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Monday, 23 May 2005 11:46

Second chance

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Michael Boro was sitting at his desk just a few days after buying out the construction arm of Four Columns Ltd. from his former partners. He wasn't at his busiest. "I'm sitting there, and I'm looking outside my office at my assistant," recalls Boro, who serves as president of FCL Builders Inc. "I've got my new title out there. I've got my pencil sharpener and I'm sharpening my pencil. (I'm) sitting there tapping my fingers. "I look up at Diana and say, 'Any calls? I'm right here if you need me. If you need lunch I'll go out and get…
Friday, 22 April 2005 10:32

Movers & Shakers

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AirLiance Materials promoted Roscoe Musselwhite to chief operating officer. Musselwhite continues to report to president and CEO David Sisson, assuming responsibility for all aspects of business operations for the company. Most recently, Musselwhite was AirLiance's executive vice president. "The board was exceptionally pleased to announce Roscoe's appointment to chief operating officer," says Sisson. "Roscoe's effective leadership has been the driving force in building a successful organization and establishing a strategic vision for growth during difficult economic times. As we move forward, his unique blend of international business acumen, creative organizational and technical expertise, and extensive experience in all aspects of…
Friday, 22 April 2005 10:26

Coming off life support

Written by
Jim Reid-Anderson likes to think about the lives his company saves every day. As president and CEO of diagnostic device maker Dade Behring, Reid-Anderson's machines, found in hospitals and laboratories around the world, are used to diagnose diseases for millions of people each year. But it was Dade Behring that was headed for life support before Reid-Anderson and his team sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy and developed a plan to pay down more than $1 billion in bad debt. "The company actually began its current form as a (leveraged buyout) about 10 years ago," says Reid-Anderson. "What you see today is…
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 05:49

On the shelf

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Eighty percent of your revenue is generated by 20 percent of your customers. It is also true that 80 percent of your profit is generated by 20 percent of your customers. But we often fail to recognize that these are often not the same customers. The customer that places inordinate demands on delivery, pricing, payment terms and inventory stocking requirements can cost you gross margin. The customer that places his orders on time, expects a reasonable delivery schedule and pays on time makes a good profit for you and reduces the stress on you and your employees. As the old…
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 05:42

Equipment leasing funding

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Equipment leasing companies all too often find themselves in a quandary when they seek funding sources to finance their leases or expand their businesses. Although these companies often have the same reasons as other companies for needing cash, they may not fit comfortably into the traditional commercial loan parameters their banks have established. In fact, most financial institutions tend to view loans to equipment leasing companies as a potentially riskier niche market -- one they may be unwilling or unable to enter. Local banks may not be able to provide the capital such firms require at a rate they can…
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 05:36

Sweet aftertaste

Written by
When Jim Ross knocks on your door, odds are it's bad news. But people still answer the knock, and Ross is always invited in to prowl the halls and peruse the books. That's because Ross, a principal with Morris-Anderson & Associates, is a turnaround specialist, and he's called in to right the corporate ship, if possible, or manage the sale of assets so an enterprise can cease operations. "Generally speaking, we're introduced to the company by a bank that has seen its customer go into default on a loan," Ross says. "Most of our business comes from referrals from the…
Thursday, 24 February 2005 06:44

They could have been contenders

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The costs of consultants, investment bankers and lawyers are viewed by some businesses as a hit to the bottom line, and perhaps they are if they are called in the aftermath of a train wreck to assist in the cleanup. But had they been called earlier, these professionals might have prevented the train wreck. The following are two woeful realities in hypothetical situations, as well as what might have been had professionals been used appropriately. A lose-lose situation National Suspension & Gear Co., facing competition from China, asked its 42 principal suppliers to accept across-the-board price reductions of 20 percent…
Thursday, 24 February 2005 06:35

Protect your assets

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Companies lose intellectual property valued in the billions of dollars every year -- irreplaceable assets gone, many times, with the click of a button. In the corporate age of the Internet and e-mail, technology has made the task of accessing and sharing large amounts of data easier and easier, and has produced value as well as risk for companies. Unfortunately, easy access to your company's intellectual capital creates greater risk of unwelcomed trespassing, and that intellectual capital is left unguarded, it can leave your company exposed. To make matters worse, whether their intent is premeditated or their actions are purely…
Wednesday, 02 February 2005 10:34

Spyware

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I believe that Spyware is a bigger threat than viruses to computers, as more than nine of 10 PCs connected to the Internet are infected, and the users and companies who own them don’t even know it. Spyware is software that gets installed on your computer without your consent or knowledge as a result of normal interaction with the Internet or the result of using a software application. It normally hitchhikes with pages you view, software you install, clicking on deceptive popups and opening e-mail. These programs don’t show up on any program list. You don’t know they are there.…
Monday, 24 January 2005 08:49

