The Real Men of Chandler 15

Praiseworthy Men Doing Standout Work in the Community

With the success of our Women’s issue, it seemed to be a no-brainer to carry it forward and feature The Real Men of Chandler in the June Men’s issue. We found these guys everywhere—donating their talents, time and/or money to make a difference in our great community.

Again, nominations were solicited through the magazine, social media and word-of-mouth. The nominating criteria remained loose because we were looking for men from a broad cross-section of our community and our Editorial Committee once again had a difficult task making the selections. All 62 nominees deserved to be in this issue, but space only allowed us to bring you 17.

I hope you enjoy reading and learning more about each of these men. Some will not be a surprise, but some will. Some are similarly motivated. Some are extremely unique. Some are innovative. Some have overcome great adversity. All are amazingly selfless. All are interesting. All are dedicated. All are motivated to do good.

Next time you see these men around the neighborhood, I hope you say hello and thank them for caring. They truly embody what gives Chandler our small-town feel and true sense of community.

—Joyce Selk

Michael A. Pollack

President, Pollack Investments

Often referred to as “The Plastic Surgeon of Commercial Real Estate,” Michael A. Pollack began his career in the real-estate development business in 1973. After several years of building new projects, he turned his talents to redevelopment. As a leader in real estate, he has developed and redeveloped over 10 million square feet of real-estate properties in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Texas and Nevada.

With a focus on redeveloping old and antiquated retail centers throughout Chandler and neighboring communities, Pollack has brought pride back into the neighborhoods. People are often stunned when they see some of the before-and-after photographs of the many redevelopments that his company has completed. He has received more than 100 awards for his work and charitable efforts—including recognitions and acknowledgements, Governor Awards, Congressional Awards, Senatorial Awards and even Presidential Honors.

Known for charitable giving, Pollack has given to numerous local organizations, including Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Regional Medical Center, Chandler Education Foundation, Chandler Service Club, Assistance League of East Valley, ICAN, Matthew’s Crossing, Fans Across America, numerous schools in the Chandler Unified School District, and is one of the largest private donors to Goodwill of Arizona.

What is one of your fondest memories of a time you were giving back to the Chandler community?

I’m thankful to say that during the past 25 years that I’ve been in Chandler, I have been able to give back to several local and national charities that make a positive difference in the lives of so many. Every charity I have been involved with has left me with a fond memory that upon recalling reminds me why I continue to strive to make the great city of Chandler an even better place.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

Finding a balance includes prioritizing my time so that I am able to give to each part of my life. I continue to strive to find the perfect balance between work, community and personal life; however, I can honestly say that it is a work in progress.

What is the most rewarding part of being able to give back?

I have always believed that being part of a community means helping your neighbors by giving in any way you can. The most rewarding part of being able to give back is knowing that my donations help provide the resources that charities need to continue their great work in the community.


Jay Tibshraeny

Mayor, City of Chandler

A Chandler native, Mayor Jay Tibshraeny is the epitome of public service. Growing up in this small farming town when it had a population of just 10,000, he has seen Chandler grow into a major metropolitan city—in fact; it’s the fourth largest city in Arizona with a current population of more than 252,000. No one can argue that Tibshraeny’s influence during his years in public office has made major inroads that helped Chandler become the city that it is today.

In 1980, Tibshraeny was a small businessman who volunteered locally as a youth sports coach and was appointed to be on the Planning and Zoning Commission. From there, he served as a city councilmember for eight years before becoming Chandler’s vice mayor in 1990. His next step in public service was becoming Chandler’s mayor from 1994 to 2002, before being elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2003, where he served for eight years. Returning to the mayor’s desk, Tibshraeny began his seventh unprecedented term.

Outside of public service, the mayor’s contributions to charities, committees and boards are too numerous to mention but it is fair to say that his devotion to our community is significant in many ways.

How do you balance work, community and your personal life?

“Having the position as mayor is a 24/7 job so it’s almost seamless where the job ends and my personal life begins,” explains the mayor. It has become a family affair as he and his wife attend countless events, support many charities and are also very involved with their church.

