A Bird’s Eye View of Water and Power

KinsellaBy Lois Kinsella, Class 28
Intel Corporation

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program provides its students with a bird’s eye view of the City of Scottsdale: its people, its culture and history, and the intricate infrastructure required to support it.  A lucky few recently had a different bird’s eye view – from the windows of a Bell 212 helicopter, compliments of Salt River Project (SRP).  Along with an impressive sight-seeing excursion, it was also an amazing lesson in the waterways and power sources which SRP manages across the state.

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Hydro, coal, methane, natural gas, desalination, surface water, drought-planning… SRP has been a leading company in the valley for decades, dating back to the reclamation act in the early 1900s for the privately-owned water division of the company, and the ‘20s for the publicly-owned power division which serves over 950K+ customers.  Legend tells that Arizona’s waterways were first designed by early native tribes, then later re-built and improved upon using ideas from people such as C.C. Cragin who came to town with a visionary design for water flow; a great challenge for a state with very low annual rainfall.  At the time he was run out of town for radical ideas which may have been simply ahead of their time, however C.C. Cragin’s has since been described and recognized as a utility artist.

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Our sincere thanks to our new SRP friends Mark Campbell, Jason Dudley, and our pilot John, for an impressive day – check-mark on the bucket list for taking a helicopter ride!

A few knowledge nuggets from the day:

  • If you flipped on the switch to a natural gas plant, it could be producing power in under 15 minutes.  Roughly the same time it takes to heat up my bbq to cook dinner!
  • Palo Verde Nuclear is the largest nuclear plant in the USA, and the only one which uses reclaimed water in its operations.  A great example of how water and power working together can reduce our carbon footprint.
  • There is no such thing as ‘new’ water; water is continuously recycled, cleaned using ground filtration and treatment methods, then re-used.  An insightful way to think about water…

AS SRP continues to plan ahead 20-30 years for our water needs, and 10 years ahead for our power usage, think about what you could do to make a difference TODAY!  What are your ideas?

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Do You Have a Voice? City Government is Listening …

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By Mike Davis, Class 28
DMB Associates, Inc.

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

On City Government Day, I certainly did not expect to find myself entertained while learning how Scottsdale’s city government works – but that is just what happened.  With each Scottsdale Leadership class, I start the day thinking I have a good idea of how the day will unfold, yet in each class I continue to be pleasantly surprised… and City Government Day was no different.

To start the day, we were fortunate to have an intimate conversation with Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, and learn how important reforms and government transparency are to him in his term as Mayor.  This was followed by a presentation from City Manager, Fritz Behring who explained how Scottsdale’s particular form of government works.

Now it is one thing to listen to a lecture on how city government works, but it is another thing entirely to experience it.  After our overview of Scottsdale’s city government structure, we went to small presentations that focused on code enforcement, city financials and boards and commissions.  These presentations tied city government to tangible scenarios, such as enforcing noise ordinances or settling residential disputes.

IMG_4194Next, the class witnessed a panel discussion with the Scottsdale City Council, answering various questions.  Our panelists included Councilmembers Robert Littlefield, Virginia Korte, Dennis Robbins, and was moderated by Councilmember Linda Milhaven.   Each councilmember participated in the discussion and answered questions based on their view of how the City Council is supposed to work.  We learned that members of the council often do not agree, and can have very spirited debates about topics that have a significant impact on the City of Scottsdale. 

IMG_4213One such topic is the General Plan, which the class staged a mock vote.  The class was divided into supporters, opponents, decision makers, and drafters.  The culmination of the exercise was the mock City Council vote on the Scottsdale General Plan – but only after hearing from people in favor of and opposed to the Plan.  This exercise was both humorous and valuable in that it demonstrated how a City Council meeting is run and how Scottsdale citizens can make their voice heard.

If this class day inspired you to get involved, whether it is simply to let your opinion be heard before a City Council meeting, or to run for a position within city government, then the class accomplished more than its objectives.

