SmithGroup elevates Michelle Romero to workplace studio leader in Phoenix

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has elevated Michelle Romero to serve as Workplace studio leader at its Phoenix office. In this role, Romero will lead Workplace Interiors efforts and partner with organizations throughout the Southwest to develop environments that support and transform the way they work.

With more than 21 years of interior design experience, including 12 years with SmithGroup, Romero transitions into this leadership position from the role of Principal, Interior Designer and succeeds Mark Adams, who was recently promoted to Workplace Practice director for the firm. Romero has worked on a variety of corporate office, tenant improvement and interior architecture projects such as the General Motors Austin IT Innovation Center, Valley of the Sun United Way Headquarters and Liv Communities. She is currently overseeing a major renovation of SmithGroup’s Phoenix office, which is scheduled to open this summer.

“Now more than ever, organizations are looking at how workplaces shape behavior and performance and support company goals,” said Mark Adams, vice president and Workplace Practice director at SmithGroup. “Michelle is an exceptionally talented designer who not only helps companies translate their programmatic vision into project solutions, but also plays a vital part in envisioning and shaping the future of workplace design.”

“As a design leader in the community, Michelle possesses a unique understanding of local markets, conditions and trends in Arizona and beyond,” said Brad Woodman, vice president and director of SmithGroup’s Phoenix and Denver offices. “A true added value to every team, Michelle excels in client relations, particularly during one-on-one visioning sessions.”

Romero will guide Workplace Interiors teams in the Phoenix office and partner with Michelle Ray, Workplace Architecture studio leader, to strengthen the Practice’s position as a leader in the field. SmithGroup’s award-winning Workplace Practice creates design solutions at every scale, from innovative small workspaces to complex corporate campus developments for public- and private-sector clients throughout the world.

George Oliver and GO Industrial deepen leadership bench

Phoenix-based developers George Oliver and GO Industrial have completed multiple new hires and promotions, deepening the leadership bench of the sister companies to pursue millions of square feet of new construction and redevelopment in the Southwest and Western U.S. office and industrial markets.

Andrew Snedeker
Jack Clarizio

The companies currently have more than 3.5 million square feet and $500 million in projects that are planned or under construction between George Oliver, which focuses on transformative office redevelopments primarily in metro Phoenix, and GO Industrial, which focuses on industrial ground-up development in high-growth and core logistics markets in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Northern and Southern California.

Hired not long after George Oliver’s formation in 2019, Nick Ray has been promoted to Vice President, overseeing all acquisitions, asset management and property operations for George Oliver and GO Industrial. Ray previously served as a company Director, helping to manage landmark George Oliver office redevelopments such as CASA in North Phoenix, The Alexander and The Johnathan in downtown Chandler, Lofts at The District in North Scottsdale, and George Oliver’s latest redevelopment, Arbor, in downtown Tempe. Prior to this, Ray served as an Analyst for HFF and JLL.

Jack Clarizio has been hired as Vice President of Finance, overseeing all finance, accounting and structuring for George Oliver and GO Industrial. A 10-year industry veteran, Clarizio moves to the companies after nine years at nationally acclaimed accounting firm RSM, where he served as Tax Senior Manager.

Josh Schifferer has been hired as Development Manager, managing the design and construction of all GO Industrial projects. This pipeline of work has grown rapidly since the company’s founding in early 2021, now representing more than 3.1 million square feet of e-commerce space in Arizona and Utah, at projects including GO | 99, 5600 Logistics and the just-announced GO | 99 North and GO | AZ Ave. Schifferer joins GO Industrial from Sun State Builders, where he served as Project Manager.

Josh Schifferer
Nick Ray

George Oliver and GO Industrial’s expanded leadership team is supported by Andrew Snedeker, who was hired in 2021 as Director of Development, overseeing all construction and design for the companies.

“It is exciting to build our team with local experts who share our same passion and ability to deliver excellence,” said George Oliver Managing Partner Curt Kremer. “Particularly now, when the opportunity for growth is so exponential, this team will allow us to expand without compromising the design, amenities, comfort and technology that George Oliver and GO Industrial have become known for – the combination of which truly elevates experiential office and industrial workspaces.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have attracted these talented individuals in a very competitive market,” said GO Industrial Managing Partner Robert Guerena. “Our projects are growing in number, scale and complexity, and we couldn’t ask for a better team to lead the success of each deal.”

Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in International/Global Studies from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Real Estate Development (MRED) from Arizona State University. He currently serves on the board of the MRED ASU Alumni Chapter.

Clarizio holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Taxation, both from Arizona State University.

Schifferer holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Real Estate from Arizona State University. He is a Procore Certified Project Manager, a licensed Arizona Real Estate Salesperson and an active member of NAIOP, including serving on the organization’s Education subcommittee.

