Arizona is regularly portrayed unfairly by the national media and very often misunderstood. However, more often than not, we are our harshest critics. That’s why when we have something to celebrate, we should take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back.
The eight companies announced last week as the recipients of our 28th Annual IMPACT Awards represent the best in Valley business and exemplify all we can accomplish. They are proof the spirit of risk taking, job creating, community service and perseverance is alive and well in our great state.
Two of these eight companies will be named our 2015 IMPACT Businesses of the Year at our annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 13 at the Arizona Biltmore, which I hope you will all plan to attend. But each of the eight has a great story and each is a valuable member of our Chamber and of our business community.
We honor Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, which began with an innovative idea and, in just over three years, has become a company with $11 million in sales last year. Tempe-based EXOS, our other Entrepreneurial Excellence Award recipient, started in 1999 in an industry that didn’t even exist yet. Today they are a leader in human performance that employs more than 3,000 people.
Companies like HDR Engineering and Goodwill of Central Arizona are among those on the forefront of our economic recovery and growth. Goodwill placed more than 44,000 job-seekers in positions in 2014, with an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars. HDR Engineering has more than 50 years of history creating Arizona infrastructure. Their transportation, architectural and environmental projects are all around us. We will honor these companies with our Economic Driver Award.
No business is immune to misfortune, but those who plow ahead through hardship and seek solutions succeed and earn our Response to Adversity Award. For Anderson Security Agency, Ltd., it was the loss of a major client that required quick and decisive action. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona saw its landscape shift in the wake of controversial legislation. Both have emerged from challenges stronger than ever.
And while all of our recipients, finalists and nominees recognize they are part of a larger community that helps them flourish, Arizona School Choice Trust and Wells Fargo are our 2015 Community Champion Award recipients. Arizona School Choice Trust works with schools, organizations and parents across the state to give kids the best chance at a quality education and their impact on our workforce and economy can’t be overstated. And Wells Fargo’s commitment to community donated more than $3.4 million to local non-profits and schools last years and helped raise millions more for worthy causes in Arizona.
I invite you to join us on May 13, but also hope you’ll recognize that each day brings us examples of what makes Arizona such a great place to live, work and do business.