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4 Lessons Learned During a Scottsdale Police Ride-A-Long

AkerBy Andrea Aker, Class 28
Aker Ink®

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

Scottsdale Leadership is designed to take us out of our comfort zones – and I experienced just that recently, riding shotgun with one of Scottsdale’s finest. Officer Jennifer Cook, a 13-year veteran of the Scottsdale Police Department, gave me a peek into the hustle and bustle of street patrols.

SPDFollowing November’s Safe Communities Day, Class 28 gained a much deeper understanding of how local law enforcement works, as well as the people, canines, tools and resources that keep our community safe. Officer Cook brought many of these lessons to life during two “committal calls” (transporting individuals who appear unstable to mental health facilities) and neighborhood disturbances. Here’s a sampling of what I gleaned:

Women Rule – While I was quite aware that women rule in general, the ride-a-long served as a thoughtful reminder about the additional challenges women overcome in male-dominated fields such as law enforcement. Officer Cook has put in extra effort to gain much of the same respect her male counterparts receive from the public, without issue. However, women have advantages too. They tend to be very effective communicators which can be crucial when diffusing tense situations that could escalate into physical violence.

Traffic Stop Danger is Unknown – Officer Cook informed me that police officers are most likely to get injured during traffic stops, which is why they may appear extra cautious or serious when approaching your car door. The process may seem routine to outsiders, but officers never know who they are pulling over, and what secrets they may be hiding. In recent months, a Phoenix police officer was assaulted during a traffic stop, and a DPS officer in Payson was shot during a traffic stop. A simple traffic incident can quickly turn violent.

Police Officers are People Persons – Stereotypes of stern and often insensitive officers are false. Each of the officers I encountered were friendly, accommodating and passionate about protecting the community. Effective cops must relate well to others – doing so can help prevent crimes, diffuse risky situations and calm victims. (And that doughnut stereotype is totally untrue, too – fudge brownie bites were passed around during the briefing.)

Scottsdale is Among the Safest Cities to Live – Safe neighborhoods are one of the primary reasons Scottsdale is such a desirable city to live. Highly trained and skilled officers like Officer Cook directly contribute to an extremely low crime rate. In fact, LawStreetMedia.com ranked Scottsdale as the fifth safest city in America in 2013 (with a population greater than 200,000).

Scottsdale residents, students, business owners and city employees can take part in ride-a-longs. If you want to see what a day in the life of a Scottsdale police officer is really like, call the Uniformed Services Bureau Secretary at (480) 312-1907.

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Pssst… Wanna Join a Nonprofit Board?

LloydBy Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.  The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. -Albert Einstein

Serving on a nonprofit Board is a great way to “put back.” But first, read this blog!

Our last Scottsdale Leadership class was Boardsmanship Day. Honestly, I was fairly confident; it was going to be bor-ring. Imagine my surprise, when it was the exact opposite.

Board Panel Our panel – charged with teaching us the roles, responsibilities and expectations of serving on nonprofit Boards – was a who’s who in the world of Arizona nonprofits. Steve Davidson, Class 10 (CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale), Pam Gaber (CEO, Gabriel’s Angels), Patricia Lewis (ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation) and Eileen Rogers, Class 2 (nonprofit Board all-star) emphasized that it’s important to do your homework before serving on a Board.

Say you’ve found the nonprofit of your dreams. You’ve heard wonderful things about it. You’re eager to join the Board. Whoa… not so fast! Having passion for a nonprofit is critical, but so is doing your due diligence. There are essential things to grasp before joining a Board for the first time. Here goes….

You definitely want to meet the Executive Director.

It’s imperative to know that as a Board member, you are a fiduciary. You’re managing assets for another party, often with the legal authority and duty to make decisions regarding financial matters on behalf of the other party. No matter how the organization is structured or the degree of authority delegated to staff or committees, the Board and therefore the individual members are ultimately accountable.

Inquire if the organization has proper insurance coverage. Patricia Lewis said, “Don’t join a Board unless it has directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.”

Ask financial questions as it’s your responsibility to understand the Board’s financial statements. If you notice any red flags, stay away.

