Former FirstBank Arizona market president promoted to company president

FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” today announced President Ron Tilton will retire after serving the company for more than 35 years and Kevin Classen will step into the role effective Feb. 22, 2021.

Classen joined FirstBank in 1998 after graduating from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and quickly climbed the ranks. In 2007, he was responsible for helping lead FirstBank’s expansion into Arizona and went on to serve as Market President for the West Valley in 2013 before returning to Colorado in 2017 to oversee FirstBank’s Boulder market.

During his time in Arizona, Classen was deeply involved in the community, helping launch Arizona Gives Day as well as serving on the boards of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, WESTMARC, and West Valley Arts Council, to name a few. He remains a Grande member of the Scottsdale Charros, a civic nonprofit group, and an Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base.

As the newly appointed President, Classen will be responsible for growing the bank’s business services and commercial lending portfolio, and will oversee the organization’s retail markets in Arizona, Colorado and California.

“It’s been an honor to grow my career at a company that truly cares about its customers, communities and employees as much as FirstBank does,” said Classen. “I’m thankful to the board and our executive team for their confidence in my leadership, and I look forward to aiding in FirstBank’s financial performance, award-winning customer service and continuing to foster goodwill within and outside our organization.”

“Kevin’s history and proven track record, helping strengthen and drive multiple markets, will be a valuable resource to the company’s future endeavors,” said Jim Reuter, CEO of FirstBank. “We are grateful for Ron’s contributions these past three and a half decades, and know Kevin will continue to build on that success.”

“Having worked alongside Kevin, I know he’ll make an excellent President and I’m confident the team at FirstBank is as strong, talented and energetic as ever,” added Tilton. “While it’s hard to make such a significant change, I am proud to give our next generation of leaders, like Kevin, their chance to guide the organization, and am excited to see the bank’s growth over these next several decades.”

AZCREW announces 2021 leadership team

AZCREW has elected the officers and directors that will lead Metro Phoenix’s premier women’s real estate organization’s in 2021.

AZCREW focuses on the advancement and success of women within the commercial real estate industry through leadership, professional relationships, education and excellence. AZCREW is part of the national CREW network.

The 2021 officers are Lindsey Carlson, Colliers International, President; Heather Cox, CBRE, supporting MUFG Union Bank, N.A., President Elect; Amy Ferrari, Mode Commercial Real Estate Management, Treasurer; Samantha Pinkal, City of Surprise, Secretary; and Terry Martin-Denning, CEO/Designated Broker, NAI Horizon, Immediate Past President.

We have assembled strategic board members with innovative ideas to propel AZCREW’s vision of elevating women in commercial real estate with impactful programming, DEI efforts and the hopes of offering in-person networking opportunities,” Carlson said. “We are grateful to Terry for her leadership in 2020, a year like none other and are looking forward to 2021.” 

AZCREW’s 2021 directors are Jenny Liles, Cushman & Wakefield, Membership; Lauren Borgeson, Mark-Taylor Companies, PR Chair; Michelle Rutkowski, MOR Studio, Special Events; and Jessi Levin, HDR, Inc., Foundation Champion.

AZCREW’s strategies include maintaining and strengthening the current membership base of more than 165 members, focusing on quality, diversity and member engagement by continuing to offer high quality, relevant programs and events to enhance membership value. AZCREW will continue to support CREW Foundation and its initiatives and promote and communicate AZCREW leadership opportunities. 

BeachFleischman names Eric Majchrzak CEO-elect

BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firm and a “Top 200 largest CPA firm” in the U.S., announces that Eric Majchrzak, the firm’s chief marketing & strategy officer, is appointed CEO-elect. Effective January 1, 2022, Majchrzak will serve as the third CEO in BeachFleischman’s 30-year history and succeeds Marc Fleischman, who became CEO in 2016 following co-founder Bruce Beach. The board appointed Majchrzak following a comprehensive search process that was part of the firm’s formal succession plan. The transition occurs over the next twelve months after which Fleischman and David Cohen, President, will both retain leadership roles on the firm’s board of directors and serve the firm’s clients and community. Cohen continues in his role as president with Majchrzak as CEO.

“I am honored to be selected by my peers to lead our firm into the future,” Majchrzak said. “Our plans are bold and transformative. We’re profoundly aware of the speed of change in our world and profession. While we’re proud about what we’ve already accomplished at BeachFleischman, we are even more excited to continue our business evolution as we anticipate and meet the changing needs of our clients, employees and community.”

“From the beginning, BeachFleischman has been willing to do things differently than most accounting firms. It’s just part of our DNA,” said Marc Fleischman, CEO. “Appointing a marketing leader as our next CEO affirms our commitment to growth, innovation and outside-the-box thinking, all of which are important for our success and the success of our clients.”

David Cohen, President, said “Business development and forging creative partnerships are critical factors in our firm’s long-term sustainability. As our next CEO, Eric keeps our focus on building depth and expertise while adding service lines to remain an industry leader.”   

VIAONE adds associate director

Megan Benson joins VIAONE Commercial Real Estate Group, partnering with Duane Solomon to create The Solomon Group. Megan brings a strong level of detail and versatility to the organization.

Megan grew up in a highly entrepreneurial family. Her father, Shawn Benson, founded Benson Security Systems, Inc. (“Benson Systems”) in 1986. She watched her father successfully grow Benson Systems into a leading provider of building technologies. Megan’s exposure to high-level leadership and influence fostered an entrepreneurial mindset properly fitting to enhance her success along with the success of her partner and husband, Duane Solomon. Her principal involvement in the development of several Luxury self-storage facilities will prove complementary to the diversely talented VIAONE team.

Megan is an Arizona native growing up in Tempe where she received a track and field scholarship to the University of California, Irvine. Megan earned a Bachler’s Degree in Criminology, Law and Society.

“After considering a variety of factors at this stage of my career, I met with VIAONE and felt the very special culture Duane told me about. This opportunity provides access and exposure I need to develop my knowledge in the business. With genuine support and commitment to my success, the professionals at VIAONE made me feel at home” Benson said. “I am so excited to join the VIAONE family and help build The Solomon Group with Duane. This platform also provides the unique added value to accelerate my knowledge in the development space.”

Stevens-Leinweber hires veteran industrial superintendent

Phoenix-based Stevens-Leinweber Construction (SLC) has hired industry veteran Curtis Holbrook, marking the latest expansion of the company’s rapidly growing ground-up construction division.

Holbrook brings more than two decades of experience to his new role, where he will oversee key ground-up industrial projects for SLC and contribute to the overall growth of the company’s ground-up division with expertise in healthcare, office, retail and hospitality construction.

“Curtis is a well-rounded leader with a proven ability to manage and deliver the highest quality construction experience,” said SLC President and CEO Jamie Godwin. “He is also greatly respected and trusted – attributes that we place a high value on, and that will pave the way for his seamless transition into our job pipeline. We are excited for the new opportunities that Curtis brings for the growth and diversity of our ground-up division.”

Since its inception in 2017, SLC’s ground-up construction division has delivered more than 3.5 million square feet of space, most recently through buildings at PV303 and Tolleson Commerce Park, the new Chandler Corporate Center II office development and tenant improvements for Ball, Boeing, Georgia Pacific, HD Supply, MLILY, MiTek and XPO. This activity complements the company’s market-leading footprint in the office tenant improvement sector.