Friday, May 30, 2008

Mayor Franklin and Metro Atlanta Chamber Join Forces for Student Internships

For the third year in a row, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce are calling on metro Atlanta companies to provide summer internships for this year’s class of graduating seniors in Atlanta Public Schools.

The internship project -- which helps place hundreds of students each year at more than 325 organizations in the public and private sectors -- is in partnership with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ajcjobs.

Internships run from June 2 through July 25, 2008. Companies are asked to provide 35-40 hours of work per week and pay $8 to $12 per hour. Companies that cannot host an intern can still become involved by sponsoring an intern at another company.

“The internship program is designed to provide practical and invaluable work experience to talented youth by exposing them to the business world as they work to achieve their dreams,” said Mayor Franklin. “Through our strong partnership with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the business community, we have had a great few years, and I’m calling on the community to step up again this year.”

The Metro Atlanta Chamber has been involved with public schools for decades through the Atlanta Partners for Education, a joint venture of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Atlanta Public Schools.

“One of the most important things we can do is to encourage young people to get an education, and to offer them real-world experience that will help them compete anywhere in the world,” said Tom Hough, area managing partner for Ernst & Young LLP and chair of the Chamber’s Atlanta Public Schools Education Committee.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall said the internships offer students substantial experience in the real world and a positive outlook for their future.

“At Atlanta Public Schools, we can always rely on the business community to embrace our students,” she added. “And offering internships is another example of the community’s meaningful commitment to education and to the overall strength of our city.”

This internship initiative is part of the Mayor’s Youth Program, which helps Atlanta Public Schools’ graduating seniors map out a plan for success after high school. The Mayor’s Youth Program is administered out of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency (AWDA). AWDA assists students with unmet needs that may hinder their entrance to the training and/or institution of their choice.

AWDA has more than 700 students working in the public or private sector. In the public sector, jobs include the Fire Academy, the Police Academy and Camp Best Friends. In the private sector, students have received internships with law firms, architectural firms and engineering firms. Other contributors include the airline industry, soft drink industry, national hotel chains, utility companies, technology companies and colleges and universities, to name a few.

Some students are earning while learning. For instance, the students attending Atlanta Technical School will receive their certification as nursing assistants, patient care technicians and entrepreneurs. Also, 30 students with disabilities have received internships with nonprofit agencies.

The structure of the internship is determined by the hiring company, but should include exposure to an office environment. All eligible students have been pre-screened and accepted to two- or four-year colleges or technical schools this fall. Students will rely on public transportation for their commute.

For more information and/or to register for this program, go to www.mayorsyouthprogram.org or contact Pat Koch, Summer Internship Coordinator, 404.658.6883 or pkoch@atlantaga.gov.

Cooper Controls Launches iLumin Control System for North American Marketplace

BUSINESS WIRE--Cooper Controls Ltd., a subsidiary of Cooper Industries, Ltd. (NYSE:CBE), announces the launch of iLumin, a new architectural control system for complete lighting management in North American markets. The iLumin product line will capitalize on increasing energy codes, green market trends, and increased awareness of the need to control and manage the lighting in architectural spaces such as Hotels, Casinos, Convention Centers, Auditoriums, and general commercial environments.

iLumin will complement our Greengate Energy Management Solutions, which debuted in North American markets in March 2008, said Ken Walma, General Manager, Cooper Controls North America. It includes a number of innovative features, including real-time energy metering and direct Ethernet connections which are ideal for performance architectural environments that currently lack these technology advancements.

Cooper Controls utilized extensive experience from UK-based Polaron (acquired April, 2007) and global R&D teams to design, develop, and manufacture the product within 12 months. The iLumin system is continued evidence of the successful integration of four targeted Cooper Controls acquisitions.

This launch represents a success story on multiple fronts: continued double digit growth of a global business, launching an innovative industry first product line, and the integration of global R&D teams on a common hardware/software platform, supply chain, company culture and value set, said Joe Stelzer, VP & Managing Director, Global Business, Cooper Controls Ltd.

The iLumin system is an iterative development of the iLight control system installed in several thousand projects in the UK, Europe, Middle East, and China. The system incorporates lighting source controller panels that replace standard lighting breaker or relay panels, which can switch or dim any lighting source with input from a control station or a touchscreen, timeclock, building management system, or PC.

iLumin source controllers have a number of attractive features, including the ability to control any lighting load type, (incandescent, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, LED), delivery of actual metered energy usage of those loads, and automatic data collection of that information via on-board Ethernet connectivity.

In the past, energy savings from lighting controls was limited to energy management products such as occupancy and daylight sensors. iLumin now allows high end customers who have been using standard theatre or dimmer based systems to continue to meet performance requirements, while also benefiting from the measuring and monitoring of energy usage as well.

Pathbuilders, Inc. Launches 20th Achieva® Class: A Leadership Development Program for Women

BUSINESS WIRE--High-performing professional women have been selected from 30 metro Atlanta companies to participate in Pathbuilders 2008 Achieva® class, a year-long professional development program designed for mid-level executive women with senior executive potential. Pathbuilders kicked off its 20th Achieva class on May 13 at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center.

Over these 20 classes, we have positively impacted 300 companies and more than 2500 women, said Helene Lollis, president of Pathbuilders. This year, 13 executive-level women from Fortune-ranked organizations, who were themselves mentees in earlier classes, are serving as mentors in the program. A record 85 percent of our mentors are returning to participate in this years programs.

Achieva includes one-on-one external mentoring with a senior executive to create a deep, professional relationship that challenges each participant to dramatically expand her perspectives.

Much of the reward I take away from being a mentor is having the opportunity to personally impact the growth of an upwardly mobile woman, said Jacqui Welch, six-time mentor, 1998 class alumna and vice president of Employee and Organizational Effectiveness at Rock-Tenn Company. My relationships with my mentees have broadened my perspectives and have provided me with invaluable insights into my own organization.

The program also includes educational sessions and peer networking to help position each woman as an influential leader within her organization. Participants learn how to build their executive presence, develop more strategic views and lead their companies toward greater success.

Pathbuilders offers professional development and mentoring programs designed to address each of the four key stages in a womans professional career:

  • InsigniaSM focuses on entry-level women, up to two years into their careers.
  • PerceptaSM is tailored for junior-executive women learning to manage people and projects.
  • Achieva® is comprised of mid-level, high-potential women, recognized as having senior-executive potential in their organizations.
  • Inspiria® is designed for senior-level women leading and setting vision for their organizations.

