Business News Briefs


Hiring Event Aug. 15

Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and the largest security force in North America with over 150,000 employees, will host a professional security personnel hiring event on Tuesday Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbus Metro Library, 1402 Brice Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Allied Universal is hiring and training new security officers, account managers, supervisors and dispatchers. Qualified candidates, for the multiple positions, must meet the following minimum requirements:

* High school diploma or equivalency

* Be at least 18 years old (21 years old for positions that require driving)

* Successfully complete a pre-employment background investigation and pre-employment drug/alcohol test

* Display exceptional customer service and communication skills

* Possess intermediate computer skills to utilize innovative, wireless technology at client sites

Company benefits include medical and dental coverage, life insurance, 401(k) and bonus plans, holidays and more. Allied Universal is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce.

Learn more about Allied Universal career opportunities at www.AUS.com/careers, on Twitter at @AUCareers and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlliedUniversal.

New Director of Imaging at Memorial Hospital

Marysville, Ohio – Angela Losonsky has assumed the reins as Director of the Imaging Department at Memorial Hospital. A native of Ohio, she has returned to her home state after many years out west.

Losonsky comes to Memorial from Desert View Hospital (Pahrump, NV), where she served as Director of Imaging/Centralized Scheduling. She has held other leadership positions at Mercy Regional Medical Center (Lorain, OH), Miracle Ear (Las Vegas, NV), and PIMA Medical Institute (Las Vegas, NV). She also worked as a Radiographer for Aureus/CDSS at its locations in Columbus, Ohio; Washington D.C.; and Las Vegas.

When asked about her choice of Memorial, Losonsky provides, “I chose Memorial because I wanted to be a part of a solid and growing organization with a great reputation. Everyone at Memorial has been so welcoming and I love that the system is independent! I see so many smiles and genuine caring partnered with clinical excellence. No wonder the system is growing so fast.”

That growth will mean more work for the new hire. She leads a skilled team of radiologic physicians, highly trained technologists and support roles that are tightly connected to their patients. “Relationships clearly matter here and I look forward to building on those,” Losonsky adds. “Together we will explore potential growth opportunities as Memorial continues to expand.”

Losonsky has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Findlay (Findlay, OH), an Associate of Applied Science degree in Radiology from Owens Community College (Perrysburg, OH), and an Associate of Applied Business degree in Marketing/Merchandising from Owens Community College.

Income Tax Fraud for Drywall Company

COLUMBUS – The Vice President of Porter Drywall and Black Star Drywall, Inc. was sentenced in U.S. District Court to five years of probation and ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false income tax return.

As a condition of his probation, Robert E. Porter, 53, of Westerville, must ensure that Porter Drywall subscribes to proper governmental forms and otherwise complies with all tax, labor and immigration laws with respect to its employees.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, Brad Geary, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and Steve Francis, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, announced the sentence handed down yesterday by U.S. District Judge Michael. H. Watson.

According to court documents, Porter was Vice President of the companies between 2009 and 2013. Porter Drywall contracted to provide drywall installation and drywall supplies to residential and commercial contractors in Central Ohio. As well as being Vice President, Porter was a job site supervisor and estimator for Porter Drywall’s private and corporate clients.

Acting on behalf of Porter Drywall, Porter provided estimates for certain projects and assigned Porter Drywall’s employees and/or subcontractors to complete the work. He diverted numerous customer payments to his personal bank account while Porter Drywall incurred all of the costs for the projects – including labor and materials.

Shannon C. Boston, 44, of Sunbury, was also charged in relation to this case and pleaded guilty to one count of failing to account for and pay over employment taxes to the IRS. Boston was sentenced on April 20, 2017 to five years of probation and was ordered to pay nearly $93,000 in restitution to the IRS.

While Boston was the Chief Financial Officer of Porter Drywall, Inc. in 2013, she submitted employer’s quarterly income tax returns for the company but failed to pay over their employees’ federal with-holdings and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) – which includes Social Security and Medicare with-holdings amounts – for the fourth quarter of 2013, totaling $120,406.

“Tax violations have been erroneously referred to as victim-less crimes, but it’s the honest law-abiding citizen who is harmed when someone tries to manipulate our nation’s tax system,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Homeland Security Investigations, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Brown, who prosecuted the case.

TravelCenters of America Teams up Once Again with St. Christopher Fund for Annual Band Together Campaign

WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters), operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, will launch its annual campaign on August 1, in support of the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF), a non-profit organization that helps truck drivers suffering financial hardship due to medical problems. The month-long campaign will run at participating TA and Petro locations through August 31.

During the event, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make contributions. As in past years, commemorative wristbands and SCF keychains will be made available for $1 and $5 respectively. Contributions may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to SCF.

