Scott Neff: Co-Owner of As You Wish Pottery

Scott Neff, co-owner of As You Wish Pottery, photographed at the Tempe Marketplace location in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Scott Neff, co-owner of As You Wish Pottery, photographed at the Tempe Marketplace location in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Scott Neff
www.asyouwishpottery.com

Scott Neff is thrilled to have left the corporate world to have a more personal touch in his business, as he has co-owned As You Wish pottery painting studios with his wife, Lori, for the past eight years. As You Wish has seven locations throughout the Valley, where patrons may choose items such as mugs and vases, paint them, and have them fired and glazed for home use.

Neff, a 50-year-old Chandler resident, is excited for the business to celebrate its 20th anniversary this September, with various specials leading up to the anniversary weekend September 18 to 20, when the studios offer $2 studio fees (usually $6-$8) and gift card raffles. Learn more about the special deals throughout the month on the As You Wish Facebook page here. In August, visitors to As You Wish can get half-off all glass fusing projects, including bowls, vases, nightlights and jewelry that are fired in the studio kilns.

Neff shared his advice for aspiring business owners and why he’s passionate about As You Wish, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born here. I grew up in the Arcadia area and was part of the last graduating class of Scottsdale High School in 1983.

Growing up, I was involved with all old-school Valley of the Sun things. When I was a Cub Scout, I went to The Wallace and Ladmo Show and won a Ladmo bag. When I was a teenager, I worked in the ice cream parlor at Legend City, and I sold T-shirts at Compton Terrace. Continue reading

Mia McPoland: Blood and Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Activist

Mia McPoland, 12-year-old blood and organ donation activist, photographed at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Mia McPoland, 12-year-old blood and bone marrow donation activist, photographed at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Mia McPoland
www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/MiaMcPoland

Mia McPoland, a 12-year-old from Chandler, is turning her struggle with an extremely rare disorder into a mission to increase blood and bone marrow donation throughout the state. As an infant, McPoland was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan anemia, a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome that causes her to not produce red blood cells. As a result, she has received monthly blood transfusions since her diagnosis, while she also deals with Turner syndrome.

As an activist, the spunky student works with several local nonprofits, as well as serves as an honorary assistant coach for the Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball team, to raise awareness for the causes so close to her and her family. She has been hosting blood drives since she was in kindergarten and is an activist for organizations Be the Match, HopeKids, Camp Soaring Eagle, and PeppedUp!

Besides donating blood every 50 days to help patients like McPoland, you can show support by participating in the September Champ 5K on Saturday, September 19, to benefit children’s cancer causes. The event will also feature a blood drive — visit www.septemberchamp.org for more information.

Read on to learn more about McPoland, and you can check out a video where she names her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born here. I’m going into seventh grade at Santan Junior High school. Continue reading

Harper Lines: Singer for Harper and the Moths

Harper Lines, singer of Harper and the Moths, photographed at The Perch in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Harper Lines, singer of Harper and the Moths, photographed at The Perch in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Harper Lines
facebook.com/HarperandtheMoths

Harper Lines fronts one of the Valley’s catchiest bands, the pop rock group Harper and the Moths. With singalong lyrics and melodies that are guaranteed to get crowds dancing, the band amps up their live show with chic attire and lighting effects. Lines takes lyricwriting seriously, as he strives to write songs audiences can relate to and even learn from, and the group is hoping people love their new single and video, “Nighttime Tremors,” which also has a remix version.

When he’s not playing music, the 32-year-old Chandler resident works in marketing for the Apollo Education Group and studies at University of Phoenix. Lines talked about why he’s so passionate about music, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came back to Arizona for music. I was born in Mesa, raised in Phoenix and went to Corona del Sol High School before attending Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges. I moved to Seattle for a couple years, and came back because the band I was in, Harper and the Moths, was recording records, and I couldn’t come back every month or so to do a show. We were not generating the traction I wanted to, and I missed my friends and family. Continue reading

Pavle Milic: Co-Owner of FnB, Founder of Los Milics Wine

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic
twitter.com/FnBAZ

Pavle Milic has been a fervent force in the Valley’s dining scene, with more than 25 years of experience in Arizona’s restaurant industry. The Colombia-born, 42-year-old Chandler resident has worked at Phoenix’s Racho Pinot, Cowboy Ciao and Royal Palms, as well as restaurants in New York City and Napa Valley. He now co-owns FnB restaurant in Scottsdale, as well as next-door Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants. He has his own wine label, Los Milics, and hosts brunches on Rabbit Island with Desert Splash Adventures.

You can hear Milic on the online radio station he founded, MyAzNowRadio.com, where he interviews notable professionals in the Valley. Read more to learn how Milic became a formidable player in Arizona dining, and keep reading to watch a video of Milic naming his top five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was 15 when I came to Arizona. My stepdad became partners with Franco Fazzouli, who owns Franco’s Italian Café in Scottsdale. We moved here in 1987 to open up Franco’s Trattoria in Scottsdale. I went to Saguaro High School and Scottsdale Community College, and got a degree from the Academy of Broadcasting in Phoenix in communications and broadcasting.

