Vermont Business Center Graduation

first_imgWhat do chiropractors, bankers, doctors, and entrepreneurs all have in common? They come from diverse professions and educational backgrounds, but on the evening of June 13, they all gathered at UVM’s Waterman Hall to celebrate a common milestone. For the second year since its inception, graduates of UVM’s Vermont Business Center Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program celebrated completion of the yearlong program.Program director Daniel Van Der Vliet launched the program in 2004 and 9 students completed it this year. Designed to provide an MBA “toolkit”, the program provides topical highlights from the University of Vermont’s MBA curriculum. Students choose seminars from 4 core areas: leadership, strategy implementation, sales and marketing, and finance.Bryan Mailman of New Breed Marketing is a member of the 2007 graduating class. Says Mailman, “Bringing a group of professionals together, and stripping all the titles and previous education away, so that everyone in the group is learning at the same level is very powerful. Not only did we all get to share the common threads of our business experiences, but the program also expanded our networking circles. For me, this program was energizing and got me thinking about taking my business education a little further.”This year’s graduates are:* Jonathan Billings, Northwestern Medical Center, St. Albans* Christopher Byrne, The Tuckerman Group, Chelsea* Dan Eastman, Wildlife Habitat Consultants, East Hardwick* Jill Larson, Discover Wellness and Chiropractic Center, Burlington* Bryan Mailman, New Breed Marketing, Winooksi* Laurence McCahill, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington* Catherine Krupp, University of Vermont Continuing Education Department, Burlington* Penny Peachey-Kountz, IBM, Essex Junction* Stephen Page, Northfield Savings Bank, NorthfieldAbout the Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program:A joint venture between the University of Vermont School of Business Administration and Department of Continuing Education, The Leadership and Management Professional Certificate provides students with business management tools including the key concepts, vocabulary and analytical tools essential for effective management and strategic decision making. The certificate consists of a total of 67.5 hours of course work. Most students complete the 8 workshops required for graduation in a year. For more information, visit the Vermont Business Center’s web site at is external) or call Sharon Radtke, Administrative Coordinator, at (802) 656-4681.last_img read more

Bills should be easier foe for Steelers

first_imgThe Steelers offense played the best game of the season, however, they picked the game in which the defense played its worst game, which led to a 55-31 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots, to drop to 2-6. The competition should be much easier this weekend when they face the 2-6 AFC East Buffalo Bills.Ben Roethlisberger played his best game of the season with 400 yards on 28 of 48 passing for four touchdowns. Antonio Brown continued to battle for the NFL lead in receptions with five catches for 71 yards, but he had to take a back seat to Emmanual Sanders’ six catches for 98 yards and  Jericho Cotchery’s seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.  Even the running game was somewhat impressive with Le’Veon Bell’s 16 carries for 74 yards. But it wasn’t enough.After a very poor game for him last week, Tom Brady had his best game of the season. He was 23 of 43 for 432 yards and 4 touchdowns as he put 55 points on the board which was the highest number the Steelers have allowed their history.The big difference was Rob Gronkowski, who had nine catches for 143 yards; Stevan Ridley, who ran for 116 yards on just 12 carries; and Fred Jackson, who had 77 yards on 16 carries.The Bills played the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs tough with a backup rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel, who was 18 of 39 for 229 yards, replacing the injured Thad Lewis. Just who will start at quarterback for the Bills against the Steelers is still not clear, but theexpectation is that it will be Lewis. Compared to the Patriots, there are no outstanding players on the offensive side of the ball for the Bills, but they do have an outstanding defense, which translates into a low scoring game as the Steelers defense gets itself back on track against an inferior team. The Steelers should register their third win against the lowly Bills, but they were also supposed to beat the Oakland Raiders.Other action in the AFC North had the Cincinnati Bengals, 6-3, losing to the Miami Dolphins 22-20 and surprisingly,  the Cleveland Browns upsetting the Baltimore Ravens, 24-18, moving them ahead of the Ravens at 4-5, as Baltimore dropped to 3-5. CATCHING COTCHERY—Wide receiver Jericho Cotchery had his best game as a Steeler with seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. (Photo by Hulio Torres) Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter us at our mobile app at read more