What are some major accomplishments you are proud of during your tenure in political office?

I’ve been able to keep the small-town feeling in the downtown area as well as bring new jobs and industries to the city. It was rewarding to see the development of the Paseo Trail and canal system and the beautiful park that emerged from the old landfill. Plus, I enjoy meeting one-on-one with many wonderful citizens and hearing their stories.

Describe the Chandler community in three words.

Super, fantastic city.



Bill Ryan

Owner/Broker, REMAX Infinity; Co-Owner CHOP, La Sala

As a Chandler native and full-time Realtor since 1974, Bill Ryan continues his family’s legacy as he continues to contribute a great deal to the local community—both through his company and his volunteer work.

Ryan is a big supporter of the REMAX Infinity Kid’s Club, which holds events each year to raise money and needed items for local kids. He is also a proud supporter of RPAC, a Realtor organization that supports property rights, and his company is a contributor to the Children’s Miracle Network. As a member of the Chandler Compadres and Chandler Horizon Rotary, he participates in even more charitable events annually. And if that is not enough, Ryan’s agency supports several local kids’ sports programs, including the YMCA, and also makes regular donations to PBS and local animal rescue groups.

As past president of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, he has developed a well-deserved reputation as a staunch supporter of local businesses and a leader in the local real-estate industry. Ryan’s office has won numerous awards since he purchased the franchise in 2009, which is located on the corner of Ryan Road and Arizona Avenue, where his family’s farm once stood. He continues to invest in Chandler as part owner of CHOP and La Sala restaurants in downtown Ocotillo.

What is one of your fondest memories of a time you were giving back?

I especially enjoyed being president of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce in the early 1980s, working with other businesses and the community to help Chandler grow.

What is the most rewarding part of being able to give back?

The satisfaction of accomplishment is one of the most rewarding parts of giving back, as is feeling like I made a difference.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in volunteering/helping their local community?

Getting involved in the community is a must. Building relationships is what life is all about.


Torie Brown

Fifth Grade Teacher, Andersen Elementary

Giving back is part of Torie Brown’s lifestyle and he has spent the last six years mentoring children. Originally from Columbia, Mo., where he worked as a police officer, Brown fell in love with Arizona when he attended ASU for his master’s degree in elementary and special education.

Brown started a mentor club for fourth and fifth grade boys called “Next Generation of Gentlemen” at his school, Andersen Elementary, as a motivational club to help build integrity and distinction in boys. The boys learn simple etiquette and how to act like a gentleman.

“One of the reasons I started this club is because I’ve always loved working with at-risk youth. With this group I have the opportunity to work with kids that may need a true role model or mentor to show them the skills that they may be lacking,” says Brown. “I want these students to hear from other positive role models in our community that may have been in their same situation at their age, but still found a way to succeed as a professional. By doing this it gives these boys hope at achieving their dreams.”

“Since doing this I have noticed that the boys have more confidence,” he continues. “Their parents have also noticed a big change in the boys’ behavior and overall self-esteem.”

The club has doubled in size since starting.

Brown recently received the Chandler Chamber Community Award for 2017 Educator of the Year. He also coaches two youth basketball teams.

What initially inspired you to take up your occupation?

I never had a mentor and loved working with kids. It was when I volunteered to be a teaching assistant in junior high school that one of my teachers encouraged me to make teaching a career.

What is the most rewarding part of being able to give back?

Hearing the kids’ stories about giving to the homeless and how they realize that these are real people that had jobs and families before falling on bad times.

Describe the Chandler community in three words.

Supportive, caring, united.


Alberto Esparza

President, CEO and Founder of Si Se Puede

When Alberto Esparza was young, he could see the disparity in educational opportunities and high dropout rates of minority students. It was something he couldn’t ignore. Eventually, he left his lucrative law enforcement career to follow his heart and achieve his dreams. In 1993, he founded Si Se Puede Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides programs to improve quality of life and strengthen communities. They focus on school and risk factors that are barriers to educational achievement and primarily serve low-income, predominately minority communities in Chandler and Phoenix.