Mentees in the 2008 Achieva program are sponsored by the following organizations:

AT&T Corporation

Avon Products, Inc.

Ceridian Corporation

Cisco Systems, Inc.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.

Deloitte

Ernst & Young LLP

Georgia Power, a Southern Company

Haverty Furniture Companies, Inc.

Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, LLC

Holder Construction Company

InfiCorp Holdings, Inc.

InterContinental Hotels Group

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

KPMG LLP

McKesson Provider Technologies

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Munich American Reassurance Company

NCR Corporation

Oglethorpe Power Corporation

Piedmont Healthcare

ProCore Solutions

RBC Bank

Rock-Tenn Company

Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.

Solvay Advanced Polymers LLC

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Southern Company

The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc.

Verizon Wireless

National Ombudsman Issues Small Business Ombudsman Model for State and Local Governments

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering to state and local governments a template for resolving regulatory enforcement issues involving small businesses by establishing their own versions of SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman.

The availability of the Small Business Ombudsman Model for State and Local Governments was announced today by SBA’s National Ombudsman and Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Nicholas N. Owens.

The National Ombudsman’s primary mission is to help small businesses when they experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action by a federal agency.

The model will help state and local governments and other entities create their own ombudsman process to serve the interests of small businesses, small government entities, and non-profit organizations in their communities.

The National Ombudsman has the authority to address concerns of small businesses with federal regulatory enforcement or compliance actions. The model offers a template for establishing a similar process where state and local regulatory enforcement actions are a concern for small businesses.

“This model can improve transparency in state and local governments for small businesses and the entities that regulate them,” Owens said. “Fostering a small business-friendly regulatory environment across all levels of government will make it easier for small businesses to grow and succeed.”

The model also will provide an overview on how the SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman serves as troubleshooter for the nation’s small businesses. “We are sharing the successful tools of the National Ombudsman’s office, so other governing entities can come away with a better understanding of how the office is a vital small business resource,” Owens said. “This product walks the reader through the organization and processes of the Office of the National Ombudsman, and provides legislative models state and local governments can use to create their own small business ombudsman service.”

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 created the Office of the National Ombudsman within the SBA and established 10 regional regulatory fairness boards nationwide.

The Small Business Ombudsman Model for state and local governments may be accessed at www.sba.gov/ombudsman. For additional information contact Christina Marinos at christina.marinos@sba.gov, or at (202) 401-8254.

Tour De Georgia Presented By AT&T Generates $38.6M Direct Economic Impact For State Of Georgia

One month after the completion of the sixth annual Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T, a post-event evaluation has determined that the direct economic impact of the event reached $38.6 million for Georgia. This surpassed the 2007 economic impact number of $27 million by 40%.

The 2008 Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T, recognized as America’s premier, professional cycling event and rolling festival that covered over 600 miles and seven days each spring, concluded April 27 in Atlanta. Economic impact was determined using data collected by crowd intercept surveys at all start and finish host venue locations.

North Georgia College and University managed the survey development and data collection. The Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development of Georgia Southern University was responsible for data input and analysis. The regional input-output modeling program IMPLAN was used to construct a model of Georgia and models of each region by stage. A total of 1,196 completed surveys were collected between April 21-27 at the 12 host communities which staged either a Tour start or a Tour finish venue.

“We can’t tell how much of the change is due to methodology, but we believe that one of the reasons for the large increase (in economic impact) over last year is inflation, particularly in gasoline. Some of the increase is also due to the significant increase in the number of international visitors. The increase in international visitors is probably due to the devaluation of the dollar making a U.S. trip more affordable,” said Phyllis Isley, Director, Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern University.

Economic indicators included assessment of dollars spent by visitors (residents of the area not included) for meals, lodging, transportation, retail and miscellaneous recreation. Analysis of crowd sizes was determined by Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement estimates. While the attendance figures for 2008 were down 20% from last year, over 400,000 this year as compared to 515,000 in 2007 and 500,000 in 2006, spending was up significantly during the event.

"We were delighted to host the Team Time Trial stage of the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. "For a first time event -- and on a Thursday -- we were extremely pleased with the spectator turnout and the event overall," said Road Atlanta President Geoff Lee, regarding an estimated attendance of 20,000 fans at Stage 4. “A majority of these very enthusiastic cycling fans were making their first visit to Road Atlanta and obviously had a good time. From a marketing standpoint, the Tour was very successful for us. We hope these new fans will come back for our major events like the 11th annual Petit Le Mans Oct. 1-4."

The Tour was founded in 2003 as a tourism vehicle to showcase Georgia and its communities by the marketing arm of the state, now known as the Georgia Department of Economic Development. GDEcD is responsible for developing tourism, which is Georgia’s second largest industry behind agriculture. The Tour has proven that it is indeed a strong sports property that is more than a bicycle race. In just six years since its inception, the Tour de Georgia has produced big numbers – 3.2 million spectators and over $186 million direct economic impact to the state of Georgia.

“The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T is a terrific event that brings long-lasting economic impact to Georgia,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the agency that serves as a marketing arm for the state and presenting sponsor of the Tour de Georgia. “Our communities look forward each year not only to the excitement surrounding the Tour, but to the worldwide exposure they gain by hosting it. The Tour de Georgia is not only one of the world’s premiere cycling events, it is a major international tourism attraction for Georgia.”

In addition, the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T is proud to have set a record in 2008 for funds raised for its beneficiaries, the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Cancer Coalition. This was the first year the Tour engaged with helping Children’s Healthcare, and it was the sixth consecutive year partnering with the Coalition. With donations pledges from Tour sponsors and generated by ancillary events throughout race week, the Tour de Georgia was able to donate over $500,000 for its charities, doubling what had been done in the past five years.

"The Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T is an international sporting event that brings thousands of spectators and cyclists to our great state. We also worked very hard to promote healthy living and lifestyles among our citizens and guests. This year's Health & Wellness Expos were a hit at every stop, from Savannah to Atlanta. We were able to a raise a record amount of money and awareness for our beneficiary as well, Children's Healthcare," said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who serves as the Chairman of the Tour de Georgia Foundation.

