Our Year End Report With Ghostbusters And A Queen Of Hearts

Ghostbusters And A Queen Of Hearts

We all remember the song from 1984, well most of us any way. It went something like this:

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood

Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)

If there’s something weird

And it don’t look good

Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)

I ain’t afraid of no ghost

I ain’t afraid of no ghost

While our firm always feels this way to an extent, it was even more pronounced during the last half of 2018 as clients new, past and current called us to solve complex public relations problems and address marketing opportunities. If we weren’t singing “Ghostbusters” like Ray Parker Jr. we felt a little like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Remis in the movie.

In many ways we’ve become Arizona’s ultimate “fixers.” For public affairs. For crisis communications. For public relations. For events. For campaigns.

“Who you gonna call?!” Look who did through the last half of a most memorable year. Thank you to those below and many others for placing their trust in us.


Part populist, part conservative and part practical, Arizona is very fortunate to have Mark Brnovich as its Attorney General. Whether one agrees with him or not he’s a talent that’s hard not to like, or respect, a lot. So this past cycle when a California billionaire, having lost his alternative energy ballot measure, turned his sights on Brnovich we got the call to push back, hard. And we did. It’s what we do, and did, with a variety of media relations efforts.

 For good measure we even threw in a cardboard cutout of the billionaire next to a dunk tank to anchor Brnovich’s election night party. We appreciated being part of the team to help re-elect one of Arizona’s best, and perhaps even position him as the Republican front-runner for Governor in 2022.


We were early supporters of Governor Ducey in 2014 and remain steadfast supporters to this day. And prior to Election Day in 2018 we were tapped by the Ducey campaign for a few special projects on the earned media side that were both fun and fulfilling. The year also saw us help lead Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s “At Our Best” political action committee that successfully supported many candidates and issues during the cycle.

And firm partners Jason Rose and Jennifer Moser even crossed the aisle after the November elections to help organize an extraordinarily successful fundraiser for former Phoenix City Councilwoman and future Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.


The (Arizona Republic) doesn’t seem to much like Arizona’s charter schools. Over the past year they have taken dead aim at some of the finest, and we have been proud to represent them. Rather than laud schools like BASIS for educating cheaper and better than public school counterparts, the

state’s paper of record reports more like Pravda than towards progress. During the latter part of 2018 the Republic took aim at another of Arizona’s great charter school success stories, the Benjamin Franklin Charter Schools. The group of four schools was founded by the State Legislature’s long-time conservative stalwart, Eddie Farnsworth. He called us for assistance and we were more than happy to provide it. Farnsworth does not suffer fools gladly and backs away from no one in a debate. That’s what made our engagement with him and the school so gratifying. The Republic did everything in its power to scuttle the organization’s proper transition to a non-profit, something even the reporter later acknowledged had merit. The paper failed. And we’re glad it did, in this case.


This was a phrase coined by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson. And it kind of describes our firm. Some of us wear brass knuckles from time to time. Firm partner Jennifer Moser does not. She represents many of the Valley’s leading charitable events, providing event strategy, event management and works closely with company Communications Director Jennifer Parks-Sturgeon on public relations efforts in support of them. A notable example in November was Driving Out Domestic Violence, Chrysalis’ biggest charity event of the

year. Moser helped take the event to another level, as it raised a record sum and its own bar as a compelling date on the charitable calendar.


The Arizona Heart Ball has long been the pinnacle of the state’s many notable charitable events. The list of past Heart Ball Chairpersons is very long and even more distinguished. This past year was led by Carolyn Jackson of Barrett-Jackson fame, who set an all-time record for funds raised. Her year-long “Driven Hearts” campaign is one for all future Chairwomen to live up to. And we certainly hope one will as our own Jennifer Moser was named the 2020 Arizona Heart Ball Chairwoman in December. What an honor and our company is very, very proud.


Is there a hotter restaurant in Arizona today than Ocean 44? It’s the latest concept by the Mastro family, the impressarios behind Dominick’s Steakhouse and Steak 44. Ocean 44 opened with a very big bang thanks in part to the comprehensive and creative public relations efforts by Moser who at last count spent 8 consecutive nights helping to open the expansive 12,000 square foot digs next to Scottsdale Fashion Square. But if you can’t get in don’t call us, call her.


