Newsclips Featured

9:55am EDT July 22, 2002

Senior synergy

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services sees gold in the graying of America.

The real estate company is preparing its agents to meet what it expects to be a crush of business spawned by the large number of senior citizens changing their housing situation in the near future. That means, presumably, a lot of real estate going on the market, as well as demand for alternative housing for seniors, such as apartments, condominiums or smaller single-family homes.

Sixty-seven of Hanna’s agents have completed a 12-hour course for designation as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. The program was developed by the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council, which spent the last decade designing a national certification course to capitalize on the growing older population.

“We are very excited to offer this course because we have always prided ourselves on training expert agents who understand the importance of niche marketing and selling,” says Helen Hanna Casey, president of residential sales for Howard Hanna.

According to statistics from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), seniors are the largest group of property owners in the United States. By 2000, the population of those over 50 years old is expected to grow to some 75 million. AARP estimates that 83 percent of seniors own their own homes and that nearly 8 million of them will move residences in the next two years.

Distribution deal

Respironics Inc. has inked a deal with Tri-anim Health Services Inc., of Sylmar, Calif.

Tri-anim Health Services will distribute and sell the BiPap Vision product through its 90-person sales force and 12 distribution centers.

BiPap Vision is a new noninvasive pressure support ventilator with user-friendly graphics capabilities for comprehensive patient monitoring.

Plan “S”

Pittsburgh could very well become the sports arena capital of the world.

While plans for two new sports stadiums near the Golden Triangle are well on their way, and even the Penguins are vying for a new home in town, a private concern is putting up an indoor sports facility in the suburbs that’s geared for soccer. Landau Building Co. is the general contractor for the 100,000-square-foot complex.

Investors have broken ground for the $3.25 million Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena in Harmarville. The facility will house three indoor soccer fields, complete with bleachers and a second-floor mezzanine. The playing surface will use Field Turf, a simulated grass which the developers say will be only the second in Western Pennsylvania to use it.

There also will be a cafe-style eatery for players and spectators and a fully equipped pro shop.

The owners of the new complex say they expect to hire 25 employees to serve an anticipated 5,000 patrons a week.

Employers and agencies seeking to widen their search for job talent might want to log onto

The site’s developer, 2MTC, invites job seekers to post their resumes and offers employers the opportunity to list their openings, with options that include highlighting positions with a “Hot Jobs” designation. Those jobs will be displayed as soon as a job seeker enters the site.

The site won’t be limited to high tech openings. 2MTC says it will list light labor, construction, food service, medical, accounting and executive positions. 2MTC is hoping to have 25,000 listings by this summer.

Job seekers can update their resumes on the site and remove them at any time. They can get career assistance through the site, including resume writing, legal aid, relocation and other services, all of which are provided by local firms.

Clean sweep

Gemini Holdings Inc. has acquired Frontier Supply and Equipment, of Buffalo, N.Y., and Warehouse Point Supply and Equipment, of Hartford, Conn.

Gemini Holdings has consolidated both companies, leaders in their respective markets, into USA Clean LLC, its full-service distributor of laundry supplies, chemicals, new and used equipment and parts to on-premise laundering facilities, including dry cleaners, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, country clubs and laundromats.

The acquisitions give USA Clean distribution in 14 states through five regional distributors. With the addition of the two companies, USA Clean’s annual revenues top $25 million. And Gemini Holdings says it’s not done yet. The company has its sights set on dominating the industry.

Gemini Holdings acquired Carman Supply, of McKees Rocks, in 1997, and followed that purchase with the takeover of Havnaer Supply and Equipment, a Virginia-based company, in 1998.

Says Tom Certo, president and CEO of Gemini Holdings: “As a result of these acquisitions, we’ll be able to maximize buying power, provide a more efficient distribution network and broaden our range of products and services that we can offer to our customers.”

And clean up in the process, too.

On target

Target Stores, which describes itself as a national, upscale merchandiser, is aiming at an Oct. 10 date to open five stores in Western Pennsylvania.

The stores will be in Washington, Monroeville, Hempfield Township and Pittsburgh, where the company is building two locations.

Minneapolis-based Target Stores, the largest division of Dayton Hudson Corp., expects to hire 200 employees at each of the five locations and estimates that it will pump more than $1 million into Pittsburgh-area communities through local purchases of supplies and services.

MCA acquisition

Managed Care of America Inc., has acquired Consolidated Benefits Inc., a third-party administrator for benefits claims with offices in Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

Charles Davidson, MCA’s president, says the purchase of Consolidated Benefits will give Managed Care of America a significant strategic advantage in developing business in the Southeast.

“Our integrated-benefit delivery products will provide an excellent complement to their claim-administration services,” he says.

Injuries down

Would you like to cut employee injury claims by 11 percent this year? And reduce them by another 13 percent next year?

Sure you would, and listening to your employees might be part of the solution.

That’s what Ward Trucking does, and the company was able to reduce work-related injuries by 11 percent between 1996 and 1997, and by 13 percent between 1997 and 1998. Preventable accident rates dropped by 14 percent from 1996 to 1997, and another 13 percent from 1997 to 1998.

The company uses a combination of regular training, inspections and incentive programs to stress the value of safety to its workers.

Working with representatives of Commercial Insurance Associates, Ward Trucking’s safety team conducts an annual “Safety Safari.” During this week, the company’s safety manager visits service centers and spends time talking with employees about safety and training in round-table sessions. Employees are encouraged to make suggestions to reduce workplace hazards and improve safety.

“And we act on their ideas,” says Michael Ward, executive vice president. As a result of suggestions from employees, the company installed grab handles on its tractors to assist drivers in getting in and out safely, and outfitted their trailers with translucent roofs to heighten visibility.