Maxwell and McFarlin: Education reform begins with all of us

SALC President Ted Maxwell and Arizona Town Hall Board Member Suzanne McFarlin wrote about the disconnect between Arizonans believing in the investment in education and those making policy decisions at the legislature. Tucsonans joined other citizens at community town halls in recent months and attended the 110th Arizona Town Hall on funding Pre K – 12 education last November. They voiced a strong core of quality, well-funded education prevents people in need for food or public assistance

Read their six suggestions on the Arizona Daily Star for how to make a difference in improving the education in Arizona.

Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance Support Gov. Ducey’s Education Funding Plan

PHOENIX, AZ, Jan. 15, 2018 – Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance (NALA) have been involved in reviewing education funding alternatives and have joined with others in identifying the need for a statewide plan to address our P-20 educational system needs, addressing funding, accountability and reform.

In Monday’s State of the State address, Gov. Doug Ducey committed to accelerate state investment in our schools. On Tuesday he introduced a plan to restore funding to our schools after years of Recession-era cuts. As leaders of Arizona’s premier CEO business associations, we stand in full support of Gov. Ducey’s plan and commit to work alongside him and the State Legislature to make these and other funding priorities a reality.

The full restoration of $371 million in District Additional Assistance and Charter Additional Assistance is a welcome step toward restoring school funding formulas that experienced deep cuts during the great recession. The re-investment of permanent and flexible dollars beginning next school year will enable schools to direct more resources to teacher salaries. Additionally, an enhanced investment for building maintenance will free up even more classroom revenue previously redirected for capital expenses.

We commend Gov. Ducey for honoring his commitment to increase state investment in K-12 education and for managing the K-12 funding challenges facing our state. The FY 2019 Executive Education Budget proposal builds a solid foundation of funding with the infusion of $400 million in additional resources for K-12 education. The plan directs new resources to respond to student growth, building renewal, teacher salaries, early literacy, computer science, and Career and Technical Education—all areas worthy of increased investment that are contributing to positive outcomes for Arizona students.

GPL, SALC and NALA also remain committed to renewing the existing Proposition 301 education funding stream, which terminates in 2021, and to adding more funding focused on areas of priority into our educational system in Arizona.

We appreciate the Governor’s leadership in recognizing that our needs are great and taking decisive action to direct new resources to where they can be most effective. As Arizona’s education system continues to make strides, our business and economic prospects grow and produce a better quality of life for all Arizonans.

We look forward to supporting the items outlined in Gov. Ducey’s education budget and working with legislators and other stakeholders to put his plan into action.

Startup Licenses University of Arizona Technology That Shortens Cancer Cell Life

TUCSON, Ariz.­– The University of Arizona licensed a drug to startup Reglagene that aims to shorten cancer cells’ lives in days. The innovation derived from the UA College of Pharmacy and the UA BIO5 Institute by Laurence Hurley, PhD, and Vijay Gokhale, PhD.

The invention to shorten the lives of targeted cells is effective because the process rapidly ages cancer cells until they die. Tech Launch Arizona worked to protect intellectual property, develop start-up strategy and license the technology to the company.

“Our laboratory has developed the underlying technology for a number of drugs that have reached phase I/II clinical trials,” Dr. Hurley said. “This is by far the most exciting technology we have a developed during our 40 years of research.”

Gene expression is typically controlled by molecular switches called C- and G- Quadruplexes, where the licensed drug will target these “on” and “off” switches. Similar technologies take several months to exert an effect in cancer cell­– time cancer patients do not have.

Learn more about this innovation here.

Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy

The 2018 Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy is now accepting applications to select 35 Arizonans to become a Flinn-Brown Fellows.

The tuition-free program begins with a 12-session seminar series to help experienced leaders succeed in Arizona state government. These leaders are expected to become:

  • elected officials;
  • agency executives;
  • members of boards and commissions; or
  • policy advisors

Applications are being accepted through Monday, Nov. 13. Visit this URL for more details:


No on Prop 204 Campaign

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council urges you to vote “no” on Prop 204. The No on Prop 204 campaign launched last week with a series of radio and television spots opposing Strong Start Tucson’s initiative.

SALC Vice President Shelley Watson joined other business leaders of the Tucson community to voice their opposition.

SALC’s reasons for opposition can be found in the original post, here.

Covered media:


Webinar: What’s Driving Tucson’s Economy?

Join MAP Dashboard’s inaugural MAP Talk on October 27 to find out what’s driving Tucson’s economy: residents, last year’s income, added jobs, etc. In the webinar, expect to learn what industries are contributing to the city’s growth and why Tucson isn’t growing as fast as peer metropolitan areas.

MAP Talks are webinars featuring Jennifer Pullen (MAP Dashboard coordinator) and George Hammond (EBRC Director). Attendees will gain new knowledge about the Tucson economy and learn how to use the Dashboard to understand the latest trends and benchmark progress.

MAP Talks will last 30 minutes with time for Q&A at the end and we anticipate new MAP Talks approximately every other month. Webinar spots are limited to 50 participants, register here.

Four Southern Arizonans named 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellows

The following individuals were named 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellows to take part in the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy:

  • Zachary Brooks, special projects for the University of Arizona’s Office of Global Initiatives
  • Mike Holmes, operations program manager for Pima County Attractions and Tourism
  • JP Martin, executive director of Global Chamber-Tucson
  • Anita Simons, administrative law judge for the Arizona Department of Transportation Executive Hearing Office

The Fellows share a commitment to state-level public service and leadership, and the network functions as a support system for the Fellows as they pursue state-level roles.

The Flinn Foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as two other program areas to help build Arizona’s knowledge-driven economy: the Flinn Scholars Program and the arts in Arizona.

