Vantage West wins 2019 Louise Herring Award

Vantage West Credit Union, southern Arizona’s largest credit union, won the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Award (Over $1B Asset Category) from the Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA).

Vantage West won the state-level competition for its Digital Banking Conversion project which aimed to transform how it serves its Membership through innovative technology, systems, and solutions.

Since initiating the project in May 2017, Vantage West took the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive analysis of feedback from both Members and Associates. It spent significant time reviewing Member surveys, interviewing Associates, and developing a diverse Member pilot group. This feedback drove the Credit Union’s technology requirements and led to the review of alternate digital banking platforms that best fit the needs of its Membership.

On April 17, the Credit Union launched its Digital Banking conversion. It upgraded both its mobile app and online banking system using the Alkami platform to ensure optimal Member experience. Combining convenience with easy account access, it introduced a more robust Digital Banking platform that offers enhanced services and innovative features, such as real-time person-to-person (P2P) debit card payments and account aggregation that allows Members to view all internal and external accounts under one login. 

Fusion Academy opens first location in Arizona

Fusion Academy, a one-to-one school (one teacher, one student) providing a personalized learning experience for students grades 6-12, will open its first Arizona campus in Scottsdale this fall. Joining Fusion’s growing network of over 60 one-to-one private school campuses across the country, Fusion Academy Scottsdale will be located at  8700 Gainey Center Dr. Suite 150, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

A leading, nationally accredited, private school, Fusion Academy Scottsdale customizes every aspect of the educational experience for students in middle and high school. The school’s warm and engaging environment serves as an excellent option for families in the area seeking additional emotional, social and academic support for their child. The school is beneficial for students who desire a more challenging learning pace, and those for whom traditional schooling is not the best option.

Patrick Thompson will lead Fusion Academy Scottsdale as the head of school. Prior to joining Fusion, Thompson served as the Director of Recruitment for Grand Canyon University, where he headed recruitment for nearly 30 high schools in central California.

Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in international relations with an emphasis in nonprofit management and teaching English as a second language from Alliant International University in San Diego.

“Students and families are seeking educational options that prepare them for college, career and life readiness,” said Patrick Thompson. “As an educator and a servant, I look forward to fostering strong relationships with families to support their child’s individual learning needs, passions, interests, personality and learning style. Expanding into the Arizona market speaks to the impact individualized learning can make and the local parent demand.”

V Digital Services named Company of the Year

For the third consecutive year, V Digital Services won big in the Business Intelligence Group’s BIG Awards for Business, being named the 2019 “Company of the Year” among American marketing firms.

The Phoenix-based digital marketing agency competes in the small business division, which the BIG Awards define as companies with fewer than 100 employees. The results were announced in Philadelphia earlier today.

A subsidiary of corporate parent Voice Media Group, VDS operates in twelve major American cities, including the Top 25 markets where VMG operates such award-winning publications as Denver Westword and Miami New Times.

Located in the same historic headquarters complex that houses VMG’s Phoenix New Times, VDS employs a team of analysts and account managers who specialize in helping small and large businesses achieve success in the digital space through expertise in organic SEO, paid media, social media management, web development and both programmatic and pay-per-click advertising.

“Leadership, innovation and technology were all major themes shared by this year’s winners of the BIG Awards for Business,” said Maria Jimenez, chief nominations officer for Business Intelligence Group. “We are so proud to reward each of these people, products and organizations for setting such a positive example for the global business community.”

“All the credit for this goes to our team members,” said VDS vice president for agency and client services Taylor West. “We’ve always been a people company, and it’s our people who perform the toughest job of all: figuring out where the Internet is moving and helping our customers get there one step ahead of it.”

V Digital Services’ ability to execute on behalf of customers earned it several other honors this year. In July, VDS took home four wins in the Globee Awards, including a prestigious gold medal for having the most robust jobs growth in its category. In May, the agency was named one of the nation’s fastest growing companies by the American Business Awards.

HomeSmart opens franchise in Jupiter, Fla.

HomeSmart International announced the expansion of its 100-percent commission brokerage model with the opening of HomeSmart Horizons in Jupiter, Fla.

Broker and owner Joshua Farber has 16 years of experience in real estate and decided to update his business by opening a HomeSmart franchise.

“While many other firms are just beginning to offer or develop their technology base, HomeSmart has been a leader in real estate technology for several years and is what their agent success platform is based on,” Farber said. “HomeSmart is continuously at the forefront of innovation to support its agents’ success, which ensures buyers and sellers always experience positive results.”  

HomeSmart Horizons agents keep 100 percent of their commission while having access to free training, a suite of marketing tools, proprietary transaction management software and exceptional broker support. The company is part of the nationally-ranked HomeSmart International brand that currently has more than 17,000 real estate agents, across 30 states. The brokerage will serve agents and consumers in Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth, Hobe Sound, Stuart, Palm City, and Jensen Beach.

About Ranking Arizona

Ranking Arizona is an annual publication that ranks businesses in more than 300 categories based on public voting in the state’s biggest and most comprehensive business opinion poll. Ranking Arizona is based purely on opinion and ranks companies based on how voters answer this simple question: with whom would you recommend doing business? The magazine is published by AZ Big Media. To learn more about Ranking Arizona, contact Sheri King, director of sales.