“As we kick off our eighth year of the SCF campaign, we couldn’t be happier to continue supporting drivers in need and knowing that our customers and employees are helping answer prayers for those dealing with financial burdens due to sickness or injury,” said Tom O’Brien, President and CEO of TravelCenters.

TravelCenters has been supporting drivers through the SCF since 2010. The TA and Petro annual campaign marks the largest single contribution the Fund receives each year. As of July 2017, the SCF has helped more than 1,900 truck drivers and their families with monthly bills, including utilities and mortgages.

“We are so excited for another year of Band Together! This campaign is instrumental in allowing us the honor of offering assistance to drivers in need. The number of applications we receive skyrocket during and immediately after the campaign. This program not only raises money to help drivers, it clearly raises awareness for those in need. We are so appreciative of TA, the employees and the drivers that contribute,” said Dr. Donna Kennedy, Executive Director of SCF.

Professional drivers who are suffering from financial hardships due to medical problems can apply to the SCF for assistance at www.truckersfund.org.

About TravelCenters of America LLC TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters), headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, conducts business in 43 states and Canada, principally under the TA® and Petro Stopping Centers® travel center brands and the Minit Mart® convenience store brand. For more information on TravelCenters, TA, and Petro Stopping Centers, please visit www.ta-petro.com. For more information on Minit Mart, please visit www.minitmart.com.

About St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF) is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization that provides assistance to professional truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicle payments, insurance, prescriptions and/or some medical procedures. For more information, please visit www.truckersfund.org or call 865-202-9428.

The Ohio State University wins APPA Sustainability Award

Facilities Operations and Development recognized as leader in sustainable practices

COLUMBUS – The Ohio State University Facilities Operations and Development (FOD) has received the 2017 APPA Sustainability Award. FOD’s sustainability work includes recycling and zero waste initiatives, green building guidelines, energy conservation projects and more.

The APPA Sustainability Award honors educational institutions that have implemented programs and processes that enhance service delivery, lower costs, create a green and/or sustainable environment, or otherwise benefit the educational institution supporting student success and environmental stewardship.

“Receiving APPA’s Sustainability Award, following our 2016 APPA Award for Excellence, reaffirms that Ohio State is considered a leader in the facilities field,” said Mary Lynn Readey, Ohio State’s associate vice president of Facilities Operations and Development.

In 2015, Ohio State set lofty university-wide sustainability goals developed by faculty, staff and students. As part of this effort, FOD continues to work with the Office of Energy and Environment and other key partners to drive toward Ohio State’s resource stewardship goals.

The APPA Sustainability Award marks the second year in a row the national organization has recognized Ohio State. In 2016, FOD won the APPA Award for Excellence in Facilities Management. Additional sustainability-related honors received during the 2016-17 school year include:

  • Big Ten Champs in GameDay Recycling Challenge (5th straight year)
  • Tree Campus USA recognition from Arbor Day Foundation (6th straight year)
  • 8th place in total recycling category of RecycleMania (out of 320 schools)
  • The Big Ten Named Collective Conference Champion in EPA Green Power Challenge

APPA recognized recipient institutions July 21 during an awards banquet at the 2017 APPA Annual Conference. FOD has three main divisions that include Design and Construction, Environmental Health and Safety and Operations, along with a focus on Energy Services and Sustainability.

National Facilities Management Company Expanding in Columbus

Columbus – FacilitySource, a tech-enabled facilities management company providing management software, maintenance and support to more than 120,000 client locations nationwide, announced plans to expand its existing operations in the City of Columbus. FacilitySource, which serves national retail, banking, grocery and restaurant brands, is expanding to accommodate its rapid growth, after experiencing 50 percent growth over the last two years alone.

The company plans to add 272 jobs, nearly doubling the number of current local staff, and expand its facility by more than 32,000-square-feet. The project is contingent upon approval of state incentives, which will be reviewed later this month. JobsOhio is also expected to offer assistance, which would be announced after a final agreement is executed.

“Our Columbus expansion will enable us to keep up with the demands of our growing customer base,” said Bill Hayden, CEO, FacilitySource. “The Columbus Region’s central location allows us to easily access and serve our clients across the country.”

FacilitySource, founded in 2001, provides innovative solutions for the way companies manage and maintain their facilities by offering alternatives to traditional facility maintenance management. A portfolio company of Warburg Pincus, FacilitySource offers real-time facility support software, transaction centers for customer relations and service provider management, serving clients ranging from big box retailers, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

“The expansion of FacilitySource’s prominent Columbus operations highlights our region’s unique retail industry,” said Andrew J. Ginther, Mayor, City of Columbus. “And the area’s talent pool provides FacilitySource with a strategic advantage for continued growth.”