Know your hiring options

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Each year, U.S. colleges and universities graduate thousands of foreign nationals who become temporarily available to U.S. companies for employment. Many of these new graduates offer talent needed by your business. Invariably, your company will attract their attention and your understanding of the visa options will enhance your ability to take advantage of these opportunities. The primary visa option for hiring these graduates is the H-1B nonimmigrant visa. H-1B visas are issued to college-educated professional workers for specialty skilled jobs. They require a corporate sponsor and the payment of a prevailing wage established by the government, and they are renewable…
Monday, 24 January 2005 08:40

The art of fraud prevention

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As the saying goes, "It takes a thief to catch a thief." So fittingly, when the federal government needs to consult a fraud expert, it commonly taps into the mind of a convicted felon, many times trading assistance for shorter sentences and plea agreements. With on-the-job training, professional criminals have the industry knowledge and hands-on expertise that law enforcement needs to help design prevention strategies. A perfect example of the success of this unique collaboration is Frank Abagnale. A former federal prison inmate, Abagnale joined forces with the FBI more than 30 years ago, agreeing to teach others his proficiency…
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 10:49

Protective assets

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Why is federal trademark registration important? Both registered and unregistered trademarks identify and distinguish the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. But even though the first user of a trademark has common law and state-law rights, without federal registration, those rights are limited. Federal trademark registration has numerous additional benefits, both offensively and defensively. It: * Provides constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner's claim * Blocks federal registration of confusingly similar trademarks * Provides evidence of ownership and registrant's exclusive right to use the trademark with the goods or services specified in…
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 10:34

The Dreimann file

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Born: 1948, Riga, Latvia Languages: German, Russian, English Education: Marketing degree, Melbourne University First job: Washing dishes in a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia (age 15). Eventually the owner of the restaurant was kind enough to buy me a black-tie outfit and made me a waiter. Six months later, I was the manager of the restaurant. It went on from there. Career movers: CEO and a director of Salton Inc., August 1988 and founder; 1988 to July 1998, president; 1987 to 1988, president of the company's predecessor Salton Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEVKO Inc.; prior to 1987, managing director of…
Tuesday, 23 November 2004 09:11

Movers & Shakers

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Nanosphere Inc. founder Chad A. Mirkin was selected as one of the first recipients of the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award. The $2.5 million that Mirkin will receive is designed to support highly innovative ideas and approaches to critically important scientific questions. Mirkin is one of nine researchers chosen from a field of 1,350 nominees. "This award recognizes the significant contributions of Mirkin's nanotechnology research to the life sciences and their potential to improve medical care," says William Moffitt, Nanosphere's CEO. Mirkin will use this award to test far-ranging ideas with the potential to make extraordinary contributions to…
Tuesday, 23 November 2004 09:01

Positive outlook

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With the uncertainty of an election year behind us, business owners, investors and M&A professionals are cautiously optimistic that 2004's growth in transaction momentum will increase in 2005. In the first nine months of 2004, the number of middle market M&A transactions increased by 7.3 percent over the same period in 2003. The value of these transactions grew by 20.1 percent, as purchase price multiples rose to their highest levels since 2000. This growth in M&A transaction volume and value was driven by readily available debt and equity capital, and by better economic performance, topped by third quarter GDP growth…
Tuesday, 23 November 2004 08:51

The Soenen file

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Born: 1970, Detroit Education: Bachelor of arts degree from Kalamazoo College First job: Cutting lawns. "(I had) my own lawn-care business, although I think I underpriced it significantly. I didn't (make a lot of money). And I think that was my first lesson in economics -- four hours to cut a yard and make $3 wasn't a terribly good deal, but I had lot of business. I couldn't make it up in volume." Career moves: July 1993 to July 1996, Salomon Brothers Inc., specialized in mergers and acquisitions; August 1996 to December 1996, an associate at Perry Corp., a private…
Thursday, 18 November 2004 10:43

Dental dividends

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As employers strive to control rising worker medical benefits costs, some are discovering a surprising ally in their efforts: their dental plans. Long in the shadow of higher-profile health and welfare benefits, dental coverage is stepping into the spotlight both as an agent of better employee health and a mechanism for preserving precious benefits dollars. It's a little-known fact that inadequate dental care swallows up untold billions of dollars in productivity all across American industry. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 164 million hours of work are lost each year due to employee dental…
Friday, 29 October 2004 05:28

Understanding the Bankruptcy Code

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The Bankruptcy Code was designed to protect two distinct interests -- that of the debtor to obtain a fresh start and that of the creditor to be treated fairly along with other creditors. Since its enactment in 1978, although many interest groups have tried to obtain better treatment for themselves, the two basic tenets upon which the Bankruptcy Code is premised remain in place. One way Congress attempted to provide equal treatment for creditors was through section 547 of the code, which allows the trustee or the debtor in possession to avoid or recover payments made to creditors during the…
Friday, 29 October 2004 05:22

