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Sunday, 25 November 2007 19:00

The Jones file

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Born: 1944, Dallas Education: Bachelor of business administration, finance, University of North Texas, Denton, 1967 What publications do you read on a regular basis? I like The Wall Street Journal. I read an industry publication called the American Banker. I like Forbes, BusinessWeek and other business magazines. What was the first job you ever had, and why did you like it? The first real job that I had that was meaningful to me was working in a bank in North Texas. I got my first pay stub in banking and developed a mentor in banking, and that started my career.…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Doing it right

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The term “organic growth” means different things to different people. But to Daniel P. Son, president and co-founder of Dallas-based Penson Worldwide Inc., it’s a term that deftly describes Penson’s growth strategy. In Penson’s case, organic growth means the company has successfully taken market share from competitors and helped its own customers grow their business, and therefore, do more business with Penson. That organic growth has been responsible for much of the security services firm’s growth from its founding in 1995 until today. The company provides technology-based processing solutions for the execution, clearing, custody and settlement of securities transactions. It…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Job boards have not made a monster

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The rapid proliferation of general and niche job boards has created a bit of consternation among staffing firm owners and managers. Their concerns, although justifiable to some extent, have proven to be somewhat premature. There is no doubt that job boards represent competition for staffing agencies, and they provide a valuable service to job seekers and hiring companies alike. Both offer valuable services to their clients, and each has unique competitive edges that facilitate the hiring process for business owners. Smart Business spoke with Don Crawford, president and CEO of Delta Dallas, about the advantages that staffing firms offer companies…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Don’t forget your personal finances

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Business owners or high-level executives often are so busy keeping their business in the black that keeping track of their personal financial business can often be pushed to the wayside. To keep personal day-to-day finances on track, it is often necessary to get the help of private banking services. “Private banking services — also called private client services — is personalized attention for those who have acquired substantial financial resources and need assistance in managing these resources as it relates to their full financial picture,” said Camille Ussery, vice president of Private Client Services at Plano-based ViewPoint Bank. Smart Business…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

Building the pipeline

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When Kelcy Warren and his partner, Ray Davis, started Energy Transfer Partners LP, a Dallas-based natural pipeline business in 1995, they were fortunate to not know what they were getting into. “If we had known what we were tackling, we would have been completely intimidated by it and probably would not have been successful,” says Warren, the company’s chairman and CEO. “We attacked it with energy because we didn’t realize it was a mountain that few had ever climbed before. I’m very pleased with that. Our naive approach to business has been quite a strength for us.” Energy Transfer, which…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

The mass exodus of baby boomers

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Currently, “baby boomers” make up one-third of the work force. Assuming most of them retire at age 65, the first set of boomers will reach this milestone in 2010. Moreover, if the U.S. economy continues to grow at a 3 percent rate per year, which has been the average since the late 1940s, the work force will need to increase by 58 million over the next 30 years to maintain the same level of productivity. If the present population trend continues, the number of workers will increase by only 23 million. That leaves a shortage of 35 million workers. Employers…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

Intellectual property

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There are many shades of gray in the area of intellectual property in this digital age. Google versus the book publishing industry. Apple iTunes versus copy protection for songs. The list goes on. “There is a tremendous amount of conflict. Filesharing, movies, book publishers, YouTube — there is much disarray,” says Stan Liebowitz, Ph.D., Ashbel Smith Professor of Economics and founding director of The University of Texas at Dallas School of Management’s Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation. “Staying abreast of news, changes and developments regarding intellectual property laws in other parts of the world where you…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

The Beck file

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Born: Dallas, 1955 Education: Bachelor of science, engineering, Princeton University, 1977; MBA, Stanford University, 1981 What was your first job, and what did it teach you? My first summer job was working on a labor crew on an office building. What I was most impressed with there was learning from my fellow laborers, and clearly recognizing we all have come from different walks in life and different lives and opportunities. Some of us are blessed with greater fortune and greater opportunities than others. That has stuck with me quite a bit. I came up in an entirely different environment than…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Perfecting the people process

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More than 50 percent of the people Jeff Kaye hires at his executive recruiting firm are referred to him by his own employees, helping him find quality people. As president and CEO of Kaye/Bassman International Corp., he helps clients find and keep the best people, so it’s imperative that he does the same at his $20 million firm. Smart Business spoke with Kaye about how retaining employees is like creating a $50 million painting. Q: How do you identify quality people? One of those stock market footnotes that says past successes is not a guarantee of future indications — they…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Recruiting recruiters

