Celebratory crowd honors Most Admired Companies of 2021

Above: The team from Desert Financial Credit Union celebrates its Most Admired Companies award. MAC 2021 | 13 Oct |

A limited-capacity crowd celebrated the Most Admired Companies of 2021 Thursday evening at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort.

“It’s appropriate that we are celebrating Arizona’s Most Admired Companies tonight because we are coming off a year that completely changed workplace culture,” joked Az Business magazine Editor in Chief Michael Gossie. “It was a year in which a business lunch meant opening your front door for the UberEats driver … whom you now call Freddie, your new BFF.”

In selecting Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for 2021, Az Business magazine partnered with BestCompaniesAZ to review more than 200 nominations, identifying top companies that show strong leadership, a commitment to the communities, and concern for their employees and customers. From those nominations, the Most Admired Companies of 2021. 


READ ALSO: Here are ways to create a diverse and inclusive workforce


Title sponsors for the Most Admired Companies of 2021 were WaFd Bank and Taylor Morrison. The  VIP sponsor was TBConsulting. The  digital sponsor was USAA.

In addition to honoring the 40 Most Admired Companies of 2021, six spotlight awards were also presented. Winners of the spotlight awards were:

Excellence in leadership: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Excellence in customer service: Cresa

Excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion: Blue Yonder

Excellence in innovation: Adopt Technologies

Excellence in workplace culture: FirstBank

Excellence in social responsibility: Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

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Most Admired Companies of 2021

Adopt Technologies

Most Admired Company: 2020-2021

Top Arizona executive: Brett Helgeson, CEO and managing partner

What it does: Information technology company delivering cloud-based solutions and IT management, design and support to small and medium-sized businesses.

Admirable trait: Helgeson was recently recognized as one of the top 25 IT CEOs in the U.S. by IT Services Report, and the honor is well-deserved. Helgeson strongly believes in and fosters an environment focused on open communication, constructive feedback and sharing thoughts and ideas. He believes if team members are successful and happy, Adopt Technologies will be successful with its clients.

American Express

Most Admired Company: 2010-2021

Top Arizona executive: Gabrielle Vitale, executive vice president, chief compliance and ethics officer

What it does: Largest credit card issuer by purchase volume.

Admirable trait: In 2020, American Express launched an action plan to advance its diversity, inclusion and equity priorities. The plan is supported by $1 billion in investments, enhancing diverse representation and equal opportunities for American Express colleagues, customers and communities. In 2020, American Express made additional investments to achieve full pay parity, reaching 100% pay equity for colleagues across genders globally and across races and ethnicities in the U.S.

Axon

Most Admired Company: 2018-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Rick Smith, CEO and founder

What it does: Develops Taser, cameras and software products for law enforcement and civilians.

Admirable trait: To show Axon is just as committed to its employees’ personal lives as to their professional lives, Axon partners with outside organizations and experts to promote healthy living. Benefits at Axon start on Day 1, and Axon offers a flexible work environment, unlimited PTO, parent support networks with expert-led Weldon webinars throughout the year, unlimited 24/7 access to wellness and mental health services and free legal assistance to employees.

Banner Health

Most Admired Company: 2020-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Peter S. Fine, president and CEO 

What it does: Nonprofit health care system.

Admirable trait: Banner defines leadership through distinct and clearly defined behaviors. The organization’s new leadership model, launched post-pandemic and built on the “Banner Strong” movement, has three pillars: Demonstrate Heart, Elevate Team and Inspire Success. Banner Health demonstrates the heart of Banner through courage, self-awareness and valuing each team member’s story. Banner elevates its teams with intentional connection, collaboration, and creating action towards a better future. Banner inspires success with preparation, high quality decisions and perseverance against setback.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2017, 2021

Top Arizona executive: Pam Kehaly, president and CEO

What it does: Offers health and dental insurance plans for individuals and families in Arizona.