Bedtime story

Written by
Jim Nation started working in a Miami department store in high school, and in one sense, he never left. The Florida Atlantic University education major moved from the warehouse to the boardroom without ever finding the inside of a classroom as a teacher. Nation is president and CEO of Spring Air, the fourth largest bedding manufacturer in the world. And somewhere in Florida, a generation of students is deprived of his teaching talents. But as consolation, they may be sleeping well on one of his company's bedding products. For nearly 80 years, the company founded by Francis Karr has been…
Wednesday, 20 October 2004 17:57

Movers & Shakers

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VANCE PUBLISHING CORP Peggy Walker was named vice president, custom media, at Vance Publishing Corp. Walker will be involved with identifying and developing new business opportunities for the national media company. She brings more than 20 years of national business-to-business publishing experience to her new position. She previously was vice president and group publisher for The National Underwriter Co.'s insurance magazine division, group publisher for Putman Publishing Co. and vice president and publisher for Gorman Publishing Co.   IMPERIAL FOODS INC. Michael McKearnan, previous owner of Raisin River Fancy Foods, is the new owner and general manager of Imperial Foods…
Wednesday, 20 October 2004 17:51

Selecting the right candidate

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Selecting the right candidate for your organization can represent the difference between reaching your goals and achieving success, and failing. Oftentimes, deciding which candidate to hire is a very difficult choice. By asking a series of questions, your decision may become less difficult and your ability to attain your goals easier.   * Why is the candidate seeking new employment? If the answer is more money, you may want to pursue another candidate. After you have spent valuable time and money training him or her, a candidate who is simply money-motivated may leave your organization in the short term for…
Wednesday, 20 October 2004 17:46

Increasing shareholder value

Written by
With the economy continuing on an uncertain course, smart companies are taking a hard look at their assets. For some, intellectual property (IP) has emerged as a significant source of potential revenue. Experts estimate that many businesses could generate as much as 5 percent to 10 percent of their operating income from their IP assets; IDC Research projects that 40 percent of corporate revenue will come from IP assets by 2010. Companies that treat their IP as nothing more than a cost center may miss out on prime opportunities to improve their bottom lines.   From protection to management In…
Friday, 20 August 2004 09:42

Movers & Shakers

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Hub International Ltd. Hub International Ltd. appointed William T. Zanoni president and CEO of its Chicago-based hub, Mack and Parker Inc. Zanoni has been serving in a senior management position at Talbot Financial, an insurance brokerage acquired by Hub International in July. Zanoni began his insurance career in 1972 as an underwriter for Safeco Insurance Co. He later joined the Glenview Insurance Agency, a family company founded by his father in 1946. He became president of the company after the death of his father in 1977 and remained with the agency after its sale to Talbot in June 2000.  …
Friday, 20 August 2004 09:36

Regional strength

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Chicago's reputation as a world-class business and financial center has largely derived from its historic manufacturing base, its service as the nation's transportation hub and its prominence in commodities and financial futures and options trading markets. More recently, however, and with little fanfare, Chicago has emerged as the national epicenter of middle-market M&A transaction financing. This region will long struggle to compete with New York in the sheer volume of capital under management and in the number and variety of capital providers. However, Chicago boasts the most complete source of financing alternatives in the country for leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and…
Friday, 20 August 2004 09:30

Fine-tuning the Midas touch

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Alan Feldman, president and CEO of Midas Inc., may not share the ability of his company's fabled literary counterpart, King Midas, to turn whatever he touches to gold. But much of what Feldman has touched in his 18-month tenure at the automotive aftermarket giant has had a golden effect on the company's bottom line.Feldman joined the franchiser -- an enterprise in financial crisis -- in January 2003. Midas was over-leveraged. It owed money on a loan that was set to expire. And sales and profits had been in a steady decline for two straight years.As a result, Midas' stock price…
Friday, 16 July 2004 09:25

Bitter pill

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Not long ago, most employers looked upon their prescription drug plans as simple and benign benefits, less likely to cause unrest than their annual company picnics. Today, however, drug coverage is demanding 15 percent or more of an employer's health care dollars, and the cost of it is rising faster than that of any other benefit. We all know the reasons. Impressive new drugs reach the market each year, treating a wide range of ailments. Massive ad campaigns support these drugs, driving consumer demand as patients ask doctors for specific prescriptions. Drug utilization on the whole also is increasing, due…
Friday, 16 July 2004 09:18

The Wilhelm File

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Born: 1954, Chicago Education: Graduate school in city and regional planning, undergraduate degree in geography and environmental studies, Northeastern Illinois University First job: Stock boy in the men's underwear department at Sears & Roebuck on Lawrence Avenue in Chicago (sophomore in high school during the summer) Jobs: City of Chicago's department of planning and development (while attending graduate school) -- "I was responsible for improving some of Chicago's commercial business strips." Chicago Department of Aviation -- "My last job at the department of aviation was the assistant commissioner responsible for operations of O'Hare, Midway and Meigs Field in Chicago. I…