First Quarter 2017

The Quick Jab

by Bill Jabjiniak

Mesa is well positioned to attract and grow medical device companies

The life science/healthcare industry is a large and rapidly growing segment of the world economy that provides substantial public benefit with job growth well above the national average.[i] In Arizona, this is a thriving sector with 14,261 companies employing more than 320,000 Arizonans at an average annual wage of $66,807, and driving more than $21.4 billion in total annual payroll in 2015. In addition, Arizona’s academic R&D investment totaled more than $383 million in

med device

In fact, the number of life science jobs in Arizona has grown 49 percent from 2002 to 2014, compared to a national growth rate of less than 14 percent, according to a report prepared by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice for the Flinn Foundation.[iii]

Mesa holds a strong position in the life science/healthcare industries with world-class specialty and general hospitals totaling a combined 2,000 beds and a growing cluster of innovative companies. Specifically, Mesa has established itself as an important player in the medical device sector with companies such as Ulthera (a Merz company), Auer Precision, EyeTech Systems, Guided Therapy Systems, Banner Simulation Center, Paragon Vision Sciences, Ardent Sound, H&S Technical Services, Dexcom and many others.

Dexcom Bringing 500 Medical Device Jobs to Mesa

dexcomThe most recent addition to Mesa’s medical device cluster is Dexcom, Inc. Headquartered in San Diego, with more than 1,800 employees worldwide, Dexcom is a leader in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for patients with diabetes. The company is building out a 180,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in west Mesa, which is projected to create more than 500 jobs over the next several years and will be fully operational in 2018.  

Dexcom chose Mesa due to the available, talented workforce and for its proximity to the company’s San Diego headquarters and key suppliers. Given Dexcom’s growth and growing demand for CGM technology, the company felt Mesa was a strong strategic fit for a significant expansion of its manufacturing capability.

The company’s technical support and inside sales/customer operations teams dexcom monitorwill begin operations in spring 2017. The company is currently recruiting with its first hiring class to start in early April. 

Dexcom is partnering with the City of Mesa, the Maricopa County Community College Network, and Arizona State University to promote employment opportunities in Mesa.  The company will add more than 100 employees in 2017. To view all of Dexcom’s current openings, click here, or contact Dexcom’s Recruiter, Dawn Ridz at

An Educated Workforce Pipeline

With Dexcom’s plan to hire more than 500 employees during the next few years, Mesa’s workforce and talent pool is ready to fill their needs.

Mesa’s higher educational institutions provide a strong pipeline of qualified graduates from programs in biologic and biomedical sciences, engineering and related technologies, physical sciences, precision production and science technologies, nursing, health sciences, dentistry and oral health, health sciences, and osteopathic medicine.

As a head start, Mesa Public Schools offers the Biotechnology Academy, a four-year program that provides freshmen through senior high school students with experience in biotechnology theory and techniques.

Low Cost, Business Friendly, Not California

One of Arizona’s most touted competitive advantages is its low cost, business-friendly operating environment. Bioscience and medical device companies especially like doing business in Mesa because of its proximity to the important bio-hubs of San Diego and San Francisco, without the exorbitant operating costs and heavy regulatory and taxing authority that exists in the State of California.

Arizona has low comparative total payroll costs, including some of the lowest workers' compensation and unemployment insurance in the country. Our state is among the lowest in the nation for corporate and individual income tax rates, and also has no sales tax on manufacturing equipment and no inventory tax. Arizona is a right-to-work state with low unionization and minimal regulation.

Click here to learn more about Mesa’s low cost of doing business.

Falcon Tech Center

tech center

With Arizona’s biomedical job growth rate at three time the national average and the region’s strong medical device cluster, Mesa is a natural location for high-end, campus-like office, research and development, and manufacturing space to accommodate this rapid growth.

Introducing the Falcon Tech Center, which will become the Southwest’s premier location for emerging and established technology companies. The 63-acre, city-owned development adjacent to Falcon Field Airport on Greenfield Rd., will be particularly attractive to California companies that are looking for low-cost alternatives within close proximity.