“I wanted to inspire others to see beyond their neighborhoods, to plant seeds of purpose and ambition in young minds, to build bridges and tear down the walls that divide communities and to use my talents and skills to improve quality of life for children, young adults and families,” says Esparza.

During the SSPF infancy stage, Esparza spent his life savings to keep the programs afloat, experiencing financial hardship himself. He remembers sleeping in borrowed offices, traveling on foot from school to school and riding buses from community to community to assist with numerous social causes. He did not want to disappoint those he served.

In 1998, Esparza became interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, and he spent two years developing a curriculum, long before STEM became a household word. His pioneering efforts led to the city of Chandler awarding the foundation a grant to establish a STEM program in CUSD. The program began with eight students and now serves approximately 130 students, ages 8-18, in Chandler.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

I am convinced that a career in service to others is rewarding for many reasons, but the most important would be seeing the various strides of progress and independence that children, youth and families can achieve with a hand-up.

What is the next step or goal for you?

To continue to make STEM available to disadvantaged communities throughout the state. Your zip code should not determine whether or not you have access to STEM opportunities or dreams of becoming an engineer.



Shawn Maxwell

Owner, Origami Owl, Rollin Rust Garage, 
Willing Beauty Company

Shawn Maxwell was a Phoenix firefighter for more than 11 years before he decided to follow his entrepreneurial spirit in order to have more time and flexibility for his family. Little did he know how successful that decision would be! Now, instead of saving people from flames, he helps others realize their dreams.

Maxwell is a part of Origami Owl, the Chandler company he co-owns because he believed in his neighbors, a mother-daughter team named Chrissy and Bella Weems. Bella was using her babysitting money to start a company featuring customizable jewelry but needed an investor to take it to the next level. Little did they know that a conversation with their firefighter neighbor would result in a $250 million business! Five years later, The Origami Owl Family of Brands did it again by acquiring another company led by a mother-daughter team. Together they’re creating Willing Beauty Company, which will feature better-for-you skincare products.

Last year, Origami Owl, donated more than $1.5 million to charities and causes. Also, Maxwell’s Rollin Rust Garage, a full-service automotive shop, is giving back locally by rebuilding and donating a 1964 C10 pickup truck to auction at the Chandler Compadres annual fundraiser in November.

“I’m a firm believer that if you help others succeed, success will follow,” says Maxwell.

What is the next step or goal for you?

I really want to get more connected with Chandler and use my resources to benefit the community.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

I’m a business owner, not an operator. I have good people in charge so I don’t have to be there all the time. I always make breakfast and take my kids to school. By being a business owner, it allows me the flexibility to give back and be with my kids when I want.

What’s your favorite saying/quote?

“You only get 18 summers with your kids. Make them count.”,,


Jamie Hoffman

Managing Partner, SanTan Brewing Company

Jamie Hoffman joined SanTan Brewing Company as managing partner the year after it started and has been a prominent member of our community through his work with one of Arizona’s favorite local breweries. As the vice president of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership (DCCP), Hoffman also helps to promote local business in downtown Chandler.

“As a company, we donate large amounts to the Compadres, the National Rainforest Foundation, as well as many other smaller causes, most being in Chandler,” Hoffman says. A supporter of causes that impact youth, Hoffman recalls that the first time he visited ICAN Chandler (a local nonprofit that provides free services for youth), he saw first-hand how the community can give back to the next generation. He also personally supports the Chandler Compadres.

Hoffman says that he was inspired to work in the restaurant industry after watching fictional character Sam Malone in the TV show, Cheers. “I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant since I started watching that show,” he says.

What makes giving back so worthwhile?

The most rewarding part to me is that I am able to touch other people’s lives by simple acts of kindness. My favorite cause is any cause that promotes children with needs.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

My balancing act consists of mine and my wife’s Google calendars. There is also a lot of sacrifice involved and I am truly blessed to have a wife who understands that.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in giving back?

I would suggest finding a cause you truly care about. It makes the work more rewarding in the end.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“Under promise, over deliver.”



