Saturday, March 16, 2019

business

business


Business Highlights - Times Union

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 02:16 PM PDT

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FAA's close ties to Boeing questioned after 2 deadly crashes

For more than six decades, the Federal Aviation Administration has relied on employees of airplane manufacturers to do government-required safety inspections as planes are being designed or assembled. But critics say the system, dubbed the "designee program," is too cozy as company employees do work for an agency charged with keeping the skies safe while being paid by an industry that the FAA is regulating.

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Tech companies scramble to remove New Zealand shooting video

LONDON (AP) — Internet companies and social media platforms were scrambling to remove video footage filmed by a gunman in the New Zealand mosque shooting that was widely available on social media for hours after the horrific attack. The furor highlights once again the speed at which disturbing content from a tragedy can spread around the world and how Silicon Valley tech giants are still grappling with how to prevent that from happening.

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US industrial production rose just 0.1 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production increased a slight 0.1 percent in February, as an increase in utilities and mining offset the second straight monthly drop in manufacturing. The Federal Reserve says that the manufacturing component of the index fell 0.4 percent last month, after having fallen 0.5 percent in January. Factory production has slipped 1 percent during the past 12 months.

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China's premier denies Beijing tells companies to spy

BEIJING (AP) — China's No. 2 leader has denied Beijing tells Chinese tech companies to spy abroad and promised to treat foreign and domestic competitors equally in an effort to defuse trade tension with Washington and Europe. Premier Li Keqiang's denial was China's highest-level effort so far to put to rest Western security concerns that threaten to block access to markets for next-generation telecoms and other technology.

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Students globally protest warming, pleading for their future

WASHINGTON (AP) — From the South Pacific to the edge of the Arctic Circle, students are skipping classes to protest what they see as the failures of their governments to take tough action against global warming. The 'school strikes' on Friday were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and are taking place in over 100 countries. One sign at a protest in Helsinki read "Dinosaurs thought they had time too!"

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EPA bans consumer use of deadly paint stripper, in rare step

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is banning consumer use of a popular but deadly paint stripper but stopped short of also banning commercial use of the product by tradespeople. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the rule, which will bar manufacturer and import of the stripper methylene chloride for consumer use, in a private meeting Friday with relatives of a man who died after using the paint stripper.

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American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines says it is suspending flights to Venezuela because of safety concerns. The decision comes shortly after the pilots' union told its members to refuse assignments to Venezuela because of a State Department warning about dangerous conditions. American was the last big US airline still flying to the troubled country.

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US job openings rise, outnumber the unemployed by 1 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted nearly 7.6 million open jobs in January, near a record high set in November, evidence that businesses are still hungry for workers despite signs the economy has slowed. The Labor Department says hiring also rose and the number of people quitting their jobs picked up.

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Italy's ENI aims to zero carbon footprint upstream by 2030

MILAN (AP) — Italian energy firm ENI is aiming to make its upstream business carbon neutral by 2030 as part of a transformation to meet its Paris Agreement targets, CEO Claudio Descalzi said Friday during the presentation of a new business plan. The goal will be achieved by reducing carbon emissions through increased efficiency while offsetting remaining emissions through forestry projects.

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Jury rules Apple owes Qualcomm $31M for patent infringement

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A jury has decided Apple should pay $31 million in damages for infringing on patents for technology owned by mobile chip maker Qualcomm that helps iPhones quickly connect to the internet and extend their battery life. The verdict Friday in San Diego federal court follows a two-week trial pitting two former allies that have become bitter adversaries.

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Tech companies power US stocks to solid weekly gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street finished the week with solid gains Friday as technology stocks notched their best week in four months. Financial, health care and consumer stocks also helped lift the market. The gains erased losses from last week, when the S&P 500 had its worst week of the year. Technology stocks had their best week since November. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

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The S&P 500 index gained 14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,822.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 138.93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,848.87. The Nasdaq composite climbed 57.62 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,688.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 3.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,553.54.