Board members must understand the facts and circumstances of accounting issues and the overall financial health of the organization. To do this, Board members must be actively engaged in the governance process. This means getting educated on Board governance and the nonprofit’s bylaws.

Ask about the Board term length and the expected time commitment. Don’t join something if you don’t have the time to serve. Oh, and be careful of any conflicts of interest.

Wait – you’re not done yet. Our experts said to test-drive the Board first. Join one of the nonprofit’s committees. You can see firsthand the organization’s inner workings. Plus decide if the current Board members are people you want to work alongside.

Don’t go blindly into joining a nonprofit Board. Put on your extra-strength spectacles and do your due diligence.

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Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?

GoodmanBy Alison Goodman, Class 28
Scottsdale Quarter

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.   The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 
 

With the recent and heartbreaking death of movie star Paul Walker, the topic of speeding and its potentially fatal outcome cannot be ignored. According to the LA Times, speed may have indeed been a factor in causing this tragic accident on a quiet road with a 45mph speed limit. A road full of warning signs alerting drivers to slow down as they approach an uphill curve… the same uphill curve near the site of the accident.

In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracked 10,395 lives lost to speeding, which equates to 32% of all fatal car crashes. More than 900 people a year die and nearly 2,000 are injured as a result of red light running, with half of the fatalities being pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles who are hit by red light runners, not the red light runners themselves. And as we saw from the video footage on Safe Communities Day, the risk for casualties is high and the outcome terrifying.

How does all of this relate to the drivers of Scottsdale? Photo radar, a subject hotly debated when the cameras were first introduced and still a source of discussion today. As a former member of the Lead Foot club, I know all too well the feeling of panic that ensues when running late and how it seems reasonable to speed in order to get to the desired location on time. However, and as much as fast drivers will hate to admit it, speeding rarely gets you to your destination more than a minute or two quicker than if you hadn’t sped to begin with.

“But will pushing the speed limit up 5mph really make a difference?” you ask. “What about 10? What about 20?” We fundamentally know that speed limits are put in place because they are the designated safest speed at which to travel a road– is getting somewhere a minute or two faster so vital that it’s worth putting your life and the lives of the others at risk?

As annoying as photo radar can seem, it’s not just a quick way for the City of Scottsdale to make money – it really does make our roads safer. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anywhere I need to be that justifies driving at a speed that could potentially cause harm. In summation: slow the [bleep] down.

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Eureka! There’s Help in Them Thar Libraries!

LloydBy Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.   The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 
 

I wasn’t expecting to evoke the California Gold Rush when writing my blog about Scottsdale Leadership’s Economic Development Day.

After all, economic development is the process of building strong, adaptive economies not searching for gold. In fact, Danielle Casey, Economic Development Director for the City of Scottsdale, defines it as, “the process of creating wealth through the mobilization of human, financial, capital, physical and natural resources to generate marketable goods and services.”

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Class 28 was exposed to many economic concepts that day – from an economic update to economic trends shaping our community; all things you would expect during a crash course on Economic Development. But I was surprised when Casey had a spot in her presentation for Carol Damaso, Scottsdale’s Public Library Director, to talk about the Eureka Loft.

The Eureka Loft, located at the Civic Center Library, is a co-working space. It’s part of a new initiative between the Scottsdale Public Library and ASU Venture Catalyst, the startup unit of Arizona State University. This joint effort is designed to help entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.

(Full disclosure: the Eureka Loft is actually named after the famous “Eureka” moment of Greek astronomer, inventor, mathematician and physicist Archimedes. It has nothing to do with finding gold. But hey, I understand the concept of panning for gold much more than I do Archimedes’ principle.)

The Eureka Loft combines elements of collaboration spaces with expert library fact-finding services and ASU startup resources all in one place. On top of that, they can get advice and access to some pracademic classes both online and in the library. (Pracademic is the mixture of academic and practitioner.)

Michael Beck, Class 28 classmate and Adult Services Coordinator at Scottsdale Public Library, runs the Eureka Loft program and says its benefits are numerous.

“Anybody can come into the library and get free one-on-one assistance with mentorship, access to library databases, business databases, mentorship with ASU and business community leaders”, said Beck. “They can also receive help with their filings for limited liability corporations.”

