Tempe Chamber Of Commerce

Your Success Is Our Business

Brian Wood Named Chairman of the Board of Tempe Chamber of Commerce

Posted on | June 24, 2016 | No Comments

Brian Wood assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce on July 1. He is Senior District Manager at Waste Management.

Brian Wood, Chairman of the Board

Brian Wood, Chairman of the Board

Wood earned his MBA in 2014 from the University of Phoenix while balancing family, community involvement and work life at Waste Management.

He is also:

– A Certified Professional Coach and the Founder of ICE – Integrative Core Energy Coaching Network.
– A Board Member with “Linking Sports and Communities”
– A Big Brother with New Pathways for Youth
– A Certified Agent with the NBA Players Association
– A graduate of Valley Leadership Class 32

Ramon Elias Honored with Spirit of Tempe Award

Posted on | June 17, 2016 | No Comments

Ramon Elias

Ramon Elias

Ramon Elias was presented with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Tempe Award on June 16 at the organization’s Annual Luncheon.

The award recognizes a lifetime achievement of service, dedication and contribution to the community and honors hard work and strong commitment to improving the quality of life in Tempe.

Elias, retired President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, is one of the organization’s most respected leaders nationally. He is the first executive in Arizona to receive the prestigious “Masters and Mentors” award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Boys & Girls Club staff member. Only 30 people have ever received this honor.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Elias began his career in the early 1970s as a Physical Education Director at the Boys & Girls Club’s Ladmo Branch in Tempe. He later became a Program Director, Director of Operations, Executive Director and eventually President/CEO in 1996.

Under his leadership the organization added six new branches in Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Queen Creek, Tempe and the Gila River Indian Community. He also oversaw the Mesa Arts Academy, a K-8 charter school focused on the arts.

Elias is past president of the Tempe East Rotary Club, Sun Devil Lion’s Club, and Boys & Girls Clubs Professional Association. He is a former member of the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Executive Council. He also was named the East Valley Man of the Year by the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation in 2009.

“Ramon has given so much of his time and energy to our community,” said Mary Ann Miller, President and CEO of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. “He is an inspiration. His strength of character and dedication to service have benefitted so many people. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to recognize his with this honor.”

Peggy Moroney Receives Outstanding Community Leader Award

Posted on | June 17, 2016 | No Comments

Tempe Leadership presented its highest honor, the Outstanding Community Leader Award, to Peggy Moroney at the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Luncheon on June 16. The honor  is an annual distinction awarded to Tempe Leadership graduates that have displayed outstanding leadership in the Tempe community.

Moroney, a longtime Tempe resident, is a graduate of Tempe Leadership Class XXVIII who is involved in a wide variety of organizations and activities.

Peggy Moroney

Peggy Moroney

She has researched and developed programs for the Tempe History Museum, The Petersen House, Desert Botanical Gardens, Eisendrath House and The Tempe Center for the Arts where she volunteers as docent and educator.

During her tenure in Tempe Leadership, her class developed the Teen Resource Center now known as Threadz at Tempe High School.  Moroney worked with her classmates to transform a neglected classroom into a clothing resource center for teens.

She is also on the Tempe Historic Preservation Board and is working on a variety of projects including walking tours through downtown Tempe and a docent program for the Eisendrath House that was recently restored.

Tempe Leadership President Janeen Rohovit said Moroney was a clear choice to receive the award. “Peggy is such an important and valuable member of our community,” said Rohovit. “Her leadership skills in the projects she is involved with help bring Tempe’s history and culture to life. She is known, loved and respected by so many people and we are proud to honor her with this award.”

About Tempe Leadership
Tempe Leadership, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is a program of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. For more than 30 years, Tempe Leadership has played a key role in bringing active, engaged community members together to effect positive and lasting change in the Tempe community. Its focus is to bring together individuals to engage and challenge one another, develop skills and talents, and grow into leadership roles. Learn more at www.tempeleadership.org.

Tempe Chamber of Commerce Honors The Dhaba and Caliente Construction with Business Excellence Awards

Posted on | June 16, 2016 | No Comments

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce presented two companies with Business Excellence Awards, the organization’s top honor for commerce.

The Dhaba was named the Small Business of the Year. Caliente Construction was named the Large Business of the Year.

The companies have a proven record of success and growth, community involvement, dedication to employees, leadership, reliability and commitment to customer service.

