Fourth Quarter 2016

The Quick Jab

by Bill Jabjiniak

Mesa: a strategic player in aerospace and defense

helicopter.pngFor decades now Mesa has been a strategic location for aerospace and defense companies including Boeing, MD Helicopters, Orbital ATK, Nammo Talley, and Able Aerospace Services – all with large operations in Mesa.

These companies, and many others, have landed in Mesa because of Arizona’s strategic competitive advantages.

Arizona Rankings and Accolades

According to the recent 2016 Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Rankings report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Arizona is the most attractive state in the nation for aerospace manufacturing. The rankings are based on a weighted average of variables such as costs, industry size, infrastructure, stability, and workforce.

If you combine Arizona and the state of Sonora, Mexico, the region makes up the fourth-largest aerospace supply chain in the world and the largest in North America, according to the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Here are some additional compelling Arizona statistics that the Arizona Commerce Authority shares on its website:i

  • 52,592 people employed by aerospace and defense related companies with a $5.5 billion total annual payroll.
  • $3.5 billion in total aerospace and defense exports and $9.9 billion in Federal contracts.
  • 78 college programs related to aerospace and defense.
  • 2nd largest employment in space and defense systems manufacturing.
  • 4th largest employment in aviation and aerospace manufacturing.
  • 6th largest employment in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) occupations.
  • Top 10 largest employment in aviation and aerospace services.
  • Top 10 for aerospace/defense government contracts with 20,000+ transactions and $8.7 billion.
  • 1,200 aerospace and defense companies in Arizona.

Mesa Hosts the Big Players and Supply Chain Partners

Mesa is home to Boeing’s manufacturing facility of the AH-64 Apache combat helicopter as well as components, avionics, and composite parts, employing more than 4,000 highly-skilled workers. Across the street, on airport, is the headquarters for the major rotorcraft manufacturer, MD Helicopters, which builds high-performance helicopters for both civilian and military use around the world.

In addition, Mesa has helicopter service providers and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations such as Heliponents and Able Aerospace Services. Recently purchased by global player, Textron Inc., Able also provides MRO services for fixed-wing aircraft. Other fixed-wing service providers with operations in Mesa include Embraer, Cessna, Marsh Aviation, Aeromaritime America, Falcon Executive Aviation, Jetstrip, N1 and many others.

Other key aerospace and defense players in the City include Nammo Talley, Orbital ATK, Lockheed Martin, L3 Communications, Allegiant, GECO, and WireMasters.

Abundant, Skilled, Low-Cost Workforce

The Phoenix-Mesa metro area is well supplied with an abundant and very skilled workforce boasting a labor pool of more than two million.

Furthermore, Arizona is a right-to-work state with a very low unionization rate, the second lowest unemployment insurance taxii, and workers compensations rates that are 86 percent of the national average.iii

Mesa’s workforce talent pipeline is very strong. Mesa’s seven campuses for higher education offer specialized training for high-tech aerospace and defense industries including composites, manufacturing and electronics technology, aeronautical engineering, airport management, air traffic control, pilot training, aircraft maintenance and more.

ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have the highest engineering undergrad enrollment in the U.S. Moreover, ASU has more than 19,000 engineering students enrolled in undergrad and graduate programs.

Low Taxes, Business Friendly

Mesa and the State of Arizona are business-friendly with a low cost of doing business. Arizona has no franchise tax, business inventory tax, or estate tax, and is among the lowest in the nation for corporate and individual income tax rates. Also, businesses with multi-state operations will appreciate the transition to a 100 percent sales factor income appointment formula, which will be completely phased in by 2017.iv

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #221 also offers qualified companies with deferred or reduced tariffs and a significant property tax reduction of as much as 72.9 percent.

Mesa’s Two Airport Districts and Opportunities

Falcon Field Airport
At the center of the Falcon District is Falcon Field Airport, one of the nation’s most active general aviation airports and an ideal location for aerospace, aviation and defense companies involved in manufacturing, research and development, aviation services, and MRO operations.

Falcon Field is surrounded by a 1,000-acre business district that includes six industrial parks, which can accommodate aerospace companies of all types and sizes.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport with three long runways, (10,400 ft., 10,200 ft. and 9,300 ft.) is the keystone of the Mesa Gateway Area and is a prime location for aerospace, aviation and defense related businesses including high-tech manufacturers and suppliers, research and development, logistics and cargo services, and MRO operations.

