Help with habits

first_imgWhat are the signs of drug or alcohol abuse by staff in the workplace? HRmanagers and clinicians talk to Phil Boucher about how they have tackledemployee addictionWith drug abuse now accounting for 13 per cent of workplace accidents and 64per cent of cases of deteriorating job performance, according to a study by theHealth and Safety Executive, many HR professionals are asking the question,”I know there are people in the company taking drugs but how do I dealwith it?” The whole area of drug abuse at work is shrouded in myth andmisconception, often making it hard for HR managers to deal with the situation.Contrary to popular opinion, drug-taking is not confined to the high-flying,adrenaline-addicted echelon of the workforce. As Dr Neil Brener, consultantpsychiatrist and medical doctor of the Priory Hospital in London, explains,”People from all walks of society use cocaine at work. It includeseveryone from secretaries to post boys and executives – the whole crowd. “There are three main types of drug users in the workplace: those whosee it as a method of support and are unable to cope with the stress, pressureand workload of their jobs; those who use it on a social basis and it then getsout of control; and people who have turned to drugs as a consequence ofemotional problems unconnected with the workplace, such as bereavement.” Although there is the option of screening and organisations such as airlinesare considering introducing compulsory drink and drugs testing for staff, thepreferred route is to treat the problem of drug abuse as a health issue. Yetresearch by Alcohol Concern and Drugscope has found that 43 per cent oforganisations do not have a workplace alcohol and drugs policy, and 84 per centdo not run awareness programmes for managers. The CIPD, which has charted asignificant rise in the number of companies experiencing workers with drugproblems, agrees that prevention is better than cure and asserts that employerscannot afford to be complacent about drugs in the workplace. “The best way of dealing with an alcohol or drugs problem is to runawareness-raising education programmes as you would for any other kind ofsocial problem, says Diane Sinclair, employee relations adviser at the CIPD. “Someone with a drugs or alcohol problem should be treated in the sameway as someone with an illness. And the best solution is to help them –counselling, other types of treatment and rehab. Dismissal should really be thelast resort.” With this in mind, here’s a guide to spotting the signs of substance abuse,identifying the professions that are particularly vulnerable, looking at whatcompanies have done to tackle the problem and where to go for help. Alcohol Chemical names: ethanol or ethyl alcohol What it does: With 93 per cent of people in the UK consuming alcohol,it is not commonly perceived to be a drug. But research by Alcohol Concernindicates drinking costs industry more than £2bn a year and accounts for 25 percent of all workplace accidents. Preferred profession: Publicans and bar workers, doctors, sailors,railway workers, lawyers and those in literary or artistic occupations and themilitary. Tackling the problem: In the late 1980s, British Rail realised it hada drinking culture and took steps to address it, according to Kevin Groves, HRspokesman for Railtrack. Pre-employment screening was introduced in 1989 andrandom testing was introduced in 1993. “Generally there is no problem aslong as people are up front with us,” he says. “We constantly stress that if you have a problem and are in asafety-critical role such as signalling, you need to tell us for your own sakeand that of the passengers. Anyone in a safety-critical role is immediatelymoved and disciplined if they are found to be under the influence of anysubstance. We then provide support and counselling if there is a problem.”Where to go for help: Alcohol Concern (020-8200 9525) and AlcoholicsAnonymous (01904 644026) offer advice and links to counselling servicesnationally. Perseverance is required as alcoholism is recognised as possiblythe most difficult addiction to treat of all. Tobacco Chemical name: nicotine What it does: The Royal College of Physicians says, “Nicotine isas addictive as drugs such as heroin and cocaine”. And a joint study bythe World Health Organisation and TUC concludes that smokers are more likely tohave days off work through ill-health, are less productive and pose a firehazard in the workplace. Preferred profession: Research by anti-smoking group ASH suggeststhat men and women in the unskilled manual group are most likely to be addicted(45 per cent and 33 per cent). Research also found that men in the 15- to64-year-old age group in social class 5 (unskilled, manual group), are threetimes as likely to die of lung cancer as men in social class 1. Women in socialclass 5 are almost twice as likely to die of lung cancer as women in socialclass 1. Tackling the problem: Su Beacham, director of personnel and trainingwith JD Wetherspoons, says, “Thanks to the implementation of structurednon-smoking areas in our pubs our staff have minimal exposure to smoking andthe vast majority prefer it. If staff want to stop smoking we point them in thedirection of suitable courses so they can get as much information as possible. Robin Hayley, an addiction councillor with Allen Carr, says, “Mostsmokers want to stop smoking and are looking for help to achieve it. Involvingpeople who