The Tour de Georgia gained international stature in 2004 when Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong won the event. In 2005 the Tour de Georgia was elevated to a 2. Hors Classe (2.HC) road cycling competition by the world’s governing body of the sport, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) and expanded from six to seven days. This made the Tour de Georgia one of the highest rated stage races outside of Europe, and gained the distinction as a tune-up event for the prestigious Tour de France. Four teams in the field this year expect to race in the Tour de France in July, including American-based teams High Road and Slipstream Chipotle presented by H30, German-based Gerolsteiner, and Denmark’s Team CSC. The 2008 Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T was won by Team High Road’s Kanstantin Sivtsov of Belarus.

2008 Overall State Direct Economic Impact:
- $ 38.6 million is an increase of 40% from 2007, which generated a direct economic impact of $27.56 million
- 41% of spectators indicated they stayed more than one night during their visit to Georgia, specifically to watch the Tour
- Of those overnight visitors, 6% were International visitors (an overall increase of 5% from 2007)
- The average overnight visitor spent $380 per day at the Tour; 55% of that going to accommodations and transportation costs.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coca-Cola North America Strengthens Hispanic Marketing Leadership Team

BUSINESS WIRE--Reinaldo Padua was recently named assistant vice president of Hispanic Marketing for Coca-Cola North America (CCNA). Padua will be responsible for leading CCNAs Hispanic marketing strategy and program execution.

The addition of Reinaldo to our Hispanic marketing team is fundamental to our plans to extend our strong presence and growth within the Hispanic community, said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. Hispanic consumers have always been critical to Coca-Cola and Reinaldo brings a deep understanding of the richness of the culture and how to communicate most effectively with the Hispanic community.

Padua joins the company from the Zyman Group, an international marketing strategy consulting firm, where he was a managing consultant for several global clients in the food, beverage, retail and insurance industries. While at Zyman Group, he led projects that helped clients identify and capture the existing opportunities in the U.S. multicultural market to maximize growth at the brand and portfolio levels. Prior to joining Zyman Group, Padua held key marketing positions with Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods in Latin America and BellSouth in the US.

Padua has more than 12 years of experience in multicultural marketing, general marketing strategy, product management, and market research for global consumer package goods and telecommunications companies. Born and raised in Venezuela, Padua holds an MBA from Duke Universitys Fuqua School of Business and bachelors degrees in Systems Engineering and Business Administration from Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela.

Entrepreneurial Development Awards Recognize Small Business Development Center, SCORE Chapter and Women’s Business Center of the Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently recognized Small Business Development Centers in Massachusetts and Texas, a Women’s Business Center in Detroit and a SCORE Chapter in Georgia for their outstanding efforts to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in their regions build success.

The national awards were announced April 21 at a reception at the State Department in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual observance of National Small Business Week, April 21-25, 2008. The reception was sponsored by Administaff.

“We are able to reach so many small businesses and have such a great effect on their success because of these resource partners,” said SBA Administrator Steve Preston. “These centers reach more than 1 million people every year, nurturing their small business dreams and helping turn them into reality. We congratulate them for their efforts.”

“The SBA resource partners we are honoring today are true champions of small business,” said Anoop Prakash, SBA Associate Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development. “They each have helped provide the tools, the information and the support that small businesses need to become successful, and have helped to create an environment in which the spirit of entrepreneurship can thrive.”

The categories for the SBA Resource Partner Awards include the SCORE Chapter of the Year, the Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award, the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) Service Excellence and Innovation Award, and the Small Business Development Centers Lead Center of the Year.

The award winners are:
Small Business Development Centers Women’s Business Center of Excellence
Service Excellence and Innovation Award Cathy McClelland, President & CEO
Paula L. Murphy, Director Venus Brown, Director
Massachusetts Export Center Detroit Entrepreneurship Institute, Inc.
Boston, MA Detroit, MI

Small Business Development Centers
The SCORE Chapter of the Year
Lead Center of the Year Steve Bloom
Craig Bean, Executive Director Chapter Chair
Texas Tech Northwest Texas SBDC Atlanta SCORE
Lubbock, TX Atlanta, GA

The SCORE Chapter of the Year Award recognizes chapters whose volunteer counselors have exceeded high standards for counseling small business clients, including expanding counseling services and programs that benefit local small businesses. The Atlanta SCORE earned the title for posting exceptional growth in the volume of services provided to local entrepreneurs, for the success of its public outreach efforts, and for its high levels of client satisfaction. With seven offices in Atlanta, and an office in Macon, Atlanta SCORE provided technical assistance to 11,962 entrepreneurs through counseling and workshops last year.

The Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award recognizes an SBA-supported WBC for its work on behalf of small businesses and its service to the business community. The Detroit Entrepreneurship Institute has been creating business-development opportunities in Southeast Michigan since 1990, removing barriers to resources in order to improve its clients’ economic conditions and those of their communities. Each year the center has surpassed the previous year’s goal of clients served. The center’s director, Venus Brown, is herself of the Detroit Entrepreneurship Institute.

The Small Business Development Centers Lead Center of the Year Award honors an SBDC Lead Center for its leadership, advocacy, and strength in its education and training of small businesses. The depth of service provided by this business assistance partnership of Texas Tech University and SBA rivals that of larger centers, and is a major source of technical assistance for the entrepreneurs of Northwest Texas. Much of the credit goes to Craig Bean, himself a Texas Tech graduate.

The Small Business Development Centers Service Excellence and Innovation Award honors an SBDC Service Center for its innovation and excellence in assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing a wide variety of information and guidance. The Massachusetts Export Center, part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, provides targeted, high-impact counseling, workshops, market research and international business development assistance designed to help small businesses in the state grow their export business. The center was established by Paula Murphy in 1994, and has offices in four locations.

All Award Winners are listed on the Web at http://www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com/awards/ For details and a full schedule of National Small Business Week events – and to watch events and issue forums – on streaming video, visit http://www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com/.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Delta Flight Attendants Reject AFA Representation

PRIME NEWSWIRE -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) has received notification from the National Mediation Board (NMB) that a decisive majority -- more than 60 percent -- of eligible flight attendants rejected representation by the Association of Flight Attendants/Communication Workers of America (AFA) in the representation election at Delta, and the airline will continue a direct relationship with its flight attendants.

"We are pleased that Delta's flight attendants clearly believe that our unique culture and direct relationship are worth preserving," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "Delta continues to be the best advocate for its people, and our employees recognize the benefits of working together to enhance their careers and drive successful results for themselves and our company."