There may be no bigger issue in Arizona today than addressing and resolving the state’s ongoing dilemmas with drought. Governor Ducey passionately talked about it during his Inauguration Address this week. It affects everyone, everywhere in our great state. We feel honored to have been tapped by the Colorado River Indian Tribes in far western Arizona, holder of the state’s largest first-priority water rights, to help with strategy and communications surrounding their important and necessary involvement in Arizona’s efforts concerning drought. From government at all levels to communications with the most important constituency of all, the tribes’ own members, it’s a privilege for our

team including Mike Scerbo and Mary Turner to play a part in the biggest issue of our time.


Bottom of the ninth, two outs, down by four. We’re the ones that get the call. We like it. We’re not afraid to be at bat then, or any other time. So when a proposed storage facility in north Phoenix encountered citizen opposition akin to a nuclear waste dump backers were perplexed about where to go, if anywhere. Firm partner Jason Rose got the initial call while drinking a beer at the Telluride Brewing Company in August. By early December opposition had given way to citizen consent with nary a one at the Phoenix City Council meeting that saw the storage proposal approved unanimously. How did we do it? Magic and a few Jedi mind tricks.


Over the past two decades there has been no more important or innovative developer of Arizona’s retail scene than Vestar. It owns Desert Ridge Marketplace, Tempe Marketplace and a bevy of others totaling some 9 million square feet of lifestyle centers throughout the state. Representing them off and on for 15 years ranging from referendum elections to traditional

PR, we were thrilled when they called anew to help with some big ticket items both here and with a revitalizing property the company owns in Salt Lake City. Some of the results have already appeared but one in particular we are now working on could turn out to be the most memorable and meaningful of all. Stay tuned.


We are risk takers. That’s why we like to represent them too. Often voted the Valley’s #1 Custom Home Builder by The Phoenix Business Journal Cullum Homes has made a move in recent years like few other companies, in any space. Paradise Reserve, Cholla Heights on the east side of Camelback Mountain. The Village at Silverleaf. The Village at Mountain Shadows. The company is on a roll. This year keep an eye out for the Ironwood Golf Villas in Paradise Valley and The Village at Seven Desert Mountain too. They keep us on our PR toes. And possibly on our public affairs ones too, for a very cool new project in Paradise Valley. Again, stay tuned.


Some of us take our his kids to a lot of baseball games. We’ve been known to leave in the seventh inning, but not until hearing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” When it comes to spring training Scottsdale Stadium is our favorite. Our firm usually has an epic company outing there once a year too. If not for the non-profit Scottsdale Charros, spring training wouldn’t exist as it does today in the city, or as it has for some six decades. As a new long-term agreement is being contemplated between the City of Scottsdale, Charros and San Francisco Giants, our company is thrilled to be assisting an organization like the Charros who are the epitome of how to structure sports facility agreements smartly and to the benefit of the communities in which they are situated. As the song goes, if they (and the city) don’t win it’s a shame.


Phoenix’s Gateway Academy specializes in educating kids with Asperger’s Syndrome. And they do it better than anyone. That’s why it is so important to highlight their work. To talk to the students, parents or teachers is to undertake an entirely new appreciation of what it means to make a difference. So when asked to provide additional public relations assistance for the school we said where do we sign up? Just above we talked a little bit about baseball. Well, take a look at these multiple stories secured by Jennifer Parks-Sturgeon for one of Gateway’s students who loves baseball. Story 2. Story 3.

They are home runs for an enterprising kid, and a school that constantly hits a lot of them.


Patrick J. McGroder was one of the first two clients of our firm, back in 1996. It’s been a great relationship ever since. McGroder has been Arizona’s best, and greatest, plaintiff’s lawyer over the past generation with a set of successful causes and cases that have led others to label him “The Social Architect.” Yet, McGroder is as professionally pioneering, and curious, as he is accomplished. So when we were called about communicating his transition to Beus Gilbert, a move that would see him join Hall of Fame litigator Leo Beus,

it was like crafting a message for Larry Bird and Magic Johnson to play together. Combined with recognized Arizona intellect, Great Hearts schools co-founder and public affairs pro Jay Heiler contemporaneously joining the firm, having meetings with Beus, McGroder, Heiler and Beus Gilbert co-founder Paul Gilbert at the same time was like getting to shoot hoops with the Golden State Warriors.


