Tag Archives: AZ TechCelerator

January 2017 • Newsletter

A big shout-out to all my neighbors and friends in District 1 and throughout this beautiful city that we are blessed to call home. Happy New Year to you! If you are like me, I can’t believe that 2016 was here and gone in the blink of an eye and now we begin 2017.

While December was slightly slower than most months, I was able to attend a few events and meetings as well as meet with some of my constituents. I began the month at the Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Commission meeting on December 2 followed by the Christmas tree lighting at the Annual Surprise Party. City Council Members and their families were joined on stage to welcome residents and light the tree. Despite the cold, there was a great crowd of residents that attended the two-day event.

Mayor and Council at Surprise Party 2016

Councilman Skip Hall and I, as Committee Members, attended the Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 7. In addition, this Committee is comprised of residents, employees, and the City’s auditor. Meetings are open to the public and posted on our website. The next meeting is scheduled for March 22 at 3:30 pm in the Council Overflow Room at City Hall.

I attended the “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House at the AZ TechCelerator on December 8. This event was an opportunity to look at the latest advancements from Surprise’s technology start-ups, including electric vehicle conversions, water desalination and electric skateboards. Since 2009, the TechCelerator has fostered local start-ups resulting in 16 businesses, over 200 jobs graduated and a local Google corporate office. This year, the TechCelerator reached worldwide with its Global Concierge Services program which helps international businesses establish local operations in Surprise and has thus far generated more than 300 additional community jobs.

Councilmember Winters at Tech the Halls event

On December 9, most of City Council and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission visited the new Mattamy Homes Rhythm development in Tempe to look at their new models. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about the project to see if it would be a possible future “good-fit” development in Surprise.

The Human Service and Community Vitality Department hosted their Annual Holiday Party for senior services at the Arizona Traditions Ballroom, December 14. Councilmembers Jim Hayden, Skip Hall and Todd Tande also attended with staff.

The Arizona State Transportation Board, which is responsible for establishing a complete system of state highway routes in Arizona, hosted their December meeting at City Hall on Friday, December 16. I attended the meeting which included discussion on future transportation projects and a summarization of projects that were recently completed including the Bell Road bridge project which was mentioned several times. While Bell Road opened for commuters in November, the entire project, including the ramps connecting Bell to Grande Avenue, is scheduled for completion in February.

On December 28, I attended an outreach meeting at Desert Oasis where we discussed future development north of Jomax Road. Additionally, this year, there will be some new home building along Bell Pointe and immediately outside the AZ Traditions gate along the dam.

New businesses and restaurants have recently opened or will soon open in Surprise including a new car wash near Winco, a new Wendy’s restaurant, Panda Express, Red Line Grill, a new self-storage facility located near the Sam’s Club shopping center, a new Verizon Wireless store, Denny’s restaurant and a new Popeye’s. At a Council meeting late last month, it was announced that Raising Cane’s has plans to build a restaurant near the corner of Bell Road and Civic Center Plaza.

Until next time, please be good to yourselves and be good to each other.

Best,

Roland F. Winters Jr.
Councilman, District 1

December 2016 • Newsletter

Greetings to all of my District 1 neighbors and all the residents of Surprise! I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and paused to give thanks for all of our blessings. It doesn’t seem possible that we are in the last month of 2016.

My first meeting of November brought exciting news! Popeye’s will soon be built near Sam’s Club on Bell Road in District 1. I am very appreciative of the investment many restaurants are making by coming to Surprise!

On Thursday, November 3, I was invited to speak at the Asante HOA Annual Meeting. Since the community is not built-out yet, the community only meets once a year. I’d like to thank Brad Shaeffer and his team for the invitation and the conversation.

I visited Gateway Park in El Mirage on November 4 to see the Vietnam traveling memorial wall and it was a moving experience for me. Approximately two years ago, the wall was in Goodyear. I am hoping to work with the city to bring the wall to Surprise!

My family and I attended the Fire Station 302 Open House. This marked the last open house of the year. For a few months, each station hosted an open house for the public. I hope you took advantage of the opportunity to visit the station and our fire personnel. It was a great opportunity for me, as well, to let our fire staff know how much I appreciate all they do for our residents!

Canyon Ridge Elementary School held their Annual Veterans Day Celebration on November 10. It was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity to see all of the students participating. These students are so fortunate to have the dedicated teachers, personnel and volunteers that they do, and the leadership of their principal, Dr. Shelly Isai. I wasn’t allowed to leave empty handed, as a student in Ms. Taylor’s class gave me a painting that now hangs in my office.

That same evening, I attended WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Best of the West Awards has been a signature event for over 20 years that is designed to celebrate the best of the best in the West Valley. This annual event recognizes outstanding contributions to the quality of life, economic development and innovation in the West Valley. The Surprise Resource Center, a center focused on social services, took first place in the Quality of Life Award category and the AZ TechCelerator, the city’s business incubator, was runner-up in the West Valley Economic Engine Award category.

City of Surprise award winners

The Surprise Resource Center opened in December 2015 as a means to strengthen the community by supporting and serving its people. The center began with one program- the Community Action Program (CAP). Through a partnership with Maricopa County and El Mirage, CAP assists with utility and mortgage/rent payments. To date, CAP has served more than 600 families, totaling $370,455 in assistance. Today, the center houses 13 partnerships that offer a range of services from employment assistance to food resources. The center also offers veteran services. About 12% of the city’s population is comprised of veterans; now, employment assistance from Veterans Affairs, Department of Economic Security and the city’s new Veteran Job Club can be accessed from one location.

