Monthly Archive for April 2010
Disney Institute is bringing its renowned professional development program, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence, to Huntington May 18. Sponsored locally by Marshall University, the full-day event will give area professionals an opportunity to “experience the business behind the magic.”
The May 18th program will bring the best of Disney Institute content to Huntington.
“This is a convenient way to experience Disney Institute programs in local business communities,” said Jeff James, vice president for Disney Institute. “Our programs teach easily-adaptable strategies and best practices that have been part of our company for more than 80 years.”
The full-day Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence program introduces participants to five core Disney business principles:
- Disney’s Approach to Inspiring Creativity – Focused on strategies and tactics that have helped Disney maintain its creative and innovative culture in good times and bad, this program can help other organizations be equally successful.
- Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence — Strong leadership is fundamental for organizations to grow and succeed. Participants will explore strategies and methods for improving team results through proven leadership philosophies that are used to exhibit the values and behaviors that generate results.
- Disney’s Approach to People Management — The Disney corporate culture instills pride and ownership in Disney Cast Members (employees). The same can true for any organization looking to inspire and motivate employees. Participants explore the Disney approach to selection, training, retention, and communication, all of which sustain a supportive and interactive culture.
- Disney’s Approach to Quality Service – In an era where everyone is competing for business and market share, excellent customer service isn’t a luxury, it is mission critical. Participants discover how Disney exceeds expectations through its service infrastructure, ongoing research, and established service standards.
- Disney’s Approach to Brand Loyalty – The relationship between consumer experiences and a company’s brand is vital and can generate superior bottom-line results. Participants explore strategies that deliver on an organization’s brand and retain customers for life.
“What makes the Disney learning experience so different and meaningful is that we don’t simply teach theory,” said James. “We give participants an ‘insider’s look’ at business philosophies that have helped Disney consistently rank as one of the world’s most admired companies and brands. Engaging content presented in an entertaining fashion provides participants with tools that can literally transform their organizations.” (more…)
East End Main Street director Ric Cavender is among the outstanding young West Virginians honored in the State Journal’s 2010 “Generation Next: 40 Under 40” issue.
In his two years with the Charleston Area Alliance and EEMS, Ric has led volunteer efforts to launch a wide range of innovative projects to promote economic development and historic preservation in the Capitol gateway neighborhood. These include expansion of the East End wireless network, the creation of the HallowEast festival and transformation of Washington Street into a mile-long art gallery though StreetWorks.
We congratulate Ric on this well-deserved honor and look forward to many more exciting developments in the East End under his leadership.
Almost half of our nation’s military strength resides in the National Guard and Reserve. These brave men and women perform critical roles such as homeland defense and continue to serve around the world to ensure our freedom. Members of the National Guard are also frequently called on by the Governor to provide disaster assistance in our communities. All of this would not be possible without the support from employers just like you.
This link between members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers led to the creation of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflicts through mediation.
Established in 1972, ESGR operates via a network of hundreds of volunteers within 56 Field Committees throughout the United States. West Virginia has 48 volunteers located throughout the state who work with employers and service members to educate them about their responsibilities and obligations. When necessary ESGR volunteers provide informal mediation of employment issues between employers and service members.
Through a national and local organizational structure, ESGR provides the following services to assist members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers:
RECOGNITION: We applaud employers who practice personnel policies that support employee participation in the National Guard and Reserve. Employers are nominated for the “My Boss is a Patriot” award by their service member employees. Employers who go “above and beyond” what the law requires to provide support may be nominated for the “Freedom Award” that is given by the Department of Defense annually to outstanding employers. (more…)
A dozen participants in the Alliance’s Business & Cultural Mission to China this morning met at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai to learn about the intricacies of doing business in China.
One facet we keep hearing about is the growth of technology parks throughout China. They are designed to attract investment and spark innovation. We can’t help but think of the Technology, Research & Education Park in South Charleston.
“Every locality has their research and technology parks,” said Kim Woodard, CEO of Technonic, which helps guide foreign businesses in a complicated Chinese economic system.
Woodard spoke about the “two sets of codes” related to doing business in China – those for domestic companies and those for foreign companies.
“The rules are different,” he said.
China wants to attract foreign investment, so some rules might be less stringent for those investors.
“The gateways have widened,” explained Victor Ho, partner with Allen & Overy in Shanghai. “Keep in mind,” however, “China remains a centrally-controlled economy. There has been a huge explosion of laws and regulations over the past 25 years.”
Some sectors, such as financial, mining and media, are restricted and have a tougher time breaking into the Chinese economy.
Also, laws are designed to protect the power of bureaucrats, and appeals processes might not be in place. In addition, local governments and the central government differ in many respects. Local bureaucrats are beholden to their local governments. More and more discretion goes to those local governments because the country is so big.
Hence, foreign companies must know the details of doing business in specific regions. That’s why it’s important to set up inside China to invest and sell in China, Ho said.
Furthermore, “do not check your basic business sense at the door,” Ho added. Some companies have a tendency to make moves in China they would never consider in their home nations. Sticking to missions and principles is important.
“Take it one step at a time at the beginning,” Woodard said. “Have one person here to get your feet on the street.”
Woodard offered further insight and some caution.
The outlook for China’s GDP growth for the first quarter of 2010 was 10.4 percent. But in reality, it was 11.9 percent.
“Where is that growth coming from?” Woodard said.
The answer is new bank lending. More than 50 percent of China’s GDP is investment. That’s an astronomical number.