know what they are doing is crucial but you have to take theposition that you are helping people achieve their desire, not forcing them todo something they don’t want to do.” Where to go for help: Most organisations already have stringentno-smoking policies but to help employees wishing to quit, contact ASH(020-7739 5902) or Allen Carr (020-8944 7761). Amphetamines AKA: speed, ecstasy Chemical names: amphetamine, metamphetamine, MDMA What it does: Induces feelings of exhilaration power, strength,energy, self-assertion and focus. Typically, they come in tablet or powdered formand will drastically reduce feelings of tiredness and hunger. Signs of use: Immediate effects include talkativeness, compulsivebehaviour, heightened self-consciousness and increased suspicion of people andobjects. The clearest physical indicators are dilated pupils, paleness, loss ofcoordination and a lack of spatial awareness. Preferred profession: Includes fishermen, lorry drivers, factoryworkers, the catering industry and members of the medical profession, accordingto Simon Dowson, a spokesman for Narcotics Anonymous. “Amphetamines areused in almost every industry you can think of, although it is most likelywhere shift work or unsociable hours are the norm,” he says. Tackling the problem: It’s important to have a policy based onfactual information and which deals with each case individually. Rachel Lohan,communications manager for the public information service on drugs, Drugscope,says, “It is crucial to get the involvement of all parties concerned forthis to be successful. Consult management and staff together so that it is notan imposed policy, and take advice from staff who know about the situation andfrom outside organisations who know the best way forward.” Amphetamine withdrawal can lead to depression months down the line so it is generallyan ongoing process. Where to go for help: Narcotics Anonymous (020-7730 0009) andDrugscope (020-7928 1211) are national organisations concerned with addictioncounselling. Cocaine AKA: coke, charlie Chemical name: cocaine hydrochloride What it does: Psychologically, taking cocaine produces short, intensesensations of alertness and excitability plus an exaggerated feeling ofcompetence and power. Signs of use: Poor judgement, irritability and erratic, aggressivebehaviour are common. Impaired dexterity and the ability to estimate time anddistance can also become altered immediately after use. The clearest physicalindicators are dilated pupils, a twitchy nose, flushed appearance and overlysociable behaviour. Regular users are more likely to be absent from work. Preferred profession: Although it was exclusive to high-livingexecutive-level professions, a gramme of cocaine can be bought for £10, makingit accessible to almost everyone at work. Tackling the problem: John Hughes, manager of HR policy at the BBC,says, “First you have to make a distinction between alcohol and drugs. Wehave an agreement with the union on alcohol dependency that works quite welland we tend to follow the same policy on drugs.”We see it as a medical ratherthan a disciplinary problem,” he continues. “If people refusetreatment or do not continue with a course then they are liable to disciplinaryaction. But if someone is using drugs (such as when Blue Peter presenterRichard Bacon – he had to appear on Blue Peter and apologise for hisdrug-taking) and they are in a position that reflects badly on the BBC or aprogramme, you have to act speedily.” Where to go for help: Cocaine Anonymous (020-7284 1123) and PrioryHealthcare (www.prioryhealthcare.co.uk) can both put you in contact with localcounselling groups. The individual’s GP should always be consulted before anysteps are taken. Opiates AKA: smack, junk, skag Chemical names:  includeopium, heroin and morphine. What it does: Opiates sedate the central nervous system and cause thebrain, lungs and heart to relax. Typically, an opiate “high” involvesa sense of euphoria coupled with reduced nervous tension and anxiety. Users mayalso display indifference to pain and appear to be both physically and mentallyrelaxed. Signs of use: While intravenous users can develop ulcerated veins andneedle marks, most opiates are smoked or swallowed. Drooping eyelids, poormotor coordination, limited concentration and reduced visual activity arecommon signs of use. Preferred profession: None. Claire Maxwell, unit manager at heroincouncillor Detox 5, says it treats people from all social classes. “Someare manual workers, others run their own businesses and there are even a fewhigh-fliers from the City.” Tackling the problem: Support and an understanding of the problem arecritical. Opiate use in the workplace most often develops when people need helpcoping with long hours, competition and stress – the medical profession isparticularly at risk, with 1 in 15 doctors likely to have some kind ofaddiction. Metian Enver, HR officer for the Association of Anaesthetists, says,”It is vital that staff know who to approach, that their discussions willbe in confidence and that their role is supportive, not punitive.” Opiate withdrawal is arduous so be prepared for treatment to take monthsrather than days. Where to go for help: Contact the National Drugs Helpline on 0800776600 or an experienced and sympathetic GP. Previous Article Next Article Help with habitsOn 19 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Hiring times almost double in four years, claims Glassdoor