The Dhaba is an award-winning, contemporary Indian restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Punjab region of northern India. It offers

Raveen Arora of The Dhaba Receives the Business Excellence Award

Raveen Arora of The Dhaba Receives the Business Excellence Award

homemade breads; a healthy selection of locally-sourced, organic meat and vegetarian dishes; and traditional desserts and drinks. It is the heart of India Plaza on Apache Boulevard. In the 13 years since its founding, it has become a comprehensive destination for Indian food and culture.

Owner Raveen Arora began life as a refugee in impoverished Calcutta, India. After gaining an education and business skills, he built the highly respected restaurant which has served more than 1 million people. This year, Arora was selected by the National Restaurant Association as the Face of Diversity in Arizona for his leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion in the community.


Caliente Construction is a family-owned general contractor providing new construction and renovation services. It was founded in 1991 by high school sweethearts Tom and Lorraine Bergman. In 2014 it relocated its headquarters and 80 employees to Tempe. The firm sources all of its outside services and partnerships from local companies headquartered in Arizona. It’s a 5-time winner of the state’s “Best of the Best” award for a perfect safety record. Additionally, it practices sustainable construction and its projects include a material recycling program.

Caliente Construction Receives the Business Excellence Award

Caliente Construction Receives the Business Excellence Award

It is a top five fund raiser for The American Cancer Society’s annual “Climb for the Cure” and supports the Phoenix Children’s Museum Sandfest, Madison Street Veterans Association and Tempe Cares. The award-winning company was recently recognized as Arizona’s 28th largest contractor and the 5th largest woman-owned business in the state. Ranking Arizona also named it #1 in Tenant Improvement, and the #2 Overall Contractor.

“The Dhaba and Caliente Construction are outstanding examples of the type of business that makes our city thrive,” said Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO of the Tempe Chamber. “Their passionate dedication to their customers, staff and the community are unparalleled. We are proud they’re part of the Tempe Chamber, and we celebrate their continued success.”

The awards were presented on June 16 at the Tempe Chamber’s Annual Luncheon at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel.

The other finalists for the Business Excellence Awards were: ARCpoint Labs, Bullock Training and Development, Edward Jones and the Tempe Mission Palms hotel.

Farewell Letter from Mary Ann Miller

Posted on | June 9, 2016 | No Comments

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller

It is with both excitement and sadness that I announce that I will be leaving the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.  My last day as President/CEO will be August 31.

In August the Tempe Chamber will be moving into a new location, new offices with literally a new point of view.  As we end our time at this location, it seemed a fitting opportunity for me to guide us to our new home, and then set the Chamber off on its own.

At our recent Women in Business Conference, both Catherine Anaya and Lin Sue Cooney spoke about being in jobs they loved for more than 20 years, and then knowing it was time to make a change, to find a new purpose in their lives.  I think of it as a time to pivot, to stop and look for the next path.

Over the years I’ve worked with three mayors, dozens of board members and hundreds of volunteers.  I’ve helped staff members leave and grow into their own leadership positions.  I’ve seen family businesses embraced by the next generation.  And through it all I have done everything I could to help your business thrive in Tempe through tireless advocacy efforts and fighting for a pro-business environment.

My more than 21 years at the Chamber have been a wonderful experience with a whirlwind of memories.  I wish you and your business much success and I want to thank you for your support all these years.  While I will miss my day-to-day connections with our membership, I am very excited to start the next chapter.

Best regards,

Mary Ann Miller


President/CEO Mary Ann Miller to Leave Tempe Chamber

Posted on | June 6, 2016 | No Comments

June w-motto6, 2016 – The Tempe Chamber of Commerce announced today that Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller will be leaving after more than 21 years at the Tempe Chamber.  She will leave her position effective August 31, 2016.

Brian Wood, Waste Management and Chair-Elect of the Chamber will head the search committee. “During her tenure Mary Ann has guided the Chamber through diverse economies; from helping small businesses during the recession to assisting significant growth of key industries within our community.  She has tirelessly advocated on behalf of our members and entire business community at City Hall, the State Legislature and in Washington.”

Mary Ann Miller

Mary Ann Miller

Miller joined the Tempe Chamber in 1995 as Public Affairs Director.  In 1999 she moved into her current role as President/CEO. “In August the Tempe Chamber will be moving into a new location, new offices with literally a new point of view,” Miller said. “As we end our time at this location, it seemed a fitting opportunity for me to guide us to our new home, and then set the Chamber off on its own.”

During her time at the Tempe Chamber Miller received an MBA from Arizona State University and a Certificate in Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management.

Miller developed the first-ever statewide legislative agenda for local chambers, and spoke on policy development at state, regional and national conferences.  She served on the Board of Arizona Chamber Executives, and was named Local Chamber Executive of the Year in 2008 by the Arizona Chamber.  She received the Howard Pyle Vocational Service Award from Tempe South Rotary in 2011.

