Eric Nielsenis the Director of the U. S. Commercial Service in Arizona, a division of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. A native of Montreal, Eric has helped hundreds of companies in 20 years, especially those in the aviation and defense sector, expand their export sales through trade missions, workshops, and experienced counsel.An export ready company must have a product or service that sets them apart from local competition (particularly in the technology sector), and have a leadership team deeply committed to going the distance to invest in new and unique relationships.
Laura Shaw joined Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) at its inception in 2005.Committed to enabling economic development and job expansion, TREO recently updated their blueprint to focus on collaborations to expand talent, infrastructure, business support and healthy living.Backed by over 20 years of experience with media and private sector organizations, Laura leads branding, business attraction marketing strategies, and multimedia, publication and web efforts.
Lee Kravitz has confronted underlying fears to clear up complicated mistakes in his past that were holding him back from becoming a more complete and compassion person.He chronicled ten journeys in his first book, Unfinished Business: One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Thing, reclaiming his life after he lost his job as editor-in-chief of Parade magazine in 2007.His new book, Pilgrim: Risking the Life I Have to Find the Faith I Seek expands on his inspiring story, reveling a deeply personal journey (within a miles of his home) to make sense of the combination of faith, spirituality and religion.
Don Parkhurst is Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Airtronics, a Tucson-headquartered 40-year running small business involved in operational test support for fixed-wing aircraft and missile systems, and design/build manufacturing to reduce repair costs and improve readiness. They partner with customers worldwide to provide innovative solutions for obsolescence in low quantity manufacturing/repair and systems engineering support for rotary wing platforms. Don served in the USAF as a fighter pilot and was with Northrup Grumman for many years before joining Airtronics, which serves customers around the world.
Chris Rauers is the founder of Free Savannah Walking Tours, a new venture that offers a customized entertainment experience amidst the storied and picturesque historic district of Savannah, Georgia.A 2010 Millennial international relations college graduate, Chris worked and traveled in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before returning home to pick up where his grandmother started, having written the very first walking guide of this interesting city.Chris advises that if it feels like work, you are probably failing.He is a testimonial to how being a solopreneur is not based on what we do, but who we must become.
Elizabeth Gunn made her living as an innkeeper in Montana while indulging in hobbies as a private pilot, live-aboard sailor, and scuba diver.She finally turned to writing in the late 90’s, and since then has written 14 mystery novels, a fair-sized row of short stories, critiques, and a novella.She is best known for her two detective series, Triple Play featuring Jake Hines and set in Minnesota, and Cool in Tucson featuring Sarah Burke.Elizabeth does her research to the hilt, through local police ride-alongs, the latest technology bells and whistles, and cultivating a circle of forensic and weapons specialists. She is a consummate people watcher.
Joelene Ashkerworks with people privately and in groups as a transformation specialist and corporate trainer.As a specialist in addiction recovery, she has developed programs for prestigious facilities and customized audio CDs used by hospital patients and staffs.Her forthcoming book is entitled Discovering Your Wings: One Feather at a Time. Herself a courageous survivor of medical conditions, she followed her heart to move to Portland, Oregon, where she now inspires others to live from their best self, be adventurous, and surround themselves with high quality friends.
Roxana Robinsonis president of the Authors’ Guild and has published nine notable books.Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Sparta is a beautifully new written novel that illuminates what happens when we are estranged from the world as we knew it.Based on interviews and extensive research on trauma experienced during the Iraqi War, Roxana’s portrayal of a Marine suffering from PTSD is earning her much acclaim, from awards from the Marine Corps to special speaking engagements.Fiction can and does indeed ignite change.
Martha Van Gelder is dedicated to public-private partnerships to enable the next generation of leaders for the constantly changing retail industry.She is the director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona which offers a bachelor of science in Retailing and Consumer Sciences, and serves as a hub linking academia with the expertise of a corporate advisory board of 30 retailers and technology services companies.Martha’s commitment to mentoring students follows over 25 years leading major greenfield marketing and new product introduction efforts overseas for The Walt Disney Company, L’Oreal, Gaiam and Sesame Street.
Larry Julian is a bestselling author, speaker and executive coach who helps CEOs, entrepreneurs and small business owners lead with their faith and values.God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-line World emphasizes that leading by spiritual principles is not just about feeling good, it is about building morale, increasing productivity, fostering loyalty and retaining employees. A former career sales executive, Larry’s defining moment to reach out for help came when he was fired, went through a divorce and experienced severe back pain.