To learn more about Falcon Tech Center, click here or contact Economic Development Project Manager Lori Gary at

To learn more about Mesa’s medical device sector, visit



[ii], 2016







atsu logo 

ATSU staff receive accolades, university purchases new buildings on Mesa campus

Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH, Dean of A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, has been named one of the 32 most influential people in dentistry by Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine.

Kim Butler Perry, DDS, MSCS, ATSU associate vice president of strategic partnerships, was recently installed as the 93rd president of the National Dental Association. Dr. Perry was the associate dean of clinical operations for ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health prior to moving to Arizona in 2016 as staff based at ATSU’s Mesa campus.

Dr. Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH                        Dr. Kim Perry, DDS, MSCS

ATSU has finalized the purchase of three buildings (for a total of 129,000 sq. ft.) it had been leasing on its Mesa campus, at 5835, 5845, and 5855 E. Still Circle. The purchase will increase University assets and reduce overhead costs, while providing additional space and greater control of the campus environment.


BenU Logo

New housing option for Ben U students

This January, BenU at Mesa students seeking housing options close to campus will have access to single or double suites in the former Alhambra Hotel. Students will enjoy such amenities as study areas, lounges, a café, kitchens, laundry and exercise rooms, an outdoor commons area, patio space, and parking.

The future student residence is located at 43 S. Macdonald in Downtown Mesa and is owned by Venue Projects and Community Development Partners. Students, University representatives, and City of Mesa officials are excited about its location in the heart of Downtown Mesa near the Mesa Arts Center and about a mile from BenU at Mesa’s main campus at 225 E. Main Street.alhambra hotel

The $3.5 million renovation will initially accommodate 53 students. A second phase buildout will create space for another 10 students. There also will be up to 36 parking spaces available for BenU student use.

Double occupancy is just $3,200 per semester. Single rooms are $5,000 per semester. All utilities and services (Wi-Fi, furnished rooms, satellite TV) are included in housing costs.

Currently, 17 BenU at Mesa students are housed in the Phoenix Marriott Mesa on Centennial Way and several other students are residing in and around Mesa in apartments.

Incoming students may apply for housing by completing a Housing Application and returning it to Kevin Broeckling at Gillett Hall, Room 132, or by email at or

  MCC Blue logo

Mesa Community College among best online colleges in Arizonabest college

Mesa Community College (MCC) is ranked third among the best online colleges in Arizona for 2016-17 according to Affordable Colleges Online. The college is nationally recognized for service-learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education.

MCC serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to 30,000 students annually in online, on-campus, and hybrid programs.  MCC offers more than 195 degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations.

MCC is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution with a diverse student body that enriches the learning experience. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to compete locally and globally. MCC is one of the 10 colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. For additional information, visit

MCC Red Mtn 

Mesa Community College at Red Mountain using mother nature as an instructorMCC Red Mtn

On Mesa Community College’s (MCC) 98-acre Sonoran Desert Red Mountain campus, Mother Nature serves as an instructor, classroom and learning laboratory. In the fall of 2014, students participated as 300 endangered, native desert pupfish were released by the Arizona Game and Fish Department into the campus cienega wetlands area. MCC Red Mountain has been recognized with the North American Native Plant Society’s 2014 Founders Conservation Award, as well as the National Wildlife Federation’s 2016 Certified Wildlife Habitat designation.

The Red Mountain campus has delivered affordable, nationally acclaimed and student-friendly higher education opportunities to the East Valley for 15 years. Since its doors opened in 2001, dedicated faculty have helped more than 50,000 students on their educational paths, often using Mother Nature as a co-instructor.

“We strive to meet the needs of our students and the community in which we serve,” MCC Vice Provost, Nora Reyes said. “We developed the 2-day/4-day/1-day schedule offering flexibility to help students create a class schedule around their busy lives and reestablished the Red Mountain Community Advisory Committee to help develop plans to gather insights on how we may best meet the workforce development needs of businesses in the East Valley.”

