Most Admired Companies 2015

September 10, 2015

Chateau Luxe

5:00 pm
Past Event

Each year, Az Business magazine and BestCompaniesAZ chooses 40 companies as winners of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies Awards.

A crowd of more than 400 people packed the Chateau Luxe in Phoenix Thursday September 10, 2015 to honor the 40 companies who were named Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for 2015.

When developing the Most Admired Companies program, the primary goal of Az Business magazine and BestCompaniesAZ was to recognize those companies that excel in workplace culture, leadership, social responsibility, customer opinion and innovation.


Alliance Residential Company

Most Admired Company: 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Bruce Ward, president
What it does: Manages a $9 billion multifamily portfolio.
Admirable quality: In partnership with specialty apparel retail The Limited, Alliance InStyle ensures associates demonstrate a unified and branded look reflective of Alliance culture and the quality of the assets it manages, while simultaneously providing associates with stylish business-apparel options from a well-known brand. In addition, Alliance University, a state-of-the-art training program, makes Alliance one of the only multifamily companies using a learning management system.

American Express

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Tammy Weinbaum, senior vice president and general manager
What it does: American Express is the largest credit card issuer by purchase volume.
Admirable quality: Weinbaum was recognized in 2014 by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) with a Women of Excellence Award for Mentorship. Weinbaum also chairs the steering committee of the Valley of the Sun United Way Women’s Leadership Council. American Express was also named one of NAFE’s Top 50 Companies for Executive Women in 2015.

Arizona Charter Academy

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Top local executive: Melissa Holdaway, CEO
What it does: ACA is a Valley-based, coeducational, public charter school.
Admirable quality: A strong focus, both in time and money, is given to ongoing training of the ACA staff to ensure the next level of leaders are continually being trained. Holdaway’s passion is to empower others to reach their potential and embed ACA in the community to make a large impact both in the community and with the students.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Derrick M. Hall, president and CEO
What it does: Major League Baseball team that won the 2001 World Series.
Admirable quality: The Diamondbacks’ priority on culture is evident in the organization’s Circle of Success and can be seen in First Friday luncheons, quarterly employee outings and other events. The Circle of Success focuses the organization’s efforts on performance, community, culture, financial efficiency and fan experience. Yahoo! recently tabbed the D- backs as the “best workplace in sports” in an article about the organization.

AXA Advisors Southwest

Most Admired Company: 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Dillan Micus, executive vice president
What it does: Assists individuals and businesses with financial planning needs.
Admirable quality: AXA was named winner of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for its dedication to volunteerism, fundraising and community service. Among the ways AXA gives back is its Weekend Jetaway, which raises funds for Elevate Phoenix; the Scottsdale office has granted more than $70,000 to local students to help them attend college; and the AXA Research Fund, which supports scientific research.

Bankers Trust

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Patricia F. Rourke, market president
What it does: Full-service bank.
Admirable quality: Under Rourke’s leadership since 2007, Bankers Trust has grown from $0 in assets to $335 million in assets in the Phoenix market. Between 2009 and 2014, Bankers Trust allocated approximately $5 million to community projects. In each of those years, Bankers Trust employees devoted about 13,000 volunteer hours to area causes. Bankers Trust ranked second in its category for the 2014 Valley of the Sun United Way Leadership Giving Campaigns.

Banner Casa Grande Medical Center

Most Admired Company: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Rona Curphy, president and CEO
What it does: Full-service, nonprofit hospital.
Admirable quality: Under Curphy’s leadership, the hospital has achieved economic stability, improved the hospital’s image in the community and inspired the employees to to fulfill BCGMC’s mission of “making a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care.” Through Curphy’s visionary leadership and mentoring, BCGMC has achieved best place to work status on local, state and national levels and is continually raising the bar.