Wood added, “Mary Ann will be missed tremendously and we are saddened to say good-bye.  Before she goes, though, we want to genuinely thank her for her dedication and loyalty to the Chamber and our community.  I want to also personally express my appreciation for her influence on me – her authentic leadership has been inspirational.  Although Mary Ann will never know the number of people she has positively affected, her ‘ripple effect’ is nothing less than exceptional.   We wish her all the best as she begins this exciting new chapter of her life.”

Read Miller’s personal letter regarding her announcement in the June 6 edition of The Business Advocate.

For questions or interview requests contact Mary Ann Miller at 480-736-4280.
For a headshot or support materials contact Sean Donovan at sean@tempechamber.org   

Why is $47,476.00 important?

Posted on | June 2, 2016 | No Comments

 by Deborah Z. Mark, Managestaff


Remember that number.

When December 1, 2016, rolls around, it will become very important.

Why is $47,476.00 important?

By now you may have heard that the new overtime exemption guidelines have been approved by the Department of Labor (DOL).

The new law will take effect December 1, 2016. The new annual salary amount for employees to be exempt from overtime will be (you guessed it) $47,476.00, or $913.00 per week.

What should I do?

  1. Review your employees’ salaries
  2. If an employee does not meet the new threshold, decide whether to raise the salary to $47,476.00 per year or pay overtime
  3. Or limit hours worked to 40 hours per week or less

Important reminder

Overtime is based on a 40 hour work week, regardless of how often you pay your employees.

If you pay every other week, you cannot average the 2 work weeks together and only pay overtime on hours worked over 80.

For example, if an employee works 38 hours the first week and 42 hours the second week, that would equal 78 hours at the regular pay rate and 2 hours at the overtime rate, not 80 total hours at the regular rate.

Some states, such as California, have additional requirements for overtime.

You have time

The new law doesn’t take effect until December 1, 2016.

Time isn’t always on your side.

But in this case, it is.

Tempe Chamber Names Liz White Volunteer of the Year

Posted on | May 31, 2016 | No Comments

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce has named Liz White of Arizona Public Service (APS) as the Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented at the 21st Annual Women in Business Conference.

Liz White (L) receives the Volunteer of the Year award from Mary Ann Miller (R)

Liz White (L) receives the Volunteer of the Year award from Mary Ann Miller (R)

This honor is bestowed upon an individual who has gone above and beyond to support the Tempe Chamber, its programs, and the business community.

White serves on the Tempe Chamber’s Board of Directors and worked to place two APS employees into the Women in Business Mentoring Program.

“She’s always volunteering her own time to make our programs more successful and lightening the load on our staff,” said Tempe Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller. “She’s always willing to step up with a light-hearted attitude to get the job done.”

Professionally, Liz White is Senior Training Instructor, T&D Training with APS.

Tempe Chamber of Commerce Names Denise Hart 2016 Business Woman of the Year

Posted on | May 26, 2016 | No Comments

Denise Hart

Denise Hart

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce has named Denise Hart as the 2016 Business Woman of the Year. She was honored at the 21st Annual Women in Business Conference on May 25 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Tempe.

  • Denise Hart is the Vice President of Marketing for Vestar, overseeing commercial real estate properties across the country including Tempe Marketplace.
  • She is the first female executive hired at Vestar, where she mentors and promotes professional female staff members within the company, helping them to succeed in the corporate world.

    Denise Hart (L) receives the Business Woman of the Year award from Tempe Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller.

    Denise Hart (L) receives the Business Woman of the Year award from Tempe Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller.

  • She is a Certified Marketing Director and Certified Retail Property Executive with the International Council of Shopping Centers and received the organization’s Design and Development Award.
  • She is a graduate of Tempe Leadership Class XXXI and has served on the Tempe Tourism Board of Directors in various roles since 2003.

“The Business Woman of the Year award recognizes the valuable contributions that Denise has made to the business community and to the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Her hard work and dedication have made an admirable and positive impact that we are proud to recognize,” said Mary Ann Miller, President and CEO of the Tempe Chamber.

The two other finalists were Tracy Bullock, President of Bullock Training & Development and Dawn Hocking, Director of Development at TCH

Tempe Chamber Names New Board of Directors

Posted on | May 19, 2016 | No Comments

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce has confirmed five new members to its Board of Directors. Beginning their terms on July 1 will be:


Tracy Bullock

Tracy Bullock

Tracy Bullock

Bullock Training & Development
Tracy Bullock is the President of Bullock Training & Development, Inc., an authorized Sandler Training® center. She delivered strategic business development with Procter & Gamble for almost 30 years in the U.S. and globally, and now works with business owners and managers to accelerate their competitive advantage in the market.

