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Our Day at Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge

Two of our staffers, Todd Leveen and Desirae Outcalt, had the honor of serving on the planning committee for Junior Achievement of Arizona’s recent Stock Market Challenge. Todd, who serves on JA of Arizona’s board of directors, also served as emcee for the Challenge and sponsored the participants from Hamilton High School. Desirae along with Nathaniel Spatz, Lisa Friedman and Jeremy King also volunteered at the Challenge. The Biltmore Bank of Arizona supported the event with a sponsorship.

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Approximately 400 high school students from various schools throughout the state worked in teams to compete. Their objective was to accumulate the highest possible net worth in their simulated investment portfolio. Junior Achievement designed the Stock Market Challenge to teach kids across broad range of income levels “what it’s like to build a portfolio, manage risk, and experience its performance in a compressed period of time.”

Over the course of a morning, students become traders. Every 90 seconds represents a trading day for a total of 60 days of trading. The winning team has the greatest percentage of growth in its portfolio.

During the morning, Nathaniel ran stock tips on the floor, while Todd introduced people, monitored the activities, tallied the scores, interviewed the kids and provided ongoing commentary. The room felt like an actual trading floor, with a constant stream of company news coming at the teams and people yelling trade orders back and forth.

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Real world company names were changed, but the company profiles and corresponding breaking news were intact. A simulator ran a randomized algorithm that processed information inputted and then moved stock prices accordingly. Breaking news and trading volume affected the stock market performance.

JA Stock Market Challenge provides real world investment experience kids don’t often receive in school. Before the challenge day, the students participated in JA Take Stock in Your Future, where they “learned about individual equities, the impact of the economy, geo-political events, and market sentiment.” From this experience, they learned about the fundamentals behind the stock market and the concept of trading to prepare them for the day of the Challenge.

“On the day of the challenge, some of the kids got heavily tied to certain companies, so you could hear groans when bad news got released,” said Todd. “I enjoyed seeing them get emotionally involved and having some tell me, ‘I had no idea….’ I know they were acquiring real life skills they can use forever.”

As part of our sponsorship, we invited some of our clients and friends to partake in the adult Stock Market Challenge. After the event for the high schoolers concluded, the volunteers and other guests got to try their hand managing stock portfolios using the same simulation program. Key sponsors even had their companies included in the stock trade simulation. Desirae, Lisa and Jeremy joined our gang for this portion of the event, and Desirae had recruited sponsors and silent auction items for the adult Challenge.

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Through sponsorships from many committed companies, Junior Achievement of Arizona was able to raise $149,000 for Stock Market Challenge. Low- to moderate-income students rely on the money raised by Junior Achievement to pay for their participation in the contest.

“I’m so proud that we have great support from our company for Junior Achievement,” said Todd. “Our president, Rich Endicott, as well as Darlene Esquerra and everyone else at our parent bank, Grandpoint Bank, have made their enthusiasm for this nonprofit organization very clear.”

Our bank, as well as Grandpoint Bank and its other divisions, has volunteered and sponsored Stock Market Challenge as well as other Junior Achievement financial literacy events like You’re Hired and BizTown.

“The students served by Junior Achievement are the people who will take care of us in the next 15 years,” said Todd. “We’ll be placing our retirement in their hands. Junior Achievement takes away the entitlement and teaches students what they can earn if they work hard.”

To find out more about how you can volunteer with Junior Achievement, visit their website at
jaaz.org.↗ 

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Biltmore Bank of Arizona bankers make it rain at the 10th Annual Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash

Did you get a chance to have your Biltmore banker wash your car? Last month, Todd Leveen, Nathaniel Spatz, Lisa Friedman, Bryan Ellisor and Desirae Outcalt traded in their business attire for some casual duds and suds.

It was all for a good cause when we volunteered for the second time at the Annual Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSCA). After volunteering, our team presented a $2,500 check to BBBSCA from The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, live on air with KPHO news.

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Now in its tenth year, the event, which ran for five days in October, raised well over $300,000. The funds help BBBSCA take more kids off its waiting list and match them with caring volunteer mentors in the Valley. Over 300 boys and girls are currently waiting to be matched with a big brother or big sister, and some will wait up to three years.

Besides having a great time for a fantastic cause, this event was personal for Desirae Outcalt, Vice President and Relationship Manager at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, who was paired with a “Big Sister” when she was young.

“I grew up very poor with a single mom,” said Desirae. “My Big Sister, Shawn, was an accountant at a car dealership. The two years I spent with her were very educational, and she helped shaped me into who I am today.”

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Desirae and the rest of our staff who participated in the car wash were fortunate to witness the largest personal cash donation ever made at the event. The majority of donations come from businesses, but one individual felt passionate enough about BBBSCA to donate $1,000. In addition, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Donation Center was on site to collect donations of clothing and household items. All donated items are sold through thrift stores, with the proceeds supporting operations at BBBSCA.

Our staff got a big kick out of washing not one but two Ural-4320s, a vehicle originally designed for the Russian Army for transporting cargo, people and trailers on all types of roads and terrain.

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Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash is over (until next year), but you can still make a difference for BBBSCA by donating clothes, time and/or money. To learn more, visit bbbsaz.org.

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This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Biltmore Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Biltmore Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Biltmore Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

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Promotions for Desirae Outcalt, Lisa Friedman and Nathaniel Spatz

We’d like to extend our congratulations and tell you a bit more about some of our top performers who just earned promotions.

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Des Outcalt

Desirae Outcalt now adds Relationship Manager to her Vice President title; we promoted Lisa Friedman to Client Relations Officer/Treasury Management Sales; and Nathaniel Spatz has worked his way up to Client Relationship Officer.

Desirae, or “Des,” as she’s known, is a familiar face to many around town. She’s been with our bank since 2006 and has taken on increasingly important roles. She’s responsible for developing and expanding client relationships, supporting our clients with a full suite of banking services and products and promoting our bank in the community.

Des is also a founding member of Suns Charities 88. In addition to offering members the opportunity to network and grow as professionals, Suns Charities 88 raises funds for Phoenix Suns Charities, which has granted more than $17 million to Arizona children’s programs since 1988. Des is also a past recipient of Arizona Business Magazine’s 40 Young Business Leaders Under 40, and she has become known in wedding circles for producing stunning bouquets made of brooches.

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Lisa Friedman

Lisa Friedman started with our bank in 2013 as a personal banker and then moved to financial service representative, before her recent promotion. In her new role as Client Relations Officer/Treasury Management Sales, she will assist relationship managers by making sure our clients have easy access to our online banking platform and treasury management services.

Before she joined the Biltmore team, Lisa worked for a few big banks. The experience gave her a great foundation, but community banking offers a unique opportunity she values greatly: customer service. “I am able to help build strong client relationships and really make sure they’re successful using our treasury products with our banking platform.”

Outside of work, Lisa stays busy with her two young sons and her family’s shared passion for sports. They enjoy watching football and baseball, and Lisa says that spring training is something she looks forward to all year.

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Nathaniel Spatz

Nathaniel Spatz joined our bank in 2015 as an underwriter. In his new role, he will assist management to research and develop new customer relationships, not just for The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, but for Grandpoint Bank and its other division banks as well.

Always a hard worker, Nathaniel earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously, while also working as the assistant to the CFO of a community bank. Once he started his full-time banking career, he was given a senior title by age 28. Nathaniel is a member of the Risk Management Association, and he spends one night a week giving a Bible study lecture through Community Bible Study. His other interests include reading political thrillers, playing tennis and hitting the gym.

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