Donald V. Budinger, Rodel Foundations

from Donald V. Budinger

Don Budinger Skills GapNot only has the economy changed due to the deep recession, it is increasingly apparent that the economy is also changing because of advances in technology; therefore, business is demanding new skill sets among the work force in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in particular. These skills are in demand and beginning to shape the economy in ways that demonstrate a need to heighten the basics among students.

Arizona has responded to this challenge by adopting new academic standards, Arizona’s Common Core Standards, which are designed to ensure today’s students have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the future.  In addition to academic knowledge, the standards focus on teaching critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication skills. While we may not be able to predict the jobs of the future, we are confident that these skills will better prepare our students for college, career and life.

As a business owner and one of the founders of a garage start-up that grew to become the world’s largest manufacturer of the surface finishing chemicals used to make computer chips, rigid memory disks and specialty optics, I found our need for well-educated and highly skilled employees was worldwide. In the 1990s, we started noticing a change in available candidates when hiring people for our U.S. facilities. More and more we were interviewing and hiring people who had been educated in other countries because their skill sets matched our needs better than those educated in the U.S. It is for this reason that we invested the majority of the proceeds we received upon the sale of our business into starting the Rodel Foundations, whose mission is to improve Arizona’s K-12 public education system so that it is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation by the year 2020. Science Foundation Arizona is also investing public/private dollars into a more robust science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum in our state.

This growing recognition of the need for technologically adept workers to fill an increasing demand by business and carry the economy into a successful future is the focus of this issue’s cover story, “Educating Our Work Force: How knowledge will build business in Arizona.” Don Rodriguez explores programs and organizations dedicated to promoting the strong educational foundation that will produce this work force in Arizona.

In the super-connected world that current technology has enabled, a single event or opinion can reach a large population in very little time. Addressing the possibility that your company may be the target of virulent ill will or bad press, Denise Resnik shares her expertise in public relations to help you formulate a crisis communication plan that will enable you to respond quickly and positively.

Dennis Niven shares his expertise in financial operations for the second of a three-part “Business Education” series, “Best Practices for Accounts Receivable Collection.” Elsewhere in this issue, Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell digs into the business side of the restaurant industry for the “Focus” feature and In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh offers food for thought in a “Roundtable” article on the controversial subject of the way banks assess risk in their standards of doing business.

As In Business Magazine is dedicated to helping to build business, I encourage you to read through this November issue focused on education and filling the skills gap in Arizona.


Donald V. Budinger
Chairman, Rodel Foundations
Chairman, Science Foundation Arizona

Don Budinger is one of the founders and the former president of Rodel, Inc., a leading manufacturer worldwide in the electronics industry, and is currently chairman and founding director of the Rodel Foundations, whose mission is to help schools (pre-K through 12th grade) in Arizona and Delaware become national leaders. The University of Arizona graduate is also chairman and founding director of Science Foundation Arizona and a board member of several Arizona educational and economic development organizations. Budinger’s numerous honors include being named one of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy’s Distinguished Associates and receiving the “Science of Early Learning Award” from New Directions Institute.

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events