“Along with our partners at Columbus 2020, we are excited FacilitySource plans to continue its rapid growth in Central Ohio, where it will bring more than 270 new jobs,” said JobsOhio Managing Director for Information Technology Ted Griffith. “FacilitySource is a great example of a company embracing the digital age and growing in Ohio through the combination of excellence in customer service and innovative software solutions.”

The Columbus Region is home to a number of corporate headquarters, including 14 Fortune 1000 companies and several Fortune 500 companies. More than 37,400 workers are employed directly in 330 corporate managing offices in the Region.

About FacilitySource

FacilitySource has provided innovative, end-to-end facilities maintenance management and support solutions to leading companies with large, dispersed real estate portfolios since 2005. FacilitySource equips its clients with knowledge, collected from the industry’s largest facility maintenance platform, best-in-class service through an elite network of service provider partners, access to proprietary technology and a flexible approach that enables clients to elevate their facility maintenance. Learn more at FacilitySource.com.

Secretary Husted Releases New Business Filing Figures for June 2017

Three out of four Ohio businesses are now started using Ohio Business Central

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced 9,834 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during June 2017, an increase of 1,354 when compared to the same month in 2016.

To date, 63,179 new entities have filed to do business in Ohio this year. With the creation of Ohio Business Central, the online business filing site founded by Secretary Husted in 2013, the number of new business filings continues to climb. Today, three out of every four new entities are started online. Since Ohio Business Central’s launch nearly four years ago, the Secretary of State’s Office has processed over 264,282 online filings.

January to June Business Filing Statistics (2015 -2017). Bar graph featuring three bars, with pop-out graphic detailing June 2016 to June 2017 comparative growth.

June 2017 marked 20 months since Secretary Husted reduced the cost of starting and maintaining a business in the Buckeye State by 21 percent. This change has saved Ohio businesses more than $4.3 million to date.

Secretary Husted’s efforts to cut costs and enhance government efficiencies don’t stop there. For the remainder of his term, Secretary Husted will run the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office without using any tax dollars – a move that will save taxpayers nearly $5 million in the next two years. This cut in state spending is the result of Secretary Husted’s wise financial stewardship since entering office in 2011. During his first term, he reduced spending by $14.5 million, a 16 percent reduction when compared to the previous administration. He is also operating his office with nearly 32 percent fewer staff. With only 130 employees, down from 190 when Secretary Husted took office, payroll costs at the Secretary of State’s Office are now at the lowest level in nine years.

Secretary Husted’s success in improving customer service is also apparent by the fact that more people are choosing Ohio as the place to do business. Earlier this year he announced that 2016 was the seventh consecutive year the state has seen a record number of new entities filing to do business in Ohio (read more). With strong filing growth in the first quarter of 2017, Ohio is well on its way to another record year.

Though the most visible role of the Secretary of State is that of chief elections officer, the office is also the first stop for individuals or companies who want to file and start a business in Ohio. While recognizing these numbers can’t provide a complete picture of Ohio’s jobs climate, they are an important indicator of economic activity that Secretary Husted hopes will add to the ongoing discussion of how to improve the state’s overall climate for business.

NOTE: New business filings are classified as forms filed with the Ohio Secretary of State that declare the formation of a business entity, including for-profit, non-profit and professional corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. Filing as a business in Ohio does not guarantee the company will begin operations, be profitable or create jobs.

Editor’s Quick Facts:

  • 9,834 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during June 2017 making it the best month for new businesses in Ohio history.
  • 1,354 more entities filed in June 2017 than during the same month in 2016.
  • Since Ohio Business Central was launched, over 264,282 entities have been formed online through June 2017.
  • Three out of every four businesses are now started online in Ohio.
  • Since Secretary Husted reduced the cost of starting and maintaining a business in Ohio businesses have saved over $4.3 million.
  • Cut spending by more than $14.5 million during his first term – a 16 percent reduction compared to the previous administration.
  • Reduced staff by 32 percent – from 190 in 2011 to 130 today.
  • Requested and was approved of a 100 percent cut in tax dollars needed to run his office for the next two years, saving taxpayers nearly $5 million.

Netflix Economy: Are Millennials Changing How America Consumes?

“Are millennials pioneering a new ‘Netflix economy’—irrevocably changing how we consume?”

Consider this:

>> 83% of millennials use at least 1 subscription service—with 26% of them using 3-4.

That’s according to Coyuchi [www.coyuchi.com], a pioneer in organic cotton textiles for the home that just launched a first-of-its-kind linen subscription service.

They’re one of the brands capitalizing on the growing ‘Netflix economy’, which says ownership is on its way out, and subscription services are in. And, with low prices and high convenience as major perks, millennials are leading the charge.

