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January 3, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Business Leaders' Legislative Priorities

  |   Video
  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer, National Federation of Independent Business State Director Farrell Quinlan and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Sanders discuss their organizational legislative priorities for 2012.
  • Glenn Hamer - President and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Farrell Quinlan - State Director, National Federation of Independent Business
  • Todd Sanders - President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: legislature, government, priorities, ,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Phoenix has a new Mayor, Greg Stanton, took the oath of office this morning. Stanton was sworn in by former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford at a ceremony inside the historic Orpheum Theater. During his inaugural address, Stanton announced a new partnership between ASU, the Mayo clinic and the private sector to develop a bioscience center around the Mayo clinic's 210-acre campus in north Phoenix. Democratic state Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced her candidacy for Arizona's new congressional district 9. Kyrsten Sinema was first elected to the state house of Republicans in 2004. She declared her candidacy today in an online video.

Ted Simons: And a state Senate ethics investigation of Senator Scott Bundgaard will move forward. A Maricopa County superior court judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Bundgaard's attorney, that looked to stop a committee hearing scheduled for this Thursday. Judge John Buttrick dismissed the suit saying the court has no authority in what is a purely political matter. The ethics hearing focuses on an alleged domestic dispute between Bundgaard and a former girlfriend, the Peoria republic doesn't believe he'll get a fair trial, which could recommend Bundgaard be removed from office.

Ted Simons: And business leaders will host the Governor and top lawmakers this Friday at the 2012 legislative forecast luncheon. The event allows the business community to express a wish list of sorts for the upcoming legislative session, and here to talk about those priorities are Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona chamber of commerce and industry. And Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Phoenix chamber of commerce, and Farrell Quinlan, with the national federation of independent business. Good to have you here and thanks for joining us tonight on "Arizona Horizon."

Glenn Hamer: Great to be here.

Todd Sanders: Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: Before we start with what you want from the next legislative session, what did you get from the last one that you are happy with?

Glenn Hamer: Ted, I appreciate how you phrased that. We had a phenomenal session last year. And we give the Governor and the state legislature all the credit in the world for passing a once in a generation competitiveness package. At its core, it reduces our corporate income tax rates, as well as our business property tax rates, and it also creates a transformational entity in the Arizona commerce authority, and we, we saw today, with Don and Jerry Colangelo and the Governor what that legislation really means, and what that meant today was can the Valley Bank announce it will bring several hundred well paying jobs to the State of Arizona. I don't believe that would have been possible without the Patterson of the competitiveness package.

Ted Simons: Something like that not possible without things like corporate tax cuts and property tax reductions and the commerce authority?

Todd Sanders: I think that's a huge, a huge component to it. And I think for a long time, the economic development strategy kind of revolved around golf courses and sunshine, and this really puts us on the map. I think things started when we looked at Senate bill 1403, which was the manufacturing incentives bill, and we're starting to grow on that, and there is room there, so I would agree with that.

Ted Simons: Some critics out there are saying there is too much emphasis on big business, on the big stuff, as opposed to the little guy. What did he say about that?

Farrell Quinlan: Well, you know, a lot of, like 1,300 bills are introduced every year, and 350 ever get passed, and you probably talk about a dozen or two on this program, so there is a lot that goes on at the legislature that's very important. And a lot of that having to do with regulatory reforms, very, very pro regulatory reform, legislature and Governor, and we have seen a number of areas where, where the, the majority that were elected in November of, of 2010, you know, really, really, you know, grabbed onto really big issues, and hopefully, this, this coming session, they will actually see fruition of some of their, their wants, when it comes to taxation regulation and litigation, that the three things, the three inputs from Government, that usually hamper business development and growth.

Ted Simons: Let's go to taxation first. Capital gains tax relief, that's what you are looking for?

