Question: Arts and culture is an integral part of community, and is increasingly recognized as playing a significant role in economic and business development. As a businessperson, how do you interact with arts and cultural organizations to better your business?
Vice President, Finance
Crescent Crown Distributing
Beer and the arts have been linked since the beginning of recorded history. Researchers found musical instruments and beer-making equipment together at a dig in China dating back 9,000 years! So it’s no surprise that Crescent Crown Distributing has embraced the arts scene in Arizona as a way to connect with new customers. As treasurer of the Mesa Arts Center Foundation, I have been fortunate in helping Crescent Crown support the MAC in putting on street fairs, arts festivals and concerts, which has exposed thousands of Arizona residents to our products.
But “bettering our business” isn’t all about increased sales. Our ownership takes great pride in being involved in the communities in which we do operations. For example, last year’s Oktoberfest-themed “ARToberfest” beer-tasting event was a huge success, raising more than $5,000 for arts educational programs. Also, our Corporate Membership at the MAC provides us with discounted tickets and presale opportunities for our employees, which makes for a happier (and more productive) work force. For us, interaction with the arts is not only good for our business, it’s good for our people, too!
Neil Baier has been the vice president of finance for Crescent Crown Distributing, one of the five largest beer distributors in the country with operations in Arizona and Louisiana, since 2008. Baier is also the treasurer of the Mesa Arts Center Foundation and a board member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.
Matthew P. Feeney
Snell & Wilmer
I feel very fortunate to be a partner in a law firm that holds service to the community as one of its core values. Snell & Wilmer has a long history of supporting the arts because we believe art and culture help our community thrive, and strong communities are essential to attracting, developing and retaining businesses.
The primary way I connect with and contribute to the cultural identity of the Valley is through music. I was thrilled when the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) came to the Valley and am honored to serve on the President’s Cabinet. The MIM is literally a one-of-a-kind museum — there is nothing like it in the world. By collecting, preserving and sharing instruments and music from around the world, the MIM gives us the opportunity to learn about and celebrate our interconnectivity and diversity; one enters the MIM as an individual, but leaves feeling part of the worldwide community. My personal involvement in the arts encourages me to be creative and self-reflective, qualities my firm values and that I believe can benefit all businesses.
Matthew P. Feeney is a partner in the Phoenix office of Snell & Wilmer. He serves as co-leader of the business and finance group and sits on the firm’s executive committee. He practices in corporate law, focusing on securities, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, corporate governance and general corporate matters. Feeney joined Snell & Wilmer in 1983 after graduating from Notre Dame Law School.
Jeffrey H. Wolf
Quarles & Brady LLP
At Quarles & Brady, we consider it essential to connect directly with our communities in order to fully understand and better address their needs, as well as to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens. One way we do this is through Quarles Cares, our community outreach program wherein we provide opportunities for attorneys and staff to commit themselves personally to civic and charitable efforts. For me, getting involved in arts and culture emerged from a personal place, as my teenage daughter has been involved in dance since she was three. I have always supported the arts, but seeing the hard work my daughter puts in every day to develop her craft, I’ve grown to admire the passion and dedication that performing arts can ignite in both children and adults.
Participating in cultural activities increases my visibility in the community and, at the same time, allows me to fulfill my interest in supporting the arts. These activities also offer the added bonus of putting me in a position to build relationships with local business and civic leaders, which can result in new business opportunities.
Jeffrey H. Wolf, who was recently elected to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ advisory board, is a partner in Quarles & Brady LLP’s Commercial Litigation and Franchise and Distribution industry groups. Named among the top 50 attorneys in Arizona for the past two years by Southwest Super Lawyers Magazine, his national practice focuses on representing franchisors, manufacturers and marketers of products and services.