Page 215

40

Building Community By Sheryl Kornman Garry Brav’s success over the past 40 years began with BFL Construction. The visionary entrepreneur has since diversified into a “family of companies” including BFL Ventures – through which he invests in emerging technologies developed in the region and is involved with a host of community nonprofits. Brav serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and has for the past two years, along with other big business leaders and small business owners. The group identifies regional issues and business opportunities, and provides collective leadership to improve the economic climate and quality of life in the region. Brav supports the Science Foundation of Arizona and, through venture capital activity, encourages the expansion of bioscience ventures in the community. He participates in Desert Angels, an organization of accredited investors who meet monthly seeking opportunities to invest in early stage or startup ventures in the Southwest. The more than 95 members have invested $25 million since 2000 in more than 60 companies. Companies selected for funding are developing cell-based therapies for HIV, therapies for colon cancer, labware for genetics research, sports nutrition fruitflavored energy gels, a GPS tracking device children can wear. The investors are also funding commercialization of the SynCardia temporary CardioWest Total Artificial Heart. Investors have supported a biomedical nanotechnology company developing therapeutic approaches to cancer, traumatic brain injury and stroke, as well as a cryobank www.BizTucson.com

that allows individuals to store their fatty tissue and stem cells for use in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. Desert Angels also funds nonmedical technologies, including toys developed for children with special needs. More than 25 years ago, Brav began fundraising for the American Cancer Society, eventually serving as development chair and board chair. He began his association with the charity when a client urged him to get involved raising money for cancer research. His first act of charity for the nonprofit organization was a stunt. He went to “jail” in an improvised cell in the basement of University of Arizona Medical Center. He had to make successful fundraising calls to earn his way out. “It was fun and it made me feel good,” he said. “Now, we do a lot of charitable work.” BFL is the title sponsor for El Rio Community Health Center Foundation’s annual fundraising gala. BFL also supports the work of Tucson Values Teachers, United Way and other charities. At one point, 100 percent of BFL employees were donors to United Way. Brav said the construction work by BFL on six clinics for El Rio Community Health Center and for other nonprofit organizations – while not a donation of services – is especially rewarding for him. The new El Rio buildings bring medical services closer to the community health center’s populations. “Garry understands the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and sees the importance of both in creating a thriving community. He is a connector of people, ideas and financial resources – an

out-of-the box thinker and visionary who enjoys executing projects that will have an impact on the lives of others,” said Brenda Goldsmith, executive director of the El Rio Health Center Foundation. “He is an engaged business leader who understands the importance of developing a culture of philanthropy within his companies. He has been very supportive of El Rio Community Health Center and many nonprofit organizations – sharing his business expertise, serving on boards and being a generous donor.” BFL also built the Joint Technical Education District school building for Pima County’s publicly funded technical education programs, which help young people train for immediate employment in computer science, fire science, nursing, cosmetology, mining and automobile repair. “Everything JTED touches is just outstanding,” Brav said. In October 2013, BFL donated construction and related services to Edge High School, a nonprofit education organization that works with at-risk youth at two school sites in Tucson. The company installed new flooring and ceiling tiles, repainted, and added electrical capability for video conferencing in the school’s boardroom at the Himmel Park site. BFL also built publicly funded facilities for agencies that serve people with behavioral health issues, including Cope, La Frontera, CODAC, SouthEastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services, Tucson Urban League, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona and Primavera. Biz > > > BizTucson 215 Winter Winter 2014 2014

Biztucsonwinter2014flip  

The Tucson Region's Business Magazine

Biztucsonwinter2014flip  

The Tucson Region's Business Magazine