My dad defected communist Yugoslavia in 1962 and wound up in Colombia, where he met my mom, and I was born. We moved to Queens, New York when I was 11 because my mom wanted to live here. Continue reading

Nicole Royse: Painter and Curator at Willo North Gallery

Nicole Royse, painter, curator at Willo North Gallery and assistant curator at Shade Projects at monOrchid, photographed with her work at Vision Gallery in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Nicole Royse, painter, curator at Willo North Gallery and Shade Projects at monOrchid, photographed with her work at Vision Gallery in Chandler, by Nicki Escudero

Nicole Royse
twitter.com/NicoleRoyseArt

Nicole Royse doesn’t just have an eye for what works in an art space as curator at Willo North Gallery and Shade Projects at the monOrchid in Phoenix. As a painter herself of abstract, flower and layer art, the 31-year-old Chandler resident has been a part of more than 60 exhibitions in Arizona and California. She’s currently showing her work at Vision Gallery in Chandler and five15 Arts Gallery in Phoenix.

She’s gearing up for three fun shows for this Friday’s Third Friday Art Walk, where she’ll be making appearances at all of them. Willo North Gallery features a solo exhibition of Daniel Shepherd, a collage artist working with re-purposed materials, whose 6-9 p.m. reception includes a meet-and-greet with the artist, music, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

At the monOrhcid, the final round of the THERMAL PHX art competition and exhibition is open to the public, also from 6-10 p.m. She has another painting, Twilight, at five15 Arts Gallery through August 30, with an artist reception Friday from 6-10 p.m. You may also check out Royse’s works Rapture and Vivacious at Vision Gallery through August 29 in its Flourish: Artworks Inspired by Our Gardens exhibit.

Read writing on the arts by Royse in local publications, including LocalRevibe Magazine, YabYum Music & Arts and East Valley Magazine. She also has her own blog featuring local art events, as well as a gallery rundown every first and third Friday.

Learn her thoughts on the local arts scene, and watch a video of her talking about her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here in high school with my grandparents, when my grandmother was transferred here with her company. I fell in love and was married at 19, and my husband is born and raised here. We both graduated from ASU, where I got my art history degree with a business and marketing background, and we stayed in the area to be near our families, as well as raise our family.

I was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Orange County, California. Continue reading

Marcelo Dietrich: Filmmaker, Writer/Director of ‘The Horologist.’

Marcelo Dietrich
twitter.com/MarceloDietrich

Marcelo Dietrich loves telling stories, teaching, and inspiring, and he does it all through movies, as a screenwriter, director and actor.

The 37-year-old Chandler resident recently released a documentary on a talented 16-year-old dancer with Asperger syndrome, in partnership with Dancers and Health Together, Inc., called Dance Your Asperger’s Off. The touching documentary brings awareness to what it’s like to have Asperger’s, and how art such as dance can positively affect someone with special needs.

This Saturday, June 14, he premieres a short film, The Horologist., as an Official Selection at the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival. The film is a condensed version of the first act of a feature-length screenplay of the same name, and Dietrich hopes the short film can be used to get funding for the feature-length.

Dance Your Asperger’s Off is also at the fest on Saturday, June 14. Find more information about the film festival here, and keep reading to see what drives Dietrich, who has written, produced or directed more than a dozen films and documentaries. Keep scrolling to see him talk about his favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved here from Thermal, California when I was 3 years old, and I grew up in Tempe. 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

Ron Haberle: PeppedUp! Founder, Cancer Survivor

Ron Haberle, PeppedUp! founder and cancer survivor, photographed at Dos Gringos in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Ron Haberle, PeppedUp! founder and cancer survivor, photographed at Dos Gringos in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Ron Haberle
twitter.com/PeppedUp

Ron Haberle has been cancer-free for the past 17 years, but his battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was diagnosed at 19 still inspires him today. Haberle has created a local nonprofit called PeppedUp! that brings fun technology, such as gaming systems and tablets, to kids who have cancer. For almost the past 2 years, PeppedUp! has helped deliver gadgets such as iPad‘s and PlayStation Vita‘s to kids all over the country, and last year, PeppedUp! raised more than $45,000 to give kids the opportunity to play something fun during a challenging time. Haberle, a 38-year-old Chandler resident and Woodbury, New Jersey native, works as a senior software developer for iMemories during the day and has donated more than $15,000 of his own money to the PeppedUp! cause. Head to the Dos Gringos Cinco de Mayo block party in Old Town Scottsdale Sunday, May 5, since proceeds are benefiting PeppedUp! Read on to hear more about the nonprofit, as well as to see a video of Haberle talking about his five favorite things about the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

An ex-girlfriend. I always wanted to move to California, and when I was younger, I said I would move to the West Coast if I could. My fiancee at the time wanted to go into graduate school, and her second school on the list was ASU. We didn’t wind up together, but I like the West Coast lifestyle more than the East Coast lifestyle. I was born in Woodbury, New Jersey. The people here are a lot more laid-back. The weather’s nicer. I love the scenery, the open skies. Continue reading