Nikki Metzger: Owner of BODI Gym

Nikki Metzger, owner of BODI boutique gym in Scottsdale, photographed at BODI, by Nicki Escudero

Nikki Metzger, owner of BODI boutique gym in Scottsdale, photographed at BODI, by Nicki Escudero

Nikki Metzger
twitter.com/ScottsdaleBODI

Nikki Metzger is one strong lady. Not only could she kick your butt, at the age of 28, she’s already a successful Scottsdale business owner after opening her boutique gym BODI less than a year ago. The Scottsdale resident and Nike Master Trainer whips her students into shape, teaching more than 20 classes a week in a boot camp style.

Owning her own gym has been a dream of Metzger’s since she was only a kid, and she prides herself on providing all-encompassing healthy lifestyle motivation for her clients. Read on to discover what fuels her love for fitness, and check out a video of her naming her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border in Amery, Wisconsin. The town was only 3,000 people and I didn’t even live in the town – my house was on 150 acres of land in the middle of nowhere.

I was in Chicago the past seven years. My husband and I randomly vacationed here like five or six years ago and just loved it. Ever since then, we’ve come twice a year. Both of us are very warm weather people and hate the cold, and we wanted to move somewhere that had character and wasn’t just a suburb with a lot of franchises. We chose to move here in December last year. Continue reading

Bob Brenly: Arizona Diamondbacks Broadcaster, Former Manager

Bob Brenly, Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster and former Arizona Diamondbacks World Series-winning manager, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Bob Brenly, Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster and former Arizona Diamondbacks World Series-winning manager, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Bob Brenly
twitter.com/DBacks

Bob Brenly helped create one of the coolest moments in Arizona history: when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001, as manager of the team. His friendly demeanor and honest approach as a Diamondbacks broadcaster translated to the field as the leader for the championship-winning team, and now the 60-year-old Scottsdale resident is back in the booth, calling games as a color commentator for FOX Sports Arizona.

The former San Francisco Giants catcher offered his insight to this year’s Diamondbacks team and how he’s evolved as an announcer. Keep reading to see a video of him talk about his favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve been here since ’97, when I first took the job to come here and broadcast back in ’98. (Former Chicago Cubs announcer) Thom Brennaman was made the play-by-play voice here, and Thom and I had a relationship for years. He said, “Hey, why don’t we both go down to the desert and put the band together down there?”

That’s what brought me to Arizona, but, of course, I had been coming here for spring training since 1976 or ’77 (as a player), so I was familiar with the Valley, too. Continue reading

John Costello, III: Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records Co-Owner, Producer

John Costello III, Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records president, co-founder and co-owner, and music producer, photographed at his studio in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

John Costello III, music producer and Wild Whirled Music and Fervor Records president, co-founder and co-owner, photographed at his studio in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

John Costello, III
twitter.com/JC3Music

John Costello, III writes so much music that’s used for TV and film, sometimes he doesn’t even know a song he’s written has been used in a show or movie until he’s watching it. The 50-year-old Scottsdale resident has written more than 1,000 songs and has released 10 albums, and as co-owner, co-founder and president of local label Fervor Records and music licensing company Wild Whirled Music, the songwriter and producer is responsible for creating soundtracks for everything from popular sitcoms to groundbreaking movies.

A collection of some of his remixed tracks, appropriately titled The Remixes, comes out Tuesday, April 29, and you can hear his music in the trailer for upcoming film Walk of Shame. He also has three songs featured in the upcoming Philip Seymour Hoffman film, God’s Pocket.

Get to know the musician, who talks about how local musicians can get involved with the label, better below, and keep reading to see a video of Costello name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved out here when I was in 7th grade. My grandparents were retiring, so I got transplanted. I left Chicago kicking and screaming, because I thought it was so incredible, but I’m happy my family moved out here. I had some health issues as a little kid, asthma and allergies, so Chicago was a really bad place to live. I went to Paradise Valley High School, and ASU for a short time. Continue reading

Pam Gaber: CEO of Gabriel’s Angels Pet Therapy Program

Pam Gaber, CEO of Gabriel's Angels, pet therapy for abused and at-risk children, photographed at her office in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Pam Gaber, CEO of Gabriel’s Angels, pet therapy for abused and at-risk children, photographed at her office in Phoenix with therapy dog Micah, by Nicki Escudero

Pam Gaber
twitter.com/GabrielsAngels

Pam Gaber just wanted to bring some light into the lives of at-risk children when she brought her dog, Gabriel, to visit the kids at Crisis Nursery in Phoenix while she was volunteering there back in 1999. His impact inspired her to start nonprofit Gabriel’s Angels, which connects therapy dogs with at-risk youth, going strong since 2000 and now serving 13,500 Valley kids a year. Gaber, a 57-year-old Scottsdale resident, ditched the corporate life to work full-time as CEO for Gabriel’s Angels, which now has 11 full-time employees and 175 therapy dog teams, as well as a therapy miniature horse, bunny and cat.