Just look at the major brands that use a renting model:

>> ROCKSBOX: THE BOTTOMLESS JEWELRY BOX

For the millennial women who loves to accessorize, Rocksbox brings unlimited access to designer and boutique jewelry lines for only $21 per month—which gets applied towards the purchase of the pieces you fall in love with.

>> BLUE APRON: STEP-BY-STEP GOURMET MEALS

It’s one of the services battling for control of the $5B meal kit market—which caters to millennials who grew up in the era of fresh food, but want to find more efficient ways to cook.

>> DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB: STRIPPING DOWN NECESSITIES

Dollar Shave Club’s irreverent ad campaigns appeal right to millennials, who don’t want to spend time or money on over-designed razors when no-frill ones work just as well.

>> COYUCHI: ORGANIC SHEETS

Coyuchi knows millennials want environmentally-conscious luxury at entry-level price points—without the hassle of old sheet disposal. Their organic linen subscription service, Coyuchi for Life [https://www.coyuchi.com/subscribe], sends consumers new sheets and towels in yearly increments, and recycles the old ones.

Starlight partners with Niagara

On Wednesday, August 2, Starlight Children’s Foundation partnered with Niagara Cares, the philanthropic division of Niagara Bottling, to bring smiles to hospitalized children and their families hosted by Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.

Niagara Cares adopted Ronald McDonald House in Columbus and have kindly donated $10,000 worth of toys, games, books and other critically needed items through Starlight. At this special event, employees of Niagara Bottling visited the facility to play games and have fun with the kids and their families and volunteered as a part of an arts and crafts service project making “no-sew” blankets that are gifted to families staying at Ronald McDonald House.

Since 2014, Niagara has generously supported numerous Starlight programs, including Starlight Sites, Starlight Fun Centers and Starlight Brave Gowns. Niagara Cares and Starlight work closely to create a meaningful impact in Niagara plant communities, such as Columbus by funding projects and programs where Niagara employees live and work.

“What does Silicon Valley know that the rest of the world doesn’t?”

Answer:

>> Each other’s secrets.

By sharing and discussing their tech stacks—the combination of tools that enable a business to function—on StackShare [www.stackshare.io], Silicon Valley innovators like Dropbox, Airbnb, Spotify, and Instacart are leading the charge in the trend towards greater transparency. By being open about how they build things, these pioneers are empowering other companies to adopt the tools that really work—and making the pie larger for everyone.

With 150,000+ developers, engineers, managers, and CTOs as users, StackShare—a community where users can talk about, rank, and share the tools they use—is quickly establishing itself as Silicon Valley’s go-to weapon in the war for hockey stick growth. See its recent funding announcement in TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/19/why-stackshare-is-quietly-becoming-a-secret-weapon-for-developers-and-silicon-valley-ctos/.

Here’s why StackShare is about to spread far beyond the confines of Silicon Valley:

>> IT TAKES YOU “UNDER THE HOOD” OF THE TOP COMPANIES IN ANY INDUSTRY

Companies can both stay on top of updates to their own stacks [https://stackshare.io/news] and learn which stacks peers and competitors are using—instead of wasting resources on solutions that don’t work. Trying to build a media company? See exactly which tools Buzzfeed uses.

>> IT HELPS DECISION-MAKERS COMPARE THE TOP OPTIONS

CTOs use StackShare as their go-to platform to make software decisions. Slack vs. Hipchat, Google Docs vs. Box, or AngularJS vs. ReactJS—StackShare offers detailed and trusted analysis by the very developers who use those tools.

>> IT TELLS YOU EXACTLY WHICH SKILLS ARE THE HOTTEST FOR JOBS

Looking for a job at Disney? From CloudCheckr to Underscore, discover exactly which tools they use—and tailor your resume accordingly. Never go into an interview blind again.

Huntington National Bank Ranks 3rd in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study

J.D. Power released its 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study.

This year’s study finds that mortgage servicer satisfaction has stalled after years of steady improvement, with customers having significant declines in their overall brand perceptions, an indication that customers feel firms are more focused on profit than on their customers.

The study identifies key steps, such as improving client onboarding and digital offerings, cutting down on time it takes to interact with servicers, and focusing on mobile usage, that will increase satisfaction and brand image.

Huntington National Bank was ranked third, but its score was down by 33 points to a 795 this year.

Here’s a comparison with 2016’s scores.

Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Plateaus as Reputation Declines, J.D. Power Finds

Amid Intense Scrutiny, Effective Onboarding and Customer Contact Are Keys for Mortgage Servicers

COSTA MESA, Calif.: 27 July 2017 — Breaking a multiyear trend of steady improvements, mortgage servicer satisfaction has stalled in 2017, as customers have significant declines in their overall brand perceptions, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study,SM released today. The decline in brand perceptions is driven primarily by a significant increase in the number of customers indicating that their mortgage servicer is focused more on profit than on their customers, which could have long-term effects on future business.