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Research by Glassdoor Economic Research has revealed that hiring times in the UK have almost doubled over the past four years.The employer review site’s report Why is hiring taking longer? shows that the average UK job application took 28.6 days to process in 2014, up from just 14 days in 2010.A similar upward trend was evident for other countries included in the survey, with hiring times also growing in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the US. After controlling for economic factors including industry sector, job type and geographic area, the length of the recruitment process has grown, on average, by between 3.3 and 3.7 days.French candidates reported the longest wait for employment, at an average of 31.9 days, followed by Germany at 28.8 days and Australia at 27.9 days. By contrast, Canada takes the least amount of time to hire new employees, only taking 22.1 days, on average.Recruitment resourcesRecruitment selection techniquesRecruitment selectionRecruitment process checklistThe longest recruitment processes were reported for jobs in government, academic or senior executive positions.Police officers in the US reported the longest wait (127.6 days), followed by patent examiners (87.6 days), assistant professors (58.7 days) and senior vice presidents (55.5 days).The shortest processes were typically found among entry-level or unskilled job descriptions, with the quickest hiring times reported for entry-level positions in marketing (3.9 days), sales (5.4 days), and account management (5.9 days). Servers and bartenders also reported a short wait of just 5.7 days.One reason for the increased wait could be the higher number of pre-employment screening processes that are being conducted, Glassdoor suggested.These include more background checks, skills assessments, drug tests and personality profiles. Each of these additional employer “screens” was found to add a significant amount to the average time required for candidates to go through the recruitment process, in some cases adding a full week.“Right now hiring delays can represent money left on the table both for workers and employers. There has been surprisingly little research on ‘interview durations’ from the job seeker’s perspective, and how company HR policies influence delays in job matching throughout the economy,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Hiring times almost double in four years, claims GlassdoorBy Clare Allerton on 18 Jun 2015 in Candidate experience, Labour market, Personnel Today, Recruitment & retention, Pre-employment screeninglast_img read more

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Heavy metal and sulphur emissions to the atmosphere from human activities in Antarctica

first_imgInvestigators have used the temporal record of heavy metal and sulphur concentrations in Antarctic snow to assess the extent of global atmospheric pollution in the Southern Hemisphere. These studies would be compromised by any significant local pollution from within Antarctica itself. Here, we present a comprehensive inventory of heavy metal and S emissions from human activities south of 60°S. These emissions are found to be due mainly to the use of gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene on stations and in field operations, and to waste burning. We find that for S, Cd, Cu and Zn, emissions from within Antarctica are probably important only in local areas. However, for Pb, these emissions (about 1800 kg Pb a−1), particularly from leaded gasoline and aviation gasoline, could account for a very significant part of the fallout flux to snow over the continent.last_img read more

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Watch Jimmy Herring And The Invisible Whip Tear Up Miles Davis’s “Black Satin” With Ranjit Barot