Reinvention Lessons From A Multigenerational Billion-Dollar Family Business - Forbes

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 12:05 PM PDT

3 Generations of H.Y. Louie Co. Family LeadersH.Y.Louie Co

Starting up any company is hard. Sustaining that company through multiple generations requires constant adaptation to external changes. That innovation through disruption begins with a keen understanding of the family's identity, values, and traditions. It's one of the reasons why successful multigenerational family businesses are such compelling illustrations of leadership.

Brandt and Belinda Louie are the patriarch and matriarch of the hundred-year-old H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd., British Colombia's second-largest private company. They are also my good friends, advisory board members for our Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and among the most value-based and globally-minded people I know.

If you ask Brandt what the business plan or mission statement is, he would point you to the letters his grandfather, Hok Yat Louie, wrote, which now hang in the Burnaby headquarters of the company he chairs.

What was originally a seed and fertilizer shop started by an immigrant has grown—in just three generations—to become an enterprise with more than 8,000 employees and $4 billion in annual revenues. No matter how it transforms, it always comes back to its roots and values, etched in the letters that H.Y. Louie wrote to his children.

When H.Y. Louie emigrated to British Columbia in the late 1800s, he discovered a tough environment in which to survive. He worked many manual labor jobs. He later started a small store, which sold fertilizer and seed to the Chinese farmers in the province. 38 years after his arrival, and in failing health, he returned to his native country, leaving behind the store to his oldest sons.

Over the next year, he wrote a series of letters to his sons that served as guidance not only for how his children should live their lives, but also how they should conduct business. Of primary importance are customer service, doing right by others, being kind, working hard, and working with integrity.

Some of my favorite excerpts include:

"Be earnest, fair, and loyal in your dealings with customers. Discuss things with your fellow workers. Be amiable to them." (Undated)(May 27, 1934)

"The execution for these plans is left to yourselves so long as you set your goals based on the business's profitability. It requires work and care not to step out of the focal point." (July 23, 1934)

"Life is for the pursuit of happiness. Young people should always be earnest in their work." (March 30, 1934)

"When pursuing prosperity, you must follow the laws of Heaven. Don't be afraid to be kind and charitable." (March 30, 1934)

"The more you learn, the better you get…. Develop your own character as well as your working skills." (July 23, 1934)

Picture of the March 30th LetterH.Y.Louie Co

Little did he know that his words would guide the heart of the company. Throughout the years, the company transformed and expanded to include other grocery stores. In the 1970s, they branched into drugstores with the acquisition of London Drugs and and in 1999, the airline business when they opened London Air Services. Sonora Lodge and Resort was acquired in 2002 and under Brandt Louie's careful leadership, has evolved into a world class Relais and Chateau property. Today, with his grandson, Brandt, and his great-grandsons, Gregory and Stuart, the company is poised to undergo another transformation. They're expanding into the healthcare sector with medical imaging possibilities.

What makes Louies' story so powerful is that each reimagination of the company and subsequent transformation grew from the origin story of the company. The Louies grounded every change in the original dream their ancestor had for his family's business. The innovations, however they might differ from the context, were successful because they were authentic to the foundational values, family identity, and spirit.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Management found that authentic leadership and authentic followership positively correlates to workplace success. The study defined authentic leadership as leadership which occurs "when individuals enact their true selves in their role as a leader." When leaders clearly demonstrated their values, they elicited higher performance from their followers, who reported higher job satisfaction.

Brandt and Belinda Louie with Coach Mike Krzyzewski at a COLE Leadership SummitSanyin Siang

Louie's use of his grandfather's letters in public spaces and in private reflection provided context for his business, enumerated the company's values, and reflected authenticity in their mission statement. H.Y. Louie laid the seeds that his great-grandchildren still harvest today.