Admirable trait: During the pandemic, BCBSAZ was called upon by the state to help deliver hope to the community. The company quickly mobilized its team and its trusted partners. Starting on Jan. 11, BCBSAZ rallied the hundreds of volunteers needed each day to staff the State Farm Stadium vaccination site and other sites. During the three-month assignment, BCBSAZ volunteers and partners logged nearly 15,200 shifts and more than 145,000 hours in the historic effort.

Blue Yonder (formerly JDA)

Most Admired Company: 2016-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Girish Rishi, CEO

What it does: Software company providing business planning, execution, delivery, labor and supply chain solutions.

Admirable trait: With 45 offices across 25 countries, Blue Yonder’s 5,500 associates represent a diverse global community. The organization is committed to diversity and inclusivity, and launched its DIVE initiative (Diversity, Inclusion, Value and Equality) in early 2020 centered around three key pillars: awareness and education, outreach and recruitment, and engagement and empowerment. DIVE is Blue Yonder’s commitment to creating a diverse environment where associates can grow and thrive with the freedom to be unique and authentic.

Burch & Cracchiolo

Most Admired Company: 2021

Top Arizona executive: Andrew Abraham, president

What it does: One of the Southwest’s premier law firms

Admirable trait: An attorney at a firm in direct competition with Burch & Cracchiolo recently described the law firm as “good people who happen to be great lawyers.” Burch & Cracchiolo is known for being generous to both its staff and community. The firm supports nonprofits, economic development organizations, the arts community, the educational community any many others. Burch & Cracchiolo is a legacy partner for Local First Arizona, and the law firm supports teachers through its Star Teacher Award program.

CBRE

Most Admired Company: 2010-2021

Top Arizona executive: Paul Komadina, senior managing director and Arizona market leader

What it does: Commercial real estate services and investment firm

Admirable trait: CBRE’s workplace culture stems from its RISE values — respect, integrity, service and excellence — which are the foundations upon which the company is built. At CBRE, these values are timeless and transcend all markets, service lines, languages and business cultures. As a global organization, diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of CBRE,  which is committed to fostering an environment that provides everyone the opportunity to succeed, values the differences of each individual, and recognizes their contributions to CBRE’s success.

CHASSE Building Team

Most Admired Company: 2019-2021  

Top Arizona executive: Barry Chasse, founder 

What it does: General contractor in Phoenix and Tucson

Admirable trait: In 2019, Barry Chasse was named Construction Executive of the Year by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of Construction Financial Management Association. Chasse was recognized for his philanthropic drive, care for other people and commitment to the construction industry. He also led the team to 2020 Tempe Business of the Year by the Tempe Chamber. In addition, since 2019, Chasse has been recognized by Arizona State University as a member of the Class of Sun Devil 100 honorees.

CarMax

Most Admired Company: 2021

Top Arizona executive: Richard Buscher, regional vice president and general manager

What it does: Nation’s largest retailer of used autos

Admirable trait: CarMax’s culture of innovation, diversity and inclusion is grounded in its core values, where winning together is driven by embracing and celebrating our differences. CarMax requires all associates to complete diversity and inclusion as well as unconscious bias training. One CarMax associate at the CarMax customer experience center in Tempe said: “The culture is incredible. I love the diversity we have here. No matter you who are, they’ll care for you.”

Charles Schwab

Most Admired Company: 2013-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Bernie Clark, managing director and head of Schwab Advisor Services

What it does: Provides help with financial planning, investments, retirement and more.

Admirable trait: As the second largest Charles Schwab location, Arizona is home to 18% of Schwab’s employees. The Arizona location contributes significantly to building the company’s national award-winning culture as well as its success in the local marketplace. Schwab is most proud of the fact that the Arizona workforce experiences a low voluntary turnover (7.9%) that outperforms the industry average of 15.4%.

Copperpoint Insurance Companies

Most Admired Company: 2017, 2019-2021

Top Arizona executive: Marc Schmittlein, president and CEO

What it does: Provides workers’ compensation and commercial insurance solutions.