Members of the Scottsdale library staff have become champions of the program. Each library champion has gone through ASU’s Rapid Startup School which is an introduction to entrepreneurship.

The long term goal of Eureka Loft is to support Scottsdale’s entrepreneurs, inventors, small businesses and the like that need help to advance their ideas. The collaboration spaces allow these people to gather to connect, network and share ideas. They are free and open to the public during normal library hours.

Here’s what I like best about the Eureka Loft… economic vitality shouldn’t just be on the backs of Scottsdale’s high powered movers and shakers. Thanks to the Eureka Loft, we can all take part.

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Are the right standards in place in our school system?

RodneyHeadShotBy Rodney Smith, Class 28
First Financial Equity Corporation
Helping Hands for Freedom, Co-founder

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.   The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 

It was a teacher in 7th grade that saw something inside this skinny, white haired kid from Thornton, Colorado that “changed my stars”.  He believed in me. He connected with me. He inspired me.

On Friday, October 25, 2013, I was able to share with my amazing classmates in the Scottsdale Leadership program a spectacular day with some of the most passionate, talented, and committed people in our education system. It became very apparent to me as the day unfolded that many of the standards we use to measure the success of our education system fall into the categories of: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Test scores as a measurement of success, access to money, or a means of job security need to jump in a canoe and float down the river. At the end of the day, if a child feels “connected” the odds increase significantly as to that child finding passion and direction to live a fulfilling life. That is the measurement that needs to be defined and held accountable.

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Kim Dodd, Mary Masters and Kim Hanna (Class 27 graduates of the Scottsdale Leadership Program) provided the structure and direction of Education Day.  Mary emphasized, “A primary goal of the day was to inform the class all that “education” encompasses such as each child’s own level of readiness, constraints and obstacles the teachers face, evolving curriculum, and political differences when it comes to expenditures.”  One of our true leaders when it comes to Arizona education, Dr. Lattie F. Coor from the Center for the Future of Arizona, spoke to the group and simplified it best, “Understand the issues, and do something about it.” The current standards define what all students are expected to know and be able to do, not how teachers should teach.

Dr. John Balles, Clinical Services Coordinator for the Scottsdale Unified School District, started the day defining the challenges facing our children. Of course, bullying, drugs & alcohol, home environment, and social environments 

remain obstacles that our children have to overcome, but technology and all the different types of communication available in cyber-space are also a major factor whether or not our kids feel accepted and connected. Can you imagine if we had to worry about how many “LIKES” we have on Facebook to feel good about ourselves? PARENTS BEWARE!

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It was John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Arizona Department of Education that really opened my eyes regarding our school systems limited view of how we hold the system accountable. Mr. Huppenthal feels a holistic approach to education needs to be at the forefront and I agree. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. A complete, well-rounded view of education as a whole should be where we develop, evaluate and measure. Caring and supportive teachers create a classroom environment which encourages students to behave in responsible ways and emphasizes learning over performing.

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The theme of “connectedness” was even more apparent during a panel discussion featuring  the “Best of the Best” representatives speaking from a multitude of education sectors including charter schools, early childhood education, parent representative, business representative, public schools, higher education, and home school. Moderator Kim Hanna of Camping For Foodies, led a very intellectual dialog on regardless of where you send your child to school, it takes involvement from the community at-large to make it work, perhaps “Parent Development” being the most important factor. The quality and quantity of education received by our young people have a positive direct correlation with community stewardship, job creation, global marketplace competitiveness, career opportunity and civic engagement while minimizing the negative impacts on social services, substance abuse and suicides. As Kim Hanna points out, “Education is the foundation of our entire society—that’s why we should all be passionate about it.”

Politically speaking I struggle with the idea that one person can make a difference anymore, but I do know personally that each of us can make a difference in the life of a child. I challenge you to share at least one positive step to engage students, families and the community in ensuring the education of our children?

To my seventh grade teacher, Mr. Usechek… THANK YOU for believing in me and connecting with me. I love my life because of you!

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