In my experience in working with leaders of multigenerational family businesses, including sports franchises, the successful ones that have innovated throughout the years are grounded in tradition and values. It's more than a business, but an authentic identity that stems from an understanding of their origin stories, their sense of why, and their differentiators.

What does this mean for you? While not all individuals are wrestling with large scale transformations of multigenerational family businesses. But we are all facing new disruptions and external changes that necessitate personal or organizational innovation.

Start first with understanding who you are. Build a frame of reference that's based on your roots, what you find valuable, and how you wish to make the world different for your future generations. Who are the people who have influenced you, given your story context, and promoted authenticity in your life?

Then write your story, or perhaps a letter to your future self. And make that the start of a guide for the next version of you.

The business of college advisors is booming. Here's how to navigate the consulting process - CNBC

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 02:52 PM PDT

Helping kids get into college is a big business — and it's growing fast.

The industry gained some unwelcome notoriety early this week when dozens of people — including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — were arrested in an admissions bribery scheme.

The person behind it was William "Rick" Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network. He pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including racketeering, for masterminding the scheme, which included bribing college athletic coaches and having other people take admissions tests for the children of those who hired him.

Members of the profession swiftly condemned Singer's actions and pointed out that the charges exemplified the concern parents feel about getting their children into the right college.

"We know anxiety is off the charts. Part of the reason anxiety is off the charts is the decision-making in colleges has become so opaque," said Mark Sklarow, CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. "We see that parents are willing to do just about anything."

His organization, a nonprofit that represents independent educational consultants, estimates there are about 8,000 people in the profession full-time, as well as thousands more who "dabble" in it.

The IECA has about 2,000 members — double the number from five years ago — who are required to abide by a code of conduct.

The purpose of a college consultant is to help parents and their children navigate the application process, prepare for entrance exams and choose the right college — and it can cost a lot of money. The average hourly fee in 2018 was $200, according to the IECA. Comprehensive package costs range from $850 to $10,000.

Chris Rim, founder and chairman of Command Education, told CNBC on Friday he creates a yearlong road map for students that includes their objectives and what they need to do to stay on track. His fees start at $950 an hour.

"Because admission rates are so low, you can't just have ... straight As, perfect or near-perfect SAT or ACT scores. You are going to need something that makes you stand out," he said on "Power Lunch."

Colleges want someone with a singular focus, not a well-rounded student, Rim said. "They want students who know what they want to do," not someone who is the president of six clubs, he added.

Private college counselor Sara Harberson touts her experience as the former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania and the former dean of admissions at Franklin and Marshall College. She also worked as a director of college counseling at the Baldwin School in Pennsylvania.

"I teach them how to think like admissions officers. That's what parents want. They want to get the inside scoop," she said on "Power Lunch."

It's also more than just helping prep for entrance exams or filling out applications.

"If they do it right, they understand kids. They understand teenagers and really what is the very best essence of who that student is. Most students in high school, they do what everyone else does," added Harberson. Her rates go up to $600 an hour, but she said she also does free work and provides consulting at a low monthly cost.

The first thing to figure out is if you even need one, said the IECA's Sklarow.

"If you are at a school that has a low student-to-counselor ratio, you may get all the help you need in a school setting," he explained.

Students who know they have to attend a state university or are only choosing between a couple of schools likely don't need to hire an advisor either.

The next step is to decide if you need a few hours of consultation to get headed in the right direction or if you need a full package of service, said Sklarow.

When checking out potential consultants, parents should look at the messaging on their website and pay attention to what is said in the first "get-to-know-you meeting," Sklarow said. If it is all about getting into college, that's a short-term outcome. If it is about finding the right place where the student is going to thrive, that benefit lasts a lifetime, he said.

On top of that, check out the consultant's credentials. He suggests parents look for someone who has a background in counseling and find out how many colleges the person goes to each year. Ideally, it would be someone who spends one-third of the time on the road visiting campuses.