Admirable trait: While working through the pandemic, several philanthropic campaigns were launched to support the health and wellness of CopperPoint’s employees. One of those campaigns was the American Heart Association “Virtual Heart Walk” which raised $25,000 to support the charity. CopperPoint has been named one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health for six consecutive years. The company has also been recognized as a Healthiest Place to Work.

Cresa

Most Admired Company: 2014-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Gary Gregg, managing principal  

What it does: Commercial real estate advisory firm.

Admirable trait: Cresa prides itself on being not only an esteemed partner for its clients, but also an award-winning place to work. Cresa’s designation as one of the “Most Admired Companies,” “Best Places to Work,” and “100 Best Companies to work for in Arizona” for the past seven years is a testament to its thriving culture. A spirit of inclusivity and transparency inspires everything Cresa does. This company prides itself on empowering its employees to act decisively and think innovatively.

DP Electric

Most Admired Company: 2018-2021

Top Arizona executive: Dan Puente, founder and CEO

What it does: Electric contracting firm.

Admirable trait: DP Electric has a company culture that is entrepreneurial, team-oriented and emphasizes an open-door policy with all employees. The company culture focuses on employees and families. DP Electric provides numerous initiatives to promote a positive, family-oriented workplace culture. Just this year, DPE announced that it is launching an employee stock ownership plan that began in January 2021. This has been a long-term vision to enhance the company’s family culture and will benefit employees for years to come.

DPR Construction

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2019, 2021

Top Arizona executive: Gretchen Kinsella, business unit leader

What it does: Construction company.

Admirable trait: Culture is a huge piece of DPR Construction because who it builds is as important as what it builds. As a flat organization, employees are assigned roles — not titles. DPR’s workplace has no private offices and everyone sits together in one open area regardless of seniority or role. DPR strives to be the best, a “boots on the ground” type of company, allowing employees to make decisions out in the field and make it right. The lack of micromanaging gives more freedom and makes for better employees.

Desert Financial Credit Union

Most Admired Company: 2020-2021

Top Arizona executive: Jeff Meshey, president and CEO

What it does: Arizona’s largest local credit union.

Admirable trait: In 2020, Desert Financial announced its participation in a five-year research project with Filene Institute’s Center of Excellence for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Led by Dr. Quinetta Roberson of Michigan State University, the project aims to improve member experience, facilitate diversity and equal opportunity at all levels, and improve strategic performance. “We anticipate Dr. Roberson’s findings will serve as a roadmap for all credit unions for improving our best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Meshey.

Digital Air Strike

Most Admired Company: 2018, 2021

Top Arizona executive:  Alexi Venneri, co-founder and CEO

What it does: Social media, intelligent lead response and consumer engagement technology company.

Admirable trait: Digital Air Strike continues to hire employees from all backgrounds and ethnicities for a broad range of employees. The company also aspires to give back to a diverse group of nonprofits monthly through its employee-led initiative, DASCares. Last summer, during the Black Lives Matter protests and supporting nationwide efforts for racial equality, DAS employees chose five charities to receive donations from the company and match funds for personal contributions.

Farmers Insurance Group

Most Admired Company: 2019-2021

Top Arizona executive: Rodney Johnson, head of service operations and senior vice president

What it does: Provides quality insurance at a reasonable price.

Admirable trait: The Arizona leadership team puts a strong focus on its innovative, proactive on-boarding program for new hires that provides employees with tools to help them succeed, and provides support to help welcome them seamlessly into the organization. Leadership’s dedication to employees goes beyond onboarding. One valuable way Farmers supports career development is through mentorship programs. Such programs are designed to assist mentees in expanding their network, cultivating meaningful professional relationships and growing their skill set.

Fennemore

Most Admired Company: 2016, 2020, 2021

Top Arizona executive: James Goodnow, president and managing partner

What it does: Full-service business law firm.

