Damon Brasch: Owner/Chef of Green New American Vegetarian and Nami

Damon Brasch, chef/owner of Green New American Vegetarian and Nami in Phoenix, photographed at Green in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Damon Brasch, chef/owner of Green New American Vegetarian and Nami in Phoenix, photographed at Green in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Damon Brasch
twitter.com/greendamon

Local vegans and vegetarians can still enjoy mouthwatering buffalo wings, addictive crab puffs and decadently sweet frozen desserts. Thanks to Green New American Vegetarian and Nami vegan pastry and soft serve, meat- and dairy-filled favorites have been reborn, no animal products required. Since 2006, chef/owner Damon Brasch has brought the Valley his vegan specialties, with Tempe and Phoenix locations of vegan restaurant Green, and vegan dessert/brunch spot Nami in Phoenix, which serves doughnuts and soy soft serve with a variety of mix-ins.

Brasch, a 40-year-old Phoenix resident originally from the Chicago area, is a self-trained chef who whips up tasty daily vegetarian specials at Green, such as fish tacos, and he has a cookbook in the works. He also has a restaurant consulting business, Brasch Concepts. Catch him at the Devoured Phoenix Culinary Festival Sunday, March 2, and read on for more about his journey as a Phoenix leader in vegan cuisine. Plus, scroll down to watch him name five of his favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came to Arizona from the Chicago area with my family because of my dad’s job in 1992. We needed a fresh start, and Arizona seemed like a really great place. We had visited a couple times, and we thought we could start new. We were able to, which is what’s so great about Arizona. Continue reading

Mark Laverman: Phoenix Photographer for Arizona Office of Tourism

Mark Laverman, photographed at the Gateway Trailhead in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mark Laverman, photographed at the Gateway Trailhead in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mark Laverman
www.marklaverman.com

Capturing Arizona’s grandiose beauty to show off to state visitors is a monumental task, and local photographer and outdoors enthusiast Mark Laverman loves the challenge. The 48-year-old Phoenix resident has been at the helm of the ad campaigns for the Arizona Office of Tourism for the past three years, showing off the wonder of the Grand Canyon State through the award-winning “In One Word — Arizona” campaign. He was even named 2011 Photographer of the Year by the Metro Phoenix Chapter of the American Advertising Federation for his photography for the campaign.

By day, he’s executive director of branding and advertising for marketing firm Six Degrees, while in his free time, you can find him traversing the state for that perfect shot. Laverman produces fine art prints and stock photography, and you can see some of his black-and-white work at the Hotel Indigo in Scottsdale, as well as on his website, www.marklaverman.com. Laverman offered some photography tips, as well as talked about what makes the state of Arizona so great, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved here when I was in college, in Michigan. I was spending my winters in Michigan and my summers out here, but I really fell in love with it. I didn’t know much about Arizona, but coming out here and seeing what the state had to offer, I started falling in love with it.

I was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, grew up mostly in Chicago, and spent my high school years in Omaha. Continue reading

Adeel Yang: Co-Founder of Picmonic

Adeel Yang, co-founder of Picmonic, photographed at his office in Tempe by Nicki Escudero

Adeel Yang, co-founder of Picmonic, photographed at his office in Tempe by Nicki Escudero

Adeel Yang
twitter.com/AdeelYang

Like most med school students, Adeel Yang and Ron Robertson found it difficult to remember everything they needed to know for their University of Arizona studies. Instead of cramming for exams simply by memorizing through repetition, the friends created colorful, visual stories – pictorial mnemonics – to help them learn.

Their method was so effective, the duo took a leave of absence to found Picmonic, a now-16-person company that’s made $1 million in revenue in the past year. With Picmonic going strong, Yang, a 27-year-old Chandler resident, is back at U of A this semester to finish up med school before coming back to focus on Picmonic. He talked about what it’s been like to start such a successful business so quickly, as well as named his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I grew up in Taiwan, and when I was 14, I came to the States by myself, attending high school at Glendale, California.. It was tough at first because I didn’t speak English, but I stayed there for a year, and then my mom joined me.

We moved to Arizona when I was 15, and I went to Chandler High School. I have Bachelor’s degrees in economics and molecular and cellular biology from University of Arizona, and I’m currently in between my third and fourth year of medical school at University of Arizona. I’ll start my rotations in January and have about seven months of school left. Continue reading

Eric Braverman: Founder of Heavy Metal Television

Eric Braverman, founder of Heavy Metal Television, photographed at Asylum Records in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Eric Braverman, founder of Heavy Metal Television, photographed at Asylum Records in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Eric Braverman
twitter.com/heavymetaltv

Eric Braverman is one of heavy metal’s self-proclaimed biggest fans. The 48-year-old Phoenix resident has done everything imaginable in the heavy metal world – he’s toured with famous musicians (Flotsam and Jetsam), shot band documentaries (including the Metallica fan film Metallimania), and hosted radio shows playing metal music. Now, he’s created, he says, the first-ever Internet music television channel, HeavyMetalTelevision.com.

The site is a 24-hour-a-day display of heavy metal music videos spanning the past 40 years, with a crew of about a dozen VJs at the helm of the channel. More than 200,000 unique IP addresses have logged on to the channel since it launched in October 2012, and Braverman says he may extend the constant streaming idea to other types of content.

The Heavy Metal Television crew is heading to their first music trade show, hosted by the National Association of Music Merchants, in Anaheim, Calif. this month. Keep reading to learn more about Braverman’s colored past in the world of heavy metal, as well as to hear him say five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents brought me to Arizona in an airplane when I was 4 years old from Buffalo, New York. I went to Agua Fria High School and University of Arizona. Continue reading