first_imgSince mid-July, Jimmy Herring has been on a tear with his latest project, Jimmy Herring and The Invisible Whip. The band is composed of Herring’s former Aquarium Rescue Unit bandmate, drummer Jeff Sipe, in addition to Jason Crosby on Wurlitzer and Rhodes, Kevin Scott on bass, and Matt Slocum on B3 Organ and clavinet. Making use of his newfound availability during Widespread Panic’s current touring lull this year, the exceptional guitarist’s new ensemble has a heavy touring schedule spanning through to December, with the act join forces with John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension for a late fall tour dubbed Meeting of the Spirits in November.EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Herring Talks New Band, This Year’s Losses, And The Unknown Future Of PanicAs Herring has previously noted in an interview with Live For Live Music, The Invisible Whip is focused on pulling from Herring’s work on previous records as well as new material and covers of well-loved artists by the band. Eschewing traditional genre classifications, he noted, “This thing is leaning towards — well, I don’t want to call it jazz. It’s definitely going to have elements of jazz, more so than the other bands that I typically will play in, just because there’s no vocals. And all of us as musicians love jazz, so there’s going to be some leanings towards that. It’ll still be rock though. It’s instrumental, so I guess that’s what its going to be. Instrumental, blues, rock, jazz, funk, American roots music with improvisation leaning toward the unknown.”Recently, the band released a new video via its Facebook of a live cover of Miles Davis’s “Black Satin” off his 1972 record, On The Corner. In the video, The Invisible Whip is joined by Ranjit Barot from John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension on drums, previewing what may be in store for audiences when the two acts meet up later in the fall for their joint tour. You can check out the video shot by Dillon Fries below. [Photo: Christian Stewart]last_img read more