South Africa’s business tourism boom

first_img15 April 2008An estimated 6-7% of all foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2007 were made up of business tourists, translating to about 550 000 business tourists compared to 470 000 in 2006, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said recently.Speaking at the Meetings Africa Business Tourism Conference in Johannesburg last month, Van Schalkwyk said this figure was sure to grow even more in the lead-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and that the industry’s vision of doubling this figure in the next three years was “not overly ambitious”.The estimates are that year-on-year growth in business tourist “bed nights” was around 19% in 2007, following 18% growth in 2006, the minister said.Business travel – ranging from small meetings and leadership breakaways to major conferences and exhibitions – is a lucrative sector of the market. Business travellers spend on average three times more than leisure travellers, and up to 40% of business travellers return to a destination within five years.There is also a significant crossover from business into leisure travel. About 18% percent of business travellers go on tours prior to their business activities, while about 22% do so afterwards.Total foreign direct spend business tourists in South Africa amounted to R2.4-billion in 2006, up from approximately R2.1-billion in 2005.SuccessesSouth Africa’s conference industry moved up to 31st place in the International Congress and Convention Association’s lastest top-40 list of leading destinations in the world, released in May 2007.And in the 2007 M&IT Trends & Spends Survey of readers of the influential Meetings and Incentive Travel (M&IT) magazine – circulated to event organisers throughout the UK – Cape Town topped the list of favourite long-haul destination cities, while South Africa was voted the second favourite long-haul destination country.The Western Cape’s business tourism calendar for 2010 and beyond is already starting to fill up, with 10 major conferences and conventions so far secured for 2010. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, these conferences alone are expected to draw 16 300 business tourists and have an economic impact of approximately R166.3-million in the province.Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, meanwhile, recently won the right to host the 57th Session of the International Statistical Institute in 2009, which will bring in 2 500 delegates. It will also host the International Committee on Non-Destructive Testing in 2012, which will attract 1 500 delegates.New and future developmentsVan Schalkwyk said public and private sector investments in South Africa’s infrastructure would enhance the country’s position in the global business tourism industry, with recent developments and future initiatives including: Airports Company South Africa has injected R5.2-billion into extensions and refurbishments currently under way at South Africa’s three main airports, OR Tambo, Cape Town and Durban International.  A new R2-billion airport, King Shaka International, is under construction at La Mercy north of Durban.  Polokwane International Airport in Limpopo province will boast a new R45-million terminal by the end of February. The new terminal will be able to accommodate 200 000 passengers a year compared to the current 50 000 a year.  A state-of-the art R460-million indoor arena, capable of accommodating audiences of up to 10 000, has opened its doors at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.  The Cape Town International Convention Centre plans to double its size by expanding across the adjacent freeway to the site of Customs House. The plans involve the establishment of a mirror image of the existing centre next to the harbour.  Port Elizabeth is to get its own convention centre, the Nelson Mandela Bay International Convention Centre. This will include a 1 000-seater convention and conference centre with a range of add-on facilities. The Mandela Bay Development Agency is inspecting sites on which to construct the centre.  The Bloemfontein International Convention Centre, with a main arena capable of accommodating up to 5 000 delegates, opened in the Free State capital in November. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Eskom, Transnet boost for technical skills

first_imgKnowledge transfer and training “In addition, commercial contracts have been entered into with suppliers on Eskom’s build programme with clauses that deal with knowledge transfer and training,” Gigaba said. Source: BuaNews Gigaba said the recently launched Eskom Academy of Learning would, together with partnerships with tertiary institutions and supplier networks, be used to train new recruits. He pointed out that Eskom’s build programme alone would require on average 160 scientists, 2 145 engineers and 2 950 artisans per year over the next five years. Additional funding required On the other hand, logistics group Transnet is aiming to train 427 engineers and 1 412 artisans this year and a further 60 engineers and 500 artisans a year between 2012 and 2016, Gigaba said. State-owned companies Eskom and Transnet have several programmes under way to ensure that South Africa acquires the skills it needs to carry out its infrastructure investment programme, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba told Parliament in Cape Town last week. Eskom’s aim is to constantly ensure that it has at least 2 500 artisan learners, which are replaced when the learners qualify every year. Usually about 1 200 learners qualify every year. 12 May 2011 He added that the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Higher Education and Training are together looking at ways to fund the additional trainees, as the National Skills Fund currently does not fund infrastructure investment. Transnet spends R144-million a year on engineering bursaries and a further R73-million on artisan training. Recipients of its bursaries are all placed in positions across the group’s operations. The electricity utility is currently training over 5 200 learners, 80% of whom are studying in the engineering and technical fields, and has also entered into a joint project with other state-owned enterprises to train an additional 1 500 trade persons per year by making use of underutilised training facilities in the sector. The academy is focusing primarily on developing engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans and has faculties in engineering, artisan, services, project management, leadership and finance. “Although opportunities exist to grow the intake of artisans, this will require additional funding to upgrade facilities and ensure adequate resources,” Gigaba said, adding that preliminary estimates indicate that R212-million is needed to fund a further 1 000 trainees and R325-million for an additional 2 000 trainees.last_img read more