SALC Opposes Prop. 204, recommends “no” vote on Strong Start Tucson initiative

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), the area’s key CEO and community leader group, today announced its board of directors recommends a “no” vote on Proposition 204, Strong Start Tucson, which will appear on the November 2017 city ballot.

“SALC carefully reviews every initiative to ensure it is the most effective and efficient way to achieve its goal, especially when it uses limited public resources,” said Ted Maxwell, president of SALC. “We find that Proposition 204, despite its good intentions, fails to meet that test.”

Throughout its 20-year history, SALC has been a champion for education in Arizona, taking a leadership role in passing a statewide early childhood initiative, Prop. 203, First Things First, or the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative.

“SALC remains a staunch advocate for impactful funding and support for educating all the children of our region and state,” Maxwell added. “But Proposition 204 does not meet this goal and we urge voters to vote ‘no’.”

SALC cited specific issues with the Strong Start Tucson initiative:

  • Poor governance structure – The Mayor and Council would form a commission to design the program and designate a non-profit agency to operate it, with the City having no direct authority over a program it is being required to fund.
  • Lack of detailed program definition – With no specific guidelines, definitions or directives on the scholarship program itself in Prop. 204, the appointed commission will be responsible for creating specifics including eligibility, reimbursements, and provider standards.
  • Eligibility limited to City residents only – Not a single school district would have complete eligibility coverage for its Pre-K students because all district boundaries are both inside and outside the City limits.
  • Inability to meet demand – The initiative seeks to provide 8,500 children with tuition assistance for high-quality pre-kindergarten and raises $50 million yearly to do so. But that capacity of providers and early-education teachers does not exist today and would take years to develop if even possible.
  • Inappropriate scale and tax burden –The proposed tax rate far exceeds, up to four times, those of similar programs in communities cited by the initiative. Additionally, the tax has no sunset or end date; it is permanent. When combined with the City’s sales tax increase earlier this year, passage of Prop 204 will result in a 50% increase in the City of Tucson sales tax rate in 2017.
  • Passage jeopardizes other state and local priorities – Perhaps most important, increasing the sales tax burden in the City of Tucson makes it less likely that City voters would support upcoming public-investment needs of greater impact at the local, regional and state levels.

SALC Successes Drive New Leadership Structure

The dramatic growth and success of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) led to a board decision to expand its staff and put in place a new leadership structure intended to continue the group’s upward trajectory.

“The growth and impact of SALC over the last few years has been remarkable,” said SALC Board Chairman Greg White, who is ‎Vice President and CFO at Raytheon Missile Systems. The board of directors’ recommendation noted “the significant increase in membership is a reflection of the group’s success on strategic issues that will improve the economic environment and quality of life in southern Arizona. The 140-plus members of SALC are excited about the future of the group and the opportunity to help our region reach its full potential. We’re entering 2017 with an outstanding staff aligned to have even greater impact on the direction of our community and our state.”

White announced the promotion of Edward P. (Ted) Maxwell to SALC president, succeeding Ron Shoopman, and expressed appreciation that Shoopman will remain as the organization’s CEO. Shelley Watson, a new member of the SALC team, will replace Maxwell as vice president of SALC effective February 1.

Maxwell, who has been vice president of SALC since April 2013 has had a distinguished military career covering more than 30 years of service. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and his service includes 15 years of active duty and 17 years in the National Guard. After serving as the Vice Wing Commander at the 162nd Wing located at the Tucson International Airport, he assumed the role, and is currently serving, as the Commander of the Arizona Air National Guard. He was promoted to Major General in December 2015. Ted received his master’s of business administration from the University of Arizona in 2014.

Shoopman has been at the help of SALC since January 2005, and has served as president and CEO.. Under his leadership, the group has doubled in size and has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. His extensive military and business experience has served him well in his role at SALC. A retired US Air Force Brigadier General and former wing commander of the 162nd Fighter Wing, Shoopman currently serves on the Arizona Board of Regents and remains involved in other community and state efforts including his leadership of the state’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee.

Watson, who grew up in Tucson, brings a wealth of experience working in fundraising and non-profit management with business and community leaders. She comes to SALC from Capital Quest, Inc., a fundraising consulting firm, where she served as chief operating officer and partner. In that role she led capital campaigns that raised more than $750 million for nonprofits. Previously in Tucson, she was executive director of the American Heart Association. Watson also served on several non-profit boards, including Ronald McDonald House, where she was board president. A graduate of Canyon del Oro High School, she holds a bachelor’s of science in business administration from Arizona State University.

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Brings Football & Economic Opportunity

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council proudly salutes the strong effort, teamwork and leadership that is making the Arizona Bowl a tradition in our community. The game brings in much needed revenue to Tucson between Christmas and New Year’s, traditionally a slow period. Economic impact to Southern Arizona in 2015 – $16.3 million; 8,000 hotel room nights were used.

SALC welcomes the coaches, players and fans of the Air Force Academy Falcons and the South Alabama Jaguars. We look forward to a great game that not only boosts our economy, but shines a light on the wonderful lifestyle here in Southern Arizona.

The 140 senior business leaders of SALC congratulate the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl presenters and partners for building Southern Arizona.

The Bowl founded by Mark Irvin and Fletcher Mckuser is served by an Executive Board of (Ali Farhang, Gary Malis, David Cohen, Kym Adair, and Brent DeRaad) and an advisory board of more than 50 local business leaders from across Tucson

The conference has multi-year commitment from NOVA Home Loans as Title Sponsor; four year contracts with Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference to provide teams; and a four-year deal with Campus Insiders, the Bowl’s Digital Media Partner

For more information about the games visit