Farrell Quinlan: Actually, small businesses are really looking for, for some sort of relief when it comes to equipment and manufacturing things, and such as, you know, the equipment that we used to create jobs, and, and there is a proposal to, to increase the exemption on that, and we're looking for, for some relief whether it comes to, to, to regulation at the local level, and applying some of the same protections and standards that the state and Federal Government provide businesses at the, at the county and local level, and when it comes to litigation, there are things that we can do, to, to curb the lawsuit abuse, and all those things are going to hopefully make some gains this year.

Ted Simons: I want to get to the tort reform in a second. As far as taxation relief and regulation relief, someone out there is saying, they think that's all we hear, how much more do you need?

Todd Sanders: What we need is a strategic approach, and as I said, I think that's what we are starting to see is a real, a real thoughtful approach to how we're going to go about doing this. The fact that Glenn mentioned today that we have a new business coming here with 500 high paying jobs is proof of that. So, it's not how much, it's really how are you doing it in the right way that's going to bringing the biggest bang for the buck?

Ted Simons: How do you make sure that happens?

Glenn Hamer: I want to just point out, this never ends, I mean, it's not like we're doing this in isolation. There are 49 other states, and we believe that we're doing more than any other state, and just getting back to the competitiveness package, I believe that Arizona was number one in the nation last year, and in terms of improving its position, and we want to do more, and you mentioned capital gains, Farrell mentioned something on business property, which is important, and there is more work that can be done. I also believe that we're, we're going to be in a, in a period where it's going to be important to support the Arizona commerce authority, to make sure that this new entity is, is, is properly, is working with the business community, which I am sure it will be, to use all these wonderful new tools that, that the state passed last year.

Ted Simons: I don't want to spend too much time on the commerce authority, but why is that, that necessary. When you have the groups out there, that are trying to woo business here, why is this necessary?

Glenn Hamer: I just want to first say that the trios, these are world class organizations, but it's a great question. Why is it necessary? In September, we, we participated in a trip to China with the Arizona technology council, with the, the Arizona commerce authority, and with Governor brewer, and what was fascinating to me is that for the Chinese business leaders, and Chinese governmental officials, it was extremely important to have a, a critical statewide entity with a backing of the Governor, and you could see in the statistics, my understanding is that the business leads are way up since the establishment of the Arizona commerce authority, and the commerce authority is working very well with the, the regional economic development entities, and again, getting back to the today's announcement, G-pec was there, but we need a center of gravity, and the Arizona commerce authority is that center.

Todd Sanders: Is something led by the chief executive office of the state? It's important for, for folks in other countries to see this is a statewide approach, and the work that he has done has been tremendous. There is no question that it just -- it compliments what's going to happen.

Ted Simons: What kind of jobs, we keep hearing Arizona generating jobs, and yet, we look at some of these jobs, are these the kinds of jobs that we want or is any job right now a good job?

Todd Sanders: I mean, it depends on who you talk to, there are a lot of people look at this and say, this, but when you look at this from a broad perspective, were you node to look at this but when you are incentivizing, we need to look at high school jobs.

Ted Simons: I want to get back to tort reform. What needs to be done as far as punitive damages here?

Farrell Quinlan: Ultimately, there is a constitutional issue when it comes to limiting someone's right to sue, and that's not something that I understand is going to, to -- is on the agendas, but there are some things that you can do to make sure that, that certain procedures are in place, and that don't allow frivolous lawsuits to go forward, and keep, keeps the business community in a position where they can understand what their liability is going to go forward, and their insurance costs won't go way up, and as expanded rights to, to sue. And to go back a bit to, to the whole jobs question is, and Todd is right, we lost 300,000 plus jobs in this recession, and so, as much as is great to see a few hundred jobs come with this announcement, it's going to take thousands of years to get back to where we need to be if that's what we do every day, is 8 announce a couple hundred jobs here and there, and we need to get, you know, huge chunks of jobs coming back here, and a lot of that comes down to some of these things we're talking about that aren't as sexy, don't get the headlines, but it's having a regulatory environment, and a tax environment, a litigation environment that, that, that says it's safe to invest money in Arizona, safe to hire workers here, and because you can make your way in the state.

