On the move at SB&H, Lewis Roca, SmithGroup, Kutak Rock

Business News | 16 Jan |

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services promotes Michael Fett

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (SB&H), an innovative leader in behavioral health, announced that CFO Michael Fett has been promoted to Chief Administrative Officer.

In his new role, which includes his current role as Chief Financial Officer, Fett will be responsible for financial planning, managing the company’s financial risks as well as setting company-wide administrative policy. Fett will report directly to the CEO and Board of Directors.

“Michael is a successful financial manager who knows how to help organizations position themselves for long-term success,” said Southwest Behavioral & Health Services President and CEO Steven Sheets. “Having someone of his caliber set the direction for our complex administrative functions will greatly improve organizational efficiencies.”

Fett has served as Southwest Behavioral & Health Services’ CFO since 2002. Prior to his position at SB&H, Fett served as CFO for the Arizona Department of Health Services where he managed the Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority contracts.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie announces 5 partners

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP has selected five attorneys to join the firm’s partnership effective January 1, 2019.

Stanley Lutz, Regulatory and Government, Phoenix

As a member of the firm’s Regulatory and Government practice, Lutz’s practice focuses on land, water, environmental, utility, and construction matters. He represents clients in state and federal court and before various administrative agencies with respect to regulatory oversight and enforcement, condemnation and land use issues. Lutz has also represented private utilities in administrative matters before the Arizona Corporation Commission as well as representing utilities in acquisitions by both governmental and private entities. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law and his B.S. from Utah State University.   

Laura Pasqualone, Litigation, Phoenix

Pasqualone, a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment and Litigation groups, ‎practices in the areas of employment law and business litigation. She regularly advises ‎employers on compliance with a wide variety of federal, state and local employment laws. She provides emergency advice, preventative counseling, training and ongoing employment guidance to HR Directors and in-house counsel. Her practice ‎also consists of litigating cases involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and breach of contract. Pasqualone also has significant experience in cases involving the enforceability of restrictive covenants, trade-secret misappropriation and unfair competition. She has represented clients in both federal and state court, in arbitration, and before the Equal ‎Employment Opportunity Commission, the Arizona Civil Rights Division and the Arizona Office of ‎Administrative Hearings. She also regularly presents on employment law “hot topics” to hundreds of national and international employers and Human Resources representatives.

Before joining Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, Pasqualone served as a law clerk for the Honorable Justice ‎A. John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, Order of the Coif and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Arizona State University.

Frances Sjoberg, Business Transactions, Phoenix

Sjoberg is a member of the firm’s Tribal Affairs, Gaming and Business Transactions practices. She handles matters ‎related to intergovernmental agreements, tribal business transactions, real estate and complex project management. ‎Her experience includes compact and contract negotiation, leasing and rights-of-way on tribal lands, jurisdictional conflicts, regulatory matters, federal reserved water rights, public lands and legislation drafting and analysis. She ‎has represented governmental entities, tribal enterprises, investors, receivers and developers in purchase-sale and lease transactions, fee-to-trust applications, loan workouts, multiparty negotiations and settlement agreements. Sjoberg received her J.D. from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, where she was editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review, and her B.A. from the University of Arizona. After law school, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Justice A. John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Jared Sutton, Litigation, Phoenix

Sutton is a member of the firm’s Litigation practice with a focus in the areas of real estate, corporate, construction, general contract and insurance disputes (including coverage issues, agent disputes, and class actions). He practices primarily in trial courts, but is also growing an appellate practice in which he has drafted and assisted with numerous appellate briefs and has second chaired appeals in state and federal appellate courts. Drawing on his experience before law school as a procurement clerk for the Department of Army, Sutton also assists clients protesting and appealing state and federal procurement decisions.

He is a member of the Associated General Contractors’ Young Constructors Forum, Arizona Chapter and is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the William E. Morris Institute for Justice. He received his J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, summa cum laude, and his B. C. J. and B.A. from New Mexico State University.

Cindy Villanueva, Intellectual Property, Phoenix

Villanueva is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice focusing her work on trademark prosecution, counseling, enforcement and licensing, as well as providing trademark litigation support. She assists clients with all stages of securing trademark protection with an emphasis on the selection and enforcement of trademarks domestically and internationally. As part of her practice, she represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of disputes involving trademark, copyrights, trade secrets and rights of publicity. Villanueva also helps companies and individuals with brand development, audits, clearance, and worldwide registration issues, licensing and assignment transactions, and with clearing advertising, promotional and marketing claims and contests.

She is a graduate of Valley Leadership, Class 39 and participated in Ladder Down, Class of 2014, as well as the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Leadership Academy in 2016. Villanueva was named Top Lawyer Under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association in 2018 and named a Southwest Super Lawyers – Rising Star in IP Litigation for the last three consecutive years. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law and her  B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine. 

SmithGroup promotes John Tran and David Vernellis

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has promoted John Tran and David Vernellis to vice president in their Phoenix office.

John Tran, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, is promoted to vice president and continues to serve as a design principal for the firm’s Phoenix office. Tran joined SmithGroup in 2014 and has over 20 years of experience designing projects throughout the world. His work covers various markets including mixed-use, retail, entertainment, aviation and civic projects. In his current role, he is leading the design work for a wide range of the firm’s projects including the south concourse development at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport Terminal 4 and the Hines Collier Center residential tower in downtown Phoenix.

Tran is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He is originally from Saigon, Vietnam and currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

David Vernellis, PE, LEED AP is promoted to vice president, continuing in his role as director of operations for SmithGroup’s Phoenix office. In this position, he is involved with a wide variety of firmwide operational tasks including developing protocols to better utilize the firm’s expertise and specialty services, overseeing financial and operational aspects of the Shanghai office and serving as the operations liaison to the Healthcare practice. Vernellis joined the firm’s Detroit office in 2000 and worked on many projects across a wide variety of market areas including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago-Detroit branch, Visteon Village headquarters and the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Sciences building. In 2006, he relocated to Phoenix as a project manager and took on his current role shortly thereafter.

Vernellis is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering as well as a Master of Science in structural engineering. Raised in Lansing, Michigan, Vernellis currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.  

Kutak Rock elects 24 attorneys to firm partnership

Kutak Rock has elected 24 new partners from its attorney ranks in 10 of the firm’s offices – Denver, Fayetteville, Irvine, Kansas City, Little Rock, Omaha, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Spokane and Washington, D.C. The promotions became effective on January 1, 2019.

“Our clients will benefit from the knowledge, experience and service our new partners bring to Kutak Rock every day,” said Jay Selanders, Chair of Kutak Rock. “These accomplished lawyers are dedicated to a collaborative, collegial culture and to the overall growth and success of our firm. We thank them for their contributions and are proud to welcome them to the firm’s partnership.”

The attorneys, in Scottsdale, elected to the partnership are: 

J. Michael Low (Scottsdale) principally focuses his practice on the representation of insurers, insurance associations and institutions before the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Department of Insurance, and other governmental agencies and offices both inside and outside the state of Arizona. He has authored reports and testified as an expert witness in over 100 matters in state and federal court involving life, health, property and casualty insurance coverage, claims handling and bad faith issues. Mr. Low also is President of the Arizona Captive Insurance Association and Chairman of the Western Region Captive Insurance Conference. 

Jon S. Schultz (Scottsdale) is a commercial and civil litigator with an active generalist practice and has experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, real estate, insurance bad faith defense, lender defense, international law, products liability, and government defense matters. Mr. Schultz also has a busy employment-based immigration practice and assists employers with preparing and filing visa applications and establishing regulation-compliant visa sponsoring processes.

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