“This pattern has been around a long time,” Woodard said. “Is that healthy? It’s creating a massive distortion in the economy. Is it sustainable over time? When you consider your sector, you have to ask what is going to happen to your customer base.”
Some sectors, including steel and chemicals, are operating at overcapacity in China. Steel is 100 percent overcapacity, which, from the outside, is seen as economically absurd.
In addition, China’s housing costs are skyrocketing. Prices are up 12 percent. High-end housing costs have increased 60 percent, and some homes in Beijing have increased by 100 percent.
Is this sustainable?
Probably not. This year, China is “pushing down hard on the brake,” Woodard said. “We’re talking volatility. We see huge surges, then they hit the brake. China is not consumption driven, not yet.”
While housing sits on a huge bubble, the auto industry sits on a smaller one. In 2009, China exceeded the U.S. for the first time in passenger vehicles sold: 10 million, up 52 percent. That equates to big money, as well as big problems, including massive traffic congestion and thick air pollution.
China’s economy faces a bevy of challenges: inflation, falling housing prices, rising housing prices, local government debt defaults, overcapacity, labor shortages, rising manufacturing costs and tightening enforcement of anti-dumping rules by the U.S. and European Union.
Foreign investors will feel the policy changes first. Regulations will be designed to protect domestic industry and consolidate economic gains.
Still, China is close to passing Japan as the world’s second largest economy. And in a global economy, the U.S. can’t ignore that.
“You need representatives here,” said Carlisle Davis, vice consul with the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. Davis offered tips about nurturing a presence in China, as well as finding ways to attract Chinese investment to the U.S.
“This is not West Virginia, and this is not Texas,” he said. “Things change very quickly. You renegotiate again and again.
“People are doing some really interesting work here,” Davis said. “With every business relationship and student exchange, the U.S.-China relationship is more fortified.”
Bob Orders of Orders Construction examines the stream bed along with John Persun, Orders Construction, Mike Aeiker, Charleston Area Alliance and Pat Bond, Mountaineer Capital.
Ten participants from the Charleston Area Alliance Business & Cultural Mission in China this evening met with representatives from the Hangzhou Economic and Technological Development Area (HEDA).
Jonathan Zhang offered a HEDA overview, noting the region was little more than a field in 1996, the year the zone was born. Zhang is managing partner of 5C Group, which helps companies hoping the locate in the region’s technology park traverse China’s complicated law and tax climate.
Hangzhou is a popular tourist attraction, featuring the famed West Lake, but it also features a skyrocketing GDP, a population of 3 million, 14 universities and more than 180,000 students. Those students are “taylor-made,” Zhang said, for the companies locating there. The area features strong automobile, energy, bio-genetic, bio-pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries.
One of the younger companies is AmpleSun. Hu Weiqian, sales manager, also presented to the Alliance delegation, explaining how his solar panel company hopes to make an impact in the U.S. According to the U.S. Ambassador’s Commercial Service, China is focussed on the green technology sector, which of course includes solar energy.
Some at the meeting noticed paralels between the Hangzhou park and South Charleston Education, Research & Technology Park.
The meeting ended with business card exchanges and promises of follow-ups.
Tomorrow, the Alliance’s tour moves from Hangzhou to Shanghai. Stay tuned.
The Alliance Business & Cultural Mission moved from Suzhou to Hangzhou today, but not before we visited one of the country’s most famed silk factories and an embroidery hub, as well as the famous Lingering Garden, home to many banzai trees.
We saw the silk process from start – silkworm – to finish. The embroidery, meanwhile, was amazing. Masters are able to put together lifelike images, which sometimes require more than two years.
Business mission participants today enjoyed Beijing’s Forbidden City, along with rickshaw rides through old Beijing and a trip to the Emperor’s Summer Palace.
The weather has been hazy, due in large part to thick air polution. As someone remarked this morning, a good day in China is when you can see your shadow.
But grey skies haven’t dampened the spirits. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re taking advantage of it.
While the Forbidden City was truly breath-taking, many would agree the highlight came when we had lunch in someone’s home. The hostess was fantastic, serving a great meal and a plethora of jokes.
Some business mission participants this morning met Sarah Kemp, deputy senior commercial officer for the American Embassy in Beijing, who offered a presentation about China’s economy and what an American business must know before doing business in China.
Among Kemp’s many intriguing points: While about 70 percent of China’s energy comes from coal, the country is investing a tremendous amount of money in green technology. It dominates the wind energy markets and is making big strides in hydroelectricity. Might some West Virginia businesses find opportunities in one of China’s fastest growing sectors?
On behalf of the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, please join us for our annual Building Futures Luncheon in Charleston, WV, on Thursday, May 6, 2010 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Charleston Marriott.
We’re pleased to announce that Jenna Bush Hager will be the keynote speaker. Ms. Hager is a contributing correspondent to NBC’s Today where she tells the inspiring stories of wonderful people doing great things across America. She is the author of New York Times bestseller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope and co-author of Read All About It. Hager is a graduate of the University of Texas where she received a degree in English. She is the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.
Please join us to hear Jenna Hager’s inspirational message at this annual Building Futures Luncheon in Charleston. All funds raised via this event will support the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Support from the local community ensures that every girl, everywhere will have the opportunity to reach her full potential. Girl Scouts is, as it always has been, the organization best positioned to offer girls the tools they need to be successful leaders now and throughout their lives.
The cost for attending the 2010 Building Futures Luncheon is $150 per person. Corporate sponsorships and full table purchases are also available. For more information about the event, visit our website at www.bdgsc.org, or contact Princess Young at 304.345.7722 or email@example.com.