Tempe Chamber Of Commerce

Your Success Is Our Business

Business Woman of the Year Nominations Being Accepted

Posted on | February 5, 2016 | No Comments

Jodi Polanski - MAM (2a)

2015 Business Woman of the Year recipient Jodi Polanski (L) with Tempe Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller


The Tempe Chamber of Commerce is now seeking nominations for the 2016 Business Woman of the Year Award. This award was established to recognize an outstanding business woman who has positively affected the Tempe community and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

Nominees should have achieved excellence in their chosen field; have demonstrated leadership in the community; serve as a positive role model; and be active in programs and activities in the community and the Tempe Chamber.

Nominations are due by Tuesday, March 1, and the award will be presented at the Women in Business Conference on May 25, 2016. E-mail your nominee’s contact information to meghandorn@tempechamber.org or complete the nomination form and fax it to (480) 966-5365. Last year’s recipient was Jodi Polanski of Lost Our Home Pet Rescue.

Tempe Chamber Endorses Amorosi, Keating and Navarro for City Council

Posted on | February 4, 2016 | No Comments

Tempe Chamber Endorses Amorosi, Keating and Navarro for City Council

Tempe Chamber Endorses (L to R) Amorosi, Keating and Navarro for City Council

In the 2016 Tempe City Council race, the Tempe Chamber is endorsing Phil Amorosi, Randy Keating and Joel Navarro for election. Council candidates can be elected outright in the March 8 election.

“We are pleased to endorse these highly-qualified candidates,” said Mary Ann Miller, president/CEO of the Tempe Chamber. “We believe Mr. Amorosi, Mr. Keating and Mr. Navarro will be the best advocates for Tempe businesses and for Tempe’s future.”

Prior to the endorsements candidates were interviewed on a variety of topics directly related to Chamber public policy. Campaign materials were studied, and incumbents’ past decisions were reviewed. Recommendations were discussed by three Chamber committees, with the final determination of endorsements being made by the Tempe Chamber Board of Directors.

“Candidates go through an extensive process,” Miller added. “Each candidate brought his/her own unique perspective to the questions asked.”

Under the city charter, there is no need for a primary election because no more than two candidates are running for each open seat, eliminating the need for a possible runoff. For complete details about voting, including early voting, visit the city’s Election Information page.

Tempe Chamber Business Excellence Awards Nominations Open

Posted on | January 13, 2016 | No Comments

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2016 Business Excellence Awards. The awards promote the advancement of responsible business leadership and honor those that demonstrate a passion for excellence.

Through the awards, the Tempe Chamber identifies companies whose practices in business growth, employee development, community involvement and customer service exemplify excellence.

How can you help? Community members are encouraged to nominate a company who embraces a commitment to success. The very simple nomination process is a great way to show your support.

To nominate a company, simply email its name and contact information (email or phone number) by Feb. 29, 2016 to sean@tempechamber.org. A nomination form is also available online.

The award will be presented to two business at the Tempe Chamber’s Annual Luncheon celebration in June, 2016. One company which best represents the Large Business category and one that best represents the Small Business category will be recognized.

The 2015 recipients of the award were APS in the Large Business category and Good Works Auto Repair in the Small Business category.

Small Business categor recipient Good Works Auto Repair

Small Business categor recipient Good Works Auto Repair

Large Business category recipient APS

Large Business category recipient APS

Can Mentorship Bridge the Skills Gap?

Posted on | January 8, 2016 | No Comments

Desirae Noonan, Express Employment Professionals

Desirae Noonan, Express Employment Professionals

by: Desirae Noonan, Express Employment Professionals

One of the biggest stories coming out of the Great Recession that continues to plaque businesses is the lack of qualified job applicants for many semi- to highly skilled positions in a variety of industries. The skills gap has been talked about by business leaders, politicians and economists for several years, and yet the reality of jobs going unfilled is still a major factor in the economic recovery. But could there be a solution to this problem that is going unnoticed and underutilized?


What’s Causing the Gap?

While there is consensus among most experts that there is a skills gap in the job market, there are varying beliefs on the cause for this gap.