Soybean research maximizing checkoff dollars

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Though it may seem counterproductive for one researcher to breed soybeans and another researcher to kill them, it is exactly this unique synergy of efforts that is taking place to benefit the profitability of Ohio soybean growers.“I am a soybean breeder and geneticist so I aim to develop cultivars with a good profile of disease resistance as well as good yield and good quality traits. A lot of the cultivars we develop are for the food grade industry so they need high protein and large seed size,” said Leah McHale, director the Ohio State University Soybean Breeding and Genetics Lab.“Then I try to kill what she develops, literally,” said Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension plant pathologist. “That is because we want it to grow in Ohio. Ohio has many soil types that are heavy clay and poorly drained so there are a plethora of problems. With that in mind, we screen for resistance in the lab trying to identify the lines that will hold up under Ohio’s tough conditions. We need to grow varieties that can stand up to a whole season to get a high yield and a profit at the end of the season. Especially in the low price years, it is really important to get the highest yield, and that is what it is all about.”Though they work at opposite ends of the soybean life cycle, both McHale and Dorrance are funded by Ohio Soybean Council checkoff dollars to bring a better soybean seed to the market for farmers to plant in their fields. There is tremendous cooperation required for success — even across completely separate areas of study — for the development of soybean genetics with a strong disease package.“We first have to identify what sources of resistance should be used. We have to identifwhere the starting point should be. The second part is that we go and develop these populations where we identify the genetic regions to find those markers that are associated with that source of resistance,” Dorrance said. “That facilitates not only the breeding that goes on here at Ohio State but there are also companies using that information as well in the development of their own cultivars.”In terms of the soybean breeding program at Ohio State, it has been a busy and successful year.“We released four cultivars this year, which is the most that we have released in any year since I have been here,” McHale said. “These came from disease screening that Anne had done. She screened hundreds of potential breeding lines for us and these four rose to the top as being the most resistant. They also have high yield and two of them are for the food grade market so they have high protein and other traits that are important for tofu production.“In our yield trials we do not always have the same disease pressure that you’d find on Ohio farms, that is where Anne comes in. We used to only send Anne the top yielding varieties for her to evaluate, but she was killing them all. Now we send her hundreds of lines and she goes through and screens all of those for resistance. We pick the best ones.”The key diseases being studied in Dorrance’s research include Phytophthora and Pythium.“In a year we are individually inoculating an acre of plants one by one — that is 180,000 to 220,000 plants. There are multiple things coming out of that effort,” Dorrance said. “We are identifying sources of resistance for future varieties and finding markers associated with the genes so companies can use that to identify genetic regions that are controlling the resistance in their lines. We have multiple purposes for everything we are doing.”Though they work on different OSU campuses, McHale and Dorrance regularly talk to stay informed about what is happening in their separate labs.“Everybody can’t be an expert on everything so I take on the breeding and genetics part and Anne takes on the pathology part. We are happy to be experts in our own fields and to benefit from each other,” McHale said. “We meet with each other regularly and work together well. We even finish each other’s sentences sometimes — I don’t hold it against her for killing my plants.”It takes this kind of teamwork and joint efforts across a wide range of research fields to create a complete portfolio of research to enhance overall soybean profitability. With this in mind, the decisions about what research should be funded to maximize the return on investment of the soybean checkoff require careful consideration.The funding decisions require a big picture view of the soybean industry, intimate knowledge of the challenges being faced in Ohio crop fields, and an understanding of the details of the specific research projects.