ProTenn International founder Alex Ramirez leads a highly decorated staff to provide a focused and personalized instructional environment where students can learn to play their best tennis. Since 1988, Alex and his team have developed a number of sectional, national, and international champions, including tour professionals Camila Giorgi and Liga Dekmeijere. Their coaches employ a results-oriented methodology that combines footwork, physical fitness, mental strategy, and competitive spirit.
Prior to each practice session, coach and pupil identify an objective for their time together, be it smoother groundstrokes or more choreographed victory dances. The two will then work to develop a workable plan of action that aims to help students achieve their desired results. Though instructors impart a number of tips and tricks for improvement, nothing replaces the tried-and-true methods of hard work and repetition, which locks ideal movements into muscle memory.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, an international preservation organization based in Chicago, was founded in 1989 to preserve the masterpieces of the greatest architectural pioneer of the 20th century. Frank Lloyd Wright developed a truly American style of architecture known as the Prairie School, creating what he called "architecture for democracy." His brilliant designs redefined the concept of space so that people could live and grow in organic environments, connecting physically and spiritually to the natural world without having to wrestle a cougar to prove their worth. The Conservancy's mission is to preserve and maintain the original splendor of Frank Lloyd Wright's remaining structures, which, when peered at through Wright's signature stained-glass windows, shed light into the architecture of a bygone era that has influenced modern American design. Since its inception, the Conservancy has worked with more than 150 FLW structures and has organized the nomination of 11 Wright structures and log cabins built from pretzel sticks to become immortalized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Conservancy is able to circulate knowledge of the nation's vibrant architectural heritage and the importance of conservation through guided tours of famous Wright buildings, an annual conference, and by publishing SaveWright, a biannual magazine, and eBytes, an electronic newsletter.
Heidi Lamar didn't know much about spas when she first purchased Spa Lamar. As she explained to reporters from Skin Inc., "not coming from a spa background, there were things I didn't know I couldn't do." Unhindered by industry conventions or previously fixed ideas, Heidi set about filling her 14,000-square-foot spa with innovative amenities—from a luxurious waterfall-fed pool to an onsite yoga and dance studio. She also cultivates locals instead of the typical resort crowd, banishing cacti from the decor in favor of a Caribbean-style ambiance that, as she told the Arizona Republic, caters to those who already live in Arizona and want to get away to a tropical island. Today, her media-lauded spa is the largest privately owned spa in Scottsdale and is frequented by locals, including members of the Phoenix Suns Dancers.
Before treatments that include massages, acupuncture, mani-pedis, and facials, guests garbed in fluffy complimentary robes duck into the steam room. They sample wholesome lunches and fruit plates from the tropical tea bar and relax in the sauna while waiting for a haircut or warm algae wrap. Sunbathers float around the pool on loungers, whereas others simmer in a bubbling whirlpool. Unlike many traditional spas, Spa Lamar is completely coed, making it an ideal place for couples that are on a first date or permanently trapped together inside a horse costume with a broken zipper.
Jacqui Bergmann had a lot to contend with—a divorce, depression, and a two-packs-a-day smoking habit. As she drove her son to the gym, she wondered what she should do to turn her life around. As it turns out, the answer was at the gym. Watching her son take a boxing lesson, Jacqui decided she wanted to give it a try. She traded her cigarettes for boxing gloves and felt her negative thoughts fade away to be replaced by a sense of confidence and empowerment.
Today, as owner of Glove Game Boxing, Jacqui gives guests this same feeling of empowerment through 30- and 60-minute boxing classes. Her team of trainers holds group and one-on-one lessons for men and women of all ability levels and goals, whether they just want to get in shape or to compete in amateur or professional circuits. They teach the same exercises used to drill the gym's pro pugilists—students learn about punching combinations, for example, and the importance of throwing at the X on King Hippo's stomach. The trainers emphasize proper form and technique so participants get the most out of each workout while minimizing the chance of injury. They also offer special training packages, including parent-child, postbaby, and wedding-day-countdown boot camps. To keep clients focused on the training and not the paperwork, Jacqui forgoes things such as long-term contracts and membership fees.
Randy Long entered the working world as a travel agent, a vocation that whet his appetite for globetrotting, adventure, and haggling with airlines. When he became a father and husband, he passed a passion for thrill seeking on to his family, and their recent escapades include scuba diving in Barbados and dog sledding in Alaska. It was this thirst for exploration and a love of aviation that drove Randy to become an FAA-certified powered-parachute instructor and found Arizona Powerchutes.
Powered parachutes are comprised of two-seater, wheeled carts that float 20 feet beneath 40-foot parachutes. At sunrise—or sunset during the cooler months—Randy and a passenger climb aboard the cart, and Randy hits the throttle, gathering speed for about 100 feet before the parachute fully inflates and hoists the cart into the air. Randy adjusts the altitude to his patron's comfort level and steers crafts over the exotic plants and mountain silhouettes of the Sonoran Desert, averaging a speed of 26 miles per hour. After journeys, powered parachutes float to land safely, as they are inspected by the pilot prior to each flight and by an FAA-approved facility after every 100 hours of operation.