Monday, January 24, 2011

Vision Airlines Sells 12,000 Tickets in 120 Hours

/PRNewswire/ -- Vision Airlines, the nation's newest big jet, low-cost carrier reports it sold more than 12,000 tickets during its first 120 hours of e-commerce operations at www.visionairlines.com.

On Tuesday, January 18, Vision Airlines unveiled its 23 city mega-expansion plan and its $49* introductory fare sale for its first flights to Florida, which are scheduled to take-off on March 25.

Vision Airlines says within 48 hours it sold-out of all $49 seats. Now, in response to immense customer demand, the airline is adding more $49 seats on every flight to Florida. The airline is also extending its introductory $49 fare sale, which was slated to end on Sunday but is now continuing through January 31, 2011.

Vision Airlines' chief operating officer David Meers says, "We received hundreds of calls from disappointed customers who did not understand that only a limited number of specially-priced $49 seats were available on each flight."

Meers adds, "At this juncture, Vision Airlines believes it is more important to satisfy first-time customers rather than turn them away because they missed-out on a fare sale. So, we put more $49 seats in our system."

Meers emphasizes, "Our first goal is to get passengers on Vision Airlines' jets so they can experience our fast, friendly and efficient service. After their first flight we are confident that we will earn passenger's repeat business."

"Running out of $49 seats was not the only glitch during our first week of operations," says Vision Airlines' spokesman Bryan Glazer.

"Once the morning TV and radio newscasts reported our story; once people read their local morning newspapers; once the headlines hit the internet we were overwhelmed by interested customers," says Glazer. "Vision Airlines website has recorded upward of 50,000 hits to date. And, on the first day of operations the website crashed several times and our reservations center was unable to handle the flood of customer phone calls."

Vision Airlines' Sales and Marketing Director Clay Meek says, "To remedy these technical problems, Vision Airlines has increased its web server capacity and added more customer call center representatives."

Mega-Expansion

After 16 years of building its reputation as one of the world's most-successful charter carriers, Vision Airlines is now expanding into regularly-scheduled commercial passenger service.

Most of Vision Airlines' flights depart from southern U.S. cities that lack low-cost, direct jet service to destinations in Florida.

Vision Airlines Cities

* Asheville, NC - Atlanta, GA - Baton Rouge, LA - Birmingham, AL - Chattanooga, TN
* Columbia, SC - Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, FL - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
* Greenville/Spartanburg, SC - Gulfport/Biloxi, MS - Houston, TX - Huntsville, AL
* Knoxville, TN - Little Rock, AR - Louisville, KY - Macon, GA - Miami, FL
* Niagara Falls/Buffalo, NY/Toronto, Canada - Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers, FL
* Sanford/Orlando, FL - Savannah, GA - Shreveport, LA
* St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa, FL


Vision Airlines' Hub

Most Florida-bound flights are to and through the airline's hub at Northwest Florida Regional Airport near Destin/Fort Walton Beach.

Florida's Governor Expects Vision Airlines will Revitalize Post Oil Spill Economy

Working with Florida Governor Richard Scott and local officials in Northwest Florida, Vision Airlines is expected to play a pivotal role in the revitalization of the state's gulf coast tourism economy, which was destroyed by last year's BP oil spill.

Destin/Fort Walton Beach, also known as Florida's Emerald Coast, is the most-effected area.

"It wasn't pollution that destroyed our tourism economy, it was the wave of negative publicity," says Northwest Florida Regional Airport Director Gregg Donovan. "Unlike neighboring gulf coast states to the west of us, there were no tar balls on our beaches, no oil slicks in the water and no petroleum-scented sea breezes. Yet, the tourists stayed away."

Mark Bellinger, Director of Okaloosa County's Tourism Development Council, says, "We forecast that Vision Airlines will deliver thousands of passengers to the Emerald Coast each week. That means tourists will be able to see first hand that our beaches are still sugary-white and the Gulf waters are still emerald green."

Bellinger adds, "Because airfares to our area have been so expensive, most tourists drive here for long vacations. Now they can afford to fly here -- even for weekend getaways."