Joanne Smith, senior vice president -- In-Flight Service and Global Product Development, added, "This decision was one of the biggest our flight attendants faced in their career at Delta and it arose during some challenging times in our industry. Through all of these distractions -- soaring fuel costs, a softening economy and an unrelenting AFA campaign of scare tactics and inaccurate information -- the professionalism of all of our flight attendants shone as they maintained an unwavering focus on safety and service. This comes as no surprise however, because that is the Delta Difference; it is what sets us apart from the rest of this industry.

"We have many exciting and challenging opportunities ahead of us. Together, with our employees, we will continue to make Delta a source of pride for our people and an airline that delivers great service to our customers."

Limited Interaction Among Generations in the Workplace Identified as Key Indicator of Coming Skilled Worker Crisis

BUSINESS WIRE--There is increasing debate about the changing economy, shifting workforce demographics and, of course, over the reality of a future skilled worker shortage. Randstad USAs annual 2008 World of Work survey, however, uncovers a critical factor that will contribute to a very real talent shortage. According to Randstad, the four generations of workers that comprise the U.S. workforce, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers and Matures, rarely interact with one another and often do not recognize each others skills or work ethic.

As a result, U.S. businesses risk a shortage of skilled labor not because of the lack of manpower in the wake of retiring Baby Boomers, but because of the limited transfer of knowledge. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Gen Ys in todays workforce (79.8 million) outnumber Boomers (78.5 million) who are perceived as retaining the bulk of working Americas institutional brain trust.

With this pending generational shift in the workplace, businesses need to focus on building professional relationships with their employees while developing employees skills, something Randstad calls employership. Central to successful employership is encouraging employee collaboration to achieve company goals, which relies, in part, on employers recognizing employee value, cultivating mutual respect and generating trust throughout the organization. Randstads 2008 World of Work survey suggests that companies which maintain an ongoing focus on employership, regardless of demographic or economic changes that impact the workplace, are better able to successfully meet employee expectations and achieve business goals.

Generational Divide

Although Boomers and Matures have much to offer Gen Y in regards to knowledge and experience, 51 percent of Boomers and 66 percent of Matures report little to no interaction with their Gen Y colleagues. And three of the four generations say they have little to no interaction with the most experienced workers Matures (Gen Y, 71 percent; Gen X, 67 percent; Boomers, 58 percent).

The workplace is on the verge of real change, said Eric Buntin, managing director, marketing and operations for Randstad USA. At Randstad, we believe companies that enact a culture of employership can successfully navigate the changing workplace, regardless of economic and demographic shifts. By focusing on and encouraging the professional contributions of all employees, employers can help close the knowledge gap by instituting ways for each generation to recognize their strengths and value to all colleagues.

Softening Expectations

Despite being perceived as the overly-demanding generation, Gen Y, along with all employees, is lowering expectations. Specifically, Gen Y is establishing more realistic views of the workplace, and their once idealistic job expectations are maturing. The declines among Gen Ys expectations regarding hard and soft benefits are, on average, more dramatic than among employees as a whole, perhaps because Gen Ys expectations started out higher and more out of reach, said Buntin. In fact, Gen X and Boomers are actually somewhat more interested in soft benefits than younger generations.

According to the survey, when it comes to staying in current jobs, employees from each generation associate varying levels of importance toward soft benefits.

Soft Benefits Gen Y and

Decline since 2006

Gen X Baby Boomers Matures
Percentage points
Satisfying work 59%, -21 65% 71% 81%
Pleasant work environment 57%, -28 69% 70% 82%
Liking the people they work with 57%, -17 65% 62% 70%
Challenging work 42%, -17 52% 59% 71%
Flexible hours 44%, -11 48% 51% 46%

Closing the Gap

The survey shows that each generation sees itself as playing a distinct role in the workplace and, for the most part, employees describe the personality of coworkers in their same generation with fondness. It is their view of colleagues work ethic and abilities that is in question. For example, traits such as makes personal friends at work (49%), sociable (48%) and friendly (35%) are among those which Gen Y workers are most likely to use to describe coworkers in their generation. However, only 29 percent of Gen Y workers rate their generation as competent.

Gen X workers describe coworkers in their cohort as capable of interacting well with all age groups. Based on their self-described generation personality, Gen X has the potential to bridge the generational gap between the youngest and oldest generations of workers, said Buntin. Leveraging this knowledge about generational strengths and value is part of employership, and something employers should act on to be a great place to work.

Top Ranked Terms Used to Describe Coworkers in Same Generational Cohort
Gen Y
Chief Friendship Officers
Gen X

The Doer

Baby Boomer

Moral Authority

Mature

Moral Authority

  • Makes personal friends at workplace
  • Sociable
  • Thinks out of the box
  • Open to new ideas
  • Friendly
  • Confident
  • Competent
  • Willing to take responsibility
  • Willing to put in the extra time to get a job done
  • Ethical
  • Strong work ethic
  • Competent
  • Ethical
  • Ability to handle a crisis
  • Willing to take on responsibility
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ethical
  • Committed to the company
  • Competent
  • Confident

For more information or for a copy of Randstads 2008 World of Work survey results, please visit www.us.randstad.com.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States on behalf of Randstad USA between December 14, 2007 and January 16, 2008 among 3,494 U.S. adults (age 18 and older), among whom 1,295 were employers and 2,199 were employees. The sample for employees consisted of U.S. residents who are currently employed full-time or self-employed in a company with at least five employees. The employer sample consisted of U.S. business professionals who make or strongly influence strategic Human Resources decisions and have been doing so for at least six months. The employee universe is segmented into three categories: small (5-49 employees), medium (50-499) and large (500 or more) companies/organizations; and four generational categories born between the respective years: Gen Y (1980-1988), Gen X (1965-1979), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Matures (1900-1945).

The data from this survey was weighted to match the characteristics of and to remove potential biases so that the data is projectable to the population of interest. Propensity Score weighting, a proprietary weighting technique, was used to adjust for differences between the online population and the offline population to ensure that the data is representative of the general populations in question.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 3,494 adults, of whom 1,295 are employers and 2,199 are employees in the United States, one could say with a ninety percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.4 percentage points. The sampling error for employers is +/- 2.3 percentage points, and for the employees is +/- 1.8 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

YieldQuest Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

BUSINESS WIRE--YieldQuest, a fixed-income and equity portfolio management boutique catering to small and mid-sized institutions and financial advisors, celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month.

Founded by chief investment officer, Jay K. Chitnis, CFA, in 1998, YieldQuest has grown into a holistic, fixed-income and equity portfolio management organization which includes 30 associates, a mutual fund family, a registered investment advisor and more than two billion dollars in assets either overseen or managed directly.