Gabriel’s Angels serves kids all over the state, from Tucson to Prescott, Sedona and Cottonwood, and is funded through individuals, corporate grants and events. The nonprofit hosts a breakfast at the Arizona Biltmore Friday, May 2, which is free to the public — find more information here. The organization is also partnering with Brad Jaffe, owner of Dogological dog teaching program, for his crowdfunding campaign for an upcoming dog training DVD — donate to the campaign, and a portion of the funds raised go toward Gabriel’s Angels.

Gaber, also the author of a memoir, Gabriel’s Angels: The Story of the Dog Who Inspired a Revolution, talked about how her passion for helping has turned into a new career. Scroll down to watch a video of her talking about her favorite reasons for living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My corporate career. I was working for a pharmaceutical company in Florida before moving to Dallas, and then I was moved to Phoenix in 1989. I was born in New Jersey and grew up on the West coast of Florida. Continue reading

Brandy Hotchner: Artistic Director of Arizona Actors Academy

Brandy Hotchner, artistic director of Arizona Actors Academy and resident instructor at Phoenix Theatre, photographed at Phoenix Theatre, by Nicki Escudero

Brandy Hotchner, artistic director of Arizona Actors Academy and resident instructor at Phoenix Theatre, photographed at Phoenix Theatre, by Nicki Escudero

Brandy Hotchner
twitter.com/azactorsacademy

If you’re looking for a serious career in acting, taking a class by Brandy Hotchner is a great start. The 42-year-old Scottsdale resident and Denver native is a resident instructor at Phoenix Theatre and the artistic director for Arizona Actors Academy, which offers method acting, master acting, on-camera, Shakespeare, teen and improvisation classes to locals. Hotchner’s had the acting bug since she was a little kid and has extensive experience, including time in New York City.

Hotchner is passionate about improving the Arizona arts scene and talked about what the public can do to help. Read on to hear her talk about her five favorite reasons for loving living in Arizona, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came here from New York in 2002. I had been there more than a decade and had all the ups and downs of an acting and directing career out there.

September 11th (2001) was a very personally traumatic event for me, and after about a year, the city just didn’t feel like home for me anymore. Many of my friends and colleagues had moved to L.A. and were loving the beach and seemed to be pursuing a career with a little less strife. I left New York to go to L.A., and my family was here, so I stopped here along the way to regroup. That first week here, I met who would become my now-husband. Within a year, I was married and had my first baby, and here I am. Continue reading

Rachel Meier: Owner of RPM Spin Drop-Saddle Spin Studio

Rachel Meier, owner of RPM Spin in Scottsdale, photographed in her studio, by Nicki Escudero

Rachel Meier, owner of RPM Spin in Scottsdale, photographed in her studio, by Nicki Escudero

Rachel Meier
twitter.com/RPMSpin2014

For three years, Rachel Meier taught one of the most well-attended cycling classes at LA Fitness, with students packing the room to catch her high-energy, super-challenging work-outs. This past January, the 31-year-old Scottsdale resident broke out on her own, opening one of the only drop-saddle spin studios in the North Valley, RPM Spin. Her boutique studio is filled with Revmaster Pro bikes from LeMond, complete with computers that sync with Polar heart rate monitors, so you can take your workout home and sync it with the app. There are also LED lighting effects, with lights changing colors throughout the ride that cause garments to glow in the dark.

Meier, who also is an instructor at her studio, talked about what it was like to make the leap to business owner, as well as what people can expect from a drop-saddle class. Scroll down to hear her talk about her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

The weather. I moved here in August of 2006, and am originally from Cortland, New York. I went to the University at Buffalo, and graduated with a double major in English and Communication. Continue reading

Brandon Mullan: Author of ‘Laborliss Magazine: The Complete Collection’

Brandon Mullan
twitter.com/brandonmullan

What started as trying to cope with adjusting to life in a new big city has turned into a 505-page book for local author Brandon Mullan. Mullan, a 30-year-old Scottsdale resident from Mechanicsville, Iowa, started writing the story of Laborliss, a fictional town full of larger-than-life (and not always nice) characters when he moved to Phoenix in 2005. He used himself as inspiration for Gus, the town’s superhero who always helps out the residents, despite being underappreciated.