Her tremendous sales experience has been uniquely supplemented by her variety of other P&G roles, including Operations, Information Technology, and Capability Development. This broad range of assignments allows for innovation in all aspects of joint business with customers.

Tracy was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award, Top Female Executive, and noted as a Top 101 Industry Experts for her work in Global Management Training Development by Cambridge’s Worldwide Who’s Who.

Jihan Cottrell

Jihan Cottrell

Jihan Cottrell

Cox Business Services

Jihan Cottrell is an Account Executive with Cox Business and brings 11 years of telecommunications experience which has encompassed various sales, marketing, and leadership roles. Jihan considers the opportunities to represent the Cox Business brand as an ambassador within the community as a highly engaging and fulfilling attribute of his role. His direct involvement with the Tempe Chamber has served as a best practice within Cox Business by illustrating the value of developing key partnerships within the cities and communities that Cox Business serves.

Before working for Cox, Jihan was the office manager for various national & regional optical chains, where he enjoyed developing, cultivating and leading teams that provided excellent customer care for clients. He graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.S. in Business Marketing & Business Management.

Jihan moved to Arizona in 1998, becoming rooted in the valley with his wife of 17 years and 4 children. Outside of work, Jihan volunteers his time by coaching a variety of youth sports, most recently his daughter’s soccer team and son’s basketball team.

Jenna Rowell

Jenna Rowell

Jenna Rowell

Arizona Public Service

As Community Affairs Manager for Arizona Public Service, Jenna leads a statewide team for the largest electric utility in Arizona. APS serves areas of Tempe including downtown and operates the Ocotillo Power Plant.

Jenna joined APS in June 2012 as a manager in the Employee Communications department, transitioning to Community Affairs in late 2014. Prior to joining APS her career spanned roles in internal communications, marketing communications and media relations for a variety of industries. From copper mining to oil and gas exploration and production to retail energy to aerospace, Jenna has worked for Australian, British, French, and U.S. companies, including Honeywell Aerospace that also operates in Tempe.

Jenna earned bachelor’s degrees in public relations and Spanish from Northern Arizona University and an MBA from the University of Houston. Her prior board service includes Ad 2 Houston, Houston Advertising Federation, Valley Forward (now Arizona Forward) and the Phoenix chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She is accredited by IABC and Six Sigma Green Belt certified. Her most recent accomplishment is graduating from Tempe Leadership as a member of Class XXXI.

Brad Taylor

Brad Taylor

Brad Taylor 

Special Moments Catering

Brad obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2003 from Arizona State University with a specialization in finance.He has spent his entire career in sales and financial management with both Pier 54 Restaurant and Special Moments Catering.He has been responsible for building and executing marketing and sales programs, focusing on customer service, growth, and customer retention.Over the last nine years he has utilized his financial background to raise capital, purchase and sell two businesses.He has sat on several boards, including the Compadre Advisory Board, The MDA Board, as well as the Chair for the Tempe Chamber’s Business Owners Forum.

His notable accomplishments include VIP Superbowl catering for both the 2008 and 2015 Super Bowls, as well as planning and hosting events for 2,000 or more for companies such as PayPal, KU University, and the University of Mizzou.A native of Arizona, Brad currently resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife, Peggy and their 2 year old Lily.

David Bonkowski

David Bonkowski

David Bonkowski 

Edward Jones

David Bonkowski serves as a principal in Branch Training Planning & Development department, where he leads the firm’s efforts in the western United States to achieve financial advisor performance and retention.

Bonkowski joined Edward Jones as a financial advisor in 2002 and opened the firm’s first office in Frankenmuth, Mich. He volunteered in numerous region roles and served as a regional leader for six years. He also completed three asset-sharing programs, tripling the firm’s presence in the small farming community before relocating to the Tempe campus in late 2015 to head the West Field Support team.

Bonkowski was named a principal with the firm in 2013.

A Michigan native, Bonkowski earned a bachelor’s degree in product design engineering from Ferris State University in Big Rapids. He also holds the Accredited Asset Management SpecialistSM professional designation. Before joining Edward Jones, he worked as an engineering manager for several firms.

The five new board members will be publicly introduced at the Tempe Chamber’s Annual Luncheon on June 16, which will feature Don Henninger as the keynote speaker.

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