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Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

The big screen

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Job seekers are using the Internet with greater frequency to locate and investigate job openings. The trouble is, some have become frustrated with the lack of response to their inquiries because job boards and employers have been deluged with inquiries and unable to answer in a timely manner. Now, employers can prescreen electronic applicants automatically, thanks to Web-Screen, a technology developed by Development Dimensions International, the Bridgeville-based training and human resources consulting firm. Web-Screen can be added to any Web site, allowing employers to orient, qualify, screen and respond to candidates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:44

One person’s junk...

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Little Earth Productions Inc. has found a way to trash the boardroom. The company, known for recycling rubber, license plates, bottle caps and the like into practical and fashionable articles, has inked a deal with Leed’s, a New Kensington-based promotional products and advertising specialty company, to produce a line of products that can be imprinted with customized corporate logos. Dubbed the “Corporate Cool Collection,” the items will be sold to companies around the country that are “looking for a ‘trashy’ twist on executive gifts and ad specialties,” according to Little Earth. Leed’s is a leading supplier of bags, portfolios and…
When the owners of ProLine Services got a call last year from a company interested in acquiring the McKees Rocks rail car services firm, the timing couldn’t have been better. The company had put most of its big problems behind it, and the sale would free up the young entrepreneurs, Chris Farls and Eric Close, to plow into their next venture. ProLine Services was on an upswing, doubling its revenue from 1997 to a profitable $3 million in 1999. They increased employment at the company from 14 to 36 and were creating a buzz in the industry. The company looking…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

401(k), NUA or IRA?

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Joe Entrepreneur decided after working for 15 years with ABC Widget Co. that it was time to start his own business, build a better widget and market it on the Internet. Thus, Widget.com was born. While working at ABC, Joe contributed the maximum to his 401(k) and ABC generously matched with employer stock. The balance in Joe’s 401(k) now exceeds $700,000, of which $300,000 is ABC stock with a basis of $75,000. Joe plans to roll over his 401(k) into a self-directed IRA, liquidate his ABC stock and diversify his portfolio. Although Joe already is 60 years old, he loves…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Who’s training your future workers?

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Manufacturing 2000, now operating under the umbrella organization New Century Careers, graduated its first class of 15 entry-level machinists in 1998. Over the last 18 months, the training sites and course offerings have expanded to include electronics assembly and welding. And by January of this year, the combined programs had graduated 184 students with an 80 percent placement rate with local manufacturers. Training sites include Central Westmoreland, Forbes Road East, Parkway East, Steel Center and South vocational-technical schools, as well as the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center, the Neville Island Technology Center Annex of Community College of Allegheny County,…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

They wrote the book

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Two local women have written a book intended to help community banks ease their way into online bill payment and Internet banking. Carmella Manges and Betsy Southorn-Rae have written “Internet Banking Consultants In A Box,” a book they describe as a hands-on guide to product development and implementation for Internet banking and online bill payment. The book, which the authors say contains a complete marketing and promotional package, targets mid-sized banks that have limited marketing budgets and staff members who have to wear several hats at their institutions. Manges and Southorn-Rae say the book will help bankers choose the right…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

The big, bad bear

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You’ve heard the tale: Two hikers were walking through the woods when they came upon a huge, hungry bear that was about to charge them. One hiker immediately put down his pack, took off his heavy hiking boots and started to put on his lightweight running shoes. “What are you doing? You can’t possibly outrun that hungry bear!” his companion said. The first hiker finished tying his shoes and looked up at his friend. “I don’t have to outrun that bear,” he said calmly. “I just have to outrun you.” Many executives seem paralyzed with fear, believing that the tasks…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

SCORE volunteer of the year

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Chet Shoop spent his working life with manufacturing companies as an industrial engineer. And he spent the last 10 years of his career helping move companies to new locations, mainly for Emco-Wheaton Ltd. But when it came time for him to retire in 1990, he says he just couldn’t really do it. “I’m too young at heart,” says Shoop, an Erie resident. “ I didn’t want to quit working.” So after a year of post-retirement consulting on his own, he came across SCORE, an organization about which he knew little. It changed his whole outlook on business and life. In…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Minority Small Business Advocate

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Sharon K. Williams is among those Pittsburgh business and civic leaders who lead the charge on behalf of the region’s minority- and women-owned businesses. And without question, she has her work cut out for her. “Did you know that there are only 1,127 African-American businesses in the city of Pittsburgh, and 2,023 in Allegheny County, accounting for less than 1 percent of gross receipts?” she asks in a letter she published on the Minority Enterprise Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Web site. “Or that minority-owned businesses employ an 80 percent minority work force, while majority firms employ only 11 percent minorities?”…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Journalist Small Business Advocate

