John Milton is considered the most significant English writer after William Shakespeare. His most famous work, Paradise Lost, might be an apt description for what so many have endured in 2020. But Milton is also credited with the earliest reference to “silver linings.” And aren’t those something we could all use as the new year begins? Through perseverance, experience, creativity, and innovation we have been fortunate to forge a few silver linings of our own in 2020, especially on behalf of clients. We hope you enjoy learning about them and thank you, as always, for being a part of our slice of the world.
It was a famous line in one of the greatest movies of all-time, The Graduate. And it was at the heart of a befuddling policy challenge facing both the City of Phoenix (and many other cities across the country) and one of our largest and best clients, Republic Services. But through collaboration and communication, the two parties reached a complex agreement that saved Phoenix’s recycling program, something numerous other municipalities have not been able to achieve. Republic Services is one of Arizona’s great corporate citizens and biggest publicly traded companies. They help clean up many yards across the country but, for us, it is a real honor to help them with key needs in their own back yard.
SMART, SAFE & STILL SEXY
Every sporting and special event is grappling how or whether to proceed. As the owners and producers of the most attended polo event in America we were no exception. Could we pull off our annual November event in Scottsdale? Did it make sense to do so? Constant evaluation and input from customers eventually led us to “yes.” The Stella Artois Polo Classic certainly looked different this year, but Saturday, November 7th was still extraordinary. Thank you to the so many involved that allowed us to proceed. We look forward to celebrating our 10th Anniversary bigger and better than ever in 2021, if and hopefully when things get better.
NOT UP IN SMOKE
Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana failed before Arizona voters in 2016. We were part of a team that was determined to avoid that fate in 2020. We did. Big time. Campaigns can be won and lost in many different ways. The lesson of Proposition 207’s passage in November was one of listening. To many. With a more conservative approach that voters embraced by a large margin.
To long-time company client Maricopa Ambulance who was just awarded another contract in the City of Scottsdale to extend its exemplary service there. It continues to set a high standard for emergency care throughout the Valley.
Some things are just that cool. Like Scottsdale being identified as the first American community for residences by the global fashion brand, Fendi. They are planned as part of the Ritz-Carlton/Palmeraie project now coming to life at Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend. Yet, some were concerned about modest increases in height to accommodate the landmark project. But through strategic counsel and community relations, we were able to reach a positive outcome as concern transformed into support with no opponents speaking at the Planning Commission or ultimate City Council hearing. Now, 41 Fendi Residences will adjoin those at the Ritz-Carlton creating spectacular synergy we should all celebrate.
PROUD OF HER
Firm Partner Jason Rose tends to save his political opinions for Twitter and Arizona media. But something happened in August to void the rule here. Our company was started nearly 25 years ago when Rose was a young spin punk. Now he’s an older spin punk! The first family and company to place their confidence in him hailed from Tusayan, adjacent to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. They have been through much together. Fighting a hellacious development plan adjacent to a natural wonder. Doing right by salt of the earth Arizona. Along the way outsiders made Tusayan one of the more corrupt and ineffective governments in the state. It’s made old school Chicago look like Sir Thomas Moore’s Vatican. So, when our primary client contact and native daughter of Tusayan, Clarinda Vail, decided she’d had enough earlier this year and wanted to run for Mayor we said where do we sign up? We did so despite her having no chance at the outset. But some things are worth the fighting for. Outside development interests literally controlled the incumbent Mayor and Town Council by employing them and a majority of voters. That’s not a typo. How was a win possible? Yet, something strange happened on the way to the Forum. The PRI of Mexico was defeated, and the Washington Generals actually beat the Harlem Globetrotters. Clarinda crushed the incumbent through tenacity and the power of ideas that are lessons for any political campaign. Keep your eye on this great Arizonan. The Grand Canyon and our state are better for her having pulled an impossible, shocking upset in August, allowing her to be sworn in as Mayor of the state’s smallest town in December.
TOASTING A TRANSFORMATION
We love Scottsdale’s Entertainment District. It does great things for Scottsdale tourism and we don’t mind imbibing there from time to time either. But when the area’s largest landowner there, in and around Scottsdale and Camelback Roads, asked us to launch the initiative with strategic counsel and community relations to assist an ambitious redevelopment proposal to “mature” the area we were happy to in. Just a few weeks ago the effort resulted in Scottsdale City Council approval for the arts-infused $450 million Scottsdale Collection that will help downtown Scottsdale stay competitive with ambitious rivals.
GETTING OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY
There are few, if any, better celebrations of the automobile in the world than the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. While Scottsdale is the company’s showcase, it stages notable auctions in Las Vegas, Palm Beach, and at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut too. But not in 2020 as COVID has impacted its business like so many others. Barrett-Jackson is one of our longest-running clients, so it has been our pleasure to provide important advice and advocacy work over the past many months to assist their deliberations and options. To help Barrett-Jackson overcome and succeed is to help Arizona too since its annual economic impact and exposure for the state is extraordinary.
Quarter of a billion-dollar sales of Arizona State Land don’t happen every day. So, the opportunity to assist Brookfield, one of the country’s largest developers along with its partners, with public relations needs leading up to and after the successful auction to their team was pretty cool. Just as they have done with the very successful Eastmark project nearby Brookfield and DR Horton will soon be transforming this major part of the Southeast Valley as has been long envisioned.