"So much of that match is to really understand the college socially, educationally and other ways," said Sklarow.

He also said it's important to make sure the person is vetted and is a member of a national organization that has already done a background check.

While those in the industry "held their breath" after news broke about the admissions scandal, it now looks like it ultimately is starting to improve the profession, Sklarow said.

He's seen a spike in membership at the IECA over the last few days.

"Maybe in some ways this is going to lead to an industry that looks inwardly and finds a way to even improve on what we've been doing," he said.

Rim said he's already seen an increase in interest from potential clients. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook."

He thinks part of it is that parents "didn't know how competitive this process was. Just because you have perfect scores does not mean you are going to get in."

And it is something that isn't going to change — at least for now, said Harberson.

"Unless states are going to infuse and overhaul their college counseling programs at high schools, parents are going to want this," she said. "They are going to need it — all income levels."

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Longtime Greeley construction firm opens storage business - Greeley Tribune

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 06:33 AM PDT

Ellie Duran, co-owner of Poudre River Storage, poses for a photo at his new self-storage business, Poudre River Storage, 14332 Weld County Road 64, in northwest Greeley. (Trevor Reid/treid@greeleytribune.com)
PoudreRiverStorage-GDT-031519

Despite its status as Greeley's newest storage business, Poudre River Storage's owners are no strangers to the city.

The brothers who own and operate Duran Excavating, Ellie, Gary and Larry Duran, had been considering storage units since making a move in 2013 from their original one-acre lot to a now 50-acre parcel in northwest Greeley at 14332 Weld County Road 64 in Greeley.

Poudre River Storage has about 450 garage-style indoor units, ranging in size from 50-200 square feet, and about 400 outdoor units, ranging from 240-720 square feet. The outdoor units are available for RV, boat and trailer parking, with an RV dump station on site.

Ellie, who joined his brothers' business in 1981, said their plans to kick off the storage business about two years ago were delayed by the county's permitting process and how busy they've been with construction work. In that time, plenty of others have capitalized on the storage boom in Greeley. Brad Mueller, Greeley's community development director, previously told The Tribune that city staff looked at the number of storage units built from 2014 to 2016 in Greeley and came up with a rough estimate of 1 million square feet.

As Ellie explained, however, Duran Excavating has kept busy in that time. The construction firm's more recent work includes the Signature Bluffs Natural area restoration project, the College Green pipe replacement project and, for Keep Greeley Moving, 20th Street improvements.

Also in this past year, Duran Excavating did the excavation and backfill for Poudre River Storage, which helped keep costs low, Ellie said, especially with a couple connections in the construction industry for the units themselves. The Durans were drawn to opening a self-storage business by the high demand for units and low overhead. The business only needs a set of eyes on the nearly two dozen security cameras, keeping the site clean and a front office employee to help when customers need it. For even lower maintenance, they used concrete for the driveway areas and recycled asphalt for the outdoor parking.

To help with the transition of operating a self-storage business in addition to the construction firm, Ellie said a third-party management company has operated Poudre River Storage since it opened in mid-October. In March, the Durans fully took control of the business themselves.

Cree selling lighting business to Ideal Industries - BizTimes.com (Milwaukee)

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 09:34 AM PDT

North Carolina-based Cree Inc. plans to sell its lighting business, including operations in Racine, to Ideal Industries, a family-owned manufacturer that serves a variety of end markets.

The deal is valued at $310 million before tax impacts and includes an initial cash payment of $225 million and a potential $85 million earn-out payment based on adjusted EBITDA over the 12-month period beginning two years after the deal closes.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

In announcing the deal, Sycamore, Illinois-based Ideal Industries highlighted the significant manufacturing capabilities of Cree Lighting in Racine that come with the purchase.

Cree Lighting has more than 800,000 square feet of operations in Racine, including 160,000 square feet for production, 418,000 square feet for warehousing and nearly 225,000 square feet for administrative functions. The company also has nearly 150,000 square feet of warehousing operations in Pleasant Prairie.