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The incomparable da Vinci

first_imgAfter portraying titans of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics such as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs, author Walter Isaacson ’74 has now turned his attention to someone whose intellectual triumphs and artistic brilliance may outpace all of the others: Leonardo da Vinci. In a dazzling new biography, Isaacson plumbs da Vinci’s relentlessly curious and creative mind, poring over the to-do lists that da Vinci maintained to hold himself to his intellectual pursuits. Isaacson also digs into da Vinci notebooks crammed with math problems, maps, sketches of “The Last Supper,” doodles, riddles, and notes-to-self in his mirror-image handwriting in an effort to decode what he thought and to retrace how his mind darted between art and science, engineering and the humanities.As the ultimate Renaissance man, da Vinci fused rigorous observation, mathematics, and scientific experimentation with imagination and endless wonder. He was a procrastinator who managed to unlock mysteries of the human body, envision flying machines that predated recorded flight by centuries, and create two of the most celebrated paintings in Western art. He was also a perfectionist who could abandon or relentlessly tinker with projects he deemed flawed, including the “Mona Lisa.” Though known for his exceptionally sharp eye for detail, da Vinci is credited with inventing sfumato, a painting technique in which lines and edges are smudged to simulate how things appear in 3-D.His personal life was also a study in contrasts. Born out of wedlock and having almost no formal education, da Vinci was a savant and a bon vivant popular among the political, intellectual, and courtly elite in Florence and Milan. He was a stylish, even flamboyant dresser who dated younger men but rarely shared intimate details of his personal life publicly. Isaacson spoke with the Gazette about what he learned about da Vinci’s creative process and what his remarkable life still has to teach us.GAZETTE: You’ve written about other giants of math, science, and technology. What prompted you to tackle da Vinci, and how did your exploration of his life reshape your understanding of him?ISAACSON: In some ways, it began for me at Harvard, where the whole point of a liberal arts education is to connect the arts and the sciences in different disciplines. I realized that whether it was Benjamin Franklin or Steve Jobs or Leonardo, the ability to be interested in all fields helped enrich an appreciation for the patterns of nature and also helped enrich their lives. Leonardo is the ultimate person who connects arts and sciences, who connects the humanities and engineering. “Vitruvian Man” is the ultimate symbol of how do we fit into our earth, our universe, and into spirituality, and he does it by connecting the work of great art with the work of great scientific precision.I discovered that he had more than 7,000 pages of notebooks, so I went around the world, from Milan to Seattle, looking at his notebooks and trying to piece together all of the questions he was exploring every day. How his interest in squaring the circle as a mathematical problem tied in with his interest in the flow of water tied in with the way he did “Vitruvian Man” or the “Mona Lisa.” Likewise, I found out that he loved producing theatrical pageants and saw his notes and noticed how they connected to the tricks he used in “The Last Supper.” The purpose was to use the notebooks as a foundation for watching his mind dance back and forth between art and engineering. And that will be the most important recipe for creativity in the future. It’s not just about learning engineering or learning how to code. Nor is it about just learning about literature and poetry. It’s learning about how to stand at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences.GAZETTE: I was fascinated by those notebooks and to-do lists. Both are so ordinary and yet seem to have played such a key role in his creative process. Why did he rely on them?ISAACSON: Because paper was a little bit expensive, he crammed many things on one page. The opening notebook page at the beginning of my book has a sketch of “The Last Supper,” but it also has some geometry problems he was trying to figure out — how the same mathematical pattern underlies swirling water and curling hairs. So you see a playful and extraordinarily curious mind dancing with nature as he hops across the page.A drawing of an elderly bearded man, believed to be a self-portrait of da Vinci. Harvard Fine Arts Library, Digital Images & Slides Collection 1998.00960GAZETTE: Da Vinci’s belief in science, observation, and experiential knowledge was unusual for his time. Where did that belief come from?ISAACSON: It helped that he was born out of wedlock, so he couldn’t be a notary like his father and grandfather. He became very self-taught just when [Johannes] Gutenberg’s printing press is spreading. He becomes what he calls a “disciple of experience.” So he’d read something in a book and then say, “How would I test that?” Or he’d learn something like the Biblical flood and then he would sketch the layers of fossils in sediments near Florence and say, “Well, that doesn’t make sense because these were laid down over thousands of years.” So he questions received wisdom, and like Steve Jobs and a lot of creative people, he’s a bit of a misfit, a round peg in a square hole. He’s illegitimate, he’s left-handed, he’s gay, he’s vegetarian, he’s somewhat heretical. But Florence in the 1470s celebrated people who were from diverse backgrounds, whether immigrants from the fall of Constantinople or people who liked both engineering the dome of the cathedral but also painting the angels that would adorn the cathedral.GAZETTE: Da Vinci is sometimes criticized for his willingness to be distracted and go off on tangents, leaving behind many unfinished works or abandoned pursuits. You say that shouldn’t be viewed as negative. Why not?ISAACSON: There are critics who say that if Leonardo had not spent so much time studying anatomy or squaring the circle or figuring out how to divert rivers or engineering flying machines or dissecting the human eye and studying optics that he would’ve ended up painting more masterpieces and that all of these passions were a waste of time. It may be true he would have painted more masterpieces, but he would not have painted “The Last Supper” or the “Mona Lisa” had he not been deeply interested in all of the patterns across all of the arts and humanities and sciences and engineering, had he not been obsessed with squaring the circle or dissecting every muscle and nerve of the human face or knowing how light strikes the center of the retina differently from its edge. He would not have been Leonardo da Vinci; he would have been a master craftsman, but not a genius.GAZETTE: Did the scientist inform the art, or did the artist inform the science?ISAACSON: At first, the science was used in service of the art, like how do birds fly or how do the muscles of the neck look? But Leonardo, literally as well as figuratively, started dissecting the muscles of the neck and soon he’s dissecting every organ and doing layered drawings of all parts of the body for curiosity for its own sake. He can’t help himself. When he explores a piece of science he needs to know for his paintings, soon he’s geeking out to square the circle or do a cross-section of the human heart, which is not going to help him paint “The Last Supper” but it is going to help make him Leonardo. One of the things we learn is that the pursuit of useful knowledge should be allowed to flow into the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.GAZETTE: You write that what separates da Vinci from other super-intellects and super-talents was his ability to bring imagination to intellect. Can you explain?ISAACSON: Part of his imagination comes from just being so observant about things we forget to study after we outgrow our wonder years, like why is the sky blue or what does the tongue of a woodpecker look like? And then his imagination was honed by his love of theater, and so he would build a prop, say an aerial screw to bring angels down from the rafters in a play. But then he would go on to try and make a real flying machine like the helicopter he drew, because he had the talent of letting his imagination blur into reality.“… He’s a bit of a misfit, a round peg in a square hole. He’s illegitimate, he’s left-handed, he’s gay, he’s vegetarian, he’s somewhat heretical,” says Walter Isaacson ’74 of Leonardo da Vinci. File photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: He comes across as a brilliant visionary, of course, but also as a complicated, thoroughly modern man. How did someone who was such a singular figure and a misfit, as you call him, find so much success and acceptance in his day? He was certainly no outcast despite his unusual talents and qualities.ISAACSON: Both in Florence and in parts of Renaissance Italy, for certain periods, there was not only a tolerance of diversity but a joy and celebration of diversity. And that’s what made Florence in the late 1400s so creative. That people of diverse talents, personalities, and lifestyles all worked together and a person like Leonardo — who wore short pink-and-purple tunics and had a young male companion and who indulged in fantasy — was beloved by both the Medicis and, later, other rulers in Italy. He had a very collegial, friendly, and kind personality. In his notebooks, there were more people referred to as “my close friend” than almost any person you can imagine. He loved Donato Bramante the architect, Luca Pacioli the mathematician, and the list goes on and on of the people he would have dinner with so he could ask them questions. He loved other people. In college or at a university, you end up being in the most diverse environment you’ve ever been in, diverse in terms of people’s backgrounds and lifestyles and diverse in terms of their interests. Leonardo loved to be around such enlivening and stimulating diversity.GAZETTE: What lessons does da Vinci’s life offer the rest of us?ISAACSON: We should retain the child-like curiosity that we outgrow sometimes when we leave our wonder years. And we should make sure that both our students and our children are curious about the most ordinary things, like why is the sky blue or why does water swirl when it flows into a bowl. We will never be able to push ourselves to understand the tensor calculus that Einstein used to describe the curvature of space and time, but we can all push ourselves to be like Leonardo and observe whether a bird’s wing goes up faster or down faster when it is flying or observe how the pattern of a hair curl matches the pattern of a swirl of water. That’s a combination of curiosity and observation for its own sake, not because we can make something useful out of it.Isaacson will be in Cambridge on Nov. 15 for a reading at First Parish Church at 7 p.m.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