Throughout our ten year history, it is apparent that YieldQuest is becoming more instrumental as a holistic advisor, both from the portfolio management and strategic, tactical business perspectives, says Chitnis. In fact, one of our primary goals looking out over the next decade is to continue refining our services and skills and to find new and creative ways to bring truly tangible value to our clients, beyond the obvious primary goal of good investment performance.

YieldQuest offers a variety of additional services to its registered investment advisor (RIA) and institutional client base including monthly conference calls, an exclusive Web portal and timely email updates.

We are very thankful for the trust our clients and friends have placed in us over the last decade, says Chitnis. It is because of their support that our firm has been able to grow and flourish into who we are today. We look forward to some very special accomplishments in the next ten years!

Hampton Inn - Newnan to Host Chamber’s “Business-After-Hours”

Hampton Inn - Newnan will host the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce’s monthly “Business-After-Hours” event from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 5.

Business-After-Hours is an event, which gives Chamber members an informal opportunity to meet and learn about one another and the businesses that serve Coweta County. Hampton Inn – Newnan is located at 50 Hampton Way and this month’s theme is “Summertime Barbeque.”

Attendance at Business-After-Hours is free of charge. To RSVP, contact the Chamber at 770-253-2270 or info@newnancowetachamber.org.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McRae Announces Promotions

Bryan Scott, Jeff Tuttle and Robert Atkinson have joined McRae’s Creative Department as Associate Creative Director, Senior Interactive Art Director, and Senior Web Developer, respectively. They will focus on the firm’s increased demand for interactive work.

Scott joins McRae from LBI, formerly Creative Digital Group, and Spunlogic. His experience includes work for The Home Depot, UPS, TBS, Cox Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Blockbuster, GMC and Nissan. As Associate Creative Director, he will oversee the development of interactive products with the goal of creating emotional bonds between McRae’s clients and the various audiences with which they communicate.

Tuttle was formerly Sr. Art Director at 22 Squared/West Wayne where his clients included Bellsouth, Buffalo Wild Wings, Florida’s Natural, Publix and Toyota. He specializes in Flash programming skills and also works with 3D modeling, motion graphics and video. Tuttle will be instrumental in the design of interactive projects.

Atkinson joins McRae as a former Interactive Designer and Programmer, also from LBI. He has produced award-winning advertising campaigns for the Pennsylvania School of Business, TCI College of Technology, Interboro Institute, Katharine Gibbs and 107.5 WBLS-FM. Atkinson will be a key asset in the front end development of interactive projects.

McRae (www.mcrae.com) is one of the southeast’s largest integrated marketing agencies and one of the only firms in the region to provide comprehensive advertising, public relations and interactive services on an in-house basis.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

State’s New Tourism Web Site Finalist for Coveted “Stevie” Award

The State of Georgia’s new tourism Web site, ExploreGeorgia.org, was recently named a finalist in the American Business Awards.

“I’m pleased that our online strategy has been recognized by the American Business Awards,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Our team has worked hard to create a customer experience which translates Georgia’s attractions into a terrific visitor experience online.”

Known as the “Stevies,” the American Business Awards are compared to the Oscars in terms of prestige. GDEcD’s interactive agency, Engauge Digital (formerly Spunlogic), submitted the site to the Brand Building/Promotion Web Site category.

ExploreGeorgia.org helps visitors tailor their experience and discover the unexpected in Georgia. The site was recently launched with a number of key features, including:

· Travel planner: An interactive way to find activities, save favorites and plan a trip.
· Faceted Search: A function that narrows results for any search based on selected filtering criteria.
· Experiences: Getaway themes designed to spark travel ideas, such as At the Beach, Romantic Getaway, and Back to Nature.
· Dream Pass Integration: The popular rewards card for Georgia attractions is now integrated with the tourism website.

For more information on the American Business Awards, visit www.stevieawards.com/aba.

BB&T Relocates Insurance Office to New Facility in Fayetteville

BB&T has relocated an insurance center to 350 Brandywine Blvd., Suite 200, Fayetteville. The office was previously located at 8455 Hwy. 85, Suite 100, Riverdale.

BB&T Reese Insurance, which is part of BB&T Insurance Services, is a full-service insurance center has been offering auto, home, life and business insurance to the community and regionally since 1974.

“We are excited to bring our products and services – and more importantly – the BB&T way of doing business to Fayetteville,” said Agency Manager Gary Laggis. “Our approach is to provide highly attentive, customized service for each client and their unique needs”

BB&T Reese Insurance will hold a ribbon-cutting for the new location on May 29.

BB&T Insurance Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Branch Banking and Trust Company Founded in 1922. It operates 85 agencies in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky.

With $136.4 billion in assets, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) is the nation’s 14th largest financial holding company. It operates nearly 1,500 financial centers in 11 states and Washington, D.C. More information about the company is available at BBT.com.

SBA Effort Aims to Bring More Small Businesses into Federal Contracting

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today (May 23, 2008) that Fay Ott, associate administrator for government contracting and business development, will host the SBA’s May Web chat on “How to Do Business with the Federal Government.”

The chat will increase awareness of government contracting opportunities, encourage more small business participation in SBA’s government contracting programs and educate the small business community on the SBA’s newly developed tools aimed at helping small businesses get their fair share of contracting opportunities.

Ott will answer questions from chat participants on Thursday, May 29, 2008, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., EDT, on how small businesses can gain access to the more than $400 billion federal marketplace, how to navigate the federal marketplace and understand the procurement process and register their small business profile in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database—a necessary step for doing business with the federal government. She will also answer questions on how small businesses can develop their companies through SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program and HUBZone programs and leverage their Small Disadvantaged Business certification.

“This chat is just one of many tools that the SBA has launched to educate the small business community on how to navigate the federal marketplace and get their fair share of contracting opportunities,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza. “We recently launched an online contracting course, and in the coming months we plan to make other tools available such as a contracting podcast and live streaming video for all small businesses.” “However, special emphasis will be placed on reaching women-owned, small and disadvantaged, HUBZone-certified and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses who continue to be underrepresented in the federal marketplace.”