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Betsy Benson joined the Pittsburgh Business Times in 1986 as an intern, with thoughts of getting reporting and writing experience. She never imagined staying long enough to become not only the editor of the newspaper, but ultimately, a media fixture in Pittsburgh’s business community, as well. Benson, a lifelong Pittsburgh-area resident, has been documenting life in the region’s business community for 14 years, from the demise of the steel industry to the emergence of Pittsburgh’s New Economy. She went from being an intern to a researcher to a reporter, and then to editor of a monthly magazine supplement, special reports…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Global trade dot-com

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Entrepreneurs seeking to sharpen their international trading strategies should consider the Western Pennsylvania International Trade Fair May 18-19 at the Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers. Although this year’s event, the second sponsored by the World Trade Center Pittsburgh, will place a special emphasis on electronic commerce, it also offers seminars, exhibits and networking opportunities for almost every industry and experience level. Mame Bradley, executive director of the center, says the effective use of the Internet and e-commerce to establish overseas contacts, increase market awareness and even sell products has become necessary for every business. Technology, she notes, is a great equalizer…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

E-talent

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The next big wave of e-business is expected to come as large, multinational companies begin to implement e-commerce strategies. Respondents to a study by Towers Perrin reveal these companies face some huge challenges to doing so, especially in the ability of their human resources to carry out those strategies. The survey reveals that many of the 300 companies queried by Towers Perrin have yet to create a blueprint to attract, retain, motivate, organize and reward employees who will be critical to their e-business success. “Companies are entering the world of e-commerce mainly to increase brand equity or deepen customer relationships,”…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Easier alliances

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Some business analysts believe that the alliance is the new paradigm of business structures, with clusters of companies connecting in ways that help each partner compete more effectively in the marketplace, and each cluster competing against other similar clusters. Andersen Consulting predicts that alliances will represent $25 trillion to $40 trillion in value within five years. Marcar Management Institute of America, a Belmont, Calif., consulting firm, doles out advice to companies that are looking to form alliances. Here are some things it suggests you consider when forming alliances: Design an alliance before an agreement is struck. Define mutual goals, screen…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Business Notes

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Dish Network Service Corp. is relocating to a 10,000-square-foot former Mellon Bank branch office on Braddock Avenue in Keystone Commons. Dish Network will occupy 90 percent of the building. Global Midcentral, the Pittsburgh-area Global Industries Distribution Center, has moved its operations to a new, 27,000-square-foot facility in the Leetsdale Industrial Park. The building houses more than $750,000 in inventory. WTW Architects has been selected for new projects at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg and the University of Kansas at Lawrence. McGaffic Advertising & Marketing has been named the advertising agency of record for…
The president of the United States has proclaimed May 21-27 as National Small Business Week to celebrate the contributions of America’s 25 million small businesses. This year’s celebration, the 37th, is entitled, “A History of Success, A Millennium of Opportunity,” and is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses have been the foundation of the longest sustained economic expansion in our nation’s history, generating more than 51 percent of the gross domestic product. America’s small businesses employ more than 52 percent of the private-sector work force and have been the principal source of the 21 million new jobs…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Elaine Jewart

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For those who think all entrepreneurial success stories must be filled with loops and whorls and fits and starts, consider the laser-straight tale of Elaine Jewart, who started something at age 6 and is still doing it 49 years later. Jewart, owner of Jewart’s School of Gymnastics, literally grew into the business from a wee-tiny tot in a leotard, enrolled by her parents in a gymnastics school, to the tailored-suited matriarch of a successful family business devoted to the training and education of gymnasts and their parents. Jewart started the school in her basement in 1969; by 1999, the company…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

The Harvey Principle

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This is the first in a two-part series. Peter Drucker, management guru, once said, “The only way to predict the future is to create it.” In these times of turbulent change, you have a unique challenge and a unique opportunity because you have the capacity to create your future from scratch — by reinventing your business. You have no choice but to reinvent what you do. In this crazy marketplace, you absolutely have to shatter old models of doing business. The main principle of creating a more positive, productive and profitable future is, I would suggest, a notion that less…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Someone to watch over me

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Employee use of electronic mail and the Internet is increasing at an extraordinary pace. According to one source, U.S. workers currently send more than one billion e-mail messages every day. One can only guess just how many of those messages are professional and how many are personal. That’s because the majority of companies don’t monitor their employees’ electronic communications use. Negative connotations of Big Brother and a hesitancy to promote an atmosphere of mistrust hold many back. But several legitimate reasons exist for you to consider monitoring your workers’ e-mail and Internet usage. Companies have a real need to maintain…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Milestones