Meek says, "Making air travel affordable means more tourist dollars, which will create jobs at resorts, restaurants and even miniature golf courses."

According to Governor Scott, Vision Airlines' passenger traffic will create upward of 4,000 jobs in related industries.

Florida Cities

Vision Airlines also offers direct flights from several cities to Ft. Lauderdale; Miami; Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers; Sanford/Orlando and St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa.

Intrastate Florida Flights

The airline is now linking Northwestern Florida with other areas of the state with flights to and from Southeastern, Southwestern and Central Florida.

Atlanta-Louisville

Vision Airlines also provides twice daily non-stop service between Atlanta, GA and Louisville, KY.

Mississippi's Casino Coast

Another Vision Airlines destination is Mississippi's Casino Coast. The carrier offers flights from Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX and St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa, FL to Gulfport/Biloxi, MS.

Business Model

Vision Airlines' business model is based on offering non-stop and direct flights to Florida from secondary U.S. cities that have been ignored by the major airlines.

People in these cities are currently forced to fly in cramped regional jets, endure long layovers while connecting through other cities and they must pay extremely high airfares.

Vision Airlines now offers Boeing 737 jet flights on direct routes that other airlines do not fly.

"Essentially, Vision Airlines has no competition," says well-known aviation industry analyst Michael Boyd. "Therefore, Vision Airlines is likely to be very successful."

FINE PRINT ABOUT FARES


*Fares shown exclude Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9.00, September 11th Security Fees of up to $2.50 per enplanement and US segment fee of $3.70 per segment. A segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. All fares are one-way. Round trip purchase not required. All fares are non-refundable and a $100 fee per person applies to change made after purchase, plus any applicable increase in airfare. Baggage Fees of up to $30 each way per checked bag. Seats are limited and subject to availability and may not be available on all flights. Fares, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Delta Kicks Off 70th Anniversary Year as Atlanta's Hometown Airline

/PRNewswire/ -- When Lynda Lloyd boarded her first Delta Air Lines flight in Atlanta as a flight attendant in 1964, the airline had recently become the first commercial carrier to fly across the country in less than three hours and had just launched the industry's most sophisticated electronic reservations system, all under the watchful eye of company founder and then-chief executive C.E. Woolman.

Today, Lloyd, Delta's most senior employee who lives and works in Atlanta, will join hundreds of her fellow Atlanta-based employees as well as elected, community and business leaders from across Georgia to mark the airline's 70th anniversary as Atlanta's hometown airline.

A Delta Boeing 777-200LR aircraft used to connect Atlanta nonstop to cities such as Tokyo, Dubai, Johannesburg and Tel Aviv, will be christened as the "Spirit of Atlanta" during a celebration at Delta's massive Technical Operations Center, adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and in the shadow of the $1.4 billion Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal currently under construction.

Delta (NYSE: DAL), today among the largest airlines in the world, was a small carrier focused on the Southeast when it moved its headquarters from Monroe, La., to Atlanta in 1941. In the decades that followed, Delta built the world's largest connecting hub in Atlanta, and for more than two decades has remained Georgia's largest private employer and a major economic force in the region.

With 25,000 employees based in Atlanta, Delta is estimated to pump more than $25 billion into the local economy, and is a major contributor to key community organizations, including the Grady Health Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center, AID Atlanta, Hands On Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity, CARE, the Carter Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

"Delta Air Lines and Atlanta have a unique partnership that has been inextricably linked to the success and prosperity of our city and our airport for nearly three quarters of a century," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "The strong relationships among companies such as Delta, state and local elected officials and civic organizations are what make Atlanta not only a global, dynamic city, but a great place to live and do business. Congratulations to Delta Air Lines, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson and all employees on the company's 70th anniversary as Atlanta's hometown airline."

"Delta is truly an economic force for Georgia," said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. "It is our biggest employer and its presence here plays a key role in helping us attract new investment and jobs. I look forward to partnering with Delta as it sets out on the next 70 years."