The airport is developing the Gateway Aerospace Park that includes 350-acres of developable land with runway/taxiway access. Surrounding the airport are more than 1,000 acres of developable land.

The airport is designated as a Military Reuse Zone, which provides tax incentives to qualified companies and a property tax reduction of up to 72.9 percent.

We invite you to learn more about Mesa’s aerospace and defense sector by downloading our Aerospace Industry Profile or by visiting


i (Arizona Commerce Authority) d35uq38u77mscr. IndustryOverview2015.pdf?pdf=Aerospace-DefenseIndustry-Overview, 2016

ii, 2016

iii Workers-Comp-Premium-Changes-by-State-2010-20141. pdf, 2016

iv, 2016






atsu logo 

ATSU’s Audiology Foundation of America Balance & Hearing Institute introduces new program to expand reach to patients in need

A.T. Still University’s AFA Balance & Hearing Institute recently announced development of its “Still Hearing Fund,” which helps low-income individuals with hearing loss obtain hearing aids or other assistive devices at little to no cost. Special priority is given to children and certain qualifications apply. 

In 2013, ATSU opened the AFA Balance & Hearing Institute, a community facility for the University’s audiology and allied health programs. To date, the Institute has served more than 2,500 patients from ages 2 weeks to 103 years. ATSU’s clinical faculty and student doctors of audiology have performed more than 6,000 procedures and exams including earwax removal, hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, and exams for dizziness, vertigo and imbalance.

The AFA Balance & Hearing Institute is located at 4838 E. Baseline Road, Suite 126, Mesa, AZ, 85206. For more information or to donate a new or gently used hearing aid to the Still Hearing Fund call (480) 265-8067 or visit

BenU Logo

BenU announces record enrollment, beach volleyball, new classroom space, Junior Chamber Program

Benedictine University at Mesa began its fourth fall semester with a campus record 387 traditional undergraduate students.

BenU at Mesa recently signed its first four players in women’s beach volleyball, which will begin play in spring 2017. The University currently offers 10 intercollegiate sports – men’s and women’s volleyball, golf, cross country and basketball, baseball and softball. Men’s and women’s soccer teams will play for one year at the club level before transitioning into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in the fall of 2017.

BenU vacated its 51 E. Main St. location as part of an agreement with the City of Mesa. Offices were relocated to Gillett Hall at 225. E. Main St., while the University also took occupancy of classroom and office space at the Mesa Center for Higher Education, located at 245 W. Second St.

BenU at Mesa also recently partnered with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce to launch the Junior Chamber Program to provide BenU students hands-on leadership opportunities.

Students within the program will volunteer a minimum of 50 hours between chamber activities and time with member sponsors. The students will receive professional development, mentoring from Mesa business leaders, and participate in chamber and community events, as well as philanthropic activities.

Several area businesses have committed to be member sponsors of the program. The sponsors will assist, present, and provide shadowing opportunities for the class throughout the year.   See for more information.

alhambra hotel 

Historic Alhambra Hotel to provide deluxe residential facility for Benedictine students

In January, BenU at Mesa students seeking housing options close to campus will have access to single or double suites in the former Alhambra Hotel offering amenities such 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 building at 225 E. Main St.

The $3.5 million renovation will initially accommodate 53 students. A second phase buildout will create space for about another 10 students.

Currently, 17 BenU at Mesa students are housed in the Phoenix Marriott Mesa on Centennial Way and a number of other students are residing in and around Mesa in apartments. There also will be up to 36 parking spaces available for BenU student use.

Benedictine will be leasing the property from the developers and soon expects to start reviewing student housing applications for the location.  Visit for more information.

cgcc logo 

Cooper Hall Grand Opening at CGCC Williams Campus

Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC) invites students, staff, and community members to the grand opening of Cooper Hall, the newest building on the CGCC Williams Campus located at 7360 E. Tahoe Ave. in Mesa. The Grand Opening will be held Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 2 p.m.

The 11,820 sq. ft. multifaceted building is the home of various programs including math, electrical utility technology, history, engineering, and business.