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Daily Dirt: Crossfit’s Dirty Secret, VA Trout Stocking Review, GA/SC Water Wars

first_imgYour daily outdoor news bulletin for September 25, the day the Little Rock Nine were escorted by armed guard into Little Rock High School in 1959:CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret: RhabdomyolysisCrossFit is one of those things I will never understand. I get fitness , I get exertion, I get positive reinforcement and pushing yourself and all that. I get the point of CrossFit. What I don’t get is the big hubbub over what is essentially a workout routine. If you bring up CrossFit with, well pretty much anybody, the reactions are blunt and often accompanied by the red face usually reserved for the gym. WTF? Why do people care so much about how other people exercise? Haters call it a cult, CrossFitters call anyone who criticizes it a hater, and the cycle repeats itself. Unfortunately, this is the American Way, and you could take the above statement and apply it to any number of things – gay marriage, PEDs, racism, Miley Cyrus, and that’s just a quick scan of the Twitter feed. The latest argument against CrossFit comes from Eric Robertson on Medium.com in an essay titled, “CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret.” Robertson is a professor of physical therapy at Regis University, among other things, and states the “dirty secret” of CrossFit is a condition called Rhabdomyolysis, which is essentially working your muscles so hard they explode. Well, rather, the cells that make up your muscles explode, causing permanent damage, amputation, and even death. He claims the competitive nature and culture of CrossFit causes people to blow past what their bodies can handle and put them on the path to “Rhabdo.” He makes a compelling argument, even throwing in some stuff about peeing yourself, but I’m not sure this is the biggest problem in the world. Plus, he doesn’t really have any numbers proving high rates of Rhabdo in CrossFit gyms, just that a lot of CrossFit people are aware that it exists. Weak argument. Then, if you read most of the comments on the article, the classic CrossFit, “you don’t know what we’re about so shut up” attitude is all over the place. Why do people act like this?I have never done CrossFit, but I can tell you one thing for certain: I will never, ever, ever, ever, exercise hard enough that my muscle tissue explodes. That’s for amateurs.Here is a counterpoint from HuffingtonPost contributor Ericka Andersen. Spoiler alert! Here is the last line of the piece (emphasis her’s): “Anyway, haters, stop blaming CrossFit for your problems and take some responsibility for your bad decisions.” So, there you go.Virginia Trout Stocking Shakeup in the WorksThe Virginia trout stocking program is under review, and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries wants your input. There are a myriad of problems with the current system, but most people come down on one side or the other – I’ll classify them as fly fishermen vs. bait fishermen to make it easier. Fly fishermen want less stocking in native streams, less info on when and what streams are being stocked, they want more catch and release, they want an opening day. Bait fishermen want more fish, bigger fish, more fish, more info on when and where they are stocked, and more fish. These are the guys that follow the stocking trucks around and pull out the biggest fish with panther martins before the last fish hits the water. The DGIF is quick to point out that they do not think the system is broken, but that it can be improved. One of the biggest issues is the bottom line: the DGIF sold 100,000 trout licenses 20 years ago, but only 60,000 last year. This is a disturbing trend. The formal process of evaluating and implementing improvements will take three years – remember this is an arm of the government – and the DGIF will be assisted in their research by Virginia Tech advanced degree fisheries students Vic DiCenzo and Amanda Hyman under their professor Steve McMullin.There will be eight public meetings/hearings on the trout stocking program throughout October and all Virginia anglers are urged to attend and voice their opinion. The first is in Wytheville on September 30th. For a full list of dates, times, and locations of the meetings, click here to see the press release.Water War Between Georgia and South CarolinaDividing states with rivers probably seemed like a good idea in the 18th and 19th centuries, but today it is causing all sorts of problems for state governments, especially in the Southeast. Georgia and South Carolina are currently at odds over the Savannah River that divides their state, and the impact of any decisions will have long lasting affects on industry, drinking water, and utilities for decades. Water demands have skyrocketed in both states over the past several years from a range of sources – nuclear plants, expanding industry, and sea water encroaching on coastal communities’ aquifers being the most prevalent. And then there are the environmental and ecosystem issue raised by basically running the river dry. The good news is that the governors of both states – Nathan Deal of Georgia and Nikki Haley of South Carolina – are sitting down to talk about solutions to the water crisis in attempts to avoid getting caught up in the court system, which could then take years to resolve.This article on GreenvilleOnline.com does a great job of laying out the issues from both sides.last_img read more