"The success of Delta and the city of Atlanta have been intertwined for seven decades, and it's hard to argue with the results," said Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive. "Atlanta has grown into a major international city while Delta built the world's largest hub at the city's airport. Central to this success has been the historic partnership between Delta, the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and our thousands of Atlanta-based employees and customers."

Recognizing one of Atlanta's longest and most successful business partnerships, the "Spirit of Atlanta" will be christened at the celebration with a bottle of Coke. Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company, will be honored and make remarks at the celebration.

In addition, Lloyd will be honored as the Delta employee who has lived and worked in Atlanta the longest. The airline also will recognize its most frequent Atlanta flyer, Ed Robinette, who has flown nearly 7 million miles on Delta over the past 30 years, and Cheryll Davis, Delta's most active Atlanta-based community volunteer, who has dedicated thousands of hours during her 20-year Delta career to the airline's preferred local charities.

"As a longtime Atlanta resident it's been so exciting to be part of this airline, which is such a positive force for the community," Lloyd said. "It was the very best decision of my life, to come to Atlanta, remain here, and be a Delta Flight Attendant. I am still enjoying the very best job in the world. It always makes me proud when I tell people I work for Delta."

"Two years ago, I moved my business to Atlanta because of the great flights and service offered by Delta, and I'm not the only one, we have so many businesses based in Atlanta solely because of Delta," said Robinette, who has been a member of the Delta SkyMiles frequent flier program since its inception in 1981. "I've flown 7 million miles on Delta, and I can honestly say I don't remember a single bad experience."

"Delta has always encouraged its employees to become involved in our communities, and service is a big part of being a member of the Delta family," said Davis. "As an Atlanta resident, it's great that Delta is so supportive of our community, and it's one of the benefits of being Delta's hometown."

"It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Delta on its 70th anniversary as Atlanta's hometown airline," said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. "Delta Air Lines has come a long way since its beginnings in Monroe, La., to the international commercial airline it is today. For seven decades, Delta has thrived, employing thousands of Georgians and becoming an integral part of our communities. Delta has established itself as an economic engine not only for Georgia, but for the entire Southeast. I am grateful that such a company calls Atlanta its home."

"As Georgians, we are all proud to be recognizing Delta's 70th anniversary as our hometown airline," said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. "Over the past seven decades, Delta has become an integral part of the community, bringing jobs, businesses and great opportunities to the state of Georgia by connecting us to cities across the country and the world."

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 357 destinations in 67 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 75,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, the world's largest airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $2 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dollar Tree expands Savannah distribution operation

Company to invest $18 million and create 68 new jobs

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Dollar Tree will expand its existing Savannah distribution operation, representing an $18 million investment and the creation of 68 jobs. Based in Chesapeake, Va., Dollar Tree is a Fortune 500 company and is the nation’s leading operator of discount variety stores selling everything for $1 or less.

“Georgia’s highly networked logistics infrastructure is the centerpiece of our state’s vast range of competitive resources that make it possible for companies such as Dollar Tree to locate and expand here,” said Deal. “Georgia has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Dollar Tree since its initial location in Georgia in 2000, and I am excited to see the company expand and have continued success in our state.”

Dollar Tree has an existing 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Savannah. This expansion will add up to 400,000 square feet to accommodate the company’s rapid growth.

“Dollar Tree has grown steadily for nearly 25 years,” said Bob Sasser, president and CEO of Dollar Tree, Inc. “The expansion of our Savannah Distribution Center will support the continued growth of our business in the Southeastern United States and will provide additional long-term employment opportunities at the Savannah Facility. We are proud to be a part of this community.”

Dollar Tree’s existing distribution center is a significant user of the Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal at the Port of Savannah. The company brings approximately 8,000 containers through the terminal annually. This expansion is expected to increase the company’s annual volume to almost 15,000 containers by 2014 through the Port of Savannah, the fourth-largest and fastest-growing port in the nation.

“Dollar Tree's decision to expand its operations near the Port of Savannah is a great testament to service and efficiencies that the Georgia Ports Authority provides,” said GPA’s Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz. “This is a confirmation that Dollar Tree’s decision to locate its distribution center here was not only the right decision then, but continues to be the right choice for today and tomorrow.”