Kevin Hartke

Vice Mayor of the City of Chandler, 
Lead Pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship,
Founder, For Our City-Chandler

Vice mayor and Pastor Kevin Hartke describes his life as “all things Chandler.” Hartke has been a part of the community and given back to it in a variety of ways for more than 30 years. He says his desire to serve others started before he called Chandler home.

“When I was 22, I joined a medical mission team in Southern Mexico as a medical technician during a summer break. One afternoon I diagnosed tuberculosis in a very sick young mother. That night she died from the tuberculosis,” Hartke recalls. “This experience left me sleepless and wrestling with many questions. It also awakened a deep sense of gratitude and responsibility. This experience propelled me into a life of engagement and service.”

With this experience in mind, Hartke has served on the Chandler City Council and founded the nonprofit For Our City-Chandler, which helps with causes ranging from finding housing for the homeless to school supply drives. Also, for more than a decade he has read weekly to kids at Galveston Elementary School.

What is one of your fondest memories of a time you were giving back?

I was receiving a rather large trophy on behalf of Chandler for the Battle of the Burbs on our downtown Chandler outdoor stage at the concert sponsored by radio station Mix 96.9. As I returned to my seat a young man ran up to me and said, “Do you remember me?” Before I could respond he continued, “I was homeless and stayed with I-HELP at your church. I wanted you to know that I got a job and my life is good now. Thank you!”

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in giving back?

I believe that we are wired to help people. This is a reflection of being created in the image of God. We have been created to be creative, to serve others and to find a way to make a difference—large or small. We are remarkably blessed.,



Dr. Thomas Chamberlain

Owner/Founder, Chamberlain Orthodontics

Dr. Thomas Chamberlain believes in supporting our local schools through his practice, Chamberlain Orthodontics. If you are a teacher in the Chandler Unified School District or the Kyrene School District, he will put braces on your teeth—for FREE!  He also offers free orthodontic care to all students in need in the Chandler high schools and donates $100 to the school district for every new youth orthodontic case.

Chamberlain always strives to give back to the local community whenever possible. For him, being successful is about much more than having a busy practice—it also means helping others and giving of his time and services. He has combined efforts with a national orthodontic charity to give away orthodontic care to needy children. This opportunity led him to give free braces and items to ICAN and the 100 Club. His quest to give back has also led to adventures away from home. Traveling with a local charity called Hope Arising, he and other volunteers made a makeshift dental office in the small town of Dera, Ethiopia, which brought relief to hundreds of people.

What drives you to give back?

Whatever I want in life, I have found that the best way to get it is to focus my energy on giving to others. If I want to boost my confidence, I look for ways to help someone else feel more confident. If I want to feel more hopeful, positive or inspired, I try to infuse that in someone else’s day.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in giving back?

People should choose how they would like to give back. Some may have talents to share, time to serve, money to donate or even a combination of all three. As you look outside yourself and decide to give a part of what you have been blessed with, opportunities will come to light that you may not have seen before. Those opportunities have always been there; you just needed a new mindset in order to see them.


Graham Tinius

Police Officer, City of Chandler

Officer Graham Tinius has many causes he’s passionate about—including animals, the outdoors and law enforcement. As a Chandler Police Officer, he pays special attention to those with the least ability to help themselves.

“A lot of times when the police are called, people are at their lowest or their worst. We don’t always get to see an immediate pay off,” Tinius says. “But if you’re in it for the long game, you can definitely find the payback. I’ve seen some of the teenagers I once mentored, now grown, around town. Several of them have recognized me, stopped me and thanked me simply for taking the time to get to know them. Two of them in particular said that my involvement in their lives probably saved them. That’s the kind of thing that officers across the country are doing, but we don’t always get to hear about it.”

Tinius also has a soft spot for Chandler’s four-legged residents.

“While working patrol, I developed an affiliation with a local animal rescue organization,” he says. “This provided me someone to reach out to when I came across stray dogs and cats, families in need of assistance with their pets, and even a place to refer citizens to when they could no longer care for their pets. Little did I know that this would eventually lead to me meeting one of my best friends.”