PUT US IN COACH
Water is going to be an enormously important policy issue for Arizona’s future. For many years we have represented the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the largest holder of first-priority Colorado River water. We have assisted their political aims many times over the years, including now as they seek to make their resource available in a way that works for their people, the environment, and the Arizona economy. But more recently they have had other needs too, such as asking our company to assist as the tribal government’s de facto public information officers. Long-time company communications specialist and our Swiss Army knife Mike Scerbo has ably performed the tasks for a client that will be playing an increasingly pivotal role in our collective futures. You can read about some of that here.
COMING TO LIFE
It’s one of the best pieces of real estate in Arizona: City North. Along the 101 in Desert Ridge it has been entangled in lawsuits and ineptitude for too many years. Not anymore. Long-time client Crown Realty & Development is bringing it to life as described in this notable article in the Phoenix Business Journal.
KUDOS & THANK YOUS
To the extraordinary team at Cullum Homes for unveiling another model home at yet another majestic property at Desert Mountain, launching a new community at The Phoenician and getting a great start on sales at its new Ironwood Golf Villas in Paradise Valley. And to the Earnhardt Automotive Group, American Resort Communities, Brookfield, Lourimore Land and Development, Televeda, and Merit Partners thank you for tapping us for the first time for certain public relations tasks.
Restauranteurs are the patriots of the pandemic. How many obstacles and changes can be thrown their way? There are few better examples than Francine, which opened late last summer at Scottsdale Fashion Square in the throes of COVID and following the looting of the mall. No problem. Led by Jennifer Moser and Jennifer Parks-Sturgeon the airy and tasty restaurant opened smartly and effectively to enthusiastic customers. You can read more about Francine’s journey, in the words of the owner himself, here. And, as always, we love to assist marketing efforts for the state’s leading collection of steakhouses owned by the Mastro family: Steak 44, Ocean 44 and Dominick’s. Their operation and ingenuity during this crisis have been a testament to business at its best.
BEST IN CLASS
We like those, including Harvest of Arizona, the largest owner of medical (and soon to be recreational) marijuana dispensaries in the state. They recently hired us to showcase their notable properties and leadership role with public relations and press conferences as the state makes the historic change to legalization in early 2021.
BEST IN CLASS II
It’s staggering what Phoenix-based Merit Partners is doing to help generate Arizona jobs at its rapidly developing industrial parks in the Valley. Indeed, their multiple millions of square feet of development in Phoenix, Goodyear, Tolleson and Glendale have made them the top industrial developer in the state. It’s been a pleasure to showcase these existing and emerging projects over the past few months.
Over the years we have worked with just about every lawyer and law firm in town. And if you message us privately, we can share who we think are the best! But there is no doubting the ongoing innovation at Rose Law Group (yes, we can be a little biased). During the depths of the pandemic, they formed Healthy Verify, a new company with ASU and Barrow’s Neurological Institute, to help businesses with new health and safety protocols to give customers greater confidence. Likewise, the firm was bold to plan ahead and be ready for a legal challenge to the horrific economic challenges of Proposition 208, which they have filed on behalf of former Judge John Buttrick and leading Valley businesswoman Ann Siner. Likewise, they were ready to help existing and aspiring businesses take advantage of Proposition 207, which will allow all Arizona adults to access marijuana early this year. We have helped publicize it all. Thanks to the lawyers there for always keeping us on our toes.
RAGING AGAINST THE MACHINE
Few Arizona businesses did it more sincerely and effectively recently than Mountainside Fitness. Parks-Sturgeon led public relations efforts as we aided the long-time client with communications involving their pleas and litigation to stay open as the State of Arizona sought to keep them shut down. Aside from our admiration of the principled stand CEO Tom Hatten took it was an important discussion he led on behalf of so many businesses that didn’t have the resources or chutzpah Hatten did.
PROTECTING THE BRAND
One of the Valley’s great companies, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, just had the biggest sales year in its history. But on October 23rd its day, and year, was interrupted by atrocious remarks by one of its dormant agents. Justifiable national condemnation accrued to the agent but those looking for more started targeting the company since they discovered he had been affiliated with it. It was unfair. Through rapid, smart and conscientious responses the situation was quickly diffused. This is one of the things we do best. When a crisis hits, how you respond can make a difference between long-lasting damage and something a lot better.
WHERE THERE IS CRISIS THERE IS OPPORTUNITY
Early on in 2020 we shared news of the record-setting run of Americano! The Musical at The Phoenix Theatre Company. It was a passion project produced over 5 years by Jason Rose and an incredible team. It concluded just as the pandemic began to become more apparent. But ambitions for New York were not abandoned, just changed. The Americano team, including RMA’s Mary Turner, have been hard at work responding to interest from other theaters around the country and continuing to push toward the production’s goal of presenting in New York City, something no one from Arizona has ever done. As they say, stay tuned, including for some potential new musicals by Rose’s production company, Quixote Productions in conjunction with The Phoenix Theatre Company. It’s hard to believe but 2021 marks 25 years in business. What started as a hope and a dream by an audacious 26-year-old with a fax machine in an executive suite has grown into a multi-faceted company assisting the state’s best people, causes and companies. What an honor it has been. But more on that later. To 2020 we say both good-bye and thank you, as we hopefully return to Paradise Found. Let’s now get on with this century’s version of the roaring twenties, filled with silver linings.
THANK YOU FOR READING OUR LATEST. ALL OF US HOPE YOU ARE STAYING SAFE AND HEALTHY!