The Savannah region plays an integral role in attracting new locations and the expansion of existing companies in Georgia. This region serves as a focal point of Georgia’s highly networked system of logistics, with the Port of Savannah providing companies with global access to their customers in markets around the world.

“We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Dollar Tree for the past 10 years, first through their initial location and then through our established business program,” stated Thomas H. Hester, chairman of the SEDA Board of Directors. “Dollar Tree, like so many others, has discovered first-hand that Savannah is not only a place where a business can make it, but a place where one can truly thrive and grow, even in these difficult economic times.”

Tom Croteau assisted the company with this expansion on behalf of the Georgia Department of Economic Development in collaboration with the Savannah Economic Development Authority.

About Dollar TreeDollar Tree, a Fortune 500 Company, is the nation's leading operator of discount variety stores selling everything for $1 or less. To learn more about the Company, visit www.DollarTree.com.
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Shortage of Skilled Workers Primary Reason for Offshoring Jobs

Most American companies engaged in offshoring say a shortage of skilled domestic employees -- not cost cutting -- is the primary reason why they move some job functions overseas.

Also, manufacturers and high-tech/telecommunication companies are less likely to establish offshore operations and are moving increasingly toward the use of third-party providers of offshore labor.

These are among the findings of the sixth annual study on corporations' offshoring trends by the Center for International Business Education and Research's Offshoring Research Network (ORN) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and The Conference Board, an independent research association. The study is part of ongoing research into the effects of offshoring trends on American competitiveness and reflects the sentiments of business managers.

"Over half of the participants in our survey say offshoring has resulted in no change in the number of domestic jobs in most functions," said Arie Lewin, Fuqua professor of strategy and international business. "The finding that the U.S. software sector has the highest ratio of offshore to domestic employees -- almost 13 offshored jobs per 100 domestic jobs -- may be a reflection of a scarcity of domestic science and engineering graduates in the U.S."

Survey respondents are broadening the range of factors that influence their selection of an offshore site to include the location of the best service provider and the quality of infrastructure. In spite of placing a high priority on cost savings and labor arbitrage, the survey finds average achieved cost savings offshore have declined at many companies.

For example, IT services and software development have experienced consistent declines over the past five years, while average achieved savings have increased for administrative and innovative functions such as research and development and sales/marketing.

According to the researchers, survey participants have lower expectations than previous respondents for average cost savings in several offshoring functions. Contact center, IT and software development have seen the largest declines among all offshoring functions as companies new to offshoring discover a number of hidden costs involved, including expenses for training, staff recruitment and retention, and government and vendor relations.

"The potential for cost reduction alone is no longer enough to justify moving operations," said Ton Heijmen, senior advisor to The Conference Board. "One survey respondent noted it has taken his company several years to discover the impact of labor arbitrage disappears in fewer than three years. Companies are now shifting from cost-driven offshoring to a multidimensional value proposition in creating a global footprint."

As companies expand offshoring activities by increasing scale or by offshoring more diverse and complex functions, most firms see a decline in the overall efficiency. This may be partially attributed to a loss of managerial control as offshoring operations are expanded, requiring companies to improve coordination and management of their global sourcing.

A published report on the research results is available for purchase. Contact jrussell@duke.edu for details.

The ORN database includes cumulative responses collected through an annual survey conducted since 2004. As of November 2010, the database encompassed 2,000 companies (22 percent large, 35 percent mid-size and 43 percent small) and more than 4,300 different offshoring projects.

Source:  Duke University

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chairman Camp Announces Hearing on the Health Care Law’s Impact on Jobs, Employers, and the Economy

Ways and Means Hearing to Examine the Impact of Taxes, Regulations, and Mandates Contained in the Health Care Law on Economic Growth and Job Creation House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on the impact the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010” will have on the U.S. economy and employers’ ability to hire new workers and retain existing employees. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. A list of invited witnesses will follow.