Learn more at


NAU recognized for Excellence in Diversity

Northern Arizona University recently received the prestigious 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

NAU offers several affordable and accessible bachelor degree options for residents of Mesa. Programs include business, education, justice studies, emergency management and nursing – all in partnership with Mesa Community College.

The HEED Award is the only national recognition honoring colleges and universities that exhibit outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion throughout their campuses.

“This award is truly an honor and reflects the investment and commitment NAU places on diversity. It’s important to note that our work on diversity isn’t about seeking recognition, it represents the commitment of our entire university community,” President Rita Cheng said.

Recent efforts reflecting NAU’s ongoing commitment to diversity include the addition of the International Pavilion to campus, the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer, strengthening ties with tribal colleges, and record-breaking minority student enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year—which currently makes up 39 percent of the new freshman class.

For more information, contact the Mesa Campus at (480) 461-7984.



Wilkes to host Entrepreneurial Experience competition

Business students with an entrepreneurial bent have a chance to win scholarship money when they pitch their new business ideas at the Wilkes University Entrepreneurial Experience competition. The competition brings student teams before a panel of judges to present viable new business plans. The presentations will be held at 6 p.m. on April 20 at Wilkes University, 245 W. Second St., Mesa, AZ.  Participants must sign up by Feb. 1.


The Wilkes University Entrepreneurial Experience (WUEE) brings together Mesa area community college students with Wilkes University entrepreneurship majors who guide the community college students to complete a feasible entrepreneurial idea, presentation, and business plan. The team is then challenged by a panel of judges who base their decisions on six criteria: business description; financing; marketing; competitive advantage; presentation; and investment.

A $300 scholarship is awarded to the community college student on the winning team. The winner of the 2016 competition was Jessica Garman of Mesa, Ariz. Garman, now a Wilkes business student, previously attended Mesa Community College. 

Promoting entrepreneurship helps to drive innovation and job creation in the community.

For more information about the Wilkes University Entrepreneurial Experience, or to submit a letter of intent, please contact Spring Williams at (480) 878-4406 or


Falcon Field Airport terminal renovation wins architectural honors

Falcon field terminal

The City of Mesa's Falcon Field Airport terminal building renovation has been selected as the Best Project in the Renovation/Restoration category for the 2016 Engineering News-Record (ENR) Regional Best Projects awards competition for the Southwest region.

The annual awards program is dedicated to honoring the best construction projects and companies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with the Southwest region consisting of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. Among the 20 categories, ranging from airports to sports and entertainment venues, each project is judged using five criteria: safety; overcoming challenges and teamwork; innovation and contribution to the industry; construction quality and craftsmanship; and functionality of design and aesthetic quality.

Falcon Field opened in September 1941 as a military airport to train British Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Corps pilots. Today, it is among the top 10 most active general aviation airports in the United States, serving corporate, military, public safety, recreational, and instructional aviation uses.

The renovation resulted in a $1.8 million comprehensive remodel and expanded the terminal from 3,560 sq. ft. to 4,734 sq. ft. The new terminal includes enhanced public waiting and pilot briefing space, a meeting room, upgraded restrooms, new airside and landside patios, and public aircraft viewing areas, as well as other interior improvements and an upgraded arrival experience.

"Falcon Field is a regional hub for aviation business and recreational activity, and these improvements not only reflect the continuous improvements that we make to the airport's infrastructure, but also will help us remain competitive in our efforts to attract businesses and continue to be financially self-sustaining," Corinne Nystrom, Airport Director said.

The City of Mesa Falcon Field Airport Terminal Upgrades project will automatically compete in the Best of the Best Projects 2016, a national juried competition, and was a featured project at the ENR Southwest Best Projects Awards Event held November 10 in Phoenix. 

gateway logo2 

Gateway Airport hits record traffic count, now allows Lyft and Uber

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport continued its year-long growth trajectory, posting the highest passenger traffic counts in the airport’s history for the month of October.  In October, 100,891 passengers traveled through the airport, an eight percent increase over October 2015. In addition, the airport welcomed its eight millionth Allegiant passenger since the airline began operations in Mesa in 2007.