Tinius’ best friend? Leia, a full-bred German Shepherd that he rescued while on the job.

Tinius gives back to nonprofits such as the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse and the Chandler Law Enforcement Association.

Describe the Chandler community in three words.

Diverse, forward-thinking, connected.

What initially inspired you to take up your occupation?

Once I was an officer, it sort of came naturally to me to try to serve the unrepresented populations. To me the three populations that tend not to have a voice are juveniles, animals and opiate addicts. Throughout my career, I’ve made it my goal to take a special interest in these groups.



Ryan Combs

Co-Owner, Knockerball Scottsdale/Gilbert/Chandler; Warehouse Manager, McLane Food Service

Shortly after joining the Ocotillo Friends community group on Facebook just over a year ago, Ryan Combs was struck by how many residents of Chandler needed help and he decided to pitch in and do what he could. Whenever possible, he will reach out and offer any assistance he can—everything from feeding people who are hungry to building bikes for foster kids to raising funds for a Chandler family whose child had passed away from cancer. If someone needs time or money, Combs brings the community together to do what they can. He especially enjoys supporting Together We Rise, a nonprofit organization that helps children in foster care in the Chandler area.

Between owning a business, volunteering or organizing charitable giving, Combs is inspired to give back to the Chandler community—one that supports him in everything he does.

“The Ocotillo Friends members have never disappointed. They have enabled me to be successful in my business and the causes I serve beyond my imagination and I am grateful for their support,” says Combs.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” —Mary Anne Radmacher

What initially inspired you to help your local community?

I always wanted to help the community, but I lacked a platform to do so. After starting my business two years ago, and then being added to Ocotillo Friends, I found my way. I tackle as many projects as I feel I have time and money for.

What is one of your fondest memories of a time you were giving back?

My fondest memory to date is being able to purchase a headstone for a couple that never had the money to purchase one for their daughter, who passed a few years ago. Recently, we were able to raise $1,700 in just 24 hours and the headstone is now purchased.



Andrew McCreery

Owner of d’Vine Gourmet and Director of Training/Sommelier at Hensley Beverage Distributing

Andrew McCreery is the antithesis of never being too late to take a chance on your dream. To celebrate his 50th birthday, McCreery decided to fulfill a lifelong wish to join the Scottish League of Highland Gamers, an old sport of brawn and courage where athletes throw large stones, heavy hammers, and logs for both distance and height. During his first competition in Portland, Ore., McCreery threw the 96-pound Portland Stone almost 14 feet, breaking an 11-year record held by a seasoned gamer. While participating in the Phoenix Highland Games this past winter, he qualified in two out of three events for the World Master’s Championship in Rejkavik, Iceland, this summer. Needing just one more event to lock down his world title, McCreery did so at the Prescott Highland Games a couple of weeks ago, winning the 16#, 22# and 42# record distances. Looks like he will be representing our great city in many world events just by “throwing stones in a skirt,” to quote his wife!

In his day job, McCreery keeps busy as a sommelier and trainer for Hensley Beverage and owner of d’Vine Gourmet, the South Chandler store that he owns with his wife, Denise. d’Vine Gourmet was born from a love of food and wine and a desire to share the couple’s culinary creations with others. Their first endeavor was literally turning wine into jelly, which quickly sold out during their local farmer’s market debut. Now award-winning jams, mustards, candies, snacks and spices are produced right in the shop’s kitchen where customers can watch them being made. Their other specialty is a wine selection at the best prices in town and producing beautiful gift baskets featuring their products and other locally made gourmet treats.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

We should always support and give back to those in need. Through our business, we are committed to finding ways to collaborate and propel other local small retail businesses toward success.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” If you are not getting enough, you may not be giving enough.

Nicholas Polando, Stephen Polando, Michael Spangenberg

Co-founders of State Forty Eight

Michael Spangenberg and brothers Nicholas and Stephen Polando grew up in Chandler. They graduated from Chandler High School, watched the city evolve around them and became part of the growth when they founded State Forty Eight.