Admirable trait: Fennemore actively recruits a diverse mix of talented attorneys and allied legal professionals through various initiatives, including scholarship, internship, training, community involvement and mentoring opportunities. In 2019, the Fennemore Diversity Scholarship and Fellowship was the first-of-its-kind partnership between ASU and a law firm. Under the partnership, the firm provides a scholarship and a paid summer fellowship. Over the past year, Fennemore’s management committee and Diversity and Inclusion Council have hosted three all-hands meetings about diversity, equity and inclusion.

FirstBank

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2018-2021

Top Arizona executive: Humphrey Shin, market president

What it does: One of the nation’s largest privately held banks.

Admirable trait: FirstBank is responsible for financing more than $1 billion in consumer and commercial loans. These loans have made a significant impact on the local community by creating jobs, educational facilities, residential housing, and transforming once rundown areas into desirable locations to live and work. The loans also helped expand Gilbert Christian Schools’ footprint with a new 56,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art campus and built some of Arizona’s marquee developments, including Portland on the Park, a 149-unit condo in Downtown Phoenix.

Freedom Financial Network

Most Admired Company: 2021 

Top Arizona executive: Linda Luman, vice president of human resources

What it does: Offers customized debt solutions to meet each consumer’s unique needs.

Admirable trait: Freedom feels strongly about diversity, equity, and inclusion and encourages its employees to bring their full selves to work every day. More than 65% of internal career advancement opportunities, promotions and transfers to new positions are women, and 52% are diverse employees.
During this past year, a growing focus has been the building of employee-led employee resource groups (ERGs) which are open to all employees, whether a member of the ERG community or an ally of the group.

GoDaddy

Most Admired Company: 2010-2012, 2014-2017, 2019-2021 

Top Arizona executive: Aman Bhutani, CEO

What it does: The world’s largest and most trusted domain registrar.

Admirable trait: Since its inception in a garage in Arizona in 1997, GoDaddy has evolved into a champion poised to empower everyday entrepreneurs worldwide and a champion for workplace equality. Today, GoDaddy employs more than 9,000 people worldwide, and its culture has also evolved into an inclusive workplace for all. GoDaddy received a perfect score of 100% for three consecutive years on the Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s premier benchmarking survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Greenberg Traurig

Most Admired Company: 2018-2021

Top Arizona executive: Nicole Goodwin, managing shareholder

What it does: Full-service law firm.

Admirable trait: Since its inception, Greenberg Traurig set out to create a diverse and inclusive firm. The firm believes that diverse viewpoints produce smarter ideas for clients. In 2020, Greenberg Traurig redoubled its commitment to live and act on those values through the pillars of its Social, Racial, and Economic Justice Action Plan. These pillars focus on serving as community leaders, supporting and training its talent, and supporting programs that address systemic racism in society and seek to provide impoverished communities and individuals with essential economic, social and cultural rights.

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Most Admired Company: 2016-2021

Top Arizona executive: Jason Barlow, president and CEO

What it does: Nonprofit homebuilder for low-income families.

Admirable trait: Leading the charge toward an innovative and sustainable way to increase affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is building the global housing nonprofit’s first 3D-printed home in the United States.The custom, single-story home is currently under construction on a lot donated by the City of Tempe. It combines 3D printing and traditional construction to create an innovative model for the future and a scalable, cost-effective homeownership solution to address the affordable housing crisis.

Homeowners Financial Group

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016-2021

Top Arizona executive: Bill Rogers, president and CEO

What it does: Full-service mortgage banking company dedicated to helping people purchase a home.

Admirable trait: In 2021, HFG was named a Best Mortgage Company to Work For by National Mortgage News for the third year in a row and ranked No. 5 nationally in the midsized company category. In the survey results, it was evident that one of the primary reasons that HFG’s employees ranked the company so high was because of the outstanding leadership.

Isagenix International

Most Admired Company: 2018, 2021

Top Arizona executives:  Jim and Kathy Coover, co-founders

What it does:  Global well-being company.