Cooper Hall features four general classrooms, two engineering and applied technology labs, faculty offices, a conference room and support spaces. The building was funded by the 2004 Maricopa County Community College District bond, built to LEED Silver certification standards, and includes 100 percent LED lighting, carbon neutral carpet, and ground concrete floors.  For details, visit


MCC Blue logo

Mesa Community College named among Best 2-year College for Adult Learners 

graduateWashington Monthly magazine ranked Mesa Community College (MCC) the 11th Best 2-year College for Adult Learners in the nation based on ease of transfer and services for adult students, and a near perfect score in flexibility of programs.

“MCC is aware of the challenges adult learners face when returning to school and we’ve established programs and support services to assist our adult learners,” Sasan Poureetezadi, MCC Interim President said. “We offer tutoring, mentoring and on-site child care along with flexible schedules including hybrid, online and evening classes. Last spring, MCC optimized its Red Mountain campus class schedule offering 2 days, 4 days or 1 day per week classes, decreasing the number of visits to campus each week.”

Visit to learn more.



Mesa residents are earning their degree through NAU’s innovative competency-based degree program

Through Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Personalized Learning platform, Mesa residents can now earn a degree completely online and at their own pace. This accredited, competency-based program is well-suited for working professionals with convenient weekly start dates to fit their busy schedules. The affordable 6-month subscription blocks can be renewed as many times as needed until the degree is completed. The student sets the pace with no deadlines, textbooks or hidden fees. Contact an admissions counselor to learn more at 800-628-0040.


uofa logo

University of Arizona’s MBA delivers proven results for professionals living and working in Mesa

With the new U.S. News & World Report rankings, Mesa’s working professionals can reap the benefits of the Eller MBA programs from The University of Arizona. As Mesa emerges as a Tech leader, students may consider an elite concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS).

Sean Byrnes, senior program manager at Honeywell, recalls the convenience of the Eller online program as a Mesa resident, calling it, “an outstanding education.” Byrnes further explains, “This unique networking opportunity has allowed me to expand my business interactions in the East Valley area.”

The program also offers an in-person format nearby, as it did for Crescent Crown Distributing’s (CCD) Lisa Macafee, VP of Human Resources, “I became a better leader, communicator, strategist and more confident.”  CCD has about 550 employees based in Mesa.


Wilkes logo 

Wilkes announces special pricing plan to business partners

Wilkes University offers a Partnership Pricing Plan for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. Under the plan, partners’ employees and family members can receive special tuition benefits when continuing their education. The City of Mesa, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, and the Mesa Police Department are among Wilkes’ current partners.

The Partnership Pricing Plan tuition benefits include:

  • Full-time employees seeking their MBA will receive 10 percent off their total tuition.
  • Full-time employees seeking to complete their bachelor's degree will receive 15 percent off their total tuition.
  • Spouses and children of full-time employees will receive a $1,000 partnership scholarship when pursuing their MBA or bachelor's degree on a full-time basis.

For qualified students, this special pricing can be used in conjunction with Wilkes scholarships.

To learn more about these tuition benefits, visit or contact Kelly Allan at 480-878-4412 or


 gateway logo2 

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport reports record month, new restaurant, $9.1M grant

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport continues to show phenomenal growth in both passenger and economic development activity.  As the Arizona summer continued its stretch of 100 degree days, a record number of residents chose Allegiant Airlines to escape the heat.  More than 132,000 passengers traveled through the airport, marking the busiest July ever, and eighth busiest month on record. 

This news came on the heels of the announcement that Kind Hospitality, Inc. would be opening a Barrio Brewing Company restaurant at the Gateway Aviation Center.  With more than 2,000 employees working within the Mesa Gateway District, a high quality restaurant like Barrio Brewing Company offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be wildly popular with the businesses and more than 10,000 college students located on the nearby ASU and Maricopa Community College campuses.

Finally, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport announced the largest federal grant it has received since transitioning from a fighter pilot training base to a bustling regional airport. The $9.1 million grant will be used to replace over 1 million sq. ft. (more than 17 football fields) of concrete originally placed in 1941. The yearlong project will create more than 100 jobs and help the airport better serve corporate, military and general aviation customers.  For more information, visit