BACKGROUND:

The Democrats’ health care overhaul imposes more than one-half trillion dollars of tax increases and numerous pages of mandates and onerous regulations on employers. Employers of all sizes are expressing concern that the new mandates and regulations will deter them from hiring new employees, threaten their ability to retain existing workers, and harm their ability to increase wages for existing employees. The new health care law compounds the uncertainty employers and entrepreneurs are facing amid the most challenging economic climate since the Great Depression. Making matters worse, some insurance companies and employers have already increased their health care premiums, in part, to comply with the new health care law, exacerbating the drag on the U.S. economy from rising health care costs.

In announcing this hearing, Chairman Camp said, “Employers have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the effects of the Democrats’ health care law. This hearing provides us the opportunity to directly hear from employers about the higher taxes and new mandates that are in this law. This will also serve as a basis for how this Committee, and Congress, can best respond to the concerns of employers and workers and refocus its energy to develop common sense solutions that prioritize affordability, job creation, and economic growth.”

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

The hearing will examine the economic and regulatory burdens imposed by the enactment and implementation of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (P.L. 111-148) and the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010” (P.L. 111-152). It will explore the impact on jobs stemming from the new taxes and new federal regulatory requirements. It will also analyze the impact of the employer mandate on job creation.

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word or WordPerfect document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word or WordPerfect format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
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Firth Rixson Announces the Grand Opening of its Georgia Based Aerospace Forging Facility

/PRNewswire/ -- Firth Rixson, a major provider of forged and specialty metal products to the Aerospace industry, announced today the Grand Opening of Firth Rixson Forgings LLC, the Company's fourth closed die forging operation, located in Liberty County, GA. The announcement was made during a two day Customer Appreciation event held at the facility, attended by representatives from every major aero engine manufacturer worldwide, many of their partners, and significant industrial gas turbine producers.

The most significant expansion in the Company's history, the Firth Rixson Forgings LLC facility was custom designed and built to provide rotating components for aircraft engines, with applications ranging from regional jet to wide body aircraft, as well as land based turbines. The manufacturing process will take place in three separate buildings, dedicated respectively to pre forge, forge, and post forge activities, totaling 200,000 square feet of floor space. Modular construction within each of the building structures provides Firth Rixson Forgings LLC extraordinary flexibility in response to customer and market demand.

In announcing the opening of the facility, David C. Mortimer, CEO of Firth Rixson, said, "Firth Rixson has completed a decisive move in the Aerospace industry. Within one year of announcing its construction, Firth Rixson Forgings LLC is fully operational. The technical organization assembled for this facility is industry leading. Our facilities, equipment and installations are of world class caliber. Today, Firth Rixson advances its prominent position in the Aerospace industry by delivering a broadened service to our valued customers."

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Postal Service to Adjust Prices

/PRNewswire/ -- The first U.S. Postal Service price change in two years will have minimal impact on retail customers who will continue to pay only 44 cents for a stamp.

The prices filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today will become effective April 17.

Highlights of the pricing proposal include:

* First-Class letters (1 oz.) remain unchanged at 44 cents,
* First-Class letter additional ounces increase to 20 cents,
* Postcards will cost 29 cents,
* Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) increase to 80 cents, and
* Letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents.


"While changing prices is always a difficult decision, we have made every effort to keep the impact minimal for consumers and customers doing business with us at retail lobbies," said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. "We will continue to balance our business needs against the needs of our customers."

The overall average increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 1.7 percent – at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index – although actual percentage price increases for various products and services will vary.

Prices will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services. Larger volume business mailers will see price increases in a variety of categories. Detailed pricing information will be available later today online at www.usps.com/prices . Today's announcement does not affect Express Mail and Priority Mail prices.

In July 2010, the Postal Service filed an exigent price proposal that was rejected by the Postal Regulatory Commission in September. The Postal Service filed an appeal of that decision with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in November and awaits a decision.

Faced with decreased mail volume traced to the recession and increased use of the Internet, the Postal Service continues to face a daunting financial crisis. Increasing prices is one of a series of solutions the Postal Service proposed in March 2010 to address the crisis. Other actions outlined in the March plan included changes to delivery frequency, restructuring prepayments of future retiree health benefits, creating a more flexible workforce and expanding access to products and services to places more convenient to customers. In December, Donahoe began a reorganization of all administrative and managerial functions as part of his vision to operate "leaner, faster and smarter."