Ted Simons: And I know that, that a lot of business concerns right now, are, are obviously, the sorts of things we're talking about, but other businesses tell me, at least, what they are looking for is customers. They need people with money in their pockets to go buy their stuff. And they can hire more folks, and we get more jobs. And is that on a separate plane, a separate track than the other things we're talking about, incentive packages?

Todd Sanders: It is a, a chicken and the egg kind of thing with the consumers, and businesses, and when, when businesses start hiring again, and people start to feel more comfortable, that they can spend money, that starts to, that starts to spin the wheel, so the velocity of money increase, and all of a sudden you have people coming in the door. But you are right, when we talk to members of the Phoenix chamber of commerce, one of the biggest issues is we need people walking in the door, and so, you have got to figure out a way to start that wheel spinning.

Ted Simons: But Glenn, with budget cuts and health care budget cuts and there is an idea out there with the tax, or lack of a better phrase, but with so many service cuts out there, folks that were getting assistance, not necessarily getting that right now, how are they getting the money to come through and buy what you are selling?

Glenn Hamer: We do need to make sure access is, funded at a higher level. I have no doubt about that, Ted. But, in terms of getting more, more dollars into the consumer's pockets, it's -- that's part of it. Consumer confidence is part of it, and when I have had discussions with Todd, over the many months, you contrast what we're doing on the state level, which directionally is about all in the right direction, and contrast that with, with what's been happening on the Federal level, and, you know, things have not exactly been moving in a, a coherent fashion, in Washington, and, and part of this is as we increase consumer confidence we'll see people, people, people loosening the, their wallets.

Todd Sanders: And to that point, we had a poll that recently went out, and exactly what Glenn is saying, and looking at Arizona and the outlook, people are pretty bullish on Arizona, but looking at the Federal level, especially with what's happening with Congress, that's where people are reticent.

Ted Simons: How are you seeing that balance between consumer confidence and consumer ability just to go out and buy something?

Farrell Quinlan: I think that you are seeing some of that with the foreclosures, where there was the original foreclosure way, that people just in houses they could not afford but people are being foreclosed on, because they have burned through the savings, and lost their jobs, and it's for economic reasons. And I think what we need is as a nation, we need to get some of these, some uncertainty about, about the health care bill that will be, in some way, settled in June, when the supreme court rules it will, a little shameless plug, and the litigant on the individual mandates, and so, we're, we're keeping a close eye on that, but also, the labor, a situation with some of the rules coming down from the national labor relations board, and what Congress is unable to do, because of the, of the gridlock in D.C., we're hoping that the elections that, that occur in about 11 months, will, will give some sort of certainty going forward, so people can start making investments and have a better idea of what they are getting into when they put their money on the line.

Ted Simons: I keep hearing uncertainty. We have economists that talk about uncertainty, and they talk about that, that quite a bit. And yet, you also go past the other direction where you are saying, who cares about uncertainty. Folks have money, they are going to buy what you are selling. What do you make of that?

Todd Sanders: I think that uncertainty plays a huge role, and a lot of it is from what's happening, at the Federal level, state level, 11 people need to make sure, and they are right, that, that the policies are going to be in place on the regulatory reform, for them to be able to hire people, and there is not a bunch of red tape that's going to cost more and be more burdensome, so there is something to that.

Ted Simons: And how much can, last question, we're talking about what you are looking for, and how much can the legislature really, really help business. Sometimes, someone famous said, the Government doesn't knock on the door and say, I'm here to help you are that's a good thing. What do you want to see?

Glenn Hamer: The legislature and the Governor can and have been doing everything, just about everything possible to make the environment as conducive as possible for job creation. And we want to see that, that, that focus continue, and into 2012.

Ted Simons: What do you want to see?

Todd Sanders: Some leadership on the health care exchange. Obviously, with the national health care act that, that certainly, we opposed, and there is a mandate to create a state exchange or take a Federal one size fits all, we need a state exchange, that's one of the things that we want to see.

Ted Simons: Ok, what do you want?