The 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with the mortgage servicing experience in six factors: new customer orientation; billing and payment process; escrow account administration; interaction; mortgage fees; and communications. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

“The past few years have not been easy for mortgage servicers as they’ve struggled with regulatory and market pressures, but still managed to deliver on customer satisfaction. Now, as that trend starts to shift and customer satisfaction levels off, it is critical that mortgage servicers continue to balance the demands of this tough marketplace with the needs of their customers,” said Craig Martin, senior director, mortgage practice at J.D. Power. “Based on our research, mortgage servicers have three very clear areas of opportunity to help drive success: effective onboarding, high-functioning self-service tools and call center best practices that optimize customer contact in step with changing customer demographics and needs.”

Following are key findings of the study:

Onboarding as an opportunity: The first step in improving the servicing experience is ensuring effective onboarding. When onboarding satisfaction is high, customers are more likely to use the servicer’s website as their primary communications channel and submit payment via the web. They are less likely to have used a call center, experienced a problem, or paid their bill via check.

Time is money: Among all mortgage customers, 10% say their time was wasted during their most recent interaction with their mortgage servicer. Overall satisfaction drops 285 points when customers believe their time is being wasted. Among those who believe their time is wasted, 66% indicate waiting 5 minutes or more to speak with a customer service representative.

Digital becomes key to effective customer contact: The average satisfaction among those who do not use the website is 43 points lower than among those who visited their servicer’s website in the last 12 months. Satisfaction among customers visiting three or more times in the last 12 months is 789 points, compared with the industry average of 754.

Mobile satisfaction grows, but usage still lags: Mobile usage is associated with significantly higher satisfaction, compared with those who don’t use this channel (786 vs. 748, respectively), but mobile usage actually declines year over year (to 19% in 2017 from 22% in 2016).

Study Rankings

Quicken Loans is the top-ranked mortgage servicer for the fourth consecutive year, with a score of 840. Quicken Loans is followed by Regions Mortgage (819) and Huntington National Bank (795).

Showing notable improvements in this year’s study are Bank of America with a score of 767; Nationstar Mortgage with a score of 703; and Ditech Financial, with a score of 694. These firms had increases of 26, 29 and 37 points, respectively.

The 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicing Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 7,374 mortgage servicing customers, and was fielded in March–April 2017.

For more information about the 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-primary-mortgage-servicer-satisfaction-study.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer.

Restaurants donate unused food to local groups

Did you know that every single day Olive Garden restaurants in your area and across the country harvest surplus, wholesome food that wasn’t served to guests and donates it to a local community organization?

Items such as high-quality meats, soups and fresh vegetables (not leftovers; just unused, fresh food) are donated. In the past 14 years, Olive Garden restaurants across the country have donated 37.8 million lbs. of food through this program.

These donations are part of Olive Garden’s commitment to hunger relief. The company’s charitable arm, The Darden Foundation, recently announced a $1.7 million donation to Feeding America® including $841,000 on behalf of Olive Garden. The funds will directly benefit nearly all of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America nationwide network, helping to provide 18.7 million meals to families and individuals in need.

Here’s Why Office Workers Say They Would Like to Wear a Uniform to Work

The reason why dress codes cause major stress, unfair treatment

A recent study<http://smallbusiness.co.uk/dress-code-workers-judged-wear-2539835/> found that one-third of workers say that they feel judged based on the clothing they wear to the office. In fact, four out of ten people say that they would rather a uniform to work rather than have to deal with the stress of deciding what is “office-appropriate” or risk earning the boss’s ire for their clothing.

Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA says, “As fashion changes and our country becomes more progressive, so too does standards of office attire. This causes major confusion for employees. For example, wearing jeans to work used to be a major no-no, but now many fashion retailers offer dark fitted denim<http://www.nyandcompany.com/the-audrey-ankle-pant-navy/A-prod9560009/?An=102601&prodNo=32&No=> that is being marketed as office clothing for women. So how can employees know the rules of dressing for the office?”

Here, Wilson outline his top tips for employers and employees when it comes to the dress code:

1. Make sure your company dress code is fairly enforced. “One of the primary complaints that employees have is that one employee ‘gets away’ with certain clothing but other employees get written up for similar infractions. Unless an employee has a disability which requires a dress code modification, then be stringent about your dress code. It might be easier to turn a blind eye to an employee’s open-toed shoes, but the next month when an employee wears an inappropriate logo on a T-shirt, you will have a harder time explaining why that is not allowed.”

2. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. “If you allow your female staff to wear dark nail polish and edgy hair styles like pastel dye, then realize that is setting a precedent for the entire office. This means that all of your employees, including transwomen or men or those who identify as non-binary, will expect to have equal rights when it comes to expressing their fashion tastes. If you want to limit such expressions of individuality, then make a policy that only light nail polish is allowed and that no extreme hair colors or styles are permitted.”

3. Send out a reminder at the start of each season. “As the weather is scorching in most of the country right now, more people are going to start reaching for open-toed shoes and sundresses,” says Wilson. “Now is the best time to send out a mass email to your staff with clear and concise instructions about hot weather dress.”

4. Understand that many people view office temperature as sexist. “There has been a large movement lately of women stating that the chilly temperatures in offices are sexist,” says Wilson. “Sounds a little odd, but the idea is that men in suit jackets desire a cooler temperature, whereas women who are dressed in traditional feminine clothing such as skirts and silk tops will feel cold in such temps. Make sure that your office temperature does not prioritize one person’s comfort over another, and perhaps allow your employees to remove their suit jackets in the office.”

5. Be open to education. “Not sure if your office policies are up to snuff?” asks Wilson. “Hire a sensitivity expert who can help teach you and your employees important lessons about cross-cultural differences. Whether it is a trans employee or an employee who wears a hijab, it is important that everyone’s rights are respected in the office, as it relates to dress codes and beyond.”

Blackbird Air, a startup short-haul regional air service that just raised $2.5 million in funding to pioneer a new way to travel.

Consider this:

>> Everyone hates driving in traffic—but it’s the most affordable way. However, that affordability comes with a burden on time—commuters spend hours in traffic, losing precious time they could have spent with friends or family.

But does it have to be that way?

Enter the Blackbird Air app [http://www.flyblackbird.com/]—a startup based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded by technology and travel industry veteran Rudd Davis—former president of USA Today’s Travel Media Group, who later played a key role in building Hilton’s content delivery systems—Blackbird Air recently raised $2.5 million in funding from a group of individual investors with aviation domain expertise and institutional investors including Social Capital. Here’s why:

>> IT OFFERS ALL THE BENEFITS OF PRIVATE AT THE COST OF COMMERCIAL

Blackbird Air aggregates the charter industry to assemble a virtual fleet of scaling size, ensuring every flight’s capacity is optimized. For customers, that means seats to popular destinations starting at $124. That’s comparable to a commercial flight, but without the bureaucracy and outdated systems.

>> IT USES PROPRIETARY TECHNOLOGY TO OFFER SOPHISTICATED GROUP BOOKING

Using proprietary data and technology, Blackbird Air selects routes, sets schedules, and sells individual seats. By dynamically matching available aircraft with demand, the Blackbird Air app can “crowdsource” flights and map potential routes that would benefit from its flights.

>> IT BRINGS THE JOY BACK TO FLYING

Travel should be as fast as flying and as routine as driving—but without the headaches. By circumventing traffic, long lines, hidden fees, and crowds, Blackbird Air combines the benefits of air and land travel to deliver a new way to fly.

>> IT FLIES TO POPULAR DESTINATIONS

Blackbird Air flies to popular destinations that aren’t well served by commercial airlines. With access to 5,000 cities throughout the USA, it helps summer travelers get to where they actually want to go—whether that’s a vacation home in Key West or a ski resort in Aspen.

How real estate investing is spurring millennial home ownership

Millennials are the largest group of home buyers for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Nearly 40% of home buyers were under 36 years old.

So what’s driving the change in millennial home ownership?

Forty-nine percent of millennial buyers had at least one child, also according to the report. That is up six percentage points from two years ago. Also, while millennials are not racing down the aisle, they are purchasing homes with their partners.

Though marriage rates declined, the number of U.S. adults in cohabiting relationships reached nearly 18 million last year, up 29% since 2007.

About half of those cohabiters (those living with an unmarried partner) are younger than 35. But most importantly, in a joint Real Estate Investment Survey with Harris Interactive, RealtyShares found that 55% of millennials are enthusiastic about home ownership as an investment, and over half would invest in property other than their primary residence.

For years we’ve been told that millennials aren’t buying homes. That’s simply not true.

Millennial Homebuyers Are Not Unicorns: Here’s Why

Millennials are not only the largest group of buyers for the 4th straight year, they are the generation most likely to regard their home purchase as a good financial investment.

Leading Textile Developer to Open First U.S. Operation in Columbus Region

Columbus – Fluvitex, a global leader in textile development, has announced plans to open its first U.S.-based production facility in the Columbus Region, creating 80 new jobs. Hiring for sewing operators, maintenance technicians, quality and production professionals and administrative jobs will begin in Q1 2018.