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three in Ten Organizations Will Close for Business on Martin Luther King Day

/PRNewswire/ -- In observance of Martin Luther King Day, three in ten employers (30 percent) will give all or most workers a paid holiday on Monday, January 17, according to BNA's most recent survey of holiday practices.

This is only a marginal change from figures reported by employers for 2010 (28 percent), and is in line with figures reported for 2009 (31 percent), 2008 (33 percent) and 2007 (31 percent). While there has been no significant change over the past five years in the proportion of organizations giving Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday, recent levels of paid leave on Martin Luther King Day are a significant increase over what was observed in the first 11 years of this holiday. Only 14 percent of surveyed employers made Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday in its inaugural year of 1986 and figures stayed in the teens for six years until a spike in 1993 (24 percent). Figures remained in the low to mid-20 percent range before climbing to 30 percent for the first time in 2003.

Consistent with past years, nonbusiness employers are much more likely to make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday than are nonmanufacturing or manufacturing establishments. More than one-half of nonbusiness organizations (56 percent) will make January 17 a paid holiday, compared with 21 percent of nonmanufacturing firms and 10 percent of manufacturers.

Organizations with a union presence are somewhat more likely than those without one to designate Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday (36 percent of unionized establishments compared with 28 percent of nonunion organizations). There is no significant difference in paid time off for Martin Luther King Day between larger organizations with 1,000 or more employees and their smaller counterparts (32 percent versus 29 percent).

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Micro-loans available for small businesses in 50 North Georgia counties

A ceremonial big check for $605,000 was presented last week by Donnie Thomas, acting state director of USDA Rural Development, to Grace Fricks, chief executive officer of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), to provide micro-loans to small rural businesses in North Georgia. Funding for micro-loans, those less than $50,000, is available through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). ACE became eligible to draw down funds right before Christmas.

“This should be another avenue of support for rural entrepreneurs in need of loans,” said Thomas. “We realize that many small businesses are running into problems accessing capital. We hope this program will help.”

ACE will serve most of Northeast Georgia: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Putnam, Rabun, Rockdale, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.

As businesses pay back loans, the funds are then available to re-lend to another business, creating a renewable loan resource.

Funding levels for RMAP for FY2011 is not currently known. The initial announcement said $4 million would be available nationwide. However, the U.S. government is currently under a continuing resolution. Specific funding amounts for FY2011 will not be known until a budget is signed by Congress.

Loans through this program can be used for working capital; purchase of furniture, fixtures, supplies, inventory or equipment; debt refinancing; business acquisitions; and purchase or lease of real estate, with qualifying conditions.

Loan funds cannot be used for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to, construction costs or assistance that will cause conflict of interest issues.

Businesses interested in applying for loans can contact ACE for assistance – http://www.aceloans.org. Interest rates on the ACE loans will be between 6-12 percent and the point of contact is Sandy Headley (headley@aceloans.org).

For more information on Rural Development programs, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ga.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

ThyssenKrupp Announces New Alpharetta Operation

Company will invest $30 million and create up to 110 jobs

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that ThyssenKrupp, a global integrated materials and technology company, will locate its North American IT Shared Services operations in Alpharetta in Fulton County. The company will invest $30 million and create 110 new jobs at this location, which will serve as the company’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary providing IT services to all of its North American operations.

“ThyssenKrupp’s expanded presence in Georgia is proof of the company’s deep commitment to our state, and a great testament to our progressive business climate and other assets that make these opportunities possible,” said Governor Perdue. “This is certainly an exciting announcement to start the new year for ThyssenKrupp and the people of Georgia.”

ThyssenKrupp’s new Alpharetta location will be known as ThyssenKrupp IT Services North America. The company already has operations in Georgia, including ThyssenKrupp Elevator USA, which is also headquartered in Alpharetta.

“ThyssenKrupp’s decision to expand their presence in Alpharetta is exciting news for our community and for Georgia,” said Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas. “This is clear testimony to the positive business environment that Alpharetta offers and to Georgia’s strength as a location for technology industries.”