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According to a major survey conducted for the American Staffing Association, “companies use recruiting and staffing firms for two principal reasons: flexibility and access to talent.” The Association revealed that “staffing companies nationwide collectively employ an average of 2.9 million workers daily across all industries, providing work force flexibility and access to talent … at competitive wages, benefits and training for millions of temporary, contract and permanent employees each year.” Talent management, leadership development and skill acquisition means companies need to have the right people doing the right jobs. Smart Business talked with Danell Winsor of Delta Dallas to gain…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Customized training

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Are your employees up to speed on the latest business trends? Do they have a thorough understanding of their specific job functions? Do they speak a common language? If not, custom training may be the answer. Customized training enables organizations to reinforce and develop a skill set or specific areas of knowledge. It also enhances morale and encourages teamwork. “Training can be customized in many ways, providing a strong degree of flexibility based on a company’s specific needs,” says John Fowler, director of New Initiatives, Executive Education, School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas. “A mid-size firm might want…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Forensic accounting

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Forensic accounting is a rapidly growing field of specialization that enables business owners to get firm control over possible financial fraud and mismanagement within their companies — and to deter it before it occurs. In fact, Parade magazine reported recently that forensic accounting is the No. 1 growth area in the United States, and an increasingly necessary area of specialization. Smart Business spoke with Jeff Matthews, forensic accounting and investigative services director with Grant Thornton LLP, to learn more about forensic accounting and how it can benefit business owners and managers. What is a forensic accountant? A forensic accountant is…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Rules of engagement

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Back in 2000, Barry Davis took a look at the company he built from scratch and liked what he saw. So did his 25 employees. Davis, president and CEO of Crosstex Energy, saw a company that was growing, and the potential was in place for its enormous upswing to continue. Crosstex, which transports natural gas via pipelines from the well head to the burner tip, would likely benefit from the collapse of energy giant Enron. The company had also just completed a financial deal with Yorktown Energy Partners, a New York-based equity fund, that would give it access to the…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

Style points

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Leslie Elliott knows the hair business inside and out. Elliott, president of Toni&Guy USA, worked her way up from the bottom, starting as a hair dresser in the first U.S. Toni&Guy salon in Dallas in 1985. By April 2005, she was at the helm of the company, overseeing its 56 salons and 1,560 employees. That intimate knowledge of the company, though, was somewhat of a handicap. After working for the same company for 20 years, she decided it was time to hire outside consultants to do something she couldn’t: Evaluate the company objectively. “The 20-year mark ... made us look…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

Camille Cheney Fournier

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Camille Cheney Fournier can hardly believe that the facility she moved Southwest Sanitary Co. Inc. into a little over a year ago is already bursting at the seams. The $143 million sanitation and housekeeping supplies company gained 60,000 square feet with the move, and now Fournier’s implementing hanging rack systems to help maximize the space. Southwest Sanitary’s CEO sees growth as just another change, and empowers her 26 employees to take responsibility for their positions and adapt. Smart Business spoke with Fournier about how she pushes employees to do all they can to help the team while also encouraging them…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

Safeguarding trade secrets

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It is devastating for employers to spend time and money to train employees, expose them to market research, pay them to develop new clients and products, and then see them leave to work for a competitor or start their own businesses in which they produce competing products based on information obtained from their former employer. When that happens, it is often because employees misappropriate trade secrets, which can have an adverse impact on the employer’s competitive advantage and revenues and possibly lead to costly litigation. Those scenarios can be avoided if employers apply due diligence to safeguarding their trade secrets.…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

Internal auditing

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Internal auditing involves much more than accounting. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) International defines internal auditing as “an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.” “There is a common misconception that internal auditors are focused primarily on accounting,” says Mark Salamasick, CIA, CISA, director of the Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP) at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) School of Management. “In fact,…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

Loan applications

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The higher rewards that business ownership often promises and the yearning that many have to run their own companies have motivated thousands of Americans to join the ranks of the self-employed. As their numbers rise, the growth of small businesses is critical to the lending business. The banks’ goal: help local businesses thrive while ensuring that depositor’s assets are safeguarded in well-run and prudent investments. Too often, however, the small business owner does not understand how to secure the credit needed to jump-start or sustain his operation. “It comes down to understanding what a lender is looking for: the tools…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