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Here are a few of the key events in the history of Calgon Carbon Corp.: 1940 — Pittsburgh Coke & Iron Co. Inc., Calgon’s predecessor, pioneers the development of coal-based granular activated carbon for use in military protection masks as a substitute for coconut char, unavailable due to the military occupation of the Philippine Islands. 1955 — Calgon Corp. develops a system for the decolorization of sugar. 1962 — As a division of Calgon Corp., Calgon Carbon becomes the first company to install granular carbon for drinking water treatment. 1965 — Calgon Carbon goes worldwide by establishing an operating unit…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Just leave us alone

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The busload of Pittsburgh business owners, led by executives from SMC Business Councils, herded one by one through the metal detectors and into the corridors of the Cannon House Office Building. The diverse group, which included me, had finally arrived to experience first-hand the grandeur of our nation’s political process. We were here, after all, to share with our local House and Senate leaders our concerns about the government’s involvement in business. We wanted to make sure our voices were heard. To me, this was the center of change, and we were there to effect it. We shuffled down the…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Catching the keepers

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Pittsburgh area companies face a big problem: how to attract and keep top-flight talent from a small pool of available candidates. That’s because companies throughout the United States offer highly attractive employment situations with lures of high salaries and a host of traditional and nontraditional benefits. In particular, recruiting and retaining nontraditional employees — from Generation Xers to senior people who want more from their careers — prompts companies to define new, flexible ways to stand out as employers of choice. Here are some guidelines to help your company get and keep the talent you need. Decide whom you want…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

A design for success

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“Rock stars need not apply.” Bally Design Inc. doesn’t exactly post that advisory for aspiring job applicants, but in a sense, the caution sums up part of its philosophy of hiring design professionals. “There is a mindset in the design field — it’s kind of a rock star attitude,” says Frank Garrity, Bally Design’s president. He adds, however that “we don’t work that way.” On the other hand, Bally Design, which does work for companies like medical products producer Medrad Inc., as well as for giants like Daewoo, IBM and Mine Safety Appliances, needs to attract the kind of high-performance…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

When kids get it before we do

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While Trip Levis, vice president of people development at Freemarkets Inc., was preparing for a presentation on leadership for the annual Entrepreneur's Growth Conference, he asked his 6-year-old son what he thought good leadership was all about. His son, despite his age, responded with a rather insightful perspective. He offered these six suggestions: 1. Don't walk off a cliff, because people are following you. In other words, the elder Levis says, leaders are responsible for the well-being of their followers. 2. Do good things so people will follow you. 3. Don't talk behind people's backs. 4. Be a nice leader,…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Surviving the succession trap

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Cathy Philistine talks rapidly, jumping from one topic to another, then back again, punctuating her conversation with lots of hand and facial gestures. She laughs easily, pokes fun at herself and talks about her partners and employees like they are family. She works long days but says she doesn't mind. She divides her time among several areas of the company, and some of her customers, she concedes, don't know she's the company's president. "I love it today. I'm having a good time," says Philistine, president of F.B. Wright Co., a Bridgeville-based supplier and fabricator of gaskets, seals and other products…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Local venture investments

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PricewaterhouseCoopers' MoneyTree Report lists 19 Western Pennsylvania companies that received a total of $161 million in venture-backed funding during the first quarter of 2000. The companies are: AcceLight Networks Inc. Allegheny Child Care Inc. Axicon Technologies Blood Cell Storage Inc. Broad Street Communications Carson Industries Cellomics Inc. Demegen Bio Technologies Ltd. Dormont Technologies Entigo InfoSage Inc. Laurel Networks Inc. NeoLinear Inc. Printcafe Quantapoint Inc. Spinnaker Networks Stargate Industries TechRx Incorporated Webmedx Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers' MoneyTree Report, www.pwcmoneytree.com
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Flopsy's flaw

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Flopsy, my white, lope-eared rabbit, usually growls, stomps or bites at me when I get near his cage. But when furry white Samantha passes by, you can almost see Flopsy smile. It was love at first sight, at least for Flopsy, so it didn't surprise me that the rabbit took off in search of Sam the day I let him roam free in my house. Like a good entrepreneur, Flopsy set his goal, his vision, and set out on that long journey to capture it. His wily persistence led him from room to room, searching under tables, beneath the couch…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Banking on the road

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For Enterprise Bank, providing convenience for its business customers poses the classic chicken-and-egg problem: You've got to be close to your depositors, but you can't afford to saturate your marketing area with a network of branches that are expensive to build and maintain. For a small financial institution like Enterprise Bank, with $50 million in assets, opening a bunch of offices around town just isn't in the cards. On the other hand, Enterprise Bank depends principally on close relationships with businesses and the concept of providing a high level of service to its clients. And while online banking services, which…