The deal includes Cree's LED lighting fixtures, lamps and intelligent light control solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications. It also allows Ideal to use and operate under the Cree Lighting brand. It will become Ideal's 20th branded operating unit.

"We're acquiring a very special organization poised for sustained success, and we look forward to assisting Cree Lighting in realizing its full potential," said Jim James, chairman and CEO of Ideal Industries.

Cree significantly grew its lighting business from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2012 with the acquisition of Racine-based Ruud Lighting in a more than $580 million deal. After the acquisition, Cree invested significantly in its Racine operations and the lighting business grew to more than $900 million in revenue and became 55 percent of the company in fiscal 2015, according to securities filings.

But revenues have declined in recent years due to lower sales volumes, decreasing customer demand and quality issues. In fiscal 2018, the lighting segment had $569 million in revenue.

In February 2018, Cree announced it would increase its focus on its Wolfspeed semiconductor business.

"This transaction provides significant resources to help accelerate Wolfspeed's growth while providing a terrific growth opportunity for the Lighting Business and its employees through an expanded channel that strengthens its market position," said Gregg Loew, CEO of Cree.

Ideal announced Craig Atwater, senior vice president and general manager of Cree Lighting, would join Ideal. The lighting business would continue to operate out of Durham, North Carolina, Racine and other global locations.

"In so many ways, becoming part of the Ideal family returns Cree Lighting to its earliest foundations and values," Atwater said. "Our people and partners are going to see that Ideal is a strong cultural and strategic fit for Cree Lighting."

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North Carolina-based Cree Inc. plans to sell its lighting business, including operations in Racine, to Ideal Industries, a family-owned manufacturer that serves a variety of end markets.

The deal is valued at $310 million before tax impacts and includes an initial cash payment of $225 million and a potential $85 million earn-out payment based on adjusted EBITDA over the 12-month period beginning two years after the deal closes.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

In announcing the deal, Sycamore, Illinois-based Ideal Industries highlighted the significant manufacturing capabilities of Cree Lighting in Racine that come with the purchase.

Cree Lighting has more than 800,000 square feet of operations in Racine, including 160,000 square feet for production, 418,000 square feet for warehousing and nearly 225,000 square feet for administrative functions. The company also has nearly 150,000 square feet of warehousing operations in Pleasant Prairie.

The deal includes Cree's LED lighting fixtures, lamps and intelligent light control solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications. It also allows Ideal to use and operate under the Cree Lighting brand. It will become Ideal's 20th branded operating unit.

"We're acquiring a very special organization poised for sustained success, and we look forward to assisting Cree Lighting in realizing its full potential," said Jim James, chairman and CEO of Ideal Industries.

Cree significantly grew its lighting business from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2012 with the acquisition of Racine-based Ruud Lighting in a more than $580 million deal. After the acquisition, Cree invested significantly in its Racine operations and the lighting business grew to more than $900 million in revenue and became 55 percent of the company in fiscal 2015, according to securities filings.

But revenues have declined in recent years due to lower sales volumes, decreasing customer demand and quality issues. In fiscal 2018, the lighting segment had $569 million in revenue.

In February 2018, Cree announced it would increase its focus on its Wolfspeed semiconductor business.

"This transaction provides significant resources to help accelerate Wolfspeed's growth while providing a terrific growth opportunity for the Lighting Business and its employees through an expanded channel that strengthens its market position," said Gregg Loew, CEO of Cree.

Ideal announced Craig Atwater, senior vice president and general manager of Cree Lighting, would join Ideal. The lighting business would continue to operate out of Durham, North Carolina, Racine and other global locations.

"In so many ways, becoming part of the Ideal family returns Cree Lighting to its earliest foundations and values," Atwater said. "Our people and partners are going to see that Ideal is a strong cultural and strategic fit for Cree Lighting."

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