What we do on the public relations, public affairs and crisis communications front can be a little like being a track athlete. Sometimes you have to be Usain Bolt and move as quick as the fastest man on earth. Other times you have to look at communications challenges like an Ethiopian marathoner. Speed, experience and stamina are necessary to help your client place well. Such has been the case with two notable projects of late. First, called upon to represent the new owner of the former Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix, we have had to endure a variety of legal maneuvers and protests. But when you have been doing what we do, for as long and as successfully as we have, the end result is never hazy or far away. And so it now is as our client, one of our all-time favorites, has demonstrated the patience and fortitude, to prevail.

Such is also the case with a project further to the south in the City of Maricopa. There, the Valley’s first private motorsports club, Apex, has had to likewise endure a variety of unfortunate legal and public relations tactics to slow and stop its development. They didn’t work and Apex is now set to open early this year. There are a lot of PR companies in Phoenix, many of them excellent. Although biased, obviously,

we think we have a unique combination of creativity and experience that can often make the difference between success and failure. These are two more examples.


For the past three years Jason Rose has been working to produce what will likely be the most anticipated and ambitious original musical to ever come out of Phoenix. Set to debut January 24, 2020 for a four-week run as part of The Phoenix Theatre’s 100th Anniversary it is based on the moving, true story of an

undocumented immigrant with powerful music by the nationally-acclaimed Carrie Rodriguez. For those interested in being a part of history, and gaining a first glimpse of art that could help put Phoenix on the musical map, you’re invited to see Americano! as part of Phoenix Theatre’s New Works Festival on February 8th and 9th in downtown Phoenix. You will be seeing the production without sets, costumes and memorization but it will allow you to be on the ground floor and get a taste of a work that has the potential to be nationally significant. Click HERE for tickets.


Two months ago an event we founded, and produce, The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships concluded its eighth year, this time including the world’s most famous polo player Nacho Figueras, thanks to the Aspen Valley Polo Club. The event’s scope, attendance records and elements even led it to this year adorn the cover of Polo Player’s Edition, the country’s polo magazine of record. It’s rarefied air for an event that is breaking the mold. Here’s a link to the wrap up from another extraordinary year.

The event will be returning November 2, 2019. Mark your calendars now for an event like no other in world polo, or in Arizona.  And thanks to our Director of Event Logistics Mandy McGee who works tirelessly leading up to and during polo to make the Scottsdale Polo Party so special.


During its horse racing season from October-May, Turf Paradise sees winners every day it runs. And we made the track a winner again, on an important local matter, in December . . . We’re about to get involved in the City of Phoenix’s most

controversial development proposal of 2018 in a way that we don’t think it will lose anew, as it did prior to our involvement . . Maricopa Ambulance is kicking butt all over the Valley, rightfully taking more business away from former quasi-monopoly provider AMR . . .Shopping center redeveloper extraordinaire Michael Pollack remains among the coolest and most community minded individuals in the Valley. Mountainside Fitness is a long-time client. Its founder, Tom Hatten, has just released a book about his journey called “Dream On.” It’s a great read with valuable lessons. Check it out HERE. All book proceeds go to charity. One of our longest-tenured clients, Barrett-Jackson, is gearing up for its incomparable event January 12-20 at WestWorld of

Scottsdale. For tickets or to register to consign or buy a car go to . . . Paul Goldschmidt’s trade to the St. Louis Cardinals means no “Goldy’s Bowling Bash” this year. It had been the state’s coolest new charity event, launched with the help of Jennifer Moser . . Litigation support is a big part of what we do and there are occasions when media relations can make a big difference to a settlement or victory.  Such was the case this past year and fall as we assisted Rose Law Group in its efforts to help the family of U.S. Army Ranger Antouine Castaneda who tragically committed suicide while in the care of the VA . . Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty continues to set the standard and mark in Arizona luxury home sales, by a wide margin . . . Our Director of Logistics Mandy McGee is pregnant, expecting her second child in May with fiance Steeyle Levine . . . Mike Scerbo remains the hardest working Swiss Army knife in Arizona PR . . Jennifer Parks-Sturgeon and her husband Jeremy just enjoyed their first Christmas with their newborn and future hockey/figure skater . . Mary Turner just celebrated her one-year anniversary on our public affairs team and we are pleased to announce that Cepand Alizadeh has rejoined the company.

That’s all folks. And just remember, if you’re not showing a Queen of Hearts, contact Ghostbusters.






Questions? Contact us today 480-423-1414 or email us HERE


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