A survey by TEKsystems of IT professionals and leaders found a disconnect between their reasons for jobs currently being open and individuals not applying. Leaders in IT believe that a lack of skills is the central reason behind the gap, while professionals in the industry believe the problem has more to do with employers expecting too much in their job descriptions.

Another report by CareerBuilder found that employers 55% and job seekers 37% agree that education gaps in particular areas are the leading cause for the skills gap. However, job seekers believe that gaps in expectations surrounding wages as well as job requirements that are above entry level requirements play a large a role in unfilled jobs.


Could Mentorships be the Answer?

For years, apprenticeships played a significant role in training the next generation of workers. In the last few decades, the changing dynamics of the workplace have dramatically slowed this practice of teaching.

Today, mentorships are often thought of as a relationship between a younger and more experienced professional that helps the young professional develop and learn more about their industry. But what if businesses and job seekers thought of mentorships as a way to train new employees who may not have the specific skills the employer is looking for, but have the work ethic and desire to learn?

Some business leaders may be hesitant to invest in educating employees who have the potential to leave and take this valuable training to another business or possibly even a competitor. However, the CareerBuilder report goes on to say that “An overwhelming 92% of employees become more loyal to a company that invests in training them, adding that they are more likely to stay at a company that values them in this way.”

There is no question that the responsibility to end the skills gap falls on employees and employers alike. As they enter the hiring process, job candidates should be able to clearly show that they have a desire to learn and are willing to spend time receiving training from the best people in the business so they can help the company be successful. Leaders in businesses should begin to develop programs utilizing their best employees to train new hires on the skills they’ll need to be successful.

As the economy continues to recover and businesses continue to look for ways to fill their unfilled job openings, mentorships should play a larger role in helping new employees be effective additions to the company. The skills gap is a challenge that can be overcome by employers and job seekers so long as both are willing to spend time teaching and learning.

Four Questions for Four Peaks Brewing Company

Posted on | December 23, 2015 | No Comments

by Meghan Dorn, Communications Director, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

The Arizona brewing community was hit with a bombshell last week when it was announced that Four Peaks Brewing Company had entered a partnership with Anheuser-Busch. The craft brewers will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing, and Breckenridge Brewery as part of The High End, AB’s craft and import brand division.

Four Peaks founders Jim Scussel and Randy Schultz

Four Peaks founders Jim Scussel and Randy Schultz

Reactions were as varied as the beer taps, and while many people were saddened by the news, several offered these words of congratulations:

“Congratulations to the local small business owner who was able to build a company and sell it. Running a small business can be exhausting and challenging and often a financial strain – especially in the food industry. Margins are tight, customers are often unrealistic, and there are a lot of moving parts. It’s easy for people to armchair quarterback, point fingers and comment on the ‘right’ thing to do. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before commenting on how terrible they are for the decisions they make for their company, their employees, and their brand.”  ~Kirstin C.

“Four Peaks is living the American Dream. It’s refreshing to see average, everyday people like you and me work to make a quality product and get rewarded for it. It gives me hope that success is still possible in this country with hard work and determination. Congrats, Four Peaks!” ~ Diane P.

“I think this is great. The American dream at work–most entrepreneurs work so hard to build something and selling it for I am certain a pretty penny is a major coup for them. Cheers.” ~ Susie T.

I won’t bore you with the less than pleasant comments because, let’s face it – when the public doesn’t like something, they let you know.

This got me thinking: why do we champion tech companies when they are purchased by larger companies and vilify restaurants when they do the same thing? Running a restaurant is HARD WORK and to do so for nearly 20 years is almost unheard of. Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop local and support small businesses when it suits my purchasing needs. Larger corporations are not the enemy, I mean, good luck buying a car or home without coming into contact with a Fortune 500 brand.

After the initial buzz wore off, I reached out to our members and friends at Four Peaks, founders Jim Scussel and Randy Schultz, and asked them to answer four simple questions to clarify a few things for me and my fellow kilt-lifting friends. Our conversation went as follows: Read more

Proposed Federal Overtime Regulations Will Send Business Back to the Industrial Age

Posted on | December 14, 2015 | No Comments

Raising Exempt Employees’ salary eligibility from $23,660 to $50,440 could change your business forever.

