Marnie Wong: Boot Camp Babes Owner

Marnie Wong, owner of Boot Camp Babes, photographed at St. Francis in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Marnie Wong, owner of Boot Camp Babes, photographed at St. Francis in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Marnie Wong

Canada native Marnie Wong never thought she’d be a boot camp instructor, nor a business owner. The Phoenix resident, 34, with a Master’s degree in engineering and circuit design, decided to steer her life in a totally different direction and leave an engineering career to purchase Boot Camps Babes fitness classes, which inspired her as a participant before she became co-owner of the Boot Camp Babes’ four locations a year-and-a-half ago. While it was what some may consider a huge leap, Wong hasn’t been happier. Read on to hear her business advice, as well as five reasons why she loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came in 1999 after I got into ASU. It was a very last-minute decision. I had been going to the University of Calgary, and I decided I wanted to go a different place, and it was already August, so I wanted somewhere I could get in quick, and I had never lived away from home so I wanted to go somewhere not too far from home but somewhere warm. ASU accepted me right away, and I got a scholarship. Continue reading

Jim Adkins: Jimmy Eat World Singer and Guitarist

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, photographed at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, photographed at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Jim Adkins

Jim Adkins has seen it all — MTV red carpets, worldwide rock tours and music video superstardom. Yet the Jimmy Eat World singer and guitarist, a veteran musician with the band for nearly 20 years, remains a resident of his native Arizona, where he and the rest of the band continue to write and rehearse. The band recently got back from recording their upcoming album with producer Alain Johannes in Los Angeles, which fans should expect to hear by next spring. Adkins, 36, discussed the group’s new music, as well as five reasons why he loves living in the Valley, below.

Why stay residing in Phoenix rather than moving to a bigger city such as New York City or Los Angeles?

People have asked me that a lot. They’re sort of surprised we stayed here, but for me, it doesn’t make any sense to move to a place to L.A. For what we do, we travel so much any way, it’s kind of like we don’t gain anything by moving to a place like that.

Why did you choose to record your new album in L.A. rather than here in the Valley?

We made our last two-and-a-half albums at our place in Tempe, and we just wanted something different. It was either make it completely on our own in Tempe and get hotels and pretend we’re going somewhere else just to be completely invested in it, or go some place else. The person we decided to work with, a guy named Al Johannes, he had a place that is a lot like our place, and we felt it was acceptable — similar enough but different enough to give us that sense of destination. We were ready to invest only in a quality product and a good company like Our studio is invaluable to writing, but we wanted to make this record in a way that we set it up and do it. In the past, recording and writing has been a blurry thing. With Invented, our last album, people would ask, ‘When are you going to record?’ and I’d answer, ‘We’re sort of recording right now. We’ve been writing and recording for the same time.’ Continue reading

TK Newman: Owner of Hustle Your Bustle

TK Newman

If you’re looking for some entrepreneurial inspiration, there’s a lot to be learned from TK Newman. The 31-year-old with both an MBA and a law degree has extensive business experience, having owned high-end resale shop Poor Little Rich Girl before moving on to her current venture, Hustle Your Bustle. The online bridal boutique featuring high-end wedding dresses has been live for about the past month, and Newman shared some of her business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Keep reading to see how she started her business, as well as five reasons why she loves living here in Arizona.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native. I’m a local Valley girl. I went to Xavier (High School), as did my business partner. I did 2 years at Boulder in Colorado and was kind of a ski bum for awhile, and I transferred to Arizona State University and got my business degree, and then I moved to Miami, and I got my law degree and my MBA. I moved back here, I opened up a women’s boutique called Poor Little Rich Girl, I loved it, and now I’m launching Hustle Your Bustle. Continue reading

Andrea Weck-Robertson: Scottsdale Autism Philanthropist for Lexie’s Law

Andrea Weck-Robertson, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront by Nicki Escudero

Andrea Weck-Robertson, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront, by Nicki Escudero

Andrea Weck-Robertson

Having an autistic child is a challenge, but Scottsdale resident Andrea Weck-Robertson has turned her experiences with her daughter Lexie into groundbreaking gains in the Arizona educational system. Lexie’s Law, signed in 2009, is named after her daughter and allows corporations to get dollar-for-dollar tax credits when donating money for scholarships for children with autism, which helps keep school choice alive for parents wishing to send their special needs kids to private schools with more specialized training and one-on-one attention. Keep reading for how Lexie’s Law came about and to hear five reasons why Weck-Robertson, 40, plans on staying in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native, born in Mesa and raised in Tempe. I went to McClintock High School and Mesa Community College, and I bought a beauty salon with my family. I worked there for 16 years and retired to have my children. The salon just had its 23rd year — it’s called Champs Salon in Tempe. I was an aesthetician by trade in skincare, and I was also a nail technician. My father had a beauty salon growing up, and I went in as a high school senior to beauty school. Continue reading

Joey Bradfisch: 104.7 KISS-FM Radio Personality, Weird Is the New Cool Manager

Joey Bradfisch, photographed at the 104.7 KISS-FM studios in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Joey Bradfisch, photographed at the 104.7 KISS-FM</strong> studios in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Joey Bradfisch

Joey Bradfisch doesn’t mind being the victim of a shock collar or being threatened by criminals at the courthouse. As audio producer for Phoenix radio station 104.7 KISS-FM‘s morning show, Johnjay and Rich in the Morning, Bradfisch has become the program’s unofficial whipping boy who will do just about anything asked, as long as it makes listeners laugh and sounds great on air. The 26-year-old Tempe resident not only performs hysterical stunts on the show, he’s also responsible for the audio magic behind the boards, ensuring the show’s eight markets broadcast accurate programming — and he gets to work at 4 a.m. just to do so. When he’s not amusing listeners with his antics, Bradfisch manages local rap-pop group Weird Is the New Cool, who plays the Pray for Snow Party in Old Town Scottsdale Saturday, November 3. Keep reading to hear five reasons why Bradfisch is happy he made the move to the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I worked for a syndicated show, the Steve and DC Morning Show in St. Louis, and I kind of wanted to venture out. I grew up outside of St. Louis in Illinois in Grafton, a town of 600 people. I had pretty much the same role as I do here, which is audio producer, and I participated on air with them a lot. I was kind of the young dumb kid on the show, so they kind of made me do all these dumb things. I was looking for a change. My cousin lived out here, so she was like, ‘If you want to come out here and go to school or look for a job, you’re more than welcome to stay with me.’ I worked in air conditioning for awhile. I didn’t want to get in radio back then because I wasn’t making a lot of money in St. Louis. Continue reading