In her current position, Ott is working to increase small business procurement opportunities and overseeing implementation of agency initiatives within GCBD, including the 8(a) Business Development program, and the HUBZone program. Ott is leading the agency’s efforts to ensure

small business contracts are awarded to businesses that meet the appropriate size standard, and help federal agencies meet their small business contracting goals. Ott has been instrumental in developing tools to assist these efforts, such as the Procurement Scorecard and a new rule requiring companies with federal contracts to recertify their size status if acquired by another company and after five years of a long-term contract.


Some of the government contracting tools currently available to small businesses include a free online course, Business Opportunities: A Guide to Winning Federal Contracts, which is a self-paced guide and easy-to-follow training course that can be accessed by visiting www.sba.gov/training, clicking on the menu of free online courses and selecting the first course listed under Government Contracting. Participants will receive a certificate of completion upon completing the 30-minute tutorial.

Other tools include a brochure entitled Opening Doors to Federal Government Contracting Opportunities available at www.sba.gov/openingdoors and three fact sheets--Federal Contracting Opportunities for HUBZone Entrepreneurs, Federal Contracting Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses and Federal Contracting Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses available at http://www.sba.gov/tools/resourcelibrary/publications/index.html.

The Web chat provides business owners with the opportunity to have conversations about relevant business issues with industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Participants will have direct, real-time access to the Web chats via questions they submit online in advance and during the session, with instantaneous answers.

Participants can join the live Web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and clicking “Your Small Business Voice Online Chat.” Web chat participants may post a question for Ott
before the May 29th chat by visiting http://app1.sba.gov/livemeeting/may08/ and posting their questions online.

For more information about past live Web chats, visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/monthlywebchat/index.html .

Georgia Ranks in Top 10 Pro-Business States for Five Years Running

Georgia, for five years running, has been ranked in the Top 10 Pro-Business States by Pollina Corporate Real Estate. In the consulting firm’s 2008 report, Georgia ranked No. 7.

“It is a true honor to have our efforts to attract new and expanding businesses recognized,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). “The support of Governor Sonny Perdue and the teamwork exhibited by all of GDEcD have made our success possible. We strive every day to make our state the best place to locate in the U.S. and internationally.”

The report draws on 29 factors relating to states’ efforts to be pro-business and is limited to factors that state government can control.

“For the fifth year in a row, Georgia has once again defended its position as one of the most business friendly states in the nation,” said Brent Pollina, VP of Pollina Corporate Real Estate. “With a diverse economy, ranging from multinational headquarters into agribusiness, Georgia has aggressively pursued corporate relocations as well fostering the growth of existing companies.”

Georgia’s strengths included its Quick Start program for no-cost job training and its tax credit programs. Pollina executives also cited the performance of GDEcD and the presence of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as an economic engine. A copy of the report can be obtained from the company by visiting www.pollina.com.

“Georgia has encouraged growth through the use of incentives and an aggressive and well trained economic development department,” Pollina said. “Georgia’s low corporate tax structure, excellent infrastructure, favorable employment climate, and right to work status have all helped Georgia keep a climate of consistent job growth in this competitive economy.”

Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc. is a full service brokerage and consulting firm, representing corporations in real estate matters on a national and international basis. The firm has advised Fortune 500 clients and start-up ventures alike in commercial real estate matters since 1981.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lightcast Networks Provides Low Cost Broadcasting For Atlanta Churches

BUSINESS WIRE--Lightcast Networks announces a new broadcasting service specially designed to connect Atlanta churches with homebound members and their caregivers.

People can now listen to local church services live from their own homes without the complexity and expense of radio, TV or Internet streaming. The church simply subscribes to Lightcasts telephone broadcasting services and specifies the number of displaced members they wish to connect. Members use a simple home receiver kit to tap into services.

Edward Baker, CEO of Lightcast Networks explains that simplicity and low cost are key. Any church service at any time can broadcast live using a new telecom setup. We have been doing this for churches across the USA for nearly five years; the good news for Atlanta is that we now have a new local dial-in which means significant price reductions over our already low costs compared to other technologies out there.

Home-bound church members often have to listen to 3-day old cassettes. A live connection allows them to connect with the service as its being delivered. We are also looking at offering MP3 downloads for those wanting easy access to church services, explained Mr. Baker. We have a little more testing to do on MP3s but were excited about the possibilities. Many larger churches already stream services using radio and TV. Were looking to cater to people who arent set up that way. According to Mr. Baker even most large churches do not broadcast Sunday school classes, and are interested in Lightcast Networks solutions to bridge that gap for their homebound members.

Lightcast Networks caters to churches of all denominations and has broadcast services ranging from small local church services to multi-day conventions. While church services are its primary focus, Lightcast Networks has garnered interest from the convention industry for conferences, symposiums, exhibitions, workshops, seminars and other events that people can access remotely.

Our special sauce is in the equipment, said Mr. Baker. It took extensive R&D testing and plenty of patient beta-testing churches to really get it right. Now they sign up and we receive very few calls for support. Im happy to say we are as lonely as the Maytag repair man. Lonely is great for us but not for our homebound church members. Our technology has to work flawlessly every time to bring church home for them.

Home Builders Association of Georgia Launches Fight to ''Take Back'' Builders Insurance

BUSINESS WIRE--The Home Builders Association of Georgia (HBAG), comprised of more than 13,000 builders statewide, issued an urgent call today to members who are policyholders/owners of Builders Insurance to take back the company and restore it to a fiscally conservative company that serves its policyholders/owners.

Because repeated requests for accountability and transparency have been ignored, HBAG today urged members to support action to amend the Business Insurance Charter to return power to owners/policyholders. Additionally, HBAG urged members to call a special meeting to elect a new board of directors committed to reducing exorbitant director fees, distributing profits fairly and establishing sound corporate governance measures.

HBAG reported that over the last five years Builders Insurance, which provides workers compensation and other insurance to builders across the state, has paid excessive salaries, fees and indirect compensation to its directors, reported at more than $1.9 million in 2006 and 2007 alone. HBAG believes that additional unreported payments in 2007 are likely. This is out of line with market compensation for similarly sized companies and as a percentage of revenue far exceeded directors' compensation at large public companies like United Parcel Service and Delta Air Lines during that time.

Moreover, since 2000, premiums have skyrocketed while dividends to policyholders/owners have plummeted from 13.6 percent of premiums to 1.5 percent.

Charlie Eison, president of HBAG, said, At a time when our industry is fighting for survival in a tough economy, its outrageous that Builders Insurances board members have padded their pockets with exorbitant payments that rightfully belong to our members who are the policyholders and owners of this company. We need to take control and return Builders Insurance to its rightful mission of serving our members not creating a financial jackpot for directors.