Elie Gaines is an award-winning teacher, school principal, national school consultant, parent and community volunteer.Elie recently wrote a charter to bring a public school back to a low-income neighborhood in the Phoenix area. Her mid-career shift manifested in 2012 to include moving from educator to entrepreneur to small business owner to consultant. She saw a community need for which there was no such service available in Arizona, to provide personal school search service for Preschool to Grade 12.Her firm, All Schools Considered, works with families to find the best school fit for their children, one-on-one.
Jennifer Rickard has worked mainly in non-profit and educational organizations, leveraging her education in anthropology, Spanish and information resources.Answering an employment add posted on Craig’s List, Jennifer is now part of the three-person startup CopperZap in a jack-of-all-trades role that spans sales, marketing and administration.The company has developed a product to deter catching the common cold through the application of copper as a simple, easy-to-use, natural germ-fighter.New testing is underway to validate the effectiveness of copper to kill over 100 pathogens or disease-causing germs.The CopperZap product is targeted for anyone who cannot afford to be sick.
Susan Cummins Miller is best known for her Frankie McFarlane mystery book series. Raised in Pasadena, California, and educated at UC Riverside, Susan has worked and explored all over the West, lived from the San Francisco Bay Area to Northern Virginia and back, and now resides in Tucson.Her academic background extends beyond liberal arts, into geoscience and social science, with degrees in history, anthropology, and geology.Susan immerses herself figuratively and literally in the setting of her books via extended research and adventures in the field. Her protagonist always gets her man.
Randy Lewis is an accidental advocate, built upon life experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer, Arthur Murray dance instructor, Ernst and Young partner, Fortune 50 senior executive, husband and father of three children. Before retiring in 2013 as Senior Vice President at retailing giant Walgreens, Randy led the logistics division as the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores with the most advanced logistics network in its industry. His new book, No Greatness without Goodness, is a stunning story of the heart, how a father’s love changed a company and is sparking a movement.Randy and Kay’s son, Austin, was diagnosed with autism at age three.Believing that people with disabilities could do more, Randy pioneered a disability employment model to create mainstream jobs for people with disabilities and enable outstanding business results.Other major corporations are now emulating the Walgreen model he inspired.
Susan Ratliff is a serial entrepreneur, first publishing custom children’s books to organizing large scale events and trade shows for businesses. Known in industry circles as The Exhibit Expert, Susan discovered the shortcuts and mistakes while in the trenches so her clients today don’t have to. From both sides of the exhibit aisle she learned what it takes to turn a booth into a powerful profit center. Susan believes in taking risks to follow the path of your passions. In June an idea she inspired is coming to fruition, the 1st Annual Arizona Sports Fan Expo, bringing together Arizona’s six professional teams, sports services, product merchants and fans of all ages and interests. Go, Susan, Go!
Jason Horejsopened Xanadu Gallery on September 11, 2001 coincident with the events that rocked our personal and professional lives. Jason has built a successful gallery keeping ahead of a convolution of factors changing the world of art merchandising, from economic drivers to technology, to becoming a network node to help artists generate ideas and help one another be financially successful. In addition to showing the work of dozens of diverse artists in the gallery and selling to collectors from around the world, Xanadu has an online presence that gives access to over 2,000 artists to new markets, and offers webinars, workshops, newsletters and six books.
Kerry Stratford is the President of Caliber, a strategic brand marketing, interactive and public relations firm with offices in Tucson, Phoenix and Charleston. A native Tucsonan and award-winning designer, Kerry is has been directing and providing innovative marketing, design and brand strategy and interactive consultation for more than 20 years to businesses and non-profits.On-line networks are not a passing marketing fad, but rather an ever-expanding shifting new frontier for both individuals and organizations alike to build, enhance and extend the impact of their brands through community connections.Thought leadership begins with the first blog!
Adam Tanner is a self-taught, first generation leather worker, and fourth generation cowboy of the Southwest. Initially a pre-med major on a music scholarship, “life showed up” with the premature birth of his son, leading Adam to doing almost anything for years – a state-licensed optician, construction, marketing and sales in local newspaper markets.In mid-2012 he launched Tanner Custom Leather, advancing a passion since youth towards mastery an artisan, coupled with firsthand familiarity with rodeo-ing.With customers from around the world, Adam offers custom saddles, chaps and cowboy gear, as well as belts, purses and wallets.
