• The Arizona Newspapers Association will present its annual Freedom of Information awards to those people whose actions reinforce the principle of open government. The nominees are:
Rhonda Bodfield and Enric Volante, Arizona Daily Star, for their investigation into Pima County nursing home.
George Sanchez, Jack Gillum, Andrea Rivera, Jamar Younger, Leslie Newell and Tiffany Kjos, Arizona Daily Star, for their investigation of social promotion and grade inflation in Tucson’s largest school districts.
Laurie Roberts, The Arizona Republic, for her investigation of the deaths of children under Child Protective Services supervision.
East Valley Tribune staff for investigating the attempted purchase of Johnson Utilities by the city of Florence.
Mike Sakal, East Valley Tribune, for his investigation concerning how many local teachers lost their certification because of sexual misconduct in the past decade.
Neil Young, Mohave Valley Daily News, for being instrumental in a lawsuit against the city of Bullhead City for refusal to release public records.
Elliott Freireich, West Valley View, for winning a suit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio for refusing to obey public records laws.
Rep. Jonathon Paton of Tucson and Rep. Kirk Adams of Mesa for sponsoring a package of four bills in the 2008 legislative session to provide greater transparency and public access to Child Protective Services proceedings — information previously kept from public scrutiny.
Former Sen. Jake Flake, posthumously, for his distinguished service to the state of Arizona on issues pertaining to public access.
• Leon Silver, an attorney with law firm Shughart Thomson & Kilroy, will be recognized by Planned Parenthood of Arizona with the organization’s most prestigious honor, the Peggy Goldwater Award.
The award is presented to volunteers and community leaders who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to Planned Parenthood’s mission.
Since 1989, Silver has worked tirelessly for Planned Parenthood. Silver helped form the first class of the Volunteer Speakers Bureau, a public speaking group that helped promote the mission of Planned Parenthood in the community. Silver traveled around the state, speaking to the public about family planning and the right to choose. From 2001-2003, Silver chaired the Attorneys Action Council.
Silver was honored as a Star Volunteer, and was recognized as Outstanding Public Affairs Volunteer in 1991, 1992 and 1997. In addition, he was honored with the Let Freedom Ring Award for his legal work on behalf of the organization. In 2000, Silver was elected chair of the board of directors and was the first in 20 years to serve in that role for two terms. Today, Silver serves as a trustee for the organization and has raised more than $1 million for Planned Parenthood’s ongoing capital campaign.
• The five businesses below were named Spirit of Enterprise Award winners for boosting Arizona’s economy and giving back to the community. The awards are presented by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University to recognize Arizona companies that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship.
American Traffic Solutions, Inc. — Emerging Entrepreneur Award
ATS deploys red-light and speed camera enforcement programs in more than 120 communities nationwide. Company officials say they focus on promoting safer driving, while freeing up police officers to spend more time on community policing and serious crimes.
ATS Electric, Inc. — Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award
This commercial electric contracting company has shown remarkable growth over the past few years, even starting an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The company almost had to close in 2004 due to slow business, but now expects to top $16 million in revenue this year.
Community Tire and Automotive Service Specialists— Overcoming Adversity Award
This car repair and tire replacement company almost went out of business after discovering in 2003 that its then-executives had embezzled more than $1.2 million, but a financial backer jumped in and helped turn things around without laying off a single employee. The company also offers a series of free car-care clinics and emphasizes treating customers with respect.
Sundt Construction, Inc. — Entrepreneurial Leadership Award
Officials with this 100-percent employee-owned construction company say they emphasize teamwork, training and education, plus giving back to the community through its nonprofit Sundt Foundation. Sundt Construction plans to top $1 billion in revenue this fiscal year.
Televerde — Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award
This high-tech marketing company brings training and opportunities to women housed in the Arizona Department of Corrections’ Perryville facility. More than half of the company’s corporate employees graduated from its knowledge centers within the Perryville facility, where its educational programs taught them skills and helped them build confidence to become contributing business professionals.
Moran Architects has earned LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the firm’s design studio tenant improvement of its downtown Scottsdale headquarters.
Sustainable design for healthy living — the firm’s guiding principle — was woven into their own studio space. Day lighting, low-emitting materials and comfortable, energy-efficient lighting are found throughout the new suite. Particular attention was paid to material selection incorporating rapidly renewable bamboo and cork, recycled tack boards and floor covering and fsc-certified wood.
Gerrit van Huisstede, regional president, Desert Mountain Region for Wells Fargo Bank, has been named the Maricopa Community Colleges and Foundation’s 2009 Hero of Education.
The award and dinner honors “those who have a proven personal and professional commitment to support Maricopa Community College students and educational opportunities.”
The award will be presented at the Heroes of Education Recognition Dinner, to be held April 16, 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
MCC Chancellor Rufus Glasper praised van Huisstede’s commitment to education. Calling on the audience to help raise funds to allow the largest-in-the-nation district to maintain and improve the quality of educational services for its students, Glasper said, “size is good. Quality is better.”