Underscoring the need for accountability and transparency, HBAG reported that Builders Insurance has undertaken the following actions:

  • stopped reporting a large portion of directors compensation in 2007;
  • changed the bylaws to increase its control making it virtually impossible for owners/policyholders to remove a director or hold a special meeting;
  • attempted to throw out HBAG and replace it with a shell association with little or no accountability to policyholders;
  • Supported legislation without consent of the policyholders that would enable them to reorganize the company on terms financially favorable to the directors.

Ed Phillips, executive vice president of HBAG said, Builders Insurance is not being properly managed and has no accountability or transparency. Feedback from our members shows strong support for taking back the company and cleaning house to protect policyholders interests.

Since owners/policyholders share the liability of a captive mutual company, HBAG considers it paramount for owners/policyholders to control the companys management.

Below is the reported compensation for Builders Insurances directors for 2006 and 2007. HBAG believes there might be more than has been reported.

Name Directors Fees from 2006 to 2007 more than

DOUBLED

Total Reported

Compensation



2006 2007
2006

2007(a)

Troy E. Barber

$35,000
$85,000
$167,748

UNREPORTED(a)

John C. Bowles

$35,000
$80,000
$173,156

UNREPORTED(a)

Frederick E. Fisher

$0
$0
$95,087

UNREPORTED(a)

Guilford E. Hill

$35,000
$75,000
$127,220

UNREPORTED(a)

Gerald A. Kopp

$35,000
$80,000
$198,130

UNREPORTED(a)

Allen M. Richardson

$35,000
$90,000
$190,880

UNREPORTED(a)

Michael F. Ryan

$35,000
$75,000
$186,655

UNREPORTED(a)

William L. Schwanebeck, Jr.

$35,000
$75,000
$186,655

UNREPORTED(a)

TOTAL

$245,000
$560,000
$1,325,531

UNREPORTED(a)

(a) Other than directors fees and some minimal additional compensation, the total 2007 compensation is unknown because Builders Insurance has ceased to report it.

Builders Insurance was started by HBAG in the early 1990s to provide affordable workers compensation and other types of insurance exclusively to its builder members and local builders associations across the state. As such, Builders Insurance is owned by policyholders, similar to a co-op or credit union.

SMC³ Celebrates Dedication of New Building

SMC³, a transportation industry association specializing in data services, technology tools and educational programs for buyers and sellers of freight transportation, today celebrated the groundbreaking of a new building, Commerce Pointe, and commemorated its ninth year of operation in Peachtree City with the company’s annual “Varsity Day” event.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new structure was attended by many local business and civic leaders. The new building, which will be 4 stories and 56,000 square feet, will occupy a 5 acre tract adjacent to SMC³’s Commerce Center building, creating a campus environment between the two. Commerce Pointe is slated for completion in December 2008 and will ready for occupancy starting in January 2009.

Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon had this to say about the expansion of SMC³ holdings in his town, “The fact that SMC³ has the confidence to make this investment right here in Peachtree City speaks well [of our entire community]. Fayette County along with Peachtree City is leading Metro Atlanta in the percentage of occupancy in buildings such as this.”

“Ten years ago we dedicated our initial building, Commerce Center, and a year later we instituted Varsity Day as a fun way for SMC³ to involve the Peachtree City community in our anniversary celebration. Subsequently, we have continued the successful event on each anniversary, due to its popularity and demand as expressed by the community. This year is especially unique, as we will now dedicate a new building, Commerce Pointe,” said Jack E. Middleton, president and CEO of SMC³.

As the event name suggests, lunch was catered by Atlanta-area landmark, The Varsity, and featured all the Varsity mainstays that Atlantans crave: chilidogs, burgers, fries, onion rings, Frosted Oranges and fried pies. Participants also enjoyed entertainment by the band Timeless Highway and cooled off with Mayfield Ice Cream.

Because SMC³’s business is focused on the transportation industry, specifically motor freight, several transportation-related items were exhibited for viewing. SMC³ customer Southeastern Freight Lines displayed The Mighty Mite, its custom-built miniature truck with half-scale working parts including a 43-horsepower diesel engine. Go-Kart World exhibited its tractor/trailer go-kart that children or adults can ride in. This year’s event attracted a crowd of more than 200 people.

Since 1935, SMC³ has provided data, technology and education geared toward the less-than-truckload (LTL) motor freight industry. SMC³’s customers include shippers, carriers, logistics service providers and freight payment companies. For more information about SMC³, visit www.smc3.com or call 800-845-8090.
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Unit-Level Hotel Profits Grew 7.2 Percent in 2007

PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) today announced that the average hotel in its 2008 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry survey enjoyed a 7.2 percent gain in Net Operating Income (NOI) in 2007. While this bottom-line improvement was more than twice the pace of inflation for the year, the single-digit gain was the lowest year-over-year increase since 2004 and is further evidence of a projected slowdown in hotel income that PKF is forecasting for the near future.

“Throughout 2007, hotel owners and operators were increasingly concerned about downtrending occupancy levels compared to 2006 and a slower pace of ADR growth, and their potential impact on 2007 profitability. Despite these concerns, year-end results indicated that the typical U.S. hotel was able to achieve gains in revenue and profits above their respective long-term averages,” said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. “2008 may be a different story in view of the difficult economic outlook for the remainder of this year, and the dampening effect it will have on U.S. hotel revenue growth. Managers will be hard pressed to grow profits in 2008.”

According to Smith Travel Research, RevPAR was up just 1.9 percent through the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. With poor prospects for summer travel, the second quarter 2008 Hotel Horizons report of PKF Hospitality Research is forecasting an annual increase in RevPAR of just 1.5 percent. This RevPAR forecast is the result of a projected 2.5 percent decline in occupancy, combined with a 4.0 percent increase in ADR.

With occupancy and guest count on the decline, PKF-HR is forecasting that a 1.5 percent gain in RevPAR will translate to just a 1.0 percent increase in total revenue for 2008. “History has shown that U.S. hotel managers will control expenses during periods of an industry slowdown. Accordingly, we are projecting a slight 0.2 percent increase in total operating expenses for the year. The net result is a PKF-HR forecast of just a 2.9 percent gain in NOI for the average U.S. hotel in 2008,” Woodworth concluded. For the purposes of our analysis, NOI is defined as income before deductions for capital reserve, rent, interest, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

“In last year’s Trends in the Hotel Industry report we forecast a 4.7 percent increase in revenue and a 6.5 percent increase in profits for 2007. While our forecast of a year ago was highly accurate, it was slightly conservative as ADR once again surpassed most analysts’ expectations,” Woodworth noted.