The AZ TechCelerator continues to offer affordable rent and a collaborative environment that helps young companies build up their business plans, creating new products, services and jobs in Surprise. The TechCelerator has 16 client start-ups, two onsite service providers, a track record of over 200 jobs graduated, and the only Google corporate office presence in the State of Arizona, following Google’s purchase of AZ TechCelerator-grown Athena Wireless. The program has also been able to offer temporary corporate office space for new international company locations to Surprise, such as IRIS USA, Cobalt Medical, RioGlass Solar and Gestamp Solar Steel, which combined have generated more than 300 additional community jobs.

Congratulations to all of our staff involved with both outlets. The recognitions could not have happened without your hard work and dedication to the programs. This was a team effort led by the continued leadership of City Manager Bob Wingenroth. Thank you!

Surprise hosted the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade on Friday, November 11. The number of entries increased significantly over last year, requiring our parade route to also increase. We had 102 entries this year. Thank you to Mark Coronado, Director of Community and Recreation Services, and his team for putting this event together and to the residents who came to the parade to honor our veterans.

2nd Annual Veterans Day Parade

On the evening of November 11, I hosted my monthly meeting at the Community Center in the Retreat of Arizona Traditions. I continue to host my meetings the second Friday of each month at 7 pm at the Community Center located at 18250 W. Weatherby.

I attended a Public Hearing on the Draft Annual Report on the Status of the Implementation of Proposition 400 at MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) and that same evening, I attended the Art of Craft Beer & Cuisine event at State 48 Brewery hosted by the Arts & Cultural Advisory Commission. The event included a tour of the brewery and an explanation of the brewing process from their Brew Master. The head chef also discussed some of his dishes and how the restaurant believes in using fresh local ingredients. Thank you to owner, Mario Rana, for his hospitality and the delicious pizza!

My family and I visited the Surprise Swap Meet at the Surprise Aquatic Center on November 19. It was a beautiful morning to visit with residents and see the items for sale.

On Sunday, November 20, Councilman Jim Hayden and I were invited to Arizona Traditions 20th Anniversary celebration at their ballroom. We had the pleasure of visiting with residents of the community, listening to the stories of those that have lived there from the beginning of Arizona Traditions and enjoying the wonderful food and entertainment.

Councilman Jim Hayden and Roland F. Winters at Arizona Traditions 20th Anniversary celebration

The city hosted a fantastic pre-celebration of the re-opening of Bell Road on Monday, November 21 to thank our residents, businesses, partners, etc. for their patience during the closure. I know all of our residents and businesses were excited for the actual opening of Bell Road the following day. The intersection certainly looks different now. The entire project, including the ramps connecting Grand Avenue to Bell Road, is scheduled for completion prior to Spring Training 2017 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. In the meantime, your Bell to Grand Avenue access remains on Dysart Road, east of the intersection and Bell to Reems to Grand, west of the intersection.

reopening of Bell Road

November 28 was an exceptionally sad day as I found myself at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix to attend the memorial service for a Surprise resident and active community veteran, Bill Lipscomb. Mr. Lipscomb served in the US Air Force and served in Vietnam. He will be sorely missed!

As this year quickly comes to a close, please remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other. I wish you a blessed Christmas and a healthy New Year!

Best Regards,

Roland F. Winters Jr.

AZ TechCelerator Relaunch Reveals New Programs, Innovation Tenants

A newly completed makeover of the city’s AZ TechCelerator has transformed more than just the look of the former City Hall campus. In addition to receiving spruced up paint, flooring, signage, landscaping and furniture, the campus has added several new programs and tenants that will join the city’s business incubator program, which has occupied the space since its launch in 2010.

At the AZ TechCelerator open house event on Dec. 10, Surprise Economic Development staff revealed the following new programs will be housed at the campus:

    • Surprise Resource Center: The Surprise Resource Center is a Community Action Program (CAP) that occupies 1,900 sq ft of space in Building A. The program, which is funded through a partnership with Maricopa County, will help qualifying low-income residents of the Northwest Valley with utility payments, rent and housing. The center opens Monday, Dec. 14.
    • The Beehive Coworking Space: A program designed to provide shared facilities and support for work-at-home professionals who may not fit the usual AZ TechCelerator innovation start-up profile. Applications will be available early next year.
    • Global Concierge Services: A program dedicated to the success of international companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
    • Entrepreneur in Residence: A dedicated professional and entrepreneur who is available for counseling and support services to AZ TechCelerator tenants and partners.

 

The flagship innovation and technology incubator program will continue to operate out of the campus, offering company support services, mentorships and start-up space, as well as temporary office space for large corporations expanding into Surprise and affiliate memberships. The incubator is welcoming the following new tenants:

  • Me On A Bike, Inc.: creating software that will be utilized for the development of an application that will allow users to archive personal information in innovative ways and recall it using various mobile or computer devices.
  • Kobargo Technology Partners: provides managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses by educating and assisting clients in leveraging mobility, the cloud and networking solutions that increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Sassi Stones, LLC: invented a massage stone that can stay hot for two hours, eliminating the need for a stone warmer. Sassi Stones warm up on one side in just one minute and stay hot 60-90 minutes.

 

Existing innovation tenants include Google (formerly Athena Wireless), Deutsch Dental Arts, Smiles by Delivery and Torque Trends. Business services and partnerships at the AZ TechCelerator include To My Surprise Shuttle, ABD Printing & Signs, The Fraternal Order of Eagles and Arrington Accounting.

Graduates of the incubator program have seen great success. A recent graduate, MD24 Housecall, grew from three employees to 150 and moved into a large office space in the city. Another tenant, Athena Wireless, was acquired by Google earlier this year.

For more information about the AZ TechCelerator, please visit at www.aztechcelerator.com.