The new 123,588-square-foot facility will be located in Groveport on 6500 Pontius Road, where the company will produce bedding textiles that include comforters, pillows and cushions. Fluvitex, through its American subsidiary Fluvitex USA, Inc., will invest a total of $8 million in machinery and equipment. Total investment will reach $12 million, including civil works, inventories and IT infrastructure.

“The Columbus Region provides the cost-effective business climate and high-skilled workforce we need as we enter into the U.S.,” said Jaume Burgell, general manager, Fluvitex. “Groveport’s strategic access to the U.S. market will enable easy movement of goods and U.S. expansion.”

A subsidiary of Masias, a Spain-based company with more than 75 years of experience in the development of technologies for treatment of fibers in the textile sector, Fluvitex is one of IKEA’s major suppliers for bedding products.

“Fluvitex’s decision to set down roots in Groveport continues to validate the Columbus Region’s position as a leader in manufacturing,” said Jeff Green, finance director and assistant city administrator, City of Groveport. “Adding a new manufacturer will further diversify the local economy and provide quality jobs for our residents.”

Located in the center of Ohio – one of 10 states with the lowest effective tax rates for both new capital-intensive and new labor-intensive manufacturing facilities, as ranked by Tax Foundation and KPMG – the Columbus Region offers the greatest access to the U.S. market, world-class resources and a competitive workforce.

About Fluvitex USA Inc.

Fluvitex is a leading textile developer, specializing in the production of bedding textiles. Fluvitex is a subsidiary of Masias, a Spain-based company with more than 75 years of experience in the development of technologies for treatment of fibers in the textile sector.

Leading Forensic and Testing Company Expands in Columbus

Columbus – SEA, Ltd. (S-E-A), a worldwide leader in forensic analysis, research and testing, and specialist in failure analysis, announced the expansion of its operations in Columbus. The company plans to add 18 new jobs at its corporate campus, located near the northern interchange of I-270 and I-71.

Since establishing its new headquarters and R&D facility in Columbus in 2016, S-E-A has continued to exceed its aggressive growth expectations. With this additional expansion, the company plans to enhance animation and litigation graphics capabilities, increase product testing and ultimately open operations in new markets.

“The Columbus Region is a center for new technology and innovation, particularly in the areas of driverless vehicles and industries of the future,” said Jason Baker, president and CEO of S-E-A. “Columbus’ population growth and our ability to attract top talent also played an important role in our decision to continue to expand here.”

S-E-A specializes in failure analysis, and has worked on projects ranging from routine testing of household products to major accident re-creation. In addition to its Columbus headquarters, S-E-A has 10 other offices around the country, in cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, St. Louis and Tampa.

“We are proud to see a long-time sucessful business expanding in the community in which it started,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “S-E-A is a leader in its industry, and the City of Columbus is pleased to accommodate its continued growth.”

The Columbus Region boasts a highly educated talent pool, with more than 42 percent of the metro population holding an associate’s degree or higher. Additionally, Columbus ranks as the No. 1 best city for top tech talent among small markets by CBRE Research’s third annual scoring tech talent report.

About S-E-A

S-E-A is a multi-disciplined forensic engineering, fire investigation and visualization services company specializing in failure analysis. The company has been a powerful resource in litigation for nearly 50 years offering a complete investigative service, including marine, mechanical, biomechanical, electrical, civil and materials engineering, as well as pre-market product testing, fire investigation, industrial hygiene services, visualization services and a fully equipped chemical laboratory. Learn more at SEAlimited.com.

Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke Are Purging Climate Scientists for Telling the Truth

Dozens of senior officials have been reassigned at the Department of the Interior, including Dr. Virginia Burkett, who contributed to the IPCC reports that won the Nobel Peace Prize.

By Adam Federman

The Nation

On July 19, Joel Clement, a top climate scientist and policy analyst at the Department of Interior (DOI) filed a whistle-blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging that his reassignment to an accounting position was retribution for speaking out about the dangers of climate change. Clement, who had raised the alarm about the potential catastrophic impacts of rising sea levels and warming temperatures on Native communities in Alaska, had been transferred to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, which collects royalty checks from the fossil-fuel industry. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Clement accused the Trump administration of choosing “silence over science.”

But Clement wasn’t the only leading climate scientist at the DOI who was targeted. As part of a radical, department-wide restructuring that Secretary Ryan Zinke has described as “probably the greatest reorganization in the history of the Department of the Interior,” at least two dozen senior executive employees have been moved to new positions. Although new administrations often shake up agency personnel, the transfers of senior officials at the DOI are unprecedented in scale and, in several cases, viewed as politically motivated or designed to intimidate staff who work on environmental issues. Zinke has defended Trump’s plan to reduce the DOI budget by $1.6 billion next year, costing roughly 4,000 employees their jobs and rolling back many of the regulations put in place by the Obama administration.