Metro Atlanta ranks tenth among cities with the highest concentration of Global 500 companies like ThyssenKrupp, and is one of only three U.S. cities in the top ten world ranking. Global companies are attracted to the Atlanta region due in part to the area’s connectivity to Georgia’s advanced network of logistics and its talented workforce. This region ranks first in the U.S. for growth in highly-educated people ages 25-34, which is a highly coveted demographic of talent for high tech companies like ThyssenKrupp.

“Global companies move headquarters to Atlanta to be near the best international airport in the world that gives them access to key domestic and international markets and customers,” said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “An abundant educated workforce provided by our many world class colleges and universities, our competitive cost of doing business, and excellent quality of life, made Atlanta the choice location for ThyssenKrupp.”

Candidates interested in learning more about career opportunities at ThyssenKrupp’s Alpharetta location can get more information by calling the Georgia Department of Labor, 404-679-5200. Georgia Department of Economic Development project manager Blair Lewis assisted the company with this location, in collaboration with the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Development Authority of Fulton County, the City of Alpharetta, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Power.

Georgia Distilling to Begin Operations in Jones County

The Development Authority of Jones County is pleased to announce that Georgia Distilling Company will begin operations in Haddock in early spring 2011. Georgia Distilling plans to locate at the former Cherokee Products plant in Haddock, which closed 15 years ago and has been vacant ever since. Georgia Distilling plans to produce moonshine, vodka and gin immediately with plans for expansion into other product lines in the future. They also plan to offer tours of the facility to the public. Georgia Distilling will begin operation in early spring 2011 with approximately 10 employees with the anticipation of hiring additional employees as the company expands. Co-owners and entrepreneurs, Shawn Hall and Bill Mauldin, stated that the distillery could realistically be employing 50+ employees within five years.

The former Cherokee Products facility in Haddock served as a cannery, canning fruits and vegetables under the O’Sage brand of products. When the facility was bought by a competitor, it was closed and hundreds lost their jobs. The town of Haddock has been in economic decline and the prospect of new industry is promising to this small town located off Hwy 22 between Gray and Milledgeville.

“Haddock is perfect for our business, with its location near several key metropolitan areas, but also offers the quaintness of a small town as well as plenty of room for expansion,” stated Shawn Hall and Bill Mauldin, co-owners of Georgia Distilling Company. “The leadership in Jones County has also embraced the vision for our business and sees the bigger picture, including the impact our type of business will have on taxes and the tourism benefit to the County.”

“I’m very pleased about this announcement by the Georgia Distilling Company and the Development Authority. It’s a unique and creative project that seems to fit so well with an existing facility in our community. And it will have an impact in so many areas of our local economy… new jobs, an investment in facility and equipment, tourism, and a local excise tax on their products. I’m very excited for Georgia Distilling Company. I’m been very impressed by their business model and the plans they have. I’m excited about having their creative energy here in our community,” stated Greg Mullis, Chairman of the Development Authority of Jones County.

“This is a unique business venture in a unique community and we look forward to partnering with Jones County to make something we are all proud of,” stated Bill Mauldin of Georgia Distilling.

The distillery is the second company in as many months to announce they are locating in Jones County.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

CallMe! Announces Call Center Hiring Campaign In Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- CallMe!, the leader in Human Capital Management for the Call Center industry, announced that it is holding open house career fairs beginning Jan. 18th in its Atlanta offices.

CallMe! Chief Executive Officer Chris Bracken noted, "CallMe! is working with several clients in the area to fill great call center jobs. In the last year, our company has grown to be the leader in the call center staffing space, and this hiring campaign reflects our success."

Specific jobs to be filled include:

* Customer Service Agents & Managers
* Collection Agents & Managers
* Inside Sales Agents
* Tech Support Agents


CallMe! will be hosting open house job fairs every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 1 Glenlake Parkway, Suite 1225, Atlanta, GA 30328.

For more information, please visit us on the web at www.callme.io, view call center jobs at callmejobs.com, or call us at 877-402-2563.

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