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Making a difference through non-prime auto lending

first_imgCould you imagine if your members invited your staff to their weddings and other special events because your relationship with them is that strong? It’s possible.That’s what happens to staff at Seasons Federal Credit Union in Middletown, Conn. Seasons FCU’s Betsy Sommers, SVP, and Jeff Rindfleisch, Chief Lending Officer, explained to me recently that in 2011, the credit union moved to a more relationship-based model in working with their members. Decisions weren’t made just on their credit score, but on listening and building relationships no matter what their score is.That’s one reason why Seasons FCU chose to participate in the National Credit Union Foundation’s Non-Prime Auto Lending pilot program. The pilot program, in partnership with the Filene Research Institute, kicked off last year, with 11 credit unions participating across the country.Non-prime lending refers to the practice of making loans to borrowers with weak or no credit histories or limited payment capacity. The Foundation’s Non-Prime Auto Lending program helps lenders fairly price and manage non-prime auto loans and is based on the Foundation’s extensive work in the area, which includes previous grants and a free, comprehensive toolkit for credit unions. The program helps consumers gain access to reliable transportation which allows for increased access to jobs, housing, schools and activities. It also helps them avoid the costly pitfalls that come with buying from the corner buy-here-pay-here auto lots and other predatory lenders.At Seasons FCU, they realized early on that in many cases, most of the applicants for loans were simply denied by banks without being able to tell their unique story. Seasons FCU’s staff listens to gain an understanding of the person’s financial situation, and helps them find a car and payment that makes sense. This includes finding out their discretionary income (many people don’t know what they can afford until you go through what their budget actually is), referring the members to reputable dealers in the community, and leveraging risk-based lending in a judgment free-environment.This really has taken off for Seasons FCU for a few reasons. First, they’ve found that members have been extremely grateful as they are serving members who aren’t getting service elsewhere. Sometimes members will sob tears of joy that someone is actually listening to them, and then cry even more because Seasons FCU can help them get a loan. Second, because that relationship is so powerful, the members are much more likely to not miss a payment.Seasons FCU not only lends this way, but they collect in a relationship-based manner as well. For example, they don’t “dial for dollars” when collecting and if a member hasn’t made a payment, they call them to find out what their situation is and ask what they can do to help the member be successful. This could even mean finding another car in some cases. Seasons FCU appropriately changed the name of their collections department to “member solutions.”When asked why they do this type of lending, Season FCU’s Rindfleisch noted, “This type of lending is part of the credit union philosophy and what we are charged to do as a cooperative. Everyone wants to reach the American dream and our job is to set members up for success.”Seasons FCU also focuses on credit counseling with these members to teach them how to rebuild their credit, which often leads to members getting a mortgage loan. Oftentimes, because these relationships are so powerful, the credit union and staff become a big part of members’ lives.For instance, Rindfleisch was recently invited to a wedding where he didn’t know anyone except for the bride and groom. In their wedding toast, the newlyweds thanked him personally for helping them buy their first house. 27SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Christopher Morris Christopher Morris is currently an engagement consultant at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), providing specialized attention to broad and diverse stakeholders throughout the Midwest Region. Previously, Christopher was a … Web: www.cuna.org Detailslast_img read more