The Obama administration is moving closer to changing overtime regulations that will directly impact your business – whether you are large or small. If you have any exempt employees you need to be aware of these major changes being proposed.

As a member of the East Valley Chambers of Commerce, the Tempe Chamber is working closely with the US Chamber to address the ramifications of the regulation, which would raise the salary threshold dramatically, thereby making millions more employees eligible for overtime compensation and reducing the number of employees who can be exempt. This onerous regulation will impact all businesses – large and small!

Share your thoughts and help us fight this legislation by taking this short,  two-minute survey.
Due to the holidays, we need your survey by December 18th.

By raising the salary threshold for executive, administrative, and professional employees from the current annual level of $23,660 to $50,440 employers may be forced to decide whether to reclassify millions of employees to non-exempt status or increase their salaries to keep them exempt. Employees who are reclassified will be required to track their hours and “punch a clock.” They will be paid only for hours they actually work, and may not actually earn overtime as many employers will limit their work hours to fewer than 40 in a week.

Reclassifying employees will likely lead to other negative effects for employees such as losing flexibility in their work hours, losing benefits, and losing professional opportunities. With your help, we can build the case that this proposed rule will not boost employees’ income, but instead will force employers to reduce employees’ flexibility, benefits, and growth opportunities.

The first step is to gather information from you. We will then meet with our federal delegation representing the East Valley to share your feedback. If you’d like to join us in these discussions please note this on the survey so we can contact you. Please be assured your information will be held confidential; we will only use the aggregate data as we move forward.

Take the two-minute survey here.

APS urges safety around electricity this holiday season

Posted on | December 10, 2015 | No Comments

Rustyn Sherer

Rustyn Sherer

by Rustyn Sherer, Community Affairs Manager, Arizona Public Service

As an APS employee, it makes me especially proud to see our product energizing the holidays – from the oven baking the holiday treats to the lights that glitter down our East Valley streets.

‘Tis the season for celebration, but it’s also an important time of year to remember safety. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms around the country see more than 12,000 people each year for holiday-related incidents, including electrical contact involving lights and decorations.

To ensure accidents aren’t part of your holiday tradition, APS offers The 12 electrical Safety Reminders of the Season.

  1. Turn off holiday lights before going to sleep or leaving the house unattended. An appliance timer can help with this.
  2. When stringing lights outside, use a dry, wooden or fiberglass ladder. Don’t work alone, and be sure to stay away from overhead power lines.
  3. Use only strings of outdoor lights, spotlights, sockets and extension cords approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  4. Before putting up lights, check wires, cords, plugs and sockets. Repair or discard any that are frayed, worn, or damaged.
  5. Use more than one circuit to avoid overloading wiring. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for how many light strands you can safely string together.
  6. Consider using LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights. They run much cooler than their traditional counterparts, pose less of a fire risk and use much less energy.
  7. To reduce the risk of electrical shock, protect outdoor electrical outlets with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) and test that these GFCIs are working properly. If GFCI receptacles are not available, you can use portable GFCI equipment instead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that GFCI protection could prevent more than two-thirds of the 300 annual electrocutions nationwide.
  8. Do not use candles near flammable materials or where they can be knocked over or reached by small children or pets.
  9. Have at least one smoke detector properly installed on every story and test these regularly to ensure they stay in working condition.
  10. If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure to check the water level in the tree stand every day. If the tree starts losing a lot of needles or if the needles become brittle, do not turn on your tree lights. The heat they generate might start a fire.
  11. Avoid stringing any outdoor lighting or electrical cords in areas reached by water from irrigation or sprinklers. Water and electricity do not mix, and can cause serious injury or even death in these conditions.
  12. As a precaution, have at least one class-ABC extinguisher. Know how to use it properly and keep it in an easily accessible area. An extinguisher with this classification puts out all three types of fires: combustible-liquid fires, fires from burning wood, paper, and cloth, and electrical fires. Remember to check the pressure in the extinguisher every month and to refill or replace the extinguisher if it’s low.