Among the initial transfers at the DOI was Dr. Virginia Burkett, the former associate director for Climate and Land Use Change at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who contributed to several reports on climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. According to interviews with several DOI employees, Burkett was originally reassigned to the office of the assistant secretary for Water and Science, which would have moved her from overseeing vital climate-science research at USGS to an as yet undefined advisory role at DOI headquarters in Washington.

Burkett, who joined the DOI in 1990 and has been at the USGS for more than 15 years, is an internationally recognized expert on climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal wetlands. She has written extensively on the impacts of climate change on coastal communities, as well as on strategies for adaptation. As an adviser to the assistant secretary for Water and Science, it’s unclear what her new role would have been. The office reports directly to newly named Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, a former high-powered lobbyist who had previously sued the DOI and whose conflicts of interest related to water-use issues have been well documented.

Matt Larsen, former associate director for Climate and Land Use Change at USGS who now heads up the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, said that, under normal circumstances, Burkett could have played an important role in shaping policy on national water-resource issues. “In her case, the reassignment was a reasonable one,” Larsen said. “It was in line with her expertise, assuming that the special adviser would have been asked to give advice about climate science and land-use-change science.” But Larsen noted that her role would ultimately be limited to serving the administration’s political agenda.

As a citizen Donald Trump dismissed climate science as a “hoax,” and as president he has continued to undermine the role of science in guiding government policy. References to global warming have been removed from government websites, and regulations designed to limit greenhouse-gas emissions—many of them promulgated through the DOI—have been reversed. Most notably, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord. Although Secretary Zinke paid lip service to climate change during his confirmation hearings, the DOI seems to have fallen into line with the administration’s overall agenda of suppressing climate science. Just a week before Clement blew the whistle, another USGS climate scientist was told not to attend a tour of Glacier National Park with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

According to a leaked draft of a USGS science-guidance memo obtained by The Nation, the word “climate” is quietly being scrubbed from various program titles and research initiatives. Under the Trump budget, the Climate and Land Use Change mission area has already been renamed the Land Resources mission area, suggesting that climate-science research will no longer be a priority. Funding for climate-science centers, which are on the front lines of helping regional and local natural-resource managers adapt to climate change, will be reduced from $25 million to $17.4 million, and the agency is preparing for the possibility that four of those centers will be shuttered. The memo instructs program managers and scientists to focus on a small subset of existing projects and research priorities rather than seeking funding for any new initiatives.

This larger context aside, a DOI employee with knowledge of Burkett’s reassignment said the move raised a number of particular red flags. Burkett’s special advisory role was a newly created position, in an office that was not yet fully staffed. Typically, the employee said, assistant secretaries like to choose their own advisors. Anne Castle who served as assistant secretary for water and ccience under Obama, confirmed that it was unusual to name special advisers before having the leadership team in place. Moreover, unlike many of the other Senior Executive Service employees who were transferred, an immediate replacement for Burkett was not named. Doug Beard, another USGS scientist, is now serving as acting associate director for Climate and Land Use Change, but it is unclear whether the position will ultimately be filled or eliminated. According to another DOI employee, the reassignment was a “signal to us that the mission area not only might be renamed but might be removed.”

The DOI declined to respond to specific questions about Burkett’s reassignment, but said the personnel moves were being “conducted to better serve the taxpayer and the Department’s operations.”

As a citizen Donald Trump dismissed climate science as a “hoax,” and as president he has continued to undermine the role of science in guiding government policy.

Notified of her reassignment in mid-June, Burkett was given just 15 days to accept the new position, resign, or retire. But instead she was able to negotiate a departure from the Senior Executive Service, the upper echelon of federal government employees, and return to her previously held position as chief scientist of the Climate and Land Use Change mission area, taking a pay cut in the process.

Reached by phone as she was driving from Virginia to Louisiana, where she’ll be stationed, Burkett said she preferred not to speculate on the reasons for her reassignment. “I’m sure it would have been a different role,” she said. “The office has a different mission.” Burkett, along with two other DOI employees, did express concern that no one had yet been named to fill her old job as Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change at USGS, a key leadership role. “There are hiring freezes presently, and I’m just unclear about how and if the position will be refilled,” Burkett said.

Adam Federman is a reporting fellow with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. He is the author of Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray.

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About City of Columbus, Ohio

The City of Columbus is the 14th largest city in the United States with a population of approximately 860,090 residents. The Columbus economy is balanced with a combination of education, technology, government, research, insurance and health care entities as major employers within the region. Columbus is gaining nationwide recognition for its historic neighborhoods, booming downtown arts and sporting districts, open attitude and a noticeably affordable quality of life. Learn more about the City of Columbus at columbus.gov/development/Economic-Development/.

About Columbus 2020

As the economic development organization for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at ColumbusRegion.com.

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