Craig Mast and RD Castillo are the CEO and business development manager, respectively, for Mastek-Innerstep, a contract manufacturing firm of high quality napkin-to-manufacturing of electronic and electrical products. Craig progressed from manufacturing and supply chain within a division of Emerson Electric to co-founded Innerstep, a multi-site firm that spun off the Tucson enterprise in 2008.RD has a background in banking and continues to be active in Junior Achievement to teach financial literacy skills.Mastek-Innerstep sponsors the Tucson Supplier Partnership, a consortium of 12 companies to advance the capability of manufacturing services to technology startups and existing businesses in the region.
Carmen Rios isan independent network marketing consultant who just a year ago parlayed a hobby into a thriving business. She is a 6th generation Tucsonan who was a regional intelligence analyst for the Tucson Police Department until she and her husband made a choice of the heart. Carmen shifted to be more present within their family to guide and advocate for her sons, Julian and Javier, who were diagnosed as autistic in 2011. Also active in nonprofit work, Carmen believes her ability to grow a business directly enables her philanthropy. Happy Mothers’ Day!
carmenandmaryk4U AT gmail.com May 10, 2014 20 minutes.
John Flanders leads the Academy of Scuba, founded in 2008 from his home. It is one of the fastest growing dive businesses in the country. He teaches over 40 recreational specialties, public safety diving, technical diving and is an instructor and trainer for multiple agencies. Despite economic uncertainty and being based in Phoenix (all beach, no ocean!), the Academy of Scuba will certify 1,500 people in 2014, enabling a strong, multi-generational community that is naturally social. Its Under Water Vacations subsidiary hosts trips throughout the Southwest, across the US, and to exotic locations overseas. John puts experience first and giving customers what matters.
Lexi Hiland graduated from Purdue University in 2013 with a degree in film and video studies, poised to impact the world. Currently an employee at Squarespace, a website company, Lexi is parlaying a prior internship with Grassroots Films into a new creative venture and adventure. She and her colleagues have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the making of a short film, returning to Lexi’s country of birth, Colombia. The goal is to discover and tell the stories of orphans, including Lexi’s. She won the “lottery of life” when an American couple adopted her at a year old. Lexi believes we must get out there and work, share, collaborate, and learn from our experiences, to then creating opportunities for others.
Tammy (T) Greenwood is the author of eight award-winning novels, the most recent being Bodies of Water, a story of love and loss between two women. It is set between the suburbs of Boston and Tammy’s native Vermont, springing back and forth from current times to the early 1960’s when changing social values created tensions that is many ways still exist today. The “nugget of truth” that compelled Tammy to write this book came from a family story, one that prompted her to answer a question that she did not understand, and from which she wanted to learn.Tammy also studies photography, a medium like creative writing that allows her to capture and chronicle life.
John Shufeldt is a serial student, an indefatigable change agent, multidisciplinary entrepreneur and author of the Ingredients of Outlier series of books. John explains how what separates outliers from others is more about humility, perseverance and attitude than intellect and what the world obliges.John is also an indefatigable student, a medical school graduate who progressed to being chief resident, returning to earn an MBA, and eventually studying health law.After serving 20 years in the urgent care industry where he was CEO of the largest privately held group at the time, John founded MeMD, a virtual care telemedicine portal, which connects patients to providers online through a custom platform.
Sheila Wilensky is the associate editor of the newspaper Arizona Jewish Post, where she has been for 10 years having started as a freelance journalist.A lifelong writer and educator, Sheila drove from Maine to the Southwest at age 56, singing the entire journey to Greg Brown CDs yet not knowing what she was going to do upon arriving in Tucson.Her life journey continues to circle back to move forward, including teaching in high schools, operating a children’s bookstore for 15 years, and writing for national literary magazines.Sheila’s most recent writing led her to advocate for those suffering from mental illness, demystifying and defusing the social stigma.
Brooke McDonald and Robin Breaultco-founded Lead Local Tucson as a social enterprise with experiential leadership programs for the millennial generation.Youth from high school through college are involved in company-sponsored field projects to learn the tenants of business first hand.Young professionals are matched to guide the projects, a safe environment to learn and exercise their emerging leadership skills.Robin has been an educator for 25 years in classrooms from Pre-K to Executive MBA, and Brooke was early in healthcare foundation work as a career before deciding to shift to help fellow millennials make an impact in Tucson.
Mary Contini Gordon is the author of TIQ SLO’W: The Making of a Modern Day Chief, Charlie Cooke.For over four years Mary researched the stories that make up the biography of a man who by many counts could not exist – a chief of a tribe that is an amalgamation of tribes, with often undocumented lineage or lost heritage.Charlie Cooke became a respected voice of Native Americans, instrumental in the formation of the National Parks and environmental consciousness in Southern California.Mary retired from the aerospace/defense industry, a social science researcher dedicated to inspiring innovation amidst teams.