“The whole process is driven by the Ohio Soybean Council Board. We have a request for proposals that goes out periodically to the research community in Ohio,” said Tom Fontana, Ohio Soybean Council director of research and education. “We also have a strategic plan where our farmer leaders develop what they think is important for soybean farmers in Ohio to maximize their profits. We try to address specific areas that will lead to improved soybean operations. We are looking at things like pests and diseases, genetics and breeding, and other yield limiting factors. Another important area is soil fertility and nutrient management. Then various researchers respond with proposals to address the strategic initiatives developed by our Board. Then the farmer Board members and staff review proposals and select the projects that will have the biggest impact for soybean farmers in the state of Ohio.”The input from the farmers on the Board is a crucial component of the process because they see what is happening in their fields and understand what problems are most in need of being addressed with checkoff dollars.“For example, the breeding program is focused on things that will help Ohio soybean farmers the most, like diseases and pests that are problems in Ohio and varieties that are useful in Ohio, such as food grade varieties that have been very lucrative for our farmers,” Fontana said. “Our funding goes to things like looking at soybean cyst nematode populations and research on Phytophthora. We need to understand what our problems are out there before we can really try to solve them.”One important goal is to fund a complimentary set of research efforts in Ohio that are not unnecessarily duplicative.“We try to make sure the research we are funding works together with nationally funded projects. One example is soybean aphids. The bulk of soybean aphid research comes from the North Central Soybean Research program where 12 states are involved. Aphids affect a wide number of those states and each state is working on its particular area of expertise to contribute to the whole region. We do not fund the same work that the United Soybean Board funds, but we fund some of the same researchers who are participating in United Soybean Board projects,” Fontana said. “There is a big push to eliminate redundancy in research through better communication and a research database that is being developed. With the database, if I get a proposal from here in Ohio I will be able to go and look to see if that same project is already being conducted somewhere else. While there are different climates, soil types and other factors that make some of theses types of studies in different areas valuable, there is also no sense in duplicating some studies either.”Avoiding duplication, and fostering synergy, maximizes the return on investment for soybean growers.“Our Board likes to leverage resources. You can do that with researchers working together in Ohio. They are also working with other researchers around the region in bigger projects that make sense and, in total, costs less in checkoff dollars,” Fontana said. “For example, Laura Lindsey, with OSU Extension, is working on yield and quality. She is looking at nutrients, fungicides and other inputs. She has been working on a number of specific things for that project, but she was already in the fields so she was also checking for insect pressure, disease levels, and other things. She gathered more data than for just her project and that helps other researchers like Anne Dorrance in plant pathology and Andy Michel in entomology. There is a whole team of soybean researchers in at OSU — we call them the soybean team — and they get together and talk about what they are doing and what they can do in the future.”As research results are finalized, the teamwork continues to put the findings to work in Ohio’s soybean fields. The Ohio Soybean Council works with OSU Extension and media outlets to turn the research into practical reality.“We work with Extension and others to disseminate the research and spread the word about what is happening,” Fontana said. “County Extension educators are often involved in this research and getting projects implemented in the counties in terms of field trials with farmer cooperators.”For much more, visit the Soybean Rewards web page at read more