The Freeman File

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Born: 1938, Des Moines Education: Bachelor’s degree, U. S. Naval Academy, 1960; graduated from U.S. Naval Supply Corps School, 1961 What was your first job, and what did it teach you? My first job was working for Freeman at the Iowa State Fair, hanging flags and bunting from the ceiling of the horse, cattle and swine barns. I was not good at working at heights — except in airplanes. My father was a bit of a promoter, as well as a decorator. The risks of the promotion business did not fit my personality. What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced,…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Healthy profits

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Sam Caster says growth comes from one thing: providing something people need. If you do it, and do it ethically, your company will grow. “My personal work philosophy is based on two concepts — stewardship and servanthood,” says Caster, chairman and CEO of Mannatech Incorporated. “Being a success is directly equated to your ability to serve others and their needs. Those are the opportunities I look for. That’s the way I look to manage the business, and that’s the way that I look to grow the business. Fulfill people’s needs in the most ethical way, and your business tends to…
In the airline industry, just running a company in the black is an accomplishment. But somehow, Colleen Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines Co., has found a way not only to operate in the black but to expand the airline’s reach and grow, as other airlines are filing bankruptcy, cutting service and even folding. Barrett and the company’s two other top managers, Herbert D. Kelleher, chairman of the board, and Gary C. Kelly, CEO, have done this by building a culture of employee warriors who help them look out for the company’s best interests. “We tell our employees over and over…
Friday, 24 November 2006 19:00

Guiding growth

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When the consulting industry hit a downturn in 2002, Jim Taylor had to knuckle down to cut both costs and people at Thomas Group Inc. But despite the hard times, he honestly communicated the reasons for the changes with employees, and when he came out on the other side, he says his relationship with employees was significantly strengthened as a result of his openness. Maintaining those relationships with his 160 employees still benefits Thomas Group, as it hit 2005 revenue of $43 million, a 44 percent increase over 2004. Smart Business spoke with Taylor about how to align a company…
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 07:48

Documents ... smiling and dialing ... networking

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Finding the most capable executive to fill a vacancy in the leadership ranks can be a daunting task for a company. Frequently, companies engage an executive search firm to assist in the process. Together, they form a partnership based on a clearly defined set of criteria aimed at identifying the most qualified candidate available through a rigorous process which involves search specification documents, research packages, networking, and clear, concise and constant communications between the parties involved. Smart Business asked James M. Peters, a vice president with TNS Partners, Inc., to explain the creation and use of the tools used in…
Tuesday, 24 October 2006 20:00

Surviving a downturn

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 After the tech bust in 2001, many of MetaSolv Software Inc.’s customers went bankrupt, and in the “nuclear winter” that followed, T. Curtis Holmes Jr. was promoted to president and CEO of the company. To survive the storm, MetaSolv needed a plan to get different products, talent and customers, so Holmes made a few key acquisitions. MetaSolv now works with some of the top companies around the world, and its revenue hit $91.8 million last year. “We defined that strategy across the organization, we communicated that strategy and then we aligned our resources around making that happen, and we’ve made…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 10:35

Developing an ADR program

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The number of legal disputes between employers and employees is increasing, which places new demands on both parties to resolve them quickly, efficiently and fairly. A number of internal binding and nonbinding methods are available to employers to resolve employment disputes, including arbitration, mediation, and peer review programs. Sometimes the dispute resolution process requires the inclusion of attorneys. Employers, especially those in medium- to large-sized companies, should be prepared to manage employee dispute situations before the situations manage them. Smart Business spoke with Thomas E. Reddin, a partner at Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo LLP, to learn how employers can manage…
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 20:00

Your best friend?

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A growing business has growing needs for credit. That means having a good relationship with your bank in order to maximize your ability to obtain required credit. “It is extremely important to begin your relationship with your business banker as early in the lifespan of your business as possible,” says Donna Neal, chief lending officer for ViewPoint Bank in Dallas. “Ideally, you want to do that as you develop your business plan, even before the business is up and running.” Smart Business asked Neal for additional insight on creating and maintaining a relationship with a business banker. How thoroughly and…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 10:08

The Beckert File

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Age: 53 Birthplace: Pittsburgh Education:Bachelor of science degree, hotel administration, Cornell University What’s been your biggest business challenge?Getting employees comfortable with taking risks. You have to be visible, you have to develop their trust. The issue with trust is that if they make a mistake, they can live to see another day. And make sure that those who have success are recognized and rewarded for it, so that the reward and recognition offsets whatever the struggles may be in coming up with a bad idea. What’s been your biggest business lesson? Always be direct and be honest. What publications do…