Farrell Quinlan: Hold the line on spending, the tax, one cent sales tax goes away in a year. It was supposed to be temporary, and it should be temporary, and it should be retired. As it was promised.

Ted Simons: Gentlemen, it's good to have you here, and thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Guests: Thank you.

Entrepreneur Magazine's College Entrepreneur of 2011

  |   Video
  • ASU biomedical engineering junior Gabrielle Palermo is Entrepreneur Magazine's College Entrepreneur of 2011. Palermo and a team of ASU engineering students were honored by the magazine for their work on G3Box, a company they started that converts steel shipping containers into mobile medical clinics. Palermo and G3Box partners Susanna Young and Clay Tyler talk about the business.
  • Gabrielle Palermo - ASU Biomedical Engineering student, Entrepreneur Magazine's College Entrepreneur of 2011
  • Susanna Young - G3Box
  • Clay Tyler - G3Box
Category: Education   |   Keywords: ASU, engineering, students, G3Box, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: A team of ASU engineering students is getting national attention for g-3box, a business the team started that turns shipping containers into mobile medical clinics. The team is featured in January's edition of entrepreneur magazine with one team member honored as the college entrepreneur of 2011. And joining us now to talk about the g-3box is biomedical engineering student Gabrielle Palermo, and graduate student and mechanical engineering Susanna Young, and Clay Tyler. It is good to have you all here. Some of you back on horizon, but we talked about this a while, let's talk about the g-3box. Were you the entrepreneur of the year or were you the figure head for the team?

Gabrielle Palermo: I was the one that applied, but I think all of us can say that we won together.

Ted Simons: Ok, so you are all entrepreneurs of the year. And what is the g-3box?

Gabrielle Palermo: G-3box stands for generating global good, and we take shipping containers from around the world, basically, and converted them into medical clinics.

Ted Simons: And this started by way of a project designed by an instructor? Talk to us about that.

Susanna Young: So, it started out through the epics program, which is a program started in 2009, at ASU, stands for engineering project and community service, and it was started by the director Richard Philly, and I was put on the team, that that had two mentors, Dr. Jan Schneider and Vincent Piconi, and Dr. Schneider has been to Africa many times, and noticed all the containers in the ports around there that were decommissioned and not used, and also the mortality ratio, so he thought how can he solve those problems together, and I was on that team that, that began to implement this project.

Ted Simons: What were your first thoughts when you heard about the project?

Clay Tyler: Well, I was, actually, I was around when she first started the project, and I didn't get involved with epics until about a year later, and I thought it was a great idea from the get-go, and I really got started, and, in ASU when I was a part of my senior design class at mechanical engineering, so I joined it for that, and when I got involved with that, that's when I began my own journey.

Ted Simons: Did it make sense to you when you got involved? It made perfect sense?

Clay Tyler: It fit my skills as an engineer, and what I wanted to do, and as well, as a social mission, that social side of, of our kind of endeavors with g-3box.

Ted Simons: And Gabrielle Palermo, when this first started, what were your first thoughts when you heard about the challenge and your first thoughts on how you reuse the storage containers?

Gabrielle Palermo: Well, he started off, on a separate project, and we took containers and converted them into disaster relief clinics, so, I was really excited when I got put on this project, and we kind of came together and formed g-3box together.

Ted Simons: So, biggest challenge, though, in getting this thing up and operational.

Gabrielle Palermo: For me, it was learning the business, and I have been an engineer, I just take engineering classes, so learning how to run a business is probably the most difficult thing for me.

Ted Simons: Was that the most -- are you, you look at this, and it has to be ventilation in these things now, there's got to be potable water and all sorts of things. What was some of the early challenges in getting this up and going?

Susanna Young: Yeah. Some of the early challenges were with regard to engineering, so we have this confined space, therefore, 40 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet. So this is a narrow space, although it's quite long. And so, we had to work within these dimensions to figure out can this actually function as a clinic, and they have been used, containers have been converted into many things, and that's not a new idea. And it's the idea of, of making them into a stand alone clinic that can function off the grid, really anywhere in the world. And so, we played around with solar power, wind power, and so the main challenges were, yeah, associated with engineering, but as the, the project has regressed, it has become less about allow do you make this into a clinic and more about who is going to want to buy it, and, and where do we, we -- how do we make this a sustainable business.