Lauren Wiseis the founder and head of editorial of Midnight Publishing, providers of personal “media architects” that specialize in influential writing and editing for businesses, experts and authors.They pay attention to all the details for image management, from copywriting to editing content for websites, brochures, and media press releases.Midnight Publishing also offers one-on-one, self-publishing guidance services to professionals writing a book to enhance their authority.Lauren is also a journalist and freelancer for local and national publications with a passion for retelling the stories of people and places.
Howard Stewart is President and CEO of AGM Container Controls, a second generation company of over 100 employees founded by his parents that designs and manufactures environmental control hardware for containers that carry military defense and other sensitive equipment. A political science student who joined the Peace Corps in Kenya before becoming a stock broker, Howard opened and successfully managed two ice cream stores before joining the family firm. AGM is civic and community service minded, as is Howard personally through his involvement with the United Way, the Tucson Metro Chamber and San Miguel High School.
Sharon Rich started Think Business Growth following an over 20 year career in the advertising industry. She helps leading and bleeding edge companies facilitate fast and meaningful growth of their leaders and organizations by minimizing breakdowns. Sharon coaches really visionary, creative leaders who were typically the smartest people in the room to delegate and engage all the great minds around them – particularly if the business environment requires creating stability within unstable environments. Her forthcoming books are Leading on the Bleeding Edge (late 2014), and Leading on the Bleeding Edge: The Affordable Care Edition (early 2015)
Terri Bennink is an organizational development expert and dual career clinical psychologist focused on creating work cultures of productive communication to net higher quality strategic decision making. She goes after the hidden costs of stress, conflict and talent turnover. Terri has worked with small and large sized business and nonprofit and government entities across the United States and Canada for 25 years, with a specialization in family owned enterprises – often viewed as the “Olympics” of challenging situations, where supervisors can be parents or other relatives, peers are siblings or cousins, and those outside the family are in between.
Christi Reiterman started her career in radiology and hospital settings for eight years before pursuing her lifetime passions in the fine arts. She studied in Italy then at the Savannah College of Art and Design and discovered a gift for working with metal. Also an educator in Savannah community programs, Christi is a co-founder of Kobo Gallery, a cooperative of artists who support one another and offer uniquely designed and fabricated items. An avid gardener who appreciates nature, Christi’s specialty jewelry pulls upon themes from biology and botany.
Dianne and Pete Trinque shifted from high school chemistry and physics instruction and financial investing and research, respectively, to entrepreneurism. Ten years ago they purchased, relocated and accelerated the growth of Restor-Tu-Nu, a commercial and residential furniture restoration business. Today they employ nine highly skilled craftsmen and women and offer a variety of services – upholstery, painting of metal furniture, refinishing wood pieces and furniture repair, in addition to custom design-through-execution of unique configurations for clients. The Trinque’s and their artisans particularly enjoy learning the stories behind family pieces, and focusing on authentic period restoration with high quality, durable components.
Jim Grossman is founder of Pathways, a leading authority on professional and elite athlete career transition. Athletes experience a profound dislocating change when leaving their profession, a journey that involved constant becoming, being measured and acknowledged for progress to clear goals. Shifting to explore and find a new purpose in business or non-profit work requires a significantly different model of living. Jim’s career includes on- and in-the-field knowhow as a former U of A football and Cleveland Indians baseball player, and being a financial advisor with Meryl Lynch.
Cynthia Meyers is author of the new book A Word from Our Sponsor: Admen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio. The early radio programs from the 1920’s through 1940’s were fully developed – scripted, cast, produced – and monetized by the advertising agencies for their client firms, not by the networks. Cynthia repositions the advertising industry from the margins into the center of one of the most significant popular culture forms of the twentieth century. In that history often repeats itself, soft vs. hard sell influencing and broadcasting business models are circling back in part to the models of 100 years ago with the disruptive innovation brought by the digital world (Internet, social media, and new devices) and free content.
Martha Ostheimer is committed to workforce development in Arizona, courtesy of her role at U of A’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Learning Center in collaboration with the College of Education’s Teachers in Industry program. The program matches masters degree and professional certificate students with three summer internships in local industries to enhance the relevance of their instruction for our youth – 21st century teaching for 21st century learning. Arizona has a near 700 annual shortfall in mathematics and science teachers, with turnover of near 50% but five years into their employment of those who pursue the teaching profession.