Admirable trait: Since 2002, Isagenix has given $40 million in product and monetary donations to charities and underserved populations worldwide. That number includes grants from the ISA Foundation, a nonprofit launched in 2018 so Isagenix could partner with multiple charitable organizations. The company’s co-founders were instrumental in its launch and pledged to match every dollar raised up to $1 million during its first 24 hours of fundraising. The foundation raised $2.3 million that first day.

JE Dunn

Most Admired Company: 2016-2019, 2021

Top Arizona executive: Brad Schenck, senior vice president

What it does: Construction company.

Admirable trait: Dunn Dashboard — the JE Dunn-designed, award-winning technology — provides web-based collaboration on design documents, building information modeling, electronic bid submittals, and other project documentation. Documents can be accessed on job site kiosks, office computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Use of the paperless system on a large, complex science and technology project was recently featured in Fast Company, highlighting how the project team was able to save
$10 million and reduce environmental impact.

Jennings Strouss

Most Admired Company: 2016-2021

Top Arizona executive: John C. Norling, managing attorney

What it does: Full-service law firm.

Admirable trait: Jennings Strouss promotes seven core values throughout the firm: respect, communication, diversity, balance, recognition, integrity and excellence, and public service. The firm is especially dedicated to maintaining a diverse team that strives to provide the highest quality legal services to its clients while demonstrating respect for one another and valuing diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and in working with others outside of the firm.

KUBRA

Most Admired Company: 2021

Top Arizona executive: Alison Copeland, senior director of marketing

What it does: Customer interaction management company.

Admirable trait: KUBRA is a fast-growing company that delivers customer communications solutions to some of the largest utility, insurance and government entities across North America. KUBRA has invested a lot of time and energy into diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the past few years. These efforts have garnered recognition on numerous high-profile lists, including Best Workplaces for Women (2020 and 2021), Best Workplaces for Mental Health (2021) and Best Workplaces for Inclusion (2020).

LAVIDGE

Most Admired Company: 2016-2019, 2021  Top Arizona executive: Bill Lavidge, CEO 

What it does: Full-service advertising, marketing and digital agency.

Admirable trait: The pandemic of 2020 changed LAVIDGE’s workplace from being remote one day per week to fully remote for a significant portion of its employees. This presented the challenge of changing things up without losing the company’s deeply embedded culture of maintaining fun in the mix. LAVIDGE’s Engagement and Fun committees excelled at finding creative ways for employees to connect remotely throughout the year. For example, catered staff meetings became video conferences with gift cards from GrubHub.

Lovitt & Touché, A Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company

Most Admired Company: 2015-2021

Top Arizona executive: Charles A. Touché, CEO

What it does: Insurance agency offering business insurance, risk management solutions, personal insurance, bonds and surety and employee benefits.

Admirable trait: Recognizing the changing healthcare landscape, Lovitt & Touché developed a proprietary private healthcare exchange, ClearPath Prime, to better serve small and medium-sized employers. It functions much like an online store, enabling colleagues to “shop” for health insurance and other benefits that meet their specific needs. Lovitt & Touché was the first insurance broker in Arizona to deploy a private exchange with a participating employer group.

Mercy Care

Most Admired Company: 2021 

Top Arizona executive: Lorry Bottrill, president and CEO

What it does: Nonprofit health plan offering integrated care to children, adults and seniors eligible for AHCCCS benefits.

Admirable trait: Mercy Care’s community reinvestment over the past three years is nearly $6 million and in excess of 15,000 volunteer hours. Its primary focus is to support addiction recovery, housing, school-based services, food insecurity and pandemic support. Among its most recent grantees: Save the Family, Teen Lifeline, Activate Food Arizona, Home Matters to Arizona, Barrow Neurological Institute, Area Agency on Aging, ACCEL, Hushabye Nursery and Central Arizona Shelter Services.

Microchip Technology

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2012, 2017, 2019-2021

Top Arizona executive: Ganesh Moorthy, president and CEO

What it does: Provider of smart, connected and secure embedded control solutions.

