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Appointments
Diane Van Nocker has been appointed portfolio manager in Phoenix for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Her appointment is part of an overall company effort to increase the number of client-facing professionals at U.S. Trust in order to better serve its wealthy clients.
Van Nocker joins U.S. Trust from Fifth Third Bank, where she served as vice president and senior portfolio manager. She is a resident of Fountain Hills.
Legal
The Arizona Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program received the Janet Napolitano “Courage for Children” Award by the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents (AZAFAP) on Sept. 21. The award is presented “to a group or individual who leads systematic change that improves services for children in Arizona through legislative, political and/or social action.”
The Arizona CASA Program was established as a statewide program in 1985 and is operated locally in all 15 counties and is administered by the Arizona Supreme Court.
I. Godwin Otu has been hired as the first ever director of diversity for the State Bar of Arizona. The Bar created this new position in conjunction with its commitment to improve recruiting and retention of minorities.
Government
Fred Karnas Jr. has been appointed director of the Arizona Department of Housing. He brings 30 years of experience working with low-income men, women and children in Arizona and across the United States.
Karnas has a bachelor’s degree in city planning from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. in environmental design and planning from Virginia Tech.
He is currently the administrator of the new Center for Housing Affordability and Livable Communities for the Arizona Department of Housing and will begin his new duties Oct. 25.
He will replace Dr. Sheila Harris, who is leaving the department to revive her consulting company and pursue development opportunities in the private sector.
Rep. Albert Tom, D-2, will serve as the chairman of the Environment, Water, Natural Resources and Energy Committee for the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators. He is working on national environmental issues facing Native Americans.
Mohave County Public Works has become the sixth county in the United States to receive accreditation from the American Public Works Association (APWA). The APWA benchmarks public works departments with the best public works policies and procedures throughout North America.
Mohave County is the fourth agency in Arizona to receive accreditation, joining the cities of Chandler and Tucson and Coconino County.
Donna Wickersham, a 12-year veteran of the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, is retiring. She has served the state for a total of 21 years. She served as the department’s administrator for Business Services and Human Resources.
Nolberto Machiche joined the Arizona Department of Corrections on Sept. 24 as media relations administrator. Machiche has worked for 17 years in the media, public relations and marketing fields and government including representing AHCCCS.
Most recently he was with Grupo N/Riester Multicultural. He replaced Katie Decker who now serves as public information officer for the Town of Fountain Hills.  
The Arizona Department of Commerce has awarded Main Street Grants totaling $59,539 to the following six cities:
Show Low Main Street: $15,000 — Upgrade the entrance park to include a recently donated bronze elk statue, enhancing the gateway that invites visitors to explore the community.
Nogales Community Development: $14,600 — Upgrade the existing outdoor plaza along historic Morley Avenue in downtown Nogales.
Pinetop-Lakeside Main Street: $14,894 — Updates the community “Design Theme,” a poster-board which outlines the community zoning plans and rules, to enhance and complement economic development and downtown redevelopment efforts.
Sedona Main Street: $8,015 — Develop a plan that will assist the Main Street organization with a brand and identity for the historic downtown, and address the appropriate location(s) for monument signage for marketing/promotion. $3,500 — Develop a conceptual plan and rendering for the Sacajawea Plaza, which will enhance the historic district and create an environment to improve the economic health of the Main Street district.
Florence Main Street Program: $3,530 — Computer upgrades to assist the local organization to more effectively manage and develop the Main Street’s Web site, business directory, Florence Walking Tour brochure and community mailings.
Environment
The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Building B, won the President’s Award at Valley Forward’s 27th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) program. Building B opened in 2006 and has also received the highest possible designation for environmentally friendly design and construction from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Building B also won a first-place Crescordia Award in the Buildings and Structures/Large Scale and Community Development category.
Education
Midwestern University in Glendale awarded the following three individuals with its Littlejohn Award at the school’s fall faculty/staff recognition dinner on Sept. 14.
The award was created in honor of the Littlejohns, who were three physician brothers who founded the American College of Osteopathic Medicine & Surgery in 1900, which later became the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, which later founded Midwestern University.
John Shaff, M.M.S., PA-C, is a 2004 graduate of the university’s Physician Assistant Studies Program. He is noted for his caring bedside manner, he has been active in the community helping with everything from coaching to wrestling to free sports physicals and has served as a lecturer and preceptor for MWU students.
Erin Raney, Pharm.D., BCPS, is an associate professor in Midwestern’s College of Pharmacy in Glendale. She is active in establishing community service opportunities for pharmacy students, pharmacy consulting services and student rotations at the new Midwestern University Clinic.
Diane Wilkinson is the executive assistant to the dean of basic sciences and vice president of clinic operations. She volunteers to help with myriad campus special events, including the Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala, the Chippin’ in for Students golf tournament, commencement and others.
Awards
Shelley Cohn , former executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, will receive the 2007 Arizona Theatre Service Award from the Actors’ Equity Association at the union’s area membership meeting on Oct. 8.
Cohn joined the Commission on the Arts in 1976 after earning her master’s degree in Humanities from ASU. She became executive director in 1984, a post she held until retiring in 2005.
The award is presented annually by the Phoenix/Tucson Actors’ Equity Association Liaison Committee to recognize significant contribution and service to the Arizona theatre community.
Thomas A. Gilson, a partner with Lewis & Roca LLP, won the “Best Non-Production Newsletter” award from the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. Gilson was honored for his work while serving as editor of the “Criminal Litigation Newsletter” from 2005-07.
Gilson is a partner in the firm’s Commercia
l Litigation Section and its Criminal Defense, Governmental Relation and Corporate Compliance group.
Scottsdale Healthcare made #41 on the AARP’s list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. Winners are chosen from several areas of consideration including: recruiting practices; opportunities for training, education and career development; workplace accommodations; alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling, job sharing, and phased retirement; employee health and pension benefits; retiree benefits; and age diversity of the workforce.
Home cleaning product giant SC Johnson based in Racine, Wis. took the top spot on the list. No other Arizona-based companies made the top 50.
n  AAA Arizona was recently honored with the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s Copper Anvil Award. The auto club was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category for efforts to advocate for passage of the Teenage Driver Safety Act legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Napolitano on May 14, 2007.
The annual Copper Anvil Awards recognize programs and campaigns that incorporate sound research, planning, execution and evaluation.
Rick Johnson and John Cosgrove, owners of Renaissance Executive Forums of Phoenix North, were named “Business Partners of the Year” for 2007 at the annual business meeting of Renaissance Executive Forums. The pair racked up the most awards with recognition in seven different business categories including the International Growth Leader Award for the second year running.
Renaissance Executive Forums is an exclusive membership organization for CEOs, presidents and business owners that enables them to capitalize on the collective business experience and expertise of a peer advisory group.

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