The 2008 Trends report reflects changes in the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI), which PKF-HR adopted this year. The USALI changes in revenue and expense classifications may result in some comparability issues from year to year. While PKF-HR does not believe that these changes had a material impact on the overall report findings, readers of the Trends report should be aware of these issues. A full explanation/description of the USALI revisions and their impact on the data contained in the Trends report is available at PKF’s web site, www.pkfc.com/USALIchanges.

Revenue Driven By ADR

Primarily because of increases in the competitive supply, just over half (50.9 percent) of the properties that participated in the Trends survey reported fewer occupied rooms in 2007 than 2006. Overall sample occupancy declined from 70.9 percent in 2006 to 70.8 percent in 2007.

“Despite the decline in occupancy, hotel managers continued to be aggressive with their pricing policies. The average daily room rate for our Trends sample increased 6.2 percent in 2007. This compares favorably to the 2.9 percent annual inflation rate for the year. The 6.2 percent increase in ADR also served to make up for the 0.1 percentage point decline in occupancy. Thus, RevPAR for the Trends sample grew 6.0 percent in 2007,” Woodworth noted.

Costs Somewhat Controlled

Tighter control of costs in response to diminished revenue growth, combined with fewer occupied rooms, resulted in a slowdown in the pace of operating expense growth in 2007. During the year, the combined costs associated with all operated departments, undistributed departments, and fixed charges grew 4.8 percent. While this level of expense growth was above the pace of inflation, it is less than the 6.3 percent annual average recorded from 2004 through 2006.

“Labor costs accounted for three-quarters of the expense growth at the average property in our Trends sample,” Woodworth said. “From 2006 to 2007, total labor costs grew 7.8 percent, the largest increase since 1984. As a result, labor costs represented 46.8 percent of total operating expenses in 2007, compared to 45.5 percent in 2006.” It should be noted that USALI changes to the classification of contract labor costs did impact the increase in total labor costs.

As a group, Total Departmental Expenses (rooms, F&B, minor operated) increased 3.6 percent in 2007, compared to a rise in Undistributed Operating Expenses of 6.2 percent. “Clearly this shows management’s ability to control the variable expenses associated with operating the Rooms, Food and Beverage, and Minor Operated departments. Conversely, it takes more effort to cap the fixed ‘overhead’ costs found in the A&G, Marketing, Maintenance, and Utility departments,” Woodworth explained.

Looking at the Fixed Charges, the combined cost of property taxes and insurance increased 5.7 percent in 2007.

Trends Follows Industry Trends

The 2008 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry marks the 72nd consecutive year of this almanac of U.S. unit-level hotel operating performance. The data is based on a sample of 6,000 year-end financial statements from properties all across the nation.

“We continually strive to present the most relevant data in the most useable format. Therefore, the look and content of our report has evolved over the years,” Woodworth said. “In our 2008 Trends report, readers will notice some additional content, as well alterations to our presentation. The changes were based on feedback from our clients, as well as revisions made to revenue and expense classifications found in the 10th edition of Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI).”

In the 2008 Trends report, readers will now find certain measures presented on a dollar-per-occupied-room basis. In addition, the report contains a separate section for Suite Hotels without Food and Beverage operations. For clients who order custom Benchmarker reports, F&B sales are broken down by source of revenue, and further expense detail is provided for such expenditures as e-commerce and information systems.

“As the lodging industry evolves, PKF Hospitality Research will continue to adjust our reports to maintain their high level of value and relevance,” Woodworth concludes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SBA’S Community Express Program: Myth vs Fact

MYTH: Community Express’s cap significantly diminishes the SBA loans reaching small businesses.

FACT: Community Express, currently a pilot program, accounts for about 2 percent of SBA loan volume in dollars. As we review the program’s pilot status and make decisions about its future, we want to ensure that the program minimizes fraud, waste and abuse, and truly delivers good loan products at reasonable prices to underserved borrowers. However, due to relatively higher credit risk in the program to date, the agency has referred the matter to SBA’s Office of Inspector General for audit.

MYTH: Community Express is a major source of small SBA loans.

FACT: Several other proven SBA products reach the same markets with the same or similar guarantees as Community Express including Patriot Express, SBA Express, and the regular 7(a) program.

• In FY 2006, 42,000 borrowers were approved for 7(a) loans under $35,000; 5,000 of those loans were Community Express.
• In FY 2007, 45,671 loans were approved for 7(a) loans in dollar amounts under $35,000; 7,000 of those loans were Community Express.

MYTH: Large Community Express lenders had no prior notice the cap was approaching.

FACT: Large Community Express lenders have been aware of the cap issue for many months. SBA encouraged lenders to diversify their product portfolios, advised them of SBA’s many other programs, and offered to do training on other SBA loan products that could be used to assist qualified lenders.

Janet Tasker, Deputy Associate Administrator for Capital Access, met with major Community Express lenders in late February to highlight the cap issue and encourage them to shift to other SBA products and reduce their Community Express output.

Eric Zarnikow, Associate Adminstrator for Capital Access, met with major lenders in early April and communicated that they had a per month loan cap beginning that month.

Zarnikow also offered that SBA would work with lenders on their loan pipelines if they had alternatives they wanted to propose and that the agency would work with them on other SBA products. With only one exception, SBA did not receive any alternative proposals.

Rather than moderating per SBA’s instruction, some lenders’ loan production increased for the month of April, and one lender’s production dramatically exceeded the cap they had been communicated. We have reset targets based on the actual production and current 7(a) loan volume and have communicated the revised cap of loans per month.

Rather than work with SBA to manage to the cap, some Community Express lenders continued to make loans in excess of the cap, pushing SBA to impose the cap in a way that cooperation would have made unnecessary.

It’s important to understand that the Community Express pilot program was created to complement SBA’s main loan programs, and not to become the entire focus of a lender’s business.

MYTH: The current volume cap is based on the mistaken assumption that the limit applies to the dollar amount of loans rather than the number of loans.

FACT: Section 7(a)(25)(A) of the Small Business Act states, "Not more than 10 percent of the total number of loans guaranteed in any fiscal year under this subsection may be awarded as part of a pilot program ..." . This directive could not be more clear.