Mike Conley, owner
After graduating from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, Mike fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming a Marine Corps Officer. After completing his basic and advanced training, he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan as an Intelligence Officer with 3d Intelligence Battalion. He then deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan for 11 months, as an intelligence liaison officer to the British Command Element. After returning to Okinawa, he acted as a platoon commander and later as the lead planner to an international exercise with the Republic of Korea Marines, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. All the while, traveling throughout Asia and finding every brewery he could.
After the completion of his military contract, Mike immediately enrolled in Arizona State's W.P. Carey School of Business in Phoenix for his MBA with the goal of learning as much as he could to open the brewery. With a focus on Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Mike used his time to build his business plan, meet with entrepreneurs and visit every brewery possible. He completed a business internship with Draught Works Brewery in Missoula, Montana, which was awarded the "Best Very Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year" at GABF in 2014.
Since graduating, Mike worked on making this dream a reality. While working on Helio Basin during the day, he worked nights at another local brewery, gaining invaluable experience in the craft beer industry. "I've always been inspired by the "Greatest Generation" and their ability to defend the country and then come back to build the nation into what it is today. They created companies, provided jobs, helped their neighbors. In a small way, I wanted follow their example and do my part. It's been years of planning and I can't wait to share my vision with Phoenix."
DUSTIN HAZER, OWNER & BREWMASTER
With a background in Pharmaceutical Science, Dustin left the research world to attend the Siebel Institute’s World Brewing Academy in Chicago, IL several years ago. After completing the coursework there, he went on to start his brewing career at Ellicottville Brewing Company in Western New York, getting to apply all aspects of his learned technical brewing skills in the 1,000 bbl/year setup.
After two years in Ellicottville, Dustin left for an opportunity to brew at Arizona’s largest craft brewery, Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe. Dustin was there while the operation expanded from around 18,000 bbls per year to close to 40,000 as both a brewpub and distribution brewery. After about three years in the Valley, a large opportunity arose. A friendly phone call from Southern Tier founder Phin DeMink, sharing plans of an upcoming brewhaus expansion as well as other new projects, led Dustin back to Western New York. He was the Brewmaster with Southern Tier Brewing Company for almost four years where he was in charge of all brewing operations, commissioning the new 110 bbl Steinecker brewhaus, along with new 660 bbl and 880 bbl fermenters, cellar and yeast automation and a new state of the art centrifuge. During that time, they grew from around 40,000 bbls per year to producing over 100,000 bbls per year, becoming one of the top 35 breweries in the country.
Now back in the Valley of the sun, he is excited to get Helio Basin Brewing Company established for all to enjoy.
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of three great breweries throughout my career and to have learned and worked alongside some of the best people you could hope to meet. The camaraderie of the industry has really shown through, as everyone has been very supportive with this endeavor and we are looking forward to making great beer, great food and establishing a sense of community here at Helio Basin Brewing.” – Dustin Hazer
TAMARA STANGER, HEAD CHEF
Tamara Stanger was born and raised in a tiny mining community in rural Utah. She cut her teeth in the culinary industry at an early age in her family’s restaurant. Instead of running the streets, she was mopping floors, blanching fries and making sauces. Although she tried to escape to different careers such as film and journalism, she inevitably always found herself in front of some type of grill. In 2000, Tamara moved to Arizona where she had the opportunity to train all over the Valley under many exceptional and awarded chefs. Now with over twenty years’ experience and a modest following, she is more than ready to call Helio Basin home. She plans to bring a contemporary cuisine with a strong southwest ethnicity, tied together with heirloom family recipes.
Tamara spends her free time in the gym choking and punching people (yes, she is a trained fighter), and at home trying to master mathematics with her kids. She enjoys baking rendered fat pastries and old world fermented bread, which she considers her specialties. She also loves the occasional craft beer (Belgian-style Saison is her favorite).
IRWIN Hernandez, SOUS CHEF
Irwin Hernandez was born and raised in the Valley of the Sun. From a young age, his father always pushed him to his limits and challenged him. His father engraved this saying in his head: "A job is a job, no matter how big or small it is, you have to give it your all!" To this day he goes by it, but in the kitchen, you also see his passion. For the last three years, he has worked his way up at The Gladly under the wing of Chef Bernie. He now feels ready for a new challenge, a new chapter in his career.
"I'm very excited to be part of this team. I strongly believe that we will be that new spot in town, where both beer and food are just amazing, and combine. You won't know what hit you. Our goal is to go far and beyond that. Your taste buds will be craving us."