A story and a flyer used to promote the online tale turned into 36 issues of a companion illustrated fictional magazine, peaking with a distribution of 10,000 around Tempe for a single issue. Last fall, Mullan compiled all the magazines into a book, Laborliss Magazine: The Complete Collection. Now he’s selling figurines of the characters, as well as planning an animated series. The realtor-by-day is also working on a novel set for a fall release, Here We Go, Kent.

Mullan credits the creation of Laborlilss with helping him find a new identity here in town. Read on for what inspired the stories, as well as to hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving life in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m from Mechanicsville, Iowa, a very small town, and came here in 2005. I always knew I wanted to move out West because I thought the West would be a good place for fresh ideas. I kind of had the idea Phoenix was a happening town, too. Continue reading

Steve LeVine: CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve LeVine
twitter.com/SteveLeVineEnt

If you’ve been to a Valley nightclub in the past six years, you’ve probably seen some of Steve LeVine’s work. The 39-year-old Scottsdale resident and Los Angeles native is the self-titled “Chief Entertainment Officer” of Steve LeVine Entertainment, which organizes some of the Valley’s biggest nightlife shindigs, as well as concerts and sports-related events. He’s been working in the entertainment industry since he was only 14 years old, when he started as a DJ for his friends’ parties before moving into Greek life parties and starting his own DJ company. Now, Steve LeVine Entertainment, launched in 2007, employees 35 full-time staff members and more than 70 independent contractors, organizing parties around the Southwest.

LeVine is also an investor in Maya Day & NightClub, which hosts Audien for tomorrow, December 31’s New Year’s Eve party. He’s also an investor in restaurant Majerle’s. Keep reading for how he started his business, which also signed singers Kelley James and Scott Keo and does public relations for clients such as fitness studio Amenzone. Plus, scroll down to hear five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I liked baseball and used to come to Arizona with my family all the time for spring training. I came to visit Arizona State (University) and fell in love with the place. I originally wanted to go to school to be an architect, and ASU’s school of architecture was top-rated and pretty amazing.

I ended up choosing a whole different path. I got into mass communications quickly and was in the very first class to get a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Continue reading

Nick Neuman: Owner of EVO

Nick Neuman, owner of EVO in Scottsdale, photographed at his restaurant by Nicki Escudero

Nick Neuman, owner of EVO in Scottsdale, photographed at his restaurant by Nicki Escudero

Nick Neuman
twitter.com/EVOScottsdale

Nick Neuman has spent most of his adult life in the restaurant world, so it makes sense the 39-year-old Scottsdale resident set out to open his own hip spot. He owns EVO in the Old Town Scottsdale area, an eatery with late-night eats that opened this past April. The spot has been a haven among the bar and restaurant industry crowd because of its late hours, but its Italian menu set among a modern yet cozy setting is available for lunch every day, too. Read on to what drove Neuman to opening EVO, as well as to watch him talk about five of his favorite reasons for loving life in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

School. When I was in high school, I came to visit my aunt who lived in Tucson. I fell in love with Arizona and decided when I graduated high school to go to University of Arizona. I ended up transferring to Arizona State University and graduating with degrees in economics and political science. I was born in Virginia. Continue reading

Danielle Kamela: Fox Sports Arizona Girl


Danielle Kamela
twitter.com/DanielleKamela

If you love Arizona sports, you’ve probably seen Danielle Kamela on the court, field or screen. She’s danced for the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns and is now a Fox Sports Arizona Girl, connecting the fans to all four major Arizona teams through social media updates and charity work. The 25-year-old Scottsdale resident and native can also be seen in local commercials and print ads, as she is also an actor and model represented by The Agency Arizona. Catch her on Fox Sports Arizona, and keep scrolling to hear five reasons why she’s glad to say she’s Arizona born and raised.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m proud to say I’m a native. I was born and raised here in Scottsdale and went to Chaparral High School, then to Arizona State University. At ASU, I majored in communications and tourism. Aside from my love and passion for sports, I love to travel and enjoy experiencing new places and learning about different cultures. It was great to be able to combine my interests in communications and broadcasting and travel here in my hometown. Continue reading