Ted Simons: Is that what you are seeing, as well? It has gone from engineering challenges to marketing challenges, and, and really, sales challenges.

Clay Tyler: Yeah, definitely. We were discussing earlier, we did a trip this morning, and to real hospitals but as we were discussing this morning, none of us here as really, really, throughout our days, thought of ourselves as being in business, and we also thought of ourselves as being in different types of engineers, and not just a standard engineer path at ASU, but all, like the, the, the things outlined in a row, just as a business, and things have fallen into our pathway, and we have taken it as it has come, and we discovered that running a business is very, very fun, and it's what we want to do with engineering.

Ted Simons: Let me ask you a business oriented question, how much does it take to build one of these things, and where is the money coming from?

Gabrielle Palermo: It takes about, about 15 to 16,000 to build. It all depends on what you want inside the clinic, so if it's going to be off the grid and using solar panels versus being able to plug it, in a lot of it is just customization.

Ted Simons: And, and the money again is coming from?

Gabrielle Palermo: Right now, we're using money that we won through the Epson program, and we just want to -- an additional $5,000 to the entrepreneur magazine competition, and which is the second prototype clinic.

Ted Simons: And the plan is to sell these to non profits and they would be used what, just really were disaster relief or how does that work?

Susanna Young: Right now, we're looking at four different market segments, one would be disaster response, and one is domestic rural health care so in the U.S., or other developed countries, and international rural health care and say developing countries, and we also have been looking at, at mining companies, and, and, or oil and gas companies, that that work in remote areas, that might potentially need an on-site clinic for, for their employees. And these, so those are four market areas that we're investigating, and to determine if there is a viable customer, someone that could afford to pay for these. And the goal would be to take that, that funding, you know, take that money that, that is made from those who can afford to pay, and then support what we want to do and developing countries, and through, through improving the mortality ratio and things like that, and with what we get, so the four profits, the profits would go to a nonprofit.

Ted Simons: And that's an awful lot going on there, and you guys partnering with anyone? Do you have some assistance elsewhere? What's going on here?

Clay Tyler: We have a lot of mentors from the program. And at ASU has together in Tempe. We have more mentors in the manufacturing. We have a great mentor in Gordon McConnell, who is really coordinating a lot of things, and we have also gotten partnerships with DPR construction, and who is helping us with our first prototype, so not, you know, official, but we're giving bridges built, and in our partnerships in the industry, and such as, you know, contractors and all of that.

Ted Simons: Interesting, and we were talking about how you are all engineering students, faculty, and all of a sudden you have business concerns. Talk to me about how this particular project has changed or if it has changed your college, your career plans.

Gabrielle Palermo: Oh, my goodness. I entered college not interested in business. At all. But once I started getting involved in this, converting containers into clinics, it's what I wanted to do because of my interest in medicine, and it evolved into a business without me really kind of knowing. It was more of a surprise, and I loved it every second.

Ted Simons: So, you see yourself going further on the business aspect of something like this?

Gabrielle Palermo: Yes, this is, um, my career for now, and hopefully, for a very long time to come.

Ted Simons: Very good. Has it changed your plans?

Susanna Young: Well, I always knew when I started engineering that it wouldn't be the typical engineering path where I would go work for say Honeywell or Boeing, one of the large corporations, and I preferred small businesses, and so, turning it, turning something into, into, or making my own business or our own business together fit way more into what, what I saw myself as an engineer. And as we have gone on in this project, what we have noticed is that, is that we all have passions for developing countries, and we also realize that there is a lot of needs in our own country here in the U.S., and especially in Arizona, we want to be a part of creating jobs, and making something that's made in the U.S.

Ted Simons: Ok.

Ted Simons: We have got to stop it right there. It's good to have you here, and thanks for joining us, and congratulations.

Guests: Thank you.