Snedeker holds a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Arizona State University. He is an active member of NAIOP and currently services on board of directors for Science of Sport, a non-profit dedicated to developing curriculum and programming that promotes STEM.

Quarles & Brady adds Morgan, Krukowski, Desargones

The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced today that Jerry Morgan, a Real Estate attorney with more than 20 years of experience both as in-house counsel and at law firms, has joined the firm’s Phoenix office as a partner. He also has significant experience providing corporate and insurance counsel to a variety of clients across industries.

Morgan is the fifth senior attorney addition in the past four months to the firm’s Real Estate team, which grew 11% in the firm’s last fiscal year.

Morgan represents homebuilders, developers, landlords and land bankers in complex commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, due diligence analysis, and lending documents. His experience in all facets of real estate development, real estate law, commercial negotiation and insurance law enables him to provide counsel on a broad range of legal matters. He also holds an Arizona Department of Real Estate license.

“Jerry brings an impressive level of experience that will enable him to quickly contribute as our Real Estate team continues to grow and expand,” said Mary Ann Murray, national chair of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. “Whether it’s helping us strengthen relationships with current clients or attracting new clients, his knowledge of land banking and relationships with homebuilders and national developers is a valuable addition to our team.”

In addition, Quarles & Brady’s Phoenix office announced that they’ve added two additional new hires – Kate Krukowski and Sargina Desargones.

Krukowski has joined the firm’s commercial litigation practice as an associate. She has experience in plaintiff’s personal injury and wrongful death and criminal defense. Kate has represented clients in a wide variety of areas such as breach of contract and fiduciary duties, employment disputes, construction litigation, negligence, and products liability.

Desargones joins the firm’s bankruptcy practice as an associate where she will serve a variety of clients in a wide range of industries with general bankruptcy, restructuring, and creditor’s rights matters. She has a strong ability to cultivate client relationships and is passionate about advocating on behalf of her clients.

Central Arts Alliance announces Sandra Bassett as new CEO

Central Arts Alliance (CAA) announced today the appointment of Sandra Bassett to serve as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer, effective March 21, 2022. Selected by the CAA Board of Directors, Bassett will bring an expansive knowledge of nonprofit and corporate leadership experience to the position, overseeing all Central Arts Alliance operations, programs, and events, including Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center campuses, as well as the Arizona Art Mobile.

CAA Board Chair, Angela Rodela, shared, ”We are thrilled to have Sandra Bassett join us as our next CEO. While we will miss Lauren Henschen and appreciate all that she has done over her tenure here, we know Sandra will be able to continue to lead and grow Phoenix Center for the Arts in providing arts and cultural experiences to improve, stimulate, and unite our community. Sandra is a business-savvy artist who cares deeply about our community, and Phoenix Center for the Arts is fortunate to have her on our team.”

Bassett joins Central Arts Alliance following her tenure as President and CEO of West Valley Arts Council (WVAC), where she secured new sources of grant funding, created innovative DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) arts programming, and expanded existing programming to reach a broader audience. Under her leadership at WVAC, the organization obtained its highest individual grant award in over 30 years, benefiting their Creative Aging Program. Bassett also created and implemented “Imprint: Celebrating Cultural Diversity in the Arts,” a Diversity Equity Inclusion visual and performing arts program for the West Valley, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sandra describes herself as a visionary and entrepreneurial arts and culture leader, and an active advocate for the arts and culture community. In response to her new appointment as CEO of Central Arts Alliance, Sandra stated, ”I am excited for this opportunity to be a part of the Phoenix Arts Center/Thunderbird Arts Center team, to work with an incredible staff, and a fully engaged and active Board of Directors, to continue bringing arts and cultural programming to Phoenix.”

As CEO for Central Arts Alliance, Bassett will assist the Board of Directors in the creation of the Strategic Operating Plan, and will be responsible for its implementation, in line with the mission, vision, and core values of the organization to provide arts and culture opportunities for all through education, programming, and advocacy. The CEO also manages the day to day operations of Central Arts Alliance and all its branches, including Phoenix Center for the Arts, Thunderbird Arts Center, and the Arizona Art Mobile, and leads the organization in the production of its two major annual events, the Mayor’s Arts Awards and Phoenix Festival of the Arts.

Bassett has consulted with Valley nonprofit and municipal organizations such as Chandler Self Help Foundation, Mesa Arts Center, Tempe Center for the Arts, and the Maricopa Public Library, creating and managing diversity programs, music productions, and video programming. Sandra comes to her new position with experience working in the for-profit sector, with corporations such as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Hostess Brands, and Mars, Inc.


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