CarMic House: Improving Indoor Air Quality

first_imgDon’t forget the basement!As mentioned above, the entire basement also has carpeting. It’s only four years old, but it will be removed when we insulate the slab.The basement bath and laundry demo started a little sooner than we anticipated. Perhaps it was the toilet constantly backing up, or the dank smell, or (most likely) it was our daughter finding a giant house centipede on her toothbrush.In an effort to discover the source of the problem, we decided to look inside a mysterious box built into the laundry room. Come to find out the mysterious box was housing a sewer ejector pump serving the laundry and this bathroom. The top of the ejector pit was, shall we say, not sealed properly. So if you want to talk indoor air quality, let’s not forget sewer gas!This space was immediately demolished to reveal all the plumbing and seal off the pit. We discovered sagging waste lines, copper supply lines embedded in the plaster on exterior concrete walls, and other fun plumbing follies. This, of course, has turned into one of those unforeseen uses of contingency money.One source of odor was a poorly sealed pit housing a sewage ejector pump — one of many plumbing surprises the couple found.What’s more, it is freezing down there in the winter and spring and cool but damp in the summer. As we’ve said previously, whether we like it or not, basements are being used as livable spaces by many people (and now us), so we want to devise safe and healthy methods for properly protecting these spaces from moisture, air (and bug) infiltration, and go give them adequate insulation to reduce energy consumption and improve comfort. The previous installment of this blog series by Carri Beer and Michael Hindle was called No, We Are Not Crazy. Damp sills, black moldAs we considered our plan of attack, we did some exploratory demolition and found what we expected: damp sill plates, black mold on the back of the drywall, spalling mortar, and efflorescence on the block walls. The sill plates were pressure-treated, but there was no capillary break between them and the floor, so the plates soaked up water and transmitted it up the bottoms of the studs (see the photo at the bottom of the article).We are big advocates of avoiding toxins in buildings and avoiding global warming potential of insulation materials, so rather than filling the stud cavities with foam, we removed all the drywall and studs in order to properly moisture-proof and insulate.All the extra work is worthwhile. We sleep better at night knowing we will be creating a healthy space for our children and parents and any future residents. Details of how we will be retrofitting this are still in progress and will be explored with drawings and photos very soon. We need to make this space livable, so we are moving quickly. So I know that most readers are interested in energy improvements, systems, insulation, and air sealing — but first things first. All in due course, dear readers.Before moving children and ourselves into this house, we absolutely had to address some of the indoor air quality issues. For better or worse, we were in the slow and excruciating process of selling our little bungalow, so we stayed there while removing carpets and “detoxing” the new place.This house was previously occupied by two large American bulldogs and one cat, and when we purchased the home, every window sill and screen was matted with dog hair. The perimeters of the tile floors and baseboards in the kitchen and entry were coated with a dried film of drool, dog hair, or both. It was a big job! Editor’s note: Carri Beer and Michael Hindle are renovating a 1954 house in Catonsville, Maryland. Hindle is a Certified Passive House Consultant and owner of Passive to Positive. Beer is a registered architect who has been practicing sustainable architecture for 18 years. She is an associate principal with Brennan+Company Architects. For a list of the couple’s posts, see the sidebar below. Despite growing up with the luxury of 1970s shag, much like the remnants we discovered, we opted for no carpet, knowing that it harbors dust and allergens — not to mention being petroleum-based and laden with carcinogenic flame retardants. There are natural carpet alternatives, but they are still expensive allergy traps.Therefore, we decided to install floating cork floors. Why cork? We needed something with a low environmental impact that we could do ourselves, and we wanted something that would provide a soft, warm surface for bedrooms. Cork was the obvious answer. In our previous house, we had it for eight years and were very happy with it.With the help of friends and family, we replaced all the carpet in the upstairs bedrooms and hallway (645 square feet) with floating cork floor for $1,900. The cork is from APC and was purchased on After examining many samples, we settled on plain ol’ cork pattern. It was the least expensive, and it turns out, quite beautiful just being itself. This particular cork company has a matte finish and it shows some footprints, but it’s easy enough to maintain and clean with a damp rag. We have a few installer defects that we cringe at in certain light conditions and from certain angles, but generally speaking, we love the floor.A new cork floor in the master bedroom replaced carpeting.We also removed the carpet in the giant room and exposed the original asbestos tile adhered over the concrete deck above the garage. Once we’ve built our new exterior wall, we will add 1 1/4 inches of mineral wool insulation, plywood subfloor and, eventually, install cork in the future dining room.center_img Nothing like a fresh coat of paintBefore we moved in, our incredible parents came and stayed with us and helped us clean and paint the bedrooms. We are a bit frustrated by the current marketing of zero-VOC paint — it’s better than it used to be, but we believe that consumers are being misled and have been lulled into complacency about the chemical pollutants in paints.Zero-VOC doesn’t mean zero-odor or zero-chemicals. The EPA allows paint to be called “zero-VOC” even if it’s not. In addition to having low levels of VOCs, zero-VOC paint also can contain formaldehyde, solvents, vinyl chloride, heavy metals, phthalates, and acrylic softeners — just to name a few. We were determined to find better.In doing some materials research for a Living Building Challenge project, we came across ECOS paint. The company has some great research on its website. Basically, ECOS has none of the aforementioned toxins and is great for those with asthma or chemical sensitivities, and for maintaining the general health of those who apply the paint or live in a painted space.The price was a bit more than Sherwin-Williams zero-VOC paint, but it was well worth it. The paint colors are beautiful and it’s really wonderful to use. We lived and worked in the house as we (mostly the parents) painted it and could not even tell — honestly — that painting was going on. So far, we used family labor to paint 85% of the spaces and have spent $900 on paint, with enough paint left over to finish some accent walls or smaller spaces. Removing the allergen trapsThe three bedrooms, hallway, and giant family room upstairs had carpet — nasty, smelly, animal-stained carpet that was likely 15 years old. We removed the carpet and discovered plywood subfloors and remnants of variously colored shag snags on nails from carpets dating back over the course of 60 years. Animal stains on the carpet penetrated right down to the plywood. BLOGS BY BEER & HINDLE Rebuilding a Mid-Century DinosaurNo, We Are Not Crazy RELATED ARTICLES All About Indoor Air QualityGreen Up Your Carpet Life-CycleIs Carpet a Four-Letter Word?Got Mold? Energy Efficiency and Moisture Managementlast_img read more