Moreover, Gateway Airport has revised its ground transportation rules and now allows Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s), such as Lyft and Uber, to operate at the passenger terminal. With this announcement, passengers arriving at Gateway Airport can be picked up from a designated area in front of the baggage claim terminal. The rule changes came in response to strong consumer demand and became effective in time for the start of the busy holiday travel season.

 MAC logo 

Mesa accepting proposals for Main Street Prototyping Festival
Innovative project employs arts-based community designMAC photos

The City of Mesa seeks prototype proposals from artists, architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, and others to create temporary projects for the first Main Street Prototyping Festival on Nov. 17 and 18, 2017. Proposals for prototypes could include concepts for gathering places, pathways that increase connectivity, games that invite interaction, performances, interactive artwork, and more.

Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the arts, The City of Mesa, Mesa Arts Center (MAC), Neighborhood Economic Development Corp. (NEDCO), LISC Phoenix, and Downtown Mesa Association (DMA) are collaborating to engage the community in testing ideas that respond to dreams, needs, and desires of citizens and visitors.

Those submitting prototype proposals are encouraged to use community input to inspire ideas. At the culminating festival, residents will be invited to vote for their favorite prototypes, and those they feel will provide the most benefits to Downtown and its visitors. A total of 20-25 prototype concepts will be selected for implementation at the fall 2017 festival, with each project allocated $1,000-$3,000 for design, fabrication, and project management.

The deadline to submit is Jan. 23, 2017. To download the Request for Proposals and learn more about the Main Street Prototyping Festival visit

Main Street Prototyping Festival contact: Samuel Peña, Project Coordinator at or (480) 644-2168.

Main Street Prototyping Festival website

VisitMesa logo

Suzanne Keller joins Visit Mesa as new Director of Sports

Suzanne Keller

Visit Mesa, the regional destination marketing organization for the city, announced the hiring of Suzanne Keller to lead the city’s national sports initiatives. In her role as Director of Sports Sales, Keller will be tasked with recruiting top national sporting events, tournaments, and competitions on Mesa fields and in the city’s array of event facilities. In addition, Keller will serve as the city’s primary liaison with National Governing Bodies and oversee a roster of more than 50 signature youth and amateur sports programs held in Mesa year-round.

“It’s well known that Mesa is one of the most in-demand, active sports destinations in the Western U.S., and sports activity is responsible for year-round hotel consumption and citywide group blocks,” Visit Mesa President and CEO Marc Garcia said. “Having Suzanne in this role will further elevate our profile with sports events rights holders. She knows our product, having hosted her own tournaments on our fields here in Mesa. She’s going to play a vital role in how Mesa strengthens its youth and amateur sports reputation in the future.”

Sports tourism is a fast growing, nearly recession-proof marketplace with Mesa ideally suited to attract new sporting events due to Mesa’s affordability, air access, and preferred weather. Keller’s strong ties and past experience with youth and amateur sports groups and associations will serve Visit Mesa well.

Learn more at

global mkts 

Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing 2017

Join the U.S. Commercial Service and the Arizona District Export Council for Discover Global Markets: Advanced Manufacturing and transform market potential into international sales. The event will be held Feb. 16-17, 2017 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Paradise Valley, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.

Attendees will learn about the latest global trends and opportunities for U.S. exporters of advanced manufacturing technology products and services. This program will focus on international manufacturing needs, demand for the latest technologies, lessons learned by successful companies, and how to build the strong partnerships needed to win business. Featured speakers will include international business leaders, visiting U.S. commercial diplomats from more than 15 countries, high-level government officials, and seasoned exporters – with plenty of opportunity for networking and business-to-business connections.

One-on-One Meetings with U.S. Commercial Diplomats

Whether for new export opportunities, help in overcoming challenges, or general questions, pre-schedule meetings with U.S. commercial diplomats who specialize in multiple advanced manufacturing sectors. Key markets represented will include:

-Korea (South)
-Czech Republic
-United Kingdom

*Country list is subject to change.

For more information click here or contact Kristian Richardson at 602-254-2907,; or Christina Parisi at 520-670-5809,

Register here.