizonans has been better than we could have ever dreamed and we’re absolutely thrilled to expand to new locations,” said SnöBar Co-Creator and Senior Vice President Shannon Masjedi.  “With it already feeling like summer in some parts of the state, SnoBar will be a great poolside adult treat.”

SnöBar’s two types of ice-pops, Margarita and Cosmopolitan, replicate the distinct flavor and experience of the traditional cocktails. The Margarita ice-pop is made with premium tequila, lime and triple sec; the Cosmopolitan ice-pop is made with premium vodka, triple sec and cranberry. The superior-quality ice cream is currently available in the following flavors: Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel, Brandy Alexander and Brandy Alexander with Chocolate Chip with over 50 new flavors in development. With 8.22 – 14.67 alcohol by volume, each serving of SnöBar Cocktails ice-pops and ice cream has the equivalent alcohol percentage of a full cocktail and with a frozen appeal.

SnöBar’s ice-pops and 1.75 liter ice cream have retail prices comparable to that of a regular cocktail or bottle of premium alcohol. SnöBar is currently distributed in Arizona by Alliance Beverage Distribution Company and in Las Vegas by Wirtz Beverage Group. The brand has an aggressive nationwide roll-out plan for 2012.

SnöBar Cocktails products are spirits and are to be consumed only by adults over 21 years of age.

You can find out more about SnoBar Cocktails at snobarcocktails.com.

AZ Wine & Dine

AZ Wine & Dine Makes Use Of Forks, Corks [PHOTOS]

The mission of first-ever AZ Wine & Dine on April 12 at Scottsdale Quarter, which took the place of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s long-running culinary event Forks & Corks, was to highlight the distinct variety of culinary outlets at Arizona hotels, resorts and restaurants while offering a variety of wines and craft beers designed to satisfy any palette.

Judging by the more than 750 guests who enjoyed tantalizing tastes from the renowned chefs at the Four Seasons Troon North, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Montelucia, Arizona Grand Resort and many more, as well as the sumptuous sips provided by Hensley, Young’s Market Company and others, it was a mission well-accomplished.

And then some.

While the final numbers are still being tallied, organizers estimate that the event raised about $20,000 to support the Arizona tourism industry.

Arizona tourism’s impact, by the numbers:

  • 36.9 Million: Number of domestic and international overnight visitors who experienced Arizona as a travel destination.
  • $48 Million: Amount of direct traveler spending being contributed to our state’s economy every single day.
  • $2.5 Billion: Amount of local, state and federal tax revenues generated as a result of direct traveler spending.
  • $1,040: Tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lessens the tax burden by $1,040 for every Arizona household.
  • No. 1: Where the travel and tourism industry ranks among Arizona’s export-oriented industries.

According to guest feedback, among the biggest and brightest highlights of the event:

  • Live music, which was provided by The Shining Star Band
  • Silent auction, which offered amazing vacation packages from the state’s top resorts, restaurants and spas
  • “Foodie” food, including short ribs from Westin Kierland, Kobe sliders from the Phoenician, and cioppino from the Montelucia
  • Libation innovations, including Moet Champagne from Narcisse, flaming coffee drinks from La Hacienda, and sangria from New Age Winery

Based on the event’s overwhelming success, plans are already underway for next year.

For more information about AZ Wine & Dine, please visit azwineanddine.com.

AZ Wine & Dine

Photos: Cory Bergquist


31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards, Nominations, Valley Forward

Searching For Environmental Excellence, 31st Annual Awards

Like most of us, companies and organizations have to do more with less these days. The truly successful have found ways to stay profitable while keeping sustainability a top priority. That’s because environmentally friendly practices can green the bottom line as well and contribute to a more productive and satisfied workforce. A healthy environment leads to a healthy economy and though this isn’t a new concept, it’s one that’s fast growing in popularity.

In fact, the notion of leveraging superior environmental quality for sustainable economic prosperity has been recognized in the Valley for more than 30 years. Throughout the past three decades, Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards winners have positively impacted the community in countless ways. As varied as the hundreds of award winners have been over the history of Valley Forward’s program, they all have one thing in common – each has had an undeniable impact in the community. And that’s what the Environmental Excellence Awards program is all about.

Known as the Academy Awards of the local environmental community, the Environmental Excellence Awards set standards for the exceptional physical, technical and social development of our metropolitan area. The awards are highly sought by companies both large and small, government agencies, cities and towns, design professionals, educators, media representatives, artists, technicians and others.

Environmental excellence takes many forms — from green buildings, magnificent desert vistas and livable communities to innovative public art, sustainable technologies and environmental education.

Environmental sustainability is more prevalent today than ever. We receive a record number of entries in the competition each year. The program has become a powerful vehicle in advocating for the preservation of natural resources – air, water, open space and our unique desert environment.

Iyou have or know of green initiatives that should be recognized at the 31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards program at the Westin Kierland on Sat., Sept. 17, get your entry in ASAP! The deadline is fast approaching.

Nominations will be accepted through 4 p.m., Thursday, July 7, 2011, in the following categories: Buildings and Structures; Livable Communities; Site Development and Landscape; Art in Public Places; Environmental Technologies; Environmental Education/Communication; and Environmental Stewardship (SRP Award).

Nomination forms are available at valleyforward.org or calling (602) 240-2408.