Admirable trait: In 2021, Microchip was awarded Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity and Best Employers for New Graduates and also earned the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Workplace Flexibility from 2007-2016. Microchip’s culture promotes teamwork, creativity and integrity, and encourages open communication at all levels of the organization.  Supervisors are encouraged to be supportive of employees’ needs by finding workplace flexibility solutions that work for both the employee and the company.

Mortenson

Most Admired Company: 2018-2021

Top Arizona executive: Benjamin Goetter, vice president and general manager

What it does: Design-build, project development, turn-key development, general construction, construction and program development.

Admirable trait: As a critical component of Mortenson’s culture, it implemented a company-wide development LeadBLU program, a comprehensive and inclusive approach to leadership development designed to support Mortenson’s culture and the personal and professional growth of every single team member. LeadBLU reflects the company’s values-based foundation set by the Mortenson family and embodies the principles and practices that guide company leaders’ mindsets, actions and attitudes, and the importance of coaching and career development.

OneAZ Credit Union

Most Admired Company: 2021  Top Arizona executive: Kim Reedy, president and CEO 

What it does: Full-service, not-for-profit local financial institution.

Admirable trait: OneAZ offers countless benefits and workplace perks that exceed the standard benefits package of most companies. OneAZ’s philosophy is centered around caring for its associates. If associates feel recognized, involved and cared for, they can focus their energy on providing stellar service to each of OneAZ’s members. OneAZ’s culture has been described as “warm and fuzzy,” and this culture carries through both internally and externally. This engaged, work-loving organizational persona is a testament to OneAZ’s culture and commitment to improving associates’ lives.

Quarles & Brady

Most Admired Company: 2019-2021  Top Arizona executive: Leonardo Loo, office managing partner  What it does: Full-service law firm.

Admirable trait: At Quarles & Brady, 70% of office managing partners are women and/or diverse, 40% of attorneys are women, and 33% of of the firm’s executive committee are women and/or diverse. The firm has diverse attorney business resource groups, a women’s forum and a diverse mentor program. Quarles & Brady also hosts writing internships for diverse law students from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. Some of these students are first generation college graduates and law school students who don’t have any familiarity with the legal industry.

Sonora Quest Laboratories

Most Admired Company: 2010-2019, 2021

Top Arizona executive: David Dexter, president and CEO

What it does: Offers a comprehensive menu of routine and specialty lab testing services.

Admirable trait: Sonora Quest is leading the way with Direct Access Testing (DAT), also known as direct-to-consumer testing, throughout Arizona, which allows consumers to order laboratory tests without a physicians’ request. Consumers can select from a menu of affordably priced lab tests to track personal wellness goals or monitor a chronic condition. Since its launch, My Lab ReQuest has enabled consumers in Arizona to take control of their health and to drive improved health outcomes.

Spear Education

Most Admired Company: 2019-2021

Top Arizona executive: Kaleim Manji, CEO

What it does: Provider of multiplatform continuing education and practice growth resources for dental professionals.

Admirable trait: Spear has a deep commitment to DEI and the cornerstone of that commitment is The Spear Collective. This is the Spear version of an employee resource group and includes The Alliance for Cultural Diversity and LGBTQ+. Spear promotes a positive, diverse and inclusive work environment and welcome membership and contributions from all Spear employees. Twenty-five percent of Spear’s employee population are active members in one or more of its groups.

Sundt Construction

Most Admired Company: 2010-2021

Top Arizona executive: G. Michael Hoover, president and CEO

What it does: General contractor.

Admirable trait: In 2000, Sundt developed the Leadership Excellence Accelerates Performance (LEAP) program to mentor the next generation of company leaders. The training focuses on critical leadership skills, as well as Sundt’s core values. Senior-level leaders are paired with LEAP members and help mentor them through a team project to address current business issues or opportunities. Many of the projects are now new business practices at Sundt. In addition, Sundt offers a Leadership Academy each year to allow leaders to learn, share and grow in their potential.