Business Spotlight – Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace

Posted on | December 8, 2015 | No Comments

As a free benefit to our members, we want to feature your company in a Business Spotlight feature like this one. This is a way for you to tell the community your story, who you are and what you do. There’s no cost involved. It’s just another advantage of your membership in the Tempe Chamber. We welcome submissions using the specifications and form at http://bit.ly/TCCblog_me

Business name: Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace

Address, hours and phone number:
12601 E. US Highway 60, Gold Canyon, AZ  85118
February 6 – March 27, 2016
Saturdays, Sundays & Presidents’ Day Monday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. rain or shine
(520) 463-2700

Website: www.RenFestInfo.com

What does your company do? Merriment and mingling await thee as you time travel to our 30-acre 16th Century village east of Apache Junction on U.S. Hwy 60,with over 200 craft shops, 13 stages of nonstop entertainment; performances of music, dance, comedy, falconry, mermaids acrobatics and 3 jousting tournaments daily!

What makes you special? The annual Arizona Renaissance Festival is Arizona’s most unique, fun-filled annual event for the whole family, don’t miss it!


Jousting at the Ren Fest

fun in the street

Family Fun

Arizona Ren Fest



Sick Leave Mandate Will Hurt Tempe

Posted on | December 3, 2015 | No Comments

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller

 by Mary Ann Miller, President & CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

The City of Tempe is considering an ordinance that would require businesses to offer paid sick leave to all employees in Tempe. The Tempe Chamber is opposed to adding this mandate to businesses for many reasons, but first and foremost because it will place Tempe businesses at a disadvantage in the region, increasing their costs relative to the competitor down the street, or in some cases, across the street.

In a highly competitive market where downtown Phoenix is in the midst of a resurgence, downtown Gilbert is lightyears from what it once was, and Chandler is a tech hub, we also believe it will discourage businesses from locating in Tempe by increasing costs and creating the perception that Tempe is unfriendly to business.   Tempe is six miles wide. Most businesses would only have to locate a bit out of the city to capture the same market they would a mile or two in.

And those businesses that need to stay here would have to offset the costs somewhere, whether by hiring fewer people or affecting salary. It’s ironic that the City itself has a total compensation model for its employees, where the costs of salaries is affected by increases in the costs of insurance and retirement.

We asked our members their opinion and had 108 responses. 73% of those responding offer paid sick leave, 30% to all employees and 43% to full-time employees. More than half do not require a doctor’s note and another 27% ask for a note only if someone has been out for three days. And even though nearly three quarters of the respondents offer sick leave, 70% oppose it being mandated by the City of Tempe.

When we released the poll, the first feedback I received was an e-mail from a long-time member whose subject line was “Sounds like a reason to move!” Read more

We Are Your Linemen

Posted on | November 6, 2015 | No Comments

by Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller


Once a month,the Tempe Chamber hosts an open house where current and future members can drop by, see our offices, meet Chamber staff, and learn more about what we do. This month I was talking to a new member about our efforts to advocate for our business. I explained how most business owners and managers are focused on operating and growing their businesses,and so we watch out for regulations and mandates that could cause them problems.

The new member looked at me and said, “You’re the linemen. ”

He said, “You always hear about the great plays of the quarterback and the receiver, and the linemen don’t get a lot of credit. But if they aren’t making the blocks, the quarterback is down.”

Yup, we’re the linemen.

We’re on the front lines every day watching for City, County, State and Federal laws and regulations that can impede your growth or create a disadvantage relative to businesses in a neighboring community.  We work with neighboring chambers and other organizations on regional issues. We provide the cover so you can run down the field.


A working group of the Tempe City Council is exploring impacts of an ordinance requiring Tempe employers to provide earned sick leave to their employees. As your business advocate, the Tempe Chamber wants to ensure that any proposed ordinance or regulation would not adversely impact Tempe businesses or put them at a competitive disadvantage relative to non-Tempe businesses. In order to gauge the potential impacts, we’d appreciate your answering this short survey about the sick leave policy at your business.

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