“Growing up in Arizona, there was nothing here to represent our home in a positive and trendy way. Our ultimate goal is to create products for people to wear who share the same passion for Arizona as us,” says Spangenberg.

Community is important to the men. When the business outgrew their homes, it was a no-brainer to stay in Chandler. The city reached out and helped them find their commercial space on Arizona Avenue.

“We love living and working in this area of town,” Spangenberg says. “We believe that partnering with other city locals is important because it strengthens our community and economy right here in our hometown.”

When they’re not busy working on new designs and churning out high-quality products, the men give back to the community by supporting the Arians Family Foundation, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Pat Tillman Foundation.

“The most rewarding part is knowing you can make a difference in people’s lives,” he says. “Especially if you can help kids to realize their potential and not be tripped up by some of the things that tripped you up. Passing on your experience to help others shine brighter. I love the possibility of that.”

Spangenberg is a board member with Chandler High’s DECA program, which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management to start their own businesses.

What is the most rewarding part of what you guys do?

It’s rewarding to see our brand out in public on a regular basis. It’s a dream come true to see others love the brand as much as we do.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

Our advice is to be genuine about becoming involved in whatever you do. There is no better feeling than being able to give back and make a difference.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“Work smarter and not harder.”



Jason Dawson

Local Listing Pro, Realtor

“We have experienced our community coming together on countless occasions to help and give back to those who are less fortunate,” he says. “We see our neighbors take care of one another, unite and grow.  We see so much good in this community; it really fulfills our hearts and love for the area. Although there are many great communities in the Valley of the Sun, we are fortunate enough to belong to what we consider the best one! We choose to reside in Chandler because of the close community feel and incredible quality of life. We work, live and play in Chandler and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Dawson grew up in a family that was involved in real estate investing, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he decided to make a career for himself in the industry. He and his wife, Tanya, run their own team, Local Listing Pro, at Realty Executives.

His belief in supporting the residents of Chandler is very visible as he eagerly supports many underprivileged students, charities and causes, rarely saying no when asked to help. Dawson financially sponsors families so their children can play sports, and he donates gifts and meals to Chandler families during the holidays. Dawson is also supportive in helping the organization Care Fund, which pays families’ mortgages or rent during their child’s extended health crisis. His company also helps homeless families find housing

How do you balance work, community and your personal life?

I tell my clients that I will be there for them six days a week, but Sunday is for family. This gives me the balance I needs to focus on helping them and still have a personal life.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” —Zig Ziglar

Describe the Chandler community in three words.

Comfortable, caring, unity.


Troy Norris

Senior Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager, Arizona Bank & Trust

“Since becoming a Chandler resident in 2010, we have really made an effort to get involved in the community. Given the size of our Phoenix metropolitan area, it is nice to focus on the community you live in and where your children go to school. Volunteering in organizations like Rotary and ICAN bring the community closer to you and makes it feel like home,” says Troy Norris.

Through his work at Arizona Bank & Trust, Norris enjoys helping local business owners achieve their goals. He feels fortunate to play a small part in the success stories of these companies by helping to expand their operations through new facilities, additional equipment, technology and hiring new employees.

“My involvement in Chandler Rotary has been incredibly rewarding. Our club has been a fixture in Chandler since 1934 and we work very hard to give back to the community in many ways,” he says.

He also volunteers for ICAN, a free, family-centered youth service organization in the East Valley. He has served on their finance committee for the past five years and joined their board of directors in January 2017.

“I am especially proud of the work ICAN does to equip youth to achieve personal and academic success by tackling substance abuse, gang involvement and juvenile delinquency,” he says. “The organization provides after school programs to over 200 children every day. This nonprofit is one our Chandler community is very lucky to have!”

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

Make the most of every minute of every day.  With two young children and a working spouse, we have to stay on task at home and in the office. My wife and I always say our morning and evening routine is like a symphony, with one picking up where the other left off.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day needs to reorganize his life.”  —George Matthew Adams