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Virani aims for market listing

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Wednesday people roundup [updated]

first_imgLegal & General – L&G’s Pension Risk Transfer business has appointed Ashu Bhargava as a director in strategic transactions. Bhargava’s last role was as a senior consultant within Willis Towers Watson’s pensions advisory business. He began his career as a trainee actuary at Clay and Partners.bfinance – The investment consultancy has appointed Joey Alcock as senior associate in its public markets team, specialising in equities. He joins from Australian investment consultancy Frontier, where he has worked as a consultant for the last 11 years.Global Impact Investing Network – Peter Malik has been appointed director of membership. He joins from the Nature Conservancy, where he served as managing director for corporate engagements. The GIIN is a non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing.IFM Investors – Chris Newton has been appointed executive director for responsible investment. He joins from Australian Post, where he was head of social innovation and development. AP4, Mercer, Nestlé, Hermes Investment Management, Legal & General, Willis Towers Watson, bfinance, Global Impact Investing Network, IFM InvestorsAP4 – Niklas Ekvall has been named chief executive, succeeding Mats Andersson, who is stepping down after a decade in the role. Ekvall, who will join the SEK310bn (€33.2bn) Swedish buffer fund at the beginning of October, has held senior positions across the finance industry and academia, having taught finance at the Stockholm School of Economics. The incoming chief executive also spent five years as deputy chief executive and CIO of AP3.Mercer – Bettina Nürk, formerly responsible for Nestlé’s pension funds in Germany, is to lead a new division within the consultancy. Nürk, who was responsible for investment management and employee benefits while at the Swiss food company, began her new role at Mercer at the beginning of the month. She is to lead its newly launched consultancy for Pensionsfonds.Hermes Investment Management – Carl Short has been appointed director of engagement at Hermes EOS. Prior to joining Hermes EOS, Short worked for a number of banks and other research providers, including Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, Société Générale, Nomura and Kleinwort Benson.last_img read more

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Trelleborg in equipment supply deal for Johan Sverdrup

first_imgSwedish engineering company Trelleborg has been awarded a contract for the supply of elastomeric bearings for Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup development off Norway.Trelleborg’s elastomeric bearings are steel plate laminated and installed between the hull and the modules. They accommodate axial, shear, and rotational movement to keep the modules safe from impact, damage, and deformation.Similarly, they prevent the concentration of excessive strains and stresses around the mounting points of the modules and the hull caused by adverse sea and weather conditions.After production, Trelleborg’s engineering team check the design for specified loads and deformations and the fatigue performance using crack growth analysis calculations. The press used for the tests has a load capacity of 18,300 metric tons and weighing in at 600 tons.Located on the Utsira Height in the North Sea, 160 kilometers west of Stavanger, the Johan Sverdrup oil field is considered to be the largest offshore development in the past three decades. It will be operated by electrical power generated onshore.Daily production during the project’s first phase is estimated at 440,000 barrels per day, while peak production during Phase 2 is estimated to reach 660,000 barrels daily, around 25 percent of all Norwegian petroleum production.The riser platform – the largest of the four platforms comprising the project’s field center – will be the first of the Johan Sverdrup topsides to be installed in 2018. Trelleborg will manufacture and deliver 96 custom designed, sliding elastomeric bearings for use across the 23,000-ton platform’s six support points that will be in direct contact with the heavy transport vessel that will deliver the topside, which is being manufactured in South Korea, to the field.JP Chia, engineering manager for Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, said: “The Johan Sverdrup oil field is one of the largest ongoing projects in the North Sea. Therefore, it is vital that the finest quality bearings were used to successfully secure each of the platform’s support points.”last_img read more

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