TB Consulting

Most Admired Company: 2021 

Top Arizona executive: Dieter Gable, CEO 

What it does: Helps clients transform IT into a competitive advantage.

Admirable trait: Agility, adaptability and innovation are TBC’s strengths, and these perfectly coalesced in the deployment of a program known as “liquid staffing” during the pandemic.  Workflow balance among the various teams was key to navigating this challenging time. Liquid staffing allowed employees to be trained in areas/skills that were new to them, thus acquiring cross-disciplinary skill sets. Despite the pandemic, TBC was able to retain its entire workforce by rotating employees to teams that had more demand.

Taylor Morrison

Most Admired Company: 2021 

Top Arizona executive: Sheryl Palmer, chairman and CEO

What it does: The nation’s fifth largest homebuilder and developer.

Admirable trait: Taylor Morrison’s excellence in leadership truly unfolded when Sheryl Palmer was appointed CEO in 2007 — just before the global economic recession and housing market crash — but her resilience and resolve helped the company weather the storm and emerge from it on a robust growth trajectory. Palmer has led Taylor Morrison through a series of major transformations, including six acquisitions. She led Taylor Morrison to its IPO in 2013 and, for the very first time this year, a place on the Fortune 500 list.

TriWest Healthcare Alliance

Most Admired Company: 2021

Top Arizona executive: David J. McIntyre Jr., president and CEO

What it does: Manages health benefits under the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Admirable trait: Many of TriWest’s team members are veterans or military family members who are committed to providing superior service to our nation’s heroes. TriWest takes pride in the military and the veteran-centric culture its created to ensure those whom it serves are at the core of the company’s values and actions. TriWest maintains a strong commitment to the hiring and retention of veterans through many programs and outreach initiatives.

USAA

Most Admired Company: 2015-2019, 2021

Top Arizona executive: Christina Forbes, executive director

What it does: Provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement solutions to members of the U.S. military and veterans.

Admirable trait: In 2020, USAA contributed $87 million to nonprofit organizations. Employees gave more than $10.1 million to nonprofits and logged more than 185,000 volunteer hours. USAA also participated in the Military Family Relief Initiative by providing $30 million to 24 nonprofits for pandemic-related relief. USAA invested $1,820,000 in the Phoenix community to support military, veterans, families and children struggling every day, including those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UnitedHealthcare

Most Admired Company: 2010-2021  Top Arizona executive: Heather Kane, CEO UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

What it does: Healthcare insurance provider for individuals, families and employers.

Admirable trait: One of the most innovative policy changes taking hold currently at UnitedHealth Group is its “Workplace of the Future” policy, which will literally alter the way and place employees work going forward in the post-pandemic world. Specific details will vary, but UnitedHealthcare believes this initial plan will provide the flexibility people seek, while also allowing the company to do its best work for the customers, patients and members the company is privileged to serve.

Vanguard

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2013-2021

Top Arizona executive: Bridget Olesiewicz, principal

What it does: Investment management company and largest provider of mutual funds.

Admirable trait: To keep its employees highly engaged, Vanguard has partnered with CultureAmp, an independent survey administrator and research company, to conduct an annual employee engagement survey. Structured planning sessions follow the survey each year, aiming to drive change and continuously increase positive outcomes. In this difficult year, Vanguard saw record jumps in scores. In fact, 12 of 13 categories saw significant improvement, and every division within Vanguard made strong progress.

Wilde Wealth Management Group

Most Admired Company: 2021  Top Arizona executive: Trevor Wilde, CEO

What it does: Provides comprehensive retirement, investment, real estate, insurance, legal and tax planning services.

Admirable trait: With the business’s roots firmly planted, in recent years the team began to look for ways they could make a positive impact beyond just the office, but also within the community. Rather than mandate volunteerism projects and programs, however, Wilde turned to members of its team and asked how they wanted to structure this idea. The result: Wilde Wealth Management’s Wilde for Arizona Community Outreach Program, which empowers the entire firm to be active volunteers, fundraisers and neighborhood champions.

 

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