Barrow Neurosurgical Associates

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: John Kinna, CEO
What it does: Brain, spine and other surgical procedures.
Admirable quality: Barrow surgeonsare consistently breaking boundaries for brain and spine surgery. Dr. Nicholas Theodore was the first surgeon to implant a neuro-spinal scaffolding device into the spinal cord of a patient. It saves acutely injured cells by attaching them to the biodegradable device during the recovery phase. Dr. Robert Spetzler pioneered the technique of hypothermia and cardiac arrest in order to successfully treat otherwise inoperable brain aneurysms.

Blood Systems

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Dan Connor, CEO
What it does: Provided blood, blood components and special services to patients in nearly 600 hospitals across the country.
Admirable quality: To help hospitals reach the triple aim goals of cost, quality and community health under the Affordable Care Act, Blood Systems provides training and methodologies in blood utilization and safety. Blood Systems offered the nation’s first Transfusion Safety Officer course. Staff from more than 50 hospitals have completed this important training. In addition, Blood Systems performs about 100 quality consulting engagements for customers every year.


Most Admired Company: 2012, 2015
Top local executive: Carlos Wagner, executive managing director
What it does: Provides tax, estate and trust planning, business consulting and accounting services.
Admirable quality: CBIZ Women’s Advantage is designed to recruit, retain and advance women in the profession and create an umbrella for a variety of networking, leadership, mentoring and skill-building opportunities. The program celebrates the uniqueness of the woman business professional and provides women decision makers access to a network of highly skilled, seasoned, professional women to assist their business needs.


Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Craig Henig, senior managing director
What it does: CBRE is a full-service real estate services company.
Admirable quality: CBRE Phoenix designed, developed and launched the HUB, a web-based system that connects and consolidates various processes critical to commercial real estate operations, marketing and analytics. In doing so, the office centralized and digitized its operational functions and eliminated significant amounts paperwork, further enhancing company-wide sustainability goals. Internally, CBRE employees use the HUB to manage listings, invoices, contacts, document centers and property signage.

Charles Schwab

Most Admired Company: 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Bernie Clark, executive vice president, Schwab Advisor Services
What it does: Provides help with financial planning, investments, retirement planning and more.
Admirable quality: Schwab was named to Fast Company’s 2015 list of the Most Innovative Companies in personal finance. Schwab launched a fully automated investment advisory service, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, the only investment advisory service using sophisticated computer algorithms to build, monitor and rebalance diversified portfolios based on an investor’s goals, time horizon and risk tolerance without charging any advisory fees, commissions or account services fees.

Cresa Phoenix

Most Admired Company: 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Gary Gregg, managing principal
What it does: Corporate real estate advisors specializing in tenant representation.
Admirable quality: Cresa allows employees to participate in philanthropic activity with no limit on time away from the office. Every spring, Cresa holds a charity event that combines team-building exercises with a chance to support worthy organizations. Last year, Cresa raised more than $70,000 during the event. Cresa is also a founding sponsor of the Industry Leaders of Arizona awards, which celebrates the top leaders in key industries in Arizona.

Fennemore Craig

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Stephen Good, managing partner
What it does: Fennemore Craig is a full-service law firm for businesses.
Admirable quality: Long before the word became fashionable, Fennemore Craig was committed to fostering diversity in the workplace. Fennemore Craig has appointed a Diversity and Retention Council to actively recruit, develop and retain a diverse mix of talented lawyers and staff. The diversity strategy’s success is shown in the number of minority and women directors and in the number of leadership positions held by minorities and women.


Most Admired Company: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Blake Irving, CEO
What it does: Internet domain registrar and web hosting company.
Admirable quality: GoDaddy supports 62 nonprofits through sponsorships and grants, donating close to $800,000 to nonprofits who foster STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), computer science education and entrepreneurship. In addition, more than 200 charities received GoDaddy products in-kind, GoDaddy employees logged 7,550 volunteer hours last year and GoDaddy Cares, the philanthropic arm of GoDaddy, has donated more than $14 million to a variety of charitable organizations.

Henry & Horne, LLP

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Chuck Goodmiller, CPA, co-managing partner
What it does: Provides expertise in accounting, estate estate and tax issues.
Admirable quality: In 2014, the firm created the “team engagement manager” position, which focuses on recruitment, retainment and training. The focus of this position is to be a sounding board for team members and to help the firm retain and engage members. Through this position, the firm has been able to monitor the moods and development of the team members and make changes quickly before anyone becomes disengaged.

Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Most Admired Company: 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Thomas Delaney, general manager
What it does: Hotel with 693 rooms and mountain or downtown views.
Admirable quality: Informatica Corporation, the world’s No. 1 provider of date integration software, name Hyatt Hotels & Resorts winner of the 2015 Informatica Innovation Award for the category of Total Customer Relationship. Hyatt Regency Phoenix recently rolled out its Guest Experience Management Tool which helps recognizing the preferences of guests to help make them feel at home. This tool helps create personalized experiences for hotel guests.


Most Admired Company: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Clate Mask, CEO
What it does: Offers an e-mail marketing and sales platform for small businesses.
Admirable quality: Most marketing solutions are designed to meet the needs of larger businesses. By creating an innovative software package aimed exclusively at those in the small business sales and marketing space, Infusionsoft dissolves barriers, drives leads and maximizes revenue for small businesses while simplifying sales and marketing processes. This solution has grown Infusionsoft’s customer base to 30,000 small businesses with 100,000 users in more than 70 countries.

Ipro Tech, LLC

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Kim Taylor, president and COO
What it does: Develops advanced software solutions to streamline the eDiscovery process.
Admirable quality: For more than 25 years, Ipro has consistently reinvented itself to give the legal community options to reduce their overall technology legal spend. Last year, Ipro announced its {i-Proclamation}, a promise that simple, automated and affordable eDiscovery should be the expected norm. Ipro then revamped its product line to lower the cost, reduce process time, prevent errors from occurring while processing and to the lower the dependency on people.


Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Dennis Desmond, senior managing director
What it does: Offers commercial real estate services for corporations and investors.
Admirable quality: JLL is able to recruit and retain the most accomplished talent in its industry by focusing on diversity and sustainability. From rom 2008-2014, JLL was chosen by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. JLL was also named by Black EOE Journal and Hispanic Network Magazine to their “Best of the Best” lists for Top Diversity Employer and Top Supplier Diversity Program in 2013 and 2014.


Most Admired Company: 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Jim Swanson, CEO
What it does: Handles all aspects of the construction business, from concept through ribbon-cutting and beyond.
Admirable quality: Since its origination in 1950, Kitchell has led its industry in leadership, innovation and productivity. With a “Plan-Do-Check-Act/Adjust” philosophy, company leaders and employees hold themselves and each other accountable for staying on track and within budget. This strong leadership has led to a 50 percent increase in net income over the past five years, despite recessionary conditions in the building industry.

Laser Spine Institute

Most Admired Company: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Heidi Kruger, executive director, Laser Spine Institute Scottsdale
What it does: Laser Spine Institute helps patients with chronic neck or back pain.
Admirable quality: Laser Spine Institute holds a 96 percent patient satisfaction rate and was recognized for outstanding patient satisfaction with a 2013/2014 National APEX Quality Award, determined solely by patient feedback. Since 2005, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 50,000 patients with 90 percent of patients returning to work within three months of surgery.

Lovitt & Touché

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Charles Touché, CEO
What it does: Insurance agency offering personal lines, property and liability protection, employee benefits, claims administration, workers compensation and more.
Admirable quality: Lovitt & Touché’ leadership considers community engagement such a critical component of the company’s core values that the firm rebranded itself last year with the tagline, “Business minded. Community focused.” In 2014, Lovitt & Touché committed more than $270,000 to local organizations through donations and sponsorships and is on track to surpass that total in 2015.


Most Admired Company: 2011, 2012, 2015
Top local executive: Dale Phillips, president and designated broker
What it does: Apartment development, building and management.
Admirable quality: With more than than $1 billion in assets and 13,000 units under management, Mark-Taylor maintains a leadership position by continuously refining industry standards and challenging the status quo. Every employee is automatically enrolled in Mark-Taylor University, which offers 123 courses that enable individuals to learn from the experience of Mark-Taylor leaders. The program provides an average of 25 days of training per employee, per year.


Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Ron Wilson, vice president and general manager
What it does: Medtronic is a global leader in medical technology.
Admirable quality: Last year, more than 9 million people benefited from Medtronic’s medical therapies which treat cardiac and vascular diseases, diabetes, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. The Tempe campus produces the electronic “brains” for implantable products and just hit its first year of producing 1 million units in a manufacturing environment that demands first-time perfection. The Tempe campus holds 192 patents and five Trade Secrets.

Musical Instrument Museum

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: April Salomon, executive director
What it does: As the largest museum of its type in the world, MIM showcases a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects.
Admirable quality: The average guest visit to MIM is more three hours and some spend more than six hours exploring MIM. TripAdvisor rated MIM the No. 1 thing to do in Phoenix — the No. 1 overall attraction and No. 1 museum. USA Today named MIM among the “10 Best Museums for Families Across the USA.”


Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Tomas Gorny, CEO
What it does: Offers a cloud-based VoIP phone system that is designed for small businesses to large enterprises.
Admirable quality: In 2014, Nextiva created a culture department with three people working full time on employee engagement-related projects. To foster a positive workplace environment, Nextiva has created a new hire experience, health and wellness programs and weekly video episodes to share company announcements, product news, introduce new hires and promote employee interaction.

Quarles & Brady

Most Admired Company: 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Nicole Stanton, office managing partner
What it does: Full-service law firm offering legal services to businesses and individuals.
Admirable quality: During their first two years with Quarles, new associates have a personal mentor. The firm’s formal Associate Development Curriculum includes social networking, building client relationships, negotiation skills, brief writing for litigators, contract drafting, LinkedIn professional practicum, negotiation skills, accounting and more. As a result of its commitment to professional development, Quarles is rated second in the nation for informal skills training in the Vault Associate Survey.

Ryan, LLC

Most Admired Company: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Jon Sweet, executive vice president and vice chair
What it does: Ryan provides a comprehensive range of state, local, federal, and international tax advisory and consulting services.
Admirable quality: Ryan constantly looks for innovative programs to enhance employee engagement. Employees are measured on results achieved, not hours worked. They are given complete flexibility and can choose where and when they want to work on a day-to-day basis. Employees are expected to observe the “three Cs” to accomplish this effectively — communication, collaboration and consideration.


Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Corey Conklin, vice president of customer care
What it does: Internet-based image publishing service. Its flagship product is its photo book line.
Admirable quality: Shutterfly’s company culture is encapsulated in its employee brand vision statement, “Memories every day. Create yours. Inspire others.” Shutterfly executive strive to create an employee-focused culture so employees will be truly proud of the company for which they work. Executives say some of Shutterfly’s best ideas come from employees who interact with the products on a daily basis.

Sonora Quest Laboratories

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Dave Dexter, president and CEO
What it does: Sonora Quest schedules and conducts thousands of diagnostic lab tests daily.
Admirable quality: Dexter was recognized in January with the inaugural Southwest Alliance for Excellence Leadership Award. Every leader at Sonora Quest participates in its leadership development program: Leadership Excellence through Accelerated Development (LEAD). Throughout this development series, leaders are trained and coached to become catalyst leaders who can spark the professional growth of employees by helping them develop skills, knowledge and outstanding attitudes.

Sundt Construction

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: David Crawford, CEO
What it does: Construction services involving heavy civil, federal, industrial, building and concrete contracting.
Admirable quality: When a company has survived to celebrate its 125th year, its leadership model is the foundation of success. To continue this tradition of leadership, Sundt offers scholarship competitions and sponsors annual engineering school competitions. Sundt also supports Teach for America and Expect More Arizona, programs designed to help address the shortfall of talent. Sundt also trains craft workers at its in-house education facilities.


Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Jerry Barnier, CEO
What it does: Commercial concrete construction company .
Admirable quality: Suntec supported a local carpentry skills competition for valley high school students. This event was associated with SkillsUSA, a nonprofit organization high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Suntec has also partnered with Teach for America, which has chosen 26 teachers throughout the Valley for Suntec to adopt. Suntec will grant each teacher one act of kindness that will benefit their students.

The CORE Institute

Most Admired Company: 2014, 2015
Top local executive: David J. Jacofsky, MD, CEO
What it does: Provides best-in-class orthopedic care.
Admirable quality: Since The CORE Institute’s inception in 2005, it has expanded in Arizona from three providers to more than 100 and more than 700 staff members overall. The CORE Institute is continuing to expand both locally and nationally, adding locations in Michigan and Louisiana. CORE’s growth has been built on a platform of evidence-based medicine and meticulous outcomes tracking managed by a proprietary IT platform.

UMB Bank

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Jim Patterson, CEO of UMB Bank Arizona
What it does: Provides a comprehensive suite of banking products and services to businesses and individuals.
Admirable quality: UMB implemented its Digital Genius initiative in 2014. Customers can schedule an appointment with a qualified digital genius in any of UMB’s branches to learn everything they need to know about online banking. When Digital Genius launched, UMB saw a 50 percent boost in revenue for those branches. It also saved associates more than 500 hours of work.

UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

Most Admired Company: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: David W. Allazetta, president and CEO
What it does: Offers employer, individual and family health insurance plans.
Admirable quality: Baby Blocks is an innovative, easy-to-use mobile web app which provides soon-to-be-mothers and new parents with appointment reminders, text messages that contain wellness tips based on the mother’s due date, information about what soon-to-be moms can expect during each visit to their prenatal healthcare provider, access to a maternity nurse so expectant moms can ask questions and ongoing support.

United Services Automobile Association (USAA)

Most Admired Company: 2015
Top local executive: Robert Schaffer, vice president and general manager
What it does: Provides military members and their families with insurance, banking and investment services.
Admirable quality: USAA is one of the leaders in mobile financial services. In 2012, USAA became the first bank to allow members to purchase a vehicle via their phone through Auto Circle. In 2014, it became one of the first banks to participate in Apple Pay. This year, it became the first bank to deploy facial, voice and touch ID entry.


Most Admired Company: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015
Top local executive: Bridget Olesiewcz, principal
What it does: Offers mutual funds, ETFs, financial advice and related services.
Admirable quality: Vanguard spearheads the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income families. In 2014, Arizona crew volunteered 1,003.5 hours, preparing 322 tax returns that resulted in the total amount of federal refunds of $449,607. In addition, 43 volunteers from Vanguard taught work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to 551 Arizona students ages kindergarten through 8th grade.


Most Admired Company: 2014 (Telesphere), 2015 (Vonage)
Top local executive: Clark Peterson, president, Vonage Business Solutions Group
What it does: Vonage is a leading provider of cloud communications services for consumers and businesses. They provide a robust suite of feature-rich residential and business communication solutions that offer flexibility, portability and ease-of-use across multiple devices designed to meet the needs of a wide range of customers.
Admirable quality: In late 2014, Telesphere was acquired by Vonage, and is now part of the Vonage Business Solutions Group. Since the acquisition, the company’s Scottsdale office has more than doubled its workforce, rising from 94 to more than 200 employees. Vonage strongly believes in investing in its people and creating an “employee first” culture. Uniquely, a “culture team,” made up of employees from every department invigorates the workplace with fun, positive activities throughout the year. Parking lot barbecues, basketball games, ice cream socials, and even pie-eating contests have been on the list of activities.


Most Admired Company: 2013, 2015
Top local executive: Paul Winandy, CEO
What it does: Provides cloud-based electronic medical records and practice management software for physical therapists.
Admirable quality: WebPT views customers as members. Members are industry professionals who not only receive WebPT services that help them be better in business, but also contribute to the development, implementation, and improvement of those services. Using the Idea Portal, WebPT members contribute suggestions and recommendations on how to improve the system. To date, almost all of WebPT’s application upgrades are a direct result of member feedback.

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